With a name nine hundred years old and older, with an endowment of the queen-becoming graces, with a stature imperially tall and slim, Martha Dickinson Bianchi might have impressed the uninitiated as a New England Brahmin. Patrician though she was, she scorned division. And no more than Emily Dickinson who, seemingly or deliberately unmindful of a heritage of eight generations, could write
"The pedigree of honeywas her niece conscious of the accident of lineage.
To see the door of her home in Amherst left open to greet more hospitably the coming guest and then to watch the eager and alert form of Martha Dickinson Bianchi appear in the reception hall was to feel unmistakably the warmth and sincerity of her invitation:
"Come sure of a welcome-heart and soul."
Each visit to THE EVERGREENS, more than a shrine of literary
pilgrimage for those who knew Emily's niece, was worthy of
remembrance. For the "Emilyized" there were all the memorabilia
of the poet: her books, her manuscripts, her portrait,
her piano, her trees, and the little path "Just wide enough
for two who love." And over Emily's tea cups there was
scintillating conversation, for one of the hostess' many gifts
was brilliant repartee. The reality of the occasion equaled its
anticipation and gave promise of return to one whose friend
ship and devotion were always green. "I shall not fail the
family", she once wrote a friend. Nor could a friend fail her.
Her absence as Emily had said of another, was "condensed
Presence". And, despite the barrier of ocean between her
and those she loved, her message was reassuring: "I shall never
be far away."
Transcription and commentary copyright 2000 by
Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved.
Maintained by Lara Vetter <email@example.com>
Last updated on March 10, 2008