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Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, [16–21] July [1871]

Dear Pete,

I will write you a few lines as I sit here, on a clump of sand by the sea shore—having some paper in my haversack, & an hour or two yet, before I start back. Pete, I wish you were with me the few hours past—I have just had a splendid swim & souse in the surf—the waves are slowly rolling in, with a hoarse roar that is music to my ears—the breeze blows pretty brisk from south-west, & the sun is partially clouded—from where I sit I look out on the bay & down the Narrows—vessels sailing in every direction in the distance—a great big black long ocean steamship streaking it up toward New York—& the lines of hills & mountains, far, far away, on the Jersey Coast, a little veiled with blue vapor—here around me, as I sit, it is nothing but barren sand—but I don't know how long I could sit here, to that soothing, rumbling murmuring of the waves—& then the salt breeze—

Pete, if you are still working, and all is going on smooth, you can send me that $50—you might get Mr. Milburn to send it to me by post-office order—give it to him, with this envelope, & ask him to go to p. o. & send a p. o. order to me—it will save you the trouble—But Pete, dear boy, if any thing has turned up in mean time, you needn't send it, as I can get along otherwise1

I am doing very well, both in health & business prospects here—my book is doing first rate—so every thing is lovely & the goose hangs high—Your loving comrade & father


Friday July 20.2

Dear son, I wrote the preceding nearly a week ago, intending to finish & send it then—Nothing very new or special with me—Mother has been quite unwell, gets better, & then worse again—I have applied for a few days further leave—The weather here remains nearly perfect—we have had but three or four uncomfortably hot days the past five weeks—every day a fine breeze smelling of the sea—


  • 1. Whitman confirmed receipt of the $50 in his July 24, 1871 letter to Doyle. [back]
  • 2. The date has been lined through and "21?" (correctly) substituted in another hand. [back]
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