They said he asked for me often; that his prayers were full of my name, the mock self-portrait I had given crumpled at his heart. He wept often—it was his weakness, the illness. He cried for me, but it was the pain coupled with fever that directed the cry, and when he was aware he was silent and asked for no one.
News of my adventures affected him unpredictably. He expressed no gladness that I was still alive, nor enthusiasm at any chance of success. Sometimes he was calmed by talk of me and would listen quietly and attentively, as if he were a child and his nurse a storyteller. Then he was afforded a moment’s peace and stillness. Equally often he shed silent tears as he bade the speaker tell on, his countenance so stricken that it seemed he could not live on however promising the account.
They told me he had forbidden any word in my support, in defense of what he believed my desertion. There were times he—but no, it was too late. He asked for me to the last. Would I see him, and do him honor, even when he knew me no more?
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