Commentary

Disciples


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Thursday, July 2, 1891

     7:55 P.M. W. on bed—as so much lately. Strange how—the room very dark—he knew me at once, called my name, extended his hand. The hand chill and I remarked it. Window wide open—I closed—called Warren (W. wishing him to "light a small fire"). "Longaker in again today—hopeful, as always." Gould writes me another slurring letter about Conservator—its espousal of Whitman and Ingersoll and (now added) Clifford. W. remarked, "There are some letters I laid out on the table for you—among them one of the same tenor." I found on the tin box he uses for his stamps—made up in a rubber—four letters from Bucke along with the other.

     W. said, "We must get used to the howlers—there's enough to do, not to busy with their demonstrations. Settle your case with yourself—then go ahead—the howl, the rest, what-not, won't hurt." And again, "We are players in a play: this is all part of the play, to be welcomed along with the rest." Said he often craved "an anecdotal piece about Ingersoll." Thought it would furnish "much rich stuff—he has such a genuine hearty personality, so many big grand simple elements." He lay on the bed—talked thus freely. "The Doctor, as you will see, persists in all his plans—no change—he will go. Yes, probably see Tennyson—that most of all, if he can." We knew Tennyson's tender feelings towards W. as a person, but what of his acceptance of "Leaves of Grass"? W. remarked, "It would be interesting, what the Doctor could extract as to that. Tennyson is a social being—quiet, warm—heart quick, pure. But his caution, reticence, is great, too—no wastes, anywhere, with him, in the history of expression—all purpose, pith." What was the greatest art in literature? "I liked your 'Socratian' paragraph in Conservator: spinal to the Lippincott's piece, is a cut of direct simplicity. Yet had not the Socratians a style, too, where I have not?" Perhaps

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a style, but who ever thought of style—was conscious of such a thing—as he read? W. thereupon, "Good! Good! That's just the point—to keep close to nature—to let the adjuncts take a second, third, fourth, place!"


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