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Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 2–[3] January 1880

Dear friend

Yours of 29th Dec. with the present came safe to-day—Believe me I feel the gift, & it comes just right too—John, please forward the enclosed slip to unknown friend1

The above is a fair picture of the great Mississippi Bridge, East St Louis, where I have loafed many hours—only it sets up much higher than the print gives—I dont believe there can be a grander thing of the kind on earth2

Jan 43

I leave here Sunday morning at 8, on my return east, & shall be due in Philadelphia Monday evening, before 8—The last two or three weeks I have been well, for me, & am so now—

Your letter was deeply interesting to me, made me see Emerson no doubt just as he is, the good pure soul—

John, I sympathize with you in the arm, & the treatment too—

A great thaw & dense fog here as I write—

Walt Whitman


  • 1. James T. Fields wrote to Burroughs on December 22, 1879, about sending Walt Whitman "a small Christmas remembrance in money [$100] . . . There is no occasion for his being told who sends it" (Clara Barrus, Whitman and Burroughs—Comrades [Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1931], 189). On December 29 Burroughs sent the gift without mentioning the donor's name (The John Rylands Library, Manchester, England). On November 9 Richard Maurice Bucke had offered the poet $100 as a gift or a loan. Whitman wrote on the letter: "Kind letter from Dr Bucke offering money (declined with thanks)" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
  • 2. The Eads Bridge. [back]
  • 3. Whitman undoubtedly meant to write "Jan 3," since Sunday was the fourth (Walt Whitman: The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller [New York: New York University Press, 1961–77], 3:172). [back]
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