Guests in Eden

the-manor, but it was in the book and picture crowded library that she was most entrancing as she entertained her most favored acquaintances and her intimate friends. Always she had a keen sense of drama, and her associates delighted to play opposite-and up to-her.

As I knew her better I learned to love her and to admire qualities that lay deeper than her wit and her facile charm. Her kindliness was never failing, and her interest in the ideas and activities of her friends was constant and generous. She never spoke of the deep tragedies in her own life but was quick to give sympathy and understanding in the sorrows of others. Mrs. Tyler's "Martha is a dear girl" might well have sur≠prised those who did not know how heartfelt a tribute it was from one New Englander whose emotions were rarely ex≠pressed in words to another who was equally reticent.



Although we claimed the same great-grandfather, my first meeting with Martha Dickinson Bianchi was accidental. For me, it proved a happy and exciting event. I had not planned it and I am certain that she was innocent of my existence.

My grandfather, Samuel Fowler Dickinson Jr., was one of the younger brothers of Edward-Emily's father. The fact that my grandfather left Amherst when he was barely twenty, and went to Georgia to try to make his own way in the world, and that he succeeded there, and only went back to Amherst on occasional visits, caused him to be something of a stranger to his own birthplace. During the War between the States, he and my own father espoused the cause of the Secessionists. That must have created a rift between them and the family in Amherst, for I can remember the story being told of my great uncles in Massachusetts advertising a reward for my fatherís capture, "alive or dead."

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Transcription and commentary copyright 2000 by
Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved.
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Last updated on March 10, 2008

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