letters from dickinson to austin dickinson

2 March 1852

Only a word, Austin, to tell you how we are. I presume you were quite surprised to receive an anonymous bundle, which you must have done today, if Mr Graves did his duty. I did'nt mean it should go without a letter in it, of some considerable length. I wanted to write you yesterday more than I ever did in my life, and will tell you now, why I did'nt. But first, I will write how we are, since I promised you that, beforehand.

Father has been shut up with the rheumatism, since Saturday - is rather better today, and hopes to be out tomorrow - the rest of us are as well as could possible be expected! Our minds are not well, mine especially, has quite a number of symptoms - and I apprehend a result!

On the whole, however; we bear it with a good deal of fortitude.

I would have given most anything to have had you here, last evening - the scene was indeed to rich, to be detailed by my pen, and I shall ever regret that the world has lost such a chance to laugh. Let me add as I go along, that father's frame of mind is as usual the happiest, developing itself into constant acts of regard, and epithets of tenderness!

Soon after tea, last night, a violent ring at the bell - Vinnie obeys the summons - Mr Harrington, Brainerd, would like to see me at the door. I come walking in from the kitchen, frightened almost to death, and receive the command from father, "not to stand at the door" - Mr. H. has an errand - will not consent to come in, on account of my father's sickness - having dismissed him hastily, I retreat again to the kitchen - where I find mother and Vinnie, making most desperate efforts to control themselves, but with little success - once more breathe freely, and conclude that my lungs were given me, for only the best of purposes. Another ring at the door - enter Wm [Cowper] Dickinson - soon followed by Mr Thurston! I again crept into the sitting room, more dead than alive, and endeavored to make conversation. Father looked round triumphantly. I remarked that "the weather was rather cold" today, to which they all assented - indeed I never witnessed such wonderful unanimity. Fled to my mind again, and endeavored to procure something equally agreeable with my last happy remark. Bethought me of Sabbath day, and the Rev. Mr Bliss, who preached upon it - remarked with wonderful emphasis, that I thought the Rev. gentleman a very remarkable preacher, and discovered a strong resemblance betwen himself & Whitfield, in the way of remark - I confess it was rather laughable, having never so much as seen the ashes of that gentleman - but oh such a look as I got from my rheumatic sire. You should have seen it - I never can find a language vivid eno' to portray it to you - well, pretty soon, another pull at the bell - enter Thankful Smith, in the furs and robes of her ancestors, while James brings up the rear.

Austin, my cup was full - I endeavored to shrink away into primeval nothingness - but sat there large as life, in spite of every effort. Finally Father, accompanied by the cousins, adjourned to the kitchen fire - and Vinnie and I, and our friends enjoyed the rest of the evening.

How much I have said about nothing, and yet if you were here, I should take so much comfort in telling you all these things, that I try to forget you are gone, and to talk as if it were so; and how I wish it was, and that brings me back again to the feet of the smiling April; oh April, April, wilt thou not soon be here?

Dear Austin, are you well, and are y'r spirits cheerful? How I do want to see you - Oh yes -indeed I do, and so d we all! Mother did'nt send all the clothes because it is'nt the washing week, but she tho't you might like these now, and the rest will be done next Monday, to send by the first who goes. They were delighted with the Gimp, at Mrs. Warner's. Mrs Warner says "Austin has such a perfect taste" - Dont tell Emily Norcross - Vinnie and I, kept dark! No more now from


Much love from us all - take good care of yourself. Love to E Norcross - and all.

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