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Walt Whitman to Peter Doyle, 19 September [1873]

 loc.01751.001.jpg Dear boy Pete,

Your letter came all right last Tuesday. I still keep the same—no worse, & no better. It is the same old story. I have a great deal of pain in my head yet—no let up.

Dear son I would like to write you a good long amusing letter—but I cannot to-day. We have had a rainy night and forenoon—but as I write the sun is shining out again—& I must get out & drag myself around a little for a change.

Farewell my loving son, till next time. Walt.

I send a small bundle of papers.

 loc.01751.002.jpg 1873

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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