Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, May 21, 1890

     4.50 P.M. W. eating his dinner. Appeared quite well. The hansom here today again and he out to Pea Shore. Speaks of

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how often in the old days he went out there in his own carriage. "I liked to drive down into the water—stand there: contemplate the sky, the city, the ensemble of things."

     Enjoyed his meal, especially, as he said, "the berries and the rice-pudding." Wished to know if Bucke had seen my father's W. picture. B. much impressed—thought it reminded him of Eakins'. W. said: "I never thought of that—but I endorse all the rest,"—and then— "The great strength of both—as I have always said of Tom Eakins'—is, that the point taken insists on the truth—the utter truth—the damnablest: that the subject is not titivated, not artified, not 'improved'—but given simply as in nature. It is a healthy statement, coming after Herbert's, with the Roman curls, and the like." And then he asked my father's opinion of Eakins' picture. "He thought it a fine work?" Yes— "Very fine? Very?" And then to my father's one criticism—that the complexion did not do W. justice, his being the finest he had ever known, so pure and strong— "That is a point that never happened to me. But there is another—I have waited a long time to see if it would be remarked—if it was not only a fear—surely a mistake. But neither you nor Bucke nor Tom have said a word about it. Did you never feel impressed with the blindness of the eyes? It was something that came to me at the very first." And to my "no" "Well, I guess there's nothing in it. Tom has a very keen eye and has made no sign of seeing it, nor Bucke, who is quick enough to see the ends of things."

     Bucke has gone to Cape May. Will be up Friday afternoon. Mrs. Davis has been at W. to take tea with Bucke downstairs and has asked me in—W. consenting: 4.30 Friday, a doubtful hour for me. But it would be a rare day: he has eaten but few meals downstairs since June 1888. I detailed to W. the results of the conference last evening about the dinner. He questioned me closely—said: "No doubt I shall be there. Yes, if I keep as I am I may very easily get over the river."

     I gave him my list—suggested several new names. "Do not

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forget Johnston,"
he counselled— "and tell him to bring his wife or daughter." And "Melville Phillips, perhaps, though that is not imperative." Advised keeping the list down. The Flower Mission sent in a bunch of flowers while I was there, which W. took and scanned with joy, remarking especially "the daintiness of the mignonette."

     Gave me a copy of Poet Lore for May. Had read Brinton's piece therein— "The New Poetic Form as shown in Browning." Had been "interested today in the accounts published of men sent, deputed—commissioned, to investigate cave-dwellings in the far west. It ought to be a fruitful theme—great in results."


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