Commentary

Disciples


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Thursday, July 17, 1890

     5:35 P.M. W. in his room fanning himself. I on my way home. With him half an hour, having a delightful talk, he fanning himself all the time of my stay.

     Dr. Johnston here again today for the last time—photographed the room. He goes to New York, will see Gilchrist—then to Bucke, and to Europe from Canada. W. "very much enjoyed his whole visit. He is such a human creature, so presenting himself that to refuse him would be impossible. We all like him here: Mrs. Davis, Warren. He is Scotch, one of a group of Lancashire admirers of 'Leaves of Grass.' The least happy part of his visit was the fearful heat." As to the picture of the room, "If it comes to anything and he sends me a copy, I shall let you have it at once, though that may not be for a long time. But I doubt much of it—it probably will not sum up much. It is

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with this room as with Emerson's bird, or something else: you may take it home with you, cage it—but for its atmosphere, the sea, mountains, the infinite associations, histories—what can be supplied? We lose all these. I do not know but in your own piece, when you come to it, a few lines of description would do best of all—just to hint it. So far the best thing of the sort I have known was in the Springfield Republican. It was years ago. Jim Scovel's? Yes, his."
And he would give me a copy, as I had never had one.

     Spoke of a letter from Dr. Bucke yesterday describing the sudden death of Dr. Reilly (that is the name he gave me), inspector, etc., under the government. Also of Beemer, Bucke's assistant and friend of W.

     Gave me a bag containing three apricots to give to my mother. "Tell her they are from me—I sent them." We also discussed the flowers in a glass on the table. "They are trumpet-flowers," he said, "out of our own yard. A famous flower, once-a-day, but now nearly extinct, like the American buffalo." And again, "I have seen it clamber and climb about brick walls in the most beautiful way—in Brooklyn, years and years ago—little two-story and garret houses. It was a picture to remember. They give forth flower copiously—have no odor, the color, as you see, not enough subdued for some people—but for me, honest and strong." And then, back to the buffalo: "It is a great beast. The good fellow's big at the front—always with a rich growth of hair out of which pierces the most beautiful eye ever was. A rarely beautiful eye, large, round, bulging, but earnest with great animal purpose, more than I know in any other. In the finest specimens the hair coming down over the eyes, not unlike the hair worn by some of the nearly barbarous Irish women we see."

     W. sent a twig of the flowers to my father— "I want him to see them. It was a most beautiful vision in the old days, those copious rich flowers, set off in green, clambering long stretches of brick wall. But that, no doubt, is altogether a thing past now. Every once in a while I have heard of another and another

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of the old houses torn down, to give way to larger financial requirements—till probably now not one is left. Yet the flowers and that peculiar style house will to me forever remain associated."


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