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Thursday, November 21, 1889

Thursday, November 21, 1889

8 P.M. W. reading papers. Was very cordial. "Tom Donaldson has just left," he said, "Tom was here for quite a while—we had a good talk. Tom is a better fellow than you think for. I consider him one of my true friends. He looked well and fat—his arm nearly recovered. Tom is himself: like all of us—and that is the worst you can say of him. He brought me over the money six weeks ago." "I had a note from Mrs. O'Connor today. She is in Washington again so I suppose I shall turn the stream of papers that way, as I have in the past. I know she appreciates them—thinks they have a place with her." And he added: "I have sent both the Americans off—one to Bucke, the other to Sarrazin."

Suddenly he looked at me and laughed: "I got my poem back from Harper's Weekly," he remarked. I asked, "What poem? I knew of none." "Oh! I thought I had told you. 'The welcome to Brazil.' They returned it with a letter—very vague." I asked humorously—"It did not worry you to get it back?" "No indeed—I am used to having pieces rejected—it is no new sensation. Then besides, a man at my years and condition must not worry about anything." But what of the poem? "It was only a glimpse—a hint—a sort of handshake and hug, to show them we were here, met them in the democratic spirit, warmed to something more than mere formality. It is a trifle, put together in that sense—no other. The editor of the Weekly is John Ford." And then he added: "Tom Donaldson thinks the priests are at the bottom of the matter—that after Dom Pedro, in the order of succession, comes a daughter—unpopular—absolutely in the hands of the priest gang: that it was to avoid this daughter, this gang, that the people got rid of the whole family." And in this connection he added: "Sarrazin has the prophet-eye, he says, it is not here that the ideals of democracy will be tried, but in America, in the Australias"—though W. shook his head somewhat—"True—true: but a civilization that can produce a man like Sarrazin has not all gone out by any means."

Returned me Scribner's. "I not only read the Goethe article—read the whole magazine through. It is wonderful interesting—the print itself an enticement." Was much amused by a note brought in by Warren—written by Foster Coates, from New York—asking W. two questions (as he asked other prominent men). 1st—What was the happiest moment of his life? 2d—In what he thought happiness consisted? W. read the note aloud to me, laughing very heartily. "Poor fellow—out on such a search! I suppose he'll have to wait a long time before I tell him to find out what happiness is."

Finally got up instructions for a new edition [of]—Leaves of Grass. Intends to insert the autobiographic page out of my book—also a new advertising page, which he wrote today. Otherwise there will be no changes or additions. We will probably have the work done at Ferguson's—at least the composition. Left that in my hands. Gilchrist in for a time this evening after I left, but told me afterwards he did not stay but 5 minutes or so, W. looking so wearied. Harned's lawyer-friend, for whom W. left the "debris" as he called it, was Hampton L. Carson, of Philadelphia. W. could not remember his name, Harned informing me.

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