Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, July 24, 1891

     5:40 P.M. Quite some talk with W. Find him perfectly ready to go out tomorrow. Referring to health, "There are ups and downs. I growl a good deal, yet on the whole I keep up a certain sort of spirit. Yet it will not do to hide the fact that I amount to but little at bottom." O'Donovan not here for several days. "He must be in New York. That is his home, anyway." What had I seen of the Washington Monument? "It was all done, except for capping, in my time. Only a shaft, of course—obelisk—with no pretense of artistic beauty."


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     Gave me check for $203.19 to cover bills: Ferguson 192.79
Billstein
Profiles 7.50
Tomb .40
McCollin 2.50


     Had said to me yesterday, when I asked again, as often before, if he was not ready to pay Ferguson, "There's nothing else to do but give him the cash if Dave refuses us the note." Had lost bill. I said, "Don't try to hunt it—I'll get another tomorrow." He at that, "Yes, do so—I would hunt and hunt—weary myself—head, all—and maybe not find it anyway." So I had gone into Ferguson's today and got bill. I suggested—having made out foregoing list, "Give me a check for the full amount. I will divide it and pay the bills—to save you trouble." "I will do it—tomorrow." But after a pause, "But why put it off? You might just as well have it now." Sending me in the corner for his vest, which I found among a varied mess of papers and shoes and books. "It is very heavy," I laughingly said. "Yes, it has all my fortunes! Watch, bankbook, pocketbook, everything." Handing to him he found checkbook in inside pocket—folded up, curiously, with a thick rubber about it. I stood over him and dictated as he wrote—he making out check in my name. "That is done—paid—it gives me a relief to have done it. Good! Good!"

     Had found him book for addresses. He turned it over and over in his hand. Really a good book, leather-bound, worth a dollar. When I told him I had a like book, he said like a child, "But not as good as this?"—which I admitted with a laugh.

     I notice on floor a growing number of papers unopened—even Transcripts from Kennedy. "I find myself gravitating more and more towards the bed." Putting to it, however, this: "I think—sometimes have the suspicion—that bad as I feel, the fact that my assimilative forces keep up demands—that I eat pretty well—is evidence of life, of some remaining spark. But I am very careful: I am just done my dinner—ate some peas, beans, mutton, broth—even with something like relish. Sharp appetite

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I have not—that is all gone—but something remains, something."
Reaching forward to the table, "What shall I do with these, Horace? Don't you think you'd better take charge of 'em?" Handing me a bunch of pamphlets and printed sheets, done curiously in a string. "You will see, even the Nineteenth Century piece is included. You will probably want it."

     Package contained: "Imprints"; "Walt Whitman in Russia," from Critic, June 16, 1883 (W. writes on margin: "My guess—at random—is that John Swinton is the author of this article"); "Walt Whitman, the Poet of Joy," by Arthur Clive (Gentleman's Magazine, Dec. 1875)—Standish O'Grady—W. says on margin: "His letter to me Oct. 5 '81" and speaks of O'Grady as "a lawyer in Ireland"; Nineteenth Century piece by C. G. Macaulay. Also certain newspaper clippings of no pertinence.

     W. went on, "That seems to be the only 'Imprints' I can put my hands on, so take good care of it. I thought the Doctor had a lot of them. You are, of course, to use your judgment about what you will use. And here, too, take this"—leaning over—reaching along the floor to another stringed package containing Sarrazin's piece (book and Morris' translation), Burroughs' book, and copy of "Leaves of Grass," full of slips of paper marking passages quoted by Sarrazin. "You had better keep these with the others. And remember my counsel about the Sarrazin piece—that it should be used entire, except for the biographical figures, through which I have drawn my pencil. The rest ought to go in just as it stands, quotations—every one of them—and all. I think Bucke would propose, will, did, to cut it—but I differ from him—decidedly hold to the view that not a word should be thrown out. I have gone over, marked the quotations. And my instructions to the printers are very clear—appearing a little baffling, at first, but easily followed out, I should say. As, in fact, I think is usually the case with my manuscript. I am thus special about Sarrazin because the more I dwell upon him, the more satisfied I am that he has grasped much otherwise, and with other people, lost, unsaid—perhaps is the only one to go so deep—though I would not care to be so sweeping as that. But

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it is minted gold—yes, Horace, minted gold. And rich as is your material for the book, that goes with the best—ought to sail it a long way. I want you to chew on all I have said on this subject—keep it near you—use it as testimony at the proper time. How Sarrazin comes to all this, God knows! But the big things—how they come—are always mystery anyway."


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