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Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 29 June 1866

Dearest Mother,

I rec'd your letter this morning—I hope you have had as pleasant a change in the weather, as we have here—it rained yesterday & the night before—& to-day the weather is just right—cool enough—poor old Mrs. Mix1 is quite sick—Hector Tyndale2 has been to see me again—always talks about you—When in the army he had a very bad wound in the head—was a year getting over it—

I think George must mind how he exposes himself to the sun, or gets overheated—I find I have to maneuvre through the very hot days, like a general in fight—I carry an umbrella, and if the sun gets to fall on me good & strong, any of the real hot days, my head gets swimming, & I have to stop in the street, or rather get inside some store or something, & sit down—I have had just that happen to me twenty times—so now I am very slow & careful—I think George might find a suit of good blue navy flannel first-rate for the hot weather—I am wearing mine—the suit I wore last summer—I never had any thing for heat that suited me so well—

Jeff,3 I hope you had, (or will have,) a first rate time on your fishing excursion—I should like greatly to be with you—

Well good bye for this time, dear mother—I send you some envelopes. Love to sister Mat,4 & the little girls.5



  • 1. Mary Mix lived with her daughter, Juliet Grayson, who operated the boardinghouse at 468 M North, where Whitman lived between late January 1865 and February 1866. After her daughter's death on January 7, 1867, Mrs. Mix left Washington; see Whitman's letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman of January 29, 1867 in Miller, Correspondence, 1:311–312. See also Whitman's letter of June 26, 1866 . [back]
  • 2. Hector Tyndale was an importer of china in Philadelphia. Whitman described a meeting with him on February 25, 1857 (The Complete Writings of Walt Whitman (1902), 10 vols., IX, 154-155). His mother, Sarah Tyndale was an abolitionist from Philadelphia who met Walt Whitman in the company of Bronson Alcott and Henry Thoreau. See Whitman's letter to Sarah Tyndale of June 20, 1857 in Edwin Haviland Miller, ed., The Correspondence (New York: New York University Press, 1961–77), 1:42–44; Gay Wilson Allen, The Solitary Singer: A Critical Biography of Walt Whitman (New York: Macmillan, 1955; rev. ed., New York University Press, 1967), 202-204; and Odell Shepard, ed., The Journals of Bronson Alcott (Boston: Little, Brown, 1938), 286-290. [back]
  • 3. Thomas Jefferson "Jeff" Whitman (1833-1890), Walt's brother. [back]
  • 4. Martha Mitchell Whitman (1836–1873), also known as "Mattie," wife of Whitman's brother Jeff. [back]
  • 5. Mannahatta and Jessie, Jeff's daughters. [back]
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