June 26, 1866: Walt Whitman writes home from Washington

Dearest Mother,

Well, I suppose you have the hot weather too—it has been very hot here for the last four or five days, but I have got along very well—I think of you every day, with the work & the heat, &c.—I believe you said that it was good air around there in Pacific St., well I should think that was one great advantage over Portland Ave.Whitman1

Anyhow. Mother, I rec’d your letter of last week—I do not go much to the hospital this hot weather—I think I feel better than usual now for a couple of weeks past—if I can only get through the summer as well as I am, I shall be satisfied—Mrs. Grayson gives me plenty of good vegetables, peas, string beans, squash & new potatoes, with fruit now & then, which is better than too much meat—Old Mrs. Mix is well as usual—the house is very pleasant this weather—as cool as it can be anywhere—

I should like to hear from Hannah, but I suppose she is getting along in the same old way—As I am writing this letter at my table, the celebrated Mrs. Cobb has just come in, to see about some rebel pardon, some profitable job for her, I suppose—she is a great piece—she is what most people would call a very pretty little woman—dresses gay, &c—but she has too brazen & silly a way, ever to be taken for a lady by any one that knows—she has got lots of pardons, & probably made a fortune—is half the time at the President’s—is not a good character. This Washington is a great place—you see how funny the world is governed—& lots of queer doings that outsiders never dream of—

Well, mother, my new shirts are done, half a dozen, very satisfactory—I haven’t bought any new clothes this summer except a new hat, a big brim, light drab—makes me look like a southern planter, but is very light & comfortable—Mother, I wish you could sit here by the window I have so often mentioned, & have the cool breeze blow on you, as it is now, & the trees & river & hills beyond, so pleasant—

Dear mother, you must try to take things moderate—because folks that worry & overdo are apt to get the cholera, you know—I hope brother Jeff feels all right again—how I should like to see him, & all of you.


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