left every other page blank from the beginning.)
-May 2" 1880-
Every word that I say to you this afternoon will be drowned in the voices of those bells. Chimes, my dear. The Cathedral is at the top of the hill just above. They've been calling joyously this long time, those bells. Now they are rolling slowly the Venite, adoramus. I can't keep them out this letter - I just can't do it. The Venite adoramus - perhaps that's given us to pitch from! I wonder if I can get Frances & the afternoon up to it. I didn't think so a minute ago when I sat down in this May rainstorm; but if the chimes come along and ring the gladness in, we shall just have to take it & pitch higher - that's all. ++++++++
You were good to write me. I think of you as very busy always. It is such a busy world & you are so strong to do "The Lord hath need of you". I like to think about you, & some other dear people that I know on my still days - & have many days that are only this. +++++++++++++
Well, dear, I have put the "June 2" " down & I have been sitting here ever since looking at it. There's something in the look of the word that makes my heart warm & glad. It comes to me, the June of the world, with a delicious undercurrent of joy, always. I cannot imagine any sorrow that would quite crush this feeling out of my heart. Just because there is such a thing as June, & just because there is such a girl as I - well, I know I never feel so sure that I ought to be glad of this last fact as I do in this kind of an air & this kind of a day - nor so sure of what's coming. You know, of course, the name goes back to the Mr. Olympus of things. Good & royal, isn't it? "Sacred to Juno," says the lexicon. "Sacred" - that sounds good, too. I'm glad we got our June from the celestials. Somebody else is thinking of the royal mountain, too. I take this from her last letter: "We sat down on a stone, Home & I, & entered into conversation, & this is what he told
Talk to me sometimes about your sisters. I have an insatiable interest in other people's little sisters. I tried to keep my sister little, but I couldn't. She would get tall in spite of me, & old & wise & profound & I know not what else. +++++
"Oh that hillside of waving grain!" I echo your words. Do I "remember"? O my dear, will the grain ever grow long, & the wind come down & touch it that I do not remember!
-January 3" 1881-
Good morning, dear! We are going to get a visit out of this morning. It feels like one of the real visiting kind. ++ We'll begin, I think, by finding out what kind of a world it is we're in on this particular morning, & we'll talk from outside in. A white world - a clear, white world. It began away back somewhere in the night. To think of the clouds dropping down upon us such things as these - those thick
So you were not happy with "Patience Strong". The "too-much"-ness is against it. Quite right. The "so-ness also. Right again. It's a sort of herb-extract of everything that can preach while it's a-simmering. ++ For a pure lark I think Paley's "Evidence" would have been much better. ++++++++++
Your dear wishes for me & your Christmas card came Christmas morning. What a blessed warming-up time Christmas is!
-August 10" 1881-
It is such a morning, dear, as we could take from & take from & still feel that we had only crept to the door of its fullness & looked out. It is here to the heart of summer that we have come. No more surprises
I do not like to talk of myself & of my sickness, but I must talk this little bit
Dec. 19" 1881.
Is it so long since we have talked, dear? Perhaps so in the counting, but my thought has held on to you so, & filled the space with those thousand little things that were like talking to you - almost better sometimes, as touches of hands are better when the heart is full - that it seems as if there had not been any break ++ but we had kept right on. ++++++++
I don't wonder that boys grow up sort of braced & toned up - that they have to cultivate that sense of feeling that to girl is so often a sixth sense. A girl gets so little of the wide free living which a boy is so often born to. And so it falls out that a boy sees his way though life. a girl feels hers.
-July 5" 1882-
Well, my dear girl, to start with I am going to give you a downright hug. When a hug is downright it is the best one I know how to give. But hugs in this world have their limitations. As I have been known to remark on several occasions there are several things more satisfactory than a hug with a metal pen. But here it is, my dear - take
I am looking this morning straight up into the elm trees & my thought gets all tangled up there where the leaves grow so thick & the limbs cross. In one of them there's a bird's nest. I take the greatest delight in giving you this little peep at it. I think you are one of the people the birds would be sure to tell. I don't know any house around us that's capable of making more poetry than that little home of theirs - & poets, you
What else do I look at? Carts, my dear, & poor, spiny horses. I suppose there are a goodly number of sleek, fat, easy-going horses that I don't see. Horses take their chances like folks - but how in the world it is to be made up to these other horses I can't conceive. There must be a horse-heaven! I fully believe, you know, that there's a dog heaven. +++++
There's such a delicious little thing in that journal of Hawthorne's that he kept when he was a boy? Can you imagine Hawthorne a boy? I'm afraid I imagine it less since I read this journal than before. But if you can say the alphabet of him backward & get him fixed up there in the wild edges of that little Maine town, & see him stopping his fishing long enough to write down what he saw & what he thought about it to please his uncle, you will
That bird from my big elm has come down for a wisp dropped by that big hay-wagon. How wise you look, you tiny brown thing! Isn't it a bit of rare good planning that that bird's next should be set down - poetry over all this plodding prose? Planned? Why, of course, it was planned, & by a Heart that comprehends the meanings of all beauty. The sense of the doing for us beyond our thought is wonderful to me always. The great plannings are so beautiful : but the little things
Well - the cart-wheels rumble on; the poor much-worked horses go plodding by; the rag-men & a the umbrella-men, & lack-a-day, the strawberry men go shouting by; the milk-wagons from Araby the blest go crunching over the cobble. +++ Perhaps it isn't just the out-look for a Browning talk. ++ It isn't that big orchard you & I would like to jump into this morning - & the bees aren't in the clover. Indeed there are no bees, & it's much to be feared there isn't any clover. However (let us begin it with a big H) ++ some of "Parcelsus" [Paracelsus] was lived out & written out I fancy under the inspiration of cobblestones. I quite believe the same
"Well, it is earth with me; silence resumes her reign,
I will be patient & proud & soberly acquiesce."
Get out of the atmosphere where people "scold for a principle" and, if heaven gives you the privilege unspeakable of of getting into the atmosphere where people die for a principle", if it is only you or I we could write a poem. If it is Mr. Browning he can write "Lyrics of Life". +++++ "Abt Vogler" touches me. I can't tell you how. Perhaps some of it is too near my own broken life for me not to understand.
"And what is our failure here but a triumph's evidence
For the fulness of the days?"
I have told you that I was rested, & I am. God is taking care of that: but close beside all this rest there is pressing upon me the consciousness of the work that has dropped from my hands. If I had died into some strange existence where I knew nothing but the pause & the waiting, to pause & wait would have been almost easy thing by the side of this that has come. But to be dragged to one side & left, & to hear the battle going on without you - that is another thing.
Some of the pain of the world lies very near me. This is perhaps why I feel so much, how real a thing the pain of other people is - & with it the wish that is so strong in me to help- and close by me there are such sad & sorry things - things that I have to know. They roll in like
Dear love - always---
-Sept. 28" 1882 - [The last letter]. ++++ I can only peep out of the window for a minute to get a little of the
I am ready to believe anything in regard to the possibilities of a strong friendship. I am ready to believe a long, long way
I have never talked you much about myself. You have taken me on trust so far. You do not know how little there is of me. +++ I am slow about saying things - too slow oftentimes. But my hour for writing you is nearly gone - I cannot say what is in my heart to say - until some other morning - I hope like this with the gold coming. It is so near your royal month. One thing I will say. I have wanted you to be happy in your thought of me. I have wished it very much. The pain of my life has doubtless come to you to hurt you in moments when I have seemed nearest perhaps: but you have not known, dearest, how much beyond any pain is the joy that has been given. So, be glad in your every thought of me. The Christ has come to me. "Go tell my brethren" were his words on that resurrection morning. Darling, I have come to tell you. +++++++