Commentary

Disciples


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 302] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Wednesday, November 26, 1890

     7:50 P.M. W. reading copy of "Leaves of Grass"—not looking well. How was his stomach? "Poorly! poorly!" This bore out despondent letter from Bucke today:


25 Nov 1890

My dear Horace

Yours of 21st came yesterday. I lectured on "Mania" all the afternoon and had no time to answer it.

Let me know (send copy if convenient) when the "Millet" piece comes out and don't forget about your own W. W. piece when it appears.

Letter from W. this moment, he says "Am beleaguered with belly ache quite bad is apt to begin at day break, is on me now diaphragm region and upper breast at times, sore and aching." I much fear Horace that this means something serious. Have W. seen by best man you can find in Phila. and have the thing thoroughly looked into.

Your friend

RM Bucke


     Had been out but briefly. Pretty cold tonight. Note from Oldach, he said, with sample paper for cover of books. "I made my choice and sent it back." Received his copies of Lippincott's. Mine laid on bed and he quickly called my attention to it. Alluded to novel in the magazine. "It seems to take up about the whole thing. I suppose that is cute—suppose that makes it go, which is their point. But the printing—it is handsome—indeed, that is characteristic of all their printing, to look the best form, the best face," etc. But "Stoddart has not yet been over." Had been scribbling notes: "What shall I

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 303] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
write on the big Ingersoll envelope?"
And this was one of his suggestions:

Portraits of Walt Whitman from life
sent to Mrs. Ingersoll
by WW as a Christmas Present 1890-'91


     I quoted letter from Adler speaking of Ingersoll's "brilliant panegyric on Walt Whitman," W. exclaiming, "Brilliant, indeed! indeed!" adding, "Bob is very cute. The best part of the address is, that you like it better the second reading than the first, and better the tenth reading than the second. Your liking ascends: it is so rich in indirection, no penetrating eye can fail to catch a part of the treasure." Gave him Baker's letter dated yesterday to read. And he said he was "fully satisfied," adding, "You must tell him, not to be afraid: we will not add anything to the quotations." Then, "That pamphlet ought to be of great value to us: we will need a lot ourselves." Then read Mrs. O'Connor's letter, too, and "sorry," he said, "that all the publishing of William's book seems yet in doubt," etc. Then quite fully spoke of O'Connor. "He undoubtedly was the born orator—born to be a great orator. He was full of a subject, once it had thoroughly nipped him. And then such fire, enthusiasm—what blows! Certainly he was greater than any of the men who were famous in older times—our old times—Phillips and the rest. He was orator in the best antique sense—any sense, in fact—all times, lands. Was gifted to speak, exult, appeal, full of bestnesses—potent for victories, glowing successes. And the best of it was, he knew so much, as none of these other fellows did: was at home in the knowledge of his subject, whatever it happened to be. His great drawback was—and in him it was a damnable one—got complete possession—a sort of feeling of 'What's the good of it, anyhow?' which palsied his adherence to plans, ends. A damnable serious exposé of Scots-ism. Poor William! Great William!" He knew people would often ask why, if O'Connor was so great a man, had not

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 304] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
the world heard of him. "But the reply to that is, that many forces are at work about us (many of the greatest forces) and the world knows nothing about them—nothing: would rather deny than admit them." And further, "Take some of the old women, the mothers: no one ever hears of them! But they are the salt of the earth: noble, courageous, disinterested—not to be forgotten in any count of the great national, great world, forces."


Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.