Commentary

Disciples


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Tuesday, April 8, 1890

     Went to W.'s at 5.30. Up to his bedroom. I entered, closed the door: he on the bed, clothed, fast asleep. He was breathing heavily: flat on his back—his hands folded across his body. I stood irresolute in the middle of the floor: he moaned and moaned—said half-audible things— "Yes" "Who can say?" "What a sight!"—things aside from these undistinguishable. I half started to go out—as I did so, a violent fit of coughing came to him: he woke: looked up: saw me there: smiled: extended his hand. "Ah boy! and what news your-way-wards?" Shook his head over his own condition. "It is little to brag of—hardly any change: none at all." When I spoke of the Club— "Ah! we live in hope: we must not give it up—yet." Saying however again— "But I confess it is a dwindling hope. This is much misery: I am half killed by the phlegm—uncomfortable—hacked: hard-breathed."—Which I found afterwards to be the substance, too, of the message postaled to Bucke today, W. giving me the postal to read and then to mail.

     Very particularly inquired if I intended delivering the book to Brinton this evening—also, that I should not forget "to show him or give him the list of Bruno men." What should be announced at the Club tonight? That he could not come? "No—give my love to them all: tell them Walt Whitman is here, remaining in this grip of a grip—not despairing, but owning up to a serious doubt of possibilities. I should not say more: in fact, more cannot be said now: I am disinclined to yield entirely: there are still seven or eight days of hope!"

     Eats little, though more than on previous days.


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