Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, July 29, 1891

     5:50 P.M. W. in his room—reading Camden papers—looking very well. I congratulated him. "I acknowledge a lift in the pulse." "Longaker says you may live ten years yet." He smiled, "That is sublime confidence: I do not count even a day ahead." When I told him I had written Johnston and Bucke last night, "Good! Good! I call them our branch church—a now well-based affair, true to the faith. It is more than curious, however." If we printed the conversazione in the book, would the letters be more fully admitted? W. argued, "I would use them all." But they were (some of them) too much attenuated—diffuse. W. then, "Well, not them, then; but Kennedy's, for instance, or letters

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like—as good as—his."
Would the thing do good? "I think so—thoroughly good. But I am sure the matter is in the main aside from the current of popular interest—is left for special individuals, here and there. Probably Stead will take a bit. The fellows abroad do so, even if to go all astray in their recitals. Johnston tells me of the Athenaeum (I think it is that) which says, the August number of Lippincott's is to contain a poem by Walt Whitman called 'Good-Bye My Fancy'—which is rich! It is like the arbor business on my birthday. Have you Doctor's letter with you? Yes?" I asked, "Why shouldn't this letter be sent down to Harry Bonsall for the Post? Then we could have copies for circulation among our friends." He seized on the idea at once. "Why yes—just the thing. Will you see to it? And with such explanations as are necessary?" Then, "I sent a copy of Lippincott's to Sarrazin."

     Would he go to tomb tomorrow with O'Donovan, etc.? "That remains to be seen—rests with the belly—all that centers in me, forces me this way or that by surplus of feeling. I take care to reserve the last decision to the last moment." When I told him about Reeder's photo of bust, "That is good news—I hope good may come of it. Reeder seems a very genuine fellow throughout—manly, simple, like all the real fellows. A Quaker, eh? Left the meeting?" And when I said, "Reeder insists that even the Hicksites have their orthodoxy," W. remarked, "I haven't a doubt of it—indeed, know it. Fasten but a collar-button for any organization—any church—and the yoke comes easy: once give away a bit of your freedom and all instantly is gone."

     Had he seen how Tucker in Liberty had taken up my debate with Trumbull? W. says, "That man Trumbull amounts to very little—lives in superficials, smartness. And Tucker is very cute—penetrated him instantly." Gave me his copy of Liberty to send to Bucke, also several scraps—one from a German paper—New Yorker—by Ernst Ziel on Walt Whitman. Showed him Bush's letter. "What a frank, rollicky style—or want of style (the best style!) he has—not a word too much—direct as a telegraph wire." Yet grew serious over the intelligence that B.'s

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mother's illness was probably fatal. "Poor old woman! Poor Bush!" As to W. 's own ability to stick— "to rest and let the billows brush over him"—he said, "You have hit the secret there—that has been my salvation. I can do nothing else. To sit calmly—to let the storm blow over if it will—that is all." Stoddart writes that he has sent me ten copies of Lippincott's and sent out our list. His "regards" to W.


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