Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Justin Huntly McCarthy to Walt Whitman, 3 December 1888

Date: December 3, 1888

Source: 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.

Location: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03246

Contributors to digital file: Alex Kinnaman, Elizabeth Lorang, John Schwaninger, Eder Jaramillo, Caterina Bernardini, Ryan Furlong, Alex Ashland, Ian Faith, and Stephanie Blalock

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Grand Hotel de Mustapha Algiers
Monday 3 December 1888

Dear Mr. Walt Whitman

May I, here is this old Africa & very unhappy send a message to you in America who are helping me to bear my sorrow.

This [dry?] month I suffered the greatest loss that a young man can suffer by the death of the girl I loved, the girl who was to have been my wife. She loved your poems dearly: she taught me who loved them too to understand them as I had never understood them before. They were among the last things we ever read together but a few weeks ago in England when my life seemed so happy & there seemed to be no shadow of the implacable Death. I am reading your poems now again alone & in the bitterness of my heart in this place to which I have come to struggle with my sorrow. They are helping me, they are strengthening me & I wish to send you these few words of thanks & gratitude for the sake of my dead love & my living grief. Camerado, will you give me your hand across the sea.

Justin Huntly McCarthy

Justin Huntly McCarthy (1830–1912) was an Irish novelist and writer for the London Daily News.


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