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Walt Whitman to Ellen M. O'Connor, 22 March [1874]

Dearest Nelly,

I will just write you a word (for I feel to.) I am feeling well enough to be hopeful—Whether it is because I am hopeful—or whether the precursor of health yet, after all—tedious as it is a-coming—this deponent cannot swear—but we will think it the latter. I have had a bad week since I wrote you—feel more comfortable to-day. Saw the doctor (Grier) day before yesterday—he made a careful ausculation of my heart—pronounced it all right there—(I have been suffering considerable pain & oppression on left side)—He still thinks I will recover—says he is not disposed to recommend galvanism, (though the electric business is his specialty)—says he is sure the main trouble is the cerebral anæmia—cure, great care, good surroundings, time & hygiene—arrives, in fact, at the same conclusions as Dr. Drinkard2—(though an entirely different man from Dr. D.​ , a great talker, & very demonstrative)—

Nelly, you needn't send the photos of my nieces back yet. Keep them a while yet.

Nelly, your last letter is very blue, mainly about political & public degradation—Summer's death & inferior men &c. being rampant &c—I look on all such states of things exactly as I look on a cloudy & evil state of weather, or a fog, or long sulk meteorological—it is a natural result of things, a growth of something deeper, has its uses, & will hasten to exhaust itself, & yield to something better—


Thanks for your letter of 20th—give my love to Mrs. Brownell—


  • 1. This letter is endorsed, "Ans'd." Its envelope bears the address, "Mrs. E. M. O'Connor, | 1015 O st. near 11th N. W. | Washington, | D.C." It is postmarked: "Camden | Mar | 22 | N.J." [back]
  • 2. See also Whitman's September 5, 1873 letter to Peter Doyle. [back]
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