Life & Letters


About this Item

Title: Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, June 1883

Date: June 1883

Whitman Archive ID: tex.00435

Source: T. E. Hanley Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas at Austin. The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Ted Genoways (Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa Press, 2004), 7:68–69. 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 and Nicole Gray

Pete, do you remember1—(of course you do—I do well)—those great long jovial walks we had at times for years, (1866–'72) out of Washington City—often moonlight nights—'way to "Good Hope";—or, Sundays, up and down the Potomac shores, one side or the other, sometimes ten miles at a stretch? Or when you work'd on the horse-cars, and I waited for you, coming home late together—or resting and chatting at the Market, corner 7th Street and the Avenue, and eating those nice musk or watermelons? Or during my tedious sickness and first paralysis ('73) how you used to come to my solitary garret-room and make up my bed, and enliven me, and chat for an hour or so—or perhaps go out and get the medicines Dr. Drinkard had order'd for me—before you went on duty?

Pete, give my love to dear Mrs. and Mr. Nash,2 and tell them I have not forgotten them, and never will.



1. This note is written on the fly-leaf of a copy of Specimen Days, sent to Peter Doyle at Washington, D.C., in June, 1883. It was published subsequently in Specimen Days & Collect as "Note to a Friend" (see Complete Prose Works, 443). The note is significant, because it constitutes the first correspondence from Whitman to Doyle since July 1880. It appears that writing Specimen Days stirred Whitman's memories of the times he shared with Doyle in Washington, contributing to the nostalgic air of this note. [back]

2. Mr. and Mrs. Michael Nash were old, mutual friends of Whitman and Peter Doyle in Washington. Whitman referred to them often, especially in closing, in his letters to Doyle. [back]


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