Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, January 30, 1891

     5:50 P.M. Took W. his final ten copies of the Ingersoll lecture. He had made up one of his own copies for Lezinsky today—mailed it (I taking it to Post Office) to California. Also sent papers to Mrs. O'Connor. Said to me, "I have a letter from Doctor: cheerful, bright, sane. He says they are working on the meter," laughing, "which I suppose is chestnut enough. He speaks again of your Lippincott's piece—of his liking for it. It struck deep in him, as in me, indeed." I said laughingly, "I am glad to have him say that, even though he is a lunatic." W. laughed too, but quickly followed his laugh to say, "That is from Gilder—that is not Stedman. Stedman should have known better to repeat it, however, does know better: for Ed is way above the rest of them. But no—no—no! those fellows will have no enthusiasm: give them warmth, ardor, boldness—Bob, for instance—they are instantly repelled. But, Horace—do you know—they ought to see Symonds' letters to me—eh? the private letters? warm, fervent, confessional." Had Doctor yet returned him the Symonds letter to Johnston? "No—it has not come yet: he is waiting to get a chance to copy it. I suppose he has someone in the Asylum who does that work for him." Returned me Current Literature. All cut this time. He evidently looked it through closely. Talked of sudden death of Secretary Windom yesterday, in New York, after his dinner speech. W. said, "It was the reaction—the sudden fall of pulse. And I do not wonder—not at all. All that sort of life is double-life: they live it hard and fast: all that is called the high life of cities. It is two or three days crammed into one, years into a year—pressed close and more; and men go down under it. I often think myself compensated for simplicity, obscurity: I get peace,

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satisfaction—deepest joys. I recall O'Connor's memory of a woman we both knew in Washington: he related the story at any instigation. 'Oh!' she said, 'I can't get resigned to this common mode of life! I have been so used to horses—equipage!' And he did it irresistibly. It is not finally known, even by William's friends, that he was gifted wtih the deepest vein of mimicry. I knew it well. But he exercised it little—feared, undoubtedly, that it would tend to cynicism, which was foreign to his character and aspirations. I did as much as any other to discourage it—yet often acknowledged its value. It was of such value, O'Connor could anytime, in a pinch, have gone on the stage—perhaps made a big name there."
W. then went on with his reference to "our high-pressure life." Touched upon Stanley. "I can get up no enthusiasm for him. Yet, he is quite a fellow—stands in his own right—has courage, conviction. Yet whether the future will confirm him—will select him from other crowding items of our civilization—that is another matter." As to Johnston's idea of Stedman's great vanity, W. shook his head. "That does not seem to me to state the case. I can see why Johnston should say it, see it, that way. But to me, there are other things to be said. I would content myself with saying it is his way: that is the long and short of it. The main matter—defect—with the New York fellows is—to use Herbert's Englishism—that they lack guts: they are afraid of great voices, ideas, men."


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