Commentary

Disciples


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Saturday, December 5, 1891

     6:10 P.M. Entered W.'s room with a big bundle under my arm. Ten of the books ready—had got them from Oldach. Would not cover the rest till knowing if the paper on these would suit. W. exclaimed, seeing me enter loaded, "Here is my book at last! Into harbor at the end of day! Welcome, Horace: drop the bundle—sit down—rest!" I stepped forward, shook hands with him, and put the bundle on the bed, proceeding then to open it. He took the first book eagerly—turned it over and over—looked at it, at me—murmuring, "After hard labor and long waiting, here it is, yes, here it is!" "Since 1855," I put in, "labor and waiting of 36 years!" He smiled and looked at me, "It is a long story, isn't it? And here we are, at its end, heads above water!" Had he seen McKay's miserable misplacement of the autograph on title-page? "Yes, I did—it is very bad, very. Though whether put there out of bad taste or for publisherial reasons I can't say. Either way, it is horribly mal."

     Having things to say further of George Eliot and George Sand, W. remarked, "If it did not seem like treason to my old reverence for Walter Scott, I should call 'Consuelo' the greatest novel ever written."

     W. has intermitted the rubbings for four days now, on the ground that his body is too sore to bear them. A bad sign: we may hope, only indicative of temporary derangements. Has been reading the Critic this afternoon. Denunciates it "duller even than itself!" Wondered if "even a rougher paper" would not do for the book. I am to write his instructions to Oldach: so promised. Would W. send a copy to Bucke? "Yes, immediately." I ordered a drop-light for him at Shaw's today—to be delivered Monday. W. advises, "Make it Monday afternoon. I am often in bed till noon." Which I did by immediately writing a postal. We have talked a good deal this week about Ingersoll's Tuesday's speech. The Star correspondent warms up about it. W. exclaimed, on hearing me read this matter, "It must have been a magnificent outburst! A flow straight from the heart—a sample

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piece of oratory, probably, in the true sense, the richest possible, in our time, any land."
Was I to get papers, try to see some report? "I wish you would. It might give us a glimpse indoors—show us indirectly what was said, heard." Remarking again, "We all of us watch the Colonel—rejoice in him—in his superb abandon, naturalness." Had a couple of letters laid out on bed for me. "I have heard from Dr. Johnston again, and from Carpenter: fresh, handsome letters, with a bit of genuine sunshine."
London,
20 Nov. '91

Dear Walt

Just a few lines of greeting and remembrance. Was glad to get yr. card a few weeks ago. This is one of those warm spring like days wh. we not infrequently have in wintertime when the buds & the birds seem almost ready to make a start again.

I am in London for a week or two, partly to arrange about a third and enlarged edition of Towards Democracy, wh. I expect to get out by next March. That will about finish the book, and there will not be much added to it I believe afterwards.

I had some good talks with Bucke when he was over, and he told me a bit about you, and about his book wh. he is bringing out. I guess, dear Walt, you have a tedious time of it on the whole—all those infirmities nagging don't leave the mind free for long. I got your Goodbye book,—and like the poem from wh. it takes its name about the best of any in it. "Goodbye—and hail!" After all the mind, the special local consciousness, is only a smallish part of oneself. It with all its troubles & pains one may decently fold up in due time and put away in its appointed locker!

I am glad you have such good friends with you—Mrs. Davis and Warry. Kind greetings also to them. I am still living at Millthorpe (near Sheffield) and having good times, with many dear friends. We all read yr. Leaves of Grass—or most of us—and it keeps just the same as ever or improves, like good wine.

Give my love to Harry Stafford if you ever write or see him. I don't hear from Herbert Gilchrist—tho' I sometimes get tidings of him. Should like to come over to U.S.A. but no prospect at present. With much love to you as ever

Ed. Carpenter




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I had likewise a postal from Johnston (dated 25th). W. thinks "the Bolton church is founded on a rock," laughing, "on 'Leaves of Grass,' which some people think insecure enough!"

     Clifford has delivered W.'s message to Col. McClure and writes this simple line about it: "I personally gave W.W.'s message to Col. McC. who received it with much interest and returned thanks. J. H. C." W. reiterates, "I could not make my approval too strong: the subject is one on which I always had intense feeling. And William, too, with his lips of fire! Many's the hot word of all that, back in Washington!"

     Then with rather a serious tone, "Look here! The Reinhalters are determined to hetchel me as much as they can. Read this letter, and look at their bill!" An impudent enough note, after all that had gone before. W. remarks, "Give it to Tom. I wish something could be done to keep them away from me. I have entire confidence in Tom—he has a long arm. No, you are right, Horace, I should not have gone on with this a day had I known the figures they hid, deceived, away from me: not a day. It would have proved me a fool—a fool in my old age, after the war and the toil and the saving. Poor Eddy then! But we will see if affairs are to be trifled away by forgery and bluff. It is a sad game to play." Then asked, "You know what hetchel is? The origin or practical application of the word?" Going explicitly into its genealogy and industrial application, then concluding, "These fellows are set out, to draw me over these wires, to plague, worry, hetchel me." Yet Moore had said to Harned, "You surely don't think, Mr. Harned, that we intend to trouble the old man about this money?"


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