Skip to main content

Anne Gilchrist to Walt Whitman, 8 May 1882


Herby went to David Bognes1 about a week ago: he himself was out, but H. saw the head man, who reported that the sale of "Leaves of Grass" was progressing satisfactorily. I hope you have received, or will receive, tangible proof of the same. Bognes is a young publisher, but, I believe from what I hear, a man to be relied on. His father was the publisher of my husband's first literary venture & behaved honourably. Herby brought away for me a copy of the new edition. I like the type like that of '73, & the pale green leaf it is folded in so to speak. I find a few new friends to love—perhaps I have not yet found them all out. But you must not expect me to take kindly to any changes in the titles or arrangement of the old beloved friends. I love them too dearly—every word & look of them—for that. For instance, I want "Walt Whitman" instead of "Myself" at the top of the page. Also my own longing is always for a chronological arrangement, if change at all there is to be; for that at once makes biography of the best kind. What deaths, dear Friend! As for me, my heart is already gone over to the other side of the river, so that sometimes I feel a kind of rejoicing in the swelling of the ranks of the great company there. Darwin, with his splendid day's work here gently closed; Rossetti, whose brilliant genius had got entangled in a premature physical decay, so that his day's work was over too! In a letter to me, William, who was the best, most faithful & loving of brothers to him, says, "I doubt whether he would ever have regained that energy of body & concentration of mental resource which could have enabled him to resume work at his full & wonted power. Without these faculties at ready command my dear Gabriel would not have been himself." Edward Carpenter's father, too, is gone, but he at a ripe age without disease—sank gently.

The photographs I enclose are but poor suggestions—please give one to Mrs. Whitman with my love, or if you prefer to keep both, I will send her others. Does the idea ever come into your head, dear Friend, of spending a little time this summer or autumn in your English home at Hampstead?

Herby is well and working happily. So is Grace. Little grandson & his parents away in Worcestershire.

It is indescribably lovely spring weather here just now. A carpenter near us has a sky-lark in a cage which sings as jubilantly as if it were mounting into the sky, & is so tame that when he takes it out of the cage to wash its little claws, which are apt to get choked up with earth, in warm water, it breaks out singing in his hand!

Love from us all, dearest Friend. Good-bye. ANNE GILCHRIST.

Affectionate greetings to your brother & sister & Hattie & Jessie.

Do you ever see Mr. Marvin? If so, give our love, we hope to see him one day.


  • 1. The name of David Bogue, a London-based publisher who distributed the 1881 edition of Leaves of Grass in England, is misspelled in Harned's transcription. [back]
Back to top