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Walt Whitman to Edwin Stafford, 3 February 1882

 loc_jc.00369_large.jpg Dear Ed

Your good letter has just come & all seems to be in such good spirits with you, & every thing right so far—

—When I wrote to your folks a few days ago, (after I heard you had started out) I said I could not tell of course whether your enterprise would be a pecuniary success or not, but I was certain it would be in showing you a different world, and a deeper knowledge not only of general human nature but of yourself—(all of which the Scripture calls that wisdom which is more precious than worldly riches.) Every young man ought to explore something of the outside world,—especially of our American country & the west1


Nothing very new with me—I am well as usual for me—As I write I am up in my room Stevens Street—a pretty cold day, & moderate snow & ice on the ground, but sun shining bright—quite a good deal of sleighing—

—I am busy with my writing in moderation—write four or five hours every day—My new book is doing reasonably well (better than I expected) & promises to give me a small but steady income—

—I have not been down, but shall go before long, & then I will write to you again—

—I got a letter from Ruth four days ago, & saw Muller yesterday—all your folks were as usual—When I go down I shall make Van give me a good ride—I got a long letter from Herbert Gilchrist—he is well2—Carpenter ditto—Ed dear boy I won't give you any particular advice for I have an idea you know how to take care of yourself both morally & physically—& I hope you will prove it—

Walt Whitman  loc_jc.00367_large.jpg  loc_jc.00368_large.jpg


  • 1. Whitman, as he noted, offered virtually the same advice about Edwin in a letter to Harry on January 31. [back]
  • 2. Herbert Gilchrist wrote to the poet on January 15. Whitman was in Glendale from February 16 to March 6, 1882 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
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