Emily and Susan Huntington Dickinson Letters

February 1852: Emily to Susan


Wednesday morn


It’s a sorrowful morning Susie—the wind blows and it rains; “into each life some rain must fall,” and I hardly know which falls fastest, the rain without, or within—Oh Susie, I would nestle close to your warm heart, and never hear the wind blow, or the storm beat, again. Is there any room there for me, or shall I wander away all homeless and alone? Thank you for loving me, darling, and will you “love me more if ever you come home”! [sic.] it is enough, dear Susie, I know I shall be satisfied. But what can I do towards you? —dearer you cannot be for I love you so already, that it almost breaks my heart—perhaps I can love you anew, every day of my life, every morning and evening—Oh if you will let me, how happy I shall be!


The precious billet, Susie, I am wearing the paper out, reading it over and o’er but the dear thoughts cant [sic] wear out if they try, Thanks to Our Father, Susie! Vinnie and I talked of you all last evening long, and went to sleep mourning for you, and pretty soon I waked up saying “Precious treasure, thou art mine,” and there you were all right, my Susie, and I hardly dared to sleep lest someone steal you away. Never mind the letter, Susie; you have so much to do: just write me every week one line, and let it be, “Emily, I love you” and I will be satisfied! Your own Emily


April 1852: Emily to Susan


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 [sic] anger—I dont [sic] 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 [sic] 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 dread eno’—and the sun dont [sic] 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—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!


Mid 1850’s: Emily to Susan


Tuesday morning –

Sue—you can go or stay—There is but one alternative—We differ often lately, and this must be the last.


You need not fear to leave me lest I should be alone, for I often part with things fancy I have loved, — sometimes to the grave, and sometimes to an oblivion rather bitterer than death—thus my heart bleeds so frequently that I shant mind the hemorrhage, and I only add an agony to several previous ones, and at the end of the day remark—a bubble burst!


Such incidents would grieve me when I was but a child, and perhaps I could have wept when little feet hard by mine, stood still in the coffin, but eyes grow dry sometimes, and hearts get crisp and cinder, and had as life burn.


Sue—I have lived by this.


It is the lingering emblem of the Heaven I once dreamed, and though if this is taken, I shall remain alone, and though in that last day, the Jesus Christ you love, remark he does not know me—there is a darker spirit will not disown it’s child.


Few have been given me, and if I love them so, that for idolatry, they are removed from me—I simply murmur gone, and the billow dies away into the boundless blue, and no one knows but me, that one went down today. We have walked very pleasantly—Perhaps this is the point at which our paths diverge—then pass on singing Sue, and up the distant hill I journey on.


I have a Bird in spring

Which for myself doth sing—

The spring decoys.

And as the summer nears—

And as the rose appears,

Robin is gone.


Yet do I not repine

Knowing that Bird of mine

Though flown_

Learneth beyond the sea

Melody new for me

And will return.


Fast in a safer hand

Held in a truer Land

Are mine_

And though they now depart,

Tell I my doubting heart

They’re thine.


In a serener Bright,

In a more golden light

I see

Each little doubt and fear,

Each little discord here



Then I will not repine,

Knowing that Bird of mine

Though flown

Shall in a distant tree

Bright melody for me



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