letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

7 October 1851

Dear Austin.

Father says he came down upon you so unexpectedly that you hardly had time to recover from your surprise before he was off again - he says you were so astonished that you hardly knew what to say - he thinks you are not very well, and I feel so anxious about you that I cannot rest until I have written to you and given you some advice. They say Mr Sweetser is going - he may not and he may. I will conclude to risk him. I am very sorry indeed that your eyes have been so troublesome. I really hope they are better and will trouble you no more. You ought to be very careful about using them any now - I do not care if you never write me a letter, if you'll only spare your eyes until they have got better. I would not spend much strength upon those little school boys - you will need it all for something better and braver, after you get away. It would rejoice my heart, if on some pleasant morning you'd turn the schoolroom key on Irish boys - Nurse and all, and walk away to freedom and the sunshine here at home. Father says all Boston would not be a temptation to you another year - I wish it would not tempt you to stay another day. Oh Austin, it is wrong to tantalize you so while you are braving all things in trying to fulfill duty. Duty is black and brown - home is bright and shining, "and the spirit and the bride say come, and let him that" wandereth come - for "behold all things are ready"! We are having such lovely weather - the air is as sweet and still, now and then a gay leaf falling - the crickets sing all day long - high in a crimson tree a belated bird is singing - a thousand little painters are ting[e]ing hill and dale. I admit now, Austin, that autumn is most beautiful, and spring is but the least - yet they "differ as stars" in their distinctive glories. How happy if you were here to share these pleasures with us - the fruit should be more sweet, and the dying day more golden - merrier the falling nut, if with you we gathered it and hid it down deep in the abyss of basket; but you complain not - wherefore do we? I had a long letter from Sue last Tuesday evening and Mat had one that day and came down here to read it - we had a beautiful time reading about Susie and talking of [words erased] the good times of last summer - and we anticipated - boasted ourselves of tomorrow [one line erased] the future we created, and all of us went to ride in an air bubble for a carriage. We have made all our plans for you and us [words erased] in another year - we cherish all the past - we glide adown the present, awake, yet dreaming, but the future or ours together - there the birds sing loudest, and the sun shines always there.

Martha and I are very much together - we fill every niche of time with statues of you and Sue in return for this, they smile beautiful smiles down from their dwelling places. Martha wears the charm when she goes out calling, and many a eulogium is passed upon your gift. Sue says in her letter she has had a "brief letter from you" - wont you write her a longer? Father says you wear a white hat, cocked up at the sides - know I shall like it's looks and want so much to see it - as for the wearer, I want to see him too - but which the most prithee?

Father says you are little dinner when you dined with him - he did'nt know whether you were not hungry, or whether it was astonishment at encountering - I hope the latter. You must get better fast - we shall have a busy day for you on Cattle Show day. We have had some sweet cider - I drank your health. I thank you for the vial. I had a dissertation from Eliza Coleman a day or two ago - dont know which was the author - Plato, or Socrates - rather think Jove had a finger in it. Abby Wood has not come - Emerson and Dickinson have been threatened with fevers, but are better now. Spencer is still alive, but cannot linger long. He is sick at Dea Haskell's - his mother is here. Mother came home yesterday - had a pleasant visit at Monson. They all send their love. Vinnie sends her's. How soon you will be here! Days, flee away - "lest with a whip of scorpions I overtake your lingering!"

I am in a hurry - this pen is too slow for me - "it hath done what it could."

Your aff


thomas johnson's note on letter 57 | 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