Writings by Susan Dickinson

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through a deadly monotonous bible class under our host's leadership, he had
never by word or smile lent a relaxed beam of cheer or hope to the simplici-
ties of the New Testament. As he unfolded them via Barnes Notes, he weighed
down my youthful spirit every Sunday, with his picture of myself as a rebellious X
sinner in the hands of an avenging God, -- with possible death before another dawn
staring me full in the face. I suppose I got used to it, for I did not express
my own religious life with this sacredest of old churches, until some nears [sic] later.
What a loss of days of natural, gentle adoring love of God the Father, whose very
Spirit was within me, and whose world was my splendor! They were indeed queer
good men in those days, and as some one has said of them "they believed like

The pallid pleasures of half a century ago were diversions few and
tame, leading almost invariably back to the religious activities of the church.
There was an occasional lecture, there were also the X Wednesday evening prayer- X
meetings in town and college, and the Ladies Sewing Society, where once a fort-
night the minister and husbands came in for tea. & ? ? ? ? In this, the college and village
were one. There was tea drinking among neighbors, knitting in hand, varied only
by the serious entertainments I have mentioned. One might call any day in the
week, in those primitive times, without disturbing a club of any sort; a fact
hardly credible at present, when men women and children are so listed in fed-
erations of every kind, that the command to "enter into thy closet and shut the
door" seems but an old time irony!

In mid-Winter there were usually six four and more weeks of religious "protacted meetings"
held. At which, according to the habits of those days, all clergymen in the re-
gion preached and held prayer meetings, resulting in many admissions to the
church. As the snow lay two or three feet on the level in those Wintry days,
Amherst, with no street lighting, no trolleys, no railroads, seemed to my youthful
and perverse mind, animal spirits and vigorous habit, a staring, lonely, hopeless

H bMS Am 1118.95, Box 9

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Writings by Susan Dickinson Main Page
Image reproduced by permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University.
Not to be reproduced in whole or in part without permission.
Transcription and commentary copyright 1998 by Martha Nell Smith,
Laura Elyn Lauth, and Lara Vetter, all rights reserved
Maintained by Rebecca Mooney  <rnmooney@umd.edu>
Last updated on January 25, 2008

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