Writings by Susan Dickinson

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  the wild scramble of the rats in the wall-- the
hacking and snappings of the old house itself-- the
soft scramble in its grass outside of things I could
not name but worse did imagine-- such stillness in-
between -- then a series of shrieks pierced the darkness
filled the house. It was murder and frozen with fear I
stiffened -- the sick woman faintly whispered -- it is my
daughter she is subject to night-mare-- you must wake her
quickly -- only a thin partition between myself and those
hellish noises -- I couldn't do it but I must-- My reputation as
watcher was at stake -- shaking with fright I grasped the iron candle
stick, the tallow drip flowing over my fingers and clutched the
poor woman who sat with wide staring eyes was fast in the
clutches of her horror -- She blest me for saving her but
alas nobody saved me from the most awful night of my
life -- I never watched again -- what a far day to
this -- when men, women and children are at
cards and dancing and dinners for a district nurse
to be at the beck and call of the just and unjust--

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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