EMERSON IN HIS
73. Photograph of Edith Emerson as a child, from Emerson
family photograph album. Album from the estate of Amelia Forbes Emerson,
“My dear Edie,
Your little letter & flower & some drawings your mother sent me made me very glad about you, & I am making ready as fast as I can to finish my visit and come home and find you again.
I shall have a great many stories to tell you about little boys & girls in England and in France; and you will have a hundred things to tell me, now that you have learned to read, & can choose books & stories for yourself. I am delighted to hear that you take such good care of Eddy, & tell him what is in your books, & teach him verses to say. I long to hear him say them; & you must not let him forget them. A few days ago, there were fifty hundred children, all in the uniforms of their different schools, met in the great church of St. Paul’s, and they sung hymns together, & people say, they sung well. I was very sorry I could not go to hear them. But I should not have liked it better than I like “Now condescend,” and so forth, when sung by three little people whom I know. I hope they will sing it for me & Mother together again in five or six weeks.
So goodbye for today!
“Edith, who until now has been quite superior to all learning, has been smitten with ambition at Miss Whiting’s school and cannot be satisfied with spelling. She spells at night on my knees with fury & will not give over; asks new words like conundrums with nervous restlessness and, as Miss W. tells me, ‘will not spell at school for fear she shall miss.’
Poor Edie struggled hard to get the white card called an ‘approbation’ which was given out on Saturdays but one week she lost it by dropping out of a book on her way home her week’s card on which her marks were recorded. This she tried hard to get safe home but she had no pocket so she put it in her book as the safest place. When half way home she looked in her book & it was there; but when she arrived at home it was gone. The next week she tried again to keep a clean bill but Henry Frost pointed his jack-knife at her; Edie said, ‘Don’t!’ & lost her ‘approbation’ again.”—RWE, journal, October, 1848
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