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(Continued from page 551.) As a journalist Margaret Fuller cussed the idea of the community filled a very special position. She which was afterwards carried into was the editor of the Dial, a pro- real life at Brook Farm, and imfessedly transcendental organ; and mortalised in Nathaniel Hawin the numbers of this periodical is thorne's “ Blithedale Romance." to be found a great amount of her In this volume we are admitted literary labours. She wrote also to that other side of Margaret's for other journals; but her work character which runs so strangely upon the Dial must be regarded as by the side of her life as a journalist essentially part of her life, for she and practical worker. In the had to do with the originating of
“ Blithedale Romance" she is the periodical, and it was intended called “ Zenobia," and is full of the to bear the impress of those ideas queenliness, personal vigour, and with which she had identified her- rich scholarly power with which self. The transcendentalists, who the name of the princess of ancient were conspicuous during what is Palmyra is associated. Hawthorne's called “the period of transcen- story is, of course, a romance dental agitation,” from 1835 to avowedly, and to be accepted as 1850, formed themselves into a such. At the same time we may be club, which met under various permitted to see in “ Zenobia" names, and acquired a certain study of one view of Margaret's fame. Among its members are to character; and it is no small gain be found many well-known names. to place by the side of the writings At one time Bronson Alcott, the upon her by her other friends a pedlar, schoolmaster, and thinker, picture made by so clear-minded was regarded as the leader of this and true an artist. “The name little gathering ; but since then Zenobia,” he says, “ accorded well that position has been considered with something imperial which her as belonging to Mr. Emerson. In friends attributed to this lady's conversation among them arose the figure and deportment. ... She idea that a journal was needed for took the appellation in good part, the expression of freer thought and even encouraged its constant than that allowed by the general use : which, in fact, was thus far press. This idea took shape in appropriate, that our Zenobia1840, when the first number of the however humble looked her new Dial appeared. Margaret, as we philosophy-had as much native have said, was the editor, with pride as any queen would have Emerson and George Ripley to aid known what to do with.” Doubtless her. In the autumn of 1840, at it is scarcely fair to use any descripone of the meetings of the Trans- tion of Zenobia as applicable to cendental Club at Mr. Emerson's Margaret; indeed, in detail, the house in Concord, was also dis- portrait of the woman appears to
have been pointedly unlike. But it The bent of her disposition would is impossible to resist the impression have led her to snatch aside the that the colouring of the whole, veil which ever bangs between man even in these personal detalis, is
We find Hawthorne taken from Margaret. “We seldom tenderly holding the veil in place, meet with women now-a-days, and so that human nature by this in this country, who impress us as suggestive vagueness might appear being women at all; their sex fades the more beautiful. We all know away and goes for nothing in ordi- the charm and excitement of unnary intercourse. Not so with certainty ; to an intensely imaginaZenobia. One felt an influence tive mind the dimness of the depths breathing out of her, such as we which lie in the human soul must might suppose to come from Eve make these depths the when she was just made, and her fascinating for speculation. Marcreator brought her to Adam, say- garet, in place of speculation, seems ing, ‘Behold! here is a woman.' to desire a plumb line with which Not that I would convey the idea to measure the soul, shallows
especial gentleness, grace, and its deeps. But, though she is modesty, and shyness, but of a perhaps a shade impatient with this certain warm and rich characteristic author, whose force was essentially which seems, for the most part, to the delicate and subdued force of have been refined away out of the a tender artist; when he approaches feminine system.” Margaret Fuller the subject of woman's ideal was not beautiful ; yet she could so character-in the delineation of force outward the beauty of her which Margaret is herself so emispirit as to call forth something nent—her appreciation is instant. strangely akin to personal admira- She recognises then that under the tion. The vigour and powerful in- subtle colouring the anatomy is dividuality of Zenobia's character vigorously correct. His ideal is no produces now and again a jarring, more sentimental or dreamy than discordant, barbaric effect.
her own. “In these” (“The Birth not unlikely that Margaret, whose Mark”and“Rapaccini's Daughter" tenderness could come forth, as “ shines the loveliest ideal of love Emerson says, like a seraph's, and the beauty of feminine purity might, in her more vigorous and (by which we mean no mere acts caustic moods, produce such an or abstinences, but perfect single impression as this upon so delicate truth, felt and done in gentleness) and tender a nature as Nathaniel which is its root." Hawthorne's. When we come to Margaret's appreciation, as might Margaret as a critic, we find her be expected from so strong a standing self-confessed as of less nature, is most easily called forth gentle mould than the great by strength. She finds in Mrs. romancist.
Browning an intellect which she can Hawthorne,” she says, in her unhesitatingly admire. She shows critique upon “Mosses from an Old her reverence for a mighty chaManse,
." " intimates and suggests, racter in her “Life of Beethoven." but he does not lay bare the She says of him, “Like all princes, mysteries of our being." Haw- he made many ingrates, and his thorne's touch upon life was more powerful, lion-like nature was that delicate than Margaret's. She most capable of suffering from the complains that looking at amazement of witnessing baseness. through the mirror of his mind . . Unbeloved, he could love; one still sees as in a glass darkly. deceived in other men, he yet knew
himself too well to despise human critic. Emerson he considers the nature; dying from ingratitude, he seer, Bronson Alcott the mystic, could still be grateful." A being Theodore Parker the preacher, and like this, who could cover a deeply George Ripley he calls the man of loving soul with a front of en- letters. It is perhaps a little strange durance which made him seem a among this galaxy of enthusiasts man of granite among the weak and to find the only prominent woman wicked beings who surrounded christened with the cold name of him, calls from her a genuine
her a genuine critic. As a foil to this idea of her sympathy of soul. As a bio- as a stern intellectualist, we get grapher, she is deeply sympathetic; from William Ellery Channing a
a critic, very thorough and charming picture of her as the genuine. She does not belong to “woman " in her own home. “In that modern variety of reviewer who 1839" he says, “I had met Margaret glances between uncut leaves, and upon the plane of intellect. In the makes a critique in general terms. summer of 1840, on my return from
Horace Greeley, under whom she the west, she was to be revealed in worked for the New York Tribune, a new aspect. bears testimony to what he calls “ It was a radiant and refreshing the “absolute truthfulness" of her morning when I entered the parlour writings. “Perfect conscientious. of her pleasant house, standing upon ness,” he says, was an unfailing a slope beyond Jamaica Plain to the characteristic of her literary efforts. south. She was absent at the Even the severest of her critiques moment, and there was opportunity —that on Longfellow's poems-for to look from the windows on which an impulse in personal pique cheerful prospect, over orchards and has been alleged, I happen with meadows to the wooded hills and certainty to know had no such the western sky. Presently Mar. origin. When I first handed her garet appeared, bearing in her hand the book to review, she excused a vase of flowers, which she had herself, assigning the wide diver. been gathering in the garden. gence of her views of poetry from After exchange of greetings her those of the author and his school first words were of the flowers, as her reason. She thus induced each of which was symbolic to her me to attempt the task of reviewing of emotion, and associated with the it myself. But day after day fled by, memory of some friend. I rememand I could find no hour that was ber her references only to the not absolutely required for the Daphne odora, the Provence rose, performance of some duty that the sweet-scented verbena, and the would not be put off, nor turned heliotrope, the latter being her over to another. At length I chosen emblem. From flowers she carried the book back to her in passed to engravings hanging utter despair of ever finding an round the room
There were hour in which even to look through gems, too, and medallions and seals it; and at my renewed and earnest to be examined, each enigmatical, request she reluctantly under- and each blended by remembrances took its discussion. The state- with some fair hour of her past ments of these facts is but an act of life. justice to her memory."
“Talk on art led the way to Mr. Frothingham, a recent writer Greece and the Greeks, whose on - Transcendentalism in New nythology Margaret was studying England,” gives Margaret her place afresh. She had been culling the among these ardent thinkers as the blooms of that poetic land, and could not but offer me leaves from a high sentiment. She had lately her garland. .. .. Next Margaret heard of the betrothal of two of spoke of the friends whose gene- her best-loved friends, and she rosity had provided the decorations wished to communicate the graceful on her walls and the illustrated story in a way that should do books for her table--friends who justice to the facts and to her own were fellow students in art, history, feelings. It was by a spontaneous or science-friends whose very life impulse of her genius, and with no she shared. Her heart seemed full voluntary foreshaping, that she to overflow with sympathy for their had grouped the previous tales ; joys and sorrows, their special but no drama could have been trials and struggles, their peculiar more artistically constructed than tendencies of character, and re- the steps whereby she led me spective relations. The existence onward to the dénouement; and of each was to her a sacred process, the look, tone, words with which whose developments she watched she told it, were fluent with melody with awe, and whose leadings she as the song of an improvisatrice. reverently sought to aid. She had “Scarcely had she finished when, scores of pretty anecdotes to tell, offering some light refreshmentsweet bowers of sentiment to open, as it was now past noon-she prosignificant lessons of experience to posed a walk in the open air. - . interpret, and scraps of journals For a time she was silent, entranced or letters to read aloud, as the in delighted communion with the speediest means of introducing me exquisite hue of the sky, seen to her chosen circle. There was a through interlacing boughs and fascinating spell in her piquant trembling leaves, and the play of descriptions.
Frost-bound shine and shadow over the wide New England melted into a dream- landscape. But, soon arousing land of romance beneath the spice- from her reverie, she took up
the breeze of her Eastern narrative. thread of the morning's talk. My Sticklers for propriety might have part was to listen ; for I was found fault at the freedom with absorbed in contemplating this, to which she confided her friends' me, quite novel form of character. histories to one who was a com- It has been seen how my early parative stranger to them ; but I distaste for Margaret's society was could not but note how conscien- gradually changed to admiration. tiousness reined in her sensibili. Like all her friends, I had passed ties and curbed their career as they through an avenue of sphinxes reached the due bound of privacy. before reaching the temple. .... She did but realise one's concep- As, leaning on one arm, she poured tion of the transparent truthful. out her stream of thought, turning ness that will pervade advanced now and then, her eyes full upon societies of the future, where the me, to see whether I caught her very atmosphere shall be honour meaning, there was leisure to able faith.
study her thoroughly. ... She “Nearer and nearer Margaret was certainly had not beauty; yet the approaching to a secret throned in high-arched dome of the head, her heart that day; and the pre- the changeful expressiveness of ceding transitions were but a pre- every feature, and her whole air of lude of her orchestra before the mingled dignity and impulse, gave entrance of the festal group. Un- her a commanding charm. Especonsciously she made these prepara- cially characteristic
two tions for paying worthy honours to physical traits : The first was a contraction of the eyelids almost it. But, indeed, her records are to a point-a trick caught from almost always of that character; near - sightedness - and then a the interchange of thought was sudden dilation, till the iris seemed with her so vivid a delight and so to emit flashes ; an effect, no ever fresh an experience, that her doubt, dependent on her highly accounts of going hither or thither magnetized condition. The second resolve themselves naturally into was a singular pliancy of the records of choice conversation. vertebræ and muscles of the neck, “ Those who know Margaret only enabling her by a mere movement by her published writings know to denote each varying emotion ; her least; her notes and letters in moments of tenderness or pen- contain more of her mind; but it sive feeling, its curves were swan- was only in conversation that she like in grace, but when she was was perfectly free and at home.” scornful or indignant it contracted This peculiar power of hers led and made swift turns like that of to the special work to which she a bird of prey. Finally, in the
herself for a considerable animation, yet abandon, of Mar- period, when her labours as editor garet's attitude and look, were of the Dial had come to an end. rarely blended the fiery force of This journal had what Mr. Emerson northern and the soft languor of describes as the “fault of being southern races. We walked too secondary or bookish in its back to the house amid a rosy origin.” He tells us a melancholy sunset, and it was with no surprise history in the few words which he that I heard her complain of an devotes to it:“... the workmen of agonising nervous headache, which sufficient culture for a poetical and compelled her at once to retire, philosophical magazine were too and call for assistance. As for few; and, as the pages were filled myself, while going homeward, by unpaid contributors, each of I reflected with astonishment on whom had, according to the usage the unflagging spiritual energy and necessity of this country, some with which, for hour after hour, paying employment, the journal she had swept over lands and seas did not get his best work, but his of thought, and, as my own excite- second best. Its scattered writers ment cooled, I became conscious had not digested their theories into of exhaustion, as if a week's life a distinct dogma, still less into a had been concentrated in a day. practical measure which the public
• The interview thus hastily could grasp; and the magazine sketched may serve as a fair type was so eclectic and miscellaneous of our usual intercourse. Always that each of its readers and writers I found her open-eyed to beauty, valued only a small portion of it. fresh for wonder, with wings poised For these reasons it never had a for flight and fanning the coming large circulation, and it was disbreeze of inspiration.
continued after four years.” Thus Margaret did actually several ends the brief career of that times sojourn in that Brook Farm journal which had been received which was the basis of the “ Blithe- by a few with “almost a religious dale Romance;" but, apparently welcome,” and the charge of which from what little she herself says of Margaret had been so “eagerly it, not so much to gain experience, solicited to undertake " in the or to enter into the actual spirit of midst of an atmosphere of " hope the community, as to converse with and affection.” She gave herself those friends who were dwelling in to it, in a "spirit which spared no