Commentary

Disciples


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Sunday, March 13, 1892

     10:10 A.M. W. has spent a terrible night—restless and woeful. Looks pale and thin—nose strangely pinched. Still has his foot out of bed, on the chair—covered. (First suggested this last night—once even asked to have it "farther out.") Kept Warrie pretty busy after midnight. No sign of mending in right side. Has not yet asked to have west window open, nor for the papers. Seems to pay less and less deference to externalities—rarely suggests even his meals—only assenting when others suggest them. Looks better awake than asleep. Longaker went into the room yesterday and took his pulse while he slept. When aroused L. told him what he had done. "Oh, did you?" he asked, and pronounced it "good." Then L. told Warrie there was a contrast between W. in the sleeping and W. in the waking state. The papers are very quiet about him these days. The Telegram still lies on the table at the head of the bed untouched.

     6:20 P.M. After a busy day, at W.'s again. Longaker not over. McAlister reported W. "unmistakably worse than yesterday," and we could perceive the subtle changes. Hardly a word all day, even to doctors, whom he turned over to the others. Has not had west window (necessary, when he reads) open for two days—of course not reading anything today or making any inquiries about the papers. The left foot still painful and he still asks to have it out of bed. He had just been turned on my arrival, so I went in, the room black enough. But he must have been awake, tiptoeing it as I did, and knew my step or somehow knew I was here. "Oh, Hor," then he was seized with a violent fit of coughing. After he recovered he finished my name and we shook hands. Then he asked, "What kind of night is it outside?" And again, "What items of news? Have you any?" On my questioning saying, "I have spent a dreadful day, seemingly to get deeper and deeper into the mire." He coughed a good deal, being half right in position. "I have not looked at the Telegram," he said. "It is still on the table there if you wish it." "I only wish it for Dr. Bucke, and he will wait." "Well, let me have it another

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day then. I will probably have a shy at it tomorrow."
I quoted him a story of Tennyson and Oscar Browning. The two had met at Club—been introduced. Months after, meeting on the highway, and Tennyson not knowing O.B., B. said, "Don't you know me? I am Browning." Tennyson exclaimed, "Is it so? Is it so?" And after regarding Browning a moment, "I'll be damned if you are!" W. laughed at this (choking as he did so). "It is very good!" he said. "I have heard of that Browning." I then further remarking of Tennyson, "If you did not see the papers today, you did not see the Press attack on Tennyson." "Why does it attack him?" "For the 'Collars and Cuffs' poem. It calls up us to witness his descent from a high estate." "Does it say that?" "In substance, yes." "Poor Tennyson! Poor Tennyson!" "Yet not so poor after all?" W. responding with a slight laugh, "I guess not so poor—you are right. Tennyson has a good many eddies, currents, watery perturbations, to steer through—it invokes skill, courage, attack—and he shows a certain ability to cope with the situation." Then he suddenly asked, "What day is this?" "Sunday." "Oh! I have lost the count!" And he further asked, "Did you say there was snow on the ground—full moon, too?" Had he any message for Bucke? "None." I stood over him and stroked his head for some time (ten minutes, I guess). He inquired if I thought the room was warm enough, and further curiosity whether his body was cold. His head was quite warm and I told him so. He appeared to be pleased, several times whispering, "God bless you!" and pressing my other hand, which he held.

     Johnston sends me a couple of Bolton papers in which are notes on W.


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