Guests in Eden

Soon after that Madame Bianchi contracted grippe and was compelled to go south. My book, COME SLOWLY, EDEN, ap­peared the following autumn and I sent it to her.

In 1943 1 saw her for a short time at the Metropolitan Museum and thought she looked fragile and seemed sad. Though I did not know it, that was our final meeting. After my brother Stephen's death in the spring, I heard from Madame Bianchi and looked forward to many interesting meetings. The news of her death in December was a great shock. Though our intercourse had been so brief, a presence I valued had been withdrawn from this world. Then, too, her looks were those of a woman of fifty-five, though she was twenty years older.

Martha Bianchi, as far as she was able, was the one who kept the name and fame of Emily Dickinson alive and glowing. If she was a chary custodian of that guarded flame, one must remember that she was the last close tie, the last representative. She had told me in those last days, that she was writing a book on various people Emily had known. Personally, I have always felt that her LIFE AND LETTERS OF EMILY DICKINSON stood alone. In Emily she struck the key upon which she was able to compose music, the canvas upon which she painted her best pictures. With her other books I was unfamiliar, but her in­tellect was brilliant.

To me she will stand as a being who engendered great re­spect, one of fearless courage amounting to fortitude and of intense, loyal affection for a very few; tremendous pride that bordered on haughtiness, but a warm heart, valued by those who knew her. A great lady who took an active part in affairs and, whatever her disappointments and sorrows, faced life steadily with her head held high. A personage left this world when she died.


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Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved.
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Last updated on March 10, 2008

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