Commentary

Disciples


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Thursday, August 13, 1891

     5:45 P.M. Met Longaker on the boat. Went to W.'s together (Longaker was to take tea with me). W. on his bed, with a fan in his hand, but temperature was mild. Longaker took W.'s pulse, W. on the quiet—gazing as if in inquiry at him. Then remarked, "I seem to pull through this hot spell pretty decently, but it

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pulls all the gizzard out of me."
And as we laughed, he added, "I have taken good care, kept quiet, eaten cautiously, dozed a good deal, done little, no, work. Now I feel a little the effect of the sudden change—the pores close—there seems a little reaction, but I guess it is all right. Warrie has been to town—to some institution, place—seen someone there rubbing a patient, the patient all the while growling, and Warrie, surprised, saying to them, 'Why! that's a pretty mild rub! I give it to Mr. Whitman till we're both red and blue!' And Warrie does—I think it is the best thing I get, very best. And I always tell Warrie—don't be afraid to rub it in hard—give me the devil—the hardest drubbing is the best drubbing! I don't know but I'd cave in but for this dose—it invigorates me—is the only thing that will." Longaker inquired particularly after the buttermilk. "O yes! I take it—take it without fail—every time Mary brings it. And I like it." With a cheery laugh, "I wonder if I don't like it because I think it does me good?" Longaker advised him to take it daily and regularly. Thought his condition unvaried. Pulse as good as at any recent time.

     W. had asked me last night for indelible leads for a battered old gold pencil which he picked off the table. I had now brought him a new holder and new leads altogether. He said, "I do a great deal of writing with the pencil—it comes easy, natural." And I sampled it for him, showing him some lines. "Yes, I see. I have no doubt it will do well."

     On the table a letter from George Horton (Chicago) suggesting or inviting an exposition poem from W. for their paper. W. brightly dwells upon it. "It is a hearty invitation—comes with good spirit. And that fellow is so good a friend. It is astonishing how many invites I get, now I can accept none of them! Only yesterday, Doctor, my friend Sylvester Baxter, of the Boston Herald, was in here to know if I would not write them a poem—some lines—anything, almost, on the death of Lowell. I don't know but that was his mission—just to see me—to ask that. But I had to say no—told him I had gone out of the business. The stand is closed—the sign is taken down. No, I have not yet

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written to Horton, but shall do so in a day or two—of course to say no."
I asked, "Must it be no? Might something not yet come?" He thereupon, "I do not see a way to it." But did he ever see a way to the poems? Did they not come their own way? He smilingly said, "You are right—you are right. But, Horace, I am afraid my back is turned for good."


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