31 January 1846
I fear you have thought me very long in answering your affectionate letter and especially considering the circumstances under which you wrote. But I am sure if you could have looked in upon me Dear A. since I received your letter you would heartily forgive me for my long delay.
I was delighted to receive an answer to my own so soon. Under any other circumstances I should have answered your letter sooner. But I feared lest in the unsettled state of your mind in regard to which choice you should make, I might say something which might turn your attention from so all important a subject. I shed many tears over your letter - the last part of it. I hoped and still I feared for you. I have had the same feelings myself Dear A. I was almost persuaded to be a christian. I thought I never again could be thoughtless and worldly - and I can say that I never enjoyed such perfect peace and happiness as the short time in which I felt I had found my savior. But I soon forgot my morning prayer or else it was irksome to me. One by one my old habits returned and I cared less for religion than ever. I have longed to hear from you - to know what decision you have made. I hope you are a christian for I feel that it is impossible for any one to be happy without a treasure in heaven. I feel that I shall never be happy without I love Christ.
When I am most happy there is a sting in every enjoyment. I find no rose without a thorn. There is an aching void in my heart which I am convinced the world never can fill. I am far from being thoughtless upon the subject of religion. I continually hear Christ saying to me Daughter give me thine heart. Probably you have made your decision long before this time. Perhaps you have exchanged the fleeting pleasures of time for a crown of immortality. Perhaps the shining company above have tuned their golden harps to the song of one more redeemed sinner. I hope at sometime the heavenly gates will be opened to receive me and The angels will consent to call me sister. I am continually putting off becoming a christian. Evil voices lisp in my ear - There is yet time enough. I feel that every day I live I sin more and more in closing my heart to the offers of mercy which are presented to me freely - Last winter there was a revival here. The meetings were thronged by people old and young. It seemed as if those who sneered loudest at serious things were soonest brought to see their power, and to make Christ their portion. It was really wonderful to see how near heaven came to sinful mortals. Many who felt there was nothing in religion determined to go once & see if there was anything in it, and they were melted at once.
Perhaps you will not beleive it Dear A. but I attended none of the meetings last winter. I felt that I was so easily excited that I might again be deceived and I dared not trust myself. Many conversed with me seriously and affectionately and I was almost inclined to yeild to the claims of He who is greater than I. How ungrateful I am to live along day by day upon Christs bounty and still be in a state of emnity to him & his cause.
Does not Eternity appear dreadful to you. I often get thinking of it and it seems so dark to me that I almost wish there was no Eternity. To think that we must forever live and never cease to be. It seems as if Death which all so dread because it launches us upon an unknown world would be a releif [sic] to so endless a state of existense. I dont know why it is but it does not seem to me that I shall ever cease to live on earth - I cannot imagine with the farthest stretch of my imagination my own death scene - It does not seem to me that I shall ever close my eyes in death. I cannot realize that the grave will be my last home - that friends will weep over my coffin and that my name will be mentioned, as one who has ceased to be among the haunts of the living, and it will be wondered where my disembodied spirit has flown. I cannot realize that the friends I have seen pass from my sight in the prime of their days like dew before the sun will not again walk the streets and act their parts in the great drama of life, nor can I realize that when I again meet them it will be in another & a far different world from this. I hope we shall all be acquitted at the bar of God, and shall receive the welcome, Well done Good & faithful Servants., Enter Ye into the Joy of your Lord. I wonder if we shall know each other in heaven, and whether we shall be a chosen band as we are here. I am inclined to beleive that we shall - and that our love will be purer in heaven than on earth. I feel that life is short and time fleeting - and that I ought now to make my peace with my maker - I hope the golden opportunity is not far hence when my heart will willingly yield itself to Christ, and that my sins will be all blotted out of the book of remembrance. Perhaps before the close of the year now swiftly upon the wing, some one of our number will be summoned to the Judgment Seat above, and I hope we may not be separated when the final decision is made, for how sad would it be for one of our number to go to the dark realms of wo, where is the never dying worm and the fire which no water can quench, and how happy if we may be one unbroken company in heaven. I carried your letter to Abby and she perused it with the same feelings as myself, and we wished together that you might choose that better part which shall not be taken from you. Abby sends much love to you and many wishes for your happiness both temporal and eternal. She hopes to hear from you soon, very soon, and Abby and I shall be in a state of suspense until we hear from you & know what choice you have made or whether you have ceased to think of serious things. Do write me very soon and tell me all about yourself & your feelings, and do forgive me for so long neglecting to answer your letter. Although I am not a christian still I feel deeply the importance of attending to the subject before it is too late.
Your aff friend,
Emily E.D. -
I am delighted to think you are coming here to school next summer, and what delightful times we shall have to be together again as in the days that are past.
We have had a Donation Party here since I received your last letter. Mr & Mrs Colton had some very valuable presents from their friends. I went with Abby Maria, in the evening and had a very pleasant time. The next day the children all met & A & myself, went to help take care of them -
Sabra is well and sends much love to you. She says that she has owed you a letter this long while and shall write you soon as she has time. S. goes to school and finds little time for anything except her studys. Your Uncles family are all well. Please excuse those blots on the first page of my letter, as they [are] Austins work, and accidental. Also excuse the writing for I have written in great haste. I have 4 other letters to answer now. But I have written you first -
I can hardly wait for spring to come, for I so long to see you. It seems to me I shall be almost perfectly happy to see you again.
Have you heard anything from Harriet and Sarah. I have not, and I hardly know what to think of it. Miss H. Merrill says she has not heard from Harriet but once since she went away.
I shall write them both soon. Viny sends her love to you and says she shall be very glad to see you back again as shall all the rest of us. Dont fail to answer this letter soon.
Emily E. Dickinson -