Commentary

Disciples


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 491] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Saturday, February 27, 1892

     8:18 A.M. W. not asleep, though sleepy. I did not do more than shake hands with him as Warrie busied himself about the room. Pale and hand cold.

     6:20 P.M. W. in a sound sleep. I went into the room, stood by the bed, heard his steady, strong breathing. He did not appear

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 492] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
to notice me. I had no wish nor reason for waking him and did not, though I lingered about the room some minutes. Heat intense—wood-fire lusty and unmistakable. Yet thinks "things are cold." Borrowed the Paine picture to show Anne.

     10:15 P.M. Again in at 328. Warrie out—Mrs. Keller on watch. As luck would have it, W. rang shortly after my arrival and we went into the room together. I made no attempt to do more than greet him. Mrs. Keller asked, "Do you want to turn now?" "Yes, please." Yet was very quiet, letting her work about and with him without a word. "What else, Mr. Whitman? A clean handkerchief?" "Yes." After handing him that she crossed the room to turn down the light, but he suddenly called her again, "I wish you would get me a cup of cold water, please." After she had been downstairs and returned with the water, he said, "Give me the whiskey cocktail first." The brandy had given out and they had not told me, so the whiskey was substituted. "It will have to do for a day," he remarked resignedly and asked me, "You can get more of the brandy, Horace?" Mrs. Keller handed him the whiskey, asking, "Is there enough there?" "I guess there is"—tried, then, disappointed— "It's true," he spoke ruefully, "there is not much." "Shall I make you more?" "No, no." She laid the cup aside—bent over him. "Do you feel entirely comfortable this evening?" "Fair as is belonging to me, but that is little enough." Not inclined to remark more. Eyes closed during almost all of this talk. Mrs. K. now again went to light and turned it down. But we hardly got into the next room before the bell rang again. Mrs. K. hastened in to see what was the matter. "Mrs. Keller, I want the pillow on the chair." A way he has of resting his right arm, which he flings over and rests upon a pillow set on a chair at the side of the bed. This is a good sample of his talk of late days—its nature, brevity—its disclosure of his reserve and silence. He seems rarely to mention his friends, even when I first do so. Even Bucke and Ingersoll unalluded to. Has on the whole spent a negative day, neither for better nor worse.

     Bucke's letter of 25th is from Toronto.


Comments?

Published Works | In Whitman's Hand | Life & Letters | Commentary | Resources | Pictures & Sound

Support the Archive | About the Archive

Distributed under a Creative Commons License. Ed Folsom & Kenneth M. Price, editors.