Obituary for Emily Dickinson (Version 4)

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Miss Emily Dickinson of Amherst.

[in ink; appears to be Susan's handwriting:
Died May 15, 1886. age 55]

The death of Miss Emily Dickinson, daughter
of the late Edward Dickinson, at Amherst
on Saturday, makes another sad inroad on the
small circle so long occupying the old family
mansion. It was for a long generation over-
looked by death, and one passing in and out
there thought of old-fashioned times, when
parents and children grew up and passed ma-
turity together, in lives of singular uneventful-
ness unmarked by sad or joyous crises. Very few
in the village, excepting among the older inhabit-
itants, knew Miss Emily personally, although
the facts of her seclusion and her intellectual
brilliancy were familiar Amherst traditions.
There are many houses among all classes into
which her treasures of fruit and flowers and
ambrosial dishes for the sick and well were
constantly sent, that will forever miss those
evidences of her unselfish consideration, and
mourn afresh that she screened herself from
close acquaintance. As she passed on in
life, her sensitive nature shrank from
much personal contact with the world,
and more and more turned to her
own large wealth of individual resources
for companionship, sitting thenceforth, as
some one said of her, "In the light of
'her own fire." Not disappointed with the
world, not an invalid until within the past two
years, not from any lack of sympathy, not be-
cause she was insufficient of any mental work
or social career-- her endowments being so ex-
ceptional--but the "mesh of her soul," as
Browning calls the body, was too rare, and the
sacred quiet of her own home proved the fit
atmosphere for her worth and work.
All that must be inviolate. One can
only speak of "duties beautifully done";
of her gentle tillage of the rare flowers
filling her conservatory, into which, as into the
heavenly Paradise, entered nothing that could
defile, and which was ever abloom in frost or
sunshine, so well she knew her subtle chemis-
tries; of her tenderness to all in the home
circle; her gentlewoman's grace and courtesy
to all who served in house and grounds; her
quick and rich response to all who rejoiced or
suffered at home, or among her wide circle of
friends the world over. This side of her nature
was to her the real entity in which she rested,
so simple and strong was her instinct that a
woman's hearthstone is her shrine.
Her talk and her writings were like no one's
else, and although she never published a line,
now and then some enthusiastic literary friend
would turn love to larceny, and cause a few
verses surreptitiously obtained to be printed.
Thus, and through other natural ways, many
saw and admired her verses, and in consequence
frequently notable presons paid her visits, hop-
ing to overcome the protest of her own nature
and gain a promise of occasional con-
tributions, at least, to various magazines.
She withstood even the fascinations of
Mrs. Helen Jackson, who earnestly sought
her co-operation in a novel of the No-Name
series, although one little poem somehow
strayed into the volume of verse which appeared
in that series. Her pages would ill have fitted
even so attractive a story as 'Mercy Philbrick's
'Choice," unwilling though a large part of the
literary public were to believe that she had no
part in it. "Her wagon was hitched to a star,"
--and who could ride or write with such a voy-
ager? A Damascus blade gleaming and glanc-
ing in the sun was her wit. Her swift poetic rapt-
ure was like the long glistening note of a bird
one hears in the June woods at high noon, but
can never see. Like a magician she caught the
shadowy apparitions of her brain and tossed
them in startling picturesqueness to her friends,
who, charmed with their simplicity and home-
liness as well as profundity, fretted that she
had so easily made palpable the tantalizing
fancies forever eluding their bungling, fettered
grasp. So intimate and passionate a part of the
high march sky, the summer day and bird-call.
Keen and eclectic in her literary tastes, she
sifted libraries to Shakespeare and Brown-
ing; quick as the electric spark in her'
intuitions and analyses, she seized the kernel
instantly, almost impatient of the fewest words
by which she must make her revelation. To
her life was rich, and all aglow with God and
immortality. With no creed, no formulated
faith, hardly knowing the names of dogmas,
she walked this life with the gentleness and
reverence of old saints, with the firm step of
martyrs who sing while they suffer. How
better note the flight of this "soul of fire in a
shell of pearl" than by her own words? -

Morns like these, we parted;
Noons like these, she rose;
Fluttering first, then firmer,
To her fair repose.