letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

15 December 1851

Did you think I was tardy, Austin? For two Sunday afternoons, it has been so cold and cloudy that I did'nt feel in my very happiest mood, and so I did not write until next monday morning, determining in my heart never to write you in any but cheerful spirits.

Even this morning Austin, I am not in merry case, for it snows slowly and solemnly, and hardly an outdoor thing can be seen a stirring - now and then a man goes by, with a large cloak wrapped around him and shivering at that, and now and then a stray kitten out some urgent errand creeps thro' the flakes, and crawls so fast as may crawl half frozen away. I am glad for the sake of your body that you are not here this morning, for it is a trying time for fingers and toes, for for the heart's sake, I would verily have you here - you know there are winter mornings when the cold without only adds to the warm within, and the more it snows the harder it blows, brigher the fires blaze, and chirps more merrily the "cricket on the hearth"; it is hardly cheery enough for such a scene this morning, and yet methinks it would be if you were only here. The future full of sleighrides would chase the gloom from our minds, which only deepens and darkens with every flake that falls.

Black Fanny would "toe the mark" if you should be here tomorrow, but as the prospects are, I presume Black Fanny's hoofs will not attempt to fly. Do you have any snow in Boston? Enough for a ride, I hope, for the sake of "Auld Lang Syne." Perhaps the "Ladie" of curls, would not object to a drive. So you took Miss Mary to The Mercantile - Vinnie is quite excited about her going to Boston, and things are turning out "just as she expected." Father remarked "he was very glad of it - he thought it would please the old folks to have the school master pay respect to their darter." I think that "heavy cold" must be making progress as that devoted family have not yet been seen, or what is more suspicious, heard of.

I am glad you like Miss Nichols, it must be so pleasant for you to have somebody to care for, in such a cheerless place - dont shut yourself away from anyone whom you like, in order to keep the faith to those you leave behind! Your friends here are much happier in fancying you happy, than if in a pledge so stern you should refuse all friendliness. Truth to the ones you leave does not demand of you to refuse those whom you find, or who would make your exile a less desolate thing in their cheerful circles. On the contrary, Austin, I am very sure that seclusion from everyone there would make an ascetic of you, rather than restore you brighter and truer to them. We miss you more and more, we do nott become accustomed to separation from you. I almost wish sometimes we need'nt mist you so much, since duty claims a year of you entirely to herself, adn then again I think that it is pleasant to miss you if you must go away, and I would not have it otherwise, not even if I could. In every pleasaure and pain you come up to your minds so wishfully, we know you'd enjoy our joy, and if you were with us Austin, we could bear little trials more cheerfully - then when we have any dainty, someone is sure to say "it is such as Austin loves." When I know of anything funny, I am just as apt to cry, far more so than to laugh, for I know who loves jokes best, and who is not here to enjoy them. We dont have many jokes tho' now, it is pretty much all sobriety, and we do not have much poetry, father having made up his mind that its pretty much all real life. Father's real life and mine sometimes come into collision, but as yet, escape unhurt! I give all your messages to Mat - she seems to enjoy every one more than the one before - she was here three afternoons last week, one evening she took tea here with Abby and Abiah Root, and we had such a pleasant time; how I did wish you were here, and so did all the girls - every one of them spoke of it. Did you know that Jane Humphrey's sister [Martha], that you saw at S. Hadley once was dead? They have sent for Jane to come home, I dont know whether she will, she is so far from home. I am so glad you are well, and in such happy spirits - both happy and well is a great comfort to us when you are far away.


Thank you for the music Austin, and thank you for the books. I have enjoyed them very much. I shall learn my part of the Duett, and try to have Vinnie her's. She is very much pleased with Charity.

She would write you now but is busy getting her lesson.

Mother is frying Doughnuts - I will give you a little platefull to have warm for you tea! Imaginary ones - how I'd love to send you real ones.

thomas johnson's note on letter 65 | index to dickinson/austin dickinson letters

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