Emily Dickinson's Correspondences
Correspondence with Susan Dickinson

H L13a           Monday morning -

Will you be kind to me, Susie? I am naughty and cross, this morning, and nobody loves me here; nor would you love me, if you should see me frown, and hear how loud the door bangs whenever I go through; and yet it is'nt anger - I dont believe it is, for when nobody sees, I brush away big tears with the corner of my apron, and then go working on - bitter tears, Susie - so hot that they burn my cheeks, and almost schorch my eyeballs, but you have wept such, and you know they are less of anger than sorrow.

And I do love to run fast - and hide away from them all; here in dear Susie's bosom, I know is love and rest, and I never would go away, did not the big world call me, and beat me for not working.

Little Emerald Mack is washing, I can hear the warm suds, splash. I just gave her my pocket handkerchief - so I cannot cry any more. And Vinnie sweeps - sweeps, upon the chamber stairs; and Mother is hurrying round with her hair in a silk pocket handkerchief, on account of dust. Oh Susie, it is dismal, sad and drear eno' - and the sun dont shine, and the clouds look cold and gray, and the wind dont blow, but it pipes the shrillest roundelay, and the birds dont sing, but twitter - and there's nobody to smile! Do I paint it natural - Susie, so you think how it looks? Yet dont you care -

[Upside down on the first page:]
Father's sister is dead, and Mother wears black on her bonnet, and has a collar of crape.

[Marginalia of first page:]
A great deal of love from Vinnie, and she wants that little note.

H L13b

for it wont last so always, and we love you just as well - and think of you, as dearly, as if it were not so. Your precious letter, Susie, it sits here now, and smiles so kindly at me, and gives me such sweet thoughts of the dear writer. When you come home, darling, I shant have your letters, shall I, but I shall have yourself, which is more - Oh more, and better, than I can even think! I sit here with my little whip, cracking the time away, till not an hour is left of it - then you are here! And Joy is here - joy now and forevermore!

Tis only a few days, Susie, it will soon go away, yet I say, go now, this very moment, for I need her - I must have her, Oh give her to me!

Mattie is dear and true, I love her very dearly - and Emily Fowler, too, is very dear to me - and Tempe - and Abby, and Eme', I am sure - I love them all - and I hope they love me, but, Susie, there's a great corner still; I fill it with that is gone, I hover round and round it, and call it darling names, and bid it speak to me, and ask it if it's Susie, and it answers, Nay, Ladie, Susie is stolen away!

Do I repine, is it all murmuring, or am I sad and lone, and cannot, cannot help it? Sometimes when I do feel so, I think it may be wrong, and that God will punish me by taking you away; for he is very kind to let me write to you, and to give me your sweet letters, but my heart wants more.

Have you ever thought of it Susie, and yet I know

[Marginalia of second page:]
Austin comes home on Wednesday, but he'll only stay two days, so I fancy we shant

H L13c

you have, how much these hearts claim; why I dont believe in the whole, wide world, are such hard little creditors - such real little misers, as you and I carry with us, in our bosoms every day. I cant help thinking sometimes, when I hear about the ungenerous, Heart, keep very still - or someone will find you out!

I am going out on the doorstep, to get you some new - green grass - I shall pick it down in the corner, where you and I used to sit, and have long fancies. And perhaps the dear little grasses were growing all the while - and perhaps they heard what we said, but they cant tell! I have come in now, dear Susie, and here is what I found - not quite so glad and green as when we used to sit there, but a sad and pensive grassie - mourning o'er hopes. No doubt some spruce, young Plantain leaf won its young heart away, and then proved false - and dont you wish none proved so, but little Plantains?

I do think it's wonderful, Susie, that our hearts dont break, every day, when I think of all the whiskers, and all the gallant men, but I guess I'm made with nothing but a hard heart of stone, for it dont break any, and dear Susie, if mine is stony, your's is stone, upon stone, for you never yield any, where I seem quite beflown. Are we going to ossify always, say, Susie - how will it be? When I see the Popes and the Polloks, and the John-Milton Browns, I think we are liable, but I dont know! I am glad there's a big future waiting for me and you. You would love to know what I read - I hardly know

[Marginalia of third page:]
go sugaring, as "we did last year." Last year is gone, Susie - did you ever think of that?

H L13d

what to tell you, my catalogue is so small.

I have just read three little books, not great, not thrilling - but sweet and true. "The Light in the Valley," "Only," and A "House upon a Rock" - I know you would love them all - yet they dont bewitch me any. There are no walks in the wood - no low and earnest voices, no moonlight, nor stolen love, but pure little lives, loving God, and their parents, and obeying the laws of the land; yet read, if you meet them, Susie, for they will do one good.

I have the promise of "Alton Lock" - a certain book, called "Olive," and the "Head of a Family," which was what Mattie named to you. Vinnie and I had "Bleak House" sent to us the other day - it is like him who wrote it - that is all I can say. Dear Susie, you were so happy when you wrote to me last - I am so glad, and you will be happy now for all my sadness, wont you? I cant forgive me ever, if I have made you sad, or dimmed your eye for me. I write from the Land of Violets, and from the Land of Spring, and it would ill become me to carry you nought but sorrows. I remember you, Susie, always - I keep you ever here, and when you are gone, then I'm gone - and we're 'neath one willow tree. I can only thank "the Father" for giving me such as you, I can only pray unceasingly, that he will bless my Loved One, and bring her back to me, to "go no more out forever. " Herein is Love." But that was Heaven - this is but Earth, yet Earth so like to heaven, that I would hesitate, should the true one call away. Dear Susie - adieu! Emilie -

[Marginalia of fourth page:]
Joseph [Lyman] is out south somewhere, a very great way off, yet we hear from him.


H L13

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Transcription and commentary copyright 1996 by Martha Nell Smith, all rights reserved
Last updated on July 14, 1998
Maintained by Tanya Clement <tclement@umd.edu>