Commentary

Disciples


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Thursday, January 16, 1890

     5.45 P.M. W. was just arranging to light up the room, preliminarily closing blinds, etc. I did not offer to assist—rarely do, for I know he would rather do this for himself. The weather all through the late afternoon had grown colder, a high wind prevailing. W. said: "We tried to go out today, but found it too cold, had soon to retreat."

     I had secured from Brinton the other night the manuscript of his address on Bruno, which now I gave to W.—who

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questioned me about its purport and about the ground on which McConnell had opposed it. "I know I shall look through it—read it all—with the greatest satisfaction. You don't know if it is to be printed anywhere? I should like to have a copy for Symonds, who takes a special interest in that direction—none more so, probably no one in all Europe."

     Afterwards he reported: "I had an English admirer here today—a young man, a member of Wilson Barrett's company, now in Philadelphia. Yes, somehow the actor-boys—and girls, too, for that—have a soft side for me, as I certainly have for them." "I have received," he offered again, "a letter from the man we sent the book to—what is his name? O yes! Edelheim! He appears to be strangely grateful—which shows that our remembrance was a happy inspiration."

     As to Bucke's question about the Symonds letter: "The truth is, I have not sent it yet—it is on the table there now. It has been suggested to me—self-suggested—that I print it—in some way put it in type; and for that reason I have for the present put it aside there—retained it. Doctor will see it, or a copy of it, in due time."

     I told him I had met Boyle at the Club—B. talking of W.'s project of the vault, saying he would possibly like to enlist Wilson Eyre, as being both an architect and a lover of Walt Whitman. W. said to me: "I don't think I ought to start out with saying I don't want this and that and the other. But I have a very clear notion that I do not want anything elaborate, anything artistic, elegant, delicate, refined: [should] look on the contrary, for something of a natural, native, rugged character, suggesting strength and first sources rather than anything sculptural or architectural. I should like to say this to both Eyre if he is enlisted, and Boyle. For Emerson they found nothing but a simple stone—all they would get him to consent to was that. I should not second him—imitate—only his example is suggestive—beautiful. I like Boyle—my first impression was a very good one. I can sense he will

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finally hit upon something I want."
W.'s limit of price was "about a thousand dollars." Boyle has been to the Cemetery and admired W.'s choice greatly.

     W. had a letter from Dana Estes, Boston—asking W. for his presence or some word for use at the memorial meeting for Browning, Jan. 28. He gave me the letter. Had he sent his word? "No—I did not send anything: Browning was not a man who had taken any hold on me—did not seem to me our man. I do not feel as if I had anything at all to say."

     Said Melville Phillips had been over to see him today. "He came on a special mission—is editor or something on Munyon's Illustrated World—wished to know if I could not be counted on to give them a little something every month—a contribution. O yes! I consented. I have been wondering if George Childs did not back up the paper. Of course I don't know he does. Some two or three years ago or more a Munyon himself was over to see me and I wrote him one little piece." He said he had been "rather impressed with Phillips, who is young, looks the clerical college man to the end. I had a notion before he came that he was quite another person—a notion I had met him years ago somewhere—2 or 3 years—I think in the Press office itself—and not liked him and snubbed him. But the instant I saw him today I knew he was not the man. I had a way in the old times—as I have not now—of saying something very snubbing to a fellow I thought impudent—and it was to this I treated the man there in the Press—probably some temporary upstart." He remembered Phillips' review of November Boughs but not the fine notice of Cabot's Emerson.

     I told him I had advised Boyle— "Make the vault elemental—keep it strictly to elements: it more fits W.'s character and tastes than anything else"—and W. now said: "That was a good thing to say—just what I should have said or wished said—and we must keep them to it."

     Hearing the nature of some of the arguments against Brinton

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the other evening, W. said: "Yes—there is something in urging Christianity as against that scientific tendency, but"—and he added— "It is an argument, and I don't know but a good one, in its degree."


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