Commentary

Disciples


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Sunday, April 19, 1891

     5:50 P.M. To W.'s on my way home from West Philadelphia. Found him industriously reading proofs of book. Looked distressed—how did he feel? "Under a cloud! Under a cloud!" And, "I feel as if this was my last pull of shad!" He is opposed to my making any plans for the birthday. "Who knows? I may not be above ground then!" But he appears seriously conscious of the dangers of his condition. Warrie tried to persuade him out, before the heat of the day, but he would not go. Did "not feel to." Had read the papers—written "some notes"—that was the "beginning and end of my day." I had found a letter at home yesterday afternoon from Mead, who writes:
20 Beacon St.
Boston, April 17.

My dear Mr. Traubel:

I have yours of the 15th. The announcement of your article on Whitman for our May no. is correct. I am sorry about the matter of the proofs. Referring to your letter which accompanied the article, I see that you are correct as to having asked for proofs. But so long a time elapsed between the receipt of the letter and the taking up of the article again for the printer, that the request had quite passed out of my mind—the sending of proofs or the request for them very rarely happening. But I hope you will feel reassured when I tell you that I looked over the proof myself after my assistant had done with it,—a thing I don't often do; so I don't think any serious slips are possible. I did this the more carefully—you will let me be frank—because I found your ms. so villainous! I wonder if you realize how you crowd and obscure your pages by interlineations and erasures; I should not think you would find editors who did not know you willing to read your ms. until transcribed—I say this in the way of friendly hint, as such things make a real difference in an editor's welcome of a ms. But I found the article itself very interesting, & I think the public will. It was very

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long—I think you cannot have realized how long—and I was compelled to cut some of the less important passages to bring it within reasonable limits; but I think you will agree that the compressions were to its advantage. The pictures came out very well, and the article—which I make the first in the no., using the portrait as a frontispiece—will make a good show. I will give orders to have early sheets sent you as soon as they come from the press.


I have also your letter of the 10th & will send it to the publishers requesting them to send you a check.

I congratulate you on the approaching marriage.

Yours truly,

Edwin D. Mead


Gave this letter to W., who read—twice—expressing high indignation. "He is one of these damned insolent beasts of editors who prepare to have everything their own way. And he cut it, too, as we supposed—which would have been all the more reason for sending a pre-proof—everything to browbeat and possess another man's property. It is about all we had to expect, after that announcement I gave up all hope." And with something of better humor, "Now look out for blunders—the most horrible ever was!" Referred to "affection of the Lancashire boys"—and instanced a note from Johnston (20th March).

     I did not linger. He is "certainly in a bad way," as he says, "with outlook doubtful, clouded—eligible any day, hour, to yield the fight."


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