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Walt Whitman to Thomas Nicholson, 17 December [1880]

Dear Tom

I was glad to have word from you, once more, & glad to get the particulars of that race—this is the first full account I have heard, & I am real pleased, Tommy, first at the satisfaction of your winning, and next at your raking in the good stakes—altogether it must have been quite a time—

Yes Dr Bucke was here, and we had a very pleasant afternoon and evening together—had a first rate dinner—and then in the hotel sitting room some of the tallest kind of talking & arguing you may be sure.2

I live very quietly & plainly here, board with my brother & sister-in-law—have a nice little room up in the third story fronting south (I am sitting here now in a great rocking chair, & the sun is pouring in bright and warm as you please—I wish you was here, Tommy, to spend the afternoon with me)—

I have some work to-day, most every day a little, but I take it easy, content if I can make enough to pay my expenses—I never cared to be rich, (no possibility of that any how) but I dont care to be too poor either.

I get out on the river, (the Delaware) or over in Philadelphia most every day—lately I go down to the Ferry at nights & cross over & back two or three times. The river is full of ice & the boats have a pretty tough time—but the nights are light, the full moon shining like silver, and I enjoy it all—(Know the pilots and boat hands intimately.) Last night was perfect, & only middling cool—I staid crossing till 12 o'clock—felt good—& then got hungry & went and got a dozen nice oysters & a drink (Dont that make your mouth water, Tommy boy?) I often think of you and the boys & girls—give my best respects to all of them, Dick Flynn, Tom Bradley3 & all the cricket boys—that was the best summer there in Canada, & among you all & the Asylum grounds, & the daily rides into London & all, that I ever put in & I am feeling the benefit of it yet. My love to you, Tom, & am glad you dont forget me, as I won't you—try to write to me regular—

Walt Whitman

Did George England's picture come all safe?


  • 1. Whitman noted this letter to Nicholson in his Commonplace Book. The poet sent the young man a newspaper account of a "N Y walking match" on January 30, 1881 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
  • 2. Whitman had spent the afternoon of December 5 with Dr. Richard Maurice Bucke at the Girard House in Philadelphia (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]
  • 3. These two friends of Nicholson are mentioned in the letter from Whitman to Nicholson of October 14, 1880. [back]
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