- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 360] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Monday, April 14, 1890

     5.30 P.M. W. in his room: had just finished dinner. Out today—a new suit on: had had the cloth there (the finest) but just now made up. A shawl wrapped abut his shoulders. Spoke of his improvement from the outing: "It was a struggle, but went well—very well."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 361] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

     Had been working on his Lincoln. There before him—new lines in blue and black pencil. "I shall not read it all, I'm afraid to attempt it: I shall shorten it—a passage here and there: but not cut it deep—not to make an actual incision." Was writing a few new notes. "This will be my last public appearance, without a doubt: it is not in me to make a trial again: at least, that is as I feel now. Oh! I feel greatly blessed now: If Providence continues, within 40 hours more, we'll be out of the woods—out of this woods, anyhow." He keeps the Lincoln in pasteboard covers—some of it in ms. some printed. He said again: "Tom was here yesterday—spoke somewhat about a carriage. I want Mary to go with us—she will want a seat: and you? yes, you. And of course, Warrie—and that will make us full! I am sure about the carriage—but the man? We want a humane fellow—a trusty, careful man, having due regard for his burden." He told Mrs. Davis she ought to go along, as it was doubtless to be his "last public appearance"—just as he states it to others.

     His cheer wonderful. "I have written Dr. Bucke—in fact have written him every day the past week—now, saying I have after all undertaken the leap. Oh! where will we land?"

     Referring to the letter I gave him yesterday from Brinton, thanking him for and applauding the book sent, W. said: "I forwarded it to Dr. Bucke: I know he will take to it—penetrate it: oh! it has a deep deep! Brinton is one of the big men—the progressive scientists—the top of our civilization's heap. After all is said—after the full story is told, the future will read, acknowledge, in these men our best specimens—America's. In my own work—in Leaves of Grass—I have known no anxiety greater than to keep abreast of these results—not, at least to contravene them. I never knew them specifically—never could make any direct statement of them. Yet, as years go, I felicitate myself that I have voiced no silliness—have made no impeachment of them. Oh! how it is to keep in touch with them! I have no doubt that is one of the

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - [Begin page 362] - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
secrets of Bob's power: he keeps in touch with big men—with the great progressive, serene, scientists—their searches, results: biggest of all, their spirit. And from such a mine a good digger can't but draw treasure and treasure!"
And this reminded me of word coming as to Ingersoll's ill health the winter through, W. expressing solicitude and saying: "No—I have never sent him the big book—but now would be a good time, wouldn't it? The great Bob!"

     Spoke particularly of "wishing Agnes [my sister] to be present—and Mrs. Harned, too." And added— "I shall not write to Dr. Bucke tomorrow, I must save all my strength." He signed about eight cards for the Club—Clifford, Mrs. Baldwin, Anne, Mr. and Mrs. Ed. Burleigh, Kemper, etc.

     As I left W. said: "Come down early tomorrow—on your way home—and see if all is right. We will brace up to the last strain!"


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.