Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, January 1, 1890

     1.30 P.M. W. in his room reading The Ledger. Said there was no sign of his poem yet. "Have you caught it?" he asked. He had read the Gladstone-Blaine controversy in The North American Review about the tariff. "Gladstone does not appear to great advantage as a controversialist. I can see that Blaine might knock him out on that line. Yet the arguments for protection are mainly special pleading. I see some one wants a duty put on bananas: that seems laughable, but I see in it the gist of the whole matter." Then referred to Gladstone's age— "Eighty! Oh! a great age! And Whittier 82—and Tennyson 80!"

     Spoke of the New Year's noises. "That's the average nigger's,

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average man's, boy's, idea of amusement, to make a big howl—and they succeed in doing it, generally."
Asked about the appearance of the Philadelphia streets, and was much amused with what I saw of the midnight orgies, so to speak, on Chestnut Street.

     I asked him for Sarrazin's exact number for Stockley. W. thereupon, as he took up his memorandum book and looked for it: "Did you know that Troyon was the name of an artist?—a famous artist?—as famous as any? They have a way there in France"—evidently having Millet in mind— "of ignoring their men till they are dead—then making a devil of a noise about them." I asked: "But do they not do this everywhere?" "Oh yes! and being done is well done, too: it is a consuming force—gets rid of the fellow who puts his foot in it!"

     Today he had received his copy of The Century. "Who is Bryce?" he asked, as I looked at the frontispiece—and on my saying what he was, fully— "Oh yes! I remember: I had forgotten all about the name—how it was connected. I have never read the book: an Englishman and writing as such—I see!" And of Henry James' article on Daumier, the caricaturist, W. said he liked the illustrations "very much." The Camden Post yesterday contained a poem by James Law (of Camden) on W. W. W. had secured a number of copies. Written in Scotch dialect—W. had "no opinion to deliver" on it. In giving me Johnston's address (N. Y.) which I had asked for: "The best typical American of the business class I know—a man of ventures, losing in some, but in the main coming out profitably—a man warm for good causes—cute, alert—not afraid to send 5 dollars after what another man might call a chimera."

     I stayed but briefly, having to get a train. W. looked well and said he felt well. Weather drizzly—would not, of course, get out—nor had he been yesterday. Asked after my work last night—seemed and said he was "pleased that you got out so well."


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