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Walt Whitman to Charles W. Eldridge, 19 July [1872]

Dear friend,

I rec'd​ your letter yesterday, and was particularly pleased to get it, bringing late intelligence about you all. It was a good letter. What you say about William, fagged with work & I suppose the weather—& Nelly, half-sick, & Jennie about the same (but she will soon spring up)—aroused my sympathies—Mother & I talked about them all—I send love to all. Nelly, I shall return next week, & then I shall surely come to the house, & see you & all.

Charley, I went leisurely up the Connecticut valley, by way of Springfield, through the best part (agriculturally, & other) of Massachusetts, Connecticut & New Hampshire, June 24th & 25th by day light—26th & 27th at Hanover, N.H.—28th & 29th slowly up the White River valley, a captivating wild region, by Vermont Central R.R. & so to Burlington, & about Lake Champlain where I spent a week, filling myself every day, (especially mornings & sunsets) with the grandest ensembles of the Adirondacks always on one side, and the Green Mountains on the other—sailed after that down Champlain by day—stopt at Albany over night, & down the Hudson by boat, 4th of July, through a succession of splendid & magnificent thunderstorms (10 or 12 of them) alternated by spells of clearest sunlight—Then home some five or six days—immediately following I was ill, real ill—I suppose the excessive heat, &c &c—but am now feeling all right.

Upon the whole, I have stood the unprecedented heat pretty well. Mother is not very well—has spells of weakness—has rheumatism—then good days again—will break up from Brooklyn in September, & go with George, at Camden—as they are vehement for it.

My sister Martha at St. Louis is better far than one would expect, after the alarm of two months ago1—she has since no trouble with the cancer, (or supposed cancer)—Jeff & the children well—My sister Hannah, (Mrs Heyde,) in Burlington, I found better than I had anticipated—every thing much better2

Charley, who do you think I have been spending some three hours with to-day, from 12 to 3—(it is now 4½)—Joaquin Miller3—He saw me yesterday toward dusk at 5th av. on a stage, & rushed out of the house, & mounting the stage gave me his address, & made an appointment—he lives here 34th st. in furnished rooms—I am much pleased, (upon the whole) with him—really pleased & satisfiedhis presence, conversation, atmosphere, are infinitely more satisfying than his poetry—he is, however, mopish, ennuyeed​ , a California Hamlet, unhappy every where—but a natural prince, may-be an illiterate one—but tender, sweet, & magnetic—Love to you, dear Charley, & to all—I will soon be with you again—



  • 1. Martha had been east two months earlier for consultations with doctors in New York and Camden. Whitman also sent his consolations in his January 23–24, 1872 letter to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman. [back]
  • 2. Whitman here makes a veiled reference to the connubial relations of the Heydes. [back]
  • 3. In the manuscript, "Interviews with Joaquin Miller," Whitman characterized him as "an ardent, pensive, gentle person—decidedly morbid & sensitive—(made a very favorable impression on me)" (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). Whitman also wrote of this meeting in his July 19, 1872 letter to Peter Doyle. [back]
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