Dickinson, Cartoonist

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"Dear Susie - I send / you..."

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H B75 | JL 134 | OMC 24 | mid-1850s 

Pencil | 8 x 13.5 cm | Neatly torn, folded in quarters, paste marks.

FF 185. Written in pen, by Sue, is "Send this back to me." Dickinson sketched ascending musical notations and clouds, perhaps joking about the "Pythagorean maxim" to "avoid eating beans, which cause flatulence" (Moby-Dick, ed. Hayford and Parker,15n9), or in some other way to have been joking with the math teacher (Sue) about Pythagoreanism. On paper obviously torn before being folded and addressed "Susie," the note is an example of one kind of "household detritus" Dickinson exploited as she "progressively refined her own domestic technologies of publication" (Jeanne Holland, "Scraps, Stamps, and Cutouts; Emily Dickinson's Domestic Technologies of Publication" in Cultural Artifacts and the Production of Meaning, ed. Ezell and O'Keeffe, 141). Johnson claims that Sue was visiting New York at the time, but this looks like a note passed quickly in a face-to-face encounter. What Sue's note "Send this back to me" signifies is impossible to recover, as is, for that matter, the actual context in which Dickinson's note was written. It may be one of several notes that remain from elaborate household games the two played throughout their thirty-five year correspondence (see notes at beginning of "Late Writings," pp. 282-285).