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To Miss Lucy Osgood.

New York, March 26, 1847.
I believe the Quakers are right in supposing that a salaried priesthood are positive obstacles in the way of human progress. I think, too, that the vocation impedes individual growth. Great, good, and progressive souls there doubtless are among the clergy; but I do not think they are as large, as free, as expansive as the same natures would have been if removed from the social pressure to which all clergymen are obliged to submit. The most mettlesome horse loses his elasticity and bounding grace after plodding a while round the mill-wheel circle. You see how far apart we are! You always at home among clericals, I at home only among poets and artists! You reading Italian sermons of past centuries, I bothering my brain to prove to myself (I have done wishing to prove anything to anybody except myself) Goethe's theory of Colors, by a similar theory of Tones!

You know I always wondered why on earth you were interested in such a butterfly as I am. That I love you very sincerely is a positive fact, and not as unaccountable as your regard for me. Our friendship [62] always seems to me like a companionship between Minerva and Fenella. I am sure all your wisdom will not enable you to tell what extraordinary leaps and somersets I may yet make, or whether the next rope I dance on will be tight or slack.

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