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University of California
Mtn 0f Ctttcrs EDITED BY JOHN MOELEY .
JR. NEW YORK HARPER & BROTHERS. PUBLISHERS FRANKLIN SQUARE 1880 .HAWTHOKNE BY HENEY JAMES.
. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.Entered according to Act of Congress. in the year 1879. by HARPER & BROTHERS. In the Office of the Librarian of Congress. at Washington.
.. 102 . CHAPTEE EARLY YEARS I. . PAGE 1 CHAPTER EARLY MANHOOD II..CONTENTS. 25 CHAPTER EARLY WRITINGS III. 51 CHAPTER BROOK FARM AND CONCORD IV. 74 CHAPTER THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS V..
165 . 142 CHAPTER LAST YEARS VII. PAGE . CHAPTER ENGLAND AND ITALY VI.viii CONTENTS.
what may be called the dramatic quality. tudes or variations small and . in it was almost strikingly deficient in incident. are the reverse of copious. for several reasons.HAWTHORNE. for the most called the world. IT will be necessary. with the man Its ners of his time. rural incidents are not numerous. illustrate this simplicity . with public events. He produced. CHAPTER I. a simpler life. in a provincial. EARLY YEARS. in a it was passed. Few men of equal genius and of equal eminence can have led. on the His six volumes of Note -Books whole. an unagitated fortune. literary munity what is . and even if they were abundant they would serve but in a limited measure the purpose of the biographer. it com homogeneous had few perceptible points of contact with society. even with the life of his neighbours. Hawthorne's career was probably as tran and uneventful a one as ever fell to the lot of a man quil of letters. they are a sort of monument to Hawthorne's career had vicissi part. to give this short sketch the form rather of a critical essay than of a The data for a life of Nathaniel Hawthorne biography. in 1* .
that we render him a poor service in contrasting his proportions with those of a great civilization. He is the writer to whom his countrymen most confidently point was on when they wish to make a claim to have enriched the mother-tongue. . on the other. to a spectator. been literary but Hawthorne . his limited scale a master of expression. is so subtle and slender and unpretending. on the one side. and a couple of story-books for chil dren. he will long occupy this honourable position. in the field of letters. five volumes of short tales. thorne's private lot. is And yet some account of the man and the writer Whatever may have been Haw well worth giving. as a whole. and. but at any rate. quantity. vast is so might seem to the author of The Scarlet Letter and the Mosses from an Old substantial. a col lection of sketches. [CHAP. But our author must accept the awkward as well as the grace ful side of his fame for he has the advantage of pointing . and from the general flatness of the literary that surrounds him. Hawthorne is the most valuable example of the American genius. judging from present appearances. If there is something very fortunate for him in the way that he bor rows an added relief from the absence of competitors in his own field line. but His works consist of four novels and the fragment of another. Hawthorne. there is also. he has the importance of being the ture. that it and various and Manse. most beautiful and most eminent representative of a litera The importance of the literature may be question ed. That genius has not. and the American world.2 HAWTHORNE. and delicate a genius that we may fancy him appealing' from the lonely honour of a representative attitude per ceiving a painful incongruity between his imponderable literary baggage and the large conditions of American life. little. some He was so modest thing almost touching in his situation.
are the medium in which it is most agreeable to make the acquaintance of that tonic atmosphere. indeed of the very climate.Atlantic ally growth recognises. deep. that the flower of art blooms only where the it takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature. and in is sum of what the world usu Hawthorne fragrance. the morals.i. To talk of his being national would be to force the note and make a mistake of proportion . Out of the soil of New England he sprang in a crevice of that immitigable granite he sprouted and bloomed. Half of the interest that he possesses for an American reader with any turn for analysis must reside in his latent New England savour and I think it no more than just to say that whatever entertainment he may yield to those who . it has help ed him to appear complete and homogeneous.] EARLY YEARS. in spite of the absence of the realistic quality. but he is. that it needs a complex social machinery to set a writer in motion. modest nosegay the genius of admitted to have the rarest and sweetest His very simplicity has been in his favour . many people. This moral soil is is 3 a valuable moral. Three or four beautiful talents of are the this trans. bright air of city of Boston is the metropolis. that American civilization has hitherto had other things to do than to produce flowers. and these. it is an almost indispensable con dition of properly appreciating him to have received a per sonal impression of the manners. and before giving birth to writers it has wisely occupied itself with providing something for them to write about. As to whether it is worth while to seek to know something of New England in order to extract a in the opinion of . intensely and vividly local. New England seems to blow through his pages. of the great region of which the remarkable The cold. know him at a distance.
more intimate quality from The House of Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance, I need not pronounce but
certain that a considerable observation of the society
to which these productions were more directly addressed I have alluded is a capital preparation for enjoying them. to the absence in
Hawthorne of that quality of realism
in fashion, an absence in regard to
be more to say ; and yet I think I arn not fanciful in saying that he testifies to the senti ments of the society in which he flourished almost as per
will of course
tinently (proportions observed) as Balzac
and some of
Flaubert and Zola
testify to the
He was not ners and morals of the French people. with a literary theory ; he was guiltless of a system, and
man a man
not sure that he had ever heard of Realism, this
remarkable compound having (although it was invented some time earlier) come into general use only since his
an account of the
certainly not proposed to himself to give social idiosyncrasies of his fellow-citizens,
for his touch on such points is always light and vague, he has none of the apparatus of an historian, and his shadowy style of portraiture never suggests a rigid standard of ac
Nevertheless, he virtually offers the most vivid New England life that has found its way into
in this respect is
not diminished by
the fact that he has not attempted to portray the usual Yankee of comedy, and that he has been almost culpably
indifferent to his opportunities for variations of colloquial English that
be observed in
His characters do not express them selves in the dialect of the Biglow Papers their language, indeed, is apt to be too elegant, too delicate. They are not
portraits of actual types,
their phraseology there is
But none the
redolent of the
savours thoroughly of the local soil
system in which he had This could hardly fail to be the case, when the man Hawthorne himself was so deeply rooted in the soil.
New England stock; he had a and conspicuous pedigree. He was born at Salem, Massachusetts, on the 4th of July, 1804, and his the anniver birthday was the great American festival,
sprang from the primitive
Haw sary of the Declaration of national Independence. thorne was in his disposition an unqualified and unflinch American ; he found occasion to give us the meas
ing ure of the fact during the seven years that he spent in Europe towards the close of his life; and this was no
more than proper on the part of a man who had enjoyed the honour of coming into the world on the day on which of all the days in the year the great Republic enjoys her acutest fit of self-consciousness. Moreover, a person who
has been ushered into
life by the ringing of bells and the of cannon (unless indeed he be frightened straight again by the uproar of his awakening) receives
this very fact
an injunction to do something great, such striking natal accompani-
proper that before I go further I should acknowledge
large obligations to the only biography of our author, of any consid the little volume entitled erable length, that has been written
Study of Hawthorne, by Mr. George Parsons Lathrop, the son-in-law of the subject of the work. (Boston, 1876.) To this ingenious and sympathetic sketch, in which the author has taken great pains to
interesting facts of Hawthorne's
Mr. Lathrop's work is not pitched in the key which many another writer would have chosen, and his tone is not to my sense
the truly critical one but without the help afforded by his elaborate essay the present little volume could not have been prepared.
Hawthorne was by race of the clearest Puritan earliest American ancestor (who wrote the name " Hathorne " the shape in which it was transmit ted to Nathaniel, who inserted the w) was the younger son of a Wiltshire family, whose residence, according to a " note of our author's in 1837, was Wigcastle, Wigton."
man who was
Hawthorne, in the note in question, mentions the gentle but it at that time the head of the family
does not appear that he at any period renewed acquaint ance with his English kinsfolk. Major William Ilathorne came out to Massachusetts in the early years of the Puritan settlement; in 1635 or 1636, according to the note to which I have just alluded; in 1630, according
He was one to information presumably more accurate. of the band of companions of the virtuous and exemplary
John Winthrop, the almost lifelong royal Governor of the young colony, and the brightest and most amiable figure How amiable William Ha in the early Puritan annals. thorne may have been I know not, but he was evidently of the stuff of which the citizens of the Commonwealth were best advised to be made. He was a sturdy fighting man, doing solid execution upon both the inward and out ward enemies of the State. The latter were the savages,
the former the
Quakers; the energy expended by the Puritans in resistance to the tomahawk not weaken early their They disposition to deal with spiritual dangers. ing
employed the same
or almost the same
the flintlock and the halberd against the One Indians, and the cat-o'-nine-tails against the heretics. of the longest, though by no means one of the most suc
(The Gentle Boy)
deals with this pitiful persecution of the least aggressive of all schismatic bodies. William Hathorne, who had been
made a magistrate of the town of Salem, where a grant of land had been offered him as an inducement to residence,
"Anne Coleman and
as having given orders four of her friends" should be
whipped through Salem, Boston, and Dedham.
Coleman, I suppose,
alluded to in that fine
passage in the Introduction to The Scarlet Letter, in which Hawthorne pays a qualified tribute to the founder of the American branch of his race.
" The figure of that first ancestor, invested by family tra dition with a dim and dusky grandeur, was present to my boyish imagination as fur 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
who came so early, with his steeple-crowned progenitor 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
my face hardly known. He was a soldier, 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 remem bered him in their histories, and relate an incident of his
seldom heard and
hard severity towards a woman of their sect which will last longer, it is to be feared, than any of his better deeds, though these were many."
William Hathorne died in 1681
ties that his
but those hard quali
descendants speaks of were reproduced in his son John, who bore the title of Colonel, and who was con nected, too intimately for his honour, with that deplorable
history, the persecution of the
Hawthorne apparently found the idea of the his His tory of the Pyncheons in his own family annals." Readers of The House of the Seven Gables will remember that the story concerns itself with a family which is sup posed to be overshadowed by a curse launched against one of its earlier members by a poor man occupying a lowlier place in the world. that their blood may be a stain. or whether they are now groaning under the heavy conse quences of them in another state of being. witch -judging ancestor was reported to have incurred a malediction from one of his victims. characteristically.8 HAWTHORNE. At all events. in consequence of which the prosperity of the race faded utterly away. in the continuation of the passage I have just quoted. hereby take shame upon myself for and pray that any curse incurred by them as I have heard. said to have left a stain upon him. in Long I New England Tragedies." the passage I have already quoted goes on. if they have not crumbled utterly to dust. their sakes. " whether these ancestors of mine bethought themselves to repent and ask pardon of Heaven for their cruelties. whom this ill-advised ancestor had been the means of bringing to justice for the crime of witch craft. "So deep " indeed. so-called into the fellow's drama entitled John Hathorne is introduced The Salem Farms. know not whether he had the compensating merits of his father. little [CHAP. the present writer. Witches of Salem." Hawthorne adds. but our au thor speaks of him. tion of the race for and as the dreary and unprosperous condi some time back would argue to exist may be now and henceforth removed. that his old dry bones in the Charter Street burial-ground must still retain it. " I know not." The two first American Hathornes had been people of importance and . as having made himself so conspicuous in the martyrdom of the witches. I.
and it was the idea of the . ly tree. should have have thought after so No aim would they recognise as laudable no success of mine. little sceptia and dreamer and fruit of a tree of a man of action. Hawthorne proceeds. What is he V murmurs one grey shadow of my forefathers to the other. the Such degenerate fellow might as well have been a fiddler topmost bough. let them scorn ! me as they will. in the Introduction to The Scarlet Letter. a chip of the old block. may that be ? Why. but with the third generation the family lapsed into an obscurity from which it emerged in the very person of the writer." In this not a last observation little truth.] EARLY YEARS. that from the original point of view such lustre as he might have contrived to confer upon the name would have appeared more than questionable. or being serviceable to man kind in his day and generation.i. in an appreciative degree. had ever been brightened by success. in its affairs. 'A writer of story-books! What kind of a business in life. that I have ever cherished . late- which might seem to have lost the power to bloom. 9 responsibility. His forefathers had crossed the coming Atlantic for conscience' sake. " Either of these stern and black-browed Puritans would it quite a sufficient retribution for his sins that long a lapse of years the old trunk of the fami with so much venerable moss upon it. what manner of glorifying God. if not positively disgraceful. strong traits of their nature have intertwined themselves with mine. if my life. he was morally. It is who begs so gracefully for a turn very true. an idler like myself. borne. would they deem otherwise than worthless. we may imagine that there was Poet and novelist as Hawthorne was. beyond its domestic scope. as its * !' are the compliments bandied between my great -grandsires and myself across the gulf of time And yet.
a something plain and masculine and sensible. blood ran clear To him write as to them. presum ably. contemplator and dreamer as he was. but the man himself was firm and The imagination was profane. but the temper was not degenerate. this and if was the most had to undertaken they baleful substantive. importunate fact of life little tales. They did what they could. kept during his residence in Europe. [CHAP. to improve their situation they trod the . However little they might have appreciated the artist. Salem streets as little as possible. which might almost have been written by the grimmest of the old Salem worthies. They went to sea. The play of Hawthorne's intellect was light and capricious. moreover. they would have approved of the man. in his composition. A hundred years of Salem would perhaps be rather a dead -weight for any family to carry. speaks of in regard to the fortunes of his family is an allusion to the fact that several generations followed each other on the soil in which they had been planted. the consciousness of sin . could hardly have been more frequent in their pages than in those of their fanciful descendant.10 HAWTHORNE. and . Haw thorne had. The "dreary and unprosperous condition" that he rational. that during the eighteenth century a succession of Hathornes trod the simple streets of Salem without ever conferring any especial lustre upon the town or receiving. an element of simplicity and rigidity. which might have kept his black -browed grandsires on better terms with him than he admits to be possible. and we venture to imagine that the Ha thornes were dull and depressed. however. with its attendant adjective. urgent conscience that haunted the imagination of their The Puritan strain in his so-called degenerate successor. any great delight from it. there are passages in his Diaries.
who had been a Miss Manning. of whom Nathaniel was the only boy. The boy also. Hathorne. came of a New England she stock almost as long established as that of her husband . by Mr. in 1808. is described by our author's biographer as a woman of remarkable quotes. He was carried off by a fever. Lathrop. and . His father. and about the mystic . may In quiet provincial Salem. Lathrop has much to say about the an cient picturesqueness of the place. The boy's mother. confronting the salt spray and the gale which had blustered against his sire and grandsire.i. and of Sab baths even more than the usual. for above a hundred place before the mast.] EARLY YEARS. and min Our author's grand is Daniel mentioned father. new . 11 made long voyages " seamanship became the regular pro fession of the family. ing language. Sabbaths. years.moons. retiring from the quarter-deck to the homestead. Mr. while a boy of fourteen took the hereditary . passed from the forecastle to the cabin. and returned grow old and die. his and son in as a law." of " feasts. and he died in foreign lands. in each generation. as being beauty. they followed the sea From father to son. Hawthorne has said it in charm a grey-headed shipmaster. spent a from his world-wanderings to tempestuous manhood. and by an authority whom he " a minute observer of religious festivals. fasts. in due time. biographer hardy privateer during gle his dust with the natal earth. ." Of feasts the poor lady in her Puritanic home can have had but a very limited number to celebrate but of new-moons she be supposed to have enjoyed the usual. proportion. was also a shipmaster. as well as many years of his later life. in the exercise of his profession. Nathaniel Hawthorne passed the greater part of his boyhood. at Surinam. He left three children. from whom he was named." the war of Independence.
young and had time to pro past. respect Verona. with ing trace of it in the ancient town of Salem. as knew ness of shining. History. would project upon such a mind and charac These things are always relative. The very air looks new and young the light . and they are so fond of local colour that they con trive to perceive it in localities in which the amateurs of other countries would detect only the most neutral tints. very recent past . but he must have life felt at least that. resque. a hungry passion for the pictu in appreciating of view. large juvenility is stamped in of and the vividness of the pres the face things. influences ter as Hawthorne's. upon died so the which ent. Lathrop writes for American readers. has the peculiarity of seeming rather crude and immature. in the West . who in such a matter as this are very easy to please. I suspect his per conscious in his respectable birthplace of it his was less keen than biographer assumes it ception . A duce so little. Americans have. of what ever complexity of earlier there had been in the coun- . ern World. I doubt strik whether English observers would discover any very Still. the vegetation has the appearance of not having reached its majority. as yet but few of the secrets of the world and none of the weari if it of the sun seems fresh and innocent. it [CHAP.12 HAWTHOKNE. but one must remember that the dead of yesterday are not more alive than those of a century I know not of what picturesqueness Hawthorne was ago. attracts but scanty 'attention. as a general thing. Salem has a physiognomy in which the past plays It is of course a a more important part than the present. as yet. has left in the United States but so thin and impalpable a deposit that we very soon touch the hard substratum of nature and nature herself. and them everything depends upon the point Mr. to have been . to a Toledo and a a all to a York and Shrewsbury.
with Gallows Hill and New Guinea at one end. is physical aspect concerned. a deep-seated had of course a filial fondness for it sense of connection with it but he must have spent some He . the elm-shadowed streets of Salem were a recognisa He has made considerable mention of the place. the dead level of ." But he goes on self of the place is joyless for him . upon The House of the Seven Gables. that he is weary of the old wooden houses." he writes " my native place. The old town of Salem. are visible in the Introduction to The Scarlet " Letter. chequer-board. here and it there. so far as the unvaried surface. with its flat. both in boyhood and in maturer years possesses. 13 try. Indeed. its irregularity. few or none of which pretend to architectural beauty . which is neither picturesque nor quaint. a hold on my affections. covered chiefly with wooden houses. the force of which I have never realized during my seasons of actual residence here. ble memento. in his tales . but only tame its long and lazy street. lounging wearisomely through the whole extent . the only one of his novels of which the scene is laid in it.] EARLY YEARS. the mud and the dust. very dreary years there.i. but he has nowhere di noteworthy that in very lovingly. though I have dwelt much away from it. and the two feelings. and a view of the almshouse at the other such being the features of my native town. of the peninsula. the mingled tenderness and rancour. he has by no means availed lated it is and himself of the opportunity to give a description of it. or did possess. it would be quite as rea sonable to form a sentimental attachment to a disarranged to say that he has never divested him the sense of intensely belonging to it that the spell of the continuity of his life with that of his prede "It is no matter that cessors has never been broken.
honourable of the smaller American towns must seem in mit to be a manner primitive and rustic village . and the social all these. the atmosphere . the open windows . the air of space and salubrity and decency larger antecedents . and their social not unnaturally inferred to bear the village stamp. Village-like they are. a physiognomy of its own. it is only in a country where newness Haw and change and brevity of tenure are the common substance of life. chilliest of chill east wind. the shabby. is but which not without something that they would ad To English eyes the oldest and most style. straggling. to keep analysing and cunningly consider it." There is a very American quality in this perpetual consciousness of a spell on thorne's part . the pro agreeable one. democratic village. quality appears marked in them. the little gardens . square. in a great and vigorous . It is only an imaginative American that would feel urged to keep reverting to this circumstance. copious material life . prosperous. and sentiment. sug portion gesting an easy. honourable looking houses. ing The Salem of to - day has. But even a respectable. The spell survives. and above all the intimation of has little these things compose a picture which of the element that painters call depth of tone. them as large. and in spite of Hawthorne's analogy of the disarranged draught-board. that the fact of one's ancestors having lived for a hun dred and seventy years in a single spot would become an element of one's morality. and whatever faults besides he may see or imagine. and just as powerfully as if the natal spot were an earthly paradise. it is a decidedly The spreading elms in its streets .14 site HAWTHORNE. of large. [CHAP. are nothing to the purpose. the grassy waysides . and it would be no gross incivility to tone is describe villages. as New England towns go.
Newport superannuated centres of the traffic with foreign lands. thinks extremely well of itself. 15 democracy.i. a place of large fortunes. where the " county " has no social existence. are conscious of no superincumbent strata of gentility. Newburyport. As need at Hawthorne lessly says. and the moral influence of wealth was not exerted in the cause of immorality. Plymouth. The sway. piled even a village less graceful is upwards into vague regions of privilege not an institution to accept of more or . we may believe. many of which have remain though the activity that produced them has passed away. but a sea-port deserted and decayed. and imperceptibly.] EAKLY YEARS. was on the whole gently exercised. and the " moral influence of wealth " most aemocratic and most virtuous of modern communi- . It belongs to that rather melancholy group of old coast-towns scattered along the great sea-face of New England. New York It was spatched their vessels to Indian and Chinese seas. New Bedford. and of which the list is completed by the names of Portsmouth. having been more marked in Salem than in any other New Eng land town. at the beginning of the present century. the mighty flood of commerce or Boston. Salem is a sea-port." He alludes in one ed. their ventures have gone " to swell. played a great part in the Eastern trade it was the residence of enterprising shipowners who de . which have seen their trade carried away from them by the greater cities. These successful traders constituted what Haw thorne calls "the aristocratic class. Hawthorne was probably but imperfectly conscious of an advantage which the fact that he lived in the familiarity had made stale of his slighter sketches (The Sister Years) to the sway of this class. where the villagers." Salem. patronage its it and it is is absolute in own regard. where there are no overshadowing squires.
[CHAP. and" the known bosom of futurity. Lathrop has made out. though it must be added that Mr. much of the wealth. with the Pilgrim s Progress and the Faery Queen.16 HAWTHORNE. like J many of his contemporaries. was constrained to amuse himself. The absence of precocious symptoms of genius is. later in life. "Juvenile literature" was but enormous scantily and extraordinary contribution made by the United States to this department of human happiness was locked in the at that time. Of the virtue it is but civil to suppose that his own family had a liberal share but not. ed very modest proportions. and there is therefore nothing unexpected in the fact that he was fond of long walks in which he was not known to have had a companion. on the whole. A boy may have worse company than Bunyan and Spenser. sameness in the behaviour of small boys. . his childish years there appears to be nothing very though his biographer devotes a good many There is a considerable graceful pages to them. and it is very proba ble that in his childish rambles our author may have had associates of whom there could be no record. never exceed Of definite to relate. ties. "VVIien he . and his income. a very good case in favour of Hawthorne's having been an interesting child. came into their way. to a patrimony. as he was almost in duty bound to do. The young Hawthorne. for want of anything better. and it is prob if able that author's infantine career we were acquainted with the details of our we should find it to be made up of the same pleasures and pains as that of lads for whom fame many ingenuous has had nothing in keeping. therefore. Hawthorne was not born apparently. more striking in the lives of men who have distinguished themselves than their juvenile promise . He was not at any time what would be called a sociable man.
was nine years
an accident at school
which threatened for awhile to have serious
was struck on the foot by a ball, and so severely lamed that he was kept at home for a long time, and had not
completely recovered before his twelfth year. His school, it is to be supposed, was the common day-school of New the primary factor in that extraordinarily per England
vasive system of instruction in the plainer branches of learning which forms one of the principal ornaments of American life. In 1818, when he was fourteen years old,
he was taken by his mother to live in the house of an uncle, her brother, who was established in the town of
Raymond, near Lake Sebago, in the State of Maine. The immense State of Maine, in the year 1818, must have had an even more magnificently natural character than it pos sesses at the present day, and the uncle's dwelling, in con
tive structures that
sequence of being in a little smarter style than the primi surrounded it, was known by the vil
Mr. Lathrop pronounces this weird and woodsy " character ; and Hawthorne, later in life, spoke of it to a friend as the place where "I first got my cursed habits of solitude."
lagers as Manning's Folly.
region to be of a
outlook, indeed, for an embryonic novelist, would not seem to have been cheerful the social dreariness of a
Maine, at the beginning of the present century,
tude there were
boy with a
relish for soli
natural resources, and
we can under
stand that Hawthorne should in after- years have spoken " I lived in Maine like a very tenderly of this episode.
air, so perfect was the freedom I enjoyed." During the long summer days he roamed, gun in hand, through the great woods and during the moonlight nights
bird of the
of winter, says his biographer, quoting another informant, " he would skate until midnight, all alone, upon Sebago
Lake, with, the deep shadows of the icy
In 1819 he was sent back to Salem to school; and in the following year he wrote to his mother, who had re mained at Raymond (the boy had found a home at Salem
with another uncle), "I have left school, and have begun to fit for college under Benjm. L. Oliver, Lawyer. So you
are in danger of having one learned man in your fam ... I get my lessons at home, and recite them to him
(Mr. Oliver) at seven o'clock in the morning me to be a Minister, Doctor, or Lawyer?
ter I will not be."
adds, at the close of this epistle
I wish I
was again with you, with nothing to do
but to go a-gunning But the happiest days of my life In 1821, in his seventeenth year, he entered are gone."
This institution College, at Brunswick, Maine. 1821 a quarter of a century after its foundation a highly honourable, but not a very elab
in the year
orately organized, nor a particularly impressive, seat of I say it was not impressive, but I immediately
remember that impressions depend upon the minds receiv ing them and that to a group of simple New England lads, upwards of sixty years ago, the halls and groves of
Bowdoin, neither dense nor lofty though they can have been, may have seemed replete with Academic stateliness.
was a homely, simple, frugal, " country college," of the old-fashioned American stamp exerting within its limits a civilizing influence, working, amid the forests and the
lakes, the log-houses
and the clearings, toward the ameni and humanities and other collegiate graces, and offer
ing a very sufficient education to the future lawyers, mer-
chants, clergymen, politicians, and editors, of the very act ive and knowledge -loving community that supported it.
this it numbered poets and statesmen undergraduates, and on the roll-call of its sons it has several distinguished names. Among Hawthorne's fel
low-students was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who di vides with our author the honour of being the most distin
guished of American men of letters. I know not whether Mr. Longfellow was especially intimate with Hawthorne at
were very good friends later in life), but with two of his companions he formed a friendship which lasted always. One of these was Franklin Pierce, who was
this period (they
sition in the world."
" calls the most august po Pierce was elected President of the
The other was Horatio Bridge, afterwards served with distinction in the navy, and to whom the charming prefatory letter of the collection of
United States in 1852.
under the name of The
responsible at this
being an author, it is yourself. I know not whence your faith came ; but while we were lads together at a country
gathering blueberries in study-hours under those
Academic pines; or watching the great logs as they tumbled along the current of the Androscoggin or shoot ing pigeons and gray squirrels in the woods or bat-fowl
twilight; or catching trout in that stream which, I suppose, is still wandering shadowy riverward through the forest though you and I will never
ing in the
cast a line in it again
idle lads, in short (as we, need
not fear to acknowledge now), doing a hundred things the Faculty never heard of, or else it had been worse for us
was your prognostic of your friend's destiny that he was to be a writer of fiction." That is a very pretty pict-
a picture of happy urchins at school, rather
than of undergraduates "panting," as Macaulay says "for one-and-twenty." Poor Hawthorne was indeed thousands
away from Oxford and Cambridge
about the blueberries and the logs on the Androscoggin tells the whole story, and strikes the note, as it were, of
the pleasures at
not expensive, so neither were the penalties. The amount of Hawthorne's collegiate bill for one term was less than
4., and of this
sum more than
was made up of
however, were not heavy. Mr. Lathrop prints a letter addressed by the President to "Mrs. Elizabeth C.
Hathorne," requesting her co-operation with the officers " of this college in the attempt to induce your son faith
fully to observe the laws of this institution."
He had just
fifty cents for playing cards for money during " the preceding term. Perhaps he might not have gamed,"
the President adds,
not for the influence of a stu
have dismissed from college." The biog rapher quotes a letter from Hawthorne to one of his sis ters, in which the writer says, in allusion to this remark, that it is a great mistake to think that he has been led
away by the wicked
fully as willing to play
as the person he suspects of having enticed
have been influenced by no one.
to be seduced
me, and would have a great mind to
commence playing again, merely to show him that I scorn by another into anything wrong." There is
something in these few words that accords with the im
pression that the observant reader of Hawthorne gathers of the personal character that underlay his duskily-sportive
an impression of simple manliness and trans
appears to have been a fair scholar, but not a
" That quatrain may And in suffice to decorate our page. . connection with his college days. the Pres ident of the institution.] EARLY YEARS. Lathrop. unworldly. quiet and alone. It is the story of a young lady who goes in rather an odd fashion " " to reside at Harley College (equivalent of Bowdoin). Though there be fury on the waves. even shortly after it was published. also written after that event. amiable. Beneath them there is none. 21 iant one and it is very probable that. though the few stanzas that the biographer quotes are not such as to make us especially regret that his rhyming inood was a transient one." I have seen . Melmoth. One . and henpecked scholar. " The ocean hath its silent Deep.i. caves. none of these rare volumes. I may mention his first novel. a short romance entitled Fanshawe. that scholarship at Bowdoin was not he wrote verses at college. as the standard of high. three years after he graduated. very naturally. to testify to the fact. Lathrop is able the less comfortably on this account. he graduated none Mr. . not half a dozen copies are now known to be extant. was probably of the tale laid at Bowdoin (which figures under an al and Hawthorne's attitude with regard to the book. of which. which was pub lished in It Boston in 1828. according to Mr. by no means a surprising one. Lathrop. Here she becomes. under the care and guardianship of Dr. an object of interest to two of the students in regard to whom I cannot do better than quote Mr. but the scene is . and I know nothing of Fanshawe but what the writer just quoted relates. was such as to It was issued anonymous assign it to this boyish period. tered name) but he so repented of his venture that he annihilated ly " the edition. a venerable.
first . takes only some three days. He was twenty-four years old.22 HAWTHOKNE. who is a of these . then he refuses and parts with her for a last time. tensely Fanshawe. The up real action of the book. Fanshawe the hero. From this she is rescued her. and Butler's purpose towards Ellen thus becomes sinister one. is heiress. he hesitates. already passing into a decline through overmuch devotion to books and meditation. that he should have had no other choice than to make drama go for ward between the rather naked walls of Bowdoin. after the preliminaries. story and it is a proof of how little the world of observation lay open to Hawthorne at this time. Ellen becomes engaged to Wolcott. where the presence of his heroine was an essential incongruity. sire and hope is so great that to take advantage of her generosity. had not disclosed itself to him. and turns upon the attempt of a man named Butler to entice Ellen away under his protec tion. and secure the fortune to which she This scheme is partly frustrated by circum stances." in its so He had. perceiving that a union between himself and Ellen could not be a happy one. sinking into The rapid consumption. she gives him the opportunity and the For a moment the rush of de right to claim her hand. dies before his class graduates. [CHAP. a wealthy. generous. " young men is Edward Wolcott. but the " world. poor but ambitious recluse." have had a deal of innocent must good lightness . a much more . re But circum signs the hope of it from the beginning. healthy young fellow from one of the sea port towns and the other. by Fanshawe and knowing that he loves but is conceal ing his passion. howcial sense. then marry her. stances bring him into intimate relation with her. his little . and in moved by his new passion. though the deeper nature of the two. who had won her heart from the and Fanshawe. hand some.
in search of a ' " stray damsel. behind the shield of Ajax. and which is worth transcribing. in the event of an encounter. as being most valiant and experienced. however. ' If I ' lance in hand (your long staff serving for a lance). The heroine has gone off with tho nefarious Butler. will serve to begin the conflict before you join the battle hand to hand. you. I see that you have girded on a sword. no. while I annoy the enemy from afar. " Ay.' a . ' . reverend knight. to some stone w all " or other place of strength ?' may presume to advise.' One of these. * not better. at writer's touch.' " Nay. or Methinks I am an epitome of the church mil Pray Heaven. 'when a doctor of divinity and an undergraduate set forth.' observed the President. like a knight-errant and his squire. starts in pur Alas. there be no such encounter in store for us for I utterly forgot to provide myself with weapons. since I know end proceeds the bullet.' " 'Like Teucer.' said not accurately from which But were it Dr. exhibiting a brace of pistols. whose imagination was highly tickled by Dr.' " I took some thought for that matter. Lathrop. attended good Dr. and the suit of her. as witness this passage. if you will accept it. Melmoth by young Wolcott. moments. I shall find little safety in meddling with that ' ' " ' deadly instrument. quoted by Mr. . since we are so well provided with artillery. a very pretty 23 ever.] EARLY YEARS. youth.' interrupted Dr. species of polemical divinity. these are strange times. Melmoth's chivalrous comparison. or David with his stone and sling. Melmoth. to betake ourselves. No. young man I have left unfinished in my study a learned treatise.' answered Edward.' said the di ' But wherewith shall I defend myself? my hand be ing empty except of this golden-headed staff. ' new replied Edward. should ride forward. ' Langton. already. vine. itant.' said the squire.i. Melmoth. the gift of Mr.
Hawthorne had gone back to live at Salem. i. But. [CHAP. lo who ! rides yonder " ?' On leaving college. for whose sake I must take heed to my safety. but to posterity.24 HAWTHORNE. important not only to the present age. .
" I am disposed to thank God for the gloom and chill of . and with my wife and children about me more content to enjoy what I have. in this life. twelve years that followed were not the happiest or brilliant phase of Hawthorne's life they strike me. They had their uses they were the period of incubation of the admirable compositions which eventually brought him reputation and prosperity. long while. My early life was perhaps a good preparation for the declining half of life it having been such a blank that any thereafter would com pare favourably with it. EARLY MANHOOD. "I think . For a long. when I bore share of adversity came the same writer alludes to a touching passage in the English Note-Books. . ty the young man must have had a painful consciousness he never lost the impression of it. THE most . But of their actual aridi . I have occa sionally been visited with a singular dream and I have an impression that I have dreamed it ever since I have been in 2* . Mr. Lathrop quotes a phrase to this effect from one of his letters." my And then. which I shall quote entire I : ever before have been happier this Christmas (1854) than by my own fireside. less anxious for anything beyond it.25 CHAPTER II. indeed. in the it hope that alone. as having had an altogether peculiar dreariness. my early life. late in life.
to experiments and adventures of intercourse personally. diffident. . in all his writings. and meditate duce himself. on almost any occasion. But we find at the same time that there was nothing unamiable or invidious in his shyness. we find it in abundance. . is almost ludicrously at fault. re through these twenty or thirty years. in so far as it The points to to hesitate him as a sombre and sinister figure. and wait. he was not general impression of this silence-loving and shade-seeking side of his character is doubtless exaggerated. more inclined than to pro to watch. or sometimes even and there is a sense that I have been there uncon scionably long. . in a word. There is in all of them something cold. over me as I think of all it. of being This quality betrays itself absent than of being present.26 HAWTHORNE. with society. This dream. and have quite failed to make such progress as my contemporaries have done and I seem to meet some of them with a feeling of shame and depression that broods . [CHAP. It is. If we read the six volumes of Note-Books with an eye to the evidence of this unsocial side of his sufficient life. England. his points of contact. He was silent. even when awake. at school that I am still at college. How strange that it should come now. when I may call myself famous and pros when I am happy too." perous ! The allusion here is to a state of solitude which was the young man's positive choice at the time or into which and he drifted at least under the pressure of his natural shyness He was not expansive he was not addicted reserve. and light. what is called sociable. and. and fonder. when everybody moved onward and left me behind. and thin tion alone something belonging to the imagina which indicates a man but little disposed to multiply his relations. must be one curring of the effects of that heavy seclusion in which I shut myself up for twelve years after leaving college.
about human and conceits. seem in cer of brilliant gaiety.ii. They adhere with such persistence to this upper level that they prompt the reader to believe that Hawthorne had no appreciable phi losophy at all no general views that were in the least un comfortable. They reveal these characteristics. all. Emile Revue des Deux Mondes. invents for our author the appellation of "Un Komancier Pessimiste. on a level which lies above that of a man's philosophy. They are the exhibition of an unperplexed . they offer in a remarkable degree the reflection of a mind whose development was not in the di rection of sadness. tainly the note of depression. Pessimism morbid and bitter views and theories nature . consists in having a happy one. . of the disposition to undervalue the human race. of high but the placidity and evenness of temper. his serenity and amenity of mind. There not in indulging in shadowy fancies is nothing whatever to show that cer Hawthorne had any such doctrines or convictions. victions or theories of These volumes contain the record of very few con any kind they move with curious . 27 and. tain portions almost child-like may have of written in this copious record. The qualities to was nothing preponderantly which the Note-Books most tes on the whole. tify are. with a charming. in an almost phe nomenal degree." the title is Superficially speaking. evenness. as his Diaries stand. there is . is never sounded in his Di aries. the simplicity. never belie themselves. indeed. the cheerful and contented view of the things he I know not what else he notes. of despair. whose fancy than his observation is deep M. but only superficially. in the often more lively Montegut writing in the year 1860. graceful flow. perhaps. above that there gloomy.] EARLY MANHOOD. spirits. The little serenity. and what passages gloom and melancholy may have been suppressed but. is A very clever French critic. .
HAWTHORNE. Beneath as free this move and sponta directly his personal to my These were solid and strong. His sit uation was intrinsically poor poor with a poverty that one almost hesitates to look into. His innocent no means cynical. of the picturesque.28 intellect. inclined to his further. but make one. according impression. ment and ripple of his imagination neous as that of the sea-surface lay affections. that the time a tolerably arid one so arid a we have seen that in the light of later happiness he pronounced it a blank. compassion for the young man becomes our dominant sentiment. the dark-based pil and supports of our moral nature. When we think of what the conditions of intellectual in a small life. trying to make a career for himself in the midst of them. I said just [CHAP. and his exaggerated. now thorne's mind was not towards go still that the development of Haw sadness and I should be . and we see the large. with a persistency which reserve. but. But in truth. always engaged in a game of hide-and-seek in the region in which it seemed to him that the game could best be played among lars the shadows and substructions. of style and form and colour. must have been New England town young man we think of a years ago . village- . What had a development was importance his imagination that delicate and penetrating imagination articles of faith which was always at play. helped to by imposed themselves a great measure. indeed. then. it was not all Hawthorne's fault. with a love fifty of literature and romance. in upon him. always entertaining itself. mind in so far as it and say that his mind proper was a repository of opinions and had no development that it is of especial to look into. of taste. and when of beautiful genius. if these were dull years. they had the place very much to them selves. relish for solitude. dry.
to his own he appears to a If critic perception. Salem was a still smaller one tone at large was intensely provincial. that of New England was not greatly helped by having the best of it. simply it was at an immeasurable distance from having begun to enjoy. that it was possibly a blessing for Hawthorne that he was not expansive and inquisitive. agine there was no appreciable group of people in at that New . New England was socially a very small place in those . had been exacting and ambitious. and asked but little of his milieu. then.] EARLY MANHOOD. if his appetite had been large and his knowledge various. 29 It seems to picture in perhaps almost too hard a light. There are a thousand ways of . me. and because this enters inevitably into the artist's scheme. Haw itself to life time proposing to thorne must have vaguely entertained some such design upon destiny but he must have felt that his success would . But his there was little of any culture had been of a simple sort other sort to be obtained in America in those days and though he was doubtless haunted by visions of more sug gestive opportunities. The state of things was extremely natural. and if the American days. I im of irony. we may safely assume that he was not. he would probably have found the bounds of Salem intolerably narrow. that he lived much If he to himself. the object of compassion that who judges him after half a century's civilization has filtered into the twilight of that earlier time. this England enjoy was not an undertaking for which any provision had been made. American . simply because he proposed to be an artist. I say he must have proposed to himself to enjoy. it . or to which any encouragement was offered. have to depend wholly upon his own ingenuity. and there could be now no greater mistake than to speak of it with a redundancy the foundations life had begun to constitute itself from had begun to be.ii.
the man must have lacked the comfort and to a class. erature and the arts have always been held in extreme hon are received our in the American world. It is not to say that even to the present day it is a con siderable discomfort in the United States not to be "in much business. has but a limited place in the social He is system. . man or the lady who has written a book is in many circles the object of an admiration too indiscrim mating to operate as an encouragement to good writing. and those who practise them on easier terms than in other countries. He proposes to give pleasure. finds no particular bough to perch upon. he is not regarded as an idler lit . greatly more than now. enjoying nocent. If is in the tone of the American world vincial. but years ago. and circumstances were not encouraging to first Where he it will Hawthorne. inspiration of belonging The the talents that are better best things come. with his name self in a career that painted on the door. and that of the all that. it artist is one of the most in itself But for connects with the idea it of pleasure. life. He was poor. he was solitary. it is in some respects pro none more so than in this matter of the The gentle exaggerated homage rendered to authorship. he must get gets depend upon circumstances. not looked at askance. and to give it.30 HAWTHORNE. There is no reason to suppose that this fifty was less the case fifty years ago literary ." The young man who attempts . as a general thing. [CHAP. from members of a group . and he undertook to de vote himself to literature in a community in which the in terest in literature too was as yet of the smallest. an office in the business quarter of the town. every man works in the when he has companions working same line. in a word. to launch him does not belong to the so-called prac tical order the young man who has not.
the recognition left little to be desired. and literature is the fashion . treated The empiric may. and are in fact by the suspicion that is mingled with his grati tude. have been done by solita lation. I believe. of a want in the public taste of a sense of the pro increased Poor Hawthorne. be or less of an empiric. fifty years ago. indeed. was empirical enough . he is in the nature of the case more in . thorne showed great courage in entering a field in which the honours and emoluments were so scanty as the profits I have said of authorship must have been at that time. at most. as I say. but the drawbacks and discomforts of empiricism remain to him. made and the early profits have been considerable sums of money by his writings. States in very young. and of diminutive stature but the year 1830 its head could hardly have been seen is still It strikes the observer of to-day that Haw above-ground. some dozen Americans who had taken up literature as a profession. emu Great things. 31 and yielding the stimulus of suggestion. The solitary worker loses the profit of example and discussion he is apt to make awkward experiments. beginning to write portions of things. The profession in the United . double ry workers but they have usually been done with the pains they would have cost if they had been produced . as they . for many of them. subtle short tales at Salem. he was one of. that in the United States at present authorship is a pedes but Hawthorne's history tal. more genial circumstances. of these charming sketches could not large ." many nition. comparison. is a proof that it was possible. Hawthorne never. to write a great He little masterpieces without becoming known.IL] EARLY MANHOOD. of course. the preface to the Twice-Told Tales by remark begins " for many years the obscurest man of let was he that ing When once this work obtained recog ters in America. by the world as an expert .
we hear nothing of those experiments in counting-houses or lawyers' offices.32 HAWTHORNE. in a fit of irri and despair. appeared in journals and magazines. the young author burned the manu script. Mr. another has five . dispose of his writings He . began to write. There striking is little probably something autobiographic tale of The Devil in Manuscript. One man publishes nothing but school-books. lie had never been paid at all but the honour. of which a permanent invocation to the Muse is often the inconsequent sequel. and the tone of Mr. his attempts to get it . when once it dawned and it . Lathrop learned from his sur viving sister that. tation published were unsuccessful and at last. and that read. But it which her brother had given her to never saw the light. ing the twelve years that elapsed until 1838." says the hero of that sketch in regard to a pile of his " It own lucubrations. . Lathrop's Study is in itself sufficient evidence of the manner in which an Ameri can story-teller may in some cases look to have his eulogy pronounced. he appears to have been an inmate. this lady retained a very favourable recol lection of the work. dur lived there. was never tolerably early in the author's career Hawthorne's countrymen are solidly thereafter wanting. dawned proud of him. he produced a group of short stories. would make you stare to read their answers. of which. . in the " They have been offered to seventeen publishers. entitled Seven Tales of my Native Land. Hawthorne's early attempt to support himself by his pen appears to have been deliberate . and to try and and he remained at Salem appar his mother and his two sis ently only because his family ters His mother had a house. after publishing Fanshawe. [CHAP. .
. But though the Seven Tales were not thorne proceeded to write others that were lections of the Twice-Told Tales. an profit nothing all not at amiss in its way. . after a general sentence of con demnation. " might yet be rummaged out (but it would not be worth the trouble). and perhaps essenenjoyment literary effort in . novels already under examination just giving up business.] EARLY MANHOOD. of all the seventeen book sellers. and show " for the life. I should judge has the im pertinence to criticise them. to avoid publishing my book. only one has vouchsafed even to read my tales. I verily believe. In short. among the dingy pages of fifteen or twentyyears-old periodicals. . . and concluding." thought and industry of that portion of his attributes the paucity of his productions to a He " total lack of sympathy at the age when his mind would naturally have been most effervescent. Some very small part. fairly. . he picked out the things he thought the " best. that no American publisher will meddle with an American work seldom if by a known writer." " He had no incitement to a reasonable prospect of reputation or but the pleasure itself of composition. proposing what he calls vast im provements. or within the shabby morocco covers of faded Souvenirs" These three volumes represent no large amount of literary labour for so is the author admits that there little to long a period." he says of what remains. Haw the two col Snow Image. . and he tells me. from a series of contributions to the local To make these journals and the annuals of that day. . 33 another gentleman is on purpose. and he a literary dabbler himself. . and the are gathered printed. three volumes.ii. with the definitive assurance that he will not be But there does seem to be one concerned on any terms. righteous man among these seventeen unrighteous ones." . and never if by a new one unless at the writer's risk.
and. produce a sensation In 1850. Letter appeared. and there was manifestly a strain of gen erous indolence in his composition. " will public ear was touched and charmed. Let the encouragement of fered have been what it might. At time The Scarlet Letter had just made his fame. . There was a lovable want of eagerness about him. when The Scarlet Hawthorne was forty-six years old. apropos of which I may say that there is always a charm in Hawthorne's prefaces which makes one grateful for a pretext to quote from them. do not constitute a very massive literary pedestal. he had waited till he was . or the numbness out of his fingers. On the other hand. resort ing to severer measures. it must be remembered that he had not The Twiceappealed to the world with any great energy. but the account he gives of the failure of the earlier edition to this (it had been published in two vol umes. [CHAP. charming as they are. though he was not recognised immediately. put forth The 'Scarlet Letter. but which in the long run will hardly keep the chill out of a writer's heart." These words occur in the preface attached in 1851 to the second edition of the Tivice-Told Tales. he cannot have been in any very high degree ambitious he was not an abun dant producer. and the short tales were certain of a large welcome. As soon as the author. have abbreviated by so much his productive career !" The truth is. at four years apart). may appear to contradict my assertion that. and this may certainly seem a long-delayed popularity.34 tial HAWTHORNE. to the merit of the work in hand. the held to the end. But what a grievous pity that the dulness of this same organ should have operated so long as a de terrent. he was recognised betimes. and after that it was " Well it might have been !" the reader exclaim. by making Hawthorne wait till he was nearly fifty to publish his first novel. Told Tales.
may be called one of the pi He is better oneers of American periodical literature. Goodrich. The editor of this graceful repository was S. It is very true. and during the last ten years of his career he put forth but two complete works. was to do his memory honour by his admirable illustra But in fact it never did any one honour. and little poetry. the English restorer of the art of wood-engraving. 1836. story-books. Magazine of Useful and Enter I have never seen the work in ques taining Knowledge. if protection is the proper word for the treatment that the young au thor received from him.] EARLY MANHOOD. known to the world as Mr. in which he was go The American interested. however.ii. Hawthorne . a publication brilliant title of a gentleman who. to to Boston to edit a periodical in tion. Goodrich induced him. endowed with the The Boston Token and Atlantic Souvenir. 35 lapsing from middle-life to strike his first noticeable blow . of the. The woodcuts were of the crudest and most frightful sort. but Hawthorne's biographer gives a sorry account of It was managed by the so-called Bewick Company. to have been Hawthorne's earliest protector. It passed through the hands of several editors and several publishers. It was a penny popular affair. and the fragment of a third. incongruously enough. This enterprising purveyor of literary wares appears. which " took its name from Thomas Bewick. containing condensed information about innumerable sub jects. Mr. that during this early period he seems to have been very glad to do whatever came to Certain of his tales found their way into one his hand. and the magazine tions. nor brought any one profit. it. a name under which he produced a multitude of popular school-books. Peter Parley. G. and other attempts to vulgarize human knowl edge and adapt it to the infant mind. I suppose. no fiction. annuals of the time.
received more than his hundred dollars. offering him a hundred dollars for his share in the work. ." " I came here trusting to Goodrich's pos winter of 1836 was engaged . He "Even when he was quite a is speaking of George IV. this King cared as much about dress as any He had a great deal of taste in such young coxcomb. stumpy-looking book." says in another letter. and never think of go ing near him. its The writer of these pages vividly remembers an early stage of his education acquaintance at a very fat. for he might otherwise have made an excellent tailor. do not see that he means to pay at all. and took a hand I know "I make nothing. Hawthorne accepted the offer. and hav ing in the text very small woodcuts of the most primitive making sort. . do for a thousand . rived till I pay me forty-five dollars as soon as I ar and he has kept promising from one day to another. there . His biographer has been able to identify a single phrase as our author's." The Universal History had a great vogue. "of writing a Goodrich proposed or before dinner.. bound in boards covered with green paper. matters." he not how large a one in the job. and passed through hundreds of editions but it does not appear that Hawthorne ever . and did not stay in Hawthorne wrote from Boston in the the position long. I have now broke off all intercourse with him. . He sostris associates it to this day with the names of Seand Scmiramis whenever he encounters them. : young man. for he is a stockholder and director in the Bewick Company.. and it is a pity that he was a King. at a salary of five hundred dollars a year l>ut appears that he got next to nothing. I don't feel at all obliged to him about the editorship. [CHAP.36 HAWTHORNE. and I dollars what defy them to get another to I do for five hundred." history biography to him to write a Universal History for the use of schools. it : itive promise to .
Frequently his meals \vere brought locked door. 37 having been.IL] EARLY MANHOOD. moreover. This cost him less. and some in the sight of a delicate and supe thing really touching rior genius obliged to concern himself with such paltry un There is something The simple fact was that for a man attempt dertakings. and from this tranquil standpoint. biographer has of necessity a relish for detail . and it was not often that the four inmates of the old Herbert Street mansion met in and left at his family circle. thorne had received but twenty dollars four pounds for his editorship of the American Magazine. It was the custom in this house- . I have quoted his own allusions to its dulness and blankness. as the phrase is. first volume of his Twice-Told Tales come into the world. never read his stories aloud to his . He . he watched the and I of rare talent. A our author " had little Mr. in the spring of 1837. he supposes. to make himself small. in America to live by his pen. than it would have cost a more copious and strenuous genius. and an American commentator may be had by this excused for feeling the desire to construct. Lathrop tells us that communication with even the mem bers of his family. He time been living some ten years of his manhood in Salem. his business is to mul tiply points of characterisation. but I confess that these observations serve rather to quicken than to depress my curiosity. a slight picture of his life there. doubt whether he had any very ardent consciousness He went back to Salem. there were time at that ing no larger openings . and to live at all Hawthorne had. from the very scanty material that offers itself. mother and sisters. some account of the conquests of these potentates that would impress itself upon the im At the end of four months Haw agination of a child. pitiful in this episode. for his modesty was evidently extreme.
The author's claim for them is barely audible. themselves hold for the several members to remain very much by the three ladies were perhaps nearly as rigor . Lathrop affirms that though the statement that for several years "he never saw the sun" is entirely an error. and these were ap of Salem. in . many compan a singu which give*even the most appreciative critic lar feeling of his elty. of a great ions. was not very exuberant. This small dissertation is about nothing at all. parently his most intimate occasions of contact with life. ' ous recluses as himself. Hawthorne once said. which Mr. was an inveterate observer evening. and. are things to take or to leave Not to read them . " It is added that he was not in even live at our house !' We This is not a lively picture the habit of going to church. and seldom chose to walk in the town except at In the dusky hours he took walks of many miles night. speaking of the isolation which do not reigned among them. that simply to mention them is to put them in a false position. and to call attention to it is almost to overrate its importance. or else wandered about the sleeping streets These were his pastimes. yet it is true that he stirred little abroad " all day." included among the Twice-Told Tales. of small things. own indiscretion almost of his own cru are so light. but not to talk about. ample of " this happy faculty than the little paper entitled Night Sketches. as any one will reflect who my of a small New has been acquainted with the physiogno England town after nine o'clock in the Hawthorne. even to the They most acute listener. on such occasions.38 HAWTHORNE." along the coast. nor is that other sketch of his daily habits much more ex hilarating. of its This fact is equally true. so slight. however. indeed. and he found a field for fancy among There could be no better ex the most trivial accidents. Life. so tenderly trivial. They to enjoy. [CHAP.
injustice (to read 39 would be to do them an them is essen tially to relish them). to which these just-mentioned Night Sketches belong. rainy day. by the way place as any other to say it seems as good a are a very singular series of volumes . and such doubtless was the case dles. have a greater charm than there is any warrant for in their sub stance. dull. and of his habit of converting them this into memoranda. through the sloppy. homie. ural piece of prose. but out of the Salem pud nevertheless. be my desire to avert. that to carry this prin too far would be to endanger the general validity of ciple the present little work a consummation which it can only wrong. The charm is made up of the spontaneity. and indeed he appears to have thought nothing too trivial to be suggestive. These Note-Books. at the end of a long. I doubt whether there responding to them in the is anything exactly cor whole body of literature. familiar record of a walk under an umbrella. of the fancy that plays through them. I have said that Hawthorne was an observer of small things. One would say that the inspi ration of such a theme could have had no great force.ii. The Night Sketches its purity and its bon are simply the light. however. Therefore it is that I think it per missible to remark that in little Hawthorne the whole class of descriptive effusions directed upon common things. its mingled simplicity and subtlety. His Note-Books give us the measure of his perception of common and casual things. the per sonal quality. They . and the blue jars in the druggist's window shine through the vulgar drizzle. but to bring the machinery of criti cism to bear upon them would be to do them a still greater I must remember. flower-like. where the rare gas-lamps twinkle in the large puddles.] EARLY MANHOOD. ill-paved streets of a country town. springs. a charming and nat .
sheds a vivid light upon his character. but the attitude of the biographer is to desire as many docu thankful. his habits. are almost absent. ideas what was its value to pure and simple. There is a point of view from which this may be regretted. ments as I am though I have just re-read them carefully. pages any the sim plest way to describe the tone of these extremely objec tive journals is to say that they read like a series of very pleasant. They contain addressed to himself a man who. for the Note-Books. as a receptacle of private im pressions and opinions. They widen. were published in six volumes. as I have said. should have de termined to insert nothing compromising. He rarely takes his its Note-Book into reflections that his confidence. it Hawthorne himself. It is in a very a register of impressions. and no person attempting to write an account of the romancer could afford to regret that they should have been given to the world. I am still at a loss to perceive how they came to be written what was this Hawthorne's purpose in carrying on for so many years minute and often trivial chronicle. issued at intervals some years after Hawthorne's death. . and in a still partial degree smaller sense a record of emotions. the But we find ourselves wondering nature of his mind. or commits to might be adapted for publicity . ters. Outward objects play much the larger part in it . they are curiously cold and empty. on the other hand.40 HAWTHORNE. having much that is too futile for things intended for publicity . possible. then. let suspicions by that they might be opened in the post. whereas. though rather dullish and decidedly formal. opinions. convictions. [CHAP. it is valuable . our glimpse of Hawthorne's mind (I do not say that they elevate our estimate of it). as a biographer. but I am obliged to confess that. For a person de siring information about him at any cost.
an inter It is characterised by an extraordinary blankesting one. as is happily the case with my dear native land. no an trial. the more struck with the lightness of the diet to which. as I turn the pages of his journals. no mystery. is not. is not with the light that they throw upon his intellect. I first know not entries in the what age he began to keep a diary the American volumes are of the summer . in broad and sim ple daylight. which must have lingered in the minds of many Americans who have tried to write novels. own. to say that the effect would be the same for the usual English reader. as I have said." The perusal of Hawthorne's American Note-Books operates as a practical commentary upon this somewhat it ominous text.] EARLY MANHOOD. has a large and healthy appe and one is. without a can conceive of the difficulty of writing a romance about a country where there is no shadow. I seem to see the image of the crude and simple society 3 .ii. as much as by what we find in them. of 1835. therefore. would be too much. ness tite for detail. For myself. Hawthorne. and to lay the scene of them in the Western world. 41 but they do so by what they fail to contain. gross injustice in saying that the picture he constructs he constructs a from Hawthorne's American without charms of its diaries. though by no means on the whole. It does so at least to my own mind. no picturesque and gloomy wrong. " No author. There is a phrase in the preface to his novel of Transformation. nor anything but a commonplace prosperity. tiquity. but with the information they offer about his at habits and his social circumstances. Our business for the moment. perhaps. An American he completes the suggestions reads between the lines I think I am not guilty of any picture. a curious paleness of colour and paucity of detail. however. his observation was con demned.
warmer Eu it takes such an accumulation of his ropean spectacle tory and custom. him would have been a very however ob scure. with the large number of elements that were absent from deavour to- We them. as tries. nor manors. The negative side of the spectacle on which Hawthorne looked saunterings and reveries. indeed. made the acquaintance of the denser. present themselves so vividly that our foremost feeling is that of compassion for a romancer It takes so many looking for subjects in such a field. not in if one desire to enter as close . vidiously. to re peat my epithet. but descriptively ly as possible into I use these epithets. richer. parsonages. however reserved. no diplomatic service. his sense of the life of his fellow-mortals would have been almost in finitely more various. out. his own personal life. in the barely a specific national name. no nor nor thatched cottages. no nor palaces. of course. no army. no country gentlemen. thorne had been a young Englishman. one must en are struck reproduce his circumstances. in his contemplative might. be made the items of high civilization. the same different affair cast of mind. European sense of the word. it exists in other coun life. the thinness. and indeed No sovereign. [CHAP. such a complexity of manners and types. ivied ruins.42 in HAWTHORNE. until which are absent from the texture of American it should become a wonder to know what was left. nor old country-houses. the same habits. Hawthorne's situation. no castles. no clergy. which he lived. no aristocracy. in life. his consciousness of the world around . when he have later must felt as Hawthorne things. no church. . No State. and the coldness. or a young French man of the same degroe of genius. no personal loyalty. the blankness. If Haw to form a fund of suggestion for a novelist. genuity. no court. with a little in almost ludicrous one might enumerate .
in this terrible denudation. comfortable light within its darksome stone " I went yesterday with Monsieur S to pick wall. upon an English or a French imagination. is and that he deems worthy of being com frequently extreme. going by the jail. nor abbeys. Sunday evening. in as a general thing. It would be cruel. no sporting as that life no pictures. the effect of which. his joke. no political society. would probably. as one may say. his attention. what it is that remains that is his secret. no novels. the almost lurid light of such an indictment. the consolation of his natural that deny him "American hu mour" But of which of late years we have heard so much. be appalling. who might have taken than to those reminding themselves of its fine compensa Hawthorne's entries are to a great degree accounts tions. nor Harrow no Oxford. little 43 cathedrals. our author's would give comfort the alarm from rather to persons the brief sketch I have just attempted of what I have called the negative side of the American social situation. nor Norman churches . memorated. American knows that a good deal remains . and from this fact we get the impression of a general vacancy in the field of " vision. as I have already intimated. everything is left out. the settingsun kindled up the windows most cheerfully as if there . Eton." raspberries. no museums. in helping us to measure what remains. thrown .IL] EARLY MANHOOD. to gift. nor nor public schools no literature. were a bright. Diaries. The natural remark. drives in stage-coaches. would be that The if these things are left out. He fell through an old log -bridge. ! class no Ep som nor Ascot the American Some such in list might be drawn especially in up of the absent things life American of forty years ago. met of walks in the country. no great Universities . people he The minuteness of the things that attract in taverns.
expressive. outcome. to rural rambles of which an im pression of the temporary phases of the local apple-crop were the usual. [CHAP. democratic. but not too cultivated. read a good deal and that he must have been familiar with the sources of good English. cultivated. is there any mention of his reading." The reader says to himself that when a man turned thirty adown and his inkstand to such trifles gives a place in his mind as these. and dashing swiftly past us.44 HAWTHORNE. ing. the rarer. we construct a rough image of our author's daily life during the several He appears to have years that preceded his marriage. and an encounter with an organ-grinder. . in a paragraph by itself of peat-smoke in the sunny autumnal air is very pleasant. only his head and shoulders appeared through the rotten logs and among the bushes. thinly-composed society there is no evidence of the writer finding himself in any variety or intimacy of relations with any one or with anything. Lathrop's about his meals being left find a at the door of his room." In another a he devotes to a of a page place description dog whom he saw running round after its tail. slightly self - conscious. the rapid running of "a little bare footed boy. A over a hollow looking back. it is because nothing else of superior importance demands admission. shower coming on. we see from his charm . There are no literary judgments or im there is almost no allusion to works or to au pressions thors. Yet neither in these early volumes of his Note-Books. coming up unheard. and showing us the soles of his naked feet as he ran the path and up the opposite side. The allusions to individuals of any kind are indeed . in still another he " The aromatic odor remarks. Everything n the Notes . nor in the later. or an eccentric dog. We good deal of warrant for believing that if we add that statement of Mr. indicates a simple. style.
any great. during the early part of Hawthorne's life." and whose is little much We manners magnificent. to have ignored the virtually as long as the in fact But Hawthorne appears completely . it is not because we have very definite assurance that his gains would have been since a beautiful writer was growing up in Salem. doubtless had preten Into this delectable company Mr. Such an echo would possibly . or whatever it was. and who. not have been especially melodious and if we regret the shyness and stiffness. were Lathrop intimates that his hero was free to penetrate. as it place did.ii. It and it would be difficult to perceive is easy to believe it . .] EARLY MANHOOD. their who lived in high comfort and respectability. Still. it is a pity that he should not have given himself a chance to commemorate some of the types that flourish ed in the richest soil of the place. Lathrop Salem. less . little description of manners. why man the privilege should have been denied to a young of genius and culture. "a strong circle of " wealthy families. who was very good-looking (Hawthorne must have been in these days. the timidity. in their small provincial way." which maintained rigorously the dis " entertainments were splen tinctions of class. 45 numerous than one might have expected there are psychology. the sus picion. that kept him from knowing what there was to be known. at that there existed told by Mr. no society of his native place almost echo of its conversation is to be found in good his tales or his journals. the reserve. judging by his life. Like almost all people who possess in a strong degree the story-telling faculty." This is a rather pictorial of way saying that there were a number of people in the the commercial and professional aristocracy. sions to be exclusive. and whose American pedigree was longest they could show. appearance later in a strikingly handsome fellow).
his complete exemption from vulgarity. it is one of the points in his character which his reader comes most to appreciate that reader I mean for whom he is some few. and to pay for these solemn commodities by tak ing the sculptor to board. he must. [CHAP. The air of his journals and his tales alike arc full of the genuine democratic feeling. are full of evidence of this easy and natural feeling about all his unconventional fellow-mortals this imaginative interest and contemplative curiosity . into their shoes. He liked to fraternise with plain people. to take them on their own terms.46 HAWTHORNE. as for the very key-stone of the simple social structure in which he played his part. Thoroughly American in all ways. that at the present hour a writer of Hawthorne's general " fastidiousness would not express it quite so artlessly. for democracy was not. he was in none more and so than in the vagueness of his sense of social distinctions. His Note-Books. shrewd gentlewoman. his readiness to forget them if a moral or intellectual sensation were to be gained by it. and sometimes takes the most charming and graceful forms." he " was anxious to obtain says. Hawthorne had a democratic strain in his composition. in Chippings with a Chisel. if possible. who kept a tavern in the town. This ." This image of a gentlewoman . feeling has by no means passed out of New England life it still flourishes in perfection in the great stock of the but it is probable people. have been more or less of a consenting democrat. A two or three gravestones for the deceased members of her family. But even if he had had personally as many pretensions as he had few. and a relish for the commoner stuff of human nature. and even his tales. Commingled as it is with his own subtlety and it delicacy. and put himself. in the nature of things. especially in rural communities . a dusky and malarious genius.
is the figure of Un Venner. It will be observed that the lady in question was shrewd . obviously. a natural moralist. this ancient lady This. Uncle Venner is Hawthorne. for a compensation. he is received on a footing of familiarity the time in the household of the far and when descended Miss Pyncheon and her companions take the air in the garden of a summer evening. who people of Salem. Hawthorne to speak of her as a gentlewoman societies where the the natural tendency in sense of equality prevails being to Per take for granted the high level rather than the low. and it is certain that she it was energetic. and looks forward with philosophic equanimity to when he shall end his days in the almshouse. is rather im a creation with a purpose. Uncle Venis ner a poor old man in a brimless hat and patched trou picks up a precarious subsistence by rendering. he steps into the estimable circle and mingles the smoke of his pipe with . But. who knew perfectly what he was about troducing him in in Hawthorne always knew perfectly what he was about wished to give in his person an example of humorous resignation and of a life reduced to the sim- . of senti most the democratic the haps striking example ment cle in all our author's tales. a philosopher. These qualities would make natural to . in spite of the very modest place that he occupies in the social scale. 47 keeping a tavern and looking out for boarders. and their refined conversation. seems. aginative He is an original. digs potatoes.ii. in The House of the Seven Gables." He carries parcels.] EARLY MANHOOD. from the point of view to which I allude. however. and of reputable life. those services that are " known in New England as chores. splits fire-wood. it was probable that she was substantially educated. collects refuse for the maintenance of his pigs. not at all incongruous. in the houses and gardens of the good sers.
journey he was mak ing in Connecticut. as [CIIAP.mate. and to have wandered somewhat through the New.) These pages are completely occupied evidently a with Monsieur S. I went to a Biblestage." Monsieur. little any extravagant violation of about 1830.48 HAWTHORNE. who was man of character. a teacher of his native tongue." parently became with him. But the only one of these episodes of which there is a considerable account in the Note-Books is a visit that he paid in the summer of 1837 to his old college . even the most familiar. of the end of a seventeen miles' " in the evening." class Hawthorne appears on various occasions to have absent ed himself from Salem. that with a very polite and agreeable gentleman. intimate as he ap " Brook Farm. in company with an eccentric young Frenchman." who was upon his father's property in Maine. as the prefix upon the unconventional Thoreau. his fellowwoodsman at Concord. but there is nevertheless a certain amount of it. wished to strike a certain exclusively human and personal note. I have said that there was less psychology in Hawthorne's Journals than might have been looked for. however. always calls him all his Diaries he invariably speaks of all as throughout just " Mr. lie says. . cense in but the point that for this purpose he was taking a li is that he felt he was not indulging reality. whom I afterwards discovered to be a strolling tailor of very ques tionable habits. and homeliest elements. He knew . an account of a Giving in a let ter. and no where more than in a number markable " Monsieur S. who was looking for pupils among the Northern living forests. and upon the emancipated brethren at of pages relating to this re (Hawthorne." He confers his friends.. England States. plest opposed to the fantastic He pretensions of the antiquated heroine of the story. Horatio Bridge.
Johnson in him. These passages are effort to analyse the an elaborate very curious as a reminder of the absence of the off-hand element in the manner in which many Americans. and hair splitting is the occupation he most despises. explicit. as it were. in fortable. it. There poor young French man's disposition. thanks to the absence of a variety of social types and of settled heads under which he may be easily and conveniently pigeon-holed. An Englishman. The individual counts for more. something conscientious and painstak ing. but he is better off than his poor interrogative and tentative cousin beyond the seas. by the general consent of the society in which he this respect.ii. respectful. and of the absence of keen competition. all judges quickly. make up their minds whom they meet. almost solemn. most most appealed and the most identical with and promptly what happens to be the practice of the French genius itself. Johnson 3* . There is al ways a little of the Dr. and many New Englanders about people of something that dividual in the especially. the to. is particularly A happy and comfortable to happy and com a degree which I think easily hardly to be over-estimated. is his standards are fixed lives.] EARLY MANHOOD. is a reminder be called the importance of the in American world. He is blessed with a healthy mistrust of analysis. in turn. and he has the advantage that Frenchman. from his own and makes an end of He has not that rather chilly and isolated sense of moral responsibility which is apt to visit a New Englander in such processes . full 49 with the is complement of his national vivacity. a Frenchman a Frenchman above social standpoint. may This. easily. and Dr. and. which is a result of the newness and youthfulness of society. The English man is not quite so well off. his standards being the definite in the world. he is to a certain extent a won der and a mystery.
and Hawthorne's countrymen are apt to hold the scales with a rather uncertain hand and a some what agitated conscience. . American intellectual standards are vague. n. [CHAP. would have had wofully little patience with that tendency to weigh moonbeams which in Hawthorne was almost as much a quality of race as of genius.50 HAWTHORNE." in his volume on England) a tribute of the finest appreciation. albeit that Haw thorne has paid to Boswell's hero (in the chapter on " Lichfield and Uttoxeter.
And we find in the Note-Books (1840) this singularly beautiful and touching passage : . but I touch upon the year 1845 in order to speak of Dur the two collections of Twice-Told Tales at once. to suppose. chiefly in The Democratic Review. and he insists on this fact in contradiction to the idea that his productions had hitherto been as little noticed as his own declaration that he remained "for a good many years the obscurest man of letters in Ameri ca. ing the same year Hawthorne edited an interesting vol ume.CHAPTER III. His biographer mentions that even then Hawthorne's name was thought to bespeak attention for a book. I anticipate that period. " In this dismal chamber FAME was won." he writes in Salem. in Boston and at this time a good many of the stories which were afterwards collected into the Mosses from an Old Manse had already appeared. by his friend Bridge." might lead one. EARLY WRITING S. and has led many people. . ed in 1845. THE second volume of the Tioice-Told Tales was publish . the Journals of an African Cruiser. who had gone into the Navy and seen something of distant waters. a sufficiently flourishing periodical of In mentioning these things. in 1836.
with only life enough to be chilled and benumbed. I used to think that I could imagine all pas sions. . . But oftener I was hap py at least as happy as I then knew how to be. Here I sit in [CHAP.. and here my mind and character -were formed . And here I sat a long. By and by the world found me out in my lonely chamber. but found nothing in the world I And now I thought preferable to my solitude till now. . and all that seems most real about us is but the thinnest substance of a dream till the did I know ? . waiting patient ly for the world to know me. indeed. . begin to understand this lonely why I was imprisoned I . little shadows we are not endowed with real life. here I have been glad and hopeful. and called me forth not. and why the viewless bolts and bars could never break through for if I had sooner made my escape into the world. and sometimes wondering why it did not at all know me at least me it till sooner. But living in solitude till the fulness of time was kept the dew of my youth and the freshness of my heart. or whether it would ever know I were in my grave.. and been covered with earthly dust. This claims to be called a haunted chamber. long time. Here I have written many tales many that have been burned to ashes. many that have doubtless deserved the same fate. we are but : . and states of the heart and mind but how come. my old accustomed chamber. . all feelings. so many years in chamber. . where I used to sit in days gone by. or was aware of the possibility of being. with a loud roar of acclamation. upon thousands of visions and some few of them have be If ever I should come visible to the world. .. Indeed. but rather with a still small voice and forth I went. because so much of my lonely youth was wasted and here.52 " HAWTHORNE. . and here I have been de spondent. I still . he ought to make great mention of this chamber in my memoirs.. And sometimes seems to me as if I were already in the grave.! should have grown hard and rough. and my heart might have become callous by rude encounters with the multi tude. . . for thousands have appeared to me in it . have a biogra pher.
I have indeed turned over a good many books. and at the time of his sending it had written him a letter from which it will be to our purpose to quote a few laid.in. I know not what these may have been but I can assure you . something exquisite in the soft philosophy of and it helps us to appreciate it to know that the writer had at this time just become engaged to be married to a charming and accomplished person. that trouble there is the next best thing to enjoyment. which I might have missed in the sunshine. nor has it left me . to his old college friend. But I quote it more it affords that. which took place two years later. It may be true that there may have been some unsubstantial pleasures here in the shade. That touch creates us 53 heart be touched. and therefore more tolerable. Longfellow. as of an event tolerably well in He had sent the first of the Tiuice-Told series the past. and that no fate in the world so horrible as to have no share is in either its joys or sorrows. than the past. speak finding him was complete and out and calling him forth. but you cannot conceive how utterly devoid of satisfaction all my retrospects are. to be then we begin thereby we are beings of reality and inheritors of eternity. ultory a way that it cannot be called study. for the evidence already in particularly could of the world Hawthorne 1840.] EARLY WRITINGS. solidly. the foundation of his lines : " You tell me you have met with troubles and changes. full of happiness." There is this little retrospect. who had already great poetic reputa tion. I have laid up no treasure of pleasant remembrances against old age but there is some comfort in thinking that future years may be more varied. with whom his union. You give ine more credit than I deserve in supposing that I have led a studious life. but only dreamed of living. For the last ten years I have not lived. but in so des .
and it is not easy to give a life-like semblance to such shadowy stuff.. and he has been trying to forget his familiarity with them. on the whole. the Twice. in the preface. they are an old story this smallness of scale must not render less now The . I have caught a glimpse of the real world. [CHAP. and the two or three articles in which I have portrayed these glimpses please me better than the others. I have nothing but thin air to concoct my stories of. for evidently no portrait of fails to insist at this period is at all exact which upon the constant struggle which must have gone on between his shyness and his desire to know some thing of life between what may be called his evasive and I suppose it is no injustice to Lis inquisitive tendencies. Sometimes. every one knows them a little. obviously. to open an intercourse with the world. and those who ad mire them particularly have read them a great many times. a world." It is more lines that I particularly for the sake of the concluding have quoted this passage. "They says of his Twice-Told Tales. the struggle was constantly Hawthorne . I have another great difficulty in the lack of materials for I have seen so little of the world that ." small things.54 HAWTHORNE. in the first bloom of their . Hawthorne to say that. and ask himself what impression they would have made upon him at the time they appeared. the fruits of study. is relative. But everything and apparent As for the interesting character of Hawthorne's efforts. there. . are not the talk of a secluded man with his own He mind and heart (had it failed to be more deeply and permanently been so they could hardly have valuable. and very imperfectly successful ones. writer of this sketch belongs to the latter class. through a peephole.) but his attempts. his shyness always prevailed and yet. little it We must be remembered little are speaking here of of little attempts.Told Tales themselves.. . sketches.
in. it may be and before the particular Hawthorne-quality. one would have felt that here was something essentially fresh and new here. or The Threefold Desti ny in an American annual of forty years ago. but in a de gree distinctly appreciable. including the is better to speak of Snow Image and the Mosses from an Old Manse. I think of it. and also belong the four beautiful Legends of the Province House. This is the group to which such these little masterpieces as Malvin's Burial. he endeavoured . are the most origi are. dusky flowers in the blossomless garden of American journalism. to nal. as called. on the whole. a recognised and valued. which are scarcely less admirable. if one had encountered these delicate. 55 freshness. at once) there are three sorts of tales.] EARLY WRITINGS. There those begin with. The Seven Vagabonds. as they are called. more partic " to open an intercourse with the ularly. must have earliest readers been highly agreeable. and which. The Grey Champion. and of which history. The Maypole of Merry Mount. one would have plucked them with a very tender hand. had become an established. each one of which has an original stamp. Rappacini's Daughter. fact. Lastly come the slender sketches of actual scenes and of the objects and manners about him. erature. in no extraordinary force or abundance. are the most successful specimens. by means of which. Certainly I am inclined to think. was an original element in lit . When . and man Brown Young Good two last perhaps represent ing the highest point that Hawthorne reached in this di Then there are the little tales of New England rection. Among these shorter things (it the whole collection. the stories of fantasy and allegoryamong which the three I have just mentioned would be numbered. I almost envy Hawthorne's the sensation of opening upon The Great Carbuncle.
world," and which, in spite of their slenderness, have an Rill infinite grace and charm. Among these things Town The The the Toll-Gath Village Uncle, Pump, from
Day, the Chippings with a Chisel, may most natu be mentioned. As we turn over these volumes we
pieces that spring
feel that the
fancy constitute, as I have said (putting his four novels It aside), his most substantial claim to our attention.
would be a mistake to
much upon them
thorne was himself the
to recognise that.
sketches," he says in the preface to the Mosses from
an Old Manse, " with so little of external life about them, so reserved even yet claiming no profundity of purpose
often but half in while they sometimes seem so frank earnest, and never, even when most so, expressing satisfac such torily the thoughts which they profess to image
I truly feel, afford
solid basis for a literary
very becomingly uttered; but it may be said, partly in answer to it, and partly in confir mation, that the valuable element in these things was not what Hawthorne put into them consciously, but what
passed into them without his being able to measure it the element of simple genius, the quality of imagination. this This is the real charm of Hawthorne's writing
For purity and spontaneity and naturalness of fancy. the rest, it is interesting to see how it borrowed a par ticular colour from the other faculties that lay near it how the imagination, in this capital son of the old Pu
ritans, reflected the
hue of the more purely moral
of the dusky, overshadowed conscience. The conscience, by no fault of its own, in every genuine offshoot of that
under the shadow of the sense of
This darkening cloud was no essential part of the nature
stood fixed in the general moral
heaven under which he grew up and looked at
projected from above, from outside, a black patch over his spirit, and it was for him to do what he could with the
they depended upon the personal tem
natures would let
contrive to be tolerably comfortable beneath it. Others would groan and sweat and suffer; but the dusky blight
would remain, and Here and there an
lives of misery.
in anger, plunging probably into
beyond endurance, what
would be deemed deeper abysses of depravity. Haw way was the best for he contrived, by an exqui
to himself, to transmute this heavy moral burden into the very substance of the imagination,
production. ceptionally fortunate
evaporate in the light and charming fumes of But Hawthorne, of course, was ex
he had his genius to help him. more curious and interesting than this almost
exclusively imported character of the sense of sin in Haw thorne's mind; it seemsto exist there merely for an artis
He had ample cognizance of the purpose. Puritan conscience it was his natural heritage it was re
tic or literary
looking into his soul, he found it there. But his relation to it was only, as one may say, intellectu
was not moral and
not discomposed, dis
turbed, haunted by
usual and regu door of fancy to postern
It was, indeed, slip through, to the other side of the wall. to his imaginative vision, the great fact of man's nature ;
the light element that had been mingled with his
composition always clung to this rugged prominence of moral responsibility, like the mist that hovers about the
was a necessary condition for a man of
Hawthorne's stock that
cense to amuse
his imagination should take li should at least select this grim
He precinct of the Puritan morality for its play-ground. speaks of the dark disapproval with which his old ances
tors, in trifling
the case of their corning to away as a story-teller.
would see him But how far more
darkly would they have frowned could they have under stood that he had converted the very principle of their
It will be seen that I
into one of his toys am far
from being struck with
the justice of that view of the author of the Twice -Told Tales, which is so happily expressed by the French critic
speak romancier pessimists, seems to me very much beside the mark. He is no more a pessimist than an optimist, though
I alluded at an earlier stage of this essay. To of Hawthorne, as M. Emile Montegut does, as a
He does not pretend is certainly not much of either. to conclude, or to have a philosophy of human nature in
deed, I should even say that at bottom he does not take human nature as hard as he may seem, to do. " His bitter " is without abatement, and his ness," says M. Montegut, His lit bad opinion of man is without compensation.
air of confessions
which the soul makes
to itself; they are so many little slaps which the author This, it seems to me, is to exagger applies to our face."
immeasurably the reach of Hawthorne's
gloomy subjects. What pleased him in such subjects was their picturesqueness, their rich duskiness of colour,
their chiaroscuro; but they
were not the expression of
a hopeless, or even of a predominantly melancholy, feel Such at least is my own im ing about the human soul.
part of his
ness; but he
this is to a considerable degree ironical his one of may say, bright part even, lie is neither bitter nor cynical rarely
even what I should
There have certainly
been story-tellers of a gayer and lighter spirit; there have been observers more humorous, more hilarious though on the whole Hawthorne's observation has a smile
in it oftener than
at first appear
but there has rare
ly been an observer
serene, less agitated
by what he
things deeply into question. I have already intimated, his Note-Books are full of
That dusky simple and almost childlike serenity. of human with the life and the pre occupation misery wickedness of the human heart which such a critic as
M. Emile Montegut talks about, is totally absent from them and if we may suppose a person to have read these
Diaries before looking into the tales, we may be sure that such a reader would be greatly surprised to hear the author described as a disappointed, disdainful genius.
This marked love of cases of conscience," says M. Mon tegut; "this taciturn, scornful cast of mind this habit of
seeing sin everywhere, and hell always gaping open this dusky gaze bent always upon a damned world, and a nat
ure draped in mourning; these lonely conversations of the imagination with the conscience ; this pitiless analysis re
from a perpetual examination of one's self, and from the tortures of a heart closed before men and open
these elements of the Puritan character have
passed into Mr. Hawthorne, or, to speak more justly, have filtered into him, through a long succession of genera
a very pretty and very vivid account of
a taste for conceits and analogies. superficially considered and it is just such a view of the case as would commend itself most easily and most naturally to a hasty critic. shorter tales. not a desperate. Hawthorne. minus the conviction. " Had Goodman Brown fallen asleep in the forest and only dreamed a wild dream of witch -meeting? Be it so. especially in the which I am now chiefly speaking. The finer of the shorter tales are redolent of a rich imagination. ! were singing a holy psalm. in speaking of him. with I to be a deeply imaginative work. because an . man Brown if a stern. larger liberal Of the and more potent faculty he certainly possessed a share. did he become from the night of that On the Sabbath-day. it is inevitable that we should feel our selves confronted with the familiar problem of the dif Hawthorne was ference between the fancy and the imagination. of the fearful nature of our responsibilities and the savage character of our Taskmaster .CO HAWTHORNE. The old Puritan moral sense. he could not listen. him from the !) poetic forgive these things This ab the point of view of entertainment and irony. no one can read The House of the Seven it Gables without feeling But am often struck. the consciousness of sin and hell. man. it was a dream of evil omen for young Good . if you will but. of a kind of small ingenuity. had been lodged in the mind of a man of whose fancy had straightway begun to take liber Fancy. [CHAP. It is all true indeed. a man of fancy. which bears more particularly what is called the fanciful stamp. when the congregation fearful dream. but the differ ence is great. and I suppose that. a darkly meditative. Montegut says. a sad. with a difference Hawthorne was all that M. to judge them (Heaven ties and play tricks with them and aesthetic point of view. alas. a distrustful. . sence of conviction makes the difference.
as a general thing. scowled and muttered to himself. Often. he . but little enjoyment of it. and turned away. has never seemed to erary form. followed by Faith. besides neighbours not a few. dreading lest the roof should thunder down upon the gray blasphemer and his hearers." There is imagination in that. When the minister spoke from the pul with power and fervid eloquence. for his dying hour was gloom. then did Goodman Brown grow pale. It me to be. and grandchildren. to of the imagination. sin rushed loudly 61 anthem of pit. and that it a great stomach for . Many excellent judges. and gazed sternly at his And when he had lived long. in his metaphysical me moods. and children. has produced assuredly some first-rate and Hawthorne in his younger years had been a great reader and devotee of masters of allegory. upon his ear and drowned all the blessed strain. fact that they belong to the province of allegory. have my it they delight in symbols and cor respondences. I know. stories as graceful and felicitous conceits. a first-rate lit works . a goodly pro cession. they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone. But Bunyan and it is Spenser. and with his hand on the open Bible of the sacred truth of our religion. Hawthorne. when the family knelt down at prayer.in. the great to apt spoil two good . as it were. he shrank from the bosom of Faith and at morn ing or eventide. and of saint-like lives and triumphant deaths. is nothing if not allegorical. and sense. is quite one of the lighter exercises allegory. I frankly confess that I have. an aged woman.] EARLY WRITINGS. was borne to his grave a hoary corpse. and wife. awaking suddenly at midnight. They seem to to be qualified in this manner by the very. and of future bliss or misery unutterable. and in many another pas sage that I might quote but as a general thing I should characterise the more metaphysical of our author's short . in seeing a story told as if it were another and a very different story.
and very extraordinary were his principles but he had the . He. but they con well. . He wrote a chapter upon Hawthorne. and discrimination as and here and there. works were published else. we find a phrase of happy insight imbedded in a patch of the most fatuous pedantry. at any rate. more than any one . alone is visible. advantage of being a man was frequently great. and pretended. is very curious and and it has one quality which ought to from ever being completely forgotten. and the failure complete. and the end to which. and his es of sufficient value to make it noticeable that he should express lively disapproval of the large part allotted . it operates becomes little literary crit a matter of indifference. and spoke of him. and his intelligence His collection of critical sketches keep it judgments are pretentious. The only cases in which it is endurable is when it is ex tremely spontaneous.rattled them loudest. [CHAP. a meaning and a form and things the taste for it is responsible for a large part of the forci ble-feeble writing that has been inflicted upon the world. of genius. There was but icism in the United States at the time Hawthorne's earlier but among the reviewers Edgar Poe perhaps held the scales the highest. Taine would call his milieu and moment.62 HAWTHORNE. Very remarkable was this process of Edgar Foe's. vulgar . sometimes at frequent intervals. very kindly timate is . the needful illusion is of course Then the machinery absent. Poe's interesting reading. of the American writers flourishing in what M. to conduct the weighing -process on scientific princi ples. tain a great deal of sense spiteful. a story and a moral. It is prob ably the most complete and exquisite specimen of provin cialism ever prepared for the edification of men. when eager promptitude. on the whole. the analogy presents itself with When it shows signs of having been groped and fumbled for.
have a charm. and there would be a want of tact in pretending to all. very imperfectly satisfied sense as is gory allegory. But these are matters of light impres sion. . The fine thing in Haw are moral. . Nothing could be better in this respect than Image (a little masterpiece). thorne is in his way. to allegory in his talcs " or for whatever however. ingenuity 'and felicity of Hawthorne's analogies and correspondences. that if allegory ever estab of overturning a fiction .] EARLY WRITINGS." a as we are struck with the general thing. One thing Cer grim's Progress is a "ludicrously overrated book. of being a confirmed habitue of a region of . there is scarce word to be said. in such things as The Birth-Mark and The BosomSerpent we are struck with something stiff and mechan ical. or The Snow The Great Carbuncle.in. aroused within us by the happiest alle a very. slightly incongruous. This nat it . the surface occurrences of life. The deepest emo one respectable ly tion. tainly. . lishes a fact. . yet fanciful. or Rappacini's Daughter. . and that. familiarity with this air. or But Doctor Heidegger's Experiment. 63 in defence of winch. he tried to become familiar with it." and dint by has furthermore the courage to remark that the Pil . that he cared for the deeper psychology." he goes on. as if the kernel had not assimi lated its envelope. they deal with some thing more than the mere accidents and conventionalities. ural. discriminate too closely among things which The charm Avay or another. in one the great charm is that they are glimpses of a great field. of the writer's ingenuity in overcoming a difficulty we should have preferred his not having attempted to over " come. object employed. it is Poe is clear. of the whole deep mystery of man's soul and conscience. They and their interest is moral . the idea appears to have made itself at home in them easi ly. on the au thor's part. lie says.
His tread is a light and modest for . he turned back into the two preceding centuries. in laying the founda tions of a mighty empire. and forthwith converted a great many of them into impres sive legends and pictures. The author has all the ease. to spring up so freely and lightly. but he keeps the key in his pocket. and he was proud of it. psychological realm he goes to and fro in it. the distinction. as any New Englander must be. . with the earnest determination that the primitive annals of Massachusetts should at least appear picturesque. what they are. constitutes the originality of his And then they have the further merit of seeming. little tales of a dozen and fifteen pages as they are. they are so times. indeed. as a man who knows his way. He was fond of it. . a little vagueness about certain details. past they have. made Hawthorne was at home in the early New England history he had thumbed its records and he had breathed its air. His fancy.64 HAWTHORNE. measuring the part of that handful of half-starved fanatics who formed his earliest precursors. mysteries and subtleties. cessful attempts at historical fiction that have been in the United States. but it is very gracefully and discreetly done. Hungry for the picturesque as he always was. of being the only sue-* . There is a little infusion of col our. tales. in whatever odd receptacles this some what pungent compound still lurked. and realities are kept in view sufficiently to make us feel that if we are reading romance. and not finding any very copious provision of it around him. and they are very short but they are full of a vivid and delightful sense of the New England good that re-read them many . of a regular dweller in the moral. one. you may They arc not numerous. which was always alive. His little historical stories all seem to me admirable. [CHAP. played a little with the somewhat meagre and angular facts of the colonial period. moreover.
The four Legends of the Province House are certain shad owy stories which he professes to have gathered in an ancient tavern lurking behind the modern shop fronts of this part of the city. even from Hawthorne's account of it which is as pictorial as he ventures to make it a very im posing piece of antiquity. at the least. figures stand up in the tale as stoutly. but while it stood it was pointed to as the residence of the Royal Governors of Massachusetts be fore the -Revolution. was not in the least a realist he was not to my mind enough of one but there is no genuine lover of the good city of Boston but will feel grateful to him for his cour . the last of the Royal Governors. as if they were propped up on half-a-dozen chapters by a dryer annalist and the whole thing has the merit of those cab . at the close of liam Howe. The writer's charming touch. the main thoroughfare of the Puritan capital. but Hawthorne laid his hands upon everything that would serve his purpose. and in two or three cases his version of the story has a great deal of beauty. among other legends of this mansion. I have no recollection of it but it . to say it again. repeats the wondrous tale 4 .in.] EARLY WRITINGS. stance. throws a rich brown tone over its rather shallow and we are beguiled into believing. inet pictures in which the artist has been able to make his Hawthorne. 65 it is tory. for in Howe^s Masquerade (a story of a strange occurrence at an entertainment given by Sir Wil venerableness . cannot have been. that superstition. however. " " age in attempting to recount the traditions of Washing ton Street. romance that rather supplements than contradicts his The early annals of New England were not fertile in legend. The Grey is a sketch of less than but the little Champion eight pages. during the " siege of Boston by Washington). persons look the size of life. The Province House disappeared some years ago.
moreover. [CHAP. which (putting his falling in love aside) were much life. two that faculty which as regards the earlier centuries of is New England life. He he exhibited never sought to exhibit it on a large it. tossing his clenched hands into the air. called now-a-days the historic con sciousness. a little anecdote related by Mr. I have said that Hawthorne had become engaged in about his thirty-fifth year. that on the anniversary night of Britain's discomfiture the ghosts of the ancient governors of Massachusetts still glide through the Province House.66 HAWTHORNE. His vision of the past with definite images images none the less defi nite that they were concerned with events as shadowy as this dramatic passing away of the last of King George's alienated representatives in his long loyal but finally colony. scale . Lathrop in connection with his first acquaintance with the young lady he was to marry. One affairs of men within his personal of these was. and stamping his iron-shod boots upon the freestone steps with a semblance of feverish despair. known him through her who had first approached him as an admirer of the . memory. sis This young lady became ter. the most important things that had yet happened They interrupted the painful monotony of his and brought the experience. in one of his best productions. indeed. may to serve as an example. And last of all comes a fig ure shrouded in a military cloak. in itself a curious in Hawthorne's and interesting chapter of observation." Hawthorne had. How urgently he needed at this time to be drawn within the circle of social accidents. but without the sound of a foot-tramp. to him. and it fructified. Before this event took place he passed through two episodes. on a scale so minute that we must not was filled linger too much upon it. but he was not married until 1842.
England it will elder Miss Peabody. (as to the authorship of 67 Twice-Told Tales been so which she had it first. two Miss Hathornes) and the two Miss Peabodys. Several other ladies. who afterwards was Hawthorne's later in life a sister-in-law. and.in. taking up some small object that lay upon he found his hand trembling so that he was obliged to It was desirable. lost colour and took on a warm . be pregnant with historic meaning. Lathrop in relation to this period of Haw life. stood perfectly motionless. he stood by it. however. of learn and of literary accomplishment." says . but with the look of a sylvan creature on the point of fleeing away. but to a person not " " culture in without an impression of the early days of New The able ing. fell into a state of agita He tion.. his agitation was very great. and to bring with them their brother. that something lay it down. . He was stricken " with dismay. certainly.] EARLY WKITIXGS. Entirely to her surprise. whom she wished to thank " for his beautiful tales.. which appears to me worth quoting. ." justly should occur to break the spell of a diffidence that might be called morbid. a table. has a very simple and innocent air. which is vividly described by his biographer. though am by no means sure that it will seem so to the reader. There is another little sentence thorne's I It dropped by Mr. . and Hawthorne pres ently arriving. at which they themselves took care to be punctual. to one of the writer. his face paleness. desiring to see more of the charming conjecturally. had invited the Miss Hathornes to come to her house for the evening. and seeing a bevy of admirers where he had expected but three or four. caused him to be invited to a species of conver sazione at the house of one of their friends. were as punctual as they. and who acquired as a very honour American fame woman of benevolence. much in the dark as to have attributed .
[CHAP. between his sisters. little echoes and rumours of ob servation and experience. This lady was the apostle of culture. and there. . in art. Miss Margaret Fuller by name.68 HAWTHORNE. and the emo tions aroused in her mind by turning over portfolios of . of intellectual whom we curiosity life. There flourished at that time the emancipated in Boston a very remarkable and interesting woman. and in the peculiarly interesting account of her published in 1852 by Emerson and two other of her friends. Mr. that these few words were. but instead an almost fierce deter mination making his face stern. for Dante. I should say . a great interest in knowledge. together with a very scanty supply of the materials for such pursuits. She herself opened the door. with no appearance whatever of timidity. for and the party made an evening's entertainment out of them. of shall have more to say." This last sentence is the one I allude to and were it not for fear of appearing too fanciful. there are pages of her letters and diaries which narrate her visits to the Boston Athenaeum. an un conscious expression of the lonely frigidity which charac terised most attempts at social recreation in the New Eng land world some forty years ago. Small things were made to do large service . Lathrop. This was his resource carrying off the extreme inward tremor which he His hostess brought out Flaxman's designs really felt. There was at that time a great desire for culture. just received from Professor Felton. before her. completing thereby his picture of the atti tude of this remarkable family toward society " entirely to her surprise they came. of Harvard. tall and strong. to the initiated mind. stood a splen didly handsome youth. and there is in the solemnity of consideration that something even touching was bestowed by New England conscience upon little wan books and dering prints. in assthetics.
it. a Democrat. 69 These emotions were ardent and passionate could hardly have been more so had she been prostrate with contemplation in the Sistine Chapel or in one of the engravings. and a group of sensitive and serious people. cratic and by association. ous one Hawthorne was a Democrat. their principles sympathies were eminently natural. and by taking up an honest attitude on the question His Demo of slavery. and apparently a zeal even in later years. When in later years he found himself in contact w ith European civilization.] EARLY WRITINGS.in. rather took credit for the patronage it had bestowed upon literary men. with the snow-drifts of a'Massachusetts winter piled up about its windows. pied the Presidency. The situation lives for a moment in those few words of Mr. as I have ventured to call unadorned parlour. mod est votaries of opportunity. and it appears that the Democratic whose successful candidate he had been. the beginning of the year 1839 he received. he r . The initiated has a vision of a little mind. a glimpse of her state of mind her vivacity of desire and poverty of knowledge helps to define the situation. is furnished by the great Goethe's elaborate study of plaster-casts and pencil-draw this I mention Margaret Fuller here because ings at Weimar. through At in the political interest. his political faith never wavered. recall to The only analogy I can earnestness of interest in great works of art at a distance from them. but personally party. Van Buren then occu party. chambers of the Pitti Palace. by the adoption of the Republican plat form. after the Whigs had vivified . fixing their eyes upon a bookf ul of Flaxman's attenuated outlines. and there would have been an incongruity in his belonging to the other He was not only by conviction. an appointment as weigher and ganger Boston Custom-house. Mr. Lathrop's.
to which an annual salary of $1. comparatively speaking. smoothly into his reader's conception of him than any other would do and if he had had the perversity to be . the Democrats gave him a circumstance. as he called it. The first volume of the American Noteinto the world. the party opposed to change and freshness. Books contains some extracts from letters written during his tenure of this modest office.200 was attached. appears to have become conscious of a good deal of latent he was oppressed with the radicalism in his disposition burden of antiquity in Europe. [CHAP. and Hawthorne ap . and in his own country Hawthorne cast his lot with the party of conservatism." he writes. invidious epithets in describing his political preferences. " I have been measuring coal all day. duties of the office were not very congruous to the genius of a man of fancy but it had the advantage that it broke . small post in the Boston Custom-house. ing for lightness and freshness and facility of change. But these things are relative to the point of view. in his literary productions The people who found something musty and mouldy would have regarded as a matter of course this quite but we are not obliged to use . I am afraid our ingenuity would have been considerably taxed in devising a proper explanation of the At any rate.70 HAWTHORNE. the spell of his cursed solitude. The pears at first to have joyously welcomed the gift. The sentiment that attached him to the Democracy was a subtle and honourable one. and threw him. and he found himself sigh . which indicate sufficiently that his occupations cannot have been intrinsically gratifying. during . and the author of an attempt to sketch a portrait of him should be the last to complain It falls much more of this adjustment of his sympathies. a Republican. drew him away from Salem.
because it was the signal Most of the time I . Sometimes I descended into the dirty little cabin of the schooner. than Hawthorne would have measured coal quite as well and of all the dismal tasks to which an unremunerated imagination has ever had to accommodate itself. there was no more delightful prospect. I remember none more sordid than the business depicted in the foregoing lines. at least. on the right hand and on the left. that are held on a political tenure. what interested me considerably more.in. . for it is a very grievous thraldom. whereby I was enabled to measure the march of the weary hours. for the paced the deck to keep myself warm (north-east. half immersed in the water and cov ered with ice. and a purple light upon the islands and I blessed it. pots and kettles. I believe) blew up through the dock as if it had been the pipe of a pair of bellows. and. or some one of his crew. Their hearts wither away. than the posts and timbers. Across the water. however. not more than half a mile off. and I want nothing to do with politicians. sea-chests. I do detest all offices all.. with delicate clouds. among biscuit-barrels. and die out of their bodies. appeared the Bunker's Hill Monument. Their consciences are turned . " on board of a black little British schooner. and warmed myself by a red-hot stove. some weeks later. The vessel lying deep between two wharves. "I pray. with the dial of a clock upon it. which the captain. wind . ?1 the winter of 1840." A worse man .] EARLY WRITINGS. "that in one year more I may find some way of escaping from this unblest Custom-house." he writes. of my release. a church-steeple. was smoking. which the rising and falling of successive tides had left upon them. in a dismal dock at the north end of the city. But at last came the sunset. and innumerable lumber of all sorts my olfactories meanwhile being greatly refreshed with the odour of a pipe. so that they looked like immense icicles.
. it is only once in a while that the image and desire of a better and happier life makes me feel the iron of my chain . It is good for me. . will stretch as One thing. rather. that dismal region. the noblest part of man had been left out of my composition. nothing will cling to me that ought to be left behind/ Men will not perceive. around me and my thoughts. is because the not in nature. . I by my look. And when I quit this earthly career where I am now buried. . some substance much. Never comes any bird of Paradise into . and which I should not know unless I had learned them there so that the present position of my . no more. or had decayed out of it since my nature was given to my own keeping. Nev^ ertheless . or the tenor of my thoughts and feelings. . ion times preferable fresh breeze A . even in the Custom-house. for here I am so many yet with a sense as if all again trying to write worthily. or the machine." strain : A few days " I later he goes on in the same it is do not think the doom laid upon me of murdering of the brightest hours of the day at the Custom house that makes such havoc with my wits.72 to india-rubber. and the . I have a stronger sense of power to act as a man on many accounts. salt or even a coal-ship is ten mill for there the sky is above me. and wisdom. are as free as air. life shall not be quite left out of the sum of rny real exist ence. also. for after all a human spirit may find no insuffi ciency of food for it.. or to HAWTHORNE. . as black as that. [CHAP. that I have been a Custom-house officer. I have gained by my It is a Custom-house experience to know a poli knowledge which no previous thought or . not altogether of this world. having hardly anything to do with my occupation." trust. that I know much more than my life among men. that is I have gained worldly wisdom.. And with such materials as these I do think and feel and learn things that are worth knowing.. . . power of sympathy could have taught me animal. year ago. I did a has had this passage in it. if and which tician.
again.in. 1841. and my heart plicity of a child of five years old. He made acquaintance with Transcendental ism and the Transcendentalists. he went to take up his abode in the socialistic A community fields of Brook Farm. cal circles. and all the worldly dust that has col lected on me shall be washed away at once. Here he found himself among products. year later. " 73 lie says. in April. as well as and flowers and other natural among many products that could not He was exposed to summer very justly be called natural. writing shortly afterwards. that when I shall be free again. 4* .] EARLY WRITINGS. will be like a bank of fresh flowers for the weary to rest upon. I will go forth and stand in a summer shower." This forecast of his destiny was sufficiently exact. I will enjoy all things with the fresh sim I shall grow young made all over anew. showers in plenty and his personal associations were as different as possible from those he had encountered in fis .
been written though it is assuredly a curious and interesting chapter . leaving very few traces behind it. and rendered 'it. of course. BROOK FARM AND CONCORD. opulent. THE history of the little industrial and intellectual asso ciation which formed itself at this time in one of the sub urbs of Boston has not. in the domestic annals of New England. to my knowledge. The experiment came and went very rapidly and quietly. com fortable part of it. important to an extent of which any heed that the world in general ever gave to it is an insufficient meas ure. It became simply a charming personal reminiscence for the small number of amiable enthusiasts who had had There were degrees of enthusiasm. unsuccessful. and I there were suppose degrees of amiability but a certain generous brightness of hope and freshness of conviction it. It and . a hand in pervaded the whole undertaking. unfashionable. be easy to overrate the importance of this ingen ious attempt of a few speculative persons to improve the outlook of mankind. . morally speaking. Of course it would be a great mistake to represent the episode of Brook Farm as directly related to the man ners and morals of the New England world in general in especial to those of the prosperous. The thing was the experiment of a coterie it was unusual. It would.CHAPTER IV.
and that if the experiment failed. traces behind that the world in gen can appreciate I should rather say that the only trace a short novel. our own business with which is simply that it was the cause of Hawthorne's writ ing an admirable tale. very properly. the episode. social. an amusement of the Transcendentalists a harmless effusion of Radicalism. . as would then have been said. and the Radicals were by no means of the vivid tinge of those of our own day. equalise refinements. The most graceful account of the origin of Brook Farm is probably to be found in these words of one of the biographers of Margaret Fuller " In : Boston and Margaret its vicinity. very numerous. The reader will perceive that this tify life as a whole. the awaken and sweeten and sanc . were earnestly consid the ering possibility of making such industrial. generous affections. 75 was. that it lacks variety of incident and of type. combine leisure for study with healthful and honest toil. and educational arrangements as would simplify economies. I have said that the Brook Farm it community eral is left no . it may seem to contain a fund of illustration as to that phase of human life with which our author's own history mingled itself. after all.] BROOK FARM AND CONCORD. Nevertheless. At the same time. several friends.CHAP. for whose character felt the highest honour. of which the principal merits reside in its The Blithequalities of difference from the affair itself. diffuse courtesy. if we do not exaggerate its proportions." was a liberal scheme. in a society as to which the more frequent complaint is that it is monotonous. Romance is the main result of Brook Farm but The Romance was. never recognised the Brook Farmers as an accurate portrait of their by dale Blithedale little colony. The Transcendentalists were not. iv. avert unjust collisions of caste. might be welcomed as a picturesque variation.
and as if I could not spend time in thinking them when so many things interest me more. her activity. . as I have a personality to the world. afterwards distinguished himself in litera " ture (he had begun by being a clergyman). when she writes plenty of room in the Universe of my faults. and as she is prob ably. offered most of what called venture to quote a few more passages from her Memoirs a curious. Her function. an no means unmitigated. egotism magnificent. of an intelligent and ap preciative society." She has left the same sort of reputation as a great actress." As Margaret Fuller passes for having suggested to Hawthorne the figure of Zenobia in The Blithedale Romance. after Hawthorne. reputation. the affections. who occupied so large a place in the thoughts. and yet. restless. and yet left behind her nothing but the memory memory. in some points of view almost a grotesque. that of and unhappy woman this ardent this brilliant. the lives. is it is difficult to say whether pride or humility prevails " that she feels that there for for instance. the person connected with the is who. I may said. almost all of it has a real interest but her value. were and not altogether reassuring she was a talker She had a she was the talker she was the genius of talk. greater The writer goes on to say that a pity. an extremely interesting book. though by of a singular.76 HAWTHORNE. New Englander. was about staking his all of fortune. her sway (I . with affair one% exception. . It was a strange his tory and a strange destiny. on the whole. : . Some of her writing has extreme beauty. and influence in an attempt to organ ise a joint-stock company at Brook Farm. was the [CHAP. and in some of her utterances as. her reputation. . convinced by his experience in a faithful ministry that the need was ur gentleman. this impassioned Yankee. who gent for a thorough application of the professed principles of Fraternity to actual relations.
She went to Europe. Most of them fol lowed a path which led them away from us. with some strange title which I did not understand and have She said that nobody had broken her solitude. I find such an . so that the people who had known her well grew at last to be en vied by later comers. with her husband and child. 77 am and not sure that one can say her charm). entering Sleepy Hollow. One : the subject of one or two allusions of a of them. when we saw a group of people entering the sacred precincts. Bancroft's yesterday. and withdrew himself into the shadow of the wood. is so pretty as to be * worth quoting "After leaving the book at Mr. . for which I was very thankful !" It is true that. and about the pleasures of being lost in the woods. Hawthorne does not appear to have been intimate with her on the contrary. married an impover ished Italian nobleman. but an old man passed near us. and. indeed. within sight of its coasts. expanded to new desires very poor herself. in this the as American Note-Books in 1841 : "I was s entry invited to dine at Mr. Emerson's. she embarked to return to her own country. later. with Miss Mar garet Fuller . I returned through the woods. and was lost at sea in a terrible storm. Then we talked about autumn. and. were personal and practical. but Providence had given me some business to do . It was Margaret herself. for she had a book in her hand.iv. and about forgotten. and smiled to see Margaret reclining on the ground and me standing by her side. tragical death life Her combined with many of the elements of her to convert her memory into a sort of legend. I perceived a lady reclining near the path which bends along its verge. the lady is gentler cast. meditating or reading. He made some remark upon the beauty of the afternoon.] BROOK FARM AND CONCORD. and was just giving utterance to a theory that no inhabitant of Concord ever visited Sleepy Hollow. She had been there the whole after noon. Then. interests.
tive turn taste for old ideals. very much the same qualities that Hawthorne a Democrat in politics his contempla In fact. and about the sight of mountains from a distance. [CHAP. in whose intellect did in his own. But it tolerably manifest. and. on the whole. have scowled in conversation with her. and muffled tones active would operate to keep him out of a sympathy with woman It of the so-called progressive type. alteration and embellishment but . and absence of a keen perception of abuses. in his im agination. and the reality was a memory of the lady whom he had encountered in the Roxbury pastoral or among the ures. whose influence remains upon the character after the recollection of them has passed away. his only very definite attempt at my the representation of a character. nevertheless. his and loitering paces. than any of his other fig wood-walks of Concord. have had a high relish for the very positive person ality of this accomplished and argumentative woman. with strange books in her hand and eloquent discourse on her lips. . We may be sure that in women his taste was conservative. high noon seemed ever to reign. just after her unhappy death. mentally speaking. whose voices Margaret had heard and about the experiences of early childhood. and Zenobia is." It is safe to assume that Hawthorne could not. as Ms biographer says. has a greater reality.78 HAWTHORNE. that she was. the crows. as twilight He must have been struck with the glare and blinked a good deal is of her understanding. and the view from their summits. the starting-point of the figure of Zenobia . "that the least . and about other matters of high and low philosophy. The it portrait is full of a greater abundance of detail. seems odd. to sense. when the its reverberation of her talk would lose much of harsh made however. The Blithedale Ro mance was written ness.
as his companions were in some degree or other likely to be. The Brook Farm scheme was. he was willing. or a Fourierite. yet he had various good reasons for cast ing his lot in this would-be happy family." 79 gregarious of istic should have been drawn into a social but although it is apparent that Haw community thorne went to Brook Farm without any great Transcen dental fervour. vidual concerned in scheme was thoroughly conservative and ir Its main characteristic was that each indi it should do a part of the work nec for the whole machine He could essary keeping going. generous and unoccupied young man. but he naturally wished to do so as speed ily as possible. dogmas there was no interference whatever with private life or individual habits. and he could live as he liked. like a gentleman invited to a din- . doctrines. as a ist. as such things go. men . that he would make himself agreeable. choose his work. an Abolitionist. a reasonable one it was devised and carried out by shrewd and sober-minded New . There were no formulas. but it was by no means demanded. And then it is only fair to believe that Hawthorne was interested in the ex periment and that. though he was not a Transcendental. excellent and in such reproachable.iv. and there was a prospect that Brook Farm would prove an economical residence. who were careful to place economy first and idealism afterwards. than what they usually are in American particulars the life. it was hoped. to lend a hand in any reasonable scheme for helping people to live together on better terms than the common. afflicted with a Gallic passion for completeness of theory. and not the faintest adumbration of a rearrangement of that difficult business known as the relations of the sexes. Englanders. The rela tions of the sexes were neither more nor less .] BROOK FARM AND CONCORD. and who were not . He was as yet unable to marry.
and German.80 HAWTHORNE. ful writer. was the era of Transcendentalism. went to live in the . Allowing. . a delight woods but Henry Thoreau was essentially a sylvan personage. and Goethe. made themselves intimate with George Sand writers but the strong and conscience deep accompanied them on all their intellectual excursions. gently raked and refreshed by an imported cult The Transcendentalists read a great deal of French ure. in fewer eccentricities of conduct. [CHAP. for everything that was a concession to worldly traditions and to the laxity of man's nature. which would have been easier to find in Boston in the year If that 1840. A biographer of Hawthorne might well regret that his hero had not been more mixed up with the reforming and free-thinking class. however the fashion of his time might have turned. there must have been in the enterprise a good deal ner-party. and many other New England Henry Thoreau. or upon any phase of Transcendentalism. of a certain no and faith in the perfectibility of man. however. on the whole. upon them. than in London five-and-thirty years later. and the lightest breath of scandal never rested license in private deportment. and would not have been. and there never was a so" called movement " that embodied itself. a man about town. The brothers and sisters at Brook Farm ploughed the fields and milked the cows but I think that an observer from another clime and society would have been much more struck with their spirit of conformity than with their dereglements. so that he might find a pretext for writing a chapter upon the state of Boston society . Transcendentalism could cality of only have sprouted in the soil peculiar to the general lo which I speak the soil of the old New England morality. or that borrowed a smaller . Their ardour was a moral ardour. ble credulity it of a certain freshness and purity of spirit.
be spoken of very tender and sympathetically. though his recollections date only from a later period. of jealousies.] BROOK FARM: AND CONCORD. how the generation of which Hawthorne has given us. unfamiliar with worldly desires and stand ards. indeed. as Haw having been a contemporary. they had been initiated into moral young of its mysteries. presumably. there was some about them which seemed to say that when they were thing and enthusiastic. They appeared unstained by the world. with the agitations of that interesting time. the stamp of provin- . however. destitute of preten sions and affectations. intellectually. Their true I can think of exceptions) was that they seemed excellently good. has a memory of a certain num ber of persons who had been intimately connected. of snob This little epoch of fermentation has three or bishness. at this time of day. of cynicisms. of these pages. a writer just touch ing them as he passes. This would be a guarantee of ful ness of knowledge and. properly. for a brief and imperfect chronicler of these things. in Blithedale. of kindness of tone. It bore. four drawbacks for the critics drawbacks. there thorne was not. it should be of the lightest and gentlest. they usual mark (it had played is at a wonderful game. that the be. in clined to simple and democratic ways. and who has not the advantage of The compiler is only one possible tone.iv. ly should not. which and with those various forms of human depravity flourish in some high phases of civilization. If irony enter into the allusion. Something of its interest adhered to them still something aroma clung to their garments. biographer's own personal reminis cences should stretch back to that period and to the per sons A who animated it. si needful warrant for such regret should forty years ago. It is difficult to see. a few portraits. that a for whom it has an interest be overlooked by person may of association. Certainly.
He talked who is about the beauty and dignity of life. . . He urged that a man should await his call. and not conforming and compromising for the sake of being more comfortable. before all things. of liv own personal light. at least I need not lie. with a single exception. Emerson ex pressed. having an interest and a stake in the whole. the ing by one's duty of making the most of one's self. for centuries. upon acting in harmony with one's nat ure. as was extremely natural at the hour and in the place. great talents. He said " all that clearly due to-day is not to lie.82 cialism it HAWTHORNE. in propor tionate morsels. He reflected with beautiful irony upon the exquisite impudence of those institutions which claim to have appropriated the truth and to dole it out. and carrying out one's own disposition. . a dawn with and it produced. then I know that the want of is the attestation of faith by my abstinence. and a good deal more. he was the Transcendentalist par excellence. but (al aside. He insisted upon sincerity and independence and spontaneity. cannot work. the value and importance of the in dividual." and a great many other things which it would be still easier to present in a ridic ulous light. as a contemporary but not a sharer) only one writer in whom the world at large has interested itself. ." The doctrine . [CHAP. in exchange for a subscription. doubt he was the man of genius of the moment less. and not be urged by the world's " If no call should opinion to do simply the world's work. and about every one is born into the world being born to the whole. pressed all that it contained. The situation was summed up and trans He ex figured in the admirable and exquisite Emerson. It ways putting Hawthorne produced a great deal of writing. no . out a noon was a beginning without a fruition. come If I the Universe for years. . his finding the thing to do which he should really believe in doing. besides .
BROOK FARM AND CONCORD.
of the supremacy of the individual to himself, of his orig
inality, and, as regards his
character, unique quality,
must have had a great charm for people living in a socie ty in which introspection thanks to the want of other en
played almost the part of a social resource. In the United States, in those days, there were no great life was things to look out at (save forests and rivers)
not in the least spectacular society was not brilliant ; the country was given up to a great material prosperity, a
homely bourgeois activity, a and the common luxuries.
the cultivated classes,
diffusion of primary education
There was, therefore, among
relish for the utterances of a
who would help one to take a picturesque view of one's internal responsibilities, and to find in the landscape of the soul all sorts of fine sunrise and moonlight effects.
"Meantime, while the doors of the temple stand open, night and day, before every man, and the oracles of this
truth cease never,
guarded by one stern condition an intuition. It cannot be received at
Truly speaking, it is not instruction but provocation that I can receive from another soul." To
was probably, to many of this aspiring congregation, a dream of freedom and forti There were faulty parts in the Emersonian philoso tude.
one's self so
would help to
sily believe that,
but the general tone was magnificent and I can ea coming when it did and where it did, it
should have been drunk in by a great
petites with a sense of intoxication.
envies, even, I
not say the illusions, of that keenly sentient period, but the convictions and interests the moral passion. One
certainly envies the privilege of having heard the finest of
Emerson's orations poured forth in their early newness.
the most poetical, the most beautiful produc
American mind, and they were thoroughly They had a music and a magic, and when one remembers the remarkable charm of the speaker,
tions of the
the beautiful modulation of his utterance, one regrets in especial that one might not have been present on a certain
sensation, an era
the delivery of
an address to the Divinity School of Harvard University, on a summer evening in 1838. In the light, fresh Amer
unthickened and undarkened by customs and in
stitutions established, these things, as the phrase
appears, like his
Miles Coverdale, to in the midst of one of those
April snow-storms which, during the
occasionally diversify the inaction of the vernal process. Miles Coverdale, in The Blithedale Romance, is evidently
else in particular.
indeed, not very markedly any one, unless it be the spectator, the observer ; his chief identity lies in his suc
cess in looking at things objectively,
and spinning uncom-
municated fancies about them.
This, indeed, was the part
socially in the little
His biographer describes him as
silently, hour after hour, in the broad, old-fashioned hall of the house, where he could listen almost unseen to the
chat and merriment of the young people, himself almost
always holding a book before him, but seldom turning the leaves." He put his hand to the plough, and supported himself and the community, as they were all supposed to
his labour; but he contributed little to the
of his companions, either then or after wards, took, I believe, rather a gruesome view of his want
of articulate enthusiasm, and accused
BROOK FARM AXD CONCORD.
the place as a sort of intellectual vampire, for purely psy He sat in a corner, they declared, chological purposes.
and watched the inmates when they were off their guard, analysing their characters, and dissecting the amiable ar dour, the magnanimous illusions, which he was too cold
blooded to share.
In so far as this account of Hawthorne's was a complaint, it was a singularly childish one. he was at Brook Farm without being of it, this is a very
fortunate circumstance from the point of view of poster ity, who would have preserved but a slender memory of
if our author's fine novel had not kept the topic The complaint is, indeed, almost so ungrateful a open. one as to make us regret that the author's fellow-commu nists came off so easily. They certainly would not have done so if the author of Blithedale had been more of a satirist. Certainly, if Hawthorne was an observer, he was a very harmless one and when one thinks of the queer specimens of the reforming genus with which he must
have been surrounded, one almost wishes that, for our en tertainment, he had given his old companions something to complain of in earnest. There is no satire whatever in
Romance ; the quality is almost conspicuous by its Of portraits there are only two there is no
sketching of odd figures no reproduction of strange types of radicalism the human background is left vague. Haw
thorne was not a
Brook Farm he was,
according to his habit, a scepticism was exercised
good deal of a mild sceptic, his much more in the interest of
fancy than in that of reality. There must have been something pleasantly bucolic and pastoral in the habits of the place during the fine New
England summer; but we have no retrospective envy of the denizens of Brook Farm in that other season which, as
says, leaves in those regions
so melancholy a death-spot large a blank brief that they ought to be all summer-time."
in lives so
Of a sum
they lit ow, while sundry of the younger men sang old ballads, or On other joined Tom Moore's songs to operatic airs.
nights there would be an original essay or poem read aloud, or else a play of Shakspeare, with the parts distrib uted to different members; and these amusements failing,
interesting discussion was likely to take their place. Occasionally, in the dramatic season, large delegations from the farm would drive into Boston, in carriages and
Mr. Lathrop, no lamps, but sat grouped in the light and shad
when the moon was
wagons, to the opera or the play.
Sometimes, too, the
young women sang as they washed the dishes in the Hive and the youthful yeomen of the society came in and help ed them with their work. The men wore blouses of a
checked or plaided
belted at the waist, with a broad
the throat, and rough straw
women, usually, simple calico gowns and hats." All this sounds delightfully Arcadian and innocent, and it is certain that there was something peculiar to the clime
some of the
features of such a life
companionship of young men and maidens, in the mixture of manual labour and intellectual dish- washing and aBsthetics, wood -chopping and flights
Wordsworth's " plain
and high think
ing" were made actual. Some passages in Margaret Ful ler's journals throw plenty of light on this. (It must be Farm as an was at Brook occasional that she premised
not as a labourer in the Hive.)
" All Saturday I
off in the
In the evening
. and by every day's observation of me will see that she ought not to have done it. . . opened by me. Sunday. . . spoke admirably dency. yawning. a person of genius. should be considered as a ten Mr. I stayed and helped about half an hour. The people showed a good deal of the sans-culotte tendency in their manners. as I talk.] BROOK FARM AND COXCORD. . R. . to begin patience the road. As I am accustomed to deference. . 87 had a general conversation. . In the evening a husking in the barn a most picturesque scene. more interest and deference than I had expected. In the evening a conversation on Impulse Wednesday girls treated . A glorious day the woods full of perfume I was out all the morning. had valuable discussion on these points. Our . ing in the woods again. in its largest sense. but where would be my repose when they were always to be judging whether Each day you must prove your I was worth it or not ? self anew. said ' . upon Education. the spirit ascending ..' I told her ' all like to work for . I took my usual ground : The aim . on the whole. and then took a long walk beneath the stars.' . . is perfection . . Yet. had in it was an experiment worth trying. an approximation only. All Monday morn fidence I it . however. . out with the drawing party I felt the evils of the want of conventional refinement. and on what we can do for ourselves and others. they would Yes. that being the reason this subject was chosen they showed. . . and that We was part of the great wave of inspired thought. could not work. impudence with which one of the She has since thought of it with regret.iv. as I always do. R. as the majority differ with me. I notice . Afternoon. .' We talked of the principles of the commu I said I had not a right to come. in the me. and need it for the boldness and animation which my part with requires. lives . . on the nature of loyalty.. and I had a I said my position would be too uncertain here. . because all the con nity. In the afternoon Mrs. I defended nature. throwing them selves on the floor. and going out when they had heard enough. ' . I did not speak with as much force as usual.
at least. that " it struck me as rather odd that pher justly quotes two or three sentences from The Blithedale Romance. Intellect. about this place than I did when I came. through.88 HAWTHORNE. " will long retain his sagacity if he live exclusively among reformers and progressive people. who communicated to Margaret's . not superseding. His biogra about the place. The young girl in question cannot have been Haw thorne's charming Priscilla nor yet another young lady. as we may attribute to Hawthorne himself some of the observa tions that he fathers upon Miles Coverdale. But in the scale of Sense. inent and disagreeable peculiarities.. as striking the note of the author's feeling . associate in try ing it. but the only way to be qualified for a. to bid me good-bye. to correct himself by a new observation from that old standpoint. Spirit. because those present were rather disposed to postpone them. without periodically re turning to the settled system of things. seemed in a much more reverent humour than the other night. I advocated the claims of Intellect. judge of such an experiment would be to become an active." says Coverdale. [CHAP. though unimpassioned.. " No sagacious man. and en joyed the large plans of the universe which were unrolled Well. of a most humble spirit." me with Hawthorne's farewell to the place appears to have been accompanied with some reflections of a cast similar to those indicated by Miss Fuller." me stood waiting. I know more Saturday. . good-bye. in so far." And he remarks elsewhere. On the nature of Beauty we had good talk. nature. Brook Farm. and treated affectionate regard. The girl who was so rude to with a timid air. biographers her recollections of this remarkable woman's visits to Brook Farm concluding with the assurance that " after a while she seemed to lose sight of my more prom .
wandering afield one summer's day. should relate to the possibility of getting the advantage over the outside one of the barbarians in their truth. and fields. of an October . I very at large. On his asking him whether he had any particular reason for this shyness of " Too much of a party up there !" Hawthorne posture contented himself with replying. Some sixty pages of the second volume of the American Note-Books are occupied with extracts from his letters to his future wife and from his journal (which appears." " were compelled to live always in the sultry heat of socie His ty. of the desire to escape detection. with a nod in the direc tion of the Hive. discovered Hawthorne stretched at his length upon a grassy hill-side. with his hat pulled over his face." as he calls it in one of the jot sultry " What would a man do if he in the Note-Books." he breaks out. in his attitude. he meant to marry as soon as possible. and of the state of simple scenery the woods. when he talks to himself after- about them. and weather. nevertheless. for a time looked forward to remaining indefinitely in the community. self-seeking world. He had. as " we may always something charming in his call it. all the common is things of nature was deep and and there verbal touch. and bring his wife there to live. at this time to have been only intermit almost exclusively of descriptions of the of the neighbourhood. and could never bathe himself in cool solitude?" biographer relates that one of 'the other Brook Farmers. consisting ness for constant.IT. own field of labour.] BROOK FARM AND CONCORD. Hawthorne's fond tent). after our separation from the greedy. But to tell the soon became sensible that. however. 89 first questions raised. tings new brotherhood. Oh. as regarded society we stood in a position of new hostility rather than He was doubtless oppressed by the of heat society. and every appearance. struggling.
it was henceforth to be. and the intervals between the road and wood-lots. and betook himself immediately to the ancient village of Concord. . And fired the shot heard round the world. and the farmers were not des tined. the larger current of human affairs flowed for a moment around it. near Boston. July. down.90 HAWTHORNE. " [CHAP. according to the American measurement of time and distance. in 1836. where Summer lingers and sits noon. a solitude a deux. in turn. has con " ferred a permanent distinction. and the hollow ways of paths winding between hills. upwards of forty years after the date of Hawthorne's re moval thither. to emerge from obscurity but the membattle . Here as Emerson says in the little hymn which he con tributed. a hundred ing town. the beauty of grassy slopes. Concord has the honour of being the first spot in which blood was shed in the war of the Rev olution . here occurred the first exchange of musket-shots between the King's troops and the American insurgents. But as the if French he returned to solitude. to the dedication of a small monument commemorating this circumstance " Here once the embattled farmers stood. ter-quality. I use the epithets an cient" and "near" in the foregoing sentence." The was a small one. Con some twenty miles from Boston and even to-day. years ago. individually. Manse which has given the title to one of his collec and upon which this work. strewing dandelions of gold and blue' asters as her He was but a single sum parting gifts and memorials !" mer at Brook Farm the rest of his residence had the win . where he occupied the socalled tions of tales. it is a very fresh and well-preserved look It had already a local history when. cord is . He was married in say. 1842.
there were the selectmen and the town-meetings. ity. In- the delightful introduction to the Mosses. to the air. and it has been watered. Its spreading elms and plain white houses. by the life-long presence there of one of the most honoured of American men of letters the poet from whom I just quoted two verdant. lines. the town-schools and the self-governing spirit. . and weather-stains. its forest. the rigid moral winters.iv. in itself decidedly an excellent specimen of a New England At the time of Hawthorne's first village of the riper 'sort. and the other elements of a picturesque complexion a hundred and fifty years of exposure have imparted a kind of tone. tence of the the friendly and familiar manners. immigration had strongholds of the New England race it had at most be gun to splash them with the salt Hibernian spray. * 91 ory of these things has kept the reputation of Concord green. It is very possible. For the rest. community operating in excellent conditions. however. and lichens. surface of New England so unfriendly to mosses. and than to-day more homogeneous. square even in the dry is characteristics of the place. so to speak. indeed. its generous summers and ponderous immediate background of promiscuous field and would have been part of the composition. absolutely democratic. is Concord is. the perfect compe little society to manage its affairs itself. The Manse which wooden house. more indigenous. J BROOK FARM AXD COXCORD. more Forty years ago the tide of foreign scarcely begun to break upon the rural . that at this period there was not an Irishman in Concord the place would have been a village . of his simple occupations and recreations. it must have been an even better specimen going there. Hawthorne has given an account of his dwelling. and of some of the a large. Such a vil lage community was not the least honourable item in the sum of New England civilisation. moreover.
the last of the line of the Emerson ministers an old gentleman who. which had been most completely reclaimed. and written some of his most beautiful essays there. but the present was sufficiently genial. departed host was a certain Doctor Ripley. and Paphian sunset and moonrise. long the most distinguished woman in the little Concord circle. and It approached by a short avenue of over-arching trees. " he writes that the shade of our departed host will never haunt for its aspect has been as completely changed as it the scenery of a theatre. in the earlier years of his pastorate. uttered a groan. was given up to ghosts and cobwebs. In the American Note-Books there is a charming passage (too long to quote) descriptive of the entertain ment the new couple found in renovating and re-furnish ing the old parsonage. HAWTHORNE. at the time of their going into it. The three years that Hawthorne passed here were. which. not in any happiest of his life. [CHAP. a venerable scholar. ancestors of the celebrated Emerson. who had himself spent his early manhood. indeed. standing just above the slow -flowing Concord river. from the summit of our eastern hill." This . which served to deepen its extramundane and somnolent quality. stood at the window of his study (the same in which Haw- ." From its clerical occupants the place had inherited a mild musa vague reverberation of tiness of theological association old Calvinistic sermons. "He used. I sanctity believe. Doctor Kipley's predecessor had been. who left behind him a reputation of learning and which was reproduced in one of the ladies of his family. and vanished forever. special manner assured.92 . Probably the ghost gave one peep into it. had been the dwelling-place of generations of Presbyterian ministers." as Hawthorne " to watch the says. I should suppose. among the The future was. Assyrian dawn. Of the little drawing-room.
his I said. that the New England Transcendental movement had suf world at large. a little way back. 93 thorne handled a more irresponsible quill). of the beauty of also are gracefully summer -squashes.iv. and of his customary contemplation of the incidents of wood-path and way-side. though these touched upon. in the estimation of the omit to pay a tribute. and it was excellent in quality. indeed. and the introduction to the Mosses. we may infer. I should make up his mind which was the righteous cause. as he desired). from not hav Emerson ing (putting aside) produced any superior talents. It is not by any means related.raising. These pages treat large ly of the pleasures of a kitchen-garden. watching. with his hands under his long coat-tails. and of the mysteries of apple . slow-flowing. the progress of Concord fight. than of the human elements of the scene . that of charming talk ingenious. But the in Note -Books which relate to his the life at the pages Manse. fanciful. to the author of Walden. "With the wholesome aroma of apples (as is. and just touches upon some of the mem bers of his circle especially upon that odd genius. make more of add. in passing. Henry Thoreau. fellow-villager. almost necessarily the case in any realistic record of New Eng life) they are especially pervaded. Hawthorne was silent with his lips but The tone of his writing is often . however. Hawthorne had a little society (as much. all of which derive a sweetness from the medium of our author's land rural colloquial style. In the preface to the tales written at the Manse he talks of many things. But any reference to it would be ungenerous which should fered. and with other many homely and domestic emanations. and none of its vulgarity. that he waited for the conclusion to his relations with vegetable nature. . he talked with his pen.] BROOK FARM AND CONCORD. with all the lightness of gossip.
He was imperfect. to have been a local as well as Thoreau a high Transcendentalist celebrity Mr. I think. and not for Concord. was parochial . of plants and trees. and by his remarkable genius for the observation of the phenomena beasts woods and streams. quiet Concord riv Thoreau was a great voyager. He was the . . whom I may mention. Hawthorne. It was a slim and crook ed one. but it was eminently personal.94 HAWTHORNE. Whatever question there may be of his talent. In however. Ellery Charming. he did more than he perhaps intend ed towards consolidating the fame of his accidental human He was as shy and ungregarious as Hawthorne sojourn. for the Universe. and as expert in the use of the paddle as the Eed men who had once haunted the same silent The most frequent of Hawthorne's companions stream. But at his best he has an extreme natural charm. had constructed himself. of his genius. there can be none. of and fishes. and and for flinging a kind of spiritual inter est over these things. [CHAP. and which he eventually made over to Hawthorne. it is he was worse than provincial he only at his best that he is readable. Motley He was Emerson's independent moral written originally. and there are some charming touches in the preface to the spent in boating together Mosses in regard to the hours they on the large. . and he must always be mentioned after those Americans Emer who have son. and also because no account of the little Concord world would be complete which should omit him. on these excursions appears. since he is mentioned very explicitly in the preface to the Mosses. Thoreau lived for Concord very effectually . inartistic . in a canoe which he er. man made flesh living for the ages. but he and the latter appear to have been sociably disposed towards each other. unfinished. Longfellow. and not for Saturday and Sunday fact. Lowell. however.
except to lave the interior regions poet's of a imagination. as if river and wood were hushing one another to sleep. were attracted thither by the wide-spreading in fluence of a great original thinker who had his earth- . " Never was a poor little country village in fested with such a variety of queer. indeed. most of whom took upon themselves to be important agents of the world's destiny." goblins of flesh and blood.. fishermen. during one any of sun. and the two used " to set themselves afloat in Strange and happy times were those. It comes flowing softly through the midmost privacy and deepest heart of a wood which whispers it to be quiet while the stream whispers . summer habitudes.iv. strangely-dressed. . or. foliage. back again from its sedgy borders." he says. between wide meadows. whom he resembled in having produced literary compositions more esteemed by He and Hawthorne were both the few than by the many. in a preceding par " agraph. 95 son of the distinguished Unitarian moralist. the semicircle Rowing our boat against bright the current. the intimate friend of Thoreau. was writing them. for a mile above earth its junction with the Concord. along its . odd ly-behaved mortals. . he was way of a certain class of visitants whom he tiful things. course and dreams of the sky and the clustering .. A more lovely stream than this.] BROOK FARM AXD CONCORD. to live conventional race. the afternoons. Yes the river sleeps . and. I believe. has never flowed on nowhere. we turned aside into the Assabeth. for well out of the alludes to in one of the closing passages of this long In troduction." exclaims the more distinguished of the two writ " when we cast aside all irksome forms and strait-laced ers. and delivered ourselves like the Indians or less up to the free air. yet were " These hob simply bores of a very intense character." While Hawthorne was looking at these beau that matter.
or sometimes in our avenue. and " as if there were no question to be put. . like the garment of a shining one . It was good. and the rows of New England elms between. or a thought ly . that little Concord had not been ill-treated by the fates " with " a great original thinker at one end of the village. moreover. who as a general thing was probably far from abounding in their own sense (when this sense was per verted). It contains. as the finder of a glit tering gem hastens to a lapidary. "being happy. they fancied new. an exquisite teller of tales at the other." feeling. to meet him in the wood-paths.96 HAWTHORNE. encoun more than he could impart !" One may without indiscretion risk the surmise that Hawthorne's perception of the "shining" el ement in his distinguished friend was more intense than of whatever luminous property reside within the somewhat dusky envelope of our might " mosses. so man alive as if expecting to receive without pretension. therefore." hero's identity as a collector of Emerson. with that pure intellectual gleam diffused about his presence." and Hawthorne enumerates some of the categories of pilgrims to the shrine of the mystic coun sellor. and he so tering each quiet. with whom.haunted neighbour. " he was not in metaphysical communion. " As to the daily course of our life. . came to Emerson. People that had lighted on a new thought." as he says." the latter writes. as a sort of spiritual sun-worshipper. to ascertain its quali ty and value . an admirable sentence about Hawthorne's pilgrim . but gave them a due measure of plain practical The whole passage is interesting. . [CHAP. so simple. and it suggests advice. nevertheless. abode at the opposite extremity of our village. could have attached but his friend's appreciation a moderate value to Hawthorne's cat-like faculty of seeing in the dark.
" These compositions. tone of this record throughout. . and the account is given to himself. "I have written with pretty 97 in the spring of 1843. not a trouble. lead ing the same life in which ten years of my youth flitted dream. for an would inevitably remove us from our present happy home at least from an outward home for there is an . These prospects have not yet had their fulfilment office . But how much changed was I At had got hold of a reality which never could be taken from me. It is an annoyance. (The passage is from his Journal. having prospect of official station and emolument which would do away with the necessity of writing for bread. diligence." And he goes on to give some account of his usual habits. as it were. and physically I was never in a better condi tion than now. which were so unpunctually paid 5* ." He adds a mention of an absence he had lately made. It was good thus to get apart from my away like a ! last I happiness for the sake of contemplating it... generally without having spoken a word to any human being.) "Every day I trudge through snow and slush to the village. and then return home. look into the postoffice. averaging from two to four hours a is day and the result have written more seen in various magazines. accompany us wherever we go. In the way of exercise I saw and split wood. with that odd.iv. if it I might had seemed worth while. but I suffice was content to earn only so much gold as might for our immediate wants. and spend an hour at the reading-room . where I re sumed all my bachelor habits for nearly a fortnight. and we are well content to wait. com mendable .] BROOK FARM AND CONCORD. unfamiliar explicitness which marks the inner one that will . Mean the time. magazine people do not pay their debts so that we taste some of the inconveniences of poverty. " I went alone to Salem.
have been thought compatible with these pre tensions. as has been abundantly conceded." says reality pervasiveness Lathrop. sin. a periodical pub and having. [CHAP. insisted on setting mark upon his genius It admirable fancy. on the part of the magazine in question. with earth-shaking strength. Lathrop's rather too emphatic way of putting it) but the anomaly is.. it and since his heart its and his happiness were to escape. but it had still been determined to claim this later comer as its own. appeared in the Democratic Review. only superficial. as I have already suggested. his may be said that when his fancy was upon his . monotonous but a very contented It is. I think. The foregoing lines are a description of a very justly life. be paid.98 HAWTHORNE. most beautiful organ. indeed. " redolent of M. of the darkness and wickedness of life. on the whole." This is very true (allowing for Mr. not a little of an anomaly." its considerable pretensions to a national char be regretted that the practice of keeping creditors waiting should. lished at Washington. evil. It had had. " had been but slightly insisted upon in the earlier tales are : number in this series the idea bursts up like a long-buried fire. and yet the best of the Mosses (though not the greater of them) are singularly dismal compositions. The They of the of Mr. passed into it. the old Puritan sense of sin. for. not passed into the parts of Hawthorne's nature corre sponding to those occupied by the same horrible vision of things in his ancestors. as our author's biog " It is to rapher says. Our . of penal . acter. Montegut's pessimism. and Mr. writer's was a gloomy one ties to imagination.Lathrop remarks upon the dissonance of tone of the tales Hawthorne produced under these happy circumstances. and the pits of hell seem yawning beneath us. The episode of the Manse was one of the most agreeable he had known.
in which the author speaks from himself. when it 99 strongest and keenest. romance of Young Goodman Brown. than the fact that these duskiest flowers of his invention straight from the soil of his happiest days. Montegut make. then the dark Puritan tinge showed in it most richly and there cannot be a better proof that he was not the man of a sombre parti-pris whom M. own it state of human depravity and if his consequent melancholy for the simple reason that.IT. most appealed to him the se cret that we are really not by any means so good as a It is not well-regulated society requires us to appear. was most itself. it seems to me. Lathrop " speaks of it as a terrible and lurid parable . his conviction of . it is meant anything. insincere. little indicates that there was but sprang This surely direct connection be tween the products of his fancy and the state of his af fections. It is not a parable. . When he was lightest at heart. point of view of Hawthorne's pessimism." but this. The mag stance. and. that the very condition of produc tion of some of these unamiable tales would be that they should be superficial. even.] BROOK FARM AND CONCORD. one would a very different thing. Mr. but a picture. Montegut describes. and cry of in which faintly the metaphysical despair is not even sounded ? We ten have seen that when he went into the village he of came home without having spoken a word to a human . would mean too much. he was most cre ative . too much to say. is just what it is not. and when he was most creative. which M. as nificent little it were. for in evidently means nothing as regards Hawthorne's mind. the moral pictu- resqueness of the old secret of mankind in general and of the Puritans in particular. of the singularly objective and unpreoccupied tone of the Introduction to the Old Manse. What does from the ask.
Thoreau comes to and they talk " upon the spir itual advantages of change of place. There is [CHAP. however. and therefore worthy to come into my depths. it himself. one October noon. though he finds a good deal to say about the little bird (he devotes several lines more to it). he the writes. is and I have. But he must find his own way there I can neither guide . window of course. is the fact that. a touching entry made a little later. He had other visitors than little birds. and other kindred or concatenated see him. that if he was not able to open the gate of conversation. "if circumstances would permit. nor enlighten him. welcome to know everything that Yes. bear ing upon his mild taciturnity. in Tieck and Burger. however. Alcott. sees I if "A cloudy veil stretches am through my he heart. I progress also " Just now." . and upon Mr. it. was sometimes because he was disposed to slide the bolt "I had a purpose. behold. in Voltaire much and Rabelais. the head of a little bird. . across the abyss of my nature. no love glad to think that God any angel has power to pen is etrate into there. being. of pass ing the whole term of my wife's absence without speaking a word to any human being. looking up from my book of volume (a Rabelais). in which these diminutive incidents seemed note worthy and what is noteworthy here to the observer of ." He beguiled these incom municative periods by studying German. " of heard a sharp tapping at my study.100 HAWTHORNE. Hawthorne's contemplative simplicity. and their demands were also not Rabelaisian." It must be acknowledged. shortly before the entry last quoted." he writes. who seemed to demand admittance." It was a quiet life. and upon the Dial. however. he makes no remark upon Rabelais. of secrecy and darkness. and so may any mortal who is capable of full sympathy. without apparently making in reading French. and.
he great deal of Concord five-and-thirty years ago in that tle sentence ! . living subjects." There is probably a lit who.] BROOK FARM AND CONCORD.IT. says. Another visitor comes and talks " of Mar garet Fuller. Alcott was an arch-transcendentalist. 101 Mr. has risen perceptibly into a high er state since their last meeting. and the Dial was a periodical to which the illuminated spirits of Boston and its neighbourhood used to contribute." in Concord.
Hawthorne's duties were those of Surveyor of the port of Salem. he embodies some of the impressions gathered dur- . have been pub lished from which I infer that he even ceased to journal The Scarlet Letter was not written till 1849. . The office was a modest one. THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS.CHAPTER V. entitled The Customhouse. In ise. and they had a salary at tached. THE prospect of official station and emolument which Hawthorne mentions in one of those paragraphs from his Journals which I have just quoted. as his biographer tells tributions to the Democratic Review. in the event. and went back to Salem in 1846. us that he had received almost nothing for the con He bade farewell to his ex-parsonage. and " official " station may perhaps appear a magniloquent formula for the functions sketched in the admirable Introduction to The Scarlet Letter. con firmed by his receiving from the administration of Presi dent Polk the gift of a place in the Custom-house of his native town. and the immediate effect of his ameliorated fortune was to make him stop writing. as having offered itself and then passed away. from his going to Salem to 1850. was at last. None of his Journals of the period. the delightful prologue to that work. which was the important part .
It would be interesting to examine it in detail. that they He intimates. and that it was a very for him. is. which bears particularly upon this phase of Hawthorne's career. were just alike in my regard. There is another passage. for convenience' sake. mentally and morally. how were not interesting. be cause he does not intimate in this sketch of his occupa tions that his duties were onerous). and the glow of the fire light. moonlight and sunshine. v.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. I quoted some passages from the prologue to the first of these novels in the early pages of this essay." He goes on to say that he believes that he might have done something if he could have made up his mind to convert the very substance of . and one of the most gracefully and as humorously autobiographic. nected with them best I had of no great richness or value. when his term good thing of service expired or rather when he was removed from by the operation of that wonderful rotatory sys tem which his countrymen had invented for the adminis office " " tration of their affairs. however. during the whole of my Custom-house expe rience. avail than the twinkle of a tallowgift An entire class of susceptibilities.CHAP. This sketch of the Custom-house simple writing. and neither of them and a con was of one whit more candle. but I prefer to use my space for mak ing some remarks upon the work which was the ultimate result of this period of Hawthorne's residence in his native town . but the was gone from me. say directly after wards what I have to say about the two companions of The Scarlet Letter The House of the Seven Gables and The Blithedale Romance. ever. and which is so happily expressed as to make it a pleas ure to transcribe it the passage in which he says that " for myself. 103 ing these years of comparative leisure (I say of leisure. one of the most perfect of Haw thorne's compositions. and I shall.
It was trusively with the materiality of this daily life pressing so in upon me. without your consciousness. . That was all. have contented myself with writing out the narratives of a veteran shipmaster.entitled Tester- injury he suffered in his Surveyorship. has related the circumstances in which . there little reason to complain of the . . I had ceased to be a writer of tolerably poor tales and es says. . A better book than I shall ever write was there. in a volume days with Authors. Fields. as a story-teller. whom I should be most ungrateful not to mention . . . . is like ether out of phial dwindling away. . into matter of lit I might. to attempt to fling myself back into an other age or to insist on creating a semblance of a world . The fault was mine. The page of life that was spread out before me was dull and commonplace. The wiser effort would have been. . it is anything but agreeable to be haunted by a suspicion that one's intellect out of airy matter. . and imagination through the opaque sub stance of to-day. His publisher. . one of the inspect ors. ." . and admiration by his marvellous gift Or I might readily have found a more a folly. and had become a tolerably good Surveyor of the Cus toms. . " since scarcely a day passed that he did not stir me to laughter . it was with what was is left of his intellect af ter three years' evaporation. only because I had not fath omed its deeper import. the commonplace that surrounded erature. serious task. for instance. and thus make it a bright transparency 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. so that at every glance you find a smaller and less volatile residuum.104 HAWTHORNE. As. or exhaling. But. that Hawthorne wrote The Scarlet Letter. him [CHAP. . nevertheless. Mr. to diffuse thought . These perceptions came too late. however.
v. and pronounce upon it. and had no spirit for doing anything. and told him that I would come again to Salem the next day and arrange for its pub lication. winter of 1849. rator of the incident urged upon him the necessity of a more hopeful view of his situation. read it." said the author " . as ing mood.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. before I slept that night I wrote germ of him all aglow with admiration of the marvellous story he had put into my hands. and declaring he had done The nar nothing. however. found him alone in a chamber over the sitting-room of He a the dwelling. in his hand. after he had been ejected from the Cus tom-house. and. placing a roll of MS. and proceeded to take He had not reached the street. " 105 In the Hawthorne's masterpiece came into the world. bad." says Mr. and stove. I went down to Salem to see him and inquire after his health. but it appeared only a year later. when we met again in the little house. we heard he had been suffering from . The Scarlet a note Fields. he was. bade him take it to Boston. I went on in such an amazing state of excite ment. however. I don't know which. and Hawthorne replied by calling his attention to the small popularity his published pro ductions had yet acquired. . He seemed to think I enthusiasm. that he would not believe I was really in earnest. His biographer quotes a passage from a letter which he . went on with the book and finished it. in a very despond urged him to bethink himself of publishing something." I feared I His visitor should find him. and as the day was cold he was hovering near AVe fell into talk about his future prospects. " It is either very good or very leave. . and laughed sadly at my Hawthorne. for illness. when Hawthorne hurried to overtake him." " " On my way back to Boston. I was then living in a modest wooden house. I read the Letter." was beside myself.
the press at Boston. with a single spot of vivid colour in it and it will probably long remain the most consistently gloomy . . contains it of English novels of the first order. and sent her the conclusion last night. if and his future little was painfully vague. many months. Lathrop calls attention.. as you see. just after my voice swelled writing it tried to if I and heaved as were tossed up and down on an ocean as it subsides after a storm. [CHAP. which I look upon as a to bed with a grievous headache triumphant success. rather. and compare it to own emotions when I read the last scene of The my Scarlet Letter to read it. so that. and I imagine it will continue to be..106 HAWTHORXE. 1850. the publisher. " I finished my book only yesterday one end being in . My book. to whom I read . 1855). He speaks of it in tremendous terms of approbation so does Mrs. having gone through a great for diversity of emotion while writing it. "Speaking of Thackeray. The Scarlet Letter enough of gaiety or of hopefulness. will not be out before April. Judging from the effect upon her and may calculate on what bowlers call a ten- But I don't make any such calculation. It broke her heart. to an allusion in the English Note -Books (September 14. to his friend Horatio Bridge. It is densely dark. in regard to this passage." it The work has the tone of the circumstances in which was produced. I cannot but wonder at his coolness in respect to his own pathos. wrote in February. But I just now called the author's masterpiece. for other generations than ours. my story is at least fourteen miles long. while the other was in my head here at Salem . But I was in a very nervous state then. The subject had probably lain a long time . Hawthorne. his most substantial title to fame. for my wife. the publisher tells me. I strike. If Hawthorne was in a sombre mood." And Mr.
as if a peculiar horror were mixed was a child with self . very hard to express. were maliciously playing. had a mysterious charm. Embroidered on the woman's breast was a great crimson A. its attractions. an unconsciousness of his public. It simpler and more complete than his other novels. which we find in an work the first time he has touched his highest mark a sort of straightness and naturalness of execution. I was told that this I w as Hester Prynne and r little Pearl. and crowned with flowers. who remembers dimly the sensation the book produced. that the " letter " in question was one of the documents that come by the post. ly It was a great success. The writer of these lines. 107 in his so that he ap pears completely to possess is to know it and feel it. as she glanced strangely out of the picture. over which the child's fingers. coif. . and he immediate found himself famous. and that when grew older I might read their interesting history. handsome woman. But the mystery was at last partly dispelled by his being taken to see a collec difficult to explain to was tion of pictures (the annual exhibition of the National Academy). white little in a quaint black dress and a holding between her knees an elfish -looking fantastically dressed. But . He title. where he encountered a representation of a pale. Of course it a child the significance of poor Hester Prynne's blood.coloured A.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. had a vague belief. and freshness of interest in his theme. mind. but lay its book He was too young to read it him upon which he fixed his eyes as the upon the table. at the time. it achieves more perfectly what it attempts.v. indeed. girl. and it was a source of perpetual wonderment to him that it should be of such an unaccustomed hue. as his subjects were apt to do it. and it has about it artist's that charm. and the little shudder with which people alluded to it.
I Lad been vaguely frightened and made uneasy by it and when. Hawthorne himself was very modest about it. extraordinary has in the highest degree that merit which I have spoken of as the mark of Hawthorne's best things an indefinable purity and lightness of conception. The book was the that belonged to literature. the publication of The Scarlet Letter was in the United States a literary event of the first finest piece of imaginative in the There was a con forth country. It is beautiful. a quality which in a work of art affects does in a one in the same way as the absence of grossness human being. for it is to be remembered in .108 HAWTHORNE. His fancy. and to be familiar with its . I seemed to myself to have read it before. and the best at last was that the thing was absolutely American soil. it came out of the very it New England. and to the forefront of it. had evidently brooded over the subject for a long time the situation to be represented had disclosed itself to him all its phases. simply as an indication of the degree to which the success of The Scarlet Letter had made the book what is called an actu ality. When I say in all its phases. he wrote to his publisher. . as I just now said. admirable. years afterwards. my mind. Something might of it be sent to Europe as exquisite in quality as anything that had been received. when there was a question of his undertaking another novel. it be longed to the heart of to the air . that what had given the his " " tory of Hester Prynne its vogue was simply the intro ductory chapter. writing yet put a sat sciousness of this in the welcome that was given it isfaction in the idea of America having produced a novel importance. In fact. the picture remained vividly imprinted on two strange I mention this incident heroines. the sen tence demands modification . . I first read the novel. [CHAP. .
which makes here and there a lit tle luminous circle. an accessory figure upon her the . to obtain satisfac tion for the suffered. living upon him .] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. between the lover and the husband the tormented young Puritan minister. and it was. devises the infernally of ingenious plan conjoining himself with his wronger. keener. It is upon her guilty lover that the author projects most frequently the cold. In spite of the relation between Hester Prynne less of a and Arthur Dimmesdale. after degree that of Hester Prynne it is not the first scene. thin rays of his fitfully-moving lantern. indeed. while he sees the softer partner of his guilt standing in the full glare of exposure and humbling herself to the misery of atonement between this more wretched and pitiable culprit. The story goes on. after all. wiser man. committed. if 109 that Hawthorne laid his hand upon the well-worn theme. ." interest comparatively vulgar fact that these was of an two persons had loved each other too well what appealed to . no story of love was surely ever " To Hawthorne's imagination the love-story. but to one period of the his The of these three persons that he attached himself. tory situation is the situation after the woman's fault has been the husband. who. for the most part.v. is in a secondary that were to follow. really. the idea of their moral situation in the long years The story. living with him. and sinister figure of the injured on the edge of which hovers the livid and retributive husband. she becomes. who carries the secret of his own lapse from pastoral purity locked up beneath an exterior that commends itself to the reverence of his flock. and the current of expiation and repentance has set in. the lover. to whom dishon our would come as a comfort and the pillory as a relief. and while he pretends to wrong he has . him was denoument depends. upon the familiar combination of the wife. and the older.
the vessel that gathered up the last of the precious drops. symbolism. to my sense. the tone of the picture. as M. very picturesquely arranged. The rather weak' than there is little . And I this not because the to be of so-called say story happens historical cast. [CHAP. a want of re and an abuse of the fanciful element of a certain superficial acters. but still perfectly rec Puritanism. minister to his hidden ailment and to sympathise with his pain. not only objec ognisable. The ality faults of the book are. None of sate himself situation that his works are so impregnated with that after-sense of the life to which allusion has so often been made. otherwise . is there. ence of the race that invented Hester's penance diluted and complicated with other things. in a word. of the mod ern realism of research and the author has made no great point of causing his figures to speak the English of their Nevertheless. Roger and stimulates them by malignant arts. revels in his unsuspected knowledge of these things. the book is full of the moral pres period. The attitude of Chillingvvorth. to setts. be told of the early days of Massachu in steeple-crowned hats historical colouring is and of people and sad-colour ed garments. elaboration of detail. as it were. and the means he takes to compen these are the highly original elements in the Hawthorne so ingeniously treats.110 HAWTHORNE. Montegut says. I Not. the qualities old Puritan consciousness of of his ancestors filtered down through generations into his composition. If. or in the obtrusion of a moral lesson but in the very quality of his own vision. in . in his judgment of his charac ters in any harshness of prejudice. . as well. ly mean. as Hawthorne tried to place it there. The Scarlet Letter was. in a certain coldness and exclusiveness of treatment. but subjective tively. The people strike me not as char but as representatives.
but the legitimate offspring of the hero. though with a great deal. then expiates pastoral office and becoming a humble his father by resigning of the tiller soil. like Arthur Dimmesdale. there is a charming little girl . at least. and to which they. and each Scott) of the author. son is a very interesting one to make. though I hasten to say that Sarah Blair (who is not the daughter of the hero ine. which is insistently kept before us. by chancing not long since upon a novel which was read fifty years ago much more than to-day. and the Ill of a single state of lies. and even in certain details In each of them. as had been. is concerned. mind. between the guilty they correspond. of a certain stable variation . a widower) is far from being as brilliant as the admirable little Pearl of and graceful an apparition The Scarlet Letter.v. The two is stories are of about the same length. pair. but which is still worth read ity. as I have said. and the compari . interest of the story not in them. of course. out of their reality. for it speedily leads us to larger considerations than simple resemblances and divergences of plot. is a Calvinistic who becomes the lover of a married at his misdeed. the Life of deal alike with the They manners of a rigidly theological society. but in the situation. as far as Lockhart the masterpiece (putting aside. this ing the story of Adam Blair. is overwhelmed with remorse and makes a his public confession of it. it woman. Adam minister Blair. with little progression. This interesting and powerful little tale has a great deal of analogy with Hawthorne's novel to suggest a comparison between them quite enough. of The Scarlet Letter. over-ingenuity. contribute little that helps I was made to feel this want of real it to live and move. by John Gibson Lockhart.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. The tales is the fact that in main difference between the two .
Adam Blair is the history of the passion. in a certain way they constitute a great strength . it is impossible to avoid I confess that a large portion of the confronting them. but nevertheless. the American story the husband plays an all-important and in the Scottish plays almost none at all. These things do not tone. He did not is always succeed in rendering this reality. as it were. precisely constitute a weakness in The Scarlet Letter . producing effects much more exquisite. but it borrows a charm from the fact that his vigorous. but not strongly imaginative. hardens and stiffens. on the very strong and rich. its element of cold and ingenious fantasy. lay in noting its difference of It threw into relief the passionless quality of Haw thorne's novel. His synthetic pathos which served Lockhart so well. But the reader feels that his vision was clear. leaves the reader with a sense of having handled a splendid piece of that the thing cools . interest of Adam Blair. in deed. its elaborate imaginative delicacy. leads it such a dance through the moon-lighted air of his intellect. other hand. which one finds in Adam Blair. than a love-story told with the robust. the history of its sequel .112 HAWTHORNE. plays with his . when once I had perceived that it would repeat in a great measure the sit uation of The Scarlet Letter. will always make Haw of even very thorne's tale less touching to a large number intelligent readers. the expression sometimes awkward and poor. to my mind. and. and his feeling about the matter Hawthorne's imagination. off. novel is not of the first rank (I should call it an excellent second-rate one).theme so incessantly. but the absence of a certain something warm and straight forward. and The Scarlet Letter part. mind was impregnated with the reality of his subject. [CHAP. if one has read the two books at a short interval. a trifle more grossly human and vulgarly natural.
has a sort of credible. though not in the least a delicate or a subtle conception. Lockhart's as decent. substantial Briton. visible.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. but each expressed something more Lockhart was a dense. gar. palpable proper and relief.v. a vulgar roundness dim and chastened image of Hester Prynne. with a taste for the concrete. is a great deal of symbolism . I think. is its shadow. minister finds imprinted upon his breast and eating into his flesh. interesting to see Above all. But I am going too far. that shall be of the same pitch and the same continuity with ourselves. appears to me to be a case . and Hawthorne with its coldness . much. and ceases to be impressive. In The Scarlet Letter there there is. of some of the in his tempted man and more actual and personal. produces at much more vul greater illusion. as severely draped. in the people in whom moments a it is sought to interest us. and grazes It is which the young idea of the mystic triviality. its sentimental interest how the other with story ter . his heroine . and Hawthorne was a thin New Englander. in sympathy with the embroidered badge that Hester is The A condemned 6 to wear. subject that offered itself to him. than himself. it becomes mechanical overdone at times. which are lacking to the ty. I am comparing simplicity with subtlety. it is the same subject appears to two men of a thoroughly different cast of mind and of a differ Lockhart was struck with the warmth of the ent race. in especial. as The Scarlet Let but the author has a more vivid sense than appears to have imposed itself cidents of the situation he describes tempting woman are upon Hawthorne. and satisfies our inevitable desire for something. Each man wrote as his turn of the usual with the refined. the one with its glow. Lockhart. with a miasmatic conscience. too . mind impelled him. its moral interest. by means 113 silversmith's work.
114 in point. turns to it . with the early grass springing up about them. feels impelled to go and stand upon the scaffold where his mistress had formerly enacted her dread ful penance. Dimmesdale had done speaking. This suggestion should. in which Mr. plays with until at last the reader feels it is and seems charmed by tempted to declare that his it. so su perbly conceived and beautifully executed. is to Hawthorne re exaggerate the weak side of the subject. I think. " it as a specimen of one of the striking pages of gleamed But before Mr. black with the wheel-track. [CHAP. with little Pearl at her side. made and dropped to insist upon it and return to it. even in the market-place. so fine that I cannot do better leads up to it is very fine than quote the book. in the stillness of the night. have been just . worn. The great vault bright ened. 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. The wooden houses. HAWTHORNE. So powerful was its it thoroughly illuminated the dense medium of cloud betwixt the sky and earth. In the admirable scene. it constantly. like the dome of an immense lamp. the garden-plots. It showed the fa miliar scene of the street with the distinctness of mid-day. seeing IJester pass along the street. and then. enjoyment of puerile. a light It was far and wide over all the muffled sky. but margined with green on either side . all were visible. in calls them both to come and stand there beside him this masterly episode the effect is almost spoiled by the What introduction of one of these superficial conceits. freshly -turned earth. in the middle of the sleeping town. little . the door steps and thresholds. and. Dimmesdale. from watching at a sick-bed. with their jutting stories and quaint gable-peaks. radiance that but also with the awfulness that iar objects is always imparted to famil by an unaccustomed light.
beheld there the appearance of an immense letter the letter marked out in lines of dull red light. but physical comedy. And there stood the minister. too much is made of the in far. and disporting herself there in a manner which makes her mother feel herself. and when the image becomes importunate it is in danger of seeming to stand for nothing more serious than itself. the author goes on to say " the minister looking upward to the zenith. and the connecting link between these two.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. When forest. as if it were the light that is to reveal all secrets. al most immediately afterwards. but when. the child is rep resented as at last making her way over to the other side of the woodland stream. with the em broidered letter glimmering on her bosom and little Pearl. poetic . Hawthorne is perpetually looking for images which shall place themselves in picturesque cor respondence with the spiritual facts with which he cerned. herself a symbol. is and in danger of crossing the its arates the sublime from We timation that Hester's badge had a scorching property." That that is imaginative.v. and of course the search is is con of the very essence of But in such a process discretion is everything. . 115 with a singularity of aspect that seemed to give another moral interpretation to the things of this world than they had ever borne before. . impressive. with his hand over his heart and Hester Prynne. In the same way. They stood in the noon of that strange and solemn splen dour. and Hester meets the minister by appointment in the sits talking with him while little Pearl wanders away and plays by the edge of the brook. and the daybreak that shall unite all that belong to one another. and that if one touched it one would immediately with draw one's hand." we feel that he A goes too line that sep intimate neighbour. poetry. are tempted to say that this is not moral tragedy. " in some in- .
[CHAP. one would say. One can often return to it it . and at the same time a charming freshness . and it counts sort as a defect partly because the words in question are a of specialty with certain writers immeasurably inferior to himself. to expatiate upon his defects. It is admirably written. Hawthorne afterwards polished his style to a still higher degree . and the reader hardly goes with Haw thorne in the large development he gives to it.116 distinct HAWTHORNE. however. ." sphere Hawthorne makes too liberal a use of these two substan tion for a small tives . The Scarlet Letter has the beauty and harmony of all original and complete conceptions. established verge of which her little fantastic person innocently mocks at her mother's sense of bereavement. and was now vainly seeking to return to And Hawthorne devotes a chapter to this idea of the child's having. which are of the slenderest and most venial kind. He hard ly goes with him either. in his extreme predilec number of vague ideas which are repre " " sented by such terms as and " sympathies. I had not meant. by putting the brook between Hester a kind of spiritual gulf." dwelt together. if it. it is the solitary defect of his style . on the and herself. estranged from Pearl as the child. quite to the lighter order of a story-teller's devices. and has the inexhaustible charm and mystery of great works of art. but in his later productions it is almost always the case in a writer's later productions there is a touch of mannerism. whatever they are. "In The Scarlet Letter there is a high de . gree of polish. I think. This conception belongs. are not of its essence they are mere light flaws and inequalities of surface. supports familiarity. and its weaker spots. had strayed out of the sphere in which she and her mother . in her lonely ramble through the forest. and tantalising manner.
In his novels his trifles. and the main point was to write a certain amount of excellent Hawthorne must at least have written a great English. And his theory was just. This nat this turn for saying things lightly and yet touchingly. and for in fusing a gently colloquial tone into matter of the most unfamiliar import assiduity. the moral and spiritual maze. were not of a character to subject perhaps. but was in pos his phrase conscious of justly calls attention to . as school boys say. picturesquely yet simply. it helps us to understand the Note-Books if we regard as a literary exercise. the fact that his style was excel lent from the beginning that he appeared to have passed through no phase of learning how to write. there is the stamp of the genius of style : . in which the subject was only the pretext. first. I have he had evidently cultivated with great spoken of the anomalous character of his Note-Books of his going to such pains often to make a record of incidents which either were not worth remem bering.v. and he must often have said to himself that it was better practice to write about because it was a greater tax upon one's skill to make them interesting. for he has al most always made his trifles interesting. But them They were compositions. from the His early . art of saying things well is very positively tested . certainly have contrived to write ural sense of language them less well.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. for here he treats of those matters among which it is very easy for a blundering writer to go wrong the subtleties and mys teries of life. of these many things for practice. In such a pas sage as one I have marked for quotation from The Scarlet Letter. his faculty of expression to a very severe test but a man who had not Hawthorne's natural sense of language would session of his means. or could be easily remembered without its aid. of his handling a pen. is less 117 His biographer very itself. tales.
The inquiring stranger is now a frequent figure at Lenox.118 HAWTHORNE. [CHAP. for the place has suffered the It has become a prosperous water process of lionisation. moving proudly past. with its little dell of solitude. in one of the loveliest corners of New Eng land. gazing steadfastly at the clergyman. unless that he seemed so remote from her own tion she sphere and utterly beyond her reach. . nearer. enveloped were in the rich music. and found him not !" least of all fate ! . ! now. nearer to withdraw himself so completely from their mutual world while she groped darkly. and where he occupied for two years an uncomfortable little red house. as they say in (as ing-place. and and anguish. so unattainable in his worldly po sition. with the procession of majestic ! knew him now and venerable fathers he. How deeply had And was this the man ? She they known each other then thought of the dim love. ! hardly as it He. rather loosely. And thus much of wom an there was in Hester. but wherefore or whence she knew not. One glance of recogni had imagined must needs pass between them. among the mountains of Massachusetts. and the mossy tree-trunk. felt a dreary influence come over her. and still more so in that far vista in his unsympathising thoughts. there could be no real bond betwixt the clergyman and herself. and stretched forth her cold hands. nearer. through which she now beheld him Her spirit sank with the idea that all must have been a delusion. they had mingled their sad and passionate talk with the melancholy murmur of the brook. sitting hand in hand. " Hester Prynne. She forest. in the summer of 1850. when the heavy footstep of their approaching for being able might be heard. The House of the Seven Gables was written at Lenox. where. a village nestling. to which Hawthorne had betaken himself after the The Scarlet Letter became conspicuous. which is now pointed out success of to the inquiring stranger. and that vividly as she had dreamed it. that she could scarcely forgive him . or at least there are no waters).
desiring to man thirty years ago have found both inspiration and tran apply himself. and full of all sorts of deep intentions. He began with The House of the of 1851. owing to the the subject. natural quality of the imaginative strain is their great merit. might so Hawthorne found much of both that there. I call it larger its and more various than companions. and it has.] THE THKEE AMERICAN NOVELS. after had a sense of having in a magnificent fragment. the . this is at least as true of The House of the Seven Gables. But the it story has a sort of expansive quality which fructifies. and he wrote more during his two years of residence at Lenox than at any period of his career. and that we get at the same time thor's part. of The House of the Seven Gables is admira ble. a The colour. delightful. a summer-resort. it is the most the elaborate. Yet the book . I terested myself in has a great fascination down. and as I lately laid it and of all of those of its author's productions which I have read over while writing this sketch. larger and more various than me more novel like a prologue to a great novel than I think this is partly has always seemed to a great fact that itself. greater richness of tone and density of detail. as the French say. But it is not so rounded and complete as The Scarlet Letter . which was finished in the early part This is the longest of his three American nov els. an impression of certain complicated purposes on the au which seem to reach beyond it. and a in the judgment of some imagina its persons tive it is finest. landscape. it work. If it be true of the others that the pure. of the story. companions. quillity America. It is 119 a brilliant and generous a of fancy. of interwoven threads of suggestion. it is perhaps the one that has gained most by repersual. indeed.v. never wholly reading for the third time. so to speak. the donnee. Seven Gables. It is rich. does not quite fill it out.
have said that his pages were full of its spirit. but on this it. more literal than the and if it were not too fanciful an others. but I was careful to add that the reader must look for I began by saying his local and national qualities between the lines of his writing and in the indirect testimony of his tone. to inoculate with our admiration inform we can looking awhile. the impression of a summer afternoon in an elm- England town. however. and of a certain reflected light that springs from it . that he perceives nothing in par only reply that. In this sort of thing case. ground It it would be a mistake to make a large claim for cannot be too often repeat realist. The House of picture of contemporary American Seven Gables comes nearer being a life than either of its companions. indefinable. his ac cent. his temper. actuality account of it. and fond as he was of jotting down the items that make it up. of course. for it is diffi and if the reader whom . or the softness of fine September charm of which we fail weather. in effect. and in shadowed New . ed that Hawthorne was not a He had a high his Note-Books superabundantly testify sense of reality to it. the object is a the delicate one. It is vague. It leaves upon the mind a vague correspondence to some such reminiscence. is in a peculiar degree of the kind that to reduce to its grounds like that of the sweet ness of a piece of music. its vagueness is cult to point to ethereal beauties a drawback.120 HAWTHORNE. Seven Gables has. after ticular. to an initiated The House of the reader. we have wished us. I should say that it renders. he never attempted to render exactly or close I ly the actual facts of the society that surrounded him. but it is the we must always point to in justification of the high claim that we make for Hawthorne. [CHAP. ineffable . of his very omissions and suppressions.
ures rather than characters they are all pictures rather than persons. The shadows of the elms. of families and individuals. as and meditative mus a general thing. the mixture of shabbiness and freshness. comparison which gains in honour of the New England old race ed. ment for a crime of which he crepitudes. The end of an . which melt into the current and texture of the story and it give ster. holding the 6* latest opinions. rather melancholy. it is sufficient. and each of them is the They eral. penniless. the paucity of ingredients. to the author's mind. The town. a young man still more modern. the the atmosphere has a delicious warmth. than joyous. a kind of moral richness. A simple. harmony with the low relief and dimness of outline of the objects that surrounded them. But it if their reality is light and vague. was unjustly pronounced a sweet-natured and guilty bright-faced young girl from the country. who has passed twenty years of his life in penal confine rigidly conscious of her pedigree. but an amiable bachelor. who has sought . of something gen of something that is bound up with the history. childish. in The House of the Seven Gables. up the is 121 stirring association to the it it renders it delightful. centre of a cluster of those ingenious ings. with whose moral mustiness her modern fresh ness and soundness are contrasted. this is the situation that Hawthorne has depict and he has been admirably inspired in the choice of the They are all fig figures in whom he seeks to interest us. is and in are all types.v. at large. more than it bestows. a poor relation of these two ancient de . are exception summer afternoon is peculiarly ally dense and cool. But the mild provincial quality is there.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. of an epicurean temperament and an enfeebled intellect. very humble grotesque old spin at heart. still and beautiful and the long daylight seems to pause and rest.
her antique turban. and scru her ples. map of a great territory to the eastward which ought to have belonged to her family. something that points a moral and that it behoves us to remember. with two or three remarkable accessory fig are the persons concerned in the little drama. and proves the good angel of the feebly distracted household. the inaptitude and repugnance of an ancient gentlewoman to the vulgar little commerce which . not found future up and down the world. but as Hawthorne does not put it before us for its own superficial sake. with her near-sighted scowl. and returns to the ancestral roof to deepen her perplexities. it is an inci interest. and to introduce a breath of the air of the outer world into this long unventilated in terior. worthy of the highest praise. the scenes in the rusty wooden house whose gables give its name to the story. Miss Hephzibah Pyncheon. her rusty joints. have something of the dignity both of history and of tragedy. to alleviate them. dent of the most impressive magnitude and most touching Her dishonoured and vague -minded brother is released from prison at the same moment. The ures. as Hawthorne relates it. ridiculous. All this episode is exquisite admirably conceived and executed. an equal sense of everything in it that is picturesque. and. though he has it. This is the central inci dent of the tale.122 his fortune HAWTHORNE. her vain terrors. finds herself obliged in her old age to open a little shop for the sale of penny toys and gingerbread. with a kind of humorous tenderness. but for something in it which he holds to be symbolic and of large application. for the dry facts of the case. touching. and. drama is a small one. on the other hand. But. Hephzibah Pyncheon. [CHAP. takes a genial and enthusiastic view of the : these. and resentments. the little country cousin also arrives. dragging out a disappointed life in her paternal dwelling.
or than the account of her relations with the poor. though he is. so bition. in whom her light-handed sisterly the evening of a melan choly life. " " In her aspect. if worn. and then. and it was of the essence of his character to be vague and unemphasised. there was a familiar gladness. active presence of Phrebe Pyncheon is indicated. she is a charming piece of descriptive writing. a prayer offered up in the homeliest beauty of one's moth Fresh was Phoabe. as her companions are pictures ." language which. and yet reverence it as much as ever. ther her gown. subtly and lovingly that we enter into her virginal old heart and stand with her behind her abominable little counter. . little any more than her snowy stockings had ever been put on before or. Clifford Pyncheon is a still more remarkable conception. nor her kerchief. rather than a dramatic exhi But she is described. sweet in her apparel as if nothing that she wore nei . Nothing can be more charming than the manner in which the soft. nor her small straw bonnet. how ever. are a revelation of lost possibilities of happiness. moreover. and with a fragrance as if they had lain among the rose .v. not so vividly depicted. like her companions. too. dimly sentient kinsman for offices. were all the fresher for it. I repeat that she is a picture. perhaps. 123 a cruel fate has compelled her to engage in Hephzibah Pyncheon is a masterly picture. and a holiness that you could play She was like with.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. conveys an I quote the passage extreme felicity. Hawthorne gives the prettiest description. bright. inadequacy. and airy. renounces the attempt in buds. and of the charming image with which concludes. Of the influence of her maidenly salubrity upon poor Clifford. while pleading for the sake of its it its exquisite satisfaction to the reader. It was a figure needing a much more subtle touch. breaking off suddenly." Hawthorne says of the young girl. and er-tongue.
and fancy is linked with a deep . and heretofore so miserably failing to be happy his tendencies so hideously thwarted that. and he was now imbecile this poor forlorn voyager from the Islands of the Blest.124 " HAWTHORNE. diffusing about him a sultry of benevolence. bland. had summoned up reminiscences by the last harbour. large-based. But we strive in vain to put the idea into words. the delicate springs of his character. an accessory figure. ur " " warmth bane. made up of a hundred admirable touches. on a tempestuous sea. impressive. With his native susceptibil ity of happy influences. [CHAP. some unknown time ago. as odours will. and basking in the noontide of prosperity and the considera tion of society. in spite of the space he . had been flung mountain -wave of his shipwreck into a quiet There. full-blown a hypocrite. even more than the others. This being. and. and expires !" I the Seven Gables upon have not mentioned the personage in The House of whom Hawthorne evidently bestow the book ed most pains. Judge Pyncheon is an elaborate piece of description. had given way. occupies. or visions of all the living and breathing beauty amid which he should have had his home. and partly because. as the author calls it again and again. the fragrance of an earthly rose-bud had come to his nostrils. as he lay more than half lifeless on the strand. and ignoble. No adequate expression of the beauty and profound pathos with which it impresses us is attainable. full-nurtured Pharisee. very sagaciously com the portrait of a superb. he inhales the slight ethereal rapture into his soul. gross. made only for happiness. very richly posed and rendered Judge Pyncheon is an ironical portrait. and broadly executed. in a frail bark. he is what I have called a picture rather than a character. and whose portrait is the most elaborate in partly because he is. but in reality hard. never moral ly or intellectually strong. in which satire is al ways winged with fancy.
the shrinkage better chance and extinction of a family. his condensed experience. This appealed to his imagina . is an attempt to render a kind of national type that of the young citizen of the United States whose fortune is naked. are opposed to the desiccated prejudices and exhausted vitality of the race of which poor feebly-scowling.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. grave is intended as a contrast . perhaps. as he was disapproval. and who stands were. lusty is. a pity that Hawthorne should not have proposed to himself to give the old Pyncheon qualities some embodiment which would help them to balance more fairly with the elastic properties of should not have painted a the young daguerreotypist conservative to his As it match strenuous radical. . It is. however. his lack of traditions.v. the modern young man. in a certain degree. and is at the period of the story a dafreely and confidently. . image established in his mind. It has evidently a defi is nite starting-point in fact. rusty-jointed Hephzibah is the most heroic representative. away rather too ea Evidently. as it simply in his lively intelligence. the mustiness and mouldiness of the tenants of the of the Seven Gables crumble House sily. 125 It is difficult to say whether Hawthorne sense of reality. after the guerreotypist. in the Hol centre of the far-stretching level of American life. what Hawthorne designed to represent was not the struggle between an old society and a new. ous impression of an individual. but it is followed a model in describing Judge Pyncheon is an a copi that the obvious picture impression tolerably . for in this case he would have given the old one a but simply. and the author able to draw. tion and the idea of long perpetuation and survival al ways appears to have filled him with a kind of horror and Conservative. as I have said. his democratic stamp. Holgrave. unbiased and unencumbered alike. who has been a Jack-of-all-trades.
and a small collection of stories entitled Tanglewood Tales. but if I may early impression of them. I believe. that indefinable echo. which brought him great honour. are not trust They among my own most serious literary titles. type. it is singular how often one en influences lowing counters in his writings some expression of mistrust of old himself. After the publication of The House of the Seven Gables. to allow a very moderate measure in these respects. he was more American many of his countrymen. mode of treat ment is felt . old institutions. I will add that Holgrave is one of the few figures. or. he volumes for children his composed a couple The Wonder-Book.126 HAWTHORNE. which is the real sign of a great work of fiction. posed. He was dis houses. But my last word about this admirable novel must not be a restrictive one. rather. pervaded with that vague hum. In this he was an American of Americans than . and fond of retrospect and quietude and the mel of time. they are among the most charming literary services that have been render ed to children in an age (and especially in a country) in which the exactions of the infant mind have exerted much Hawthorne's too palpable an influence upon literature. apparently. . among those which Hawthorne created. but a . long lines of descent. have often a lurking esteem for things that show the marks of having lasted. of the whole multitudinous life of man. and. with realistic regard to which the absence of the as a loss. [CHAP. though they are ac customed to work for the short run rather than the long. and he condemns the dwelling of the Pyncheons to disappear from the face of the earth because it has been standing a couple of hundred years. who. acterised Holgrave is not sharply enough char he lacks features he is not an individual. a tolerable share of a of little more ponderable substance. It is a large and generous pro duction.
They seem at that period enchanting. Provi dence failed to provide him with a cottage by the sea. all. but he betook himself for the winter of 1852 to the little . and mark me out a rood or two of garden ground. and O that Providence was a boy I have felt languid would build me the shanty.v. was charming during the ardent American summer. and that he was able to work there Hawthorne proved by composing The House of the Seven Gables with a good deal of rapid But. ity. The air and climate do not agree with my health at and for the first time since I dispirited. I have said that Lenox was a very pretty place. 127 stones are the old Greek myths. . I am sick to death of Berkshire. little . . .] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. at the close of the year in which this novel was published. and hate to think of spending another winter here. . Fields. near the sea-coast !" He was at this time for a while out of health . . consisting of December snows prolonged into April and May. that. It is in its pages that they first make the ac quaintance of the heroes and heroines of the antique mythology. and something of the nursery fairy-tale qual ity of interest which Hawthorne imparts to them always remains. for I should be very sorry to risk dis turbing in any degree a recollection of them that has been at rest since the appreciative period of life to are addressed. with its moun tains and lakes. which they and the ideal of happiness of many American children is to lie upon the carpet and lose themselves in The Wonder- Book. there was a reverse to the medal. he wrote to a friend (Mr. made more vivid to the childish imagination by aji infusion of details which both deepen and explain their marvels. his publisher) " to tell you a secret. I have been careful not to read them over. and it is proper to remember merest that though the Massachusetts Berkshire.
the brightest. tragical denoument all is there is. it claims to be uttered. would not have been written if Hawthorne had not spent a year at Brook Farm. [CHAP. indeed. it will pre serve the memory of the ingenious to say about community save that at West very Eoxbury I hardly for a generation unconscious of other reminders. a mixture of elements. Donatello. as I have said. unless it be the murder of Miriam's persecutor by effect of the novel is to life. as the suicide of Zenobia and yet. of broken Its sun -patches and sprinkling clouds. form invariably suggests it . for their extreme amenity of if. The story is told from a more joyous point of view from a point of view comparatively humorous and a number of objects and incidents touched with the light of the profane world the writer's the vulgar. and into the world though it is in no sense of the word an account of the manners or the inmates of that establishment. however. nothing so tragical in Haw . the liveliest. many -coloured world of actuality. it fills out the measure of appreciation more completely than in others. it. and memory an day impression analogous to that of an April an alternation of brightness and shadow. know what . but it on the one hand. unanalytic epithet is the first that comes to one's pen in treating of Hawthorne's novels. where he brought The Blithedale Romance. the indeed. in Transformation. as distinguished from the crepuscular realm of are mingled with its course. near Boston. of this company of unhumorous fictions. Perhaps. thorne. on the whole. the mako of the one think more agreeably of The standpoint .128 HAWTHORNE. it is charming this vague. on the other its frankly confesses in this case inconclusiveness. it leaves in own reveries is The book. for The Blithedale Romance is the lightest. town of West Newton. This work.
half a critic. hav ing little at stake in life. Coverdale is a picture of the contemplative. in a word. but in perceiving half a poet. and who has no patience with his friend's indif ferences and neutralities. mor ally. nursing its fancies. but in reali ty he evidently an excellent fellow. we have to live a great He is confesses to a want of earnestness. as in the preceding tales. whose passions are slender. and whose happiness lies. Coverdale is a gentle sceptic. un . has rendered my own life all an emptiness. a ing mild cynic he would agree that life is a little worth liv or worth living a little but would remark that. . whose attitude with regard to the world is that of the hammer to the anvil. I lack a purpose. were . but a particular man. and a spectator. to whom one might look. by an overplus of the same ingredient the want of which. thanks to an element of strong good sense. a disembodied spirit. imprisoned in the haunted chamber of his own contempla tions. analytic nature. I occasionally suspect. in a good many adventures. at the close of his story. it has a great deal in Of Miles Coverdale common with that of his creator." he writes. 129 narrator has the advantage of being a concrete one .v. not for any personal performance on a great scale. not bringing them up to be spoiled children . he is no longer. little enough. but for a good deal of generosity of detail. in so far as we may measure ing this lightly indicated identity of his. to live deal. I by no means wish to die. " How strange ! He was ruined. He is contrasted excellently with the fig ure of Hollingsworth. a portrait of a man.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. whose imagination all is active. at any given moment. and yet. the heavily treading Reformer. fortunately. I have already spoken. observant. "As Hollings worth once told me. and of its be natural to assume that. and yet indulging. in imagination. not in doing. with a certain human grossness. Yet.
to compare the image at all strictly with the model. If Kossuth. There is no strictness in the . for the conflict. was the only literary lady of eminence that Margaret Fuller whom there is any . to follow game. after breakfast. representation by novelists of persons who have struck them in life. [CHAP. would ride of pitch the battle-field of Hungarian rights within an easy my abode. The original gives hints. on the as sumption that such was the case. human . It is idle produced by a greater multiplicity of touches. for example.130 HAWTHORNE. nite image. and which benefit. struggle my death would then provided." The finest thing in The Blithedale Romance is the char acter of Zenobia.' there any cause in this whole chaos of worth a sane man's dying for. From ing what may be called new scents. and there can in the nature of things be none. however. complete Hester or Miriam. to inquire too closely whether Hawthorne had Margaret Fuller in his mind in constructing the figure of this brilliant specimen of the strong-minded class. and en dowing her with the genius of conversation or. Miles Coverdale would gladly be his man for one brave rush upon the levelled bayonets. and imports new elements into the picture. Further than that I should be loth to pledge myself. or Hilda or Phrebe she is a more defi as the nearest approach that . sunny morning. the moment the imagination takes a hand in the the inevitable tendency is to divergence. but the writer does what he -likes with them. If there is this referring the wayward heroine of Blithedale to Hawthorne's impression of the most distin amount of reason for guished woman of her day in Boston . and choose a mild. the effort did not involve an unreasonable amount of trouble methinks I might be bold to offer up my life. which I have said elsewhere strikes me Hawthorne has made to the creation of a She is more concrete than person.
indeed. I say on the . like a tiger out of a jungle. I think. to have represented him as Coverdale. . with her rich and picturesque temperament and physical aspects. and a watery grave one side. passionate. better in all Hawthorne than the scene between him and are at work together in the stones on a dyke). I imagine. perhaps.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. when the two men field (piling having begun life as a blacksmith. make the briefest reply possible. It is a pity.y. and eloquent . offers many points of divergence from the plain and strenuous invalid who represented feminine culture in the suburbs of the New England metropolis. . the beautiful and sumptuous Zenobia. for one grudges him the advantage of so logical a reason for his roughness and hardness. our socialist scheme. Then. . was never really interested in mind. he would glare upon us from the thick shrubbery of his meditations. less successful. much reality in the conception of the though there is type to which he belongs the strong-willed. narrow -hearted apostle of a There is nothing special form of redemption for society. that she was much connected with the little world of Transcendentalism out of which the experiment of Brook Farm sprung and that she had a miserable end . 131 sign of his having known . unless when repeat edly and pertinaciously addressed. that she was proud. is something very vivid and powerful in her large expression of womanly gifts and weaknesses. and he gives it to his com panion to choose whether he will be with him or against him. if these are facts to be noted on other. and there Hollingsworth is. Hollingsworth scarcely said a word. This picturesqueness of Zenobia is very happily indicated and maintained she is a woman in all the force of the . and betake himself back into the solitude of his heart and " His heart. but was for ever busy with his strange . term.
her identity with the Veiled Lady. impracticable plan for the ref ormation of criminals through an appeal to their higher in stincts. of its not aim ing in the least at satire. it cost me many a groan to tolerate him on this point. Much as I liked Hollingsworth. and of his higher instincts afterwards. [CHAP. and cease to feel beneath our feet the firm ground of an appeal to our own vision of the world our observation. as the author calls them. disliking him and shrinking from him at a hundred points. Hawthorne is rather too fond of Sibyl line attributes tion. who. and of its offering no grounds for complaint as an invidious picture. He ought to have com menced his investigation of the subject huge sin in his proper person. Indeed. itself I should have liked to see the story concern little more with the community in which its earlier scenes are laid.132 HAWTHORNE. As the action advances. her clairvoyance. and with her mysterious relation to Zenobia with her mesmeric gifts. and. and avail itself of so excellent an opportunity for describing unhackneyed specimens of human nature. to a taste of the same order as his disposi I which have already alluded. her divided subjection to Hollings worth and Westervelt. and her numerous other graceful but fantastic properties her Sibylline attributes. is drawn into the gulf of his omnivorous egotism. The portion of the story that strikes me as least felicitous is that which deals with Priscilla. we get too much out of reality. I have already spoken of the absence of satire in the novel. in The Blithedale Romance." by committing some examining the condition The most touching element in the novel is the history of the grasp that this barbarous fanatic has laid upon the fastidious and high-tempered Zenobia. the brethren of Brook Farm should have held themselves slighted rather . as most people thought. to talk about spheres and sympathies.
in which. . she ran falteringly. and lingered in the memory after far greater joys and sorrows were beheld wept out of it. This was. except to her little fingers. lingsworth who linger there less importunately. the book is a delightful and beautiful one. " Priscilla's peculiar charm in a foot-race was the weakness and irregularity with which she poor ran. was full of trifles that affected me in way. and the book of touches as deep and delicate. as antiquated trash. as if no rival less Setting buoyantly swift than Atalanta could compete with her. though it seems too slight to think of was a thing to laugh at. but which brought the water into one's eyes. appar ently. the dwelling in which he passed that . Hawthorne went back to live in Con had bought a small house. After writing cord. ately afterwards I open the volume at a page in which the grass. in fact.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. in author describes some of the out-of-door amusements at Blithedale. and often Such an incident tumbled on the grass. Priscilla's it. Growing up without she had never yet acquired the perfect use of her legs. about a certain want of substance and cohesion in the latter portions still of The Blithedale Romance. have a I great deal that touches us and that we believe in. and have regretted that the admirable genius who for a while was numbered among them should have treated their institution mainly as a perch for start But when all is said ing upon an imaginative flight. exercise. therefore. he expected to spend a large portion of his future. as I just this is full That seems to me exquisite. said just now that Priscilla was infelicitous but immedi Coverdale. and speaks of a foot-race across the which some of the slim young girls of the society joined. Zenobia and Holand live in the even Priscilla and memory." life. where he it. forth.v. 133 than misrepresented.
which come into luxuriant blossom in the month of June. and trees. he spent in his own part of the rest of his days that He established himself there before going to country. and invested the whole with a modest picturesque- ness . As for my old house. Nevertheless. you will understand it better after spending a day or two in it. with a book in my hand. although from the style of its construction it seems to have survived < " . and no venerableness. and building arbours and summer-houses of rough stems. all which improvements. he had made it his property. They must have been very pretty in their day. on a system of his own. Though he actually occupied the place no long time. and look and smell very sweetly. stretched out my lazy length. together with its situation at a place that one notices and remembers for a few moments after passing. with two peaked gables no suggestiveness about it. and painted it a rusty olive hue. as he called his house. Europe.134 HAWTHORNE. therefore. and white pines and infant oaks the whole that blows. George William Curtis. and it was more his own home than any of his numerous provisional abodes. Alcott took it in hand. and he returned to the Wayside. He added a porch in front. on coming back to the United States seven years later. Alcott the foot of a hill. or some unwrit- . and shattered more and more by every breeze The hillside is covered chiefly with locust-trees. although much decayed. forming rather a thicket than a wood. [CHAP. in 1853. beyond its first century. quote a little account of the house which he wrote to a distinguished friend. and a central peak. Mr. Mr. Before Mr. it was a mean-looking affair. there is some very good shade to be found there. I spend delec at table hours there in the hottest part of the day. I may. wooded make it expended a good deal of taste and some money (to no great purpose) in forming the hillside behind the house into ter races. and branches. and a piazza at each end. and are so still. intermixed with a few young elms.
I believe.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. and it he erected a tower as an ad tradition was a jocular among his neighbours.. however. at the base of a hill woody abruptly behind his house. his imaginary hero lacked junct to the house. Hawthorne used to exercise himself upon he conceived the brooding Septimius to have done before him. to betake himself thither when he found the limits of his dwelling too narrow. he was soon to escape from this honourable incommodity. he is dead . lives in the village of Concord. . however. covered with wood. as But he had an advantage which . its he adds. and of which the level summit supplies him with a promenade continu which rises ally mentioned in the course of the tale. by a man who believed he should never so . hill. on the Boston road. a century or two ago. in fact. in allusion to his attributive tendency to evade rather than hasten the coming guest. 135 ten book in my a thoughts." " was evidently taken from the Wayside and Septimius Felton is. this allusion to a man who " believed he should never die is the first intimation of the story of Septimius Felton" The scenery of that romance. as Hawthorne suffered the penalties of celebrity at the hands of intrusive fellow -citizens.. I know nothing of the history of the house except Thoreau's telling me that it was inhabit ed. In so far. and. at the time of the war of the Revolution. that he used to ascend this structure and scan the road for provocations to retreat." As Mr. top there is and gentle ise good view along the extensive level surfaces hilly outlines. this picturesque eminence. I hope to else he may probably reappear and dispute my title his residence. Lathrop points out. . die.v. that character the scenery of Concord. a young man who. There is stirring along the sides or brow of the almost always a breeze From the hill hill. at least.
his record. his old college-mate and inti friend. genious President qualities which rather faded in the bright light little is book there that it is in very of a high office. began to open their windows to the golden sunshine of Presidential patronage. Hawthorne felt a perfectly loyal and natural desire that his good friend should be exalted to so brilliant a position. was installed as President of the United States. 1853. " " Hawthorne's lending his old friend the assistance of his . I believe. His Life of Franklin Pierce belongs to " that class of literature which is known as the campaign biography. the beautiful and rational which the affairs system under of the great Republic were carried on. save good taste. Of Haw nothing particular to say. On mate the 4th of March. [CHAP. dwelt chiefly upon General Pierce's exploits in the war with Mexico (before that. in describing the advance of the United States troops from Vera Cruz to the city of the Montezumas. by writing a little book about its hero. and conformity to good Democrats. that he is a very fairly in and that if he claimed for the future advocate. The mouth-pieces of the Whig party spared him. this defect of proportion was essential to his undertaking. as they say in America.136 HAWTHORNE. had been mainly that of a success He ful country lawyer). so far as was possible. no reprobation for prostituting his ex but I fail to see anything reprehensible in quisite genius . to persuade the many-headed monster of uni versal suffrage that the gentleman on \vhose behalf it is addressed thorne's is a paragon of wisdom and virtue. and he did what was in him to further the good cause. He had all been the candidate of the in Democratic party. and exercised his descriptive powers. When General Pierce was put forward by the Democrats. more or less successful. Franklin Pierce." and which consists of an attempt. accordingly.
uninterrupted material development of the young Repub and when one thinks of the scale on which it took and waited place. its immunity from the usual troubles of earthly empires. sufficient a and was a good partisan. in a word. be said that the circumstances that produced it The generation to which he belonged. he fell to lover at least have been greatly modified. Our hero was an American of the earlier and sim the type of which it is doubtless premature to pler type say that it has wholly passed away. in the battle of the ages. This faith was a simple and uncritical one. on its course. in little which it all went forward there seems to be room for surprise that it should have implanted a kind of super stitious faith in the grandeur of the country. of the prosperity that walked in its train lic . of the hopes it fostered and the blessings it conferred of the broad morning sunshine. afterwards that he filled the office with admirable dignity and wisdom and as the only thing he could do was to Hawthorne work and wrote for him. that it would go on joyously forever. witnessed during a period of fifty years the immense.v. enlivened with an element of genial optimism. From its this conception of the American future the sense of having . that generation which grew up with the cen tury. that a special Providence watched that a it. but of which it may write. 137 He wished him to be President he held graceful quill. and country whose vast and blooming bosom offered a refuge to the strngglers and seekers of all the rest of the world. must come 7 off easily. he would still have found in the force of old associations an injunction to hail him as a ruler. its duration.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. in the light of which it human over appeared that the great American state was not as other institutions are. and I sus very if Franklin Pierce had been made even less of that pect the stuff of a statesman.
was an easy thing to do. no looming complications. but as an example of his own easy-going political attitude. There the shadow was. still the same. The indefinite multiplication of the population. of most Hawthorne alludes to it in a passage of Pierce. not only as a hint of the trouble that was in store for a cheerful race of men. to set a decisive limit to further legislation in favour of the cherish ed idiosyncrasy of the other half of the country. the future most vividly presented itself.138 HAWTHORNE." This last invidious allusion is to the disposition. which I will quote. the rights by the Constitution. and in which the great ness of the country was to be recognised of men. "It was while in the Lower House of Congress that Franklin Pierce took that stand on the Slavery question from which he has never since swerved by a hair's breadth. a faint shadow in the picture " " of the Southern projected by the peculiar institution States but it was far from sufficient to darken the rosy . problems to solve was difficulties in no blissfully absent. by his votes and his voice. of his life most good Americans. This. rocks ahead. there were no the programme. Haw- . on the whole. above all. Nor did he ever shun the obloquy that sometimes threatened to pursue the Northern dared to love that great and sacred reality his whole united country better than the mistiness of a philan man who thropic theory. but by no means general. and its enjoyment of the benefits of a com mon-school education and of unusual facilities for making an income this was the form in which. when the first impercepti fully recognised. He pledged to the South ble murmur his course was of agitation had grown almost to a convulsion. at the period when he declared himself. But when it became more difficult. [CHAP. not in frequent at the North. and. vision of good Democrats. indeed.
bewildered sensation of that earlier and simpler generation of which I have spoken their illusions were rudely dis . 139 thorne takes the license of a sympathetic biographer in speaking of his hero's having incurred obloquy by his The conservative attitude on the question of Slavery.] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. and one may say that the Civil War marks an era in the history of the American mind. had no idea that the respectable institution which he con templated in impressive contrast to humanitarian "misti ness. It introduced into the national consciousness a certain sense of proportion and relation. was. Hawthorne much." was presently to cost the nation four long years of bloodshed and misery. at this time. the future more treacherous. of the world being a more complicated place than had hitherto seemed. in days to come. At the rate at which things are going. and a social revolution as complete When this event occurred. had long felt so firm. suffered in the that world American the in class only the smallest degree. therefore. and they saw the best of fratricidal carnage. and nothing was left for them but to hang The subsidence of that their heads and close their eyes.v. will be a more critical person than his complacent it success . substituting medium in which his spirit found no a heaving and quaking Such was the rest. who were as unfashionable as they were indiscreet which is saying Like most of his fellow-countrymen. proportionately horrified and depressed by it cut from beneath his feet the familiar ground which it . it is obvious that good Americans will be more nu merous than ever. all possible republics giv affair en over to This had no place in their scheme. but the good American. more difficult. he as any the world has seen. was little band of Northern Abolitionists. pelled. from social persecution. left a different tone from the tone it has convulsion great found.
He has eaten of the tree of He will not. and whether it is an empire. The good American of which Hawthorne was so admirable a specimen was not critical. and Haw Liverpool thorne had written to his friend and publisher. " Do in make some inquiries about Portugal as. of course. He never stir red in the matter himself. what part of the world it lies. Mr. The least that so liberal a confidence General Pierce could do in exchange for was to offer his old friend one of the numerous places in his gift. Also. and when he accepted the post of consul at Liverpool there was not a reasonable criticism to be offered on the matter. less. a kingdom. mark with some humorous vagueness of allusion to his probable expatriation. for instance. or a republic. I think. be a sceptic. brilliant in the annals of American statesmanship. remember that the ways of the Lord this is are inscrutable. . and more particularly.140 HAWTHORNE. knowledge. will not find President. [CHAP. and still without discredit to his well-known capacity for action. who was before all word of If Gen things good-natured and had been guilty of no greater indiscretion than to confer this modest distinction upon the most honourable and discreet of men of letters. . he would have made a more obliging. and it was perhaps for this rea son that Franklin Pierce seemed to him a very proper to say. but his friends strongly urged that something should be done. had not been immediately selected. as the late a world in which everything happens Emperor of the French used him intellectually unprepared. and that and eventualities. Fields. Hawthorne had a great desire to go abroad and see something of the world. an observer. and confident grandfather. eral Pierce. the . a cynic but he will be. so that a consulate seemed the proper thing. will He .
Unfortunately. to less than half the was fixed at $7. the salary attach ed to it was reduced by Congress. Hawthorne was established in England.500) but the consular fees. sum enjoyed by his predecessors. in 1853. At midsum mer then. Also. .500 .] THE THREE AMERICAN NOVELS. and it . were an added resource. in an economical hour. which were often copious. just after Hawthorne had taken possession of the former post.v." It would seem from this that there had been a question of offering him a small diplomatic post but the emolu ments of the place were justly taken into account. 141 expenses of living there. and whether the Minister would be likely to be much pestered with his own countrymen. It (1. any other information about foreign countries would be ac ceptable to an inquiring mind. is were at to be supposed that those of the consulate at Liverpool least as great as the salary of the American repre sentative at Lisbon.
His fifty years had been spent. for much the larger part. not that of youth. This is evident. his death . West Newton one may call a village rectly and he had led exclusively what life. Note-Books. his summer in Florence. HAWTHORNE was came to Europe close upon fifty years of age when he a fact that should be remembered when those impressions which he recorded in five substantial volumes (exclusive of the novel written in Italy). The tone of his Euro pean Diaries is often so fresh and unsophisticated that we and addressed find ourselves thinking of the writer as a it is only a certain final sense of young man. sifted. kept during his residence in England. not at all di and superficially. Lenox. in small American towns Salem.CHAPTER ENGLAND AND VI. his two winters in Rome. Concord. melancholy that reminds us that the simplicity on the whole. When I say inexperience. I mean that Haw thorne's experience had been narrow. his impressions of England. he gave to the world shortly before this event. re directly to the public. were published after vised. and something reflective and a trifle which pages is. the Boston of forty years ago. the leading characteristic of their is. though the simplicity of inexperience. occasion His ally affect us by the rigidity of their point of view. but by implication and between . ITALY.
not attempt to relate in detail the incidents of He appears to have enjoyed it greatly. with observations the long walks (often with his son) which most valued pastime. in spite of the deficiency of charm in the place to which his duties chiefly confined him. was not unbroken. however.] ENGLAND AND ITALY. other words. and so. on the contrary. made during formed his with the accidents of daily life. 143 In lines. together with much mention of numerous visits to London. provincial. and to call things by their names. profiting by them so freely and gracefully. vi. I shall his residence in England. of which I have given some account chiefly occupied with external mat ters. seem more themselves. in a greatly modified of England. contending so late in the day with new opportunities for learning old things. more remarkable. are the sketches degree. His Note-Books are of the same cast as the two volumes of his American Diaries.CHAP. but of the provin cial point of view itself. not in the least in condemnation. more touching. but the beauty and delicacy of this latter work are so in Note-Books are terwoven with the author's air of being remotely outside of everything he describes. with his wife and his three children. His office. through the rest of the country. in I know nothing support of an appreciative view of him. youthful-elderly mind. and. moreover. not of initiation. in his desultory history of his foreign years. and his published Jour little journeys and wanderings. than the sight of this odd. he was ex the I suggest this fact quisitely and consistently provincial. . on the The whole. that they count for more. and finally give the whole thing the ap pearance of a triumph. His confine ment. but. a city for whose dusky im nals consist largely of minute accounts of mensity and multitudinous interest he professed the high est relish. in Our Old Home .
he had a sense of the relations of things. I hardly know what he . it is in excess of his dis ing Whether good or not. and Our Old in 1863. a good deal of care). though Liverpool was not a delectable home. Our Old Home is charm The execution is sin is most delectable reading. and a proof that the novelist might have found much material in the opportunities of the consul. means. observations. and it may almost be said that during these years he saw more of his him with entertainment fellow-countrymen. But is not a weighty book it is decidedly a light one. than he had ever done in his native land. "nor does it deserve any great amount of praise or censure. [CHAP. The paper entitled " Consular Experi ences. I don't care about seeing any more notices of it. and he never ex Our Old Home aggerated his own importance as a writer.144 HAWTHORNE. in 1860. however. rather than in touching upon the closing years of his life. when he says it is not a good one. and converted them into articles which he These chapters were afterwards published in a magazine. re-wrote them (with." Hawthorne's appreciation of his own productions was always extremely just. furnished as well as occupation. Home (a rather infelicitous title) was issued I prefer to speak of the book now. who had sent him some reviews of it. which some of his admir ers have not thought it well to cultivate . peti and inquirers of every kind." in Our Old Home. "It is not a good or a weighty book. gularly perfect and ripe of all his productions it seems to . in the shape of odd wanderers. for it is a kind of deliberate resume of his impres sions of the land of his ancestors. On his return to America. I should suppose. . he drew from his Journal a number of pages relating to his observations in England. is an admirable recital of these tioners. collected. and his modesty at this point cretion." he wrote to his publisher.
partial justice. more charming and affectionate should suppose. as such books go. able that the tender side of the book. is ad the lightness. Mrs. it is.] ENGLAND AND ITALY. his own little volume had it observed the amenities of criticism. I about a country not the writer's own.vi. as I should not have carried sages it off better. goes. Basil Hall. I think. belong to a man who has the be the best written. His judgment is by no means always sound it often rests on too narrow an obser But his perception is of the keenest. it is it frequently partial. nor. It abounds in pas more delicately appreciative than can easily be it found elsewhere. mirable advantage of feeling delicately. and I am not sure that the failure to enjoy certain manifestations of its sportive irony has not chilled That English read the appreciation of its singular grace. I believe. is to say but little. the felicity of charac terisation and description. Miss when he reflected that everything and that. and though vation. . Trollope. 145 The touch. the fineness. conceivable at the same time that seems to me remark may call it. on the whole. ers. and I imagine that Hawthorne had in mind the array of English voy agers Martineau. should have felt that Hawthorne did the national mind and manners but . and things than. would it 7* . in England. Grattan is relative. Mr. in He certainly mind when he wrote the phrase in his preface relat ing to the impression the book might make in England. as musicians say. " Not an Englishman of them all ever spared America for courtesy's sake or kindness . Dickens. in my opinion. . had ever before been written contains To say that it is an immeasurably more exquisite and sympathetic work than any of the numerous persons who have related their misadventures in the United States have seen fit to de vote to that country. Marryat. incomplete. it is excellent as far as The book gave but limited satisfaction.
hatred. I almost invariably cast the balance against our " I received And he writes at another time selves. I am rather surprised to find that. of truth a be may particle their self-conceit is such that anything short of unlimited admiration impresses them. whenever I draw a comparison between the two people.146 HAWTHORNE." the restrictive I vulgar instinct of recrimination ply. on my the least suspicion that there part. is full of a rich appre But ciation of the finest characteristics of the country. contribute in the least to any mutual advantage and com fort if we were to besmear each other all over with butter and honey. [CHAP. " The English critics. insanity. I mean sim Our passages far am sketches would in lish friends. . that the author from intending to intimate that the had anything to do with of Old Home . Looking over the volume. But they do I me would as soon hate great injustice in supposing that I hate them. to have dis covered that the English are sensitive. thin skinned." : several private letters and printed notices of Our Old Home from for England. for whose advantage I believe the term was invented. but I really think that Americans have much more cause than they to complain of me. and as they say of the Americans." he wrote to his publisher." The idea of his hating the English was of course too puerile for discus sion and the book. had a prevision that his collection of some particulars fail to please his Eng He professed. as malicious caricature. "seem to think me very bitter against their countrymen. It is laughable to see the innocent wonder with which they regard my criticisms. jealousy. . and never admitting The monstrosity of in them. accounting them by jaundice. after the event. as I have said. and it js perhaps natural that can accept nothing their self-conceit because they should. my own people. short of indiscriminate adulation .
of the date of October 6th. It is the work of an outsider. Possibly it may appease know that I quitted his abode as much The same note is struck in an entered it. I ani glad of it. thorne freely confesses to this constant exteriority. for several days. and Europe to boot. and latterly in the highest exultation. Success makes an Englishman intoler on the mistaken idea that the way was open to a prosperous conclusion of the war.] ENGLAND AND ITALY. among all the people of Haw the -earth. turns out to be incorrect had fallen. scowled inhospitably from above the mantel-piece. its 147 it has a serious defect a defect which impairs value." in ber. " in the sketch of London he writes Suburb. as if indignant that an American should try to make himself at his sulky shade to a stranger as I home there. while the preceding oc of the house (evidently a most unamiable person cupant age in his lifetime). This. 1854. now and the public visage is some what grim in consequence. about Sebastopol and all England.vi. have been in the utmost anxiety." entry in his Journal. it is actual sympathies. people. . of a stranger. able. the Times had and already. In spite of his for an American to be impossible otherwise than glad." Our Old Home " I remember to this day the dreary feel ing with which I sat by our first English fireside and A watched the chill and rainy twilight of an autumn day darkening down upon the garden. have been "The fooled by the belief that it . that to know them is to make discoveries. though it helps to give consistency to such an image of Hawthorne's personal nature as we may by this time have been able to form. however. of a man who remains to the end a mere specta tor (something less even than an observer). and ap " I remem pears to have been perfectly conscious of it. and always lacks the final initiation into the manners and nature of a peo ple of whom it may most be said.
and the most ad dicted to the belief that the other nations of the earth arc in a conspiracy to undervalue them.. being a stran . and am conscious that I neither hope nor fear in sympathy with them. the better for all par ties. indisputable fact that Americans are. They are conscious of being the youngest of the great nations. I think. I and as for me. replaces that quiet and comfortable sense of the absolute. Their heart character ' knoweth its own bitterness ' ger and an alien. while with the other they contemplate these objects is most to be . in the mean time. .. although they look at me in full confidence of sympathy. I shall never love England till she sues to us for help.148 HAWTHORNE. the most self-conscious people in the world.' " to express very well the weak side his constant mistrust and suspi This seems to of Hawthorne's me work cion of the society that surrounded him. and. can have in min gled much with Americans this reflection. Few and persons.' intermeddle not with their joy. morbid national consciousness. on the American personality. [CHAP. of the experimental element not having as yet entirely The political undertaking. Europe without having England that their habit made it is in of looking askance at foreign institutions of keeping one eye. an painful. but merely comes to a proper conception of himself. in a word. begun to throw out menaces against America. the fewer triumphs she obtains. as regards its own posi dropped out of their great tion in the world. I seem to myself like a spy or traitor when I meet their eyes. as it were. in adversity is a very respectable he does not lose his dignity. sense of this relativity. of being placed on the circum ference of the circle of civilisation rather than at the cen tre. It is. which reigns supreme in the British and in the Gallic genius. An Englishman . as Americans. his exaggerated. of not being of the European family. I think.
a drawback to our confidence . and justly. to the absence of any considerable public fund of enter tainment and diversion. For a stranger to cease to be a stranger he must stand ready. to the degree in which the inex haustible beauty and interest of the place are private prop in the erty. but it is not a drawback is sufficient to make it at the same time singularly a of no importance that he intelligent and discrimi nating. Add when to this that Hawthorne came to England were his habits. What seems new what chiefly a skilful and fortunate adaptation of such a people as ourselves would destroy. his opinions. 149 observed. that he was inclined to look at things in silence and brood over them gently. rather than talk about them. He is speaking of the aspect of the High Street of the town. I say. to pay with his person . thanks to aristocratic constitution. and it it will be possible to form an idea of our writer's detached and critical attitude in its the country in which is easiest. already formed. is There a About Warwick which is a passage instance of what was very good probably his usual state in the sketch entitled of mind. grow acquainted with them by ac tion . discuss them. it is easiest for a stranger to re main a stranger. with which constitutes in faculty of feeling delicately itself an illumination. in his appreciation of the country. late in life. as the French say. tions are those of a shy at stake. was an obligation that Hawthorne was Our sense. and derive a massive strength from their deep and immemorial . " The in street is it is an emblem of England itself. mentally. therefore.VL] ENGLAND AND ITALY. with nothing is. that his reflec and susceptible man. demanding constantly a special introduction country in which. as we read. his tastes. The new things are based and supported on sturdy old things. and this indisposed to incur.
These things are often of the lighter sort. [CHAP. brances may seem at times to give His want of incumhim a somewhat naked and attenuated appearance. so that there is no getting rid of it without tearing his whole struct ure to pieces. but Hawthorne's charming diction lin almost in the ear. of the . all to myself. dull. He presents a spec tacle which is by no means without its charm for a disin terested and unincumbered observer. but. foundations. with his enjoyment of the picturesque. commemorating town. though with such limitations and impediments as only an Englishman could endure. " At the charms of the hotel in that interesting any rate. I have said that Our Old Home contains much At hazard. and his still greater enjoyment of his own dissociation from these things. every step there is something one would like to quote something excellently well said. his relish of chiaroscuro. dingy. I had the great. moreover. and dreary cof fee-room." . he had bet ter stumble on with it as long as he can. There is all Hawthorne. In my judgment.150 HAWTHOKNE. and has grown to be rather a hump than a pack. of local colour. But he likes to feel the weight of all the past upon his back and. on the whole. with its heavy old mahogany chairs and tables. the antiquity that overburdens him has taken root in his being. he carries it off very well. I of his best writing. and on turning over the book at am struck with his frequent felicity of phrase. his "disinterest ed and unincumbered" condition. I have always gers in the memory remembered a field certain admirable characterisation of Doc tor Johnson. as he appears to be suffi ciently comfortable under the mouldy accretion. in the account of the writer's visit to Lich- and I will preface it by a paragraph almost as good.deposit of time. and not a soul to exchange a word with except .
tive propensities laughed yet. and never cared . and also how yeast is generally mixed up with the mental suste nance of a New Englander. It is wholesome food even now ! much And then. predecessors in that same unrestful couch. nor habits of reticence. of which I never had any conception before crossing the Atlantic. awoke. So I buried m3 self betimes in a huge heap of an cient feathers (there is no other kind of bed in these old inns). ploughshare depth to penetrate further than to his very sense and sagacity were but a I one-eyed clear-sightedness. like most of his class in England. how English ! Many of the latent sympathies . The whole chapter. as I now proved. it may not have been altogether amiss. and feed on the gross diet that he carried in his knapsack. in those childish and boyish days. who cer tainly has nowhere else been more tenderly spoken of. The atmosphere in which alone he breathed was dense his awful dread of death showed how much muddy imperfection was to be cleansed out of him before he could be capable of spiritual existence he meddled only with the : . elusive smell. the odour of a bygone century was in compounded of the night -troubles of all my And when I my nostrils a faint. sometimes considering that my na were towards Fairy Land. had evi dently left his conversational abilities uncultivated." Lichfield and Uttoxeter. to keep pace with this heavy-footed traveller. nor well-tested self-dependence for occupation of mind and amusement. nor any newspaper but a torn local journal of five days ago. and slept a r stifled sleep. entitled " is "Beyond all question I might have had a wiser friend than he. can quite avail. standing beside his knee. 151 the waiter. to dissipate the ponderous gloom of an English coffee-room under such cir cumstances as these. And at him. who. No former practice of solitary living." a sort of graceful tribute to Samuel Johnson. surface of life. with no book at hand save the county directory. let my head sink into an unsubstantial pillow.TL] ENGLAND AND ITALY.
may simul taneously touch them both. As far as your actual experience is concerned. with one finger of recollection . where the decrepit old day dimly discerns the face of the ominous infant and you. the sun is already shin ing through the curtains. deal chiefly with the superficial aspect of English life. and describe the material They objects with which the author was surrounded." The Note-Books. [CHAP. the great English moral Never was a descriptive epithet more nicely appropri ist. and another of prophecy. as I have said. and the rural beauty of the country has never been more happily expressed. though never wearisome. still enough daylight in the sky to make the pages of your book distinctly legible. They exist together in the golden twilight. at any reasonable hour." And quoting for mere beauty of expression I cannot forbear this passage about the days in a fine English summer.152 HAWTHORNE. hangs down a transparent veil through which the bygone day beholds its successor. and that so readily amalgamated themselves with the American ideas that seemed most adverse to them. may have been derived that enabled from. you live through unnumbered hours of Sabbath quietude. or fostered and kept alive by. When you awake. me to enjoy the Old Country so well. though a mere mortal. or if not quite true of the latitude of London. if there be any such season. it may be soberly affirmed of the more northern parts of the island that To-morrow is born before its Yester day is dead. while there is . But . ate than that ! Doctor Johnson's morality was as English an article as a beef-steak. "For each day seemed endless. the English summer day has positively no beginning and no end. Night. with a calm variety of incident and at length you softly etched upon their tranquil lapse become conscious that it is bedtime again. often describe them admirably.
frag ments of psychology and social criticism. 153 inevitably a great many reflections and inci dental judgments.TL] ENGLAND AND ITALY. and then went to Florence for the summer and au He tumn . Note-Books are very pleasant reading. . or because he wished to anticipate supersession by the new govern ment (Mr. which is never grossly manifest ed. reader this latter quality. for a reason that I will touch upon. for his contact with the life of the country. Buchanan's) which was just establishing itself at Washington. and it is here there are that Hawthorne's mixture of subtlety and simplicity. his interfusion of genius with what I have ventured to call To an American the provincial quality. must always. is most apparent. He appears to have suffered a great deal of discomfort . was simply that of the ordinary tourist which amounts to saying that it was extremely superficial. the element I speak of is especially striking. with his family. made the best of his way to Rome. but they are of less interest than the others. is not apparent from the slender sources of information from which these pages have been com In the month of January of the following year he piled. its people and its manners. as promptly as possible. betook himself. after which he returned to His Italian Rome and passed a second season. characterisations of people he met. and. spent the remainder of the winter and the spring there. but pervades the Journals like a vague natural per fume. have a consid and such a reader will accordingly take an erable charm even greater satisfaction in the Diaries kept during the two years Hawthorne spent in Italy for in these volumes . He resigned his consulate at Liverpool towards the close of 1857 and of the place whether because he was weary of his manner of life there itself. to the Continent. an odour of purity and kindness and integrity. as may well have been.
like other expresidents. a mind much widened and deepened by the experience of life. that Franklin Pierce. and not to have been. that pierced to very vitals. . did. was travelling in Europe. and that the Note -Books contain some singularly beautiful and touching allusions to his old friend's grati tude for his sympathy. came to Rome at the time. . We hold just the same relation to one another as of yore. whose presidential days were over. on the whole. the whole of my early and even better than I used to know him a heart as true and affectionate. [CHAP.154 HAWTHORNE." my with regard to this painful episode. in the best mood for enjoying the place and its re one time and another. still the same friend. on the whole. a large place in Hawthorne's mind. Transformation. and during his Rome he was in danger of losing his ble elder daughter by a malady which he speaks of as a trou " I may mention. and may hope to go on together. that there is it is supposed to hold in always something striking in any frank It occupied. Pierce was the object of it. enjoy proved by his beautiful romance. as foreigners learn to know it. as it were. been so much less commemorated in literature than might have been expected from the place life. and it is impossible not to feel the manly tender ness of such lines as these "I have found : him here in Rome. at is That he these things keenly tion of the lovely land of Italy. and we have passed all the turningolf places. in so far as and ardent expression of it. and who. and enjoyment of his society. But he took it hard. which could never have been written by a man who had not had many hours of exquisite apprecia sources. second winter in His future was again uncertain. The sentiment of friendship has. and depression in Rome. and suffered himself to be painfully discomposed by the usual accidents of Italian life.
Already. he breaks out into explicit sighs and groans. sion But we are unable to rid ourselves of the impres that Hawthorne was a good deal bored by the im portunity of Italian art. an exceedingly tiresome affair. and a little in the style of the traditional tourists' diary. I do not love him one whit the less for having been President." he wrote in " 1856. nor for having done me the greatest good in his power. friend for fiiend. every Transformation will re member the delightful colouring of the numerous pages in that novel. 155 clear friends. he had made the discovery that he could easily feel overdosed with such things. wishing (Heav en forgive me !) that the Elgin marbles and the frieze of the Parthenon were all burnt into lime. which are devoted to the pictorial aspects of Rome. "Yesterday. perhaps I might not have borne it so well but each did his best for the other.] ENGLAND AND long as ITALY. had never been cultivated. as we live. and frankly de clares that he washes his hands of it. a fact that speaks eloquent If ly in his favour. he had been merely a benefactor. in Eng land. as .vi. for which his taste. and I wandered from with a weary and heavy heart. . and that the gran ite Egyptian statues were hewn and squared into building- stones. there can be no better proof of than his curious aversion to This aversion the representation of the nude in sculpture. They abound in charm and reader of ing touches. and perhaps says a little for myself." which we often feel to be rather perfunctory. Occasionally. It quite crush es a person to see so hall to hall much at once. I went out at about twelve and visited the British Museum . indeed." The Note-Books are chiefly taken up with descriptions of the regular sights and " objects of interest." The plastic sense was not strong it in Hawthorne . naturally not keen.
Brown. esce in all very site had been obliterated before I ever saw it. ancient museums cold. exclaiming the upon incongruity of modern artists making naked fig ures. Before he left Italy. was deep-seated he constantly returns to it. and during the weeks of winter that followed his arrival in Rome he sat shivering by his fire.156 HAWTHORNE. In fact. from Nero's conflagration downward. and and I fully acqui the mischief and ruin that has happened to it. indeed. Whenever he talks of statues he whiteness of the marble ble as if it makes a great point of the smoothness and speaks of the surface of the mar were half the beauty of the image and when . [CHAP. of the country. he discourses of pictures.dormant heritage of his straight . little He suffered greatly from the and found charm in the climate. somewhere distinctly af Like a good American. he took more pleasure in the productions of Mr. . or accident. vague.laced Puritan ancestry. I do not mean by this that there are which now not still many natives of every land under the sun) of his fellow-countrymen (as there are many who are more suscep- . Mr. American artists who were plying their trade in Italy." Haw thorne presents himself to the reader of these pages as the last of the old-fashioned Americans I just and this is the interest said that his compatriots would find in his very limitations. Thompson and Mr. but its very essence and principle and his jealousy of undressed images strikes . the reader as a strange. of sculpture. long . He apparently quite failed to see that nudity is not an incident. than in the works which adorned the firms. Powers and Mr. I wish the shall rejoice to bid it farewell forever. Hart. one feels that the brightness or dinginess of the frame is an essential part of his impres sion of the work as he. he wrote to his publisher " I bitterly detest Rome. and wondering why he had come to such a land of misery.
there sprang anoth During the summer of 1858. depress ed. as well he one of the loveliest spots on earth. his er beautiful work. after having in the course of its career suffered many most vicissitudes and played many parts. sensibility. more cosmopolitan. Hawthorne was. is now almost inevitably more cultivated. an American of equal genius. Out of his mingled sensations. would at present inevitably accommodate himself more ea An American sily to the idiosyncrasies of foreign lands.vi. against incurring the charge of cherishing a national conscious my ness as acute as I have ventured to pronounce his own. 157 tible of being irritated than of being soothed by the influ ences of the Eternal City. imagination. as our forefathers said. which. for Hawthorne took a fancy it is to the place. discomforts and his reveries. What I mean is that an Amer ican of equal value with Hawthorne. the quality which excites the good-will of the American reader of our author's Journals for the dislocated. I must be on guard. and.J ENGLAND AND ITALY. in his unadulterated form. his pleasure and his wea riness. fortunate from being. more Europeanised in advance. and the . as cultivated as Hawthorne. near Florence. the positive side of the image quite extinguishes the negative. Absolutely the last of the earlier race of Americans far ly. against of being. a curious structure with a crenelated tower. even slightly-bewildered diarist. as a matter of course. and. now finds its vivid identity in being pointed out to strangers as the sometime residence of the celebrated American ro mancer. probably last ters . But I think of him as the specimen of the more primitive type of man of let and when it comes to measuring what he succeeded what he failed in being. It is very possible that in becoming so he has lost something of his occidental savour. he hired a picturesque old villa on the hill of Bellosguardo. might. however.
studded with Apennines. too. But here in Florence. [CHAP. The Villa Mon- . villas as picturesque as his own . head. tower and all. opposite . I like my present residence immensely. the to Pisa and the sea. and there are vast wildernesses of upper rooms which we have never yet sent exploring expeditions. and in the summer-time. great view that stretched itself before him contains every element of beauty.158 HAWTHORNE. which he wrote out during the following winter in Rome. and is big enough to quarter a regiment. ready to be written out. I first got acquainted with my own countrymen there. The house stands on a overlooking Florence. but I mean to take it away bodily and I have in my clap it into a romance. I have escaped out of all my old tracks. along its fertile valley. into apartments. haunt monk who was confined there in the thirteenth century. and in this se cluded villa. including servants. it was not much better. Florence lay at his feet. before returning to America. At Rome. previous to being burnt at the stake in the principal square of Florence." which This romance was Transformation. Soon after coming hither he wrote to a friend in a strain of high satisfaction. insomuch that each member of the family. " It is pleasant to feel at last that I am really away from America a satisfaction that I never really enjoyed as long as I stayed in Liverpool. on the way outward and homeward. has a separate suite of hill. the olive-coloured hills bloomed around him. and re-wrote during the several months that he spent in England. the perfect in form and colour. disposed themselves and Arno wandered in the distance. with her mem ories and treasures . chiefly at Leamington. where it seemed to be that the quin and hand-shaking Yankeedom was gradual and sublimated through my consulate. I hire this villa. at twenty-eight dollars a month . and am tessence of nasal ly filtered really remote. there is At one end of the house ed by owls and by the ghost of a a moss-grown tower.
I fear. who requested him to provide it with another. hour or two every day. so that it is only in America that the work bears the name Hawthorne's choice of this ap of The Marble Faun. 159 tauto figures.vi.. If I were but times richer than I am. the in a Under lequin pantomime." But he got away at last. and come to close grips with a romance which I have been trying to tear out of my " I shall mind. the opening chapter. Anything seem like a Paradise after a Roman winter. as I say. primarily in England the American edition immediately It is an odd fact that in the two countries the followed. same credit to myself. on the Yorkshire It was issued coast. with a heavy heart. after. for it completely the story. carrying his novel with him. . the subject of which is the living faun. mainly during some weeks that he passed at the little watering-place of Redcar.. he had worked it over. in fact. On the other hand. the patrimonial dwelling of the hero. by the way. not expecting to be ! a hundred very well contented there. in this tale as the castle of Monte" I take some Beni. on return " shut for myself up for an having sternly ing to Rome. how very comfortable I could be I consider it a great piece of good fortune that I have had and experience of the discomforts and miseries of Italy. the unfortunate His marble counterpart is mentioned only in Donatello. rather . Hawthorne com " gives one the idea of Har plained that Transformation either name. fails to characterise singular. the faun of flesh and blood. The title that the author had bestowed upon it did not satisfy the English publishers." And later in the same winter he says go home. will from home did not go directly England. . book came out under different titles." pellation is. late in the spring.] ENGLAND AND ITALY." he wrote to the friend. in February of the following year. however. and the book was published.
a position to which we sometimes hear it assigned.160 HAWTHORNE. . and is now the fashion. who has been there. far from regarding it as the masterpiece of the . book was a great success. and Hawthorne for feited a precious advantage in ceasing to tread his native Half the virtue of The Scarlet Letter and The House soil. It is very true that . to I and am and grace but a value than its my sense. He has described the streets and monuments of Rome with a closeness which forms no But part of his reference to those of Boston and Salem. [CHAP. or who expects to go. all go on more or less and of course the vague may as well be placed in Tuscany this been the It may also very well be urged in as in Massachusetts. he would probably have made a mistake in transporting the scene of his story graver His tales to a country which he knew only superficially. of interest it has. and so are many of the details subject but the whole thing is less simple and complete than either is of the three tales of American life. Had still case. for all this he incurs that penalty of seeming factitious and unauthoritative. author. and it has probably become the most popular of Hawthorne's four novels. " in the vague. which is always the result of an artist's at tempt to project himself into an atmosphere in which he has not a transmitted and inherited property. Hawthorne's favour here. It has a great deal of beauty. The admirable." as the French say. Hawthorne had no pretension to cultivate that literal exactitude which to portray actualities. slighter companions. An English . It is part of the intellectual equipment of the Anglo-Saxon visitor to Rome. of the Seven Gables is in their local quality they are im pregnated with the New England air. that in Transformation he has attempted to deal with actualities more than he did in either of his earlier novels. and is read by every English-speaking traveller who arrives there.
and every one will remember the fig ure of the simple. I shows himself too a But he of creation.] ENGLAND AND German ITALY. full of that The relations of these four people are moral picturesqueness which Hawthorne was always looking for.vi. by the commission of a crime. the novel is the most tory of Donatello. he found it in perfection in the his As I have said. and the thing remains a charming romance with in . to write delightful tions about her . and not so much a child as a charming. trinsic weaknesses. think. Allowing for all this. and there is a great deal of interest in the simple combination and opposition of the four actors. is are -to be found in it. This is the more noticeable as the scene very large. palpable little. and how he is brought to selfknowledge. . is an inferior one. But the productions in question always have about them something second-rate and imperfect. Donatello and Miriam. 161 or a writer (I put poets aside) may love Italy well fic enough. The subject. however. sensuous young Italian. and know her well enough. being in the book. the thing has often been done. there are no accessory fig ures. Donatello is rather vague and im he says too little and falls short. It is noticeable that. enough rich pression of it. who is not so much a man as a child. popular of his works. There is in Transformation enough beautiful perception of the inter and eloquent ex esting character of Rome. joyous. Kenyon and Hilda exclusively is occupy the scene. as I have a particularly happy one. in spite of the considerable length of the story. will. if the book could be saved but the style. as novels. and the great Roman background is constant ly presented to us. innocent animal. some of the finest pages in Hawthorne said. sitna- is enough of a creation to make us enter into the 8 . to save the book. and to a miserable conscious manhood. what the French call the genre.
162 HAWTHORNE. saddened and oppressed by She it. mankind.seeing feminine nature of Deeply touching is the representation of the manner in which these two essentially different persons dark. there is a woman in the affair. unacquainted with and untouched by impurity. with and the more widely . from the rest of The character of Hilda has always struck me one of those things that mark of genius. and finding existence complicated with a regret unfolded with a thousand ingenious and exquisite touches. unquestioning. This elation of evil. and yet wrong-doing has become a part of her experience. unworldly. between his immature and dimly-puzzled hero. is her rev She has done no wrong. of the dark deed by which her friends. the youth ignorant. to make the interest complete. unexacting devotion. unknown and unsuspected. Of course. gentle. her loss of perfect innocence. and to perceive the relief it would both give and borrow. at last she can bear it . are knit together. Miriam and Donatello. This pure and somewhat rigid following the vocation of a copyist of evil pictures in Rome. and the whole history of call it [CHAP. powerful. morally. or fall. has been accidentally the witness. tion. the which insulates them. brightly and harmlessly natu are equalised and bound together by their common secret. till carries it a long time. and with a ral tragic element in her own acquainted with life. and she carries the weight of her detested knowledge upon her heart. and Hawthorne has done few things more beautiful than the picture of the unequal complicity of guilt his clinging. passionate. to feel the propriety of such a figure as Hilda's. whichever one chooses to his tasting of the tree of knowl is edge. career. New England girl. his rise. It as an admirable invention man needed a man of genius and of Hawthorne's imaginative delicacy. Miriam. the woman intelligent.
it contains a great light threads of symbolism. His companions are intended to be it is not for want of intention . and pours out her dark knowledge into the bosom of the church then comes away with her conscience lightened. She has passed the whole at the end of it. of the guilty couple through the streets of Rome. she enters a strenuous daughter of the Puritans as she ." it would still deserve rank high among the imaginative productions of our day. confessional. af " blood-stained to terwards. and. The fault of Transformation is that the element of the unreal is pushed too far. as one part of Hawthorne's very manner say. not a whit the less a Puritan than before. and that the book is neither positively of one category nor of another. and the pages describing the murder committed by Donatello under Miriam's eyes. have called the whole idea of the pres ence and effect of Hilda in the story a trait of genius. streets of Rome. they belong face of his might much more to the sur work than to its stronger interest. tained nothing else noteworthy but this admirable scene. and a vague realm of fancy. lonely finding herself in St. These things are almost. 163 no longer.] ENGLAND AND If I ITALY. many which shimmer in the texture of the tale. summer in Rome and one day. in which quite a different verisimilitude prevails. His " moonshiny romance. Like all of Hawthorne's things. Peter's. whose The literal action wavers between the features the author perpetu ally sketches. of his vocabulary . . and the ecstatic wandering. the purest touch of inspiration is the episode in which the poor girl deposits her burden. real if they fail to be so." he a calls it in little a letter . in truth. fingers if we attempt but which are apt to break and remain in our to handle them. If the book con is. the lunar element is too pervasive.vi. This is the trouble with Donatello himself.
He is of a different substance from them . seems to me more at fault than in the author's other novels. in it definitely a pity that the author should not have made him more modern. and towards the close lapses into an almost fatal vagueness. as you please. I may go on to say lo. in Transformation. Among the young Italians of to-day there are still plenty of models for such an image as Hawthorne appears to have wished to present in the easy and natural DonatelAnd since I am speaking critically. whereas he intended to be real or not. is [CHAP. much more than to that of real psychol ogy. vi. that the art of narration. The story and wanders. it is as if a composing a picture. is dropped and taken up again. straggles . without reverting so much to his myth ological properties and antecedents. but which belong to the region of pict uresque conceits. should try to give you an impression of one of his figures by a strain of music. but I think painter. The idea of the modern faun was a charming one. which are very grace fully touched upon.164 HAWTHORNE.
But it does not appear. on his return. and of his look ing at all things. during his residence in Europe. the Indeed. and of which his occupancy had as yet been brief. closing part of his life was a of the more acute that it followed direct period dejection. And his European residence had been brightest at the last." he writes from London. LAST YEARS. seven of the ly upon years happiest opportunities he was larger section of his native soil he disembarked. that he found himself treading with any great exhilaration the upon which. I have insisted upon America in the in the house the fact of his being an intense American. summer of 1860. he had broken almost completely with those habits of extreme seclusion into which he was to relapse on his return to Concord.CHAPTER VII. to have known. nevertheless. from the standpoint of that carried about with little clod of Western earth which he as the him good Mohammedan carries the strip of carpet on which he kneels down to face to wards Mecca. He was to occupy it only four years. shortly before . OF the four much to tell to last years of Hawthorne's life there is not He returned that I have not already told. and took up his abode he had bought at Concord before going to Europe. "You would be stricken dumb.
166 it HAWTHORNE. delicate. directly. low. for if I had my choice I should leave undone almost all the things I " When he found himself once more on the old " ground. first. and. he composed . not a little sadness in the thought of Hawthorne's literary gift light. and have been able to produce his charming prose only when the fancy took him." he adds in the same better than for has done rne a wonderful deal of good. with the old struggle for subsistence staring him in the face again. We feel that it was not intended for such grossness. what my engagements without a murmur. and that in a world he would have enjoyed a liberal pen an assured subsistence. quietly I accept is a whole string of invitations. It was not a propitious time for affair was a to that cultivating the Muse. and a fatal blow happy faith in the uninterruptedness of American prosperity which I have spoken of as the religion of the old-fashioned American in -general. ca pricious." There a certain degree of depression would fol indeed. brightness of the outlook at home was not made greater by the explosion of the Civil War in the spring of 1861. being charged with the heavy burden of the maintenance of a family. exquisite. it is not difficult do. [CHAP. bitter disappointment to him. fiction has left to say. . and I feel months past. but over Hawthorne the war-cloud ap The whole pears to have dropped a permanent shadow." writes Mr. To fiction. and the three years that follow The ed them. perform stir The of this London " letter. This is strange. and the old-fashioned Democrat in particular. were not a cheerful time for any persons but army-contractors. life." to conceive how is. when history little herself is so hard at work. Lathrop. " leaving to see how . for the last time. more. ideally constituted sion. . never too abundant. Hawthorne did not address himself. somehow or other. These months.
and it is well to remember. and about this dedication there was some little difficulty. politically considered. His answer (to his much to the point. in a false posi tion. 167 chiefly during the year 1862. publisher) was " I find that in plain terms. . the sale of his book.VIL] LAST YEARS. there is so much the more need that an old . the credit of belonging . My long and intimate personal relations with Pierce render the dedication altogether proper. though this work has less value than his purely imag inative things. large section of the Democratic party was not in A good odour at the North. Haw was thorne's cast of full of clear. might injure the success. mind The air battle-smoke. to its greater honour. the writing is singularly good. without a grain of concession. if not as he was. made It was represented to Hawthorne that as General Pierce it was rather out of fashion. with rea and our author was conscious of some sharpness of responsibility in de fending the illustrious friend of whom he had already son or without. He defended him manfully. and. and the poet's vision was not easily Hawthorne was irritated. too. To this wing of the party Franklin Pierce had. that it was produced at a time when it was painfully hard for a man of to fix his attention. and described the ex-Presi dent to the public (and to himself). then as he ought to be. himself the advocate. Our Old Home is dedicated to him. by the sense of being to a certain extent. it would be a piece of poltroonery in rne to withdraw either the dedication or the dedicatory letter. its loyalty was not perceived to be of that clear strain which public opinion required. especially as regards this book. I have said that. the chapters of which our Our Old Home was afterwards made up. which would have had no existence without his kindness and if he is so exceedingly unpopular that his name ought to sink the volume.
no man's hopes . than those of Franklin . go back from what I have deliberately felt and thought it right to do and if I were to tear out the dedication I should never look at the vol ume again without remorse and shame. merely on account of pecuniary profit on literary reputation. So I have looked over the concluding para graph. If the public of the North see fit to ostracise me for this." dedication was published. while doing . was the earliest that your brave father For other men there may be a choice of taught you. . paths for you but one and it rests among my certainties that no man's loyalty is more steadfast.168 HAWTHORNE. I can only say that I would gladly sacrifice a thousand or two dollars. As for the literary public. or more closely intertwined with his pos sibilities of personal happiness. as you once told me. and Hawthorne was not ostracised. I have no fancy for making myself a martyr when it is honourably and conscientiously possible to avoid it and I always measure out heroism very accurately according to the exigencies of the occasion. Nevertheless. I need no assurance that you continue faithful for ever to that grand idea of an irrevocable Union which. it must accept my book precisely as I think fit to give it. what I know to be justice to my friend. it contains not a word that ought to be objectionable to any set of readers. with the record of your life in my memory. or let it alone. friend should stand by him. rather than retain the good-will of such a herd of dolts and mean-spirited scoundrels. [CHAP. and with a sense of your character in my deeper conscious ness. or apprehensions on behalf of our national existence more deeply heartfelt. that. as among the few things that time has left as it found them. : book was eminently The para " graph under discussion stands as follows Only this let me say. and have amended it in such a way that. and should be the last man in the world to throw away a bit of it needlessly. I cannot. the The successful.
1862. at the eleventh hour. surely a piece of "I consistency that might have been allowed to pass. sportive feeling. for they served as a kind of formal profession of faith. by a loved and honoured writer. on the That some of question of the hour. all sympathy with the writer's political The heresies strike the reader of to-day as ex tremely mild. nor did I expect ever to shrink so unutterably from any apophthegm of a sage whose happy lips have uttered a hundred golden sentences " the allusion here. and the paper is accompanied with several little notes disclaiming heresies. which Hawthorne contributed to the Altantic Monthly for July. " is to Mr. with which Hawthorne should have allowed his arti He had not been an Abolitionist before the War." know not how well the ex -President liked these lines.TIL] LAST YEARS. I suppose. shall not pretend to be an admirer of old John Brown. and which. " any further than sym pathy with Whittier's excellent ballad about him may go . in a page worth quoting. that the death of this blood-stained fanatic has ' made the Gallows as venerable 8* . I 169 Pierce. was. but the public thought them admirable. has not been reprinted. his friends thought such a profession needed is apparent from the numerous editorial ejaculations and protests appended to an article describing a visit he had just paid to Washington. for instance." he says. and that he should not pretend to be one it is strange that cle to be encumbered. singular ly enough. Emerson as from that saying (perhaps falsely attributed to so honoured a name). is the questionable taste of the editorial commentary. The article has all the the usual merit of such sketches on Hawthorne's part with consum of merit delicate. expressed mate grace but the editor of the periodical appears to have thought that he must give the antidote with the poison. rather. and what excites his emotion.
more justly hanged. On the other hand. I his martyrdom fairly. if it were only in requital of his preposterous miscalculation of possibilities. and impulsive persons have joined the Rebels. He am persuaded (such was his natural integrity). not from any real zeal for the cause. and could defend it self by such plausible arguments as against that of the United . thousands of warm-hearted.170 as the Cross!' HAWTHORNE. take the would have acknowledged that Virginia had a right to life which he had staked and lost although it . and shy regards that are cast upon our troops. in such a passage as the following " I tried to imagine : how very disagreeable the presence of a Southern army would be in a sober town of Massachusetts and the thought considerably lessened my wonder at the cold . would have been better for if her. this is a capital expression of the saner estimate. of the dauntless sense. looking at the matter unsentimentally. sympathy with rebellion. between two conflicting loyalties. or scarcely hidden. and took fairly. Nobody was ever [CHAP. they chose that which necessarily lay nearest the heart. but because. It is a. qualities and so. interfused with light. which are so frequent here. undoubtedly. the sullen demeanour. There never existed any other Govern ment against which treason was so easy. just appreciable irony. in the United and deluded old man who pro a posed to solve complex political problem by stirring up There is much of the same sound a servile insurrection. the gloom. the declared. States. must have felt a certain intellectual satisfac tion in seeing him hanged. it He won himself. generous. any common-sensible man. of his nality attempt in its enormous folly. in the hour that is fast she could generously have forgotten the crimi coming." Now that the heat of that great conflict has passed away. strange thing in women human life that the greatest errors both of men and often spring from their sweetest and most generous .
or at farthest. therefore. but allow him an honourable burial in the soil he fights for. The author strikes. so intensely sen sitive to the dignity and well-being of his little island. treading anywhere upon it. to our own as if it little section. after his death. But it is it was doubtless not particu interesting as an example of the way an imaginative man judges see the other side as well as his current events trying to to feel his ad what own. and present his view of the case. The ments. orous prosecution of the war. In the vast extent of our country too vast by far to be taken into one small human heart we inevitably limit to our own State. and in cludes the altar and the hearth. larly pertinent. LAST YEARS. for a bad cause with a quiet conscience. he lived to finish. let us shoot him if we can. would make a bruise on each individual breast. to which he had given the shorter of these frag name of The Dolliver is so very brief that little can be said of it.VIL] States. patriotic. who seem to themselves not merely innocent but . with all his usual sweetness. versary feels. . but both of which were published. were the that sentiment of physical love for the soil which renders an Englishman. 171 The anomaly of two allegiances (of which that of home to a man's feeling." To is this attached paragraph a line of deprecation from the editor and indeed. If a man loves his own State. neither of which ers. But he had other occupations for his imagination than putting himself into the shoes of unappreciative Southern He began at this time two novels. for example. while the General Govern ment claims his devotion only to an airy mode of law. the opening Romance. and is content to be ruined with her. and the State comes nearest has no symbol but a flag) is exceedingly mischievous in this point of view for it has converted crowds of honest people into traitors. as fragments. that one hostile foot. from the point of view of a vig . and who die best.
as ness. gives us but a very partial measure of Hawthorne's full intention . therefore. and it is intention was book. its gaps. to speak of Septimius Felton. widely from the author's biographer and son-in-law in thinking greatest weight it a work of the and value.172 HAWTHORNE. doing by lightly. notes of a story of New England life. and the best that might it have come of would have been very much below The . virtually. or the Elixir of I have purposely reserved but a small space for Life for the part of discretion seems to be to pass it so. This was to do it a great wrong. who regards a certain portion of it as "one of the very greatest triumphs in all literature. The other rough sketch it is hardly more is in a manner complete it was unfortunately deemed complete enough to be brought out in a magazine as a serial novel. I am at a loss to know how . much Even if we finer equally easy to believe that this than anything we find in the The idea itself seems a failure. and the few pages which have been given to the world contain a charming picture of an old man and a child. enjoyed the very bright light that has been projected upon this essentially crude piece of work. reader that Septimius Felton. and I do not go too far in saying that poor Hawthorne would probably not have . I differ. however. its it It is plain to any stands. I incline to think that we should regard it as very much the weakest of Hawthorne's productions. Lathrop quotes. possessed the novel in its complete form. with its rough treat mere allusiveness and slightness of ment. and still more widely from a critic whom Mr. offering striking analogies with Goethe's Faust . [CHAP." It seems to me almost cruel to pitch in this exalted key one's estimate of the rough first draught of a tale in regard to which the author's premature death operates. as a complete renunciation of pretensions.
not even forming a background to the sequel. symbolic. The appeal to our interest is not felicitously made. swer to criticism is. having struck the note of the great public agitation which overhung his . and then drops out of the narrative altogether. my . to assure eternity of existence. that this is allegorical. or else. that a great historical event the war of the Revolution is introduced in the first few pages. to use Hawthorne's own expres as the allegory itself. though it might figure with advantage in a short story of the pattern of the Twice-Told Tales. in order to supply the hero with a pretext for killing the young man from whose grave the flower of immortality is to sprout. Indeed. Another fault of the story is. It seems to me that Haw thorne should either have invented some other occasion for the death of his young officer. appears too slender to carry the weight of a novel. live forever and the idea of a young man enabling himself to by concocting and imbibing a magic draught has the misfortune of not appealing to our sense of reality. or even to our sympathy. ideal but we feel that it symbolises nothing substantial. The weakness of Septimius Felton is that the reader cannot take the hero seriously a fact of which there can be no better proof than the ele ment of the ridiculous which inevitably mingles itself in the scene in which he entertains his lady-love with a pro phetic sketch of his occupations during the successive I suppose the an centuries of his earthly immortality. this whole matter of elixirs and potions belongs to the fairy-tale period of taste. and the fancy of a potion. #nd that the trates is as sion. being made from the flowers which spring from the grave of a man whom the distiller of the potion has deprived of life. truth whatever it may be that it illus moonshiny.TIL] LAST YEARS. The House of the 173 Scarlet Letter or Seven Gables.
relatively speaking." he wrote to his publisher in De cember. to induce him to spare me another visit. [CHAP. though I with. which had been promised to the subscribers of the Allanlie Monthly (it was the first time he had undertaken to publish a work of fiction in monthly parts)." he went on. such as I never felt before. but he was unable to write. and that. to in treating the upon these things. . even had it been finished. will set about it soon. to writing yet. am most me from you hap who . "but terrible reluctance. pen to see Mr. group of characters. To avoid this er ror. and his consciousness of an unperformed task weighed upon him. feeble. have been careful to sound it through the rest of his tale. I really am not well. 1863. however. pray tell him anything your conscience will let you. and did " little to dissipate his physical inertness. grateful to you.174 little HAWTHORNE. of L a young man .was here last summer. "for protecting If that visitation of the elephant and his cub. I shall make no other criticism of details. and cannot be disturbed by strangers. it The year 1864 brought with for Hawthorne a sense of weakness and depression from which he had little relief during the four or five months that were left him of life. I do wrong. He had his engagement to produce The Dolliver Romance. without more suffering than it is month later he was obliged worth while to endure. I have not yet had courage to read the Dolliver proof-sheet. which I know he intended. but shall make an effort as soon as I see A . for I fall thereby into the error of work as if it had been cast into its ultimate form and acknowledged by the author. but content sist myself with saying that the idea and intention of the book appear." " I am not quite up to ask for a further postponement. it in the public esteem would have occupied a very different place from the writer's masterpieces.
I am not low-spirited. You ought to be thankful that (like most other broken-down authors) I do not pester you with decrepit pages. . but look what seem to me realities in the face. as finally broken down as to ." age But he was not to go to England he started three months later upon a briefer journey. according to a letter " . and am ready to take whatever may come. . printed by Mr. Hawthorne. I think that the sea-voy and the old Home might set me all right. perhaps not. and in from Mrs.. them lost its temper and its fine edge. pretty well what the case will be. April. though I know I shall never finish it. His health was seriously disordered. it will be my death not that I should care much his literally faculty. Seriously. if I making.TIL] LAST YEARS... 175 any hope of success. but the "new remained absent . and insist upon your accepting That trouble.. Perhaps I shall have a new if I wait of quietly for it. my mind has. and that " I hardly know what to say he should never finish it. and at the to the public about this abortive romance." His feebleness returned. spirit of vigour" end of February he wrote to Mr. Yet it is not quite pleasant for an author to announce himself." vigour spirit The winter passed away. he had been miserably ill. and I have an instinct that I had better keep quiet. Fields. nor fanci nor freakish. Fields that his novel had simply broken down. . as full of the old spirit and vigour. thus ending a life of much smoulder and a scanty fire in a blaze of glory. But I should smother myself in mud for that. after I shall have reached a fur ther stage of decay. but go to England now. still awaits you. or to be announced. from which he never I could * ' . If of my own ful. could fight the battle through and win it. I cannot finish it unless a great comes over and if I make too great an effort me change to do so. for the time. perhaps.
It had been sophisticated. and his life had been singularly exempt from worldly preoccupations and vulgar efforts. and He was buried at entitled the Pemigiwasset House. it is too original and exquisite to pass away ." a on his behalf. in the hope of getting some of air. but he was.station. expressed a wish He was not go far he only reached a little place called Plymouth. His companion. indifferent substitute for the resource for which to his wife had. according to the common phrase. He was a beautiful. and Hawthorne consented.176 HAWTHORNE. but with a His in his charming art. he appears to have had no definite malady. on the 18th of May. visit to some island in the Gulf Stream. tour together and this was an " . He had as pure. among the his niche. was complete . Gen eral Pierce proposed to him that they should make a little among the mountains of New Hampshire. Concord. No men of imagination he will always have one has had just that vision of life. one of the stations of approach to the beautiful mountainscenery of New Hampshire. great deal of quiet devotion work will remain . without pretension. as his work. tranquilly. failing. ed away. Pierce. when. as un lived primarily in his . going into his room in the early morning. [CHAP. without a sign or a sound. This happened at the hotel of the place a vast white edifice adjacent to the railway . comfortably. as simple. then domestic affections. found had pass that he had breathed his last during the night in his sleep. The Northern New Eng profit from the change land spring is not the most genial season in the world. which were of the tenderest kind and without eagerness. natural. General 1864. and many of the most distinguished men in the country stood by his grave. and no form that more successfully express- one has had a literary . death overtook him. original genius.
the poets are more purely inconclusive and irre He combined in a singular degree the spon sponsible. richer.VIL] LAST YEARS. 177 ed his He was not a moralist. and be was not sim The moralists are weightier. in ply a poet. taneity of the imagination with a haunting care for moral Man's conscience was his theme. . a sense . out of its substance. I may almost say. but he saw problems. denser. it own in the light of a creative fancy which added. THE END. vision. an im portance. and. an interest.
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