Commentary

Disciples


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Tuesday, June 4, 1889

     8 P.M. W. sitting out of doors, talking, as I approached, with Mrs. George Whitman, with whom he seemed to advise about some sewing. I sent to Garland today for his undelivered speech of last Friday, which I design to print in the little book. W. expressed his gladness that I had done so. W. spoke of his own speech as "the least of the lot—without any significance or importance whatever. But I could not have gone there and said nothing—been quiet altogether. Out of respect to all the others I was bound to show myself, to say a word." He had, he said, "messages both from Kennedy and Bucke today. Both of them speak about the posthumous O'Connor book—like it, of course. Kennedy says he has seen something about it in the Transcript. He had "not yet seen the paper I sent him—I think Sunday." W. is very much interested in the pamphlet pertaining to the birthday. He asked amusingly tonight: "Well, how does 'Camden's Compliment' come on?"—adding: "Would it not be an idea to issue it, say in ten days or so? Though I suppose it can't quite be done in that time."

     Had laid out "the Laughing Philosopher" picture for me to take. "It is upstairs, at the foot of the bed: you will find it there—and with it Current Literature, which I have read through from beginning to end." Said he had read Huneker's piece in the Home Journal. "It is very warm—very. These things are getting to be invariable now. I get letters almost daily—many of them—and all to the same effect. They are

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like a whole fleet of ships, bearing down upon you. It recalls a Greek proverb which warns you, when all is grown so kind, to beware lest something is on the wind!"
But as to being spoiled: "I am not in much danger of that. A man who has had my career is safe against the like. Now, in these late days, as I look back upon the past, I can see that, in a sense, my misfortunes have been my fortunes—that it must have been altogether right for me to have travelled a rough, hard road—so to be tested, at last secured!"

     He was very anxious to make sure of the printing of Tom's speech in full. "You have a good copy of it?" he asked; and then suggested that I bring it down and let him read it, which I promised to do. W. said: "We did not go to the river today, but out towards the hospital—and had a good time." It had been a good trip, and he felt better for it. Since the banquet he had felt unusually well— "as if I had by that occasion been given a new lease." I paid Ferguson's bill today, and now gave W. the receipt. He spoke again, therefore, of the pocket edition—its satisfactoriness. "The printing was a bad job, I know, but then I have not lost sleep or meal in worrying over it. It is, however, disappointing, especially when we consider that we gave him carte blanche—stinted him in no way. Think, too, of the books we get from all quarters—particularly abroad: but in America, too—the handsome Emerson book for instance—brilliantly printed, almost; and then the magazines, too—especially the Century: perfect, nearly, in its registering, inking, impression."

     Referred to a story Scovel had told him once "with great unction" "It was always so funny to me—to think of a thief—Jim would tell it characteristically, rebuking others as bad, in a band of thieves— 'Money?—Money?—Why, money is sacred, boys'—something like that. It was irresistible.' I put in: "And more so, coming from Jim himself!" Whereat W. responded with a great laugh: "Sure enough,—Jim himself!"


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