letters from dickinson to abiah root

14 March 1847

Ever dear Abiah.

I was delighted to recive your affectionate letter & to know that I was not quite forgotten & should have answered it speedily had I been able. The influenza has been very prevalent & severe here this winter & at the time your letter reached me, I was quite sick with it, so that I could scarcely sit up or do anything at all. My cold was very severe in my head first, but after I had partly recovered from that, my cold settled upon my lungs & I had a hard cough for 3 or 4 weeks. I am happy to say that I am pretty well now & yours is the first letter which I have answered since I was sick. Surely you will forgive me this once! I suppose that your term at Miss C[ampbell]'s school is near its close, if it has not already closed. Our term in the academy has closed. We have spent out vacation of a fortnight, & school has commenced again since you wrote me. I go this term & am studying Algebra, Euclid, Ecc[lesiastical] History & reviewing Arithmetic again, to be on the safe side of things next autumn. We have a delightful school this term under the instruction of our former principals, & Miss R. Woodbridge - daughter of Rev. Dr. W. of Hadley, for preceptress. We all love her very much. Perhaps a slight description of her might be interesting to my dear A. - She is tall & rather slender, but finely proportioned, has a most witching pair of blue eyes - rich brown hair - delicate complexion - cheeks which vie with the opening rose bud - teeth like pearls - dimples which come & go like the ripples in yonder little merry brook - & then she is affectionate and lovely. Forgive my glowing description, for you know I am always in love with my teachers. Yet, much as we love her, it seems lonely & strange without "Our dear Miss Adams." I suppose you know that she has left Amherst, not again to return as a teacher. It is indeed true, that she is to be married. Are you not astonished? Nothing was known, but that she was to return to school, until a few days before she left for Syracuse, where she has gone to make her "wedding gear." She is to be married the first of next April, to a very respectable lawyer in Conway, Mass. She seemed to be very happy in anticipation of her future prospects, & I hope she will realize all her fond hopes. I cannot bear to think that she will never more wield the sceptre, & sit upon the throne in our venerable schoolhouse, & yet I am glad she is going to have a home of her own & a kind companion to take life's journey with her. I am delighted that she is to live so near us, for we can ride up & see her often. You cannot imagine how much I enjoyed your description of your Christmas fete at Miss Campbell's. How magnificent the "Christmas tree" must have been & what a grand time you must have had, so many of you!!! Oh!!! I had a great many presents, Christmas, & New Year's holidays - both - but we had no such celebration of the former which you describe.

Do you ever hear from Dear Sarah & Harriet. I have heard nothing from etiher of them this age. I sent Hatty a paper the other day & time will decide. Mrs. Merrill has not heard a word since last fall & does not know why. She thinks Hatty is so busy that she cant get time to write any of us. But if so busy why does she not send us a paper or speak of us when she writes her grandmother? There is a mystery about her silence to me. I hope she is happy & - but I will say no more of her till I see you "face to face" & we can "commune as a man communeth with his friend" one with another. I have one little note that Hatty wrote me soon after she went home, which I value as my own self. It is a precious communication & I will show it to you when you come. You see how much I am anticipating your visit to Amherst & you must not again dissappoint my fond expectations. Sabra told me the other day that her father was going to Michigan in May to bring on the widow and orphan child of your lamented "Cousin Albert" & that she had written you not to come until that time. Abby & I are talking constantly of your intended visit here & I expect we shall quarrel all the time when you really do come about who shall have the most of you. However I do not think we shall conduct quite as warlike as that! You must not think of staying less than a fortnight when you come for so long have we known each other only by symbols traced upon paper, that our words will be many & our intercourse full of affection for those of our number who are distant from us & of joy at our meeting.

Do write me soon - a long letter & tell me how soon you are coming & how long we can keep you when you come.

Your aff. Emily E. Dickinson

Abby desires to be particularly remembered to you & Viny also sends much love to "Biah." When Miss Adams went away she wished me to tell you when I saw or wrote you that she had been trying to answer your letter this long while & should as soon as she got the time. I think that Abby - you & I had better write her a congratulatory letter after she arrives at her new home, telling her of our joy at her union with so worthy a man & giving her sundry bits of advice on the importance of her station & her household cares. What do you think of this idea? If it is your pleasure you will please to signify it by the usual sign in your next letter. Let me hear from you very soon & I will answer speedily.

thomas johnson's note on letter 15 | index to dickinson/root letters

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