letters from dickinson to abiah root

Thomas Johnson's Note on Letter 5

MANUSCRIPT: missing. See note 3 in "Notes on the Present Text." All of letter above the signature has been published. All the rest is unpublished except the sentences marked by asterisks; these have been published in whole or in part in Letters (1931). The letter concludes with brief messages written as postscripts by other friends at ED's invitation, and signed: "Harriette Merrill," "Sarah S.T.," "Anna N. Tyler," and "Not Emily."

The section in the second paragraph above the signature, beginning "Although it is late," concludes with the statement that the day is chilly and uncomfortable. Earlier in the same paragraph, and separated by dots to indicate omitted material, is the sentence "It seems more like smiling May ... than cold, arctic February." Both sections were first added in the 1931 edition, and the latter section may belong in another letter, or certainly in a different part of this one if the letter, begun one day, was finished on another.

PUBLICATION: L (1894) 2-4, in small part; LL 109-110, in small part; L (1931) 1-4, all that precedes the signature. It is dated (presumably by ED): Amherst, Feb. 23, 1845.

Attending the same school continuously seems not to have been expected, and by the time ED was fourteen she had made another friend who had come to Amherst and had gone again. After Abiah Root's terms at the Academy were over, ED saw her only when she came to Amherst to visit her cousins the Palmers. The friendship lasted for ten years, but no letter exchange is known to have taken place after Abiah's marriage in 1854 (see letter no.166).

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lvetter@uncc.edu>
Last updated on February 25, 2008