Commentary

Disciples


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Tuesday, March 8, 1892

     8:15 A.M. W. now asleep after a restless and weary night—the worst, perhaps, in the history of the last three months. I was in his room a bit. Warrie fixed fire. No shifting on his part—now seemed at peace. My heart rejoiced for him. Mrs. Keller getting ready to go. No mail whatever for W. No abatement of the right side trouble. W. is pale—parchmenty, it may be called. I hope he may enjoy rest today.

     6:10 P.M. Still very light. Mrs. Davis on watch—the succession duly declared. Mrs. Keller gone—W. very silent. Mrs. Davis remarked, "He has not said a word all day except when it was necessary."

     I went into the front room, up to the bed. He saw me, cried, "Welcome, Horace!" disengaging his hand from the bed clothes and offering it. Dreadfully pale. Hands cold. "I am all fallen

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out,"
he explained. "A horrible night—exhaustion—clean gone—today, no better—no strength whatever." Spoke with great effort. "I see no escape," he said again. "The pressure is too great—the burden too heavy." I said, "But with life, hope!" "Yes, yes, yes—but one must not fear to face the truth, to see what is real—we have no use for illusions!" And again he said, "I am weak as death." Then he asked me, "Is there anything special for me to know—to do? Though as for doing, I am no good anymore. But do you bring any news?" Informed him that I had given a copy of facsimile to a member of Inquirer staff, with consent to use it as he chose. "Do you object?" I asked W. "Oh no! Not at all! I am in favor of it: there are reasons why it should be printed, and if they choose to print it—why, that is their concern." As to copies sent to Telegram and to Kennedy he again said, "That was right—that is as I wish it." "I shall go in the next room now and write to Bolton." "Oh! Johnston?" "To him and Wallace. I write often." "Good, good. They are part of us."

     He referred to Mrs. Keller's departure, but resignedly. "It is all right, I guess." Spoke of "the kindness of the doctors," and informed me, "Longaker was here today—good fellow!—himself sick." Had he any message for Bolton? "No, none: there seems nothing to be said." His love? His face lighted up, "I have told you, Horace—that always!" Some coughing as he talked. He asked, "You hear from Bucke right along?" "O yes! And he always enjoins me to say to you that you are in his thought and heart night and day, profoundly and hopefully." "Brave true Doctor! He is a best: we cherish all that—every word—all it carries with it." I had sent the books to Mrs. Fairchild? And to my "yes, last week," he replied, "I think of her often. She is a woman out of the few." Asks, too, of Anne and mentions Ingersoll with his grateful "sweet as love itself, Horace, few people know him for that—I am one of the few. Dear Ingersoll! Dear Colonel!" Then informed me, "I eat enough—too much, perhaps, and the brandy! Oh! That is good—it freshens me, if anything can! But in spite of eat, drink, attention, I no way mend—I seem indeed to slip away!" He grew so pale—I leaned

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over and kissed him. "You are tired: you are easier alone." He pressed my hand, "Well, good night—good night, Horace." And I left the room.

     I wrote Longaker this morning proposing to meet me at W.'s at six, but he had anticipated my card, arriving at two, and so missing me.

     Ingersoll telegraphs me this evening: "A thousand thanks for your continued kindness in keeping me advised of Whitman's condition. All I can say is give him my love & tell him that he will always have one friend no matter what happens."

     Bucke's letter of 6th very touching to me—full of feeling and full of plans—an active nature.

     11:45 P.M. I rejoice to learn that W.'s evening has him reposed, that he has required to be turned less than last evening and seems to rest with greater ease. I chatted with Warrie in the little room. Once W. rang and asked to be shifted. When over, it being right, he at once commenced to cough. I knew this could not last long. A few minutes later, when I left, and was on the stairway, I heard the bell ring again, and understood that W. had already given out on that tack. Still, all the evening, very silent. Mrs. Davis on till eleven. "He never spoke a word." There is more hope for the night and the morrow.


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