Page:Familiar letters of Henry David Thoreau.djvu/381

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OUT. 39.] TO HARRISON BLAKE. 355

is an irreparable injury done to my modesty even, I become so indurated.

O solitude ! obscurity ! meanness ! I never triumph so as when I have the least success in my neighbor s eyes. The lecturer gets fifty dol lars a night ; but what becomes of his winter ? What consolation will it be hereafter to have fifty thousand dollars for living in the world? I should like not to exchange any of my life for money.

These, you may think, are reasons for not lec turing, when you have no great opportunity. It is even so, perhaps. I could lecture on dry oak leaves ; I could, but who could hear me ? If I were to try it on any large audience, I fear it would be no gain to them, and a positive loss to me. I should have behaved rudely toward my rustling friends. 1

1 Notwithstanding this unwillingness to lecture, Thoreau did speak at Worcester, February 13, 1857, on "Walking," but scrupulously added to his consent (February 6), " I told Brown it had not been much altered since I read it in Worces ter ; but now I think of it, much of it must have been new to you, because, having since divided it into two, I am able to read what before I omitted. Nevertheless, I should like to have it understood by those whom it concerns, that I am invited to read in public (if it be so) what I have already read, in part, to a private audience." This throws some light on his method of preparing lectures, which were afterwards published as essays ; they were made up from his journals, and new entries expanded them.