Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, August 20, 1890

     4:50 P.M. Found W. in his room, busily engaged with Mr. and Mrs. Ingram, just on their way to Telford from the trip to Bucke's and elsewhere north. Ingram was giving an account of

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his travels, and W. was questioning him in his quiet but keen way. W. introduced me to the wife, whom I had never met before. He always gives our name as if it was "trouble." W. got all he could about Bucke—the condition of things there. Ingram described the trip—covering six weeks. Had been with Johnston of N.Y. W. particularly interested in the week Ingram spent in the Shaker settlement. Inquired of their industries—very specifically— "What do they cultivate on their land?" And— "Are they a good-looking people—do they attract you?" Turned to me at one point— "Oh! you ought by all means to go up to Bucke in the fall, Horace. After you have been there—have taken the jaunt—you will know what would have been missed." And again, in an amused tone, "You must see everything there—particularly the hog-pen; it is a great feature: there are several hundred fat fellows kept there. I quickly made friends with them." He responded to Ingram's description of the flower beds with the exclamation, "They must set out a grand scene! Bucke often writes of them." Much amused by Ingram's remark that "there are 900 lunies there, but you wouldn't know there was one!" W. turning to me and ejaculating, "That's just it!" And again, "You must go there, mix with everything—the land, the lunatics, the goodness—they are all necessary parts of the trip." Farther along, when Ingram attempted a picture of Bucke's methods (all methods of freedom), W. put in with a vivid touch: "Yes, I saw it when I was there. A poor devil would be brought in, his arms pinioned, strapped behind him. Doctor would sit there and ask, so it is decided for him to stay with us a while? And then he would make some motion to a couple of attendants—oh! do it with far greater gravity than I am doing it now—indicating that the man should be freed. And at this the friends of the man would throw up their hands—Release him? Release him?—no—no: why, he will hurt you, hurt us, hurt everybody"—W. gesticulated in ludicrous mimicry. "But Doctor would motion to have his way and the poor dazed creature was free. Doctor's whole treatment seemed to be in that—to

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treat him not as exceptional, but as one of the rest—familiarly—easily. Would ask him, for instance, 'Do you wish for something to eat?' or such questions. It is a revelation to people who only know the harsher methods of treating lunacy."
And so on. Ingram spoke of the difficulty he had in getting his wife to take the trip. She now said, "I am ever so glad I went," and W. acquiesced. "Yes—you must be: these trips help to teach us that there's a big world outside of each fellow's little personal world which he must not forget." W. spoke of Johnston (the English doctor) and repeated his "anxiety"—taking up his note-book to give Ingram his [illeg.] Lancashire address. "He may be—probably is—at home there now: but I shall not be satisfied till I hear he is."

     Ingram had passed through the valley of yesterday's cyclone out in Pennsylvania and W. inquired carefully after that.

     After the two visitors were gone, I reminded W. that I had after all been right about Woodbury—that Woodberry was not the man he was after. I had told him this the day he wrote of the book for the Post but he thought he was right then.

     He now said, "I am glad I know that—to stand corrected. I don't know but it's important to know, also." I said, "Woodberry deserves to be acquitted anyhow," and he smilingly allowed it. Gave me envelope to mail to Poet-Lore. "It is something in reply to Jonathan Trumbull," he said. "At least, something on his subject, whether a reply or not." Did not know address exactly, and curiously marked it for "Lippincott's, publisher Philadelphia." Knowing exact address, I put it on at the Post Office.

     I left Harper's Weekly with him. Its picture of the Cardinal excited his "wonder" as he said, "for its evident beauty."

     An echo of the dinner is in his remark: "What wouldn't we give for Ingersoll's speech!" And when I put in— "It was the great feature"—he emphasized, "The feature! His speech was the dinner—the whole thing!"


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