Commentary

Disciples


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Monday, August 4, 1890

     5:30 P.M. Had 20 minutes' talk with W.—who had just been having a bath. Very ruddy and clear-complexioned. Heat continues and he feels it somewhat, but doesn't complain.

     I told him I had written Baxter today "in hot indignation"—to which he said, laughing— "Well, you can't put it too strong for me in what you say of Hartmann—what cowardly and lying impertinence all this is! I suppose that N.Y. Herald piece still goes echoing about, making mischief." He feared if Hartmann lied about Stedman again and W. did not contradict— "he would certainly believe there was something in it." Then urged that I go over to New York someday, "see some of the fellows—Johnston, Stedman: yes, Stedman. Meeting Stedman face to face you would realize many things—would see what my own words about him have in the last analysis meant. Given a man who is typical of anything, a face-to-face meeting by anyone of clear perception is convincing and revealing; no word can convey this: it is not substance, it is impression, breath. Like seeing a great city, a crowded street; like a glimpse of Athens: who, what word, can convey any sign of the wonders—any hint, even? As with those clouds up there, bathed in color and perfume—one glimpse, our simple look here, tells the story, takes us into the glory, into recognition. No multiplying of words ad infinitum could begin to rival this simple glance. And so with persons—as with Stedman. And you could tell him many things

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he would like to hear."
And he thought further— "A look in at Ingersoll, with some word there, belongs with such a trip."

     Fanned himself as he talked. "It would be a souvenir," he said reflectively. "Why should we not give each one of the fund people something?" I had reminded him that the "Complete Whitman" we had promised Bush had not been sent yet. No cause but forgetfulness—as he called it.

     Telling him that the Poet-Lore piece was "Walt Whitman's View of Shakespeare"—and adding— "spelled out full," he smiled. "But that is not the best authority: the best authority gives it short. I notice the Critic folks do—and Symonds."

     Said again, "I am afraid Dr. Johnston has had to go home without seeing Bucke. Bucke says he has not been there yet. He was to have sailed last Thursday."

     Said he had had a letter from Bucke— "All well there." But nothing from Kennedy, "though I have written him."


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