letters from dickinson to abiah root

Thomas Johnson's Note on Letter 6

MANUSCRIPT: missing. See note 3 in "Notes on the Present Text." All of the letter above the signature has been previously published.

PUBLICATION: L (1894) 5-8; LL 110-113; L (1931) 4-6; dated (presumably by ED): Amherst, May 7, 1845.

When ED was visiting her uncle William Dickinson in Worcester, in 1844, her father wrote her on 4 June: "Tell Uncle Wm. that I want a Piano when he can buy good ones, at a fair price." (HCL). It was nearly a year later that the intent was realized (see letter no. 7). In recommending to Abiah that she make an herbarium, ED does not say whether she had started her own. She was studying botany at the time, and perhaps this letter marks the beginning of her collection of pressed plants, still extant (HCL), which she assembled with meticulous care. The allusion here to Shakespeare is the first of many which appear in her letters. One conjectures that it might be to the situation described by Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream (III,ii) which he sums up by the words: "Lord, what fools these mortals be!"

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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