Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Emerson's last lectures in London

Nearing the end of his European travels, Emerson wrote his wife Lydian on this date:
June 16.        

My last lecture is to-morrow, and is far from ready. Then do not expect me to leave England for a fortnight yet, for I must make amends for my aristocratic lecturing in Edwards Street, at prices which exclude all my public, by reading three of my old chapters in Exeter Hall to a city association. Our little company at Marylebone has grown larger on each day, and is truly a dignified company, in which several notable men and women are patiently found. . . . Carlyle takes a lively interest in our lectures, especially in the third of the course [on the "Tendencies and Duties of Men of Thought"], and he is a very observed auditor, 't is very plain. The Duchess of Sutherland, a magnificent lady, comes, and Lady Ashburton, and Lord Lovelace, who is the husband of "Ada, sole daughter of my house and heart," and Mrs. Jameson, and Spence (of Kirby and Spence), and Barry Cornwall, and Lyell, and a great many more curiosities; but none better than Jane Carlyle and Mrs. Bancroft, who honestly come. Love to the little saints of the nursery. . . .

{Lady Harriet Baring, later Lady Ashburton; source: malcolmingram.com. See also: HARRIET, LADY ASHBURTON NYT}

Earl of Lovelace

{Ada Lovelace; source: geneall.net}

"Ada, sole daughter of my house and heart," - The quote comes from Byron's Childe Harold's pilgrimage.

{Jane Welsh Carlyle; source: malcomingram.com}

Jane Carlyle was surely honest at an attentive listener at Emerson's lectures but she would write: "I could never get up the least interest or affection for Emerson; for all so amiable as he is." (JWC TO JOSEPH NEUBERG ; 22 July 1848)

Some sources:

A memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson by James Elliot Cabot (Houghton Mifflin and company, 1888(

A Memoir Of Ralph Waldo Emerson, by James Elliot Cabot (Cambridge, 1887)

The Life of Ralph Waldo Emerson, by Ralph L. Rusk (New York, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1949)

Thomas Carlyle; the Collected Letters, Volume 23, edited by Ian M. Campbell et al (Duke University Press , 2009)

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