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Walt Whitman to Rudolf Schmidt, 15 September 1872

My dear Rudolf Schmidt,1

Your letter of 17th August2 has just reached me—also the Dagbladet, (four no's.) The feuilleton about me I have just had read in English by a Dane, Mr. Bendz.3 I am deeply touched at being more and more brought right among warm human hearts in Denmark, Norway, &c—& so friendly entertained there. It comforts & nourishes me more than you know. The former letters, & the papers you have sent, have all come safely to hand—& I thank you.

I have just returned from a visit of some days to Philadelphia. It is a great materialistic city full of the middling classes, (mechanics, laborers, operatives in factories (both sexes), traders, &c)—in extraordinary physical comfort—700,000 people, & five–sixths of them well–off, in plenty of the best food & clothing, & ample & respectable houses—there are almost no very miserable & vagabond classes or quarters in the city, vast & teeming as it is.

I am now back here at work for the fall & winter—My address is permanently here—I get all your letters & papers safely. Clausen4 has not yet arrived. I have lately rec'd a paper from Pesth, Hungary, with a feuilleton about my poems.

Farewell, for this time. Walt Whitman


  • 1. Schmidt, editor of For Idé og Virkelighed, wrote to Walt Whitman on October 19, 1871: "I intend to write an article about yourself and your writings in the above named periodical which is very much read in all the Scandinavian countries. . . . I therefore take the liberty to ask you, if you should not be willing to afford some new communications of yourself and your poetry to this purpose" (Library of Congress). [back]
  • 2. Since Schmidt's letter is not extant, it is not possible to clarify the next few lines. The editor of the article in Orbis Litterarum did not find a reference to Walt Whitman in the Dagbladet. [back]
  • 3. Waldemar E. Bendz was listed as a clerk. [back]
  • 4.

    Carl F. Clausen, termed in Schmidt's letter "my old friend and countryman," corresponded with Schmidt after he left Denmark in 1860; see Orbis Litterarum, 7 (1949), 34–39. The Directory in 1870 listed him as a draughtsman and in 1872 as a patent agent. He died of consumption in the middle 1870s; see Thomas Biggs Harned Collection of Walt Whitman, The Library of Congress, Notebook #108.

    According to Whitman's June 4, 1872 letter to Schmidt, Clausen had gone to Denmark in June 1872.

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