Commentary

Disciples


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Saturday, October 31, 1891

     Last night Miss Porter asked me for some address to the study class of the Browning Club (Philadelphia) on the naturalism of Walt Whitman. I left the matter open—would not absolutely reject, neither say the "yes" she wished. But I am tempted to try my hand on the question. Miss Porter has been solicitous to use my Whitman-Lowell paper. Wrote me about it—date 27th. But I have it in rough notes and could not meet her ideas of time. She is willing to let it lay over.

     Law wrote me (16th) [re a letter from James W. R. Collins requesting all the editions of Whitman's Burns articles, to be sent to W. C. Angus, the "great Burns man in Glasgow"]. But as there are no varied or complex editions of the Burns, Law, advising with me, later, one day where I met him, made up his mind to so report. Johnston writes me very lovingly (14th)—announces sending me copies of Great Thoughts for Wallace, W. and H.L.T. Gave them about as advised. W.: "Glad to see it, if for no more than to know what it offers. One does not, must not, take all offerings." I also have a letter from Johnston dated 21st—much of it about Wallace—and seemingly bright with hope and love for him and gladness that he prolonged his stay:

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54 Manchester Road,
Bolton, England
Oct 21/91

My Dear Traubel,

I have just finished short letters to Walt & Wallace & now for an equally brief one to you. Again comes a sweetly precious missive from you & again have I to thank you for your good words of loving cheer & sympathy every one of which I reciprocate & echo across the sea. I fear that Wallace may have sailed before any letter reaches him. If so you may read it if you like tho there is nothing in it & send it to his home address. Ditto with the paper.

His stay in the North has been longer than you anticipated & we hope to hear of his health being the better for it permanently. He is very enthusiastic about the Canadian climate, & scenery & people. His letters have been a great joy to us all. Our only fear has been that the writing of them has been a tax upon him & an intellectual strain wh. he would have been better without. We dearly love his letters but we are too fond of him to encourage the self sacrifice of his health, or at least of his nerve energy wh. we know the writing of his dear good letters implies.

Fred Wild the other day when speaking of him said— "Why didn't he stay longer (at Fenelon Falls & Bobcaygeon) & write less?"—and Wallace himself will thoroughly understand Fred's feelings.

Pardon this brief & hurried note. I must off to my duties wh. await me. Sometimes there seems to be no rest for a Dr. but with all its drawbacks I love my profession dearly.

Good day to you & God bless you & your dear wife.

Ever yours,

Johnston


Wallace says Johnston sometimes "blue" about Bolton—will probably eventually take up stakes and go elsewhere. Loves the country, the freer air every way.

     Bucke letter, 25th, dwells upon W.'s condition and my silence (have not written for days—too busy with J.W.W.), but all is well, and Bucke so divines from my few missives. Bucke's letter 29th very hearty and specially recognizing my

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occupations and excusing my silence, even to himself. Noble good fellow!
29 Oct 1891

My dear Horace

I was glad to get today yours of 17th. Received, also, today card from W. written 17th he says— "I am down with a bad spell sort of general congestion." Perhaps I shall hear something of this in your next (or it may be a passing feeling).

I know you have been busy with Wallace etc. etc. and think nothing of you not writing—only too glad that there was nothing especial to write about. What you say about the Emerson letters is very interesting. Yes, if you & I could live 50 years (you may) our collections would make us the envy of the world.

Love to Anne

R. M. Bucke


At 4:45 sharp I was at W.'s, and almost the same minute Warrie drove up with the carriage—a double team—quite lively animals. I went up to W., who greeted me cordially and asked, "Is the wagon here?" "Yes." "And you are ready to go?" And after a pause, "But as for me—I am to stay here. I think it best for me not to venture out." Warrie came in, "Well, Mr. Whitman, will you go?" "No Warrie, my chains are too heavy—I am chained. You must manage without me." As we did. Had his big gown on, buttoned—local papers on his lap—evidently engaged to read. Looked out at the north. "A perfect day to go, perfect. And if you take my advice you will go at once—it will soon be dark, soon nightfall. Warrie, have you got a good horse?" "Two of 'em, Mr. Whitman." "Two of 'em? That is style: well, it will help you on and out, which is the chief thing at so late a start." And so we said our good-bye. He gave me postal to mail to Postmaster at Wilmington—on which he asked if a money order for him, sent from England in April, and mistakenly drawn on Wilmington, was on file there. "It is a curious thing," W. remarked, "a case in which my name don't count for much in an address."


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     Out, rapidly stopping by the way at Harned's. Thomas not home. He had expected to go with us. Some talk with T.B.H. with whom we engaged to dine Monday afternoon. Then to the country—arriving at Pea Shore about nightfall—the sun casting its last red light. The waters still—licking up the sand—the light receding—the day about done. We gazed out on the broad waters with silent lips. I recalled a long past—then broke into some reminiscence concerning W. We gathered some grasses standing at the shore-side. Solemn thought—the shadows thickened. Wallace said by and by, "The red is all gone out." We turned with moved hearts from the scene and drove home through the arriving night. Wallace wrapt in the hour, the occasion. Wallace and Warren took a drive down for the packing-box. When Wallace was back we went on for an hour with the vignettes.


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