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Source: Letters and Writings of James Greenleaf Croswell
Source type: book
Document type: letter
Document title: none
Author(s): Croswell, James Greenleaf
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Place of publication: Boston, Massachusetts
Year of publication: 1917
Pagination: 87-88

Croswell, James Greenleaf. [untitled]. Letters and Writings of James Greenleaf Croswell. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1917: pp. 87-88.
full text of letter; excerpt of book
James Greenleaf Croswell (correspondence); James Greenleaf Croswell; William McKinley (death: public response: New York, NY); William McKinley (mourning); McKinley memorial services (New York, NY).
Named persons
Ludwig van Beethoven; Frédéric Chopin; Letitia Brace Croswell [identified as Leta below]; Percy S. Grant; William McKinley; Felix Mendelssohn.
Alternate book title: Letters and Writings of James Greenleaf Croswell, Late Master of the Brearley School in New York.



NEW YORK, September 19, 1901.     

     DEAR LETA:—This is four o’clock Thursday. It is a strange day. It is like Sunday; nothing going on in the city, which is covered with emblems of mourning. I walked up Broadway this morning, to see the curious and historic sight. But the most obvious sign of mourning was the complete stoppage of life in the street. Idle and still men and women, and few or no wagons. It all culminated at half-past three, when all the cars stopped, and everybody stood still, many taking off their hats. All sounds ceased. It was an awful silence broken only by—what do you think? Children’s voices. Out of all that sudden silence of all other noise the chatter of children came like a baby talking in church. I have never been so [87][88] moved by anything in sublime music as by that sudden silence. It gave me creeps. You don’t know what New York is like when all noise stops. What a great tribute to take to the silent land with you, McKinley has received.
     I went to Percy Grant’s church this morning and we heard a very sweet and dignified sermon from him and much sweet music.
     I really am almost glad you are not here. It is too sad a day for you. I’m sure you could not have heard the singing without crying hard. Many people were crying to the great, rolling sound of the McKinley Hymn as it has become our National Hymn to-day.
     Last night the armory band played hymns all the evening, ending with the drums and fifes and bugles playing “Taps”—the signal for the camp to go to sleep.—I wonder if you know that weird music.
     Chopin’s, Beethoven’s, Mendelssohn’s Funeral Marches one hears all the time.
     But there was nothing like that silence after all. The bottom fell out of this world. It was the Dies Iræ.



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