With Walt Whitman in Camden, by Horace Traubel
Copyright 1996 by Fellowship of Friends. All Rights Reserved.

On the Appreciation of Simple Things

Monday, July 13, 1891

Told W. of our walk, he being in every way interested. "Why! it comes close to my old walks, long, long ago--brings the whole thing back to me. Oh! the exhilaration of such freedom--the going and coming--the being master of yourself and of the road! No one who is not a walker can begin to know it!"

Friday, July 17, 1891

Then we passed on--soon around the corner to Mickle St. Morris exclaims, "My! How I have enjoyed all this! I had no idea so much was to be seen so near Camden!" W. then said, "Plenty to be seen if you have the eye to see it! Remember the old stories of the two boys, coming home at night after long excursions--John arriving tired, hungry, disgruntled, saying, when asked what he had seen, 'Oh! nothing at all--nothing--absolutely nothing!' But Bill, coming along whistling, happy, cheery, asked the same question, could respond, 'Oh! More than I can tell you! A world of new things! Trees, farms, cities, the clouds, rivers, sunset, workingmen, factories, dogs--oh! a whole, interminable list of experiences!' One, we see, all eye, the other none!"

Saturday, July 25, 1891

He kept hat off for a great part of the road back. Which way would he go? "Any way--I have no tastes. One of the delights of travelling in a wagon is to find new ways--to sort of discover your own roads--go any way, so the general direction is right." Motioning across a field, "There is a picture: grand! A group of horses!" Everywhere his salutations--then, after passing one who did not respond, "It is so different here from in the South. There everybody gives you time of day, nods, says some good word, looks a certain sort of hospitality--even the boys you meet--the girls."

Saturday, September 5, 1891

Called our attention to patches of grass, to the clouds, to the water; pointed out the vague lines of the creek. "More and more as I grow old do I love the grass: it seems to supply me something--some dear, dear something--much my need, yes, greatly needed."

Wednesday, September 9, 1891

Wallace brought out the photos--thrust in letter sheets--marked some of them for W., some for me, etc. All beautifully arranged by Johnston--W. to take his choice. He looked at all with eager enjoyment. Wallace seemed to fear W. was bored, but that was a mistake. Especially the pictures of concrete average life were attractive to him. He went into warm admiration over some wandering pigs--and a picture of three miners against a rock, picks in hand, drew from him, "Oh! how fine they are!--a fine three. I like this picture--it throws out the suggestion of immense health, strength, courage--the plain, homely, honest faces!"