After three weeks in Washington, Emily traveled to Philadelphia to visit with her old school friend Eliza Coleman. Eliza's father, Reverend Lyman Coleman, was pastor of the Presbyterian Academy of Philadelphia, and through him Dickinson made the acquaintance of a serious, dark-eyed man named Dr. Charles Wadsworth.
Wadsworth was a preacher at Arch Street Presbyterian Church. He was a brilliant man, and Dickinson felt immediately drawn to him. He was married, but he took to Dickinson immediately and when she left, they began a long correspondence. Wadsworth occasionally visited Dickinson in Amherst. Dickinson turned away more and more visitors as the years passed, including her good friend Samuel Bowles, but she never turned away Dr. Charles Wadsworth.
This trip to Washington proved that Emily had both the social and the intellectual gifts to be part of that world. However, after returning home from her trips to Washington (and subsequently Philadelphia), she retreated for good into her cloistered, self-made world. Three portraits hung on the walls of her room: George Eliot, Thomas Carlyle and Dr. Charles Wadsworth.