Commentary

Disciples


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Saturday, October 4, 1890

     7:20 P.M. In to see W., staying only about 15 minutes or so. He was in parlor. Told him substance of the following telegram from Baker I had received this afternoon: "Colonel says all right close contract Horticultural Hall on terms stated for Tuesday Oct twenty-first make general announcement in tomorrow's paper."

     He said, "Then that claps our sign without a doubt—that settles our place and date. It is good to have that arranged beyond a doubt. That is to say, it is October 21st and at Horticulture Hall? I can see it clear. And now to tell the fellows." I told

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him I would write to Bucke and Kennedy, at which he said, "If you will do it without fail, then I shall not trouble myself to see that it is done." Then added, "I have a letter from Bucke: he tells me of an accident that has happened to him. He has been thrown from his carriage. I don't know that any severe damage is done. He is at least whole enough to write—which is something. But he says it has interrupted the writing of his annual report—unfortunately. I suppose, however, only for a day or two. Doctor is served after the Biblical style—has plenty of helpers. He says to one, come and he cometh and to another, go—and he goeth; so he will be able to get on."

     Referred again to what he calls "the Reisser speech" from Ingersoll. "It was about me—about my affairs. There was something in its tone so valorous, so penetrating, so to the marrow of what I am, what I stand for—its loss will be my regret till I die. This time we must not let the speech escape us. I am always certain about the manner of Ingersoll's address—that is something which could not be other than it is: free, spontaneous, immense in force." He said he could "hardly believe" that "Ingersoll ever dictated any speech—his style is so spontaneous—seems so utterly to defeat designs."

     Instantly after receiving telegram from Baker, I went to Press, saw its City Editor, imparted our story. He took notes minutely, saying, "There's enough material for an interesting story." I said, "Well, put it your own way: only, adhere to the facts, for they are authoritative." When I told W., he thought I should likewise go to the Times—which I did later in the day—they proving, as they said, "mighty glad to get it." But at the Record the City Editor rebuffed me—wanted to know if Walt Whitman was "an object of charity" and if I had "advertised"—in such a tone as showed he was not amenable to its claim as "news." I met Bacon (of Record reportorial staff) later—after twelve—on his way home and he said, "Chambers was a damned fool."


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