Commentary

Disciples


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Sunday, January 31, 1892

     10 A.M. Up to W.'s room instantly on learning he was awake. The night had all been bad after I left. I greeted him and he

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me—his "welcome" quite prompt and sweet. "Well, how has it gone?" I inquired. "Bad! bad!" he replied, "a bad night!" Then no strength? "None, none—weakness, weariness!" On the bed the Sunday papers spread out before him—he with a piece of one in his hand—his glasses on. He seemed to see an inquiry in my looks. "It don't go very well," he remarked. "I am not up to it." Green book also on bed. I took the two Ingersoll articles out of my pocket and gave them to him. One on the fair, the other theological. "I know I shall enjoy them," he said. "The Colonel is a great vitative quantity in our current civilization." Learning I was to hear Cope speak this morning he told me, "I remember Cope well—we met once at Tom's—long, long ago. Give him my regards." Remarked, "I am ready for the reporter if he comes, but if he don't come, I shall not grieve." Mrs. Keller brought him his pellets. He had only yesterday consented to resume these. Now he rejected them. "No, Mrs. Keller, no: no more. They set my head in a whirl—mixes me all up—and besides hurts my throat. No, I shall not take any more. It may help the belly but it injures the rest of me." Tennyson's poem in Press. Asked me to fold it out for him. I also folded supplement of Press in such shape as permitted him to look over the copious extracts (three columns of them) from the just-published essays of Carlyle on literature. He appeared thoroughly exhausted, and spoke of it himself. Complexion pale. Hand, however, quite warm—almost feverish. "I feel too utterly helpless to do anything." Then a "good-bye."

     Met Longaker in Philadelphia. He detected no great change in W., but was confident of a gradual improvement all around.

     6:45 P.M. Met Mrs. Keller and Warrie looking rather dubious, with record of a bad day for W.—inarticulate, less nourishment, restless. I went into his room—far across to the bed—stood there—a dim light at the window—he breathed heavily a full breath, as when pneumonia was on, but steadily—was in sleep—the cane across the bed, held in both hands. He did not observe me. Room hot—a lusty fire in the stove, door of which was closed. After a few minutes, sacred to contemplation and

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reflection, I went from the room as noiselessly as I had entered, spending then five or ten minutes more with Warrie. But before departing I went back into the room and to his bedside as before, and this time he realized my presence and hailed me. "It is you, Horace? Come—come!" and as I moved forward and took his hand, "Welcome! Welcome!" I spoke of the warmth of his hand. He asked after the weather, and I described the clear eighth moon in the south-west and the two lustrous stars in the heavens above it. "A great sight!" he exclaimed, "a great sight!" And after a pause, "Great to see, greater to know!" How had his day been? "Only fair—only fair yet. I merely hang on—do no more!" Yet he had eaten sufficient? "Plenty, I am sure: indeed, I don't know but I crowd it." Was not result rather in power to assimilate than in bulk? "That is very subtle—very! I am not sure but that is the point—and my deficiency!" Passing along, "Who have you seen today?" Cope and Longaker, for two, I said. "Both good fellows!" according to his measure—then advised me, "The Telegram man did not come today"—probably did not receive my telegram. Should I write him? "No, I would not do that—if he comes, all right (perhaps it will be tomorrow). If he don't come, that'll be all right too." Had he read the Ingersoll pieces? "Yes, both—and both very good, too"—saying especially of the World's Fair article, "It is our principle—our deepest scheme—set out with great strength." I was to write to Bucke. Had he any message? "No, none that I know of." (W.'s breathing difficulties increasingly apparent—a full wheeze, as with pneumonia—heavy, as if accomplished with effort.) He asked me, "How are you? Do you keep well? That is quite as important a question now as any I know—for us!"

     Alluded to green book. "You will in no way let the matter rest, Horace, till it is all done? That is right, boy, right: to hack away—keep on—as long as one devil remains on his feet." No writing today—autographs therefore not in books for Bucke and me. W. asks, "Have you an idea things will blow up in the night—that we are to have another touch of winter?"


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     McAlister's bulletin to Bucke (left for me to forward) referred to the determined advance of W.'s weakness. I mailed late in the night—did not get back to 328. W.'s general atmosphere depressing. Breathes very heavily, almost as if troubled in the air passages again.


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