LIFE is unnecessarily long," was a sentence that once startled an audience listening to Emerson. It might be true enough of those he described as floating balloon-like over lands and seas, and settling down the same bubbles of breath that started; but for this man visibly and audibly growing, it was appalling to contemplate decay and death. Long years afterwards I read in a letter of his an expression of apprehension that he might live too long, and a suggestion that even suicide might be better than to mar or undo one's work. This was near the close of the civil war in America, which, as I have said, was a strain upon Emerson's nerves from which, probably, they never completely recovered. At any rate, those nearest him had observed indications of physical decline before the burning of his house in 1872. He said that, on the morning after this fire, he felt something snap in his brain. It is probable Emerson might not have survived the illness that followed this severe shock, had it not been for the love and devotion which everywhere rose around him. It was the least part of this manifestation that it insisted, despite his reluctance, on rebuilding his house for him; the almost
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Publication information: Book title: Emerson at Home and Abroad. Contributors: Moncure Daniel Conway - Author. Publisher: J. R. Osgood and Company. Place of publication: Boston. Publication year: 1882. Page number: 378.
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