The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.XII. Henry James
§ 7. Residence Abroad
In 1870 died the person to whom James refers with the greatest personal affection, his cousin Mary Temple, the model for Milly Theale in The Wings of the Dove, as he tells us, and also—as we guess—for Isabel Archer of The Portrait of a Lady and more than one other of his loveliest American women. Of her death he says “we felt it together as the end of our youth.” So far he brings the family record in his Notes of a Son and Brother (1914). Meanwhile in 1869 occurred the visit to London recorded in The Middle Years. To 1872 belongs a perhaps equally memorable visit to Italy. And from that time forward until his death, 28 February, 1916, he lived abroad; during the first years largely in Italy and France (“inimitable France” and “incomparable Italy”), and then, from about the year 1880, in the England of his adoption—making his bachelor home in London or in the old Cinque Port of Rye. But he continued almost to the end to publish his novels and tales in the great American magazines, so that his first appeal was generally to the public here.
Evidences of the honour in which he was held in England were the Order of Merit conferred upon him at New Year’s, 1916; and his portrait by Sargent, undertaken on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, at the invitation of some two hundred and fifty English friends. At the outbreak of the War, none was more enthusiastic for the cause of the Allies, which was associated with everything he held most precious. His feeling for England at this time, on looking out across the channel from his Sussex home, is described in what is perhaps his latest piece of writing, Within the Rim, published in the Fortnightly Review in August, 1917. It has been said that his mortal illness was provoked by the vigour with which he took up the work of relief for suffering Belgium and France.