“He said that during the last six weeks at least a half million of people had passed before him, and they all gave signs of their encouragement. Especially, he said, the women and children looked and acted as though they expected better times.
“The President looked uncommonly well. I told him that during the past summer I had travelled in many of the states, and that from the people everywhere I gathered hopeful feelings. I told him that they were expecting great prosperity would come to the country through his administration.”
Of course these are merely scraps torn from old note-books, but I cannot help commending the value of first impressions, of the first-hand reports, which are made in this way. There is in the unadorned picture of any incident in the past a sort of hallowed character that no ornate frame can improve.
So the pages of these recollections are but a string of impressions torn from old note-books and diaries.
* * * * *
From scrap books and other sources, some other person may set up the last milestones of my journey through life, and think other things of enough importance to add to the furlongs I have already travelled; and I give permission to add that biography to this autobiography.
[Illustration: T. De Witt Talmage signature.]
The wishes of Doctor Talmage reign paramount with me; otherwise I should not dare to add these imperfect memoirs to the finished and eloquent, yet simple, narration of his life-work which has just charmed the reader from his own graphic pen. Dr. Talmage did not consider his autobiography of vital importance to posterity; his chief concern was for his sermons and other voluminous writings. The intimate things of his life he held too sacred for public view, and he shrank from any intrusion thereupon. His autobiography, therefore, was a concession to his family, his friends, and an admiring public.
So many people all over the world have paid homage to his personality, and to his remarkable influence, that it seemed evident not only to us but to many others, that his own recollections would give abiding pleasure. I remember when we were travelling to Washington after our marriage, many men of prominence, who were on the Congressional Limited, said to Dr. Talmage: “Doctor, why don’t you write your memoirs? They would be especially interesting because you have bridged two centuries in your life.” Then, turning to me, they urged me to use my influence over him. Later on I did so, placing over his desk as a reminder, in big letters, the one word—“Autobiography.”