letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

Thomas Johnson's Note on Letter 157

MANUSCRIPT: AC. Pencil. Dated: Thursday Evening. Envelope addressed: Wm Austin Dickinson./Law School./Cambridge/Mass. Postmarked: Amherst Ms Mar 17.

PUBLICATION: L (1894) 120, in part; L (1931) 118-119, in part; Home 344-345, entire.

It has been generally assumed until now that ED accompanied her brother, mother, and sister to Washington in April 1854. Evidence now leads to the conclusion that she did not go until February 1855. The final paragraph of this letter makes clear that she intends to remain home at this time. A letter from Edward Dickinson to Austin, written March 13 (Home 339) says:

I have written home, to have Lavinia come with yr mother & you - & Emily too, if she will - but that I will not insist upon her coming.

ED's letter of March 19 (no. 158) to Austin tells him that "Cousin John is going to stay here at night when they are away, and wants to know quite eagerly 'when it is to come off.'" Austin heard from his father again on the twenty-fourth (Home 354):

I hear from home that yr mother & Lavinia are getting ready as fast as possible, to come here. I should like to have you all come as early in April as you can.

On March 26 ED comments to Austin (letter no. 159): "The sewing is moving on - I guess the folks will be ready by next week Tuesday." But the final direct evidence that ED remained home at this time is contained in a letter (Dartmouth College - Bartlett papers) written by Susan Gilbert to her friend Mrs. Samuel C. Bartlett, in April:

I forgot to tell you - I am keeping house with Emily, while the family are in Washington - We frighten each other to death nearly every night - with that exception, we have very independent times.

For furter data, see notes to letters no. 178 and 179.

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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