'I Live in Boston'

In his deep communion with Emerson, the first of men to him, [Theodore] Parker cooled his hot temples, and went back to his fight serene and happy; he came up [to Concord] feeling that Boston was a whited sepulcher full of dead men’s bones; he went back convinced that it was the ‘hub of the universe,’ as Dr. Holmes has described it. But after such visits some of Emerson’s virtue had, it used to be said, gone out of him; and he was wont to regard mankind, or at least the world, as a failure. At any rate there is an allegorical story current that once, immediately after Parker had parted from Emerson on the road to Boston, a crazy Millerite encountered Parker, and cried, ‘Sir, do you not know that the world is coming to an end?’ Upon which Parker replied, ‘My good man, that doesn’t concern me; I live in Boston.’ The same fanatic overtaking Emerson, announced in the same terms the approach of the end of the world; upon which Emerson replied, ‘I am glad of it, sir: man will get along much better without it!’

"The Transcendentalists of Concord," Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country, 70 no. 416 (Aug. 1864): 262.