letters from dickinson to elizabeth holland

To Mrs. J.G. Holland
From ED

early August 1856?

Don't tell, dear Mrs. Holland, but wicked as I am, I read my Bible sometimes, and in it as I read today, I found a verse like this, where friends should "go no more out" and there were "no tears," and I wished as I sat down to-night that we were there - not here - and tht wonderful world had commenced, which makes such promises, and rather than write you, I were by your side, and the "hundred and forty and four thousand" where chatting pleasantly, yet not disturbing us. And I'm half tempted to take my seat in that Paradise of which the good man writes, and begin forever and ever now, so wondrous does it seem. My only sketch, profile, of Heaven is a large, blue sky, bluer and larger than the biggest I have seen in June, and in it are my friends - all of them - every one of them - those who are with me now, and those who were "parted" as we walked, and "snatched up to Heaven."

If roses had not faed, and frosts had never come, and one had not fallen here and there whom I could not waken, there were no need of other Heaven than the one below - and if God had been here this summer, and seen the things that I have seen - I guess that He would think His Paradise superfluous. Don't tell Him, for the world, though, for after all He's said about it, I should like to see what He was building for us, with no hammer, and no stone, and no journeyman either. Dear Mrs. Holland, I love, to-night - love you and Dr. Holland, and "time and sense" - and fading things, and things that do not fade.

I'm so glad you are not a blossom, for those in my garden fade, and then a "reaper whose name is Death" has come to get a few to help him make a bouquet for himself, so I'm glad you are not a rose - and I'm glad you are not a bee, for where they go when summer's done, only the thyme knows, and even were you a robin, when the west winds came, you would cooly wink at me, and away, some morning!

As "little Mrs. Holland," then, I think I love you most, and trust that tiny lady will dwell below while we dwell, and when with many a wonder we seek the new Land, her wistful face, with ours, shall look the last upon the hills, and first upon - well, Home!

Pardon my sanity, Mrs. Holland, in a world insane, and love me if you will, for I had rather be loved than to be called a king in earth, or a lord in Heaven.

Thank you for your sweet note - the clergy are very well. Will bring such fragments from them as shall seem me good. I kiss my paper here for you and Dr. Holland - would it were cheeks instead.


thomas johnson's note on letter 185 | index to dickinson/holland letters

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