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University of California Berkeley

Gift of























VI. RYE : 1904-1909 continued PAGE



To W. D. Howells 8

To Edward Lee Childe 10

To W. E. Norris 12

To Mrs. Julian Sturgis 14

To J. B. Pinker 15

To Henry James, junior . . . . 16

To Mrs. W. K. Clifford 18

To Edmund Gosse 19

To W. E. Norris 22

To Edmund Gosse 24

To Mrs. W. K. Clifford 29

To Edward Warren 31

To Mrs. William James 33

To William James 35

To Miss Margaret James .... 37

To H. G. Wells 38

To William James 43

To W. E. Norris 46

To Paul Harvey 48

To William James 51

To William James 53

To Miss Margaret James .... 54

To Mrs. Dew-Smith 56

To Mrs. Wharton 57

To W. E. Norris 59

To Thomas Sergeant Perry .... 62


VI. RYE: 1904-1909 continued

To Gaillard T. Lapsley 64

To Bruce Porter 66

To Miss Grace Norton 68

To William James, junior .... 72

To Howard Sturgis . . . . 74

To Howard Sturgis 76

To Madame Wagniere 78

To Mrs. Wharton 80

To Miss Gwenllian Palgrave . . . . 83

To William James 84

To W. E. Norris 86

To W. E. Norris 90

To Dr. and Mrs. J. William White . . 91

To Mrs. Wharton 93

To Gaillard T. Lapsley 95

To Mrs. Wharton 97

To Henry James, junior .... 98

To W. D. Howells 101

To Mrs. Wharton 107

To J. B. Pinker 108

To Miss Ellen Emmet 110

To George Abbot James . . . .114

To Hugh Walpole . .... 115
To George Abbot James . . . .116

To W. E. Norris 118

To Mrs. Henry White 120

To W. D. Howells 122

To Edward Lee Childe 124

To Hugh Walpole 126

To Mrs. Wharton 127

To Arthur Christopher Benson . . .129

To Charles Sayle 131

To Mrs. W. K. Clifford 133

To Miss Grace Norton 135

To William James 139

To H. G. Wells 142

To Miss Henrietta Reubell .... 144

To William James . 145


VI. RYE: 1904-1909 continued


To Mrs. Wharton 147

To Madame Wagniere 149

To Thomas Sergeant Perry .... 151

To Owen Wister 153

VII. RYE AND CHELSEA : 1910-1914



To T. Bailey Saunders 161

To Mrs. Wharton 162

To Miss Jessie Allen 164

To Mrs. Bigelow 166

To W. E. Norris 167

To Mrs. Wharton 168

To Mrs. Wharton 170

To Bruce Porter 171

To Miss Grace Norton 172

To Thomas Sergeant Perry .... 174

To Mrs. Wharton 175

To Mrs. Charles Hunter .... 176

To Mrs. W. K. Clifford 178

To W. E. Norris 180

To Mrs. Wharton 182

To Miss Rhoda Broughton .... 185

To H. G. Wells 187

To C. E. Wheeler 190

To Dr. J. William White .... 191

To T. Bailey Saunders 194

To Sir T. H. Warren 195

To Miss Ellen Emmet 196

To Howard Sturgis 199

To Mrs. William James 201

To Mrs. John L. Gardner . . . . 203

To Mrs. Wharton 205

To Mrs. Wilfred Sheridan .... 206

To Miss Alice Runnells 208

To Mrs. Frederic Harrison 210


VII. RYE AND CHELSEA: 1910-1914 continued


To Miss Theodora Bosanquet . . . 212

To Mrs. William James 213

To Mrs. Wharton 215

To W. E. Norris 218

To Miss M. Betham Edwards ... 221

To Wilfred Sheridan 223

To Walter V. R. Berry 225

To W. D. Howells 229

To Mrs. Wharton 235

To H. G. Wells 237

To Lady Bell 239

To Mrs. W. K. Clifford 243

To Hugh Walpole 245

To Miss Rhoda Broughton .... 247

To Henry James, junior .... 248

To R. W. Chapman 250

To Hugh Walpole 252

To Edmund Gosse 255

To Edmund Gosse 257

To Edmund Gosse 259

To Edmund Gosse 261

To Edmund Gosse * 264

To Edmund Gosse 266

To H. G. Wells 270

To Mrs. Humphry Ward .... 273

To Mrs. Humphry Ward .... 275

To Gaillard T. Lapsley 277

To John Bailey 279

To Dr. J. William White .... 282

To Edmund Gosse 284

To Mrs. Bigelow 288

To Robert C. Witt 291

To Mrs. Wharton 292

To A. F. de Navarro 297

To Henry James, junior .... 299

To Miss Grace Norton 304

To Mrs. Henry White 307

To Mrs. William James . 310


VII. RYE AND CHELSEA: 1910-1914 continued


To Bruce Porter 313

To Lady Ritchie 315

To Mrs. William James 316

To Percy Lubbock 321

To Two Hundred and Seventy Friends . 322

To Mrs. G. W. Prothero .... 324

To William James, junior .... 326

To Miss Rhoda Broughton .... 329

To Mrs. Alfred Sutro 331

To Hugh Walpole 333

To Mrs. Archibald Grove .... 336

To William Roughead 339

To Mrs. William James 341

To Howard Sturgis . . . . .342

To Mrs. G. W. Prothero .... 344

To H. G. Wells 345

To Logan Pearsall Smith .... 349

To C. Hagberg Wright 351

To Robert Bridges 353

To Andre Raffalovich 355

To Henry James, junior .... 357

To Edmund Gosse 361

To Bruce L. Richmond 362

To Hugh Walpole 365

To Compton Mackenzie 366

To William Roughead 369

To Mrs. Wharton 370

To Dr. J. William White .... 371

To Henry Adams 373

To Mrs. William James .*.... 374

To Arthur Christopher Benson . . . 377

To Mrs. Humphry Ward .... 379

To Thomas Sergeant Perry .... 380

To Mrs. Wharton 382

To William Roughead 384

To William Roughead 386

To Mrs. Alfred Sutro 388

To Sir Claude Phillips 389


VIII. THE WAR : 1914-1916 PAalz



To Howard Sturgis 396

To Henry James, junior .... 399

To Mrs. Alfred Sutro ...... 401

To Miss Rhoda Broughton .... 403

To Mrs. Wharton 405

To Mrs. W. K. Clifford 407

To William James, junior .... 409

To Mrs. W. K. Clifford 412

To Mrs. Wharton ...... 414

To Mrs. R. W. Gilder 416

To Mrs. Wharton 419

To Mrs. Wharton 420

To Mrs. T. S. Perry 422

To Miss Rhoda Broughton .... 423

To Edmund Gosse 425

To Miss Grace Norton 427

To Mrs. Wharton 429

To Thomas Sergeant Perry .... 432

To Henry James, junior .... 435

To Hugh Walpole 439

To Mrs. Wharton 441

To Mrs. T. S. Perry . . . . . 443

To Edmund Gosse 446

To Miss Grace Norton 447

To Mrs. Dacre Vincent 450

To the Hon. Evan Charteris .... 452

To Compton Mackenzie 454

To Miss ElizabetK Norton .... 457

To Hugh Walpole 460

To Mrs. Henry Cabot Lodge .... 463

To Mrs. William James . . . . 465

To Mrs. Wharton 468

To the Hon. Evan Charteris .... 470

To Mrs. Wharton 472

To Thomas Sergeant Perry .... 476

To Edward Marsh . . 479


VIII. THE WAR: 1914-1916 continued


To Edward Marsh 481

To Mrs. Wharton 482

To Edward Marsh .' 485

To G. W. Prothero 486

To Wilfred Sheridan 487

To Edward Marsh 489

To Edward Marsh 491

To Compton Mackenzie 492

To Henry James, junior .... 494

To Edmund Gosse 497

To J. B. Pinker 499

To Frederic Harrison 501

To H. G. Wells 503

To H. G. Wells 505

To Henry James, junior . . . . . 508

To Edmund Gosse 509

To John S. Sargent 510

To Wilfred Sheridan 511

To Edmund Gosse 514

To Mrs. Wilfred Sheridan .... 517

To Hugh Walpole 519

INDEX . 521



0. Hoppri - Frontispiece

JAMES, 1906 - .... to face page 72


RYE (continued)


The much-debated visit to America took place
at last in 1904, and in ten very full months
Henry James secured that renewed saturation
in American experience which he desired before
it should be too late for his advantage. He
saw far more of his country in these months
than he had ever seen in old days. He went
with the definite purpose of writing a book of
impressions, and these were to be principally
the impressions of a " restored absentee," reviving
the sunken and overlaid memories of his youth.
But his memories were practically of New York,
Newport and Boston only ; to the country
beyond he came for the most part as a com-
plete stranger ; and his voyage of new discovery
proved of an interest as great as that which he
found in revisiting ancient haunts. The American
Scene, rather than the letters he was able to write
in the midst of such a stir of movement, gives
his account of the adventure. On the spot
the daily assault of sensation, besetting him
wherever he turned, was too insistent for deliber-
ate report ; he quickly saw that his book would
have to be postponed for calmer hours at home ;
and his letters are those of a man almost over-


whelmed by the amount that is being thrown
upon his power of absorption. But the book
he eventually wrote shews how fully that power
was equal to it all losing or wasting none of it,
meeting and reacting to every moment. Ten
months of America poured into his imagination,
as he intended they should, a vast mass of
strange material the familiar part of it now
after so many years the strangest of all, perhaps ;
and his imagination worked upon it in one
unbroken rage of interest. He was now more
than sixty years old, but for such adventures of
perception and discrimination his strength was
greater than ever.

He sailed from England at the end of August,
1904, and spent most of the autumn with William
James and his family, first at Chocorua, their
country-home in the mountains of New Hamp-
shire, and then at Cambridge. The rule he had
made in advance against the paying of other
visits was abandoned at once ; he was in the
centre of too many friendships and too many
opportunities for extending and enlarging them.
With Cambridge still as his headquarters he
widely improved his knowledge of New England,
which had never reached far into the country-
side. At Christmas he was in New York the
place that was much more his home, as he still
felt, than Boston had ever become, yet of all
his American past the most unrecognisable relic
in the portentous changes of twenty years. He
struck south, through Philadelphia and Washing-
ton, in the hope of meeting the early Virginian
spring ; but it happened to be a year of unusually
late snows, and his impressions of the southern
country, most of which was quite unknown to him,
were unfortunately marred. He found the right
sub-tropical benignity in Florida, but a particular
series of engagements brought him back after a

1904-09 RYE 3

brief stay. It had been natural that he should
be invited to celebrate his return to America
by lecturing in public ; but that he should do so,
and even with enjoyment, was more surprising, and
particularly so to himself. He began by deliver-
ing a discourse on " The Lesson of Balzac " a
closely wrought critical study, very attractive
in form and tone at Bryn Mawr College, Pennsyl-
vania, and was immediately solicited to repeat
it elsewhere. He did this in the course of the
winter at various other places, so providing him-
self at once with the means and the occasion for
much more travel and observation than he had
expected. By Chicago, St. Louis, and Indiana-
polis he reached California in April, 1905. " The
Lesson of Balzac " was given several times,
until for a second visit to Bryn Mawr he wrote
another paper, " The Question of our Speech "
an amusing and forcible appeal for care in
the treatment of spoken English. The two
lectures were afterwards published in America,
but have not appeared in England.

The beauty and amenity of California was
an unexpected revelation to him, and it is clear
that his experience of the west, though it only
lasted for a few weeks, was fully as fruitful
as all that had gone before. Unluckily he did
not write the continuation of The American
Scene, which was to have carried the record
on from Florida to the Pacific coast ; so that
this part of his journey is only to be followed
in a few hurried letters of the time. He was
soon back in the east, at New York and Cam-
bridge again, beginning by now to feel that
the cup of his sensations was all but as full as
it would hold. The longing to discharge it into
prose before it had lost its freshness grew daily
stronger ; a year's absence from his work had
almost tired him out. But he paid several


last visits before sailing for home, and it was
definitely in this American summer that he
acquired a taste which was to bring him an
immensity of pleasure on repeated occasions
for the rest of his life. The use of the motor-car
for wide and leisurely sweeps through summer
scenery was from now onward an interest and a
delight to which many friends were glad to help
him in New England at this time, later on at
home, in France and in Italy. It renewed the
romance of travel for him, revealing fresh
aspects in the scenes of old wanderings, and he
enjoyed the opportunity of sinking into the deep
background of country life, which only came to
him with emancipation from the railway.

He reached Lamb House again in August,

1905, and immediately set to work on his Ameri-
can book. It grew at such a rate that he presently
found he had filled a large volume without
nearly exhausting his material ; but by that
time the whole experience seemed remote and
faint, and he felt it impossible to go further
with it. The wreckage of San Francisco, more-
over, by the great earthquake and fire of

1906, drove his own Californian recollections
still further from his mind. He left The
American Scene a fragment, therefore, and
turned to another occupation which engaged
him very closely for the next two years. This
was the preparation of the revised and col-
lected edition of his works, or at least of so
much of his fiction as he could find room for in a
limited number of volumes. To read his own
books was an entirely new amusement to him ;
they had always been rigidly thrust out of sight
from the moment they were finished and done
with ; and he came back now to his early novels
with a perfectly detached critical curiosity. He
took each of them in hand and plunged into the

1904-09 RYE 5

enormous toil, not indeed of modifying its sub-
stance in any way where he was dissatisfied
with the substance he rejected it altogether
but of bringing its surface, every syllable of its
diction, to the level of his exigent taste. At
the same time, in the prefaces to the various
volumes, he wrote what became in the end a
complete exposition of his theory of the art of
fiction, intertwined with the memories of past
labour that he found everywhere in the much-
forgotten pages. It all represented a great
expenditure of time and trouble, besides the post-
ponement of new work ; and there is no doubt
that he was deeply disappointed by the half-
hearted welcome that the edition met with after
all, schooled as he was in such discouragements.

While he was on this work he scarcely stirred
from Lamb House except for occasional interludes
of a few weeks in London ; and it was not until
the spring of 1907 that he allowed himself a
real holiday. He then went abroad for three
months, beginning with a visit to Mr. and Mrs.
Wharton in Paris and a motor-tour with them
over a large part of western and southern France.
With all his French experience, Paris of the
Faubourg St. Germain and France of the remote
country-roads were alike almost new to him,
and the whole episode was matter of the finest
sort for his imagination. From The American
to The Ambassadors he had written scores of
pages about Paris, but none more romantic
than a paragraph or two of The Velvet Glove,
in which he recorded an impression of this
time a sight of the quays and the Seine on
a blue and silver April night. From Paris he
passed on to his last visit, as it proved, to his
beloved Italy. It was the tenth he had made
since his settlement in England in 1876. Like
every one else, perhaps, who has ever known


Rome in youth, he found Rome violated and
vulgarised in his age, but here too the friendly
" chariot of fire " helped him to a new range of
discoveries at Subiaco, Monte Cassino, and in
the Capuan plain. He spent a few days at a
friend's house on the mountain-slope below Val-
lombrosa, and a few more, the best of all, in Venice,
at the ever-glorious Palazzo Barbaro. That was
the end of Italy, but he was again in Paris for
a short while in the following spring, 1908,
motoring thither from Amiens with his hostess
of the year before.

Meanwhile his return to continuous work on
fiction, still ardently desired by him, had been
further postponed by a recrudescence of his
old theatrical ambitions, stimulated, no doubt,
by the comparative failure of the laborious
edition of his works. He had taken no active
step himself, but certain advances had been
made to him from the world of the theatre,
and with a mixture of motives he responded
so far as to revise and re-cast a couple of his
earlier plays and to write a new one. The one-act
" Covering End " (which had appeared in The
Two Magics, disguised as a short story) became
" The High Bid," in three acts ; it was produced
by Mr. and Mrs. Forbes Robertson at Edinburgh
in March, 1908, and repeated by them in London
in the following February, for a few afternoon
performances at His Majesty's Theatre. " The
Other House," a play dating from a dozen years
back which also had seen the light only as a
narrative, was taken in hand again with a view
to its production by another company, and
" The Outcry " was written for a third. The two
latter schemes were not carried out in the end,
chiefly on account of the troubled time of illness
which fell on Henry James with the beginning
of 1910 and which made it necessary for him

1904-09 RYE 7

to lay aside all work for many months. But
this new intrusion of the theatre into his life
was happily a much less agitating incident
than his earlier experience of the same sort ;
his expectations were now fewer and his com-
posure was more securely based. The misfortune
was that again a considerable space of time was
lost to the novel and in particular to the novel
of American life that he had designed to be one
of the results of his year of repatriation. The
blissful hours of dictation in the garden-house
at Rye were interrupted while he was at work
on the plays ; he found he could compass the
concision of the play-form only by writing with
his own hand, foregoing the temptation to
expand and develop which came while he created
aloud. But his keenest wish was to get back
to the novel once more, and he was clearing the
way to it at the end of 1909 when all his plans
were overturned by a long and distressing illness.
He never reached the American novel until four
years later, and he did not live to finish it.

To W. D. Howells.

Lamb House, Rye.
Jan. 8th, 1904.

My dear Howells,

I am infinitely beholden to you for two
good letters, the second of which has come in
to-day, following close on the heels of the first
and greeting me most benevolently as I rise
from the couch of solitary pain. Which means
nothing worse than that I have been in bed
with odious and inconvenient gout, and have
but just tumbled out to deal, by this helpful
machinery, with dreadful arrears of Christmas
and New Year's correspondence. Not yet at
my ease for writing, I thus inflict on you without
apology this unwonted grace of legibility.

It warms my heart, verily, to hear from you
in so encouraging and sustaining a sense in
fact makes me cast to the winds all timorous
doubt of the energy of my intention. I know
now more than ever how much I want to " go "
and also a good deal of why. Surely it will be
a blessing to commune with you face to face,
since it is such a comfort and a cheer to do so
even across the wild winter sea. Will you
kindly say to Harvey for me that I shall have
much pleasure in talking with him here of the
question of something serialistic in the North
American, and will broach the matter of an
" American " novel in no other way until I see



him. It comes home to me much, in truth,
that, after my immensely long absence, I am
not quite in a position to answer in advance
for the quantity and quality, the exact form
and colour, of my " reaction " in presence of
the native phenomena. I only feel tolerably
confident that a reaction of some sort there will
be. What affects me as indispensable or rather
what I am conscious of as a great personal desire
is some such energy of direct action as will enable
me to cross the country and see California, and
also have a look at the South. I am hungry
for Material, whatever I may be moved to do
with it ; and, honestly, I think, there will not
be an inch or an ounce of it unlikely to prove
grist to my intellectual and " artistic " mill.
You speak of one's possible " hates " and loves
that is aversions and tendernesses in the dire
confrontation ; but I seem to feel, about myself,
that I proceed but scantly, in these chill years,
by those particular categories and rebounds ;
in short that, somehow, such fine primitive
passions lose themselves for me in the act of
contemplation, or at any rate in the act of
reproduction. However, you are much more
passionate than I, and I will wait upon your
words, and try and learn from you a little to be
shocked and charmed in the right places. What
mainly appals me is the idea of going a good
many months without a quiet corner to do my
daily stint ; so much so in fact that this is quite
unthinkable, and that I shall only have courage
to advance by nursing the dream of a sky-parlour
of some sort, in some cranny or crevice of the
continent, in which my mornings shall remain
my own, my little trickle of prose eventuate,
and my distracted reason thereby maintain its
seat. If some gifted creature only wanted to
exchange with me for six or eight months and


" swap " its customary bower, over there, for
dear little Lamb House here, a really delicious
residence, the trick would be easily played.
However, I see I must wait for all tricks. This
is all, or almost all, to-day all except to reassure
you of the pleasure you give me by your remarks
about the Ambassadors and cognate topics.
The " International " is very presumably indeed,
and in fact quite inevitably, what I am chronically
booked for, so that truly, even, I feel it rather a
pity, in view of your so benevolent colloquy
with Harvey, that a longish thing I am just
finishing should not be disponible for the N.A.R.
niche ; the niche that I like very much the best,
for serialisation, of all possible niches. But " The
Golden Bowl " isn't, alas, so employable. . . .
Fortunately, however, I still cling to the belief
that there are as good fish in the sea that is,
my sea ! . . . . You mention to me a domestic
event in Pilla's life which interests me scarce
the less for my having taken it for granted. But
I bless you all. Yours always,


To Edward Lee Childe.

The name of this friend, an American long settled in
France, has already occurred (vol. i. p. 50) in connection
with H. J.'s early residence in Paris. Mr. Childe (who
died in 1911) is known as the biographer of his uncle,
General Robert E. Lee, Commander of the Confederate
Forces in the American Civil War.

Lamb House, Rye.

January 19th, 1904.
My dear old Friend,

. . . You write in no high spirits over our general
milieu or moment ; but high spirits are not the
accompaniment of mature wisdom, and yours
are doubtless as good as mine. Like yourself,


I put in long periods in the country, which on
the whole (on this mild and rather picturesque
south coast) I find, in my late afternoon of life,
a good and salutary friend. And I haven't
your solace of companionship I dwell in single-
ness save for an occasional imported visitor
who is usually of a sex, however, not materially
to mitigate my celibacy ! I have a small a
very nice perch in London, to which I sometimes
go in a week or two, for instance, for two or
three months. But I return hither, always,
with zest from the too many people and things
and words and motions into the peaceful pos-
session of (as I grow older) my more and more
precious home hours. I have a houseful of
good books, and reading tends to take for me
the place of experience or rather to become
itself (pour qui sait lire) experience concentrated.
You will say this is a dull picture, but I cultivate
dulness in a world grown too noisy. Besides,

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