Commentary

Disciples


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Tuesday, September 22, 1891

     7:50 P.M. W. in his room—not reading—though the light was up—head resting on hands, elbow on arm of the chair. Room hot—air pretty bad—he conscious of it, said, "This heat today—what does it mean? It seems to me as bad a spell as any yet." But he keeps two windows out of three closed, which is one cause of the oppressive air. "I have letters from both Bucke and Wallace—but not a word of any new import. They have settled down into a routine there. So much of life is that. Think of me, caged up—what a routine! And with all the physical devils upon me besides—old age, sickness!" Burroughs writes me doubtingly about his trip this way:

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West Park New York
Sept 20, 1891

Dear Horace,

I should like to see Wallace, but I fear I cannot. This week I go to Delaware Co. with my family for a change & rest, to be gone several weeks. I have had an arduous grape campaign & need rest. We shipped over 20 tons of grapes & got fairly good prices considering the season. I hope you will continue to get Walt out often. Give him my love. I return the ms. as you request.

Very sincerely,

John Burroughs


W. read. "I am mainly interested in that grape yield. John must feel pretty happy over that." Forman also writes me. I asked W., "Isn't that to the same effect as the letter to you?" W. after reading, "Yes, it is pretty much the same. Bright, cheery—and generous, too. Oh! he has done me many good deeds! But this book, Horace ["Memoranda During the War"]: I don't see where it is to come from. Of course, if we knew! I had plenty of the little books once, but they are all gone now: I doubt if I could put my hand on one."

     I had just received a note from Mrs. O'Connor from Post Office. W. read—exclaimed when done—in a voice so mournfully musical, "Oh! it is the beginning of the end!" I asked him, "But I thought you advised her to go?" "So I did! But this breaking-up! I can see how it tears her heart!" And then, "You have the 'Consuelo'? I guess it's not the best translation—but a precious book, having been so long William's!" Wallace writes me (20th) and Bucke, same date—Bucke solicitous about my health.
20 Sept 1891

Dear Horace

Very glad to hear such continued favorable reports of Walt. We are having a quiet but good time here. Wallace is a thoroughly good fellow I like him greatly. I am terribly busy—go to bed each night about

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10 o'c. tired out but wake up O.K. every morning. Very glad to hear that Baker is out of danger. My dear boy, I think I see you burning your books and mss. to retire into the wilderness to share Sitting Bull's charming natural life. Better try it for a year before the bonfire so that you can take up with this miserable civilization again in case you might tire of S.B., the squaws & papooses! I have the "Posts" wh. I asked for and which you kindly sent—thanks.


My dear Horace—I wish you would arrange to drop some of your work and have a little fun on your way through life especially while you are young. What the devil is the good of making all life one infernal grind. If I were you I would do my work in the bank and the W. W. work and let all else go to the devil for the present anyhow.

Love to Anne

Your friend

R. M. Bucke

I send you a set of Bolton photos of self—perfectly lovely! Show them to Walt and then let Anne have them!

R.M.B.

I write Bucke—as for joy, I have more than you imagine.

     Johnston (England) sends me copy of testimonial photo. I don't know what W.'s exact reflections are, but he exclaims of this, "I wonder what it all means—I wonder—wonder!" Weather has made him very sluggish. McKay sends me order for ten copies complete W. today. I gave him order on Oldach and bill for $35. W. opens his eyes, "That's a stunner! I wonder who it was sent for them? I wouldn't be surprised after all to live to see all that edition wiped out." Left order with James for three sets of proofs, from plates of new pages. W.: "That's right—we ought to have them." Books I laid out yesterday for Wallace not yet endorsed, W. saying, "It has been a bad day. I have not been up to it. But I have put the names in a secure place. And besides, Wallace will not want them for several weeks yet, anyhow."


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