Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, January 15, 1892

     W.'s early morning sleep—after being free of the hiccoughs—very sweet and wholesome. But he somehow looked pale and worn as he lay there on his bed, when I entered his room (8:15) and silently and intently regarded him. He did not wake and I did not linger. Snowing hard. The day promising bad. Did a good deal of letter-writing to W.'s friends in the city and abroad. Cable from Wallace: "Constant thoughts and love," and a letter from him, too, full of tender warnings and sympathies. Two letters from Wallace to W. and one from Johnston. They contained nothing which needed to be communicated to W.

     6:30 P.M. At W.'s and in to see him—no preliminaries—he knowing my step and greeting me, "Welcome, Horace—and love! Another day: here I am." Better? "Easier, yes, easier: not stronger—the hiccoughs for the present gone. They are my greatest dread: they tear me up by the roots." Asked, "How is Whittier?" Nothing in papers. "No news is good news," he repeated. Then, "And how is Tom?" "Not better—not feeling as well." "I wish he might have escaped this," said W. Then again, "Now for the news?" I spoke of the death of the Prince of Wales' oldest son. W. exclaimed laughingly, "Poor collars-and-cuffs! So he is dead—the boy is dead—collars-and-cuffs is gone! But that next son—they say he is a better fellow." The deaths of Simeoni and Manning he accepted calmly. "The cardinals—both old men—both giants in their way—gone—gone!" We passed into literary talk, W. mostly with questions. Once he said, "If you come down tomorrow about this time—or Sunday—yes, Sunday about eleven—I will get you to read me the Poet-Lore piece—as much of it as I can hear." But shortly he asked, "Have you got the piece with you? Yes? Well, suppose we start now?" I went into the next room, lighted a candle, and returned promptly—setting the candle on the commode at the head of the bed—I sitting on the big box containing books. W. turned his face half my way, put his right hand up to his ear and listened,

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eyes open. Should I read all? "Yes, every word! What I don't hear tonight I can hear tomorrow or another day." Several times (six or seven) as I read he interrupted and asked re-readings—once because he did not hear, the other times because, as he said, he wished to "fix that idea in" his mind. Once or twice he murmured, "Good! Good!" and once, "Strong!" When I had read one out of the three galleys, he cried, "Stop there! Spiritually I would like to hear it all—physically I cannot." He almost gasped this out. He had been intent on every word. Then a little further desultory talk. Spoke of Bucke. "Dear Doctor! Dear Doctor! When you write him, Horace, do not forget my word—love, only love—it is all I can send now." And again, "Keep in touch with all the boys—and without any special messages, signal them for me, all of them."


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