Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, March 7, 1890

     7.20 P.M. W. sitting in the parlor. Complained that it was not as warm as his own room, though there was a strong coal fire there and it seemed amply warm to me. But he admitted: "I am more and more sensitive to the cold: my inanimate limbs." Left with him Morse's letter.

     Morris today commented on Alexander's picture sharply—called it "a bag puffed up by the wind." W., after his laugh over my repetition of this, added: "I am not surprised: no doubt I should disfavor it myself had I the chance of a look—as I haven't." And then— "A simon-pure artist cannot do it—cannot trust it!" Referred to Phillips. I had not been in to see him yet, but proposed it tomorrow. W.: "I had from Munyon yesterday a proof of the autobiographic piece, which I read and at once returned. But nothing else has come. If you can, go in to see him—give him my reiterated request for proofs—tell him I must on no account be missed. No man has suffered worse than I have from editors who insist they can read my proofs better than I can and printers who insist that they know the location of the commas better than I do." And he thought: "It is always the particular error you don't want to happen that does happen, anyhow."

     Speaking of business men's mid-day religious meetings in

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New York: "Business piety is always to me an anomaly—it is as if made to test how much a man may smile and smile and be a villain. I suppose it is a sin to say that—I suppose that is severe: but the humbuggery of business piety has always impressed me—given the significance of the situation. And now, in old age, something confirms me as forcibly as ever in the notion." As to the weather: "I keep to my old habit—and not only in this thing: I listen to all the prophets—then wait till I see the weather itself!"

     Asked me Ingersoll's address, which I had partly forgotten. I asked, "Have you sent him the book yet?" And he replied, "No—it was for the purpose of sending it that I asked you for his address. I should have done it long ago—I feel some embarrassment in my neglect—for it is a neglect." Reference having been made to Williamson as a collector (as known by fragmentary paragraphs in the papers)—W. said: "But a real Shakespeare manuscript!—what a find that would be! And yet not a shred—not a sign—of one of the greatest of history's great—the writer of plays that have now become a necessary part of our civilization! Had there been a collector to collect that—it would have made the whole race of collectors illustrious! As I say of Emerson—he somehow seems to justify the whole literary class. How the collectors would in a like manner profit! Out of such a preserve to go forever into sacred estimation!"


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