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About this Item

Title: The Schools' Holiday

Creator: Walt Whitman [unsigned in original]

Date: April 18, 1842

Whitman Archive ID: per.00473

Source: New York Aurora 18 April 1842: [2]. Our transcription is based on a digital image of an original issue. Original issue held at the Paterson Free Public Library, Paterson, NJ. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the journalism, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This piece is unsigned. However, Whitman was the editor of the Aurora when this editorial was written, and Herbert Bergman identified him as its author in Walt Whitman, The Journalism. Volume I: 1834–1846 (New York: Peter Lang, 1998). The Whitman Archive editors agree that the style and content of the piece are consistent with other known Whitman writings of this period.

Contributors to digital file: Kevin McMullen and Jason Stacy

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Few days in the week are more interesting for a promenade in our stirring city than Saturday, for then the "schools are let loose," and pour their laughing congregations, into the great tide of mortality that flows through every avenue.

Last Saturday was a day of sunshine and soft air, and in our walk we met thousands and thousands of these joyous specimens of nature's fresh handiwork. Upon the Battery and in the various parks,1 hosts were assembled, exhibiting their agility in a hundred innocent and appropriate ways. The little girls would throw up their heads and shake back their curling locks, and smile an apology for running against thoughtful old men and matrons, whose path they heedlessly trespassed on. Arch ones—well they knew that forgiveness was theirs'

Here a group were gazing upon the tempting array in the toy shops; there, others were feasting their eyes upon the display of variegated sweets in the confection windows.

Now, a little nymph, with her white pantalettes, and gypsey hat,2 and short frock, might be seen trundling her hoop,3 even among the dense human tide of Broadway, the thronging passers, as if by general consent, submitting to jostles from each other to prevent impeding her progress.

And there, was a ring formed around a marble ground at a crossing. See how the people turn out, to avoid disturbing them!

The good effect of this kindness toward the little folks will not be lost. It is teaching them, by the still but forcibie language of example, one of the noblest lessons—how to be kind to others, to be amiable, obliging.


1. Formerly a gun emplacement on the southern tip of Manhattan, by the 1840s, the Battery had become a promenade and park for New Yorkers. [back]

2. A brimmed hat with a low crown. [back]

3. A child's game of rolling a hoop with a rod or stick. [back]


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