Writings by Susan Dickinson

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"Great oaks from little acorns grow!" It was the lion's tail on the hearth-rug
in the parlor of this staid home, that convulsed domesticity for twenty four
hours, and led to discovery at last. Taken up to relieve the dancing toes from
clumsy entanglement in the fringe, it was put back in the flurry of righting up
in the morning before the return of the parents, regardless of the lion's anato-
my and jungle grace. He was a big brown fellow, set off by a vague green back-
ground of some appropriate sort. The silly, half frightened young folks had
replaced him, but completely reversed, so that the majestic tail turned up where,
by precedent, it should have turned down, and all his members were accordingly
topsy turvy!

Only too soon after the return, the maternal shriek "Why girls! Girls! What has
happened? The lion's tail is upside down!" proved the fore-runner of a little
private judgment day. Eventually the mother was "managed" and recommended not
to trouble Father about it!"

I should have explained, of course, that this best-parlor rug was never taken up
except at the change of solstice. X conversatzione? profanely?

Watching with the sick would hardly be included in nocturnal pleasures, but it
was considered, as I look back upon it, too natural a duty to even speak of, much
less question as a suitable dissipation. Young and old took the place of night
watchers in all emergencies. Quite early in life I showed a knack with the sick
and tried my powers, somewhat enthusiastically. A night of length and stillness
passed in the sick room of Mrs Moore, the widow of the first President of the
college, is cut upon my memory like a steel engraving. She lived in what came to
be known as the Bentley house, but then the residence of the President; standing
where now the Alpha Delta House displays its unbroken lawn. In the manner of
the time, the plan of it was four square rooms and a wide, long hall, unwarmed
and uncarpeted. As my vigil began at eight o-clock and "the hired girl" was en-
tirely banished at that early hour, the solitude of that the lonely May night, both

H bMS Am 1118.95, Box 9

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Last updated on January 25, 2008

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