Title: Anne Gilchrist to Walt Whitman, 24 November 1882
Date: November 24, 1882
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from The Letters of Anne Gilchrist and Walt Whitman, ed. Thomas B. Harned (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1918), 209–210. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
Whitman Archive ID: loc.05145
Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Eder Jaramillo
Well Rd., Hampstead, London
Nov. 24, '82.
You have long ere this, I hope, received Herby's letter telling of the safe arrival of the precious copy of "Specimen Days," with the portraits: it makes me very proud. Your father had a fine face too—there is something in it that takes hold of me & that seems to be a kind of natural background or substratum to the radiant sweetness of that other sacred & beloved face completing your parentage. I like heartily too the new portraits of you: they are all wanted as different aspects: but the two that remain my favourites are the portrait taken about 30 without coat of any kind, and the one you sent me in '69—next to those I love these two latest—& in some respects better, because they are the Walt I saw & had such happy hours with. The second copy of book & my lending one, has come safe—too—and the card that told of your attack of illness, & the welcome news of your recovery in the Paper; & I have been fretting with impatience at my own dumbness—but tied to as many hours a day writing as I could possibly manage, at my little book now (last night)—finished, all but proofs, so that I can take my pleasure in "Specimen Days" at last; but before doing that must have a few words with you, dearest Friend. First a gossip. Do you remember Maggie Lesley? She came to see us on her way to Paris, where she is working all alone & very earnestly to get through training as an artist—then going to start in a studio of her own in Philadelphia. She, like my mother's sister, are to me fine, lovable samples of American women—in whom, I mean, I detect, like the distinctive aroma of a flower, something special—that is American—a decisive new quality to old-world perceptions. Herby is working away still chiefly at the Consuelo picture—has got a very beautiful model to-day sitting to him. His summer work was down in Warwickshire, making sketches—& very charming ones they are, of George Eliot's native scenes—one of a garden-nook—up steep, old, worn stone steps bordered with flowers that is enticing—it will make a lovely background for a figure picture.—Giddy's voice is growing in richness & strength—& she works with all her heart, hoping one day to be a real artist vocally—in church & oratorio music. She will not have power or dramatic ability for opera—nor can I wish that she had; there are so many thorns with the roses in that path. I fear you will be a loser by Bogne's bankruptcy. Did I tell you that among our friends one of your warmest admirers is Henry Holmes, the great violinist (equal [to] Joachim some think—we among them). Per. & wife & little grandson all well. My love to brother & sister & to Hattie [&] Jessie. Good-bye, dear Walt. I hope to write more & better soon.
Greetings to the Staffords.