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Disciples

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Tuesday, August 13, 1889

     5 P.M. In at W.'s for about 15 minutes on way to Logan. He sat at window in his bedroom, reading paper. Did not seem particularly well, nor was he well. Was waiting for his dinner, which Ed shortly brought up—after which he was to go out in his chair. The day somewhat clouded, though no storm. Showed me the Gutekunst portraits. "They are here at last" he said—"see"—pointing under a chair, where they lay together—3 of them—2 quite large—one medium—even the last much larger than cabinets. W. was palpably disappointed in them. The small one was the best of the 3—more rugged, less touched up. I looked at them—he at me. "Well," he said—"What of 'em?" I only returned—"Do you like them?" Whereat he smiled. "You—you: what do you think of them?""In the smaller" I said—"no smile at all—no smilingness: different from all pictures of you heretofore.""Can it be?" he asked— "no suspicion of it at all?" The big pictures I at once dissented from—both position and finish. Then he was free to speak. "It is that exactly—the finish: They are touched up—touched up to perdition's point: I wrote him about it—not to do it—as you know,—but I suppose he got my postal too late. No—no—I suppose he didn't wish to—probably—evidently—took his own way—thought it best. The faces have been badly tampered with—the eyes have been palpably tampered with—palpably. And the curls— see them!" He had no doubt "they are finished in the highest style

 
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of the art—as art is generally understood." But then, "highest is low, sometimes, to the other fellow"—and he was the other fellow in this case.

     Called my attention to a copy of Poet-Lore which he picked up off the floor. "Take this," he said, "there is a piece there about O'Connor's book—I don't know who by—there are no marks of authorship in it. But it will interest you. After you are done with it, we must send it up to Dr. Bucke." Also called my attention to another pamphlet—about Rudolf Schmidt—written or sent by Rosenberg (referred to in Schmidt's letter in Whitman birthday book). Said: "I'll have you take this to your father—see what he can make of it." He had forgotten—I told him—that it was Danish, therefore of doubtful meaning to my father. Exclaimed—"That's so! It never struck me: now I can well see the difficulties. I must wait for some other to help me out." Asked me after news. Also about portraits. Those I brought him last evening he said—"pleased me much—I am perfectly satisfied with them" Has been studying up a list of portraits to go in his packages. A bit of brown paper on a pile of books on the floor contained a list of about a dozen.

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