Commentary

Disciples


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Thursday, November 14, 1889

     7.40 P.M. W. reading as usual. Said at once that he had been out in the chair today. "Left a card at Harned's." The dog made a terrific howl as I entered—never learns to know me. I said to W. jokingly: "I'll shoot him some night, if he don't get over that." W. at once responding: "And I'll not complain of the deed in the least! He howls a hundred times a day, at all hours. In the night too, generally about one o'clock when the rest of the world wants to keep quiet."

     I had spent a part of last evening with Mrs. O'Connor at the Lewis'. Now it was her turn to say she was surprised to see W. look so well! I laughed to W. over their mutual fears that the other was a wreck—and he laughed too—saying however: "Externals cannot always be trusted. I looked wonderful well, no doubt, as she said: but you know how it is with one who meets the friend he has long desired to see—he is exhilarated—his heart hastens—his blood flows increasingly—and this explains me as she saw me. As they say in the story, man was but a lump of clay—God breathed the breath of life in him at once he was a living, palpitating, aspiring throbbing soul. And so I was breathed upon by her presence, what the sight of her recalled—the grand days—William." Out of the envelope of pictures W. gave Mrs. O'C. Mrs. Lewis had been attracted to four—the butterfly, Lear, Gutekunst phototype and the Sarony hatted picture. Could I get them for her? I inquired of W. who said he would gladly give them. Then, in speaking of the Lewises: "Of course, anything I think or say of them would be in the nature of a guess, yet I conceive of them as hospitable, but more than hospitable—a soul-hospitality." I described Mr. Lewis as a man who never rushed in with his opinion, yet came in later on, and was always given

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weight etc. Subsequently—when I had given W. a little message received for him by letter from Mrs. Fairchild today—W., picturing her—said: "She is what you say of Mr. Lewis—rather reserved than otherwise—never obtrusive, demonstrative. I know some such persons—wonderful cute—who wait, as it were, till all the evidence is in before speaking—then speak with great effect. I know there is a danger in this—danger of having no opinions at all, or of feeling as if opinion was not worth having—certain enough. Here in my own case I go even to the extreme of hesitation, so to call it but I suppose I am saved by a native vigor, pulse, animality, that will never be betrayed. Mrs. Fairchild is, as you say, vigorous, direct but she is a little woman. Handsome, too—oh! very handsome!—not, perhaps, what you would picture her, however. Have you read Mrs. Siddons' book about actors, plays? In it she speaks of Lady Macbeth—the Lady of the plays—insists that she was not what the world conceives her—not the large, masculine, powerful woman, but probably a delicate creature, refined, beautiful, subtle. I have read that with some interest though it does not convince me at all."

     I said to W.: "Nine people out of ten dislike the Morse head." But he responded: "Never mind, they'll come round to it after awhile." As to copies of the book I had sent away: "It is bread cast upon the waters—and good bread, too—and that it will have its good result I do not doubt." I read him a piece by [Henry] George in this week's Standard denouncing the Copyright League for its compromising spirit in favoring a bill giving copyright to foreign authors who had their printing and binding done in this country. W. listened with the greatest interest to the vigorous paragraphs—then said: "I felt as I heard you read along that there was something that gibed perfectly with my own conviction—that I could say amen to it all—not only to its substance, but to the way of saying it. I suppose the retort would be, that is as much as we can get

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now, so let's take this step! It is not an answer, but I can see how it comes up that way to others, and leads to the result it does. The average man—even the authors, for that matter,—look at it entirely from the standpoint of the pocket—America's pocket: whereas I should say, if pockets at all are to be considered, let it be the world's pocket, not America's alone, for America now should stand for the world—should bear witness not only to her own success, but human solidarity, universal union, the largest possible circle of comradeship."
And then: "But whatever the current view, it is a great fact to have a man stand as George does, unhesitatingly, uncompromisingly, for simple justice—simple freedom."

     The Contemporary Club card he signed the other night for Anne Montgomerie was his first espousal of anybody for entrance to the meetings.


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