An emotional letter to a close friend. Shortly after Emily Fowler wed Gordon Ford, Dickinson articulates how sorely she misses her correspondent's presence. She writes: ". . . Are you there, and shall you always stay there, and is it not dear Emily any more, but Mrs. Ford of Connecticut, and must we stay alone, and will you not come back with the birds and the butterflies when the days grow long and warm? . . . I knew you would go away, for I know the roses are gathered, but I guessed not yet, not till by expectation we had become resigned. Dear Emily, when it came, and hidden by your veil you stood before us all and made those promises, and when we kissed you, all, and went back to our homes, it seemed to me translation, not any earthly thing, and if a little after you'd ridden on the wind, it would not have surprised me . . . "
Dickinson then takes a quotation from the Bible which alludes to their separation: ". . . And now five days have gone, Emily, and long and silent, and I begin to know that you will not come back again. There's a verse in the Bible, Emily, I don't know where it is, nor just how it goes can I remember, but it's a little like this—'I can go to her, but she cannot come back to me.' I guess that isn't right, but my eyes are full of tears, and I'm sure I do not care if I make mistakes or not . . ."
After mentioning a visit from her friend's father and noting the upcoming visits of her own family, Dickinson closes her letter with verse. She quotes: So fades a summer cloud away, | So smiles the gale when stores are o'er | So gently shuts the eye of day, | So dies a wave along the shore."
Emily Ellsworth Fowler Ford (1826–1893) was the daughter of William Chauncey Fowler, professor of rhetoric and oratory and English literature at Amherst College, and a granddaughter of Noah Webster. She attended Amherst Academy with Dickinson in the early forties. She left Amherst 16 December 1853 when she married Gordon Lester Ford, a promising lawyer. They later made their home in Brooklyn. Mrs. Ford, herself an accomplished writer, fondly recalled her time in Amherst and the bonds she formed there with Dickinson and others: "My busy married life separated me from these friends of my youth, and intercourse with them has not been frequent; but I rejoice that my early years were passed in scenes of beautiful nature, and with these mates of simple life, high cultivation and noble ideals. In Emily as in others, there was a rare combination of fervor and simplicity, with good practical living, great conscience and directness of purpose. She loved with all her might, there was never a touch of the worldling about her, and we all knew and trusted her love."
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