Emily Dickinson's Correspondences
Correspondence with Susan Dickinson

H L18a           Sunday afternoon

So sweet and still, and Thee, Oh Susie, what need I more, to make my heaven whole?

Sweet Hour, blessed Hour, to carry me to you, and to bring you back to me, long enough to snatch one kiss, and whisper Good bye, again.

I have thought of it all day, Susie, and I fear of but little else, and when I was gone to meeting it filled my mind so full, I could not find a chink to put the worthy pastor; when he said "Our Heavenly Father," I said "Oh Darling Sue"; when he read the 100th Psalm, I kept saying your precious letter all over to myself, and Susie, when they sang - it would have made you laugh to hear one little voice, piping to the departed. I made up words and kept singing how I loved you, and you had gone, while all the rest of the choir were singing Hallelujahs. I presume nobody heard me, because I sang so small, but it was a kind of a comfort to think I might put them out, singing of you. I a'nt there this afternoon, tho', because I am here, writing a little letter to my dear Sue, and I am very happy. I think of ten weeks - Dear One, and I think of love, and you, and my heart grows full and warm, and my breath stands still. The sun does'nt shine at all, but I can feel a sunshine stealing into my soul

[Marginalia on the first page:]
I have heard all about the journal. Oh Susie, that you should come to this! I want you to get it bound - at my expense - Susie -so when he takes you from me, to live in his new home, I may have some of you. I am sincere.

H L18b

and making it all summer, and every thorn, a rose. And I pray that such summer's sun shine on my Absent One, and cause her bird to sing!

You have been happy, Susie, and now are sad - and the whole world seems lone; but it wont be so always, "some days must be dark and dreary"! You wont cry any more, will you, Susie, for my father will be your father, and my home will be your home, and where you go, I will go, and we will lie side by side in the kirkyard.

I have parents on earth, dear Susie, but your's are in the skies, and I have an earthly fireside, but you have one above, and you have a "Father in Heaven," where I have none - and a sister in heaven, and I know they love you dearly, and think of you every day.

Oh I wish I had half so many dear friends as you in heaven - I could'nt spare them now - but to know they had got there safely, and should suffer nevermore - Dear Susie!

I know I was very naughty to write such fretful things, and I know I could have helped it, if I had tried hard enough, but I thought my heart would break, and I knew of nobody here that cared anything about it - so I said to myself, "We will tell Susie about it." You dont know what a comfort it was, and you wont know, till the big cup of bitterness

[Marginalia on the second page:]
Mother sends her best love to you. It makes her look so happy when I give your's to her. Send it always, Susie, and send your respects to father!

H L18c

is filled brimfull, and they say, "Susie, drink it!" Then Darling, let me be there, and let me drink the half, and you will feel it all!

I am glad you have rested, Susie. I wish the week had been more, a whole score of days and joys for you, yet again, had it lasted longer, then had you not come so soon and I had been lonelier, it is right as it is! Ten weeks, they will seem short to you - for care will fill them, but to Mattie and me, long. We shall grow tired, waiting, and our eyes will ache with looking for you, and with now and then a tear. And yet we have hope left, and we shall keep her busy, cheering away the time. Only think Susie, it is vacation now - there shall be no more vacation until ten weeks have gone, and no more snow; and how very little while it will be now, before you and I are sitting out on the broad stone step, mingling our lives together! I cant talk of it now tho', for it makes me long and yearn so, that I cannot sleep tonight, for thinking of it, and you.

Yes, we did go sugaring, and remembered who was gone - and who was there last year, and love and recollection brought with them Little Regret, and set her in the midst of us.

Dear Susie, Dear Joseph; why take the best and dearest, and leave our hearts behind? While the Lovers

[Marginalia on the third page:]
And much from Vinnie. She was so happy at her note. After she finished reading it, she said, "I dont know but it's wrong, but I love Sue better -

H L18d

sighed; and twined oak leaves, and the anti enamored ate sugar, and crackers, in the house, I went to see what I could find. Only think of it, Susie; I had'nt any appetite, nor any Lover, either, so I made the best of fate, and gathered antique stones, and your little flowers of moss opened their lips and spoke to me, so I was not alone, and bye and bye Mattie and me might have been seen sitting together upon a high - gray rock, and we might have been heard talking, were anyone very near! And did thoughts of that dear Susie go with us on the rock, and sit there 'tween us twain? Loved One, thou knowest!

I gathered something for you, because you were not there, an acorn, and some moss blossoms, and a little shell of a snail, so whitened by the snow you would think 'twas a cunning artist had carved it from alabaster - then I tied them all up in a leaf with some last summer's grass I found by a brookside, and I'm keeping them all for you.

I saw Mattie at church today, tho' could not speak to her. Friday evening I saw her, and talked with her besides. Oh I do love her - and when you come if we all live till then, it will be precious, Susie. You speak to me of sorrow, of what you have "lost and loved," say rather, of what you have loved and won, for it is much, dear Susie; I can count the big, true hearts by clusters, full of bloom, and bloom amaranthine, because eternal! Emilie -

[Marginalia on the fourth page:]
than Jane, and I love her and Mattie better than all the friends I ever had in my life." Vinnie hopes to be like you, and to do as you do.


H L18

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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>