Arctic Ground Squirrel
"You have the most triumphant face out of paradise, probably because you
are there constantly, instead of ultimately." ~ Emily Dickinson

(Illustration: arctic ground squirrel,

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<< "Emily Dickinson's Letters" by Thomas Wentworth Higginson
"Letters of Emily Dickinson," review by Lilian Whiting
New Orleans Times-Democrat, pub. December 2, 1894
his autumn is rich in literature, but of all the new books the most unique are the two volumes of Emily Dickinson letters. Miss Dickinson's poems are well known, and it is not too much to say that they have achieved a permanent place in our literature; her prose, which consisted solely of private letters, was "sampled" by a number of extracts given a few years ago in the Atlantic Monthly, and it was found to have a flavor that incited a desire for more. Her elusive personality always suggests that high and lovely nature of Charlotte Bronte. The two had in common the tempermental solitude. Neither were unsympathetic or unresponsive, but were attuned to a different key from that of the usual day and daylight world. In Miss Dickinson's letters there is the same electric touch, the same swift, immediate revelation, as in her verse. Mrs. Mabel Loomis Todd who, with Col. Higginson, edited the poems, collects and edits these two volumes of letters. It must have been an arduous task, and the order, method and discriminating selection of Mrs. Todd cannot be too highly appreciated. In these letters one finds things like these:

"You have the most triumphant face out of paradise, probably because you are there constantly, instead of ultimately."

"Come often, dear friend, but refrain from going."

"Love makes us heavenly without our trying in the least."

Mrs. Todd notes that after the death of Miss Dickinson's father she retired from almost all forms of human intercourse, "and these notes were the sole link still binding her to the world. Her life was full of thought and occupation during these introspective days," adds Mrs. Todd, "and it is impossible to conceive that any sense of personal isolation, or real loneliness of spirit because of the absence of humanity from her daily life, could have oppressed a nature so richly endowed."

To a friend Miss Dickinson sent this note with flowers: "I hope no bolder lover brought you the first pond lilies. The water is deeper than the land. The swimmer never stagnates. I shall bring you a handful of lotus next, but do not tell the Nile."

And again: "To see is perhaps never quite the sorcery it is to surmise, though the obligation to enchantment is always binding."

"Would adding to happiness take it away, or is that a pernicious question?"

The volumes of these letters are a kind of gold mine of surprises all the time. They are vital, piquant, unique, effervescent. They are a suggestive fountain to have at hand on one's literary table.
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