Skip to main content

Walt Whitman to Harry Stafford, 22 October [1883]

 loc_vm.00209_large.jpg Dear Harry

The spirit moves me to scribble off a few lines to you—but I don't know why, for I have no news to tell & nothing particular to write about any how. I returned to-day from a three days visit to my Quaker friends at Germantown—they have tip top horses & carriage, & we had good long drives Saturday afternoon & Sunday towards evening after the rain—After supper, & the things are removed, we all sit around the table we sometimes keep it up an hour & a half & have a good talk & discussions, & accounts of any thing that has occurred during the day, & somebody has questions to put or information to glean,—perhaps some little recitation or singing, a good lot of us—eight or nine altogether—there are two just grown daughters, as nice and jolly and 'cute as young women can be—one son—& always three or four others—making a good time  loc_vm.00210_large.jpg Sunday morning, they have family prayers—I was requested to read a chapter from the testament—(the Sermon on the Mount)—which I did—(I wish you could have all seen & heard me)—I never beheld such a merry, affectionate, hearty healthy family—nobby, too—

—With me, this fall, everything just floats idly along, as far as writing and work are concerned—Down there at Ocean Grove and along Barnegat &c. I was moved to write a poem on the ocean1—I have turned it & turned it & rewritten it over & over again—but cant get it to suit me yet—Harry, how is it with you? & why didnt you come & tell me—before you left the printing offices here?—Write me a line soon as you get this2—Sometimes I think you must be sick—

—I am about as usual—I am writing this after 9 at night up in my room, sitting in the big ratan chair.

God bless you Harry dear— W W


  • 1. "With Husky-Haughty Lips, O Sea" (see the letter from Whitman to William D. O'Connor of December 3, 1883). [back]
  • 2. Harry called on Whitman on October 30 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
Back to top