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Walt Whitman (1819–1892). Prose Works. 1892.

I. Specimen Days

102. An Interregnum Paragraph

SEVERAL years now elapse before I resume my diary. I continued at Washington working in the Attorney-General’s department through ’66 and ’67, and some time afterward. In February ’73 I was stricken down by paralysis, gave up my desk, and migrated to Camden, New Jersey, where I lived during ’74 and ’75, quite unwell—but after that began to grow better; commenc’d going for weeks at a time, even for months, down in the country, to a charmingly recluse and rural spot along Timber creek, twelve or thirteen miles from where it enters the Delaware river. Domicil’d at the farm-house of my friends, the Staffords, near by, I lived half the time along this creek and its adjacent fields and lanes. And it is to my life here that I, perhaps, owe partial recovery (a sort of second wind, or semi-renewal of the lease of life) from the prostration of 1874–’75. If the notes of that outdoor life could only prove as glowing to you, reader dear, as the experience itself was to me. Doubtless in the course of the following, the fact of invalidism will crop out, (I call myself a half-Paralytic these days, and reverently bless the Lord it is no worse,) between some of the lines—but I get my share of fun and healthy hours, and shall try to indicate them. (The trick is, I find, to tone your wants and tastes low down enough, and make much of negatives, and of mere daylight and the skies.)