“Mama, They’ve Begun Again!”

Bronson Alcott and his transcendental friends hardly ever stopped talking. It left almost no time for mundane things like food and shelter

On the twenty-seventh of January, 1812, a five-year-old boy lay desperately ill of scarlet lever in a house on the outskirts of a New England village. The next morning, a neighbor sent his nine-year-old daughter to inquire how he was. Her knock at the door was answered by the lather of the child; the girl, wise beyond her years, took one glance at his stricken face and turned away without speaking. She did not need his few mumbled words to know what had happened.

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