letters from dickinson to elizabeth holland

To Mrs. J.G. Holland
From ED

before Christmas 1881

Dare we wish the brave sister a sweet Christmas, who remembered us punctually in sorrow as in peace?

The broken heart is broadest. Had it come all the way in your little hand, it could not have reached us perfecter, though had it, we should have clutched the hand and forget the rest.

Fearing the day had associations of anguish to you, I was just writing when your token came. Then, humbled with wonder at your self-forgetting, I delayed till now. Reminded again of gigantic Emily Bronte, of whom her Charlotte said "Full of ruth for others, on herself she had no mercy." The hearts that never lean, must fall. To moan is justified.

To thank you for remembering under the piercing circumstances were a profanation.

God bless the hearts that suppose they are beating and are not, and enfold in His infinite tenderness those that do not know they are beating and are.

Shall we wish a triumphant Christmas to the brother withdrawn? Certainly he possesses it.

How much of Source escapes with thee -
How chief thy sessions be -
For thou hast borne a universe
Entirely away.

      With wondering love,

thomas johnson's note on letter 742 | index to dickinson/holland letters

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Last updated on January 17, 1999