Commentary

Disciples


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Tuesday, June 16, 1891

     5:45 P.M. W. in his room, fanning himself (oh! the sunset breeze!). Reached forth his hand, "I have just been enjoying the first whisper of the wind! Surely this has been the hottest day ever was—or if not that, hot for me, anyhow. Yet I seem to weather it well, too—except for the sweat, feel comfortable enough." Not out but "sat here enjoying myself—thinking myself to the woods, streams." Had been "reading, reading, reading—and if not that, drowsing, sweating—sweating, drowsing—all the day through." Gave me a letter from Bucke, "evidently written the day you left." New? "No, nothing much—only that he urges me, as you do, to let you use the

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'Imprints.' You should see his letter: it is on the bed there—I meant it for you."

14 June 1891

I have your letter of 11th (it came yesterday afternoon). Anne and Horace left at noon. I feel quite lost without them. I enjoyed their visit here greatly. By this time H. has shown you the M.S. of the "Round Table" piece which seems to me as characteristic & valuable as anything we have had. Horace will also by this [time] have submitted to you our plan for the book. (I hope you will allow the two early pieces by yourself—there would be no sense in disallowing them as they will certainly be republished as yours anyhow). It is a perfect day here—bright, warm—the trees now full leaved and perfect—they stand on the lawns sleeping—not a breath of air to move their branches. The deep blue sky bends over them in benediction like the concave palm of God.

Best love to you always and always

R. M. Bucke


     W. then, as to people who criticized Bucke (many very good fellows in Philadelphia), "They do not understand—do not grip him, realize him—seem to be unable to realize stern, strong reserve force even when it exists. But Doctor's critics defeat themselves." And later on about the Lippincott's report, "You hold the reins and are entitled to do so. About Eyre, it was beside the issue anyway—that question of marriage, no marriage, women, wives—was without the purpose—has its own explication—did not seem to me to be clearly understood. The this and the this and the this and the this—Eyre fell into the abyss of his curiosities, words—yet it was all right, too—he saw what he saw—he felt to say and said—that is all there is to it."

     I had seen Stoddart—worked an hour with him over the piece—cutting in Donaldson and Eyre (whose matter Stoddart and Walsh seemed to think of no value). They decided to use Symonds and Conway letters in full. I had quite a fight for Bucke's piece: they seemed almost inclined to throw it out in toto. I said to Stoddart, "Rather than cut the whole piece up, I will

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withdraw it,"
but we came to terms. I took Bucke's pages away to make some abbreviations—cutting out a couple of sentences (no more)—afterwards meeting Stoddart on the street—when he said, "Well, it won't make much matter either way—we will use it." I said to W., "If these fellows understood 'Leaves of Grass' better they would better understand Bucke"—he then— "That's exactly the point. Bucke's power is his own—only to be understood again out of the citadel of a strong individuality." Stoddart very pleasant, however—matter sent instantly to printer. W. asked, "Will you see a proof of it?" Yes. "And will I?" I still said "yes"—adding— "The day I get it I will leave it on my way home and call later for it again." W.: "That's a good scheme—by which nobody will be delayed." And, "I want a proof of my little piece, too—should have it. Can you tell Stoddart?"

     Wallace writes me June 5th [requesting copies of "Good-Bye My Fancy"]. W. says, "I can supplement that by word from Johnston today. I shall send them six instead of two copies. And a batch of photos, too. Johnston sends me three dollars saying he is not sure he has copies of all the available Whitmans and would I attend to the thing for him, he sending all the additional money necessary." Asked me if I would attend to mailing from Philadelphia.

     Had not yet examined scheme of book. "It was too hot today to do anything other than keep head above water." But, "From what you say of it I like it—like it a good deal."

     Bucke had inquired after Clive's essay "The Fact of Joy" and O'Shaughnessy's. W. says, "They are the same—Arthur Clive is his pen name."

     Mrs. Davis brings him in some cold tea. "You are a good angel, Mary." Had he taken to buttermilk? "Yes, that is the latest—and I like it, too—though it and the wine must be taken at long distances—they don't co-operate worth a cent"—laughing heartily.

     I joked with W. about dinner, "You took possession of the meeting. We asked Brinton to preside and you took the reins in your own hands." He laughed, "I believe I did—I went on at a

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great rate—have thought of it often since. Do you think Brinton was angry? No? Well, it was curious—I jumped all bounds—probably the more for feeling that the fellows had come, in a way, to my own board."


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