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Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 22 March [1872]

 loc.01545.001_large.jpg '72 Dear Pete,

I rec'd your letter yesterday. Pete you must be quite steady at work, & no time to spare. Well, perhaps it is just as satisfactory, considering all things. The cold weather has just kept on here, as before—cold enough all the time—and then a spell of damned bitter, stinging cold, every now and then extra—not one single mild, warm day since I have been home—six weeks—

—I am middling well, go out some every day, but not much—Best thing is my eating & sleeping—I fall back on them altogether—I sleep splendid, have a good bed, plenty of cover—get up pretty early though  loc.01545.002_large.jpg& make the fire, & set things a going, before mother comes out—she has had some bad times with rheumatism, &c—one hand & arm quite disabled—still she is very cheerful, looks well in the face, & does more work cooking &c. than most young women—We have grand breakfasts, buckwheat cakes, coffee, &c. eggs, &c—just wish you could come in mornings & partake—We two always breakfast together, & it is first rate—So you see I fall back on sleeping & eating, (as I said)—Should be glad to see Parker Milburn—hope he will call to-day—I send you a paper by mail

—Well Pete I believe that is all, this time. Good bye, my darling son—So the new shirts turn out a success do they? I have a great mind to be jealous—Give my love to Wash Milburn, Adrian Jones, & all the RR boys.

Your loving old Walt

Peter Doyle (1843–1907) was one of Walt Whitman's closest comrades and lovers, and their friendship spanned nearly thirty years. The two met in 1865 when the twenty-one-year-old Doyle was a conductor in the horsecar where the forty-five-year-old Whitman was a passenger. Despite his status as a veteran of the Confederate Army, Doyle's uneducated, youthful nature appealed to Whitman. Although Whitman's stroke in 1873 and subsequent move from Washington to Camden limited the time the two could spend together, their relationship rekindled in the mid-1880s after Doyle moved to Philadelphia and visited nearby Camden frequently. After Whitman's death, Doyle permitted Richard Maurice Bucke to publish the letters Whitman had sent him. For more on Doyle and his relationship with Whitman, see Martin G. Murray, "Doyle, Peter," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).

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