Commentary

Disciples


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 152] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Monday, November 16, 1891

     7:55 P.M. W. again at Young's book. Thought its "typographical beauty" a great temptation. How had he been the day through? "Up to my usual standard, which isn't high at all." Then to me, "I thought you might be off to the city, to hear Donnelly. He is to speak there, in the Academy, I think." On Shakespeare? "My impression is, yes, but I don't really —. I looked in the papers this morning for some advertisement—but not a word. It seems to be managed by some Catholic institution for some Catholic purpose. Donnelly appears Catholic! I am rather surprised." Harned had proposed going over. Had he gone? W. still continued, "It might be worth while to hear. If I were get-about-able, I should probably go—see what sort of a fellow he is, anyway."

     Salter went West today. Inquired after Walt. W. pleased with all inquiries. "They are my angels, to deliver me out of these walls!" Promptly now, "Sit right down, Horace—tell me of Baker!" After which, and as I went on, his "ah's" and "oh's" being frequent. "You saw the wife, too, and all—the wife must be reported, too!" And then further, "Did Baker give you any news of the Colonel? Any new points?" As to the Colonel's being a grandfather (through Mrs. Brown) and Mrs. B.'s trouble, W.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 153] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
said, "It is sad—yet good, too, now she is about well. But we have had a bad week down here. Three or four babies born the last week—one of them day before yesterday across the street. O sad! Sad! And the mother there now at death's door! The little one extracted piece-meal: too large for exit—too large! Oh! The tender tearful mystery of it all! I can see the lights over there in the window now." (The curtains opposite drawn—light within). Baker's account of Mrs. Ingersoll's loving service moved W. mightily. "A true magnificent mother! It always excites my respect—always stirs me!" And then, "That reminds me: Ralph Moore was here today. He did not come for his money—came to see me about the removal of the bodies of my mother and father." "Do you mean to have them moved at once?" "Yes, immediately. It will cost little. In my father's case I'm afraid they'll find a little difficulty in identifying the body." "Isn't the grave marked?" He did not answer this question direct. I then, "But I suppose they have a way to get their point." "Yes, I think they must have. Ralph says there will be no difficulty." And as to his mother's: "That is easy—her place, here, is well-defined." Again, "We are much separated: father at Brooklyn, mother here." Said he had a letter from Johnston (England). "It is not new. I suppose news is scarce, anyway."

     McKay in to see me and to order 50 copies complete Whitman in sheets—to go abroad again; also, with question how many more copies we hold bound or in sheets. I went to Oldach's and numbered the fifty. Also left word for a count of remaining sheets. W. "surprised" at the new sale. I asking, "Do you remember the time you wondered if ever they would be sold?" "Yes, I do, I do—and it was not so very long ago, neither. Somebody is buying the books—Lord knows for what good!" Would he sell all he had? "Every one of them—every one. I have no wish to keep one!" Then, "It is now nearly time Dave had made me the payment on 'Good-Bye.' That was to have been December 1st or thereabouts, wasn't it?" After a pause, "Ingram was over today. He went up to see you, Warrie with him." (But we were both out, and he did not leave a card.) "What a

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 154] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
noble good man Ingram is! Brings to me a thousand reminiscent memories of old days, way back in youth, and the old giants: Tom Paine, Jefferson, Cobbett, Voltaire, Volney—yes, and Franklin, too. Franklin was a rare sweet master of many things—mainly, of how truly to live. Elias Hicks was that time, too, or near it. Sometimes I have wondered by what caution, determination, he kept clear of all those men, influences. Yet he did steer another way. I guess I know why, and how advisably. For the men of that time, Paine and all—half-free thinker, half-philanthropic (Ingram's type)—I think the salt of the planet. How it was Elias kept his own influence, was never penetrated, he only knows or knew. They were very positive fellows, very—would have no compromise, would enter the lists for whole victories or none—superb, honest, integrity to the bone—but fanatical at times, too. It would be a mistake to suppose that fanaticism inheres only to the conventional: it may come to act a part anywhere, in most radical atmospheres even."

     The wheel chair still in at Button's.


Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.