South Hadley, 17 January 1848
Your welcome epistle found me upon the eve of going home & it is needless to say very happy. We all went home on Wednesday before Thanksgiving & a stormy day it was, but the storm must not be in our way, so we tried to make the best of it & look as cheerful as we could. Many of the girls went very early in the morning in order to reach home the same day & when we all sat down to the breakfast table, it seemed lonely enough to see so many places vacant. After breakfast, as we were not required to keep all family rules, a number of us met together at one of the windows in the Hall to watch for our friends, whom we were constantly expecting. No morning of my life ever passed so slowly to me & it really seemed to me they never were coming, so impatiently did I wait their arrival. At last almost tired out I spied a carriage in the distance & surely Austin was in it. You who have been away so much, can easily imagine my delight & will not laugh, when I tell you how I dashed down stairs & almost frightened my dignified - brother out of his senses. All was ready in a moment or less than a moment & Cousin Emily & myself, not forgetting the driver, were far on our way towards home. The rain fell in torrents & the wind howled around the sides of the mountain over our heads & the brooks below filled by the rain rushed along their pebbly beds almost frightfully, yet nothing daunted, we rode swiftly along & soon the Colleges & the spire of our venerable Meeting House, rose to my delighted vision. Never did Amherst look more lovely to me & gratitude rose in my heart to God, for granting me such a safe return to my own dear HOME. Soon the carriage stopped in front of our own house & all were at the door to welcome the returned one, from Mother with tears in her eyes down to Pussy who tried to look as gracious as was becoming her dignity. Oh! Abiah, it was the first meeting as it had been the first separation & it was a joyful one to all of us. The storm did not at all subside that night, but in the morning I was waked by the glorious sun himself - staring full in my face. We went to church in the morning & listened to an excellent sermon from our own minister, Mr. Colton. At noon we returned & had a nice dinner, which, you well know cannot be dispensed with on Thanksgiving day. We had several calls in the afternoon and had four invitations out for the evening. Of course, we could not accept them all, much to my sorrow, but decided to make two visits.
At about 7. oclock, Father, Mother, Austin, Viny, Cousin Emily & myself to bring up the rear, went down to Profr Warner's, where we spent an hour delightfully, with a few friends & then bidding them good eve, we young folks, went down to Mrs. S. Mack's accompanied by Sister Mary.
There was quite a company of young people assembled, when we arrived and after we had played many Games, we had in familiar terms a "Candy Scrape." We enjoyed the evening much & returned not until the clock pealed out "Remember 10 oclock my dear, remember 10, oclock." After our return, Father wishing to hear the Piano, I like an obedient daughter, played & sang a few tunes, much to his apparent gratification. We then retired & the next day & the next were as happily spent as the eventful Thanksgiving day itself. You will probably think me foolish thus to give you an inventory of my time while at home, but I did enjoy so much in those short four days, that I wanted you to know and enjoy it too. Monday came so soon & with it came a carriage to our door & amidst tears falling thick & fast away I went again. Slowly & sadly dragged a few of the days after my return to the Seminary and I was very homesick, but "after a storm there comes a calm" and so it was in my case. My sorrows were soon lost in study & I again felt happy, if happiness there can be away from "home, sweet home."
Our term closes, this week on Thursday & Friday, I hope to see home and friends once more. I have studied hard this term & aside from my delight at going home, there is a sweetness in approaching rest to me. This term is the longest in the year & I would not wish to live it over again, I can assure you. I love this Seminary & all the teachers are bound strongly to my heart by ties of affection. There are many sweet girls here & dearly do I love some new faces, but I have not yet found this place of a few dear ones filled, nor would I wish it to be here. I am now studying "Silliman's Chemistry" & Cutler's Physiology, in both of which I am much interested. We finish Physiology before this term closes & are to be examined in it at the Spring Examinations, about five weeks after the commencement of the next term. I already begin to dread that time for an examination in Mt. Hol. Sem. is rather more public than in our old academy & a failure would be more disgraceful there, I opine, but I hope to use my father's own words "that I shall not disgrace myself."
What are you studying now? You did not mention that item in your last letters to me & consequently I am quite in the dark as regards your progress in those affairs. All I can say is, that I hope you will not leave poor me far behind. Mr Humphrey. brought Mary. Warner. over to see me the other day & we had a delightful time, you well know. Cousin Emily sends much love & wishes you to write her a note, when you answer my letter & may it be speedily.
Your aff. Sister.
Emily E. Dickinson.
Our Section have commenced reading Compositions & we read once in a month, during which time we write two.
You remember that you wished a remembrance to Jane. Humphrey when you last wrote me & I did [give] the message to her. She sends much love to you & wishes much to see you. In my last letter from home, Viny said that Mrs. A. Palmer. returned to Southwick a fortnight since. Do you not think her lovely in her garb of mourning? Mary is a sweet child & bids fair to be as interesting as her mother. Helen. seems perfectly bound up in her child and I trust she will be a great comfort to her in her solitary & lonely hours. It seems a very long time since our last meeting and I long to see you once more. There is a great deal of religious interest here and many are flocking to the ark of safety. I have not yet given up to the claims of Christ, but trust I am not entirely thoughtless on so important & serious a subject.
Do you not think we have had some delightful weather for winter & does it not remind you of spring?