letters from dickinson to frances and louise norcross

Thomas Johnson's Note on Letter 389

MANUSCRIPT: destroyed.

PUBLICATION: L (1894) 279; L (1931) 254.

There were evangelical meetings in Amherst during the week of 22 April 1873. A card (HCL) written and signed by Edward Dickinson is dated 1 May, and says: "I hereby give myself to God." Vinnie made her visit, here spoken about, to the Hollands, now living in New York; she probably left Amherst in May. For an earlier description of Mrs. Luke Sweetser, written in similar vein, see letter no. 339. Sir Alexander Cockburn (1802-1880), the lord chief justice of England from 1859 until his death, is here alluded to as the epitome of awesome sedateness. Sir Stephen Toplift has not been identified. Since no person of that name is known, he presumably is a somewhat modish character from fiction, familiar to ED and the Norcrosses. The quotation used to characterize Middlemarch is adapted from 1 Corinthians 15:53: ". . . and this mortal must put on immortality." The final quotation may be ED's attempt to recall Matthew 13.11: "Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given."

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Maintained by Lara Vetter <lv26@umail.umd.edu>
Last updated on December 21, 1998