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Walt Whitman to Daniel Longaker, 7 June 1891

Have just had my 2d meal, mutton and rice stew, wet Graham toast, &c.; relished fairly—drank a little of the Rhine wine—take the granules (3 to-day). No motion of the bowels now, I think, five perhaps six days. To-day easier (negative)—freer from the horrible deathly sinkiness of yesterday and Thursday—have been sitting up reading and writing all day—had one or two visitors,1 excused myself.

Horace Traubel2 still in Canada, having a good time I guess.3 Expect him back last of the coming week. A half–medical acquaintance4 was in—said, "You look all right—surely there's nothing the matter with your health!" Didn't know whether to take it as compliment or the other thing. (Ah! this immovable block of constipation.)

Daniel Longaker (1858–1949) was a Philadelphia physician who specialized in obstetrics. He became Whitman's doctor in early 1891 and provided treatment during the poet's final illness. For more information, see Carol J. Singley, "Longaker, Dr. Daniel [1858–1949]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R.LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. As yet we have no information about these visitors. [back]
  • 2. Horace L. Traubel (1858–1919) was an American essayist, poet, and magazine publisher. He is best remembered as the literary executor, biographer, and self-fashioned "spirit child" of Walt Whitman. During the late 1880s and until Whitman's death in 1892, Traubel visited the poet virtually every day and took thorough notes of their conversations, which he later transcribed and published in three large volumes entitled With Walt Whitman in Camden (1906, 1908, & 1914). After his death, Traubel left behind enough manuscripts for six more volumes of the series, the final two of which were published in 1996. For more on Traubel, see Ed Folsom, "Traubel, Horace L. [1858–1919]," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998). [back]
  • 3. Horace Traubel married Anne Montgomerie on May 28, 1891 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). After Whitman's birthday celebration on May 31, 1891, the couple traveled with Bucke back to London, Ontario, where they stayed until returning to Camden, New Jersey, on June 14. [back]
  • 4. As yet we have no information about this person. [back]
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