By Leonard Unger
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Additional info for American Writers, Volume 1
He had ceased to consider himself a historian. He was simply a student of the universe, an asker of questions, a humble seeker after knowledge who hoped to have a peek into the essential nature of man and matter before he died. This picture of a small, gruff gentleman, poking about the planet and asking questions of every sphinx, is the character, of course, that he himself was to make the subject of The Education of Henry Adams. Among Adams' intimates was Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, who had been one of his students at Harvard.
Might Adams not be a Gray Eminence? He had always maintained that a friend in power was a friend lost, but this cynical observation had to be modified to except the case of Hay, whose gentle, affectionate, and loyal disposition was proof against all strains of high political life. Also, Hay was an ill man who held on to the office which finally killed him only at the promptings of duty. A necessary relaxation was his daily walk with Adams, after which Mrs. Hay would give them tea. If Adams, according to Hay, could "growl and tease" in "hours of ease," he could also be a "ministering angel" in times of anguish.
What struck him most in the Mount was that its character was more military than religious. He was fascinated by Senator Lodge's enthusiasm for it. Adams had not anticipated much from his friend as a sightseer. Lodge, he had been afraid, would visit the dreary old capitals of Europe as though he was still twenty and as though Napoleon III was still reigning. Now, however, Lodge returned to the enthusiasm that he had manifested as a student under Adams at Harvard, and lectured the party brilliantly on the construction and fortifications of the monastery.
American Writers, Volume 1 by Leonard Unger