Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, July 4, 1888.

     Evening, 7.30. W. stood the noise today heroically. Sitting talking with Mrs. Davis. He was urging her to go and see the fireworks. She dissented. Baker not about. She spoke of the danger from fire. He laughed. [See indexical note p419.3] "That is very funny, Mary—very funny. It makes me think of a story I once heard of a Bridget whose mistress found her weeping bitterly before a roaring big fireplace. 'What is the matter with you, Bridget?' asked the mistress, and Bridget, still weeping, said: 'O mum, it's just this way: I might be after marrying Pat and we might have three or four children around and Oh the brats might fall into the fire and be burned to death!' That seems like you, Mary—anticipating trouble. Now that Horace is here I am secure enough for you. Go out—go out—see what you can see—

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enjoy yourself."
Turning to me: "Mary thinks men ain't much use for taking care of themselves nohow. I am keen about all that myself—jealous of my right to fall down and break my neck if I choose."

     He called my attention to the medallions, duly signed, tied up, with a label on the outside designating them as my property. [See indexical note p420.1] I read him a Morse letter received today. Morse had much to say on politics. W. demurred. "I don't seem to get up any steam—nothing has occurred to enthuse me. The Harrison boom is nearly done for—it came too soon: tired itself out before the campaign had got under way." Clifford in with me. W. alluded to Bar Harbor. Clifford said: "It is a place for the thrifty." [See indexical note p420.2] W. added: "For the thrifty—yes: that sort of thrifty: it is an affair of electric bells, cottages, swell dinners, and all the damnation that goes along with such." Working over the Hicks headline. "I want to show that it is disjecta membra rather than a pretentious study: notes off hand set down with no attempt to put them into sequence." [See indexical note p420.3] Clifford said to W.: "You will get well?" W. answering: "I guess so—but if I don't it will still be all right. I've arranged it with Horace here that we are not to worry over trifles." Laughed lightly.

     W. has not seemed to like Frank Harned's pictures. Why? "I don't know why—never do. I have feelings about things. nothing more. [See indexical note p420.4] I try and try and try again, and then try all over if necessary, until the approvable result is secured. I could not tell how to get it, but I can recognize my own when it appears." Clifford had waited down stairs until I told W. he was there. "Clifford must come up," said W.— "Come right away: he belongs to our church—we will let him in on the front bench: that's a great stretch of courtesy from us to a minister." [See indexical note p420.5] Clifford said when this was repeated to him: "I don't know whether to accept that as a pleasant or an unpleasant tender of grace." W.

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laughed. "Do as the fellow did who unexpectedly found himself in heaven. He didn't ask himself whether he deserved it—he just kept quiet and stayed."

      [See indexical note p421.1] W. told us a reporter had been sent over from a Philadelphia paper today to ask him "a few leading questions," W. adding as he laughed: "only a few—just a few." Had he consented to be interviewed? "No—I sent him down my picture—told him I was in no shape for the encounter—whereupon he left, not altogether satisfied, they told me, with the result of his mission." [See indexical note p421.2] His old Bible lay opened face down on the table in front of him. Near his chair on a pile of papers on the floor was Ivanhoe, also laid over on its opened face. Had he been reading? "Some—only some—not much. I seem to go back to the old things sometimes. There's a lot occurring in the world of books these days that I do not seem to understand: no doubt the young fellows coming up are preparing to go still farther on—still on. [See indexical note p421.3] I am not out of sympathy—not doubtful of their demonstration: only, I am unable physically to keep up with them." W. questioned Clifford concerning his church work. Some talk about the book.

     W. in affable mood and seemed more or less at ease. "I did not expect to survive the noise of the Fourth but here I am, safe and sound—even my head is pretty natural. You know," turning to Clifford, "my head sometimes beats like a drum, even when nothing is going on outside. With the infernal turmoil raised by the boys—their firecrackers—added, I looked forward to today with terror. Somehow, I feel better instead of worse." I had been in at the house once in the forenoon for a bit in the midst of the racket. [See indexical note p421.4] He seemed then to be taking everything as a matter of course.

     W. asked me: "Do you think you assimilate all the memoranda I turn over to you?" I did not answer at once. Then he answered for me. "I think you do: if I didn't

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think that I should hesitate about continuing our partnership. You will be called on many a time in the future to bear witness—to quote these days, our work together, the talks, anxieties—the victories, defeats. [See indexical note p422.1] Whatever we do, we must let our history tell the truth: whatever becomes of us, tell the truth. My quarrel with the most of what purports to be history is that it is not history at all. I said to Doctor when he was here: 'Maurice, you put too much emphasis upon my part in the scheme: you may be sure the deal would go through even if I was not a party to it.' Maurice is just a little too much inclined to take my measure too large."


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