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Walt Whitman to Ruth Stafford, 25 October [1881]

 loc_gt.00011_large.jpg Dear Ruth Stafford

Your letter has reach'd me here, & I am very glad to hear from you all—sorry your father suffers so from rheumatism—(but I believe every one has something.) You do not say any thing about your mother—I hope she is well.

—I have been away now over three months—was down on Long Island last July & August and then for the last two months have been in Boston, seeing to the printing of my complete poems "Leaves of Grass" in one volume—which is all done to my satisfaction, & the book will be published now in about a week. I came back from Boston last Saturday, & expect to stay in New York ten or twelve days, & then back to Camden for a while. I got a letter from Harry six or seven weeks ago, wh' I answered,2—& have sent him several other letters, also papers, which I suppose he has rec'd. I sent him a postal card last Sunday from here in N Y​ —also a paper to Mont—


I have been & am well as usual—see a great many people, & some how have to go around quite a good deal, but I often feel that I sh'd rather be alone out in the woods or especially if I could be down there by the old pond, & have no racket or hubbub around me—yet I ought not to complain, for I find lots of friends & the very best of good treatment continually wherever I go in New England & here in New York—

I have had a long rambling ride this forenoon & midday all about the upper part of N Y​ island—it is like a fairy land, such hills and lanes and ponds & old trees & queer rocks—I just let the horse go his own way, most of the time—got home in time for dinner, (3 oclock​ ) & found your letter among two or three others waiting for me—& thought I would answer it without delay—I will send you one of the little circulars of my book, although I sent one a week ago to Harry—When I was in New England I travel'd quite a good deal—had some splendid rides—good horses & good roads—one young lady I fell in  loc_gt.00013_large.jpg with near where I was living had a team of her own, two handsome white ponies, & a good light wagon, & she had the good sense to ask to take me out every other day—of course I was nothing loth—Miss Mann—a very good driver too, & we did have some jolly times I tell you—

The Saturday evening before I came away I gave a reception to my Boston friends, especially the printers &c. We had a jolly time too—there were three hundred came & went—at 10 o'clock we had a supper—but one such affair will answer for a life time—I enjoy'd it, but I dont​ want any more—Such things will do better for you young folks—

By your letter I suppose Ed and Mont and Van are well as usual & all right—I should be real glad to see them & Deb too—When Harry comes home Sunday tell him I sent my best love to him, as always—& tell him to write to me—I expect to go to Canada this winter—Have you heard any thing from Herbert since?—Well it is growing twilight & I must stop—

Walt Whitman

my address here for ten days will be Mott av: & 149th street—Station L New York City3

 loc_gt.00014_large.jpg  loc_vm.00265_large.jpg  loc_vm.00266_large.jpg


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Ruth A Stafford | Kirkwood | (Glendale) | New Jersey. It is postmarked: Morrisania | Oct 25 | 6 PM | N.Y. City. [back]
  • 2. See the letter from Whitman to Harry Stafford on September 14, 1881. [back]
  • 3. On the back of the second page of this letter are two pencil drawings of a heart, with the word "Heart" written at the top of the page in an unknown hand. [back]
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