Commentary

Disciples


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Monday, December 14, 1891

     5:40 P.M. W. in by no means better condition, though he admits he passed a better night last than Saturday. "Tom was here yesterday. O yes! I guess after you had been in. He seemed very well. He did not say a word about the Reinhalter matter, nor did I. Today your sister, Mrs. Harned, sent me down some broth. Oh! It was very good! I want you to thank her for it! My appetite is nearly all gone. I seem to have no wish to eat." Asked him if our visit yesterday had been too long? "O no! What a fine red Brinton has in the cheeks! It is a symptom of high conditions. I enjoyed it, if possible, more than anything else about him, or his talk, yesterday!" Quoted to W. Brinton's mention of Bucke to Wallace in which he described Bucke as a man of "remarkable intellectual acumen," W. saying, "I can hardly say

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Bucke impresses me that way. I find in him one of the best specimens of the physiological concrete—not this of the low but the high type—having this feature; then a profound sensitiveness—the spiritual-physical—especially physical—dominating. I find people so misunderstanding this I am convinced it is hard to convey. But Brinton himself is in much a specimen of the same order—more than he would allow (Bucke would probably rebel at the description, too). The animal, the purely physical, are common enough, but these combinations, of the physical with what in right senses can be called refinement (something brought by long evolution), is rare—very rare."
And he said again, "I am always surprised (though I should not be surprised) to hear of Brinton's ample tastes—how he seems to take grip of everything." Brinton much pleased with the gift-book. "Is it so? It is little enough to do for his pleasure. I think Brinton is a man who likes to respond and likes to be responded to."

     W. reading Poet-Lore. It was open on his lap. Much in it about him. Trumbull with a second article on "The Whitman-Shakespeare Question," notes on "Good-Bye" from Miss Porter, announcement of my article, title-page for 1891 volume with the Whitman motto written to me the other day. If they keep on at this rate, the magazine will have to add Whitman to Shakespeare and Browning as an object of particular devotion.

     Brinton narrates a curious story, namely: In the summer or before he proposed to the Program Committee of the Browning Club, of which he is a member, that one evening be given to a discussion of the immoral poems of Robert Browning. This caused excited interest and difference, and he was ruled against. He immediately resigned from the Committee. But while in Europe he heard from the Committee to effect that they had reconsidered their verdict and would consent to the topic, provided first, the announcement should be phrased "The Unconventional Poems of Robert Browning," and second, that he should write the paper. "I immediately wrote and said yes to both conditions." "They thought you would not do it? That they would corner you?" "Yes." "And got cornered themselves?" To which Brinton

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laughingly assented. Brinton disgusted with pretense of Browning's sainthood—thinks poems (doubtless) of unmistakable immorality, Browning leading a free life at one time—the poems evidence enough. Some members left the club on account of the discussion, Miss Louise Stockton among them. W. intensely interested in my detail of it all and expressing "entire concurrence with Brinton's attitude."

     Warrie recites dolefully the fact that W. seems almost to have ceased eating. Sometimes will eat only a bit of toast and half a cup of coffee for breakfast, then nothing till four to five again. Has not yet resumed rubbings. I have not heard from the Bolton fellows for a week or ten days, but W. reports, "It has not been many days since I have had something." Spoke of a letter from Bucke and tenderly of B., "his superb health and spirit and sound, solid heart." Bucke's letter of 11th to me pathetic in its sorrow for W.

     Here, recovered at last, is the Pan-Republic invitation for the poem:
Pan-Republic Congress Committee.
20 Spruce Street, Newark, N. J.
Aug. 21st 1891.

My dear Sir

On Oct 12th (Discovery day falls this year on Sunday) our Pan Republic Congress Organizing Comt. meet in Independence Hall Phil to adopt an address to all peoples and to organize the Human Freedom League. In the evening we have a public meeting in the Academy of Music. The times, the place, the work are all suggestive and is it to be wondered at that our Comt. turn to you for the poem of the occasion.

Hoping that you will favor us I am

Very truly yours

Wm. O. McDowell


Also gave me tickets and circular anent the great banquet to [Frank] Carpenter.


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