Commentary

Disciples


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Wednesday, February 17, 1892

     8:18 A.M. In to see W.—not a bit of mail there. My mail this morning consisting of one letter, that from Bucke dated 14th,

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debating schemes for the book. W. slept—looked pretty fairly, with a good flush on his cheeks—hand out on cover, white and thin. Afterwards to Philadelphia, taking copy of "Good-Bye" in sheets to A. Stedman. Busy day, writing a great number of postals and some letters. Wrote Creelman, specifying my notions of the flower business and W.'s, and leaving matters then in his hands. (W. could not have the flowers, though a bloom might now and then be introduced. Warning again against appeals, speaking of my fund and of W.'s simplicity of life as his taste and not enforced from need. Creelman could put money into fund, etc.—telling him he might quote this if he chose.)

     6:18 P.M. At W.'s—went in (the door unfastened) and upstairs, without anyone seeing me. Warrie and Mrs. Keller at supper and Mrs. Davis somewhere else in the house. W. therefore alone. I went right in, and as he proved to be awake, we were quickly in conversation together. His greeting affectionate—even more so than usual. Room entirely dark except for streak of light that came through the opened door. He lay with face north and one hand out on the cover. I sat north of bed, on a small, cane-seated, rather loose-jointed chair. I had brandy with me and laid the bottle on the table. Said W., "That is good news. There's a whole world in that bottle." Had he read Telegram? "Yes. It is faulty—but kindly—especially the editorial." Did he not think there had been a great change of popular sentiment towards him the last year? "It does look that way, especially over there in New York—and that was what Stedman argued." Should I send a copy of Photographic Times to Kennedy? And at his "yes" I took a copy from the pile on the table. Had already sent copies to Bucke and Johnston (Eng.). "That was right—I wished them supplied." Defined my message to Creelman. "That was just the thing—just the thing: I want to stand free of any appeals, and you have made that plain. The flowers are impossible. The whole thing, however, seems spontaneous and sweet to me."


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     Described my telegram to Ingersoll, W. remarking, "You do right to keep him informed—he evidently wishes it." At some mention of Bucke he exclaimed, "Dear Doctor! Dear Doctor!" Was he able to sign contract now? "I am afraid not—let it go another day. I have done no writing today—no, nor for many days." I gave him a kiss for Anne. He said, "Darling girl! How is she?" And when I described to him the many letters she daily wrote, here and there, to his friends, he cried out, "Noble girl! I am sorry she has so much work on our account." Adding, "Give her my love: tell her to take the best care of herself." The sick neighbor, girl, to the west, dead. "Poor soul!" W. remarked. "Her troubles are all over." Further speculating, "Whether to come or go is best? It is hard to know. Anyway, her troubles are over. She suffered—suffered." Consumptive for many years.

      "Did Burroughs' article appear in the Critic? The issue of the 7th? I do not remember to have seen it." Read W. some notes from Telegram Monday, following up the flower fund—$32 then submitted. Letter from Depew (poor stuff enough, too). Also editorial. W. remarked, "It is all very sweet, very gratifying, and I scent the flowers even when they are not here." Speaking tenderly, "I am anxious to have you communicate my gratitude, Horace, sending, saying, it in such a way as to make it unmistakable. I often rub my eyes to see if much or most of this kindness is not a dream." Asking me then, "Who sends you these papers?" "Baker." "Oh! Dear Baker! Good for him and good for us to have him!" Recurring to Anne he said, "Don't let her work too much"—after a pause— "write too many letters." I protested, "But they'll never be satisfied till you're up again." He then, fervidly, "I'll never be up again, Horace—never, never." I must have said something, or exclaimed something (I don't remember), but he said, "Never mind, dear boy—it is all right, all." Shortly I kissed him good-bye and left.

     11:20 P.M. A few minutes at 328 again. W. in peaceful slumber. Breathing heavily—with occasional hiccoughs—so far a good night.


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