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Walt Whitman to John and Ursula Burroughs, 18 August [1874]

Dear John & 'Sula​ Burroughs,

The interval of some weeks, (or is it months?) since I last wrote you2 has passed on, bringing no decided change in my condition—in my bad spells, (& I have them often enough) I 'most think the end is not far off—but I get over them & my natural buoyancy reässerts itself—(& in the main keeps control of the helm)—though to a man of my lazy-activity this whole condition & sickness of mine is very wearing—

To-day I am feeling very comfortable, sitting here in the front room by the open window writing this—eat this morning quite a respectable breakfast, beefsteak, bread, & tea—& at about 3 shall make a light, moderate bite of dinner—no supper—I find I get along best with one pretty fair-meal only, & that I make breakfast—The gastric & dyspeptic trouble has been serious, & is perhaps so yet—pains in left side, distress in head, &c—the old story—

John Swinton came down from N.Y. & spent Sunday with me—told me lots of N.Y. newspaper news, &c.—it was a very welcome visit to me.

I was discharged from my clerkship on the last of June, by B. Wilson, the new Solicitor of the Treasury—(it is all right)—All questions of what I shall do are to me so subordinate to the question of whether I shall soon or ever get well, (or partially well,) that I hardly entertain them seriously—I enclose you Tennyson's latest letter to me3—also a slip Swinton gave me—Send them both back in your next letter—Eldridge is in Boston on his vacation—I expect a visit from him in about 12 days, on his way back—Best love to you both, & I shall be with you yet, I have no doubt.



  • 1. The reference to his dismissal from his government post establishes the year. [back]
  • 2. Whitman last wrote to John Burroughs on June 5, 1874. [back]
  • 3. Whitman refers to the letter Tennyson sent on July 8, 1874. [back]
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