March 7th 65
Your last letter from Washington in the paper lying on my lap—Your book in the hands of my friend Lucy who sits there by the window reading it in the morning sunshine. She looks up suddenly and says "I think this is the soul I am waiting for, is Walt Whitman married?" I cannot answer the question, but will you?—I am not interested to know if you are married, but I would like to look in your face. How many years did you live ere you could look into the depths of all hearts. Through what experiences did you learn that lore? Remember, if ever the opportunity comes I will look in your face. It should say all that is in your book and something more. I want that something more.
Celia M. Burr
(Care of Madame Willard)
The text presented here is derived from a digital image or microfilm reproduction of the original manuscript.
The manuscript of this letter, dated March 7, 1865, is held in the Charles E. Feinberg Collection of the Papers of Walt Whitman, 1839–1919, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.
1. Celia M. Burr was a poet, literary editor, and a Cincinnati correspondent to the New York Tribune in the 1850s. Already divorced, she moved to Troy, New York, to serve as secretary and companion to Emma Willard at the Women's Seminary. Almost exactly six months after mailing this letter, Burr married a third time, to William Henry Burleigh, a writer of Unitarian hymns and then harbormaster of New York. After their marriage, Burr became active in the women's suffrage movement and, after Burleigh's death in 1871, was ordained as a minister in the Unitarian church. (Back)