Life & Letters

Correspondence

About this Item

Title: Charles L. Heyde to Walt Whitman, [7] June 1889

Date: June [7], 1889

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00414

Source: Trent Collection of Whitmaniana, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University. 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: Blake Bronson-Bartlett, Caterina Bernardini, Breanna Himschoot, and Stephanie Blalock



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U.A WOODBURY PROP.
Van Ness and American Hotels
L.S. DREW
H.N. CLARK
MANAGERS
Burlington Vt.
Van Ness House
The Van Ness House has a Safety Hydraulic Passenger Elevator Fire Escape and the Grinell Automatic Sprinkler
Fine Views of the Lakes and Mountains from all parts of the House.
Burlington Vt.
June 7th, 18891

Bro Walt,

Your letter to Han,2 with 1 dollar—received. She is very nervous: did not sleep all night. I have a roost in noreast corner—small room, enough but brightens with early morning light. 4 or 5 oclock—

I get solitary breakfast—best I can—always did—dont mind it, if I can be helpd [illegible] little at times—sell paintings, trifle over cost of framing—go with poor clothing—very seedy—dont mind that can I but keep square on provisions—no let bill double on me—You have great enthusaism to aid and help you perhaps with money—no such sentiment here. I painted Vermont State Coat of Arms 26 years ago—no Executive Seal—get 50 dollars for it—This is sculptured on the Gettysburg Monument, and the Army Associations—Got all thi[s?] acknowledged by G.G. Benedict's in daily Journall,3 amounts [illegible] nothing toward selling paintings

On State pride—Edmunds4 and I, Stewart5—complain of poverty miserable people—ye[t] grand country in scenery—speak to George6—I must keep the house and maintain it—Han must have a home—she [cant?] survive a sale or removal—I wrote to George before Christmas advising him to send money—This box amounts to nothing— better had sent the dollar it cost to forward it—Han has used some thread out of it—the handsome bed spread, was examined, then thrust back in the box, and pushed uneder a table—getting dusty and musty—I have not a comfortable bed for years—yet I can sleep, after [and?] can crowd in a [form?], and draw covering over me—warm with an old overcoat and cotton coverlid—I have a blanket now—I don't require it—I never undressed coldest nights last winter—tired oft as an old [vetrans?], I dropped in my tracks, [illegible] and slept, after a hard day battle with life—O! oh! what an experience—narative.

Got a heater last winter, gave a picture for it—pipe passed into chimney through my room mad it comfortable—

My sister on Staten Island has been dangerously ill for some weeks—now convalescing—a frail looking creature, and yet the mother of several children and grand children—sincere—guiless—beloved——I have not seen either of my Sisters in 35 years. I have numerous choice painting [illegible] reserve for an appreciative customer perhaps—Five it is said—God, it is hard—


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. The "7th" in the date has been added in red pen. [back]

2. 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]

3. George Grenville Benedict (1826–1907) was a Medal of Honor winner in the Civil War, then returned to his home of Burlington, Vermont, where he edited and published The Burlington Daily Free Press[back]

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

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

6. George Washington Whitman (1829–1901) was the sixth child of Louisa Van Velsor Whitman and ten years Walt Whitman's junior. George enlisted in 1861 and remained on active duty until the end of the Civil War. He was wounded in the First Battle of Fredericksburg (December 1862) and was taken prisoner during the Battle of Poplar Grove (September 1864). As a Civil War correspondent, Walt wrote warmly about George's service, such as in "Our Brooklyn Boys in the War" (January 5, 1863); "A Brooklyn Soldier, and a Noble One" (January 19, 1865); "Return of a Brooklyn Veteran" (March 12, 1865); and "Our Veterans Mustering Out" (August 5, 1865). After the war, George returned to Brooklyn and began building houses on speculation, with partner Mr. Smith and later a mason named French. George also took a position as inspector of pipes in Brooklyn and Camden. Walt and George lived together for several years in Camden, but when Walt decided not to move with George and his wife Louisa in 1884, a rift occurred that was ultimately not mended before Walt's 1892 death. For more information on George Washington Whitman, see Martin G. Murray, "Whitman, George Washington," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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