- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 358] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Tuesday, December 16, 1890

     7:15 P.M. Happy this night's 20 minutes with W.! He sat in his own room—warmed by his own rosy fire—though the cold out-of-doors was crisp and severe. He kept my cold hand—said: "Its cold is no offense—refreshing, rather." Laughingly referred again to matter of last proofs of Ingersoll lecture. I had read from the book—he, as he insisted, from his "good sense"—and he had frequently changed the text! Was it Philip drunk and Philip sober? He called it "a problem—who is right—or which"—yet commended me for "leading" him "back to the text." The proof had read— "Cool-entwining death" on the carol. I changed to "enwinding." Had he seen it? "Yes, but did not think it worth while to set aright" "one" was "as good as the other." Had seen McCollin today about photos. Brought W.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 359] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
specimen of cards and estimate. Was satisfied with last, made his choice among the others. Surprised me by taking half of them gilt-edged. Laughingly explained: "The nice ones will not be for me. I want to use them as Christmas cards. So if you could get me some by Friday, if possible, it would be a lift." Had he a copy of the Courier of 6th, with account of tomb? Would look—I should have it.

     I imparted this: "I have had some qualms today. Should you use the Reisser chat without submitting to Ingersoll?" He raised his eyebrows—looked straight at me: "Should I? The question never came up—yet I can see why you ask—why you should ask." And after a pause, during which I remarked the imperfection of reporters and the justice due Ingersoll, he continued, "And especially with the Colonel—who has been so regal, royal—so like an emperor: whose word, look, espousal—so manly, vital—cannot be over-placed." And further: "The point with Talcott seems to be, rather to set me in a great light, as he sees it. The fellows there are apprehensive that I may become involved. You know—Doctor knows—all who best know me know—that I have no such fear—that I in fact care nothing about it—such a question never presents itself to me. Yet on the other hand I am always determined—have been, whether when I wrote or spoke, to present my own case, be myself, let my own position be understood. They seem too much concerned about me—I suppose thinking they have often enough set the Colonel forth, in articles, speeches, what-not. It is this only that appeals to me now—to have this rightly seen, said, set down, if held at all." He had revised notes, he said, sent them to T. Williams. "Now I am a little apprehensive of a miscarriage—it has been ten days." Explained more fully: "I have no plans about the notes except to possess them. No—Williams will not print—at least with my consent: I should, as I see it now, be positively opposed." "Ingersoll," he still adds, "is not there in full—did not, in fact, at that point, say much. What is there impresses me as decently faithful." I exclaimed, "Oh! that we

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 360] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
had the whole evening!—the debate with Bucke—the speech, and all!"
W. fervently: "To be sure! to be sure! But that is lost forever—except to the few of us who were there—the speech, perhaps unparalleled—certainly grand—to me more impressive than any utterance I have heard—in many respects more satisfying than Sarrazin." I put in: "And to me, too—not perhaps so much for its spiritual import as for its smack of our soil—its indescribable something which no democrat elsewhere can possess." This caused W. to say: "I see what you mean—indeed, I endorse it—it has its profound reach—a high lift. I think that all the foreign fellows come to their democracy mainly through the intellect—not, of course, wholly that way, but mainly." I explained my idea— "Their democracy is born of something other than democracy—ours from democracy itself." W. then: "Precisely—and that is the very best statement of it, too. John Burroughs has the idea, too—insists upon it—that something of our soil clings to us—a flavor virgin to America." And, "There is all that in the Colonel—an amplitude, vitality, freedom, higher than school, art: the breath of our woods and heavens."

      "Do you know, Horace," he said as I got up and was about to leave, holding my hand in his own, "the public has no notion of me as a spiritualistic being. Apart from a few—a very few—of you fellows—my entourage, household—you, Doctor, perhaps several others—no one understands that I have my connections—that they are deep-rooted—that they penetrate shows, phenomena, do not pause with these."


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

Support the Archive | About the Archive

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