Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, October 28, 1891

     5:40 P.M. Arriving at W.'s found Wallace was there waiting for me, taking a cup of tea in the kitchen. Without seeing him I went up and was with W. about 20 minutes. He recumbent—yet cheery. Hands warm (sometimes very cold). "This has been a sort of reception day," W. reported. "Frank Williams, for one, and Wallace, and Dr. Longaker. Besides these, several others. I

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was glad to see Frank again. And as for Doctor, he always cheers me up. The others I did not see (by 'others' I don't mean Wallace, whom I did see—twice)."
Had he good talk with Frank? "Well, I don't know if it would be called that: he said something, so did I—I suppose my part of little enough weight, importance." I rallied him, "You must have felt unusually well to have passed unscathed such a run of talk." "On the contrary, I have felt unusually bad—yes, unusually bad. But then it won't do for me to spike our guns."

     Bucke forwards me letters from Ingersoll and Baker. W. says of the first, "How strong, manly, direct, that is! Like a sweep of wind: straight to its mission! The Colonel dashes off his work as if mines and mines backed it up—as indeed they must. And health abounds in him—not a word but that is vital and to its aim. That may be called model letter-writing, if model comes in anywhere." And pleased to hear the Colonel's praise of Bucke's address because he had himself flattered and told Bucke that this was Bucke's best piece of work so far. And as to Baker's letter, "That is a beauty, too. And brings us the best news. I am glad to have seen them—both of them." And W. remarks, "It is wonderful how these fellows preserve their nature, individuality, in the very swim and surge of conventionality and affairs." W.'s fire throwing out flames and odor (the flame playing its game of hide-and-seek on the western wall), and the pile of wood reduced some already. "I feel the medicine of the wood. It is the next best thing to being in the forest." W. asked, "You have not seen Wallace this afternoon?" "No, but Warrie tells me he is in the kitchen, sipping his tea, waiting for me." W.: "Is he? Why, that's natural and pretty of him! The good Wallace!" Then, "You will go up together? Yes? And I have given him his books for the boys—all autographed, endorsed." A few words about tariff again, "I endorse all that anybody can say against it"—provoked by feeling that Wallace may have to pay some duty in England on his books. And in a laughing protesting way, "Wallace says you have driven your stakes around him, so he can't sail till Wednesday of next week. He will find plenty to do here, his few extra days."


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     Monday evening I dictated to Wallace a number of notes about W.'s friends whose names (and names alone) the Bolton fellows mainly know. Wallace pleased—I shall continue them. W. himself expresses his "gratification"—advises me to "go on, pack him full—when he gets home, not a line but he'll cherish!" Edwin Arnold lectures in Philadelphia next week. Did W. expect him over? "I wonder? I wonder?" he reflected (as if not to me, particularly), but would not say more, except in the way of inquiry as to his subject, etc. He complained a good deal of his "bad day" and of the fact that somehow he felt "a growing lethargy, deathiness." As I left, W. gave me a brief postal to mail to Bucke.

     I did not stay to worry him. Off with J.W.W. to 537. He is in very happy mood. The sunset and its after-glow (after-gold, and the cloudless blue sky) moved him to admiration—yes, adoration. They did not have such nights in England. "We have our own sunsets, but they are not like these. I watched the sky from the boat while coming over this afternoon." After tea I had to go to Philadelphia to Ethical Culture Society meeting, and left Wallace to do his work and will about home as he chose. He will absolutely go on Wednesday.

     When I returned, towards midnight, I heard J.W.W. snoring lustily.


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