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Francis Wayland (search for this): chapter 6
really been doing something. And that is why I write. I want to see you, and still more to hear you. I must kindle my torch again. Why have I not heard you this winter? I feel very humble just now, yet I have to say that being lives not who would have received from your lectures as much as I should. There are noble books, but one wants the breath of life sometimes. And I see no divine person. I myself am more divine than any I see. I think that is enough to say about. them. I know Dr. Wayland now, but I shall not care for him. He would never understand me, and, if I met him, it must be by those means of suppression and accommodation which I at present hate to my heart's core. I hate everything that is reasonable just now, wise limitations and all. I have behaved much too well for some time past; it has spoiled my peace. What grieves me, too, is to find or fear my theory a cheat. I cannot serve two masters, and I fear all the hope of being a worldling and a literary existenc
August 14th, 1837 AD (search for this): chapter 6
engaged in an operation peculiarly favorable to his style of beauty, to wit, eating oysters. Theodore Parker was there, and introduced to me. I had some pleasant talk with him, but before I could get to Spinoza, somebody seized on me and carried me off to quite another S,--to supper. On the whole, it all pleased my eye; my fashionable fellow-creatures were very civil to me, and I went home, glad to have looked at this slide in the magic lantern also. Ms. Writing from Providence, August 14, 1837, she lays plans for her summer vacation, which is to begin with unmerciful tardiness on August 19. For her three weeks vacation she plans to visit, with her friend Caroline Sturgis, that delicious land of lotus-eating, Artichoke Mills, on the Merrimack, there to be silent and enjoy daily wood-walks or boat excursions with her, --or else to go to Concord. As to Providence, she writes:-- I fear I have not much to tell that will amuse you. With books and pens I have, maugre my best
December, 1838 AD (search for this): chapter 6
the good of all concerned that 1 should teach again, I wish to do it, and by the success I have already attained, and by the confidence I now feel in my powers, both of arrangement of a whole and action on parts, feel myself justified in thinking I may do it to much greater pecuniary advantage and with much more extensive good results to others than I have yet done. A plan suggested by Cincinnati friends for a school in that city came to nothing, and she left Providence for Boston in December, 1838. This was the end of her school-teaching, though she continued to take occasional private pupils in languages and other matters; for whom she was paid, as she wrote to her younger brother, at the rate of two dollars an hour, or, rather, half a dollar for quarter-hour lessons. That winter, however, as she tells him, she is too tired to take them at any price; she must rest; but she will give her younger sister lessons in German, and will teach Latin and composition to himself. This wa
August 2nd (search for this): chapter 6
was even more true than now. After her father's death she must seek a shorter path to self-support than was to be found in those alluring ways of literature and philosophy which she would have much preferred. An opening offered itself in the school of Mr. A. B. Alcott, in Boston, where Miss Elizabeth P. Peabody had been previously employed. Mr. Alcott's unpublished diary gives the successive steps in the negotiation and enables me to present the beginning and the end together. 1836, August 2d. Emerson called this morning and took me to Concord to pass the day. At his house I met Margaret Fuller (I had seen her once before this), and had some conversation with her about taking Miss Peabody's place in my school. December 17th. I have seen M. F., who, besides giving instruction in the languages, will report The conversations on the Gospels as they proceed. 1837, January 8th. I resume the Conversations, which have been suspended since last July. Subject, The sermon on t
December 9th, 1838 AD (search for this): chapter 6
iterary longings she must leave Providence, and so she did. Mr. Ripley had suggested to her to write a life of Goethe, but it ended in a translation of Eckermann's Conversations with that great man, prefaced by one of her Dial essays on the subject and published in Ripley's series of Specimens of German authors, probably without compensation. Her plans and purposes on retiring from her school are best stated in a letter to the Rev. W. H. Channing, not before published :-- Providence, 9th December, 1838. I am on the point of leaving Providence, and I do so with unfeigned delight, not only because I am weary and want rest, because my mind has so long been turned outward and longs for concentration and leisure for tranquil thought, but because I have here been always in a false position and my energies been consequently much repressed. To common observers I seem well placed here, but I know that it is not so, and that I have had more than average difficulties to encounter, some of
March 1st, 1838 AD (search for this): chapter 6
nd privations of such a situation. Fuller Mss. i. 635. When she wrote, years after, the oft-quoted passage in Woman in the Nineteenth Century, Let them be sea-captains, if they will, it may have been with this reminiscence in her mind. On March 1, 1838, she wrote to Mr. Emerson one of her most characteristic letters. I reproduce it from the manuscript, because it shows what Mr. Emerson was to her,--a saint in her oratory,--and because it puts what was often called, in her case, self-conscin a worldly way was then no career; her plans uncertain, her aims thwarted, her destiny a conundrum,--what man of intellectual pursuits, looking back on the struggles of his own early years, can throw a stone at Margaret Fuller? Providence, 1st March, 1838. My dear friend,--Many a Zelterian A phrase suggested by the correspondence between Goethe and Zelter, which she had been reading. epistle have I mentally addressed to you, full of sprightly scraps about the books I have read, the spe
April 23rd, 1839 AD (search for this): chapter 6
pils dwindled to ten, and in April, 1837, the school furniture and apparatus were sold, and the assistant necessarily discharged. The school itself lingered for two years more, until fresh wrath was kindled by the admission of a colored child; there was another withdrawal of pupils, leaving Mr. Alcott with nobody to teach but his own three daughters, the colored child, and one undismayed white pupil. I earn little or nothing in this miserable school, he writes in his unpublished diary, April 23, 1839, nor am I laboring towards any prospective good in it. During the same month (April 11), in a summary of his small income — for a period not stated — he credits the parents of his pupils with thirty dollars. Alcott's Ms. Diary, vol. XII The school closed finally in June or July, 1839, and left its projector free to adopt his favorite conversational methods of urging his thought, -methods with which he has been identified for forty years. This is not the place to discuss the merits o
February 8th (search for this): chapter 6
mes. 1837, 12th January. This evening with M. F. Clearly a person given to the boldest speculations, and of liberal and varied acquirements. Not wanting in imaginary power, she strikes me as having the rarest good sense and discretion:--qualities so essential to success in any sphere, and especially to a woman ambitious of literary distinction, and relying solely on native work. She adopts the spiritual philosophy, and has the subtlest perceptions of its necessities and bearings. February 8th. Miss F. succeeds, after some trial, in reporting the Conversations. March 17th. An agreeable hour with M. F., in whose sympathy and insight I find great content. She takes large and generous views of things, and her dispositions are singularly catholic and liberal. She has great skill in discourse, too: few converse with the like freedom and elegance. I am pleased to learn of the interest taken in her behalf by persons here in our city whose favor is a passport to success. To he
December 20th, 1840 AD (search for this): chapter 6
to this day an eminently successful teacher, told me that she then learned the life-long lesson of treating children with a noble confidence. It is impossible for a teacher to write about teaching without disclosing her own theories and revealing her own experience. The year after Margaret Fuller left Providence, we find her writing to her brother Arthur, then teaching a district school in Massachusetts; and never had young teacher a better counselor. She tells him, for instance (December 20, 1840),-- The most important rule is, in all relations with our fellow-creatures, never forget that if they are imperfect persons they are immortal souls; and treat them as you would wish to be treated by the light of that thought. Beware of over-great pleasure in being popular or even beloved. As far as all amiable disposition and powers of entertainment make you so, it is a happiness, but if there is one grain of plausibility, it is a poison. This last maxim seems to me sim
April 6th, 1837 AD (search for this): chapter 6
and one third was obscene. Biographical Sketch of A. B. Alcott, p. 15. Such was the hornet's nest into which Margaret Fuller had unwarily plunged herself by following the very mildest-mannered saint who ever tried his hand at the spiritual training of children. With what discrimination she viewed the whole affair — how well she saw defects on the practical side as well as moral excellence, is shown clearly in this letter, addressed to one of her most cultivated friends. Boston, 6th April, 1837. Why is it that I hear you are writing a piece to cut up Mr. Alcott. I do not believe you are going to cut up Mr. Alcott. There are plenty of fish in the net created solely for markets, etc. ;--no need to try your knife on a dolphin like him. I should be charmed if I thought you were writing a long, beautiful, wise-like article, showing the elevated air, and at the same time the practical defects of his system. You would do a great service to him as well as to the public, and I k
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