Edward MacDowell eBook

Lawrence Gilman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 150 pages of information about Edward MacDowell.
astonishing degree his physical well-being.  It was clear almost from the start that he was beyond the aid of medical science, even the boldest and most expert.  A disintegration of the brain-tissues had begun—­an affection to which specialists hesitated to give a precise name, but which they recognized as incurable.  His mind became as that of a little child.  He sat quietly, day after day, in a chair by a window, smiling patiently from time to time at those about him, turning the pages of a book of fairy tales that seemed to give him a definite pleasure, and greeting with a fugitive gleam of recognition certain of his more intimate friends.  Toward the last his physical condition became burdensome, and he sank rapidly.  At nine o’clock on the evening of January 23, 1908, in the beginning of his forty-seventh year, he died at the Westminster Hotel, New York, in the presence of the heroic woman who for almost a quarter of a century had been his devoted companion, counsellor, helpmate, and friend.  After such simple services as would have pleased him, held at St. George’s Episcopal Church, on January 25, his body was taken to Peterboro; and on the following day, a Sunday, he was buried in the sight of many of his neighbours, who had followed in procession, on foot, the passage of the body through the snow-covered lane from the village.  His grave is on an open hill-top, commanding one of the spacious and beautiful views that he had loved.  On a bronze tablet are these lines of his own, which he had devised as a motto for his “From a Log Cabin,” the last music that he wrote: 

  “A house of dreams untold,
  It looks out over the whispering tree-tops
  And faces the setting sun.”



In his personal intercourse with the world, MacDowell, like so many sensitive and gifted men, had the misfortune to give very often a wholly false account of himself.  In reality a man of singularly lovable personality, and to his intimates a winning and delightful companion, he lacked utterly the social gift, that capacity for ready and tactful address which, even for men of gifts, is not without its uses.  It was a deficiency (if a deficiency it is) which undoubtedly cost him much in a material sense.  Had he possessed this serviceable and lubricant quality it would often have helpfully smoothed his path.  For those who could penetrate behind the embarrassed and painful reticence that was for him both an impediment and an unconscious shield, he gave lavishly of the gifts of temperament and spirit which were his; even that lack of ready address, of social adaptability and adjustment, which it is possible to deplore in him, was, for those who knew him and valued him, a not uncertain element of charm:  for it was akin to the shyness, the absence of assertiveness, the entirely genuine modesty, which were of his dominant traits.  Yet in his contact

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Edward MacDowell from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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