Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Charles Louis Heyde to Walt Whitman, 2 November 1884

Date: November 2, 1884

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00396

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: Alex Ashland, Stefan Schöberlein, Ian Faith, Nicole Gray, and Kyle Barton

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Burlington Vermont
Nov 2, 1884.

Bro Walt,

Han is certainly better, although fluctuating in her condition. I essayed to drive with her yesterday but was compelled to return. Some nights she does not sleep, at others sleeps well. She is about the house this morning: little appetite. She keeps your letters close by her: she cannot read much, or endure reading or talking. Dr Lund1 is attending her steadily; he is a good physician: Asks no fee, but I shall pay him in my way. I have used a portion of the money sent to Han, which I shall repay—to help get a frame. I have numerous good paintings, but money is scarce. I have to meet my annual interest next [week?] 15 dollars; that paid I [shall?] have a year before me to housekeeping.

I washed our sheets yesterday, with Siddalls Soap2 nicely. I shall have a strange and instructing history to report some day probably, but I have saved in household service and other ways, over 60 dollars.

I shall continue as I am[:] our condition, of course is current through the town.

C L Heyde—

Charles Louis Heyde (ca. 1820–1892), a French-born landscape painter, married Hannah Louisa Whitman (1823–1908), Walt Whitman's sister, and they lived in Burlington, Vermont. Charles Heyde was infamous among the Whitmans for his offensive letters and poor treatment of Hannah. For more information about Heyde, see Steven Schroeder, "Heyde, Charles Louis (1822–1892)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. Dr. William B. Lund became Hannah Heyde's doctor after the former doctor, Samuel W. Thayer, had died. He remained the family's doctor until Hannah Heyde's death in 1908. [back]

2. "Frank Siddalls Soap" was a laundry detergent widely advertised as a "Godsend to Housekeepers and Servant Girls" because it claimed to work "without boiling" (Harper's Weekly [2 February 1883], 79). Siddalls even sent out trial packages through the mail. On Siddalls's life and business ventures, see: "Some Interesting Episodes From the Career of the Late Frank Siddalls," Trade: A Journal for Retail Merchants 14 (Detroit, 1907), 26. [back]


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