We talked as Girls do— Fond, and late— We speculated fair, on every subject, but the Grave— Of ours, none affair— We handled Destinies, as cool— As we—Disposers—be— And God, a Quiet Party To our Authority— But fondest, dwelt upon Ourself As we eventual—be— When Girls, to Women, softly raised We—occupy—Degree— We parted with a contract To cherish, and to write But Heaven made both, impossible Before another night.F392 (1862) 586
Girl time! I love the first two lines—the two friends talking "Fond, and late" about everything. Do guys do this? I think they may have in Victorian days, back when American men would share the same bed and give each other a little kiss good night. That doesn't happen so much today.
There was only one subject they avoided and that was Death. After all, they were just girls! So death was none of their affair. But they did talk about what they'd do when they grew up. Just as I remember doing with my best friend, they talked as cool and confidently about their destinies as if they had the power to dispose their own fates. God was just "a Quiet Party" listening on their authoritative discussion.
They made a contract before the night was over to love each other and to write letters. But as occasionally happens in Dickinson's poems, this was not to be. Within a day the other girl was dead. At least that's what I read into this poem. Heaven made it impossible for them to fulfill their contract. By this I assume that the Quiet Party had the last laugh. It's a cruel bit, there. God hears their girlish plans and his response is to let one die (or perhaps even cause her death).