letters from dickinson to higginson

July 1862

Could you believe me-without? I had no portrait, now, but am small, like the Wren, and my Hair is bold, like the Chestnut Bur- and my eyes, like the Sherry in the Glass, that the Guest leaves- Would this do just as well?

It often alarms Father-He says Death might occur, and he has Molds of all the rest- but has no Mold of me, but I noticed the Quick wore off those things, in a few days, and forestall the dishonor-You will think no caprice of me-

You said "Dark." I know the Butterfly-and the Lizard-and the Orchis -

Are not those your Countrymen?

I am happy to be your scholar, and will deserve the kindness, I cannot repay.

If you truly consent, I recite, now-

Will you tell me my fault, frankly as to yourself, for I had rather wince, than die. Men do not call the surgeon, to commend - the Bone, but to set it, Sir, and fracture within, is more critical. And for this, Preceptor, I shall bring you-Obedience-the Blossom from my Garden, and every gratitude I know. Perhaps you smile at me. I could not stop for that-My Business is Circumference-An ignorance, not of Customs, but if caught with the Dawn - or the Sunset see me - Myself the only Kangaroo among the Beauty, Sir, if you please, it afflicts me, and I thought that instruction would take it away.

Because you have much business, beside the growth of me-you will appoint, yourself, how often I shall come-without your inconvenience. And if at any time-you regret you received me, or I prove a different fabric to that you supposed - you must banish me -

When I state myself, as the Representative of the Verse-it does not mean-me-but a supposed person. You are true, about the "perfection."

Today, makes Yesterday mean.

You spoke of Pippa Passes - I never heard anybody speak of Pippa Passes - before.

You see my posture is benighted.

To thank you, baffles me. Are you perfectly powerful? Had I a pleasure you had not, I could delight to bring it.

Your Scholar

thomas johnson's note on letter 268 | index to dickinson/higginson letters

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lv26@umail.umd.edu>
Last updated on September 1, 1998