Commentary

Disciples


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Friday, March 11, 1892

     8:18 A.M. At W.'s and was rejoiced to learn of his brighter night and easier sleep at daylight. But he did not look well—the face almost absolutely without color. No mail for him and only

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a few papers for me—nothing of particular interest. If that trouble in the right side increases, W. will have no rest on this earth—the left being so lame, and the back impossible. Certainly his ills increase.

     To Reisser's and secured another pint of brandy.

     6:30 P.M. Some talk with Mrs. Davis and Warrie. The day cold—the winds tremendous—the skies clear and crisp. Find W. had spent a day somewhat bettered: looked over papers briefly, was washed (feet, mainly) and freshened up a bit. Submitted pleasantly after asking if it was needed. Yet had declined consistently to talk. To him silence seems the most necessary study—how to have life served him with the least expenditure of energy. McAlister thought him easier. Longaker not over up to this hour. I had written L. but he probably had detentions with other cases.

     Mrs. Davis' notes: 8:20 a.m. Mr. W. passed rather a good night from 12:30 to 4 A.M. Then was turned a few times. I told him I thought I would wash his feet today. He said, "Ah! Do they need it?"

10 Turned to the right side for five minutes. Mr. Ingram called. Merely looked at him and asked to be turned back on his left side. Said he would like some mutton broth for his breakfast.

10:30 Has had his breakfast.

11 Have just washed W. W.'s feet and cut his toe nails, changed his shirt, also his bed. Left him on his right side.

11:05 Mr. W. said, "Come in a few minutes and turn me back again." Does not seem able to lay on the right side. Just turned him back to the left.

11:45 Turned over on right side.

11:50 Turned to left.

1:30 p.m. Turned to right side.

1:40 Turned to the left.

3:10 Turned to right.

3:20 Troubled with phlegm and turned to the left.

4 Turned to right.

4:20 Turned to left. Ate some milk toast and drank some cocoa.

5:30 Turned over on right side.


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5:35 Turned over on left.

6:25 Turned over on right side. Took brandy.

6:30 Turned to left.

7:15 Turned to right side.

7:20 Turned to left side.

8 Took some brandy.

8:35 Turned to right side.

8:40 Turned to left side.

9:30 Turned to right side.

9:35 Turned to left side.

10:20 Turned to right side.

10:25 Turned to left side.


W. has been much turned all day, the right side being persistently worse. So much so as to have inspired him with a dread, in that now he tells them when they turn him right, "Come back in five minutes and turn me left again." Once or twice he was turned left without any wait at all. At one ring of his bell I went in with Mrs. Davis, and he instantly recognized me and called my name, "Horace? You here?" and we shook hands. "Is it cold out?" he asked, and to my "yes," he asked, "Is it very cold?" I told him of the great blizzard west and the high winds it had stirred here. Did the changes seem to affect him? "Not a bit, that I see: so far as that goes I am always the same." But they affected all the rest of us. "Oh! Well!" and relapsed. Yet resumed again, "Did you say March or April Harper's?" carrying this question all across yesterday and today. "April's." "Well, watch for it." Told him I had been sitting in the next room writing to Bolton. Any message? "No, none—I am emptied these days." "Your love?" "Always my love." I described the cold clear skies and the moon ascended north-east. "How beautiful!" he cried. "These things, even your cold hand, tempt me out of doors." I wrote Creelman asking for papers. "Good!" was W.'s response, "and when they come, make a wise use of them."

     I said to W., "Poet-Lore is about gone—made its way to Boston." "O sorrow!" "They think it is for the good." And I quoted him a greeting from Miss Porter. "God bless them—

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prosper them!"
he cried. I put in, "And fill their sails with fair winds!" "Yes, yes, the fairest!" And, "They are good girls—faithful to us—sturdy for their principles." Advised him, "We won't get out of brandy this Sunday—I have brought over a new bottle." "Thanks! Thanks! Thanks!" he repeated. I kissed him good-bye and he pressed my hand, "Good night, Horace: bless you! Bless you!" Pale and tired—did not seem to me better. His first question to me was, "Is there anything notable?" and he often puts that to me. Then I sat for some time this evening, his hand in mine and often pressing mine, while neither spoke a word. He breathed hard and short.

     12:10 A.M. Sat with Warrie till 12:45. W. in next room breathing his difficult hours away—life ebbing slowly into the infinite—solemn vigil—and every sound of his voice now precious. Night promises to be restless.


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