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Whitman as a Consul



What Walt Says of the President and His 
  Own Prospects.

Walt Whitman was taking his customary airing on one of the Camden ferryboats last evening.

"News is pretty dull just now, isn't it?" said the "Good Grey Poet" to a North American reporter. "If it were not for the new President I don't know what the papers would do for something to talk about."

Walt was a newspaper man when most of the newspaper men of the present day were boys, and he preserves his youth in this particular as in others, always taking a lively interest in his former craft and its work and workmen of the nowadays.

"Yes, news is dull; but what do you think of the President?" said the reporter.

Oh, I guess he is all right," was Walt's reply. "He seems, as nearly as I can see now, to be trying to be square, and looking after things that are honest, and that's what we want, I take it."

"You have been mentioned," continued the reporter, "as a probable appointee to a consulate. How about that?"

Yes," said Walt, as his eyes roamed in an absent way among the stars that twinkled alike in the sky and on Philadelphia's river front, "the papers have been talking about it. I don't know whether there is anything in it beyond that. Perhaps so and perhaps not. Most likely not. I have known that Cleveland is a reader and admirer of my books, but I really don't know anything at all about this.

"But how should you like it?"

"I hardly know. I think, though, as I see it now, that it would have to be something good to tempt me to accept. The greatest point to me would be that it would be a great compliment. Did I ever tell you the caution my doctor gave me when I left Washington? He said that I was like a rickety old wagon body. If I kept in a smooth road I might go right on longer than the most of the others, but if I attempted to go 'cross lots or do any kind of cutting up I might go to pieces all at once. Now I live along all right here in Camden. I am fat and rosy and feel pretty well, but I don't know that it would do for me to start off somewhere. It might be going 'cross-lots. I don't know what I should do."

The ferry-boat reached the slip, and Walt fell to talking of other topics as he leaned on the reporter's arm and walked through the ferry-house to a street-car on his way to his cosy little nook of a home on Mickle street.

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