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I. Specimen Days. 13. Omnibus Jaunts and Drivers

Whitman, Walt. "I. Specimen Days. 13. Omnibus Jaunts and Drivers." Prose Works. Philadelphia: David McKay, 1892.
essay, personal record

At the age of 62, Whitman recalled the stage-drivers with whom he fraternized during his Pfaff's years.

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How many hours, forenoons and afternoons--how many exhilarating night-times I have had--perhaps June or July, in cooler air--riding the whole length of Broadway, listening to some yarn (and the most vivid yarns ever spun, and the rarest mimicry)--or perhaps I declaiming some stormy passage from Julius Caesar or Richard (you could roar as loudly as you chose in that heavy, dense, uninterrupted street-bass). Yes, I knew all the drivers then. Broadway Jack, Dressmaker, Balky Bill, George Storms, Old Elephant, his brothe Young Elephant (who came afterward), Tippy, Pop Rice, Big Frank, Yellow Frank, Yellow Joe, Pete Callahan, Patsey Dee, and dozens more; for there were hundreds. They had immense qualities, largely animal--eating, drinking; women--a great personal pride, in their way--perhaps a few slouches here and there, but I should have trusted the general run of them, in their simple good-will and honor, under all circumstances.

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