letters from dickinson to frances and louise norcross

December 1870?

TO: Louise and Frances Norcross

Untiring Little Sisters,

What will I ever do for you, yet have done the most, for love is that one perfect labor nought can supersede. I suppose the pain is still there, for pain that is worthy does not go so soon. The small can crush the great, however, only temporarily. In a few days we examine, muster our forces, and cast it away. Put it out of your hearts, children. Faith is too fair to taint it so. There are those in the morgue that bewitch us with sweetness, but that which is dead must go with the ground. There is a verse in the Bible that says there are those who shall not see death. I suppose them to be the faithful. Love will not expire. There was never the instant when it was lifeless in the world, though the quicker deceit lies, the better for the truth, who is indeed our dear friend.

I am sure you will gain, even from this wormwood. The martyrs may not choose their food.

God made no act without a cause,
Nor heart without an aim,
Our inference is premature,
Our premises to blame.

. . . Sweetest of Christmas to you both, and a better year.


thomas johnson's note on letter 357 | index to dickinson/norcross letters

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
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Last updated on December 20, 1998