Commentary

Disciples


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Monday, June 23, 1890

     8.05 P.M. W. sat at the parlor window, fanning himself: in his shirt sleeves, shirt open far down—a wrap over his knees.

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Had not been out today, nor had he felt well. "It has been a bad day." Mrs. Davis explains—he was out till over-wearied yesterday—from 12.30 to 4—that when he came in he went to the parlor first, remarking: "Warrie—let us go in here: I don't know whether I'm standing on my head or my heels." Today resting. I did most of the talking—he questioning. He laughed over a new Leaves of Grass man I spoke of— "God help him!"—and of a book I sold— "God prosper you in all your good intents!"—To Longaker, a doctor. W. much attracted when I said: "I find medical men more open than others to receive the physiological Leaves of Grass." "Is it so? It is a thing I should like to make sure of." Amused at "the respectable army of Leaves of Grass-ers" I spoke of, and was "not surprised" to learn that a reader of L. of G. should be thought "queer" by his friends. Yesterday he "read all—or glanced through all" of Tolstoi's piece (translated in the Press) in defence of "The Kreutzer Sonata" &c.—but was "not ready to pronounce judgment upon it." Said he had had a letter from Bucke, "though it contained nothing new."

     Referred to Sidney Smith's "Who reads an American book?" laughingly. Would it answer for this day? As to my "trinity of Americans—Emerson, Lincoln, and Whitman"—he laughed heartily. "So you said that at a meeting? How did they meet it? I should like to have been there and heard!" I had a postal from Kennedy today, saying he had not yet received his Mss. from Scotland. W. "much interested to hear." Bucke thinks Wilson holds it, thinking W. W. may die—that then would be a great moment to issue it. W. himself "cannot imagine any ulterior motive."

     The room dark—no light in the hall. I shook hands with W.—went back in the kitchen to say a few words to Mrs. Davis. Soon we heard W. knock his cane on the floor, both going into the parlor, and he, as he rose, saying— "I guess I'll make a move, Mary"—Mrs. D. took his hand and walked ahead to the stairway—when, he staying himself on the banisters, she

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hurried on to light the gas in his room. He got up, not without labor, I going down for his coat. Did not linger. He asked me to close his door. Mrs. Davis says she is strictly observing Bucke's counsel (left with her) about W.'s diet, though he resents it somewhat, saying "I always have found it best to eat those things I like: I feel better for doing so."


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