letters from dickinson to frances and louise norcross

TO: Louise Norcross

31 December 1861

. . . Your letter didn't surprise me, Loo; I brushed away the sleet from eyes familiar with it - looked again to be sure I read it right - and then took up my work hemming strings for mother's gown. I think I hemmed them faster for knowing you weren't coming, my fingers had nothing else to do. . . . Odd, that I, who say "no" so much, cannot bear it from others. Odd, that I, who run from so many, cannot brook that one turn from me. Come when you will, Loo, the hearts are never shut here. I don't remember "May." Is that the one that stands next April? And is that the month for the river- pink?

Mrs. Adams had news of the death of her boy to-day, from a wound at Annapolis. Telegram signed by Frazer Stearns. You remember him. Another one died in October - from fever caught in the camp. Mrs. Adams herself has not risen from bed since then. "Happy new year" step softly over such doors as these! "Dead! Both her boys! One of them shot by the sea in the East, and one of them shot in the West by the sea." . . . Christ be merciful! Frazer Stearns is just leaving Annapolis. His father has gone to see him to-day. I hope that ruddy face won't be brought home frozen. Poor little widow's boy, riding to-night in the mad wind, back to the village burying-ground where he never dreamed of sleeping! Ah! the dreamless sleep!

Did you get the letter I sent a week from Monday? You did not say, and it makes me anxious, and I sent a scrapt for Saturday last, that too? Loo, I wanted you very much, and I put you by with sharper tears than I give to many. Won't you tell me about the chills - what the doctor says? I must not lose you, sweet. Tell me if I could send a tuft to keep the cousin warm, a blanket of a thistle, say, or something!

Much love and Christmas, and sweet year, for you and Fanny and papa.


Dear little Fanny's note received, and shall write her soon.

Meanwhile, we wrap her in our heart to keep her tight and warm.

thomas johnson's note on letter 245 | index to dickinson/norcross letters

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Last updated on December 16, 1998