Skip to main content

Richard Maurice Bucke to Walt Whitman, 9 November 1879

My dear Walt Whitman

For the last two weeks I have been expecting to hear from you every day, and I did hope to have seen you before this time.1 A week ago I supposed that you had gone East but as I have not received a copy of "Leaves of Grass" from you I now begin to think that perhaps you have not got on as well as you expected and that you are still ill in St Louis.

If this is the case it may be that you are short of money—if you are and will let me I will gladly send you a hundred dollars.2 This you may look upon as a loan (to be paid by ten copies of "Leaves of Grass"), or a gift, or (more justly) as a small instalment of the infinitely greater debt than that which I owe you. In any case, look at it as you please, I hope you will not refuse to take the money if you have any [damage] need of it at all.

Could I be of any use to you there I will ask at once for a weeks leave of absence (which I know I can get) and go at once to St Louis

I am affectionately yours R M Bucke Kind letter from Dr Bucke | offering money | (declined with thanks)


  • 1. On October 16, 1879, Whitman had written Bucke from St. Louis: "Have been absent from Camden the last five weeks—been over the Plains & up in the Rock Mountains—gave out about two weeks ago & have been quite sick ever since (principal trouble with my head) but am recovering—only received yours (of Sept 22) today—will send the book from Camden as soon as I get back—shall stay here twelve days WW." [back]
  • 2. Whitman's letter to Bucke of November 12, 1879, declining the money is listed as lost (Walt Whitman: The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller [New York: New York University Press, 1961–77], 3:433). [back]
Back to top