letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

8 June 1851

It might not come amiss dear Austin to have a tiding or two concerning our state and feelings, particularly when we remember that "Jamie is gone awa."

Our state is pretty comfortable, and our feelings are somewhat solemn which we account for satisfactorily by calling to mind the fact that it is the "Sabbath Day." Whether a certain passenger in a certain yesterday's stage has any sombre effect on our once merry household, or the reverse "I dinna choose to tell," but be the case as it may, we are rather a crestfallen company to make the best of us, and what with the sighing wind, the sobbing rain, and the whining of nature generally, we can hardly contain ourselves, and I only hope and trust that your this evening's lot is cast in far more cheery places than the ones you leave behind.

We are enjoying this evening what is called a "northeast storm" - a little north of east, in case you are pretty definite. Father thinks "it's amazin raw," and I'm half disposed to think that he's in the right about it, tho' I keep pretty dark, and dont say much about it! Vinnie is at the instrument, humming a pensive air concerning a young lady who thought she was "almost there." Vinnie seems much grieved, and I really suppose I ought to betake myself to weeping; I'm pretty sure that I shall if she dont abate her singing.

Father's just got home from meeting and Mr Boltwood's, found the last quite comfortable, and the first not quite so well.

Mother is warming her feet, which she assures me confidently are "just as cold as ice.["] I tell her I fear there is danger of icification, or ossification - I dont know certainly which! Father is reading the Bible - I take it for consolation, judging from outward things. He and mother take great delight in dwelling upon your character, and reviewing your many virtues, and Father's prayers for you at our morning devotions are enough to break one's heart - it is really very touching; surely "our blessings brighten" the farther off they fly! Mother wipes her eyes with the end of her linen apron, and consoles herself by thinking of several future places "where congregations ne'er break up," and Austins have no end! This being a favorie sentiment with you, I trust it will find a response in all patriotic bosoms. There has not been much stirring since when you went away - I should venture to say prudently that matters had come to a stand - unless something new "turns up" I cannot see anything to prevent a quiet season. Father takes care of the doors, and mother of the windows, and Vinnie and I are secure against all outward attacks. If we can get our hearts "under" I dont have much to fear - I've got all but three feelings down, if I can only keep them!

Tutor Howland was here as usual, during the afternoon - after tea I went to see Sue - had a nice little visit with her - then went to see Emily Fowler, and arrived at 9 - found Father is great agitation at my protracted stay - and mother and Vinnie in tears, for fear that he would kill me.

Sue and Martha expressed their sorrow that you had gone away, and are going to write a postscript in the next letter I send.

Emily F[owler] talked of you with her usual deal of praise. The girls all send their love. Mother wants to say that if you like Aunt L's Bonnet, and can find one for her just like it, that "Barkis is very willin." Vinnie sends her love, and says she is "pretty comfortable." I shall think of you tomorrow with four and twenty Irish boys - all in a row! I miss you very much. I put on my bonnet tonight, opened the gate very desperately, and for a little while, the suspense was terrible - I think I was held in check by some invisible agent, for I returned to the house without having done any harm!

If I had'nt been afraid that you would "poke fun" at my feelings, I had written a sincere letter, but since the "world is hollow, and Dollie is stuffed with sawdust," I really do not think we had better expose our feelings. Write soon to me, they all send love to you and all the folks - love to Lizzie if there. Vinnie has commenced snoring.

Your dear Sister

thomas johnson's note on letter 42 | index to dickinson/austin dickinson letters

search the archives

dickinson/austin dickinson correspondence main page | dickinson electronic archives main menu

Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lvetter@uncc.edu>
Last updated on February 25, 2008