Commentary

Disciples


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Saturday, January 30, 1892

     In my forenoon visit to W. I found that he was sleeping and did no more than simply look into the room and at him, observing the paleness and care-worn expression that marked him even in his sleep. Had just got a letter from Ingersoll at the Post Office on way down, but I did not leave it, as was my first thought. To Philadelphia, taking with me a basket of glasses and moulds in which Mrs. Williams and Miss Willis had been sending W. the special foods. As he no longer takes these foods, I so explained to the bright Negro girl who brought in a further supply at Bank today. She took all home again.

     McKay sent for copy of big book in course of the day and I sent his boy to Camden with an order for it, he afterwards bringing the book to me to be numbered. Later saw McKay and found half a dozen copies green book ready for W.'s inspection—of these taking half to Camden.

     6:35 P.M. Now at 328. Warrie in room, lighting gas and fixing windows, W. ready with suggestions. At once found he had spent a better day than yesterday. Warrie shifted him around

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on right side and I took a chair up to the bed—Warrie leaving the room. Talk considerable and ready. I read him Ingersoll's letter. At conclusion of second paragraph W. exclaimed, "Then his hope must get up pretty high," and at the phrase "laughter frozen by fate," he asked me to re-read, which I did, he then exclaiming, "How striking!" And at the end of it all ejaculating, "How free, dashing, bold, easy: how he sits on his horse! He is alone—alone"—again exclaiming— "Dear Colonel! Dear Colonel!"

     How had his day been? "Only fair." Not better than yesterday? "Perhaps a shade." And strength? "Still no sign of it, Horace: I am a mere rag." On box near bed a bundle of manuscripts tied up in a string. "I have put that together for the Telegram man." Where from? "Some of it I directed the folks to find for me." But the man had not come? "No, nor will he till tomorrow." I saying, "Perhaps not then unless we send him some word." I urged then, "Let me telegraph him to come." "Could you do it?" "Certainly." "Well, I am willing; tell him, at twelve and only for a minute. I feel like accommodating them. Any requests so formal and regular seem to me to demand some response, and I don't feel to disregard them." (My telegram was: "Whitman see you briefly at 12 o'clock tomorrow morning.")

     At first W. said he would not look at the green books. "Let them be till tomorrow: put them on the box." But as I kept on talking, his curiosity got more and more aroused, till he finally remarked, "If you will get the candle, and you, Warrie—if you will bolster me up—I will make an effort to look at the book." He went over it critically. "I like it, like it—it presents a fine appearance." And he made some suggestion as to spacing. His eye caught an almost indistinguishable curl on the "8" in "1892." "I don't like that," he said critically. "In spite of my request for an antique or black letter, Dave has carefully avoided them. But never mind—I am grateful to have it done—to see it." Asked me if I had read Tennyson's poem on the dead prince? "McAlister has been talking with me about it—says it is being horribly ridiculed in England." I promised to look it up—when doing so

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finding a telegram and not the poem current in the morning papers. (Now and then his struggling hiccoughs.) When I told him Ingersoll had written a piece on the World's Fair, W. said, "I wish you would let me see it—bring it down in the morning." W. talked easily enough at times, then would seem to have some difficulties in hiccoughs. Once he called Mrs. Keller for something to drink. I left him impressed that he was better than yesterday. His "good night" very affectionate. When I said, "If I find any news at the house, I will be down to tell you about it," "Yes, do," he returned. Asked if I had yet heard from Carpenter of the safe arrival of books.

     10:55 P.M. Only in for about ten minutes. W. resting if not sleeping. Twice called Warrie by his tap-tap, asking both times to be turned. Probably will be restless tonight. Pays little attention to Warrie's general remarks. I have been at Harned's this evening and had a talk of financial ways and means.

     Received two letters from Bucke today.

     Longaker left this written and sealed word at W.'s for me:
30th January 92.

My dear Traubel:

Your postal reminded me that I had partly failed in the good resolution of coming to Camden often. I had intended to come—would have done so before, but time is not elastic.

I find little change in W.'s condition. I like to see the renewed interest in affairs as shown by his effort at some writing today. He has consented to resume his old time strychnine granules.

I hope to see you at to-morrow's lecture.

Regards to Mrs. Traubel.

Daniel Longaker


Was over yesterday specifically at my request.


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