What Ellen Tucker Emerson said

Concord, Mass.

My sister and I stopped by the Barrow Book Store today; they have a great stock of books related to Transcendentalism, and the owner of the store, Pam Fenn, knows books by and about Transcendentalists. Pam told me this story, which she heard from a descendant of Hawthorne (I have shortened and altered the story as Pam told it to me):

In her girlhood, Ellen Tucker Emerson went through a time when she swore a lot. (Swearing in those days did not mean using the f-word, it meant taking the name of God in vain.) This embarrassed her family. Once, Ellen was invited to a birthday party, and her parents weren’t going to let her attend because of her swearing; but she finally convinced them to let her. She left, but came back ten minutes later. Her parents knew what had happened and began to discipline her, but she yelled that they should stop. “I came back because the g———d party is next week,” she cried.

Probably not a true story. But who knows.

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