letters from dickinson to abiah root

23 February 1845

After receving the smitings of conscience for a long time, I have at length succeeded in stifling the voice of that faithful monitor by a promise of a long letter to you; so leave everything and sit down prepared for a long siege in the shape of a bundle of nonsense from friend E.

...I keep your lock of hair as precious as gold and a great deal more so. I often look at it when I go to my little lot of treasures, and wish the owner of that glossy lock were here. Old Time wags on pretty much as usual at Amherst, and I know of nothing that has occurred to break the silence; however, the reduction of the postage has excited my risibles somewhat. Only think! We can send a letter before long for five little coppers only, filled with the thoughts and advice of dear friends. But I will not get into a philosophizing strain just yet. There is time enough for that upon another page of ths mammoth sheet.... Your beau ideal D. I have not seen lately. I presume he was changed into a star some night while gazing at them, and placed in the constellation Orion between Bellatrix and Betelgeux. I doubt not if he was here he would wish to be kindly remembered to you. What delightful weather we have had for a week! It seems more like smiling May crowned with flowers than cold February wading through snowdrifts. I have heard some sweet little birds sing, but I fear we shall have more cold weather and their little bills will be frozen up before their songs are finished. My plants look beautifully. Old King Frost has not had the pleasure of snatching any of them in his cold embrace as yet, and I hope will not. Our little pussy has made out to live. I believe you know what a fatality attends our little kitties, all of them, having had six die one right after the other. Do you love your little niece J. as well as ever? Your soliloquy on the year that is past and gone was not unheeded by me. Would that we might spend the year which is now fleeting so swiftly by to better advantage than the one which we have not the power to recall! Now I know you will laugh, and say I wonder what makes Emily so sentimental. But I don't care if you do, for I shan't hear you. What are you doing this winter? I am about everything. I am now working a pair of slippers to adorn my father's feet. I wish you would come and help me finish them... Although it is late in the day, I am going to wish you a happy New Year,-- not but what I think your New Year will pass just as happily without it, but to make a little return for your kind wish, which so far in a good many respects has been granted, probably because you wished that it might be so. I am trying to think of some news to inform you of and while I write the fire burns which is a very natural inference as it is a chilly, uncomfortable day. I go to singing-school Sabbath evenings to improve my voice... Don't you envy me?...

I do wish you would come, 'Biah, and make me a long visit. If you will, I will entertain you to the best of my abilities, which you know are neither few nor small. Why can't you persuade your father and mother to let you come here to school next term, and keep me company, as I am going? Miss---, I presume you can guess who I mean, is going to finish her education next summer. The finishing stroke is to be put on at [Norton]. She will then have learned all that we poor foot-travellers are toiling up the hill of knowledge to acquire. Wonderful thought! Her horse has carried her along so swiftly that she has nearly gained the summit, and we are plodding along on foot after her. Well said and sufficient this. We'll finish an education sometime, won't we? You may then be Plato, and I will be Socrates, provided you won't be wiser than I am. Lavinia just now interrupted my flow of thought by saying give my love to A. I presume you will be glad to have some one break off this epistle. All the girls send much love to you. And please accept a large share for yourself.

From your beloved.

Emily E. Dickinson.

I received your note by Sabra for which you have my hearty thanks. I intended to write you by Sabra, but as usual she went off in a hurry and I had not time, and I thought as all the other girls wrote you, my letter if I wrote one, would seem no smarter than any body else, and you know how I hate to be common. There, haven't I made a fine lot of excuses for not writing you. I also received your paper last week Friday. How exceedingly witty it was. The one about the little boy who was fearful of [ ] out before he went to [ ] was so sharp I was afraid of cutting off some of my fingers. Don't think of the Bookmark dear A [ ]

I presume by this time you are thirsting for some news from friends, S.G., A.W., H.M., amd S.P. They are all well and happy for aught I know. Sarah [Tracy?] alias Virgil is as consistent and calm and lovely as ever. Abby goes to school and is storing her mind with knowledge as the bee sips the nectar from the flowers. Hatty is making fun as usual, and Sabra [ ]. Sarah S. groweth up like the green [ ] the [ ]. Mr. [ ]

Sabra Howe has gone to Baltimore to stay several months or a year. Anna Taylor is [ ] on the single [ ]. Jane Gridley struts as badly as ever.

Have you heard anything from S[ ] Newton. I had a paper from her a few days ago. She was well and sent much love to all her friends. I suppose you consider yourself one and as such will take some of this article for yourself. Dont you wish Jane Kim [ ] would come back. I cant bear to think she is so far away. I have sent her a letter and a catalogue since she went away, and I dont know whether she ever received them or not as I [ ] of her friends have heard from her except to know that she reached there in safety and was very well. *I go to singing-school Sabbath evenings to improve my voice as a matter of [ ], & have the pleasure of a glimpse at nearly all the [ ] and [ ] in the town. I have seen nothing of Jane Brigham since last term. I presume she is at her old lodgings in Prescott. Mary Snell has a little sister which they think of calling Ellena (?) Is n't it a beautiful name?

* I hope this letter wont be broken open. *If it is folks will wonder who has got so much nonsense to tell, wont they?

Do write soon and a huge letter too may it be, much more so than mine. I hope the little dove will bear the letter safely. [drawing of a hand] Dont laugh at that clumsy hand. Give my love to all inquiring friends. I have so may in S[pringfield] I fear you will be troubled to give them all the particulars respecting my health. You know I always mean what I say.

*Please send me a copy of that Romance you was writing at Amherst. *I am in a fever to read it. *I expect it will be against my Whig feelings.

thomas johnson's note on letter 5 | index to dickinson/root letters

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