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Walt Whitman to Herbert Gilchrist, 22 September [1885]

Dear H1

This comes here, by absurd fault of address2—So I forward it to you—all goes on about the same with me3—I have rec'd a handsome present of horse & light wagon4—was down to Glendale5 all day last Sunday—all well—Ruth home, with her baby, Harry home—trouble with throat—Mr and Mrs Stafford well—

Love to you and your dear mother— W W

Sept 22

 loc.02184.001_large.jpg  loc.02184.002_large.jpg

Herbert Harlakenden Gilchrist (1857–1914), son of Alexander and Anne Gilchrist, was an English painter and editor of Anne Gilchrist: Her Life and Writings (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1887). For more information, see Marion Walker Alcaro, "Gilchrist, Herbert Harlakenden (1857–1914)," Walt Whitman: An Encyclopedia, ed. J.R. LeMaster and Donald D. Kummings (New York: Garland Publishing, 1998).


  • 1. This letter is addressed: Herbert H Gilchrist | 12 Well Road | Hampstead | London | England. It is postmarked: CAMDEN | SEP | 22 | 12M | 1885 | N.J.; PHILADELPHIA, P.A. | SEP | 22 | 1885 | PAID; LONDON. N.W. | 7 U | OC 2 | 85. [back]
  • 2. Whitman wrote this note on the verso of an envelope addressed to Gilchrist at Mickle Street. [back]
  • 3. On September 23 and 24 Whitman noted a "bad spell—lost eyesight—lost equilibrium." The attack must have been severe since Louisa and George visited him on September 24. O'Connor was in Camden for two days toward the end of September, and Burroughs came on October 1 and Eldridge on the following day (Whitman's Commonplace Book, Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). See also the letter from Whitman to Thomas Donaldson of November 9, 1885. [back]
  • 4. On September 15 Whitman received a horse and wagon from Thomas Donaldson and twenty-eight friends, including John Whittier, Mark Twain, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and Edwin Booth. Donaldson, in Walt Whitman the Man (1896), printed the letters from the donors (173–182). See also the letter from Whitman to Thomas Donaldson of November 9, 1885. [back]
  • 5. Glendale, New Jersey, was where the Staffords had moved after leaving their farm at Timber Creek, where Whitman had often visited. He was particularly close to George and Susan Stafford's son Harry. [back]
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