Skip to main content

Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 26 January 1868

Dearest mother,

Well, I have been out to John Burroughs's again to breakfast this morning—we have a nice hot breakfast, buckwheat cakes, &c.—It seems to be regular thing, almost every Sunday morning—then we sit & talk, & I read the Sunday morning papers till about ½ past 10 o'clock—& then I walk down here to the office, about a mile & a half—Mother, I have not much to write about, only the same old story—

I believe I told you some time ago, I had been applied to by an English magazine "The Broadway," to write something for them—well, I have lately sent them a piece of poetry—if they accept it, I shall get pay for it—The magazine is printed in London, but sold in New York also.1

I wrote to Han last Thursday—I suppose you got your letter last Friday2—I have not had any word from Jeff yet3

We are having some great speeches made in Congress—This last week, there have been debates in the Senate, & the Republicans seem thoroughly waked up & full of fight4—they have had the best of it, so far, in the speeches—some of them were first rate—I am going up to Congress, next week—havn't been yet, this session—I went to Prof. Agassiz' lecture last Friday night5—I was very much pleased—

I pass the time very quietly—some evenings I spend in my attic—I have laid in wood, & can have a fire when I want it—I wish you was here—I am already making reckoning of coming home on the next visit—but when it will be, I can't tell—Mother, I would take a morning paper, the Times or something—it would help pass away the time—the debates in Congress are quite interesting now—Well, dear mother, I believe that is all this time.



  • 1. Walt Whitman first made mention of this agreement in his December 30, 1867 letter to Routledge and Sons. This is the first reference to The Broadway in his letters to his mother. [back]
  • 2. Neither letter is extant. [back]
  • 3. Since Jeff and his family had gone to St. Louis at the end of 1867, Walt Whitman expected news of their activities. According to his mother's letter of February 12 (?), 1868, Jeff had received a letter from Walt Whitman. [back]
  • 4. Congress was debating a supplementary reconstruction bill. [back]
  • 5. According to the Washington National Republican, Professor Alexander Agassiz (1835–1910), the zoologist, lectured at the E Street Baptist Church on January 24, 1868, on "the succession of organized beings in geological times." [back]
Back to top