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Friday, December 11, 1891

Friday, December 11, 1891

5:50 P.M. A low light in W.'s room. He on bed. A good fire in the stove. Very hearty and cheery. We talked of a number of things. He is alive to a good deal which persons more busily in the world do not note. Details of government, labor, science, literature. I left Bazar with him. It contains a Velasquez, which he says he wishes to "dwell upon." Is disappointed that Oldach has not sent the books over yet. Had Longaker not relieved him? "I shouldn't wonder. I am in a way to feel his influence: he has such hearty hope always." Yet "these are all weak feeble days." Several copies "Leaves of Grass" off. "Two to England, to Wallace and Johnston." "I wrote to Wallace saying you had sent him a copy." "Good! That is a fortunate consideration. I wrote to Johnston: so they will both know." Remarked, "How much the drop-light does for my eyes!" It was "an eye-saver, sure enough." Young makes another pleasant allusion to W. in Star. W. asks, "Does John really live in Philadelphia? His loyalty is unmistakable." The reception at Brinton's home this evening. W. counsels me, "Give all of my friends there best remembrances, and give Brinton my special affection and regard." (Brinton very happy in this when I told him. "It does me honor—great honor.")

Had no time to stay. W. however let out some political reflections, strongly against the present regime at Washington. Later, after supper, met Harned, who had a piece of news, this, namely: that a lawyer had come over to see him, representing the Reinhalters (Jones his name), and that they had had a stormy interview. Harned not confident but a suit will issue. Anyway, no conclusion. We are all disturbed. Any excitement might kill W. Harned also said to me, "I went down the other evening and broached that subject of the personal history to him, but he declared, 'I am too sick to give it to you today, Tom: it is a long story.' But I drew from him this much: that there were two women; that they are Southern born and bred; that the families hold their heads very high. He has grandchildren, and they seem to want to come and take care of him. He hears regularly from one young man." Suppose W. would die before it was divulged. That would be bad! Tom continued, "He also said to me: 'I want to give you everything, Tom, without reserve—every fact—all the data. I want you to have them in your hands.' I said something in a general way to Brinton the other night and he advised me, 'Harned, don't unnecessarily conceal anything.'" Much talk about the Reinhalter affair.

At Brinton's a rather brilliant company of men—varied talk with varied fellows. Stoddart among them. Always testifies to Walt Whitman. Tells me, "I have been at the old man to give me a couple of poems." "Walt has not written for months." "But hasn't he unprinted pieces—some of them—over there?" Will probably go over this week to see W.—wishing, too, to have a young lady working with him, a Miss North, see him and hear W.'s voice. Gave Stoddart the history of the O'Connor "Poe" manuscript, and I think if we recover it he will print it. Gave me a funny story of his last visit to W. "I had a young California lady with me. I said to her: you must give him the impression, let him know, you came all the way from California to see him. We tried to get some fruit on this side of the river but couldn't get anything nice enough to satisfy us. But in Camden we got some flowers—a chrysanthemum stalk. When we got to Whitman's, the girl overdid it all—told Whitman that she had brought the flower all the way from California for him!"

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