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Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Prose Works. 1892.

I. Specimen Days

234. Some Old Acquaintances—Memories

Aug. 16.—“CHALK a big mark for to-day,” was one of the sayings of an old sportsman-friend of mine, when he had had unusually good luck—come home thoroughly tired, but with satisfactory results of fish or birds. Well, to-day might warrant such a mark for me. Everything propitious from the start. An hour’s fresh stimulation, coming down ten miles of Manhattan island by railroad and 8 o’ clock stage. Then an excellent breakfast at Pfaff’s restaurant, 24th street. Our host himself, an old friend of mine, quickly appear’d on the scene to welcome me and bring up the news, and, first opening a big fat bottle of the best wine in the cellar, talk about ante-bellum times, ’59 and ’60, and the jovial suppers at his then Broadway place, near Bleecker street. Ah, the friends and names and frequenters, those times, that place. Most are dead—Ada Clare, Wilkins, Daisy Sheppard, O’Brien, Henry Clapp, Stanley, Mullin, Wood, Brougham, Arnold—all gone. And there Pfaff and I, sitting opposite each other at the little table, gave a remembrance to them in a style they would have themselves fully confirm’d, namely, big, brimming, fill’d-up champagne-glasses, drain’d in abstracted silence, very leisurely, to the last drop. (Pfaff is a generous German restaurateur, silent, stout, jolly, and I should say the best selecter of champagne in America.)