letters from dickinson to frances and louise norcross

early September 1880

TO: Louise Norcross

What is it that instructs a hand lightly created, to impel shapes to eyes at a distance, which for them have the whole area of life or of death? Yet not a pencil in the street but has this awful power, though nobody arrests it. An earnest letter is or should be life-warrant or death-warrant, for what is each instant but a gun, harmless because "unloaded," but that touched "goes off"?

Men are picking up the apples to-day, and the pretty boarders are leaving the trees, birds and ants and bees. I have heard a chipper say "dee" six times in disapprobation. How should we like to have our privileges wheeled away in a barrel? . . .

The Essex visit was lovely. Mr. L[ord] remained a week. Mrs. ----- re-decided to come with her son Elizabeth. Aunt Lucretia [Bullard] shouldered arms. I think they lie in my memory, a muffin and a bomb. Now they are all gone, and the crickets are pleased. Their bombazine reproof still falls upon the twilight, and checks the softer uproars of the departing day.

Earnest love to Fanny. This is but a fragment, but wholes are not below.


thomas johnson's note on letter 656 | index to dickinson/norcross letters

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Last updated on January 13, 1999