Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, June 20, 1890

     5.30 P.M. W. reading the Camden afternoon paper, having finished dinner. Expected to go out later on.

     I had a copy of the Bazaar with me—a picture therein "The Social Pipe"—by J. G. Brown—an old couple [the man] smoking,—indoor scene—the man evidently in the midst of some narrative, the woman looking, listening. W. much attracted thereto—regarding it after his manner when much interested—long and quietly. "It is very fine," he said, "it hits them to the life. And who is J. G. Brown? I am interested: what does he do?" Brown's Broadway sketches much appealing, till he said, "He is a man we should know." Looked the paper through. "Oh! the French!" he exclaimed— "the French excel us in all the things we call fine—in fine wit, fine art, what not: they are unequalled."

     I was in to see Talcott Williams today at the Press. He thinks he will be able to give his speech, on the whole—though with perhaps a few things here and there varying with what he uttered. He seemed shy of Ingersoll—said Ingersoll "was not so aggressive that night as usual," it was true, &c. W. laughed when I told him this— "Oh! we don't share that. That would make a good companion-criticism for John's fear that O'Connor was too radical and hot." T. W. had a report of W. W.'s talk about immortality at the dinner. I asked W. if Ingersoll's part in that was not as necessary as his own—necessary to the play of speech,—and he said— "Quite; it was a part that must not be omitted. But it is Ingersoll's speech we are all after and probably will none of us get—that great burning scorching fire." T. W. thought the only way to get it would be to persuade Ingeroll to dictate it to a stenographer. But Walt insists— "He won't do it, I'm sure: if he can, he won't." Williams in favor of printing the matter together—very generously urging upon me, also, to let no cost deter me, as he would willingly share in all that was required. I said—I did

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not so much contemplate printing just now, as having the matter somewhere preserved before it is too late. W. W., however, repeatedly says that "if we get" Ingersoll's speech, "we certainly must put it into type some way: I have already been asked about it from all quarters—all our friends—all the Whitman fellows—want to see it."

     W. made up cards today to send to Mrs. Heyde, Pearsall Smith, Mrs. Stafford and others—and gave me to mail. Also a birthday book for one of the Johnston girls and a paper for Bucke.

     Talcott Williams discovered to me that he had a high opinion of Eakins' picture of W.—W. now said: "I do not see how anyone can doubt but it is a masterly piece of work." But to T. W.'s regret that Eakins had not attended the dinner W. said— "I am more sorry about Dave—we should have had him"—though admitting that he had not thought of McKay any earlier than I did.

     As to Ingersoll's preference of Marcus Aurelius to Epictetus— "Well—they are two lands to travel through: I accept both—they are essential to the voyage." I remarked too—that it was rare to meet a great speaker whose written matter had epigrammatic and classic value, as Ingersoll's. W. at that: "It is true, as you say: with Ingersoll it is a distinct and tremendous power. I have read all the pieces in the book [that] he spoke of in his letter—and much more, too." The box open again, at his feet: had been reading again today.


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