Commentary

Disciples


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Saturday, October 26, 1889

     7.55 P.M. W. in his room, Mrs. Davis with him. She rose at once to go—he resisting her going—but go she did. Has not been quite so well today—yet not ill, either. Looked less easy

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than for several weeks. Said he and Warrie "are getting adjusted" to each other. I had a couple of pears in my pocket for him, from my sister Agnes. Appeared to be very grateful—smelled them—exclaimed, "The dear girl! so Aggie sent 'em! And how is the good girl nowadays?" I said, "She sent them for breakfast!" "And I shall use them—at least, one of them—for breakfast, to be sure!" Commented on their "pure, fine color"—and handled them affectionately.

     Laughed at McKay's monogram. "The object of all monogramists seems to be, to hide away the letters so that no mortal can find them. In that aspect Dave's monogram is a great success." Spoke of a visit from Alice [Alys] Smith today. Had gone downstairs to see her. She did not stay long. "She is going to the college out here—the woman's college. Oh! yes! it is Bryn Mawr. She is here alone—Pearsall, the mother, Mary Costelloe—none of them came on." Reported, "No letter from Bucke and no word about Ed." Had Ed promised to write to him? He did not remember. "Ed was not much of a talker, promiser, anyhow. Rather weak on that point, I think. I have felt he did not come by any natural gifts in the way of description: on a farm, in his veterinary, what-not, he would be an important man, but in the affairs that come to us in the big cities, he avails little."

     Spoke of Harned's visit this evening. "He has been over to see 'Der Freischutz'—and seemed to get much enjoyment of it—took Mrs. Harned with him."

     I inquired if he had yet written Kennedy about the Whittier paragraph, and he answered: "Not a word—about that or any other matter. As I told you, nothing positive appearing on the subject, I have not delivered myself. It has been a puzzle to me: not knowing whether to say no, not knowing to say yes, I have said nothing at all. But," he asked, with something like vehemence, "isn't it rather cool of the good Kennedy to write me, 'I am going to use it'—never so much as asking me whether I had any desire on the subject, or would

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rather not? I had no intention of making up a paragraph for print—it came in a moment of vacancy, like the present. It is seriously a question, whether I want that given to the world as my estimate, summing up, of Whittier. But I obey the demon—as Socrates so wisely held of it,—to do or not to do as the demon, the spirit, dictated. And the demon so far, in this, has deterred from any word whatever. I do not know but it may yet put in a question—a positive demurrer—such a question as might settle the whole business at short order, and against printing, even!"

     Had been reading a copy of the Boston Pilot. Someone sent him a copy containing matter about Columbus, marked. Calls it, not the Pilot, but, "Boyle O'Reilly's paper."

     I had met with reminiscences of actors, in the Press—by Heyward—a reference in one place in high terms to Henry Placide. Asked W. if he had seen it. First said, thought he had—then, "No—I guess it escaped me." Left it with him. Was that his Placide? "Yes. There were two of them—brothers—Harry the great one. Harry, I should say, was one of the greatest actors ever was—not tragic, but in such characters as Sir Peter Teazle he was even elegant—his manner inimitable. He played in 'London Assurance'—Oh! what is the character there? A Sir something Dozzle—what not—nobly done. Harry had the Greek principle closely observed—never overstepped—always considered, to do the thing up to the mark, yet never to overdo it. That was Harry—and so he never offended. A piece called 'One Hundred and Two' was much accepted then, and others of a like tendency. I put in— "Many of them all passed off now," and he— "Yes, all passed off—and their constituency passed off, too. There were fine touches then, wit—flashes of satire—delicate ironies, the vivid effects peculiar to the time, the play, audience—which would not be what it was to the modern play-goers. I doubt if they would appreciate them—though they are very cute, to be sure. But whatever, different tastes, a new generation, fill

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the stage today."
He had been "much interested today in the column and more of the Press" extracting from Joe Jefferson's coming memoirs. "It will take a strong hold on me—does already,"—he admitted. I remarked: "This week I have read in Harper's Weekly an article on Jefferson by William Winter." W. laughed— "He is a Jefferson man, I suppose?" And when I assented— "Yes, but Jefferson can stand it," W. followed— "Oh that is true enough. I think Jefferson one of the greatest." Greater than Booth? "I do not say that—but great—and both are important."


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