last month. We had a peaceful ten days at Tilly-
pronie. The old Laird and Lady were not well, of
course, but wonderfully plucky and bright, and did
not let us feel that they were suffering or that we
were in the way. I had a sharp attack of rheumatism
which stopped my breathing for 24 hours. But 1
astonished the little Tillypronie by getting well in
^ Mr. Adams reached New York on August 6, expecting to hear
that he was bankrupt.
100 JOHN HAY
two days. I made the useful discovery that breath is
not necessary to life. We spent a day at Glen Tana,
and then pulled out and abode a few days at Fyvie.
Helen and Del were with us, and enjoyed their stay
in that beautiful fortress as much as they ought.
Helen was deeply disgusted at not being told until
juit as we were going away that she had been sleeping
in a ghost-chamber, haunted by the lively spirit of
Lilias Drummond, the Green Lady. I suppose the
ghost thought if she tackled a Yankee girl, she would
get the worst of it. We went on from there to the As.
who were on their heads in sixteen kinds of a hurry,
getting ready for Canada. Sir J. was there, and
went with us to Aberdeen to say good-bye. I was
much touched at his emotion at parting. The same
thought was doubtless in both our minds, that we
were saying farewell for the last time. Few and evil
are the days that are left to both of us.
. . . Good-bye! I agree with you about the future.
But I distrust my own black spectacles. Things
can't be so bad as I think.
Aix-les-Bains, Sept. 25, 1893.
My dear Globe-Trotter: ā
Your letter of the 8th has just reached me, having
been forwarded twice and lost a day each time. It
represents you in such a frog-hopping attitude that
LETTERS TO HENRY ADAMS loi
I am not sure this will ever find you. So I will make
it short, and not repeat my error of sending reams
of science and morals to you at Tahiti, which arrived,
as old as Aristotle, after you had been years in Wash-
I am here because, like a fool, I took all my friends'
advice, who told me it would be good for the rheu-
matism. I have got steadily worse every day since
I arrived ā but I calculate I can stave off your
friend Thanatos for ten days more, the period of my
cure. The doctor tells me I have Thermal Fever,
the result of the baths. It is not much worse than
cholera, so I will grin and drop the subject. When
you get this I will be in Paris or Hades. . . .
Aix-les-Bains, October 2, 1893.
Your letter of the 21st of September arrived here
to-day and found me in most uncommon dumps. My
fool of a doctor has discovered another mortal mal-
ady in me, which tickled him very much, and dis-
gusted me to such an extent that I am waiting only
to see whether to-morrow is a fine day or not. If it
is, I am going to the Grande Chartreuse near Cham-
bery; if it is not, I am going to Paris, and the doctor
may go hang. I have wasted three weeks here. No-
thing is changed; there is only one humbug the
102 JOHN HAY
But you ā the expectancy and rose of the Demo-
cratic party ā what has man thee, thou artless one,
gedone? Having a mind of your own, young man,
when the President has spoken, will bring you to no
good end. All men of virtue and intelligence know
that all the ills of life ā scarcity of money, bald-
ness, the comma bacillus. Home Rule, J., and the
Potato Bug ā are due to the Sherman Bill.^ If it
is repealed, sin and death will vanish from the world,
. . . the skies will fall, and we shall all catch larks.
Paris, November 3, 1893.
My Beloved : ā
I have no idea where you are or what you are doing,
but from force of habit I shut my eyes and shoot a
letter at you from time to time, feeling that it makes
no difference whether you get it or not. This one is
to tell you that we are going to skedaddle from this
gay and wicked city (this is the formula ā for my
part I have found it as dull as a dead rat and vitre-
ous as a mugwump), on or about the 20th of the
present month, for a little meander of four weeks in
Spain. Then we come back here for a week, give
the shrimps a Christmas dinner, and betake our-
selves to Italy, with what appetite we may. This is
* The Sherman Silver Act, passed July 14, 1890, intended to
check the free coinage of silver, required the yearly purchase of
54,000,000 ounces of silver, and the issue of Treasury notes thereon.
LETTERS TO HENRY ADAMS 103
our modest programme, and I give it to you as is my
bounden duty. It may not be carried out, for I get
up each morning with the impression that I will
probably drop to pieces during the day. But that
is all in a day's work, and we shall go if I can
I can see you are having so much fun in Lafayette
Square with your Bs and your Ls and Silver Bills,
that nothing will tempt you to come away ā so I
will stop importuning you. Did you see Henry
White? ^ You ought to be ashamed of yourself for
bouncing him. . . .
We went the other day to see Sardou's Madame
Sans Gene. It would have amused you. It is in your
period, and Napoleon, in full uniform, stands on his
hearth-rug and abuses his sisters Elise and Caroline,
like a coster. There are a lot of little plays at the
small theatres, but it is no fun to go alone, and so
long as you shirk your duty I shall not see them.
Rome, January 21, 1894.
I am willing to stand even your unprincipled vi-
tuperation, to get a letter from you. But are you
crazy? I have written you a million times, by actual
We are in Rome, and it is grotesquely melancholy
^ Mr. White was removed to make way for a Democrat.
104 JOHN HAY
to see how incapable of enjoying it I have become in
the time it has taken to get here. Take warning by
me and stop globe-trotting, now that you are young
We were frozen stiff on the way here. Turin was
knee-deep in snow. Genoa was sw^ept by a murder-
ous mistral. I gave up and went to bed at Pisa ā
but Florence picked me up and smoothed the creases
out of me in fine style. I think on the whole when you
get ready to open your heart and set me up in life,
you may buy me the Strozzi Palace. With weather,
and art, and architecture, one can worry along. We
have all three here, but in addition we have a lot
of American bosom-friends, and that complicates
Helen and I went to the grand function at the
Pantheon, where they had a magnificent mass to get
old Vict. Emman. out of his well-earned purgatory.
As we stood in the gorgeous gloom of incense smoke
and flambeaux in a suffocating crowd, I heard a fa-
miliar voice at my shoulder say ā "Well, I did not
expect when I saw you last, to see you next in the
Pantheon, in a dress coat at ten o'clock in the morn-
ing." It was P. B., also in a dress coat and white
cravat, as our "etiquettes" prescribed. And coming
out, I heard more English, or what passes for Eng-
lish, than Italian.
LETTERS TO HENRY ADAMS 105
1 am delighted to hear you expect to take King
to the West Indies.^ It will not hurt you, and will
do him no end of good. It would be almost worth
an attack of meningitis to take a trip to the tropics
with you. Comfort him and jolly him up. Saturate
him with sunshine and sapodillas, and get him to
come and live in Washington like a man and bro-
ther. Now that his affairs have gone to everlasting
smash, we can set him up in a bijou of a house,
and give him corn and wine and oil to educate us
We are here for a few weeks. If Helen insists on
Egypt, to Egypt we go. But there are a few girls
and dudes of her species here and I hope she will
like it well enough to dawdle along here till it gets
too warm for the Nile. . . . There is something to do
every day. All I lack is a stomach to eat and drink
withal, eyes to see withal, ears to hear withal, and
a heart to flirt withal. If I had these, I would get
on in Rome very well. As it is, I sigh for Lafa^^ette
Square the liehen langen Tag.
An extract from a letter to Nicolay adds two or
three touches to Hay's travel notes.
^ Clarence King's health ā and fortunes ā had broken down.
Mr. Adams took him to the West Indies.
2 King had been planning a treatise on viscosity, of which he be-
lieved he had discovered the principles.
io6 JOHN HAY
To J. G. Nicolay
Rome, Jan. 26, 1894.
. . . The younger children are estabUshed at a
sort of school-family at the Chateau D. . . . about
an hour from Paris, the residence of the Marquise
de S. D., a lady in reduced circumstances, with a fine
place which she is unable to keep up without outside
help. She has a large family of daughters ā the
older ones teach the younger ā and the thing seems
to be going on very well. . . .
To Henry Adams
Rome, February 5, 1894.
Since I wrote you last, nothing has happened to
me, save that, impelled thereunto by a daughter who
cares more for her amusement than my repose, I have
been to court and made a leg to the Queen. I do not
know how I acquitted myself, but trust that, in imi-
tating as well as I could remember the reverences
I have seen you and King make to the beautiful and
the great in H Street, 1603, I did you no discredit.
Her Majesty was very gracious ā and afterwards
expressed herself in regard to my family in language
I have carefully kept secret from my wife and daugh-
ter for fear they should shake me and "go off with
a handsomer man" from mere considerations of
LETTERS TO HENRY ADAMS 107
Rome is a hopeless job. We have been here nearly
a month, and have scarcely as yet nibbled the edges
of the things one ought to do. De guerre lasse we have
given it up, and are going to Naples in a few days,
Stillman ^ told me the other day that in a dozen
years of Rome he had not seen it, and had also
chucked up the job. The present regime, I admit, is
making the sight-seeing business easier year by year,
destroying the picturesque old town, and building
a cheap and nasty imitation of Paris on the ground.
But they are too late for me. There is still enough
Rome left to put me in my little grave, if I undertook
to see and understand it.
We buried poor C. W. last Wednesday in the
Protestant Cemetery, laying her down in her first
and last resting-place ā a thoroughly good, and
most unhappy woman, with a great talent, bedeviled
by disordered nerves. She did much good, and
no harm in her life, and had not as much happiness
as a convict.
Florence, Italy, Europe,
March 9, 1894, a.d.
My Angelical Doctor: ā
It is sinful to think of your having such a good
time in the tropics without me. I presume you have
not endossed a dress coat since Tahiti. nimium
_^^W. J. Stillman, Rome correspondent of the London Times.
io8 JOHN HAY
fortunatiis! Perhaps you have shed the frivolity of
dress entirely and reverted to the buff of your Po-
mare-nian ancestors. At all events you are having
too good a time to suit me. With the gradual pro-
gress of age I have lost all my vices and most of my
passions, but envy still survives, and the thought of
you and King enjoying the subtropical days and
nights of the Great Antilles is too much for me.
My annals, since I last wrote to you, are appro-
priately short and simple. We went back to Rome for
a fortnight after Paestum and Sorrento . . . and
found the Yankee colony standing on its little head
about the departure of Potter and the arrival of
MacVeagh.-^ It is a loyal little colony, and likewise
fond of a diet of toads. It wanted to be sorry
Potter was going and to be glad MacVeagh was
coming, and its perfectly sincere efforts to weep with
one side of its mouth, and laugh with the other, were
very touching. We had a big dinner at which both
the diplomats made good speeches. Baron
was of a comic unspeakable trying to talk English,
and later in the evening , who was far gone
with the rosy God, asked me if I ever met a friend
of his, a Colonel Lincoln, who wrote a life of Et-
^ William Potter was replaced by Wayne MacVeagh as Ambas-
sador to Italy.
LETTERS TO HENRY ADAMS 109
And so your old friend Gladstone ^ has had to
throw up the sponge at last in his bout with Chronos
the Slasher. We are all growing old except Grover ^
and the Mugwumps ; they will remain eternally about
nine years old ā nine or eight and a half.
Dresden, 27 March, 1894.
Enrique de mi Alma : ā
If you keep to the plan referred to in your esteemed
favor of the 27th February, which has just reached
me, you will be nearing your refined Christian home
in Lafayette Square about these days. Your letter
was a great comfort. The slight tribulations you met
with on your way to your earthly Paradise only
whetted your appetite for the tranquil pleasures you
found in your cafetal. The fleeting and evanescent
ewig weibliche is far better hoped for than attained ā
so I do not waste any sympathy on you-alls on that
To be a month away from an American newspaper
is as near an approach to the bliss of Nirvana as
you have any right to expect in this world. The
domestic divinity under whose gentle tyranny I
groan takes in the New York Herald of Paris, an
American paper, with French worthlessness added,
^ Gladstone retired from his last premiership on March 3, 1894.
* President Grover Cleveland.
no JOHN HAY
which is filled with idiotic laud of the New York
Herald of New York and Grover Cleveland, a stout
gentleman who, I believe, is a neighbor and friend of
yours in Washington, with occasional references to
the deputy omniscience of one C. Nordhoff.^ It is al-
most more than I can stand.
Nothing has happened since I last wrote to you.
We have driven in cabs through several towns.
We have smelt incense in many churches. We have
gazed on several acres of spoiled canvas and seen
some good pictures. Bologna and Verona and Perugia
were very remunerative, and I was almost tempted
to buy the Palace in Venice, as I hear Mrs.
has quarrelled with her poet-sculptor-painter
husband, and wants to sell him out of house and
home. But the common sense of my wife, as usual,
prevailed. She says Washington is less damp for my
rheumatic shoulder; and doubts if you would come
Paris, April 25, 1894.
My dearest Taura : ā
Your letter from Tampa, informing me that you
had once more reintegrated yourself under the flag,
arrived this morning and gave me a happy day. It
gave me courage and strength to go through the
Champ de Mars Salon, with its wilderness of impres-
^ Charles Nordhofif, editor of the New York Herald.
LETTERS TO HENRY ADAMS in
slons and nudities, and dirty-looking portraits of
Frenchmen smoking the cigarette. Why they cannot
paint a Frenchman doing something else ā blowing
his nose, combing his hair, or performing some other
natural function ā puzzles me. Even a Frenchman
must do other things occasionally. On the whole, the
show is a poor one, distinctly below those of former
The Salon of the Champs Elysees opens Tuesday,
and on Wednesday we skip for London, having
seen more pictures than in any previous year of our
I do not write long letters for the same reason that
I see nobody, and do not talk. I am filled to the lips
with the amari aliquid of age and infirmities. If I
talked or wrote, I would talk or write about myself
which is a loathly subject. Perhaps I will get better
one of these days ā and younger, ā and then I may
again be company for the unexacting. At present I
am a bore from Boresville.
... I see Gladstone's return to sanity the moment
he got out of ofifice has not escaped your eagle eye.
Per contra, the moment the cynical and clever Rose-
bery gets into the chair, he begins to make a fool of
himself. His speech in the House of Lords giving
Home Rule the grand bounce, was an incredible le-
gerete ā all the worse because it was true and logical.
112 JOHN HAY
What right has a Prime Minister to fool in public
with truth and logic?
... I shall read of the progress of Coxey's army ^
with new interest now that I know you are in Wash-
ington. Perhaps they will spare my house because it
adjoins yours. You, of course, are known through-
out the country as a Democrat and an Anarchist
and an Unemployed. Your house will be safe any-
how; so you might as well stand on my steps while
the army passes, and shout for " Chaos and Coxey "
like a man. I hope you won't fare like Tailhade, the
Anarchist poet, who porter-ed a toast to Vaillant
(" Q'Li 'importent qiielques vagues humanites pourvu que
le geste soil beau I"), and a little while after, sitting in
the Cafe Foyot with a lady-friend, was blown up by a |
London, June 9, 1894.
. . . Next, let me congratulate you on your Loubat
prize. It is good money, and the old Duke will be de-
lighted that it has gone into hands so worthy. Don't
spend it till I get home, and we will paint the horizon
crimson with it. The only wonder is that Columbia
College could have done so evidently sensible a
1 Coxey, a labor agitator, undertook to lead an army of "un-
employed" from the Middle West to the lawn of the White House.
LETTERS TO HENRY ADAMS 113
We spent a pleasant day at Cambridge yesterday
. . . and got home in time to make ourselves beautiful
for the Court Ball at Buckingham Palace. You ought
to have seen me! My wife and Helen looked rather
handsome, but the old man! Great Scott! je ne vous
dis que ga! . . . M . swore that he would have me ko-
daked in my clothes, so that I would never dare to
run for President ā from which it was easy to see
what was preying on his mind.
You may thank your stars you were not in London
when Ladas won the Derby. They ate, drank and
dreamed nothing else for twenty-four hours. They
are a dear and simple folk, in some ways ā these
London, June 19, 1894.
My Onliest: ā
... I got yours of the 8th last night at midnight, as
I returned from the dinner of the Fishmongers,
stuffed with turtle and spiced meats, drenched in
loving-cup and Bayard's eloquence. How our Am-
bassador does go it when he gets a big roomful of
bovine Britons in front of him! He knocks them all
silly. I never so clearly appreciated the power of the
unhesitating orotundity of the Yankee speech, as in
listening ā after an hour or two of hum-ha of tongue-
tied British men ā to the long wash of our Ambassa-
114 JOHN HAY
A fortnight later the Hays landed in New York,
and found that Mr. Adams was planning a camping
trip in the Yellowstone, and expecting Hay and
Del to join him.
Cleveland, O., July 14, 1894.
Your letter of yesterday has this moment arrived.
I will try to do the things that Billy Hofer ordains,
but would fain leave some of them to be done further
west. The bed business, for example. I cannot lug
my bed across a continent. Certainly there must be
a place nearer the geysers where a bed can be pro-
cured by the unstinted use of money.
And the guns! B., who is a hardened sportsman,
says there is not a bird west of St. Louis; that a
shot-gun will be of no use except for purposes of
suicide. I mentioned a rifle, and he said it would be
of use, to shoot at a mark.
Fishing tackle! Del never cast a fly in his life, and
I could as soon think of dancing a serpentine.
Hay was not a sportsman, neither did he like
roughing it after the novelty had worn off. But Mr.
Adams's companionship was always the best to him,
and he never lost his love of nature. The next letters
are to his wife, just before the party went into the
LETTERS TO HENRY ADAMS 115
To Mrs. Hay
Grand Canon Hotel,
Thursday, July 26, 1894. No. i.
I do not know that I ever saw a day so stuffed full
of natural beauty and grandeur as yesterday. We
started early and went to that part of the Grand
Canon which is called by the idiotic name of "In-
spiration Point," a name by which the finest view of
Yosemite and other places is disfigured. It is a rock
which juts out over the Cafion and gives a wonderful
sweep of view both ways. A strong wind came up
while we were there and we had to hold on by our
teeth and toes to keep from blowing away. Before
we left, a lot of lady tourists came and they had to be
held on by the guides. Even two hats went sailing
gracefully down into the chasm a thousand feet be-
low. All around were those brilliant-colored crags
and walls you see in Moran's picture in the Capitol.
Halfway down we saw an eagle's nest with two great
eagles sitting quietly at home with their family. After
we had stayed there some time we walked slowly up
towards the Falls, stopping at every favorable point
of view; the scene changed every moment, giving
new aspects of beauty and magnificence. When at
last we got to Lookout Point, the full glory of the
Falls burst upon us. They are just twice as high as
Ii6 JOHN HAY
Niagara, and the "setting" of them is immensely
bigger and grander. You cannot imagine anything
grander than the red, yellow and green rocks of the
vast canon and the quiet background of the green-
In the afternoon I stayed at home and Del and
Hallett Phillips went off for trout. Del went as a
spectator and pupil. They came back in a few hours.
I heard the family whistle under my window and
looking out saw Del carrying a splendid load of big
trout, some speckled and some rainbow! which re-
appeared a little while after on the dinner table.
We have not come to the "roughing it" as yet. I
do not know how long it is delayed. The hotels so far
are excellent ā but in the depth of woe on account
of there being nobody in the Park. Last year the
panic, this year D ; there is no end to their
Yellowstone Park Hotel,
July 26, 1894. No. 2.
I do not know when you will get this or in what
condition these flowers will be when they arrive. But
they are so sweet and fragrant that I must send you
one or two. The white one is phlox and the pink are
This is another wonderfully beautiful place. The
great Yellowstone Lake lies just in front of us, and
LETTERS TO HENRY ADAMS 117
beyond it is a chain of magnificent mountains. We
left the Grand Cafion after lunch to-day. Just as we
were leaving, an unmistakeable English couple ar-
rived: a gawky, aristocratic-looking man in knicker-
bockers and a young woman, blond as wheat and
awfully sunburned, the English "Mees" of French
farce. The proprietor of the hotel ran after us to say
it was Mr. and Mrs. R. W. The drive here was de-
lightful; about three hours. Our road ran beside the
Yellowstone River all the way, a clear, tranquil
stream, which gave no hint of the terror and mag-
nificence of the fate that awaited it a little farther on.
In one place we saw dozens of enormous trout play-
ing near the bank. In another a big flock of wild geese
were walking along. They calmly stepped into the
water and swam away as we came up. Half way here
we came to the most hideous and dreadful sight I
ever saw, the Mud Volcano. We heard it grumbling
and coughing before we got there, but when we ap-
proached it, no words can describe the horror and
fascination of the sight. To think that for ages and
ages that hideous throat is expectorating that red
sea of mud every other second.
On coming out of the Yellowstone, Mr. Adams
went to Seattle and Vancouver, while Hay rejoined
his family at the Fells.
Ii8 JOHN HAY
To Whitelaw Reid
Newbury, N.H., Sept. lo, 1894.
I got here a day or two ago after two months in the
Rocky Mountains, which were to me exceedingly
amusing and instructive. We were most of the time
out of any possible communication with the world
by mail or telegraph. We lived mostly on fish and
game of our own purveying, and lived well. The
regime grew intolerable after a while. I had not been
able to send a line to my family nor get one from
them from the 28th of July to the 3d of September ā
the longest lacune of the sort in my history. We rode
five hundred miles on horseback through trackless
wildernesses, and felt as remote and friendless as
Grover Cleveland in Washington.
To Henry Adams
Newbury, N.H., Oct. 10, 1894.
Our house is dismantled ā we are sitting among
the ruins waiting for the train which is to take us to
Cleveland via Boston. The autumn has been very
gorgeous, and to-day, for the first time, the wind and
rain are stripping the trees of their goodly raiment,
as if they were Viceroys who had lost a battle.
We had King here for one day, and then, of course,
a telegram came, clamoring for him to go to New
LETTERS TO HENRY ADAMS 119
York to see an exigent millionaire. He was in fine
form, cheerier than I have seen him for several years,
ā full of schemes, all of them brilliant, not to say iri-