Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Anne Gilchrist to Walt Whitman, 27 January–13 February 1883

Date: January 27–February 13, 1883

Whitman Archive ID: loc.05152

Source: Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. The transcription presented here is derived from The Letters of Anne Gilchrist and Walt Whitman, ed. Thomas B. Harned (New York: Doubleday, Page, & Company, 1918), 211–212. 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

12 Well Rd. Hampstead
Jan. 27, '83.

It is not for want of thinking of you, dear Walt, that I write but seldom: for indeed my thoughts are chiefly occupied with you & your other self—your Poems—& with struggles to say a few words that I think want saying about them; that might help some to their birthright who now stand off, either ignorant or misapprehending.

We all go on much as usual.

Feb. 13. I wonder if you will like a true story of Lady Dilke that I heard the other day—I do: It was before her marriage. She was a handsome young heiress, a daring horsewoman, fond of hunting. There was a man, weakly & of good position, who had behaved very basely & cruelly to a young girl in her neighborhood, & when (as is the case in England) half the country was assembled on the hunting field, Lady D. faced him & said in a voice that could be heard afar, "Sir you are a black-guard, & if these gentlemen had the right spirit in them they would horsewhip you." He looked at her with effrontery & made a mocking bow. "But," she continued, "since they won't, I will"—and she cut him across the face with her riding whip; upon which he turned and rode off the field, like a dog with his tail between his legs, & reappeared in that neighbourhood no more. She was a woman much beloved—died at the birth of her first child (from too much chloroform having been given her). Her husband was heart-broken. I see you, too, are having floods. With us it pours five days out of seven, & so in Germany & France. We have made the acquaintance of Arabella Buckley, who has just written an interesting article about Darwin, whom she knew well, for the Century. She says his was the most entirely beautiful & perfect nature she ever came in contact with. How I wish we could have a glimpse of each other, dear Friend—half an hour talk—nay, a good long look & a hand-shake. Herby is overhead painting in his studio—such a pleasant room. How is John Burroughs? We owe him a letter & thanks for a good art. on Carlyle. Love to you, dearest friend.

Hearty remembrances to your brother & sister & Hattie & Jessie.


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