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Tuesday, October 13, 1891

Tuesday, October 13, 1891

5:30 P.M. Spent half an hour with W., who seemed greatly better. Had just lighted the gas and sat reading. "Longaker has been over and left a good deal of cheer, if nothing else." Yet still thinks or says he is "blue." Is it the echo of the discussion over the payment of the tomb? Fire burning in stove—room pleasant. "Though I slept better last night, 'twas nothing to brag of." Not downstairs again. "I often feel to go down, yet can't bring myself together to do it." Then, "I have a letter from Wallace—written from West Hills. He went there—filled his fill of things thereabout. Says the country is beautiful—only regrets he can't stay, locate, settle there for a while. His letter is very cheery—the best, on the whole, he has written me. The good weather is gone, otherwise he is in good fortune. He tells me about the people he met—how everybody was hospitable—how he went from this thing to that—peering, absorbing, cherishing. It is a long letter—pages of it—and thoroughly in good temper. Now he says he won't be on here till Thursday—that he will go to New York—back there—spend a couple of days there—then come on with Rome—which in a sense will be to end up his pilgrimage." As to Wallace's books, "They are still in the box there, untouched. I am a great dawdler, these days."

I quoted Methodist in Ecumenical Council at Washington, speaking of scientists who make the conflict with religion as men who do not know the a-b-c of evidence and are incapable of drawing conclusions. W. remarking, "Whereas the scientists are different from the damned Methodistic snifflers, who know everything, and set down in articles and creeds all the ways of God—all the twists and turns of divine life, labor. Perhaps if these infernal Tom-fools knew more they would be less certain, would know how little is certain, and that the scientific men who are staggered by 'conclusions' give us the wisest conclusion after all. But it is always—has always been—just as we see it with these men: the least knowing, intuitional, pretending to know and see most. It is a lesson, if a fellow can take it." After a pause, continuing in the same strain, emphatic in tone and word, "What an infernal cabbage-head that man Talmage is! I look over his sermons in the papers. They are the vilest nonsense, as stupid rags, dishwater, as any man would dare to get off. Yet he has a following, a big one. It is a mystery, and sad, too. I find myself to get worse and worse disgusted, almost to hate him. How queer that is! Infernal arrogance—the most horrible assurance—and knows nothing. Once at least every day steps into the shoes of God almighty, dispenses the almighty decrees, says to me, this is the way, to another, that—sends one left, one right—delivers himself of his damned insanities and loads them on the Lord! It is a spectacle, a horror, to me. Yes, I heard he had spoken of George Eliot as an adulteress. It is horrible, horrible—and I say, to hell with his lies, filth, arrogance! What was George Eliot if not clean? And this man, unclean—yes, full of poison, venom, hate. Yet this man has conclusions—maybe to suit the Methodist priest we have spoken of. As for myself, I get farther away from conclusions the longer I live. I don't know why I ever read Talmage at all; perhaps to try to find some change for the better, some chance to revise my contempt. But instead of bettering, it worsens me. I find I fully endorse the Colonel in all he has had to say of Talmage."

I asked Longaker, meeting him last night, to see W. today and make a special examination—reporting to me. Hope he has done so. Letter from Bucke (11th) who seems busy about his own affairs and anxious about ours, especially from not hearing from us. But best of all a fine new letter from Baker (11th), which it will delight W.'s heart to see. Intended running in to see W. and show him this but had not time. But did go to see Harned, advising him to consult W. about tomb and discover if everything was straight. Harned consented. I told him all I knew. The contractors push Walt, W. thinks unjustly. But as W. has taken no confidant in this matter, no one knows just what led up to the contract, not even Harned or Bucke. Yet Harned was the natural person to have advised W. from the start. It troubles me to see W. troubled. Harned remarks, "We can't assume any loss of grip in Walt. We know he's as clear and sane as ever he was."

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