Commentary

Disciples

With Walt Whitman in Camden vol. 8 (1996)


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WITH WALT WHITMAN IN CAMDEN

February 11, 1891-September 30, 1891

8
 
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WITH WALT WHITMAN IN CAMDEN

February 11, 1891-September 30, 1891

8

By HORACE TRAUBEL
Edited by Jeanne Chapman
Robert MacIsaac
W L BENTLEY
OREGON HOUSE - CALIFORNIA
 
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[Electronic edition published with the kind permission of the Fellowship of Friends and W.L. Bentley Publishing.]

Copyright 1996 by the Fellowship of Friends, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Printed in the United States of America

Published by
W L Bentley - PO Box 887 - Oregon House, CA 95962
 
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     To ROBERT EARL BURTON

 
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CONTENTS

ILLUSTRATIONS CONTAINED IN THIS VOLUME viii
LETTERS CONTAINED IN THIS VOLUME ix
EDITORS' PREFACE xi
CONVERSATIONS
February 11-28, 1891 1
March 1-31, 1891 47
April 1-30, 1891 116
May 1-31, 1891 175
June 1-30, 1891 250
July 1-31, 1891 294
August 1-31, 1891 378
September 1-31, 1891 458
APPENDICES
I. "Walt Whitman at Date"
by Horace L. Traubel
(from The New England Magazine, May 1891) 561
II. "Walt Whitman's Birthday, May 31, 1891"
by Horace L. Traubel
(from Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, August 1891) 591
INDEX 607
 
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ILLUSTRATIONS CONTAINED IN THIS VOLUME

      [Frontispiece]

     WALT WHITMAN IN HIS CAMDEN BEDROOM, MAY 24, 1891. Photograph by Dr. William Reeder. Courtesy Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations

      [Following page 308]

     DRAFT MANUSCRIPT TITLE PAGE OF GOOD-BYE MY FANCY, 1891. Courtesy Library of Congress, Feinberg Collection.

     ANNE MONTGOMERIE TRAUBEL. Courtesy Library of Congress, Horace L. Traubel Collection.

     HORACE L. TRAUBEL. Courtesy Library of Congress, Horace L. Traubel Collection.

     MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE WRITTEN BY WALT WHITMAN FOR ANNE MONTGOMERIE AND HORACE L. TRAUBEL, 1891. Courtesy Library of Congress, Horace L. Traubel Collection.

     SAMUEL MURRAY, THOMAS EAKINS, WILLIAM O'DONOVAN, AND HARRY THE DOG, C. 1891-3. Photographer unknown. Courtesy Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Charles Bregler Archival Collection.

     MRS. MARY OAKES DAVIS, 1891. Platinum Print by Thomas Eakins (19.5x24.1 cm). Courtesy The J. Paul Getty Museum.

     J. W. WALLACE AND R. M. BUCKE IN BOLTON, ENGLAND, AUGUST 1891. Courtesy Library of Congress, Horace L. Traubel Collection.

     THE BOLTON "COLLEGE," MAY 31, 1899. Courtesy Library of Congress, Horace L. Traubel Collection.

 
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LETTERS CONTAINED IN THIS VOLUME

      (Including Other Manuscripts of Walt Whitman)

     

Isaac Newton Baker, 19, 62, 70, 214, 381, 519
F.A. Bisbee, 84-85
James W. Blake, 252
Raymond Blathwayt, 187
Henry L. Bonsall, 311
Daniel Garrison Brinton, 214, 310-11, 512
Richard Maurice Bucke, 7, 9-10, 17, 18-19, 27-28, 34, 49, 89, 90-91, 100, 103, 104, 115, 118-20, 134-35, 149, 191, 219, 237, 269, 281, 335-36, 367, 368-70, 390, 391-92, 402, 412-13, 429-32, 449, 529-30, 538-39
John Burroughs, 20-21, 235-36, 411, 537-38
Harry D. Bush, 444-45
Percival Chubb, 246-47
Cassius Marcellus Clay, 117
John H. Clifford, 47, 282, 463
Elliott Cones, 366
Charles Anderson Dana, 235
Ignatius Donnelly, 116-17
Havelock Ellis, 14
Elizabeth N. Fairchild, 48-49, 128, 182
Henry Buxton Forman, 15, 77, 219
Warren Fritzinger, 258-59, 261-62
Octavius Brooks Frothingham, 409-410
Hamlin Garland, 229-30
Joseph B. Gilder, 283
Elizabeth Porter Gould, 45
William B. Hanna, 218
 
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Clifford Harrison, 441
George Horton, 446
Robert Green Ingersoll, 29-30, 82-83, 149, 168, 171, 188, 281, 387, 549-50
Bertha Johnston, 234-35
Dr. John Johnston, 16, 81, 239-40, 314-15, 328-29, 378-80, 416, 427-28, 449-50, 552-53
John H. Johnston, 69, 389
William Sloane Kennedy, 14, 176-77, 211, 218, 236, 450-51
Sumner I. Kimball, 71-72, 89-90
Karl Knortz, 39
David L. Lezinsky, 87
Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, 33
James Russell Lowell, 264
Edwin D. Mead, 156-57
Roden Noel, 228
Ellen M. O'Connor, 2-3, 60-61, 86, 92, 113, 189-91, 336, 417-18, 536-37
William D. O'Connor, 500-1, 532-33
Ernest Rhys, 228-29
Franklin Benjamin Sanborn, 251-52
Gabriel Sarrazin, 25-26, 356-57
James Matlack Scovel, 50
Horace E. Scudder, 3-4
Logan Pearsall Smith, 533
Arthur Steadman, 76, 105
Joseph Marshall Stoddart, 42
John Addington Symonds, 55-56, 483-85
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 233
John C. Trautwine, Jr., 65, 440-41
Benjamin R. Tucker, 251
James William Wallace, 16, 50-51, 109, 183, 238-39, 309-10, 328, 507-08, 530-31
Walt Whitman, 47, 51, 68, 73, 114, 141, 161, 260, 262, 273, 286, 327, 375-76
Talcott Williams, 130, 306-7
Charles Woodbury, 305-6
 
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EDITORS' PREFACE

      In 1888, Horace L. Traubel, a young political radical and aspiring writer in Camden, New Jersey, began systematically recording his daily conversations with his friend, Walt Whitman. He continued for four years, until Whitman's death in 1892, amassing a lovingly detailed record whose accuracy, fidelity, and immediacy remain unsurpassed in the history of biography. Traubel published the first three volumes before his death in 1919; the remaining volumes have appeared, one by one, at widely separated intervals. This is the penultimate volume in the series.

      Once again, we must offer our deepest gratitude to the Fellowship of Friends, Inc., and its director, Robert Earl Burton, for so generously funding the preparation and publication of this volume. It is solely Mr. Burton's recognition of the value of this neglected manuscript that has made possible the publication of the final volumes.

      We are also grateful to the many people who participated in the preparation of this manuscript. Judith Grace Bassat, Peter Bishop, Cynthia Hill, Kevin Kelleher, Leigh Morfit, Peter and Paula Ingle, Rosaline Mearns, and Alla Waite gave generously of their time and knowledge. We also thank once again the staff of the Manuscript Room at the Library of Congress and Professor Ed Folsom, editor of the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review.

Apollo, California
August 1994


JEANNE CHAPMAN


ROBERT MACISAAC

 
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      "I suppose every man has his purposes. I had mine--to have no purpose--to state, to capture, the drift of a life--to let things flow in, one after another, take their places, their own way. My worst struggle was not with ideas, anything of that sort, but against the literariness of the age--for I, too, like all others, was born in the vesture of this false notion of literature, and no one so born can entirely--I say entirely--escape the taint. Though, as for me, looking back on the battleground, I pride myself I have escaped the pollution as much as any."

      W.W. to H.T., August 18, 1891

 
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Wednesday, February 11, 1891

     5:30 P.M. Not with W. except for about 20 minutes. Had been in to see Ferguson today—making preparations for the new volume. W. "glad" I "had paved the way." Said he did not feel well—"congested"—he described it so. Had made me out a long list of pretty nearly everybody under the sun for Stoddart. Forty-six names. Called my attention to a couple of transposed lines in the Lippincott's galley proof—prose. I assured him they must have caught this in proving the pages, but he was uncertain and asked me to see about it—if it was too late to correct. Gave me mail for Post Office—paper for Gilchrist—letters, among others, for Bucke, Kennedy, Stead (Review of Reviews). Did not appear at all cheerful. Complimented me on the galley proof of the Dutch piece. "It is a handsome piece of work—the proof splendidly read, too." Had I Schiller's works, in English, at home? He was "curious to get some greater insight—Schiller is a man who, from what scattered glimpses I can get, satisfies, uplifts me: a great sampler." He spoke of my cold hand, "You don't know how grateful it is to me: an immediate flavor of out-of-doors." He had saluted me, "You come with the sunset: welcome! Welcome!"

     Left with him Mrs. O'Connor's letter enclosing Scudder's. Down in an hour or so to get it. "Attracted towards the project."

 
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112 M St. N.W.

Washington, D.C.

Feb. 9, 1891


Dear Mr. Traubel,

     Your letter of the 7th was awaiting me when I got home from the office this ev'g. I wish you were here this minute that we might talk the whole matter over. You have touched upon the subject nearest & dearest to my heart.

     This idea of having William's descriptions of wrecks, etc. put into a volume has never left me. Stedman proposed it to W[illia]m the last time that he was in W[ashington] before Wm. died, at our house one ev'g, & many persons have proposed it to me since. Mr. Kimball, the Chief of the Life Saving Service told me that it ought to be done; & that he should like to write the Preface. Dr. Bucke and I discussed it when he was here last May, & when I was in New York the last time, I discussed it with Rossiter Johnson; & all have said that it must be done; all say, as I do, that it will make the most live & thrilling book ever published. It will sell too, tremendously, if the right house does the publishing & manages it properly.

     I told William just a little while before he passed away, that nothing he had ever done was I as proud of as that Life Saving work. He gave his life to it just as truly as any man ever did who died on the battle field. He worked night & day literally, to get out the reports, & he broke down under the tremendous strain of it. I could tell you by the hour of it all, & how he put his very life into it. It was truly "Life Saving" to the world, but he gave his life for the world.

     How soon would you like to begin the work? & who would be your choice as to the Publisher? I think Mr. Stedman's advice as to Publisher would be excellent! & no one's better, I guess.

     You must come on to Washington & spend a Sunday with me, & I will put into your hands all the material needed: & much information that I can't write. I will put you in possession of the things you will need to know, & a few choice people who worked with William in the office, & who can tell you much that you will need to know—things that I have not time to tell you now, & indeed some that I would not care just now to write.

     I will pay your fare over & back from Phila., & you are to be my guest, of course. If you could come this very next Sat. to spend the

 
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Sunday, you could have the room which I reserve for the lady who owns the house, as she is not yet here but will be very soon.

     If you decide to come this next Sat. send me a line at once & say by what train you will come, & when I may look for you.

     It will I suppose be impossible to get a complete set of the reports, but I have a set which I shall put at your disposal. They are very bulky, but we could take out what you want.

     I will enclose a copy of the letter that I had from Mr. Scudder, the Editor of the Atlantic Monthly, and you will see what he says about the book, etc. I have to use my eyes in the office all day from 9 to 4 & so can't write much or even read in the evenings, so I get my sister to make the copy of the letter.

     If the story comes out in April & May, it will soon be here.

     I get papers from Walt, & thank him very much. I wish I could write him, & how much I want to see him! Give him my love. & thank you, too, for the papers.

     I am glad Walt is so well & able to do his literary work still. I want to know more about Walt's new book. But you can tell me all when you come.

     I will do better still. I will send you the letter of Mr. Scudder to read, & you will please read & return it to me, as I value it, & also as a matter of business I must keep it. It came the last day of the old year—I said it was the best New Year's present that I could have had, as this business of getting these matters of William's under way & in train weighs upon me, & often rather oppresses me. But if you can help me in this matter I shall be rejoiced. They, the descriptions, surpass any thing that he ever did, & as someone said, no one but Victor Hugo, or William O'Connor could have written them.

     Send a line at once to say if you are to come next Sat.


Yours cordially,


Ellen M. O'Connor.


29 December 1890

Editorial Office of

The Atlantic Monthly, Boston.


Dear Madam

     Your volume of stories by Mr. O'Connor has been before Messrs. Houghton Mifflin & Co., but they are not quite clear in their minds as

 
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to the best course to pursue regarding publication. The book, for a collection of stories, is pretty large, too large I think for economical publication, & there is always considerable doubt attending the issue of a volume of short stories. Again, the Christmas element in the book is so prominent that there is a propriety in issuing the book in the fall rather than in the spring.

     It has occurred to me that some light could be thrown if I were, with your consent, to print The Brazen Android in the Atlantic, for which you tell us it was originally designed. It is true that the story is more effective if read at one sitting. Yet midway in the story is the incident of the entrance of the Paduan, & a division could be made there. The entire story would probably occupy at least forty pages of the Atlantic, & it would be quite inexpedient to publish the story whole in a single number.

     Let me then make this proposal, that I print the tale in the April & May numbers of the magazine & that you defer publication of the book till the ensuing Christmas. Whether the book be issued by this house or some other, there will be plenty of time to make arrangements after the appearance of the May number, & the appearance of the story in the Atlantic would I am confident work no detriment to the future of the volume.

     The Brazen Android is a striking tale & ought to attract attention. Of course you will understand that the Atlantic will pay for the story independently of anything you might receive from book publication.


Yours Truly


H. E. Scudder


Editor Atlantic Monthly

Left Harper's Weekly with him. He spoke of his "unending enjoyment of the pictures."

     I was reading [Robert Louis] Stevenson's "Whitman." Did not think much of it. "Nor I," he said. "It amounts to nothing."

 
Thursday, February 12, 1891

     5:30 P.M. Spent good half hour with W. He sat in the small chair by the fire—his room dark—the light through the half-

 
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open stove-door playing with his beard and hair, and casting shadows on the wall. W. continues to complain of his condition. "This is a bad period with me," he said. "Something working, working—who knows for what?" Had taken his list to Stoddart. Now the foreign list. I had it in my pocket. He had endorsed it: "Foreign names—we will furnish (or pay for) all the postage stamps necessary." The list included Rhys, Pearsall Smith, Wm. Rossetti, Tennyson, Sarrazin, O'Dowd, Josiah Child, Rolleston, Dowden, Johnston, Wallace, Mary Costelloe, Carpenter, Symonds, Schmidt, Knowles (Nineteenth Century), Athenaeum, Forman, Whitelaw Reid, Roden Noel, Will Saunders, Ed Wilkens, Bucke, Walter Scott, Pall Mall Gazette, Spielman, Nouvelle Revue (Paris), J. Schabelitz, Miss Langley, Bertz, Logan Smith. Then on another sheet he had written: "John Ruskin, Robert Buchanan, Oscar Wilde, Augusta Webster the poetess, Swinburne the poet, Edwin Arnold the poet, Lady Mount-Temple, Irving the actor, Ellen Terry the actress. If you have any person there, send these additions to London, Eng: to be definitely sent thence."

     Then in an envelope he had thrust a dozen English penny stamps—marked it, "here are some English stamps"—and asked me to give them to Stoddart. "I received them today from somebody who owed me money—they are no good to me," descanting then upon international postage. "Someday we will come to that, too: even now we might have an international five-cent stamp—it invites us." Postage "very cheap": "When I think of the letters we can send as far as California for the mere song, I am forced to say the man would be a hog to complain of the cost."

     No word from Bucke today. W. "glad the meter has appeared at last"—thought it would "emerge in the end to something substantial."

     Hailing when I came. He had "enjoyed the sound." Had held my hand in his some time "to feel its out-of-door cheer, vigor: it has the warmth, smell, of the fresh air—a healthy cold."

 
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     We talked of General Sherman, at death's door. The papers full of it this morning. John Sherman telegraphed the President this afternoon: the General was enough better to warrant a faint hope of his recovery. W. listened as I recited this—then spoke at some length of the General: "I don't think I ever had a talk with him—came face to face with him that way—but I have met him. He was a warrior—Normanesque, I was going to say: he seemed to me like a Norman baron, lord of many acres—with adherents, servitors—all that—something of grandeur, hauteur, haughtiness. That was the man. I think I have told you a story about him—I shall tell it again—it throws the whole character in relief. It was in the review of the troops after the war—in Washington—I can see the day, the long, winding, noble procession—the sky, people, earth. Sherman was at the head of the line—rode, uniformed, a noble animal. Kept a distance of perhaps 15 feet between his own place and the file of aides. These aides spread entirely across Pennsylvania Avenue—all mounted. In front of Welland's a woman set forth from the crowd—straight up to the General's horse—gave him a bunch of flowers. It all comes back to me—vivid—powerful—the etched features of the scene: he took the flowers, curtsied, put them—an instant only—to his nose—then held them out and back with his hand, so"—indicating—"for the instant I did not know what it meant, but before I needed to ask, one of the aides galloped out of the line, up to the General, took the flowers from him, returned to his place again. What could better present the man than that? No, no, Grant was quite another man. Even that day, where was he? Off in his corner—in his place, no doubt—but making nothing of it, at most. Probably going by some obscure way to rejoin them later on. Out of all the hubbub of the war, Lincoln and Grant emerge, the towering majestic figures. There were others: Seward, Sumner, Phillips—such—elegant, refined, scholarly—the gift of college, the past, book-keen, great men: these: then, by contrast, Lincoln, Grant! Don't that tell everything?" Dwelt upon Grant's plainness: "Grant savored of our soil—was Saxon—Sherman Norman. Grant hated

 
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show—liked to leave things unsaid, undone—liked to defy convention by going a simple way, his own."

     W. said, "I am rather disappointed that Scudder's letter is so inconclusive. It leaves the fate of the book uncertain."

     I found, as I had guessed to W. , that the proof-reader at Lippincott's had properly transposed defective lines in proofing pages. This man in a great rage about W. 's inconsistent punctuations and spellings and abbreviations. I admitted, but told him he should have changed as W. would have wanted him. "I was afraid," he said.

 
Friday, February 13, 1891

     5:35 P.M. W. in bathroom—I sat and talked a while with Warren. Showed him Bucke's letter of 10th—which he had cautioned me not to show to W.


10 Feb 1890


My dear Horace

     Am rejoiced to hear that the new book is in such a state of forwardness. I fear W.'s health is worse than you think, and feel decidedly uneasy about him. He is evidently suffering a good deal and that (unchecked) must end badly. I look for a sudden end (when it comes) and I feel satisfied it may come any day. It is more than likely he will look and talk as well as usual up to the last day. I think we must have meters before the end of this week—the moment is manifestly approaching. I want the new proof of Kennedy's piece without fail. Am well.


Love


RM Bucke
For yourself only.


RMB

Warren admitted "a great change" in W.—particularly marked in the direction of reticence as to health. W. scarcely eats any breakfast—"looks blue and tagged out in the morning"—yet eats dinner as usual. Shortly hearing W. coming, Warren rushed forward and into the hallway and helped him in. W. hailed me
 
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cheerily by the way. I jokingly commented on the red quilt about his neck, "It converts you into one of Whistler's nocturnes," etc. and he laughed, "Well, I was going to quote a saying of my dear daddy: the amount of it was—it is not how you look, but how you feel, that tells the story." And then he went on, "I was the victim of a series of the worst days: I was going to say, nights, too—but that the nights are really not as bad, indeed could not be, and me alive!" What news had I? How was Sherman? Better—hopes for him. But word today that Admiral Porter was dead! W. exclaimed, "The good admiral? So he is dead? And so the stories close, one after another!" To my inquiries saying, "I did not know him personally—that is, to speak to him, but I have seen him. He was a sea-dog—a man of old schools—yet not obstinate, either—willing to listen to new things, too."

     We passed to other themes. Had I seen Stoddart? No—Walsh: Stoddart was out of town. Of course they refused W.'s foreign stamps: yet I had offered them for W.'s satisfaction. "Resigned," he said, "to their will. So the magazines reach our people, I am content." Said he had had "a letter from the Billstein man, thanking me for the gift through you." Looked for it. "Lost in the debris," he said. Would save it when it turned up. Had he read Wayland's speech in the morning paper on Lincoln? Delivered in New York (before Republican Club). "No, I did not read it. But anyway, I don't believe it can amount to much. No professor—no preacher—can have anything to say about Lincoln. He soars and plays way beyond them all." Would he have anything about Lincoln in the new volume? "I suppose not. I suppose all I am ever to say has been said in the old channels—in 'Specimen Days'—in 'November Boughs'—and yet my story is mainly untold: I had looked forward to saying a good deal more. Yet I know no one for whom less needs be said." Referred to the good the rubbings had done him. "From my very first days up I have brushed myself—had a flesh brush: it has been a source of refreshment—not for sickness but to fend you against it. You ought to have such a brush. Let me give you

 
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one—one I have had for many years—fine bristles—it will last you your life through." And he insisted on getting up, crossing the room—bringing back two brushes—one of which, with the short handle, he said I should take. "Warrie prefers the hand with me—has been under instructions in Philadelphia—but this has greatest value, especially when you are rubber and patient both. Warrie is a noble drubber himself: he handles me like a master—and the best thing about him is not his strength but his magnetism: he is electric to the last degree—never man more so. I don't think he can be beat. Ed Wilkins was strong, too—but lacked in many ways Warrie's peculiar gifts."

     I read him aloud Bucke's long letter of the 11th containing suggestions as to the birthday dinner this year:


11 Feb 1891


My dear Horace

     Thanks for mentioning Salt's "Life of Thoreau." I have sent for the book. I like T[horeau] and shall like the book still more for its allusions to W. You will know before you receive this that I have returned Symonds' letter to W. I shall of course want to see S[ymond]s' other letter when W. can conveniently send it. On what subject is the lecture that Colonel Ingersoll may deliver while in the West?

     The notion of repeating the Reisser dinner with the Col.—everything as in '90 does not seem to go to the right shot with me. Would it be possible to take W. to New York (overnight say—or even a few days beforehand) and have a dinner there—some prominent W[hitman] men in New York, of course, to manage it? A better thing still (but perhaps it is too ambitious) would be to have a Walt Whitman reception at some theatre in New York (afternoon or evening)—have 2, 3, or more short addresses by Col. I[ngersoll] and others interspersed with recitations of selections from L[eaves] of G[rass] and a couple of pieces (as "Death Carol" and "Two Veterans") sung—this could be worked up into the biggest thing we have ever had, if it was taken hold of by the right man or men. If W. would not venture on going to New York, the thing could be done in Phila., and I have little doubt could be made a great success there.

 
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     Of course we would charge say $1 admission the proceeds to go to W.

     Certainly I should be on hand unless something turning up made it impossible—I would plan to take a little holiday at that time (as last year) and perhaps you could return with me and see our grounds in their early June beauty—it would pay you.


So long!


RM Bucke

He listened—questioned—then said, "No, that does not—any of it—appeal to me as it is presented there. I like your idea much better—much: it more exactly reflects me, my mission." Again, then, talked of Reisser dinner last May. "It was all you say it was—the proudest, finest occasion we have so far known. Even the absence of the shorthand man—which we have wept over and over—I have, I know—was provided for, for with him there we might not have had the Horticultural Hall speech—and that would mean less again. I guess things on the whole took about the right course." And yet, "That dinner speech! That dinner speech! Where is our compensation for that!" All his argument, he said, would not entirely satisfy him.
 
Saturday, February 14, 1891

     5:10 P.M. W. seemed improved—talked freely and heartily. Yet confessed himself moved by General Sherman's death, reported this afternoon (1:50). Had just eaten dinner. "It helped me on my feet." Gave me letter, "I had it from Bucke today"—and another—an old one. "Bucke urges me to autobiographize myself! Well—well!"

     Referred to the American generals. "Yes, they are mostly gone—all the first-class fellows—we have a number of the third and fourth class yet. We have had no one from the keel up so American as Grant. Sherman? No—not Sherman. There was a good deal of stuff in Porter—Admiral Porter—who died yesterday. If not a star of the first magnitude, he was a star. There is a

 
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curious thing told us by astronomers—that there are orbs which, by the laws, or the heavenly powers, or whatever, are dark—utterly dark—do not shine—yet are as big as anybody! I suppose it might be said that to the right man, fame will—must—come—sooner or later: that if it belongs, it appears, inevitably, and yet—and yet"—shaking his head—"Why should we say it is certain?" After a pause, "Think—for one instance—of the telegraph corps in the war: no division of the service more intricate—nobler—requiring more courage, penetration, faithfulness: its necessity, too, a very high development of the moral sense—the sense of duty, virtue. These fellows—19, 20, 21—to 26 or 27—boys and men—knew everything, could tell everything or anything—yet, so far as I know, there is no record of betrayal in the whole story of the war—nor this, even at times when the departments in Washington were full of traitors—when knowledge was barter—when every secret seemed sold. But who hears of these men now? —heard of them then? The memory of it, almost, is wiped out." Of Fitz-John Porter he did "not think much: he had ability—as some writers have ability: was a product of schools—knew the rules of his craft, its traditions—yet was without genius—lapsed utterly on that line."

     Wayland had compared Washington unfavorably with Lincoln on his speech the other day—Washington a product of monarchy, Lincoln most immediately out of our soil. Was that "Leaves of Grass"? W. said, "It has something of the sound—but more should be said: I would not say it entirely in that way. Of course Lincoln was more Western—his habits so—his dress—speech, but in the things which really establish the hero, the majestic genius, he was Roman, Greek, Biblical—had the towering individuality which peers over all border-lands of race, is one with the great characters of all ages." What were these virtues? "Farsightedness—not the ability to see tomorrow, but to see panoramaed the whole future—ages; penetration—the most wonderful, vast; a patience, suavity, cheer, out of all danger of confusions; and candor! It amounted to genius," etc. I had heard the criticism that Grant was greater than Napoleon.

 
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Napoleon fought all his battles in the accepted rules of war—Grant met new fields with new weapons. W. said, "There is a striking ring to that: in some ways it recommends itself to me—goes straight to the truth—at least about Grant. Whether Napoleon is the right man to quote on the other side I doubt. It seems to me Napoleonicism—to make a word—means the very thing praised in Grant. The old fellows would have said—'Cross the Alps? It is impossible—fatuous!' Which only excited Napoleon the more to say, 'Impossible? Then we will do it!'—and other impossible things he did—till at last his mastership could not be denied. All genius defies the rules—makes its own passage—is its own precedent. But I can see how all this is emphasized in Grant: it is part of him. I more and more incline to acknowledge him. His simplicity was much like old Zack Taylor's."

     W. said that Harry Bonsall had mentioned our prospective Lippincott's pieces in Post. "It was several days ago—in four or five lines. Harry is distinctly favorable to us. I always count on him. Why don't you often send him items? He likes them." And W. asked again, "What has become of John Russell Young? He was one of our men." We discussed Cleveland's silver letter, which Republican papers try to say has destroyed all hope of his new nomination. W. remarked, "Damn 'em! They don't want him nominated, but before that time comes this and a hundred other things will have blown over. I think the letter one of the best things he has done. I don't understand all the intricacies of the question, but have some general judgments. The smart man in the Press—the fourth column man—today gets off a twit, that Grover has made the most reputation on the smallest capital, etc.—to which I might answer, if it deserved an answer (and, it does not)—that so do all strong men make much out of little things—simple, direct, manly method."

     W. had seen mention of himself in Press editorial—"Three-Score-and-Ten"—this morning: "Seventy-one counts in its list Signor Crispi, John Ruskin, Walt Whitman, Sir Lyon Playfair, and General William T. Sherman, who, it is hoped, will rally and

 
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celebrate many more birthdays." Wondered if Talcott Williams had written it. "I am sure Talcott will stand by his guns."
 
Sunday, February 15, 1891

     W. continues—no worse, no better.

     Some good words from him. "I knew a fellow down there in Washington—a curious character—given to wise sayings. One of these was, speaking of the army commissary—'You know, any how, the army travels on its belly!' That is true in more senses than appear on the surface."

     "I am glad you hear of the Colonel's return!" he said again. "And what it suggests! The vast distance—the thousands of miles—travelled in a couple of days! There is a history—prophecy—in it!"

     Referring to McKinley's speech the other day—in which he denounced free traders as British leaguers and all that—W. said, "It is the preacher over again: if you are not a Christian, what the devil do you know about religion? If you do not bathe in our little tub, what do you know about the great sea? It is all one—the scream of localism."

 
Monday, February 16, 1891

     7:55 P.M. To see W.—spent half an hour with him in his room. Not in good condition. Seemed exhausted and hoarse. Yet cheery in spirit. Was reading Havelock Ellis, "The New Spirit"—pamphlet. "Have you seen it?" he asked. I reminded him that he had read the book—or a part of it—in the spring when Bucke was here. This made him laugh. "I do have an indistinct remembrance of it now—but till you spoke of it, it slipped me absolutely. Why yes. And did I give a rather negative view? Probably—probably. But here is a copy of the book came from Ellis himself—I have been reading it—in fact, with great enjoyment. There are other than the Whitman essays—that on Heine, for instance—I like that, it has a ring—whether truest

 
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ring, I don't know. It's not as good as Arnold's to be sure, but good. So I have read the book before?—and Bucke's copy? Then he will laugh when he gets my today's letter, for I ask him in it if he has ever seen the book—heard of it, even. I am sure, now, that my opinion of the book is better than on first reading: it seems to me it must be—for if it had impressed me, I would have had some more or less vivid memory of it. As I read it today it takes more hold. When I am done with it, I want you to read it again. Here is the postal came along in the same post—take it, if you are curious at all."

9 St. Mary's Terrace

Paddington, London

3 Feb/91

     I am sending you a copy of my New Spirit which contains an essay that may interest you. It is a feeble attempt to express the help & delight that your work has given me.


With all affectionate greetings,


Havelock Ellis.

Did not have it with me, but quoted in full postal from Kennedy:

Thurs Eve


Dear Horace

     Sh'd be glad of 1/2 doz slips of my article and of yrs as many as you can spare conveniently. Mrs. K. too thinks the Dutch study capital. I guess it is so good fr. W. W.'s part in it. It's meaty and original anyway—like yr article.


Thank Walt for the slips & give him my love.


W. S. Kennedy

W. said, "It is certainly the best piece of work of that kind which has been done—it is O'Connorish: has that sort of a flavor—has the merit of taking up a point which no one else observes, or everybody else makes little of—yet which is of the gravest significance." I got Kennedy his half-dozen slips.
 
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     Received the following letter today from Forman, dated February 4th:


46, Marlborough Hill,

St. John's Wood,

N.W., London

4 February 1891


My dear friend,

     Your long good letter reached me safely with papers of your own, and Walt Whitman's leaflet "Shakespeare for America", for all of which many thanks. And as you say the slip, which you expect to give me "a moment's joy" is from W.W., please give him my love and thanks. Indeed you are quite right. The papers he has for years sent me have never failed of their electric flash of pleasure. The sight of his handwriting always goes straight to my heart; it so thoroughly expresses the personality that is so familiar a guest in my mind, and so loved and respected a guest too. Dear Walt Whitman! What you send, Traubel, of the approach of the end made me sad enough when I came to that part of your letter but I take it that you were but generalizing—I hope so—for I see announcements of work still a-doing; and why should he not last years yet?

     Your news of Bucke was pleasant: I would give much to see him again—either here or in his own London; but I know of no chance for a long while.

     By the bye, Walt once indulged me, on a request preferred through Bucke, by writing a title-page for a poem printed without one. Do you think he would write another for a prose essay similarly situated? If it will bore him, drop the matter; but if not I should be glad if you would lay before him a single leaf of paper, size of the pattern which I enclose and get him to write upon it as shown. Then you might send it to me by post with a board the same size to protect it & avoid folding. There's a commission! Perhaps that will cure you of offering your assistance to persons of unknown habits.


Believe me to be, my dear Traubel,


Yours very sincerely,


H. Buxton Forman

W. immediately wrote the title-page for me—struggling with a bad pen, while I held copy and ink before him. Was "happy to
 
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do it,"
etc. I could not show him the letter because of some of its plain speech about his condition.

     Here is a letter from Wallace and Johnston (England)—reached me this forenoon:


Anderton, nr. Chorley.

Lancashire, England

6. February 1891


My dear Mr. Traubel,

     We are very much disturbed to learn today from a paragraph in yesterday's Daily Graphic of Walt Whitman's relapse & ill health.

     The par[agraph] is as follows: "A postcard received from Walt Whitman says: 'Am having an extra bad spell these days. May blow over, may not.'"

     We shall be very anxious till we hear further, and I shall be glad if you will kindly do us the favour of sending us a cable message, for which I enclose a money order for £1. It will be best (soonest received) to address it to Dr. Johnston, Bolton.

     Your very kind & friendly letter on Christmas Eve emboldens me to ask you to do us this favour.

     With kind regards in Whitmanly "Comradeship" & esteem


I am


Yours sincerely


J.W. Wallace



     PS J.W.W. has shown me this. I endorse it and am joining him at the P.O.


Yours sincerely


J. Johnston

     We should be glad if you could procure & send half a dozen copies of Ingersoll's address—also a copy of John Burroughs' "Notes on Whitman" for JWW—for which we will remit cash on receipt. Please enclose statement of cost.

     JJ

     I cabled as soon as I could get free of the Bank.

     W. said, "Why—yes: that is genuine: I can remember writing such a postal—but I don't know who to." And after a pause,

 
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"And isn't that the state of the case—just as I described there? You know it—know it well." I protested that the fellows over there took too serious a view of it. "Maybe they do. I had a letter myself, this morning. Their idea seems to be that I am pretty nearly gone—pretty nearly given in. And I am not sure but they are right—or if not right, at least as near right as any of us." But, "I am happy you cabled: it will relieve them—which is much." And further, "If you write, tell them you have just been here—that I am here—erect—sitting—not without cheer—not well—sick—badly shattered—hoping—expecting nothing—working when I can. Here I am reading Havelock Ellis' book—making what may be of it." Would give me a copy of Burroughs' book. W. remarked that Bucke liked Kennedy's piece. Gave me B. 's letter:

14 Feb 1891

     I have your notes of 10th and 11th. The one came Thursday evening and the other last evening. No time at all to scribble a line yesterday—more than usually occupied now since got round again—accumulated work. I am real sorry to hear such bad accounts of your walking powers—it is a bad look-out—but the fresh air in the spring may do something for you. I fancy you have been as bad at other times as you are now and partially rallied. So I trust you will again.

     What shall you call the little book? I hope you will give up the notion of putting anything in it but your own writing. I am clear that a mixture such as you spoke of would be injudicious. We must have another vol. at once or very soon made up of a lot (8 or 10) of the best pieces—Sarrazin, Knortz, Rolleston, Traubel, etc. etc. etc. Horace and I are speculating hard at it and we must fetch it through.

     Thanks for the Kennedy "Dutch" piece—it is first class, nothing more suggestive has ever been penned on the critter. I have written Horace to see that I get a lot of "Lip[pincott]'s", and I shall of course have a bundle of "Conservators".

     Politics here are hot, hot, all hot—impossible to say at present which way the cat will jump. Each side is confident—or pretends to be!


As always—love to you


RM Bucke

 
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We are urging W. to leave the Sarrazin and other pieces out of his own book—to keep the W. W. first-hand matter inviolate. I also had note from Bucke on same subject:

14 Feb 1891


Dear Horace

     I have two letters from you both dated 10th tho I think one was written 11th and also I have "The Voice" 15 Jan. with the Ethical Culture piece. Thanks very much for it. One of your letters contained the finished "Dutch Traits" which I cannot help thinking one of the most suggestive pieces yet written about our friend.

     I thank you, my dear friend, for your interest in me on the occasion of my slight illness which would seem much more serious than it really was to your thoughtful eyes looking at it from 500 m[ile]s away. I am thankful on many accounts (on those you mention not the least so) that my constitution seems perfectly sound and that my prospects of life and vigor seem excellent for a man of my age. That you and I shall need both health & vigor to carry through the work that lies before us during the next few years I well believe, and if they are given us we cannot be too thankful—when all is over and done I believe I shall be ready & willing at any moment to join our friend in the Great Hereafter.

     About the book of pieces on Walt—Sarrazin & I are clearly of your mind and think it should be kept entirely distinct from W.'s own vol. What should go into it is a grave point—I should say: Let us put in (as far as possible) the best things that are not now accessible to the English reader: 1. Sarrazin of course 2. I am not so sure about the Ingersoll piece as that now is in fair shape already 3. I think we should have a translation of Knortz piece (do you know it? ) 4. Of course I would like to have my piece in and would overhaul it carefully 5. If we could have (at least a part of) Rudolph Schmidt's piece—Danish—it would be well 6. Then Kennedy's Dutch piece 7. Rolleston's German piece should be seriously considered etc. etc. Of course all the pieces would need careful editing. Each (at present) has a biographical section which would have to come out and so on. What, too, would you think 8. of Anne Gilchrist's piece from the old Radical? Now-a-days few, I fancy, even see it and it is fine. If this book is got up I will invest $25 in copies of it and perhaps we could sell many copies by subscription. 9. Of course your N[ew] E[ngland] Mag. piece would go in.

 
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     I have very little to report here—no meters yet! You will think they are never coming—but they are! We shall I think have the first batch in the course of next week. All will yet be right—a little patience, that is all that is wanted.


Best and kindest wishes and regards to you


RM Bucke

     W. "approved" what Baker wrote me (9th) about Lippincott's piece:


New York, Feby 9th 1891.


Dear Traubel:

     Yours enclosing the Whitman sketch for Lippincott rec'd Saturday. I read it yesterday and return it this morning. It is vivid, natural, and worthy of your great friend and of yourself. I thank you sincerely for the honor & compliment in submitting it to my eye. Later I will write or still better talk with you about it—& especially about your design to do the Col. in the same line. As to the latter proposition, however, I think that must come, if it comes, as between you & the Colonel alone. The Colonel is averse to having others write about him. He may approve it if you are the biographer. I wish he would. I could not, in any way, be a party, however, in bringing it about—hence could not furnish the materials, etc.—without his knowledge and approval.

     Hope you are well and happy these days. You ought to be. You deserve to be.


Yrs faithfully


Baker

W. had written the title-page for Forman so heavy I had to put it on the stove today.
 
Tuesday, February 17, 1891

     7:45 P.M. Found Harned sitting there with Walt. W. had spent a bad morning—now "somewhat reinstated"—but looked worn out—suffering severe cold—his voice hoarse. Not without willingness to laugh and joke, however. The "Good-Bye My Fancy" manuscript on the bed. Was it ready yet? I picked it up. "No,

 
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not near—no more, in fact, done with it." The potted flower left on Sunday still throwing out its perfume—the buds, too, bursting forth. No letter from Bucke today. Talked over the Sherman funeral briefly. W. said again, "I wrote a postal to Dr. Johnston today." I wrote to Wallace and Forman last night. I had letter from Bush saying Bob was to debate with Donnelly on the Shakespeare-Bacon controversy. W. laughingly said, "That would be great! As for me—I should say—let us do with it as with Christianity, immortality, all that: range the evidence along in a line—full, exact—then not decide: accept Bob's favorite attitude—I don't know! For myself—I hesitate to give judgment—I let all that rest—to make itself up for each mind. There is so much each way!"

     Gave me the Ellis book ("The New Spirit"). "It is worth while," he said. "It has the making of something: I don't know what, but something."

 
Wednesday, February 18, 1891

     5:50 P.M. W. greeted me brightly—was improved with the sunny day. Gave me this letter from Burroughs:


West Park, New York

Feb 17, 1891


Dear Walt

     I was very glad to get your card, but sorry to hear you are under the weather. I trust the spring which is now near will set you up again. I keep pretty well, as do wife & Julian. We have been here all winter. I have been busy with my pen, turning out pot-boilers, nothing else. I shall keep an eye out for your N[orth] A[merican] article. I see it in the reading rooms in Po'keepsie. I have been sending some things to the Independent & to the Christian Union at the request of the editors. It is surprising how much heresy these papers can stand. I think they secretly like it. I see nothing in the literary horizon, no coming poet or philosopher. My opinion is that life is becoming pretty thin. Our civilization runs all to head & cuteness, no character, no heart in anything

 
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now adays. Most of the magazine poetry is utterly barren. It is like poor mortar—too much sand for the lime.

     I am in a hurry to see spring. I want to taste the earth again. The ground here has been deeply covered since early in Dec. Rain & fog today.


With much love


John Burroughs

"Nothing particular in it," W. advised me, "but worth seeing, enjoying." No letter from Bucke—but referred to him. "He has an essentially healthy nature—is full of youth, vigor, hope, faith. I should never associate the idea of death with such a man."

     Then, "I am at last about ready with the book: you have urged me to it. I will let you have the first copy Monday morning. It is wonderful, the disposition of the human critter to postpone, to put off: to postpone and postpone—then to think and postpone again—and after all the arguments are in and more too, to find new temptations to postponement, and all that indefinitely." And again, "I want to get this in type, anyway. It will be my last volume—my finale—without a doubt. I know it is not impossible there may be another volume still—but it is not likely—it is not a thing within any reasonable likelihood. So this will really be my good-bye!" Then into details. "You might drop in on Ferguson someday this week and tell him. My first point will be to get all the batch of copy—the poetry—into galleys at once: it probably would fill about four—I want to read that division with some sort of continuity." And further, "My idea would be, that he should put a couple of men on it—no more—and that I might keep these busy, but of course all that is subject to the situation in the office."

     W. spoke in the most affectionate terms of Wallace. "He seems to be in an architect's office—a draughtsman there—what-not—but sick, sick, sick—oh! much of the time—poor fellow!" But, "He is a noble fellow—genuine. I wonder if the country there grows many such?"

 
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     Open Court review of Ingersoll's Whitman [lecture] almost avoids mention of Whitman himself.

 
Thursday, February 19, 1891

     5:10 P.M. W. looks very much better—indeed, is better—saying to me, "I feel a fine turn for the good—or think I do—which is about the same thing. I have written Johnston and Wallace—telling them this." I had been to Ferguson's—seen Myrick—arranged for him to start one man on the book Monday: Myrick said he could not give us two till the big Bible is out of their hands. W.: "I am content—at least, must be: it is the best we can do, no doubt, but I hope his one man will be a good man." I said, "If he isn't, that proof-reader is between us." W. then, "It is true—yes, true—but against stupidity even the gods fight in vain. But after all, I guess you are right." Said he felt "relieved" himself "to have the matter in something like shape."

     I left Chadwick's (manuscript) reply to my "spirituality" paragraph in last Conservator. W. said, "I shall like to hear what he says." On his lap the local papers. "I have been reading about the funeral of Sherman today. It is a great account."

     At 5th and Chestnut this afternoon I had passed a man so like O'Connor I paused and looked after him as long as he was in sight. When I told this to W. he exclaimed, "So like him, you say? So like him?" And then with eagerness, "But how did he walk, how?" —explaining after some further speech from me—"O'Connor's walk struck you at once: it was fawn-like—full of grace—light, soft as a feather. To me it always had infinite meanings."

     What did W. know of James Redpath, now also dead? "Not a great deal, perhaps—yet I knew him well, too, and he was very favorable to us—to 'Leaves of Grass': treated us handsomely at all times—when on the North American—before—since. You know, of course, he was an Englishman—came to this country—went to Kansas. You have heard the descriptions of the typical New England woman—that she had 'views.' Well, James had

 
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views—that was one of his drawbacks. But of course we may easily make too much of that. He was of the intellectual type—all brains, no body—and once he had a wife—I met her: but one of the smart women, too—then they were separated. Yes, Radpath was a very active man—always at something. His knockdown, and death from that, was not wonderful: he had for a long time been in a way to invite death. In spite of everything, he was a noble man—believed something—was no liar or coward." Somehow the talk digressed to religious questions. Some minister had been saying, conscience was born of the Christian revelation. W. said, "That is very much like the old story of the hen and egg—which was first. I remember the question was asked the clerks in the department, once, while I was in service. They went from one to another"—laughingly—"and came to me by and by: a sedate, serious old man—I can see him yet as he stands beside me. I threw myself back in the chair, looked up in his face, just as I do now"—indicating—"and said to him, 'Whichever you choose! Whichever you choose!'—which started a guffaw all around the room."

     Next we discussed Shakespeare worship among scholars, W. going on at some length. "I rest satisfied with the position of Elias Hicks—even his position about Jesus, which was this—that Jesus was valuable to him, not by any qualities of intellect—or any formal qualities whatsoever—but by the force of his power to exalt and inspire—to inflame the John Smith or John Jones about us—the Toms, Dicks, Harries, of everyday life, and I think Elias would, unconsciously did, in fact, apply the same judgment to Shakespeare. Indeed, it may belong to the question of Christianity itself—whether it has done more evil than good in the world. I am not disposed to dwell upon its evils so much as to congratulate humanity that it was attracted towards it—that it represents something perceptible still even in the crowding and hoggishness of the life about us—some nuggets, grains, streams—of truth which humanity cannot get away from. That is the side which appeals to me." I put in, "But isn't it with some of us as with Davy Crockett, that things get so

 
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'damned respectable' that it is time we moved off, into the woods and freedom? And we could say that of Christianity without any impeachment of what it has done—but simply as notice that a new life belongs with the future." I was hardly finished ere W. exclaimed, "Good! Good! And I can say amen to all that, too, it is my sentiment—just as you say it—and as you say it, it is conclusive. I recognize to the full its justice, weight. For the Christianity we see—the Christianity of churches, creeds, articles of faith, preachers, Sunday schools—I have no sympathy: it is damnable debased currency. I say, go on—buffet it how you will: your buffet, your challenge, has my respect."

     Remarked, clapping the paper in his lap, "The General's son seems to prove he was a Catholic." I said, "I don't think it makes much difference what he proves." W. then, "Nor do I, it makes no difference at all." What did he think of the protest that Shakespeare was the poet, not of feudalism but of the modern? "I can see how people should get, hold, that view—how he could in a sense be called the poet of the modern. But of the modern-modern? No, no, no—he had no glimpse of it!"

     Had laid out a copy of Burroughs' book for Wallace. Later I wrote Wallace and sent it off. Says he "realized the weight of my argument against the extraneous matter" in "Good-Bye My Fancy"—but is not yet disposed to give a final decision.

     Discussed Saturday's Critic reference to autograph. W. said, "I am at a loss about that: I guess somebody else must have put in the lines. I remember the autograph—it was asked for—but haven't the least remembrance of the other, at least, that is as I see it now, though I know my memory is so bad nowadays, it will not do for me to swear to it. The lady's letter is only a few days old, anyhow."

 
Friday, February 20, 1891

     7:50 P.M. Nice little talk—W. in very good condition—though he said, "I count nothing on it—whether it is any way permanent

 
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is yet to be seen." Pointed me to table. "That whiskey, that is the whiskey sent over by Francis Wilson, the actor. I think it is the best I have ever tasted. Though I am not a great judge, I think I can detect the true article." Returned me Chadwick's manuscript. "It amounts to nothing—he has nothing to say, but I was glad to read it, anyway." No sign of Lippincott's, yet the Times and Camden Post printed all W.'s poems today. W. asked me to go in—see Stoddart—get a copy "if an advance one is possibly to be got." Anxious I should get our list from Stoddart, so to send copies of Conservator containing Dutch piece (out today). W. said, "I am looking forward to my friends—to have them read all these pieces: there's a new flavor to it all," etc. Told him I sent book and letter to Wallace. "That is good, good—the fellows like to hear." Gave me Sarrazin letter written way back in December—arrived today—thus:

Noumea,

December 18, 1890


Dear Walt,

     Your kind letter of September 5 duly received. I received also the newspapers you sent, namely the Camden Post, February 13, and The Times, October 22, 1890. This last one I read with special interest, as it contained Col. Ingersoll's very eloquent speech about your achievements. This lecture (I mean the resume of it I read) I found at once brilliant and true, full of precision and width.

     I was very glad to hear you are always in pretty good health and could enjoy the last sunny days of the present year. As to me, I was exceedingly ill for several months (an iliac phlegmon) and like to die. I hasten to add that this dangerous crisis went away as soon as a chirurgical operation took place; and I recovered entirely. These two months I am up and as strong as ever.

     I am now quite used to my new situation, and my opinion, too, is that such a change of base will be something of a gain. I was poor, unfit for journalistic work and, nevertheless, wanted to free my intellectual life from pecuniary difficulties; I had an opportunity to be appointed here as a magistrate. In this way I secured my "bread and butter" and, now, can set to my intellectual task; I can read, write, and think without being constantly stopped by pecuniary difficulties.

 
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I wish you, dear Walt, a bright and happy new year; be assured of all my love.


Gabriel Sarrazin

"Nothing new in it—but it is nice to have. The question comes up in my mind whether they have the Ingersoll pamphlets yet—any of them."

     We discussed the new book. W. said again, "Oh yes boy! It will be my last—my last! I haven't the least doubt of it now." Spoke of his "relieved day," that it had put him "in the humor for work again."

 
Saturday, February 21, 1891

     7:50 P.M. W. continues his improvement. Shows it in face and talk. My stay brief. Expressed his liking for the Dutch piece "as it shows up in the paper." Said, "I have had a letter from Bucke—but it contains nothing particular, unless about the election: all is excitement about that." I had written Stoddart today about returning me the lists and ordered some copies sent Bucke. W. "satisfied." Would he have manuscript of book ready for me tomorrow? "Can't you let it go till Monday morning?" Yes. I proposed that he send it up to the house by Warren, but he said, "I would rather have you come for it," explaining that "the fewer hands it went through, the better," etc. And then, "I shall give you all the poems at once—about 40 manuscript pages. I have a notion, to read them in the type all at once, to get an average, entire impression, one glance." Referred to someone who prints W. "a guzzling whiskey-drinker"—laughing—"that is mild, compared with other things, words, I have met." Had wrapped up a jelly cake in newspaper—tied. "Are you going home from here? Take it to your mother—give it to her—it is from me, my love goes with it," etc. As to Chadwick's unfavorable comparison of Paine to Leslie Stephen, "What does Stephen amount to?" I asked, "Will he be remembered

 
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even to be damned a hundred years hence?" W.: "That is just my question, but you have Chadwick—he can't answer you—that is enough." Spoke of Poet-Lore as not having "much meat this issue." Was "very much struck" with what Symonds had said about his "decrepitude" in one of the Johnston letters.

 
Sunday, February 22, 1891

     Did not see W. today: but found that he had paged and arranged the preface and poems—packed them in a couple of paste boards—had written on the top, and a note to Ferguson.

     Letter from Bucke of 8th:


8 Feb 1891


My dear Horace

     Many thanks for your kind note of 4th and W. your kind and deep interest in my welfare—I feel it more than I can say—I ought to have sent you & W. word oftener while I was sick but really it never occurred to me that you would worry about it—the chief reason was that I never looked upon the illness as the least serious and did not have the sense to think that persons a long way off—knowing less abt. it might imagine it was so or at least fear it might be so. But at all events it is gone by now and I am as well as usual (which I hope is well enough to satisfy anyone).

     If you can make the (soi-disant) liberals (or even a few of them) understand that L[eaves] of G[rass] contains the vital religious fire of today well and good—you will have done a good work—and at least it is worth trying—good luck to you in the enterprise! But really it sometimes looks to me (of late years) as if all this was useless—that those who have it in them to see, see anyhow—and that those who have not will not see or hear "even though one rose from the dead to tell them." But this no doubt is an exaggeration the other way—it is well for us to work anyway for our own sakes if not for the sake of others—therefore work my dear boy "while it is still day—for the night" etc. etc.

     Yes, Horace, I know I am too much of a savage for the New York folk (and for many others)—but after all who and what is the "friendly and flowing savage"? Is he behind or ahead of our boasted civilization?

 
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Some time ago I said "From this moment I ordain myself loosed from all limits." And I find it a very good way to live—let each one do as it suits him. "I am for those who are not mastered—whose tempers cannot be mastered—whom laws, theories, conventions can not master." I am for living the new life and getting the good of it—do you know what that means? I am not worrying abt. what folk think or say.


Love to you dear Horace


RM Bucke


 
Monday, February 23, 1891

     Took manuscript to Ferguson's today—talking with both Ferguson and Myrick. Will start at once, giving me first proofs Wednesday. Received note from Bucke today.

     Walked in Wissahickon and in park with Anne. Then later on to Camden again and to W.'s (after supper) at 7:45 P.M.

     W. in very good mood. Harned came in just after I got seated. W. by no means uneasy, yet said, "I am in bad enough way still, Tom—though not as bad as was." Harned spoke of Scovel. "He was up to the house—wants to get your obituary—says his daughters were here and gave you up." W. laughed. "Yes, they were here—I suppose I was pretty bad. Let him go on with the obituary!" Asked about weather, saying, "I would not dare to go out, mild as it may seem." I left 20 copies of Conservator with W. this morning when I went for manuscript—which he had left with Warren for me. He now reported, "I have sent them all away. When you come again, bring at least as many more!" But "no sign of Lippincott's." As to the proofs, "Oh! They must give them to me as I ask—the full batch of poems. You see, I want to 'make up' with them—they are not now arranged as I wish them to stand. I must arrange page after page, one poem, one strain, one thought, with respect to another. For that the entire batch is necessary one sitting!" I promised him I would have a more thorough understanding with Myrick tomorrow. Harned referred to his trip to Washington. W. advised him, "I want you to go see my friend J. Hubley

 
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Ashton some day, Tom: I'll give you a letter." W. referred to some Western paper. "I don't know who has sent it—some fellow out there. It seems somebody declares that Bob not only does not compass 'Leaves of Grass' but absolutely misses it altogether." Harned said, "That is about the opinion I have come to." W. then, "Well, then, you ought to have that paper. As for me, I would not say it that way—I hold to very different notions, very." And then, "I feel in Bob the most magnificent vitality, health: a clear eye, a great soul—such candor, strength—rare, rare. Oh! There is wisdom—wisdom—at last—always—in Bob's cute, always-pressed, never-yielded, I do not know, I do not know! It is the final word!" And still again, "I think it the necessary thing—I almost pray for it—that each age should have its hero—some majestic self to buffet the creeds, show, of the damned preachers. There is nothing else will clear the atmosphere." I gave him this letter from Ingersoll received this morning. "Perhaps this will help you out."

New York, Feb 21st 1891.


My dear Traubel:

     I received, and read with great pleasure, your tribute to Walt Whitman, to be published in Lippincott's.

     I think it exquisite in touch, and poetically just. The great thing about Whitman is, not that he thought free things, but that he said them. Nearly all the poets have thought them, but lacked the courage to say what they thought. I do not say they have felt them as intensely as Whitman has, but I do say that they would have done much better had they been true to themselves.

     It may be that love of public approbation has given us great poems, but I am equally certain that the fear of the public has deprived us of greater.

     There is, of course, a great difference of opinion as to what the poetic is. Men who transfigure the common things of life are called sensual, and those who denounce what they enjoy and praise only that which they have never experienced, are called spiritual.

     I think great poetry has to be honest. If people will only tell the truth, they lay at least the foundation for the poetic.

 
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     Personally, I would far rather have the society of the one woman I love, than to be the favored of all the gods and goddesses.


Very truly your friend


R.G. Ingersoll

He read it—parts of it twice—and when he was done, looked over his glasses at me. "A grand letter! A grand letter! It has a sage-like tone—some faraway murmur of wisdom, calling us to listen! How life bubbles up in him, unhindered!" Read him this from Chicago Times:

     Bob Ingersoll, touched by the destitute condition of the children of the late Speaker Witer of the Montana house of representatives, gave a lecture in Helena Friday night for their benefit and added $2000 to a fund being raised for them. The eloquent agnostic refused any part of the proceeds, and even bought a ticket which admitted him to hear himself speak. There are few people who will deny "Pope Bob's" eloquence, but their name is legion who deny that he is logical. And Legion may be true, but a warm heart and a generous hand will go far to make good the lack of a cold, keen, remorseless logic.
He exclaimed, "Bravissimo! Colonel! Colonel—bravissimo! What a ring to all he does!" And then in the tenderest tones of his range, "And they said to the gentle Nazarene—how is this: how may this thing be explicated—what has he done for you? And the reply came—'Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these—my children, O my children!—you have done it for me!' O, the royal man! In all our time he stands alone, in more than minor things the prince of the cluster!" And then to me directly, "And that would be a question for the Conservator, Horace: whether the man who does good deeds, blesses neighbors, friends, the world—speaks great hot words of truth—despises theologians—whether he is a Christian—or whether ministers in pulpits, expounders of views, asserters of doctrines—whether these are Christians? I think we know what we think on that question!" And to Harned, "I think my difference with Bob would be this—that is, be in my assertion that back of all

 
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phenomena is an unexplained something—good, satisfying, lifting all mystery in the end. That is 'Leaves of Grass'—immortality. Perhaps Bob would even assent to it—in part—but however, this seems to me our difference if we have any. In all his other work I assent to him, second him—necessity itself brings it!"

     As to Gladstone's new hit at Huxley about the Gadarean swine, W. was "very curious." He spoke in discredit of Gladstone. "I don't think he amounts to much—especially in this direction." Also, of Gladstone's assertion that he had one by one disposed of Huxley's objections, "He had better let somebody else say that. The preacher over here at the church—Reverend something or other—is always quite sure, and every man, woman and child in the place with him, that no infidel argument has put up its head but he has hit it. My surprise is, that a man like Huxley—superb in every way, making a mere noise of Gladstone—should ever stop to discuss such a question, think it worth while. Who the devil cares about it? It is like the discussions your Unitarians, Tom"—laughing—"make over immortality, the Godhead, whether there is a personal God. Who the devil cares to follow such stuff? After all I go with Bob—I do not know. The sooner the revelation of this comes the better: I do not know!"

     W. read Shakespeare matter (Bob's proposed address thereon):

     Col. Ingersoll closes the Press Club course of lectures at the Broadway Theatre on March 22d. His subject, according to the Dramatic Mirror, will be Shakespeare. To this announcement Mr. Fiske, the editor of the Mirror, adds: "All through his career Ingersoll has looked forward to the time when, resting from his theological contentions, he should be able to give the best that his lustrous genius afforded to a grand eulogy of the colossal William...."

     Mr. Fiske, who enjoys the acquaintance of the Colonel, continues in a newsy and reminiscent vein: "... Did you ever hear why the Colonel strenuously objects to being 'introduced' to an audience when he mounts the rostrum? Several years ago he lectured in Jamestown. The mayor, a worthy man of German descent, and an ardent Ingersollian,

 
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was extremely desirous to present the orator to his townspeople. His admiration, however, was greater than his gifts as a speaker. Overcome by the weighty character of the ceremony he stuttered and stammered and looked the picture of nervous discomfort. Finally he wound up his remarks with—'And now, ladies and gentlemen, I have the—er—honor to introduce the orator, whose name is known from—er—from ocean to ocean—that is to say, it is a household word—Mr.—Mr.—Mr.——' 'My name's Ingersoll,' prompted the Colonel, realizing that in the mayor's confusion the household word had vanished from his memory. The house roared, of course. After that Ingersoll put his foot down on public 'introductions' of any description."

     [Boston Investigator, February 18, 1891.]
Was much amused. "How funny that last!" And then, "Do you think the Colonel will do it? It would be his best—and his best? Oh! it is high, high!"

     Copy of Magazine of Art on the bed. W. said, "Do not bring your copy: Wallace has sent this, and it is very fine, too: I have had a great delight in it today, especially the Ruskin pictures."

     W. laughingly said to me, "I have some news—Hartmann turned up again today, this time with his wife. He is married—was married about a fortnight ago, and proposes to stay a little time in Philadelphia." No harsh word to say of H., yet I know his feeling on the subject, and when I said, "I hope he carefully keeps away from you," W. laughed and asked, "Do you suppose he will?"

     Have not got W. to say anything positive yet on question of insertion of the Sarrazin and other pieces.

 
Tuesday, February 24, 1891

     5:10 P.M. W. had just finished his dinner. His work comes in worse confusion than usual, if possible. Had "been on a search." His chair turned east (usually west). But he was in no good condition: "Had a bad turn again." Mrs. Davis speaks of the extension of his catarrh—his constant cough—then of the decreased

 
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appetite. She thinks he is thinner, but Warren contends not. Warren says that in early mornings the flesh is pale—often bluish—and so in the evening before rubbed. Both say he is very much weaker, and speak of his greater inclination to admit the weight of his burden. He is very impatient "to get the book into type," as he says, always showing such impatience when he thinks there is danger of his own collapse. Now he can hardly wait for proofs. "Ah! there will come an end—perhaps soon!" And, when we rally him "You are not dead yet, he responds, "We die very quickly round here nowadays"—alluding to the many deaths of prominent men. I received letter from Lippincott's today:

Philadelphia, Feb 23, 1891


Dear Sir

     Enclosed find list of names to which copies of Lippincott's for March have been sent.

     The Foreign list will be forwarded as requested, but the list itself was sent to London. Ten copies will also be sent to you, and the 5 copies sent to Dr. Bucke will cost you $1.00.


Lippincott's Magazine

Read it to W., who asked me, "Well, how do you interpret it—that they have all gone? I am glad. But where are our copies?" Myrick had doubts whether he could give us all the poems in one lick. W. insists, "I want them no other way—they won't do me the least good." I consulted with Ferguson himself, who promised to see if it could not be done. W. satisfied at this. But says, "I sit here and think of the types—they must abet me promptly now." Does he feel a collapse impending? Urged me, too, "Send Conservators to all the fellows—the Dutch piece deserves to be read, known: it has merits entirely apart from me as an individual." Gave him Bucke's letter of 21st, received this forenoon. He read but was "in no condition either to assent or dissent."
 
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21 Feb 1891


My dear Horace

     Your note of 18th saying that W. had rallied again was a great relief to me last evening. Glad to hear too that you were to get to work on W.'s vol. so soon. The pub[licatio]n of this vol. (the end of W.'s life work) will be a perfect occasion for the contemplated vol. of W.W.'s essays, and it is my opinion that we should rattle it up. If W.'s volume comes out (as I suppose it will) before 31 May it would be a great scheme to have our vol. come out that day—but perhaps that would be impossible?

     I send you a suggestion for a title-leaf, and my idea would be to number the essays and not name them. And select a motto (or mottoes) for each essay—printing somewhat in the style of the enclosed printed leaves.

     Give me your views on these points when you have time, and when you think we could get our vol. to press. I take it for granted that you can easily find men down your way to do the Danish and German translating (?)


Always affectionately


RM Bucke

I spoke of Academy reception tonight. Wished to see the Eakins picture. W.: "Yes, do—come, then, and tell me about it. It will be a rare hour for you."

 
Wednesday, February 25, 1891

     5:30 P.M. With W. more than half an hour. Very much better than yesterday. Talked freely and well. "The magazines have come," he said. "I think they must have come by express, and how well it all looks! I have gone carefully over all the pages: everything is in place—all the snarls straightened out. And do you know, Horace—I like your piece? Oh! I like it much. After all, it is the best of the lot there—draws all the rest along with it. We ought to congratulate ourselves that things have been so squared for us!" Had already made up a copy for Bernard O'Dowd, Melbourne—which he wished me to mail, having

 
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guessed 15 cents postage, and written on the face "by way of San Francisco or otherwise"—which I thought naïve. I gave him Harper's Weekly—will leave it overnight—and he said, "I will give you something in exchange—Black and White, the new English paper, which Wallace sent me," but forgot, as I did, when I left. Had he copy of Review of Reviews (I had) from Wallace this morning? "Yes, and I saw the portrait. It is the News portrait over again—with variations. And as you know, I don't like it. I suppose they use it because it's all they have, but it has a look of horror for me. There's in it that thing which I least crave—which I in fact despise—which has gone a good way towards the marrow of the American character—to injure it. The craft, smartness, dupishness—to overreach, to humbug, entail, steal—to put on tariffs (to protect us, they say)—to array us against solidarity. No, no: that is not me. But the facsimile of the postal: that is very good—I acknowledge it—it is all over finger-marked Walt Whitman. I suppose it was to Stead. Stead, you know, has been very friendly to me—generous—in act, deed, thought: has sent money, applause, life. You know the gift some years ago—the Christmas gift, several hundred dollars—which he collected and sent? He is a very active man—bright, a Yankee—has the Yankee, not English, look. The portrait we have had here has the flavor of our own land. But whatever, he is a man." And again, "I like all the Lippincott's stuff but the portrait: that rather staggers me—I like it much less now than I did. Stoddart must have fished it up out of some auction store."

     I had with me proofs of preface of book—first proofs. "The start at last!" W. exclaimed—even in the dark looking at the pages. "How it raises a fellow to have this evidence in hand!"—merrily. Ferguson promised again today to do all he could to accommodate us with the complete proof of the poems. W. said, "It is essential. There's no great hurry about it—yet there is a hurry too. You can never tell what damned thing will happen—I am like as not to drop off any day now—so if there's to be done, now's to do it! I have no other anxiety—that leaves out the whole string." I questioned, "And now, about the book

 
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Bucke and I propose to get out—what do you think?""Oh! that is in your hands—I can see the breadth, even nobility, of the plan: it appeals to me." Would he yield the Sarrazin matter to us? "I must—and I gladly do it, anyhow. My main point has been, to get it out. It seems a part of the explication of 'Leaves of Grass.' What it tells, what it exhales, belongs to our atmosphere—will clear up many things." And again, "Bob's lecture—how splendidly he handles the sensual arguments! He sees, overthrows, the demon."

     I told him I had seen the Eakins portrait in line last night—a laborer each side—a doctor and a plain girl of the masses beneath. W.: "I am glad you got there—your word convinces me"—and asked for most detailed description of the other heads. When I spoke of complaints of Eakins' "coarseness," he said, "I see—I understand it fully. The boys over there must have got it from Herbert—at least, it would hardly do to say that, for it is a prevalent notion—but shared it with him. I have talked with Herbert time and again—that is his philosophy. Yes, I read your paragraph—it is just—I endorse it—it is my view, too. The cry, coarse—it is the cry of all the schools all codes, literary as well as art. You know it, I know it. I know just where to trust its heart." And then, quizzically, "Has it a heart?" Afterwards, "Bob touches it with his lance—in the lecture—in your letter, too, the other day. And what about his characterization of Burns! 'A child of nature of whom his mother was both ashamed and proud'! What could penetrate deeper than that!"

     The Academy debate over one of Eakins' pictures recalls an evening long ago when a group of writers and artists discussed his graphic portrait of Doctor Agnew, then hanging in Haseltine's galleries. These critics felt an offense in the cruel naturalness of the scene. First, they said, beauty—finesse and aesthetics—then truth. The sleeve of an uplifted arm, the turn of a finger, the simple drapery and attitude that belonged to the act and moment, were frankly made evidence against the power of the artist. It is foolish to spend all wrath on priests who would stand between truth and the integrity of the individual. Art,

 
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politics, literature, parlors, equally subdue or accuse rebellion. There is no shield but the defiance of isolation.

     [Horace Traubel, published on February 25th, 1891]
What about the copy of our new book? Did he wish to keep it? "No, you may have it. I don't know whether it doesn't belong to you anyway, if you want it. I shall keep the manuscript by me for the first proofs, then you may take it day by day." Further, "I had hoped for the Sarrazin piece for one thing to fill in with, but we'll get along without it."

     Spoke of having "had word from Bucke at last of a completed meter—not only of a meter done, but a meter put under special pressure—the damndest—to see what it can do, and it triumphed." Didn't this confirm Gurd's deliberateness? "It does—he has a remarkable grit—he shames us in our impatience." When I spoke of the difference between him and Bucke and of B. as "a war-horse, charging right and left," he laughed and exclaimed, "Yes, Greek—and the best—Greek from head to toe. Someone writes this question: here is the Greek, bawling like hell, laughing with the same gusto—a child of impulse, nature; here is the Scandinavian—suffering everything, never a whimper: which would you be? And he answers, 'The Greek—the Greek—what else fits the biggest man?' And I often think I second that—answer it in my own heart."

     Then on another track, "Tillie was down today—she brought me a cake from your mother, who sent word she was baking today and had not forgotten it. Give her my dear love —tell her I had it here at my supper—that it was my sweetest morsel—that it was more to me than its sugared particles." I reminded him of his frequent remembrance of her, but he said, "That was nothing—it was a trifle—but this—this was from a mother of men," uttered with rare pathos. Often his reverence for women will crop out in such unexpected expression. He had also autographed a picture for Aggie, saying he "would do anything for her." In talking proofs already proposes to give me "some money for Ferguson's man."

 
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     I proposed to go to McKay and make some proposition to him in regard to the Whitman essays. W. said, "It's a good idea, but wait a few days—say, till Saturday or next week—let us see what effect this Lippincott's matter has—it certainly will in impalpable ways affect the atmosphere." Should I use his name with McKay? "Yes, if it will do any good, but I do not see that it will." But when I insisted that it would he added, "Well, you have my warm espousal. Of course it is yours and the Doctor's book—you are the ones to prepare and issue it your own way."

     Referred again to Bob's lecture. "These Eakins critics ought to go to the lecture. I think that one of the strong points of the Colonel—truth—he sees clearly the dividing line, which is 'Leaves of Grass': the old school stood for what it called beauty—aesthetics, elegance—we stand for truth: the schools stood for it—not men necessarily—not the big fellows, anyhow. Truth, truth, truth—as the basis of the poetic—oh yes! the Colonel has it—it is all there!" I told him how deeply "Good-Bye My Fancy" had impressed me—in respects more deeply than "Sands at Seventy." W. asked, "So you read all the copy—at a sitting? You and Doctor must look out: it is one of the dangers of 'Leaves of Grass' that it takes you too far." I protested, "I was with a lot of people recently and one of them said, 'I wish to heavens Traubel could find somebody sometime whom he could unqualifiedly endorse!'" W. laughed and cried, "Bravo! Bravissimo! What a hit! And how significant for you, too. I am answered, sure enough."

     Talked a little about Harry Stafford—whether I could help him to a job at Ferguson's or Billstein's. "Though I don't know," W. said, "perhaps he would rather go into transportation work. He tried to get on one of the railroads." W. "did not know" but he "commended" Stafford for it.

 
Thursday, February 26, 1891

     5:30 P.M. Was with W. till after six. Though the day was stormy, he felt and talked "in the up-bent," as he said, though

 
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"I am poorly enough—am in a bad way—what with the bladder and the constant indigestion." Returned me proof and copy with this message written in margin of former: "These two all right—but don't make up the poems in pages until I have the whole proofs complete in galleys—I shall want the make-up to follow my special directions." Had altered "this late-years palsied old bodily shellfish condition" substituting "shorn and" for "bodily." Handed me the following note from Knortz without comment, except, "You know him, and ought to have this."

540 East 155th St. New York.


My dear Sir:

     Dr. Bucke, of Canada, who yesterday spent an hour at my house and whom I had a very pleasant conversation with left with me the Rolleston translation of your poems with the request to find a publisher for this book. As Dr. Bucke informed me the translations had been revised by a competent German scholar I wrote immediately after Dr. Bucke left me, to my publisher Schabelitz, of Zurich, Switzerland, and offered the MS. to him. In the evening I commenced to examine the MS. and found out that it could not be printed in the present shape and that it wants a very careful revision first. One acquainted with the German language perceives at the first glance that the translations are written by a man who thought in English and afterwards tried to write in German. In its present shape no publisher will accept the MS. for publication.

     What is to be done? I am, at present, too busy to revise the MS., otherwise I would do it with the greatest pleasure. After three or four months I, perhaps, shall have some weeks to spare and then I could undertake this task. But the question is, will Mr. Rolleston accept my assistance and wait so long. Shall I write to him, or will you do it?

     How many hours does it take from New York to Camden? I should like very much to spend a few hours with you, and if you have no objection I shall make a trip to your city at my earliest convenience. Or do you intend to spend a few days at New York in the course of this winter?


Yours truly


Karl Knortz

 
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We spoke of Review of Reviews, I not liking its scrappiness. W. then, "Nor do I. Stead seems to have an insane notion that everything, to be appetizing, must be chopped into little bits—as if a cook should cut the meat into small pieces before putting it on the table. It has all the character of detail, division, a tiresome shift from thing to thing."

     Treating of Donnelly and Bacon controversy: "I am not so sure of the Bacon argument—I could never go that—but I have an idea that a century hence there will be a consensus about Shakespeare—some general doubt or even knowledge nearer the truth of the matter. As for Shakespeare—oh! there's more than him to be accounted for there!"

     Ferguson virtually promised me today that he would see we had our wish in all the matter of the proof of poems. W. remarked, "Good! Good! I thought it would all come around right!"

     Then as to Chadwick's fling at Paine: "Oh! He is undoubtedly wrong—he is on the wrong track, and a poor track at that! This word spiritual is claimed now by theologians, preachers—but God knows! W. don't belong to them. I am confident that in course of time it will be put to grandest uses—the largest of all—much as I faintly, dimly, suspicion it in 'Leaves of Grass.'" Had he read Paine's poem, "The Castle of Fancy"? "Yes, that and several others—songs, rather—and very good, true, they are, too. There is one thing lost sight of by these echoists of the original defamers—that in the early years of this century, by most men worth much, he was regarded as the very apostle of democracy, freedom, free-thought, liberty. I can remember it all as a boy—Paine died in 1812, seven years before I was born, but as a youngster I heard many, many, many a fight over him—warmest espousals, hottest denunciations—denunciations by preachers whose words got hot in the mouth. What Ingersoll so wonderfully describes as the literary situation in 1855 was the religious situation in 1825 or thereabouts. I have often told you about Colonel Fellows—that ardent and adored friend of my early years—he was bosom friend of Paine—to know this was itself to have a vast respect for Paine, if there was no more.

 
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Fellows was a nobleman in the best sense—in some respects the noblest person I have ever met—grand to look at, a grand old man—grand to be with, grand to remember. It is not surprising the old ideas of Paine are not gone. Yet it is right to know how they arose."

     Gave me three postals to mail—to Johnston (England), Bucke and Kennedy.

     Had received article from Hartmann for Conservator. Left for W. this forenoon, along with the 20 extra copies of paper he wished. Had he read it? It transpired, "No, I was not moved." Further, the manuscript had been lost on the floor and we had an absurd hunt for it, and at last a find! I told W. I should not use it—I did not wish negotiations with Hartmann—and while he laughed and "didn't wonder" he would add no outright criticism, and I was glad he did not.

     Frank Williams in to see me today—left some 12 dollars to the fund. W. said, "God bless Frank! Noble fellow!"

     Clifford saw my father's picture of W. for the first time at my sister's Sunday—thought it the best he had met. W. remarked when I told him, "I am not astonished—it impressed me, impressed me deeply—it is a splendid piece of work." As to the criticism of artists that Eakins was brutal, cruel, bloody, etc.: "They could not be expected to accept him—he inhabits another world."

     Speculated about sending some money over to the printers. "My dear daddy used to advise me—my boy always keep on good terms with the cook."

     Told me title of book should be "Good-Bye My Fancy"—no exclamation point—quite emphatically saying he hoped "the newspapers" would "mend their ways" and "report" him right.

 
Friday, February 27, 1891

     5:30 P.M. W. just finishing dinner. He reported himself "a trifle better but pretty bad," adding, "I have eaten too much," explaining, "This indigestion is terrible—it wracks and strains

 
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me past words." It developed, he had written a letter to Brown (druggist) inquiring after the old prescription I had taken for Bucke on the critical day 1888. "I was going to ask Warren to take it up—but now you are here and Warren is away, perhaps you will take it? A good druggist files away all prescriptions. I wonder if Brown has this?" etc. I repeated to W. talk I had with Myrick today—anent poems—and he was "satisfied." Myrick promised to do all that was possible for us.

     W. speaks again of Ingersoll's characterization of Burns as "a child of nature of whom his mother was both ashamed and proud.""It is one of the best things I know—sublime, profound." What of Knortz? Did he feel I should regret? "No, you are about right in it, anyway. Knortz was one of the men, but Rolleston was the man, there's no other way to put it. Of course you could someday more explicitly state it, though it was not necessary here, where no elaborate writing was attempted." I quoted W. letter I had today from Stoddart, as follows:


Philadelphia, Feb. 26th, 1891.


Dear Mr. Traubel:

     Enclosed please find check for $35.00 in payment for your article on 'Walt Whitman.' Hoping this will meet you in time to meet your desires, I am,


Truly yours,


JM Stoddart

     P.S. I think the articles make a good show in the Magazine. W. then, "Well, then, two men are suited—two—and," tapping his shoulder, "here sits one of them.""Are you satisfied?" W: "Yes, aren't you?" I laughed and said, "With your part of it!" He, more seriously, "And why not with your own?" I made no answer coherent; he went on, "It seems to me you have done a splendid piece of work there—I value it more as I see more of it. I do not know what you could have done to make it more rich in

 
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suggestions. It hit the mark—hit it clear and sharp—with a music its own, too." And still more, "I confess I have experienced a good deal of satisfaction in it all, and I read a real success in Stoddart's conservative comment."

     I related incident in university extension course at Morristown—Prof. R.E. Thompson—literary lecturer—speaking of W. substantially as "anarchic" and "without form and void." Jake Lychenheim getting on his feet with some positive questions for W. This touched W. 's imagination. "I like that—it is a picture—I wish I had all the details. It recalls the Georgetown boy—in the academy, university, college there—asking the priest some knotty questions about, in favor of, Walt Whitman. O the young man! the young man! What would the world do reft of him!" At one point I said, "Let the Professor say his say. The more sure I am in my faith the less I feel such antagonism—as my faith grows, my irritability wanes." W.: "That is splendid—it has the sententiousness of an aphorism. Stick to it boy! Let it grow!" And then, "The Professors have the ear of the world—then for something more! They are great, everything, for erudition: as for the rest?" And he left the question there, only adding, "We will give them all the past, much of the present—we will take the future!" When I tell W. of the value I think belongs with "Good-Bye My Fancy"—that it has music and power—he says, "I am incredulous, yet I know you talk out of important backgrounds, too," and will question me very closely as to precise places and features. We discussed somewhat the use of word 'Fancy' in the title: how was 'Imagination' adapted for use? W. said, "I know 'Fancy' has come to express a more or less circumscribed idea—that imagination covers larger areas—is the new statement. Yet 'Fancy' has generic warrant—I using it because I am confident readers will so comprehend it. As mere glider over surfaces—shallow, if not unreal—it does not belong with 'Leaves of Grass.' I think Coleridge was the first man to give 'Imagination' an efficient application the new way. I have no objection to the word—on the contrary I like it—it attracts me, is grand, clusters a world of meanings."

 
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     Told W. I had returned Hartmann's piece—he smiled but gave no counsel.

     Anne sent off Conservators to W.'s American list today. W. asked, "You did not forget the blue work?"—and was satisfied. Promised to make me out the foreign list tonight.

     Took some papers to Post Office for him. Then went to Brown's, who left his supper and searched for prescription. Took down one immense file, loaded. I asked, would the date help you? "Yes—much." I gave him June 10th, 1888—and sure enough it proved to be that and he soon had it! It was Bucke's—written that critical night—and Brown had marked it as for W. Lucky find! Mixed powders at once—W. to take one before going to bed, and a purgative in the morning. (He takes Friedrichsthal.)

     7:30 P.M. To W.'s with the powders. He was delighted I had found it. "I own, I did not expect any such luck!" Found him with the memorandum book on his lap, making out foreign list—a yellow paper on floor which he picked up now and then to add a name. Where was I going? Explained—to Dental College commencement—Academy of Music—Dr. Peirce to speak on Evolution. W. remarked, "I was almost about to say chestnut—but I know evolution deserves no disdains—would not have it from me: it is like nature, inexhaustible—like a fine day, ever-fresh. I should feel to amen all that was said to it!" Before I left told me, "I have a postcard from brother George's folks: they say they read the Lippincott's matter aloud—liked it all. But are they not all repeating that? It is a 'Leaves of Grass' wave!"

 
Saturday, February 28, 1891

     7:50 P.M. W. reading paper—in his bedroom, which was rather cold, he remarking that he was conscious of the chill. Weather, however, moderating. He had my list—over 50—the main body foreign. Had the sheets marked "Addresses for HLT"—tied with a string—under which he had thrust his today's letter from Bucke, dated 25th.

 
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     I utterly forgot all the time I was with him to ask about the powder—its action and the response. But he seemed improved. I had the first proof of the poems in my pocket—gave to him. He said, "I will read them tomorrow and send them up to the house—or you can come for them Monday morning. I may not be able to read them before evening—evening is my best time: from eleven to five are my worst sensations—the oppression is on me full-weight." Gave me copy of New Yorker Tagblatt containing translations by Knortz from "Leaves of Grass." Wishes my father to see them. Shall forward to Bucke. I had letter from Bucke dated 25th.

     Showed W. following from Elizabeth Porter Gould—dated 24th. Book came same mail:


Chelsea, Mass.

February 26, 1891.


My dear Mr. Traubel,

     I feel sure it will be no intrusion to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your fine article in the last Lippincott's on our dear Walt Whitman. One of my deep joys is to see my own thought well expressed by another, hence I am grateful to you for an added joy. It is possible you have seen my little collection of "Gems from Walt Whitman." Whether you have or not, it will be a pleasure to me to send you one with my compliments. I like to think that the little offering finds a home among the lovers of the poet, not because they need it as the great multitude does (as an introduction to him), but because it expresses in a small, though sincere way, a woman's tribute to the power and wealth of his personality. Would it could introduce many to the work as a whole! In my work of "Topic Clubs" among our society ladies in Boston and the vicinity, I often speak a half hour on the poet's work and life. I did today to a most interested number of ladies on Newbury Street Boston, not one of whom knew anything especially intelligent of the poems or the poet. So the good work goes on, and some day the whole world will follow in our footsteps.


Most sincerely


Elizabeth Porter Gould.

 
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W. said, "How steadily the good woman stands to her guns! It is refreshing!" Adding, "It is invariable, that a wind of applause brings along its acid. The Transcript comes on with a notice of Lippincott's in which the writer says it is sad to see the old man—that is, me, Walt Whitman—as more and more he wanes: alluding particularly to the poems. That was one of the enemy got on top in the office. I wonder how Kennedy will like?" Laughing heartily. "That is our story: the threads are mixed." Critic quotes W. at about a column's length. W. said, "I'll bet they selected the description of this room?"—as indeed they had.

     Rather disparaging touch in current (March) Scribner's: "And it is curious to note how prone are all apologists for formlessness, including Mr. Higginson in the present instance, and the admirers of Walt Whitman, passim, for example, to insist that what to the convention-steeped sense appears amorphous is in reality the very acme of form." But W. was not at all disturbed. "How could they take any other view? The cloud, sunset, river, tree—freedom, spontaneity—these are inimical to their art—are outside the demesne of their ambitions."

     Asked me, "What do you know of the Mennonite aversion to buttons?" His tone mock and I laughed—whereat he urged more seriously, "It has a funny side—but I ask it for an answer. I never could guess a reason for it and never had anyone tell me." Started into a history of Mennonism—then drew himself up with a laugh. "I had better not go on garrulously with stuff you know as well as I do, but the buttons, the buttons?"—and so humorously continued, questioning about members of the sect I had seen—their dress, speech, appearance, etc.

     What did he think of the Bryant portrait in Century? (Engraved by T. Johnson from a daguerreotype.) He rather negatived it. "I never knew him that way—though that is no argument, but there's something to it not Bryant. Some of the other pictures in the number—the touch and go pictures—are better, both as portraits and works of art. Look at the Bishop's there—Bishop Potter: a few lines—a drop of ink—it is all

 
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done!" And spoke of "the tendencies towards over-refinement" as "injuring art as well as everything else in the current life."
 
Sunday, March 1, 1891

     Did not see W., but he sent proofs to house with this amusing highly-wrought note:



     Horace here is the proof—I have kept the copy as it will be needed in the second proof—(will send it back when I send that 2d). Am not satisfied with the type-setting job—it is horribly slow & lally-gagging, & the foreman seems to have put some inferior 1/3er on it, & slow & bad at that—damnable proof, and little at that—(sh'd have put two good men as I requested).


I do not agree with him. Ferguson was frank from the first to tell us that on starting out we would have to go slow.

     Clifford writes me this about Lippincott's matter:


Thursday Night.


My dear Traubel:

     Mrs. Clifford has just read aloud to me the piece in Lippincott's. I had no idea how much of a writing it was from the glance I took before. I do not see how any criticism should be passed upon it. Very glad am I that the call came to you to say this word fitly chosen. These are, I suppose, fore-speakings of the Book that is one day to put Walt's record as it is before the world. I look for a task then to be done once for all.

     These little slips are sent not for any worth, but because I happen to have them here at hand. These Gtn. newspaper men have always treated me with kindness according to their estate, and for that I am never disposed to deny their friendly invitations.

     All well here now. Mrs. Clifford came back Monday much repaired, so that I hope to see her hold a stronger way from this on to the Summer.

     My man after all did not come Sunday night, and we might have had another hour.


As ever yours,


John H. Clifford

 
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Monday, March 2, 1891

     7:55 P.M. Night very cold—one of the now consecutive three or four coldest of the winter. W. in his room, coaxing up the fire. Sat there—fur wrapper very close about him—looking with steadfast eye into the flame. Said he had letters from Wallace and Johnston today. "Nothing new." Also some publications "from the same good fellows." Asked me with a smile, "Did you get my proof?" And to my yes, went on in a way to show he was nettled that things proceed so slow. "It is even slow for one man," he remarked, "and dull, too, at that—a bad man." Gave him letter I had from Baker today (dated Saturday)—was "greatly attracted" by "the record of the Colonel's movements" and "delighted with Baker's hand." Thought Ingersoll "can wipe out Chadwick with a breath."

     Left Current Literature with him. Brinton speaks on Burns at Unity Church Friday. Harned wishes us both to tea at five that day. Inquires, "Can we get Walt out?" I notice Wilson's whiskey is little by little disappearing. Frank Williams over to see me about J.C.T., Jr. footnote. Should it read from rather than to J.C.T., Jr.?, I asked. Frank thought possibly, but was pretty sure it was to Suplee. W. declared, "If it is wrong, it is your fault. I put your copy in my piece to save trouble." Must look it up. Want it accurate anyway.

     Laughed over this—thought it "an odd way to say the thing":

     "Old, poor, and paralyzed," is how Walt Whitman describes himself in Lippincott's. Old and paralyzed he is known to be, but no man can call himself poor who has the wealth of affectionate friendships that falls to the lot of the Good Gray Poet.

     (Phila. Press, March 2, 1891.)
Had noticed also mention of the magazine in the Inquirer.

     I hear thus from Mrs. Fairchild:


March 1, 1891


Dear Mr. Traubel,

     I am sure I owe a great pleasure to your intention in sending me a copy of "Lippincott" which came the other day. But I am sure of your

 
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intentions only! For this especial copy is mis-paged so cleverly that precisely your words and Whitman's are those which are missing! I shall get another copy as soon as I can get out—being for the moment housed—and shall then eat my cake, having already had it!

     I enclose the little cheque, which is a fragment larger this month because I want to help, to a very small extent alas!—in the Conservator's good work. I do hope to hear that W. W. grows stronger as his sun comes westward. May the days be good to him—many, many more of them!


With regards to you both, I am very truly yours,


Elisabeth Fairchild

W. "touched" and "wondered" about the defective magazine. Bush had written to the same effect. Anxious, too, at the hint of sickness. "O, the noble, big woman!" And again, "When women are big, how big they are!" Bucke is still very anxious about W.'s condition—despondent. As in this, dated 26th, received today:

26 Feb 1891


My dear Horace

     I have your two notes of 24th. I return the notes (Th. on W.) there is nothing new.

     I am much disturbed by your accts. of W. I do not anticipate anything immediate (it is not that) but I know he is having a miserable bad time and I feel it.

     But we must wait—and that is the worst of it—it is such wretched work waiting in such circumstances. Of course W. should have medical attendance—he might be made much more comfortable I am confident—but if he won't what can we do?


Keep me posted


RM Bucke


 
Tuesday, March 3, 1891

     7:30 P.M. W. appears to be in a bad way altogether. Warren told me instantly on entrance that W. had spent a bad night and that his urine this morning assumed a blood-red color—that further, W. had gone to bed early last night—8:50—and dispensed

 
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with the rubbing—an almost unprecedented thing. W. himself said to me, "I am having a hell of a time—the night was bad, the day has been bad. My head, my belly, my bladder—all are out of gear, and for what end?" He looked at me as if for an answer. I said something cheerily, which seemed to arouse him, so that he asked, "Well, what news today? How are things moving?" The proofs I had left yesterday he had not finished—had "not felt to do them"—which was an evil sign. I left now still others, and he promised to have all ready for me tomorrow. "Regretted," he explained, but the day had "been too bad."

     Showed him this postal from Jim Scovel:


Tuesday


My Dear Sir,

     I have long wanted to see and desired to write just such an article as yours about the Good Grey Poet in this current no. of Lippincott.

     I wrote to Walt that in style, facts, keenness of criticism and in just praise of W.W. it is the best thing ever written about the Old Man.


Yours,


J.M. Scovel

     I read it to my family last night. My father had traced some hidden sarcasm. But W.: "Perhaps, but I do not see it. He wrote me to the same purpose. What idea could he have in lying about it? Besides, everybody likes your piece—everybody. I have lots of letters. See how Kennedy writes. Oh! you have not seen—but he was very warm, admiring. And Sloane is not a fellow to go off into stupid enthusiasms. And I, myself, like the piece better and better as I read it more and more."

     The morning's mail had brought me this from Wallace:


Anderton, nr. Chorley

Lancashire, England.

17. Feb. 1891


My dear Mr. Traubel,

     I have only time at present to acknowledge receipt of the cable message you were kind enough to send us, with its glad tidings of Whitman's condition, & which came to hand this morning.

 
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     We were afraid that he had had a bad relapse & were very anxious to hear further. Your message is reassuring, & we can now await the ordinary mails with composure.

     Dr. Johnston joins me in cordial thanks to you for your kindness, & with friendly regards,


I remain


Yours sincerely


J.W. Wallace

I gave to W. to read, and it "penetrated" him, he said.

     His "condition is to be regarded as serious," he says, for which reason "I am not satisfied with the way the proofs are coming. I never had such curious woes in proofs before. The printer cuts up all sorts of capers. It does not yet prosper as I would like." Had been reading Current Literature, not yet done with it.

     Gave me Christmas supplement of Review of Reviews (portraits of sovereigns). I rescued also from his waste papers a portrait he had marked "1860"—usually given about 1850 as date—and an odd bit of manuscript:

     Yr's, and the third kind solicitation, rec'd;—to wh' I hurriedly respond.

     The answer to such questions ought to be the thought and result of a lifetime, and would need a big volume. Seems to me indeed the whole varied machinery and intellect, and even emotion, of the civilized universe these years are working toward the answer. (My own books, poems and prose have been a direct and indirect contribution, or attempt.) No doubt what will be sent to you will be salutary and valuable. But perhaps I may vary and help by growling a little, as follows:

     Though the elements of "perfect manhood" are much the same all lands and times, they will always be shifted and graduated a good deal by conditions, and especially by the United States. I sh'd say we could not have (all things considered) any better chances than mainly exist in these States to-day, common education, general inquiry, freedom, the press, Christianity, travel, etc. etc.

 
Wednesday, March 4, 1891

     5:30 P.M. Good half hour with W., finding him somewhat better than last night. But he describes the day to me as "full of

 
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disturbance, oppression." When I asked more specifically, he replied that it was "all over—a general bodily devilishness." Yet he talked quite serenely about several things. The proofs, at last read, all tied up on bed. He was in better humor about them. "Evidently, they have listened to your complaint: they are better set, better read." Had "eaten a decent meal" and was "the better for it." How about last night's sleep? "Bad—bad. I was up many times." And had again dispensed with rubbings. "Could not stand it."

     Left Harper's Weekly with him. A picture of John Wesley excited his admiration. "A handsome picture—certainly, too, a more handsome man than I had expected to see." Portrait of Professor Winehell also attracted him. Very much amused when I called his attention to the fact that Stead's letter the other day had been addressed to Walt Whitman, "Connecticut, U.S.A.""I did not notice. Queer—don't you think? They don't seem to have much idea of our lay over there." Had been reading his own "National Literature" piece, North American Review, which had come today—a copy (only one) marked "complimentary." Offered me to take, but I told him tomorrow would do. "I have reminded them of the slips I had asked for: they seem to have forgotten." Gave me a letter to mail to Mrs. Heyde. It contained money. Cautioned me to "get it in the right box," laughing meanwhile. Would he be up at Harned's Friday? "If I could! But things are against me—not the weather only, all things." How did the Review piece suit him? "It is well set-up," diplomatically, "but wait," looking at me over his glasses, "you will see—you have a copy to meditate upon." Had read in papers that Edwin Booth had made a fizzle of Shylock the other night in New York. "It is odd about this Booth—he acts in humors. Today with power, tomorrow without. It was different with the father. I have seen him in all tempers, yet he was always powerful. I have seen him at the very top of his genius—have seen him at his least—yet even the least was very great, a lustrous star. And besides, he would never surrender to the moment. He would force himself to the edge, and when there once,

 
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all was right. I am convinced it is not in Edwin to do this. It only belongs to men of the first class."

     Gave me a $20 bill. Wishing it changed for two fives and five twos, these last to send from time to time to Mrs. Heyde. Said he had received Review check for $75, "which I think quite decent pay."

     Proofs: he returned me pages 7 to 25 inclusive. "Let the printer use it as necessary—then keep it, and welcome, too!"

     Wishes me to get him envelopes from Cohen. Will arrange samples tomorrow.

 
Thursday, March 5, 1891

     6 P.M. Stayed a full half hour with W. He had been in the bathroom. Came laboriously over and took a seat in the small light chair by the fire. How was he? "If anything, eased—if any change, it is that way—but this indigestion, this tied-up-ness, is bad, persistent."

     Adler had asked me Sunday if there was anything he could send to add to W.'s comfort. I negatived. W. now said, "You were right—I can see nothing. I am as comfortable as a man could be in my condition: well-cared for, enough to eat and drink, friends. The last few years I have made considerable money by my writing itself, which had never been the case before. The last few days my mail has been the most horrible medley of requests, favors, flatteries you can think of. And I have had simply to lump them all in the fire. But I was about to say, thank the Professor for me—give him my love. Say I have my measure of ease here, such as it is; that I am happy to have him think of me but that he must not do more than he is already doing," alluding to the fund. "As for food, I eat enough—too much, I sometimes think. This noon Mary brought in some rice pudding. It was delicious—tasted it—kept on tasting it—till finally it was all gone. Now I am sorry—my stomach won't digest it—and there it is! I find that so much of my food seems to amount to nothing just in that way."

 
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     Had slept better last night. Urine restored to its normal color. Bucke has been writing of the election in Canada today. W. warned, "It may sail us nearer, nearer, union." I returned old proofs to Myrick today and brought W. two new galleys. In improved humor about it. "We are almost done with these poems—good!" On the bed a package marked thus:

     N A Rev: article
'National Literature'
two copies

     Said it was for me. How did the piece grow on him? "It does not grow. I feel now as I look at it that it don't really touch the National Literature subject—don't even graze the edge of it: only suggests, suggests, suggests, leading to nothing definite." I remarked, "Well, it may be like 'Leaves of Grass'—important in the things it leads out to, not in any outright gift." And he, "Yes, perhaps. And that is in fact the true spinal thing in all books. We need go no further," but, granting this, "I am still not satisfied with the piece. It seems to leave everything untold—everything." And then, "The slips are now in your hands. Examine them. I got them today after all—have now sent most of them away. We must wait and see what they come to."

     Gave me quite a package of mail—a book among them, ordered by a Western man. Returned me Harper's Weekly and Current Literature.

     I alluded to the intelligence of my news-agent, whereat he remarked, "I understand. Such men—of the streets—mechanics: they are very mines, offering every treasure." I brought him new bills in exchange for the $20 bill he gave me yesterday and he was delighted, fingering them with childlike pleasure. After contemplating the five for some time without a word, he suddenly turned to me and said, "We have our international copyright at last—the bill is signed today. The United States, which should have been the first to pass the thing, is the last. Now all civilized nations have it. It is a question of honesty—of morals—of a literature, in fact. I know it will be said by some—Here,

 
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now, how is it that you, Walt Whitman, author of 'Leaves of Grass,' are in favor of such a thing? Ought the world not to own the world in common? Well, when others do, we will, too. This copyright bill is the doing as we would be done by." I laughed and suggested that Congressmen opposed it so long on the pleas that it would deprive the people of books, W. exclaiming, "Not so—that was not the issue—the issue was, whether the man here who manufactured doll's eyes should be wiped out of the market by some Swiss or other manufacturer of doll's eyes who would make them two cents a hundred cheaper." What form literary protection would after a while take he "would not prophesy." But "there will come changes and mighty ones."

     Speaking of copyright again, W. said, "It is comparative, this virtue matter. What is true and right to one generation is wrong or unfinished to the next."

     I had a couple of letters from Symonds this morning—remarkable, both. Here they are:


Am Hof, Davos Platz, Switzerland

Feb. 21, 1891


Dear Mr. Traubel

     Your letter of the 7th and the beautiful verses, original in thought & graceful in expression, which you sent with it, bring back to my memory a letter which I once wrote you on the occasion of the paragraph I sent for Walt's anniversary.

     I wrote the letter, & tore it up, because I thought that the friendly feeling expressed in it from me to a stranger whom it was not likely I should ever see, might appear to you sentimental or unreal.

     I feel I was mistaken; for yours which lies before me now is full of that confidence & straightforward comradeship which inspires a like return, & would have justified the warmth of my spontaneous utterance.

     We English people, especially those of us who have "aristocratic" connections, & who have been bred at a public school like Eton or Harrow, & at Oxford or Cambridge, we, I say, find it hard to break the conventional husk, & be as simple as God made us.

     These national peculiarities have great drawbacks, & offer obstacles to the free currents of manly sympathy. Yet they have stood the

 
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Anglo-Saxon in good stead during his long brutal warfare with new lands & savage populations. So I ought not to complain only I feel it rather ridiculous to have written you a long letter of sincere feeling, & to have torn it up, because I thought it "too forthcoming"—now that I am sure you would have liked it.

     I hope that the spirit of our Master, if it water & leaven the whole mass, will eventually do much to lift what is free & noble in men above the petty pens of their castes & creeds & prejudices. It has already done this in those of us who carry written on our hearts (if hearts can be tattooed by life-long thought-preoccupations), the letters W. W. Queen Mary said that "Calais" would be found tattooed upon her heart, poor woman!

     Still we must be careful, walking in the footsteps of the Master, not to break the limits of a masculine reserve. It is very difficult, I think—at least, it requires a wonderful equipoise of factors in the man—to be as fluid & responsive, as elastic in sympathy & as full of buoyant impulse, as Walt Whitman is, without tumbling over into what the English call "gush."

     This sort of predicament is drawn forth from me by the very keen interest I take in all that you have said to me about your life with Walt. I want to tell you, candidly & sincerely, how grateful all disciples of our Master must be to those who tend & brighten with their service and affection his declining years: & how much I personally thank you for the good thought which inspired you to write to me as you have done. I am easily drawn to all those who have a clear unsuspicious nature, such as I find here among my dear friends of these Swiss mountains—people whose only faults are hereditary love of hard blows, love of the wine-cup, and love of mastering their neighbors in business; but who, for the rest, give their hands & hearts to a comrade. I am sure I owe it to Walt that I am able to appreciate this grand stuff of humanity, in spite of my culture & my criticism & the burden of book-learning I carry about with me, & like a pedlar display to the public in my literary products.

     And I owe it to him that my heart warms to you, who are helping him, & who are so generous in friendly feeling toward myself. What a man he is! who can make the world kin by common touch & central throb of his own vital self!

     Write to me again, & send me, if you wish, a photograph by wh. I may know you as in a glass darkly. I seek and feel after the bodily

 
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presentment of a man who occupies my thought. And it is only too probable that we shall never meet; for life is growing for me yearly more & more difficult. I find it every year more troublesome to live, more irksome to do my daily tale of work.

     I exchanged some words by letter with Walt lately about his "Calamus." I do not think he quite understood what I was driving at. Yet that does not signify. I wish you would tell me what you & your friends feel to be the central point in this most vital doctrine of comradeship. Out here in Europe I see signs of an awakening of enthusiastic relations between men, which tend to assume a passionate character. I am not alarmed by this, but I think it ought to be studied.


In true friendship, yours,


John Addington Symonds


Am Hof, Davos Platz, Switzerland


Dear Mr. T.,

     Here are a few sentences about Walt, if you can or care to use them. They are dictated in simple truth by a sense of the impossibility of saying aught to the point yet on Walt's work.


Yours,


J.A.S.


[See Appendix II, page 593, for the text of this letter]
Did not give to W., but spoke of the personal letter, which I promised to leave with him tomorrow. W. said, "Poor fellow! He seems on the down-road. Must be sicker, sicker. You remember, he speaks in the letter to Johnston of being decrepit—poor fellow!" And several times again referred to Symonds. "I do not always seem the worst of the lot, though bad enough, God knows! Poor Symonds! And so the letters come—brimful—but in a lowered key!"

     Referred me to an English reprint of Ingersoll's address. "Not handsome, but useful." Gratified. It would give the cause still greater currency, and so on, speaking in most delightful, impersonal way.

 
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Friday, March 6, 1891

     7:40 P.M. Called in with Brinton, who had been with me to take dinner at Harned's. Brinton to lecture ("Bruno") at church. Took Brinton right up—no introduction. W. seemed glad to see us—invited us to sit down. I gave Brinton a chair—sat myself on the edge of the bed near the door. W. sat, one quilt pinned round his shoulders, another thrown across his knees. When we first talked, he seemed reluctant; but afterwards, when we got on a subject that moved him (about the actors, for instance), he was vigorous and free. Brinton remarked the wonderful room and W.'s seeming retention of vocal musical force and mental grip. On the bed were my proofs (Myrick had not given me any new ones today, but hopes to let me have all poems tomorrow). W. was very frank to tell Brinton of his physical trouble, though he did not dwell on it.

     Brinton at one point congratulated W. on "the new work" and said, "I did not know till today that it was to be done." W. then, "It is hardly to be dignified as 'work': it is simply a last drop, a leave-taking, my farewell—a gout," pronouncing it as the physical gout is pronounced. Brinton called it gout—G-O-O-T, but W. insisted, "It is a word used in 'Macbeth. ' I remember it with the old players. My custom was, in the old days, to listen sharply to the pronunciation, accent of the actors—then to stand by that—to stick to it—absorb, adopt it. And gout was gout with the old Shakespearean actors!" Afterwards, "I saw the Macbeth of many actors—Forrest, Booth, Macready—but it seemed to me the best of all was Tom Hamblin," going into particulars, describing Hamblin physically and mentally—much to our joy—in a voice noble and strong. What did he think of Booth's? "He did not play Macbeth much. He rather affected the plays which involved intellect—the more subtle by-playings—Iago-ish characters," etc. Did Edwin inherit this? "Only imitatively—that's all." Described the old theatres inimitably—the pit—"There's no doubt the old actors played to the pit, not the upper part of the house." Dwelt upon "the board

 
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seats, the dark entrances—anything but alluring—but things were comfortable enough when you got in once. Nothing anywhere like the elegance, finishedness of the modern theatre." Told Brinton more definitely about some of the plays Hamblin "excelled in." All this time he displayed a great vigor and music of speech. I picked up a Gutekunst portrait from the table and gave it to Brinton—W. willing. Left with him the Symonds personal letter, which Brinton spoke of as "remarkable." We also gave Brinton a slip of Kennedy's Dutch matter.
 
Saturday, March 7, 1891

     5:10 P.M. W. in his room, with dinner just finished and appearing in his recent usual humor. But he was not well, says he feels "miserably congested, bound up, in all ways." At last even admitted the idea that a doctor might be profitably called. Yet, "I shall try my second powder first. I took the other the night you brought it. No, it did no good—hardly touched me." He had said, "I wish Doctor was here"—Bucke—"I should like to talk with him about this." Well, Bucke was not here. Why should we not call Walsh? He had "thought of calling in Benjamin," but "if Walsh was mentioned by Osler, perhaps we'd better reconsider the matter." I had brought him the final proofs of poems. They made him happy. Would send them up to me if I did not get down tomorrow. "For a wonder," he says, "the Critic arrived today, and I find several Whitman squibs." I had myself counted three.

     Returned me Symonds' letter, advising me to "let Doctor Bucke have a glimpse of it," and saying, "How full and fine it is—noble! Noble!" What did he think of Symonds' constant reference to W. as master? "Oh! I account for it on the basis of the student in him: it was especially in other days the student-phrase." But did he think our fellows here could ever use it—O'Connor, Burroughs, Bucke? "Oh! No, no, no," shaking his head positively, "none of them—not one. Not any one of us—I know. But in Symonds we have to remember its background.

 
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Symonds is a college man—soaked, absorbed, the product of great schools. Almost prenatally bent to all that. And master comes to his lips as naturally as some other word might to us. I feel we have no call to a severe judgment. The Australian boys all address me as master, I suppose with reference to the same understanding. In the schools it was, 'Master, shall I do it?' or 'Master, will you show me this or that?'—always master. It could not have been used by Symonds with any other meaning—for instance, with anything akin to the supernatural interest given such an address to Confucius, Jesus." W. smiled over Symonds' reference to his aristocratic connections. "I notice he does that very frequently—but not to vaunt it. He simply sets it forth as a fact." Thought the touch upon the Swiss mountaineers "especially rich," and when I said, "I am going to ask him more particularly as to the Calamus paragraph," W. said, "Yes, do: it would be meat for us all." I said nothing to W. about the second note, preferring to keep that till the birthday.

     W. supported our "anxiety" as to "late reports about Symonds"—they "seem to grow more serious—not only in the prints but in his letters."

     Thought that Western newspaper man, quoted in the Critic, "subtly humorous" in that twit on his voice.

     Thought he would "need two days or more for the poem-pages." Again and again says, "This will undoubtedly be the last: the end of that is near." I was rejoiced to have him give his assent at last to the idea of the doctor. How long has been the fight!

     W. much interested in my letter from Mrs. O'Connor:


112 M St. NW

March 5, 1891.


Dear Mr. Traubel,

     Yours of Feb. 28 was rec'd and I wrote at once to Mr. Kimball. Now let me know as soon as you hear from him, & if you do not hear very soon, let me know. He has a gift, not uncommon, of procrastination.

     I will enclose a copy of something he has just written for the Life Saving Report, of the year William died, only just out, I think.

 
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     Thanks for the Lippincott, & also the Conservator.

     I will send a line to Walt also. But I not only work from 9 to 4, but last night had to go back & work till near 10 P.M., so you see I get very little time to read.

     I am sorry you give me no better news of our dear Walt.


With much love—


Yours truly


E. M. O'Connor

"I, also, had a letter from her. Yes, she enclosed a copy of Kimball's piece with mine, too. And quite well done it is, too."

     Talked of the election in Canada: they had gone against the Liberals. But W. thought "only for the present." Did he anticipate annexation sometime? "Undoubtedly—it is one of the sure things of the future." But I had yesterday discussed the matter with the new Unitarian (Canadian-English) preacher here in Camden, and he had declared it "impossible." W. then, "If it is impossible, then it will surely come to pass—surely. It is like those tendencies in the individual critter—working, working, subtle, underground, long before the plant shows its flower. And we know, too, how much a man outgrows before he knows he has grown at all; how a Methodist is way off from Methodism a long time before he realizes it, by the force of tendencies that can't be stayed. I look at the Canadian question as a question of much the same. I know you can't mention annexation but to rouse the devil—they get mad as hell—oh! every quill is out at a jump! But that again is an evidence in my favor, for these men who grow unconsciously get mad as hyenas to have you notify them of it."

     W. was intensely attracted by my description of a mail car. Said, "One thing I have always wanted to do—trace the passage of one of my letters to Dr. Bucke; but our stupid officials here in the Post Office never could help to that or anything."

     W. gave me letter from Wallace dated January 6.

 
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Sunday, March 8, 1891

     4:40 P.M. W. received me cordially. I just met Warren at the door, W. having given him proofs to bring up to me. Said nothing about doctor—I did not as yet urge it. But he spoke of his continued evil feeling. Warren says that twice during each of last night's and Friday night's rubbings W. had had to pause and urinate: unheard of before. A sharp fine drizzle out of doors, W. asking, "I suppose it is as ugly as it looks?"

     I just received the following letter from the Post Office (from Baker):


New York, March 7th 1891


My dear Traubel:

     The Colonel wishes me to say to you that he will give you something on the subject of "Spirituality" some time next week.

     We go to Albany tomorrow, when the Col. delivers his Shakespeare lecture. This is the lecture he will give in this City on Sunday night Mch 22d at the Broadway Theatre cor. of 41st and B'way. The Colonel has nothing to do with the arrangement or management. It is in the hands of the New York Press Club, and for the benefit of their Building Fund. We have no tickets or passes. The Colonel himself has none. He expects to pay for his own family. He gives the Club the entire proceeds.

     I am in too big a hurry to think another thought—so good bye, dear fellow, from


Yrs always


Baker.

Said W. as he read it, "What a noble free fellow! A light touch—strong, too! And so you will have the piece? Bless the Colonel!" And as to the address, "Brave man! How generous and great!" Laying letter on lap and looking at me, "And to be there! What a treat!" Dwelt upon the Colonel's generosity. Here he was "doing another splendid deed!" And I said, "He is full of them! They fall from him like flowers!" To which W., "Indeed! Indeed!" A little toast of the Colonel on "Facts" at some dinner
 
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the other day had struck W. when I read it aloud, as I did. Said to me, "I have written Bucke today. Dr. Johnston, also. And I have sent a book—a big book—to Signor Nencione—Italian. Hartmann sent me the address." He ferreted out and handed me a postal from Hartmann giving address. Then, "That fellow Hartmann threatens to develop into a handsome man. As he goes on towards the corpulent, he puts on a great physical port—body, head, plenty of hair, all that."
 
Monday, March 9, 1891

     6:10 P.M. W. seemed to me to be better, if appearance could be counted on confidently. Yet I found him about to send Warren to Brown's for more powders. He told Warren last night that if he got no better he would send for a doctor—mentioning Benjamin—Warren, however, protesting, as I had advised, and W. finally saying, "Let it be Walsh, then. But don't go till I tell you." I took W. the last two galleys for his make-up. He "receives them gladly"—that his word. Was ready with prose. "I will not promise you the pages tomorrow—let me say Wednesday: that will make it sure." Radiant flowers on the table. "They are from a cousin of mine. I have had a visitor today—her name is or was Clift. She is newly married. She brought her new husband along. She was from Brooklyn. Her mother was my mother's cousin. Never met her before." Had been reading Century today, "here and there," he said. Asked me in detail about the Colonel's lecture—what it is for, etc. And then, "It will be a grand night! Well—go, if you can, it will be your everlasting memory. And so all this is for the Press Club? Do you know, Horace, I feel as if I ought to do something for the Club myself. I have never forsworn my allegiance to the printers—never. And today I respond to them as in the best days I have known. O, the noble army! And let me tell you: if you go over there, go for me as well as yourself. See the fellows—tell them Walt Whitman will give them something—anything—if there's

 
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a place for him. What could it be? Perhaps I could send one of Sidney's busts, or autographed books. At any rate," looking directly at me, "take my authorization with you: I authorize you to promise just the thing you think they ought to have and they will take." I said, "I find reporters and printers uniformly favorable towards you." W. quickly, "Well, I consider that a plume," for it was "better the friendship of such men than of literary changelings." Called my attention to the fact that the Long Islander reprinted my Lippincott's piece in full, giving me paper. Johnston had sent him over from England a photographic reproduction of one of his own postals. It was vivid enough to deceive and much amused W.

     I met the J.C.T. Jr. (Trautwine: West Philadelphia) of W.'s footnote yesterday. He was surprised W. had quoted him. W. said, "If you are right, and the letter is from, not to, Trautwine, then I need to alter my footnote before I get the piece in my book." W. now uses the to.

     Gave me: Scovel's postal, which he said he "endorsed" and thought Jim meant it; an old letter of Doctor's (Nov. 23) speaking of Wallace and of "Sunset Breeze" poem (says as to this, "I do not understand why it is you fellows are so struck with it"); also a little slip on which he had written "Average American Personality"—and with it some notes about our Union armies, which, he wonders, "would—wouldn't it? —make a good article?" Finally an autographed copy "Sunset Breeze" poem.


Tuesday


Dear Walt

     I have been long wanting (longing) to write just such an article as Horace Traubel's about you in Mch Lippincott. It is round and perfect as a star—the best brochure about Whitman ever produced—


Yours


JMS[covel]

     Bucke writes me (date the 6th) of W.'s condition.

 
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Tuesday, March 10, 1891

     7:45 P.M. In at W. 's only a few minutes. Left with him letter as follows I had from Trautwine today:


3301 Haverford St., Philadelphia

March 8th, 1891


Dear Sir:

     After Mr. Salter's lecture today (which I enjoyed greatly) I went to Broad St. station and was agreeably surprised to find the news-stand open. I got a Lippincott, and was a little dismayed to find my rather disparaging remarks quoted, until I noticed that through a happy accident they have been put down as from a letter TO me, instead of FROM me.

     My wife has ventured, on the strength of it, to write to the old man, and I enclose her letter herewith, asking if you will kindly hand it to him. In it she asks for the privilege of calling upon him some day with me. We should both esteem this a great pleasure, provided it does not tax him too severely; and we can show him photographs of his very ardent admirer, Mr. Harrison.


Yours truly


John C. Trautwine Jr.

It confirms my own and Williams' idea of the footnote. Mrs. Trautwine says in her note to W. that some letter more definitely setting forth Harrison's views of W. had been sent by them from Europe. But it never came to us. She does not say in whose charge it was put.

     I heard from Wallace again today.

     Met Bisbee, Universalist minister, at Contemporary Club. Congratulated me on Lippincott's article. "It has given me the best idea, so far, of the old man, and I have always wanted it." Then went on to say that about ten years ago he was one of a committee of five deputed to select books for a town library in Spencer, Mass.; that "Leaves of Grass" was bought with others but the Committee objected to its reception, Bisbee alone

 
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taking issue; that he then bought the book from the town and has it in his possession still.

     Boyle talked of W.'s tomb. His idea would be, he said, "simply to have a rough boulder with a bronze leaf somewhere carelessly disposed."

     W. had no proofs ready today. But would "tomorrow, certainly." Had not "felt up to it."

 
Wednesday, March 11, 1891

     5:30 P.M. "Having completed dinner," W. said, "I now feel refreshed." Yet, had "been having a poor time of it." Did the powders work? "Scarcely at all. Yet their tendency is good—that much I can feel." But "the past two months have kept me very near border-line. The indigestion is frightful. It closes up everything."

     Proofs were ready—on bed—rolled up, and I put them in my pocket. "I have to trust a good deal to their taste," he explained. "If they put a good man on it, he will know just what to do. But if they do not, then we'll have the devil. I have tried to make that plain on the slip here, but I am doubtful; depend on you to enlarge till he understands." Prose copy not ready yet, though it was on the bed and he had been working at it. I told him Spencer incident from Bisbee. "That is an item worth citing," he said. I had asked Bisbee, "Would they take the book now, do you suppose?""I think they would." But W. shook his head. "I doubt it—doubt it—or at least, there are many who would not. There are still prohibitions—plenty of them."

     Returned me Trautwine's letter—kept the wife's. "She writes in a warm, generous, friendly way: it is precious to me. But the husband is a little too sensitive: I see nothing amiss in the footnote—do not mind to have him speak of my style—have I a style?—as rough. For that is a part of it, if anything is. The other letter the woman speaks of certainly never came to me—must have been withheld."

 
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     Was glad to hear Wallace and Johnston had received Lippincott's. But I could not show him Wallace's note, on account of the remarks on W.'s condition. Glad he did not ask it. Told me Joe Stoddart's son had been here today. "He came from Truth [periodical], New York. They sent him to interview me." Well, was he interviewed? "It was very short, very—only a minute. But a nice boy—19 or 20 or so. I liked him."

     And again, "Ignatius Donnelly sends me his new book," leaning over and picking it up from the floor (it was "Caesar's Column")—handing to me. I said at once, "I know of it. It will not interest you." He instantly, "So I saw, but I thought it would interest you. It ought to go in your collection." I asked, "Then you do not want it back?""No, not if you want it. Keep it—such books are not for me anyhow." But he had written his thanks to Donnelly's publisher, or to Donnelly through them, asking that Donnelly see the postal. Gave me a letter from Gilchrist. "He probably received the Lippincott's, but he does not say so. He tantalizingly lumps all together and says 'papers received.' That leaves lots of latitude." What of Donnelly's radicalism? "It does not worry me. We need the men who go before—the pioneers—west, west, still west—to break the roads." As to Shakespeare controversy, "I am not satisfied that we know all that is to be known, or ever will know—though William O'Connor was confident the time would come. I am not read up on the lore. I long ago confessed that what had much weight with me was the fact that such a man as William—so cute, so profound—had taken up with the idea, espoused it hotly. And I have always been prepared, anyhow, to push aside, break through, come out from, the ordinary canons as to Shakespeare—the literary code. Now I rest myself with saying, back of all the plays is a something unrevealed, perhaps the profoundest so far in literature—an elusive factor—a breath of which we catch, but no more. Indeed, I sometimes feel that this could be said of all the real literary achievement, take history when or as you will."

 
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     Was curious, when I spoke of having sat for some time with Maurice Egan at Boothby's. Said, "Tell me about him—how he looks—how he talks—what manner of man he is." After a while adding, "I have always taken him to be a cute, knowing fellow. The good sample of the Irishman is very good and the bad damned bad: no better, no worse!"

     I read him a little note sent by Ingersoll to some diners last week, and when I was done, W. exclaimed, "That is exquisite—the very essence of wit. The touch as light as the French."

     The following is W.'s note "To maker up" of pages:



To maker up—

     Just do the best you can with them—in general follow as they are here on the galleys—where there are pieces with notes after let such pieces always come at the bottoms of the pages.

     Wish a tasty smooth look of the make up of the pages—for that purpose I can always add or take out when necessary a line or two any where—the paragraphs only headed "L of G purport" I can easily break up & give headings to make paragraphs to suit pages—(two pieces I have mark'd to be set aside outside from the make up)—


 
Thursday, March 12, 1891

     5:40 P.M. This is a good hour to see W. If he is bright at all, it is now, after the dinner. He denies that his appetite has failed, though he eats less. He says it is a measure of caution. He looked so much improved, I asked if the powders had not helped him; but he only shook his head. "No, no, I am still as slow, sluggish, congested, as I was," which is certainly not borne out externally. I had brought him six pages made up, and this seemed to please him—saying he had not expected so many. We discussed some of the details of the book. Myrick will make up the rest of the pages tomorrow. I had questions to ask W. and write Myrick at once. Two of the poems, though in type, W. will lay aside—"Ship Ahoy" and "Death's Valley." Why? The first is in the hands of Youth's Companion, unprinted, and the other in Harper's, unused—"and both are paid for." W. adding, "It is a point of honor. I do not see how I can put them in except I ask

 
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their permission, and I would not do that. I had them put in type because I wished to have them ready in case either appeared while we were working on the book." I had an indistinct feeling that he had told me long ago that Harper's had rejected that poem. "If I did, it was by mistake—they took it and paid for it. Yes, it was for the Inness picture—and they have had it nearly two years—the matter of that. They refused six or seven but took that." Said he had received copy of Truth today "with message in it from young Stoddart." Gave to me. It had not attracted him. He insisted that the poem there printed from Tennyson as new "is very old—I have read it many times." As to the full-figure spidery picture of Tennyson (in color), "It is the worst I have ever seen—no man has a body like that. I have seen plenty of specimens of spidery men. They are many in Washington—come up from the South—but never one as spidery as that. I have no doubt it is bogus—as to me it certainly is worthless." Told him substance of letter I had from Johnston today:

New York, Mar. 11, 1891


Dear Traubel:

     May says "why of course they can both come to our house as well as not." So—that is settled. That's what a big house is for. If we cannot enjoy it in this way, I shall move that we move into a smaller one mighty quick.

     I know nothing about who the benefit is for. We returned from Florida last Saturday (gone 3 weeks). On the train from Baltimore I found Stedman & his wife—he had been to B[altimore] to lecture as you probably know. He said he put in some big licks for Walt. He thinks he sees great falling off in vigor and continuity in Walt's article in Lippincott. And I guess he's right. It's no wonder—the wonder is that Walt does so much and so well with all his disabilities.

     Your article certainly fulfills all the promise you made for it, and will hold its own in Whitman Literature.


Excuse great haste,


Yours sincerely


J. H. Johnston
Love to Walt.

 
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Did not wish to show it to him. He inquired more particularly as to Stedman lecture. "As would appear from that he has delivered at least one. But I am surprised if that be so. Why not a word in the papers—and if it's expected they would be black with headlines of it. Tell me that again—what was it Johnston said about the licks?" I repeated and he exclaimed, "Good fellow! Thanks! Thanks!" And again, "I am whetted to see more what he says. But I suppose they will in the end be printed authoritatively—that will be our chance." Read aloud letter to him I had from Baker:

New York, March 11th 1891


My dear Traubel:

     No, you never intimated anything—I was only lamenting to myself my own limitations, and wishing that I had something to do with the Press Lecture, so that I might invite you to come and go with me.

     But it is not certain even that I shall be at the lecture. I have heard it twice, and, in addition, helped the Colonel in getting it together—that is, it was all dictated to me, so that I know it almost by heart. He gave it in Albany last Sunday night—to get it oiled for easy delivery on the 22d, before a metropolitan audience.

     I do hope you will come on. The Colonel has privately printed copies—that is, he has had it printed for himself—but he has given out no copies to anybody. It is a great utterance. No one, it seems to me, could enter more intimately into the arcana of Shakespeare's heart, soul and brain than does the Colonel. I do not know, today, a more competent exponent of the great poet and dramatist.

     I am, as always, in a hurry—on the dead run. When will the day of leisure dawn?


Yours always,


Baker

It took him by storm and he said, "It must be true! It must be true! And you'd better go over boy—you will not regret it—nights like that are worth paying for."

     Reeder wants to come over—take the room by flash light. W. said, "Do as you choose. I am willing, but I would advise against it—it will do no good—he will not get it." And laughingly to

 
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my insistence that we might try, "Yes, try, but this den does not lend itself that way. It is like 'Leaves of Grass' itself. You can no more catch it than this twilight—these mists of the closing day." But perhaps the outlet to it? He laughed, "I see you are determined. I admit, 'Leaves of Grass' is less accomplishment than preparation."

     W. gave me three letters from Bucke, "for your collection," he said. "They will have an interest for you, especially that of the 10th" [containing news of Canadian elections].

     Repeating to W. a story about Ingersoll, printed in Truth (he had not seen it), he laughed heartily, "I don't know how near true it is, but it sounds like the Colonel, however it may miss him in fact." W. laughingly said, "The sunset poem which you fellows like so much was one of the poems declined by the Harper's. So you see you are not right after all."

     I received letter from Kimball to this effect:


Treasury Department, Office of the

General Superintendent

Life-Saving Service

Washington, D.C. March 10, 1891


My dear Sir:

     Your note of the 28th ultimo, inquiring whether I can furnish you with a full set of the reports compiled and written by Mr. O'Connor during his service in this office, is received.

     In reply it is perhaps proper for me to say, in the first instance, that none of the reports of the Life-Saving Service were "compiled and written" by Mr. O'Connor in any proper sense of the term. The editing of the reports, including the discussion of methods and plans, the review of the transactions of the year, the making of recommendations, etc., I have always personally attended to; and although there are, in this part of the work, some forms of expression suggested by Mr. O'Connor as I dictated the matter, (according to a custom enforced upon me by a nervous difficulty in using a pen, which has afflicted me for many years,) and an occasional idea adopted after consultation as to the treatment of the topic, there is scarcely a thought that is not entirely my own.

 
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     There are, however, certain portions of the reports that should be properly credited to Mr. O'Connor, and these possess great literary merit. They include nearly all of the narratives comprised under the captions "Loss of Life" and "Award of Medals," and those of the more important disasters appearing under the title "Services of Crews." A few of the accounts under the captions mentioned were written by Lieutenant Walker and others. Those of Mr. O'Connor are, I presume, what you propose to republish.

     In this undertaking I tender you my cordial cooperation; indeed Mrs. O'Connor will inform you that I first suggested the idea to her, and I have been trying to find an opportunity to pick out from the reports the proper parts, as I then promised to do; but pressure of current work, together with the preparation of two annual reports now in hand, and the increased burden of my labors incident to Mr. O'Connor's sickness and to the many changes in the personnel of my office, have made it, so far, impossible of accomplishment. My evening hours at home have been about as fully occupied with official labors as my days at the Department. Now that Congress, the presence of which always complicates our work, has adjourned, and my office is gradually approaching a settled condition, I hope soon to be able to redeem my promise.

     I wish, if it were possible, that you could visit Washington at an early day, as I do not see how your task can be properly and satisfactorily initiated without my personal aid.

     Again assuring you of my hearty sympathy with the enterprise, and expressing the sincere hope that it may be a fortunate one for yourself and for Mrs. O'Connor, in whose welfare I shall always take an earnest interest, I am,


Yours sincerely,


S. I. Kimball

     P. S. It just now occurs to me that possibly there may be an objection of law or propriety to the project, or at least to my being concerned in it. I hardly think there can be but perhaps out of abundant caution, we had better ascertain about it, which may be done when you come. I said to W., "That is the worth of officialdom. You see, I hit him on his honor when I spoke of O'Connor's reports." This made W. laugh and he said, "I have no doubt that is true, but it is all bosh.

 
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They were O'Connor's reports—of course they were, and he knows it." I left it with W. to examine. Did he think the fellow would put difficulties in our way? "He might—it looks a little that way. But we must not anticipate them."
 
Friday, March 13, 1891

     5:40 P.M. I could see at once that W. was in no good condition. Eyes heavy—manner thick and unwieldy—voice husked. And this appeared to have been the case—had spent a bad night, with little rest. Had read Kimball's letter and written this on envelope:



     I sh'd say (after reading this) go on & excerpt & make up the pieces from the Reports just the same. If necessary we will get our New Jersey MC (Senate or House) to get a full set of the Reports—but I think Mr. Kimball will join & help when it comes to the pinch.


W. W.

Saying now to me, "You were right in your view yesterday—he wants to assert his position. But no matter—see him, write him, and he'll come around. Or if he won't, we'll do the thing anyhow. Our Congressman here would without a doubt be glad to furnish us. But you will get around the difficulty. He is a vacillating purposeless kind of a man—has no rudder. William was his rudder. I have no question but if I could meet him I could wheedle him about my thumb, and you can do it as well. But these scamps are a nuisance, true." I suggested writing to Kimball—ignoring a great part of his letter—simply asking for the reports. W. assented, "Well, try that: I am sure you will provide yourself the best method and succeed at last."

     Commenting on the storms—the incessant rain, now on for days—W. says with melodic voice, "The old folks tell us, there is no storm but has an end at last: yes, at last!" —looking with ope-spread eye out upon the darkening day. Returned me the proofs I had left yesterday. I had rest of poetic pages with me. Necessary

 
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for him either to cut or add. I laughingly said, "Add, don't cut—let the divine genius descend upon you and ease your pen." He then, "I am sure it will come about all right: I usually find that my good demon does not nap in an emergency."

     He gave Warren the "Ship Ahoy!" poem today and asked him if a sailor would find anything to criticise in it—Warrie saying, "No."

     Someone had remarked that Harrison was "utterly and unspeakably a small man." W. laughed and said, "Don't we all repeat that—echo it? Yes, I guess we do—we do!" The World has been discussing Stedman's lecture, referring in one point to W. W.: xxx

 
Mr. STEDMAN ON POETRY
xxx
 
From the New York World, March 8.

     The other day Mr. Edmund C. Stedman undertook to answer the question, "What is Poetry?" His audience consisted of the faculty and students of Johns Hopkins University.

     Giving a definition of anything is difficult enough, but fixing the exact meaning of such an evanescent and spiritual art as that of poetry is something quite as far beyond human power as is the translation into articulate speech of the inspiration of the stars on a clear frosty night when their glories are at their best....

     The poet, perhaps, cannot be any more clearly defined than he was by Mr. Stedman. He must have insight, emotion, passion, perception of beauty, and he must express himself in words, in a language that has wings and is rhythmical. Other men than those who satisfy this definition have poetical feeling, but as Mr. Stedman says, there must be poetical expression. The art lies in the form. Walt Whitman has produced some noble poetry, but he has covered up very much nobler poetical thoughts in a crude and barbarous contempt of form which happily has not had and is not likely to have a successful imitator. There can be no singing without either harmony or melody....
W. had not seen but said he had "been looking with the best eyes" he had to "see if the papers would mention the lectures at all."

 
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     Wrote in proofs I received from him today: "Will send you a batch—perhaps the whole—of the prose stuff (copy)—Monday morn'g next. Will make about 16 pages—all long primer."

     Bush alludes to a Whitman convert in letter of 11th.

 
Saturday, March 14, 1891

     5:40 P.M. Spending 20 minutes and more with W.—was he comfortable? "Not at all. I am as much under the weather as before—or under something. Yet I am here—I stand it, after a fashion." But he continued, "I don't believe it will last this way long—either it must be better, or"—and he said no more. Said he had a letter from Wallace today, "Affectionate—almost pathetic," and had written a postal response, giving me to mail. Young Stoddart was in to see me today. Said the New York people (in Truth) had sent to him to get a poem from W. Could W. furnish it? I advised Stoddart to come over tomorrow afternoon—five or six—(not in morning, as he proposed)—that I would in the meantime mention to W. and have him prepare something, if possible. Stoddart says he wants the poem at once, perhaps for next issue. Had written up interview which they wanted him to get W. to sign—but Stoddart staggers to ask it. Now I detailed all this to W., who said, "Well, I'll see. It must be something already about here, for I have not the time, even if I happened to be in the condition (as I am not) to make up anything new. Yet they must want something to date, too. No mention was made of a subject, eh?" Would do what he could to "get the poemet together." Wondered, "They will pay for it?""Yes, Stoddart said they would pay you a good price." He smiled, "Pretty nearly any price is a good price for me!" I advised him, "Kill two birds with one stone—make the poem serve for Truth and to fill up our page in the book!" He exclaimed, "What an idea! A good one!"—explaining then—"I cut out several pieces to make up our pages with—they had to go." Had he compunctions? "No, none—none whatever." Would have ready for me tomorrow.

 
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     Was I fully determined on the trip next Saturday? He thought I "ought to be," etc. Brisk March day, but he complained that it entered his bones. Asked for the World piece of which he spoke yesterday. "I look forward to some pretty full explanation of his standpoint," W. said (Stedman's), "but when or how I am to get it would be hard to say." Morris came in to say to me he had heard and thought great the other day's lecture—that Stedman was pretty well and sent his love to Walt. W. smiled as to the "great," but spoke of Stedman as "a noble good fellow, sending everything and doing much well." I showed him letter I had from Arthur Stedman today:


137 West 78th St.,

New York, Mar. 12th, '91.


My dear Mr. Traubel,

     Since receiving your letter of Feb. 14th I have been continuously laid up with rheumatism.

     Father fortunately recovered his health early last week, though not yet very strong.

     He received the copy of "Lippincott's" you kindly sent him.

     I don't believe Mr. Whitman will have to be "urged" to give a sheet of his ms. to Mr. Aldrich.

     No, I don't think you an ogre at all. I know what an ardent devotee you are, and as your master has only completed his conspectus of the Real, declaring lack of opportunity to finish that of the Ideal, the shoemaker's bench is not at all a surprise to me.

     How fortunate am I, who can soar with our friends of the winged horses!

     I fear that father has only strength to undertake his journeyings to Baltimore and back, of which there are three in as many weeks. We have worked very hard to get him into condition.


With kind regards,


Very sincerely yours,


Arthur Stedman

     I had also received letters from Wallace and Forman this morning.

 
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46 Marlborough Hill

St. John's Wood, London NW

1 March 1891


Dear Traubel,

     You were very prompt in getting my small unreasonableness satisfied. Of course the sheet will "do", and I thank both Walt & you sincerely, for it & for the photograph of 1890, which I had not had from W. I have also received & read the Lippincott. The wood engraving is good as work; but taken from an indifferent portrait, as you say. However each new portrait of Whitman is welcome. There are two (in particular—but probably hundreds) that I have never succeeded in getting. They are small things, one of W. W. in his study—the other outside the house, said to have been taken by a lady. The one in the study has dark clothes on. Who was it that took them? In answer to your question, I must say I did not receive Ingersoll's pamphlet. I only came up yesterday from a Post Office Committee in the country, & found your good pleasant letter etc. Tomorrow I return to the said Committee for a day or two. Like you, I suffer from lack of leisure. The Foreign & Colonial business of the Post Office is my "bread & butter" life as you call it; & this year it will take me to Vienna for a month or so to attend the quinquennial Congress—interesting work, but fairly hard.

     How do dear old Walt's books continue to go off? Is he realizing enough by them to keep comfortably above water? Let me know as soon as possible about the birthday scheme, whatever it is. Thanks for the timely warning: I will think the matter over at once & write a letter soon. Give him my love, and believe me to be


Very sincerely yours


H. Buxton Forman

As to Wallace's question of the "Poetry of the Future"—"I have heard from Symonds since, and he has found the essay in 'Specimen Days' under another title. He is right, and you might tell Wallace that. I have often changed such headlines, to accord with latest convictions. I always find a superfluity of headlines cropping up, anyhow—revise them often—both in the poems and prose." As to the Lippincott portrait, "I would hardly call
 
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it good as work, even allow that much for it. I do not like it more, as I look it up more closely."
As to the two portraits Forman particularly asks about, "I don't know the out-of-door one at all—the other may be Mrs. Williams'. Do you think it is?" Further, "How funny he did not receive Bob's pamphlet! He was one I was particularly minded to send it to." Then as to the closing passage of Forman's letter, "Noble fellow! Well, our heart goes out to him—that much, anyway!" He thought, "The boys seem to look forward to a book in 'Good-Bye,' but I would not dare call it that—no, not mention it that way. A mere drop, to fill the bucket at last: the final utterance."

 
Sunday, March 15, 1891

     4:40 P.M. W. looked much better, though still declaring that he suffered from "the great depression" that had "recently beset" him. Proof ready on bed and with it new prose copy up to the appendix. To make up pages had laid aside "For Us Two, Reader Dear" and "For Queen Victoria's Birthday," writing this on margin: "Set these taken out pieces with the rest on the galleys—they will all be bro't in elsewhere—(please give me two proof impressions of the whole—these set out pieces)." Explained to me, "That is the best way I know to keep up the symmetry of the pages." I asked if he had prepared anything for young Stoddart? "Yes—that is, I have something for him. I have taken a piece out of the book." He thought, "That ought to do for him—but if it does not, well then it does not!" Opening as I sat there a book of poems—just brought in by Warren from Post Office—a man named Black of Chicago. W. smiled, looked it through for a few minutes, then laid it down. He has changed the name "Have we a National Literature?" to "American National Literature: Is there any such thing—or can there be?" He had seen a "spice of asperity" in the old head—thought this would "mend" it—adding the footnote, then, as it stands in the book, as still further softening its flavor. Thought himself "entitled to this change," for he had "intended no sharp criticism, statement, in the first place."

 
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     I told him what Johnston had quoted from Stedman about W.'s Lippincott's piece—putting it rather in the way that this was not up to the mark of W.'s other prose pieces. He admitted, "I have no doubt Stedman tells the truth—instinctively. All I can say is, that that piece was the result of a mood—and moods are not always fragrant, manageable." Then, "My friends must understand that: it is one of the bottom principles of 'Leaves of Grass.'"

     On the table was the appendix to "Good-Bye My Fancy." I picked it up and examined. "How does it seem?" he asked. I replied, "I am only glancing at it—my impression is a good one: I always like your personal chit-chat." He laughed, "So do I! But you really like it?" Afterward inquiring, "Does it seem actual? Has it an aroma—a personal, sentient touch—a flavor of truth?" To my assent proceeding, "And yet there are some who would doubt all that—doubt it utterly. That which you told me the other day—that some, even of our fellows, question whether this paralysis came of the war, was not the result of the youthful"—he hesitated and laughed—"indiscretions, so to say—that was news to me, news. Yet it is not the worst that has done duty against me. I remember one man—at least one—who thought all this sickness of mine—the old age, paralysis, what-not—was sham, thorough sham, without a breath of justification. There was a man in Washington—we knew him well—caterer for Chase—who always contended that Lincoln was a fraud from crown to toe—that he wished election, re-election, but that he might put government money into his private pocket. He would contend stoutly for it. We knew him well—O'Connor, Burroughs—and he was a stiff-believing curious character. We were all convinced—the rest of us—otherwise; that Lincoln was the sanest, wisest, moralest political man ever known on the stage—the noblest saint in all history of states: Democrat, aristocrat, both in one—the life and lift of the time. But this fellow stood us out to the last. We were deceived, foolish—he knew it. Remembering such—plenty other—examples I know—I am satisfied not to be understood. Besides, it is

 
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useless to kick—what will happen, will." Here was Dr. Benjamin, in W.'s own town, who thought him "a damned fraud," having reference to the literary side of the man. W. said, with a laugh, "I sympathize with him—he must be about right." Then referring to his caterer again, "I always had a penchant for such men: they are a queer combination of culture and craft—trade and books. Curious to know, giving forth an odd life—always a study to me."
 
Monday, March 16, 1891

     7:50 P.M. W. and Mrs. Davis talking together when I came, of course in W.'s room. Mrs. Davis retired, though W. protested, and we chatted for half an hour together. W. said, "I got your postal about the Ingersoll article and think well of it—shall adopt your idea." I had written him yesterday, urging that he include the Post (unsigned) article in book. "It is worth printing for itself," I said, "And then it is due to Ingersoll." To which W., "You are right, right—I can amen all that." Remarked, "Doctor writes me much less full letters, I suppose because the election excitement is not all over yet." Young Stoddart had come in to get poem after I left yesterday. W. had given him "Old Chants." Stoddart in to see me today—grateful that he had secured his point. As to whether W. would sign Stoddart's interview of the other day, W. exclaimed, "No indeed—how could I? It's not mine—I have never seen it—perhaps don't want to see it, which may sound ungrateful." And yet, "I want to do all I can for the young man, too, and for Joe. All I can, in reason, within bounds." Laughed about the poem. "I gave him my sweetest and best. What better can I do?" Asked, "Have you seen Youth's Companion? I have an idea that the 'Ship Ahoy!' poem has appeared. If so, one of the locked-up poems is released for the book." On the bed a woodcut of Ignatius Donnelly. "I laid it out for you. What a fat, hearty, pudgy fellow he seems!" I told W. substance of letter to Bucke in which I described Kimball. W. made merry over it. "If you have told it to Doctor as

 
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you have told it to me, he'll laugh over it. It's so very funny." Brought him triplicate pages of first six pages of poems. Want pagings from him for duplicate plates.

     How had he been today? "Very bad, bad—no light yet, not a glimmer." Explained to me that he had left his Lippincott's article for the appendix.

     I received this note from Johnston (Bolton) this morning:


54, Manchester Road

Bolton, Lancashire, England.

Mar 6/91


My Dear Mr. Traubel,

     Many thanks to you for the six copies of the Ingersoll Oration which reached me safely by last mail which also brought a p.c. from Walt. This one was less hopeful than the previous one but another from him to J. W. Wallace dated two days later said that he was then easier.

     A good letter from Dr. Bucke gives me many interesting details about him which materially assist me to a proper understanding of his "case."

     We thoroughly realize the gravity of his condition & tho' we can hardly hope for recovery still we continue hopeful that the more acute symptoms may soon subside & leave him in moderate comfort, for it distresses us to think that he is actually suffering physical pain & Dr. Bucke says that he suffers more than anyone knows of.

     We are looking forward to the appearance of "Good-Bye" with great interest—also the N.A. Review for March.

     At the next meeting of "The College" I intend reading your good essay in Lippincott—deferred from last meeting.

     Things are going on with us here much as usual.

     Many thanks, too, to you for your kindness in volunteering to let us know of any material change in our dear old Master's condition, and you may be assured that anything you can tell us about him will be welcome to us.

     With kindest regards from J.W.W. & myself,


I remain,


Yours sincerely,


J. Johnston

 
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Could not show to W., but told him in an offhand way of the reading of Lippincott's piece—whereat he described to me what the "College" was and "how much of a lift to" him "it is to hear of its doings." Referred to Johnston and Wallace as "beautiful, loyal souls."

     W. remarked amusedly at one point, "I do not think even intelligent people know how much goes to the making of a book: worry, fret, anxiety—downright hard work—poverty—finally, nothingness! It is a story yet to be told." And again, "The proof-reader has his story to tell, too. Oh! He is an important critter—the most important, I often think, in the making of a book. It is easy enough to have good material—a plenty of everything—but to put all in its rightful place and order!—oh! that is another thing!"

     Morris came in to tell me his first letter (much of it about W.) was in Literary World—but I did not bring a copy. W. had not seen it. Morris and the fellows are at me every day for a glimpse of the Symonds letter—of which Brinton has told them.

     Caught up several things from among the waste-paper today—W. laughing as usual. He throws all odds and ends of writing into a wooden box near the stove. I have often found him burning up manuscript. "That is so many bankbills sent up the chimney!" I would protest, and he with a laugh, "Is it so? so?"

 
Tuesday, March 17, 1891

     7:55 P.M. Took W. remaining set of pages of poems. He was much pleased. We discussed somewhat technical matters pertaining to the book. He was very ready to listen to some of my objections, and deferred to them. I showed him letter—this—from Ingersoll this morning:


Mar. 16, '91


My dear Mr. Traubel

     Come and see me on Saturday evening, or on Sunday. Always glad to see you.

 
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     Hope that you are well and happy and that the Poet's "jocund heart is still beating in his breast."


With regards to both,


Yours always,


R. G. Ingersoll

He read it with delight, his face showing every sign of pleasure. "What a noble free hand it is—like the flight of the bird—the sweep of the eagle. It is the man, out and out." Then, "I am glad you seem to have decided to go: it is a part of your life to know, see, such a man." Said he had received letter from Kennedy yesterday—sending it to Bucke. "It contained nothing new—yet was happy, too." I received copy of the Bolton Daily Chronicle from Johnston this morning, containing account of Johnston's photograph lecture—with allusions to Walt. W. said, "I, too, had one. What delicious loyal fellows they are!" I remarked, "Are not all your friends characteristically loyal, devoted, once you have come to know each other—had the final recognition?" He smiled, "I have an idea you are right: I have wondered if I was not the most fortunate man of all!"

     How did he feel? "Not good—bad, rather—almost as bad as ever." Then I plied him direct, "Wouldn't this be a good time to bring in a doctor?" He responded, "No doubt it would." Then I urged and urged, he weakening quite along, till finally I mentioned Longaker (Philadelphia), W. asking, "Do you think he would like to come?" I shall definitely ask W. tomorrow (I meet Longaker at reception) and try to make arrangements.

 
Wednesday, March 18, 1891

     5:45 P.M. Not a long talk together but one eminently satisfactory to me—since at last he has consented to have the doctor. I will see Longaker tonight and try to have him over tomorrow. W. admits that he feels no better. Morris had been in, forenoon. "He was here but a few minutes, but I had him tell me what he had heard from Stedman in the lecture, at least the part that related to us. And I am sure, to judge from the samples, he must

 
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have spoken of us just as we would speak of ourselves"—laughing—"which is top-loftical enough, as you know!" And, "Morris says more is to come. It is very satisfactory." Morris had left copy of Literary World? "Yes, here it is made up for Sarrazin—I want you to mail it if you will. What relates to us is of little consequence, but the note about Sarrazin ought to interest him—will, I have no doubt." Had he found the Post piece about Ingersoll? "Yes, I have put it in the appendix. It belongs there, don't it? I think you were wholly right: it should not be missed from the book." I wrote to Johnston and Wallace. W. said, "I am glad—you should send them all you can—I cannot write much." As to the book, "I want to take all I can from it for 'Leaves of Grass'—the poems, the preface, perhaps more." This rather dark to me, but I did not pursue. Asked me to get him several more copies of the preface. "I had a present today—a joint gift from Wallace and Johnston—a book on Holland—descriptive—illustrated by Actus"—spelling. "It has attracted me: the letter-press is beautiful, type big. Then the character of the book is in our choicest color—natural—a discussion of the inner life of a people." Showed me the book. Commented on Black and White, which I picked up from the floor. "It is not as good as our illustrated papers—not up to our standard. But the English are cute—they feel their way to things—get to them eventually, through the horriblest conservatisms." Spoke of my trip to New York. "I am very curious to have you go—then to tell me all that you saw, heard—how the whole thing went off. It will be an event—yes, indeed. I wonder if the Colonel will let us have a copy by and by?"

     This letter from Bisbee to me today interested W. greatly:


1620 Master St., Phila.

3-17-'91


My dear Mr. Traubel:

     I am glad you called my attention to the Contemporary Club bill. I had entirely forgotten it or not received it or something! However I enclose my check for $5—in payment which please receipt and return.

 
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     As I told you I was tempted to write you a letter about your sketch of Whitman and there are some temptations one better not resist. And to me the temptation to recognize a good thing is only resisted in the fear it may be an intrusion. Your poet has been the occasion of much thought with me ever since I first saw his book. He was so new in every way and I shocked my wife by saying—"He reminds me of Jesus in some way." I never was able to convince her any more than I was able to get rid of the idea. My impression was of a new force introduced into life, and because it killed a lot of sacred prejudices so called—I could not condemn it any more than I could electricity because, through no fault of its own, it happened to kill a man now and then.

     There is a lot of him I do not understand but I think the fault mine more than his.

     I had always rather think I do not know enough to comprehend the universe and life than to think the universe and life small enough for my comprehension.

     Your sketch gives me a better idea of the man and his work than I ever had before. It is a good while since I have read him excepting stray bits, and now the first opportunity I get will be to give him more appreciative attention.

     My first welcome to his book was impressionable. My judgement has and will confirm.

     He is deep in life and I love life. Others write about life—he writes life. Your article will do much good. It has done me good and I thank you for it.


Sincerely


F. A. Bisbee

Bisbee is Universalist preacher in Philadelphia. W. called it good, then said, "God help him—he has put his foot in it. What will become of him?" W. did not put his Lippincott's check ($50 for March piece) in Bank till yesterday. It came through clearing house to us (F. & M., where Lippincott's draw all their checks) today.

     Got an odd four-page manuscript from his waste-paper. W. gave me an absurd poem on himself—laughed over it. "That is what we made, you see," he said.

 
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     Mrs. O'Connor writes me this about Kimball's letter, which I enclosed:


March 15.

     Yours—(Mr. K.'s) rec'd. Will try to write soon. Let me know when you get reports, and if he does not send, I will.

     I think we will come right at last.


Yours—


E. M. O'C.

W. counsels, "Persist—push him: you will make your point."
 
Thursday, March 19, 1891

     5:30 P.M. Met Longaker last night, explained matters—W.'s case, his independence, dislike of doctors, etc.—and he promised to be over today. I wrote Bucke apprising him of this and saying that preliminary to all else was the question as to how W. took to Longaker as a man. Now the first thing I hear, both from the folks and from W., is that Longaker created a very favorable impression. It overjoyed me. W. was very specific about it all: "Your doctor was here. I liked him. Solid is the word for him: to use Herbert's rough word (which is good, anyhow)—he has more guts than I had expected of him. I don't know that I had any intelligent defined idea of what I expected, but it was something different. He seemed to be very frank—seemed to have nothing to conceal; and I was just as frank, or hope I was, for I meant to be. He has the happy faculty by which to perceive without probing for facts. Some doctors get at conclusions by intellectual, almost mathematical, means. But others—masters and their kind—catch the truth as by an inspiration, by a trick of nature which we can't describe. He was here some time—we had quite a confab. I told him all I knew, just as I tell it you now. How that for two months I have suffered the most horrible blockade—just as if this corpus was being closed up, choking, taking its last gasp. Indeed, I have felt these last days as if the corpus was done for, if not mended at once. And I told him, too, that especially the last three or four days, I have felt an agitation, a whirling,

 
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circling—I hardly know how to put it—inside"—indicating—"not marked or violent, but re-marked. What I call intestinal agitation. What it bodes I can't guess. I told him these—such things—but warned him, too"—laughingly— "that his only danger, the rock on which all doctors have so far split, is conceit that he knows me, knows this corpus, just as it stands, bone, all—can fully enter its necessities. But no, no," shaking his head, "it is a mystery, mystery. What he can do is simply to get certain glimpses of it, though with these he may do much. He is to come over again Saturday. I have written Doctor about it. The catheter business is surprisingly simple—he left the instrument here. One chief feature in the man is his cheer. It is a thing to be reckoned on." Certainly Longaker had physically or mentally or in both ways helped W. Left prescription with W. The whole thing surpassed my best hopes. Wrote favorably of Longaker to Lancashire and gave me letter to mail to Bucke. I have received a letter from Lezinsky:

Box 211, Berkeley, Cal.

March 13, '91


My friend—

"To You"
"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me,
why should you not speak to me?
And why should I not speak to you?"

     In speaking not only of Walt Whitman but for him, you have not only spoken to me but with me. As our poet makes us feel, "Life is a daily battle" and it is good to know those who are on our side. I received a copy of March 'Lippincott' and the February 'Conservator.' I thank you for them. I shall soon send in my name as a subscriber (and another address). Success to you in your highest aims and purposes,


Sincerely,


David L. Lezinsky

It was so near dark, W. would not read—asked me to read it to him, which I did, standing up. "I have a letter from him, too, to
 
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the same purport—thanking me for something I had sent. That letter of yours is a good one. He is our unknown."
He had always felt there was an unsolved mystery about Lezinsky.

     Then he said to me, "I have an interesting letter from the Harper's Weekly folks, about the poem 'Death's Valley.' They are afraid I will put it in the book—it is a protest. But read it for yourself—take it along with you.""Have you answered?" I asked W. "Not a word." Did he intend to? "No, not that I know now—not a word!" He was evidently not impressed with the tact of the letter. Suddenly, by and by, after a pause, he said, "Tell me again, Horace: when do you go to New York?" Saturday. "And when does Colonel speak?" Sunday night. He looked at me and smiled. "I envy you the trip—truly, truly. I wish I had something to send to Bob. What could it be? You'll be along tomorrow? I'll try to think till then." And he further said, "I wish you would find out absolutely if Mrs. Ingersoll ever got the pictures. Don't make your question too direct, as if you were fishing for an acknowledgment. But I should like to know: nothing has ever been said on the subject since you left them with the Colonel at his office." A fact, truly.

     In finer tones, afterwards, W. continued, "Now, boy, I have a message for the Colonel: first of all, give him my love. Then tell him for me that I think he ought to speak as much as possible away from or without printed, written, matter. He is greatly gifted—curiously right with most spontaneous utterance—is one of the men, very few any time, in whom speech bubbles up and overflows. The few men, greatest of all time—Father Taylor, perhaps, for one of them—some of the anti-slavery men, perhaps—I should say, Elias Hicks—but Bob most of all. It is so rare a gift, a man is bound to yield to it. I haven't it in any way—I could not do it—was long ago committed to other methods. But the first-class men have it, and it always excites my admiration. I do not say that anything is really spontaneous, in the sense that it was never thought of before—but I speak of elements—say, of freedom: the absolute trust to the hour, the magnetism of a big audience, to break the last barrier. There must be

 
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preparation, but it is not such preparation as interferes with the bubblingness I have in mind. Tell this to Bob, or"—with a laugh—"words to that effect."

     Letter from Bucke dated 17th—much of it in reference to W.'s Lippincott's prose:


17 March 1891

St. Patrick's Day!


My dear Horace

     I have had your long and interesting letter of 12th a couple of days. No, I believe I never mentioned W.'s Lip[pincott's] prose piece to you—I did not feel there was much to say—I was glad enough to see and have the piece but it would be absurd to declare that I think it would in any way enhance W.'s fame—I think it commonplace and almost entirely a repetition of what has been said and better said before but still there are lines and touches in it that we should not like to be without. And on the whole you put it too strong when you speak of me being "disappointed by it."

     I guess your English Canadian Unitarian minister is a good deal of an ass—Canada is drifting away from Great Britain and towards the U.S.A. as fast as it can and the last election (5th inst.) shows the trend very plainly. We must and shall have commercial union with you very soon and that probably means political union in the near future.

     My dear boy you well deserve all the congratulations you have received or can receive for your Lip[pincott's] piece—it is a true inspiration and beyond all question will do noble service for the good cause. Are you thinking at all about our W. W. vol. these times?


Love to you


RM Bucke

     Now I hear from Kimball more definitely and favorably:


Treasury Department, Office of the

General Superintendent

Life-Saving Service

Washington, D.C. March 18, 1891


Dear Sir:

     In compliance with your request of the 13th instant I transmit by mail to-day copies of all the annual reports of the Life-Saving Service

 
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issued up to the present time. To mark the portions written by Mr. O'Connor would take so much time, and delay the transmission of the books to you so long, that I have not attempted to do it.

     If you should come to Washington hereafter, and desire to confer with me, will you be good enough to give me notice a little in advance in order that I may arrange to be here.


Yours very truly,


S. I. Kimball

W. smiled when he read the letter. "That's the man," he said, "that's the fellow. He vacillates—you can turn him on a thumb. Keep on—on!"
 
Friday, March 20, 1891

     7:50 P.M. To W.'s, finding him not so bright as yesterday—yet not despondent at all. Looks forward to Longaker's coming tomorrow. "Yes, I have taken the pills—one, two, more of them. They are not without effect." Yet he was not "prepared to give judgment." Slept better last night from the relief of bladder—not up at all. Said, "I am reading the Dutch book—this from Amicis"—pulling it down from the bed. "It has a French, Italian vivacity. It tells the story of travel. Yes, I like it—it has something for us—some true, subtle strokes." No proof for him today, but our printer has started on the prose—one man. W. exclaims, "We are going devilish slow—but no matter. We will get there, and the poems are up!" —this in the way of triumph, strangely leading the way again to an old thought of mine which I had communicated to Bucke and of which he wrote me in a letter received today (dated 18th):


18 March 1891


My dear Horace

     Ex-President Cleveland and I were born this day 54 years ago! Yours of 16th was received & welcomed this morning—I am glad things are no worse with you—every day I dread that some bad news

 
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may come but now the spring is opening and we may hope W.'s condition will improve—still, I must confess to you, Horace, my hopes are not any too strong—the physical bars to W.'s rallying are of course greater than ever before and we may not be able to do much if anything in this direction. Still we must wait and hope. What you say about W.'s being in less hurry with the book now that the poems are set up is curious and interesting. This bundle of poems finishes L[eaves] of G[rass] and no doubt he has been uneasy lest anything should interfere with their setting up under his own eyes. The prose, of course, he cares much less about.

     Yes, of course, I am much pleased to hear of the autobiographical matter in the appendix—I have an idea that the little book will be just what it should be—just what we want—I am exceedingly anxious to see it.

     No, I did not the least imagine that our book could be got out by 31 May (tho' I mentioned it to you) and I agree with W. and you that next fall would be as good a time as any—let us meanwhile maturely weigh what should go into it. I will go over the whole field of W. essays as soon as I have time and let you know at once what I think should be admitted.

     About Life-Saving Reports. Has not Mrs. O'Connor a set of them? Or do you have to have leave to print? I could have told you better than to have asked for "O'Connor's reports"—have understood for years how that matter stood.

     Walt has written very little to me lately—just a post card now and again—the last dated eight days ago—it is a gloomy sign.

     I would give a good deal to be present at Ingersoll's lecture but of course it is out of the question—I hope you will be able to go.

     The first dozen meters are made—we shall place some with w[ater] w[orks] people for test at once—So far the shop is damnably slow but I am trying to reorganize and vivify it.


Affectionately


RM Bucke

I told W. of a convert Bush had made, whereat W. said, "There is a dry twinkle in the man which I like—the slow, sly humor of bright quiet men! Sometimes it is the richest of all—travels most ground. Bush has that honest faculty." Adding, "And that
 
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reminds me: what did you think of the copyright picture in Life?"
—going on almost immediately to say—"It is rather a forced effect, yet would seem witty to a fellow who has wit—can give it what it has not—meet the humor with a better." Had he heard from Bucke? No. But I had—but did not dare tell him of the letter, which was gloomy.

     W. read, too, with real eagerness, letter I had from Mrs. O'Connor, enclosing one from Kimball:


112 M St. N.W.

March 19, 1891.


Dear Mr. Traubel,

     I was to return your letter from Mr. Kimball to-day, but find that I have no envelope large enough, & will get some.

     In the meantime since you sent it, I have consulted two friends who were in the office with William, & they both think that Mr. K. will do what he has promised, but that he is slow. They also think that he is as William used to say super-cautious. I also think that he is now at his leisure looking the reports over & marking copies for you. If you do not get the reports in a very few days will you let me know & I will write him & ask that he make a little haste—as time is passing! & life is short!!

     I will enclose the letter he sent me, and you can return it.

     I am so very tired these days, & the work grows more & more urgent & pressing as they hasten to completion.


Yours cordially,


Ellen M. O'Connor

     I felt all that you did when I read Mr. K.'s letter!!"That looks lovely—right. I am sure you will make the thing wholly move our way." And further, "That was only a little quibble on Kimball's part, that the law might be brought in against you. For these reports, once issued, are common properties, for authors, writers, editors, reporters—anybody—to do with what they think." Referring to some of Burroughs' writings on religious questions (in Open Court), W. said, "No, you

 
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need not bring the paper. I do not care to read it. That is a part of John which does not appeal to me. His great work was with his intimacies with toads, birds, gnats—out-of-door creatures. Yet he himself might explain his later days by saying he had evoluted: has he?"

     Young Stoddart had left a copy of current Truth at Bank for me to take to W. Contained interview, poem "Old Chants" (made to fill a page—ornamented), and loose colored portrait made from one of Gutekunst's cabinets. Portrait poor—interview rather boyish—meant well by Stoddart—poem seems to have shaped itself nobly in the printer's hands. Rained so hard I could not bring the paper with me. W. satisfied to have it tomorrow. How much had he asked for the poem? "Ten dollars." I said, "A cheap page!" Whereat, "It may be, but I am glad to get that, if I get it—as no doubt I shall." Then, "I wrote for copies of Munyon's World today, and I wrote Melville Phillips, too, to say that Munyon had not paid me the ten dollars he promised for that poem, telling Phillips he should collect it for me. Oh, yes! I have always found Munyon honest. He has always paid heretofore. Phillips you would not dislike. He has the preacherial exterior, but underneath all that is something more—something more solid."

     Advised me, again, "Tell all the folks over there—John, Alma, the rest—that I am still here—holding the fort, as I say, sort o'—with an apostrophe after the o. That I have had an awful tug this winter—this has been the hardest yet—that we have not given up all hope, though much of it is gone. Give them my love—tell them all the good things you can of ways here—all that." And when I kissed him good-bye, he said, "God bless you, boy—God bless you! Take care! Take care!" Adding something, "What would happen to me if anything happened to you?"

 
Saturday, March 21, 1891

     To New York with Anne Montgomerie. Trip easy—weather doubtful. Bush met us New York side. Had tea together. Left

 
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Anne with Bush to go to Johnston's. I took a 5th Avenue bus to Ingersoll's, arriving 9:20. Quite a tussle with the darkey at the door, who told me three or four lies in five minutes—wanted to throw me out, etc., etc. First he told me he thought the Colonel was in, then that the Colonel was out, then that I could not see the Colonel, then that I had no right there anyway. While we talked so, I heard the rustle of a dress at the head of the stairs. Scrawled my name on a postal I had with me and insisted that he take it upstairs, which he did, Miss Maud Ingersoll finally tripping down and we having a little talk together. She explained that Robert Ingersoll had come home sick and gone to bed at seven to husband strength for tomorrow. She was cordial, apologetic—wanted me to stay—which I declined to do. The Colonel had wished I would come to breakfast in the morning. I looked doubtful and she smiled at me, "It is too early? Nine o'clock. Well, he says come to lunch, then, at one," which I said was more within scope. Afterward down to Bush's. Bush not yet back, but his wife there; and after some chat, a ride down to Johnston's, where I sat up with Miss Bertha till about one, talking various matters. Anne safely there and in bed. Learned that Mrs. Johnston was sick—had come up from Florida with a bad cold, which almost completely destroyed her voice.

     This is Anne's first trip to New York.

 
Sunday, March 22, 1891

     Happy early Sunday hours there with the Johnstons—all of them cordial and bright. Day stormy. At about eleven I started off alone to Ethical [Society] meeting, seeing the librarian Mangasarian (who spoke on Socrates) and Frank Damroselle—to talk with latter about Philadelphia concerts. Then by Broadway car to Ingersoll's. Welcome there quite different from yesterday's—shown instantly into the parlor—hat and coat taken by girl, and Mrs. Ingersoll and Maud soon appearing, inviting me upstairs—the Colonel being in bed. As I entered the room he called out, "How are you, Traubel, how are you?"—a little

 
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creature of a dog in the bed and he fondling it. "Here you are, both together," I exclaimed, and he laughed. I sat at side of the bed, Mrs. Ingersoll on foot of bed, Miss Maud coming in and out at times and Mr. Farrell appearing to be introduced. Ingersoll seemed in good color. Had been up—resisted having doctors, but one having been brought, he ordered Ingersoll to bed. The women seemed very solicitous for his condition.

     He talked freely. Spoke tenderly of Barrett, just dead ("a client, a friend") and of General Joe Johnston—death announced this morning. Knew Johnston, thought him "the best general of the war from the South—certainly better than Lee"—and—"a good fellow, too, everyway.""The war was barbarism at the best—I have always contended it—a civilized resort to a savage method of settlement," etc. Told me a story of Lincoln—of his conjoined tenderness and justice—(told wonderfully). Said, too, "I have read your beautiful article in the Conservator about Chadwick. I think your argument conclusive. I dictated a piece for you the other day, but did not send it off—it seemed to me too bitter." I protested, "I am not afraid." And he then, "Well, perhaps I was mistaken. But that is what I thought at the time," saying after a pause, "I suppose if Jesus Christ had married, raised a family, made his own living, they would have said he was not spiritual! But you have hit off the point exactly—that if love and all the qualities you enumerate are not spiritual qualities, what are they, and what value has spirit?" Then further, "I touch that in the lecture tonight. I think all the gospel that man needs is uttered by Coran in the passage"—quoting about "owing no man anything," etc.—in easy phrase, as he lay flat on the pillow. Mrs. Ingersoll suggested that he have a second pillow put back of him, but he would not hear it.

     A reporter came from the Times and was refused. Ingersoll said he had requested the New York papers not to report the lecture, and they had promised to refrain. "But I shouldn't wonder but some rascally village sheet will get hold of just enough of it to make me out an imbecile." (The New York correspondent of

 
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the Philadelphia Press really about did this.) Word had come to the house that the whole body of seats in the theatre had been sold. They all asked me much about W.'s condition. Maud came in at one moment. Bob naturally reached out for and took her hand—drew it to his mouth and kissed it. "How is Rosy?" he asked, and smiled. Farrell came in and we shook hands. By and by the bell rang and Bob ordered us all down to lunch. "Get out! All of you!" he said, and then to me, "Then come up after you are done, Traubel, and we'll have a smoke together." But when I had got in the hallway, he called me back. "About last night, Traubel: you must forgive us, but when I am sick, or in bed, of course I am not home to anybody—and I had so given it to the boy at the door. I am so pursued by the newspapers and others that I have no other protection. I was at fault, because I knew you were coming. You see how it is: I should feel honored if a man was to send word down to me that he was engaged. That would mean—he likes to hear the truth. But somehow most people would rather be sent away gently with a lie." And as a sort of good-bye, "Keep up the fight! What you say of tendencies in your article is true gold: it cannot be disproved."

     At dinner, everything was simple—the talk positive, independent, but friendly. They inquired a good deal about W., and I learned much about Ingersoll that I had never known before. For instance, that they did not favor his practicing law—thought his gifts ought to have uninterrupted flow. He differing: preferred to make his living—then to give his tongue to good causes, as he had been doing lately. Spoke of their care for him—that they wanted to preserve him, etc.; and of his great health—of outdoor speaking in campaign days, which Mrs. Ingersoll declared had never done him any good. At table: Mrs. Ingersoll, Maud, Eva, Mr. Brown (Eva's husband), Mr. and Mrs. Farrell—their daughter—then an old lady whose precise relationship I did not catch. I stayed till four o'clock in parlor, delightful talk about everything. Found the women intensely sympathetic—interested in all directions, great ease and candor, utterance full of feeling, especially the Miss Maud, in whose

 
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eyes (wet with tears) and about whose brave beautiful lips struggled all the tones of human affection. They offered me tickets, which I had to decline, Johnston having some for me. Afterward hastened to Bush (30th St.), and together we went up to Baker's (80th), where we had a fine chat, and I found he was preparing to move out of town. He, too, told me, "The Colonel dictated a piece to me for you, but we did not get it finished." Very affectionate—wife sick—not to be seen. Full of talk of Ingersoll and W.

     Afterward Bush and I went together to Johnston's, where we had tea, Mrs. Bush there but Mrs. Johnston still not showing herself (except for a brief stretch at breakfast, had not seen her). We all started for the theatre together about 7:30, reaching it in due time. Lecture slow—Ingersoll did not appear till 8:20. His address occupied nearly two hours in delivery. He read from sheets (Baker's work), but the concluding passage (about 20 minutes) came free of all notes. Men turned pale, women wept—almost appalling silence except for the music of his voice. Then a yell (full ten minutes) of pent-up feeling and enthusiasm. I never heard a speech like it or beheld auditors so enthralled. Afterward, when I met Ingersoll around in the box occupied by his people, he asked, "Wasn't it a grand audience for such a night?" I put in, "A grand platform, too!" He laughed and said, "Well, a grand audience, anyway!" Kissed all his people. Miss Maud asked, "Were you thinking of your Rosy?" and he patted her on the cheek and smiled, and I introduced Anne to several of them. The Colonel easily caught her name, was cordial. Mrs. Ingersoll asked frankly about the speech, "Wasn't it lovely?" Thence with Bush and wife to a cafe, where we enjoyed a chat and gave him our farewell. The whole day and night tempestuous.

 
Monday, March 23, 1891

     8 P.M. Kissed W., who was talking with Stafford (left as I came). How had he been? "Mighty poorly—poorly enough."

 
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Had Longaker been over again? "Yes—yesterday. He is a hit: I like him. He has solid quality—the stuff I love in men." Then immediately broke out, "And now about last night—tell me that—that is the most important of all." And this launched us, my own talk, I suppose, verging on enthusiasm; he interjecting many questions. "Bravo! Bravo!" on hearing that the lecture had cleared $2500—and "Bravissimo! Bravissimo!" when hearing that every penny had gone to the Press Club. "The noble man! And he seems to be doing a good deal of that lately. It is characteristic—deeply so." And all else went smoothly. "What about the Johnstons?"—and so on. "Was the lecture worthy of the subject and of Bob? They are big, both." And, "It was brave for him to go literally from a sick bed. I am intensely drawn to all that." And to all the sweet remembrances in talk of the Colonel's family and from others, W. responded, "Thanks! Thanks! It lifts a heavy weight off me."

     W. gave me a curious order for envelopes from Cohen, some to be made particularly for foreign use. Said of Ingersoll reports in Philadelphia papers, "They must have been very bad: I felt as I read them that Bob never could have said such things in such a way." But, "I am sorry there is to be no print of the address. You say none at all?" Ingersoll had requested reporters to refrain, and they had observed his request (the New York papers), though others had not.

     W. remarked tonight that if some physical change was not shortly accomplished, he would certainly come to a quick end. Nowadays it was "all downhill."

     Intensely interested in all I told him of the Ingersolls—firing at me question after question to enlarge my story.

 
Tuesday, March 24, 1891

     5:30 P.M. Met Longaker in the boat on way to Camden. Had one of his handsome little boys with him. This is Longaker's third trip. Did not think W. in "alarming" condition, though seeing "serious symptoms." Questioned me closely of matters I

 
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had observed, especially those relating to W.'s mental condition and vigor. Longaker could see a "gradual decline," but thought otherwise the trouble was bladder and digestive merely. He has already heard from Bucke and will write him. Reaching W.'s, he left the boy downstairs, I preceding him up. W.'s welcome to him very cordial—their talk of the frankest character. W. had kept memoranda of the several days since Longaker's previous coming. Uses catheter himself—admits its benefits: "Yes, I slept well last night—was only up, probably, twice. Must have slept four or five hours all told." Was that much? "I consider that a good night's sleep. I never have been a great sleeper." Referring to rubbings, Longaker commended, urging that they should be made constant, every day. W. saying, "I interrupted them for a week or ten days there, when I felt weak and bad. But yesterday resumed them, and shall continue." Longaker urged that even in periods of fatigue and pain, light magnetic rubbings could be continued. W. said, "My young man here is good—none could be better. I have flesh brushes here, but of his own intentions he prefers the hand." How did he find mental exertion? "More or less wearying, of course. But I must do something to while away the time—write, read. That is one of the indulgences I cannot forfeit. This confinement would be intolerable without it."

     When Longaker first came, W. offered to pay him—Longaker refusing. W. then offering him a book, Longaker then saying he had one. Longaker tells him he will make a change in his medicine—the pills. Listened to the beat of his heart, tried pulse. Afterward saying to me, "I see no particular change. He is mainly as he was." W. explained as to his memoranda, "I could not trust myself to tell you these. I am, especially of late years, such a forgetful critter."

     Longaker went downstairs, and W. and I had more or less talk together then for 10 or 15 minutes. Said of Truth, "How nobly they put the poem together there! I think it the prettiest page I have ever been given—certainly have set these in true artistic measure. Did I tell you? Yesterday I sent them a prose piece

 
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about old actors. Charged them $16 for it, saying I wished it in next week—the issue of next week. No, no, they may not want it, of course—that is one of my risks. I want it to be printed at once, so I can put it in the book. You will like it, I think. It has a touch—a light easy touch—which I know you like." Would send the old copy of Truth to Bucke, who had written to ask for it. What did he think of Stoddart's interview? He smiled, "Quite fresh, young, wasn't it? Yet not wholly bad, either. Certainly intended well, which is something. A general impression would not be false, would be rather faithful. But the words he puts into my mouth, the so-called actual phrase, touch—oh! they are very funny. They are far away from the fact. But anyway, it may on the whole do good. At any rate, we will hope it so." He asked me how the Truth poem ("Old Chants") had "read and filtered."

     Had been writing some new matter. I saw Cohen today about envelopes. Very pleased to do them—W. with samples Cohen sent over by me. Gave me a letter from Bucke:


22 March 1891

     Your good long letter of 19th came to hand yesterday afternoon—I had been at a meter meeting—all the principal stockholders present—got home about 6 P.M. and found it on my desk—I am much pleased that you have had a doctor and I look for considerable results in increased comfort—I hope you will stick to the doctor and let him stick to you!

     When you have plate-proofs of the "Goodbye" poems I hope you will send me a copy? Horace sent me a proof of "Death's Valley" and intimated that it might (or not) go in the vol. I cannot understand you leaving it out—to my mind it is an admirable piece—most valuable. One expression in it—naming death "God's eternal beautiful right hand" viz. contains more poetry than many a vol. of so-called poems. Oh yes, I have the Round Table "Walt Whitman" by John Robertson 1884—have had it for years.

     All quiet and all well here—warm outside snow going away rapidly—roads muddy. The meter gets on slowly but gets on & I have

 
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hopes will do well but there is a lot of work to do yet before we make the first million out of it.

     Nothing new here—Mrs. B. and self think of going East for a short holiday April or May but nothing settled yet. I have a long MS. piece by J. W. Wallace on W. W.—it is scrappy but good.


So long!


With love


RM Bucke

W. asked, "What can we do about it? We cannot honorably print it." Also gave me—"I want it back tomorrow to send to Doctor to read"—letter from Wallace (13th and 14th) enclosing copy of a long letter from Symonds of the 7th. W. said, "It is a letter for you to see, for us to weigh, to put in our pipes and smoke."

     Returned me proof of "Old Man's Rejoinder," left with him yesterday. James (at Ferguson's) has lost the two preface pages. Will have to reset and cast. Delay again.

     I have letter from Bucke, dated 22nd, containing strong meat.

     W. said, "That 'Old Chants' piece is the one Scribner's refused." I said, "It has come to its own: Truth has espoused it!" W. laughed, "Well, it is published: that much we are sure of."

 
Wednesday, March 25, 1891

     5:38 P.M. W. seemed to me to look better than for many days and weeks. And his voice seemed stronger and whole manner changed. Talked heartily of many things—chiefly of our work together. Gave him envelope proof from Cohen, on which he passed. Asked me to go to McKay's to number half a dozen big books ordered from abroad. "It is from the same person who took the others. Dave wanted to know if I would give him the same price as before, in the big lot, and I said, no: before, it was $3, now I asked $3.20. Perhaps he will not pay that, but that is my price."

 
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     Gave me last number of Review of Reviews. "It came today, from Johnston and Wallace—the good fellows. We both appear there, the Lippincott's stuff well-noticed. Then I thought you would like the number on account of the article there on Bradlaugh, which is very good, very: I read it from title to end." Written by Annie Besant. W. spoke tenderly of Bradlaugh—then mentioned Ingersoll, dwelling upon him with great earnestness and feeling. "He is a type of our best—our rarest. Electrical, I was going to say, beyond anyone, perhaps, ever was: charged, surcharged. Not a founder of new philosophies—not of that build. But a towering magnetic presence, filling the air about with light, warmth, inspiration. A great intellect, penetrating, in ways (on his field) the best of our time—to be long kept, cherished, passed on. Curious as it may seem for me to say it, I feel—see, am sure of in him—a remarkable likeness to Elias Hicks, Father Taylor. To the first glance they would yield no resemblance whatever: but as you look, the reality appears, more and more the positive fact of relationships. It is very remarkable. It should not be surprising that I am drawn to Ingersoll, for he is 'Leaves of Grass.' He lives, embodies, the individuality I preach. 'Leaves of Grass' utters individuality, the most extreme, uncompromising. I see in Bob the noblest specimen—American-flavored—pure out of the soil, spreading, giving, demanding light." He had seen the Inquirer editorial, which claimed that Ingersoll's Sunday speech about Barrett showed a change of base—a greater willingness to grant the possibility of immortality. He said it had "interested him," thought "Ingersoll is always such a vitalizing force, I look on immortality as in some way implicated with him." And then, "Paine was a grand fellow—high—with the most splendid sense of justice. But he was a reasoner—not warm—not letting out the natural palpitating passion," then, after a pause, "which perhaps he didn't have. But I see all that and more in Ingersoll. His imagination flames and plays up, up, up. It is a grand height! And he has so sharp a blade, too; is many-sided, gifted for great effects in different spheres." I described Ingersoll's wonderful fence with

 
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realism—that realism was not the paint but the painting, not the stone but the statue, etc., and W. exclaimed, "That must have been grand. But it was all grand—all: I can see." Further, "I don't suppose we ever had a man here so well adapted to that work. I see in him a great resemblance to great founders of religions, passionate devotees: Hicks, Luther—sturdy smiters of wrongs, criers-up of new virtues, callers to man to come forward, come forward, forward." W.'s expression of this of marked music and beauty.

     W. gave me letter of Bucke (24th), wishing me to see Bucke's view of W.'s new writings.


24 March 1891

     By this morning mail arrived your two post cards of 21st and 22nd. And also "Truth" for 19th inst. for which latter many thanks. I was going to write for it and am glad to have it without waiting.

     I like "Old Chants" well—exceedingly, indeed. Walt, I cannot see this falling off that they speak of in your poetry. Some of your late prose has not been to my mind up to your standard—but your verse has not fallen off. Of course you do not write now as you did in the "Song of Myself" days—in power there has been since then a tremendous drop—but that drop occurred in the early '60s. Since then you have held your own and today your verse has as great, as wonderful subtlety and charm as ever it had.

     Stoddart's column is interesting and in good taste.

     I am real glad that you have had the doctor and more glad still that you seem to take kindly to him. I hope now that you will let him keep coming and I am certain he will help you—that he thinks things fairly satisfactory with you is good and comforting.

     All quiet with us here—nothing settled yet as to when Mrs. B. and self shall go East.

     The meter, as usual, moves along slowly but prospects remain good. I still think we shall make a big thing of it but it may take a while yet.


So long!


With best love


RM Bucke

 
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Bucke writes me, same date, as to his trip East (and here) this year—plans not yet outlined:

24 March 1891


My dear Horace

     I have yours of 21st. Yes, if you can get here in June (as I hope) we shall be able to talk over and settle a lot of things—more especially (I hope) the details of the W. W. book. About going East in April—there has been some talk of Mrs. B. and some of us going to Washington on an excursion but I doubt if it comes to anything—I really have no plans at present—think perhaps it may end in my going down sometime in May and back 1st June as last year—but if it can be as well arranged that way I should like you and your new wife to come here towards the end of June—if you could you would see a paradise. But tell me when you want to come and I will keep that in my head in making plans.

     As far as I myself am concerned I should like to get down your way soon—say in April sometime to have a good loaf by the sea—say at Atlantic City. Perhaps we will all stay here until you come and go East with you and go to Atlantic City or Cape May—we shall see—meantime tell me what your plans are and when it will suit you to come here.


Always your friend


RM Bucke

     P.S. Two cards from W. today 21st and 22d—he seems to like the doctor and I think feels better (tho' he does not say so). I hope the doctor will stick to W. and see him from time to time right along.

     Love to you

     RMB W. expresses greatest interest in all this, says, "I am anxious to see Maurice again." Returned him the Wallace and Symonds letters. He asked me, "Does it seem to you Symonds must be living now in a bad turn? That was my impression. It has left a pain with me: I can hardly shake it off. But the letter—oh! it was noble!"

 
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     Mrs. O'Connor sends me a picture of William. W. took it from me, regarding it long without a word; finally breaking out to say, "It is a good picture and a grand head. I know you like it?" Did not think he had seen that particular picture before.

 
Thursday, March 26, 1891

     8 P.M. W. continues in apparent good condition—talking freely and vigorously. Was he not much better? "I do not know, would not like to say. But I suppose it is better to be no worse!" Had not the catheter helped him? He seemed to doubt, "I do not think I can hardly admit that, but the doctor—his general knowledge of my condition—they have helped me, I am sure they have. And that is much of medicine's secret, however we may disguise it." But he is undoubtedly improved. Longaker over again today. The bed all covered with manuscript. W. getting more copy ready. We debated some minor points. I brought him over three prose pages. Lost plates of the preface turned up today. W. "overjoyed," he remarked. Brinton in to see me and inquired after W., who spoke of him as "the good fellow," etc. I had not with me, but reported to W. this letter, received the other day from Arthur Stedman:


The Century

7 West Forty-Third St.

March 22d 1891


My dear Traubel,

     Your kind letter in at hand, and I hasten to say that Mr. Whitman's message has been duly delivered to the Governor, who was much pleased thereat.

     In regard to the inquiry he says that the lectures will be published in magazine or book form, probably within a year from now.

     His health seems to be visibly improving.


Sincerely yours,


Arthur Stedman

 
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He said, "Yes, I am glad you wrote him. I know Stedman is not a great, splendid, flourishing genius—anything of that sort—but he is a man of good generous capacity, full of literary treasures, intellectual, a critic, in one line or two master. W. I honor and respect him for his noble instincts." Further, "Stedman always was a jerky, nervous critter, like our friend Morris here." Afterwards, "It was Alden, of Harper's, as you know, who refused the 'Sunset Breeze' poem as an improvisation and Gilder who refused the 'Jocund Twain.' Yet I welcome all that, too, on the principle, as Bucke would put it, that if our light cannot be kept burning in whatever gale, then it deserves to be snuffed out." Ingersoll had said to me, "I like Whitman for his don't-care-a-damn manner. He started out knowing what he wanted to do and has stuck to his intention." W.: "I should expect that from the Colonel: should expect that his magnificent appreciation of individuality would grasp that side of us."

     Talked about Symonds. Did not W. have much hope of the autobiography mentioned in the letter to Wallace? No positive response, only to say, "With the orthodox literateur even Emerson, Symonds, have much in common, etc. They never come down from the bench," etc. I had written Symonds today, told W. since of the things I said. He wished he could have seen my letter. I told Symonds about the "master" question, that none of our fellows here ever used such a term to W.—that W. and I differed somewhat as to sense in which Symonds and other Europeans applied it, W. contending that it was only a student inclination, I that it was not alien to the feeling with which others address Jesus as master. W. then, "All that will be immensely interesting to Symonds. He will undoubtedly enjoy it. Perhaps as he gets sicker and older, these dry leaves will fall off. He will not be afraid to let his horses go." I did not agree with Kennedy that it was "cowardice" in Symonds to feel so warmly by letter and in private and to not let this warmth penetrate his printed allusions to W. Then W., "Nor do I, I think you are right—that is the explanation. It is the critic in him which makes him judicial, cautious," etc.

 
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     W. questioned me about Stedman's reference to Hartmann. "Hartmann is a dangerous rascal to have roused," he said. "He has some things in common with Thorne, and his lies are the dangerous lies, made up, en passant, from talks with me—just enough of truth in them to make trouble. He is a big, broad savage—always hungered to be au fait with the literary group—has a good eye—is a quite determined pursuer. I wonder how the Poet-Lore people came to their disagreement with him?" And again, "It is pretty bad luck to fall into such hands—to be reported by a man who lies from the mere necessity of lying."

     He laughed over Scovel's forgery of the Arnold letter. "It is still going about in the papers—every once in a while it turns up. I meet it. By and by it will fall under Sir Edwin's eye, and then who's to pay the racket? Hartmann is a fellow to make the fur fly—to create a fight. He don't care how, by whom—just to have the fur fly—which is poor satisfaction to anyone with the first traits of manhood. It indicates a fundamental venomous disposition." It is rarely he speaks so positively of Hartmann or anybody else.

 
Friday, March 27, 1891

     7 P.M. Went to W.'s for proof. W. in his bed. "Napping?""Oh no! I am here—more to rest than for any other reason. I rarely go really to sleep." And then, "It is no disturbance to me for you to come in, for us to have a talk. But there are visitors and visitors." I noted his remarks on margin of proof written in fine, easy hand—the best for months. "Though more comfortable," he complains, or explains, "I am weak, seem good for nothing: all the vitality pressed out of me."

     Left him—went to Ferguson's. There got six pages more prose proofs.

 
Saturday, March 28, 1891

     7 P.M. Took W. further proofs, and he returned me those I left him yesterday. Filled in page 28 with two of the poems laid

 
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aside—"Ship Ahoy" and "For Queen Victoria's Birthday." I had written on the sheet when I left it: "Don't cut!" and he said, "I took your advice—have not cut. In fact, I hate to cut, though I often do it." Further, "I think it perfectly safe to use the 'Ship Ahoy' poem now, though I have not seen a copy of the Youth's Companion containing it. I asked Kennedy what he could tell me about it: he writes one of his scrappy, jerky letters—simply says, 'Yes, your four lines are there,' leaving it in that vague fashion. On the strength of that I shall go ahead and print the poem." I spoke to him of a Whitman "personal" in the Bazar. He said, "I can think it might be there. I have a mate there—a third or fourth remove from the head—who is friendly (just as I have on the Weekly), but the men at the top are not my friends, care nothing, so far as I can see." Liked recent proofs. Asked about the reader, called him "very good—a strong man."

     How had he passed the day? "Not uncomfortable, but I seem to have no strength—none at all—am very weak." And again, "I feel some of these days a strange pressure. I cannot describe it. It is as if I were near the end." And later, when I asked some question about our work, he said, "Each day for itself, Horace, I feel certain of nothing." It seems I had not told him of the hanging of my father's watercolor of W. at the Watercolor Exhibition (Art Club). He felt it to be "an item of real interest." Not deterred by W.'s price, McKay orders the six copies of the big book. W. will give me the first sheets tomorrow. I argued that McKay had no enthusiasm over the big book, that he would probably have preferred to handle it as publisher. W. quickly, "Well, I'll sell him all I have, everything—copyright, to 1900, the end of the century, if he wants it. Do you think it well to try him? Tell me." I urged not: that it was well enough to sell all the books if he chose, but to reserve the copyright. W. then, "I am not determined either way. He can have them, I can keep them—one plan, the other, will equally suit me." But he admitted that in his "increasing disabilities" he felt disposed to shake off all cares. Quite a long talk on this line, with no conclusion, except this—that except by further propulsion I shall not carry his proposition to McKay. He left it in my hands, he said.

 
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Sunday, March 29, 1891

     Did not see W. today. Late (my mother says after she had gone to bed) Warren rang bell. Had brought me the six first-sheets for McKay and further copy (now entering the autobiograhical stage). Autograph sheets for Dave laughably dirty and blotted. Wonder where they have been? I don't believe Dave will take them.

     Note Wallace's pathetic letter of the 17th:


Anderton, near Chorley

Lancashire, England

17 March 1891


My dear Traubel,

     Many thanks to you for your kind letter of the 4th inst., to hand yesterday.

     And I have to thank you for your kind invitation to Johnston and myself to send letters of greeting for May 31st. Of course we shall be pleased & proud to do so.

     We are very sorry to hear of the relapse in Whitman's health, & can only hope that the better weather to come bye & bye will restore him.

     I can't write any more for this mail, but with cordial thanks & friendliness remain always


Yours very truly


J. W. Wallace

Warren was very frank to tell my mother his conviction that W. "is slowly, now, going downhill." The signs every way bad: yet today was beautiful out of doors—threw forth the early spring perfume. If W. gets out will he be revivified? If not that, probably death before long. He put it that way himself—just yesterday said, "I am on the last edge: if I make no gains—get no stronger—how long can I stay there?"
 
Monday, March 30, 1891

     5:35 P.M. W. was very cordial and seemed almost happy. "You are a stranger," he said. "I missed you yesterday." Brought him

 
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much proof, which we examined in a general way and I left with him. W. gave me a letter of Bucke's (27th March) saying, "You should read it: Doctor claims that we have not sent him a report of the Colonel's Shakespeare address. We haven't, have we? But we can't send what we had not got. Doctor is impatient. Funny—oh! it is very curious!—how the boy in him persists—how all his experience, intellect, disappointment—have not taught him to be patient—to take things as they are! The good Doctor!" And further, "You will like what he says there of the doctor, of Longaker. He seems to have fancied him. You might show this letter to Longaker if you like."

     As to Doctor's urging that "Death's Valley" should go into the book, "Perhaps it should, but it can't! It is a point of honor: for the present, the poem is theirs, not ours." Then with an impatient shrug of the shoulders, "God damn Kennedy, I say! The scoundrel writes, writes, writes, but the very thing I want him to say, he won't touch. Several times I asked him about the 'Ship Ahoy!' piece: had the Youth's Companion yet printed it? And I told you what his vague answer was—that my four lines had appeared—that I came out there in company with all my friends—Chamberlain, Boyle O'Reilly—naming others. But what did all that convey to me? It was a mere drag on the edges of what I wanted—hardly innuendoed it even. He is usually explicit enough, too. I send money to some poor friends—relatives, some of them—my sister, others—but, as I have told you, they thank me for my 'affectionate' letter and all that, but either evade any direct mention of the money or float way off into the clouds—fine sentiment. Just as Sloane with his vagaries." Then he laughed and added, "To make the Youth's Companion business worse, I wrote to the paper direct last week, asking about the poem and if I could not have two or three copies of the paper—and not a word from them, either. That's success with a vengeance. Anyhow, we have made our throw: the poem is in the book."

     We discussed further matter for the book. "For one thing, I am waiting for proof of the Truth piece: that is to precede all the other

 
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copy I have here. I got a check today, as they promised (Blakely Hall) last week, paying for both pieces—but no proof. Perhaps it will come in a day or two, which will open a way for us."

     I spoke of a letter I had written Wallace, and W. said, "Good! Yes, write them, they like to hear, deserve to hear." Afterward saying, "They are affectionate, true, best coin out of the best mint. But I was thinking today how few of us but are more or less possessed by the spirit of technique: even our fellows—Wallace, even Symonds—who throw it away, disdain it, spit upon it, yet keep, maintain, battle for its kernel. I find the struggle hard, even in myself." I put in, "And that is an argument that the other fellows use—that even you cannot get away from it, that this therefore attests its validity." W. exclaimed, "O damn 'em! I hate the whole thing more and more: the older I get, the fuller my conviction. I think of Jesus—outcast, anarchist, no family, free, despised, stoned—everything that is low and vile in the eye of the average. Then of the preachers in his name, swearing to the technique at 10,000 or 20,000 a year, living sumptuous lives. What are they to each other? No, no, no: the whole temptation, backed by 40 generations of mistakes (let it have all the advantage of that), I despise—yes, hate, will defy, in all the ways I can." Would he write more autobiographical notes? "Perhaps a few. I give myself free rein: if the notes come, I'll welcome them—I never buffet their salutations: they have their own right as guests."

     Called W.'s attention to this from Hugh Pentecost in a recent address:

     Every poet knows that if he should sing the truth nobody would buy his poems; he knows, indeed, that if he should sing the truth it would not be poetry. The reason why Walt Whitman is so poor, and that his poems are not poetry, is because he writes so much that is true. Poetry is one thing, and truth is an exactly opposite thing. You can make truth rhyme, but you cannot turn it into poetry. Every artist knows that if he should paint pictures that are true he could never sell them, and that is why nearly all art exhibitions are so little worth seeing. If you go to an art exhibition you will see several groups of cows, several

 
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streams of water, several bits of sea, several portraits of a lady, several girls pouring tea, and such inconsequent things, but rarely one that has a true thought in it, because the artist that paints what is true paints what the people do not want.

     [Hugh Pentecost—from "The Clown with the Broken Heart"
—20th Century, March 26, 1891]

He said, "How bitter that sounds! It is like the condemnatory word of a doctor: it goes straight to the marrow. There is a daring ring to it."

     Johnston (NY.) had sent him a beautiful Knickerbocker Souvenir spoon—for oranges—in which he took an active interest and questioned me.

     Had received two rival Contemporary Club tickets. "Which one shall I vote?" he asked. "I want you to tell me. Brinton for President—that's the one?" He was "willing to go the whole radical length." The first ticket (sent out by the nominating committee and antagonized by ours) "has too many ministers on it"—two names—"I am against that." We are making an issue, whether "to break with fashionable, dilettante, tendencies of the Club."

     As I supposed he would, McKay returned me four of the six sheets as "soiled and blotted." W. said, laughing, "I was quite aware of their condition, but these are just the sheets I should select if I was after a curio."

     Again, he picked up a magazine, "I have been reading this—it came from Wallace—the National Review, containing an article by William Sharp on 'American National Literature.' What a lot of damned trash it is, too: dry, stupid, valueless. It is wonderful, the amount of that stuff we stand without protest. I don't know how much Wallace sympathizes with Sharp, but Sharp himself sees little, nothing."

     W. every day asks me about my copy of the Atlantic. Anne Montgomerie now has it.

     W. greatly moved by Mrs. O'Connor's last letter to me:

 
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112 M St. NW

March 26, 1891


Dear Mr. Traubel,

     I don't yet hear from you that you actually have the "reports" in hand—but when you get them please let me know; & if you don't get them soon, I also want to know, as some mischance may have sent them the wrong way, or not sent them. As Mr. K. wrote you that he had sent them, if you have not rec'd them, you better let him know at once.

     I sent you my letter from him, which you may return when you get ready, & I hope you got the photograph all safe.

     And now to-day, when I got home, I found the Atlantic had been sent me with the first part of the "Brazen Android." I have just cut the pages.

     If you write for any paper or can get into any, will you speak a good word for it? The more it is noticed, the more chance of the book in the fall.

     I saw that they meant this as a feeler.

     Love to Walt, I wish I had a copy to send him, but they have sent me only this one.


Yours cordially,


Ellen M. O'Connor

"I hope we can do a good deal for her. How can we?"

     Bucke's letter of 27th to me mentions Longaker favorably. Speaks also of "Death's Valley."

 
Tuesday, March 31, 1891

     7:55 P.M. W. sent me this note to house by Warren last night:



     "Can't find the sheets tonight—will find them to-morrow morning and send over (proof too) by noon to-morrow to you at the bank by Warry.


W. W."

The sheets he refers to are for McKay. Towards noon today, Warren came in Bank with further word:
 
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Horace,

     I think the sheets (including the first ones, with auto) are all over in Oldach's made up, complete and inclusive. If you can, go there and see if that is not so—see how many big books in sheets he has there. Of course Mc's order will then get the six complete.


W.W.

I found it was really as he said. When Dave's man came in, I sent him to Oldach's for the sheets and went about 4:45 to Dave's and numbered them. W. says, "The remembrance of the thing flashed across my mind, while I was in bed last night." Oldach appears to have about 150 or 170 books—autographed sheets and all—ready to deliver (folded). I numbered the sheets at McKay's. Would it be safer to have all the sheets now shipped and kept here? But W. was doubtful, "We are at least as likely to burn out as they." No conclusion.

     W. not looking so well. Longaker over today. "He is a great aid to me," W. admitted. "I like his quiet ways, his effective sure counsel." No word from Truth yet. Brought him more proof. Had sent proof by Warren to Bank, but had forgotten one sheet. He could "not believe it," but it was so. In the prose discussing Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar," he added, at my suggestion, several new lines, beautiful. Hard to get the right disposition of all these things. W. does it best by having us first get it into type our way, then submitting to changes. So with envelopes Cohen is making for us—here are a couple of W.'s designs:

     1000 white envelopes,
200 with this inscription:
WALT WHITMAN
CAMDEN New Jersey
U S AMERICA
—this line black or antique
800 with the "U S AMERICA" line out
no points at all—no thin spacing

 
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     Bucke (29th) writes me imperatively about Longaker:


29 March 1891


My dear Horace

     Your notes of 25 & 26 to hand I am quite braced up about W. Do not see why he might not have a few good years before him yet. You must see that Dr. Longaker remains in attendance—W. cannot be trusted to send for him or to look after himself—he must be watched—I would like to see the letter of that Dr. who is not pleased at your friendship for W. It must be very funny. I am glad to know that you must have holidays in early June (since it is so)—I shall plan now to be with you 31 May and we will all (I trust) return here together—I shall probably go East about 10th May and stay (as last year) at seaside or somewhere till 31st. I guess we cannot do better than as you say—a dinner with Ingersoll—can you be sure to get him?

     So you are having some experience of slow people too? But how would you like to wait 8 years for a man to finish an invention and have to float it afterwards? But the meter is beginning to move—the traveler takes the road tomorrow.

     A magnificent day—the ground was covered with snow this morning but it is vanishing like a dream!


So long!


RM Bucke

Left with him the copious Inter-Ocean (Chicago) discussion of "National Literature" (W.'s).

     Today stormy, but yesterday and Sunday cloudless. W. said, "I had lots of temptation to go out, but was dissuaded. Was it too great a risk? There was a young man here Sunday, and he advised me to be cautious, which advice I hardly needed; though I am not prone to take cold—never have been—would not fear to go out."

     At one point he spoke of "Jesus—if he was not altogether a myth, a tradition," etc. W. complains that Munyon has not yet paid him for "The Commonplace," though he had sent copies of the magazine when requested.

 
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     Alluded to the withdrawal of the Italian minister on account of the New Orleans Mafia murders. W. said, "I anticipate no serious trouble—it is a bit of bluster, a noisy wind, which will quiet itself. There are plenty of these Italians here who make a heap of trouble, anyhow." Referring then to a man here in Camden jailed for murder, "A fellow like this ought to be crushed out like a bug. He is a creature for whom patience has passed the life-line."

 
Wednesday, April 1, 1891

     5:25 P.M. Quite the most vigorous talk with W. had for long time. Very communicative. He was much amused with my recital of a debate with Bucke about "The Riddle Song"—roared when I told him B. thought I should watch for some hint of the solution before W. slipped away from us. "Doctor would find after all, that it is the old story, 'diplomacy,' again—the secret: that there is no secret. Some of my simplest pieces have created the most noise. I have been told that 'A Child Went Forth' was a favorite with Longfellow, but to me there is very little in that poem. That is one of my penalties—to have the real vital utterances, if there are any in me, go undetected." W. gave me a letter he had today from Ignatius Donnelly. "You might just as well take it: it belongs rather with your collection than mine."


State of Minnesota, Senate Chamber

Ignatius Donnelly,

Twenty-Fourth District

St. Paul, March 29, 1891


Honored and venerated friend:

     I have come to know you through your writings and through the warm praises of our dead friend, William D. O'Connor.

     I have received your card, through Mess. Schultz & Co. of Chicago, and I shall treasure it as a memorial of one I love and honor.

 
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     I thank you and pray that your days may be long in the land which is proud of your genius.


Believe me to be


with sincerest respect,


yr. friend,


Ignatius Donnelly

Also gave me this curious "pugnacious" note (he called it) from Cassius M. Clay:

White Hall, Ky.

Jan. 6. 1891


Dear Sir,

     I have just received your "Leaves of Grass etc." 1890—for which accept my thanks.

     I have not found time but to glance over it—& cannot return a criticism—even if such a thing was a consequence.

     I am very independent in such matters—and think with Burns "Crooning to a body's sel/Does weel eneugh" and let the world read or not, as it likes.


Wishing you long years yet of health and happiness I remain yours truly


Cassius Marcellus Clay

"I am the target for missiles good and bad—numberless missiles, from friends and enemies."

     Morris had asked me to see Symonds' letter, to quote from it for Literary World. Showed him the letter but advised that he not quote—it would seem out of confidence, etc. W. said, "You were quite right—I am sure we should guard well these inner utterances—often they are only and simply for us." And further, "But use your own judgment—all I can say is this: that you are safer in the position you occupy now than you would be in any other."

     Morris reports to me an expression of Gilchrist's to the Coateses, that there were but two real appreciators (understanders) of W. living today—Symonds and Rossetti. I am surprised he did not say there were three. W. laughed and said, "That is very like

 
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Herbert, very. I don't know whether I ought to say it, but I may say I think him the most insular of all the excellent fellows we know—though it is true, too, that Rossetti and Symonds are good friends." W. laughing continued, "But though I accept them both—appreciate them—their weight, mass, of testimony—I should not—no, not at all—express my feeling in Herbert's way. Rossetti is not thoroughly measured even by our fellows—his allegiance means a great deal, has expressed itself in thick and thin. Except for this—his dread of Italianity, which withdraws him often into an English hauteur, reserve—he is one of us. I can never forget what he and Symonds have been to me." Was Gilchrist's mother so Englished as Herbert? "Not at all—no, not at all—she was everything but that, everything—hadn't a sign of it. I had intended saying just now that in most ways she has so far been my most thorough accepter—more open to my purposes, determinations. I might say of her, she was mortised in science—in Tyndallism, Huxleyism, Darwinism—she came to 'Leaves of Grass' stamped with the stamp of the best elements—even with a brush of Spencer, though more from the concrete, experimental workers. I think I have told you how someone wrote me in those early years of her advocacy—that if asked to mention the last person they would point out as likely to go off into a poetic enthusiasm, Mrs. Gilchrist would be that person—not sentimental, yet gifted with the most splendid sentiment—oh! most splendid!" I mentioned to W. some of Herbert's extreme applause of English art (at the Contemporary Club) and said, "It created a giggle." W. then, "It makes me giggle, too—it is very funny."

     W. gave me a letter he had received from Bucke today. "There are things in there to interest you—discussing my prose and poems. See how they appear to you."


30 March 1891

     I have today f'm you—letter of 17th enclosing Wallace's copy of Symonds' good letter and (better still—if possible) the "Goodbye" poems—these last I have (so far) barely glanced at but I can see that

 
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this is a superb cluster—better I think even than "Sands"—but I will write more fully of it later—it is marvelous to me dear Walt, what power and fascination there is still (as much as ever indeed) in your verse while your prose has certainly lost in force, in grip. How is this? is it (I believe it is) that your verse comes f'm something in you—inside the mind—the intellect something perennial—not liable to decay—while your prose rests upon the intellect—the great ganglia—and these feel the effect of time, of age?

     It is funny Walt that you always call Dr. Longaker—Dr. Foraker—but whatever you may call or miscall him he is certainly doing you good—at least giving you some relief—may it continue and increase!

     My plans at present are to be in Washington (at Med. Supt. Ass. meeting) April 28 to May 1—then put in May at the seaside & in neighborhood of Phila. and go home 1 June. We shall see if I can carry it out!


Love to you always dear Walt


R. M. Bucke


31 March 1891

     re "Goodbye my Fancy"

     Ruskin says of great writers that they "express themselves in a hidden way and in parables." I have understood this of you, Walt, for many a year and I am bold enough to say that I believe I have followed the subtle winding & burrowing of your thought as far as anyone. I have known well from the first that "there are divine things well envelop'd—more beautiful than words can tell." It is this mystic thread—running through all your poems that has fascinated me from the first more than anything else about them. I have noted the (by most people) "unsuspected author"..."spiritual, godly, most of all known to my sense." And I understand (tho' you will never tell—perhaps could not tell us) where the secret prompting comes from. Well the "haughty song—begun in ripened youth...never even for one brief hour abandon'd" is finished, and the singer soon departs...and the present listeners soon depart. But the song remains and will do its work—that same song is the most virile, potent and live thing on this earth today—and the singer and the listeners they go the way provided for them but they will not get out of the range of this prophetic utterance. I congratulate you, dear Walt, today upon having completed the

 
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greatest, most divine, most humanly helpful work that has ever so far proceeded from any individual man—and this claim for Leaves of Grass I will maintain while I live.


I am, dear Walt,


With love and admiration


Your friend,


R. M. Bucke

Had he read the Inter-Ocean editorial? "Yes, it seems good-naturedly stupid, non-positive—friendly, however, in a way. I have not read it with any severe attention." Asked me, "By the way, Horace—don't it look as if the bottom had fallen out?"

     Speaking of dinner next May 31st, W. said, "Yes, have it—have what you feel you must—but do not count on me." I urged, "But you will be there?" He shook his head. "It is doubtful—things with me get more and more confused, uncertain, impossible. Where shall I be at that time? Who knows?" But still after a pause, "But the dinner is your right—you think it your duty. And of course have the Colonel there—he belongs there—he has the best warrant of all to speak for us. Yes, I say it deliberately." And more emphatically, after gazing out the window a minute, "That reminds me: the bottom seems to have fallen out of the Ingersoll-Whitman dinner colloquy. What do you suppose has affected Talcott? I have neither had it nor a word about it since the loss of the first draft." Had I not better see Talcott Williams? "Yes, do so—I authorize you to do so—to treat with him for it." I suggested, "How would it do to include that in the book—to send it to New York and have Ingersoll correct and fill in his and you fill in your part, and print it as substantially your discussion?" This seemed to impress him, "Sure, sure—why, it never occurred to me—yet as you present it now it comes full-round. But do you see Talcott first—ask to have it. And there should be no delay."

     McKay had spoken to me of Stoddard as a man indebted to nearly every publisher in America, "they having to look sharp for their manuscript if they advance him money." W. protested, "That may be true—I do not know—but I don't

 
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believe it is true. I never heard any mention of such a thing before." And to Joe Stoddart's rather poor opinion of Stedman, "That may speak for Joe, but not for me. Stedman is a germinal force, of his kind of course. I know he is not a great genius—or genius at all—child of nature—or anything of that sort in the first sense, but in the literary trade he is top, very top—puts forward its fairest foot—is warm, true, honest—eligible to the best appreciations."
 
Thursday, April 2, 1891

     5:50 P.M. Found W. lying in his bed. Not, however, ill. "I came to rest. That was all. I am about as well as I have been, which of course isn't very well. I ought not to complain. Dr. Longaker has not come today—this is his day—but I suppose the storm"—it is raining terribly—"kept him at home. The worst thing lately has been the clutch of my old monster—the grip. And it fatally—almost fatally—affects my hearing. If I talk myself, or listen to others talk, a while, I seem to lose my hearing utterly."

     He returned me the proof-sheets I had left him yesterday and I had brought him others. He asked me, "So you are quite set that the Sarrazin piece, or Kennedy's Dutch piece, should not go in the book? It is quite a determined feeling?" And to some emphatic affirmative words of mine, "I do not quite look at the matter your way, but when I meet with your opposition, and Tom's, and then Doctor Bucke's—all set firmly against me—positive, assured—a bold protest—I confess I am shaken—feel much to be reconsidered—practically, must yield."

     Had he read Blaine's letter in reply to Fava (Italian minister withdrawn on account of the New Orleans imbroglio)? "No, what is it?" And when I repeated its substance, he said, "I would warn the fellows over there, Beware! Beware! Bluster all you may—cry your loudest—that is all right, that is necessary and inevitable—but before you get yourselves practically embroiled, consider your danger—consider, consider! For all you

 
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take, interest—deep, subtle, inexorable—will be exacted. And payment, and bitterest travail! America is long suffering, quiet, not quarrelsome, plain, democratic—no great armies—not easily aroused; but once stirred to the deep—once touched at the heart—she is fearful—she sways the fates themselves—yes, till judgment is hers!" And then, "I missed Blaine in the papers. So you think he was poised, clear, strong? I must read the letter—look for it when I get up; it is a thing I would not want to miss."

     After a pause he continued, "Doctor writes me again: he is thoroughly taken with 'Good-Bye'—thoroughly—it is quite exhilarating to see how he freezes to it. But what—what—will be said of it, long, long hence, when I am a person passed—passed—into the night?" I picked up a book from the floor—W. H. Babcock's "The Two Lost Centuries of Britain." W. then, "I have been looking into it—casually—a bit here, a bit there—but it seems to me the more he writes, the more lost they seem—the more dark—the deeper the mystery. I suppose if the charge was made to him he would say, well, that is what I meant to show—that they were dark, lost, irrecoverable!"

     McKay wondered if W. expected him to publish "Good-Bye My Fancy." W. with a laugh, "I wonder—yes, I wonder. I am not averse—it might be just as well. Let us hold it in mind." McKay will be over to see W. to make a six-months' settlement. I advised him to bring the subject up.

     W. announced, "I catch a good item of news—that the Critic will publish a full syllabus of all the eight Stedman lectures. This is a very good item, very." The one report so far ignored W. "Well, it is all according to who writes the report, whether we come up great or small."

     McKay says Ingersoll's lecture undoubtedly stimulated sales of Walt Whitman volumes. "The sale has been better ever since." W. as to this: "We had a right to expect it—it was a legitimate prophesiable influence."

     Mrs. Davis has built W. a shelf between two of the windows.

 
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     W. said to me of [the following article] that "such curious criticisms have a tendency to stagger good sense," yet "are based in something which is not to be laughed away."

     We have tried time and time again to find poetry in what emanates from the so-called "good gray poet," Walt Whitman. We have argued that the fault must be ours and therefore, our "soul" being guiltless of "poetry" must, according to time-honored reasoning, be fit for "treasons, stratagems and spoils." But, after all, do Whitman's lines fulfil any one of half a dozen different definitions of poetry? Can the following, for instance, to quote Wordsworth, be characterized as "wisdom married to immortal verse?"

     [Whitman's "The Unexpress'd" is here quoted in full.]

     This is one of the latest specimens of his "verse," but the poetry is "unexpressed," according to our thinking.

     [Chicago Standard, March 12, 1891]

 
Friday, April 3, 1891

     7:55 P.M. Into W.'s room to find him reading a paper. Room frightfully hot. Seeing bundle under my arm he asked me at once, "What have you got there?" Proofs (new), plate-proofs, etc.—which, upon my opening, he examined with pleasure and relish. "We are getting along very well at last," he said. "Better speed—better proof-reading." Then again, "I feel thoroughly worn out tonight—as if, in the play of the sailors, I had been paddled, paddled, paddled till the life was all gone from me. I have had a sculptor visitor—his name is O'Donovan—he is from New York—he has come on proposing to take my head. What will come of it, if anything, is yet in the future—it is hard to say. He wants to get a room hereabout somewhere—will probably be here three or four weeks. Warrie went out with him, hunting—but so far without result." And then he paused—shut his eyes—speaking again wearily, "So one after another have scarified me—here was Dave, too, and he undertook to pay me

 
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for only 50—not 100—of the big books—remembering but one lot, and disputing me for a while—but going home, I think, convinced—at least to look up the thing. I have since written him a postal, to say Oldach could verify my version, though I should not think that would be needed. But the thing exercised me. Yes, Dave did report an increased sale for the book, which we are warranted in attributing to the Colonel's splurge."

     Young Stoddart had said to me, "Whitman marked twelve dollars on the poem, but when I saw it, I tore the amount off—expecting they would pay him more for it.""How much did they send?" I asked W., and he said, "Ten dollars." Then I told him what S. had detailed and he laughed, "Well, I put my foot in it there, to be sure—for when I wrote, asking for money for both pieces, I spoke of ten dollars for the poem—and that is all they sent me."

     He called my thoughts in another direction. "Kennedy sends me a Transcript containing an indignation meeting of Western poets: a poor, fruitless—I might say, stupid—protest against the invitation to Tennyson to write something for the Columbian exposition." I understood that the Illustrated American had boasted W. himself in this connection. W.: "I heard nothing of that—not a word. That is on authority? You saw it? At any rate, this Transcript piece makes a poor enough show—amounts to nothing above commonplace—a flat commonplace." Wished me to see it. "I laid it somewhere to send to the Doctor," but could not put his hands on it. "It isn't worth while, anyhow—you will care nothing for it."

     I had brought him the Atlantic [containing William O'Connor's story, "The Brazen Android"]. Now he handled it "with a real deep joy," he said. "I ought to take a profound interest in this: I was in at the 'borning'—I must say—with the first light—the first glints of dawn. The great William!" And as he glanced through it—"I can see the touch everywhere—the strong sweeping strokes. Yes, yes, yes—if it comes to me, Horace—if I have the impulse, strength (God knows, these become less and less positive, as days go by!)—I shall write something

 
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about the story—for some paper, perhaps—for anybody who will use it."

     The printer has several times persistently objected to descriptive phrases of W.'s, and it much amuses him.

     Letter from Bucke (1st). I had asked him what he thought of naming the magazines. Glad he supports me. Will so present to W.

     On second letter of same date, Bucke broaches payment for Longaker—increasing his own contribution to help. But I have for the present made other arrangements with L.

     Referred affectionately to Longaker, who had again been over today.

 
Saturday, April 4, 1891

     7:50 P.M. W. rather better tonight, though he still complains that he constantly realizes a sense of weariness. "As I told it to Longaker the other day—in the phrase of the lumbermen, when the logs all clutter up the river—and continually more and worse—I feel choked, oppressed, almost suppressed, in fact." He was now reading proof. I left new pages with him. We have now reached 51. W. was astonished. "I never had any idea we would go so high. I shouldn't wonder but we'd make it 60 before we are done!" Then with a laugh, "But that scoundrel on Truth hasn't sent me a proof yet. I wonder if he'd have the cheek to print it without sending me a proof? I had a proof of the poems. No, no, I am not afraid—and yet I shall not feel relieved till I actually see it in the types—unmistakably concreted." And further, "It is probably the scrappiest prose piece I have ever written—about the old actors, you remember. I mention, I suppose, the matter of 50 names—and if I have no proof, I'm sure this will be a hell of a mess." When he had quieted from the laugh this caused him he asked me, "If you will, go to a stand Monday, see Truth, see with your own eyes whether we have been sent through unacquainted"—for—"after all, I never believe in the impossible. I accept the saying of some witty Frenchman—that the impossible is the likeliest thing to happen." I had a copy of

 
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the Illustrated American (April 4th) containing portrait of W. and article on "Our Poet Laureate" discussing the Tennyson-Columbian matter in a frank way:

     OUR POET-LAUREATE.—That was a very foolish thought of the managers of the World's Fair—to ask a poem from Lord Tennyson in honor of the occasion.

     Tennyson is a great man. But his day is over. His recent work—especially the last song, "To Sleep"—has detracted from rather than added to his reputation. Better, far better, he should relapse into silence. Moreover, he is a foreigner—a member, too, of the nation which scorned Columbus and refused his proffer of a new world. A Spaniard, even an Italian, would be better. Among the exponents of the latter-day renaissance of song in either country, it might be possible to find one who could do justice to Columbus, to Chicago, to America.

     But best of all would be an American poet. The children of the New World, which Columbus revealed to the Old, are best fitted to celebrate the glories of the new dispensation.

     Walt Whitman would be the ideal choice. He is an American, a democrat in the largest and best sense of the word, a son of the soil. He could give us a splendid chant, full of virility and breadth and wisdom. But we have not yet reached the ideal stage where we can appreciate him at his true worth. Lowell is a choice that would better please the more finical and dainty and scholarly mind....
W. said, "The thing appears to have been in today's Press—I sent my copy to Bucke. They call it, 'Our National Poet.' You think it was written by William Walsh? Probably, more than probably—it certainly is by a sure, friendly hand—takes us up with no apologies. If you can get occasion, I wish you would thank Walsh for me—tell him of my gratitude. I noticed, yes, that he spoke of Lowell as finicky, a scholar—or to that effect. But however, it was a manly recognition."

     Had he read "The Brazen Android"? "Yes, and beautiful it is, too. I can see William all through it. No, I never saw it before—it is quite new to me—never read it, or heard it read—but

 
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I know all that it came out of. All the history of the centuries from 12th to 16th—and what are called the Elizabethan group, literature—were at William's fingers' and tongue's end. This literature has a species of artificialization—a shade of it—but an artificialization which is nature itself."

     Ingersoll lectures in Brooklyn tomorrow night ("Shakespeare"). W. remarked, "It arouses all my dormant desires. What a treat to go over! But there's no use—no use. I suppose 50 years from now it will be so that a fellow can take up stakes at five or six in the afternoon—get to New York—having everywhere perfect independence—composedly, easily—and home the same night. Do you know, I feel quite sure of that—indeed, wonder why we haven't had it already!"

     I expressed to W. my doubts about naming the magazines which had rejected him (in a note entitled "Two Questions"). It was a taste—a feeling—perhaps a question whether it comported with W.'s usual strength and reserve. He responded, "I am very glad to hear you say that—it is frank—I like to hear it—I have been waiting to hear it. Such a criticism is always very welcome to me, especially when I know it is from one of the fellows in touch with my work." And after pause and reflection, "Yes indeed, it is a great question for us. I shall take it up seriously—perhaps decide for the very attitude you urge on me. I have not felt any over-arching supreme reason either way, but now you present it to me, I see it in a new light."

     Miss Porter gave me in some detail an account of a talk with an English actress now here—a "Belle" somebody (name escaped)—and when I referred to the fact tonight W. said, "That reminds me: she sent a card over and I sent word that I was too sick—that for the past few days I had been seriously broken and weak—which is a fact." The statement the stranger had made was, that while all English people of weight or mark had an enthusiasm for W., she had noticed on coming to America an entirely other atmosphere. W. put in, "A 'pooh! pooh!'" And then, "But that is no surprise to us: haven't we long known all that?" I assented, "Yes, but not from her—it is worth putting down—

 
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is another observation." W. then, "You are right—and it is true, too, wholly true."

     Showed W. this letter, received today from Mrs. Fairchild:


April 2


Dear Mr. Traubel,

     Spring is really here by the almanac if not by the skies which with us at least, have no shade of tenderness yet. But I hope that with you it is different and that our dear friend can get away from his fireside to a more benignant warmth in the open air very soon. I enclose the little cheque on which I hang so much pleasure every month, with heartiest wishes that Walt may share the throbbing new life of the earth—he long ago felt the new life of the new era pulsing through his breast and to him I owe more than to any other my own vital thrills.

     Best regards to you also; & a common wish for us all.


Very truly yrs


Elisabeth Fairchild

He exclaimed as he read, "She writes like a man! Such a hand! Such a strong searching verbal certainty!" And again, "She is a rare woman—she is an honor to us!"

     Would send (or if I came, give) me new copy (appendix) tomorrow. Laughingly: "I even dictated to the Truth fellows the date on which to print my piece, but they took no notice of it." Further, "We can't all be masters of the same situation!"

 
Sunday, April 5, 1891

     10:55 A.M. Met Warren on the way down—had a roll of newspapers and new manuscript for me. In the latter was "Splinters"—marked A.B.C. in the manuscript—which he told me he had written today to fill in page 41 and run on page 42. He changed the Lippincott's piece for the book—instead of "memoranda" made it "jottings" in headline—cut out Emerson's letter and Trautwine's note. For pages 39, 40, 41, 42 having no general headline, which I urged, he inserted now, "Some

 
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Laggards Yet"—very good. W. said, "I have been trying to read Tolstoi's article in today's Press, but it would not go down. It is very dry—unattractive. I looked for some sign of the touch of the stories, but none was there." The article referred to is "True and False Christianity"—an argument against the temporal and dogmatic emphases of the Christian church.

     I paid Mrs. Davis seven dollars for a couple of woolen undershirts and some extra dry goods for W.

     W. said, "The day must be marvellously beautiful. I can feel its impulse to the very bones. And if I cannot get out, I can at least enjoy the people as they pass there—across the street—Sunday-decked." The Critic report of Stedman lectures contains no mention of W., though it covers two full pages. W. remarked, "I'd be surprised if Dick Stoddard, or someone like him, did not prepare the reports—it is his style." And then, "Well, as you say, it shows that the author is not one of our men." An abstract is more or less an indication of the leanings of the man who writes it. I urged it. W. responding, "You are undoubtedly right—that makes a very useful fact to remember." Further adding, "We can stand it: it may be one of our inspirations."

     Holland, New York correspondent for the Press, has in Press some curious paragraphs about Ingersoll. W. had read and now said, "Who is Holland? Is it a pen-name only or some real flesh and blood? This letter was very pointed and interesting, but sometimes he writes stupid enough. That story about the Colonel's retreat is a very old one. I have heard it so many times, I am tired of having it repeated. Yes, it is as you say, he is not going down—they are coming up."

     Referring to the Critic report again, "I ought to say now—as I always have said—that I care nothing for the public, yet in a sense care for it a good deal. The public has little to do with my acts, deeds, words. I long ago saw that if I was to do anything at all I must disregard the howling throng—must go my own road, flinging back no bitter retort, but declaring myself unalterably whatever happened." I asked, "Isn't there a distinction between

 
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the humors of the public and its convictions? Its daily condemnations and crazes, its humors—and its age-stored morality, its convictions?" W. at once responded, "I like that a good deal—it is exactly my idea—and now I can make myself clear. From the first I despised the humors of the public, but I always respected its convictions." I found in consulting the manuscript he had given me, after I had gone home ("Splinters"), some reference to this very topic—as follows:

     While I stand in reverence before the fact of Humanity, the People, I will confess, in writing my "Leaves of Grass," the least consideration out of all that has had to do with it has been the consideration of "the public"—at any rate as it now exists. Strange as it may sound for a democrat to say so, I am clear that no free and original and lofty-soaring poem, or one ambitious of these achievements, can possibly be fulfill'd by any writer who has largely in his thought "the public"—or the question, What will establish'd literature—What will the current authorities say about it?...

     Had found Talcott Williams' letter asking about the actress visitor—clearing to me the matter of her name:


1833 Spruce Street

Philadelphia

April 4. '91


My dear Mr. Whitman:

     Can you see for a few moments this afternoon or a day next week at 3 PM, Miss Belghannie, a devoted English admirer of yours who feels she owes encouragement, inspiration and direction from "Democratic Vistas"—You will confer much if you grant an interview—Miss Graeff of this city will go over with Miss Belghannie. Please send answer in this envelope.


As ever Devotedly yours


Talcott Williams

     W. declared that he was "glad" McKay had acknowledged he was right: McKay yesterday having dispatched an additional check covering amount of 50 copies. W. still says there are two copies of

 
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big book McKay has not paid for. I advised that hereafter no book be delivered to McKay except for receipt. W. said, "That is a good idea—hereafter I will leave it in your hands."

 
Monday, April 6, 1891

     5:35 P.M. W. looked himself again in more ways than one, and I felt overjoyed. And his talk was quick (for him) and decisive. Will it last? Remarked at once, "Doctor Longaker was over today! How much I like the man! More and more he grows in my favor. He has solid virtues—is wise—knows his trade. And Bucke seems to have as good an opinion as I have—probably through you—or through you in part—and partly, perhaps, from their correspondence together. At any rate I am satisfied." And further, "There has been a visitor, too: Herbert—Herbert Gilchrist—and he looks hearty and happy. He has taken board near here somewhere, in Camden, and will stay a few days. He tells me Morris is getting ready to pay him a visit." What had W. heard since of O'Donovan? "No one seems to know who he is. He went back to New York—we have not seen him since. But I guess he is all right—he came from Childs—and I have confidence in that." O'Donovan not impressed with the Morse head. Said W. quickly, "So much the worse for him"—and with a laugh—"I wonder if we will be impressed with his?" He shook his head over Truth. "Not a word yet—not a word. I wonder if they mean to wait till I die, then print the piece with a hurrah? with great trumpeting of heads?" I protested and W. then, "Well, I did not urge that—only mentioned it. The pages 79 to 85 in manuscript—which you missed—were the pages I sent to Truth. I had them ready to go into the book when the idea struck me to send to them first." Young Stoddart told me today that he had received $25 for his Truth interview (one column), while W. had only been paid $16 for his matter, which, he said, "I thought might take up a whole page." W. had set his price too low. He joked about it and said, "That only shows that in the future I must set my price to a higher key."

 
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     Book to page 51 now. W. thought, "I aim to make it strike 60 or 64, anyhow—and how this comes will by and by appear." I asked if he could not add some notes? "Yes indeed, I could go on ad infinitum—but the trouble would be, that just as I had fairly got into the thing, I would find that was just the thing I should have done long ago—and will want to do it with a good deal more care. I can readily see that somebody, sometime, should think all this very important—especially if 'Leaves of Grass' continues—becomes a part of the living universal message of our land, time." I had noticed that he had not cut out the names of magazines which had rejected him. "No, but I weighed what you said. I have felt uncertain about it, but not enough to yield. It is quite clear to me—clear to my own mind, that I should here and there flash clear light—give a vivid touch here and there—on the critter himself, as he lives, moves, these days, among men and women, above the earth. It is in line with all my old determined purposes—to set free the currents of sympathy—to reach out unto other ages, a hand of recognition—to let such as can see, see in me (as indeed they might in any man of the time) the peculiar life that throbs and is vital in the trial democracy."

     I wrote to Walsh yesterday, conveying W.'s gratitude for the Illustrated American notice, and to Talcott Williams, asking after the Ingersoll colloquy.

     Mrs. Davis came in to hand W. the local papers, and before she could go, he insisted that she should take some return—handing her some papers he hastily grabbed from the loaded chair, and saying, "It must not be all on one side." One of these papers happened to be the Path—and he turned to me when Mrs. Davis was gone and said, "I get the queerest papers and letters. Judge, from New York—this Path man—sends me many and quotes 'Leaves of Grass' every once in a while. Then I get another Theosophist paper from the Pacific coast. And the editor appears to be a 'Leaves of Grasser' in a wild sense, too. He recently said that he had read all Colonel Bob's speech—read it carefully, read it minutely—yet that Bob was all, all

 
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wrong—that he nowhere touched the heart of our philosophy, that whatever the superficial appearance, at bottom Walt Whitman was spiritual—even a religioso—kin and kind to religious heroes, all peoples, ages." Adding after a pause, "Which sounds crude, in some ways—has the youngish ring—but is bold, however crudely stated."

     I made some comparison of "Good-Bye My Fancy" and "Sands at Seventy." Of my good words for the former W. exclaimed, "Is it so? Is that the feeling?" I alluded to its indirection. "It is grand not in what it tells or shows, but in what it leads out to." And when I spoke of true power as "a note in a song—what it stirs up, rather than the force of simple description," W. cried, "Exactly! Exactly! The secret at last: the note in a song! What it stirs up—all the indefinable things—beauty, courage—the most real thing of all, yet defying statement, explication. That is the key to 'Leaves of Grass'—that opens every door—explains its history—throws light in dark places! The note of a song!" And he gazed out on the skies and repeated the innocent little phrase several times.

     I was to hear Campanini tonight, and W.: "What! The great fellow again! I envy you—envy you! Now you have a double duty—to take it for me as well as for yourself."

     Said he had read the Critic abstract. "I think you are right about it, too: it must have been written by someone who meant to avoid Walt Whitman—who at any rate ignores him by force of habit. Dick Stoddard, my first guess—I would be willing to swear to it—or one like him. The abstract is very scrappy, anyhow—very much cut into bits—very tantalizing in that respect. Nothing, of course, will be right, but the printed book—and for that we must wait." And further, "The lectures, as I read them there, convey no distinct, definite, coherent idea—but I attribute that to the reporter wholly—not to Stedman."

     W. told me with great gusto a Washington story related to him by Tom Donaldson. "Tom tells an inimitable tale—he knows how to do it—to keep its first nature—and he mimics to great perfection."

 
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     I gave him my ideas as to extract of O'Connor's reports: to try to have the book issued by subscription—say by Webster, New York—have it vividly illustrated—call it "Shipwreck and Storms" or by such a general title. This would put money in Mrs. O'Connor's pocket? W. listened intently—questioned—then, "I am completely captured by that idea—completely—and have only this suggestion to make—that in the title of the book you give it a distinct American focus—make it plain at once where it belongs. And Horace, what can I do for it? Anything I can do I will do." I said, "You write an introduction and I will write a sketch of O'Connor—then we can let all the rest of the book be his, absolutely." W. very quickly said, "I will do it—do it all. Yes, write you the introduction—and I like the idea of the sketch, too. The whole scheme is very attractive to me—and William would have an absolute monopoly of the field—a clear way out, perhaps to some just recognition. I do not know, anyhow, but that is the best, most characteristic work he ever did. The best work of its kind (I think it of a high order) ever done—and to be preserved, rescued, as you put it."

 
Tuesday, April 7, 1891

     7:55 P.M. W. seemed let down a peg or two from last night. Pretty good humor, however. Sent me some proofs to Bank by Warren today—but I brought them all back, as the directions sent along were too vague. Now cleared up in a minute. Neither of us have word from Talcott Williams yet. W. adds still more to "Some Laggards Yet," several notes, one on health and one about cheer in human life. I brought him the envelopes from Cohen and he was delighted with them, speaking of Cohen's "eminent taste." I received this note from Bucke today:


5 April 1891


My dear Horace

     I have yours of 1 Ap. Longaker says about Walt just about what I wrote you and I do not understand [if] it is in reply to my letter (which

 
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you were to show him) [or] but a spontaneous prognosis of his own? If you see my letter to W. of 31st Mar kicking about save it or return it to me—W. refers to it in card of 2d inst. and I may want it later—all very quiet here—Winter has come back—ground frozen hard and at present snowing—a regular February day. My brother from Ottawa is to be here this week to stay—he has taken a house in London.


So long!


R. M. Bucke

I replied as to Longaker, no, he has not seen Bucke's note—this makes their correspondent views the more valuable. As to the letter of 31st, "no sign yet," W. said. I do not remember having seen it. W. decided, "I think it was the letter in which he spoke itemistically about the 'Good-Bye' poems—in highly eulogistic terms—warm—almost passionate—certainly vehement." And then, "I shall keep an eye about for it—lay it aside for you if it turns up." The Times (Phila.) has dealt rather sarcastically with the Stedman lectures. So Morris reports. We have not seen. W. anxious to know how. Gave me a Camden Courier, in which E.J. Edwards writes of Stedman (article copied no doubt). "It will interest you, though there is nothing new in it."

     Met Jim Scovel on the way down. We shook hands—he spoke of [my] article (Lippincott's). I said, "I was told by at least one person that the postal you wrote me was written in satire." He flashed out, "That person is a damned fool! Tell him so for me. Why! I had a long talk with Joe Stoddart the other day on this very subject and he agreed with all I said!" W. was much amused at this—called it "Scovelish"—and said, "Well, Jim is right for once, probably, anyhow."

 
Wednesday, April 8, 1891

     5:20 P.M. W., having just finished dinner, seemed in excellent condition—speaking freely and well. Yet complains of weakness. No proof for him today. Has been writing some further matter, "some final items," he says. I examined and read—they lay on

 
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the bed. Returned me Atlantic. "I now have a copy from Mrs. O'Connor—can use that." Was he disappointed in the piece? "Not in the least—not at all. The only criticism I would pass on it, if I sat here with William over the manuscript, would be this: that its purpose was too obvious, that its ethical aim too continuously showed its head. And I do not know but this was William's weak point, anyhow, if he had any—that this was the weak spot in the embankment. And in it I know he outraged his own best convictions, as well. The novel with tendencies has a dangerous weapon in hand—a weapon best not touched." But after a pause W. went on, "I only say this because you asked it. Some things are better not said—best thought and left to others to think, if they must, or not, if not—unhunted-up, unsummoned—and so of this criticism."

     Referred to O'Donovan, "Doctor asks me about him: I shall say what I know, which isn't much. Herbert tells me O'Donovan is quite a fellow, stands well among sculptors." I spoke of a fine $20 bill I had seen in the Bank—I thought the most beautiful note I had ever seen. W. right quickly drew a $20 bill from his vest pocket and said, "I will ask you to get one for me." I said, "Perhaps you won't like it at all!""Yes, I shall. I am sure I shall like it."

     We spoke of singers. W. said, "I am writing something about them now—the old figures I knew." Then, "Wagner? Well, I know little of him, though much about him. And I am confident that I should have seen in him all that makes him grand—a towering figure." Further, "Your and the Doctor's eloquence have clean converted me." Some bits from Ingersoll's Shakespeare address were in Press. W. read—now said, "I liked them immensely—and now the paper is on the way to Bucke—he was howling so much to have it or any edge of it." I told W. I would say to the Truth people that he was willing though he could not write the review. "Yes, that is a good idea—I am perfectly willing."

     Doctor's letter of 6th has this item about W.: "...a postcard from W. in which inter alia, he says 'Am tired and deaf, am sitting

 
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here alone and glum as usual.' Poor old fellow he is having a bad time...."

     Some mention of dinner in Doctor's letter of 3d. This is his word: "I note your idea for the birthday—Ingersoll etc.—do not suppose we can do better—still it does not seem to go to the right place with me—too much of a repetition—and then I detest these formal dinners—but I do not know that our hidebound social ideas permit anything better. Horace I suppose you know that we live lives of the most contemptible slavery—driven with whips along a narrow road by the ghosts of our ancestors! It is enough to make one sick just to think of it. See that I get the bal[ance] of the proof of the little book as soon as convenient...."

     Looks now as if all was to wait till his birthday: no book till then. We will probably make that date the point. W. had "thought about the thing" himself and "felt disposed to set that day." Touching upon the noise and mass meetings, etc., of ministers and people upon what is called the Saturnalia of Gloucester, W. said, "I take little interest in it. It seems to me like a case of the mumps—it will pass off by quite natural applications." Bucke had written me that Bob was wrong about Bacon: "take my word for it, Shakespeare never wrote those plays." W. laughed, "That's Doctor—that's Doctor—vehement, cocksure. Why, his cocksureness is almost the most surprising thing about him!" Then as to the plays, "Don't be too sure, Doctor—don't be too sure! There's many a way out besides our way! As for me, I decline to debate the question. I am like the end-man in the minstrels, 'Now Julius—how's so, or so, or so?' And Julius will scream, 'I won't Sambo—no, I won't! I'll not guess it, I'll not give it up, I'll have nothing to do with it!' And that is where I stand about Shakespeare!" After a good laugh (he had told this with great unction) he asked me, "Is Julius still a character in the minstrels?—the same name—the end-man? In my early days, Julius was always the name and there was a hilarious common joy and wit

 
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about the whole by-play and play of the men which attracted me."
 
Thursday, April 9, 1891

     7:55 P.M. Took W. quite a substantial batch of proofs, which he took with a smile. Not looking very bright. "Longaker was over today. He thinks he is doing me good, and I don't know but he is. And yet I do not feel well—am far from well—comfortable. Last night was a very happy one—easy in every way. And tonight I hoped to have another, but the signs are less favorable." I gave him his new $20 bill, which he examined with warmth of commendation. "This is certainly the most beautiful note I have ever seen—the very thing you last night said it was. And this head—whose did you say it was?" Daniel Manning's. "Oh! yes! And how Western it is—royally American—sharp, bright, compact, nervy, positive, agile. It is a characteristic head." And to the figure of a mechanic in the design, "It is beautiful, masterful—yes, as you say, has an Indian flavor, almost—fresh odors of woods, rivers, the grass!" And so on, winding up with, "Now I hope they will know when they have a good man and will continue him. This hand ought to be at work always—it gives in beauty the palpablest of its sort I have ever known." Took out his pocket book—folded away the new note—gave me a ten—saying, "One good turn deserves another"—with a laugh. "I am going to ask if you will not get me five twos for that—the crisp new twos if you can. It is for money to send away." Only yesterday I noticed on his table three or four little packages—each one with a ribbon about it and inside the ribbon, on little yellow slips, the names of persons to whom he wished to send. The woodman yesterday tried to overcharge W., which made him wroth, "I am subject to all that, mainly because rather than make a fight I submitted to the exaction. That was some time ago—and now it occurs again." I inquired of W. what truth there was in Press story of "Wilfred Besant" this morning:

 
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xxx
 
BESANT'S BOGUS BROTHER.
xxx
 
How an English Imposter is Fleecing American Literary Men.
xxx
 
HE INTERVIEWS WALT WHITMAN
xxx
 
The Fraud Disclosed by a Cablegram from Novelist
Walter Besant, Who Denies the Existence of Any Such Brother.

     Several weeks ago there appeared in this city a man who announced himself as the brother of Walter Besant, the London novelist. He gave his name as Wilfred H. Besant. This stranger was tall and well-built, with ruddy cheeks, and long tawny mustache, and apparently between 25 and 30 years of age. His costume was unusual, if not grotesque, and at once would attract attention in this section of the world. He wore a light Summer hat and corduroys of light yellowish brown, and used no top coat. A cablegram from Walter Besant yesterday said that the man is an imposter.

     The bogus Besant played a bold game and kept a shrewd front. The tale of distress which he told in this city, as well as in other cities and towns of the East, has brought him much money. The persons whom he has duped are of the highest literary and business circles, who granted him audience because he was the brother of Walter Besant. Here he seemed to know all the prominent literary men, and when he called at their offices, asked for them by name. His cool, English air made an impression, and he was able to gather money here and there....

     It is not generally known how many people in this city the man succeeded in getting money from, but from all reports he must have left with a good roll of bills. Before he departed he wanted to see Walt Whitman, the poet.

     "My brother thinks so much of Mr. Whitman," said he, "that I would like to grasp his hand and talk to him a while."

     It is said that the meeting between the poet and Walter Besant's "brother" took place. After leaving Philadelphia the man went to Princeton where he told the same story of misfortune, and secured financial help. He then went to New York.

     [Philadelphia Press, April 9, 1891.] He replied, "It is substantially true—the man was here—I had a talk with him." Had he suspected anything? "I think I did—though in an indefinite hazy way which never would

 
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have occurred to me again but for this story. But I did not see anything 'grotesque' about the man. One thing I noticed: he was too glib—too confidential. No, he did not ask me for money, though I think he opened himself for it—for instance, by saying he was all broke up and all that—but I did not bite. I suppose I might have been more suspicious but for my dislike for one of our liveliest American qualities—suspicion: to suspect this, that, the other, everything—and this leads me to in the main take men for what they seem till other things occur. The man, Besant (as he called himself) was, as I said, too glib, and full of gush, too—standing there and pouring out the most extravagant laudations. But still, I have heard that, too, at other times, from perfectly honest men. On the whole, however, I was not moved—I suspected him, some—and to whatever hints about money was dumb." And still again, "He was a thoroughly good-looking fellow—good eye, all that—easily to be deceived with, perhaps—but so far as I saw him, warm, straightforward, acceptable." Not a harsher word than this.

     A rather disrespectful allusion to W. from Cavazza in last Unitarian Review. W. remarked, "I have said many positive things about the Unitarians—they would think them hard—and have never been in good color with them, so this is no wonder."

     I had seen that the two poems, "As in a Swoon" and "After an Interval," were from printed copy. Where printed? "Never in any magazine or paper," he explained, "but in a slip—I think to go into the Centennial edition—but from that day to this I never managed to include them in any edition of 'Leaves of Grass.' For my own satisfaction I went deliberately through 'Leaves of Grass' several times, but no sign! I don't know why I dismissed them at the time—whether I really thought them not worth while—but I am sure I like them now." He had a manuscript copy of "As in a Swoon" on which was written in pencil: "Is this pub'd? is it in L. of G. or annex?"

     This is the way, he said, he first thought to write the "Gay-Heartedness" paragraphs on page 43:

 
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     The Gay-hearted ?man or woman
(who shall be one?)
Washington D.C. with a companion*
Walking on the Navy Yard bridge with Mr. Marshall, a great traveler and observer from England. As the [manuscript cut off here.]


 
Friday, April 10, 1891

     7:55 P.M. W. greeted me at once with, "The Truth is here at last!" and laughed and exhibited to me the proofs of "actors and singers" piece. We had long waited. He has inserted probably as much as is printed. "Not bad—all in all," he remarked. What? "Oh! I mean the piece—it mainly satisfies me, especially in its new shape—that is, with the new matter. I had intended sending it over to you today by Warren, but he was not here." I left some new proofs with him. He says he has a letter from Bucke, "but it is way too vague—a dull repetition." Gave him the new two-dollar bills he asked for. Said to me, "I am looking about the room, trying to collect everything that bears my marks together, to include—bank—in this volume. Every day almost some little squib turns up." "After an Interval" laid aside from page 44. "It may go in somewhere else, or nowhere, if no place is found." I said, "That poem is subject to great vicissitudes," which made him laugh. Has changed headline of "actors" piece from "Old Actors and Singers, Flitting Mention by Walt Whitman" to "Old actors, singers, shows, etc., in New York. Flitting mention (with much left out)."

     Alluded to the "courtesy" of Youth's Companion editors.

     As to Truth piece had this to say, "My additions better it—though they are for the book, not for the paper. But these editors make the most of the case—spread the matter out, as you see, with, I confess, a certain artistic, ornate beauty, too." He remarked that "Harned comes in but rarely now—about once in ten days, I should say." And then, "I have a telegram from O'Donovan, saying he would be back in Camden Monday. And I

 
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wonder what will come of it?" Would it be a failure? "We must wait and see. The chances are, that it will, but there's no way to be certain of failure except through trial."
 
Saturday, April 11, 1891

     5:20 P.M. W. just writing some letters. Meal done. Offered me a bun—wrapped it up. "You are going straight home? Well, take this with you. I wish I had more—I would send one to your mother." I asked, "Why not give her this?" But he seemed determined. "No, you keep this—I want you to have it. This is baking day here. I have enjoyed some for my dinner." I espied a fat letter to Bucke on the table. "You must be writing him an official message!""No, not that, but a week or ten days ago I received from Wallace a long account—seven, eight, nine pages—of a tussle he had there with a preacher who didn't like 'Leaves of Grass'—wouldn't have it at any price, all that! And I own up to it, I did not read the letter till today—it seemed a big job. And now I shall forward it to Doctor." Should I mail it? "No, I will hold till tomorrow—to add a word." Longaker not over, but "things about the same," though afterwards said, "This is one of my mean days, with the grip on again. And what do you know about this grip etymologically, anyhow? Doctor always made it the pure French—La Grippe—no shake, no tremor—and perhaps that is the right word, signifying, it may be, in the French, just what it does to us in the English. Anyhow, it has set its seal on me today: I am under the heaviest pressure—head, all." But as the day itself had been close, showery, to everyone, I felt no uneasiness.

     Left with him new proofs. He and one of the printers (an Italian of intelligence) have discussed (through me) the necessity of accenting the " e" in finale. W. insists, yes—yet says also, "I have great respect for the decided opinions of good printers, proof-readers—am disposed, every time, to yield to them. Long experience has taught me their wonderful cuteness. Accent and all that is always a foggy latitude to me. I

 
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never feel certain of myself in it, though, having feelings (bad, good, worthless) I express them. You talk more definitely with your man—tell him in substance what has passed between us here."

     Some of the fellows in the city seem to think the Critic can be subsidized. Developed this in a recent talk with Morris. W. said, "No, that is a mistake—at least I think it is: I do not think they can have any positive knowledge of that." Reference, somehow, to Dick Stoddard. W. then, "Dick is the typical snarling, biting, noisy, barking dog, unfriendly even with his neighbors. Yet Dick is not wholly without quality. He has unction, of a sort—though not of that last, final, over-arching sort which establishes real greatness—but he has it, of its kind—and he has made a certain sphere his own, and is not to be denied that. His sentiment is all venemous, however—he passes no courtesies."

     Insisted that I should take de Amicis, "and have your father read it, too. It should have a peculiar interest to him."

 
Sunday, April 12, 1891

     4:10 P.M. On my way from Philadelphia and stopped in for 15 minutes. W. just up from his bed (resting not sleeping, he said), waiting for his meal from Mrs. Davis. "Tom has been in," he said, "and he tells me there was in yesterday's Ledger an account of the Tribune anniversary Friday"—and he seemed astonished when I told him such an account had also appeared in the Press. "Why, I take the Press—have it here every day—yet missed that," which caused him to remark that "the vigilance" of his vision could "no longer be depended upon." And after a pause, slowly, "Or mentality, either, for that matter"—adding a word about his inability to "either read or write any more in long stretches." He had "wished to see about the Tribune affair." Had he been asked for a message? "No, I should say not!" Said last night had been a close one to him. Today mild, but not uncomfortable. Since four the sun had suddenly burst forth in great

 
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splendor. "It lures a fellow out of doors." I put in the hope, "Your days will soon be here," but he only shook his head, looked doubt and question at me, and said slowly, "I wonder? I wonder?"

     Harned wants a number of us to dinner there next Friday. W.'s going doubtful. W. gave me proof-sheets for Ferguson. He had written on one, "Put this under the proof-reader and sent to be cast"—strange mixture of tenses. I laughed at the first clause and so did he.

     I received fine letters from Johnston (1st), and Wallace (31st) yesterday. Answered J. briefly today.

     W. has at last turned up Child's letter introducing O'Donovan. Gave me also Bucke's letter (20th Feb.) which contained references to me. Turns these things up one by one, after a season of loss.

 
Monday, April 13, 1891

     6:00 P.M. Quite a good chat with W., though he was not in good condition. Longaker had been over. "He reports himself satisfied with our progress—I believe he is." How were W.'s own feelings? "Not good—yet I know I am improved. But somehow it comes to me that I ought to be better." I smiled, and this caused a little ripple with him. "That does sound funny! But I might have said, the body is willing but the flesh is weak," adding that now it was a mental depression which had weighed upon him. Spoke of the dullness of the Critic, current issue. Explained to him substance of my letter to Truth—that they should let me write about new book—review to appear contemporaneously with book or just before—perhaps with facsimile reproduction of preface or "Good-Bye" poem. I said this was proposed with W.'s consent. W. now said, "You are right—it was well done." Then, "I suppose my article should be in Thursday's issue. I wish you would look out for it. I sent them word not to fail to send me copies—but it is hard to tell what these newspaper critters will do. They will have their own way—that much is certain but no more."

 
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     I was in to see Talcott Williams. He will send us the colloquy. Said he had not understood it was for the book. But I found what was more truly the reason he had not returned to W. "I wanted to keep it as an autograph." That let the cat out of the bag. W. said, "He is welcome to it, as for that." Talcott Williams likewise told me he cared nothing for anything Ingersoll said—did not care to preserve that. W. remarked, "I don't know whether to accept that as a compliment or not." Williams had intended printing and circulating among W.'s friends. He thought many people did not understand W.'s belief in immortality and that this would make it plain. Was it not all in "Leaves of Grass"? "Yes I think so, but they do not see it."

     W. asked me as to T. Williams' "popularity" among "the boys" in town, and seemed surprised when I said he said he seemed disliked. "I thought he was a great favorite!"—and asked, "Is that a new or an old phase?"

     No new proofs. One of our printers off on a drunk. W. exclaimed, "The rascal! To desert us!" Tried to get his final copy but he was "not quite ready to resign that yet." No letter to either of us from Bucke today.

     W. returned me Unitarian Review, which I had left with him yesterday. As to Cavazza, he knew nothing, but "the article is one of the stupid average arguments which literature passes out in countless numbers." Referring again to T. Williams, W. said, "I hardly remember what it all amounts to. My changes were very few—and anyhow, the real speech is the speech we entirely lost." Of course referring to Ingersoll's.

     Williams so afraid he would lose his autograph if he sent it back to W., that I promised to have it copied myself and return original at once. This excited W. to some merriment.

 
Tuesday, April 14, 1891

     7:55 P.M. Taking W. five new pages proof and expect to have for him everything up to "Last Saved Items" tomorrow. This moved him a little, so that he gave me copy of this last this

 
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evening. He was rather indignant that still no word has come from Talcott Williams. "It is curious—does not at all satisfy me. His ostensible reason all along, that something had occurred to the type-writer, or that some baulk of that sort had occurred, does not seem to have been the real reason. Yet we want very little from him—very—simply a copy, in which my corrections are duly made. As for the original, he is welcome to it—was from the first."

     I found he had not after all sent in his Contemporary Club ballot—but now he signed a copy of the Brinton ticket I had with me, remarking, "I had two or three new documents today, but I care nothing for them. My idea is, to ballot for Brinton, science, liberty—against the minister."

     How did he feel? "Not very well—yet well, too. Oh! The day has been beautiful. I was on the very edge of a trip today. Warrie came up—he was vehement, urgent, almost objurgatory—but I didn't go. Yet I can hardly say why, except that I didn't feel moved to. O the horrible venom of this sloth! It pushes me down—down—down! I am reminded of the King, 'Pray, sire, give us but your wish—your least, greatest: it shall be granted.' And then the King, 'I wish—I wish—well, I wish for a wish—that I might have a wish!' And that is where I stand." Did he feel less strong than this time last year? "Well, it is all I can do to hold my head up. I am so faint, weak, merely to keep straight, to be on my feet at all, is a victory. Who knows how this will mend?"

     Alex Harrison expected to speak at Club tonight. W. said, "I have the feeling that I have somewhere met him—perhaps at Frank Williams'—coming to see the wife—years ago, years. But the man I have in mind was then rather a frail sickly fellow—but full of faith, hope, in his work, I should have said." Remarked that he had had no letter from Bucke. W. asked, "Do the personal items, there in 'Good-Bye,' seem too egotistical—too personal—such-like?" Adding to my "no""Well, I suppose after all that is provided for in the nature of things. A certain amount of egotism is necessary—but for having it, we

 
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never could have endured the strain—passed unharmed through the fire—especially in the years when 'Leaves of Grass' stood alone, unfriended but by me."
 
Wednesday, April 15, 1891

     5:30 P.M. Spent a pleasant half hour with W., but he did not appear in good condition. Explained, "I was out today—got out at last—I suppose was out about 20 minutes—but it was a curious experience. When I found myself in the sun, on the streets, among people again—the blare, everything—I was totally blinded, almost—everything obfuscated—my head swam, my hearing dulled—all my senses seemed to desert me. I could not stand it—my brain whirled—was in a ferment. And even now, hours gone, I feel the effects. And it was a revelation to me of two things: my sight is going—going markedly—and I am weak—very weak—my legs will hardly hold me a breath—but for Warren and Mary I would have fallen." I said something about "the eyesight of most people, suddenly put in broad sunlight," and he responded, "I allow for that—Warrie solaced me by saying that his own eyes felt the strain—but there is more to be said than that—more, more." But on the whole had it not done him good? "I cannot tell—just now I have a certain sickish feeling it has left me. Perhaps the morning, as you say, will tell me a better story. But don't worry," with a laugh, "I shall persist—I do not mean to yield." And further, "It was a beautiful day—very warm, warmish—and everything tempted. I could not have resisted. But things seem to be slipping away—yes, going." Mrs. Davis told me afterwards that he had constantly urged caution in them as they helped him down and up the stairs, "Keep hold of me! Keep hold, Mary! Keep hold, Warrie, boy!"—and that immediately on return he asked for lemonade—something to drink. She spoke of his thinness—that it had never before so impressed her. I also had letter from Bucke about his sickness.

 
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     W. wrote Dr. Johnston about his trip. He said to me again, "The sculptor is here, at last. I give him the first reception tomorrow. It appears he will not have a room in Camden. The only room Warrie could find him—here in the neighborhood (two doors east) would not do—so he says he will look up a room in Philadelphia—perhaps with Eakins or some other artist he may know there." I suggested Boyle, who is now in town (near Broad Street), knows O'Donovan, and talked with me last night about him. W. at once "impressed," as he said, with this. I should give Boyle's address to Warrie.

     W. called my attention to this in today's Post:

     Horace L. Traubel, whose recent articles in several of the magazines on Walt Whitman, have attracted considerable attention and discussion on both sides of the Atlantic, contributes an article to the New England Magazine for May, called "Walt Whitman at Date." For the last twenty years Mr. Traubel has been a constant companion and friend of the poet at his Camden home, and in this article he reveals more of the man personally in his daily communion with his fellows than has ever come before from such a reliable source. It might be truthfully said that Mr. Traubel's observations, enthusiastic disciple though he be, are more accurate, and therefore more interesting than if they had actually been the result of the poet's own introspection; for even poets cannot see themselves as others see them.
We held an indignation meeting over it. No proof—no sign at all at any time that it was so near printing! W. insisted, "You are quite right to get mad about it. It is unheard of—to rush such a thing through without giving a writer his chance to a final revision." I would write at once, W. advising, "Do so without fail tonight—though all the indications are against us—all the signs are that the thing is absolutely printed, if not out." (Later, at home, I wrote Mead very positively on the subject.)

     Gave me a letter from Bucke dated 13th, "recounting another set-back," as W. said:

 
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13 April 91

     I went to Toronto Thursday last (9th inst.) intending to stay a week and do a lot of things—but rather curiously, my foot, which had been a little sore for a couple of weeks became much inflamed the same night I went down so that I had to make the best of my way home the next day—I have suffered a good deal of pain and loss of sleep with it and am still confined to my room but am mending.

     I have your card of the 7th and your good letter of 8th and 9th and am glad to see that you are no worse. I have asked for leave of absence frm 26th April to 1st June. No answer yet—if I get it will spend part of the time at Atlantic City and part (I guess) at Ingram's. I guess the grip (which I had pretty bad about end Jan.) left something behind it (as it is apt to do) and I am suffering largely f'm that, whatever it is, but it has not taken on a serious form and I guess it won't—

     Lovely weather here bright air warm—will write again very soon


With love


RM Bucke

W. urged me to write—to "send our sympathy"—adding, "I can't get over my notion that Doctor is utterly rash, if not foolhardy."

     I met T. Williams at Club last night. He said, "I am on the track of that piece," but had not found yet. Miss Belghannie there—should she come over? Write to W. when? I said, "No, come over, two of you together—take the risk. I think Walt will see you—and with you, her." W. now said, "That was judicious. I like Mrs. Williams pretty well—she has always been good to me"—but no more. "Agnes," he said, "and a lady—a friend—came in to see me this afternoon—and we had a sweet little time—for a minute, together. She is always welcome." I had this little note from Bob today:



My dear Traubel,

     I send you a little article on Spirituality with best regards to Whitman and yourself,


I am as ever, yours


R. G. Ingersoll

 
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W. said, "Oh! You must let me see the manuscript. It will no doubt be a great enjoyment to me. I suppose Bob never wrote anything that was really dry." W. afterwards, "I wore my new hat today. It made a great dash." Then I told him for the first time, "It was from Mrs. Fairchild." He then, "The noble woman—oh! how noble—and many reasons mine to thank her." I spoke of her as "a big brave woman." W. thereat, "She is not big." I explained, "I mean big in spiritual senses." He then, "O yes! I see, the mantle of Elizabeth—of Mrs. Gilchrist—has certainly fallen on her. But I was going to say, that like Mrs. Gilchrist, she is a small womanly woman—very womanly—yet with the outlook all ways upon the currents of our time, life—the age." Talked with Harry Walsh last night. He thought it "very likely" that William had written the Illustrated American paragraph.

     Harry thought W. asked low prices. Should not mark his prices. Would get more not. They laughed hilariously over the Truth incident. I told W. and he said, "Well, I can say that I felt I was paid enough for the piece—yet Harry's advice is valuable, too." I had told H. [that] W. always welcomes him. W.: "Yes indeed—I like the boys, whenever they come."

 
Thursday, April 16, 1891

     5:35 P.M. Found W. at work, putting up a number of copies of the Post, to which he had today sent this paragraph, editorially, unsigned:

     Walt Whitman got out in the mid April sun and warmth of yesterday, propelled in his wheel chair, the first time after four months of imprisonment in his sick room. He has had the worst winter yet from grippe, and gastric troubles, and threatened blindness; but keeps good spirits, and has a new little forthcoming book in the printer's hands.
"I am anxious to have Symonds, Johnston, and some of the fellows know—and this is a good way to tell them easily for me."

 
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Fully 20 papers—and was engaged upon them all the 20 minutes I stayed. Had he been out today? "No, not a step. I have spent a fearfully depressed day—one of my worst—everything heavy, uncertain, whirling. And to make it worse, I have had several visitors. Al Johnston was here—only for a few minutes—and I was glad to see him, and others, besides Longaker himself. How this Johnston friendship is getting to be a thing of long-standing! It is now a matter of 15 years—though you, Horace, have known me—I known you—even longer than that—nearer 20, in fact. Time goes and goes! And yet we are here!" Gave me copy of current Poet-Lore. "It appears to be a Shakespeare number entirely—all the articles are about Shakespeare." The next number is to be devoted to Browning. I joked with W., "And how about a Whitman number?" W. laughed, "Talk of that a hundred years from now. It is not a thing to be expected in our time." I insisted, but suppose it was so undertaken? Suppose I got them articles from Symonds, Dowden, etc.—say, used the birthday correspondence I hoped to have? But he still shook his head, though saying at the same time, "If you should do that, see to three or four brief representative articles." And then, "But I think they would be too supercilious for that." I objected to the word and he then said, "I see, I see—nor did I mean it in a harsh sense. I like the girls—they have independence, depth, breadth. But my idea is, that Shakespeare, Browning, unexpressibly grand as their work has been, are democrats rebellious against democracy—not made for this era, stage, America—answering other conditions, answering them well, but with something of hauteur towards common ways of average men—which is in fact America. I know it is small, carping, unworthy, to offer any word of criticism of a man like Shakespeare, who has done so much towards the richening of literature, of man—who was a luminary of the first order—perhaps the first in the first. And so I grant all that—yield it all. Only protest that these centuries of annotations have not succeeded in making Shakespeare answer to the modern—the democratic modern. And what I say of Shakespeare I always feel
 
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about Goethe, too. And I know, moreover, that some of the noblest of us all have stood reactionary on that question of democracy—of man in the average—the vital moving mass."
I suggested, "But who knows? By and by will he 'Leaves of Grass' expound on?" W. then quickly, "And that would spoil it all—spoil it all. I am often amazed to discover, when I read 'Leaves of Grass,' that it is written not only with reference to our own time but to time to come—new, far-off ages—made ripe and applicable, in fact to meet any age, any time, any land. And that is the heart of the story—the vital steady throb, if it have any touch and reason at all." He picked up Poet-Lore, spoke of his love for the printing. "It is the best I know—cover and all: handsome, powerful, a true solid stroke in art."

     No word yet from Mead (Boston, New England Magazine). W. said, "Of course we may be mistaken. Bonsall may be mistaken—but my guess now would be that it's a good sample of the damned sneaking editorial arrogance which prevails here and there. I have myself often had to fight for proofs—but not, of course, with a great magazine like the Century. They have always been ready enough." I told him of letter I had sent Mead. "You are right—it is an outrage." And I guessed that the thing had been cut and altered. "If you get no proof, I shall think that myself. We may be wrong—let us hope we are—but there's a bad, ominous look to things."

     I made some mention of Ingersoll's piece, that it was "sarcastic," which made W. laugh and say, "I suppose: that is one of Bob's noblest weapons, when he cares to!" I persuaded him that he should add six pages to book—making it 72—and he answered, "I shouldn't wonder but it came to that—I am inclined to that view myself, and I have things to say, though I don't know that I can say them."

 
Friday, April 17, 1891

     5:55 P.M. W. in his bed, but rose immediately after shaking hands with me. As he limped painfully across room—holding

 
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onto bed, table and chair—he said to me, "You see what it is to get old—see what life may become." Had not been out. "I have spent a fearful day—sluggish, weak, depressed—but here I am. I did not go out—no, could not. There's no use pumping up an ambition when you feel all the logic is against it. And I have no doubt it is as well for me to rest. But I have not given it up—we will resume them the first day we can—do what is possible to shake off this growing bodily numbness." And then, "Yesterday—if I had not felt my pulse—known by its regular beat that all was right there, I would have believed the worst—for I lived in a near deathiness which crept subtly, as the day wore on, through all my bones." Rarely is he so direct as this. But now his color was good, however weary his general expression. "I suppose I feel worse today because I have been visited—visited. Oh! These visits are in some ways my damnation! These strangers—who make me deaf and blind! But today it was O'Donovan, who chatted an hour—has got a room with Eakins—has gone back to New York—to return Monday. And my sister, George's wife." And with the last he had spoken of the Burlington (Vt.) brother, the very thought of whom is an irritation and excitant. He had resolved not to go to Tom's to tea. Fortunate decision! Doctor L. opposed, as I was, and W. himself. "It would not do—I can see it—a good spread and good friends! It might havoc me! I know the temptation. But Tom was kind—was here again last night to ask me again." Gave me proofs I had left yesterday—few changes—added to book little paragraph from yesterday's Post—ordered 20 copies of "actors" piece pulled. "I want to send some of them away, here and there. I know quite a cluster to whom these stage bits are always welcome." Insisted I should take 50 cents "to give to proof-taker"—adding, "I feel always to wet their whistle—these good fellows. I never lose my respect for the printer boys, however they aggravate me at times."

     I have no word yet from New England Magazine. W. in high dudgeon, "I am not a prophet, but I prophesy about this, it is a bungle—and of the worst kind—names, everything else, bad

 
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and bad—a typical arrogant conceited journalist is one of the hardest scoundrels of all to deal with. Yet I have always been well treated on this ground by the best magazines. Gilder for instance—always kind, generous, deferential—and all the North American Review-ers except Metcalf. He was our bête noir. But Redpath, Rice, the present man—all three—were uncontestably manly." What was his experience on the point charged against North American Review—that the editors manipulated articles? "I do not believe it. My experience has been that they have left me honestly alone, always to say my say as I wished to say it." Then, "These New England men—supercilious, overbearing—sensitive about their own rights—not so sensitive about another's—ought to know by this time how and where we stand. And they are disposed to take all the advantage they can of a current in our favor without returning for it more than force compels from them. They are cute enough to see that of late few years there has been a call everywhere for particulars of the life of the critter, Walt Whitman—the intimate things, which perhaps only a few know, but which are important in any life. Your paper was very rich in that, and the fellows up there knew it." After a pause laughed. I had said, "Let us wait and see." And he, "Yes, that is the fair attitude—to wait and see. But what I see I am almost sure will not be the thing I am entitled to see." He listened to my persuasions that he should add to the book at least the six pages to fill in the 72 (three signatures) and said, "It is quite possible I shall—I feel to do it, if the spirit moves." He asked me again about Ingersoll's manuscript on "Spirituality" and I promised to leave it with him later in evening.

     Gave me an orange for my mother. Always says, "the mother," and now added, "I don't think she knows how much I love her."

 
Saturday, April 18, 1891

     5:50 P.M. W. in his bed again—insisted on rising. Looked quite better, but said, "I am still under a cloud—suffering radical depression—and I don't know what it means. I do not like to

 
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appear to borrow trouble, but all the signs seem to me to point to some new stroke—extension of the paralysis—some crisis. The feeling may pass off in a day or two, but as it is now, I do not like it—it is ominous." Going up to Harned's last evening had been "out of the question," and as for the parties denied admission, "I felt bad, could not talk, half-blind, deaf—and besides was three-quarters undressed. No, no—I did right by doing what I did. They must understand it." I left with him copies of Uber Land und Meer and Magazine of Art—"They will be a treat to me tomorrow," he said. Gave me a letter from Bucke, "He talks of going to England! Always the busy Doctor!"

     No proof for him tonight. "It is a little disappointing," he remarked, good-naturedly, "but they have their reasons, I know." Then, "Did you give the boy the 50 cents?" There were two boys. W. at that, "If I had only known, I should have sent two pieces. Well, it can hardly be helped now." Was much interested in a patriarchal picture of Meissonier in Magazine of Art, representing him painting in the open air. Remarked its "ease." After further talk about various matters he said suddenly, "Oh! I must not forget to tell you—I had a letter from Alexander, the artist, today—and he tells me someone has bought his Whitman—will place it in the Metropolitan Museum. Yes, even more than that—that it will be engraved for Harper's Magazine." I did not like the painting. Did W.? He had not seen it. "But, Alexander himself says he considers it one of his best pieces of work," adding then, "As for me—whether I am whimsical, fickle, whatever—I feel that I do not like any of the paintings—they all fall short. But that may be the notion you have. So far the Gutekunst picture beats the whole cluster—outdoes everything else." But Gilchrist says photography is not art! "I know—but I should like to know, what is art? I should like to know, what is life? Yes indeed—what is life?" This in rather a sad strain—with certain musical resonance. Asked me again as to word from Mead, but none had come. Returned me Ingersoll manuscript. "It is great, and cute. And full of a certain light, vigorous grace, belonging to a high type." And, "It is a sword-fish—plays the

 
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devil with the enemy—cuts right and left. It is a masterly little note."

 
Sunday, April 19, 1891

     5:50 P.M. To W.'s on my way home from West Philadelphia. Found him industriously reading proofs of book. Looked distressed—how did he feel? "Under a cloud! Under a cloud!" And, "I feel as if this was my last pull of shad!" He is opposed to my making any plans for the birthday. "Who knows? I may not be above ground then!" But he appears seriously conscious of the dangers of his condition. Warrie tried to persuade him out, before the heat of the day, but he would not go. Did "not feel to." Had read the papers—written "some notes"—that was the "beginning and end of my day." I had found a letter at home yesterday afternoon from Mead, who writes:


20 Beacon St.

Boston, April 17.


My dear Mr. Traubel:

     I have yours of the 15th. The announcement of your article on Whitman for our May no. is correct. I am sorry about the matter of the proofs. Referring to your letter which accompanied the article, I see that you are correct as to having asked for proofs. But so long a time elapsed between the receipt of the letter and the taking up of the article again for the printer, that the request had quite passed out of my mind—the sending of proofs or the request for them very rarely happening. But I hope you will feel reassured when I tell you that I looked over the proof myself after my assistant had done with it,—a thing I don't often do; so I don't think any serious slips are possible. I did this the more carefully—you will let me be frank—because I found your ms. so villainous! I wonder if you realize how you crowd and obscure your pages by interlineations and erasures; I should not think you would find editors who did not know you willing to read your ms. until transcribed—I say this in the way of friendly hint, as such things make a real difference in an editor's welcome of a ms. But I found the article itself very interesting, & I think the public will. It was very

 
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long—I think you cannot have realized how long—and I was compelled to cut some of the less important passages to bring it within reasonable limits; but I think you will agree that the compressions were to its advantage. The pictures came out very well, and the article—which I make the first in the no., using the portrait as a frontispiece—will make a good show. I will give orders to have early sheets sent you as soon as they come from the press.

     I have also your letter of the 10th & will send it to the publishers requesting them to send you a check.

     I congratulate you on the approaching marriage.


Yours truly,


Edwin D. Mead

Gave this letter to W., who read—twice—expressing high indignation. "He is one of these damned insolent beasts of editors who prepare to have everything their own way. And he cut it, too, as we supposed—which would have been all the more reason for sending a pre-proof—everything to browbeat and possess another man's property. It is about all we had to expect, after that announcement I gave up all hope." And with something of better humor, "Now look out for blunders—the most horrible ever was!" Referred to "affection of the Lancashire boys"—and instanced a note from Johnston (20th March).

     I did not linger. He is "certainly in a bad way," as he says, "with outlook doubtful, clouded—eligible any day, hour, to yield the fight."

 
Monday, April 20, 1891

     8:10 P.M. W. very much better. Had been out, with good result. Was happy over it. Reading papers as I entered. Had received "loving letters" from Johnston and Wallace today. Mead sends me advance sheets (printed only on one side) of New England Magazine piece. I gave to W. after we had talked some time. He was immediately wrapt in it—I could hardly get a word from him. Yet he said of Mead, "So he has cut and changed? Of course! Of course! And he's a whelp—no doubt of

 
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it—a dirty whelp—at least for our purposes." Yet the pictures seemed to come up well. He was "pleased with that aspect."

     Gave W. revises of last four pages of book. We spoke somewhat of portrait-frontispiece. He asked, "Is it necessary to have one? I have been coming to the conclusion that it is not." And then, "It could be issued quite plain—perhaps the better for it"—still—"It is an open matter. Do you think it over further, so will I."

     I wrote Wallace today rather gloomily of W.'s condition. Letter at home from Wallace.

     W. returned to me Magazine of Art and Uber Land und Meer, "They are inexpressibly beautiful. What a grand fellow Meissonier must have been!" Pulled them out from under the bed, where of late he has been tucking papers till it is now nearly choked.

     Not a word from Talcott Williams. W. of opinion, "There's more to it than he wants to tell us."

 
Tuesday, April 21, 1891

     5:10 P.M. Although W. had not been out today, he was unmistakably better. Yet Warrie reported that in earlier hours he had been "weak—and good for nothing," as he said himself. Busy writing on the yellow sheets. "A man named Stinson has been over—one of the Record staff—and he wants me to go among his 'Celebrities.' I am writing a few notes here." And then, "As to what they shall turn out to be—that is another matter. I am never certain of things any more, even when I control them—never sure what will result till it has resulted. That seems to me important, from every point of view, to understand. It saves a fellow lots of trouble." Gave me back New England Magazine sheets. "I read it—it has a floating, easy style—simple effective narrative. It hardly carries out our fears. He has the names all right—things come up with more accuracy than we would have believed. The whole article has the air of fact—as if it revealed the critter, or glimpsed him—threw here and there flashes of light, conviction—making a picture harmonious, faithful—and

 
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with vista, leaving it to be understood that all is not closed in with the simple words as printed there. You have fulfilled Heine's standard—no great flourishing periods—a direct series of strong touches, fact and fact, from one passage to another." And even the illustrations satisfied him. "Now," he said, "we must see that we get copies, someway. All our fellows will want them. These pages will no doubt give out as good a popular idea as can be of our habits, ways, courtesies—habitat—the house—friends. Yes, it is an outlet to much. After all we will not be disappointed—only be grateful things are as things are. I always feel even with my own books, which are entirely in my hands, that I never get them just as I want them." If Mead will not liberally supply us copies, W. thinks we must buy them. Said, "I am just writing to Bucke, to say I have read it—to tell him substantially what I have been saying to you." [For the text of Traubel's "Walt Whitman at Date," see Appendix I, page 561.]

     And after pausing and looking north from the open window, "I have a letter from Bucke—you can take it"—handing to me. "He is still in bed—still in pain. It is an unfortunate mishap—and Maurice anyhow no longer seems to maintain the same standard of health as of old." Murmured then, "He speaks of the beautiful days there—but what could be more beautiful than this? A gorgeous procession of lacy shadows and flames—sun and darkness. I have been watching the light clouds. No, no, Maurice—the days are not better there than here!"

     Gave me a postal to mail to Johnston (Eng.). "I wrote it last night—it has lain there, forgotten." I had picked it up from the table. He read it. "Is it stale? Well, let it go." Longaker was over yesterday—thinks W. "getting along" which W. says with a laugh, "is vague enough," impelling the question "which way?" Myrick wants six more pages from us. W. asked, "Where will I get it?" I suggested, "Continue the autobiographical notes—everybody delights to read them.""I could do that.""Well, why not do it?" Then I added, "Those who would criticize them would criticize you anyway, whatever you do." He laughed merrily, "Yes, I see—and I care nothing for them, anyway, fortunately." I still urged,

 
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"Why not send to Bucke to forward you half a dozen of your best letters?" But he shook his head, "I couldn't work that. My letters are too full of bowels—the ups and downs of the physical critter, prisoned here, suffering fleshly ills too many to mention. This frank commentalism would not do for our purpose!" And yet "the letters might be used, too—parts of them." Neither of us had word from Talcott Williams. W. said, "I cannot understand it—he must have some reason not confessed to us." And further, "If I could only get my hand on it, I could show him! It's mine anyhow, to do with what I please. He has possession but I have right."

     He gave me a copy of Contemporary Review for April, "Johnston sent it over from England. It contains an article on the influence of democracy on literature—trash, trash, trash—bold stupid trash, from first word to last. What does Gosse know about that subject or any other? He is like the Philadelphia fellows—nearly all of them—wise in bindings, names, of books—with a pretty good income, leisure—given to loafing in libraries—knowing about every book that ever was—yet knowing all, knowing nothing—never even in suspicion penetrating to the facts back of books which are the real books to be reverenced at last. Gosse is a child of that world. Here he deals in the pettiest commonplaces—travels a flat road—never once proving anything." Then there was no democracy in the paper? "No, nor anything else—I defy you to find it—defy you." As to Gosse directly, "I have met Gosse—he has been here—is a fat, healthy-looking fellow—affable, friendly—and with unction, too, of a sort: all of Stedman's unction, perhaps, without the splendid lynx-eye—a trace of the unction anyhow but absolute emptiness at other points, where Ned is gifted."

 
Wednesday, April 22, 1891

     8:10 P.M. W. reading—not well. "I spent a horrible day." Had written the following "memorandum," he called it, and laid out on the bed for me:

 
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     Horace tell Mr Myrick if we add further to the 66 pp: I sh'd add 12 pp: (or more) as an Appendix—the main part solid brevier, with interspersed quotation bits (? nonpareil)—has he good brevier?—I haven't quite decided on the Appendix, but please ask ab't the good brevier—& if he has such—


W W

I asked, "Then you propose to print the Sarrazin piece anyhow?""No, not necessarily—though I have it in mind. I am not set for it." I argued the matter with him for some time, against—and though he did not yield, said, "It is open, open—I shall keep it so. But in the meantime see what the printer has to say about the brevier." Gave me an autographed photo-engraved portrait for one of the type-setters.

     Bucke writes despondently of W.'s condition. Does not surprise or worry—however it pains—me. W. gives me a little bundle of "scraps" as he calls them. Lays such things out on the bed for me.

     W. said, "O'Donovan has been over again. He has no doubt started his work. I want you to go see him sometime, to get, bring, me news of his progress. He is with Eakins—you should visit both. The whole thing is like firing in the air: something may be hit—the chances are that it will not."

 
Thursday, April 23, 1891

     5:45 P.M. W.—and Warrie—still complain about "the bad signs" and persistent weakness. "He refused his ice cream today, which was extraordinary for him," said Warren. Warren helped him over from the bathroom and he joked as they went toilsomely along, "It is a good thing we have plenty of time." Not out today. "I still feel to say, I have not grown to hold more than a pint!" I told him I had found all the nonpareil and brevier necessary at Ferguson's but still fought the idea of his printing the Sarrazin essay. He said, "I am much inclined to yield all that now—you are so positive about it—so set against. And I have more than a suspicion you are right.""Rather the

 
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66 pages," I argued, "rather let it end now!" And he, "Well, let us then end it—let this be the wind-up—why not?" Afterwards we discussed plans. Want it for a birthday book. None too much time ahead. Besides, W. was "so uncertain" about his condition he "felt to push things on with best speed." As to the volume itself, of which I spoke warmly, W. said, "I am not so much concerned with what our critics will say of us as of what we will say of ourselves. What you mention there—its indirection, its power to hint—to throw out masses, outlines, colors—then leave the rest—that is fine. My only ambition has been to not contradict—break—in 'Good-Bye' any of the great foundation laid in the early poems. I quite realize that 'Good-Bye' is different from the rest of 'Leaves of Grass'—but it is not inconsistent, inconsonant. I am quite sure of this myself, after many doubts, questions, criticisms (self and others)—and so I am fortified." I expressed regret that we would have to go to press without "Death's Valley," saying, "It belongs with the 'Good-Bye' poems." He then, "Indeed it does, it does—but what can we do? It is not in our power to do anything but omit." Charged me to get thickest paper I could for the little volume. "With now only 66 pages we must make up a little bulk some way." We will go ahead with contents and title-pages at once.

     Had I ever talked with O'Connor about Rabelais? "It is not wonderful that William knew a good deal about Hugo—but Rabelais? Well, he is a different order—information of him is rare—and he was one of several rare figures whose intricate make-up William penetrated."

     W. gave me a copy of National Review. "It is one of the many things I get almost daily from Lancashire. They are loving, comradery fellows—worthy the best stock." Perhaps would diagram title-page tomorrow to give us his exact idea.

     Talked with Ferguson about printing. Will give us a press any day, almost.

     James will give us complete proofs (plate) tomorrow except last two or three pages—which W. still holds, has not passed.

 
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     I received letter from Baker this forenoon. W. greatly interested. Baker writes that Ingersoll speaks in New York May 3d for the benefit of the New York Ethical Society. W. remarked, "What a beneficence the noble fellow proves himself everywhere! I know no other just like him. He is a streak of life—a passing blessing—day by day."

     W. has been in stress and strain for several days over the serious illness of Warren's grandfather, Captain Rayner at Doylestown. And he sent Warrie today to Ed Lindell's home to inquire after his condition. The death of old Danny Sweeten, at the ferry, "shocks" him, he says, "though he is old and might have been expected to go anyway before long." And then, "These multiplied troubles are pretty serious. I find I cannot wholly shake off their effect."

     Would he have some strawberries? "No, not till we have our northern berries. I notice these others look rosy and happy, like a good sky, but lack many things to the taste."

 
Friday, April 24, 1891

     7:55 P.M. W. reading. Not in a bright mood. Another evil day. "There seems no end to 'em." Talk, however, free and full. Brought him plate proof, all pages to 53. Pleased with them. "They look well—I am much impressed." And, "We are like to have a decently good book anyhow"—as he casually turned over the pages. "And there's nothing in the way of progress now—nothing? Let us push to the end." W. spoke of "the Puritanical character" of New England Magazine. Did "not like its methods." Yet, "The piece comes up sufficiently well—considering no proof—all that—we ought to felicitate ourselves we don't make an absolute flunk." As to "formalistic literariness," as W. terms it (in reply to my remark, "It has not all died out yet")—"No, and often I think it over and am convinced it never will." After further talk W. said, "The sculptor was here today—took a cast of my hand." Which one? "This," lifting up his left. And then, "His address is, 1330 Chestnut—I want you to go there if

 
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you can." With a laugh, "Take a squint—see what they are making of the critter there."

     We discussed W.'s apostrophied past tenses, and when I asked, "Why not print the word without even the apostrophe—thus: expressd." W. said, "Why not? We will get there—that is the point we are after: just now people will only stand so much of the move!"

     I picked up one of his old war memo. books from the floor, and spoke of the handwriting as "more easy but less large and positive than his present hand," at which he asked, "Do you think so? Mary tells me that when she takes a letter to the Post Office, people often ask—Is that Walt Whitman's hand? What is it like? Let us see!—and so forth: that the big black scrawl arrests them."

     Wished to send books or pictures "or both" to Myrick and the proof-reader. "They are intuitive fellows—I value them. They very curiously apprehend me—often anticipate."

     No sign of his Truth piece. Asks, "I wonder what they are holding off for?"

 
Saturday, April 25, 1891

     5:45 P.M. W. on his bed. I sat there for some time, in his chair by the window, reading, now and then answering his questions. Day very disagreeable: high wind, dust, chill. On the bed near him a cheap copy of Volney, in which he had written his name and some remarks. Had been reading. Asked me about the weather—spoke of his weakness. "It seems impossible for me to rally from this. What will it lead to?" Had noticed the clouds of dust floating on the wind—"I can taste it, even back of these closed windows." I had brought him a copy of the new Atlantic containing the second part of O'Connor's story. "I am glad: it will afford me a joy—I have none too many things leading that way." After a brief pause, "And yet I don't know why I should ever say that, either," for, in truth, "who ever had such loyal friends?" Curiosity as to the book at last induced him to get up

 
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off the bed. As he sat on its edge—the strain of getting up—he murmured, "The wine is left the cup—nought now remains but dreg!"—turning his head about to me—"Isn't there something of that sort in 'Macbeth'?"—his tone musical, but distantly sad. Toilsomely he went around to the chair sitting opposite to me (towards the west)—picked up the Atlantic and regarded its cover, "That is the same old fellow—the same form and show, unchanged, untouched." Then opening, inspecting O'Connor's piece sharply, "I should think even Dick Stoddard would revel in this: there's enough of the literary about it—and joined with first-rate native power—to carry it anywhere—even up to court!" And again, "The important question now is—what of the book? Will they print it? That's the thing I'm after to know." It had come over me last night that W. had forgotten his Horticultural Hall speech from the book—and had so written him—in the meantime holding the proofs of pages he had last night ordered cast. Now he said, "Your note surprised me—I had indeed forgotten entirely about it—but Lord knows how many other things, too, are gone, perhaps utterly—perhaps to turn up too late—so that you see, I shall be like the actor, having many farewells. I do not see how we can get the speech in now, except by adding other things with it. I have left no more white space on that last page than I want." No word from Bucke, but, "Every couple of days I have something from my Lancashire friends—some letter, some affectionate reminder. Here is one of Wallace's letters."

     Frank Williams brought me today a copy of Lippincott's for W. in which he discusses the static and dynamic forces in literature, and instances W. as supreme, in our age, in the second. Forgot to take to W.—promised to do it tomorrow. Mead writes that he will send W. a dozen copies of the magazine. W. then, "Thank God for that much. I want a couple for my sisters, one for my niece, a couple for Lancashire, one for Symonds. Well, well, a dozen will do for the present."

     Papers this morning contain accounts of the death of von Moltke—over 90. W. said, "What a grand specimen he was! A

 
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rare, great, simple, unglittering kind of man, built for transacting great things!" And, "One account says he was feeble till he reached 50—that he commends a certain regularity in walking, diet, all that—and simplicity first of all. But there's no rule for old age—a man comes to his nineties if he comes, not otherwise!"

     When I left W. he was buried (not drowned) in the Atlantic.

 
Sunday, April 26, 1891

     9:30 A.M. Down to W.'s with Lippincott's, last number of Conservator, several sermons by J. H. Clifford, and contents pages of "Good-Bye," which I put together last night. Just up—reading papers and eating breakfast. Did not linger. He spoke of "the fresh beauty of the day." Would he get out? "I don't know—I must see how I come to feel."

     3:10 P.M. I took dinner at Longaker's—after which to Camden with him and Reeder (Reeder with his camera). R. snapped a picture (instantaneous) of the front of the house—Warren and H.L.T. on the step. Then in—I directly up, followed by Warren, to whom W. said, "Tell them to come up: it is all right." After which our two friends sauntered slowly to the room. W. in the bed. Longaker greeted him—I introduced Reeder. R. stood near the foot of the bed—L. nearer the head, after a while feeling W.'s pulse, which he found "pretty steady," etc. W. complained, "I have now for a week past felt like the devil, Doctor: no relief—none at all—except when I sleep—and curiously my sleep has been good." And again, "I do not feel nearly so well as I think I ought to." Adding with a slight laugh, "But that is nothing odd—we are never just as we should be." He said again, "I seem to get no relief—except as I come here—rest stretched out on my back. Today has been particularly oppressive, though for the past half hour or so I have felt relieved—at least so far as the head is concerned." After some little lapse of time he got up and went to the chair. Longaker offered to help him, but he refused, "No, I can get along, it is a road I often travel—I know it well—and by navigating slowly, I come to port at

 
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last." And after he had sunk in the chair, "I tell Warrie, when I get here, hawsered safely after the voyage, and we have a constant fight over that word 'hawsered.' Warrie is himself a sailor: he pronounces it just as it is spelled—with an a—but I have always heard it H-O-W-sered—as if with an o—often having found it so pronounced by the sailors, at Brooklyn and New York—with whom I fell in so much in early life." He told Longaker, "Doctor, somehow or other I took the notion—it is another of my evil whims I suppose—that the pills had much to do with this depression—so today I did not take them—temporarily suspended." Giving such reasons in extenso. L. insisted that they should be taken and that they had nothing to do with the troubles of which he complained—whereat W. said, "Well, I will resume—I will take your word for it, Doctor." (Said to me yesterday: "The ship is pretty near the end of its cruise, boy.") I found he had not touched the contents pages left in the morning. "I have not felt to do it: I am under a cloud." Would do so tomorrow "absolutely."

     Gave "Laughing Philosopher" picture to Longaker and 1890 picture to Reeder (photo-engraved reproduction). They had picked up from the floor. Asked R. if he was not an amateur photographer? And consented when told by us to have R. come some evening and take flash pictures of the room. "It won't hurt to try—the good and bad of it is an accident anyway, I find." Looked for a Gutekunst to give Reeder but could not find. One bundle of pictures he unearthed was marked "dear mother (good of her)." We exhibited the Symonds picture. W. asked me to go down and get the big picture of Bucke from the parlor.

 
Monday, April 27, 1891

     5:00 P.M. W. just folding a new two-dollar bill in a letter to his sister which I subsequently mailed. Had also been wrapping up a copy of the pocketbook edition for Wallace. "I hear from those loyal Lancashire fellows—oh! they write and write and write and write again! There seems to be quite a group of our people

 
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there—not one or two only, but a number." Gave me a letter from Bucke, received today, and a postal from Mrs. O'Connor.

     W. said as to these, "The Doctor has had one attack after another now. I don't understand it—but with his usual vehemence, he insists that he will be all right in a day or two. Nellie makes the question keener—what of the book? Will they print it?" How had the second part of O'Connor's story impressed him? He said, "I read it." I knew this to mean avoidance, but I asked, "And liked it?" But he still said, "I read it"—and that was all. I received the following from Ingersoll this morning:


400 Fifth Avenue

Apr 25th 1891.


My dear Traubel:

     I have not been well for a few days and am not well yet—consequently I add nothing to the "Spirituality", and I think of correcting nothing, except a word.

     Accept my sincere thanks for your kind and exquisite letter, and give to Mr. Whitman my sincerest regards—or I might say, love.

     I hope that as the sunshine comes, he will grow better, and that he may have his part in the resurrection called Spring.

     His work is not done. If he says nothing more, the serenity of his last days forms a kind of dome that rises above his work and glorifies it all.


Good luck to you.


Yours, etc.,


R. G. Ingersoll

W. read it—turned it over—read it again. "The noble Colonel! Thanks! Thanks! And how beautiful! How tender! Subtle, deep-searching! How gifted he is in just that faculty—to grasp, state, expand, give music to, a thought, feeling!" I was to write the Colonel? "Well, give him my love—love for what he writes, love for him in his sickness!" I gave him an account of our long walk yesterday after leaving him—from Anebler across the country to Germantown. Much enjoyed, asking innumerable questions. Then—and of Reeder, "I liked him—
 
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felt that he attracted me—he has a clear, transparent nature—that subtle best thing in a young man, dear to me beyond speech. It is a wholesome world, too, after all our despairs—so much to convince, to justify the rest!"

     I saw Brown about paper today. He will get sampler. Last three pages will be cast at once. W. had not gone over the contents manuscript yet. Although he promises and means to keep promises, he seems more and more to forget—says this, in fact, himself. Copy of Pall Mall Budget with first page portrait of Carlyle—reproduction of Whistler's profile picture. It had greatly attracted him, "It is the happiest hit on Carlyle, I should guess, ever was! I should say, if there were no other copy of that picture, of the one you have in your hands now, your copy would be worth a thousand guineas. The original has been bought for that by the Glasgow city corporation. How grandly everything is there—all the homeliness—no artistic patches anywhere. I can easily see how the typical artist—how Herbert—should take exception to that—the cloak on the knees, the hat on the cloak—but to us, it is natural." And, "Beyond that?—well, there is no beyond," I said, to which W. cried, "Amen, amen! That's 'Leaves of Grass'!"

     Commenting on Frank Williams' "Literary Dynamics," he said, "Frank is a good fellow—and faithful. He goes out here into metaphysics, don't he? He seems to be making metaphysical distinctions."

 
Tuesday, April 28, 1891

     7:50 P.M. When I went into W.'s room, the light was turned low, and he lay on his bed, on his left side, his face turned to the door, bundled up, in a peculiar position, like a babe, his cheek resting on his right hand. He stirred on my entrance—opened his eyes, "Oh, Horace—it is Horace!" And then after a pause, "I was nearly asleep: you roused me up." At once he began to work as if to rise—I objecting—and he said, "No, I shall get up—it is best for me not to make too much of the bed." But the getting up was

 
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a struggle. The left leg would not budge, till finally he took his hand (the left) and cast the leg over the edge of the bed, where it seemed for an instant lifeless, inert. "This has been one of my damnedest days," he said. "One of the very damnedest. It has taken all my courage, energy, simply to keep afloat—simply to hold my head above water." Finally got to the chair, by which time he seemed good for nothing at all. "You see how I am! There don't seem to be anything of me anymore." Doctor Longaker had been in. "He recommended sherry after meals—it might strengthen me, he said. But I don't know—I have my doubts." Yesterday had been downstairs in the front room for an hour. Today had not ventured anywhere. "All the day I have had simply to nurse myself against this utter deadness that presses me." What had been the news with me? I showed him samples of pages from Brown. He did not like any one of them. "Let's use the North American Review as a sample. That paper strikes me favorably." Had not touched contents pages. "I have been more dead than alive—it was impossible."

 
Wednesday, April 29, 1891

     5:30 P.M. W. seemed to me better—whether because he had just finished his meal I do not know—since he said, "I am not better—I have suffered another of the very meanest days." But while he looked pale and worn, voice and manner were certainly fuller and more vigorous. Gave me postal for Bucke, letter for Dr. Johnston and paper for Mrs. Stafford to mail. Contents pages not yet touched. "It is a short matter, once got to—but to get to it—there's the rub." But, "I'll do it tomorrow, if it's in me!" Gave him duplicates of last three pages. Everything now cast except title, copyright, contents pages. Left word for Brown as to paper (he not being in). W. spoke of the wine recommended by Longaker: "I can't decide for myself whether I should do it or not." I urged and he finally consented that I should get some as a trial. Should it be sherry—or what other?

 
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"Let it be sherry—if I prefer any, it is that." I exhibited a note from Ingersoll—this:

400 Fifth Avenue

Apr 28. 91


My dear Traubel—

     A thousand thanks for your good letter. I am all well now—all I had to do was to lie still in bed for one week and live on air. This I did and now health comes back. I send you my love for your loving words—same to the great poet. Hope to see you both before long.


Yours always,


R. G. Ingersoll

W. read—paused at the passage "live on air.""That gives me a hint. I wonder if it would help me to follow that notion?" But after a pause, "No, I suppose not. Dr. Longaker says I should eat—don't want me to fast. Though this scheme attracts me." Then he finished the letter—exclaiming, "The noble old fellow! The grand soul he has, too! He is ours—ours—if ever man was." And here, said W., was "Leaves of Grass" again, "witnessed to, justified."

     Returned me Atlantic. "I read that second part of William's piece with the same care as the first. It is full the first's equal—topping everything of that sort, probably, ever was in America." I spoke of O'Connor as having a genius for that sort of thing and he acquiesced, "It is indeed so—I always knew it—never made enough of it." Morris would note my collation of [O'Connor's] reports in a Literary World letter. W.: "That is a good idea—it always helps a good deal to have the couriers out—all of them possible." And again, at my explanation of a letter I wrote Mrs. O'Connor this morning detailing my plans, W. said, "Yes, I will write an introduction—gladly, gladly."

     Gave me a letter to take home and read—a big letter, blackly written: "It is unique, don't you think? A bit of the World enterprise—ink, envelope, paper. It is from Julius Chambers. And do you know, Horace, it invites me to a birthday dinner—my own birthday—the Quaint Club over there—seems to be a small

 
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affair—probably would spread a very swell dinner." He would not go? "No, it is impossible—impossible. But I have been considering whether the invitation does not demand a deliberate, well-considered answer. I must turn the thing over for a day or two." I told him of my own plans to have a dinner downstairs—throwing the two parlors into one—spreading a long table—and having a very few of our close friends there. W. at once, "That seems the best idea yet—the very best—and I consent to it. Say, from seven to half past nine or so—or anyway arranged so I can withdraw, or even not appear, if necessary. That seems entirely practicable, provided"—here he paused, looked out the window, resuming—"provided I am about at all. And who can vouch for that?" Discussed the subject fully. "I postaled the Doctor about the Quaint fellows—that I could not consider that." And, "If we can get a few here—just a few—the real fellows—Burroughs, Ingersoll—a scarce dozen—a few more, if you like—and some of the girls—that would serve. Work with that in view. The idea reflects my own exactly, in spirit and letter."

     Gave me a five-dollar bill out of which to pay Cohen for the envelopes. Wrote me a sheet—a gift sheet—to go with the "Good-Bye" copy, which he wants me to have. Wrote it on his knee, with a bad pen—hence an unnecessary unsteadiness:

     Copy of
Good-Bye my Fancy
by Walt Whitman
April 1891
Camden New Jersey
for Horace L Traubel

W. has been much interested in a golden wedding, celebrated by neighbors, two doors west. "It is always a picture of wonder, delight, to me." As to the New England Magazine cut passages, I proposed making another article of them. W.: "Yes, do it—extend the anecdota—give more—I will help all I can—every way I can. It is characteristic of the editors, to wipe out anything that grates anybody's sensibilities. In spite of what your man up

 
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there wrote you, that forgetting the proof was no accident. Damn him! Does he suppose we don't know better than that nobody ever asks for proofs? It is thinnest of thin veneer. We know it only too well for his good." And then, "There are certain of the magazines by which I have been treated generously, manfully. Lippincott's with Joe Stoddart, the North American Review. They always showed me a splendid consideration—in payments, proofs, every way." Would not Stoddart today take almost any offering from W.? "Yes, I think he would. Now that I can no longer write I have a certain vogue. But that is unjust, of course, applied to Stoddart, who has favored me ever since he took up with the magazine." Digression to Dick Stoddard, "The worst about Dick is, his infernal venom—his disposition to state every personal incident its worst way—poisonously aimed—making most of things of which least should be noted or nothing." It was true that Stedman was very friendly towards Stoddard. "But Ned is friendly all around, anyhow—is very unctuous—receives everybody in the open-handedest spirit."

     Spoke of Review of Reviews and of new quotations from him and of its "friendly disposition." Gave me a copy of Fortnightly—and though referring to Symonds' "The Second Idyll of Theocritus" therein, dwelt more specially upon Frederic Harrison's "Editorial Horseplay." "It seems that Harrison somewhere suggested the return of the Elgin Marbles and was criticized for it—and now he goes for his critics. It is good writing, of its sort, but smart, tricky, not up to the emergency. Yet well worth reading, too. As to the return business, I look upon it as a piece of arrant idiocy. Why not return everything? To give back here, there, everywhere, everything that had been stolen, would leave nothing undisturbed. And besides, it would be no readjustment—it would be confusion. But there is a mad something or other about some men which dispossesses them of sound judgment." He felt there was "too much of this smart writing anyhow"—and—"There's something in public life—in the life of the stage—the addresser of the public—flare, blare, blaze—which turns the head. Look at poor Anna Dickinson just now!—mad as a hare—

 
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and vicious, too—barking, biting, right and left—everybody—scolding, screaming, swearing. And anyway, Horace, I think she was always more or less flighty. I remember years ago, meeting her in New York—talking with her—and I can recall coming away then, saying to myself, there was a screw loose—very loose. And you heard, saw, her Hamlet? What another force that must have been—another argument. Nor is she the only one turned by public attention." He mentioned the eccentric Count Joannes, in my boyhood already daft. "There was a time, Horace, when that fellow was among the good of the heap—for some years he played good parts—played them well—say two or four years—Caesar, for instance. He was a serious, good-looking fellow. Well, well, well—we know no more about it than that it is their tendency—they go astray out of the vital necessity—the focus, the direction—of their make-up!"

 
Thursday, April 30, 1891

     7:55 P.M. Took but a glimpse in at W. this evening, as he was in no condition to talk and I was besides in a hurry to get to Philadelphia. On his bed, the light lowered—room very dark—but he knew me the instant I came into the room, greeting me by name. I said, "And yet you think your sight is gone!" At which he laughed, "I knew you by your coat-tails!" How was he? "I can hardly say. This has not been one of my best days, nor one of my worst, either. I barely manage to keep afloat—there is no margin to play with. Here I am—and that's about all I can report." I had not the wine yet—but would get it tomorrow. He laughed—shook his finger at me. "We want the genuine, now! And how easy it is to be defrauded—to get sham sherry, sham madeira, sham this, that—is quite the general result." Contents pages not touched. I suggested that we might delay the book beyond his birthday, "But no—I guess we can do it—make the date." And then, "I have been on the bed here, more or less, all day—seem to love the bed more and more—which is a bad sign." His article has at last appeared in Truth.

 
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"I am relieved to hear of it," he said—though no copies of paper here yet. Was a little afraid they might delay it beyond the issue of the book (in which it also appears)—"which would put me in a bad light." One funny thing about book is, its O'Connor preface, appearing here before in O'Connor's own book! W. laughed heartily when I joked about it. "Do you know, Horace—it never occurred to me." Left Current Literature with him.

 
Friday, May 1, 1891

     7:50 P.M. As I came to doorstep, found another had preceded me—and as I found him to be a Press reporter, I warded him off for W. and gave him the information he wanted. He had brought today's Call—wished to know how far it was truthful. I talked freely and calmly to him, then gave him Longaker's and my Philadelphia addresses—telling him that if at any time he wished anything authoritative he had best come to us. He seemed pleased. Good face—body supple and strong—said he had met W. at Denver in 1879.

     Going straight to W.'s room, found him on his feet. Observing me, he sat down again. "How do you do, Horace? For the want of something better I had just started to the bed. I am glad you have come again." Told him what I had just been doing with the reporter. "Thanks! Thanks! That relieves me of one. But many come. That Call man was here today and I liked him pretty well. No, not a sign of the papers—I did not know what he would make of it. So it is pretty good, eh? Thank God for that!"

     W. expressed his "joy" that Bucke "sends word of improvement—real radical improvement." He had "gone through carefully" Current Literature left yesterday. I brought last pages cast—the sheets. Now he said, "I did not go over the contents pages—yet I should, too. Now that everything else is here I will. I can make it a point for tomorrow and Sunday—and that should fetch it." Now new samples of paper, out of which he readily settled upon the one I had told Ferguson was my own choice. I had foreseen correctly. "Enough for a thousand copies,

 
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Horace"—and after a pause—"I had no idea, Horace, but to risk a thousand. What we will do with them remains to be seen. But one thing—find if additional quantities of this paper can be readily got. I have made up my mind to have 'November Boughs' printed in the same style, and then have copies of the two books bound together—mainly for my own use. Indeed, I can say I am quite determined on that. But for the present, no doubt, 'Good-Bye' is our book—we must center on that."

     In respect to the Philadelphia papers, I asked W. if he did not think he had more vogue than of old? "Yes, I think I have—my name certainly gets about more—but what does it amount to?" He has no copy of Truth yet, so I promised to buy him one tomorrow.

     He spoke despairingly of his condition. "No rally seems possible—it is my last run of fish." Had been down in the parlor today. "O'Donovan was over—brought a young fellow with a camera. They took me hell's times in all sorts of posishes." I laughed at his "hell's times" and "posishes"—and he seemed to perceive intuitively what caused my merriment for quickly he burst into a hearty laugh himself.

     I had found him the sherry at last—at Reisser's—and left with him. He would "not break seal with it till tomorrow."

 
Saturday, May 2, 1891

     7:58 P.M. With W. a little more than half an hour, though I had intended staying but a few minutes. Lying down again. But now went to his chair. I brought him Truth, which he put on the bed.

     Gave me copy of [Christian] Register—"the great Unitarian organ"—and with it a postal from Kennedy. "Kennedy seems to have been moved by the Register program—the literary studies—to find us included."



     The paper I send (Xn Register) has that which justifies yr prediction in L. of Grass—that the West wd prove the place where yr poems wd

 
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be understood and accepted most completely. Traubel's article in the Boston Mag. is noticed by the papers I see. Frau & I have bad colds.


W. S. K.

Likewise gave me a letter from Bucke dated 30th.

     Had the wine turned out well? " Very well—I took a couple of small glasses at dinner today. It is the genuine stuff—I can tell it—all such stuff has a sweet, non-metallic taste, which cannot be described, but goes the whole way. We have been lucky in our man." Longaker not over. I had a note from him that he was sick—"under the weather." Lilacs on the table. Had I noticed the odor? And many downstairs, too, gloriously perfuming and beautifying the parlor. "And they are our own—right out of our own domain—picked by Mary, here, in the back yard."

     Had bought—now gave him—a copy of Truth. The piece had just filled a column. W. said, "I thought to add a good deal to it—make it a page (had plenty: it has gone into the book), but after the first delay was afraid to risk it—had a fear that I would never get it back"—alluding to proof so long delayed in the first place.

     No New England Magazine yet. W. expressed disappointment. "We come in on the tag-end of supplies." Commenting on this writing again: "The great virtue of your piece—its power—is, it is Plutarchian. Plutarch was great in power of simple narrative. And you threaten him sharp!"

     Referred to O'Connor: "He was the lightest breeze—the grace of storm and flowing sea. Oh! I wish you could have seen him as he walked!—the swift sure step, light, easy—up and down—like a doe—yet with a majesty no doe could justify."

     From today's Press as a queer result of my interception of the reporter last evening:

     SUN PICTURE OF WHITMAN.

     Photographing the Poet to Assist the
Sculptor of His Bust

     Walt Whitman, affectionately known wherever the English language is known as "the good gray poet," had his photograph taken

 
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yesterday at his home in Camden. It was an ordeal for the poet to come down from his snug arm-chair in his cozy bedroom on the second story to the parlor, but he bravely accomplished it.

     Mr. O'Donovan, the New York sculptor, who is at work on a bust of Mr. Whitman, has wanted a couple of photographs, and chose yesterday to take them. He went over from this city with a photographer, and at noon Mr. Whitman came down stairs, slowly and with pain, and seated himself in a big arm-chair in a corner of the parlor, at a window overlooking Mickle Street. A couple of good negatives were secured, and then the old man was assisted back to his bedroom, his books, his writing, and the contemplation of fresh green trees in the little plot back of his modest home....

     While the old poet is very weak physically, his mentality seems as vigorous as ever. Hardly a day passes but that he writes a short sketch or poem, all of which are hurried off to the publishers of his forthcoming book, called "Good-by, my Fancy." This he says will be his last volume, but Horace L. Traubel, his close companion, says he does not think it will be the last work he will do. In fact, he is constantly mapping out new work that he expects to accomplish in the future. Mr. Whitman is 71 years old and protests himself that he is a very sick man.
Told him of debate at Unity Church last night on the future of American literature—Morris, Harned, Jastrow, H.L.T. Jastrow said something to the effect that the great future American poets would no doubt be built on some great English model. This curiously aroused W. into the following:

     "Damn the Professor! Damn the model! Build on hell! No, no, no—that is not what we are here for—that is not the future—that's not 'Leaves of Grass'—opposite to all that—opposite, antagonist—to fight it, if need be, to a bloody end—stands life, vitality, the elements. And on this must everything, everything that belongs to our future, appear, be justified. But how can anyone understand 'Leaves of Grass,' the new genius, nature—the principles, if we may call them such, by which we came—except by knowing the certain background out of which Walt Whitman appeared? Here, Horace—here in 'Leaves of Grass'—are 400, 430 pages, of let-fly. No art, no schemes, no fanciful,

 
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delicate, elegant constructiveness—but let-fly. A young man appears in the Western world—the new world—is born in the free air, near the sea—lives an early life in the early life of a big city—absorbs its meanings, the past, history, masses of men, whores, saints, sailors, laborers, carpenters, pilots—goes liberal-footed everywhere—has no erudition—reads books, reads men—prepares in himself a great ground—travels—takes everywhere—every sign a sign to him, every treasure his treasure—nothing denied—lives the life of a war—unmistakably the greatest war of history—passes through camps, enters the hospitals—using gifts of penetration (Horace, they told me my penetration would damn me!)—accumulates, accumulates—then lets fly—lets fly—no art—no, damn art!" Here he stopped to laugh. "No, I must not say that—I take that back—it would be like to say, damn the Bible, which—though I understand, accept, all the Ingersollian positions—I am not prepared to do. For I have a respect myself for anything respected through so many centuries—and so with art. But apart from that, art is not entitled to much. I deny it everything. The amount of all which is, that to know 'Leaves of Grass,' to read the future, these things must be understood—for out of these was the early statement, the challenge, long battle, old age, disease—next, death." I asked him if the idea was not just what I had used in New England Magazine, comparing Lowell's ode and the Lincoln poem. "Yes, that is the idea. Lowell is a palace—plate-glass windows, curtains, prettinesses—built—unexceptionable. 'Leaves of Grass' is a seashore, a mountain, floating cloud, sweeping river, storm, lightning, passion, freedom—and all the tremendous, vital, throbbing, resistless, overwhelming, stupendous forces (I hope) included in, implied by, these. When you get in such a talk again, Horace, give out these ideas, give them as from me—authoritatively—let your note be heard. For here is the kernel—this is the seat of the explanation: the tremendousest let-fly in this, our history here, perhaps in all literature. Understand me, I mean that men shall proceed in all they do out of a knowledge of life—as great actors act, orators speak,
 
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singers sing—as in Alboni's voice, perhaps the greatest singer ever breathed—as in Booth—the old Booth—I don't know but the grandest actor the world has seen or will see—as in Ingersoll—voice, vitality, and so on—full—overflowing—with accumulation of fact, feeling, actual palpitating experience—crowded into them, as crowded into me, by resistless forces of a proud pure ancestry—intricately woven from hardy, to hardy, purposes—splendid effects."
And at this moment, after throwing all this out in a voice and with gesture powerful and fine, he sank back in his chair, closed his eyes, "And now I have talked too much! But you know, Horace, a man can't always be good. And I want you to take this with you—assert it anywhere for me—make it felt as my message, declaration."

     And as I said my good-bye, he picked up Truth—waved his hand as I went out the door—and turned towards the light.

 
Sunday, May 3, 1891

     4:50 P.M. To W.'s for a short space—finding him looking well after his dinner—inclined to be frank and easy in his talk. Had not looked finally over contents pages but was willing to let me have them as they were—merely debating with me whether to use small caps or Roman letters. Wrote for me in a large hand also what he thought should go on title-page, viz.: "GoodBye My Fancy 2d Annex to LofG". Did he propose to put his name on title-page? No. Then I argued, "LofG" should be spelled out, to convey necessary meaning to the world at large. He admitted this—took up his pen and completed the line. Not decided yet if to put himself or McKay down as publisher, or neither—so for the present no name is there.

     I left Scribner's with him. Last night he had expressed curiosity to read "Shakespeare as Actor"—one of its papers. Alluded to "the flitting beauty of the day"—the showers (light) and repeated shifts from cloud to sunshine. He believed he was "a shade of a suspicion better," though going on to say, "I have stopped the pills again. I have no doubt I should not have done

 
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it. Longaker said they had nothing at all to do with my depression, but I stopped them today. Last night was an awful one. My sleep didn't amount to a small coin. My belly kept me awake—yes, awake and awake—which is unusual, for in my own way, as a usual thing, I sleep some and sleep that some well." And then, "But I have just had my dinner—and ate heartily—and took a couple of swallows of the wine. Oh! The wine is good—it goes to the right spot every time! We've certainly got the genuine article." I asked if he had thought there was a "cut" in the Truth piece? "I had the suspicion there was, but have no way to prove it." I shall look up the copy.
 
Monday, May 4, 1891

     5:55 P.M. W. on his bed—had drawn a blanket over him—seemed spirited enough, though he said he felt "worn out." Had been out to the cemetery. "Mr. Moore urged it. And so, out we went. Bennett, here, took us—he has a couple of black colts, the finest, and harness to match—and I am ashamed of myself for my inability to enjoy the ride. But I'd no sooner started then I went all a-fuddle—and was three-quarters blind besides. Things progress—are nearer an end than I had expected to see them. You ought to walk out there, Horace, any evening—it is a short walk—you ought to see it—see the grand stone. Introduce yourself to Mr. Moore—you will like him—he has a genuine way—and as engineer, gardener, has a good deal to tell."

     O'Donovan had also been over today. "He promises me photos of the work as it progresses." This had "also fatigued" him—he had, in fact, "been under pressure most of the day." And he thought, "I must be getting weak, weak, that these things—innocent enough—upset me." He alluded in our talk to a New York colloquialism "current when I was a young man""which would say, for instance, 'put up that window up'—urged with the greatest gravity. And there was a congregated series of expressions."

     Mrs. Davis says, "Mr. Whitman won't be paler when he is dead than he was when he had alighted from the carriage and

 
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gone into the tomb. He leaned up against the wall—yet seemed to want to get away from the subject—spoke of the trees outside." And before he had come away he asked if the workingmen there drank beer and left a dollar with them with which "to take a big swig."
 
Tuesday, May 5, 1891

     7:50 P.M. Only at W.'s for a brief talk. Left with him contents and title-page proofs. Myrick set up at my insistence alternative title-pages. As soon as I saw them I exclaimed to Myrick, "Whitman will want this," indicating one. Sure enough now W. said very quickly, "This is our page—this is decidedly better than the other"—pointing out the page I had selected. We are both to cover the contents proof. I kept duplicate. He will give to me tomorrow. Mrs. Fairchild writes me as follows:


May 4


My dear Mr. Traubel,

     It has been suddenly decided to go abroad for the summer, so I send you my little contribution till September beforehand. I shall then return, and shall hope to hear that everything has gone well with our noble friend in the interval.

     I have been reading your account of him in the "New England" mag. again with a great delight. You have done a fine thing in showing that life, so dignified, so true, so noble to the world, particularly for the younger generation who cannot gaze enough on such a model.

     I wish you a pleasant and helpful summer. Pray give my love and a goodby to W. W.—the years only increase my debt of gratitude and affection to him.


Very cordially yrs


Elisabeth Fairchild

W. read. "My benison attend her! How always nobly good she is to us! A rare woman, every way." Wallace sends me his portrait, which I showed to W., who to my remark—"It is an easy powerful gentle face!"—responded, "It is all that, and we know him for a brave true fellow anyway."
 
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Anderton, nr. Chorley

Lancashire, England

24 April 1891


My dear Traubel,

     Last Wednesday, (22nd) Johnston met me at the Bolton Station as I took train for home, & handed me your letter of the 12th which he had received. I read it as I came along in the train, & afterwards sent you a cable message—wiring to Johnston that I had done so.

     I will enclose a photo. (the only one I can lay my hands on at present) taken some time ago by Johnston in my little room in Eagle St, Bolton, where the friends used to meet. (The book in my hands was L. of G.)

     It certainly isn't worth a place "on your walls," but it may serve as a provisional memento of one who is glad to have your friendship & who wishes you well.

     And I do so especially at this time, dear friend, as you enter upon the joys & sanctities of married life. I wish that your union may be blessed to you both in long years of ever deepening love & happiness, mutual helpfulness & spiritual growth.

     And I cannot doubt it will be so;—knowing what I do of your loyalty & devotion, your warm affection, your high & pure aims & your busy activity. May God bless you richly.

     Johnston & I are very grateful to you for your cordial friendliness & kindness,—and if you do exaggerate our trivial services to Walt, that surely is an amiable trait. You cannot exaggerate our personal love & reverence towards him, & that may be, perhaps, the main point.

     And because of that we are grateful to you for all your daily & loyal devotion to him. Love & gratitude to you for it always from all his friends & lovers.

     And we owe you a more direct & intimate affection & gratitude for all your kindness & friendliness to us.

     Will you convey our greetings & good wishes to your wife?—as from unknown friends across the sea. For in all the good will we bear to you, she, too, must henceforth have her share.

     May all good attend you—without & within—ever more & more.


Yours affectionately


J. W. Wallace

W. still urges me to write more "Whitmania" for "you have the knack—you are here—there are many reasons now why you should do it. And it can be done now—and by and by? Well,
 
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then it will be impossible."
Would he examine anything of that sort I chose to write? "Yes, I can promise it—I see its importance. By and by people may want such things—and it may be too late." He freely confesses "the jeopardy" of his position and that he "may end up any day now" with this "weakness spread over" him "like a pall." We had each got one copy of the New England Magazine at last. I found W. reading his. "It all seems well," he remarked, "will have a weight, I have no doubt." I was disappointed with the frontispiece, and he said of it, "So am I: the trouble is the old one—they have titivated it out of character." And again, "Well, we have one copy apiece—little enough—but we might thank God for that."
 
Wednesday, May 6, 1891

     5:50 P.M. W. on his bed, but arose on my entrance, going heedfully to his chair. Warren had told me W. was up all day, and W. now repeated the information. Again said as he had last night, "The New England Magazine folk are a queer set. In the portrait I am titivated out of all my good looks!" Gave me a copy of Black and White (England)—"They can't touch our illustrators—can't reach the edge of 'em, though they cultivate and cultivate and try to refine. Take that as a sample—it is far below our standard." Also said I should take copy of the Pall Mall Budget containing Whistler's portrait of Carlyle—again commenting upon its "simple strength and beauty." Said in regard to his health, "I am spending bad days—wretched days—with poor hope of anything better." He'd a letter from Bucke, which he gave me, and returned me yesterday's proofs—having added McKay's name to the title-page. Had he talked with Dave? "Not definitively—but enough to know he is willing to handle the book. I think I may risk that." I urged that he read plate proofs at once. He assented, "Yes, and do you, too—and between you, the proof-reader and me, no great blunders ought to get through." And further, "I am willing to push the book right through now: I give it over to your hands."

 
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     I had Harper's Weekly with me—left it, at his request, till tomorrow. He regarded therein a portrait of Phillip Brooks. "It seems all drawn in big masterful circles," he said. "It minds me of something once said to me by Daniel Huntington, of the Academy in New York. He had gone to some great French artist with questions about art—what to do, how to start, something of that sort. And his first instructions had been—go to the paper there, that sheet on the wall—make circles, curved lines, curved lines, circles. Is that all? Yes, yes. And for how long? All day! All day! And this picture carries me back to that story: it is full to fullness of just such circles—sweeping, effective—the result superb. Oh yes! I knew—know—Huntington. He was and is just the opposite of Sir Frederick Leighton, of the British Academy—who is elegant, accurate, technical—not without talent—but with power, none. And for titivation Huntington is just like him. It is hard for the typical artist to be otherwise."

 
Thursday, May 7, 1891

     5:10 P.M. W. just finished his meal. Reading Post. One of his blankets wrapped about his throat. The day cold and raw. Lusty fire in stove. Room very hot. Yet he was unconscious of any excess of heat. Returned me Harper's Weekly with assurance that he had "enjoyed it." How had the day passed with him? "It has been horrible—horrible—one of the horriblest! No, not out—not a step. Nothing but to keep afloat—which itself means a great struggle. My nights are better than my days—I sleep, after a fashion. But everything seems to give out—everything."

     Spent some time at Ferguson's this afternoon, arranging to have book go to press next week. Promised to return James one set cast pages Monday. He will correct immediately. Brown will hurry on press instantly thereafter. Title-page fixed to our taste. I asked and got a new proof of contents pages. I suggested to W. (as he seemed bent on a narrow margin) that we should print the book as Rolleston's fine soft edition of Epictetus—with margins all at side and bottom—thus leaving to W. the

 
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privilege of cutting his copies—to McKay the privilege of keeping main body of edition wide—and besides imparting something new to the whole thing. He at once said yes to this—"I think it a first-rate idea"—and left the rest for me to arrange. Advised me to go in and see McKay about imprint before having title-page cast. "He might wish to add something to it."

     I expressed regret that W. had missed the Wagnerian energies of Salvini, for their breadth and color—frank passion and abandon—were perhaps apart from all so far known in that branch of art. W. at this, "I, too, regret it, but I am past all that now. And I regret it the more because I feel with a vague certainty, it is true—that experience would establish me in your conviction. O'Connor would tell me substantially what you have been saying, and of late years I have heard it from Bucke time and again." Then, "This leads me to old Father Taylor again—the great soul!—the man who, of all men I ever knew, cut closest the moral life of man. I could not describe him except by reference to, say, Booth—the real Booth. Yet Taylor, however passionate, was not passionate at all—never noisy, never ranty—as if he held a sure instrument and was not ashamed to make wise—not rough—use of it. Which is the heart, soul, of all true art—at the line where art is nature. And it is this I have purposed to pile into 'Leaves of Grass,' to give it its mass, its spinal utterance, its larger measure and weight. And if my 'Leaves' have failed here they have failed altogether. It is the secret of all great poets, orators, philosophers: as in what I have said of Father Taylor, of Ingersoll."

     W. remarked, "I am disappointed—rather—that Doctor don't recover—don't move quicker. Take this letter with you—read it"—handing to me. "He is evidently not well, by any means. Yet sound—sound to the core, I believe." Says again as to his own state that "it leaves me right on the edge of destruction." Longaker not yet resumed his visits.

     W. thinks, "Now as I grow old—useless, helpless—I seem to come in great demand"—instancing a new request, as follows, arrived today:

 
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Century Club

7 West Forty-Third St.

April. 17. 91


Sir,

     I have come over to America to do a series of articles for the Pall Mall Gazette. May I come & have a conversation with yourself for publication in that paper, which is read by most of your English admirers?

     I regret I have no letters of introduction to you personally, as I do not know any of your friends, but I have letters to Cardinal Gibbons, Mr. O. W. Holmes, W. D. Howells, & many more. My work is well known in England & I possess the highest possible testimonials regarding it from Cardinal Manning, Mr. J. A. Froude, Hall Caine, Grant Allen, Mr. Justin McCarthy & many more.


Awaiting your reply


& with great respect


I am


Faithfully yours


Raymond Blathwayt

     I might add that Lord Tennyson lives in the parish in the I. of Wight of which my father is the Rector & that they were both old schoolfellows. He was in doubt what to respond.

 
Friday, May 8, 1891

     7:55 P.M. W. in his room, drowsing—seeming to do nothing—a paper knife in his hand—light full up. Welcomed me, however, brightly. "Glad to see you again—you cheer me—it has been a bad day—very bad—from dawn out. I do not know, Horace, I do not know!" Yet he had "spent an hour or so downstairs" early evening—and it had done him good, he thought. Warren at the time of his going down working in back yard—Mrs. Davis then offering to help. W. said, "It will do as well." But after he had got down said again, "I do not think you will do quite as well, Mary—I do not feel I can lean on you as I can on Warrie." Weakness growing—he knocks oftener for Warrie—sometimes

 
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even to merely assist him from chair to bed or bed to chair (knocks on the floor with his cane). And the other day when Warrie assisted to dress him, he remarked himself, "I seem to be wasting away." It is in such a strain he has recently often spoken to me. Yet he is "not hopeless." I gave him letter I had from Ingersoll today, as here subjoined:

Law Office, Robert G. Ingersoll,

45 Wall Street

New York, May 7th 1891.


My dear Traubel:

     I regret to say that it is impossible for me to be with you on the 31st of May, as I start for the West on Sunday, and may not be back till the middle of June. If by any streak of luck I come back in time, I shall certainly be with you on the occasion you speak of.

     Give my love to Whitman. I think of him all the time as of one sitting on the shore, looking hopefully out on the sea, while the sun goes down.


Yours always,


R. G. Ingersoll. B[aker].

He seemed to read several times—then exclaimed, "The great fellow! He's poet and poet! Thank you, Robert! Thank you, Robert!" And further, "And now, if he could come, notwithstanding! He would be conquest indeed!"

     I brought him duplicates of contents pages. "I like them—they suit me." Told him result of my quest of McKay, who is of course willing to take the book, will arrange imprint, and agreed with me as to principles of margin in printing. W. thereupon, "I am thoroughly satisfied. The fact is, Horace, it is a great triumph for me as it is. Simply to have kept afloat long enough to bring this book where it is."

     Seems to get anxious about Longaker. "See him, if you can. And see O'Donovan, too. I want to know what he has been doing all this time." Another national bank in Philadelphia has gone under. "What's the matter with these fellows?" he asked. "They seem all going to tatters. It is a bad spectacle." Remarked again, "This has been a wonderful day—not a visitor—not one."

 
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     W. promised to "do what" he "could" to read cast pages by Sunday P.M. "But do you," said he, "give them a careful reading. You have a set: use them. I have great confidence in your eye. And I think little—between us all—will get through, or perhaps nothing."

 
Saturday, May 9, 1891

     7:58 P.M. W. had just got up from the bed. Says he is "compelled to take to it more and more." Longaker over today. "I was glad to see him again—and he seemed hopeful." He had received his dozen copies of New England Magazine at last. "I have sent off four—one of them to Lancashire." Remarked, "So it really seems as if the Colonel was to go West again? It is a pity—for us. Though his going is no matter of choice even to him." Had he read any in proofs? "No, nothing—not a word. Oh Horace! I am afraid I shall have to leave that with you. You have just the eye for it. I am not in doubt but you will do it well." Still, "If I can, I will tomorrow—but do you not wait for me." For, "I have spent a poorly day—poorly, poorly!" On the way down I had received a letter from Mrs. O'Connor at Post Office, very distressing:


112 M. St. N.W.

May 8. 1891.


Dear Mr. Traubel,

     I told you that since March 17. I have been in a kind of prison, & I hardly over-stated the case. I will enclose the orders that were issued at that time & you will see what I mean. I was transferred to the "Tabulation" division, & the rush to finish the work is such that we are under the lash all of the time. I have been so exhausted that I have not been able to do any thing when I get home, & to write a letter is out of the question. You may have read something about the "punching machines"—& that is the work that I have been in since March 17th. I have, with all the rest, been ill, with what is called the grip, but through it all, sick as I have been, I have still gone to the office.

 
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     In regard to the book, I shall have to ask you, as soon as the time is ripe, to come over & discuss it with me. There is so much to talk about, & so many points to go over, that we must meet. And I renew my original proposal—that just as soon as you can fix the date, you come & spend the Sunday with me, not to be my guest only, while here, but I am to pay all of the cost of the journey. You come on my business, & at my request, & indeed we won't get on without the conference. I hope that you can arrange to come while my sister Mrs. Channing is here, & indeed it will be a great advantage to us, as she is usually full of good suggestions....

     I never expected to be so utterly worn out as I am, after I, in some measure, recovered from the exhaustion of nursing William four years. It will be at two o'clock to-morrow morning, March 9, since he passed out of this life into the ether. At two o'clock the most holy and beautiful morning, and I shall never forget the look of the sky, the trees, the glorious planet that was shining in upon us. Two years since he left, & eight on the 5th of this month since the beautiful girl left us. From 5th to 9th of May are days full of sad and tender & holy memories. Perhaps it may not be so long ere I shall join them. I have feared that it would be many years, but this long continued weakness & exhausted state that I am in & don't seem to rally from may be more an indication of my condition than I was aware of. Well, it is no matter, only that I did want, & do want very much to finish up all this work that William left for me, & which I know pretty well about,—& his wishes in regard to it.

     You shall have as much of his writing as you want when you come.

     Did Walt get the second part of the "Brazen Android"? I sent it.

     Now I must say good by.

     And don't fail to note my meaning. I am to pay your fare to Washington & back, & you are to come to me at once, for we shall want every minute of all the time that you can spare from Camden, from the Sat. till Monday A.M.

     My love to Walt. Is he better?

     Good by.


With all good wishes as ever—


Ellen M. O'Connor.

     Don't fail to return to me these two orders—as I wish to keep them.

 
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     I dared not stay home even for sickness two days, & yet I have been too ill to work, but did. You see that it is a kind of slave driving! But it is all for political reasons!

     Well, let us hope! W. read it. It took him a long time—read it to the end. Then folding up with a sigh—"It has a note of the tragic," he remarked. "Poor Nellie! Poor Nellie!" And again, "William gone now two years! Who would believe it?"

     Had tied together a copy of Belfast (Maine) Age and a couple of letters from Bucke—one April 14th and another more recent. I leave them in the string just as he tied them. "I supposed you would like to see the paper. In Bucke's letter—one of them—is a bit about your piece: he likes it—it soaks him through and through."


7 May 1891

     I do not hear from you and I am anxious. But perhaps I shall have a letter this afternoon. This A.M. I got from New York (and have of course read) Horace's New England Magazine piece. I do not know but it is the very best thing that has ever been done about you it is so modest, sober and genuine—it is bound to captivate many readers and draw them into the right path and it cannot offend anyone. I have read nothing for a long time that has given me such pleasure—I feel now more than ever that we must have that W. W. volume out this fall.

     I am better but lame still, hope to be all right before long. Shall try to see you end of this month.


So long!


R. M. Bucke

Bucke had written me also as follows about it:

7 May 1891


My dear Horace

     I am here over at office, in good trim—a little lame yet but otherwise O.K. The New England Magazine reached me from my New York bookseller this A.M. and I need not say the piece has been read. I would

 
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like to compliment you upon it but really do not know how to put it—the article is unique and take it all in all I am not sure it is not the best thing yet. We cannot compare it to O.C.'s "Good Gray Poet", to Sarrazin's piece, or Knortz's or Rolleston's—they all have their merits but also the one failing that, viz., they are "literary" while this thing of yours is no picture, disquisition, argument, exposition or reproduction in poetry or prose but is the thing itself—W. actually lives in your pages—you can see him and hear him speak. There is not a false note from beginning to end every word genuine and just what it should be, neither more nor less. Its only fault is that it ends too soon—I should like a big vol. of just such pages—I could read in it day and night. And by & by (thanks to you) we shall have such vols! Think how people today delight to read great volumes of Pepys and Boswell—that being so how much more will they rejoice in years to come to read similar volumes (as characteristic and as truthful) about this far greater man? My dear boy you are in a great position, you have a big mortgage on the future and don't you forget it!

     I have not heard from either you or W. for two days. I trust all is going well.


My love to you & heartiest congratulations


R. M. Bucke

Mrs. Fairchild [in letter to Horace Traubel dated May 8, 1891] replied as follows to W.'s blessing: "While I am away Walt's blessing is one of the most precious things I shall take with me. May all the days of earth be pleasant to him and easy."

     W. again spoke of her as "a great, great woman—worthy to wear the mantle of Mrs. Gilchrist." Showed me copy of Boston Transcript, in which was a paragraph containing extracts from one of W.'s letters. "I detect Kennedy's hand," he said, "and it is a good hand"—adding—"He is always loyal—always on hand with a cheery word."

     Bush sends me a check for $20 for Whitman fund and inquires in letter for price of leather pocket-book Whitman. I said to W., "I do not like to send him the price. I think we should send him the book." He then instantly, "So do I, and if I were you I'd take one from the box in the corner at once," which I

 
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did, he writing Bush's name in it with date and "from the author"—saying meanwhile loving, flattering things of B.'s "staunch loyalty."
 
Sunday, May 10, 1891

     7:10 P.M. W. at the parlor window, a shawl pinned about his shoulders, looking pale and thin by contrast with the picture as I last remembered him there, in the summer of '90. As I came up, he waved his hand, "Ah! Horace!"—and Warrie, who sat with him, came and opened the door. Greeting inside cordial. I sat down by his side. How had his day been? "Quite poorly—just about the same. I have nothing to brag of nowadays, Horace." Had he read plate proofs? "No, not a word—not a word. As I told you, I would have to trust that to your vigilance." I had read—found little except his many forgotten apostrophed d's—and these he said he did "not desire to fix, now it is so late"—as—"they are not essential anyway—never worry or unnerve me!"—laughing. In other respects he conceded my corrections. He had written in the Ingersoll piece that "50 or 60" were present. I told him there were but 32 plus the waiters. "Well, set it right," he said. "You know, of course. I had the feeling that 50 or 60 were there." He put on his glasses—looked from time to time as I pointed out changes, in all of which he concurred. "I am confident you have fished out about all."

     Says as to New England Magazine piece, "It has two defects: it should have included this chair"—clapping the arm as he said it—"and a picture of Mary." Further, "I wondered how it came that 12 copies were brought here through the Post Office—even delivered at the door. For we know four pounds is the limit." I suggested, "It is a special dispensation: they grant you several at the Post Office." He laughed and asked, "How?" I joined his laugh—he seemed so to enjoy it—and responded, "Don't you remember what they told me? That they never weighed your matter—let it go through as you stamped it?" To which, "Yes, now I do. And that should advise me, that as I have run out of

 
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four-cent stamps I might use some old threes I have. Though as a usual thing I overstamp letters and papers, when I am at all in doubt about their weight."

     Warrie spoke about the monotony of Sunday. W. then, "I suppose that is as the preachers want it, and worse. For they think, if everything else is suspended the field will be left free for them."

     I called attention to this from Open Court—quoting it—not reading:

     A great deal of sarcastic humor has been showered upon the various incongruities which have grown out of the Pension imposture; as for instance, the ridicule cast upon the old patriot who applied for a pension because he broke his leg in "jumping the bounty," and upon the other, who did not go to war himself, but caught the rheumatism owing to "the overstrain of mental anguish" which he suffered on account of those who did. All that kind of amusing banter is laughed at as the rollicking mockery of the journalistic funny man, who enliveneth the dull corners of the newspapers; but here is an actual case which will make the professional jester serious. In the Review of Reviews for February appears a letter from Walt Whitman, dated January 6, 1891, in which he says: "I am totally paralysed from the old secession war time overstrain." This was not written in irony, but in sober earnest, and it will probably silence the critics who sneer at Walt Whitman's pension. At the time he received his injury, the poet was about forty years old, and although he did not overstrain himself enough to go to the war, he did not escape its calamities, for now at the age of seventy he finds himself paralysed by "the old secession war time overstrain." It is not necessary to pretend like that for sympathy, because all men will sorrow for a poet in distress; and if his poems entitle him to a pension, let him have it, for poetry, and not for a "war time overstrain."

     M. M. Trumbull.
At first he said, "I must not advise you about it, but we might let it pass." I responded, "I don't like the sneer. Besides, I have something to say about pensions in general—that you and O'Connor, as much as any man who went in the field, should

 
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come within the arcana," etc. Whereat he said, "I know nothing about Trumbull—never heard of him—but that shows how little he knows about me. The story is quite opposite to the thing he hints out there. I was myself the individual who stamped the whole matter out, or tried to, when an appeal of that kind was made. You remember it—it was several years ago—it was proposed to bring the matter up in committee—have it passed. I was communicated with about it, I think by a Massachusetts member. Wasn't it Loveridge [Lovering]? I at once wrote, discountenancing the whole thing, in the strongest English the language and my command of it would allow. There never could have been a mistake about that. Though the fellows nevertheless pushed it—it went through committee. I reflected then whether I should further disavow it or wait till it had passed the House, when I would be eligible to refuse it. But it never passed, and there the matter stopped. I have always had a dislike for the very idea of the pension—for me. It is a part of our blood—my brother George—others of our best friends—alive, resenting it. I was not entitled to it—was not in the army—not at the front. Nor was I in any need at all. I had enough and some to spare—have had for several years. And this, taken with my natural disgust, easily disposed of the question for me. You may write all this if you choose—it is authority—it is the plain fact. This man has no glimpse of it."

     Said he had sent a copy of New England Magazine to Symonds. Asked, "Tell me, Horace, what's the latest you know about Ed Lindell?" I replied, "He has been back at the ferry a week—looking pale enough at first, but is now regaining his color, though he complained to me today that he could not shake off the lassitude and bad stomachic symptoms."

 
Monday, May 11, 1891

     5:50 P.M. W. had just within an hour finished his dinner. Looked refreshed, yet insisted, "I have spent a mean day—things have been very poorly with me." On the table a letter

 
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from Bok. "I am followed up daily by the most curious questioners. I get four letters and three are for autographs or with some silly question. So I am pursued. Sometimes I enjoy it—sometimes it infuriates me—though"—with a laugh—"the infuriation is not very violent." Letter from Bucke—"All well." I had passed cast pages today—they will be printed either tomorrow or Wednesday. W. liked the title-page as I showed it to him in duplicate. "Things prosper us." As to the printing Wednesday, "I can hardly believe we are so near port."

     I received letter from Wallace this morning. He asks me to get him 12 and Johnston asks for a like number of copies of New England Magazine. I secured 22 copies and mailed them this afternoon. W. "glad they wanted them"—and then—"You remember, I sent them single copies last week. More and more I see that the piece is bound to prove satisfactory and take a place its own. It will become a part of our history—touches a spot right at the heart and gives curious tinctures, glints, indirections, valuable in themselves, necessary, vital." And then, "I agree with Bucke's verdict. I think it will be the general verdict."

     By and by he said, "So I see Harrison is about to finish his trip—will return." And then, "He has not done so bad this time. His best strokes have been in making no strokes—in what he has left unsaid. He seems to have sailed along very happily—all till the other day. I allude to what he said at Salt Lake the other day—about one wife and all that. I consider it uncalled for, unnecessary, ungracious, a scar on the journey—perhaps the only real scar. Yes, somehow a man made president is at once dignified—rises to his best-average height." I mentioned that Dole had a poem to him in last number of Literary World. W. asked, "Do you know Dole?" And to my negative, "He is a good fellow—very friendly to me—I have met him—talked, walked with him—an erudite, collegey, Edmund Gosse-ish sort of a man. But he will never set the river afire.""You mean that in essential things he does not carry a big pack?" I asked. "That is just the point, but I always feel kindly towards him, and he is a

 
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man to like anyway—frank, a hustler, but even, easy—conventional, of course."

     W. desires 50 copies of the book in sheets "for distribution among the fellows." I am to see Oldach about this.

     W. was "very much attracted by the idea of the golden wedding" of his neighbors, and sent in a book—with this response from them:


326 Mickle St. Camden




     Mr. and Mrs. Abner Huston wish to express to the venerable and distinguished Poet, whose just fame is known to the civilized world, Walt Whitman, their sincere appreciation of his gift to them upon the fiftieth Anniversary of their wedding of his books of poems, accompanied with the photograph and autograph of the author a token that will always be esteemed and highly prized.

     April 25th. 1891


"Any such many-yeared faithfulness—good health, good life—lifts, raises me up."
 
Tuesday, May 12, 1891

     5:50 P.M. W. sat with his lap filled with papers, evidently very busy. Seemed to me to look better, and I said so. He responded, "I have had a poor day, nevertheless—very poor. Though a doctor who was here—a man named Kerr—a Philadelphian—tells me I haven't the look of a sick man. Isn't it curious? Longaker has been here today, too."

     Book is on press. Brought him a sample signature. He looked at it, he said, "with a great delight." Handsomely printed. "I want you to tell Brown—this pleases me beyond measure—is almost a surprise—paper, letter, impression, make-up. Surely, if this is an average sample, we are going in for a good job this time." If completed tomorrow wished Brown to fold us three or four copies. "One for Doctor at once."

 
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     Gave me a copy of Black and White for my father. "He will be interested in the Exhibition pictures—they struck me as very fine—very." Had read Dole's poem in Literary World—also Morris' letter. "I like the letter better than the poem—yet do not dislike the poem, either. I know Dole—it is a friendly hand—has one good feature—is a sign of vital feeling, which is a good deal in a time when poetry has gone way down into trickery—fallen simply to an art. And it is refreshing even for an instant to have a fellow break the rules—the iron bonds—of literariness. I may quote or adapt Heine—that it is something like a triumph that the poem is not damned bad—though, to be sure, I don't think it is damned bad, or anything like it." And then, "At any rate, Morris is true to us—we have reasons to acknowledge his fair feeling." Someone had sent a copy of the paper to him from Boston, "and I have made it up there for Doctor Bucke"—I afterwards taking it with other things to Post Office.

     I wrote Stoddart the other day, suggesting that letters and talk at [forthcoming birthday] dinner be reported for Lippincott's. Today I received his note. Went to see him—had a long friendly talk—conclusion of which is, that I am to make up a round robin, to include letters and talk—a stenographer to be present and report every word, from which I would excise and make up article—letters to be naturally interwoven. W. very well pleased. First I told him I had a secret. He put on mockery—"Dreadful! Dreadful! What will I do with it? Had you better tell me?" And after I had told, "It is a good one anyway, and I will keep it. No reporters, no strangers, no interlopers? I understand, and that is best." Then, "The dinner last year was ideal—it took care of itself, and such a care! But there was tragedy to it, too—the loss of that marvellous speech—gone, gone, gone! It is one of the despairs of my life—to listen, to lose! I shall never recover from the disaster! Now, Horace, protect us against that! What a triumph if the Colonel could come! It would bring us vitality, freedom, elementalism! What a great train of great things he carries with him!"

 
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     Stoddart said that the obscenity in their round robin talks was frightful. W. exclaimed, "Dreadful! Dreadful! Is it so? And yet I know it is so, too. You know I am no prude—you know I face facts—am not afraid of free manly unbridled speech, even. Yet it seems to me there is no necessary connection between a dinner and filth—though, God knows!—they are often—oftenest—joined! It is astonishing—the amount of absolute filth current that way, on such occasions—horrible, utterablest filth—not a trace, gleam, even an echo of wit in it all. I can appreciate a story—even a loose story—if it have wit, if it pass for a good purpose—illustrate, illumine—but otherwise all my instincts revolt. Oh! my dear mother!" What a touch that, in indirection and tone! "I knew a young man in Washington—a bright fellow—noblest impulses—loved good books, good things—loving, honest (I loved him)—a man of some importance in one of the embassies. For a time this thing ran away with him—he seemed unconscious of it. What a list of dirty stories he accumulated! But one thing deserves to be said of him—he never used the stories but for a purpose. They always led out into some apt lesson—which was something—though it was a bad habit anyway. The time came when it disappeared—the fever was past. But I loved the boy and never forgot it." Asked me, "We will have the girls at the dinner, yes? I always should speak for that when I had a say. And I have thought, Horace—how would it do to have drink only—no food?" After a pause, in which I objected, "I guess you are right. I suppose I said that because I thought I, myself, should not eat. And I suppose you remember that the 31st is Sunday? If it suits you fellows as well, I particularly want the dinner that day."

     In this connection called my attention to the following in today's Press:

     "Chief Brown, of Pittsburg's Department of Public Safety, has refused to allow Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll to lecture on Sunday and charge an admission fee."

 
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And then he said, "I feel as if I particularly wanted to do something to show where I stand in such things as this. Of course this is not 'Leaves of Grass.' The great Colonel! He wars a great principle!" Would he mix us some punch—a bowl—at the dinner? "I do not feel as if I ought to promise it. I am not up to promises. It probably will be a great deal for me simply to be there. As for the rest, that must be held in abeyance." Yet he laughed, "People think it amounts to nothing to mix a bowl of punch—only whiskey, water, sugar—a few things. But it is more than that—that is only a part of the story." Stoddart asked me, "Shall Hawthorne come?" W. to me now, "Tell him, yes: Julian is a good friend—we owe him friendship."

     Desired me to arrange with Ferguson for 400 copies of "November Boughs"—"same size and style—paper—as 'Good-Bye'—the two to be bound together."

 
Wednesday, May 13, 1891

     6:15 P.M. W. on bed—had just laid down—yet insisted now that he should go to his chair again. Complains that he gets "too fond of the bed." Adding, "I have had some visitors again—O'Donovan again, and his photographic assistant, and Eakins. And I was photoed again—various ways. Eakins says O'Donovan is setting us up high. I don't know. Don't you expect to get in to see him? He says he has been waiting for you to stop in—we talked about it—he wants to see you."

     Picked up a profile photo from a pile of papers. "Look at that. How does that touch you? That is one of the young man's results." I saw it was from nature, not from O'Donovan's work. W. then, "Yes, it is from the critter himself—a direct catch—no middlemen. And that is one point in its favor." I detected a resemblance to Morse's medallion. "Yes," said W., "I can see that. No doubt it is a good piece of work— sui generis: I know nothing like it—which establishes something, at once." I could imagine points professional photographers would criticize. "Yes, so can I, but—damn 'em! Wouldn't they, like all professionals, all

 
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lines, condemn any marked original work? That counts for nothing." The copy there autographed by O'Donovan. Said W. again, "I have not learned the young man's name yet, which is queer, for me: I usually get that first thing. He seems to be in some way attached to Eakins—his entourage. All those fellows want to see you." Asked me if I thought the photo could "be processed"? And to my affirmative (entered in with explanations, etc.), "Well, try for it—see somebody at once about it. We can use it in the little books. I think the head an eminent hit—one of those curious chances, out of a thousand, which hits a close mark—not to be schemed for—not to be purposed—only discovered, revealed, we might say." I shall go up to Eakins' studio tomorrow—perhaps to get photo negative—better for use in processed pictures.

     I had brought W. four copies of book in sheets (all now printed). He was delighted with them—autographed one for me and another which I was to mail at once to Bucke. "The printing is all I could wish. And more than I had a right to expect. And I can say the same for paper—and particularly for the make-up of the pages—the form. It was a stroke on your part to get it into this shape." He forgets now his desire for narrow margins! Asked me if I had given my father Black and White? "I thought it a strong array of pictures. It occupied me long and long."

     I met Miss Belghannie at Club last night and promised to do what I could to have her see W. Thursday, when she speaks in Camden. Talked with W. and he finally asked, "So you think I should see her? Well, I will—if you say so. It is probably just for me. And so this is her fourth attempt? She deserves me, to say the least." Especially willing when I described her strong ways and noble body—music of voice—health every way. I told Miss B. to meet me at W.'s at 7:30.

 
Thursday, May 14, 1891

     7:30 P.M. To W.'s—some time—20 minutes—before Miss Belghannie came. Meanwhile I talked with W. He had cut one of

 
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his sets of the sheets—seemed to have read it. "Have you been prospecting?""Yes, and curiously, some of it seems a new field! But the printing of the book—oh! it is a success. You must tell Brown I think so." Remarked a letter he had from Bucke today. I had noticed a perfumey odor and remarked it. "Well, I tried an hour or so ago to wash myself. Perhaps that's the cause. I feel refreshed and weakened at the same time." Frank Williams in to see me about birthday—anxious lest it might be passed over, but agreeable in face of my plans.

     I went up this afternoon at four and caught O'Donovan at his work. Quite a long talk—fully an hour and a half. Eakins on a lounge in front room, asleep, huddled up like a child. After a while came sauntering out and entered into our chat. Both of them interesting men—Eakins more the genius, with cut free and original—dry humor, sententious—disposed to look at you and make his quiet, wise criticisms and cease. O'Donovan was at work on the bust—which, in its present stage, did not impress me. Gave me a little photo to take over to W., showing its progress. "But only for that," he said, "for the rest—expression, etc.—is not yet even hinted of." I found both men possessed with admiration of W. They only had one other copy of the photo left with W. yesterday—pinned on the wall—not so good for our purposes—not so clear-cut. O'Donovan advised me to use W.'s copy. An accident anyway—no negative that size—it was thrown up from a smaller negative, copy of which he gave me—fine in itself but without the mystery of the other—which was only a thrown-up print.

     Eakins brought out his own Whitman—said, "I am sure it has good points." Had several times been at Harned's house. Would Tom buy the picture? I told him of the understanding with Bucke. He said, "I thought it might help the old man to sell it now, before he is dead." Neither one have any admiration for Gilchrist's work. Eakins regards G.'s Whitman as "quite horrible, missing at every point," telling me that the students at the Academy—some of them—had advised Gilchrist that

 
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they wished no instructions from a man who would paint so wretched a thing as the Whitman.

     O'Donovan had fully 25 photos pinned on the wall near his stand—many of them done by their man—a picture even of the empty chair among them—a splendid "catch" of Mrs. Davis, sitting in the yard, in the armchair, sewing—infinitely natural! O'Donovan spoke of my New England Magazine article. Had he seen the Lippincott's article? "Yes indeed—while I was in Washington. It was mainly that which brought me at this time—though I have often had the notion I would do Whitman." What did Eakins think of Alexander's painting of W.? He answered with a question, "Did you hear, that he finally made the picture from a photo?" O'Donovan said, "The Century will reproduce it. But won't they be mad when they see this photo of ours?" O'D. also said that the great difficulty was the hair—to give the sense of its mass yet also of its thinness (for it is quite thin now)—Eakins interposed, "That was one of my difficulties, too, but at that time the hair was heavier than it is now." O'D. tells me some anecdotes of his trip to Camden—is particularly amused at W.'s vehement criticism of Herbert Gilchrist's portraits (and others) with "the damned Romeo curls." Related anecdote of the butter woman's application to Gilder for a letter to W. and Gilder's refusal of it as "an insult." Portraits of Weda Cook (full figure, singing, the hand and baton of the leader protruding at one corner) and of Mrs. Talcott Williams on easels. Eakins talks of Miss Cook as "lively" and of Mrs. Williams as "sickly.""Something always happens when I expect her here."

     I went over the main part of this for W., and with other points of our talk, which he said, "all seems as if you'd had a good time"—adding—"Yes, that man Eakins is sui generis himself—I like him—you will like him more and more." W. asked, "Well, what has O'Donovan done?" I exhibited the little photo he had given me and said, "I am not attracted so far, but should not like to set this impression up as a finality." W. then, "I am

 
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satisfied—I see—you are right." He examined the little picture but said nothing at the time except, "I see it is in a state of unfinishedness," saying no more after. I had been in to see the "process" people and they promised to do what they could to finish the thing in a week. W. satisfied. "No argument," he said with a smile—holding his head, "tell me results: as soon as I hear an argument I am befuddled." I had brought him samples of work. He felt the glazed paper. "This has a popular value," he remarked, "but it is no bribe to us. A sign of elegance, but not necessarily of good work, though this is good work—I admit it."

     I went downstairs for a while—talking with Mrs. Davis in the kitchen. Till, by and by, the bell was pulled, and Mrs. D. admitted Miss Belghannie and a friend from Philadelphia. I greeted her—then went up and told W., and he asked her up (through me). Immediately she entered the room he offered his hand, which she took and kissed—ejaculating her joy that after long waiting and repeated failures, admission at last had come. I pushed a chair forward—she sat down—I sat, hat in hand, on the edge of the box at the other side of the bed. It appeared that she knew the Costelloes, the Ford girls, Carpenter and other of W.'s friends there—of whom he immediately asked and about whom she fell into easy description—much to his pleasure, I could see. Her voice was melodious, strong—emphatic her manner. He was attracted. At one moment he leaned impulsively forward, "Do you know, dear, you remind me of my dear dear friend, Mrs. Gilchrist." And again, "I felt at once when I looked at you, that when she was a girl, of your age, she looked as you do now." Miss B. flushed a little—saying that others singularly had spoken of just such a resemblance. W. said he had understood this was her fourth coming—that he was "glad to see" her now, "however the interruptions before." He asked her what she was to speak about down at the church? And she told him—the forming of wage-women in union. He did not appear to be greatly struck with the idea, yet would say, "It is well to go fishing—to fish—to see if anything is to be caught." This led to some considerable talk—she of "the good time coming" and

 
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admonishing him not to go back on "Leaves of Grass"—and he saying or asking, "Don't you think all this inevitable?—that it is because it must be—that in the swinging orbital movement of planets, all that is becomes the right and the just," etc. And then he sent me looking for a package—I finding it eventually on the bed—in which he had "put by several things" for her—asking her name, how to spell it—"I have an awful memory nowadays"—and starting to write. After he had written her name he paused and dropped into most eloquent dissertation. "I should say, my work, I, stand for, solidarity—not only of what are called the White or European peoples, but of the whole earth—and other earths if there can. I myself do not share any policy of restriction which may obtain among Americans—restrictions—the tariff." She protested the broader policy of England. "Yes, I admit it, and I often think I see in the English character a higher growth of fair play—the willingness to hit and be hit. Indeed I often think of it, and ask myself, if for that they are not eminent, above all lands, peoples, others—though I am not sure, of course. Not but they have bad enough—very bad—as all of us have." And as to her labor work, "Well, go on with it—make all that can be made of it. I myself read things in this way, for however these things may exist—be deplored—may be reformed for—they are but bits, fragments, segments—a part of—a necessary ingredient—but not the whole fabric, not universal, not super-enclosing. And they are evils, too—I know it—but like evils, prove the good—just as I said to my doctor yesterday: that sickness is the proof of health," etc. Here he finished the inscription—protested he must not delay her longer—she now standing up and I the same, opposite. Yet still he continued, "The greatest lesson of all—the supreme—is that this great earth—swinging in its orbit—freighted with life, mystery, beauty—going round, round, round"—he swung his hand—"points everywhere to an indescribable good—goes on, on—we do not know to what, but we feel to just ends. Oh! an indefinably august power enclosing, explaining, all. This is 'Leaves of Grass'—this most—above all else—pervades, possesses it." And so for some little time, in tone,
 
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with gesture, easy, musical, graceful. It much impressed her, as it did me. And when he bade her farewell she kissed his hand again and expressed her love and veneration and said that it was not to her alone, but to whole groups of women in England, that this welcome was extended. As to the package, W. said, "It has a picture—the latest—and some little things I put together when Horace told me you would come." Miss B. in high glee—her fine ruddy face bright and eyes twinkling—went down to her friend, and both then off with me to the church. She later on discovered in her package not only picture but several bits of manuscript and printed slips—and so precious did these seem that she insisted that they should not be put away with her coat and hat but kept in the hand of her friend while she spoke. I so liked the woman and her ways that I was glad all went so happily. After the lecture I went to the ferry with her. She spoke well, in flow and with emphasis. Not very tall—full, fine complexion, healthy eye—grasps your hand as if for comradeship—is free (at foot of stairs at W.'s exclaimed, "I do believe my lace is undone," and put her foot up on a chair and set the defect right)—very positive in speech—independent—not afraid to say no in a way to be understood. Evidently throughout a healthy happy nature. I had felt sure these things in her would attract W., and it passed so.

     Longaker tells me he will have Dr. Harrison Allen (specialist, distinguished) come over about W.'s deafness, which L. thinks ominously increasing.

 
Friday, May 15, 1891

     8:00 P.M. W. reading papers—sitting near the bed. Did not look very bright. How had the day been? "Bad—bad—bad: the demon hawk has struck his talons in." Then, immediately, "What a nice girl that was you brought to me last night! She is a new edition of Mrs. Gilchrist! Oh! I enjoyed her visit—and did she?" And again, "What is she in America for? I could not quite get the notion of it last night."

 
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     I left photo with Grosscup and West this afternoon. If there are clear days, hope to get proof of plate Tuesday. W. satisfied, "I hope all will go well with it, but it is a trial—that is all—no more. And all we can do is to wait for what may come of it." Said, "I had a short note from Doctor of no significance—except that he is well." How about wine—did he wish more of it? "I took nearly all that one bottle—it was good—yet it seemed to affect my bladder and I thought it best to stop—at least till I had asked Longaker." Renewed talk of printing of the book, which "more and more satisfies our best expectations."

 
Saturday, May 16, 1891

     5:45 P.M. A happy few minutes with W., who, these days, though not appearing stronger, is undoubtedly more comfortable. All that he says is of a more assured color. "Still, I am weak." Longaker over: "I don't know but the best thing about Longaker's visits is the tonic voice, hope. He spreads a new heaven over us—always takes a bright view—is confident—has a firm step, touch. And anyhow, don't you think, Horace, that that is the best medicine a doctor may bring?" I brought him 25 stitched copies of "Good-Bye," which he had me put on the floor at his feet. He handled the pages affectionately—having picked up a copy. "We have made a good road with this—cloven straight through doubt, difficulty, to success. And do not forget, Horace, to go to Brown, tell him for me that I am more than pleased with this job—that it exhilarates me, in fact. He deserves it. As we were so ready to damn him for the other, so we must be at least as ready to applaud him for this. Yes, yes—I have gone over it critically—have not a word to say." We discussed the dinner, 31st. My inquiries in Philadelphia had developed that it would be impossible for me to go to any public place there of a Sunday and by any arrangement have drink supplied. W. said, "That is part of the disease of our time. If we are helpless, let us anyway protest." Had therefore pretty well

 
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concluded to have it in the two parlors below. W. then, "I am satisfied, and I will appear with you for half an hour, at least, and say something—that is, if I am as I am now. I might make a suggestion that we get a couple of big fine hams, some good bread—have sandwiches, first class—and plenty to drink—plenty." I urged a little more of a meal, but plain and he then, "I only suggested—I don't know but you are right—at any rate, it is well enough to have several views." Speaking of "Leaves of Grass" he said, "My 'Leaves' mean, that in the end reason, the individual, should have control—hold the reins—not necessarily to use them—but to possess the power: reason, the individual—through these solidarity (the whole race, all times, all lands)—this is the main purport, the spinal creative fact, by which we stand or fall." A while after he remarked, "I shall send a copy of the book off to Addington Symonds tonight—the first. I want him to have an early copy." He questioned me about the very cool turn in the weather. Did it affect him? "No, I think not—I am about the same—neither better nor worse." It necessitated some fire, which he had himself kindled.

 
Sunday, May 17, 1891

     12:40 P.M. To W.'s with Bush, whom I had met at Broad Street station. Clifford, Harned and wife had been there just before us. W. had been "glad" to see Clifford, as now he says to Bush, "I am glad to see you, too." Bush sat down and we were there about ten minutes. W. talked very freely, of weather, health and work. Day beautiful but cool. Inquired of Bush after wife and fortune. "And you have been west—far west, into California?" But no—not beyond Chicago and Milwaukee—at which W., "I don't know how, but I have labored with the impression that you had taken a long trip—far—into the Great West." As for his own health, he said, "I am not up to much," etc. I rallied him that he certainly had looked better the past three or four days. "Do you think so? It seems that way to you?

 
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Well, I may feel the suspicion of a change, but no more. No, no, no, Horace—some day I'll surprise you and Warrie and Doctor Longaker by puffing out. When you do not suspect it—kick the bucket without warning. I don't think any one of you, or Bucke, realizes what I have come to. It is a far-down peg—far-down." But he did not propose to slip us before dinner? He laughed and made merry over "the bad look that would have"—I saying it would not become him and he assenting, "I see it would seem ungrateful!""But, Horace, the seriosity, gravity, of my case—we are not to forget—we may easily lose sight of it. And any day may call an end." I reminded him of other days, when he had declared "we will not fight with that end in view," and told him a story:

     "General, what do you do, going to a battle you feel you will win?"

     "Fight like hell!"

     "But what if you think you will lose?"

     "Fight heller!"

     This aroused W. to great laughter. "It is fine, fine—very good—splendid! And a lesson, too!" Still he insisted that things were "in a suspicious stage" and he could not trust them. I showed Bush a copy of the book and asked W. if he still felt satisfied with it? "Yes, satisfied and more! Indeed—that is my great triumph, stand-by, these days." He had been making up copies to send to Symonds and Tennyson. (I subsequently found from Harned that he had refused to give out copies for a week.) What did he think for a cover? He would leave that in part with Dave. Should I go to Dave and discuss it? "Yes, and do what you choose. I give you carte blanche." I would reproduce title-page on cover and not add the autograph this time. W.: "I endorse that view: I, too, would prefer the autograph left off," saying this slowly, deliberately.

     Last night he gave me a letter and manuscript poem sent up from Waco by a woman. "If you like real hard labor, there's for you. I could not travel far in it myself."

 
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Monday, May 18, 1891

     7:58 P.M. The day has been most beautiful throughout, but W. "did not venture" the chair—though this evening spending an hour downstairs in the parlor. As I entered now I found him changing his clothes—he proceeding (there in his bare legs, donning and doffing shirts, etc.), talking to me the while. What was the news? How had I spent the day? What did I bring him? These his questions. Says, "I continue to read my own book with the greatest admiration"—the press-work and paper so good it had "bribed" him "beyond admiring speculations." McKay and I had had a talk today—conferring about cover, etc. W. now "agreeable," as he said, to our views. "I shall neither approve nor censure what you do—I want to leave that in your hands entirely." Dave wants to know how many copies W. wants to sell him, at what price, and how many press copies? W. says, "I will memorandize that tomorrow."

     I met William Swinton at McKay's, having a long talk with him about W. Told W. of it now, W. saying, "He was one of my earliest friends—a true one, too—a sweet attractive fellow—gemmie—I always loved him. What! The new friends drive out the old? Not unless the old drive themselves out. Yes, I knew him before any of the others—O'Connor, Burroughs—and ours was a real intimacy, too. How is he, Horace? Is he still large, handsome, fascinating? Oh! In the old times he was all that and more—and au fait with all the best things, too." Swinton in Philadelphia—being treated for insomnia—looked to me shattered—yet with flesh, too, and a strong hand. Living out in Germantown—had come to McKay's to get an old edition of one of his own books. Expects John in town and says they will possibly be over together Wednesday to see W.—or this week sometime. W. pleased and said, "Let them come. I am almost anxious to see them." Swinton told me an anecdote of Emerson and his wife—S.'s visit to Emerson just after Dana's publication of the greeting to "Leaves of Grass"—their talk together of W.—Emerson's wife's chance entrance to the room, the hearing of

 
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the name, the shrugged shoulders and sniffle, "more significant than if a thousand things had been said." Swinton told me that John's eyes (operated on abroad for cataract) were much improved, but his nerve condition bad. Told me of editorials he had got W. in Washington to write for the Times (New York): "They were very fine—mainly descriptions of armies, their marches, etc. I have them yet. You should see them sometime." And assured me that his feelings towards W. were unchanged. He had not kept a copy of first edition though he had at the time many in his hands. Regretted.

     I received letters from Bucke and Baker about the dinner. Kennedy writes W. a postal as follows:



     I b[ough]t Traubel's piece—the New Englander Whitman number—today & frau & I are sitting here by kitchen fire enjoying it. It's the best thing ever done here in Massa. on W. W. Good for T[raubel] and Mead! What, I wonder, do the Vice Society idiots there think of these things?


W. S. K.

     May 12 '91

 
Tuesday, May 19, 1891

     7:45 P.M. W. on his bed. Had just gone upstairs. Now rose—went to his chair—giving the stove door a pull with his cane by the way. Doctor had been here and thought W. "better." W. himself said, "I feel a trifle more comfortable, but just as weak." Said, "I have sent copies of the book to Tennyson, Symonds, Johnston (at Bolton), Kennedy." None so far to Wallace. I left copy of book with McKay and got receipt for it. He disputes the correctness of W.'s recent bill. I shall now follow the sales myself. Also brought W. five dollars for a copy for one of the clerks at the Bank. He asked, "So he is a young man? Good!"—continuing—"You remember what I told you the other night—remember it quite clearly? The purpose of 'Leaves of Grass'?" And to my assent he added, "It was this: nature, nature, again

 
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nature. Not art, erudition, decoration, elegance, but simple, elemental first-causeism—to get at things direct—accept the final truths. Without this a reader can never grasp 'Leaves of Grass.' I was going to say, damn art, but again I say, I must not do that. For no one knows more than I do the place it has occupied, the good it has done—no one. But accepting all that, I pass beyond."

     Again he spoke out quickly, "No sign of the Swintons today"—adding—"I want them to come—want to see them—indeed, am curious." Brought him proof of plate made from the O'Donovan photo. He was gratified with it. Held the original out before him—regarded it admiringly. "It has that splendid thing, audacity—that great flavor of genius—the will to dare—to spread a big feast—to utter big things in big ways! Take it over to Paris, London, Germany—it would storm them—it would be a true utterance out of the West! I can see just what professional photographers would criticize in it—its first virtues, in fact. Among photos it excels any so far, in the range of its audacity." He will get 1500 copies printed—1000 for the books—the rest for his use. He discussed it with me. And then, "The picture is like Eakins—has his best touch—has breadth and beauty, both. He is a remarkable man."

     Brown will print "November Boughs" last part of the week. W. suggests American liquors for the dinner. "I think they are as good as any others—fully. I have often wondered if some ways they did not excel." Had made up contract for McKay. I have taken facsimile copy on press. W. expects no profit from the edition—enough only to make himself whole.

     Morris will use sea-pieces from W. in a volume he edits for Lippincott's. Would W. consent? "O yes! For such a purpose, why not? And anyhow, why not? Let the gospel go forth!"—with a smile. Morris up to see Gilchrist—spent Sunday with him—they riding together to West Hills. Mrs. Jarvis there said Dr. Johnston had promised her a copy of the photo of the house, but none has come yet. W. was for sending her a copy of New England Magazine, but I told him I thought Morris had already

 
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done so. "By the way, I have sent a copy of the book to Sarrazin, too—put a five-cent stamp on it. It starts on a long voyage." Gilchrist took a photo of graveyard—the one drawn by Pennell for Bucke's book. "How are the banks in Philadelphia?"—several had been run lately.

     Asked him, "But do you not have an art, too?" He quickly, "Yes, nature's—as nature has. I seize, let go—freedom the first, last—to let nature take her course—that is 'Leaves of Grass.'"

 
Wednesday, May 20, 1891

     7:30 P.M. With W. for full half an hour, though I was on my way to Philadelphia and intended to stay only a few minutes. He was on his bed. "I was just about to get up—go to my chair"—doing so now (the cane always on the bed beside him). "Well, what is new? What do you bring me?" I had a copy of Darwin. Gazed at the portrait long. "What a grand head! Do you suppose the crag-like eyebrow was there? Yes? Oh! The great Darwin! None greater our time! Big—big—big! I for one am grateful to have lived as one of his contemporaries."

     How has the day passed? "Not as bad as some other days—but bad—bad! But I am still here—which you can take for what it is worth." I had been in and discussed W.'s proposition with McKay, who kicked and whose several suggestions, memorandized, I stated and left with Walt. W. asked "a day to turn it over" in his mind. Was "inclined to trust such a thing mainly to Dave." I protested on several points. "I think the easiest way out is for me to take the $255 and quit." But I did not think that should be hastily done. My idea was—"make yourself whole and have the plates as profit." To this he assented. I shall go to Ferguson today to get bill. Can then calculate. McKay objects to binding the two volumes together, especially at so low a price—and W. insists that two dollars is too much. McKay also protests that it is not a fair deal for W. to cross his $1.25 edition with a cheaper, etc. W.: "That is so, too—and I shall not do it." As to frontispiece, Billstein thinks, do not use thicker paper than

 
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proof, which is fine. But W. says, "I am still in favor of the thick—after paying all deference to the opinion of a man I know knows more. But it is not a law of Medes and Persians. I leave it in your hands, to take what direction you choose."

     I am making arrangements for dinner. Brinton has moved to country again—thus writes me quizzically:


Media, Pa.

May 20

     How about the W. W. dinner on the 31st? Count me in.


Yrs.


D. G. B.

And Baker writes me thus about the chances of the Colonel's coming:

Law Office, Robert G. Ingersoll,

45 Wall Street, New York

May 19th 1891


My very dear Traubel:

     Proof sheet of "Spirituality" received. It seems—doubtless is—all right. Send half a dozen "Conservators" when out.

     The Col. is due to-day in Butte. I hear from him every few days. All is going well. I am almost sure, however that he can't be back by the 31st. Still, he may. If he don't, I hope he will telegraph or write a suitable word for the occasion. You must write him, at once, to do this, by all means, if he can't be on in person. Perhaps you have done so.

     Now I can't tell, so far ahead, whether I can be there. I doubt it. I think not—much as the pleasure wd. be to me.

     I am more tied here, when the Colonel is away than when he is here.

     Hurriedly but heartily, as always,


Yours & yours


Baker.

     Had a pleasant & hope profitable interview with Doctor Harned, in his electric business yesterday. He thinks everything of you. B. I have written West, as suggested. W. still says, "I will be with you—you can count on me—for a stretch. Make your own

 
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arrangements—but keep it small!" And again, "I should almost feel to ask the Colonel to come! I wonder if ever there lived a vitaller personality—one more current with power, life?" I would write, saying this in substance. Did he object? "No, on the contrary I should advise it." Asked me about the pronunciation of Butte"You know what it means? A lift of hill—mountain—rock—a knob. At least, so I understand it. Don't you?" The doctor was over today. W. thought Longaker "worth while, if only for his cheer." Other visitors, too, "among them Melville Phillips. He came to ask for a poem for 'Once a Week.'" Would he give it? "We shall see—if I can, yes—but I have felt bad enough not to promise anything. I suppose I may do it. Phillips brought with him an artist—Simon—a Hungarian, as I understood. I was in no condition to help him—give him what he wants—today. But promised him a good half hour sometime." The Swintons not over yet. C. H. Greene, Rochester, Mich., sends W. a curious manuscript piece called "Ingersoll's Synopsis of 'Leaves of Grass' Verified." We at once saw that it was vastly superior to most things of that sort sent here. But characteristically, W. had not read it all.

     W. is very particular about having "the women folks" at dinner and "the Ingersoll wife—daughters—if they will."

     Yesterday or day before he had said, "How am I? Well here I am." I put in, "And to be for a long time yet." But he shook his head, "No, not for long—I have not a long look forward."

 
Thursday, May 21, 1891

     8:45 P.M. Detained—could not get to W.'s till late. He had not undressed. I found him on his bed fast asleep—on his right side—curled together—looked like a babe—hand under his cheek—a steady breath—light low—cane at his side—fire burning lazily (the last ashes of a log in the stove). He did not awake on my silent entrance. I stood several minutes in the middle of the floor—gazed at him, the room (oh! the solemn strange associations!)—some papers on the bed near him—several

 
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sheets folded across the right arm of the big chair—an odd end of manuscript almost under his left hand, which rested lightly on the counterpane—subtle signs (which long, attentive coming enable me to read) of the work he had fragmented through the day. I cannot say why—but repose, reverence, almost awe, filled me—and a far deep peace—and something to withdraw me from myself—and so I slid quietly out—closed the door noiselessly—not bearing to disturb him from a slumber so profound, though there were things we should have talked about.

     Warren told me he had seemed about the same in health though on his bed most of the day. Someone (a publisher) whom W. would not see came yesterday to propose to take W. to the shore and pay his board for a week—a curious and of course rejected notion. Warrie tells me; W. so far has forgotten to refer to it.

     I arranged to meet Frank Williams and Morris at the former's rooms (Drexel Building) tomorrow, 4:15, to talk over dinner. Wrote Brinton to join us there. In to see Stoddart, but missed him. Brown promises to give me copies of "November Boughs" by Monday evening. Ordered pictures of Billstein—1050. Wrote to Gilder, Morse and Kennedy, asking for letters for 31st.

     Got rough figures from Ferguson showing his total bill for both books about $190, to which incidentals (frontispiece) would add about $10:

     Printing & Paper 43.40
Compn. Good-Bye 106.39
Paper NB 25.60
Printing 15.00
190. 39


 
Friday, May 22, 1891

     8:00 P.M. Though W. was on his bed, he was not asleep—got up instantly on my entrance, and after he had shaken hands with me—going laboriously around the bed to his chair. The day, or evening, very hot. He referred to it, wondering if it was

 
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close. How had he been? "Continuing the bad time—the bad," he said. And then, "I suppose the best word for me would be simply, prostrated: I am prostrated past the power of relief." Then he felt no gain of strength? "None whatever—not a grain." After he had taken his seat he at once beat out into freest conversation. "I read the Colonel's spirituality piece again. It is very fine—a great swath—swift but direct from the shoulder. He takes me back to 'The Maid of Perth.' You remember it? Scott's? A great, sturdy splendid fellow there—Harry of the Wind—cutting a straight way—parting them right and left—by the mere grand sweep of his momentum. So the Colonel—they go this way, they go that, unstayable, cast off with the magnificent momentum of the man. Who can stand against it?" And as to Ingersoll's great audiences in the West, "Yes, I see—they will follow him—vast assemblages—listening, learning, spurred. It is a grand thing to think."

     He said further on, "I am sorry— was sorry—I did not see you last night—though I was not then altogether decided on it. But this morning I sent a note over to Ferguson's—I suppose about ten o'clock—saying that if the paper had not been bought and 'November Boughs' not commenced, they should cancel that order for the present. They sent back a very vague answer—that they would see to it at once—which in a sense leaves me where I was. I am not absolute on it either way—I do not care very much or much at all—for we lose little if we have them on our hands. Still, you may go in tomorrow and see what's to be seen about it." I had brought him one copy of frontispiece (now on press at Billstein's). He examined it closely and declared himself satisfied with it. "I still think the word for it is 'audacity.' It has the abandon of nature herself. How the foreign fellows will gloat over it! Surely they will see that even they have something to learn from America—some new audacious types." And further, "Yes, the light and shade—they are superb. And the mystery, too, as you put it—that is probably the best of it anyhow." He said that in writing Ferguson he had "taken occasion to commend the printing of the book."

 
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     We wondered if the Penn Club would give us a room for 31st and this grandfatherly note was replied:


Penn Club.

720 Locust Street, Philadelphia.

May 22d 1891

Harrison S. Morris Esq.


Dear Sir:

     Your request conveyed through Mr. Hayllar, for use of the Club Rooms on the evening of Sunday, May 31st inst. to celebrate the anniversary of Walt Whitman's birth, has received the careful consideration of a majority of the Directors of the Club, who conclude it would be undesirable to start a precedent in this case by opening the rooms of the Club for the purpose desired. We would respectfully suggest that the celebrations be observed on Saturday or Monday evening as is done in the case of Washington's birthday when falling on Sunday is observed on the day preceding or following.

     Regretting that we cannot oblige you in this matter,


I am very respectfully yours


Wm. B. Hanna, Sec.

W. said, "Damn the Penn Club! That's enough—we don't want anything more of them! And this is a land of liberty—when a few fellows don't dare meet together, conviviate, without someone's consent! The Colonel is right! We have a big fight yet ahead of us!"

     W. remarked, "I think all the fellows will like the book—they all say high words for it. Bucke and Kennedy are enthusiastic. Read their letters." (W. handed me several letters—a batch: from Forman, Brown, Johnston, two from Bucke, Kennedy, a couple from Phillips.)



     The Good-bye sheets rec'd, & read through this eve. & notice written. What pretty typography! I enjoyed all think the Sunset Breeze the best of all.


W. S. K[ennedy]

     I wrote Idyl of the Lilac other day Tues [illeg.]

 
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20 May 1891

     All quiet here. The lilacs are not out in the grounds here yet but they will be in a few more days. "Good-Bye" which was mailed a week ago reached me noon today—have spent an hour looking through it since—it is a most charming little vol.—has not (of course) the power of the early books (either in verse or prose) but has a charm of its own which will make it equal, in attractiveness, to any of your books. But I have not half examined it yet and must put off for another letter my dicta upon it.

     I am well but not strong and keep very lame so much so that I have grave doubts about getting East 31st much as I want to go (but I may improve between now and then).


We shall see, meanwhile best love


R. M. Bucke

I heard from Forman as follows:

46 Marlborough Hill

St. Johns Wood

London N. W.

11 May 1891


Dear Traubel

     Have been awfully rushed for weeks past getting ready for the Vienna Postal Congress & trying to clear up other matters. Had Walt all the time in mind & I wrote him a letter on the 7th (Browning's birthday, & Cenci day). I hope it will not fail to reach him duly before his birthday: it does not go with this, but separately.

     No! I never got that Ingersoll pamphlet—which "grieves me sore."

     Enclosed is a copy of "Leaves of Grass Imprints." Please ask Walt to write his name & mine on it & send it back to me safely. If you have no copy yourself I can give you one when I get back from Vienna.

     Afterthought. To save risk & postage I take off the front piece of the booklet & send that alone. You can reenclose it to me without folding it. I write in haste in the train. Pardon!


Yours ever


H. Buxton Forman

And W. volunteered his Forman note, which had to do with the dinner, and was in reply to my request.
 
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     He looks on Brown as "one of the generous souls who offset for us so many antagonisms."

     As to Bucke's doubt of his visit, "That has a bad look—it tells us that Doctor has not been as well as his spirit made us to believe." And then, "But there are ten days yet: we may indulge ten days of hope." W. smiles as to Phillips' invitation to him to go into the country. "Just now it is my main labor simply to hold my head up. As for moving? No! No!"

     I showed him Bucke's letter to me in which he says the book took a week to reach him. W. said, "That is one of the specimens of our efficient tariff, restrictiveness, tyranny—a damnable, prevalent spirit—does much harm, no good. But I have a curious example—worse than this—in the case of a book I sent to Australia, to our young Irish friend there. It seems they made a kick—would not pass it through customs—because it had not the name of a publisher—said, no, we cannot do it, it violates law and precedent. O'Dowd—yes, it was O'Dowd—was hot, wrathful—he must be a William O'Connorish sort of a fellow—protested every way—finally hit upon Ferguson's name as the printer—made his fight on this line passionately—and won. It was a farce—oh! ridiculous the worst way—but rascally, too—an arrogation of all a man's freedom. We have a long road to travel yet."

     I met Williams and Morris in afternoon. Brinton could not come—wrote me. Decided upon a plain meal in W.'s house. No better way. No hotel or room possible in Philadelphia—besides doubt as to whether W. could get there. Risks less in Camden.

 
Saturday, May 23, 1891

     7:50 P.M. W. on his bed (alas—I always find him on his bed now!). Talked with me some time recumbent, then making vain attempts to get up. I reached forth my hand and literally, by a great effort, lifted him. What was new? There were an additional 25 copies of "Good-Bye" in sheets. Satisfied with it. I placed them under the table, along with those already here. He took

 
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yesterday's picture from the table—scanned it again—said of it as he held it arm's-length, "It is better for me—better, better—as I study it—strikes out a new tune—gives us something we never had before. Yes, it is audacious—that's my word—and I have a curious story to tell you about that. You know the queer old lady who stays downstairs with Mary?" Yes, I knew her. She was the screamer, moaner, who had alarmed me on my entrance some days ago and of whom Mrs. Davis explained, "Oh! Nobody is sick—it is only the old lady, probably flopped to her knees praying. She is very religious." This excited W. to great laughter, after which, "Yes, you have nailed her—she is a cranky religionist—poor soul! Well, she has a way of saying when things happen—'I do say, that is audacious'—and when Mary showed her this picture, instantly she said again, 'That is audacious!'—exactly my word!" Further, "This is an artist's picture—an artist's picture in the best sense. Photographers could not take it if they wanted to—certainly would not want to." And again, "I can easily see that Tom Eakins should like it—just as you tell me he does—it is essentially his picture—after his heart." Went laboriously to table and gave me a little package, tied up—two papers—the Transcript (with editorial paragraph from Kennedy, and a marginal note, about "Good-Bye"):

     Cutting the leaves of advance sheets of another nosegay-bunch of prose and verse by Walt Whitman, we find many bits that will be relished by those who come to his pages for the first time. By far the strongest poem in this good-by collection (named, in fact, "Good-Bye My Fancy") is "To the Sunset Breeze," which was printed in the Transcript not long ago. It makes one gasp to know that this superb piece of mystic and sublimated emotion was rejected by the editor of Harper's Monthly as being "a mere improvisation," as if any lyric were not an improvisation. As for the old readers of Whitman, they will not find much up to the mark of old days, perhaps, in this "annex," but yet it is rooted in touching memories, and cannot be spared, were it only for such humorous bits as that in which the author describes himself as "each successive fortnight getting stiffer and stuck deeper, much like some hard-cased, dilapidated, grim, ancient shellfish or

 
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time-bang'd conch (no legs, utterly non-locomotive), cast up high and dry on the shore sands."

     [Boston Transcript, May 21, 1891]
(W.'s note in margin indicates the sentence beginning "It makes one gasp" and reads: "1st ed'n. In 2d ed. this sentence was cut out by some ed.")

     And a copy of the Trenton Times warmly noticing my New England Magazine piece:

     Our "Good, Grey Poet" of Camden and His Life.

     The best, because the best written and the most interesting in delineation, of all the recent articles upon New Jersey's "good, grey poet," is to be found in the New England Magazine for May.

     Those who admire Walt Whitman for his rugged verse and his terse, suggestive prose, will find no examples of either in the long article entitled "Walt Whitman at Date," which is the one to which we refer. There is not a line from his muse or his other writings and scarcely an offhand quotation from his remarkable mental laboratory. There is not even praise of his Leaves of Grass, about which something is told, though he is placed in company with the few great immortals in one single sentence.

     It is simply a graphic pen-picture by one of his most intimate friends of how he spends his days, how he works, talks, instructs and acts; of what most interests him and how he receives visitors; of his ill days and his well days, his faiths and his intuitions, his manly manliness, his hatred of shams. His is an intense and unique personality, which well deserves the attention of his fellow-countrymen.

     After reading this admirable and, ordinarily speaking, exhaustive account of one whose fame as a man is bound to brighten as the years roll on, we cannot help the thought that, whatever is to be said of his poetic genius, or his eccentricity of speech,it is neither which will most greatly attract the public attention after his death—which may it long be postponed. It will be, instead, his vivid, soul-intense leonine-ness; his many-sidedness; his own individual, peculiar, stimulating character.

     The farther away the view of it becomes the more colossal will his personal and private character appear. He is too close to our own

 
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doors for Jersey-men to know what is hid beneath an apparently rough exterior. A slouch hat and a long, grey beard; his body in Summer unenveloped with coat or vest; abounding with parental love for all children, though never having set up a home for himself where there could be prattling innocents of his own blood; looking as if he neither loved nor feared, yet with a heart as tender as a woman's and a courage which never stood back to danger, he has proven, in hospital and in the author's den, on the platform and in private letters, in verse, in prose, in monologue, in conversation, a man of valor, of dignity, of strength; an oak, a rock, a tower, an oracle.

     Here and there only in America have there been grand, single personalities, looming up above other men as a rock in the desert. Washington was such, Lincoln, Grant; Emerson also. These very names Whitman suggested, according to the article referred to, when once asked "what three or four names of absolute greatness he thought America had so far offered." Is it too much for us to believe, that with these men, and Greeley and Beecher, will one day tower up our venerable Camden friend?

     We cannot answer; we dare not affirm; but it is the judgment of not a few great lights over the water, Tennyson among them, and their end of the telescope is the small one which looks farther into the future than we.

     [The Times, Trenton, N. J., May 20, 1891]
I produced the letter I yesterday received from Forman. He read. It was written with pencil. When done he laid it on his lap. "I had to struggle through it. But do you know, Horace, though I will do this for Forman, I do it under protest—hating like the devil to do so. My name has no place there—it is not my book—I have nothing to do with it. But Forman is a good fellow—something goes to him. But it is a kind of business that rubs me hard. Bucke once got me in a hell of a hole. Wrote asking me to interpose for an autograph of Longfellow—wished it for some great lord somebody up there—a man he was under—a man whose favor he particularly wanted—indeed, he owned as much to me—and would have me write, which I did. And the gentle amiable sweet Longfellow acquiesced. But I was ashamed of myself—thousands of dollars would not have bought it. This

 
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thing with Forman amounts to about the same. I do it but hate myself for surrendering.""You do not want the sin to be charged after you are gone?" He laughed, "They will have plenty of company—plenty will be charged." Then musingly turned over the two sheets of "Imprints" and said, "This first article was by Skilton—no, not Skilton—Stillman, the art man, W. J. The whole book was no affair of mine."

     I called his attention to the Critic's assault this week upon Ingersoll's lecture on W. Gave him its substance (had not the paper with me). He asked, "Tell me that again: what was the exact thing said? Repeat it." Which I did. He smiled, "I see—I see it well: motive, charge, result. I have been quite aware from the very first of the mincing, squirming, squealing of some of our friends and would-be friends over the fact of the Colonel's rally for us. I had actual suggestions of it, vague, indirect. But I don't know that it ever caused me to budge an inch—a hair—from the line of my recognition. I am conscious that some things upon which he speaks with great decision—some judgments, views—are not mine, could not be mine, should not be mine. But what does that show? Not anything but our difference. In all essential things we join hands, are on the same road, travel loyally together. Yes, yes—I see, I see—the point of attack, the philistinism—the puerile cries. It don't become us—them—anyone—to lift a protest so thin." I asked him what he thought of the Critic's literal interpretation of Ingersoll's statement that "in the year 1855 the American people knew but little of books.""It is a damnable piece out of the book Miss Nancy—a stupid critical literalism. And besides, the statement is substantially true—I endorse it to the full—it is not Colonel's view alone—it is mine. It has an indirect meaning—the real meaning—which is entirely lost on these people. Who would take it that the American people absolutely read no books—none? Why, it is hell's own stupidity! But of course the Colonel is not to be blown away by such whiffets."

     Asked me to bring him Critic down in the morning. I saw Brinton today (he came in Bank)—approved ideas—would

 
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preside at table—had already talked with chef (Falkenberg) at Reisser's. We arranged for meeting at 4:15 Thursday next at Frank Williams'. Brinton said he thought he could get us a private room in Philadelphia if we wished. Later I went to see Falkenberg. He will go to Camden Monday—estimate capacity of room.

     I received a letter from Gilder today.

 
Sunday, May 24, 1891

     I stopped in at 10:30 to leave Critic with him. He sat reading the Press. Said, "Oh! I am reading this wonderful news!"—meaning the financial smashes.

     7:15 P.M. In and spent 20 minutes with W., who was on his bed. No light—close to last fall of the night. W. was not asleep—at once accosted me on my entrance—reached forth his hand—seemed indeed bright in speech though he said he had "spent a very evil sort of a day." (Mrs. Davis, however, told me, as I left, that he had seemed vastly brighter to her and had eaten a very hearty dinner between four and five.) Quickly said to me, "I have read the paragraph in the Critic about the Colonel—a nasty, snarling, vicious, currish paragraph—not to hurt anybody, but only to spend someone's venom—a horrible fling. But"—breaking into a laugh—"it is another advertisement—it will call a certain amount of attention to the subject in new persons—in people not otherwise put on the scent." Wondered if it was not too cool in the room? "A while before—an hour" had refused Mrs. Davis the privilege to start the fire. Now asked me to call Warren. (Before I left, finding Warren out, I advised Mrs. Davis, who immediately went up and to work.) I told him of a letter I had from Edward Dowden [see Appendix II, page 596, for the text of this letter].

     I said, "Next week at this time we ought to be holding high council in this house." He responded laughingly, "You must look out—the philistines are many—you may find that nobody will come." He had been reading financial reports carefully today—

 
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arrest of Bardsley (city treasurer), flight of Marsh (President, Keystone National Bank), etc. "What are we coming to? All in one town, at one time—kinks, snarls, knots, past finding an end!" Letter from Bucke yesterday: "It recites no change—the peculiar thing about such hurts as his is that they are worse the third week than the first."

     Longaker and Reeder over last night, the latter with camera, taking flash pictures of front and back bedrooms. W. jokes about the other night when I found him asleep and withdrew. "It was the only time in six months I wanted to see you, and we missed!"—having in mind the matter of printing "November Boughs"—which I found from Brown yesterday had already been started when W.'s letter arrived. W. now says, however, "It is a small matter, anyway, not to be squealed over—and our fault anyway. I may give the whole thing to Dave on his own time, or let him have 'Good-Bye' and keep these myself."

 
Monday, May 25, 1891

     7:56 P.M. To W.'s expecting to stay only a few minutes—yet it came full 9:17 ere I left. Latest longest stay for a long time. Talked round the whole calendar. For more than half an hour he continued on his bed, where I had found him—talking freely there—then rose and went to his chair, where he talked again and easily. Dr. Harrison Allen over today. "He is au fait—I liked him. He came at Longaker's suggestion, with special reference to the ear business—catarrh. Quite an elaborate examination—a very long talk. I found he had the virtue of all the first-rate fellows—the first first-raters—namely, that he was not too damned certain—had no arrogance—listened, advised, inquired. And I talked with him readily—like a house afire. I am surprised myself, now, that I expounded so many things—made such a full exhibit—with an ordinary doctor. I would not have done so, but it was mostly about myself—almost wholly that." What had Allen told him? "Little—he inquired, inquired, inquired. A clever, bright fellow—younger than I had expected."

 
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     He seemed curiously doubtful whether I "could assemble a dinner." Caterer had been over today. I saw him late in afternoon at Reisser's. He could seat 30. W. asked, "Where will you get them? Look out that you don't spread your dishes and find nobody to eat them." And then, "This world—this part of it—is full of philistines—and you must not forget that this is held Sunday." I laughed. "Why do you laugh?" And then even asked me about Morris, "Has he any such objections? Will Sunday stagger him?" But my confidence and laughter finally got him laughing too. I named some of the women who would be there. "Will they come? Well, that will be the triumph of the feast! Your sister, Mrs. Harned? And you will bring your girl, Anne Montgomerie, won't you, Horace?" I said, "Yes, we start housekeeping this week.""Eh! to be married?" Rose on his elbows on bed—"You are not married yet?" And then, "Where will you locate?""In Camden.""Good, good!" and dropt his head on the pillow again. "Well, then Anne will be here. And another—your mother. She should be asked, though I doubt if she can come. But do you ask her, Horace, for me." And Bush's wife—"Yes, she ought to be here." Discussed in that strain for some time—counsel, etc., from him. He seemed to think it should be eight to nine—"and plain food and plenty to drink." We arranged for six o'clock—plain dinner and drink as ordered. He named several who "should not be forgotten." I promised to write Donaldson and Tucker—all the others were listed. Said of Tucker, "I noticed he took Trumbull by the ears! Well, he was always one of us—would be a big help if we had him here—a lift. A healthy nature—powerful—throughout." No "further or more hopeful" word from Bucke. "Perhaps he won't be here—but that's not natural, either!" W. was questioning, to know if Frank Williams' wife is to come. He had heard inimical words about her. "But I dismiss all that: what have I to do with it? Besides, she is what she is. Which is what my dear parents used to say of our friends, to close criticism. I wonder who, if a strong enough light is cast, can stand such tests?" He was acquiescent when I told him I had invited Miss Porter and Miss Clarke. "I like Miss Porter—like her well. And she ought to be here."

 
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     I received this note from Roden Noel today:


9. St Aubyns

West Brighton

May 15. 1891


Dear Sir

     Your letter has been forwarded to me to my present, (& more or less) permanent address. Hence delay. I most heartily send salutations to the Bard on this auspicious occasion, & hope he may have happiness to enjoy many more birthdays. I send also greeting to all his wellwishers.

     I seem to have been left out of the list of his English friends in such notices of them as I have seen. Still I have always been a friend & wellwisher. Perhaps the handle to my name has been against me in America! But in politics I am felt much of a socialist—though I do not go quite so far as some who are called socialists would do—wishing to safeguard the legitimate claims of individualism, of which I take Walt Whitman to be one of the most eminent preachers.

     I hope you saw what I wrote about him in "Time" apropos of Mr. Swinburne's attack. I have also said that I wish to go to America to see Walt Whitman, & Niagara. Believe me


Yours fraternally,


Roden Noel

W. said, "Very likely I forgot him—perhaps others—as we will forget best notes of a song, do what we will. But I have always realized, acknowledged, his friendly spirit—his support." Rhys sends me note and poem:

Llantysilio / Llangollen.

N. Wales.

16 May 1891


Dear Traubel,

     Many thanks for your good reminder of Walt's birthday & your other previous friendly remembrances! including the notable paper by you in Lippincott's. Would I could be of the birthday company in Mickle St. on the 31st. Here are a few lines of greeting in default.


Yours very sincerely


Ernest Rhys

 
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To Walt Whitman
31st May 1891

To-day, oh poet, at your birthday board
Sit many viewless guests, who cross the seas,
(Their talisman, imagination's spell!)
Ambassadors of many lands & tongues,
Who come to hear your voice, to hold your hand
And wish you health, once more upon the earth,
And break the birthday bread of love once more!
(So viewlessly, across the foreign seas,
Your songs went out erewhile, the welcome guests,
At hearth & board that you have never seen.)
Among your viewless guests, who come to-day, dear host
To break the birthday bread, count with them, Ernest Rhys

W. denoting his pleasure, "How loyal all the fellows are! None to say us no in emergency." Acquainted him also with substance of a letter from Morse. "What! The noble Sidney! And heard from again!" Would send him a copy of the book. "We must show him we love him." Josephine Lazarus likewise writes me a good word. Law seems a little doubtful about coming. W. says, "He ought to be with us: he has proved both his faith and his courage."

     I had written Chubb about the two books—sheets—of "Good-Bye" and "November Boughs"—charged $2.25. W. exclaiming, "That was too much—too much." But I protested, "Too much? Garland does not think so—he sends me five dollars with this note":



My Dear Traubel—

     I'm very sorry I live so far away that I can be at your dinner to Walt Whitman only in ink and paper. I don't know what I can add to express my regard and admiration for a man who has dared to be himself native and unaffected. In these days of apparent drift toward centralization of power, his doctrine of the Individual, comes to have majesty like that of Ibsen's, surpassing it indeed for with equal weight of unswerving resolution Whitman has a more fervent humanity. He is a

 
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natural lover of men and does not forget the wounded and crippled even in his moments of hottest warfare.

     I need only add that prejudice against our most American of poets is rapidly passing away in Boston. There is very little of it remaining among our most thoughtful critics. Our papers deal kindly and with regard to his great name and were it possible for him to come to Boston once more the truth of what I write would be made manifest by deeds and words of greeting, by clasp of hands and by smiling lips. Men (and women too) begin to understand that he stands for the strength of wisdom and not the weakness of ignorant innocence. That he stands for self-government, for individual development, for liberty, love and justice.

     The free and individual form of his verse is reaching wider circles of readers each year. It will have incalculable effects upon future verse forms not by way of imitation but by its power to educate the ear to freer forms and subtler rhythms.

     Once more I make salutation to a great personality, a powerful poet and a serene prophet of a glorious America and faithful American literature to come.


Hamlin Garland

This touched W., "Let's send him two copies—he deserves them and more." Commenced handling the books—"In spite of Dave, I will put these two in one." (I had brought copies "November Boughs" and he took up a copy of "Good-Bye" and clapped them together.) "Why not? They belong so. It has always been my idea that my proper works are of three periods: 'Leaves of Grass' in one volume, 'Specimen Days' in another, these two to make a third—then you get a wise connection—for there is connection, though differentiation, too. Then I want to have 'Leaves of Grass' fuller than now—to include 'Sands at Seventy,' 'Good-Bye,' and 'A Backward Glance'—making a solid volume of nearly 450 pages. And indeed, I shall insist on it. I know Dave opposes it, but that cannot be helped." I suggested, "Sell him the 750 copies of 'Good-Bye'—let us keep 'November Boughs.'" W. then impulsively, "I'll sell him all—sheets, plates, copyright, everything." But I declared, "That would be foolish
 
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—they will be valuable to your people after you are gone."
"Do you think so?""Undoubtedly.""But they are getting to be a great burden—I must unload.""Let me take charge of them: I'll gladly do it.""Would you do it?""Yes, indeed." He looked at me, smiled, "Take care what you undertake!" Then after a pause—handling the printed sheets, "At any rate this book is a great success—printing, arrangement, everything. To whom am I indebted? I feel as if I ought to treat the fellows—give them a meal, what-not. You set to and fix it for me." And further, "I should think any man with a sense of beauty would see the attraction of these pages—the printed matter shoved to the top and corner." And he told me again, "I can put the screws on Dave anytime—we go along now without any contract whatever—and he knows it—the rascal—and for that reason probably, printed that big edition of 'Leaves of Grass'—2000—a year ago." And W. said further, "I think the time has come for me to make a new move with 'Leaves of Grass'—to give it a new cover. This present cover never pleased me, either as to color or stamping. In fact, I consider it damnable. It was a fad of one of the Osgood designers—and I did not wish at the time to raise a riot with the people there—so let it go. And when Dave took hold of the book, I easily understood his motive in making it an exact counterpart in every respect of the tabooed New England edition. But that old necessity is gone—much gone with it—my approval, among other things." I liked best of all the green, gilt-top 1883 edition and he, "So do I, on the whole, and I have in mind now much such a book." The "Good-Bye/November Boughs" volume might be like the big book, with a paper label. I asked, "How about a red label?" He was struck with it, "I carry the notion favorably in my eye." And, "Since the big dude English publishers, buyers, have come round to the label-book, we threaten to get into the swim." Dave wanted the steel-plate to have copies of the portrait run off for new copies of "Leaves of Grass." Found it and took along. Endorsed and gave me a set of sheets of "November Boughs." "I shall send copies abroad instantly to several of the fellows." Discussed Eakins' idea to sell
 
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his picture of W. to Harned. I had told Eakins W. had promised Bucke first choice. W. said, "Yes, I am glad you reminded him of it—that is so." But I suggested, "To make sure of the ownership of the picture, why not sell it now to, say, Tom—with the understanding that if Bucke wishes it, the old promise holds good?" W. agreed, "Suppose we say $400, of which half would be Eakins' and half mine?" He smiled over some of Eakins' criticisms of Gilchrist's Whitman but shook his head, "Herbert has his virtues, too: as I said before, he is what he is—his picture is not the worst I know." Yet, "I understand Eakins' view, too: it is the view of a big man, mastering an art. All that Eakins does has the mark of genius." Referring to Mrs. Frank Williams again, "I remember the Smiths used to feud themselves against her—she was too urgent, demonstrable—but I always liked her—liked her velvety, soft, even if eager, voice—strong, yet musical—not boisterous."
 
Tuesday, May 26, 1891

     Letter from Stoddart. Went in to see him at 4:45—talked over plans, names of guests, etc. Seemed satisfied with my views. I thought he would rather have Melville Phillips than me edit the talk, but I said, "I have determined to preserve the history of the day—to weave even the letters in colloquially: if you wish the result, you can have it—if not, I will keep it or use it elsewhere." But he readily owned he wanted it. Is manly throughout. Proposes to use in August. Asks for copy of "Good-Bye" to review same month. Fully expects Hawthorne. Is sure things will pass off well. Leaves things in my hands. I said, "I am to preserve this as history—Whitman is the central figure—all that comes from him or reflects upon him that night belongs to the record.""Yes, I see—I endorse that." Engaged to see him Friday afternoon.

     Surprised by a letter from Tennyson, in reply to mine of a fortnight ago—brief, beautiful—addressed "Harringford, Freshwater, Isle of Wight" and reading:

 
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My dear W. W.

     All health & happiness to you on your birthday & henceforwards.


Yours ever


Tennyson
May 14—91

Stoddart pleased to hear this. It gives me, with Symonds, Noel, Dowden and Rhys, a good budget to start with. Miss Porter and Miss Clarke promptly acquiesce in my invitation, the former writing me. But the word from Baker about the Colonel is discouraging. Seems no doubt now about Bush and wife. He writes from New York.

     I stopped in and saw Bonsall, who will himself come and will acquaint Buckwalter. Some talk with Morris about general look of things. Fred May in Bank inquiring. We keep very quiet about reporters, etc. Stoddart advises, "Let us tell them no more than that Lippincott's will report it full." This evening on way to W.'s, stopping at Post Office, I found a letter from Conway [see Appendix II, page 596, for the text of this letter].

     8:00 P.M. Spent half an hour with W. showing him the letters I had received. He was much interested in all. Gave him the five dollars from Garland. "I sent the books today—two copies," he said. I had remarked that something or other was good—and suddenly, bethinking myself—"I've your five-dollar bill: you'd better have it at once"—he then with a laugh, "Well, that is good, too!" Regarded the Tennyson letter with a happy eye, "So we hear from the old man again! Great-hearted Alfred!" And again, "That will come first, won't it, Horace? Not ostentatiously, but undoubtedly." But when I said, "It ought to be introduced in the course of our talk," he admitted it, remarking, "You are right, that brings it in naturally—does not lug it in." Averred that it did his heart good to hear from Morse again. Hearing me read Noel's letter he expressed warmest returns. Conway's attracted him, "That is the most positive, least conditional word I have ever heard from him. And intensely interesting—a spice of robust manliness." At Miss Porter's letter,

 
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"That seems really to secure us a triumph. I count it such." But the Colonel's probable absence (he read Baker's letter) depressed him, "I am afraid our biggest lord is gone!" And, "I suppose there is no doubt of—no help for—it." Read Morse's letter intently. "Not a word further from Bucke. He seems to have a real hurt—enough to call it disablement." Told him what William Swinton had said to me about W.'s mother, "Walt says a good deal about her, but not a word too much: she justified his best words, his utmost reverence." This stirred him, "William is right—she did, she did."

     Had been reading Scott when I entered. Said he intended to send a copy of the new O'Donovan portrait to Black and White. "They may use it: if they have any sense of the truly artistic, they will." Says of the new doctors, "I don't know whether it's their medicine or their cheer helps me." Again, "Your New England piece—oh! everybody seems to think it fine—fine. You ought to jot more just such stuff."

 
Wednesday, May 27, 1891

     Mark Twain sends me check for fund but not a word to read at dinner. Donaldson writes me:



     "Count on me at 6. Sunday. D. V. I go to W. in the morning and Bucke on Saturday. Say How'dy to Walt for me."

     My letter to Hay comes back from someone in Cleveland with his London address added; too late to reach. Bertha Johnston will come, announcing herself thus from New York:


305 E. 17 St.

May 27. 91.


Dear Mr. Traubel:

     I have just received a few lines from Mr. Ingram enclosing your note to him.

 
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     I have just written to him and to save time, write to you as well, to say that I will be only too happy to attend the Abendmahl at Camden on Sunday next, and thank you for allowing me the privilege—though I feel very unworthy the honor—but as our great comrade is made sick by the discussion of one's duty to God—I will brace up and come, just as I am—though I feel so little beside his strong, brave, tender personality.

     Your article in the New England Magazine was of great interest.

     With kind regards to Miss Montgomery and much love to Uncle Walt.


Sincerely yours,


Bertha Johnston

Best news of all, Bucke will probably be here, writing (date, 25th) to that effect. I answered him within 30 minutes.

     Letters have come from Kennedy, Dana, Burroughs, Adler—Dana's only a sentiment— listen:


The Sun, New York

May 26, 1891

To Walt Whitman health and long life!
No man is so happy as he who has more friends today
than he had yesterday.


Dear Sir:

     I submit above a sentiment for your festival.


Yours sincerely,


C. A. Dana

Burroughs' fuller:

West Park, New York

May 25.


Dear Traubel:

     It will not be possible for me to be with you on the 31st tho' it would give me great pleasure to do so. Tell Walt I will keep his birthday pruning my vineyard and in reading for an hour from his poems under my big tree. You will not expect a letter from me either. My affection

 
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& appreciation of Walt is a matter of course, & I will let him eat his dinner in peace as I am sure I shall want to do if I ever reach my 72d. Give him my love. Tell him I am well but tethered to a grape vine.


Very sincerely yours


John Burroughs

Adler's an affectionate supplication, and Kennedy's vehement, strong, manly, original—a note from high temperatures:

Belmont Mass

Eve'g May 25. '91.


Dear Horace Traubel:

     I don't know that the spirit moves me to convey to you and Walt at this particular time much more than the simple Hawaiian salutation Aloha! "Love to you." This I must say, however, that my belief is and forever will be unshaken in the ultimate triumph of the ideas for which that great document Leaves of Grass—the Bible of the Nineteenth Century, stands: Truth, justice, comradeship, union, spirituality, and, above all, the sanity and nobility of the passion of love. Christianity and Whitmanism are mighty and irreconcilable opposites, as touches the body. The one ascetic, antinaturalistic; the other a joyous accepter of nature; the one spurning what is the other's chief glory. Historical Christianity is superstition; Whitmanism is science. But in spiritual insight Christ and Whitman are grandly alike, both seeing the real life to be behind the veil of sense.

     As before, I write you from the stronghold of Puritanism. The shame of the suppressing here of America's greatest book is still not wiped out of existence. And here before me lies a clipping taken from a Boston paper which describes how a college man was arrested the other day for kissing his wife on the street! The Boston Dogberry locked up both man and wife in jail overnight—until it was proved that the woman kissed was the man's lawful wife! Did you ever hear of anything more laughable? Christian antinaturalism deeply entrenched, you see, yet, in the popular mind. It will probably take a thousand years or so for the new gospel to supplant the effete one.

     However, Sursum corda!


Auf Wiedersehen, yours as ever


W. S. Kennedy

 
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     Stopped in at Press to see Talcott Williams. He and wife will come. Suggested another name but I had to negative it. No room. Gave me copy of the Ingersoll-Whitman colloquy at last, but not W.'s changed copy—another and "the original" he called it. Seems to hope to have that "autographed," too. Too late for book, of course. Exceedingly friendly talk together. Some more specific consultation with Morris. All goes well. I am to be married tomorrow. Strangely, the promised birthday letters from Johnston and Wallace are not here yet.

     7:30 P.M. Spent a little time with W., calling his attention to the various letters I had received. Expressed joy to hear of the several who would come. "I have a letter from Gilchrist—short—evidently intended to be read at the dinner. I will lay it aside for you." Indicated to me letters from Bucke (two), on one of which he had written: "Send Dr the slip (if you have it) 1/4 sheet Boston Trans. his little criticism 'Good-Bye' of five days ago."


26 May 1891

     This morning has come and is welcomed yours of 23d with enclosures. Your own criticism of "Good-Bye" is good—will probably be the best—its general "old age" character is of course what it should have and if that involves (as in some sense it must) loss of power, dash, and life it implies and gives something else just as good as these: undying courage, viz., and faith to the last in the scheme of the world and in man. These last words of yours "are valuable beyond measure to confirm and enclose" the facts and faith of your life. Have you a copy of Kennedy's criticism to spare? I would like to see it.

     I hope to see you in a few days but cannot yet be sure, the foot is not so well again and it may hold me here yet—will write again tomorrow after seeing (this afternoon) the surgeon about it. All well here and fine weather tho' quite cool. I have an armful of lilacs in a big pitcher in front of me on my desk—they are good company.


With love


R. M. Bucke

"That is the best word yet, that Doctor will come." Dana's message excited his "surprise" he said. Then, "But I don't know
 
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whether it is just for me to say that, either: Dana has always been favorably inclined towards us."
Advised me, "You might get the Tennyson letter facsimilied—let it go along with the article. It is beautiful, characteristic." W. further, at another moment, "I am a good deal in doubt about my own part in the dinner—whether it will be long or short—much or nothing: perhaps to be only a few minutes down there, to say a word or two. Yes, I shall try to say something—to be seen—to be there 15 minutes—perhaps half an hour. But I can promise nothing, nothing: I leave all in your hands—promising only that I shall do what I can to help—to share the feast. But you must not expect much: leave everything to the day, which must take care of itself." As to his health, "I am by no means gaining—I seem to stick in my low estate—no lift any way."
 
Thursday, May 28, 1891

     Bush will be here Saturday morning with wife. Writes me. Letter also from Jeannette Gilder—short—the sentiment this:



     "Mr. Gilder is in England but if he were here he would join me in hearty greetings & best wishes for the 'good gray poet.'"

Stedman not only sends me [a message] for me to read on Sunday, but attends it with a personal letter [see Appendix II, page 601, for the text of Stedman's message].

     I got a big envelope containing letters from Johnston and Wallace—Johnston easy, quick; Wallace earnest, quiet, philosophic, reverent—written on the second page of a big letter (double) sheet on third page of which, opposite, all the "college" had signed their names:


Anderton, near Chorley.

Lancashire, England.

14 May. 1891


To Walt Whitman,

     For his 72nd Birthday.

     Loving greetings and tender good wishes to you from the friends in Bolton.

 
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     We must leave it to others to thank you for your immense services to your country & to humanity—in your book (just completed) and in your life:—greater, in my judgement, than those of any other man these 1800 years.

     Nor can we now begin to thank you for the deep & intimate personal obligations we owe you—going down to the very roots of life—deeper & greater as time goes on.

     Be it rather ours to hail you—with swelling hearts—as indeed "the tenderest lover"—in our own experience the dearest & noblest of all friends—inexhaustible in your loving-kindness—& by us the most deeply loved & honoured. Our gratitude, reverence & personal adhesion, our tenderest sympathy, our dearest prayers & our heart's best love to you this day & always.

     This evening on which I write—which till a short time ago was dull, cold & overcast with dark lowering rainclouds—is now, at sunset, clear, calm & radiant with heavenliest hues. May it be, indeed, an omen of your remaining life.




J. W. Wallace


J. Johnston, Fred Wild, R. K. Greenhalgh, William M. Law, W. Dixon, Thos. Shorrock, Sam Hodgkinson, F. R. C. Hutton, T. Boston Johnstone, Fred Nightingale, Wm. Alex. Ferguson, William Pimblett, Richard Curwen.

The same mail brought private letters:

54 Manchester Road

Bolton, England

May 20/91


My dear Traubel,

     Just a line to acknowledge rect. of your parcels containing N[ew] E[ngland] mags. for May & to thank you very cordially for your kindness in sending them.

     I cannot express the feelings & emotions which surged thru me when I recognised my photos. & saw my name in the article. It is an honour of which I am indeed proud—to be associated with you in connection with Walt Whitman.

     I have not yet had time to read the article in its entirety but I have absorbed sufficient of it to judge of its merits & import. I can honestly congratulate you upon your successful portrayal of our superbly majestic old Hero & I say "well done, good & faithful friend!"

 
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     I give you joy of your achievement & welcome your good work to these shores.

     In a letter acknowledging the receipt of my "Notes" Wm. Rossetti said: "As posterity, to a long distance, is certain to be interested in Whitman, so your little book is certain to attain a far more than patriarchal age."

     If this is true of such a trifle as I was enabled to contribute to Whitman literature how much more will it apply to such a graphic word picture of him in his old age as you have painted?

     I am curious to know in what respect your MS. was mutilated.

     I hope the Birthday business won't harm W., & we trust to your guarding him to some extent from the too assiduous attentions of well meaning, & perhaps devoted, but over-zealous friends & well wishers. Now, if ever, he will need to be "saved from his friends."

     Pardon more, as time presses

     With kindest regards to Mrs. Traubel & yourself, I remain


Yours sincerely,


J. Johnston

I want to read the Rossetti paragraph Sunday in the course of the talk. In afternoon I met with Brinton, Williams (Frank) and Morris and talked over affairs at Williams' office and later at Reisser's, to which we all adjourned and arranged bill of fare and discussed proceedings, finally admitting that freedom was after all the atmosphere to be preserved. All in good humor—highly convinced that things will prosper.

     Mead, of New England Magazine, answers my inquiry.

     5:50 P.M. In at W.'s on my way home. Left him North American Review containing Bob's article, "Is Vice Triumphant?"—"I always watch for 'em!"—and Harper's Weekly. Read him Stedman's letter—also the Rossetti extract from Johnston's. And gave him Wallace's curious document to read. "How odd! Good fellow! How he plasters it on!—thick, thick! But beautiful, too!" But after a pause, "The most remarkable of all is Conway's. I never knew Moncure to let himself out so: a good summing up—and curious wit, stories and turns." Then advisorily, "I think, Horace, if I were you, I'd print the letters pretty well

 
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in full. So far as I have seen them they have a noble ring—a distinct trend!" The folks are commencing to clean downstairs. W. remarked it, and the fact that, "It is like entering a battle—we don't know what will turn up as the result—the unexpected—of it." I objected laughingly, "No, I don't think it like entering a battle—I think it a jollification over a battle won: if the jollification amount to nothing, the battle is still won." W. exclaimed, "Good! Good!" and then with an amused air, "But are you sure the battle is won?" Left with him Ferguson's bill—in all $192—for both books. W. satisfied, "We must pay it without delay." Also gave him five dollars for the Fels book, for which Joe came in today.

     Talked with W. about my marriage tonight. He could not come up to my father's house. Could we all come to him? He seemed greatly pleased, "Do you wish it? Do you really wish it?" Yes indeed. "Well then, come—yes, come, Horace, boy, all of you. And will it be right in this room, right here? And no formalities? And a minister? Oh! Clifford—yes, that will do—Clifford will always do—the good Clifford! And so you will all be here—and to make short work of it?" Even expressed himself willing to write out a document asserting the fact—"the naked simple history of it, eh?" So with talk in this strain I left, his "God bless you, boy!" thrown after me as I closed the door. (Had even asked what sort of paper should be used—picked a pad up from the floor—but I pointed out one of the big yellow sheets and he said, "It shall be that—surely.")

     8:10 P.M. I went ahead of the party to W.'s and talked with him about our affairs. He gave me sheets of "Good-Bye" for Stoddart—with them a note on the reverse of a notice of the book which he asks S. to print, of course without his name. By and by there was a ring at the door and W. said to me quickly, "Here they come—throw the door wide open—welcome the guests"—but it was a false alarm. Shortly, however, was another ring, and again the exclamations of like import. This time indeed our people—I threw open the door—they came upstairs. W. exclaimed, "Welcome, welcome, welcome all," and in they

 
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came—a whole troop—with the strangers (several of whom I am sure Mrs. Davis had summoned) downstairs added. And they clustered about the bed and through the room, W. showing some anxiety to get them seats. W. very loving with all—particularly to the girls—addressing Anne as "Anne darling" and Agnes as "darling"—kissing both fervently and sitting Anne at his side on the bed—greeting Clifford heartily—saying pleasant things all around—alluding to his failing sight—"Is that you or you or you?" —as if he missed recognitions. Clifford shortly commenced—reading poems from Whitman and Emerson, and with a few added informal words making that the whole ceremony. W. seemed struck with it—very serious—looked beautiful as Clifford read—at one point, as if out of inner abstraction, exclaiming, "The marriage bond and police law forever!" And after a pause, "At least for the present—at least for our day." He had already signed his own name—when matters had reached the point, he pointed the place he had left open for Clifford to sign, C. protesting, "No, not first—let me follow you," but W. was amusingly insistent and Clifford obeyed—all the others then signing, as follows:

     Horace L Traubel & Annie Montgomerie

     Married in WW's room Mickle street Camden New Jersey

     May 28 1891 Eve'g:

     Present: John H. Clifford officiating minister Walt Whitman Thomas B. Harned M. H. Traubel Warren Fritzinger Kate G Traubel Mary O Davis Thomas B. Harned Jr. Mrs Hannah Reed Anna A. Harned Maria L. Button Agnes T. Lychenheim Thomas R. Blackwood Augusta A. Harned Jas. W. Bannen Morris Lychenheim Harry M Fritzinger Paulina M. Traubel

 
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W. had been reading the Ingersoll piece—the magazine on bed. He remarked, "Yes, he is right—so is the other fellow right—both are wrong in extrema." Gave Tom a couple of pamphlets from the floor—spoke of Harper's Weekly I had left—frankly, freely—not seeming to feel that the occasion needed other than the frankest confessions.

 
Friday, May 29, 1891

     7:53 P.M. To W.'s and found Bucke already there—talking freely with W.—sitting opposite—W. with a shawl about his shoulders. A good deal of free talk and Bucke's description of his trip. W. called attention to a big copy of "Webster's Unabridged" sent down by the Merriams with a letter requesting some applauding word. We made arrangements to go out to tomb tomorrow. W. says he has made a payment of $500 on it. "If I feel as I do now—this minute—I shall not go with you tomorrow; otherwise, yes." Bucke had arrived in Philadelphia about 5:30—and we arranged to go back probably Tuesday (Anne of course with us).

     Talcott Williams writes me doubtfully about the coming of his wife. Ingram informs me that he and Bertha will be here. Law is more positive than he was the other day. Bush grieves me with a note about his wife [who cannot attend the dinner]. H. H. Furness writes beautifully of interferences [see Appendix II, page 598, for the text of this letter].

 
Saturday, May 30, 1891

     Hurried up to Longaker's house, whence to Dooner's, where breakfasted with Bucke. The doctors interchanged views as to W.'s condition. (Bucke last night took views which I am sure he will have to revise: too favorable—W. flushed over his coming.) Thence to studio of Eakins (O'Donovan coming in after a

 
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while). Interesting hour and a half there—talking about art and Whitman and various kindred affairs. Eakins sui generis. A strong type—lounging, easy, not a useless word—full of admiration of W. I asked both over to the dinner tomorrow—they will come. We reached W.'s at about one, rather than twelve, and found W. impatiently waiting—"I have been here for an hour." Mrs. Davis prepared our strawberries (we had been hungried and bought these on the street). Table in parlor—where we ate. After which, Warren going out and getting carriage, we went for our drive to the tomb (as prepared yesterday). W. very labored on the way down—and it was quite a long process to get him into the carriage. He joked about his lameness, asking, "How do I look? I must take care"—whispering—"that my shirt tail don't hang out." Bucke drove—Warren along—W. at once uttering his enjoyment of the fresh air—and from that time on being very conversational. We went direct to Harleigh, to the tomb, about the grounds, and home again. Much discussion by the way of the piece of land he proposes to buy—near Liberty Park. "I am aware of how women grow old, and people look on them as useless and in the way, and I am determined that Mary Davis, for one, shall be protected against that." And again, "Warrie, I feel to build two houses—one for Mary, one for me"—and at different places. "How would that do?""Look at the hill there—what a plot!" Or, "Why shouldn't I buy half a dozen lots somewhere about here? They can't cost much, and it wouldn't be bad, even as a matter of speculation." And so matters were argued—and sites—W. repeatedly protesting his seriousness and saying, "We must love the ground we tread upon and the friends who tread it." All along the road he saluted people—especially the children—many of whom regarded him with a sort of wonder—and some out of a recognition of the old days of his more frequent goings-forth. At the cemetery he called loudly into the lodge for Moore, who came out and whom W. asked about the progress of the tomb, to which we drove at
 
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once, Moore coming down later on. The great, shaggy, massive, earth-big stones of the tomb impressive to imagination. The letters cut in front, this way:



did not attract W., who admitted, "My first look is unfavorable—somehow, my printer's eye seems offended. I am not satisfied with it—yet cannot say why." Bucke and I immediately took ground against the date below, which—much turned over—was "ordered wiped out" by W. before we left. "You both vote against it, do you?" And at first he said, "Let it rest a day or two," finally however declaring, "Let it go—it might as well—it is an easy matter—let it go!"

     W. was helped out of the carriage into the tomb, where he stood and described things as he intended them "and as now they really seem to be." Pointed to the three crypts to the north (four in each of two rows) and said, "Let this be understood"—pointing with his cane—"the first is to be my father's, the ultimate for my mother, and I am to be between." And to Moore, "Make a note of that—it may be upper or lower—either way—but that arrangement." Said he marvelled himself at the size and mass of the walls and door. One of the workmen said to me comically, "The more I think of it, the more I see that nothing else—nothing—would fit Walt Whitman." They told W. many "admirers" came along, but this excited his laughter and questions, "How—what—do they admire?" He pointed to the naked top of the hill. "You know, it was through Tom they gave me the lot—they expected me to select a spot there in the open—ostentatious—but I said, we'll go on a ways, drive on, drive down in the woods—and down we went, and when I got

 
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here I saw at once the lay of the land—'This will do—this is the spot'—and here we are!"

     We talked about Cooper and Marryat and Scott. W. considered, "Cooper's sea-tales are masterly—you should read them, Maurice. They are far superior to Marryat's, though Marryat's are good, too. Better even than 'Leatherstocking.' Cooper could be dry—dry—dry, but he was a great master, too, none better."

     He insisted on giving the men some money for "bread and beer" or "some lunch." Inquired of us what we felt as to the stability of the tomb, drove us about the grounds—marking its improvements, Cooper's Creek at the back, flowers, etc.—having Bucke drive us past the tomb on the way out, telling Moore at the gate again how thoroughly the work pleased him—talking thus with us the whole way home. Had the trip done him harm? "None at all—I am a bit dazed—but I would be that anyway—was before I started. But you remember Consuelo—the poor moments when she was like to succumb—when things all seemed black to her—against her—but she set her teeth together—she would not flunk—no, would not—not till the victory was won—no break—no sign to that outward staring, gaping, expectant world. And after the blare was over, oh! the weakness, horror, then. And I am Consuelo—determined to keep my head up, whatever betide." But later, when we reached 328, I helped Warren with W. who—indoors—literally dropt on the first chair—looked at me—said, "Well, here is Consuelo at last!" Here I left him—Bucke going to tea with us.

     7:50 P.M. To W.'s again for a brief stay—no evil signs from the ride. All it had done was to convince both of W.'s great weakness—"goneness," was W.'s word. We talked about the morrow's affair—W. sure that "no hindrance could be expected now." Then good night and home again.

     Morse writes me. When I showed it to W., he said, "The grand Sidney! What a touch comes of his least word!" Chubb also writes me to this effect:

 
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Farmington, Conn.

Sat. morning.


Dear Traubel,

     I have been in the most unproductive mood since I arrived here, & have no little speech to send you for to-morrow's occasion. I wish I could be with you in person, but my spirit must do instead.

     Please convey my affectionate greetings to Whitman. May he live on among us for many a happy year to illustrate the majesty & peace of old age as he has illustrated the splendors of full-blooded manhood! I think of him in his serene latter days along with the gracious picture of old Cephalus, which Plato gives in the first pages of the Republic—enjoying "the abiding presence of sweet hope, that 'kind muse of old age' as Pindar calls it."

     The longer I live the more important does the birth of Whitman into the XIX Century appear to be. He is for me one of its few great emancipators from the special dangers to which it has been liable—the dangers of luxury and mechanism, issuing in the vice of dilettantism which at present afflicts certain American as well as European centres. The future will assuredly be grateful to Whitman for confronting his age with a type of manhood that exhibited a noble power, an emotional amplitude, a religiousness, a physical sanity, & simplicity of habit & carriage against which the influences of the time conspired in vain. I say the future will be grateful because I think that, like other great souls Whitman has been "before his time"; & that his influence upon the world has hardly been felt as yet. It will be felt, because the world is going to recover from its stupor of soul; & then it will recognise its liberators.

     I join with you in wishing joy to our dear friend & helpful elder comrade. Health & happiness to him & to you all!

     My particular congratulations to you on your marriage. Being a lover, with the hope of marriage before me, I can wish you well with deep sympathy. May all good things attend you & your wife in happy & prosperous wedlock!

     Send me November Boughs. I think I'll wait until Good-bye is bound to match—though if you have the sheets to spare I should like to see them, being minded to write a review. I enclose cheque for 2.50; if that proves insufficient, I'll send balance. What about the pocket Whitman?


Farewell, my dear fellow.


Percival Chubb

 
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W. gives me also a couple of Johnston's letters—thinks they would interest me—pertaining more or less to the New England Magazine article.

     Bucke admits that his yesterday's judgment of W.'s condition was "ridiculous," for "he seems all tuckered out—rags—nothing of him."

 
Sunday, May 31, 1891

     (Bucke still with me.) Met Bush at Broad Street station towards noon—with him to Camden, where he took dinner with me. I kept pegging away at my work—writing, reading, getting ready for the dinner. To W.'s in middle of afternoon—fixing places of guests—leaving Bucke there finally with Bush, myself to 509 Arch, there to do further writing. W. seemed in good enough condition, considering. Did he desire any particular place at table? "No, put me at the spot you think the best—anywhere." Laid down a good part of the time, or sat in his chair drowsing. "I must husband all I have—all." At five, on returning, Bush and Bucke were still clustered together over meter affairs. Soon the fellows commenced to float in—Morris, Frank Williams, Eakins, O'Donovan, Harry Walsh, etc. etc.—and these fellows grouped interestedly about the rooms, in the yard, hallway, in front of the house. Photographer stubbornly would not flash us—insisted we should group in the yard or at the front of the house. Caterers meanwhile busy. W. would not hear to the photo—so the man was sent away. Several times I went up for word with W., finding him cautiously resting—after a while reading a paper. Hats, coats were put everywhere—on the Hicks, on a table in hall upstairs, on Warren's bed—unconventionally, easily, gracefully. The guests soon made up a strong circle. By and by W. sent word down that he would come whether or no—that he was getting tired of it—"Damn the long wait!" And shortly down he came, Warren leading him, I ahead—he taking my hand from time to time. "I have great reliance on Warren—he is so strong"—and to me—"I shall be down for ten

 
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minutes—at least long enough to show myself—to be seen—to salute the boys." And as he came in (the guests in their place) he was met, shaken hands with—showering recognitions—bravely—seeming to know all—calling Anne "my darling"—speaking to Morris, T. Williams, and so getting his place. Gussie was on one side of him, Brinton on the other—W. being put into an armchair—from which he again saluted individuals by name where he could—Frank Williams, Tom Harned, Miss Porter, others—as, indeed, he did through the whole dinner—particularly to apologize to those down the line some way, explaining his "blindness" and its "growth," etc.—asking me now and then, "Who is there I have not seen?" and "It seems to be a jolly crowd, don't it? Good fellows!—good all!" Gussie sat next him—I nearby—and Tom—Bucke by preference down halfway the table. Everything easy—no "plans." Near me sat Mr. Black (short-hander) who took my cues from time to time—eating meanwhile—his book on his knee, unseen. (Noble fellow! Came faithfully, though his heart, agonized by the death of a sister that very afternoon, protested.) W. did not seem to see him. Gussie fanned W.—did all she could to make him easy—keeping his glass filled. (Just before coming down W. said, "Have my glass filled, Horace—do not delay. I feel as if to give way—if I had not Warrie here I would collapse.") W. seemed to have his wits about him almost to repartee—his replies all sharp, strong, prompt—no bars except from sight and ear. We talked frankly, freely. Every now and then he would recognize some other face—reach a hand forth for its hand. He interrupted letters and speakers—really made himself chairman in Brinton's stead—inviting, protesting, amplifying; being drunk to and drinking; his powerful defense of Bucke's book most strongly uttered; his retort when Donaldson asked, "Isn't that 'Leaves of Grass,' Walt?" or to that effect—"That's part of it, Tom—that's part of it." Everybody seemed content—Brinton eloquent, Harry Walsh, Tom (Tom read several of the letters with great feeling). Day clear and beautiful—temperature high—the room looked noble. W. thoughtful when Tom was reading—exclaimed, "Put
 
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up all the lights—give him light!"
Thus we went on till ten o'clock—laughter, talking, speechifying, the neighborhood stirred (the food in courses, soup leading)—children and others collected out of doors. In the end I leaned over to W. (others had suggested it, too) and insisted that he should go. "I guess I had better—though this thing might tempt me all night." Rising then—Warren assisting—and all in accord getting on their feet—W. then feebly (led) towards the door—shaking hands with the gathered friends—said to me, "Ain't it funny, Horace, I came down for ten minutes and here I believe I have stayed an hour.""You have stayed four hours, Walt.""Is it so? What a garrulity! What a garrulity!" Met Longaker in hallway and said with simple unaffectedness, "Why, here you are, Longaker—glad to see you—and why didn't you say something? And Doctor, I had a partial—very slight—bowel reprisement today." Longaker said, "I will make my little speech to you tomorrow." Kissed Bertha Johnston and Anne in the hallway—greeted all who clustered about him—very slow and weary on his feet—at stairway could not lift his left leg from step to step—I attending (Warren leading) all the way up and I lifting the leg from step to step. W. was not greatly disturbed—when at last in his room simply dropping (seated) on his bed—painfully—saying, "Consuelo is here—not death yet!"—and dropped his nose to the flowers on his coat. There I left him, kissing him good night. [See Appendix II, page 591 for Traubel's text of Whitman's birthday dinner.]

     Everybody felicitating himself and others on the success of the night. Tom Donaldson brings some whiskey over for W. Bush sleeps at Harned's, Bucke with me.

 
Monday, June 1, 1891

     10:45 A.M. To W.'s with Bucke, who stayed with Tom last night. W. reading Press. Had not yet come across good notice therein (no doubt T. Williams'), but quickly read at my suggestion. How did he feel? "Considering the amount of talking I did, great. It was a battle, wasn't it? And a not inconsiderable part of

 
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it against me, too, but somehow I held up— somehow. It is hard to account for, for when I started to go downstairs, I was more for death than life. Yet down once, and the spigot out, I let forth a constant stream—even garrulity itself! It was an experience. What a triumph! And here we are, not more dead than alive, with something left for another!"

     I read him some letters I had just received—one from Tucker, one from Sanborn, and a third from Blake.


Benjamin R. Tucker,

Publisher and Bookseller

45 Milk St., Room 7

Boston, May 29, 1891


Dear Traubel,

     The temptation is strong to disregard all else and start tonight for Camden to avail myself of the delightful privilege of sitting at the board of America's great bard, where I might greet him before the finish of that great career at the threshold of which Emerson greeted him. Once in my boyhood I saw his noble form and kindly face, but never have I grasped his democratic hand. I have not given up the hope that I may do so yet. But at present I find it impracticable to accept the invitation he has extended me through you and which I shall always look upon as among the greatest honors of my life.


Yours sincerely,


Benj. R. Tucker.


American Social Science Association

Concord, Mass.

May 29 1891


Dear Mr. Traubel:

     Although I date from Concord, your letter reached me in Chicago, where I have been for a week awaiting the wedding of my son Victor, whom our friend Walt Whitman may remember as a boy of fourteen when he honored me with a visit beside the Musketaquid. So youth is beginning independent life, while Age, as seen in our poet-friend, is withdrawing from this visible life, to enter into a house not made with hands. Give my earnest love to Walt Whitman on this memorial occasion, and tell him we think of him at Concord as often as we look out

 
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over the meadow across the river, which he was so fond of feeding his eyes upon.
Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood
Stand drest in living green
now as they did then, and they are an emblem to all believers and poets of the landscape beyond the river of mortality.


Yours ever


F. B. Sanborn


21 Laflin St.

Chicago, May 28. 1891


Dear Mr. Traubel,

     I am glad to hear of a dinner with Walt Whitman for the chief viand in a feast of reason, to be held next Sunday. I would I might be with you. Failing that, I would like to write a letter worthy of the man & the hour. But that is even more impossible than to be present. I might, by setting every thing else at defiance, transport my body to the place of assembly, but by what kind of defiance or triumph or effort I could transport my spirit to the necessary flight I cannot tell. Will you make my reverential greeting to the venerable poet whose songs will wind men's arms around each other's necks if we will sing them truly after him. Tell him for me gratefully, too, that I made a New Year's sermon from his "Song of the Open Road" which was a sermon, the people said. What stronger saying to live by have the ages to show than the lofty words in that song, "Henceforth I ask not good fortune; I myself am good fortune"?


Yours heartily,


J. V. Blake

As to Tucker, "What a grand victory that would have been! Grand! The good Tucker—the courageous—the devoted!" And on Sanborn's: "It is a new strain for Frank—almost of melancholy." But Blake's struck him "profoundly," he said, especially the several expressions—"Will you make my reverential greeting," etc. Here, too, was yesterday's cablegram from Bolton: "Joy, Shipmate, Joy," with its note, at top, written by W.

     And Mrs. O'Connor had sent him greeting. Doctor had wished to know if W. would go out to look for the lots now for some time

 
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broached. W. says, "No, not today, I guess not today; it is quite out of the question—I should not attempt it." Bush had come to say his farewell. W. asked him to "bring the wife—the dear wife, yes—next time."

     Received letter from Curtis today.

     5 P.M. To W.'s to meet Bucke (who with Bush and me had taken dinner at the Broad Street station). Bucke in parlor and me upstairs together to say our good-bye. W. on the bed and with him there the two books for Chubb—made up and stamped—and a letter for Dr. Johnston. W. stayed on the bed all the time we were there—speaking of many things but mainly of our "great affair last night," asking me, "Now you have had a bigger chance at it, does it size up to what you hoped?" Saying afterwards, "I don't know what it was in me held my head up: something— something—not planned for." And again, "I suppose it was a sort of Consuelo business, a feeling as if of defiance—that if I was to succumb to the strain it should be afterpost the victory," etc. I had been in to see McKay—telling him, go ahead with "Good-Bye"—sending W. 25 copies bound—as soon as done. "He will sell you 725 copies (750 less 25 for press) for 25 cents—and will for the present hold 'November Boughs.'""I am agreed to all that—thoroughly agreed," W. said. "Glad you came to some understanding with Dave before you go away," etc.

     W. spoke with us about the Tennyson message, seeming to think it "sweet and good and Tennysony," as he said. Bucke wondered if Tennyson was not a free man in the presence of the queen, not obsequious, etc. W. confident, "He is like a spaniel, to the wife"—making that understood, after some of Bucke's questions—"Oh yes! I mean the wife, not the queen: oh! to the queen I have every reason to believe that he meets her face to face, asking nothing. But the wife, she has been sick, a half-invalid, for years—some trouble—I don't know but stomachic—and he is very attentive, devoted, like a spaniel—watchful, heedful," and so on for some time. We talked various matters; when it seemed to be time for us to go (as we were to dine with

 
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Longaker), W. charged Bucke to convey certain things. In the midst of it a ring at the bell, a step on the stairs, and Longaker's face at the open door—surprised us. Then W. turned to him, I giving Longaker a place near the bed and taking W.'s chair over by the window. But W. did not rise. Longaker inquired after his condition—felt the pulse—Bucke also doing so—both speaking of its regularity but weakness. W. said to L., "Oh! How am I? Considering—well—yes, undoubtedly well. Especially when it is remembered the condition I came out of yesterday. I seemed then like a black dull coal—incapable of work, of movement, of life, almost. Yet by some means, I don't know what—magnetism—pressure—I felt equal to the occasion—made myself one with the heaviest demand, which I count something, after all. Even as Consuelo, doomed to die, or seeming, determined to go down with colors flying—only after the best note. I did not make a deliberate pull or push or speech but it seems I had a finger in every pie. I felt no harm—no harm whatever—Warren gave me a rubbing—I went to bed. It was very hot, too—wearying—but I found myself strong enough to stand it well." He jokingly said to me "Mrs. Harned treated me handsomely—oh! I must have taken a great lot of champagne—two bottles, anyway—and she kept filling the glass—I drinking it away! Didn't you have something to do with it, Horace? I thought so."

     In answer to questions, "Yes, I have a bad spell, oh! almost every day at this time, say about five o'clock to eight." Said his dinner "had consisted of chicken, asparagus and a dish of strawberries." What did he mean by "a bad spell"? "I feel cove in—everything seems to desert me—especially strength, volition —that backing which comes from good stomachic conditions—it leaves me without strength, eligibilities all gone. I feel gone in—Warren comes up and helps me whenever I signal" (he knocks on the floor), "or other times. I get up towards dark—feel a bit built up—then the massage, which refreshes me."

     Discussed wine—Bucke not favorable to claret—deciding finally for Rhine—Longaker to get the wine and charge to me. W. very bright—talking with a felicitous ease. Then good-bye—

 
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Longaker first (going downstairs), Bucke lingering, bending, holding W.'s hand a long time—advising W. to call him any needed time and speaking too of the European trip in July. I the last—kissing W., and he saying, "God bless you, boy! And back again! I hate to see you both go away!" And then, "Write me—write me—don't fail to let us know how you go—where to—safety." At the door instructions to Warren—departure. Supper later at Longaker's. Bucke and Anne present with us.

     Bucke says he told Eakins that W. thought $400 a good figure for the painting. B. will probably pay Eakins his $200. W. owes him (B.) $200. Eakins will probably ship the picture in a few weeks.

     W. said he particularly wanted what he said of "the near dead poets" in my report.

     (Nearly a fire in W. 's room the other night. He slid his chair about—it ignited a match—which in turn fired papers. I discovered and stamped out. W. seemed to see nothing of it. If I had not been there, what might not have happened?)

 
Tuesday, June 2, 1891

     Left Camden at seven—morning—took breakfast in Broad Street station—train 8:20. Dinner at Scranton—supper on train, about at Dansville—reaching Niagara Falls towards ten. No look at the Falls, the night clouded and dark. We all strolled out a bit, but found it advisable to retire shortly. Stayed at Cataract House (American side). Whole ride up fine—country just out—green, freshness, everywhere. Up in the mountains hard rain—driving from northeast. Splendid panorama at Dansville and about—the valleyed town, the road skirting the cliffs. A rare easy ride, in parlor car. Doctor and Anne complaining nowise. Met a clergyman who had tables fixed—his work with him—Bible, tracts, hymnbooks, etc. By and by warming to us and volunteering to talk stocks. Bucke read Ingersoll's "Is Avarice Triumphant?" with great enjoyment. Anne read "The Ghost."

 
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Wednesday, June 3, 1891

     At Niagara till about three, seeing many things even through the hard rain that prevailed for an hour and more. Doctor left Anne and me to make trip to the other side alone (up to whirlpool—down to Canadian falls). Took trip again in Maid of the Mist. Vegetation richer than in the fall—mists much heavier. I met my young guide at whirlpool again, the Tweed Coast man. Everywhere the word is gouge—another day would have cleaned us both out. Nothing so impressive as the combination of greatest mass with greatest beauty. No augury can destroy the conviction of such unity after one has swept this circle into his vision. Sat down at the hotel and wrote and immediately mailed a line to W. (a note also to Tillie). Bucke lamented on the road yesterday that he had no copy of "Leaves of Grass" along.

     Big slip with our baggage—found it had been sent no further than American side. Bucke fee'd the baggage-master (Canadians to exchange us checks and hasten on by a later train). Reached London nearly upon seven—a good supper for us there and a sweet welcome.

 
Thursday, June 4, 1891

     Baggage does not turn up today. Wrote to W. again and Tillie. Also scribbled a note about the dinner for Neidlinger to hand to the Eagle (Brooklyn). Bucke's Inspector swooped down on him today which made him unwontedly busy. B. had taken Anne and me out for a drive early in the morning. The rest of the day I was with him and the Inspector, going rounds of the field—picking up many facts in the course of their very specific discussions which other circumstances would make impossible. B. governs here with love—no harsh words either to family, staff or patients. All like him—love him. Even his reprimands are

 
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without sting. Good group at night in study, with Inspector (Christie), Sippi, Doctor present.

     Weather superb—not a cloud in view—but very cool. Many curious incidents in my wanderings among patients. Especially in north buildings, among the unruly members of the big household. One man there insisted I was his boy and I allowed him the fancy—a big, bearded, wide-eyed, shaggy fellow who maintains, "We are all fellows and brothers—let us live peacefully together." And a poor creature in the boilerhouse, who holds that coal is gold except for our belief that it is different. And the patients—boys and men—working about the grounds, more or less of melancholy visage and indisposition to be driven but who, some of them, talk a constant stream, or, others, will neither look at nor salute anybody, inmate, officer or stranger. Tragic demesne, relieved, however, by Bucke's methods of freedom and love.

 
Friday, June 5, 1891

     Baggage still not here. Read a whole series of W.'s recent (this year) letters and postals to Bucke. Not full—bear more or less on his sickness. Found several postals had been copied in a press (Bucke having no hand in it)—probably by postman at the London end or the other. Bucke still speaks of going to Europe—perhaps 24th of June—surely a month later if not then. Am going through Gilchrist's book. Except for the Whitman portions pretty dry—not well put and kept together—but enheightens my respect for Mrs. Gilchrist. Christie here till nightfall—and Tully (another in some way on the same line of governmental duty) with him. Fine talk with Beemer about W.—Beemer describing the real love engendered in everybody here by W.'s visit years ago.

     Wrote W. today—expressing our fears that no word had yet been received from him.

 
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Saturday, June 6, 1891

     Harned writes me this:

     "Impossible to mail copy before Sunday. Will do so then unless you wire me to retain it here. T."
Better than to have received no word at all. Still not the thing I hoped for. This throws my work over far into next week. Not a word from W.—can there be a turn for the bad? Not in town today.

 
Sunday, June 7, 1891

     To chapel in forenoon. Discussion with Bucke as to Whitman volume to be issued in fall: what should go in it? Continued anxiety about W. Long drive over to waterworks in afternoon (Percy Bucke, his daughter, Anne Montgomerie Traubel, and Miss Kittermaster along).

 
Monday, June 8, 1891

     Letter from Warrie this morning—as follows:


Camden June 5th/91


Friend Horace,

     Just a few lines to let you know everything is much the same as when you left. Mr. Whitman kept well until day before yesterday, then he commenced to look tired and weary. But one thing I attribute it to was the warm weather. It was eighty-five 85 degrees in the front room, so you can see that it must have been pretty warm in the sun. He appeared to be better last night and said that he thought that he would have a good night. I went out to the tomb Wednesday. They had chipped off the May, 1891. And I think that it has improved it. They

 
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did not have the door hung but expected to have it done today. Mr. Moore said that he could not get a stone cutter to work on it more than a day at a time. And then they would leave it, and tell him that they would not do any more, as they were afraid of splitting it, but I guess little by little they will get it done and hung. Quite a number of visitors called Tuesday and Wednesday but Walt did not see any except O'Donovan. He gave him a sitting of ten 10 minutes and then told him that he was tired and bid him good day. Tell Dr. Bucke that Walt has not said anything more of the lots. And I guess that he has kind of tired of them or intends waiting his own time. How strange it appears not to have you coming in of an eve. Walt said last night that he felt quite lost. He received your letter from Niagara and sent you last night's Post and Courier. Dr. Longaker was over Wednesday and brought him a bottle of wine. And said that he had ordered half a dozen bottles to be sent over. He brought his little girl over with him and Walt was quite pleased. And would have liked to have talked of nothing else and to nobody else but the little girl, only after inspecting his room she said that she would rather come down stairs, which she did much to Walt's disappointment. Walt came down stairs last eve. for a while and sat by the window the first since Sunday eve. Give our respects to your wife and tell her that we know that she will have a good time and enjoy herself at Dr. Bucke's hoping to hear from you if convenient. I remain,


Most Respectfully Yours,


Warren Fritzinger

Several notes from W.—4th and 5th—indicating a continuance of favorable signs. But then a postal of the 6th speaking of evil turn. Papers—two bundles—from W. (Camden and Philadelphia; one copy, too, of Boston Transcript). Also sent pamphlet called "The Knight of the Plow." W. attempted in margin of the copy of the Record to draft outline of the tomb. Also marked New York World comment on the dinner.

     In town and saw Ed Wilkens.

     Through some of the female wards with Bucke (inspecting). B. spreads everywhere his own atmosphere of freedom, spontaneity, love—a great exhibit.

 
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     Wrote both Warren and W. of my relief. Wrote also to Ingersoll, Tillie, Clifford, Callingham, Billstein, Salter.

 
Tuesday, June 9, 1891

     Papers again from W. Through the wards—north building. Mrs. Beemer described to me Bucke when the first Whitman fever was on him—how he came over Sundays, nights, with "Leaves of Grass"—to read aloud, discuss, etc.

     Whitman evening in Bucke's library—B. reading at various points and we discussing.

 
Wednesday, June 10, 1891

     The manuscript from Harned today. Also a note Black (stenographer) sends Harned and his bill for ten dollars.

     I went to work at once—half finishing by evening. Cricket match in front of north building. Delightful ride in town. To Thomas concert in the evening—Campanini singing. Write W. every day. Bucke has heard from Bush. Find that speeches of Eakins, Walsh, O'Donovan, J. K. Mitchell, Buckwalter, Brinton, Bonsall, Neidlinger, Miss Clarke not reported at all. Black attributes it to noise and distance of speakers. But this does not satisfy me. I have written to several of these to send me a word to add.

     The following letter from W. today:


June 7, evn'g—'91

     Suppose you receive the letters & papers I send every evn'g—have had a pretty fair day, this last, (as already said) negative as I call it (free f'm vehement distresses) & am sitting here twilight almost cold—Warry has been in for twenty minutes to cheer me up & talk—I like the (Murray) photo profile more and more—Eakins says O'D[onovan] wants the presence of that oil portrait while sculping, & that then he (E) will send it on to C[anada] as agreed—all right—

     June 8 just past noon—So-soish to-day—have eaten a small mutton chop for my breakfast—y'r letter comes—thanks—sunny but

 
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coolish weather—still the horrible constipation block—am sitting here the same—Warry is down stairs practising the fiddle—letters f'm Bolton last evn'g & papers this mn'g—quite a heavy mail to-day—

     Mid-afternoon—Sunny & bright out—quiet—no visitors—How is Annie enjoying the trip? I hope well—


Walt Whitman


 
Thursday, June 11, 1891

     More papers from W. and a postal to Doctor—word very good—favorable. Warrie writes me an interesting letter:


Camden June 9th/'91


Dear Horace

     I was much pleased to receive yours of the 9th. And also to hear that you and your wife were enjoying yourselves. Walt came down stairs tonight for about two hours. Cannot persuade him to venture out though, upon the whole he has been much the same as when you left. He misses your not coming in of an eve. as indeed we all do, but otherwise everything is much the same. He is drinking his wine that the Dr. left along with his meals, does not say if it does him any good or not. Dr. L[ongaker] was over yesterday said that Walt was fairly. Must stop now and give him his massage, will finish when through. Just finished 10.10 and he appeared to be in pretty good spirits. I gave him your letter to read and he was glad to hear that you expected to be home by Sunday morning. He goes to bed at nine (9) sharp now. And lays until half past ten or quarter to eleven. Two morn's last week he laid until after eleven. I open his windows about half past eight or quarter to nine and about 10.30 finding him around. Moore was in Saturday, he said that they expected to have things looking ship shape and bristol fashion the last of this week. I do not think that it would pay Horace to come to Canada expressively to test their whiskey. Although I use to be a pretty good judge (off Cape Horn). At present we are sampling Donaldson's bottle, Walt and I. Walt pronounces it not good, not bad, but supposes that beggars must not be choosers. We have had middling cool weather here, but today it has been quite warm and Walt appears to have stood it all right. If there should be any change I will let you know at once by telegram. I wanted to get Walt down to Lincoln Park.

 
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He thinks that it would do him good, but does not appear to want to make the attempt. Mama wishes to be remembered to you & Ann T. and Dr. and hopes that you will have an enjoyable trip home again, home sweet home she says even if it is humble. By the way have you seen Ed and how is he getting along give him my regards if you see him. Hoping to hear from you whenever convenient I remain


Most Respectively Yours


Warren

     P.S. Going through the wards must be interesting especially the women's. I suppose that some of them are quite violent.

     Just received a letter from Dr. B. Walt just up a little earlier this A.M. of 10th. Wished me to make the bed up soon, so from that he does not feel so well.

     Warren Storm—with thunder first, then hail—today—clearing off in the evening to a smile.

     Finished draft of the Lippincott's report. Makes much too much. Now to study, cut down. W. admonishes me, "Print all the letters in full—but if you can't all, then Symonds' and Conway's, anyway."

 
Friday, June 12, 1891

     Papers again from W.—some of them in a wrapper improvised from the envelope of one of my letters. Postal as follows from W.:


Camden June 10 eve'g '91

     Stoddart has been over, & is a great strain for the MS: the copy—If possible if you get this send it on to him at once & I will see when you return in type.


WW

Long ride to Delaware—Anne, Ina, Mary K., Miss G.—supper there—drove home from seven to nine-thirty. Splendid, weather
 
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perfect, roads enough damp from yesterday's storm to lay dust. Magnificent playing in cricket match on grounds—a patient—Rev. Terry (Oxford graduate) scoring 140 runs, one inning, continuously. Most magnificent batting. Letter from W. to Bucke about his condition—could "hardly lift hand to head," etc.—writing, he said, "automatic." Letter also from Eakins to Bucke, Eakins saying he understood Longaker desired to move W. to cooler spot and perhaps W. was waiting for the $200 for the picture to enable him to go! Longaker's own account of W. to Bucke the other day very bright.
 
Saturday, June 13, 1891

     Still in London at daybreak. Last day. To office with Bucke early, where we talked of various matters—Lippincott's piece, our book, Bucke's trip to Europe, the exigency of W.'s death. More papers from W. Letter from Bush. Beemer asks for a new portrait of W., which I promised to get and send. All the messages for W. loving—even from several of the patients (I found that a number of them remember W.'s trip). Left London at 11:30—day splendidly clear—all well with all. Percy Bucke at station, too, and Mrs. Bucke and Miss Gurd. Ride to Niagara fine, but easier in the States (cleaner cars, etc.)—sight of Genesee Falls grand in the extreme. The Niagara rapids, as we looked down from the bridge, seemed an eternity of boisterous impatience and angry haste—could see but the mists from the falls. Took supper at Howellsville. The mountain ride exquisite—the light passing over into the evening hours and seeming to hang there to give us opportunity. I examined Lippincott's article somewhat, read to Anne, she keenly criticizing it at several points.

 
Sunday, June 14, 1891

     10:00 A.M. Reached Camden 8:15, and after breakfast and a bath, and examining my mail, down to W.'s. Among various letters come since my going away was this:

 
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Elmwood, Cambridge

1st June, 1891


Dear Sir,

     I very greatly regret that, owing to an accident, your letter, though it reached my house, did not reach me till too late for a reply in season. I should have been glad to add my felicitations & good wishes to yours had it been possible.


Faithfully yours


J. R. Lowell

When I showed this to W. later on he exclaimed, "That is a victory for you—how did you get it from him?" I shall put it in my report as a footnote. W. advised simply, "Do as you will." Greeted by Warrie and Mrs. Davis warmly. Their report of W. decently good, but not very, and said the weather had been warmer than W.'s letters seemed to convey. Into W.'s room—he sat reading papers—reached forth his hand—both hands—took mine—and kissed me twice. "The wanderer returned!" he said. "The wanderer returned! And Anne—how is Anne? Safe and well! The darling! Tell her I greet her, too!" And then, "I did not expect you till noon. How quicker and quicker the travel is between points!" And then a shower of questions and remarks from him. "I think even since I went to London, the time of the trip has more and more shortened—shortened." How was Doctor, the family, etc., etc. "And the queer insane! Oh! How they possessed me! I and they together!" And asked me about special fellows, some of whom I had met, some of whom were gone or I missed. "I remember one old man—I bought him tobacco—he liked it well." And I told him of several who had intelligently asked after him. I asked about his postal (anent Stoddart)—why should Stoddart be worried—I had not promised the manuscript but for Monday. W. then, "I suppose I overstated it—made it an extreme case when it was not that. I do not suppose he had even then the natural stewishness of editors—who no sooner order a thing than they want their hands on it—but Stoddart is all right—he will wait." I left the manuscript
 
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with W. He will go over it by evening and send it to 509 Arch if I do not appear. As to its exceeding the pages Stoddart allows me, "I do not mind your writing to Stoddart—or going to him—to say, that it is Doctor's opinion, yours, my own, that he ought to use it intact—that it might be endangered if cut."

     Longaker had said in his letter to Bucke that the new wine seemed to work well with W., but W. said to me now, "I do not like it—I don't know that it does good or harm—anyway, it don't go to the right spot." And as to the Monongahela whiskey, "It is too coarse—has a vulgar flow!" Speaking of the frauds in Philadelphia, "It is awful—awful! And the worst is it is indicative. Oh Horace!"—shaking his head—"it is indicative—a bad sign!" How had his health been? "A crowd of bads and goods—more bads—many more! Downstairs nearly every day, but not out." Reported, "Not a copy of 'Good-Bye' from Dave yet! Delay—delay—delay!" I promised to inquire. Talked various other matters—he cheery though looking wearied. The day beautiful—warm. To Philadelphia, to Germantown, seeing Clifford in his trouble (has just resigned from the church). Back in evening—W. had sent the manuscript to house, with changes in his own talk and suggestions what to leave out in case of necessity (among these the marriage discussion, etc.). But I made no great changes. Wrote Bucke and Stoddart—added the Lowell sentence in a footnote.

 
Monday, June 15, 1891

     5:55 P.M. Found W. sitting at the head of the stairs (out of bathroom). Day had been intensely hot. He had stood it well. Yet complained now of "weakness"—and thought he "might get a bit cooler in this draft." His room "not very warm, however." Longaker just over. I had met him at corner. Thought favorably of W.'s power to withstand the heat. W. himself said, "The Doctor was here—I was glad to see him again—his health, cheer." W. asked, "Now, what is the news? Tell me. Did you see Stoddart?" And to my "yes""Well, what was the result?"

 
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That S. would take the manuscript home, examine it tonight. Stoddart had thought he would use it pretty much as it stood. He remembered my promise—that it was for today—and said his "stew" last week had come of an idea that last Monday was the promised day. Would not make a facsimile of the Tennyson letter. Told W. I would have the letter anent Trumbull and the pension in Open Court (letter from Carus to that effect). W.: "I do not feel that I have anything to say on that point—or want to take on any part in such controversy—still I can appreciate your feelings and why it is perfectly proper that you should have a brush with them." As to a suggested article, "Walt Whitman and the Children," he said, "Yes, try it. Years ago— always, in fact—I was a great caresser, fondler of children—but in the last three years, that went along with other things." He further volunteered, "I did not realize till I had read the report just how I had talked, talked, talked away. I can hardly account for it—except by the fact that it happened on my own dunghill—that I seemed to owe something to them direct (as perhaps never before in the same way)—and then besides I was in very good humor, very—good 'spirit' as the Quakers would say—and things flowed out, out—a flood!—inexcusably, some will say. I wonder how many, reading it, will set me down for a gossip? The thing that justifies the whole piece—my part as others'—is its naturalness—extreme—and vigor, integrity." Again, "I wonder if Stoddart will let me have another proof-slip of my piece?" Had he had one already? Not exactly—but a type-written copy. "I don't know why the devil he copied it—my copy was as plain—at least to me." How was it to be printed? "In the body of the magazine—as an article." Signed? "Yes, signed: he was vehement—put on a forlorn face—would have it so—so I yielded." Had he changed it to suit? "Oh! quite a bit—emendations, alterations, a new turn here and there."

     I gave a scheme of book, as worked out by Bucke and me at London, to W. who would examine. We proposed using the Ingersoll-Whitman immortality piece. W.: "Yes, do it." T. Williams had not given me the copy W. corrected. Professed not

 
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to be able to find it. W. says, "The knave! He knows well enough where it is—could put his hand on it anytime, no doubt, but let him go to the devil. You take a copy of this draft, send him his back, give me yours, and I will put it in shape." I said, "We proposed to have Ingersoll revise his part, too." W.: "Yes, do! That is the only fair thing: then the piece will issue authoritatively." Three of the "Imprints" are known to have been written by W. We propose to use two over his signature if he will permit. I was delighted to feel that his first view was favorable. "You and Doctor are quite agreed on it? Quite?" To my "yes""Well, I will see—will look it up overnight." As to Lippincott's piece again, "I think Symonds' letter a quite distinct contribution—a new lift—a fresh word. And Stoddart will be unwise to drop—or propose to drop—it."

     Elaborate book (soft leather, etc.) sent by Samuel B. Foster, Chicago, for W.'s autograph—contains Whittier's and others (famed). W. said,