Whitman writes a letter to his mother on Christmas Eve. He has organized a dinner for the soldiers at the Hospital and has contributed a large amount of money. He notes that the Attorney General has given him a beautiful Rogers' steel knife for Christmas.
To Louisa Van Velsor Whitman
ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, Washington. Dec. 24, 1866.
I got Jeff's letter sending the money toward the soldiers' dinner- it was more than I asked for, & was very good of them all-I have not had any trouble myself, worth mentioning-the dinner has been got up at my instigation-I have contributed handsomely-but they, (the Hospital steward, &c.) have done the work.
Mother, I sent Han a handsome little volume of "Florence Percy's Poems," & $5 for a Christmas present. Sent it to-day. Poor Han-I suppose every such thing does her so much good-
Don't you believe that fool Heyde lately wrote a long letter to Mr. Raymond, editor of the N. Y. Times-in it he said "Walt was a good fellow enough-but"-& then he went on to fun down Leaves of Grass, like the rest of `em-
The way I know is, Wm. O'Connor was invited by Raymond to come & see him-& he told O'Connor he had received a number of letters about that piece in the Times of Dec. 2, which I sent you. He said they all praised the piece, & thanked him (Raymond) for printing it, except one he got from a fellow in Vermont who called himself Walt Whitman's relation-a brother in law, he believed-quite a good deal of stuff. Raymond seemed to think the man was either crazy or a fool, & he treated the letter with contempt.
I dont want you to write any thing about it, to Han, of course-only if she was here, we would tell her. The puppy thought I suppose that he could get his letter printed, & injure me & my book.
We are likely to have a pleasant day for Christmas-when I next write I will tell you about the dinner-1 must inform you that I have had a present of a beautiful knife, a real Rogers' steel, to-day from the Attorney General-Mother, $2 is for Nance-you can give it to her in money, or any way you like- Well, dear mother, this is Christmas eve, & I am writing it in the office by gas light, so as it will be ready to go to-morrow-I have not heard since from Mrs. Grayson. Good night, mother dear.