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Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 25 June [1875]

 loc.01629.001.jpg 1873 or 4 Dear boy Pete,

I have weathered it out pretty well this week—at present moment am sitting here cover'd​ with sweat, with nothing on but shirt & pants—to-day & yesterday the very hottest kind—I suppose you have it too.

—Pete there is nothing new in my case, & no prospect more than usual of anything sudden—but it seems pretty clear that there is no substantial recovery probable, (hardly possible,) for me—how long it will last this way it is of course impossible to tell—I take it all without growling—things are steadily  loc.01629.002.jpggrowing worse with me—But I must not worry you—& may-be there is something more favorable ahead—I busy myself a little every day writing—I want to fix my books in a little better shape, this summer—partly busy with a new volume—so that they will all be comprised in Two Vols.​ —(not very much really new matter, but some)—

So you dont​ come on to Balt​ , now, (as I take it from your last)—Love to you, dear son.


Love to Mr. & Mrs. Nash—do you ever see Mrs. O'Connor or Eldridge?—Is Tasistro still around?

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).


  • 1. The allusion to his forthcoming books establishes the year. [back]
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