an article in the "Press" on Paine, whom he greatly admired.
"Aye, aye!" ejaculated Whitman from time to time while his clear grey eyes absorbed all that I said. I went on to assure him that Smith had a profound! admiration for him (Whitman), thought him the greatest American poet and regretted deeply that he was not well enough to come out that night and make his personal acquaintance.
"I'm sorry, too", said Whitman slowly, "for your friend Smith must have something large in him to be so interested in Paine and in me." Perfectly simple and honest Walt Whitman appeared to me, even in his self-estimate—an authentic great man!
I had nothing more to say, so hastened home to show Smith Whitman's boyish signature and to give him a description of the man. The impression Whitman left on me was one of transparent simplicity and sincerity: not a mannerism in him, not a trace of affectation, a man simply sure of himself, most careful in speech; but careless of appearances and curiously, significantly free of all afterthoughts or regrets: a new type of personality which, strangely enough, has grown upon me more and more with the passing of the years and now seems to me to represent the very best in America, the large unruffled soul of that great people manifestly called and chosen to exert an increasingly important influence on the destinies of mankind. I would die happy if I could believe that America's influence would be anything like as manful and true and clear-eyed as Whitman's in guiding humanity; but alas!—
It would be difficult to convey to European readers any just notion of the horror and disgust with which Walt Whitman was regarded at that time in the United States on account merely of the sex-poems