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Title: The Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Appendix to Volume XII: Tales, Sketches, and other Papers by Nathaniel Hawthorne with a Biographical Sketch by George Parsons Lathrop - Biographical Sketch of Nathaniel Hawthorne
Author: Lathrop, George Parsons, 1851-1898
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, Appendix to Volume XII: Tales, Sketches, and other Papers by Nathaniel Hawthorne with a Biographical Sketch by George Parsons Lathrop - Biographical Sketch of Nathaniel Hawthorne" ***

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Transcriber's note

This text is an appendix to volume 12 of a 13-volume set of the complete
works of Nathaniel Hawthorne entitled:

    The Complete Works of Nathaniel Hawthorne, with Introductory Notes
    by George Parsons Lathrop and illustrated with Etchings by Blum,
    Church, Dielman, Gifford, Shirlaw, and Turner in Thirteen Volumes,
    Volume XII.

    Tales, Sketches, and other Papers by Nathaniel Hawthorne with a
    Biographical Sketch by George Parsons Lathrop.

    BOSTON HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY New York: 11 East Seventeenth
    Street The Riverside Press, Cambridge 1883.

Some illustrations of this work have been moved from the original
sequence to enable the contents to continue without interruption.
Punctuation inconsistencies have been silently corrected. A list of
other corrections made can be found at the end of the book.

  Mark up: _italics_
           +bold+



  +Riverside Edition+

  THE COMPLETE WORKS OF NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE, WITH INTRODUCTORY NOTES BY
  GEORGE PARSONS LATHROP

  AND ILLUSTRATED WITH

  _Etchings by Blum, Church, Dielman, Gifford, Shirlaw, and Turner_

  IN THIRTEEN VOLUMES

  VOLUME XII.

  [Illustration]



  TALES, SKETCHES, AND OTHER PAPERS

  BY

  NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

  _WITH A BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH_ BY GEORGE PARSONS LATHROP

  [Illustration]

  BOSTON HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY New York: 11 East Seventeenth
  Street +The Riverside Press, Cambridge+ 1883



  Copyright, 1850, 1852, 1862, 1864, and 1876, BY NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE,
  TICKNOR & FIELDS, AND JAMES R. OSGOOD & CO.

  Copyright, 1878, BY ROSE HAWTHORNE LATHROP.

  Copyright, 1883, BY HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO.

  _All rights reserved._


  _The Riverside Press, Cambridge:_ Electrotyped and Printed by H. O.
  Houghton & Co.



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

I.


THE lives of great men are written gradually. It often takes as long to
construct a true biography as it took the person who is the subject of
it to complete his career; and when the work is done, it is found to
consist of many volumes, produced by a variety of authors. We receive
views from different observers, and by putting them together are able to
form our own estimate. What the man really was not even himself could
know; much less can we. Hence all that we accomplish, in any case, is to
approximate to the reality. While we flatter ourselves that we have
imprinted on our minds an exact image of the individual, we actually
secure nothing but a typical likeness. This likeness, however, is
amplified and strengthened by successive efforts to paint a correct
portrait. If the faces of people belonging to several generations of a
family be photographed upon one plate, they combine to form a single
distinct countenance, which shows a general resemblance to them all: in
somewhat the same way, every sketch of a distinguished man helps to fix
the lines of that typical semblance of him which is all that the world
can hope to preserve.

This principle applies to the case of Hawthorne, notwithstanding that
the details of his career are comparatively few, and must be marshalled
in much the same way each time that it is attempted to review them. The
veritable history of his life would be the history of his mental
development, recording, like Wordsworth's "Prelude," the growth of a
poet's mind; and on glancing back over it he too might have said, in
Wordsworth's phrases:--

    "Wisdom and spirit of the universe!
    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
    By day or star-light thus from my first dawn
    Of childhood didst thou intertwine for me
    The passions that build up the human soul;
    Not with the mean and vulgar works of man,
    But with high objects, with enduring things--
    With life and nature, purifying thus
    The elements of feeling and of thought,
    And sanctifying by such discipline
    Both pain and fear, until we recognize
    A grandeur in the beatings of the heart."

But a record of that kind, except where an autobiography exists, can be
had only by indirect means. We must resort to tracing the outward facts
of the life, and must try to infer the interior relations.

Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on the Fourth of July, 1804, at Salem,
Massachusetts, in a house numbered twenty-one, Union Street. The house
is still standing, although somewhat reduced in size and still more
reduced in circumstances. The character of the neighborhood has declined
very much since the period when Hawthorne involuntarily became a
resident there. As the building stands to-day it makes the impression
simply of an exceedingly plain, exceedingly old-fashioned, solid,
comfortable abode, which in its prime must have been regarded as proof
of a sufficient but modest prosperity on the part of the occupant. It is
clapboarded, is two stories high, and has a gambrel roof, immediately
beneath which is a large garret that doubtless served the boy-child well
as a place for play and a stimulant for the sense of mystery. A single
massive chimney, rising from the centre, emphasizes by its style the
antiquity of the building, and has the air of holding it together. The
cobble-stoned street in front is narrow, and although it runs from the
house towards the water-side, where once an extensive commerce was
carried on, and debouches not far from the Custom House where Hawthorne
in middle life found plenty of occupation as Surveyor, it is now silent
and deserted.

He was the second of three children born to Nathaniel Hathorne,
sea-captain, and Elizabeth Clarke Manning. The eldest was Elizabeth
Manning Hathorne, who came into the world March 7, 1802; the last was
Maria Louisa, born January 9, 1808, and lost in the steamer Henry Clay,
which was burned on the Hudson River, July 27, 1852. Elizabeth survived
all the members of the family, dying on the 1st of January, 1883, when
almost eighty-one years old, at Montserrat, a hamlet in the township of
Beverly, near Salem. In early manhood, certainly at about the time when
he began to publish, the young Nathaniel changed the spelling of his
surname to Hawthorne; an alteration also adopted by his sisters. This is
believed to have been merely a return to a mode of spelling practised by
the English progenitors of the line, although none of the American
ancestors had sanctioned it.

"The fact that he was born in Salem," writes Dr. George B. Loring, who
knew him as a fellow-townsman, "may not amount to much to other people,
but it amounted to a great deal to him. The sturdy and defiant spirit of
his progenitor, who first landed on these shores, found a congenial
abode among the people of Naumkeag, after having vainly endeavored to
accommodate itself to the more imposing ecclesiasticism of Winthrop and
his colony at Trimountain, and of Endicott at his new home. He was a
stern Separatist ... but he was also a warrior, a politician, a legal
adviser, a merchant, an orator with persuasive speech.... He had great
powers of mind and body, and forms a conspicuous figure in that imposing
and heroic group which stands around the cradle of New England. The
generations of the family that followed took active and prominent part
in the manly adventures which marked our entire colonial period.... It
was among the family traditions gathered from the Indian wars, the
tragic and awful spectre of the witchcraft delusion, the wild life of
the privateer, that he [Nathaniel] first saw the light."

The progenitor here referred to is William Hathorne, who came to America
with John Winthrop in 1630. He had grants of land in Dorchester, but was
considered so desirable a citizen that the town of Salem offered him
other lands if he would settle there; which he did. It has not been
ascertained from what place William Hathorne originally came. His elder
brother Robert is known to have written to him in 1653 from the village
of Bray, in Berkshire, England; but Nathaniel Hawthorne says in the
"American Note-Books" that William was a younger brother of a family
having for its seat a place called Wigcastle, in Wiltshire. He became,
however, a person of note and of great usefulness in the community with
which he cast his lot, in the new England. Hathorne Street in Salem
perpetuates his name to-day, as Lathrop Street does that of Captain
Thomas Lathrop, who commanded one of the companies of Essex militia,
when John Hathorne was quartermaster of the forces; Thomas Lathrop, who
marched his men to Deerfield in 1675, to protect frontier inhabitants
from the Indians, and perished with his whole troop, in the massacre at
Bloody Brook. The year after that, William Hathorne also took the field
against the Indians, in Maine, and conducted a highly successful
campaign there, under great hardships. He had been the captain of the
first military organization in Salem, and rose to be major. He served
for a number of years as deputy in the Great and General Court; was a
tax-collector, a magistrate, and a bold advocate of colonial
self-government. Although opposed to religious persecution, as a
magistrate he inflicted cruelties on the Quakers, causing a woman on one
occasion to be whipped through Salem, Boston, and Dedham. "The figure of
that first ancestor," Hawthorne wrote in "The Custom House," "invested
by family tradition with a dim and dusky grandeur, was present to my
boyish imagination as far back as I can remember;" so that it is by no
means idle to reckon the history of his own family as among the
important elements influencing the bent of his genius. John, the son of
William, was likewise a public character; he, too, became a
representative, a member of the Governor's council, a magistrate and a
military officer, and saw active service as a soldier in the expedition
which he headed against St. John, in 1696. But he is chiefly remembered
as the judge who presided over the witchcraft trials and displayed great
harshness and bigotry in his treatment of the prisoners. His
descendants did not retain the position in public affairs which had been
held by his father and himself; and for the most part they were
sea-faring men. One of them, indeed, Daniel--the grandfather of
Nathaniel--figured as a privateer captain in the Revolution, fighting
one battle with a British troop-ship off the coast of Portugal, in which
he was wounded; but the rest led the obscure though hardy and
semi-romantic lives of maritime traders sailing to Africa, India, or
Brazil. The privateersman had among his eight children three boys, one
of whom, Nathaniel, was the father of the author, and died of fever in
Surinam, in the spring of 1808, at the age of thirty-three.


                 HATHORNE FAMILY OF SALEM, MASSACHUSETTS.

                              Hathorne =
                                       |
     +-------------------+-------------+---------+-----+
     |                   |                       |     |
  Robert Hathorne    William, came in the = Anne | John Hathorne of = Sarah
  writes to his      Arbella, with John   |      | Salem and Lynn,  |
  brother, William,  Winthrop 1630; first |      | died in Lynn     |
  from Bray (Berks), of Dorchester;       |      | 12 Dec. 1676.    |
  1 April, 1653.     afterwards of Salem; |      | Will sworn to    |
                     deputy, speaker of   |      | 25-1-1677.       |
                     the House,           |      |                  |
                     Assistant, Major     |      |                  |
                     commanding in        |      |                  |
                     Indian Wars; ob.     |      |                  |
                     1681 in 74th year of |      |                  |
                     his age. Will proved |      |                  |
                     28 June, 1681.       |      |                  |
                                          |      |                  |
   +--------------------------------------+      |                  |
   |                                             |                  |
   |                         +-------------------+                  |
   |                         |                                      |
   |                     Elizabeth = Capt. Richard Davenport        |
   |                         (?)     killed by lightning            |
   |                                 15 July, 1665.                 |
   |                                                                |
   |   +-------+-----------+---+--------------+-+---+---------------+
   |   |       |           |   |              | |   |               |
   |   |    John           | William b. in    | | Phebe b. in Lynn  |
   |   |    bapt. at Salem | Lynn ---- Nov.   | |  22 March, 1665.  |
   |   |    18 Oct. 1646.  | 1651; d. 14 Sept.| |                   |
   |   |                   | 1676.            | |                   |
   |   |                   |                  | |                   |
   |   |                   |                  | |                   |
   | Sarah bapt. at Salem  |                  | Ebenezer b. in Lynn |
   | 2 June, 1644.         |                  | ---- March, 1656.   |
   |                   Priscilla              |                     |
   |                   bapt. at Salem         |                     |
   |                   22 July, 1649;       Mary b. in Lynn         |
   |                   m. 15 Jan. 1669      ---- July 1653;         |
   |                   to Jonathan Shore.   d. 31 Dec. 1676.        |
   |                                                                |
   |                                                          Nathaniel
   |                                                        named in his
   |                                                        father's will.
   +-+--------------+--+------+---------------+-+-----+-----------+
     |              |  |      |               | |     |           |
   ----  = ----     |  | Nathaniel            | | William = Sarah |
   (dau.) | Helwise |  | b. 11 Aug. 1639.     | | b. 1 Apr.       |
          |         |  |                      | | 1645;           |
  Gervice Helwise   |  |                      | | d. 14 July,     |
  in "Urop"         |  |                      | | 1676. Captain.  |
  according         |  |                      | |                 |
  to his gr.        |  |                      | |                 |
  father's will.    |  |                      | |                 |
                    |  |                      | Anna born         |
                    |  |                      | 12 Dec. 1643;     |
                    |  |                      | m. 27 Jan. 1664-5 |
                    |  |                      | to Joseph Porter. |
                    | Eleazer b. 1 Aug. 1637; |       +-----------+
                    | m. 28-6-1663, Abigail,  |       |
                    | dau. of Capt. George    |  Elizabeth
                    | Curwen, of Salem.       |  b. 22 July, 1649;
                    |                         |  m. 20-9-1672
              Sarah born 11 March, 1644-5;    |  to Israel Porter.
              m. 13 April, 1665, to Joseph    |
              Coker of Newbury, and died      |
              3 Feb'y, 1688.                  |
                    +-------------------------+
                    |
               John b. 4 Aug. 1641        = Ruth dau. of Lieut.
               representative; Assistant; | George Gardner;
               Judge in Witchcraft cases; | married 22-1-1674-5.
               Judge Sup. Court 1702-15;  |
               Colonel; died 10 May,      |
               1717; will proved 27 June, |
               1717.                      |
                                          |
    +--------------------+--------+-------+----+--+-------------------+
    |                    |        |            |  |                   |
  John b. 10 Jan'y 1675. |        |            |  |                   |
                         |        |            | Ruth, = James Pitman |
                  Nathaniel =    Ebenezer      | bapt.                |
                  b. 25 Nov.| bapt. Mch. 1685. | Sept. 1694.          |
                  1678.     |                  |               Benjamin
                   +--------+                  |         (named in his
                   |                           |         father's will).
                 John mentioned                |
                 in his gr. father's will.     |
                           +-------------------+
                           |
                 Joseph bapt. June, 1691.   = Sara dau. of Capt. W.
                 Will proved 15 July, 1762. | Bowditch b. 10 Jan'y,
                                            | 1695-6.
                                            |
    +---------------------+-------+---+-------------------+---------+--+
    |                     |       |   |                   |         |  |
  William =  Mary dau. of |       | Sarah = Daniel Chever |         |  |
  born 20    John Touzell |       | bapt.                 |         |  |
  Feb'y,     m. 29 March, |       | 27 Jan. 1722.         |         |  |
  1715-1716. 1741.        |       |                   Ebenezer      |  |
                       Joseph     |             bapt. 26 Dec. 1725. |  |
                       bapt. 4th  |               +-----------------+  |
                       May, 1718. |               |    +---------------+
                                  |               |    |
                                  |               | Ruth = David Ropes
                                  |               |        m. 30 Sept.
            +---------------------+               |        1752.
            |                                     |
     John bapt.        = Susanna Touzell          |
     22 May, 1719,     |  will pro. 7 Sept.       |
     d. 6 Feb'y, 1750. |  1802.                   |
                       |                          |
                       +--John   }                |
                       |         } ment. in will  |
                       +--Susanna} of gr. father. |
                                                  |
                                    Daniel, a mariner; = Rachel Phelps
                                    adm. gr. to wid.   |
                                    4 May, 1796.       |
                                                       |
   +----------------+----+--------+---------+---+------+---+
   |                |    |        |         |   |      |   |
  Daniel            |  Eunice     |         |   | Ruth b.  |
  b. 23 June, 1759; |  b. 4 Oct.  |         |   | 20 Jan.  |
  d. 13 Mar. 1763.  |  1766.      |         |   | 1778; d. |
   +----------------+  Ob. s. p.  |         |   | 26 July, |
   |                            Daniel      |   | 1847.    |
  Sarah = John Crowninshield.   b. 25 July, |   |          |
  b. 11 May 1763.               1768.       |   |     Rachel = Simon
            +-------------------------------+   |            | Forrester.
            |                                   |            |
         Judith   = George Archer               |            --
  b. 17 Apr. 1770.  m. 2 March, 1792.           |
                                                |
    +-------------------------------------------+
    |
  Nathaniel, Sea Captain; b. 19 May, 1775; = Elizabeth Clarke Manning
  adm. gr. to his wid. 19 Apr. 1808;       | b. 6 Sept. 1780;
  died in Surinam.                         | died 31 July, 1849.
                                           |
       +-----------------+-----------------+------------------+
       |                 |                                    |
  Elizabeth Manning      |                           Maria Louisa
  born 7 March, 1802;    |                           b. 9 Jan'y, 1808;
  died 1 Jan'y, 1883.    |                           lost in the steamer
                         |                           Henry Clay, burned
                         |                           on the Hudson River
                         |                           27 July, 1852.
                         |
     +NATHANIEL+ b. 4 July, 1804; = Sophia, dau. of Doc. Nathl. Peabody,
     d. at Plymouth, N. H.          of Salem; b. 21 Sept. 1809; mar. in
     19 May, 1864.                  Boston July, 1842.
     Buried at Concord, Mass.
     23 May, 1864.
     He changed his surname to
     Hawthorne.

The founders of the American branch were men of independent character,
proud, active, energetic, capable of extreme sternness and endowed with
passionate natures, no doubt. But they were men of affairs; they touched
the world on the practical side, and, even during the decline of the
family fortunes, continued to do so. All at once, in the personality of
the younger Nathaniel Hawthorne, this energy which persisted in them
reversed its direction, and found a new outlet through the channel of
literary expression. We must suppose that he included among his own
characteristics all those of his predecessors; their innate force, their
endurance, their capacity for impassioned feeling; but in him these
elements were fused by a finer prevailing quality, and held in firm
balance by his rare temperament. This must be borne in mind, if we would
understand the conjunction of opposite traits in him. It was one of his
principles to guard against being run away with by his imagination, and
to cultivate in practical affairs what he called "a morose common
sense." There has been attributed to him by some of those who knew him
a certain good-humored gruffness, which might be explained as a heritage
from the self-assertive vitality of his ancestors. While at Liverpool he
wrote to one of his intimates in this country, and in doing so made
reference to another acquaintance as a "wretch," to be away from whom
made exile endurable. The letter passed into the hands of the
acquaintance thus stigmatized long after Hawthorne was in his grave; but
he declared himself to be in no wise disturbed by it, because he knew
that the remark was not meant seriously, being only one of the
occasional explosions of a "sea-dog" forcefulness, which had come into
the writer's blood from his skipper forefathers. Hawthorne had, in fact,
parted on friendly terms from the gentleman of whom he thus wrote. On
the other hand we have the traits of sensitiveness, great delicacy,
reserve and reverie, drawn from both his father and his mother. Captain
Hathorne had been a man of fine presence, handsome, kindly, and rather
silent; a reader, likewise; and his son's resemblance to him was so
marked that a strange sailor stopped Hawthorne on the steps of the Salem
Custom House, many years afterward, to ask him if he were not a son or
nephew of the Captain, whom he had known.

His mother belonged to an excellent family, the Mannings, of English
stock, settled in Salem and Ipswich ever since 1680, and still well
represented in the former place. She, too, was a very reserved person;
had a stately, aristocratic manner; is remembered as possessing a
peculiar and striking beauty. Her education was of that simple, austere,
but judicious and perfected kind that--without taking any very wide
range--gave to New England women in the earlier part of this century a
sedate freedom and a cultivated judgment, which all the assumed
improvements in pedagogy and the general relations of men and women
since then have hardly surpassed. She was a pious woman, a sincere and
devoted wife, a mother whose teachings could not fail to impress upon
her children a bias towards the best things in life. Nathaniel's sister
Elizabeth, although a recluse to the end of her days, and wholly unknown
to the public, gave in her own case evidence indisputable of the fine
influences which had moulded her own childhood and that of her brother.
She showed a quiet, unspoiled, and ardent love of Nature, and was to the
last not only an assiduous reader of books but also a very discriminating
one. The range of her reading was very wide, but she never made any more
display of it than Hawthorne did of his. An intuitive judgment of
character was hers, which was really startling at times: merely from the
perusal of a book or the inspection of a portrait, she would arrive at
accurate estimates of character which revealed a power of facile and
comprehensive insight; and her letters, even in old age, flowed
spontaneously into utterance of the same finished kind that distinguished
Nathaniel Hawthorne's epistolary style. How fresh and various, too, was
her interest in the affairs of the world! For many years she had not
gone farther from her secluded abode in a farm-house at Montserrat, than
to Beverly or Salem; yet I remember that, only six months before her
death, she wrote a letter to her niece, a large part of which was
devoted to the campaign of the English in Egypt, then progressing: with
a lively and clear comprehension she discussed the difficulties of the
situation, and expressed the utmost concern for the success of the
English army, at the same time that she laughed at herself for
displaying, as an old woman, so much anxiety about the matter. Now, a
mother who could bring up her daughter in such a way as to make all this
possible and natural, must be given much credit for her share in
developing an illustrious son. Let us not forget that it was to his
mother that Goethe owed in good measure the foundation of his greatness.
Mrs. Hathorne had large, very luminous gray eyes, which were reproduced
in her son's; so that, on both sides, his parentage entitled him to the
impressive personal appearance which distinguished him. In mature life
he became somewhat estranged from her, but their mutual love was
presumably suspended only for a time, and he was with her at her death,
in 1849. She lived long enough to see him famous as the author of
"Twice-Told Tales"; but "The Scarlet Letter" had not been written when
she died.

She, as well as her husband, was one of a family of eight brothers and
sisters; these were the children of Richard Manning. Two of the
brothers, Richard and Robert, were living in Salem when she was left a
widow; Robert being eminent in New England at that time as a
horticulturist. She was without resources, other than her husband's
earnings, and Robert undertook to provide for her. Accordingly, she
removed with her young family to the Manning homestead on Herbert
Street, the next street east of Union Street, where Nathaniel was born.
This homestead stood upon a piece of land running through to Union
Street, and adjoining the garden attached to Hawthorne's birthplace. At
that time Dr. Nathaniel Peabody, a physician, occupied a house in a
brick block on the opposite side of Union Street; and there in 1809,
September 21st, was born his daughter, Sophia A. Peabody, who afterwards
became Hawthorne's wife. Her birthplace, therefore, was but a few rods
distant from that of her future husband. Sophia Peabody's eldest sister,
Mary, who married Horace Mann, noted as an educator and an abolitionist,
remembers the child Nathaniel, who was then about five years old. He
used to make his appearance in the garden of the Herbert Street mansion,
running and dancing about there at play, a vivacious, golden-haired boy.
The next oldest sister, who was the first of this family to make the
acquaintance of the young author some thirty years later on, was Miss
Elizabeth P. Peabody, who has taken an important part in developing the
Kindergarten in America. There were plenty of books in the Manning
house, and Nathaniel very soon got at them. Among the authors whom he
earliest came to know were Shakespeare, Milton, Pope, Thomson, and
Rousseau. The "Castle of Indolence" was one of his favorite volumes.
Subsequently, he read the whole of the "Newgate Calendar," and became
intensely absorbed in Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress," which undoubtedly
left very deep impressions upon him, traceable in the various allusions
to it scattered through his works. He also made himself familiar with
Spenser's "Faërie Queen," Froissart's "Chronicles," and Clarendon's
"History of the Rebellion."

"Being a healthy boy, with strong out-of-door instincts planted in him
by inheritance from his sea-faring sire, it might have been that he
would not have been brought so early to an intimacy with books, but for
an accident similar to that which played a part in the boyhoods of
Scott and Dickens. When he was nine years old, he was struck on the foot
by a ball, and made seriously lame. The earliest fragment of his writing
now extant is a letter to his uncle Robert Manning, at that time in
Raymond, Maine, written from Salem, December 9, 1813. It announces that
the foot is no better, and that a new doctor is to be sent for. 'Maybe,'
the boy writes, 'he will do me some good, for Dr. B---- has not, and I
don't know as Dr. K---- will.' He adds that it is now four weeks since
he has been to school, 'and I don't know but it will be four weeks
longer.'... But the trouble was destined to last much longer than even
the young seer had projected his gaze. There was some threat of
deformity, and it was not until he was nearly twelve that he became
quite well. Meantime, his kind schoolmaster, Dr. Worcester, ... came to
hear him his lessons at home. The good pedagogue does not figure after
this in Hawthorne's history; but a copy of Worcester's Dictionary still
exists and is in present use, which bears in a tremulous writing on the
fly-leaf the legend: 'Nathaniel Hawthorne Esq., with the respects of J.
E. Worcester.' For a long time, in the worst of his lameness, the gentle
boy was forced to lie prostrate, and choosing the floor for his couch,
he would read there all day long. He was extremely fond of cats--a taste
which he kept through life; and during this illness, forced to odd
resorts for amusement, he knitted a pair of socks for the cat who
reigned in the household at the time. When tired of reading, he
constructed houses of books for the same feline pet, building walls for
her to leap, and perhaps erecting triumphal arches for her to pass
under."[1]

The lexicographer, Dr. Worcester, was then living at Salem in charge of
a school, which he kept for a few years; and it was with him that
Hawthorne was carrying on his primary studies. He also went to
dancing-school, was fond of fishing as well as of taking long walks, and
doubtless engaged in the sundry occupations and sports, neither more nor
less extraordinary than these, common to lads of his age. He already
displayed a tendency towards dry humor. As he brought home from school
frequent reports of having had a bout at fisticuffs with another pupil
named John Knights, his sister Elizabeth asked him: "Why do you fight
with John Knights so often?" "I can't help it," he answered: "John
Knights is a boy of very quarrelsome disposition."

But all this time an interior growth, of which we can have no direct
account, was proceeding in his mind. The loss of the father whom he had
had so little chance to see and know and be fondled by, no doubt
produced a profound effect upon him. While still a very young child he
would rouse himself from long broodings, to exclaim with an impressive
shaking of the head: "There, mother! I is going away to sea some time;
and I'll never come back again!" The thought of that absent one, whose
barque had glided out of Salem harbor bound upon a terrestrial voyage,
but had carried him softly away to the unseen world, must have been
incessantly with the boy; and it would naturally melt into what he heard
of the strange, shadowy history of his ancestors, and mix itself with
the ever-present hush of settled grief in his mother's dwelling, and
blend with his unconscious observations of the old town in which he
lived. Salem then was much younger in time, but much older to the eye,
than it is now. In "Alice Doane's Appeal" he has sketched a rapid
bird's-eye view of it as it appeared to him when he was a young man.
Describing his approach with his sisters to Witch Hill, he says: "We ...
began to ascend a hill which at a distance, by its dark slope and the
even line of its summit, resembled a green rampart along the road; ...
but, strange to tell, though the whole slope and summit were of a
peculiarly deep green, scarce a blade of grass was visible from the base
upward. This deceitful verdure was occasioned by a plentiful crop of
'wood-wax,' which wears the same dark and gloomy green throughout the
summer, except at one short period, when it puts forth a profusion of
yellow blossoms. At that season, to a distant spectator the hill appears
absolutely overlaid with gold, or covered with a glory of sunshine even
under a clouded sky." This wood-wax, it may be said, is a weed which
grows nowhere but in Essex County, and, having been native in England,
was undoubtedly brought over by the Pilgrims. He goes on: "There are few
such prospects of town and village, woodland and cultivated field,
steeples and country-seats, as we beheld from this unhappy spot....
Before us lay our native town, extending from the foot of the hill to
the harbor, level as a chess-board, embraced by two arms of the sea, and
filling the whole peninsula with a close assemblage of wooden roofs,
overtopped by many a spire and intermixed with frequent heaps of
verdure.... Retaining these portions of the scene, and also the peaceful
glory and tender gloom of the declining sun, we threw in imagination a
deep veil of forest over the land, and pictured a few scattered villages
here and there and this old town itself a village, as when the prince of
Hell bore sway there. The idea thus gained of its former aspect, its
quaint edifices standing far apart with peaked roofs and projecting
stories, and its single meeting-house pointing up a tall spire in the
midst; the vision, in short, of the town in 1692, served to introduce a
wondrous tale." There were in fact several old houses of the kind here
described still extant during Hawthorne's boyhood, and he went every
Sunday to service in the First Church, in whose congregation his
forefathers had held a pew for a hundred and seventy years. It is easy
to see how some of the materials for "The House of the Seven Gables" and
"The Scarlet Letter" were already depositing themselves in the form of
indelible recollections and suggestions taken from his surroundings.

Oppressed by her great sorrow, his mother had shut herself away, after
her husband's death, from all society except that of her immediate
relatives. This was perhaps not a very extraordinary circumstance, nor
one that need be construed as denoting a morbid disposition; but it was
one which must have distinctly affected the tone of her son's
meditations. In 1818, when he was fourteen years old, she retired to a
still deeper seclusion, in Maine; but the occasion of this was simply
that her brother Robert, having purchased the seven-mile-square township
of Raymond, in that State, had built a house there, intending to found a
new home. The year that Hawthorne passed in that spot, amid the breezy
life of the forest, fishing and shooting, watching the traits and
customs of lumber-men and country-folk, and drinking in the tonic of a
companionship with untamed nature, was to him a happy and profitable
one. "We are all very well," he wrote thence to his Uncle Robert, in
May, 1819: "The fences are all finished, and the garden is laid out and
planted.... I have shot a partridge and a henhawk, and caught eighteen
large trout out of our brook. I am sorry you intend to send me to school
again." He had been to the place before, probably for short visits, when
his Uncle Richard was staying there, and his memories of it were always
agreeable ones. To Mr. James T. Fields, he said in 1863: "I lived in
Maine like a bird of the air, so perfect was the freedom I enjoyed. But
it was there I first got my cursed habits of solitude." "During the
moonlight nights of winter he would skate until midnight all alone upon
Sebago Lake, with the deep shadows of the icy hills on either hand. When
he found himself far away from his home and weary with the exercise of
skating, he would sometimes take refuge in a log-cabin, where half a
tree would be burning on the broad hearth. He would sit in the ample
chimney, and look at the stars through the great aperture through which
the flames went roaring up. 'Ah,' he said, 'how well I recall the summer
days, also, when with my gun I roamed through the woods of Maine!'"[2]

Hawthorne at this time had an intention of following the example of his
father and grandfather, and going to sea; but this was frustrated by the
course of events. His mother, it is probable, would strongly have
objected to it. In a boyish journal kept while he was at Raymond he
mentions a gentleman having come with a boat to take one or two persons
out on "the Great Pond," and adds: "He was kind enough to say that I
might go (with my mother's consent), which she gave after much coaxing.
Since the loss of my father she dreads to have any one belonging to her
go upon the water." And again: "A young man named Henry Jackson, Jr.,
was drowned two days ago, up in Crooked River.... I read one of the
Psalms to my mother this morning, and it plainly declares twenty-six
times that 'God's mercy endureth forever.'... Mother is sad; says she
shall not consent any more to my swimming in the mill-pond with the
boys, fearing that in sport my mouth might get kicked open, and then
sorrow for a dead son be added to that for a dead father, which she says
would break her heart. I love to swim, but I shall not disobey my
mother." This same journal, which seems to have laid the basis of his
life-long habit of keeping note-books, was begun at the suggestion of
Mr. Richard Manning, who gave him a blank-book, with advice that he
should use it for recording his thoughts, "as the best means of his
securing for mature years command of thought and language." In it were
made a number of entries which testify plainly to his keenness of
observation both of people and scenery, to his sense of humor and his
shrewdness. Here are a few:--

"Swapped pocket-knives with Robinson Cook yesterday. Jacob Dingley says
that he cheated me, but I think not, for I cut a fishing-pole this
morning and did it well; besides, he is a Quaker, and they never cheat."

"This morning the bucket got off the chain, and dropped back into the
well. I wanted to go down on the stones and get it. Mother would not
consent, for fear the well might cave in, but hired Samuel Shaw to go
down. In the goodness of her heart, she thought the son of old Mrs. Shaw
not quite so good as the son of the Widow Hathorne."

Of a trout that he saw caught by some men:--"This trout had a
droll-looking hooked nose, and they tried to make me believe that, if
the line had been in my hands, I should have been obliged to let go, or
have been pulled out of the boat. They are men, and have a right to say
so. I am a boy, and have a right to think differently."

"We could see the White Hills to the northwest, though Mr. Little said
they were eighty miles away; and grand old Rattlesnake to the northeast,
in its immense jacket of green oak, looked more inviting than I had ever
seen it; while Frye's Island, with its close growth of great trees
growing to the very edge of the water, looked like a monstrous green
raft, floating to the southeastward. Whichever way the eye turned,
something charming appeared."

The mental clearness, the sharpness of vision, and the competence of the
language in this early note-book are remarkable, considering the youth
and inexperience of the writer; and there is one sketch of "a
solemn-faced old horse" at the grist-mill, which exhibits a delightful
boyish humor with a dash of pathos in it, and at the same time is the
first instance on record of a mild approach by Hawthorne to the writing
of fiction:--

"He had brought for his owner some bags of corn to be ground, who, after
carrying them into the mill, walked up to Uncle Richard's store, leaving
his half-starved animal in the cold wind with nothing to eat, while the
corn was being turned into meal. I felt sorry, and, nobody being near,
thought it best to have a talk with the old nag, and said, 'Good
morning, Mr. Horse, how are you to-day?' 'Good morning, youngster,' said
he, just as plain as a horse can speak; and then said, 'I am almost
dead, and I wish I was quite. I am hungry, have had no breakfast, and
must stand here tied by the head while they are grinding the corn, and
until master drinks two or three glasses of rum at the store, then drag
the meal and him up the Ben Ham Hill home, and am now so weak that I can
hardly stand. Oh dear, I am in a bad way;' and the old creature cried. I
almost cried myself. Just then the miller went down-stairs to the
meal-trough; I heard his feet on the steps, and not thinking much what I
was doing, ran into the mill, and, taking the four-quart toll-dish
nearly full of corn out of the hopper, carried it out, and poured it
into the trough before the horse, and placed the dish back before the
miller came up from below. When I got out, the horse was laughing, but
he had to eat slowly, because the bits were in his mouth. I told him
that I was sorry, but did not know how to take them out, and should not
dare to if I did.... At last the horse winked and stuck out his lip ever
so far, and then said, 'The last kernel is gone;' then he laughed a
little, then shook one ear, then the other; then he shut his eyes. I
jumped up and said: 'How do you feel, old fellow; any better?' He opened
his eyes, and looking at me kindly answered, 'Very much,' and then blew
his nose exceedingly loud, but he did not wipe it. Perhaps he had no
wiper. I then asked him if his master whipped him much. He answered,
'Not much lately. He used to till my hide got hardened, but now he has a
white-oak goad-stick with an iron brad in its end, with which he jabs my
hind-quarters and hurts me awfully.'... The goad with the iron brad was
in the wagon, and snatching it out I struck the end against a stone, and
the stabber flew into the mill-pond. 'There,' says I, 'old colt,' as I
threw the goad back into the wagon, 'he won't harpoon you again with
_that_ iron.' The poor old brute understood well enough what I said,
for I looked him in the eye and spoke horse language."

Mother and uncles could hardly have missed observing in him many tokens
of a gifted intelligence and an uncommon individuality. The perception
of these, added to Mrs. Hawthorne's dread of the sea, may have led to
the decision which was taken to send him to college. In 1819 he went
back to Salem, to continue his schooling; and one year later, March 7,
1820, wrote to his mother, who was still at Raymond: "I have left
school, and have begun to fit for College, under Benjamin L. Oliver,
Lawyer. So you are in great danger of having one learned man in your
family.... Shall you want me to be a Minister, Doctor, or Lawyer? A
minister I will not be." Miss E. P. Peabody remembers another letter of
his, in which he touched the same problem, thus: "I do not want to be a
doctor and live by men's diseases, nor a minister to live by their sins,
nor a lawyer and live by their quarrels. So I don't see that there is
anything left but for me to be an author. How would you like some day to
see a whole shelf full of books written by your son, with 'Hathorne's
Works' printed on the backs?" There appears to have been but little
difficulty for him in settling the problem of his future occupation.
During part of August and September he amused himself by writing three
numbers of a miniature weekly paper called "The Spectator;" and in
October we find that he had been composing poetry and sending it to his
sister Elizabeth, who was also exercising herself in verse. At this time
he was employed as a clerk, for a part of each day, in the office of
another uncle, William Manning, proprietor of a great line of stages
which then had extensive connections throughout New England; but he did
not find the task congenial. "No man," he informed his sister, "can be a
poet and a book-keeper at the same time;" from which one infers his
distinct belief that literature was his natural vocation. The idea of
remaining dependent for four years more on the bounty of his Uncle
Robert, who had so generously taken the place of a father in giving him
a support and education, oppressed him, and he even contemplated not
going to college; but go he finally did, taking up his residence at
Bowdoin with the class of 1821.

The village of Brunswick, where Bowdoin College is situated, some thirty
miles from Raymond, stands on high ground beside the Androscoggin River,
which is there crossed by a bridge running zig-zag from bank to bank,
resting on various rocky ledges and producing a picturesque effect. The
village itself is ranged on two sides of a broad street, which meets the
river at right angles, and has a mall in the centre that, in Hawthorne's
time, was little more than a swamp. This street, then known as
"sixteen-rod road," from its width, continues in a straight line to
Casco Bay, only a few miles off; so that the new student was still near
the sea and had a good course for his walks. If Harvard fifty and even
twenty-five years ago had the look of a rural college, Bowdoin was by
comparison an academy in a wilderness. "If this institution," says
Hawthorne in "Fanshawe," where he describes it under the name of Harley
College, "did not offer all the advantages of elder and prouder
seminaries, its deficiencies were compensated to its students by the
inculcation of regular habits, and of a deep and awful sense of
religion, which seldom deserted them in their course through life. The
mild and gentle rule ... was more destructive to vice than a sterner
sway; and though youth is never without its follies, they have seldom
been more harmless than they were here." The local resources for
amusement or dissipation must have been very limited, and the demands of
the curriculum not very severe. Details of Hawthorne's four years' stay
at college are not forthcoming, otherwise than in small quantity. His
comrades who survived him never have been able to give any very vivid
picture of the life there, or to recall any anecdotes of Hawthorne: the
whole episode has slipped away, like a dream from which fragmentary
glimpses alone remain. By one of those unaccountable associations with
trifles, which outlast more important memories, Professor Calvin Stowe
(to whom the authoress of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was afterwards married)
remembers seeing Hawthorne, then a member of the class below him,
crossing the college-yard one stormy day, attired in a brass-buttoned
blue coat, with an umbrella over his head. The wind caught the umbrella
and turned it inside out; and what stamped the incident on Professor
Stowe's mind was the silent but terrible and consuming wrath with which
Hawthorne regarded the implement in its utterly subverted and useless
state, as he tried to rearrange it. Incidents of no greater moment and
the general effect of his presence seem to have created the belief among
his fellows that, beneath the bashful quietude of his exterior, was
stored a capability of exerting tremendous force in some form or other.
He was seventeen when he entered college,--tall, broad-chested, with
clear, lustrous gray eyes,[3] a fresh complexion, and long hair: his
classmates were so impressed with his masculine beauty, and perhaps with
a sense of occult power in him, that they nicknamed him Oberon. Although
unusually calm-tempered, however, he was quick to resent disrespectful
treatment (as he had been with John Knights), and his vigorous, athletic
frame made him a formidable adversary. In the same class with him were
Henry W. Longfellow; George Barrell Cheever, since famous as a divine,
and destined to make a great stir in Salem by a satire in verse called
"Deacon Giles's Distillery," which cost him a thirty days' imprisonment,
together with the loss of his pastorate; also John S. C. Abbott, the
writer of popular histories; and Horatio Bridge, afterwards Lieutenant
in the United States Navy, and now Commander. Bridge and Franklin
Pierce, who studied in the class above him, were his most intimate
friends. He boarded in a house which had a stairway on the outside,
ascending to the second story; he took part, I suppose, in the
"rope-pulls" and "hold-ins" between Freshmen and Sophomores, if those
customs were practised then; he was fined for card-playing and for
neglect of theme; entered the Athenæan Society, which had a library of
eight hundred volumes; tried to read Hume's "History of England," but
found it "abominably dull," and postponed the attempt; was fond of
whittling, and destroyed some of his furniture in gratifying that taste.
Such are the insignificant particulars to which we are confined in
attempting to form an idea of the externals of his college-life. Pierce
was chairman of the Athenæan Society, and also organized a military
company, which Hawthorne joined. In the Preface to "The Snow-Image" we
are given a glimpse of the simple amusements which occupied his leisure:
"While we were lads together at a country college, gathering blueberries
in study hours under those tall academic pines; or watching the great
logs as they tumbled along the current of the Androscoggin; or shooting
pigeons and gray squirrels in the woods; or bat-fowling in the
summer-twilight; or catching trouts in that shadowy little stream which,
I suppose, is still wandering riverward through the forest." He became
proficient in Latin. Longfellow was wont to recall how he would rise at
recitation, standing slightly sidewise--attitude indicative of his
ingrained shyness--and read from the Roman classics translations which
had a peculiar elegance and charm. In writing English, too, he won a
reputation, and Professor Newman was often so struck with the beauty of
his work in this kind that he would read them in the evening to his own
family. Professor Packard says: "His themes were written in the
sustained, finished style that gives to his mature productions an
inimitable charm. The recollection is very distinct of Hawthorne's
reluctant step and averted look, when he presented himself at the
professor's study and submitted a composition which no man in his class
could equal."

Hawthorne always looked back with satisfaction to those simple and
placid days. In 1852 he revisited the scene where they were passed, in
order to be present at the semi-centennial anniversary of the founding
of the college. A letter, from Concord (October 13, 1852), to Lieutenant
Bridge, now for the first time published, contains the following
reference to that event:--

"I meant to have told you about my visit to Brunswick.... Only eight of
our classmates were present, and they were a set of dismal old fellows,
whose heads looked as if they had been out in a pretty copious shower of
snow. The whole intermediate quarter of a century vanished, and it
seemed to me as if they had undergone the miserable transformation in
the course of a single night--especially as I myself felt just about as
young as when I graduated. They flattered me with the assurance that
time had touched me tenderly; but alas! they were each a mirror in which
I beheld the reflection of my own age. I did not arrive till after the
public exercises were nearly over--and very luckily, too, for my praises
had been sounded by orator and poet, and of course my blushes would have
been quite oppressive."

Hawthorne's rank in his class entitled him to a "part" at Commencement,
but the fact that he had not cultivated declamation debarred him from
that honor; and so he passed quietly away from the life of Bowdoin and
settled down to his career. "I have thought much upon the subject," he
wrote to his sister, just before graduation, "and have come to the
conclusion that I shall never make a distinguished figure in the world,
and all I hope or wish is to plod along with the multitude." But
declamation was not essential to his success, which was to be achieved
in anything but a declamatory fashion.



II.


In one sense it was all very simple, this childhood and youth and early
training of Hawthorne. We can see that the conditions were not
complicated and were quite homely. But the influence of good literature
had been at work upon the excellent mental substance derived from a
father who was fond of reading and a mother who had the plain elementary
virtues on which so much depends, and great purity of soul. The
composure and finish of style which he already had at command on going
to college were ripened amid the homely conditions aforesaid: there must
have been an atmosphere of culture in his home, unpretentious though the
mode of life there was. His sister, as I have mentioned, showed much the
same tone, the same commanding ease, in her writing. There existed a
dignity, a reserve, an instinctive refinement in this old-fashioned
household, which moved its members to appropriate the best means of
expression as by natural right. They appear to have treated the most
ordinary affairs of life with a quiet stateliness, as if human existence
were really a thing to be considered with respect, and with a frank
interest that might occasionally even admit of enthusiasm or strong
feeling with regard to an experience, although thousands of beings might
have passed through it before. Our new horizons, physically enlarged by
rapid travel, our omnifarious culture, our passion for obtaining a glaze
of cosmopolitanism to cover the common clay from which we are all
moulded, do not often yield us anything essentially better than the
narrow limits of the little world in which Hawthorne grew up. He was now
to go back to Salem, which he once spoke of as being apparently for him
"the inevitable centre of the universe;" and the conditions there were
not radically altered from what they had been before. We can form an
outline of him as he was then, or at most a water-color sketch
presenting the fresh hues of youth, the strong manly frame of the young
graduate, his fine deep-lighted eyes, and sensitively retiring ways. But
we have now to imagine the change that took place in him from the recent
college Senior to the maturing man; change that gradually transforms him
from the visionary outline of that earlier period to a solid reality of
flesh and blood, a virile and efficient person who still, while
developing, did not lose the delicate sensibility of his young prime.

His family having reëstablished themselves in Salem, at the old Herbert
Street house, he settled himself with them, and stayed there until
December, 1828, meanwhile publishing "Fanshawe" anonymously. They then
moved to a smaller house on Dearborn Street, North Salem; but after four
years they again took up their abode in the Herbert Street homestead.
Hawthorne wrote industriously; first the "Seven Tales of my Native
Land," which he burned, and subsequently the sketches and stories which,
after appearing in current periodicals, were collected as "Twice-Told
Tales." In 1830 he took a carriage trip through parts of Connecticut. "I
meet with many marvellous adventures," was a part of his news on this
occasion, but they were in reality adventures of a very tame
description. He visited New York and New Hampshire and Nantucket, thus
extending slightly his knowledge of men and places. A great deal of
discursive reading was also accomplished. In 1836 he went to Boston to
edit for Mr. S. G. Goodrich "The American Magazine of Useful and
Entertaining Knowledge." It did not turn out to be either useful or
entertaining for the editor, who was to be paid but $500 a year for his
drudgery, and in fact received only a small part of that sum. Through
Goodrich, he became a copious contributor to "The Token," in the pages
of which his tales first came to be generally known; but he gave up the
magazine after a four months' misery of editorship, and sought refuge
once more in his native town.

Salem was an isolated place, was not even joined to the outer world by
its present link of railroad with Boston, and afforded no very generous
diet for a young, vigorous, hungry intellect like that of Hawthorne.
Surroundings, however, cannot make a mind, though they may color its
processes. He proceeded to extract what he could from the material at
hand. "His mode of life at this period was fitted to nurture his
imagination, but must have put the endurance of his nerves to the
severest test. The statement that for several years 'he never saw the
sun' is entirely an error. In summer he was up shortly after sunrise,
and would go down to bathe in the sea; but it is true that he seldom
chose to walk in the town except at night, and it is said that he was
extremely fond of going to fires if they occurred after dark. The
morning was chiefly given to study, the afternoon to writing, and in the
evening he would take long walks, exploring the coast from Gloucester to
Marblehead and Lynn--a range of many miles.... Sometimes he took the day
for his rambles, wandering perhaps over Endicott's ancient Orchard Farm
and among the antique houses and grassy cellars of old Salem Village,
the witchcraft ground; or losing himself among the pines of Montserrat
and in the silence of the Great Pastures, or strolling along the beaches
to talk with old sailors and fishermen." "He had little communication
with even the members of his family. Frequently his meals were brought
and left at his locked door, and it was not often that the four inmates
of the old Herbert Street mansion met in family circle. He never read
his stories aloud to his mother and sisters, as might be imagined from
the picture which Mr. Fields draws of the young author reciting his new
productions to his listening family; though, when they met, he sometimes
read older literature to them. It was the custom in this household for
the members to remain very much by themselves: the three ladies were
perhaps nearly as rigorous recluses as himself; and, speaking of the
isolation which reigned among them, Hawthorne once said, 'We do not even
_live_ at our house!' But still the presence of this near and gentle
element is not to be underrated, as forming a very great compensation in
the cold and difficult morning of his life." Of self-reliant mind,
accustomed to solitude and fond of reading, it was not strange that they
should have fallen into these habits, which, however peculiarly they may
strike others, did not necessarily spring from a morbid disposition, and
never prevented the Hawthornes from according a kindly reception to
their friends.

Nathaniel Hawthorne's own associates were not numerous. There was a good
society in the town, for Salem was not, strictly speaking, provincial,
but--aided in a degree by the separateness of its situation--retained
very much its old independence as a commercial capital. There were
people of wealth and cultivation, of good lineage in our simple domestic
kind, who made considerable display in their entertainments and were
addicted to impressive absences in Paris and London. Among these
Hawthorne did not show himself at all. His preference was for
individuals who had no pretensions whatever in the social way. Among his
friends was one William B. Pike, a carpenter's son, who, after
acquiring an ordinary public-school education without passing through
the higher grades, adopted his father's trade, became a Methodist
class-leader, secondly a disciple of Swedenborg, and at length a
successful politician, being appointed Collector of the port of Salem by
President Pierce. He is described as having "a strongly marked,
benignant face, indicative of intelligence and individuality. He was
gray at twenty, and always looked older than his years.... He had a keen
sense of the ludicrous, a vivid recollection of localities and
incidents, a quick apprehension of peculiarities and traits, and was a
most graphic and entertaining narrator."[4] As Mr. James has said:
"Hawthorne had a democratic strain in his composition, a relish for the
common stuff of human nature. He liked to fraternize with plain people,
to take them on their own terms." It was the most natural thing in the
world for him to fancy such a man as Pike is represented to have been.
His Society in college was the one which displayed a democratic
tendency; and, in addition to making friends with persons of this stamp,
men of some education and much innate "go," he had a taste for loitering
in taverns where he could observe character in the rough, without being
called upon to take an active share in talk. "Men," we are told, "who
did not meddle with him he loved, men who made no demands on him, who
offered him the repose of genial companionship. His life-long friends
were of this description, and his loyalty to them was chivalrous and
fearless, and so generous that when they differed from him on matters of
opinion he rose at once above the difference and adhered to them for
what they really were." Inevitably, such a basis for the selection of
companions, coupled with his extreme reserve, subjected him to
criticism; but when, in 1835, his former classmate, the Rev. George B.
Cheever, was thrown into jail on account of the satirical temperance
pamphlet which has already been referred to in this sketch, Hawthorne
emerged from his strict privacy, and daily visited the imprisoned
clergyman. He showed no especial love for his native place, and in
return it never made of him a popular idol. At this initial epoch of his
career as an author there probably did not exist that active ill-will
which his chapter on the Custom House afterwards engendered; he was in
fact too little known to be an object of malice or envy, and his humble
friendships could not be made the ground of unfavorable insinuations.
The town, however, was not congenial to him, and the profound retirement
in which he dwelt, the slow toil with scanty meed of praise or gold, and
the long waiting for recognition, doubtless weighed upon and preyed upon
him.

To stop at that would be to make a superficial summary. His seclusion
was also of the highest utility to him, nay, almost indispensable to his
development; for his mind, which seemed to be only creeping, was making
long strides of growth in an original direction, unhindered by arbitrary
necessities or by factitious influences.

Nevertheless, the process had gone on long enough; and it was well that
circumstances now occurred to bring it to a close, to establish new
relations, and draw him somewhat farther into the general circle of
human movement. Dr. Peabody, who has been spoken of on a preceding page
as living on the opposite side of Union Street from Hawthorne's
birthplace, had, during the vicissitudes of the young author's education
and journeys to and fro, changed his residence and gone to Boston. No
acquaintance had as yet sprung up between the two families which had
been domiciled so near together, but in 1832 the Peabodys returned to
Salem; and Miss Elizabeth, who followed in 1836, having been greatly
struck by the story of "The Gentle Boy," and excited as to the
authorship, set on foot an investigation which resulted in her meeting
Hawthorne. It is an evidence of the approachableness, after all, of his
secluded family, that Miss Louisa Hawthorne should have received her
readily and with graciousness. Miss Peabody, having formerly seen one of
Miss Hawthorne's letters, had supposed that she must be the writer of
the stories, under shelter of a masculine name. She now learned her
mistake. Months passed without any response being made to her advance.
But when the first volume of "Twice-Told Tales" was issued, Hawthorne
sent it to her with his compliments. Up to this time she had not
obtained even a glimpse of him anywhere; and, in acknowledging his gift,
she proposed that he should call at her father's house; but although
matters had proceeded thus far, and Dr. Peabody lived within three
minutes' walk of Herbert Street, Hawthorne still did not come. It was
more than a year afterward that she addressed an inquiry to him about a
new magazine, and in closing asked him to bring his sisters to call in
the evening of the same day. This time he made his appearance, was
induced to accept an invitation to another house, and thus was led into
beginning a social intercourse which, though not extensive, was
unequalled in his previous experience.

About a week after the first call, he came again. Miss Sophia Peabody,
who was an invalid, had been unable to appear before, but this time she
entered the room; and it was thus that Hawthorne met the lady whom he
was to make his wife some two or three years later. She was now about
twenty-nine, and younger by five years than Hawthorne. In childhood her
health had received a serious shock from the heroic treatment then
upheld by physicians, which favored a free use of mercury, so that it
became necessary from that time on to nurse her with the utmost care.
Many years of invalidism had she suffered, being compelled to stay in a
darkened room through long spaces of time, and although a sojourn in
Cuba had greatly benefited her, it was believed she could never be quite
restored to a normal state of well-being. Despite such serious
obstacles, she had gently persisted in reading and study; she drew and
painted, and no fear of flippant remark deterred her from attempting
even to learn Hebrew. At the same time she was a woman of the most
exquisitely natural cultivation conceivable. A temperament inclined like
hers, from the beginning, to a sweet equanimity, may have been assisted
towards its proper culmination by the habit of patience likely enough to
result from the continued endurance of pain; but a serenity so benign
and so purely feminine and trustful as that which she not displayed, but
spontaneously exhaled, must have rested on a primary and plenary
inspiration of goodness. All that she knew or saw sank into her mind and
took a place in the interior harmony of it, without ruffling the
surface; and all that she thought or uttered seemed to gain a fragrance
and a flower-like quality from having sprung thence. Neither were
strength of character and practical good sense absent from the company
of her calm wisdom and refinement. In brief, no fitter mate for
Hawthorne could have existed.

Soon after their acquaintance began, she showed him, one evening, a
large outline drawing which she had made, to illustrate "The Gentle
Boy," and asked him: "Does that look like Ilbrahim?"

Hawthorne, without other demonstration, replied quietly: "Ilbrahim will
never look otherwise to me."

The drawing was shown to Washington Allston, who accorded it his praise;
and a Miss Burleigh, who was among the earliest admirers of Hawthorne's
genius, having offered to pay the cost of an engraving from it, the
design was reproduced and printed with a new special edition of the
story, accompanied by a Preface, and a Dedication to Miss Sophia
Peabody. The three sisters and two brothers who composed the family of
Dr. Peabody were strongly imbued with intellectual tastes: nothing of
importance in literature, art, or the philosophy of education escaped
them, when once it was brought to their notice by the facilities of the
time. Miss Sophia was not only well read and a very graceful amateur in
the practice of drawing and painting, but evinced furthermore a somewhat
remarkable skill in sculpture. About the year 1831, she modelled a bust
of Laura Bridgman, the blind girl, who was then a child of twelve years.
This portrait not only was said to be a very good likeness,
but--although it is marred by a representation of the peculiar band used
to protect the eyes of the patient--has considerable artistic value, and
attains very nearly to a classic purity of form and treatment. Miss
Peabody also executed a medallion portrait, in relief, of Charles
Emerson, the brilliant brother of Ralph Waldo Emerson, whose great
promise was frustrated by his premature death. This medallion was done
from memory. The artist had once seen Mr. Emerson while he was
lecturing, and was so strongly impressed by his eloquent profile that,
on going home, she made a memory-sketch of it in pencil, which supplied
a germ for the portrait in clay which she attempted after his death.

The appearance of the "Twice-Told Tales" in book-form had, like that of
the "Gentle Boy" design, been due to the kindness of a friend. In this
case it was Lieutenant Bridge who became responsible for the expense;
and the volume met with, if not much pecuniary success, a gratifying
literary renown. The author sent a copy to Longfellow, who acknowledged
it cordially; and then Hawthorne wrote him as follows:--

"By some witchcraft or other--for I really cannot assign any reasonable
cause--I have been carried apart from the main current of life, and find
it impossible to get back again. Since we last met, which you remember
was in Sawtell's room, where you read a farewell poem to the relics of
the class--ever since that time I have secluded myself from society; and
yet I never meant any such thing nor dreamed what sort of life I was
going to lead.... For the last ten years I have not lived, but only
dreamed of living....

"As to my literary efforts, I do not think much of them, neither is it
worth while to be ashamed of them. They would have been better, I trust,
if written under more favorable circumstances."

But Longfellow broke out, as it were, into an exulting cry over them,
which echoed from the pages of the next "North American Review."[5] His
notice was hardly a criticism; it was a eulogy, bristling with the
adornment of frequent references to European literature; but it is worth
while to recall a few of its sentences.

"When a star rises in the heavens," said Longfellow, "people gaze after
it for a season with the naked eye, and with such telescopes as they may
find. In the stream of thought, which flows so peacefully deep and clear
through this book, we see the bright reflection of a spiritual star,
after which men will be prone to gaze 'with the naked eye and with the
spy-glasses of criticism.'... To this little work we would say, 'Live
ever, sweet, sweet book.' It comes from the hand of a man of genius.
Everything about it has the freshness of morning and of May.... The
book, though in prose, is nevertheless written by a poet. He looks upon
all things in a spirit of love and with lively sympathies. A calm,
thoughtful face seems to be looking at you from every page; with now and
then a pleasant smile, and now a shade of sadness stealing over its
features. Sometimes, though not often, it glares wildly at you, with a
strange and painful expression, as, in the German romance, the bronze
knocker of the Archivarius Lindhorst makes up faces at the student
Anselm.... One of the prominent characteristics of these tales is that
they are national in their character. The author has wisely chosen his
themes among the traditions of New England.... This is the right
material for story. It seems as natural to make tales out of old
tumble-down traditions as canes and snuff-boxes out of old steeples, or
trees planted by great men."

This hearty utterance of Longfellow's not only was of advantage to the
young author publicly, but also doubtless threw a bright ray of
encouragement into the morning-dusk which was then the pervading
atmosphere of his little study, which he termed his "owl's nest." "I
have to-day," he wrote back, "received and read with huge delight, your
review of 'Hawthorne's Twice-Told Tales.' I frankly own that I was not
without hopes that you would do this kind office for the book; though I
could not have anticipated how very kindly it would be done. Whether or
no the public will agree to the praise which you bestow on me, there are
at least five persons who think you the most sagacious critic on earth,
viz., my mother and two sisters, my old maiden aunt, and finally the
strongest believer of the whole five, my own self. If I doubt the
sincerity and earnestness of any of my critics, it shall be of those who
censure me. Hard would be the lot of a poor scribbler, if he may not
have this privilege."

His pleasant intimacy with the Peabodys went on; the dawn of his new
epoch broadened, and he began to see in Miss Sophia Peabody the figure
upon which his hopes, his plans for the future converged. Her father's
house stood on the edge of the Charter Street Burying-Ground, oldest of
the Salem cemeteries. "A three-story wooden house"--thus he has
described it--"perhaps a century old, low-studded, with a square front,
standing right upon the street, and a small enclosed porch, containing
the main entrance, affording a glimpse up and down the street through an
oval window on each side: its characteristic was decent respectability,
not sinking below the level of the genteel." In his "Note-Books" (July
4, 1837) he speaks of the old graveyard. "A slate gravestone round the
borders, to the memory of 'Col. John Hathorne Esq.,' who died in 1717.
This was the witch-judge. The stone is sunk deep into the earth, and
leans forward, and the grass grows very long around it.... Other
Hathornes lie buried in a range with him on either side.... It gives
strange ideas, to think how convenient to Dr. P----'s family this
burial-ground is,--the monuments standing almost within arm's reach of
the side-windows of the parlor--and there being a little gate from the
back-yard through which we step forth upon those old graves aforesaid.
And the tomb of the P---- family is right in front, and close to the
gate." Among the other Hathornes interred there are Captain Daniel, the
privateersman, and a Mr. John Hathorne, "grandson of the Hon. John
Hathorne," who died in 1758. The specification of his grandfather's
name, with the prefix, shows that the relentless condemner of witches
was still held in honor at Salem, in the middle of the eighteenth
century. Dr. Peabody's house and this adjoining burial-ground form the
scene of the unfinished "Dolliver Romance," and also supply the setting
for the first part of "Dr. Grimshawe's Secret." In the latter we find it
pictured with a Rembrandtesque depth of tone:--

"It stood in a shabby by-street and cornered on a graveyard.... Here
were old brick tombs with curious sculpture on them, and quaint
gravestones, some of which bore puffy little cherubs, and one or two
others the effigies of eminent Puritans, wrought out to a button, a fold
of the ruff, and a wrinkle of the skull-cap.... Here used to be some
specimens of English garden flowers, which could not be accounted
for--unless, perhaps, they had sprung from some English maiden's heart,
where the intense love of those homely things and regret of them in the
foreign land, had conspired together to keep their vivifying
principle.... Thus rippled and surged with its hundreds of little
billows the old graveyard about the house which cornered upon it; it
made the street gloomy so that people did not altogether like to pass
along the high wooden fence that shut it in; and the old house itself,
covering ground which else had been thickly sown with bodies, partook of
its dreariness, because it hardly seemed possible that the dead people
should not get up out of their graves and steal in to warm themselves at
this convenient fireside."

This was the place in which Hawthorne conducted his courtship; but we
ought not to lose sight of the fact that, in the account above quoted,
he was writing imaginatively, indulging his fancy, and dwelling on
particular points for the sake of heightening the effect. It is not
probable that he associated gloomy fantasies with his own experience as
it progressed in these surroundings. Here as elsewhere it is important
to bear in mind the distinction which Dr. Loring has made: "Throughout
life," he declares, "Hawthorne led a twofold existence--a real and a
supernatural. As a man, he was the realest of men. From childhood to old
age, he had great physical powers. His massive head sat upon a strong
and muscular neck, and his chest was broad and capacious. His strength
was great; his hand and foot were large and well made.... In walking, he
had a firm step and a great stride without effort. In early manhood he
had abounding health, a good digestion, a hearty enjoyment of food. His
excellent physical condition gave him a placid and even temper, a
cheerful spirit. He was a silent man and often a moody one, but never
irritable or morose; his organization was too grand for that. He was a
most delightful companion. In conversation he was never controversial,
never authoritative, and never absorbing. In a multitude his silence was
oppressive; but with a single companion his talk flowed on sensibly,
quietly, and full of wisdom and shrewdness. He discussed books with
wonderful acuteness, sometimes with startling power, and with an
unexpected verdict, as if Shakespeare were discussing Ben Jonson. He
analyzed men, their characters and motives and capacity, with great
penetration, impartially if a stranger or an enemy, with the tenderest
and most touching justice if a friend. He was fond of the companionship
of all who were in sympathy with this real and human side of his life."
But there was another side of his being, for which we may adopt the name
that Dr. Loring has given it, the "supernatural." It was this which gave
him his high distinction. "When he entered upon his work as a writer, he
left behind him his other and accustomed personality by which he was
known in general intercourse. In this work he allowed no interference,
he asked for no aid. He was shy of those whose intellectual power and
literary fame might seem to give them a right to enter his sanctuary. In
an assembly of illustrious authors and thinkers, he floated, reserved
and silent, around the margin in the twilight of the room, and at last
vanished into the outer darkness; and when he was gone, Mr. Emerson said
of him: 'Hawthorne rides well his horse of the night.' The working of
his mind was so sacred and mysterious to him that he was impatient of
any attempt at familiarity or even intimacy with the divine power within
him. His love of personal solitude was a ruling passion, his
intellectual solitude was an overpowering necessity.... Hawthorne said
himself that his work grew in his brain as it went on, and was beyond
his control or direction, for nature was his guide.... I have often
thought that he understood his own greatness so imperfectly, that he
dared not expose the mystery to others, and that the sacredness of his
genius was to him like the sacredness of his love."

And did not Hawthorne write to his betrothed wife?--"Lights and shadows
are continually flitting across my inward sky, and I know not whence
they come nor whither they go; nor do I inquire too closely into them.
It is dangerous to look too minutely into such phenomena." What we may
collect and set down of mere fact about his surroundings and his acts
relates itself, therefore, mainly to his outwardly real existence, to
the mere shell or mask of him, which was all that anybody could behold
with the eyes; and as for the interior and ideal existence, it is not
likely that we shall securely penetrate very far, where his own
impartial and introverted gaze stopped short. It is but a rough method
to infer with brusque self-confidence that we may judge from a few words
here and there the whole of his thought and feeling. A fair enough
notion may be formed as to the status of his post-collegiate life in
Salem, from the data we have, but we can do no more than guess at its
formative influence upon his genius. And I should be sorry to give an
impression that because his courtship went on in the old house by the
graveyard, of which he has written so soberly, there was any shadow of
melancholy upon that initiatory period of a new happiness. His
reflections concerning the spot had to do with his imaginative, or if
one choose, his "supernatural," existence; what actually passed there
had to do with the real and the personal, and with the life of the
affections. We may be sure that the meeting of two such perfected
spirits, so in harmony one with another, was attended with no qualified
degree of joy. If it was calm and reticent, without rush of excitement
or exuberant utterance, this was because movement at its acme becomes
akin to rest. Let us leave his love in that sanctity which, in his own
mind, it shared with his genius.

Picturesquely considered, however,--and the picturesque never goes very
deep,--it is certainly interesting to observe that Hawthorne and his
wife, both of Salem families, should have been born on opposite sides of
the same street, within the sound of a voice; should have gone in
separate directions, remaining unaware of each other's existence; and
then should finally have met, when well beyond their first youth, in an
old house on the borders of the ancient burial-ground in which the
ancestors of both reposed, within hail of the spot where both had first
seen the light.

When they became engaged, there was opposition to the match on the part
of Hawthorne's family, who regarded the seemingly confirmed invalidism
of Miss Peabody as an insuperable objection; but this could not be
allowed to stand in the way of a union so evidently pointed out by
providential circumstance and inherent adaptability in those who were to
be the parties to it. The engagement was a long one; but in the interval
before her marriage Miss Peabody's health materially improved.



III.


The new turn of affairs of course made Hawthorne impatient to find some
employment more immediately productive than that with the pen. He was
profoundly dissatisfied, also, with his elimination from the active life
of the world. "I am tired of being an ornament!" he said with great
emphasis, to a friend. "I want a little piece of land of my own, big
enough to stand upon, big enough to be buried in. I want to have
something to do with this material world." And, striking his hand
vigorously upon a table that stood by: "If I could only make tables," he
declared, "I should feel myself more of a man."

President Van Buren had entered on the second year of his term, and Mr.
Bancroft, the historian, was Collector of the port of Boston. One
evening the latter was speaking, in a circle of whig friends, of the
splendid things which the democratic administration was doing for
literary men.

"But there's Hawthorne," suggested Miss Elizabeth Peabody, who was
present. "You've done nothing for him."

"He won't take anything," was the answer: "he has been offered places."

In fact, Hawthorne's friends in political life, Pierce and Jonathan
Cilley, had urged him to enter politics; and at one time he had been
offered a post in the West Indies, but refused it because he would not
live in a slaveholding community.

"I happen to know," said Miss Peabody, "that he would be very glad of
employment."

The result was that a small position in the Boston Custom House was
soon awarded to the young author. On going down from Salem to inquire
about it, he received another and better appointment as weigher and
gauger. His friend Pike was installed there at the same time. To
Longfellow, Hawthorne wrote in good spirits:--

"I have no reason to doubt my capacity to fulfil the duties; for I don't
know what they are. They tell me that a considerable portion of my time
will be unoccupied, the which I mean to employ in sketches of my new
experience, under some such titles as follows: 'Scenes In Dock,'
'Voyages at Anchor,' 'Nibblings of a Wharf Rat,' 'Trials of a
Tide-Waiter,' 'Romance of the Revenue Service,' together with an ethical
work in two volumes on the subject of Duties; the first volume to treat
of moral duties and the second of duties imposed by the revenue laws,
which I begin to consider the most important."

His hopes regarding unoccupied time were not fulfilled; he was unable to
write with freedom during his term of service in Boston, and the best
result of it for us is contained in those letters, extracts from which
Mrs. Hawthorne published in the first volume of the "American
Note-Books." The benefit to him lay in the moderate salary of $1,200,
from which the cheapness of living at that time and his habitual economy
enabled him to lay up something; and in the contact with others which
his work involved. He might have saved time for writing if he had
chosen; but the wages of the wharf laborers depended on the number of
hours they worked, and Hawthorne--true to his instinct of democratic
sympathy and of justice--made it a point to reach the wharf at the
earliest hour, no matter what the weather might be, solely for the
convenience of the men. "It pleased me," he says in one of his letters,
"to think that I also had a part to act in the material and tangible
business of life, and that a portion of all this industry could not have
gone on without my presence."

But when he had had two years of this sort of toil the Whigs elected a
President, and Hawthorne was dropped from the civil service. The project
of an ideal community just then presented itself, and from Boston he
went to Brook Farm, close by in Roxbury. The era of Transcendentalism
had arrived, and Dr. George Ripley, an enthusiastic student of
philosophy and a man of wide information, sought to give the new
tendencies a practical turn in the establishment of a modified
socialistic community. The Industrial Association which he proposed to
plant at West Roxbury was wisely planned with reference to the
conditions of American life; it had no affinity with the erratic views
of Enfantin or St. Simon, nor did it in the least partake of the errors
of Robert Owen regarding the relation of the sexes; although it agreed
with Fourier and Owen both, if I understand the aim rightly, in respect
of labor. Dr. Ripley's simple object was to distribute labor in such a
way as to give all men time for culture, and to free their minds from
the debasing influence of a merely selfish competition. "A few men of
like views and feelings," one of his sympathizers has said, "grouped
themselves around him, not as their master, but as their friend and
brother, and the community at Brook Farm was instituted." Charles A.
Dana and Minot Pratt were leading spirits in the enterprise; the young
Brownson, George William Curtis, and Horace Sumner (a younger brother of
Charles) were also engaged in it, at various times. The place was a
kind of granary of true grit. Hawthorne has characterized the community
in that remark which he applied to Blithedale: "They were mostly
individuals who had gone through such an experience as to disgust them
with ordinary pursuits, but who were not yet so old, nor had suffered so
deeply, as to lose their faith in the better time to come." Miss E. P.
Peabody had at that time left Salem and begun a publishing business in
Boston, being one of the first women of our time to embark in an
occupation thought to appertain exclusively to men; and at her rooms
some of the preliminary meetings of the new association were held. Thus
it happened that the scheme was speedily brought to Hawthorne's notice.
When his accession to the ranks was announced, Dr. Ripley, as he said to
the present writer, felt as if a miracle had occurred, "or as if the
heavens would presently be opened and we should see Jacob's Ladder
before us. But we never came any nearer to having _that_, than our old
ladder in the barn, from floor to hayloft." Besides his belief in the
theory of an improved condition of society, and his desire to forward
its accomplishment, Hawthorne had two objects in joining the community:
one of which was to secure a suitable and economical home after
marriage; the other, to hit upon a mode of life which should equalize
the sum of his exertions between body and brain. Many persons went
thither in just the same frame of mind.

From a distance, the life that was led there has a very pretty and
idyllic look. There was teaching, and there was intellectual talk; there
was hard domestic and farming work in pleasant companionship, and a
general effort to be disinterested. The various buildings in which the
associators found shelter were baptized with cheerful and sentimental
names; The Hive, The Pilgrim House, The Nest, The Eyrie, and The
Cottage. The young women sang as they washed the dishes, and the more
prepossessing and eligible of the yeomen sometimes volunteered to help
them with their unpoetic and saponaceous task. The costume of the men
included a blouse of checked or plaided stuff, belted at the waist, and
a rough straw hat; and the women also wore hats, in defiance of the
fashion then ruling, and chose calico for their gowns. In the evenings,
poems and essays composed by the members, or else a play of Shakespeare,
would be read aloud in the principal gathering held at one of the
houses. A great deal of individual liberty was allowed, and Hawthorne
probably availed himself of this to keep as much as possible out of
sight. One might fancy, on a casual glance, that Brook Farm was the
scene of a prolonged picnic. But it was not so at all. Hawthorne had
hoped that by devoting six hours a day to mechanical employments, he
could earn the time he needed for writing; but, as it proved, the manual
labor more nearly consumed sixteen hours, according to Dr. Ripley, who
declared of Hawthorne that "he worked like a dragon!"

Sundry of Hawthorne's common sense observations and conclusions upon the
advisability of his remaining at the farm are to be found in his
"Note-Books," and have often been quoted and criticised. They show that,
as might be expected in a person of candor and good judgment, he was
considering the whole phenomenon upon the practical side. There is an
instructive passage also in "The Blithedale Romance," which undoubtedly
refers to his own experience:--

"Though fond of society, I was so constituted as to need these
occasional retirements, even in a life like that of Blithedale, which
was itself characterized by a remoteness from the world. Unless renewed
by a yet further withdrawal towards the inner circle of self-communion,
I lost the better part of my individuality. My thoughts became of little
worth, and my sensibilities grew as arid as a tuft of moss ... crumbling
in the sunshine, after long expectance of a shower."

The whole thing was an experiment for everybody concerned, and Hawthorne
found it best to withdraw from a further prosecution thereof, as persons
were constantly doing who had come to see if the life would suit them.
He had contributed a thousand dollars (the chief part of his savings in
the Custom House) to the funds of the establishment; and, some time
after he quitted the place, an effort was made among the most
influential gentlemen of Brook Farm to restore this sum to him, although
they were not, I believe, bound to do so. Whether or not they ever
carried out this purpose has not been learned. The community flourished
for four years and was financially sound, but in 1844 it entered into
bonds of brotherhood with a Fourieristic organization in New York, began
to build a Phalanstery, attempted to enlarge its range of industry, and
came to grief. No one of its chief adherents has ever written its
history; but perhaps Mr. Frothingham is right in saying that
"Aspirations have no history."[6] At all events Hawthorne, in "The
Blithedale Romance," which explicitly disclaims any close adherence to
facts or any criticism on the experiment, has furnished the best
chronicle it has had, so far as the spirit of the scheme is concerned.

Having tried the utmost isolation for ten years in Salem, and finding
it unsatisfactory; and having made a venture in an opposite extreme at
Brook Farm, which was scarcely more to his liking, Hawthorne had
unconsciously passed through the best of preparation for that family
life of comparative freedom, and of solitude alternating with a gentle
and perfect companionship, on which he was about to enter. In July,
1842, Rev. James Freeman Clarke, of Boston, received the following note,
dated from 54 Pinckney Street, which was the residence of Hawthorne's
friend, George S. Hillard:--

     MY DEAR SIR,--Though personally a stranger to you, I am about to
     request of you the greatest favor which I can receive from any man.
     I am to be married to Miss Sophia Peabody; and it is our mutual
     desire that you should perform the ceremony. Unless it should be
     decidedly a rainy day, a carriage will call for you at half past
     eleven o'clock in the forenoon.

  Very respectfully yours,
    NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

The wedding took place quietly, and Hawthorne carried his bride to the
Manse at Concord, the old parsonage of that town. It belonged to the
descendants of Dr. Ezra Ripley, who had been pastor there at the close
of the last century; they were relatives of the George Ripley with whom
Hawthorne had so recently been associated at Brook Farm. Hawthorne had
succeeded in hiring the place for a time, and was happy in beginning his
married life in a house so well in keeping with his tastes. The best
account of this, his first sojourn in Concord, is to be found in the
"American Note-Books," and in the Introduction to the "Mosses from an
Old Manse." Here his first child was born, a daughter, to whom the name
of Una[7] was given, from "The Faërie Queen"; and here he saw something
of Emerson and of Margaret Fuller. Among his visitors, who were never
many, was George Stillman Hillard, a Democrat, a lawyer, an editor, an
orator in high favor with the Bostonians, and the author of several
works both of travel and of an educational kind. Mr. George P. Bradford,
with whom Hawthorne had talked and toiled at Brook Farm, was a cousin of
the Ripleys, and also came hither as a friend. Another Brook Farmer
appeared at the Manse, in the person of one Frank Farley, a man of some
originality, who had written a little book on natural scenery and had
been a frontiersman, but was subject to a mild, loquacious form of
insanity. (Mention of him as "Mr. F----" is made in the "American
Note-Books," under date of June 6 and June 10, 1844.) A writer in one of
the magazines has recorded the impression which Hawthorne left on the
minds of others who saw him during this period, but did not know him.
Among the villagers "a report was current that this man Hawthorne was
somewhat uncanny--in point of fact, not altogether sane. My friend, the
son of a Concord farmer and at that time a raw college youth, had heard
these bucolic whisperings as to the sanity of the recluse dweller at the
ancient parsonage; but he knew nothing of the man, had read none of his
productions, and of course took no interest in what was said or surmised
about him. And one day, casting his eye toward the Manse as he was
passing, he saw Hawthorne up the pathway, standing with folded arms in
motionless attitude, and with eyes fixed upon the ground. 'Poor
fellow,' was his unspoken comment: 'he does look as if he might be
daft.' And when, on his return a full hour afterward, Hawthorne was
still standing in the same place and attitude, the lad's very natural
conclusion was, 'The man _is_ daft, sure enough!'" Mr. Thomas Wentworth
Higginson has presented quite a different view, in his "Short Studies of
American Authors." He says:--

"The self-contained purpose of Hawthorne, the large resources, the
waiting power,--these seem to the imagination to imply an ample basis of
physical life; and certainly his stately and noble port is inseparable,
in my memory, from these characteristics. Vivid as this impression is, I
yet saw him but twice, and never spoke to him. I first met him on a
summer morning, in Concord, as he was walking along the road near the
Old Manse, with his wife by his side and a noble looking baby-boy in a
little wagon which the father was pushing. I remember him as tall, firm,
and strong in bearing.... When I passed, Hawthorne lifted upon me his
great gray eyes with a look too keen to seem indifferent, too shy to be
sympathetic--and that was all."[8]

Hawthorne's plan of life was settled; he was happily married, and the
problems of his youth were solved: his character and his genius were
formed. From this point on, therefore, his works and his "Note-Books"
impart the essentials of his career. The main business of the biographer
is, after this, to put together that which will help to make real the
picture of the author grappling with those transient emergencies that
constitute the tangible part of his history. A few extracts from
letters written to Horatio Bridge, heretofore unpublished, come under
this head.

_Concord, March_ 25, 1843.--"I did not come to see you, because I was
very short of cash--having been disappointed in money that I had
expected from three or four sources. My difficulties of this kind
sometimes make me sigh for the regular monthly payments of the Custom
House. The system of slack payments in this country is most
abominable.... I find no difference in anybody in this respect, for all
do wrong alike. ---- is just as certain to disappoint me in money
matters as any little pitiful scoundrel among the booksellers. For my
part, I am compelled to disappoint those who put faith in my
engagements; and so it goes round."

The following piece of advice with regard to notes for the "Journal of
an African Cruiser," by Mr. Bridge, which Hawthorne was to edit, is
worth observing and has never before been given to the public:--

"I would advise you not to stick too accurately to the bare facts,
either in your descriptions or your narratives; else your hand will be
cramped, and the result will be a want of freedom that will deprive you
of a higher truth than that which you strive to attain. Allow your fancy
pretty free license, and omit no heightening touches merely because they
did not chance to happen before your eyes. If they did not happen, they
at least ought--which is all that concerns you. This is the secret of
all entertaining travellers.... Begin to write always before the
impression of novelty has worn off from your mind; else you will soon
begin to think that the peculiarities which at first interested you are
not worth recording; yet these slight peculiarities are the very things
that make the most vivid impression upon the reader." In this same
letter (May 3, 1843) he reverts to the financial difficulty, and speaks
of a desire to obtain office again, but adds: "It is rather singular
that I should need an office; for nobody's scribblings seem to be more
acceptable to the public than mine; and yet I still find it a tough
match to gain a respectable living by my pen."

By November of 1844 he had put things seriously in train for procuring
another government position; Polk having been elected to the Presidency.
There was a rumor that Tyler had actually fixed upon Hawthorne for the
postmastership of Salem, but had been induced to withdraw the name; and
this was the office upon which he fixed his hope; but a hostile party
made itself felt in Salem, which raised all possible obstacles, and
apparently Hawthorne's former chief, Mr. Bancroft,--it may have been for
some reason connected with political management,--opposed his
nomination. Early in October, 1845, Hawthorne made his farewell to the
Old Manse, never to return to the shelter of its venerable and
high-shouldered roof. Once more he went to Salem, and halted in Herbert
Street. The postmastership had proved unattainable, but there was a
prospect of his becoming Naval Officer or Surveyor. The latter position
was given him at length; but not until the spring of 1846. On first
arriving at Salem, he wrote to Bridge: "Here I am, again established--in
the old chamber where I wasted so many years of my life. I find it
rather favorable to my literary duties; for I have already begun to
sketch out the story for Wiley & Putnam," an allusion to something
intended to fill out a volume of the "Mosses," already negotiated for.
After his installation as Surveyor he wrote, speaking of his "moderate
prosperity," and said further: "I have written nothing for the press
since my entrance into office, but intend to begin soon. My 'Mosses'
seem to have met with good acceptance." Time went on, however, and he
remained, so far as literary production was concerned, inert. He had
left the Manning homestead and hired a house in Chestnut Street, which
he kept for a year and a half. During this period Mrs. Hawthorne went to
Boston for a time, and in Carver Street, Boston, was born their second
child and only son, Mr. Julian Hawthorne, who has since made a
reputation for himself as a novelist. From Chestnut Street he went to
another house, in Mall Street; and it was there that "The Scarlet
Letter" was finished, in 1850, four years after he had announced to
Bridge that he intended soon to begin composition. The Custom House
routine disturbed his creative moods and caused a gradual postponement
of literary effort. Of the figure that he made while fulfilling the
functions assigned to him, slight traces have been left. We are told,
for example, that two Shakers, leaders in their community, visited the
Custom House one day, and were conducted through its several
departments. On the way out, they passed Hawthorne, and no sooner had
they left his room than, the door being shut behind them, the elder
brother asked with great interest who that man was. After referring to
the strong face, "and those eyes, the most wonderful he had ever
beheld," he said: "Mark my words, that man will in some way make a deep
impression upon the world." It is also remembered that a rough and
overbearing sea-captain attempted to interfere with Hawthorne's exercise
of his duty as an inspector of the customs, in charge of the ship. His
attempt "was met with such a terrific uprising of spiritual and physical
wrath that the dismayed captain fled up the wharf" and took refuge with
the Collector, "inquiring with a sailor's emotion and a sailor's tongue:
'What in God's name have you sent on board my ship for an inspector?'"
Unexpectedly, in the winter of 1849, he was deprived of his
surveyorship; a great surprise to him, because he had understood certain
of his fellow-citizens of Salem to have given a pledge that they would
not seek his removal, and it appeared that they had, notwithstanding,
gone to work to oust him.

On finding himself superseded, he walked away from the Custom House,
returned home, and entering sat down in the nearest chair, without
uttering a word. Mrs. Hawthorne asked him if he was well.

"Well enough," was the answer.

"What is the matter, then?" said she. "Are you 'decapitated?'"

He replied with gloom that he was, and that the occurrence was no joke.

"Oh," said his wife, gayly, "now you can write your Romance!" For he had
told her several times that he had a romance "growling" in him.

"Write my Romance!" he exclaimed. "But what are we to do for bread and
rice, next week?"

"I will take care of that," she answered. "And I will tell Ann to put a
fire in your study, now."

Hawthorne was oppressed with anxiety as to means of support for his wife
and children; the necessity of writing for immediate returns always had
a deterrent and paralyzing effect on his genius; and he was amazed that
Mrs. Hawthorne should take his calamity with so much lightness. He
questioned her again regarding the wherewithal to meet their current
needs, knowing well that he himself had no fund in reserve. His habit
had been to hand her the instalments of salary as they came to him from
the office; and when he was in need of money for himself he drew again
upon her for it. He therefore supposed that everything had been used up
from week to week. But Mrs. Hawthorne now disclosed the fact that she
had about a hundred and fifty dollars, a sum which for them was a
considerable one, their manner of living being extremely plain. Greatly
astonished, he asked her where she had obtained so much.

"You earned it," she replied, cheerily.

Mrs. Hawthorne was in fact overjoyed, on his account, that he had lost
his place; feeling as she did that he would now resume his proper
employment. The fire was built in the study, and Hawthorne, stimulated
by his wife's good spirits, set at once about writing "The Scarlet
Letter."

Some six months of time were required for its completion, and Mrs.
Hawthorne, who was aware that her savings would be consumed in a third
of that space, applied herself to increasing the small stock of cash, so
that her husband's mind might remain free and buoyant for his writing.
She began making little cambric lamp-shades, which she decorated with
delicate outline drawings and sent to Boston for sale. They were readily
purchased, and, by continuing their manufacture, this devoted wife
contrived to defray the expenses of the household until the book was
finished.

Mr. James T. Fields, the publisher, who was already an acquaintance,
and eventually became a friend, of Hawthorne's had been told of the
work, and went down to Salem to suggest bringing it out. This was before
the story had been fully elaborated into its present form. Hawthorne had
written steadily all day, and every day, from the start, but,
remembering in what small quantity his books sold, he had come to
consider this new attempt a forlorn hope. Mr. Fields found him
despondent, and thus narrates the close of the interview:--

"I looked at my watch and found that the train would soon be starting
for Boston, and I knew there was not much time to lose in trying to
discover what had been his literary work during these last few years in
Salem. I remember that I pressed him to reveal to me what he had been
writing. He shook his head, and gave me to understand that he had
produced nothing. At that moment I caught sight of a bureau or set of
drawers near where we were sitting; and immediately it occurred to me
that, hidden away somewhere in that article of furniture, was a story or
stories by the author of the 'Twice-Told Tales,' and I became so
confident that I charged him vehemently with the fact. He seemed
surprised, I thought, but shook his head again; and I rose to take my
leave, begging him not to come into the cold entry, saying I would come
back and see him again in a few days. I was hurrying down the stairs
when he called after me from the chamber, asking me to stop a moment.
Then, quickly stepping into the entry with a roll of manuscript in his
hands, he said: 'How in Heaven's name did you know this thing was here?
As you have found me out, take what I have written, and tell me, after
you get home and have time to read it, if it is good for anything. It
is either very good or very bad--I don't know which.' On my way up to
Boston I read the germ of 'The Scarlet Letter;' before I slept that
night I wrote him a note all aglow with admiration of the marvellous
story he had put into my hands."

In a letter to Bridge (April 10, 1850), the author said: "'The Scarlet
Letter' has sold well, the first edition having been exhausted in ten
days, and the second (5,000 in all) promising to go off rapidly."
Speaking of the excitement created among his townspeople by the
introductory account of the Custom House, he continued: "As to the Salem
people, I really thought I had been exceedingly good-natured in my
treatment of them. They certainly do not deserve good usage at my hands,
after permitting me ... to be deliberately lied down, not merely once
but at two separate attacks, on two false indictments, without hardly a
voice being raised on my behalf; and then sending one of their false
witnesses to Congress and choosing another as their Mayor. I feel an
infinite contempt for them, and probably have expressed more of it than
I intended; for my preliminary chapter has caused the greatest uproar
that ever happened here since witch-times. If I escape from town without
being tarred and feathered, I shall consider it good luck. I wish they
_would_ tar and feather me--it would be such an entirely new distinction
for a literary man! And from such judges as my fellow-citizens, I should
look upon it as a higher honor than a laurel-crown." In the same letter
he states that he has taken a house in Lenox, and shall move to it on
the 1st of May: "I thank Mrs. Bridge for her good wishes as respects my
future removals from office; but I should be sorry to anticipate such
bad fortune as ever again being appointed to me."

Previous to this, he had written: "I long to get into the country, for
my health latterly is not quite what it has been for many years past. I
should not long stand such a life of bodily inactivity and mental
exertion as I have led for the last few months. An hour or two of daily
labor in a garden, and a daily ramble in country air or on the
sea-shore, would keep me all right. Here I hardly go out once a week....
I detest this town so much, that I hate to go into the streets, or to
have the people see me. Anywhere else I should at once be another man."

It was not a very comfortable home, that small red wooden house at
Lenox, overlooking the beautiful valley of the Housatonic and surrounded
by mountains; but both Hawthorne and his wife bravely made the best of
it. Mrs. Hawthorne ornamented an entire set of plain furniture, painted
a dull yellow, with copies from Flaxman's outlines, executed with great
perfection; and, poor as the place was, it soon became invested by its
occupants with something of a poetic atmosphere. After a summer's rest,
Hawthorne began "The House of the Seven Gables;" writing to Bridge in
October:--

"I am getting so deep into my own book, that I am afraid it will be
impossible for me to attend properly to my editorial duties" (connected
with a new edition of Lieutenant Bridge's "Journal of an African
Cruiser").... "Una and Julian grow apace, and so do our chickens, of
which we have two broods. There is one difficulty about these chickens,
as well as about the older fowls. We have become so intimately
acquainted with every individual of them, that it really seems like
cannibalism to think of eating them. What is to be done?"

[Illustration: Letter to Mr. Fields.

       Lenox, January 27. 1851

     Dear Fields,

     I intend to put the House of the Seven Gables into the express
     man's hands to-day; so that, if you do not soon receive it, you may
     conclude that it has miscarried--in which case, I shall not consent
     to the Universe existing a moment longer. I have no copy of it,
     except the wildest scribble of a first draught; so that it could
     never be restored.

     It has met with extraordinary success from that portion of the
     public to whose judgement it has been submitted, viz. from my wife.
     I likewise prefer it to the Scarlet Letter; but an author's opinion
     of his book, just after completing it, is worth little or nothing;
     he being then in the hot or cold fit of a fever, and certain to
     rate it too high or too low.

       *       *       *       *       *

     I had something else to say, but have forgotten what.

  Truly Yours,
  Nath. Hawthorne.]

His task occupied him all winter. To Mr. Fields at length, on the 27th
of January, 1851, he sent the following message:--

"I intend to put 'The House of the Seven Gables' into the expressman's
hands to-day; so that, if you do not soon receive it, you may conclude
that it has miscarried--in which case, I shall not consent to the
universe existing a moment longer. I have no copy of it, except the
wildest scribble of a first draught; so that it could never be restored.

"It has met with extraordinary success from that portion of the public
to whose judgment it has been submitted: viz. from my wife. I likewise
prefer it to 'The Scarlet Letter;' but an author's opinion of his book,
just after completing it, is worth little or nothing; he being then in
the hot or cold fit of a fever, and certain to rate it too high or too
low. It has undoubtedly one disadvantage in being brought so close to
the present time, whereby its romantic improbabilities become more
glaring."

The fac simile of a part of the above letter which is reproduced here
serves as a fairly good specimen of Hawthorne's handwriting. At the time
when it was written, he was not very well, and the fatigue of his long
labor upon the book rendered the chirography somewhat less clear in this
case than it often was. The lettering in his manuscripts was somewhat
larger, and was still more distinct than that in his correspondence.

After the new romance had come out and had met with a flattering
reception, he inquired of Bridge (July 22, 1851): "Why did you not write
and tell me how you liked (or how you did not like) 'The House of the
Seven Gables?' Did you feel shy about expressing an unfavorable opinion?
It would not have hurt me in the least, though I am always glad to
please you; but I rather think I have reached the stage when I do not
care very essentially one way or the other for anybody's opinion on any
one production. On this last romance, for instance, I have heard and
seen such diversity of judgment that I should be altogether bewildered
if I attempted to strike a balance;--so I take nobody's estimate but my
own. I think it is a work more characteristic of my mind, and more
natural and proper for me to write, than 'The Scarlet Letter'--but for
that very reason less likely to interest the public.... As long as
people will buy, I shall keep at work, and I find that my facility of
labor increases with the demand for it."

In the May of 1851 another daughter was added to his family. Hawthorne,
like his father, had one son and two daughters. Of this youngest one he
wrote to Pike, two months after her birth: "She is a very bright and
healthy child.... I think I feel more interest in her than I did in the
other children at the same age, from the consideration that she is to be
the daughter of my age--the comfort (so it is to be hoped) of my
declining years." There are some other interesting points in this
communication. "What a sad account you give of your solitude, in your
letter! I am not likely ever to have that feeling of loneliness which
you express; and I most heartily wish you would take measures to remedy
it in your own case, by marrying.... Whenever you find it quite
intolerable (and I can hardly help wishing that it may become so soon),
do come to me. By the way, if I continue to prosper as hitherto in the
literary line, I shall soon be in a condition to buy a place; and if
you should hear of one, say worth from $1,500 to $2,000, I wish you
would keep your eye on it for me. I should wish it to be on the
sea-coast, or at all events within easy access to the sea. Very little
land would suit my purpose, but I want a good house, with space
inside.... I find that I do not feel at home among these hills, and
should not consider myself permanently settled here. I do not get
acclimated to the peculiar state of the atmosphere; and, except in
mid-winter, I am continually catching cold, and am never so vigorous as
I used to be on the sea-coast.... Why did you not express your opinion
of 'The House of the Seven Gables?'... I should receive friendly
censure with just as much equanimity as if it were praise; though
certainly I had rather you would like the book than not. At any rate, it
has sold finely, and seems to have pleased a good many people better
than the other; and I must confess that I myself am among the number....
When I write another romance I shall take the Community for a subject,
and shall give some of my experiences at Brook Farm."

On the first day of December, 1851, he left Lenox with his wife and
children, betaking himself for the winter to West Newton, a suburban
village a few miles west of Boston, on the Charles River; there to
remain until he could effect the purchase of a house which could serve
him as a settled home. The house that he finally selected was an old one
in the town of Concord, about a mile easterly from the centre of the
village on the road to Lexington, and was then the property of Mrs.
Bronson Alcott. During the winter at West Newton he wrote "The
Blithedale Romance," which was published early in 1852. In the brief
term of two years and a half from the moment of his leaving the Custom
House at Salem, he had thus produced four books,--"The Scarlet Letter,"
"The House of the Seven Gables," "A Wonder-Book for Boys and Girls," and
"The Blithedale Romance,"--three of them being the principal works of
his lifetime, with which "The Marble Faun" alone stands in the same
category. Early in the summer of 1852 he took up his residence in his
new home, The Wayside, of which he thus discoursed to Mr. George William
Curtis, on the 14th of July, 1852:--

     MY DEAR HOWADJI,--I think (and am glad to think) that you will find
     it necessary to come hither in order to write your Concord
     Sketches; and as for my old house, you will understand it better
     after spending a day or two in it. Before Mr. Alcott took it in
     hand, it was a mean-looking affair, with two peaked gables; no
     suggestiveness about it and no venerableness, although from the
     style of its construction it seems to have survived beyond its
     first century. He added a porch in front, and a central peak, and a
     piazza at each end, and painted it a rusty olive hue, and invested
     the whole with a modest picturesqueness; all which improvements,
     together with its situation at the foot of a wooded hill, make it a
     place that one notices and remembers for a few moments after
     passing it. Mr. Alcott expended a good deal of taste and some money
     (to no great purpose) in forming the hill-side behind the house
     into terraces, and building arbors and summer-houses of rough stems
     and branches and trees, on a system of his own. They must have been
     very pretty in their day, and are so still, although much decayed,
     and shattered more and more by every breeze that blows. The
     hill-side is covered chiefly with locust-trees, which come into
     luxuriant blossom in the month of June, and look and smell very
     sweetly, intermixed with a few young elms and some white-pines and
     infant oaks,--the whole forming rather a thicket than a wood.
     Nevertheless, there is some very good shade to be found there. I
     spend delectable hours there in the hottest part of the day,
     stretched out at my lazy length, with a book in my hand or an
     unwritten book in my thoughts. There is almost always a breeze
     stirring along the sides or brow of the hill.

     From the hill-top there is a good view along the extensive level
     surfaces and gentle, hilly outlines, covered with wood, that
     characterize the scenery of Concord. We have not so much as a gleam
     of lake or river in the prospect; if there were, it would add
     greatly to the value of the place in my estimation.

     The house stands within ten or fifteen feet of the old Boston road
     (along which the British marched and retreated), divided from it by
     a fence, and some trees and shrubbery of Mr. Alcott's setting out.
     Whereupon I have called it "The Wayside," which I think a better
     name and more morally suggestive than that which, as Mr. Alcott has
     since told me, he bestowed on it,--"The Hill-Side." In front of the
     house, on the opposite side of the road, I have eight acres of
     land,--the only valuable portion of the place in a farmer's eye,
     and which are capable of being made very fertile. On the hither
     side, my territory extends some little distance over the brow of
     the hill, and is absolutely good for nothing, in a productive point
     of view, though very good for many other purposes.

     I know nothing of the history of the house, except Thoreau's
     telling me that it was inhabited a generation or two ago by a man
     who believed he should never die.[9] I believe, however, he is
     dead; at least, I hope so; else he may probably appear and dispute
     my title to his residence....

     I asked Ticknor to send a copy of "The Blithedale Romance" to you.
     Do not read it as if it had anything to do with Brook Farm (which
     essentially it has not), but merely for its own story and
     character.

  Truly yours, NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

Quite possibly the name of The Wayside recommended itself to him by some
association of thought like that which comes to light in the Preface to
"The Snow-Image," where, speaking of the years immediately following his
college course, he says: "I sat down by the wayside of life like a man
under enchantment, and a shrubbery sprung up around me, and the bushes
grew to be saplings, and the saplings became trees, until no exit
appeared possible through the entangling depths of my obscurity." If so,
the simile held good as to his home; for there, too, the shrubbery has
sprung up and has grown to saplings and trees, until the house is
embosomed in a wood, except for the opening along the road and a small
amphitheatre of lawn overlooked by the evergreen-clad hill.

Hawthorne's old college friend, Franklin Pierce, after having been to
Congress and having risen to the rank of general in the Mexican War, was
nominated by the democratic party for the presidency of the United
States, at the time when the romancer had established himself in this
humble but charming old abode; and it became manifest that the
candidate wanted Hawthorne to write a life of him, for use in the
campaign. Hawthorne, on being pressed, consented to do so, and a letter
which he addressed to Bridge, October 13, 1852, contains some extremely
interesting confidences on the subject, which will be entirely new to
readers. As they do Hawthorne credit, if considered fairly, and give a
striking presentment of the impartiality with which he viewed all
subjects, it seems to be proper to print them here.

He begins by speaking of "The Blithedale Romance," regarding which he
says: "I doubt whether you will like it very well; but it has met with
good success, and has brought me (besides its American circulation) a
thousand dollars from England, whence likewise have come many favorable
notices. Just at this time, I rather think your friend stands foremost
there as an American fiction-monger. In a day or two I intend to begin a
new romance, which, if possible, I intend to make more genial than the
last.

"I did not send you the Life of Pierce, not considering it fairly one of
my literary productions.... I was terribly reluctant to undertake this
work, and tried to persuade Pierce, both by letter and vivâ voce, that I
could not perform it as well as many others; but he thought differently,
and of course after a friendship of thirty years it was impossible to
refuse my best efforts in his behalf, at the great pinch of his life. It
was a bad book to write, for the gist of the matter lay in explaining
how it happened, that with such extraordinary opportunities for eminent
distinction, civil and military, as he has enjoyed, this crisis should
have found him so obscure as he certainly was, in a national point of
view. My heart absolutely sank at the dearth of available material.
However, I have done the business, greatly to Frank's satisfaction; and,
though I say it myself, it is judiciously done; and, without any
sacrifice of truth, it puts him in as good a light as circumstances
would admit. Other writers might have made larger claims for him, and
have eulogized him more highly; but I doubt whether any other could have
bestowed a better aspect of sincerity and reality on the narrative, and
have secured all the credit possible for him without spoiling all by
asserting too much. And though the story is true, yet it took a romancer
to do it.

"Before undertaking it, I made an inward resolution that I would accept
no office from him; but to say the truth, I doubt whether it would not
be rather folly than heroism to adhere to this purpose, in case he
should offer me anything particularly good. We shall see. A foreign
mission I could not afford to take;--the consulship at Liverpool I
might.... I have several invitations from English celebrities to come
over there; and this office would make all straight. He certainly owes
me something; for the biography has cost me hundreds of friends here at
the North, who had a purer regard for me than Frank Pierce or any other
politician ever gained, and who drop off from me like autumn leaves, in
consequence of what I say on the slavery question. But they were my real
sentiments, and I do not now regret that they are on record."

After discussing other topics, he observes further of Pierce: "I have
come seriously to the conclusion that he has in him many of the chief
elements of a great man; and that if he wins the election he may run a
great career. His talents are administrative; he has a subtle faculty
of making affairs roll around according to his will, and of influencing
their course without showing any trace of his action." Hawthorne did not
feel very confident of his friend's election. "I love him," he adds,
"and, oddly enough, there is a kind of pitying sentiment mixed with my
affection for him just now."

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Richard Henry Stoddard has set down his reminiscences of two visits
paid to Hawthorne at the beginning and after the end of the campaign. In
the summer of 1852, Mr. Stoddard was making a short stay in Boston, and
dropped in at the Old Corner Bookstore to call upon Mr. Fields, who then
had his headquarters there. He found Mr. Edwin P. Whipple, the lecturer
and critic, sitting with the publisher.

"'We are going to see Hawthorne,' Mr. Fields remarked, in an off-hand
way, as if such a visit was the commonest thing in the world. 'Won't you
come along?' He knew my admiration for Hawthorne, and that I desired to
meet him, if I could do so without being considered an infliction. 'To
be sure I will,' I replied.... When we were fairly seated in the train
we met a friend of Hawthorne, whom Mr. Fields knew--a Colonel T. I.
Whipple--who, like ourselves, was _en route_ for Concord, ... and as
General Pierce was then the democratic candidate for the presidency, he
was going to see Hawthorne, in order to furnish materials for that work.

"We reached The Wayside, where Hawthorne, who had no doubt been
expecting visitors, met us at the door. I was introduced to him as being
the only stranger of the party, and was greeted warmly, more so than I
had dared to hope, remembering the stories I had heard of his
unconquerable shyness. He threw open the door of the room on the left,
and, telling us to make ourselves at home, disappeared with Colonel
Whipple and his budget of biographical memoranda. We made ourselves at
home, as he had desired, in what I suppose was the parlor--a cosy but
plainly furnished room, with nothing to distinguish it from a thousand
other "best rooms" in New England, except a fine engraving on the wall
of one of Raphael's Madonnas. We chatted a few moments, and then, as he
did not return, we took a stroll over the grounds, under the direction
of Mr. Fields.

"We had ascended the hill, and from its outlook were taking in the
historic country about, when we were rejoined by Hawthorne in the old
rustic summer-house. As I was the stranger, he talked with me more than
with the others, largely about myself and my verse-work, which he seemed
to have followed with considerable attention; and he mentioned an
architectural poem of mine and compared it with his own modest mansion.

"'If I could build like you,' he said, 'I, too, would have a castle in
the air.'

"'Give me The Wayside,' I replied, 'and you shall have all the air
castles I can build.'

"As we rambled and talked, my heart went out towards this famous man,
who did not look down upon me, as he might well have done, but took me
up to himself as an equal and a friend. Dinner was announced and eaten,
a plain country dinner, with a bottle or two of _vin ordinaire_, and we
started back to Boston."

Pierce having become President-Elect, Mr. Stoddard made another trip to
Concord, in the winter of 1852-3, to ask Hawthorne's advice about
getting a place in the Custom House. He was taken into the study (at
that time in the southeast corner, on the ground-floor and facing the
road), where there was a blazing wood-fire. The announcement of dinner
cut short their conversation, but after dinner they again retired to the
study, where, as Mr. Stoddard says, Hawthorne brought out some cigars,
"which we smoked with a will and which I found stronger than I liked.
Custom House matters were scarcely touched upon, and I was not sorry,
for while they were my ostensible errand there, they were not half so
interesting as the discursive talk of Hawthorne. He manifested a good
deal of curiosity in regard to some old Brook Farmers whom I knew in a
literary way, and I told him what they were doing, and gave him my
impressions of the individuality of each. He listened, with an
occasional twinkle of the eye, and I can see now that he was amused by
my out-spoken detestation of certain literary Philistines. He was
out-spoken, too, for he told me plainly that a volume of fairy stories I
had just published was not simple enough for the young.

"What impressed me most at the time was not the drift of the
conversation, but the graciousness of Hawthorne. He expressed the
warmest interest in my affairs, and a willingness to serve me in every
possible way. In a word, he was the soul of kindness, and when I forget
him I shall have forgotten everything else."

When Mr. Stoddard got back to New York, he received this letter:--

      CONCORD, _March_ 16_th_, 1853.

     DEAR STODDARD:

     I beg your pardon for not writing before; but I have been very busy
     and not particularly well. I enclose a letter to Atherton. Roll up
     and pile up as much of a snow-ball as you can in the way of
     political interest; for there never was a fiercer time than this
     among the office-seekers....

     Atherton is a man of rather cold exterior; but has a good heart--at
     least for a politician of a quarter of a century's standing. If it
     be certain that he cannot help you, he will probably tell you so.
     Perhaps it would be as well for you to apply for some place that
     has a literary fragrance about it--librarian to some
     department--the office that Lanman held. I don't know whether there
     is any other such office. Are you fond of brandy? Your strength of
     head (which you tell me you possess) may stand you in good stead in
     Washington; for most of these public men are inveterate guzzlers,
     and love a man that can stand up to them in that particular. It
     would never do to let them see you corned, however. But I must
     leave you to find your way among them. If you have never associated
     with them heretofore, you will find them a new class, and very
     unlike poets.

     I have finished the "Tanglewood Tales," and they will make a volume
     about the size of the "Wonder-Book," consisting of six myths--"The
     Minotaur," "The Golden Fleece," "The Story of Proserpine," etc.,
     etc., etc., done up in excellent style, purified from all moral
     stain, re-created good as new, or better--and fully equal, in their
     way, to "Mother Goose." I never did anything so good as those old
     baby-stories.

     In haste,

  Truly yours,
  NATH. HAWTHORNE.

Nothing could more succinctly illustrate the readiness of Hawthorne's
sympathies, and the companionable, cordial ease with which he treated a
new friend who approached him in the right way, one who caught his fancy
by a frank and simple independence, than this letter to Mr. Stoddard,
whom he had spoken with only twice. At that very time his old
disinclination to be intruded upon was as strong as ever; for Mr. Fields
relates how, just before Hawthorne sailed for England, they walked
together near the Old Manse and lay down in a secluded, grassy spot
beside the Concord River, to watch the clouds and hear the birds sing.
Suddenly, footsteps were heard approaching, and Hawthorne whispered in
haste, with much solemnity: "Duck! or we shall be interrupted by
somebody." So they were both obliged to prostrate themselves in the
grass until the saunterer had passed out of sight.

The proposition to accept an office from Pierce was made to him as soon
as the new President was inaugurated. Although Hawthorne had considered
the possibility, as we have seen, and had decided what he could
advantageously take if it were offered, he also had grave doubts with
regard to taking any post whatever. When, therefore, the Liverpool
consulate was tendered to him, he at first positively declined it.
President Pierce, however, was much troubled by his refusal, and the
intervention of Hawthorne's publisher, Mr. Ticknor, was sought. Mr.
Ticknor urged him to reconsider, on the ground that it was a duty to his
family; and Hawthorne, who also naturally felt a strong desire to see
England, finally consented. His appointment was confirmed, March 26,
1853; but his predecessor was allowed, by resigning prospectively, to
hold over for five months; so that the departure for England was not
effected until the midsummer of 1853.



IV.


The twofold character of Hawthorne's mind is strongly manifested in the
diverse nature of the interests which occupied him in Europe, and the
tone with which he discussed them, alike in his journals, in his
letters, in "Our Old Home," and "The Marble Faun." On the one side, we
find the business-like official, attending methodically to the duties of
his place, the careful father of a family looking out for his personal
interests and the material welfare of his children in the future, the
keen and cool-headed observer who is determined to contemplate all the
novelties of strange scenes through no one's eyes but his own. On the
other side, he presents himself to us as the man of reverie, whose
observation of the actual constantly stimulates and brings into play a
faculty that perceives more than the actual; the delicate artist, whose
sympathies are ready and true in the appreciation of whatever is
picturesque or suggestive, or beautiful, whether in nature or in art.

Some of the letters which he wrote from Liverpool to his classmate,
Horatio Bridge, throw light upon his own affairs and the deliberate way
in which he considered them. For instance, under date of March 30, 1854,
he wrote:--

"I like my office well enough, but my official duties and obligations
are irksome to me beyond expression. Nevertheless, the emoluments will
be a sufficient inducement to keep me here for four years, though they
are not a quarter part what people suppose them. The value of the office
varied between ten and fifteen thousand dollars during my predecessor's
term, and it promises about the same now. Secretary Guthrie, however,
has just cut off a large slice, by a circular.... Ask ---- to show you a
letter of mine, which I send by this steamer, for possible publication
in the newspapers. It contains a statement of my doings in reference to
the San Francisco [steamship] sufferers. The "Portsmouth Journal," it
appears, published an attack on me, accusing me of refusing all
assistance until compelled to act by Mr. Buchanan's orders; whereas I
acted extra-officially on my own responsibility, throughout the whole
affair. Buchanan refused to have anything to do with it. Alas! How we
public men are calumniated. But I trust there will be no necessity for
publishing my letter; for I desire only to glide noiselessly through my
present phase of life.

"It sickens me to look back to America. I am sick to death of the
continual fuss and tumult, and excitement and bad blood, which we keep
up about political topics. If it were not for my children, I should
probably never return, but, after quitting office, should go to Italy,
to live and die there. If you and Mrs. Bridge would go, too, we might
form a little colony amongst ourselves, and see our children grow up
together. But it will never do to deprive them of their native land,
which, I hope, will be a more comfortable and happy residence in their
day than it has been in ours. In my opinion we are the most miserable
people on earth." It appears, further, that the appointment of a consul
for Manchester was contemplated, which, Hawthorne says, by withdrawing
some of the Liverpool perquisites, "would go far towards knocking this
consulate in the head."

On April 17th, hearing that a bill had been introduced in Congress to
put consuls upon salary, instead of granting them fees, he wrote:--

"I trust to Heaven no change whatever will be made in regard to the
emoluments of the Liverpool consulate, unless indeed a salary is to be
given in addition to the fees, in which case I should receive it very
thankfully. This, however, is not to be expected.... A fixed salary
(even if it should be larger than any salary now paid by government,
with the exception of the President's own) will render the office not
worth any man's holding. It is impossible (especially for a man with a
family and keeping any kind of an establishment) not to spend a vast
deal of money here. The office, unfortunately, is regarded as one of
great dignity, and puts the holder on a level with the highest society,
and compels him to associate on equal terms with men who spend more than
my whole income on the mere entertainments and other trimmings and
embroideries of their lives. Then I am bound to exercise some
hospitality toward my own countrymen. I keep out of society as much as I
decently can, and really practise as stern an economy as ever I did in
my life; but nevertheless I have spent many thousands of dollars in the
few months of my residence here, and cannot reasonably hope to spend
less than $6,000 per annum, even after the expense of setting up an
establishment is defrayed. All this is for the merely indispensable part
of my living; and unless I make a hermit of myself and deprive my wife
and children of all the pleasures and advantages of an English
residence, I must inevitably exceed the sum named above.... It would be
the easiest thing in the world for me to run in debt, even taking my
income at $15,000" (out of which all the clerks and certain other office
expenses had to be paid), ... "the largest sum that it ever reached in
Crittenden's time. He had no family but a wife, and lived constantly at
a boarding-house, and, nevertheless, went away (as he assured me) with
an aggregate of only $25,000 derived from his savings.

"Now the American public can never be made to understand such a
statement as the above; and they would grumble awfully if more than
$6,000 per annum were allowed for a consul's salary." But Hawthorne
concludes that it would not compensate him to retain the place with a
salary even of $10,000; and that if the emoluments should be reduced
from their then proportions, "the incumbent must be compelled to turn
his official position to account by engaging in commerce--a course which
ought not to be permitted, and which no Liverpool consul has ever
adopted."

There are some references to President Pierce, in the Bridge
correspondence, which possess exceptional interest; but I cite only one
of them. The great honor of the immense publicity into which Pierce had
come as the executive head of the nation, and the centre upon which many
conflicting movements and machinations turned, created a danger of
misunderstandings with some of his early and intimate friends. In
discussing one such case Hawthorne writes (May 1, 1854), with regard to
maintaining a friendship for the President:--

"You will say that it is easy for me to feel thus towards him, since he
has done his very best on my behalf; but the truth is (alas for poor
human nature!) I should probably have loved him better if I had never
received any favor at his hands. But all this will come right again,
after both he and I shall have returned into private life. It is some
satisfaction, at any rate, that no one of his appointments was so
favorably criticized as my own; and he should have my resignation by the
very next mail, if it would really do him any good."

Mr. Pike, who still held a post in the Salem Custom House, had written
to Hawthorne not long after his arrival in England, inquiring about the
prospect of obtaining some employment in the consular service there; and
Hawthorne replied, in a manner that leaves no doubt of his sagacity in
perceiving the exact situation of affairs, with its bearings for both
Pike and himself, nor of his determination neither to deceive himself
nor to give his friend any but the real reasons why he discouraged the
inquiry.

      "LIVERPOOL, _September_ 15, 1853.

     DEAR PIKE,--I have been intending to write to you this some time,
     but wished to get some tolerably clear idea of the state of things
     here before communicating with you. I find that I have three
     persons in my office: the head-clerk, or vice-consul, at £200, the
     second clerk at £150, and the messenger, who does some writing, at
     £80. They are all honest and capable men, and do their duty to
     perfection. No American would take either of these places for twice
     the sums which they receive; and no American, without some months'
     practice, would undertake the duty. Of the two I would rather
     displace the vice-consul than the second clerk, who does a great
     amount of labor, and has a remarkable variety of talent,--whereas
     the old gentleman, though perfect in his own track, is nothing
     outside of it. I will not part with either of these men unless
     compelled to do so; and I don't think Secretary Marcy can compel
     me.

     Now as to the Manchester branch, it brings me in only about £200.
     There is a consular agent there, all the business being transacted
     here in Liverpool. The only reason for appointing an agent would be
     that it might shut off all attempts to get a separate consulate
     there. There is no danger, I presume, of such an attempt for some
     time to come; for Pierce made a direct promise that the place
     should be kept open for my benefit. Nevertheless efforts will be
     made to fill it, and very possibly representations may be made from
     the business men of Manchester that there is necessity for a consul
     there. In a pecuniary point of view, it would make very little
     difference to me whether the place were filled by an independent
     consul or by a vice-consul of my own appointment, for the latter
     would of course not be satisfied with less than the whole £200.
     What I should like would be to keep the place vacant and receive
     the proceeds as long as possible, and at last, when I could do no
     better, to give the office to you. No great generosity in that to
     be sure. Thus I have put the matter fairly before you. Do you tell
     me as frankly how your own affairs stand, and whether you can live
     any longer in that cursed old Custom House without hanging
     yourself. Rather than that you should do so I would let you have
     the place to-morrow, although it would pay you about £100 less than
     your present office. I suppose as a single man you might live
     within your income in Manchester; but judging from my own
     experience as a married man, it would be a very tight fit. With all
     the economy I could use I have already got rid of $2,000 since
     landing in England. Hereafter I hope to spend less and save more.

     In point of emolument, my office will turn out about what I
     expected. If I have ordinary luck I shall bag from $5,000 to $7,000
     clear per annum: but to effect this I shall have to deny myself
     many things which I would gladly have. Colonel Crittenden told me
     that it cost him $4,000 to live with only his wife at a
     boarding-house, including a journey to London now and then. I am
     determined not to spend more than this, keeping house with my wife
     and children. I have hired a good house furnished at £160, on the
     other side of the River Mersey, at Rock Park, where there is good
     air and play-ground for the children; and I can come over to the
     city by steamboat every morning. I like the situation all the
     better because it will render it impossible for me to go to
     parties, or to give parties myself, and will keep me out of a good
     deal of nonsense.

     Liverpool is the most detestable place as a residence that ever my
     lot was cast in,--smoky, noisy, dirty, pestilential; and the
     consulate is situated in the most detestable part of the city. The
     streets swarm with beggars by day and by night. You never saw the
     like; and I pray that you may never see it in America. It is worth
     while coming across the sea in order to feel one's heart warm
     towards his own country; and I feel it all the more because it is
     plain to be seen that a great many of the Englishmen whom I meet
     here dislike us, whatever they may pretend to the contrary.

     My family and myself have suffered very much from the elements;
     there has not been what we should call a fair day since our
     arrival, nor a single day when a fire would not be agreeable. I
     long for one of our sunny days, and one of our good hearty rains.
     It always threatens to rain, but seldom rains in good earnest. It
     never _does_ rain, and it never _don't_ rain; but you are pretty
     sure to get a sprinkling if you go out without an umbrella. Except
     by the fireside, I have not once been as warm as I should like to
     be: but the Englishmen call it a sultry day whenever the
     thermometer rises above 60°. There has not been heat enough in
     England this season to ripen an apple.

     My wife and children often talk of you. Even the baby has not
     forgotten you. Write often, and say as much as you can about
     yourself, and as little as you please about A----, N----, and
     B----, and all the rest of those wretches of whom my soul was weary
     to death before I made my escape.

  Your friend ever,
    NATH. HAWTHORNE."

Writing to Bridge again, November 28, 1854, he continues, with regard to
his consular prospects, by a comparison between the pay received by
English consuls and that allowed by the new bill to Americans. Only
$7,500 were to be paid the consul at Liverpool. "Now I employ three
clerks constantly," says Hawthorne "and sometimes more. The bill
provides that these clerks should be Americans; and the whole sum
allowed would not do much more than pay competent Americans, whose
salaries must be much higher than would content Englishmen of equal
qualifications. No consul can keep the office at this rate, without
engaging in business--which the bill forbids." He adds that the notion
that, by the proposed measure, a fund would be gained from the larger
consulates towards paying the salaries of the smaller ones, was
mistaken, since "a large part of the income of this consulate arises
from business which might just as well be transacted by a notary public
as by a consul, and which a consul is therefore not officially bound to
do. All such business as this the consul will cease to transact, the
moment the avails of it go into the public treasury, instead of his own
purse; and thus there will be an immediate falling off of the office to
a very considerable extent."

Later on, he says: "I should really be ashamed to tell you how much my
income is taxed by the assistance which I find it absolutely necessary
to render to American citizens, who come to me in difficulty or
distress. Every day there is some new claimant, for whom the government
makes no provision, and whom the consul must assist, if at all, out of
his own pocket. It is impossible (or at any rate very disagreeable) to
leave a countryman to starve in the streets, or to hand him over to the
charities of an English work-house; so I do my best for these poor
devils. But I doubt whether they will meet with quite so good treatment
after the passage of the consular bill. If the government chooses to
starve the consul, a good many will starve with him."

The bill, nevertheless, was passed. Lieutenant Bridge, who was then
stationed at Washington, had done all that he could to rouse an
effectual opposition to its enactment; and his friend wrote to him from
Liverpool (March 23, 1855) thus:--

"I thank you for your efforts against this bill; but Providence is wiser
than we are, and doubtless it will all turn out for the best. All
through my life, I have had occasion to observe that what seemed to be
misfortunes have proved, in the end, to be the best things that could
possibly have happened to me; and so it will be with this--even though
the mode in which it benefits me may never be made clear to my
apprehension. It would seem to be a desirable thing enough that I should
have had a sufficient income to live comfortably upon for the rest of my
life, without the necessity of labor; but, on the other hand, I might
have sunk prematurely into intellectual sluggishness--which now there
will be no danger of my doing; though with a house and land of my own,
and a good little sum at interest besides, I need not be under any very
great anxiety about the future. When I contrast my present situation
with what it was five years ago, I see a vast deal to be thankful for;
and I still hope to thrive by my legitimate instrument--the pen. One
consideration which goes very far towards reconciling me to quitting the
office is my wife's health, with which the climate of England does not
agree.... In short, we have wholly ceased to regret the action of
Congress (which, nevertheless, was most unjust and absurd), and are
looking at matters on the bright side. However, I shall be glad to get
what advantage I can out of the office, and therefore I hope Pierce will
give me as long a line as his conscience will let him."

Believing that the office of consul with a salary reduced to $7,500,
which was only half the sum it had previously yielded in good years,
would not be worth the sacrifice involved in giving himself up to its
duties, he purposed resigning within a few months, taking a trip to
Italy, and then going home. But, fortunately for his pecuniary welfare,
the act of Congress had been so loosely framed (in harmony with the
general ignorance on which it was based), that it was left to the
President to reappoint old incumbents under the new system or not, as
he pleased. Pierce accordingly let Hawthorne's commission run on without
interruption, and the consul stayed through the rest of the
administration's term.

While the matter was still in abeyance, however, the suggestion came
from Bridge that he allow himself to be transferred to Lisbon as
minister. The prospect was, in one way, seductive. Hawthorne was growing
anxious about his wife's health, and felt that nothing could be more
delightful than to take her to a warmer climate, which she needed, and
thus avoid the temporary separation which might have to be undergone if
he remained at Liverpool. The objections were, that he had no
acquaintance with diplomacy, did not know Portuguese, and disliked forms
and ceremonies. "You will observe," he wrote, "that the higher rank and
position of a minister, as compared with a consul, have no weight with
me. This is not the kind of honor of which I am ambitious." With a good
deal of hesitation he came to the belief that it would be wise for him
not to make the change. "But," he remarked, "it was a most kind and
generous thing on the part of the President to entertain the idea." His
friend, Mr. John O'Sullivan, who had been the founder and editor of the
"Democratic Review," to which Hawthorne had contributed copiously during
his residence at the Manse, was at this time accredited to the Court of
Lisbon, and would doubtless have been provided for in some other way had
Hawthorne been promoted to the place. The latter decided to stay at
Liverpool, but to send Mrs. Hawthorne to Lisbon, where she would find
not only milder air, but also friends in the minister and his wife. She
sailed with her daughters in October, 1855, and returned in the
following June.

Wearisome as the details of his office duty were to him, Hawthorne gave
them more than a perfunctory attention. He became greatly aroused by the
wrongs and cruelties endured by sailors on the high seas, and sent a
long despatch on that subject to the Secretary of State, suggesting
action for their relief. He even investigated such minutiæ as the
candles used in the British navy, and sent samples of them to Bridge,
thinking that it might be desirable to compare them with those in use on
American war-ships. Opportunities, however, had occurred for several
trips in various directions, to Wales, Furness Abbey, and the Lakes.
London was visited just before Mrs. Hawthorne sailed; and during her
absence he again went to the capital, and made a tour which included
Glasgow, Edinburgh, York, Newcastle, and Salisbury. A few days before
her expected return, he said in a letter to Bridge that unless she
should prove to be perfectly free from the cough which had troubled her,
"I shall make arrangements to give up the consulate in the latter part
of autumn, and we will be off for Italy. I wish I were a little richer;
but when I compare my situation with what it was before I wrote 'The
Scarlet Letter,' I have reason to be satisfied with my run of luck. And,
to say the truth, I had rather not be _too_ prosperous: it may be a
superstition, but it seems to me that the bitter is very apt to come
with the sweet, and bright sunshine casts a dark shadow; so I content
myself with a moderate portion of sugar, and about as much sunshine as
that of an English summer's day. In this view of the matter, I am
disposed to thank God for the gloom and chill of my early life, in the
hope that my share of adversity came then, when I bore it alone; and
that therefore it need not come now, when the cloud would involve those
whom I love.

"I make my plans to return to America in about two years from this time.
For my own part, I should be willing to stay abroad much longer, and
perhaps even to settle in Italy; but the children must not be kept away
so long as to lose their American characteristics; otherwise they will
be exiles and outcasts through life."

The presidential convention of the democratic party was held early in
the summer of 1856, and Buchanan, then minister at the Court of St.
James, became the candidate. Pierce had also been in the field, but was
defeated, and concerning this circumstance Hawthorne wrote,
characteristically: "I am sorry Frank has not the nomination, if he
wished it. Otherwise, I am glad he is out of the scrape."

During the earlier part of his consulship, Hawthorne leased a pleasant
dwelling at Rock Ferry, on the opposite side of the Mersey from
Liverpool, where he was able to live without going much into society;
and while Mrs. Hawthorne was in Portugal, he occupied simple quarters at
a boarding-house. Afterwards he settled at Southport for a number of
months, in a furnished house. He formed but one intimate friendship,
that which attached him to Mr. Henry Bright, a gentleman engaged in
business, but gifted with a quick and sympathetic mind and a taste for
literature. In London his chief friend was Mr. Francis Bennoch, also a
merchant, who consorted much with people of creative genius, and
delighted to gather them at his table, where they were entertained with
a cordial and charming hospitality. Mr. Bright and Mr. Bennoch have each
published a book since then; but although Hawthorne met many persons
eminent in literature, and enjoyed meeting them, it was not with any of
their number that he formed the closest ties.

With relief he heard in April, 1857, that his resignation had been
accepted. "Dear Bridge," he wrote, "I have received your letter, and the
not unwelcome intelligence that there is another Liverpool consul now in
existence.... I am going to Paris in a day or two, with my wife and
children, and shall leave them there while I return here to await my
successor." He then thanked Bridge for a newspaper paragraph which the
latter had caused to be printed, explaining Hawthorne's position in
resigning. "I was somewhat apprehensive that my resignation would have
been misunderstood," he proceeded, "in consequence of a letter of
General Cass to Lord Napier, in which he intimated that any consul found
delinquent in certain matters should be compelled to retire.... But for
your paragraph, I should have thought it necessary to enlighten the
public on the true state of the case as regards the treatment of seamen
on our merchant vessels, and I do not know but I may do it yet; in which
case I shall prove that General Cass made a most deplorable mistake in
the above-mentioned letter to Lord Napier. I shall send the despatch to
Ticknor, at any rate, for publication if necessary. I expect great
pleasure during my stay on the Continent, and shall come home at last
somewhat reluctantly. Your pledge on my behalf of a book shall be
honored in good time, if God pleases."

The intention of taking his family at once to Paris was given up, and
instead Hawthorne went with them to Manchester, the Lakes, and Scotland,
and made a pilgrimage to Warwick and Coventry, besides visiting many
other places. The new consul, however, postponed his coming until near
the end of 1857. Not before January, 1858, did Hawthorne break away from
the fascinations of England and cross to the Continent. When, after
spending more than a year and a half in Italy, he again set foot in
England, it was to establish himself at Redcar, a sea-side town in
Yorkshire, where he finished "The Marble Faun" in October, 1859; and
thence he betook himself to Leamington, which had greatly pleased him on
a previous visit. Here his old friend, Mr. Hillard, called upon him; and
in an article printed in the "Atlantic Monthly," in 1870, he says: "The
writer of this notice, who confesses to an insatiable passion for the
possession of books, and an omnivorous appetite for their contents, was
invited by him into his study, the invitation being accompanied with one
of his peculiar and indescribable smiles, in which there lurked a
consciousness of his (the writer's) weakness. The study was a small
square room, with a table and chair, but absolutely not a single book.
He liked writing better than reading." Mr. Hillard's implication,
however, is a misleading one. "Hawthorne," says Mr. Fields, "was a
hearty devourer of books, and in certain moods of mind it made very
little difference what the volume before him happened to be.... He once
told me that he found such delight in old advertisements in the
newspaper files at the Boston Athenæum, that he had passed delicious
hours among them. At other times he was very fastidious, and threw aside
book after book, until he found the right one. De Quincey was a favorite
with him, and the sermons of Laurence Sterne he once commended to me as
the best sermons ever written." His correspondence was not "literary,"
to be sure; but in his letters to Mr. Fields, who had to do so
especially with books, occasional references to literature escape him,
which did not ordinarily find their way into his letters to other
people. From England, in 1854, he wrote to that gentleman: "I thank you
for the books you sent me, and more especially for Mrs. Mowatt's
'Autobiography,' which seems to me an admirable book. Of all things I
delight in autobiographies; and I hardly ever read one that interested
me so much." He did not read for erudition or for criticism, but he
certainly read much, and books were companions to him. I have seen
several catalogues of libraries which Hawthorne had marked carefully,
proving that, although he made no annotations, he had studied the titles
with a natural reader's loving fondness. His stay at Leamington was but
a brief one, and for that reason he may well have been without books in
his study at the moment; he never crowded them about himself, in the
rooms where he worked, but his tower-study at The Wayside always
contained a few volumes, and a few small pictures and ornaments--enough
to relieve his eye or suggest a refreshment to his mind, without
distracting him from composition or weakening the absorbed intensity of
his thought.

The only approach to literary exertion made at Liverpool seems to have
been the revision of the "Mosses from an Old Manse," for a reissue at
the hands of Ticknor & Fields; employment which led to some reflections
upon his own earlier works.

"I am very glad that the 'Mosses' have come into the hands of our firm;
and I return the copy sent me, after a careful revision. When I wrote
those dreamy sketches, I little thought I should ever preface an edition
for the press amid the bustling life of a Liverpool consulate. Upon my
honor, I am not quite sure that I entirely comprehend my own meaning,
in some of those blasted allegories; but I remember that I always had a
meaning, or at least thought I had. I am a good deal changed since those
times; and, to tell you the truth, my past self is not very much to my
taste, as I see myself in this book. Yet certainly there is more in it
than the public generally gave me credit for at the time it was written.

"But I don't think myself worthy of very much more credit than I got. It
has been a very disagreeable task to read the book."

He was inveigled, however, into giving encouragement to that unfortunate
woman, Miss Delia Bacon, who was engaged in the task of proving that
Lord Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays. He corresponded with her on the
subject, and finally agreed, although not assenting to her theory, to
write a preface for her book, which he did. She was dissatisfied because
he did not accept her views entirely, grew very angry, and even broke
off all relations with him, notwithstanding that he had paid the
expenses of publication for her.

Arriving at Rome in February, 1858, Hawthorne lingered there until late
in May, when he retired to Florence, and hired there the Villa Montauto,
in the suburb of Bellosguardo. October found him again in Rome, where he
spent the winter; leaving the Continent, finally, in June, 1859, for
England and Redcar.

"I am afraid I have stayed away too long," he wrote from Bellosguardo,
to Mr. Fields, in September, 1858, "and am forgotten by everybody. You
have piled up the dusty remnants of my editions, I suppose, in that
chamber over the shop, where you once took me to smoke a cigar, and have
crossed my name out of your list of authors, without so much as asking
whether I am dead or alive. But I like it well enough, nevertheless. It
is pleasant to feel that at last I am away from America,--a satisfaction
that I never enjoyed as long as I stayed in Liverpool, where it seemed
to me that the quintessence of nasal and hand-shaking Yankeedom was
continually filtered and sublimated through my consulate, on the way
outward and homeward. I first got acquainted with my own countrymen
there. At Rome, too, it was not much better. But here in Florence, and
in the summer-time, and in this secluded villa, I have escaped from all
my old tracks and am really remote.

"I like my present residence immensely. The house stands on a hill,
overlooking Florence, and is big enough to quarter a regiment; insomuch
that each member of the family, including servants, has a separate suite
of apartments, and there are vast wildernesses of upper rooms, into
which we have never yet sent exploring expeditions.

"At one end of the house there is a moss-grown tower haunted by the
ghost of a monk, who was confined there in the thirteenth century,
previous to being burned at the stake in the principal square of
Florence. I hire this villa, tower and all, at twenty-eight dollars a
month; but I mean to take it away bodily and clap it into a romance
which I have in my head ready to be written out." Turning to the topic
of home, he went on: "After so long an absence (more than five years
already, which will be six before you see me at the Old Corner), it is
not altogether delightful to think of returning. Everybody will be
changed, and I, myself, no doubt, as much as anybody.... It won't do. I
shall be forced to come back again and take refuge in a London lodging.
London is like the grave in one respect,--any man can make himself at
home there; and whenever a man finds himself homeless elsewhere, he had
better either die or go to London.

"Speaking of the grave reminds me of old age and other disagreeable
matters, and I would remark that one grows old in Italy twice or three
times as fast as in other countries. I have three gray hairs now for one
that I brought from England, and I shall look venerable indeed by the
time I return next summer."

The "French and Italian Note-Books" are more prolific in literary hints
than the English. At Rome and Florence the practical self, which was
necessarily brought forward in the daily round at the consulate and left
its impress on the letters to Lieutenant Bridge, retired into the
background under the influence of scenes more purely picturesque and
poetic than those of England; and the idealizing, imaginative faculty of
Hawthorne, being freed from the restraint which had so long cramped it,
gained in elasticity from day to day. Four years of confinement to
business, broken only at intervals by short episodes of travel, had done
no more than impede the current of fancy; had not dried it, nor choked
the source. Mr. Fields assures us that, in England, Hawthorne told him
he had no less than five romances in his mind, so well planned that he
could write any one of them at short notice. But it is significant that,
however favorable Italy might be for drawing out and giving free course
to this current, he could do little there in the way of embodying his
conceptions. He wrote out an extensive first draft of "The Marble Faun"
while moving from place to place on the actual ground where the story is
laid; but the work itself was written at Redcar, and in the
communication last quoted from he had said: "I find this Italian
atmosphere not favorable to the close toil of composition, although it
is a very good air to dream in. I must breathe the fogs of old England,
or the east-winds of Massachusetts, in order to put me into
working-trim." Conditions other than physical were most probably
responsible, in part, for this state of things. Strong as Hawthorne's
nature was on the side of the real, the ideal force within him was so
much more puissant, that when circumstances were all propitious--as they
were in Italy--it obtained too commanding a sway over him. His dreams,
in such case, would be apt to overcome him, to exist simply for their
own sake instead of being subordinated to his will; and, in fine, to
expend their witchery upon the air, instead of being imprisoned in the
enduring form of a book. Being compounded in such singular wise of
opposing qualities: the customary, prudential, common sensible ones, and
the wise and visionary ones--the outward reticence, and (if we may say
so) the inward eloquence--of which we now have a clearer view; being so
compounded, he positively needed something stern and adverse in his
surroundings, it should seem, both as a satisfaction to the sturdier
part of him, and as a healthful check which, by exciting reaction, would
stimulate his imaginative mood. He must have precisely the right
proportion between these counter influences, or else creation could not
proceed. In the Salem Custom House and at the Liverpool consulate there
had been too much of the hard commonplace: instead of serving as a
convenient foil to the more expansive and lightsome tendencies of his
genius, it had weighed them down. But in Italy there was too much
freedom, not enough framework of the severe, the roughly real and
unpicturesque. Hawthorne's intellectual and poetic nature presents a
spectacle somewhat like that of a granite rock upon which delicate vines
flourish at their best; but he was himself both rock and vine. The
delicate, aspiring tendrils and the rich leafage of the plant, however,
required a particular combination of soil and climate, in order to grow
well. When he was not hemmed in by the round of official details,
England afforded him that combination in bounteous measure.

On the publication of "The Marble Faun," the author's friend, John
Lothrop Motley, with whom he had talked, of the contemplated romance, in
Rome, wrote to him from Walton-on-Thames (March 29, 1860):--

"Everything that you have ever written, I believe, I have read many
times, and I am particularly vain of having admired 'Sights from a
Steeple,' when I first read it in the Boston 'Token,' several hundred
years ago, when we were both younger than we are now; of having detected
and cherished, at a later day, an old Apple-Dealer, whom I believe you
have unhandsomely thrust out of your presence now that you are grown so
great. But the 'Romance of Monte Beni' has the additional charm for me,
that it is the first book of yours that I have read since I had the
privilege of making your personal acquaintance. My memory goes back at
once to those walks (alas, not too frequent) we used to take along the
Tiber, or in the Campagna ... and it is delightful to get hold of the
book now, and know that it is impossible for you any longer, after
waving your wand as you occasionally did then, indicating where the
treasure was hidden, to sink it again beyond plummet's sound.

"I admire the book exceedingly.... It is one which, for the first
reading at least, I didn't like to hear aloud.... If I were composing an
article for a review, of course I should feel obliged to show cause for
my admiration; but I am only obeying an impulse. Permit me to say,
however, that your style seems, if possible, more perfect than ever....
Believe me, I don't say to you half what I say behind your back; and I
have said a dozen times that nobody can write English but you. With
regard to the story, which has been somewhat criticized, I can only say
that to me it is quite satisfactory. I like those shadowy, weird,
fantastic, Hawthornesque shapes flitting through the golden gloom, which
is the atmosphere of the book. I like the misty way in which the story
is indicated rather than revealed; the outlines are quite definite
enough from the beginning to the end, to those who have imagination
enough to follow you in your airy flights.... The way in which the two
victims dance through the Carnival on the last day is very striking. It
is like a Greek tragedy in its effect, without being in the least
Greek."

In this last sentence Mr. Motley struck out an apt distinction; for it
is perhaps the foremost characteristic of Hawthorne as a writer that his
fictions possessed a plastic repose, a perfection of form, which made
them akin to classic models, at the same time that the spirit was
throughout eminently that belonging to the mystic, capricious, irregular
fantasy of the North.

Hawthorne thus made answer from Bath (April 1, 1860):--

     MY DEAR MOTLEY,--You are certainly that Gentle Reader for whom all
     my books were exclusively written. Nobody else (my wife excepted,
     who speaks so near me that I cannot tell her voice from my own) has
     ever said exactly what I love to hear. It is most satisfactory to
     be hit upon the raw, to be shot straight through the heart. It is
     not the quantity of your praise that I care so much about (though I
     gather it all up carefully, lavish as you are of it), but the kind,
     for you take the book precisely as I meant it; and if your note had
     come a few days sooner, I believe I would have printed it in a
     postscript which I have added to the second edition, because it
     explains better than I found possible to do the way in which my
     romance ought to be taken.... Now don't suppose that I fancy the
     book to be a tenth part as good as you say it is. You work out my
     imperfect efforts, and half make the book with your warm
     imagination, and see what I myself saw but could only hint at.
     Well, the romance is a success, even if it never finds another
     reader.

     We spent the winter in Leamington, whither we had come from the
     sea-coast in October. I am sorry to say that it was another winter
     of sorrow and anxiety.... I have engaged our passages for June
     16th.... Mrs. Hawthorne and the children will probably remain in
     Bath till the eve of our departure; but I intend to pay one more
     visit of a week or two to London, and shall certainly come and see
     you. I wonder at your lack of recognition of my social
     propensities. I take so much delight in my friends, that a little
     intercourse goes a great way, and illuminates my life before and
     after....

  Your friend,
  NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

One may well linger here, for an instant, over the calm, confident, but
deeply vibrating happiness from which those words sprang, concerning his
wife, "who speaks so near me that I cannot tell her voice from my own;"
and one may profitably lay away, for instruction, the closing lines,--"I
take so much delight in my friends, that a little intercourse goes a
great way." The allusion to "another winter of sorrow and anxiety"
carries us back to the previous winter, passed in Rome, during which
Hawthorne's elder daughter underwent a prolonged attack of Roman fever.
Illness again developed itself in his family while they were staying at
Leamington.

In February of 1860 he wrote to Mr. Fields, who was then in Italy:--

"I thank you most heartily for your kind wishes in favor of the
forthcoming work ['The Marble Faun'], and sincerely join my own prayers
to yours in its behalf, without much confidence of a good result. My own
opinion is, that I am not really a popular writer, and that what
popularity I have gained is chiefly accidental, and owing to other
causes than my own kind or degree of merit. Possibly I may (or may not)
deserve something better than popularity; but looking at all my
productions, and especially this latter one, with a cold or critical
eye, I can see that they do not make their appeal to the popular mind.
It is odd enough, moreover, that my own individual taste is for quite
another class of works than those which I myself am able to write. If I
were to meet with such books as mine by another writer, I don't believe
I should be able to get through them." At another time he had written of
Anthony Trollope's novels: "They precisely suit my taste; solid and
substantial, written on the strength of beef and through the
inspiration of ale, and just as real as if some giant had hewn a great
lump out of the earth and put it under a glass case, with all its
inhabitants going about their daily business and not suspecting that
they were made a show of."

Before leaving England for the last time, Hawthorne went up alone to
London, and spent a week or two among his friends there, staying with
Motley, and meeting Lord Dufferin, the Honorable Mrs. Norton, Leigh
Hunt, Barry Cornwall, and many other agreeable and noted persons. "You
would be stricken dumb," he wrote to his wife, who remained at Bath, "to
see how quietly I accept a whole string of invitations, and, what is
more, perform my engagements without a murmur.... The stir of this
London life, somehow or other, has done me a wonderful deal of good, and
I feel better than for months past. This is strange, for if I had my
choice, I should leave undone almost all the things I do." In the midst
of these social occupations he gave sittings to a young German-American
sculptor named Kuntze, who modelled a profile portrait of him in
bas-relief. A farewell dinner was given him at Barry Cornwall's; and in
June, 1860, he sailed for America, from which he had been absent seven
years.

There was not yet any serious sign of a failure in his health; but the
illness in his family, lasting through two winters, had worn severely
upon him; his spirits had begun to droop. "I would gladly journalize
some of my proceedings, and describe things and people; but I find the
same coldness and stiffness in my pen as always since our return to
England:" thus he had written in his Note-Book, while making that final
London visit. In Italy, however, he had already shown symptoms of
fatigue, saying to Mr. Fields: "I have had so many interruptions from
things to see and things to suffer, that the story ['The Marble Faun']
has developed itself in a very imperfect way.... I could finish it in
the time that I am to remain here, but my brain is tired of it just
now." The voyage put fresh vigor into him, apparently. Mrs. Harriet
Beecher Stowe and Professor Stowe were on board, with their daughters,
and Mr. Fields, who was also a passenger, has said: "Hawthorne's love
for the sea amounted to a passionate worship, and while I (the worst
sailor probably on this planet) was longing, spite of the good company
on board, to reach land as soon as possible, Hawthorne was constantly
saying in his quiet, earnest way, 'I should like to sail on and on
forever, and never touch the shore again.'" His inherited susceptibility
to the fascination of the sea no doubt intensified his enjoyment, and he
is reported to have talked in a strain of delightful humor while on
shipboard.

For nearly a year after his return to The Wayside, there is an
uneventful gap in his history, concerning which we have very few
details. He set about improving his house, and added to it a wing at the
back, which, having three stories, rose above the rest of the building,
and thus supplied him with a study in the top room, which had the effect
of a tower. Meanwhile the political quarrel between the North and the
South was rapidly culminating; in a few months the Slave States began
their secession, and the Civil War broke out. This affected Hawthorne so
deeply that for some time he was unable to engage in imaginative work,
and he now relinquished the custom he had maintained for so many years,
of keeping a journal. But there are letters which define his state of
mind, which make his position clear with regard to the question of the
Union, and show the change in his feeling brought on by the course of
events.

Several years before, while he was still consul, he thus confided to
Bridge (January 9, 1857) his general opinion respecting the crisis which
even then impended:--

"I regret that you think so doubtfully of the prospects of the Union;
for I should like well enough to hold on to the old thing. And yet I
must confess that I sympathize to a large extent with the Northern
feeling, and think it is about time for us to make a stand. If compelled
to choose, I go for the North. At present, we have no country--at least,
none in the sense in which an Englishman has a country. I never
conceived, in reality, what a true and warm love of country is, till I
witnessed it in the breasts of Englishmen. The States are too various
and too extended to form really one country. New England is quite as
large a lump of earth as my heart can really take in.... However, I have
no kindred with nor leaning toward the Abolitionists."

When hostilities had begun, he wrote to the same friend, May 26, 1861:--

"The war, strange to say, has had a beneficial effect upon my spirits,
which were flagging woefully before it broke out. But it was delightful
to share in the heroic sentiment of the time, and to feel that I had a
country, a consciousness which seemed to make me young again. One thing
as regards this matter I regret, and one thing I am glad of. The
regrettable thing is that I am too old to shoulder a musket myself, and
the joyful thing is that Julian is too young. He drills constantly with
a company of lads, and means to enlist as soon as he reaches the minimum
age. But I trust we shall either be victorious or vanquished by that
time. Meantime, though I approve the war as much as any man, I don't
quite see what we are fighting for or what definite result can be
expected. If we pommel the South ever so hard, they will love us none
the better for it; and even if we subjugate them, our next step should
be to cut them adrift, if we are fighting for the annihilation of
slavery. To be sure, it may be a wise object, and offers a tangible
result and the only one which is consistent with a future union between
North and South. A continuance of the war would soon make this plain to
us, and we should see the expediency of preparing our black brethren for
future citizenship, by allowing them to fight for their own liberties
and educating them through heroic influences. Whatever happens next, I
must say that I rejoice that the old Union is smashed. We never were one
people, and never really had a country since the Constitution was
formed."

Thus, then, Hawthorne, who had been brought up politically within the
democratic party and thrice held office under its _régime_, had reached
the conclusion, four years in advance of the event, that it was time for
the North to "make a stand"; and now, while muskets rattled their grim
prelude to a long and deadly conflict, he planted himself firmly on the
side of the government--was among the first, moreover, to resolve upon
that policy of arming the negroes, which was so bitterly opposed and so
slow of adoption among even progressive reformers at the North. In his
solitude, out of the current of affairs, trying to pursue his own
peaceful, artistic calling, and little used to making utterances on
public questions, it was not incumbent upon him nor proper to his
character to blazon his beliefs where every one could see them. But,
these private expressions being unknown, his silence was construed
against him. One more reference to the war, occurring in a letter of
October 12, 1861, to Lieutenant Bridge, should be recorded in this
place:--

"I am glad you take such a hopeful view of our national prospects, so
far as regards the war.... For my part, I don't hope (nor indeed wish)
to see the Union restored as it was; amputation seems to me much the
better plan, and all we ought to fight for is the liberty of selecting
the point where our diseased members shall be lopped off. I would fight
to the death for the Northern Slave-States, and let the rest go.... I
have not found it possible to occupy my mind with its usual trash and
nonsense during these anxious times; but as the autumn advances, I find
myself sitting down to my desk and blotting successive sheets of paper,
as of yore. Very likely I may have something ready for the public long
before the public is ready to receive it."

It will be seen that he was not hopeful as to the restoration of the
entire Union, adhered to his first view indeed, that the scission of a
part would be preferable. In declining a cordial invitation from Bridge
to come to Washington, in February, 1862, he gave renewed emphasis to
this opinion. "I am not very well," he said, "being mentally and
physically languid; but I suppose there is an even chance that the trip
and change of scene might supply the energy which I lack." He announced
that he had begun a new romance, and then turning to the questions of
the day, remarked that he "should not much regret an ultimate
separation," and that soon; adding that if a strong Union sentiment
should not set in at the South, we ought to resolve ourselves into two
nations at once. He was evidently growing despondent; a fact which may
have been due in part to the physical and mental languor of which he
told his friend. Misfortune had once more entered his household; for one
of his children was suffering from a peculiarly distressing malady,
which imposed a heavy strain upon his nerves and troubled his heart.
More than this, he mourned over the multitude of private griefs which he
saw or apprehended on every side--griefs resulting from the slaughter
that was going on at the seat of war--as acutely as if they had been his
own losses. He could not shut out, by any wall of patriotic fire, the
terrible shapes of fierce passion and the pathetic apparitions of those
whose lives had been blasted by the tragedies of the field. His health,
we have already noticed, had begun to falter while he was still abroad.
Neither was he free from pecuniary anxieties. He had laid up a modest
accumulation from his earnings in the consulate; but the additions to
his house, unambitious though they were, had cost a sum which was large
in proportion to his resources; the expense of living was increased by
the war, and his pen was for the time being not productive. His income
from his books was always scanty. He was too scrupulous to be willing to
draw upon the principal which had been invested for the future support
of his family; and there were times when he was harassed by the need of
money. All these causes conspired to reduce his strength; but the
omnipresent misery of the war, and the destruction of the Union, which
he believed to be inevitable, were perhaps the chief adverse factors in
the case. "Hawthorne's life," Mr. Lowell has said to me, "was shortened
by the war."

The romance mentioned as having been begun during this winter of
1861-62, was probably "Dr. Grimshawe's Secret," the first scheme of
which appears as "The Ancestral Footstep;" and it was afterwards merged
in "Septimius Felton." Hawthorne, however, did not make satisfactory
progress with this work; and throughout the summer of 1862 he seems to
have given such energies as he could command to the preparation of the
chapters of travel subsequently collected under the title, "Our Old
Home." The latter volume appeared at a time of fervid, nay, violent
public excitement, caused by the critical state of military matters, the
unpopularity of the draft, the increasing boldness of the democratic
party at the North in opposing the war and demanding its cessation. To
Hawthorne it appeared no more than just that he should dedicate his book
to the friend whose public act, in sending him abroad in the government
service, had made it possible for him to gather the materials he had
embodied in these reminiscences. But his publisher, Mr. Fields, knowing
that ex-President Pierce was very generally held to be culpable for his
deference towards Southern leaders who had done much to bring on the
war, and that he was ranked among the men who were ready to vote against
continuing the attempt to conquer the Confederacy, foresaw the clamor
which would be raised against Hawthorne if, at such a moment, he linked
his name publicly with that of Pierce. He remonstrated upon the proposed
dedication. But Hawthorne was not to be turned aside from his purpose by
any dread of an outcry which he considered unjust. "I find," he
replied, "that it would be a piece of poltroonery in me to withdraw
either the dedication or the dedicatory letter, ... and if he [Pierce]
is so exceedingly unpopular that his name is enough to sink the volume,
there is so much the more need that an old friend should stand by him. I
cannot, merely on account of pecuniary profit or literary reputation, 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 volume
again without remorse and shame.... If the public of the North see fit
to ostracize me for this, I can only say that I would gladly sacrifice a
thousand or two of dollars rather than retain the good-will of such a
herd of dolts and mean-spirited scoundrels." The language did not lack
vigor and warmth; but Dr. Loring has stated that he spoke of the matter
to the same effect, "not in the heat of passion, but with a calm and
generous courage." The dedicatory letter was printed, of course, and
drew down upon Hawthorne abundant condemnation; but he had maintained
his integrity.

The shock of such an accident was by no means the right sort of tonic
for a man of Hawthorne's sensitive disposition when he was already
feeble and almost ill. In April, 1862, he had been to Washington, and
the things that impressed him there were noted down in an "Atlantic
Monthly" paper, entitled "Chiefly About War Matters." At Washington,
also, Leutze painted a portrait of him for General Pierce. In July, he
took a brief trip with his son to the Maine coast, and began a new
journal. There were no other changes of scene for him; the monotony of
his life at The Wayside was seldom broken. That this period was for him
one of unmitigated gloom cannot truthfully be predicated; he enjoyed
his home, he had the society of his wife and children; he had many small
and quiet pleasures. But there was likewise much to make him sorrowful,
and the tide of vitality was steadily ebbing away. In May, 1863, James
Russell Lowell invited him to Elmwood, and Hawthorne agreed to go, but
he was finally prevented from doing so by a troublesome cold. The slow
and mysterious disease, which was to prove fatal within a year,
continued to make inroads upon his constitution. After the publication
of "Our Old Home," in the autumn of 1863, there is no certain record of
his condition or his proceedings, beyond this, that he went on
declining, and that--having abandoned the two preceding phases of his
new fiction--he attempted to write the resultant form of it, which was
to have been brought out as "The Dolliver Romance."

Although the title had not yet been determined upon, he consented to
begin a serial publication of the work in the "Atlantic Monthly" for
January, 1864. But he wrote to Mr. Fields: "I don't see much probability
of my having the first chapter of the Romance ready so soon as you want
it. There are two or three chapters ready to be written, but I am not
yet robust enough to begin, and I feel as if I should never carry it
through.... I can think of no title for the unborn Romance. Always
heretofore I have waited till it was quite complete, before attempting
to name it, and I fear I shall have to do so now." On the 1st of
December, he dispatched the manuscript of the first chapter, with the
title of the whole. But he could not follow it up with more, and wrote,
about the middle of January, 1864: "I am not quite up to writing yet,
but shall make an effort as soon as I see any hope of success." At the
end of February: "I hardly know what to say to the public about this
abortive Romance, though I know pretty well what the case will be. I
shall never finish it..., I cannot finish it unless a great change comes
over me; and if I make too great an effort to do so, it will be my
death." From this time on he accomplished no work which he was willing
to send to the press, although he had among his papers the two
fragmentary scenes from "The Dolliver Romance" that were posthumously
printed.

The wife of ex-President Pierce died in December, 1863, and Hawthorne
went to New Hampshire to attend the funeral. When he passed through
Boston, on his return, he appeared to Mr. Fields ill and more nervous
than usual. Dreary events seemed to thicken around his path. In the last
days of March, 1864, Mr. Fields saw him again; and by this time his
appearance had greatly changed. "The light in his eye was as beautiful
as ever, but his limbs were shrunken, and his usual stalwart vigor [was]
utterly gone." A photograph taken not long before that date represents
him with cheeks somewhat emaciated, and a worn, strangely anxious,
half-appealing expression, which, while singularly delicate and noble,
is extremely sad. Soon after this, in March, he set out for Washington
with Mr. William Ticknor, Mr. Fields's senior partner in the publishing
firm of Ticknor & Fields. The travelling companions spent two or three
days in New York, and had got as far as Philadelphia, when Mr. Ticknor
was taken suddenly ill, at the Continental Hotel, and died the next day.
Stunned, wellnigh shattered by this sinister event, Hawthorne was almost
incapacitated for action of any sort; but there were kind and ready
friends in Philadelphia who came to his aid, and relieved him from the
melancholy duty which he would else have had to meet. He returned to
Concord, in what forlorn state an extract from a letter of Mrs.
Hawthorne's may best convey: "He came back unlooked for, that day; and
when I heard a step on the piazza, I was lying on a couch and feeling
quite indisposed. But as soon as I saw him I was frightened out of all
knowledge of myself,--so haggard, so white, so deeply scored with pain
and fatigue was the face, so much more ill than ever I saw him before."
Mrs. Hawthorne still hoped for some favorable turn, if he could but
obtain a complete change of scene and escape from the austere New
England spring, into some warmer climate. "He has not smiled since he
came home till to-day," she wrote, "when I made him laugh, with
Thackeray's humor, in reading to him." She was constant in her care; she
would scarcely let him go up and down stairs alone. But not the most
tender solicitude, nor any encouragement of unquenchable hope, could now
avail to help him.

The only stratagem that could be devised to win back health and strength
was the plan proposed by General Pierce, to take Hawthorne with him on
an easy journey by carriage into New Hampshire. They started in
May,--the two old college-mates; the ex-President so lately widowed and
still in the shadow of his own bereavement, with the famous romancer so
mournfully broken, who was never more to be seen in life by those to
whom he was dearest. From the Pemigewasset House at Plymouth, New
Hampshire, where they had stopped for the night, General Pierce sent the
news on May 19, that Hawthorne was dead. "He retired last night," wrote
the General, "soon after nine o'clock, and soon fell into a quiet
slumber.... At two o'clock I went to H----'s bedside; he was apparently
in a sound sleep; and I did not place my hand upon him. At four o'clock
I went into his room again, and, as his position was unchanged, I placed
my hand upon him and found that life was extinct.... He must have passed
from natural slumber to that from which there is no waking, without the
slightest movement."

Hawthorne was buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery at Concord, on the 24th
of May, 1864. The grave was made beneath the shadowing pines of a hill
near one of the borders of the beautiful, wooded burial-ground, whence
there is a peaceful view over the valley of the Concord River. It was
close to the slope where Thoreau now lies, and not far away is the
grassy resting-place of Emerson. The spot was one for which Hawthorne
had cherished an especial fondness. Emerson, that day, stood beside the
grave, and with him Longfellow and Lowell were present; Agassiz, Holmes,
James Freeman Clarke, Edwin Whipple, Pierce, and Hillard, had all
assembled to pay their last reverence. A great multitude of people
attended the funeral service at the old Unitarian First Church in the
village, and Mr. Clarke, who had performed the marriage ceremony for
Hawthorne, conducted the rites above him dead. It was a perfect day of
spring; the roadside banks were blue with violets, the orchards were in
bloom; and lilies of the valley, which were Hawthorne's favorites among
flowers, had blossomed early as if for him, and were gathered in masses
about him. Like a requiem chant, the clear strains that Longfellow wrote
in memory of that hour still echo for us its tender solemnity:--

    "How beautiful it was, that one bright day
      In the long week of rain!
    Though all its splendor could not chase away
      The omnipresent pain.

    "The lovely town was white with apple-blooms,
      And the great elms o'erhead
    Dark shadows wove on their aerial looms,
      Shot through with golden thread.

    "Across the meadows, by the gray old manse,
      The historic river flowed;
    I was as one who wanders in a trance,
      Unconscious of his road.

    "The faces of familiar friends seemed strange;
      Their voices I could hear,
    And yet the words they uttered seemed to change
      Their meaning to the ear.

    "For the one face I looked for was not there,
      The one low voice was mute;
    Only an unseen presence filled the air,
      And baffled my pursuit.

    "Now I look back, and meadow, manse, and stream
      Dimly my thought defines;
    I only see--a dream within a dream--
      The hill-top hearsed with pines.

    "I only hear above his place of rest
      Their tender undertone,
    The infinite longings of a troubled breast,
      The voice so like his own.

    "There in seclusion and remote from men
      The wizard hand lies cold,
    Which at its topmost speed let fall the pen,
      And left the tale half told.

    "Ah, who shall lift that wand of magic power,
      And the lost clue regain?
    The unfinished window in Aladdin's tower
      Unfinished must remain!"



V.


This narrative of his career, in one sense so simple, so uneventful, has
brought chiefly to the front, as we have followed it, a phase under
which Hawthorne appears the most like other men; with motives easily
understood, wishing to take his full share in human existence and its
responsibilities; devoted in his domestic relations. Moderately
ambitious of worldly welfare, but in poverty uncomplaining, he is so
coolly practical in his view that he scarcely alludes to the products of
his genius except as they may bear upon his material progress. Even this
much of the character is uncommon, because of its sterling tone, the
large, sustained manliness, and the success with which in the main it
keeps itself firmly balanced; but it is a character not difficult to
grasp, and one that appeals to every observer. It leaves out a great
deal, however. The artist is absent from it. Neither is that essential
mystery of organization included which held these elements together,
united them with something of import far different, and converted the
whole nature into a most extraordinary one, lifting it to a plane high
above that on which it might, at first, seem to rest.

We know, from brief allusions in his "Note-Books," that Hawthorne was
perfectly well aware of his high quality as an artist. He speaks of
having won fame in his dismal room in Herbert Street; and at Arezzo, in
1858, the well "opposite Petrarch's birth-house" which Boccaccio
introduced into one of his stories, recalls to the American writer one
of his own performances. "As I lingered round it I thought of my own
town-pump in old Salem, and wondered whether my towns-people would ever
point it out to strangers, and whether the stranger would gaze at it
with any degree of such interest as I felt in Boccaccio's well. Oh,
certainly not; but I made that humble town-pump the most celebrated
structure in the good town. A thousand and a thousand people had pumped
there, merely to water oxen or fill their tea-kettles; but when once I
grasped the handle, a rill gushed forth that meandered as far as
England, as far as India, besides tasting pleasantly in every town and
village of our own country. I like to think of this, so long after I did
it, and so far from home, and am not without hopes of some kindly local
remembrance on this score."[10] Such indications of the artistic
consciousness are the merest ripples on the surface; the deeper
substance of it, with Hawthorne, always remained out of sight. Letters,
which are assumed to reveal so much of those who indite them, are, when
we come to the fact, very insufficient exponents of character; as, for
instance, we may observe in the letters of Michael Angelo, whose mood
and manner vary according to the person addressed. Correspondence, it is
true, is appetizing to readers, and should be prized for the help it
gives in defining an individual, but it does not always do full justice
to the larger being included in the whole personality. Hawthorne's
letters are more representative of those faculties by which he came into
association with his fellows, than of those which tended to separate him
from them by making him single and phenomenal, in his function as writer
of romance. But in his actual presence there was a something which did
most noticeably correspond to the hidden sources of his power, and
visibly express them. There was the hale and vigorous port of a man well
fitted by his physical constitution to meet the rudest emergency; but
there was also a temperament of which the reserve, the delicacy, the
tremulous sensitiveness were equal to those of the most finely organized
woman. "He was tall and strongly built," wrote his friend Hillard, "with
broad shoulders, deep chest, a massive head.... He looked like a man who
might have held the stroke oar in a University boat.... But, on the
other hand, no man had more of the feminine element than he. He was
feminine in his quick perceptions, his fine insight, his sensibility to
beauty.... No man comprehended woman better than he. And his face was as
mobile and rapid in its changes of expression as that of a young
girl.... His eyes would darken visibly under the touch of a passing
emotion, like the waters of a fountain ruffled by the breeze of summer.
So, too, he was the shyest of men."[11]

The same writer adds: "There was nothing morbid in his character or
temperament. He was, indeed, much the reverse of morbid. No man of
genius ever had less the infirmities of genius than he.... Hawthorne was
physically one of the healthiest of men. His pulse always kept even
music. He cared nothing for wine or tobacco, or strong coffee or strong
tea. He was a sound sleeper and an early riser. He was never moody or
fitful or irritable. He was never unduly depressed or unreasonably
elated. His spirits were not brilliant, but they were uniform, and, as
Mrs. Hawthorne says, 'The airy splendor of his wit and humor was the
light of his own home.'"

Dr. Loring has supplied another sketch of his appearance in general
intercourse, which does a great deal to fill out our conception:--

"He knew no such thing as fear; was scrupulously honest; was unwavering
in his fidelity; conscientious in the discharge of his duty. There may
have been men of more latent power, but I have known no man more
impressive, none in whom the great reposing strength seemed clad in such
a robe of sweetness as he wore. I saw him on the day General Pierce was
elected to the presidency. It was a bright and delicious day in late
autumn. He was standing under the little shaded and embowered piazza of
'The Wayside,' at Concord, in the full vigor of his manhood, radiant
with joy at the good fortune of his friend, and with that sad, shy smile
playing over his face, which was so touching and charming. I have seen
him fishing from the rocks of the Essex County shore at Swampscott,
enjoying the bliss of absolute repose and the sweet uncertainty which
attends the angler's line. I have sat with him in the dimly lighted room
on autumnal evenings, cheerful and vocal with the cricket's chirp, and
have heard his wise and sensible talk, uttered in that soft, melodious
tone which gave such a peculiar charm to his utterances,--a tone so shy
that an intruder would hush it into silence in an instant. I have
strolled with him in the darkness of a summer night through the lanes of
Concord, assured by his voice, which came up from the grass-grown
roadside in a sort of mysterious murmur, that he was my companion still.
And everywhere and at all times, he bore about him a strong and
commanding presence and impression of unpretending power. I can hardly
tell how Hawthorne succeeded in entertaining his companions and securing
their entire confidence, unless it was that he displayed great good
sense and acuteness and good temper in his intercourse with them, and
never misled them by false promises or low appeals. This, in addition to
his subtile genius, everywhere recognized and never wholly concealed to
even the most commonplace associates, made him a most fascinating
friend, as he was really and truly a man of rare quality among ordinary
men."[12]

The earlier portraits of Hawthorne show the gentleness and the feminine
traits in his disposition much more distinctly than those that are best
known to the world. There is one, now owned by his cousin, Mr. Richard
C. Manning, of Salem, which was painted in 1840 by Charles Osgood, an
artist of Salem, and induced this comment from his sister Louisa: "The
color is a little too high, to be sure, but perhaps it is a modest
blush at the compliments which are paid to your pen." Another, painted
by a Mr. C. G. Thompson, at Boston, in 1850 (now owned by Mr. Julian
Hawthorne), resembles this, and presents, one would say, the ideal
Hawthorne of the "Twice-Told Tales" and "The House of the Seven Gables."
The face is smooth shaven and the cheeks are somewhat slender, making
all the lines and features contribute to an effect of greater length and
of more oval contour than that given by the later representations. The
color is delicate; the large eyes look forth with peculiarly fascinating
power from beneath a forehead of exceptional height and harmonious
prominence. The hair is long, and recedes slightly on both sides of the
forehead; a single lock in the middle curving over and drooping forward.
There is less firmness about the lips than was characteristic of them in
his latter years; they close softly, yet even in their pictured repose
they seem to be mobile and ready to quiver with response to some emotion
still undefined but liable to make itself felt at any instant. In its
surrounding of long hair, and of a collar rising above the jaws, with a
large black tie wound about the throat in the manner of a stock but
terminating in a large bow at the front, the beardless countenance is
stamped with a sort of prevalent aspect of the period when it was
painted, which gives it what we call the old-fashioned look. It is, none
the less, a striking one; one that arrests the glance immediately, and
holds it by a peculiar spell. There is no suggestion of a smile or of
cheeriness about it; the eyes even look a little weary, as with too much
meditation in the brain behind them; there is not a trace discernible of
that sturdy, almost military, resoluteness so marked in the familiar
crayon portrait by Rowse, executed after Hawthorne's return from Italy
and England. Here the face is pensive, timid, fresh and impressionable
as that of some studious undergraduate unusually receptive of ideas,
sentiments, and observations: it is, indeed, quiet and thoughtful to the
verge of sadness. Longfellow kept always in his study a black-and-white
copy from this portrait, and in speaking of it and of the subject's
extreme shyness, said that to converse with Hawthorne was like talking
to a woman. The Thompson picture was reproduced in 1851, in a steel
engraving of considerable merit, and Hawthorne, thanking Mr. Fields for
some of the prints, wrote from Lenox: "The children recognized their
venerable sire with great delight. My wife complains somewhat of a want
of cheerfulness in the face; and, to say the truth, it does appear to be
afflicted with a bedevilled melancholy; but it will do all the better
for the author of 'The Scarlet Letter.' In the expression there is a
singular resemblance (which I do not remember in Thompson's picture) to
a miniature of my father."

In Rome, Miss Landor modelled a bust, the marble copy of which is now in
the Concord Public Library. It is of life-size, and presents the head in
a position which raises the chin and inclines the plane of the face
slightly backward, so that the effigy might be taken for that of an
orator addressing a great audience. This pose was selected by the
sculptress because, after due study, she was persuaded that when
Hawthorne became interested in conversation and kindled with the desire
to set forth his own view, he always raised his head and spoke from a
commanding attitude. She chose to perpetuate a momentary action, instead
of rendering his customary aspect of holding the chin somewhat down or
on a firm level; and this may account for the likeness not being
satisfactory to the members of Hawthorne's own family. The bust,
however, renders impressively the magnificent proportions of the neck
and head and the whole physiognomy. The mouth is not concealed, and,
although it exhibits more decision than that of the Thompson picture, it
conveys the same general impression of a quickly responsive sensibility.
Mr. Thompson made his painting when Hawthorne was forty-six, and Miss
Landor had sittings from the author at the age of fifty-four; but the
difference in apparent maturity of power in the face would indicate a
much longer interval. This is perhaps due to the difference in the means
of representation, and to some defect of strength in Mr. Thompson's
drawing; but perhaps also the decided change in Hawthorne's general
look, which began under the greatly altered conditions attending his
European life, proceeded very rapidly. He allowed a thick mustache to
grow, during his last stay in England, and it was then that Kuntze
modelled his profile, which sets Hawthorne's features before us in a
totally different way from any of the other portraits. Unfortunately,
Kuntze's relief is reduced to a size below that of life, and the
features accordingly assume a cramped relation. The lofty forehead is
given its due importance, however, and concentration of impassioned
energy is conveyed by the outline of the face, from this point of view.
The chin, always forcible as well as delicate, impresses one in this
case with a sense of persistent and enduring determination on the part
of the original; and with this sense there is mingled an impression of
something that approaches sternness, caused, it may be, by the hirsute
upper lip. In considering these several representations and the crayon
by Rowse, together with the photographs taken after Hawthorne's
home-return, it is impossible not to observe that the sturdier and more
practical elements in the romancer gained upon him, so far as personal
appearance was concerned, with advancing age and a wider experience of
life in the large world. But such a series of glimpses can do no more
than to suggest disjointedly the union in him of attributes positive and
passive, which always struck those who met him. A photograph which was
secured before he left England depicts him in a mood and with an air
that very happily convey this complete equipment of the man, this
wellnigh perfect combination of traits, which enabled him by sympathy to
run through the entire gamut of human feeling. His friend, John Lothrop
Motley, induced him one day to enter a photographer's establishment, on
the plea that he had business of his own there. Hawthorne was given a
book to read, while waiting; and when the photographer was ready Motley
attracted his friend's attention. Hawthorne looked up with a dawning
smile, a bright, expectant glance,--holding the book on his knee
meanwhile, with a finger in the place,--and instantly a perfect negative
was made. The resulting portraiture showed him absolutely as he was: a
breathing form of human nobility; a strong, masculine, self-contained
nature, stored in a stalwart frame--the face grown somewhat more rotund
than formerly, through material and professional success, and lighted up
with captivating but calm geniality; while over the whole presence
reigned an exquisite temperance of reserve, that held every faculty in
readiness to receive and record each finest fluctuation of joy or
sorrow, of earnest or of sport.

Such as he there appears, we shall do well to imagine him to ourselves.

The tendency at first, among those who judged him from his writings
alone, was to set him down as a misanthrope. We need not go to the other
extreme now. That he inclined to gravity, in his manner and in his habit
of thought, seems to be beyond question; but he was not sombre. Neither
was he hilarious. At home, though he was frequently silent, he never
appeared to be so from depression, except in seasons of distress at the
illness of members of the household; the prevailing effect of his
presence, even when he was least communicative, being that of a cheerful
calm with mellow humor underlying it. One of his children said to Mr. T.
W. Higginson: "There was never such a playmate in all the world." On the
other hand, I remember a letter from Hawthorne (no longer accessible for
exact quotation), in which he frankly speaks of himself as taking
constitutionally a somewhat despondent view of things. But if he did so,
he never permitted the shadow to fall upon his friends. "I should fancy
from your books," Hillard confessed in a letter to him, "that you were
burdened with some secret sorrow, that you had some blue chamber in your
soul, into which you hardly dared to enter yourself; but when I see you,
you give me the impression of a man as healthy as Adam in Paradise." Mr.
Hillard once told the present writer that he had sometimes walked twenty
miles along the highway with Hawthorne, not a word being spoken during
the entire tramp, and had nevertheless felt as if he were in constant
communication with his friend. Mr. Curtis wrote many years ago: "His own
sympathy was so broad and sure, that, although nothing had been said for
hours, his companion knew that not a thing had escaped his eye, nor a
single pulse of beauty in the day or scene or society failed to thrill
his heart. In this way his silence was most social. Everything seemed to
have been said."

His fondness for seclusion, his steady refusal to talk when he did not
feel like talking, and his unobtrusive but immovable independence in
opinion, together with his complete disregard of conventional
requirements in social intercourse, prevented Hawthorne from ever
becoming a popular man. But he was the object of a loving admiration and
the sincerest friendship, on the part of certain few intimates. Those
who knew him best, and had been longest in relations with him,
insensibly--as one observer has well suggested--caught from his fine
reticence a kindred reluctance to speak about him to others. A degree of
reverence was blended with their friendship, which acquired for them a
sacred privacy. Having sound health physically, as well as a healthy
mind, he enjoyed out-door occupations such as garden-work, rowing,
fishing, and walking; but he never rode on horseback. He liked to make
pedestrian trips through the country, stopping at haphazard in country
taverns and farm-houses and listening to the conversation that went on
there. In chance companionship of that sort, he could tolerate much
freedom of speech, in consideration of the mother-wit that prompted it;
but among men of his own class he never encouraged broad allusions. If
anything that savored of the forbidden were introduced, he would not
protest, but he at once turned the conversation towards some worthier
subject. The practical vein in Hawthorne--his ingrained sympathy with
the work-a-day world in which his father and his forefathers had busied
themselves-adapted him to the official drudgery to which he devoted
nine years of his life; although, while he was occupied with that, the
ideal activities of his nature lay dormant. The two sets of faculties
never could be exercised in equal measure at the same time: one or the
other had to predominate. Yet in the conduct of his own affairs, so far
as his pecuniary obligations were concerned, he was very prudent, and to
the last degree scrupulous. One or two exceedingly small debts, which he
was forced to contract, weighed upon him with a heaviness that to the
ordinary commercial mind would be altogether inconceivable; and the
relief he experienced when he was able to cancel them was inexpressible.
His fault, in business, was that he attributed to other people a sense
of honor equal to his own. This entailed upon him sundry losses which he
was not well able to afford, through loans made to supposed friends.
Notwithstanding the carefulness of his expenditure and a few moderately
good receipts from the publication of his books in England, he died
leaving a property of little more than twenty thousand dollars, besides
his house at Concord and the copyright of his works.

In addition to the strong physical frame and tall stature several times
noticed in the present sketch, Hawthorne's personal appearance was
distinguished by his large and lustrous gray-blue eyes, luxuriant dark
brown hair of remarkable fineness, and a delicacy of the skin that gave
unusual softness to his complexion; a complexion subdued, but full of
"healthy, living color," as Mrs. Hawthorne once described it. "After his
Italian journey he altered much, his hair having begun to whiten, and a
thick dark mustache being permitted to grow, so that a wit described him
as looking like a 'boned pirate.' When it became imperative to shake
off his reticence, he seems to have had the power of impressing as much
by speech as he had before done by silence. It was the same abundant,
ardent, but self-contained and perfectly balanced nature that informed
either phase. How commanding was this nature may be judged by the fact
related of him by an acquaintance, that rude people jostling him in a
crowd would give way at once 'at the sound of his low almost irresolute
voice.'... Something even of the eloquent gift of old Colonel Hathorne
seemed to be locked within him, like a precious heirloom rarely shown;
for in England, where his position called for speech-making, he
acquitted himself with brilliant honor. But the effort which this
compelled was no doubt commensurate with the success. He never shrank,
notwithstanding, from effort, when obligation to others put in a plea. A
member of his family has told me that, when talking to any one not
congenial to him, the effect of the contact was so strong as to cause an
almost physical contraction of his whole stalwart frame, though so
slight as to be perceptible only to eyes that knew his informal and
habitual aspects; yet he would have sunk through the floor rather than
betray his sensations to the person causing them. Mr. Curtis, too,
records the amusement with which he watched Hawthorne paddling on the
Concord River, with a friend whose want of skill caused the boat
continually to veer the wrong way, and the silent generosity with which
he put forth his whole strength to neutralize the error, rather than
mortify his companion by explanation. His considerateness was always
delicate and alert."[13] A niece of Horace Mann, who passed a part of
the spring of 1852 with Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne at West Newton, supplies
one little instance of this, which shall be registered here. Mrs. Dean,
the lady in question, was then under engagement to teach in Boston, but
had an interval of time on her hands before the work should begin. She
was invited by the Hawthornes to the West Newton house (at that time
owned by Mr. Mann), where she was to occupy a room which had formerly
been hers. She found that a fire was carefully laid in the stove every
night, to warm the room in the morning, and, thinking that too much
trouble was taken on her account, she begged to be allowed to attend to
this detail herself. It was then she discovered that it was Hawthorne
who made up the fire; and he insisted upon continuing his service. Mrs.
Dean also recalls that he listened attentively to the incidental and
ordinary chat between Mrs. Hawthorne and herself, seldom making any
remark, but, when he did volunteer one, giving it a pungent and
epigrammatic or humorous turn. Entering the room where she was
constructing a raised map for schoolroom use, he watched her with close
interest for a while, and then observed: "I would rather have had the
making of the world itself, in the beginning."

Taking whatever happened in a spirit always very much the same;
reflective, penetrating, quietly sportive--a spirit, likewise, of
patience and impartiality--Hawthorne kept his power of appreciation
fresh to the very last. He could endure the humdrum tasks of government
office, but they did not dull his pleasure in the simplest incidents of
home-life, nor his delight in nature. "Every year the recurrent changes
of season filled him with untold pleasure; and in the spring, Mrs.
Hawthorne has been heard to say, he would walk with her in continuous
silence, his heart full of the awe and delight with which the miracle
of buds and new verdure inspired him." Taking everything in this spirit,
we may repeat, mingling with the rough and the refined, and capable of
extracting the utmost intellectual stimulus from the least of mundane
phenomena, he maintained intact a true sense of relativity and a
knowledge that the attainable best is, in the final analysis,
incomplete. Contemplating a rose one day, he said: "On earth, only a
flower is perfect." He cherished a deep, strong, and simple religious
faith, but never approved of intellectual discussion concerning
religion.

The slightness of the definite fact, or of the reminiscence vouchsafed
by those who knew him, is continually impressed upon us in reviewing
this career. Considered in its main outline, how very plain and
unambitious is the history! A sea-captain's son, born in Salem; living
obscurely; sent up to the rude clearing where a new village was founding
in Maine; induced, against his preference, to go to college; writing
timid stories and essays, which the world had no suspicion that it
needed, and prompted to this by an impulse of which the origin is
inexplicable; next, the author coming into notice, but under eclipse now
and then from disappearance behind a public office; finally, the
acknowledged romancer of indefinitely great endowment--the head of his
order in America--sent abroad to an important post, where he is
recognized and warmly greeted by every one who can discern clearly: such
is the general course of the narrative. Afterwards, the now eminent man
comes back to his native land, labors a little longer in comparative
obscurity, suffers unmerited obloquy for his fidelity to a personal
friend, while perfectly loyal to his government; then dies, and is
mourned not alone by those devoted companions who felt him to be the one
great fact to them in present human nature, but also by famous scholars
and poets, and by a multitude of strangers, who gather around his bier
with a stricken sense of loss ineffable. It is very simple; it is very
democratic--the unnoticed American boy in humble circumstances becoming
the centre of a circle of fame which is still extending its radius. Very
simple it is, and yet inexplicable. But if we cannot tell precisely how
the mind came into being, nor what were the fostering influences that
most cogently aided its growth, we can, at least, pay our reverence to
the overruling Power that brings genius to the flowering-point under
circumstances seemingly the most unpropitious.

In 1863--the last year of his life--Hawthorne wrote to Mr. Stoddard, who
had sent him a copy of his poem, "The King's Bell." "I sincerely thank
you," he said, "for your beautiful poem, which I have read with a great
deal of pleasure. It is such as the public had a right to expect from
what you gave us in years gone by; only I wish the idea had not been so
sad. I think Felix might have rung the bell once in his lifetime, and
again at the moment of death. Yet you may be right. I have been a happy
man, and yet I do not remember any one moment of such happy conspiring
circumstances that I could have rung a joy-bell for it."

Yes, he had been a happy man; one who had every qualification for a rich
and satisfactory life, and was able to make such a life out of whatever
material offered. He might not have been willing to sound the joy-bell
for himself, but the world has rung it because of his birth. As for his
death, it is better not to close our sketch with any glimpse of that,
because, in virtue of his spirit's survival among those who read and
think, he still lives.

    G. P. L.

  NEW YORK, _May_ 20, 1883.


FOOTNOTES:

[1] _A Study of Hawthorne_, III., 67-69.

[2] _Yesterdays With Authors_, p. 113.

[3] Both his friends, George William Curtis and George S. Hillard, in
writing about him, have made the mistake of assigning to him black or
dark eyes; an error perhaps due to the depth of shadowed cavity in which
they were seen under the high and massive forehead.

[4] _Hawthorne and his friends: Harper's Magazine_, vol. 63 (July,
1881).

[5] Vol. 45 (July, 1837), p. 59.

[6] _Transcendentalism in New England._

[7] She died, unmarried, in September, 1877.

[8] The allusion to a baby-boy is confusing, because Mr. Julian
Hawthorne was not born at Concord, and when the family returned thither
to occupy The Wayside, he was about six years old.

[9] This is the first intimation of the story of _Septimius Felton_, so
far as local setting is concerned. The scenery of that romance was
obviously taken from The Wayside and its hill.

[10] _French and Italian Note-Books_, May 30, 1858. A contributor to
_Appletons' Journal_, writing in 1875, describes a surviving specimen of
the old contrivances which then gave Salem its water-supply. "The
presumption is that a description of this particular one answers for
Hawthorne's pump, seeing that they were all alike. It is large enough
for a mausoleum and looks not unlike one, made of slabs of dingy stone,
like stained, gray gravestones set up on one end, in a square at the
foundation, but all inclining inward at the top, where they are kept in
position by a band of iron. A decaying segment of log appears, in which
the pump-handle works in vain, now, however, since, being long out of
use, it has no connection with the water below; on the front side are
two circular holes, like a pair of great eyes, made for the insertion of
the spouts; and, finally, a long-handled iron dish, like a saucepan or
warming-pan on a smaller scale, is attached by an iron chain to the
stone, by way of drinking-vessel. Altogether, though it may not strike
an old Salem resident in that way, it seems to the stranger a very
unique, antiquated, and remarkable structure."

[11] _Atlantic Monthly_, September, 1870, vol. 26, p. 257.

[12] _Papyrus Leaves_, pp. 261, 262.

[13] _A Study of Hawthorne_: Chapter, xi., 291, 292.



Corrections

The first line indicates the original, the second the correction.

  p. 528: "and Buchanan, the nminister"
          "and Buchanan, then minister"

  p. 529: "a book shall he honored"
          "a book shall be honored"





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