Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, February 21, 1890

     7 P.M. W. in his room, reading the local papers. He laughingly said: "Tomorrow is Washington's birthday—so our loyal Camden papers (the great patriots!) have no issue!" And after his laugh— "We all abuse the papers, but what would we do without them?" Asked me about those in Philadelphia.

     We talked of the adjacence of his own birthday. "Yes," he said, "it is coming near again"—and then dreamily— "Who knows? who knows?"—adding tender comment on the birthday after-clap, 1888, and the "wonder that things have survived so to date" after what had been gone through, with

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doubting and watching. He admitted that his own "looking forward" was "to but one issue"—and that— "who can tell how soon?"

     He talked somewhat of Alexander's picture again—in the old strain of dislike. "He took a few sketches here—I thought them wonderful meagre at the time—to my mind they seemed to come to nothing—arrive at no effect—no statement. And then he went home and did the rest in his study. What could be expected different from what has appeared? The devil with all the artists—or most all—is that they lack veracity—seem to feel under no obligation to produce things as they see them but rather to color up and up, till the public eye is properly titivated. How can there be true art on this basis?—first-class art by first-class men?"

     As I sat there Warren brought in a rose and some leaves which he said had been left there by someone from the Third Street Church for W. W. thanked him—went on with talk—Warren leaving the room. By and bye, when I got up to go, he asked, as he often does: "Are you going straight home?"—upon learning I was, taking this flower from the bunch which was in a mug on the table and saying— "Take this to Aggie—give the dear girl my love." When I went downstairs and Warren saw I had the rose, he was quite indignant, remarking: "He don't care for flowers anyway: he don't care a fig for 'em!"—not appreciating that W. did care devotedly for them, and because caring, would share them with his friends and make them the coin of his good feeling. The day before W. had asked me the same thing: "Are you going straight home?"—then saying: "Take a couple of oranges along with you—one for your mother, one for Aggie."

     He thought— "most of all do the reporters lack veracity: oh! for a true tale from a reporter! How vivid that would be, could we but have it! But no!—everything with them too is in the dressing!"


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