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January 30th, 1836 AD (search for this): chapter 3
compared with those over which many strong souls have triumphed. Shall I then despair? If I do, I am not a strong soul. Margaret's family treated her, in this exigency, with the grateful consideration due to her love, and urgently besought her to take the necessary means, and fulfil her father's plan. But she could not make up her mind to forsake them, preferring rather to abandon her longcherished literary designs. Her struggles and her triumph thus appear in her letters:— January 30, 1836.—I was a great deal with Miss Martineau, while in Cambridge, and love her more than ever. She is to stay till August, and go to England with Mr. and Mrs. Farrar. If I should accompany them I shall be with her while in London, and see the best literary society. If I should go, you will be with mother the while, will not you? Her eldest brother. Oh, dear E——, you know not how I fear and tremble to come to a decision. My temporal all seems hanging upon it, and the prospect is most
March 17th, 1836 AD (search for this): chapter 3
e no doubt he would have become a fervent Christian, and thus have attained that mental harmony which was necessary to him. It is true, too, as you say, that we always feel a melancholy imperfection in what he writes. But I love to think of those other spheres in which so pure and rich a being shall be perfected; and I cannot allow his faults of opinion and sentiment to mar my enjoyment of the vast capabilities, and exquisite perception of beauty, displayed everywhere in his poems. March 17, 1836.—I think Herschel will be very valuable to me, from the slight glance I have taken of it, and I thank Mr. F.; but do not let him expect anything of me because I have ventured on a book so profound as the Novum Organum. I have been examining myself with severity, intellectually as well as morally, and am shocked to find how vague and superficial is all my knowledge. I am no longer surprised that I should have appeared harsh and arrogant in my strictures to one who, having a better-disci
January 1st, 1836 AD (search for this): chapter 3
means of equitably remunerating her parents for the cost of such a tour, she had faithfully devoted herself to the teaching of the younger members of the family Her honored friends, Professor and Mrs. Farrar, who were about visiting the Old World, had invited her to be their companion; and, as Miss Martineau was to return to England in the ship with them, the prospect before her was as brilliant with generous hopes as her aspiring imagination could conceive. But now, in her journal of January 1, 1836, she writes:— The New-year opens upon me under circumstances inexpressibly sad. I must make the last great sacrifice, and, apparently, for evil to me and mine. Life, as I look forward, presents a scene of struggle and privation only. Yet I bate not a jot of heart, though much of hope. My difficulties are not to be compared with those over which many strong souls have triumphed. Shall I then despair? If I do, I am not a strong soul. Margaret's family treated her, in this exi
October 2nd (search for this): chapter 3
ow that our daughter is restored. For myself, I thought I should die; but I was calm, and looked to God without fear. When I remembered how much struggle awaited me if I remained, and how improbable it was that any of my cherished plans would bear fruit, I felt willing to go. But Providence did not so will it. A much darker dispensation for our family was in store. Death of her father. On the evening of the 30th of September, 1835, my father was seized with cholera, and on the 2d of October, was a corpse. For the first two days, my grief, under this calamity, was such as I dare not speak of. But since my father's head is laid in the dust, I feel an awful calm, and am becoming familiar with the thoughts of being an orphan. I have prayed to God that duty may now be the first object, and self set aside. May I have light and strength to do what is right, in the highest sense for my mother, brothers, and sister. * * It has been a gloomy week, indeed. The children have all
g to us, for the estate will not be settled when I go. I pray to God ceaselessly that I may decide wisely. April 17th, 1836.—If I am not to go with you I shall be obliged to tear my heart, by a violent effort, from its present objects and naturalchosen aim despair,-- Some bitter tears may be forgiven By Man, at least,—we trust, by Heaven. Birth-day. May 23d, 1836.—I have just been reading Goethe's Lebensregel. It is easy to say Do not trouble yourself with useless regrets for the p so indispensable to true regeneration. But do not speak of this to——, for I am not yet sure of the state of my mind. 1836.—I have, for the time, laid aside De Stael and Bacon, for Martineau and Southey. I find, with delight, that the former hase permanent, nor its aim of beauty in the smallest particular eventually to fail. Winter in Boston. In the autumn of 1836 Margaret went to Boston, with the two-fold design of teaching Latin and French in Mr. Alcott's school, which was then
erally, it seems best that I should go through these conflicts alone. The process will be slower, more irksome, more distressing, but the results will be my own, and I shall feel greater confidence in them. Miss Martineau. In the summer of 1835, Margaret found a fresh stimulus to self-culture in the society of Miss Martineau, whom she met while on a visit at Cambridge, in the house of her friend, Mrs. Farrar. How animating this intercourse then was to her, appears from her journals. ot continue with us long. Nothing sustains me now but the thought that God, who saw fit to restore me to life when I was so very willing to leave it,—more so, perhaps, than I shall ever be again,—must have some good work for me to do. Nov. 3, 1835.—I thought I should be able to write ere now, how our affairs were settled, but that time has not come yet. My father left no will, and, in consequence, our path is hedged in by many petty difficulties. He has left less property than we had antic<
ll his force, physical and moral, to give utterance to divine truth, that I felt purged as by fire. If some speakers feed intellect more, Dr. C. feeds the whole spirit. O for a more calm, more pervading faith in the divinity of my own nature! I am so far from being thoroughly tempered and seasoned, and am sometimes so presumptuous, at others so depressed. Why cannot I lay more to heart the text, God is never in a hurry: let man be patient and confident? Providence. In the spring of 1837, Margaret received a very favorable offer to become a principal teacher in the Greene Street School, at Providence, R. I. The proposal is, that I shall teach the elder girls my favorite branches, for four hours a day,—choosing my own hours, and arranging the course,—for a thousand dollars a year, if, upon trial, I am well enough pleased to stay. This would be independence, and would enable me to do many slight services for my family. But, on the other hand, I am not sure that I shall l
with impetuous tears desired, Float upward into starry space; Heaven, upon the suppliant wild, Smiles down a gracious No!—In vain The strife! Yet be consoled, poor child, For the wish passes with the pain. But when from such idolatry The heart has turned, and wiser grown, In earnestness and purity Would make a nobler plan its own,— Yet, after all its zeal and care, Must of its chosen aim despair,-- Some bitter tears may be forgiven By Man, at least,—we trust, by Heaven. Birth-day. May 23d, 1836.—I have just been reading Goethe's Lebensregel. It is easy to say Do not trouble yourself with useless regrets for the past; enjoy the present, and leave the future to God. But it is not easy for characters, which are by nature neither calm nor careless, to act upon these rules. I am rather of the opinion of Novalis, that Wer sich der hochsten Lieb ergeben Genest von ihnen Wunden nie. But I will endeavor to profit by the instructions of the great philosopher who teaches, I thi
ne, and had asked me to visit it. I contented myself with When you please, father; but we never went! What would 1 not now give, if I had fixed a time, and shown more interest! A day or two since, I went there. The tops of the distant blue hills were veiled in delicate autumn haze; soft silence brooded over the landscape; on one side, a brook gave to the gently sloping meadow spring-like verdure; on the other, a grove,—which he had named for me,—lay softly glowing in the gorgeous hues of October. It was very sad. May this sorrow give me a higher sense of duty in the relationships which remain. Dearest mother is worn to a shadow. Sometimes, when I look on her pale face, and think of all her grief, and the cares and anxieties which now beset her, I am appalled by the thought that she may not continue with us long. Nothing sustains me now but the thought that God, who saw fit to restore me to life when I was so very willing to leave it,—more so, perhaps, than I shall ever be ag<
Margaret's family treated her, in this exigency, with the grateful consideration due to her love, and urgently besought her to take the necessary means, and fulfil her father's plan. But she could not make up her mind to forsake them, preferring rather to abandon her longcherished literary designs. Her struggles and her triumph thus appear in her letters:— January 30, 1836.—I was a great deal with Miss Martineau, while in Cambridge, and love her more than ever. She is to stay till August, and go to England with Mr. and Mrs. Farrar. If I should accompany them I shall be with her while in London, and see the best literary society. If I should go, you will be with mother the while, will not you? Her eldest brother. Oh, dear E——, you know not how I fear and tremble to come to a decision. My temporal all seems hanging upon it, and the prospect is most alluring. A few thousand dollars would make all so easy, so safe. As it is, I cannot tell what is coming to us, for the e
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