Commentary

Disciples


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Tuesday, February 4, 1890

     7.30 P.M. W. reading—gathered close to the light. In his room as usual. Had been out today. But Warren was of the idea "It did him more harm than good." Still, W. insisted on going. Day altogether damp. Rained hard in the forenoon. Reads The Long Islander (regularly sent him) weekly. Thought he was not so well today. When I said: "I shall tell the fellows

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at the Club you are in first-rate condition."
He said: "I don't have any objection to your telling them so, but I'm not." And— "I am not having a great time these days—not at all."

     I questioned him again on the hospital matter, but he said— "I have heard nothing from Bucke since that letter." Then: "I had a letter from Ed Wilkins today. He reminded me that I had promised him a dinner book, so I sent him one. I suppose I must have made him such a promise." "Ed," he said again, "sticks to his tasks there, I should guess."

     Called my attention to a paragraph from Labouchère, quoted in this morning's Press, discounting the poet fraternity. Amused W., who said: "There are the choice people of our time—there are many of them—who always fidget for something pungent, sharp, cute, telling, witty: are not satisfied with plain, native foods, but crave for spice, viand, whatnot. Labouchère answers to such a call." Adding again: "Our Agnes Repplier shines by such a light: I guess nobody could safely question but she is very bright; but she is the dog up the alley, waiting to pounce out and seize the first good leg that comes along. Yes, she is smart—has the smartness of vitriol, of salt." As to the Goethean critics W.: "There are persons of the small pietistic turn—of extreme notions in that order—who do pause at Goethe's peccadilloes, amours,—get no further,—know nothing of the ensemble—of the man as a whole."

     Though he had had proofs, had not yet seen the Illustrated World piece. Said again: "I met with a very happy phrase from Stedman today: what he calls, 'the stained-glass' school of poetry. It seemed a very happy thought: and there was another expression as fine—let me see—no, I cannot hit upon it now. The 'stained-glass' applies more or less to Dante Rossetti—'The Blessed Damozel' and such."

     To my further declaration that I distrusted Woodbury's use of the word Bohemian in the Emerson report, on the ground

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that Emerson was surer than that in his characterization, W. said: "You are right: Emerson was wonderfully apt—wonderfully discerning—seemed to read a man through and through—through and back again!"


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