Commentary

Disciples


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 401] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Thursday, January 8, 1891

     5:40 P.M. Had with me one picture from McCollin. They have 140 printed, but few mounted. Will supply me more fully tomorrow. This picture unsilvered. W. quite content with it. "I wrote them a postal last night, so that they might know I knew

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 402] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
whereof I spoke when I asked you to see that the negative was put into good hands—for I know it needs powerfulness—generosity: as in the ink of a book. I complimented the samples I had had—asked them to give the postal to the man with the job in hand and to give him my salute. That was about its whole purport. Why, even 'Leaves of Grass' looks better, reads better, is better, when black-inked—when the ink has not been spared."
Again: "The several copies I had I sent away at once and they were liked. Oh! it is a good picture—it has the true tone. I know it." Had left my manuscript at door this morning, now he returned. It was not touched except in phrases here and there. Suggestions few. W. said, "It is very good—very—I like it much: would like it better if it was not about me. I like all but its eulogy—that I don't like. Yet I suppose that has its reason, too. I have little to suggest about it: it pleases me fully. I wrote to Stoddart today, speaking of it—also suggesting that he print the Quaker Traits—Kennedy's—and the Science Traits—Bucke's. Sent him copies of these. I don't know but he may do it. He is as a usual thing very frank and deferential when I counsel him. Why, do you suppose?" And he asked me, "Why won't you send the manuscript just as it is?" But I shall not do that: it needs more change than I can give the already much-worked pages. Will get to Stoddart by Monday.

     North American Review advertises as to appear soon: "Our National Literature"—W's. Calls it: "a rugged bit of criticism, dealing with the possibility of a truly national literature." Was W. satisfied now that I was correct in the guess as to its postponement? "Yes, fully: I can see the better reasons for it now." Spoke of habit of putting names of writers fore and aft a piece: "But I do not like it; one place is enough. But though I always mark it out, the publishers take their own way. I notice that in Lippincott's they print the name but once and minimize it at that." Repeated joy over the Galti picture from Johnston: "The artist may be said to have known enough not to spare his ink: he knew that subject could only be treated broadly, and so

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 403] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
treated it. Its play of light, shade—the countenances—the moon-beams—enhance the impression."
Returned me Harper's Weekly. "What excellent printing!" he exclaimed, "even better and better! In these miscellaneous prints we beat the foreigners out of their boots, but in the daily journals, they beat us—and in their books, too: their evenness of tone—the black positive letter. Look at the Symonds Dante, done, I think, at Glasgow or Edinburgh. Our men will never stop to bed their press to produce such a result. Oh! I have been there! They're in such a devil of a hurry—pell mell—head over heels—that it's a surprise they do as well as they do." In Harper's Weekly a picture of Schliemann: "I liked it—it is a beautiful piece of work—satisfied me: I studied it long and long."

     Held a red handkerchief in his hand. "This is my Hindoo kerchief. You remember, it came from the Hindoo sailors—several years ago—who came here, they bringing this. It is very delicate, thin, almost transparent. But strong, too, little though it is in weight. And the perfume—what is it?" I took it. A faint perfume, delicious in refinement, but strange. "What is it?" he repeated. "Is it the Swiss lilac or whatever—that they talk about? Warren brought it in several months ago—put some of it on—and here it is still. Its best feature, that it's a suspicion only—or barely that: a suspicion of a suspicion." Then W. seriously, "And this reminds me—you remember the sailor who was here with Warren a few years ago—stayed some days? He is gone—lost—disappeared from sight: no explanation, no message—nothing! Oh! another tragedy of the sea—the great mysteries which confound, overwhelm us! It seems he shipped at Newfoundland more than six months ago—for some common port—Belfast, what-not—and never has been heard of since, not a sign—the ship gone: neither drift nor sail, person nor wreck. Oh! wasn't it tragic? tragic?" W. seemed to be much impressed. "And his people—his wife (he was married only a year or so ago) have several times written us here—Warren—and Warren them." I remembered the man well. W. has said

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 404] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
to me of him, "I got many sea points from him when he was here."

     Quoted to W. account copied in Current Literature of George Horton's vist to Camden and W. Horton had given it to some club in Chicago. W. said, "Yes, Horton was here: I guess it is genuine. I liked him pretty well"—did not seem to me warmed in the matter. "He had a professional look—lawyer-like, physician, artist, something—though he is only a newspaper man, has no further pretensions that I know of."


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.