letters from dickinson to elizabeth holland

To Mrs. J.G. Holland
From ED

late January 1875


This austere Afternoon is more becoming to a Patriot than to one whose Friend is it's sole Land.

No event of Wind or Bird breaks the Spell of Steel.

Nature squanders Rigor - now - where she squandered Love.

Chastening - it may be -the Lass that she receiveth.

My House is a House of Snow - true - sadly - of few.

Mother is asleep in the Library - Vinnie - in the Dining Room - Father - in the Masked Bed - in the Marl House.

How soft his Prison is -
How sweet those sullen Bars -
No Despot - but the King of Down
Invented that Repose!

When I think of his firm Light - quenched so causelessly, it fritters the worth of much that shines. "Dust unto the Dust" indeed - but the final clause of that marvelous sentence - who has rendered it?

"I say unto you.," Father would read at Prayers, with a militant Accent that would startle one.

Forgive me if I linger on the first Mystery of the House.

It's specific Mystery - each Heart had before - but within this World. Father's was the first Act distinctly of the Spirit.

Austin's Family went to Geneva, and Austin lived with us four weeks. It seemed peculiar - pathetic - and Antideluvian. We missed his while he was with us and missed him when he was gone.

All is so very curious.

Thank you for that "New Year" - the first with a fracture. I trust it is whole and hale - to you.

"Kingsley" rejoins "Argemone" -

Thank you for the Affection. It helps me up the Stars at Night, where as I passed my Father's Door - I used to think was safety. The Hand that plucked the Clover - I seek, and am


thomas johnson's note on letter 432 | index to dickinson/holland letters

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Last updated on January 26, 1999