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Walt Whitman to Frank and May Baker, 2 December [1874]

Frank and May Baker, Dear friends,

Your kind letters reached me this morning—it does me good to get such kind reminders—& to know I am still so remembered & affectionately invited & asked for. I shall pay you the visit.

Last three weeks I have been extra sick—was taken with bad vertigo spells, vomiting, & fits of prostration—lasted for several days, bad at intervals, and, though the worst seems to have past, am left weak & sort of qualmish, with headache.

It is now as I write about 1 P.M. & very fine—I have been out on the side walk in the sun, but had to get back soon—doctor comes every day—thinks it mainly a serious affection of liver, (& stomach too), very obstinate—thinks it (this trouble) does not proceed from brain, heart, lungs, kidneys—(those, according to him, are all right)—thinks it indeed not improbable that my tedious paralysis, & all the cerebral business, &c. have had their bases (reflexes, &c from emotional bases) in said liver trouble—I am much inclined to think he has hit it—Am taking medicine—bromides of potash & ammonium—have been taking moderate calomel powders—sit up now all day—but havn't been out, (except to the front door, or stoop, like,) for nearly three weeks—Keep good heart, & expect to yet get, not vigorously well, but comparatively well—Want to come on & see you, & see the baby, & expect to do so—will send you word—(must first visit Mr. & Mrs. Nash, however, at Navy Yard, as I said1)—Frank, what did you see of the London Academy criticism?2 I only saw an extract in the Boston Courier, half a column—

Love to you, dear friends—not forgetting the dear baby— Walt Whitman

Frank, I wish to be remembered to Arnold Johnson in the office—tell him I sent my love to him—


  • 1. When Whitman went to Washington in November 1875, he stayed with Mr. and Mrs. Michael Nash; see Whitman's November 9, 1875 letter to Ellen O'Connor. [back]
  • 2. Whitman refers here to George Saintsbury's comment on Leaves of Grass appeared in The Academy, 6 (October 10, 1874), 398–400. [back]
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