Commentary

Disciples


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Monday, April 27, 1891

     5:00 P.M. W. just folding a new two-dollar bill in a letter to his sister which I subsequently mailed. Had also been wrapping up a copy of the pocketbook edition for Wallace. "I hear from those loyal Lancashire fellows—oh! they write and write and write and write again! There seems to be quite a group of our people

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there—not one or two only, but a number."
Gave me a letter from Bucke, received today, and a postal from Mrs. O'Connor.

     W. said as to these, "The Doctor has had one attack after another now. I don't understand it—but with his usual vehemence, he insists that he will be all right in a day or two. Nellie makes the question keener—what of the book? Will they print it?" How had the second part of O'Connor's story impressed him? He said, "I read it." I knew this to mean avoidance, but I asked, "And liked it?" But he still said, "I read it"—and that was all. I received the following from Ingersoll this morning:
400 Fifth Avenue
Apr 25th 1891.

My dear Traubel:

I have not been well for a few days and am not well yet—consequently I add nothing to the "Spirituality", and I think of correcting nothing, except a word.

Accept my sincere thanks for your kind and exquisite letter, and give to Mr. Whitman my sincerest regards—or I might say, love.

I hope that as the sunshine comes, he will grow better, and that he may have his part in the resurrection called Spring.

His work is not done. If he says nothing more, the serenity of his last days forms a kind of dome that rises above his work and glorifies it all.

Good luck to you.

Yours, etc.,

R. G. Ingersoll


W. read it—turned it over—read it again. "The noble Colonel! Thanks! Thanks! And how beautiful! How tender! Subtle, deep-searching! How gifted he is in just that faculty—to grasp, state, expand, give music to, a thought, feeling!" I was to write the Colonel? "Well, give him my love—love for what he writes, love for him in his sickness!" I gave him an account of our long walk yesterday after leaving him—from Anebler across the country to Germantown. Much enjoyed, asking innumerable questions. Then—and of Reeder, "I liked him—

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felt that he attracted me—he has a clear, transparent nature—that subtle best thing in a young man, dear to me beyond speech. It is a wholesome world, too, after all our despairs—so much to convince, to justify the rest!"

     I saw Brown about paper today. He will get sampler. Last three pages will be cast at once. W. had not gone over the contents manuscript yet. Although he promises and means to keep promises, he seems more and more to forget—says this, in fact, himself. Copy of Pall Mall Budget with first page portrait of Carlyle—reproduction of Whistler's profile picture. It had greatly attracted him, "It is the happiest hit on Carlyle, I should guess, ever was! I should say, if there were no other copy of that picture, of the one you have in your hands now, your copy would be worth a thousand guineas. The original has been bought for that by the Glasgow city corporation. How grandly everything is there—all the homeliness—no artistic patches anywhere. I can easily see how the typical artist—how Herbert—should take exception to that—the cloak on the knees, the hat on the cloak—but to us, it is natural." And, "Beyond that?—well, there is no beyond," I said, to which W. cried, "Amen, amen! That's 'Leaves of Grass'!"

     Commenting on Frank Williams' "Literary Dynamics," he said, "Frank is a good fellow—and faithful. He goes out here into metaphysics, don't he? He seems to be making metaphysical distinctions."


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