A Day with Walt Whitman

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"About six o'clock on a midsummer morning in 1877, a tall old man awoke, and was out of bed next moment,—but he moved with a certain slow leisureliness, as one who will not be hurried. The reason of this deliberate movement was obvious,—he had to drag a paralysed leg, which was only gradually recovering its ability and would always be slightly lame. Seen more closely, he was not by any means so old as at first sight one might imagine. His snow-white hair and almost-white grey beard indicated some eighty years: but he was vigorous, erect and rosy: his clear grey-blue eyes were bright with a "wild-hawk look,"—his face was firm and without a line. An air of splendid vital force, despite his infirmity, was diffused from his whole person, and defied the fact of his actual age, which was two years short of sixty. Dressing with the same large, leisurely gestures as characterized him in everything, Walt Whitman was presently attired in his invariable suit of grey: and by the time the clock touched half-past seven, he was seated in the verandah, comfortably inhaling the sweet, fresh morning air, and quite ready for his simple breakfast."

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