Title: Walt Whitman to Ellen M. O'Connor, 3 February 
Date: February 3, 1874
Source: The transcription presented here is derived from Walt Whitman, The Correspondence, ed. Edwin Haviland Miller (New York: New York University Press, 1961–1977), 2:271–272. For a detailed description of discrepancies between this electronic edition and the print source, see our statement of editorial policy.
Location: The Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature, New York Public Library.
Whitman Archive ID: nyp.00326
431 Stevens st.
Camden, N. Jersey,
Tuesday noon, Feb. 3.1
I sent you the Weekly Graphic No. 2 yesterday—wish you to take an opportunity, when convenient, & loan it to those two dear ladies, Mrs. Johnson & her sister mentioned in my article2—& please give them my best remembrances. Dear Nelly, how are you getting along, this winter?—We have just had a snow storm here—cold & while, as I look out, and the sleigh-bells occasionally jingling by—I am sitting here alone in the parlor by the heater, as I write. I am alone most of the time, (to all intents & purposes.)
I feel that I am better, in the main—yet still have daily & nightly bad spells in the head, & my leg most of the time disabled as ever. In fact not much different from the same old story—(yet certainly a good streak, or vein, of encouragement, & feeling of encouragement—maintaining itself—accumulating—never more than temporarily leaving me.) I even begin to think about coming back to Washington & trying it again.
Nelly, I sent a P.O. check for $50 to Charley last Friday to pay my young man3—haven't rec'd any word from Charley yet, up to this present writing4—hope it came safe—may hear from him, this afternoon or tomorrow. Charley is always so prompt in responding. I hear regularly from Peter Doyle—he is well & hearty, works hard for poor pay, on the Balt & Potomac RR., works nights a great deal. He writes me regularly every week. I have been waiting ever since I wrote,5 to get the photos. of my nieces, (my dear sister Mat's girls,) returned from New York, & send them to you—but have not yet got them. Shall write for them. My "song of the redwood tree," in last Harpers is copied a little, & abused & sneered at in the newspaper criticisms, a good deal, (from what I glean)—of course, that last makes me feel very bad—I expect to have another piece in February6 Harpers—(but am not certain)—"prayer of Columbus"—as I see it now I shouldn't wonder if I have unconsciously put a sort of biographical dash in it—Nelly dear, write oftener—put in all the gossip & items that will be next best to seeing you—do you see Dr. Drinkard—I sent Garaphelia Howard7 a paper, the Graphic8 that has my picture—how is she? Is she married? Give her my love—Poor, good Mr. Dille9—yet amid all its sombreness & terror how blessed to die "by touch ethereal," painless, instantaneous—Nelly, death has become to me a familiar thing—Yet, as I sit here writing, I do not feel a particle less of life in me, than ever.
God bless, you, dear, dear Nelly.
1. This letter is endorsed, "Ans'd." Its envelope bears the address, "Mrs. E. M. O'Connor, | 1015 O street | near 11th N. W. | Washington, | D.C." It is postmarked: "Camden | Feb | 3 | N.J." [back]
3. Whitman refers here to Walter Godey, Whitman's substitute at the U.S. Attorney General's Office. [back]
4. Charles Eldridge wrote later in the week; Whitman confirmed receipt of Eldridge's letter in a February 6, 1874 letter to Peter Doyle. [back]
6. Whitman meant the March issue, in which "Prayer of Columbus" appeared. [back]
8. The New York Daily Graphic of November 25, 1873. [back]