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Anne Gilchrist to Walt Whitman, 14 December 1881

My Dearest Friend:

Your welcome letter to hand. I have longed for a word from you—could not write myself—was stricken dumb—nay, there is nothing but silence for me still. Herby wrote to Mrs. Stafford first, thinking that so the shock would come less abruptly to you.

I heard of you at Concord in a kind long letter from Frederick Holland, with whose wife you had some conversation. Indeed all that sympathy and warm & true words of love & sorrow & highest admiration & esteem for my darling could do to comfort me I have had—and most & best from America. And many of her poor patients at Edinburgh went sobbing from the door when they heard they should see her no more.

The report of your health is comforting dear friend. Mine too is better—I am able to take walks again—though still liable to sudden attacks of difficult breathing.

Herby is working hard—has just been disappointed over a competition design which he sent in to the Royal Academy—a very poor & specious work obtaining the premium—but is no whit discouraged & has no need to be, for he is making great progress—works hard, loves his work & is of the stuff where of great painters are made, I am persuaded—so he can afford to wait. Giddy is not quite so well & strong as I could wish, but there seems nothing serious. She is working diligently at the development of her voice—& is learning German. Dr. Bucke's friend, Mr. Buxton Forman, & his wife are very warm, staunch friends of Herby's.

Please give my love to your sister, and tell her that her good letter spoke the right words to me & that I shall write before very long. Thanks for the paper, dear friend—& for those that came when I was too overwhelmed but which I have since read with deep interest—those about your visit to your birthplace. With love from us all—good-bye, dearest Friend.

A. Gilchrist.
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