Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, July 6, 1888.

      [See indexical note p427.1] Eight P.M. When I entered W. was moving about the room, evidently intending to light up, but in the midst of his flurry over a match he asked me to help him to the bed, which I did, he dropping heavily upon it and saying by way of explanation: "You find me weak again: but the day on the whole has been fair—certainly an improvement over yesterday—though now for an hour and a half I have felt a sudden turn for the worse again. I find the bad hours rather more frequent and they stay longer." During the pause he laughed very gently and took my hand and said: [See indexical note p427.2] "See—I am off again—talking about my health—as if there was nothing in the world but my pains and aches to be considered." Osler over late in the afternoon. [See indexical note p427.3] Reported W. "as well as usual." That is, not more sick than usual. W. thought this "significantly meaningless." Spoke of "between six and seven" as "the holy hour" "the hour of the man who returns from work: the hour of the family, the table, the story, love, frolic: O how precious is that hour!"

     Day had been hot. W. fanned himself as he lay on the bed. Talked less than usual. Told him I had written again to Burroughs and Kennedy. [See indexical note p427.4] "That was right. That eases my conscience." We exchanged rolls of proofs. He put the roll I left under the pillow of the bed. Said: "Here's a budget for you tonight—several documents: you needn't look them over here: take them away with you—look them over at your leisure. If there's anything in them you want to ask me about, ask the next time you come." [See indexical note p427.5] Handed me the papers tied with a string. Continued fanning. "It's like sitting in an oven." My sister Gussie had sent him in some asparagus. "Oh! it was princely! I made two fine

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meals out of it—two—dinner and supper. Your sister, Horace, is a genius. [See indexical note p428.1] Her cooking belongs to what you the other day called 'the way-up school'—it is very superior—shows perfect genius. The good cook throws mind, soul, into her cooking—what I call spirituality—which will do all things, whether in art or keeping house. You want to congratulate her—repeat my words to her: say to her: Walt Whitman said this, and this, and this, and meant it all!"
To Burroughs again. "You must never write him without sending him my love. And, Horace, do not forget the wife, Mrs. Burroughs, for she, too, has been kind and noble to me and I want her to know that I think of her." Then he paused. I interjected nothing. [See indexical note p428.2] When he felt ready he went on about Burroughs: "John is one of the true-hearts—one of the true-hearts—warm, sure, firm—I feel that he has never wavered in his friendship for me: never doubted or gone off—that I can count on him in all exigencies: and I think affection plays a great part in John's regard for me as it does in mine for him. John is making an impression on his age—has come to stay—has veritable, indisputable, dynamic gifts." Referring to Frank Harned's efforts to make photos to please him W. said: "Frank has kindness as a first quality: and kindness should be first—should not be only incidental." [See indexical note p428.3] Found at home on examining that the "documents" W. had handed me from under his pillow were four—Noel, Dowden, and Rossetti letters, with one of W.'s own war rough drafts (a letter about a sick boy to his family). W. very cheerful. Baker says: "On the whole he is better. Osler is right." No chance to read the documents tonight. Spent the rest of my time till bed writing letters for W.


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