Skip to main content

Walt Whitman to Charles W. Eldridge, 7 July [1873]

Dear Charley,

Your letter came last week, enclosing one from the office. I have just written to the Postmaster at Washington,1 asking him to forward my letters here, as I suppose that can be done. How is it? Can it be done—do you know? So you are to leave Washington on Thursday next—& Nelly and Jeannie are also—for a New England visit—May it be a pleasant & healthful & happy one for all of you.

In my case there is no notable amendment—& not much change—I have irregular spells of serious distress, pain &c. in the head, full as bad as ever, sometimes lasting all day, & sometimes part of the day or night only, with intervals in which, (while I remain still,) I feel comparatively easy—but my locomotion is about as bad as it was—last evening I thought it worse than usual—(to-day it is not)—I am not taking any medicine, nor have I talked with any doctor since I left W[ashington]—nights & sleep are quite good—appetite middling—&c &c.—I still stay here, afraid to go to Atlantic City, or any where, while I am liable every day to these depressing spells—& incapacitated from walking—

We have the weather in streaks of hot & cool here—last evening it turned coldish & remains so this forenoon, very bright & pleasant—but we had it very hot here too, some days—

By what I see in the Phil. Ledger and N. Y. Herald2 Wash[ington] items to-day, I infer that William has rec'd the appointment of C[hief] C[lerk] at which I am truly pleased—Nelly, as I suppose you will see this letter, I will send you my love in it, and you must take this letter the same as if written to you—I wontwon't ask you to write from W. at present in the midst of your preparations—but write me from Newport, after you get well rested & settled—did you see Dr. Drinkard? & did he say any thing new about my sickness or symptoms?

I have rec'd a letter from John Burroughs to-day—he & wife are evidently having real good healthy country times away there in the cool uplands of Delaware county—he is home—

I am feeling comparatively comfortable to-day, & still hope for the best—but—Charley, go in to my office a moment, before you go & see if any letters—tell me if William is definitely appointed—write very soon from Boston, if not before.



  • 1. See Whitman's letter of July 15, 1873. [back]
  • 2. On July 7, 1873, the New York Herald noted: "The Chief Clerkship of the Lighthouse Board, now vacant, will, it is said, be filled by the appointment of William D. O'Connor, who has for some years past been the corresponding clerk of that office and is thoroughly familiar with its details." O'Connor's tenure was brief; as of Walt Whitman's March 12–13, 1874 letter to Peter Doyle, O'Connor had "changed to a clerkship in the Library, Treasury." [back]
Back to top