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law of nature with him, rather than a choice or a principle;
nor can it be otherwise than the main condition of an intellect
so remarkably clear and accurate as his, to be honest and
regular in the administration of affairs. A stain on his con-
science, as to any thing that came within the range of his
vocation, would trouble such a man very much in the same
way, though to a far greater degree, than an error in the
balance of an account, or an ink-blot on the fair page of a
book of record. Here, in a word,–and it is a rare instance in
my life,–I had met with a person thoroughly adapted to the
situation which he held.

Such were some of the people with whom I now found
myself connected. I took it in good part at the hands of
Providence, that I was thrown into a position so little akin to
my past habits; and set myself seriously to gather from it
whatever profit was to be had. After my fellowship of toil and
impracticable schemes, with the dreamy brethren of Brook
; after living for three years within the subtile influence
of an intellect like Emerson's; after those wild, free days on
the Assabeth, indulging fantastic speculations beside our fire
of fallen boughs, with Ellery Channing; after talking with
Thoreau about pine-trees and Indian relics, in his hermitage
at Walden; after growing fastidious by sympathy with the
classic refinement of Hillard's culture; after becoming imbued
with poetic sentiment at Longfellow's hearth-stone;–it was
time, at length, that I should exercise other faculties of my
nature, and nourish myself with food for which I had hitherto
had little appetite. Even the old Inspector was desirable, as a
change of diet, to a man who had known Alcott. I looked upon
it as an evidence, in some measure, of a system naturally well
balanced, and lacking no essential part of a thorough organiza-
tion, that, with such associates to remember, I could mingle
at once with men of altogether different qualities, and never
murmur at the change.

Literature, its exertions and objects, were now of little

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