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Tuesday, November 17, 1891

Tuesday, November 17, 1891

8:00 P.M. Thirty-five minutes with W., and through that time animated and even eloquent talk. Laid out for me a couple of Johnston's letters. "They are full of his cheer—written while Wallace was still with us. Warm, loving, concerned for us, our reputation, health!" Again on Ingersoll, "He has vast range, is boundless in natural expressiveness—absorbs elements, expels them." His first telegraphed salutation to Baker (from Helena) after the shooting: "Hold on with both hands. My purse and my heart are yours!" W. exclaimed, "How grand! How quick! No, how American—emotional from the jump!" Baker related some stories of Ingersoll's absolute nature—of their travels West—of long talks about Burns, etc. ("Oh!" exclaimed W., "that Burns talk! I should have been there! What it must have been—yes, what it must have been!") One trip through the Sierras and Ingersoll's stage coach eloquence. W. believed "that must have been a day for history to calendar! Yet history can never know a thing about it!" Further, W. remarked, "I can see how the Colonel works. What you tell me, from Baker, only confirms my convictions. Ingersoll's intuitions are magnificent. They beat anything I know. He travels more than winged!" And as to Ingersoll's immense audiences West (6000, Chicago; 4000, Cleveland) W. remarked, "They are all to be congratulated. I doubt if anyone of them all will ever hear the like again—unless they hear Ingersoll!"

Received letter from Bucke (this evening at Post Office, on way to W.'s) written yesterday forenoon. Wonderful carriage. W. remarked, "I, too, have a letter, same date, just as prompt. The postal fellows are shaming their own record! Yes, Doctor told me about Clare's ball. Oh! Miss Clare! I remember her! But it was years ago—six, probably—at the Smith's. And she was then small. Pardee and I were mutual favorites. And I had great faith in him. A reticent boy—is he so still? Clare was not like mother or father—not in look, in ways." 16 Nov 1891 My dear Horace I received today yours of 13th & 14th—it was like old times to see them in the mail and it did me good. I have not been at all uneasy about you except that the last few days I began to think whether it could be possible that you were sick. But I did not much fear that—you are not one of the getting sick kind. I shall certainly treasure and preserve the Ingersoll letters—I am very proud of them. Walt sent the papers on—a big bundle—those you mentioned and others. Will you please tell me the date of "N. Y. Recorder" con'g "Howard's Letter". I cannot enter it without the date. I note all you say re Tomb and trust H. will be able to straighten it all up. I like your notion much of "W.W. & Some of His Comrades" and hope you will carry it out. No I have not touched the circular. I have not had a minute. On top of all my other troubles and labors my daughter Clare considered it "de rigueur" to give a ball and accordingly we had over 200 people on our hands all night (13-14 inst.) of course this made a devil of a lot of work and simply stopped everything else until it was over. I have not done the "Cosmic Consciousness" piece either and fear I shall not until my lectures are over (as they will be by Xmas). Let me know when you see the arrival of Wallace's boat (City of Berlin) as I may not see it here—am a bad newspaper reader. I have sent for the O'Connor book but not got it yet. Am deep into Bacon-Shakespeare studies every available minute. Bacon wrote the plays you may put that down as certain and in a few more years it will be proved. That "Press" stuff was shameful—must have been written by a sentimental schoolgirl. Yes, send me the complete L. of G. stitched by all means but then another with cover on as soon as convenient. Don't forget this. And send me my '72 L. of G. as soon as you are done with it—and none of your tricks with it! (I see City Berlin reached L'pool 14th inst.) All well here—all goes quietly at Asylum. Re meter, cannot go into details but all looks well in fact more hopeful than ever before. I think '92 will show important developments. Love to Anne Affectionately R. M. Bucke And as to this ball of which Bucke speaks, "That is the penalty he has to pay, that is the penalty!"—said seriously, without a smile. What did he mean? Penalty for family, married life? Warrie has counted books—finds 67 copies. W. will "sell them all," every one, he says, in fact "I want to—want to get rid of them." I had sold one privately today for five dollars. W. thought that "nearer home for price." Then, "I sent quite a bundle of papers to Bucke today, quite a bundle. The Inquirer, the Press, the Record, the Times. Did you see the Donnelly reports?" "No, I did not." W. then, "Well, there was something in all the papers except that Record. And the Record," W. laughed, "probably would not notice it because Donnelly did not advertise. But they did not advertise at all, probably. The Inquirer had a piece, about a column all together—half of it given to the lecture, the other half to some talk with Donnelly about Western affairs: yes, farmers' alliance, politics, mortgagism in the West. Oh! That mortgagism! It is eating the vitals out of the farmers! I found this talk very interesting, I don't know but more interesting than the lecture. But the papers on the whole gave no satisfactory reports. But such as I had, I sent to Doctor, thinking he would be about the most interested in them. And I sent along a bit from the London Lancet—some discussion of the old point (I guess everybody knows it) that Shakespeare died at home, three or four days after a drinking bout of some sort with others: he had gone home sick, took to bed, and then an end! It is not new. This writer seems to have some authority. The Lancet itself stands high among medical men. This discussion being, whether he really died of pneumonia, or what-not, as generally believed." Did these questions interest him greatly? "No, not greatly, but a little bit—but Doctor is hot for 'em!" Thought it about time for Dave to have his "Leaves of Grass" volumes stitched. We discussed whether to get all the sheets folded ("November Boughs," "Good-Bye," etc.) and bring to Camden, perhaps store in my upper rooms. W.: "I am rather in favor of it. I guess Oldach will want to horse-whip us for giving him so much trouble—yes, worse than trouble. Only a couple of months ago he counted—now he must count again!"

Day beautifully clear. Moon full. W. pointed with his finger, "I can see it out the window there, from my chair, now. It is getting far north. A wonderful night!" I saw Gray (one of William Gray & Sons) today. He is expert in granite and will go out for us. I tell W. and he is agreed. Morris has several notes on us in Literary World.

We discussed advisability of issuing new special small edition of "Leaves of Grass." W. has been working on a new title-page. As for additions, "No, not a word. My work is done. Nothing remains now but to ring the curtain down." Gives me special message for Brinton (Contemporary Club this evening). I said to W., "I promised to let Miss Porter see the Lowell-Whitman notes by Monday if possible." This moved him to say, "I think I could easily state the difference myself: Lowell an elegant mansion, equipped with all that is luxurious, rich—not to be despised, after its own kind and degree; Walt Whitman, emulous of the seashore, the forest, even the prairie—or the surging manifold streets of the cities—quite impossible to delineate, but each of his poems attempts to suggest and to his opportunity succeeding in expressing, those." I cried out, "Hold on a minute—I am getting all that down." Had grabbed up an old envelope from the table, continuing, "I should like to use all that—quote it." W. then, "I have no objection at all to tell, but I don't want to be quoted as the author." I admitting, "I won't quote you, but set this down in the way of statement of your significance." "Good! I don't know whether it's very creditable for me to say that, but it's true!" And then after a pause, "I should say in addition that the irrepressible and in every way creditable authority of heredity, tradition, is upon Lowell. I think about 'Leaves of Grass' and me, that heredity, tradition and authority reside, as in a fellow's respect for his ancestry—father and mother: living with it in great tenderness, love, but thinking most—always most—of his own soul. What I think of authority and tradition is great—reverential, perhaps—couched in emotional tenderness and respect. But, feeling whatever, is very little of it imitative. It is a contrast, the force of which you may easily appreciate."

My good-bye and his rather more than usually affectionate. "My best love for all the boys at the club."

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