With Walt Whitman in Camden, by Horace Traubel
Copyright 1996 by Fellowship of Friends. All Rights Reserved.

During His Final Illness

Tuesday, March 15, 1892

I asked again, "Have you had a look at the Telegram?"
"At the Telegram."
"Was it right?"
"Do you feel any return of strength?"
"I am on my way to work--to the busy desk over there in the big town."
"I tire of it at times."
"No doubt."
"But I stick to it."
He smiled, "I know you do."
Warrie had left the room. I reached over--kissed his hand. "Good-bye--good-bye, Walt."
His face lighted up, "Bye--bye."
"I am sorry you must suffer so."
Every word a struggle. And again I kissed him, and heard him say, "Bless--bless." Coughed--choked--breathed heavily. I turned as I reached the door. His eyes opened. He smiled. That smile! And after I had gone I had yet to go back. Again to see him, to have his smile.