Commentary

Disciples


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Monday, March 16, 1891

     7:50 P.M. W. and Mrs. Davis talking together when I came, of course in W.'s room. Mrs. Davis retired, though W. protested, and we chatted for half an hour together. W. said, "I got your postal about the Ingersoll article and think well of it—shall adopt your idea." I had written him yesterday, urging that he include the Post (unsigned) article in book. "It is worth printing for itself," I said, "And then it is due to Ingersoll." To which W., "You are right, right—I can amen all that." Remarked, "Doctor writes me much less full letters, I suppose because the election excitement is not all over yet." Young Stoddart had come in to get poem after I left yesterday. W. had given him "Old Chants." Stoddart in to see me today—grateful that he had secured his point. As to whether W. would sign Stoddart's interview of the other day, W. exclaimed, "No indeed—how could I? It's not mine—I have never seen it—perhaps don't want to see it, which may sound ungrateful." And yet, "I want to do all I can for the young man, too, and for Joe. All I can, in reason, within bounds." Laughed about the poem. "I gave him my sweetest and best. What better can I do?" Asked, "Have you seen Youth's Companion? I have an idea that the 'Ship Ahoy!' poem has appeared. If so, one of the locked-up poems is released for the book." On the bed a woodcut of Ignatius Donnelly. "I laid it out for you. What a fat, hearty, pudgy fellow he seems!" I told W. substance of letter to Bucke in which I described Kimball. W. made merry over it. "If you have told it to Doctor as

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you have told it to me, he'll laugh over it. It's so very funny."
Brought him triplicate pages of first six pages of poems. Want pagings from him for duplicate plates.

     How had he been today? "Very bad, bad—no light yet, not a glimmer." Explained to me that he had left his Lippincott's article for the appendix.

     I received this note from Johnston (Bolton) this morning:
54, Manchester Road
Bolton, Lancashire, England.
Mar 6/91

My Dear Mr. Traubel,

Many thanks to you for the six copies of the Ingersoll Oration which reached me safely by last mail which also brought a p.c. from Walt. This one was less hopeful than the previous one but another from him to J. W. Wallace dated two days later said that he was then easier.

A good letter from Dr. Bucke gives me many interesting details about him which materially assist me to a proper understanding of his "case."

We thoroughly realize the gravity of his condition & tho' we can hardly hope for recovery still we continue hopeful that the more acute symptoms may soon subside & leave him in moderate comfort, for it distresses us to think that he is actually suffering physical pain & Dr. Bucke says that he suffers more than anyone knows of.

We are looking forward to the appearance of "Good-Bye" with great interest—also the N.A. Review for March.

At the next meeting of "The College" I intend reading your good essay in Lippincott—deferred from last meeting.

Things are going on with us here much as usual.

Many thanks, too, to you for your kindness in volunteering to let us know of any material change in our dear old Master's condition, and you may be assured that anything you can tell us about him will be welcome to us.

With kindest regards from J.W.W. & myself,

I remain,

Yours sincerely,

J. Johnston




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Could not show to W., but told him in an offhand way of the reading of Lippincott's piece—whereat he described to me what the "College" was and "how much of a lift to" him "it is to hear of its doings." Referred to Johnston and Wallace as "beautiful, loyal souls."

     W. remarked amusedly at one point, "I do not think even intelligent people know how much goes to the making of a book: worry, fret, anxiety—downright hard work—poverty—finally, nothingness! It is a story yet to be told." And again, "The proof-reader has his story to tell, too. Oh! He is an important critter—the most important, I often think, in the making of a book. It is easy enough to have good material—a plenty of everything—but to put all in its rightful place and order!—oh! that is another thing!"

     Morris came in to tell me his first letter (much of it about W.) was in Literary World—but I did not bring a copy. W. had not seen it. Morris and the fellows are at me every day for a glimpse of the Symonds letter—of which Brinton has told them.

     Caught up several things from among the waste-paper today—W. laughing as usual. He throws all odds and ends of writing into a wooden box near the stove. I have often found him burning up manuscript. "That is so many bankbills sent up the chimney!" I would protest, and he with a laugh, "Is it so? so?"


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