Saturday, August 14, 2021

the last book I ever read (Truman by David McCullough, excerpt four)

from Truman by David McCullough:

His years at the National Bank of Commerce were 1903 to 1905. Two months after he went to work came the stunning news that Bessie Wallace’s father, David Wallace, one of the best-known men in Independence, had committed suicide. The story was in the papers. At first light the morning of June 17, while his family still slept, he had gotten up from bed, taking care not to disturb his wife, dressed fully, took a revolver from a dresser, and walked down the hall to the bathroom where, standing in the middle of the floor, he placed the muzzle of the gun behind his left ear and fired. He was forty-three years old and had, in the words of the Jackson Examiner, “an attractiveness about him that was natural and spontaneous.” In addition to his wife, Madge Gates Wallace, and Bessie, age eighteen, he was survived by three sons, ranging in age from sixteen to three. He left no note.

“Why should such a man take his own life?” asked the Examiner. “It is a question we who loved him are unable to answer….” Included also in the story was the gruesome detail that the bullet had passed through his head and landed in the bathtub.

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