Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Susan Stafford, 6 May [1881]

Date: May 6, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03907

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: Kirsten Clawson, Stefan Schöberlein, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

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Friday afternoon
May 6

My dear friend

I am sorry to hear of your feeling so unwell, & have thought about it probably more than you think—bad enough any how to feel sick or half sick, & specially so with one that has so much depending upon her, (& a pretty ambitious spirit too)—I thought I would write you a few lines, & may-be it might cheer you a little—Things go on quite the same with me—a little more quiet than usual since I got back from Boston (I suppose you got the letter & papers I sent you while I was there)—I had a lively time in Boston—Susan I wish you could have been there the evening of my lecture—it was such a collection of people as would have suited you, & been a study—different from any I ever saw in my life before—fully one half were women—something different in all of them from the usual crowd—about 300—(I will tell you more when I see you)—

As I write this part of my letter, just come up from dinner—we had a great fat sweet baked shad, just right—what is better once in a while for dinner than good fresh fish, & potatoes?—(I remember you too are fond of fish sometimes)—shad are unusually good & plenty now—I wish I could send you & George down a couple of big fresh ones, such as I see them bringing in every haul, from the river—A middling fair rain here to-day & last night—it is raining as I write—well I am glad of it, for it will do a power of good—our street begins to look first rate with the long rows of trees, five squares of them now all out in leaf—strawberries are already huckstered about the street—I suppose bro't from the south—Rec'd a long good letter from Mrs. Gilchrist—I think Beatrice must be regularly established as a woman physician in Edinburgh—Mrs. G. is going on there to visit her, & for a change, as she is not yet real well—Herbert is painting away & I guess having a good time, with lots of company & fun &c.—I was out a few evenings ago to spend an hour or two in north Camden with some friends, a Quaker family, three sisters quite elderly, one (the oldest) a widow with a grown up son & daughter—they sent for me to come to tea—the five live together—they are neither poor nor rich—keep no servant—but O such quiet, happy kind, affectionate ways—cheerful too, & plenty of good things—but the manners "the peace of heaven"—I enjoyed myself first rate just being with them—(besides the good things)—

Susan what do you hear about old Mrs. Morgan? I suppose she is needy enough, poor old woman, & if you have a chance I should like you to send her things to the amount of two dollars a month, as I told you, & I will pay for them—(if you cant go yourself, may-be you can send by Debby or Patience)—

Evening ½ past 8—Well I will finish my letter & put it in the box—maybe you will get it to read Sunday—This afternoon 4 to 6½ I took one of my usual jaunts over in the busiest parts of Philadelphia—Market and Chestnut Streets—crowded with myriads of people & vehicles—all seemed to be going as if the devil was after them—the crowds & rush & excitement seemed to be much greater even than usual—well I took some three hours of it—then slowly across the river & home—had my supper, & here I am in perfect quiet up in my room, finishing my letter—Susan my dear friend I hope this will find you all right & well again—but if still unwell, try to keep a good heart—

Love to all—
Walt Whitman


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