Sample G54 from Mabel Wolfe Wheaton and LeGette Blythe, Thomas Wolfe and His Family. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1961. Pp. 202-207. A part of the XML version of the Brown Corpus2,022 words 188 (9.3%) quotesG54

Copyright 1961 by Doubleday & Company, Inc., Reprinted by permission

Mabel Wolfe Wheaton and LeGette Blythe, Thomas Wolfe and His Family. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1961. Pp. 202-207.

Typographical Error: Carneigie [0740]

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When Fred wheeled him back into his room , the big one looking out on the back porch , and put him to bed , Papa told him he was very tired but that he had enjoyed greatly the trip downtown . `` I've been cooped up so long '' , he added . Getting out again , seeing old friends , had given his spirits a lift .

That night after supper I went back over to 48 Spruce Street -- Ralph and I at that time were living at 168 Chestnut -- and Ralph went with me . Papa was still elated over his afternoon visit downtown . `` Baby , I saw a lot of old friends I hadn't seen in a long time '' , he told me , his eyes bright . `` It was mighty good for the old man to get out again '' .

The next day he seemed to be in fairly good shape and still in excellent spirits . But a few days after Fred's return he began hemorrhaging and that was the beginning of early and complete disintegration . It began in the morning , and very quickly the hemorrhage was a massive one . We got Dr. Glenn to him as quickly as we could , and we wired Tom of Papa's desperate condition . The hemorrhage was in the prostate region ; ; Dr. Glenn saw at once what had happened .

`` He has lost much blood '' , he said . `` It'll take a lot to replace it '' .

`` Dr. Glenn , I've got a lot of blood '' , Fred spoke up , `` plenty of it . Let me give Papa blood '' .

The doctor agreed , but explained that it would be necessary first to check Fred's blood to ascertain whether or not it was of the same type as Papa's . To give a patient the wrong type of blood , said the doctor , would likely kill him .

That was in the days before blood banks , of course , and transfusions had to be given directly from donor to patient . One had to find a donor , and usually very quickly , whose blood corresponded with the patient's . And then it took considerably longer to make preparations for giving transfusions . They had to take blood samples to the laboratory to test them , for one thing , and there was much required preliminary procedure .

They made the tests and came to Fred ; ; by now it was perhaps two days or longer after Papa had begun hemorrhaging .

`` Fred , your blood matches your father's , all right '' , Dr. Glenn said . `` But we aren't going to let you give him any '' .

`` But why in the name of God can't I give my father blood '' ? ? Fred demanded . `` Why can't I , Doctor '' ? ?

`` Because , Fred , it could do him no good . It's too late now . He's past helping . He's as good as gone '' .

And in a few minutes Papa was dead . It was well past midnight . Papa had left us about the same hour of the night that Ben had passed on . The date was June 20 , 1922 .

`` W. O. Wolfe , prominent business man and pioneer resident of this section , died shortly after midnight Tuesday at his home 48 Spruce Street '' , the Asheville Times of Wednesday , June 21 , announced . `` Mr. Wolfe had been in declining health for many years and death was not unexpected '' . A biographical sketch followed .

Funeral services were held Thursday afternoon at four o'clock at the home . Beloved Dr. R. F. Campbell , our First Presbyterian Church pastor , was in charge . The burial was out in Riverside Cemetery . All about him stood tombstones his own sensitive great hands had fashioned .

A few years before his death Papa had agreed with Mama to make a joint will with her in which it would be provided that in the event of the death of either of them an accounting would be made to their children whereby each child would receive a bequest of $5000 cash . At his death Fred and Ralph , my husband , were named executors of the estate under the terms of the will .

Fred and Ralph qualified as executors and paid off what debts were currently due , and they were all current , since Papa was never one to allow bills to go unpaid . The bills were principally for hospitalization and doctors' fees during the last years of his life , and when he died he owed in the main only current doctor's bills . After they had paid all his debts and the funeral costs , Ralph and Fred had some fourteen thousand dollars , as I remember , with which to pay the bequests . This , manifestly , would not provide $5000 to each of the surviving five children .

So what Fred and Ralph did was to attempt to prorate the money fairly by taking into account what each of the five had received , if anything , from the estate before Papa's death . Consequently , Fred and Tom , the two who had been provided college educations , signed statements to the effect that each had received his bequest in full , and Effie and I were each allotted $5000 . Frank had been given about half his legacy to use in a business venture before Papa's death ; ; he was given the difference between that amount and $5000 . Tom had received four years of education at the University of North Carolina and two at Harvard , and Fred had been in and out of Georgia Tech and Carneigie Tech and part of the time had been a self-help student . So , because he had received less than Tom , it was felt proper that Fred should receive the few hundred dollars that remained . And that's how Papa's estate was divided .

Papa , I should emphasize , had been an invalid the last several years of his life ; ; his hospital and doctor bills had been large and his income had been cut until he was receiving little except small rentals on some properties he still owned . Had he been able to escape this long siege of invalidism , I'm convinced , Papa would have left a sizable estate . But he had succeeded well , we agreed . He had left us a legacy far more valuable than houses and lands and stocks and bonds .

For years Papa and Mama had been large taxpayers . I recall that several years their taxes exceeded $800 . In those years of lower property valuations and lower tax rates , that payment represented ownership of much property .

`` Merciful God , Julia '' ! ! I have known Papa to exclaim on getting his tax bill , `` we're going to the dogs '' ! !

But he never expected to do that . And he didn't , by a long shot ! !

35 .

In the spring of his second year at Harvard , Tom had been offered a job at Northwestern University as an instructor in the English Department . But he had delayed accepting this job , and as he was leaving to come home to Papa in response to our telegram , he dropped a postcard to Miss McCrady , head of the Harvard Appointment Office , asking her please to write Northwestern authorities and explain the circumstances .

Actually Tom had been postponing giving them an answer , I'm confident , because he did not want to go out there to teach . In fact , he didn't want to teach anywhere . He wanted to go back to Harvard for another year of playwriting . But Papa's death had further complicated the financing of Tom's hoped-for third year , and for the weeks following it Tom did not know whether his return to Harvard could be arranged .

But things were worked out in the family and late in August he wrote Miss McCrady an explanatory letter in which he told her that matters at home had been in an unsettled condition after Papa's death and he had not known whether he would stay at home with Mama , accept the Northwestern job , or return to Harvard . But he was happy to tell her that his finances were now in such condition that he could go back to Harvard for a third year with Professor Baker .

And that's what he did . That third year he wrote plays with a fury . I believe there are seventeen short plays by Tom now housed in the Houghton Library at Harvard ; ; I think I'm right in that figure . That fall he submitted to Professor Baker the first acts and outlines of the following acts of several plays , six of them , according to some of his associates , and he also worked on a play that he first called Niggertown , the material for which he had collected during the summer at home . Later this play would be called Welcome To Our City . In the spring , it must have been , he began working on the play that he called The House , which later would be Mannerhouse . That spring Welcome To Our City was selected for production by the 47 Workshop and it was staged in the middle of May . It ran two nights , and though it was generally praised , there was considerable criticism of its length . It ran until past one o'clock . That was Tom's weakness ; ; it was demonstrated , many critics would later point out , in the length of his novels . In this play there were so many characters and so much detail . Tom never knew how to condense , to boil down . He was always concerned with life , and he tried to picture it whole ; ; he wanted nothing compressed , tight . He was a big man , and he wanted nothing little , squeezed ; ; he despised parsimony , and particularly of words . In this play there were some thirty or more named characters and I don't know how many more unnamed . In describing it to Professor Baker after it had been chosen for production , he defended his great array of characters by declaring that he had included that many not because `` I didn't know how to save paint '' , but because the play required them . And he threatened someday to write a play `` with fifty , eighty , a hundred people -- a whole town , a whole race , a whole epoch '' . He said he would do it , though probably nobody would produce it , for his own `` soul's ease and comfort '' .

That summer Tom attended the summer session at Harvard , but he did not ask Mama to send him back in the fall . Instead , he went down to New York and submitted Welcome To Our City to the Theatre Guild , which had asked him to let them have a look at it after Professor Baker had recommended it highly . He hung around New York , waiting to hear whether they would accept it for production and in that time came down to Asheville and also paid a short visit to Chapel Hill , where with almost childish delight he visited old friends and favorite campus spots . On returning to New York he had a job for several weeks ; ; it was visiting University of North Carolina alumni in New York to ask them for contributions to the Graham Memorial Building fund . The Graham Memorial would be the campus student union honoring the late and much beloved Edward Kidder Graham , who had been president when Tom entered the university .

Well , the Theatre Guild kept that play , and kept it , and finally in December they turned it down . But they would reconsider it , they assured him , if he would rewrite it . Tom told me about it , how one evening he went over to see the Theatre Guild man . This man , Tom said , had the play shut up in his desk , I believe , and when Tom sat down , he pulled it out and apologetically told Tom that they wouldn't be able to use it .

Tom said he almost burst into tears , he was so disappointed and put out . The man , Tom said , explained that it was not only too long and detailed but that as it stood it wasn't the sort of thing the public wanted . The public , Tom said the man told him , wanted realism , and his play wasn't that . It was fantastic writing , beautiful writing , the man declared , but the public , he insisted , wanted realism .

Tom was not willing to revise the play according to the plan the man suggested . Such a revision , he said , would ruin it , would change his whole conception of the play as well as the treatment . He thought about it and he told the man he just couldn't do it over in accordance with the suggestions he had made .