Skip to main content

Thursday, July 11, 1889

Thursday, July 11, 1889

8 P.M. Strolled down to W.'s with Harned. Found W. at house, sitting by the parlor window. Cordial enough,—extra glad to see Tom, who had not met him for several weeks (having been away)—questioning Tom much of the children, and remarking the "extra beauty" of the baby's photo T. had sent. But confessed he did not feel well. "I did to get out today"—this now the third day in succession. Was it hot enough for him? "Yes—hot enough—too damned hot!" I said I had just received a letter from Bucke. W. thereupon—"And so did I—by this evening's mail. Bucke has ordered me a tonic—I have been taking it—I am sure it contains strychnia: it does me good in general, but affects my head—also eyes and hearing—very decidedly. I have had trouble with my hearing for several months past—quite a decided loss of power": which I have noticed but hoped would be merely transitory.

Last night I had mentioned to W. that the printer wanted a paragraph added to my introduction, to run it over to the even page (18). W. asked now, "Have you filled up the blank? I have found a little copy for you." But when I told him I had, he relaxed—"Well—let it lay then"—though he promised it to me for any later exigency. "You should make more speeches and letters solid," he counselled, and when I said I had examined and figured the whole matter over today and had ordered it so, he added—"That was wise." To some remark of Tom's about the importance of the book, W. assented, "Yes—so it seems—it evidently gets to be serious." Tom referred to the prospect of having Ingersoll's article on W. W. remarked, "Yes—let the Colonel go on: I can say to him with the Duchess in Richard, 'God prosper you in all your good intents!'" Here W. assumed quite an amused manner—quoted the whole passage, "It was spoken with a particular emphasis on the 'good'"—leaning forward and laughing heartily. "And Richard would respond that his 'intent' was the crown—and was not that 'good'? I can see the Duchess now as so often in my young days,—thrusting her head in at the flies." Thence telling of stories for nearly half an hour, W. as gay as either of us. "I can remember clearly one of Samuel Lover's stories—I have told it to you? It was in one of his lectures—used as an illustration of ready wit. I suppose it must have been 40 or 50 years ago when I heard him: but his telling of it was an experience itself. A story of some one's falling overboard somewhere and being fished out—handing the Irishman a small coin—a sixpence, shilling, whatnot—the Irishman's scanning it, so"—W. indicating—"and the rescued man's question, 'Well—isn't it enough?'—then the cute reply—a blast in itself—'Ach, Soor—I was thinking as how I might have been overpaid!' Oh! the readiness of that Irish wit! How much we owe to it!" Tom told a sea of Galilee story which quite convulsed us all, with W.'s exclamation—"A retort excellent! A Roland for the others' Oliver!" Asked after Tom's affairs—if busy, etc.!—

W. not in good color. Has perceptibly lost flesh. Advised Tom to take "many trips: the mere change is good." But as for himself thinks he had best "stay quietly at home." To Tom's remark that he thought W. gloried in the heat, W. shook his head, "Not such heat as this." Adding however—"it is not unpleasant tonight—indeed, this whole day has been bearable." Bucke inquires about his special morocco book, now being bound. Saw Brown today who says they had to make a second trial of the plate in N. Y.—but that the plate would be over Saturday. W. is quite favorable to having it used in our book if the Morse picture goes amiss, as is not unlikely to be the case. W. said strikingly at one point: "All that is good (and in fact all that is bad) in the English character rallies in its satisfiedness—its self-satisfiedness"—adding—"and yet I don't know if we can boast exemptions from the evil—if evil it be."

Back to top