The Illustrated London News

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The Illustrated London News, vol. 45, no. 1272, p. 149-150.

August 6, 1864


...Fraser contains one paper of singular beauty and interest--those reminiscences of Emerson and his social circle--which we can hardly err in attributing to Mr. M. D. Conway. It is a charming picture of

Page 150

a society perfectly frank, pure, and unaffected; of a friendly intimacy based on a community of sympathies and untroubled by those wretched jealousies ordinarily so fatal to the peace of philosophic and literary coteries. It seemed from the first a happy omen that the centre of New England thought should be located at Concord, and there are many not merely fanciful advantages in the spot which is as yet America's nearest approximation to the groves of the Academy. Secluded amid woods and lakes, Emerson's friends enjoy whatever advantages flow from intercourse with Nature, while Boston is near enough for the collision of new ideas and the stimulus of the busy world. We are indebted to Mr. Conway for some delightful sketches —of Emerson floating in his skiff on Lake Walden; of the negroes welcoming Theodore Parkes with grateful tears as he passed amid their poor dwellings in Boston; of Hawthorne escaped from the party assembled to do him honour to a remote room, and there discovered reading Defoe's "Ghost Stories;" of Alcott startling Agassiz with the theory that tigers and snakes were created by man "before he appeared in his present form."...

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