Commentary

Disciples


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Thursday, August 6, 1891

     5:35 P.M. W. sitting up, reading. In spite of dubious words, looked in good color and was cheery. He had made up a package of letters for me—he called it a "budget"—containing notes from Elizabeth P. Gould, Tom Donaldson, Bucke's letter 26th, Wallace's 28th and 29th, and circular and note from Home & Co. (Chicago) anent E[dward] E[verett] Hale's "Columbus." Said, "And now, here is the best of all: see the pictures Dr. Johnston sends me—pictures of Bucke—all so natural, easy. I can feel their flesh and blood! It is a great art—or no art—to sit down—give such an impression as that." Looked over the table—picked out pictures—three of Bucke, one of a group. "No," with a laugh, "don't fall in love with 'em—you can't have 'em! Write to Johnston—tell him you want duplicates—he will send them. Oh! they are so good, so fresh! Yet Doctor lends himself to that, too. It is the sitting picture I like best—the leg crossed—the eyes forward—the lips firm. How is it that the fellows don't understand Doctor? It is strange—sometimes surprises me—yet it is not surprising, either." Then again, "Wallace's letter, too, there in the package, will move you—will attract you—perhaps attract you even more than it does me. Yes, Wallace—see him there in the picture—might be taken for a preacher, perhaps a Church of Englander—looks inside too much, inside—introspection. But a splendid heart—how true—a bit of tried steel, steel with blood and life! Yes, I am not sure but Johnston's is the freer spirit—hits the splendid mean—lets fly—does not stop to ruminate. Anyhow, we must take all as they are, all—each contributing his portion, his kind." "Pained" to have Bucke confirm his fear that the Smiths had cooled. "I intuitively felt it—it came over me, little by little. Well, well."
46 Marlborough Hill
St Johns Wood, London N.W.
26 July '91

I am so much occupied with the meter and a lot of other things including work on our W.W. book that I can not write as often as I shd.

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like—but you will be far away wrong if you think there is any other reason for my comparative silence. But something has gone wrong with the Smiths and I may as well tell you first as last. Neither they nor the Costelloes have asked me to visit them and when I dined at the Costelloes on Friday and gave Mrs. C. your messages to her and the Smiths she never answered me and never asked a question about you. But do not let all this worry you, dear Walt, there are a few of us left and we will be a legion when the right time comes. My only feeling in the matter is one of intense curiosity. Why shd. they shift about in this weather-cock fashion? At Bolton I saw a letter from Mr. Smith to Johnston thanking J. for his "Notes" and in that letter he expressed himself as being very much your friend. Why should he write to J. that way if he had ceased to be your friend? J. is a stranger to Mr. S. & he had no temptation as far as I can see to pretend any thing to him. I have had some talk with H. B. Forman (I am writing from his house) on the subject. (F. is your friend through & through) & he thinks that Mrs. S. and Mr. Costelloe are responsible for the coolness—be this as it may the coolness itself is a solid fact. I have not so far accomplished any thing in meter matters but the parties who are looking into it seem much interested. I may do something yet before I leave England or I may only pave the way for future business. Give my love to Horace and say to him that I will write him soon. My trip is agreeing with me and I am as well and hearty as possible.


Best love to you

R. M. Bucke


Showed W. letter I had from Bucke (29th) as follows:
46 Marlborough Hill
St John's Wood, London N.W.

My dear Horace

I am well and in excellent heart. I went 2 days ago to see Reeves (had previously consulted Alfred & H. Buxton Forman as to a publisher for L. of G. and they had advised R.) and he says he is willing to publish. I was of course unable to go into any detail but told him that I supposed he would get the W. W. books in sheets from America, put his own title page and cover to them & sell on commission. R. is (I think) prepared to handle W. W. books generally on these lines—he would therefore handle our new book (I mentioned it to him). He is

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said to be perfectly honest and straightforward and I believe he is as good a man as Walt could have. His address is:
Reeves & Turner
196 Strand
London W.C., England


I leave the matter now with you, Walt and Reeves and I suppose you & Walt will write R. and put the thing on a business footing. All goes well with the meter business—nothing, of course, is accomplished yet but it looks a good deal as if I might accomplish an arrangement before I leave here. Still you must not be surprised nor at all discouraged if you hear later that the bottom has fallen out of my plans—it does not really matter whether it does or not because if the m. is all right (as we think) it is bound to go sooner or later and if it is not right no arrangement can make it so. I still hope to see you quite early in Sept. & I still hope to have my share of the book ready then.

Love to Anne.

R. M. Bucke


And from Wallace (24th), addressing to "Horace L. Traubel and Mrs. Traubel" and starting "Dear Friends."

     As regards Reeves W. said, "I authorize you to go ahead in that, Horace, make your own terms. I will say yes to anything you definitely arrange. I am too far gone now to worry myself over such negotiations—much too far. It would only add to my cares. But I can plainly see the wisdom of having a sort of center abroad there for the distribution of our books. Reeves is not entirely unknown to me—I have known him somehow. My only counsel would be, to be careful about Dave—to watch his interests, too—not to rub him—to do him any injustice—though Dave is quite in my hands now, if I choose to crush him. But I respect Dave. We must regard his interests—our implied where there is no written contract. Even with 'Specimen Days,' of which he owns the plates, I could stop him tomorrow—he could not sell another copy. However, you understand that as well as I do. I do not propose to step in—to interfere with you. What I

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say about Dave is only by way of caution, justice. In the meantime, I like your idea—get an offer from Reeves, then perhaps see Dave."
Oldach will give me the count of the books tomorrow. W. satisfied.


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