letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

1 October 1851

We are just thro' dinner, Austin, I want to write so much that I omit digestion, and a dyspepsia will probably be the result. I want to see you more than I ever did before - I should have written again, before I got your letter, but thought there might be something which I should love to tell you, or if you should ask any questions I would want to answer those. I received what you wrote, at about 2 1/2 oclock yesterday. Father brought home the same, and waited himself in order to have me read it - I reviewed the contents hastily - striking out all suspicious places, and then very artlessly and unconsciously began. My heart went "pit a pat" till I got safely by a remark concerning Martha, and my stout heart was not till the manuscript was over. The allusion to Dick Cowles' grapes, followed by a sarcasm on Mr Adams' tomatoes, amused father highly. He quite laid it to heart, he thot, it was so funny. Also the injunction concerning the college tax, father took occasion to say was "quite characteristic."

You say we must'nt trouble to send you any fruit, also your clothes must give us no uneasiness. I dont ever want to have you say an more such things. They make me feel like crying. If you'd only teased so much that we could find no way to send you any, but you resign so cheerfully your birthright of purple grapes, and do not so much as murmur at the departing peaches, that I hardly can taste the one or drink the juice of the other. They are so beautiful Austin - we have such an abundance "while you perish with hunger."

I do hope someone will make up a mind to go before our peaches are quite gone. The world is full of people travelling everywhere, until it occurs to you that you will send an errand, and then by "hook or crook" you cant find any traveller, who for money or love can be induced to go and convey the opprobrious package! It's a very selfish age, that is all I can say about it! Mr storekeeper Sweetser has been "almost persuaded" to go, but I believe he has put it off "till a more convenient season," so to show my disapprobation, I shant buy any more gloves at Mrs. Sweetser's store! Dont you think it will seem very cutting to see me pass by his goods, and purchase at Mr Kellogg's? I don't think I shall retract should he regret his course, and decided to go tomorrow, because it is the "principle" of dissapointing people, which I disapprove!

You must not give it up, but that you will yet have some, there may be some good angel passing along your way, to whom we can entrust a snug little bundle - the peaches are very large - one side a rosy cheek, and the other a golden, and that peculiar coat of velvet and of down, which makes a peach so beautiful. The grapes too are fine, juicy, and such a purple - I fancy the robes of kings are not a tint more royal. The vine looks like a kingdom, with ripe round grapes for kings, and hungry mouths for subjects - the first instance on record of subjects devouring kings! You shall have some grapes dear Austin, if I have to come on foot in order to bring them to you.

The apples are very fine - it is'nt quite time to pick them - the cider is almost done - we shall have some I guess by Saturday, at any rate Sunday noon! The vegetables are not gathered, but will be before very long. The horse is doing nicely, he travels "like a bird," to use a favorite phrase of your delighted mother's. You ask about the leaves - shall I say they are falling? They had begun to fall before Vinnie and I came home, and we walked up the steps through "little brown ones rustling." Martha and I were talking of you the other night, how we wished you were here to see the autumn sun set, and walk and talk with us among the fading leaves.

Martha is very long talking of you and Susie, she seems unreconciled to letting you go away. She is down here most every day - she brings Sue's letters and reads them. It would make you laugh to hear all which she has to tell - she writes in excellent spirits, tho' Martha and I think they are "unnatural," we think she is so gay because she feels so badly and fancies we shant know. Susie asks in every letter why she dont hear from you - she says "Emily and Austin were going to write so soon, and I'll warrant I wont hear from either of them, for one while." I sent her a letter Monday - I hope if you have not written, you will do very soon, for Susie is so far off, and wants so much to have you. Martha wants to see you very much indeed, and send her love to you. Emily Fowler has gone travelling somewhere with her father - New Haven and New York are to be the stopping places. Charlie has yet no school. I suspect he needs your aid in passing himself off somewhere. I have smiled a good many times at the fruitful ride to Charles. Vinnie tells me she has detailed the news - she reserved the deaths for me, thinking I might fall short of my usual letter somewhere. In accordance with her wishes, I acquaint you with the decease of your aged friend - Dea Kingsbury. He had no disease that we know of, but gradually went out. Martha Kingman has been very sick, and is not yet out of danger. Jane Grout is slowly improving, tho' very feeble yet. "Elizy" has been in Boston, she came home Tuesday night. She asked her friends, and they endeavored to find you, but could not.

She says she told you when you were at home that she should go in October, and you were coming to see her, but as she changed her mind and went earlier, she did not suppose of course, that you would know she was there. She was very sorry not to be able to find you.

Father was written to Monson to have them all come up here and make us a family visit - I hardly think they will come. If they dont, sometime, next week mother means to go to Monson, and make them a little visit. Bowdoin's eye is better, and he has got back to the office - Howland has gone to Conway - will probably be here again in the course of two or three weeks. Did Vinnie tell you that she went with him to Ware, and how it made a hubbub in the domestic circle?

Emeline and Henry are just learning to say "we," I think they do very well for such "new beginners." There was quite an excitement in the village Monday evening. We were all startled by a violent church bell ringing, and thinking of nothing but fire, rushed out in the street to see. The sky was a beautiful red, bordering on a crimson, and rays of a gold pink color were constantly shooting off from a kind of sun in the centre. People were alarmed at this beautiful Phenomenon, supposing that fires somewhere were coloring the sky. The exhibition lasted nearly 15. minutes, and the streets were full of people wondering and admiring. Father happened to see it among the very first and rang the bell himself to call attention to it. You will have a full account from the pen of Mr Trumbell, whom I have not a doubt, was seen with a large lead pencil, a noting down the sky at the time of it's highest glory. Father will write you soon - the day that your letter came with a list of our expenses - he seemed very busy, so I did'nt read that part, and his hands have been so full that I have seen no time when I could show it to him - however he knows all of our expenditures, and will make everything right when you next come home - you dont like to have us ever speak of such things, but father wrote to know, and I tho't you might think it strange he should not write about it after your letter came. You will be here now so soon - we are impatient for it - we want to see you, Austin, how much I cannot say here.

Your aff


Your clothes are in beautiful order, everything in waiting to have some way to send. I have heeled the lamb's wool stockings, and now and then repaired some imperfections in the destined shirts - when you wear them, you must'nt forget these things. You made us very happy while we were away. Love from all the folks, with a how I do want to see you!

thomas johnson's note on letter 53 | index to dickinson/austin dickinson letters

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