Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Harry Stafford, 22 October [1883]

Date: October 22, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: loc.03999

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

Contributors to digital file: Stefan Schoeberlein, Kirsten Clawson, Nima Najafi Kianfar, and Nicole Gray

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Oct: 22 Evn'g

Dear Harry

The spirit moves me to scribble off a few lines to you—but I don't know why, for I have no news to tell & nothing particular to write about any how. I returned to-day from a three days visit to my Quaker friends at Germantown—they have tip top horses & carriage, & we had good long drives Saturday afternoon & Sunday towards evening after the rain—After supper, & the things are removed, we all sit around the table we sometimes keep it up an hour & a half & have a good talk & discussions, & accounts of any thing that has occurred during the day, & somebody has questions to put or information to glean,—perhaps some little recitation or singing, a good lot of us—eight or nine altogether—there are two just grown daughters, as nice and jolly and 'cute as young women can be—one son—& always three or four others—making a good time Sunday morning, they have family prayers—I was requested to read a chapter from the testament—(the Sermon on the Mount)—which I did—(I wish you could have all seen & heard me)—I never beheld such a merry, affectionate, hearty healthy family—[nobby?], too—

—With me, this fall, everything just floats idly along, as far as writing and work are concerned—Down there at Ocean Grove and along Barnegat &c. I was moved to write a poem on the ocean1—I have turned it & turned it & rewritten it over & over again—but cant get it to suit me yet—Harry, how is it with you? & why didnt you come & tell me—before you left the printing offices here?—Write me a line soon as you get this2—Sometimes I think you must be sick—

—I am about as usual—I am writing this after 9 at night up in my room, sitting in the big ratan chair.

God bless you Harry dear—


1. "With Husky-Haughty Lips, O Sea" (see the letter from Whitman to William D. O'Connor of December 3, 1883). [back]

2. Harry called on Whitman on October 30 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]


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