letters from dickinson to elizabeth holland

To Dr. and Mrs. J.G. Holland
From ED

about 6 November 1858

Dear Hollands,

Good-night! I can't stay any longer in a world of death. Austin is ill of fever. I buried my garden last week - our man, Dick, lost a little girl through the scarlet fever. I thought perhaps that you were dead, and not knowing the sexton's address, interrogate the daisies. Ah! dainty - dainty Death! Ah! democratic Death! Grasping the proudest zinnia from my purple garden, - then deep to his bosom calling the serf's child!

Say, is he everywhere? Where shall I hide my things? Who is alive? The woods are dead. Is Mrs. H. alive? Annie and Katie - are they below, or received to nowhere?

I shall not tell how short time is, for I was told by lips which sealed as soon as it was said, and the open revere the shut. You were not here in summer. Summer? My memory flutters - had I - was there a summer? You should have seen the fields go - gay little entomology! Swift little ornithology! Dancer, and floor, and cadence quite gathered away, and I, a phantom, to you a phantom, rehearse the story! An orator of feather unto an audience of fuxx, - and pantomimic plaudits. "Quite as good as a play," indeed!

Tell Mrs. Holland she is mine. Ask her if vice versa? Mine is but just the thief's request - "Remember me to-day." Such are the bright chirographies of the "Lamb's Book." Goodnight! My ships are in! - My window overlooks the wharf! One yacht, and a man-of-war; two brigs and a schooner! "Down with the topmast! Lay her a' hold, a' hold!"


thomas johnson's note on letter 195 | index to dickinson/holland letters

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Last updated on January 22, 1999