Commentary

Disciples


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Saturday, June 27, 1891

     A couple of postals from Reeder acquiescing in my plan. Met him and Longaker at 5th and Market, towards four. We went immediately to Camden and to W.'s. W. just eating dinner. He did not suspend operations—talked freely with us. Gave Reeder some good advice about the picture: "We don't want a picture of the bare tomb—we want all that goes with it—air, trees, a bit of sky, the hill. That would be my plan. I have been talking with Horace about it." I asked him if there was water in his pitcher. "Yes, you want a drink? Take this—take the wine—there is only a little; swig it!" So the three of us finished it. "The morning is the best time for the tomb," he said. "There is better light—the direct aim—then, and it makes everything in the effect." He insisted the tomb lay east. I said, "More nearly west." (Moore afterwards showed us it was south-west.) "Will you walk out? Oh! Good! Had I my legs as once, it wouldn't be but a little skip for me. But now—it is worse than impossible to walk—painful to go any way." Counseled Reeder, "Yes, try and try and try: you will in the end get something. It is only so that the hits are made—to go ahead—letting things operate—till sometime the happy result is got." Very urgent to have us take a bite—put it so; Reeder had to take a turn at Mrs. Davis' bread. "Yes," breaking a piece off, "I want you to take it—I think Mary Davis makes the best bread ever was—the best: it is my chief dependence, pride, nowadays, when I have to be so careful what I do

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with my belly!"
Urged it all around—but we proposed to leave it till we got back. "Yes, it gets towards the dark—perhaps you'd better start—though to fellows like you it's but a trifle of a matter to get there." After some continued talk of the kind (Mrs. Davis coming in with some mail meanwhile), we departed. The walk quite a light one. I met Moore—had some talk with him. He said they had some idea of formally opening the tomb but had themselves dismissed the idea. What he really wished to see us about was the payment—whether the money could not be raised among W.'s friends. Showed me contract for $4,678. Thought that would pinch W., etc. What would I do? I gave no answer further than to say I would think it over—perhaps talk to W. in a distant way about it. Reeder got two pictures—one close to the tomb, west—the other south-west—distant. Afraid the light would not aid. Everything now well done—the door hung. Moore says, "We don't want a lock: no two men I know can budge it." Walked home as we had come. W. sitting at the parlor window. His good thought had set us a table in the parlor. But before we ate Reeder made a trial of W. as he sat at the window—doubtful, however, of results, because of evening shadow. While we sat and ate W. quite chatty—with an amused air asked Reeder, "Was it heavy enough? Do you think it will keep me in?" Kept watching and urging the food, "Take a little wine, Doctor—it won't hurt you." And, "There's Mary's bread—don't forget it: the best!" And, "You've had a walk, now eat!" Looked wonderfully well. Suggested to Reeder to take a morning before long to "get the tomb in its proper light."

     I had called Reeder's attention to page 77 of "Leaves of Grass," "To his work without flinching the accoucheur," etc.—as being perhaps finest among, if not finest, picture of birth, physical, spiritual, immortal. He now spoke of a talk he had had with his wife about it. W. said with great earnestness and feeling, "To women—to nurses, doctors—I look for the best final understanding of all that. Oh! the wonders in wonders of that life in Washington—the women nurses there—the hospitals—all that seemed to issue from the experience there! I should

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hope it meant finally just what I tried to say there—the best, the best!"
And again, "It is not shame—not shame—oh! no!—only beauty, glory!"

     While we sat at table W. sent Warrie upstairs to bring me a letter from Stoddart, just received.


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