letters from dickinson to elizabeth holland

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

summer 1862?

Dear Friends.

I write to you. I receive no letter.

I say "they dignify my trust." I do not disbelieve. I go again. Cardinals wouldn't do it. Cockneys wouldn't do it, but I can't stop to strut, in a world where bells toll. I hear through visitor in town, that "Mrs. Holland is not strong." The little peacock in me, tells me not to inquire again. Then I remember my tiny friend - how brief she is - how dear she is, and the peacock quite dies away. Now, you need not speak, for perhaps you are weary, and "Herod" requires all your thought, but if you are well - let Annie draw me a little picture of an erect flower; if you are ill, she can hang the flower a little on one side!

Then, I shall understand, and you need not stop to write me a letter. Perhaps you laugh at me! Perhaps the whole United States are laughing at me too! I can't stop for that! My business is to love. I found a bird, this morning, down - down - on a little bush at the foot of the garden, and wherefore sing, I said, since nobody hears?

One sob in the throat, one flutter of my bosom - "My business is to sing" - and away she rose! How do I know but cherubim, once, themselves, as patient, listened, and applauded her unnoticed hymn?


thomas johnson's note on letter 269 | index to dickinson/holland letters

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