Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Frank and May Baker, 2 December [1874]

Date: December 2, 1874

Whitman Archive ID: prc.00032

Source: Private collection of Mrs. Donald F. Smith. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 5:299–300. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the correspondence, see our statement of editorial policy.

Contributors to digital file: Kenneth M. Price, Elizabeth Lorang, Kathryn Kruger, Zachary King, and Eric Conrad

431 Stevens st.
cor West.
New Jersey.
Dec. 2—P.M.

Frank and May Baker,
Dear friends,

Your kind letters reached me this morning—it does me good to get such kind reminders—& to know I am still so remembered & affectionately invited & asked for. I shall pay you the visit.

Last three weeks I have been extra sick—was taken with bad vertigo spells, vomiting, & fits of prostration—lasted for several days, bad at intervals, and, though the worst seems to have past, am left weak & sort of qualmish, with headache.

It is now as I write about 1 P.M. & very fine—I have been out on the side walk in the sun, but had to get back soon—doctor comes every day—thinks it mainly a serious affection of liver, (& stomach too), very obstinate—thinks it (this trouble) does not proceed from brain, heart, lungs, kidneys—(those, according to him, are all right)—thinks it indeed not improbable that my tedious paralysis, & all the cerebral business, &c. have had their bases (reflexes, &c from emotional bases) in said liver trouble—I am much inclined to think he has hit it—Am taking medicine—bromides of potash & ammonium—have been taking moderate calomel powders—sit up now all day—but havn't been out, (except to the front door, or stoop, like,) for nearly three weeks—Keep good heart, & expect to yet get, not vigorously well, but comparatively well—Want to come on & see you, & see the baby, & expect to do so—will send you word—(must first visit Mr. & Mrs. Nash, however, at Navy Yard, as I said1)—Frank, what did you see of the London Academy criticism?2 I only saw an extract in the Boston Courier, half a column—

Love to you, dear friends—not forgetting the dear baby—
Walt Whitman

Frank, I wish to be remembered to Arnold Johnson in the office—tell him I sent my love to him—


1. When Whitman went to Washington in November 1875, he stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Michael Nash; see Whitman's November 9, 1875 letter to Ellen O'Connor. [back]

2. Whitman refers here to George Saintsbury's comment on Leaves of Grass appeared in The Academy, 6 (October 10, 1874), 398–400. [back]


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