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[196] read Fichte, Hegel, Schelling; finally, found in Immanuel Kant a prophet and a friend. But it was not enough for her to receive; she must also give out: her nature was radiant. She must formulate a philosophy of her own, and must at least offer it to the world.

In September, 1863, she writes to her sister Louisa, “My Ethics are now the joke of my family, and Flossy or any child, wishing a second helping, will say: ‘Is it ethical, Mamma?’ Too much of my life, indeed, runs in this channel. I can only hope that the things I write may do good to somebody, how much or how little we ourselves are unable to measure.”

Yet she could make fun of her philosophers: vide the following passage from one of her “Tribune” letters:--

“We like to make a clean cut occasionally, and distinguish ourselves from our surroundings. Else, we and they get so wedded that we scarcely know ourselves apart. Do I own these four walls, or do they own me, and detain me here for their pleasure and preservation? Do I want these books, or do their ghostly authors seize me wandering near the shelves, impanel me by the button-hole, and insist upon pouring their bottled — up wisdom into my passive mind? I once read a terrible treatise of Fichte upon the me and not me, in which he gave so many reasons why I could not be the washstand, nor the washstand I, that I began after a while to doubt the fact. Had I read further, I think I should never have known myself from housefurniture again. Let me here remark that many of ”

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