Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, May 9, 1890

     5.40 P.M. W. just concluded dinner. Looked very much improved and was. Not out today: wind rather high and chill. Looked at the Bazaar I had with me, admiring Baude's [?] engraving. Had written a postal to Mrs. O'Connor, which he asked me to mail.

     I returned him the portrait by Schmidt and the Gutekunst Whitman spoke of yesterday. My father had asked for the latter but I would not leave it with him, regardful of my promise to W. Now I explained—at first W. laughing and saying: "No—it is destined for the fire—irrevocably: look at the formal pose—the expression, too, a damnable one!" But finally relented. "Well—if your father really wants it, take it to him:

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it hardly becomes a fellow to be stubborn on such a point."
Regarded Schmidt's picture intently. I spoke of it as "the head, rather of thinker than poet—intellectual." He assenting: "That's just it—just what it is: the head of a Yankee. Oh! he has had an almost tragic experience, and borne it well, I do believe!" Of art and artists—literary or other: "There are some things unknown if not unknowable: art—what is it? Who can tell? An ineffable something, defying speech."

     W. asked: "Have you found out for me yet when Queen Victoria's birthday is due?" I think he is writing about it but did not ask. He spoke of Harned's address before the Unitarian Club last night. "It is wonderful how the world is getting flooded with speech: yet all seems somehow to work out for good!" Expects Bucke next week. He is to bring part of his family with him—go direct to Cape May.

     Left with him a copy of the February Atlantic which I had with me. He never sees it—thought he would like it to read. Said the more he thought of the dinner "the wiser seems the conclusion you came to the other night." Suddenly said: "There! no check for Oldach yet! I never thought of that from the moment you left yesterday till just this second ago." Then deploring his memory "which plays me crooked more than ever it did before."


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