Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 24 November 1868

Date: November 24, 1868

Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:70–71. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Location: The Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00655

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad




Attorney General's Office,
Washington.
Nov. 24, 1868.

Dearest Mother,

I suppose you got my letter last Saturday, 21st—All goes along at present the same old story—nothing new in the office—I shall be glad when Grant comes in, & a new Attorney Gen'l appointed—if I weather it out till then—though I am well enough off, at present, & probably safe—I don't think there is any show for Mr. Evarts1 remaining here after Grant comes in—

We are having a splendid spell of weather again, after the storm of Saturday last—To-day it is very fine—I should like to be with you on Thanksgiving, Thursday—I shall take dinner at my boarding house—Mrs. Benedict2 told me yesterday to bring any of my friends to dinner I wanted to—I still have the same room—I make a fire mornings, & have it quite comfortable—

Is Jeff home?3 Martha must keep up good spirits—I have no doubt she will get all right again4—I approve what you advised her about the wine—it is as George said, you can't get any real pure port wine—I shall keep watch of the place in Western Pennsylvania I spoke of, & if they have any genuine wine, as I was informed they would in January, I shall get some for Martha—

Has George done any thing about the Portland av. house, yet?5 Write to me all the news. Your letter came last week, & was welcome. I am quite busy to-day—have several jobs of work in the office that keep me hard at it—

Love to you, dearest mother—& to all—

I have had to scratch off my letter in a hurry, but I wanted you to have something, according to promise in my last.


Walt.


Notes:

1. William Maxwell Evarts (1818–1901) was chief counsel for Andrew Johnson during the impeachment trial of 1868. As a reward for his services, Johnson appointed Evarts Attorney General later in the year; Evarts was Secretary of State from 1877 to 1881 and U.S. Senator from New York from 1885 to 1891. [back]

2. Mr. and Mrs. Newton Benedict were Walt Whitman's landlords at 468 M North, having replaced Juliet Grayson after her death in 1867. Whitman recorded this change in management in his February 12, 1867 letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. [back]

3. On November 18, 1868, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman reported that Jeff was on his way from St. Louis to Brooklyn (The Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library). [back]

4. On November 11 (?), 1868, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman wrote: "matty is improving but far from well. the doctor is doctoring her throat with great success. i think he has performed two moderate opperations on her throat, but o dear if you could hear her talk it would make me hoarse to talk a steady stream as she does when any one comes on to see her" (The Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library). After Jeff's family left, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman complained, on December 14 (?), 1868, that they had not paid for any " provitions " while they stayed in Brooklyn: "i did really think they had ought to give me some [money] but let every thing go but i would ask more than 100$ to go through the same again (burn this letter)" (The Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library). [back]

5. Louisa Van Velsor Whitman added a postscript to her letter of December 14 (?): "george has commenced his house. they are digging the cellar" (The Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library). [back]


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