Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Herbert Gilchrist to Walt Whitman, 16 August 1882

Date: August 16, 1882

Editorial notes: The annotation, "Isn't there something pretty consoling & deep in this letter?—deeper than Herbert knew when he wrote?," is in the hand of Walt Whitman. The annotation, "see notes May 29 1888," is in the hand of Horace Traubel.

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.02193

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Kirsten Clawson, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray



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Post Office:
Griff, Nuneaton, Warwickshire
August 16th, 1882

Dear Walt.

So glad to hear of your health & spirits being so good, and that your book too has gone off so admirably in Phil. That Boston lawyer must be a curiously ignorant fellow or something much worse? However, all's well that ends well. I and mother do not think very highly of O'Connor's Blustering defence; we think that he is on a wrong tack when he justifies you by the classics & by what Emerson says as if that made any difference one way or the other, it makes some to Emerson but it doesn't substantiate anything one way or the other except to show that Emerson was what every one already knows him to have been a shrewd good man: as far as I can see. But people must find you out for themselves it's no use throwing big adjectives at their heads.

I dont dear Walt think that you have improved upon your early poems either the titles or arrangement. I cant see that they needed improvement of any kind. And I fear that people of the next generation will be sadly puzzled to know which is the edition? whether to adopt your early or your later readings? depend upon it William Blake's maxim is a sound one, "First thoughts in Art, second in other matters." And neither do I think that your last edition is so artistically printed or bound as those early volumes. (The English edition).

I am staying down at George Eliot's native place and am seeing a good deal of her brother whom I like very much indeed. Am sketching her house, Griff House—the house in wch she lived so many years of her early life. The country here is flat but the land is fertile and the people are a fine stalwart race of men and women. Although I had not seen the Evans family before they are very hospitable & friendly. Wednesday afternoon I played the delightful game of lawn-tennis with them and their friends & the following day I was asked to go and play tennis at the Rectory two miles off.

Miss Nelly Evans, George Eliot's niece, has just returned from the Highlands: a fresh jolly natural lively candid cleverish woman without beauty is Miss Nelly.

A scotch mist this morning so I could not go on as usual with my out-door painting but the afternoon is going to be lovely. Expect to stay in the neighborhood another week, when I shall shift my diggings as my bedroom window will not open: a small cottage, otherwise to my mind.

I am wondering whether you are following our foreign policy as closely as I am: What a splendid fellow Gladstone is—I wish our Premier was 30 years old instead of 70 something! What a safety-valve he is to English politics! & yet thousands of his countrymen hate him as though he had wrought them some personal injury.

I have just finished reading "Democracy." I think that it is inimitable of its kind and quite a new kind to me. How ably the political shark is drawn & what a charming heroine!


Herbert H. Gilchrist


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