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Walt Whitman to William D. O'Connor, 25 October [1882]

Quite sick the last ten or twelve days2—havn't been out of the house—great bodily weakness & "misery" in head & stomach—the doctor says from almost entire stoppage of the action of the liver, other causes—malarial &c—I dont hear any thing particular. Do you? Did they send you the Boston Herald's two criticisms on S. D.—very warm, eulogistic (largely extracts)—I shall be all right in a week or less—



  • 1. This letter is endorsed: "Answd Oct / 26 & 27." It is addressed: Wm D O'Connor | Life Saving Service Bureau | Treasury | Washington D C. It is postmarked: Camden | Oct | 25 | 5 PM | N.J.; Washington, Recd | Oct | 26 | 5 AM | 1882 | 2. [back]
  • 2. Whitman suffered from a liver disorder from October 17 to 28, 1882 (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). Dr. Dowling Benjamin, his physician, began to practice medicine in Camden in 1877; see George R. Prowell, The History of Camden County, New Jersey (1886). A newspaper report alarmed the poet's friends: "Walt Whitman is so seriously ill of Bright's disease that few if any hopes for his recovery are entertained." See Horace Traubel, With Walt Whitman in Camden, Monday, March 11, 1889, 322–323, and Jeff's letter to his brother on October 29. [back]
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