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Friday, April 12, 1889

Friday, April 12, 1889

7.30 P.M. I was down this forenoon, stopping in just long enough to find that W. was improved. Then to town, taking copy in at Ferguson's and receiving proof later in the day. Which proof I now delivered W. It made just a short page. He had written on margin of copy that if more was required to fairly fill the 2 pages he would "eke it out." F. said now that he would have to "eke it out." Asked me again for Francis Larned's name. Said of his health: "I seem relieved—I seem to have shaken off the torments." Whether "for good" or even "for any time" he "dared not say." Word from friends very scarce. "Nothing at all from Washington—in fact, nothing since last Saturday. Bucke writes again, but his letter has no significance whatever." Speaking of Mrs. Gilchrist's article again—"Yes, that is where 'Going Somewhere' came from. I thought you knew it."

Asked me—"You folks are to settle the labor question tonight?" This is Contemporary Club Night. "Yet I suppose ever since time was known, or man, this labor question has been agitated, stirring. Probably now it is more on top—is more palpable—than ever before—more palpable as the prevalence of disease is more palpable, in the first place because there are more people—and in the second, because every one people knows what is happening to every other people." Yet he did not discredit it. "I am in favor of agitation—agitation—agitation and agitation: without the questioner, the agitator, the disturber, to hit away at our complacency, we'd get into a pretty pass indeed." We spoke of Henry George's great tour now through England. I said: "The George men are free traders." W. added: "But a free trader is not necessarily a George man. Did you read the speech delivered by Mills in the West somewhere a few days ago? The Record had a good stripe of it—more than a column: I read it all—read it and liked it. I notice that The Press, in its own way—in its own great littleness—in its utterly indescribably witless way,—tries to dispose of it by witty paragraphs. But what a display and a failure!" W. had drawn up today a plan for insertion of plates in the new edition—using fully half a dozen. But it was only a "preliminary design"—one he may possibly deflect from.

Advised me: "Give my best love to all friends, known and unknown—I mean rather, unknowing, whom you meet tonight." We talked of Dr. Brinton. W. asked: "Is he still in Europe?" Then spoke of his scientific attainments and mental probity, W. denominating this—"the absolute exercise of it"—"extremely rare indeed."

Another moment: "I suppose that under whatever conditions, we would have botherations—the race would have its struggles, trials, growls, doubts, horrors: all it now asked for achieved, it would then solicit more—more and more: the human critter is just that sort of a being—and best so, no doubt." I hurried off to the meeting to-night. He was affectionate and awake.

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