Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, [16–21] July [1871]

Date: July 16–21, 1871

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01536

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence5, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:128–129. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

By the sea-shore, Coney Island,
Sunday 3 p.m.

Dear Pete,

I will write you a few lines as I sit here, on a clump of sand by the sea shore—having some paper in my haversack, & an hour or two yet, before I start back. Pete, I wish you were with me the few hours past—I have just had a splendid swim & souse in the surf—the waves are slowly rolling in, with a hoarse roar that is music to my ears—the breeze blows pretty brisk from south-west, & the sun is partially clouded—from where I sit I look out on the bay & down the Narrows—vessels sailing in every direction in the distance—a great big black long ocean steamship streaking it up toward New York—& the lines of hills & mountains, far, far away, on the Jersey Coast, a little veiled with blue vapor—here around me, as I sit, it is nothing but barren sand—but I don't know how long I could sit here, to that soothing, rumbling murmuring of the waves—& then the salt breeze—

Pete, if you are still working, and all is going on smooth, you can send me that $50—you might get Mr. Milburn to send it to me by post-office order—give it to him, with this envelope, & ask him to go to p. o. & send a p. o. order to me—it will save you the trouble—But Pete, dear boy, if any thing has turned up in mean time, you needn't send it, as I can get along otherwise1

I am doing very well, both in health & business prospects here—my book is doing first rate—so every thing is lovely & the goose hangs high—Your loving comrade & father


Friday July 20.2

Dear son, I wrote the preceding nearly a week ago, intending to finish & send it then—Nothing very new or special with me—Mother has been quite unwell, gets better, & then worse again—I have applied for a few days further leave—The weather here remains nearly perfect—we have had but three or four uncomfortably hot days the past five weeks—every day a fine breeze smelling of the sea—


1. Whitman confirmed receipt of the $50 in his July 24, 1871 letter to Doyle. [back]

2. The date has been lined through and "21?" (correctly) substituted in another hand. [back]


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