Commentary

Disciples


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Saturday, April 19, 1890

     7.55 P.M. W. in the parlor. Cordial. I sat at the Western window, W. at the East. Talked for half an hour and more. Mrs. Davis in the room part of the time—W. questioning her— "And how is it with thee, Mary?"—signifying after a great interest, by sundry turns of talk, on all she said.

     W. thought: "Now is the time for the American newspaper. Some doubts might be, if one is called for—if it would be upheld in appearing. But the right paper, the right management, man, would assure that, I have no doubt. But it must be for Americana: not in a strict literal sense, but in the larger sense of that ultimate democracy for which America stands—which it points to, prophetically. I have thought in reading the Bruno book, how autochthonous Brinton himself seems to be—a creature of our life, soul—large, in mass unposing, frank, courageous."


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     Had received a copy of Liberty today— "but not opened it yet." Had he seen Childs' new book—recollections? "No: it has not been sent here. I can see Childs' quality: in its way it is of the first order: large-measure,—a heart of gold at its center—a true pulsing nature—full of generosity, response, to all human influences." He said Childs' "personality" accounted for "his power to draw aliens near and make them his own"—and it was a power "large for human issues."

     Laughed again over Furness' "literary acumen," as he called it drolly. "It would seem to outrage even the common sense of criticism. All we can say of it is, that some people prefer boiled cabbage, baked codfish, pork-and-beans—and these are undoubtedly legitimate dishes, however we differ in our taste for them." "But after all, the Doctor's judgment smells of his age." But all in the best humor—referring repeatedly to Furness as "that grand old man—that splendid specimen."

     Freely spoke of International Copyright. "No—I do not think it would raise the cost of books. But then, however that be, I do not think it the primal question: before that, is the question of justice to the author. I have not entered into the details of this subject—but my main conviction is clear. Oh! mankind—one side of him is a big rascal—has no conscience!"

     No word from the Transcript yet. The matter he has sent in is very brief: written in the third person throughout. "Perhaps they will not care to print it. I have asked for papers."


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