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Tuesday, June 11, 1889

Tuesday, June 11, 1889

8 P.M. W. sitting in parlor, hat on, and Mrs. Davis there talking with him. Had but just returned from his "jaunt" with Ed. "It was baseball today." He takes a great interest in the boys out on the common. Sits watching them for long stretches. Talked freely tonight. Said he had had "but a middling day." Yet not at all "severe." Mail he reported scarce. "There's always something—if nothing else, the autograph fellow—but even he's quiet just now." I had a letter from Brinton today, written at Vienna. In it sent inquiry after his "venerable friend" W. W. I read the note to W., who is always interested in Brinton, liking him greatly.

"I sent off several books today," he explained, "several: one went to Dick Gilder—the other I sent to John Burroughs. And by the way, I have John's new book—it is upstairs—he sent it: 'Indoor Studies.' You can take it and read it any time you choose—of course you'll want to!" Mention of Jo Gilder's colorless description of the dinner in the Critic. W. said: "It is quite characteristic of him: I think Jennie Gilder has other irons in the fire—leaves all that part of the work to Jo—and it has always been Jennie who was my friend there—good friend—if any." Send off the Herald piece today. "It went at last. I sent it, uncertain what would be its fate. There have been changes on the Herald—Joseph knows not his friends longer. I don't know how they feel towards me now, nor who is high-cockalorum there: it used to be Julius, but Julius is now gone. It is true Jack Habberton is there still, but Jack has not that place—Jack is a sort of general utility man." And he added: "Walsh, as I understand it, has particular charge of the Sunday edition." The World W. hesitates to approach: it has an unfamiliar atmosphere. "Now," he said, "is your time to watch the Herald: to see what they do with me."

Questioned: "What is new? What progress with the little book?" I have made arrangements to have the bust photographed. He listened intent, with a gently counselling word now and then. Referring again to Burroughs, W. advised me: "You should see John in his house: it is a beautiful place." And as to a projected trip down the Hudson from Albany that had miscarried with me: "That is the right way to go: it is a good plan, to take the boat at Albany—then simply loaf and look the long trip through: for it is a long trip: you would probably get the boat in the morning, and reach New York about this time. And the beauty of it all! It is a glimpse never to be forgotten, even if only known once—never! For grand, rugged, life-throbbing effect, it's the best on earth—the best! Earth could have no better!"

He touched upon O'Connor's book on Donnelly. Harned has his copy still. W. remarked: "I am in no hurry to read it—in no hurry for my copy—I can very easily wait. What place this Bacon-Shakespeare matter will take in the future I would not dare to say—whether a great or a little. One point is, in the Shakespeare advocates themselves—men who are wrong in pretty nearly everything they touch—men like Willie Winter, Dick Stoddard, Richard Grant White—that crowd. It brings back to me John's saying—John Burroughs' saying. You know John is not given to saying witty—especially sarcastic things." Here W. paused an instant—then: "I told you of it long ago—you remember? perhaps at the time. It occurred when Swinburne made his somewhat savage attack on me: John thought Swinburne's antagonism—turn-about —set things to rights again—said he had often wondered if he had not been too hasty in endorsing, espousing, me, a man accepted by such a fellow—such fellows—as Swinburne." And to a chance mention of Oscar Wilde's name—"Wilde was very friendly to me—was and is, I think—both Oscar and his mother—Lady Wilde—and thanks be most to the mother, that greater, more important, individual. Oscar was here—came to see me—and he impressed me as a strong, able fellow, too." And as to O. W.'s espousal of W. W.: "He never was a flarer, but he has been a steady light."

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