I A RECONSTRUCTION BOYHOOD

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   earth had been the home of unbroken peace. (<A NAME="n3"></A><A
 
   earth had been the home of unbroken peace. (<A NAME="n3"></A><A
 
   HREF="Pagenotes.htm#3">3</A>)</BLOCKQUOTE>
 
   HREF="Pagenotes.htm#3">3</A>)</BLOCKQUOTE>
 
<br><br>.
 
 
<P ALIGN=CENTER><FONT SIZE="+2">II</FONT>
 
 
<br><br>And so it was a tragic world into which this boy Page had been
 
born. He was ten years old when the Civil War came to an end,
 
and his early life was therefore cast in a desolate country. Like
 
all of his neighbours, Frank Page had been ruined by the war.
 
Both the Southern and Northern armies had passed over the Page
 
territory; compared with the military depredations with which
 
Page became familiar in the last years of his life, the Federal
 
troops did not particularly misbehave, the attacks on hen roosts
 
and the destruction of feather beds representing the extreme of
 
their &quot;atrocities&quot;; but no country can entertain two
 
great fighting forces without feeling the effects for a prolonged
 
period. Life in this part of North Carolina again became reduced
 
to its. fundamentals. The old homesteads and the Negro huts were
 
still left standing, and their interiors were for the most part
 
unharmed, but nearly everything else had disappeared. Horses,
 
cattle, hogs, livestock of all kinds had vanished before the advancing
 
hosts of hungry soldiers; and there was one thing which was even
 
more a rarity than these. That was money. Confederate veterans
 
went around in their faded gray uniforms, not only because they
 
loved them, but because they did not have the wherewithal to buy
 
new wardrobes. Judges, planters, and other dignified members of
 
the community became hack drivers from the necessity of picking
 
up a few small coins. Page's father was more fortunate than the
 
rest, for he had one asset with which to accumulate a little liquid
 
capital; he possessed a fine peach orchard, which was particularly
 
productive in the summer of 1865, and the Northern soldiers, who
 
drew their pay in money that had real value, developed a weakness
 
for the fruit. Walter Page, a boy of ten, used to take his peaches
 
to Raleigh, and sell them to the &quot;invader&quot;; although
 
he still disdained having companionable relations with the enemy,
 
he was not above meeting them on a business footing; and the greenbacks
 
and silver coin obtained in this way laid a new basis for the
 
family fortunes.
 
 
<br><br>Despite this happy windfall, life for the next few years proved
 
an arduous affair. The horrors of reconstruction which followed
 
the war were more agonizing than the war itself. Page's keenest
 
inspiration in after life was, democracy, in its several manifestations;
 
but the form in which democracy first unrolled before his astonished
 
eyes was a phase that could hardly inspire much enthusiasm. Misguided
 
sentimentalists and more malicious politicians in the North had
 
suddenly endowed the Negro with the ballot. In practically all
 
Southern States that meant government by Negroes---or what was
 
even worse, government by a combination of Negroes and the most
 
vicious white elements, including that which was native to the
 
soil and that which had imported itself from the North for this
 
particular purpose. Thus the political vocabulary of Page's formative
 
years consisted chiefly of such words as &quot;scalawag,&quot;
 
&quot;carpet bagger,&quot; &quot;regulator,&quot; &quot;Union
 
League,&quot; &quot;Ku Klux Klan,&quot; and the like. The resulting
 
confusion, political, social, and economic, did not completely
 
amount to the destruction of a civilization, for underneath it
 
all the old sleepy ante-bellum South still maintained its existence
 
almost unchanged. The two most conspicuous and contrasting figures
 
were the Confederate veteran walking around in a sleeveless coat
 
and the sharp-featured New England school mar'm, armed with that
 
spelling book which was overnight to change the African from a
 
genial barbarian into an intelligent and conscientious social
 
unit; but more persistent than these forces was that old dreamy,
 
&quot;unprogressive&quot; Southland---the same country that Page
 
himself described in an article on &quot;An Old Southern Borough
 
&quot; which, as a young man, he contributed to the <I>Atlantic
 
Monthly. </I>It was still the country where the &quot;old-fashioned
 
gentleman &quot; was the controlling social influence, where a
 
knowledge of Latin and Greek still made its possessor a person
 
of consideration, where Emerson was a &quot;Yankee philosopher&quot;
 
and therefore not important, where Shakespeare and Milton were
 
looked upon almost as contemporary authors, where the Church and
 
politics and the matrimonial history of friends and relatives
 
formed the staple of conversation, and where a strong prejudice
 
still existed against anything that resembled popular education.
 
In the absence of more substantial employment, stump speaking,
 
especially eloquent in praise of the South and its achievements
 
in war, had become the leading industry.
 
 
<br><br>&quot;Wat&quot; Page---he is still known by this name in his
 
old home---was a tall, rangy, curly-headed boy, with brown hair
 
and brown eyes, fond of fishing and hunting, not especially robust,
 
but conspicuously alert and vital. Such of his old playmates as
 
survive recall chiefly his keenness of observation, his contagious
 
laughter, his devotion to reading and to talk. He was also given
 
to taking long walks in the woods, frequently with the solitary
 
companionship of a book. Indeed, his extremely efficient family
 
regarded him as a dreamer and were not entirely clear as to what
 
purpose he was destined to serve in a community which, above all,
 
demanded practical men. Such elementary schools as North Carolina
 
possessed had vanished in the war; the prevailing custom was for
 
the better-conditioned families to join forces and engage a teacher
 
for their assembled children. It was in such a primary school
 
in Cary that Page learned the elementary branches, though his
 
mother herself taught him to read and write. The boy showed such
 
aptitude in his studies that his mother began to hope, though
 
in no aggressive fashion, that he might some day become a Methodist
 
clergyman; she had given him his middle name, &quot;Hines,&quot;
 
in honour of her favourite preacher---a kinsman. At the age of
 
twelve Page was transferred to the Bingham School, then located
 
at Mebane. This was the Eton of North Carolina, from both a social
 
and an educational standpoint. It was a military school; the boys
 
all dressed in gray uniforms built on the plan of the Confederate
 
army; the hero constantly paraded before their imaginations was
 
Robert E. Lee; discipline was rigidly military; more important,
 
a high standard of honour was insisted upon. There was one thing
 
a boy could not do at Bingham and remain in the school; that was
 
to cheat in class-rooms or at examinations. For this offence no
 
second chance was given. &quot;I cannot argue the subject,&quot;
 
Page quotes Colonel Bingham saying to the distracted parent whose
 
son had been dismissed on this charge, and who was begging for
 
his reinstatement. &quot;In fact, I have no power to reinstate
 
your boy. I could not keep the honour of the school---I could
 
not even keep the boys, if he were to return. They would appeal
 
to their parents and most of them would be called home. They are
 
the flower of the South, Sir!&quot; And the social standards that
 
controlled the thinking of the South for so many years after the
 
war were strongly entrenched. &quot;The son of a Confederate general,&quot;
 
Page writes, &quot;if he were at all a decent fellow, had, of
 
course, a higher social rank at the Bingham School than the son
 
of a colonel. There was some difficulty in deciding the exact
 
rank of a judge or a governor, as a father; but the son of a preacher
 
had a fair chance of a good social rating, especially of an Episcopalian
 
clergyman. A Presbyterian preacher came next in rank. I at first
 
was at a social disadvantage. My father had been a Methodist---that
 
was bad enough; but he had had no military title at all. If it
 
had become known among the boys that he had been a 'Union man'---I
 
used to shudder at the suspicion in which I should be held. And
 
the fact that my father had held no military title did at last
 
become known!&quot;
 
 
<br><br>A single episode discloses that Page maintained his respect
 
for the Bingham School to the end. In March, 1918, as American
 
Ambassador, he went up to Harrow and gave an informal talk to
 
the boys on the United States. His hosts were so pleased that
 
two prizes were established to commemorate his visit. One was
 
for an essay by Harrow boys on the subject: &quot;The Drawing
 
Together of America and Great Britain by Common Devotion to a
 
Great Cause.&quot; A similar prize on the same subject was offered
 
to the boys of some American school, and Page was asked to select
 
the recipient. He promptly named his old Bingham School in North
 
Carolina.
 
 
<br><br>It was at Bingham that Page gained his first knowledge of Greek,
 
Latin, and mathematics, and he was an outstanding student in all
 
three subjects. He had no particular liking for mathematics, but
 
he could never understand why any one should find this branch
 
of learning difficult; he mastered it with the utmost case and
 
always stood high. In two or three years he had absorbed everything
 
that Bingham could offer and was ready for the next step. But
 
political conditions in North Carolina now had their influence
 
upon Page's educational plans. Under ordinary conditions he would
 
have entered the State University at Chapel Hill; it had been
 
a great headquarters in ante-bellum days for the prosperous families
 
of the South. But by the time that Page was ready to go to college
 
the University had fallen upon evil days. The forces which then
 
ruled the state, acting in accordance with the new principles
 
of racial equality, had opened the doors of this, one of the most
 
aristocratic of Southern institutions, to Negroes. The consequences
 
may be easily imagined. The newly enfranchised blacks showed no
 
inclination for the groves of Academe, and not a single representative
 
of the race applied for matriculation. The outraged white population
 
turned its back upon this new type of coeducation; in the autumn
 
of 1872 not a solitary white boy made his appearance. The old
 
university therefore closed its doors for lack of students and
 
for the next few years it became a pitiable victim to the worst
 
vices of the reconstruction era. Politicians were awarded the
 
presidency and the professorships as political pap, and the resources
 
of the place, in money and in books, were scattered to the wind.
 
Page had therefore to find his education elsewhere. The deep religious
 
feelings of his family quickly settled this point. The young man
 
promptly betook himself to the backwoods of North Carolina and
 
knocked at the doors of Trinity College, a Methodist Institution
 
then located in Randolph County. Trinity has since changed its
 
abiding place to Durham and has been transformed into one of the
 
largest and most successful colleges of the new South; but in
 
those days a famous Methodist divine and journalist described
 
it as &quot;a college with a few buildings that look like tobacco
 
barns and a few teachers that look as though they ought to be
 
worming tobacco.&quot; Page spent something more than a year at
 
Trinity, entering in the autumn of 1871, and leaving in December,
 
1872. A few letters, written from this place, are scarcely more
 
complimentary than the judgment passed above. They show that the
 
young man was very unhappy. One long letter to his mother is nothing
 
but a boyish diatribe against the place. &quot;I do not care a
 
horse apple for Trinity's distinction,&quot; he writes, and then
 
he gives the reasons for this juvenile contempt. His first report,
 
he says, will soon reach home; he warns his mother that it will
 
be unfavourable, and he explains that this bad showing is the
 
result of a deliberate plot. The boys who obtain high marks, Page
 
declares, secure them usually by cheating or through the partisanship
 
of the professors; a high grade therefore really means that the
 
recipient is either a humbug or a bootlicker. Page had therefore
 
attempted to keep his reputation unsullied by aiming at a low
 
academic record! The report on that three months' work, which
 
still survives, discloses that Page's conspiracy against himself
 
did not succeed for his marks are all high. &quot;Be sure to send
 
him back&quot; is the annotation on this document, indicating
 
that Page had made a better impression on Trinity than Trinity
 
had made on Page.
 
 
<br><br>But the rebellious young man did not return. After Christmas,
 
1872, his schoolboy letters reveal him at Randolph-Macon College
 
in Ashland, Va. Here again the atmosphere is Methodistical, but
 
of a somewhat more genial type. &quot;It was at Ashland that I
 
first began to unfold,&quot; said Page afterward. &quot;Dear old
 
Ashland!&quot; Dr. Duncan, the President, was a clergyman whose
 
pulpit oratory is still a tradition in the South, but, in addition
 
to his religious exaltation, he was an exceedingly lovable, companionable,
 
and stimulating human being. Certainly there was no lack of the
 
religious impulse. &quot;We have a preacher president, &quot;
 
Page writes his mother, &quot;a preacher secretary, a preacher
 
chaplain, and a dozen preacher students and three or more preachers
 
are living here and twenty-five or thirty yet-to-be preachers
 
in college!&quot; In this latter class Page evidently places himself;
 
at least he gravely writes his mother---he was now eighteen---that
 
he had definitely made up his mind to enter the Methodist ministry.
 
He had a close friend---Wilbur Fisk Tillett---who cherished similar
 
ambitions, and Page one day surprised Tillett by suggesting that,
 
at the approaching Methodist Conference, they apply for licensing
 
as &quot;local preachers&quot; for the next summer. His friend
 
dissuaded him, however, and henceforth Page concentrated on more
 
worldly studies. In many ways he was the fife of the undergraduate
 
body. His desire for an immediate theological campaign was merely
 
that passion for doing things and for self-expression which were
 
always conspicuous traits. His intense ambition as a boy is still
 
remembered in this sleepy little village. He read every book in
 
the sparse college library; he talked to his college mates and
 
his professors on every imaginable subject; he led his associates
 
in the miniature parliament ---the Franklin Debating Society---to
 
which he belonged; he wrote prose and verse at an astonishing
 
rate; he explored the country for miles around, making frequent
 
pilgrimages to the birthplace of Henry Clay, which is the chief
 
historical glory of Ashland, and to that Hanover Court House which
 
was the scene of the oratorical triumph of Patrick Henry; he flirted
 
with the pretty girls in the village, and even had two half-serious
 
love affairs in rapid succession; he slept upon a hard mattress
 
at night and imbibed more than the usual allotment of Greek, Latin,
 
and mathematics in the daytime. One year he captured the Greek
 
prize and the next the Sutherlin medal for oratory. With a fellow
 
classicist he entered into a solemn compact to hold all their
 
conversation, even on the most trivial topics, in Latin, with
 
heavy penalties for careless lapses into English. Probably the
 
linguistic result would have astonished Quintilian, but the experiment
 
at least had a certain influence in improving the young man's
 
Latinity. Another favourite dissipation was that of translating
 
English masterpieces into the ancient tongue; there still survives
 
among Page's early papers a copy of Bryant's &quot;Waterfowl &quot;
 
done into Latin iambics. As to Page's personal appearance, a designation
 
coined by a fellow student who afterward be came a famous editor
 
gives the suggestion of a portrait. He called him one of the &quot;seven
 
slabs&quot; of the college. And, as always, the adjectives which
 
his contemporaries chiefly use in describing Page are &quot;alert&quot;
 
and &quot;positive. &quot;
 
 
<br><br><CENTER><TABLE WIDTH="297" BORDER="0" CELLSPACING="2"
 
CELLPADDING="0">
 
  <TR>
 
    <TD WIDTH="48%">
 
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<A HREF="images/Page02.jpg"><IMG SRC="thumbnails/Page02tn.jpg"
 
      WIDTH="113" HEIGHT="144" ALIGN="BOTTOM" BORDER="1" ></A></TD>
 
    <TD WIDTH="52%">
 
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<A HREF="images/Page03.jpg"><IMG SRC="thumbnails/Page03tn.jpg"
 
      WIDTH="111" HEIGHT="144" ALIGN="BOTTOM" BORDER="1" ></A></TD>
 
  </TR>
 
  <TR>
 
    <TD WIDTH="48%">
 
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<B><FONT COLOR="#0000ff">Fig. 2.</FONT></B><FONT
 
      COLOR="#0000ff"> Allison Francis Page (1824-1899), father of
 
      Walter H. Page</FONT></TD>
 
    <TD WIDTH="52%">
 
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<B><FONT COLOR="#0000ff">Fig. 3.</FONT></B><FONT
 
      COLOR="#0000ff"> Catherine Raboteau Page (1831-1897), mother
 
      of Walter H. Page</FONT></TD>
 
  </TR>
 
</TABLE></CENTER>
 
 
<br><br>But Randolph-Macon did one great thing for Page. Like many
 
small struggling Southern colleges it managed to assemble several
 
instructors of real mental distinction. And at the time of Page's
 
undergraduate life it possessed at least one great teacher. This
 
was Thomas R. Price, afterward Professor of Greek at the University
 
of Virginia and Professor of English at Columbia University in
 
New York. Professor Price took one forward step that has given
 
him a permanent fame in the history of Southern education. He
 
found that the greatest stumbling block to teaching Greek was
 
not the conditional mood, but the fact that his hopeful charges
 
were not sufficiently familiar with their mother tongue. The prayer
 
that was always on Price's lips, and the one with which he made
 
his boys most familiar, was that of a wise old Greek: &quot;O
 
Great Apollo, send down the reviving rain upon our fields; preserve
 
our flocks; ward off our enemies; and---build up our speech!&quot;
 
&quot;It is irrational,&quot; he said, &quot;absurd, almost criminal,
 
to expect a young man, whose knowledge of English words and construction
 
is scant and inexact, to put into English a difficult thought
 
of Plato or an involved period of Cicero.&quot; Above all, it
 
will be observed, Price's intellectual enthusiasm was the ancient
 
tongue. A present-day argument for learning Greek and Latin is
 
that thereby we improve our English; but Thomas R. Price advocated
 
the teaching of English so that we might better understand the
 
dead languages. To-day every great American educational institution
 
has vast resources for teaching English literature; even in 1876,
 
most American universities had their professors of English; but
 
Price insisted on placing English on exactly the same footing
 
as Greek and Latin. He himself became head of the new English
 
school at Randolph-Macon; and Page himself at once became the
 
favourite pupil. This distinguished scholar---a fine figure with
 
an imperial beard that suggested the Confederate officer---used
 
to have Page to tea at least twice a week and at these meetings
 
the young man was first introduced in an understanding way to
 
Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Tennyson, and the other writers
 
who became the literary passions of his maturer life. And Price
 
did even more for Page; he passed him on to another place and
 
to another teacher who extended his horizon. Up to the autumn
 
of 1876 Page had never gone farther North than Ashland; he was
 
still a Southern boy, speaking with the Southern drawl, living
 
exclusively the thoughts and even the prejudices of the South.
 
His family's broad-minded attitude had prevented him from acquiring
 
a too restricted view of certain problems that were then vexing
 
both sections of the country; however, his outlook was still a
 
limited one, as his youthful correspondence shows. But in October
 
of the centennial year a great prospect opened before him.
 
 
<br><br>.
 
 
<P ALIGN=CENTER><FONT SIZE="+2">III</FONT>
 
 
<br><br>Two or three years previously an eccentric merchant named Johns
 
Hopkins had died, leaving the larger part of his fortune to found
 
a college or university in Baltimore. Johns Hopkins was not an
 
educated man himself and his conception of a new college did not
 
extend beyond creating something in the nature of a Yale or Harvard
 
in Maryland. By a lucky chance, however, a Yale graduate who was
 
then the President of the University of California, Daniel Coit
 
Gilman, was invited to come to Baltimore and discuss with the
 
trustees his availability for the headship of the new institution.
 
Dr. Gilman promptly informed his prospective employers that he
 
would have no interest in associating himself with a new American
 
college built upon the lines of those which then existed. Such
 
a foundation would merely be a duplication of work already well
 
done elsewhere and therefore a waste of money and effort. He proposed
 
that this large endowment should he used, not for the erection
 
of expensive architecture, but primarily for seeking out, in all
 
parts of the world, the best professorial brains in certain approved
 
branches of learning. In the same spirit he suggested that a similarly
 
selective process be adopted in the choice of students: that only
 
those American boys who had displayed exceptional promise should
 
be admitted and that part of the university funds should be used
 
to pay the expenses of twenty young men who, in undergraduate
 
work at other colleges, stood head and shoulders above their contemporaries.
 
The bringing together of these two sets of brains for graduate
 
study would constitute the new university. A few rooms in the
 
nearest dwelling house would suffice for headquarters. Dr. Gilman's
 
scheme was approved; he became President on these terms; he gathered
 
his faculty not only in the United States but in England, and
 
he collected his first body of students, especially his first
 
twenty fellows, with the same minute care.
 
 
<br><br>It seems almost a miracle that an inexperienced youth in a
 
little Methodist college in Virginia should have been chosen as
 
one of these first twenty fellows, and it is a sufficient tribute
 
to the impression that Page must have made upon all who met him
 
that he should have won this great academic distinction. He was
 
only twenty-one at the time---the youngest of a group nearly every
 
member of which became distinguished in after life. He won a Fellowship
 
in Greek. This in itself was a great good fortune; even greater
 
was the fact that his new life brought him into immediate contact
 
with a scholar of great genius and lovableness. Someone has said
 
that America has produced four scholars of the very first rank---Agassiz
 
in natural science, Whitney in philology, Willard Gibbs in physics,
 
and Gildersleeve in Greek. It was the last of these who now took
 
Walter Page in charge.
 
 
<br><br>The atmosphere of Johns Hopkins was quite different from anything
 
which the young man had previously known. The university gave
 
a great shock to that part of the American community with which
 
Page had spent his life by beginning its first session in October,
 
1876, without an opening prayer. Instead Thomas H. Huxley was
 
invited from England to deliver a scientific address---an address
 
which now has an honoured place in his collected works. The absence
 
of prayer and the presence of so audacious a Darwinian as Huxley
 
caused a tremendous excitement in the public prints, the religious
 
press, and the evangelical pulpit. In the minds of Gilman and
 
his abettors, however, all this was intended to emphasize the
 
fact that Johns Hopkins was a real university, in which the unbiased
 
truth was to be the only aim. And certainly this was the spirit
 
of the institution. &quot;Gentlemen, you must light your own torch,&quot;
 
was the admonition of President Gilman, in his welcoming address
 
to his twenty fellows; intellectual independence, freedom from
 
the trammels of tradition, were thus to be the directing ideas.
 
One of Page's associates was Josiah Royce, who afterward had a
 
distinguished career in philosophy at Harvard. &quot;The beginnings
 
of Johns Hopkins,&quot; he afterward wrote, &quot;was a dawn wherein
 
it was bliss to be alive. The air was full of noteworthy work
 
done by the older men of the place and of hopes that one might
 
find a way to get a little working power one's self. One longed
 
to be a doer of the word, not a hearer only, a creator of his
 
own infinitesimal fraction of the product, bound in God's name
 
to produce when the time came.&quot;
 
 
<br><br>A choice group of five aspiring Grecians, of whom Page was
 
one, periodically gathered around a long pine table in a second-story
 
room of an old dwelling house on Howard Street, with Professor
 
Gildersleeve at the head. The process of teaching was thus the
 
intimate contact of mind with mind. Here in the course of nearly
 
two years' residence, Page was led by Professor Gildersleeve into
 
the closest communion with the great minds of the ancient world
 
and gained that intimate knowledge of their written word which
 
was the basis of his mental equipment. &quot;Professor Gildersleeve,
 
splendid scholar that he is!&quot; he wrote to a friend in North
 
Carolina. &quot;He makes me grow wonderfully. When I have a chance
 
to enjoy &AElig;schylus as I have now, I go to work on those immortal
 
pieces with a pleasure that swallows up everything.&quot; To the
 
extent that Gildersleeve opened up the literary treasures of the
 
past---and no man had a greater appreciation of his favourite
 
authors than this fine humanist---Page's life was one of unalloyed
 
delight. But there was another side to the picture. This little
 
company of scholars was composed of men who aspired to no ordinary
 
knowledge of Greek; they expected to devote their entire lives
 
to the subject, to edit Greek texts, and to hold Greek chairs
 
at the leading American universities. Such, indeed, has been the
 
career of nearly all members of the group. The Greek tragedies
 
were therefore read for other things than their stylistic and
 
dramatic values. The sons of Germania then exercised a profound
 
influence on American education; Professor Gildersleeve himself
 
was a graduate of G&ouml;ttingen, and the necessity of &quot;settling
 
hoti's business&quot; was strong in his seminar. Gildersleeve
 
was a writer of English who developed real style; as a Greek scholar,
 
his fame rests chiefly upon his work in the field of historical
 
syntax. He assumed that his students could read Greek as easily
 
as they could read French, and the really important tasks he set
 
them had to do with the most abstruse fields of philology. For
 
work of this kind Page had little interest and less inclination.
 
When Professor Gildersleeve would assign him the adverb <FONT
 
COLOR="#0000ff"><IMG SRC="images/Greek1.gif" WIDTH="25" HEIGHT="15"
 
ALIGN="MIDDLE" BORDER="0" ></FONT>, and direct
 
him to study the peculiarities of its use from Homer down to the
 
Byzantine writers, he found himself in pretty deep waters. Was
 
it conceivable that a man could spend a lifetime in an occupation
 
of this kind? By pursuing such studies Gildersleeve and his most
 
advanced pupils uncovered many new facts about the language and
 
even found hitherto unsuspected beauties; but Page's letters show
 
that this sort of effort was extremely uncongenial. He fulminates
 
against the &quot;grammarians&quot; and begins to think that perhaps,
 
after all, a career of erudite scholarship is not the ideal existence.
 
&quot;Learn to look on me as a Greek drudge,&quot; he writes,
 
&quot;somewhere pounding into men and boys a faint hint of the
 
beauty of old Greekdom. That's most probably what I shall come
 
to before many years. I am sure that I have mistaken my lifework,
 
if I consider Greek my lifework. In truth at times I am tempted
 
to throw the whole thing away. . . . But without a home feeling
 
in Greek literature no man can lay claim to high culture.&quot;
 
So he would keep at it for three or four years and &quot;then
 
leave it as a man's work.&quot; Despite these despairing words
 
Page acquired a living knowledge of Greek that was one of his
 
choicest possessions through life. That he made a greater success
 
than his self-depreciation would imply is evident from the fact
 
that his Fellowship, was renewed for the next year.
 
 
<br><br>But the truth is that the world was tugging at Page more insistently
 
than the cloister. &quot;Speaking grammatically,&quot; writes
 
Prof. E. G. Sihler, one of Page's fellow students of that time,
 
in his &quot;Confessions and Convictions of a Classicist,&quot;
 
&quot;Page was interested in that one of the main tenses which
 
we call the Present.&quot; In his after life, amid all the excitements
 
of journalism, Page could take a brief vacation and spend it with
 
Ulysses by the sea; but actuality and human activity charmed him
 
even more than did the heroes of the ancient world. He went somewhat
 
into Baltimore society, but not extensively; he joined a club
 
whose membership comprised the leading intellectual men of the
 
town; probably his most congenial associations, however, came
 
of the Saturday night meetings of the fellows in Hopkins Hall,
 
where, over pipes and steins of beer, they passed in review all
 
the questions of the day. Page was still the Southern boy, with
 
the strange notions about the North and Northern people which
 
were the inheritance of many years' misunderstandings. He writes
 
of one fellow student to whom he had taken a liking. &quot;He
 
is that rare thing, &quot; he says, &quot;a Yankee Christian gentleman.&quot;
 
He particularly dislikes one of his instructors, but, as he explains,
 
&quot;he is a native of Connecticut, and Connecticut, I suppose,
 
is capable of producing any unholy human phenomenon.&quot; Speaking
 
of a beautiful and well mannered Greek girl whom he had met, he
 
writes: &quot;The little creature might be taken for a Southern
 
girl, but never for a Yankee. She has an easy manner and even
 
an air of gentility about her that doesn't appear north of Mason
 
and Dixon's Line. Indeed, however much the Southern race (I say
 
race intentionally: Yankeedom is the home of another race from
 
us) however much the Southern race owes its strength to Anglo-Saxon
 
blood, it owes its beauty and gracefulness to the Southern climate
 
and culture. Who says that we are not an improvement on the English?
 
An improvement in a happy combination of mental graces and Saxon
 
force?&quot; This sort of thing is especially entertaining in
 
the youthful Page, for it is precisely against this kind of complacency
 
that, as a mature man, he directed his choicest ridicule. As an
 
editor and writer his energies were devoted to reconciling North
 
and South, and Johns Hopkins itself had much to do with opening
 
his eyes. Its young men and its professors were gathered from
 
all parts of the country; a student, if his mind was awake, learned
 
more than Greek and mathematics; he learned much about that far-flung
 
nation known as the United States.
 
 
<br><br>And Page did not confine his work exclusively to the curriculum.
 
He writes that he is regularly attending a German Sunday School,
 
not, however, from religious motives, but from a desire to improve
 
his colloquial German. &quot;Is this courting the Devil for knowledge?&quot;
 
he asks. And all this time he was engaging in a delightful correspondence---from
 
which these quotations are taken ---with a young woman in North
 
Carolina, his cousin. About this time this cousin began spending
 
her summers in the Page home at Cary; her great interest in books
 
made the two young people good friends and companions. It was
 
she who first introduced Page to certain Southern writers, especially
 
Timrod and Sidney Lanier, and, when Page left for Johns Hopkins,
 
the two entered into a compact for a systematic reading and study
 
of the English poets. According to this plan, certain parts of
 
Tennyson or Chaucer would be set aside for a particular week's
 
reading; then both would write the impressions gained and the
 
criticisms which they assumed to make, and send the product to
 
the other. The plan was carried out more faithfully than is usually
 
the case in such arrangements; a large number of Page's letters
 
survive and give a complete history of his mental progress. There
 
are lengthy disquisitions on Wordsworth, Browning, Byron, Shelley,
 
Matthew Arnold, and the like. These letters also show that Page,
 
as a relaxation from Greek roots and syntax, was indulging in
 
poetic flights of his own; his efforts, which he encloses in his
 
letters, are mainly imitations of the particular poet in whom
 
he was at the moment interested. This correspondence also takes
 
Page to Germany, in which country he spent the larger part of
 
the summer of 1877. This choice of the Fatherland as a place of
 
pilgrimage was probably merely a reflection of the enthusiasm
 
for German educational methods which then prevailed in the United
 
States, especially at Johns Hopkins. Page's letters are the usual
 
traveller's descriptions of unfamiliar customs, museums, libraries,
 
and the like; so far as enlarging his outlook was concerned the
 
experience does not seem to have been especially profitable.
 
 
<br><br>He returned to Baltimore in the autumn of 1877, but only for
 
a few months. He had pretty definitely abandoned his plan of devoting
 
his life to Greek scholarship. As a mental stimulus, as a recreation
 
from the cares of life, his Greek authors would always be a first
 
love, as they proved to be; but he had abandoned his early ambition
 
of making them his everyday occupation and means of livelihood.
 
Of course there was only one career for a man of his leanings,
 
and, more and more, his mind was turning to journalism. For only
 
one brief period did he again listen to the temptations of a scholar's
 
existence. The university of his native state invited him to lecture
 
in the summer school of 1878; he took Shakespeare for his subject,
 
and made so great a success that there was some discussion of
 
his settling down permanently at Chapel Hill in the chair of Greek.
 
Had the offer definitely been made Page would probably have accepted,
 
but difficulties arose. Page was no longer orthodox in his religious
 
views; he had long outgrown dogma and could only smile at the
 
recollection that he had once thought of becoming a clergyman.
 
But a rationalist at the University of North Carolina in 1878
 
could hardly be endured. The offer, therefore, fortunately was
 
not made. Afterward Page was much criticized for having left his
 
native state at a time when it especially needed young men of
 
his type. It may therefore be recorded that, if there were any
 
blame at all, it rested upon North Carolina. He refers to his
 
disappointment in a letter in February, 1879---a letter that proved
 
to be a prophecy. &quot;I shall some day buy a home,&quot; he
 
says, &quot;where I was not allowed to work for one, and be laid
 
away in the soil that I love. I wanted to work for the old state;
 
it had no need for it, it seems.&quot;
 
 
<br><br>.
 
 
<P ALIGN=CENTER><A NAME="ch2"></A><FONT SIZE="+2">CHAPTER II</FONT>
 
 
<P ALIGN=CENTER><FONT SIZE="+2">JOURNALISM</FONT>
 
 
<P ALIGN=CENTER><FONT SIZE="+2">I</FONT>
 
 
<br><br>THE five years from 1878 to 1883 Page spent in various places,
 
engaged, for the larger part of the time, in several kinds of
 
journalistic work. It was his period of struggle and of preparation.
 
Like many American public men he served a brief apprenticeship---in
 
his case, a very brief one---as a pedagogue. In the autumn of
 
1878 he went to Louisville, Kentucky, and taught English for a
 
year at the Boys' High School. But he presently found an occupation
 
in this progressive city which proved far more absorbing. A few
 
months before his arrival certain energetic spirits had founded
 
a weekly paper, the <I>Age, </I>a journal which, they hoped, would
 
fill the place in the Southern States which the very successful
 
New York <I>Nation, </I>under the editorship of Godkin, was then
 
occupying in the North. Page at once began contributing leading
 
articles on literary and political topics to this publication;
 
the work proved so congenial that he purchased---on notes---a
 
controlling interest in the new venture and became its directing
 
spirit. The <I>Age </I>was in every way a worthy enterprise; in
 
the dignity of its makeup and the high literary standards at which
 
it aimed it imitated the London <I>Spectator. </I>Perhaps Page
 
obtained a thousand dollars' worth of fun out of his investment;
 
if so, that represented his entire profit. He now learned a lesson
 
which was emphasized in his after career as editor and publisher,
 
and that was that the Southern States provided a poor market for
 
books or periodicals. The net result of the proceeding was that,
 
at the age of twenty-three, he found himself out of a job and
 
considerably in debt.
 
 
<br><br>He has himself rapidly sketched his varied activities of the
 
next five years:
 
 
<BLOCKQUOTE>
 
  <br><br>&quot;After trying in vain,&quot; he writes, &quot;to get
 
  work to do on any newspaper in North Carolina, I advertised for
 
  a job in journalism---any sort of a job. By a queer accident
 
  ---a fortunate one for me---the owner of the St. Joseph, Missouri,
 
  <I>Gazelle, </I>answered the advertisement. Why he did it, I
 
  never found out. He was in the same sort of desperate need of
 
  a newspaper man as I was in desperate need of a job. I knew nothing
 
  about him: he knew nothing about me. I knew nothing about newspaper
 
  work. I had done nothing since I left the University but teach
 
  English in the Louisville, Kentucky, High School for boys one
 
  winter and lecture at the summer school at Chapel Hill one summer.
 
  I made up my mind to go into journalism. But journalism didn't
 
  seem in any hurry to make up its mind to admit me. Not only did
 
  all the papers in North Carolina decline my requests for work,
 
  but such of them in Baltimore and Louisville as I tried said
 
  'No.' So I borrowed $50 and set out to St. Joe, Missouri, where
 
  I didn't know a human being. I became a reporter. At first I
 
  reported the price of cattle---went to the stockyards, etc. My
 
  salary came near to paying my board and lodging, but it didn't
 
  quite do it. But I had a good time in St. Joe for somewhat more
 
  than a year. There were interesting people there. I came to know
 
  something about Western life. Kansas was across the river. I
 
  often went there. I came to know Kansas City, St. Louis---a good
 
  deal of the West. After a while I was made editor of the paper.
 
  What a rousing political campaign or two we had! Then---I had
 
  done that kind of a job as long as I cared to. Every swashbuckling
 
  campaign is like every other one. Why do two? Besides, I knew
 
  my trade. I had done everything on a daily paper from stockyard
 
  reports to political editorials and heavy literary articles.
 
  In the meantime I had written several magazine articles and done
 
  other such jobs. I got leave of absence for a month or two. I
 
  wrote to several of the principal papers in Chicago, New York,
 
  and Boston and told them that I was going down South to make
 
  political and social studies and that I was going to send them
 
  my letters. I hoped they'd publish them.
 
  <br><br>&quot;That's all I could say. I could make no engagement;
 
  they didn't know me. I didn't even ask for an engagement. I told
 
  them simply this: that I'd write letters and send them; and I
 
  prayed heaven that they'd print them and pay for them. Then off
 
  I went with my little money in my pocket---about enough to get
 
  to New Orleans. I travelled and I wrote. I went all over the
 
  South. I sent letters and letters and letters. All the papers
 
  published all that I sent them and I was rolling in wealth I
 
  had money in my pocket for the first time in my life. Then I
 
  went back to St. Joe and resigned; for the (old) New York <I>World</I>
 
  had asked me to go to the Atlanta Exposition as a correspondent.
 
  I went. I wrote and kept writing. How kind Henry Grady was to
 
  me! But at last the Exposition ended. I was out of a job. I applied
 
  to the <I>Constitution.</I> No,<I> </I>they wouldn't have me.
 
  I never got a job in my life that I asked for! But all my life
 
  better jobs have been given me than I dared ask for. Well---I
 
  was at the end of my rope in Atlanta and I was trying to make
 
  a living in any honest way I could when one day a telegram came
 
  from the New York <I>World</I> (it was the old <I>World</I>,
 
  which was one of the best of the dailies in its literary quality)
 
  asking me to come to New York. I had never seen a man on the
 
  paper---had never been in New York except for a day when I landed
 
  there on a return voyage from a European trip that I took during
 
  one vacation when I was in the University. Then I went to New
 
  York straight and quickly. I had an interesting experience on
 
  the old <I>World</I>, writing literary matter chiefly, an editorial
 
  now and then, and I was frequently sent as a correspondent on
 
  interesting errands. I travelled all over the country with the
 
  Tariff Commission. I spent one winter in Washington as a sort
 
  of editorial correspondent while the tariff bill was going through
 
  Congress. Then, one day, the <I>World</I> was sold to Mr. Pulitzer
 
  and all the staff resigned. The character of the paper changed.&quot;</BLOCKQUOTE>
 
 
<br><br>What better training could a journalist ask for than this?
 
Page was only twenty-eight when these five years came to an end;
 
but his life had been a comprehensive education in human contact,
 
in the course of which he had picked up many things that were
 
not included in the routine of Johns Hopkins University. From
 
Athens to St. Joe, from the comedies of Aristophanes to the stockyards
 
and political conventions of Kansas City---the transition may
 
possibly have been an abrupt one, but it is not likely that Page
 
so regarded it. For books and the personal relation both appealed
 
to him, in almost equal proportions, as essentials to the fully
 
rounded man. Merely from the standpoint of geography, Page's achievement
 
had been an important one; how many Americans, at the age of twenty-eight,
 
have such an extensive mileage to their credit? Page had spent
 
his childhood---and his childhood only---in North Carolina; he
 
had passed his youth in Virginia and Maryland; before he was twenty-three
 
he had lived several months in Germany, and, on his return voyage,
 
he had sailed by the white cliffs of England, and, from the deck
 
of his steamer, had caught glimpses of that Isle of Wight which
 
then held his youthful favourite Tennyson. He had added to these
 
experiences a winter in Kentucky and a sojourn of nearly two years
 
in Missouri. His Southern trip, to which Page refers in the above,
 
had taken him through Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia,
 
and Louisiana; he had visited the West again in 1882, spending
 
a considerable time in all the large cities, Chicago, Omaha, Denver,
 
Leadville, Salt Lake, and from the latter point he had travelled
 
extensively through Mormondom. The several months spent in Atlanta
 
had given the young correspondent a glimpse into the new South,
 
for this energetic city embodied a Southern spirit that was several
 
decades removed from the Civil War. After this came nearly two
 
years in New York and Washington, where Page gained his first
 
insight into Federal politics; in particular, as a correspondent
 
attached to the Tariff Commission---an assignment that again started
 
him on his travels to industrial centres---he came into contact,
 
for the first time, with the mechanism of framing the great American
 
tariff. And during this period Page was not only forming a first-hand
 
acquaintance with the passing scene, but also with important actors
 
in it. The mere fact that, on the St. Joseph <I>Gazelle, </I>he
 
succeeded Eugene Field---&quot;a good fellow named Page is going
 
to take my desk,&quot; said the careless poet, &quot;I hope he
 
will succeed to my debts too&quot;---always remained a pleasant
 
memory. He entered zealously into the life of this active community;
 
his love of talk and disputation, his interest in politics, his
 
hearty laugh, his vigorous handclasp, his animation of body and
 
of spirit, and his sunny outlook on men and events---these are
 
the traits that his old friends in this town, some of whom still
 
survive, associate with the juvenile editor. In his Southern trip
 
Page called---self invited---upon Jefferson Davis and was cordially
 
received. At Atlanta, as he records above, he made friends with
 
that chivalric champion of a resurrected South, Henry Grady; here
 
also he obtained fugitive glimpses of a struggling and briefless
 
lawyer, who, like Page, was interested more in books and writing
 
than in the humdrum of professional life, and who was then engaged
 
in putting together a brochure on <I>Congressional Government
 
</I>which immediately gave him a national standing. The name of
 
this sympathetic acquaintance was Woodrow Wilson.
 
 
<br><br><CENTER><TABLE WIDTH="294" BORDER="0" CELLSPACING="2"
 
CELLPADDING="0">
 
  <TR>
 
    <TD WIDTH="46%">
 
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<A HREF="images/Page04.jpg"><IMG SRC="thumbnails/Page04tn.jpg"
 
      WIDTH="72" HEIGHT="144" ALIGN="BOTTOM" BORDER="1" ></A></TD>
 
    <TD WIDTH="54%">
 
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<A HREF="images/Page05.jpg"><IMG SRC="thumbnails/Page05tn.jpg"
 
      WIDTH="103" HEIGHT="144" ALIGN="BOTTOM" BORDER="1" ></A></TD>
 
  </TR>
 
  <TR>
 
    <TD WIDTH="46%">
 
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<B><FONT COLOR="#0000ff">Fig. 4.</FONT></B><FONT
 
      COLOR="#0000ff"> Walter H. Page in 1876, when he was a Fellow
 
      of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md.</FONT></TD>
 
    <TD WIDTH="54%">
 
      <P ALIGN=CENTER>&nbsp;<B><FONT COLOR="#0000ff">Fig. 5.</FONT></B><FONT
 
      COLOR="#0000ff"> Basil L. Gildersleeve, Professor of Greek,
 
      Johns Hopkins University, 1876-1915</FONT></TD>
 
  </TR>
 
</TABLE></CENTER>
 
 
<br><br>Another important event had taken place, for, at St. Louis,
 
on November 15, 1880, Page had married Miss Willia Alice Wilson.
 
Miss Wilson was the daughter of a Scotch physician, Dr. William
 
Wilson, who had settled in Michigan, near Detroit, in 1832.<I>
 
</I>When she was a small child she went with her sister's family---her
 
father had died seven years before---to North Carolina, near Cary;
 
and she and Page had been childhood friends and schoolmates. At
 
the time of the wedding, Page was editor of the St. Joseph <I>Gazelle;
 
</I>the fact that he had attained this position, five months after
 
starting at the bottom, sufficiently discloses his aptitude for
 
journalistic work.
 
 
<br><br>Page had now outgrown any Southern particularism with which
 
he may have started life. He no longer found his country exclusively
 
in the area south of the Potomac; he had made his own the West,
 
the North---New York, Chicago, Denver, as well as Atlanta and
 
Raleigh. It is worth while insisting on this fact, for the cultivation
 
of a wide-sweeping Americanism and a profound faith in democracy
 
became the qualities that will loom most largely in his career
 
from this time forward. It is necessary only to read the newspaper
 
letters which he wrote on his Southern trip in 1881 to understand
 
how early his mind seized this new point of view. Many things
 
which now fell under his observant eye in the Southern States
 
greatly irritated him and with his characteristic impulsiveness
 
he pictured these traits in pungent phrase. The atmosphere of
 
shiftlessness that too generally prevailed in some localities;
 
the gangs of tobacco-chewing loafers assembled around railway
 
stations; the listless Negroes that seemed to overhang the whole
 
country like a black cloud; the plantation mansions in a sad state
 
of disrepair; the old unoccupied slave huts overgrown with weeds;
 
the unpainted and broken-down fences; the rich soil that was crudely
 
and wastefully cultivated with a single crop---the youthful social
 
philosopher found himself comparing these vestigia of a half-moribund
 
civilization with the vibrant cities of the North, the beautiful
 
white and green villages of New England, and the fertile prairie
 
farms of the West. &quot;Even the dogs,&quot; he said, &quot;look
 
old-fashioned.&quot; Oh, for a change in his beloved South---a
 
change of almost any kind! &quot;Even a heresy, if it be bright
 
and fresh, would be a relief. You feel as if you wished to see
 
some kind of an effort put forth, a discussion, a fight, a runaway,
 
anything to make the blood go faster.&quot; Wherever Page saw
 
signs of a new spirit---and he saw many---he recorded them with
 
an eagerness which showed his loyalty to the section of his birth.
 
The splitting up of great plantations into small farms he put
 
down as one of the indications of a new day. A growing tendency
 
to educate, not only the white child, but the Negro, inspired
 
a similar tribute. But he rejoiced most over the decreasing bitterness
 
of the masses over the memories of the Civil War, and discovered,
 
with satisfaction, that any remaining ill-feeling was a heritage
 
left not by the Union soldier, but by the carpetbagger.
 
 
<br><br>And one scene is worth preserving, for it illustrates not only
 
the zeal of Page himself for the common country, but the changing
 
attitude of the Southern people. It was enacted, at Martin, Tennessee,
 
on the evening of July 2, 1881. Page was spending a few hours
 
in the village grocery, discussing things in general with the
 
local yeomanry, when the telegraph operator came from the post
 
office with rather more than his usual expedition and excitement.
 
He was frantically waving a yellow slip which bore the news that
 
President Garfield had been shot. Garfield had been an energetic
 
and a successful general in the war and his subsequent course
 
in Congress, where he had joined the radical Republicans, had
 
not caused the South to look upon him as a friend. But these farmers
 
responded to this shock, not like sectionalists, but like Americans.
 
&quot;Every man of them,&quot; Page records, &quot;expressed almost
 
a personal sorrow. Little was said of politics or of parties.
 
Mr. Garfield was President of the United States---that was enough.
 
A dozen voices spoke the great gratification that the assassin
 
was not a Southern man. It was an affecting scene to see weather-beaten
 
old countrymen so profoundly agitated---men who yesterday I should
 
have supposed hardly knew and certainly did not seem to care who
 
was President. The great centres of population, of politicians,
 
and of thought may be profoundly agitated to-night, but no more
 
patriotic sorrow and humiliation is felt anywhere by any men than
 
by these old backwoods ex-Confederates.&quot;
 
 
<br><br>Page himself was so stirred by the news that he ascended a
 
cracker barrel, and made a speech to the assembled countrymen,
 
preaching to responsive ears the theme of North and South, now
 
reunited in a common sorrow. Thus, by the time he was twenty-six,
 
Page, at any rate in respect to his Americanism, was a full-grown
 
man.
 
 
<br><br>.
 
 
<P ALIGN=CENTER><FONT SIZE="+2">II</FONT>
 
 
<br><br>A few years afterward Page had an opportunity of discussing
 
this, his favourite topic, with the American whom he most admired.
 
Perhaps the finest thing in the career of Grover Cleveland was
 
the influence which he exerted upon young men. After the sordid
 
political transactions of the reconstruction period and after
 
the orgy of partisanship which had followed the Civil War, this
 
new figure, acceding to the Presidency in 1885, came as an inspiration
 
to millions of zealous and intelligent young college-bred Americans.
 
One of the first to feel the new spell was Walter Page; Mr. Cleveland
 
was perhaps the most important influence in forming his public
 
ideals. Of everything that Cleveland represented---civil service
 
reform; the cleansing of politics, state and national; the reduction
 
in the tariff; a foreign policy which, without degenerating into
 
truculence, manfully upheld the rights of American citizens; a
 
determination to curb the growing pension evil; the doctrine that
 
the Government was something to be served and not something to
 
be plundered---Page became an active and brilliant journalistic
 
advocate. It was therefore a great day in his life when, on a
 
trip to Washington in the autumn of 1885, he had an hour's private
 
conversation with President Cleveland, and it was entirely characteristic
 
of Page that he should make the conversation take the turn of
 
a discussion of the so-called Southern question.
 
 
<BLOCKQUOTE>
 
  <br><br>&quot;In the White House at Washington,&quot; Page wrote about
 
  this visit, &quot;is an honest, plain, strong man, a man of wonderfully
 
  broad information and of most uncommon industry. He has always
 
  been a Democrat. He is a distinguished lawyer and a scholar on
 
  all public questions. He is as frank and patriotic and sincere
 
  as any man that ever won the high place he holds. Within less
 
  than a year he has done so well and so wisely that he has disappointed
 
  his enemies and won their admiration. He is as unselfish as he
 
  is great. He is one of the most industrious men in the world.
 
  He rises early and works late and does not waste his time---all
 
  because his time is now not his own but the Republic's, whose
 
  most honoured servant he is. I count it among the most inspiring
 
  experiences in my life that I had the privilege, at the suggestion
 
  of one of his personal friends, of talking with him one morning
 
  about the complete reuniting of the two great sections of our
 
  Republic by his election. I told him, and I know I told him the
 
  truth, when I said that every young man in the Southern States
 
  who, without an opportunity to share either the glory or the
 
  defeat of the late Confederacy, had in spite of himself suffered
 
  the disadvantages of the poverty and oppression that followed
 
  war, took new hope for the full and speedy realization of a complete
 
  union, of unparalleled prosperity and of broad thinking and noble
 
  living from his elevation to the Presidency. I told him that
 
  the men of North Carolina were not only patriotic but ambitious
 
  as well; and that they were Democrats and proud citizens of the
 
  State and the Republic not because they wanted offices or favours,
 
  but because they loved freedom and wished the land that had been
 
  impoverished by war to regain more than it had lost. 'I have
 
  not called, Mr. President, to ask for an office for myself or
 
  for anybody else,' I remarked; 'but to have the pleasure of expressing
 
  my gratification, as a citizen of North Carolina, at the complete
 
  change in political methods and morals that I believe will date
 
  from your Administration.' He answered that he was glad to see
 
  all men who came in such a spirit and did not come to beg---especially
 
  young men of the South of to-day; and he talked and encouraged
 
  me to talk freely as if he had been as small a man as I am, or
 
  I as great a man as he is.
 
  <br><br>&quot;From that day to this it has been my business to watch
 
  every public act that he does, to read every public word he speaks,
 
  and it has been a pleasure and a benefit to me (like the benefit
 
  that a man gets from reading a great history---for he is making
 
  a great history) to study the progress of his Administration;
 
  and at every step he seems to me to warrant the trust that the
 
  great Democratic party put in him.&quot;</BLOCKQUOTE>
 
 
<br><br>The period to which Page refers in this letter represented
 
the time when he was making a serious and harassing attempt to
 
establish himself in his chosen profession in his native state.
 
He went south for a short visit after resigning his place on the
 
New York <I>World, </I>and several admirers in Raleigh persuaded
 
him to found a new paper, which should devote itself to preaching
 
the Cleveland ideals, and, above all, to exerting an influence
 
on the development of a new Southern spirit. No task could have
 
been more grateful to Page and there was no place in which he
 
would have better liked to undertake it than in the old state
 
which he loved so well. The result was the <I>Stale Chronicle
 
</I>of Raleigh, practically a new paper, which for a year and
 
a half proved to be the most unconventional and refreshing influence
 
that North Carolina had known in many a year. Necessarily Page
 
found himself in conflict with his environment. He had little
 
interest in the things that then chiefly interested the state,
 
and North Carolina apparently had little interest in the things
 
that chiefly occupied the mind of the youthful journalist. Page
 
was interested in Cleveland, in the reform of the civil service;
 
the Democrats of North Carolina little appreciated their great
 
national leader and were especially hostile to his belief that
 
service to a party did not in itself establish a qualification
 
for public office. Page was interested in uplifting the common
 
people, in helping every farmer to own his own acres, and in teaching
 
the most modern and scientific way of cultivating them; he was
 
interested in giving every boy and girl at least an elementary
 
education, and in giving a university training to such as had
 
the aptitude and the ambition to obtain it; he believed in industrial
 
training ---and in these things the North Carolina of those days
 
had little concern. Page even went so far as to take an open stand
 
for the pitiably neglected black man: he insisted that he should
 
be taught to read and write, and instructed in agriculture and
 
the manual trades. A man who advocated such revolutionary things
 
in those days was accused---and Page was so accused---of attempting
 
to promote the &quot;social equality&quot; of the two races. Page
 
also declaimed in favour of developing the state industrially;
 
he called attention to the absurdity of sending Southern cotton
 
to New England spinning mills, and he pointed out the boundless
 
but unworked natural resources of the state, in minerals, forests,
 
waterpower, and lands.
 
 
<br><br>North Carolina, he informed his astonished compatriots, had
 
once been a great manufacturing colony; why could the state not
 
become one again? But the matter in which the buoyant editor and
 
his constituents found themselves most at variance was the spirit
 
that controlled North Carolina life. It was a spirit that found
 
comfort for its present poverty and lack of progress in a backward
 
look at the greatness of the state in the past and the achievements
 
of its sons in the Civil War. Though Page believed that the Confederacy
 
had been a ghastly error, and though he abhorred the institution
 
of slavery and attributed to it all the woes, economic and social,
 
from which his section suffered, he rendered that homage to the
 
soldiers of the South which is the due of brave, self-sacrificing
 
and conscientious men; yet he taught that progress lay in regarding
 
the four dreadful years of the Civil War as the closed chapter
 
of an unhappy and mistaken history and in hastening the day when
 
the South should resume its place as a living part of the great
 
American democracy. All manifestations of a contrary spirit he
 
ridiculed in language which was extremely readable but which at
 
times outraged the good conservative people whom he was attempting
 
to convert. He did not even spare the one figure which was almost
 
a part of the Southerner's religion, the Confederate general,
 
especially that particular type who used his war record as a stepping
 
stone to public office, and whose oratory, colourful and turgid
 
in its celebrations of the past, Page regarded as somewhat unrelated,
 
in style and matter, to the realities of the present. The image-breaking
 
editor even asserted that the Daughters of the Confederacy were
 
not entirely a helpful influence in Southern regeneration; for
 
they, too, were harping always upon the old times and keeping
 
alive sectional antagonisms and hatreds. This he regarded as an
 
unworthy occupation for high-minded Southern women, and he said
 
so, sometimes in language that made him very unpopular in certain
 
circles.
 
 
<br><br>Altogether it was a piquant period in Page's life. He found
 
that he had suddenly become a &quot;traitor &quot; to his country
 
and that his experiences in the North had completely &quot;Yankeeized&quot;
 
him. Even in more mature days, Page's pen had its javelin-like
 
quality; and in 1884, possessed as he was of all the fury of youth,
 
he never hesitated to return every blow that was rained upon his
 
head. As a matter of fact he had a highly enjoyable time. The
 
<I>State Chronicle </I>during his editorship is one of the most
 
cherished recollections of older North Carolinians to-day. Even
 
those who hurled the liveliest epithets in his direction have
 
long since accepted the ideas for which Page was then contending;
 
&quot;the only trouble with him,&quot; they now ruefully admit,
 
&quot;was that he was forty years ahead of his time.&quot; They
 
recall with satisfaction the satiric accounts which Page used
 
to publish of Democratic Conventions---solemn, long-winded, frock-coated,
 
white-necktied affairs that displayed little concern for the reform
 
of the tariff or of the civil service, but an energetic interest
 
in pensioning Confederate veterans and erecting monuments to the
 
Southern heroes of the Civil War. One editorial is joyfully recalled,
 
in which Page referred to a public officer who was distinguished
 
for his dignity and his family tree, but not noted for any animated
 
administration of his duties, as &quot;Thothmes II.&quot; When
 
this bewildered functionary searched the Encyclopaedia and learned
 
that &quot; Thothmes II &quot; was an Egyptian king of the XVII1th
 
dynasty, whose dessicated mummy had recently been disinterred
 
from the hot sands of the desert, he naturally stopped his subscription
 
to the paper. The metaphor apparently tickled Page, for he used
 
it in a series of articles which have become immortal in the political
 
annals of North Carolina. These have always been known as the
 
&quot;Mummy letters.&quot; They furnished a vivid but rather aggravating
 
explanation for the existing backwardness and chauvinism of the
 
commonwealth. All the trouble, it seems, was caused by the &quot;mummies.&quot;
 
&quot;It is an awfully discouraging business,&quot; Page wrote,
 
&quot;to undertake to prove to a mummy that it is a mummy. You
 
go up to it and say, 'Old fellow, the Egyptian dynasties crumbled
 
several thousand years ago: you are a fish out of water. You have
 
by accident or the Providence of God got a long way out of your
 
time. This is America.' The old thing grins that grin. which death
 
set on its solemn features when the world was young; and your
 
task is so pitiful that even the humour of it is gone. Give it
 
up.&quot;
 
 
<br><br>Everything great in North Carolina, Page declared, belonged
 
to a vanished generation. &quot;Our great lawyers, great judges,
 
great editors, are all of the past. . . . In the general intelligence
 
of the people, in intellectual force and in cultivation, we are
 
doing nothing. We are not doing or getting more liberal ideas,
 
a broader view of this world. . . . The presumptuous powers of
 
ignorance, heredity, decayed respectability and stagnation that
 
control public action and public expression are absolutely leading
 
us back intellectually.&quot;
 
 
<br><br>But Page did more than berate the mummified aristocracy which,
 
he declared, was driving the best talent and initiative from the
 
state; he was not the only man in Raleigh who expressed these
 
unpopular views; at that time, indeed, he was the centre and inspiration
 
of a group of young progressive spirits who held frequent meetings
 
to devise ways of starting the state on the road to a new existence.
 
Page then, as always, exercised a great fascination over young
 
men. The apparently merciless character of his ridicule might
 
at first convey the idea of intolerance; the fact remains, however,
 
that he was the most tolerant of men; he was almost deferential
 
to the opinions of others, even the shallow and the inexperienced;
 
and nothing delighted him more than an animated discussion. His
 
liveliness of spirits, his mental and physical vitality, the constant
 
sparkle of his talk, the sharp edge of his humour, naturally drew
 
the younger men to his side. The result was the organization of
 
the Wautauga Club, a gathering which held monthly meetings for
 
the discussion of ways and means of improving social and educational
 
conditions in North Carolina. The very name gives the key to its
 
mental outlook. The Wautauga colony was one of the last founded
 
in North Carolina---in the extreme west, on a plateau of the Great
 
Smoky Mountains; it was always famous for the energy and independence
 
of its people. The word &quot;Wautauga&quot; therefore suggested
 
the breaker of tradition; and it provided a stimulating name for
 
Page's group of young spiritual and economic pathfinders. The
 
Wautauga Club had a brief existence of a little more than two
 
years, the period practically covering Page's residence in the
 
state; but its influence is an important fact at the present time.
 
It gave the state ideas that afterward caused something like a
 
revolution in its economic and educational status. The noblest
 
monument to its labours is the State College in Raleigh, an institution
 
which now has more than a thousand students, for the most part
 
studying the mechanic arts and scientific agriculture. To this
 
one college most North Carolinians to-day attribute the fact that
 
their state in appreciable measure is realizing its great economic
 
and industrial opportunities. From it in the last thirty years
 
thousands of young men have gone: in all sections of the commonwealth
 
they have caused the almost barren acres to yield fertile and
 
diversified crops; they have planted everywhere new industries;
 
they have unfolded unsuspected resources and everywhere created
 
wealth and spread enlightenment. This institution is a direct
 
outcome of Page's brief sojourn in his native state nearly forty
 
years ago. The idea originated in his brain; the files of the
 
<I>State Chronicle </I>tell the story of his struggle in its behalf;
 
the activities of the Wautauga Club were largely concentrated
 
upon securing its establishment.
 
 
<br><br>The State College was a great victory for Page, but final success
 
did not come until three years after he had left the state. For
 
a year and a half of hard newspaper work convinced Page that North
 
Carolina really had no permanent place for him. The <I>Chronicle
 
was </I>editorially a success: Page's articles were widely quoted,
 
not only in his own state but in New England and other parts of
 
the Union. He succeeded in stirring up North Carolina and the
 
South generally, but popular support for the <I>Chronicle was
 
</I>not forthcoming in sufficient amount to make the paper a commercial
 
possibility. Reluctantly and sadly Page had to forego his hope
 
of playing an active part in rescuing his state from the disasters
 
of the Civil War. Late in the summer of <I>1885, </I>he again
 
left for the North, which now became his permanent home.
 
 
<br><br>.
 
 
<P ALIGN=CENTER><FONT SIZE="+2">III</FONT>
 
 
<br><br>And with this second sojourn in New York Page's opportunity
 
came. The first two years he spent in newspaper work, for the
 
most part with the <I>Evening Post, </I>but, one day in November,
 
1887,<I> </I>a man whom he had never seen came into his office
 
and unfolded a new opportunity. Two years before a rather miscellaneous
 
group had launched an ambitious literary undertaking. This was
 
a monthly periodical, which, it was hoped, would do for the United
 
States what such publications as the <I>Fortnightly and </I>the
 
<I>Contemporary</I> were doing for England. The magazine was to
 
have the highest literary quality and to be sufficiently dignified
 
to attract the finest minds in America as contributors; its purpose
 
was to exercise a profound influence in politics, literature,
 
science, and art. The projectors had selected for this publication
 
a title that was almost perfection---the <I>Forum</I>---but this,
 
after nearly two years' experimentation, represented about the
 
limit of their achievement. The <I>Forum</I> had hardly made an
 
impression on public thought and had attracted very few readers,
 
although it had lost large sums of money for its progenitors.
 
These public-spirited gentlemen now turned to Page as the man
 
who might rescue them from their dilemma and achieve their purpose.
 
He accepted the engagement, first as manager and presently as
 
editor, and remained the guiding spirit of the <I>Forum</I> for
 
eight years, until the summer of 1895.
 
 
<br><br>That the success of a publication is the success of its editors,
 
and not of its business managers and its &quot;backers,&quot;
 
is a truth that ought to be generally apparent; never has this
 
fact been so eloquently illustrated as in the case of the <I>Forum</I>
 
under Page. Before his accession it had had not the slightest
 
importance; for the period of his editorship it is doubtful if
 
any review published in English exercised so great an influence,
 
and certainly none ever obtained so large a circulation. From
 
almost nothing the <I>Forum</I>, in two or three years, attracted
 
30,000 subscribers---something without precedent for a publication
 
of this character. It had accomplished this great result simply
 
because of the vitality and interest of its contents. The period
 
covered was an important one, in the United States and Europe;
 
it was the time of Cleveland's second administration in this country,
 
and of Gladstone's fourth administration in England; it was a
 
time of great controversy and of a growing interest in science,
 
education, social reform and a better political order. All these
 
great matters were reflected in the pages of the <I>Forum</I>,
 
whose list of contributors contained the most distinguished names
 
in all countries. Its purpose, as Page explained it, was &quot;to
 
provoke discussion about subjects of contemporary interest, in
 
which the magazine is not a partisan, but merely the instrument.&quot;
 
In the highest sense, that is, its purpose was journalistic; practically
 
everything that it printed was related to the thought and the
 
action of the time. So insistent was Page on this programme that
 
his pages were not &quot;closed&quot; until a week before the
 
day of issue. Though the <I>Forum</I> dealt constantly in controversial
 
subjects it never did so in a narrow-minded spirit; it was always
 
ready to hear both sides of a question and the magazine &quot;debate,&quot;
 
in which opposing writers handled vigorously the same theme, was
 
a constant feature.
 
 
<br><br>Page, indeed, represented a new type of editor. Up to that
 
time this functionary had been a rather solemn, inaccessible high
 
priest; he sat secluded in his sanctuary, and weeded out from
 
the mass of manuscripts dumped upon his desk the particular selections
 
which seemed to be most suited to his purpose. To solicit contributions
 
would have seemed an entirely undignified proceeding; in all cases
 
contributors must come to him. According to Page, however, &quot;an
 
editor must know men and be out among men.&quot; His system of
 
&quot;making up&quot; the magazine at first somewhat astounded
 
his associates. A month or two in advance of publication day he
 
would draw up his table of contents. This, in its preliminary
 
stage, amounted to nothing except a list of the main subjects
 
which he aspired to handle in that number. It was a hope, not
 
a performance. The subjects were commonly suggested by the happenings
 
of the time---an especially outrageous lynching, the trial of
 
a clergyman for heresy, a new attack upon the Monroe Doctrine,
 
the discovery of a new substance such as radium, the publication
 
of an epoch-making book. Page would then fix upon the inevitable
 
men who could write most readably and most authoritatively upon
 
these topics, and &quot;go after&quot; them. Sometimes he would
 
write one of his matchless editorial letters; at other times he
 
would make a personal visit; if necessary, he would use any available
 
friends in a wire-pulling campaign. At all odds he must &quot;get&quot;
 
his man; once he had fixed upon a certain contributor nothing
 
could divert him from the chase. Nor did the negotiations cease
 
after he had &quot;landed&quot; his quarry. He had his way of
 
discussing the subject with his proposed writer, and he discussed
 
it from every possible point of view. He would take him to lunch
 
or to dinner; in his quiet way he would draw him out, find whether
 
he really knew much about the subject, learn the attitude that
 
he was likely to take, and delicately slip in suggestions of his
 
own. Not infrequently this preliminary interview would disclose
 
that the much sought writer, despite appearances, was not the
 
one who was destined for that particular job; in this case Page
 
would find some way of shunting him in favour of a more promising
 
candidate. But Page was no mere chaser of names; there was nothing
 
of the literary tuft-hunter about his editorial methods. He liked
 
to see such men as Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, William
 
Graham. Sumner, Charles W. Eliot, Frederic Harrison, Paul Bourget,
 
and the like upon his title page---and here these and many other
 
similarly distinguished authors appeared---but the greatest name
 
could not attain a place there if the letter press that followed
 
were unworthy. Indeed Page's habit of throwing out the contributions
 
of the great, after paying a stiff price for them, caused much
 
perturbation in his counting room. One day he called in one of
 
his associates.
 
 
<br><br>&quot;Do you see that waste basket?&quot; he asked, pointing
 
to a large receptacle filled to overflowing with manuscripts.
 
&quot;All our Cleveland articles are there!&quot;
 
 
<br><br>He had gone to great trouble and expense to obtain a series
 
of six articles from the most prominent publicists and political
 
leaders of the country on the first year of Mr. Cleveland's second
 
administration. It was to be the &quot;feature&quot; of the number
 
then in preparation.
 
 
<br><br>&quot;There isn't one of them,&quot; he declared, &quot;who
 
has got the point. I have thrown them all away and I am going
 
to try to write something myself.&quot;
 
 
<br><br>And he spent a couple of days turning out an article which
 
aroused great public interest. When Page commissioned an article,
 
he meant simply that he would pay full price for it; whether he
 
would publish it depended entirely upon the quality of the material
 
itself. But Page was just as severe upon his own writings as upon
 
those of other men. He wrote occasionally---always under a nom-de-plume;
 
but he had great difficulty in satisfying his own editorial standards.
 
After finishing an article he would commonly send for one of his
 
friends and read the result.
 
 
<br><br>&quot;That is superb!&quot; this admiring associate would sometimes
 
say.
 
 
<br><br>In response Page would take the manuscript and, holding it
 
aloft in two hands, tear it into several bits, and throw the scraps
 
into the waste basket.
 
 
<br><br>&quot;Oh, I can do better than that,&quot; he would laugh and
 
in another minute he was busy rewriting the article, from beginning
 
to end.
 
 
<br><br>Page retired from the editorship of the <I>Forum </I>in 1895.
 
The severance of relations was half a comedy, half a tragedy.
 
The proprietors had only the remotest relation to literature;
 
they had lost much money in the enterprise before Page became
 
editor and only the fortunate accident of securing his services
 
had changed their losing venture into a financial success. In
 
a moment of despair, before the happier period had arrived, they
 
offered to sell the property to Page and his friends. Page quickly
 
assembled a new group to purchase control, when, much to the amazement
 
of the old owners, the <I>Forum </I>began to make money. Instead
 
of having a burden on their hands, the proprietors suddenly discovered
 
that they had a gold mine. They therefore refused to deliver their
 
holdings and an inevitable struggle ensued for control. Page could
 
edit a magazine and turn a shipwrecked enterprise into a profitable
 
one; but, in a tussle of this kind, he was no match for the shrewd
 
business men who owned the property. When the time came for counting
 
noses Page and his friends found themselves in a minority. Of
 
course his resignation as editor necessarily followed this little
 
unpleasantness. And just as inevitably the <I>Forum </I>again
 
began to lose money, and soon sank into an obscurity from which
 
it has never emerged.
 
 
<br><br>The <I>Forum </I>had established Page's reputation as an editor,
 
and the competition for his services was lively. The distinguished
 
Boston publishing house of Houghton, Mifflin &amp; Company immediately
 
invited him to become a part of their organization. When Horace
 
E. Scudder, in 1898, resigned the editorship of the <I>Atlantic
 
Monthly, </I>Page succeeded him. Thus Page became the successor
 
of James Russell Lowell, James T. Fields, William D. Howells,
 
and Thomas Bailey Aldrich as the head of this famous periodical.
 
This meant that he had reached the top of his profession. He was
 
now forty-three years old.
 
 
<br><br>No American publication had ever had so brilliant a history.
 
Founded in 1857, in the most flourishing period of the New England
 
writers, its pages had first published many of the best essays
 
of Emerson, the second series of the Biglow papers as well as
 
many other of Lowell's writings, poems of Longfellow and Whittier,
 
such great successes as Holmes's &quot;Autocrat of the Breakfast
 
Table,&quot; Mrs. Howe's &quot;Battle Hymn of the Republic,&quot;
 
and the early novels of Henry James. If America had a literature,
 
the <I>Atlantic </I>was certainly its most successful periodical
 
exponent. Yet, in a sense, the <I>Atlantic, </I>by the time Page
 
succeeded to the editorship, had become the victim of its dazzling
 
past. Its recent editors had lived too exclusively in their back
 
numbers. They had conducted the magazine too much for the restricted
 
audience of Boston and New England. There was a time, indeed,
 
when the business office arranged the subscribers in two classes---&quot;
 
Boston&quot; and &quot;foreign&quot;; &quot;Boston&quot; representing
 
their local adherents, and &quot;foreign&quot; the loyal readers
 
who lived in the more benighted parts of the United States. One
 
of its editors had been heard to boast that he never solicited
 
a contribution; it was not his business to be a literary drummer!
 
Let the truth be fairly spoken: when Page made his first appearance
 
in the <I>Atlantic </I>office, the magazine was unquestionably
 
on the decline. Its literary quality was still high; the momentum
 
that its great contributors had given it was still keeping the
 
publication alive; entrance into its columns still represented
 
the ultimate ambition of the aspiring American writer; but it
 
needed a new spirit to insure its future. What it required was
 
the kind of editing that had suddenly made the <I>Forum </I>one
 
of the greatest of English-written reviews. This is the reason
 
why the canny Yankee proprietors had reached over to New York
 
and grasped Page as quickly as the capitalists of the <I>Forum
 
</I>let him slip between their fingers.
 
 
<br><br>Page's sense of humour discovered a certain ironic aspect in
 
his position as the dictator of this famous New England magazine.
 
The fact that his manner was impatiently energetic and somewhat
 
startling to the placid atmosphere of Park Street was not the
 
thing that really signified its break with its past. But here
 
was a Southerner firmly entrenched in a headquarters that had
 
long been sacred to the New England abolitionists. One of the
 
first sights that greeted Page, as he came into the office, was
 
the angular and spectacled countenance of William Lloyd Garrison,
 
gazing down from a steel engraving on the wall. One of Garrison's
 
sons was a colleague, and the anterooms were frequently cluttered
 
with dusky gentlemen patiently waiting for interviews with this
 
benefactor of their race. Page once was careless enough to inform
 
Mr. Garrison that &quot;one of your niggers&quot; was waiting
 
outside for an audience. &quot;I very much regret, Mr. Page,&quot;
 
came the answer, &quot;that you should insist on spelling 'Negro'
 
with two 'g's'.&quot; Despite the mock solemnity of this rebuke,
 
perennial good-nature and raillery prevailed between the son of
 
Garrison and his disrespectful but ever sympathetic Southern friend.
 
Indeed, one of Page's earliest performances was to introduce a
 
spirit of laughter and genial cooperation into a rather solemn
 
and self-satisfied environment. Mr. Mifflin, the head of the house,
 
even formally thanked Page &quot;for the hearty human way in which
 
you take hold of life.&quot; Mr. Ellery Sedgwick, the present
 
editor of the <I>Atlantic, </I>has described the somewhat disconcerting
 
descent of Page upon the editorial sanctuary of James Russell
 
Lowell:
 
 
<BLOCKQUOTE>
 
  <br><br>&quot;Were a visitant from another sphere to ask me for the
 
  incarnation of those qualities we love to call American, I should
 
  turn to a familiar gallery of my memory and point to the living
 
  portrait that hangs there of Walter Page. A sort of foursquareness,
 
  bluntness, it seemed to some; an uneasy, often explosive energy;
 
  a disposition to underrate fine drawn nicenesses of all sorts;
 
  ingrained Yankee common sense, checking his vaulting enthusiasm;
 
  enormous self-confidence, impatience of failure---all of these
 
  were in him; and he was besides affectionate to a fault, devoted
 
  to his country, his family, his craft---a strong, bluff, tender
 
  man.
 
  <br><br>&quot;Those were the decorous days of the old tradition, and
 
  Page's entrance into the 'atmosphere' of Park Street has taken
 
  on the dignity of legend. There were all kinds of signs and portents,
 
  as the older denizens will tell you. Strange breezes floated
 
  through the office, electric emanations, and a pervasive scent
 
  of tobacco, which---so the local historian says---had been unknown
 
  in the vicinity since the days of Walter Raleigh, except for
 
  the literary aroma of Aldrich's quarantined sanctum upstairs.
 
  Page's coming marked the end of small ways. His first requirement
 
  was, in lieu of a desk, a table that might have served a family
 
  of twelve for Thanksgiving dinner. No one could imagine what
 
  that vast, polished tableland could serve for until they watched
 
  the editor at work. Then they saw. Order vanished and chaos reigned.
 
  Huge piles of papers, letters, articles, reports, books, pamphlets,
 
  magazines, congregated themselves as if by magic. To work in
 
  such confusion seemed hopeless, but Page eluded the congestion
 
  by the simple expedient of moving on. He would light a fresh
 
  cigar, give the editorial chair a hitch, and begin his work in
 
  front of a fresh expanse of table, with no clutter of the past
 
  to disturb the new day's litter.
 
  <br><br>&quot;The motive power of his work was enthusiasm. Never was
 
  more generous welcome given to a newcomer than Page held out
 
  to the successful manuscript of an unknown. I remember, though
 
  I heard the news second hand at the time, what a day it was in
 
  the office when the first manuscript from the future author of
 
  'To Have and To Hold,' came in from an untried Southern girl.
 
  He walked up and down, reading paragraphs aloud and slapping
 
  the crisp manuscript to enforce his commendation. To take a humbler
 
  instance, I recall the words of over generous praise with which
 
  he greeted the first paper I ever sent to an editor quite as
 
  clearly as I remember the monstrous effort which had brought
 
  it into being. Sometimes he would do a favoured manuscript the
 
  honour of taking it out to lunch in his coat-pocket, and an associate
 
  vividly recalls eggs, coffee, and pie in a near-by restaurant,
 
  while, in a voice that could be heard by the remotest lunchers.
 
  Page read passages which many of them were too startled to appreciate.
 
  He was not given to overrating, but it was not in his nature
 
  to understate. 'I tell you,' said he, grumbling over some unfortunate
 
  proof-sheets from Manhattan, 'there isn't one man in New York
 
  who can write English---not from the Battery to Harlem Heights.'
 
  And if the faults were moral rather than literary, his disapproval
 
  grew in emphasis. There is more than tradition in the tale of
 
  the Negro who, presuming on Page's deep interest in his race,
 
  brought to his desk a manuscript copied word for word from a
 
  published source. Page recognized the deception, and seizing
 
  the rascal's collar with a firm editorial grip, rejected the
 
  poem, and ejected the poet, with an energy very invigorating
 
  to the ancient serenities of the office.
 
  <br><br>&quot;Page was always effervescent with ideas. Like an editor
 
  who would have made a good fisherman, he used to say that you
 
  had to cast a dozen times before you could get a strike. He was
 
  forever in those days sending out ideas and suggestions and invitations
 
  to write. The result was electric, and the magazine became with
 
  a suddenness (of which only an editor can appreciate the wonder)
 
  a storehouse of animating thoughts. He avoided the mistake common
 
  to our craft of editing a magazine for the immediate satisfaction
 
  of his colleagues. 'Don't write for the office,' he would say.
 
  'Write for outside,' and so his magazine became a living thing.
 
  His phrase suggests one special gift that Page had, for which
 
  his profession should do him especial honour. He was able, quite
 
  beyond the powers of any man of my acquaintance, to put compendiously
 
  into words the secrets of successful editing. It was capital
 
  training just to hear him talk. 'Never save a feature,' he used
 
  to say. 'Always work for the next number. Forget the others.
 
  Spend everything just on that.' And to those who know, there
 
  is divination in the principle. Again he understood instinctively
 
  that to write well a man must not only have something to say,
 
  but must long to say it. A highly intelligent representative
 
  of the coloured race came to him with a philosophic essay, Page
 
  would have none of it. 'I know what you are thinking of,' said
 
  Page. 'You are thinking of the barriers we set up against you,
 
  and the handicap of your lot. If you will write what it feels
 
  like to be a Negro, I will print that.' The result was a paper
 
  which has seemed to me the most moving expression of the hopeless
 
  hope of the race I know of.
 
  <br><br>&quot;Page was generous in his cooperation. He never drew
 
  a rigid line about his share in any enterprise, but gave and
 
  took help with each and all. A lover of good English, with an
 
  honest passion for things tersely said, Page esteemed good journalism
 
  far above any second-rate manifestation of more pretentious forms;
 
  but many of us will regret that he was not privileged to find
 
  some outlet for his energies in which aspiration for real literature
 
  might have played an ampler part. For the literature of the past
 
  Page had great respect, but his interest was ever in the present
 
  and the future. He was forever fulminating against bad writing,
 
  and hated the ignorant and slipshod work of the hack almost as
 
  much as he despised the sham of the man who affected letters,
 
  the dabbler and the poetaster. His taste was for the roast beef
 
  of literature, not for the side dishes and the trimmings, and
 
  his appreciation of the substantial work of others was no surer
 
  than his instinct for his own performance. He was an admirable
 
  writer of exposition, argument, and narrative-solid and thoughtful,
 
  but never dull. . . . I came into close relations with him and
 
  from him I learned more of my profession than from any one I
 
  have ever known. Scores of other men would say the same.&quot;</BLOCKQUOTE>
 
 
<br><br>But the fact that a new hand had seized the <I>Atlantic </I>was
 
apparent in other places than in the <I>Atlantic </I>office itself.
 
One of Page's contributors of the <I>Forum</I> days, Mr. Courtney
 
DeKalb, happened to be in St. Louis when the first number of the
 
magazine under its new editor made its appearance. Mr. DeKalb
 
had been out of the country for some time and knew nothing of
 
the change. Happening accidentally to pick up the <I>Atlantic,
 
</I>the table of contents caught his eye. It bore the traces of
 
an unmistakable hand. Only one man, he said to himself, could
 
assemble such a group as that, and above all, only Page could
 
give such an enticing turn of the titles. He therefore sat down
 
and wrote his old friend congratulating him on his accession to
 
the <I>Atlantic Monthly. </I>The change that now took. place was
 
indeed a conspicuous, almost a startling one. The <I>Atlantic
 
</I>retained all its old literary flavour, for to its traditions
 
Page was as much devoted as the highest caste Bostonian; it still
 
gave up much of its space to a high type of fiction, poetry, and
 
reviews of contemporary literature, but every number contained
 
also an assortment of articles which celebrated the prevailing
 
activities of men and women in all worthwhile fields of effort.
 
There were discussions of present-day politics, and these even
 
became personal dissections of presidential candidates; there
 
were articles on the racial characters of the American population:
 
Theodore Roosevelt was permitted to discuss the New York police;
 
Woodrow Wilson to pass in review the several elements that made
 
the Nation; Booker T. Washington to picture the awakening of the
 
Negro; John Muir to enlighten Americans upon a national beauty
 
and wealth of which they had been woefully ignorant, their forests;
 
William Allen White to describe certain aspects of his favourite
 
Kansas; E. L. Godkin to review the dangers and, the hopes of American
 
democracy; Jacob Riis to tell about the Battle with the Slum;
 
and W. G. Frost to reveal for the first time the archaic civilization
 
of the Kentucky mountaineers. The latter article illustrated Page's
 
genius at rewriting titles. Mr. Frost's theme was that these Kentucky
 
mountaineers were really Elizabethan survivals; that their dialect,
 
their ballads, their habits were really a case of arrested development;
 
that by studying them present-day Americans could get a picture
 
of their distant forbears. Page gave vitality to the presentation
 
by changing a commonplace title to this one: &quot;Our Contemporary
 
Ancestors.&quot;
 
 
<br><br>There were those who were offended by Page's willingness to
 
seek inspiration on the highways and byways and even in newspapers,
 
for not infrequently he would find hidden away in a corner an
 
idea that would result in valuable magazine matter. On one occasion
 
at least this practice had important literary consequences. One
 
day he happened to read that a Mrs. Robert Hanning had died in
 
Toronto, the account casually mentioning the fact that Mrs. Hanning
 
was the youngest sister of Thomas Carlyle. Page handed this clipping
 
to a young assistant, and told him to take the first train to
 
Canada. The editor could easily divine that a sister of Carlyle,
 
expatriated for forty-six years on this side of the Atlantic,
 
must have received a large number of letters from her brother,
 
and it was safe to assume that they had been carefully preserved.
 
Such proved to be the fact; and a new volume of Carlyle letters,
 
of somewhat more genial character than the other collections,
 
was the outcome of this visit.(<A NAME="n4"></A><A HREF="Pagenotes.htm#4">4</A>)
 
And another fruit of this journalistic habit was---The Memoirs
 
of a Revolutionist,&quot; by Prince Peter Kropotkin. In 1897 the
 
great Russian nihilist was lecturing in Boston. Page met him,
 
learned from his own lips his story, and persuaded him to put
 
it in permanent form. This willingness of Page to admit such a
 
revolutionary person into the pages of the <I>Atlantic</I> caused
 
some excitement in conventional circles. In fact, it did take
 
some courage, but Page never hesitated; the man was of heroic
 
mould, he had a great story to tell, he wielded an engaging pen,
 
and his purposes were high-minded. A great book of memoirs was
 
the result.
 
 
<br><br>Mr. Sedgwick refers above to Page's editorial fervour when
 
Miss Mary Johnston's &quot;Prisoners of Hope&quot; first fell
 
out of the blue sky into his Boston office. Page's joy was not
 
less keen because the young author was a Virginia girl, and because
 
she had discovered that the early period of Virginia history was
 
a field for romance. When, a few months afterward, Page was casting
 
about for an Atlantic serial, Miss Johnston and this Virginia
 
field seemed to be an especially favourable prospect. &quot;Prisoners
 
of Hope&quot; had been published as a book and had made a good
 
success, but Miss Johnston's future still lay ahead of her. With
 
Page to think meant to act, and so, instead of writing a formal
 
letter, he at once jumped on a train for Birmingham, Alabama,
 
where Miss Johnston was then living. &quot;I remember quite distinctly
 
that first meeting,&quot; writes Miss Johnston. &quot;The day
 
was rainy. Standing at my window I watched Mr. Page---a characteristic
 
figure, air and walk---approach the house. When a few minutes
 
later I met him he was simplicity and kindliness itself. This
 
was my first personal contact with publishers (my publishers)
 
or with editors of anything so great as the <I>Atlantic. </I>My
 
heart beat! But he was friendly and Southern. I told him what
 
I had done upon a new story. He was going on that night. Might
 
he take the manuscript with him and read it upon the train? It
 
might---he couldn't say positively, of course---but it might have
 
serial possibilities. I was only too glad for him to have the
 
manuscript. I forget just how many chapters I had completed. But
 
it was not quite in order. Could I get it so in a few hours? In
 
that case he would send a messenger for it from the hotel. Yes,
 
I could. Very good! A little further talk and he left with a strong
 
handshake. Three or four hours later he had the manuscript and
 
took it with him from Birmingham that night.&quot;
 
 
<br><br>Page's enterprising visit had put into his hands the half-finished
 
manuscript of a story, &quot;To Have and to Hold,&quot; which,
 
when printed in the <I>Atlantic, </I>more than doubled its circulation,
 
and which, when made into a book, proved one of the biggest successes
 
since &quot;Uncle Tom's Cabin.&quot;
 
 
<br><br>Page's most independent stroke in his <I>Atlantic </I>days
 
came with the outbreak of the Spanish-American War. Boston was
 
then the headquarters of a national mood which has almost passed
 
out of popular remembrance. Its spokesmen called themselves anti-imperialists.
 
The theory back of their protest was that the American declaration
 
of war on Spain was not only the wanton attack of a great bully
 
upon a feeble little country: it was something that was bound
 
to have deplorable consequences. The United States was breaking
 
with its past and engaging in European quarrels; as a consequence
 
of the war it would acquire territories and embark on a career
 
of &quot;imperialism.&quot; Page was impatient at this kind of
 
twaddle. He declared that the Spanish War was a &quot;necessary
 
act of surgery for the health of civilization.&quot; He did not
 
believe that a nation, simply because it was small, should be
 
permitted to maintain indefinitely a human slaughter house at
 
the door of the United States. The <I>Atlantic </I>for June, 1898,
 
gave the so-called anti-imperialists a thrill of horror. On the
 
cover appeared the defiantly flying American flag; the first article
 
was a vigorous and approving presentation of the American case
 
against Spain; though this was unsigned, its incisive style at
 
once betrayed the author. The <I>Atlantic </I>had printed the
 
American flag on its cover during the Civil War; but certain New
 
Englanders thought that this latest struggle, in its motives and
 
its proportions, was hardly entitled to the distinction. Page
 
declared, however, that the Spanish War marked a new period in
 
history; and he endorsed the McKinley Administration, not only
 
in the war itself, but in its consequences, particularly the annexation
 
of the Philippine Islands.
 
 
<br><br>Page greatly enjoyed life in Boston and Cambridge. The <I>Atlantic
 
</I>was rapidly growing in circulation and in influence, and the
 
new friends that its editor was making were especially to his
 
taste. He now had a family of four children, three boys and one
 
girl---and their bringing up and education, as he said at this
 
time, constituted his real occupation. So far as he could see,
 
in the summer of 1899, he was permanently established in life.
 
But larger events in the publishing world now again pulled him
 
hack to New York.
 
 
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  <br><br><FONT SIZE="+1"><IMG SRC="thumbnails/2b.gif" WIDTH="25" HEIGHT="24"
 
  ALIGN="MIDDLE" BORDER="0" ><A HREF="Page02.htm">Chapter
 
  Three</A></FONT>
 
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  ALIGN="MIDDLE" BORDER="0" ><A HREF="PageTC.htm#TC">Table
 
  of Contents</A></FONT>
 
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Revision as of 04:51, 26 November 2008

<TITLE>Burton J. Hendrick. The Life and Letters of Walter H. Page. 1922. Chapters 1-2.</TITLE> </HEAD> <BODY BGCOLOR="#ffffff">

<IMG SRC="images/sig.gif" WIDTH="288" HEIGHT="126" ALIGN="BOTTOM" BORDER="0" > <P ALIGN=CENTER>CHAPTER I <P ALIGN=CENTER>A RECONSTRUCTION BOYHOOD <P ALIGN=CENTER>I

THE earliest recollections of any man have great biographical interest, and this is especially the case with Walter Page, for not the least dramatic aspect of his life was that it spanned the two greatest wars in history. Page spent his last weeks in England, at Sandwich , on the coast of Kent; every day and every night he could hear the pounding of the great guns in France, as the Germans were making their last desperate attempt to reach Paris or the Channel ports. His memories of his childhood days in America were similarly the sights and sounds of war. Page was a North Carolina boy; he has himself recorded the impression that the Civil War left upon his mind.



"One day," he writes, "when the cotton fields were white and the elm leaves were falling, in the soft autumn of the Southern climate wherein the sky is fathomlessly clear, the locomotive's whistle blew a much longer time than usual as the train approached Millworth. It did not stop at so small a station except when there was somebody to get off or to get on, and so long a blast meant that someone was coming. Sam and I ran down the avenue of elms to see who it was. Sam was my Negro companion, philosopher, and friend. I was ten years old and Sam said that he was fourteen. There was constant talk about the war. Many men of the neighbourhood had gone away somewhere---that was certain; but Sam and I had a theory that the war was only a story. We had been fooled about old granny Thomas's bringing the baby and long ago we had been fooled also about Santa Claus. The war might be another such invention, and we sometimes suspected that it was. But we found out the truth that day, and for this reason it is among my clearest early recollections.

"For, when the train stopped, they put off a big box and gently laid it in the shade of the fence. The only man at the station was the man who had come to change the mail-bags; and he said that this was Billy Morris's coffin and that he had been killed in a battle. He asked us to stay with it till he could send word to Mr. Morris, who lived two miles away. The man came back presently and leaned against the fence till old Mr. Morris arrived, an hour or more later. The lint of cotton was on his wagon, for he was hauling his crop to the gin when the sad news reached him; and he came in his shirt sleeves, his wife on the wagon seat with him.

"All the neighbourhood gathered at the church, a funeral was preached and there was a long prayer for our success against the invaders, and Billy Morris was buried. I remember that I wept the more because it now seemed to me that my doubt about the war had somehow done Billy Morris an injustice. Old Mrs. Gregory wept more loudly than anybody else; and she kept saying, while the service was going on, 'It'll be my John next.' In a little while, sure enough, John Gregory's coffin was put off the train, as Billy Morris's had been, and I regarded her as a woman gifted with prophecy. Other coffins, too, were put off from time to time. About the war there could no longer be a doubt. And, a little later, its realities and horrors came nearer home to us, with swift, deep experiences.

"One day my father took me to the camp and parade ground ten miles away, near the capital. The General and the Governor sat on horses and the soldiers marched by them and the band played. They were going to the front. There surely must be a war at the front, I told Sam that night. Still more coffins were brought home, too, as the months and the years passed; and the women of the neighbourhood used to come and spend whole days with my mother, sewing for the soldiers. So precious became woollen cloth that every rag was saved and the threads were unravelled to be spun and woven into new fabrics. And they baked bread and roasted chickens and sheep and pigs and made cakes, all to go to the soldiers at the front."(<A NAME="n1"></A><A HREF="Pagenotes.htm#1">1</A>)



The quality that is uppermost in the Page stock, both in the past and in the present generation, is that of the builder and the pioneer. The ancestor of the North Carolina Pages was a Lewis Page, who, in the latter part of the eighteenth century, left the original American home in Virginia, and started life anew in what was then regarded as the less civilized country to the south. Several explanations have survived as to the cause of his departure, one being that his interest in the rising tide of Methodism had made him uncongenial to his Church of England relatives; in the absence of definite knowledge, however, it may safely be assumed that the impelling motive was that love of seeking out new things, of constructing a new home in the wilderness, which has never forsaken his descendants. His son, Anderson Page, manifesting this same love of change, went farther south into Wake County, and acquired a plantation of a thousand acres about twelve miles north of Raleigh. He cultivated this estate with slaves, sending his abundant crops of cotton and tobacco to Petersburg, Virginia, a traffic that made him sufficiently prosperous to give several of his sons a college education. The son who is chiefly interesting at the present time, Allison Francis Page, the father of the future Ambassador, did not enjoy this opportunity. This fact in itself gives an insight into his character. While his brothers were grappling with Latin and Greek and theology---one of them became a Methodist preacher of the hortatory type for which the South is famous---we catch glimpses of the older man battling with the logs in the Cape Fear River, or penetrating the virgin pine forest, felling trees and converting its raw material to the uses of a growing civilization. Like many of the Page breed, this Page was a giant in size and in strength, as sound morally and physically as the mighty forests in which a considerable part of his life was spent, brave, determined, aggressive, domineering almost to the point of intolerance, deeply religious and abstemious---a mixture of the frontiersman and the Old Testament prophet. Walter Page dedicated one of his books(<A NAME="n2"></A><A HREF="Pagenotes.htm#2">2</A>) to his father, in words that accurately sum up his character and career. "To the honoured memory of my father, whose work was work that built up the commonwealth." Indeed, Frank Page ---for this is the name by which he was generally known---spent his whole life in these constructive labours. He founded two towns in North Carolina, Cary and Aberdeen; in the City of Raleigh he constructed hotels and other buildings; his enterprising and restless spirit opened up Moore County---which includes the Pine region; he scattered his logging camps and his sawmills all over the face of the earth; and he constructed a railroad through the pine woods that made him a rich man.



Though he was not especially versed in the learning of the schools, Walter Page's father had a mind that was keen and far-reaching. He was a pioneer in politics as he was in the practical concerns of life. Though he was the son of slave-holding progenitors and even owned slaves himself, he was not a believer in slavery. The country that he primarily loved was not Moore County or North Carolina, but the United States of America. In politics he was a Whig, which meant that, in the years preceding the Civil War, he was opposed to the extension of slavery and did not regard the election of Abraham Lincoln as a sufficient provocation for the secession of the Southern States. It is therefore not surprising that Walter Page, in the midst of the London turmoil of 1916, should have found his thoughts reverting to his father as he remembered him in Civil War days. That gaunt figure of America's time of agony proved an inspiration and hope in the anxieties that assailed the Ambassador. "When our Civil War began," wrote Page to Col. Edward M. House---the date was November 24, 1916, one of the darkest days for the Allied cause---"every man who had a large and firm grip on economic facts foresaw how it would end---not when but how. Young as I was, I recall a conversation between my father and the most distinguished judge of his day in North Carolina. They put down on one side the number of men in the Confederate States, the number of ships, the number of manufactures, as nearly as they knew, the number of skilled workmen, the number of guns, the aggregate of wealth and of possible production. On the other side they put down the best estimate they could make of all these things in the Northern States. The Northern States made two (or I shouldn't wonder if it were three) times as good a showing in men and resources as the Confederacy had. 'Judge,' said my father, 'this is the most foolhardy enterprise that man ever undertook.' But Yancey of Alabama was about that time making five-hour speeches to thousands of people all over the South, declaring that one Southerner could whip five Yankees, and the awful slaughter began and darkened our childhood and put all our best men where they would see the sun no more. Our people had at last to accept worse terms than they could have got at the beginning. This World War, even more than our Civil War, is an economic struggle. Put down on either side the same items that my father and the judge put down and add the items up. You will see the inevitable result."



If we are seeking an ancestral explanation for that moral ruggedness, that quick perception of the difference between right and wrong, that unobscured vision into men and events, and that deep devotion to America and to democracy which formed the fibre of Walter Page's being, we evidently need look no further than his father. But the son had qualities which the older man did not possess---an enthusiasm for literature and learning, a love of the beautiful in Nature and in art, above all a gentleness of temperament and of manner. These qualities he held in common with his mother. On his father's side Page was undiluted English; on his mother's he was French and English. Her father was John Samuel Raboteau, the descendant of Huguenot refugees who had fled from France on the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes; her mother was Esther Barclay, a member of a family which gave the name of Barclaysville to a small town half way between Raleigh and Fayetteville, North is a member of this tribe to whom Page once referred a the "vigorous Barclay who held her receptions to notable men in her bedroom during the years of her bedridden condition." She was the proprietor of the "Half Way House," a tavern located between Fayetteville and Raleigh; and in her old age she kept royal state, in the fashion which Page describes, for such as were socially entitled to this consideration. The most vivid impression which her present-day descendants retain is that of her fervent devotion to the Southern cause. She carried the spirit of secession to such an extreme that she had the gate to her yard painted to give a complete presentment of the Confederate Flag. Walter Page's mother, the granddaughter of this determined and rebellious lady, had also her positive quality, but in a somewhat more subdued form. She did not die until 1897, and so the recollection of her is fresh and vivid. As a mature woman she was undemonstrative and soft spoken; a Methodist of old-fashioned Wesleyan type, she dressed with a Quaker-like simplicity, her brown hair brushed flatly down upon a finely shaped head and her garments destitute of ruffles or ornamentation. The home which she directed was a home without playing cards or dancing or smoking or wine-bibbing or other worldly frivolities, yet the memories of her presence which Catherine Page has left are not at all austere. Duty was with her the prime consideration of life, and fundamental morals the first conceptions which she instilled in her children's growing minds, yet she had a quiet sense of humour and a real love of fun.



She had also strong likes and dislikes, and was not especially hospitable to men and women who fell under her disapproval. A small North Carolina town, in the years preceding and following the Civil War, was not a fruitful soil for cultivating an interest in things intellectual, yet those who remember Walter Page's mother remember her always with a book in her hand. She would read at her knitting and at her miscellaneous household duties, which were rather arduous in the straitened days that followed the war, and the books she read were always substantial ones. Perhaps because her son Walter was in delicate health, perhaps because his early tastes and temperament were not unlike her own, perhaps because he was her oldest surviving child, the fact remains that, of a family of eight, he was generally regarded as the child with whom she was especially sympathetic. The picture of mother and son in those early days is an altogether charming one. Page's mother was only twenty-four when he was horn; she retained her youth for many years after that event, and during his early childhood, in appearance and manner, she was little more than a girl. When Walter was a small boy, he and his mother used to take long walks in the woods, sometimes spending the entire day, fishing along the brooks, hunting wild flowers, now and then pausing while the mother read pages of Dickens or of Scott. These experiences Page never forgot. Nearly all his letters to his mother---to whom, even in his busiest days in New York, he wrote constantly---have been accidentally destroyed, but a few scraps indicate the close spiritual bond that existed between the two. Always he seemed to think of his mother as young. Through his entire life, in whatever part of the world he might be, and however important was the work in which he might be engaged, Page never failed to write her a long and affectionate letter at Christmas.



"Well, I've gossiped a night or two"---such is the conclusion of his Christmas letter of 1893 when Page was thirty-eight, with a growing family of his own---"till I've filled the paper---all such little news and less nonsense as most gossip and most letters are made of. But it is for you to read between the lines. That's where the love lies, dear mother. I wish you were here Christmas; we should welcome you as nobody else in the world can be welcomed. But wherever you are and though all the rest have the joy of seeing you, which is denied to me, never a Christmas comes but I feel as near you as I did years and years ago when we were young. (In those years big fish bit in old Wiley Bancom's pond by the railroad: they must have been two inches long!)---I would give a year's growth to have the pleasure of having you here. You may be sure that every one of my children along with me will look with an added reverence toward the picture on the wall that greets me every morning, when we have our little Christmas frolics---the picture that little Katharine points to and says 'That's my grandmudder.'---The years, as they come, every one, deepen my gratitude to you, as I better and better understand the significance of life and every one adds to an affection that was never small. God bless you.

"WALTER."



Such were the father and mother of Walter Hines Page; they were married at Fayetteville, North Carolina, July 5, 1849; two children who preceded Walter died in infancy. The latter was born at Cary, August 15, 1855. Cary was a small village which Frank Page had created; in honour of the founder it was for several years known as Page's Station; the father himself changed the name to Cary, as a tribute to a temperance orator who caused something of a commotion in the neighbourhood in the early seventies. Cary was not then much of a town and has not since become one; but it was placed amid the scene of important historical events. Page's home was, "almost the last stopping place of Sherman's army on its march through Georgia and the Carolinas, and the Confederacy came to an end, with Johnston's surrender of the last Confederate Army, at Durham, only fifteen miles from his native village. Walter, a boy of ten, his brother Robert, aged six, and the negro "companion" Tance---who figures as Sam in the extract quoted above---stood at the second-story window and watched Sherman's soldiers pass their house, in hot pursuit of General "Joe" Wheeler's cavalry. The thing that most astonished the children was the vast size of the army, which took all day to file by their home. They had never realized that either of the fighting forces could embrace such great numbers of men. Nor did the behaviour of the invading troops especially endear them to their unwilling hosts. Part of the cavalry encamped in the Page yard; their horses ate the bark off the mimosa trees; an army corps built its campfires under the great oaks, and cut their emblems on the trunks; the officers took possession of the house, a colonel making his headquarters in the parlour. Several looting cavalrymen ran their swords through the beds, probably looking for hidden silver; the hearth was torn up in the same feverish quest; angry at their failure, they emptied sacks of flour and scattered the contents in the bedrooms and on the stairs; for days the flour, intermingled with feathers from the bayonetted beds, formed. a carpet all over the house. It is therefore perhaps not strange that the feelings which Walter entertained for Sherman's "bummers," despite his father's Whig principles, were those of most Southern communities. One day a kindly Northern soldier, sympathizing with the boy because of the small rations left for the local population, invited him to join the officers' mess at dinner. Walter drew proudly back.



"I'll starve before I'll eat with the Yankees," he said.



"I slept that night on a trundle bed by my mother's," Page wrote years afterward, describing these early scenes, "for her room was the only room left for the family, and we had all lived there since the day before. The dining room and the kitchen were now superfluous, because there was nothing more to cook or to eat. . . . A week or more after the army corps had gone, I drove with my father to the capital one day, and almost every mile of the journey we saw a blue coat or a gray coat lying by the road, with bones or hair protruding---the unburied and the forgotten of either army. Thus I had come to know what war was, and death by violence was among the first deep impressions made on my mind. My emotions must have been violently dealt with and my sensibilities blunted---or sharpened? Who shall say? The wounded and the starved straggled home from hospitals and from prisons. There was old Mr. Sanford, the shoemaker, come back again, with a body so thin and a step so uncertain that I expected to see him fall to pieces. Mr. Larkin and Joe Tatum went on crutches; and I saw a man at the post-office one day whose cheek and ear had been torn away by a shell. Even when Sam and I sat on the river-bank fishing, and ought to have been silent lest the fish swim away, we told over in low tones the stories that we had heard of wounds and of deaths and of battles.

"But there was the cheerful gentleness of my mother to draw my thoughts to different things. I can even now recall many special little plans that she made to keep my mind from battles. She hid the military cap that I had worn. She bought from me my military buttons and put them away. She would call me in and tell me pleasant stories of her own childhood. She would put down her work to make puzzles with me, and she read gentle books to me and kept away from me all the stories of the war and of death that she could. Whatever hardships befell her (and they must have been many) she kept a tender manner of resignation and of cheerful patience.

"After a while the neighbourhood came to life again. There were more widows, more sonless mothers, more empty sleeves and wooden legs than anybody there had ever seen before. But the mimosa bloomed, the cotton was planted again, and the peach trees blossomed; and the barnyard and the stable again became full of life. For, when the army marched away, they, too, were as silent as an old battlefield. The last hen had been caught under the corn-crib by a 'Yankee' soldier, who had torn his coat in this brave raid. Aunt Maria told Sam that all Yankees were chicken thieves whether they 'brung freedom or no.'

"Every year the cotton bloomed and ripened and opened white to the sun; for the ripening of the cotton and the running of the river and the turning of the mills make the thread not of my story only but of the story of our Southern land---of its institutions, of its misfortunes and of its place in the economy of the world; and they will make the main threads of its story, I am sure, so long as the sun shines on our white fields and the rivers run---a story that is now rushing swiftly into a happier narrative of a broader day. The same women who had guided the spindles in war-time were again at their tasks---they at least were left; but the machinery was now old and worked ill. Negro men, who had wandered a while looking for an invisible 'freedom,' came back and went to work on the farm from force of habit. They now received wages and bought their own food. That was the only apparent difference that freedom had brought them.

"My Aunt Katharine came from the city for a visit, my Cousin Margaret with her. Through the orchard, out, into the newly ploughed ground beyond, back over the lawn which was itself bravely repairing the hurt done by horses' hoofs and tent-poles, and under the oaks, which bore the scars of camp-fires, we two romped and played gentler games than camp and battle. One afternoon, as our mothers sat on the piazza and saw us come loaded with apple-blossoms, they said something (so I afterward learned) about the eternal blooming of childhood and of Nature---how sweet the early summer was in spite of the harrying of the land by war; for our gorgeous pageant of the seasons came on as if the earth had been the home of unbroken peace. (<A NAME="n3"></A><A HREF="Pagenotes.htm#3">3</A>)

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