Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, May 23, 1890

     4.50 P.M. I came later than his dinner-hour (4.30), so as I entered the front door (usually unfastened for me) W., sitting in the kitchen, called out: "Here he is now! Come right in Horace—here is your place!" A good hearty meal then of chicken, potatoes, peas, strawberries, &c. W. partaking of all, helping me, appearing in the most cheery mood.

     Had been to town this afternoon—in the hansom—with Bucke: going as far as the park and spending several hours on the trip. Bucke says W. gave the driver a dollar. W. himself much enjoyed [it]. Had noted changes in Philadelphia—the new big buildings which had "struck me with admiration"—and "The grass even more than the trees out there by the

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river—oh! how they possess us! It is a gorgeous panorama!"

     Bucke asked W. what he "had done with the poem"?—meaning the Century rejected piece—to which W. replied— "Nothing—it is upstairs, untouched." I told him: "Harned says he don't see why you are so damned thin-skinned these days, after what you have gone through, to care anything about it." W. laughed, Bucke said— "And a very keen remark, too,"—W. then taking it up— "I see. I did not take it to heart. Only it was pleasant to think I had at last got a medium—a means of communication—and the loss of that is what touched me. I suppose I should not have calculated upon it: Gilder there in New York is surrounded three, four deep with literary dogmatists—men who won't on any account consent to be dethroned, to give way—especially when by some uncouth fellow who comes lounging along, with less than a title even to a hearing." Yet he said again: "We are too sure of the throne to fear to be deposed by success or neglect. And trial by fire is not bad—it is not a thing to be got rid of. We may as well abide by it."

     At mention of Ingersoll's possible coming to the dinner— "How good that would be! That would be a clincher—I think Bob would bring everything to a head."

     W. talked of cable cars, electricity as a motor, &c. After the dinner we adjourned to the parlor, where Bucke and I stayed only a few minutes, Bucke asking— "You have had a full day of it, Walt?" "Yes—I think I have—very full." "That is what I thought: Horace and I will go now." W. said: "I did not mean that: I had other things in mind." He sat down by the window and we left.


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