Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 2 October [1868]

Date: October 2, 1868

Whitman Archive ID: loc.01586

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 Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:51–52. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

Oct 21

Dear boy and Comrade2

You say it is a pleasure to you to get my letters—well, boy, it is a real pleasure to me to write to you—I just write off-hand, whatever comes up, and, as I said before, mostly about myself & my own doings. [There have been some] tremendous fires—the one [in] Brooklyn—eight or ten first-class steam engines3—Tell Harry on No 11,4 he would see quite a change in the Fire Dep't.5 Pete, if you see Pittsburgh either tell him the following, or let him have this letter, & then return it to you. Write how David Stevens6 is, & write how he is getting along.7

I have more than I can attend to here. I find myself surrounded by friends, many old ones, some new ones, some young & attractive, & plenty of invitations & amusements. I have received an invitation from a gentleman & wife, friends of mine, at Providence, R. I.,8 and shall go there & spend a few days latter part of October. How about the cold? I hope it is well. Dear Pete, with all my kind friends here & invitations, &c., though I love them all, & gratefully reciprocate their kindness, I finally turn to you, & think of you there.9

Well, I guess I have written enough for this time. Dear Pete, I will now bid you good bye for the present. Take care of yourself, & God bless you, my loving comrade. I will write again soon.


1. This draft letter is endorsed, "5th letter | Oct 2. | To Pittsburgh | To Harry Hurt."

"Pittsburgh" was an alias for Lewis Wraymond, with whom Walt Whitman corresponded on October 2, 1868. For Hurt, see Walt Whitman's October 2, 1868 letter to Henry Hurt. [back]

2. Since this draft consists of scraps of paper pasted together, with vague directions to transpose passages, the text as here given is of necessity conjectural. [back]

3. On October 2, 1868, the New York Times reported that there had been five fires in stables during the week. A fire on October 1, 1868, in the stables of Teunis G. Bergen, a Brooklyn official and U.S. Representative acquainted with Walt Whitman, had caused damage estimated at $1,000 (see Walt Whitman to "Tunis G. Bergen," January 15, 1849, in Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence [New York: New York University Pres, 1961–1977], 1:37). [back]

4. On September 27, 1868, Doyle informed Walt Whitman that Harry wanted information about the New York Fire Department. [back]

5. After this sentence appeared two notes which Walt Whitman apparently planned to expand in the letter: "Political meeting, at Cooper Institute—the great Hall, mostly under ground—conductor—pistol incident in Brooklyn." [back]

6. A driver. In an entry dated September 7, 1874, in an address book (Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman, The Library of Congress, Notebook #108), Whitman recorded a visit from Stevens, who was at that time a driver in Philadelphia. [back]

7. The latter part of this sentence originally read: "& remember me particular. He is a young man…" [back]

8. Walt Whitman accepted William Francis Channing's offer to visit Providence in Whitman's September 27, 1868 letter to Channing. [back]

9. What was evidently to be the next sentence was stricken: "I wish we could be together on the last trip this evening, & have an hour with each other afterward as usual." Walt Whitman also excised the following: "Political excitement—banners stretched across the streets, &c—processions—" [back]


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