Commentary

Disciples


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Sunday, January 3, 1892

     At W.'s towards ten. He seemed to be resting—night generally restless but about five had dropped off into something like sleep, which had with more or less steadiness continued. Inclined against talk. Thence to Philadelphia—not returning till

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after six, when Chubb was with me. McAlister had left some notes for me to send to Bucke. Went upstairs (both of us) into Warren's room. W. had just called Warrie and when I went in, I saw it was for a change of position. Back again for a few minutes with Chubb till Warrie was done, then in for a talk with W. He lifted his hand out from under the covers and grasped mine warmly as I did his.

     H.L.T.: "I am told you have been getting some sleep today."

     W.: "Yes, some."

     H.L.T.: "Which you appreciated?"

     W.: "I suppose—anything—any change to a man in my condition is comfort." After a pause. "What is new, Horace? Tell me—what is new?"

     H.L.T.: "Nothing you would care at all to hear. But the stars are out tonight—it is cold, and the heavens are fine and clear."

     W.: "Beautiful! beautiful!"

     H.L.T.: "Do you feel any way stronger?"

     W.: "No, weak—weak—weak: I guess weaker." He held my hand warmly, and I could feel its grasp loosen and fasten from time to time.

     H.L.T.: "I sent your message to Bucke—and also wrote to Stedman and Ingersoll."

     W.: "Good! Bless them all—bless the Colonel."

     H.L.T.: "And if there's more to say to anyone, let me say it for you."

     W.: "I will—yes, I will, boy." (Stopped a brief space, seeming to be effecting remembrance. ) "To whom should we send books, Horace?" And not waiting for a reply, "I want a copy sent to Ned Stedman—yes, and one to Morris—and I will leave them in your hands to send. You can take them now."

     I went over to the bundle to extract two. Suddenly, he called me.

     W.: "Take three, Horace, three: one for Julius, Julius—oh! that man on the World."

     H.L.T.: "Chambers?"


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     W.: "Yes, Chambers: take three."

     I laid the books out on the chair and went over to W. again. (Chubb was all this time standing inside the door: I had not noticed him.)

     W.: "Are there any others? Any at all?"

     All this time he had been choking and hiccoughing—so that I urged, "Perhaps the three are enough for tonight, Walt. You are tired. Suppose I make a list of the others and bring it to you some other time." "Well, that will do—that will do. If you want to write a word or two in the books, do so—using your own taste." I had mentioned Symonds' name. "Yes, we must not forget him: he must have one." I stood by his bedside some minutes. He held my hands tightly—twice saying almost in a whisper, "God bless you, boy: God bless you—bless you!" And again, "I feel a great dependence—but it is nearly all over." I whispering, "It is a glad service, Walt," and he, "I know! I know!" This passed as I leaned over, twice, to kiss him. Chubb could not have heard, and it shook my heart. Then the final good night and kiss and escape. "Keep yourself well!" was his parting and my own was silence.

     Now again to Philadelphia and not back to 328 till ten. I sat more than an hour in Warrie's room, reading proof of Poet-Lore piece—hearing W.'s calls to Warrie (he was so restless)—once for water—twice to be turned—three times to have his left leg rubbed. "It is a bad pain, Warrie: it chases me close." It would seem impossible to sleep. Harned had been in and talked with W. while I was across the river. W.'s voice strong when not disturbed by the chokings—but his cough, which demonstrated itself now and then, was weak and broken. He seems to have more pleasure than a week ago in brief greetings from all of us. But prefers in the main to be left alone, and in utter silence. A little more cleaning of room today but not enough seemingly to excite his remark. I have no doubt he has noticed it: there is little he does not notice. Warrie looks another man, now the watches are paired off.


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