Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 24 September 1881

Date: September 24, 1881

Whitman Archive ID: prc.00075

Source: The current location of this letter is unknown. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 3:245–246. 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, Nima Najafi Kianfar, Stefan Schöberlein, and Nicole Gray

Rand, Avery & Co., Printers.
Sept: 24 1881

Dear friend

Yours rec'd—I am now back here finishing up—only stayed a few days in Concord, but they were mark'd days. Sunday, Emerson & his wife, son Edward & wife &c. gave me a dinner—two hours—every thing just right every way—a dozen people there, (the family & relatives)—for my part I thought the old man in his smiling and alert quietude & withdrawness—he has a good color in the face & ate just as much dinner as any body—more eloquent, grand, appropriate & impressive than ever—more indeed than could be described—Wasn't it comforting that I have had—in the sunset as it were—so many significant affectionate hours with him under such quiet, beautiful, appropriate circumstances?

The book is done & will be in the market in a month or so—all about it has proceeded satisfactorily—& I have had my own way in every thing—the old name "Leaves of Grass" is retained—it will be a $2 book—

I shall probably go on to New York in about a week—shall stay at Johnston's, (address me there Mott avenue & 149th street N Y city) about a week or ten days—

Besides this general death-gloom of the nations1—have you heard of the sudden & dreadful death of our young friend Beatrice Gilchrist in performing some chemical experiment with ether?

Joaquin Miller is here—is with me every day—Longfellow has been to see me2—I have met O W Holmes & old Mr James.3

With love—
Walt Whitman


1. The death of President Garfield on September 19. See also the letter from Walt Whitman to Louisa Orr Whitman of July 6, 1881[back]

2. Whitman had called on Longfellow on April 16 (Specimen Days, ed. Floyd Stovall [New York: New York University Press, 1963], 266). [back]

3. The father of the novelist. [back]


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