I enjoyed to the full one little business incident with him. In my publications I followed a somewhat severe style of typography, especially priding myself on the possession of a complete series of genuine old-style faces cast in Philadelphia from moulds cut a hundred and seventy years ago. In these latter days a few bold men have tried to improve on this classic. One Ronaldson especially departed from the simplicity and dignity of the cut approved by Caxton, Aldus, and Elzevir, and substituted for the beautiful terminal of, say the capital T, two ridiculous curled points. I resented it passionately, and frequently remarked that a printer who would use Ronaldson old-style would not hesitate to eat his pie with a knife. One day Professor Howison (I think his dog “Socrates” was with him) came into my office and inquired if I had a cut of old-style type that had curved terminals on the capital Ts. I had no idea why he asked the question; I might have supposed that he wanted the face, but I replied somewhat warmly that I had not, that I had never allowed it in the shop, to which he replied with a chuckle, “Good! I was afraid I might get them.”
Professor Howison furnished one of the best stories of the great earthquake of 1906. In common with most people, he was in bed at fourteen minutes past five on the 18th of April. While victims generally arose and dressed more or less, the Professor calmly remained between the sheets, concluding that if he was to die the bed would be the most fitting and convenient place to be in. It took more than a full-grown earthquake to disturb his philosophy.
It is doubtful if any son of California has won greater recognition than Josiah Royce, born in Grass Valley in November, 1855. In 1875 he graduated at the University of California. After gaining his Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins, he returned to his alma mater and for four years was instructor in English literature and logic.
He joined the Chit-Chat Club in 1879 and continued a member until his removal to Harvard in 1882. He was a brilliant and devoted member, with a whimsical wit and entire indifference to fit of clothes and general personal appearance. He was eminently good-natured and a very clever debater. With all the honors heaped upon him, he never forgot his youthful associates. At a reunion held in 1916 he sent this friendly message to the club: “Have warmest memories of olden time. Send heartiest greetings to all my fellow members. I used to be a long-winded speaker in Chit-Chat, but my love far outlasts my speeches. You inspired my youth. You make my older years glow.”
In my youthful complacency I had the audacity to print an essay on “The Policy of Protection,” taking issue with most of my brother members, college men and free-traders. Later, while on a visit to California, he told me, with a twinkle in his eye, “I am using your book at Harvard as an example of logic.”