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Letter to Walt Whitman

Eyre, Ellen. Letter to Walt Whitman. 1862.

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Tuesday March 25th 1862

My dear Mr. Whitman

I fear you took me last night for a female privateer--It is true that I was under false colors--but this flag I assure you covered nothing piratical although I would joyfully have made your heart a captive, Women have an unequal chance in this world--Men are its monarch and, "full many a rose is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness in the desert air."

Such I was resolved should not be the fate of this of the fancy I had long nourished for you--A gold mine may be found by a Divining Rod but there is no such instrument for detecting in the crowded Streets of a great City the unknown Mine of latent affection a man may have unconsciously inspired in a woman's breast.

I make these explanations in extenuation not by way of apology--My social position enjoins precaution & mystery, and perhaps the enjoyment of any friends society is heightened while in yielding to its fascination I preserve my incognito, yet mystery lends an ineffable charm to love and when a woman is bent upon the gratification of her inclinations--She is pardonable if she still spreads the veil of decorum over her actions--Hypocrisy is said to be 'the homage that Sin pays to virtue,' and yet I can see no vice in that generous sympathy with which we share our caprices with those who have inspired us with tenderness.--

I trust you will think well enough of me soon to renew the pleasure you afforded me last P.M. and I therefore write to remind you that there is a sensible head as well as a sympathetic heart, both of which would gladly evolve wit & warmth for your direction & comfort--You have already my whereabouts & my home--It shall only depend upon you to make them yours and me the happiest of women.

I am always
Yours Sincerely
Ellen Eyre

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