about March 1886
TO: Louise and Frances Norcross
I scarcely know where to begin, but love is always a safe place. I have twice been very sick, dears, with a little recess of convalescence, then to be more sick, and have lain in my bed since November, many years, for me, stirring as the arbutus does, a pink and russet hope; but that we will leave with our pillow. When you dear hearts are quite convenient, tell us of their contents, the fabric cured for most, not a fondness wanting.
Do you keep musk, as you used to, like Mrs. Morene of Mexico? Or cassia carnations so big they split their fringes of berry? Was your winter a tender shelter - perhaps like Keat's bird, "and hops and hops in little journeys"?
Are you reading and well, and the W[hitney]s near and warm? When you see Mrs. French and Dan give them a tear from us.
Vinnie would have written, but could not leave my side. Maggie gives her love. Mine more sweetly still.