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Walt Whitman to Herbert Gilchrist, 22 July [1877]

 loc.02162.001_large.jpg Dear Herbert

Here I am at my room & haunts in Camden, so different from the creek, & bathing & exercising in the open air2—yet I keep myself busy at one thing & another—& am feeling pretty well so far. (Yet I attribute my feeling pretty well now to my visits for the last year & a half to the creek & farm, & being with my dear friends the Staffords.)

We had a nice healthy ride up from Kirkwood, Mrs S and I, Friday  loc.02162.002_large.jpg morning, & I enjoyed it much—(am glad I came up that way, instead of the RR). I went over to your mother's yesterday afternoon about 5½ & staid till after 8—nothing specially new with them—your mother & Bee & Giddy are all well & in good spirits—We had a good tea,—I punished a fearful quantity of good oatmeal mush & stewed blackberries—then we sat & talked for an hour & a half, in the cool of the evening on the front stoop—then a delightful jaunt home to Camden, a most lovely evening (the moon & Jupiter in conjunction, & I speering them all the way home & especially on the river)—

I am partially busy at some writing—feel most first rate for me, to-day—Herb, you will see by the enclosed piece that J. Bur: is in Canada (or en route thither)3—Write to me—

Your old Walt

I have written to-day to Mrs Stafford

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  • 1. This letter bears the address: Herbert Gilchrist | Kirkwood | Camden County | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Camden | Jul | 22 | N.J. [back]
  • 2. Whitman was with the Staffords from July 13 to 20; he "came up in the light wagon with Mrs. S July 20." (The Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). For an account of a scene with Harry Stafford, see Edwin Haviland Miller's introduction to Walt Whitman: The Correspondence [New York: New York University Press, 1961–77], 3:1-9). Evidently Whitman was considering a trip to Washington, for on November 9, 1877, Elmer Stafford, Harry's sixteen-year-old cousin, wrote to Whitman: "I would like to be with you all the time if i could. i would like very much to go with you on your trip to Washington." [back]
  • 3. John Burroughs wrote to Whitman on August 10 after a three-week trip to Canada and a brief visit to Boston and Concord (Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Friday, September 14th, 1888, 318–319). He was in Camden about the middle of September (see the letter from Whitman to Anne Gilchrist of September 19, 1877). [back]
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