Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Thomas Nicholson, 17 March 1881

Date: March 17, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: duk.00758

Source: The Trent Collection of Walt Whitman Manuscripts, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:218–219. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schöberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Eder Jaramillo, and Nicole Gray

Camden New Jersey U S America
March 17 '81

Dear Tom

Your letter has just come all right & I am glad to hear from you again. Every thing seems to go lovely there with you & the boys & Dr B (which is as it should be)—Tom, I often think of you all, & of the last night we all got together, & of the friendly parting drink we all had out there on the lawn—seems as if I only got to know you & all best & then time for me to clear out—

I have some good times here in moderation—I cant go around very lively, but I enjoy what's going on wherever I go—This 31st of May coming I shall be 62—but thank the Lord I still feel young at heart & cheery as ever—After I returned last fall from Canada I was first rate all along—put in four good months—had some rare old times—will tell you when we meet, Tom—but some six weeks ago was careless enough to get badly chill'd all through my whole body, & repeated the next day—So I have been since quite under the weather—But I am getting over it & feeling quite myself again—I find I can be well enough if I take very particular care of myself, how I go, &c—

An old doctor here said to me "Whitman you are like an old wagon, built of first rate stuff, & the best sort of frame & wheels & nuts—& as long as you are mighty careful, & go slow, & Keep to good roads, you will last as long as any of us—but if you get on bad roads, or cut up any capers, then look out"—I go down every week or two (I go tomorrow again) about 20 miles from here right into the country, with a family of farmers, dear friends of mine, named Stafford—Keep a country store also—a big family of boys & girls, & Mrs S one of the kindest & best women in the world—how much happier one can be when there is good women around—Does me good to be with them all. Every thing is very old fashioned, just suits me—good grub & plenty of it. My great loafing place out there is a big old woods, mostly pine & oak, but lots of laurel & holly, old paths & roads every where through the thick woods—I spend hours there every day—have it all to myself—go out there well-protected, even in a snow storm—rabbits & squirrels, & lots of birds beginning already—Tom, you would laugh to see me the way I amuse myself, often spouting terrible pieces Shakspere or Homer as loud as I can yell. (But that always was a favorite practice of mine—I used to do it in the din of Broadway New York from the top of an omnibus—at other times along the seashore at Coney Island)—

Tom, my paper is fill'd & I must close—I wanted to write something about the running & matches, but must postpone it—Give my love to all my friends there & you yourself, dear boy—

Walt Whitman


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