Commentary

Disciples


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Thursday, June 25, 1891

     7:55 P.M. W. sitting by the window, fanning himself. At the west a gorgeous sunset—its later phases. "It is a great joy to sit here—to use a beautiful Scotch word—how beautiful—in the gloaming." Condition pretty good—had "spent a day fanning" himself. Wondered where Warrie was. I took his cane from the bed and knocked on the floor. He laughed, "Pretty good—but not quite my knock." Warren soon up, W. saying, "Yes, I wanted you: and Warrie, how about having some cream again? I want to treat Horace again." So we were soon enjoying the cool draught. Meanwhile talked. I spoke to him of Eyre's woman-friend and her Dansville scheme, and of Bucke's doctor friend who went to Dansville and was frozen out by prayers morning and night. W. at this, "I should think that was a bad basis to go on: prayer, prayer, prayer would not help much in a cure! It is an atmosphere I should like to be out of." I received from Johnston (England) a facsimile of W.'s letter to them on the 1st:
Camden NJ—US America

June 1 '91—Well here I am launched on my 73d year—We had our birth anniversary spree last evn'g ab't 40 people choice friends mostly—12 or so women—Tennyson sent a short and sweet letter over his own sign manual—y'r cable was rec'd & read, lots of bits of speeches, with gems in them—we had a capital good supper (or dinner) chicken soup, salmon, roast lamb etc: etc: etc: I had been under a horrible spell f'm 5 to 6, but Warry me got dress'd & down (like carrying down a great log)—& Traubel had all ready for me a big goblet of first rate iced champagne—I suppose I swigg'd it off at once. I certainly welcom'd them all forthwith & at once felt if I was to go down I would not fail without a desperate struggle—must have taken near two bottles of champagne the even'g—so I added ("I felt to") a few words of honor & reverence for our Emerson, Bryant, Longfellow dead—and then for Whittier and Tennyson "the boss of us all" living (specifying all)—not four minutes altogether—then held out with them for three hours—talking lots, lots impromptu. Dr. B is here. Horace T is married—fine sunny noon—

Walt Whitman




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W. had several, Warren one. "I sent one to Joe Stoddart," he said. "And now tell me—how did it read? Was it plain sailing? I am anxious to know—to have you tell me. For somehow, when it comes to a facsimile, I want it to be high average." Then again, "You are au fait in all this—easily penetrate, absorb—but what of the others? That is the point—a point I doubt. Was it all right, interlineations and all?"

     I wrote Ralph Moore today but no response, W. saying, "I wish you could get Dr. Reeder to go with you—take a picture of the tomb: he seems quite an adept. You have your instinct in all that—can tell how, where, it should be taken." Perhaps I shall do it Saturday. As to facsimile again, "It is a striking piece of work—we ought to use it some way." Should I suggest its use to Stoddart? He was agreed, so I took a postal there and wrote it. "I am fully alive to the importance of the thing!" A few minutes and he said, "Stoddart is a straightforward fellow—the best of the lot for pure good human nature." And further, "But we have had a great drop, haven't we? Here is the July Lippincott's but not one of our words there. What could have happened?" I laughed heartily. "What the devil's the matter?" he inquired. He had mistaken the July for August Lippincott's. "Oh! Then it is to go in August"—adding— "I was not shocked at all—care little at bottom whether or no—but I felt a certain sort of got-left-ness when I first looked at the magazine."

     Called my attention to the Review of Reviews—copy sent by Johnston. "It contains a page and more of your matter—selections—no portrait—and all favorably done, too. You will like it. This magazine is a great hodge-podge, don't you think? Like a great display of meal—good things of their kind, but scraps, scraps, without end—a thousand and one tastes, no mouthful." And again, "Stead is a great socialist man—turns everything into the labor question—into the condition of so many millions in England, on the continent, poor, down-trodden—whips everything around into that channel. I seem to see it all through his work—almost on every page. And anyway the Review is a solvent—seems like certain chemicals, which, cast into the mixture,

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at once gives it a result or combination. Sometimes his scraps, bits, are chemic—have this effect. And Stead has the American in him, too—progress, movement, democracy, push."

     Col. Fitzgerald, of the Item, dropped dead in London today. W. says, "I did not know him. Did you? Yes? Well, wasn't he flamboyant?" etc.


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