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Walt Whitman to John Burroughs, 23–25 December [1878]

 uva_jc.00462_large.jpg Dear John Burroughs

Yours rec'd​ last week—Nothing new with me—I still keep well—The lecture1 is a fixed fact (to come)—but I shall wait till I get good & ready—I suppose as I am writing this you & 'Sula are now home—I 'most envy you—Very cold here to day, but bright—& I am just going out for a couple of hours

25th Christmas afternoon—Went out—also yesterday—but not long or far, as we are having a sharp spell of cold & gusty winds here these days—Rec'd​ a letter from Herbert Gilchrist this morning—they are at 315 West 19 Street, N. Y. uva_jc.00463_large.jpg now, in their own apartments, & I believe expect to be for the winter—Call on them, & 'Sula call too, when down—

—Write me more fully about your proposed book of next spring—(it is in the gestation of a book—the melting of the fluid metal, before the casting—that it receives that something to make its idiosyncrasy, identity—its "excuse for being" if it is to have any—)2

I have written to Jenny Gilder & sent her a small budget of printed slips &c. (I would like best to be told about in strings of continuous anecdotes, incidents, mots, thumbnail personal sketches, characteristic & true—such for instance as are in the 2d edition of your old Wash'n Notes)3

Yours of 17th Dec. rec'd​ —Tennyson's & the criticism safely rec'dback—I suppose you rec'd​ the hat photo. you spoke of—(I sent it to you Oct 1st)—I mail'd you also a pair of buck gloves—& Smith a pair too—four days since4—I shall send this to Delaware County, as you say you are going home for a few days—Write me if you get it all right


Happy New Year to you & all


  • 1. The lecture on Lincoln which had been postponed earlier in the year because of Whitman's health. [back]
  • 2. Burroughs published Locusts and Wild Honey in 1879. [back]
  • 3. See the letter from Whitman to Burroughs of December 12, 1878. [back]
  • 4. See the letter from Whitman to George W. Childs of December 12, 1878. [back]
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