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Walt Whitman to Louisa Orr Whitman, 12–13 September [1879]

 mhs.00025.001_large.jpg Dear Lou

Came through here all right—seems to be much as I was mentioning to you the other day—at any rate I feel better here now at the end than I did the two days before I started, & on Wednesday night & morning—Found it comfortable & easy on the sleeping car—suited me perfectly—I see now that you ought to have come—you would have enjoyed every thing—it is really nothing difficult to come—To make it more interesting we had a smash about 5½ Thursday p m on our train, just escaped being something very bad indeed—the two locomotives all shivered to splinters—nobody hurt however, (only one man who jumped, the mail agent)—detained us there 2½ hours2—I didn't mind it at all—the last 400 miles since we did fly!—I never rode so fast before in my life—strangely enough too I slept quite well—only woke up every hour or two—When we got here in St L an hour & a half ago, on alighting from the cars  mhs.00025.002_large.jpg found Jeff waiting for me—he looks fat & dark, & like work—(which I guess he has plenty of)—We all rode immediately to the Planter's Hotel, where we were expected, & have just had a royal breakfast, perfect beefsteak, broiled chicken, oysters, good coffee &c—enjoyed it, for I hadn't eat any thing since yesterday at 3½—This great hotel is crowded with guests—the proprietor puts his private parlor & room at my disposal, & it is in it I am writing this—Jeff is coming in about an hour to take us on a long ride around—I shall stay with him & the girls to-night—To morrow morning at 8.50 we start for central Kansas, 350 miles further (we are here 1000 miles from Phila:)—

Lou, I will write again, what moves I make—dont exactly know—most likely I shall come back with Col. F soon, as I find it mighty convenient & nice—every thing seen to—

Saturday—8 a m—I have been stopping at Jeffs—they are very nicely fixed—slept like a top—have just had a first rate breakfast—the girls are well, & send love—they much wish you had come—

—I now start in an hour for Kansas, (Lawrence) shall get there about 10 to-night

Brother Walt


  • 1. Whitman, accompanied by Colonel Forney (see the letter from Whitman to John Burroughs of March 27, 1879,) left for St. Louis on September 10 after accepting an invitation to address the Old Settlers of Kansas Committee at Lawrence. He arrived in St. Louis on September 12, and proceeded on the following day to Lawrence, where he stayed with Judge John P. Usher (1816–1889), Secretary of Interior in Lincoln's administration and at this time mayor of Lawrence (see the letter from Whitman to Usher of January 14, 1880). [back]
  • 2. Whitman described this accident at Urbana, Ohio, in an interview in the St. Louis Republican on September 13 (reprinted in American Literature, 14 [1942–1943], 143). [back]
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