Commentary

Disciples


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Monday, December 15, 1890

     W. sent proofs up to me by Mrs. Davis between seven and eight last evening. I read later on and mailed at once. Told Somerby to send me sample copies as soon as out. Secured proof of celluloid picture today. Very good indeed—every tone sustained—and undoubted decision of line. I called it "better than the original." And later on—at 6:10—in W.'s room, he looked at it and confirmed my opinion, "I am inclined to repeat what you say—that it is better than the original. Now if they can only keep all the copies up to this standard!" Indeed, it so pleased him he now said, "I think I will have 200 instead of 100 copies—100 on cards and 100 in paper, like this." And then we discussed weight of card and size of paper. W. had been in bathroom when I came. I sat down in his chair—read. And when he came in he instantly said, "That's right—that's just the

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thing you should do."
And further, "I had another order for a book today—sold another book, rather. It was in this way: someone sends me five dollars—a gift—and Johnston writes on his own hook to say that it might be well for me to send the man a book, which I did—one of the leather books." He has "no word from the North American Review yet—yet I see that my piece on National Literature is coming out in the next number. It is not paid for yet. Yes, a tremendous theme. Of which we might say, that we can't have a great national literature till we have a great nation. And have we that?"

     Showed W. the following note received from Mrs. Fairchild:


191 Commonwealth Avenue
Dec 13

Dear Mr. Traubel—

I have a couple of W. W.'s photographs (from Cox) which I want to give at Christmas time to two of his lovers here. I know how much it would be to them were the photographs signed with his familiar blue pencil. If you think this request not indiscreet, and if he is in his usual health, I will send them to you—that you may have more trouble than he!—And I shall be most grateful to you as well as to our poet.

Hastily, truly yrs

L. N. Fairchild


      "Certainly," he said, "and only glad—glad—to do this much for her: the noble soul!" When he came in I was reading the Engineering Record—his own word there on his brother Jeff. "And how does it read? Is it good writing?" he asked. I replied, "It might be good writing and not amount to much," he smiling and saying, "That is true—I should not have asked in that way." And then: "But does it hit the right spot?" My warm response to this causing his pathetic reference to Jeff: "The good boy! The dearest of them all! Brave Jeff! God bless him!" Several other copies there. "I had one out here for you—it is yours." Gave me the letter he had from Bucke today—I also had

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letter more pointedly about W. Do not usually mention my letters because W. is curious to see them and there's always something in them he should not see. Asked after weather. Milder. But he was not out. "Tempting as it is, I have forborne—have stuck by my room." Commented on criticisms of Jefferson's autobiogrpahy—all favorable. "I do not agree with them: it seems to me it is altogether negative—not powerful, not lasting—except, perhaps, for this: that he is genial—that he receives all the fellows of his profession in a fair spirit. But, Horace, actors are much misunderstood on this point, anyhow. They have their jealousies, it is true, but not nearly to the extent declared—with, on the other hand, generosities, comradeships, affections, aids, known as no other class in so abundant a measure." Told him he had inserted commas in proofs where they should not have been—that I had wiped them out. "You did right: I want to stand by the punctuation of the book—but I did not compare these galleys with the book—simply read and made the changes as my common sense commanded."


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