letters from dickinson to cornelia sweetser

November 1882

Dear Nellie,

I cannot resist your sweet appeal, though the departure of our Mother is so bleak a surprise, we are both benumbed - for the Doctor assured us she was recovering and only the night before she died, she was happy and hungry and ate a little Supper I made her with such enthusiasm, I laughed with delight, and told her she was as hungry as Dick.

Wondering with sorrow, how we could spare our last Neighbors, our first Neighbor, our Mother, quietly stole away.

So unobtrusive was it, so utterly unexpected, that she almost died with Vinnie alone before one could be called. Amid these foreign Days the thought of you is homelike, for you were peculiarly gentle to her for whom service has ceased.

The last Token, but one, on which her dear Eyes looked, was the Grapes from you. The very last, a little Bird, from thoughtful Mrs Hills.

Grapes and Birds, how typic, for was she not on her sweet way to a frostless Land?

Plundered of her dear face, we scarcely know each other, and feel as if wrestling with a Dream, waking would dispel.

Thank you for every sweetness to her and to us and please to thank your Husband for the lovely desire to honor her for the last time, and Alice and Nettie too, for many a little Banquet she was indebted to them. Thank them with a Kiss.

I hope you are stronger than you were, and that all is safe in your unspeakable Home.

Oh, Vision of Language!


thomas johnson's note on letter 782 | index to dickinson/cornelia sweetser letters

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Last updated on October 20, 1999