Title: Charles Warren Stoddard to Walt Whitman, 2 April 1870
Date: April 2, 1870
Source: Transcribed from digital images or a microfilm reproduction of the original item. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Whitman Archive ID: loc.01944
Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Ashley Lawson, Beverley Rilett, and Nicole Gray
St Francisco Cal
To Walt Whitman.
In the name of Calamus listen to me! Before me hangs your beautiful photograph, twice precious, since it is your gift to me. Near at hand lies your beloved vol. and with it the Notes of Mr. Burrough.
May I not thank you for your picture and your letter? May I not tell you over and over that where I go your go with me, in poem and picture and the little vol of notes also, for I read and reread trying to see you in the flesh as I so long to see you!
I wrote you last from the Sandwich Islands. I shall before long be even farther from you than ever for I think of sailing towards Tahiti in about five weeks.
I know there is but one hope for me. I must get amongst people who are not afraid of instincts and who scorn hypocracy. I am numbed with the frigid manners of the Christians; barbarism has given me the fullest joy of my life and I long to return to it and be satisfied. May I not send you a proze idyl where in I confess how dear it is to me?
There is much truth in it and I am praying that you may like it a little. If I could only know that it has pleased you I should bless my stars fervantly.
I have been in vain trying to buy from our Library a copy of your "Leaves" Edt. of 1855—I think it your first & I have somewhere read that you set the type for it yourself—Is it true? Do you think I could obtain a copy of it by addressing some Eastern publisher or book seller?
You say you "don't write many letters". O, if you would only reply to this within the month! I could then go into the South Seas feeling sure of your friendship and I should try to life the real life there for your sake as well as for my own.
Forgive me if I have wearied you: I will be silent and thoughtful in future, but in any case know, dear friend that I am grateful for your indulgence.
Chas. Warren Stoddard..
Box 1005. P. O.
San Francisco Cal.
(my address always)