Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, March 4, 1892

     W. slept easily on my morning round (8:20 A.M.). Looked a trifle flushed. Night partially comfortable, partially disturbed. He called Warrie once in the ten minutes I spent

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there. The peculiar difficulty with the right side increased. I hear from Bucke under date 1st.

     W. gets his facsimile from Johnston, but I do not get mine. Yet Johnston writes me. Baker's letter of 23rd quotes a Lincoln incident which I told W. I called it "simple" and he replied, "It is all the better for being that."
Law Office, Robert G. Ingersoll
45 Wall Street,
New York, Feby 23'd 1892

My dear Traubel:

I have just reached the office—have been ill for three days—& yesterday being a holiday, did not get your word till this minute.

The Col. will be back tomorrow. The Lincoln lecture is not published. The Col. had a few copies—in outline—printed for his own use, but he has them all. I send you what he wrote & printed in his Prose Poems—which he repeated almost verbatim in his present Lincoln lecture. It may be of use to you. I have an enormous correspondence of the Col.'s to attend to during his absence, & have not yet caught up—so it is impossible to write you anything that w'd be helpful to you in time for your little speech. If I had the time, I would.

I will give you one incident—never printed, that I know of—unless I may have put it in my paper The Sunday School Times—years ago—think now that I did. However, here it is:

When I was in Springfield, Illinois, in 1867, on my way, in the horse cars, to Lincoln's Tomb, I talked with the conductor. He said to me:

"In 1859, before Lincoln was nominated for the Presidency, one winter's morning I was walking down town. The side-walks were covered with ice, so that walking was dangerous. I slipped, & came very near falling. A voice of command called to me from behind: 'Young man, hold up!' I recovered my footing, and Mr. Lincoln passed me, saying as he paused a moment: 'Young man, always hold up!' Emphasizing the always. I have never forgotten it; and when Lincoln became President, and in fact, ever since, when in trouble, and doubt, I have recalled those words, and they have helped stiffen my back-bone, and make a man of me."

My dear Traubel, maybe this little incident will be of use to you.

I have sent you several Telegrams—am afraid some did not reach you.


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Oh, so grieved to hear that W.W. is worse again. How bravely he is "holding up." Whatever comes, he can and will meet—is meeting—like a hero. This last fight will find him Victor. My love to him—it's all I have of use.

Mrs. B. & I talk of you & Mrs. T. & both repeat and return love to both

Yrs

Baker


And to Baker's affectionate remembrance, "He has a warm heart—he has the first quality, good will: and I sometimes wonder, what can a man have more than that?"

     In afternoon saw McKay. He was in high temper over the Stedman incident, going into particulars and showing he didn't feel he had any interest in, perhaps an interest against, the selected books. I told him if we had known we should have sent a copy ourselves. Talks of an increased demand for "Leaves of Grass"—25 copies to McClure (Chicago), one lot, the other day. I had him send four copies (green book) to Johnston and three to Mrs. Fairchild. "You will see a big change in the royalty report next time," he said.

     6:15 P.M. At W.'s and as he was awake, having just been turned, I went into his room. He recognized me and called my name. "Come to the bed," he cried, "sit down—sit down—sit down." And without further ado shared what was upmost in his mind, "The facsimile is here! Have you yours?" "No." "Well, it has come—I have mine." "Is it a good piece of work?" "Excellent—it completely satisfies me: indeed, it reveals me to myself. But haven't you got your day's mail? You'll surely find yours at the Post Office." "I have not been home yet. It may be there." "Yes, Johnston tells me that he sends you 30 copies, so you will have ample." "Is there anybody you wish them particularly sent to?" After a pause, "No, I don't care to go into that. You know as well as I do—better, these days." "Would you object to a facsimile in one of the papers?" "Not at all—why should I?" "Then you would not kick if I gave copies to the reporters?" "Not at all—use your discrimination." "You wrote a letter today?"

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"Yes, to my sister" (and had enclosed money). "But you have not yet autographed Bucke's and my copies of 'Leaves of Grass.'" "No, I haven't. I have been so broke up—indeed, I am so lame—my right arm is lame, lame: I can't write."

     Quoted him the Telegram's absurd description of the flowers given him. He laughed. "How absurd all that is," he said. "But the papers must have their fun, I suppose—often enough enjoying it at someone else's expense." The room pretty dark. "Turn up the light," he counselled, "then we can see each other." His hand quite warm. I remarked it. "Is it good?" he inquired. "Anyway, it is!" Had been looking into Harper's Weekly today. His face wearied and pale now. Yet pulse was at 84, and weak—indicating, McAlister reported, tendencies to heart failure. I mentioned Bloor's letter and check to W., who remarked, "I know him—I have heard from him before: he is a natural, happy fellow—generous—not possessed of much money—makes his living much as you or I would." I quoted Mrs. Fairchild. "There is a noble woman!" W. exclaimed. "Fair of act as to behold!" And when I said, "She will spend nothing on luxuries," he exclaimed, "Why should she? Who need want luxuries? Anyway, we want none of them. She has compacted her life of rare stuff"—the phrase emphasized. Assured him I thought the Websters expected a big run for the "Selections." "Do they?" he asked. "On what do they base it?" "On the general interest caused by your sickness and precarious condition." "Is that all?" "Not quite: they expect to put the books on every stand and bookstore in America." "That remains to be seen. And yet, why shouldn't they?" And wondered, "Would there be any objection to the book anywhere?" To prove the Websters I quoted what Dave had said today about the already accelerated sale. "That is significant, to be sure: we are much talked about now."

     We sat that way, variously talking. I asked again, "Did you read of the proposition to give Lowell some memorial in the Abbey?" "No, did they?" "Are you in favor of it?" "Why not? Lowell had his points." He asked how the exposition was "coming

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on."
What I had "been hearing about it of late?" Again asked, "Is it a good night?" I described the new moon. "Great! Great! Gorgeous! It tempts a fellow out-of-doors." And I alluded to the night of the conjunction of Venus and Jupiter. "That must have been a rare and wonderful sight! It is tantalizing: there was only a wall between me and it!" Had he had word from Bolton? "What can I send? It is an old story." "Your love?" "Always that." I putting in, "That never gets old!" And he assenting, "No, you are right," and I again said, "It is always morning with love." "Fine, fine, boy—stick to that: that is the dear 'Leaves'!"

     Signed a portrait for Mrs. Keller today, doing it in pencil. As to Dave's charge of $1.20 to Websters for the sheets, "It is a pity for Dave: I think it a small affair." Asked further, "Have you ever heard from Rossetti—did he get the book?" And to my negative he answered, "It is odd—you have heard from about everybody else." Somehow he spoke of the tomb and I informed him, "Tom has absolutely settled that matter." "With Reinhalter?" "Yes, and for good!" "How happy I am! How grateful to Tom. I can imagine all it meant for him—all that fell to him to do." But I did not go into particulars, only telling W., "It is done—you will never see those fellows again. When Tom comes down you can inquire about particulars." "The good Tom! I am very happy and I want to tell him so." "He will be glad to hear." "Not as glad as I to say." And after a pause, "You even forecast all this when you see him." Inquired again after "Nellie O'Connor" and Anne— "darling girl"—and wondered, "How are Tom's children—all?" And when I wrote, "in fact, always in writing," he said I was "to remind dear Doctor and dear Ingersoll" of his "love." Mrs. Fairchild's money above one dollar per volume I would put into fund rather than in Dave's coffer. "That is right," answered W. He was not strong but seemed moved to freedom to listen. When I rose to go he said, "You are in a hurry!" "No, I ought to go." "True, so you ought! Well, love and luck to you, dear boy!" I leaned over

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and kissed him. "God bless you always!" he exclaimed. "And God keep you safe!"

     12:15 A.M. Rang for Warrie—right side very troublesome.

     Warrie: "Come over on the right?"

     W.: "Yes, Warrie."

     Warrie: "Got kind of English weather tonight."

     W.: "How is it out?"

     Warrie: "Mucky—damp."

     W.: "Drizzly?"

     Warrie: "Kind o' that way. You can yank the bell good."

     W.: "Does it sound plain?"

     Warrie: "Don't you hear it when you pull it? I think that was quite an invention. We'll have to get a patent out on it—go down to Washington."

     W.: "Oh!"

     Warrie: "Have a swallow of the ice water?"

     W.: "Yes, Warrie."

     Warrie: "This last ice, I got it up at William's. He told me to tell you it was pure water itself—the water 30 feet deep—see the fishes."

     W.: "So clear?"

     Warrie: "Yes, they had a bottle at Brown's. It has been there a year—is just as clear now as ever it was. We ought to have a little of that around here."

     W.: "Yes."


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