Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, August 15, 1890

     5:30 P.M. W. getting ready to go out. In his own room. We talked 20 minutes or so. Looked in fine trim and said he felt so.

     Lent part of Kennedy's letter yesterday—about O'Reilly and the G.A.R.—to Morning News—young Patterson—and it appeared duly. W. today sending away a number of copies. Has also been sending out sheets of "An Old Man's Rejoinder," to appear in Critic tomorrow—and struck off by the Critic folks for him.

     W. said that in the writing in the Post the other day, "a person named Woodberry," etc., he "hardly thought Woodberry was of such position—I have since found out that he is essayist, professor, poet, writer—quite an authority." I laughed and put in, "You don't think him such an authority!" at which he

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laughed— "I think him a great liar: if he says that Emerson told him such a thing, he lied outright: that I know." He spoke of Sunday's Press, that it spelled Woodberry's name with bury, "which was wrong: I looked it up." I said, "The worst liar, though, is the liar who is constitutionally a liar—who can't help but lie." W. assented, "That is true—I have had my experience of them." I hinted, "Hartmann, for example"—he adding and assenting— "Yes, Hartmann, and then Jim Scovel—even Conway—there's that in them presses them forward to lie. It is one of the sorrows of literature in our time—the tendency to create excitement, interest at whatever, whosever, expense, sacrifice. However they start out, the incentive of the message, the fear things may not make a hit, the public may not listen, the publisher not bite—urges, urges, the lie: and there it is! Oh! it is the danger of all us fellows who play with pens: we must all have a care—it is an easy trap to fall into." And further: "As you say, it is the unconscious lying that is the most dangerous—and unconscious lying is possible any way we turn. This story of Woodberry's, however, is an old one—I have had it from many quarters, in many dresses, and he has got it in some indirect way. Woodberry got it from an original liar: there are two sorts of liars—original liars"—I laughingly said, "and reflected liars." W. very merrily: "I intended to say that, though I hadn't the word—yes, reflected liars—as the moon with its reflected light. My phrases would have been, original liars and intending liars—which is not so good." He felt he "could not help" for Woodberry's reputation, anyway—these things were what they were, however grown to.

     Gave me a copy of Post to give to Morris.

     Says Warren has been "persuading" him to take a trip, "as all take trips these summer days," but he is "disinclined" because the signs of strength he hopes for are not yet evident. If he went anywhere, thought he would go to New York—and besides "should have gone in the cooler days."


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     Gave me whole package of papers and postals for J. W. Wallace, England, to mail.

     Examined Magazine of Art—September—I had with me—Munkácsy's picture "Milton Dictating 'Paradise Lost' to His Daughters." Was much "possessed by the picture itself—the engraving is certainly of the purest order—exquisite." Yet: "The fabulous fablers! The point is, it is not true: I don't suppose Milton ever did anything of the kind. It is one of the stories, grown out of long assertion—not a word of truth in it, yet necessary to be asserted again and again—like the 'give-em-some-more-shot, Captain Bragg!' and the like." Also much charmed by a picture of Orchidaon—asked me about "process" engraving.

     I found Warren at the door, greasing the wheels of the chair. While we stood there talking W. came down, his coat over his arm, his sleeves rolled up. Saw what was doing—leaned up against the door sill. "There's no hurry," he said—still, soon was tired, and so sat down on the step, in the position of a small boy, eyeing us curiously and remarking several things. He thought the chair had been "a great blessing and success" and exclaimed, "Oh, if only our joints could be oiled again into smooth running order!"

     I had had discussion with Warren on the point of W.'s weight, I contending for loss, Warren that he probably still weighed 195 pounds. Said he would try sometime to put him on a scale, chair and all.


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