Commentary

Disciples


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Monday, January 19, 1891

     5:20 P.M. To W.'s on my way home. Quite near sundown; the room in shadow. Cold: the room itself not as cozy as usual. W. had not long finished his dinner. How did he feel? "A bit better—but by no means well—my head, belly, bladder—seem all astray—gone from their moorings." I asked about the room—was it kept warm enough? "That's just the trouble—I attribute a good deal of my cold, chilliness, discomfort, to the variable temperature: now it is hot, now cold—extremely hot, sweaty, roasty—then cold as ice." I asked him why he did not have Warren attend it more assiduously. The room should have a uniform temperature. "Warrie does bring the wood in—keeps me in wood." I expostulated, "But he ought to keep the fire going too." W. then, "Warrie doesn't seem to have a talent for that sort of thing." It is rare to hear so much of criticism from him. I suggested a thermometer for the room—that Warrie should keep its temperature steady. W. objected, "But the best

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thermometer is my feeling."
"Yes, I know: but Warrie must not have to consult you always." He laughed slightly, "You are right—I am convicted." Very specific question came more or less from a letter arrived from Bucke this morning—written Saturday—as follows:


17 Jan 1891
Private

My dear Horace

Yours of 13th & 14th (both giving good reports of W.) to hand, yet here is what W. writes 13th "Have had two bad days and nights—bad bladder plight and lots else—easier this evening—'hope ever springs'—bad surmises tho' yesterday".

How do you account for such gloomy reports from W. to me when you see everything "couleur de rose"?

My impression is that tho' putting (for most part) a good face on things W. is really in a pretty bad way and liable to collapse at any time.

W. will tell you abt. slander suit and show you letters & papers. I am well and not disconcerted.

Love to you

RM Bucke


     W. gave me paper received from Bucke—also said would give me letter but it was too dark to hunt up. I told him I also had letters from Johnston and Wallace (England), he saying, "I, too, heard from Johnston today."


54 Manchester Road
Bolton, England
Jan 7th 1891

Dear Mr. Traubel

Accept of my best thanks for your letter & for your kindness in sending me the several papers which I have read with much interest.

W. W. had previously sent me that number of Unity. I get the paper regularly & my friend Mr. Wallace, to whom I forwarded a copy of your letter & the papers you had marked for him, recieves

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your Conservator every month. We subscribe to them mainly with the view of seeing what may be said about W. W. as any & everything about him is of great interest to us.


How I envy you your privilege of constant & intimate intercourse with him, who is to me what no other man [is] but as you say that he does me the honour of showing you my letters you will already know how highly I rank & revere him. I am indeed rejoiced to hear that at the time of your writing he was in such improving health & I am anxious for your favourable report to be confirmed.

God bless him & grant that during the remainder of his days he may have immunity from pain & physical distress & that he may live to enjoy the recognition of himself which tho' late is certain.

I cannot write more at present so with reciprocal good wishes for the new year and with kindest regards

I remain

Yours sincerely

J. Johnston


     Further, "I have heard from the Youth's Companion—I sent them a poemet; called it 'Ship Ahoy!'—funny, isn't it? And they took it—and they treated me well, too—paid me almost double the price I asked: I asked eight dollars, they sent fifteen. It does not amount to much, is of value, if at all, only by what it suggests, its indirection." I put in, "Perhaps like all your poems?" And he: "I shouldn't wonder. Tell me—did it ever appear to you that way?" Said he had been "rather surprised at the friendly disposition of the Youth's Companion people." No Lippincott's proof for me yet. W. suggested, "If it doesn't come tomorrow morning, write for it, or go in to see Stoddart about it. You should have time to go over it carefully." I had written a little note about T. J. Whitman and sent off to Post tonight, W. "satisfied that it will be all right." Talked about Paine and the picture from Wilson the ornithologist, quoted by Law. W. said, "I have always been interested in Wilson. He was one of our early men—had a certain fine courage of purpose," but his "love for Paine" was "greater,"

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and told me he knew "pretty much most of what has been known historically of Paine." But this from Wilson, if it was only a few lines, would add some vivid color to the picture. "A word will sometimes do more than pages."

     Returned me Current Literature. "I have read George Horton's piece: I can feel I may have said something similar to what he there reports, but as to the exact thing I could not say. But it is in good spirit, means us well." Had read the Globe: "Thorne must have been either drunk or crazy when he wrote that—a fit subject for an inebriate or lunatic asylum." I suggested, "It looks as if he wished to have somebody reply to him." W.: "Yes—so to me—but I hpoe nobody will: I hope none of our friends will say a word."

     Referred to death of Bancroft described in yesterday's papers—of his "marvellous grand old age."


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