Quotation by Henry David Thoreau

We visited Whitman the next morning ... and were much interested and provoked. He is apparently the greatest democrat the world has seen. Kings and aristocracy go by the board at once, as they have long deserved to. A remarkably strong though coarse nature, of a sweet disposition, and much prized by his friends. Though peculiar and rough in his exterior, his skin ... red, he is essentially a gentleman. I am still somewhat in a quandry about him,—feel that he is essentially strange to me, at any rate; but I am surprised by the sight of him. He is very broad, but, as I have said, not fine. He said that I misapprehended him. I am not quite sure that I do. He told us that he loved to ride up and down Broadway all day on an omnibus, sitting beside the driver, listening to the roar of the carts, and sometimes gesticulating and declaiming Homer at the top of his voice. He has long been an editor and writer for the newspapers,... but now has no employment but to read and write in the forenoon, and walk in the afternoon, like the rest of the scribbling gentry.
Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862), U.S. philosopher, author, naturalist. Letter, November 19, 1856, to Harrison Blake, in The Writings of Henry David Thoreau, vol. 6, p. 291, Houghton Mifflin (1906).
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