Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to George and Susan Stafford, 13 July [1880]

Date: July 13, 1880

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03895

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.

Notes for this letter were created by Whitman Archive staff and/or were derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller, 6 vols. (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), and supplemented or updated by Whitman Archive staff.

Contributors to digital file: Alicia Bones, Grace Thomas, Eder Jaramillo, Kevin McMullen, and Nicole Gray

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London Ontario Canada
July 13 p m

My dear friends all

I am still laid up here quite sick1—last week has been about the same as the previous one with me—I am up & drest, but dont go out—the weather is in my favor here,—if it was as hot here as it seems to be most of the time in Philadelphia, it would go hard with me—They are as kind & good as can be, both Dr and Mrs Bucke—then I have a horse & little basket-wagon appropriated to me, to go out by myself, or be driven out just whenever I like—but to be deprest & sick prevents any thing being enjoyed—But enough of this—I have no doubt it will pass over, as it has times before—

The country here is beautiful with hay & wheat—they are just now in the height of harvest for both, & I watch them from my windows—We have rain every third or fourth day (just now a little too much)—Dr Bucke has a big house & a great many visitors—from two or three to five or six here nearly all the time—two fine young ladies staying all the time, with Mrs B & a governess for his younger children—I tell you if I felt well I should have great times—even as it is we have some jovial hours—last evening nothing would do but I had to come in the parlor & sing a couple of verses of "Black Eye'd Susan"—

If I get all right, the plan is three of us, Doctor & another man & myself to go down the Lakes, and all down the St Lawrence, (the "Thousand Islands" &c) and so on far north to a great river, the Saguenay, I have always wanted to see—& so to Quebec—will take three weeks—but I will have to feel very different from what I do now—

Well I must close—How are you all? Is George well this summer? Is Harry well & in the store? This is about the eighth or ninth document I have sent to you from Canada—counting papers, letters, postal cards, &c. (one to Harry from Lake Huron) & I havn't had a single breath of reply from any of you—Susan I enclose you an envelope—Love to all—

Walt Whitman

I shall get well, no doubt, & be coming back like a bad penny toward the end of the summer.


1. There is no reference to Whitman's illness in Whitman's Commonplace Book, but in a letter to William D. O'Connor on July 1, Bucke noted that Whitman "has not been very well for a few days" (The Trent Collection of Walt Whitman Manuscripts, Duke University Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library). Though Whitman and O'Connor remained estranged until 1882, Bucke as well as John Burroughs apparently kept O'Connor informed about the poet's activities. [back]


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