letters from dickinson to emily fowler ford

21 December 1853

Dear Emily,

Are you there, and shall you always stay there, and is it not dear Emily any more, but Mrs. Ford of Connecticut, and must we stay alone, and will you not come back with the birds and the butterflies, when the days grow long and warm?

Dear Emily, we are lonely here. I know Col. S[mith] is left, and Mr. and Mrs. K[ellogg], but pussy has run away, and you do not come back again, and the world has grown so long! I knew you would go away, for I know the roses are gathered, but I guessed not yet, not till by expectation we had become resigned. Dear Emily, when it came, and hidden by your veil you stood before us all and made those promises, and when we kissed you, all, and went back to our homes, it seemed to me translation, not any earthly thing, and if a little after you'd ridden on the wind, it would not have surprised me.

And now five days have gone, Emily, and long and silent, and I begin to know that you will not come back again. There's a verse in the Bible, Emily, I don't know where it is, nor just how it goes can I remember, but it's a little like this - "I can go to her, but she cannot come back to me." I guess that isn't right, but my eyes are full of tears, and I'm sure I do not care if I make mistakes or not. Is it hapy there, dear Emily, and is the fireside warm, and have you a little cricket to chirp upon the hearth?

How much we think of you - how dearly love you - how often hope for you that it may all be happy.

Sunday evening your father came in - he stayed a little while. I thought he looked solitary. I thought he had grown old. How lonely he must be - I'm sorry for him.

Mother and Vinnie send their love, and hope you are so happy. Austin has gone away. Father comes home to-morrow. I know father will miss you. He loved to meet you here.

"So fades a summer cloud away,
So smiles the gales when storms are o'er
So gently shuts the eye of day,
So dies a wave along the shore."

Kiss me, dear Emily, and remember me if you will, with much respect, to your husband. Will you write me sometime?


thomas johnson's note on letter 146 | index to dickinson/ford letters

search the archives

dickinson/ford correspondence main page | dickinson electronic archives main menu

Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lv26@umail.umd.edu>
Last updated on February 18, 1999