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Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 19 July [1872]

 loc.01738.001.jpg Dear boy Pete,

I rec'd your letter yesterday—nothing very new with me—am better than I was when I wrote you before—shall return to Washington next week somewhere about the middle of the week.

Pete, you must try to keep good heart—Perhaps this will find you at work again—if not, you must keep up a cheerful heart, all the same—I have just been spending a couple of hours with Joaquin Miller—I like him real well1


$10 enclosed


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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