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Walt Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 3 January [1872]

Dearest mother,

Your letter of Sunday night came this morning—it seems indeed "after a storm comes a calm"—You must have had quite an exciting week—still I think it must have been kind of good to have had George and Lou home—was Lou as kind and helpful as ever? About being alone, if you feel as I do about it, it is a satisfaction to be by one's self, as you grow old—(though perhaps not too much)—I was glad to hear about little Jim & Georgey1—I am glad the Stantons2 are gone—they would only have been a continual nuisance—

Mama, I shall come home, (if nothing happens more than at present known) and stay two months, & then return here to my place—I shall write in good time before—

Mama dear, you must try to take as much comfort as you can—I hope Gracie3 comes in frequently—& Mrs. Mormon too—(she seems to me a good neighbor)—


This is the 2d letter this week—


  • 1. If Walt Whitman was replying to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman's undated letter, his remarks about Andrew's children were inappropriate, for his mother described how George—"i think he is a very bad boy indeed"—came to beg, and also informed her son that Nancy, Andrew's wife, "said in the letter i could take george if i wanted too." According to a letter from Mannahatta, Jeff's daughter, to her grandmother on October 26, 1872 (Library of Congress) George was killed in an accident later in the year. [back]
  • 2. The Stantons lived downstairs; according to Walt Whitman's January 26, 1872 letter to Thomas Jefferson Whitman, George "turned 'em out for impudence to mother." [back]
  • 3. Whitman refers to Grace B. Haight. Evidently Whitman forgot, or did not know, that Haight, the daughter of the Bruces (a couple mentioned in his January 23–24, 1872 letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman), was in Independence, Iowa, whence she wrote to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman on February 7, 1872 (Library of Congress). After her return to Brooklyn, she wrote to Whitman's mother on September 22, 1872 (Library of Congress) and to Whitman on September 26, 1872 (Library of Congress). Haight and the Bruces visited Louisa Van Velsor Whitman at Camden the day after Thanksgiving; see Louisa Van Velsor Whitman's December 3, 1871 letter to Walt Whitman (Library of Congress). [back]
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