Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Logan Pearsall Smith to Walt Whitman, 7 September 1888

Date: September 7, 1888

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03820

Source: The Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 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: Jeannette Schollaert, Ian Faith, Caterina Bernardini, and Stephanie Blalock

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Sept 7 1888

Dear Mr. Whitman,

I hope the summer has left you tolerably well at least, your occasional postal cards have been a comfort. We have been having a most delightful time all to-gether. The chance of an advertisement brought us, family, horses, servants, and baby into this remote corner of Wales & set us down in the old house of a reduced country squire. It rained for a week after we came, but we lit fires & unpacked our three volumed novels and tried to pretend that we were enjoying it. Then fortunately it cleared up and we began driving & playing tennis, I went fishing with our vicar's son and soon the charm of the hills, the country lanes and the air made us very well contented with out lot. A good many of our neighbours (anyone within 12 miles is a neighbour) have called on us & have turned out to be very pleasant people, though their intellectual horizon is a little limited perhaps.

To think of us you must imagine a spur of a healthy mountain covered with fine old trees, a winding carriage drive through trees coming to an open space & finally ending under the eaves of a low, many-gabled old house. Behind there is an old garden with high walls in the form of a square which are covered with peach and cherry trees growing like vines over them.

I try to study in the mornings, the afternoons I give to shooting, fishing or tennis. Only I find that afternoons of that kind have a great tendency to swallow up the mornings. Mariechen1 and Frank Costelloe2 & I however have been reading one of Sophocles' plays to-gether. Just now the Costelloes are off in Scotland on visit.

We are just off to a tennis party at the vicar's, so good bye for the present. The paper you send Mary3 came to hand O.K. many thanks.

With much love

When will "Autumn Boughs"4 be out?

Logan Pearsall Smith (1865–1946) was an essayist and literary critic. He was the son of Robert Pearsall Smith, a minister and writer who befriended Whitman, and he was the brother of Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe, one of Whitman's most avid followers. For more information on Logan, see Christina Davey, "Smith, Logan Pearsall (1865–1946)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


1. "Mariechen" was Logan's pet name for his sister Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe. [back]

2. Benjamin Francis Conn Costelloe (1854–1899), Mary's first husband, was an English barrister and Liberal Party politician. [back]

3. Mary Whitall Smith Costelloe (1864–1945) was a political activist, art historian, and critic, whom Whitman once called his "staunchest living woman friend." A scholar of Italian Renaissance art and a daughter of Robert Pearsall Smith, she would in 1885 marry B. F. C. "Frank" Costelloe. She had been in contact with many of Whitman's English friends and would travel to Britain in 1885 to visit many of them, including Anne Gilchrist shortly before her death. For more, see Christina Davey, "Costelloe, Mary Whitall Smith (1864–1945)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]

4. Pearsall Smith is referring to Whitman's November Boughs, which was published in October 1888 by Philadelphia publisher David McKay. For more information on the book, see James E. Barcus Jr., "November Boughs [1888]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]


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