Commentary

Disciples


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Saturday, January 11, 1890

     7.45 P.M. W. sits sometimes, as a shepherd with his crook—his cane in his lap—ruminating—not reading: often, with the stove door open, the embers therein flashing warmth into his face—playing with his great head and hair. So it was tonight, the eye unwontedly calm, the whole attitude, very wakeful but very soul-dwelling. When I came in I stood a moment—he did not see me: then seemed to wake to my presence with a start, shook hands cordially and heightened the gas somewhat. He asked me, as he usually does— "Well, what news? What do you hear?"—and when I said I had no news for one

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who so industriously read the papers as he did, he laughed, and retorted— "Well, no news is good news, they used to say, and I don't know but they hit the nail squarely on the head in saying so."

     He was very curious and querying about a phrase I used— "The average miscellaneous unsuspected reader of L. of G." "Who are they? Do you actually think there is such an audience? Who knows, to be sure?"—adding that "It is true all sorts of good greetings—unexpected greetings, endorsements, what-not—turn up from time to time."

     He spoke of Gilchrist's dislike for the London News picture. "He would not accept it at all—he thoroughly embraced Tom Donaldson's criticism—that it was foxy—foxy. Tom is a keen, good fellow—has the faults of the politician—yet is more than the politician at the last. I consider him a true friend of mine. Five years ago or so, in the nick of time—when I needed, as perhaps no one knew, could have known, I needed—he was the fellow, with Talcott Williams, who came in at the pinch, engineered the escape. Tom of course, is a fellow who cares too much for the stamp on the coin—thinks less of the silver—the quality of the silver—than of the stamp that is put upon it; not that he don't think of the metal, too—but the fact that the United States has consented to put its face upon the coin weighs heavily with him."

     I asked him if he yet had the book for Edelheim? He said— "No—but I can get it any time for you—tomorrow—tonight—anytime."—Hereupon leaning forward, picked up a copy of "Two Rivulets" (1876)— "Why not take this to him? Wouldn't this do?" At my assent, writing therein. I described Edelheim to W.: the bustling business man, active, talkative—but openhanded, to be depended upon for all promises, etc.—W. exclaiming: "I know the class—I have met them—Johnson is one of them: sometimes I think them the justification of America—of that part of America which we are so fond of decrying—the explication of the mystery—the assurance

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of our future!"
Adding: "Well—somehow I warm to your man: he has been generous to us, and we must show him we are not wanting in the power to reciprocate—or the wish."


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