CONCORD, August 16, 1872.
MY DEAR LE BARON:
I have wondered and melted over your letter and its accompaniments till it is high time that I should reply to it, if I can. My misfortunes, as I have lived along so far in this world, have been so few that I have never needed to ask direct aid of the host of good men and women who have cheered my life, though many a gift has come to me. And this late calamity, however rude and devastating, soon began to look more wonderful in its salvages than in its ruins, so that I can hardly feel any right to this munificent endowment with which you, and my other friends through you, have astonished me. But I cannot read your letter or think of its message without delight, that my companions and friends bear me so noble a good-will, nor without some new aspirations in the old heart toward a better deserving. Judge Hoar has, up to this time, withheld from me the names of my benefactors, but you may be sure that I shall not rest till I have learned them, every one, to repeat to myself at night and at morning.
Your affectionate friend and debtor,
DR. LE BARON RUSSELL
CONCORD, October 8, 1872.
MY DEAR DOCTOR LE BARON:
I received last night your
two notes, and the cheque, enclosed in
one of them, for one thousand and twenty dollars.
Are my friends bent on killing me with kindness? No, you will say, but to make me live longer. I thought myself sufficiently loaded with benefits already, and you add more and more. It appears that you all will rebuild my house and rejuvenate me by sending me in my old days abroad on a young man’s excursion.
I am a lover of men, but this recent wonderful experience of their tenderness surprises and occupies my thoughts day by day. Now that I have all or almost all the names of the men and women who have conspired in this kindness to me (some of whom I have never personally known), I please myself with the thought of meeting each and asking, Why have we not met before? Why have you not told me that we thought alike? Life is not so long, nor sympathy of thought so common, that we can spare the society of those with whom we best agree. Well, ’tis probably my own fault by sticking ever to my solitude. Perhaps it is not too late to learn of these friends a better lesson.
Thank them for me whenever
you meet them, and say to them that I am
not wood or stone, if I have not yet trusted myself so far as to go
to each one of them directly.
My wife insists that I shall
also send her acknowledgments to them
Yours and theirs affectionately,
DR. LE BARON KUSSELL.
The following are the names of the subscribers to the fund for rebuilding Mr. Emerson’s house:—