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MEMORY OF EMERSON.
If I dedicate this book on Human Intercourse to the memory of one whose voice I never heard, and to whom I never addressed a letter, the seeming inappropriateness will disappear when the reader knows what a great and persistent influence he had on the whole course of my thinking, and therefore on all my work. He was told of this before his death, and the acknowledgment gave him pleasure. Perhaps this public repetition of it may not be without utility at a time when, although it is clear to us that he has left an immortal name, the exact nature of the rank he will occupy amongst great men does not seem to be evident as yet. The embarrassment of premature criticism is a testimony to his originality. But although it may be too soon for us to know what his name will mean to posterity, we may tell posterity what service he rendered to ourselves. To me he taught two great lessons. The first was to rely confidently on that order of the universe which makes it always really worth while to do our best, even though the reward may not be visible ; and the second was to have
self-reliance enough to trust our own convictions and our own gifts, such as they are, or such as they may become, without either echoing the opinions or desiring the more brilliant gifts of others. Emerson taught much besides, but it is these two doctrines of reliance on the compensations of Nature, and of a self-respectful reliance on our own individuality, that have the most invigorating influence on workers like myself. Emerson knew that each of us can only receive that for which he has an affinity, and can only give forth effectually what is by birthright, or has become, his own.
To have accepted this doctrine with perfect contentment is to possess one's soul in peace.
Emerson combined high intellect with pure honesty, and remained faithful to the double law of the intellectual life -high thinking and fearless utterance—to the end of his days, with a beautiful persistence and serenity. So now I go, in spirit, a pilgrim to that tall pine tree that grows upon “ the hill-top to the east of Sleepy Hollow," and lay one more wreath upon an honoured grave.
June 24, 1884.