This is notably the case in his relations with Peter Doyle, of whom I have already spoken as one of Walt’s closest companions during the greater part of the Washington period. Doyle was a young Catholic, born in Ireland but raised in the Virginian Alexandria.[485] His father, a blacksmith and machinist, eventually went 杭州足浴tt to work in a Richmond foundry; and when the war broke out, Pete, who was a mere lad, entered the Confederate army. Soon after, he was wounded and made a prisoner, and being carried to Washington, he obtained during his convalescence[486] the post of conductor on one of the tram-cars running upon Pennsylvania Avenue. It was a course of some four miles, from Georgetown, by the White House and Treasury and near to Armory Square, up the hill by the Capitol and down again to near the Navy Yard on the Anacostia River. And in such[Pg 231] a course he was bound sooner or later to make the acquaintance of Whitman.

Drawing of Doyle at twenty-two and Walt at fifty.


Their meeting occurred one wild stormy night, perhaps in the winter of 1864-65,[487] when Pete was about eighteen. Walt had been out 杭州桑拿网vip账号密码 to see John Burroughs, and was returning wrapt around in his great blanket-rug, the only passenger in the car. Pete was cold and lonely: something about the big red-faced man within promised fellowship and warmth. So he entered the car and put his hand impulsively on Walt’s knee. Walt was pleased; they seemed to understand one another at once; and instead of descending at his destination, the older man rode an extra four miles that night for friendship’s sake.[488]

Pete was a fair well-built lad, with a warm Irish heart; and in Walt, who was old enough to have been his


father, the fraternal and paternal qualities alike were[Pg 232] very strong. Separated from his own children, and his own younger brothers whom he had dearly loved, his heart’s tenderness expended itself upon other lads, and upon none more than upon Pete. There 杭州水磨坊足浴 are few ties stronger than those which bind together the man or woman of middle life whose sympathies are still natural and warm, and the adolescent lad or maiden upon life’s threshold.

Whitman did not appear merely as a good fellow to his young comrade: his affection ran too deep for that. This is well illustrated by an incident in their relationship.[489] In a passing fit of despondency Pete declared that life was no longer worth living, and that he had more than half a mind to end it. Walt answered him sharply; he was very angry and not a little shocked. This occurred upon the evening of his departure for Brooklyn for one of his visits home, and the two separated somewhat coldly.

Walt arrived really ill, suffering from a sort of partial and temporary paralysis, which seems to have attacked him at times during the latter 杭州水磨全套 part of his residence in Washington. As soon as he was sufficiently recovered, he wrote his friend a letter full of loving reproaches, of affectionate calls to duty, and promises of assistance. The unmanly folly of Pete’s words had, he says, repelled him; but afterwards the sense of his indestructible love for the lad had returned again in fuller measure than ever, and he became certain that it was not the real Pete, “my darling boy, my young and loving brother,” who had spoken those wicked words. He adjures him, by his love for his widowed mother and for Walt his comrade, to be a man.

Many of the letters to Pete, during the vacations in Brooklyn from 1868 to 1872, are marked by a sort of paternal anxiety for the young man’s welfare. Pete was impulsive and emotional; he was not one to whom study or thrift was naturally easy. 杭州洗浴特服 Walt aided him all he could in both directions. He was always encouraging[Pg 233] his “boys” to read good books, combining still, as in earlier years, the r?les of teacher and comrade; but he never checked in any degree his friend’s boyish, generous and pleasure-loving nature. And his love was returned with the whole-hearted loyal devotion of the true Celt.
Picture of Peter Doyle at fifty-seven.


This friendship with Doyle was only one among many,[490] and the fact that Pete was a Catholic and had been a Confederate soldier, shows how far such relations transcended any mere similarity of opinion. Indeed, there is nothing more notable in the circle of Whitman’s friends than their extraordinary dissimilarity one from another.

Day after day, Pete would come to the Treasury building after his work 杭州按摩好地方 was done, and wait sleepily there till Walt was free; when they would start off upon a stroll, which often extended itself for many miles into the country. Walt frequently had other companions upon these rambles. Sometimes it would be John Burroughs, and sometimes quite a party of men, laughing, singing and talking gaily together as they went.

Whitman was the heart of good-fellowship; he was the oldest of them in years, but in years only. One wonders sometimes whether he himself realised that all these men were so much his juniors. There was no comrade, either man or woman, who had grown up beside him, learning with him the lessons of life. His mother was the great link with his own boyhood, and the letters which he wrote to her from Washington[491] show how strong was his attachment to her, and how great his capacity for 杭州spa论坛 home-love.

It is, then, not a little tragic that he had no home to call his own. In a sense he was a solitary man; in the midst of his all-embracing love and his self-revealing poems, Walt Whitman lived his life apart and kept many secrets. In spirit he was as solitary as Thoreau, nay, even more than he, for, though his fellowship was with the life Universal, his consciousness of it seemed unique.

[Pg 234]

His self-reliant, masculine nature was attractive to women, with whom he had, as one of his friends phrased it, “a good way”. With them and with children he was natural and happy.

Vague and anonymous figures of women move from time to time across his story. In 1863 it is with “a lady” that he first remarks the President’s sadness.[492] In 1868 he has great talks and jolly times with the girls he meets on a trip in New 杭州按摩哪好 England,[493] and he writes of his “particular women friends in New York”. In 1869 he declares laughingly, he is quite a lady’s man again as in the old days.[494]

Women trusted him instinctively, and he repayed their trust by a remarkable silence as to his relations with them. He understood the hearts of women, for there was in him much of the maternal. This quality often finds quaint expression in his letters to Pete, who is “dear baby”[495] sometimes, and who found more than one kiss sent him upon the paper.

As he became famous, Whitman had his queue of visitors. Now it is a spiritualistic woman, who breaks off her interview in order to converse with the spirit of Abraham Lincoln; and now a Mrs. McKnight,[496] who would paint his portrait. Later, when he fell ill, “Mary Cole” came and ministered to him.[497] Mrs. O’Connor, with 杭州桑拿哪里最好论坛 Mrs. Burroughs and Mrs. Ashton, belonged to the circle of his friends. With women, as with men, he had his own frank way of expressing affection, and many a time he greeted them with a kiss, knowing it would not be misinterpreted.

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