Commentary

Disciples


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 018] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Tuesday, July 22, 1890

     5:05 P.M. Warren had put the chair in front of the door. I found W. getting ready to go out. In his own room. We talked full half an hour.

     Wished me to look at photo of Annan left there by Dr. Johnston.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 019] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
"It is his own work," says W. "He has a camera—is what would be called an outsider in that sort of work. Does it for his own pleasure. That picture is very pretty—very effective. Would, I think, rank high for non-professional." Subsequently W. was aroused by the thought of the Mayor's prohibition upon the boys of bathing along shores: "It is one of the outrages of our civilization. This damnable Mayor seems to set all his plumes to doing this one miserable contemptible thing. It is interesting to know, that the high official type, in this wealthy town with its 65,000 people, plays itself out in fighting the whiskey saloons, taking care of the Sunday laws, stopping the boys from taking a swim—a high type that, indeed! I was much pleased the last day Dr. Johnston was here. He hunted me out down by the river, where we sat a long time. The heat was intense. It was a joy to see and hear the water. There was a whole group of boys had clustered near us. I took the opportunity to say to the Doctor, these are typical—these are all out of what you would call our lower orders, vagabonds, the rift of our population: yet never a foul word, not one of them swore. I heard no oath, though in vivacity, activity, all that, they displayed an intense measure. I expatiated for some time—it was my element—it bore upon my theories, illustrated 'Leaves of Grass.' I admitted, after a while they will probably lose all that—will go into politics, trickery—float out into our average life, grow conventional; but here they are now, for what you can make of them, typical of our population. They were boys for whom water, air, sun had for several years done their best. It was a happy illustration for me, and I made the most of it with the Doctor, who, anyhow, in himself, is full of fine intentions, with a clear fine eye for events."

     Asked me, "Well, did you write to Kennedy last night?" and to my "yes," added, "I can't account for his failure to get down this way. He must have known, a man of his knowledge, when he set out, that an excursion ticket would command his return by the route he went. No—no—it is not clear. I wrote him a

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 020] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
postal, saying, 'but I suppose you put it off, the better to get down in the fall or winter,' or to that effect, which was a mere grope in the dark, but seeming to me called for."

     W. gave me a letter from Bucke, dated the 20th, about the bibliography (W. W.) started by Bucke. W. laughed, "I will help him all I can, but he can hardly at the best expect much help from me in that," adding that bibliographies were "anyhow not according to my ambitions," that he could not "enter into them," and that though others were welcome to all their profit from the task, "they enter upon it at their peril." Laughing over it all.


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.