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Emily Dickinson : Letter To Elizabeth Holland (20 January 1856)

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

Emily Dickinson

To Elizabeth Holland

From ED

about 20 January 1856

Your voice is sweet, dear Mrs. Holland - I wish I heard it oftener.

One of the mortal mustics Jupiter denies, and when indeed its gentle measures fall upon my ear, I stop the birds to listen. Perhaps you think I have no bird, and this is rhetoric - pray, Mr.Whately, what is that upon the cherry-tree ? Church is done, and the winds blow, and Vinnie is in the pallid land the simple call "sleep." They will be wiser by and by, we shall all be wiser !

While I sit in the snows, the summer day on which you came and the bees and the southwind, seem fabulous as Heaven seems to a sinful world - and I keep remembering it till it assumes a spectral air, and nods and winks at me, and then all of you turn to phantoms and vanish away. We cannot talk and laugh more, in the parlor where we met, but we learned to love for aye, there, so it is just as well.

We shall sit in a parlor "not made with hands" unless we are very careful !

I cannot tell you how we moved. I had rather not remember. I believe my "effects" were brough tin a bandbox, and the "deathless me," on foot, not many moments after. I took at the time a memorandum of my several senses, and also of my hat and coat, and my best shoes - but it was lost in the melee, and I am out with lanterns, looking for myself.

Such wits as I reserved, are so badly shattered that repair is useless - and still I can't help laughing at my own catastrophe. I supposed we were going to make a "transit," as heavenly bodies did - but we came budget by budget, as our fellows do, till we fulfilled the pantomime contained in the word "moved." It is a kind of gone-to-Kansas feeling, and if I sat in a long wagon, with my family tied behind, I should suppose without doubt I was a party of emigrants !

They say that "home is where the heart is." I think it is where the house is, and the adjacent buildings.

But, my dear Mrs. Holland, I have another story, and lay my laughter all away, so that I can sigh. Mother has been an invalid since we came home, and Vinnie and I "regulated," and Vinnie and I "got settled," and still we keep our father's house, and mother lies upon the lounge, or sits in her easy chair. I don't know what her sickness is, for I am but a simple child, and frightened myself. I often wish I was a grass, or a toddling daisy, whom all of these problems of the dust might not terrify - and should my own machinery get slightly out of gear, please, kind ladies and gentlemen, some one stop the wheel, - for I know that with belts and bands of gold, I shall whizz triumphant on the new stream !

Love for you - love for Dr. Holland - thanks for his exquisite hymn - tears for your sister in sable, and kisses for Minnie and the bairns.

From your mad


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