Emily Dickinson's Correspondences
Correspondence with Susan Dickinson

H L4a Dear Susie -

I'm so amused at my own ubiquity that I hardly know what to say, or how to relate the story of the wonderful correspondent. First, I arrive from Amherst, then comes a ponderous tome from the learned Halls of Cambridge, and again by strange metamorphosis I'm just from Michigan, and am Mattie and Minnie and Lizzie in one wondering breath - Why, dear Susie, it must'nt scare you if I loom up from Hindoostan, or drop from an Appenine, or peer at you suddenly from the hollow of a tree, calling myself King Charles, Sancho Panza, or Herod, King of the Jews - I suppose it is all the same.

"Miss Mills," that is, Miss Julia, never dreamed of the depths of my clandestiny, and if I stopped to think of the figure I was cutting, it would

[Upside down marginalia on first page:]
Vinnie sends you her love - She would write, but has hurt her hand - Mother's love too - Oh Susie!

H L4b

be the last of me, and you'd never hear again from your poor Jeremy Bentham -

But I say to my mind, "tut, tut," "Rock a bye baby" conscience, and so I keep them still!

And as for the pulling of wool over the eyes of Manchester, I trust to the courtesy of the Recording Angel, to say nothing of that. One thing is true, Darling, the world will be none the wiser, for Emilie's omnipresence, and two big hearts will beat stouter, as tidings from me come in. I love the opportunity to serve those who are mine, and to soften the least asperity in the path which ne'er "ran smooth," is a delight to me. So Susie, I set the trap and catch the little mouse, and love to catch him dearly, for I think of you and Austin - and know it pleases you to have my tiny services. Dear Susie, you are gone - One would hardly think I had lost you to hear this revelry, but your absence insanes me so - I do not feel

H L4c

so peaceful, when you are gone from me -

All life looks differently, and the faces of my fellows are not the same they wear when you are with me. I think it is this, dear Susie; you sketch my pictures for me, and 'tis at their sweet colorings, rather than this dim real that I am used, so you see when you go away, the world looks staringly, and I find I need more vail - Frank Peirce thinks I mean berage vail, and makes a sprightly plan to import the "article," but dear Susie knows what I mean. Do you ever look homeward, Susie, and count the lonely hours Vinnie and I are spending, because that you are gone?

Yes, Susie, very lonely, and yet is it very sweet too to know that you are happy, and to think of you in the morning, and at eventide, and noon, and always as smiling and looking up for joy - I could not spare you else, dear Sister, but to be sure your life is warm with such a sunshine, helps

H L4d

me to chase the shadow fast stealing upon mine - I knew you would be happy, and you know now of something I had told you.

There are lives, sometimes, Susie - Bless God that we catch faint glimpses of his brighter Paradise from occasional Heavens here!

Stay, Susie; yet not stay! I cannot spare your sweet face another hour more, and yet I want to have you gather more sheaves of joy - for bleak, and waste, and barren, are most of the fields found here, and I want you to fill the garner. Then you may come, dear Susie, and from our silent home, Vinnie and I shall meet you. There is much to tell you, Susie, but I cannot bring the deeds of the rough and jostling world into that sweet inclosure; they are fitter fonder, here - but Susie, I do bring you a Sister's fondest love - and gentlest tenderness; little indeed, but "a'," and I know you will not refuse them. Please remember me to your friend, and write soon to your lonely

- Emilie -


H L4

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