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Walt Whitman to Anne Gilchrist, 10 November [1878]

Dear friend

I am still well, for me, & having good (or at any rate not ill) times—Return'd from Kirkwood yesterday1—Am there half the time—(have a room all to myself, good bed, good stove, &c)—Must tell you about Herb's picture, he calls September Days—(name not very good, but will do)—Picture itself, in my opinion, very good, the best he has painted, such opulence, mellowness of color that would be your first feeling, & would fill you as it did me—it is a very simple scene (story) only well shaded opening in the creek, with water 'way to the foreground, & five or six ducks & drakes—foliage meeting at top, no sky, every thing very broad, foliage in masses, all the handling easy & large, yet sufficiently defined—really a fine, original, rich picture, & in treatment no following of any thing Herb has done before2

Our folks are well as usual—(it is toward noon)—My sister is off to church somewhere—brother down stairs balancing his acct's​ —I up here in my 3d story front room writing this—the Nov. wind whistling sharp, but sun shining—

The Staffords about as usual—crops & every thing pretty fair this fall, with them—Mrs S keeps about, works hard, devotes all to her family & friends, (woman like)—Debby & her husband all right—Harry well & at work at printing—I saw Arthur Peterson,3 they are all well—Return me Tennyson's and John Burroughs' letters—(no hurry though, only be careful of T's)—Best love—


Tennyson's letter was delayed, sent back as you will see—I only rec'd​ it a week ago4


  • 1. According to his Commonplace Book, Whitman returned from Kirkwood on November 8 (Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.). [back]
  • 2. On October 25, 1878, Anne Gilchrist had written from Concord, Mass., about her visit with Emerson, and had inquired about Herbert's portrait of Whitman and his landscape (The Letters of Anne Gilchrist and Walt Whitman, ed. Thomas B. Harned [New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1918], 161–162). On November 13, 1878, she expressed her delight with the description of Herbert's painting but wondered whether Whitman was satisfied with the portrait (The Letters of Anne Gilchrist and Walt Whitman, 164). [back]
  • 3. Probably the poet Arthur Peterson (1851–1932), whose Songs of New-Sweden appeared in 1887. See also the letter from Whitman to Herbert Gilchrist of December 15, 1879. [back]
  • 4. Whitman received Tennyson's letter of August 24 on October 21 (Whitman's Commonplace Book). [back]
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