Commentary

Disciples


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Monday, May 12, 1890

     5.20 P.M. Stayed and talked with W. until 5.42. Had just returned from what he called "a fine jaunt" in his chair. Said he felt much eased: "I do not know what is the signification of the legal term 'easement,' but it seems to me a very good word for my own case. I certainly am eased: and the jaunt was indeed a fine one: remarkablest feature of all, too, that we have all this sun and balminess with a north-east wind which means usually to be cold, raw, perhaps damp, rainy. I was tempted often on the route to sit still, bask in the sun—though Warren protests—I don't know but rightly: for these or things kin are cause of my woe—at least according to my suspicions if not belief."

     Addressing a letter to Bucke at Cape May, he started it— "Dr. Bucke of Canada." I said I was "sorry" he had not got up to Harned's yesterday—the dinner so good. He replied: "And I am sorry too, and mad. But I solace myself with thinking, well, now it is all over, I am safe here: if I had gone, eaten, I should perhaps have eaten, drank, too much, and suffered for it." This led him to say further: "Alice [Alys] Smith was here today—and I told her about the dinner—inviting her to come. She informed me Mary Smith might be here by that time—that some legal necessity would probably force Costelloe

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here before long—that they may pack up any minute—perhaps arrive within 10 days. How delightful! And the women!—that is one of my special points—to see them there. I would not enlarge: set a limit, then limit that limit!"
And he said that "Now for the first time I feel as if I should be there with you—as if the dubiosity had been dissipated."

     Referred to Vaux' candidacy for Congress in Philadelphia in re Randall, dead. "I have always looked upon Vaux as outre: a dare-devil fellow facing current customs—especially the customs of Philadelphia, in some respects the rigidest known in America: I can well imagine that a man born in Philadelphia—a man who is a man—looking about upon these restrictions—hating them with his whole soul—rebelling—should break bonds, dress as he pleases, as I understand Vaux does—more at his will, say his say, defiant to the last word of tyranny. And then in Vaux this independence is perhaps aided by money. I have never met him."

     Refers to his "new lease of health"—doubts however "if for long"—but it "invites new tasks"—perhaps the Lincoln after all? But "the day is gone by when I dared any great task." Though the Lincoln not immense, he was doubtful if he was not "warned against it." The Critic spoke of Lincoln as next to Washington in the hearts of Americans, &c.—but W. objected: "We cannot really speak in that way: we should say, rather: there are two stars, two streams, two flowers, one not to be set against the other, both to be measured as fitting their spheres." Said he had "observed with pleasure" a notice of Brinton's new book in the Critic.

     Had me mail notes for him—to Bucke, Gilder and his sister in Vermont.


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