letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

28 January 1852

I have just got your letter, Austin, and have read and sat down to answer it almost in a breath, for there's so much I want to say, and so little time to say it, that I must be very spry to write you tonight at all.

It has been a long, lonely winter; we do need you at home, and since you have been sick and are away from us, the days seem like ages, and I get tired of ever hoping to see you again. It seems to me it would do you a great deal of good to leave school a few days, and come home. We are very anxious to see you, the journey would do you good, and the pure air here, and seeing your old friends would quite restore you. Cant you, Austin? I do wish you would, never mind the boys; if they cant fill your place for a week, just let it be unfilled. I dont believe the boy's minds would suffer, or run to waste in such a short space of time, and I do think your health requires it. You may feel so well by the time you get this that you wont think it worth the while in a hea[l]th view [?] - but it's a long while since Thanksgiving, and we should like to see you, and perhaps you would like to come. Wont you think of it tonight and follow my good advice into Fitchburg Depot, where you will find a ticket to take you home tomorrow? How glad we should all be to see you! I am rejoiced that your face is better, hope it is now well, as t'will be almost three days from the time you wrote to me, when this reaches you.

I dont understand your being troubled with the palpitation so much, but think it must be owing to a disordered system, and too violent exertions in your school, which I would modstly wish at the bottom of the sea, before ever you were engaged in it. I think you need rest, and riding, and perfect freedom from care - that you will find here, and Vinnie and I will do everything we can to make you happy, if you will make us happy by deciding to come. Generous, isn't it, offerring to make you happy, if you'll make us so first; but in the end, we should all be happy, I guess. Poor Mat has been pretty sick, but is recovering now; just a fortnight today since she was taken down.

I am down there a great deal, and spend most all my time in going to see her, thinking of something to carry her, or writing letters to Sue, telling her all about Martha. I had a long letter from Sue last Thursday, and wrote her that day of Mat's sickness, at Mat's request; told her Mat was'nt much sick, had a touch of the influenza and would be out again soon. Poor Sue thought otherwise, concluded Mat was very sick and I had written not so for fear I should alarm her; so yesterday I had the most anxious note from her - she seemed almost distracted lesst Mat was sick very, and we were keeping it from her; but I wrote her immediately, stating how Mat was, and Mrs C[utler] wrote too, so Sue will soon be relieved. You are gone, and Sue; Mat's sickness deprives me of her, and on the whole again, Austsin, I do feel rather lonely, but you'll all get back at sometime, and if I live till then, I mean to be happy enough to make up for all this lost time. Emiline is still very feeble, sits up only a little, cannot bear the light at all on account of her head, and tho' slowly recovering, is very feeble yet. I went up to see her today - her room is kept so dark that I could'nt see where she was for some time - at last I heard a little faint voice way out in the corner, and found poor Em' out there - she inquired for you - I told her you had been shut up with your face, and she smiled and said "we are all sick at a time." It is five weeks today, since she has taken sick, a long and tedious sickness, but I hope she will soon get well. Her hair is all cut off, and to see her propped up with pillows you would'nt hardly know her.

Mary Warner and Thurston are getting along nicely, spent last Monday evening, sliding down Boltwood's hill - they very last phase of flirtation. Mary dont seem very flourishing just now - everybody seems to get the idea that she's a little gone by, and faded. Dont be roused by this into the former furie, for Mary and Vinnie and I are on the pleasantest terms in the world. Emily Fowler is visiting Liz Tyler. Abby Wood is as usual; Mr Bliss is confined to the house with one of his old attacks, so the work at "Shanghi" I suppose cannot go forward! Abby brought her work down and staid all Monday forenoon; said she wrote a letter of 16 pages to Eliza Coleman last week, and had just received on of ten in return. Dear me, I'm glad I have no such hot correspondents! Only think of it, Abby Wood and Eliza C. Where is Charles Dickens, is all I have tongue to say? Mary Lyman has not come - Mary French is visiting her coz' in Oxford. Prof Haven gave a Lyceum Lecture last evening, upon the deaf and dumb, and the manner of teaching them - it was called very interesting - he gives one at Northampton tonight - the President [Hitchcock] lectures at Springfield this evening, so you see Lyceum Lectures are pretty plenty around here.

Dr Wesselhoeft's bill is correct I presume. He sent Vinnie medicine three or four times, and me twice - and although we were not benefited by it, he probably did the best he could do for us, and I'd rather you would pay it, without any words about it, and Vinnie and I will pay you, when you get home. i dont want any fuss with him. Vinnie and I have tried him and are satisfied that for us the medicine has no power, but I am glad we tried him; we should'nt have known without. Go and see him as soon as you can conveniently, Austin; I dont like an unpaid bill.

Mother seems quite delighted at what you said to her about making a visit - I should'nt be at all surprised should she conclude to go and see you, though of course she has not had time to think at all about it.

I think she is very happ at your mention of her, and desire to see her. I mean she shall go. Vinnie and I have been there so recently, it is not best for us to think of it, but you are very kind, Austin, you do not know how much we all think of you, how much you are missed at home.

I thank you for your letter, it sounds like old times - and makes me feel quite happy, except where you are sick. Mother and Vinnie send their love, and father says he thinks you had better come home for a few days unless you are very much better.


You sent us the Duett, Austin. Vinnie cannot learn it, and I see from the outside page, that there is a piece for two hands.

Are you willing to change it. Dont be in haste to send it; any time will do! Shall write when I hear from you, more fully.

thomas johnson's note on letter 71 | index to dickinson/austin dickinson letters

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