Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Charles L. Heyde to Walt Whitman, March 1867

Date: March 1867

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00390

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

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Kathryn Kruger, Elizabeth Lorang, and Beverley Rilett

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Mar 1867

Friend Walter,

Your letters &c have all been received and delivered to Han. Respecting her neglect of writing her aged mother, not the slightest apology can be offerd. I have been compelled for a long time to procure [a?] novel, for her "Sunday" reading—and certainly, if she spends Sunday this way, she can't write to her mother. It is reasonable to anticipate, from Mrs. Whitmans past robustness, [and?] present approaching infirmities, that she will never undergo protracted sickness, but her demise, when it does take place, will occur in a brief period. It may so happen that Hannah may not be permitted to see her mother again (although I trust that Mrs Whitman will live many years to come.

I have reasoned with Han, in this way, but without avail—Han realy experiences no outward sentiment or sympathy—This neglect [of?] hers is odious to me. I have told her frankly that it is impossible for me to respect her, in view [of?] this; coupled with her indifference, [and?] ingratitude in other cases.

She drudges about the same—["washing"?] now takes place three days of the week, commencing Sunday morning; and her appearance would disgrace any servant in the vicinity. It seems impossible for me to maintain any respectable degree of order—It has become more than constant controversy— allmost a fight. She has no respect for me, nor the least consideration for the [illegible] bear I have performed, in endeavoring [to?] accomplish an agreeable neat, and pretty home—I can go no further with it—We occupy but three rooms [of?] the house, and these are badly kept. ; my personal washing amounts to just 4 pieces a week, with a pair of stocking and two or three handkerchiefs.

I have three vacant rooms—I dare not let them, at a handsome rent, or either use them myself professionally—

A greater want of morals or womanly sensibility could scarcely be found and intellectual imbecility—

She has been some days, and succeeds in tracing 3 lines to her mother, in "lead" pencil—I grow indignant and exasperated—No man assumes so much household responsibilities as I do, and all but for two persons—

Han speaks of visiting Brooklyn. I make no objection, although it will bring no comfort to her mother, I [predict.?]

She is too thoroughly selfish—There has been a proposition also for my absence—a few short months, [illegible] run down my place more than [I?] would like to recover—So I shall rent the house—It is but a shelter since, I was sick; she deliberately turned the key on me, and I had to stay at my room all night—comment is unnecessary—

C. L. Heyde


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