letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

29 June 1851

At my old stand again Dear Austin, and happy as a queen to know that while I speak those whom I love are listening, and I am happier still if I shall make them happy.

I have just finished reading your letter which was brought in since church. Mr Pierce was not out today, the wife of this same man took upon her his duties, and brought the letter herself since we came in from church. I like it grandly - very - because it is so long, and also it's so funny - we have all been laughing till the old house rung again at your delineations of men, women, and things. I feel quite like retiring, in presence of one so grand, and casting my small lot among small birds, and fishes - you say you dont comprehend me, you want a simpler style. Gratitude indeed for all my fine philosophy! I strove to be exalted thinking I might reach you and while I pant and struggle and climb the nearest cloud, you walk out very leisurely in your slippers from Empyrean, and without the slightest notice request me to get down! As simple as you please, the simplest sort of simple - I'll be a little ninny - a little pussy catty, a little Red Riding Hood, I'll wear a Bee in my Bonnet, and a Rose bud in my hair, and what remains to do you shall be told hereafter.

Your letters are richest treats, send them always just such warm days - they are worth a score of fans, and many refrigerators - the only "diffikilty" they are so very queer, and laughing such hot weather is anything but amusing. A little more of earnest, and a little less of jest until we are out of August, and then you may joke as freely as the Father of Rogues himself, and we will banish care, and daily die a laughing! It is very hot here now, I dont believe it's any hotter in Boston than t'is here - we cant lie down to sleep lest we wake up in burning. I verily baked in bed the last time I retired, but now adopt a method of keeping up all night which having never tried I think will turn out nicely! I hope you're very careful in working, eating and drinking when the heat is so great - there are temptations there which at home you are free from - beware the juicy fruits, and the cooling ades, and cordials, and do not eat ice-cream, it is so very dangerous - the folks think much about you, and are so afraid you'll get sick by being rash or imprudent - for our sakes Austin wont you try to be careful? I know my sake a'nt much, but Vinnie's is considerab[l]e - it weighs a good man pounds - when skin and bones may plead, I will become a persuasion, but you have other friends who are much more substantial. I know of sisters twain - Oh Youth, come back again, they sing - you ask me of the "postscript" - it's coming - the writers are well, and come often to see Vinnie and me - they do not have any rides except Martha went with Barton on horseback the other morning. Root has quite left the field - our little neighbor Jones we are happy to say is faithful. We talk of you together, and intersperse remarks with snatches from your letters.

You ask about the carriage, it is to be done this wekk, when you get home we'll ride, perhaps we will "take a tour."

Mother feels quite anxious to know about your clothes, washing, ironing, &c. Vinnie suggests in connection that she may sometimes occur to mind when you would like collars washed - I told her I would'nt tell you - I hav'nt however decided whether I will or not. I often put on five knives, and four and another tumbler forgetting for the moment that "we are not all here," it occurs to me however, and I remove the extra and brush a tear away in memory of my brother.

We miss you now and always - when God bestows but three and one of those is witholden the others are left alone. Moody Cook took tea here Saturday - he came to see "his pony" and it being suppertime Father aksed him to stay - he took your seat at the table which led to some remarks concerning yourself, and your absence, which your ear may hear. "Somehow he and Austin always were good friends - he was none of your mean boys - doing small mean things, and there was something in him which always made folks mind - when Austin was at home Austin was in town" tho' this I comprehend not the nescessity of stating it seeming quite instinctive, and not needful to prove. Father told him about your early youth, your love for trade and driving - instanced Hens and Bees as nearest illustrations. By the way - I forgive you that fraud of 25 cts and hope Almighty Jove will be very merciful! Father thinks Moody Cook put spirit in the cider when he was here in the spring and thinks you understand it, and that yourself and Moody are in some way joking him - he has thought so much about it that he said he should write, and ask you - we young ones laugh in our sleeves, and think he is rather crazy. Father is as uneasy when you are gone away as if you catch a trout, and put him in Sahara - when you first went away he came home very frequently - walked gravely towards the barn, and returned looking very stately - then strode away down the street as if the foe was coming - now he is more resigned - contents himself by fancying that "we shall hear today," and then when we do not hear, he wags his head profound, and thinks without a doubt there will be news "tomorrow." "Once one is two" once one will be two ah I have it here! I wish you could have some cherries - if there was any way we could send you a basket of them - they are very large and delicious, and are just ripening now - little Austin Grout comes every day to pick them, and mother takes great comfort in calling him by name, from vague association with her departed boy. Austin, to tell the truth, it is very still and loney. I do wish you were here despite the darkened Laddy - they are bad enough in darkness, I really dont feel willing that they should come to light thro' such a daring medium - Emeline and Sarah took a trip sometime since, and have not yet returned - from all that I can learn I conclude that "I tell Eliza" is his consoling now - in other language Austin - she has become "Miss Mills."

Root has been here twice - B Harrington once, and others in due proportion - W. Dickinson is going to write you - Bowdoin is "around." The railroad is a "working" - my love to all my friends. I am on my way down stairs to put the teakettle boiling - writing and taking tea cannot sympathize - if you forget me now your right hand shall it's cunning.


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