Skip to main content

Sunday, October 25, 1891

Sunday, October 25, 1891

1:20 P.M. To meeting, forenoon, to hear Royce (of Harvard) speak—after which to Camden with Gilbert, reaching W.'s without delay and spending half an hour, or a little less, with him, and then going back to Philadelphia to dine with the Gilberts and to take a long afternoon walk.

W. in very good condition. Gilbert would not go up. Day superb—cloudless sky—air pure, bracing—quiet, peace, everywhere. Wallace started for Timber Creek towards eleven, intending to and I suppose did walk. W. at once spoke to me of "the beauty of the day" and Wallace's "good luck in it." I said, "He took 'Specimen Days' along with him, but what specimen days like these he is living through?" W. to that, "You are right—they are better than a fortune. And when he gets back to England, he, too, will believe what I say." He had been on the bed but insisted on rising by and by. Meanwhile, however, he talked recumbent. Gave him message from Frank Williams. He was intensely interested, at once saying, "He shall have the book—anything, anyhow, for Frank's sake—I am glad anytime to do him what small pleasures I can." Then, "You may have the book today or tomorrow or anytime you wish." After a pause, "Why not today—at once?" I objected to his getting up. "Oh! It's no matter. It's about time for me to get up anyhow. I get so sleepy and stupid—come over to the bed, then go back again—and that is about all my day's story." I proposed then myself to bring him a copy of the little book. "Do you know where to find it?" I went straight in and put my hands on the book immediately. When I returned W. exclaimed, "So you knew where they were? You seem to be all eyes!" Now I proposed leaving inscription till tomorrow, but he would not have it. "No, I will go over to my chair—write it immediately. That will get it off our minds." So he did get up and labored across to the middle window, where he put Mrs. Eyre's name in the book. He was much interested in all that Williams had told me and had considerable curiosity about Mrs. Eyre. After I had the book and was almost about to go, he cried, "Wait a minute, wait—I'll put a picture with it," reaching forward and getting one of the profiles from a bundle under the table. Endorsed it as usual "Sculptor's Profile," etc.), saying as he held it out to me, "Jennie Gilder likes that very much—had a good deal to say of it yesterday. She said for one thing, it impressed her as from marble, in the moonlight, with just a shimmer down the edges—fine beyond calculation. Certainly it has been a hit." Then he remarked, "So you had a good time last night? Tell me about it—who was there?" After I was done, "It was a good experience. I am glad you took Wallace there: it is one thing to go with the many other things he will take home with him in his picture."

Reference to the Drexel Institute, W. said, "It wonderfully appeals to me. The great word of our future is solidarity, mutual understanding—solidarity, reciprocity in international relations, manual training for the development of trade. Through these, what may not, must not, come?" And then, "That Drexel Institute affair enlists me. Accommodation for 2500! Grand! Grand! And, Horace, I am willing to have it go on record—to have it told Drexel himself: in that work Walt Whitman is with him—gives him heart, everything. It is oasis in a desert—a great fountain, a marvel, in the midst of inchoate things—oh! lifts business itself a thousand leagues above its ordinary modes." Then, "I have felt that in England, too, as here, there are scattered men, noble, instinctively free (men who love their land, love man)—men in trade, industry, factories, on 'change—to whom what I say of Drexel, here, now, would apply. And it is the foundation of a great hope." "Do you really wish me to see Drexel and tell him this?" "Yes, I do. I feel it almost a duty to send some word. I have just this morning been reading a fresh account of it in the Press. And the picture that went along seemed to unscroll the whole good deed."

Quoted from Young in yesterday's Star. Discussing Geneva tribunal Young says: "The most striking figure was Jacob Stæmpfli, the Swiss arbitrator, our strenuous friend, more American if perhaps less judicious than Mr. Adams—dominant, brusque, something of the Bismarck about him, a Demo who would have bewitched Whitman into another stanza on Democracy." Then, farewell and the trip across the Delaware. "Give my love to Frank when you see him"—this the parting shot as I passed out the door.

Back to top