Commentary

Disciples


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Saturday, November 1, 1890

     8:05 P.M. I went to W.'s in good spirits, finding him in as good. North American Review piece out today: he gave me slips—one set for Morris, one for myself. Had laid them out for us. Appeared to have been reading it; spoke of it immediately upon my entrance after our shaking hands. In his own room. Now that the days are colder he stays more closely there, keeping a wood fire burning lustily. I showed him this letter from Bucke received today:


30 Oct. 1890

My dear Horace

Four small W. W. books were missed when I packed the trunk—they had been laid aside under some other books and escaped being seen—I am sending them by mail—they are: "As a Strong Bird," "Drum-taps," "Passage to India" and "Democratic Vistas"—I hope you will not have shipped back the trunk before you get this letter—if not get these four (which I send by mail) autographed and return with the rest. Should the trunk be gone get the four autographed and return by mail.—You will probably have to pay duty on the four now being sent—let me know the amount of this and all other expenses connected with this autographing business so that I may square up—you will have to pay expressage, probably more than once, and will have doubtless other expenses—but I want to make it all good.

We all keep well—My brother left us at 5 this P.M. I feel pretty dull now that you are both gone.

No letter from Walt today.

Good luck to you

RM Bucke



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     W. said, after I had expressed my rejoicing to have the news of the safety of the four missing books, "I wrote Doctor today. Told him about the books, that you held them, for reasons." I laughed, "That is 'Leaves of Grass'!" and he assented, smiling too, "Yes, that's so, but you see I read it, too!" Referred to photos he had given me yesterday. I found another view of birthplace on floor. He examined: "This is the back view—not so good," he explained. "It is from the high road, the highway. I don't know why, but it does not seem happy, lacks I don't know what. The one I gave you is by all odds the best—best to use if any is used." As to the room view (the "study"), which he had not given me: "I do not think I know of any view that is sufficiently characteristic to use, do you?"

     W. very angry about Courier. "Do you see it?" he asked. "It is blackguarding Tom at a great rate." Harned is running for state senator as an independent. "It is throwing all the muddy mud it can. Oh! It is a vile sheet—full of distortion, of smut—a nasty, back-biting, slanderous, back-house, sewery sheet. The lowest, I think, I have known anywhere, which is to say a good deal." I asked him why the Courier had ignored him all through the lecture business. He swiftly answered, "I wonder. I cannot conceive." And further, "You know, I read these sheets in spite of myself: Post, Courier, though to be sure Harry is not doing any dirty work against Tom."

     Asked me about weather—weather it had not "taken on a snap," etc.

     I showed him letter I had today from Baker—this:


New York, Oct. 31st 1890.

My dear Traubel:

Your very kind and very welcome letter from London, Ontario, came duly to hand. I need hardly say to you that I fully appreciate and warmly reciprocate every personal sentiment in it—only you do me far too much favor and honor. The obligation of friendship is to say the least even between us but I am inclined to think the greater

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is on my side and that I am and shall remain your debtor on that score. Anyhow, I am sincerely glad to have met you, and hope that increasing years and labors will only polish the true gold of both of us brighter. Whenever in New York, do me the favor to call to see me, not only at the office here, but at my cosy rooms—No. 19 East 80th St., where with my dear wife, we can have an evening of reciprocal intellectual pleasure.


I have already written to Editor Flower, of The Arena, in reference to both yourself and W. W. becoming correspondents of that Review. Of course I do not know how it will strike him, but you may be sure that I urged the case strongly in his own interest.

The Colonel has been away all the week. On his return I will speak with him in reference to the biographical sketch. I am sure beforehand, however, that he will not consent to furnish a line about himself, for publication anywhere. It may be that he will make you the single exception—but it will be a great concession if he does.

As to the W. W. lecture, the Col. has only three or four of them left. I am afraid that he will not distribute any more of them. The Truth-Seeker, of 28 Lafayette Place, this city, published it entire in this week's issue.

Hoping you are well and happy and wishing you the very best of everything I am,

Sincerely your friend,

I N Baker

Should you not be able to get another copy of the W. W. lecture from the Colonel, I have one extra copy of my own that I will with pleasure assign, transfer and set over to you!

Remember me very kindly to friend Morris when you see him.

B.


      "Very good! Noble fellow!" he exclaimed as he read. And when he came to the end, "See what this says: in the Truth Seeker," laying note on his lap and looking over at me, "If the lecture is there, we will want a good many of them—a good many." I had tried to get copies today, but not succeeded. Would probably catch them Monday. W. satisfied. I urged to wait to

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see if it really was full. Heard the Investigator (Boston) has also printed liberal extracts.

     Bucke's Morse medallion broke while I was at London. I promised to secure him another—now bringing matter up to W., who immediately acquiesced, giving me copy from the table, which I will send in trunk with books.

     Brinton just back from Europe. Writes me, among other things, about W.:


Oct. 30 '90

My dear Mr. Traubel:

I have just returned from Europe this week—have been wrestling with a large accumulation of letters and business matters, as well as preparations to move in town.

Mrs. Brinton told me you wrote to inquire about me and that you would like to know when I returned; so I drop you a line. Contemporary Club matters I learn are progressing, and I have asked for a meeting of the Ex. Com. to be called for Monday next 4:30 P.M. at 1833 Spruce. Try to come as we want to know about finance.

Walt I hope is well, though I have heard nothing for 3 months as to his condition. I am pretty busy packing up, etc. out here, but after this week shall have some leisure and I want to visit Camden.

Truly yours

D. G. Brinton


     W. glad to have this read to him. "It honors us." He placing always high estimate on things said by Brinton; feels they come from "a typical man of science—than whom there's none higher!"

     W. has received official notice of the change in number of his house to 332. Have not had a chance to talk with him about it yet.

     W. called my attention to Century frontispiece: a Brady picture of Lincoln and "Tad," saying, "How good that is! It is one of the very few good pictures of Lincoln I know. Brady himself made about 40 or so, which come to little. Lincoln is

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worn, tired, dragged out. It is the true phase, as shown in those late years of the first presidency. He was always spare—came East first, looking the athletic timberman, lithe, not graceful, serene, calm—and then the burdens and that etch and etch of time! It carries me back: I see the figure, all its significance, its majesty, its summons!"


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