MANUSCRIPT: Dickinson. Ink. Dated: Valentine morn. Unpublished.
William Cowper Dickinson, valedictorian of the class of 1848, was a friend but not a close relative of ED. He returned as tutor in 1851, but this letter clearly was written before that time. Charles Hammond was principal of Monson Academy where Dickinson was teaching.
Picciola is the title of a romantic tale of Napoleonic times by X.B. Saintine (Joseph Xavier Boniface), published in 1839. In the following decade it went through many European and American editions, the latest of which was a profusely illustrated one with decorated binding, published in Philadelphia in 1849. The story concerns a political prisoner in the stronghold of Fenestrella, whose observation of a plant growing between the stones of his prison courtyard transforms his philosophy and changes his fortunes. The Italian jailer's exclamation, "Povea picciola!" (poor little thing), provides the name which the prisoner gives the unknown flower.
Last updated on May 3, 2000