letters from dickinson to elizabeth holland

To Mrs. J.G. Holland
From ED

about 20 February 1859

Not alone to thank you for your sweet note, is my errand, dear Mrs. Holland, tho' I do indeed but will you please to help me?

I guess I have done wrong - I don't know certainly, but Austin tells me so, and he is older than I, and knows more of ordinances.

When Vinnie is here - I ask her; if she says I sin, I say, "Father, I have sinned" - If she sanctions me, I am not afraid, but Vinnie is gone now, and to my sweet elder sister, in the younger's absence, something guides my feet.

These are circumstances. Your friend and neighbor, Mr. Chapman, was in town last week, with Mr. Hyde of Ware, as a business ally.

They caled upon us Wednesday evening, and were our guests on the evening following. After most pleasant conversations, we parted for the night - the gentlemen then proposing to return next day. Business did not terminate, and sitting next evening with S[ue], as I often do, some one rang the bell and I ran, as is my custom.

What was my surprise and shame, on hearing Mr. Chapman ask for "Mrs D!" K[ate] S[cott], a guest of [Sue]'s, was my confederate, and clinging fast like culprit mice, we opened consultation. Since the dead might have heard us scamper, we could not allege that we did not run, besides, it was untrue, which to people so scared as we, was a minor consideration, but would have its weight with our seniors. I propsed that we ask forgiveness.

K. was impenitent and demurred. While we were yet deliberating, S[ue] opened the door, announced that we were detected, and invited us in.

Overwhelmed with disgrace, I gasped a brief apology, but the gentlemen simply looked at us with a grave surprise.

After they had retired, Austin said we were very rude, and I crept to my little room, quite chagrined and wretched. Now do you think Mr. Chapman will forgive me? I do not mind Mrs. Hyde of Ware, because he does not please me, but Mr. Chapman is my friend, talks of my books with me, and I would not wound him.

I write a little note to him, saying I am sorry, and will he forgive me, and remember it no more? Now will I ask so much of you, that you read it for me, judgie if it is said as yourself would say it, were you rude instead of me - that if you approve, when you walk again, you will take it for me to Mr. Chapman's office - tell him for me, intercede as my sister should? Then if he forgives me, I shall write you quickly, but if he should not, and we meet the next in Newgate, know that I was a loving felon, sentenced for a door bell.


thomas johnson's note on letter 202 | index to dickinson/holland letters

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