Commentary

Disciples


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Thursday, October 30, 1890

     7:15 P.M. Mrs. Davis gave me cordial greeting at the door. W. in bathroom—coming out shortly—seeing me in hallway—an exclamation—I suppose of joy— "Oh! boy! Oh Horace! Here at last—here again. How good it is to see you again!" and he urged I come right in—holding my hand warmly and firmly. I went downstairs a space to have Mrs. Davis sign receipt—then

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up again—W. taking both my hands in his own then—reaching forward to kiss me. The warmest demonstration I ever knew from him. He exclaimed, "Oh boy! I could hardly have believed it myself. How we have missed you—your evening visits. Evening after evening going and no sign, no familiar figure! And now you are back with us again! Tell me about it all—about them all. It must be a bright good story." I had no great space to stay, but the 20 minutes or so I lingered were used with good effect. I asked him if he had yet written Ingersoll. "No," he replied, "and yet I have intended to do it. But I have not been nearly so well since you went away. This 'grip' possesses me—is a trouble and casualty. Therefore all the good words I had designed to send remain unwritten." And he added, "I received the copy of the address the day you left and I have read it, read it, read it again. It seems to be written for permanent place, which it will have." I suggested, "Before all else Ingersoll is poet." "Yes, I have thought that myself—have believed that might, ought to, be said. It is full of beauty—is a poem in itself." I asked, "What is this Morris has been at in the American?" W. replied, "Oh! it seems to be a statement from some of my friends—a protest—which asks the world that they may not be misunderstood as in any way responsible for the atheisticalness of Ingersoll." I said, "I told Doctor the other day that I thought it both superfluous and impudent for anybody to apologize for your friendship." W. smiled, "I see it, too—but it is done with good intention—they mean it well." "No doubt," I admitted, "but God knows the world isn't going to worry itself much either way to find out if Morris or any other of our littlenesses are mixed or mingled with Bob's ideas of the universe!" W. smiling, assented, "To be sure—to be sure. But we understand—that is enough." I showed him a couple of Niagara pictures I had with me—noble counterfeits of that majestic flow of water—and as he looked at it, "It increases my awe, bolsters my conviction, lifts me. They certainly are the best watery effects I have ever seen—have, in fact, the power, the certainty, of new creations."


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     I referred to Ingersoll's lecture as "majestic" and W.: "It is indeed majestic—it is a good word, compassing its grandeur." And then, "I have a copy of the American with Morris in it—a copy here away somewhere."

     Told him I was about ready to have manuscript copied—of the New England Magazine piece. He said, "Doctor has written me about it," and he assured me he would lay out for me the five photos—the house, Mickle Street, the room, Whitman, the birthplace.

     Then into rapid questionings as to London. I told him I wished him to send Warren up for Doctor's books in the morning and he said he would do so. He asked about my trip both ways—when I got in—how all the folks were— "Pardee and Ina? Ah yes! I know—they must be just what you say!" and on to the freedom of the whole Bucke establishment—sane and insane, children and adults. "I can conceive it: it is the Doctor's best card—carries everywhere its own justification." I had soon to go—but could hardly escape from the questions he fired at me, one after another. "You see," he said, "it is just as I have said—you are not sorry you went. I knew it would be so." And as to B.'s brother, "I knew him too—he was a fine presentable man." He could "never miss the remembrances of the young ones—particularly of Pardee. He was even then a beautiful child," and "I remember Dr. Sippi, too—manly, stout, cheerful." And as I went, he called after me, "Come again—come again: I am anxious for all the story!"


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