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Disciples

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Friday, September 5, 1890

     5:20 P.M. W. in his room writing what I found to be some more notes for my use in magazine article.

     He returned the Woodbury book. "I have looked through it sufficiently. Oh! He is a great liar! I should hesitate to credit anything to be found there. The trouble is, there's just about enough truth in it to give him something to start on, but that's about all—the whole of it. He no doubt fell into some contact with Emerson—met him—talked with him. As for the rest, I should hesitate to answer. The book startles me into my old fear that someday perhaps the whole country will groan to Emersonism. I think Emerson himself realized the danger. He struggled against it for a long time—for years, years. Then in old age, when adored, worshipped, resolved to let things go. I say that warily. I can see that such a statement should be fuller, not to give its negative side alone. I scarcely dare say a word adverse to one undoubtedly with the greatest heroes, men. I am almost ashamed, as when I draw blade against Shakespeare, in however slight a passion, for however small a fault. But this man Woodbury constrains me. His book is undoubtedly a typographical pleasure; I have enjoyed that without break."

     W. had letter from Sarrazin today—also held one addressed to me in his care. The former brief, mine longer, but in French, which I could not read. W. said, "I am happy for him: he has a colonial office—speaks of its relief, what-not—which is good." I read this note, Sarrazin telling W. he had written to me and to Harrison Morris—also saying the income of his position releases him from anxiety, as W. had said to me. He spoke in one place of W.'s "genial intuition." I liked that vastly and W. said, "It is fine, to be sure." W. said again, "I have already answered him; see, here is the letter," handing me an envelope. I smiled to see the address, part of which he had got wrong, wiped out with his finger and written over.

     Said again of the Woodbury book, "It is milk from mothers'

 
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breasts. It is not strong in great strength—an accurate and consistent story. It may be called condiment: it has that for which too many Americans crave. He has read Emerson—has in some ways caught the trick of his style. But condiment, spice—what vital connection has it with our terrestrial necessities? We may have them with our bread, butter, fruit, meat, beer, but while we could get along without the condiment, we could not get along without the beer, bread, butter, meat, fruit. That is to be remembered, but it is that the literary tribe are most apt to forget."

     Remarked that Bucke had written him that there was much more of the Holmes matter in the Atlantic than the Bulletin quoted. Was "curious to see it all."

     Morris went over to New York today to see Gilchrist. Said he would probably see Stedman on the way home if he was in town. I told Morris to tell S. if he saw him as much of various talks he had had with me about Whitman-Stedman affairs as he could remember. W. said to me, "That was a happy thought. I hope he will remember much!"

     Chair out on the sidewalk, but W. in doubt about getting out on account of the rain.

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