Mary Harriot Norris ’70 attended a lecture by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "His first remarks placed a gulf between us….  He feared, seeing who were to be his hearers, that he had brought the wrong lecture with him.  There were portions of the lecture before him we might not be able to understand.  He would omit such passages as far as possible.

“Abashed, yet indignant, we settled ourselves to hear what he was willing to say to us. …every now and then, Emerson would glance down at us with a gentle, winning apology of expression, then proceed with the greatest deliberation to  leaf over several pages and set them aside, and, more than once, as it seemed to us, abstract whole sections, then proceed again, quite regardless of the broken sequence of thought.

“There was considerable indignation, after the lecture, on the part of the students, that Emerson had thought us incapable, to paraphrase his own language, of ‘aiming our arrows at a star.’”      Mary Harriot Norris, The Golden Age of Vassar