Letter to Mary Haven | Emily Dickinson, 1859

Max Ernst, Two sisters, 1926


13 Feburary 1859

Dear Mrs Haven.

Your remembrance surprises me. I hardly feel entitled to it. A most sweet surprise, which can hardly be affirmed of all our surprises. I grieve that I cannot claim it in a larger degree. Perhaps tho', sweeter as it is - unmerited remembrance - "Grace" - the saints would call it. Careless girls like me, cannot testify. Thank you for this, and your warm note.

We have hardly recovered laughing from Mr Haven's jolly one. I insist to this day, that I have received internal injuries. Could Mr H. be responsible for an early grave? The Coat is still in the dark, but the mirth to which it has given rise, will gleam when coats and rascals have passed into tradition.

The letters of suspected gentlemen form quite a valuable addition to our family library, and father pursues the search with a mixture of fun and perseverence, which is quite diabolical! I will give you the earliest intelligence of the arrest of our friend, who for the mirth he has afforded, surely merits triumph, more than transportation.

Father is in New York, just now, and Vinnie in Boston - while Mother and I for greater celebrity, are remaining at home.

My mother's only sister has had an invalid winter, and Vinnie has gone to enliven the house, and make the days shorter to my sick aunt. I would like more sisters, that the taking out of one, might not leave such stillness. Vinnie has been all, so long, I feel the oddest fright at parting with her for an hour, lest a storm arise, and I go unsheltered.

She talked of you before she went - often said she missed you, would add a couplet of her own, were she but at home. I hope you are well as I write, and that the far city seems to you like home. I do not know your successors. Father has called upon Mr S[eelye] but I am waiting for Vinnie to help me do my courtesies. Mr S. preached in our church last Sabbath upon "predestination," but I do not respect "doctrines," and did not listen to him, so I can neither praise, nor blame. Your house has much of pathos, to those that pass who loved you.

I miss the geranium at the window, and the hand that tended the geranium.

I shall miss the clustering frocks at the door, bye and bye when summer comes, unless myself in a new frock, am too far to see.

How short, dear Mrs Haven!

A darting fear - a pomp - a tear-
A waking on a morn
to find that what one waked for,
inhales the different dawn.

Receive much love from

Emilie -


Emily Dickinson




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