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Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 24 September 1881

Dear friend

Yours rec'd​ —I am now back here finishing up—only stayed a few days in Concord, but they were mark'd​ days. Sunday, Emerson & his wife, son Edward & wife &c. gave me a dinner—two hours—every thing just right every way—a dozen people there, (the family & relatives)—for my part I thought the old man in his smiling and alert quietude & withdrawness​ —he has a good color in the face & ate just as much dinner as any body—more eloquent, grand, appropriate & impressive than ever—more indeed than could be described—Wasn't it comforting that I have had—in the sunset as it were—so many significant affectionate hours with him under such quiet, beautiful, appropriate circumstances?

The book is done & will be in the market in a month or so—all about it has proceeded satisfactorily—& I have had my own way in every thing—the old name "Leaves of Grass" is retained—it will be a $2 book—

I shall probably go on to New York in about a week—shall stay at Johnston's, (address me there Mott avenue & 149th street N Y city) about a week or ten days—

Besides this general death-gloom of the nations1—have you heard of the sudden & dreadful death of our young friend Beatrice Gilchrist in performing some chemical experiment with ether?

Joaquin Miller is here—is with me every day—Longfellow has been to see me2—I have met O W Holmes & old Mr James.3

With love— Walt Whitman


  • 1. The death of President Garfield on September 19. See also the letter from Walt Whitman to Louisa Orr Whitman of July 6, 1881. [back]
  • 2. Whitman had called on Longfellow on April 16 (Specimen Days, ed. Floyd Stovall [New York: New York University Press, 1963], 266). [back]
  • 3. The father of the novelist. [back]
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