THE WESTERING WHEEL
IN the last part of the year 1846 Emerson received a letter from an English acquaintance, Mr. Alexander Ireland, who urged him to come to England and deliver courses of lectures in response to invitations to be obtained from various organizations in the English counties. Mr. Ireland had been Emerson's guide in Edinburgh in 1833, and united the practical gifts which made him "the king of all friends and helpful agents" with a "sweetness and bonhomie" that convinced Emerson that "a pool of honey" lay "about his heart." The invitation found the lecturer in one of those moods of suspense and stagnation incidental to men who depend on stimuli which they cannot control. Emerson had, as he says, "a good deal of domestic immoveableness-- being fastened down by wife and children, by books and studies, by pear trees and apple trees," but his need, in his homely phrase, of "a whip for his top," seconded by importunities from Mr. Ireland and impulsions from his wife, proved more than a counter-weight to his objections. His name was known in England to an extent that surprises those who realize the slowness with which it was traversing America. Applications for lectures "flowed in" to the rejoicing Mr. Ireland, and Emerson's time had to be safeguarded by refusals.
"So," says Emerson, "I took my berth in the packet-