I don’t much care for Ralph Waldo Emerson, but I appreciate his contribution to literature and philosophy, so we went to his house. One thing that was interesting about this tour was that they do continuous tours, which I’ve never seen before. What that means is, you ring the doorbell like you’re coming to dinner with Ralph, and then you join a tour already in progress. This is nice because it eliminated all of the milling around in the giftshop waiting for the tour to start. This was bad because we began the tour upstairs, and did not get all of the background on who all lived in the house. Then the tour guide would say things like “so and so’s room” without explaining who so and so was, and we did not understand the significance at all.
Upstairs girl was the better of the two, but they were both rather awkward. Upstairs, she mostly indicated at paintings and told us who was in them. She said um a lot, and seemed like she was rushing a bit. A couple people asked questions, and she said “I don’t know, but the lady downstairs does. We can ask her.” at least she didn’t try to make something up.
Downstairs girl was similar to the girl we had at the House of the Seven Gables. She was awkward, and very hard to understand. The situation was made more awkward by the fact that when we were on her part of the tour, we were the only two people. She stared at the ceiling and orated on the life of Ralph Waldo, while we scanned the walls trying to understand her. I think that there’s a trend among tour guides in New England to not only have a regional accent, but also a speech impediment and a penchant for mumbling– I’m kind of over it.
Fun facts about Ralph Waldo Emerson: In his later years, he was always late to church, and he blamed it on the fact that he could never find his gloves. Thoreau built a special drawer into Emerson’s chair, so he would always have a place to keep them, but he was still late all the time anyway. He had also been a minister for years when he was younger– must have been sick of church.
The best part of the tour was the end when we went downstairs and had a lovely conversation with the woman manning the gift shop. She was a librarian as well, so we complained about the lack of jobs, and made fun of library school. I kind of want to go back just to hang out with her.