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Walt Whitman to John R. Johnston, 20 June [1877]

 loc.02582.001_large.jpg Dear boy Jack,1

I thought of coming round to see you all last Sunday, but it was so hot & I didn't get over to Camden—didn't feel like walking up from the ferry—Jack I am stopping up here in 22d street for a week or two—they are very kind to me, & very jovial & we have real good times—the young man, about 21,2 he & I are very thick—then there are two grown daughters—the eldest one is a first class trump, she is my favorite every way—she is studying at the woman's Medical University here—the mother Mrs Gilchrist, is a very fine lady,—we have good meals, & take our time over them—I have the best room in the house, breezy & cool (& the water in it)—& a young English college Professor, Mr Carpenter, is staying here for a few days—though a stranger he is a great friend of mine & indeed has come over from England to see me—(But I have written enough of all that—


Dear Jack I wonder if I shall ever be with you, or rather have you with me, so that we can have some good times together on land or water—I used to think of having a shanty of my own there in Camden, & I thought I shouldn't be satisfied without having you & Ida up there to take supper with me two evenings in the week at least—I wonder if it is ever coming to pass— Mean time I shall come around next Sunday, if you are all at home—Tell Ida to put her hair in curl papers Saturday night—& though I do not wish the fatted calf slaughtered on Sunday morning—I hope there will be some spear mint ready to pull in the garden—Johnny how does it go with you?—Love to mother & father & tell 'em I'm coming round next Sunday—Here is a kiss for you, Jack, & take care of yourself, & don't forget your loving friend

Old W W  loc.02582.003_large.jpg  loc.02582.004_large.jpg


  • 1. According to Walt Whitman's notation on Jack Johnston's calling card, the young man was employed about this time by A. R. McCown & Co., a hosiery store in Philadelphia (see the letter from Walt Whitman to John R. Johnston, Jr. of February 18, 1878). Later he was employed by Ziegler & Swearingen, sellers of notions in Philadelphia (The Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). In Jack's autograph book Whitman wrote in 1875: "In memory of the good times, Sunday evenings, in Penn street, 1875, '4, & 3." On January 18, 1880, he wrote again: "Good times, Sunday Evenings, continued, '76, '77, '78, '79, &c. W W" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
  • 2. Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist. [back]
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