20 OVERHEARD IN SEVILLE
something entirely different." How surprising this is in view of the fact that he was
famous for his intense concentration on his work. Henry talked about certain chapters
in Scepticism and Animal Faith. I wish I could remember what Santayana said. What
I do remember telling him is the deep impression of his words on the subject of
tolerance: "you can't blame fish for liking to live in water." And I thanked him and
thanked him again for his piece on Dickens. Since childhood I'd loved Dickens, and I
had often been taunted by friends when I grew up, about his "foolish sentimentalism."
Oscar Wilde said: "It takes a heart of stone not to laugh at the death of little Nell." Well,
Santayana on Dickens has given me powerful arnmunition against such attackers. I wish
I could remember more. Oh, yes — at one point he said: "I have no metaphysics. Heave
that to the men of science."
We could have stayed for hours, but it was clear at some point that the time had
come to go.
He was handsome, stood straight, his face only faintly lined; a lovely smile;
wonderful eyes, kind but searching; a firm, warm hand clasp. I said to myself:
"Goodbye, Santayana, I'll never forget you." , f :n
Well, I've told you more about what I said than about what he said, but I hope that
in some slight way these reminiscences will offer another aspect of the personality of
Wishing you all success in your work,
Dust Jacket Picture of the Aged Santayana
There is something in the shrouding starch of clean linen,
A safety in the loose cocoon of his expensive suiting,
His cane propped in the swan shape of the arthritic hand,
The elegance of an undecayed preparation for death.
Mostly, however, it is the old man's clean white hat
Unfingered upon his creased, frivolous knees
That suggests he waits for no particular shape,
Nor thinks of any crowning glory but his own.