Commentary

Disciples


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Thursday, October 24, 1889

     7.40 P.M. Warren gets excellently into W.'s ways, and W. highly felicitates himself thereon. I left with W. "Yesterdays with Authors," by Fields. W.: "I shall enjoy that, I have no doubt—I do not remember that I ever saw the book before—surely never read it. I have met Fields—his wife particularly was, is, my friend—Anne Fields. I have dined at their house. It was there I met Celia Thaxter, the poetess."

     Had laid aside for me The Camden Courier, June 1, 1883, containing 2-column notice of Bucke's Whitman, then just appearing. "It may help you along some with your piece," he said. I did not ask who wrote it, but shall. Speaks of "writing some these days" but always "poemets, slight attempts, moderabilities" etc. But as he is passing through an "unusually good period," his "faculty—old habit,—tempts" him.

     On a chair a copy of the new November Lippincott's, which I picked up to scan the table of contents. W. said: "Why should you not take it along? Take it." And when I asked, "But are you done with it?" "Oh yes! I am near enough done with it. Take it along." And then as to Stoddard's essay on Bryant therein: "I read it all through—partly because I knew Stoddard, knew Bryant—partly because it has a certain sort of interest. But it is a pot-boiler—made up—gossipy—a good

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deal of it the kind of talk that makes up the gossip of neighborhoods. But one thing: it is not venomous—not as peppery as Stoddard's usual style. Oh! not at all like the Poe piece—in that sense a relief—not like that, which was dirty and dirty and dirty—the meanest lowest thing I know among all the biographical, essayical, notices of the time. He deals gently by the good Bryant."

     Asked again— "Did I tell you? I have had another scraggly letter from Kennedy—sent it off to Bucke tonight. I find that he really wants to print the paragraph I sent him about Whittier. The question with me is, do I want him to print it? I certainly did not write it for print. What do you think about it?" I questioned—Was that, pertinent though it might be, all he wished to say about Whittier—Would he like it to go out standing thus alone? Between us, who knew all the rest, it was understood, but how with the public? He responded: "And that is a great deal my own feeling—is to be considered—considered carefully. What do you think? Do you think more might be said of Whittier—more in his favor? If I felt thoroughly convinced on the point, I should tell him to use it, but I do not. It presents to me just the aspect you have spoken of. But I suppose I shall let the matter drop—say nothing more about it—let Kennedy pursue his pleasure. As I told you, I liked his letter at the time—paper and pencils were handy—too devilishly handy here—and so the thing was done. My disposition towards it now is, to say—if he uses it, well; if not, well again. And I suppose I can have proof, so that when the matter comes up that way I can suggest changes—in fact, put my foot down on the whole thing, if I choose."

     Spoke of Sunday horse cars in Camden as "a slap in the face of the parsons." Asked me about the boats—electric lights on them. "I suppose the steam is turned on by this time? I don't like the electric lights—I am an enemy of the steam also. In the Brooklyn boats they used gas, like this in the room

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here"
—(God help 'em! I thought) "and it was good, too." He did not like the light off at the corner from his house. Several times said so to me, and this evening again.


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