Commentary

Disciples


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Tuesday, October 22, 1889

     7.20 P.M. W. in his room, reading—again Scott. Looks well. Does not venture out of doors. Still speaks of Sunday's

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experience, "so pleasant, so benefiting." Returned me The Magazine of Art, expressing enjoyment of the Millet piece. "That portrait of Millet—the one by him—I took huge pleasure in, looked at long and long, and always with more satisfaction."

      "I found the papers I was looking for last night," he said. "The San Francisco paper, with an Arnold interview, and the other, with Tennyson's poem and the parody, which I enjoyed so much. Take them along and after we're done with them, we'll send them to Bucke." He had "read somewhere" that Arnold had written a sonnet about America. "I should like to see it—have not seen it—have you?" Reference hereupon to the Epoch paragraph. W.: "I came across it Sunday, in the Times: and infinitely silly and ridiculous it is, too. If it was a paragraph of importance, it would be stranded, lost—no paper would give heed to it—but being what it is, it is in every newspaper, in everybody's mouth. I am given a chance again to quote my phrase from Dr. Johnson about the credibility of history. I have done so often enough to you—to others. Every newspaper in particular seems nowadays to hire a man whose sole duty it is to get up funny paragraphs—to start out for effect, not truth." And "as a rule these men do what they are bought to do—they get off their paragraphs—innocent—not innocent—mostly, not only not with the shadow of truth, but scarcely with the shadow of a shadow of a shadow!"

     Spoke of a letter from Bucke. "I am hearing from him every day now." Had Warren rub him this afternoon as well as last night. I am glad this problem was so happily solved.

      "Ed," he remarked, "must be at home by this time—before, even: perhaps this minute is the center of an admiring group—at the Asylum, most likely. The Asylum is about three miles distant from his home." Then he added after a thoughtful pause— "Ed's going seems to me inexplicable, anyhow, I cannot understand why he should have gone at all. I don't think he gave us all his reasons for going. He was not

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very communicative, not about his own affairs, not about others. He probably never told us the whole story. When you think of Ed's make-up—his years—a young man—popular among the folks,—liked—that this was America—Washington, Baltimore, New York, near—Philadelphia at the door—every freedom to make this his headquarters—the college (veterinary), the great opportunities: finally, his return to that one-horse town—less than that—less than a quarter of a horse town, it is inexplicable—I cannot explain it."
I remarked: "When I saw he was positively bent on returning, I did not try to dissuade him." To which W.: "Nor did I. I told him we were glad he was here—would like to have him stay—to that effect—that was all. I suppose, now, Doctor will have a long talk with him—a good talk. I sent by him to the Doctor, a set of the pictures we have been getting out." Spoke of the fact, noted greatly by Bucke, that usually Canadian young men of the stronger class, coming to the States, never returned. W. said: "That answers to my own observation, I have known a number of cases. I have noticed also in certain calibre of Englishmen, the same tendency, having been here once, even though going back, to visit, that America was always the final allurement, that they always—again and again, it may be—make America, our civilization, their cherished object—their worship, we might say. It is a significant, a benign influence, so thrown out—so embracing them."


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