letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

22 June 1851

I rec'd your letter Austin, permit me to thank you for it, and to request some more as soon as it's convenient - permit me to accord with your discreet opinion concerning Swedish Jennie, and to commend the heart brave eno' to express it - combating the opinion of two civilized worlds, and New York into the bargain, must need considerable daring - indeed it had never occurred to me that amidst the Halleujahs one tongue would dare to be dumb - and much less I assure you that this dissenting one should be my romantic Brother! For I had looked for delight and a very high style of rapture in such a youth as you - Father perused the letter and verily for joy the poor man could hardly contain himself - he read and read again, and each time seemed to relish the story more than at first. Fearing the consequences on a mind so formed as his, I seized the exciting sheet, and bore it away to my folio to amuse nations to come.

"If it had only come" in the language of your Father, "a single day before," in the twinkling of an eye "it had been transferred to the Paper" to tell this foolish world that one man living in it dares to say what he thinks - nor heeds if some dog bark. So soon as he was calm he began to proclaim your opinion - the effect cannot be described - encomium followed encomium - applause deafened applause - the whole town reeled and staggered as it were a drunken man - rocks rent - graves opened -and the seeds which had'nt come up were heard to set up growing - the sun went down in clouds - the moon rose in glory - Alpha Delta, All Hail!

We have all been rather piqued at Jennie's singing so well, and this first calumnious whisper pleases us so well. We rejoice that we did not come - our visit is yet before us.

The bonnet came safely Saturday, and is pronounced by us all to be very beautiful - mother is very much pleased with it, says it is "just to her mind," you could'nt have suited us better possibly if you'd tried.

Mother wants me to thank you for all your pains and trouble, and says you "are very kind to do so much for your mother."

You hav'nt told us yet as you promised about your home - what kind of people they are - whether you find them pleasant - whether those timid gentlemen have yet "found tongue to say" - do you find the life and living any more annoying than you at first expected - do you light upon any friends to help the time away - have you whipped any more bad boys - all these solemn questions, pray give them proper heed!

Two weeks of your time are gone, I cant help wondering sometimes if you would love to see us, and come to this still home - I cant help wanting to see you now and then at time and my interviews with you at the Barn are frought with a saddened interest. I suppose I am a fool - you always said I was one, and yet I have some feelings that seem sensible to me, and I have desires to see you now that you are gone which are really quite intelligent. Dont take too much encouragement, but really I have the hope of becoming before you come quite an accountable being!

Why not an "eleventh hour" in the life of the mind as well as such an one in the life of the soul - greyhaired sinners are saved - simple maids may be wise, who knoweth?

The yard round the house has been moved and presents quite a fine appearance - Dwight continues to do very well, Baalis Sanford was here last week; has gone to Bridgwater now, and will be here again sometime this week.

Our Reading Club still is, and becomes now very pleasant - Stebbins comes in to read now, and Spencer - t'would not be so if you were here - the last time Charles came in when we had finished reading, and we broke up with a dance - make your own reflections at the story I just told you - the Tutors come after us, and walk home with us - we enjoy that! A Senior Levee was held at Prof and Mrs Haven's on Tuesday of last week - quite an oldfashioned time - Vinnie and dodging Chapin was the only fun they had there - Vinnie played pretty well! There's another at the President's this next Friday evening - "Clatum et venerabile" Seniors! Emily Fowler inquires for you - also M. and Susie - Give my love to my friends, and write me as soon as you can - the folks all send their love. B F N. is married.

thomas johnson's note on letter 44 | index to dickinson/austin dickinson letters

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Last updated on February 25, 2008