Title: William D. O'Connor to Walt Whitman, 20 September 1882
Date: September 20, 1882
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.03065
Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Kirsten Clawson, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray
September 20, 1882.
I have your postals of the 3rd and the 17th.
Comstock takes the dare! He cowers, like a kicked spaniel, and does not venture to carry out his threat. I thought my letter would have the effect of making him cautious.
Now for Tobey. Look out for the Tribune. I have sent (last Saturday) an elaborate vivisection of the Boston postmaster and Oliver Stevens together, which, if the Tribune, publishes, will certainly make a big row. I think you will like it as well as my first letter. It is gay and stinging until near the close, when it rises and darkens into righteous anger. The Boston journals will surely respond to it, and Tobey will rue the day. Old orthodox rascal!
Glad to hear your other book is near the launch. I got the programme—very attractive and picturesque. I only regretted that you had included your paper on Poe, which I think all mistaken. Every one flings a stone at poor Edgar—Stedman's, the worst of all. No such man as you fancy ever got and held the love of such a woman as Helen Whitman. I know so much about him through her, and through much reading of what he wrote, that I cannot help deploring all adverse criticism upon him.
Frothingham's article is fair, but unworthy of him. The arriere pensee is evident. He thinks better of your book than he dares to write. But such cowardice is simply shameful. A scholar ought to be a soldier, and face the batteries proudly.
I will send the "Modern Thought" to Bucke soon. Hurrah for Molloy! I read his article with gratification. Apropos, I wish you would tell me just what Ruskin said about L. of G., for I discover that it was to you, or some near friend of yours, that he wrote. I want to know very much.
Is there any chance of Rees Welsh printing Bucke's book? I wish it might be done. It would help, and now is the time, while public interest is alive.
I will try to get the "American Queen" ("spell it with an a," as I once heard Horace Mann say sarcastically) and peruse the fury.
I am glad you liked the way I cooked Comstock.
The weather here is very oppressive, and "the weight of the superincumbent hour" is hard to bear, together with the load of office work and the lassitude and illness that afflict the subscriber. But October will soon be here, with healing in his wings.
My Jeannie has been very ill this summer, but is getting better, and will go to Providence on Friday. She can scarcely walk with weakness, but is on the mend. It has made life heavy for me.