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Sunday, December 21, 1890

     4:40 P.M. W. not able to get out today. Damp, cold. Just finished dinner at this hour. Sat in early twilight, watching the northern sky. "I can almost see the days growing longer—the later sunset. And in the grey night I can feel the breaking of the dawn." I remarked: "Like the wheat growing? Can you hear that?" This made him laugh. "Well—well," and said no more. Then I told him of Bucke's long puzzlings over the "Riddle Song" and many doubts. W. thus: "About that you must remember the secret in 'Diplomacy'—that there is no secret. It is important to remember—even necessary."

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     I had noticed that latterly he never closed the blinds in shutters towards the east. Long ago he invariably closed all. He laughed and assured me: "I will—only I am long getting there. I do my work by degrees." Remarked too how little capacitated he was for work. "I read very little, too—less and less."

     Showed him letter I got from Baker yesterday—dated 19th—which he read attentively. "The writing itself is a pleasure—tempts a fellow to read." I went over the ground of last night's concert. Seemed to be considerably moved by what I said of the playing from "Parsifal"—of W.'s own resemblance to Wagner, or Wagner's to him. "I am sure—yes, sure—all you say is true—that I would have enjoyed it immensely, fully—taken in copious draughts of it. But here I am—here I was!" Several times I have had curious experiences with W.'s hardness of hearing. I usually speak to him at a high key. L. with me very recently addressed W. very mildly a number of times and had no answer. Spoke too softly. Next day W. said, "What a quiet young man that was you brought yesterday!" While L. said: "Curiously, W. never answered one of my questions." I am often asked when I take strangers there, why it is I cast my voice to such a pitch.

     Talk about photos again. Hope to send my New England Magazine piece off tomorrow or next day—with pictures. I said as to photos at McCollin's of which I hope to get some tomorrow: "I am anxious to see them myself. It is like writing a piece. We are sick of it after we have sent it off—have worked over it so long—but after it has been away about a week, we are anxious for a proof of it!" W. then: "That is so! That is the way it works every time—not less with you than with me."


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