Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Charles L. Heyde to Walt Whitman, November 1888

Date: November 1888

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00411

Source: The Trent Collection of Walt Whitman Manuscripts, 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: Kirby Little, Stefan Schöberlein, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock



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Van Ness & American
Hotels.
Burlington, Vermont. The "Van Ness House" has a Safety Hydraulic
Passenger Elevator, Fire Escapes, and the
Grinnell Automatic Sprinkler.
Fine views of the Lakes and Mountains from
all parts of the House.
VAN NESS HOUSE. U. A. WOODBURY, Proprietor. L. S. DREW & H.N. CLARK, Managers.
Burlington, Vt.
Nov 1888

Bro Walt,

Han1 has rec'd your last, with letter from Mary (sister)2, which interested her very much. But Han is much concerned about yourself—your confinement disabilities—she is extremely nervous, being weak from her prostrating sickness. Is striving hard however to do for herself—about the kitchen—has her own bedroom—large—airy, just as she needs or desired. We put up another stove last Saturday (heater) which I traded for—a heater—which fortunately came just in this nick of time—for a great change in the weather—cold.

In reply to your question I would state that the address of our good physician and friend is

Doctor L. M. Brigham3
Physician and Surgeon
College and Pine St
Burlington
Vermont

A copy of your Nov Bough4 would be highly appreciated by him—.

I was reading portions last evening—quotations from Tennyson5—right fluent [purposelyess?] sounds very persuasively sounding.6 Get Elaine Enoch Arden7 (on the Island) is graphic—


Charlie


Correspondent:
Charles Louis Heyde (1822–1890), a French-born landscape painter, married Hannah Louisa Whitman (1823–1890), 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).

Notes:

1. Hannah Louisa (Whitman) Heyde (1823–1908), youngest sister of Walt Whitman, married Charles Louis Heyde (1822–1890), a French-born landscape painter. Charles Heyde was infamous among the Whitmans for his offensive letters and poor treatment of Hannah. Hannah and Charles Heyde lived in Burlington, Vermont. For more, see Paula K. Garrett, "Whitman (Heyde), Hannah Louisa (d. 1908)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

2. Mary Van Nostrand Whitman (1821–1899) was the daughter of Louisa Van Velsor Whitman and Walt Whitman's younger sister. She married Ansel Van Nostrand, a shipwright, in 1840, and they lived in Greenport, Long Island. Mary and Ansel had five children: George, Minnie, Fanny, Louisa, and Ansel, Jr. See Clarence Gohdes and Rollo G. Silver, ed., Faint Clews & Indirections: Manuscripts of Walt Whitman and His Family (Durham: North Carolina: Duke University Press, 1949), 208, 207. For more information on Van Nostrand Whitman, see Paula K. Garrett, "Whitman (Van Nostrand), Mary Elizabeth (b.1821)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

3. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]

4. Whitman's November Boughs was published in October 1888 by Philadelphia publisher David McKay. For more information on the book, see James E. Barcus Jr., "November Boughs [1888]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

5. Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892), among the best-known British poets of the latter half of the nineteenth century, wrote such poems as "Morte d'Arthur," "Ulysses," "The Charge of the Light Brigade," and In Memoriam A.H.H.. In 1850, the same year In Memoriam was published, Tennyson was chosen as the new poet laureate of England, succeeding William Wordsworth. The intense male friendship described in In Memoriam, which Tennyson wrote after the death of his friend Arthur Henry Hallam, possibly influenced Walt Whitman's poetry. Tennyson began a correspondence with Whitman on July 12, 1871July 12, 1871. Although Tennyson extended an invitation for Whitman to visit England in a July 12, 1871July 12, 1871, letter, Whitman never acted on the offer.  [back]

6. Heyde is indicating here that he had been reading portions of November Boughs; one of the pieces in that book is "A Word about Tennyson," in which Whitman quotes a number of passages from Tennyson's poetry and writes: "Tennyson shows more than any poet I know (perhaps has been a warning to me) how much there is in finest verbalism. There is such latent charm in mere words, cunning collocutions, and in the voice ringing them, which he has caught and brought out, beyond all others." [back]

7. "Enoch Arden" (1864) is a narrative poem by Alfred, Lord Tennyson about a man who goes to sea to support his wife and children, is shipwrecked on an island for ten years, then returns home to find his wife married to one of his childhoood friends. [back]


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