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To Miss Lucy Searle.

Wayland, 1862.
So you dispute Gerrit Smith's testimony about my being “wise and candid” ? I cannot say I have much respect for my wisdom. I think less and less of it every year I live. But when I write for the public, I think I am generally candid. I do not profess to be so in my talk, because that bubbles up, and I do not take time to examine its spirit. We all present different phases of character, according to circumstances, and I think I do so more than most people. It is natural enough that Gerrit Smith should deem me “wise.” When I approach him, I don't go dancing on a slack rope, decorated with spangles and Psyche-wings; I walk on solid ground, as demurely as if I were going to meeting, with psalm book in hand. If I happen to catch a glimpse of a fairy by the way, she and I wink at each other, but I never “let on.” He supposes the chosen teachers of my mind to be profound statesmen and pious Christian Fathers. I never introduce to him any of my acquaintances of light character. I have a consciousness that fairies are not the most respectable company for a woman of my venerable years (I shall be sixty to-morrow), and it is only to a few that I manifest my predilection for such volatile visitors. Dear Sarah Shaw likes to see fanciful dancing on moon-beams, and when I write to her I sometimes caracole in a fashion that would make good, [167] sensible Gerrit Smith wonder what had become of the “wisdom” of his sage friend . .

I suppose George's indignation against England is not abated by her recent manifestations. I thought perhaps you would read Harriet Martineau's letter in the “Standard” aloud for his especial edification, and I amused myself with imagining its effect. I didn't know but it would make each particular hair on his head stand up on end, charged brimful with the electricity of righteous wrath.

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