Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, January 7, 1891

     5:40 P.M. W. in room. Sat with the red comforter pinned around his shoulders. Yet the room did not really appear cold. Warren had said as I greeted him at the door, "Your hand is most frozen," and I remarked it to W., "Take care—my hand is cold." He responding emphatically, "All the better: I am glad to take hold of it: it lifts me out of doors—away from these walls! Reminds me of the brisk winds!" Stayed half an hour. "Did I tell you," he asked, "that William's book is to be printed? The Atlantic Monthly people propose to first use 'The Brazen

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Android' in the magazine, then to produce the book entire next summer or fall. A good plan, as it seems to me. The book to include my preface."
I had offered to Mrs. O'Connor to read proofs. W. thought, "That is good of you—would probably please her. And I suppose Kennedy could do it, too—perhaps better than we could, being on the ground. Though—poor fellow!—he always seems over-worked—his goblet is full and full, if not overflowing," and more seriously, "I often wonder if Kennedy is not pushing things too fast or far—can outlive the obstacles? It is a serious question." But was not Kennedy looking forward to some improvement? "What way?" W. asked. "To the staff? That is of doubtful importance anyway." Got him a box of mammoth Falcons and a holder today: about thirty-six pens. He took with the pleasure of a child, giving me his old holder and its ink-filled pen. "I was on my last man," he remarked, "and would have sent Warrie out to skirmish for them tomorrow. These are the best yet. I shall put them in my own drawer—keep them for mine own humor—and think of you as my messenger." Did not know if there was "a worse thing about the paralysis than its tendency more and more to confine, imprison a fellow. To get out, to go abroad, to breathe in the fresh air, in any shape, is a boon—a great boon; especially to me, eligible as I am to all the delights of freedom and vigor!">

     Discursively discussed nurses. W. thought, "They seem impossible to our time—certainly to America—the true nurse must be a male: that is the upshot of my experience. A male, at least, for men. There are a few women, girls, who take it up intellectually: but how far does that take us? Certainly there are no males. What I need is a man to control me—to suggest, to initiate, to save me the trouble even to mention his duties. A man to nurse me, not one I must nurse. Oh! that is very esential. I can reason it out—see it, too, in the hospitals; but our young men, from pride, independence, something, will not touch it—call it menial—shrink from it. It is the reaction from the past, but is it good? In the old days, all such labor was thought

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honorable, but now we put a stigma upon it."
"Quite agreed" with Ruskin in the idea that all toil should be given respect— "and even more fully with Tolstoi" in his conviction that men should keep close to humanity and its labor and suffering. I suggested that we send "Leaves of Grass" to Tolstoi. W.: "I am quite willing, but how will it be sent? How will it get there?" And further, "Write if you think to do it—to Kennan—get Tolstoi's address—then see what you can do." I would address Tolstoi before sending the volume. Perhaps there was no way of getting it through to him? "Have you seen anybody who heard the Stepniak lecture last night?"—in Academy, Philadelphia. "There were very few listeners, it seems. One of the reporters called him a Kalmuck, which is no more, coming from that source, than to say he is no flunky, is not respectable; yet he is a brave noble fellow—a big man in every way." He had heard Talcott Williams was out of tune. Would I stop to see him: "Drop a little reminder that I have not my copy of Reisser talk." Promised I would leave whatever I had of Lippincott's paper with him tomorrow. He thought, "Stoddart evidently wants it and you should let him have it soon as possible." Left Harper's Weekly with W. Reference in this style to Emerson: "Emerson sacrificed a great deal in details—yielded the small points—but as he told me, he did this the better to have his own way in all vital concerns, and this is the man—an invincible quiet determination always prevailing." And then, "These small details are no small items in any man's life; I am crossed, crossed, crossed—have nothing to do but yield, day by day, in umimportant items."


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