Commentary

Disciples


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Tuesday, June 24, 1890

     5.45 P.M. W. at his middle bedroom window, fanning himself, looking north—coat off—complexion good—evidently in much better condition than yesterday. Day had been very hot. Would not go out till nearer sun-down. Warren came in—handed him a letter from Bucke while I sat with hm. W. read. "He has received the card," he said, "likes it"—and further on he read aloud that B. was glad I still had hopes of getting outline of Ingersoll's speech.

     I stated to W. that at the Contemporary Club executive committee meeting yesterday we had resolved for one evening next winter for discussing the question of revision of creed (at large)—with Ingersoll to open. I told W. that one member of our committee had spoken of Ingersoll as "too aggressive" and another of him as "not a scholar." W. laughing and retorting— "And the fun is, they are both true,"—looking at me, and after a comical pause adding— "Thank God!" He further said: "Both complaints are characteristic of the literary clan—of their eminent colorless quality, respectability." The Hegel night we had planned for November (with W. T. Harris to speak) W. thought "must prove a very fine one"—adding, when I said Adler might be there to combat him as a Kantian: "I wonder what is the difference? What Adler would say was the difference?"

     I had met a Dr. Gould today who was rather (or a good deal) more favorably disposed towards Specimen Days than

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Leaves of Grass—thinking the former "a great book" &c. W. said: "It is a good thing for a man to get that far, anyhow: that far, he will go farther. I should say, that anyone, to get hold of me,—the bottom of the big book—all I have written—would see that all my work is autobiographical—yes, and that this autobiography finds its center and explication in the poems—in Leaves of Grass. Of course it is in Specimen Days, too—but it is there by reflection—as the moon certainly, and probably many another orb, is lighted, in what we see of it, by the sun. Leaves of Grass, with respect to our case, is that sun. The memoranda, bits, personalisms, what-not, in Specimen Days—even in November Boughs, have their place, but are aside to the general drift, as pleasant diversion in the plot of a play. Yet it probably is the autobiographical feature even here which attracts your friend—and it may be a good way, as Garland says, to begin with that."

     Gave me a copy of The Writer: in which was a paragraph to this affect, about grace. Also returned me the Atlantic which I left with him some days ago. When I left, gave me several postals to mail. Said he was trying to get a particular brand of honey he much fancied: Luttzen's [Luttgen's?], at Hammonton—so writes L. about it.


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