letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

11 November 1851

I cant write but a word, dear Austin, because its already noon and Vinnie is waiting to go to the office for me, and yet a single word may be of comfort to you as you go travelling on. It should be a word big and warm and full of sweet affection if I could make it so - Oh it should fill that room, that small and lonely chamber with a thousand kindly things and precious ministrations - I wonder if it will, for know that if it does not, it is bad and disobedient and a most unworthy type of its affectionate mistress! I was to write last night, but company detained me - Martha came this morning and spent the forenoon with us, or I had written more than I'm afraid I can now, the time flies so fast. I said to Martha this morning that I was going to write and we decided between us that it would make you happier to have us talk about you and wish you could be here, and write you more again. Mattie sends you her love - she thinks a great deal of you - I enjoy seeing her so much, because we are both bereaved, and can sorrow on together, and Martha loves you, and we both love Susie, and the hours fly so fast when we are talking of you.

I watched the stage coach yesterday until it went away, and I hoped you would turn around, so to be sure and see me - I did'nt mind the rain which sometimes pelted me with a big drop, nor the sharp westerly wind. I only thought to me that should you turn around for a last look at home and I should not be there, I never could forgive me. I thought you saw me once, the way I told was this. You know your cap was black, and where it had been black, it all at once grew white, and I fancied that was you.

How lonely it was last night when the chilly wind went down, and the clear, cold moon was shining - it seemed to me I could pack this little earthly bundle, and bidding the world Goodbye, fly away and away, and never come back again to be so lonely here, and then I thought of "Hepzibah" how sorrowful she was, and how she longed to sleep, because the grave was peaceful, yet for affection's sake, and for the sake of "Clifford" she wearied on, and bye and bye, kind angels took both of them home, and it seemed almost a lesson, given us to learn. I dont mean that you are him, or that Hepzibah's me except in a relative sense, only I was reminded.

You are not alone, dear Austin, warm hearts are beating for you, and at mention of your name, brighter beams the eye - you must not be despondent - no, Austin, I cannot have you - dont think of the present - the present is unkind, but the future loves you - it sees you a great way off and runs to meet you - "my son was dead, and lives again - he was lost and is found!" I was thinking of you last night - I dropped asleep thinking of you. Lo, I dreamed, and the world was no more this world, but a world bright and fair - no fading leaves, no dying friends, and I heard a voice saying there shall be no more tears, neither any crying, and they answered, nevermore, and up from a thousand hearts went a cry of praise and joy and great thanksgiving, ad I awoke, yet I know the place was heaven, and the people singing songs were those who in their lifetimes were parted and separated, and their joy was because they should never be so any more. Good bye, dear Austin, yet why Good bye, are you not with me always - whether I wake or sleep? "And tho all others do, yet will not I forsake thee"!


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