The feud could have a happy, even a noble ending if Mrs. Bingham and Mr. Hampson now turned over the manuscripts in their possession to some permanent institutions. The Austin Dickinson house is not fireproof. I wish the papers might all rest in the Library of Amherst College, which Emily's father and her brother Austin helped to found and maintain, and which is already the custodian of library treasures.
Emily is the one who counts. Her genius has won its place in spite of her editors. She ought to be secure in that austere and lofty seclusion which during her lifetime was hers by choice. But the mean little feud about which she never knew a thing, still feeds indirectly on her great name to keep itself going. Not long ago a group of Martha Bianchi's partisans met at her grave for a commemorative tribute. One of them said a few words of affection and admiration, bringing in the name of Aunt Emily to put the ceremony on a high level. Almost immediately one of the Toddites, a relentless professor, exposed in the local paper his grounds for believing Martha Bianchi was not an admirable editor, and that her mother, Susan, was not an admirable woman.
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Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved.
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Last updated on March 10, 2008