Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, February 18, 1891

     5:50 P.M. W. greeted me brightly—was improved with the sunny day. Gave me this letter from Burroughs:
West Park, New York
Feb 17, 1891

Dear Walt

I was very glad to get your card, but sorry to hear you are under the weather. I trust the spring which is now near will set you up again. I keep pretty well, as do wife & Julian. We have been here all winter. I have been busy with my pen, turning out pot-boilers, nothing else. I shall keep an eye out for your N[orth] A[merican] article. I see it in the reading rooms in Po'keepsie. I have been sending some things to the Independent & to the Christian Union at the request of the editors. It is surprising how much heresy these papers can stand. I think they secretly like it. I see nothing in the literary horizon, no coming poet or philosopher. My opinion is that life is becoming pretty thin. Our civilization runs all to head & cuteness, no character, no heart in anything

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now adays. Most of the magazine poetry is utterly barren. It is like poor mortar—too much sand for the lime.


I am in a hurry to see spring. I want to taste the earth again. The ground here has been deeply covered since early in Dec. Rain & fog today.

With much love

John Burroughs


"Nothing particular in it," W. advised me, "but worth seeing, enjoying." No letter from Bucke—but referred to him. "He has an essentially healthy nature—is full of youth, vigor, hope, faith. I should never associate the idea of death with such a man."

     Then, "I am at last about ready with the book: you have urged me to it. I will let you have the first copy Monday morning. It is wonderful, the disposition of the human critter to postpone, to put off: to postpone and postpone—then to think and postpone again—and after all the arguments are in and more too, to find new temptations to postponement, and all that indefinitely." And again, "I want to get this in type, anyway. It will be my last volume—my finale—without a doubt. I know it is not impossible there may be another volume still—but it is not likely—it is not a thing within any reasonable likelihood. So this will really be my good-bye!" Then into details. "You might drop in on Ferguson someday this week and tell him. My first point will be to get all the batch of copy—the poetry—into galleys at once: it probably would fill about four—I want to read that division with some sort of continuity." And further, "My idea would be, that he should put a couple of men on it—no more—and that I might keep these busy, but of course all that is subject to the situation in the office."

     W. spoke in the most affectionate terms of Wallace. "He seems to be in an architect's office—a draughtsman there—what-not—but sick, sick, sick—oh! much of the time—poor fellow!" But, "He is a noble fellow—genuine. I wonder if the country there grows many such?"


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     Open Court review of Ingersoll's Whitman [lecture] almost avoids mention of Whitman himself.


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