letters from dickinson to frances and louise norcross

24 September 1881

TO: Louise and Frances Norcross

Dear Ones,

If I longer, this will not reach you before Sunday; if I do not, I must write you less than I would love. "do unto others as we would that they should do unto you." I would rather they would do unto me so.

After infinite wanderings the little note has reached us. It was mailed the twelfth - we received it the twenty-third. The address "Misses Dickinson" misled the rustic eyes- the postmaster knows Vinnie, also by faith who Emily is, because his little girl was hurt, and Emily sent her some juleps - but he failed of the intellectual grasp to combine the names. So after sending it to all the Mrs. Dickinsons he could discover, he consigned it to us, with the request that we would speedily return it if not ours, that he might renew his research. Almost any one under the circumstances would have doubted if it were theirs, or indeed if they were themself - but to us it was clear. Next time, dears, direct Vinnie, or Emily, and perhaps Mr. [Jameson]'s astuteness may be adequate. I enclose the battered remains for your Sabbath perusal, and tell you we think of you tenderly, which I trust you often believe.

Maggie is making a flying visit to cattle-show, on her very robust wings - for Maggie is getting corpulent. Vinnie is picking a few seeds - for if a pod "die, shall he not live again"; and with the shutting mail I go to read to mother about the President. When we think of the lone effort to live, and its bleak reward, the mind turns to the myth "for His mercy endureth forever," with confiding revulsion. Still, when Professor Fisk died on Mount Zion, Dr. Humphrey prayed "to whom shall we turn but thee?" "I have finished," said Paul, "the faith." We rejoice that he did not say discarded it.

The little postman has come - Thomas's "second oldest," and I close with reluctant and hurrying love.


thomas johnson's note on letter 727 | index to dickinson/norcross letters

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Last updated on January 13, 1999