letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

16 November 1851

Dear Austin.

We have just got home from meeting - it is very windy and cold - the hills from our kitchen are just crusted with snow, which with their blue mantillas makes them seem so beautiful. You sat just here last Sunday, where I am sitting now and our voices were nimbler than our pens can be, if they try never so hardly. I should be quite sad today, thinking about last Sunday did'nt another Sabbath smile at me so pleasantly, promising me on it's word to present you here again when "six days work is done."

Father and mother sit in state in the sitting room perusing such papers only, as they are well assured have nothing carnal in them. Vinnie is eating an apple which makes me think of gold, and accompanying it with her favorite [New York] Observer, which if you recollect, deprives us many a time of her sisterly society. Pussy has'nt returned from the afternoon assembly, so you have us all just as we are present. We were very glad indeed to hear from you so soon, glad that a cheerful fire met you at the door. I do well remember how chilly the west wind blew, and how everything shook and rattled before I went to sleep, and I often tho't of you in the midnight car, and hoped you were not lonely. I wished that "Jim" was there to keep you pleasant company, or rather that you were here, soundly asleep and adream.

How farcical it seems to sit here a writing, when another Sunday's sun shall shine upon us all in each other's society, and yet thanks to a being inventing paper and pen, they are better far than nothing! By means of them indeed, 'tis little I can tell you, but I can tell how much I would if I could, and there's something comforting in it. We are thinking most of Thanksgiving, than anything else just now - how full will be the circle, less then by none - how the things will smoke, how the board will groan with the thousand savory viands - how when the day is done, Lo the evening cometh, laden with merrie laugh, and happy conversation, and then the sleep and the dream each of a knight or "Ladie" - how I love to see them, a beautiful company, coming down the hill which men call the Future, with their hearts full of joy, and their hands of gladness. Thanksgiving indeed, to a family united, once more together before they go away! "Both together" it says, "one taken, the other left."

Col' Kingman's other daughter died yesterday - her funeral is tomorrow. Oh what a house of gried must be their's today - the grass not growing gree above the grave of Martha, before little Ellen is laid close beside. I dont know but they are the happier, and we who longer stay the more to be sorrowed for.

Mr [William] Tyler preached this PM - a sermon concerning Spencer, of which you heard us speak when you were here. A beautiful memorial of his life and character, and preached by the request of Spencer's friends in the village. Martha was here on Friday and we had a beautiful hour to sit and talk together. Martha becomes far dearer to me with every week and day - her's is a spirit as beautiful and pure as one will seldom meet in a world like our's, and it is all the lovelier because it is so rare. Martha inquired for you, as she never comes without doing, and sends the weekly love which I always bring, and which I love to bring, if it makes you happier. I hope you are encouraged since you were at home - do not be lonely. Susie is lonely, and Martah, and I am lonely too, and this is a lonely world, in the cheerfullest aspects of it. We will not live here always - but [?] will dwell together beyond the bright blue sky, where "they live whom we call dear." The winter will fly swiftly, then will be the spring - think of nothing but hope - heed nothing but anticipation - "the griefs of the present moment are not to be compared with the joys which are hereafter." Bye and bye you are coming home - so is Susie - so is joy and gladness, which have been staying away just as long as you have. Dont mind the days - some of them are long ones but who cares for length when breadth is in store for him, or who minds the corss, who knows he'll have a crown? I wish I could imbue you with all the strength and courage which can be given men - I wish I could assure you of the constant remembrance of those you leave at home - I wish, but Oh how vainly, that I could bring you back again, and never more to stray! You are tired now Dear Austin, with my incessant din, but I cant help saying any of these things.

The very warmest love from Vinnie and every one of us. I am never ready to go -

Reluctant Emily

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