letters from dickinson to jane humphrey

16 October 1855

I'm just from the frosts, Jennie, and my cheeks are ruddy and cold - I have many a Bairn that cannot care for itself, so I must needs care for it, on such a night as this, and I've shrouded little forms and muffled little faces, till I almost feel maternal, and wear the anxious aspect that careful parents do - but for you I leave them, Darling, dearer than leaves or blossoms, or all my speechless mates, wh' will fade at last.

Jennie - my Jennie Humphrey - I love you well tonight, and for a beam from your brown eyes, I would give a pearl.

How much I would buy, were they to purchase, but Jennie, I am poor. Only the loss of friends and the longing for them - that's all, tonight Jennie, and I keep thinking and wishing, and then I think and wish, till for your sakes, who stray from me, tears patter as the rain.

How I wish you were mine, as you once were, when I had you in the morning, and when the sun went down, and was sure I should never go to sleep without a moment for you. I try to prize it, Jennie, when the loved are here, try to love more, and faster, and dearer, but when all are gone, seems as had I tried harder, they would have stayed with me. Let us love with all our might, Jennie, for who knows where our hearts go, when this world is done?

Do you love to be in Groton, and are you happy and well, and is Mr Hammond kind to you? I am sure he is, for I like Mr Hammond.

Will you teach always, Jennie, or in a Seminary smaller, one day assume the rule?

You did not tell me of yourself when you were in Amherst, so how many knights are slain and wounded, and how many now remain, is to me unknown. Keep a list of the conquests, Jennie, this is an enemy's Land!

Mr Bliss's Coronation takes place tomorrow, at the College church. Charge to the Heathen, by the Pastor! Front seats reserved for Foreign Lands! Jennie - dont let your duty call you "far hence." Distances here seem pretty long, but I confess, when it gets to that, that one crosses the Mediterranean, tis even farther off, nor can car, nor can carriage take me. Vinnie sends her love, and says "tell Jennie Humphrey I do want to see her.["]

No day goes by, little One, but has its thought of you, and its wish to see you. When shall you come again? We shall be in our new house soon; they are papering now, and - Jennie, we have other home - "house not made with hands." Which first will we occupy? Jennie - give Mr Hammond a bright smile for me, and tell him it is Autumn - and tell him I have nuts and squirrels, and gold and scarlet trees - and tell him here is the king! My love for you, my Child, and will you write me instantly?

Your Emilie Dickinson-

thomas johnson's note on letter 180 | index to dickinson/humphrey letters

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Last updated on November 8, 1999