Commentary

Disciples


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Monday, February 1, 1892

     Seeing W. in forenoon but seeing him sleeping, I was not moved to arouse him. Looked pale and terrible—I don't know at what time more horribly lost, physically, in shape and color, to all his former self. As I stood at the foot of the bed, his eyes shook open—he recognized me—and reached forth his hand. It was a hand warmer than usual, and sweaty—but his grasp was hearty. We had but little to say to each other. He asked, "Is it late?" And remarked, "The nights drag wearily through," replying to my questions to say, "I have spent a bad night—a very bad night. And I am so frightfully sore. This bad left side: always bad, anyway, but worse now, and seeming to grow worse." He had some inquiries to make after the mail. Had I anything of "moment or import?" His own mail on the table by bed only a paper and one letter from a stranger. On the whole shows less interest in things, and more tenderness for persons—these, his immediate friends (the demonstrable human asserting itself). Advised me as I left, "Arrange everything with Dave: you know my whims, notions—I trust to you." And ever again, as I was passing out, he called, "Don't lose sight of any of our affairs, Horace, or of any of the fellows! Good-bye! Good-bye!"

     Several callers at Bank, inquiring after W.'s condition. In afternoon to see McKay, who will follow W.'s instructions as to spacing of stamps, though he would probably prefer no such radical change. To see Childs, too, and considerable talk with him anent nurse at W.'s and W.'s affairs generally. Childs says we may depend upon him and Drexel to do anything that may be necessary for W., either now or after he is dead. But shrinks from the notion of making any solicitations at present. Said he

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had helped W. for years and was willing to do so for as many years more, and any time there was actual need. He knew a good deal about the tomb affair—had sent Albright over to question Harned about it some time ago. Thought the Reinhalter share in this thing shameful but concluded we would have to foot the bill—and ought at the worst allow no newspapers discussion of it. "The other fellows can't afford to start it." And again, "Whitman has lots of admirers who would do anything for him but nothing for his family—wouldn't give them ten cents. As I understand it he is under no peculiar indebtedness to his family?" Left, promising to convey his regards again and to call upon him if need arose.

     6:35 P.M. A short talk with W. He had not heard of death of Dr. Garrison. Seemed shocked, yet reflected, "He has been sick a long time." Spurgeon also dead. "And only 58, you say? That seems tragic! Cut down right in the thick of the battle." He was in a strange listless mood, not seeming to have any interest in anything. I told him I had been at McKay's and he said, "That was right: I have no doubt you squared things up with him. Dave sometimes kicks a little at our pranks but always in the end laughs and gives in." And then, "But you attend to everything, Horace: I leave things in your hands—there's no other to do them now." He spoke lovingly of Bucke and Ingersoll. "Dear fellows—dear, dear, fellows! We are near—near." I sat all this time on his bed, holding his hands. But after he had said, "I have passed a lifeless, useless, helpless day—have not read, written—hardly opened my eyes." And he spoke of his weakness, "The old strength seems all gone—gone, probably, forever—gone, irrevocably gone!" He said, "By the way, Brinton was over and I was glad to see him—he was fresh, hearty—had his usual cheery encouraging voice. He was in every way his old self—affectionate, loyal."

     Bucke's Saturday's letter reaches me today.

     I sat in room with Warrie—room next W.'s—to 11:15 P.M. Tap-tap! Warrie went in—turned up light.

     W.: "Warrie, just turn me over the other side."


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     Warrie: "You don't seem to lay easy?"

     W.: "Not at all: it is all hard—hard."

     Warrie: "Do you seem to feel any stronger?"

     W.: "No, move me pretty gently, Warrie—I feel so sore."

     Warrie: "Will we have a swig of the brandy?"

     W.: "Yes, a little."

     Warrie: "I should think the brandy would help you some."

     W.: "This part of the back of my belly to the left is the great trouble—sore and hurts and swells."

     Warrie: "More than formerly?"

     W.: "Yes, more than ever. A change of posish seems to help a little. I'm in hope by the way it feels now—I'm in hope I'll lay without any terrible pain. I'll be satisfied with that."

     Warrie lowers light and withdraws.


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