letters from dickinson to maria whitney

about June 1880

Dear Friend--

I am constantly more astonished that the Body contains the Spirit -- Except for overmastering work it could not be borne --

I shall miss saying to Vinnie when we hear the Northhampton Bell -- as in subtle states of the West we do -- "Miss Whitney is going to Church" -- though must not everywhere be Church to Hearts that have or have had -- a Friend?

Could that sweet Darkness where they dwell
Be once disclosed to us,
The clamor for their loveliness
Would burst the Loneliness --

I trust you may have the dearest summer possible to Loss --

One sweet sweet more -- One liquid more -- of that Arabian presence!

You spoke very sweetly to both of us and your sewing and recollecting is a haunting picture -- a sweet spectral protection -- Your name is taken as tenderly as the names of our Birds, or the Flower, for some mysterious cause, sundered from it's Dew -- Hoarded Mr Samuel -- not one bleat of his Lamb -- but is know to us --

In a brief memoir of Parepa, in which she was likened to a Rose -- "thornless until she died," some bereaved one added -- to miss him is his only stab, but that -- he never gave.

A word from you would be sacred.


thomas johnson's note on letter 643 | index to dickinson/whitney letters

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Commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
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Last updated on December 13, 1999