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Thursday, November 19, 1891

Thursday, November 19, 1891

8:05 P.M. Rarely find W. on his bed this hour, yet now he was there, with light half-turned down. Not asleep. "Nor in fact sleepy," he said, "only wearied—tired of this everlasting confinement." And then, "I think I am getting to forget what out-of-doors is like. It is a fine night? And milder? I thought so. I have been out but little this year, and get out less and less. It is the inevitable trend." Says he can't stand Warrie's rubbings as of old. Harry Stafford in to see W. the other day and rather puzzled and offended because W. seemed "changed"—that is, reticent. I find from Oldach that there are 81 copies big book left in sheets. That makes 148 all together here and in Philadelphia. W. pleased to have his figures. McKay speculates whether, these sold, W. will wish to add to edition. But W. shakes his head, "Not a book—no, not one!" Florence worse. W. says, "Poor fellow! I am afraid for him. Those fevers—typhoid—are worse in what they leave than in what they are. I have seen that with the soldiers, taking a thousand odd forms. Poor Florence!"

Visitors today? "A woman came but they could not let her up. And Reinhalter—one of the Reinhalters—was here. I saw him. He wanted money. I referred him to Tom—told him Tom had charge of that and other business mine. Yes, Tom was here last night. We had a good talk. I surrendered everything to him—gave him complete authority. Reinhalter was pleasant—has, like the others, kindly, considerate manners—not pushy, not offensive, any way. I advised Reinhalter to go to see Tom—further, to get Ralph Moore and take him along. I am anxious to be rid of the whole thing. These burdens sit more and more heavily."

Told W. I had written at length to Ingersoll. "You did! And what did you say?" I had delivered his several messages. "That is right: I want him to have all that. And there ought to be more. The noble Colonel! He is Sir Modern Knight, shield of every good cause!" I said, "I told him you had written Bucke to go slow on Bacon." He then, "You might have told him more—indeed, I should have been satisfied for you to have repeated me liberally to him, our whole talk. I do advise Doctor to hold his horses: he is going at a devil of a pace, to land up—where?" I quoted Bucke again: I am head and ears in Bacon—Bacon wrote the plays—in a few years it will be proved. "Bucke really said that?" asked W. "Yes." "Were they his words?" "All of them." "O Doctor! Doctor! Your horses do need to be held!" Then, "Preachers settle everything—but the 'Leaves of Grass'-ers? No, no, no, Doctor— it is a mistake, a mistake!" And now, "I shall hope the Colonel will come. It will stir our old heart! And if he comes, Horace, I must try to get out—I should want to take a drink with him. We could go to some plain place (no elegancies, no show), some restaurant somewhere, and have a couple of hours together. Or we might go to Tom's, if Tom wished it. But without show or fuss wherever we go. Probably Bob would be like me—prefer some little room, somewhere, plain, to ourselves, with a snifter handy!" But after a pause, "We could in fact have it right here—right downstairs, in our little parlor. Just a few of us, three or four, that would be enough. No splurge—no nothing but good will, a good right hand, an hour together (who knows but the last? yes, the very last?)."

Professor MacAlister had had a good deal to do with Arnold while he was here, especially the day of the lecture, when they dined together at MacAlister's house. M. urged Arnold to go to Academy—try his voice for the evening, for pitch, etc. But Arnold was stubborn—would not. Yet had never read in such a hall before. Risked everything. Now MacAlister reports, "The evening was a failure—a dreary flat failure. He read over two hours; few heard him; his matter was didactic. Before nine people began to go. After nine they went in squads. But he kept drearily on." W. interested. "That rather surprises me, and yet I can understand it, too. The Sir was very like to take such a posish. But it was a bad one—any after-dinner talker, even, in America, could have told him so."

After Stafford had been here the other day W. said to Mrs. Davis, "Mary, why do you let everybody come upstairs? I don't know but I'll have to close all my friends out." But that whole day had been a bad one for him. Next morning he got something for breakfast, not what he expected, whereat he quite frankly said, "Mary, I thought I'd have buckwheat cakes!"—of which there were none. His dinner that day was generous and he ate it all.

Progress in removal of the islands in the river slow but perceptible. Today they burned a lot of the refuse and material. It made a great spectacle after nightfall—the long lowering flame, along the island-top. W. says, "It must have been very impressive—sublime, even. I sorrow for the islands, or for us. They were a brave foreground!"

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