Commentary

Disciples


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Monday, May 26, 1890

     7.55 P.M. W. in his room, reading Lippincott's: light high up. Not very well: said he had had "a bad day"—had "caught cold."

     I had for him three beautiful dark roses, out of our own ground, sent by Agnes. He held them in his hands, smelled them, regarded them, a long time—remarking: "They seem to me the most beautiful I have ever seen: as specimens absolutely perfect. The thought will come, did they just happen

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so, or have they deeper, deepest reasons for being? Yes—yes—that is the seat of all our questions—the wonder that makes us all our mysteries."
And by and bye he would have it that I take an orange to Agnes as "recognition and remembrance in turn."

     Spoke of "bad news"—viz. "a letter from Alys Smith, who tells me she cannot come Saturday—that her examinations are near, her studies imperative, and so on." In a little he continued: "The thought has come to me, if we had not better abandon the whole project." But why? "Well, you must not be Socratic—must not ask why." Further on, however, explaining: "I confess that the thought arose out of Alys Smith's letter. And between you and me, I don't think that letter quite satisfies me—no, it does not." "I had quite calculated on Alys, and her default—the default, anyhow, of most of the women—excites my reflection—may prove to have a significance." I could see he was disappointed—he had made such a point of it. I explained that Bush would come over from New York. This appeared to cheer him. Adler had written that he would be far west by Saturday, (en route to Denver) else he would be with us—W. saying: "Whatever comes with the yes and no of others, I feel the truth and honor of Adler's: I trust every word he says." As to some of the "boys" in Philadelphia who might attend— "If there are vacant chairs, let them come: it would be well." No word yet from Gilder, Stedman or Ingersoll. "I guess we will get on all right—reach the end of our voyage some way—it is a thing I leave in your hands."

     Bucke comes down tomorrow from Telford. I had a note from him today. We referred to Ellis' book. W. remarked: "The thing that most impresses me is the daringness of the man: he has his beliefs and will say them. And if I may say it, besides the scholarliness they betray, they have a mathematical quality—a tendency to figure everything out into evident outlines. The Heine essay is of the same order—more markedly

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so, if anything—the mathematical exactness there, too."
I said the essay had to me strikingly set off the Sarrazin essay, to which W.— "I can well see how it should—how it does to me also." And further— "The great point is to have judgment—a new point of view, as this undoubtedly is. And this is a vigorous man, too."

     Found on the table another Washington photograph, unmounted, which he said I should take if I cared to. "Mount it on cardboard—get your father to—then bring it back to me and I'll put my name on it."


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