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Letter to Ellen M. O'Connor, November 15, 1863

Whitman, Walt. "Letter to Ellen M. O'Connor, November 15, 1863." Walt Whitman: The Correspondence. Ed. Edwin Haviland Miller. New York: New York University Press, 1961. 182-184.
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Whitman writes a letter from New York to Ellen M. O’Connor dated November fifteenth, 1863. Whitman’s brother Andrew is extremely ill, however, he notes that he has been spending much time with his "New York boys."

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95. To Ellen M. O'Connor

Brooklyn November 15 1863

Dear Nelly
I have received your letter, also Charles Eldridge's & Mrs Cooper's,
Nelly, I hope this will find you better of your cold, & that you & all the
rest are well & [in] goad spirits. Tell Mrs Cooper I heartily accept her
invitation to visit at Philadelphia, & if I can work it so I will come gladly.
I think about you all, & frequently. I have told my mother & sister about
you all. I send my love to William. I feel that I have never had a better
friend, & that no truer nor warmer heart beats. Tell Charles Eldridge too
I send him my love. I regret his not likely meeting me in New York to
go around together. But, Charley, we will have it yet, dear comrade. I
received the letters you sent under envelope. For all & sundry, & the year's
most valuable kindness, from you three, what can I say, more than that I
am sure I appreciate it.
Nelly, I had a pleasant trip that Monday from the start, & all through
-clear & cool & no dust-I got home about 8 in evening-was up bright
& early to the polls next morning &c. How well the election went in this
state, you know. Here Brooklyn gave a stunning union vote, the biggest
ever dreamed of here-Mayor, assemblymen, judges, all elected.
Nelly, I am writing this from my room at my mother's house. It is
Sunday afternoon, dripping & rainy, the air thick & warm, & the sky
lowering, My poor brother Andrew is very ill. It is not likely he can live.
His voice is quite gone. Still he moves about & is here all the time during
the day. My sister Martha is untiring, feeding & nursing him. Of her
children, little Hattie is well-the new baby is immense, & I take to her in
proportion. I want her to be called California. She is fully worthy the
name. She is large, calm, not pretty but something ahead of that, full of
latent fire in the eyes (which are grey) & a complete success every way.
Mother is very well & active & cheerful-she still does her own light
housework, & keeps up handsomely under her surroundings of domestic
pressure-one case of sickness & its accompanying irritability-two of
grown helplessness-& the two little children, very much with her, & one
of them unsurpassed in volatility & restlessness-Nelly, I have thought
before that the real & best bravery is to be discovered somewhere else than
in the bravery of war, & beyond the heroisms of men. My brother Jeff
is well-he is a noble young man & one to love.
I find my New York boys the same gay-hearted, joyous fellows, full
of friendship & determined to have pleasure. We have been together quite
a good deal. They have given me little supper parties, men only, with
drinking &c. Of course we have great times. I have been several times to
the Opera & to French theatre. The opera here, Maretzek's troupe, is
very fine. Medori, soprano, is pretty near perfection-Mazzoleni, tenor,
ditto-Biachi, base, ditto. Miss Kellogg is also good. The pieces were
Lucrezia, Sonnambula, &c.
Nelly, I have seen Charles Howells. He is well-apparently indeed
better than he was in Washinpton (in health I mean), I have been at the
Place, 15 Charles street. In the parlor is hung up a large blue placard
"Headquarters of the Pantarchy" in white letters. I did not stop to dinner,
although I was prest hard. I saw a man named Newbold. Charles Howells
is cheerful. We had quite a walk. He told me he was doing well in a business point of view, had made more while in New York than his salary
would have been in Idaho. I did not see Mr nor Mrs Andrews. I did not
make any demonstration upon Charles, except what was probably significant enough
during the course of his flourishing & somewhat elaborated
statement of the Pantarchian scheme which I listened to in dead silence,
broken only by one or two running questions of a very brief & dry character. Charles was full of friendship & our interview was one in which he
imprest me more agreeably than ever before. Surely he is a good man. The
impression I received (maybe casual) is that he is partially absorbed there,
his own yearning & eager nature supplying the fuel of the flame, but that
he is really shrewd at bottom, & may prove more able to pick his way
through the humbugs of the world than we were thinking.
Nelly, I have seen Mrs Price, but not to have much true & friendly
talk, as there were many present. She is much less well than I expected
-has a hacking cough. She preserves the same quiet cheerful way-& her
daughters-dear girls--they are all friends, to prize & love deeply.
Nelly, if you go down to Armory Square-or if Mrs Howells should,
(& if you feel well, & like going, I much wish you would very soon) please
find if Pleasant Borley is living, he is in bed 40 in Ward A-tell him I
am coming hack soon, (or tell Miss Gregg, for him) -Also see James S
Stilwell in Ward C, & Thomas Carson in same ward-also Lewis K
Brown in Ward K, (I have sent him a long letter) --also Oscar Cunningham in Ward
K-also tell Mrs Doolittle in Ward B, I want to see the
boys there. I shall probably stay- five or six days longer. I count on our all
being together again. My head & hearing &c. are better yesterday & to-day
than for two weeks-sometimes have been rather disagreeable. Well,
Nelly, I will now bid you good b]-e for present, my truly dear friend, &
good bye to the rest, & God bless you all.
Walt Whitman

People who Created this Work

Whitman, Walt author

People Mentioned in this Work

Andrews, Stephen [pages:184]

Whitman writes that he has not seen Mr. or Mrs. Andrews.

Kellogg, Clara [pages:183]

Whitman mentions that he has been to the opera several times, and that Miss Kellogg is good.