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I DESIRE to express my thanks to Mr. John S. 
Pratt Alcott, of Brookline; Mr. F. B. Sanborn, 
of Concord; Dr. Joseph Wiswali Palmer, of 
Fitchburg; and Mr. Alvin Holman, of Leom- 
inster, for facts and data concerning the Con- 
sociate Family at Fruitlands, and for their 
assistance in collecting and acquiring the greater 
part of the original furniture which was there 
in the days of the Community. 

And I further thank Mr. John S. Pratt Alcott 
for the privilege of including Louisa's and Anna's 
Diaries at Fruitlands, and Mr. Alcott and Messrs. 
Little, Brown & Company for the use of Louisa 
M. Alcott's Transcendental Wild Oats. 

Clara Endicott Sears. 


For many years articles have appeared from 
time to time in magazines and books regarding 
the Community at Fniitlands, but it has re- 
mained for Miss Sears to gather them together 
with infinite patience for publication, and this 
little book is the result, the first connected story 
of the life and beliefs of that little Community 
which tried so hard to live according to its ideals 
in spite of criticism and censure and whose mem- 
bers nearly starved as a result of their devotion. 
A great deal of credit is due to Miss Sears for 
her success in gathering material to make this 
story of Fruitlands so complete, and I take this 
opportunity, as the oldest surviving member of 
the Alcott family, of expressing to her our grati- 
tude for the very interesting and complete ac- 
count of the Fruitlands experiment. 

John S. P. Alcott. 


Introduction xiii 

I. A New Eden i 

II. The Founding of Fruitlands ... 21 

III. Brook Farm and Fruitlands . • • 35 

IV. The Man with the Beard . • • • 53 

V. Summer Sunshine 68 

VI. Father Hecker's Description of Fruit- 
lands 75 

VII. Anna Alcott's Diary at Fruitlands . 86 

VIII. Louisa May Alcott's Diary at Fruit- 
lands 106 

IX. Autumn Disappointment 112 

X. In After Years 130 

XI. Transcendental Wild Oats. By Louisa 

May Alcott 145 

Appendix: Catalogue of the Original Fruit- 
lands Library 175 


The Old House at Fruitlands, Harvard, 

Massachusetts Frontispiece 

In front are the mulberry trees planted by the philos- 
ophers for the propagation of silkworms. 

A. Bronson Alcott at the Age of 53 . . 4 
From the portrait by Mrs. Hildreth. 

Abigail May, Mrs. A. Bronson Alcott . . 4 
From a daguerreotype. 

The Small Entry where the Valuable Books 
WERE kept 10 

The Study 28 

A bust of Socrates stands on the fine old Dutch 
highboy that Joseph Palmer brought from No Town. 

Charles Lane 42 

The Small Dining-Room 48 

Around this table the philosophers discussed their 
deepest problems. 

Nancy and Joseph Palmer 56 

The Refectory, also used as a Kitchen . 68 

Isaac T. Hecker 76 

Louisa, Anna, and Abba May Alcott ... 88 


The Community Settle loo 

Where Abba May's Stocking was hung the 

Night before her Birthday io6 

Anna's bedroom is on the right, next to Mrs. Alcott's. 
The portraits of the " Little Women " hang on the 

The Outer Kitchen ii6 

Charles Lane's Room 124 

The old cowhide trunk, in which some of the most 
valuable of the books were shipped from London ; 
also the old chest in which the linen was kept. The 
spinning-wheel belonged to a former owner. 

The Bedroom 128 

Where Mr. Alcott nearly succumbed to his despair 
at the failure of his " New Eden." 

Orchard House at Concord, Massachusetts 172 
The Alcott home of later years. 


Longfellow wrote: — 

"All houses wherein men have lived and died 
Are haunted houses. Through the open doors 
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide, 
With feet that make no sound upon the floors. 

"We meet them at the doorway, on the stair, 
Along the passages they come and go, 
Impalpable impressions on the air, 
A sense of something moving to and fro. 

"We have no title-deeds to house or lands; 
Owners and occupants of earlier dates 
From graves forgotten stretch their dusty hands. 
And hold in mortmain still their old estates. 

"The spirit world airound this world of sense 
Floats like an atmosphere, and everywhere 
Wafts through these earthly mists and vapors dense 
A vital breath of more ethereal air." 

I found myself reciting these lines whenever 
my eyes rested upon the old house of Fruitlands. 
From my terrace on the hill I looked down upon 
it with mixed feelings of pity, awe, and affection. 
It seemed like a Presence, a ghost of the Past, 
that compelled the eyes to gaze at it persistently. 
In the warm joyousness of the spring sunshine, 
or when the cold mists of autumn crept across 
the valley, it conveyed to me the same sense of 


desolation, of mystery, of disillusionment. Its 
broken windows looked like hollow eyes sunken 
in an ashen and expressionless face. Within its 
walls life and death had come and gone ; — laugh- 
ter and the sound of weeping had echoed through 
the quaint, low-ceilinged rooms. It had been the 
sheltering home of British yeomen. Its heavy 
chestnut beams bore record of the virgin forests 
of the Colonies. The thrill of patriotism had vi- 
brated there when the sword of the Revolution 
swept the land, and the sound of drum and fife, 
leading the hurrying feet of eager volunteers to 
Concord and Lexington, must have reached the 
quiet hillside and stirred the hearts of those listen- 
ing in the doorway. Those were the brave and 
vital days of its youth. In seed-time and harvest 
it had smiled upon the valley, its shingles warm 
and ruddy with ochre-red. At Yule-tide the log 
had been chosen with fitting ceremony and 
placed within the broad and spacious chimney. 
The old and the young had feasted and made 
merry to the sound of the crackling fire-music. 
Who can tell what memories of happiness and 
romance the old house contains? 

Then came a period of quiet years, when the 
meadows and pastures grew rich and fertile, the 
upturned soil yielded abundant harvests, and 
the branches of the apple trees hung heavy with 


fruit. But it was when the old house had begun 
to settle and look decrepid, and its floors had be- 
come shaky and uneven, that its door opened 
wide to its supreme experience. Then Fruitlands 
was exalted into the New Eden. The two names 
came to it simultaneously. It was to pulsate 
with lofty ideals and altruistic aspirations. For 
one perfect summer and mellow autumn its run- 
ning brook, its shady grove, its fertile meadows 
and sloping pasture, its western view, so beauti- 
ful at sundown, of Wachusett and Monadnoc, 
and the chain of purple hills, were to be the inspi- 
ration of a group of individuals then known as the 
transcendental philosophers, and through them 
Fruitlands became famous. Within its walls 
great questions were discussed, great hopes for 
the betterment and enlightenment of mankind 
were generated. Alcott, Charles Lane, Wright, 
Bower, Emerson, Hawthorne, Channing, Tho- 
reau, and many others went in and out of its 
doors; and last, but not least, the child, Louisa 
May Alcott, who later became our well-loved 
New England authoress, and Joseph Palmer, 
a Crusader in spirit as well as in actions, who 
suffered for his principle of wearing a beard at a 
time when it was looked upon as a badge of scorn 
and contempt, and which won for him the name 
of "the Old Jew." When the beautiful dream 
was over ; when the New Eden proved to be only 


an empty mockery of the vision it had once in- 
spired; when the great experience had ended in 
failure, then the old house sagged pitifully as if 
its heart had broken : the winter storms and sum- 
mer rains of the succeeding years washed all 
color from its face: it became gray and haggard. 
Joseph Palmer and his wife lingered on in old 
age, and then passed out into the Beyond. Their 
children and grandchildren clung to the place for 
a space of years, but its history was over. It was 
left desolate and abandoned. 

So as I looked down on it from my terrace on 
the hill, pitying its infinite loneliness, the thought 
came to me that I must save it. If for a time it 
had borne the semblance of a New Eden, then 
that time must be honored, and not forgotten. 
I longed to see it smiling again upon the valley 
in its glowing coat of ochre-red. The fine old 
chimneys must be put back in their places from 
which they had been ruthlessly torn down to 
make room for stoves. The hollow eyes must 
gleam again with window-panes; the sound of 
voices must ring once more through the empty 
rooms. In the future it must be cherished for its 
quaintly interesting history. If that history was 
full of pathos, if the great experiment enacted 
beneath its roof proved a failure, the failure was 
only in the means of expression and not in the 


ideal which inspired it. Humanity must ever 
reach out towards a New Eden. Succeeding gen- 
erations smile at the crude attempts, and forth- 
with make their own blunders, but each attempt, 
however seemingly unsuccessful, must of neces- 
sity contain a germ of spiritual beauty which 
will bear fruit. Let no one cross the threshold of 
the old house with a mocking heart. Looking 
back from our present coigne of vantage, we, too, 
cannot but smile at the childlike simplicity and 
credulity, and the lack of forethought of those 
unpractical enthusiasts. But let it be the smile 
of tenderness and not of derision. In this mate- 
rial age we cannot afford to lose any details of 
so unique and picturesque a memory as that 
of A. Bronson Alcott and the "Con-Sociate 
Family" at Fruitlands. 



The following account of the Fruitlands Com- 
munity is largely a compilation of writings re- 
garding it by eye-witnesses and those in close 
touch with its members. This is the surest way 
of forming a just estimate of the experiment and 
the characters involved. 

Mr. Frank B. Sanborn, in his book entitled 
"Bronson Alcott," describes in a few short sen- 
tences the circumstances which led up to the for- 
mation of the Community, and this is what he 
says: — 

"James Pierrepont Greaves was an English- 
man born in 1777, who at the age of forty went 
to reside in Switzerland with Pestalozzi, for four 
years, and there adopted, a few years before 
young Alcott did, the chief ideas of Pestalozzi, 
as to the training of children. Returning to Eng- 
land in 1825, he gradually formed a circle of mys- 
tics and reformers, in London and its vicinity, 


who were, like himself, interested in the early 
instruction and training of children. Hearing 
from Harriet Martineau, upon her return from 
America in 1837, of Mr. Alcott's Temple School 
at Boston, and thinking more favorably of it than 
Miss Martineau did, Mr. Greaves opened a cor- 
respondence with the American Pestalozzi, and 
received from him some of his books, — Miss 
Peabody's 'Records of a School,' and Mr. Al- 
cott's 'Conversations on the Gospels.' From 
these books, and from his correspondence, Mr. 
Greaves and his friends, William Oldham, Mrs. 
Chichester, Charles Lane, Heraud, and others, 
formed so high an estimate of Bronson Alcott's 
talents and character, that they named for him 
the English school they were about establishing 
near London, and called it ' Alcott House.* They 
also urged Mr. Alcott to visit them in England 
and to taJce part in their schemes and labors. He 
was well inclined to do this; and in 1842 he set 
sail for London, where, late in May, he received 
a hearty welcome from his correspondents and 
their circle, with the exception of Mr. Greaves, 
who had died earlier in the same year." 

Mr. Emerson furnished the money for Mr. 
Alcott's trip to England. The following letter 
was written by Bronson Alcott to his cousin Dr. 
William Alcott: — 


Alcott Housb, 

Ham Common, Surrey, 

June 30, 1842. 

... I am now at Alcott House, which is ten 
miles from London; where I find the principles 
of human culture, which have so long interested 
me, carried into practical operation by wise and 
devoted friends of education. The school was 
opened five years ago and has been thus far quite 
successful. It consists of thirty or more children, 
and some of them not more than three years of 
age, — all fed and lodged at the House. The 
strictest temperance is observed in diet and regi- 
men. Plain bread with vegetables and fruits is 
their food, and water their only drink. They 
bathe always before their morning lesson, and 
have exercises in the play-grounds, which are 
ample, besides cultivating the gardens of the in- 
stitution. They seem very happy and not less in 
the school-room than elsewhere. 

Mr. Wright has more genius for teaching than 
any person I have before seen — his method and 
temper are admirable, and all parties, from as- 
sistants, of which there are several, to the young- 
est child delight in his presence and influence. 
He impersonates and realizes my own idea of an 
education, and is the first person whom I have 
met that has entered into this divine art of in- 
spiring the human clay, and moulding it into the 


stature and image of divinity. I am already knit 
to him by more than human ties, and must take 
him with me to America, as a coadjutor in our 
high vocation, or else remain with him here. 
But I hope to effect the first. 

The Healthian is edited here by Mr, Wright 
and Mr. Lane, and they contribute to almost 
every reform journal in the kingdom. They are 
not ignorant of our labors in the United States, 
almost every work of any value I find in the li- 
brary at Alcott House, — your own works, those 
of Mr. Graham (a vegetarian), besides foreign 
authors not to be found with us. I shall bring 
with me many books, both ancient and modern, 
on rny return to America. 

It was during his sojourn in England in 1842 
that the idea of creating "a New Eden," as he 
loved to call it, took firm root in Alcott's mind. 
A more quaintly unique character than his can- 
not be found in all the annals of our literary 
history. His unquenchable aspirations after the 
ideal life caught the imagination of men and 
women ready to break away from the narrowing 
tendency of the Orthodox faith of the time. He 
was both loved and derided. A transcendentalist 
pure and simple; unpractical; a dreamer and 
visionary in every sense of the word ; yet his mind 


emitted flashes of genius so unerring and deci- 
sive as to elicit the spontaneous admiration of 
Ralph Waldo Emerson and impel him to write in 
his journal the following tributes : — 

"The comfort of Alcott's mind is, the connec- 
tion in which he sees whatever he sees. He is 
never dazzled by a spot of colour, or a gleam of 
light, to value the thing by itself; but forever and 
ever is prepossessed by the individual one behind 
it and all. I do not know where to find in men 
or books a mind so valuable to faith in others. 

"For every opinion or sentence of Alcott a 
reason may be sought and found, not in his will 
or fancy, but in the necessity of Nature itself, 
which has daguerred that fatal impression on his 
susceptible soul. He is as good as a lens or a 
mirror, a beautiful susceptibility, every impres- 
sion on which is not to be reasoned against, or 
derided, but to be accounted for, and until ac- 
counted for, registered as an indisputable addi- 
tion to our catalogue of natural facts. There are 
defects in the lens, and errors of retraction and 
position, etc., to be allowed for, and it needs one 
acquainted with the lens by frequent use, to 
make these allowances ; but 't is the best instru- 
ment I have met with."* 

"Once more for Alcott it is to be said that he 
* Emerson's Journal, 1856. 


is sincerely and necessarily engaged to his task 
and not wilfully or ostentatiously or pecuniarily. 
Mr. Johnson at Manchester said of him, ' He is 
universally competent. Whatever question is 
asked, he is prepared for.' 

" I shall go far and see many, before I find such 
an extraordinary insight as Alcott's. In his fine 
talk last evening, he ran up and down the scale of 
powers with much ease and precision as a squirrel 
the wires of his cage, and is never dazzled by his 
means, or by any particular, and a fine heroic 
action or a poetic passage would make no impres- 
sion on him, because he expects heroism and poe- 
try in all. Ideal Purity, the poet, the artist, the 
man must have. I have never seen any person 
who so fortifies the believer, so confutes the skep- 
tic. And the almost uniform rejection of this man 
by men of parts, Carlyle and Browning inclusive, 
and by women of piety, might make one despair of 
society. If he came with a cannonade of acclaim 
from all nations, as the first wit on the planet, 
these masters would sustain the reputation ; or if 
they could find him in a book a thousand years 
old, with a legend of miracles appended, there 
would be churches of disciples; but now they wish 
to know if his coat is out at the elbows, or whether 
somebody did not hear from somebody, that he 
has got a new hat etc. He has faults, no doubt, 
but I may safely know more about them than he 


does; and some that are most severely imputed 
to him are only the omissions of a preoccupied 

"Last night in the conversation Alcott ap- 
peared to great advantage, and I saw again, as 
often before, his singular superiority. As pure in- 
tellect I have never seen his equal. The people 
with whom he talks do not ever understand him. 
They interrupt him with clamorous dissent, or 
what they think verbal endorsement of what they 
fancy he may have been saying, or with ' Do you 
know Mr. Alcott I think thus and so,' — some 
whim or sentimentalism, and do not know that 
they have interrupted his large and progressive 
statement; do not know that all they have in 
their baby brains is incoherent and spotty; that 
all he sees and says is like astronomy, lying there 
real and vast, every part and fact in eternal con- 
nection with the whole, and that they ought to 
sit in silent gratitude, eager only to hear more, 
to hear the whole, and not interrupt him with 
their prattle. It is because his sight is so clear, 
commanding the whole ground, and he perfectly 
gifted to state adequately what he sees, that he 
does not lose his temper when glib interlocutors 
bore him with their dead texts and phrases. — 
Power is not pettish, but want of power is."^ 
* Emerson's Journal, 1856. 



"Yesterday Alcott left me after three days 
spent here. I had laid down a man and had 
waked up a bruise, by reason of a bad cold, and 
was lumpish, tardy and cold. Yet I could see 
plainly that I conversed with the most extraor- 
dinary man and the highest genius of the time. 
He is a man. He is erect ; he sees, let whoever 
be overthrown or parasitic or blind. Life he 
would have and enact, and not nestle into any 
cast-off shell or form of the old time, and now 
proposes to preach to the people, or to take his 
staff and walk through the country, conversing 
with the school-teachers, and holding conversa- 
tions in the villages. And so he ought to go, pub- 
lishing through the land his gospel like them of 
old time."^ 

It was not unnatural that these gifts, fully 
acknowledged by so eminent a man as Emerson, 
should have won to him the respect and devotion 
of these Englishmen, who were living in the same 
atmosphere of thought in which Bronson Alcott 
lived and moved and had his being. And so after 
much discussion and many plans, illumined by 
great hopes and a deep enthusiasm, Charles Lane 
and Mr. Alcott collected a valuable library of 
books mostly on mysticism and all occult sub- 
jects for the future Eden, and with William 
* Emerson's Journal, 1857. 


Lane, who was Charles Lane's son, Wright, and 
Samuel Bowers, sailed for America, their imme- 
diate destination being the home in Concord 
where Mrs. Alcott and her daughters, then very 
young, were waiting to receive them. 

Concord named the strangers "the English 
Mystics" and received them cordially into the 
inner circle of literary men which formed the 
group now spoken of as the "Concord Philoso- 
phers." Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne, Ellery 
Channing, and others became their friends, and 
listened to their plans for forming universal 
brotherhood. Emerson's description of Charles 
Lane was this : — 

"A man of fine intellectual nature, inspired 
and hallowed by a profound faith. This is no 
man of letters, but a man of ideas. Deep opens 
below deep in his thought, and for the solution of 
each new problem, he recurs, with new success to 
the highest truth, to that which is most generous, 
most simple, and most powerful; to that which 
cannot be comprehended, or overseen, or ex- 
hausted. His words come to us like the voices of 
home out of a far country." 

In the mean time the trunks containing the 
books chosen in England with so much care were 
opened, and lists were made of their contents. 
It was either Emerson or Thoreau who inserted 


a notice of them in "The Dial," the famous peri- 
odical to which the literary men and women of 
this noted circle contributed. It ran thus: "Mr. 
Alcott and Mr. Lane have recently brought from 
England a small, but valuable library, amount- 
ing to about looo volumes, containing undoubt- 
edly a richer collection of mystical writers than 
any other library in this country. To the select 
library of the late J. P. Greaves, 'held by Mr. 
Lane in trust for universal ends,' they have 
added many works of a like character, by pur- 
chase or received as gifts. In their Catalogue . . . 
they say, 'The titles of these books are now sub- 
mitted, in the expectation that this Library is 
the commencement of an Institution for the nur- 
ture of men in universal freedom of action, 
thought, and being. We print this list, not only 
because our respect is engaged to views so lib- 
eral, but because the arrival of this cabinet of 
mystic and theosophic lore is a remarkable fact 
in our.Iiterary history.' " 

Mr. Sanborn, referring to this library in his 
"Bronson Alcott," says: "It was this collection 
which, in the summer of 1843, occupied a hun- 
dred feet of shelving in the old red farmhouse at 

The problem of where to establish the New 
Eden became the great and vital question of the 



moment. Many suggestions were offered from 
many quarters, but the great impediment to a 
definite decision was the lack of funds. Mr. Al- 
cott had no money to spare to put into a farm 
such as they required, and the group of friends 
were interested, but not wholly convinced of the 
feasibility of the scheme, and hung back when it 
came to a question of investment. This very 
doubt fanned the flame of desire in Mr. Alcott 
and Charles Lane to prove to the world the value 
of their cherished dream. So it came about that 
Charles Lane took the burden of paying for a 
farm on his own shoulders, and he wrote the fol- 
lowing letter to Mr. Alcott's brother, Junius 
Alcott, on March 7, 1843: — 

"I hope the little cash I have collected from 
my London toils will suffice to redeem a small 
spot on the planet, that we may rightly use for 
the right owner. I would very much prefer a 
small example of true life to a large society in 
false and selfish harmony. Please put your best 
worldly thoughts to the subject and favor me 
with your view as to how and where we could 
best lay out $1800 or $20(X> in land, with orchard, 
wood, and house. Some of the land must be now 
fit for the spade, as we desire to give all animals 
their freedom. We feel it desirable to keep within 
the range of Mind and Letters; or rather to keep 
refinement within our range, that we may be the 


means of improving or reproving it, without be- 
ing injured by it." 

Before this Mr. Alcott had written a letter to 
Isaac T. Hecker, later known as Father Hecker, 
head of the Paulist Brotherhood, and in it he 
described the idea they had in mind. At that 
time Father Hecker was at Brook Farm, but was 
restless and dissatisfied with the life there, crav- 
ing a more ascetic existence; and knowing this, 
Alcott felt confident of his sympathy and stated 
the salient points of the scheme to him : — 

Our purposes, as far as we know them at pres- 
ent, are briefly these : — 

First, to obtain the free use of a spot of land 
adequate by our own labor to our support ; in- 
cluding, of course, a convenient plain house, and 
offices, wood-lot, garden, and orchard. 

Secondly, to live independently of foreign aids 
by being sufficiently elevated to procure all arti- 
cles for subsistence in the productions of the spot, 
under a regimen of healthful labor and recreation ; 
with benignity toward all creatures, human and 
inferior; with beauty and refinement in all eco- 
nomics; and the purest charity throughout our 

Should this kind of life attract parties toward 
us — individuals of like aims and issues — that 
state of being itself determines the law of asso- 


ciation ; and the particular mode may be spoken 
of more definitely as individual cases may arise ; 
but in no case, could inferior ends compromise 
the principles laid down. 

Doubtless such a household, with our library, 
our services and manner of life, may attract 
young men and women, possibly also families 
with children, desirous of access to the channels 
and fountains of wisdom and purity ; and we are 
not without hope that Providence will use us pro- 
gressively for beneficial effects in the great work 
of human regeneration, and the restoration of 
the highest life on earth. 

With the humane wish that yourself and little 
ones may be led to confide in providential Love, 
I am, dear friend, 

Very truly yours, 

A. Bronson Alcott. 

February 15, 1843. 

Finally a decision was arrived at, and in a let- 
ter to Mr. Oldham, Charles Lane narrates how 
it came about. It was written from Concord, 
Maysi, 1843: — 

My dear Friend: — 

. . . Mr. Alcott and I walked up the river to a 
place called the Cliffs, where is a young orchard 
of 16 acres and woodland below. He came home 


with his head full of poetic schemes for a cottage, 
etc., on this spot. I, however, came home first 
and found that a man had been sent by the young 
man who walked with me to Southborough, hav- 
ing a farm to sell at Harvard, 14 miles off. He 
proposed to take me directly to see it, but I was 
fatigued, so Samuel Larned, the visitor who came 
up with Mr, Wright, went in the waiting vehicle. 
The next morning being very fine Mr. Alcott and 
I walked there, not knowing his name, but we 
ascertained it to be Wyman; we saw his place, 
consisting of 90 acres, 14 of them wood, a few 
apple and other fruit trees, plenty of nuts and 
berries, much of the land very good; the pros- 
pect from the highest part very sublime. The 
house and barn very poor, but the water excel- 
lent and plentiful. The capabilities are manifold, 
but the actualities humble. For the whole he 
asked 2700 dollars, which being beyond my 
means, we had much talk when he offered to sell 
the land for 1800 dollars and to lend us the build- 
ings gratis for a year. I should observe it is ex- 
tremely retired, there being no road to it. On 
these terms we have closed. He gives us the few 
crops he has just planted and grass to a consider- 
able amount will soon be cut. I have slept a night 
or two there. William and two friends (Lar- 
ned and Abram Everett, called the "Plain Man " 
in the Vermont Telegraph) and a hired man re- 


main there, and the family are to start early to- 
morrow morning, so now for plenty of work of all 
sorts. Ninety acres; much of it first rate; some 
worth lOO dollars per acre, the whole 20 dollars 
per acre ; would that some of the English honest 
half-starved were on it! This, I think you will 
admit, looks like an attempt at something which 
will entitle transcendentalism to some respect for 
its practicality. . . . We have very much to do, 
but the occasions are opportune. I think Mr. 
Emerson is not so well pleased with our de- 
parture as he would be with our company, but 
as he did nothing to keep us we must go. It 
appeared to me that for the hopefulness of 
many, it was needful we should make a move- 
ment of some kind this year, even though we 
fail ; and Providence seems really to have worked 
for us. . . . 

I thank you very much for the £10; the note 
arrived very opportunely to enable Mr. A. to 
quit Concord, to do which all his debts must be 
paid, and I need not tell you on whom that falls. 
Our transactions at present leave me about 500 
dollars in debt, but every one says we have made 
a good bargain in the purchase of the land. I seri- 
ously hope we are forming the basis for something 
really progressive, call it family or community, 
or what you will. . . . 

We have now plenty of work to do and how we 


get on I shall faithfully report, though the pen 
will not do much at present. . . . 
Believe me, dear friend, 

Yours steadfastly in the spirit, 

Charles Lane. 

Mr. Sanborn, who above all others has an 
intimate knowledge of what the situation was, 
having in later years learned much concern- 
ing it from Emerson and Alcott and others of 
that time, makes this comment in his "Bronson 
Alcott": — 

"After looking at several places in Concord 
and elsewhere. Lane decided to buy the Wyman 
farm at Harvard, two miles from the village of 
that name, but less than a mile from Still River, 
another village in the same township. Alcott 
would have chosen the Cliffs in Concord, a favor- 
ite resort of Thoreau and the Emerson family, 
and Emerson would have preferred to retain his 
friend in his own town; but Lane had rather 
avoided Emerson, as not ascetic enough for his 
abstemious habits, and seems to have been not 
unwilling to withdraw Alcott from what he re- 
garded as an unfavorable influence." 

But when it was all settled, Alcott and his 
English Mystics entered into their plan with a 
touching enthusiasm. Before them lay vistas of 
glowing possibilities. They dreamed dreams and 


saw visions of a "Peace on Earth, Good Will 
towards Men" such as had never before been 
realized. There was much to be done and they 
were eager to begin, — the days were none too 
long in which to collect the necessary things be- 
fore moving to Harvard. So Charles Lane per- 
suaded Samuel Bowers to write to Oldham a de- 
scription of the farm, he himself being too busy 
to do so. And Bowers writes as follows : — 

" Charles Lane wished me to sketch to you the 
material picture of Fruitlands and the adjoining 
scene, but I am unqualified to do justice to the 
subject. The property is very compact and may 
be a very beautiful domain. It is part a hill slop- 
ing down to more valley. Several springs gush 
out from the side of the hill and the water is very 
good — better I think than is common in Mas- 
sachusetts. The soil varies much, but the average 
quality is, I considerately judge, twice, if not 
thrice as good as that of Tytherley.^ There is 
about 14 acres of woodland all in the vale and 
adjoining is the Nashua River, on the other side 
of which, where the receding lands gently rise, 
stands a Shaker village (Shirley), its extended 
orchards, corn and grass lands. There is in view 
a long and high range of hills, one of which, and 
that the highest, is famous for having been the 
resort of an Indian sachem. The hill is called 

* The location of Owen's Harmony Hall in England. 


Wachusett. Altogether the scene reminded me 
strongly of the Vale of Evesham, in Worcester- 
shire, where seen when one approaches it from 

It is quite evident that Oldham had written a 
letter to Charles Lane warning him against as- 
suming too great responsibility in this venture. 
The question as to whether many enthusiasts 
would join the Community was a very crucial 
one, since it was on this expectation that they 
based their plans of running the farm free of debt. 
In answering the letter he asks Oldham to for- 
ward certain money due to him. And in his ex- 
planation says : — 

"I do not see any one to act the money part 
but myself." (This refers to the land for the 
Fruitlands experiment.) "Mr. Alcott cannot 
part with me. I deem him too sincere and valu- 
able to quit him, and besides there is nothing in 
the country so well as we can show if we be faith- 
ful ; but rents, debts, and mortgage would destroy 
us. As to the recruits you speak of, are they good 
for anything? Are they worth the small passage 
money you name? Truly if they are some of 
them you have at Alcott House, I think we should 
not be much aided by their presence. 

"Understand, we are not going to open a hos- 
pital. We are more Pythagorean than Christs, 
we wish to begin with the sound rather than to 


heal the sick. There is grand work here to be 
done and I must not trifle with it." 

This matter of getting the right kind of persons 
to join the Community required a keen insight 
into human nature, and on this point Mr. Alcott 
was not very strong. His own sincerity and depth 
of purpose were so great that he looked for these 
same attributes in every one who approached 
him, and often failed to detect the superficial 
qualities that lurked underneath the surface en- 
thusiasm of some of his followers. At this time 
Transcendentalism was rife through the land. 
Some called it "the Newness." The expression 
"Apostles of the Newness" was heard on all 
sides. They could be recognized by their long 
hair, Byronic collars, flowing ties, and eccentric 
habits and manners. Nothing seemed too exces- 
sive to prove their emancipation from the shackles 
of conventionality. One day three young men of 
this kind turned up at Mr. Emerson's at Con- 
cord and entered into an animated conversation 
with him on his front porch. With them freedom 
of thought and allegiance to " the Newness" took 
the strange form of preceding every remark, how- 
ever trivial, with resounding oaths, which so 
startled the passers-by, and Mr. Emerson as well, 
that he hastily invited them to move round to 
the back of the house where the vibrations of 
their sulphurous ejaculations might roll harm- 


lessly across the meadow instead of exploding 
in through the windows of the houses near by. 

That Mr. Emerson was deeply interested in 
the experiment of creating the "New Eden" at 
Harvard is shown by the fact that a deed of the 
land was made out in his name as trustee for 
Charles Lane. He and Thoreau and the rest of 
the Concord circle viewed the departure with a 
mixture of interest, curiosity, and anxiety. On 
June lO, 1843, Emerson wrote to Thoreau: — 

"From Mr. Alcott and Mr. Lane at Harvard, 
we have yet heard nothing. They went away 
in good spirits, having sent Wood Abram and 
Larned and William Lane before them, with horse 
and plough, a few days in advance, to begin the 
spring work. Mr. Lane paid me a long visit, in 
which he was more than I had ever known him 
gentle and open; and it was impossible not to 
sympathize with and honor projects that so 
often seem without feet or hands." 



The original members of the Community that 
started the unique experiment were Mr. Alcott, 
his wife, and^four small daughters, the English- 
man Charles Lane and his son William, H. C. 
Wright (for a short time) and Samuel Bower, 
Isaac T. Hecker, of New York, Christopher 
Greene and Samuel Larned, of Providence, Abra- 
ham Everett and Anna Page, Joseph Palmer, of 
Fitchburg, and Abram Wood. The transcenden- 
talism of this last individual showed itself chiefly 
in insisting upon twisting his name hind side be- 
fore and calling himself "Wood Abram." As this 
he was always known at Fruitlands. These mem- 
bers did not all arrive at once, but came within a 
short time of each other. Wright had shown some 
dissatisfaction already in the extreme asceticism 
of the plan of life adopted by Mr. Alcott at Con- 
cord and he refused to be a regular member of the 
Fruitlands Community on this account. In writ- 
ing to Oldham on the subject Charles Lane says : 
" I can see no other reason but the simplicity and 
order to which affairs were coming (in the cot- 
tage) ; no butter nor milk, nor cocoa, nor tea, nor 
coffee. Nothing but fruit, grain, and water was 


hard for the inside ; then regular hours and places, 
cleaning up scraps, etc., was desperate hard for 
the outside." 

When finally the move from Concord to Har- 
vard was made, Mr. Alcott took what furniture he 
could with him, such as beds, etc., and the rest 
was supplied by Joseph Palmer, who carted his 
over from his old Homestead at No Town outside 
of Fitchburg. 

Shortly after the move, Charles Lane sat down 
and wrote toThoreau a description of Fruitlands: 

Fruitlands, June 7, 1843. 

It is very remotely placed, without a road, sur- 
rounded by a beautiful green landscape of fields 
and woods, with the distance filled up with some 
of the loftiest mountains in the State. At present 
there is much hard manual labor, so much that, 
as you see, my usual handwriting is very greatly 
suspended. Our house accommodations are poor 
and scanty ; but the greatest want is good female 
society. Far too much labor devolves on Mrs. 
Alcott. Besides the occupations of each succeed- 
ing day, we form in this ample theatre of hope, 
many forthcoming scenes. The nearer little copse 
is designed as the site of the cottages. Foun- 
tains can be made to descend from their granite 
sources on the hill-slope to every apartment if 
desired. Gardens are to displace the warm grazing 


glades on the South, and numerous human be- 
ings instead of cattle, shall here enjoy existence. 

On the estate are about 14 acres of wood, — a 
very sylvan realization, which only wants a 
Thoreau's mind to elevate it to classic beauty. 
The farther wood offers to the naturalist and 
the poet an exhaustless haunt ; and a short clean- 
ing up of the brook would connect our boat with 
the Nashua. Such are the designs which Mr. 
Alcott and I have just sketched, as resting from 
planting we walked around this reserve. 

Though to me our mode of life is luxurious in 
the highest degree, yet generally it seems to be 
thought that the setting aside of all impure diet, 
dirty habits, idle thoughts, and selfish feelings is 
a source of self-denial scarcely to be encountered, 
or even thought of, in such an alluring world as 

In the course of the next few weeks Lane wrote 
with much detail to Oldham : — 

Fruitlands, Harvard, Mass., 
June 16, 1843. 
My dear Friend: — 

The morning being rainy I have taken ad- 
vantage of the suspension of out-door labours to 


sit down and have a little chat with you of and 
concerning our doings and progress. The day 
after I wrote you last all the household effects 
and all the household were mounted on wheels 
and trundled to this place; the old little cottage 
being left as clean as a new book by Mrs. Alcott's 
great energy. The day was sharp and cold for the 
season, but the weather has since come out fine 
and warm, some days hot. We have all been 
busily engaged in manual operations in the field, 
house, wood yard, etc. Planting, ploughing, sow- 
ing, cleaning fruit trees, gardening, chopping, 
sawing, fitting up, etc., etc., have gone at a rapid 
rate, as the place was in a very slovenly condi- 
tion. When tired we have taken a look round 
the estate to see what was growing, learn the 
shape of it, and its capabilities with more minute- 
ness. It seems to be agreed on all hands, and we 
have opinions from many practical men, that we 
have not made a bad exchange, even in the com- 
mercial sense, of our cash for land. Only think, 
brother Oldham, ninety acres, every one of which 
may, in a short time, and without much outlay, 
be brought into a state fit for spade culture*, and 
much of it very good land, obtained at the rate of 
20 dollars or only Jour pounds per acre freehold. 
Recollect, too, this includes fuel and some build- 
ing material, for there are 14 acres of wood, in- 
cluding many trees of edible nuts, and still only 


30 miles from a metropolitan city of 1 10,000 in- 
habitants.^ The land is most beautifully disposed 
in hill and valley, and the scenery is of a sublime 
and elevating character. Water abundant and 
excellent and the springs being on the hill, it may 
be conveyed anywhere about the place for irriga- 
tion, etc. As is common in this district, the prin- 
cipal part is meadow and pasture; but we shall 
go on ploughing up as much as possible, sowing 
crops of clover or buckwheat, and turning them 
in, so as to redeem the land without animal ma- 
nures, which in practice I find to be as filthy as 
in idea. The use of them is disgusting in the 
extreme. At present, we have about 4 acres in 
Maize, i ^ in Rye, i ^ in Oats, i in Barley, 2 
in Potatoes, nearly i in Beans, Peas, Melons, 
Squashes, etc.; there will be some Buckwheat, 
Turnips, etc., making in all about 1 1 acres arable. 
We have no Wheat this year. The grass promises 
well, and we may possibly cut 200 dollars' worth; 
but by hired teams we are now turning up one 
piece of 8 or 9, and another of 5 acres, and mean 
to attack another 4 or 5 for our next year's home- 
stead or garden, should we obtain the means of 
building. The hillside of 12 or 14 acres pasture is 
also to be ploughed, directly, if we can; so that 
the work of reclamation will go rapidly forward. 
There is a large piece of peat land, as black as ink, 
* Boston. 


which, mixed with sand, makes a most produc- 
tive soil, valued at 200 to 300 dollars per acre; 
and there is sand on our lot within 100 yards. 
We have been much plagued, and a little cheated, 
with the cattle, but our stock is now reduced to 
one yoke of oxen. 

Besides Mr. Alcott, his Wife and Children, my- 
self and William, who is very efficient and active, 
we have only a Mr. Lamed and Abraham [Abram 
Everett] — who appears in the Vermont Tele- 
graph as the "Plain Man." Larned was many 
months at West Roxbury, is only about 20 years 
of age, his father was a merchant, and he has been 
a counting-house man and is what the world calls 
genteel. Abraham is about 42, a cooper by trade, 
but an excellent assistant here, very faithful to 
every work he undertakes, very serious, has had 
rather deep experience, having been imprisoned 
in a mad house by his relations because he had a 
little property, but still he is not a spiritual be- 
ing, at least not consciously and wishfully so. 

I have exchanged more letters with Samuel 
Bower and he promises to come here to-morrow. 
If his real state bears out his writings, I think he 
may be added to the family, otherwise he thinks 
of looking at Roxbury for the purpose of finding 
a home there. . . . 

Mr. Alcott is as persevering in practice as last 
year we found him to be in idea. To do better 


and better, to he better and better, is the constant 
theme. His hand is everywhere like his mind. 
He has held the plough with great efficiency, 
sometimes for the whole day, and by the straight- 
ness of his furrow may be said to be giving lessons 
to the professed ploughmen, who work in a slov- 
enly manner. We have called in the aid of a car- 
penter who has made simple shelves for our books, 
and for the first time our library stands upright 
as it should do. It occupies about 100 feet of 

June 28, 1843. 

On the 19th I received your very kind and 
newsful letter of the first instant enclosed in Mrs. 
Chichester's. Mr. Bower, having kept his prom- 
ise, was here, and I read much of it at breakfast, 
having also another visitor from Brook Farm, Mr. 
Hecker [Isaac T. Hecker]. All were much in- 
terested in the facts reported, and Saml. Bower 
heard your remembrances fresh from your pen. 
You affect him more than any other person. In 
your next, you will perhaps devote a slip to him 
and I will forward it. He, Lamed and Hecker 
visited the Shakers and were much attracted by 
them. Larned who, on common report, used to 
oppose them, talks of joining them, so pleasant 
is their society; at least at first. . . . 

If I were not at this moment surrounded by so 
much that is beautiful in the present, hopeful in 


the future and ennobling in the act, your affec- 
tionate invitation to Ham would seriously touch 
me. But by God's blessing something shall be 
done here which shall reach you there. If we can 
aid the people in any way to let self be conquered, we 
\ shall do something. Lust abounds and love is de- 
i serted. Lust of money, of food, of sexuality, of 
books, of music, of art, — while Love demands 
the powers devoted to these false ends. I thank 
you for your hint respecting worldliness. I be- 
lieve I am getting on safe ground if I am not al- 
ready landed. From, or in England you say, I 
should expect nothing, and I am now in the same 
predicament here. Every farthing I had is now 
either put in or involved in this affair, and more, 
for I have put my hand to two rather large bills; 
silly enough, you will say. In a few weeks I ex- 
pect to be literally pennyless, and even unable 
for want of stage hire to travel to Boston if you 
send me ever so many orders, of which you dis- 
cover I have been so neglectful. No; I think I am 
now out of the money world. Let my privation 
be ever so great, I will never make any property 
claim on this effort. It is an offering to the Eter- 
nal Spirit, and I consider that I have no more right 
than any other person; and I have arranged the 
title deeds, as well as I could, to meet that end. 
I could only consent to return to England on con- 
dition of being held free, like a child, from all 









1^--^ ^^H 


M^^-.- . 




pr.^ % 

r^i-'^^-*— — = 

^ jp 

W Jf 






money entanglements. As no person or associa- 
tion can guarantee this for me, I think it would 
be better to remain here where the simple wants 
can be so easily met, and where there is much 
opportunity for doing good, and more hope as 
the outward conditions are so beautifully free. 
Would that you were here for a month ; we have 
now the most delightful steady weather you can 
conceive; we are all dressed in our linen tunics, 
Abraham is ploughing, Larned bringing some 
turf from the house, Alcott doing a thousand 
things. Bower and I have well dug a sandy spot 
for carrots, the children and Lady are busy in 
their respective ways, and some hirelings are as- 
sisting. . . . Now that something, though little, 
is doing, you will find my expressions more peace- 
ful. Con-fi-dence in Love I hope will ne'er be 
wanting in your affectionate friend, 

Charles Lane. 

Fruitlands, Harvard, Mass., 
July 30, 1843. 

Dear Friend: — 

... A few days after I wrote you Samuel 
Bower joined us and has steadily and zealously 
entered into all the works and speculations we 
have in hand and mind. Mr. Hecker, a very 
spiritual-minded young man, also has been with 
us. He is partner with his brothers at New York 


in a very extensive baking and corn mill business. 
He has resided several months at W. Roxbury, 
but is by no means satisfied with their school- 
boy dilettante spiritualism. He will, I believe, go 
to New York to clear up if possible with his fam- 
ily as to the relations on which they are in future 
to stand to each other. They appear to be so 
loving and united a family with such strong hu- 
man attachments that, although he has done 
much towards breaking away, I fear that in the 
desire to bring his brothers further into the inner 
world, he will himself be detained. 

Mr. Alcott and I returned last evening from a 
short visit to Boston to purchase a few articles, 
and while there we went out one evening to Rox- 
bury 1 where there are 80 or 90 persons playing 
away their youth and daytime in a miserably 
joyous, frivolous manner. There are not above 
four or five who could be selected as really and 
truly progressing beings. Most of the adults are 
there to pass "a good time"; the children are 
taught languages, etc.; the animals (in conse- 
quence I believe solely of Mr. George Ripley's 
tendency) occupy a prominent position, there 
being no less than 16 cows, besides 4 oxen, a herd 
of swine, a horse or two, etc. The milk is sold in 
Boston, and they buy butter to the extent of 500 
dollars a year. We had a pleasant summer even- 
* Brook Farm. 


ing conversation with many of them, but it is 
only in a few individuals that anything deeper 
than ordinary is to be found. The Northampton 
Community is one of industry, the one at Hope- 
dale aims at practical theology, this of Roxbury 
is one of taste ; yet it is the best which exists here, 
and perhaps we shall have to say it is the best 
which can exist. At all events we can go no fur- 
ther than to keep open fields, and as far as we 
have it open house to all comers. We know very 
well that if they come not in the right name and 
nature they will not long remain. Our dietetic 
system is a test quite sufficient for many. As far 
as acres of fine land are concerned, you may offer 
their free use to any free souls who will come here 
and work them, and any aid we can afford shall 
be freely given. The aid of sympathetic compan- 
ionship is not small, and that at least we can 
render. To bridge the Atlantic is a trifle if the 
heart is really set on the attainment of better 
conditions. Here are they freely presented, at a 
day's walk from the shore, without a long and 
expensive journey to the West. Please to adver- 
tise these facts to all youthful men and women; 
for such are much wanted here. There is now a 
certain opportunity for planting a love colony, 
the influence of which may be felt for many gen- 
erations, and more than felt; it may be the begin- 
ning for a state of things which shall far tran- 


scend itself. They to whom our work seems not 
good enough may come and set out a better. 

I should mention to you that passing his door 
Mr. Theodore Parker came to the Community in 
the evening and again in the morning. He is a 
very popular man at present and has a congrega- 
tion at Roxbury, but being unwell by reason of 
close study, he will sail to Europe on the 1st 
September. He will remain in Germany for three 
or four months, and afterwards as long in Eng- 
land. No doubt you will see him and render him 
all the service you can. ... At present we are not 
sought by many persons, but the value in our 
enterprise depends not upon numbers so much as 
upon the spirit from which we can live outwardly 
and in all relations true to the intuitions which 
are gifted to us. We must not forget how great 
have been the works done by individuals, and in 
the absence of what are usually called facilities. 
Our obstacles are, I suppose, chiefly within, and 
as these are subdued we shall triumph in exter- . 
nalities. I could send you a description of works 
and crops, our mowing, hoeing, reaping, plough- 
ing in tall crops of clover and grass for next year's 
manure, and various other operations, but al- 
though they have some degree of relation to the 
grand principle to which they are obedient, they 
are worth little in the exoteric sense alone. Per- 
haps the external revelations of success ought 


always to be kept secret, for every improvement 
discovered is only turned to a money making 
account and to the further degradation of man, 
as we see in the march of science to this very 
moment. If we knew how to double the crops of 
the earth, it is scarcely to be hoped that any 
good would come by revealing the mode. On the 
contrary, the bounties of God are already made 
the means by which man debases himself more 
and more. We will therefore say little concerning 
the sources of external wealth until man is him- 
self secured to the End which rightly uses these 
means. . . . 

Mr. Charles Stearns Wheeler, the eminent 
Greek student, who went from here to Germany 
last summer, died at Leipsic ^ in June, age 26. 
He was one of Mr. Emerson's great hopes. 

Samuel Bower continues with us, but he is not 
so happy in body or mind as he ought to be: a 
letter from you in the universal spirit would cheer 
him up. He confesses to the possession of a little 
Nomadic blood in his veins. He thinks Mr. Al- 
cott is arbitrary or despotic, as some others do, 
but I shall endeavour (and, I think, not in vain) 
to urge him to the noblest conduct of which our 
position is capable. He must not complain nor 
walk off, but cheerfully amend whatever is amiss. 
I suppose your letter has failed at the post some- 
* This should be Rome. 


where, but I have inquired fully on this side. 
With assurances of continued affection to your- 
self and all friends on the divine ground, 
I remain, dear Oldham, 
Truly yours, 

Charles Lane. 



There is so much confusion in the minds of 
many regarding the difference of aim existing in 
the Community at Brook Farm and that of Fruit- 
lands that it seems well to insert here a well-au- 
thenticated account of Brook Farm and also an 
extract from a letter written by John Sullivan 
Dwight who was a member. 

Brook Farm was a Community established in 
West Roxbury, Massachusetts, in 1841. "The 
head of the Community was George Ripley, for- 
merly a Unitarian clergyman in Boston, who had 
been in 1836 one of the Founders of the Tran- 
scendental Club with Emerson, Hedge, Alcott, 
and others. Associated with Ripley in the Brook 
Farm enterprise were Nathaniel Hawthorne, 
Charles A. Dana, John S. Dwight, and other well- 
known men. They bought a farm comprising 
some 2CX) acres. Its object was the establishment 
of an 'agricultural, literary, and scientific school 
or college.' 

"Several trades beside agriculture were carried 
on and a number of children were received as pu- 
pils, instruction being furnished in ancient and 
modern languages, history, mathematics, moral 


philosophy, music, drawing, etc. It was designed 
to substitute cooperative for selfish competition, 
and to dignify bodily labor by uniting it with the 
intellectual and spiritual life. The Community 
was at first organized as a joint-stock company, 
each subscriber being guaranteed 5 per cent per 
annum on his shares. In 1847 the experiment, 
having proved a failure financially, was given up. 
"Life at Brook Farm, especially during the 
first years of enthusiasm, had idyllic and roman- 
tic aspects. In its palmiest state the Commu- 
nity, including school children and boarders, num- 
bered about 150 souls. Kitchen and table were 
in common; very little help was hired, but phi- 
losophers, clergymen, and poets worked at the 
humblest tasks, milking cows, pitching manure, 
cleaning stables, etc., while cultivated women 
cooked, washed, ironed, and waited on table. All 
work, manual or intellectual, was credited to 
members at a uniform rate of ten cents an hour." 

John Sullivan Dwight wrote of Brook Farm : — 
"I remember the night of my first arrival at 
Brook Farm. It had been going all summer. I 
arrived in November. At that time it was a sort 
of pastoral life, rather romantic, although so 
much hard labor was involved in it. They were 
all at tea in the old building, which was called the 
Hive. In a long room at a long table they were 


making tea, and I sat down with them. When 
tea was over they were all very merry, full of life ; 
and all turned to and washed the dishes, cups 
and saucers. All joined in, — the Curtis broth- 
ers, Dana and all. It was very enchanting, quite 
a lark, as we say. Much of the industry went on 
in that way, because it combined the freest socia- 
bility with the useful arts." 

Robert Carter, a co-editor with James Russell 
Lowell of a magazine called The Pioneer in 1843, 
wrote an article called "The Newness" in after 
years, describing Fruitlands and Brook Farm. 
Of the latter he says : — 

"It was a delightful gathering of men and 
women of superior cultivation, who led a charm- 
ing life for a few years, laboring in its fields and 
philandering in its pleasant woods. It was little 
too much of a picnic for serious profit, and the 
young men and maidens were rather unduly ad- 
dicted to moonlight wanderings in the pine grove, 
though it is creditable to the sound moral train- 
ing of New England that little or no harm came 
of these wanderings — at least, not to the maid- 
ens. Brook Farm, however, was not the only 
Community which was founded by the disciples 
of the 'Newness.' There was one established in 
1843 on a farm called Fruitlands, in the town of 
Harvard, about forty miles from Boston. This 
was of much more ultra and grotesque character 


than Brook Farm. Here were gathered the men 
and women who based their hopes of reforming 
the world and of making all things new on dress 
and on diet. They revived the Pythagorean, the 
Essenian, and the Monkish notions of Asceticism 
with some variations and improvements pecu- 
liarly American. The head of the institution was 
Bronson Alcott, a very remarkable man, whose 
singularities of character, conduct, and opinion 
would alone afford sufficient topics for a long lec- 
ture. His friend Emerson defined him to be a 
philosopher devoted to the science of education, 
and declared that he had singular gifts for awak- 
ening contemplation and aspiration in simple and 
in cultivated persons. . . . His writings, though 
quaint and thoughtful, are clumsy compared 
with his conversation, which has been pronounced 
by the best judges to have been unrivalled in 
grace and clearness. Mr. Alcott was one of the 
most foremost leaders of the 'Newness.' He 
swung round the circle of schemes very rapidly, 
and after going through a great variety of phases 
he maintained, at the time of the foundation of 
'Fruitlands,' that the evils of life were not so^ 
much social or political as personal, and that a \ 
personal reform only could eradicate them; that ' 
self-denial was the road to eternal life, and that I 
property was an evil, and animal food of all kinds 
an abomination. No animal substance, neither 


flesh, fish, butter, cheese, eggs, nor milk, was 
allowed to be used at * Fruitlands.' They were all 
denounced as pollution, and as tending to corrupt 
the body, and through that the soul. Tea and 
coffee, molasses and rice, were also proscribed, — 
the last two as foreign luxuries, — and only water 
was used as a beverage. 

"Mr. Alcott would not allow the land to be 
manured, which he regarded as a base and cor- 
rupting and unjust mode of forcing nature. He 
made also a distinction between vegetables which 
aspired or grew into the air, as wheat, apples, and 
other fruits, and the base products which grew 
downwards into the earth, such as potatoes, ^ beets, 
radishes, and the like. These latter he would not 
allow to be used. The bread of the Community 
he himself made of unbolted flour, and sought to 
render it palatable by forming the loaves into the 
shapes of animals and other pleasant images. He 
was very strict, rather despotic in his rule of the 
Community, and some of the members have told 
me they were nearly starved to death there ; nay, 
absolutely would have perished with hunger if 
they had not furtively gone among the surround- 
ing farmers and begged for food. 

"One of the Fruitlanders took it into his head 
that clothes were an impediment to spiritual 

^ This was a mistake on Mr. Carter's part, as they ate 
potatoes freely. 


growth, and that the light of day was equally 
pernicious. He accordingly secluded himself in 
his room in a state of nature during the day, and 
only went out at night for exercise, with a single 
white cotton garment reaching from his neck to 
his knees. 

"Samuel Lamed lived one whole year on 
crackers, and the next year exclusively on ap- 
ples. He went to Brook Farm after the collapse 
of the Fruitlands Community, and when that 
also failed he went South, married a lady who 
owned a number of slaves, and settled there as 
a Unitarian minister." 

In this same article Mr. Carter asserts that 
Fourierism brought Brook Farm into disrepute 
at the end, and that a large wooden phalanstery, 
in which members had invested all their means, 
took fire and burned to the ground just as it was 
completed. Upon this catastrophe the associa- 
tion scattered in 1847. Nathaniel Hawthorne 
lost all his savings in the enterprise. While he 
was at Brook Farm he looked after the pig- 

In contrast to this is the full account of the 
object and aim of Fruitlands. 

The following letter on The Consociate Family 
Life was written to A. Brooke of Oakland, Ohio, 
and published in the Herald oj Freedom, Septem- 
ber 8, 1843: — 


Dear Sir: Having perused your several let- 
ters in the Herald of Freedom^ and finding, more- 
over, a general invitation to correspondence from 
"persons who feel prepared to cooperate in the 
work of reform upon principles" akin to those 
you have set forth, I take this public means of 
communicating with one, who seems to be really 
desirous of aiding entire human regeneration. 

After many years passed in admiration of a 
better order in human society, with a constant 
expectation that some beginning would shortly 
be made, and a continued reliance that some 
party would make it, the idea has gradually 
gained possession of my mind, that it is not right 
thus to linger for the leadings of other men, but 
that each should at once proceed to live out the 
proposed life to the utmost possible extent. As- 
sured that the most potent hindrances to good- 
ness abide in the Soul itself; next in the body; 
thirdly in the house and family; and in the 
fourth degree only in our neighbors, or in society 
at large; I have daily found less and less reason 
to complain of public institutions, or of the dila- 
toriness of reformers of genetic minds. 

Animated by pure reform principles, or rather 
by pure creative spirit, I have not hesitated to 
withdraw as far and as fast as hopeful prudence 
dictated from the practices and principles of the 
Old World, and acting upon the conviction that 


whatever others might do, or leave undone, how- 
ever others might fail in the realization of their 
ideal good, I, at least, should advance, I have 
accordingly arrived in that region where I 
perceive you theoretically, and I hope, actually 
dwell. I agree with you that it would be well to 
cross the ocean of Life from the narrow island of 
selfishness to the broad continent of universal 
Love at one dash; but the winds are not always 
propitious, and steam is only a recent invention. 
I cannot yet boast of a year's emancipation from 
old England. One free step leads to another; and 
the third must necessarily precede the fourth, as 
the second was before the third. 

A. Bronson Alcott's visit to England last year 
opened to me some of the superior conditions for 
a pure life which this country offers compared to 
the land of my nativity and that of your ances- 
tors. My love for purity and goodness was suffi- 
ciently strong it seems to loosen me from a posi- 
tion as regards pecuniary income, affectionate 
friends, and mental liberty, which millions there 
and thousands here might envy. It has hap- 
pened however that of the many persons with 
whom Mr, Alcott hoped to act in conjunction 
and concert, not one is yet fully liberated by 
Providence to that end. So that instead of form- 
ing items in a large enterprise, we are left to be 
the principal actors in promoting an idea less in 



extent, but greater in intent, than any yet pre- 
sented to our observation. 

Our removal to this estate in humble confi- 
dence has drawn to us several practical coadju- 
tors, and opened many inquiries by letter for a 
statement of our principles and modes of life. 
We cannot perhaps turn our replies to better ac- 
count, than to transcribe some portions of them 
for your information, and we trust, for your sin- 
cere satisfaction. 

You must be aware, however, that written 
words cannot do much towards the elucidation 
of principles comprehending all human relation- 
ships, and claiming an origin profound as man's 
inmost consciousness of the ever present Living 
Spirit. A dwelling together, a concert in soul, and 
a consorting in body, is a position needful to en- 
tire understanding, which we hope at no distant 
day to attain with yourself and many other sin- 
cere friends. We have not yet drawn out any pre- 
ordained plan of daily operations, as we are im- 
pressed with the conviction that by a faithful 
reliance on the Spirit which actuates us, we are 
sure of attaining to clear revelations of daily prac- 
tical duties as they are to be daily done by us. 
When the Spirit of Love and Wisdom abounds, 
literal forms are needless, irksome or hinderative ; 
where the Spirit is lacking, no preconceived rules 
can compensate. 



I ^ To us It appears not so much that improved 

circumstances are to meliorate mankind, as that 
I improved men will originate the superior condi- 
tion for themselves and others. Upon the Human 
Will, and not upon circumstances, as some phi- 
losophers assert, rests the function, power and 
duty, of generating a better social state. The 
human beings in whom the Eternal Spirit has 
ascended from low animal delights or mere hu- 
man affections, to a state of spiritual chastity 
and intuition, are in themselves a divine atmos- 
phere, they are superior circumstances and are 
constant in endeavoring to create, as well as to 
modify, all other conditions, so that these also 
shall more and more conduce to the like con- 
sciousness in others. 

Hence our perseverance in efforts to attain 
simplicity in diet, plain garments, pure bathing, 
unsullied dwellings, open conduct, gentle behav- 
ior, kindly sympathies, serene minds. These, and 
several other particulars needful to the true end 
of man's residence on earth, may be designated 
the Family Life. Our Happiness, though not the 
direct object in human energy, may be accepted 
as the conformation of rectitude, and this is not 
otherwise attainable than in the Holy Family. 
The Family in its highest, divinest sense is there- 
fore our true position, our sacred earthly destiny. 
It comprehends every divine, every human re- 


latlon consistent with universal good, and all 
others it rejects, as it disdains all animal sensual- 

The evils of life are not so much social, or polit- 
ical, as personal, and a personal reform only can 
eradicate them. 

Let the Family, furthermore, be viewed as the 
home of pure social affections, the school of 
expanding intelligence, the sphere of unbought 
art, the scene of joyous employment, and we feel 
in that single sentiment, a fulness of action, of 
life, of being, which no scientific social contriv- 
ance can ensure, nor selfish accident supply. 

Family is not dependent upon numbers, nor 
upon skill, nor riches, but upon union in and 
with that spirit which alone can bless any enter- 
prise whatever. 

On this topic of Family association, it will not 
involve an entire agreement with the Shakers to 
say they are at least entitled to deeper considera- 
tion than they yet appear to have secured. There 
are many important acts in their career worthy 
of observation. It is perhaps most striking that 
the only really successful extensive Community 
of interest, spiritual and secular, in modern times 
was established by A Woman. Again, we wit- 
ness in this people the bringing together of the 
two sexes in a new relation, or rather with a new 
idea of the old relation. This has led to results 


more harmonic than anyone seriously believes 
attainable for the human race, either in isola- 
tion or association, so long as divided, conflict- 
ing family arrangements are permitted. The 
great secular success of the Shakers ; their order, 
cleanliness, intelligence and serenity are so emi- 
nent, that it is worthy of enquiry how far these 
are attributal to an adherence to their peculiar 

As to Property, we discover not its just dis- 
posal either in individual or social tenures, but in 
its entire absorption into the New Spirit, which 
ever gives and never grasps. 

While we write, negotiations are entertained 
for our removal to a place of less inconvenience, 
by friends who have long waited for some proof 
of a determination to act up to the idea they have 
cherished. Many, no doubt, are yet unprepared 
"to give up all and follow him" (the Spirit) who 
can importantly aid in the New Advent, and 
conscientiously accomplish the legal processes 
needful under the present circumstances. We do 
not recognize the purchase of land; but its re- 
demption from the debasing state of proprium, 
or property, to divine uses, we clearly understand 
when those whom the world esteems as owners 
are found yielding their individual rights to the 
Supreme Owner. Looking at the subject prac- 
tically in relation to a climate in which a costly 


shelter is necessary, and where a family with 
many children has to be provided for, the possi- 
bility of at once stepping boldly out of the toils 
into which the errors of our predecessors have 
cast us, is not so evident as it is desirable. 

Trade we hope entirely to avoid at an early 
day. As a nursery for many evil propensities it 
is almost universally felt to be a most undesirable 
course. Such needful articles as we cannot yet 
raise by our own hand labor from the soil, thus 
redeemed from human ownership, we shall en- 
deavor to obtain by friendly exchanges, and, as 
nearly as possible, without the intervention of 

Of all the traffic in which civilized society is in- 
volved, that of human labor is perhaps the most 
detrimental. From the state of serfdom to the 
receipt of wages may be a step in human prog- 
ress ; but it is certainly full time for taking a new 
step out of the hiring system. 

Our outward exertions are in the first instance 
directed to the soil, and as our ultimate aim is to 
furnish an instance of self-sustaining cultivation 
without the subjugation of either men or cattle, 
or the use of foul animal manures, we have at 
the outset to encounter struggles and oppositions 
somewhat formidable. Until the land is restored 
to its pristine fertility by the annual return of 
its own green crops, as sweet and animating 



manures, the human hand and simple implement 
cannot wholly supersede the employment of ma- 
chinery and cattle. So long as cattle are used in 
agriculture, it is very evident that man will re- 
main a slave, whether he be proprietor or hire- 
ling. The driving of cattle beyond their natural 
and pleasurable exertion ; the waiting upon them 
as cook and chambermaid three parts of the year; 
the excessive labor of mowing, curing, and hous- 
ing hay, and of collecting other fodder, and the 
large extra quantity of land needful to keep up 
this system, form a continuation of unfavorable 
circumstances which must depress the human 
affections so long as it continues, and overlay 
them by the injurious and extravagant develop- 
ment of the animal and bestial natures in man. 
It is calculated that if no animal food were con- 
sumed, one-fourth of the land now used would 
suffice for human sustenance. And the extensive 
tracts of country now appropriated to grazing, 
mowing, and other modes of animal provision, 
could be cultivated by and for intelligent and 
affectionate human neighbors. The sty and the 
stable too often secure more of the farmer's re- 
gard than he bestows on the garden and the 
children. No hope is there for humanity while 
Woman is withdrawn from the tender assiduities 
which adorn her and her household, to the serv- 
itudes of the dairy and the flesh pots. If the 


beasts were wholly absent from man's neighbor- 
hood, the human population might be at least 
four times as dense as it now is without raising 
the price of land. This would give to the coun- 
try all the advantages of concentration without 
the vices which always spring up in the dense 

Debauchery of both the earthly soil and the 
human body is the result of this cattle keeping. 
The land is scourged for crops to feed the animals, 
whose ordures are used under the erroneous sup- 
position of restoring lost fertility ; disease is thus 
infused into the human body; stimulants and 
medicines are resorted to for relief, which end in 
a precipitation of the original evil to a more dis- 
astrous depth. These misfortunes which affect 
not only the body, but by reaction rise to the 
sphere of the soul, would be avoided, or at least 
in part, by the disuse of animal food. Our diet is 
therefore strictly the pure and bloodless kind. 
No animal substances, neither flesh, butter, 
cheese, eggs, nor milk, pollute our table or cor- 
rupt our bodies, neither tea, coffee, molasses, nor 
rice, tempts us beyond the bounds of indigenous 
productions. Our sole beverage is pure fountain 
water. The native grains, fruits, herbs, and roots, 
dressed with the utmost cleanliness and regard to 
their purpose of edifying a healthful body, furnish 
the pleasantest refections and in the greatest 


variety requisite to the supply of the various 
organs. The field, the orchard, the garden, in 
their bounteous products of wheat, rye, barley, 
maize, oats, buckwheat, apples, pears, peaches, 
plums, cherries, currants, berries, potatoes, peas, 
beans, beets, carrots, melons, and other vines, 
yield an ample store for human nutrition, with- 
out dependence on foreign climes, or the degen- 
eration of shipping and trade. The almost in- 
exhaustible variety of the several stages and 
sorts of vegetable growth, and the several modes 
of preparation, are a full answer to the question 
which is often put by those who have never ven- 
tured into the region of a pure and chaste diet: 
"If you give up flesh meat, upon what then can 
you live?" 

Our other domestic habits are in harmony with 
those of diet. We rise with early dawn, begin the 
day with cold bathing, succeeded by a music les- 
son, and then a chaste repast. Each one finds 
occupation until the meridian meal, when usu- 
ally some interesting and deep-searching con- 
versation gives rest to the body and development 
to the mind. Occupation, according to the sea- 
son and the weather, engages us out of doors or 
within, until the evening meal, — when we again 
assemble in social communion, prolonged gen- 

I erally until sunset, when we resort to sweet re- 

j pose for the next day's activity. 


In these steps of reform we do not rely as much 
on scientific reasoning of physiological skill, as on 
the Spirit's dictates. The pure soul, by the law 
of its own nature, adopts a pure diet and cleanly 
customs ; nor needs detailed instruction for daily 
conduct. On a revision of our proceedings it 
would seem, that if we were in the right course 
in our particular instance, the greater part of 
man's duty consists in leaving alone much that 
he is in the habit of doing. It is a fasting from 
the present activity, rather than an increased 
indulgence in it, which, with patient watchful- 
ness tends to newness of life. "Shall I sip tea or 
coffee?" the inquiry may be. No; abstain from 
all ardent, as from alcoholic drinks. "Shall I 
consume pork, beef, or mutton?" Not if you 
value health or life. "Shall I stimulate with 
milk? " No. "Shall I warm my bathing water? " 
Not if cheerfulness is valuable. "Shall I clothe 
in many garments?" Not if purity is aimed at. 
"Shall I prolong my dark hours, consuming ani- 
mal oil and losing bright daylight in the morn- 
ing?" Not if a clear mind is an object. "Shall I 
teach my children the dogmas inflicted on my- 
self, under the pretence that I am transmitting 
truth?" Nay, if you love them intrude not these 
between them and the Spirit of all Truth. "Shall 
I subjugate cattle?" "Shall I trade?" "Shall I 
claim property in any created thing?" "Shall 



I interest myself in politics?" To how many ol 
these questions could we ask them deeply enough, 
could they be heard as having relation to our 
eternal welfare, would the response be ' ' Abstain ' ' ? 
Be not so active to do, as sincere to be. Being in 
preference to doing, is the great aim and this comes 
to us rather by a resigned willingness than a wil- 
ful activity; — which is indeed a check to all 
divine growth. Outward abstinence is a sign of 
inward fulness; and the only source of true prog- 
ress is inward. We may occupy ourselves ac- 
tively in human improvements ; — but these un- 
less inwardly well-impelled, never attain to, but 
rather hinder, divine progress in man. During 
the utterance of this narrative it has undergone 
a change in its personal expression which might 
offend the hypercritical ; but we feel assured that 
you will kindly accept it as unartful offering of 
both your friends in ceaseless aspiration. 

Charles Lane, 
A. Bronson Alcott. 
'Harvard, Mass., 
August, 1843. 



No satisfactory record of Fruitlands could be 
written without giving an account of Joseph 
Palmer, the man with the beard. He filled an 
important place in the life of the Community, 
and is one of those picturesque characters which 
must always stand out vividly in the history of 
Fruitlands. He came of fine, sturdy English stock 
which emigrated to this country in 1730. His 
grandfather taught school in Newton, Massachu- 
setts, for twenty years. His father fought in the 
Revolution, and he himself was a soldier in the 
War of 1 8 12. He was an eccentric character, 
but steadfast and upright, and immovable when 
it came to his principles. Wearing a beard be- 
came a fixed idea with him, and neither the law 
of the land nor the admonitions of the church 
could make him falter in his determination to 
claim freedom of action in this respect. He suf- 
fered ridicule, insolence, and persecution to a 
degree that was amazing, and which revealed 
the fact that in spite of a seemingly greater en- 
lightenment on the part of the public, the same 
tendency, which drove the people to persecute 


so-called witches, and Shakers, and harmless 
persons with a little different viewpoint from 
their own, was still alive, and ready to flame 
forth as fiercely as ever. 

On one occasion, before the Fruitlands days, 
he went into a church in Fitchburg where the 
holy Communion was being celebrated. He knelt 
with the rest only to be given the shock of humili- 
ation at being ignored and passed over by the 
officiating clergyman. Cut to the quick at such 
injustice, and with the blood surging to his face, 
he arose and strode up to the Communion table 
where the Sacraments were, and lifting the cup 
to his lips drank from it, and turning to the 
shocked and abashed clergyman and his congre- 
gation shouted in a loud voice and with flashing 
eyes: "I love my Jesus as well, and better, than 
any of you do!" 

A beard at that time was only worn by the Jews, 
and that was the real reason for this persecution, 
and it caused him to be called "Old Jew Palmer," 
though there was not a drop of Jewish blood in 
his veins. He carried on his farm at No Town 
very successfully and sold his beef at the Fitch- 
burg Market. No Town was a "gore" of unre- 
claimed land outside of Fitchburg and Leomin- 
ster in old Colonial days, a large tract of which 
had been granted to Captain Noah Wiswell, his 
maternal grandfather, by the General Court of 


the Province of Massachusetts for bravery in 
the wars against the Indians. Joseph Palmer in- 
herited it. It belonged to no township, and there- 
fore was not taxed. So when he married the widow 
Tenney rumors circulated through Fitchburg that 
the marriage was not legal because he did not 
publish the banns at the meeting-house accord- 
ing to law, there being no meeting-house at No 
Town. But investigation proved the marriage 
legal because he had published the banns in his 
own handwriting on a large piece of paper which 
he had tacked to the trunk of a fine old pine tree 
which grew near his house. 

Joseph Palmer's wife before her first marriage 
was Nancy Thompson. She was a third cousin 
to Count Rumford, who was Benjamin Thomp- 
son, of Wobum, in Colonial days, but who re- 
turned to England after the evacuation of the 
British, and on account of services rendered to 
the Government was knighted by George III, 
and afterward given the title of Count Rumford 
by the reigning king of Bavaria, and was well 
known throughout Europe as a scientist, philo- 
sopher, and savant. 

A reporter of the Boston Daily Globe in 1884 
interviewed Joseph Palmer's son. Dr. Palmer, of 
Fitchburg, and herein are inserted extracts from 
the interview : — 


"The older inhabitants of Harvard, Sterling, 
Leominster, Fitchburg, and other neighboring 
towns can remember 'Old Jew Palmer,' who fifty 
years ago was persecuted, despised, jeered at, 
regarded almost as a fiend incarnate; who was 
known far and wide as a human monster, and with 
whose name mothers used to frighten their chil- 
dren when they were unruly. 

"'Old Jew Palmer,' as he was universally 
called, was the most abused and persecuted man 
these parts ever knew, and all because he in- 
sisted upon wearing a beard. But many who in 
those days looked upon the subject of this sketch 
as a social outcast have lived to see whiskers 
common and fashionable. 

" With a view of getting at the facts of the 
persecution of Mr. Palmer but fifty years ago, 
his only son, Dr. Thomas Palmer, a well-known 
dentist of Fitchburg, was interviewed, and the 
doctor talked earnestly and vigorously about his 
father's career, for he had seen the time when 
his schoolmates shunned him and made his boy- 
hood days miserable, railing at him because his 
father wore a beard. But now the doctor looks 
back upon those days proudly, as he realizes 
that his sire was right and that the world has 
indorsed the ways and ideas of the old man, 
instead of the old man bowing to the absurd 
whim of the world." 


Said Dr. Palmer: — 

"Father left No Town early in the thirties and 
moved to Fitchburg into a house where the City 
Hall now stands. He wore at that time a long 
beard, and he and Silas Lamson, an old scythe- 
snath maker of Sterling, were the only men 
known in this section of the country as wearing 
beards. Everybody shaved clean in those days, 
and to wear whiskers in any form was worse than 
a disgrace, it was a sin. Father was hooted at on 
the street, talked about at the grocery, intimi- 
dated by his fellow-men and labored with by the 
clergy to shave, but to no purpose. The stronger 
the opposition, the firmer his determination. He 
was accosted once by Rev. George Trask, the anti- 
tobacconist, who said indignantly : ' Palmer, why 
don't you shave and not go round looking like 
the devil?' He replied: 'Mr. Trask, are you not 
mistaken in your comparison of personages? I 
have never seen a picture of the ruler of the sul- 
phurous regions with much of a beard, but if I re- 
member correctly, Jesus wore a beard not unlike 
mine.' That squelched Trask and he left. 

"Well, public sentiment against the man and 
beard grew stronger, and personal violence was 
threatened. One day, as father was coming out 
of the old Fitchburg Hotel, where he had been to 
carry some provision, he then being in the butch- 
ering business, he was seized by four men, whose 


names I have not in mind now, who were armed 
with shears, lather, and razor, their intention 
being to shave him, as the sentiment of the 
populace was that that beard must come off 
at the hands of the wearer, possibly at the hands 
of some one, anyway. Why, there are men living 
to-day, old associates of his, who still cling to that 
old idea and will not wear a beard. These four 
men laid violent hands upon him and threw him 
heavily on the stone steps, badly hurting his 
back. The assaulted party was very muscular, 
and struggled to free himself, but to no purpose, 
until he drew from his vest pocket an old, loose- 
jointed jack-knife, with which he struck out left 
and right and stabbed two of them in the legs, 
when the assailants precipitately departed with- 
out cutting a hair. He was afterwards arrested 
for committing an unprovoked assault, and 
ordered by Justice Brigham to pay a fine, which 
he refused to do, as he claimed to be acting for 
the maintenance of a principle. He was thrown 
into jail, where he remained over a year. He was 
lodged with the debtors. One day Jailer Bellows 
came in with several men to shave him. He 
threw himself on his back in his bunk, and when 
they approached, he struck out with his feet, and 
after he had kicked over a few of them they let 
him and his beard alone. He wrote letters to the 
Worcester Spy, complaining of the treatment 


the prisoners received, which I used to carry to 
the office for him, receiving them when I carried 
him his meals, for we hired a tenement next to the 
jail. For this the jailer put him in a sort of dun- 
geon down below, and one day when I went 
to the jail, he heard my step and called out: 
'Thomas, tie a stone to a string and swing it by 
the window so that I can catch it'; which I did, 
and pulled up a letter for High Sheriff Williams, 
in which he complained of his treatment. The 
sheriff ordered him back to his old quarters. 
Why, old Dr. Williams of Leominster told father 
once that he ought to be prosecuted and im- 
prisoned for wearing a beard. In after years, 
when whiskers became fashionable, father met 
a minister who had upbraided him years before 
for wearing them, and as this same minister had 
rather a luxuriant growth, he went up to the 
man of God and stroking his whiskers, said to 
him, 'Knoweth that thy redeemer liveth?' He 
claimed to be the redeemer of the beard. 

"Father was a reformer; was early in the field 
as an anti-slavery man and as a total abstinence 
advocate. He was well acquainted with Phillips, 
Garrison, and other prominent Abolitionists. I 
remember going with him once to an anti-slavery 
convention in Boston. As we walked up Wash- 
ington Street, the people would stop, then run 
ahead, wait for us to come up, and finally the 


crowd around us was so great that the police had 
to come to the rescue. Why was it? Oh, it was 
the same old beard. It was so unusual to see a 
man wearing one, and especially such a one as he 
sported. Why, he was looked upon as a mon- 
strosity. When asked once why he wore it, he 
said he would tell if any one could tell him why 
some men would, from fifty- two to three hun- 
dred and sixty-five times a year, scrape their face 
from their nose to their neck. He never would 
furnish liquor for men in the hay-field, and for 
this reason had hard work to gather crops; but 
they would have rotted before he would have 
backed down and sacrificed his principle. He was 
the first man in this section to give up that old 
custom. He was interested in all reformatory 
ideas, and was associated with A. Bronson Al- 
cott in forming that Community in Harvard at 
Fruitlands which had for its object a more quiet 
and unostentatious way of living than the world 
offered. He went to Harvard in 1843. The Com- 
munity did not flourish, and father bought the 
farm. Ralph Waldo Emerson, as trustee, at that 
time held the deed of 'Fruitlands.' I remember 
that when father refused to furnish liquor for 
the hay-makers he had to hire boys. One mother 
refused to let her lad work for him, saying that 
'He was too mean to allow the boys a little 
liquor' ! 


"Such was the interesting account given by 
the venerable doctor of a condition of affairs ex- 
isting in this community but a comparatively 
few yecirs ago; but the average person of to-day 
would not believe, without a full explanation of 
the sentiment prevailing at that time, that within 
so recent a period a man would not only be in- 
sulted and persecuted, but actually mobbed, as 
was the victim of this foolish and intolerant com- 

While in prison Palmer kept a diary, in which, 
under date of July 21, 1830, occurs this account 
of the sort of persecution he had from the two 
fellow-prisoners who occupied the same cell 
with him. One of them asserted that if the other 
prisoner would attack him and cut his beard 
off, he would look on all the time and then swear 
that it had never happened, and that anyway 
he could get enough money collected anywhere 
on the street to pay the damages for the act. The 
jailer coming to the door at this moment over- 
heard the remark and with a resounding oath 
agreed with him, and added, "And pretty quick, 
tool" Then he began to curse and swear at 
Palmer, and vowed that they would get his beard 
off soon, and even suggested that the other pris- 
oners should cut it off of him in his sleep. One 
of these prisoners was named Dike. The jailer 


continued to pour volley after volley of oaths at 
the unfortunate man, and finally spat on him re- 
peatedly. This happened when Palmer's cell 
was being whitewashed and the three inmates 
were temporarily removed to another cell. When 
they were taken back to their customary quar- 
ters, Dike found that the jailer had taken his 
razor away, which turned his wrath in a new 
direction, and Palmer writes that as a result " Be- 
fore bedtime, he was as good as a man ought to 
be to another, and talked very freely with me 
on the Power and Goodness of God and on the 
Holy Scriptures." 

Here is an entry on Wednesday, September 22, 
1830: — 

"I called out to some one in the hall. Wildes, 
the jailer, opened the door in the entry next to 
my door and said: 'What do you want?' I was 
just going to ask him for a little water to use un- 
til I could get some tea from Wilson, and he let 
a pail full come in at the door, with great force. 
It did n't wet me much, as I see it was coming, 
and having seen them throw cider and water in 
the prisoners' faces before. It caused me to start 
so quickly that there did but little go into my 
face, and on my clothes, but it went more than 
half the length of the room. I split three crackers 
and put them to soak where there was consider- 
able water standing on the floor, as I could 


see no chance of getting any more soon. I got a 
quart jug filled with water out of the other room 
to wet some bread which was all the water or 
drink of any kind that I had since last Thursday 
morning when I used the last of my tea, and I 
had tried ever since last Sunday morning to get 
some and could not. I thought I must suffer 
very much soon if there was n't some attention, 
and being satisfied that there were some in 
Prison who were suffering greatly, I thought it 
time to give a signal of distress to the Public, 
which I immediately did by the cry of murder in 
the Gaol, which I continued at the window that 
somebody might come up while the door was 
open that would grant some assistance for the 
pay. About seven o'clock just as I was going to 
take my crackers off the floor. Bellows and Wildes 
came into the room and several others. I stepped 
to the table and took the lines I had written to 
send to Mr. Wilson, and asked them if I could 
get any one of them to go for me if I would pay 
them for it. Bellows said, * Yes, I '11 take care of 
you ! ' Bellows and Wildes then seized me by the 
collar, shook and jarred me with great fury 
through the entries, and dragged me down the 
stairs. I tried to speak to the people who stood 
by to take the paper I had in my hand to carry 
to Mr. Wilson. Bellows then took me by the 
hair and shook me furiously as I suppose to pre- 



vent my speaking to them. I then cried Murder. 
He then let me go, and I told them that I wanted 
to get some person to take the paper I had in 
my hand and go about 100 rods of an errand, and 
I would pay them well for it, for I had n't had 
anything to drink since last week, nor I could n't 
get any. They put me into the South Middle 
room below and gave me a pail of water. I told 
Wildes and C. B. that I wanted they should let 
me have my things, for I had n't eaten anything 
since yesterday morning. They took the other 
three prisoners out of the room and shut the 

Palmer was kept in solitary confinement from 
September 22 to December 25. 

December 30, 1830. 

" In the afternoon Calvin Willard, Ashel Bel- 
lows, Wildes, and Lawyer Goodwin, with four 
or five other gentlemen, came in. Willard said, 
'How do you do. Palmer?' I said, pretty toler- 
able well for me except I have got a bad cold. 
One of the men, which I took to be Esqre. Weed 
said to me: 'Why don't you go out? What do 
you stay here for? Why don't you pay up the 
demand and go out?' I said I have no way 
to pay it. Goodwin said : ' A man from Fitchburg 
told me today that he has from ten to fifteen 


hundred dollars property.' Willard said: 'I al- 
ways took him to be a man of property.' One of 
the men said : ' I think there ought to be some 
measures taken to secure the board if he stops 
here.' I said: I board myself and have hard work 
to get it in here for the money. One said: 
'How much was your fine?* I said, Ten dollars, 
I believe it was." 

Saturday, January i, 1831. 

"Since the first of December I have n't bought 
me anything from Bellows, and they haven't 
brought me anything but eight Bushels and one 
hod of coal, and they used two Bushels of that 
when they whitewashed the room, except what I 
took to make one fire. Thomas brought me my 
water. I was out of my room three and a half 
days to have it whitewashed, and I have now a 
half Bushel of coal which brings it to seven and a 
half Bushels I have burnt the past month while 
I was in the room." 

April II, 183 1. 
"Food for the day: — 

"Breakfast: 5 ounces of brown bread 
"Dinner: 5I ounces of brown bread 
3^ ounces of beef meat 
3I ounces of potato 
3f ounces of soup." 



"He far out-stayed his sentence because he 
had to pay for all his food, drink, and coal for 
heating, and he considered they cheated him, so 
he refused to go. The sheriff and jailers, tired of 
having him there, begged him to leave. Even 
his mother, Margaret Palmer, wrote to him ' Not 
to be so set.' But nothing could move him. He 
said they had put him in there, and they would 
have to take him out, as he would not walk out. 
They finally carried him out in his chair and 
placed it on the sidewalk." 

Shortly after leaving the jail at Worcester 
Palmer heard of the proposed Community of 
Fruitlands, and being much interested in all re- 
forms, he offered to run the farm without pay 
and went there at the very start. He took some 
fine old furniture with him from No Town to 
help furnish the house, and whenever anything 
was needed in the way of farm implements, etc., 
he would drive over to No Town and bring it 
back with him. When the Community of Fruit- 
lands failed, he bought the place and carried on 
a strange sort of Community of his own for up- 
wards of twenty years. Emerson visited him 
afterwards, and a motley collection of reformers, 
wayfarers, and a host of tramps found a welcome 
by his fireside. 

Any one driving by the old North Leominster 


graveyard will see a stone monument adorned 
with the head of a man with a flowing beard. On 
it is written : — 



October 30, 1875 

Aged 84 years, 5 months 

Underneath the carved head is written : — 

Persecuted for 

Wearing the Beard 



It was now July and all the days were full of 
healthful occupations — the weather was per- 
fect. The philosophers had planted three mul- 
berry trees next the front door, and they had 
set out apple trees and pear trees below the house 
on the slope of the hill. They put the mulberry 
trees so near the house that when they grew, 
the roots almost unsettled the foundations, and 
the fruit trees were planted in just the wrong 
place to permit of luxuriant growth; but they 
never knew it, and at the time they pictured to 
themselves the full-grown trees with branches 
overladen with the luscious ripening fruit. And 
now they all had gotten their linen suits designed 
by Mr. Lane : — loose trousers, tunic-ed coats 
and broad-brimmed linen hats like Southern 
planters. The Alcott girls, Anna, Beth, Louisa, 
and three-year-old baby May were in linen 
bloomers, and so were Mrs. Alcott (protesting!) 
and poor Miss Page, who was summarily dis- 
missed from Fruitlands for having eaten fish. 

Many visitors came and went. Parker Pills- 
bury often came, his mind full of the anti-slav- 
ery question. The Concord circle of friends 


looked in upon them off and on, and Channing 
spoke afterwards of conversations held in a small 
dining-room next to the front door, and, as Mr. 
Sanborn says in his account of it, "The library 
of rare books from London stood proudly on its 
hundred feet of new shelves in the small front 
entry of the old house, proclaiming the atmos- 
phere of 'Mind and Letters.'" 

Emerson came and afterwsirds wrote in his 
"Journal" on July 8, 1843: — 

"The sun and the evening sky do not look 
calmer than Alcott and his family at Fruitlands. 
They seemed to have arrived at the fact — to 
have got rid of the show, and so to be serene. 
Their manners and behavior in the house and the 
field were those of superior men — of men at rest. 
What had they to conceal ? What had they to ex- 
hibit? And it seemed so high an attainment that 
I thought — as often before, so now more, be- 
cause they had a fit home, or the picture was fitly 
framed — that these men ought to be maintained 
in their place by the country for its culture. 

"Young men and young maidens, old men and 
women, should visit them and be inspired. I 
think there is as much merit in beautiful manners 
as in hard work. I will not prejudge them suc- 
cessful. They look well in July; we will see them 
in December. I know they are better for them- 
selves than as partners. One can easily see that 


they have yet to settle several things. Their 
saying that things are clear, and they sane, does 
not make them so. If they will in very deed be 
lovers, and not selfish ; if they will serve the town 
of Harvard, and make their neighbors feel them 
as benefactors wherever they touch them, — 
they are as safe as the sun." 

Mr. Sanborn, referring to the remark, "We will 
see them in December," says: " This passage in- 
dicates that Emerson with his fatal gift of percep- 
tion had long since seen the incongruity between 
Alcott and Lane. At this time all was still fair 
weather at the Fruitlands Eden, although the 
burden of too much labor, of which Lane had 
written to Thoreau in June, had been falling more 
and more heavily on Mrs. Alcott and her daugh- 
ters, Anna, then twelve, and Louisa, not quite 
eleven. As they did so much of the domestic 
drudgery, Mrs. Alcott doubtless thought it no 
more than right that her English guests, both 
there and at Concord, during the seven months 
that Lane and his son were in their household, 
should pay their share of the family expenses." 

The house at times was very overcrowded and 
the children had their beds up in the garret. But 
Anna begged hard for a tiny room adjoining Mrs. 
Alcott's, and great was the joy she took in it. 
Of course it all was very primitive. The men 


bathed in the brook in the early morning and the 
shower-baths that Anna speaks of in her diary 
were accomplished thus : — rough clothes-horses 
covered with sheets were put in a circle and the 
bathers stood hidden within, while Mr. Alcott, 
mounted on some wooden steps, poured water 
from a pitcher through a sieve on their head. 
(This was told the author by an old lady who 
when very young went to visit the children.) 

Hired laborers and beasts of burden were 
against the principles of the Community, but in 
order to make headway against the advancing 
season they seemed to be a necessity. This con- 
cession, however, troubled the philosophers, and 
it was decided to carry out the original plan and 
rely wholly on the spade instead of the plough, 
even at a cost of valuable time. The results 
were rather disastrous : Charles Lane's hands be- 
came sore and painful, and lame backs seriously 
interfered with progress. Sobered by this new 
experience, the philosophers met in conclave, 
and as a result Joseph Palmer, who always came 
to the rescue in trying situations, went to No 
Town and brought back his plough and yoke 
of oxen, as he called it — it really was an ox and 
a cow which he had trained to work together. 
Besides the outdoor work much writing was done 
indoors. Charles Lane and Bower wrote prolifi- 
cally to different papers. The Herald of Freedom, 


the Vermont Telegraph and the New York Tribune 
of that summer are full of their writings. 

Mr. Alcott's Diary furnishes clear evidence 
of his purposes and hopes : — 

" I would abstain from the fruits of oppression 
and blood, and am seeking means of entire inde- 
pendence. This, were I not holden by penury un- 
justly, would be possible. One miracle we have 
wrought nevertheless, and shall soon work all of 
them: Our wine is water, flesh, bread — drugs, 
fruits; and we defy meekly the satyrs all, and 
./Esculapians. The Soul's banquet is an art divine. 
. . . This Beast named Man has yet most costly 
tastes, and i^ust first be transformed into a very 
Man, regenerate in appetite and desire, before 
the earth shall be restored to fruitfulness, and re- 
deemed from the curse of his cupidity. Then 
shall the toils of the farm become eloquent and 
invigorating leisures; Man shall grow his orchards 
and plant his gardens — an husbandman truly, 
sowing and reaping in hope, and a partaker in his 
hope. Labor will be attractive; life will not be 
worn in anxious and indurating toils ; it will be a 
scene of mixed leisure, recreation, labor, culture. 
The soil, grateful then for man's generous usage, 
debauched no more by foul ordures, nor worn by 
cupidities, shall recover its primeval virginity, 
bearing on its bosom the standing bounties which 


a sober and liberal Providence ministers to his 
heed — sweet and invigorating growths, for the 
health and comfort of the grower." 

Mr. Sanborn, commenting on this, remarks: — 
"It was in the spirit of the passages just quoted 
from Alcott's diary . . . and not from the or- 
dinary Fourieristic notions about attractions and 
destinies and cooperative housekeeping that Al- 
cott undertook his experiment at 'Fruitlands.'" 

Alcott's theory of human life was thus set 
down in his Diary : — 

"I have been (as is ever the habit of my mind) 
striving to apprehend the real in the seeming, to 
strip ideas of their adventitious phrases, and 
behold them in their order and powers. I have 
sought to penetrate the showy terrestrial to find 
the heavenly things; I have tried to translate into 
ideas the language and images of spirit, and thus 
to read God in his works. The outward I have 
seen as the visible type of the inward. Ever 
doth this same nature double its divine form, 
and stand forth — now before the inner, now 
before the outer sense of man — at once sub- 
stance and form, image and idea, so that God 
shall never slip wholly from consciousness of 
the Soul. Faith apprehends his agency, even in 
the meanest and most seemingly trivial act, 
whenever organ or matter undergo change of 


function or mode of form, — Spirit beingall in all. 
/ Amidst all tumults and discomfitures, all errors 
f and evils, Faith discerns the subtle bond that 
\ marries opposite natures, clinging to that which 
holds all in harmonious union. It unites oppo- 
sites; it demolishes opposing forces. It melts all 
solid and obstinate matters. It makes fluid the 
material universe. It hopes even in despair, be-> 
lieves in the midst of doubts, apprehends stabil- 
ity and order even in confusion and anarchy, 
and, while all without is perturbed and wasting, 
it possesses itself in quietude and repose within. 
It abides in the unswerving, is mighty in the 
omnipotent, and enduring in the eternal. The 
soul quickened by its agency, though borne on 
the waves of the mutable and beset by the 
winds of error and the storms of evil, shall ride 
securely under this directing hand to the real and 
the true. In the midst of change, it shall remain 
unchanged. For to such a faith is the divine 
order of God made known. All visible things are 
but manifestations of this order. Nature, with 
all its change, is but the activity of this power. 
It flows around and obeys the invisible self- 
anchored spirit. Mutability to such a vision, is 
as the eddy that spirit maketh around its own 
self-circling agency, revealing alike in the small- 
est ripple and the mightiest surges the power that 
stirreth at the centre." 



[Isaac Thomas Hecker was bom in New York 
in 1 8 19. Two years after his experience at Brook 
Farm and Fruitlands he entered the Roman 
Catholic church, and in 1849 he was ordained a 
priest. Later he founded the PauHst Fathers. He 
died in 1888. The following extracts are taken 
from a contemporary record of his impressions 
while in the socialistic community.] 

"Fruitlands," so called because fruit was to be 
the principal staple of daily food, and to be culti- 
vated on the farm, was a spot well chosen ; it was 
retired, breathing quiet and tranquillity. No 
neighboring dwelling obstructed the view of Na- 
ture, and it lay some distance even from a by- 
path road, in a delightful solitude. The house, 
somewhat dilapidated, was on the slope of a 
slowly ascending hill ; stretched before it was a 
small valley under cultivation, with fields of corn, 
potatoes, and meadow. In the distance loomed 
up on high "Cheshire's haughty hill," Monadnoc. 
Such was the spot chosen by men inspired to live 
a holier life, to bring Eden once more upon earth. 
These men were impressed with the religiousness 


of their enterprise. When the first load of hay- 
was driven into the barn and the first fork was 
about to be plunged into it, one of the family took 
off his hat and said, " I take off my hat, not that 
I reverence the bam more than other places, but 
because this is the first fruit of our labor." Then 
a few moments were given to silence, that holy 
thought might be awakened. 

July 7, 1843. Brook Farm. 

I go to Mr. Alcott's next Tuesday, if nothing 
happens. I have had three pairs of coarse pants 
and a coat made for me. It is my intention to 
commence work as soon as I get there. I will 
gradually simplify my dress without making any 
sudden difference, although it would be easier to 
make a radical and thorough change at once than 
piece by piece. But this will be a lesson in patient 
perseverance to me. All our difficulties should be 
looked at in such a light as to improve and ele- 
vate our minds, 

I can hardly prevent myself from saying how 
much I shall miss the company of those I love 
and associate with here. But I must go. I am 
called with a stronger voice. This is a different 
trial from any I have ever had. I have never had 
that of leaving kindred, but now I have that of 
leaving those whom I love from affinity. If I 
wished to live a life the most gratifying to me, 



and in agreeable company, I certainly would re- 
main here. Here are refining amusements, culti- 
vated persons — and one whom I have not 
spoken of, one who is too much to me to speak of, 
one who would leave all for me. Alas! him I 
must leave to go. 

" [In this final sentence, as it now stands in the 
diary and as we have transcribed it, occurs one of 
those efforts of which we have spoken to obliter- 
ate the traces of this early attachment. 'Him' 
was originally written 'her,' but the r has been 
lengthened to an w, and the e dotted, both with 
care which overshot their mark, by an almost im- 
perceptible hair's breadth. If the nature of this 
attachment were not so evident from other 
sources, we should have left such passages un- 
quoted ; fearing lest they might be misunderstood. 
As it is, the light they cast seems to us to throw 
up into fuller proportions the kind and extent of 
the renunciations to which Isaac Hecker was 
called before he had arrived at any clear view of 
the end to which they tended.] "^ 

Fruitlands, July 12. 
Last evening I arrived here. After tea I went 
out in the fields and raked hay for an hour in 
company with the persons here. We returned 
^ Walter Elliott's Life of Father Hecker. 


and had a conversation on clothing. Some very 
fine things were said by Mr. Alcott and Mr. Lane. 
In most of their thoughts I coincide ; they are the 
same which of late have much occupied my 
mind. Alcott said that "to Emerson the world 
was a lecture room, to Brownson a rostrum." 

This morning after breakfast a conversation 
was held on Friendship and its laws and condi- 
tions. Mr. Alcott places Innocence first; Lamed, 
Thoughtfulness; I, Seriousness; Lane, Fidelity. 

July 13- 
This morning after breakfast there was held a 
conversation on the Highest Aim. Mr. Alcott 
said it was Integrity; I, Harmonic being; Lane, 
Progressive being; Lamed, Annihilation of self; 
Bower, Repukion of the evil in us. Then there 
was a confession of the obstacles which prevent 
us from attaining the highest aim. Mine was the 
doubt whether the light is light ; not want of will 
to follow, or light to see. 

July 17. 

I cannot understand what it is that leads me, 
or what I am after. Being is incomprehensible. 
What shall I be led to? Is there a being whom I 
may marry and who would be the means of open- 
ing my eyes? Sometimes I think so, but it ap- 
pears impossible. Why should others tell me that 
it is so, and will be so, in an unconscious way, as 


Lamed did on Sunday last, and as others have 
done before him? Will I be led home? It strikes 
me these people here, Alcott and Lane, will be a 
great deal to me. I do not know but they may be 
what I am looking for, or the answer to that in 
me which is asking. 

Can I say it? I believe it should be said. Here 
I cannot end. They are too near me ; they do not 
awaken in me that sense of their high superiority 
which would keep me here to be bettered, to be 
elevated. They have much, very much. I de- 
sire Mr. Alcott's strength of self-denial, and the 
N,__-unselfishness of Mr. Lane in money matters. In 
both these they are far my superior. I would be 
meek, humble, and sit at their feet that I might 
be as they are. They do not understand me, but 
if I am what my consciousness, my heart, lead 
me to feel, — if I am not deceived, — why, then 
I can wait. Yes, patiently wait. Is not this the 
first time since I have been here that I have re- 
covered myself? Do I not feel that I have some- 
thing to receive here, to add to, to increase my 
highest life, which I have never felt anywhere 

Is this sufficient to keep me here? If I can 
prophesy, I must say no. I feel that it will not 
fill my capacity. Oh God ! strengthen my resolu- 
tion. Let me not waver, and continue my life. 
But I am sinful. Oh forgive my sins! what shall I 


do, O Lord! that they may be blotted out? Lord 
could I only blot them out from my memory, 
nothing would be too great or too much. 

July i8. 

I have thought of my family this afternoon, 
and the happiness and love with which I might 
return to them. To leave them, to give up the 
idea of living with them again. — Can I enter- 
tain that idea? Still, I cannot conceive how I can 
engage in business, share the practices, and in- 
dulge myself with the food and garmenture of 
our home and city. To return home, were it pos- 
sible for me, would most probably not only stop 
my progress, but put me back. It is useless for 
me to speculate upon my future. Put dependence 
on the spirit which leads me, be faithful to it, 
work and leave results to God. If the question 
should be asked me, whether I would give up my 
kindred and business and follow out this spirit 
life, or return and enjoy them both, I could not 
hesitate a moment, for they would not compare — 
there would be no room for choice. What I do I 
must do, for it is not I that do it ; it is the spirit. 
What that spirit may be is a question I cannot 
answer. What it leads me to do will be the only 
evidence of its character. I feel as impersonal as 
a stranger to it. I ask who are you? Where are 
you going to take me? Why me? Why not some 


one else? Alas! I cry, who am I and what does 
this mean? And I am lost in wonder. 

Saturday, July 21. 

Yesterday, after supper, a conversation took 
place between Mr. Alcott, Mr. Lane, and my- 
self; the subject was my position with regard to 
my family, my duty, and my position here. Mr. 
Alcott asked for my first impressions as regards 
the hinderances that I have noted since coming 
here. I told him candidly they were : 

First, his want of frankness; 2d, his disposition 
to separateness rather than win co-operation 
with the aims in his own mind ; 3d, his family who 
prevent his immediate plans of reformation; 4th, 
the fact that his place has very little fruit on it, 
when it was and is their desire that fruit should 
be the principal part of their diet; 5th, my fear 
that they have too decided tendency toward lit- 
erature and writing for the prosperity and success 
of their, enterprise. 

[From this on, the diary is full of questionings 
and unrest. Should he return to his family and 
live as an ordinary man, or should he listen to 
the urge of the spirit within and seek further for 
the light? These and other questions pursued 
him night and day. Finally he came to a conclu- 


July 23. 
I will go home, be true to the spirit with the 
help of God, and wait for further light and 
strength. ... I feel that I cannot live at this 
place as I would. This is not the place for my 
soul. . . . My life is not theirs. They have been 
the means of giving me much light on myself, but 
I feel I would live and progress more in a different 

[It is interesting to note that after his return 
home he continued the diet which was used at 
Fniitlands. The account of his life states : "One 
of the first noteworthy things revealed by the 
diary, which from this time on was kept with less 
regularity than before, — is that Isaac not only 
maintained his abstemious habits after his return, 
but increased their vigor."] 

August 30. 

If the past nine months or more are any evi- 
dence, I find that I can live on very simple diet — 
grains, fruit, and nuts. I have just commenced to 
eat the latter ; I drink pure water. So far I have 
had wheat ground and made into unleavened 
bread, but as soon as we get in a new lot, I shall 
try it in the grain. 

Hecker had evidently at this time a practical 
conviction of the truth of a principle which, in 


after years, he repeated in the form of a maxim 
of the TranscendentaUsts : "A gross feeder will 
never be a central thinker." It is a truth of the 
spiritual no less than of the intellectual order. A 
little later we come upon the following profession 
of a vegetarian faith : — 

"Reasons for not eating animal food. 

" It does not feed the spirit. 

"It stimulates the propensities. 

" It is taking animal life when the other king- 
doms offer sufficient and better increment. 
Slaughter strengthens the lower instincts. It is 
the chief cause of the slavery of the kitchen. 

" It generates in the body the diseases animals 
are subject to, and encourages in man their 

"Its odor is offensive and its appearance un- 

Mr. Alcott's death in 1888 was the occasion of 
reminiscences from Father Hecker, from which a 
few extracts are taken : — 

"When did I first know him? Hard to re- 
member. He was the head of Fruitlands, as 
Ripley was of Brook Farm. They were entirely 
different men. Diogenes and his tub would have 
been Alcott's ideal if he had carried it out. Rip- 
ley's ideal would have been Epictetus. Ripley 
would have taken with him the good things of 


this life. Alcott would have rejected them 

"How did he receive you at Fruitlands?" 

"Very kindly, but from mixed and selfish 
motives. I suspect he wanted me because he 
thought I would bring money to the Community. 
Lane was entirely unselfish." 

"Alcott was a man of great intellectual gifts or 
acquirements. His knowledge came chiefly from 
experience and instinct. He had an insinuating 
and persuasive way with him." 

"What if he had been a Catholic, and thor- 
oughly sanctified?" 

"He could have been nothing but a hermit like 
those of the fourth century — he was naturally 
and constitutionally so odd. Emerson, Alcott, 
and Thoreau were three consecrated cranks." 

Here also are two interesting passages from the 
"Life of Father Hecker," and a few memoranda 
of private conversations : — 

"Somebody once described 'Fruitlands' as a 
place where Mr. Alcott looked benign and talked 
philosophy, while Mrs. Alcott and the children 
did the work. Still to look benign is a good deal 
for a man to do persistently in an adverse world, 
indifferent for the most part to the charms of 
'divine philosophy,' and Mr. Alcott persevered 
in that exercise until his latest day." 


"He was unquestionably one of those who like 
to sit upon a platform," wrote at the time of his 
death, one who knew Alcott well, "and he may 
have liked to feel that his venerable aspect had 
the effect of a benediction." " But with this mild 
criticism, censure of him is well-nigh exhausted." 

"Fruitlands was very different from Brook 
Farm — far more ascetic." 

"You did n't like it?" 

"Yes; but they did not begin to satisfy me. I 
said to them: If you had the Eternal here, all 
right, I would be with you." 

"Had they no notion of hereafter?" 

"No, nothing definite. Their idea was human 
perfection. They set out to demonstrate what 
man can do in the way of the supremacy of the 
spiritual over the animal; All right, I said, I agree 
with you fully. I admire your asceticism; it is 
nothing new to me; I have practiced it a long 
time myself. If you can get the Everlasting out 
of my mind, I 'm yours. But I know that I am go- 
ing to live forever." 

"What did Mr. Alcott say when you left?" 

"He went to Lane and said, 'Well, Hecker has 
flunked out. He had n't the courage to persevere. 
He 's a coward.' But Lane said, ' No ; you 're mis- 
taken. Hecker is right. He wanted more than 
we had to give him.'" 




This morning I rose pretty early. After break- 
fast I read and wrote stories. In the afternoon I 
wrote some letters, And the following ode to 

Louisa : — 

Louisa dear 
With love sincere 
Accept this little gift from me. 
It is with pleasure 
I send this treasure 
And with it send much love to thee. 

Sister dear 

Never fear. 

God will help you if you try. 

Do not despair, 

But always care 

To be good and love to try. 

June 6, 1843. 

Having been busy helping arrange things for 
moving last Thursday, we left Concordia later 
for Harvard. I walked part of the way, the dis- 
tance being 14 miles from Concord to Harvard. 
I felt sad at the thought of leaving Concord and 
all my little friends, the birth-place of Abba where 
I had spent many happy hours; but Father and 
Mother and my dear sisters were going with me, 


and that would make me happy anywhere, I 
think. We arrived at our new home late in the 
afternoon. Our first load of furniture had come 
before us. We found Christy, Wood Abraham, 
and William all here. Mother was well pleased 
with the house. There is no beauty in the house 
itself, but to look out on three sides, you can see 
mountains, hills, woods, and in some places the 
Still River may be seen through the trees. At 
some distance are the Shaker Villages. On the 
whole, I like the house very well. After eating 
our supper we fixed our beds and went early to 
bed. Having no time to put up the bedsteads, 
we slept on the floor which made my back lame. 
Friday and Saturday in working and arranging 
the house in order. To-day in the morning I 
cleared the table and washed the dishes, being 
washing day. I washed with Mother and got 
dinner. In the afternoon I sewed and read. I did 
not do much this evening, for I went to bed when 
I had finished the dishes. The men have been 
planting to-day com, and cutting wood and fix- 
ing round about the house out of doors. 

Wednesday, 11. 

I began my school to-day. We commenced by 

singing, "When the day with rosy light." It 

seemed so pleasant to sing with my sisters. After 

singing I wrote my journal and the girls wrote in 


their books. They then studied arithmetic lesson. 
I then gave them a recess, after which they spelt, 
read and Louisa recited geography. At eleven the 
school was dismissed. In the afternoon I sewed 
for my dolly and took care of Abba, then all went 
to walk in the woods. It was quiet and beautiful 
there and I felt a calmness in myself. The sun 
was shining and the birds were singing in the 
branches of the high trees. It was so beautiful 
it seemed as if God was near me. I made some 
oak leaf wreaths, one for father and one for 
mother, and stuck flowers in them. They looked 
very pretty indeed. Then we returned from our 
walk and prepared for supper. In the evening I 
sang with Christy, William, mother, and sisters. 

Thursday, 8. 
To-day I gave the children lessons this morn- 
ing. In the afternoon I wrote. Christy is going 
to teach me arithmetic and composition, and the 
subject upon which I am to write is our plan of 
life. The part I wrote on to-day was flesh-eating. 
I will write it in here. 


Life was given to the animals not to be de- 
stroyed by men, but to make them happy, and 
that they might enjoy life. But men are not 
satisfied with slaying the innocent creatures, but 





they eat them and so make their bodies of flesh 
meat. O how many happy lives have been de- 
stroyed and how many loving families have been 
separated to please an unclean appetite of men! 
Why were the fruits, berries and vegetables given 
us if it was intended that we should eat flesh? I 
am sure it was not. We enjoy the beautiful 
sights and thoughts God has given us in peace. 
Why not let them do the same? We have souls 
to feel and think with, and as they have not the 
same power of thinking, they should be allowed 
to live in peace and not made to labour so hard 
and be beaten so much. Then to eat them! eat 
what has had life and feeling to make the body 
of the innocent animals! If treated kindly, they 
would be kind and tame and love men, but as they 
now are abused and cruelly treated they do not 
feel the feeling of "love" towards men. Besides 
flesh is not clean food, and when there is beauti- 
ful juicy fruits who can be a flesh-eater? 

In the evening I sang again as I did last night. 

Friday, 9. 
After breakfast, it being my day for dishes, I 
cleared up the table. At eleven I had my compo- 
sition lesson. In the afternoon I sewed, read and 
played. I sewed in the evening and went to bed 


Saturday, lo. 
This morning father and Mr. Lane went to 
visit the Shakers in Harvard town. I did the 
chamber work and then worked and made some 
bread for dinner, and prepared things ready for 
it. In the afternoon I laid down, it being very 
warm out, and read in " Devereux " which pleased 
me very well . 1 1 rained hard and steadily for some 
time. Father and Mr. Lane returned late in the 
afternoon. They brought home sweet things they 
had purchased of the Shakers. We played out on 
the grounds a little while and then I read and 
went to bed early. 

Sunday, ii. 

I read until lo o'clock when we had reading. 
In the afternoon I read, wrote and had my lessons 
with Christy. In the evening I received a note 
from mother accompanied by a roll containing 
some wafers and some note paper. It was as fol- 
lows : — 

Dear Anna: 

I send you a little note paper and a few wafers. 
You have so much to do lately that I cannot ex- 
pect you to write often to me, but you must not 
forget that this is a little duty of yours that gives 
me a great deal of happiness. This last word re- 
minds me of one of father's beautiful selections 


** Happiness is like the bird 
That broods above its nest 
And feels beneath its folded wings 
Life's dearest and its best." 

I am sure I feel as if I could fold my arms 
around you all, and say from my heart, "Here is 
my world within my embrace." Let us try, dear 
Anna, to make it a good and beautiful world, — 
that when we are called to leave it we may be fit 
to join the good and beautiful of another sphere. 

All things proclaim . 

In the valley and plain ( 
That God is near, \ 

Hills, vales and brooks, 
Sweet words and looks, 
Cast out all fear. 

Be the dove of our ark. 
Dear Anna remark 
You 're my eldest and best. 
Now you know all the rest, 

So farewell dear, 
God is near, 
No evil fear. 
Be happy here. 


I love to receive letters from mother. She al- 
ways writes me such dear kind notes. 

Monday, 12. 
This morning mother baked. I read. Mrs. 
Lovejoy and Mrs. Willard came here to see 
mother. In the afternoon I read and wrote, and 


took a walk with the girls into the woods. In the 
evening I played and had a shower bath, and 
then went to bed. 

Tuesday, 13. 

Mrs. Willard came here and helped mother 
wash to-day. I helped her some. In the morning 
I took care of Abba and wrote some. In the after- 
noon I played, studied, and worked. When Mrs. 
Willard went home Louisa and I walked with her 
to learn the way to the house where she lives, for 
as she took some sewing to do for mother, we 
wanted to know the way there. We saw some 
young women braiding straw hats. One of them 
did it very fast indeed. I think I should like to 
know how to make hats. Their mother asked us 
to come and see them (her name is Willard) and 
mother said we might go. We rode home with 
Mr. Wyman. When we got here we found two 
young ladies and a girl who came to see us. 
They soon went home. I ate my supper and soon 
after it went to my bed. 

Wednesday, 14. 

I ironed to-day with mother, and read some. 
I have not very much to say and so I will write a 
French fable. [Here a fable is written out in very 
good French.] 

Thursday, 15. 

This morning I felt quite unwell, so I laid 
down and saw Louisa keep school for Lizzie and 


Abba. I read in "Tales of a Traveller" most all 
the morning. In the afternoon I had a composi- 
tion lesson, and then saw father and Abraham 
-winnow some com and some barley. I then rode 
to the mill with him and took Abba with us. I 
never saw a mill working before that I recollect. 
I sewed when I came home and in the evening 

Friday, 16. 

Uncle Christy went to Boston this morning. As 
I was running to bid him good-bye my foot 
slipped and I fell down on my back. It hurt me a 
good deal and I had a pain in my side. In the 
afternoon I went to bed and read. When I got 
up I fainted. I went to my bed early. 

Saturday, 24. 

This was Lizzie's birthday. I arose before five 
o'clock and went with mother, William, and 
Louisa to the woods where we fixed a little pine 
tree in the ground and hung up all the presents 
on it. I then made a wreath for all of us of oak 
leaves. After breakfast we all, except Abraham, 
marched to the wood. Mr. Lane took his fiddle 
with him and we sang first. Then father read a 
parable, and then this ode which he wrote him- 
self. I will write it on the next page. Father then 
asked me what flower I should give Lizzie on her 
birthday. I said a rose, the emblem of Love and 


Purity. Father also chose a rose. Louisa said a 
Lily-of-the- Valley, or innocence, — Mother said 
she should give her a Forget-me-not, or remem- 
brance. Christy said the trailing Arbutus, the 
emblem of perseverance. Mr. Lane gave her a 
piece of moss, or humility. Abba gave her a Wake- 
robin. I do not know what that means. We then 
sang. Lizzie looked at her presents and seemed 
much pleased. Mother gave her a silk thread 
balloon, I a fan, Louisa a pin-cushion, William a 
book, Abba a little pitcher. Mr. Lane wrote some 
lines of poetry which I will write in here: — 


Of all the year the sunniest day 
Appointed for thy birth 
Is emblem of the longest stay 
With us upon the earth. 

Now dressed in flowers 

The merry hours 

Fill up the day and night. 

May your whole life 

Exempt from strife 

Shine forth as calm and bright. 


Here is father's: — 



Here in the grove 
With those we love, 
In the cool shade 
Near mede and glade 


With clover tints ore'laid — 
A haunt which God ourselves have made — 
The trees among 
With leaves are hung. 
On sylvan plat, 
On forest mat, 
Near meadow sweet 
We take our seat. 
While all around 
Swells forth the sound 
Our happy hearts repeat. 
The wood and dell 
Our joy to tell 
The morning, and 
Our peace to share. 
Flows by his cool 
A balmy school. 
The Sun his fires 
His kindled iris 
Not yet inspires 
In midnoon blaze 
His scorching rays, 
r But all is calm and fresh and clear 
And all breathes peace around us here. 


Wake, wake harmonious swell 
Along this deep sequestered dell. 
Along the grass and brake. 
And where the cattle slake 
Their thirst, when glides 
Adown the sloping sides 
In ceaseless frit 
The wizard rivulet, 
And let the spring maze 
Join with violin note 
In hymning forth our praise 
From forth melodious throat 
Our holy joy to tell. 



Father 's here 

And Mother dear 

And sisters all, 

The short and tall, 

And Father's friends 

Whom Briton lends 

To noblest human ends, 

With younger arm 

From Brooklet farm, 

But absent now 

At yonder plough 

With shining, cleaving share 

Upturning to the upper air 

The obstinate soil, 

The sober son of hardy toil. 


Here, here we all repair 

Our hope and love to share. 

To celebrate 

In rustic state 

Midst this refulgent whole 

The joyful advent of an angel soul 

That twice four years ago 

Our mundane world to know 

Descended from the upper skies 

A presence to our veriest eyes 

And now before us stands 

And asketh at our bounteous hands 

Some token of our zeal. 

In her most holy weal 

Before us stands arrayed 

In garments of a maid. 

Untainted aad pure her soul 

As when she left the whole 

That doeth this marvelling scene 

And. day by day doth preach 

The gospel meant for each 


That on this solid sphere 
For mortal's ear. 

Then take our tokens all 

From great and small 

And close that noblest treasure beat 

That in your heart doth sleep. 

Mind what the spirit saith 

And plight therein thy faith, 

My very dear Elizabeth, 

Nor let the enemy wrest 

The heavenly harvest from that field, 

Nor tares permit to sow, 

Nor hate, nor woe 

In the pure soil God's grace itself would sow; — 

But bloom and open all the day 

And be a flower that none shall pluck away, 

A rose of Fruitland's quiet dell, 

A child intent on doing well 

Devout secluded from all sin 

Fragrance without and fair within 

A plant matured in God's device 

An Amaranth in Paradise. 

Monday, 17 July, 1843. 
This morning, not feeling well, I did not join 
the singing class, but kept my bed till after break- 
fast. We had no lessons to-day and I sewed. I 
believe I will write a story called The May 


The May Morning 

Early one morning in May a father conducted 
his son Theodore into the garden of a rich man 


which the boy had never yet seen. The garden 
was situated at a distance from the city, and it 
was adorned with all sorts of shrubs and plants, 
beds of flowers and fruit trees, shady alleys and 
pleasant groves. Through the middle of the 
garden wandered a pellucid stream which fell 
from a rock and formed a large pool at its foot. 
In the cool dell the water turned a mill. In the 
most beautiful spot in the garden were seats en- 
twined with roses and verdant bowers. 

Theodore could not satiate his eyes with the 
charms of the place. He walked beside his father 
mostly in silent amaze, but sometimes he would 
exclaim: "O Father, how lovely and beautiful is 
this garden!" 

When they had seen many things and were 
weary with their walk the father conducted the 
boy through the plantations to the fall of a 
stream and they sat down on the brow of a hill. 
Here they listened to the roaring of the water 
which tumbled foaming from the ledge of the 
rocks, and in the surrounding thickets were 
perched nightingales which mingled their strains 
with the hoarse murmur of the fall. And The- 
odore thought he never yet had heard nightingales 
sing so delightfully. While they thus sat and 
listened they heard the voice of a man and the 
voices of children. They were the children of the 
miller, a boy and a girl, and they were leading 


their old blind grandfather between them, and 
telling him about the beautiful shrubs and 
flowers by the wayside, and amusing the old man 
by their lively and simple prattle. 

They conducted him to a seat in an arbor and 
kissed him, and ran about the garden to gather 
flowers and fruit for him. But the old man smiled, 
and when he was alone he uncovered his head 
and prayed with a cheerful countenance. Then 
the hearts of Theodore and his father overflowed, 
and they offered up prayer and praise with the 
old man, and Theodore was overcome by his feel- 
ings so that he could not repress his tears. 

The children soon afterwards appeared, and 
they shouted from afar, and they brought sweet- 
smelling flowers and ripe fruit to their blind 
grandfather. But Theodore said to his father as 
they were returning home, "O what a delightful, 
what a happy morning!" 


"The little fountain flows 
So noiseless through the wood 
The wanderer tastes repose 
And from its silent flood 
Learns meekly to do good." 

It's short, but I thought it was very pretty. 

Tuesday, i8. 
This morning after doing my work I had les- 
sons. I wrote some in my journal and did some 


sums. In the afternoon I went blue-berrying 
with Lizzie and picked nearly, if not quite, a 
quart. I read in the evening. 

Wednesday, 19. 
We had a descriptive lesson this morning and 
each of us wrote a description of Fruitlands. 
I wrote the following one : — 


It is a beautiful place surrounded by hills, 
green fields and woods, and Still River is at some 
distance flowing quietly along. Wachusett and 
Monadoc Mountains are in sight, and also some 
houses and fields of grain. The house itself is 
now very pleasantly situated. It has a vegetable 
garden behind it and some fruit trees. On the 
left a hill on the top of which are pastures and a 
road. In front is a small garden, and fields and a 
house at some distance. On the right is a large 
bam, grain and potato field, woods and moun- 
tains. There are many pleasant walks about 
Fruitlands, and berry fields, though the berries 
are not yet quite ripe. 

It is a pleasant place to live in, I think. 

Thursday, 20. 

I had my lesson this morning with Mr. Lane 
and I did some sums with fractions. I never did 



any till Mr. Lane began to teach me, and I think 
I have learned more lately than I ever did before. 
I think I understand what I learn too. In the 
afternoon I had my shower bath and sewed. Mrs. 
Lovejoy came here to see Mother and brought 
her little baby with her. I took care of it a good 
deal. Charlotte and Ellen Dudley came to see 
me and went to Mrs. Barnard's of an errand with 
me. I there became acquainted with Adelaide 
Barnard. We all went into the schoolhouse and 
played together. In the evening I sewed a little 
bit and then went to bed. 

Sunday, 23. 

I did not feel well this morning, so I did not 
attend the readings, but read in Miss Edge- 
worth's "Belinda." In the afternoon I sewed 
some and mother finished "Sowing and Reaping " 
aloud. I then went to look for blueberries, but 
did not find but a very few. When I returned I 
had supper and after that I read. 

Monday, 24. 

I had no lessons to-day, Mr. Lane being unwell 
and father busy. Mother washed and Louisa and 
I helped her. I then shelled some peas for dinner. 
Yesterday Christy went away. He will return 
sometime I guess. In the afternoon I read part of 
"Mademoiselle Panache." I then wrote my 
journal and took care of Abba. William and I 


then ironed till we went to supper. In the evening 
I looked for berries and went pretty early to bed. 

Tuesday, 25. 

This morning I had lessons by myself. I did a 
French lesson and wrote in my journal. I then 
sewed some. In the afternoon I made some little 
presents to give Abba as to-morrow is her birth- 
day. I then raked hay. In the evening I read in 
"Motherless Ellen." 

Wednesday, 26. 
Abba's birthday. We did not do anything to 
celebrate except that I put some presents into 
her stocking last night and she found them there 
this morning. After breakfast father and Mr. 
Lane started for Boston with Mr. Hecker. We 
had no lessons. I washed, and the three other 
children went to a mill for a walk. I arranged a 
room for myself. It is to be my room and I to 
stay by myself in it. I then set the dinner table. 
The children did not return till after dinner. I 
had a bath and then arranged some pictures for 
my scrap-book. As Mother was going into the 
fields to help with the hay, I joined her, and after 
working there some time went with Louisa to 
look for berries. We found about a pint. In the 
evening I read in "Motherless Ellen" some 


I rose pretty early this morning and having 
bathed and dressed sat down to write my journal. 
Having done so I went downstairs and eat break- 
fast. After I had done I went with Louisa and 
William to pick blackberries. We got about two 
quarts. When we returned I read and then 
worked with William. In the afternoon I wrote 
and went to Mrs. Lovejoy's. I then had a bath 
and wrote, after which I read in the newspapers. 
In the evening I played. 


I never cast a flower away 
The gift of one who cared for me 
A little flower — a faded flower 
But it was done reluctantly. 

I never looked a last adieu 
To things familiar but my heart 
Shrank with a feeling almost pain 
Even from their lifelessness. 

I never spoke the word farewell 
But with an utterance faint and broken 
A heart with yearning for the time 
When it should never more be spoken. 

September, 6. 

I think the world would be a very dismal world 
without books. I could not live without them. I 
take so much pleasure in reading beautiful stories 
and poetry. I like to hear beautiful words and 
thoughts. Beautiful is my favorite word. If I 


like anything I always say it is beautiful. It is a 
beautiful word. I can't tell the color of it. Louisa 
and I took a walk. It was pleasant if it had only 
been a little warmer. When we returned we sat 
in our chamber. I wrote down all the beautiful 
names we could think of, and in the evening 
wrote the colors of them. 

[Here Anna's journal written at Fruitlands 
comes to a sudden ending. Numberless pages 
have been torn out carefully, and Mr. Alcott's 
handwriting appears in footnotes here and there, 
showing that it was he who destroyed the story 
of the later days of Fruitlands written from his 
youthful daughter's pen. It is one more proof of 
the intensity of his feelings regarding Fruitlands, 
and the bitter disappointment that Time never 
softened. His own journal written there has also 
been destroyed. It seems as if that experience of 
failure was too heartrending to him to allow the 
world to share it. We only get glimpses here and 
there with which to construct a picture of the New 
Exlen where these Transcendentalists worked out 
a beloved theory and found it wanting. We have 
the account of the start, so full of enthusiasm and 
ecstatic hopefulness. The curtain has been drawn 
over the rest as carefully as was possible. Her 
journal starts again in 1846, but it does not state 
the month. In it she mentions a point which 


reveals something of Mr. Alcott's philosophy. 
She says: "Father said that if a person wanted a 
thing very much and thought of it a great deal, 
that they would probably have it."] 



September ist. — I rose at five and had my 
bath. I love cold water! Then we had our sing- 
ing-lesson with Mr. Lane. After breakfast I 
washed dishes, and ran on the hill till nine and 
had some thoughts, — it was so beautiful up 
there. Did my lessons, — wrote and spelt and 
did sums; and Mr. Lane read a story, "The Ju- 
dicious Father." How a rich girl told a poor girl 
not to look over the fence at the flowers, and was 
cross to her because she was unhappy. The 
Father heard her do it, and made the girls change 
clothes. The poor one was glad to do it, and he 
told her to keep them. But the rich one was very 
sad; for she had to wear the old ones a week, and 
after that she was good to shabby girls. I liked it 
very much, and I shall be kind to poor people. 

Father asked us what was God's noblest work. 
Anna said men, but I said babies. Men are often 
bad; babies never are. We had a long talk, and I 
felt better after it, and cleared up. 

We had bread and fruit for dinner. I read and 
walked and played till supper-time. We sung in 
the evening. As I went to bed the moon came up 
^ When she was ten years old. 

z i 

W h 
X o 


O £ 

O c 

H - 


very brightly and looked at me. I felt sad be- 
cause I have been cross to-day, and did not mind 
Mother. I cried, and then I felt better, and said 
that piece from Mrs. Sigoumey, "I must not 
tease my mother." I get to sleep saying poetry, — 
I know a great deal. 

Thursday, 14th. — Mr. Parker Pillsbury came, 
and we talked about the poor slaves. I had a 
music lesson with Miss P. I hate her, she is so 
fussy. I ran in the wind and played be a horse, 
and had a lovely time in the woods with Anna 
and Lizzie. We were fairies, and made gowns and 
paper wings. I "flied" the highest of all. In the 
evening they talked about travelling. I thought 
about Father going to England, and said this 
piece of poetry I found in Byron's poems: — 

"When I left thy shores, O Naxos, 
Not a tear in sorrow fell; 
Not a sigh or faltered accent 
Told my bosom's struggling swell." 

It rained when I went to bed and made a 
pretty noise on the roof. 

Sunday, 24th. — Father and Mr. Lane have 
gone to N. H. to preach. It was very lovely. . . . 
Anna and I got supper. In the eve I read "Vicar 
of Wakefield." I was cross to-day, and I cried 
when I went to bed. I made good resolutions, and 


felt better in my heart. If I only kept all I make, 
I should be the best girl in the world. But I don't, 
and so am very bad. 

(Poor little sinner ! She says the same at fifty. 
— L. M. A.) 

October 8th. — When I woke up, the first 
thought I got was, "It's Mother's birthday: I 
must be very good." I ran and wished her a 
happy birthday, and gave her my kiss. After 
breakfast we gave her our presents. I had a moss 
cross and a piece of poetry for her. 

We did not have any school, and played in the 
woods and got red leaves. In the evening we 
danced and sung, and I read a story about "Con- 
tentment." I wish I was rich, I was good, and we 
were all a happy family this day. 

We sang the following song : 


Hail, all hail, thou merry month of May, 
We will hasten to the woods away 
Among the flowers so sweet and gay, 
Then away to hail the merry merry May — 

The merry merry May — 
Then away to hail the merry merry month of May. 

Hark, hark, hark, to hail the month of May, 

How the songsters warble on the spray, 

And we will be as blith as they, 

Then away to hail the merry merry May — 

Then away to hail the merry merry month of May. 


I think this is a very pretty song and we sing 
it a good deal. 

Thursday, 12th. — After lessons I ironed. We 

all went to the bam and husked com. It was 

good fun. We worked till eight o'clock and had 

lamps. Mr. Russell came. Mother and Lizzie are 

going to Boston. I shall be very lonely without 

dear little Betty, and no one will be as good to me 

as Mother. I read in Plutarch. I made a verse 

about sunset: — 

/ "Softly doth the sun descend 
I To his couch behind the hill, 

J Then, oh, then, I love to sit 

On mossy banks beside the rill." 

Anna thought it was very fine; but I did n't 
like it very well. 

Friday, Nov. 2nd. — Anna and I did the work. 
In the evening Mr. Lane asked us, "What is 
man? " These were our answers : A human being; 
an animal with a mind; a creature; a body; a soul 
and a mind. After a long talk we went to bed 
very tired. 

(No wonder, after doing the work and worrying 
their little wits with such lessons. — L. M. A.) 

A sample of the vegetarian wafers used at 
Fruitlands: — 


Vegetable diet Pluck your body Without flesh diet 

and sweet repose. from the orchard; there could be no 

Animal food and do not snatch it blood-shedding war. 

nightmare. from the shamble. 

Apollo eats no Snuflf is no less snuS 

flesh and has no though accepted from 

beard; his voice is a gold box. 
melody itself. 

Tuesday, 20th. — I rose at five, and after 
breakfast washed the dishes, and then helped 
mother work. Miss P. is gone, and Anna in Bos- 
ton with Cousin Louisa. I took care of Abba 
(May) in the afternoon. In the evening I made 
some pretty things for my dolly. Father and Mr. 
L. had a talk, and father asked us if we saw any 
reason for us to separate. Mother wanted to, she 
is so tired. I like it, but not the school part or 

Eleven years old. Thursday, 2gth. — It was 
Father's and my birthday. We had some nice 
presents. We played in the snow before school. 
Mother read "Rosamond" when we sewed. 
Father asked us in the eve what fault troubled us 
most. I said my bad temper. 

I told mother I liked to have her write in my 
book. She said she would put in more, and she 
wrote this to help me : — 

"Dear Louey, — Your handwriting improves 
very fast. Take pains and do not be in a hurry. 
I like to have you make observations about our 


conversations and your own thoughts. It helps 
you to express them and to understand your little 
self. Remember, dear girl, that a diary should be 
an epitome of your life. May it be a record of 
pure thought and good actions, then you will 
indeed be the precious child of your loving 

December loth. — I did my lessons, and walked 
in the afternoon. Father read to us in dear "Pil- 
grim's Progress." Mr. L. was in Boston and we 
were glad. In the eve father and mother and 
Anna and I had a long talk. I was very unhappy, 
and we all cried. Anna and I cried in bed, and I 
prayed God to keep us all together. 



As any one knows who has any experience in farm- 
ing, the true farmer spirit shows itself in the man 
who accepts the disappointment of a meagre crop 
in spite of his dreams of a plentiful harvest, and 
working diligently, gets what he can from it. 

The crops at Fruitlands underwent many vicis- 
situdes. No sooner did a crop show some sort of 
promise than they turned it back into the earth 
again, in order to enrich the soil, they said. This 
method did not tend to fill the winter storehouse 
with the needed vegetables, and a faint sug- 
gestion of disillusionment began to creep into 
the perfect harmony of the consociate family as 
autumn approached. Early in September Mr. 
Alcott and Charles Lane went on a trip in search 
of recruits. They went to Providence and had an 
evening's conversation with Mrs. Newcomb and 
some of her friends, during which Mr. Alcott said 
that, as competition had made facilities so great, 
they might take that opportunity to go on to 
New York. Charles Lane then spoke up and said 
there was no other objection than lack of means, 
whereupon the company contributed the neces- 
sary amount. In writing to Oldham about it, 


Charles Lane passes comment on what he saw: 
"We went to the Graham House to breakfast 
where we found some people half if not quite 
alive" and again: "The number of living persons 
in the 300,000 inhabitants of New York is very 
small." During this visit they went to see Mrs. 
L. M. Child, who gave the following account of it; 
"A day or two after [Theodore] Parker left, 
Alcott and Lane called to see me. I asked, * What 
brings you to New York?' 'I don't know,' said 
Mr. Alcott; 'it seems a miracle that we are here.* 
Mr. Child and John Hopper went to hear a dis- 
cussion between them and W. H. Channing. I 
asked Mr. Child what they talked about. 'Lane 
divided man into three states, — the discon- 
scious, the conscious, and the unconscious. The 
disconscious is the state of the pig; the conscious 
is the baptism by water; and the unconscious is 
the baptism by fire.' I laughed, and said, 'Well, 
how did the whole discussion affect your mind?* 
'Why, after I heard them talk a few minutes, I '11 
be cursed if I knew whether I had any mind at 
all.' J. H. stayed rather longer, though he left in 
the midst. He said they talked about mind and 
body. 'What did they say?' 'Why, Channing 
seemed to think there was some connection 
between mind and body; but those Boston folks, 
so far as I could understand 'em, seemed to think 
the body was all sham ! ' " 


There is a story that on their return from New 
York they went by steamer to New Haven. All 
the money that had been contributed by Mrs. 
Newcomb and her friends had gone, but that did 
not trouble the philosophers. They boarded the 
boat quite serenely and when it started sat on 
deck enjoying the breeze. The ticket-man came 
to each passenger for his ticket, and when he 
came to Mr. Alcott and Mr. Lane, sitting there 
in their linen suits, he asked them for theirs. 
Quite undisturbed Mr. Alcott replied that they 
had no money or scrip, but they would quite 
willingly pay their way by addressing the pas- 
sengers and crew with a little conversation in the 
saloon. It is said that in reply the language of the 
ticket-man was not as civil as it should have been. 

It was all very pleasant, this wandering off and 
showing their linen tunics to the world and hold- 
ing conversations to enlighten people in regard to 
the future wonders of the New Eden, but the day 
they left Fruitlands Joseph Palmer was off at- 
tending to his cattle at No Town, and the crop 
of barley had been cut and was waiting to be 
harvested. Poor Mrs. Alcott looked at it with 
anxious eyes. The granary was almost empty 
and this barley meant food. She could forget 
herself, but she could not ignore the needs of her 
children. Christopher Greene and Larned and 
Bower were also away. The barley lay there with 


no one to bring it in to a safe shelter. The next 
day she looked at it again with a sinking heart. 
As the afternoon waned, black clouds covered the 
sky and flashes of lightning rent seams through 
them with terrifying rapidity. Then Mrs. Alcott 
made a quick decision. Gathering all the baskets 
she could find, she carried them to the barley- 
field with the help of the children, and in hot 
haste they gathered the barley into the baskets 
and dragged them to the granary, and then ran 
back as fast as they could for more. Thus they 
worked with all their strength, and when the 
storm broke, they had saved enough to last them 
for at least a few weeks. 

So if Mrs. Alcott lacked, as Lane said, spiritual 
insight, she fortunately for them had practical 
foresight, from which they all reaped a benefit. 

The following letter to Mr. Oldham is sugges- 
tive of the trend of affairs in the community : — 

Fruitlands, Harvard, Mass^ 
September 29, 1843. 

On our arrival at home we learnt that in our 
absence several friends and strangers had called, 
amongst them S. Bower, Parker Pillsbury, and 
an acquaintance, Mr. Hamond of New Ipswich 
in New Hampshire State. Thinking the latter 
worth seeing we went to visit him, a distance of 
about twenty-five miles. He is married to an 



exoteric wife of some good household qualities; 
he has built with his own hands a smart cottage, 
being an expert workman, and has moreover a 
respectable talent for portrait painting which he 
estimates humbly without a consciousness of 
humility. Next to Edward Palmer, he is a person 
who, I should think, would make one with us. 
He introduced us at two houses to four females 
who vitally considered constitute with himself 
the whole of the town. Our visit there will do 
some good, for though they have read my letters 
printed last winter in the newspapers, yet the 
presence of a living person is much more real a 
thing. I saw their good intentions were greatly 
encouraged. I could not dissuade the oldest from 
promising never to taste flesh again, which I was 
rather inclined to on account of her years. . . . 

On Saturday last Anna Alcott most magnani- 
mously walked her little legs fourteen miles in 
about five hours down to old Concord, where our 
friends appear to have been pretty somnolent 
since our departure. On Tuesday we returned 
on foot, and accomplished somewhat towards the 
liberation of the animals by a heroine of thirteen. 
Mr. Emerson is, I think, quite stationary: he is 
off the Railroad of Progress, and merely an ele- 
gant, kindly observer of all who pass onwards, 
and notes down their aspect while they remain 
in sight; of course, when they cirrive at a new 


station they are gone from and for him. I see 
Mr. John Sterling dedicates his new tragedy of 
"Strafford" to him: no very alarming honor! I 
suppose that Thomas Carlyle, with all his famous 
talking, does not yet actually lead the people out 
of their troubles. These worthy and enlightened 
scribblers will do little to save the nation. Some 
there are I hope of more real solid metal. . . . 

Samuel Bower has not yet had your note, as I 
am not sure where he is. He could not, it seems, 
long endure Joseph Palmer's offer of land, etc., it 
was so solitary. He called here when we were on 
our long journey on his way to Lowell, the Man- 
chester of New England. If his aims are high and 
his head clear, or his hands effective, he will not 
be able to wander far from us; but a wanderer it 
is certain he must be allowed to be. Abraham 
[Abram Everett] comes and goes with some re- 
gard to the law within him; he is now busy with 
our latter hay, the maize, buckwheat, etc. 

What is to be our destiny I can in no wise 
guess. Mr. Alcott makes such high requirements 
of all persons that few are likely to stay, even of 
his own family, unless he can become more toler- 
ant of defect. He is an artist in human character 
requiring every painter to be a Michael Angelo. 
He also does not wish to keep a hospital, nor even 
a school, but to be surrounded by Masters — 
Masters of Art, of the one grand Art of human 


life. I suppose such a standard would soon empty 
your Concordium as well as every other house, 
which I suppose you call by insinuation "Dis- 
cordiums," or, more elegantly, "Discordia." I 
propose to pass at least another winter in New 
England to know more averagingly what they are, 
as the last was particularly severe. I have gone 
about on these several journeys in the simple 
tunic and linen garments and mean to keep them 
on as long as I can. We have had a fine summer 
of three months, and a fine autumn seems on 
hand. Sharp frost this morning, yet we took our 
bath as usual out-of-doors in the gray of the mom 
at one-half past five. Health, the grand external 
condition, still attends me, every stranger rating 
me ten or twelve years younger than I am; so 
that if such are the effects of climate I may indeed 
be happy, for my youthfulness is not all appear- 
ance — I feel as buoyant and as boyish as I look, 
which I find a capital endorsement to my asser- 
tions about diet, etc. It staggers the sceptical 
and sets their selfish thoughts to work. . . . 

Hoping that all minds are thus laboring, let us, 
my dear friend, act as if all good progress de- 
pended upon us and unfailingly present a clean 
breast to Eternal Love, shedding forth our full 
measure in the clearest Light; in which I am 
Thine truly, 

Chas. Lane. 


Abraham just notifies me there is work in the 
field, so I must go. 

Joseph Palmer had offered his old house at No 
Town to Samuel Bower as a refuge in which to 
test his theory of the benefits to be derived from 
accustoming the body to live without the ener- 
vating burden of clothing. Bower's experiences in 
this line at Fruitlands had not been satisfactory 
or convincing, as it was only at night that he 
could make the experiment, and then they in- 
sisted on his donning a white garment for his 
peregrinations in the open. Even this caused 
agitation in the neighborhood, and tales of a 
white ghost wandering over the hillside caused 
much alarm, and several times a posse went out 
from the village to look into the matter. At No 
Town he could be in solitude. While there he 
wrote a number of articles for the Liberator, in 
one of which he predicted the full regeneration of 
man, " if we can rid the kitchen of its horrors and 
keep our tables free from the mangled corse." 

In another letter Lane writes to Oldham : — 

... At present I am situated thus. All the 
persons who have joined us during the summer 
have from some cause or other quitted, they say 
in consequence of Mr. Alcott's despotic manner, 
which he interprets as their not being equal to the 


Spirit's demands. Joseph Palmer, who has done, 
and is doing our farmwork for love, still remains 
in the same relation as he ever did. 

Palmer says that having once declared this 
land free we should never go back, at least until 
the work has been fairly tested. Under all this it 
should be stated that Mrs. Alcott has no spon- 
taneous inclination towards a larger family than 
her own natural one, of spiritual ties she knows 
nothing, though to keep all together she does and 
would go through a good deal of exterior and 
interior toil. I hoped I had done with pecuniary 
affairs, but it seems I am not to be let off. The 
crops, I believe, will not discharge all the obliga- 
tions they were expected to liquidate, and against 
going further into debt I am most determinately 
settled. . . . You will perceive that I have, like 
yourself, a small peck of troubles; not quite 
heavy enough to drive me to a juncture with our 
friends, the Shakers, but sufficiently so to put the 
thought into one's head, as you perceive. In the 
midst of all these events and of William's illness, 
who is in bed eight or ten days with a sort of bil- 
ious fever, I am not without the consolatory hope 
that some measure of Spirit utilitary is bound up 
with our obscure doings. 

Yours most affectionately, 
Charles Lane. 

At a late visit on foot to Roxbury, I found the 


numbers at Brook Farm considerably diminished. 
I don't know what they will say to my letter if 
they see it in The New Age, but never mind. 

From now on clashing of wills disturbed the 
serenity of Fruitlands. Charles Lane, despondent 
over the course of events and the sense of failure, 
and seeing further financial complications in 
store for him, began seriously to consider the plan 
of life adopted by the Shakers whose well-filled 
corn-bins and full-rigged haylofts bespoke a sys- 
tem which provided plenty for man and beast, 
and gave time for alternate work and meditation. 
He began to talk of this to Mr. Alcott and urged 
him toward a more monastic life, and then sug- 
gested that they should join them. That he had 
great influence with Mr. Alcott is evident, and 
Mrs. Alcott, who fully realized this, grew restless 
and then alarmed. 

In writing to Oldham, Lane kept dwelling upon 
Mrs. Alcott. Once he wrote: "Mrs. Alcott has .^ 
passed from the ladylike to the industrious order, J 
but she has much inward experience to realize, j 
Her pride is not yet eradicated and her peculiar 
maternal love blinds her to all else — whom does 
it not so blind for a season?" ^ 

And he ascribes the failure of other persons to 
join the experiment largely to Mrs. Alcott, "who 
* Sanborn's Bronson Alcott. 


vows that her own family are all that she lives 
for." No such narrow purpose, Lane adds, has 
inspired him; and he blames Mr, Alcott for lis- 
tening too much to his family affections, and 
regarding too much what that guardian angel of 
middle-class England, Mrs. Grundy, will say. 

In speaking of Mr. Alcott, he complains that 
"constancy to his wife and inconstancy to the 
Spirit have blurred over his life forever." 

Poor Mrs. Alcott, poor "Marmee," as her 
daughters called her ! — in her loyalty she had 
almost worked her fingers to the bone with no 
thanks for it. Her days had passed without any 
help to lighten the manual labor. At first they 
said that not a lamp could lighten Fruitlands 
because the oil contained animal fat, and only 
bayberry candles could be used, and only a few of 
them. But Mrs. Alcott then rebelled. How could 
she sew and mend the clothes with such poor 
light? There seemed some sense in this, so one 
small lamp was brought to Fruitlands just for 
her. The philosophers tried sitting in the dark, 
but one by one would try to find some pretext to 
join her at the sewing-table, and Mrs. Alcott's 
lamp burned bright and steady, an emblem of her 
own true and faithful heart. 

EUery Channing said : " Mrs. Alcott was one of 
the most refined persons of my acquaintance. 
She told me years afterwards that in 1843-44 she 


feared for her husband's sanity; he did such 
strange things without seeming to know how odd 
they were; wearing only linen clothes and canvas 
shoes, and eating only vegetables." 

November 26, 1843, Lane wrote to Oldham 
from Fruitlands : — 

" What with agitations of mind and ills of body, 
I have passed a less happy time than usual. Wil- 
liam was ill a whole month with a low fever so 
that he could not even sit up in bed for one 
minute. I had to nurse him while plagued with 
hands so chapped and sore that I was little more 
capable than the patient. Then came Mr. 
[Samuel J.] May's announcement that he should 
not pay the note to which he had put his hand; so 
that money affairs and individual property come 
back again upon me for a season. Thereupon 
ensued endless discussions, doubts, and anticipa- 
tions concerning our destiny. These still hang 
over us. But in the midst of them Mrs. Alcott 
gives notice that she concedes to the wishes of 
her friends and shall withdraw to a house which 
they will provide for herself and her four children. 
As she will take all the furniture with her, this 
proceeding necessarily leaves me alone and naked 
in a new world. Of course Mr. A. and I could not 
remain together without her. To be 'that devil 
come from Old England to separate husband and 


wife,' I will not be, though it might gratify New 
England to be able to say it. So that you will 
perceive a separation is possible. Indeed, I be- 
lieve that under the circumstances it is now 

Mr. Sanborn says in his "Memoirs of Bronson 
Alcott": — 

"Those who read Louisa's 'Transcendental 
Wild Oats ' will see by her names * Timon Lion ' for 
Lane, and 'Abel Lamb' for Alcott, that she 
looked on her father as rather the victim of Lane 
in the 'Fruitlands' failure. Without conceding 
this, the impartial observer will say that Lane 
had the stronger will, and the far more prosaic 
nature; that he decided most of the questions for 
his associates in both countries, and that he was 
rather a hard person to get on with. Neither his 
first wife, nor Wright, nor Mrs. Alcott, nor Alcott 
himself, nor the Harvard Shakers, nor finally 
Oldham, could quite suit him. He over-per- 
suaded Alcott, who was a good farmer and me- 
chanic, to adopt impossible modes of working the 
' Fruitlands' farm, and much of their whimsies in 
dress and food seem to have come from Lane and 
his English friends. Mrs. Alcott, when reestab- 
lished in a home of her own at Concord, early in 
1845, offered Lane a home there, and he tried it 
for a time in the next summer, but still com- 

.2 i 

s 7; 

O 4) 


plained, as he had at 'Fruitlands,' that she 
wished to keep her family small, and made it 
uncomfortable for guests. Knowing Mrs. Alcott's 
character well, in the last twenty years of her life, 
I cannot believe that this was ever true of her. 
She was hospitality itself, whether poor or rich ; 
and it must have been Lane's own individualism 
that made him dissatisfied. 

"The rigors of a New England winter pro- 
moted the dissolution of the * Fruitlands ' Com- 
munity, but did not alone break it up. A lack of 
organizing power to control the steady current 
of selfishness, as well as the unselfish vagaries of 
his followers, was the real cause. Nothing in fact 
could be more miserable than the failure of this 
hopeful experiment." 

Mr. Alcott had written in his diary of Emer- 
son: — " It is much to have the vision of the see- 
ing eye. Did most men possess this, the useful 
hand would be empowered with new dexterity 
also. Emerson sees me, knows me, and more than 
all others helps me, — not by noisy praise, not by 
low appeals to interest and passion, but by turn- 
ing the eye of others to my stand in reason and 
the nature of things. Only men of like vision can 
apprehend and counsel each other. A man whose 
purpose and act demand but a day or an hour for 
their completion can do little by way of advising 


him whose purposes require years for their ful- 
filment. Only Emerson, of this age, knows me, of 
all that I have found. Well, every one does not 
find one man, one very man through and through. 
Many are they who live and die alone, known 
only to their survivors of an after-century." 

How he recalled that now! He was tossed in 
mind and troubled beyond measure. All his 
beautiful dreams were melting away one by one. 
Everything seemed to be falling from his grasp. 
Most of the crops had failed ; — the enthusiastic 
lovers of "The Newness" had proved themselves 
false and had slipped away as the cold weather 
approached. All his wonderful plans had come to 
naught. He had promised to the world the vision 
of a new Eden : he had believed it could exist : he 
had worked for it with his whole soul: he had 
nothing to show for it but failure. Would his 
friend Emerson stay by him in his anguish? He 
believed he would, and yet how meet his friend? 
How face the world? 

The cold penetrated the old house. William 
Lane lay ill in his room and his father watched 
over him. All were heavy-hearted. It was as late 
as January that Charles Lane and his son moved 
to the Shakers. After that Mr. Alcott retired to 
his room, as he thought, to face the end. Mr. 
Sanborn tells us: "The final expulsion from this 


Paradise nearly cost Mr. Alcott his life. He re- 
tired to his chamber, refused food, and was on 
the point of dying from grief and abstinence, 
when his wife prevailed on him to continue longer 
in this ungrateful world." 

This prayer was written in his diary after leav- 
ing Fruitlands: "Light, O source of light! give 
Thou unto thy servant, sitting in the perplexities 
of this surrounding darkness. Hold Thou him 
steady to Thee, to truth, and to himself; and in 
Thine own due time give him clearly to the work 
for which Thou art thus slowly preparing him, 
proving his faith meanwhile in Thyself and in his 

"Shall I say with Pestalozzi that I was not 
made by this world, nor for it, — wherefore am I 
placed in it if I was found unfit? And the world 
that found him thus asked not whether it was his 
fault or that of another; but it bruised him with 
an iron hammer, as the bricklayer breaks an old 
brick to fill up a crevice." 

"That is failure when a man's idea ruins him, 
when he is dwarfed and killed by it; but when 
he is ever growing by it, ever true to it, and 
does not lose it by any partial or immediate fail- 
ures, — that is success, whatever it seems to the 


In speaking of the Fruitlands experiment Mr. 
Sanborn says : — 

"It brought its own compensations, and left 
the whole Alcott family richer and not poorer 
for this romantic experience with its sad termina- 
tion. It prepared Alcott to face more patiently 
the storms of later life, and to train his daughter, 
who was his best single gift to the world, better 
for her conspicuous service. And 'Fruitlands' 
will be remembered, perhaps longer than most of 
the adventures that awaited this romantic house- 
hold in its voyage of life. . . . 

"There was some foundation for Alcott's de- 
spair at ' Fruitlands,' and with the ill success that 
followed him after the flourishing Temple School 
in Boston. Emerson, the gentlest and least exact- 
ing of men, looking at his friend's situation a few 
years after the 'Fruitlands* experiment, wrote 
in his private journal — 

" ' The plight of Mr. Alcott ! The most refined 
and the most advanced soul we have had in New 
England; who makes all other souls appear slow 
and cheap and mechanical; a man of such cour- 
tesy and greatness that in conversation all others, 
even the intellectual, seem sharp, and fighting for 
I victory and angry, — while he has the unalter- 
able sweetness of a muse ! Yet because he cannot 
earn money by his talk or his pen, or by school- 
keeping, or bookkeeping, or editing, or any kind 





"V -^ 










»-' ' 


of meanness, — nay, for this very cause that he is 
ahead of his contemporaries, is higher than they, 
and keeps himself out of the shop condescensions 
and arts which they stoop to, — or, unhappily, 
need not stoop to, but find themselves, as it were, 
bom to; therefore it is the unanimous opinion of 
New England judges that this man must die! We 
do not adjudge him to hemlock or garroting, — 
we are much too hypocritical and cowardly for 
that. But we not less surely doom him by refus- 
ing to protest against this doom, or combine to 
save him, and to set him in employments fit for 
him and salutary for the State.' " 

The poem written by Mr. Alcott, with the 
title "The Return," may fittingly close this 
chapter : — 

"As from himself he fled 
Outcast, insane, 
Tormenting demons drove him from the gate: 
Away he sped, 
Casting his joys behind, 
His better mind: 

Himself again, 
Over his threshold led, 
Peace fills his breast, 
He finds rest, 
Expecting angels his arrival wait." 



More than thirty years after the Fruitlands fail- 
ure, Mrs. Caroline Sherman, of Chicago, heard 
from Mr. Alcott its story as he came to view it in 
later years. She says : — 

"One day at Concord Mr. Alcott consented to 
give his experience at Fruitlands, and for two 
hours he entertained the little company with the 
happiest of humor, as he told the story of his 
effort to realize an ideal community. Together 
with Charles Lane, he purchased a location on 
the north side of a sandy hill in Harvard, and 
started out with the idea of welcoming hospi- 
tably to their community any human being who 
sought admission. Mr. Alcott described the vari- 
ous sorts of quaint characters who came to live 
with them, lured by the charms of Utopia and Ar- 
cadia combined. Only a vegetable diet was al- 
lowed; for the rights of animals to life, liberty, 
and the pursuit of happiness formed a funda- 
mental principle in their constitution. This not 
only cut them off from beef, but from milk and 
eggs. The milk belonged to the calf, and the 
chicken had a right to its existence as well as the 


infant. Even the canker-worms that infested the 
apple trees were not to be molested. They had as 
much right to the apples as man had. Unfortu- 
nately farm operations were not started until well 
into June, and the only crop raised that was of 
value as dependence was barley; but the philoso- 
phers did not flinch at the thought of an exclu- 
sively barley diet. Now and then they gave a 
thought as to what they should do for shoes when 
those they now had were gone; for depriving the 
cow of her skin was a crime not to be tolerated. 
The barley crop was injured in harvesting, and 
before long actual want was staring them in the 
face. This burden fell heaviest upon Mrs, Alcott, 
for, as housewife, it was her duty to prepare three 
meals a day. They remained at Fruitlands till 
mid-winter in dire poverty, all the guests having 
taken their departure as provisions vanished. 
Friends came to the rescue, and, concluded Mr. 
Alcott, with a tone of pathos in his voice: 'We 
put our four little women on an ox-sled,^ and 
made our way to Concord. So faded one of the 
dreams of my youth. I have given you the facts 
as they were; Louisa has given the comic side in 

* As a matter of fact they did not go to Concord on 
the ox-sled, but to Still River, where they lived for a 
year in the house called the " Brick Ends," belonging to 
the Lovejoy family. They then moved to Concord where 
Orchard House now stands as a memorial to the later 


"Transcendental Wild Oats"; but Mrs. Alcott 
could give you the tragic side.' " 

The odes addressed to Alcott by Thoreau and 
Lowell should be recalled in connection with 
these reminiscences of his later years : — 



Here Alcott thought, — respect a wise man's door! 

No kinder heart a mortal form e'er held; 
Its easy hinges ope forevermore 

At touch of all, — or fervid Youth or Eld. 

A mounting sage was he, and could essay 

Bold flights of hope, that softly fed his tongue 

With honey; then flew swift that happy day. 
As tranced in joy on his pure themes we hung. 

He knew the Scholar's art ; with insight spent 

On Plato's sentence, that best poesy, 
And calm philosophy, his soul intent 

Cleared the grey film of Earth and Air and Sea. 

He might have lapsed, — but Heaven him held along, — 
Or splendrous faded like some sunset dream; 

But long shall live! though this bare, humble song 
Gains not his dignity, — nor rounds its theme. 

He'll dwell (doubt not) in that fond, wished-for Land, 
Where the broad Concave's stars unquailing bloom; 

The guest of angels, that consolers stand, — 
Sweetly forgot in light Earth's lowly tomb. 

Then may I wait, dear Alcott, of thy court, 

Or bear a mace in thy Platonic reign ! 
Though sweet Philosophy be not my forte. 

Nor Mincio's reed, nor Learning's weary gain. 




Hear him but speak, and you will feel 

The shadows of the Portico 
Over your tranquil spirit steal, 

To modulate all joy and woe 

To one subdued, subduing glow; 
Above our squabbling business hours, 
Like Phidian Jove's, his beauty lowers, 
His nature satirizes ours; 

A form and front of Attic grace, 

He shames the higgling market-place, 
And dwarfs our more mechanic powers. 

What throbbing verse can fitly render 
That face so pure, so trembling-tender? 

Sensation glimmers through its rest, 
It speaks unmanacled by words, 

As full of motion as a nest 
That palpitates with unfledged birds; 

'Tis likest to Bethesda's stream. 
Forewarned through all its thrilling springs, 

White with the angel's coming gleam, 
And rippled with his fanning wings. 

Himself unshaken as the sky, 

His words, like whirlwinds, spin on high 

Systems and creeds pellmell together; 
'Tis strange as to a deaf man's eye, 
While trees uprooted splinter by. 

The dumb turmoil of stormy weather; 

Less of iconoclast than shaper, 
His spirit, safe behind the reach 
Of the tornado of his speech, 

Burns calmly as a glowworm's taper. 

> From " Studies for Two Heads." 


As Mr. Alcott suffered acutely from the disas- 
trous ending of the Fruitlands Community, so 
also did Charles Lane. The cherished ideal of 
the regeneration of the world by a vivid example 
was shattered beyond repair. Saddened and dis- 
illusioned he returned to Alcott House in England. 

In writing to Thoreau from London, in 1848, 
Emerson gives a description of him. He says: 
" I went last Sunday for the first time to see Lane 
at Ham, and dined with him. He was full of 
friendliness and hospitality; has a school of six- 
teen children, one lady as matron, then Oldham. 
This is all the household. They looked just com- 
fortable." The matron here spoken of was un- 
doubtedly a Miss Hannah Bond, who had lived 
at Owen's Community at Harmony Hall, and in 
due time Lane cast aside his antagonism to fam- 
ily ties and married her. But from his letters to 
Joseph Palmer, it is evident that his experience 
in life never allowed him freedom from questions 
of money and property. He had sunk his all in 
the experiment at Fruitlands, as "an offering to 
the Eternal Spirit. ' ' One feels a note of bitterness 
in him from a letter written by Wright to Old- 
ham in which he says : " I have been told that Mr. 
Lane says Alcott is an unpractical dreamer, or 
something tantamount thereto. Alas! how far 
shall we have to go to find those who will deliver 
the same opinion of C. L. [Charles Lane] and 


W. O. [William Oldham] and others whom I 
could mention! Sometimes I almost suspect 
that of myself. The world has decided pretty- 
truly. I begin to respect its decision and to sus- 
pect my own." 

And from the following paragraph the pain and 
disheartenment of a disappointed life shows itself 
with infinite pathos, as Wright says: "Somehow 
or other I seem to have made up my mind that 
it is for me to die, to which I look forward with 
hope rather than terror." "What have I ever 
done? " he asks, and responds bitterly, " Nothing, v 
absolutely nothing ! I have dreamed only of great ] 
deeds. Let me never attempt again what is be- j 
yond my being's power." 

Fruitlands was left in the hands of Joseph > p 
Palmer, who bought it of Charles Lane. The ^ '^^J-^ 
latter, fully aware of the shrewd common sense """^ 
that lurked beneath an eccentric exterior, urged 
Joseph Palmer to join him in founding a larger 
Community, connecting a farm in Leominster 
with that of Fruitlands as a plant on which 
to work out a scheme that would promise some 
measure of success. They drew up the follow- 
ing paper and it was duly signed and sealed: — 

Whereas it is desireable to form Associations 
of well disposed persons for the supply of their 
physical and mental requirements, for the sup- 


port of a free school for youth, and a home for the 
aged, destitute and indigent, and Whereas a cap- 
ital of one hundred dollars for each associate is 
deemed sufficient for beginning such an Associa- 
tion, We, the undersigned do agree to the pur- 
chase of estates in Leominster and Harvard, 
Massachusetts, for the purpose of forming such an 
Association which we propose to commence on 
the first of January next, to the amount of five 
thousand dollars capital, afterwards to be ex- 
tended by the addition of new shares for the pur- 
chase of more real estate at the discretion of the 
shareholders assembled on the first Monday in 
January in each year, so that all persons inter- 
ested shall hold equal rights by possessing one 
share only. The property now in hand for this 
purpose consists of Land and Buildings in Leom- 
inster and Harvard, together about 190 acres 
with Stock, Tools, Provisions, etc., needful for 
carrying out the said design held in the name of 
Joseph Palmer. 

Joseph Palmer. 

Charles Lane, 

August 18, 1846. 

But this same shrewd common sense evidently 
stood in the way of bringing this plan into actual 
existence, for Charles Lane writes a letter com- 
plaining that so much time has been wasted in 
considering it that he can no longer remain in 


America, and he sails for England leaving his son 
William with the Shakers. It is a noticeable 
proof of the confidence the members of the Com- 
munity placed in Joseph Palmer that not only 
Charles Lane wanted him as an associate, but 
also Samuel Bower, who urged him to join him 
in founding a Community in a more temperate 
climate where he could carry out his convictions 
regarding the casting aside of all outer clothing. 
But Palmer had seen enough of the Transcen- 
dentalists to make him realize the advantages of 
running his own Community, which he did for 
upwards of twenty years in a strange, haphazard 
sort of fashion. He had no name for it, and he 
never sought recruits, but he never closed his 
door to the wayfarer, and two large iron pots, one 
full of baked beans, and the other full of pota- 
toes, stood always ready for the poor and hungry. 
And so in a humble way, Joseph and Nancy 
Palmer carried out some of the ideals started at 
Fruitlands by the Transcendentalists. Calvin 
Warner lived there off and on for many years, 
and old Widow Webber sought refuge there, 
and many came and went. The Harvard people 
called it a home for tramps and called him " Old 
Jew Palmer " ; but any one who takes the trouble 
to look closely into his life finds in him a stal- 
wart character full of fibre and unswerving cour- 
age, with a very real and abiding religious faith. 


He was a fighter for his rights, to the end. The 
right of way belonging to Fruitlands crossed old 
Silas Dudley's land to the highway. A continu- 
ous battle raged concerning that right of way, 
and so fierce did it become that when after a 
heavy snowstorm Joseph Palmer started to 
shovel the snow off of it, old Silas Dudley shov- 
elled it back again. They kept at it there all day, 
both irate old men holding out with a grim 
determination to win. As neither succeeded in 
gaining advantage, they sent for Mr. Emerson 
to come and settle the question, which he did. 

Quaint old times, quaint old people, — we are 
grateful for just such pictures of the past! 

The following letters were found by a grand- 
son of Joseph Palmer among some old papers at 

New York, Sept. lo, 1846. 
To Joseph Palmer, 
Still River, 

Harvard, Mass, 
Dear Friend : — 

I owe you a severe scolding, and as I always 
endeavor to pay my debts, here goes. You de- 
tained me so long that my school is broken up, 
the weeds are shoulder high at the door, and my 
utility in this direction is at an end. Hereafter do 
not be so dilatory. The good you desire to do will 


forever escape undone if you are so very, very, 
very cautious. Yet I am not for haste or for a 
magnificent work. But having really made your 
decision and concluded your plan, carry it out 
faithfully and confidingly on such a scale as you 
know you can stand by. 

I read the Prospectus to several, and none ob- 
jected. If your Leominster friends have any 
truth in them, now it will be known. I have 
written to D. Mack, and have tried to interest 
some others, and I really think if you could keep 
me in New England the next winter, the founda- 
tion of a rational, soulful, simple Association 
might be laid. If you had not kept me so long, 
this might have been possible, but now it seems 
to be my destiny to obey the manifold and un- 
ceasing calls of the Spirit through William Old- 
ham, and return to Alcott House, where your 
letters will find me, and I hope you will take time 
to write me all interesting particulars. Perhaps I 
may work better on that side. At all events, I can 
assure you I shall continue to take as deep, as 
active, and as direct an interest in the Leominster 
and Harvard Association as if I were present. 
Now that matters are arranged a little more suit- 
ably to my nature, I shall work for it with greater 
freedom and potency. We should help all men 
out of their false positions, whatever they are, as 
fast as we can. 


Please do not fail to see Edmund Hosmer, and 
commune freely with friend Emerson. Give my 
kind remembrances to your wife and daughter, 
to Mr. Holman, to Thomas and his wife, to Cal- 
vin, and all the faithful hearts in your circle. I 
shall endeavor to write a little history of Fruit- 
lands, past and future, so pray supply me with 
all the facts as they arise. I hope there will be 
plenty of good names to put in my book. 

I have faith that I shall see you again, but 
when I cannot guess. Before that time I trust a 
faithful band will be congregated. I do not care 
how few, if they be but good and true. Have your 
son and daughter signed the Prospectus? Mack 
may come next to make the casting vote, or some 
other one on whom you could rely. 

I know that you and I, S. Ford, and your 
daughter could carry the design through, if we 
should have the happiness to be thrown together. 
God knows and disposes, and blesses all the 
earnest, in which company may you ever be 
found with 

Your resigned brother, 

Charles Lane. 

You have given William his letter, I suppose. 
See him as often and cheer him as much as you 

Plenty of people from Brook Farm in conse- 


quence of the changes there would be glad to 
come. The industrials are all obliged to leave. 
They apply to the N. A. Phalanx, but there is no 
room for them. Let your plan be known and the 
house may be filled. 

I believe I shall sail in the Diadem for Liver- 
pool in a day or two. 

At Mr. Moore's, Knowles Place, Davidson Street, 
East Merrimack Street, Lowell, Nov. 6, 1849. 

Friend Palmer, — 

Having removed to reside in Lowell it may be 
well to inform you of the change. Perhaps you 
sometimes come so far in this direction — if so it 
would be cause of regret to me not to see you. 
Now, of course, I shall see you if you visit L. 
whilst I locate in it. 

Since conversing with you I have meditated 
much on the great step in progress which I am 
incessantly reminded it is my interest and duty 
to make. But how make it? When? Where? and 
with whom? or, whether alone? On this subject 
so important to me, to you and to society, I have 
many new facts and estimates of facts all tending 
to induce, I trust, early and beneficial action. 
How far you might be disposed to coincide with 
me I know not, nor how far your long experience 
might modify my intentions if communicated. I 
should certainly like to confer with you at length 


and without reservation. For such a purpose 
writing is quite inadequate, so I shall not attempt 
any statement of my views, etc., herein. One 
thing, however, I may say, which is that I am 
fully and I believe finally fixed in the conviction 
that no Association of persons can be brought to 
inhabit Fruitlands or your place at Leominster 
founding itself on those bases and conditions 
which six years ago were so frequently discussed 
by us. Be sure C. Lane can send you nobody 
from England, and I am unaware that there is in 
this country any one Realist enough to proceed 
with the natural economies far enough to satisfy 
your just expectations. 

I shall most assuredly, if the Infinite Spirit 
wills, make my home in the open heavens and 
resume the right so long in abeyance of being 
naturally and therefore well and sufficiently 
clothed. The true question is a proper Individu- 
alism and nothing that is good and desirable in 
Socialism can come but after this. This is uni- 
versally and ethically incontrovertible and physi- 
cally the solution waits our action. You have 
long stood on the threshold and best know 
whether you are prepared now to pass over it and 
give up your localized and civilized life. I think 
I am quite clear that it will be necessary to stand 
within circumstances having less pressure. Suit- 
able natural conditions are indispensable and are 


to be provided at whatever cost of relinquish- 
ment of current enjoyments. 

Yours faithfully, saml. Bower. 

London, Sept. 29, 1849. 
To Joseph Palmer, 
Still River, 

Harvard, Mass. 
Dear Friend Palmer: — 

If there was a possibility of sending me here 
only six or seven acres of our old Fruitlands, you 
should hear no more of me as a claimant. 

As this cannot be, and I am once more adrift in 
consequence of the lease of our house and grounds 
having been sold, I hope you will have prosperity 
enough in the culture to release yourself gradu- 
ally from my encumbrance whereby I may be 
enabled just to pay the rent on an acre or two to 
cultivate with my own hands. 

Do not let me ask in vain for a good long letter 
narrating all your local news since I left your 
hill regions. Mr. Emerson will inform you of 
William's movements and convey any letters or 
messages to me. I suppose Dr. Thomas has made 
a pretty handsome fortune by this time in setting 
people's mouths in tune and that he will retire 
to Fruitlands to make sure of it. 

Yours faithfully, ^^^^^ ^^^^ 


London, Sept. i6, 1851. 
To Dr. Thomas Palmer, 

Fitchburg, Mass. 
Dear Friend: — 

As I am not so certain of reaching your father 
through the post-office as you, I enclose this note 
to say that I should feel obliged if you would have 
the goodness to discharge my claim. Some two or 
three years have passed since I thought I should 
no more trouble Mr. Emerson on the subject, 
which is one among the reasons for urging a set- 
tlement. Your business I am sure has been too 
successful to make it needful to go out of the 
family for the cash, or at all events for much of 
it. The farm has been prosperous, and though 
your father does not aim at commercial profits, 
yet his industry and integrity bring them to him. 
I feel it is but as yesterday I and your father went 
from Harvard to Fitchburg with the cattle. Oh, 
how hot! I am differently employed now, but I 
still desire the field and the garden. If I had such 
a spot here as Fruitlands I should not quit it, 
but enjoy a life fruitful in all good. Pray, in this 
matter of the mortgage attend to the request and 
give my best regards to your father, from whom I 
should much like to have a letter. 
Yours truly, 

Charles Lane. 




Louisa May Alcott 


TiMON Lion Charles Lane. 

His Son William Lane. 

Abel Lamb A. Bronson AlcoU. 

Sister Hope Mrs. AlcoU. 

Her Daughters . . . The AlcoU girls. 

John Pease Samuel Bower. 

Forest Absalom . . . Abram EvereU. 

■Moses White .... Joseph Palmer. 

Jane Gage Anna Page. 



On the first day of June, 184-, a large wagon, 
drawn by a small horse and containing a motley 
load, went lumbering over certain New England 
hills, with the pleasing accompaniments of wind, 
rain, and hail. A serene man with a serene child 
upon his knee was driving, or rather being driven, 
for the small horse had it all his own way. A 
brown boy with a William Penn style of coun- 
tenance sat beside him, firmly embracing a bust 
of Socrates. Behind them was an energetic-look- 
ing woman, with a benevolent brow, satirical 
mouth, and eyes brimful of hope and courage. 
A baby reposed upon her lap, a mirror leaned 
against her knee, and a basket of provisions 
danced about at her feet, as she struggled with a 
large, unruly umbrella. Two blue-eyed little girls, 
with hands full of childish treasures, sat under 
one old shawl, chatting happily together. 

In front of this lively party stalked a tall, 
sharp-featured man, in a long blue cloak; and a 
fourth small girl trudged along beside him through 
the mud as if she rather enjoyed it. 

The wind whistled over the bleak hills; the rain 
fell in a despondent drizzle, and twilight began 


to fall. But the calm man gazed as tranquilly Into 
the fog as if he beheld a radiant bow of promise 
spanning the gray sky. The cheery woman tried 
to cover every one but herself with the big um- 
brella. The brown boy pillowed his head on the 
bald pate of Socrates and slumbered peacefully. 
The little girls sang lullabies to their dolls in soft, 
maternal murmurs. The sharp-nosed pedestrian 
marched steadily on, with the blue cloak stream- 
ing out behind him like a banner ; and the lively 
infant splashed through the puddles with a duck- 
like satisfaction pleasant to behold. 

Thus these modern pilgrims journeyed hope- 
fully out of the old world, to found a new one in 
the wilderness. 

The editors of The Transcendental Tripod had 
received from Messrs. Lion & Lamb (two of the 
aforesaid pilgrims) a communication from which 
the following statement is an extract : — 

"We have made arrangements with the pro- 
prietor of an estate of about a hundred acres 
which liberates this tract from human ownership. 
Here we shall prosecute our effort to initiate a 
Family in harmony with the primitive instincts 
of man. 

"Ordinary secular farming is not our object. 
Fruit, grain, pulse, herbs, flax, and other vege- 
table products, receiving assiduous attention, 
will afford ample manual occupation, and chaste 


supplies for the bodily needs. It is intended to 
adorn the pastures with orchards, and to super- 
sede the labor of cattle by the spade and the 

"Consecrated to human freedom, the land 
awaits the sober culture of devoted men. Be- 
ginning with small pecuniary means, this enter- 
prise must be rooted in a reliance on the succors 
of an ever-bounteous Providence, whose vital 
affinities being secured by this union with uncor- 
rupted field and unworldly persons, the caxes and 
injuries of a life of gain are avoided. 

"The inner nature of each member of the 
Family is at no time neglected. Our plan con- 
templates all such disciplines, cultures, and habits 
as evidently conduce to the purifying of the in- 

"Pledged to the spirit alone, the founders an- 
ticipate no hasty or numerous addition to their 
numbers. The kingdom of peace is entered only 
through the gates of self-denial; and felicity is the 
test and the reward of loyalty to the unswerving 
law of Love." 

This prospective Eden at present consisted of 
an old red farm-house, a dilapidated bam, many 
acres of meadow-land, and a grove. Ten ancient 
apple-trees were all the "chaste supply" which 
the place offered as yet; but, in the firm belief 
that plenteous orchcirds were soon to be evoked 


from their inner consciousness, these sanguine 
founders had christened their domain Fruitlands. 

Here Timon Lion intended to found a colony of 
Latter Day Saints, who, under his patriarchal 
sway, should regenerate the world and glorify his 
name for ever. Here Abel Lamb, with the de- 
voutest faith in the high ideal which was to him a 
living truth, desired to plant a Paradise, where 
Beauty, Virtue, Justice, and Love might live 
happily together, without the possibility of a ser- 
pent entering in. And here his wife, unconverted 
but faithful to the end, hoped, after many wan- 
derings over the face of the earth, to find rest for 
herself and a home for her children. 

"There is our new abode," announced the 
enthusiast, smiling with a satisfaction quite 
undamped by the drops dripping from his hat- 
brim, as they turned at length into a cart-path 
that wound along a steep hillside into a barren- 
looking valley. 

" A little difficult of access," observed his 
practical wife, as she endeavored to keep her vari- 
ous household gods from going overboard with 
every lurch of the laden ark. 

"Like all good things. But those who ear- 
nestly desire and patiently seek will soon find 
us," placidly responded the philosopher from the 
mud, through which he was now endeavoring to 
pilot the much-enduring horse. 


"Truth lies at the bottom of a well, Sister 
Hope," said Brother Timon, pausing to detach 
his small comrade from a gate, whereon she was 
perched for a clearer gaze into futurity. 

"That's the reason we so seldom get at it, I 
suppose," replied Mrs. Hope, making a vain 
clutch at the mirror, which a sudden jolt sent fly- 
ing out of her hands. 

"We want no false reflections here," said Ti- 
mon, with a grim smile, as he crunched the 
fragments under foot in his onward march. 

Sister Hope held her peace, and looked wist- 
fully through the mist at her promised home. 
The old red house with a hospitable glimmer at 
its windows cheered her eyes; and, considering 
the weather, was a fitter refuge than the sylvan 
bowers some of the more ardent souls might have 

The new-comers were welcomed by one of the 
elect precious, — a regenerate farmer, whose idea 
of reform consisted chiefly in wearing white cot- 
ton raiment and shoes of untanned leather. This 
costume, with a snowy beard, gave him a vener- 
able, and at the same time a somewhat bridal 

The goods and chattels of the Society not hav- 
ing arrived, the weary family reposed before the 
fire on blocks of wood, while Brother Moses White 
regaled them with roasted potatoes, brown bread 


and water, in two plates, a tin pan, and one mug; 
his table service being limited. But, having cast 
the forms and vanities of a depraved world be- 
hind them, the elders welcomed hardship with the 
enthusiasm of new pioneers, and the children 
heartily enjoyed this foretaste of what they be- 
lieved was to be a sort of perpetual picnic. 

During the progress of this frugal meal, two 
more brothers appeared. One a dark, melancholy 
man, clad in homespun, whose peculiar mission 
was to turn his name hind part before and use as 
few words as possible. The other was a bland, 
bearded Englishman, who expected to be saved 
by eating uncooked food and going without 
clothes. He had not yet adopted the primitive 
costume, however; but contented himself with 
meditatively chewing dry beans out of a basket. 

"Every meal should be a sacrament, and the 
vessels used should be beautiful and symbolical," 
observed Brother Lamb, mildly, righting the tin 
pan slipping about on his knees. " I priced a sil- 
ver service when in town, but it was too costly; so 
I got some graceful cups and vases of Britannia 

"Hardest things in the world to keep bright. 
Will whiting be allowed in the community?" in- 
quired Sister Hope, with a housewife's interest 
in labor-saving institutions. 

"Such trivial questions will be discussed at a 


more fitting time," answered Brother Timon, 
sharply, as he burnt his fingers with a very hot 
potato. "Neither sugar, molasses, milk, butter, 
cheese, nor flesh are to be used among us, for 
nothing is to be admitted which has caused wrong 
or death to man or beast." 

"Our garments are to be linen till we learn to 
raise our own cotton or some substitute for wool- 
len fabrics," added Brother Abel, blissfully bask- 
ing in an imaginary future as warm and brilliant 
as the generous fire before him. A a 

"Haou abaout shoes?" asked Brother Moses, " • e^-\^n^^ 
surveying his own with interest. 

"We must yield that point till we can manu- 
facture an innocent substitute for leather. 
Bark, wood, or some durable fabric will be in- 
vented in time. Meanwhile, those who desire to 
carry out our idea to the fullest extent can go 
barefooted," said Lion, who liked extreme meas- 

"I never will, nor let my girls," murmured re- 
bellious Sister Hope, under her breath. 

"Haou do you cattle'ate to treat the ten-acre ' ^ . 
lot? Ef things ain't 'tended to right smart, we I \ -^-'W'^-^t^ 
shan't hev no crops," observed the practical \ 
patriarch in cotton. 

"We shall spade it," replied Abel, in such per- 
fect good faith that Moses said no more, though 
he indulged in a shake of the head as he glanced 


at hands that had held nothing heavier than a 
pen for years. He was a paternal old soul and re- 
garded the younger men as promising boys on a 
new sort of lark. 

"What shall we do for lamps, if we cannot use 
any. animal substance? I do hope light of some 
sort is to be thrown upon the enterprise," said 
Mrs. Lamb, with anxiety, for in those days kero- 
sene and camphene were not, and gas unknown in 
the wilderness. 

"We shall go without till we have discovered 
some vegetable oil or wax to serve us," replied 
Brother Timon, in a decided tone, which caused 
Sister Hope to resolve that her private lamp 
should be always trimmed, if not burning, 

"Each member is to perform the work for 
which experience, strength, and taste best fit 
him," continued Dictator Lion. "Thus drudgery 
and disorder will be avoided and harmony pre- 
vail. We shall rise at dawn, begin the day by 
bathing, followed by music, and then a chaste 
repast of fruit and bread. Each one finds con- 
genial occupation till the meridian meal; when 
some deep-searching conversation gives rest to 
the body and development to the mind. Health- 
ful labor again engages us till the last meal, when 
we assemble in social communion, prolonged till 
sunset, when we retire to sweet repose, ready for 
the next day's activity." 


"What part of the work do you incline to your- 
self?" asked Sister Hope, with a humorous glim- 
mer in her keen eyes. 

" I shall wait till it is made clear to me. Being 
in preference to doing is the great aim, and this 
comes to us rather by a resigned willingness than 
a wilful activity, which is a check to all divine 
growth," responded Brother Timon. 

"I thought so." And Mrs. Lamb sighed au- 
dibly, for during the year he had spent in her 
family Brother Timon had so faithfully carried 
out his idea of "being, not doing," that she had 
found his "divine growth" both an expensive 
and unsatisfactory process. 

Here her husband struck into the conversa- 
tion, his face shining with the light and joy of 
the splendid dreams and high ideals hovering 
before him. 

"In these steps of reform, we do not rely so 
much on scientific reasoning or physiological skill 
as on the spirit's dictates. The greater part of 
man's duty consists in leaving alone much that he 
now does. Shall I stimulate with tea, coffee, or 
wine? No. Shall I consume flesh? Not if I value 
health. Shall I subjugate cattle? Shall I claim 
property in any created thing? Shall I trade? 
Shall I adopt a form of religion? Shall I interest 
myself in politics? To how many of these ques- 
tions — could we ask them deeply enough and 


could they be heard as having relation to our 
eternal welfare — would the response be 'Ab- 

A mild snore seemed to echo the last word of 
Abel's rhapsody, for Brother Moses had suc- 
cumbed to mundane slumber and sat nodding 
like a massive ghost. Forest Absalom, the silent 
man, and John Pease, the English member, now 
departed to the bam; and Mrs. Lamb led her 
flock to a temporary fold, leaving the founders of 
the "Consociate Family" to build castles in the 
air till the fire went out and the symposium 
ended in smoke. 

The furniture arrived next day, and was soon 
bestowed ; for the principal property of the com- 
munity consisted in books. To this rare library 
was devoted the best room in the house, and the 
few busts and pictures that still survived many 
Sittings were added to beautify the sanctuary, 
for here the family was to meet for amusement, 
instruction, and worship. 

Any housewife can imagine the emotions of 
Sister Hope, when she took possession of a large, 
dilapidated kitchen, containing an old stove and 
the peculiar stores out of which food was to be 
evolved for her little family of eleven. Cakes of 
maple sugar, dried peas and beans, barley and 
hominy, meal of all sorts, potatoes, and dried 
fruit. No milk, butter, cheese, tea, or meat ap- 


peared. Even salt was considered a useless lux- 
ury and spice entirely forbidden by these lovers 
of Spartan simplicity. A ten years' experience 
of vegetarian vagaries had been good training for 
this new freak, and her sense of the ludicrous 
supported her through many trying scenes. 

Unleavened bread, porridge, and water for 
breakfast; bread, vegetables, and water for din- 
ner; bread, fruit, and water for supper was the 
bill of fare ordained by the elders. No teapot pro- 
faned that sacred stove, no gory steak cried aloud 
for vengeance from her chaste gridiron; and only 
a brave woman's taste, time, and temper were 
sacrificed on that domestic altar. 

The vexed question of light was settled by 
buying a quantity of bayberry wax for candles; 
and, on discovering that no one knew how to 
make them, pine knots were introduced, to be 
used when absolutely necessary. Being summer, 
the evenings were not long, and the weary frater- 
nity found it no great hardship to retire with the 
birds. The inner light was sufficient for most of 
them. But Mrs. Lamb rebelled. Evening was 
the only time she had to herself, and while the 
tired feet rested the skilful hands mended torn 
frocks and little stockings, or anxious heart for- 
got its burden in a book. 

So "mother's lamp" burned steadily, while the 
philosophers built a new heaven and earth by 


moonlight; and through all the metaphysical 
mists and philanthropic pyrotechnics of that 
period Sister Hope played her own little game of 
"throwing light," and none but the moths were 
the worse for it. 

Such farming probably was never seen before 
since Adam delved. The band of brothers began 
by spading garden and field ; but a few days of it 
lessened their ardor amazingly. Blistered hands 
and aching backs suggested the expediency of 
permitting the use of cattle till the workers were 
better fitted for noble toil by a summer of the new 

Brother Moses brought a yoke of oxen from his 
farm, — at least, the philosophers thought so till 
it was discovered that one of the animals was a 
cow; and Moses confessed that he "must be let 
down easy, for he could n't live on garden sarse 

Great was Dictator Lion's indignation at this 
lapse from virtue. But time pressed, the work 
must be done; so the meek cow was permitted to 
wear the yoke and the recreant brother continued 
to enjoy forbidden draughts in the bam, which 
dark proceeding caused the children to regard 
him as one set apart for destruction. 

The sowing was equally peculiar, for, owing to 
some mistake, the three brethren, who devoted 
themselves to this graceful task, found when 


about half through the job that each had been 
sowing a different sort of grain in the same field; 
a mistake which caused much perplexity, as it 
could not be remedied ; but, after a long consulta- 
tion and a good deal of laughter, it was decided 
to say nothing and see what would come of it. 

The garden was planted with a generous supply 
of useful roots and herbs; but, as manure was not 
allowed to profane the virgin soil, few of these 
vegetable treasures ever came up. Purslane 
reigned supreme, and the disappointed planters 
ate it philosophically, deciding that Nature knew 
what was best for them, and would generously 
supply their needs, if they could only learn to 
digest her "sallets" and wild roots. 

The orchard was laid out, a little grafting done, 
new trees and vines set, regardless of the unfit 
season and entire ignorance of the husbandmen, 
who honestly believed that in the autumn they 
would reap a bounteous harvest. 

Slowly things got into order, and rapidly ru- 
mors of the new experiment went abroad, causing 
many strange spirits to flock thither, for in those 
days communities were the fashion and tran- 
scendentalism raged wildly. Some came to look 
on and laugh, some to be supported in poetic idle- 
ness, a few to believe sincerely and work heartily. 
Each member was allowed to mount his favorite 
hobby and ride it to his heart's content. Very 


queer were some of the riders, and very ramp- 
ant some of the hobbies. 

One youth, believing that language was of lit- 
tle consequence if the spirit was only right, star- 
tled new-comers by blandly greeting them with 
"Good-morning, damn you," and other remarks 
of an equally mixed order. A second irrepressible 
being held that all the emotions of the soul should 
be freely expressed, and illustrated his theory by 
antics that would have sent him to a lunatic 
asylum, if, as an unregenerate wag said, he had 
not already been in one. When his spirit soared, 
he climbed trees and shouted; when doubt as- 
sailed him, he lay upon the floor and groaned 
lamentably. At joyful periods, he raced, leaped, 
and sang; when sad, he wept aloud; and when 
a great thought burst upon him in the watches 
of the night, he crowed like a jocund cockerel, to 
the great delight of the children and the great 
annoyance of the elders. One musical brother 
fiddled whenever so moved, sang sentimentally 
to the four little girls, and put a music-box on 
the wall when he hoed com. 

Brother Pease ground away at his uncooked 
food, or browsed over the farm on sorrel, mint, 
green fruit, and new vegetables. Occasionally he 
took his walks abroad, airily attired in an un- 
bleached cotton poncho, which was the nearest 
approach to the primeval costume he was al- 


lowed to indu^ in. At midsummer he retired 
to the wilderness, to try his i^an where the wood- 
cfaudcs were without prejudices and hucUdxny- 
budies w«e ho^taUy fulL A sunstroke un- 
fortimatdy ^xnlt his plan, and he returned to 
semi-civilization a sadder and wiser man. 

Fwest Absalom fMTeserved his P>thagorean 
sDence, cultivated his fine dark lodes, and worked 
like a bea\'a', setting an excellent example <^ 
brodierly love, justice, and fidelity by his up- 
right life. He it was who helped ovCTworiced 
^stra* Hope with her heavy washes, kneaded the 
endless succession of batches of bread, watdied 
over the children, and did the many tasks left 
undcme by the brethren, who were so bus>' dis- 
cussing and defining great duties that they forgot 
to perform the small ones. 

Moses White placidly plodded about, "chorin* 
raound," as he called it, looking like an old-time 
patriardi, widi his silver hair and flowing beard, 
and saving the community from many a mishap 
by his thrift and Yankee shrewdness. 

Brother Lion domineered over the whole con- 
cern; for, ha\-ing put the most money into the 
^leculation, he was resolved to make it pay, — 
as if anything founded on an ideal basis could be 
expected to do so by any but enthuaasts. 

-\bel Lamb simply revelled in the Newness, 
firmly believing that his dream was to be beauti- 


fully realized and in time not only little Fruit- 
lands, but the whole earth, be turned into a 
Happy Valley. He worked with every muscle of 
his body, for he was in deadly earnest. He taught 
with his whole head and heart; planned and 
sacrificed, preached and prophesied, with a soul 
full of the purest aspirations, most unselfish pur- 
poses, and desires for a life devoted to God and 
man, too high and tender to bear the rough usage 
of this world. 

It was a little remarkable that only one woman 
ever joined this community. Mrs. Lamb merely 
followed wheresoever her husband led, — "as 
ballast for his balloon," as she said, in her bright 

Miss Jane Gage was a stout lady of mature 
years, sentimental, amiable, and lazy. She wrote 
verses copiously, and had vague yearnings and 
graspings after the unknown, which led her to 
believe herself fitted for a higher sphere than 
any she had yet adorned. 

Having been a teacher, she was set to instruct- 
ing the children in the common branches. Each 
adult member took a turn at the infants; and, as 
each taught in his own way, the result was a 
chronic state of chaos in the minds of these much- 
afflicted innocents. 

Sleep, food, and poetic musings were the de- 
sires of dear Jane's life, and she shirked all duties 


as clogs upon her spirit's wings. Any thought of 
lending a hand with the domestic drudgery never 
occurred to her; and when to the question, "Are 
there any beasts of burden on the place?" Mrs. 
Lamb answered, with a face that told its own tale, 
"Only one woman!" the buxom Jane took no 
shame to herself, but laughed at the joke, and let 
the stout-hearted sister tug on alone. 

Unfortunately, the poor lady hankered after 
the flesh-pots, and endeavored to stay herself 
with private sips of milk, crackers, and cheese, 
and on one dire occasion she partook of fish at a 
neighbor's table. 

One of the children reported this sad lapse from 
virtue, and poor Jane was publicly reprimanded 
by Timon. 

" I only took a little bit of the tail," sobbed the 
penitent poetess. 

"Yes, but the whole fish had to be tortured and 
slain that you might tempt your carnal appetite 
with that one taste of the tail. Know ye not, 
consumers of flesh meat, that ye are nourishing 
the wolf and tiger in your bosoms?" 

At this awful question and the peal of laughter 
which arose from some of the younger brethren, 
tickled by the ludicrous contrast between the 
stout sinner, the stem judge, and the naughty 
satisfaction of the young detective, poor Jane 
fled from the room to pack her trunk and return 


to a world where fishes" tails were not forbidden 

Transcendental wild oats were sown broadcast 
that year, and the fame thereof has not yet 
ceased in the land ; for, futile as this crop seemed 
to outsiders, it bore an invisible harvest, worth 
much to those who planted in earnest. As none 
of the members of this particular community 
have ever recounted their experiences before, a 
few of them may not be amiss, since the interest 
in these attempts has never died out and Fruit- 
lands was the most ideal of all these castles in 

A new dress was invented, since cotton, silk, 
and wool were forbidden as the product of slave- 
labor, worm-slaughter, and sheep-robbery. Tu- 
nics and trowsers of brown linen were the only 
wear. The women's skirts were longer, and their 
straw hat-brims wider than the men's, and this 
was the only difference. Some persecution lent 
a charm to the costume, and the long-haired, 
linen-clad reformers quite enjoyed the mild mar- 
tyrdom they endured when they left home. 

Money was abjured, as the root of all evil. The 
produce of the land was to supply most of their 
wants, or be exchanged for the few things they 
could not grow. This idea had its inconven- 
iences; but self-denial was the fashion, was 
surprising how many things one can do without. 


When they desired to travel, they walked, if 
possible, begged the loan of a vehicle, or boldly 
entered car or coach, and, stating their principles 
to the officials, took the consequences. Usually 
their dress, their earnest frankness, and gentle 
resolution won them a passage; but now and then 
they met with hard usage, and had the satisfac- 
tion of suffering for their principles. 

On one of these penniless pilgrimages they took 
passage on a boat, and, when fare was demanded, 
artlessly offered to talk, instead of pay. As the 
boat was well under way and they actually had 
not a cent, there was no help for it. So Brothers 
Lion and Lamb held forth to the assembled pas- 
sengers in their most eloquent style. There 
must have been something effective in this con- 
versation, for the listeners were moved to take 
up a contribution for these inspired lunatics, who 
preached peace on earth and good-will to man so 
earnestly, with empty pockets. A goodly sum 
was collected; but when the captain presented it 
the reformers proved that they were consistent ' "^ i 

even in their madness, for not a penny would they 
accept, saying, with a look at the group about ^^ 

them, whose indifference or contempt had Uc^i 

changed to interest and respect, "You see how I 
well we get on without money"; and so went I 
serenely on their way, with their linen blouses 
flapping airily in the cold October wind. 



They preached vegetarianism everywhere and 
resisted all temptations of the flesh, contentedly 
eating apples and bread at well-spread tables, 
and much afflicting hospitable hostesses by de- 
nouncing their food and taking away their ap- 
petites, discussing the "horrors of shambles," the 
"incorporation of the brute in man," and "on 
elegant abstinence the sign of a pure soul." But, 
when the perplexed or offended ladies asked 
what they should eat, they got in reply a bill of 
fare consisting of "bowls of sunrise for break- 
fast," "solar seeds of the sphere," "dishes from 
Plutarch's chaste table," and other viands equally 
hard to find in any modem market. 

Reform conventions of all sorts were haunted 
by these brethren, who said many wise things and 
did many foolish ones. Unfortunately, these 
wanderings interfered with their harvest at home ; 
but the rule was to do what the spirit moved, so 
they left their crops to Providence and went 
a-reaping in wider and, let us hope, more fruitful 
fields than their own. 

Luckily, the earthly providence who watched 
over Abel Lamb was at hand to glean the scanty 
crop yielded by the "uncorrupted land," which, 
"consecrated to human freedom," had received 
"the sober culture of devout men." 

About the time the grain was ready to house, 
some call of the Oversoul wafted all the men 


away. An easterly storm was coming up and the 
yellow stacks were sure to be ruined. Then Sister 
Hope gathered her forces. Three little girls, one 
boy (Timon's son), and herself, harnessed to 
clothes-baskets and Russia-linen sheets, were the 
only teams she could command; but with these 
poor appliances the indomitable woman got in 
the grain and saved food for her young, with the 
instinct and energy of a mother-bird with a 
brood of hungry nestlings to feed. 

This attempt at regeneration had its tragic as 
well as comic side, though the world only saw the 

With the first frosts, the butterflies, who had 
sunned themselves in the new light through the 
summer, took flight, leaving the few bees to see 
what honey they had stored for winter use. 
Precious little appeared beyond the satisfaction 
of a few months of holy living. 

At first it seemed as if a chance to try holy 
dying also was to be offered them. Timon, much 
disgusted with the failure of the scheme, decided 
to retire to the Shakers, who seemed to be the 
only successful community going. 

"What is to become of us?" asked Mrs. Hope, 
for Abel was heart-broken at the bursting of his 
lovely bubble. 

"You can stay here, if you like, till a tenant is 
found. No more wood must be cut, however, and 



no more com ground. All I have must be sold to 
pay the debts of the concern, as the responsi- 
bility rests with me," was the cheering reply. 

"Who is to pay us for what we have lost? I 
gave all I had, — furniture, time, strength, six 
months of my children's lives, — and all are 
wasted. Abel gave himself body and soul, and is 
almost wrecked by hard work and disappoint- 
ment. Are we to have no return for this, but 
leave to starve and freeze in an old house, with 
winter at hand, no money, and. hardly a friend 
left; for this wild scheme has alienated nearly all 
we had. You talk much about justice. Let us 
have a little, since there is nothing else left." 

But the woman's appeal met with no reply 
but the old one: "It was an experiment. We all 
risked something, and must bear our losses as 
we can." 

With this cold comfort, Timon departed with 
his son, and was absorbed into the Shaker 
brotherhood, where he soon found that the order 
of things was reversed, and it was all work and no 

Then the tragedy began for the forsaken little 
family. Desolation and despair fell upon Abel. 
As his wife said, his new beliefs had alienated 
many friends. Some thought him mad, some 
unprincipled. Even the most kindly thought him 
a visionary, whom it was useless to help till he 


took more practical views of life. All stood aloof, 
saying : " Let him work out his own ideas, and see 
what they are worth." 

He had tried, but it was a failure. The world 
was not ready for Utopia yet, and those who at- 
tempted to found it only got laughed at for their 
pains. In other days, men could sell all and give 
to the poor, lead lives devoted to holiness and 
high thought, and, after the persecution was over, 
find themselves honored as saints or martyrs. 
But in modem times these things are out of fash- 
ion. To live for one's principles, at all costs, is 
a dangerous speculation; and the failure of an . 

ideal, no matter how humane and noble, is harder | OL^at^Cr 
for the world to forgive and forget than bank 
robbery or the grand swindles of corrupt politi- \ 

Deep waters now for Abel, and for a time there 
seemed no passage through. Strength and spirits 
were exhausted by hard work and too much 
thought. Courage failed when, looking about for 
help, he saw no sympathizing face, no hand out- 
stretched to help him, no voice to say cheerily, 

"We all make mistakes, and it takes many 
experiences to shape a life. Try again, and let us 
help you." 

Every door was closed, every eye averted, 
every heart cold, and no way open whereby he 
might earn bread for his children. His principles 


would not permit him to do many things that 
others did ; and in the few fields where conscience 
would allow him to work, who would employ a 
man who had flown in the face of society, as he 
had done? 

Then this dreamer, whose dream was the life of 
his life, resolved to carry out his idea to the bitter 
end. There seemed no place for him here, — no 
work, no friend. To go begging conditions was as 
ignoble as to go begging money. Better perish of 
want than sell one's soul for the sustenance of his 
body. Silently he lay down up)on his bed, turned 
his face to the wall, and waited with pathetic 
patience for death to cut the knot which he could 
not untie. Days and nights went by, and neither 
food nor water passed his lips. Soul and body 
were dumbly struggling together, and no word of 
complaint betrayed what either suffered. 

His wife, when tears and prayers were unavail- 
ing, sat down to wait the end with a mysterious 
awe and submission; for in this entire resignation 
of all things there was an eloquent significance 
to her who knew him as no other human being 

"Leave all to God," was his belief; and in this 
crisis the loving soul clung to this faith, sure that 
the AUwise Father would not desert this child 
who tried to live so near to Him. Gathering her 
children about her, she waited the issue of the 


tragedy that was being enacted in that solitary 
room, while the first snow fell outside, untrodden 
by the footprints of a single friend. 

But the strong angels who sustain and teach 
perplexed and troubled souls came and went, 
leaving no trace without, but working miracles 
within. For, when all other sentiments had 
faded into dimness, all other hopes died utterly; 
when the bitterness of death was nearly over, 
when body was past any pang of hunger or thirst, 
and soul stood ready to depart, the love that out- 
lives all else refused to die. Head had bowed to 
defeat, hand had grown weary with too heavy 
tasks, but heart could not grow cold to those who 
lived in its tender depths, even when death 
touched it. 

"My faithful wife, my little girls, — they have 
not forsaken me, they are mine by ties that none 
can break. What right have I to leave them 
alone? What right to escape from the burden and 
the sorrow I have helped to bring? This duty 
remains to me, and I must do it manfully. For 
their sakes, the world will forgive me in time; for 
their sakes, God will sustain me now." 

Too feeble to rise, Abel groped for the food 
that always lay within his reach, and in the dark- 
ness and solitude of that memorable night ate 
and drank what was to him the bread and wine of 
a new communion, a new dedication of heart and 


life to the duties that were left him when the 
dreams fled. 

In the early dawn, when that sad wife crept 
fearfully to see what change had come to the 
patient face on the pillow, she found it smiling at 
her, saw a wasted hand outstretched to her, and 
heard a feeble voice cry bravely, "Hope!" 

What passed in that little room is not to be 
recorded except in the hearts of those who suf- 
fered and endured much for love's sake. Enough 
for us to know that soon the wan shadow of a 
man came forth, leaning on the arm that never 
failed him, to be welcomed and cherished by the 
children, who never forgot the experiences of that 

"Hope" was the watchword now; and, while 
the last logs blazed on the hearth, the last bread 
and apples covered the table, the new com- 
mander, with recovered courage, said to her 
husband, — 

" Leave all to God — and me. He has done his 
part, now I will do mine." 

"But we have no money, dear." 

"Yes, we have. I sold all we could spare, and 
have enough to take us away from this snow- 

"Where can we go?" 

" I have engaged four rooms at our good neigh- 
bor, Lovejoy's. There we can live cheaply till 


spring. Then for new plans and a home of our 
own, please God." 

"But, Hope, your little store won't last long, 
and we have no friends." 

" I can sew and you can chop wood. Lovejoy 
offers you the same pay as he gives his other men ; 
my old friend, Mrs. Truman, will send me all 
the work I want; and my blessed brother stands 
by us to the end. Cheer up, dear heart, for while 
there is work and love in the world we shall not 

"And while I have my good angel Hope, I shall 
not despair, even if I wait another thirty years 
before I step beyond the circle of the sacred little 
world in which I still have a place to fill." 

So one bleak December day, with their few pos- 
sessions piled on an ox-sled, the rosy children 
perched atop, and the parents trudging arm in 
arm behind, the exiles left their Eden and faced 
the world again. 

"Ah, me ! my happy dream. How much I leave 
behind that never can be mine again," said Abel, 
looking back at the lost Paradise, lying white and 
chill in its shroud of snow. 

"Yes, dear; but how much we bring away," 
answered brave-hearted Hope, glancing from 
husband to children. 

"Poor Fruitlands! The name was as great a 
failure as the rest!" continued Abel, with a sigh, 


as a frostbitten apple fell from a leafless bough at 
his feet. 

But the sigh changed to a smile as his wife 
added, in a half-tender, half-satirical tone, — 

"Don't you think Apple Slump would be a 
better name for it, dear?" 

[After so many years Louisa Alcott very natu- 
rally forgot a few unimportant details when she 
wrote "Transcendental Wild Oats," yet they are 
important enough to set straight. Papers lately 
found show the exit from Fruitlands to have 
taken place in January. She also speaks of 
stoves in the old house. This is a mistake. The 
old chimney was taken down by Joseph Palmer's 
grandson, Mr. Alvin Holman, many years after 
the Fruitlands Community was broken up.] 





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