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Friday, July 5, 1889

Friday, July 5, 1889

7.50 P.M. W. not home the moment of my call, so I sat down in the parlor, reading and waiting. Soon, however, he came along. I heard him say to Ed as the chair wheeled up to the door—"I guess I shall go right in." At which I hastened out and we greeted each other. His passage to his usual place at the parlor window decidedly laborious. I remarked, "You don't seem to gain any strength in the legs"—to which he responded, "No—none at all—nor anywhere else, for that matter: in fact, I am losing, especially in the legs, which grow worse and worse—are hardly any good at all any longer." But he had passed "a mitigated day," and spoke of the modified weather; while, "the Fourth over—and its noise—we have peace again." He dwelt with eloquent voice upon the aspect of the river. "The mere air this evening is a blessed thing to breathe in—but the river seemed rarely fine—I watched it as it flowed a long while, a long while." He asked me about some of the big buildings which he could descry from his position on the wharf—"the big buildings—all gone up since my day there—these two or three years past." He could see the tall towers, "vast marble and granite pinnacles," which were new to his eyes. My description appeared greatly to interest him, and he questioned me keenly in detail, as is his wont. Said Frank Williams was over today. "He came in only very briefly—just in to say goodby, almost: the kind of a visit a man appreciates when he is not feeling braggy." When I spoke of Williams as a good, genuine, almost boyish, fellow, W. responded, "Yes, that is Frank—every word of it!" He said again, "Frank appears to have come over in part to thank me for the book."

I had seen McKay today and Ferguson will do composition of the book. Dave will leave it absolutely in my hands to arrange. He goes away Monday, will be gone six weeks or so—goes as far west as Denver. I made it very clear that my control should be absolute, so far as matter and typographical make-up is concerned. Paper, printing and cover he will contract for himself or with me. I brought with me a proof of the bust reproduction. Lacked in effect. But W. looked at it a long and earnest while in the waning light, commenting, "Why, Horace—I like it very well—it seems to me well enough. Of course you know I didn't particularly love the photo—not that I altogether didn't like it—only, that it missed something that is in the bust itself—an exquisite something not to be defined. Still, I must say, I like this better than the photo print you brought me—much better: I should not reject it. And anyhow, I leave it all in your hands and Dave's." McKay will electro book after all—weighs all points and finds this dictated. W. said—"That puts quite a more effective light on things: I can see myself why it should seem advisable."

I saw Oldach and gave him order for the twenty books. Promised to let him have our old model copy as guide. Now spoke to W. of it and he sent me up stairs. "You'll find it easily," he said, "say I sat in my usual place up there—my chair turned this way"—wheeling his chair around—"it would be right in that place,"—pointing to a point on the floor—"under a pile of books." And despite the terrible confusion on the floor up stairs—a confusion much worse than usual—I really found the volume in exactly the position he had indicated to me. He has thumbed and marked the copy some. On one of the loose leaves he has written "Sample copy (first copy) from the printer and binder to show me everything is right—especially the putting in of the portraits at the right place—&c: &c:" "Seems all right" "Early June '89 W. W." Then at a later date he had added, given written confirmation to the reports in these notes as to his disappointment as to one aspect of the birthday book—"the paper binding &c: satisfy me—the press-work (printing, ink, &c) not—sorry, very sorry for this, as in every other aspect it satisfies me & fills the bill—but this is a bad and important deficiency." All punctuated just as above.

"Herbert Gilchrist was over last evening after you left," said W., "but I did not see him—I had already gone up to bed." But not exactly in bed—for he sat up some half an hour after, reading.

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