letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

5 October 1851

I dont know why, dear Austin, there is'nt much to say which will interest you, but somehow I feel bound to let nobody escape me who may by any accident happen to light on you.

I take great satisfaction in the consciousness that no one eludes my vigilance, nor can by any means rid themselves of whatever bag or bundle I am disposed to send - and again, Austin, "when the day is dark and drear and the wind is never weary," a slight recollection may be of some avail in lighting the heart up. It is such a day today - nothing but rain and shower, and shower after shower of chilly pelting rain. I am at home from meeting on account of the storm and my slender constitution, which I am assured the folks, would not permit my accompanying them today.

It is Communion Sunday, and they will stay a good while - what a nice time pussy and I have to enjoy ourselves! Just now the sun peeped out. I tell you I chased it back again behind the tallest cloud, it has not my permission to shows its face again till after all the meeting, then it may shine and shine, for all pussy and I care!

I was glad to hear from you Austin, and again I was very sorry, if you can reconcile a story so inconsistent. Glad to know you were better - beter physically, but who cares for a body whose tenant is ill at ease? Give me the aching body, and the spirit glad and serene, for if the gem shines on, forget the mouldering casket! I think you are better now - I fancy convalescent during this rainy day. I am sure that long before this time that "hour" has passed away, and the "daughter of the dawn" has touched a note more gay, with her slight "rosy fingers." "No Rose but has a thorn," recollect this, dear Austin, and you will derive a faith rosier than many roses, which will quite compensate your for now and then a thorn! It expresses worlds to me, "some one to see who cares for [you], and for whom you care," and I think I laughed at the phrase "my own selve's company," conveying a meaning very clear to me. I dont wonder that little room seems small and lonely, and I dont wonder the folks there seem smaller still - I know they are very little, very small indeed, I know that scores might vanish and nobody would miss them, they fill so small a crevice in a world full of life; how much you feel the need of a companion there. I wish a smiling fortune would send you such an one, but if you talk with no one, you are amassing thoughts which will be bright and golden for those you left at home - we meet our friends, and a constant interchange wastes tho't and feeling, and we are then obliged to repair and renew - there is'nt the brimfull feeling which one gets away.

Why when Vinnie and I came home, we were rich in conversation - we were rich in disdain for Bostonians and Boston, and a coffer fuller of scorn, pity, commisseration, a miser hardly had.

Sometimes, I am afraid it will hurt you to stay there. I'm afraid the year you teach will become so embittered that all this blessed country cannot wash it away. Oh I hope not - if indeed no joy is added during one long year, I pray that there be no cankers which shall corrode away! I long for this Boston year to fall from out the circle, to perish and flee away, and be forever gone - your being where you are is a trial - both yourself, and us, are for the time bereaved - yet your lot is the hardest, in that while four anticipate, in your case there's but one - we can gather together and say we are very loney, and it would be so happy if we were all at home - yet one sustains the other - Vinnie and I console and comfort father and mother - I encourage Vinnie, Vinnie in turn cheers me - but one and alone, you are indeed dependant, in any pensive hour, dependant on yourself too, they very one of all least likely to sustain you - if it were not hope, it would be endurance! Thank God there is one bird that singeth for forever and builds her nest anew in the boughs of paradise! You will have several friends to see you in the course of the week. Wm Kellogg is going tomorrow - also Ebenezer Burgess of the senior class - Burgess called on Friday evening and offered to carry anything which we would like to send - he says he shall see you often - I believe he's an Alpha Delta, and I hope you'll be glad to see him, tho' I dont know enough about him to know whether you will or not.

Council Cutler was there last week, and said he would like to see you if he could get time - we told him where you were, but he came Saturday night and we hav'nt yet found out whether he saw you or not. How funny it seems to me to have you live in Boston, and be having calls from our country tradesmen!

Whatever else you forget, Austin, dont cease to remember Smith, who made such a plunge at you on a certain evening - keep his memory green, whatever else betides! I will use my utmost influence to keep him at home during the rest of your absence, and I'm sure you will wish me well in so needful an enterprise. Vinnie's love. Mother sends her love and your waistcoat, thinking you'll like the one, and quite likely need the other. All of the other clothes can go any time after Tuesday.

Your aff Sister.

thomas johnson's note on letter 54 | index to dickinson/austin dickinson letters

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