Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, January 21, 1891

     5:45 P.M. W. in his room, a quilt about his neck, looking rosy and better. Thought, "This day has improved me somewhat," but "not radically." No letter from Bucke today: was "always disappointed not to hear from Doctor," even though his letter "contained nothing in particular—as happens sometimes." Had not found Emerson letter. "But it will turn up, in some one of my searches, and whatever happens, it is yours, Horace—yours to have," etc. Brought him balance of photos—all but one copy. "If they are as good as the others," he said, "I shall be satisfied—fully—and more!" Had never seen Youth's Companion. Asked me after its appearance. Quick to see roll in my hand. "What is it? What?" Showed him and left with him Harper's Weekly and Magazine of Art—frontispiece of the last, Millais' picture of Ruskin. W. looked at it intently and long. "How English he is!" but "enjoyed it." Had "heard of the picture long ago," and "wished to see it. It is full of meaning—will bear to be studied long and long and long." Also looked at Harper's Young People—picture there from Howard Pyle called "The Flight form Falworth Castle." W. said half to himself, half to me, ,"I know nothing about the story: do you? No? Well, the picture is very impressive, has too, that indefinable charm of mystery—of half hinting, half inviting inquiry, yet givng nothing. There are things in nature have this same power to attract—to overawe, yet to withhold particulars. These fellows go ahead more and more. These certainly are better than the Century's even, which are fine enough. This democratization of art keeps up a quick pace."

     I expressed my liking for Kennedy's "Dutch Traits of Walt Whitman." Read the manuscript last night. W. responded, "I liked it too—much. I think it is the best thing Kennedy has so

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far written. It has a freedom, swing, bubbling-upness which is rare, which we must value."

     Said to W., "I think you changed the last sentence to advantage: changed from 'A Celtic geyser bursting through a Flemish mead—that is Walt the Unique' to 'After all, Walt Whitman may be a Celtic geyser bursting through a Flemish mead.'"

     W.: "I see your idea and second it. Yes, the sentiment was fine, but was it true? On the whole, I don't think it in any way true—not in particulars, even. But it is Kennedy's piece, not mine: it belongs to him to say that as he says it and to me not to cross him."

     I had received Ingersoll pamphlet today. Forgot to take down. W. playfully accused me of forgetting him.

     Left with him copy of Wilson description of Paine sent by Law.


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