Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, July 30, 1890

     5:10 P.M. Had a fine talk with W., covering full three-quarters of an hour. Was in best trim, despite intense heat.

     Brought him Leslie's (popular monthly)—after some search in Philadelphia having found article in July number by Towle, "Three Octogenarian Poets." I said to W., "I don't think there's much danger of your crossing his limits. You are not likely to get off on his strain." W. then, "I can easily believe you are right. I am not expecting much of the article myself. Still, working on something akin to it, I thought well of the notion to see what Towle had done."


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     Second volume of Symonds' essays turned face down on a pile of papers. I said, "You seem to have been reading them today." "Yes, some: it has more or less to attract me. But the more I see of this book, the more I am convinced of the 'chestnut' theory. This is not new work. There are occasional, perhaps many, references to me, but as to getting hold of me, I don't think he does. The book has a certain value—I would not question that: is full of meat, too, I may add."

     Returned to me the Bazar I had left last week. I had Harper's and Current Literature along, both of which, at his desire, I left with him. "I ought to keep on the run of things. These help me to do so."

     Said, "I send Symonds copies of nearly everything I come across here in the way of discussions of us."

     Said of the Australian fellows, "I like them very much, they attract me," and added, "I sent a copy of Bucke's book about me. Warren asked about the postage and put on what they said was required; but by and by it comes back, comes after 12 days marked 'not sufficient postage.'" He "doubted whether the Post Office fellows have any rule about this thing—whether they don't just charge by whim."

     Thought Symonds' "Democratic Art" was "somewhat like the play 'Our American Cousin'—in which the only American participating is an invented American, whose like you would wander America from shore to shore and never find."

     W. referred to Harrison's message anti the Louisiana lotteries. Did not believe in "ever saving the mails, even against lotteries," and therefore, "Let those fellows go on believing there's no hell. They'll wake up there some morning!"

     Mrs. Davis had been telling him of some necessitous couple who had applied for money, as I came in; she stood with tray in hand, W.'s dinner done. After she had gone, W. turned to me and said, "It sounds like a very fishy tale. Whether in my first moody, demoniac criticality I do them injustice, that remains to be seen. But I am suspicious of the story."


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     I asked him for a couple of autographs for Agnes and Mrs. Fels to frame as unique tail-pieces to the big pictures. He wrote two names for me—but, as I found, on a soiled sheet of paper and not in the shape that would do for framing. Will have to try him again. The matter on obverse of sheet curious. Unusual for me to ask such a thing. He laughed at my excuses. "We will do it for them: as Carlyle would say, it will do us no harm and may do them some good—at least, they think it will." And he said, "If they won't do we will try again, as we must."

     Gave me letter to mail to Mrs. Heyde.


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