Commentary

Disciples


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 066] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Tuesday, October 15, 1889

     7.15 P.M. Found W. in his room reading Scott. He made a reference to the books— "though the form in which they are produced is cheap in the extreme, the print is excellent—even superior—and I read it with the greatest ease, enjoyment." Asked me about the news. I said, "You sit here all day and read it, don't you? While we are out making it?" He laughed and said, "Hardly the reading—just these last days there's nothing to read. There are many things up, considered the things of the day, to which I give no attention at all. There is the Cronin trial: I never touch it—avoid, of set purpose: and so with many matters." Had he looked into the much-advertised Ebers novel running in Sunday's Press? "No—I very rarely read continued stories." Talking, though, quite fully, of Ebers. "He is a great Egyptian Nile man—of that sort—isn't he? I remember a book of his I came upon years ago,—grandly illustrated—superbly. I looked into that with a great deal of attention." He spoke of the book sheets I had left with him last evening. "I looked at them carefully. It seemed to me a wonderfully satisfactory piece of work all through—printing, all. I wrote the Doctor about it today." He picked the book up, remarked that "it must have been made up in peculiar forms"—etc, as Dave told me it had been—showing W.'s keen eye. I left with him a copy of the Whittier piece, as he had wished. "Yes—I may make some use of it."

     Returned me the New England Magazine for October. Said, "I suppose, however, it is the German magazine which give us the best wood-engraving of the world? That has always been my impression." I had a little volume with me containing Socrates' "Phaedo." W. looked at it with admiration. "It is a book one would have to love"—handled it tenderly— "a heart-book and handy for the pocket—and such printing, too!" I said: "I shall never be set at rest till we have Leaves of

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 067] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Grass in such little volumes—Song of Myself in one—and so on."
He asked, "Won't Miss Gould's book supply such a want?" And on my response, "I don't like it—I don't think it supplies any want," he laughed. "Well—have it your own way. I don't think that book a success myself."

     Asked me: "Did you see the news item in the papers, about the desecration of Emerson's tomb? It seems to me inexplicable, mysterious—I do not at all feel I can explain it, even to myself." "They evidently effected nothing—were frightened off." He spoke of the stone at the grave. "No—it is not very rare—but it is beautiful, a pure white—white as alum. Did you ever read that in the old days, sixty years or more ago, Elias Hicks was the rallying-point of such an incident? It was very like, it was in the very week that Hicks died. A party of men—I think artists,—dug him up—took a cast of the face. That was their purpose—not to vandalize but to get such an impression. Hicks was a widely-known man in those days—much argued about—the center of a great fight. A fight not only spiritual but over property. The Quakers were very rich, even then." "Oh! Hicks was famous in those times—I should say, more so than Tennyson, Gladstone, Whittier in our own time. But this cast, taken in such a way, came to nothing. There arose a quarrel among the men, in which the bust suffered entire destruction. I did not write of this in the November Boughs piece, but was always aware of it."

     Has been putting a new poem together. Slips, with detached lines, pinned together into quite a bunch on the table. I gave Ed a letter to Gould about a new nurse. Hard to secure! W. said, when I asked him if he intended selling any of the Gutekunst pictures—I having a customer for one: "It never struck me to do it, but now it is mentioned I can respond by saying I will sell you one for your friend and autograph it for $2.50, though not wishing to make a habit of this. I wish most of the pictures myself, to give away."


Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.