Commentary

Disciples


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Thursday, January 28, 1892

     8:18 A.M. At W.'s. He slept and so I came away. Looked decently well, for him. Hands, face, with some color. Night not very good—no very sound sleep. Wished Warrie and the rest to let him alone now for his morning's rest (always, and long before his sickness, his best sleep).

     At McKay's failed to find books done—but he still says, "I am pushing them." Met Harry Walsh. Has indeed left Lippincott's. Will probably go West, to San Franciso, there to edit one of the California papers. I find W. was mistaken—Harry had nothing to do with Illustrated American piece, but says there's little doubt William wrote it, "though even that I don't know." William there, however, on the ground. Paper just commencing to pay. Harry further said, "William has written a paper for

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Lippincott's on Whitman. It is to appear in the March number."
I said I would like to tell W. of it. What was the purport? "It is critical. In fact, it was intended for an obituary." Harry now living in Camden but will not remain long. Informed me that Harte was assistant editor of New England Magazine and he thought him "a bright fellow."

     6:28 P.M. Reached W.'s and as he was not asleep, went into the dark room and had a talk with him. He was as cordial as ever, and held my hand all through the talk, which lasted 20 minutes or more. One of his first questions was about the book. Then he asked, "What does your mail amount to?" And finally we drifted into general talk. He was very comfortless as to his own condition. "I feel very discouraged," he remarked. "I seem to eat—eat plenty—but gain nothing." "It is disappointing." "Yes, discouraging." He was anxious to know if I had heard from Arthur Stedman. I explained that I wished first to know conditions of Webster and Co.'s contract. W.: "That is right—be cautious—see clearly what they want." Alluding to Chile and the now apparent "peace," W. exclaimed, "How absurd we are! How absurd! How can we step out of it all with any show of strength?" I have been making notes for "The Scripture of Democracy," "Leaves of Grass" to be its key and suggestion. Would W. read it and draw his pencil through it? "Yes, gladly—I will do all I can to give you a lift, if you think I am up to it." Told him of William Walsh's Lippincott's piece—not speaking of it as an obituary notice. "I think William should have something to say," W. remarked slowly. "You say this is a study?" And again, "If you ever have occasion to write to Walsh or meet him, give him my congratulations." Complained of "inability to work," which means that he kept the day in every way abstinently, husbanding even against any considerable talk. Thoroughly bright mentally.

     Here is Bucke's letter 26th:
26 Jan 1892

My dear Horace

I have your two notes of Saturday also the "Star" and "Post" of 23d & 22d. I have too a letter from Walt! It is wonderful—almost like

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a letter from another world. Here it is (for I guess you would like to read it): "Am deadly weak yet otherwise inclined to favorable—bowel drain sufficient—appetite fair—the plaster cast came safe to Dr. J. Bolton. Ralph Moore is dead. Tom Harned well. My doctors and attendants cont. first rate. Horace ever faithful. Am propped up in bed. God bless you all. Walt Whitman."


Have read the "Star" piece—like it very much. Many thanks for sending papers. I would say to Walt's rich friends: "We do not come to you as beggars—the question is—do you want to give to Walt? Yes, he has a little money—he has also a crippled brother to whom he is leaving it. Yes, he spent money on a tomb—was it foolish? Well which of us has not spent money foolishly. The man is old—almost dying. He needs many things which he himself cannot provide without entrenching upon the provision he has made by will for his brother. He is not in a condition to decide what is best for himself—does not realize his own needs (pressing as they are). We cannot spend his money without his consent. We cannot obtain his consent because he is not in a state to discuss such matters. Any way if his brother is to be provided for Walt has not the money which is now needed. But the question is do you want to give money to Walt. If so well, if not all right we do not ask it."

Hold the two L. of G. (new & old) for the present. It is likely I shall be down that way before many weeks. In any case I guess early in the spring. I will write for New England Mag. for Feb.

So long! Good luck to you.

Love to Anne

R. M. Bucke


10:40 P.M. In again. The night promised to be easy. Have been busy all the evening on letters. W. reminds me of some names and counsels me, "Do what you can, but don't overpress yourself." Called Warrie several times with his tap-tap but would not enter into any conversation.

     Wallace writes with full heart!


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