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Fall 2012

Survey of American Literature I - Syllabus

Instructor Anelka Ragu Supervisor: Dr. Robert Sullivan 063-378 146 E-mail Office Hours Phone Resources:
The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 5 Edition, Volume I, Baym, N. (General Editor), New York:1998 th The Norton Anthology of American Literature , 5 Edition, Volume II, Baym, N. (General Editor), New York:1998 Norton online:
th Wednesdays, 4.00-5.00 p.m. Thursdays, 3.00-4.00 p.m.

Course Schedule

Week 1 2 3 4


Required Reading

Introduction Early American and Colonial Period to 1776 Democratic Origins and Irving, Washington (1783-1859): Rip Van Winkle Revolutionary Writers (1776Cooper, James Fenimore (1789-1851): The Pioneer 1820) (extract) The Romantic Period (1820-1860) Edgar Allan Poe The Raven, The Purloined Letter, Ms. Found in a Bottle, William Wilson, The Oblong Box

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter

Herman Melville

Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno

Emily Dickinson

Selected Poetry

Mid-term Examination (in-class, compulsory)

Henry James

The Turn of the Screw, Daisy Miller


Kate Chopin

The Awakening, The Story of an Hour.


Edith Wharton

Ethan Frome, Roman Fever.


E.A. Robinson

Selected Poetry


Robert Frost

Selected Poetry In class - only for students who passed the mid-term examination!


End of Term Exam

Fall 2012

Course Requirements Students are required - to attend lectures and classes regularly - to be punctual because you will be given pop quizzes at the beginning of the class - to read all the required material for the designated class - to participate in the tutorials - to hand in your OWN work on time

Grading Policy Percentage 89-100% 76-88,9% 70-75,9% 63-69,9% 55 62,9% Below 55% ECTS Grade A B C D E F Numerical Grade 5 4 3 3 2 1

Your grade will consist of the following components:

class participation: 15% essay: 25% mid-term exam 30% + end-of-term exam 30% OR comprehensive written exam 60%

NB: Students who achieve less than 40% of the grade (i.e. less than 16 points) defined by this syllabus for class participation and the formal literary essay will be deemed ineligible to sit the final written exam. Students who fail to pass the mid-term exam are ineligible to sit the end-of-term exam. They will be required to sit a comprehensive written exam covering the material for the whole course during the exam period. In order to pass the course, students must achieve a passing grade on the final exam. Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism will not be tolerated in any form. Any student caught plagiarising will be severely penalised. If you are not sure what constitutes plagiarism, come to see me and we will clarify the issue.

Module Title: Module Code: Module Cycle: ECTS Credit Value: Length: Faculty: Department: Module Status: Time: Module leader: Contact hours: E-mail address: Pre-requisites: Co-requisites: Access restrictions: Assessment:

Survey of American Literature I FQ-BiH and Bologna 2nd Cycle 4 One semester Faculty of Arts, The University of Mostar English Language and Literature Core Robert Sullivan / A. Ragu / Survey of English Literature II BA English majors class participation, quizzes, essay, mid-term exam and end-of-term exam or comprehensive final exam

Module Aims:

The aims of this module are to: Acquaint students with early American literature to the turn of the twentieth century; Inform students of the various literary forms that emerged during the periods studied, and the conventions of the various literary forms; Acquaint students with the historical, social and cultural background that characterised and influenced the development of American literature; Situate a work of literature within a specific historical and social context; Engage students with themes and ideas found in literature through writing and class discussions; Encourage students to participate in an in-class scholarly dialogue and to respond critically to a work of literature; Deepen students awareness of the universal human concerns that are the basis for literary works; Stimulate a greater appreciation of language as an artistic medium, and of the aesthetic principles that shape literary works; Guide students in the conduct of independent research and the writing of a scholarly paper. Upon successful completion of this module, students will be able to: Recall the content of literary texts; Identify representative authors and works in a particular literary tradition;

Learning Outcomes:

Define the various ideas and movements in early American literature; Recognize significant themes and techniques shared by works in a particular literary tradition; Identify important quotations, place them in context and explain the significance of each quotation with respect to its text; Explain ways in which a particular literary work reflects the historical, social and cultural circumstances in which it was produced; Analyse and synthesise literary elements and themes between various texts. Be able to conduct independent research and write a scholarly paper.

Course Description:

The Module is a survey course, which, due to time constraints, is unable to cover all the major American authors. It will, however, present and analyse representative works of literature from the beginnings of American literature in English through to the turn of the twentieth century, with special emphasis on the conventions of the various literary genres and the development thereof. The module includes all literary genres: poetry, prose and drama. The literary works will be studied within their historical, social and cultural contexts, aiming to establish connections across time between different writers, genres and eras. The module will limit the teaching and learning methods to lectures and tutorials. The lectures will acquaint students with the theoretical and background knowledge necessary to analyse the set texts with respect to their historical, social and political context. The tutorials will concentrate on close reading of the set texts in order to show how the literary works reflect the historical, social and cultural context in which they were produced. Students will be assessed based on their completion of various tasks, which include: Class participation (obligatory attendance, quizzes and class participation) Essay (1500-2000 words) Mid-term and final written exam or a comprehensive written exam during the regular exam term. Assessment will be based on students ability to: Recall the content of literary texts; Identify representative authors and works in a particular literary tradition; Define the various ideas and movements in early American

Learning Delivery:

Assessment Rationale:

Assessment criteria:

literature; Recognize significant themes and techniques shared by works in a particular literary tradition; Identify important quotations, place them in context and explain the significance of each quotation with respect to its text; Explain ways in which a particular literary work reflects and shapes the historical, social and cultural circumstances in which it was produced; Analyse and synthesise literary elements and themes between various texts. Conduct research and write a scholarly paper.

Assessment Weighting:

class participation: 15% essay: 25% mid-term exam 30% + end-of-term exam 30% OR comprehensive written exam 60% NB: Students who achieve less than 40% of the grade (i.e. less than 16 points) defined by this syllabus for class participation and the formal literary essay will be deemed ineligible to sit the final written exam. Students who fail to pass the mid-term exam are ineligible to sit the end-of-term exam. They will be required to sit a comprehensive written exam covering the material for the whole course during the exam period. In order to pass the course, students must achieve a passing grade on the final exam.

Essential Reading:

Baym, Nina et al, The Norton Anthology of American Literature, 5th ed., vols. I & II Irving, Washington (1783-1859): Rip Van Winkle Cooper, James Fenimore (1789-1851): The Pioneer (extract) Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849): The Raven, The Purloined Letter, Ms. Found in a Bottle, William Wilson, The Oblong Box Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-64): The Scarlet Letter Herman Melville (1819-91): Bartleby the Scrivener, Benito Cereno Emily Dickinson (1830-86): Selected Poetry Henry James (1843-1916): The Turn of the Screw, Daisy Miller Kate Chopin (1851-1904): The Awakening, The Story of an Hour. Edith Wharton (1862 1937): Ethan Frome, Roman Fever. E.A. Robinson (1874-1963): Selected Poetry: Luke Havergal; Richard Cory; Miniver Cheevy; Mr. Floods Party Robert Frost (1874-1963): Selected Poetry: Mending Wall; Home

Burial; After Apple-Picking; The Road Not Taken; Birches; Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening Recommended Reading:

Literature to 1 7 0 0
THE MARVELS OF SPAINAND AMERICA In 1 4 9 4 a m a n w h o h a d c r o s s e d the Atlantic in a large ship returned h o m e to a m a z e t h o s e w h o m he h a d left behind with tales of a new world full of "marv e l s . " N o n e of t h o s e w h o listened to him h a d a c c o m p l i s h e d anything remotely like this. N o n e had h e a r d of this other world, let a l o n e s e e n it, a n d n o n e c o u l d begin to c o m p r e h e n d what its discovery might m e a n for their own familiar univ e r s e . As they listened with rapt attention, the voyager told of things u n d r e a m e d of, p l a n t s a n d a n i m a l s a n d m o s t of all s t r a n g e p e o p l e s w h o s e u n c a n n y c u s t o m s , c o s t u m e s , a n d beliefs a s t o n i s h e d all who h e a r d him. T h e m a n in q u e s t i o n might have b e e n C h r i s t o p h e r C o l u m b u s or any of the d o z e n s of E u r o p e a n s w h o a c c o m p a n i e d him on his first voyage, b u t h e w a s not. In fact, this teller of tales did j o i n in that voyage, but he h a d not sailed from P a l o s , S p a i n , with the other m e n on A u g u s t 6, 1 4 9 2 , a n d h a d not b e e n with t h e m w h e n , at two in the m o r n i n g of O c t o b e r 12, they sighted the B a h a m i a n island they n a m e d S a n S a l v a d o r . T w i c e h e c r o s s e d the Atlantic with C o l u m b u s , but in reverse: first to S p a i n from the Indies a n d then b a c k a g a i n . W e d o not know his original n a m e , but we know that he w a s a T a i n o Indian from the B a h a m a s , o n e of seven natives w h o m C o l u m b u s seized a n d took to S p a i n . T h e r e h e w a s baptized a n d r e n a m e d D i e g o C o l o n , after the son of C o l u m b u s himself. ( C o l o n w a s the S p a n i s h version of the family's n a m e . ) O f the other natives, all of w h o m were similarly r e c h r i s t e n e d , o n e r e m a i n e d in S p a i n , w h e r e h e died within a few years. F o u r others died of s i c k n e s s on the p a s s a g e b a c k to A m e r i c a with C o l u m b u s a n d C o l o n . C o l o n a n d the sixth m a n e s c a p e d the s a m e fate only "by a hair's b r e a d t h , " a s the fleet's p h y s i c i a n , D i e g o Alvarez C h a n c a , wrote in his i m p o r t a n t letter on the s e c o n d voyage. R e t u r n e d to the C a r i b b e a n , the two served a s translators for the m u c h larger party of S p a n i a r d s , p e r h a p s fifteen h u n d r e d strong, w h o arrived in s e v e n t e e n s h i p s early in N o v e m b e r 1 4 9 3 . C o l o n himself already had s e e n service a s a n intermediary during the first voyage. O f the two m e n , only C o l o n is reported by the historian A n d r e s B e r n a l d e z , w h o knew C o l u m b u s a n d u s e d the mariner's own lost a c c o u n t of the s e c o n d voyage, to have regaled the other natives with tales of "the things which h e h a d s e e n in C a s t i l e a n d the marvels of S p a i n , . . . the great cities a n d fortresses a n d c h u r c h e s , . . . the p e o p l e a n d h o r s e s a n d a n i m a l s , . . . the great nobility a n d wealth of the sovereigns a n d great lords, . . . the kinds of food, . . . the festivals a n d t o u r n a m e n t s [and] bull-fighting." P e r h a p s the other m a n h a d died by this point in the s e c o n d voyage. P e r h a p s C o l u m b u s singled out C o l o n for special m e n t i o n b e c a u s e C o l o n had learned C a s t i l i a n well e n o u g h to s p e a k it a n d had s h o w n himself to be a n intelligent m a n a n d a g o o d g u i d e . H e w a s to a c c o m p a n y C o l u m b u s on the w h o l e of this voyage, which lasted three years.




T h e story of C o l o n c a t c h e s in m i n i a t u r e the extraordinary c h a n g e s that were to o c c u r a s natives of the O l d W o r l d e n c o u n t e r e d natives of the N e w for the first time in r e c o r d e d history. His story r e m i n d s us first that discovery w a s m u t u a l rather t h a n o n e s i d e d . T o be s u r e , far m o r e E u r o p e a n s voyaged to A m e r i c a than A m e r i c a n s to E u r o p e , a n d they sent h o m e t h o u s a n d s of reports a n d letters detailing what they s a w a n d did in the N e w W o r l d . B e c a u s e m a n y of t h e s e E u r o p e a n travelers c a m e to A m e r i c a to stay, however, the Indians s o o n h a d a colonial imitation of E u r o p e d e v e l o p i n g before their eyes, c o m p l e t e with fortresses, c h u r c h e s , h o r s e s , n e w foods (on the s e c o n d voyage, C o l u m b u s brought w h e a t , m e l o n s , o n i o n s , r a d i s h e s , s a l a d g r e e n s , g r a p e v i n e s , s u g a r c a n e , a n d various fruit t r e e s ) , a n d m u c h else that C o l o n in 1 4 9 3 c o u l d have f o u n d only in E u r o p e . Over t i m e the natives of A m e r i c a could discover E u r o p e e n c r o a c h i n g on their villages a n d fields as the i m p o r t e d E u r o p e a n l a n d s c a p e vied with their own. E u r o p e w a s p r e s e n t in the textiles on the c o l o n i s t s ' b o d i e s , in the tools in their h a n d s (for both of which the A m e r i c a n Indians t r a d e d ) , a n d in the institutions of the c h u r c h a n d state (slavery b e i n g the m o s t obvious e x a m p l e ) that h a d b e g u n to r e s h a p e the identities a n d reorganize the lives of Native A m e r i c a n p e o p l e s . In s u c h c o n c r e t e t e r m s a n e w world w a s b e i n g c r e a t e d in the W e s t I n d i e s . It was not the new world C o l u m b u s h i m s e l f w a s s p e a k i n g of near the e n d of his life when h e wrote in 1 5 0 0 to the S p a n i s h sovereigns F e r d i n a n d a n d Isabella that he h a d " b r o u g h t u n d e r [their] d o m i n i o n . . . a n o t h e r world, whereby S p a i n , which w a s called poor, is now m o s t r i c h . " T h e n e w world that mattered w a s not j u s t a n e x p a n s e of s p a c e previously u n k n o w n to E u r o p e a n s ; it w a s a genuinely new set of social relationships that would evolve over the next c e n t u r i e s a s E u r o p e a n d the A m e r i c a s c o n t i n u e d to interact. With the E u r o p e a n introduction of African slaves early in the sixteenth century, the terms of this new world b e c a m e m u c h m o r e c o m p l e x . T h e cultural a n d social relations of A m e r i c a n s t o o k their origin in a great mixing of p e o p l e s from the whole Atlantic b a s i n d u r i n g the first c e n t u r y a n d a half after 1 4 9 2 . Discovery b e g a n with w o n d e r t h a t of C o l o n ' s listeners o n his return in 1 4 9 4 a n d that of C o l u m b u s a s he d e s c a n t e d on the green b e a u t y of the i s l a n d s e v o k i n g a m o o d that has r e m a i n e d s t r o n g in A m e r i c a n writing ever s i n c e : he saw "trees of a t h o u s a n d k i n d s " on S a n S a l v a d o r in N o v e m b e r 1 4 9 2 , trees that s e e m e d to " t o u c h the sky . . . as green a n d a s lovely a s they are in S p a i n in M a y . " B u t beyond that t r a n s c e n d e n t m o m e n t , discovery entailed a many-sided p r o c e s s of influence a n d e x c h a n g e that ultimately p r o d u c e d the hybrid cultural universe of the Atlantic world, of which the E n g l i s h colonies were o n e small part. M u c h of this universe c a m e through struggle rather than c o o p e r a t i o n . E a c h p e o p l e u s e d its own traditions or e l e m e n t s recently borrowed from others to e n d u r e or c o n q u e r or outwit its o p p o s i t e n u m b e r s , a n d violence often swallowed up the primal w o n d e r g l i m p s e d in the earliest d o c u m e n t s . With g u n p o w d e r a n d steel, E u r o p e a n s h a d the t e c h n o l o g i c a l e d g e in warfare, a n d it would s e e m t h a t d e s p i t e c e n t u r i e s of p r o p a g a n d a to the c o n t r a r y t h e y took violence m o r e seriously than did the A m e r i c a n I n d i a n s . T h e natives at first f o u n d the s c a l e of E u r o p e a n warfare a p p a l l i n g . In N e w E n g l a n d , the c o l o n i s t s ' native allies a g a i n s t the P e q u o t tribe in 1 6 3 7 c o m p l a i n e d that the E n g l i s h m a n n e r of fighting, a s soldier J o h n Underhill noted in his Newes from America ( 1 6 3 8 ) , "[was] too f u r i o u s , a n d slay[ed] too m a n y m e n . " T h e natives were q u i c k to a d o p t E u r o p e a n w e a p o n s a n d tactics,


however, applying t h e m to their own d i s p u t e s a n d to their d i s p u t e s with the E u r o p e a n s . T h e ferocity of what E u r o p e a n s have called the " I n d i a n w a r s " w a s the violent recoil in the f a c e of violence from interlopers who t h r e a t e n e d the very life of the native p e o p l e s . A l m o s t literally from 1 4 9 2 , native p e o p l e s b e g a n to die in large n u m b e r s , if not from war then from e n s l a v e m e n t , brutal m i s t r e a t m e n t , d e s p a i r , or d i s e a s e . O n e of the m o r e insidious forms of " e x c h a n g e " involved the transfer to the A m e r i c a n I n d i a n s of the m i c r o b e s to which E u r o p e a n s h a d b e c o m e inured but to which the Indians h a d virtually no r e s i s t a n c e . N o t h i n g better displays the isolation of the c o n t i n e n t s a n d the d r a m a of e n c o u n t e r that b e g a n in 1 4 9 2 than the e p i d e m i c disasters that smallpox, m e a s l e s , typhus, a n d other Old World m a l a d i e s u n l e a s h e d on the Native A m e r i c a n s . W h o l e p o p u l a t i o n s p l u m m e t e d as s u c h d i s e a s e s , c o m b i n e d with the other severe s t r e s s e s p l a c e d o n the natives, s p r e a d t h r o u g h o u t the C a r i b b e a n a n d then on the m a i n l a n d of C e n t r a l a n d S o u t h A m e r i c a . T h e institutional d i s e a s e of slavery further d e c i m a t e d the native p e o p l e s . It is widely a g r e e d that the original p o p u l a t i o n of the island of H i s p a n i o l a ( e s t i m a t e d at anywhere from o n e h u n d r e d t h o u s a n d to eight million in 1 4 9 2 ) p l u n g e d o n c e the S p a n i s h took over the island, partly through d i s e a s e a n d partly through the a b u s e s of the encomienda system of virtual e n s l a v e m e n t . In the face of this s u d d e n d e c l i n e in available native labor, S p a i n i n t r o d u c e d African slavery into Hisp a n i o l a a s early as 1 5 0 1 . By the middle of the sixteenth century the native p o p u l a t i o n h a d b e e n so c o m p l e t e l y d i s p l a c e d by African slaves that the S p a n ish historian A n t o n i o de H e r r e r a called the island "an effigy or a n i m a g e of E t h i o p i a itself." T h u s the d e s t r u c t i o n of o n e p e o p l e w a s a c c o m p a n i e d by the d i s p l a c e m e n t a n d e n s l a v e m e n t of a n o t h e r . By that point, the naive " w o n d e r " of discovery w a s all but u n r e c o v e r a b l e . It would be i n a c c u r a t e to picture the I n d i a n s , however, a s merely victims, suffering d e c l i n e . T h e natives m a d e shrewd u s e of the E u r o p e a n p r e s e n c e in A m e r i c a to forward their own a i m s , as C o l o n r e m i n d s u s . In 1 5 1 9 the disaffected natives in the Aztec E m p i r e clearly threw their lot in with C o r t e s b e c a u s e they saw in him a c h a n c e to settle the s c o r e with their overlord M o n t e z u m a , which they a s s u r e d l y did. In N e w E n g l a n d , the P e q u o t W a r of 1 6 3 7 saw a similar a l i g n m e n t on the E n g l i s h side of tribes s u c h a s the Narr a g a n s e t t s a n d the M o h e g a n s , w h o h a d g r i e v a n c e s with the fierce P e q u o t s , interlopers in the region. U n d e r ordinary c i r c u m s t a n c e s , a s a m o n g the Iroq u o i s in the N o r t h e a s t , E u r o p e a n technology a n d the E u r o p e a n market were seized o n a s a m e a n s of c o n s o l i d a t i n g a d v a n t a g e s g a i n e d before the arrival of the colonists. T h e Iroquois h a d b e g u n to organize their f a m o u s L e a g u e of the Five N a t i o n s before E u r o p e a n s e t t l e m e n t , but they solidified their earlier victories over other native p e o p l e s by forging c a n n y a l l i a n c e s with the D u t c h a n d then the English in N e w York. In the S o u t h e a s t , r e m n a n t p e o p l e s b a n d e d together in the early eighteenth century to c r e a t e the C a t a w b a , a n e w political g r o u p that c o n s t r u c t e d what o n e historian has called a " n e w world" for itself. N o longer known by a bewildering diversity of n a m e s , the former N a s saw a n d Suttirie a n d C h a r r a a n d S u c c a p e o p l e s b a n d e d together with several others in an a t t e m p t to deal m o r e effectively with the e n c r o a c h i n g E u r o A m e r i c a n s of C h a r l e s t o n a n d the L o w C o u n t r y . T h i s hardly w a s a c a s e of d i m i n i s h m e n t or r e d u c t i o n . Even a s fewer a n d fewer of the original millions r e m a i n e d , they s h o w e d t h e m s e l v e s resourceful in resisting, t r a n s f o r m i n g ,




and exploiting the exotic c u l t u r e s the E u r o p e a n s were i m p o s i n g on their original l a n d s c a p e .




W h e n C o l u m b u s sailed from E u r o p e in 1 4 9 2 , h e left b e h i n d him a n u m b e r of relatively centralized nation-states with largely agricultural e c o n o m i e s . E u r o p e a n s s p o k e s o m e two or three dozen l a n g u a g e s , m o s t of t h e m closely related; a n d they were generally C h r i s t i a n in religious belief a n d worldview, a l t h o u g h m a n y g r o u p s h a d h a d c o n t a c t a n d conflictwith a d h e r e n t s of J u d a i s m a n d I s l a m . A written a l p h a b e t h a d b e e n u s e d by E u r o p e a n s to preserve a n d c o m m u n i c a t e information for m a n y c e n t u r i e s a n d G u t e n b e r g ' s invention of m o v e a b l e type in the m i d - 1 4 0 0 s h a d s h o w n the way to a m e c h a n i c a l m e a n s of "writing"; by 1 4 9 2 , E u r o p e w a s on its way to b e c o m i n g a print c u l t u r e . By c o n t r a s t , in 1 4 9 2 in N o r t h A m e r i c a , native p e o p l e s p o k e h u n d r e d s of l a n g u a g e s , b e l o n g i n g to entirely different linguistic families (e.g., A t h a p a s c a n , U t o - A z t e c a n , C h i n o o k a n , S i o u a n , a n d A l g o n q u i a n ) a n d s t r u c t u r e d their c u l t u r e s in extraordinarily diverse e c o n o m i c a n d political f o r m s . In the G r e a t B a s i n of the W e s t , s m a l l , loosely organized b a n d s of U t e s e k e d o u t a b a r e s u b s i s t e n c e by h u n t i n g a n d gathering, while the s e d e n t a r y P u e b l o p e o p l e s of the S o u t h w e s t a n d the I r o q u o i a n s of the N o r t h e a s t h a d both highly develo p e d agricultural e c o n o m i e s a n d c o m p l e x m o d e s of political organization. In spite of s o m e c o m m o n f e a t u r e s , religious a n d mythological beliefs were also diverse. A m o n g N o r t h A m e r i c a n p e o p l e s a l o n e , eight different types of creation stories have b e e n d o c u m e n t e d , with wide variations a m o n g t h e m . All of t h e s e differ substantially from the c r e a t i o n stories of J u d a i s m , Christianity, and Islam. Also unlike E u r o p e a n c u l t u r e s , N o r t h A m e r i c a n p e o p l e s did not u s e a written a l p h a b e t . T h e i r s were oral c u l t u r e s , relying on the s p o k e n w o r d w h e t h e r c h a n t e d , s u n g , or p r e s e n t e d in lengthy n a r r a t i v e s a n d the m e m o r y of t h o s e words to preserve i m p o r t a n t cultural i n f o r m a t i o n . T h e term literature c o m e s from the L a t i n littera, "letter." N a t i v e A m e r i c a n literatures were not, until long after the arrival of the E u r o p e a n s , written "littera-tures." I n d e e d , a s the p h r a s e oral literature might a p p e a r to be a c o n t r a d i c t i o n in t e r m s , s o m e have c h o s e n to call the e x p r e s s i o n s of the oral tradition orature. T h e s e e x p r e s s i o n s were, like the l a n g u a g e s , political e c o n o m i e s , a n d relig i o u s beliefs of Native A m e r i c a n p e o p l e s , extremely v a r i o u s . E u r o p e a n s in 1 4 9 2 c o u l d n a m e the tragedy, the c o m e d y , the e p i c , the o d e , a n d a variety of lyric f o r m s a s types of literature. In Native A m e r i c a t h e r e w e r e a l m o s t surely (almost, b e c a u s e we have no a c t u a l r e c o r d s that p r e d a t e 1 4 9 2 ) s u c h things a s Kwakiutl winter c e r e m o n i e s , W i n n e b a g o trickster tale c y c l e s , A p a c h e j o k e s , H o p i p e r s o n a l n a m i n g a n d g r i e v a n c e c h a n t s , Yaqui d e e r s o n g s , Y u m a n d r e a m s o n g s , P i m a n s h a m a n i c c h a n t s , I r o q u o i s c o n d o l e n c e rituals, N a v a j o c u r i n g a n d b l e s s i n g c h a n t s , a n d C h i p p e w a s o n g s of the G r e a t M e d icine S o c i e t y , to n a m e only s o m e of the types of N a t i v e A m e r i c a n verbal expression. T h a t there are m a n y s u c h types is u n q u e s t i o n a b l e , b u t a r e t h e s e literary types? T h i s q u e s t i o n would not m a k e s e n s e to traditional native p e o p l e s , w h o


do not have a category of l a n g u a g e u s e c o r r e s p o n d i n g to our category of literature. F r o m a W e s t e r n p e r s p e c t i v e , however, the types of native verbal expression c o u l d only be c o n s i d e r e d as literature after that late-eighteentha n d early-nineteenth-century revolution in E u r o p e a n c o n s c i o u s n e s s known as R o m a n t i c i s m . In that period the c o n c e p t of literature shifted away from being defined by the medium of expression (all l a n g u a g e preserved in letters) to the kind of expression (those texts that e m p h a s i z e d the imaginative a n d e m o t i o n a l possibilities of l a n g u a g e ) . With this shift in the m e a n i n g of literature, m a n y Native A m e r i c a n verbal types c o u l d quite comfortably be considered literary. W e read t h e s e f o r m s on the p a g e , but it b e a r s r e p e a t i n g that traditional Native A m e r i c a n literatures originate a s oral p e r f o r m a n c e s . T h e y are offered to a u d i e n c e s a s d r a m a t i c events in t i m e , l a n g u a g e for the ear, rather than o b j e c t s in s p a c e for the eye. A n d in p e r f o r m a n c e , a p a u s e , a q u i c k e n i n g of p a c e or a s u d d e n retardation, a g e s t u r e , or a lowering of the voice affects m e a n i n g . N o t surprisingly, s c h o l a r s differ a b o u t the b e s t way to transfer p e r f o r m a n c e to the p a g e . S o m e have o p t e d for a stylized typography where type size and a r r a n g e m e n t s e e k to convey s o m e t h i n g of the feeling of what an a c t u a l p e r f o r m a n c e might have b e e n like. O t h e r s , a c k n o w l e d g i n g that b l a c k m a r k s on a white p a g e c a n n o t r e p r o d u c e a living v o i c e , have left it to the r e a d e r to i m a g i n e t h e s e words in p e r f o r m a n c e . T h i s matter of translating the words effectively is controversial. W h e n we know that the original p e r f o r m a n c e u s e d a r c h a i c a n d u n f a m i l i a r t e r m s , s h o u l d we u s e a r c h a i c a n d unfamiliar t e r m s in the translation, even t h o u g h they may a p p e a r stiff a n d old-fashioned on the p a g e ? W h a t would the c o n temporary reader think of the following excerpt from J . N. B. Hewitt's rendition of the Iroquois creation story: " T h r o u g h the crafty m a c h i n a t i o n s of the Fire D r a g o n of the W h i t e Body, the c o n s u m i n g j e a l o u s y of the a g e d presiding chief w a s kindled a g a i n s t his y o u n g s p o u s e . " S h o u l d we instead opt for the n o n s t a n d a r d E n g l i s h , the Red E n g l i s h , or R e s e r v a t i o n E n g l i s h a s it h a s b e e n c a l l e d , of native c o l l a b o r a t o r s in the translation p r o c e s s e v e n if it may strike s o m e readers not a s lively a n d colloquial but illiterate? H e r e are a few lines from a c o n t e m p o r a r y translation in Red E n g l i s h of a folktale from the N o r t h w e s t : " H e told the chief: 'Yes, I r e m e m b e r , I t h o u g h t of it, I have a worker[,] a boy, a n d I a s k e d him [to c o m e ] but n o , he didn't want to leave his work a n d his e a t i n g s . ' " O f c o u r s e , if we t r a n s l a t e t h e s e texts into standard, or "literary," E n g l i s h , we may have substantially m i s r e p r e s e n t e d verbal expression that, in the original, would surely strike u s a s s t r a n g e . C o n s i d e r the following translation: You have b e e n falling falling H a v e you fallen from the top of the s a l m o n berry b u s h e s falling falling




This is attractive by c o n t e m p o r a r y s t a n d a r d s , but, for the s a k e of a e s t h e t i c s , it gives u p a g o o d deal of fidelity to the original, w h i c h never a p p e a r e d o n the p a g e . While the q u e s t i o n of how best to t r a n s l a t e Native A m e r i c a n verbal expression m u s t r e m a i n o p e n , r e a d i n g the w o r d s of native oral literature conveys s o m e s e n s e of i n d i g e n o u s literary e x p r e s s i o n a s it m a y have b e e n before the c o m i n g of the E u r o p e a n s .



C o l u m b u s w a s still m a k i n g voyages to A m e r i c a ( 1 4 9 2 - 9 3 ; 1 4 9 3 - 9 6 ; 1 4 9 8 ; a n d 1 5 0 2 - 0 4 ) a s other E u r o p e a n s , following his e x a m p l e , f o u n d their way to the W e s t Indies. G i o v a n n i C a b o t o (known a s J o h n C a b o t to the E n g l i s h for w h o m he sailed) a n d his fellow Italian A m e r i g o V e s p u c c i both c r o s s e d the o c e a n before 1 5 0 0 , a s did the P o r t u g u e s e native P e d r o C a b r a l . After that d a t e the voyagers b e c a m e too m a n y to track. Unlike the Viking invasion of five h u n d r e d years b e f o r e , which h a d e s t a b l i s h e d m o d e s t c o a s t a l s e t t l e m e n t s in N o r t h A m e r i c a that Native A m e r i c a n s s o o n w i p e d o u t , this s e c o n d E u r o p e a n wave quickly gathered m o m e n t u m a n d e x t e n d e d itself far to the north a n d s o u t h of the C a r i b b e a n b a s i n that C o l u m b u s explored. C a b o t w a s n e a r the m o u t h of the S t . L a w r e n c e in C a n a d a the year before V e s p u c c i f o u n d that of the A m a z o n , nearly five t h o u s a n d miles away in S o u t h A m e r i c a . S o o n the E u r o p e a n s were e s t a b l i s h i n g c o l o n i e s everywhere. T h e first c o l o n i s t s lingered on the C a r i b b e a n island of H i s p a n i o l a following the d e p a r t u r e of C o l u m b u s in 1 4 9 3 . A l t h o u g h that small s e t t l e m e n t of L a N a v i d a d w a s soon destroyed in a c l a s h with T a i n o natives u n d e r the c a c i q u e C a o n a b o of M a g u a n a , the m a s s i v e s e c o n d voyage in 1 4 9 3 c a m e e q u i p p e d to stay, a n d from that point on S p a i n a n d E u r o p e generally m a i n t a i n e d a n a g g r e s s i v e p r e s e n c e in the W e s t Indies. T h e c o n s t a n t battles a l o n g v a g u e frontiers with Native A m e r i c a n s a d d e d fuel to the d i s s e n s i o n a n d political in-fighting a m o n g the settlers t h e m s e l v e s , w h o s e riots a n d m u t i n i e s nearly ruined s e t t l e m e n t after s e t t l e m e n t . J o h n S m i t h ' s e x p e r i e n c e d u r i n g the first J a m e s t o w n voyage of 1 6 0 7 provides probably the m o s t f a m o u s e x a m p l e from A n g l o - A m e r i c a . Arrested a n d nearly e x e c u t e d (probably for offending his " b e t t e r s , " s o m e t h i n g he h a d the habit of doing) en route to A m e r i c a in 1 6 0 7 , S m i t h w a s r e l e a s e d in Virginia w h e n the colony's s e a l e d instructions were o p e n e d , revealing that this apparently m o d e s t soldier h a d b e e n n a m e d to the p r e s t i g i o u s governing council even before the s h i p s h a d left E n g l a n d . C o l u m b u s himself b e c a m e the f o c u s of fierce c o m p e t i t i o n s a m o n g greedy settlers a n d officials in Hisp a n i o l a by the time of his third voyage a n d , stripped of his property a n d p o w e r s by a royal official m a d d e n e d by the u p r o a r , went b a c k to S p a i n in c h a i n s in 1 5 0 0 . E u r o p e c o n t i n u e d to e x p a n d in the N e w W o r l d a m i d the disorder within s e t t l e m e n t walls a n d the great violence o u t s i d e . C o l u m b u s f o u n d the mainland of S o u t h A m e r i c a in 1 4 9 8 a n d C e n t r a l A m e r i c a in 1 5 0 2 , by which time J o h n C a b o t a n d the P o r t u g u e s e C o r t e - R e a l b r o t h e r s , G a s p a r a n d M i g u e l , h a d b e e n d o w n the c o a s t of N o r t h A m e r i c a from L a b r a d o r to the C h e s a p e a k e , a n d C a b r a l a n d V e s p u c c i h a d c o v e r e d the e a s t c o a s t of S o u t h A m e r i c a from the O r i n o c o River in p r e s e n t - d a y V e n e z u e l a to well s o u t h of the Rio de la Plata on the border of p r e s e n t - d a y U r u g u a y a n d A r g e n t i n a . B e t w e e n 1 5 1 5


a n d the 1 5 2 0 s , S p a i n , u n d e r the reign of C h a r l e s V, aggressively r e a c h e d o u t over the G u l f of M e x i c o , toward the Y u c a t a n p e n i n s u l a a n d M e x i c o a n d Florida a n d the I s t h m u s of P a n a m a , then s e n t expeditions into the heart of N o r t h A m e r i c a from the 1 5 2 0 s to the 1 5 4 0 s , c o v e r i n g a vast region s t r e t c h i n g from Florida to the G u l f of C a l i f o r n i a a n d north a s far a s K a n s a s a n d the T e n n e s s e e River. At the s a m e t i m e , other S p a n i s h explorers a n d c o n q u i s t a dors s p r e a d out over S o u t h A m e r i c a , especially its west c o a s t , w h e r e in imitation of C o r t e s ' s C o n q u e s t of M e x i c o a d e c a d e earlier J u a n Pizarro overc a m e the I n c a n E m p i r e , recently b e s e t with violent civil war. In that s a m e period, the P o r t u g u e s e e s t a b l i s h e d their first p e r m a n e n t s e t t l e m e n t s in Brazil, a n d the F r e n c h explorer J a c q u e s C a r t i e r sailed into the G u l f of S t . L a w r e n c e , then u p its c h i e f river a s far a s the site of the future M o n t r e a l . Within fifty years of 1 4 9 2 , then, the e a s t c o a s t s of m u c h of b o t h c o n t i n e n t s h a d b e e n explored, a n d m a n y of their m a j o r r e g i o n s had b e e n t r a v e r s e d ; the m o s t s p e c t a c u l a r of their p e o p l e s , the Aztecs a n d the I n c a s , h a d b e e n c o n q u e r e d ; a n d E u r o p e h a d settled in for a l o n g stay. S p a i n u n d e r F e r d i n a n d a n d Isabella a n d their g r a n d s o n C h a r l e s V took the m o s t aggressively expansive role in A m e r i c a . O t h e r E u r o p e a n n a t i o n s , m o s t c o n s p i c u o u s l y F r a n c e a n d E n g l a n d , were m o r e s e l f - a b s o r b e d , awake n i n g slowly to what w a s h a p p e n i n g a c r o s s the s e a . T h e i r first explorers enjoyed b a d luck a n d i n c o n s i s t e n t s u p p o r t . J o h n a n d S e b a s t i a n C a b o t h a d sailed for E n g l i s h m e r c h a n t s a n d the m o n a r c h s H e n r y VII a n d H e n r y VIII, b u t the first C a b o t w a s lost on his voyage in 1 4 9 8 , a n d the s e c o n d kept his interest in A m e r i c a alive only by e n t e r i n g the service of the S p a n i s h C r o w n after 1 5 1 2 . A return to his a d o p t e d h o m e l a n d of E n g l a n d a n d a royal p e n s i o n from E d w a r d VI c a m e to him only in the 1 5 4 0 s , by w h i c h p o i n t he h a d c o m m i t t e d h i m s e l f to the s e a r c h for an e a s t w a r d route to C h i n a via the s e a s north of R u s s i a . In F r a n c e , C a r t i e r enjoyed early s u p p o r t from F r a n c i s I, but his failure to find gold a n d other riches in the S t . L a w r e n c e valley a n d his d i s p u t e with the n o b l e m a n Roberval, w h o m the king a p p o i n t e d to c o m m a n d Cartier's third voyage in 1 5 4 1 , led to p r o f o u n d d i s e n c h a n t m e n t in F r a n c e . F i s h e r m e n from b o t h n a t i o n s c o n t i n u e d to harvest the f a b u l o u s riches of the s h o a l s off N o r t h A m e r i c a a n d s u m m e r e d on the s h o r e , drying their c a t c h . B u t not until the 1 5 7 0 s for E n g l a n d a n d the b e g i n n i n g of the next c e n t u r y for F r a n c e , a s a n e w g e n e r a t i o n of a d v e n t u r e r s a r o s e a n d a p e r i o d of c o m mercial e x p a n s i o n set in, did b r o a d p u b l i c s u p p o r t a n d g o v e r n m e n t a l s a n c tion c o m b i n e to stir lasting curiosity a n d i n v e s t m e n t . A series of l u c k l e s s N o r t h A m e r i c a n voyages by the E n g l i s h u n d e r Martin F r o b i s h e r , H u m p h r e y Gilbert, a n d then W a l t e r R a l e g h e n d e d in the tragedy of the " L o s t C o l o n y " of R o a n o k e I s l a n d in t h e 1 5 8 0 s . F o r a n o t h e r twenty y e a r s few E n g l i s h explorers m a d e s e r i o u s new efforts, a l t h o u g h the p r e s s b u b b l e d with p u b l i c a t i o n s regarding the N e w W o r l d , particularly the works of R i c h a r d Hakluyt the younger, w h o s e great c o l l e c t i o n s g a t h e r e d t h e fugitive r e c o r d s of E n g l i s h , a n d i n d e e d E u r o p e a n , e x p a n s i o n o v e r s e a s . Hakluyt's m a s t e r w o r k , The Principall Navigations ( 1 5 9 8 1 6 0 0 ) , b r o u g h t the literary p r o d u c t i o n s of c o u n t less E u r o p e a n m a r i n e r s to the attention of a public newly stirred by w h a t S h a k e s p e a r e s o o n w a s to call this "brave n e w w o r l d " of E u r o - A m e r i c a . H a k luyt n o t w i t h s t a n d i n g , only in 1 6 0 6 did a s e c o n d Virginia c o l o n y set forth, a n d this o n e faltered grievously at the start with a s h i p w r e c k on B e r m u d a (which w a s to inspire S h a k e s p e a r e ' s The Tempest), riots at J a m e s t o w n , n e a r starvation, a n d violent e n c o u n t e r s . By 1 6 0 3 F r e n c h interest h a d revived u n d e r the




direction of a g r o u p of explorers a n d e x p a n s i o n i s t s , S a m u e l d e C h a m p l a i n m o s t significantly, w h o h o p e d for profit from the N e w W o r l d a n d , even m o r e , a r o u t e through it to the fabled riches of A s i a . S e a s o n e d from his voyages to S p a n i s h A m e r i c a , C h a m p l a i n picked up w h e r e C a r t i e r h a d left off sixty years earlier, f o u n d e d p e r m a n e n t s e t t l e m e n t s in the S t . L a w r e n c e valley, a n d through his a g e n t s a n d followers p u s h e d F r e n c h exploration a s far west as L a k e S u p e r i o r at a time w h e n the E n g l i s h were still struggling in Virginia a n d N e w E n g l a n d s e t t l e m e n t h a d j u s t b e g u n at P l y m o u t h .




T h e period of E u r o p e a n exploration in the N e w W o r l d p r o d u c e d a surprisingly large a n d intriguing body of literature. W h i l e m a n y m a n u s c r i p t s were archived a n d out of r e a c h until the n i n e t e e n t h century, a n u m b e r of texts f o u n d their way into print a n d were widely d i s p e r s e d , t h a n k s to the establishm e n t of printing in the half century before 1 4 9 2 . Shortly after C o l u m b u s ' s return to S p a i n in early 1 4 9 3 , there a p p e a r e d in print his letter to the court official L u i s de S a n t a n g e l , narrating the voyage a n d lushly d e s c r i b i n g the perpetual spring C o l u m b u s h a d f o u n d in the W e s t Indies the previous a u t u m n . F r o m the a p p e a r a n c e of that letter o n , the printing p r e s s a n d the E u r o p e a n e x p a n s i o n into A m e r i c a were reciprocal p a r t s of a single e n g i n e . W i t h o u t the ready d i s p e r s a l of texts rich with imagery that stirred individual i m a g i n a t i o n a n d national a m b i t i o n in regard to the W e s t I n d i e s , E u r o p e ' s m o v e m e n t westward would have b e e n b l u n t e d a n d p e r h a p s thwarted. T h e sword of c o n q u e s t found in the p e n , a n d in the printing p r e s s , a n i n d i s p e n s a b l e ally. T h e great m a s s of early A m e r i c a n writings c a m e from the h a n d s of Euro p e a n s rather than the native p e o p l e s of the N e w W o r l d . I m p o r t a n t exceptions happily exist. T h e natives h a d a lively oral c u l t u r e that v a l u e d m e m o r y over m e c h a n i c s as a m e a n s of preserving texts, a l t h o u g h a m o n g s o m e g r o u p s s u c h as the Aztecs written traditions existed (in N o r t h A m e r i c a t h e s e r e c o r d s included shellwork belts a n d p a i n t e d a n i m a l h i d e s , t e p e e s , a n d shields) a n d m a n y m o r e g r o u p s u s e d visual r e c o r d s in s u b t l e a n d s o p h i s t i c a t e d ways. S u c h c a t a c l y s m s a s the C o n q u e s t of M e x i c o p r o d u c e d not only the S p a n i s h narratives of C o r t e s , Bernal Diaz del C a s t i l l o , a n d o t h e r s b u t a l s o native r e s p o n s e s , m a n y of which p e r i s h e d with t h o s e w h o knew t h e m . T h o s e that survived in original native c h a r a c t e r s or in transliterated form have inestim a b l e e t h n o g r a p h i c a n d literary v a l u e . F o r i n s t a n c e , a n o n y m o u s native writers working in the N a h u a t l l a n g u a g e of the Aztecs in 1 5 2 8 s i g n i f i c a n t l y , they u s e d the R o m a n a l p h a b e t i n t r o d u c e d by the S p a n i s h l a m e n t e d the fall of their capital to C o r t e s in the following lines: Rroken s p e a r s lie in the r o a d s ; we have torn o u r hair in our grief. T h e h o u s e s are roofless now, a n d their walls are red with blood. N o o n e r e a d i n g t h e s e four lines will easily glorify the C o n q u e s t of M e x i c o or of the A m e r i c a s m o r e generally. T h e story of the t r a n s o c e a n i c e n c o u n t e r , however, c e a s e s to be a m a t t e r of e a s y c o n t r a s t s o n c e o n e r e a d s widely in


the texts on either s i d e . A l t h o u g h E u r o p e a n s c o m m i t t e d atrocities in the N e w World, often they did s o a s a result of b l u n d e r i n g a n d m i s c o m m u n i c a t i o n rather than cool, deliberate policy. In fact, the split b e t w e e n policy a n d action g o e s to the heart of the infant Atlantic world of the sixteenth century a n d is mirrored in a n d influenced by the c h a r a c t e r of the writing that survives from the period. T h e great d i s t a n c e s e p a r a t i n g the h e m i s p h e r e s m a d e the coordination of intention a n d p e r f o r m a n c e extremely difficult. T h e authorities at h o m e lacked the k n o w l e d g e to form p r u d e n t or practical policy; a s a result m a n y texts written by explorers or colonists were i n t e n d e d a s " b r i e f s " m e a n t to inform or influence policy d e c i s i o n s m a d e at a d i s t a n c e . T o cite a s i m p l e e x a m p l e , C o l u m b u s h i m s e l f wrote a point-by-point description of his s e c o n d voyage in 1 4 9 5 , a d d r e s s e d to F e r d i n a n d a n d Isabella in a series of " i t e m s " to which the specific r e s p o n s e s of the sovereigns were a d d e d by a court s c r i b e . M o r e complexly, C o r t e s s o u g h t to justify his patently illegal invasion of Mexico in 1 5 1 9 by s e n d i n g several long letters to C h a r l e s V d e f e n d i n g his a c t i o n s a n d p r o m i s i n g lavish returns if his c o n q u e s t c o u l d p r o c e e d . M o s t d o c u m e n t s sent from A m e r i c a to the E u r o p e a n p o w e r s reveal s u c h generally political intentions. E u r o p e r e s p o n d e d by i s s u i n g directives a i m e d at controlling events a c r o s s the s e a . Even w h e n g o o d policies were a r t i c u l a t e d in E u r o p e , however, applying t h e m in the N e w World entailed further p r o b l e m s . By the time instructions arrived in H i s p a n i o l a , M e x i c o , J a m e s t o w n , or Q u e b e c , new events in the colony might have r e n d e r e d t h e m p o i n t l e s s . Dist a n c e m a d e control both crucial a n d difficult. W h e r e a s formal authority typically resided in E u r o p e , power a s a n informal fact of life a n d e x p e r i e n c e a n d c i r c u m s t a n c e b e l o n g e d to A m e r i c a , to t h o s e w h o c o u l d seize a n d u s e it or w h o a c q u i r e d it by virtue of what they did rather than the official investitures they bore. M u t i n y b e c a m e s o pervasive a fact or fear in A m e r i c a precisely b e c a u s e individuals a n d g r o u p s h a d , morally a n d geographically, great latitude in the thinly p o p u l a t e d colonial e n c l a v e s . If writing served in this a m b i g u o u s universe as a m e a n s to influence official policy at h o m e , it a l s o e m e r g e d as a m e a n s of justifying a c t i o n s (as with C o r t e s ) that violated or ignored E u r o p e a n directives.


Early A m e r i c a n writing h a d , t h o u g h , a third a n d m o r e c o m p e l l i n g p u r p o s e as a literature of w i t n e s s . T h a t we know so m u c h a b o u t the E u r o p e a n devastation of the W e s t Indies c o m e s from the fact that s o m e E u r o p e a n s r e s p o n d e d powerfully to that devastation in writing. A l t h o u g h no o n e typifies this m o o d better than B a r t o l o m e de las C a s a s , w h o a s s a i l e d S p a i n ' s r u t h l e s s destruction of whole p e o p l e s in A m e r i c a , it is the rare E u r o p e a n d o c u m e n t that d o e s not reveal the bloody truths of E u r o p e ' s colonial d r e a m s . S t a r t i n g on the C o l u m b i a n voyages t h e m s e l v e s a n d flowering in the S p a n i s h W e s t Indies, especially in the 1 5 4 0 s a n d 1 5 5 0 s w h e n d e b a t e s a b o u t the mistreatm e n t of the natives earnestly m o v e d the clerics a n d g o v e r n m e n t officials at h o m e , the N e w World inspired an o u t p o u r i n g of written e x p r e s s i o n . N o t all the literature of witness s p e a k s to specific i s s u e s of policy, or particular p u b lic d e b a t e s , but in m a n y of the texts o n e s e n s e s a critical eye, a point of view not likely to be swayed by the s l o g a n s of e m p i r e or faith or even wealth. Writers s u c h as D i a z del C a s t i l l o , the chronicler of C o r t e s , a n d E n g l a n d ' s J o h n S m i t h c a m e from the u n d e r c l a s s of their native c o u n t r i e s , where but for the opportunities r e p r e s e n t e d by A m e r i c a they might well have s p e n t their days in s i l e n c e . As a result, their writing c o u l d be subversive, even m u t i n o u s ,




achieving its g r e a t e s t d e p t h w h e n it c a p t u r e d a vision of A m e r i c a a s m o r e than a d e p e n d e n t province of the O l d W o r l d , rather a s a p l a c e w h e r e m u c h that w a s genuinely new might b e l e a r n e d .




T h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t of P l y m o u t h P l a n t a t i o n on the s o u t h s h o r e of M a s s a c h u s e t t s in 1 6 2 0 b r o u g h t to N o r t h A m e r i c a a n e w kind of E n g l i s h settler. T h e f o u n d e r s of the colony (later called Pilgrims by their l e a d e r a n d historian William B r a d f o r d ) s h a r e d with their allies, the P u r i t a n s , a wish to purify C h r i s t i a n belief a n d p r a c t i c e . W h e r e a s the P u r i t a n s initially were willing to work within the confines of the e s t a b l i s h e d C h u r c h of E n g l a n d , the Pilgrims t h o u g h t it so c o r r u p t that they w i s h e d to s e p a r a t e t h e m s e l v e s from it completely. W h i l e still in E n g l a n d , they set u p their own secret congregation in the village of S c r o o b y in N o t t i n g h a m s h i r e . Often s u b j e c t to p e r s e c u t i o n a n d i m p r i s o n m e n t , the S c r o o b y S e p a r a t i s t s (as they were also called) saw little c h a n c e for r e m a i n i n g true to their faith a s long a s they r e m a i n e d in E n g l a n d . In 1 6 0 8 , five years after Q u e e n Elizabeth h a d b e e n s u c c e e d e d by J a m e s S t u a r t , a n e n e m y of all s u c h r e f o r m e r s , the S c r o o b y c o n g r e g a t i o n left E n g l a n d a n d settled in T h e N e t h e r l a n d s , w h e r e , William B r a d f o r d tells u s , they saw "fair a n d beautiful c i t i e s " b u t , a s foreigners, they were c o n f r o n t e d by the "grisly f a c e of poverty." I s o l a t e d by their lang u a g e a n d u n a b l e to farm, they took u p t r a d e s like weaving, Bradford's c h o i c e , that p r o m i s e d a living. Eventually, fearing that they m i g h t l o s e their religious identity a s their children were s w a l l o w e d u p in D u t c h c u l t u r e , they petitioned for the right to settle in the vast A m e r i c a n territories of E n g l a n d ' s Virginia C o m p a n y . B a c k e d by E n g l i s h investors, the v e n t u r e w a s c o m m e r cial as well a s religious in n a t u r e . A m o n g the h u n d r e d p e o p l e on the Mayflower there were a l m o s t three t i m e s a s m a n y s e c u l a r settlers a s S e p a r a t i s t s . T h i s initial g r o u p , set d o w n on the raw M a s s a c h u s e t t s s h o r e in N o v e m b e r 1 6 2 0 , m a d e hasty a r r a n g e m e n t s to f a c e the winter. T h e colonists were h e l p e d over this "starving t i m e " by their own fortitude a n d the essential aid of the nearby W a m p a n o a g I n d i a n s a n d their leader, M a s s a s o i t . F r o m t h e s e " s m a l l b e g i n n i n g s , " a s B r a d f o r d w a s e a g e r to d e c l a r e , grew a c o m m u n i t y of mythical import to the later n a t i o n . M u c h larger at the start w a s the well-financed effort that b r o u g h t a contingent of P u r i t a n s u n d e r J o h n W i n t h r o p to M a s s a c h u s e t t s B a y , not far north of P l y m o u t h , in 1 6 3 0 . A l t h o u g h t h e s e settlers initially e x p r e s s e d no overt intention to sever their ties with the C h u r c h of E n g l a n d , a n d they are generally r e g a r d e d a s n o n s e p a r a t i n g d i s s e n t e r s , the d i s t a n c e they p u t b e t w e e n t h e m s e l v e s a n d that c h u r c h ' s hierarchy w a s e l o q u e n t t e s t i m o n y of a different p u r p o s e . O n other i s s u e s , they s h a r e d with the Pilgrims the s a m e b a s i c beliefs: both a g r e e d with M a r t i n L u t h e r that no p o p e or b i s h o p h a d a right to i m p o s e any law on a C h r i s t i a n without c o n s e n t a n d both a c c e p t e d J o h n Calvin's view that G o d freely c h o s e (or " e l e c t e d " ) t h o s e he w o u l d save a n d t h o s e h e would d a m n eternally. By 1 6 9 1 , w h e n a n e w c h a r t e r s u b s u m e d P l y m o u t h a s a n i n d e p e n d e n t colony u n d e r M a s s a c h u s e t t s B a y , the Pilgrims a n d P u r i t a n s h a d m e r g e d in all b u t m e m o r y . T o o m u c h c a n b e m a d e of the Calvinist doctrine of e l e c t i o n ; t h o s e w h o have not read the a c t u a l Puritan s e r m o n s often c o m e away from s e c o n d a r y



s o u r c e s with the m i s t a k e n notion that Puritans talked a b o u t n o t h i n g but d a m n a t i o n . P u r i t a n s did indeed hold that G o d h a d c h o s e n , before their birth, t h o s e w h o m he w i s h e d to s a v e ; but it d o e s not follow that P u r i t a n s c o n s i d e r e d m o s t of u s to be born d a m n e d . P u r i t a n s a r g u e d that A d a m broke the " C o v e n a n t of W o r k s " (the p r o m i s e G o d m a d e to A d a m that he w a s i m m o r t a l a n d c o u l d live in P a r a d i s e forever a s long as he obeyed G o d ' s c o m m a n d m e n t s ) when he disobeyed a n d a t e of the tree of knowledge of g o o d a n d evil, thereby bringing sin a n d d e a t h into the world. T h e i r central d o c t r i n e , however, w a s the n e w " C o v e n a n t of G r a c e , " a b i n d i n g a g r e e m e n t that C h r i s t m a d e with all p e o p l e who believed in him a n d that he s e a l e d with his Crucifixion, p r o m ising t h e m eternal life. P u r i t a n s t h u s a d d r e s s e d t h e m s e l v e s not to the h o p e lessly u n r e g e n e r a t e but to the indifferent, a n d they a d d r e s s e d the heart m o r e often than the m i n d , always d i s t i n g u i s h i n g b e t w e e n " h i s t o r i c a l " or rational u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d heartfelt "saving f a i t h . " T h e r e is m o r e joy in Puritan life a n d t h o u g h t than we often credit, a n d this joy is the direct result of m e d i tation on the doctrine of Christ's r e d e e m i n g power. E d w a r d Taylor is not a l o n e in m a k i n g his r a p t u r o u s litany of Christ's a t t r i b u t e s : " H e is altogether lovely in everything, lovely in His p e r s o n , lovely in H i s n a t u r e s , lovely in H i s properties, lovely in His offices, lovely in His titles, lovely in His p r a c t i c e , lovely in His p u r c h a s e s a n d lovely in His r e l a t i o n s . " All of Taylor's art is a meditation on the m i r a c u l o u s gift of the I n c a r n a t i o n , a n d in this r e s p e c t his sensibility is typically P u r i t a n . A n n e B r a d s t r e e t , w h o is remarkably frank a b o u t c o n f e s s i n g her religious d o u b t s , told her children that it w a s " u p o n this rock C h r i s t J e s u s " that s h e built her faith. N o t surprisingly, the P u r i t a n s held to the strictest r e q u i r e m e n t s regarding c o m m u n i o n , or, a s they preferred to call it, the Lord's S u p p e r . It w a s the m o r e i m p o r t a n t of the two s a c r a m e n t s they recognized ( b a p t i s m b e i n g the o t h e r ) , a n d they g u a r d e d it with a zeal that set t h e m apart from all other d i s s e n t e r s . In the b e g i n n i n g c o m m u n i o n w a s r e g a r d e d as a sign of election, to be taken only by t h o s e w h o h a d b e c o m e c h u r c h m e m b e r s by s t a n d i n g before their minister a n d elders a n d giving a n a c c o u n t of their conversion. T h i s i n s i s t e n c e on c h a l l e n g i n g their m e m b e r s m a d e t h e s e N e w E n g l a n d c h u r c h e s m o r e rigorous than any others a n d c o n f i r m e d the feeling that they were a special few. T h u s w h e n J o h n W i n t h r o p a d d r e s s e d the i m m i g r a n t s to the Bay C o l o n y a b o a r d the flagship Arbella in 1 6 3 0 , he told t h e m that the eyes of the world were on t h e m a n d that they would be a n e x a m p l e for all, a "city u p o n a hill." Like William B r a d f o r d for the Pilgrims, W i n t h r o p in his history of the P u r i t a n s w i s h e d to record the a c t u alization of that d r e a m .




While the N e w E n g l a n d c o l o n i e s have conventionally b e e n r e g a r d e d a s the c e n t e r p i e c e of early A m e r i c a n literature, the first N o r t h A m e r i c a n settlem e n t s h a d b e e n f o u n d e d e l s e w h e r e years, even d e c a d e s , earlier. S t . A u g u s tine, J a m e s t o w n , S a n t a F e , Albany, a n d N e w York, for i n s t a n c e , are all older than B o s t o n . M o r e important, E n g l i s h w a s not the only l a n g u a g e in which early N o r t h A m e r i c a n texts were written. I n d e e d , it w a s a tardy arrival in A m e r i c a , a n d its eventual e m e r g e n c e as the d o m i n a n t l a n g u a g e of c l a s s i c A m e r i c a n literature hardly w a s inevitable. T o s o m e extent, the large initial





immigration to B o s t o n in the 1 6 3 0 s , the high articulation of Puritan cultural ideals, a n d the early e s t a b l i s h m e n t of a college a n d a printing p r e s s in C a m bridge all gave N e w E n g l a n d a s u b s t a n t i a l e d g e . L a t e r political events w o u l d m a k e E n g l i s h a useful lingua f r a n c a for the c o l o n i e s at large a n d , in t i m e , the literary m e d i u m of c h o i c e . B e f o r e 1 7 0 0 , however, a n d often long after it, other l a n g u a g e s r e m a i n e d actively in u s e not only for m u n d a n e p u r p o s e s but a l s o a s expressive vehicles. Particularly beyond the v a g u e b o r d e r s of the E n g l i s h colonial world (the shifting lines b e t w e e n F r e n c h C a n a d a a n d N e w E n g l a n d a n d the s o u t h e r n colonies a n d S p a n i s h Florida, for e x a m p l e ) , t h o s e other l a n g u a g e s were c o m pletely d o m i n a n t . Even within the limits of the eventual thirteen c o l o n i e s , however, large e n c l a v e s of s p e a k e r s of other l a n g u a g e s existed, especially in the m i d d l e c o l o n i e s . A m o n g the noteworthy settlers of N e w N e t h e r l a n d , for i n s t a n c e , were B e l g i a n W a l l o o n s , near n e i g h b o r s of the D u t c h in E u r o p e b u t s p e a k e r s of a radically different l a n g u a g e . T h e mix of " f o r e i g n e r s " in Albany, b e g u n a s a fur trade p o s t by N e t h e r l a n d e r m e r c h a n t s o n the u p p e r H u d s o n , m a d e it a minority D u t c h town, its p o p u l a t i o n m a d e u p of settlers of S c a n dinavian, F r e n c h , P o r t u g u e s e , E n g l i s h , Irish, S c o t s , G e r m a n , A f r i c a n , a n d W e s t Indian d e r i v a t i o n e v e n p e o p l e from S p a i n , then the e n e m y of the N e t h e r l a n d e r s , a n d from faraway C r o a t i a . F o r two c e n t u r i e s after N e w N e t h erland w a s c o n q u e r e d by the E n g l i s h in 1 6 6 4 a n d r e n a m e d N e w York, D u t c h a n d other l a n g u a g e s were widely u s e d there in public a n d private life before eventually dying out. S i m i l a r linguistic t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s , with the social a n d personal losses they bring, o c c u r r e d in other E n g l i s h - c o n t r o l l e d regions that would eventually form the U n i t e d S t a t e s . In P e n n s y l v a n i a , w h e r e large g r o u p s of P r o t e s t a n t s from continental E u r o p e w e r e w e l c o m e d by William P e n n , G e r m a n in particular r e m a i n s a vital l a n g u a g e to this day, a l t h o u g h the friction b e t w e e n G e r m a n c o m m u n i t i e s there a n d "the E n g l i s h " r e m i n d s u s that l a n g u a g e is a g r o u n d of c o n t e s t b e t w e e n e t h n i c g r o u p s , not j u s t of self-expression within e a c h . In fact, the first item printed in P e n n s y l v a n i a , a l t h o u g h it i s s u e d from the p r e s s e s t a b l i s h e d by a n i m m i g r a n t E n g l i s h m a n , was in G e r m a n , a n d the largest b o o k printed in any of the c o l o n i e s before the Revolution w a s in the s a m e l a n g u a g e . W h e n we read A m e r i c a n history b a c k w a r d , looking for early p r e c e d e n t s of national institutions, p r a c t i c e s , a n d v a l u e s , we are likely to m i s s the radical linguistic a n d cultural diversity of the colonial world. R e a d e r s of the colonial record n e e d to a t t e n d to the m a n y t o n g u e s t h r o u g h which the c o l o n i s t s articulated their e x p e r i e n c e s , vision, a n d v a l u e s . It is to this e n d that t r a n s l a t e d s e l e c t i o n s from works written by n o n - E n g l i s h colonists are i n c l u d e d a l o n g with E n g l i s h texts to represent the first full century of N o r t h A m e r i c a n writing. Part of the u s e f u l n e s s of s u c h a b r o a d survey is the insight it offers into the t h e m e s , f o r m s , a n d c o n c e r n s s h a r e d by many p e o p l e s involved in the cultural a n d territorial e x p a n s i o n of E u r o p e a n p e o p l e s at the t i m e .





Along the e a s t e r n s e a b o a r d by 1 7 0 0 , m o s t of the c o l o n i e s that were to unite in s e e k i n g i n d e p e n d e n c e from Britain toward the e n d of the e i g h t e e n t h century h a d b e e n f o u n d e d G e o r g i a w a s to follow in the 1 7 3 0 s . As Britain



s o u g h t to c o n s o l i d a t e a n d unify its overseas p o s s e s s i o n s , the m a p b e g a n to r e s e m b l e that of 1 7 7 6 , a n d E n g l i s h had already e m e r g e d a s a powerful intercolonial tool. B u t up a n d d o w n the c o a s t , a s u r p r i s i n g variety of p e o p l e s w a s in e v i d e n c e , m o s t of w h o m h a d b e c o m e a c c u s t o m e d to the transatlantic or local publication of their writings. At the e n d of the first full century of E u r o p e a n colonization, the printing p r e s s w a s active in m a n y a r e a s , from C a m b r i d g e a n d B o s t o n to N e w York, Philadelphia, a n d A n n a p o l i s . F r o m 1 6 9 6 to 1 7 0 0 , to be s u r e , only a b o u t 2 5 0 s e p a r a t e i t e m s were i s s u e d in all these p l a c e s c o m b i n e d . Although this is a small n u m b e r c o m p a r e d to the o u t p u t of the printers of L o n d o n at the t i m e , it m u s t be r e m e m b e r e d that printing w a s e s t a b l i s h e d in the A m e r i c a n c o l o n i e s before it w a s allowed in m o s t of E n g l a n d , where restrictive laws, the last of t h e m r e p e a l e d a s late a s 1 6 9 3 , had long confined printing to four locations: L o n d o n , York, Oxford, a n d C a m b r i d g e . In this regard, if only b e c a u s e of the isolation of the American provinces by the o c e a n , they ventured into the m o d e r n world earlier than their provincial E n g l i s h c o u n t e r p a r t s . T h e literary situation in A m e r i c a three c e n t u r i e s a g o is s u g g e s t e d by a brief examination of the p r o d u c t s of the p r e s s e s then in o p e r a t i o n . A m o n g t h o s e 2 5 0 items p u b l i s h e d at the century's e n d w a s a whole library of texts by the m o s t prolific colonial a u t h o r , C o t t o n M a t h e r . In this period, he p u b l i s h e d m o r e than three dozen titles, i n c l u d i n g s u c h things a s his a c c o u n t of the "tearful d e c a d e " (168898) of warfare b e t w e e n N e w E n g l a n d a n d N e w F r a n c e a n d the latter's Indian allies, which incorporated his f a m o u s narrative of the bloody e s c a p e of H a n n a h D u s t a n from her c a p t o r s . M a t h e r also p u b lished several b i o g r a p h i e s of N e w E n g l a n d ' s f o u n d i n g ministers a n d p e n n e d treatises on the p r o p e r behavior of servants toward their m a s t e r s , on the "well-ordered family," a n d on the spiritual risks run by s e a m e n . H e a l s o i s s u e d a w a r n i n g a g a i n s t " i m p o s t o r s p r e t e n d i n g to be m i n i s t e r s . " A n d he wrote Pillars of Salt, a venture into criminal biography that had religious origins but that also reflected the i m p o r t a n c e of an e m e r g e n t p o p u l a r (as o p p o s e d to elite) literary c u l t u r e on both sides of the Atlantic. D e s p i t e their t e n d e n c y to mirror the self-regarding a s p e c t of Puritan t h o u g h t , even M a t h e r ' s works remind u s that A m e r i c a in 1 7 0 0 w a s o p e n i n g o u t w a r d . In the Magnalia Christi Americana, p u b l i s h e d j u s t after the start of the new century, M a t h e r himself told a n a n e c d o t e that conveys the c h a n g e at h a n d . A newly trained minister w h o h a d j o u r n e y e d north from M a s s a c h u setts Bay to M a i n e was p r e a c h i n g to a g r o u p of h a r d e n e d fishermen. H e w a s urging his listeners not to " c o n t r a d i c t the m a i n end of Planting this Wildern e s s , " the service of G o d a n d G o d ' s p u r p o s e s , w h e n a m e m b e r of the m a k e shift gathering h a d the effrontery to contradict him: "Sir, you are m i s t a k e n , you think you are P r e a c h i n g to the P e o p l e at the Bay; our m a i n e n d w a s to c a t c h F i s h . " Even in N e w E n g l a n d , M a t h e r s u g g e s t s , m a i n e n d s differed profoundly from p l a c e to p l a c e a n d from c o m m u n i t y to c o m m u n i t y . E l s e where, the rich array of p u r p o s e s w a s reflected in the diverse items i s s u e d by A m e r i c a n printers at the time when M a t h e r ' s Magnalia w a s j u s t a p p e a r i n g (this large book w a s first p u b l i s h e d in L o n d o n , not in B o s t o n , it might be n o t e d ) . T h e r e was a pair of texts, for i n s t a n c e , d e a l i n g with the Native Ameri c a n s of N e w York that s u g g e s t how colonialism was altered by the drive toward cross-cultural interaction. O n e reported on a c o n f e r e n c e held in 1 6 9 6 between the governor of that " p r o v i n c e , " a s all the c o l o n i e s were then b e i n g





called, a n d the "Five . . . N a t i o n s of I n d i a n s , " the I r o q u o i s , a d y n a m i c confederacy of p e o p l e s who h a d long controlled m u c h of N e w York's territory a n d exacted tribute from far distant native p e o p l e s a s well. T h i s w a s a kind of text that proliferated t h r o u g h o u t N e w York's colonial era, w h e n the governor a n d his a g e n t s m a d e regular visits to the important Iroquois capital at O n o n d a g a to listen to the c o n c e r n s of t h e s e E n g l i s h allies. T h e s e c o n d text c o n c e r n i n g native p e o p l e s in N e w York a l s o reflected this u n i q u e c r o s s cultural pattern. In the 1 6 9 0 s , w h e n the F r e n c h a n d E n g l i s h e m p i r e s were c o m i n g into s e r i o u s conflict in A m e r i c a , native p e o p l e s were frequently swept up in the fray. T h e " P r o p o s i t i o n s M a d e by the Five N a t i o n s of I n d i a n s " to N e w York's governor in 1 6 9 8 accordingly e n t r e a t e d him to protect the Iroq u o i s from h a r a s s m e n t by N e w F r a n c e ' s Indian allies, w h o were moving e a s t w a r d into Iroquoia a n d fiercely raiding the villages t h e r e . S u c h texts, r e a c h i n g a c r o s s the b o u n d a r i e s b e t w e e n the I n d i a n nations a n d colonial p o w e r s , c a t c h the d i p l o m a t i c t o n e of c r o s s - c u l t u r a l relations in the M i d a t l a n t i c region. T h e complexity of the political c u l t u r e in early America is b o r n e out in other texts of the era a s well, s u c h a s God's Protecting Providence ( 1 6 9 9 ) , P h i l a d e l p h i a n J o n a t h a n D i c k i n s o n ' s m u c h reprinted a c c o u n t of his shipwreck a n d Indian captivity in S p a n i s h F l o r i d a , which c o m b i n e d piety, a d v e n t u r e , a n d e x o t i c i s m . Similarly exotic w a s Barbarian Cruelties ( 1 7 0 0 ) , which told of E u r o p e a n c a p t i v e s in N o r t h Africa, a n a r e a of the g l o b e that w a s long to be the f o c u s of W e s t e r n e r s ' anxieties a n d , in the post-Revolutionary era, an A m e r i c a n war or two. B u t s u c h a d v e n t u r o u s narratives were not all sited in exotic a n d d i s t a n t l o c a l e s . S o m e , like the seemingly m u n d a n e textbook in the E n g l i s h l a n g u a g e written by F r a n c i s D a n i e l P a s t o r i u s a n d a i m e d not only at y o u n g A m e r i c a n s but a l s o (as the author's own G e r m a n i c - s o u n d i n g E n g l i s h s u g g e s t e d ) at " t h o s e w h o from foreign c o u n t r i e s a n d nations c o m e to settle a m o n g s t u s , " s u g g e s t less d r a m a t i c but still i m p o r t a n t cross-cultural c o n c e r n s . Religion, a d o m i n a n t t h e m e in the A m e r i c a n p r e s s in 1 7 0 0 , w a s itself linked to strong social i s s u e s , a s was d e m o n s t r a t e d by D a n i e l G o u l d ' s a c c o u n t of the e x e c u t i o n of Quaker diss e n t e r s in B o s t o n fifty years earlier, a work that a p p e a r e d in N e w York in 1 7 0 0 . T h e printer of G o u l d ' s book, in fact, a l s o i s s u e d a pair of d i s s e n t i n g tracts by Quaker a n d S a l e m m e r c h a n t T h o m a s M a u l e , i n c l u d i n g o n e called New England's Persecutors Mauled with Their Own Weapons. M a u l e ' s n a m e b e c a m e f a m o u s to later g e n e r a t i o n s of r e a d e r s t h r o u g h N a t h a n i e l Hawthorne's n o n e too a c c u r a t e a s s o c i a t i o n of it with the c u r s e d o o m i n g the Pync h e o n family in his S a l e m novel The House of the Seven Gables. Finally, r o u n d i n g out the century, c a m e The Selling of Joseph by S a m u e l Sewall, a m o n g the earliest antislavery tracts written a n d p u b l i s h e d in A m e r i c a a n d t h u s a work of growing i m p o r t a n c e in the future. A l t h o u g h the p u b l i s h e d items from this half d e c a d e of the s e v e n t e e n t h century also c o m p r i s e d a l m a n a c s a n d g o v e r n m e n t a l p u b l i c a t i o n s , s u c h i t e m s c o n t r i b u t e d a s well to the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of print c u l t u r e a n d , ultimately, of literary traditions in British A m e r i c a . It w a s to be the a l m a n a c , o n e recalls, that h e l p e d m a k e B e n j a m i n Franklin's fortune a s a printer, a n d it w a s Franklin w h o c o n v e r t e d that everyday form into a vehicle of rare wit a n d sturdy E n g l i s h .

Peoples indigenous to the Americas orally perform and transmit a variety of "literary" genres that include, among others, speeches, songs, and stories


10001300 Anasazi communities inhabit southwestern regions. 1492 Christopher Columbus arrives in the Bahamas between 4 and 7 million Native Americans estimated in present-day United States, including Alaska 1493 Columbus, "Letter to Luis de Santangel Regarding the First Voyage" 1500 Native American populations begin to be ravaged by European diseases 1514 Bartolome de las Casas petitions Spanish crown to treat Native American peoples like other human (subject) populations 151921 Cortes conquers Aztecs in Mexico I 526 Spanish explorers bringfirstAfrican slaves to South Carolina 1539 First printing press in the Americas set up in Mexico City Hernando de Soto invades Florida 1542 Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, The
Relation of Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca

1552 Bartolome de las Casas, The Very

Brief Relation of the Devastation of the Indies

1558-1603 c. 1 568 Bernal Diaz del Castillo composes

The True History of the Conquest of New Spain (pub. 1632)

Reign of Elizabeth I

1 584 Walter Ralegh lands on "island" of Roanoke; names it "Virginia" for Queen Elizabeth 1588 Thomas Harriot, A Brief and True
Report of the New Found Land of Virginia

160313 Samuel de Champlain explores the St. Lawrence River; founds Quebec 1605 Garcilaso de la Vega, The Florida of
the Inca

Boldface titles indicateworks in the anthology.

1 5


1607 Jamestown is established in Virginia Powhatan confederacy prevents colonists from starving; teaches them to plant tobacco

1613 Samuel de Champlain, The Voyages

of Sietir de Champlain

1619 Twenty Africans arrive in Jamestown on a Dutch vessel as indentured servants 1620 Mayflower drops anchor in Plymouth Harbor 1621 First Thanksgiving, at Plymouth 1624 John Smith, The General History of
Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles

1630 John Winthrop delivers his sermon

A Model of Christian Charity (pub. 1838)

1630-43 Immigration of English Puritans to Massachusetts Bay

1630-50 William Bradford writes Of

Plymouth Plantation (pub. 1856)

1637 Thomas Morton, New England


1637 PequotWar 1638 Anne Hutchinson banished from Bay Colony for challenging Puritan beliefs.

1643 Roger Williams, A Key into the

Langitage of America

1650 Anne Bradstreet, The Tenth Muse 1655 Adriaen Van der Donck, A
Description of New Netherland

1661 Jacob Steendam, "The Praise of New Netherland" 1662 Michael Wigglesworth, Tlte Day of

1673-1729 Samuel Sewall keeps his Diary (pub. 1878-82) 167578 King Philip's War destroys power of Native American tribes in New England 1681 William Penn founds Pennsylvania 1682 Mar) Rowlandson's Narrative of the
Captivity and Restoration

16821 725 Edward Taylor continues his

Preparatory Meditations (pub. 1939, 1960)

1684 Francis Daniel Pastorius, Positive

Information from America

1692 Salem witch trials 1702 Cotton Mather, Magtialia Christi


American Literature 1700-1820

AN E X P A N D I N G W O R L D A N D U N I V E R S E By t h e time of C o t t o n M a t h e r ' s d e a t h in 1 7 2 8 , which symbolically m a r k s t h e p a s s i n g o f P u r i t a n i s m a s t h e colonists h a d e x p e r i e n c e d it, t h e imaginative world h e a n d other clerical writers strove to m a i n t a i n w a s c h a l l e n g e d in a variety of ways. T h e eighteenth century s a w e n o r m o u s c h a n g e s e c o n o m i c , social, p h i l o s o p h i c a l , a n d scientificthat inevitably affected the influence a n d authority of clergymen like M a t h e r a n d t r a n s f o r m e d t h e ways in which they u n d e r s t o o d t h e world. M o s t important, m a n y intellectuals now believed in the power o f the h u m a n m i n d to c o m p r e h e n d t h e universe a s never b e f o r e , particularly through t h e laws o f physics a s they recently h a d b e e n d e s c r i b e d by t h e great I s a a c N e w t o n ( 1 6 4 2 1 7 2 7 ) . Inevitably, t h e n , s c r i p t u r e b e c a m e more a h a n d m a i d e n than a g u i d e to m e t a p h y s i c s . S e c o n d , a n d of e q u a l i m p o r t a n c e , through t h e influence of the E n g l i s h m e t a p h y s i c i a n John L o c k e ( 1 6 3 2 1 7 0 4 ) there a r o s e j p w p s y r h n l o c r i r a l p a r a d i g m s that p r o m u l g a t e d h u m a n sympatriyTTatherlhan s u p e r n a t u r a l g r a c e , a s t h e b a s i s for t h e moral HfeTAs e l a b o r a t e d by A d a m S m i t h a n d other thinkers, this reliance on h u m a n sympathy or " s e n t i m e n t " a s t h e catalyst for moral c h o i c e a n d action c o n c o m itantly e n c o u r a g e d t h e belief that e a c h individual h a d t h e power to control his or her spiritual destiny. S u c h c h a l l e n g e s to t h e t h e o c e n t r i c world of t h e colonial clergy were part o f the i m m e n s e c h a n g e s in W e s t e r n t h o u g h t d e s c r i b e d by historians a s t h e E n l i g h t e n m e n t . T h e E n l i g h t e n m e n t h a d political a s well a s scientific a n d religious implic a t i o n s . By the e n d of the century, colonists were in t h e p r o c e s s of e s t a b lishing a polity t h e likes of which the world h a d not yet s e e n . T h e r e w o u l d be a religious e l e m e n t to this n e w nation, but it would b e only o n e c o m p o n e n t of a state w h o s e destiny, while still thought o f a s divinely g u a r a n t e e d , w a s u n d e r s t o o d to b e a c h i e v a b l e on earth through t h e s p r e a d o f d e m o c r a t i c principles. T h e literature of this century reflected a n d e x t e n d e d t h e s e a n d other new e m p h a s e s in W e s t e r n thought a n d c u l t u r e . T h e eighteenth century b r o u g h t a n e w world into b e i n g in t h e m o s t b a s i c a n d striking ways. T h e i n c r e a s e in p o p u l a t i o n a l o n e helps a c c o u n t for t h e greater diversity o f opinion in religious a s well a s in political life that m a r k e d it a n d its literature. In 1 6 7 0 , for e x a m p l e , t h e p o p u l a t i o n o f t h e colonies n u m b e r e d approximately 1 1 1 , 0 0 0 . Thirty years later it w a s m o r e than 2 5 0 , 0 0 0 ; by 1 7 6 0 , if o n e i n c l u d e s G e o r g i a , it r e a c h e d 1 , 6 0 0 , 0 0 0 a n d the settled a r e a h a d tripled. T h e d e m a n d for a n d price o f colonial g o o d s i n c r e a s e d in E n g l a n d , a n d vast fortunes were to b e m a d e in N e w E n g l a n d with any b u s i n e s s c o n n e c t e d with shipbuilding: especially timber, tar, a n d 171




1 7 0 0 - 1 8 2 0

pitch. Virginia planters b e c a m e rich through t o b a c c o ; a n d rice a n d indigo from the C a r o l i n a s were in c o n s t a n t d e m a n d . Further, c o m p a r e d with s u c h c r o w d e d cities as L o n d o n , the colonies were healthier a n d c h e a p e r , a n d promotional literature as well as p e r s o n a l testimony p a i n t e d British N o r t h America a s a region in which o n e c o u l d take c h a r g e of a n d t r a n s f o r m one's life. T h u s t h o s e w h o c o u l d a r r a n g e their p a s s a g e , either by paying for it outright or m o r t g a g i n g it through i n d e n t u r e d service, arrived in great n u m b e r s : B o s ton, for e x a m p l e , a l m o s t d o u b l e d in size from 1 7 0 0 to 1 7 2 0 . T h e c o l o n i e s were ethnically diverse; the great migration during the first half of the eighteenth century w a s not primarily E n g l i s h . D u t c h a n d G e r m a n s c a m e in large n u m b e r s a n d so did F r e n c h P r o t e s t a n t s . By this t i m e , too, J e w i s h m e r c h a n t s a n d c r a f t s m e n e s t a b l i s h e d t h e m s e l v e s in N e w York a n d P h i l a d e l p h i a . T h i s rapidly e x p a n d i n g t r a d e h a l l m a r k of what we now recognize as the b e g i n n i n g of m o d e r n c o n s u m e r i s m l i n k e d the c o l o n i e s to other a r e a s in what historians call the Atlantic R i m , a region e n c o m p a s s i n g E u r o p e , Africa, a n d the C a r i b b e a n basin a s well a s N o r t h a n d S o u t h A m e r i c a . T h e rim h a d a complex, m u l t i e t h n i c , multiracial p o p u l a t i o n u n i t e d by their status a s laborers. T h u s even a s the new a n d s e e m i n g l y insatiable d e s i r e for g o o d s brought great wealth to planters a n d m e r c h a n t s , it c r e a t e d at the other e n d of the social s p e c t r u m the world's first multiethnic working c l a s s , o n e w h o s e m e m b e r s often had to e n d u r e great cruelty. T h e n u m b e r s of e n s l a v e d Afric a n s i n c r e a s e d in this p e r i o d , for e x a m p l e , even a s s o m e of t h e m , typified here by O l a u d a h E q u i a n o , b e g a n to s p e a k o u t a b o u t their e x p e r i e n c e s a n d condition. O t h e r g r o u p s like the N e w E n g l a n d I n d i a n s suffered in different ways. E s t i m a t e d to n u m b e r 2 5 , 0 0 0 in 1 6 0 0 , they already h a d b e e n r e d u c e d by one-third d u r i n g the p l a g u e of 161618 a n d d e c l i n e d steadily thereafter; m a n y Native A m e r i c a n c o m m u n i t i e s d i s a p p e a r e d entirely d u r i n g this period of e x p a n s i o n in the N o r t h e a s t . T h e i r fate in the s o u t h e r n c o l o n i e s a n d the C a r i b b e a n i s l a n d s , often linked to p l a n t a t i o n slavery, w a s no better. T h i s e c o n o m i c take-off affected the very warp a n d w o o f of social organization. N e w E n g l a n d towns, for e x a m p l e , long viewed a s pillars of stability, often were full of a c r i m o n i o u s d e b a t e b e t w e e n first settlers a n d n e w c o m e r s as they bickered over d i m i n i s h i n g land or the p r o p e r form a n d s u b s t a n c e of worship. W h e n the c o l o n i e s ' first towns were f o r m e d , for e x a m p l e , a c r e a g e w a s a p p o r t i o n e d to settlers a n d allotted free; b u t by 1 7 1 3 s p e c u l a t o r s in land were hard at work, buying a s m u c h a s p o s s i b l e for a s little a s p o s s i b l e a n d selling high. M a n y a town history r e c o r d s the wrangling of splinter g r o u p s a n d the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of a " s e c o n d " c h u r c h a n d the inevitable removal of families a n d g r o u p s w h o s o u g h t richer farm l a n d s . U n d e r n e w e c o n o m i c a n d religious p r e s s u r e s , the idea of a " c o m m u n i t y " of m u t u a l l y helpful s o u l s w a s fast d i s a p p e a r i n g , a n d the c o l o n i s t s ' g r a d u a l a w a k e n i n g to the incongruity of the slavery that they tolerated or e n c o u r a g e d only further s t r e t c h e d the c a p a c i t y of their rhetoric of C h r i s t i a n charity. W h i l e life in m a n y parts of the c o l o n i e s r e m a i n e d difficult, the h a r d s h i p s a n d d a n g e r s the first settlers f a c e d were mostly o v e r c o m e , a n d m o r e a n d m o r e c o l o n i s t s , particularly t h o s e a l o n g the c o a s t , e m u l a t e d the c u l t u r e of m e t r o p o l i t a n L o n d o n . C o n c o m i t a n t l y , o n c e c o l o n i s t s b e g a n to expect the refinements m a d e available by their extensive trading n e t w o r k s , they better u n d e r s t o o d what w a s special or u n i q u e a b o u t their e x p e r i e n c e in the N e w W o r l d . U n i t e d by the c o m m o n e x p e r i e n c e of o c e a n p a s s a g e a n d the desire



to m a k e new lives for t h e m s e l v e s , t h e s e t h o u s a n d s of e m i g r a n t s slowly but inexorably b e g a n to realize that they had m o r e in c o m m o n a s i n h a b i t a n t s of A m e r i c a than they did a s citizens of a E u r o p e that rapidly r e c e d e d into m e m ory. In 1 7 0 2 no o n e would have d r e a m e d of an i n d e p e n d e n t union of colonies, but by the 1 7 5 0 s it w a s a distinct possibility.



By the early eighteenth century, scientists a n d p h i l o s o p h e r s had p o s e d great c h a l l e n g e s to seventeenth-century beliefs, a n d the " m o d e r n " period a s we u n d e r s t a n d it e m e r g e d from their efforts to c o n c e i v e h u m a n s a n d their universe in new t e r m s , even a s they struggled to yoke this brave new world to what they learned in s c r i p t u r e . I n d e e d , scientists like N e w t o n a n d philosophers like L o c k e s o u g h t to resolve implicit conflicts b e t w e e n their discoveries a n d traditionally held C h r i s t i a n truths. B e c a u s e they believed that G o d worked in r e a s o n a b l e , c o m p r e h e n s i b l e ways with h u m a n k i n d u p p e r m o s t , they saw nothing heretical in a r g u i n g that the universe w a s an orderly s y s t e m s u c h that by the application of r e a s o n h u m a n i t y would c o m p r e h e n d its laws, or that one's s u p r e m e obligation w a s to relate to one's fellows through an innate a n d thus natural power of sympathy. B u t the inevitable result of s u c h inquiries m a d e the universe s e e m m o r e rational a n d benevolent than it had b e e n r e p r e s e n t e d in Puritan doctrine. Similarly, p e o p l e increasingly defined their highest duties in social rather than in spiritual t e r m s . B e c a u s e s c i e n c e m a d e the world s e e m m o r e c o m p r e h e n s i b l e , m a n y put less s t o c k in revealed religion. Often t h e s e new scientists a n d p h i l o s o p h e r s were avowedly, or were called, D e i s t s ; they d e d u c e d the existence of a s u p r e m e b e i n g from the c o n s t r u c t i o n of the universe itself rather than from the Bible. "A c r e a t i o n , " as o n e d i s t i n g u i s h e d historian has put it, " p r e s u p p o s e s a c r e a t o r . " A h a r m o n i o u s universe p r o c l a i m e d the b e n e f i c e n c e of G o d . A n u m b e r of seventeenth-century m o d e s of t h o u g h t B r a d f o r d ' s a n d Winthrop's p e n c h a n t for the allegorical a n d e m b l e m a t i c , s e e i n g every natural and h u m a n event as a m e s s a g e from G o d , for i n s t a n c e s e e m e d a n a c h r o nistic a n d q u a i n t . P e o p l e were less interested in the m e t a p h y s i c a l w i s d o m of introspective divines than in the p r o g r e s s of ordinary individuals, relating now to their fellow beings t h r o u g h e m o t i o n s a n d e x p e r i e n c e s they s h a r e d a s colonists. T h i s no d o u b t a c c o u n t s for the popularity of B e n j a m i n Franklin's Autobiography. M a n y now a s s u m e d that h u m a n k i n d was naturally g o o d a n d thus dwelt on neither the Fall nor the I n c a r n a t i o n , but rather on how thinking, feeling p e o p l e s h a r e d the b o n d s of their c o m m o n h u m a n i t y . T h e y were not interested in theology but in h u m a n k i n d ' s own n a t u r e , a n d frequently cited Alexander P o p e ' s f a m o u s c o u p l e t : Know then thyself, p r e s u m e not G o d to s c a n , T h e p r o p e r study of m a n k i n d is m a n . L o c k e said that " o u r b u s i n e s s " here o n earth "is not to know all things, but t h o s e which c o n c e r n our c o n d u c t . " In s u g g e s t i n g that we are not born with a set of innate i d e a s of good or evil a n d that the mind is rather like a blank wax tablet (a tabula rasa) on which e x p e r i e n c e s are inscribed, L o c k e qualified traditional belief a n d s u g g e s t e d that the m o r e that we u n d e r s t o o d




a n d s y m p a t h i z e d with our fellow m e n a n d w o m e n , the richer our social a n d spiritual lives would b e .







B u t the old beliefs did not die easily, a n d a s early as the 1 7 3 0 s a conservative reaction a g a i n s t the worldview of the n e w s c i e n c e a n d psychology followed a s s o m e intellectuals, a w a r e of the n e w t h o u g h t but intent on m a i n t a i n i n g the final truth of revealed religion, resisted the religious i m p l i c a t i o n s of E n l i g h t e n m e n t principles. B u t the g e n i e h a d e s c a p e d from the bottle, a n d this reaction w a s indelibly m a r k e d by the new t h o u g h t it o p p o s e d . O n e unexp e c t e d result, for e x a m p l e , w a s that the first half of the e i g h t e e n t h century w i t n e s s e d a n u m b e r of religious revivals in both E n g l a n d a n d A m e r i c a that in part were fueled by the new e m p h a s i s on e m o t i o n a s a c o m p o n e n t of h u m a n e x p e r i e n c e . A l t h o u g h s o m e historians view the revivals a s d e s p e r a t e efforts to r e a s s e r t o u t m o d e d Puritan v a l u e s in the f a c e of the new, in fact the religious fires that b u r n e d so intensely b e t w e e n 1 7 3 5 a n d 1 7 5 0 were t h e m s e l v e s the direct p r o d u c t of the n e w cult of feeling w h o s e f o u n d a t i o n L o c k e h a d laid. N o w ministers a s well a s p h i l o s o p h e r s a r g u e d that our greatest p l e a s u r e w a s derived from the g o o d we did for o t h e r s , a n d that our s y m p a t h e t i c e m o t i o n s (our joys as well a s our tears) were not signs of h u m a n kind's fallen state but rather a g u a r a n t e e of our glorious f u t u r e . T h e African A m e r i c a n p o e t Phillis Wheatley, for e x a m p l e , w h o s e p o e m o n the d e a t h of the itinerant M e t h o d i s t G e o r g e Whitefield ( 1 7 1 4 1 7 7 0 ) m a d e her f a m o u s , said that Whitefield prayed that " g r a c e in every heart might dwell" a n d longed to s e e " A m e r i c a excell." Following his m a n y s u c c e s s f u l religious revivals in E n g l a n d , Whitefield e m b a r k e d on a p r e a c h i n g tour a l o n g the Atlantic seab o a r d colonies in 173940, a visit that w a s p u n c t u a t e d by great e m o t i o n a l i s m . B u t in this he only followed the similarly "extraordinary c i r c u m s t a n c e s " that h a d o c c u r r e d in N o r t h a m p t o n , M a s s a c h u s e t t s , u n d e r the l e a d e r s h i p of J o n a t h a n E d w a r d s in the 1 7 3 0 s a n d that have c o m e to be s y n o n y m o u s with the " G r e a t A w a k e n i n g . " E d w a r d s a l s o h a d read his L o c k e a n d u n d e r s t o o d that if his p a r i s h i o n e r s were to b e a w a k e n e d from their spiritual s l u m b e r s they h a d to e x p e r i e n c e religion in a m o r e heartfelt way, not j u s t strive to c o m p r e h e n d it intellectually. T h u s , from his time a s a y o u n g minister u n d e r the t u t e l a g e of his eminent g r a n d f a t h e r , the Reverend S o l o m o n S t o d d a r d , E d w a r d s b e g a n to rejuvenate the b a s i c tenets of C a l v i n i s m , i n c l u d i n g that of u n c o n d i t i o n a l election, the o n e doctrine m o s t difficult for e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y m i n d s to a c c e p t . E d w a r d s insisted that s u c h d o c t r i n e s m a d e s e n s e in t e r m s of Enlighte n m e n t s c i e n c e . H a m m e r i n g at his a u d i e n c e t h r o u g h what o n e historian h a s called a "rhetoric of s e n s a t i o n , " he p e r s u a d e d his c o n g r e g a t i o n that G o d ' s sovereignty w a s not only a m o s t r e a s o n a b l e d o c t r i n e but a l s o the m o s t "delightful," a n d a p p e a r e d to him in a n a l m o s t s e n s u o u s way a s " e x c e e d i n g p l e a s a n t , bright, a n d s w e e t . " In carefully r e a s o n e d , calmly a r g u e d p r o s e , a s h a r m o n i o u s a n d a s ordered a s anything the a g e p r o d u c e d , E d w a r d s brought m a n y in his a u d i e n c e to u n d e r s t a n d that "if the great things of religion a r e rightly u n d e r s t o o d , they will affect the h e a r t . " T h u s , while m o s t p e o p l e r e m e m b e r E d w a r d s for his frightening s e r m o n Sinners in the Hands of an



Angry God, he w a s m u c h m o r e m o v e d by the experience of j o y that his faith b r o u g h t h i m . M o r e typical is his " P e r s o n a l N a r r a t i v e " or his a p o s t r o p h e to S a r a Pierpont ( w h o m he would marry), for both testify to how experientially moving h e f o u n d true religious feeling. T h e s e are f o u n d a t i o n a l texts for u n d e r s t a n d i n g the rise of the s e n t i m e n t a l in literature a n d W e s t e r n c u l t u r e generally. T h e A w a k e n i n g in turn e n g e n d e r e d a s m a n y critics a s s u p p o r t e r s , for m a n y believed that revivalists were too given over to " e n t h u s i a s m " at the e x p e n s e of their r e a s o n . T h u s E d w a r d s a n d others w h o believed in the new light that G o d h a d s h e d over t h e m h a d to expend m u c h time a n d energy in p a m p h l e t wars with p r o m i n e n t clergy s u c h a s B o s t o n ' s C h a r l e s C h a u n c y w h o , from his pulpit in that city's First C h u r c h , c o m p a r e d the antics of the revived to the hysteria that A n n e H u t c h i n s o n earlier h a d instigated. H e i r s to a rapid expansion of print c u l t u r e that fueled the controversies over revival, o p p o n e n t s like E d w a r d s a n d C h a u n c y , a n d others on both sides of the religious q u e s t i o n , u s e d the p r e s s e s a s never before to win over public opinion. Inevitably, the fires of revival b u r n e d lower; w h e n E d w a r d s h i m s e l f tried to c o n s o l i d a t e his s u c c e s s in N o r t h a m p t o n a n d in 1 7 4 9 d e m a n d e d from a p p l i c a n t s p e r s o n a l a c c o u n t s of conversion before admitting t h e m to c h u r c h m e m b e r s h i p , he w a s a c c u s e d of b e i n g a reactionary, removed from his pulpit, a n d effectively s i l e n c e d . H e spent the next few years a s a m i s s i o n a r y to the A m e r i c a n I n d i a n s in S t o c k b r i d g e , M a s s a c h u s e t t s , a town forty miles west of N o r t h a m p t o n , imitating the call of the Reverend David B r a i n a r d , a y o u n g m a n who, h a d he lived, would have married E d w a r d s ' s d a u g h t e r J e r u s h a . T h e r e E d w a r d s r e m a i n e d until invited to b e c o m e p r e s i d e n t of the C o l l e g e of N e w J e r s e y . H i s d e a t h in Princeton w a s the direct result of his b e i n g i n o c u l a t e d a g a i n s t smallpox, which he h a d d o n e to set a n e x a m p l e for his frightened a n d s u p e r s t i t i o u s s t u d e n t s ; it serves a s a vivid r e m i n d e r of how c o m p l i c a t e d in any o n e individual the r e s p o n s e to the " n e w s c i e n c e " c o u l d b e c o m e .



If religion o c c u p i e d m a n y colonists in the first half of the e i g h t e e n t h century, after 1 7 6 3 , w h e n G r e a t Britain h a d c o n s o l i d a t e d its e m p i r e in the N e w W o r l d with victory over the F r e n c h in C a n a d a , politics d o m i n a t e d its s e c o n d half. O n J u n e 7, 1 7 7 6 , at the s e c o n d C o n t i n e n t a l C o n g r e s s , R i c h a r d H e n r y L e e of Virginia m o v e d that " t h e s e united c o l o n i e s a r e , a n d of a right o u g h t to b e , free a n d i n d e p e n d e n t s t a t e s . " A c o m m i t t e e w a s duly a p p o i n t e d to p r e p a r e a declaration of i n d e p e n d e n c e , a n d it w a s i s s u e d o n J u l y 4. A l t h o u g h t h e s e m o t i o n s a n d their swiftness took s o m e d e l e g a t e s by s u r p r i s e t h e p u r p o s e of the c o n g r e s s h a d , after all, not b e e n to d e c l a r e i n d e p e n d e n c e but to protest the u s u r p a t i o n of rights by king a n d P a r l i a m e n t a n d to effect a c o m p r o m i s e with the h o m e l a n d o t h e r s s a w t h e m a s the inevitable c o n s e q u e n c e of the events of the p r e c e d i n g d e c a d e . T h e S t a m p Act of 1 7 6 4 , taxing all n e w s p a p e r s , legal d o c u m e n t s , a n d l i c e n s e s , h a d infuriated B o s t o n i a n s a n d r e s u l t e d in the b u r n i n g of the governor's p a l a c e ; the Virginian Patrick H e n r y h a d taken the o c c a s i o n to s p e a k with p a s s i o n a g a i n s t taxation without r e p r e s e n tation. In 1 7 7 0 a B o s t o n m o b h a d b e e n fired on by British soldiers. T h r e e years later w a s the f a m o u s " T e a Party," w h e n colonists d r e s s e d a s N a t i v e





A m e r i c a n s a n d d u m p e d E n g l i s h tea into B o s t o n h a r b o r a s a protest a g a i n s t paying taxes on it. T h i s event tested the limits of British rule. In a d o p t i n g the c o s t u m e of Native A m e r i c a n s , t h e s e protesters d e c l a r e d t h e m s e l v e s antithetical to everything British. T h e news of the April 1 7 7 5 c o n f r o n t a t i o n with the British in C o n c o r d a n d L e x i n g t o n , M a s s a c h u s e t t s , w a s still o n everyone's t o n g u e in Philadelphia w h e n the S e c o n d C o n t i n e n t a l C o n g r e s s c o n v e n e d that M a y . Although the d r a m a of t h e s e events a n d the p e r s o n a l suffering they c a u s e d c a n n o t be u n d e r e s t i m a t e d , colonists a l s o were t r a n s f o r m e d into revolutionaries through the power of the word. T h o m a s Paine's p a m p h l e t Common Sense, p u b l i s h e d in J a n u a r y 1 7 7 6 , has b e e n credited with tipping the s c a l e s toward revolution; but it w a s p r e c e d e d by a vast literature that took to heart the a r g u m e n t s of the W h i g opposition in E n g l a n d . T h e W h i g s , the so-called country a s o p p o s e d to court party, inveighed a g a i n s t luxury a n d tyranny in t e r m s that r e s o n a t e d a c r o s s the Atlantic. W e s e e W h i g party principles applied to the A m e r i c a n strand in Royall Tyler's play The Contrast ( 1 7 8 7 ) . In a r g u i n g that s e p a r a t i o n from E n g l a n d w a s the only r e a s o n a b l e c o u r s e a n d that "the A l m i g h t y " h a d p l a n t e d t h e s e feelings in us "for g o o d a n d wise purp o s e s , " P a i n e a p p e a l e d to b a s i c t e n e t s of the E n l i g h t e n m e n t . His clarion call to t h o s e that "love m a n k i n d , " t h o s e "that d a r e o p p o s e not only the tyranny but the tyrant, stand forth!" did not g o u n h e e d e d . A m e r i c a n s n e e d e d an apologist for the Revolution, a n d in D e c e m b e r 1 7 7 6 , w h e n W a s h i n g t o n ' s troops were at their m o s t d e m o r a l i z e d , it w a s , a g a i n , P a i n e ' s first Crisis p a p e r p o p u l a r l y called The American Crisisthat w a s read to all the regim e n t s a n d w a s said to have inspired their future s u c c e s s . P a i n e first c a m e to A m e r i c a in 1 7 7 4 with a note from B e n j a m i n Franklin r e c o m m e n d i n g him to p u b l i s h e r s a n d editors. H e w a s only o n e of a n u m b e r of y o u n g writers w h o took a d v a n t a g e of the revolution in print c u l t u r e that w a s to m a k e a u t h o r s h i p a s we know it p o s s i b l e . T h i s w a s , in fact, the great a g e of the n e w s p a p e r a n d the moral e s s a y ; Franklin tells us that he m o d e l e d his own style o n the clarity, g o o d s e n s e , a n d simplicity of the E n g l i s h essayists J o s e p h Addison a n d Richard S t e e l e . T h e first n e w s p a p e r in the colonies a p p e a r e d in 1 7 0 4 , a n d by the time of the Revolution there were a l m o s t fifty p a p e r s a n d forty m a g a z i n e s . T h e great cry w a s for a " n a t i o n a l literature" ( m e a n i n g anti-British), a n d the political events of the 1 7 7 0 s were advantag e o u s for a c a r e e r in letters. Even w o m e n like J u d i t h S a r g e n t M u r r a y , S a r a h W e n t w o r t h M o r t o n , a n d o t h e r s got into the act, a n d all f o u n d e a g e r audie n c e s for their work in periodicals like Isaiah T h o m a s ' s Massachusetts Magazine. A l t h o u g h the c o n v e n t i o n s of the day r e q u i r e d anonymity, the w o m e n u s e d f e m i n i n e p e n - n a m e s , t h u s p r o c l a i m i n g the right of all w o m e n to o p i n e in print on public events. Actually, the identity of t h e s e w o m e n writers w a s generally known; their literary efforts a d d e d to the c a m p a i g n for a true realization of the principle of equality. Similarly, other writers p u b l i s h e d utilitarian political a n d p o l i t e a e s t h e t ically e n j o y a b l e l i t e r a t u r e s i m u l t a n e o u s l y . Philip F r e n e a u , for e x a m p l e , s u c c e e d e d first a s a writer of satires of the British; after p u b l i s h i n g his Poems Written Chiefly during the Late War ( 1 7 8 6 ) h e t u r n e d to n e w s p a p e r work, editing the New York Daily Advertiser a n d writing antiFederalist Party e s s a y s , m a k i n g himself a n e n e m y of Alexander H a m i l t o n in the p r o c e s s . O t h e r a u t h o r s , A n n i s B o u d i n o t S t o c k t o n a m o n g t h e m , c u t a different profile,



p u b l i s h i n g in local periodicals a n d n e w s p a p e r s but also c o n t r i b u t i n g significantly to a n extensive m a n u s c r i p t culture in which literary efforts were s h a r e d with a coterie of like-minded p e o p l e . B u t , as the c a r e e r of F r e n e a u s u g g e s t s , d e s p i t e the a m o u n t of belletristic writing extant from the late eighteenth century, the m o s t significant writings of the period are political, like the e s s a y s H a m i l t o n , J o h n J a y , a n d J a m e s M a d i s o n wrote for N e w York newsp a p e r s in 1 7 8 7 a n d 1 7 8 8 in s u p p o r t of the new federal c o n s t i t u t i o n , collectively known a s The Federalist Papers. T h e y provided a n e l o q u e n t d e f e n s e of the framework of the republic a n d remind u s that in g o o d m e a s u r e the u n i q u e n e s s of the new U n i t e d S t a t e s of A m e r i c a resided in the l a n g u a g e of the d o c u m e n t s , the very w o r d s , on which the nation w a s b a s e d . T o g e t h e r with s u c h self-consciously A m e r i c a n works a s B e n j a m i n Franklin's Autobiography a n d H e c t o r S t . J o h n d e C r e v e c o e u r ' s Letters from an American Farmer, they m a r k the b e g i n n i n g of a new s e n s e of national identity a s colonists from greatly different b a c k g r o u n d s a n d of varied nationalities now f o u n d r e a s o n s to call t h e m s e l v e s " A m e r i c a n s . " T h i s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n w a s not easy. W a s h i n g t o n Irving's fictional c h a r a c t e r Rip V a n Winkle f o u n d the world radically different w h e n , finally a w a k e n e d from his s l u m b e r s , he tried to m a k e s e n s e of what he had m i s s e d , the A m e r i c a n Revolution: " G o d k n o w s , I'm not myselfI'm s o m e b o d y e l s e t h a t ' s m e y o n d e r n o t h a t ' s s o m e b o d y else got into my s h o e s I w a s myself last night, but I fell a s l e e p o n the m o u n t a i n . . . a n d everything's c h a n g e d , a n d I'm c h a n g e d , a n d I can't tell what's my n a m e , or w h o I a m ! " B e c a u s e neither the technological nor the e c o n o m i c infrastructure w a s yet in p l a c e to s u p p o r t a national a u d i e n c e , b e c a u s e p e o p l e lived in widely s e p a r a t e d a n d poorly c o n n e c t e d villages or on r e m o t e f a r m s , n o n e of these early A m e r i c a n writers, i n c l u d i n g s u c h p o p u l a r novelists a s S u s a n n a R o w s o n a n d C h a r l e s B r o c k d e n Brown, c o u l d live by their p e n s a l o n e . T h e crisis in A m e r i c a n life c a u s e d by the Revolution h a d m a d e artists s e l f - c o n s c i o u s a b o u t A m e r i c a n s u b j e c t s , but it w a s W a s h i n g t o n Irving who b e s t learned how to exploit this n a s c e n t s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s , w h o h a d the distinction of being the first A m e r i c a n writer to live on the i n c o m e p r o d u c e d by his p u b l i c a t i o n s . H i s generation discovered ways of b e i n g A m e r i c a n without c o m p r o m i s i n g their integrity, a n d they s u c c e s s f u l l y h a r n e s s e d the world of print to their a m b i t i o n to s p e a k through the p r o f e s s i o n of a u t h o r s h i p .



W h e n J o h n W i n t h r o p d e s c r i b e d his " m o d e l " for a C h r i s t i a n c o m m u n i t y , he envisioned a g r o u p of m e n a n d w o m e n working together for the c o m m o n g o o d , e a c h of w h o m knew his or her p l a c e in the s t a b l e social s t r u c t u r e d e c r e e d by G o d . At all t i m e s , he said, " s o m e m u s t be rich, s o m e poor, s o m e high a n d e m i n e n t in power a n d dignity," others low a n d "in s u b j e c t i o n . " Ideally, it w a s to be a c o m m u n i t y of love, all m a d e e q u a l by their fallen n a t u r e a n d their c o n c e r n for the salvation of their s o u l s , but it w a s to b e a s t a b l e c o m m u n i t y . B u t President J o h n A d a m s w i t n e s s e d social mobility of a kind a n d to an extent that W i n t h r o p would not have d r e a m e d p o s s i b l e . A s historians have observed, E u r o p e a n critics of A m e r i c a in the e i g h t e e n t h a n d nineteenth centuries never u n d e r s t o o d that great social c h a n g e w a s p o s s i b l e




without social u p h e a v a l primarily b e c a u s e there w a s n o feudal hierarchy to overthrow. W h e n C r e v e c o e u r w a n t e d to distinguish A m e r i c a from E u r o p e , it w a s the medievalism of t h e latter that he wished to s t r e s s . T h e visitor to A m e r i c a , he said, "views not the hostile c a s t l e , a n d the h a u g h t y m a n s i o n , c o n t r a s t e d with the clay-built h u t a n d m i s e r a b l e c a b i n , w h e r e cattle a n d m e n help to k e e p e a c h other w a r m , a n d dwell in m e a n n e s s , s m o k e a n d i n d i g e n c e . " O f course, in 1 8 2 0 , m a n y A m e r i c a n s were still n o t free. S o m e of the F o u n d i n g F a t h e r s , like G e o r g e W a s h i n g t o n a n d T h o m a s J e f f e r s o n , were slave owners t h e m s e l v e s . M e n c o u l d not vote u n l e s s they o w n e d property; w o m e n c o u l d not vote at all. W o m e n wgre^vards o f their fathers until marriage, u p o n which their legal identity w a s m e r g e d with their h u s b a n d s , s o that they c o u l d not o w h ^ r o p e r W l j r j e e p a n y wagesThev might earnTEduc a t e d at h o m e for d o m e s t i c d u t i e s , y o u n g w o m e n were supposed" to b e e x c l u d e d from p u b l i c , intellectual life. B u t , by_the e n d o f the e i g h t e e n t h century, a m o v e m e n t to e d u c a t e w o m e n like m e n s o that they coTjTJprope j l y n m l j u e t h e i r y o u n g children vyTfrTpatriotic i d e a l s h a d g a i n e d consiHerahle_strength. Every liteTary w o m a n testifiecfin h e r own way t o t h e l i s e f u l n e s s of all w o m e n in the public s p h e r e . Fired by E n l i g h t e n m e n t ideals of r e a s o n a n d equality, w o m e n like J u d i t h S a r g e n t M u r r a y a n d H a n n a h F o s t e r b e g a n to s p e a k a n d write o n public s u b j e c t s a n d to agitate for their rights a s citizens. T h e condition of Native A m e r i c a n s c o n t i n u e d to deteriorate t h r o u g h o u t the nineteenth century. Well u n d e r s t a n d i n g their vulnerability to colonial expansionist drives, m a n y e a s t e r n tribes s i d e d with the British d u r i n g the Revolution. After the British d e f e a t , they were exposed both to white veng e a n c e a n d white g r e e d . E n t i r e tribes were systematically d i s p l a c e d from their traditional territories, p u s h e d ever farther a n d farther west. N e v e r t h e l e s s , the s a m e forces that earlier h a d u n d e r m i n e d c h u r c h authority in N e w E n g l a n d gradually affected the A m e r i c a n s ' u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f w h a t constituted the g o o d society. If, a s R u s s e l N y e o n c e p u t it, t h e two a s s u m p t i o n s held to b e true by m o s t eighteenth-century A m e r i c a n s were "the perfectibility of m a n , a n d t h e p r o s p e c t of his future p r o g r e s s , " A m e r i c a n citizens h a d to g r o u n d t h o s e a s s u m p t i o n s in t h e reality o f their day-to-day relations with others w h o s e plight h a d not yet b e e n t o u c h e d by t h e c o n t a g i o n o f liberty. T h u s m u c h imaginative energy in the late e i g h t e e n t h a n d early n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r i e s w a s e x p e n d e d in b e g i n n i n g to correct institutional a n d social injustices: the tyranny o f m o n a r c h y , the t o l e r a n c e o f slavery, the m i s u s e of priso n s , the p l a c e o f w o m e n . E v e n a s they a g i t a t e d for a n extension o f the principles o f liberty codified by the Revolutionary g e n e r a t i o n , few d o u b t e d that with the application of intelligence the h u m a n lot c o u l d b e i m p r o v e d . Writers like F r e n e a u , Franklin, a n d C r e v e c o e u r a r g u e d that, if it w a s n o t too late, the t r a n s p l a n t e d E u r o p e a n m i g h t learn s o m e t h i n g a b o u t fellowship a n d m a n n e r s from " t h e n o b l e s a v a g e s " rather t h a n from r u d e white settlers, slave owners, and backwoods pioneers. F o r m a n y , Franklin b e s t r e p r e s e n t s the p r o m i s e o f the E n l i g h t e n m e n t in A m e r i c a , even a s his long a n d fruitful life a l s o testified to the pitfalls that a c c o m p a n i e d a n uncritical a d o p t i o n of principles that e n s h r i n e d t h e individual's c o n c e r n s above t h o s e of the c o m m u n i t y . Franklin w a s s e l f - e d u c a t e d , social, a s s u r e d , a m a n of the world, a m b i t i o u s a n d public-spirited, s p e c u l a tive a b o u t the n a t u r e o f the universe, a n d in m a t t e r s o f religion c o n t e n t " t o observe the actual c o n d u c t of h u m a n i t y rather than to d e b a t e s u p e r n a t u r a l



m a t t e r s that are u n p r o v a b l e . " W h e n Ezra Stiles a s k e d him a b o u t his religion, he said h e believed in the "creator of the u n i v e r s e " but he d o u b t e d the "divinity of J e s u s . " H e would never be d o g m a t i c a b o u t it, however, b e c a u s e a s he wryly put i t h e expected s o o n "an opportunity of k n o w i n g the truth with less t r o u b l e . " Franklin always p r e s e n t s himself as a m a n d e p e n d i n g on firsth a n d e x p e r i e n c e , too worldly-wise to be c a u g h t off g u a r d , a n d always m i n d i n g " t h e m a i n c h a n c e , " a s o n e c h a r a c t e r in Tyler's The Contrast c o u n s e l s . T h i s a s p e c t of Franklin's p e r s o n a , however, belies a n o t h e r s i d e of him a n d of the eighteenth century: t h o s e idealistic a s s u m p t i o n s in which the great public d o c u m e n t s of the A m e r i c a n Revolution, especially the D e c l a r a t i o n of Indep e n d e n c e , are g r o u n d e d . Given the representative n a t u r e of Franklin's character, it s e e m s right that of the d o c u m e n t s m o s t closely a s s o c i a t e d with the formation of the A m e r i c a n r e p u b l i c t h e D e c l a r a t i o n of I n d e p e n d e n c e , the treaty of alliance with F r a n c e , the Treaty of Paris, a n d the C o n s t i t u t i o n only he s i g n e d all four. T h e fact that A m e r i c a n s in the last quarter of the e i g h t e e n t h century held that "certain truths are self-evident, that all m e n are c r e a t e d e q u a l , that they are e n d o w e d by their C r e a t o r with certain u n a l i e n a b l e R i g h t s , that a m o n g these are Life, Liberty a n d the p u r s u i t of H a p p i n e s s " w a s the result of their reading the S c o t t i s h p h i l o s o p h e r s , particularly F r a n c i s H u t c h e s o n a n d L o r d Karnes (Henry H o m e ) , w h o a r g u e d that all p e o p l e in all p l a c e s p o s s e s s a s e n s e c o m m o n to a l l a m o r a l s e n s e t h a t c o n t r a d i c t e d the notion of the m i n d a s an e m p t y vessel awaiting experience. T h i s i d e a l i s m p a v e d the way for writers like Bryant, E m e r s o n , T h o r e a u , a n d W h i t m a n , b u t in the 1 7 7 0 s its p r e s e n c e is f o u n d chiefly in politics a n d e t h i c s . T h e a s s u r a n c e of a universal s e n s e of right a n d w r o n g m a d e p o s s i b l e both the overthrow of tyrants a n d the restoration of order, a n d it allowed h u m a n k i n d to m a k e n e w earthly c o v e n a n t s , not, a s w a s the c a s e with Bradford a n d W i n t h r o p , for the glory of G o d , b u t , a s T h o m a s J e f f e r s o n a r g u e d , for an individual's right to happin e s s on e a r t h . H o w A m e r i c a n s u s e d a n d a b u s e d that right in the service of self-interest would b e c o m e the t h e m e of c o u n t l e s s writers after 1 8 2 0 , a s a market revolution p e r m a n e n t l y e n s h r i n e d liberal principles over t h o s e of the civic r e p u b l i c a n i s m that h a d informed the previous g e n e r a t i o n ' s behavior.


170405 Sarah Kemhle Knight keeps Tlie of a journey from Boston to 1718

1700-1820 CONTEXTS

Private Journal

New York (pub. 1825) French found New Orleans T h e "Great Awakening"

172656 1728 William Byrd writes his History-of

the Dividing Line (pub. 1841) 1735 "The Speech of Moses Bon S a a m " 1741 Vitus Bering discovers Alaska

published in London periodical 1741 Hands Jonathan Edwards, Sinners of an Angry God 175563 1760 Briton H a m m o n , Narrative Sufferings, and of the French and Indian Wars in the

Uncommon Deliverance 1764 1768


J a m e s Grainger, Tlte Sugar S a m s o n O c c o m , A Short

Cane Narrative

of My Life 177190 Benjamin Franklin continues his (Part 1 pub. 1818) Various 1773 Boston Tea Party

Autobiography 1773 Subjects 1 774

Phillis Wheatlcy, Poems on

John Woolman, rYhe Journal

of John

Woolnutn I 774-83 John and Abigail Adams 1 77583 1776 1780s T h o m a s Paine, Common Sense 1776 War for American Independence

exchange letters (pub. 1840, 1875)

Declaration of Independence

Annis Boudinot Stockton publishes

p o e m s in magazines and newspapers 1782 J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, an American Farmer 1783 Britain opens "Old Northwest" to United States after Treaty of Paris ends American Revolution 1786 1787 Contrast 178788 Tl\e Federalist papers Philip Freneau, Poems T h o m a s Jefferson, Notes on the Royal! Tyler, The 1787 U.S. Constitution adopted

Letters from

State of Virginia

Boldface title indicate works in the anthology.

8 0

1789 Olaudah Equiano, The of the Life of Olaudah Interesting Equiano 1789 Narrative president

George Washington elected first

Sarah Went worth Morton publishes her first poem; pub. My Mind and Its Thoughts 1823 1790 Judith Sargent Murray, On the

Equality of the Sexes 1791 of Truth 1798 Charles Brockden Brown, Wieland 1803 United States buys Louisiana S u s a n n a Rowson, Charlotte: A Tale 1791 Washington D . C . established as

U.S. capital

Territory from France 1812 14 1819 S e c o n d war against England

Spain exchanges Florida for U . S .

assumption of $5 million in claims


American Literature 1820-1865


E d u c a t e d A m e r i c a n s in the new R e p u b l i c were m o r e familiar with G r e e k a n d R o m a n history, a n d E u r o p e a n history a n d literature, than with A m e r i c a n writers of the colonial a n d Revolutionary e r a s . M a n y now-familiar works of early A m e r i c a n literature were not a c c e s s i b l e s o m e still u n p u b l i s h e d ( E d w a r d Taylor's p o e m s ) , s o m e available only in i n c o m p l e t e texts ( B e n j a m i n Franklin's a u t o b i o g r a p h y ) , s o m e extremely rare ( C o t t o n M a t h e r ' s Magnalia Christi Americana, printed in L o n d o n in 1 7 0 2 , first printed in the U n i t e d S t a t e s in a s m a l l edition at Hartford in 1 8 2 0 , a n d not generally available until 1 8 5 3 ) . E d u c a t e d A m e r i c a n boys a n d s o m e girls l e a r n e d G r e e k a n d Latin literature in c h i l d h o o d e p i c s , t r a g e d i e s , c o m e d i e s , p a s t o r a l p o e m s , histories, satires. T h e E n g l i s h - l a n g u a g e tradition that A m e r i c a n s s h a r e d , w h e t h e r N o r t h e r n e r s or S o u t h e r n e r s , w a s B r i t k k r j m s t i t i i t e d hy S p e n s e r V T j i e J ^ T i p Oweene.__Shakespeare's p l a y s ^ a n d Midori's Paradise Lost a s wglL_as eighteenth-centurv literature^includinp; e s s a y s by J o s e p h A d d i s o n , R i c h a r d Steele, S a m u e l Johnson, andtJfive?~GoTdsmith, and m u c h now-neglected poetry s u c h a s P o p e ' s The Dunciad, J a m e s T h o m s o n ' s The Seasons, a n d G o l d smith's The Deserted Village. D e s p i t e their political i n d e p e n d e n c e , A m e r i c a n s from M a i n e to G e o r g i a (the s o u t h e r n m o s t Atlantic s t a t e until Florida was a d m i t t e d to the union in 1 8 4 5 ) a c k n o w l e d g e d m u c h the s a m e literary c a n o n , a l t h o u g h the i n h a b i t a n t s ( r t t h e regions settled hv P u r i t a n s t e n d e d t n c h e r i s h the d i s s e n t e r J o h n B u n y a n ' s Pilgrim's Progress m o r e than literarym i n d e d S o u t h e r n e r s , w h o s e Colonial a n c e s t o r s r n " " n f t p n had hplnngpd tn the C h u r c h of E n g l a n d . F u r t h e r m o r e , by the s e c o n d q u a r t e r of the n i n e t e e n t h century, after the w a r t i m e d i s r u p t i o n s to trade were over, A m e r i c a n s h a d q u i c k a c c e s s to c o n temporary British literature a n d criticism. C r o s s i n g the Atlantic o n sailing ships or s t e a m e r s , any b o o k or m a g a z i n e c o u l d be r e p u b l i s h e d , a m o n t h or less after its a p p e a r a n c e in L o n d o n , in the larger c o a s t a l c i t i e s B o s t o n , N e w York, P h i l a d e l p h i a , a n d C h a r l e s t o n . V o l u m e s of poetry by the well-loved S c o t s poet Robert B u r n s a n d by the E n g l i s h R o m a n t i c s ( W o r d s w o r t h , C o l e ridge, Byron, M o o r e , Shelley, a n d K e a t s ) , then T e n n y s o n , a n d a little later Elizabeth Barrett a n d Robert B r o w n i n g were reprinted in the U n i t e d S t a t e s a l m o s t a s soon a s they a p p e a r e d in E n g l a n d . T h e great British quarterly reviews (which m a d e a point of j u d g i n g new literary works by fixed literary principles, thereby e x p o s i n g their readers to literary criticism written from a theoretical s t a n c e ) were reprinted even in s u c h inland cities a s Albany a n d 425




18 2 0 - 1 865

C i n c i n n a t i in t h e 1 8 4 0 s . T h e better n e w s p a p e r s o f the s e a c o a s t cities h a d c o r r e s p o n d e n t s in E u r o p e a n c a p i t a l s s u c h a s L o n d o n a n d Paris, a n d the p o s t office initiated c h e a p m a i l i n g rates for printed m a t e r i a l . F r o m t h e 1 8 4 0 s o n w a r d , t h e network of railroads t r a n s p o r t e d b o o k s over the A p p a l a c h i a n s to the M i d w e s t . With g o o d r e a s o n , E m i l y D i c k i n s o n in her h o m e in A m h e r s t or William G i l m o r e S i m m s in h i s h o m e o u t s i d e C h a r l e s t o n c o u l d feel in t o u c h with the latest L o n d o n literary n e w s . G e n d e r differences in literary k n o w l e d g e were m o r e o b v i o u s than regional differences, for a t least into the m i d d l e o f the c e n t u r y efforts were m a d e to c e n s o r the r e a d i n g o f girls a n d y o u n g w o m e n . O n e s i m p l e way w a s to deny t h e m c l a s s i c a l e d u c a t i o n a n d thereby p r o t e c t t h e m J T o m _ s e x u a H y frank writings in G r e e k a n d L a t i n . S o m e w o m e n writers in this p e r i o d , notably C a r o l i n e KirkJand a n d M a r g a r e t Fuller, d i d receive informal c l a s s i c a l e d u c a t i o n s t h r o u g h t h e a i d o f fathers or b r o t h e r s ; s o m e m e n , i n c l u d i n g t h e workingc l a s s W a l t W h i t m a n a n d the well-born b u t i m p o v e r i s h e d H e r m a n Melville, received little formal e d u c a t i o n F r e d e r i c k D o u g l a s s least o f all. W i t h i n e a c h social c l a s s , in g e n e r a l , however, fewer girls w e r e e d j j c ^ t e ^ t l i a r ^ b o y s , a n d c a r e w a s t a k e n to k e e p all y o u n g w o m e n away from E n g l i s h novels o f t h g j r e v i o u s c e n t u r y t h a t m i g h t p o l l u t e their m i n d s . A t thg_beginning o f the p e r i o d , fiction w a s generally held to i n f l a m e the i m a g i n a t i o n a n d p a s s i o n s of susceptihle_young r e a d e r s , especially_young w o m e n . In fact, m o v e m e n t s for w o m e n ' s e d u c a t i o n often s t r e s s e d that s e r i o u s l e a r n i n g w o u l d k e e p y o u n g girls away from novels. In h e r N e w E n g l a n d novels H a r r i e t B e e c h e r S t o w e e n u m e r a t e d t h e few b o o k s that a y o u n g w o m a n m i g h t have in her r o o m in the first d e c a d e s of the century: S a m u e l R i c h a r d s o n ' s S i r Charles Grandison, a b o u t a m o d e l g e n t l e m a n , w a s allowed, b u t not his s e d u c t i o n novel Clarissa. M a r g a r e t Fuller's conflicting feelings toward S i r W a l t e r S c o t t s p r a n g from her father's o p p o s i t i o n to her r e a d i n g novels a n d t a l e s , a n d even in the next generation E m i l y D i c k i n s o n r e a d fiction a g a i n s t h e r father's w i s h e s . Y o u n g m e n like D i c k i n s o n ' s brother were a l s o w a r n e d o f t h e evil effects novels might have o n their m o r a l s , b u t with less u r g e n c y . Still, in this p e r i o d even s u c h a n o w - s t a n d a r d British work a s J o n a t h a n Swift's Gulliver's Travels w a s available only in e x p u r g a t e d e d i t i o n s . M o r a l opposition t o fiction w a n e d r>iiei^tJw -dwM4 ^ .JWLjiAzac -nfH" dparFpyen at the o u t b r e a k of the Civil

War. O t h e r s p e c i e s of writing were t h o u g h t to i n c u l c a t e the h i g h e s t civic virtues. F r o m the early years of the r e p u b l i c , m a n y w e l l - e d u c a t e d A m e r i c a n s believed that the n e w nation m u s t have its own national p o e m , a n d d o z e n s o f p o e m s of great length a n d s u r p a s s i n g d u l l n e s s were p u b l i s h e d . J o e l B a r l o w , o n e of the g r o u p of p o e t s k n o w n a s " t h e C o n n e c t i c u t W i t s " in p o s t - R e v o l u t i o n a r y A m e r i c a , in 1 8 0 7 p u b l i s h e d The Columhiad, m e a n t a s t h e epic p o e m of C o l u m b i a , t h e U n i t e d S t a t e s , w h e r e h e might t e a c h t h e love o f national liberty a n d the d e p e n d e n c e o f g o o d m o r a l s a n d g o o d g o v e r n m e n t o n r e p u b lican p r i n c i p l e s . S i g n i n g h i s p r e f a c e in G r e a t C r o s s i n g , K e n t u c k y , in 1 8 2 7 , R i c h a r d E m m o n s n a m e d h i s f o u r - v o l u m e Fredoniad; or, Independence Preserved, an Epick Poem on the Late War of 1812 in h o n o r of h i s A m e r i c a n m u s e , t h e G o d d e s s o f F r e e d o m . T h r o u g h o u t t h e first h a l f o f the century, critics called for writers to c e l e b r a t e t h e n e w c o u n t r y in poetry or p r o s e , repeatedly g o i n g s o far a s to a d v i s e w o u l d - b e writers o n potentially fruitful s u b j e c t s s u c h a s A m e r i c a n Indian l e g e n d s , stories o f colonial b a t t l e s , a n d



c e l e b r a t i o n s of the A m e r i c a n Revolution ( a l t h o u g h o n e r e s p e c t e d literary theory held that writers would be better setting their works in a r e m o t e r p a s t , rather than a period s o n e a r to the p r e s e n t ) . Early calls for the e x i s t e n c e of an A m e r i c a n literature were altered by the popularity in the U n i t e d S t a t e s of Sir W a l t e r S c o t t , first a s the a u t h o r of widely read p o e m s s u c h a s The Lady of the Lake, t h e n , decisively, a s a historical novelist. After 1 8 1 4 , w h e n he p u b l i s h e d Waverley a n o n y m o u s l y , S c o t t p r o d u c e d a n e w novel a l m o s t every year. Until the secret of his a u t h o r s h i p w a s revealed in 1 8 2 6 , the novels were a s c r i b e d to " T h e a u t h o r of Waverley" or, by reviewers, to "the G r e a t U n k n o w n . " In the U n i t e d S t a t e s , w h e r e a n e w novel by the a u t h o r of Waverley w a s a l m o s t a national event, literary critics a n d aspiring novelists instantly s a w the a p p e a l of S c o t t ' s u s e of historical settings a n d his c r e a t i n g i m a g i n e d s c e n e s in which real historical p e o p l e intermingled with fictional c h a r a c t e r s . S c o t t ' s e x a m p l e not only m a d e the novel a r e s p e c t a b l e , even elevated, g e n r e , it h a d m u c h to d o with redirecting the literary efforts of a m b i t i o u s A m e r i c a n s from epic poetry toward p r o s e fiction. J a m e s F e n i m o r e C o o p e r h a d already written a novel in imitation of J a n e A u s t e n , b u t his s u c c e s s c a m e in the historical novel, after h e imitated S c o t t ' s The Pirate in The Spy ( 1 8 2 1 ) , w h e r e G e o r g e W a s h i n g t o n w a s a character. Lydia M a r i a F r a n c i s (later C h i l d ) b e g a n to write Hobomok ( 1 8 2 4 ) after r e a d i n g J . G . Palfrey's review of Yamoyden, " a metrical tale in six c a n t o s , after the m a n n e r of S c o t t " m e a n i n g the poetry of S c o t t . B u t s h e h a d read the S c o t t novels a s they a p p e a r e d , a n d set Hobomok in s e v e n t e e n t h - c e n t u r y M a s s a c h u s e t t s , her equivalent of S c o t t ' s S c o t l a n d of a p r e v i o u s century. Following S c o t t a n d C o o p e r , C a t h a r i n e M a r i a S e d g w i c k in The Linwoods ( 1 8 3 5 ) b r o u g h t Revolutionary h e r o e s , i n c l u d i n g W a s h i n g t o n , into her plot a l o n g with fictional c h a r a c t e r s . F r o m a d o l e s c e n c e H a w t h o r n e w a s s t e e p e d in S c o t t , a n d Melville's r e a d i n g of S c o t t e m e r g e d as late a s his 1 8 7 6 epic p o e m , Clarel. In old a g e W a l t W h i t m a n lovingly d e s c r i b e d a b o o k he h a d c h e r i s h e d for fifty years, S c o t t ' s p o e m s , c o m p l e t e in o n e v o l u m e . B e f o r e the mid-century, w h e n every up-to-date A m e r i c a n read D i c k e n s , every literate A m e r i c a n read S c o t t , a n d all a p p e a l s for the creation of a great A m e r i c a n literature were infused with the k n o w l e d g e that S c o t t h a d invented a n infinitely a d a p t a b l e g e n r e of historical fiction. A n o t h e r a d a p t a b l e g e n r e w a s the p e r s o n a l travel book. T h e y o u n g American W a s h i n g t o n Irving h a d b e c o m e friends with the great W a l t e r S c o t t through his C e r v a n t e s - i n f l u e n c e d p a r o d i c History of New York ( 1 8 0 9 ) . Irving's The Sketch Book ( 1 8 1 9 - 2 0 ) w a s a p e c u l i a r intermingling of tales a n d highly p e r s o n a l e s s a y s in which the narrator, " G e o f f r e y C r a y o n , " w a s c o m p a r e d to a n idiosyncratic l a n d s c a p e p a i n t e r w h o travels E u r o p e s k e t c h i n g "in n o o k s , a n d c o r n e r s , a n d b y - p l a c e s , " but n e g l e c t i n g "to paint S t . Peter's, or the C o l i s e u m ; the c a s c a d e of T e r n i , or the bay of N a p l e s . " C a p t i v a t e d by the genial sensibility t h u s displayed, A m e r i c a n r e a d e r s a c k n o w l e d g e d Irving a s the first great writer of the U n i t e d S t a t e s a n d c h e r i s h e d The Sketch Book for d e c a d e s . H e n r y T . T u c k e r m a n ' s Italian Sketch Book ( 1 8 3 5 ) frankly imitated it, a n d N a t h a n i e l Parker Willis's Pencillings by the Way (183536) w a s m o d eled on it. In tone a n d s t r u c t u r e H e r m a n Melville's Redburn ( 1 8 4 9 ) w a s deeply i n d e b t e d to it. K n o w i n g that Willis h a d financed his travels in part by s e n d i n g letters h o m e to n e w s p a p e r s , the p e n n i l e s s y o u n g B a y a r d Taylor imitated his strategy in w h a t b e c a m e Views A-foot ( 1 8 4 6 ) ; a n d Willis w a s a l s o a



1 8 2 0 - 1 8 6 5

m o d e l for C a r o l i n e Kirkland's Holidays Abroad ( 1 8 4 9 ) a n d L o u i s e C l a p p e ' s Residence in the Mines (the " D a m e S h i r l e y " letters, 1 8 5 4 ) . Melville's first two b o o k s , Typee ( 1 8 4 6 ) a n d Omoo ( 1 8 4 7 ) , p u r p o r t e d to b e a c c u r a t e a c c o u n t s of e x p e r i e n c e s in the M a r q u e s a s a n d Tahiti a n d were valued primarily a s s u c h . Similarly, C a r o l i n e Kirkland's two b o o k s on frontier M i c h i g a n , A New HomeWho'll Follow? ( 1 8 3 9 ) a n d Western Clearings (1845), were not only entertaining, but were v a l u e d a s useful s o u r c e s of general information for potential e m i g r a n t s . B a y a r d Taylor's letters h o m e from California in 1 8 4 9 a n d 1 8 5 0 , c o l l e c t e d in Eldorado ( 1 8 5 0 ) , were infused with b u o y a n t c h a r m , b u t his p u r p o s e w a s d o c u m e n t a r y : to let E a s t e r n e r s know what life w a s already like for the forty-niners a n d what they might experience if they t h e m s e l v e s s o u g h t their f o r t u n e s in C a l i f o r n i a . At W a l d e n P o n d outside C o n c o r d , M a s s a c h u s e t t s , Henry David T h o r e a u read Melville's first book, Typee, very soberly, a s a s o u r c e of a n t h r o p o l o g i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t natives in the S o u t h S e a I s l a n d s . T h e n , in Walden, h e t u r n e d the travel g e n r e on its h e a d , a n n o u n c i n g that he w a s writing a travel b o o k himself, having traveled a g o o d deal in C o n c o r d . Exploring himself, T h o r e a u wrote the classic A m e r i c a n travel book.





A p a i n t i n g p o p u l a r d u r i n g the late n i n e t e e n t h century w a s C h r i s t i a n S c h u s sele's reverential Washington Irving and His Literary Friends at Sunnyside. W o r k i n g in 1 8 6 3 , four years after Irving's d e a t h , S c h u s s e l e portrayed a n u m b e r of elegantly clad n o t a b l e s in Irving's small study in his G o t h i c c o t t a g e - c a s t l e o n the H u d s o n River, north of N e w York City. A m o n g t h e m were several writers w h o s e works a p p e a r in this anthology: Irving himself, N a t h a n i e l H a w t h o r n e , Henry W a d s w o r t h Longfellow, R a l p h W a l d o E m e r s o n , William C u l l e n Bryant, a n d J a m e s F e n i m o r e C o o p e r . Intermingled with t h e s e m e n were p o e t s a n d novelists now s e l d o m read: William G i l m o r e S i m m s , F i t z - G r e e n e H a l l e c k , N a t h a n i e l Parker Willis, J a m e s Kirke Paulding, J o h n P e n d l e t o n K e n n e d y , a n d Henry T . T u c k e r m a n , a l o n g with the historians William H . P r e s c o t t a n d G e o r g e B a n c r o f t . T h e p a i n t i n g w a s a p i o u s hoax, for t h e s e g u e s t s never a s s e m b l e d together at o n e t i m e , at S u n nyside or a n y w h e r e e l s e ; a n d while a few of t h o s e d e p i c t e d were i n d e e d Irving's friends, he barely knew s o m e of t h e m a n d never m e t others at all. Yet the p a i n t i n g s u g g e s t s that W a s h i n g t o n Irving, beloved by ordinary readers a n d by m o s t of his fellow writers, w a s the central A m e r i c a n literary figu r e b e t w e e n 1 8 0 9 (the year of his parody History of New York) a n d his d e a t h in 1 8 5 9 , j u s t before the Civil W a r . H e h a d d e m o n s t r a t e d in The Sketch Book (181920) that m e m o r a b l e fictionRip Van Winkle a n d The Legend of Sleepy Hollowcould be set in the villages or rural a r e a s of the U n i t e d S t a t e s (thereby initiating what b e c a m e b a c k w o o d s h u m o r a n d later the local-color m o v e m e n t ) ; he a l s o s e e m e d to prove, by the book's international s u c c e s s , that a n A m e r i c a n writer c o u l d win a British a n d C o n t i n e n t a l a u d i ence. Irving's legion of imitators i n c l u d e d several of the m e n in the painting; a n d a m o n g his fellow writers, Irving's r e p u t a t i o n w a s e n h a n c e d by his generosity, as in his gallantly r e l i n q u i s h i n g the s u b j e c t of the c o n q u e s t of M e x i c o



to Prescott or in urging the p u b l i s h e r G e o r g e P. P u t n a m to bring o u t an A m e r i c a n edition of the first b o o k by the u n k n o w n H e r m a n Melville. Although J a m e s F e n i m o r e C o o p e r ' s Leather-Stocking novels h a d a great v o g u e in E u r o p e (where they b e c a m e a m a j o r s o u r c e of i n f o r m a t i o n a n d m i s i n f o r m a t i o n a b o u t the U n i t e d S t a t e s ) , a n d his f a m e a s a fiction writer rivaled Irving's in this country, his influence on A m e r i c a n writers never a p p r o a c h e d the b r e a d t h of Irving's. Irving a n d C o o p e r both s p e n t years a b r o a d , Irving in E n g l a n d a n d S p a i n , C o o p e r in F r a n c e . A m e r i c a n s never held Irving's a b s e n c e a g a i n s t him, for his w i n n i n g the friendship of great foreigners ( s u c h a s S i r W a l t e r S c o t t ) s e e m e d to reflect glory on his country; a n d for years he w a s honorably r e p r e s e n t i n g his country, a s secretary of the legation in L o n d o n , a s minister to S p a i n . F u r t h e r m o r e , he h a d a way of d e m o n s t r a t i n g his A m e r i c a n i s m , a s in 1 8 3 2 , w h e n on r e t u r n i n g from E u r o p e he c a u g h t the public's i m a g i n a t i o n with his a r d u o u s trip to p r e s e n t - d a y O k l a h o m a . W h e n C o o p e r returned to the U n i t e d S t a t e s in 1 8 3 3 after a l m o s t a d e c a d e a b r o a d , h e w a s a p p a l l e d at the s p r e a d of excessively d e m o c r a t i c attitudes a n d lectured his fellow citizens in A Letter to His Countrymen ( 1 8 3 4 ) a n d a satirical novel, The Monikins ( 1 8 3 5 ) . C o o p e r e m b r o i l e d h i m s e l f in lawsuits, a n d public opinion t u r n e d a g a i n s t him a s p a p e r s , i n c l u d i n g Hora c e Greeley's N e w York Tribune, w a g e d a c a m p a i g n a g a i n s t him, literally d e f a m i n g him a s a would-be aristocrat. Irving's p e r s o n a l popularity w a s s u c h that late in 1 8 4 9 , w h e n h e w a s c h a r g e d with plagiarizing his biography of G o l d s m i t h from two recent British b i o g r a p h i e s , n e w s p a p e r s from M a i n e to L o u i s i a n a d e n o u n c e d his a c c u s e r without even e x a m i n i n g the e v i d e n c e . N o r did the influence of R a l p h W a l d o E m e r s o n rival Irving's, d e s p i t e his profoundly provocative effects on s u c h writers a s M a r g a r e t Fuller, Henry David T h o r e a u , W a l t W h i t m a n , H e r m a n Melville, a n d Emily D i c k i n s o n e f f e c t s that m a k e m o d e r n literary historians s e e him a s the s e m i n a l writer of the century. T h e S c h u s s e l e p a i n t i n g tells m o r e than the artist c o u l d have i n t e n d e d a b o u t the fragile s t a t u s of literary r e p u t a t i o n s , for while i n c l u d i n g m a n y writers now all but forgotten, it e x c l u d e s m a n y o t h e r s in this anthology. T o begin with, it e x c l u d e s all w o m e n , even t h o s e w h o h a d d o n e s u b s t a n t i a l work already, s u c h a s C a t h a r i n e M a r i a S e d g w i c k , C a r o l i n e Kirkland, Lydia M a r i a C h i l d , F a n n y F e r n , M a r g a r e t Fuller, a n d m o s t f a m o u s of all, Harriet B e e c h e r S t o w e (Emily D i c k i n s o n ' s g r e a t e s t burst of poetic c r e a t i o n h a d already o c c u r r e d by 1 8 6 3 , but s h e r e m a i n e d an u n p u b l i s h e d p o e t ) . T h e p a i n t i n g a l s o e x c l u d e s several m a l e writers w h o now s e e m a m o n g the m o s t i m p o r t a n t of the century: J o h n G r e e n l e a f Whittier ( w h o s e militant a b o l i t i o n i s m ruled him out of s u c h g o o d c o m p a n y ) , E d g a r Allan P o e , Henry David T h o r e a u , W a l t W h i t m a n , a n d H e r m a n Melville. F u r t h e r m o r e , while the M a r y l a n d e r Kennedy w a s i n c l u d e d , all other S o u t h e r n e r s were e x c l u d e d , a m o n g t h e m writers s u c h a s A u g u s t u s Baldwin L o n g s t r e e t ( w h o s e i m p u l s e to record d i s a p p e a r i n g p h a s e s of G e o r g i a life parallels a recurrent i m p u l s e in S e d g w i c k ' s writing) and George Washington Harris (whose exuberant prose has drawn readers for a century a n d a half). S c h u s s e l e ' s arraying of literary n o t a b l e s offers a powerful lesson in the c o n s t a n t shifting of literary r e p u t a t i o n s . T h i s edition of the anthology d o e s not offer s e l e c t i o n s f r o m , for a few e x a m p l e s , the S o u t h e r n e r s L o n g s t r e e t a n d Harris or from a northern writer of striking psychological fiction, Elizabeth B a r s t o w S t o d d a r d . It a l s o o m i t s two of the



1 8 2 0 - 1 8 6 5

m o s t f a m o u s n a m e s of the n i n e t e e n t h century: the M a s s a c h u s e t t s writers Oliver W e n d e l l H o l m e s a n d J a m e s R u s s e l l Lowell, neither of w h o m s p e a k s powerfully to m a n y r e a d e r s at the p r e s e n t m o m e n t . Yet a s taste c h a n g e s they m a y b e valued a g a i n , a n d p e r h a p s in new ways. H o l m e s , for i n s t a n c e , m a y be read for what he called his " m e d i c a t e d n o v e l s " (realistic p s y c h o l o g i c a l fictions), p e r h a p s in a n era w h e n attention a l s o shifts to S t o w e ' s N e w E n g l a n d novels, which s o m e think have never b e e n sufficiently p r a i s e d for their own merits or a c k n o w l e d g e d for their influence o n later w o m e n ' s fiction. It s e e m s s a f e to say that d e s p i t e his historical i m p o r t a n c e Lowell will not s o o n b e given ninety p a g e s , a s h e w a s in s o m e a n t h o l o g i e s of the 1 9 6 0 s , but any writers o m i t t e d n o w may b e called b a c k in later e d i t i o n s , a l o n g with others never before i n c l u d e d .



T h e writers in S c h u s s e l e ' s p a i n t i n g would never have fitted into Irving's s n u g r o o m ; b u t the A m e r i c a n literary world w a s very s m a l l i n d e e d , s o small that m a n y of the writers in this period knew e a c h other, often intimately, or else knew m u c h a b o u t e a c h other. At Litchfield, C o n n e c t i c u t , the y o u n g G e o r gian L o n g s t r e e t greatly a d m i r e d o n e of the minister L y m a n B e e c h e r ' s d a u g h ters (not Harriet, then a s m a l l c h i l d ) . O t h e r writers lived, if not in e a c h other's p o c k e t s , at least in e a c h other's h o u s e s , or b o a r d i n g h o u s e s : L e m u e l S h a w , from 1 8 3 0 to 1 8 6 0 chief j u s t i c e of the M a s s a c h u s e t t s S u p r e m e C o u r t a n d H e r m a n Melville's father-in-law after 1 8 4 7 , for a t i m e stayed in a B o s t o n b o a r d i n g h o u s e run by R a l p h W a l d o E m e r s o n ' s widowed m o t h e r ; the L o n g fellows s u m m e r e d in the 1 8 4 0 s at the Pittsfield b o a r d i n g h o u s e run by M e l ville's c o u s i n , a h o u s e in which Melville h a d stayed in his early t e e n s . Lydia M a r i a Child's h u s b a n d owed m o n e y to Melville's B o s t o n g r a n d f a t h e r ; a n d the e x e c u t o r of the e s t a t e , L e m u e l S h a w , called to collect the debt, m u c h to M r s . C h i l d ' s c h a g r i n . In N e w York, the S e d g w i c k family (which i n c l u d e d C a t h a r i n e M a r i a S e d g w i c k part of the year) w a s o n i n t i m a t e t e r m s with a n o t h e r native of w e s t e r n M a s s a c h u s e t t s , William C u l l e n Bryant; a n d J a m e s F e n i m o r e C o o p e r b o r r o w e d m o n e y from a S e d g w i c k . T h e g u a r d i a n of the o r p h a n e d L o u i s e A m e l i a S m i t h (later " D a m e Shirley") w a s a c l a s s m a t e of E m i l y D i c k i n s o n ' s father. In the 1 8 4 0 s the n e w s p a p e r editor Bryant s o m e times took walks with a n o t h e r editor, y o u n g W a l t W h i t m a n . In Pittsfield in the early 1 8 5 0 s Melville a n d his family e x c h a n g e d visits with C h a r l e s a n d Elizabeth S e d g w i c k of Lenox, in w h o s e h o u s e C a t h a r i n e M a r i a S e d g w i c k spent part of the year; until his d e a t h C h a r l e s w a s the clerk of c o u r t w h e n J u d g e S h a w held his s e s s i o n in L e n o x e a c h S e p t e m b e r ; a n d E l i z a b e t h S e d g wick h a d t a u g h t Melville's older sister H e l e n at her s c h o o l . In Pittsfield a n d L e n o x , H a w t h o r n e a n d Melville paid e a c h other overnight visits; in C o n c o r d the H a w t h o r n e s rented the O l d M a n s e , the E m e r s o n a n c e s t r a l h o m e , a n d later b o u g h t a h o u s e there from the e d u c a t o r B r o n s o n Alcott a n d m a d e it f a m o u s a s the W a y s i d e ; in C o n c o r d the E m e r s o n s w e l c o m e d m a n y g u e s t s , i n c l u d i n g M a r g a r e t Fuller (who a l s o visited with the H a w t h o r n e s ) ; a n d w h e n E m e r s o n w a s away, T h o r e a u , a native of C o n c o r d , s o m e t i m e s stayed in the h o u s e to help M r s . E m e r s o n . E m e r s o n r e p e a t e d l y r e s c u e d B r o n s o n Alcott



from financial disaster, a n d B r o n s o n ' s d a u g h t e r L o u i s a M a y Alcott took less o n s in E m e r s o n ' s h o u s e (and revered her n a t u r e g u i d e , T h o r e a u ) . F a n n y Fern's brother, N a t h a n i e l Parker Willis, w h o m s h e satirically d e p i c t e d a s " H y a c i n t h " in Ruth Hall, w a s a c l o s e friend of Melville for a t i m e ; in the winter of 1 8 4 7 , Willis a n d Melville's friend, editor Evert A. D u y c k i n c k , t o o k the train u p to F o r d h a m together to a t t e n d the funeral of Virginia P o e , the wife of E d g a r P o e , w h o , like Melville a n d H a w t h o r n e , w a s o n e of D u y c k i n c k ' s a u t h o r s in his Wiley & P u t n a m series, Library of A m e r i c a n B o o k s . T h e p o p ular M a n h a t t a n h o s t e s s A n n e L y n c h a s s i g n e d the y o u n g travel writer B a y a r d Taylor to write a valentine for a slightly older travel writer, H e r m a n Melville, in 1 8 4 8 ; a n d three years later, a p p a r e n t l y with m a t c h m a k i n g in m i n d , b r o u g h t together Taylor's i n t i m a t e friend R. H. S t o d d a r d a n d Elizabeth Barstow, a d i s t a n t relative of H a w t h o r n e . Melville took C a r o l i n e Kirkland's Holidays Abroad on s h i p b o a r d with him in 1 8 4 9 , a n d the next year s h e w a s delighted with his White-Jacket; they probably were a c q u a i n t e d . E m e r s o n s h a r e d his e n t h u s i a s m for Leaves of Grass with B r o n s o n Alcott a n d H e n r y David T h o r e a u , w h o , d u r i n g a stay in N e w York, took the Brooklyn ferry to call on W h i t m a n . Lydia M a r i a C h i l d a n d J o h n G r e e n l e a f Whittier were longtime friends, v e t e r a n s in the great c a u s e of abolition. O n a visit to W a s h i n g ton after the Civil W a r h a d broken o u t , the still r e c l u s i v e , a n d ailing, H a w t h o r n e seriously c o n s i d e r e d m a k i n g the h a z a r d o u s trip to W h e e l i n g to m e e t the extraordinary n e w c o n t r i b u t o r to the Atlantic Monthly, R e b e c c a H a r d i n g ; later he w e l c o m e d her at W a y s i d e . M a n y of the m a l e writers of this period c a m e together c a s u a l l y for d i n i n g a n d drinking, the hospitality at Evert D u y c k i n c k ' s h o u s e in N e w York b e i n g f a m o u s , o p e n to S o u t h e r n e r s like William G i l m o r e S i m m s a s well a s N e w Yorkers like Melville a n d B o s t o n i a n s like the elder R i c h a r d H e n r y D a n a , the father of the a u t h o r of the p o p u l a r Two Years before the Mast. O f the c l u b s f o r m e d by m a l e writers, artists, a n d other n o t a b l e s , the two m o s t m e m o r a b l e are the B r e a d a n d C h e e s e C l u b , which C o o p e r organized in 1 8 2 4 in the b a c k r o o m of his publisher's M a n h a t t a n b o o k s t o r e , a n d the S a t u r d a y C l u b , a c o n vivial B o s t o n g r o u p f o r m e d in 1 8 5 6 a n d especially a s s o c i a t e d with the Atlantic Monthly a n d the p u b l i s h i n g h o u s e of T i c k n o r a n d F i e l d s . M e m b e r s of the B r e a d a n d C h e e s e C l u b i n c l u d e d the poet W i l l i a m C u l l e n Bryant, S a m u e l F. B . M o r s e (the painter w h o later invented the t e l e g r a p h ) , the p o e t FitzG r e e n e H a l l e c k , a n d T h o m a s C o l e (the E n g l i s h - b o r n p a i n t e r of the A m e r i c a n l a n d s c a p e ) . E m e r s o n w a s a m o n g the m e m b e r s of the S a t u r d a y C l u b , a l o n g with J a m e s R u s s e l l Lowell, H e n r y W a d s w o r t h Longfellow, Oliver W e n d e l l H o l m e s , a n d the historians J o h n L o t h r o p Motley a n d William H . P r e s c o t t ; N a t h a n i e l H a w t h o r n e a t t e n d e d s o m e m e e t i n g s . A l o n g with m o r e formal organizations, informal a s s o c i a t i o n s flourished. In 1 8 3 6 a small g r o u p of B o s t o n - b a s e d U n i t a r i a n s b e g a n to m e e t to study G e r m a n p h i l o s o p h y ; at first simply called H e d g e ' s c l u b , from the organizer, F r e d e r i c H e d g e , the g r o u p p a s s e d into literary history a s the " T r a n s c e n d e n t a l C l u b . " M a r g a r e t Fuller c o n d u c t e d a series of " c o n v e r s a t i o n s " in the late 1 8 3 0 s a n d early 1 8 4 0 s that f o r e s h a d o w e d m a n y w o m e n ' s c l u b s of the f u t u r e . In the late 1 8 5 0 s a B o h e m i a n g r o u p of n e w s p a p e r a n d theater p e o p l e a n d writers d r a n k together at P f a f f s s a l o o n on B r o a d w a y a b o v e B l e e c k e r S t r e e t ; for a time W h i t m a n w a s a fixture there.








S u c h intimacy w a s inevitable in a country that h a d only a few literary a n d p u b l i s h i n g c e n t e r s , a l m o s t all of t h e m a l o n g the Atlantic s e a b o a r d . D e s p i t e the a c q u i s i t i o n of the L o u i s i a n a Territory from F r a n c e in 1 8 0 3 a n d the vast s o u t h w e s t from M e x i c o in 1 8 4 8 , m o s t of the writers w e still read lived all their lives in the original thirteen s t a t e s , except for trips a b r o a d , a n d their practical e x p e r i e n c e w a s of a c o m p a c t country: in 1 8 4 0 the " n o r t h w e s t e r n " s t a t e s were t h o s e c o v e r e d by the N o r t h w e s t O r d i n a n c e of 1 7 8 7 ( O h i o , India n a , Illinois, a n d M i c h i g a n ; W i s c o n s i n w a s still a territory), while the " s o u t h w e s t e r n " h u m o r writers s u c h a s G e o r g e W a s h i n g t o n H a r r i s , T h o m a s B a n g s T h o r p e , a n d J o h n s o n J o n e s H o o p e r wrote in the region b o u n d e d by G e o r g i a , Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee. I m p r o v e m e n t s in transportation were shrinking the c o u n t r y e v e n while territorial g a i n s were enlarging it. W h e n Irving went from M a n h a t t a n to Albany in 1 8 0 0 , s t e a m b o a t s h a d not yet b e e n invented; the H u d s o n voyage was slow a n d d a n g e r o u s , a n d in 1 8 0 3 the w a g o n s of Irving's C a n a d a - b o u n d party barely m a d e it t h r o u g h the b o g s b e y o n d U t i c a . T h e Erie C a n a l , c o m pleted in 1 8 2 5 , c h a n g e d t h i n g s : in the 1 8 3 0 s a n d 1 8 4 0 s H a w t h o r n e , Melville, a n d Fuller took the c a n a l b o a t s in safety, suffering only from c r o w d e d a n d stuffy s l e e p i n g c o n d i t i o n s . W h e n Irving went buffalo h u n t i n g in Indian territory (now O k l a h o m a ) in 1 8 3 2 , h e left the s t e a m b o a t at S t . L o u i s a n d went on h o r s e b a c k , c a m p i n g out at night except w h e n his party r e a c h e d o n e of the line of m i s s i o n s built to a c c o m m o d a t e whites w h o were Christianizing the Plains I n d i a n s . A r o u n d the first of O c t o b e r 1 8 3 2 , L y m a n B e e c h e r of B o s t o n , having a c c e p t e d the p r e s i d e n c y of L a n e T h e o l o g i c a l S e m inary in C i n c i n n a t i , set out in at least o n e s t a g e c o a c h with several m e m b e r s of his family, i n c l u d i n g Harriet, later the a u t h o r of Uncle Tom's Cabin. T h e y s t o p p e d in N e w York City a n d P h i l a d e l p h i a (apparently l e a d i n g a milk c o w ) , then had to leave the s t a g e c o a c h for w a g o n s w h e n they r e a c h e d the Alleg h e n i e s , west of H a r r i s b u r g . I n t e n d i n g to take a s t e a m b o a t from W h e e l i n g (then in Virginia), they delayed b e c a u s e of c h o l e r a in C i n c i n n a t i a n d ultimately took a s t a g e c o a c h , arriving in m i d - N o v e m b e r . By the 1 8 4 0 s railroads h a d r e p l a c e d s t a g e c o a c h e s b e t w e e n m a n y e a s t e r n towns, a l t h o u g h to get to N e w O r l e a n s in 1 8 4 8 W h i t m a n h a d to c h a n g e from railroad to s t a g e c o a c h to s t e a m b o a t . D e s p i t e f r e q u e n t train w r e c k s , s t e a m b o a t e x p l o s i o n s , a n d Atlantic s h i p w r e c k s , by the 1 8 5 0 s travel b e t w e e n m a j o r cities h a d c e a s e d to be the h a z a r d o u s a d v e n t u r e it h a d b e e n at the b e g i n n i n g of the p e r i o d . T h e exception w a s travel to a n d from S a n F r a n c i s c o . T h a t old S p a n i s h M e x i c a n port b e c a m e an a l m o s t instant m e t r o p o l i s in the G o l d R u s h of 1 8 4 9 , w h e n t h o u s a n d s of gold s e e k e r s a n d o t h e r s p o u r e d in from all over the world. A m e r i c a n s a n d E u r o p e a n s often took the long a n d p e r i l o u s voyage a r o u n d C a p e H o r n , a s L o u i s e C l a p p e ( " D a m e Shirley") a n d her d o c t o r - h u s b a n d did in 184950. M u c h faster w a s the route by ship from a n e a s t e r n port to C h a g r e s , then a c r o s s the i s t h m u s by h o r s e b a c k a n d c a n o e to P a n a m a City ( t o u g h , y o u n g B a y a r d Taylor m a d e it in five days in 1 8 5 0 ) , a n d by s h i p to S a n F r a n c i s c o . T h o u s a n d s set off for California from M i s s o u r i or T e x a s in w a g o n s , on h o r s e b a c k , or simply on foot, walking b e s i d e w a g o n s , c r o s s i n g the central p l a i n s , the Rocky M o u n t a i n s , a n d w e s t e r n d e s e r t s .



T h e e a s t e r n c i t i e s N e w York, P h i l a d e l p h i a , a n d B o s t o n t h o u g h the largest in the nation, were tiny in c o m p a r i s o n to their m o d e r n size. T h e site of B r o o k F a r m , now long s i n c e a b s o r b e d by B o s t o n , w a s c h o s e n b e c a u s e it w a s nine miles r e m o t e from the S t a t e H o u s e a n d two miles a w a y from the n e a r e s t farm. T h e p o p u l a t i o n of N e w York City at the start o f the 1 8 4 0 s w a s only a third of a million ( a b o u t 5 p e r c e n t of its c u r r e n t size) a n d w a s c o n c e n t r a t e d in lower M a n h a t t a n : U n i o n S q u a r e w a s the n o r t h e r n e d g e of town. H o r a c e Greeley, the editor of the N e w York Tribune, e s c a p e d the b u s t l e of the city by living on a ten-acre farm u p the E a s t River on T u r t l e Bay, w h e r e the E a s t Fifties a r e now; there he a n d his wife provided a b u c o l i c retreat for M a r g a r e t Fuller w h e n s h e w a s his literary critic a n d metropolitan reporter. In 1 8 5 3 the Crystal P a l a c e , a n exposition of arts, crafts, a n d scie n c e s c r e a t e d in imitation of the great Crystal P a l a c e at the L o n d o n World's Fair of 1 8 5 1 , failedlargely b e c a u s e it w a s too far out of town, u p west of the C r o t o n W a t e r Reservoir (which h a d m a d e p u r e r u n n i n g water available for a d e c a d e , already). T h e reservoir was on the s p o t w h e r e the N e w York Public Library now s t a n d s , at Forty-second S t r e e t a n d Fifth A v e n u e , a n d the Crystal P a l a c e w a s on the site of the m o d e r n Bryant Park (for d e c a d e s a n ironic p l a c e to be n a m e d for the n a t u r e p o e t , it has b e e n r e c l a i m e d for s a f e public e n j o y m e n t ) . T h e writers in this period t e n d e d to look east for their a u d i e n c e s s o m e of the writers, in earlier d e c a d e s , to E n g l a n d , all of t h e m to the p u b l i s h i n g c e n t e r s on the e a s t c o a s t , even t h o s e w h o had lived in what w a s called the west (Kirkland in M i c h i g a n , S t o w e in O h i o ) . Several of the writers c o u l d r e m e m b e r clearly w h e n news c a m e in 1 8 0 3 that P r e s i d e n t J e f f e r s o n h a d b o u g h t an e n o r m o u s territory, i m p o s s i b l e to visualize; all of t h e m knew that a c q u i r i n g O r e g o n might have c o s t a third war with G r e a t Britain in the mid1 8 4 0 s ; a n d all of t h e m lived through the a c q u i s i t i o n of the S o u t h w e s t , i n c l u d i n g C a l i f o r n i a , in 1 8 4 8 . In varying ways, m a n y of the writers were affected by the e x p a n s i o n w e s t w a r d . C o o p e r propelled his a g e d h e r o L e a t h e r stocking a c r o s s the M i s s i s s i p p i in The Prairie ( 1 8 2 7 ) before Irving outdid C o o p e r by g o i n g a c r o s s the M i s s i s s i p p i himself. T h r o u g h m u c h of her childhood, Harriet Prescott's father w a s away, trying to m a k e his fortune in O r e g o n . In The Oregon Trail, a series of articles in the N e w York Knickerbocker ( 1 8 4 7 ) , F r a n c i s P a r k m a n r e c o u n t e d his j o u r n e y w e s t w a r d a s far a s W y o m i n g ; in 1 8 4 9 , he capitalized on the a c q u i s i t i o n of the S o u t h w e s t by p u b l i s h i n g it a s a b o o k with an e x p a n d e d , m i s l e a d i n g title, The California and Oregon Trail. Melville, w h o h a d traveled a s far west a s the M i s s i s s i p p i before g o i n g whaling a n d w h o h a d s e e n native p e o p l e s m i s t r e a t e d in the Pacific islands a n d a l o n g the Pacific c o a s t of S o u t h A m e r i c a , r e a c t e d hostilely to P a r k m a n ' s disdain for the A m e r i c a n Indians he e n c o u n t e r e d : " W h o c a n swear that a m o n g the n a k e d British b a r b a r i a n s sent to R o m e to b e stared at m o r e than 1 5 0 0 years a g o , the a n c e s t o r of B a c o n might not have b e e n f o u n d ? W h y , a m o n g the very T h u g s of India, or the bloody D y a k s of Born e o , exists the g e r m of all that is intellectually elevated a n d g r a n d . W e a r e all of u s A n g l o - S a x o n s , Dyaks a n d I n d i a n s s p r u n g from o n e h e a d a n d m a d e in o n e i m a g e . " F r o m northern California the y o u n g B a y a r d Taylor sent h o m e reports on the G o l d R u s h to the N e w York Tribune a n d p u b l i s h e d t h e m early in 1 8 5 0 a s Eldorado. Apparently not trying to find an e a s t e r n outlet, L o u i s e C l a p p e ( " D a m e Shirley") p u b l i s h e d her letters a b o u t her





" R e s i d e n c e in the M i n e s " ( 1 8 5 1 - 5 2 ) only belatedly, in 1 8 5 4 , in a friend's short-lived S a n F r a n c i s c o literary m a g a z i n e , The Pioneer; c o n s e q u e n t l y , her f a m e w a s never truly national in her lifetime. L o n g f e l l o w relied o n b o o k s for his d e s c r i p t i o n s of the M i s s i s s i p p i region in Evangeline ( 1 8 4 7 ) , b u t if the E a s t h a d cried o u t to b e p u t into literature early in the century, n o w the M i s s i s s i p p i cried out to b e put into literature by s o m e o n e w h o knew it. At mid-century the boy-printer S a m u e l C l e m e n s in H a n n i b a l , M i s s o u r i , on the great river, set into type m a n y stories by writers of the old S o u t h w e s t . W h e n the Civil W a r c a m e , C l e m e n s f o u n d r e a s o n for g o i n g west to N e v a d a a n d C a l i f o r n i a , then to H a w a i i ; a n d in 1 8 7 2 h e b r o u g h t a version of his adventures into print in the E a s t , in H a r t f o r d , C o n n e c t i c u t , a s Roughing It. S o o n , in 1 8 7 5 , he would write the s p l e n d i d " O l d T i m e s on the M i s s i s s i p p i " for the Atlantic Monthly a n d at least o n e great b o o k set o n the river, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ( 1 8 8 4 ) .






G e o g r a p h y a n d m o d e s of t r a n s p o r t a t i o n b o r e directly o n p u b l i s h i n g p r o c e d u r e s in the U n i t e d S t a t e s of this p e r i o d . F o r a l o n g time writers w h o w a n t e d to p u b l i s h a b o o k carried the m a n u s c r i p t to a local printer, p a i d j o b rates to have it printed a n d b o u n d , a n d m a d e their own a r r a n g e m e n t s for distribution a n d s a l e s . Longfellow w o r k e d in this f a s h i o n with a firm in B r u n s w i c k , M a i n e , w h e n he printed his translation of Elements of French Grammar a n d other textbooks d u r i n g his first years a s a t e a c h e r . Over the y e a r s , however, true p u b l i s h i n g c e n t e r s d e v e l o p e d in the m a j o r s e a p o r t s that c o u l d receive the latest British b o o k s by the fastest s h i p s a n d , hastily reprinting t h e m , distribute t h e m inland by river traffic a s well a s in c o a s t a l cities. After 1 8 2 0 the l e a d i n g p u b l i s h i n g towns were N e w York a n d P h i l a d e l p h i a , with the Erie C a n a l s o o n giving N e w York a n a d v a n t a g e in the O h i o t r a d e . B o s t o n r e m a i n e d only a provincial p u b l i s h i n g c e n t e r until after 1 8 5 0 , w h e n publishers realized the value of the d e c a d e - o l d railroad c o n n e c t i o n s to the W e s t . ( S h i p p e d by s e a , c o p i e s of Melville's early b o o k s r e a c h e d N e w O r l e a n s two w e e k s or so after p u b l i c a t i o n in N e w York.) D e s p i t e the a g g r e s s i v e m e r c h a n dising t e c h n i q u e s of a few firms, the c r e a t i o n of a national b o o k - b u y i n g market for literature, especially A m e r i c a n literature, w a s l o n g d e l a y e d . T h e p r o b l e m w a s that the e c o n o m i c interests of A m e r i c a n p u b l i s h e r b o o k s e l l e r s were antithetical to the interests of A m e r i c a n writers. A n a t i o n a l copyright law b e c a m e effective in the U n i t e d S t a t e s in 1 7 9 0 , b u t it w a s 1 8 9 1 before A m e r i c a n writers h a d international p r o t e c t i o n a n d foreign writers received p r o t e c t i o n in the U n i t e d S t a t e s . T h r o u g h a l m o s t all the century, A m e r i c a n printers routinely pirated E n g l i s h writers, p a y i n g n o t h i n g to Sir W a l t e r S c o t t or C h a r l e s D i c k e n s or later writers for their novels, w h i c h were r u s h e d into print a n d sold very c h e a p l y in N e w York, P h i l a d e l p h i a , a n d other cities. A m e r i c a n r e a d e r s benefited from the s i t u a t i o n , for they c o u l d b u y the b e s t British a n d C o n t i n e n t a l writings c h e a p l y ; b u t A m e r i c a n writers s u f f e r e d , b e c a u s e if they were to receive royalties, their b o o k s h a d to b e p r i c e d a b o v e the p r i c e s c h a r g e d for works of the m o s t f a m o u s British writers. A m e r i c a n p u b l i s h e r s were willing to carry a few native novelists a n d p o e t s a s p r e s t i g e i t e m s for a while, but they were b u s i n e s s p e o p l e , not p h i l a n t h r o p i s t s .



T o c o m p o u n d the p r o b l e m , Irving's a p p a r e n t c o n q u e s t of the British p u b lishing s y s t e m , by which he received large s u m s for The S k e t c h Book a n d s u c c e e d i n g v o l u m e s , proved delusory. C o o p e r a n d o t h e r s followed in Irving's track for a time a n d were paid by m a g n a n i m o u s British p u b l i s h e r s u n d e r a system whereby works first printed in G r e a t Britain were p r e s u m e d to hold a British copyright. B u t this p r a c t i c e w a s ruled illegal by a British j u d g e in 1 8 4 9 , a n d the British m a r k e t dried u p for A m e r i c a n writers. T h r o u g h o u t this period, like our own, m a k i n g a serious A m e r i c a n contribution to the literature of the world w a s n o g u a r a n t e e at all of m o n e t a r y r e w a r d s . E x c e p t for the few a u t h o r s of best-sellers like S t o w e a n d , later, Alcott (both p u b l i s h i n g after mid-century), the U n i t e d S t a t e s w a s not a c o u n try in which o n e c o u l d m a k e a living by writing fiction a n d poetry: F a n n y Fern's financial t r i u m p h (also after 1 8 5 0 ) w a s a s a c o l u m n i s t ; a n d a l t h o u g h he p u b l i s h e d poetry a n d fiction, B a y a r d Taylor's m a i n i n c o m e c a m e from his n e w s p a p e r articles written h o m e from exotic l o c a t i o n s (then c o l l e c t e d into travel b o o k s ) a n d , later, from his very p o p u l a r l e c t u r e s . S e r i o u s a u t h o r s c o u l d not always find p u b l i s h e r s for their work. Unlike m o s t other m a l e writers, Irving c o u l d always find a p u b l i s h e r , a n d in 1 8 4 9 his c a r e e r w a s revived by P u t n a m ' s lavish p r o m o t i o n of his life of Oliver G o l d s m i t h ; C o o p e r c o u l d a l s o get his n e w b o o k s p u b l i s h e d , a n d the r e i s s u e of s o m e of his earlier s u c c e s s e s restored s o m e of his popularity before his d e a t h late in 1 8 5 1 . O t h e r writers for periods of time b e c a m e editors of m a g a z i n e s or n e w s p a p e r s (there were d o z e n s of n e w s p a p e r s in M a n h a t t a n in the 1 8 4 0 s ) , w h e r e they c o u l d p u b l i s h t h e m s e l v e s . T h e s e editors i n c l u d e d P o e , L o n g s t r e e t , H a r r i s , T h o r p e , J o h n s o n J o n e s H o o p e r of A l a b a m a , Lowell, a n d other n o t a b l e e x a m p l e s : Fuller, w h o for several years reported for the N e w York Tribune at h o m e a n d from E u r o p e ; W h i t m a n , w h o for m u c h of the 1 8 4 0 s a n d 1 8 5 0 s w a s free to editorialize in o n e Brooklyn or M a n h a t t a n n e w s p a p e r or a n o t h e r ; Whittier, w h o for m o r e t h a n two d e c a d e s before the Civil W a r w a s c o r r e s p o n d i n g editor of the W a s h i n g t o n National Era; C h i l d , w h o edited the N e w York Anti-Slavery Standard a n d wrote letters to the B o s t o n Courier; Kirkland, w h o e d i t e d the N e w York Union a n d wrote for other m a g a z i n e s ; a n d , m o s t c o n s p i c u o u s , Bryant, long-time owner of the N e w York Evening Post. F a n n y Fern's brother N a t h a n i e l Willis Parker w a s a celebrity writer of poetry, fiction, a n d travel s k e t c h e s ; but he e a r n e d his living d u r i n g this period a s the editor of the N e w York Home Journal. W h i t m a n w a s his own p u b l i s h e r for m o s t editions of Leaves of Grass a n d filled mail orders himself, a s T h o r e a u a l s o did w h e n an o c c a s i o n a l r e q u e s t c a m e for o n e of the seven h u n d r e d c o p i e s of his first book, which the p u b l i s h e r h a d returned to h i m . At crucial m o m e n t s in his career, Melville felt c o n s t r a i n e d not to write what h e w a n t e d to write, a s w h e n h e sacrificed his literary a s p i r a t i o n s after the failure of Mardi a n d wrote Redburn a n d White-Jacket, which he r e g a r d e d a s m e r e drudgery; a n d at other times h e w a s "prevented from p u b l i s h i n g " works he h a d c o m p l e t e d , i n c l u d i n g The Isle of the Cross, which he p r o b a b l y destroyed. Ironically, the writer freest to p u r s u e literary g r e a t n e s s in this period w a s probably Emily D i c k i n s o n , w h o s e "letter to the w o r l d " r e m a i n e d u n m a i l e d d u r i n g her lifetime. F a n n y F e r n broke all the rules by b e i n g paid lavishly for her c o l u m n s in the N e w York Ledger.







T h e eccentricity of A m e r i c a n s , especially in rural a r e a s a n d s m a l l e r towns, w a s n o t o r i o u s a m o n g visitors from a b r o a d a n d w a s r e c o r d e d in s o m e of its a s p e c t s by diverse writers. In Stowe's N e w E n g l a n d novels of the late 1 8 5 0 s a n d early 1 8 6 0 s , there is a gallery of portraits of mentally a n g u l a r or gnarled c h a r a c t e r s . In A m h e r s t , Emily D i c k i n s o n o u t - T h o r e a u e d T h o r e a u in her reso l u t e privacy, i d i o s y n c r a c i e s , a n d individuality. B u t s h e c o u l d b e u n d e r s t o o d in relation to real a n d fictional c h a r a c t e r s . T h e night her c o r r e s p o n d e n t T h o m a s W e n t w o r t h H i g g i n s o n m e t her in 1 8 7 0 , he strove to convey her chara c t e r in a letter to his wife: "if you h a d read M r s . S t o d d a r d ' s novels you c o u l d u n d e r s t a n d a h o u s e w h e r e e a c h m e m b e r runs his or h e r own s e l v e s . " D e s p i t e s u c h powerful individualists, it s e e m e d to s o m e of the writers that A m e r i c a n s , even while d e l u d i n g t h e m s e l v e s that they were the m o s t selfreliant p o p u l a c e in t h e world, were systematically selling o u t their individualities. E m e r s o n s o u n d e d the a l a r m : " S o c i e t y everywhere is in c o n s p i r a c y a g a i n s t the m a n h o o d of every o n e of its m e m b e r s . S o c i e t y is a j o i n t - s t o c k c o m p a n y which the m e m b e r s a g r e e for the better s e c u r i n g of his b r e a d to e a c h s h a r e h o l d e r , to s u r r e n d e r the liberty a n d c u l t u r e of t h e eater. T h e virtue in m o s t r e q u e s t is c o n f o r m i t y . " In Tlw Celestial Railroad H a w t h o r n e satirically d e s c r i b e d the condition at the Vanity Fair of m o d e r n A m e r i c a , w h e r e there w a s a " s p e c i e s of m a c h i n e for the w h o l e s a l e m a n u f a c t u r e of individual morality." H e went o n : " T h i s excellent result is effected by s o c i e t i e s for all m a n n e r of virtuous p u r p o s e s ; with which a m a n h a s merely to c o n n e c t himself, throwing, a s it w e r e , his q u o t a of virtue into the c o m m o n stock; a n d the p r e s i d e n t a n d directors will take c a r e that the a g g r e g a t e a m o u n t b e well a p p l i e d . " T h o r e a u repeatedly satirized A m e r i c a a s a nation of j o i n e r s that tried to force every n e w c o m e r "to b e l o n g to their d e s p e r a t e odd-fellow society": to T h o r e a u , m e m b e r s of the O d d Fellows a n d other social organizations were simply not o d d e n o u g h , not individual e n o u g h . B u t n o n e of the writers f o u n d anything c o m i c a l in the w h o l e s a l e loss of Yankee individualism a s both m e n a n d w o m e n d e s e r t e d w o r n o u t f a r m s for factories, w h e r e m a n y b e g a n to feel what E m e r s o n called " t h e disproportion b e t w e e n their faculties a n d the work offered t h e m . " F a r too often, the s e a r c h for a better life had d e g e n e r a t e d into a desire to p o s s e s s f a c t o r y - m a d e o b j e c t s . " T h i n g s are in the s a d d l e , " E m e r s o n said sweepingly, " a n d ride m a n k i n d . " In elaboration of that a c c u s a t i o n , T h o r e a u wrote Walden a s a treatise o n e x p a n d i n g the spiritual life by simplifying material w a n t s . Informing T h o reau's o u t r a g e at the m a t e r i a l i s m of his time w a s the bitter k n o w l e d g e that even t h e m o s t i m p o v e r i s h e d were b e i n g led to w a s t e their m o n e y ( a n d , therefore, their lives) o n trumpery. In a v o c a b u l a r y e c h o i n g B e n j a m i n F r a n k lin, he c o n d e m n e d the e m e r g i n g c o n s u m e r e c o n o m y that w a s d e v o t e d , even in the infancy of advertising, to the creation of "artificial w a n t s " for things that were u n n e e d e d or outright p e r n i c i o u s . A n d to c o u n t e r the loss of a n archetypal Y a n k e e virtue, he m a d e h i m s e l f into a jack-of-all-trades a n d s t r o n g m a s t e r of o n e , the art of writing. T h e difference in the social s t a t u s (and the e a r n i n g power) of m e n a n d w o m e n did not p e n e t r a t e the c o n s c i o u s n e s s of all writers, even all w o m e n writers, but C h i l d p r o d u c e d the c o m p r e h e n s i v e , p i o n e e r i n g History of the



Condition of Women, in Various Ages and Nations, a n d after her own h a r s h e x p e r i e n c e at trying to s u p p o r t herself a n d her d a u g h t e r s by the c o n v e n t i o n a l f e m i n i n e skill of sewing, F a n n y Fern m i s s e d no c h a n c e to e x p o s e the cruel myth that any i n d u s t r i o u s w o m a n c o u l d earn a d e c e n t living. After his own failure to earn a living in A m e r i c a w a s painfully o b v i o u s to h i m , Melville m e d i t a t e d on the exploitation of f e m a l e millworkers in The Tartarus of Maids. D o u g l a s s portrayed h i m s e l f a s never b e i n g without h o p e , a l t h o u g h a slave; H a r d i n g portrayed wage-slaves in the iron mills, m a l e a n d f e m a l e , a s utterly without r e a s o n a b l e h o p e . In strangely different ways the writers to s p e a k out m o s t profoundly a b o u t the e m e r g i n g A m e r i c a n e c o n o m i c s y s t e m were C h i l d , S t o w e , F e r n , T h o r e a u , D o u g l a s s , Melville, W h i t m a n , a n d D a v i s .



All the m a j o r writers f o u n d t h e m s e l v e s at o d d s with the d o m i n a n t religion of their t i m e , a P r o t e s t a n t Christianity that exerted practical control over what c o u l d be printed in b o o k s a n d m a g a z i n e s . S e d g w i c k , a U n i t a r i a n , a s befitted her high social s t a t u s , w a s a p p a l l e d at the u n s e e m l i n e s s of backw o o d s M e t h o d i s t revivals; m o r e often, writers, even n o m i n a l U n i t a r i a n s , were a p p a l l e d at the c o l d n e s s of c h u r c h e s , not the w i l d n e s s . T h i s c h u r c h , E m e r s o n said, a c t e d " a s if G o d were d e a d . " W h i t m a n , bred a s a Quaker, w a s even m o r e bitter toward all P r o t e s t a n t c h u r c h e s : " T h e c h u r c h e s a r e o n e vast lie; the p e o p l e do not believe t h e m , a n d they do not believe t h e m s e l v e s . " Still, the writers all c a m e from P r o t e s t a n t b a c k g r o u n d s in which C a l v i n i s m w a s m o r e or less w a t e r e d d o w n (less s o in the c a s e s of Melville a n d Dicki n s o n ) , a n d they knew their theology. E m e r s o n , T h o r e a u , a n d C h i l d (who p u b l i s h e d a history of all religions in 1 8 5 1 ) , regularly tried to p l a c e P r o t e s t a n t Christianity in relation to other religions, while Melville t e n d e d to j u d g e c o n t e m p o r a r y Christianity by the a b s o l u t e s t a n d a r d s of the N e w T e s t a m e n t . In The Celestial Railroad H a w t h o r n e m e m o r a b l y satirized the A m e r i c a n urge to be progressive a n d liberal in theology as well as in politics, a n d Melville extended the satire t h r o u g h o u t an entire book, The Confidence-Man. A w a r e n e s s of the fact of religious e c s t a s y w a s not at i s s u e . E m e r s o n , for i n s t a n c e , s h o w e d in The Over-Soul a clinical s e n s e of the varieties of religious experience, the "varying f o r m s of that s h u d d e r of a w e a n d delight with which the individual soul always m i n g l e s with the universal s o u l . " Similarly, T h o reau a c k n o w l e d g e d the validity of the " s e c o n d birth a n d p e c u l i a r religious e x p e r i e n c e " available to the "solitary hired m a n on a farm in the outskirts of C o n c o r d " but felt that any religious d e n o m i n a t i o n in A m e r i c a w o u l d pervert that mystical experience into s o m e t h i n g available only u n d e r its a u s p i c e s a n d in a c c o r d a n c e with its particular d o c t r i n e s . L i k e T h o r e a u , W h i t m a n s a w all religious e c s t a s y as equally valid a n d c a m e forth in S o n g o / M y s e l / o u t b i d d i n g "the old c a u t i o u s h u c k s t e r s " like J e h o v a h , K r o n o s , Z e u s , a n d H e r c u l e s , g o d s w h o held too low a n e s t i m a t e of the value of m e n a n d w o m e n . A m o n g t h e s e writers Melville w a s a l o n e in his a n g u i s h i n g conviction that true Christianity w a s i m p r a c t i c a b l e . Melville a l s o felt the brutal power of the Calvinistic J e h o vah with special k e e n n e s s : h u m a n beings were " g o d - b u l l i e d " even a s the hull of the Pequod was in Moby-Dick, a n d the b e s t way p e o p l e h a d of d e m o n strating their own divinity lay in defying the o m n i p o t e n t tyrant. T o D i c k i n s o n





a l s o , G o d w a s often a b u l l y a " M a s t i f f , " w h o m s u b s e r v i e n c e might, or might not, a p p e a s e . In a series of novels Harriet B e e c h e r S t o w e compellingly d e s c r i b e d the way rigid C a l v i n i s m c o u l d cripple y o u n g m i n d s . T r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s m in the late 1 8 3 0 s a n d early 1 8 4 0 s w a s treated in m o s t m a i n s t r e a m n e w s p a p e r s a n d m a g a z i n e s a s s o m e t h i n g b e t w e e n a national l a u g h i n g s t o c k a n d a clear m e n a c e to organized religion. T h e r u n n i n g journalistic j o k e , which H a w t h o r n e e c h o e d in The Celestial Railroad, was that no o n e c o u l d define the t e r m , other than that it w a s highfalutin, foreign, a n d o b s c u r e l y d a n g e r o u s . T h e conservative C h r i s t i a n view is well r e p r e s e n t e d by a p a s s a g e that a p p e a r e d in S t o w e ' s n e w s p a p e r serialization of Uncle Tom's Cabin ( 1 8 5 1 ) but w a s o m i t t e d from the book version, a s a r c a s t i c i n d i c t m e n t of the r e a d e r w h o might find it hard to believe that T o m c o u l d b e stirred by a p a s s a g e in the Bible: "I m e n t i o n this, of c o u r s e , p h i l o s o p h i c friend, a s a psychological p h e n o m e n o n . Very likely it would d o n o s u c h a thing for y o u , b e c a u s e you are an e n l i g h t e n e d m a n , a n d have out-grown the old myths of p a s t c e n t u r i e s . B u t then you have E m e r s o n ' s E s s a y s a n d Carlyle's M i s c e l l a n i e s , a n d other p r o d u c t i o n s of the latter day, s u i t e d to your a d v a n c e d d e v e l o p m e n t . " S u c h early observers u n d e r s t o o d well e n o u g h that T r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s m w a s m o r e p a n t h e i s t i c than C h r i s t i a n . T h e "defiant P a n t h e i s m " infusing T h o r e a u ' s shorter p i e c e s helped keep t h e m out of the m a g a z i n e s , a n d J a m e s Russell Lowell for the Atlantic Monthly p u b l i c a t i o n of a section of The Maine Woods c e n s o r e d a s e n t e n c e in which T h o r e a u d e c l a r e d that a pine tree w a s a s i m m o r t a l a s he w a s a n d p e r c h a n c e would " g o to a s high a heaven." Melville a l s o w a s at least o n c e kept from p u b l i c a t i o n by the religious scruples of the m a g a z i n e s , a n d often he w a s harshly c o n d e m n e d for what he h a d m a n a g e d to p u b l i s h . F o r years he bore the wrath of reviewers s u c h as the o n e w h o d e n o u n c e d him for writing Moby-Dick a n d the H a r p e r s for p u b lishing it: " T h e J u d g m e n t day will hold him liable for not t u r n i n g his talents to better a c c o u n t , w h e n , too, both a u t h o r s a n d p u b l i s h e r s of injurious books will be cojointly a n s w e r a b l e for the influence of t h o s e b o o k s u p o n the wide circle of immortal m i n d s on which they have written their mark. T h e bookm a k e r a n d the b o o k - p u b l i s h e r h a d better d o their work with a view to the trial it m u s t u n d e r g o at the bar of G o d . " T h e ultimate result w a s that Melville w a s s i l e n c e d . T h i s w a s e x t r e m e , but E m e r s o n , T h o r e a u , a n d W h i t m a n all suffered for t r a n s g r e s s i n g the c o d e of the D o c t o r s of Divinity ( T h o r e a u s a i d he w i s h e d it were not the D . D . ' s but the c h i c k a d e e - d e e s w h o a c t e d a s c e n s o r s ) . T h o r e a u , W h i t m a n , a n d S t o d d a r d all h a d works c e n s o r e d before p u b lication in the Atlantic Monthly.




H o w e v e r t h r e a t e n e d conservative P r o t e s t a n t s felt by T r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s m a n d by religious s p e c u l a t i o n s like Melville's, they felt far m o r e t h r e a t e n e d by C a t h o l i c i s m when refugees from the N a p o l e o n i c W a r s were followed by refu g e e s from o p p r e s s e d a n d f a m i n e - s t r u c k Ireland. In B o s t o n , L y m a n B e e c h e r , father of Harriet B e e c h e r S t o w e , t h u n d e r e d o u t a n t i p a p i s t s e r m o n s , then p r o f e s s e d d i s m a y when in 1 8 3 4 a m o b in C h a r l e s t o w n , a c r o s s the Charles River from B o s t o n , b u r n e d the U r s u l i n e C o n v e n t S c h o o l where d a u g h t e r s



of m a n y wealthy families were e d u c a t e d . F o r a time L o u i s a M a y Alcott's m o t h e r devoted herself to n e e d y Irish i m m i g r a n t s in B o s t o n , in effect defining the j o b of social worker, all the time a p p a l l e d at the u n s t o p p a b l e tide of popery. T h r o u g h the 1 8 3 0 s a n d 1 8 4 0 s a n d long afterward, the U n i t e d S t a t e s was s a t u r a t e d with lurid books a n d p a m p h l e t s p u r p o r t i n g to reveal the truth a b o u t sexual p r a c t i c e s in n u n n e r i e s a n d m o n a s t e r i e s ( a c c o u n t s of how priests a n d n u n s d i s p o s e d of their b a b i e s were specially prized) a n d a b o u t the p o p e ' s s c h e m e s to take over the M i s s i s s i p p i Valley ( S a m u e l F. B. M o r s e a n d others warned that J e s u i t s were prowling the O h i o Valley, in d i s g u i s e ) . An e x t r e m e of x e n o p h o b i a w a s r e a c h e d in the s u m m e r of 1 8 4 4 , w h e n rioters in Philadelphia (the City, everyone p o i n t e d out, of Brotherly Love) b u r n e d C a t h o l i c c h u r c h e s a n d a s e m i n a r y . S c h o o l e d in cultural relativism by his S o u t h S e a e x p e r i e n c e s , Melville was r e s p o n d i n g to the c u r r e n t hostility w h e n he described the pestilent c o n d i t i o n s of s t e e r a g e p a s s e n g e r s in e m i g r a n t s h i p s and then m a d e this plea: " L e t u s waive that agitated national t o p i c , a s to whether s u c h m u l t i t u d e s of foreign p o o r s h o u l d be l a n d e d on our A m e r i c a n s h o r e s ; let u s waive it, with the o n e only t h o u g h t , that if they c a n get h e r e , they have G o d ' s right to c o m e ; t h o u g h they bring all Ireland a n d her m i s e r i e s with t h e m . F o r the whole world is the p a t r i m o n y of the w h o l e world; there is no telling w h o d o e s not own a s t o n e in the G r e a t Wall of C h i n a . " S o m e j o b s by definition were d e e m e d unfit for m o s t native-born Americ a n s . In Moiry-Dicfe ( c h a p t e r 2 7 ) Melville said that fewer than half the m e n on whaling s h i p s were A m e r i c a n - b o r n , a l t h o u g h a l m o s t all the officers were. T h e n he a d d e d : " H e r e i n it is the s a m e with the A m e r i c a n w h a l e fishery a s with the A m e r i c a n army a n d military a n d m e r c h a n t navies, a n d the engineering forces e m p l o y e d in the c o n s t r u c t i o n of the A m e r i c a n C a n a l s a n d R a i l r o a d s , " the "native A m e r i c a n " providing the brains, the "rest of the w o r l d " supplying the m u s c l e s . T h e P a n a m a Railroad w a s c o m p l e t e d in 1 8 5 5 at the cost of t h o u s a n d s of lives of c h e a p laborers from the O r i e n t , E u r o p e ( e s p e cially Ireland), a n d the C a r i b b e a n . An article on the railroad in the J a n u a r y 1 8 5 9 Harper's New MowtWy Magazine m e n t i o n e d m a n y " C o o l i e s from Hind o s t a n " a n d recalled that a t h o u s a n d C h i n a m e n had b e c o m e "affected with a m e l a n c h o l i c , suicidal t e n d e n c y , a n d s c o r e s of t h e m e n d e d their u n h a p p y existence by their own h a n d s , " while m a n y others died of d i s e a s e s . T h i s article treated workers a s d i s p o s a b l e p r o d u c t s , saying that the n u m b e r of t h o s e w h o died c o u l d b e r e p l e n i s h e d with, for i n s t a n c e , "freshly i m p o r t e d Irishmen a n d F r e n c h m e n . " F o r the first t r a n s c o n t i n e n t a l railroad in the United S t a t e s , c o m p l e t e d at P r o m o n t o r y Point, U t a h , on M a y 10, 1 8 6 9 , the Union P a c i f i c w o r k i n g w e s t w a r d d r e w laborers from Ireland, G e r m a n y , a n d the S c a n d i n a v i a n c o u n t r i e s , a m o n g other E u r o p e a n s o u r c e s ; the C e n t r a l Pacificworking e a s t w a r d i m p o r t e d p e r h a p s 1 5 , 0 0 0 C h i n e s e for the m o s t h a z a r d o u s j o b s . W h a t w a s to b e c o m e of t h o s e still alive w h e n the work w a s c o m p l e t e d ? A n d , now that t h e s e A s i a n s were h e r e , what was to k e e p others from following t h e m ? T h o s e of E u r o p e a n ancestry c o u l d not i m a g i n e how the C h i n e s e might be integrated into the national public life. C o n t r a d i c t o r y efforts both to u s e i m m i g r a n t labor a n d to pretend the i m m i g r a n t s were not here c h a l l e n g e d the thinking a n d the ethics of native-born white A m e r i c a n s , p r o d u c i n g waves of anti-immigrant p r o p a g a n d a a n d violence t h r o u g h o u t the period. F o r all his h u m a n i t a r i a n e l o q u e n c e , Melville, like the other writers,





realized that the new i m m i g r a n t s were c h a n g i n g the country from the cozy, h o m o g e n e o u s l a n d it h a d s e e m e d to b e to the m o r e fortunate whites. In fact, the country h a d never b e e n h o m o g e n e o u s ; even before the great Irish migration of the 1 8 4 0 s , p e o p l e had arrived from m a n y E u r o p e a n c o u n t r i e s , a n d the idea of s t o p p i n g i m m i g r a t i o n selectively a n d s h i p p i n g b a c k s o m e i m m i g r a n t s proved a s i m p r a c t i c a b l e a s the p r e w a r " s o l u t i o n " of colonizing black A m e r i c a n s " b a c k " to Africa. B u t the p a c e of i m m i g r a t i o n had i n c r e a s e d radically after the Civil W a r , a s did the p e r c e n t a g e of i m m i g r a n t s arriving from s o u t h e r n a n d e a s t e r n E u r o p e a n c o u n t r i e s . M a n y native-born white p e o p l e s h a r e d Harriet B e e c h e r S t o w e ' s postCivil W a r nostalgia for the days b e f o r e railroads, C a t h o l i c s , a n d e a s t e r n E u r o p e a n i m m i g r a t i o n . In the early 1 8 8 0 s , p o g r o m s in R u s s i a drove t h o u s a n d s of J e w s into exile, m a n y to w e s t e r n E u r o p e , m a n y to the U n i t e d S t a t e s , w h e r e immigration officials d e t a i n e d a large n u m b e r of t h e m at W a r d ' s Island in the E a s t River, d e e m i n g t h e m unfit to be d i s e m b a r k e d at C a s t l e G a r d e n , on the Battery, with m o s t other i m m i g r a n t s . In r e s p o n s e , E m m a L a z a r u s in I88i founded the Society for the I m p r o v e m e n t a n d C o l o n i z a t i o n of E a s t e r n E u r o p e a n J e w s .



S o m e of the writers of thjsj>eriod lived with the a n g u i s h i n g p a r a d o x that the rrijjsiJdjiaTistic nation in the world w a s implicated in c o n t i n u i n g national sins: the n e a r - g e n o c i d e of the A m e r i c a n I n d i a n s (whole tribes in colonial t i m e s T i a d a l r e a d y - b e c o m e T T n Melvitte ^^rToneous p h r a s e for the P e q u o t s , a s extinct as the a n c i e n t M e d e s ) , the e n s l a v e m e n t of b l a c k s , a n d (partly a by-product of slavery) the s t a g e d " E x e c u t i v e ' s W a r " a g a i n s t M e x i c o , started by P r e s i d e n t Polk before b e i n g d e c l a r e d by C o n g r e s s . T h e imperialistic Mexican W a r s e e m e d s o gaudily e x o t i c a n d s o d i s t a n t t h a t only a s m a l l minority of A m e r i c a n writers v o i c e d m o r e than perfunctory o p p o s i t i o n ; a n exception w a s T h o r e a u , w h o s p e n t a night in the C o n c o r d jail in symbolic protest a g a i n s t b e i n g taxed to s u p p o r t the war. E m e r s o n w a s a n exception, earlier, w h e n m o s t writers were silent a b o u t the s u c c e s s i v e removal of eastern Indian tribes to less d e s i r a b l e lands west of the M i s s i s s i p p i River, a s legislated by the Indian R e m o v a l Act of 1 8 3 0 . A m e r i c a n destiny plainly required a \itt\e p r a c t i c a l c a l l o u s n e s s , m o s t whites felt, in a s e c u l a r version of the colonial notion that G o d h a d willed the extirpation of the A m e r i c a n Indian. Henry W . B e l l o w s , the very p o p u l a r U n i t a r i a n minister of the C h u r c h of All S o u l s in N e w York City (pastoral adviser of W i l l i a m C u l l e n Bryant a n d M r s . H e r m a n Melville), h a d b e e n p r e s i d e n t of the U n i t e d S t a t e s Sanitary C o m m i s s i o n , the a g e n c y c h a r g e d with the welfare of the U n i o n volunteer army. In The Old World in Its New Face ( 1 8 6 8 ) , Bellows told of m e e t i n g a C a l i f o r n i a n on s h i p b o a r d in the M e d i t e r r a n e a n w h o h a d "just e s c a p e d s c a l p ing on the p l a i n s " in 1 8 6 7 a n d w h o t h o u g h t "extermination the only h u m a n e r e m e d y for Indian t r o u b l e s . " Bellows a d d e d : "It is a s t o n i s h i n g how bloodthirsty a little p e r s o n a l e x p e r i e n c e of the I n d i a n s m a k e s m o s t A m e r i c a n s ! I have never known any body c r o s s i n g the P l a i n s w h o s e h u m a n i t y survived the p a s s a g e . " L a t e r , he c a s u a l l y a l l u d e d to the "American Indian p a s s i o n for blood a n d extinction of their e n e m i e s . " It w a s black slavery, w h a t Melville called " m a n ' s foulest c r i m e , " which m o s t stirred the c o n s c i e n c e s of the white writers, a n d in describing his own



e n s l a v e m e n t , the fugitive F r e d e r i c k D o u g l a s s d e v e l o p e d a n o t a b l e capacity to stir readers a s well a s a u d i e n c e s in the lecture halls. W h e n the Fugitive Slave L a w w a s e n f o r c e d in B o s t o n in 1 8 5 1 (by Melville's father-in-law, C h i e f J u s t i c e S h a w ) , T h o r e a u worked his o u t r a g e into his j o u r n a l s ; then after a n o t h e r f a m o u s c a s e in 1 8 5 4 h e c o m b i n e d the e x p e r i e n c e s into his m o s t s c a t h i n g s p e e c h , Slavery in Massachusetts, for delivery at a F o u r t h of J u l y c o u n t e r c e r e m o n y at which a c o p y of the C o n s t i t u t i o n w a s b u r n e d b e c a u s e slavery w a s written into it. In that s p e e c h T h o r e a u s u m m e d u p the disillus i o n m e n t that m a n y of his g e n e r a t i o n s h a r e d . H e h a d felt a vast b u t indefinite loss after the 1 8 5 4 c a s e , h e s a i d : "I did not k n o w at first w h a t ailed m e . At last it o c c u r r e d to m e that what I h a d lost w a s a c o u n t r y . " O n the very eve of the Civil W a r , Harriet J a c o b s r e c o r d e d the a n g u i s h of a fugitive slave m o t h e r w h o s e " o w n e r s " were always on the prowl to find her a n d turn her into the hard c a s h they n e e d e d . M o r e obliquely than T h o r e a u , Melville explored b l a c k slavery in B e n i t o C e r e n o as an index to the e m e r g i n g national character. At his bitterest, h e felt in the m i d - 1 8 5 0 s that "free A m e r i k y " w a s "intrepid, u n p r i n c i p l e d , r e c k l e s s , predatory, with b o u n d l e s s a m b i t i o n , civilized in externals b u t a s a v a g e at h e a r t . " J o h n Brown's raid o n H a r p e r s Ferry in 1 8 5 9 , i m m e d i a t e l y r e p u d i a t e d by the n e w R e p u b l i c a n Party, drew from the now t u b e r c u l a r T h o r e a u a p a s sionate d e f e n s e . D u r i n g the Civil W a r itself, L i n c o l n f o u n d the g e n i u s to suit diverse o c c a s i o n s with right l a n g u a g e a n d length of u t t e r a n c e , but the major writers fell silent. W h e n the war b e g a n on April 12, 1 8 6 1 , with the firing of C o n f e d e r a t e g u n s o n Fort S u m t e r , in C h a r l e s t o n harbor, Irving, C o o p e r , P o e , a n d Fuller were d e a d (the y o u n g e r two earlier t h a n the older two), a n d before Robert E . L e e ' s s u r r e n d e r to U l y s s e s S . G r a n t at A p p o m a t tox, Virginia, on April 9, 1 8 6 5 , T h o r e a u a n d H a w t h o r n e h a d also died. S o m e writers in this anthology h a d in their way, directly a n d indirectly, h e l p e d to bring the war on: L i n c o l n w a s not wholly t e a s i n g if in fact h e c a l l e d S t o w e "the little w o m a n w h o h a d started the big war"; C h i l d a n d Whittier h a d by 1 8 6 1 devoted d e c a d e s of their lives to the struggle a g a i n s t slavery, a r o u s i n g furious r e s i s t a n c e to t h e m both in the N o r t h a n d in the S o u t h ; a n d D o u g lass's oratory h a d revealed to m a n y white N o r t h e r n e r s a s e n s e of the evils of slavery a n d the h u m a n n e s s of t h o s e of a n o t h e r r a c e (or of mixed r a c e s ) . F i r e b r a n d Y a n k e e s s u c h a s T h o r e a u a n d firebrand S o u t h e r n e r s s u c h a s G . W . Harris h a d r o u s e d the p a s s i o n s of at least s o m e m e m b e r s of their own c o m munities a n d regions. W h e n the war c a m e , m o s t northern writers were slow to have a s e n s e of its reality a n d , like S o u t h e r n e r s , e r r o n e o u s l y e x p e c t e d it to last only a few m o n t h s . Visiting B o s t o n a n d C o n c o r d in 1 8 6 2 , fresh from the newly f o r m e d W e s t Virginia (the portion of a slave s t a t e that h a d c h o s e n to stay with the U n i o n ) , R e b e c c a H a r d i n g Davis s a w that E m e r s o n h a d n o notion what suffering w a s involved. H a w t h o r n e , w h o received her with e n t h u s i a s m , h a d f a c e d the start of the war a s a s o u t h e r n sympathizer in a village that had w e l c o m e d J o h n B r o w n , then h a d s e e n W a s h i n g t o n in wartime, a n d retained, a s he always did, a practical politician's s e n s e of t h i n g s . A m o n g the a n t e b e l l u m writers the war did not evoke great fiction, but Melville's u n e v e n Battie-Pieces ( 1 8 6 6 ) i n c l u d e d s o m e r e m a r k a b l e meditative p o e m s as well a s the technically interesting Doneison, in which he conveyed vividly the anxiety of civilians awaiting news during a p r o l o n g e d a n d d u b i o u s battle a n d eagerly r e a d i n g aloud the latest bulletins p o s t e d o u t s i d e the telegraph office. W h i t m a n ' s Drum-Taps ( 1 8 6 5 ) a l s o is u n e v e n b u t c o n t a i n s




several great p o e m s . After a few c o p i e s h a d b e e n d i s p e r s e d , W h i t m a n held b a c k the edition for a s e q u e l mainly c o n s i s t i n g of newly written poems on L i n c o l n , among them When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd, the g r e a t e s t literary work to c o m e out of the war a n d o n e of the world's great e l e g i e s . Both volumes summed u p the national e x p e r i e n c e . B o t h writers looked a h e a d a s well a s b a c k w a r d , W h i t m a n calling " r e c o n c i l i a t i o n " the "word over a l l , " a n d Melville urging in his Supplement to Battle-Pieces that the victorious N o r t h "be C h r i s t i a n s toward our fellow-whites, a s well a s p h i l a n t h r o p i s t s toward the b l a c k s , o u r f e l l o w - m e n . " L a t e r in Specimen Days Whitman m a d e a m e m o r a b l e a t t e m p t to d o the i m p o s s i b l e t o put the real war realistically into a book. B e f o r e s h e died, Child saw how little R e c o n s t r u c t i o n h a d d o n e to a c h i e v e her h o p e s for e d u c a t i o n a n d financial uplifting of former slaves. B o t h Whitm a n a n d Melville, especially in their later years, saw A m e r i c a n politics c e a s e to be c o n c e r n e d with great national s t r u g g l e s over m o m e n t o u s i s s u e s ; rather, politics m e a n t c o r r u p t i o n , on a petty or a grand s c a l e . Melville lived out the G i l d e d A g e a s an e m p l o y e e at the notoriously c o r r u p t c u s t o m h o u s e in N e w York City. In Clarel, foreseeing a d e s c e n t from the p r e s e n t "civic b a r b a r i s m " to "the D a r k Ages of D e m o c r a c y , " h e portrayed his A m e r i c a n pilgrims to the Holy Land a s recognizing sadly that the time might c o m e to h o n o r the g o d of limitations in what h a d b e e n the land of opportunity, a time w h e n Ameri c a n s might cry: " T o T e r m i n u s build f a n e s ! / C o l u m b u s e n d e d earth's r o m a n c e : / N o N e w W o r l d to m a n k i n d r e m a i n s ! " Written self-consciously a s a c o u n t e r c e n t e n n i a l p o e m , Clarel w a s p u b l i s h e d early in J u n e 1 8 7 6 ( G e o r g e C u s t e r a n d his m e n were riding toward M o n t a n a Territory; o n e of the first reviews of Clarel ran in the N e w York World on J u n e 2 6 , the day after the battle at Little Big H o r n ) . N o o n e would have t h o u g h t to invite Melville to c o m p o s e the public C e n t e n n i a l O d e for the great celebration in P h i l a d e l p h i a on J u l y 4, but there were s o m e w h o knew that Walt Whitman, a true national poet, might well have b e e n invited i n s t e a d of B a y a r d Taylor, w h o so long before had written a valentine for Melville.





T h e A m e r i c a n Revolution h a d h e l p e d to incite the F r e n c h Revolution a n d , a s it s e e m e d to m a n y A m e r i c a n s , its d i s a s t r o u s c o n s e q u e n c e s , a n d in the p o s t - N a p o l e o n i c era A m e r i c a n s struggled to m a k e s s e n s e of p r o f o u n d political a n d social c h a n g e s in E u r o p e a s well a s a new scientific k n o w l e d g e . In 1 7 9 9 N a p o l e o n ' s soldiers in Egypt h a d taken p o s s e s s i o n of a large p i e c e of basalt, the R o s e t t a S t o n e ; a F r e n c h civilian h a d d e c i p h e r e d its hieroglyphics, thereby initating m o d e r n Egyptology a n d influencing the study of the Bible by s u b j e c t i n g it to historical principles. Archaeological excavations in Italy a n d e l s e w h e r e were t r a n s f o r m i n g historical a n d a e s t h e t i c k n o w l e d g e of classical G r e e c e a n d R o m e . T h e G e r m a n aristocrat B a r o n Alexander von H u m boldt (17691859), on his voyage to C e n t r a l a n d S o u t h A m e r i c a in 1799 1 8 0 4 , h a d m a d e s t u n n i n g d i s c o v e r i e s in botany, biology, geology, physical g e o g r a p h y , meteorology, climatology, a n d even a s t r o n o m y ; he p u b l i s h e d his discoveries in m a n y v o l u m e s , starting in 1 8 0 7 . L o n g before Darwin published his On t /ie Origin of Species ( 1 8 S 9 ) , biologists were p u b l i s h i n g evidence of



plant a n d a n i m a l evolution, a n d geologists were c h a l l e n g i n g religious chronologies that set the creation of the world a r o u n d 5 0 0 0 B . C . E . K n o w l e d g e of the physical universe w a s i n c r e a s i n g explosively. At the s a m e t i m e , vast parts of the earth were b e i n g seized, not s t u d i e d , a s E u r o p e a n s t a t e s e m b a r k e d on a f e r o c i o u s q u e s t for n e w c o l o n i e s . O n e A m e r i c a n writer, H e r m a n Melville, h a d b e e n on the spot w h e n the F r e n c h seized the M a r q u e s a s a n d had arrived in Tahiti j u s t after the F r e n c h in their warships extended the benefits of their protection to that island. Melville w a s in H o n o l u l u w h e n E n g l a n d relinquished its brief control of the H a w a i i a n I s l a n d s . H e then sailed u n d e r the c o m m a n d of the m a n w h o h a d seized California for the U n i t e d S t a t e s in 1 8 4 3 , only to relinquish it the next day, when he received c o r r e c t e d reports of British i n t e n t i o n s . T h e R u s s i a n s h a d control of an e n o r m o u s h u n k of the N o r t h A m e r i c a n c o n t i n e n t A l a s k a . G r e a t Britain, F r a n c e , the N e t h e r l a n d s , B u s s i a a n y n u m b e r of E u r o p e a n powers might at any m o m e n t seize any part of the Pacific, Africa, A s i a , or even C e n t r a l or S o u t h A m e r i c a . E n g l a n d was already c h a l l e n g i n g B o s t o n a n d N e w York m e r c h a n t s for m a s t e r y of trade with C h i n a , a n d any o n e of several other c o u n t r i e s might force J a p a n to o p e n its h a r b o r s to t h e m , not the U n i t e d S t a t e s . T h e seizure of land after the M e x i c a n W a r h a d s e e m e d , to a few A m e r i c a n s , d e p l o r a b l e , but within m o n t h s gold h a d b e e n d i s c o v e r e d in C a l ifornia, clear e v i d e n c e of divine b l e s s i n g on the war. After C a l i f o r n i a , what s h o u l d the U n i t e d S t a t e s seize next? Writing Mofcy-Dicfe d u r i n g the G o l d R u s h , drawing on his p e r s o n a l experiences with i m p e r i a l i s m in the Pacific, Melville defined A m e r i c a ' s o p p o r t u n i t i e s in whaling t e r m s ( c h a p t e r 8 9 ) : " W h a t to that apostolic lancer, B r o t h e r J o n a t h a n [the U n i t e d S t a t e s ] , is T e x a s but a F a s t - F i s h ? " Melville foresaw (chapter 14) the time w h e n A m e r i c a would " a d d M e x i c o to T e x a s , a n d pile C u b a u p o n C a n a d a " in its piratical acquisitiveness. At mid-century Irving w a s a n old m a n a n d s o m e d a r e d to think a n overrated writer. Most of the writers in this period did their b e s t work a s y o u n g m e n a n d w o m e n , fiercely a m b i t i o u s , a n d in spirit "essentially w e s t e r n " (as Melville said in c h a p t e r 2 2 of Israel Potter). Literary g r e a t n e s s in A m e r i c a was u p for g r a b s , there for the seizing a s m u c h a s the M a r q u e s a s I s l a n d s a n d California had been. In his whaling book, Melville h o p e d to m a k e literary g r e a t n e s s a " F a s t - F i s h " forever. W a l t W h i t m a n a few years later m a d e the s a m e gigantic attempt to b e c o m e the poet for A m e r i c a . In the early 1 8 6 0 s , Emily D i c k i n s o n , to w h o m the gold of g e n i u s h a d b e e n given in c h i l d h o o d (poem 4 5 4 [ 4 5 5 ] ) , a n d who h a d m a d e her farewells to friends b o u n d for the G o l d e n S t a t e , knew that she w a s not only the Queen of Calvary ( p o e m 3 4 8 [ 3 4 7 ] ) , but also the Queen of California in literary g r e a t n e s s a " S o v r e i g n on a M i n e " (poem 8 0 1 [ 8 5 6 ] ) , the " P r i n c e of M i n e s " ( p o e m 4 6 6 [ 5 9 7 ] ) . T h o r e a u , in Life without Principle, characteristically d e n o u n c e d the " r u s h to California," preferring to m i n e the " a u r i f e r o u s " regions within. T h e critic Sydney S m i t h h a d a s k e d c o n t e m p t u o u s l y in the E d i n b u r g h Review ( 1 8 2 0 ) : "In the four q u a r t e r s of the g l o b e , who r e a d s an A m e r i c a n b o o k ? " ; T h o r e a u , who had b e g u n so m o d e s t l y by a d d r e s s i n g his neighbors in C o n c o r d , at the end of Walden a d d r e s s e d the b o o k to both J o h n Bull a n d B r o t h e r J o n a t h a n to a n y o n e in the four q u a r t e r s of the g l o b e w h o c o u l d read the E n g l i s h l a n g u a g e . T h a t was exuberant " w e s t e r n " a m b i t i o u s n e s s w h a t Melville called the "true A m e r i c a n " spirit.

1820 1821 Washington Irving, The Sketch William Cullen Bryant, Book 1821 Sequoyah






syllabary in which Cherokee language can be written 1821-22 Santa Fe Trail Monroe Doctrine opens warns all

\S2i Pioneers






European powers not to establish new colonies on either American continent 1825 Erie Canal opens, connecting Great

Lakes region with the Atlantic 1827 David Cusick, Sketches of Ancient Nations 1827 railroad 182728 Phoenix 182S30 Memorials 1829 William Apess. A Son of the Forest 182937 encourages population 1830 Congress passes Indian Removal President westward Andrew movement Jackson of white David Walker, Appeal Cherokee Council composes Cherokee founded Nation ratifies its new constitution T h e newspaper the Cherokee Baltimore and Ohio, nrst U . S .

History of the Six

Act, allowing J a c k s o n to relocate eastern Indians west of the Mississippi 1831 William Lloyd Garrison journal starts The

Liberator, antislavery 1834 Catharine Maria Sedgwick, "A 1836

Reminiscence 1836

of Federalism" Nature Transcendentalists meet informally in Boston and Concord 1838 escaping 1838-39 troops Underground Railroad aids north, often to Canada Cherokees by federal slaves

Ralph Waldo Emerson,

"Trail of Tears':

forced from their homelands



Stanshury Follow?

Kirkland, A New

HomeWho'll 1841

T. B. Thorpe,

"The Big Bear of

Arkansas" \S4i Lawsuit" 1844 1845 Frederick Edgar Allan Poe, " T h e R a v e n " of the Life of Douglass 184648 United States wages war against 1845 Samuel Morse invents telegraph Margaret Fuller, ,lThe Great

United States annexes Texas

Frederick Douglass, Narrative

Mexico; Treaty of G u a d a l u p e Hidalgo cedes entire southwest to United States


lilies indicate works

in the anthology.


1847 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1847 Evangeline

Brigham Young leads Mormons from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake, Utah Territory 1848 S e n e c a Falls Convention

inaugurates campaign for women's rights 1848-^9 1850 Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Eldorado Scarlet 1850 Letter Bayard Taylor, California Gold Rush

Fugitive Slave Act compromise of

1850 obliges free states to return escaped slaves to slaveholders

1851 1852 Tom's 1854

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Cabin Henry David Thoreau, Walden 1854 Republican Party formed,

consolidating antislavery factions 1855 Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Louise Amelia Smith Clappe, " C a l i f o r n i a , in 1 8 5 1 a n d 1 8 5 2 . R e s i d e n c e in the Mines" 1857 Fresh 1858 Fanny Fern (Sarah Willis Parton), Leaves Abraham Lincoln, "A House 1857 S u p r e m e Court Dred Scott decision

denies citizenship to African Americans 1858 Transatlantic cable fails after twenty-

Divided" 1859 Lydia Maria Child, "Letter to Mrs.

seven days 1859 First successful U.S. oil well drilled,

Margaretta M a s o n " 1860 Harriet Prescott Spofford,

in Pennsylvania I860 Short-lived Pony Express runs from

"Circumstance" 186065 Emily Dickinson writes several

Missouri to California

hundred p o e m s 1861 Harriet J a c o b s , Incidents in the Life 1861 South Carolina batteries fire on U . S .

of a Slave Girl Rebecca Harding Davis, Life in the Iron-Mills

fort, initiating the Civil War; Southern states secede from the Union and found the Confederate States of America 1861-65 1863 1866 1869 Civil War

Emancipation Proclamation Battle Completion of two successful First transcontinental railroad

of Gettysburg 1866 John Greenleaf Whittier, S n o w -

Bound: A Winter Idyl

transatlantic cables completed; Central Pacific construction crews composed largely of C h i n e s e laborers


Louisa May Alcott, "Transcendental

Wild O a t s " 1883 E m m a Lazarus, " T h e N e w C o l o s s u s "


American Literature 1865-1914

THE TRANSFORMATION OF A NATION In the s e c o n d half of the n i n e t e e n t h century, the fertile, mineral-rich American c o n t i n e n t west of the A p p a l a c h i a n s a n d A l l e g h e n i e s w a s o c c u p i e d , often by force, largely by E u r o p e a n s , who exploited its r e s o u r c e s freely. T h e s e new A m e r i c a n s , their n u m b e r s d o u b l e d by a c o n t i n u o u s flow of i m m i g r a n t s , p u s h e d westward to the Pacific c o a s t , d i s p l a c i n g N a t i v e A m e r i c a n c u l t u r e s a n d S p a n i s h s e t t l e m e n t s w h e n they s t o o d in the way. V a s t s t a n d s of t i m b e r were c o n s u m e d ; n u m b e r l e s s h e r d s of buffalo a n d other wild g a m e g a v e way to cattle, s h e e p , f a r m s , villages, a n d cities a n d the railroads that linked t h e m to m a r k e t s b a c k e a s t ; various t e c h n o l o g i e s converted the country's i m m e n s e natural r e s o u r c e s into industrial p r o d u c t s both for its own b u r g e o n i n g p o p ulation a n d for foreign m a r k e t s . T h e Civil W a r , the s e e m i n g l y inevitable result of growing e c o n o m i c , political, social, a n d cultural divisions b e t w e e n N o r t h a n d S o u t h , l a s t e d four years, c o s t s o m e eight billion dollars, a n d c l a i m e d m o r e t h a n six h u n d r e d t h o u s a n d lives. Its savagery s e e m s a l s o to have left the country morally e x h a u s t e d . N e v e r t h e l e s s , in spite of the a s t o n i s h i n g loss of life a n d ruin of property, especially in the S o u t h , the c o u n t r y p r o s p e r e d materially over the five following d e c a d e s . T h e war effort s t i m u l a t e d t e c h n o l o g i c a l innovations a n d developed n e w m e t h o d s of efficiently organizing a n d m a n a g i n g the m o v e m e n t of large n u m b e r s of p e o p l e , raw m a t e r i a l s , a n d g o o d s . After the war t h e s e a c c o m p l i s h m e n t s were a d a p t e d to industrial m o d e r n i z a t i o n o n a m a s s i v e s c a l e . T h e first t r a n s c o n t i n e n t a l railroad w a s c o m p l e t e d in 1 8 6 9 ; industrial o u t p u t grew exponentially; agricultural productivity i n c r e a s e d dramatically; electricity w a s i n t r o d u c e d on a large s c a l e ; n e w m e a n s of c o m m u n i c a t i o n , s u c h a s the t e l e p h o n e , revolutionized m a n y a s p e c t s of daily life; coal, oil, iron, gold, silver, a n d other kinds of mineral wealth were d i s c o v e r e d and extracted, p r o d u c i n g large n u m b e r s of vast individual f o r t u n e s a n d making the nation a s a w h o l e rich e n o u g h , for the first t i m e , to capitalize its own further d e v e l o p m e n t . Ry the e n d of the century, n o longer a colony politically or e c o n o m i c a l l y , the U n i t e d S t a t e s c o u l d begin its own o v e r s e a s imperialist e x p a n s i o n (of which the S p a n i s h - A m e r i c a n W a r in 1 8 9 8 w a s only o n e s i g n ) . T h e central material fact of the period w a s industrialization on a s c a l e u n p r e c e d e n t e d in the earlier e x p e r i e n c e s of G r e a t Britain a n d E u r o p e . B e t w e e n 1 8 5 0 a n d 1 8 8 0 capital invested in m a n u f a c t u r i n g i n d u s t r i e s m o r e than q u a d r u p l e d , while factory e m p l o y m e n t nearly d o u b l e d . By 1 8 8 5 four transcontinental railroad lines were c o m p l e t e d , u s i n g in their own c o n s t r u c tion a n d carrying to m a n u f a c t u r i n g c e n t e r s in C l e v e l a n d a n d Detroit the




1 8 6 5 - 1 9


nation's q u i n t u p l e d o u t p u t of steel from Pittsburgh a n d C h i c a g o . As m a j o r industries were c o n s o l i d a t e d into m o n o p o l i e s by increasingly powerful ( a n d r u t h l e s s ) individuals a very small n u m b e r of m e n c a m e to control s u c h enorm o u s l y profitable e n t e r p r i s e s a s steel, oil, railroads, m e a t p a c k i n g , b a n k i n g , a n d finance. A m o n g t h e s e m e n were J a y G o u l d , J i m Hill, L e l a n d S t a n f o r d , C o r n e l i u s Vanderbilt, A n d r e w C a r n e g i e , J . P. M o r g a n , a n d J o h n D . R o c k e feller. R o b b e r b a r o n s to s o m e , c a p t a i n s of industry to o t h e r s , they s u c c e s s fully s q u e e z e d out their c o m p e t i t o r s a n d a c c u m u l a t e d vast wealth a n d p o w e r s o c i a l a n d political a s well a s e c o n o m i c . In 1 8 6 5 the U n i t e d S t a t e s , except for the m a n u f a c t u r i n g c e n t e r s of the n o r t h e a s t e r n s e a b o a r d , w a s a country of f a r m s , villages, a n d small t o w n s . M o s t of its citizens were involved in a g r i c u l t u r e or small family b u s i n e s s e s . In 1 8 7 0 the U . S . p o p u l a t i o n w a s 3 8 . 5 million; by 1 9 1 0 it h a d grown to 9 2 million a n d by 1 9 2 0 , to 123 million. T h i s i n c r e a s e in p o p u l a t i o n c a m e a b o u t a l m o s t entirely on a c c o u n t of i m m i g r a t i o n , a s did the p o p u l a t i o n shift from country to city. P e r h a p s 2 5 million p e o p l e , mostly E u r o p e a n s , entered the U n i t e d S t a t e s b e t w e e n the Civil W a r a n d W o r l d W a r I. S o m e of the newc o m e r s tried f a r m i n g ; but m o s t settled in the c i t i e s e v e n in the cities in which they h a d d i s e m b a r k e d s o that, for e x a m p l e , the p o p u l a t i o n of N e w York City grew from 0 . 5 million to nearly 3.5 million b e t w e e n 1 8 6 5 a n d the turn of the twentieth century, w h e r e a s C h i c a g o , with a p o p u l a t i o n of 2 9 , 0 0 0 in 1 8 5 0 , h a d m o r e than 2 million i n h a b i t a n t s by 1 9 1 0 . (Yet, to k e e p things in p e r s p e c t i v e , it s h o u l d be n o t e d that in 1 9 0 0 only N e w York, C h i c a g o , a n d Philadelphia h a d m o r e than 1 million i n h a b i t a n t s e a c h . ) T h e new A m e r i c a n s , a l o n g with their children a n d their children's children, e n a b l e d the U n i t e d S t a t e s eventually to b e c o m e the u r b a n , industrial, international power we recognize today; they a l s o irrevocably altered the e t h n i c c o m p o s i t i o n of the p o p u l a t i o n a n d c o n t r i b u t e d i m m e a s u r a b l y to the d e m o c r a t i z a t i o n of the nation's cultural life. In 1 8 9 0 m o s t white A m e r i c a n s ( i n c l u d i n g the Irish w h o h a d b e g u n to c o m e in the 1 8 4 0 s ) either lived in N e w E n g l a n d or h a d N e w E n g l a n d a n c e s t o r s . B u t by 1 9 0 0 N e w E n g l a n d e r s were n o longer n u m e r i c a l l y d o m i n a n t . L o n g - s e t t l e d a n d newly arrived white p e o p l e f a c e d e a c h other a c r o s s divides of power, i n c o m e , a n d privilegeworker a g a i n s t owner, f a r m a g a i n s t city, i m m i g r a n t a g a i n s t native born, c r e a t i n g s u s p i c i o n a n d social t u r b u l e n c e on a s c a l e that the nation h a d never s e e n before. T h i s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of an entire c o n t i n e n t involved i n c a l c u l a b l e suffering for millions of p e o p l e even a s others p r o s p e r e d . In the c o u n t r y s i d e i n c r e a s i n g n u m b e r s of f a r m e r s , d e p e n d e n t for t r a n s p o r t a t i o n of their c r o p s o n the m o n o p o l i s t i c railroads, were s q u e e z e d off the land by what novelist F r a n k Norris c h a r a c t e r i z e d a s the giant " o c t o p u s " that c r i s s c r o s s e d the c o n t i n e n t . Everywhere i n d e p e n d e n t f a r m e r s were p l a c e d " u n d e r the lion's p a w " of land s p e c u l a t o r s a n d a b s e n t e e landlords that H a m l i n G a r l a n d ' s story m a d e infam o u s . L a r g e - s c a l e farminginitially in K a n s a s a n d N e b r a s k a , for e x a m p l e a l s o s q u e e z e d family f a r m e r s even a s s u c h p r a c t i c e s i n c r e a s e d g r o s s agricultural yields. F o r m a n y , the great cities were a l s o , a s the socialist novelist U p t o n S i n c l a i r s e n s e d , j u n g l e s w h e r e only the s t r o n g e s t , the most ruthless, a n d the luckiest survived. An oversupply of labor kept w a g e s d o w n a n d allowed industrialists to m a i n t a i n i n h u m a n e a n d d a n g e r o u s working c o n d i tions for m e n , w o m e n , a n d children w h o c o m p e t e d for j o b s . N e i t h e r farmers nor u r b a n laborers were effectively organized to p u r s u e



their own interests, a n d neither g r o u p h a d any significant political leverage until the 1 8 8 0 s , w h e n the A m e r i c a n F e d e r a t i o n of L a b o r , an a s s o c i a t i o n of national u n i o n s of skilled workers, e m e r g e d a s the first unified national voice of organized labor. B e f o r e then legislators a l m o s t exclusively served the interests of b u s i n e s s a n d industry, a n d the s c a n d a l s of P r e s i d e n t G r a n t ' s a d m i n istration, the looting of the N e w York City treasury by William M a r c y ( " B o s s " ) T w e e d in the 1 8 7 0 s , a n d the later horrors of m u n i c i p a l corruption exposed by j o u r n a l i s t L i n c o l n S t e f f e n s a n d other " m u c k r a k e r s " were sympt o m a t i c of what m a n y writers of the time took to be the a g e of the " G r e a t B a r b e c u e . " Early a t t e m p t s by labor to organize were c r u d e a n d often violent, a n d s u c h g r o u p s a s the "Molly M a g u i r e s , " which p e r f o r m e d a c t s of terrorism in the c o a l - m i n i n g a r e a of n o r t h e a s t e r n Pennsylvania, c o n f i r m e d middlec l a s s fears that labor organizations were "illegal c o n s p i r a c i e s " a n d t h u s public e n e m i e s . Direct violence w a s probably, as y o u n g radical writer E m m a G o l d m a n believed, a n e c e s s a r y step toward e s t a b l i s h i n g m e a n i n g f u l ways of negotiating d i s p u t e s b e t w e e n industrial workers a n d their e m p l o y e r s ; it w a s , in any event, not until collective b a r g a i n i n g legislation w a s e n a c t e d in the 1 9 3 0 s that labor effectively a c q u i r e d the right to strike.



T h e rapid t r a n s c o n t i n e n t a l s e t t l e m e n t a n d new u r b a n industrial c i r c u m s t a n c e s s u m m a r i z e d a b o v e were a c c o m p a n i e d by the d e v e l o p m e n t of a national literature of great a b u n d a n c e a n d variety. N e w t h e m e s , new f o r m s , new s u b j e c t s , new r e g i o n s , n e w a u t h o r s , new a u d i e n c e s all e m e r g e d in the literature of this half century. In fiction, c h a r a c t e r s rarely r e p r e s e n t e d before the Civil W a r b e c a m e familiar figures: industrial workers a n d the rural poor, a m b i t i o u s b u s i n e s s l e a d e r s a n d v a g r a n t s , prostitutes a n d u n h e r o i c soldiers. W o m e n from m a n y social g r o u p s , African A m e r i c a n s , Native A m e r i c a n s ; ethnic minorities, i m m i g r a n t s : all b e g a n to write for p u b l i c a t i o n , a n d a rapidly b u r g e o n i n g market for printed work h e l p e d establish a u t h o r s h i p a s a p o s s i b l e career. S o m e a c c o u n t , however brief, of the growth of this market may be helpful in u n d e r s t a n d i n g the e c o n o m i c s of A m e r i c a n cultural d e v e l o p m e n t . S i n c e colonial times n e w s p a p e r s h a d b e e n i m p o r t a n t to the political, social, a n d cultural life of A m e r i c a , but in the d e c a d e s after the Civil W a r their n u m b e r s a n d influence grew. J o s e p h Pulitzer e s t a b l i s h e d the S t . L o u i s Post-Dispatch in 1 8 7 8 , a n d in 1 8 8 3 he b o u g h t the N e w York World; both p a p e r s were hugely s u c c e s s f u l . William R a n d o l p h H e a r s t h a d already m a d e the S a n F r a n c i s c o Examiner the d o m i n a n t n e w s p a p e r in the far west, a n d in 1 8 9 5 he bought the N e w York Journal to c o m p e t e with Pulitzer's World. In 1 8 9 7 The Jewish Daily Forward w a s f o u n d e d ; its circulation eventually r e a c h e d 2 5 0 , 0 0 0 a n d was read by three or four times that n u m b e r . M a n y of the "writers" w h o went on to b e c o m e " a u t h o r s " got their start as n e w s p a p e r j o u r n a l i s t s ( B i e r c e , C a h a n , C r a n e , Dreiser, S u i S i n F a r , Harris, William D e a n H o w e l l s , F r a n k Norris, a n d T w a i n a m o n g t h e m ) . P e r h a p s of e q u a l i m p o r t a n c e to the d e v e l o p m e n t of literary c a r e e r s a n d literature a s a n institution was the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of n e w s p a p e r s y n d i c a t e s in the 1 8 8 0 s by Irving Bachellor a n d S. S . M c C l u r e . T h e s e s y n d i c a t e s p u b l i s h e d h u m o r , n e w s , car-




1 8 6 5 - 1 9 1 4

t o o n s , a n d c o m i c strips (by the 1 8 9 0 s ) , b u t they a l s o printed both short fiction a n d n o v e l s C r a n e ' s The Red Badge of Courage, for e x a m p l e i n installments. In the m i d d l e of the e i g h t e e n t h century B e n j a m i n Franklin a n d A n d r e w B r a d f o r d were a m o n g the first to p u b l i s h m o n t h l y m a g a z i n e s , in n o s m a l l part to d e m o n s t r a t e that a distinctively A m e r i c a n c u l t u r e w a s f o r m i n g on the N o r t h A m e r i c a n c o n t i n e n t . By the early years of the n i n e t e e n t h century weekly m a g a z i n e s s u c h a s the Saturday Evening Post ( f o u n d e d in 1 8 2 1 ) , the Saturday Press ( 1 8 3 8 ) , a n d the New York Ledger ( 1 8 4 7 ) p u b l i s h e d m a n y writers of fiction, i n c l u d i n g M a r k T w a i n . E a s t C o a s t m a g a z i n e s s u c h a s Harper's New Monthly Magazine ( 1 8 5 0 ) , Scribner's Monthly ( 1 8 7 0 ) , Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine ( 1 8 8 1 ) , the Atlantic Monthly ( 1 8 5 7 ) , a n d the Galaxy ( 1 8 6 6 ) all provided o u t l e t s for s u c h figures a s K a t e C h o p i n , S a r a h O r n e J e w e t t , H e n r y J a m e s , William D e a n H o w e l l s , S a r a h Piatt, S u i S i n F a r , M a r k T w a i n , a n d C o n s t a n c e F e n i m o r e W o o l s o n . O n the W e s t C o a s t , the Overland Monthly ( 1 8 6 8 ) e m e r g e d a s the l e a d i n g literary p e r i o d i c a l , p u b lishing Bret H a r t e , A m b r o s e B i e r c e , J a c k L o n d o n , a n d M a r k T w a i n a m o n g o t h e r s . T h i s b a r e listing of m a g a z i n e s a n d literary c o n t r i b u t o r s is i n t e n d e d only to s u g g e s t the i m p o r t a n c e of p e r i o d i c a l s in providing s o u r c e s of i n c o m e a n d a u d i e n c e s crucial to the further f o r m a t i o n of a c o m p l e x A m e r i c a n literary tradition. M a n y of t h e s e p e r i o d i c a l s a l s o played a part in the e m e r g e n c e toward the end of the n i n e t e e n t h century of w h a t the critic W a r n e r Berthoff aptly designates " t h e literature of a r g u m e n t " p o w e r f u l works in sociology, philosophy, a n d psychology, m a n y of t h e m i m p e l l e d by the spirit of e x p o s u r e a n d reform. It would be hard to e x a g g e r a t e the i n f l u e n c e o n other writers a s well a s on the e d u c a t e d p u b l i c o f H e n r y G e o r g e ' s Progress and Poverty ( 1 8 7 9 ) , L e s t e r F r a n k W a r d ' s The Psychic Factors in Civilization (1893), Henry D e m a r e s t Lloyd's Wealth against Commonwealth ( 1 8 9 4 ) , Brooks A d a m s ' s The Law of Civilization and Decay ( 1 8 9 5 ) , C h a r l o t t e Perkins Gilm a n ' s Women and Economics ( 1 8 9 8 ) , T h o r s t e i n Veblen's The Theory of the Leisure Class ( 1 8 9 9 ) , William J a m e s ' s The Varieties of Religious Experience ( 1 9 0 2 ) , a n d Ida Tarbell's The History of the Standard Oil Company ( 1 9 0 4 ) . In short, a s the U n i t e d S t a t e s b e c a m e a n international political, e c o n o m i c , a n d military p o w e r d u r i n g this half century, the quantity a n d quality of its literary p r o d u c t i o n kept p a c e . In its n e w security, moreover, it w e l c o m e d (in translation) the l e a d i n g E u r o p e a n figures of the t i m e L e o T o l s t o y , H e n r i k I b s e n , A n t o n C h e k h o v , E m i l e Zola, B e n i t o P e r e s G a l d o s , G i o v a n n i V e r g a often in the c o l u m n s of H e n r y J a m e s a n d W i l l i a m D e a n H o w e l l s , w h o reviewed their works e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y in Harper's Weekly a n d Harper's Monthly, the North American Review, a n d other l e a d i n g j o u r n a l s of the e r a . A m e r i c a n writers in this p e r i o d , like m o s t writers of other t i m e s a n d p l a c e s , wrote to earn m o n e y , gain f a m e , c h a n g e the world, a n d o u t of that mysterious c o m p u l s i o n to find the b e s t order for the b e s t w o r d s t o express t h e m s e l v e s in a p e r m a n e n t f o r m . T h e n a t u r e of that f o r m w h a t might b e called the "realistic international art s t o r y " w a s itself, of c o u r s e , a p r o d u c t of the c o m p l e x interplay of historical forces a n d a e s t h e t i c d e v e l o p m e n t s a p p a r e n t , in r e t r o s p e c t , from the time of the p u b l i c a t i o n of F r e n c h writer G u s t a v e F l a u b e r t ' s Madame Bovary ( 1 8 5 6 ) a n d , especially, his Three Tales ( 1 8 7 7 ) . A m o n g the l e a d i n g A m e r i c a n realists of the period w e r e M a r k T w a i n ,



Henry J a m e s , Edith W h a r t o n , a n d William D e a n H o w e l l s , w h o together e n c o m p a s s e d literary style from the c o m i c v e r n a c u l a r t h r o u g h ordinary disc o u r s e to i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c subjectivity. A m o n g t h e m t h e s e writers r e c o r d e d life on the v a n i s h i n g frontier, in the village, small town, a n d turbulent m e t r o p o l i s , a s well a s in E u r o p e a n resorts a n d c a p i t a l s . T h e y e s t a b l i s h e d the literary identity of distinctively A m e r i c a n p r o t a g o n i s t s , specifically the vern a c u l a r boy hero a n d the " A m e r i c a n G i r l , " the baffled a n d strained m i d d l e c l a s s family, the b u s i n e s s m a n , the psychologically c o m p l i c a t e d citizens of a new international c u l t u r e . T o g e t h e r , in short, they set the e x a m p l e a n d c h a r t e d the future c o u r s e for the s u b j e c t s , t h e m e s , t e c h n i q u e s , a n d styles of fiction we still call m o d e r n .



Rroadly s p e a k i n g , realism is u s e d to label a m o v e m e n t in E n g l i s h , E u r o p e a n , a n d A m e r i c a n literature that g a t h e r e d force from the 1 8 3 0 s to the e n d of the century. It w a s , ultimately, n o t h i n g m o r e or less t h a n the a t t e m p t to write a literature that r e c o r d e d life as it w a s lived rather than life a s it o u g h t to b e lived or h a d b e e n lived in times p a s t . A s defined by William D e a n Howells ( 1 8 3 7 - 1 9 2 0 ) , the m a g a z i n e editor w h o w a s for s o m e d e c a d e s the chief A m e r i c a n a d v o c a t e of realistic a e s t h e t i c s a s well a s a u t h o r of over thirty novels that strove for r e a l i s m , realism "is n o t h i n g m o r e a n d n o t h i n g less than the truthful t r e a t m e n t of m a t e r i a l . " A l t h o u g h this definition d o e s not a n s w e r every q u e s t i o n that may b e raised a b o u t truth, t r e a t m e n t , or even a b o u t material, it offers a useful point of d e p a r t u r e . Henry J a m e s s p o k e of the " d o c u m e n t a r y " value of Howells's work, thereby calling a t t e n t i o n t h r o u g h Howells to realism's p r e o c c u p a t i o n with the physical s u r f a c e s , the particularities of the s e n s a t e world in which fictional c h a r a c t e r s lived. T h e s e characters were " r e p r e s e n t a t i v e " or ordinary c h a r a c t e r s c h a r a c t e r s o n e might p a s s on the street without noticing. Unlike their r o m a n t i c c o u n t e r p a r t s , they don't walk with a limp, their eyes don't blaze, they don't e m a n a t e diabolical power. R e a l i s m , as p r a c t i c e d by H o w e l l s , particularly in The Rise of Silas Lapham ( 1 8 8 5 ) , the novel m a n y literary historians have identified a s quintessentially realistic in the A m e r i c a n tradition, s e e k s to c r e a t e the illusion of everyday life b e i n g lived by ordinary p e o p l e in familiar s u r r o u n d i n g s l i f e s e e n through a clear g l a s s window (though partly o p e n e d to allow for the full range of s e n s e e x p e r i e n c e ) . Edith W h a r t o n ' s p r a c t i c e of realism s h o w s it at its m o s t technically adroit. In her early story " S o u l s B e l a t e d " ( i n c l u d e d here) setting is r e n d e r e d with the fine precision we a s s o c i a t e with r e a l i s m : o n e of the belated s o u l s , the recently divorced Lydia T i l l o t s o n , returns to her hotel sitting r o o m now uncomfortably s h a r e d with her lover: " S h e sat g l a n c i n g vaguely a b o u t the little sitting r o o m , dimly lit by the pallid-globed l a m p , which left in twilight the outlines of the furniture, of his writing table h e a p e d with b o o k s a n d p a p e r s , of the tea r o s e s a n d j a s m i n e d r o o p i n g on the m a n t e l p i e c e . H o w like h o m e it h a d all g r o w n h o w like h o m e ! " W h a r t o n h a d a portrait-painter's eye for detail a n d especially for the subtle ways light m a d e the physical world plastic. T h e c h a r a c t e r s in the story, while they b e l o n g to a higher social c l a s s than the L a p h a m s of Howells's f a m o u s novel, are all r e c o g n i z a b l e a s m e m -




1 8 6 5 - 1 9 1 4

bers of that c l a s s . I n d e e d , a n o t h e r p a s s a g e from the story s u g g e s t s that it is the aspiration of the wealthy to be a s m u c h like e a c h other a s p o s s i b l e t o live a life without s u r p r i s e s or d r a m a : T h e moral a t m o s p h e r e of the T i l l o t s o n interior w a s a s carefully s c r e e n e d a n d c u r t a i n e d a s the h o u s e itself: M r s Tillotson senior d r e a d e d ideas a s m u c h a s a draft in her b a c k . P r u d e n t p e o p l e like a n even t e m p e r a t u r e ; a n d to do anything u n e x p e c t e d w a s a s foolish a s g o i n g o u t in the rain. O n e of the c h i e f a d v a n t a g e s of b e i n g rich w a s that o n e n e e d not b e e x p o s e d to u n f o r e s e e n c o n t i n g e n c i e s : by the u s e of ordinary f i r m n e s s a n d c o m m o n s e n s e o n e c o u l d m a k e s u r e of d o i n g exactly the s a m e thing every day at the s a m e h o u r . W h a r t o n c r e a t e s a physical setting of great particularity a n d familiar character types; but her c o n c l u d i n g s e n t e n c e reveals a satirical intent a s d e l i c i o u s a s it is authorially intrusive. I n d e e d , while it is true that in her b e s t novels W h a r t o n holds a mirror up to N e w York high society s h e is m o r e interested in the p s y c h o l o g i c a l a n d moral reality of the d r a m a of h u m a n c o n s c i o u s n e s s than s h e is in the s c e n e r y that furnishes the s t a g e on which the d r a m a is e n a c t e d . Even in s u c h centrally realistic novels of m a n n e r s s u c h a s The House of Mirth ( 1 9 0 5 ) , The Custom of the Country ( 1 9 1 3 ) , a n d The Age of Innocence ( 1 9 2 0 ) W h a r t o n ' s primary c o n c e r n s a r e m o r e nearly with the i n t a n g i b l e t h w a r t e d d e s i r e , self-betrayal, m u r d e r o u s e m o t i o n , r e p r e s s e d v o i c e s t h a n with the interior d e c o r a t i o n of m a n s i o n s or the f a s h i o n a b l e d r e s s of her c h a r a c t e r s . In fact, it proved i m p o s s i b l e for any realist to r e p r e s e n t things exactly a s they w e r e ; literature d e m a n d s s h a p i n g narratives w h e r e life is m e s s y a n d calls for narrators w h e r e life is not n a r r a t e d . P r e s e n t - d a y literary theorists a r e m u c h m o r e a w a r e of what is called " t h e crisis of r e p r e s e n t a t i o n " b y w h i c h is m e a n t the difference b e t w e e n the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n a n d the thing r e p r e s e n t e d t h a n were this g e n e r a t i o n of realists t h e m s e l v e s . B u t if they h a d b e e n a w a r e of this p r o b l e m , they would likely have insisted on the value a n d significance of their work in calling a t t e n t i o n to a r e a s of e x p e r i e n c e that writers h a d never dealt with b e f o r e . It c o u l d b e plausibly a r g u e d that all literature after realism h a s b e e n , to s o m e d e g r e e , " r e a l i s t i c " in its a i m s . W o r k i n g with great s e l f - a w a r e n e s s at the very b o u n d a r i e s of r e a l i s m , the two greatest artists of the e r a H e n r y J a m e s a n d M a r k T w a i n u n d e r s t o o d quite well that l a n g u a g e w a s an interpretation of the real rather than the real thing itself. T w a i n ' s work w a s realistic in its u s e of colloquial a n d v e r n a c u l a r s p e e c h a s o p p o s e d to high-flown rhetoric a n d in its p a r a d e of c h a r a c t e r s drawn from ordinary walks of life. F o r m a n y later writers, the s i m p l e l a n g u a g e of Huckleberry Finn signified the b e g i n n i n g of a truly A m e r i c a n style. B u t T w a i n ' s work also e m b o d i e d a r e m a r k a b l e c o m i c g e n i u s t h e a u t h o r of Huckleberry Finn is funny in ways that H u c k h i m s e l f c o u l d never a c h i e v e and resembled performance comedy. Indeed, Twain achieved enormous succ e s s a s a public r e a d e r of his own work. At the other e x t r e m e , over a long c a r e e r Henry J a m e s worked his way from recognizably realistic fiction, with a large c a s t of socially specified ( a l t h o u g h typically u p p e r - c l a s s ) c h a r a c t e r s d e s c r i b e d by an all-knowing a n d c o m p l e t e l y a c c u r a t e narrator, o n toward increasingly s u b t l e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of the flow of a c h a r a c t e r ' s inner t h o u g h t , s u c h that his elaborately m e t a p h o r i c a l work b e c a m e the starting point for p s y c h o l o g i c a l , s t r e a m - o f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s fiction.



N a t u r a l i s m is c o m m o n l y u n d e r s t o o d a s a n extension or intensification of realism. T h e intensification involves the introduction of c h a r a c t e r s of a kind only o c c a s i o n a l l y to be f o u n d in the fiction of H o w e l l s , J a m e s , or W h a r t o n c h a r a c t e r s from the fringes a n d lower d e p t h s of c o n t e m p o r a r y society, characters w h o s e fates are the p r o d u c t of d e g e n e r a t e heredity, a sordid environm e n t , a n d a g o o d deal of b a d luck. B i e r c e , C r a n e , Dreiser, L o n d o n , a n d Norris are usually the figures identified a s the l e a d i n g A m e r i c a n naturalists of this period, b u t before we turn to their work the p h i l o s o p h i c a n d scientific b a c k g r o u n d s of n a t u r a l i s m require s o m e attention. O n e of the m o s t far-reaching intellectual events of the last half of the nineteenth century w a s the publication in 1 8 5 9 of C h a r l e s Darwin's Origin of Species. T h i s book, together with his Descent of Man ( 1 8 7 0 ) , hypothesized on the b a s i s of m a s s i v e physical evidence that over the millennia h u m a n s h a d evolved from " l o w e r " f o r m s of life. H u m a n s were s p e c i a l , n o t a s the Bible t a u g h t b e c a u s e G o d h a d c r e a t e d t h e m in His i m a g e , but b e c a u s e they h a d s u c c e s s f u l l y a d a p t e d to c h a n g i n g e n v i r o n m e n t a l c o n d i t i o n s a n d h a d p a s s e d on their survival-making c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . In the 1 8 7 0 s E n g l i s h phil o s o p h e r H e r b e r t S p e n c e r ' s a p p l i c a t i o n of Darwin's theory of evolution to social relations w a s enthusiastically w e l c o m e d by m a n y l e a d i n g A m e r i c a n b u s i n e s s m e n . A n d r e w C a r n e g i e w a s only o n e s u c c e s s f u l industrialist w h o a r g u e d that u n r e s t r a i n e d c o m p e t i t i o n w a s the equivalent of a law of n a t u r e d e s i g n e d to eliminate t h o s e unfit for the new e c o n o m i c order. A n o t h e r r e s p o n s e to Darwin w a s to a c c e p t the deterministic i m p l i c a t i o n s of evolutionary theory a n d to u s e t h e m to a c c o u n t for the behavior of characters in literary works. T h a t is, c h a r a c t e r s were c o n c e i v e d as m o r e or less c o m p l e x c o m b i n a t i o n s of inherited attributes a n d habits ingrained by social and e c o n o m i c forces. As E m i l e Zola ( 1 8 4 0 1 9 0 2 ) , the influential F r e n c h theorist a n d novelist, p u t the matter in his e s s a y " T h e E x p e r i m e n t a l N o v e l " (1880): In short, we m u s t o p e r a t e with c h a r a c t e r s , p a s s i o n s , h u m a n a n d social d a t a a s the c h e m i s t a n d the physicist work on inert b o d i e s , a s the physiologist works on living b o d i e s . D e t e r m i n i s m governs everything. It is scientific investigation; it is experimental r e a s o n i n g that c o m b a t s o n e by o n e the h y p o t h e s e s of the idealists a n d will r e p l a c e novels of p u r e i m a g ination by novels of observation a n d e x p e r i m e n t . A n u m b e r of A m e r i c a n writers a d o p t e d a s p e c t s of this p e s s i m i s t i c form of realism, this so-called naturalistic view of h u m a n k i n d , t h o u g h e a c h writer incorporated s u c h n a t u r a l i s m into his or her work in individual ways, to different d e g r e e s , a n d c o m b i n e d with other p e r s p e c t i v e s . It would be a mistake in short to believe that A m e r i c a n writers simply c o b b l e d their unders t a n d i n g s of Darwin, S p e n c e r , or Zola into s o m e rigid, a b s o l u t i s t , d o g m a t i c position s h a r e d by all of t h e m . Rather, writers r e s p o n d e d to t h e s e c h a l l e n g e s to traditional belief s y s t e m s in diverse a n d innovative ways. T h e y were all c o n c e r n e d on the o n e h a n d to explore n e w t e r r i t o r i e s t h e p r e s s u r e s of biology, e n v i r o n m e n t , a n d other material f o r c e s i n m a k i n g p e o p l e , particularly lower-class p e o p l e , w h o they were. O n the other h a n d , B i e r c e , C r a n e , Dreiser, L o n d o n , a n d Norris all allowed in different d e g r e e s for the value of h u m a n b e i n g s , for their potential to m a k e s o m e m e a s u r e of s e n s e o u t of their experience a n d for their capacity to act c o m p a s s i o n a t e l y e v e n altruistic a l l y u n d e r the m o s t a d v e r s e c i r c u m s t a n c e s . Even t h o u g h , therefore, they




1 8 6 5 - 1 9 1 4

were c h a l l e n g i n g c o n v e n t i o n a l w i s d o m a b o u t h u m a n motivation a n d c a u sality in the natural world, the b l e a k n e s s a n d p e s s i m i s m s o m e t i m e s f o u n d in their fiction are not the s a m e a s d e s p a i r a n d c y n i c i s m . Critic C a t h y D a v i d s o n c h a r a c t e r i z e s A m b r o s e B i e r c e a s "a literary hippogryph w h o c o m b i n e s e l e m e n t s that by s t a n d a r d literary historiography s h o u l d not b e c o n j o i n e d : realism a n d i m p r e s s i o n i s m , n a t u r a l i s m a n d s u r r e a l i s m . " S o while in s o m e r e s p e c t s a n d in s o m e stories B i e r c e might be s a i d to be " n a t u r a l i s t i c , " a careful r e a d i n g of any of his b e s t short s t o r i e s " C h i c a m a u g a , " "An O c c u r r e n c e at Owl C r e e k B r i d g e , " a n d " T h e M a n a n d the S n a k e " to n a m e t h r e e m a k e s clear the i n a d e q u a c y of n a t u r a l i s m a s a way of explaining or interpreting B i e r c e . U n d u e attention to the s e n s a t i o n a l a n d g r o t e s q u e , D a v i d s o n a r g u e s , c a n blind r e a d e r s to the p o s t m o d e r n selfreflexiveness of B i e r c e . S t e p h e n C r a n e is a n o t h e r c a s e in point. C r a n e believed, a s h e said of Maggie, that e n v i r o n m e n t c o u n t s for a great deal in d e t e r m i n i n g h u m a n fate. B u t not every p e r s o n born in a s l u m e n d s u p a s a h o o d l u m , drunk, or s u i c i d e . "A great d e a l , " moreover, is not the s a m e a s everything. N a t u r e is not hostile, he o b s e r v e s in " T h e O p e n B o a t , " only "indifferent, flatly indifferent." I n d e e d , the earth in " T h e B l u e H o t e l " is d e s c r i b e d in o n e of the m o s t f a m o u s p a s s a g e s in naturalistic fiction a s a "whirling, fire-smote, ice-locked, d i s e a s e - s t r i c k e n , s p a c e - l o s t b u l b . " At the e n d of the story, however, the q u e s t i o n s of r e s p o n sibility a n d a g e n c y are still alive. In C r a n e ' s The Red Badge of Courage Henry F l e m i n g r e s p o n d s to the very e n d to the world of c h a o s a n d violence that s u r r o u n d s him with a l t e r n a t i n g s u r g e s of p a n i c a n d s e l f - c o n g r a t u l a t i o n s , not a s a m a n w h o h a s fully u n d e r s t o o d h i m s e l f a n d his p l a c e in the world. All the s a m e , Henry h a s l e a r n e d s o m e t h i n g o r at least h e seems to have d o n e s o . C r a n e , like m o s t n a t u r a l i s t s , is m o r e a m b i g u o u s , m o r e a c c e p t i n g of para d o x e s than a reductive notion of n a t u r a l i s m would s e e m to allow for. Biology, e n v i r o n m e n t , p s y c h o l o g i c a l drives, a n d c h a n c e , that is to say, play a large part in s h a p i n g h u m a n e n d s in C r a n e ' s fiction. B u t after we have g r a n t e d this ostensibly naturalistic p e r s p e c t i v e to C r a n e , we a r e still left with his distinctiveness a s a writer, with his p e r s o n a l h o n e s t y in reporting what he s a w (and his c o n c o m i t a n t rejection of a c c e p t e d literary c o n v e n t i o n s ) , a n d with his u s e of i m p r e s s i o n i s t i c literary t e c h n i q u e s to p r e s e n t i n c o m p l e t e c h a r a c t e r s a n d a broken w o r l d a world m o r e r a n d o m t h a n scientifically p r e d i c t a b l e . W e are a l s o left, however, with the hardly p e s s i m i s t i c implication of " T h e O p e n B o a t " : that precisely b e c a u s e h u m a n b e i n g s a r e e x p o s e d to a s a v a g e world of c h a n c e w h e r e d e a t h is always i m m i n e n t , they would d o well to learn the art of s y m p a t h e t i c identification with others a n d h o w to p r a c t i c e solidarity, a n art often learned at the price of d e a t h . W i t h o u t this deeply felt h u m a n c o n n e c t i o n , h u m a n e x p e r i e n c e is a s m e a n i n g l e s s a s wind, s h a r k s , a n d w a v e s a n d this is not, finally, w h a t C r a n e believed. T h e o d o r e D r e i s e r certainly did not s h a r e C r a n e ' s t e n d e n c y to u s e words a n d i m a g e s a s if h e were a c o m p o s e r or a p a i n t e r . B u t h e did s h a r e , at least early in his career, C r a n e ' s s k e p t i c i s m a b o u t h u m a n b e i n g s ; like C r a n e he w a s m o r e inclined to s e e m e n a n d w o m e n a s m o r e like m o t h s drawn to flame than lords of c r e a t i o n . B u t , a g a i n , it is not Dreiser's beliefs that m a k e him a significant figure in A m e r i c a n letters: it is w h a t his i m a g i n a t i o n a n d literary t e c h n i q u e d o with a n extremely rich set of i d e a s , e x p e r i e n c e s , a n d e m o t i o n s to c r e a t e the "color of life" in his fiction that m a k e him a writer worth o u r attention. If C r a n e gave A m e r i c a n r e a d e r s t h r o u g h the p e r s o n a l h o n e s t y of



his vision a n e w s e n s e of the h u m a n c o n s c i o u s n e s s u n d e r c o n d i t i o n s of extreme p r e s s u r e , D r e i s e r gave t h e m for the first time in his unwieldy novels s u c h as Sister Carrie ( 1 9 0 0 ) a n d Jennie Gerhardt ( 1 9 1 1 ) a s e n s e of the fumbling, yearning, c o n f u s e d r e s p o n s e to the s i m u l t a n e o u s l y e n c h a n t i n g , exciting, ugly, a n d d a n g e r o u s metropolis that h a d b e c o m e the familiar r e s i d e n c e for s u c h large n u m b e r s of A m e r i c a n s by the turn of the century. A b r a h a m C a h a n , like Dreiser, wrote a b o u t city-dwellers, in p a r t i c u l a r a b o u t e a s t e r n E u r o p e a n J e w s w h o , starting in 1 8 8 2 , b e g a n migrating in large n u m b e r s to A m e r i c a . M a n y of t h e s e Yiddish-speaking i m m i g r a n t s settled in the L o w e r E a s t S i d e ghetto of M a n h a t t a n . C a h a n ' s m a j o r novel The Rise of David Levinsky ( 1 9 1 7 ) brilliantly explores the t e n s i o n s entailed in the c o u r s e of reconciling traditional v a l u e s a n d ways of living with A m e r i c a n modernity. Exclusive f o c u s o n atavistic i m p u l s e s in L o n d o n ' s Call of the Wild ( 1 9 0 3 ) a n d The Sea-Wolf ( 1 9 0 4 ) may keep r e a d e r s from r e s p o n d i n g to the c o m plexities of t h e s e a n d other of L o n d o n ' s b e s t fiction. " T h e L a w of L i f e " m a y be cited in s u p p o r t of critic Earl L a b o r ' s c o n t e n t i o n that " t h e e s s e n t i a l creative tension for [ L o n d o n ' s ] literary artistry, is the o p p o s i t i o n of m a t e r i a l i s m versus s p i r i t u a l i s m t h a t is, the tension b e t w e e n the logical a n d the scientific on the o n e h a n d a n d the irrational a n d mystical on the o t h e r . " In the " L a w of L i f e " O l d K o s k o o s h , a b o u t to be left to die by his tribe, thinks: " N a t u r e did not c a r e . T o life s h e set o n e task, g a v e o n e law. T o p e r p e t u a t e w a s the t a s k of life, its law is d e a t h . " T h e rather a b s t r a c t reflection would s e e m to s u g g e s t that the story is driven by a deterministic view of lifethat n o t h i n g individuals did w a s of any real s i g n i f i c a n c e . Yet the b u l k of the story is given over to O l d K o s k o o s h ' s m e m o r i e s of his life a n d particularly to the re-creation of a formative m o m e n t from his youth a s h e a n d a c o m p a n i o n c o m e u p o n the s c e n e of an old m o o s e struggling in vain a g a i n s t the circle of wolves that have w o u n d e d a n d will s o o n d e v o u r h i m . In re-creating this extraordinary m o m e n t in all of its vivid, d r a m a t i c power, a n d in identifying with the t o t e m i c figure of the m o o s e , K o s k o o s h , it might b e a r g u e d , has e r a s e d his earlier generalization a b o u t evolutionary necessity a n d the m e a n i n g l e s s n e s s of the individual. Acts of i m a g i n a t i o n a n d identification d o lend m e a n i n g a n d dignity to h u m a n e x i s t e n c e . In s u m , d e s p i t e residual prohibitions that insisted on h u m a n i t y ' s elevated p l a c e in the universe a n d a m i d d l e - c l a s s r e a d e r s h i p that disliked u g l i n e s s a n d " i m m o r a l i t y , " u r b a n A m e r i c a a n d the d e p o p u l a t e d h i n t e r l a n d s proved to b e fertile g r o u n d for realistic literary t e c h n i q u e s a n d naturalistic i d e a s , t h o u g h the ideas were inconsistently applied a n d the d o c u m e n t a r y t e c h n i q u e s were cross-cut by other literary strategies. O u t s i d e of literature, the nation's f o u n d i n g principle of equality c o n t r a s t e d to the h a r s h realities of c o u n t r y and urban life, to the lives of African A m e r i c a n s , A s i a n A m e r i c a n s , N a t i v e A m e r i c a n s , w o m e n , a n d minorities, for e x a m p l e , a n d m a d e for i n c r e a s i n g r e c e p t i v e n e s s to narratives that held a looking g l a s s up to the m i d d l e c l a s s a n d obliged t h e m to s e e how the other h a l f o f t h e m s e l v e s a n d o t h e r s lived.



Regional writing, a n o t h e r expression of the realistic i m p u l s e , r e s u l t e d from the desire both to preserve distinctive ways of life before industrialization




1 8 6 5 - 1 9 1 4

d i s p e r s e d or h o m o g e n i z e d t h e m a n d to c o m e to terms with the harsh realities that s e e m e d to r e p l a c e t h e s e early a n d allegedly h a p p i e r t i m e s . At a m o r e practical level, m u c h of the writing w a s a r e s p o n s e to the rapid growth of m a g a z i n e s , which c r e a t e d a new, largely f e m a l e m a r k e t for short fiction a l o n g with correlated o p p o r t u n i t i e s for w o m e n writers. By the e n d of the century, in any c a s e , virtually every region of the country, from M a i n e to C a l i f o r n i a , from the northern plains to the L o u i s i a n a b a y o u s , h a d its "local c o l o r i s t " (the implied c o m p a r i s o n is to p a i n t e r s of so-called genre s c e n e s ) to immortalize its distinctive natural, social, a n d linguistic f e a t u r e s . T h o u g h often s u f f u s e d with nostalgia, the b e s t work of the regionalists both renders a c o n v i n c i n g s u r f a c e of a particular time a n d location a n d investigates psychological chara c t e r traits from a m o r e universal p e r s p e c t i v e . T h i s m e l a n g e m a y be s e e n in s u c h an early e x a m p l e of regional, a l s o called local-color, writing a s Bret Harte's " T h e L u c k of R o a r i n g C a m p , " which m a d e H a r t e a national celebrity in 1 8 6 8 . T h e story is locally specific ( t h o u g h it lacked true verisimilitude) a s well a s entertaining, a n d it c r e a t e d mythic types a s well a s d e p i c t i o n s of frontier c h a r a c t e r that were later called into q u e s t i o n by Piatt a n d W o o l s o n , a m o n g others. H a m l i n G a r l a n d , rather than c r e a t i n g a myth, set out to destroy o n e . L i k e s o m a n y other writers of the t i m e , G a r l a n d w a s e n c o u r a g e d by H o w e l l s to write a b o u t what he knew b e s t i n this c a s e the bleak a n d e x h a u s t i n g life of farmers of the u p p e r M i d w e s t . As he later said, his p u r p o s e in writing his early stories w a s to s h o w that the "mystic quality c o n n e c t e d with free land . . . w a s a m y t h . " G a r l a n d ' s f a r m e r s are n o longer the v i g o r o u s , s e n s u o u s , a n d thoughtful y e o m e n d e p i c t e d in C r e v e c o e u r ' s Letters from an American Farmer ( 1 7 8 2 ) but b e n t , drab figures r e m i n i s c e n t of the protest p o e t Edwin M a r k h a m ' s " M a n with a H o e " ( 1 8 9 9 ) . In " U n d e r the Lion's P a w , " from the collection Main-Travelled Roads ( 1 8 9 1 ) , we s e e local color not a s nostalgia but a s realism in the service of social protest. T h e work of Harriet B e e c h e r S t o w e , S a r a h O r n e J e w e t t , M a r y E . Wilkins F r e e m a n , S u i S i n Far, a n d C o n s t a n c e F e n i m o r e W o o l s o n may be s e e n a s a n invitation to c o n s i d e r the world from the p e r s p e c t i v e of w o m e n a w a k e n i n g to, p r o t e s t i n g a g a i n s t , a n d offering alternatives for a world d o m i n a t e d by m e n a n d m a l e interests a n d v a l u e s . Mary Austin w a s a l s o a feminist a n d m u c h of her writing, i n c l u d i n g her c l a s s i c Land of Little Rain ( 1 9 0 3 ) , invites readers to s e e the world from a w o m a n ' s p e r s p e c t i v e . B u t Austin's larger claim on literary history is that she m a d e the d e s e r t s of s o u t h e r n California p a l p a b l e for the first time in literature. T h e marginal c h a r a c t e r s w h o p e o p l e this inhospitable terrain c a n n o t be i m a g i n e d a s existing anywhere e l s e . S t o w e , J e w e t t , F r e e m a n , a n d W o o l s o n do m o r e than l a m e n t the postwar e c o n o m i c a n d spiritual decline of N e w E n g l a n d ; their f e m a l e c h a r a c t e r s s u g g e s t the c a p a c ity of h u m a n beings to live i n d e p e n d e n t l y a n d with dignity in the f a c e of c o m m u n i t y p r e s s u r e s , patriarchal power over w o m e n , i n c l u d i n g w o m e n artists a n d writers, a n d material deprivation. T o g e t h e r with Alice Brown of N e w H a m p s h i r e a n d R o s e Terry C o o k of C o n n e c t i c u t t o m e n t i o n only two othe r s t h e s e regional writers c r e a t e d not only p l a c e s but t h e m e s that have a s s u m e d i n c r e a s i n g i m p o r t a n c e in the twentieth century. K a t e C h o p i n , not unlike M a r k T w a i n , m a y be t h o u g h t of a s a regional writer interested in preserving the c u s t o m s , l a n g u a g e , a n d l a n d s c a p e s of a region of the S o u t h . Certainly we have no better record of the a n t e b e l l u m



lower M i s s i s s i p p i River Valley than T w a i n provided in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn a n d Life on the Mississippi, a n d C h o p i n ' s short stories a n d her novel The Awakening pick u p , a l m o s t literally, w h e r e T w a i n ' s books leave offin the northern L o u i s i a n a countryside a n d , downriver, in N e w O r l e a n s . C h o p i n b e g a n her writing c a r e e r only after s h e returned to S t . L o u i s from her long sojourn in L o u i s i a n a , a n d in s o m e m e a s u r e her narratives are tinged with personal nostalgia for a m o r e relaxed a n d s e n s u o u s way of life than p e o p l e in A m e r i c a ' s rapidly growing cities c o u l d any longer provide. As a n urban outsider, C h o p i n w a s p e r h a p s all the m o r e sensitive to the n u a n c e s of L o u i s i a n a country life in particular. P e r h a p s , too, a s a w o m a n , a way of life that c e n t e r e d a r o u n d families a n d small c o m m u n i t i e s lent itself to her distinctive form of r e g i o n a l i s m . In any c a s e , her t r e a t m e n t of the C r e o l e s , C a j u n s , a n d b l a c k s of N e w O r l e a n s a n d N a t c h i t o c h e s ( N a k i t u s h ) Parish provide fine e x a m p l e s of the literary portrayal of a distinctive r e g i o n o n e less severe a n d less r e p r e s s e d than the towns a n d villages portrayed by her N e w E n g l a n d sister regionalists. A n d j u s t a s T w a i n in Huck Finn offers t h e m a t i c r i c h n e s s beyond the visual a n d aural d o c u m e n t a t i o n of a t i m e , a p l a c e a n d varied society, so too d o e s C h o p i n , in The Awakening, give u s u n i q u e a c c e s s to the interior life a P r o t e s t a n t w o m a n w a k e n i n g to her o p p r e s s i o n s a n d r e p r e s s i o n s in the context of a C a t h o l i c c o m m u n i t y still m a r k e d by less c o n science-stricken O l d W o r l d a t t i t u d e s . T h a t Tlie Awakening also h a s served to crystallize m a n y w o m e n ' s i s s u e s of the turn of the c e n t u r y a n d s i n c e is testimony to the potential for regional realism to give the lie to a t t e m p t s to d e r o g a t e it as a g e n r e .



D u r i n g t h e s e fifty years a vast body of nonfictional p r o s e w a s devoted to the description, analysis, a n d critique of social, e c o n o m i c , a n d political institutions a n d to the unsolved social p r o b l e m s that were o n e c o n s e q u e n c e of the rapid growth a n d c h a n g e of the t i m e . W o m e n ' s rights, political c o r r u p t i o n , the d e g r a d a t i o n of the natural world, e c o n o m i c inequity, b u s i n e s s d e c e p tions, the exploitation of l a b o r t h e s e b e c a m e the s u b j e c t s of articles a n d books by a long list of j o u r n a l i s t s , historians, social critics, a n d e c o n o m i s t s . M u c h of this writing h a d literary a m b i t i o n s , survives a s literature, a n d continues to have g e n u i n e power. C h a r l o t t e Perkins G i l m a n ' s " T h e Yellow Wallp a p e r , " for e x a m p l e , m a y have b e e n written to k e e p w o m e n from going crazy under the suffocating c o n d i t i o n s that would disallow w o m e n full equality a n d full participation in the creative, e c o n o m i c , a n d political life of the nation; but unlike m e r e p r o p a g a n d a it has resisted all a t t e m p t s to turn it into a single W e s t e r n U n i o n m e s s a g e . In fact, the m o r e it has b e e n read the m o r e m e a n i n g s it has yielded. Similarly, in o n e of the m o s t a m b i t i o u s A m e r i c a n works of moral instruction, The Education of Henry Adams ( 1 9 1 8 ) , A d a m s registers t h r o u g h a literary sensibility a s o p h i s t i c a t e d historian's s e n s e of what we now recognize a s the disorientation that a c c o m p a n i e s rapid a n d c o n t i n u o u s c h a n g e . T o p u t the c a s e for A d a m s ' s b o o k in c o n t e m p o r a r y t e r m s , A d a m s invented the idea of future s h o c k . T h e result is o n e of the m o s t essential books of a n d a b o u t the whole period. O f all the i s s u e s of the day, p e r h a p s the m o s t persistent a n d resistant to




1 8 6 5 - 1 9 1 4

solution w a s the fact of racial inequality. S e v e r a l s e l e c t i o n s in this anthology a d d r e s s the long, s h a m e f u l history of white injustices to b l a c k A m e r i c a n s , but two works by b l a c k writers a n d l e a d e r s from the turn of the c e n t u r y have a special claim o n our attention: the widely a d m i r e d a u t o b i o g r a p h y of B o o k e r T . W a s h i n g t o n , Upfront Slavery ( 1 9 0 0 ) a n d the richly i m a g i n e d The Souls of Black Folk ( 1 9 0 3 ) by W . E . B . D u B o i s , with its brilliantly a r g u e d rejection of W a s h i n g t o n ' s philosophy. T h e W a s h i n g t o n - D u B o i s controversy set the m a j o r t e r m s of the c o n t i n u i n g d e b a t e b e t w e e n b l a c k l e a d e r s a n d in the black c o m m u n i t y : which strategies will m o s t effectively h a s t e n c o m p l e t e equality for b l a c k s educationally, socially, politically, a n d e c o n o m i c a l l y ? It is a l s o fair to say that in very different ways W a s h i n g t o n ' s Upfront Slavery a n d D u Bois's Souls of Black Folkadmirable literary a c h i e v e m e n t s in themselves-antic i p a t e d a tide of b l a c k literary p r o d u c t i o n that c o n t i n u e s with great force to the p r e s e n t day. O n e c o u l d a l s o a r g u e that the t h o u g h t a n d l a n g u a g e of W a s h i n g t o n a n d D u B o i s a r e everywhere to b e felt in the t h o u g h t a n d lang u a g e of the d i s t i n g u i s h e d line of b l a c k thinkers, writers, a n d artists w h o followed t h e m . T w o other m a j o r writers of the time a r e W a l t W h i t m a n a n d Emily Dicki n s o n . T h e s e p o e t s , w h o s e roots are in the a n t e b e l l u m p e r i o d , c o n t i n u e d their work into the 1 8 8 0 s . T h o u g h their influence w o u l d b e felt m o s t strongly after W o r l d W a r II, in hindsight they c a n be s e e n a s the f o u n t a i n h e a d s of two m a j o r strains in m o d e r n poetry: the e x p a n s i v e , g r e g a r i o u s form of the self-celebratory W h i t m a n a n d the c o n c i s e , c o m p a c t e x p r e s s i o n s of the radically private D i c k i n s o n . In the half century we have b e e n c o n s i d e r i n g , m a t e r i a l , intellectual, social, a n d p s y c h o l o g i c a l c h a n g e s in the lives of m a n y A m e r i c a n s went forward at s u c h extreme s p e e d a n d o n s u c h a m a s s i v e s c a l e t h a t the e n o r m o u s l y diverse writing of the time registers, at its c o r e , d e g r e e s of s h o c k e d recognition o f the h u m a n c o n s e q u e n c e s of t h e s e radical t r a n s f o r m a t i o n s . S o m e t i m e s the s h o c k is e x p r e s s e d in recoil a n d d e n i a l t h u s the p e r s i s t e n c e , in the f a c e of the o s t e n s i b l e t r i u m p h of r e a l i s m , of the literature of diversion: nostalgic poetry, s e n t i m e n t a l a n d m e l o d r a m a t i c d r a m a , a n d s w a s h b u c k l i n g historical novels. T h e m o r e e n d u r i n g fictional a n d nonfictional p r o s e f o r m s of the era, however, c o m e to t e r m s imaginatively with the individual a n d collective disl o c a t i o n s a n d d i s c o n t i n u i t i e s a s s o c i a t e d with the c l o s i n g o u t of the frontier, u r b a n i z a t i o n , intensified s e c u l a r i s m , u n p r e c e d e n t e d i m m i g r a t i o n , the s u r g e of national wealth u n e q u a l l y d i s t r i b u t e d , revised c o n c e p t i o n s of h u m a n n a t u r e a n d destiny, the reordering of family a n d civil life, a n d the pervasive s p r e a d of m e c h a n i c a l a n d organizational t e c h n o l o g i e s .


1855 W a l t W h i t m a n , Leaves of Grass 1865

1865-1914 CONTEXTS

186065 E m i l y h u n d r e d poems

Dickinson writes several

Thirteenth Amendment


slavery Lincoln a s s a s s i n a t e d Reconstruction begins 1867 Russia 1868 Fourteenth Amendment grants United States purchases Alaska from

African Americans citizenship

1869 Flat"

Bret Harte,

"The Outcasts of Poker


National W o m a n


A s s o c i a t i o n f o u n d e d first t r a n s c o n t i n e n t a l railroad completed; Central Pacific

construction crews c o m p o s e d largely of Chinese laborers 1871 Poems S a r a h M o r g a n Piatt, A Woman's


C o c h i s e , "[I am alone]"


Y e l l o w s t o n e , first U . S . n a t i o n a l p a r k ,


1876 C h a r i o t , "[He has filled our bones]"




G e n e r a l C u s t e r defeated by Sioux

a n d C h e y e n n e at Little B i g h o r n River Alexander G r a h a m Bell invents the telephone 1877 Reconstruction ends; segregationist

J i m C r o w laws instituted 1878 H e n r y J a m e s , Daisy Miller 1879 T h o m a s Edison invents the electric

lightbulb 1880-1910 Vast immigration from is f o u r t e e n

E u r o p e ; U . S . p o p u l a t i o n i n 1900 t i m e s g r e a t e r t h a n in 1880 Constance Fenimore Woolson, 1800

"Miss G r i e f
1881 Joel Chandler Harris, "The Wonderful Tar-Baby Story" 1882 J. D. Rockefeller organizes Standard

Oil T r u s t C h i n e s e Exclusion Act 1884 Adventures H o w e l l s , The M a r k T w a i n ( S a m u e l L. C l e m e n s ) , of Huckleberry Rise of Silas Finn Lapham W. D.

1886 S a r a h Heron"

Orne Jewett, " A



Statue of Liberty dedicated


General Allotment Act (Dawes Act)

p a s s e d to redistribute tribady held land b a s e 1889 Paw" Hamlin Garland, " U n d e r the Lion's 1889 Wovoka (Jack Wilson), a Paiute, has

vision that inspires G h o s t D a n c e religion

Boldface titles indicate works in the anthology.


1890 Ambrose Bierce, "An O c c u r r e n c e at Bridge" 1890

C e n s u s Bureau declares frontier

Owl Creek

" c l o s e d " S e v e n t h Cavalry m a s s a c r e at W o u n d e d Knee ends Native American a r m e d resistance to U . S . g o v e r n m e n t Ellis Island Immigration Station opens


M a r y E. Wilkins F r e e m a n , " A


E n g l a n d N u n " VVovoka, " T h e Letter: Cheyenne 1892 Yellow 1893 Version"


Charlotte Perkins Oilman, " T h e Wall-paper" Frederick Jackson Turner, of the Frontier Ghost Tlie 1893 World's C o l u m b i a n Exposition held

Significance 1896 Dance 1897 1898

in C h i c a g o 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson upholds

J a m e s Mooney publishes Songs

segregated Boat" 1898 New


Stephen Crane, "The O p e n A b r a h a m C a h a n , "The and Other Stories

Imported of the

United States annexes


Bridegroom" York Ghetto

1898-99 1899 K a t e C h o p i n , The Awakening

Spanish-American War

Charles W. Chesnutt, "The Wife of His Y o u t h " Edith Wharton, " S o u l s Belated" 1900 million 1901 Childhood Z i t k a l a 5 a , Impressions of an Indian Rogaum Law from 1901 J . P. M o r g a n f o u n d s U . S . S t e e l U.S. population exceeds seventy-five

Theodore Dreiser, "Old

C o r p o r a t i o n first t r a n s a t l a n t i c r a d i o

and His T h e r e s a " J a c k L o n d o n , " T h e o f L i f e " B o o k e r T . W a s h i n g t o n , Up Slavery 1903 Black The W . E . B . D u B o i s , The Folk Night Souls of


Henry Ford founds Ford Motor C o . first successful Robbery is

Washington M a t t h e w s edits Chant: A Navajo Ceremony

Wright brothers make the a i r p l a n e f l i g h t Tlie first Great


U . S . cinematic narrative Industrial W o r k e r s of the World

1905 founded 1907 J o h n M. Oskison, "The Problem of Education

O l d H a r j o " H e n r y A d a m s , Tlie of Henry Adams


N a t i o n a l A s s o c i a t i o n for t h e (NAACP)

A d v a n c e m e n t of C o l o r e d People founded 1910 Songs Frances Densmore, Sui Sin Far, " M r s . Chippewa Spring

Fragrance" 1914 1916 Charles Alexander the Deep Eastman Woods to Panama Canal open

( O h i y e s a ) , From Civilization


Edgar Allan Poe

The Raven Presently my soul grew stronger: hesitating then no longer, "Sir, " said I, "or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore: But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping, And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door, That I scarce was sure I heard you"-- here I opened wide the door-Darkness there and nothing more. Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore -While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping, As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door. " 'T is some visitor, " I muttered, "tapping at my chamber door-Only this and nothing more." Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December; And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor. Eagerly I wished the morrow -- vainly I had sought to borrow From my books surcease of sorrow -- sorrow for the lost Lenore-For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore-Nameless here for evermore. And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain Thrilled me -- filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before: So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating. " 'T is some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door-That it is and nothing more." Open here i flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter, In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore; Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he; But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door-Perched upon a bust of Pallas just a bove my chamber door-Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning, Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before. "Surely," said I, "surely that is something at my window lattice; Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore-Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore-'T is the wind an nothing more!" Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there wondering fearing. Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before: But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token, And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, "Lenore?" This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word "Lenore!"-Merely this and nothing more.

Edgar Allan Poe

Perched, and sat, and nothing more. Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling, By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore, "Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou," I said, "art sure no craven, Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore-Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night's Plutonian shore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." Much I marveled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly, Though its answer little meaning -- little relevancy bore; For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door-Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door, With such name as "Nevermore." But the Raven sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpoor. Nothing further then he uttered, not a feather then he fluttered-Till I scarcely more then muttered, "Other friends have flown before -On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before." Then the bird said, "Nevermore." Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken, "Doubtless," said I, "what it utteres is it only stock and store Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster Then methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer Swung by seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor. "Wretch," I cried, "thy God has lent thee -- by these angels he hath sent thee Respite -- respite the nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore! Quaff, oh, quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing To the fowl, whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom's core; This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining On the cushion's velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o'er But whose velvet-violet lining with lamp-light gloating o'er She shall press, ah, nevermore! But the Raven still beguiling all my fancy into smiling, Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird and bust and door, Then upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore-What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore Meant in croaking, "Nevermore." Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore -Till the dirges of his Hope the melancholy burden bore Of 'Never - nevermore.'"

Edgar Allan Poe

"Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! -- prophet still, if bird of devil! Whether Tempter sent, or whatever tempest tossed thee ashore, Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted -On this home by Horror haunted -- tell me truly, I implore -Is there -- is there balm in Gilead? -- tell me -- tell me, I implore!" Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." "Prophet!" said I, "thing of evil! -- prophet still, if bird of devil! By that Heaven that bends above us -- by that God we both adore-Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn, It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore -Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore." Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." "Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!" I shrieked, upstarting -"Get thee back into the tempest and the Night's Plutonian shore! Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken! Leave my loneliness unbroken! -- quit the bust above my door! Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door! Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore." And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door; And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming, And the lamp-light o'er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor, And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor SOME YEARS ago, I engaged passage from Charleston, S. C, to the city of New York, in the fine packet-ship "Independence," Captain Hardy. We were to sail on the fifteenth of the month (June), weather permitting; and on the fourteenth, I went on board to arrange some matters in my stateroom. I found that we were to have a great many passengers, including a more than usual number of ladies. On the list were several of my acquaintances, and among other names, I was rejoiced to see that of Mr. Cornelius Wyatt, a young artist, for whom I entertained feelings of warm friendship. He had been with me a fellow-student at C- University, where we were very much together. He had the ordinary temperament of genius, and was a compound of misanthropy, sensibility, and enthusiasm. To these qualities he united the warmest and truest heart which ever beat in a human bosom. I observed that his name was carded upon three state-rooms; and, upon again referring to the list of passengers, I found that he had engaged passage for himself, wife, and two sisters- his own. The state-rooms were sufficiently roomy, and each had two berths, one above the other. These berths, to be sure, were so exceedingly narrow as to be insufficient for more than one person; still, I could not comprehend why there were three state-rooms for these four persons. I was, just at that epoch, in one of those moody frames of mind which make a man abnormally inquisitive about THE OBLONG BOX Edgar Allan Poe, 1850 Shall be lifted -- nevermore!

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trifles: and I confess, with shame, that I busied myself in a variety of illbred and preposterous conjectures about this matter of the supernumerary state-room. It was no business of mine, to be sure, but with none the less pertinacity did I occupy myself in attempts to resolve the enigma. At last I reached a conclusion which wrought in me great wonder why I had not arrived at it before. "It is a servant of course," I said; "what a fool I am, not sooner to have thought of so obvious a solution!" And then I again repaired to the list- but here I saw distinctly that no servant was to come with the party, although, in fact, it had been the original design to bring one- for the words "and servant" had been first written and then overscored. "Oh, extra baggage, to be sure," I now said to myself- "something he wishes not to be put in the hold- something to be kept under his own eye- ah, I have it- a painting or so- and this is what he has been bargaining about with Nicolino, the Italian Jew." This idea satisfied me, and I dismissed my curiosity for the nonce. Wyatt's two sisters I knew very well, and most amiable and clever girls they were. His wife he had newly married, and I had never yet seen her. He had often talked about her in my presence, however, and in his usual style of enthusiasm. He described her as of surpassing beauty, wit, and accomplishment. I was, therefore, quite anxious to make her acquaintance. On the day in which I visited the ship (the fourteenth), Wyatt and party were also to visit it- so the captain informed me- and I waited on board an hour longer than I had designed, in hope of being presented to the bride, but then an apology came. "Mrs. W. was a little indisposed, and would decline coming on board until to-morrow, at the hour of sailing." The morrow having arrived, I was going from my hotel to the wharf, when Captain Hardy met me and said that, "owing to circumstances" (a stupid but convenient phrase), "he rather thought the 'Independence' would not sail for a day or two, and that when all was ready, he would send up and let me know." This I thought strange, for there was a stiff southerly breeze; but as "the circumstances" were not forthcoming, although I pumped for them with much perseverance, I had nothing to do but to return home and digest my impatience at leisure. I did not receive the expected message from the captain for nearly a week. It came at length, however, and I immediately went on board. The ship was crowded with passengers, and every thing was in the bustle attendant upon making sail. Wyatt's party arrived in about ten minutes after myself. There were the two sisters, the bride, and the artist- the latter in one of his customary fits of moody misanthropy. I was too well used to these, however, to pay them any special attention. He did not even introduce me to his wife- this courtesy devolving, per force, upon his sister Marian- a very sweet and intelligent girl, who, in a few hurried words, made us acquainted. Mrs. Wyatt had been closely veiled; and when she raised her veil, in acknowledging my bow, I confess that I was very profoundly astonished. I should have been much more so, however, had not long experience advised me not to trust, with too implicit a reliance, the enthusiastic descriptions of my friend, the artist, when indulging in comments upon the loveliness of woman. When beauty was the theme, I well knew with what facility he soared into the regions of the purely ideal. The truth is, I could not help regarding Mrs. Wyatt as a decidedly plainlooking woman. If not positively ugly, she was not, I think, very far from it. She was dressed, however, in exquisite taste- and then I had no doubt that she had captivated my friend's heart by the more enduring graces of the intellect and soul. She said very few words, and passed at once into her state-room with Mr. W. My old inquisitiveness now returned. There was no servant- that was a settled point. I looked, therefore, for the extra baggage. After some delay, a cart arrived at the wharf, with an oblong pine box, which was every thing

Edgar Allan Poe

that seemed to be expected. Immediately upon its arrival we made sail, and in a short time were safely over the bar and standing out to sea. The box in question was, as I say, oblong. It was about six feet in length by two and a half in breadth; I observed it attentively, and like to be precise. Now this shape was peculiar; and no sooner had I seen it, than I took credit to myself for the accuracy of my guessing. I had reached the conclusion, it will be remembered, that the extra baggage of my friend, the artist, would prove to be pictures, or at least a picture; for I knew he had been for several weeks in conference with Nicolino:- and now here was a box, which, from its shape, could possibly contain nothing in the world but a copy of Leonardo's "Last Supper;" and a copy of this very "Last Supper," done by Rubini the younger, at Florence, I had known, for some time, to be in the possession of Nicolino. This point, therefore, I considered as sufficiently settled. I chuckled excessively when I thought of my acumen. It was the first time I had ever known Wyatt to keep from me any of his artistical secrets; but here he evidently intended to steal a march upon me, and smuggle a fine picture to New York, under my very nose; expecting me to know nothing of the matter. I resolved to quiz him well, now and hereafter. One thing, however, annoyed me not a little. The box did not go into the extra state-room. It was deposited in Wyatt's own; and there, too, it remained, occupying very nearly the whole of the floor- no doubt to the exceeding discomfort of the artist and his wife;- this the more especially as the tar or paint with which it was lettered in sprawling capitals, emitted a strong, disagreeable, and, to my fancy, a peculiarly disgusting odor. On the lid were painted the words- "Mrs. Adelaide Curtis, Albany, New York. Charge of Cornelius Wyatt, Esq. This side up. To be handled with care." Now, I was aware that Mrs. Adelaide Curtis, of Albany, was the artist's wife's mother,- but then I looked upon the whole address as a mystification, intended especially for myself. I made up my mind, of course, that the box and contents would never get farther north than the studio of my misanthropic friend, in Chambers Street, New York. For the first three or four days we had fine weather, although the wind was dead ahead; having chopped round to the northward, immediately upon our losing sight of the coast. The passengers were, consequently, in high spirits and disposed to be social. I must except, however, Wyatt and his sisters, who behaved stiffly, and, I could not help thinking, uncourteously to the rest of the party. Wyatt's conduct I did not so much regard. He was gloomy, even beyond his usual habit- in fact he was morose- but in him I was prepared for eccentricity. For the sisters, however, I could make no excuse. They secluded themselves in their staterooms during the greater part of the passage, and absolutely refused, although I repeatedly urged them, to hold communication with any person on board. Mrs. Wyatt herself was far more agreeable. That is to say, she was chatty; and to be chatty is no slight recommendation at sea. She became excessively intimate with most of the ladies; and, to my profound astonishment, evinced no equivocal disposition to coquet with the men. She amused us all very much. I say "amused"- and scarcely know how to explain myself. The truth is, I soon found that Mrs. W. was far oftener laughed at than with. The gentlemen said little about her; but the ladies, in a little while, pronounced her "a good-hearted thing, rather indifferent looking, totally uneducated, and decidedly vulgar." The great wonder was, how Wyatt had been entrapped into such a match. Wealth was the general solution- but this I knew to be no solution at all; for Wyatt had told me that she neither brought him a dollar nor had any expectations from any source whatever. "He had married," he said, "for love, and for love only; and his bride was far more than worthy of his love." When I thought of these expressions, on the part of my friend, I confess that I felt indescribably puzzled. Could it be possible that he was taking leave of his senses? What else could I think? He, so refined, so intellectual, so fastidious, with so

Edgar Allan Poe

exquisite a perception of the faulty, and so keen an appreciation of the beautiful! To be sure, the lady seemed especially fond of him- particularly so in his absence- when she made herself ridiculous by frequent quotations of what had been said by her "beloved husband, Mr. Wyatt." The word "husband" seemed forever- to use one of her own delicate expressionsforever "on the tip of her tongue." In the meantime, it was observed by all on board, that he avoided her in the most pointed manner, and, for the most part, shut himself up alone in his state-room, where, in fact, he might have been said to live altogether, leaving his wife at full liberty to amuse herself as she thought best, in the public society of the main cabin. My conclusion, from what I saw and heard, was, that, the artist, by some unaccountable freak of fate, or perhaps in some fit of enthusiastic and fanciful passion, had been induced to unite himself with a person altogether beneath him, and that the natural result, entire and speedy disgust, had ensued. I pitied him from the bottom of my heart- but could not, for that reason, quite forgive his incommunicativeness in the matter of the "Last Supper." For this I resolved to have my revenge. One day he came upon deck, and, taking his arm as had been my wont, I sauntered with him backward and forward. His gloom, however (which I considered quite natural under the circumstances), seemed entirely unabated. He said little, and that moodily, and with evident effort. I ventured a jest or two, and he made a sickening attempt at a smile. Poor fellow!- as I thought of his wife, I wondered that he could have heart to put on even the semblance of mirth. I determined to commence a series of covert insinuations, or innuendoes, about the oblong box- just to let him perceive, gradually, that I was not altogether the butt, or victim, of his little bit of pleasant mystification. My first observation was by way of opening a masked battery. I said something about the "peculiar shape of that box-," and, as I spoke the words, I smiled knowingly, winked, and touched him gently with my forefinger in the ribs. The manner in which Wyatt received this harmless pleasantry convinced me, at once, that he was mad. At first he stared at me as if he found it impossible to comprehend the witticism of my remark; but as its point seemed slowly to make its way into his brain, his eyes, in the same proportion, seemed protruding from their sockets. Then he grew very redthen hideously pale- then, as if highly amused with what I had insinuated, he began a loud and boisterous laugh, which, to my astonishment, he kept up, with gradually increasing vigor, for ten minutes or more. In conclusion, he fell flat and heavily upon the deck. When I ran to uplift him, to all appearance he was dead. I called assistance, and, with much difficulty, we brought him to himself. Upon reviving he spoke incoherently for some time. At length we bled him and put him to bed. The next morning he was quite recovered, so far as regarded his mere bodily health. Of his mind I say nothing, of course. I avoided him during the rest of the passage, by advice of the captain, who seemed to coincide with me altogether in my views of his insanity, but cautioned me to say nothing on this head to any person on board. Several circumstances occurred immediately after this fit of Wyatt which contributed to heighten the curiosity with which I was already possessed. Among other things, this: I had been nervous- drank too much strong green tea, and slept ill at night- in fact, for two nights I could not be properly said to sleep at all. Now, my state-room opened into the main cabin, or diningroom, as did those of all the single men on board. Wyatt's three rooms were in the after-cabin, which was separated from the main one by a slight sliding door, never locked even at night. As we were almost constantly on a wind, and the breeze was not a little stiff, the ship heeled to leeward very considerably; and whenever her starboard side was to leeward, the sliding door between the cabins slid open, and so remained, nobody taking the trouble to get up and shut it. But my berth was in such a position, that when my own state-room door was open, as well as the sliding door in

Edgar Allan Poe

question (and my own door was always open on account of the heat,) I could see into the after-cabin quite distinctly, and just at that portion of it, too, where were situated the state-rooms of Mr. Wyatt. Well, during two nights (not consecutive) while I lay awake, I clearly saw Mrs. W., about eleven o'clock upon each night, steal cautiously from the state-room of Mr. W., and enter the extra room, where she remained until daybreak, when she was called by her husband and went back. That they were virtually separated was clear. They had separate apartments- no doubt in contemplation of a more permanent divorce; and here, after all I thought was the mystery of the extra state-room. There was another circumstance, too, which interested me much. During the two wakeful nights in question, and immediately after the disappearance of Mrs. Wyatt into the extra state-room, I was attracted by certain singular cautious, subdued noises in that of her husband. After listening to them for some time, with thoughtful attention, I at length succeeded perfectly in translating their import. They were sounds occasioned by the artist in prying open the oblong box, by means of a chisel and mallet- the latter being apparently muffled, or deadened, by some soft woollen or cotton substance in which its head was enveloped. In this manner I fancied I could distinguish the precise moment when he fairly disengaged the lid- also, that I could determine when he removed it altogether, and when he deposited it upon the lower berth in his room; this latter point I knew, for example, by certain slight taps which the lid made in striking against the wooden edges of the berth, as he endeavored to lay it down very gently- there being no room for it on the floor. After this there was a dead stillness, and I heard nothing more, upon either occasion, until nearly daybreak; unless, perhaps, I may mention a low sobbing, or murmuring sound, so very much suppressed as to be nearly inaudible- if, indeed, the whole of this latter noise were not rather produced by my own imagination. I say it seemed to resemble sobbing or sighing- but, of course, it could not have been either. I rather think it was a ringing in my own ears. Mr. Wyatt, no doubt, according to custom, was merely giving the rein to one of his hobbies- indulging in one of his fits of artistic enthusiasm. He had opened his oblong box, in order to feast his eyes on the pictorial treasure within. There was nothing in this, however, to make him sob. I repeat, therefore, that it must have been simply a freak of my own fancy, distempered by good Captain Hardy's green tea. just before dawn, on each of the two nights of which I speak, I distinctly heard Mr. Wyatt replace the lid upon the oblong box, and force the nails into their old places by means of the muffled mallet. Having done this, he issued from his state-room, fully dressed, and proceeded to call Mrs. W. from hers. We had been at sea seven days, and were now off Cape Hatteras, when there came a tremendously heavy blow from the southwest. We were, in a measure, prepared for it, however, as the weather had been holding out threats for some time. Every thing was made snug, alow and aloft; and as the wind steadily freshened, we lay to, at length, under spanker and foretopsail, both double-reefed. In this trim we rode safely enough for forty-eight hours- the ship proving herself an excellent sea-boat in many respects, and shipping no water of any consequence. At the end of this period, however, the gale had freshened into a hurricane, and our after- sail split into ribbons, bringing us so much in the trough of the water that we shipped several prodigious seas, one immediately after the other. By this accident we lost three men overboard with the caboose, and nearly the whole of the larboard bulwarks. Scarcely had we recovered our senses, before the foretopsail went into shreds, when we got up a storm stay- sail and with this did pretty well for some hours, the ship heading the sea much more steadily than before. The gale still held on, however, and we saw no signs of its abating. The rigging was found to be ill-fitted, and greatly strained; and on the third day of the blow, about five in the afternoon, our mizzen-mast, in a heavy lurch

Edgar Allan Poe

to windward, went by the board. For an hour or more, we tried in vain to get rid of it, on account of the prodigious rolling of the ship; and, before we had succeeded, the carpenter came aft and announced four feet of water in the hold. To add to our dilemma, we found the pumps choked and nearly useless. All was now confusion and despair- but an effort was made to lighten the ship by throwing overboard as much of her cargo as could be reached, and by cutting away the two masts that remained. This we at last accomplished- but we were still unable to do any thing at the pumps; and, in the meantime, the leak gained on us very fast. At sundown, the gale had sensibly diminished in violence, and as the sea went down with it, we still entertained faint hopes of saving ourselves in the boats. At eight P. M., the clouds broke away to windward, and we had the advantage of a full moon- a piece of good fortune which served wonderfully to cheer our drooping spirits. After incredible labor we succeeded, at length, in getting the longboat over the side without material accident, and into this we crowded the whole of the crew and most of the passengers. This party made off immediately, and, after undergoing much suffering, finally arrived, in safety, at Ocracoke Inlet, on the third day after the wreck. Fourteen passengers, with the captain, remained on board, resolving to trust their fortunes to the jolly-boat at the stern. We lowered it without difficulty, although it was only by a miracle that we prevented it from swamping as it touched the water. It contained, when afloat, the captain and his wife, Mr. Wyatt and party, a Mexican officer, wife, four children, and myself, with a negro valet. We had no room, of course, for any thing except a few positively necessary instruments, some provisions, and the clothes upon our backs. No one had thought of even attempting to save any thing more. What must have been the astonishment of all, then, when having proceeded a few fathoms from the ship, Mr. Wyatt stood up in the stern-sheets, and coolly demanded of Captain Hardy that the boat should be put back for the purpose of taking in his oblong box! "Sit down, Mr. Wyatt," replied the captain, somewhat sternly, "you will capsize us if you do not sit quite still. Our gunwhale is almost in the water now." "The box!" vociferated Mr. Wyatt, still standing- "the box, I say! Captain Hardy, you cannot, you will not refuse me. Its weight will be but a trifle- it is nothing- mere nothing. By the mother who bore you- for the love of Heaven- by your hope of salvation, I implore you to put back for the box!" The captain, for a moment, seemed touched by the earnest appeal of the artist, but he regained his stern composure, and merely said: "Mr. Wyatt, you are mad. I cannot listen to you. Sit down, I say, or you will swamp the boat. Stay- hold him- seize him!- he is about to spring overboard! There- I knew it- he is over!" As the captain said this, Mr. Wyatt, in fact, sprang from the boat, and, as we were yet in the lee of the wreck, succeeded, by almost superhuman exertion, in getting hold of a rope which hung from the fore-chains. In another moment he was on board, and rushing frantically down into the cabin. In the meantime, we had been swept astern of the ship, and being quite out of her lee, were at the mercy of the tremendous sea which was still running. We made a determined effort to put back, but our little boat was like a feather in the breath of the tempest. We saw at a glance that the doom of the unfortunate artist was sealed. As our distance from the wreck rapidly increased, the madman (for as such only could we regard him) was seen to emerge from the companion- way, up which by dint of strength that appeared gigantic, he dragged, bodily, the oblong box. While we gazed in the extremity of astonishment, he passed,

Edgar Allan Poe

rapidly, several turns of a three-inch rope, first around the box and then around his body. In another instant both body and box were in the seadisappearing suddenly, at once and forever. We lingered awhile sadly upon our oars, with our eyes riveted upon the spot. At length we pulled away. The silence remained unbroken for an hour. Finally, I hazarded a remark. "Did you observe, captain, how suddenly they sank? Was not that an exceedingly singular thing? I confess that I entertained some feeble hope of his final deliverance, when I saw him lash himself to the box, and commit himself to the sea." "They sank as a matter of course," replied the captain, "and that like a shot. They will soon rise again, however- but not till the salt melts." "The salt!" I ejaculated. "Hush!" said the captain, pointing to the wife and sisters of the deceased. "We must talk of these things at some more appropriate time." We suffered much, and made a narrow escape, but fortune befriended us, as well as our mates in the long-boat. We landed, in fine, more dead than alive, after four days of intense distress, upon the beach opposite Roanoke Island. We remained here a week, were not ill-treated by the wreckers, and at length obtained a passage to New York. About a month after the loss of the "Independence," I happened to meet Captain Hardy in Broadway. Our conversation turned, naturally, upon the disaster, and especially upon the sad fate of poor Wyatt. I thus learned the following particulars. The artist had engaged passage for himself, wife, two sisters and a servant. His wife was, indeed, as she had been represented, a most lovely, and most accomplished woman. On the morning of the fourteenth of June (the day in which I first visited the ship), the lady suddenly sickened and died. The young husband was frantic with grief- but circumstances imperatively forbade the deferring his voyage to New York. It was necessary to take to her mother the corpse of his adored wife, and, on the other hand, the universal prejudice which would prevent his doing so openly was well known. Nine-tenths of the passengers would have abandoned the ship rather than take passage with a dead body. In this dilemma, Captain Hardy arranged that the corpse, being first partially embalmed, and packed, with a large quantity of salt, in a box of suitable dimensions, should be conveyed on board as merchandise. Nothing was to be said of the lady's decease; and, as it was well understood that Mr. Wyatt had engaged passage for his wife, it became necessary that some person should personate her during the voyage. This the deceased lady's-maid was easily prevailed on to do. The extra state-room, originally engaged for this girl during her mistress' life, was now merely retained. In this state-room the pseudo-wife, slept, of course, every night. In the daytime she performed, to the best of her ability, the part of her mistresswhose person, it had been carefully ascertained, was unknown to any of the passengers on board. My own mistake arose, naturally enough, through too careless, too inquisitive, and too impulsive a temperament. But of late, it is a rare thing that I sleep soundly at night. There is a countenance which haunts me, turn as I will. There is an hysterical laugh which will forever ring within my ears.

Edgar Allan Poe

MS. FOUND IN A BOTTLE by Edgar Allan Poe, 1833 Qui n'a plus qu'un moment a vivre N'a plus rien a dissimuler. --Quinault --Atys. OF my country and of my family I have little to say. Ill usage and length of years have driven me from the one, and estranged me from the other. Hereditary wealth afforded me an education of no common order, and a contemplative turn of mind enabled me to methodize the stores which early study very diligently garnered up. --Beyond all things, the study of the German moralists gave me great delight; not from any ill-advised admiration of their eloquent madness, but from the ease with which my habits of rigid thought enabled me to detect their falsities. I have often been reproached with the aridity of my genius; a deficiency of imagination has been imputed to me as a crime; and the Pyrrhonism of my opinions has at all times rendered me notorious. Indeed, a strong relish for physical philosophy has, I fear, tinctured my mind with a very common error of this age --I mean the habit of referring occurrences, even the least susceptible of such reference, to the principles of that science. Upon the whole, no person could be less liable than myself to be led away from the severe precincts of truth by the ignes fatui of superstition. I have thought proper to premise thus much, lest the incredible tale I have to tell should be considered rather the raving of a crude imagination, than the positive experience of a mind to which the reveries of fancy have been a dead letter and a nullity. After many years spent in foreign travel, I sailed in the year 18--, from the port of Batavia, in the rich and populous island of Java, on a voyage to the Archipelago of the Sunda islands. I went as passenger --having no other inducement than a kind of nervous restlessness which haunted me as a fiend. Our vessel was a beautiful ship of about four hundred tons, copperfastened, and built at Bombay of Malabar teak. She was freighted with cotton-wool and oil, from the Lachadive islands. We had also on board coir, jaggeree, ghee, cocoa-nuts, and a few cases of opium. The stowage was clumsily done, and the vessel consequently crank. We got under way with a mere breath of wind, and for many days stood along the eastern coast of Java, without any other incident to beguile the monotony of our course than the occasional meeting with some of the small grabs of the Archipelago to which we were bound. One evening, leaning over the taffrail, I observed a very singular, isolated cloud, to the N.W. It was remarkable, as well for its color, as from its being the first we had seen since our departure from Batavia. I watched it attentively until sunset, when it spread all at once to the eastward and westward, girting in the horizon with a narrow strip of vapor, and looking like a long line of low beach. My notice was soon afterwards attracted by the dusky-red appearance of the moon, and the peculiar character of the sea. The latter was undergoing a rapid change, and the water seemed more than usually transparent. Although I could distinctly see the bottom, yet, heaving the lead, I found the ship in fifteen fathoms. The air now became intolerably hot, and was loaded with spiral exhalations similar to those arising from heat iron. As night came on, every breath of wind died away, an more entire calm it is impossible to conceive. The flame of a candle burned upon the poop without the least perceptible motion, and a long hair, held between the finger and thumb, hung without the possibility of detecting a vibration. However, as the captain said he could perceive no indication of danger, and as we were drifting in bodily to shore, he ordered the sails to be furled, and the anchor let go. No watch was set, and the crew, consisting principally of Malays, stretched themselves deliberately


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upon deck. I went below --not without a full presentiment of evil. Indeed, every appearance warranted me in apprehending a Simoom. I told the captain my fears; but he paid no attention to what I said, and left me without deigning to give a reply. My uneasiness, however, prevented me from sleeping, and about midnight I went upon deck. --As I placed my foot upon the upper step of the companion-ladder, I was startled by a loud, humming noise, like that occasioned by the rapid revolution of a millwheel, and before I could ascertain its meaning, I found the ship quivering to its centre. In the next instant, a wilderness of foam hurled us upon our beam-ends, and, rushing over us fore and aft, swept the entire decks from stem to stern. The extreme fury of the blast proved, in a great measure, the salvation of the ship. Although completely water-logged, yet, as her masts had gone by the board, she rose, after a minute, heavily from the sea, and, staggering awhile beneath the immense pressure of the tempest, finally righted. By what miracle I escaped destruction, it is impossible to say. Stunned by the shock of the water, I found myself, upon recovery, jammed in between the stern-post and rudder. With great difficulty I gained my feet, and looking dizzily around, was, at first, struck with the idea of our being among breakers; so terrific, beyond the wildest imagination, was the whirlpool of mountainous and foaming ocean within which we were engulfed. After a while, I heard the voice of an old Swede, who had shipped with us at the moment of our leaving port. I hallooed to him with all my strength, and presently he came reeling aft. We soon discovered that we were the sole survivors of the accident. All on deck, with the exception of ourselves, had been swept overboard; --the captain and mates must have perished as they slept, for the cabins were deluged with water. Without assistance, we could expect to do little for the security of the ship, and our exertions were at first paralyzed by the momentary expectation of going down. Our cable had, of course, parted like pack-thread, at the first breath of the hurricane, or we should have been instantaneously overwhelmed. We scudded with frightful velocity before the sea, and the water made clear breaches over us. The frame-work of our stern was shattered excessively, and, in almost every respect, we had received considerable injury; but to our extreme Joy we found the pumps unchoked, and that we had made no great shifting of our ballast. The main fury of the blast had already blown over, and we apprehended little danger from the violence of the wind; but we looked forward to its total cessation with dismay; well believing, that, in our shattered condition, we should inevitably perish in the tremendous swell which would ensue. But this very just apprehension seemed by no means likely to be soon verified. For five entire days and nights --during which our only subsistence was a small quantity of jaggeree, procured with great difficulty from the forecastle --the hulk flew at a rate defying computation, before rapidly succeeding flaws of wind, which, without equalling the first violence of the Simoom, were still more terrific than any tempest I had before encountered. Our course for the first four days was, with trifling variations, S.E. and by S.; and we must have run down the coast of New Holland. --On the fifth day the cold became extreme, although the wind had hauled round a point more to the northward. --The sun arose with a sickly yellow lustre, and clambered a very few degrees above the horizon --emitting no decisive light. --There were no clouds apparent, yet the wind was upon the increase, and blew with a fitful and unsteady fury. About noon, as nearly as we could guess, our attention was again arrested by the appearance of the sun. It gave out no light, properly so called, but a dull and sullen glow without reflection, as if all its rays were polarized. Just before sinking within the turgid sea, its central fires suddenly went out, as if hurriedly extinguished by some unaccountable power. It was a dim, sliver-like rim, alone, as it rushed down the unfathomable ocean. We waited in vain for the arrival of the sixth day --that day to me has not arrived --to the Swede, never did arrive. Thenceforward we were


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enshrouded in patchy darkness, so that we could not have seen an object at twenty paces from the ship. Eternal night continued to envelop us, all unrelieved by the phosphoric sea-brilliancy to which we had been accustomed in the tropics. We observed too, that, although the tempest continued to rage with unabated violence, there was no longer to be discovered the usual appearance of surf, or foam, which had hitherto attended us. All around were horror, and thick gloom, and a black sweltering desert of ebony. --Superstitious terror crept by degrees into the spirit of the old Swede, and my own soul was wrapped up in silent wonder. We neglected all care of the ship, as worse than useless, and securing ourselves, as well as possible, to the stump of the mizen-mast, looked out bitterly into the world of ocean. We had no means of calculating time, nor could we form any guess of our situation. We were, however, well aware of having made farther to the southward than any previous navigators, and felt great amazement at not meeting with the usual impediments of ice. In the meantime every moment threatened to be our last --every mountainous billow hurried to overwhelm us. The swell surpassed anything I had imagined possible, and that we were not instantly buried is a miracle. My companion spoke of the lightness of our cargo, and reminded me of the excellent qualities of our ship; but I could not help feeling the utter hopelessness of hope itself, and prepared myself gloomily for that death which I thought nothing could defer beyond an hour, as, with every knot of way the ship made, the swelling of the black stupendous seas became more dismally appalling. At times we gasped for breath at an elevation beyond the albatross --at times became dizzy with the velocity of our descent into some watery hell, where the air grew stagnant, and no sound disturbed the slumbers of the kraken. We were at the bottom of one of these abysses, when a quick scream from my companion broke fearfully upon the night. "See! see!" cried he, shrieking in my ears, "Almighty God! see! see!" As he spoke, I became aware of a dull, sullen glare of red light which streamed down the sides of the vast chasm where we lay, and threw a fitful brilliancy upon our deck. Casting my eyes upwards, I beheld a spectacle which froze the current of my blood. At a terrific height directly above us, and upon the very verge of the precipitous descent, hovered a gigantic ship of, perhaps, four thousand tons. Although upreared upon the summit of a wave more than a hundred times her own altitude, her apparent size exceeded that of any ship of the line or East Indiaman in existence. Her huge hull was of a deep dingy black, unrelieved by any of the customary carvings of a ship. A single row of brass cannon protruded from her open ports, and dashed from their polished surfaces the fires of innumerable battle-lanterns, which swung to and fro about her rigging. But what mainly inspired us with horror and astonishment, was that she bore up under a press of sail in the very teeth of that supernatural sea, and of that ungovernable hurricane. When we first discovered her, her bows were alone to be seen, as she rose slowly from the dim and horrible gulf beyond her. For a moment of intense terror she paused upon the giddy pinnacle, as if in contemplation of her own sublimity, then trembled and tottered, and --came down. At this instant, I know not what sudden self-possession came over my spirit. Staggering as far aft as I could, I awaited fearlessly the ruin that was to overwhelm. Our own vessel was at length ceasing from her struggles, and sinking with her head to the sea. The shock of the descending mass struck her, consequently, in that portion of her frame which was already under water, and the inevitable result was to hurl me, with irresistible violence, upon the rigging of the stranger. As I fell, the ship hove in stays, and went about; and to the confusion ensuing I attributed my escape from the notice of the crew. With little difficulty I made my way unperceived to the main hatchway, which was partially open, and soon found an opportunity of secreting myself in the hold. Why I did so I can hardly tell. An indefinite sense of awe, which at first sight of the navigators of the ship had taken hold of my mind, was


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perhaps the principle of my concealment. I was unwilling to trust myself with a race of people who had offered, to the cursory glance I had taken, so many points of vague novelty, doubt, and apprehension. I therefore thought proper to contrive a hiding-place in the hold. This I did by removing a small portion of the shifting-boards, in such a manner as to afford me a convenient retreat between the huge timbers of the ship. I had scarcely completed my work, when a footstep in the hold forced me to make use of it. A man passed by my place of concealment with a feeble and unsteady gait. I could not see his face, but had an opportunity of observing his general appearance. There was about it an evidence of great age and infirmity. His knees tottered beneath a load of years, and his entire frame quivered under the burthen. He muttered to himself, in a low broken tone, some words of a language which I could not understand, and groped in a corner among a pile of singular-looking instruments, and decayed charts of navigation. His manner was a wild mixture of the peevishness of second childhood, and the solemn dignity of a God. He at length went on deck, and I saw him no more. A feeling, for which I have no name, has taken possession of my soul --a sensation which will admit of no analysis, to which the lessons of bygone times are inadequate, and for which I fear futurity itself will offer me no key. To a mind constituted like my own, the latter consideration is an evil. I shall never --I know that I shall never --be satisfied with regard to the nature of my conceptions. Yet it is not wonderful that these conceptions are indefinite, since they have their origin in sources so utterly novel. A new sense --a new entity is added to my soul. It is long since I first trod the deck of this terrible ship, and the rays of my destiny are, I think, gathering to a focus. Incomprehensible men! Wrapped up in meditations of a kind which I cannot divine, they pass me by unnoticed. Concealment is utter folly on my part, for the people will not see. It was but just now that I passed directly before the eyes of the mate -it was no long while ago that I ventured into the captain's own private cabin, and took thence the materials with which I write, and have written. I shall from time to time continue this Journal. It is true that I may not find an opportunity of transmitting it to the world, but I will not fall to make the endeavour. At the last moment I will enclose the MS. in a bottle, and cast it within the sea. An incident has occurred which has given me new room for meditation. Are such things the operation of ungoverned Chance? I had ventured upon deck and thrown myself down, without attracting any notice, among a pile of ratlin-stuff and old sails in the bottom of the yawl. While musing upon the singularity of my fate, I unwittingly daubed with a tar-brush the edges of a neatly-folded studding-sail which lay near me on a barrel. The studding-sail is now bent upon the ship, and the thoughtless touches of the brush are spread out into the word DISCOVERY. I have made many observations lately upon the structure of the vessel. Although well armed, she is not, I think, a ship of war. Her rigging, build, and general equipment, all negative a supposition of this kind. What she is not, I can easily perceive --what she is I fear it is impossible to say. I know not how it is, but in scrutinizing her strange model and singular cast of spars, her huge size and overgrown suits of canvas, her severely simple bow and antiquated stern, there will occasionally flash across my mind a sensation of familiar things, and there is always mixed up with such indistinct shadows of recollection, an unaccountable memory of old foreign chronicles and ages long ago. I have been looking at the timbers of the ship. She is built of a material to which I am a stranger. There is a peculiar character about the wood which strikes me as rendering it unfit for the purpose to which it has been applied. I mean its extreme porousness, considered independently by the worm-eaten condition which is a consequence of navigation in these seas, and apart from the rottenness attendant upon age. It will appear perhaps an observation somewhat over-


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curious, but this wood would have every, characteristic of Spanish oak, if Spanish oak were distended by any unnatural means. In reading the above sentence a curious apothegm of an old weather-beaten Dutch navigator comes full upon my recollection. "It is as sure," he was wont to say, when any doubt was entertained of his veracity, "as sure as there is a sea where the ship itself will grow in bulk like the living body of the seaman." About an hour ago, I made bold to thrust myself among a group of the crew. They paid me no manner of attention, and, although I stood in the very midst of them all, seemed utterly unconscious of my presence. Like the one I had at first seen in the hold, they all bore about them the marks of a hoary old age. Their knees trembled with infirmity; their shoulders were bent double with decrepitude; their shrivelled skins rattled in the wind; their voices were low, tremulous and broken; their eyes glistened with the rheum of years; and their gray hairs streamed terribly in the tempest. Around them, on every part of the deck, lay scattered mathematical instruments of the most quaint and obsolete construction. I mentioned some time ago the bending of a studding-sail. From that period the ship, being thrown dead off the wind, has continued her terrific course due south, with every rag of canvas packed upon her, from her trucks to her lower studding-sail booms, and rolling every moment her topgallant yard-arms into the most appalling hell of water which it can enter into the mind of a man to imagine. I have just left the deck, where I find it impossible to maintain a footing, although the crew seem to experience little inconvenience. It appears to me a miracle of miracles that our enormous bulk is not swallowed up at once and forever. We are surely doomed to hover continually upon the brink of Eternity, without taking a final plunge into the abyss. From billows a thousand times more stupendous than any I have ever seen, we glide away with the facility of the arrowy sea-gull; and the colossal waters rear their heads above us like demons of the deep, but like demons confined to simple threats and forbidden to destroy. I am led to attribute these frequent escapes to the only natural cause which can account for such effect. --I must suppose the ship to be within the influence of some strong current, or impetuous under-tow. I have seen the captain face to face, and in his own cabin --but, as I expected, he paid me no attention. Although in his appearance there is, to a casual observer, nothing which might bespeak him more or less than manstill a feeling of irrepressible reverence and awe mingled with the sensation of wonder with which I regarded him. In stature he is nearly my own height; that is, about five feet eight inches. He is of a well-knit and compact frame of body, neither robust nor remarkably otherwise. But it is the singularity of the expression which reigns upon the face --it is the intense, the wonderful, the thrilling evidence of old age, so utter, so extreme, which excites within my spirit a sense --a sentiment ineffable. His forehead, although little wrinkled, seems to bear upon it the stamp of a myriad of years. --His gray hairs are records of the past, and his grayer eyes are Sybils of the future. The cabin floor was thickly strewn with strange, iron-clasped folios, and mouldering instruments of science, and obsolete long-forgotten charts. His head was bowed down upon his hands, and he pored, with a fiery unquiet eye, over a paper which I took to be a commission, and which, at all events, bore the signature of a monarch. He muttered to himself, as did the first seaman whom I saw in the hold, some low peevish syllables of a foreign tongue, and although the speaker was close at my elbow, his voice seemed to reach my ears from the distance of a mile. The ship and all in it are imbued with the spirit of Eld. The crew glide to and fro like the ghosts of buried centuries; their eyes have an eager and uneasy meaning; and when their fingers fall athwart my path in the wild glare of the battle-lanterns, I feel as I have never felt before, although I have been all my life a dealer in antiquities, and have imbibed the shadows


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of fallen columns at Balbec, and Tadmor, and Persepolis, until my very soul has become a ruin. When I look around me I feel ashamed of my former apprehensions. If I trembled at the blast which has hitherto attended us, shall I not stand aghast at a warring of wind and ocean, to convey any idea of which the words tornado and simoom are trivial and ineffective? All in the immediate vicinity of the ship is the blackness of eternal night, and a chaos of foamless water; but, about a league on either side of us, may be seen, indistinctly and at intervals, stupendous ramparts of ice, towering away into the desolate sky, and looking like the walls of the universe. As I imagined, the ship proves to be in a current; if that appellation can properly be given to a tide which, howling and shrieking by the white ice, thunders on to the southward with a velocity like the headlong dashing of a cataract. To conceive the horror of my sensations is, I presume, utterly impossible; yet a curiosity to penetrate the mysteries of these awful regions, predominates even over my despair, and will reconcile me to the most hideous aspect of death. It is evident that we are hurrying onwards to some exciting knowledge --some never-to-be-imparted secret, whose attainment is destruction. Perhaps this current leads us to the southern pole itself. It must be confessed that a supposition apparently so wild has every probability in its favor. The crew pace the deck with unquiet and tremulous step; but there is upon their countenances an expression more of the eagerness of hope than of the apathy of despair. In the meantime the wind is still in our poop, and, as we carry a crowd of canvas, the ship is at times lifted bodily from out the sea --Oh, horror upon horror! the ice opens suddenly to the right, and to the left, and we are whirling dizzily, in immense concentric circles, round and round the borders of a gigantic amphitheatre, the summit of whose walls is lost in the darkness and the distance. But little time will be left me to ponder upon my destiny --the circles rapidly grow small --we are plunging madly within the grasp of the whirlpool --and amid a roaring, and bellowing, and thundering of ocean and of tempest, the ship is quivering, oh God! and --going down. NOTE.--The "MS. Found in a Bottle," was originally published in 1831 [1833], and it was not until many years afterwards that I became acquainted with the maps of Mercator, in which the ocean is represented as rushing, by four mouths, into the (northern) Polar Gulf, to be absorbed into the bowels of the earth; the Pole itself being represented by a black rock, towering to a prodigious height. -THE END-

WILLIAM WILSON Edgar Allan Poe, 1839 What say of it? what say (of) CONSCIENCE grim, That spectre in my path? Chamberlayne's Pharronida. LET me call myself, for the present, William Wilson. The fair page now lying before me need not be sullied with my real appellation. This has been already too much an object for the scorn --for the horror --for the detestation of my race. To the uttermost regions of the globe have not the indignant winds bruited its unparalleled infamy? Oh, outcast of all outcasts most abandoned! --to the earth art thou not forever dead? to its honors, to its flowers, to its golden aspirations? --and a cloud, dense, dismal, and limitless, does it not hang eternally between thy hopes and heaven?


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I would not, if I could, here or to-day, embody a record of my later years of unspeakable misery, and unpardonable crime. This epoch --these later years --took unto themselves a sudden elevation in turpitude, whose origin alone it is my present purpose to assign. Men usually grow base by degrees. From me, in an instant, all virtue dropped bodily as a mantle. From comparatively trivial wickedness I passed, with the stride of a giant, into more than the enormities of an Elah-Gabalus. What chance --what one event brought this evil thing to pass, bear with me while I relate. Death approaches; and the shadow which foreruns him has thrown a softening influence over my spirit. I long, in passing through the dim valley, for the sympathy --I had nearly said for the pity --of my fellow men. I would fain have them believe that I have been, in some measure, the slave of circumstances beyond human control. I would wish them to seek out for me, in the details I am about to give, some little oasis of fatality amid a wilderness of error. I would have them allow --what they cannot refrain from allowing --that, although temptation may have erewhile existed as great, man was never thus, at least, tempted before --certainly, never thus fell. And is it therefore that he has never thus suffered? Have I not indeed been living in a dream? And am I not now dying a victim to the horror and the mystery of the wildest of all sublunary visions? I am the descendant of a race whose imaginative and easily excitable temperament has at all times rendered them remarkable; and, in my earliest infancy, I gave evidence of having fully inherited the family character. As I advanced in years it was more strongly developed; becoming, for many reasons, a cause of serious disquietude to my friends, and of positive injury to myself. I grew self-willed, addicted to the wildest caprices, and a prey to the most ungovernable passions. Weak-minded, and beset with constitutional infirmities akin to my own, my parents could do but little to check the evil propensities which distinguished me. Some feeble and illdirected efforts resulted in complete failure on their part, and, of course, in total triumph on mine. Thenceforward my voice was a household law; and at an age when few children have abandoned their leading-strings, I was left to the guidance of my own will, and became, in all but name, the master of my own actions. My earliest recollections of a school-life, are connected with a large, rambling, Elizabethan house, in a misty-looking village of England, where were a vast number of gigantic and gnarled trees, and where all the houses were excessively ancient. In truth, it was a dream-like and spirit-soothing place, that venerable old town. At this moment, in fancy, I feel the refreshing chilliness of its deeply-shadowed avenues, inhale the fragrance of its thousand shrubberies, and thrill anew with undefinable delight, at the deep hollow note of the church-bell, breaking, each hour, with sullen and sudden roar, upon the stillness of the dusky atmosphere in which the fretted Gothic steeple lay imbedded and asleep. It gives me, perhaps, as much of pleasure as I can now in any manner experience, to dwell upon minute recollections of the school and its concerns. Steeped in misery as I am --misery, alas! only too real --I shall be pardoned for seeking relief, however slight and temporary, in the weakness of a few rambling details. These, moreover, utterly trivial, and even ridiculous in themselves, assume, to my fancy, adventitious importance, as connected with a period and a locality when and where I recognise the first ambiguous monitions of the destiny which afterwards so fully overshadowed me. Let me then remember. The house, I have said, was old and irregular. The grounds were extensive, and a high and solid brick wall, topped with a bed of mortar and broken glass, encompassed the whole. This prison-like rampart formed the limit of our domain; beyond it we saw but thrice a week --once every Saturday afternoon, when, attended by two ushers, we were permitted to take brief walks in a body through some of the neighbouring fields --and twice during Sunday, when we were paraded in the same formal manner to the morning and evening service in the one church of the village. Of this


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church the principal of our school was pastor. With how deep a spirit of wonder and perplexity was I wont to regard him from our remote pew in the gallery, as, with step solemn and slow, he ascended the pulpit! This reverend man, with countenance so demurely benign, with robes so glossy and so clerically flowing, with wig so minutely powdered, so rigid and so vast, ---could this be he who, of late, with sour visage, and in snuffy habiliments, administered, ferule in hand, the Draconian laws of the academy? Oh, gigantic paradox, too utterly monstrous for solution! At an angle of the ponderous wall frowned a more ponderous gate. It was riveted and studded with iron bolts, and surmounted with jagged iron spikes. What impressions of deep awe did it inspire! It was never opened save for the three periodical egressions and ingressions already mentioned; then, in every creak of its mighty hinges, we found a plenitude of mystery -a world of matter for solemn remark, or for more solemn meditation. The extensive enclosure was irregular in form, having many capacious recesses. Of these, three or four of the largest constituted the play-ground. It was level, and covered with fine hard gravel. I well remember it had no trees, nor benches, nor anything similar within it. Of course it was in the rear of the house. In front lay a small parterre, planted with box and other shrubs; but through this sacred division we passed only upon rare occasions indeed --such as a first advent to school or final departure thence, or perhaps, when a parent or friend having called for us, we joyfully took our way home for the Christmas or Midsummer holy-days. But the house! --how quaint an old building was this! --to me how veritably a palace of enchantment! There was really no end to its windings --to its incomprehensible subdivisions. It was difficult, at any given time, to say with certainty upon which of its two stories one happened to be. From each room to every other there were sure to be found three or four steps either in ascent or descent. Then the lateral branches were innumerable --inconceivable --and so returning in upon themselves, that our most exact ideas in regard to the whole mansion were not very far different from those with which we pondered upon infinity. During the five years of my residence here, I was never able to ascertain with precision, in what remote locality lay the little sleeping apartment assigned to myself and some eighteen or twenty other scholars. The school-room was the largest in the house --I could not help thinking, in the world. It was very long, narrow, and dismally low, with pointed Gothic windows and a celling of oak. In a remote and terror-inspiring angle was a square enclosure of eight or ten feet, comprising the sanctum, "during hours," of our principal, the Reverend Dr. Bransby. It was a solid structure, with massy door, sooner than open which in the absence of the "Dominic," we would all have willingly perished by the peine forte et dure. In other angles were two other similar boxes, far less reverenced, indeed, but still greatly matters of awe. One of these was the pulpit of the "classical" usher, one of the "English and mathematical." Interspersed about the room, crossing and recrossing in endless irregularity, were innumerable benches and desks, black, ancient, and time-worn, piled desperately with much-bethumbed books, and so beseamed with initial letters, names at full length, grotesque figures, and other multiplied efforts of the knife, as to have entirely lost what little of original form might have been their portion in days long departed. A huge bucket with water stood at one extremity of the room, and a clock of stupendous dimensions at the other. Encompassed by the massy walls of this venerable academy, I passed, yet not in tedium or disgust, the years of the third lustrum of my life. The teeming brain of childhood requires no external world of incident to occupy or amuse it; and the apparently dismal monotony of a school was replete with more intense excitement than my riper youth has derived from luxury, or my full manhood from crime. Yet I must believe that my first mental development had in it much of the uncommon --even much of the


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outre. Upon mankind at large the events of very early existence rarely leave in mature age any definite impression. All is gray shadow --a weak and irregular remembrance --an indistinct regathering of feeble pleasures and phantasmagoric pains. With me this is not so. In childhood I must have felt with the energy of a man what I now find stamped upon memory in lines as vivid, as deep, and as durable as the exergues of the Carthaginian medals. Yet in fact --in the fact of the world's view --how little was there to remember! The morning's awakening, the nightly summons to bed; the connings, the recitations; the periodical half-holidays, and perambulations; the play-ground, with its broils, its pastimes, its intrigues; --these, by a mental sorcery long forgotten, were made to involve a wilderness of sensation, a world of rich incident, an universe of varied emotion, of excitement the most passionate and spirit-stirring. "Oh, le bon temps, que ce siecle de fer!" In truth, the ardor, the enthusiasm, and the imperiousness of my disposition, soon rendered me a marked character among my schoolmates, and by slow, but natural gradations, gave me an ascendancy over all not greatly older than myself; --over all with a single exception. This exception was found in the person of a scholar, who, although no relation, bore the same Christian and surname as myself; --a circumstance, in fact, little remarkable; for, notwithstanding a noble descent, mine was one of those everyday appellations which seem, by prescriptive right, to have been, time out of mind, the common property of the mob. In this narrative I have therefore designated myself as William Wilson, --a fictitious title not very dissimilar to the real. My namesake alone, of those who in school phraseology constituted "our set," presumed to compete with me in the studies of the class --in the sports and broils of the play-ground --to refuse implicit belief in my assertions, and submission to my will --indeed, to interfere with my arbitrary dictation in any respect whatsoever. If there is on earth a supreme and unqualified despotism, it is the despotism of a master mind in boyhood over the less energetic spirits of its companions. Wilson's rebellion was to me a source of the greatest embarrassment; --the more so as, in spite of the bravado with which in public I made a point of treating him and his pretensions, I secretly felt that I feared him, and could not help thinking the equality which he maintained so easily with myself, a proof of his true superiority; since not to be overcome cost me a perpetual struggle. Yet this superiority --even this equality --was in truth acknowledged by no one but myself; our associates, by some unaccountable blindness, seemed not even to suspect it. Indeed, his competition, his resistance, and especially his impertinent and dogged interference with my purposes, were not more pointed than private. He appeared to be destitute alike of the ambition which urged, and of the passionate energy of mind which enabled me to excel. In his rivalry he might have been supposed actuated solely by a whimsical desire to thwart, astonish, or mortify myself; although there were times when I could not help observing, with a feeling made up of wonder, abasement, and pique, that he mingled with his injuries, his insults, or his contradictions, a certain most inappropriate, and assuredly most unwelcome affectionateness of manner. I could only conceive this singular behavior to arise from a consummate self-conceit assuming the vulgar airs of patronage and protection. Perhaps it was this latter trait in Wilson's conduct, conjoined with our identity of name, and the mere accident of our having entered the school upon the same day, which set afloat the notion that we were brothers, among the senior classes in the academy. These do not usually inquire with much strictness into the affairs of their juniors. I have before said, or should have said, that Wilson was not, in the most remote degree, connected with my family. But assuredly if we had been brothers we must have been twins; for, after leaving Dr. Bransby's, I casually learned that my


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namesake was born on the nineteenth of January, 1813 --and this is a somewhat remarkable coincidence; for the day is precisely that of my own nativity. It may seem strange that in spite of the continual anxiety occasioned me by the rivalry of Wilson, and his intolerable spirit of contradiction, I could not bring myself to hate him altogether. We had, to be sure, nearly every day a quarrel in which, yielding me publicly the palm of victory, he, in some manner, contrived to make me feel that it was he who had deserved it; yet a sense of pride on my part, and a veritable dignity on his own, kept us always upon what are called "speaking terms," while there were many points of strong congeniality in our tempers, operating to awake me in a sentiment which our position alone, perhaps, prevented from ripening into friendship. It is difficult, indeed, to define,or even to describe, my real feelings towards him. They formed a motley and heterogeneous admixture; --some petulant animosity, which was not yet hatred, some esteem, more respect, much fear, with a world of uneasy curiosity. To the moralist it will be unnecessary to say, in addition, that Wilson and myself were the most inseparable of companions. It was no doubt the anomalous state of affairs existing between us, which turned all my attacks upon him, (and they were many, either open or covert) into the channel of banter or practical joke (giving pain while assuming the aspect of mere fun) rather than into a more serious and determined hostility. But my endeavours on this head were by no means uniformly successful, even when my plans were the most wittily concocted; for my namesake had much about him, in character, of that unassuming and quiet austerity which, while enjoying the poignancy of its own jokes, has no heel of Achilles in itself, and absolutely refuses to be laughed at. I could find, indeed, but one vulnerable point, and that, lying in a personal peculiarity, arising, perhaps, from constitutional disease, would have been spared by any antagonist less at his wit's end than myself; --my rival had a weakness in the faucal or guttural organs, which precluded him from raising his voice at any time above a very low whisper. Of this defect I did not fall to take what poor advantage lay in my power. Wilson's retaliations in kind were many; and there was one form of his practical wit that disturbed me beyond measure. How his sagacity first discovered at all that so petty a thing would vex me, is a question I never could solve; but, having discovered, he habitually practised the annoyance. I had always felt aversion to my uncourtly patronymic, and its very common, if not plebeian praenomen. The words were venom in my ears; and when, upon the day of my arrival, a second William Wilson came also to the academy, I felt angry with him for bearing the name, and doubly disgusted with the name because a stranger bore it, who would be the cause of its twofold repetition, who would be constantly in my presence, and whose concerns, in the ordinary routine of the school business, must inevitably, on account of the detestable coincidence, be often confounded with my own. The feeling of vexation thus engendered grew stronger with every circumstance tending to show resemblance, moral or physical, between my rival and myself. I had not then discovered the remarkable fact that we were of the same age; but I saw that we were of the same height, and I perceived that we were even singularly alike in general contour of person and outline of feature. I was galled, too, by the rumor touching a relationship, which had grown current in the upper forms. In a word, nothing could more seriously disturb me, although I scrupulously concealed such disturbance,) than any allusion to a similarity of mind, person, or condition existing between us. But, in truth, I had no reason to believe that (with the exception of the matter of relationship, and in the case of Wilson himself,) this similarity had ever been made a subject of comment, or even observed at all by our schoolfellows. That he observed it in all its bearings, and as fixedly as I, was apparent; but that he could


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discover in such circumstances so fruitful a field of annoyance, can only be attributed, as I said before, to his more than ordinary penetration. His cue, which was to perfect an imitation of myself, lay both in words and in actions; and most admirably did he play his part. My dress it was an easy matter to copy; my gait and general manner were, without difficulty, appropriated; in spite of his constitutional defect, even my voice did not escape him. My louder tones were, of course, unattempted, but then the key, it was identical; and his singular whisper, it grew the very echo of my own. How greatly this most exquisite portraiture harassed me, (for it could not justly be termed a caricature,) I will not now venture to describe. I had but one consolation --in the fact that the imitation, apparently, was noticed by myself alone, and that I had to endure only the knowing and strangely sarcastic smiles of my namesake himself. Satisfied with having produced in my bosom the intended effect, he seemed to chuckle in secret over the sting he had inflicted, and was characteristically disregardful of the public applause which the success of his witty endeavours might have so easily elicited. That the school, indeed, did not feel his design, perceive its accomplishment, and participate in his sneer, was, for many anxious months, a riddle I could not resolve. Perhaps the gradation of his copy rendered it not so readily perceptible; or, more possibly, I owed my security to the master air of the copyist, who, disdaining the letter, (which in a painting is all the obtuse can see,) gave but the full spirit of his original for my individual contemplation and chagrin. I have already more than once spoken of the disgusting air of patronage which he assumed toward me, and of his frequent officious interference withy my will. This interference often took the ungracious character of advice; advice not openly given, but hinted or insinuated. I received it with a repugnance which gained strength as I grew in years. Yet, at this distant day, let me do him the simple justice to acknowledge that I can recall no occasion when the suggestions of my rival were on the side of those errors or follies so usual to his immature age and seeming inexperience; that his moral sense, at least, if not his general talents and worldly wisdom, was far keener than my own; and that I might, to-day, have been a better, and thus a happier man, had I less frequently rejected the counsels embodied in those meaning whispers which I then but too cordially hated and too bitterly despised. As it was, I at length grew restive in the extreme under his distasteful supervision, and daily resented more and more openly what I considered his intolerable arrogance. I have said that, in the first years of our connexion as schoolmates, my feelings in regard to him might have been easily ripened into friendship: but, in the latter months of my residence at the academy, although the intrusion of his ordinary manner had, beyond doubt, in some measure, abated, my sentiments, in nearly similar proportion, partook very much of positive hatred. Upon one occasion he saw this, I think, and afterwards avoided, or made a show of avoiding me. It was about the same period, if I remember aright, that, in an altercation of violence with him, in which he was more than usually thrown off his guard, and spoke and acted with an openness of demeanor rather foreign to his nature, I discovered, or fancied I discovered, in his accent, his air, and general appearance, a something which first startled, and then deeply interested me, by bringing to mind dim visions of my earliest infancy -wild, confused and thronging memories of a time when memory herself was yet unborn. I cannot better describe the sensation which oppressed me than by saying that I could with difficulty shake off the belief of my having been acquainted with the being who stood before me, at some epoch very long ago --some point of the past even infinitely remote. The delusion, however, faded rapidly as it came; and I mention it at all but to define the day of the last conversation I there held with my singular namesake.


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The huge old house, with its countless subdivisions, had several large chambers communicating with each other, where slept the greater number of the students. There were, however, (as must necessarily happen in a building so awkwardly planned,) many little nooks or recesses, the odds and ends of the structure; and these the economic ingenuity of Dr. Bransby had also fitted up as dormitories; although, being the merest closets, they were capable of accommodating but a single individual. One of these small apartments was occupied by Wilson. One night, about the close of my fifth year at the school, and immediately after the altercation just mentioned, finding every one wrapped in sleep, I arose from bed, and, lamp in hand, stole through a wilderness of narrow passages from my own bedroom to that of my rival. I had long been plotting one of those ill-natured pieces of practical wit at his expense in which I had hitherto been so uniformly unsuccessful. It was my intention, now, to put my scheme in operation, and I resolved to make him feel the whole extent of the malice with which I was imbued. Having reached his closet, I noiselessly entered, leaving the lamp, with a shade over it, on the outside. I advanced a step, and listened to the sound of his tranquil breathing. Assured of his being asleep, I returned, took the light, and with it again approached the bed. Close curtains were around it, which, in the prosecution of my plan, I slowly and quietly withdrew, when the bright rays fell vividly upon the sleeper, and my eyes, at the same moment, upon his countenance. I looked; --and a numbness, an iciness of feeling instantly pervaded my frame. My breast heaved, my knees tottered, my whole spirit became possessed with an objectless yet intolerable horror. Gasping for breath, I lowered the lamp in still nearer proximity to the face. Were these -these the lineaments of William Wilson? I saw, indeed, that they were his, but I shook as if with a fit of the ague in fancying they were not. What was there about them to confound me in this manner? I gazed; --while my brain reeled with a multitude of incoherent thoughts. Not thus he appeared -assuredly not thus --in the vivacity of his waking hours. The same name! the same contour of person! the same day of arrival at the academy! And then his dogged and meaningless imitation of my gait, my voice, my habits, and my manner! Was it, in truth, within the bounds of human possibility, that what I now saw was the result, merely, of the habitual practice of this sarcastic imitation? Awe-stricken, and with a creeping shudder, I extinguished the lamp, passed silently from the chamber, and left, at once, the halls of that old academy, never to enter them again. After a lapse of some months, spent at home in mere idleness, I found myself a student at Eton. The brief interval had been sufficient to enfeeble my remembrance of the events at Dr. Bransby's, or at least to effect a material change in the nature of the feelings with which I remembered them. The truth --the tragedy --of the drama was no more. I could now find room to doubt the evidence of my senses; and seldom called up the subject at all but with wonder at extent of human credulity, and a smile at the vivid force of the imagination which I hereditarily possessed. Neither was this species of scepticism likely to be diminished by the character of the life I led at Eton. The vortex of thoughtless folly into which I there so immediately and so recklessly plunged, washed away all but the froth of my past hours, engulfed at once every solid or serious impression, and left to memory only the veriest levities of a former existence. I do not wish, however, to trace the course of my miserable profligacy here --a profligacy which set at defiance the laws, while it eluded the vigilance of the institution. Three years of folly, passed without profit, had but given me rooted habits of vice, and added, in a somewhat unusual degree, to my bodily stature, when, after a week of soulless dissipation, I invited a small party of the most dissolute students to a secret carousal in my chambers. We met at a late hour of the night; for our debaucheries were to be faithfully protracted until morning. The wine flowed freely, and there were not wanting other and perhaps more dangerous seductions; so that the gray dawn had already faintly appeared in the east, while our delirious


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extravagance was at its height. Madly flushed with cards and intoxication, I was in the act of insisting upon a toast of more than wonted profanity, when my attention was suddenly diverted by the violent, although partial unclosing of the door of the apartment, and by the eager voice of a servant from without. He said that some person, apparently in great haste, demanded to speak with me in the hall. Wildly excited with wine, the unexpected interruption rather delighted than surprised me. I staggered forward at once, and a few steps brought me to the vestibule of the building. In this low and small room there hung no lamp; and now no light at all was admitted, save that of the exceedingly feeble dawn which made its way through the semi-circular window. As I put my foot over the threshold, I became aware of the figure of a youth about my own height, and habited in a white kerseymere morning frock, cut in the novel fashion of the one I myself wore at the moment. This the faint light enabled me to perceive; but the features of his face I could not distinguish. Upon my entering he strode hurriedly up to me, and, seizing me by. the arm with a gesture of petulant impatience, whispered the words "William Wilson!" in my ear. I grew perfectly sober in an instant. There was that in the manner of the stranger, and in the tremulous shake of his uplifted finger, as he held it between my eyes and the light, which filled me with unqualified amazement; but it was not this which had so violently moved me. It was the pregnancy of solemn admonition in the singular, low, hissing utterance; and, above all, it was the character, the tone, the key, of those few, simple, and familiar, yet whispered syllables, which came with a thousand thronging memories of bygone days, and struck upon my soul with the shock of a galvanic battery. Ere I could recover the use of my senses he was gone. Although this event failed not of a vivid effect upon my disordered imagination, yet was it evanescent as vivid. For some weeks, indeed, I busied myself in earnest inquiry, or was wrapped in a cloud of morbid speculation. I did not pretend to disguise from my perception the identity of the singular individual who thus perseveringly interfered with my affairs, and harassed me with his insinuated counsel. But who and what was this Wilson? --and whence came he? --and what were his purposes? Upon neither of these points could I be satisfied; merely ascertaining, in regard to him, that a sudden accident in his family had caused his removal from Dr. Bransby's academy on the afternoon of the day in which I myself had eloped. But in a brief period I ceased to think upon the subject; my attention being all absorbed in a contemplated departure for Oxford. Thither I soon went; the uncalculating vanity of my parents furnishing me with an outfit and annual establishment, which would enable me to indulge at will in the luxury already so dear to my heart, --to vie in profuseness of expenditure with the haughtiest heirs of the wealthiest earldoms in Great Britain. Excited by such appliances to vice, my constitutional temperament broke forth with redoubled ardor, and I spurned even the common restraints of decency in the mad infatuation of my revels. But it were absurd to pause in the detail of my extravagance. Let it suffice, that among spendthrifts I outHeroded Herod, and that, giving name to a multitude of novel follies, I added no brief appendix to the long catalogue of vices then usual in the most dissolute university of Europe. It could hardly be credited, however, that I had, even here, so utterly fallen from the gentlemanly estate, as to seek acquaintance with the vilest arts of the gambler by profession, and, having become an adept in his despicable science, to practise it habitually as a means of increasing my already enormous income at the expense of the weak-minded among my fellowcollegians. Such, nevertheless, was the fact. And the very enormity of this offence against all manly and honourable sentiment proved, beyond doubt, the main if not the sole reason of the impunity with which it was


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committed. Who, indeed, among my most abandoned associates, would not rather have disputed the clearest evidence of his senses, than have suspected of such courses, the gay, the frank, the generous William Wilson --the noblest and most commoner at Oxford --him whose follies (said his parasites) were but the follies of youth and unbridled fancy --whose errors but inimitable whim --whose darkest vice but a careless and dashing extravagance? I had been now two years successfully busied in this way, when there came to the university a young parvenu nobleman, Glendinning --rich, said report, as Herodes Atticus --his riches, too, as easily acquired. I soon found him of weak intellect, and, of course, marked him as a fitting subject for my skill. I frequently engaged him in play, and contrived, with the gambler's usual art, to let him win considerable sums, the more effectually to entangle him in my snares. At length, my schemes being ripe, I met him (with the full intention that this meeting should be final and decisive) at the chambers of a fellow-commoner, (Mr. Preston,) equally intimate with both, but who, to do him Justice, entertained not even a remote suspicion of my design. To give to this a better colouring, I had contrived to have assembled a party of some eight or ten, and was solicitously careful that the introduction of cards should appear accidental, and originate in the proposal of my contemplated dupe himself. To be brief upon a vile topic, none of the low finesse was omitted, so customary upon similar occasions that it is a just matter for wonder how any are still found so besotted as to fall its victim. We had protracted our sitting far into the night, and I had at length effected the manoeuvre of getting Glendinning as my sole antagonist. The game, too, was my favorite ecarte!. The rest of the company, interested in the extent of our play, had abandoned their own cards, and were standing around us as spectators. The parvenu, who had been induced by my artifices in the early part of the evening, to drink deeply, now shuffled, dealt, or played, with a wild nervousness of manner for which his intoxication, I thought, might partially, but could not altogether account. In a very short period he had become my debtor to a large amount, when, having taken a long draught of port, he did precisely what I had been coolly anticipating --he proposed to double our already extravagant stakes. With a well-feigned show of reluctance, and not until after my repeated refusal had seduced him into some angry words which gave a color of pique to my compliance, did I finally comply. The result, of course, did but prove how entirely the prey was in my toils; in less than an hour he had quadrupled his debt. For some time his countenance had been losing the florid tinge lent it by the wine; but now, to my astonishment, I perceived that it had grown to a pallor truly fearful. I say to my astonishment. Glendinning had been represented to my eager inquiries as immeasurably wealthy; and the sums which he had as yet lost, although in themselves vast, could not, I supposed, very seriously annoy, much less so violently affect him. That he was overcome by the wine just swallowed, was the idea which most readily presented itself; and, rather with a view to the preservation of my own character in the eyes of my associates, than from any less interested motive, I was about to insist, peremptorily, upon a discontinuance of the play, when some expressions at my elbow from among the company, and an ejaculation evincing utter despair on the part of Glendinning, gave me to understand that I had effected his total ruin under circumstances which, rendering him an object for the pity of all, should have protected him from the ill offices even of a fiend. What now might have been my conduct it is difficult to say. The pitiable condition of my dupe had thrown an air of embarrassed gloom over all; and, for some moments, a profound silence was maintained, during which I could not help feeling my cheeks tingle with the many burning glances of scorn or reproach cast upon me by the less abandoned of the party. I will even own that an intolerable weight of anxiety was for a brief instant lifted from my bosom by the sudden and extraordinary interruption which


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ensued. The wide, heavy folding doors of the apartment were all at once thrown open, to their full extent, with a vigorous and rushing impetuosity that extinguished, as if by magic, every candle in the room. Their light, in dying, enabled us just to perceive that a stranger had entered, about my own height, and closely muffled in a cloak. The darkness, however, was now total; and we could only feel that he was standing in our midst. Before any one of us could recover from the extreme astonishment into which this rudeness had thrown all, we heard the voice of the intruder. "Gentlemen," he said, in a low, distinct, and never-to-be-forgotten whisper which thrilled to the very marrow of my bones, "Gentlemen, I make no apology for this behaviour, because in thus behaving, I am but fulfilling a duty. You are, beyond doubt, uninformed of the true character of the person who has to-night won at ecarte a large sum of money from Lord Glendinning. I will therefore put you upon an expeditious and decisive plan of obtaining this very necessary information. Please to examine, at your leisure, the inner linings of the cuff of his left sleeve, and the several little packages which may be found in the somewhat capacious pockets of his embroidered morning wrapper." While he spoke, so profound was the stillness that one might have heard a pin drop upon the floor. In ceasing, he departed at once, and as abruptly as he had entered. Can I --shall I describe my sensations? --must I say that I felt all the horrors of the damned? Most assuredly I had little time given for reflection. Many hands roughly seized me upon the spot, and lights were immediately reprocured. A search ensued. In the lining of my sleeve were found all the court cards essential in ecarte, and, in the pockets of my wrapper, a number of packs, facsimiles of those used at our sittings, with the single exception that mine were of the species called, technically, arrondees; the honours being slightly convex at the ends, the lower cards slightly convex at the sides. In this disposition, the dupe who cuts, as customary, at the length of the pack, will invariably find that he cuts his antagonist an honor; while the gambler, cutting at the breadth, will, as certainly, cut nothing for his victim which may count in the records of the game. Any burst of indignation upon this discovery would have affected me less than the silent contempt, or the sarcastic composure, with which it was received. "Mr. Wilson," said our host, stooping to remove from beneath his feet an exceedingly luxurious cloak of rare furs, "Mr. Wilson, this is your property." (The weather was cold; and, upon quitting my own room, I had thrown a cloak over my dressing wrapper, putting it off upon reaching the scene of play.) "I presume it is supererogatory to seek here (eyeing the folds of the garment with a bitter smile) for any farther evidence of your skill. Indeed, we have had enough. You will see the necessity, I hope, of quitting Oxford --at all events, of quitting instantly my chambers." Abased, humbled to the dust as I then was, it is probable that I should have resented this galling language by immediate personal violence, had not my whole attention been at the moment arrested by a fact of the most startling character. The cloak which I had worn was of a rare description of fur; how rare, how extravagantly costly, I shall not venture to say. Its fashion, too, was of my own fantastic invention; for I was fastidious to an absurd degree of coxcombry, in matters of this frivolous nature. When, therefore, Mr. Preston reached me that which he had picked up upon the floor, and near the folding doors of the apartment, it was with an astonishment nearly bordering upon terror, that I perceived my own already hanging on my arm, (where I had no doubt unwittingly placed it,) and that the one presented me was but its exact counterpart in every, in even the minutest possible particular. The singular being who had so disastrously exposed me, had been muffled, I remembered, in a cloak; and none had been worn at all by any of the members of our party with the exception of myself. Retaining some presence of mind, I took the one offered me by Preston;


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placed it, unnoticed, over my own; left the apartment with a resolute scowl of defiance; and, next morning ere dawn of day, commenced a hurried journey from Oxford to the continent, in a perfect agony of horror and of shame. I fled in vain. My evil destiny pursued me as if in exultation, and proved, indeed, that the exercise of its mysterious dominion had as yet only begun. Scarcely had I set foot in Paris ere I had fresh evidence of the detestable interest taken by this Wilson in my concerns. Years flew, while I experienced no relief. Villain! --at Rome, with how untimely, yet with how spectral an officiousness, stepped he in between me and my ambition! At Vienna, too --at Berlin --and at Moscow! Where, in truth, had I not bitter cause to curse him within my heart? From his inscrutable tyranny did I at length flee, panic-stricken, as from a pestilence; and to the very ends of the earth I fled in vain. And again, and again, in secret communion with my own spirit, would I demand the questions "Who is he? --whence came he? --and what are his objects?" But no answer was there found. And then I scrutinized, with a minute scrutiny, the forms, and the methods, and the leading traits of his impertinent supervision. But even here there was very little upon which to base a conjecture. It was noticeable, indeed, that, in no one of the multiplied instances in which he had of late crossed my path, had he so crossed it except to frustrate those schemes, or to disturb those actions, which, if fully carried out, might have resulted in bitter mischief. Poor justification this, in truth, for an authority so imperiously assumed! Poor indemnity for natural rights of self-agency so pertinaciously, so insultingly denied! I had also been forced to notice that my tormentor, for a very long period of time, (while scrupulously and with miraculous dexterity maintaining his whim of an identity of apparel with myself,) had so contrived it, in the execution of his varied interference with my will, that I saw not, at any moment, the features of his face. Be Wilson what he might, this, at least, was but the veriest of affectation, or of folly. Could he, for an instant, have supposed that, in my admonisher at Eton --in the destroyer of my honor at Oxford, --in him who thwarted my ambition at Rome, my revenge at Paris, my passionate love at Naples, or what he falsely termed my avarice in Egypt, --that in this, my arch-enemy and evil genius, could fall to recognise the William Wilson of my school boy days, --the namesake, the companion, the rival, --the hated and dreaded rival at Dr. Bransby's? Impossible! --But let me hasten to the last eventful scene of the drama. Thus far I had succumbed supinely to this imperious domination. The sentiment of deep awe with which I habitually regarded the elevated character, the majestic wisdom, the apparent omnipresence and omnipotence of Wilson, added to a feeling of even terror, with which certain other traits in his nature and assumptions inspired me, had operated, hitherto, to impress me with an idea of my own utter weakness and helplessness, and to suggest an implicit, although bitterly reluctant submission to his arbitrary will. But, of late days, I had given myself up entirely to wine; and its maddening influence upon my hereditary temper rendered me more and more impatient of control. I began to murmur, --to hesitate, --to resist. And was it only fancy which induced me to believe that, with the increase of my own firmness, that of my tormentor underwent a proportional diminution? Be this as it may, I now began to feel the inspiration of a burning hope, and at length nurtured in my secret thoughts a stern and desperate resolution that I would submit no longer to be enslaved. It was at Rome, during the Carnival of 18--, that I attended a masquerade in the palazzo of the Neapolitan Duke Di Broglio. I had indulged more freely than usual in the excesses of the wine-table; and now the suffocating atmosphere of the crowded rooms irritated me beyond endurance. The difficulty, too, of forcing my way through the mazes of the company


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contributed not a little to the ruffling of my temper; for I was anxiously seeking, (let me not say with what unworthy motive) the young, the gay, the beautiful wife of the aged and doting Di Broglio. With a too unscrupulous confidence she had previously communicated to me the secret of the costume in which she would be habited, and now, having caught a glimpse of her person, I was hurrying to make my way into her presence. --At this moment I felt a light hand placed upon my shoulder, and that ever-remembered, low, damnable whisper within my ear. In an absolute phrenzy of wrath, I turned at once upon him who had thus interrupted me, and seized him violently by tile collar. He was attired, as I had expected, in a costume altogether similar to my own; wearing a Spanish cloak of blue velvet, begirt about the waist with a crimson belt sustaining a rapier. A mask of black silk entirely covered his face. "Scoundrel!" I said, in a voice husky with rage, while every syllable I uttered seemed as new fuel to my fury, "scoundrel! impostor! accursed villain! you shall not --you shall not dog me unto death! Follow me, or I stab you where you stand!" --and I broke my way from the ball-room into a small ante-chamber adjoining --dragging him unresistingly with me as I went. Upon entering, I thrust him furiously from me. He staggered against the wall, while I closed the door with an oath, and commanded him to draw. He hesitated but for an instant; then, with a slight sigh, drew in silence, and put himself upon his defence. The contest was brief indeed. I was frantic with every species of wild excitement, and felt within my single arm the energy and power of a multitude. In a few seconds I forced him by sheer strength against the wainscoting, and thus, getting him at mercy, plunged my sword, with brute ferocity, repeatedly through and through his bosom. At that instant some person tried the latch of the door. I hastened to prevent an intrusion, and then immediately returned to my dying antagonist. But what human language can adequately portray that astonishment, that horror which possessed me at the spectacle then presented to view? The brief moment in which I averted my eyes had been sufficient to produce, apparently, a material change in the arrangements at the upper or farther end of the room. A large mirror, --so at first it seemed to me in my confusion --now stood where none had been perceptible before; and, as I stepped up to it in extremity of terror, mine own image, but with features all pale and dabbled in blood, advanced to meet me with a feeble and tottering gait. Thus it appeared, I say, but was not. It was my antagonist --it was Wilson, who then stood before me in the agonies of his dissolution. His mask and cloak lay, where he had thrown them, upon the floor. Not a thread in all his raiment --not a line in all the marked and singular lineaments of his face which was not, even in the most absolute identity, mine own! It was Wilson; but he spoke no longer in a whisper, and I could have fancied that I myself was speaking while he said: "You have conquered, and I yield. Yet, henceforward art thou also dead -dead to the World, to Heaven and to Hope! In me didst thou exist --and, in my death, see by this image, which is thine own, how utterly thou hast murdered thyself."


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THE PURLOINED LETTER Edgar Allan Poe, 1845 Nil sapientiae odiosius acumine nimio. Seneca. AT Paris, just after dark one gusty evening in the autumn of 18--, I was enjoying the twofold luxury of meditation and a meerschaum, in company with my friend C. Auguste Dupin, in his little back library, or book-closet, au troisieme, No. 33, Rue Dunot, Faubourg St. Germain. For one hour at least we had maintained a profound silence; while each, to any casual observer, might have seemed intently and exclusively occupied with the curling eddies of smoke that oppressed the atmosphere of the chamber. For myself, however, I was mentally discussing certain topics which had formed matter for conversation between us at an earlier period of the evening; I mean the affair of the Rue Morgue, and the mystery attending the murder of Marie Roget. I looked upon it, therefore, as something of a coincidence, when the door of our apartment was thrown open and admitted our old acquaintance, Monsieur G--, the Prefect of the Parisian police. We gave him a hearty welcome; for there was nearly half as much of the entertaining as of the contemptible about the man, and we had not seen him for several years. We had been sitting in the dark, and Dupin now arose for the purpose of lighting a lamp, but sat down again, without doing so, upon G.'s saying that he had called to consult us, or rather to ask the opinion of my friend, about some official business which had occasioned a great deal of trouble. "If it is any point requiring reflection," observed Dupin, as he forbore to enkindle the wick, "we shall examine it to better purpose in the dark." "That is another of your odd notions," said the Prefect, who had a fashion of calling every thing "odd" that was beyond his comprehension, and thus lived amid an absolute legion of "oddities." "Very true," said Dupin, as he supplied his visitor with a pipe, and rolled towards him a comfortable chair. "And what is the difficulty now?" I asked. "Nothing more in the assassination way, I hope?" "Oh no; nothing of that nature. The fact is, the business is very simple indeed, and I make no doubt that we can manage it sufficiently well ourselves; but then I thought Dupin would like to hear the details of it, because it is so excessively odd." "Simple and odd," said Dupin. "Why, yes; and not exactly that, either. The fact is, we have all been a good deal puzzled because the affair is so simple, and yet baffles us altogether." "Perhaps it is the very simplicity of the thing which puts you at fault," said my friend. "What nonsense you do talk!" replied the Prefect, laughing heartily. "Perhaps the mystery is a little too plain," said Dupin. "Oh, good heavens! who ever heard of such an idea?" "A little too self-evident." "Ha! ha! ha! --ha! ha! ha! --ho! ho! ho!" --roared our visitor, profoundly amused, "oh, Dupin, you will be the death of me yet!" "And what, after all, is the matter on hand?" I asked. "Why, I will tell you," replied the Prefect, as he gave a long, steady, and contemplative puff, and settled himself in his chair. "I will tell you in a few words; but, before I begin, let me caution you that this is an affair demanding the greatest secrecy, and that I should most probably lose the position I now hold, were it known that I confided it to any one.


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"Proceed," said I. "Or not," said Dupin. "Well, then; I have received personal information, from a very high quarter, that a certain document of the last importance, has been purloined from the royal apartments. The individual who purloined it is known; this beyond a doubt; he was seen to take it. It is known, also, that it still remains in his possession." "How is this known?" asked Dupin. "It is clearly inferred," replied the Prefect, "from the nature of the document, and from the nonappearance of certain results which would at once arise from its passing out of the robber's possession; --that is to say, from his employing it as he must design in the end to employ it." "Be a little more explicit," I said. "Well, I may venture so far as to say that the paper gives its holder a certain power in a certain quarter where such power is immensely valuable." The Prefect was fond of the cant of diplomacy. "Still I do not quite understand," said Dupin. "No? Well; the disclosure of the document to a third person, who shall be nameless, would bring in question the honor of a personage of most exalted station; and this fact gives the holder of the document an ascendancy over the illustrious personage whose honor and peace are so jeopardized." "But this ascendancy," I interposed, "would depend upon the robber's knowledge of the loser's knowledge of the robber. Who would dare--" "The thief," said G., is the Minister D--, who dares all things, those unbecoming as well as those becoming a man. The method of the theft was not less ingenious than bold. The document in question --a letter, to be frank --had been received by the personage robbed while alone in the royal boudoir. During its perusal she was suddenly interrupted by the entrance of the other exalted personage from whom especially it was her wish to conceal it. After a hurried and vain endeavor to thrust it in a drawer, she was forced to place it, open as it was, upon a table. The address, however, was uppermost, and, the contents thus unexposed, the letter escaped notice. At this juncture enters the Minister D--. His lynx eye immediately perceives the paper, recognises the handwriting of the address, observes the confusion of the personage addressed, and fathoms her secret. After some business transactions, hurried through in his ordinary manner, he produces a letter somewhat similar to the one in question, opens it, pretends to read it, and then places it in close juxtaposition to the other. Again he converses, for some fifteen minutes, upon the public affairs. At length, in taking leave, he takes also from the table the letter to which he had no claim. Its rightful owner saw, but, of course, dared not call attention to the act, in the presence of the third personage who stood at her elbow. The minister decamped; leaving his own letter --one of no importance -upon the table." "Here, then," said Dupin to me, "you have precisely what you demand to make the ascendancy complete --the robber's knowledge of the loser's knowledge of the robber." "Yes," replied the Prefect; "and the power thus attained has, for some months past, been wielded, for political purposes, to a very dangerous extent. The personage robbed is more thoroughly convinced, every day, of the necessity of reclaiming her letter. But this, of course, cannot be done openly. In fine, driven to despair, she has committed the matter to me." "Than whom," said Dupin, amid a perfect whirlwind of smoke, "no more sagacious agent could, I suppose, be desired, or even imagined." "You flatter me," replied the Prefect; "but it is possible that some such opinion may have been entertained."


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"It is clear," said I, "as you observe, that the letter is still in possession of the minister; since it is this possession, and not any employment of the letter, which bestows the power. With the employment the power departs." "True," said G. "and upon this conviction I proceeded. My first care was to make thorough search of the minister's hotel; and here my chief embarrassment lay in the necessity of searching without his knowledge. Beyond all things, I have been warned of the danger which would result from giving him reason to suspect our design." "But," said I, "you are quite au fait in these investigations. The Parisian police have done this thing often before." "Oh yes; and for this reason I did not despair. The habits of the minister gave me, too, a great advantage. He is frequently absent from home all night. His servants are by no means numerous. They sleep at a distance from their master's apartment, and, being chiefly Neapolitans, are readily made drunk. I have keys, as you know, with which I can open any chamber or cabinet in Paris. For three months a night has not passed, during the greater part of which I have not been engaged, personally, in ransacking the D-- Hotel. My honor is interested, and, to mention a great secret, the reward is enormous. So I did not abandon the search until I had become fully satisfied that the thief is a more astute man than myself. I fancy that I have investigated every nook and corner of the premises in which it is possible that the paper can be concealed." "But is it not possible," I suggested, "that although the letter may be in possession of the minister, as it unquestionably is, he may have concealed it elsewhere than upon his own premises?" "This is barely possible," said Dupin. "The present peculiar condition of affairs at court, and especially of those intrigues in which D-- is known to be involved, would render the instant availability of the document --its susceptibility of being produced at a moment's notice --a point of nearly equal importance with its possession." "Its susceptibility of being produced?" said I. "That is to say, of being destroyed," said Dupin. "True," I observed; "the paper is clearly then upon the premises. As for its being upon the person of the minister, we may consider that as out of the question." "Entirely," said the Prefect. "He has been twice waylaid, as if by footpads, and his person rigorously searched under my own inspection. "You might have spared yourself this trouble," said Dupin. "D--, I presume, is not altogether a fool, and, if not, must have anticipated these waylayings, as a matter of course." "Not altogether a fool," said G., "but then he's a poet, which I take to be only one remove from a fool." "True," said Dupin, after a long and thoughtful whiff from his meerschaum, "although I have been guilty of certain doggerel myself." "Suppose you detail," said I, "the particulars of your search." "Why the fact is, we took our time, and we searched every where. I have had long experience in these affairs. I took the entire building, room by room; devoting the nights of a whole week to each. We examined, first, the furniture of each apartment. We opened every possible drawer; and I presume you know that, to a properly trained police agent, such a thing as a secret drawer is impossible. Any man is a dolt who permits a 'secret' drawer to escape him in a search of this kind. The thing is so plain. There is a certain amount of bulk --of space --to be accounted for in every cabinet. Then we have accurate rules. The fiftieth part of a line could not escape us. After the cabinets we took the chairs. The cushions we probed with the fine long needles you have seen me employ. From the tables we removed the tops." "Why so?"


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"Sometimes the top of a table, or other similarly arranged piece of furniture, is removed by the person wishing to conceal an article; then the leg is excavated, the article deposited within the cavity, and the top replaced. The bottoms and tops of bedposts are employed in the same way." "But could not the cavity be detected by sounding?" I asked. "By no means, if, when the article is deposited, a sufficient wadding of cotton be placed around it. Besides, in our case, we were obliged to proceed without noise." "But you could not have removed --you could not have taken to pieces all articles of furniture in which it would have been possible to make a deposit in the manner you mention. A letter may be compressed into a thin spiral roll, not differing much in shape or bulk from a large knitting-needle, and in this form it might be inserted into the rung of a chair, for example. You did not take to pieces all the chairs?" "Certainly not; but we did better --we examined the rungs of every chair in the hotel, and, indeed, the jointings of every description of furniture, by the aid of a most powerful microscope. Had there been any traces of recent disturbance we should not have failed to detect it instantly. A single grain of gimlet-dust, for example, would have been as obvious as an apple. Any disorder in the glueing --any unusual gaping in the joints --would have sufficed to insure detection." "I presume you looked to the mirrors, between the boards and the plates, and you probed the beds and the bed-clothes, as well as the curtains and carpets." "That of course; and when we had absolutely completed every particle of the furniture in this way, then we examined the house itself. We divided its entire surface into compartments, which we numbered, so that none might be missed; then we scrutinized each individual square inch throughout the premises, including the two houses immediately adjoining, with the microscope, as before." "The two houses adjoining!" I exclaimed; "you must have had a great deal of trouble." "We had; but the reward offered is prodigious. "You include the grounds about the houses?" "All the grounds are paved with brick. They gave us comparatively little trouble. We examined the moss between the bricks, and found it undisturbed." "You looked among D--'s papers, of course, and into the books of the library?" "Certainly; we opened every package and parcel; we not only opened every book, but we turned over every leaf in each volume, not contenting ourselves with a mere shake, according to the fashion of some of our police officers. We also measured the thickness of every book-cover, with the most accurate admeasurement, and applied to each the most jealous scrutiny of the microscope. Had any of the bindings been recently meddled with, it would have been utterly impossible that the fact should have escaped observation. Some five or six volumes, just from the hands of the binder, we carefully probed, longitudinally, with the needles." "You explored the floors beneath the carpets?" "Beyond doubt. We removed every carpet, and examined the boards with the microscope." "And the paper on the walls?" "Yes. "You looked into the cellars?" "We did."


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"Then," I said, "you have been making a miscalculation, and the letter is not upon the premises, as you suppose. "I fear you are right there," said the Prefect. "And now, Dupin, what would you advise me to do?" "To make a thorough re-search of the premises." "That is absolutely needless," replied G--. "I am not more sure that I breathe than I am that the letter is not at the Hotel." "I have no better advice to give you," said Dupin. "You have, of course, an accurate description of the letter?" "Oh yes!" --And here the Prefect, producing a memorandum-book, proceeded to read aloud a minute account of the internal, and especially of the external appearance of the missing document. Soon after finishing the perusal of this description, he took his departure, more entirely depressed in spirits than I had ever known the good gentleman before. In about a month afterwards he paid us another visit, and found us occupied very nearly as before. He took a pipe and a chair and entered into some ordinary conversation. At length I said,-"Well, but G--, what of the purloined letter? I presume you have at last made up your mind that there is no such thing as overreaching the Minister?" "Confound him, say I --yes; I made the reexamination, however, as Dupin suggested --but it was all labor lost, as I knew it would be." "How much was the reward offered, did you say?" asked Dupin. "Why, a very great deal --a very liberal reward --I don't like to say how much, precisely; but one thing I will say, that I wouldn't mind giving my individual check for fifty thousand francs to any one who could obtain me that letter. The fact is, it is becoming of more and more importance every day; and the reward has been lately doubled. If it were trebled, however, I could do no more than I have done." "Why, yes," said Dupin, drawlingly, between the whiffs of his meerschaum, "I really --think, G--, you have not exerted yourself--to the utmost in this matter. You might --do a little more, I think, eh?" "How? --In what way?" "Why --puff, puff --you might --puff, puff --employ counsel in the matter, eh? --puff, puff, puff. Do you remember the story they tell of Abernethy?" "No; hang Abernethy!" "To be sure! hang him and welcome. But, once upon a time, a certain rich miser conceived the design of spunging upon this Abernethy for a medical opinion. Getting up, for this purpose, an ordinary conversation in a private company, he insinuated his case to the physician, as that of an imaginary individual. "'We will suppose,' said the miser, 'that his symptoms are such and such; now, doctor, what would you have directed him to take?' "'Take!' said Abernethy, 'why, take advice, to be sure.'" "But," said the Prefect, a little discomposed, "I am perfectly willing to take advice, and to pay for it. I would really give fifty thousand francs to any one who would aid me in the matter." "In that case," replied Dupin, opening a drawer, and producing a checkbook, "you may as well fill me up a check for the amount mentioned. When you have signed it, I will hand you the letter." I was astounded. The Prefect appeared absolutely thunderstricken. For some minutes he remained speechless and motionless, less, looking incredulously at my friend with open mouth, and eyes that seemed starting from their sockets; then, apparently in some measure, he seized a pen, and after several pauses and vacant stares, finally filled up and signed a check for fifty thousand francs, and handed it across the table to Dupin. The latter examined it carefully and deposited it in his pocket-book; then, unlocking an escritoire, took thence a letter and gave it to the Prefect. This


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functionary grasped it in a perfect agony of joy, opened it with a trembling hand, cast a rapid glance at its contents, and then, scrambling and struggling to the door, rushed at length unceremoniously from the room and from the house, without having uttered a syllable since Dupin had requested him to fill up the check. When he had gone, my friend entered into some explanations. "The Parisian police," he said, "are exceedingly able in their way. They are persevering, ingenious, cunning, and thoroughly versed in the knowledge which their duties seem chiefly to demand. Thus, when G-- detailed to us his mode of searching the premises at the Hotel D--, I felt entire confidence in his having made a satisfactory investigation --so far as his labors extended." "So far as his labors extended?" said I. "Yes," said Dupin. "The measures adopted were not only the best of their kind, but carried out to absolute perfection. Had the letter been deposited within the range of their search, these fellows would, beyond a question, have found it." I merely laughed --but he seemed quite serious in all that he said. "The measures, then," he continued, "were good in their kind, and well executed; their defect lay in their being inapplicable to the case, and to the man. A certain set of highly ingenious resources are, with the Prefect, a sort of Procrustean bed, to which he forcibly adapts his designs. But he perpetually errs by being too deep or too shallow, for the matter in hand; and many a schoolboy is a better reasoner than he. I knew one about eight years of age, whose success at guessing in the game of 'even and odd' attracted universal admiration. This game is simple, and is played with marbles. One player holds in his hand a number of these toys, and demands of another whether that number is even or odd. If the guess is right, the guesser wins one; if wrong, he loses one. The boy to whom I allude won all the marbles of the school. Of course he had some principle of guessing; and this lay in mere observation and admeasurement of the astuteness of his opponents. For example, an arrant simpleton is his opponent, and, holding up his closed hand, asks, 'are they even or odd?' Our schoolboy replies, 'odd,' and loses; but upon the second trial he wins, for he then says to himself, the simpleton had them even upon the first trial, and his amount of cunning is just sufficient to make him have them odd upon the second; I will therefore guess odd'; --he guesses odd, and wins. Now, with a simpleton a degree above the first, he would have reasoned thus: 'This fellow finds that in the first instance I guessed odd, and, in the second, he will propose to himself upon the first impulse, a simple variation from even to odd, as did the first simpleton; but then a second thought will suggest that this is too simple a variation, and finally he will decide upon putting it even as before. I will therefore guess even' guesses even, and wins. Now this mode of reasoning in the schoolboy, whom his fellows termed "lucky," --what, in its last analysis, is it?" "It is merely," I said, "an identification of the reasoner's intellect with that of his opponent." "It is," said Dupin;" and, upon inquiring of the boy by what means he effected the thorough identification in which his success consisted, I received answer as follows: 'When I wish to find out how wise, or how stupid, or how good, or how wicked is any one, or what are his thoughts at the moment, I fashion the expression of my face, as accurately as possible, in accordance with the expression of his, and then wait to see what thoughts or sentiments arise in my mind or heart, as if to match or correspond with the expression.' This response of the schoolboy lies at the bottom of all the spurious profundity which has been attributed to Rochefoucauld, to La Bougive, to Machiavelli, and to Campanella." "And the identification," I said, "of the reasoner's intellect with that of his opponent, depends, if I understand you aright upon the accuracy with which the opponent's intellect is admeasured."


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"For its practical value it depends upon this," replied Dupin; and the Prefect and his cohort fall so frequently, first, by default of this identification, and, secondly, by ill-admeasurement, or rather through nonadmeasurement, of the intellect with which they are engaged. They consider only their own ideas of ingenuity; and, in searching for anything hidden, advert only to the modes in which they would have hidden it. They are right in this much --that their own ingenuity is a faithful representative of that of the mass; but when the cunning of the individual felon is diverse in character from their own, the felon foils them, of course. This always happens when it is above their own, and very usually when it is below. They have no variation of principle in their investigations; at best, when urged by some unusual emergency --by some extraordinary reward --they extend or exaggerate their old modes of practice, without touching their principles. What, for example, in this case of D--, has been done to vary the principle of action? What is all this boring, and probing, and sounding, and scrutinizing with the microscope, and dividing the surface of the building into registered square inches --what is it all but an exaggeration of the application of the one principle or set of principles of search, which are based upon the one set of notions regarding human ingenuity, to which the Prefect, in the long routine of his duty, has been accustomed? Do you not see he has taken it for granted that all men proceed to conceal a letter, --not exactly in a gimlet-hole bored in a chair-leg --but, at least, in some hole or corner suggested by the same tenor of thought which would urge a man to secrete a letter in a gimlet-hole bored in a chair-leg? And do you not see also, that such recherches nooks for concealment are adapted only for ordinary occasions, and would be adopted only by ordinary intellects; for, in all cases of concealment, a disposal of the article concealed --a disposal of it in this recherche manner, --is, in the very first instance, presumable and presumed; and thus its discovery depends, not at all upon the acumen, but altogether upon the mere care, patience, and determination of the seekers; and where the case is of importance --or, what amounts to the same thing in the policial eyes, when the reward is of magnitude, --the qualities in question have never been known to fall. You will now understand what I meant in suggesting that, had the purloined letter been hidden anywhere within the limits of the Prefect's examination --in other words, had the principle of its concealment been comprehended within the principles of the Prefect --its discovery would have been a matter altogether beyond question. This functionary, however, has been thoroughly mystified; and the remote source of his defeat lies in the supposition that the Minister is a fool, because he has acquired renown as a poet. All fools are poets; this the Prefect feels; and he is merely guilty of a non distributio medii in thence inferring that all poets are fools." "But is this really the poet?" I asked. "There are two brothers, I know; and both have attained reputation in letters. The Minister I believe has written learnedly on the Differential Calculus. He is a mathematician, and no poet." "You are mistaken; I know him well; he is both. As poet and mathematician, he would reason well; as mere mathematician, he could not have reasoned at all, and thus would have been at the mercy of the Prefect." "You surprise me," I said, "by these opinions, which have been contradicted by the voice of the world. You do not mean to set at naught the well-digested idea of centuries. The mathematical reason has long been regarded as the reason par excellence. "'Il y a a parier,'" replied Dupin, quoting from Chamfort, "'que toute idee publique, toute convention recue, est une sottise, car elle a convenu au plus grand nombre.' The mathematicians, I grant you, have done their best to promulgate the popular error to which you allude, and which is none the less an error for its promulgation as truth. With an art worthy a better cause, for example, they have insinuated the term 'analysis' into application to algebra. The French are the originators of this particular deception; but


Edgar Allan Poe

if a term is of any importance --if words derive any value from applicability --then 'analysis' conveys 'algebra' about as much as, in Latin, 'ambitus' implies 'ambition,' 'religio' religion or 'homines honesti,' a set of honorable men." "You have a quarrel on hand, I see," said I, "with some of the algebraists of Paris; but proceed." "I dispute the availability, and thus the value, of that reason which is cultivated in any especial form other than the abstractly logical. I dispute, in particular, the reason educed by mathematical study. The mathematics are the science of form and quantity; mathematical reasoning is merely logic applied to observation upon form and quantity. The great error lies in supposing that even the truths of what is called pure algebra, are abstract or general truths. And this error is so egregious that I am confounded at the universality with which it has been received. Mathematical axioms are not axioms of general truth. What is true of relation --of form and quantity --is often grossly false in regard to morals, for example. In this latter science it is very usually untrue that the aggregated parts are equal to the whole. In chemistry also the axiom falls. In the consideration of motive it falls; for two motives, each of a given value, have not, necessarily, a value when united, equal to the sum of their values apart. There are numerous other mathematical truths which are only truths within the limits of relation. But the mathematician argues, from his finite truths, through habit, as if they were of an absolutely general applicability --as the world indeed imagines them to be. Bryant, in his very learned 'Mythology,' mentions an analogous source of error, when he says that 'although the Pagan fables are not believed, yet we forget ourselves continually, and make inferences from them as existing realities.' With the algebraists, however, who are Pagans themselves, the 'Pagan fables' are believed, and the inferences are made, not so much through lapse of memory, as through an unaccountable addling of the brains. In short, I never yet encountered the mere mathematician who could be trusted out of equal roots, or one who did not clandestinely hold it as a point of his faith that x squared + px was absolutely and unconditionally equal to q. Say to one of these gentlemen, by way of experiment, if you please, that you believe occasions may occur where x squared + px is not altogether equal to q, and, having made him understand what you mean, get out of his reach as speedily as convenient, for, beyond doubt, he will endeavor to knock you down. I mean to say," continued Dupin, while I merely laughed at his last observations, "that if the Minister had been no more than a mathematician, the Prefect would have been under no necessity of giving me this check. I knew him, however, as both mathematician and poet, and my measures were adapted to his capacity, with reference to the circumstances by which he was surrounded. I knew him as a courtier, too, and as a bold intriguant. Such a man, I considered, could not fall to be aware of the ordinary policial modes of action. He could not have failed to anticipate --and events have proved that he did not fail to anticipate --the waylayings to which he was subjected. He must have foreseen, I reflected, the secret investigations of his premises. His frequent absences from home at night, which were hailed by the Prefect as certain aids to his success, I regarded only as ruses, to afford opportunity for thorough search to the police, and thus the sooner to impress them with the conviction to which G--, in fact, did finally arrive -the conviction that the letter was not upon the premises. I felt, also, that the whole train of thought, which I was at some pains in detailing to you just now, concerning the invariable principle of policial action in searches for articles concealed --I felt that this whole train of thought would necessarily pass through the mind of the Minister. It would imperatively lead him to despise all the ordinary nooks of concealment. He could not, I reflected, be so weak as not to see that the most intricate and remote recess of his hotel would be as open as his commonest closets to the eyes, to the probes, to the gimlets, and to the microscopes of the Prefect. I saw, in fine, that he would be driven, as a matter of course, to simplicity, if not deliberately


Edgar Allan Poe

induced to it as a matter of choice. You will remember, perhaps, how desperately the Prefect laughed when I suggested, upon our first interview, that it was just possible this mystery troubled him so much on account of its being so very self-evident." "Yes," said I, "I remember his merriment well. I really thought he would have fallen into convulsions." "The material world," continued Dupin, "abounds with very strict analogies to the immaterial; and thus some color of truth has been given to the rhetorical dogma, that metaphor, or simile, may be made to strengthen an argument, as well as to embellish a description. The principle of the vis inertiae, for example, seems to be identical in physics and metaphysics. It is not more true in the former, that a large body is with more difficulty set in motion than a smaller one, and that its subsequent momentum is commensurate with this difficulty, than it is, in the latter, that intellects of the vaster capacity, while more forcible, more constant, and more eventful in their movements than those of inferior grade, are yet the less readily moved, and more embarrassed and full of hesitation in the first few steps of their progress. Again: have you ever noticed which of the street signs, over the shop doors, are the most attractive of attention?" "I have never given the matter a thought," I said. "There is a game of puzzles," he resumed, "which is played upon a map. One party playing requires another to find a given word --the name of town, river, state or empire --any word, in short, upon the motley and perplexed surface of the chart. A novice in the game generally seeks to embarrass his opponents by giving them the most minutely lettered names; but the adept selects such words as stretch, in large characters, from one end of the chart to the other. These, like the over-largely lettered signs and placards of the street, escape observation by dint of being excessively obvious; and here the physical oversight is precisely analogous with the moral inapprehension by which the intellect suffers to pass unnoticed those considerations which are too obtrusively and too palpably self-evident. But this is a point, it appears, somewhat above or beneath the understanding of the Prefect. He never once thought it probable, or possible, that the Minister had deposited the letter immediately beneath the nose of the whole world, by way of best preventing any portion of that world from perceiving it. "But the more I reflected upon the daring, dashing, and discriminating ingenuity of D--; upon the fact that the document must always have been at hand, if he intended to use it to good purpose; and upon the decisive evidence, obtained by the Prefect, that it was not hidden within the limits of that dignitary's ordinary search --the more satisfied I became that, to conceal this letter, the Minister had resorted to the comprehensive and sagacious expedient of not attempting to conceal it at all. "Full of these ideas, I prepared myself with a pair of green spectacles, and called one fine morning, quite by accident, at the Ministerial hotel. I found D-- at home, yawning, lounging, and dawdling, as usual, and pretending to be in the last extremity of ennui. He is, perhaps, the most really energetic human being now alive --but that is only when nobody sees him. "To be even with him, I complained of my weak eyes, and lamented the necessity of the spectacles, under cover of which I cautiously and thoroughly surveyed the apartment, while seemingly intent only upon the conversation of my host. "I paid special attention to a large writing-table near which he sat, and upon which lay confusedly, some miscellaneous letters and other papers, with one or two musical instruments and a few books. Here, however, after a long and very deliberate scrutiny, I saw nothing to excite particular suspicion. "At length my eyes, in going the circuit of the room, fell upon a trumpery filigree card-rack of pasteboard, that hung dangling by a dirty blue ribbon, from a little brass knob just beneath the middle of the mantelpiece. In this


Edgar Allan Poe

rack, which had three or four compartments, were five or six visiting cards and a solitary letter. This last was much soiled and crumpled. It was torn nearly in two, across the middle --as if a design, in the first instance, to tear it entirely up as worthless, had been altered, or stayed, in the second. It had a large black seal, bearing the D-- cipher very conspicuously, and was addressed, in a diminutive female hand, to D--, the minister, himself. It was thrust carelessly, and even, as it seemed, contemptuously, into one of the upper divisions of the rack. "No sooner had I glanced at this letter, than I concluded it to be that of which I was in search. To be sure, it was, to all appearance, radically different from the one of which the Prefect had read us so minute a description. Here the seal was large and black, with the D-- cipher; there it was small and red, with the ducal arms of the S-- family. Here, the address, to the Minister, was diminutive and feminine; there the superscription, to a certain royal personage, was markedly bold and decided; the size alone formed a point of correspondence. But, then, the radicalness of these differences, which was excessive; the dirt; the soiled and torn condition of the paper, so inconsistent with the true methodical habits of D--, and so suggestive of a design to delude the beholder into an idea of the worthlessness of the document; these things, together with the hyperobtrusive situation of this document, full in the view of every visitor, and thus exactly in accordance with the conclusions to which I had previously arrived; these things, I say, were strongly corroborative of suspicion, in one who came with the intention to suspect. "I protracted my visit as long as possible, and, while I maintained a most animated discussion with the Minister, on a topic which I knew well had never failed to interest and excite him, I kept my attention really riveted upon the letter. In this examination, I committed to memory its external appearance and arrangement in the rack; and also fell, at length, upon a discovery which set at rest whatever trivial doubt I might have entertained. In scrutinizing the edges of the paper, I observed them to be more chafed than seemed necessary. They presented the broken appearance which is manifested when a stiff paper, having been once folded and pressed with a folder, is refolded in a reversed direction, in the same creases or edges which had formed the original fold. This discovery was sufficient. It was clear to me that the letter had been turned, as a glove, inside out, redirected, and re-sealed. I bade the Minister good morning, and took my departure at once, leaving a gold snuff-box upon the table. "The next morning I called for the snuff-box, when we resumed, quite eagerly, the conversation of the preceding day. While thus engaged, however, a loud report, as if of a pistol, was heard immediately beneath the windows of the hotel, and was succeeded by a series of fearful screams, and the shoutings of a mob. D-- rushed to a casement, threw it open, and looked out. In the meantime, I stepped to the card-rack, took the letter, put it in my pocket, and replaced it by a fac-simile, (so far as regards externals,) which I had carefully prepared at my lodgings; imitating the D-cipher, very readily, by means of a seal formed of bread. "The disturbance in the street had been occasioned by the frantic behavior of a man with a musket. He had fired it among a crowd of women and children. It proved, however, to have been without ball, and the fellow was suffered to go his way as a lunatic or a drunkard. When he had gone, Dcame from the window, whither I had followed him immediately upon securing the object in view. Soon afterwards I bade him farewell. The pretended lunatic was a man in my own pay. "But what purpose had you," I asked, in replacing the letter by a facsimile? Would it not have been better, at the first visit, to have seized it openly, and departed?" "D--," replied Dupin, "is a desperate man, and a man of nerve. His hotel, too, is not without attendants devoted to his interests. Had I made the wild attempt you suggest, I might never have left the Ministerial presence alive.


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The good people of Paris might have heard of me no more. But I had an object apart from these considerations. You know my political prepossessions. In this matter, I act as a partisan of the lady concerned. For eighteen months the Minister has had her in his power. She has now him in hers; since, being unaware that the letter is not in his possession, he will proceed with his exactions as if it was. Thus will he inevitably commit himself, at once, to his political destruction. His downfall, too, will not be more precipitate than awkward. It is all very well to talk about the facilis descensus Averni; but in all kinds of climbing, as Catalani said of singing, it is far more easy to get up than to come down. In the present instance I have no sympathy --at least no pity --for him who descends. He is the monstrum horrendum, an unprincipled man of genius. I confess, however, that I should like very well to know the precise character of his thoughts, when, being defied by her whom the Prefect terms 'a certain personage,' he is reduced to opening the letter which I left for him in the card-rack." "How? did you put any thing particular in it?" "Why --it did not seem altogether right to leave the interior blank --that would have been insulting. D--, at Vienna once, did me an evil turn, which I told him, quite good-humoredly, that I should remember. So, as I knew he would feel some curiosity in regard to the identity of the person who had outwitted him, I thought it a pity not to give him a clue. He is well acquainted with my MS., and I just copied into the middle of the blank sheet the words---Un dessein si funeste, S'il n'est digne d'Atree, est digne de Thyeste. They are to be found in Crebillon's 'Atree.'"


The Scarlet Letter

By Nathaniel Hawthorne The Custom-House Introductory to The Scarlet Letter It is a little remarkable, that--though disinclined to talk overmuch of myself and my affairs at the fireside, and to my personal friends--an autobiographical impulse should twice in my life have taken possession of me, in addressing the public. The first time was three or four years since, when I favored the reader--inexcusably, and for no earthly reason, that either the indulgent reader or the intrusive author could imagine--with a description of my way of life in the deep quietude of an Old Manse. And now--because, beyond my deserts, I was happy enough to find a listener or two on the former occasion--I again seize the public by the button, and talk of my three years' experience in a Custom-House. The example of the famous "P. P., Clerk of this Parish," was never more faithfully followed. The truth seems to be, however, that, when he casts his leaves forth upon the wind, the author addresses, not the many who will fling aside his volume, or never take it up, but the few who will understand him, better than most of his schoolmates or lifemates. Some authors, indeed, do far more than this, and indulge themselves in such confidential depths of revelation as could fittingly be addressed, only and exclusively, to the one heart and mind of perfect sympathy; as if the printed book, thrown at large on the wide world, were certain to find out the divided segment of the writer's own nature, and complete his circle of existence by bringing him into communion with it. It is scarcely decorous, however, to speak all, even where we speak impersonally. But--as thoughts are frozen and utterance benumbed, unless the speaker stand in some true relation with his audience--it may be pardonable to imagine that a friend, a kind and apprehensive, though not the closest friend, is listening to our talk; and then, a native reserve being thawed by this genial consciousness, we may prate of the circumstances that lie around us, and even of ourself, but still keep the inmost Me behind its veil. To this extent and within these

limits, an author, methinks, may be autobiographical, without violating either the reader's rights or his own. It will be seen, likewise, that this Custom-House sketch has a certain propriety, of a kind always recognized in literature, as explaining how a large portion of the following pages came into my possession, and as offering proofs of the authenticity of a narrative therein contained. This, in fact,--a desire to put myself in my true position as editor, or very little more, of the most prolix among the tales that make up my volume,--this, and no other, is my true reason for assuming a personal relation with the public. In accomplishing the main purpose, it has appeared allowable, by a few extra touches, to give a faint representation of a mode of life not heretofore described, together with some of the characters that move in it, among whom the author happened to make one. In my native town of Salem, at the head of what, half a century ago, in the days of old King Derby, was a bustling wharf,--but which is now burdened with decayed wooden warehouses, and exhibits few or no symptoms of commercial life; except, perhaps, a bark or brig, half-way down its melancholy length, discharging hides; or, nearer at hand, a Nova Scotia schooner, pitching out her cargo of firewood,--at the head, I say, of this dilapidated wharf, which the tide often overflows, and along which, at the base and in the rear of the row of buildings, the track of many languid years is seen in a border of unthrifty grass,--here, with a view from its front windows adown this not very enlivening prospect, and thence across the harbour, stands a spacious edifice of brick. From the loftiest point of its roof, during precisely three and a half hours of each forenoon, floats or droops, in breeze or calm, the banner of the republic; but with the thirteen stripes turned vertically, instead of horizontally, and thus indicating that a civil, and not a military post of Uncle Sam's government, is here established. Its front is ornamented with a portico of half a dozen wooden pillars, supporting a balcony, beneath which a flight of wide granite steps descends towards the street. Over the entrance hovers an enormous specimen of the American eagle, with outspread wings, a shield before her breast, and, if I recollect aright, a bunch of intermingled thunderbolts and barbed arrows in each claw. With the customary infirmity of temper that characterizes this unhappy fowl, she appears, by the fierceness of her

beak and eye and the general truculency of her attitude, to threaten mischief to the inoffensive community; and especially to warn all citizens. careful of their safety, against intruding on the premises which she overshadows with her wings. Nevertheless, vixenly as she looks, many people are seeking, at this very moment, to shelter themselves under the wing of the federal eagle; imagining, I presume, that her bosom has all the softness and snugness of an eider-down pillow. But she has no great tenderness, even in her best of moods, and, sooner or later,--oftener soon than late,--is apt to fling off her nestlings with a scratch of her claw, a dab of her beak, or a rankling wound from her barbed arrows. The pavement round about the above-described edifice--which we may as well name at once as the Custom-House of the port--has grass enough growing in its chinks to show that it has not, of late days, been worn by any multitudinous resort of business. In some months of the year, however, there often chances a forenoon when affairs move onward with a livelier tread. Such occasions might remind the elderly citizen of that period, before the last war with England, when Salem was a port by itself; not scorned, as she is now, by her own merchants and ship-owners, who permit her wharves to crumble to ruin, while their ventures go to swell, needlessly and imperceptibly, the mighty flood of commerce at New York or Boston. On some such morning, when three or four vessels happen to have arrived at once,--usually from Africa or South America,--or to be on the verge of their departure thitherward, there is a sound of frequent feet, passing briskly up and down the granite steps. Here, before his own wife has greeted him, you may greet the sea-flushed ship-master, just in port, with his vessel's papers under his arm in a tarnished tin box. Here, too, comes his owner, cheerful or sombre, gracious or in the sulks, accordingly as his scheme of the now accomplished voyage has been realized in merchandise that will readily be turned to gold, or has buried him under a bulk of incommodities, such as nobody will care to rid him of. Here, likewise,-the germ of the wrinkle-browed, grizzly-bearded, careworn merchant,--we have the smart young clerk, who gets the taste of traffic as a wolf-cub does of blood, and already sends adventures in his master's ships, when he had better be sailing mimic boats upon a mill-pond. Another figure in the scene is the outward-bound sailor, in quest of a protection; or the recently arrived one, pale and feeble, seeking a passport to the hospital. Nor must we forget the captains of the rusty little schooners that bring firewood from the British provinces; a rough-looking set of

tarpaulins, without the alertness of the Yankee aspect, but contributing an item of no slight importance to our decaying trade. Cluster all these individuals together, as they sometimes were, with other miscellaneous ones to diversify the group, and, for the time being, it made the Custom-House a stirring scene. More frequently, however, on ascending the steps, you would discern--in the entry, if it were summer time, or in their appropriate rooms, if wintry or inclement weather--a row of venerable figures, sitting in oldfashioned chairs, which were tipped on their hind legs back against the wall. Oftentimes they were asleep, but occasionally might be heard talking together, in voices between speech and a snore, and with that lack of energy that distinguishes the occupants of alms-houses, and all other human beings who depend for subsistence on charity, on monopolized labor, or any thing else but their own independent exertions. These old gentlemen--seated, like Matthew, at the receipt of custom, but not very liable to be summoned thence, like him, for apostolic errands--were Custom-House officers. Furthermore, on the left hand as you enter the front door, is a certain room or office, about fifteen feet square, and of a lofty height; with two of its arched windows commanding a view of the aforesaid dilapidated wharf, and the third looking across a narrow lane, and along a portion of Derby Street. All three give glimpses of the shops of grocers, block-makers, slop-sellers, and ship-chandlers; around the doors of which are generally to be seen, laughing and gossiping, clusters of old salts, and such other wharf-rats as haunt the Wapping of a seaport. The room itself is cobwebbed, and dingy with old paint; its floor is strewn with gray sand, in a fashion that has elsewhere fallen into long disuse; and it is easy to conclude, from the general slovenliness of the place, that this is a sanctuary into which womankind, with her tools of magic, the broom and mop, has very infrequent access. In the way of furniture, there is a stove with a voluminous funnel; an old pine desk, with a three-legged stool beside it; two or three woodenbottom chairs, exceedingly decrepit and infirm; and,--not to forget the library,--on some shelves, a score or two of volumes of the Acts of Congress, and a bulky Digest of the Revenue Laws. A tin pipe ascends through the ceiling, and forms a medium of vocal communication with other parts of the edifice. And here, some six months ago,--pacing from corner to corner, or lounging on the long-legged

stool, with his elbow on the desk, and his eyes wandering up and down the columns of the morning newspaper,--you might have recognized, honored reader, the same individual who welcomed you into his cheery little study, where the sunshine glimmered so pleasantly through the willow branches, on the western side of the Old Manse. But now, should you go thither to seek him, you would inquire in vain for the Locofoco Surveyor. The besom of reform hath swept him out of office; and a worthier successor wears his dignity and pockets his emoluments. This old town of Salem--my native place, though I have dwelt much away from it, both in boyhood and maturer years--possesses, or did possess, a hold on my affections, the force of which I have never realized during my seasons of actual residence here. Indeed, so far as its physical aspect is concerned, with its flat, unvaried surface, covered chiefly with wooden houses, few or none of which pretend to architectural beauty,--its irregularity, which is neither picturesque nor quaint, but only tame,--its long and lazy street, lounging wearisomely through the whole extent of the peninsula, with Gallows Hill and New Guinea at one end, and a view of the alms-house at the other,--such being the features of my native town, it would be quite as reasonable to form a sentimental attachment to a disarranged checkerboard. And yet, though invariably happiest elsewhere, there is within me a feeling for old Salem, which, in lack of a better phrase, I must be content to call affection. The sentiment is probably assignable to the deep and aged roots which my family has struck into the soil. It is now nearly two centuries and a quarter since the original Briton, the earliest emigrant of my name, made his appearance in the wild and forest-bordered settlement, which has since become a city. And here his descendants have been born and died, and have mingled their earthly substance with the soil; until no small portion of it must necessarily be akin to the mortal frame wherewith, for a little while, I walk the streets. In part, therefore, the attachment which I speak of is the mere sensuous sympathy of dust for dust. Few of my countrymen can know what it is; nor, as frequent transplantation is perhaps better for the stock, need they consider it desirable to know. But the sentiment has likewise its moral quality. The figure of that first ancestor, invested by family tradition with a dim and dusky grandeur, was present to my boyish imagination, as far back as I can remember. It still haunts me, and induces

a sort of home-feeling with the past, which I scarcely claim in reference to the present phase of the town. I seem to have a stronger claim to a residence here on account of this grave, bearded, sable-cloaked, and steeple-crowned progenitor,-who came so early, with his Bible and his sword, and trode the unworn street with such a stately port, and made so large a figure, as a man of war and peace,--a stronger claim than for myself, whose name is seldom heard and my face hardly known. He was a soldier, legislator, judge; he was a ruler in the Church; he had all the Puritanic traits, both good and evil. He was likewise a bitter persecutor; as witness the Quakers, who have remembered him in their histories, and relate an incident of his hard severity towards a woman of their sect, which will last longer, it is to be feared, than any record of his better deeds, although these were many. His son, too, inherited the persecuting spirit, and made himself so conspicuous in the martyrdom of the witches, that their blood may fairly be said to have left a stain upon him. So deep a stain, indeed, that his old dry bones, in the Charter Street burial-ground, must still retain it, if they have not crumbled utterly to dust! I know not whether these ancestors of mine bethought themselves to repent, and ask pardon of Heaven for their cruelties; or whether they are now groaning under the heavy consequences of them, in another state of being. At all events, I, the present writer, as their representative, hereby take shame upon myself for their sakes, and pray that any curse incurred by them--as I have heard, and as the dreary and unprosperous condition of the race, for many a long year back, would argue to exist--may be now and henceforth removed. Doubtless, however, either of these stern and black-browed Puritans would have thought it quite a sufficient retribution for his sins, that, after so long a lapse of years, the old trunk of the family tree, with so much venerable moss upon it, should have borne, as its topmost bough, an idler like myself. No aim, that I have ever cherished, would they recognize as laudable; no success of mine--if my life, beyond its domestic scope, had ever been brightened by success--would they deem otherwise than worthless, if not positively disgraceful. "What is he?" murmurs one gray shadow of my forefathers to the other. "A writer of story-books! What kind of a business in life,--what mode of glorifying God, or being serviceable to mankind in his day and generation,--may that be? Why, the degenerate fellow might as well have been a fiddler!" Such are the compliments bandied between my

great-grandsires and myself, across the gulf of time! And yet, let them scorn me as they will, strong traits of their nature have intertwined themselves with mine. Planted deep, in the town's earliest infancy and childhood, by these two earnest and energetic men, the race has ever since subsisted here; always, too, in respectability; never, so far as I have known, disgraced by a single unworthy member; but seldom or never, on the other hand, after the first two generations, performing any memorable deed, or so much as putting forward a claim to public notice. Gradually, they have sunk almost out of sight; as old houses, here and there about the streets, get covered half-way to the eaves by the accumulation of new soil. From father to son, for above a hundred years, they followed the sea; a grayheaded shipmaster, in each generation, retiring from the quarter-deck to the homestead, while a boy of fourteen took the hereditary place before the mast, confronting the salt spray and the gale, which had blustered against his sire and grandsire. The boy, also, in due time, passed from the forecastle to the cabin, spent a tempestuous manhood, and returned from his world-wanderings, to grow old, and die, and mingle his dust with the natal earth. This long connection of a family with one spot, as its place of birth and burial, creates a kindred between the human being and the locality, quite independent of any charm in the scenery or moral circumstances that surround him. It is not love, but instinct. The new inhabitant-who came himself from a foreign land, or whose father or grandfather came--has little claim to be called a Salemite; he has no conception of the oyster-like tenacity with which an old settler, over whom his third century is creeping, clings to the spot where his successive generations have been imbedded. It is no matter that the place is joyless for him; that he is weary of the old wooden houses, the mud and dust, the dead level of site and sentiment, the chill east wind, and the chillest of social atmospheres;--all these, and whatever faults besides he may see or imagine, are nothing to the purpose. The spell survives, and just as powerfully as if the natal spot were an earthly paradise. So has it been in my case. I felt it almost as a destiny to make Salem my home; so that the mould of features and cast of character which had all along been familiar here--ever, as one representative of the race lay down in his grave, another assuming, as it were, his sentry-march along the Main Street--might still in my little day be seen and recognized in the old town. Nevertheless, this very sentiment is an evidence that the connection, which has become an unhealthy one, should at last be severed. Human nature will not

flourish, any more than a potato, if it be planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil. My children have had other birthplaces, and, so far as their fortunes may be within my control, shall strike their roots into unaccustomed earth. On emerging from the Old Manse, it was chiefly this strange, indolent, unjoyous attachment for my native town, that brought me to fill a place in Uncle Sam's brick edifice, when I might as well, or better, have gone somewhere else. My doom was on me. It was not the first time, nor the second, that I had gone away,--as it seemed, permanently,--but yet returned, like the bad half-penny; or as if Salem were for me the inevitable centre of the universe. So, one fine morning, I ascended the flight of granite steps, with the President's commission in my pocket, and was introduced to the corps of gentlemen who were to aid me in my weighty responsibility, as chief executive officer of the Custom-House. I doubt greatly--or rather, I do not doubt at all--whether any public functionary of the United States, either in the civil or military line, has ever had such a patriarchal body of veterans under his orders as myself. The whereabouts of the Oldest Inhabitant was at once settled, when I looked at them. For upwards of twenty years before this epoch, the independent position of the Collector had kept the Salem Custom-House out of the whirlpool of political vicissitude, which makes the tenure of office generally so fragile. A soldier,--New England's most distinguished soldier,--he stood firmly on the pedestal of his gallant services; and, himself secure in the wise liberality of the successive administrations through which he had held office, he had been the safety of his subordinates in many an hour of danger and heart-quake. General Miller was radically conservative; a man over whose kindly nature habit had no slight influence; attaching himself strongly to familiar faces, and with difficulty moved to change, even when change might have brought unquestionable improvement. Thus, on taking charge of my department, I found few but aged men. They were ancient sea-captains, for the most part, who, after being tost on every sea, and standing up sturdily against life's tempestuous blast, had finally drifted into this quiet nook; where, with little to disturb them, except the periodical terrors of a Presidential election, they one and all acquired a new lease of existence. Though by no means less liable than their fellow-men to age and infirmity, they had evidently some talisman or other that

kept death at bay. Two or three of their number, as I was assured, being gouty and rheumatic, or perhaps bed-ridden, never dreamed of making their appearance at the Custom-House, during a large part of the year; but, after a torpid winter, would creep out into the warm sunshine of May or June, go lazily about what they termed duty, and, at their own leisure and convenience, betake themselves to bed again. I must plead guilty to the charge of abbreviating the official breath of more than one of these venerable servants of the republic. They were allowed, on my representation, to rest from their arduous labors, and soon afterwards--as if their sole principle of life had been zeal for their country's service; as I verily believe it was--withdrew to a better world. It is a pious consolation to me, that, through my interference, a sufficient space was allowed them for repentance of the evil and corrupt practices, into which, as a matter of course, every Custom-House officer must be supposed to fall. Neither the front nor the back entrance of the CustomHouse opens on the road to Paradise. The greater part of my officers were Whigs. It was well for their venerable brotherhood, that the new Surveyor was not a politician, and, though a faithful Democrat in principle, neither received nor held his office with any reference to political services. Had it been otherwise,--had an active politician been put into this influential post, to assume the easy task of making head against a Whig Collector, whose infirmities withheld him from the personal administration of his office,--hardly a man of the old corps would have drawn the breath of official life, within a month after the exterminating angel had come up the Custom-House steps. According to the received code in such matters, it would have been nothing short of duty, in a politician, to bring every one of those white heads under the axe of the guillotine. It was plain enough to discern, that the old fellows dreaded some such discourtesy at my hands. It pained, and at the same time amused me, to behold the terrors that attended my advent; to see a furrowed cheek, weatherbeaten by half a century of storm, turn ashy pale at the glance of so harmless an individual as myself; to detect, as one or another addressed me, the tremor of a voice, which, in long-past days, had been wont to bellow through a speakingtrumpet, hoarsely enough to frighten Boreas himself to silence. They knew, these excellent old persons, that, by all established rule,--and, as regarded some of them, weighed by their own lack of efficiency for business,--they ought to have given place to younger men, more orthodox in politics, and altogether fitter than

themselves to serve our common Uncle. I knew it too, but could never quite find in my heart to act upon the knowledge. Much and deservedly to my own discredit, therefore, and considerably to the detriment of my official conscience, they continued, during my incumbency, to creep about the wharves, and loiter up and down the Custom-House steps. They spent a good deal of time, also, asleep in their accustomed corners, with their chairs tilted back against the wall; awaking, however, once or twice in a forenoon, to bore one another with the several thousandth repetition of old sea-stories, and mouldy jokes, that had grown to be pass-words and countersigns among them. The discovery was soon made, I imagine, that the new Surveyor had no great harm in him. So, with lightsome hearts, and the happy consciousness of being usefully employed,--in their own behalf, at least, if not for our beloved country,--these good old gentlemen went through the various formalities of office. Sagaciously, under their spectacles, did they peep into the holds of vessels! Mighty was their fuss about little matters, and marvellous, sometimes, the obtuseness that allowed greater ones to slip between their fingers! Whenever such a mischance occurred,-when a wagon-load of valuable merchandise had been smuggled ashore, at noonday, perhaps, and directly beneath their unsuspicious noses,--nothing could exceed the vigilance and alacrity with which they proceeded to lock, and doublelock, and secure with tape and sealing-wax, all the avenues of the delinquent vessel. Instead of a reprimand for their previous negligence, the case seemed rather to require an eulogium on their praiseworthy caution, after the mischief had happened; a grateful recognition of the promptitude of their zeal, the moment that there was no longer any remedy! Unless people are more than commonly disagreeable, it is my foolish habit to contract a kindness for them. The better part of my companion's character, if it have a better part, is that which usually comes uppermost in my regard, and forms the type whereby I recognize the man. As most of these old Custom-House officers had good traits, and as my position in reference to them, being paternal and protective, was favorable to the growth of friendly sentiments, I soon grew to like them all. It was pleasant, in the summer forenoons,--when the fervent heat, that almost liquefied the rest of the human family, merely communicated a genial warmth to their half-torpid systems,--it was pleasant to hear them chatting in the

back entry, a row of them all tipped against the wall, as usual; while the frozen witticisms of past generations were thawed out, and came bubbling with laughter from their lips. Externally, the jollity of aged men has much in common with the mirth of children; the intellect, any more than a deep sense of humor, has little to do with the matter; it is, with both, a gleam that plays upon the surface, and imparts a sunny and cheery aspect alike to the green branch, and gray, mouldering trunk. In one case, however, it is real sunshine; in the other, it more resembles the phosphorescent glow of decaying wood. It would be sad injustice, the reader must understand, to represent all my excellent old friends as in their dotage. In the first place, my coadjutors were not invariably old; there were men among them in their strength and prime, of marked ability and energy, and altogether superior to the sluggish and dependent mode of life on which their evil stars had cast them. Then, moreover, the white locks of age were sometimes found to be the thatch of an intellectual tenement in good repair. But, as respects the majority of my corps of veterans, there will be no wrong done, if I characterize them generally as a set of wearisome old souls, who had gathered nothing worth preservation from their varied experience of life. They seemed to have flung away all the golden grain of practical wisdom, which they had enjoyed so many opportunities of harvesting, and most carefully to have stored their memories with the husks. They spoke with far more interest and unction of their morning's breakfast, or yesterday's, to-day's, or to-morrow's dinner, than of the shipwreck of forty or fifty years ago, and all the world's wonders which they had witnessed with their youthful eyes. The father of the Custom-House--the patriarch, not only of this little squad of officials, but, I am bold to say, of the respectable body of tide-waiters all over the United States--was a certain permanent Inspector. He might truly be termed a legitimate son of the revenue system, dyed in the wool, or rather, born in the purple; since his sire, a Revolutionary colonel, and formerly collector of the port, had created an office for him, and appointed him to fill it, at a period of the early ages which few living men can now remember. This Inspector, when I first knew him, was a man of fourscore years, or thereabouts, and certainly one of the most wonderful specimens of winter-green that you would be likely to discover in a lifetime's search. With his florid cheek, his compact figure smartly arrayed in a

bright-buttoned blue coat, his brisk and vigorous step, and his hale and hearty aspect, altogether, he seemed--not young, indeed--but a kind of new contrivance of Mother Nature in the shape of man, whom age and infirmity had no business to touch. His voice and laugh, which perpetually rechoed through the CustomHouse, had nothing of the tremulous quaver and cackle of an old man's utterance; they came strutting out of his lungs, like the crow of a cock, or the blast of a clarion. Looking at him merely as an animal,--and there was very little else to look at,--he was a most satisfactory object, from the thorough healthfulness and wholesomeness of his system, and his capacity, at that extreme age, to enjoy all, or nearly all, the delights which he had ever aimed at, or conceived of. The careless security of his life in the Custom-House, on a regular income, and with but slight and infrequent apprehensions of removal, had no doubt contributed to make time pass lightly over him. The original and more potent causes, however, lay in the rare perfection of his animal nature, the moderate proportion of intellect, and the very trifling admixture of moral and spiritual ingredients; these latter qualities, indeed, being in barely enough measure to keep the old gentleman from walking on all-fours. He possessed no power of thought, no depth of feeling, no troublesome sensibilities; nothing, in short, but a few common-place instincts, which, aided by the cheerful temper that grew inevitably out of his physical wellbeing, did duty very respectably, and to general acceptance, in lieu of a heart. He had been the husband of three wives, all long since dead; the father of twenty children, most of whom, at every age of childhood or maturity, had likewise returned to dust. Here, one would suppose, might have been sorrow enough to imbue the sunniest disposition, through and through, with a sable tinge. Not so with our old Inspector! One brief sigh sufficed to carry off the entire burden of these dismal reminiscences. The next moment, he was as ready for sport as any unbreeched infant; far readier than the Collector's junior clerk, who, at nineteen years was much the elder and graver man of the two. I used to watch and study this patriarchal personage with, I think, livelier curiosity than any other form of humanity there presented to my notice. He was, in truth, a rare phenomenon; so perfect in one point of view; so shallow, so delusive, so impalpable, such an absolute nonentity, in every other. My conclusion was that he had no soul, no heart, no mind; nothing, as I have already said, but instincts; and yet, withal, so cunningly had the few materials of his character been put together,

that there was no painful perception of deficiency, but, on my part, an entire contentment with what I found in him. It might be difficult--and it was so--to conceive how he should exist hereafter, so earthly and sensuous did he seem; but surely his existence here, admitting that it was to terminate with his last breath, had been not unkindly given; with no higher moral responsibilities than the beasts of the field, but with a larger scope of enjoyment than theirs, and with all their blessed immunity from the dreariness and duskiness of age. One point, in which he had vastly the advantage over his four-footed brethren, was his ability to recollect the good dinners which it had made no small portion of the happiness of his life to eat. His gourmandism was a highly agreeable trait; and to hear him talk of roast-meat was as appetizing as a pickle or an oyster. As he possessed no higher attribute, and neither sacrificed nor vitiated any spiritual endowment by devoting all his energies and ingenuities to subserve the delight and profit of his maw, it always pleased and satisfied me to hear him expatiate on fish, poultry, and butcher's meat, and the most eligible methods of preparing them for the table. His reminiscences of good cheer, however ancient the date of the actual banquet, seemed to bring the savor of pig or turkey under one's very nostrils. There were flavors on his palate, that had lingered there not less than sixty or seventy years, and were still apparently as fresh as that of the mutton-chop which he had just devoured for his breakfast. I have heard him smack his lips over dinners, every guest at which, except himself, had long been food for worms. It was marvellous to observe how the ghosts of bygone meals were continually rising up before him; not in anger or retribution, but as if grateful for his former appreciation, and seeking to reduplicate an endless series of enjoyment, at once shadowy and sensual. A tenderloin of beef, a hind-quarter of veal, a spare-rib of pork, a particular chicken, or a remarkably praiseworthy turkey, which had perhaps adorned his board in the days of the elder Adams, would be remembered; while all the subsequent experience of our race, and all the events that brightened or darkened his individual career, had gone over him with as little permanent effect as the passing breeze. The chief tragic event of the old man's life, so far as I could judge, was his mishap with a certain goose, which lived and died some twenty or forty years ago; a goose of most promising figure, but which, at table, proved so inveterately tough that the carving-knife would make no impression on its carcass; and it could only be divided with an axe and handsaw.

But it is time to quit this sketch; on which, however, I should be glad to dwell at considerably more length, because, of all men whom I have ever known, this individual was fittest to be a Custom-House officer. Most persons, owing to causes which I may not have space to hint at, suffer moral detriment from this peculiar mode of life. The old Inspector was incapable of it, and, were he to continue in office to the end of time, would be just as good as he was then, and sit down to dinner with just as good an appetite. There is one likeness, without which my gallery of Custom-House portraits would be strangely incomplete; but which my comparatively few opportunities for observation enable me to sketch only in the merest outline. It is that of the Collector, our gallant old General, who, after his brilliant military service, subsequently to which he had ruled over a wild Western territory, had come hither, twenty years before, to spend the decline of his varied and honorable life. The brave soldier had already numbered, nearly or quite, his threescore years and ten, and was pursuing the remainder of his earthly march, burdened with infirmities which even the martial music of his own spirit-stirring recollections could do little towards lightening. The step was palsied now, that had been foremost in the charge. It was only with the assistance of a servant, and by leaning his hand heavily on the iron balustrade, that he could slowly and painfully ascend the Custom-House steps, and, with a toilsome progress across the floor, attain his customary chair beside the fireplace. There he used to sit, gazing with a somewhat dim serenity of aspect at the figures that came and went; amid the rustle of papers, the administering of oaths, the discussion of business, and the casual talk of the office; all which sounds and circumstances seemed but indistinctly to impress his senses, and hardly to make their way into his inner sphere of contemplation. His countenance, in this repose, was mild and kindly. If his notice was sought, an expression of courtesy and interest gleamed out upon his features; proving that there was light within him, and that it was only the outward medium of the intellectual lamp that obstructed the rays in their passage. The closer you penetrated to the substance of his mind, the sounder it appeared. When no longer called upon to speak, or listen, either of which operations cost him an evident effort, his face would briefly subside into its former not uncheerful quietude. It was not painful to behold this look; for, though dim, it had not the imbecility of

decaying age. The framework of his nature, originally strong and massive, was not yet crumbled into ruin. To observe and define his character, however, under such disadvantages, was as difficult a task as to trace out and build up anew, in imagination, an old fortress, like Ticonderoga, from a view of its gray and broken ruins. Here and there, perchance, the walls may remain almost complete; but elsewhere may be only a shapeless mound, cumbrous with its very strength, and overgrown, through long years of peace and neglect, with grass and alien weeds. Nevertheless, looking at the old warrior with affection,--for, slight as was the communication between us, my feeling towards him, like that of all bipeds and quadrupeds who knew him, might not improperly be termed so,--I could discern the main points of his portrait. It was marked with the noble and heroic qualities which showed it to be not a mere accident, but of good right, that he had won a distinguished name. His spirit could never, I conceive, have been characterized by an uneasy activity; it must, at any period of his life, have required an impulse to set him in motion; but, once stirred up, with obstacles to overcome, and an adequate object to be attained, it was not in the man to give out or fail. The heat that had formerly pervaded his nature, and which was not yet extinct, was never of the kind that flashes and flickers in a blaze, but, rather, a deep, red glow, as of iron in a furnace. Weight, solidity, firmness; this was the expression of his repose, even in such decay as had crept untimely over him, at the period of which I speak. But I could imagine, even then, that, under some excitement which should go deeply into his consciousness,--roused by a trumpet-peal, loud enough to awaken all of his energies that were not dead, but only slumbering,--he was yet capable of flinging off his infirmities like a sick man's gown, dropping the staff of age to seize a battle-sword, and starting up once more a warrior. And, in so intense a moment, his demeanour would have still been calm. Such an exhibition, however, was but to be pictured in fancy; not to be anticipated, nor desired. What I saw in him--as evidently as the indestructible ramparts of Old Ticonderoga, already cited as the most appropriate simile--were the features of stubborn and ponderous endurance, which might well have amounted to obstinacy in his earlier days; of integrity, that, like most of his other endowments, lay in a somewhat heavy mass, and was just as unmalleable or unmanageable as a ton of iron ore; and of

benevolence, which, fiercely as he led the bayonets on at Chippewa or Fort Erie, I take to be of quite as genuine a stamp as what actuates any or all the polemical philanthropists of the age. He had slain men with his own hand, for aught I know;-certainly, they had fallen, like blades of grass at the sweep of the scythe, before the charge to which his spirit imparted its triumphant energy;--but, be that as it might, there was never in his heart so much cruelty as would have brushed the down off a butterfly's wing. I have not known the man, to whose innate kindliness I would more confidently make an appeal. Many characteristics--and those, too, which contribute not the least forcibly to impart resemblance in a sketch--must have vanished, or been obscured, before I met the General. All merely graceful attributes are usually the most evanescent; nor does Nature adorn the human ruin with blossoms of new beauty, that have their roots and proper nutriment only in the chinks and crevices of decay, as she sows wall-flowers over the ruined fortress of Ticonderoga. Still, even in respect of grace and beauty, there were points well worth noting. A ray of humor, now and then, would make its way through the veil of dim obstruction, and glimmer pleasantly upon our faces. A trait of native elegance, seldom seen in the masculine character after childhood or early youth, was shown in the General's fondness for the sight and fragrance of flowers. An old soldier might be supposed to prize only the bloody laurel on his brow; but here was one, who seemed to have a young girl's appreciation of the floral tribe. There, beside the fireplace, the brave old General used to sit; while the Surveyor-though seldom, when it could be avoided, taking upon himself the difficult task of engaging him in conversation--was fond of standing at a distance, and watching his quiet and almost slumberous countenance. He seemed away from us, although we saw him but a few yards off; remote, though we passed close beside his chair; unattainable, though we might have stretched forth our hands and touched his own. It might be, that he lived a more real life within his thoughts, than amid the unappropriate environment of the Collector's office. The evolutions of the parade; the tumult of the battle; the flourish of old, heroic music, heard thirty years before;--such scenes and sounds, perhaps, were all alive before his intellectual sense. Meanwhile, the merchants and ship-masters, the spruce clerks, and uncouth sailors, entered and departed; the bustle of this commercial and Custom-House life

kept up its little murmur round about him; and neither with the men nor their affairs did the General appear to sustain the most distant relation. He was as much out of place as an old sword--now rusty, but which had flashed once in the battle's front, and showed still a bright gleam along its blade--would have been, among the inkstands, paper-folders, and mahogany rulers, on the Deputy Collector's desk. There was one thing that much aided me in renewing and re-creating the stalwart soldier of the Niagara frontier,--the man of true and simple energy. It was the recollection of those memorable words of his,--"I'll try, Sir!"--spoken on the very verge of a desperate and heroic enterprise, and breathing the soul and spirit of New England hardihood, comprehending all perils, and encountering all. If, in our country, valor were rewarded by heraldic honor, this phrase--which it seems so easy to speak, but which only he, with such a task of danger and glory before him, has ever spoken--would be the best and fittest of all mottoes for the General's shield of arms. It contributes greatly towards a man's moral and intellectual health, to be brought into habits of companionship with individuals unlike himself, who care little for his pursuits, and whose sphere and abilities he must go out of himself to appreciate. The accidents of my life have often afforded me this advantage, but never with more fulness and variety than during my continuance in office. There was one man, especially, the observation of whose character gave me a new idea of talent. His gifts were emphatically those of a man of business; prompt, acute, clear-minded; with an eye that saw through all perplexities, and a faculty of arrangement that made them vanish, as by the waving of an enchanter's wand. Bred up from boyhood in the Custom-House, it was his proper field of activity; and the many intricacies of business, so harassing to the interloper, presented themselves before him with the regularity of a perfectly comprehended system. In my contemplation, he stood as the ideal of his class. He was, indeed, the CustomHouse in himself; or, at all events, the main-spring that kept its variously revolving wheels in motion; for, in an institution like this, where its officers are appointed to subserve their own profit and convenience, and seldom with a leading reference to their fitness for the duty to be performed, they must perforce seek elsewhere the dexterity which is not in them. Thus, by an inevitable necessity, as a magnet attracts steel-filings, so did our man of business draw to himself the

difficulties which everybody met with. With an easy condescension, and kind forbearance towards our stupidity,--which, to his order of mind, must have seemed little short of crime,--would he forthwith, by the merest touch of his finger, make the incomprehensible as clear as daylight. The merchants valued him not less than we, his esoteric friends. His integrity was perfect; it was a law of nature with him, rather than a choice or a principle; nor can it be otherwise than the main condition of an intellect so remarkably clear and accurate as his, to be honest and regular in the administration of affairs. A stain on his conscience, as to any thing that came within the range of his vocation, would trouble such a man very much in the same way, though to a far greater degree, than an error in the balance of an account, or an ink-blot on the fair page of a book of record. Here, in a word,--and it is a rare instance in my life,--I had met with a person thoroughly adapted to the situation which he held. Such were some of the people with whom I now found myself connected. I took it in good part at the hands of Providence, that I was thrown into a position so little akin to my past habits; and set myself seriously to gather from it whatever profit was to be had. After my fellowship of toil and impracticable schemes, with the dreamy brethren of Brook Farm; after living for three years within the subtile influence of an intellect like Emerson's; after those wild, free days on the Assabeth, indulging fantastic speculations beside our fire of fallen boughs, with Ellery Channing; after talking with Thoreau about pine-trees and Indian relics, in his hermitage at Walden; after growing fastidious by sympathy with the classic refinement of Hillard's culture; after becoming imbued with poetic sentiment at Longfellow's hearth-stone;--it was time, at length, that I should exercise other faculties of my nature, and nourish myself with food for which I had hitherto had little appetite. Even the old Inspector was desirable, as a change of diet, to a man who had known Alcott. I looked upon it as an evidence, in some measure, of a system naturally well balanced, and lacking no essential part of a thorough organization, that, with such associates to remember, I could mingle at once with men of altogether different qualities, and never murmur at the change. Literature, its exertions and objects, were now of little moment in my regard. I cared not, at this period, for books; they were apart from me. Nature,--except it were human nature,--the nature that is developed in earth and sky, was, in one

sense, hidden from me; and all the imaginative delight, wherewith it had been spiritualized, passed away out of my mind. A gift, a faculty, if it had not been departed, was suspended and inanimate within me. There would have been something sad, unutterably dreary, in all this, had I not been conscious that it lay at my own option to recall whatever was valuable in the past. It might be true, indeed, that this was a life which could not, with impunity, be lived too long; else, it might make me permanently other than I had been, without transforming me into any shape which it would be worth my while to take. But I never considered it as other than a transitory life. There was always a prophetic instinct, a low whisper in my ear, that within no long period, and whenever a new change of custom should be essential to my good, a change would come. Meanwhile, there I was, a Surveyor of the Revenue, and, so far as I have been able to understand, as good a Surveyor as need be. A man of thought, fancy, and sensibility, (had he ten times the Surveyor's proportion of those qualities,) may, at any time, be a man of affairs, if he will only choose to give himself the trouble. My fellow-officers, and the merchants and sea-captains with whom my official duties brought me into any manner of connection, viewed me in no other light, and probably knew me in no other character. None of them, I presume, had ever read a page of my inditing, or would have cared a fig the more for me if they had read them all; nor would it have mended the matter, in the least, had those same unprofitable pages been written with a pen like that of Burns or of Chaucer, each of whom was a Custom-House officer in his day, as well as I. It is a good lesson-though it may often be a hard one--for a man who has dreamed of literary fame, and of making for himself a rank among the world's dignitaries by such means, to step aside out of the narrow circle in which his claims are recognized, and to find how utterly devoid of significance, beyond that circle, is all that he achieves, and all he aims at. I know not that I especially needed the lesson, either in the way of warning or rebuke; but, at any rate, I learned it thoroughly; nor, it gives me pleasure to reflect, did the truth, as it came home to my perception, ever cost me a pang, or require to be thrown off in a sigh. In the way of literary talk, it is true, the Naval Officer--an excellent fellow, who came into office with me, and went out only a little later--would often engage me in a discussion about one or the other of his favorite topics, Napoleon or Shakespeare. The Collector's junior clerk, too,--a young gentleman who, it was whispered, occasionally covered a sheet of Uncle

Sam's letter-paper with what, (at the distance of a few yards,) looked very much like poetry,--used now and then to speak to me of books, as matters with which I might possibly be conversant. This was my all of lettered intercourse; and it was quite sufficient for my necessities. No longer seeking nor caring that my name should be blazoned abroad on titlepages, I smiled to think that it had now another kind of vogue. The Custom-House marker imprinted it, with a stencil and black paint, on pepper-bags, and baskets of anatto, and cigar-boxes, and bales of all kinds of dutiable merchandise, in testimony that these commodities had paid the impost, and gone regularly through the office. Borne on such queer vehicle of fame, a knowledge of my existence, so far as a name conveys it, was carried where it had never been before, and, I hope, will never go again. But the past was not dead. Once in a great while, the thoughts, that had seemed so vital and so active, yet had been put to rest so quietly, revived again. One of the most remarkable occasions, when the habit of bygone days awoke in me, was that which brings it within the law of literary propriety to offer the public the sketch which I am now writing. In the second story of the Custom-House, there is a large room, in which the brickwork and naked rafters have never been covered with panelling and plaster. The edifice--originally projected on a scale adapted to the old commercial enterprise of the port, and with an idea of subsequent prosperity destined never to be realized-contains far more space than its occupants know what to do with. This airy hall, therefore, over the Collector's apartments, remains unfinished to this day, and, in spite of the aged cobwebs that festoon its dusky beams, appears still to await the labor of the carpenter and mason. At one end of the room, in a recess, were a number of barrels, piled one upon another, containing bundles of official documents. Large quantities of similar rubbish lay lumbering the floor. It was sorrowful to think how many days, and weeks, and months, and years of toil, had been wasted on these musty papers, which were now only an encumbrance on earth, and were hidden away in this forgotten corner, never more to be glanced at by human eyes. But, then, what reams of other manuscripts--filled, not with the dulness of official formalities, but with the thought of inventive brains and the rich effusion of deep hearts--had gone equally to oblivion; and that, moreover, without

serving a purpose in their day, as these heaped-up papers had, and--saddest of all-without purchasing for their writers the comfortable livelihood which the clerks of the Custom-House had gained by these worthless scratchings of the pen! Yet not altogether worthless, perhaps, as materials of local history. Here, no doubt, statistics of the former commerce of Salem might be discovered, and memorials of her princely merchants,--old King Derby,--old Billy Gray,--old Simon Forrester,-and many another magnate in his day; whose powdered head, however, was scarcely in the tomb, before his mountain-pile of wealth began to dwindle. The founders of the greater part of the families which now compose the aristocracy of Salem might here be traced, from the petty and obscure beginnings of their traffic, at periods generally much posterior to the Revolution, upward to what their children look upon as long-established rank. Prior to the Revolution, there is a dearth of records; the earlier documents and archives of the Custom-House having, probably, been carried off to Halifax, when all the King's officials accompanied the British army in its flight from Boston. It has often been a matter of regret with me; for, going back, perhaps, to the days of the Protectorate, those papers must have contained many references to forgotten or remembered men, and to antique customs, which would have affected me with the same pleasure as when I used to pick up Indian arrow-heads in the field near the Old Manse. But, one idle and rainy day, it was my fortune to make a discovery of some little interest. Poking and burrowing into the heaped-up rubbish in the corner; unfolding one and another document, and reading the names of vessels that had long ago foundered at sea or rotted at the wharves, and those of merchants, never heard of now on 'Change, nor very readily decipherable on their mossy tombstones; glancing at such matters with the saddened, weary, half-reluctant interest which we bestow on the corpse of dead activity,--and exerting my fancy, sluggish with little use, to raise up from these dry bones an image of the old town's brighter aspect, when India was a new region, and only Salem knew the way thither,--I chanced to lay my hand on a small package, carefully done up in a piece of ancient yellow parchment. This envelope had the air of an official record of some period long past, when clerks engrossed their stiff and formal chirography on more substantial materials than at present. There was something about it that quickened

an instinctive curiosity, and made me undo the faded red tape, that tied up the package, with the sense that a treasure would here be brought to light. Unbending the rigid folds of the parchment cover, I found it to be a commission, under the hand and seal of Governor Shirley, in favor of one Jonathan Pue, as Surveyor of his Majesty's Customs for the port of Salem, in the Province of Massachusetts Bay. I remembered to have read (probably in Felt's Annals) a notice of the decease of Mr. Surveyor Pue, about fourscore years ago; and likewise, in a newspaper of recent times, an account of the digging up of his remains in the little grave-yard of St. Peter's Church, during the renewal of that edifice. Nothing, if I rightly call to mind, was left of my respected predecessor, save an imperfect skeleton, and some fragments of apparel, and a wig of majestic frizzle; which, unlike the head that it once adorned, was in very satisfactory preservation. But, on examining the papers which the parchment commission served to envelop, I found more traces of Mr. Pue's mental part, and the internal operations of his head, than the frizzled wig had contained of the venerable skull itself. They were documents, in short, not official, but of a private nature, or, at least, written in his private capacity, and apparently with his own hand. I could account for their being included in the heap of Custom-House lumber only by the fact, that Mr. Pue's death had happened suddenly; and that these papers, which he probably kept in his official desk, had never come to the knowledge of his heirs, or were supposed to relate to the business of the revenue. On the transfer of the archives to Halifax, this package, proving to be of no public concern, was left behind, and had remained ever since unopened. The ancient Surveyor--being little molested, I suppose, at that early day, with business pertaining to his office--seems to have devoted some of his many leisure hours to researches as a local antiquarian, and other inquisitions of a similar nature. These supplied material for petty activity to a mind that would otherwise have been eaten up with rust. A portion of his facts, by the by, did me good service in the preparation of the article entitled "MAIN STREET," included in the present volume. The remainder may perhaps be applied to purposes equally valuable, hereafter, or not impossibly may be worked up, so far as they go, into a regular history of Salem, should my veneration for the natal soil ever impel me to so pious a task. Meanwhile, they

shall be at the command of any gentleman, inclined, and competent, to take the unprofitable labor off my hands. As a final disposition, I contemplate depositing them with the Essex Historical Society. But the object that most drew my attention, in the mysterious package, was a certain affair of fine red cloth, much worn and faded. There were traces about it of gold embroidery, which, however, was greatly frayed and defaced; so that none, or very little, of the glitter was left. It had been wrought, as was easy to perceive, with wonderful skill of needlework; and the stitch (as I am assured by ladies conversant with such mysteries) gives evidence of a now forgotten art, not to be recovered even by the process of picking out the threads. This rag of scarlet cloth,-for time, and wear, and a sacrilegious moth, had reduced it to little other than a rag,--on careful examination, assumed the shape of a letter. It was the capital letter A. By an accurate measurement, each limb proved to be precisely three inches and a quarter in length. It had been intended, there could be no doubt, as an ornamental article of dress; but how it was to be worn, or what rank, honor, and dignity, in bypast times, were signified by it, was a riddle which (so evanescent are the fashions of the world in these particulars) I saw little hope of solving. And yet it strangely interested me. My eyes fastened themselves upon the old scarlet letter, and would not be turned aside. Certainly, there was some deep meaning in it, most worthy of interpretation, and which, as it were, streamed forth from the mystic symbol, subtly communicating itself to my sensibilities, but evading the analysis of my mind. While thus perplexed,--and cogitating, among other hypotheses, whether the letter might not have been one of those decorations which the white men used to contrive in order to take the eyes of Indians,--I happened to place it on my breast. It seemed to me,--the reader may smile, but must not doubt my word,--it seemed to me, then, that I experienced a sensation not altogether physical, yet almost so, as of burning heat; and as if the letter were not of red cloth, but red-hot iron. I shuddered, and involuntarily let it fall upon the floor. In the absorbing contemplation of the scarlet letter, I had hitherto neglected to examine a small roll of dingy paper, around which it had been twisted. This I now opened, and had the satisfaction to find, recorded by the old Surveyor's pen, a reasonably complete explanation of the whole affair. There were several foolscap

sheets, containing many particulars respecting the life and conversation of one Hester Prynne, who appeared to have been rather a noteworthy personage in the view of our ancestors. She had flourished during a period between the early days of Massachusetts and the close of the seventeenth century. Aged persons, alive in the time of Mr. Surveyor Pue, and from whose oral testimony he had made up his narrative, remembered her, in their youth, as a very old, but not decrepit woman, of a stately and solemn aspect. It had been her habit, from an almost immemorial date, to go about the country as a kind of voluntary nurse, and doing whatever miscellaneous good she might; taking upon herself, likewise, to give advice in all matters, especially those of the heart; by which means, as a person of such propensities inevitably must, she gained from many people the reverence due to an angel, but, I should imagine, was looked upon by others as an intruder and a nuisance. Prying farther into the manuscript, I found the record of other doings and sufferings of this singular woman, for most of which the reader is referred to the story entitled "THE SCARLET LETTER"; and it should be borne carefully in mind, that the main facts of that story are authorized and authenticated by the document of Mr. Surveyor Pue. The original papers, together with the scarlet letter itself,--a most curious relic,--are still in my possession, and shall be freely exhibited to whomsoever, induced by the great interest of the narrative, may desire a sight of them. I must not be understood as affirming, that, in the dressing up of the tale, and imagining the motives and modes of passion that influenced the characters who figure in it, I have invariably confined myself within the limits of the old Surveyor's half a dozen sheets of foolscap. On the contrary, I have allowed myself, as to such points, nearly or altogether as much license as if the facts had been entirely of my own invention. What I contend for is the authenticity of the outline. This incident recalled my mind, in some degree, to its old track. There seemed to be here the groundwork of a tale. It impressed me as if the ancient Surveyor, in his garb of a hundred years gone by, and wearing his immortal wig,--which was buried with him, but did not perish in the grave,--had met me in the deserted chamber of the Custom-House. In his port was the dignity of one who had borne his Majesty's commission, and who was therefore illuminated by a ray of the splendor that shone so dazzlingly about the throne. How unlike, alas! the hang-dog look of a republican official, who, as the servant of the people, feels himself less

than the least, and below the lowest, of his masters. With his own ghostly hand, the obscurely seen, but majestic, figure had imparted to me the scarlet symbol, and the little roll of explanatory manuscript. With his own ghostly voice, he had exhorted me, on the sacred consideration of my filial duty and reverence towards him,--who might reasonably regard himself as my official ancestor,--to bring his mouldy and moth-eaten lucubrations before the public. "Do this," said the ghost of Mr. Surveyor Pue, emphatically nodding the head that looked so imposing within its memorable wig, "do this, and the profit shall be all your own! You will shortly need it; for it is not in your days as it was in mine, when a man's office was a lifelease, and oftentimes an heirloom. But, I charge you, in this matter of old Mistress Prynne, give to your predecessor's memory the credit which will be rightfully its due!" And I said to the ghost of Mr. Surveyor Pue,--"I will!" On Hester Prynne's story, therefore, I bestowed much thought. It was the subject of my meditations for many an hour, while pacing to and fro across my room, or traversing, with a hundredfold repetition, the long extent from the front-door of the Custom-House to the side-entrance, and back again. Great were the weariness and annoyance of the old Inspector and the Weighers and Gaugers, whose slumbers were disturbed by the unmercifully lengthened tramp of my passing and returning footsteps. Remembering their own former habits, they used to say that the Surveyor was walking the quarter-deck. They probably fancied that my sole object--and, indeed, the sole object for which a sane man could ever put himself into voluntary motion--was, to get an appetite for dinner. And to say the truth, an appetite, sharpened by the east-wind that generally blew along the passage, was the only valuable result of so much indefatigable exercise. So little adapted is the atmosphere of a Custom-House to the delicate harvest of fancy and sensibility, that, had I remained there through ten Presidencies yet to come, I doubt whether the tale of "The Scarlet Letter" would ever have been brought before the public eye. My imagination was a tarnished mirror. It would not reflect, or only with miserable dimness, the figures with which I did my best to people it. The characters of the narrative would not be warmed and rendered malleable, by any heat that I could kindle at my intellectual forge. They would take neither the glow of passion nor the tenderness of sentiment, but retained all the rigidity of dead corpses, and stared me in the face with a fixed and ghastly grin of contemptuous defiance. "What have you to do with us?" that expression seemed to say. "The

little power you might have once possessed over the tribe of unrealities is gone! You have bartered it for a pittance of the public gold. Go, then, and earn your wages!" In short, the almost torpid creatures of my own fancy twitted me with imbecility, and not without fair occasion. It was not merely during the three hours and a half which Uncle Sam claimed as his share of my daily life, that this wretched numbness held possession of me. It went with me on my sea-shore walks and rambles into the country, whenever-which was seldom and reluctantly--I bestirred myself to seek that invigorating charm of Nature, which used to give me such freshness and activity of thought, the moment that I stepped across the threshold of the Old Manse. The same torpor, as regarded the capacity for intellectual effort, accompanied me home, and weighed upon me in the chamber which I most absurdly termed my study. Nor did it quit me when, late at night, I sat in the deserted parlour, lighted only by the glimmering coal-fire and the moon, striving to picture forth imaginary scenes, which, the next day, might flow out on the brightening page in many-hued description. If the imaginative faculty refused to act at such an hour, it might well be deemed a hopeless case. Moonlight, in a familiar room, falling so white upon the carpet, and showing all its figures so distinctly,--making every object so minutely visible, yet so unlike a morning or noontide visibility,--is a medium the most suitable for a romance-writer to get acquainted with his illusive guests. There is the little domestic scenery of the well-known apartment; the chairs, with each its separate individuality; the centre-table, sustaining a work-basket, a volume or two, and an extinguished lamp; the sofa; the book-case; the picture on the wall;--all these details, so completely seen, are so spiritualized by the unusual light, that they seem to lose their actual substance, and become things of intellect. Nothing is too small or too trifling to undergo this change, and acquire dignity thereby. A child's shoe; the doll, seated in her little wicker carriage; the hobby-horse;--whatever, in a word, has been used or played with, during the day, is now invested with a quality of strangeness and remoteness, though still almost as vividly present as by daylight. Thus, therefore, the floor of our familiar room has become a neutral territory, somewhere between the real world and fairy-land, where the Actual and the Imaginary may meet, and each imbue itself with the nature of the other. Ghosts

might enter here, without affrighting us. It would be too much in keeping with the scene to excite surprise, were we to look about us and discover a form, beloved, but gone hence, now sitting quietly in a streak of this magic moonshine, with an aspect that would make us doubt whether it had returned from afar, or had never once stirred from our fireside. The somewhat dim coal-fire has an essential influence in producing the effect which I would describe. It throws its unobtrusive tinge throughout the room, with a faint ruddiness upon the walls and ceiling, and a reflected gleam from the polish of the furniture. This warmer light mingles itself with the cold spirituality of the moonbeams, and communicates, as it were, a heart and sensibilities of human tenderness to the forms which fancy summons up. It converts them from snowimages into men and women. Glancing at the looking-glass, we behold--deep within its haunted verge--the smouldering glow of the half-extinguished anthracite, the white moonbeams on the floor, and a repetition of all the gleam and shadow of the picture, with one remove farther from the actual, and nearer to the imaginative. Then, at such an hour, and with this scene before him, if a man, sitting all alone, cannot dream strange things, and make them look like truth, he need never try to write romances. But, for myself, during the whole of my Custom-House experience, moonlight and sunshine, and the glow of fire-light, were just alike in my regard; and neither of them was of one whit more avail than the twinkle of a tallow-candle. An entire class of susceptibilities, and a gift connected with them,--of no great richness or value, but the best I had,--was gone from me. It is my belief, however, that, had I attempted a different order of composition, my faculties would not have been found so pointless and inefficacious. I might, for instance, have contented myself with writing out the narratives of a veteran shipmaster, one of the Inspectors, whom I should be most ungrateful not to mention; since scarcely a day passed that he did not stir me to laughter and admiration by his marvellous gifts as a story-teller. Could I have preserved the picturesque force of his style, and the humorous coloring which nature taught him how to throw over his descriptions, the result, I honestly believe, would have been something new in literature. Or I might readily have found a more serious task. It was a folly, with the materiality of this daily life pressing so intrusively upon me,

to attempt to fling myself back into another age; or to insist on creating the semblance of a world out of airy matter, when, at every moment, the impalpable beauty of my soap-bubble was broken by the rude contact of some actual circumstance. The wiser effort would have been, to diffuse thought and imagination through the opaque substance of to-day, and thus to make it a bright transparency; to spiritualize the burden that began to weigh so heavily; to seek, resolutely, the true and indestructible value that lay hidden in the petty and wearisome incidents, and ordinary characters, with which I was now conversant. The fault was mine. The page of life that was spread out before me seemed dull and commonplace, only because I had not fathomed its deeper import. A better book than I shall ever write was there; leaf after leaf presenting itself to me, just as it was written out by the reality of the flitting hour, and vanishing as fast as written, only because my brain wanted the insight and my hand the cunning to transcribe it. At some future day, it may be, I shall remember a few scattered fragments and broken paragraphs, and write them down, and find the letters turn to gold upon the page. These perceptions have come too late. At the instant, I was only conscious that what would have been a pleasure once was now a hopeless toil. There was no occasion to make much moan about this state of affairs. I had ceased to be a writer of tolerably poor tales and essays, and had become a tolerably good Surveyor of the Customs. That was all. But, nevertheless, it is any thing but agreeable to be haunted by a suspicion that one's intellect is dwindling away; or exhaling, without your consciousness, like ether out of a phial; so that, at every glance, you find a smaller and less volatile residuum. Of the fact, there could be no doubt; and, examining myself and others, I was led to conclusions in reference to the effect of public office on the character, not very favorable to the mode of life in question. In some other form, perhaps, I may hereafter develop these effects. Suffice it here to say that a Custom-House officer, of long continuance, can hardly be a very praiseworthy or respectable personage, for many reasons; one of them, the tenure by which he holds his situation, and another, the very nature of his business, which--though, I trust, an honest one--is of such a sort that he does not share in the united effort of mankind.

An effect--which I believe to be observable, more or less, in every individual who has occupied the position--is, that, while he leans on the mighty arm of the Republic, his own proper strength departs from him. He loses, in an extent proportioned to the weakness or force of his original nature, the capability of selfsupport. If he possesses an unusual share of native energy, or the enervating magic of place do not operate too long upon him, his forfeited powers may be redeemable. The ejected officer--fortunate in the unkindly shove that sends him forth betimes, to struggle amid a struggling world--may return to himself, and become all that he has ever been. But this seldom happens. He usually keeps his ground just long enough for his own ruin, and is then thrust out, with sinews all unstrung, to totter along the difficult footpath of life as he best may. Conscious of his own infirmity,--that his tempered steel and elasticity are lost,--he for ever afterwards looks wistfully about him in quest of support external to himself. His pervading and continual hope--a hallucination, which, in the face of all discouragement, and making light of impossibilities, haunts him while he lives, and, I fancy, like the convulsive throes of the cholera, torments him for a brief space after death--is, that, finally, and in no long time, by some happy coincidence of circumstances, he shall be restored to office. This faith, more than any thing else, steals the pith and availability out of whatever enterprise he may dream of undertaking. Why should he toil and moil, and be at so much trouble to pick himself up out of the mud, when, in a little while hence, the strong arm of his Uncle will raise and support him? Why should he work for his living here, or go to dig gold in California, when he is so soon to be made happy, at monthly intervals, with a little pile of glittering coin out of his Uncle's pocket? It is sadly curious to observe how slight a taste of office suffices to infect a poor fellow with this singular disease. Uncle Sam's gold--meaning no disrespect to the worthy old gentleman--has, in this respect, a quality of enchantment like that of the Devil's wages. Whoever touches it should look well to himself, or he may find the bargain to go hard against him, involving, if not his soul, yet many of its better attributes; its sturdy force, its courage and constancy, its truth, its self-reliance, and all that gives the emphasis to manly character. Here was a fine prospect in the distance! Not that the Surveyor brought the lesson home to himself, or admitted that he could be so utterly undone, either by continuance in office, or ejectment. Yet my reflections were not the most

comfortable. I began to grow melancholy and restless; continually prying into my mind, to discover which of its poor properties were gone, and what degree of detriment had already accrued to the remainder. I endeavoured to calculate how much longer I could stay in the Custom-House, and yet go forth a man. To confess the truth, it was my greatest apprehension,--as it would never be a measure of policy to turn out so quiet an individual as myself, and it being hardly in the nature of a public officer to resign,--it was my chief trouble, therefore, that I was likely to grow gray and decrepit in the Surveyorship, and become much such another animal as the old Inspector. Might it not, in the tedious lapse of official life that lay before me, finally be with me as it was with this venerable friend,--to make the dinner-hour the nucleus of the day, and to spend the rest of it, as an old dog spends it, asleep in the sunshine or the shade? A dreary look-forward this, for a man who felt it to be the best definition of happiness to live throughout the whole range of his faculties and sensibilities! But, all this while, I was giving myself very unnecessary alarm. Providence had meditated better things for me than I could possibly imagine for myself. A remarkable event of the third year of my Surveyorship--to adopt the tone of "P. P."--was the election of General Taylor to the Presidency. It is essential, in order to form a complete estimate of the advantages of official life, to view the incumbent at the in-coming of a hostile administration. His position is then one of the most singularly irksome, and, in every contingency, disagreeable, that a wretched mortal can possibly occupy; with seldom an alternative of good, on either hand, although what presents itself to him as the worst event may very probably be the best. But it is a strange experience, to a man of pride and sensibility, to know that his interests are within the control of individuals who neither love nor understand him, and by whom, since one or the other must needs happen, he would rather be injured than obliged. Strange, too, for one who has kept his calmness throughout the contest, to observe the bloodthirstiness that is developed in the hour of triumph, and to be conscious that he is himself among its objects! There are few uglier traits of human nature than this tendency--which I now witnessed in men no worse than their neighbours--to grow cruel, merely because they possessed the power of inflicting harm. If the guillotine, as applied to office-holders, were a literal fact, instead of one of the most apt of metaphors, it is my sincere belief, that the active members of the victorious party were sufficiently

excited to have chopped off all our heads, and have thanked Heaven for the opportunity! It appears to me--who have been a calm and curious observer, as well in victory as defeat--that this fierce and bitter spirit of malice and revenge has never distinguished the many triumphs of my own party as it now did that of the Whigs. The Democrats take the offices, as a general rule, because they need them, and because the practice of many years has made it the law of political warfare, which, unless a different system be proclaimed, it was weakness and cowardice to murmur at. But the long habit of victory has made them generous. They know how to spare, when they see occasion; and when they strike, the axe may be sharp, indeed, but its edge is seldom poisoned with ill-will; nor is it their custom ignominiously to kick the head which they have just struck off. In short, unpleasant as was my predicament, at best, I saw much reason to congratulate myself that I was on the losing side, rather than the triumphant one. If, heretofore, I had been none of the warmest of partisans, I began now, at this season of peril and adversity, to be pretty acutely sensible with which party my predilections lay; nor was it without something like regret and shame, that, according to a reasonable calculation of chances, I saw my own prospect of retaining office to be better than those of my Democratic brethren. But who can see an inch into futurity, beyond his nose? My own head was the first that fell! The moment when a man's head drops off is seldom or never, I am inclined to think, precisely the most agreeable of his life. Nevertheless, like the greater part of our misfortunes, even so serious a contingency brings its remedy and consolation with it, if the sufferer will but make the best, rather than the worst, of the accident which has befallen him. In my particular case, the consolatory topics were close at hand, and, indeed, had suggested themselves to my meditations a considerable time before it was requisite to use them. In view of my previous weariness of office, and vague thoughts of resignation, my fortune somewhat resembled that of a person who should entertain an idea of committing suicide, and, altogether beyond his hopes, meet with the good hap to be murdered. In the Custom-House, as before in the Old Manse, I had spent three years; a term long enough to rest a weary brain; long enough to break off old intellectual habits, and make room for new ones; long enough, and too long, to have lived in an unnatural state, doing what was really of no advantage nor delight to any human being, and withholding

myself from toil that would, at least, have stilled an unquiet impulse in me. Then, moreover, as regarded his unceremonious ejectment, the late Surveyor was not altogether ill-pleased to be recognized by the Whigs as an enemy; since his inactivity in political affairs,--his tendency to roam, at will, in that broad and quiet field where all mankind may meet, rather than confine himself to those narrow paths where brethren of the same household must diverge from one another,--had sometimes made it questionable with his brother Democrats whether he was a friend. Now, after he had won the crown of martyrdom, (though with no longer a head to wear it on,) the point might be looked upon as settled. Finally, little heroic as he was, it seemed more decorous to be overthrown in the downfall of the party with which he had been content to stand, than to remain a forlorn survivor, when so many worthier men were falling; and, at last, after subsisting for four years on the mercy of a hostile administration, to be compelled then to define his position anew, and claim the yet more humiliating mercy of a friendly one. Meanwhile, the press had taken up my affair, and kept me, for a week or two, careering through the public prints, in my decapitated state, like Irving's Headless Horseman; ghastly and grim, and longing to be buried, as a political dead man ought. So much for my figurative self. The real human being, all this time, with his head safely on his shoulders, had brought himself to the comfortable conclusion, that every thing was for the best; and, making an investment in ink, paper, and steel-pens, had opened his long-disused writing-desk, and was again a literary man. Now it was, that the lucubrations of my ancient predecessor, Mr. Surveyor Pue, came into play. Rusty through long idleness, some little space was requisite before my intellectual machinery could be brought to work upon the tale, with an effect in any degree satisfactory. Even yet, though my thoughts were ultimately much absorbed in the task, it wears, to my eye, a stern and sombre aspect; too much ungladdened by genial sunshine; too little relieved by the tender and familiar influences which soften almost every scene of nature and real life, and, undoubtedly, should soften every picture of them. This uncaptivating effect is perhaps due to the period of hardly accomplished revolution, and still seething turmoil, in which the story shaped itself. It is no indication, however, of a lack of cheerfulness in the writer's mind; for he was happier, while straying through the

gloom of these sunless fantasies, than at any time since he had quitted the Old Manse. Some of the briefer articles, which contribute to make up the volume, have likewise been written since my involuntary withdrawal from the toils and honors of public life, and the remainder are gleaned from annuals and magazines, of such antique date that they have gone round the circle, and come back to novelty again. * Keeping up the metaphor of the political guillotine, the whole may be considered as the "POSTHUMOUS PAPERS OF A DECAPITATED SURVEYOR"; and the sketch which I am now bringing to a close, if too autobiographical for a modest person to publish in his lifetime, will readily be excused in a gentleman who writes from beyond the grave. Peace be with all the world! My blessing on my friends! My forgiveness to my enemies! For I am in the realm of quiet! *"At the time of writing this article, the author intended to publish, along with The Scarlet Letter, several shorter tales and sketches. These it has been thought advisable to defer." [Author's note] The life of the Custom-House lies like a dream behind me. The old Inspector,-who, by the by, I regret to say, was overthrown and killed by a horse, some time ago; else he would certainly have lived for ever,--he, and all those other venerable personages who sat with him at the receipt of custom, are but shadows in my view; white-headed and wrinkled images, which my fancy used to sport with, and has now flung aside for ever. The merchants,--Pingree, Phillips, Shepard, Upton, Kimball, Bertram, Hunt,--these, and many other names, which had such a classic familiarity for my ear six months ago,--these men of traffic, who seemed to occupy so important a position in the world,--how little time has it required to disconnect me from them all, not merely in act, but recollection! It is with an effort that I recall the figures and appellations of these few. Soon, likewise, my old native town will loom upon me through the haze of memory, a mist brooding over and around it; as if it were no portion of the real earth, but an overgrown village in cloud-land, with only imaginary inhabitants to people its wooden houses, and walk its homely lanes, and the unpicturesque prolixity of its main street. Henceforth, it ceases to be a reality of my life. I am a citizen of somewhere else. My good townspeople will not much regret me; for--though it has been as dear an object as

any, in my literary efforts, to be of some importance in their eyes, and to win myself a pleasant memory in this abode and burial-place of so many of my forefathers--there has never been, for me, the genial atmosphere which a literary man requires, in order to ripen the best harvest of his mind. I shall do better amongst other faces; and these familiar ones, it need hardly be said, will do just as well without me. It may be, however,--O, transporting and triumphant thought!--that the greatgrandchildren of the present race may sometimes think kindly of the scribbler of bygone days, when the antiquary of days to come, among the sites memorable in the town's history, shall point out the locality of THE TOWN-PUMP!

Chapter 1 - The Prison-Door A throng of bearded men, in sad-colored garments and gray, steeple-crowned hats, intermixed with women, some wearing hoods, and others bareheaded, was assembled in front of a wooden edifice, the door of which was heavily timbered with oak, and studded with iron spikes. The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognized it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison. In accordance with this rule, it may safely be assumed that the forefathers of Boston had built the first prison-house, somewhere in the vicinity of Cornhill, almost as seasonably as they marked out the first burialground, on Isaac Johnson's lot, and round about his grave, which subsequently became the nucleus of all the congregated sepulchres in the old church-yard of King's Chapel. Certain it is, that, some fifteen or twenty years after the settlement of the town, the wooden jail was already marked with weather-stains and other indications of age, which gave a yet darker aspect to its beetle-browed and gloomy front. The rust on the ponderous iron-work of its oaken door looked more antique than any thing else in the new world. Like all that pertains to crime, it seemed never to have known a youthful era. Before this ugly edifice, and between it and

the wheel-track of the street, was a grass-plot, much overgrown with burdock, pigweed, apple-peru, and such unsightly vegetation, which evidently found something congenial in the soil that had so early borne the black flower of civilized society, a prison. But, on one side of the portal, and rooted almost at the threshold, was a wild rose-bush, covered, in this month of June, with its delicate gems, which might be imagined to offer their fragrance and fragile beauty to the prisoner as he went in, and to the condemned criminal as he came forth to his doom, in token that the deep heart of Nature could pity and be kind to him. This rose-bush, by a strange chance, has been kept alive in history; but whether it had merely survived out of the stern old wilderness, so long after the fall of the gigantic pines and oaks that originally overshadowed it,--or whether, as there is fair authority for believing, it had sprung up under the footsteps of the sainted Ann Hutchinson, as she entered the prison-door,--we shall not take upon us to determine. Finding it so directly on the threshold of our narrative, which is now about to issue from that inauspicious portal, we could hardly do otherwise than pluck one of its flowers and present it to the reader. It may serve, let us hope, to symbolize some sweet moral blossom, that may be found along the track, or relieve the darkening close of a tale of human frailty and sorrow.

to be corrected at the whipping-post. It might be, that an Antinomian, a Quaker, or other heterodox religionist, was to be scourged out of the town, or an idle or vagrant Indian, whom the white man's fire-water had made riotous about the streets, was to be driven with stripes into the shadow of the forest. It might be, too, that a witch, like old Mistress Hibbins, the bitter-tempered widow of the magistrate, was to die upon the gallows. In either case, there was very much the same solemnity of demeanour on the part of the spectators; as befitted a people amongst whom religion and law were almost identical, and in whose character both were so thoroughly interfused, that the mildest and severest acts of public discipline were alike made venerable and awful. Meagre, indeed, and cold, was the sympathy that a transgressor might look for, from such bystanders at the scaffold. On the other hand, a penalty which, in our days, would infer a degree of mocking infamy and ridicule, might then be invested with almost as stern a dignity as the punishment of death itself. It was a circumstance to be noted, on the summer morning when our story begins its course, that the women, of whom there were several in the crowd, appeared to take a peculiar interest in whatever penal infliction might be expected to ensue. The age had not so much refinement, that any sense of impropriety restrained the wearers of petticoat and farthingale from stepping forth into the public ways, and wedging their not unsubstantial persons, if occasion were, into the throng nearest to the scaffold at an execution. Morally, as well as materially, there was a coarser fibre in those wives and maidens of old English birth and breeding, than in their fair descendants, separated from them by a series of six or seven generations; for, throughout that chain of ancestry, every successive mother has transmitted to her child a fainter bloom, a more delicate and briefer beauty, and a slighter physical frame, if not a character of less force and solidity, than her own. The women, who were now standing about the prison-door, stood within less than half a century of the period when the man-like Elizabeth had been the not altogether unsuitable representative of the sex. They were her countrywomen; and the beef and ale of their native land, with a moral diet not a whit more refined, entered largely into their composition. The bright morning sun, therefore, shone on broad shoulders and well-developed busts, and on round and ruddy cheeks, that had ripened in the far-off island, and had hardly yet grown paler or thinner in the atmosphere of New England. There was, moreover, a boldness and rotundity of speech among these

Chapter 2 - The Market-Place The grass-plot before the jail, in Prison Lane, on a certain summer morning, not less than two centuries ago, was occupied by a pretty large number of the inhabitants of Boston; all with their eyes intently fastened on the iron-clamped oaken door. Amongst any other population, or at a later period in the history of New England, the grim rigidity that petrified the bearded physiognomies of these good people would have augured some awful business in hand. It could have betokened nothing short of the anticipated execution of some noted culprit, on whom the sentence of a legal tribunal had but confirmed the verdict of public sentiment. But, in that early severity of the Puritan character, an inference of this kind could not so indubitably be drawn. It might be that a sluggish bond-servant, or an undutiful child, whom his parents had given over to the civil authority, was

matrons, as most of them seemed to be, that would startle us at the present day, whether in respect to its purport or its volume of tone. "Goodwives," said a hard-featured dame of fifty, "I'll tell ye a piece of my mind. It would be greatly for the public behoof, if we women, being of mature age and church-members in good repute, should have the handling of such malefactresses as this Hester Prynne. What think ye, gossips? If the hussy stood up for judgment before us five, that are now here in a knot together, would she come off with such a sentence as the worshipful magistrates have awarded? Marry, I trow not!" "People say," said another, "that the Reverend Master Dimmesdale, her godly pastor, takes it very grievously to heart that such a scandal should have come upon his congregation." "The magistrates are God-fearing gentlemen, but merciful overmuch,--that is a truth," added a third autumnal matron. "At the very least, they should have put the brand of a hot iron on Hester Prynne's forehead. Madame Hester would have winced at that, I warrant me. But she,--the naughty baggage,--little will she care what they put upon the bodice of her gown! Why, look you, she may cover it with a brooch, or such like heathenish adornment, and so walk the streets as brave as ever!" "Ah, but," interposed, more softly, a young wife, holding a child by the hand, "let her cover the mark as she will, the pang of it will be always in her heart." "What do we talk of marks and brands, whether on the bodice of her gown, or the flesh of her forehead?" cried another female, the ugliest as well as the most pitiless of these self-constituted judges. "This woman has brought shame upon us all, and ought to die. Is there no law for it? Truly there is, both in the Scripture and the statute-book. Then let the magistrates, who have made it of no effect, thank themselves if their own wives and daughters go astray!" "Mercy on us, goodwife," exclaimed a man in the crowd, "is there no virtue in woman, save what springs from a wholesome fear of the gallows? That is the hardest word yet! Hush, now, gossips; for the lock is turning in the prison-door, and here comes Mistress Prynne herself." The door of the jail being flung open from within, there appeared, in the first place, like a black shadow emerging into sunshine, the grim and grisly presence of

the town-beadle, with a sword by his side and his staff of office in his hand. This personage prefigured and represented in his aspect the whole dismal severity of the Puritanic code of law, which it was his business to administer in its final and closest application to the offender. Stretching forth the official staff in his left hand, he laid his right upon the shoulder of a young woman, whom he thus drew forward until, on the threshold of the prison-door, she repelled him, by an action marked with natural dignity and force of character, and stepped into the open air, as if by her own free-will. She bore in her arms a child, a baby of some three months old, who winked and turned aside its little face from the too vivid light of day; because its existence, heretofore, had brought it acquainted only with the gray twilight of a dungeon, or other darksome apartment of the prison. When the young woman--the mother of this child--stood fully revealed before the crowd, it seemed to be her first impulse to clasp the infant closely to her bosom; not so much by an impulse of motherly affection, as that she might thereby conceal a certain token, which was wrought or fastened into her dress. In a moment, however, wisely judging that one token of her shame would but poorly serve to hide another, she took the baby on her arm, and, with a burning blush, and yet a haughty smile, and a glance that would not be abashed, looked around at her townspeople and neighbours. On the breast of her gown, in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared the letter A. It was so artistically done, and with so much fertility and gorgeous luxuriance of fancy, that it had all the effect of a last and fitting decoration to the apparel which she wore; and which was of a splendor in accordance with the taste of the age, but greatly beyond what was allowed by the sumptuary regulations of the colony. The young woman was tall, with a figure of perfect elegance, on a large scale. She had dark and abundant hair, so glossy that it threw off the sunshine with a gleam, and a face which, besides being beautiful from regularity of feature and richness of complexion, had the impressiveness belonging to a marked brow and deep black eyes. She was lady-like, too, after the manner of the feminine gentility of those days; characterized by a certain state and dignity, rather than by the delicate, evanescent, and indescribable grace, which is now recognized as its indication. And never had Hester Prynne appeared more lady-like, in the antique

interpretation of the term, than as she issued from the prison. Those who had before known her, and had expected to behold her dimmed and obscured by a disastrous cloud, were astonished, and even startled, to perceive how her beauty shone out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped. It may be true, that, to a sensitive observer, there was something exquisitely painful in it. Her attire, which, indeed, she had wrought for the occasion, in prison, and had modelled much after her own fancy, seemed to express the attitude of her spirit, the desperate recklessness of her mood, by its wild and picturesque peculiarity. But the point which drew all eyes, and, as it were, transfigured the wearer,--so that both men and women, who had been familiarly acquainted with Hester Prynne, were now impressed as if they beheld her for the first time,--was that SCARLET LETTER, so fantastically embroidered and illuminated upon her bosom. It had the effect of a spell, taking her out of the ordinary relations with humanity, and inclosing her in a sphere by herself. "She hath good skill at her needle, that's certain," remarked one of the female spectators; "but did ever a woman, before this brazen hussy, contrive such a way of showing it! Why, gossips, what is it but to laugh in the faces of our godly magistrates, and make a pride out of what they, worthy gentlemen, meant for a punishment?" "It were well," muttered the most iron-visaged of the old dames, "if we stripped Madam Hester's rich gown off her dainty shoulders; and as for the red letter, which she hath stitched so curiously, I'll bestow a rag of mine own rheumatic flannel, to make a fitter one!" "O, peace, neighbours, peace!" whispered their youngest companion. "Do not let her hear you! Not a stitch in that embroidered letter, but she has felt it in her heart." The grim beadle now made a gesture with his staff. "Make way, good people, make way, in the King's name," cried he. "Open a passage; and, I promise ye, Mistress Prynne shall be set where man, woman, and child may have a fair sight of her brave apparel, from this time till an hour past meridian. A blessing on the righteous Colony of the Massachusetts, where iniquity is dragged out into the sunshine! Come along, Madam Hester, and show your scarlet letter in the market-place!"

A lane was forthwith opened through the crowd of spectators. Preceded by the beadle, and attended by an irregular procession of stern-browed men and unkindly-visaged women, Hester Prynne set forth towards the place appointed for her punishment. A crowd of eager and curious schoolboys, understanding little of the matter in hand, except that it gave them a half-holiday, ran before her progress, turning their heads continually to stare into her face, and at the winking baby in her arms, and at the ignominious letter on her breast. It was no great distance, in those days, from the prison-door to the market-place. Measured by the prisoner's experience, however, it might be reckoned a journey of some length; for, haughty as her demeanour was, she perchance underwent an agony from every footstep of those that thronged to see her, as if her heart had been flung into the street for them all to spurn and trample upon. In our nature, however, there is a provision, alike marvellous and merciful, that the sufferer should never know the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles after it. With almost a serene deportment, therefore, Hester Prynne passed through this portion of her ordeal, and came to a sort of scaffold, at the western extremity of the market-place. It stood nearly beneath the eaves of Boston's earliest church, and appeared to be a fixture there. In fact, this scaffold constituted a portion of a penal machine, which now, for two or three generations past, has been merely historical and traditionary among us, but was held, in the old time, to be as effectual an agent in the promotion of good citizenship, as ever was the guillotine among the terrorists of France. It was, in short, the platform of the pillory; and above it rose the framework of that instrument of discipline, so fashioned as to confine the human head in its tight grasp, and thus hold it up to the public gaze. The very ideal of ignominy was embodied and made manifest in this contrivance of wood and iron. There can be no outrage, methinks, against our common nature,--whatever be the delinquencies of the individual,--no outrage more flagrant than to forbid the culprit to hide his face for shame; as it was the essence of this punishment to do. In Hester Prynne's instance, however, as not unfrequently in other cases, her sentence bore, that she should stand a certain time upon the platform, but without undergoing that gripe about the neck and confinement of the head, the proneness to which was the most devilish characteristic of this ugly engine. Knowing well her part, she ascended a

flight of wooden steps, and was thus displayed to the surrounding multitude, at about the height of a man's shoulders above the street. Had there been a Papist among the crowd of Puritans, he might have seen in this beautiful woman, so picturesque in her attire and mien, and with the infant at her bosom, an object to remind him of the image of Divine Maternity, which so many illustrious painters have vied with one another to represent; something which should remind him, indeed, but only by contrast, of that sacred image of sinless motherhood, whose infant was to redeem the world. Here, there was the taint of deepest sin in the most sacred quality of human life, working such effect, that the world was only the darker for this woman's beauty, and the more lost for the infant that she had borne. The scene was not without a mixture of awe, such as must always invest the spectacle of guilt and shame in a fellow-creature, before society shall have grown corrupt enough to smile, instead of shuddering, at it. The witnesses of Hester Prynne's disgrace had not yet passed beyond their simplicity. They were stern enough to look upon her death, had that been the sentence, without a murmur at its severity, but had none of the heartlessness of another social state, which would find only a theme for jest in an exhibition like the present. Even had there been a disposition to turn the matter into ridicule, it must have been repressed and overpowered by the solemn presence of men no less dignified than the Governor, and several of his counsellors, a judge, a general, and the ministers of the town; all of whom sat or stood in a balcony of the meeting-house, looking down upon the platform. When such personages could constitute a part of the spectacle, without risking the majesty or reverence of rank and office, it was safely to be inferred that the infliction of a legal sentence would have an earnest and effectual meaning. Accordingly, the crowd was sombre and grave. The unhappy culprit sustained herself as best a woman might, under the heavy weight of a thousand unrelenting eyes, all fastened upon her, and concentrated at her bosom. It was almost intolerable to be borne. Of an impulsive and passionate nature, she had fortified herself to encounter the stings and venomous stabs of public contumely, wreaking itself in every variety of insult; but there was a quality so much more terrible in the solemn mood of the popular mind, that she longed rather to behold all those rigid countenances contorted with scornful merriment, and herself the object. Had

a roar of laughter burst from the multitude,--each man, each woman, each little shrill-voiced child, contributing their individual parts,--Hester Prynne might have repaid them all with a bitter and disdainful smile. But, under the leaden infliction which it was her doom to endure, she felt, at moments, as if she must needs shriek out with the full power of her lungs, and cast herself from the scaffold down upon the ground, or else go mad at once. Yet there were intervals when the whole scene, in which she was the most conspicuous object, seemed to vanish from her eyes, or, at least, glimmered indistinctly before them, like a mass of imperfectly shaped and spectral images. Her mind, and especially her memory, was preternaturally active, and kept bringing up other scenes than this roughly hewn street of a little town, on the edge of the Western wilderness; other faces than were lowering upon her from beneath the brims of those steeple-crowned hats. Reminiscences, the most trifling and immaterial, passages of infancy and school-days, sports, childish quarrels, and the little domestic traits of her maiden years, came swarming back upon her, intermingled with recollections of whatever was gravest in her subsequent life; one picture precisely as vivid as another; as if all were of similar importance, or all alike a play. Possibly, it was an instinctive device of her spirit to relieve itself, by the exhibition of these phantasmagoric forms, from the cruel weight and hardness of the reality. Be that as it might, the scaffold of the pillory was a point of view that revealed to Hester Prynne the entire track along which she had been treading, since her happy infancy. Standing on that miserable eminence, she saw again her native village, in Old England, and her paternal home; a decayed house of gray stone, with a poverty-stricken aspect, but retaining a half-obliterated shield of arms over the portal, in token of antique gentility. She saw her father's face, with its bold brow, and reverend white beard, that flowed over the old-fashioned Elizabethan ruff; her mother's, too, with the look of heedful and anxious love which it always wore in her remembrance, and which, even since her death, had so often laid the impediment of a gentle remonstrance in her daughter's pathway. She saw her own face, glowing with girlish beauty, and illuminating all the interior of the dusky mirror in which she had been wont to gaze at it. There she beheld another countenance, of a man well stricken in years, a pale, thin, scholar-like visage, with

eyes dim and bleared by the lamp-light that had served them to pore over many ponderous books. Yet those same bleared optics had a strange, penetrating power, when it was their owner's purpose to read the human soul. This figure of the study and the cloister, as Hester Prynne's womanly fancy failed not to recall, was slightly deformed, with the left shoulder a trifle higher than the right. Next rose before her, in memory's picture-gallery, the intricate and narrow thoroughfares, the tall, gray houses, the huge cathedrals, and the public edifices, ancient in date and quaint in architecture, of a Continental city; where a new life had awaited her, still in connection with the misshapen scholar; a new life, but feeding itself on timeworn materials, like a tuft of green moss on a crumbling wall. Lastly, in lieu of these shifting scenes, came back the rude market-place of the Puritan settlement, with all the townspeople assembled and levelling their stern regards at Hester Prynne,--yes, at herself,--who stood on the scaffold of the pillory, an infant on her arm, and the letter A, in scarlet, fantastically embroidered with gold thread, upon her bosom! Could it be true? She clutched the child so fiercely to her breast, that it sent forth a cry; she turned her eyes downward at the scarlet letter, and even touched it with her finger, to assure herself that the infant and the shame were real. Yes!--these were her realities,--all else had vanished!

evidently sustaining a companionship with him, stood a white man, clad in a strange disarray of civilized and savage costume. He was small in stature, with a furrowed visage, which, as yet, could hardly be termed aged. There was a remarkable intelligence in his features, as of a person who had so cultivated his mental part that it could not fail to mould the physical to itself, and become manifest by unmistakable tokens. Although, by a seemingly careless arrangement of his heterogeneous garb, he had endeavoured to conceal or abate the peculiarity, it was sufficiently evident to Hester Prynne, that one of this man's shoulders rose higher than the other. Again, at the first instant of perceiving that thin visage, and the slight deformity of the figure, she pressed her infant to her bosom, with so convulsive a force that the poor babe uttered another cry of pain. But the mother did not seem to hear it. At his arrival in the market-place, and some time before she saw him, the stranger had bent his eyes on Hester Prynne. It was carelessly, at first, like a man chiefly accustomed to look inward, and to whom external matters are of little value and import, unless they bear relation to something within his mind. Very soon, however, his look became keen and penetrative. A writhing horror twisted itself across his features, like a snake gliding swiftly over them, and making one little pause, with all its wreathed intervolutions in open sight. His face darkened with some powerful emotion, which, nevertheless, he so instantaneously controlled by an effort of his will, that, save at a single moment, its expression might have passed for calmness. After a brief space, the convulsion grew almost imperceptible, and finally subsided into the depths of his nature. When he found the eyes of Hester Prynne fastened on his own, and saw that she appeared to recognize him, he slowly and calmly raised his finger, made a gesture with it in the air, and laid it on his lips. Then, touching the shoulder of a townsman who stood near to him, he addressed him in a formal and courteous manner. "I pray you, good Sir," said he, "who is this woman?--and wherefore is she here set up to public shame?" "You must needs be a stranger in this region, friend," answered the townsman, looking curiously at the questioner and his savage companion; "else you would

Chapter 3 - The Recognition From this intense consciousness of being the object of severe and universal observation, the wearer of the scarlet letter was at length relieved by discerning, on the outskirts of the crowd, a figure which irresistibly took possession of her thoughts. An Indian, in his native garb, was standing there; but the red men were not so infrequent visitors of the English settlements, that one of them would have attracted any notice from Hester Prynne, at such a time; much less would he have excluded all other objects and ideas from her mind. By the Indian's side, and

surely have heard of Mistress Hester Prynne, and her evil doings. She hath raised a great scandal, I promise you, in godly Master Dimmesdale's church." "You say truly," replied the other. "I am a stranger, and have been a wanderer, sorely against my will. I have met with grievous mishaps by sea and land, and have been long held in bonds among the heathen-folk, to the southward; and am now brought hither by this Indian, to be redeemed out of my captivity. Will it please you, therefore, to tell me of Hester Prynne's,--have I her name rightly?--of this woman's offences, and what has brought her to yonder scaffold?" "Truly, friend, and methinks it must gladden your heart, after your troubles and sojourn in the wilderness," said the townsman, "to find yourself, at length, in a land where iniquity is searched out, and punished in the sight of rulers and people, as here in our godly New England. Yonder woman, Sir, you must know, was the wife of a certain learned man, English by birth, but who had long dwelt in Amsterdam, whence, some good time agone, he was minded to cross over and cast in his lot with us of the Massachusetts. To this purpose, he sent his wife before him, remaining himself to look after some necessary affairs. Marry, good Sir, in some two years, or less, that the woman has been a dweller here in Boston, no tidings have come of this learned gentleman, Master Prynne; and his young wife, look you, being left to her own misguidance----" "Ah!--aha!--I conceive you," said the stranger with a bitter smile. "So learned a man as you speak of should have learned this too in his books. And who, by your favor, Sir, may be the father of yonder babe--it is some three or four months old, I should judge--which Mistress Prynne is holding in her arms?" "Of a truth, friend, that matter remaineth a riddle; and the Daniel who shall expound it is yet a-wanting," answered the townsman. "Madam Hester absolutely refuseth to speak, and the magistrates have laid their heads together in vain. Peradventure the guilty one stands looking on at this sad spectacle, unknown of man, and forgetting that God sees him." "The learned man," observed the stranger, with another smile, "should come himself to look into the mystery." "It behooves him well, if he be still in life," responded the townsman. "Now, good Sir, our Massachusetts magistracy, bethinking themselves that this woman is youthful and fair, and doubtless was strongly tempted to her fall;--and that,

moreover, as is most likely, her husband may be at the bottom of the sea;--they have not been bold to put in force the extremity of our righteous law against her. The penalty thereof is death. But, in their great mercy and tenderness of heart, they have doomed Mistress Prynne to stand only a space of three hours on the platform of the pillory, and then and thereafter, for the remainder of her natural life, to wear a mark of shame upon her bosom." "A wise sentence!" remarked the stranger, gravely bowing his head. "Thus she will be a living sermon against sin, until the ignominious letter be engraved upon her tombstone. It irks me, nevertheless, that the partner of her iniquity should not, at least, stand on the scaffold by her side. But he will be known!--he will be known!--he will be known!" He bowed courteously to the communicative townsman, and, whispering a few words to his Indian attendant, they both made their way through the crowd. While this passed, Hester Prynne had been standing on her pedestal, still with a fixed gaze towards the stranger; so fixed a gaze, that, at moments of intense absorption, all other objects in the visible world seemed to vanish, leaving only him and her. Such an interview, perhaps, would have been more terrible than even to meet him as she now did, with the hot, midday sun burning down upon her face, and lighting up its shame; with the scarlet token of infamy on her breast; with the sin-born infant in her arms; with a whole people, drawn forth as to a festival, staring at the features that should have been seen only in the quiet gleam of the fireside, in the happy shadow of a home, or beneath a matronly veil, at church. Dreadful as it was, she was conscious of a shelter in the presence of these thousand witnesses. It was better to stand thus, with so many betwixt him and her, than to greet him, face to face, they two alone. She fled for refuge, as it were, to the public exposure, and dreaded the moment when its protection should be withdrawn from her. Involved in these thoughts, she scarcely heard a voice behind her until it had repeated her name more than once, in a loud and solemn tone, audible to the whole multitude. "Hearken unto me, Hester Prynne!" said the voice. It has already been noticed, that directly over the platform on which Hester Prynne stood was a kind of balcony, or open gallery, appended to the meeting-house. It was the place whence proclamations were wont to be made, amidst an assemblage

of the magistracy, with all the ceremonial that attended such public observances in those days. Here, to witness the scene which we are describing, sat Governor Bellingham himself, with four sergeants about his chair, bearing halberds, as a guard of honor. He wore a dark feather in his hat, a border of embroidery on his cloak, and a black velvet tunic beneath; a gentleman advanced in years, and with a hard experience written in his wrinkles. He was not ill fitted to be the head and representative of a community, which owed its origin and progress, and its present state of development, not to the impulses of youth, but to the stern and tempered energies of manhood, and the sombre sagacity of age; accomplishing so much, precisely because it imagined and hoped so little. The other eminent characters, by whom the chief ruler was surrounded, were distinguished by a dignity of mien, belonging to a period when the forms of authority were felt to possess the sacredness of divine institutions. They were, doubtless, good men, just, and sage. But, out of the whole human family, it would not have been easy to select the same number of wise and virtuous persons, who should he less capable of sitting in judgment on an erring woman's heart, and disentangling its mesh of good and evil, than the sages of rigid aspect towards whom Hester Prynne now turned her face. She seemed conscious, indeed, that whatever sympathy she might expect lay in the larger and warmer heart of the multitude; for, as she lifted her eyes towards the balcony, the unhappy woman grew pale and trembled. The voice which had called her attention was that of the reverend and famous John Wilson, the eldest clergyman of Boston, a great scholar, like most of his contemporaries in the profession, and withal a man of kind and genial spirit. This last attribute, however, had been less carefully developed than his intellectual gifts, and was, in truth, rather a matter of shame than self-congratulation with him. There he stood, with a border of grizzled locks beneath his skull-cap; while his gray eyes, accustomed to the shaded light of his study, were winking, like those of Hester's infant, in the unadulterated sunshine. He looked like the darkly engraved portraits which we see prefixed to old volumes of sermons; and had no more right than one of those portraits would have, to step forth, as he now did, and meddle with a question of human guilt, passion, and anguish. "Hester Prynne," said the clergyman, "I have striven with my young brother here, under whose preaching of the word you have been privileged to sit,"--here Mr.

Wilson laid his hand on the shoulder of a pale young man beside him,--"I have sought, I say, to persuade this godly youth, that he should deal with you, here in the face of Heaven, and before these wise and upright rulers, and in hearing of all the people, as touching the vileness and blackness of your sin. Knowing your natural temper better than I, he could the better judge what arguments to use, whether of tenderness or terror, such as might prevail over your hardness and obstinacy; insomuch that you should no longer hide the name of him who tempted you to this grievous fall. But he opposes to me, (with a young man's over-softness, albeit wise beyond his years,) that it were wronging the very nature of woman to force her to lay open her heart's secrets in such broad daylight, and in presence of so great a multitude. Truly, as I sought to convince him, the shame lay in the commission of the sin, and not in the showing of it forth. What say you to it, once again, brother Dimmesdale? Must it be thou or I that shall deal with this poor sinner's soul?" There was a murmur among the dignified and reverend occupants of the balcony; and Governor Bellingham gave expression to its purport, speaking in an authoritative voice, although tempered with respect towards the youthful clergyman whom he addressed. "Good Master Dimmesdale," said he, "the responsibility of this woman's soul lies greatly with you. It behooves you, therefore, to exhort her to repentance, and to confession, as a proof and consequence thereof." The directness of this appeal drew the eyes of the whole crowd upon the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale; a young clergyman, who had come from one of the great English universities, bringing all the learning of the age into our wild forest-land. His eloquence and religious fervor had already given the earnest of high eminence in his profession. He was a person of very striking aspect, with a white, lofty, and impending brow, large, brown, melancholy eyes, and a mouth which, unless when he forcibly compressed it, was apt to be tremulous, expressing both nervous sensibility and a vast power of self-restraint. Notwithstanding his high native gifts and scholar-like attainments, there was an air about this young minister,--an apprehensive, a startled, a half-frightened look,--as of a being who felt himself quite astray and at a loss in the pathway of human existence, and could only be at ease in some seclusion of his own. Therefore, so far as his duties would permit, he

trode in the shadowy by-paths, and thus kept himself simple and childlike; coming forth, when occasion was, with a freshness, and fragrance, and dewy purity of thought, which, as many people said, affected them like the speech of an angel. Such was the young man whom the Reverend Mr. Wilson and the Governor had introduced so openly to the public notice, bidding him speak, in the hearing of all men, to that mystery of a woman's soul, so sacred even in its pollution. The trying nature of his position drove the blood from his cheek, and made his lips tremulous. "Speak to the woman, my brother," said Mr. Wilson. "It is of moment to her soul, and therefore, as the worshipful Governor says, momentous to thine own, in whose charge hers is. Exhort her to confess the truth!" The Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale bent his head, in silent prayer, as it seemed, and then came forward. "Hester Prynne," said he, leaning over the balcony, and looking down steadfastly into her eyes, "thou hearest what this good man says, and seest the accountability under which I labor. If thou feelest it to be for thy soul's peace, and that thy earthly punishment will thereby be made more effectual to salvation, I charge thee to speak out the name of thy fellow-sinner and fellow-sufferer! Be not silent from any mistaken pity and tenderness for him; for, believe me, Hester, though he were to step down from a high place, and stand there beside thee, on thy pedestal of shame, yet better were it so, than to hide a guilty heart through life. What can thy silence do for him, except it tempt him--yea, compel him, as it were--to add hypocrisy to sin? Heaven hath granted thee an open ignominy, that thereby thou mayest work out an open triumph over the evil within thee, and the sorrow without. Take heed how thou deniest to him--who, perchance, hath not the courage to grasp it for himself--the bitter, but wholesome, cup that is now presented to thy lips!" The young pastor's voice was tremulously sweet, rich, deep, and broken. The feeling that it so evidently manifested, rather than the direct purport of the words, caused it to vibrate within all hearts, and brought the listeners into one accord of sympathy. Even the poor baby, at Hester's bosom, was affected by the same influence; for it directed its hitherto vacant gaze towards Mr. Dimmesdale, and held up its little arms, with a half pleased, half plaintive murmur. So powerful seemed the minister's appeal, that the people could not believe but that Hester

Prynne would speak out the guilty name; or else that the guilty one himself, in whatever high or lowly place he stood, would be drawn forth by an inward and inevitable necessity, and compelled to ascend the scaffold. Hester shook her head. "Woman, transgress not beyond the limits of Heaven's mercy!" cried the Reverend Mr. Wilson, more harshly than before. "That little babe hath been gifted with a voice, to second and confirm the counsel which thou hast heard. Speak out the name! That, and thy repentance, may avail to take the scarlet letter off thy breast." "Never!" replied Hester Prynne, looking, not at Mr. Wilson, but into the deep and troubled eyes of the younger clergyman. "It is too deeply branded. Ye cannot take it off. And would that I might endure his agony, as well as mine!" "Speak, woman!" said another voice, coldly and sternly, proceeding from the crowd about the scaffold. "Speak; and give your child a father!" "I will not speak!" answered Hester, turning pale as death, but responding to this voice, which she too surely recognized. "And my child must seek a heavenly Father; she shall never know an earthly one!" "She will not speak!" murmured Mr. Dimmesdale, who, leaning over the balcony, with his hand upon his heart, had awaited the result of his appeal. He now drew back, with a long respiration. "Wondrous strength and generosity of a woman's heart! She will not speak!" Discerning the impracticable state of the poor culprit's mind, the elder clergyman, who had carefully prepared himself for the occasion, addressed to the multitude a discourse on sin, in all its branches, but with continual reference to the ignominious letter. So forcibly did he dwell upon this symbol, for the hour or more during which his periods were rolling over the people's heads, that it assumed new terrors in their imagination, and seemed to derive its scarlet hue from the flames of the infernal pit. Hester Prynne, meanwhile, kept her place upon the pedestal of shame, with glazed eyes, and an air of weary indifference. She had borne, that morning, all that nature could endure; and as her temperament was not of the order that escapes from too intense suffering by a swoon, her spirit could only shelter itself beneath a stony crust of insensibility, while the faculties of animal life remained entire. In this state, the voice of the preacher thundered

remorselessly, but unavailingly, upon her ears. The infant, during the latter portion of her ordeal, pierced the air with its wailings and screams; she strove to hush it, mechanically, but seemed scarcely to sympathize with its trouble. With the same hard demeanour, she was led back to prison, and vanished from the public gaze within its iron-clamped portal. It was whispered, by those who peered after her, that the scarlet letter threw a lurid gleam along the dark passage-way of the interior.

ushering him into the room, remained a moment, marvelling at the comparative quiet that followed his entrance; for Hester Prynne had immediately become as still as death, although the child continued to moan. "Prithee, friend, leave me alone with my patient," said the practitioner. "Trust me, good jailer, you shall briefly have peace in your house; and, I promise you, Mistress Prynne shall hereafter be more amenable to just authority than you may have found her heretofore." "Nay, if your worship can accomplish that," answered Master Brackett, "I shall own you for a man of skill indeed! Verily, the woman hath been like a possessed one; and there lacks little, that I should take in hand to drive Satan out of her with stripes." The stranger had entered the room with the characteristic quietude of the profession to which he announced himself as belonging. Nor did his demeanour change, when the withdrawal of the prison-keeper left him face to face with the woman, whose absorbed notice of him, in the crowd, had intimated so close a relation between himself and her. His first care was given to the child; whose cries, indeed, as she lay writhing on the trundle-bed, made it of peremptory necessity to postpone all other business to the task of soothing her. He examined the infant carefully, and then proceeded to unclasp a leathern case, which he took from beneath his dress. It appeared to contain certain medical preparations, one of which he mingled with a cup of water. "My old studies in alchemy," observed he, "and my sojourn, for above a year past, among a people well versed in the kindly properties of simples, have made a better physician of me than many that claim the medical degree. Here, woman! The child is yours,--she is none of mine,--neither will she recognize my voice or aspect as a father's. Administer this draught, therefore, with thine own hand." Hester repelled the offered medicine, at the same time gazing with strongly marked apprehension into his face. "Wouldst thou avenge thyself on the innocent babe?" whispered she. "Foolish woman!" responded the physician, half coldly, half soothingly. "What should ail me to harm this misbegotten and miserable babe? The medicine is

Chapter 4 - The Interview After her return to the prison, Hester Prynne was found to be in a state of nervous excitement that demanded constant watchfulness, lest she should perpetrate violence on herself, or do some half-frenzied mischief to the poor babe. As night approached, it proving impossible to quell her insubordination by rebuke or threats of punishment, Master Brackett, the jailer, thought fit to introduce a physician. He described him as a man of skill in all Christian modes of physical science, and likewise familiar with whatever the savage people could teach, in respect to medicinal herbs and roots that grew in the forest. To say the truth, there was much need of professional assistance, not merely for Hester herself, but still more urgently for the child; who, drawing its sustenance from the maternal bosom, seemed to have drank in with it all the turmoil, the anguish, and despair, which pervaded the mother's system. It now writhed in convulsions of pain, and was a forcible type, in its little frame, of the moral agony which Hester Prynne had borne throughout the day. Closely following the jailer into the dismal apartment, appeared that individual, of singular aspect, whose presence in the crowd had been of such deep interest to the wearer of the scarlet letter. He was lodged in the prison, not as suspected of any offence, but as the most convenient and suitable mode of disposing of him, until the magistrates should have conferred with the Indian sagamores respecting his ransom. His name was announced as Roger Chillingworth. The jailer, after

potent for good; and were it my child,--yea, mine own, as well as thine!--I could do no better for it." As she still hesitated, being, in fact, in no reasonable state of mind, he took the infant in his arms, and himself administered the draught. It soon proved its efficacy, and redeemed the leech's pledge. The moans of the little patient subsided; its convulsive tossings gradually ceased; and in a few moments, as is the custom of young children after relief from pain, it sank into a profound and dewy slumber. The physician, as he had a fair right to be termed, next bestowed his attention on the mother. With calm and intent scrutiny, he felt her pulse, looked into her eyes,-a gaze that made her heart shrink and shudder, because so familiar, and yet so strange and cold,--and, finally, satisfied with his investigation, proceeded to mingle another draught. "I know not Lethe nor Nepenthe," remarked he; "but I have learned many new secrets in the wilderness, and here is one of them,--a recipe that an Indian taught me, in requital of some lessons of my own, that were as old as Paracelsus. Drink it! It may be less soothing than a sinless conscience. That I cannot give thee. But it will calm the swell and heaving of thy passion, like oil thrown on the waves of a tempestuous sea." He presented the cup to Hester, who received it with a slow, earnest look into his face; not precisely a look of fear, yet full of doubt and questioning, as to what his purposes might be. She looked also at her slumbering child. "I have thought of death," said she,--"have wished for it,--would even have prayed for it, were it fit that such as I should pray for any thing. Yet, if death be in this cup, I bid thee think again, ere thou beholdest me quaff it. See! It is even now at my lips." "Drink, then," replied he, still with the same cold composure. "Dost thou know me so little, Hester Prynne? Are my purposes wont to be so shallow? Even if I imagine a scheme of vengeance, what could I do better for my object than to let thee live,--than to give thee medicines against all harm and peril of life,--so that this burning shame may still blaze upon thy bosom?"--As he spoke, he laid his long forefinger on the scarlet letter, which forthwith seemed to scorch into Hester's breast, as if it had been red-hot. He noticed her involuntary gesture, and smiled.-"Live, therefore, and bear about thy doom with thee, in the eyes of men and

women,--in the eyes of him whom thou didst call thy husband,--in the eyes of yonder child! And, that thou mayest live, take off this draught." Without further expostulation or delay, Hester Prynne drained the cup, and, at the motion of the man of skill, seated herself on the bed where the child was sleeping; while he drew the only chair which the room afforded, and took his own seat beside her. She could not but tremble at these preparations; for she felt that-having now done all that humanity, or principle, or, if so it were, a refined cruelty, impelled him to do, for the relief of physical suffering--he was next to treat with her as the man whom she had most deeply and irreparably injured. "Hester," said he, "I ask not wherefore, nor how, thou hast fallen into the pit, or say rather, thou hast ascended to the pedestal of infamy, on which I found thee. The reason is not far to seek. It was my folly, and thy weakness. I,--a man of thought,--the book-worm of great libraries,--a man already in decay, having given my best years to feed the hungry dream of knowledge,--what had I to do with youth and beauty like thine own! Misshapen from my birth-hour, how could I delude myself with the idea that intellectual gifts might veil physical deformity in a young girl's fantasy! Men call me wise. If sages were ever wise in their own behoof, I might have foreseen all this. I might have known that, as I came out of the vast and dismal forest, and entered this settlement of Christian men, the very first object to meet my eyes would be thyself, Hester Prynne, standing up, a statue of ignominy, before the people. Nay, from the moment when we came down the old church-steps together, a married pair, I might have beheld the bale-fire of that scarlet letter blazing at the end of our path!" "Thou knowest," said Hester,--for, depressed as she was, she could not endure this last quiet stab at the token of her shame,--"thou knowest that I was frank with thee. I felt no love, nor feigned any." "True!" replied he. "It was my folly! I have said it. But, up to that epoch of my life, I had lived in vain. The world had been so cheerless! My heart was a habitation large enough for many guests, but lonely and chill, and without a household fire. I longed to kindle one! It seemed not so wild a dream,--old as I was, and sombre as I was, and misshapen as I was,--that the simple bliss, which is scattered far and wide, for all mankind to gather up, might yet be mine. And so,

Hester, I drew thee into my heart, into its innermost chamber, and sought to warm thee by the warmth which thy presence made there!" "I have greatly wronged thee," murmured Hester. "We have wronged each other," answered he. "Mine was the first wrong, when I betrayed thy budding youth into a false and unnatural relation with my decay. Therefore, as a man who has not thought and philosophized in vain, I seek no vengeance, plot no evil against thee. Between thee and me, the scale hangs fairly balanced. But, Hester, the man lives who has wronged us both! Who is he?" "Ask me not!" replied Hester Prynne, looking firmly into his face. "That thou shalt never know!" "Never, sayest thou?" rejoined he, with a smile of dark and self-relying intelligence. "Never know him! Believe me, Hester, there are few things,--whether in the outward world, or, to a certain depth, in the invisible sphere of thought,-few things hidden from the man, who devotes himself earnestly and unreservedly to the solution of a mystery. Thou mayest cover up thy secret from the prying multitude. Thou mayest conceal it, too, from the ministers and magistrates, even as thou didst this day, when they sought to wrench the name out of thy heart, and give thee a partner on thy pedestal. But, as for me, I come to the inquest with other senses than they possess. I shall seek this man, as I have sought truth in books; as I have sought gold in alchemy. There is a sympathy that will make me conscious of him. I shall see him tremble. I shall feel myself shudder, suddenly and unawares. Sooner or later, he must needs be mine!" The eyes of the wrinkled scholar glowed so intensely upon her, that Hester Prynne clasped her hands over her heart, dreading lest he should read the secret there at once. "Thou wilt not reveal his name? Not the less he is mine," resumed he, with a look of confidence, as if destiny were at one with him. "He bears no letter of infamy wrought into his garment, as thou dost; but I shall read it on his heart. Yet fear not for him! Think not that I shall interfere with Heaven's own method of retribution, or, to my own loss, betray him to the gripe of human law. Neither do thou imagine that I shall contrive aught against his life; no, nor against his fame; if, as I judge, he be a man of fair repute. Let him live! Let him hide himself in outward honor, if he may! Not the less he shall be mine!"

"Thy acts are like mercy," said Hester, bewildered and appalled. "But thy words interpret thee as a terror!" "One thing, thou that wast my wife, I would enjoin upon thee," continued the scholar. "Thou hast kept the secret of thy paramour. Keep, likewise, mine! There are none in this land that know me. Breathe not, to any human soul, that thou didst ever call me husband! Here, on this wild outskirt of the earth, I shall pitch my tent; for, elsewhere a wanderer, and isolated from human interests, I find here a woman, a man, a child, amongst whom and myself there exist the closest ligaments. No matter whether of love or hate; no matter whether of right or wrong! Thou and thine, Hester Prynne, belong to me. My home is where thou art, and where he is. But betray me not!" "Wherefore dost thou desire it?" inquired Hester, shrinking, she hardly knew why, from this secret bond. "Why not announce thyself openly, and cast me off at once?" "It may be," he replied, "because I will not encounter the dishonor that besmirches the husband of a faithless woman. It may be for other reasons. Enough, it is my purpose to live and die unknown. Let, therefore, thy husband be to the world as one already dead, and of whom no tidings shall ever come. Recognize me not, by word, by sign, by look! Breathe not the secret, above all, to the man thou wottest of. Shouldst thou fail me in this, beware! His fame, his position, his life, will be in my hands. Beware!" "I will keep thy secret, as I have his," said Hester. "Swear it!" rejoined he. And she took the oath. "And now, Mistress Prynne," said old Roger Chillingworth, as he was hereafter to be named, "I leave thee alone; alone with thy infant, and the scarlet letter! How is it, Hester? Doth thy sentence bind thee to wear the token in thy sleep? Art thou not afraid of nightmares and hideous dreams?" "Why dost thou smile so at me?" inquired Hester, troubled at the expression of his eyes. "Art thou like the Black Man that haunts the forest round about us? Hast thou enticed me into a bond that will prove the ruin of my soul?" "Not thy soul," he answered, with another smile. "No, not thine!"

Chapter 5 - Hester at Her Needle Hester Prynne's term of confinement was now at an end. Her prison-door was thrown open, and she came forth into the sunshine, which, falling on all alike, seemed, to her sick and morbid heart, as if meant for no other purpose than to reveal the scarlet letter on her breast. Perhaps there was a more real torture in her first unattended footsteps from the threshold of the prison, than even in the procession and spectacle that have been described, where she was made the common infamy, at which all mankind was summoned to point its finger. Then, she was supported by an unnatural tension of the nerves, and by all the combative energy of her character, which enabled her to convert the scene into a kind of lurid triumph. It was, moreover, a separate and insulated event, to occur but once in her lifetime, and to meet which, therefore, reckless of economy, she might call up the vital strength that would have sufficed for many quiet years. The very law that condemned her--a giant of stern features, but with vigor to support, as well as to annihilate, in his iron arm--had held her up, through the terrible ordeal of her ignominy. But now, with this unattended walk from her prison-door, began the daily custom, and she must either sustain and carry it forward by the ordinary resources of her nature, or sink beneath it. She could no longer borrow from the future, to help her through the present grief. To-morrow would bring its own trial with it; so would the next day, and so would the next; each its own trial, and yet the very same that was now so unutterably grievous to be borne. The days of the far-off future would toil onward, still with the same burden for her to take up, and bear along with her, but never to fling down; for the accumulating days, and added years, would pile up their misery upon the heap of shame. Throughout them all, giving up her individuality, she would become the general symbol at which the preacher and moralist might point, and in which they might vivify and embody their images of woman's frailty and sinful passion. Thus the young and pure would be taught to look at her, with the scarlet letter flaming on her breast,--at her, the child of honorable parents,--at her, the mother of a babe, that would hereafter be a woman,--at her, who had once been innocent,--as the figure, the body, the reality

of sin. And over her grave, the infamy that she must carry thither would be her only monument. It may seem marvellous, that, with the world before her,--kept by no restrictive clause of her condemnation within the limits of the Puritan settlement, so remote and so obscure,--free to return to her birthplace, or to any other European land, and there hide her character and identity under a new exterior, as completely as if emerging into another state of being,--and having also the passes of the dark, inscrutable forest open to her, where the wildness of her nature might assimilate itself with a people whose customs and life were alien from the law that had condemned her,--it may seem marvellous, that this woman should still call that place her home, where, and where only, she must needs be the type of shame. But there is a fatality, a feeling so irresistible and inevitable that it has the force of doom, which almost invariably compels human beings to linger around and haunt, ghost-like, the spot where some great and marked event has given the color to their lifetime; and still the more irresistibly, the darker the tinge that saddens it. Her sin, her ignominy, were the roots which she had struck into the soil. It was as if a new birth, with stronger assimilations than the first, had converted the forestland, still so uncongenial to every other pilgrim and wanderer, into Hester Prynne's wild and dreary, but life-long home. All other scenes of earth--even that village of rural England, where happy infancy and stainless maidenhood seemed yet to be in her mother's keeping, like garments put off long ago--were foreign to her, in comparison. The chain that bound her here was of iron links, and galling to her inmost soul, but never could be broken. It might be, too,--doubtless it was so, although she hid the secret from herself, and grew pale whenever it struggled out of her heart, like a serpent from its hole,--it might be that another feeling kept her within the scene and pathway that had been so fatal. There dwelt, there trode the feet of one with whom she deemed herself connected in a union, that, unrecognized on earth, would bring them together before the bar of final judgment, and make that their marriage-altar, for a joint futurity of endless retribution. Over and over again, the tempter of souls had thrust this idea upon Hester's contemplation, and laughed at the passionate and desperate joy with which she seized, and then strove to cast it from her. She barely looked the idea in the face, and hastened to bar it in its dungeon. What she compelled

herself to believe,--what, finally, she reasoned upon, as her motive for continuing a resident of New England,--was half a truth, and half a self-delusion. Here, she said to herself, had been the scene of her guilt, and here should be the scene of her earthly punishment; and so, perchance, the torture of her daily shame would at length purge her soul, and work out another purity than that which she had lost; more saint-like, because the result of martyrdom. Hester Prynne, therefore, did not flee. On the outskirts of the town, within the verge of the peninsula, but not in close vicinity to any other habitation, there was a small thatched cottage. It had been built by an earlier settler, and abandoned, because the soil about it was too sterile for cultivation, while its comparative remoteness put it out of the sphere of that social activity which already marked the habits of the emigrants. It stood on the shore, looking across a basin of the sea at the forest-covered hills, towards the west. A clump of scrubby trees, such as alone grew on the peninsula, did not so much conceal the cottage from view, as seem to denote that here was some object which would fain have been, or at least ought to be, concealed. In this little, lonesome dwelling, with some slender means that she possessed, and by the license of the magistrates, who still kept an inquisitorial watch over her, Hester established herself, with her infant child. A mystic shadow of suspicion immediately attached itself to the spot. Children, too young to comprehend wherefore this woman should be shut out from the sphere of human charities, would creep nigh enough to behold her plying her needle at the cottagewindow, or standing in the door-way, or laboring in her little garden, or coming forth along the pathway that led townward; and, discerning the scarlet letter on her breast, would scamper off, with a strange, contagious fear. Lonely as was Hester's situation, and without a friend on earth who dared to show himself, she, however, incurred no risk of want. She possessed an art that sufficed, even in a land that afforded comparatively little scope for its exercise, to supply food for her thriving infant and herself. It was the art--then, as now, almost the only one within a woman's grasp--of needle-work. She bore on her breast, in the curiously embroidered letter, a specimen of her delicate and imaginative skill, of which the dames of a court might gladly have availed themselves, to add the richer and more spiritual adornment of human ingenuity to their fabrics of silk and gold. Here, indeed, in the sable simplicity that generally characterized the Puritanic

modes of dress, there might be an infrequent call for the finer productions of her handiwork. Yet the taste of the age, demanding whatever was elaborate in compositions of this kind, did not fail to extend its influence over our stern progenitors, who had cast behind them so many fashions which it might seem harder to dispense with. Public ceremonies, such as ordinations, the installation of magistrates, and all that could give majesty to the forms in which a new government manifested itself to the people, were, as a matter of policy, marked by a stately and well-conducted ceremonial, and a sombre, but yet a studied magnificence. Deep ruffs, painfully wrought bands, and gorgeously embroidered gloves, were all deemed necessary to the official state of men assuming the reins of power; and were readily allowed to individuals dignified by rank or wealth, even while sumptuary laws forbade these and similar extravagances to the plebeian order. In the array of funerals, too,--whether for the apparel of the dead body, or to typify, by manifold emblematic devices of sable cloth and snowy lawn, the sorrow of the survivors,--there was a frequent and characteristic demand for such labor as Hester Prynne could supply. Baby-linen--for babies then wore robes of state--afforded still another possibility of toil and emolument. By degrees, nor very slowly, her handiwork became what would now be termed the fashion. Whether from commiseration for a woman of so miserable a destiny; or from the morbid curiosity that gives a fictitious value even to common or worthless things; or by whatever other intangible circumstance was then, as now, sufficient to bestow, on some persons, what others might seek in vain; or because Hester really filled a gap which must otherwise have remained vacant; it is certain that she had ready and fairly requited employment for as many hours as she saw fit to occupy with her needle. Vanity, it may be, chose to mortify itself, by putting on, for ceremonials of pomp and state, the garments that had been wrought by her sinful hands. Her needle-work was seen on the ruff of the Governor; military men wore it on their scarfs, and the minister on his band; it decked the baby's little cap; it was shut up, to be mildewed and moulder away, in the coffins of the dead. But it is not recorded that, in a single instance, her skill was called in aid to embroider the white veil which was to cover the pure blushes of a bride. The exception indicated the ever relentless vigor with which society frowned upon her sin.

Hester sought not to acquire any thing beyond a subsistence, of the plainest and most ascetic description, for herself, and a simple abundance for her child. Her own dress was of the coarsest materials and the most sombre hue; with only that one ornament,--the scarlet letter,--which it was her doom to wear. The child's attire, on the other hand, was distinguished by a fanciful, or, we may rather say, a fantastic ingenuity, which served, indeed, to heighten the airy charm that early began to develop itself in the little girl, but which appeared to have also a deeper meaning. We may speak further of it hereafter. Except for that small expenditure in the decoration of her infant, Hester bestowed all her superfluous means in charity, on wretches less miserable than herself, and who not unfrequently insulted the hand that fed them. Much of the time, which she might readily have applied to the better efforts of her art, she employed in making coarse garments for the poor. It is probable that there was an idea of penance in this mode of occupation, and that she offered up a real sacrifice of enjoyment, in devoting so many hours to such rude handiwork. She had in her nature a rich, voluptuous, Oriental characteristic,--a taste for the gorgeously beautiful, which, save in the exquisite productions of her needle, found nothing else, in all the possibilities of her life, to exercise itself upon. Women derive a pleasure, incomprehensible to the other sex, from the delicate toil of the needle. To Hester Prynne it might have been a mode of expressing, and therefore soothing, the passion of her life. Like all other joys, she rejected it as sin. This morbid meddling of conscience with an immaterial matter betokened, it is to be feared, no genuine and steadfast penitence, but something doubtful, something that might be deeply wrong beneath. In this manner, Hester Prynne came to have a part to perform in the world. With her native energy of character, and rare capacity, it could not entirely cast her off, although it had set a mark upon her, more intolerable to a woman's heart than that which branded the brow of Cain. In all her intercourse with society, however, there was nothing that made her feel as if she belonged to it. Every gesture, every word, and even the silence of those with whom she came in contact, implied, and often expressed, that she was banished, and as much alone as if she inhabited another sphere, or communicated with the common nature by other organs and senses than the rest of human kind. She stood apart from mortal interests, yet close beside them, like a ghost that revisits the familiar fireside, and can no longer make itself seen or felt; no more smile with the household joy, nor mourn with the

kindred sorrow; or, should it succeed in manifesting its forbidden sympathy, awakening only terror and horrible repugnance. These emotions, in fact, and its bitterest scorn besides, seemed to be the sole portion that she retained in the universal heart. It was not an age of delicacy; and her position, although she understood it well, and was in little danger of forgetting it, was often brought before her vivid self-perception, like a new anguish, by the rudest touch upon the tenderest spot. The poor, as we have already said, whom she sought out to be the objects of her bounty, often reviled the hand that was stretched forth to succor them. Dames of elevated rank, likewise, whose doors she entered in the way of her occupation, were accustomed to distil drops of bitterness into her heart; sometimes through that alchemy of quiet malice, by which women can concoct a subtile poison from ordinary trifles; and sometimes, also, by a coarser expression, that fell upon the sufferer's defenceless breast like a rough blow upon an ulcerated wound. Hester had schooled herself long and well; she never responded to these attacks, save by a flush of crimson that rose irrepressibly over her pale cheek, and again subsided into the depths of her bosom. She was patient,--a martyr, indeed,--but she forebore to pray for enemies; lest, in spite of her forgiving aspirations, the words of the blessing should stubbornly twist themselves into a curse. Continually, and in a thousand other ways, did she feel the innumerable throbs of anguish that had been so cunningly contrived for her by the undying, the everactive sentence of the Puritan tribunal. Clergymen paused in the street to address words of exhortation, that brought a crowd, with its mingled grin and frown, around the poor, sinful woman. If she entered a church, trusting to share the Sabbath smile of the Universal Father, it was often her mishap to find herself the text of the discourse. She grew to have a dread of children; for they had imbibed from their parents a vague idea of something horrible in this dreary woman, gliding silently through the town, with never any companion but one only child. Therefore, first allowing her to pass, they pursued her at a distance with shrill cries, and the utterance of a word that had no distinct purport to their own minds, but was none the less terrible to her, as proceeding from lips that babbled it unconsciously. It seemed to argue so wide a diffusion of her shame, that all nature knew of it; it could have caused her no deeper pang, had the leaves of the trees whispered the dark story among themselves,--had the summer breeze murmured about it,--had the wintry blast shrieked it aloud! Another peculiar torture was felt

in the gaze of a new eye. When strangers looked curiously at the scarlet letter,-and none ever failed to do so,--they branded it afresh into Hester's soul; so that, oftentimes, she could scarcely refrain, yet always did refrain, from covering the symbol with her hand. But then, again, an accustomed eye had likewise its own anguish to inflict. Its cool stare of familiarity was intolerable. From first to last, in short, Hester Prynne had always this dreadful agony in feeling a human eye upon the token; the spot never grew callous; it seemed, on the contrary, to grow more sensitive with daily torture. But sometimes, once in many days, or perchance in many months, she felt an eye-a human eye--upon the ignominious brand, that seemed to give a momentary relief, as if half of her agony were shared. The next instant, back it all rushed again, with still a deeper throb of pain; for, in that brief interval, she had sinned anew. Had Hester sinned alone? Her imagination was somewhat affected, and, had she been of a softer moral and intellectual fibre, would have been still more so, by the strange and solitary anguish of her life. Walking to and fro, with those lonely footsteps, in the little world with which she was outwardly connected, it now and then appeared to Hester,--if altogether fancy, it was nevertheless too potent to be resisted,--she felt or fancied, then, that the scarlet letter had endowed her with a new sense. She shuddered to believe, yet could not help believing, that it gave her a sympathetic knowledge of the hidden sin in other hearts. She was terror-stricken by the revelations that were thus made. What were they? Could they be other than the insidious whispers of the bad angel, who would fain have persuaded the struggling woman, as yet only half his victim, that the outward guise of purity was but a lie, and that, if truth were everywhere to be shown, a scarlet letter would blaze forth on many a bosom besides Hester Prynne's? Or, must she receive those intimations-so obscure, yet so distinct--as truth? In all her miserable experience, there was nothing else so awful and so loathsome as this sense. It perplexed, as well as shocked her, by the irreverent inopportuneness of the occasions that brought it into vivid action. Sometimes, the red infamy upon her breast would give a sympathetic throb, as she passed near a venerable minister or magistrate, the model of piety and justice, to whom that age of antique reverence looked up, as to a mortal man in fellowship with angels. "What evil thing is at hand?" would Hester say to

herself. Lifting her reluctant eyes, there would be nothing human within the scope of view, save the form of this earthly saint! Again, a mystic sisterhood would contumaciously assert itself, as she met the sanctified frown of some matron, who, according to the rumor of all tongues, had kept cold snow within her bosom throughout life. That unsunned snow in the matron's bosom, and the burning shame on Hester Prynne's,--what had the two in common? Or, once more, the electric thrill would give her warning,--"Behold, Hester, here is a companion!"-and, looking up, she would detect the eyes of a young maiden glancing at the scarlet letter, shyly and aside, and quickly averted, with a faint, chill crimson in her cheeks; as if her purity were somewhat sullied by that momentary glance. O Fiend, whose talisman was that fatal symbol, wouldst thou leave nothing, whether in youth or age, for this poor sinner to revere?--Such loss of faith is ever one of the saddest results of sin. Be it accepted as a proof that all was not corrupt in this poor victim of her own frailty, and man's hard law, that Hester Prynne yet struggled to believe that no fellow-mortal was guilty like herself. The vulgar, who, in those dreary old times, were always contributing a grotesque horror to what interested their imaginations, had a story about the scarlet letter which we might readily work up into a terrific legend. They averred, that the symbol was not mere scarlet cloth, tinged in an earthly dye-pot, but was red-hot with infernal fire, and could be seen glowing all alight, whenever Hester Prynne walked abroad in the night-time. And we must needs say, it seared Hester's bosom so deeply, that perhaps there was more truth in the rumor than our modern incredulity may be inclined to admit.

Chapter 6 - Pearl We have as yet hardly spoken of the infant; that little creature, whose innocent life had sprung, by the inscrutable decree of Providence, a lovely and immortal flower, out of the rank luxuriance of a guilty passion. How strange it seemed to the sad woman, as she watched the growth, and the beauty that became every day more

brilliant, and the intelligence that threw its quivering sunshine over the tiny features of this child! Her Pearl!--For so had Hester called her; not as a name expressive of her aspect, which had nothing of the calm, white, unimpassioned lustre that would be indicated by the comparison. But she named the infant "Pearl," as being of great price,--purchased with all she had,--her mother's only treasure! How strange, indeed! Man had marked this woman's sin by a scarlet letter, which had such potent and disastrous efficacy that no human sympathy could reach her, save it were sinful like herself. God, as a direct consequence of the sin which man thus punished, had given her a lovely child, whose place was on that same dishonored bosom, to connect her parent for ever with the race and descent of mortals, and to be finally a blessed soul in heaven! Yet these thoughts affected Hester Prynne less with hope than apprehension. She knew that her deed had been evil; she could have no faith, therefore, that its result would be for good. Day after day, she looked fearfully into the child's expanding nature; ever dreading to detect some dark and wild peculiarity, that should correspond with the guiltiness to which she owed her being. Certainly, there was no physical defect. By its perfect shape, its vigor, and its natural dexterity in the use of all its untried limbs, the infant was worthy to have been brought forth in Eden; worthy to have been left there, to be the plaything of the angels, after the world's first parents were driven out. The child had a native grace which does not invariably coexist with faultless beauty; its attire, however simple, always impressed the beholder as if it were the very garb that precisely became it best. But little Pearl was not clad in rustic weeds. Her mother, with a morbid purpose that may be better understood hereafter, had bought the richest tissues that could be procured, and allowed her imaginative faculty its full play in the arrangement and decoration of the dresses which the child wore, before the public eye. So magnificent was the small figure, when thus arrayed, and such was the splendor of Pearl's own proper beauty, shining through the gorgeous robes which might have extinguished a paler loveliness, that there was an absolute circle of radiance around her, on the darksome cottage-floor. And yet a russet gown, torn and soiled with the child's rude play, made a picture of her just as perfect. Pearl's aspect was imbued with a spell of infinite variety; in this one child there were many children, comprehending the full scope between the wild-flower prettiness of a peasant-baby, and the pomp, in little, of an infant princess. Throughout all,

however, there was a trait of passion, a certain depth of hue, which she never lost; and if, in any of her changes, she had grown fainter or paler, she would have ceased to be herself;--it would have been no longer Pearl! This outward mutability indicated, and did not more than fairly express, the various properties of her inner life. Her nature appeared to possess depth, too, as well as variety; but--or else Hester's fears deceived her--it lacked reference and adaptation to the world into which she was born. The child could not be made amenable to rules. In giving her existence, a great law had been broken; and the result was a being, whose elements were perhaps beautiful and brilliant, but all in disorder; or with an order peculiar to themselves, amidst which the point of variety and arrangement was difficult or impossible to be discovered. Hester could only account for the child's character--and even then, most vaguely and imperfectly--by recalling what she herself had been, during that momentous period while Pearl was imbibing her soul from the spiritual world, and her bodily frame from its material of earth. The mother's impassioned state had been the medium through which were transmitted to the unborn infant the rays of its moral life; and, however white and clear originally, they had taken the deep stains of crimson and gold, the fiery lustre, the black shadow, and the untempered light, of the intervening substance. Above all, the warfare of Hester's spirit, at that epoch, was perpetuated in Pearl. She could recognize her wild, desperate, defiant mood, the flightiness of her temper, and even some of the very cloud-shapes of gloom and despondency that had brooded in her heart. They were now illuminated by the morning radiance of a young child's disposition, but, later in the day of earthly existence, might be prolific of the storm and whirlwind. The discipline of the family, in those days, was of a far more rigid kind than now. The frown, the harsh rebuke, the frequent application of the rod, enjoined by Scriptural authority, were used, not merely in the way of punishment for actual offences, but as a wholesome regimen for the growth and promotion of all childish virtues. Hester Prynne, nevertheless, the lonely mother of this one child, ran little risk of erring on the side of undue severity. Mindful, however, of her own errors and misfortunes, she early sought to impose a tender, but strict, control over the infant immortality that was committed to her charge. But the task was beyond her skill. After testing both smiles and frowns, and proving that neither mode of

treatment possessed any calculable influence, Hester was ultimately compelled to stand aside, and permit the child to be swayed by her own impulses. Physical compulsion or restraint was effectual, of course, while it lasted. As to any other kind of discipline, whether addressed to her mind or heart, little Pearl might or might not be within its reach, in accordance with the caprice that ruled the moment. Her mother, while Pearl was yet an infant, grew acquainted with a certain peculiar look, that warned her when it would be labor thrown away to insist, persuade, or plead. It was a look so intelligent, yet inexplicable, so perverse, sometimes so malicious, but generally accompanied by a wild flow of spirits, that Hester could not help questioning, at such moments, whether Pearl was a human child. She seemed rather an airy sprite, which, after playing its fantastic sports for a little while upon the cottage-floor, would flit away with a mocking smile. Whenever that look appeared in her wild, bright, deeply black eyes, it invested her with a strange remoteness and intangibility; it was as if she were hovering in the air and might vanish, like a glimmering light that comes we know not whence, and goes we know not whither. Beholding it, Hester was constrained to rush towards the child,--to pursue the little elf in the flight which she invariably began,--to snatch her to her bosom, with a close pressure and earnest kisses,--not so much from overflowing love, as to assure herself that Pearl was flesh and blood, and not utterly delusive. But Pearl's laugh, when she was caught, though full of merriment and music, made her mother more doubtful than before. Heart-smitten at this bewildering and baffling spell, that so often came between herself and her sole treasure, whom she had bought so dear, and who was all her world, Hester sometimes burst into passionate tears. Then, perhaps,--for there was no foreseeing how it might affect her,--Pearl would frown, and clench her little fist, and harden her small features into a stern, unsympathizing look of discontent. Not seldom, she would laugh anew, and louder than before, like a thing incapable and unintelligent of human sorrow. Or--but this more rarely happened--she would be convulsed with a rage of grief, and sob out her love for her mother, in broken words, and seem intent on proving that she had a heart, by breaking it. Yet Hester was hardly safe in confiding herself to that gusty tenderness; it passed, as suddenly as it came. Brooding over all these matters, the mother felt like one who has evoked a spirit, but, by some irregularity in the process of conjuration, has failed to win the master-word that should control this new and incomprehensible

intelligence. Her only real comfort was when the child lay in the placidity of sleep. Then she was sure of her, and tasted hours of quiet, sad, delicious happiness; until-perhaps with that perverse expression glimmering from beneath her opening lids-little Pearl awoke! How soon--with what strange rapidity, indeed!--did Pearl arrive at an age that was capable of social intercourse, beyond the mother's ever-ready smile and nonsensewords! And then what a happiness would it have been, could Hester Prynne have heard her clear, bird-like voice mingling with the uproar of other childish voices, and have distinguished and unravelled her own darling's tones, amid all the entangled outcry of a group of sportive children! But this could never be. Pearl was a born outcast of the infantile world. An imp of evil, emblem and product of sin, she had no right among christened infants. Nothing was more remarkable than the instinct, as it seemed, with which the child comprehended her loneliness; the destiny that had drawn an inviolable circle round about her; the whole peculiarity, in short, of her position in respect to other children. Never, since her release from prison, had Hester met the public gaze without her. In all her walks about the town, Pearl, too, was there; first as the babe in arms, and afterwards as the little girl, small companion of her mother, holding a forefinger with her whole grasp, and tripping along at the rate of three or four footsteps to one of Hester's. She saw the children of the settlement, on the grassy margin of the street, or at the domestic thresholds, disporting themselves in such grim fashion as the Puritanic nurture would permit; playing at going to church, perchance; or at scourging Quakers; or taking scalps in a sham-fight with the Indians; or scaring one another with freaks of imitative witchcraft. Pearl saw, and gazed intently, but never sought to make acquaintance. If spoken to, she would not speak again. If the children gathered about her, as they sometimes did, Pearl would grow positively terrible in her puny wrath, snatching up stones to fling at them, with shrill, incoherent exclamations that made her mother tremble, because they had so much the sound of a witch's anathemas in some unknown tongue. The truth was, that the little Puritans, being of the most intolerant brood that ever lived, had got a vague idea of something outlandish, unearthly, or at variance with ordinary fashions, in the mother and child; and therefore scorned them in their hearts, and not unfrequently reviled them with their tongues. Pearl felt the

sentiment, and requited it with the bitterest hatred that can be supposed to rankle in a childish bosom. These outbreaks of a fierce temper had a kind of value, and even comfort, for her mother; because there was at least an intelligible earnestness in the mood, instead of the fitful caprice that so often thwarted her in the child's manifestations. It appalled her, nevertheless, to discern here, again, a shadowy reflection of the evil that had existed in herself. All this enmity and passion had Pearl inherited, by inalienable right, out of Hester's heart. Mother and daughter stood together in the same circle of seclusion from human society; and in the nature of the child seemed to be perpetuated those unquiet elements that had distracted Hester Prynne before Pearl's birth, but had since begun to be soothed away by the softening influences of maternity. At home, within and around her mother's cottage, Pearl wanted not a wide and various circle of acquaintance. The spell of life went forth from her ever creative spirit, and communicated itself to a thousand objects, as a torch kindles a flame wherever it may be applied. The unlikeliest materials, a stick, a bunch of rags, a flower, were the puppets of Pearl's witchcraft, and, without undergoing any outward change, became spiritually adapted to whatever drama occupied the stage of her inner world. Her one baby-voice served a multitude of imaginary personages, old and young, to talk withal. The pine-trees, aged, black, and solemn, and flinging groans and other melancholy utterances on the breeze, needed little transformation to figure as Puritan elders; the ugliest weeds of the garden were their children, whom Pearl smote down and uprooted, most unmercifully. It was wonderful, the vast variety of forms into which she threw her intellect, with no continuity, indeed, but darting up and dancing, always in a state of preternatural activity,--soon sinking down, as if exhausted by so rapid and feverish a tide of life,--and succeeded by other shapes of a similar wild energy. It was like nothing so much as the phantasmagoric play of the northern lights. In the mere exercise of the fancy, however, and the sportiveness of a growing mind, there might be little more than was observable in other children of bright faculties; except as Pearl, in the dearth of human playmates, was thrown more upon the visionary throng which she created. The singularity lay in the hostile feelings with which the child regarded all these offsprings of her own heart and mind. She never created a friend, but seemed always to be sowing broadcast the dragon's teeth, whence sprung a harvest of armed enemies, against whom she rushed to battle. It was

inexpressibly sad--then what depth of sorrow to a mother, who felt in her own heart the cause!--to observe, in one so young, this constant recognition of an adverse world, and so fierce a training of the energies that were to make good her cause, in the contest that must ensue. Gazing at Pearl, Hester Prynne often dropped her work upon her knees, and cried out, with an agony which she would fain have hidden, but which made utterance for itself, betwixt speech and a groan,--"O Father in Heaven,--if Thou art still my Father,--what is this being which I have brought into the world!" And Pearl, overhearing the ejaculation, or aware, through some more subtile channel, of those throbs of anguish, would turn her vivid and beautiful little face upon her mother, smile with sprite-like intelligence, and resume her play. One peculiarity of the child's deportment remains yet to be told. The very first thing which she had noticed, in her life, was--what?--not the mother's smile, responding to it, as other babies do, by that faint, embryo smile of the little mouth, remembered so doubtfully afterwards, and with such fond discussion whether it were indeed a smile. By no means! But that first object of which Pearl seemed to become aware was--shall we say it?--the scarlet letter on Hester's bosom! One day, as her mother stooped over the cradle, the infant's eyes had been caught by the glimmering of the gold embroidery about the letter; and, putting up her little hand, she grasped at it, smiling, not doubtfully, but with a decided gleam that gave her face the look of a much older child. Then, gasping for breath, did Hester Prynne clutch the fatal token, instinctively endeavouring to tear it away; so infinite was the torture inflicted by the intelligent touch of Pearl's baby-hand. Again, as if her mother's agonized gesture were meant only to make sport for her, did little Pearl look into her eyes, and smile! From that epoch, except when the child was asleep, Hester had never felt a moment's safety; not a moment's calm enjoyment of her. Weeks, it is true, would sometimes elapse, during which Pearl's gaze might never once be fixed upon the scarlet letter; but then, again, it would come at unawares, like the stroke of sudden death, and always with that peculiar smile, and odd expression of the eyes. Once, this freakish, elvish cast came into the child's eyes, while Hester was looking at her own image in them, as mothers are fond of doing; and, suddenly,-for women in solitude, and with troubled hearts, are pestered with unaccountable

delusions,--she fancied that she beheld, not her own miniature portrait, but another face in the small black mirror of Pearl's eye. It was a face, fiend-like, full of smiling malice, yet bearing the semblance of features that she had known full well, though seldom with a smile, and never with malice, in them. It was as if an evil spirit possessed the child, and had just then peeped forth in mockery. Many a time afterwards had Hester been tortured, though less vividly, by the same illusion. In the afternoon of a certain summer's day, after Pearl grew big enough to run about, she amused herself with gathering handfuls of wild-flowers, and flinging them, one by one, at her mother's bosom; dancing up and down, like a little elf, whenever she hit the scarlet letter. Hester's first motion had been to cover her bosom with her clasped hands. But, whether from pride or resignation, or a feeling that her penance might best be wrought out by this unutterable pain, she resisted the impulse, and sat erect, pale as death, looking sadly into little Pearl's wild eyes. Still came the battery of flowers, almost invariably hitting the mark, and covering the mother's breast with hurts for which she could find no balm in this world, nor knew how to seek it in another. At last, her shot being all expended, the child stood still and gazed at Hester, with that little, laughing image of a fiend peeping out--or, whether it peeped or no, her mother so imagined it--from the unsearchable abyss of her black eyes. "Child, what art thou?" cried the mother. "O, I am your little Pearl!" answered the child. But, while she said it, Pearl laughed and began to dance up and down, with the humorsome gesticulation of a little imp, whose next freak might be to fly up the chimney. "Art thou my child, in very truth?" asked Hester. Nor did she put the question altogether idly, but, for the moment, with a portion of genuine earnestness; for, such was Pearl's wonderful intelligence, that her mother half doubted whether she were not acquainted with the secret spell of her existence, and might not now reveal herself. "Yes; I am little Pearl!" repeated the child, continuing her antics. "Thou art not my child! Thou art no Pearl of mine!" said the mother, half playfully; for it was often the case that a sportive impulse came over her, in the

midst of her deepest suffering. "Tell me, then, what thou art, and who sent thee hither?" "Tell me, mother!" said the child, seriously, coming up to Hester, and pressing herself close to her knees. "Do thou tell me!" "Thy Heavenly Father sent thee!" answered Hester Prynne. But she said it with a hesitation that did not escape the acuteness of the child. Whether moved only by her ordinary freakishness, or because an evil spirit prompted her, she put up her small forefinger, and touched the scarlet letter. "He did not send me!" cried she, positively. "I have no Heavenly Father!" "Hush, Pearl, hush! Thou must not talk so!" answered the mother, suppressing a groan. "He sent us all into the world. He sent even me, thy mother. Then, much more, thee! Or, if not, thou strange and elfish child, whence didst thou come?" "Tell me! Tell me!" repeated Pearl, no longer seriously, but laughing, and capering about the floor. "It is thou that must tell me!" But Hester could not resolve the query, being herself in a dismal labyrinth of doubt. She remembered--betwixt a smile and a shudder--the talk of the neighbouring townspeople; who, seeking vainly elsewhere for the child's paternity, and observing some of her odd attributes, had given out that poor little Pearl was a demon offspring; such as, ever since old Catholic times, had occasionally been seen on earth, through the agency of their mothers' sin, and to promote some foul and wicked purpose. Luther, according to the scandal of his monkish enemies, was a brat of that hellish breed; nor was Pearl the only child to whom this inauspicious origin was assigned, among the New England Puritans.

Chapter 7 - The Governor's Hall Hester Prynne went, one day, to the mansion of Governor Bellingham, with a pair of gloves which she had fringed and embroidered to his order, and which were to be worn on some great occasion of state; for, though the chances of a popular election had caused this former ruler to descend a step or two from the highest

rank, he still held an honorable and influential place among the colonial magistracy. Another and far more important reason than the delivery of a pair of embroidered gloves impelled Hester, at this time, to seek an interview with a personage of so much power and activity in the affairs of the settlement. It had reached her ears, that there was a design on the part of some of the leading inhabitants, cherishing the more rigid order of principles in religion and government, to deprive her of her child. On the supposition that Pearl, as already hinted, was of demon origin, these good people not unreasonably argued that a Christian interest in the mother's soul required them to remove such a stumbling-block from her path. If the child, on the other hand, were really capable of moral and religious growth, and possessed the elements of ultimate salvation, then, surely, it would enjoy all the fairer prospect of these advantages by being transferred to wiser and better guardianship than Hester Prynne's. Among those who promoted the design, Governor Bellingham was said to be one of the most busy. It may appear singular, and, indeed, not a little ludicrous, that an affair of this kind, which, in later days, would have been referred to no higher jurisdiction than that of the selectmen of the town, should then have been a question publicly discussed, and on which statesmen of eminence took sides. At that epoch of pristine simplicity, however, matters of even slighter public interest, and of far less intrinsic weight than the welfare of Hester and her child, were strangely mixed up with the deliberations of legislators and acts of state. The period was hardly, if at all, earlier than that of our story, when a dispute concerning the right of property in a pig, not only caused a fierce and bitter contest in the legislative body of the colony, but resulted in an important modification of the framework itself of the legislature. Full of concern, therefore,--but so conscious of her own right, that it seemed scarcely an unequal match between the public, on the one side, and a lonely woman, backed by the sympathies of nature, on the other,--Hester Prynne set forth from her solitary cottage. Little Pearl, of course, was her companion. She was now of an age to run lightly along by her mother's side, and, constantly in motion from morn till sunset, could have accomplished a much longer journey than that before her. Often, nevertheless, more from caprice than necessity, she demanded to be taken up in arms, but was soon as imperious to be set down again, and frisked

onward before Hester on the grassy pathway, with many a harmless trip and tumble. We have spoken of Pearl's rich and luxuriant beauty; a beauty that shone with deep and vivid tints; a bright complexion, eyes possessing intensity both of depth and glow, and hair already of a deep, glossy brown, and which, in after years, would be nearly akin to black. There was fire in her and throughout her; she seemed the unpremeditated offshoot of a passionate moment. Her mother, in contriving the child's garb, had allowed the gorgeous tendencies of her imagination their full play; arraying her in a crimson velvet tunic, of a peculiar cut, abundantly embroidered with fantasies and flourishes of gold thread. So much strength of coloring, which must have given a wan and pallid aspect to cheeks of a fainter bloom, was admirably adapted to Pearl's beauty, and made her the very brightest little jet of flame that ever danced upon the earth. But it was a remarkable attribute of this garb, and, indeed, of the child's whole appearance, that it irresistibly and inevitably reminded the beholder of the token which Hester Prynne was doomed to wear upon her bosom. It was the scarlet letter in another form; the scarlet letter endowed with life! The mother herself--as if the red ignominy were so deeply scorched into her brain, that all her conceptions assumed its form--had carefully wrought out the similitude; lavishing many hours of morbid ingenuity, to create an analogy between the object of her affection, and the emblem of her guilt and torture. But, in truth, Pearl was the one, as well as the other; and only in consequence of that identity had Hester contrived so perfectly to represent the scarlet letter in her appearance. As the two wayfarers came within the precincts of the town, the children of the Puritans looked up from their play,--or what passed for play with those sombre little urchins,--and spake gravely one to another:-"Behold, verily, there is the woman of the scarlet letter; and, of a truth, moreover, there is the likeness of the scarlet letter running along by her side! Come, therefore, and let us fling mud at them!" But Pearl, who was a dauntless child, after frowning, stamping her foot, and shaking her little hand with a variety of threatening gestures, suddenly made a rush at the knot of her enemies, and put them all to flight. She resembled, in her fierce pursuit of them, an infant pestilence,--the scarlet fever, or some such halffledged angel of judgment,--whose mission was to punish the sins of the rising

generation. She screamed and shouted, too, with a terrific volume of sound, which doubtless caused the hearts of the fugitives to quake within them. The victory accomplished, Pearl returned quietly to her mother, and looked up smiling into her face. Without further adventure, they reached the dwelling of Governor Bellingham. This was a large wooden house, built in a fashion of which there are specimens still extant in the streets of our elder towns; now moss-grown, crumbling to decay, and melancholy at heart with the many sorrowful or joyful occurrences remembered or forgotten, that have happened, and passed away, within their dusky chambers. Then, however, there was the freshness of the passing year on its exterior, and the cheerfulness, gleaming forth from the sunny windows, of a human habitation into which death had never entered. It had indeed a very cheery aspect; the walls being overspread with a kind of stucco, in which fragments of broken glass were plentifully intermixed; so that, when the sunshine fell aslantwise over the front of the edifice, it glittered and sparkled as if diamonds had been flung against it by the double handful. The brilliancy might have befitted Aladdin's palace, rather than the mansion of a grave old Puritan ruler. It was further decorated with strange and seemingly cabalistic figures and diagrams, suitable to the quaint taste of the age, which had been drawn in the stucco when newly laid on, and had now grown hard and durable, for the admiration of after times. Pearl, looking at this bright wonder of a house, began to caper and dance, and imperatively required that the whole breadth of sunshine should be stripped off its front, and given her to play with. "No, my little Pearl!" said her mother. "Thou must gather thine own sunshine. I have none to give thee!" They approached the door; which was of an arched form, and flanked on each side by a narrow tower or projection of the edifice, in both of which were latticewindows, with wooden shutters to close over them at need. Lifting the iron hammer that hung at the portal, Hester Prynne gave a summons, which was answered by one of the Governor's bond-servants; a free-born Englishman, but now a seven years' slave. During that term he was to be the property of his master, and as much a commodity of bargain and sale as an ox, or a joint-stool. The serf

wore the blue coat, which was the customary garb of serving-men at that period, and long before, in the old hereditary halls of England. "Is the worshipful Governor Bellingham within?" inquired Hester. "Yea, forsooth," replied the bond-servant, staring with wide-open eyes at the scarlet letter, which, being a new-comer in the country, he had never before seen. "Yea, his honorable worship is within. But he hath a godly minister or two with him, and likewise a leech. Ye may not see his worship now." "Nevertheless, I will enter," answered Hester Prynne; and the bond-servant, perhaps judging from the decision of her air and the glittering symbol in her bosom, that she was a great lady in the land, offered no opposition. So the mother and little Pearl were admitted into the hall of entrance. With many variations, suggested by the nature of his building-materials, diversity of climate, and a different mode of social life, Governor Bellingham had planned his new habitation after the residences of gentlemen of fair estate in his native land. Here, then, was a wide and reasonably lofty hall, extending through the whole depth of the house, and forming a medium of general communication, more or less directly, with all the other apartments. At one extremity, this spacious room was lighted by the windows of the two towers, which formed a small recess on either side of the portal. At the other end, though partly muffled by a curtain, it was more powerfully illuminated by one of those embowed hall-windows which we read of in old books, and which was provided with a deep and cushioned seat. Here, on the cushion, lay a folio tome, probably of the Chronicles of England, or other such substantial literature; even as, in our own days, we scatter gilded volumes on the centre-table, to be turned over by the casual guest. The furniture of the hall consisted of some ponderous chairs, the backs of which were elaborately carved with wreaths of oaken flowers; and likewise a table in the same taste; the whole being of the Elizabethan age, or perhaps earlier, and heirlooms, transferred hither from the Governor's paternal home. On the table--in token that the sentiment of old English hospitality had not been left behind--stood a large pewter tankard, at the bottom of which, had Hester or Pearl peeped into it, they might have seen the frothy remnant of a recent draught of ale. On the wall hung a row of portraits, representing the forefathers of the Bellingham lineage, some with armour on their breasts, and others with stately ruffs and robes

of peace. All were characterized by the sternness and severity which old portraits so invariably put on; as if they were the ghosts, rather than the pictures, of departed worthies, and were gazing with harsh and intolerant criticism at the pursuits and enjoyments of living men. At about the centre of the oaken panels, that lined the hall, was suspended a suit of mail, not, like the pictures, an ancestral relic, but of the most modern date; for it had been manufactured by a skilful armorer in London, the same year in which Governor Bellingham came over to New England. There was a steel head-piece, a cuirass, a gorget, and greaves, with a pair of gauntlets and a sword hanging beneath; all, and especially the helmet and breastplate, so highly burnished as to glow with white radiance, and scatter an illumination everywhere about upon the floor. This bright panoply was not meant for mere idle show, but had been worn by the Governor on many a solemn muster and training field, and had glittered, moreover, at the head of a regiment in the Pequod war. For, though bred a lawyer, and accustomed to speak of Bacon, Coke, Noye, and Finch, as his professional associates, the exigencies of this new country had transformed Governor Bellingham into a soldier, as well as a statesman and ruler. Little Pearl--who was as greatly pleased with the gleaming armour as she had been with the glittering frontispiece of the house--spent some time looking into the polished mirror of the breastplate. "Mother," cried she, "I see you here. Look! Look!" Hester looked, by way of humoring the child; and she saw that, owing to the peculiar effect of this convex mirror, the scarlet letter was represented in exaggerated and gigantic proportions, so as to be greatly the most prominent feature of her appearance. In truth, she seemed absolutely hidden behind it. Pearl pointed upward, also, at a similar picture in the head-piece; smiling at her mother, with the elfish intelligence that was so familiar an expression on her small physiognomy. That look of naughty merriment was likewise reflected in the mirror, with so much breadth and intensity of effect, that it made Hester Prynne feel as if it could not be the image of her own child, but of an imp who was seeking to mould itself into Pearl's shape.

"Come along, Pearl!" said she, drawing her away, "Come and look into this fair garden. It may be, we shall see flowers there; more beautiful ones than we find in the woods." Pearl, accordingly, ran to the bow-window, at the farther end of the hall, and looked along the vista of a garden-walk, carpeted with closely shaven grass, and bordered with some rude and immature attempt at shrubbery. But the proprietor appeared already to have relinquished, as hopeless, the effort to perpetuate on this side of the Atlantic, in a hard soil and amid the close struggle for subsistence, the native English taste for ornamental gardening. Cabbages grew in plain sight; and a pumpkin vine, rooted at some distance, had run across the intervening space, and deposited one of its gigantic products directly beneath the hall-windows, as if to warn the Governor that this great lump of vegetable gold was as rich an ornament as New England earth would offer him. There were a few rose-bushes, however, and a number of apple-trees, probably the descendants of those planted by the Reverend Mr. Blackstone, the first settler of the peninsula; that half mythological personage who rides through our early annals, seated on the back of a bull. Pearl, seeing the rose-bushes, began to cry for a red rose, and would not be pacified. "Hush, child, hush!" said her mother earnestly. "Do not cry, dear little Pearl! I hear voices in the garden. The Governor is coming, and gentlemen along with him!" In fact, adown the vista of the garden-avenue, a number of persons were seen approaching towards the house. Pearl, in utter scorn of her mother's attempt to quiet her, gave an eldritch scream, and then became silent; not from any notion of obedience, but because the quick and mobile curiosity of her disposition was excited by the appearance of those new personages.

Chapter 8 - The Elf-child and the Minister Governor Bellingham, in a loose gown and easy cap,--such as elderly gentlemen loved to indue themselves with, in their domestic privacy,--walked foremost, and appeared to be showing off his estate, and expatiating on his projected improvements. The wide circumference of an elaborate ruff, beneath his gray beard, in the antiquated fashion of King James's reign, caused his head to look not a little like that of John the Baptist in a charger. The impression made by his aspect, so rigid and severe, and frost-bitten with more than autumnal age, was hardly in keeping with the appliances of worldly enjoyment wherewith he had evidently done his utmost to surround himself. But it is an error to suppose that our great forefathers--though accustomed to speak and think of human existence as a state merely of trial and warfare, and though unfeignedly prepared to sacrifice goods and life at the behest of duty--made it a matter of conscience to reject such means of comfort, or even luxury, as lay fairly within their grasp. This creed was never taught, for instance, by the venerable pastor, John Wilson, whose beard, white as a snow-drift, was seen over Governor Bellingham's shoulders; while its wearer suggested that pears and peaches might yet be naturalized in the New England climate, and that purple grapes might possibly be compelled to flourish, against the sunny garden-wall. The old clergyman, nurtured at the rich bosom of the English Church, had a long established and legitimate taste for all good and comfortable things; and however stern he might show himself in the pulpit, or in his public reproof of such transgressions as that of Hester Prynne, still, the genial benevolence of his private life had won him warmer affection than was accorded to any of his professional contemporaries. Behind the Governor and Mr. Wilson came two other guests; one, the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, whom the reader may remember, as having taken a brief and reluctant part in the scene of Hester Prynne's disgrace; and, in close companionship with him, old Roger Chillingworth, a person of great skill in physic, who, for two or three years past, had been settled in the town. It was understood that this learned man was the physician as well as friend of the young minister, whose health had severely suffered, of late, by his too unreserved selfsacrifice to the labors and duties of the pastoral relation.

The Governor, in advance of his visitors, ascended one or two steps, and, throwing open the leaves of the great hall-window, found himself close to little Pearl. The shadow of the curtain fell on Hester Prynne, and partially concealed her. "What have we here?" said Governor Bellingham, looking with surprise at the scarlet little figure before him. "I profess, I have never seen the like, since my days of vanity, in old King James's time, when I was wont to esteem it a high favor to be admitted to a court mask! There used to be a swarm of these small apparitions, in holiday-time; and we called them children of the Lord of Misrule. But how gat such a guest into my hall?" "Ay, indeed!" cried good old Mr. Wilson. "What little bird of scarlet plumage may this be? Methinks I have seen just such figures, when the sun has been shining through a richly painted window, and tracing out the golden and crimson images across the floor. But that was in the old land. Prithee, young one, who art thou, and what has ailed thy mother to bedizen thee in this strange fashion? Art thou a Christian child,--ha? Dost know thy catechism? Or art thou one of those naughty elfs or fairies, whom we thought to have left behind us, with other relics of Papistry, in merry old England?" "I am mother's child," answered the scarlet vision, "and my name is Pearl!" "Pearl?--Ruby, rather!--or Coral!--or Red Rose, at the very least, judging from thy hue!" responded the old minister, putting forth his hand in a vain attempt to pat little Pearl on the cheek. "But where is this mother of thine? Ah! I see," he added; and, turning to Governor Bellingham, whispered,--"This is the selfsame child of whom we have held speech together; and behold here the unhappy woman, Hester Prynne, her mother!" "Sayest thou so?" cried the Governor. "Nay, we might have judged that such a child's mother must needs be a scarlet woman, and a worthy type of her of Babylon! But she comes at a good time; and we will look into this matter forthwith." Governor Bellingham stepped through the window into the hall, followed by his three guests. "Hester Prynne," said he, fixing his naturally stern regard on the wearer of the scarlet letter, "there hath been much question concerning thee, of late. The point

hath been weightily discussed, whether we, that are of authority and influence, do well discharge our consciences by trusting an immortal soul, such as there is in yonder child, to the guidance of one who hath stumbled and fallen, amid the pitfalls of this world. Speak thou, the child's own mother! Were it not, thinkest thou, for thy little one's temporal and eternal welfare, that she be taken out of thy charge, and clad soberly, and disciplined strictly, and instructed in the truths of heaven and earth? What canst thou do for the child, in this kind?" "I can teach my little Pearl what I have learned from this!" answered Hester Prynne, laying her finger on the red token. "Woman, it is thy badge of shame!" replied the stern magistrate. "It is because of the stain which that letter indicates, that we would transfer thy child to other hands." "Nevertheless," said the mother calmly, though growing more pale, "this badge hath taught me,--it daily teaches me,--it is teaching me at this moment,--lessons whereof my child may be the wiser and better, albeit they can profit nothing to myself." "We will judge warily," said Bellingham, "and look well what we are about to do. Good Master Wilson, I pray you, examine this Pearl,--since that is her name,--and see whether she hath had such Christian nurture as befits a child of her age." The old minister seated himself in an arm-chair, and made an effort to draw Pearl betwixt his knees. But the child, unaccustomed to the touch or familiarity of any but her mother, escaped through the open window and stood on the upper step, looking like a wild, tropical bird, of rich plumage, ready to take flight into the upper air. Mr. Wilson, not a little astonished at this outbreak,--for he was a grandfatherly sort of personage, and usually a vast favorite with children,-essayed, however, to proceed with the examination. "Pearl," said he, with great solemnity, "thou must take heed to instruction, that so, in due season, thou mayest wear in thy bosom the pearl of great price. Canst thou tell me, my child, who made thee?" Now Pearl knew well enough who made her; for Hester Prynne, the daughter of a pious home, very soon after her talk with the child about her Heavenly Father, had begun to inform her of those truths which the human spirit, at whatever stage of

immaturity, imbibes with such eager interest. Pearl, therefore, so large were the attainments of her three years' lifetime, could have borne a fair examination in the New England Primer, or the first column of the Westminster Catechism, although unacquainted with the outward form of either of those celebrated works. But that perversity, which all children have more or less of, and of which little Pearl had a tenfold portion, now, at the most inopportune moment, took thorough possession of her, and closed her lips, or impelled her to speak words amiss. After putting her finger in her mouth, with many ungracious refusals to answer good Mr. Wilson's question, the child finally announced that she had not been made at all, but had been plucked by her mother off the bush of wild roses, that grew by the prison-door. This fantasy was probably suggested by the near proximity of the Governor's red roses, as Pearl stood outside of the window; together with her recollection of the prison rose-bush, which she had passed in coming hither. Old Roger Chillingworth, with a smile on his face, whispered something in the young clergyman's ear. Hester Prynne looked at the man of skill, and even then, with her fate hanging in the balance, was startled to perceive what a change had come over his features,--how much uglier they were,--how his dark complexion seemed to have grown duskier, and his figure more misshapen,--since the days when she had familiarly known him. She met his eyes for an instant, but was immediately constrained to give all her attention to the scene now going forward. "This is awful!" cried the Governor, slowly recovering from the astonishment into which Pearl's response had thrown him. "Here is a child of three years old, and she cannot tell who made her! Without question, she is equally in the dark as to her soul, its present depravity, and future destiny! Methinks, gentlemen, we need inquire no further." Hester caught hold of Pearl, and drew her forcibly into her arms, confronting the old Puritan magistrate with almost a fierce expression. Alone in the world, cast off by it, and with this sole treasure to keep her heart alive, she felt that she possessed indefeasible rights against the world, and was ready to defend them to the death. "God gave me the child!" cried she. "He gave her, in requital of all things else, which ye had taken from me. She is my happiness!--she is my torture, none the less! Pearl keeps me here in life! Pearl punishes me, too! See ye not, she is the

scarlet letter, only capable of being loved, and so endowed with a million-fold the power of retribution for my sin? Ye shall not take her! I will die first!" "My poor woman," said the not unkind old minister, "the child shall be well cared for!--far better than thou canst do it." "God gave her into my keeping," repeated Hester Prynne, raising her voice almost to a shriek. "I will not give her up!"--And here by a sudden impulse, she turned to the young clergyman, Mr. Dimmesdale, at whom, up to this moment, she had seemed hardly so much as once to direct her eyes.--"Speak thou for me!" cried she. "Thou wast my pastor, and hadst charge of my soul, and knowest me better than these men can. I will not lose the child! Speak for me! Thou knowest,--for thou hast sympathies which these men lack!--thou knowest what is in my heart, and what are a mother's rights, and how much the stronger they are, when that mother has but her child and the scarlet letter! Look thou to it! I will not lose the child! Look to it!" At this wild and singular appeal, which indicated that Hester Prynne's situation had provoked her to little less than madness, the young minister at once came forward, pale, and holding his hand over his heart, as was his custom whenever his peculiarly nervous temperament was thrown into agitation. He looked now more careworn and emaciated than as we described him at the scene of Hester's public ignominy; and whether it were his failing health, or whatever the cause might be, his large dark eyes had a world of pain in their troubled and melancholy depth. "There is truth in what she says," began the minister, with a voice sweet, tremulous, but powerful, insomuch that the hall rechoed, and the hollow armor rang with it--"truth in what Hester says, and in the feeling which inspires her! God gave her the child, and gave her, too, an instinctive knowledge of its nature and requirements,--both seemingly so peculiar,--which no other mortal being can possess. And, moreover, is there not a quality of awful sacredness in the relation between this mother and this child?" "Ay!--how is that, good Master Dimmesdale?" interrupted the Governor. "Make that plain, I pray you!" "It must be even so," resumed the minister. "For, if we deem it otherwise, do we not thereby say that the Heavenly Father, the Creator of all flesh, hath lightly recognized a deed of sin, and made of no account the distinction between

unhallowed lust and holy love? This child of its father's guilt and its mother's shame has come from the hand of God, to work in many ways upon her heart, who pleads so earnestly, and with such bitterness of spirit, the right to keep her. It was meant for a blessing; for the one blessing of her life! It was meant, doubtless, as the mother herself hath told us, for a retribution too; a torture, to be felt at many an unthought of moment; a pang, a sting, an ever-recurring agony, in the midst of a troubled joy! Hath she not expressed this thought in the garb of the poor child, so forcibly reminding us of that red symbol which sears her bosom?" "Well said, again!" cried good Mr. Wilson. "I feared the woman had no better thought than to make a mountebank of her child!" "O, not so!--not so!" continued Mr. Dimmesdale. "She recognizes, believe me, the solemn miracle which God hath wrought, in the existence of that child. And may she feel, too,--what, methinks, is the very truth,--that this boon was meant, above all things else, to keep the mother's soul alive, and to preserve her from blacker depths of sin into which Satan might else have sought to plunge her! Therefore it is good for this poor, sinful woman that she hath an infant immortality, a being capable of eternal joy or sorrow, confided to her care,--to be trained up by her to righteousness,--to remind her, at every moment, of her fall,--but yet to teach her, as it were by the Creator's sacred pledge, that, if she bring the child to heaven, the child also will bring its parent thither! Herein is the sinful mother happier than the sinful father. For Hester Prynne's sake, then, and no less for the poor child's sake, let us leave them as Providence hath seen fit to place them!" "You speak, my friend, with a strange earnestness," said old Roger Chillingworth, smiling at him. "And there is weighty import in what my young brother hath spoken," added the Reverend Mr. Wilson. "What say you, worshipful Master Bellingham? Hath he not pleaded well for the poor woman?" "Indeed hath he," answered the magistrate, "and hath adduced such arguments, that we will even leave the matter as it now stands; so long, at least, as there shall be no further scandal in the woman. Care must be had, nevertheless, to put the child to due and stated examination in the catechism at thy hands or Master Dimmesdale's. Moreover, at a proper season, the tithing-men must take heed that she go both to school and to meeting."

The young minister, on ceasing to speak, had withdrawn a few steps from the group, and stood with his face partially concealed in the heavy folds of the window-curtain; while the shadow of his figure, which the sunlight cast upon the floor, was tremulous with the vehemence of his appeal. Pearl, that wild and flighty little elf, stole softly towards him, and, taking his hand in the grasp of both her own, laid her cheek against it; a caress so tender, and withal so unobtrusive, that her mother, who was looking on, asked herself,--"Is that my Pearl?" Yet she knew that there was love in the child's heart, although it mostly revealed itself in passion, and hardly twice in her lifetime had been softened by such gentleness as now. The minister,--for, save the long-sought regards of woman, nothing is sweeter than these marks of childish preference, accorded spontaneously by a spiritual instinct, and therefore seeming to imply in us something truly worthy to be loved,--the minister looked round, laid his hand on the child's head, hesitated an instant, and then kissed her brow. Little Pearl's unwonted mood of sentiment lasted no longer; she laughed, and went capering down the hall, so airily, that old Mr. Wilson raised a question whether even her tiptoes touched the floor. "The little baggage hath witchcraft in her, I profess," said he to Mr. Dimmesdale. "She needs no old woman's broomstick to fly withal!" "A strange child!" remarked old Roger Chillingworth. "It is easy to see the mother's part in her. Would it be beyond a philosopher's research, think ye, gentlemen, to analyze that child's nature, and, from its make and mould, to give a shrewd guess at the father?" "Nay; it would be sinful, in such a question, to follow the clew of profane philosophy," said Mr. Wilson. "Better to fast and pray upon it; and still better, it may be, to leave the mystery as we find it, unless Providence reveal it of its own accord. Thereby, every good Christian man hath a title to show a father's kindness towards the poor, deserted babe." The affair being so satisfactorily concluded, Hester Prynne, with Pearl, departed from the house. As they descended the steps, it is averred that the lattice of a chamber-window was thrown open, and forth into the sunny day was thrust the face of Mistress Hibbins, Governor Bellingham's bitter-tempered sister, and the same who, a few years later, was executed as a witch.

"Hist, hist!" said she, while her ill-omened physiognomy seemed to cast a shadow over the cheerful newness of the house. "Wilt thou go with us to-night? There will be a merry company in the forest; and I wellnigh promised the Black Man that comely Hester Prynne should make one." "Make my excuse to him, so please you!" answered Hester, with a triumphant smile. "I must tarry at home, and keep watch over my little Pearl. Had they taken her from me, I would willingly have gone with thee into the forest, and signed my name in the Black Man's book too, and that with mine own blood!" "We shall have thee there anon!" said the witch-lady, frowning, as she drew back her head. But here--if we suppose this interview betwixt Mistress Hibbins and Hester Prynne to be authentic, and not a parable--was already an illustration of the young minister's argument against sundering the relation of a fallen mother to the offspring of her frailty. Even thus early had the child saved her from Satan's snare.

Chapter 9 - The Leech Under the appellation of Roger Chillingworth, the reader will remember, was hidden another name, which its former wearer had resolved should never more be spoken. It has been related, how, in the crowd that witnessed Hester Prynne's ignominious exposure, stood a man, elderly, travel-worn, who, just emerging from the perilous wilderness, beheld the woman, in whom he hoped to find embodied the warmth and cheerfulness of home, set up as a type of sin before the people. Her matronly fame was trodden under all men's feet. Infamy was babbling around her in the public market-place. For her kindred, should the tidings ever reach them, and for the companions of her unspotted life, there remained nothing but the contagion of her dishonor; which would not fail to be distributed in strict accordance and proportion with the intimacy and sacredness of their previous relationship. Then why--since the choice was with himself--should the individual, whose connection with the fallen woman had been the most intimate and sacred of them all, come forward to vindicate his claim to an inheritance so little desirable?

He resolved not to be pilloried beside her on her pedestal of shame. Unknown to all but Hester Prynne, and possessing the lock and key of her silence, he chose to withdraw his name from the roll of mankind, and, as regarded his former ties and interest, to vanish out of life as completely as if he indeed lay at the bottom of the ocean, whither rumor had long ago consigned him. This purpose once effected, new interests would immediately spring up, and likewise a new purpose; dark, it is true, if not guilty, but of force enough to engage the full strength of his faculties. In pursuance of this resolve, he took up his residence in the Puritan town, as Roger Chillingworth, without other introduction than the learning and intelligence of which he possessed more than a common measure. As his studies, at a previous period of his life, had made him extensively acquainted with the medical science of the day, it was as a physician that he presented himself, and as such was cordially received. Skilful men, of the medical and chirurgical profession, were of rare occurrence in the colony. They seldom, it would appear, partook of the religious zeal that brought other emigrants across the Atlantic. In their researches into the human frame, it may be that the higher and more subtile faculties of such men were materialized, and that they lost the spiritual view of existence amid the intricacies of that wondrous mechanism, which seemed to involve art enough to comprise all of life within itself. At all events, the health of the good town of Boston, so far as medicine had aught to do with it, had hitherto lain in the guardianship of an aged deacon and apothecary, whose piety and godly deportment were stronger testimonials in his favor, than any that he could have produced in the shape of a diploma. The only surgeon was one who combined the occasional exercise of that noble art with the daily and habitual flourish of a razor. To such a professional body Roger Chillingworth was a brilliant acquisition. He soon manifested his familiarity with the ponderous and imposing machinery of antique physic; in which every remedy contained a multitude of far-fetched and heterogeneous ingredients, as elaborately compounded as if the proposed result had been the Elixir of Life. In his Indian captivity, moreover, he had gained much knowledge of the properties of native herbs and roots; nor did he conceal from his patients, that these simple medicines, Nature's boon to the untutored savage, had quite as large a share of his own confidence as the European pharmacopoeia, which so many learned doctors had spent centuries in elaborating.

This learned stranger was exemplary, as regarded at least the outward forms of a religious life, and, early after his arrival, had chosen for his spiritual guide the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale. The young divine, whose scholar-like renown still lived in Oxford, was considered by his more fervent admirers as little less than a heaven-ordained apostle, destined, should he live and labor for the ordinary term of life, to do as great deeds for the now feeble New England Church, as the early Fathers had achieved for the infancy of the Christian faith. About this period, however, the health of Mr. Dimmesdale had evidently begun to fail. By those best acquainted with his habits, the paleness of the young minister's cheek was accounted for by his too earnest devotion to study, his scrupulous fulfilment of parochial duty, and, more than all, by the fasts and vigils of which he made a frequent practice, in order to keep the grossness of this earthly state from clogging and obscuring his spiritual lamp. Some declared, that, if Mr. Dimmesdale were really going to die, it was cause enough, that the world was not worthy to be any longer trodden by his feet. He himself, on the other hand, with characteristic humility, avowed his belief that if Providence should see fit to remove him, it would be because of his own unworthiness to perform its humblest mission here on earth. With all this difference of opinion as to the cause of his decline, there could be no question of the fact. His form grew emaciated; his voice, though still rich and sweet, had a certain melancholy prophecy of decay in it; he was often observed, on any slight alarm or other sudden accident, to put his hand over his heart, with first a flush and then a paleness, indicative of pain. Such was the young clergyman's condition, and so imminent the prospect that his dawning light would be extinguished, all untimely, when Roger Chillingworth made his advent to the town. His first entry on the scene, few people could tell whence, dropping down, as it were, out of the sky, or starting from the nether earth, had an aspect of mystery, which was easily heightened to the miraculous. He was now known to be a man of skill; it was observed that he gathered herbs, and the blossoms of wild-flowers, and dug up roots and plucked off twigs from the forest-trees, like one acquainted with hidden virtues in what was valueless to common eyes. He was heard to speak of Sir Kenelm Digby, and other famous men,--whose scientific attainments were esteemed hardly less than supernatural,-as having been his correspondents or associates. Why, with such rank in the learned world, had he come hither? What could he, whose sphere was in great

cities, be seeking in the wilderness? In answer to this query, a rumor gained ground,--and, however absurd, was entertained by some very sensible people,-that Heaven had wrought an absolute miracle, by transporting an eminent Doctor of Physic, from a German university bodily through the air, and setting him down at the door of Mr. Dimmesdale's study! Individuals of wiser faith, indeed, who knew that Heaven promotes its purposes without aiming at the stage-effect of what is called miraculous interposition, were inclined to see a providential hand in Roger Chillingworth's so opportune arrival. This idea was countenanced by the strong interest which the physician ever manifested in the young clergyman; he attached himself to him as a parishioner, and sought to win a friendly regard and confidence from his naturally reserved sensibility. He expressed great alarm at his pastor's state of health, but was anxious to attempt the cure, and, if early undertaken, seemed not despondent of a favorable result. The elders, the deacons, the motherly dames, and the young and fair maidens, of Mr. Dimmesdale's flock, were alike importunate that he should make trial of the physician's frankly offered skill. Mr. Dimmesdale gently repelled their entreaties. "I need no medicine," said he. But how could the young minister say so, when, with every successive Sabbath, his cheek was paler and thinner, and his voice more tremulous than before,--when it had now become a constant habit, rather than a casual gesture, to press his hand over his heart? Was he weary of his labors? Did he wish to die? These questions were solemnly propounded to Mr. Dimmesdale by the elder ministers of Boston and the deacons of his church, who, to use their own phrase, "dealt with him," on the sin of rejecting the aid which Providence so manifestly held out. He listened in silence, and finally promised to confer with the physician. "Were it God's will," said the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, when, in fulfilment of this pledge, he requested old Roger Chillingworth's professional advice, "I could be well content, that my labors, and my sorrows, and my sins, and my pains, should shortly end with me, and what is earthly of them be buried in my grave, and the spiritual go with me to my eternal state, rather than that you should put your skill to the proof in my behalf."

"Ah," replied Roger Chillingworth, with that quietness which, whether imposed or natural, marked all his deportment, "it is thus that a young clergyman is apt to speak. Youthful men, not having taken a deep root, give up their hold of life so easily! And saintly men, who walk with God on earth, would fain be away, to walk with him on the golden pavements of the New Jerusalem." "Nay," rejoined the young minister, putting his hand to his heart, with a flush of pain flitting over his brow, "were I worthier to walk there, I could be better content to toil here." "Good men ever interpret themselves too meanly," said the physician. In this manner, the mysterious old Roger Chillingworth became the medical adviser of the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale. As not only the disease interested the physician, but he was strongly moved to look into the character and qualities of the patient, these two men, so different in age, came gradually to spend much time together. For the sake of the minister's health, and to enable the leech to gather plants with healing balm in them, they took long walks on the seashore, or in the forest; mingling various talk with the plash and murmur of the waves, and the solemn wind-anthem among the tree-tops. Often, likewise, one was the guest of the other, in his place of study and retirement. There was a fascination for the minister in the company of the man of science, in whom he recognized an intellectual cultivation of no moderate depth or scope; together with a range and freedom of ideas, that he would have vainly looked for among the members of his own profession. In truth, he was startled, if not shocked, to find this attribute in the physician. Mr. Dimmesdale was a true priest, a true religionist, with the reverential sentiment largely developed, and an order of mind that impelled itself powerfully along the track of a creed, and wore its passage continually deeper with the lapse of time. In no state of society would he have been what is called a man of liberal views; it would always be essential to his peace to feel the pressure of a faith about him, supporting, while it confined him within its iron framework. Not the less, however, though with a tremulous enjoyment, did he feel the occasional relief of looking at the universe through the medium of another kind of intellect than those with which he habitually held converse. It was as if a window were thrown open, admitting a freer atmosphere into the close and stifled study, where his life was wasting itself away, amid lamp-light, or obstructed day-beams, and the

musty fragrance, be it sensual or moral, that exhales from books. But the air was too fresh and chill to be long breathed, with comfort. So the minister, and the physician with him, withdrew again within the limits of what their church defined as orthodox. Thus Roger Chillingworth scrutinized his patient carefully, both as he saw him in his ordinary life, keeping an accustomed pathway in the range of thoughts familiar to him, and as he appeared when thrown amidst other moral scenery, the novelty of which might call out something new to the surface of his character. He deemed it essential, it would seem, to know the man, before attempting to do him good. Wherever there is a heart and an intellect, the diseases of the physical frame are tinged with the peculiarities of these. In Arthur Dimmesdale, thought and imagination were so active, and sensibility so intense, that the bodily infirmity would be likely to have its groundwork there. So Roger Chillingworth--the man of skill, the kind and friendly physician--strove to go deep into his patient's bosom, delving among his principles, prying into his recollections, and probing every thing with a cautious touch, like a treasure-seeker in a dark cavern. Few secrets can escape an investigator, who has opportunity and license to undertake such a quest, and skill to follow it up. A man burdened with a secret should especially avoid the intimacy of his physician. If the latter possess native sagacity, and a nameless something more,--let us call it intuition; if he show no intrusive egotism, nor disagreeably prominent characteristics of his own; if he have the power, which must be born with him, to bring his mind into such affinity with his patient's, that this last shall unawares have spoken what he imagines himself only to have thought; if such revelations be received without tumult, and acknowledged not so often by an uttered sympathy, as by silence, an inarticulate breath, and here and there a word, to indicate that all is understood; if, to these qualifications of a confidant be joined the advantages afforded by his recognized character as a physician;--then, at some inevitable moment, will the soul of the sufferer be dissolved, and flow forth in a dark, but transparent stream, bringing all its mysteries into the daylight. Roger Chillingworth possessed all, or most, of the attributes above enumerated. Nevertheless, time went on; a kind of intimacy, as we have said, grew up between these two cultivated minds, which had as wide a field as the whole sphere of

human thought and study, to meet upon; they discussed every topic of ethics and religion, of public affairs, and private character; they talked much, on both sides, of matters that seemed personal to themselves; and yet no secret, such as the physician fancied must exist there, ever stole out of the minister's consciousness into his companion's ear. The latter had his suspicions, indeed, that even the nature of Mr. Dimmesdale's bodily disease had never fairly been revealed to him. It was a strange reserve! After a time, at a hint from Roger Chillingworth, the friends of Mr. Dimmesdale effected an arrangement by which the two were lodged in the same house; so that every ebb and flow of the minister's life-tide might pass under the eye of his anxious and attached physician. There was much joy throughout the town, when this greatly desirable object was attained. It was held to be the best possible measure for the young clergyman's welfare; unless, indeed, as often urged by such as felt authorized to do so, he had selected some one of the many blooming damsels, spiritually devoted to him, to become his devoted wife. This latter step, however, there was no present prospect that Arthur Dimmesdale would be prevailed upon to take; he rejected all suggestions of the kind, as if priestly celibacy were one of his articles of church-discipline. Doomed by his own choice, therefore, as Mr. Dimmesdale so evidently was, to eat his unsavory morsel always at another's board, and endure the life-long chill which must be his lot who seeks to warm himself only at another's fireside, it truly seemed that this sagacious, experienced, benevolent, old physician, with his concord of paternal and reverential love for the young pastor, was the very man, of all mankind, to be constantly within reach of his voice. The new abode of the two friends was with a pious widow, of good social rank, who dwelt in a house covering pretty nearly the site on which the venerable structure of King's Chapel has since been built. It had the grave-yard, originally Isaac Johnson's home-field, on one side, and so was well adapted to call up serious reflections, suited to their respective employments, in both minister and man of physic. The motherly care of the good widow assigned to Mr. Dimmesdale a front apartment, with a sunny exposure, and heavy window-curtains to create a noontide shadow, when desirable. The walls were hung round with tapestry, said to be from the Gobelin looms, and, at all events, representing the Scriptural story of David

and Bathsheba, and Nathan the Prophet, in colors still unfaded, but which made the fair woman of the scene almost as grimly picturesque as the woe-denouncing seer. Here, the pale clergyman piled up his library, rich with parchment-bound folios of the Fathers, and the lore of Rabbis, and monkish erudition, of which the Protestant divines, even while they vilified and decried that class of writers, were yet constrained often to avail themselves. On the other side of the house, old Roger Chillingworth arranged his study and laboratory; not such as a modern man of science would reckon even tolerably complete, but provided with a distilling apparatus, and the means of compounding drugs and chemicals, which the practised alchemist knew well how to turn to purpose. With such commodiousness of situation, these two learned persons sat themselves down, each in his own domain, yet familiarly passing from one apartment to the other, and bestowing a mutual and not incurious inspection into one another's business. And the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale's best discerning friends, as we have intimated, very reasonably imagined that the hand of Providence had done all this, for the purpose--besought in so many public, and domestic, and secret prayers--of restoring the young minister to health. But--it must now be said--another portion of the community had latterly begun to take its own view of the relation betwixt Mr. Dimmesdale and the mysterious old physician. When an uninstructed multitude attempts to see with its eyes, it is exceedingly apt to be deceived. When, however, it forms its judgment, as it usually does, on the intuitions of its great and warm heart, the conclusions thus attained are often so profound and so unerring, as to possess the character of truths supernaturally revealed. The people, in the case of which we speak, could justify its prejudice against Roger Chillingworth by no fact or argument worthy of serious refutation. There was an aged handicraftsman, it is true, who had been a citizen of London at the period of Sir Thomas Overbury's murder, now some thirty years agone; he testified to having seen the physician, under some other name, which the narrator of the story had now forgotten, in company with Doctor Forman, the famous old conjurer, who was implicated in the affair of Overbury. Two or three individuals hinted, that the man of skill, during his Indian captivity, had enlarged his medical attainments by joining in the incantations of the savage priests; who were universally acknowledged to be powerful enchanters, often performing seemingly miraculous cures by their skill in the black art. A large number--and many of these were

persons of such sober sense and practical observation, that their opinions would have been valuable, in other matters--affirmed that Roger Chillingworth's aspect had undergone a remarkable change while he had dwelt in town, and especially since his abode with Mr. Dimmesdale. At first, his expression had been calm, meditative, scholar-like. Now, there was something ugly and evil in his face, which they had not previously noticed, and which grew still the more obvious to sight, the oftener they looked upon him. According to the vulgar idea, the fire in his laboratory had been brought from the lower regions, and was fed with infernal fuel; and so, as might be expected, his visage was getting sooty with the smoke. To sum up the matter, it grew to be a widely diffused opinion, that the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, like many other personages of especial sanctity, in all ages of the Christian world, was haunted either by Satan himself, or Satan's emissary, in the guise of old Roger Chillingworth. This diabolical agent had the Divine permission, for a season, to burrow into the clergyman's intimacy, and plot against his soul. No sensible man, it was confessed, could doubt on which side the victory would turn. The people looked, with an unshaken hope, to see the minister come forth out of the conflict, transfigured with the glory which he would unquestionably win. Meanwhile, nevertheless, it was sad to think of the perchance mortal agony through which he must struggle towards his triumph. Alas, to judge from the gloom and terror in the depths of the poor minister's eyes, the battle was a sore one, and the victory any thing but secure!

Chapter 10 - The Leech and His Patient Old Roger Chillingworth, throughout life, had been calm in temperament, kindly, though not of warm affections, but ever, and in all his relations with the world, a pure and upright man. He had begun an investigation, as he imagined, with the severe and equal integrity of a judge, desirous only of truth, even as if the question involved no more than the air-drawn lines and figures of a geometrical problem, instead of human passions, and wrongs inflicted on himself. But, as he proceeded,

a terrible fascination, a kind of fierce, though still calm, necessity seized the old man within its gripe, and never set him free again, until he had done all its bidding. He now dug into the poor clergyman's heart, like a miner searching for gold; or, rather, like a sexton delving into a grave, possibly in quest of a jewel that had been buried on the dead man's bosom, but likely to find nothing save mortality and corruption. Alas for his own soul, if these were what he sought! Sometimes, a light glimmered out of the physician's eyes, burning blue and ominous, like the reflection of a furnace, or, let us say, like one of those gleams of ghastly fire that darted from Bunyan's awful door-way in the hill-side, and quivered on the pilgrim's face. The soil where this dark miner was working had perchance shown indications that encouraged him. "This man," said he, at one such moment, to himself, "pure as they deem him,--all spiritual as he seems,--hath inherited a strong animal nature from his father or his mother. Let us dig a little farther in the direction of this vein!" Then, after long search into the minister's dim interior, and turning over many precious materials, in the shape of high aspirations for the welfare of his race, warm love of souls, pure sentiments, natural piety, strengthened by thought and study, and illuminated by revelation,--all of which invaluable gold was perhaps no better than rubbish to the seeker,--he would turn back, discouraged, and begin his quest towards another point. He groped along as stealthily, with as cautious a tread, and as wary an outlook, as a thief entering a chamber where a man lies only half asleep,--or, it may be, broad awake,--with purpose to steal the very treasure which this man guards as the apple of his eye. In spite of his premeditated carefulness, the floor would now and then creak; his garments would rustle; the shadow of his presence, in a forbidden proximity, would be thrown across his victim. In other words, Mr. Dimmesdale, whose sensibility of nerve often produced the effect of spiritual intuition, would become vaguely aware that something inimical to his peace had thrust itself into relation with him. But Old Roger Chillingworth, too, had perceptions that were almost intuitive; and when the minister threw his startled eyes towards him, there the physician sat; his kind, watchful, sympathizing, but never intrusive friend. Yet Mr. Dimmesdale would perhaps have seen this individual's character more perfectly, if a certain morbidness, to which sick hearts are liable, had not rendered

him suspicious of all mankind. Trusting no man as his friend, he could not recognize his enemy when the latter actually appeared. He therefore still kept up a familiar intercourse with him, daily receiving the old physician in his study; or visiting the laboratory, and, for recreation's sake, watching the processes by which weeds were converted into drugs of potency. One day, leaning his forehead on his hand, and his elbow on the sill of the open window, that looked towards the grave-yard, he talked with Roger Chillingworth, while the old man was examining a bundle of unsightly plants. "Where," asked he, with a look askance at them,--for it was the clergyman's peculiarity that he seldom, now-a-days, looked straightforth at any object, whether human or inanimate,--"where, my kind doctor, did you gather those herbs, with such a dark, flabby leaf?" "Even in the grave-yard, here at hand," answered the physician, continuing his employment. "They are new to me. I found them growing on a grave, which bore no tombstone, no other memorial of the dead man, save these ugly weeds that have taken upon themselves to keep him in remembrance. They grew out of his heart, and typify, it may be, some hideous secret that was buried with him, and which he had done better to confess during his lifetime." "Perchance," said Mr. Dimmesdale, "he earnestly desired it, but could not." "And wherefore?" rejoined the physician. "Wherefore not; since all the powers of nature call so earnestly for the confession of sin, that these black weeds have sprung up out of a buried heart, to make manifest an outspoken crime?" "That, good Sir, is but a fantasy of yours," replied the minister. "There can be, if I forbode aright, no power, short of the Divine mercy, to disclose, whether by uttered words, or by type or emblem, the secrets that may be buried with a human heart. The heart, making itself guilty of such secrets, must perforce hold them, until the day when all hidden things shall be revealed. Nor have I so read or interpreted Holy Writ, as to understand that the disclosure of human thoughts and deeds, then to be made, is intended as a part of the retribution. That, surely, were a shallow view of it. No; these revelations, unless I greatly err, are meant merely to promote the intellectual satisfaction of all intelligent beings, who will stand waiting, on that day, to see the dark problem of this life made plain. A knowledge of men's hearts will be needful to the completest solution of that problem. And I

conceive, moreover, that the hearts holding such miserable secrets as you speak of will yield them up, at that last day, not with reluctance, but with a joy unutterable." "Then why not reveal them here?" asked Roger Chillingworth, glancing quietly aside at the minister. "Why should not the guilty ones sooner avail themselves of this unutterable solace?" "They mostly do," said the clergyman, griping hard at his breast, as if afflicted with an importunate throb of pain. "Many, many a poor soul hath given its confidence to me, not only on the death-bed, but while strong in life, and fair in reputation. And ever, after such an outpouring, O, what a relief have I witnessed in those sinful brethren! even as in one who at last draws free air, after long stifling with his own polluted breath. How can it be otherwise? Why should a wretched man, guilty, we will say, of murder, prefer to keep the dead corpse buried in his own heart, rather than fling it forth at once, and let the universe take care of it!" "Yet some men bury their secrets thus," observed the calm physician. "True; there are such men," answered Mr. Dimmesdale. "But, not to suggest more obvious reasons, it may be that they are kept silent by the very constitution of their nature. Or,--can we not suppose it?--guilty as they may be, retaining, nevertheless, a zeal for God's glory and man's welfare, they shrink from displaying themselves black and filthy in the view of men; because, thenceforward, no good can be achieved by them; no evil of the past be redeemed by better service. So, to their own unutterable torment, they go about among their fellow-creatures, looking pure as new-fallen snow; while their hearts are all speckled and spotted with iniquity of which they cannot rid themselves." "These men deceive themselves," said Roger Chillingworth, with somewhat more emphasis than usual, and making a slight gesture with his forefinger. "They fear to take up the shame that rightfully belongs to them. Their love for man, their zeal for God's service,--these holy impulses may or may not coexist in their hearts with the evil inmates to which their guilt has unbarred the door, and which must needs propagate a hellish breed within them. But, if they seek to glorify God, let them not lift heavenward their unclean hands! If they would serve their fellow-men, let them do it by making manifest the power and reality of conscience, in constraining them to penitential self-abasement! Wouldst thou have me to believe, O wise and

pious friend, that a false show can be better--can be more for God's glory, or man's welfare--than God's own truth? Trust me, such men deceive themselves!" "It may be so," said the young clergyman indifferently, as waiving a discussion that he considered irrelevant or unseasonable. He had a ready faculty, indeed, of escaping from any topic that agitated his too sensitive and nervous temperament.-"But, now, I would ask of my well-skilled physician, whether, in good sooth, he deems me to have profited by his kindly care of this weak frame of mine?" Before Roger Chillingworth could answer, they heard the clear, wild laughter of a young child's voice, proceeding from the adjacent burial-ground. Looking instinctively from the open window,--for it was summer-time,--the minister beheld Hester Prynne and little Pearl passing along the footpath that traversed the inclosure. Pearl looked as beautiful as the day, but was in one of those moods of perverse merriment which, whenever they occurred, seemed to remove her entirely out of the sphere of sympathy or human contact. She now skipped irreverently from one grave to another; until, coming to the broad, flat, armorial tombstone of a departed worthy,--perhaps of Isaac Johnson himself,--she began to dance upon it. In reply to her mother's command and entreaty that she would behave more decorously, little Pearl paused to gather the prickly burrs from a tall burdock, which grew beside the tomb. Taking a handful of these, she arranged them along the lines of the scarlet letter that decorated the maternal bosom, to which the burrs, as their nature was, tenaciously adhered. Hester did not pluck them off. Roger Chillingworth had by this time approached the window, and smiled grimly down. "There is no law, nor reverence for authority, no regard for human ordinances or opinions, right or wrong, mixed up with that child's composition," remarked he, as much to himself as to his companion. "I saw her, the other day, bespatter the Governor himself with water, at the cattle-trough in Spring Lane. What, in Heaven's name, is she? Is the imp altogether evil? Hath she affections? Hath she any discoverable principle of being?" "None,--save the freedom of a broken law," answered Mr. Dimmesdale, in a quiet way, as if he had been discussing the point within himself. "Whether capable of good, I know not."

The child probably overheard their voices; for, looking up to the window, with a bright, but naughty smile of mirth and intelligence, she threw one of the prickly burrs at the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale. The sensitive clergyman shrank, with nervous dread, from the light missile. Detecting his emotion, Pearl clapped her little hands in the most extravagant ecstasy. Hester Prynne, likewise, had involuntarily looked up; and all these four persons, old and young, regarded one another in silence, till the child laughed aloud, and shouted,--"Come away, mother! Come away, or yonder old Black Man will catch you! He hath got hold of the minister already. Come away, mother, or he will catch you! But he cannot catch little Pearl!" So she drew her mother away, skipping, dancing, and frisking fantastically among the hillocks of the dead people, like a creature that had nothing in common with a bygone and buried generation, nor owned herself akin to it. It was as if she had been made afresh, out of new elements, and must perforce be permitted to live her own life, and be a law unto herself, without her eccentricities being reckoned to her for a crime. "There goes a woman," resumed Roger Chillingworth, after a pause, "who, be her demerits what they may, hath none of that mystery of hidden sinfulness which you deem so grievous to be borne. Is Hester Prynne the less miserable, think you, for that scarlet letter on her breast?" "I do verily believe it," answered the clergyman. "Nevertheless, I cannot answer for her. There was a look of pain in her face, which I would gladly have been spared the sight of. But still, methinks, it must needs be better for the sufferer to be free to show his pain, as this poor woman Hester is, than to cover it all up in his heart." There was another pause; and the physician began anew to examine and arrange the plants which he had gathered. "You inquired of me, a little time agone," said he, at length, "my judgment as touching your health." "I did," answered the clergyman, "and would gladly learn it. Speak frankly, I pray you, be it for life or death."

"Freely, then, and plainly," said the physician, still busy with his plants, but keeping a wary eye on Mr. Dimmesdale, "the disorder is a strange one; not so much in itself, nor as outwardly manifested,--in so far, at least, as the symptoms have been laid open to my observation. Looking daily at you, my good Sir, and watching the tokens of your aspect, now for months gone by, I should deem you a man sore sick, it may be, yet not so sick but that an instructed and watchful physician might well hope to cure you. But--I know not what to say--the disease is what I seem to know, yet know it not." "You speak in riddles, learned Sir," said the pale minister, glancing aside out of the window. "Then, to speak more plainly," continued the physician, "and I crave pardon, Sir,-should it seem to require pardon,--for this needful plainness of my speech. Let me ask,--as your friend,--as one having charge, under Providence, of your life and physical well-being,--hath all the operations of this disorder been fairly laid open and recounted to me?" "How can you question it?" asked the minister. "Surely, it were child's play to call in a physician, and then hide the sore!" "You would tell me, then, that I know all?" said Roger Chillingworth, deliberately, and fixing an eye, bright with intense and concentrated intelligence, on the minister's face. "Be it so! But, again! He to whom only the outward and physical evil is laid open knoweth, oftentimes, but half the evil which he is called upon to cure. A bodily disease, which we look upon as whole and entire within itself, may, after all, be but a symptom of some ailment in the spiritual part. Your pardon, once again, good Sir, if my speech give the shadow of offence. You, Sir, of all men whom I have known, are he whose body is the closest conjoined, and imbued, and identified, so to speak, with the spirit whereof it is the instrument." "Then I need ask no further," said the clergyman, somewhat hastily rising from his chair. "You deal not, I take it, in medicine for the soul!" "Thus, a sickness," continued Roger Chillingworth, going on, in an unaltered tone, without heeding the interruption,--but standing up, and confronting the emaciated and white-cheeked minister with his low, dark, and misshapen figure,--"a sickness, a sore place, if we may so call it, in your spirit, hath immediately its appropriate manifestation in your bodily frame. Would you, therefore, that your physician heal

the bodily evil? How may this be, unless you first lay open to him the wound or trouble in your soul?" "No!--not to thee!--not to an earthly physician!" cried Mr. Dimmesdale, passionately, and turning his eyes, full and bright, and with a kind of fierceness, on old Roger Chillingworth. "Not to thee! But, if it be the soul's disease, then do I commit myself to the one Physician of the soul! He, if it stand with his good pleasure, can cure; or he can kill! Let him do with me as, in his justice and wisdom, he shall see good. But who art thou, that meddlest in this matter?--that dares thrust himself between the sufferer and his God?" With a frantic gesture, he rushed out of the room. "It is as well to have made this step," said Roger Chillingworth to himself, looking after the minister with a grave smile. "There is nothing lost. We shall be friends again anon. But see, now, how passion takes hold upon this man, and hurrieth him out of himself! As with one passion, so with another! He hath done a wild thing ere now, this pious Master Dimmesdale, in the hot passion of his heart!" It proved not difficult to restablish the intimacy of the two companions, on the same footing and in the same degree as heretofore. The young clergyman, after a few hours of privacy, was sensible that the disorder of his nerves had hurried him into an unseemly outbreak of temper, which there had been nothing in the physician's words to excuse or palliate. He marvelled, indeed, at the violence with which he had thrust back the kind old man, when merely proffering the advice which it was his duty to bestow, and which the minister himself had expressly sought. With these remorseful feelings, he lost no time in making the amplest apologies, and besought his friend still to continue the care, which, if not successful in restoring him to health, had, in all probability, been the means of prolonging his feeble existence to that hour. Roger Chillingworth readily assented, and went on with his medical supervision of the minister; doing his best for him, in all good faith, but always quitting the patient's apartment, at the close of the professional interview, with a mysterious and puzzled smile upon his lips. This expression was invisible in Mr. Dimmesdale's presence, but grew strongly evident as the physician crossed the threshold.

"A rare case!" he muttered. "I must needs look deeper into it. A strange sympathy betwixt soul and body! Were it only for the art's sake, I must search this matter to the bottom!" It came to pass, not long after the scene above recorded, that the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, at noonday, and entirely unawares, fell into a deep, deep slumber, sitting in his chair, with a large black-letter volume open before him on the table. It must have been a work of vast ability in the somniferous school of literature. The profound depth of the minister's repose was the more remarkable; inasmuch as he was one of those persons whose sleep, ordinarily, is as light, as fitful, and as easily scared away, as a small bird hopping on a twig. To such an unwonted remoteness, however, had his spirit now withdrawn into itself, that he stirred not in his chair, when old Roger Chillingworth, without any extraordinary precaution, came into the room. The physician advanced directly in front of his patient, laid his hand upon his bosom, and thrust aside the vestment, that, hitherto, had always covered it even from the professional eye. Then, indeed, Mr. Dimmesdale shuddered, and slightly stirred. After a brief pause, the physician turned away. But with what a wild look of wonder, joy, and horror! With what a ghastly rapture, as it were, too mighty to be expressed only by the eye and features, and therefore bursting forth through the whole ugliness of his figure, and making itself even riotously manifest by the extravagant gestures with which he threw up his arms towards the ceiling, and stamped his foot upon the floor! Had a man seen old Roger Chillingworth, at that moment of his ecstasy, he would have had no need to ask how Satan comports himself, when a precious human soul is lost to heaven, and won into his kingdom. But what distinguished the physician's ecstasy from Satan's was the trait of wonder in it!

Chapter 11 - The Interior of a Heart After the incident last described, the intercourse between the clergyman and the physician, though externally the same, was really of another character than it had previously been. The intellect of Roger Chillingworth had now a sufficiently plain path before it. It was not, indeed, precisely that which he had laid out for himself to tread. Calm, gentle, passionless, as he appeared, there was yet, we fear, a quiet depth of malice, hitherto latent, but active now, in this unfortunate old man, which led him to imagine a more intimate revenge than any mortal had ever wreaked upon an enemy. To make himself the one trusted friend, to whom should be confided all the fear, the remorse, the agony, the ineffectual repentance, the backward rush of sinful thoughts, expelled in vain! All that guilty sorrow, hidden from the world, whose great heart would have pitied and forgiven, to be revealed to him, the Pitiless, to him, the Unforgiving! All that dark treasure to be lavished on the very man, to whom nothing else could so adequately pay the debt of vengeance! The clergyman's shy and sensitive reserve had balked this scheme. Roger Chillingworth, however, was inclined to be hardly, if at all, less satisfied with the aspect of affairs, which Providence--using the avenger and his victim for its own purposes, and, perchance, pardoning, where it seemed most to punish--had substituted for his black devices. A revelation, he could almost say, had been granted to him. It mattered little, for his object, whether celestial, or from what other region. By its aid, in all the subsequent relations betwixt him and Mr. Dimmesdale, not merely the external presence, but the very inmost soul of the latter seemed to be brought out before his eyes, so that he could see and comprehend its every movement. He became, thenceforth, not a spectator only, but a chief actor, in the poor minister's interior world. He could play upon him as he chose. Would he arouse him with a throb of agony? The victim was for ever on the rack; it needed only to know the spring that controlled the engine;--and the physician knew it well! Would he startle him with sudden fear? As at the waving of a magician's wand, uprose a grisly phantom,--uprose a thousand phantoms,--in many shapes, of death, or more awful shame, all flocking round about the clergyman, and pointing with their fingers at his breast!

All this was accomplished with a subtlety so perfect, that the minister, though he had constantly a dim perception of some evil influence watching over him, could never gain a knowledge of its actual nature. True, he looked doubtfully, fearfully,-even, at times, with horror and the bitterness of hatred,--at the deformed figure of the old physician. His gestures, his gait, his grizzled beard, his slightest and most indifferent acts, the very fashion of his garments, were odious in the clergyman's sight; a token, implicitly to be relied on, of a deeper antipathy in the breast of the latter than he was willing to acknowledge to himself. For, as it was impossible to assign a reason for such distrust and abhorrence, so Mr. Dimmesdale, conscious that the poison of one morbid spot was infecting his heart's entire substance, attributed all his presentiments to no other cause. He took himself to task for his bad sympathies in reference to Roger Chillingworth, disregarded the lesson that he should have drawn from them, and did his best to root them out. Unable to accomplish this, he nevertheless, as a matter of principle, continued his habits of social familiarity with the old man, and thus gave him constant opportunities for perfecting the purpose to which--poor, forlorn creature that he was, and more wretched than his victim--the avenger had devoted himself. While thus suffering under bodily disease, and gnawed and tortured by some black trouble of the soul, and given over to the machinations of his deadliest enemy, the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale had achieved a brilliant popularity in his sacred office. He won it, indeed, in great part, by his sorrows. His intellectual gifts, his moral perceptions, his power of experiencing and communicating emotion, were kept in a state of preternatural activity by the prick and anguish of his daily life. His fame, though still on its upward slope, already overshadowed the soberer reputations of his fellow-clergymen, eminent as several of them were. There are scholars among them, who had spent more years in acquiring abstruse lore, connected with the divine profession, than Mr. Dimmesdale had lived; and who might well, therefore, be more profoundly versed in such solid and valuable attainments than their youthful brother. There were men, too, of a sturdier texture of mind than his, and endowed with a far greater share of shrewd, hard, iron, or granite understanding; which, duly mingled with a fair proportion of doctrinal ingredient, constitutes a highly respectable, efficacious, and unamiable variety of the clerical species. There were others, again, true saintly fathers, whose faculties had been elaborated by weary toil among their books, and by patient thought, and etherealized,

moreover, by spiritual communications with the better world, into which their purity of life had almost introduced these holy personages, with their garments of mortality still clinging to them. All that they lacked was the gift that descended upon the chosen disciples, at Pentecost, in tongues of flame; symbolizing, it would seem, not the power of speech in foreign and unknown languages, but that of addressing the whole human brotherhood in the heart's native language. These fathers, otherwise so apostolic, lacked Heaven's last and rarest attestation of their office, the Tongue of Flame. They would have vainly sought--had they ever dreamed of seeking--to express the highest truths through the humblest medium of familiar words and images. Their voices came down, afar and indistinctly, from the upper heights where they habitually dwelt. Not improbably, it was to this latter class of men that Mr. Dimmesdale, by many of his traits of character, naturally belonged. To their high mountain-peaks of faith and sanctity he would have climbed, had not the tendency been thwarted by the burden, whatever it might be, of crime or anguish, beneath which it was his doom to totter. It kept him down, on a level with the lowest; him, the man of ethereal attributes, whose voice the angels might else have listened to and answered! But this very burden it was, that gave him sympathies so intimate with the sinful brotherhood of mankind; so that his heart vibrated in unison with theirs, and received their pain into itself, and sent its own throb of pain through a thousand other hearts, in gushes of sad, persuasive eloquence. Oftenest persuasive, but sometimes terrible! The people knew not the power that moved them thus. They deemed the young clergyman a miracle of holiness. They fancied him the mouthpiece of Heaven's messages of wisdom, and rebuke, and love. In their eyes, the very ground on which he trod was sanctified. The virgins of his church grew pale around him, victims of a passion so imbued with religious sentiment that they imagined it to be all religion, and brought it openly, in their white bosoms, as their most acceptable sacrifice before the altar. The aged members of his flock, beholding Mr. Dimmesdale's frame so feeble, while they were themselves so rugged in their infirmity, believed that he would go heavenward before them, and enjoined it upon their children, that their old bones should be buried close to their young pastor's holy grave. And, all this time, perchance, when poor Mr. Dimmesdale was thinking of his grave, he questioned with himself whether the grass would ever grow on it, because an accursed thing must there be buried!

It is inconceivable, the agony with which this public veneration tortured him! It was his genuine impulse to adore the truth, and to reckon all things shadow-like, and utterly devoid of weight or value, that had not its divine essence as the life within their life. Then, what was he?--a substance?--or the dimmest of all shadows? He longed to speak out, from his own pulpit, at the full height of his voice, and tell the people what he was. "I, whom you behold in these black garments of the priesthood,--I, who ascend the sacred desk, and turn my pale face heavenward, taking upon myself to hold communion, in your behalf, with the Most High Omniscience,--I, in whose daily life you discern the sanctity of Enoch,-I, whose footsteps, as you suppose, leave a gleam along my earthly track, whereby the pilgrims that shall come after me may be guided to the regions of the blest,--I, who have laid the hand of baptism upon your children,--I, who have breathed the parting prayer over your dying friends, to whom the Amen sounded faintly from a world which they had quitted,--I, your pastor, whom you so reverence and trust, am utterly a pollution and a lie!" More than once, Mr. Dimmesdale had gone into the pulpit, with a purpose never to come down its steps, until he should have spoken words like the above. More than once, he had cleared his throat, and drawn in the long, deep, and tremulous breath, which, when sent forth again, would come burdened with the black secret of his soul. More than once--nay, more than a hundred times--he had actually spoken! Spoken! But how? He had told his hearers that he was altogether vile, a viler companion of the vilest, the worst of sinners, an abomination, a thing of unimaginable iniquity; and that the only wonder was, that they did not see his wretched body shrivelled up before their eyes, by the burning wrath of the Almighty! Could there be plainer speech than this? Would not the people start up in their seats, by a simultaneous impulse, and tear him down out of the pulpit which he defiled? Not so, indeed! They heard it all, and did but reverence him the more. They little guessed what deadly purport lurked in those self-condemning words. "The godly youth!" said they among themselves. "The saint on earth! Alas, if he discern such sinfulness in his own white soul, what horrid spectacle would he behold in thine or mine!" The minister well knew--subtle, but remorseful hypocrite that he was!--the light in which his vague confession would be viewed. He had striven to put a cheat upon himself by making the avowal of a guilty conscience, but had gained only one other sin, and a self-acknowledged shame,

without the momentary relief of being self-deceived. He had spoken the very truth, and transformed it into the veriest falsehood. And yet, by the constitution of his nature, he loved the truth, and loathed the lie, as few men ever did. Therefore, above all things else, he loathed his miserable self! His inward trouble drove him to practices, more in accordance with the old, corrupted faith of Rome, than with the better light of the church in which he had been born and bred. In Mr. Dimmesdale's secret closet, under lock and key, there was a bloody scourge. Oftentimes, this Protestant and Puritan divine had plied it on his own shoulders; laughing bitterly at himself the while, and smiting so much the more pitilessly, because of that bitter laugh. It was his custom, too, as it has been that of many other pious Puritans, to fast,--not, however, like them, in order to purify the body and render it the fitter medium of celestial illumination,--but rigorously, and until his knees trembled beneath him, as an act of penance. He kept vigils, likewise, night after night, sometimes in utter darkness; sometimes with a glimmering lamp; and sometimes, viewing his own face in a looking-glass, by the most powerful light which he could throw upon it. He thus typified the constant introspection wherewith he tortured, but could not purify, himself. In these lengthened vigils, his brain often reeled, and visions seemed to flit before him; perhaps seen doubtfully, and by a faint light of their own, in the remote dimness of the chamber, or more vividly, and close beside him, within the looking-glass. Now it was a herd of diabolic shapes, that grinned and mocked at the pale minister, and beckoned him away with them; now a group of shining angels, who flew upward heavily, as sorrow-laden, but grew more ethereal as they rose. Now came the dead friends of his youth, and his white-bearded father, with a saint-like frown, and his mother, turning her face away as she passed by. Ghost of a mother,--thinnest fantasy of a mother,--methinks she might yet have thrown a pitying glance towards her son! And now, through the chamber which these spectral thoughts had made so ghastly, glided Hester Prynne, leading along little Pearl, in her scarlet garb, and pointing her forefinger, first, at the scarlet letter on her bosom, and then at the clergyman's own breast. None of these visions ever quite deluded him. At any moment, by an effort of his will, he could discern substances through their misty lack of substance, and convince himself that they were not solid in their nature, like yonder table of

carved oak, or that big, square, leathern-bound and brazen-clasped volume of divinity. But, for all that, they were, in one sense, the truest and most substantial things which the poor minister now dealt with. It is the unspeakable misery of a life so false as his, that it steals the pith and substance out of whatever realities there are around us, and which were meant by Heaven to be the spirit's joy and nutriment. To the untrue man, the whole universe is false,--it is impalpable,--it shrinks to nothing within his grasp. And he himself, in so far as he shows himself in a false light, becomes a shadow, or, indeed, ceases to exist. The only truth, that continued to give Mr. Dimmesdale a real existence on this earth, was the anguish in his inmost soul, and the undissembled expression of it in his aspect. Had he once found power to smile, and wear a face of gayety, there would have been no such man! On one of those ugly nights, which we have faintly hinted at, but forborne to picture forth, the minister started from his chair. A new thought had struck him. There might be a moment's peace in it. Attiring himself with as much care as if it had been for public worship, and precisely in the same manner, he stole softly down the staircase, undid the door, and issued forth.

Chapter 12 - The Minister's Vigil Walking in the shadow of a dream, as it were, and perhaps actually under the influence of a species of somnambulism, Mr. Dimmesdale reached the spot, where, now so long since, Hester Prynne had lived through her first hour of public ignominy. The same platform or scaffold, black and weather-stained with the storm or sunshine of seven long years, and foot-worn, too, with the tread of many culprits who had since ascended it, remained standing beneath the balcony of the meeting-house. The minister went up the steps. It was an obscure night of early May. An unvaried pall of cloud muffled the whole expanse of sky from zenith to horizon. If the same multitude which had stood as eyewitnesses while Hester Prynne sustained her punishment could now have been

summoned forth, they would have discerned no face above the platform, nor hardly the outline of a human shape, in the dark gray of the midnight. But the town was all asleep. There was no peril of discovery. The minister might stand there, if it so pleased him, until morning should redden in the east, without other risk than that the dank and chill night-air would creep into his frame, and stiffen his joints with rheumatism, and clog his throat with catarrh and cough; thereby defrauding the expectant audience of to-morrow's prayer and sermon. No eye could see him, save that ever-wakeful one which had seen him in his closet, wielding the bloody scourge. Why, then, had he come hither? Was it but the mockery of penitence? A mockery, indeed, but in which his soul trifled with itself! A mockery at which angels blushed and wept, while fiends rejoiced, with jeering laughter! He had been driven hither by the impulse of that Remorse which dogged him everywhere, and whose own sister and closely linked companion was that Cowardice which invariably drew him back, with her tremulous gripe, just when the other impulse had hurried him to the verge of a disclosure. Poor, miserable man! what right had infirmity like his to burden itself with crime? Crime is for the iron-nerved, who have their choice either to endure it, or, if it press too hard, to exert their fierce and savage strength for a good purpose, and fling it off at once! This feeble and most sensitive of spirits could do neither, yet continually did one thing or another, which intertwined, in the same inextricable knot, the agony of heaven-defying guilt and vain repentance. And thus, while standing on the scaffold, in this vain show of expiation, Mr. Dimmesdale was overcome with a great horror of mind, as if the universe were gazing at a scarlet token on his naked breast, right over his heart. On that spot, in very truth, there was, and there had long been, the gnawing and poisonous tooth of bodily pain. Without any effort of his will, or power to restrain himself, he shrieked aloud; an outcry that went pealing through the night, and was beaten back from one house to another, and reverberated from the hills in the background; as if a company of devils, detecting so much misery and terror in it, had made a plaything of the sound, and were bandying it to and fro. "It is done!" muttered the minister, covering his face with his hands. "The whole town will awake, and hurry forth, and find me here!"

But it was not so. The shriek had perhaps sounded with a far greater power, to his own startled ears, than it actually possessed. The town did not awake; or, if it did, the drowsy slumberers mistook the cry either for something frightful in a dream, or for the noise of witches; whose voices, at that period, were often heard to pass over the settlements or lonely cottages, as they rode with Satan through the air. The clergyman, therefore, hearing no symptoms of disturbance, uncovered his eyes and looked about him. At one of the chamber-windows of Governor Bellingham's mansion, which stood at some distance, on the line of another street, he beheld the appearance of the old magistrate himself, with a lamp in his hand, a white night-cap on his head, and a long white gown enveloping his figure. He looked like a ghost, evoked unseasonably from the grave. The cry had evidently startled him. At another window of the same house, moreover, appeared old Mistress Hibbins, the Governor's sister, also with a lamp, which, even thus far off, revealed the expression of her sour and discontented face. She thrust forth her head from the lattice, and looked anxiously upward. Beyond the shadow of a doubt, this venerable witch-lady had heard Mr. Dimmesdale's outcry, and interpreted it, with its multitudinous echoes and reverberations, as the clamor of the fiends and night-hags, with whom she was well known to make excursions into the forest. Detecting the gleam of Governor Bellingham's lamp, the old lady quickly extinguished her own, and vanished. Possibly, she went up among the clouds. The minister saw nothing further of her motions. The magistrate, after a wary observation of the darkness--into which, nevertheless, he could see but little farther than he might into a mill-stone--retired from the window. The minister grew comparatively calm. His eyes, however, were soon greeted by a little, glimmering light, which, at first a long way off, was approaching up the street. It threw a gleam of recognition on here a post, and there a garden-fence, and here a latticed window-pane, and there a pump, with its full trough of water, and here, again, an arched door of oak, with an iron knocker, and a rough log for the door-step. The Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale noted all these minute particulars, even while firmly convinced that the doom of his existence was stealing onward, in the footsteps which he now heard; and that the gleam of the lantern would fall upon him, in a few moments more, and reveal his long-hidden secret. As the light drew

nearer, he beheld, within its illuminated circle, his brother clergyman,--or, to speak more accurately, his professional father, as well as highly valued friend,--the Reverend Mr. Wilson; who, as Mr. Dimmesdale now conjectured, had been praying at the bedside of some dying man. And so he had. The good old minister came freshly from the death-chamber of Governor Winthrop, who had passed from earth to heaven within that very hour. And now, surrounded, like the saintlike personages of olden times, with a radiant halo, that glorified him amid this gloomy night of sin,--as if the departed Governor had left him an inheritance of his glory, or as if he had caught upon himself the distant shine of the celestial city, while looking thitherward to see the triumphant pilgrim pass within its gates,-now, in short, good Father Wilson was moving homeward, aiding his footsteps with a lighted lantern! The glimmer of this luminary suggested the above conceits to Mr. Dimmesdale, who smiled,--nay, almost laughed at them,--and then wondered if he were going mad. As the Reverend Mr. Wilson passed beside the scaffold, closely muffling his Geneva cloak about him with one arm, and holding the lantern before his breast with the other, the minister could hardly restrain himself from speaking. "A good evening to you, venerable Father Wilson! Come up hither, I pray you, and pass a pleasant hour with me!" Good Heavens! Had Mr. Dimmesdale actually spoken? For one instant, he believed that these words had passed his lips. But they were uttered only within his imagination. The venerable Father Wilson continued to step slowly onward, looking carefully at the muddy pathway before his feet, and never once turning his head towards the guilty platform. When the light of the glimmering lantern had faded quite away, the minister discovered, by the faintness which came over him, that the last few moments had been a crisis of terrible anxiety; although his mind had made an involuntary effort to relieve itself by a kind of lurid playfulness. Shortly afterwards, the like grisly sense of the humorous again stole in among the solemn phantoms of his thought. He felt his limbs growing stiff with the unaccustomed chilliness of the night, and doubted whether he should be able to descend the steps of the scaffold. Morning would break, and find him there. The neighbourhood would begin to rouse itself. The earliest riser, coming forth in the dim twilight, would perceive a vaguely defined figure aloft on the place of shame;

and, half crazed betwixt alarm and curiosity, would go, knocking from door to door, summoning all the people to behold the ghost--as he needs must think it--of some defunct transgressor. A dusky tumult would flap its wings from one house to another. Then--the morning light still waxing stronger--old patriarchs would rise up in great haste, each in his flannel gown, and matronly dames, without pausing to put off their night-gear. The whole tribe of decorous personages, who had never heretofore been seen with a single hair of their heads awry, would start into public view, with the disorder of a nightmare in their aspects. Old Governor Bellingham would come grimly forth, with his King James's ruff fastened askew; and Mistress Hibbins, with some twigs of the forest clinging to her skirts, and looking sourer than ever, as having hardly got a wink of sleep after her night ride; and good Father Wilson, too, after spending half the night at a death-bed, and liking ill to be disturbed, thus early, out of his dreams about the glorified saints. Hither, likewise, would come the elders and deacons of Mr. Dimmesdale's church, and the young virgins who so idolized their minister, and had made a shrine for him in their white bosoms; which, now, by the by, in their hurry and confusion, they would scantly have given themselves time to cover with their kerchiefs. All people, in a word, would come stumbling over their thresholds, and turning up their amazed and horror-stricken visages around the scaffold. Whom would they discern there, with the red eastern light upon his brow? Whom, but the Reverend Arthur Dimmesdale, half frozen to death, overwhelmed with shame, and standing where Hester Prynne had stood! Carried away by the grotesque horror of this picture, the minister, unawares, and to his own infinite alarm, burst into a great peal of laughter. It was immediately responded to by a light, airy, childish laugh, in which, with a thrill of the heart,-but he knew not whether of exquisite pain, or pleasure as acute,--he recognized the tones of little Pearl. "Pearl! Little Pearl!" cried he, after a moment's pause; then, suppressing his voice,--"Hester! Hester Prynne! Are you there?" "Yes; it is Hester Prynne!" she replied, in a tone of surprise; and the minister heard her footsteps approaching from the sidewalk, along which she had been passing.-"It is I, and my little Pearl." "Whence come you, Hester?" asked the minister. "What sent you hither?"

"I have been watching at a death-bed," answered Hester Prynne;--"at Governor Winthrop's death-bed, and have taken his measure for a robe, and am now going homeward to my dwelling." "Come up hither, Hester, thou and little Pearl," said the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale. "Ye have both been here before, but I was not with you. Come up hither once again, and we will stand all three together!" She silently ascended the steps, and stood on the platform, holding little Pearl by the hand. The minister felt for the child's other hand, and took it. The moment that he did so, there came what seemed a tumultuous rush of new life, other life than his own, pouring like a torrent into his heart, and hurrying through all his veins, as if the mother and the child were communicating their vital warmth to his halftorpid system. The three formed an electric chain. "Minister!" whispered little Pearl. "What wouldst thou say, child?" asked Mr. Dimmesdale. "Wilt thou stand here with mother and me, to-morrow noontide?" inquired Pearl. "Nay; not so, my little Pearl!" answered the minister; for, with the new energy of the moment, all the dread of public exposure, that had so long been the anguish of his life, had returned upon him; and he was already trembling at the conjunction in which--with a strange joy, nevertheless--he now found himself. "Not so, my child. I shall, indeed, stand with thy mother and thee one other day, but not to-morrow!" Pearl laughed, and attempted to pull away her hand. But the minister held it fast. "A moment longer, my child!" said he. "But wilt thou promise," asked Pearl, "to take my hand, and mother's hand, tomorrow noontide?" "Not then, Pearl," said the minister, "but another time!" "And what other time?" persisted the child. "At the great judgment day!" whispered the minister,--and, strangely enough, the sense that he was a professional teacher of the truth impelled him to answer the child so. "Then, and there, before the judgment-seat, thy mother, and thou, and I, must stand together. But the daylight of this world shall not see our meeting!" Pearl laughed again.

But, before Mr. Dimmesdale had done speaking, a light gleamed far and wide over all the muffled sky. It was doubtless caused by one of those meteors, which the night-watcher may so often observe burning out to waste, in the vacant regions of the atmosphere. So powerful was its radiance, that it thoroughly illuminated the dense medium of cloud betwixt the sky and earth. The great vault brightened, like the dome of an immense lamp. It showed the familiar scene of the street, with the distinctness of mid-day, but also with the awfulness that is always imparted to familiar objects by an unaccustomed light. The wooden houses, with their jutting stories and quaint gable-peaks; the doorsteps and thresholds, with the early grass springing up about them; the garden-plots, black with freshly turned earth; the wheel-track, little worn, and, even in the market-place, margined with green on either side;--all were visible, but with a singularity of aspect that seemed to give another moral interpretation to the things of this world than they had ever borne before. And there stood the minister, with his hand over his heart; and Hester Prynne, with the embroidered letter glimmering on her bosom; and little Pearl, herself a symbol, and the connecting link between those two. They stood in the noon of that strange and solemn splendor, as if it were the light that is to reveal all secrets, and the daybreak that shall unite all who belong to one another. There was witchcraft in little Pearl's eyes; and her face, as she glanced upward at the minister, wore that naughty smile which made its expression frequently so elvish. She withdrew her hand from Mr. Dimmesdale's, and pointed across the street. But he clasped both his hands over his breast, and cast his eyes towards the zenith. Nothing was more common, in those days, than to interpret all meteoric appearances, and other natural phenomena, that occurred with less regularity than the rise and set of sun and moon, as so many revelations from a supernatural source. Thus, a blazing spear, a sword of flame, a bow, or a sheaf of arrows, seen in the midnight sky, prefigured Indian warfare. Pestilence was known to have been foreboded by a shower of crimson light. We doubt whether any marked event, for good or evil, ever befell New England, from its settlement down to Revolutionary times, of which the inhabitants had not been previously warned by some spectacle of this nature. Not seldom, it had been seen by multitudes. Oftener, however, its credibility rested on the faith of some lonely eyewitness, who beheld the wonder

through the colored, magnifying, and distorting medium of his imagination, and shaped it more distinctly in his after-thought. It was, indeed, a majestic idea, that the destiny of nations should be revealed, in these awful hieroglyphics, on the cope of heaven. A scroll so wide might not be deemed too expansive for Providence to write a people's doom upon. The belief was a favorite one with our forefathers, as betokening that their infant commonwealth was under a celestial guardianship of peculiar intimacy and strictness. But what shall we say, when an individual discovers a revelation, addressed to himself alone, on the same vast sheet of record! In such a case, it could only be the symptom of a highly disordered mental state, when a man, rendered morbidly self-contemplative by long, intense, and secret pain, had extended his egotism over the whole expanse of nature, until the firmament itself should appear no more than a fitting page for his soul's history and fate. We impute it, therefore, solely to the disease in his own eye and heart, that the minister, looking upward to the zenith, beheld there the appearance of an immense letter,--the letter A,--marked out in lines of dull red light. Not but the meteor may have shown itself at that point, burning duskily through a veil of cloud; but with no such shape as his guilty imagination gave it; or, at least, with so little definiteness, that another's guilt might have seen another symbol in it. There was a singular circumstance that characterized Mr. Dimmesdale's psychological state, at this moment. All the time that he gazed upward to the zenith, he was, nevertheless, perfectly aware that little Pearl was pointing her finger towards old Roger Chillingworth, who stood at no great distance from the scaffold. The minister appeared to see him, with the same glance that discerned the miraculous letter. To his features, as to all other objects, the meteoric light imparted a new expression; or it might well be that the physician was not careful then, as at all other times, to hide the malevolence with which he looked upon his victim. Certainly, if the meteor kindled up the sky, and disclosed the earth, with an awfulness that admonished Hester Prynne and the clergyman of the day of judgment, then might Roger Chillingworth have passed with them for the archfiend, standing there, with a smile and scowl, to claim his own. So vivid was the expression, or so intense the minister's perception of it, that it seemed still to

remain painted on the darkness, after the meteor had vanished, with an effect as if the street and all things else were at once annihilated. "Who is that man, Hester?" gasped Mr. Dimmesdale, overcome with terror. "I shiver at him! Dost thou know the man? I hate him, Hester!" She remembered her oath, and was silent. "I tell thee, my soul shivers at him," muttered the minister again. "Who is he? Who is he? Canst thou do nothing for me? I have a nameless horror of the man." "Minister," said little Pearl, "I can tell thee who he is!" "Quickly, then, child!" said the minister, bending his ear close to her lips. "Quickly!--and as low as thou canst whisper." Pearl mumbled something into his ear, that sounded, indeed, like human language, but was only such gibberish as children may be heard amusing themselves with, by the hour together. At all events, if it involved any secret information in regard to old Roger Chillingworth, it was in a tongue unknown to the erudite clergyman, and did but increase the bewilderment of his mind. The elvish child then laughed aloud. "Dost thou mock me now?" said the minister. "Thou wast not bold!--thou wast not true!" answered the child. "Thou wouldst not promise to take my hand, and mother's hand, to-morrow noontide!" "Worthy Sir," said the physician, who had now advanced to the foot of the platform. "Pious Master Dimmesdale! can this be you? Well, well, indeed! We men of study, whose heads are in our books, have need to be straitly looked after! We dream in our waking moments, and walk in our sleep. Come, good Sir, and my dear friend, I pray you, let me lead you home!" "How knewest thou that I was here?" asked the minister, fearfully. "Verily, and in good faith," answered Roger Chillingworth, "I knew nothing of the matter. I had spent the better part of the night at the bedside of the worshipful Governor Winthrop, doing what my poor skill might to give him ease. He going home to a better world, I, likewise, was on my way homeward, when this strange light shone out. Come with me, I beseech you, Reverend Sir; else you will be poorly able to do Sabbath duty to-morrow. Aha! see now, how they trouble the

brain,--these books!--these books! You should study less, good Sir, and take a little pastime; or these night-whimseys will grow upon you!" "I will go home with you," said Mr. Dimmesdale. With a chill despondency, like one awaking, all nerveless, from an ugly dream, he yielded himself to the physician, and was led away. The next day, however, being the Sabbath, he preached a discourse which was held to be the richest and most powerful, and the most replete with heavenly influences, that had ever proceeded from his lips. Souls, it is said, more souls than one, were brought to the truth by the efficacy of that sermon, and vowed within themselves to cherish a holy gratitude towards Mr. Dimmesdale throughout the long hereafter. But, as he came down the pulpit-steps, the gray-bearded sexton met him, holding up a black glove, which the minister recognized as his own. "It was found," said the sexton, "this morning, on the scaffold, where evil-doers are set up to public shame. Satan dropped it there, I take it, intending a scurrilous jest against your reverence. But, indeed, he was blind and foolish, as he ever and always is. A pure hand needs no glove to cover it!" "Thank you, my good friend," said the minister gravely, but startled at heart; for, so confused was his remembrance, that he had almost brought himself to look at the events of the past night as visionary. "Yes, it seems to be my glove, indeed!" "And, since Satan saw fit to steal it, your reverence must needs handle him without gloves, henceforward," remarked the old sexton, grimly smiling. "But did your reverence hear of the portent that was seen last night? a great red letter in the sky,--the letter A,--which we interpret to stand for Angel. For, as our good Governor Winthrop was made an angel this past night, it was doubtless held fit that there should be some notice thereof!" "No," answered the minister; "I had not heard of it."

Chapter 13 - Another View of Hester In her late singular interview with Mr. Dimmesdale, Hester Prynne was shocked at the condition to which she found the clergyman reduced. His nerve seemed absolutely destroyed. His moral force was abased into more than childish weakness. It grovelled helpless on the ground, even while his intellectual faculties retained their pristine strength, or had perhaps acquired a morbid energy, which disease only could have given them. With her knowledge of a train of circumstances hidden from all others, she could readily infer, that, besides the legitimate action of his own conscience, a terrible machinery had been brought to bear, and was still operating, on Mr. Dimmesdale's well-being and repose. Knowing what this poor, fallen man had once been, her whole soul was moved by the shuddering terror with which he had appealed to her,--the outcast woman,--for support against his instinctively discovered enemy. She decided, moreover, that he had a right to her utmost aid. Little accustomed, in her long seclusion from society, to measure her ideas of right and wrong by any standard external to herself, Hester saw--or seemed to see--that there lay a responsibility upon her, in reference to the clergyman, which she owned to no other, nor to the whole world besides. The links that united her to the rest of human kind--links of flowers, or silk, or gold, or whatever the material--had all been broken. Here was the iron link of mutual crime, which neither he nor she could break. Like all other ties, it brought along with it its obligations. Hester Prynne did not now occupy precisely the same position in which we beheld her during the earlier periods of her ignominy. Years had come, and gone. Pearl was now seven years old. Her mother, with the scarlet letter on her breast, glittering in its fantastic embroidery, had long been a familiar object to the townspeople. As is apt to be the case when a person stands out in any prominence before the community, and, at the same time, interferes neither with public nor individual interests and convenience, a species of general regard had ultimately grown up in reference to Hester Prynne. It is to the credit of human nature, that, except where its selfishness is brought into play, it loves more readily than it hates. Hatred, by a gradual and quiet process, will even be transformed to love, unless the change be impeded by a continually new irritation of the original

feeling of hostility. In this matter of Hester Prynne, there was neither irritation nor irksomeness. She never battled with the public, but submitted uncomplainingly to its worst usage; she made no claim upon it, in requital for what she suffered; she did not weigh upon its sympathies. Then, also, the blameless purity of her life, during all these years in which she had been set apart to infamy, was reckoned largely in her favor. With nothing now to lose, in the sight of mankind, and with no hope, and seemingly no wish, of gaining any thing, it could only be a genuine regard for virtue that had brought back the poor wanderer to its paths. It was perceived, too, that, while Hester never put forward even the humblest title to share in the world's privileges,--farther than to breathe the common air, and earn daily bread for little Pearl and herself by the faithful labor of her hands,--she was quick to acknowledge her sisterhood with the race of man, whenever benefits were to be conferred. None so ready as she to give of her little substance to every demand of poverty; even though the bitter-hearted pauper threw back a gibe in requital of the food brought regularly to his door, or the garments wrought for him by the fingers that could have embroidered a monarch's robe. None so self-devoted as Hester, when pestilence stalked through the town. In all seasons of calamity, indeed, whether general or of individuals, the outcast of society at once found her place. She came, not as a guest, but as a rightful inmate, into the household that was darkened by trouble; as if its gloomy twilight were a medium in which she was entitled to hold intercourse with her fellow-creatures. There glimmered the embroidered letter, with comfort in its unearthly ray. Elsewhere the token of sin, it was the taper of the sick-chamber. It had even thrown its gleam, in the sufferer's hard extremity, across the verge of time. It had shown him where to set his foot, while the light of earth was fast becoming dim, and ere the light of futurity could reach him. In such emergencies, Hester's nature showed itself warm and rich; a well-spring of human tenderness, unfailing to every real demand, and inexhaustible by the largest. Her breast, with its badge of shame, was but the softer pillow for the head that needed one. She was self-ordained a Sister of Mercy; or, we may rather say, the world's heavy hand had so ordained her, when neither the world nor she looked forward to this result. The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her,--so much power to do, and power to sympathize,--that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original

signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman's strength. It was only the darkened house that could contain her. When sunshine came again, she was not there. Her shadow had faded across the threshold. The helpful inmate had departed, without one backward glance to gather up the meed of gratitude, if any were in the hearts of those whom she had served so zealously. Meeting them in the street, she never raised her head to receive their greeting. If they were resolute to accost her, she laid her finger on the scarlet letter, and passed on. This might be pride, but was so like humility, that it produced all the softening influence of the latter quality on the public mind. The public is despotic in its temper; it is capable of denying common justice, when too strenuously demanded as a right; but quite as frequently it awards more than justice, when the appeal is made, as despots love to have it made, entirely to its generosity. Interpreting Hester Prynne's deportment as an appeal of this nature, society was inclined to show its former victim a more benign countenance than she cared to be favored with, or, perchance, than she deserved. The rulers, and the wise and learned men of the community, were longer in acknowledging the influence of Hester's good qualities than the people. The prejudices which they shared in common with the latter were fortified in themselves by an iron framework of reasoning, that made it a far tougher labor to expel them. Day by day, nevertheless, their sour and rigid wrinkles were relaxing into something which, in the due course of years, might grow to be an expression of almost benevolence. Thus it was with the men of rank, on whom their eminent position imposed the guardianship of the public morals. Individuals in private life, meanwhile, had quite forgiven Hester Prynne for her frailty; nay, more, they had begun to look upon the scarlet letter as the token, not of that one sin, for which she had borne so long and dreary a penance, but of her many good deeds since. "Do you see that woman with the embroidered badge?" they would say to strangers. "It is our Hester,--the town's own Hester,--who is so kind to the poor, so helpful to the sick, so comfortable to the afflicted!" Then, it is true, the propensity of human nature to tell the very worst of itself, when embodied in the person of another, would constrain them to whisper the black scandal of bygone years. It was none the less a fact, however, that, in the eyes of the very men who spoke thus, the

scarlet letter had the effect of the cross on a nun's bosom. It imparted to the wearer a kind of sacredness, which enabled her to walk securely amid all peril. Had she fallen among thieves, it would have kept her safe. It was reported, and believed by many, that an Indian had drawn his arrow against the badge, but that the missile struck it, and fell harmless to the ground. The effect of the symbol--or rather, of the position in respect to society that was indicated by it--on the mind of Hester Prynne herself, was powerful and peculiar. All the light and graceful foliage of her character had been withered up by this red-hot brand, and had long ago fallen away, leaving a bare and harsh outline, which might have been repulsive, had she possessed friends or companions to be repelled by it. Even the attractiveness of her person had undergone a similar change. It might be partly owing to the studied austerity of her dress, and partly to the lack of demonstration in her manners. It was a sad transformation, too, that her rich and luxuriant hair had either been cut off, or was so completely hidden by a cap, that not a shining lock of it ever once gushed into the sunshine. It was due in part to all these causes, but still more to something else, that there seemed to be no longer any thing in Hester's face for Love to dwell upon; nothing in Hester's form, though majestic and statue-like, that Passion would ever dream of clasping in its embrace; nothing in Hester's bosom, to make it ever again the pillow of Affection. Some attribute had departed from her, the permanence of which had been essential to keep her a woman. Such is frequently the fate, and such the stern development, of the feminine character and person, when the woman has encountered, and lived through, an experience of peculiar severity. If she be all tenderness, she will die. If she survive, the tenderness will either be crushed out of her, or--and the outward semblance is the same--crushed so deeply into her heart that it can never show itself more. The latter is perhaps the truest theory. She who has once been woman, and ceased to be so, might at any moment become a woman again, if there were only the magic touch to effect the transformation. We shall see whether Hester Prynne were ever afterwards so touched, and so transfigured. Much of the marble coldness of Hester's impression was to be attributed to the circumstance that her life had turned, in a great measure, from passion and feeling, to thought. Standing alone in the world,--alone, as to any dependence on society, and with little Pearl to be guided and protected,--alone, and hopeless of retrieving

her position, even had she not scorned to consider it desirable,--she cast away the fragments of a broken chain. The world's law was no law for her mind. It was an age in which the human intellect, newly emancipated, had taken a more active and a wider range than for many centuries before. Men of the sword had overthrown nobles and kings. Men bolder than these had overthrown and rearranged--not actually, but within the sphere of theory, which was their most real abode--the whole system of ancient prejudice, wherewith was linked much of ancient principle. Hester Prynne imbibed this spirit. She assumed a freedom of speculation, then common enough on the other side of the Atlantic, but which our forefathers, had they known of it, would have held to be a deadlier crime than that stigmatized by the scarlet letter. In her lonesome cottage, by the sea-shore, thoughts visited her, such as dared to enter no other dwelling in New England; shadowy guests, that would have been as perilous as demons to their entertainer, could they have been seen so much as knocking at her door. It is remarkable, that persons who speculate the most boldly often conform with the most perfect quietude to the external regulations of society. The thought suffices them, without investing itself in the flesh and blood of action. So it seemed to be with Hester. Yet, had little Pearl never come to her from the spiritual world, it might have been far otherwise. Then, she might have come down to us in history, hand in hand with Ann Hutchinson, as the foundress of a religious sect. She might, in one of her phases, have been a prophetess. She might, and not improbably would, have suffered death from the stern tribunals of the period, for attempting to undermine the foundations of the Puritan establishment. But, in the education of her child, the mother's enthusiasm of thought had something to wreak itself upon. Providence, in the person of this little girl, had assigned to Hester's charge the germ and blossom of womanhood, to be cherished and developed amid a host of difficulties. Every thing was against her. The world was hostile. The child's own nature had something wrong in it, which continually betokened that she had been born amiss,--the effluence of her mother's lawless passion,--and often impelled Hester to ask, in bitterness of heart, whether it were for ill or good that the poor little creature had been born at all. Indeed, the same dark question often rose into her mind, with reference to the whole race of womanhood. Was existence worth accepting, even to the happiest

among them? As concerned her own individual existence, she had long ago decided in the negative, and dismissed the point as settled. A tendency to speculation, though it may keep woman quiet, as it does man, yet makes her sad. She discerns, it may be, such a hopeless task before her. As a first step, the whole system of society is to be torn down, and built up anew. Then, the very nature of the opposite sex, or its long hereditary habit, which has become like nature, is to be essentially modified, before woman can be allowed to assume what seems a fair and suitable position. Finally, all other difficulties being obviated, woman cannot take advantage of these preliminary reforms, until she herself shall have undergone a still mightier change; in which, perhaps, the ethereal essence, wherein she has her truest life, will be found to have evaporated. A woman never overcomes these problems by any exercise of thought. They are not to be solved, or only in one way. If her heart chance to come uppermost, they vanish. Thus, Hester Prynne, whose heart had lost its regular and healthy throb, wandered without a clew in the dark labyrinth of mind; now turned aside by an insurmountable precipice; now starting back from a deep chasm. There was wild and ghastly scenery all around her, and a home and comfort nowhere. At times, a fearful doubt strove to possess her soul, whether it were not better to send Pearl at once to heaven, and go herself to such futurity as Eternal Justice should provide. The scarlet letter had not done its office. Now, however, her interview with the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, on the night of his vigil, had given her a new theme of reflection, and held up to her an object that appeared worthy of any exertion and sacrifice for its attainment. She had witnessed the intense misery beneath which the minister struggled, or, to speak more accurately, had ceased to struggle. She saw that he stood on the verge of lunacy, if he had not already stepped across it. It was impossible to doubt, that, whatever painful efficacy there might be in the secret sting of remorse, a deadlier venom had been infused into it by the hand that proffered relief. A secret enemy had been continually by his side, under the semblance of a friend and helper, and had availed himself of the opportunities thus afforded for tampering with the delicate springs of Mr. Dimmesdale's nature. Hester could not but ask herself, whether there had not originally been a defect of truth, courage, and loyalty, on her own part, in allowing the minister to be thrown into a position where so much

evil was to be foreboded, and nothing auspicious to be hoped. Her only justification lay in the fact, that she had been able to discern no method of rescuing him from a blacker ruin than had overwhelmed herself, except by acquiescing in Roger Chillingworth's scheme of disguise. Under that impulse, she had made her choice, and had chosen, as it now appeared, the more wretched alternative of the two. She determined to redeem her error, so far as it might yet be possible. Strengthened by years of hard and solemn trial, she felt herself no longer so inadequate to cope with Roger Chillingworth as on that night, abased by sin, and half maddened by the ignominy that was still new, when they had talked together in the prison-chamber. She had climbed her way, since then, to a higher point. The old man, on the other hand, had brought himself nearer to her level, or perhaps below it, by the revenge which he had stooped for. In fine, Hester Prynne resolved to meet her former husband, and do what might be in her power for the rescue of the victim on whom he had so evidently set his gripe. The occasion was not long to seek. One afternoon, walking with Pearl in a retired part of the peninsula, she beheld the old physician, with a basket on one arm, and a staff in the other hand, stooping along the ground, in quest of roots and herbs to concoct his medicine withal.

Chapter 14 - Hester and the Physician Hester bade little Pearl run down to the margin of the water, and play with the shells and tangled sea-weed, until she should have talked awhile with yonder gatherer of herbs. So the child flew away like a bird, and, making bare her small white feet, went pattering along the moist margin of the sea. Here and there, she came to a full stop, and peeped curiously into a pool, left by the retiring tide as a mirror for Pearl to see her face in. Forth peeped at her, out of the pool, with dark, glistening curls around her head, and an elf-smile in her eyes, the image of a little maid, whom Pearl, having no other playmate, invited to take her hand and run a race with her. But the visionary little maid, on her part, beckoned likewise, as if to

say,--"This is a better place! Come thou into the pool!" And Pearl, stepping in, mid-leg deep, beheld her own white feet at the bottom; while, out of a still lower depth, came the gleam of a kind of fragmentary smile, floating to and fro in the agitated water. Meanwhile, her mother had accosted the physician. "I would speak a word with you," said she,--"a word that concerns us much." "Aha! And is it Mistress Hester that has a word for old Roger Chillingworth?" answered he, raising himself from his stooping posture. "With all my heart! Why, Mistress, I hear good tidings of you on all hands! No longer ago than yester-eve, a magistrate, a wise and godly man, was discoursing of your affairs, Mistress Hester, and whispered me that there had been question concerning you in the council. It was debated whether or no, with safety to the commonweal, yonder scarlet letter might be taken off your bosom. On my life, Hester, I made my entreaty to the worshipful magistrate that it might be done forthwith!" "It lies not in the pleasure of the magistrates to take off this badge," calmly replied Hester. "Were I worthy to be quit of it, it would fall away of its own nature, or be transformed into something that should speak a different purport." "Nay, then, wear it, if it suit you better," rejoined he, "A woman must needs follow her own fancy, touching the adornment of her person. The letter is gayly embroidered, and shows right bravely on your bosom!" All this while, Hester had been looking steadily at the old man, and was shocked, as well as wonder-smitten, to discern what a change had been wrought upon him within the past seven years. It was not so much that he had grown older; for though the traces of advancing life were visible, he bore his age well, and seemed to retain a wiry vigor and alertness. But the former aspect of an intellectual and studious man, calm and quiet, which was what she best remembered in him, had altogether vanished, and been succeeded by an eager, searching, almost fierce, yet carefully guarded look. It seemed to be his wish and purpose to mask this expression with a smile; but the latter played him false, and flickered over his visage so derisively, that the spectator could see his blackness all the better for it. Ever and anon, too, there came a glare of red light out of his eyes; as if the old man's soul were on fire, and kept on smouldering duskily within his breast, until, by some casual puff of passion, it was blown into a momentary flame. This he

repressed as speedily as possible, and strove to look as if nothing of the kind had happened. In a word, old Roger Chillingworth was a striking evidence of man's faculty of transforming himself into a devil, if he will only, for a reasonable space of time, undertake a devil's office. This unhappy person had effected such a transformation by devoting himself, for seven years, to the constant analysis of a heart full of torture, and deriving his enjoyment thence, and adding fuel to those fiery tortures which he analyzed and gloated over. The scarlet letter burned on Hester Prynne's bosom. Here was another ruin, the responsibility of which came partly home to her. "What see you in my face," asked the physician, "that you look at it so earnestly?" "Something that would make me weep, if there were any tears bitter enough for it," answered she. "But let it pass! It is of yonder miserable man that I would speak." "And what of him?" cried Roger Chillingworth eagerly, as if he loved the topic, and were glad of an opportunity to discuss it with the only person of whom he could make a confidant. "Not to hide the truth, Mistress Hester, my thoughts happen just now to be busy with the gentleman. So speak freely; and I will make answer." "When we last spake together," said Hester, "now seven years ago, it was your pleasure to extort a promise of secrecy, as touching the former relation betwixt yourself and me. As the life and good fame of yonder man were in your hands, there seemed no choice to me, save to be silent, in accordance with your behest. Yet it was not without heavy misgivings that I thus bound myself; for, having cast off all duty towards other human beings, there remained a duty towards him; and something whispered me that I was betraying it, in pledging myself to keep your counsel. Since that day, no man is so near to him as you. You tread behind his every footstep. You are beside him, sleeping and waking. You search his thoughts. You burrow and rankle in his heart! Your clutch is on his life, and you cause him to die daily a living death; and still he knows you not. In permitting this, I have surely acted a false part by the only man to whom the power was left me to be true!"

"What choice had you?" asked Roger Chillingworth. "My finger, pointed at this man, would have hurled him from his pulpit into a dungeon,--thence, peradventure, to the gallows!" "It had been better so!" said Hester Prynne. "What evil have I done the man?" asked Roger Chillingworth again. "I tell thee, Hester Prynne, the richest fee that ever physician earned from monarch could not have bought such care as I have wasted on this miserable priest! But for my aid, his life would have burned away in torments, within the first two years after the perpetration of his crime and thine. For, Hester, his spirit lacked the strength that could have borne up, as thine has, beneath a burden like thy scarlet letter. O, I could reveal a goodly secret! But enough! What art can do, I have exhausted on him. That he now breathes, and creeps about on earth, is owing all to me!" "Better he had died at once!" said Hester Prynne. "Yea, woman, thou sayest truly!" cried old Roger Chillingworth, letting the lurid fire of his heart blaze out before her eyes. "Better had he died at once! Never did mortal suffer what this man has suffered. And all, all, in the sight of his worst enemy! He has been conscious of me. He has felt an influence dwelling always upon him like a curse. He knew, by some spiritual sense,--for the Creator never made another being so sensitive as this,--he knew that no friendly hand was pulling at his heart-strings, and that an eye was looking curiously into him, which sought only evil, and found it. But he knew not that the eye and hand were mine! With the superstition common to his brotherhood, he fancied himself given over to a fiend, to be tortured with frightful dreams, and desperate thoughts, the sting of remorse, and despair of pardon; as a foretaste of what awaits him beyond the grave. But it was the constant shadow of my presence!--the closest propinquity of the man whom he had most vilely wronged!--and who had grown to exist only by this perpetual poison of the direst revenge! Yea, indeed!--he did not err!--there was a fiend at his elbow! A mortal man, with once a human heart, has become a fiend for his especial torment!" The unfortunate physician, while uttering these words, lifted his hands with a look of horror, as if he had beheld some frightful shape, which he could not recognize, usurping the place of his own image in a glass. It was one of those moments-which sometimes occur only at the interval of years--when a man's moral aspect is

faithfully revealed to his mind's eye. Not improbably, he had never before viewed himself as he did now. "Hast thou not tortured him enough?" said Hester, noticing the old man's look. "Has he not paid thee all?" "No!--no!--He has but increased the debt!" answered the physician; and, as he proceeded, his manner lost its fiercer characteristics, and subsided into gloom. "Dost thou remember me, Hester, as I was nine years agone? Even then, I was in the autumn of my days, nor was it the early autumn. But all my life had been made up of earnest, studious, thoughtful, quiet years, bestowed faithfully for the increase of mine own knowledge, and faithfully, too, though this latter object was but casual to the other,--faithfully for the advancement of human welfare. No life had been more peaceful and innocent than mine; few lives so rich with benefits conferred. Dost thou remember me? Was I not, though you might deem me cold, nevertheless a man thoughtful for others, craving little for himself,--kind, true, just, and of constant, if not warm affections? Was I not all this?" "All this, and more," said Hester. "And what am I now?" demanded he, looking into her face, and permitting the whole evil within him to be written on his features. "I have already told thee what I am! A fiend! Who made me so?" "It was myself!" cried Hester, shuddering. "It was I, not less than he. Why hast thou not avenged thyself on me?" "I have left thee to the scarlet letter," replied Roger Chillingworth. "If that have not avenged me, I can do no more!" He laid his finger on it, with a smile. "It has avenged thee!" answered Hester Prynne. "I judged no less," said the physician. "And now, what wouldst thou with me touching this man?" "I must reveal the secret," answered Hester, firmly. "He must discern thee in thy true character. What may be the result, I know not. But this long debt of confidence, due from me to him, whose bane and ruin I have been, shall at length be paid. So far as concerns the overthrow or preservation of his fair fame and his earthly state, and perchance his life, he is in thy hands. Nor do I,--whom the

scarlet letter has disciplined to truth, though it be the truth of red-hot iron, entering into the soul,--nor do I perceive such advantage in his living any longer a life of ghastly emptiness, that I shall stoop to implore thy mercy. Do with him as thou wilt! There is no good for him,--no good for me,--no good for thee! There is no good for little Pearl! There is no path to guide us out of this dismal maze!" "Woman, I could wellnigh pity thee!" said Roger Chillingworth, unable to restrain a thrill of admiration too; for there was a quality almost majestic in the despair which she expressed. "Thou hadst great elements. Peradventure, hadst thou met earlier with a better love than mine, this evil had not been. I pity thee, for the good that has been wasted in thy nature!" "And I thee," answered Hester Prynne, "for the hatred that has transformed a wise and just man to a fiend! Wilt thou yet purge it out of thee, and be once more human? If not for his sake, then doubly for thine own! Forgive, and leave his further retribution to the Power that claims it! I said, but now, that there could be no good event for him, or thee, or me, who are here wandering together in this gloomy maze of evil, and stumbling, at every step, over the guilt wherewith we have strewn our path. It is not so! There might be good for thee, and thee alone, since thou hast been deeply wronged, and hast it at thy will to pardon. Wilt thou give up that only privilege? Wilt thou reject that priceless benefit?" "Peace, Hester, peace!" replied the old man, with gloomy sternness. "It is not granted me to pardon. I have no such power as thou tellest me of. My old faith, long forgotten, comes back to me, and explains all that we do, and all we suffer. By thy first step awry, thou didst plant the germ of evil; but, since that moment, it has all been a dark necessity. Ye that have wronged me are not sinful, save in a kind of typical illusion; neither am I fiend-like, who have snatched a fiend's office from his hands. It is our fate. Let the black flower blossom as it may! Now go thy ways, and deal as thou wilt with yonder man." He waved his hand, and betook himself again to his employment of gathering herbs.

Chapter 15 - Hester and Pearl So Roger Chillingworth--a deformed old figure, with a face that haunted men's memories longer than they liked--took leave of Hester Prynne, and went stooping away along the earth. He gathered here and there an herb, or grubbed up a root, and put it into the basket on his arm. His gray beard almost touched the ground, as he crept onward. Hester gazed after him a little while, looking with a half-fantastic curiosity to see whether the tender grass of early spring would not be blighted beneath him, and show the wavering track of his footsteps, sere and brown, across its cheerful verdure. She wondered what sort of herbs they were, which the old man was so sedulous to gather. Would not the earth, quickened to an evil purpose by the sympathy of his eye, greet him with poisonous shrubs, of species hitherto unknown, that would start up under his fingers? Or might it suffice him, that every wholesome growth should be converted into something deleterious and malignant at his touch? Did the sun, which shone so brightly everywhere else, really fall upon him? Or was there, as it rather seemed, a circle of ominous shadow moving along with his deformity, whichever way he turned himself? And whither was he now going? Would he not suddenly sink into the earth, leaving a barren and blasted spot, where, in due course of time, would be seen deadly nightshade, dogwood, henbane, and whatever else of vegetable wickedness the climate could produce, all flourishing with hideous luxuriance? Or would he spread bat's wings and flee away, looking so much the uglier, the higher he rose towards heaven? "Be it sin or no," said Hester Prynne bitterly, as she still gazed after him, "I hate the man!" She upbraided herself for the sentiment, but could not overcome or lessen it. Attempting to do so, she thought of those long-past days, in a distant land, when he used to emerge at eventide from the seclusion of his study, and sit down in the fire-light of their home, and in the light of her nuptial smile. He needed to bask himself in that smile, he said, in order that the chill of so many lonely hours among his books might be taken off the scholar's heart. Such scenes had once appeared not otherwise than happy, but now, as viewed through the dismal medium of her subsequent life, they classed themselves among her ugliest remembrances. She marvelled how such scenes could have been! She marvelled

how she could ever have been wrought upon to marry him! She deemed it her crime most to be repented of, that she had ever endured, and reciprocated, the lukewarm grasp of his hand, and had suffered the smile of her lips and eyes to mingle and melt into his own. And it seemed a fouler offence committed by Roger Chillingworth, than any which had since been done him, that, in the time when her heart knew no better, he had persuaded her to fancy herself happy by his side. "Yes, I hate him!" repeated Hester, more bitterly than before. "He betrayed me! He has done me worse wrong than I did him!" Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart! Else it may be their miserable fortune, as it was Roger Chillingworth's, when some mightier touch than their own may have awakened all her sensibilities, to be reproached even for the calm content, the marble image of happiness, which they will have imposed upon her as the warm reality. But Hester ought long ago to have done with this injustice. What did it betoken? Had seven long years, under the torture of the scarlet letter, inflicted so much of misery, and wrought out no repentance? The emotions of that brief space, while she stood gazing after the crooked figure of old Roger Chillingworth, threw a dark light on Hester's state of mind, revealing much that she might not otherwise have acknowledged to herself. He being gone, she summoned back her child. "Pearl! Little Pearl! Where are you?" Pearl, whose activity of spirit never flagged, had been at no loss for amusement while her mother talked with the old gatherer of herbs. At first, as already told, she had flirted fancifully with her own image in a pool of water, beckoning the phantom forth, and--as it declined to venture--seeking a passage for herself into its sphere of impalpable earth and unattainable sky. Soon finding, however, that either she or the image was unreal, she turned elsewhere for better pastime. She made little boats out of birch-bark, and freighted them with snail-shells, and sent out more ventures on the mighty deep than any merchant in New England; but the larger part of them foundered near the shore. She seized a live horseshoe by the tail, and made prize of several five-fingers, and laid out a jelly-fish to melt in the warm sun. Then she took up the white foam, that streaked the line of the advancing tide, and threw it upon the breeze, scampering after it with winged

footsteps, to catch the great snow-flakes ere they fell. Perceiving a flock of beachbirds, that fed and fluttered along the shore, the naughty child picked up her apron full of pebbles, and, creeping from rock to rock after these small sea-fowl, displayed remarkable dexterity in pelting them. One little gray bird, with a white breast, Pearl was almost sure, had been hit by a pebble, and fluttered away with a broken wing. But then the elf-child sighed, and gave up her sport; because it grieved her to have done harm to a little being that was as wild as the sea-breeze, or as wild as Pearl herself. Her final employment was to gather sea-weed, of various kinds, and make herself a scarf, or mantle, and a head-dress, and thus assume the aspect of a little mermaid. She inherited her mother's gift for devising drapery and costume. As the last touch to her mermaid's garb, Pearl took some eel-grass, and imitated, as best she could, on her own bosom, the decoration with which she was so familiar on her mother's. A letter,--the letter A,--but freshly green, instead of scarlet! The child bent her chin upon her breast, and contemplated this device with strange interest; even as if the one only thing for which she had been sent into the world was to make out its hidden import. "I wonder if mother will ask me what it means!" thought Pearl. Just then, she heard her mother's voice, and, flitting along as lightly as one of the little sea-birds, appeared before Hester Prynne, dancing, laughing, and pointing her finger to the ornament upon her bosom. "My little Pearl," said Hester, after a moment's silence, "the green letter, and on thy childish bosom, has no purport. But dost thou know, my child, what this letter means which thy mother is doomed to wear?" "Yes, mother," said the child. "It is the great letter A. Thou hast taught it me in the horn-book." Hester looked steadily into her little face; but, though there was that singular expression which she had so often remarked in her black eyes, she could not satisfy herself whether Pearl really attached any meaning to the symbol. She felt a morbid desire to ascertain the point. "Dost thou know, child, wherefore thy mother wears this letter?"

"Truly do I!" answered Pearl, looking brightly into her mother's face. "It is for the same reason that the minister keeps his hand over his heart!" "And what reason is that?" asked Hester, half smiling at the absurd incongruity of the child's observation; but, on second thoughts, turning pale. "What has the letter to do with any heart, save mine?" "Nay, mother, I have told all I know," said Pearl, more seriously than she was wont to speak. "Ask yonder old man whom thou hast been talking with! It may be he can tell. But in good earnest now, mother dear, what does this scarlet letter mean?--and why dost thou wear it on thy bosom?--and why does the minister keep his hand over his heart?" She took her mother's hand in both her own, and gazed into her eyes with an earnestness that was seldom seen in her wild and capricious character. The thought occurred to Hester, that the child might really be seeking to approach her with childlike confidence, and doing what she could, and as intelligently as she knew how, to establish a meeting-point of sympathy. It showed Pearl in an unwonted aspect. Heretofore, the mother, while loving her child with the intensity of a sole affection, had schooled herself to hope for little other return than the waywardness of an April breeze; which spends its time in airy sport, and has its gusts of inexplicable passion, and is petulant in its best of moods, and chills oftener than caresses you, when you take it to your bosom; in requital of which misdemeanours, it will sometimes, of its own vague purpose, kiss your cheek with a kind of doubtful tenderness, and play gently with your hair, and then be gone about its other idle business, leaving a dreamy pleasure at your heart. And this, moreover, was a mother's estimate of the child's disposition. Any other observer might have seen few but unamiable traits, and have given them a far darker coloring. But now the idea came strongly into Hester's mind, that Pearl, with her remarkable precocity and acuteness, might already have approached the age when she could have been made a friend, and intrusted with as much of her mother's sorrows as could be imparted, without irreverence either to the parent or the child. In the little chaos of Pearl's character, there might be seen emerging--and could have been from the very first--the steadfast principles of an unflinching courage,-an uncontrollable will,--a sturdy pride, which might be disciplined into selfrespect,--and a bitter scorn of many things, which, when examined, might be

found to have the taint of falsehood in them. She possessed affections, too, though hitherto acrid and disagreeable, as are the richest flavors of unripe fruit. With all these sterling attributes, thought Hester, the evil which she inherited from her mother must be great indeed, if a noble woman do not grow out of this elfish child. Pearl's inevitable tendency to hover about the enigma of the scarlet letter seemed an innate quality of her being. From the earliest epoch of her conscious life, she had entered upon this as her appointed mission. Hester had often fancied that Providence had a design of justice and retribution, in endowing the child with this marked propensity; but never, until now, had she bethought herself to ask, whether, linked with that design, there might not likewise be a purpose of mercy and beneficence. If little Pearl were entertained with faith and trust, as a spiritmessenger no less than an earthly child, might it not be her errand to soothe away the sorrow that lay cold in her mother's heart, and converted it into a tomb?--and to help her to overcome the passion, once so wild, and even yet neither dead nor asleep, but only imprisoned within the same tomb-like heart? Such were some of the thoughts that now stirred in Hester's mind, with as much vivacity of impression as if they had actually been whispered into her ear. And there was little Pearl, all this while, holding her mother's hand in both her own, and turning her face upward, while she put these searching questions, once, and again, and still a third time. "What does the letter mean, mother?--and why dost thou wear it?--and why does the minister keep his hand over his heart?" "What shall I say?" thought Hester to herself.--"No! If this be the price of the child's sympathy, I cannot pay it!" Then she spoke aloud. "Silly Pearl," said she, "what questions are these? There are many things in this world that a child must not ask about. What know I of the minister's heart? And as for the scarlet letter, I wear it for the sake of its gold thread!" In all the seven bygone years, Hester Prynne had never before been false to the symbol on her bosom. It may be that it was the talisman of a stern and severe, but yet a guardian spirit, who now forsook her; as recognizing that, in spite of his

strict watch over her heart, some new evil had crept into it, or some old one had never been expelled. As for little Pearl, the earnestness soon passed out of her face. But the child did not see fit to let the matter drop. Two or three times, as her mother and she went homeward, and as often at supper-time, and while Hester was putting her to bed, and once after she seemed to be fairly asleep, Pearl looked up, with mischief gleaming in her black eyes. "Mother," said she, "what does the scarlet letter mean?" And the next morning, the first indication the child gave of being awake was by popping up her head from the pillow, and making that other inquiry, which she had so unaccountably connected with her investigations about the scarlet letter:-"Mother!--Mother!--Why does the minister keep his hand over his heart?" "Hold thy tongue, naughty child!" answered her mother, with an asperity that she had never permitted to herself before. "Do not tease me; else I shall shut thee into the dark closet!"

could have been felt, and partly that both the minister and she would need the whole wide world to breathe in, while they talked together,--for all these reasons, Hester never thought of meeting him in any narrower privacy than beneath the open sky. At last, while attending in a sick-chamber, whither the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale had been summoned to make a prayer, she learnt that he had gone, the day before, to visit the Apostle Eliot, among his Indian converts. He would probably return, by a certain hour, in the afternoon of the morrow. Betimes, therefore, the next day, Hester took little Pearl,--who was necessarily the companion of all her mother's expeditions, however inconvenient her presence,--and set forth. The road, after the two wayfarers had crossed from the peninsula to the mainland, was no other than a footpath. It straggled onward into the mystery of the primeval forest. This hemmed it in so narrowly, and stood so black and dense on either side, and disclosed such imperfect glimpses of the sky above, that, to Hester's mind, it imaged not amiss the moral wilderness in which she had so long been wandering. The day was chill and sombre. Overhead was a gray expanse of cloud, slightly stirred, however, by a breeze; so that a gleam of flickering sunshine might now and then be seen at its solitary play along the path. This flitting cheerfulness was always at the farther extremity of some long vista through the forest. The sportive sunlight--feebly sportive, at best, in the predominant pensiveness of the day and scene--withdrew itself as they came nigh, and left the spots where it had danced the drearier, because they had hoped to find them bright. "Mother," said little Pearl, "the sunshine does not love you. It runs away and hides itself, because it is afraid of something on your bosom. Now, see! There it is, playing, a good way off. Stand you here, and let me run and catch it. I am but a child. It will not flee from me; for I wear nothing on my bosom yet!" "Nor ever will, my child, I hope," said Hester. "And why not, mother?" asked Pearl, stopping short, just at the beginning of her race. "Will not it come of its own accord, when I am a woman grown?" "Run away, child," answered her mother, "and catch the sunshine! It will soon be gone."

Chapter 16 - A Forest Walk Hester Prynne remained constant in her resolve to make known to Mr. Dimmesdale, at whatever risk of present pain or ulterior consequences, the true character of the man who had crept into his intimacy. For several days, however, she vainly sought an opportunity of addressing him in some of the meditative walks which she knew him to be in the habit of taking, along the shores of the peninsula, or on the wooded hills of the neighbouring country. There would have been no scandal, indeed, nor peril to the holy whiteness of the clergyman's good fame, had she visited him in his own study; where many a penitent, ere now, had confessed sins of perhaps as deep a die as the one betokened by the scarlet letter. But, partly that she dreaded the secret or undisguised interference of old Roger Chillingworth, and partly that her conscious heart imparted suspicion where none

Pearl set forth, at a great pace, and, as Hester smiled to perceive, did actually catch the sunshine, and stood laughing in the midst of it, all brightened by its splendor, and scintillating with the vivacity excited by rapid motion. The light lingered about the lonely child, as if glad of such a playmate, until her mother had drawn almost nigh enough to step into the magic circle too. "It will go now!" said Pearl, shaking her head. "See!" answered Hester, smiling. "Now I can stretch out my hand, and grasp some of it." As she attempted to do so, the sunshine vanished; or, to judge from the bright expression that was dancing on Pearl's features, her mother could have fancied that the child had absorbed it into herself, and would give it forth again, with a gleam about her path, as they should plunge into some gloomier shade. There was no other attribute that so much impressed her with a sense of new and untransmitted vigor in Pearl's nature, as this never-failing vivacity of spirits; she had not the disease of sadness, which almost all children, in these latter days, inherit, with the scrofula, from the troubles of their ancestors. Perhaps this too was a disease, and but the reflex of the wild energy with which Hester had fought against her sorrows, before Pearl's birth. It was certainly a doubtful charm, imparting a hard, metallic lustre to the child's character. She wanted--what some people want throughout life--a grief that should deeply touch her, and thus humanize and make her capable of sympathy. But there was time enough yet for little Pearl! "Come, my child!" said Hester, looking about her, from the spot where Pearl had stood still in the sunshine. "We will sit down a little way within the wood, and rest ourselves." "I am not aweary, mother," replied the little girl. "But you may sit down, if you will tell me a story meanwhile." "A story, child!" said Hester. "And about what?" "O, a story about the Black Man!" answered Pearl, taking hold of her mother's gown, and looking up, half earnestly, half mischievously, into her face. "How he haunts this forest, and carries a book with him,--a big, heavy book, with iron clasps; and how this ugly Black Man offers his book and an iron pen to every body that meets him here among the trees; and they are to write their names with

their own blood. And then he sets his mark on their bosoms! Didst thou ever meet the Black Man, mother?" "And who told you this story, Pearl?" asked her mother, recognizing a common superstition of the period. "It was the old dame in the chimney-corner, at the house where you watched last night," said the child. "But she fancied me asleep while she was talking of it. She said that a thousand and a thousand people had met him here, and had written in his book, and have his mark on them. And that ugly-tempered lady, old Mistress Hibbins, was one. And, mother, the old dame said that this scarlet letter was the Black Man's mark on thee, and that it glows like a red flame when thou meetest him at midnight, here in the dark wood. Is it true, mother? And dost thou go to meet him in the night-time?" "Didst thou ever awake, and find thy mother gone?" asked Hester. "Not that I remember," said the child. "If thou fearest to leave me in our cottage, thou mightest take me along with thee. I would very gladly go! But, mother, tell me now! Is there such a Black Man? And didst thou ever meet him? And is this his mark?" "Wilt thou let me be at peace, if I once tell thee?" asked her mother. "Yes, if thou tellest me all," answered Pearl. "Once in my life I met the Black Man!" said her mother. "This scarlet letter is his mark!" Thus conversing, they entered sufficiently deep into the wood to secure themselves from the observation of any casual passenger along the forest-track. Here they sat down on a luxuriant heap of moss; which, at some epoch of the preceding century, had been a gigantic pine, with its roots and trunk in the darksome shade, and its head aloft in the upper atmosphere. It was a little dell where they had seated themselves, with a leaf-strewn bank rising gently on either side, and a brook flowing through the midst, over a bed of fallen and drowned leaves. The trees impending over it had flung down great branches, from time to time, which choked up the current, and compelled it to form eddies and black depths at some points; while, in its swifter and livelier passages, there appeared a channel-way of pebbles, and brown, sparkling sand. Letting the eyes follow along

the course of the stream, they could catch the reflected light from its water, at some short distance within the forest, but soon lost all traces of it amid the bewilderment of tree-trunks and underbrush, and here and there a huge rock, covered over with gray lichens. All these giant trees and boulders of granite seemed intent on making a mystery of the course of this small brook; fearing, perhaps, that, with its never-ceasing loquacity, it should whisper tales out of the heart of the old forest whence it flowed, or mirror its revelations on the smooth surface of a pool. Continually, indeed, as it stole onward, the streamlet kept up a babble, kind, quiet, soothing, but melancholy, like the voice of a young child that was spending its infancy without playfulness, and knew not how to be merry among sad acquaintance and events of sombre hue. "O brook! O foolish and tiresome little brook!" cried Pearl, after listening awhile to its talk. "Why art thou so sad? Pluck up a spirit, and do not be all the time sighing and murmuring!" But the brook, in the course of its little lifetime among the forest-trees, had gone through so solemn an experience that it could not help talking about it, and seemed to have nothing else to say. Pearl resembled the brook, inasmuch as the current of her life gushed from a well-spring as mysterious, and had flowed through scenes shadowed as heavily with gloom. But, unlike the little stream, she danced and sparkled, and prattled airily along her course. "What does this sad little brook say, mother?" inquired she. "If thou hadst a sorrow of thine own, the brook might tell thee of it," answered her mother, "even as it is telling me of mine! But now, Pearl, I hear a footstep along the path, and the noise of one putting aside the branches. I would have thee betake thyself to play, and leave me to speak with him that comes yonder." "Is it the Black Man?" asked Pearl. "Wilt thou go and play, child?" repeated her mother. "But do not stray far into the wood. And take heed that thou come at my first call." "Yes, mother," answered Pearl. "But, if it be the Black Man, wilt thou not let me stay a moment, and look at him, with his big book under his arm?" "Go, silly child!" said her mother, impatiently. "It is no Black Man! Thou canst see him now through the trees. It is the minister!"

"And so it is!" said the child. "And, mother, he has his hand over his heart! Is it because, when the minister wrote his name in the book, the Black Man set his mark in that place? But why does he not wear it outside his bosom, as thou dost, mother?" "Go now, child, and thou shalt tease me as thou wilt another time," cried Hester Prynne. "But do not stray far. Keep where thou canst hear the babble of the brook." The child went singing away, following up the current of the brook, and striving to mingle a more lightsome cadence with its melancholy voice. But the little stream would not be comforted, and still kept telling its unintelligible secret of some very mournful mystery that had happened--or making a prophetic lamentation about something that was yet to happen--within the verge of the dismal forest. So Pearl, who had enough of shadow in her own little life, chose to break off all acquaintance with this repining brook. She set herself, therefore, to gathering violets and wood-anemones, and some scarlet columbines that she found growing in the crevices of a high rock. When her elf-child had departed, Hester Prynne made a step or two towards the track that led through the forest, but still remained under the deep shadow of the trees. She beheld the minister advancing along the path, entirely alone, and leaning on a staff which he had cut by the way-side. He looked haggard and feeble, and betrayed a nerveless despondency in his air, which had never so remarkably characterized him in his walks about the settlement, nor in any other situation where he deemed himself liable to notice. Here it was wofully visible, in this intense seclusion of the forest, which of itself would have been a heavy trial to the spirits. There was a listlessness in his gait; as if he saw no reason for taking one step farther, nor felt any desire to do so, but would have been glad, could he be glad of any thing, to fling himself down at the root of the nearest tree, and lie there passive for evermore. The leaves might bestrew him, and the soil gradually accumulate and form a little hillock over his frame, no matter whether there were life in it or no. Death was too definite an object to be wished for, or avoided. To Hester's eye, the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale exhibited no symptom of positive and vivacious suffering, except that, as little Pearl had remarked, he kept his hand over his heart.

Chapter 17 - The Pastor and His Parishioner Slowly as the minister walked, he had almost gone by, before Hester Prynne could gather voice enough to attract his observation. At length, she succeeded. "Arthur Dimmesdale!" she said, faintly at first; then louder, but hoarsely. "Arthur Dimmesdale!" "Who speaks?" answered the minister. Gathering himself quickly up, he stood more erect, like a man taken by surprise in a mood to which he was reluctant to have witnesses. Throwing his eyes anxiously in the direction of the voice, he indistinctly beheld a form under the trees, clad in garments so sombre, and so little relieved from the gray twilight into which the clouded sky and the heavy foliage had darkened the noontide, that he knew not whether it were a woman or a shadow. It may be, that his pathway through life was haunted thus, by a spectre that had stolen out from among his thoughts. He made a step nigher, and discovered the scarlet letter. "Hester! Hester Prynne!" said he. "Is it thou? Art thou in life?" "Even so!" she answered. "In such life as has been mine these seven years past! And thou, Arthur Dimmesdale, dost thou yet live?" It was no wonder that they thus questioned one another's actual and bodily existence, and even doubted of their own. So strangely did they meet, in the dim wood, that it was like the first encounter, in the world beyond the grave, of two spirits who had been intimately connected in their former life, but now stood coldly shuddering, in mutual dread; as not yet familiar with their state, nor wonted to the companionship of disembodied beings. Each a ghost, and awe-stricken at the other ghost! They were awe-stricken likewise at themselves; because the crisis flung back to them their consciousness, and revealed to each heart its history and experience, as life never does, except at such breathless epochs. The soul beheld its features in the mirror of the passing moment. It was with fear, and tremulously, and, as it were, by a slow, reluctant necessity, that Arthur Dimmesdale put forth his hand, chill as death, and touched the chill hand of Hester Prynne. The grasp, cold as it was, took away what was dreariest in the interview. They now felt themselves, at least, inhabitants of the same sphere.

Without a word more spoken,--neither he nor she assuming the guidance, but with an unexpressed consent,--they glided back into the shadow of the woods, whence Hester had emerged, and sat down on the heap of moss where she and Pearl had before been sitting. When they found voice to speak, it was, at first, only to utter remarks and inquiries such as any two acquaintance might have made, about the gloomy sky, the threatening storm, and, next, the health of each. Thus they went onward, not boldly, but step by step, into the themes that were brooding deepest in their hearts. So long estranged by fate and circumstances, they needed something slight and casual to run before, and throw open the doors of intercourse, so that their real thoughts might be led across the threshold. After a while, the minister fixed his eyes on Hester Prynne's. "Hester," said he, "hast thou found peace?" She smiled drearily, looking down upon her bosom. "Hast thou?" she asked. "None!--nothing but despair!" he answered. "What else could I look for, being what I am, and leading such a life as mine? Were I an atheist,--a man devoid of conscience,--a wretch with coarse and brutal instincts,--I might have found peace, long ere now. Nay, I never should have lost it! But, as matters stand with my soul, whatever of good capacity there originally was in me, all of God's gifts that were the choicest have become the ministers of spiritual torment. Hester, I am most miserable!" "The people reverence thee," said Hester. "And surely thou workest good among them! Doth this bring thee no comfort?" "More misery, Hester!--only the more misery!" answered the clergyman, with a bitter smile. "As concerns the good which I may appear to do, I have no faith in it. It must needs be a delusion. What can a ruined soul, like mine, effect towards the redemption of other souls?--or a polluted soul, towards their purification? And as for the people's reverence, would that it were turned to scorn and hatred! Canst thou deem it, Hester, a consolation, that I must stand up in my pulpit, and meet so many eyes turned upward to my face, as if the light of heaven were beaming from it!--must see my flock hungry for the truth, and listening to my words as if a tongue of Pentecost were speaking!--and then look inward, and discern the black

reality of what they idolize? I have laughed, in bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast between what I seem and what I am! And Satan laughs at it!" "You wrong yourself in this," said Hester gently. "You have deeply and sorely repented. Your sin is left behind you, in the days long past. Your present life is not less holy, in very truth, than it seems in people's eyes. Is there no reality in the penitence thus sealed and witnessed by good works? And wherefore should it not bring you peace?" "No, Hester, no!" replied the clergyman. "There is no substance in it! It is cold and dead, and can do nothing for me! Of penance I have had enough! Of penitence there has been none! Else, I should long ago have thrown off these garments of mock holiness, and have shown myself to mankind as they will see me at the judgment-seat. Happy are you, Hester, that wear the scarlet letter openly upon your bosom! Mine burns in secret! Thou little knowest what a relief it is, after the torment of a seven years' cheat, to look into an eye that recognizes me for what I am! Had I one friend,--or were it my worst enemy!--to whom, when sickened with the praises of all other men, I could daily betake myself, and be known as the vilest of all sinners, methinks my soul might keep itself alive thereby. Even thus much of truth would save me! But now, it is all falsehood!--all emptiness!--all death!" Hester Prynne looked into his face, but hesitated to speak. Yet, uttering his longrestrained emotions so vehemently as he did, his words here offered her the very point of circumstances in which to interpose what she came to say. She conquered her fears, and spoke. "Such a friend as thou hast even now wished for," said she, "with whom to weep over thy sin, thou hast in me, the partner of it!"--Again she hesitated, but brought out the words with an effort.--"Thou hast long had such an enemy, and dwellest with him under the same roof!" The minister started to his feet, gasping for breath, and clutching at his heart as if he would have torn it out of his bosom. "Ha! What sayest thou?" cried he. "An enemy! And under mine own roof! What mean you?"

Hester Prynne was now fully sensible of the deep injury for which she was responsible to this unhappy man, in permitting him to lie for so many years, or, indeed, for a single moment, at the mercy of one, whose purposes could not be other than malevolent. The very contiguity of his enemy, beneath whatever mask the latter might conceal himself, was enough to disturb the magnetic sphere of a being so sensitive as Arthur Dimmesdale. There had been a period when Hester was less alive to this consideration; or, perhaps, in the misanthropy of her own trouble, she left the minister to bear what she might picture to herself as a more tolerable doom. But of late, since the night of his vigil, all her sympathies towards him had been both softened and invigorated. She now read his heart more accurately. She doubted not, that the continual presence of Roger Chillingworth,-the secret poison of his malignity, infecting all the air about him,--and his authorized interference, as a physician, with the minister's physical and spiritual infirmities,--that these bad opportunities had been turned to a cruel purpose. By means of them, the sufferer's conscience had been kept in an irritated state, the tendency of which was, not to cure by wholesome pain, but to disorganize and corrupt his spiritual being. Its result, on earth, could hardly fail to be insanity, and hereafter, that eternal alienation from the Good and True, of which madness is perhaps the earthly type. Such was the ruin to which she had brought the man, once,--nay, why should we not speak it?--still so passionately loved! Hester felt that the sacrifice of the clergyman's good name, and death itself, as she had already told Roger Chillingworth, would have been infinitely preferable to the alternative which she had taken upon herself to choose. And now, rather than have had this grievous wrong to confess, she would gladly have laid down on the forest-leaves, and died there, at Arthur Dimmesdale's feet. "O Arthur," cried she, "forgive me! In all things else, I have striven to be true! Truth was the one virtue which I might have held fast, and did hold fast through all extremity; save when thy good,--thy life,--thy fame,--were put in question! Then I consented to a deception. But a lie is never good, even though death threaten on the other side! Dost thou not see what I would say? That old man!--the physician!--he whom they call Roger Chillingworth!--he was my husband!"

The minister looked at her, for an instant, with all that violence of passion, which-intermixed, in more shapes than one, with his higher, purer, softer qualities--was, in fact, the portion of him which the Devil claimed, and through which he sought to win the rest. Never was there a blacker or a fiercer frown, than Hester now encountered. For the brief space that it lasted, it was a dark transfiguration. But his character had been so much enfeebled by suffering, that even its lower energies were incapable of more than a temporary struggle. He sank down on the ground, and buried his face in his hands. "I might have known it!" murmured he. "I did know it! Was not the secret told me in the natural recoil of my heart, at the first sight of him, and as often as I have seen him since? Why did I not understand? O Hester Prynne, thou little, little knowest all the horror of this thing! And the shame!--the indelicacy!--the horrible ugliness of this exposure of a sick and guilty heart to the very eye that would gloat over it! Woman, woman, thou art accountable for this! I cannot forgive thee!" "Thou shalt forgive me!" cried Hester, flinging herself on the fallen leaves beside him. "Let God punish! Thou shalt forgive!" With sudden and desperate tenderness, she threw her arms around him, and pressed his head against her bosom; little caring though his cheek rested on the scarlet letter. He would have released himself, but strove in vain to do so. Hester would not set him free, lest he should look her sternly in the face. All the world had frowned on her,--for seven long years had it frowned upon this lonely woman,--and still she bore it all, nor ever once turned away her firm, sad eyes. Heaven, likewise, had frowned upon her, and she had not died. But the frown of this pale, weak, sinful, and sorrow-stricken man was what Hester could not bear, and live! "Wilt thou yet forgive me?" she repeated, over and over again. "Wilt thou not frown? Wilt thou forgive?" "I do forgive you, Hester," replied the minister, at length, with a deep utterance out of an abyss of sadness, but no anger. "I freely forgive you now. May God forgive us both! We are not, Hester, the worst sinners in the world. There is one worse than even the polluted priest! That old man's revenge has been blacker than my sin. He has violated, in cold blood, the sanctity of a human heart. Thou and I, Hester, never did so!"

"Never, never!" whispered she. "What we did had a consecration of its own. We felt it so! We said so to each other! Hast thou forgotten it?" "Hush, Hester!" said Arthur Dimmesdale, rising from the ground. "No; I have not forgotten!" They sat down again, side by side, and hand clasped in hand, on the mossy trunk of the fallen tree. Life had never brought them a gloomier hour; it was the point whither their pathway had so long been tending, and darkening ever, as it stole along;--and yet it inclosed a charm that made them linger upon it, and claim another, and another, and, after all, another moment. The forest was obscure around them, and creaked with a blast that was passing through it. The boughs were tossing heavily above their heads; while one solemn old tree groaned dolefully to another, as if telling the sad story of the pair that sat beneath, or constrained to forbode evil to come. And yet they lingered. How dreary looked the forest-track that led backward to the settlement, where Hester Prynne must take up again the burden of her ignominy, and the minister the hollow mockery of his good name! So they lingered an instant longer. No golden light had ever been so precious as the gloom of this dark forest. Here, seen only by his eyes, the scarlet letter need not burn into the bosom of the fallen woman! Here, seen only by her eyes, Arthur Dimmesdale, false to God and man, might be, for one moment, true! He started at a thought that suddenly occurred to him. "Hester!" cried he, "here is a new horror! Roger Chillingworth knows your purpose to reveal his true character. Will he continue, then, to keep our secret? What will now be the course of his revenge?" "There is a strange secrecy in his nature," replied Hester, thoughtfully; "and it has grown upon him by the hidden practices of his revenge. I deem it not likely that he will betray the secret. He will doubtless seek other means of satiating his dark passion." "And I!--how am I to live longer, breathing the same air with this deadly enemy?" exclaimed Arthur Dimmesdale, shrinking within himself, and pressing his hand nervously against his heart,--a gesture that had grown involuntary with him. "Think for me, Hester! Thou art strong. Resolve for me!"

"Thou must dwell no longer with this man," said Hester, slowly and firmly. "Thy heart must be no longer under his evil eye!" "It were far worse than death!" replied the minister. "But how to avoid it? What choice remains to me? Shall I lie down again on these withered leaves, where I cast myself when thou didst tell me what he was? Must I sink down there, and die at once?" "Alas, what a ruin has befallen thee!" said Hester, with the tears gushing into her eyes. "Wilt thou die for very weakness? There is no other cause!" "The judgment of God is on me," answered the conscience-stricken priest. "It is too mighty for me to struggle with!" "Heaven would show mercy," rejoined Hester, "hadst thou but the strength to take advantage of it." "Be thou strong for me!" answered he. "Advise me what to do." "Is the world then so narrow?" exclaimed Hester Prynne, fixing her deep eyes on the minister's, and instinctively exercising a magnetic power over a spirit so shattered and subdued, that it could hardly hold itself erect. "Doth the universe lie within the compass of yonder town, which only a little time ago was but a leafstrewn desert, as lonely as this around us? Whither leads yonder forest-track? Backward to the settlement, thou sayest! Yes; but onward, too! Deeper it goes, and deeper, into the wilderness, less plainly to be seen at every step; until, some few miles hence, the yellow leaves will show no vestige of the white man's tread. There thou art free! So brief a journey would bring thee from a world where thou hast been most wretched, to one where thou mayest still be happy! Is there not shade enough in all this boundless forest to hide thy heart from the gaze of Roger Chillingworth?" "Yes, Hester; but only under the fallen leaves!" replied the minister, with a sad smile. "Then there is the broad pathway of the sea!" continued Hester. "It brought thee hither. If thou so choose, it will bear thee back again. In our native land, whether in some remote rural village or in vast London,--or, surely, in Germany, in France, in pleasant Italy,--thou wouldst be beyond his power and knowledge! And what

hast thou to do with all these iron men, and their opinions? They have kept thy better part in bondage too long already!" "It cannot be!" answered the minister, listening as if he were called upon to realize a dream. "I am powerless to go. Wretched and sinful as I am, I have had no other thought than to drag on my earthly existence in the sphere where Providence hath placed me. Lost as my own soul is, I would still do what I may for other human souls! I dare not quit my post, though an unfaithful sentinel, whose sure reward is death and dishonor, when his dreary watch shall come to an end!" "Thou art crushed under this seven years' weight of misery," replied Hester, fervently resolved to buoy him up with her own energy. "But thou shalt leave it all behind thee! It shall not cumber thy steps, as thou treadest along the forest-path; neither shalt thou freight the ship with it, if thou prefer to cross the sea. Leave this wreck and ruin here where it hath happened! Meddle no more with it! Begin all anew! Hast thou exhausted possibility in the failure of this one trial? Not so! The future is yet full of trial and success. There is happiness to be enjoyed! There is good to be done! Exchange this false life of thine for a true one. Be, if thy spirit summon thee to such a mission, the teacher and apostle of the red men. Or,--as is more thy nature,--be a scholar and a sage among the wisest and the most renowned of the cultivated world. Preach! Write! Act! Do any thing, save to lie down and die! Give up this name of Arthur Dimmesdale, and make thyself another, and a high one, such as thou canst wear without fear or shame. Why shouldst thou tarry so much as one other day in the torments that have so gnawed into thy life!--that have made thee feeble to will and to do!--that will leave thee powerless even to repent! Up, and away!" "O Hester!" cried Arthur Dimmesdale, in whose eyes a fitful light, kindled by her enthusiasm, flashed up and died away, "thou tellest of running a race to a man whose knees are tottering beneath him! I must die here. There is not the strength or courage left me to venture into the wide, strange, difficult world, alone!" It was the last expression of the despondency of a broken spirit. He lacked energy to grasp the better fortune that seemed within his reach. He repeated the word. "Alone, Hester!"

"Thou shall not go alone!" answered she, in a deep whisper. Then, all was spoken!

more trammelled by its regulations, its principles, and even its prejudices. As a priest, the framework of his order inevitably hemmed him in. As a man who had once sinned, but who kept his conscience all alive and painfully sensitive by the fretting of an unhealed wound, he might have been supposed safer within the line of virtue, than if he had never sinned at all. Thus, we seem to see that, as regarded Hester Prynne, the whole seven years of outlaw and ignominy had been little other than a preparation for this very hour. But Arthur Dimmesdale! Were such a man once more to fall, what plea could be urged in extenuation of his crime? None; unless it avail him somewhat, that he was broken down by long and exquisite suffering; that his mind was darkened and confused by the very remorse which harrowed it; that, between fleeing as an avowed criminal, and remaining as a hypocrite, conscience might find it hard to strike the balance; that it was human to avoid the peril of death and infamy, and the inscrutable machinations of an enemy; that, finally, to this poor pilgrim, on his dreary and desert path, faint, sick, miserable, there appeared a glimpse of human affection and sympathy, a new life, and a true one, in exchange for the heavy doom which he was now expiating. And be the stern and sad truth spoken, that the breach which guilt has once made into the human soul is never, in this mortal state, repaired. It may be watched and guarded; so that the enemy shall not force his way again into the citadel, and might even, in his subsequent assaults, select some other avenue, in preference to that where he had formerly succeeded. But there is still the ruined wall, and, near it, the stealthy tread of the foe that would win over again his unforgotten triumph. The struggle, if there were one, need not be described. Let it suffice, that the clergyman resolved to flee, and not alone. "If, in all these past seven years," thought he, "I could recall one instant of peace or hope, I would yet endure, for the sake of that earnest of Heaven's mercy. But now,--since I am irrevocably doomed,--wherefore should I not snatch the solace allowed to the condemned culprit before his execution? Or, if this be the path to a better life, as Hester would persuade me, I surely give up no fairer prospect by pursuing it! Neither can I any longer live without her companionship; so powerful is she to sustain,--so tender to soothe! O Thou to whom I dare not lift mine eyes, wilt Thou yet pardon me!"

Chapter 18 - A Flood of Sunshine Arthur Dimmesdale gazed into Hester's face with a look in which hope and joy shone out, indeed, but with fear betwixt them, and a kind of horror at her boldness, who had spoken what he vaguely hinted at, but dared not speak. But Hester Prynne, with a mind of native courage and activity, and for so long a period not merely estranged, but outlawed, from society, had habituated herself to such latitude of speculation as was altogether foreign to the clergyman. She had wandered, without rule or guidance, in a moral wilderness; as vast, as intricate and shadowy, as the untamed forest, amid the gloom of which they were now holding a colloquy that was to decide their fate. Her intellect and heart had their home, as it were, in desert places, where she roamed as freely as the wild Indian in his woods. For years past she had looked from this estranged point of view at human institutions, and whatever priests or legislators had established; criticizing all with hardly more reverence than the Indian would feel for the clerical band, the judicial robe, the pillory, the gallows, the fireside, or the church. The tendency of her fate and fortunes had been to set her free. The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude! These had been her teachers,--stern and wild ones,--and they had made her strong, but taught her much amiss. The minister, on the other hand, had never gone through an experience calculated to lead him beyond the scope of generally received laws; although, in a single instance, he had so fearfully transgressed one of the most sacred of them. But this had been a sin of passion, not of principle, nor even purpose. Since that wretched epoch, he had watched, with morbid zeal and minuteness, not his acts,--for those it was easy to arrange,--but each breath of emotion, and his every thought. At the head of the social system, as the clergymen of that day stood, he was only the

"Thou wilt go!" said Hester calmly, as he met her glance. The decision once made, a glow of strange enjoyment threw its flickering brightness over the trouble of his breast. It was the exhilarating effect--upon a prisoner just escaped from the dungeon of his own heart--of breathing the wild, free atmosphere of an unredeemed, unchristianized, lawless region. His spirit rose, as it were, with a bound, and attained a nearer prospect of the sky, than throughout all the misery which had kept him grovelling on the earth. Of a deeply religious temperament, there was inevitably a tinge of the devotional in his mood. "Do I feel joy again?" cried he, wondering at himself. "Methought the germ of it was dead in me! O Hester, thou art my better angel! I seem to have flung myself-sick, sin-stained, and sorrow-blackened--down upon these forest-leaves, and to have risen up all made anew, and with new powers to glorify Him that hath been merciful! This is already the better life! Why did we not find it sooner?" "Let us not look back," answered Hester Prynne. "The past is gone! Wherefore should we linger upon it now? See! With this symbol, I undo it all, and make it as if it had never been!" So speaking, she undid the clasp that fastened the scarlet letter, and, taking it from her bosom, threw it to a distance among the withered leaves. The mystic token alighted on the hither verge of the stream. With a hand's breadth farther flight it would have fallen into the water, and have given the little brook another woe to carry onward, besides the unintelligible tale which it still kept murmuring about. But there lay the embroidered letter, glittering like a lost jewel, which some illfated wanderer might pick up, and thenceforth be haunted by strange phantoms of guilt, sinkings of the heart, and unaccountable misfortune. The stigma gone, Hester heaved a long, deep sigh, in which the burden of shame and anguish departed from her spirit. O exquisite relief! She had not known the weight, until she felt the freedom! By another impulse, she took off the formal cap that confined her hair; and down it fell upon her shoulders, dark and rich, with at once a shadow and a light in its abundance, and imparting the charm of softness to her features. There played around her mouth, and beamed out of her eyes, a radiant and tender smile, that seemed gushing from the very heart of womanhood. A crimson flush was glowing on her cheek, that had been long so pale. Her sex, her youth, and the whole richness of her beauty, came back from what men call

the irrevocable past, and clustered themselves, with her maiden hope, and a happiness before unknown, within the magic circle of this hour. And, as if the gloom of the earth and sky had been but the effluence of these two mortal hearts, it vanished with their sorrow. All at once, as with a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring a very flood into the obscure forest, gladdening each green leaf, transmuting the yellow fallen ones to gold, and gleaming adown the gray trunks of the solemn trees. The objects that had made a shadow hitherto, embodied the brightness now. The course of the little brook might be traced by its merry gleam afar into the wood's heart of mystery, which had become a mystery of joy. Such was the sympathy of Nature--that wild, heathen Nature of the forest, never subjugated by human law, nor illumined by higher truth--with the bliss of these two spirits! Love, whether newly born, or aroused from a deathlike slumber, must always create a sunshine, filling the heart so full of radiance, that it overflows upon the outward world. Had the forest still kept its gloom, it would have been bright in Hester's eyes, and bright in Arthur Dimmesdale's! Hester looked at him with the thrill of another joy. "Thou must know Pearl!" said she. "Our little Pearl! Thou hast seen her,--yes, I know it!--but thou wilt see her now with other eyes. She is a strange child! I hardly comprehend her! But thou wilt love her dearly, as I do, and wilt advise me how to deal with her." "Dost thou think the child will be glad to know me?" asked the minister, somewhat uneasily. "I have long shrunk from children, because they often show a distrust,--a backwardness to be familiar with me. I have even been afraid of little Pearl!" "Ah, that was sad!" answered the mother. "But she will love thee dearly, and thou her. She is not far off. I will call her! Pearl! Pearl!" "I see the child," observed the minister. "Yonder she is, standing in a streak of sunshine, a good way off, on the other side of the brook. So thou thinkest the child will love me?" Hester smiled, and again called to Pearl, who was visible, at some distance, as the minister had described her, like a bright-apparelled vision, in a sunbeam, which

fell down upon her through an arch of boughs. The ray quivered to and fro, making her figure dim or distinct,--now like a real child, now like a child's spirit,-as the splendor went and came again. She heard her mother's voice, and approached slowly through the forest. Pearl had not found the hour pass wearisomely, while her mother sat talking with the clergyman. The great black forest--stern as it showed itself to those who brought the guilt and troubles of the world into its bosom--became the playmate of the lonely infant, as well as it knew how. Sombre as it was, it put on the kindest of its moods to welcome her. It offered her the partridge-berries, the growth of the preceding autumn, but ripening only in the spring, and now red as drops of blood upon the withered leaves. These Pearl gathered, and was pleased with their wild flavor. The small denizens of the wilderness hardly took pains to move out of her path. A partridge, indeed, with a brood of ten behind her, ran forward threateningly, but soon repented of her fierceness, and clucked to her young ones not to be afraid. A pigeon, alone on a low branch, allowed Pearl to come beneath, and uttered a sound as much of greeting as alarm. A squirrel, from the lofty depths of his domestic tree, chattered either in anger or merriment,--for a squirrel is such a choleric and humorous little personage that it is hard to distinguish between his moods,--so he chattered at the child, and flung down a nut upon her head. It was a last year's nut, and already gnawed by his sharp tooth. A fox, startled from his sleep by her light footstep on the leaves, looked inquisitively at Pearl, as doubting whether it were better to steal off, or renew his nap on the same spot. A wolf, it is said,--but here the tale has surely lapsed into the improbable,--came up, and smelt of Pearl's robe, and offered his savage head to be patted by her hand. The truth seems to be, however, that the mother-forest, and these wild things which it nourished, all recognized a kindred wildness in the human child. And she was gentler here than in the grassy-margined streets of the settlement, or in her mother's cottage. The flowers appeared to know it; and one and another whispered, as she passed, "Adorn thyself with me, thou beautiful child, adorn thyself with me!"--and, to please them, Pearl gathered the violets, and anemones, and columbines, and some twigs of the freshest green, which the old trees held down before her eyes. With these she decorated her hair, and her young waist, and became a nymph-child, or an infant dryad, or whatever else was in closest

sympathy with the antique wood. In such guise had Pearl adorned herself, when she heard her mother's voice, and came slowly back. Slowly; for she saw the clergyman!

Chapter 19 - The Child at the Brook-Side "Thou wilt love her dearly," repeated Hester Prynne, as she and the minister sat watching little Pearl. "Dost thou not think her beautiful? And see with what natural skill she has made those simple flowers adorn her! Had she gathered pearls, and diamonds, and rubies, in the wood, they could not have become her better. She is a splendid child! But I know whose brow she has!" "Dost thou know, Hester," said Arthur Dimmesdale, with an unquiet smile, "that this dear child, tripping about always at thy side, hath caused me many an alarm? Methought--O Hester, what a thought is that, and how terrible to dread it!--that my own features were partly repeated in her face, and so strikingly that the world might see them! But she is mostly thine!" "No, no! Not mostly!" answered the mother with a tender smile. "A little longer, and thou needest not to be afraid to trace whose child she is. But how strangely beautiful she looks, with those wild flowers in her hair! It is as if one of the fairies, whom we left in dear old England, had decked her out to meet us." It was with a feeling which neither of them had ever before experienced, that they sat and watched Pearl's slow advance. In her was visible the tie that united them. She had been offered to the world, these seven past years, as the living hieroglyphic, in which was revealed the secret they so darkly sought to hide,--all written in this symbol,--all plainly manifest,--had there been a prophet or magician skilled to read the character of flame! And Pearl was the oneness of their being. Be the foregone evil what it might, how could they doubt that their earthly lives and future destinies were conjoined, when they beheld at once the material union, and the spiritual idea, in whom they met, and were to dwell immortally together?

Thoughts like these--and perhaps other thoughts, which they did not acknowledge or define--threw an awe about the child, as she came onward. "Let her see nothing strange--no passion or eagerness--in thy way of accosting her," whispered Hester. "Our Pearl is a fitful and fantastic little elf, sometimes. Especially, she is seldom tolerant of emotion, when she does not fully comprehend the why and wherefore. But the child hath strong affections! She loves me, and will love thee!" "Thou canst not think," said the minister, glancing aside at Hester Prynne, "how my heart dreads this interview, and yearns for it! But, in truth, as I already told thee, children are not readily won to be familiar with me. They will not climb my knee, nor prattle in my ear, nor answer to my smile; but stand apart, and eye me strangely. Even little babes, when I take them in my arms, weep bitterly. Yet Pearl, twice in her little lifetime, hath been kind to me! The first time,--thou knowest it well! The last was when thou ledst her with thee to the house of yonder stern old Governor." "And thou didst plead so bravely in her behalf and mine!" answered the mother. "I remember it; and so shall little Pearl. Fear nothing! She may be strange and shy at first, but will soon learn to love thee!" By this time Pearl had reached the margin of the brook, and stood on the farther side, gazing silently at Hester and the clergyman, who still sat together on the mossy tree-trunk, waiting to receive her. Just where she had paused the brook chanced to form a pool, so smooth and quiet that it reflected a perfect image of her little figure, with all the brilliant picturesqueness of her beauty, in its adornment of flowers and wreathed foliage, but more refined and spiritualized than the reality. This image, so nearly identical with the living Pearl, seemed to communicate somewhat of its own shadowy and intangible quality to the child herself. It was strange, the way in which Pearl stood, looking so steadfastly at them through the dim medium of the forest-gloom; herself, meanwhile, all glorified with a ray of sunshine, that was attracted thitherward as by a certain sympathy. In the brook beneath stood another child,--another and the same,--with likewise its ray of golden light. Hester felt herself, in some indistinct and tantalizing manner, estranged from Pearl; as if the child, in her lonely ramble through the forest, had

strayed out of the sphere in which she and her mother dwelt together, and was now vainly seeking to return to it. There were both truth and error in the impression; the child and mother were estranged, but through Hester's fault, not Pearl's. Since the latter rambled from her side, another inmate had been admitted within the circle of the mother's feelings, and so modified the aspect of them all, that Pearl, the returning wanderer, could not find her wonted place, and hardly knew where she was. "I have a strange fancy," observed the sensitive minister, "that this brook is the boundary between two worlds, and that thou canst never meet thy Pearl again. Or is she an elfish spirit, who, as the legends of our childhood taught us, is forbidden to cross a running stream? Pray hasten her; for this delay has already imparted a tremor to my nerves." "Come, dearest child!" said Hester encouragingly, and stretching out both her arms. "How slow thou art! When hast thou been so sluggish before now? Here is a friend of mine, who must be thy friend also. Thou wilt have twice as much love, henceforward, as thy mother alone could give thee! Leap across the brook and come to us. Thou canst leap like a young deer!" Pearl, without responding in any manner to these honey-sweet expressions, remained on the other side of the brook. Now she fixed her bright, wild eyes on her mother, now on the minister, and now included them both in the same glance; as if to detect and explain to herself the relation which they bore to one another. For some unaccountable reason, as Arthur Dimmesdale felt the child's eyes upon himself, his hand--with that gesture so habitual as to have become involuntary-stole over his heart. At length, assuming a singular air of authority, Pearl stretched out her hand, with the small forefinger extended, and pointing evidently towards her mother's breast. And beneath, in the mirror of the brook, there was the flowergirdled and sunny image of little Pearl, pointing her small forefinger too. "Thou strange child, why dost thou not come to me?" exclaimed Hester. Pearl still pointed with her forefinger; and a frown gathered on her brow; the more impressive from the childish, the almost baby-like aspect of the features that conveyed it. As her mother still kept beckoning to her, and arraying her face in a holiday suit of unaccustomed smiles, the child stamped her foot with a yet more imperious look and gesture. In the brook, again, was the fantastic beauty of the

image, with its reflected frown, its pointed finger, and imperious gesture, giving emphasis to the aspect of little Pearl. "Hasten, Pearl; or I shall be angry with thee!" cried Hester Prynne, who, however inured to such behaviour on the elf-child's part at other seasons, was naturally anxious for a more seemly deportment now. "Leap across the brook, naughty child, and run hither! Else I must come to thee!" But Pearl, not a whit startled at her mother's threats, any more than mollified by her entreaties, now suddenly burst into a fit of passion, gesticulating violently, and throwing her small figure into the most extravagant contortions. She accompanied this wild outbreak with piercing shrieks, which the woods reverberated on all sides; so that, alone as she was in her childish and unreasonable wrath, it seemed as if a hidden multitude were lending her their sympathy and encouragement. Seen in the brook, once more, was the shadowy wrath of Pearl's image, crowned and girdled with flowers, but stamping its foot, wildly gesticulating, and, in the midst of all, still pointing its small forefinger at Hester's bosom! "I see what ails the child," whispered Hester to the clergyman, and turning pale in spite of a strong effort to conceal her trouble and annoyance. "Children will not abide any, the slightest, change in the accustomed aspect of things that are daily before their eyes. Pearl misses something which she has always seen me wear!" "I pray you," answered the minister, "if thou hast any means of pacifying the child, do it forthwith! Save it were the cankered wrath of an old witch, like Mistress Hibbins," added he, attempting to smile, "I know nothing that I would not sooner encounter than this passion in a child. In Pearl's young beauty, as in the wrinkled witch, it has a preternatural effect. Pacify her, if thou lovest me!" Hester turned again towards Pearl, with a crimson blush upon her cheek, a conscious glance aside at the clergyman, and then a heavy sigh; while, even before she had time to speak, the blush yielded to a deadly pallor. "Pearl," said she, sadly, "look down at thy feet! There!--before thee!--on the hither side of the brook!" The child turned her eyes to the point indicated; and there lay the scarlet letter, so close upon the margin of the stream, that the gold embroidery was reflected in it. "Bring it hither!" said Hester.

"Come thou and take it up!" answered Pearl. "Was ever such a child!" observed Hester aside to the minister. "O, I have much to tell thee about her. But, in very truth, she is right as regards this hateful token. I must bear its torture yet a little longer,--only a few days longer,--until we shall have left this region, and look back hither as to a land which we have dreamed of. The forest cannot hide it! The mid-ocean shall take it from my hand, and swallow it up for ever!" With these words, she advanced to the margin of the brook, took up the scarlet letter, and fastened it again into her bosom. Hopefully, but a moment ago, as Hester had spoken of drowning it in the deep sea, there was a sense of inevitable doom upon her, as she thus received back this deadly symbol from the hand of fate. She had flung it into infinite space!--she had drawn an hour's free breath!-and here again was the scarlet misery, glittering on the old spot! So it ever is, whether thus typified or no, that an evil deed invests itself with the character of doom. Hester next gathered up the heavy tresses of her hair, and confined them beneath her cap. As if there were a withering spell in the sad letter, her beauty, the warmth and richness of her womanhood, departed, like fading sunshine; and a gray shadow seemed to fall across her. When the dreary change was wrought, she extended her hand to Pearl. "Dost thou know thy mother now, child?" asked she, reproachfully, but with a subdued tone. "Wilt thou come across the brook, and own thy mother, now that she has her shame upon her,--now that she is sad?" "Yes; now I will!" answered the child, bounding across the brook, and clasping Hester in her arms. "Now thou art my mother indeed! And I am thy little Pearl!" In a mood of tenderness that was not usual with her, she drew down her mother's head, and kissed her brow and both her cheeks. But then--by a kind of necessity that always impelled this child to alloy whatever comfort she might chance to give with a throb of anguish--Pearl put up her mouth, and kissed the scarlet letter, too! "That was not kind!" said Hester. "When thou hast shown me a little love, thou mockest me!" "Why doth the minister sit yonder?" asked Pearl.

"He waits to welcome thee," replied her mother. "Come thou, and entreat his blessing! He loves thee, my little Pearl, and loves thy mother too. Wilt thou not love him? Come! he longs to greet thee!" "Doth he love us?" said Pearl, looking up with acute intelligence into her mother's face. "Will he go back with us, hand in hand, we three together, into the town?" "Not now, dear child," answered Hester. "But in days to come he will walk hand in hand with us. We will have a home and fireside of our own; and thou shalt sit upon his knee; and he will teach thee many things, and love thee dearly. Thou wilt love him; wilt thou not?" "And will he always keep his hand over his heart?" inquired Pearl. "Foolish child, what a question is that!" exclaimed her mother. "Come and ask his blessing!" But, whether influenced by the jealousy that seems instinctive with every petted child towards a dangerous rival, or from whatever caprice of her freakish nature, Pearl would show no favor to the clergyman. It was only by an exertion of force that her mother brought her up to him, hanging back, and manifesting her reluctance by odd grimaces; of which, ever since her babyhood, she had possessed a singular variety, and could transform her mobile physiognomy into a series of different aspects, with a new mischief in them, each and all. The minister-painfully embarrassed, but hoping that a kiss might prove a talisman to admit him into the child's kindlier regards--bent forward, and impressed one on her brow. Hereupon, Pearl broke away from her mother, and, running to the brook, stooped over it, and bathed her forehead, until the unwelcome kiss was quite washed off, and diffused through a long lapse of the gliding water. She then remained apart, silently watching Hester and the clergyman; while they talked together, and made such arrangements as were suggested by their new position, and the purposes soon to be fulfilled. And now this fateful interview had come to a close. The dell was to be left in solitude among its dark, old trees, which, with their multitudinous tongues, would whisper long of what had passed there, and no mortal be the wiser. And the melancholy brook would add this other tale to the mystery with which its little heart was already overburdened, and whereof it still kept up a murmuring babble, with not a whit more cheerfulness of tone than for ages heretofore.

Chapter 20 - The Minister in a Maze As the minister departed, in advance of Hester Prynne and little Pearl, he threw a backward glance; half expecting that he should discover only some faintly traced features or outline of the mother and the child, slowly fading into the twilight of the woods. So great a vicissitude in his life could not at once be received as real. But there was Hester, clad in her gray robe, still standing beside the tree-trunk, which some blast had overthrown a long antiquity ago, and which time had ever since been covering with moss, so that these two fated ones, with earth's heaviest burden on them, might there sit down together, and find a single hour's rest and solace. And there was Pearl, too, lightly dancing from the margin of the brook,-now that the intrusive third person was gone,--and taking her old place by her mother's side. So the minister had not fallen asleep, and dreamed! In order to free his mind from this indistinctness and duplicity of impression, which vexed it with a strange disquietude, he recalled and more thoroughly defined the plans which Hester and himself had sketched for their departure. It had been determined between them, that the Old World, with its crowds and cities, offered them a more eligible shelter and concealment than the wilds of New England, or all America, with its alternatives of an Indian wigwam, or the few settlements of Europeans, scattered thinly along the sea-board. Not to speak of the clergyman's health, so inadequate to sustain the hardships of a forest life, his native gifts, his culture, and his entire development would secure him a home only in the midst of civilization and refinement; the higher the state, the more delicately adapted to it the man. In furtherance of this choice, it so happened that a ship lay in the harbour; one of those questionable cruisers, frequent at that day, which, without being absolutely outlaws of the deep, yet roamed over its surface with a remarkable irresponsibility of character. This vessel had recently arrived from the Spanish Main, and, within three days' time, would sail for Bristol. Hester Prynne-whose vocation, as a self-enlisted Sister of Charity, had brought her acquainted with the captain and crew--could take upon herself to secure the passage of two individuals and a child, with all the secrecy which circumstances rendered more than desirable.

The minister had inquired of Hester, with no little interest, the precise time at which the vessel might be expected to depart. It would probably be on the fourth day from the present. "This is most fortunate!" he had then said to himself. Now, why the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale considered it so very fortunate, we hesitate to reveal. Nevertheless,--to hold nothing back from the reader,--it was because, on the third day from the present, he was to preach the Election Sermon; and, as such an occasion formed an honorable epoch in the life of a New England clergyman, he could not have chanced upon a more suitable mode and time of terminating his professional career. "At least, they shall say of me," thought this exemplary man, "that I leave no public duty unperformed, nor ill performed!" Sad, indeed, that an introspection so profound and acute as this poor minister's should be so miserably deceived! We have had, and may still have, worse things to tell of him; but none, we apprehend, so pitiably weak; no evidence, at once so slight and irrefragable, of a subtle disease, that had long since begun to eat into the real substance of his character. No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true. The excitement of Mr. Dimmesdale's feelings, as he returned from his interview with Hester, lent him unaccustomed physical energy, and hurried him townward at a rapid pace. The pathway among the woods seemed wilder, more uncouth with its rude natural obstacles, and less trodden by the foot of man, than he remembered it on his outward journey. But he leaped across the plashy places, thrust himself through the clinging underbrush, climbed the ascent, plunged into the hollow, and overcame, in short, all the difficulties of the track, with an unweariable activity that astonished him. He could not but recall how feebly, and with what frequent pauses for breath, he had toiled over the same ground only two days before. As he drew near the town, he took an impression of change from the series of familiar objects that presented themselves. It seemed not yesterday, not one, nor two, but many days, or even years ago, since he had quitted them. There, indeed, was each former trace of the street, as he remembered it, and all the peculiarities of the houses, with the due multitude of gable-peaks, and a weathercock at every point where his memory suggested one. Not the less, however, came this importunately obtrusive sense of change. The same was true as regarded the acquaintances whom he met, and all the well-known shapes of human life, about the little town. They

looked neither older nor younger, now; the beards of the aged were no whiter, nor could the creeping babe of yesterday walk on his feet to-day; it was impossible to describe in what respect they differed from the individuals on whom he had so recently bestowed a parting glance; and yet the minister's deepest sense seemed to inform him of their mutability. A similar impression struck him most remarkably, as he passed under the walls of his own church. The edifice had so very strange, and yet so familiar, an aspect, that Mr. Dimmesdale's mind vibrated between two ideas; either that he had seen it only in a dream hitherto, or that he was merely dreaming about it now. This phenomenon, in the various shapes which it assumed, indicated no external change, but so sudden and important a change in the spectator of the familiar scene, that the intervening space of a single day had operated on his consciousness like the lapse of years. The minister's own will, and Hester's will, and the fate that grew between them, had wrought this transformation. It was the same town as heretofore; but the same minister returned not from the forest. He might have said to the friends who greeted him,--"I am not the man for whom you take me! I left him yonder in the forest, withdrawn into a secret dell, by a mossy tree-trunk, and near a melancholy brook! Go, seek your minister, and see if his emaciated figure, his thin cheek, his white, heavy, pain-wrinkled brow, be not flung down there like a cast-off garment!" His friends, no doubt, would still have insisted with him,-"Thou art thyself the man!"--but the error would have been their own, not his. Before Mr. Dimmesdale reached home, his inner man gave him other evidences of a revolution in the sphere of thought and feeling. In truth, nothing short of a total change of dynasty and moral code, in that interior kingdom, was adequate to account for the impulses now communicated to the unfortunate and startled minister. At every step he was incited to do some strange, wild, wicked thing or other, with a sense that it would be at once involuntary and intentional; in spite of himself, yet growing out of a profounder self than that which opposed the impulse. For instance, he met one of his own deacons. The good old man addressed him with the paternal affection and patriarchal privilege, which his venerable age, his upright and holy character, and his station in the Church, entitled him to use; and, conjoined with this, the deep, almost worshipping respect, which the minister's professional and private claims alike demanded. Never was there a more beautiful

example of how the majesty of age and wisdom may comport with the obeisance and respect enjoined upon it, as from a lower social rank and inferior order of endowment, towards a higher. Now, during a conversation of some two or three moments between the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale and this excellent and hoarybearded deacon, it was only by the most careful self-control that the former could refrain from uttering certain blasphemous suggestions that rose into his mind, respecting the communion-supper. He absolutely trembled and turned pale as ashes, lest his tongue should wag itself, in utterance of these horrible matters, and plead his own consent for so doing, without his having fairly given it. And, even with this terror in his heart, he could hardly avoid laughing to imagine how the sanctified old patriarchal deacon would have been petrified by his minister's impiety! Again, another incident of the same nature. Hurrying along the street, the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale encountered the eldest female member of his church; a most pious and exemplary old dame; poor, widowed, lonely, and with a heart as full of reminiscences about her dead husband and children, and her dead friends of long ago, as a burial-ground is full of storied gravestones. Yet all this, which would else have been such heavy sorrow, was made almost a solemn joy to her devout old soul by religious consolations and the truths of Scripture, wherewith she had fed herself continually for more than thirty years. And, since Mr. Dimmesdale had taken her in charge, the good grandam's chief earthly comfort-which, unless it had been likewise a heavenly comfort, could have been none at all--was to meet her pastor, whether casually, or of set purpose, and be refreshed with a word of warm, fragrant, heaven-breathing Gospel truth from his beloved lips into her dulled, but rapturously attentive ear. But, on this occasion, up to the moment of putting his lips to the old woman's ear, Mr. Dimmesdale, as the great enemy of souls would have it, could recall no text of Scripture, nor aught else, except a brief, pithy, and, as it then appeared to him, unanswerable argument against the immortality of the human soul. The instilment thereof into her mind would probably have caused this aged sister to drop down dead, at once, as by the effect of an intensely poisonous infusion. What he really did whisper, the minister could never afterwards recollect. There was, perhaps, a fortunate disorder in his utterance, which failed to impart any distinct idea to the good widow's comprehension, or which Providence interpreted after a method of its own.

Assuredly, as the minister looked back, he beheld an expression of divine gratitude and ecstasy that seemed like the shine of the celestial city on her face, so wrinkled and ashy pale. Again, a third instance. After parting from the old church-member, he met the youngest sister of them all. It was a maiden newly won--and won by the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale's own sermon, on the Sabbath after his vigil--to barter the transitory pleasures of the world for the heavenly hope, that was to assume brighter substance as life grew dark around her, and which would gild the utter gloom with final glory. She was fair and pure as a lily that had bloomed in Paradise. The minister knew well that he was himself enshrined within the stainless sanctity of her heart, which hung its snowy curtains about his image, imparting to religion the warmth of love, and to love a religious purity. Satan, that afternoon, had surely led the poor young girl away from her mother's side, and thrown her into the pathway of this sorely tempted, or--shall we not rather say?-this lost and desperate man. As she drew nigh, the arch-fiend whispered him to condense into small compass and drop into her tender bosom a germ of evil that would be sure to blossom darkly soon, and bear black fruit betimes. Such was his sense of power over this virgin soul, trusting him as she did, that the minister felt potent to blight all the field of innocence with but one wicked look, and develop all its opposite with but a word. So--with a mightier struggle than he had yet sustained--he held his Geneva cloak before his face, and hurried onward, making no sign of recognition, and leaving the young sister to digest his rudeness as she might. She ransacked her conscience,--which was full of harmless little matters, like her pocket or her work-bag,--and took herself to task, poor thing, for a thousand imaginary faults; and went about her household duties with swollen eyelids the next morning. Before the minister had time to celebrate his victory over this last temptation, he was conscious of another impulse, more ludicrous, and almost as horrible. It was,-we blush to tell it,--it was to stop short in the road, and teach some very wicked words to a knot of little Puritan children who were playing there, and had but just begun to talk. Denying himself this freak, as unworthy of his cloth, he met a drunken seaman, one of the ship's crew from the Spanish Main. And, here, since he had so valiantly forborne all other wickedness, poor Mr. Dimmesdale longed, at

least, to shake hands with the tarry blackguard, and recreate himself with a few improper jests, such as dissolute sailors so abound with, and a volley of good, round, solid, satisfactory, and heaven-defying oaths! It was not so much a better principle, as partly his natural good taste, and still more his buckramed habit of clerical decorum, that carried him safely through the latter crisis. "What is it that haunts and tempts me thus?" cried the minister to himself, at length, pausing in the street, and striking his hand against his forehead. "Am I mad? or am I given over utterly to the fiend? Did I make a contract with him in the forest, and sign it with my blood? And does he now summon me to its fulfilment, by suggesting the performance of every wickedness which his most foul imagination can conceive?" At the moment when the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale thus communed with himself, and struck his forehead with his hand, old Mistress Hibbins, the reputed witchlady, is said to have been passing by. She made a very grand appearance; having on a high head-dress, a rich gown of velvet, and a ruff done up with the famous yellow starch, of which Anne Turner, her especial friend, had taught her the secret, before this last good lady had been hanged for Sir Thomas Overbury's murder. Whether the witch had read the minister's thoughts, or no, she came to a full stop, looked shrewdly into his face, smiled craftily, and--though little given to converse with clergymen--began a conversation. "So, reverend Sir, you have made a visit into the forest," observed the witch-lady, nodding her high head-dress at him. "The next time, I pray you to allow me only a fair warning, and I shall be proud to bear you company. Without taking overmuch upon myself, my good word will go far towards gaining any strange gentleman a fair reception from yonder potentate you wot of!" "I profess, madam," answered the clergyman, with a grave obeisance, such as the lady's rank demanded, and his own good-breeding made imperative,--"I profess, on my conscience and character, that I am utterly bewildered as touching the purport of your words! I went not into the forest to seek a potentate; neither do I, at any future time, design a visit thither, with a view to gaining the favor of such personage. My one sufficient object was to greet that pious friend of mine, the Apostle Eliot, and rejoice with him over the many precious souls he hath won from heathendom!"

"Ha, ha, ha!" cackled the old witch-lady, still nodding her high head-dress at the minister. "Well, well, we must needs talk thus in the daytime! You carry it off like an old hand! But at midnight, and in the forest, we shall have other talk together!" She passed on with her aged stateliness, but often turning back her head and smiling at him, like one willing to recognize a secret intimacy of connection. "Have I then sold myself," thought the minister, "to the fiend whom, if men say true, this yellow-starched and velveted old hag has chosen for her prince and master!" The wretched minister! He had made a bargain very like it! Tempted by a dream of happiness, he had yielded himself with deliberate choice, as he had never done before, to what he knew was deadly sin. And the infectious poison of that sin had been thus rapidly diffused throughout his moral system. It had stupefied all blessed impulses, and awakened into vivid life the whole brotherhood of bad ones. Scorn, bitterness, unprovoked malignity, gratuitous desire of ill, ridicule of whatever was good and holy, all awoke, to tempt, even while they frightened him. And his encounter with old Mistress Hibbins, if it were a real incident, did but show its sympathy and fellowship with wicked mortals and the world of perverted spirits. He had by this time reached his dwelling, on the edge of the burial-ground, and, hastening up the stairs, took refuge in his study. The minister was glad to have reached this shelter, without first betraying himself to the world by any of those strange and wicked eccentricities to which he had been continually impelled while passing through the streets. He entered the accustomed room, and looked around him on its books, its windows, its fireplace, and the tapestried comfort of the walls, with the same perception of strangeness that had haunted him throughout his walk from the forest-dell into the town, and thitherward. Here he had studied and written; here, gone through fast and vigil, and come forth half alive; here, striven to pray; here, borne a hundred thousand agonies! There was the Bible, in its rich old Hebrew, with Moses and the Prophets speaking to him, and God's voice through all! There, on the table, with the inky pen beside it, was an unfinished sermon, with a sentence broken in the midst, where his thoughts had ceased to gush out upon the page two days before. He knew that it was himself, the thin and white-cheeked minister, who had done and suffered these things, and

written thus far into the Election Sermon! But he seemed to stand apart, and eye this former self with scornful pitying, but half-envious curiosity. That self was gone! Another man had returned out of the forest; a wiser one; with a knowledge of hidden mysteries which the simplicity of the former never could have reached. A bitter kind of knowledge that! While occupied with these reflections, a knock came at the door of the study, and the minister said, "Come in!"--not wholly devoid of an idea that he might behold an evil spirit. And so he did! It was old Roger Chillingworth that entered. The minister stood, white and speechless, with one hand on the Hebrew Scriptures, and the other spread upon his breast. "Welcome home, reverend Sir!" said the physician. "And how found you that godly man, the Apostle Eliot? But methinks, dear Sir, you look pale; as if the travel through the wilderness had been too sore for you. Will not my aid be requisite to put you in heart and strength to preach your Election Sermon?" "Nay, I think not so," rejoined the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale. "My journey, and the sight of the holy Apostle yonder, and the free air which I have breathed, have done me good, after so long confinement in my study. I think to need no more of your drugs, my kind physician, good though they be, and administered by a friendly hand." All this time, Roger Chillingworth was looking at the minister with the grave and intent regard of a physician towards his patient. But, in spite of this outward show, the latter was almost convinced of the old man's knowledge, or, at least, his confident suspicion, with respect to his own interview with Hester Prynne. The physician knew, then, that, in the minister's regard, he was no longer a trusted friend, but his bitterest enemy. So much being known, it would appear natural that a part of it should be expressed. It is singular, however, how long a time often passes before words embody things; and with what security two persons, who choose to avoid a certain subject, may approach its very verge, and retire without disturbing it. Thus, the minister felt no apprehension that Roger Chillingworth would touch, in express words, upon the real position which they sustained towards one another. Yet did the physician, in his dark way, creep frightfully near the secret.

"Were it not better," said he, "that you use my poor skill to-night? Verily, dear Sir, we must take pains to make you strong and vigorous for this occasion of the Election discourse. The people look for great things from you; apprehending that another year may come about, and find their pastor gone." "Yea, to another world," replied the minister, with pious resignation. "Heaven grant it be a better one; for, in good sooth, I hardly think to tarry with my flock through the flitting seasons of another year! But, touching your medicine, kind Sir, in my present frame of body I need it not." "I joy to hear it," answered the physician. "It may be that my remedies, so long administered in vain, begin now to take due effect. Happy man were I, and well deserving of New England's gratitude, could I achieve this cure!" "I thank you from my heart, most watchful friend," said the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, with a solemn smile. "I thank you, and can but requite your good deeds with my prayers." "A good man's prayers are golden recompense!" rejoined old Roger Chillingworth, as he took his leave. "Yea, they are the current gold coin of the New Jerusalem, with the King's own mint-mark on them!" Left alone, the minister summoned a servant of the house, and requested food, which, being set before him, he ate with ravenous appetite. Then, flinging the already written pages of the Election Sermon into the fire, he forthwith began another, which he wrote with such an impulsive flow of thought and emotion, that he fancied himself inspired; and only wondered that Heaven should see fit to transmit the grand and solemn music of its oracles through so foul an organ-pipe as he. However, leaving that mystery to solve itself, or go unsolved for ever, he drove his task onward, with earnest haste and ecstasy. Thus the night fled away, as if it were a winged steed, and he careering on it; morning came, and peeped blushing through the curtains; and at last sunrise threw a golden beam into the study, and laid it right across the minister's bedazzled eyes. There he was, with the pen still between his fingers, and a vast, immeasurable tract of written space behind him!

Chapter 21 - The New England Holiday Betimes in the morning of the day on which the new Governor was to receive his office at the hands of the people, Hester Prynne and little Pearl came into the market-place. It was already thronged with the craftsmen and other plebeian inhabitants of the town, in considerable numbers; among whom, likewise, were many rough figures, whose attire of deer-skins marked them as belonging to some of the forest settlements, which surrounded the little metropolis of the colony. On this public holiday, as on all other occasions, for seven years past, Hester was clad in a garment of coarse gray cloth. Not more by its hue than by some indescribable peculiarity in its fashion, it had the effect of making her fade personally out of sight and outline; while, again, the scarlet letter brought her back from this twilight indistinctness, and revealed her under the moral aspect of its own illumination. Her face, so long familiar to the townspeople, showed the marble quietude which they were accustomed to behold there. It was like a mask; or rather, like the frozen calmness of a dead woman's features; owing this dreary resemblance to the fact that Hester was actually dead, in respect to any claim of sympathy, and had departed out of the world with which she still seemed to mingle. It might be, on this one day, that there was an expression unseen before, nor, indeed, vivid enough to be detected now; unless some preternaturally gifted observer should have first read the heart, and have afterwards sought a corresponding development in the countenance and mien. Such a spiritual seer might have conceived, that, after sustaining the gaze of the multitude through seven miserable years as a necessity, a penance, and something which it was a stern religion to endure, she now, for one last time more, encountered it freely and voluntarily, in order to convert what had so long been agony into a kind of triumph. "Look your last on the scarlet letter and its wearer!"--the people's victim and life-long bond-slave, as they fancied her, might say to them. "Yet a little while, and she will be beyond your reach! A few hours longer, and the deep, mysterious ocean will quench and hide for ever the symbol which ye have caused to burn on her bosom!" Nor were it an inconsistency too improbable to be assigned to human nature, should we suppose a feeling of regret in Hester's mind,

at the moment when she was about to win her freedom from the pain which had been thus deeply incorporated with her being. Might there not be an irresistible desire to quaff a last, long, breathless draught of the cup of wormwood and aloes, with which nearly all her years of womanhood had been perpetually flavored? The wine of life, henceforth to be presented to her lips, must be indeed rich, delicious, and exhilarating, in its chased and golden beaker; or else leave an inevitable and weary languor, after the lees of bitterness wherewith she had been drugged, as with a cordial of intensest potency. Pearl was decked out with airy gayety. It would have been impossible to guess that this bright and sunny apparition owed its existence to the shape of gloomy gray; or that a fancy, at once so gorgeous and so delicate as must have been requisite to contrive the child's apparel, was the same that had achieved a task perhaps more difficult, in imparting so distinct a peculiarity to Hester's simple robe. The dress, so proper was it to little Pearl, seemed an effluence, or inevitable development and outward manifestation of her character, no more to be separated from her than the many-hued brilliancy from a butterfly's wing, or the painted glory from the leaf of a bright flower. As with these, so with the child; her garb was all of one idea with her nature. On this eventful day, moreover, there was a certain singular inquietude and excitement in her mood, resembling nothing so much as the shimmer of a diamond, that sparkles and flashes with the varied throbbings of the breast on which it is displayed. Children have always a sympathy in the agitations of those connected with them; always, especially, a sense of any trouble or impending revolution, of whatever kind, in domestic circumstances; and therefore Pearl, who was the gem on her mother's unquiet bosom, betrayed, by the very dance of her spirits, the emotions which none could detect in the marble passiveness of Hester's brow. This effervescence made her flit with a bird-like movement, rather than walk by her mother's side. She broke continually into shouts of a wild, inarticulate, and sometimes piercing music. When they reached the market-place, she became still more restless, on perceiving the stir and bustle that enlivened the spot; for it was usually more like the broad and lonesome green before a village meeting-house, than the centre of a town's business.

"Why, what is this, mother?" cried she. "Wherefore have all the people left their work to-day? Is it a play-day for the whole world? See, there is the blacksmith! He has washed his sooty face, and put on his Sabbath-day clothes, and looks as if he would gladly be merry, if any kind body would only teach him how! And there is Master Brackett, the old jailer, nodding and smiling at me. Why does he do so, mother?" "He remembers thee a little babe, my child," answered Hester. "He should not nod and smile at me, for all that,--the black, grim, ugly-eyed old man!" said Pearl. "He may nod at thee if he will; for thou art clad in gray, and wearest the scarlet letter. But, see, mother, how many faces of strange people, and Indians among them, and sailors! What have they all come to do here in the market-place?" "They wait to see the procession pass," said Hester. "For the Governor and the magistrates are to go by, and the ministers, and all the great people and good people, with the music, and the soldiers marching before them." "And will the minister be there?" asked Pearl. "And will he hold out both his hands to me, as when thou ledst me to him from the brook-side?" "He will be there, child," answered her mother. "But he will not greet thee to-day; nor must thou greet him." "What a strange, sad man is he!" said the child, as if speaking partly to herself. "In the dark night-time, he calls us to him, and holds thy hand and mine, as when we stood with him on the scaffold yonder! And in the deep forest, where only the old trees can hear, and the strip of sky see it, he talks with thee, sitting on a heap of moss! And he kisses my forehead, too, so that the little brook would hardly wash it off! But, here, in the sunny day, and among all the people, he knows us not; nor must we know him! A strange, sad man is he, with his hand always over his heart!" "Be quiet, Pearl! Thou understandest not these things," said her mother. "Think not now of the minister, but look about thee, and see how cheery is every body's face to-day. The children have come from their schools, and the grown people from their workshops and their fields, on purpose to be happy. For, to-day, a new man is beginning to rule over them; and so--as has been the custom of mankind

ever since a nation was first gathered--they make merry and rejoice; as if a good and golden year were at length to pass over the poor old world!" It was as Hester said, in regard to the unwonted jollity that brightened the faces of the people. Into this festal season of the year--as it already was, and continued to be during the greater part of two centuries--the Puritans compressed whatever mirth and public joy they deemed allowable to human infirmity; thereby so far dispelling the customary cloud, that, for the space of a single holiday, they appeared scarcely more grave than most other communities at a period of general affliction. But we perhaps exaggerate the gray or sable tinge, which undoubtedly characterized the mood and manners of the age. The persons now in the marketplace of Boston had not been born to an inheritance of Puritanic gloom. They were native Englishmen, whose fathers had lived in the sunny richness of the Elizabethan epoch; a time when the life of England, viewed as one great mass, would appear to have been as stately, magnificent, and joyous, as the world has ever witnessed. Had they followed their hereditary taste, the New England settlers would have illustrated all events of public importance by bonfires, banquets, pageantries, and processions. Nor would it have been impracticable, in the observance of majestic ceremonies, to combine mirthful recreation with solemnity, and give, as it were, a grotesque and brilliant embroidery to the great robe of state, which a nation, at such festivals, puts on. There was some shadow of an attempt of this kind in the mode of celebrating the day on which the political year of the colony commenced. The dim reflection of a remembered splendor, a colorless and manifold diluted repetition of what they had beheld in proud old London,--we will not say at a royal coronation, but at a Lord Mayor's show,--might be traced in the customs which our forefathers instituted, with reference to the annual installation of magistrates. The fathers and founders of the commonwealth--the statesman, the priest, and the soldier--deemed it a duty then to assume the outward state and majesty, which, in accordance with antique style, was looked upon as the proper garb of public and social eminence. All came forth, to move in procession before the people's eye, and thus impart a needed dignity to the simple framework of a government so newly constructed.

Then, too, the people were countenanced, if not encouraged, in relaxing the severe and close application to their various modes of rugged industry, which, at all other times, seemed of the same piece and material with their religion. Here, it is true, were none of the appliances which popular merriment would so readily have found in the England of Elizabeth's time, or that of James;--no rude shows of a theatrical kind; no minstrel with his harp and legendary ballad, nor gleeman, with an ape dancing to his music; no juggler, with his tricks of mimic witchcraft; no Merry Andrew, to stir up the multitude with jests, perhaps hundreds of years old, but still effective, by their appeals to the very broadest sources of mirthful sympathy. All such professors of the several branches of jocularity would have been sternly repressed, not only by the rigid discipline of law, but by the general sentiment which gives law its vitality. Not the less, however, the great, honest face of the people smiled, grimly, perhaps, but widely too. Nor were sports wanting, such as the colonists had witnessed, and shared in, long ago, at the country fairs and on the village-greens of England; and which it was thought well to keep alive on this new soil, for the sake of the courage and manliness that were essential in them. Wrestling-matches, in the different fashions of Cornwall and Devonshire, were seen here and there about the market-place; in one corner, there was a friendly bout at quarterstaff; and--what attracted most interest of all--on the platform of the pillory, already so noted in our pages, two masters of defence were commencing an exhibition with the buckler and broadsword. But, much to the disappointment of the crowd, this latter business was broken off by the interposition of the town beadle, who had no idea of permitting the majesty of the law to be violated by such an abuse of one of its consecrated places. It may not be too much to affirm, on the whole, (the people being then in the first stages of joyless deportment, and the offspring of sires who had known how to be merry, in their day,) that they would compare favorably, in point of holiday keeping, with their descendants, even at so long an interval as ourselves. Their immediate posterity, the generation next to the early emigrants, wore the blackest shade of Puritanism, and so darkened the national visage with it, that all the subsequent years have not sufficed to clear it up. We have yet to learn again the forgotten art of gayety.

The picture of human life in the market-place, though its general tint was the sad gray, brown, or black of the English emigrants, was yet enlivened by some diversity of hue. A party of Indians--in their savage finery of curiously embroidered deer-skin robes, wampum-belts, red and yellow ochre, and feathers, and armed with the bow and arrow and stone-headed spear--stood apart, with countenances of inflexible gravity, beyond what even the Puritan aspect could attain. Nor, wild as were these painted barbarians, were they the wildest feature of the scene. This distinction could more justly be claimed by some mariners,--a part of the crew of the vessel from the Spanish Main,--who had come ashore to see the humors of Election Day. They were rough-looking desperadoes, with sunblackened faces, and an immensity of beard; their wide, short trousers were confined about the waist by belts, often clasped with a rough plate of gold, and sustaining always a long knife, and, in some instances, a sword. From beneath their broad-brimmed hats of palm-leaf, gleamed eyes which, even in good nature and merriment, had a kind of animal ferocity. They transgressed, without fear or scruple, the rules of behaviour that were binding on all others; smoking tobacco under the beadle's very nose, although each whiff would have cost a townsman a shilling; and quaffing, at their pleasure, draughts of wine or aqua-vit from pocket-flasks, which they freely tendered to the gaping crowd around them. It remarkably characterized the incomplete morality of the age, rigid as we call it, that a license was allowed the seafaring class, not merely for their freaks on shore, but for far more desperate deeds on their proper element. The sailor of that day would go near to be arraigned as a pirate in our own. There could be little doubt, for instance, that this very ship's crew, though no unfavorable specimens of the nautical brotherhood, had been guilty, as we should phrase it, of depredations on the Spanish commerce, such as would have perilled all their necks in a modern court of justice. But the sea, in those old times, heaved, swelled, and foamed very much at its own will, or subject only to the tempestuous wind, with hardly any attempts at regulation by human law. The buccaneer on the wave might relinquish his calling, and become at once, if he chose, a man of probity and piety on land; nor, even in the full career of his reckless life, was he regarded as a personage with whom it was disreputable to traffic, or casually associate. Thus, the Puritan elders, in their black cloaks, starched bands, and steeple-crowned hats, smiled not unbenignantly

at the clamor and rude deportment of these jolly seafaring men; and it excited neither surprise nor animadversion when so reputable a citizen as old Roger Chillingworth, the physician, was seen to enter the market-place, in close and familiar talk with the commander of the questionable vessel. The latter was by far the most showy and gallant figure, so far as apparel went, anywhere to be seen among the multitude. He wore a profusion of ribbons on his garment, and gold lace on his hat, which was also encircled by a gold chain, and surmounted with a feather. There was a sword at his side, and a sword-cut on his forehead, which, by the arrangement of his hair, he seemed anxious rather to display than hide. A landsman could hardly have worn this garb and shown this face, and worn and shown them both with such a galliard air, without undergoing stern question before a magistrate, and probably incurring a fine or imprisonment, or perhaps an exhibition in the stocks. As regarded the shipmaster, however, all was looked upon as pertaining to the character, as to a fish his glistening scales. After parting from the physician, the commander of the Bristol ship strolled idly through the market-place; until, happening to approach the spot where Hester Prynne was standing, he appeared to recognize, and did not hesitate to address her. As was usually the case wherever Hester stood, a small, vacant area--a sort of magic circle--had formed itself about her, into which, though the people were elbowing one another at a little distance, none ventured, or felt disposed to intrude. It was a forcible type of the moral solitude in which the scarlet letter enveloped its fated wearer; partly by her own reserve, and partly by the instinctive, though no longer so unkindly, withdrawal of her fellow-creatures. Now, if never before, it answered a good purpose, by enabling Hester and the seaman to speak together without risk of being overheard; and so changed was Hester Prynne's repute before the public, that the matron in town most eminent for rigid morality could not have held such intercourse with less result of scandal than herself. "So, mistress," said the mariner, "I must bid the steward make ready one more berth than you bargained for! No fear of scurvy or ship-fever, this voyage! What with the ship's surgeon and this other doctor, our only danger will be from drug or pill; more by token, as there is a lot of apothecary's stuff aboard, which I traded for with a Spanish vessel."

"What mean you?" inquired Hester, startled more than she permitted to appear. "Have you another passenger?" "Why, know you not," cried the shipmaster, "that this physician here-Chillingworth, he calls himself--is minded to try my cabin-fare with you? Ay, ay, you must have known it; for he tells me he is of your party, and a close friend to the gentleman you spoke of,--he that is in peril from these sour old Puritan rulers!" "They know each other well, indeed," replied Hester, with a mien of calmness, though in the utmost consternation. "They have long dwelt together." Nothing further passed between the mariner and Hester Prynne. But, at that instant, she beheld old Roger Chillingworth himself, standing in the remotest corner of the market-place, and smiling on her; a smile which--across the wide and bustling square, and through all the talk and laughter, and various thoughts, moods, and interests of the crowd--conveyed secret and fearful meaning.

Chapter 22 - The Procession Before Hester Prynne could call together her thoughts, and consider what was practicable to be done in this new and startling aspect of affairs, the sound of military music was heard approaching along a contiguous street. It denoted the advance of the procession of magistrates and citizens, on its way towards the meeting-house; where, in compliance with a custom thus early established, and ever since observed, the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale was to deliver an Election Sermon. Soon the head of the procession showed itself, with a slow and stately march, turning a corner, and making its way across the market-place. First came the music. It comprised a variety of instruments, perhaps imperfectly adapted to one another, and played with no great skill, but yet attaining the great object for which the harmony of drum and clarion addresses itself to the multitude,--that of imparting a higher and more heroic air to the scene of life that passes before the eye. Little Pearl at first clapped her hands, but then lost, for an instant, the restless

agitation that had kept her in a continual effervescence throughout the morning; she gazed silently, and seemed to be borne upward, like a floating sea-bird, on the long heaves and swells of sound. But she was brought back to her former mood by the shimmer of the sunshine on the weapons and bright armour of the military company, which followed after the music, and formed the honorary escort of the procession. This body of soldiery--which still sustains a corporate existence, and marches down from past ages with an ancient and honorable fame--was composed of no mercenary materials. Its ranks were filled with gentlemen, who felt the stirrings of martial impulse, and sought to establish a kind of College of Arms, where, as in an association of Knights Templars, they might learn the science, and, so far as peaceful exercise would teach them, the practices of war. The high estimation then placed upon the military character might be seen in the lofty port of each individual member of the company. Some of them, indeed, by their services in the Low Countries and on other fields of European warfare, had fairly won their title to assume the name and pomp of soldiership. The entire array, moreover, clad in burnished steel, and with plumage nodding over their bright morions, had a brilliancy of effect which no modern display can aspire to equal. And yet the men of civil eminence, who came immediately behind the military escort, were better worth a thoughtful observer's eye. Even in outward demeanour they showed a stamp of majesty that made the warrior's haughty stride look vulgar, if not absurd. It was an age when what we call talent had far less consideration than now, but the massive materials which produce stability and dignity of character a great deal more. The people possessed, by hereditary right, the quality of reverence; which, in their descendants, if it survive at all, exists in smaller proportion, and with a vastly diminished force in the selection and estimate of public men. The change may be for good or ill, and is partly, perhaps, for both. In that old day, the English settler on these rude shores,--having left king, nobles, and all degrees of awful rank behind, while still the faculty and necessity of reverence were strong in him,--bestowed it on the white hair and venerable brow of age; on long-tried integrity; on solid wisdom and sad-colored experience; on endowments of that grave and weighty order, which gives the idea of permanence, and comes under the general definition of respectability. These primitive statesmen, therefore,--Bradstreet, Endicott, Dudley, Bellingham, and their compeers,--who were elevated to power by the early choice of the people,

seem to have been not often brilliant, but distinguished by a ponderous sobriety, rather than activity of intellect. They had fortitude and self-reliance, and, in time of difficulty or peril, stood up for the welfare of the state like a line of cliffs against a tempestuous tide. The traits of character here indicated were well represented in the square cast of countenance and large physical development of the new colonial magistrates. So far as a demeanour of natural authority was concerned, the mother country need not have been ashamed to see these foremost men of an actual democracy adopted into the House of Peers, or make the Privy Council of the sovereign. Next in order to the magistrates came the young and eminently distinguished divine, from whose lips the religious discourse of the anniversary was expected. His was the profession, at that era, in which intellectual ability displayed itself far more than in political life; for--leaving a higher motive out of the question--it offered inducements powerful enough, in the almost worshipping respect of the community, to win the most aspiring ambition into its service. Even political power--as in the case of Increase Mather--was within the grasp of a successful priest. It was the observation of those who beheld him now, that never, since Mr. Dimmesdale first set his foot on the New England shore, had he exhibited such energy as was seen in the gait and air with which he kept his pace in the procession. There was no feebleness of step, as at other times; his frame was not bent; nor did his hand rest ominously upon his heart. Yet, if the clergyman were rightly viewed, his strength seemed not of the body. It might be spiritual, and imparted to him by angelic ministrations. It might be the exhilaration of that potent cordial, which is distilled only in the furnace-glow of earnest and longcontinued thought. Or, perchance, his sensitive temperament was invigorated by the loud and piercing music, that swelled heavenward, and uplifted him on its ascending wave. Nevertheless, so abstracted was his look, it might be questioned whether Mr. Dimmesdale even heard the music. There was his body, moving onward, and with an unaccustomed force. But where was his mind? Far and deep in its own region, busying itself, with preternatural activity, to marshal a procession of stately thoughts that were soon to issue thence; and so he saw nothing, heard nothing, knew nothing, of what was around him; but the spiritual

element took up the feeble frame, and carried it along, unconscious of the burden, and converting it to spirit like itself. Men of uncommon intellect, who have grown morbid, possess this occasional power of mighty effort, into which they throw the life of many days, and then are lifeless for as many more. Hester Prynne, gazing steadfastly at the clergyman, felt a dreary influence come over her, but wherefore or whence she knew not; unless that he seemed so remote from her own sphere, and utterly beyond her reach. One glance of recognition, she had imagined, must needs pass between them. She thought of the dim forest, with its little dell of solitude, and love, and anguish, and the mossy tree-trunk, where, sitting hand in hand, they had mingled their sad and passionate talk with the melancholy murmur of the brook. How deeply had they known each other then! And was this the man? She hardly knew him now! He, moving proudly past, enveloped, as it were, in the rich music, with the procession of majestic and venerable fathers; he, so unattainable in his worldly position, and still more so in that far vista of his unsympathizing thoughts, through which she now beheld him! Her spirit sank with the idea that all must have been a delusion, and that, vividly as she had dreamed it, there could be no real bond betwixt the clergyman and herself. And thus much of woman was there in Hester, that she could scarcely forgive him,--least of all now, when the heavy footstep of their approaching Fate might be heard, nearer, nearer, nearer!--for being able so completely to withdraw himself from their mutual world; while she groped darkly, and stretched forth her cold hands, and found him not. Pearl either saw and responded to her mother's feelings, or herself felt the remoteness and intangibility that had fallen around the minister. While the procession passed, the child was uneasy, fluttering up and down, like a bird on the point of taking flight. When the whole had gone by, she looked up into Hester's face. "Mother," said she, "was that the same minister that kissed me by the brook?" "Hold thy peace, dear little Pearl!" whispered her mother. "We must not always talk in the market-place of what happens to us in the forest." "I could not be sure that it was he; so strange he looked," continued the child. "Else I would have run to him, and bid him kiss me now, before all the people; even as he did yonder among the dark old trees. What would the minister have

said, mother? Would he have clapped his hand over his heart, and scowled on me, and bid me begone?" "What should he say, Pearl," answered Hester, "save that it was no time to kiss, and that kisses are not to be given in the market-place? Well for thee, foolish child, that thou didst not speak to him!" Another shade of the same sentiment, in reference to Mr. Dimmesdale, was expressed by a person whose eccentricities--or insanity, as we should term it--led her to do what few of the townspeople would have ventured on; to begin a conversation with the wearer of the scarlet letter, in public. It was Mistress Hibbins, who, arrayed in great magnificence, with a triple ruff, a broidered stomacher, a gown of rich velvet, and a gold-headed cane, had come forth to see the procession. As this ancient lady had the renown (which subsequently cost her no less a price than her life) of being a principal actor in all the works of necromancy that were continually going forward, the crowd gave way before her, and seemed to fear the touch of her garment, as if it carried the plague among its gorgeous folds. Seen in conjunction with Hester Prynne,--kindly as so many now felt towards the latter,--the dread inspired by Mistress Hibbins had doubled, and caused a general movement from that part of the market-place in which the two women stood. "Now, what mortal imagination could conceive it!" whispered the old lady confidentially to Hester. "Yonder divine man! That saint on earth, as the people uphold him to be, and as--I must needs say--he really looks! Who, now, that saw him pass in the procession, would think how little while it is since he went forth out of his study,--chewing a Hebrew text of Scripture in his mouth, I warrant,--to take an airing in the forest! Aha! we know what that means, Hester Prynne! But, truly, forsooth, I find it hard to believe him the same man. Many a church-member saw I, walking behind the music, that has danced in the same measure with me, when Somebody was fiddler, and, it might be, an Indian powwow or a Lapland wizard changing hands with us! That is but a trifle, when a woman knows the world. But this minister! Couldst thou surely tell, Hester, whether he was the same man that encountered thee on the forest-path?" "Madam, I know not of what you speak," answered Hester Prynne, feeling Mistress Hibbins to be of infirm mind; yet strangely startled and awe-stricken by

the confidence with which she affirmed a personal connection between so many persons (herself among them) and the Evil One. "It is not for me to talk lightly of a learned and pious minister of the Word, like the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale!" "Fie, woman, fie!" cried the old lady, shaking her finger at Hester. "Dost thou think I have been to the forest so many times, and have yet no skill to judge who else has been there? Yea; though no leaf of the wild garlands, which they wore while they danced, be left in their hair! I know thee, Hester; for I behold the token. We may all see it in the sunshine; and it glows like a red flame in the dark. Thou wearest it openly; so there need be no question about that. But this minister! Let me tell thee in thine ear! When the Black Man sees one of his own servants, signed and sealed, so shy of owning to the bond as is the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale, he hath a way of ordering matters so that the mark shall be disclosed in open daylight to the eyes of all the world! What is that the minister seeks to hide, with his hand always over his heart? Ha, Hester Prynne!" "What is it, good Mistress Hibbins?" eagerly asked little Pearl. "Hast thou seen it?" "No matter, darling!" responded Mistress Hibbins, making Pearl a profound reverence. "Thou thyself wilt see it, one time or another. They say, child, thou art of the lineage of the Prince of the Air! Wilt thou ride with me, some fine night, to see thy father? Then thou shalt know wherefore the minister keeps his hand over his heart!" Laughing so shrilly that all the market-place could hear her, the weird old gentlewoman took her departure. By this time the preliminary prayer had been offered in the meeting-house, and the accents of the Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale were heard commencing his discourse. An irresistible feeling kept Hester near the spot. As the sacred edifice was too much thronged to admit another auditor, she took up her position close beside the scaffold of the pillory. It was in sufficient proximity to bring the whole sermon to her ears, in the shape of an indistinct, but varied, murmur and flow of the minister's very peculiar voice. This vocal organ was in itself a rich endowment; insomuch that a listener, comprehending nothing of the language in which the preacher spoke, might still

have been swayed to and fro by the mere tone and cadence. Like all other music, it breathed passion and pathos, and emotions high or tender, in a tongue native to the human heart, wherever educated. Muffled as the sound was by its passage through the church-walls, Hester Prynne listened with such intentness, and sympathized so intimately, that the sermon had throughout a meaning for her, entirely apart from its indistinguishable words. These, perhaps, if more distinctly heard, might have been only a grosser medium, and have clogged the spiritual sense. Now she caught the low undertone, as of the wind sinking down to repose itself; then ascended with it, as it rose through progressive gradations of sweetness and power, until its volume seemed to envelop her with an atmosphere of awe and solemn grandeur. And yet, majestic as the voice sometimes became, there was for ever in it an essential character of plaintiveness. A loud or low expression of anguish,--the whisper, or the shriek, as it might be conceived, of suffering humanity, that touched a sensibility in every bosom! At times this deep strain of pathos was all that could be heard, and scarcely heard, sighing amid a desolate silence. But even when the minister's voice grew high and commanding,--when it gushed irrepressibly upward,--when it assumed its utmost breadth and power, so overfilling the church as to burst its way through the solid walls, and diffuse itself in the open air,--still, if the auditor listened intently, and for the purpose, he could detect the same cry of pain. What was it? The complaint of a human heart, sorrowladen, perchance guilty, telling its secret, whether of guilt or sorrow, to the great heart of mankind; beseeching its sympathy or forgiveness,--at every moment,--in each accent,--and never in vain! It was this profound and continual undertone that gave the clergyman his most appropriate power. During all this time Hester stood, statue-like, at the foot of the scaffold. If the minister's voice had not kept her there, there would nevertheless have been an inevitable magnetism in that spot, whence she dated the first hour of her life of ignominy. There was a sense within her,--too ill-defined to be made a thought, but weighing heavily on her mind,--that her whole orb of life, both before and after, was connected with this spot, as with the one point that gave it unity. Little Pearl, meanwhile, had quitted her mother's side, and was playing at her own will about the market-place. She made the sombre crowd cheerful by her erratic and glistening ray; even as a bird of bright plumage illuminates a whole tree of

dusky foliage by darting to and fro, half seen and half concealed, amid the twilight of the clustering leaves. She had an undulating, but, oftentimes, a sharp and irregular movement. It indicated the restless vivacity of her spirit, which to-day was doubly indefatigable in its tip-toe dance, because it was played upon and vibrated with her mother's disquietude. Whenever Pearl saw any thing to excite her ever active and wandering curiosity, she flew thitherward, and, as we might say, seized upon that man or thing as her own property, so far as she desired it; but without yielding the minutest degree of control over her motions in requital. The Puritans looked on, and, if they smiled, were none the less inclined to pronounce the child a demon offspring, from the indescribable charm of beauty and eccentricity that shone through her little figure, and sparkled with its activity. She ran and looked the wild Indian in the face; and he grew conscious of a nature wilder than his own. Thence, with native audacity, but still with a reserve as characteristic, she flew into the midst of a group of mariners, the swarthy-cheeked wild men of the ocean, as the Indians were of the land; and they gazed wonderingly and admiringly at Pearl, as if a flake of the sea-foam had taken the shape of a little maid, and were gifted with a soul of the sea-fire, that flashes beneath the prow in the night-time. One of these seafaring men--the shipmaster, indeed, who had spoken to Hester Prynne--was so smitten with Pearl's aspect, that he attempted to lay hands upon her, with purpose to snatch a kiss. Finding it as impossible to touch her as to catch a humming-bird in the air, he took from his hat the gold chain that was twisted about it, and threw it to the child. Pearl immediately twined it around her neck and waist, with such happy skill, that, once seen there, it became a part of her, and it was difficult to imagine her without it. "Thy mother is yonder woman with the scarlet letter," said the seaman. "Wilt thou carry her a message from me?" "If the message pleases me I will," answered Pearl. "Then tell her," rejoined he, "that I spake again with the black-a-visaged, humpsho