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´╗┐Title: Passages from a Relinquished Work (From "Mosses from an Old Manse")
Author: Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 1804-1864
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 "Passages from a Relinquished Work (From "Mosses from an Old Manse")" ***

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                     MOSSES FROM AN OLD MANSE

                      By Nathaniel Hawthorne

                 PASSAGES FROM A RELINQUISHED WORK



AT HOME

From infancy I was under the guardianship of a village parson, who
made me the subject of daily prayer and the sufferer of innumerable
stripes, using no distinction, as to these marks of paternal love,
between myself and his own three boys.  The result, it must be
owned, has been very different in their cases and mine, they being
all respectable men and well settled in life; the eldest as the
successor to his father's pulpit, the second as a physician, and the
third as a partner in a wholesale shoe-store; while I, with better
prospects than either of them, have run the course which this volume
will describe.  Yet there is room for doubt whether I should have
been any better contented with such success as theirs than with my
own misfortunes,--at least, till after my experience of the latter
had made it too late for another trial.

My guardian had a name of considerable eminence, and fitter for the
place it occupies in ecclesiastical history than for so frivolous a
page as mine.  In his own vicinity, among the lighter part of his
hearers, he was called Parson Thumpcushion, from the very forcible
gestures with which he illustrated his doctrines. Certainly, if his
powers as a preacher were to be estimated by the damage done to his
pulpit-furniture, none of his living brethren, and but few dead
ones, would have been worthy even to pronounce a benediction after
him.  Such pounding and expounding the moment he began to grow
warm, such slapping with his open palm, thumping with his closed
fist, and banging with the whole weight of the great Bible,
convinced me that he held, in imagination, either the Old Nick or
some Unitarian infidel at bay, and belabored his unhappy cushion as
proxy for those abominable adversaries.  Nothing but this exercise
of the body while delivering his sermons could have supported the
good parson's health under the mental toil which they cost him in
composition.

Though Parson Thumpcushion had an upright heart, and some called it
a warm one, he was invariably stern and severe, on principle, I
suppose, to me.  With late justice, though early enough, even now,
to be tinctured with generosity I acknowledge him to have been a
good and wise man after his own fashion.  If his management failed
as to myself, it succeeded with his three sons; nor, I must frankly
say, could any mode of education with which it was possible for him
to be acquainted have made me much better than what I was or led me
to a happier fortune than the present. He could neither change the
nature that God gave me nor adapt his own inflexible mind to my
peculiar character.  Perhaps it was my chief misfortune that I had
neither father nor mother alive; for parents have an instinctive
sagacity in regard to the welfare of their children, and the child
feels a confidence both in the wisdom and affection of his parents
which he cannot transfer to any delegate of their duties, however
conscientious.  An orphan's fate is hard, be he rich or poor.  As
for Parson Thumpcushion, whenever I see the old gentleman in my
dreams he looks kindly and sorrowfully at me, holding out his hand
as if each had something to forgive.  With such kindness and such
forgiveness, but without the sorrow, may our next meeting be!

I was a youth of gay and happy temperament, with an incorrigible
levity of spirit, of no vicious propensities, sensible enough, but
wayward and fanciful.  What a character was this to be brought in
contact with the stern old Pilgrim spirit of my guardian!  We were
at variance on a thousand points; but our chief and final dispute
arose from the pertinacity with which he insisted on my adopting a
particular profession; while I, being heir to a moderate competence,
had avowed my purpose of keeping aloof from the regular business of
life.  This would have been a dangerous resolution anywhere in the
world; it was fatal in New England.  There is a grossness in the
conceptions of my countrymen; they will not be convinced that any
good thing may consist with what they call idleness; they can
anticipate nothing but evil of a young man who neither studies
physic, law, nor gospel, nor opens a store, nor takes to farming,
but manifests an incomprehensible disposition to be satisfied with
what his father left him.  The principle is excellent in its general
influence, but most miserable in its effect on the few that violate
it.  I had a quick sensitiveness to public opinion, and felt as if
it ranked me with the tavern haunters and town paupers,--with the
drunken poet who hawked his own Fourth of July odes, and the broken
soldier who had been good for nothing since last war.  The
consequence of all this was a piece of light-hearted desperation.

I do not over-estimate my notoriety when I take it for granted that
many of my readers must have heard of me in the wild way of life
which I adopted.  The idea of becoming a wandering story-teller had
been suggested, a year or two before, by an encounter with several
merry vagabonds in a showman's wagon, where they and I had sheltered
ourselves during a summer shower.  The project was not more
extravagant than most which a young man forms. Stranger ones are
executed every day; and, not to mention my prototypes in the East,
and the wandering orators and poets whom my own ears have heard, I
had the example of one illustrious itinerant in the other
hemisphere,--of Goldsmith, who planned and performed his travels
through France and Italy on a less promising scheme than mine.  I
took credit to myself for various qualifications, mental and
personal, suited to the undertaking. Besides, my mind had latterly
tormented me for employment, keeping up an irregular activity even
in sleep, and making me conscious that I must toil, if it were but
in catching butterflies.  But my chief motives were, discontent with
home and a bitter grudge against Parson Thumpcushion, who would
rather have laid me in my father's tomb than seen me either a
novelist or an actor, two characters which I thus hit upon a method
of uniting.  After all, it was not half so foolish as if I had
written romances instead of reciting them.

The following pages will contain a picture of my vagrant life,
intermixed with specimens, generally brief and slight, of that great
mass of fiction to which I gave existence, and which has vanished
like cloud-shapes.  Besides the occasions when I sought a pecuniary
reward, I was accustomed to exercise my narrative faculty wherever
chance had collected a little audience idle enough to listen.  These
rehearsals were useful in testing the strong points of my stories;
and, indeed, the flow of fancy soon came upon me so abundantly that
its indulgence was its own reward, though the hope of praise also
became a powerful incitement.  Since I shall never feel the warm
gush of new thought as I did then, let me beseech the reader to
believe that my tales were not always so cold as he may find them
now.  With each specimen will be given a sketch of the circumstances
in which the story was told.  Thus my air-drawn pictures will be set
in frames perhaps more valuable than the pictures themselves, since
they will be embossed with groups of characteristic figures, amid
the lake and mountain scenery, the villages and fertile fields, of
our native land. But I write the book for the sake of its moral,
which many a dreaming youth may profit by, though it is the
experience of a wandering story-teller.



A FLIGHT IN THE FOG.

I set out on my rambles one morning in June about sunrise.  The day
promised to be fair, though at that early hour a heavy mist lay
along the earth and settled in minute globules on the folds of my
clothes, so that I looked precisely as if touched with a hoar-frost.
The sky was quite obscured, and the trees and houses invisible till
they grew out of the fog as I came close upon them.  There is a hill
towards the west whence the road goes abruptly down, holding a level
course through the village and ascending an eminence on the other
side, behind which it disappears.  The whole view comprises an
extent of half a mile. Here I paused; and, while gazing through the
misty veil, it partially rose and swept away with so sudden an
effect that a gray cloud seemed to have taken the aspect of a small
white town. A thin vapor being still diffused through the
atmosphere, the wreaths and pillars of fog, whether hung in air or
based on earth, appeared not less substantial than the edifices, and
gave their own indistinctness to the whole.  It was singular that
such an unromantic scene should look so visionary.

Half of the parson's dwelling was a dingy white house, and half of
it was a cloud; but Squire Moody's mansion, the grandest in the
village, was wholly visible, even the lattice-work of the balcony
under the front window; while in another place only two red chimneys
were seen above the mist, appertaining to my own paternal residence,
then tenanted by strangers.  I could not remember those with whom I
had dwelt there, not even my mother. The brick edifice of the bank
was in the clouds; the foundations of what was to be a great block
of buildings had vanished, ominously, as it proved; the dry-goods
store of Mr. Nightingale seemed a doubtful concern; and Dominicus
Pike's tobacco manufactory an affair of smoke, except the splendid
image of an Indian chief in front.  The white spire of the meeting-house
ascended out of the densest heap of vapor, as if that shadowy
base were its only support: or, to give a truer interpretation, the
steeple was the emblem of Religion, enveloped in mystery below, yet
pointing to a cloudless atmosphere, and catching the brightness of
the east on its gilded vane.

As I beheld these objects, and the dewy street, with grassy
intervals and a border of trees between the wheeltrack and the
sidewalks, all so indistinct, and not to be traced without an
effort, the whole seemed more like memory than reality.  I would
have imagined that years had already passed, and I was far away,
contemplating that dim picture of my native place, which I should
retain in my mind through the mist of time.  No tears fell from my
eyes among the dewdrops of the morning; nor does it occur to me that
I heaved a sigh.  In truth, I had never felt such a delicious
excitement nor known what freedom was till that moment when I gave
up my home and took the whole world in exchange, fluttering the
wings of my spirit as if I would have flown from one star to another
through the universe.  I waved my hand towards the dusky village,
bade it a joyous farewell, and turned away to follow any path but
that which might lead me back.  Never was Childe Harold's sentiment
adopted in a spirit more unlike his own.

Naturally enough, I thought of Don Quixote.  Recollecting how the
knight and Sancho had watched for auguries when they took the road
to Toboso, I began, between jest and earnest, to feel a similar
anxiety.  It was gratified, and by a more poetical phenomenon than
the braying of the dappled ass or the neigh of Rosinante.  The sun,
then just above the horizon, shone faintly through the fog, and
formed a species of rainbow in the west, bestriding my intended road
like a gigantic portal.  I had never known before that a bow could
be generated between the sunshine and the morning mist.  It had no
brilliancy, no perceptible hues, but was a mere unpainted framework,
as white and ghostlike as the lunar rainbow, which is deemed ominous
of evil.  But, with a light heart, to which all omens were
propitious, I advanced beneath the misty archway of futurity.

I had determined not to enter on my profession within a hundred
miles of home, and then to cover myself with a fictitious name. The
first precaution was reasonable enough, as otherwise Parson
Thumpcushion might have put an untimely catastrophe to my story; but
as nobody would be much affected by my disgrace, and all was to be
suffered in my own person, I know not why I cared about a name.  For
a week or two I travelled almost at random, seeking hardly any
guidance except the whirling of a leaf at, some turn of the road, or
the green bough that beckoned me, or the naked branch that pointed
its withered finger onward.  All my care was to be farther from home
each night than the preceding morning.



A FELLOW-TRAVELLER.

One day at noontide, when the sun had burst suddenly out of a cloud,
and threatened to dissolve me, I looked round for shelter, whether
of tavern, cottage, barn, or shady tree.  The first which offered
itself was a wood,--not a forest, but a trim plantation of young
oaks, growing just thick enough to keep the mass of sunshine out,
while they admitted a few straggling beams, and thus produced the
most cheerful gloom imaginable.  A brook, so small and clear, and
apparently so cool, that I wanted to drink it up, ran under the road
through a little arch of stone without once meeting the sun in its
passage from the shade on one side to the shade on the other.  As
there was a stepping-place over the stone wall and a path along the
rivulet, I followed it and discovered its source,--a spring gushing
out of an old barrel.

In this pleasant spot I saw a light pack suspended from the branch
of a tree, a stick leaning against the trunk, and a person seated on
the grassy verge of the spring, with his back towards me.  He was a
slender figure, dressed in black broadcloth, which was none of the
finest nor very fashionably cut.  On hearing my footsteps he started
up rather nervously, and, turning round, showed the face of a young
man about my own age, with his finger in a volume which he had been
reading till my intrusion.  His book was evidently a pocket Bible.
Though I piqued myself at that period on my great penetration into
people's characters and pursuits, I could not decide whether this
young man in black were an unfledged divine from Andover, a college
student, or preparing for college at some academy.  In either case I
would quite as willingly have found a merrier companion; such, for
instance, as the comedian with whom Gil Blas shared his dinner
beside a fountain in Spain.

After a nod, which was duly returned, I made a goblet of oak-leaves,
filled and emptied it two or three times, and then remarked, to hit
the stranger's classical associations, that this beautiful fountain
ought to flow from an urn instead of an old barrel.  He did not show
that he understood the allusion, and replied very briefly, with a
shyness that was quite out of place between persons who met in such
circumstances.  Had he treated my next observation in the same way,
we should have parted without another word.

"It is very singular," said I,--"though doubtless there are good
reasons for it,--that Nature should provide drink so abundantly, and
lavish it everywhere by the roadside, but so seldom anything to eat.
Why should not we find a loaf of bread on this tree as well as a
barrel of good liquor at the foot of it?"

"There is a loaf of bread on the tree," replied the stranger,
without even smiling--at a coincidence which made me laugh.  "I have
something to eat in my bundle; and, if you can make a dinner with
me, you shall be welcome."

"I accept your offer with pleasure," said I.  "A pilgrim such as I
am must not refuse a providential meal."

The young man had risen to take his bundle from the branch of the
tree, but now turned round and regarded me with great earnestness,
coloring deeply at the same time.  However, he said nothing, and
produced part of a loaf of bread and some cheese, the former being
evidently home baked, though some days out of the oven.  The fare
was good enough, with a real welcome, such as his appeared to be.
After spreading these articles on the stump of a tree, he proceeded
to ask a blessing on our food, an unexpected ceremony, and quite an
impressive one at our woodland table, with the fountain gushing
beside us and the bright sky glimmering through the boughs; nor did
his brief petition affect me less because his embarrassment made his
voice tremble.  At the end of the meal he returned thanks with the
same tremulous fervor.

He felt a natural kindness for me after thus relieving my
necessities, and showed it by becoming less reserved.  On my part, I
professed never to have relished a dinner better; and, in requital
of the stranger's hospitality, solicited the pleasure of his company
to supper.

"Where?  At your home?"  asked he.

"Yes," said I, smiling.

"Perhaps our roads are not the same," observed he.

"O, I can take any road but one, and yet not miss my way," answered
I.  "This morning I breakfasted at home; I shall sup at home
to-night; and a moment ago I dined at home.  To be sure, there was a
certain place which I called home; but I have resolved not to see it
again till I have been quite round the globe and enter the street on
the east as I left it on the west. In the mean time, I have a home
everywhere, or nowhere, just as you please to take it."

"Nowhere, then; for this transitory world is not our home," said the
young man, with solemnity.  "We are all pilgrims and wanderers; but
it is strange that we two should meet."

I inquired the meaning of this remark, but could obtain no
satisfactory reply.  But we had eaten salt together, and it was
right that we should form acquaintance after that ceremony as the
Arabs of the desert do, especially as he had learned something about
myself, and the courtesy of the country entitled me to as much
information in return.  I asked whither he was travelling.

"I do not know," said he; "but God knows."

"That is strange!"  exclaimed I; "not that God should know it, but
that you should not.  And how is your road to be pointed out?"

"Perhaps by an inward conviction," he replied, looking sideways at
me to discover whether I smiled; "perhaps by an outward sign."

"Then, believe me," said I, "the outward sign is already granted
you, and the inward conviction ought to follow.  We are told of
pious men in old times who committed themselves to the care of
Providence, and saw the manifestation of its will in the slightest
circumstances, as in the shooting of a star, the flight of a bird,
or the course taken by some brute animal.  Sometimes even a stupid
ass was their guide.  May I not be as good a one?"

"I do not know," said the pilgrim, with perfect simplicity.

We did, however, follow the same road, and were not overtaken, as I
partly apprehended, by the keepers of any lunatic asylum in pursuit
of a stray patient.  Perhaps the stranger felt as much doubt of my
sanity as I did of his, though certainly with less justice, since I
was fully aware of my own extravagances, while he acted as wildly,
and deemed it heavenly wisdom.  We were a singular couple,
strikingly contrasted, yet curiously assimilated, each of us
remarkable enough by himself, and doubly so in the other's company.
Without any formal compact, we kept together day after day till our
union appeared permanent.  Even had I seen nothing to love and
admire in him, I could never have thought of deserting one who
needed me continually; for I never knew a person; not even a woman,
so unfit to roam the world in solitude as he was,--so painfully shy,
so easily discouraged by slight obstacles, and so often depressed by
a weight within himself.

I was now far from my native place, but had not yet stepped before
the public.  A slight tremor seized me whenever I thought of
relinquishing the immunities of a private character, and giving
every man, and for money too, the right which no man yet possessed,
of treating me with open scorn.  But about a week after contracting
the above alliance I made my bow to an audience of nine persons,
seven of whom hissed me in a very disagreeable manner, and not
without good cause.  Indeed, the failure was so signal that it would
have been mere swindling to retain the money, which had been paid on
my implied contract to give its value of amusement.  So I called in
the doorkeeper, bade him refund the whole receipts, a mighty sum and
was gratified with a round of applause by way of offset to
the hisses.  This event would have looked most horrible in
anticipation,--a thing to make a man shoot himself, or run amuck, or
hide himself in caverns where he might not see his own burning
blush; but the reality was not so very hard to bear.  It is a fact
that I was more deeply grieved by an almost parallel misfortune
which happened to my companion on the same evening.  In my own
behalf I was angry and excited, not depressed; my blood ran quick,
my spirits rose buoyantly, and I had never felt such a confidence of
future success and determination to achieve it as at that trying
moment. I resolved to persevere, if it were only to wring the
reluctant praise from my enemies.

Hitherto I had immensely underrated the difficulties of my idle
trade; now I recognized that it demanded nothing short of my whole
powers cultivated to the utmost, and exerted with the same
prodigality as if I were speaking for a great party or for the
nation at large on the floor of the Capitol.  No talent or
attainment could come amiss; everything, indeed, was requisite,--wide
observation, varied knowledge, deep thoughts, and sparkling
ones; pathos and levity, and a mixture of both, like sunshine in a
raindrop; lofty imagination, veiling itself in the garb of common
life; and the practised art which alone could render these gifts,
and more than these, available.  Not that I ever hoped to be thus
qualified.  But my despair was no ignoble one; for, knowing the
impossibility of satisfying myself, even should the world be
satisfied, I did my best to overcome it; investigated the causes of
every defect; and strove, with patient stubbornness, to remove them
in the next attempt.  It is one of my few sources of pride, that,
ridiculous as the object was, I followed it up with the firmness and
energy of a man.

I manufactured a great variety of plots and skeletons of tales, and
kept them ready for use, leaving the filling up to the inspiration
of the moment; though I cannot remember ever to have told a tale
which did not vary considerably from my preconceived idea, and
acquire a novelty of aspect as often as I repeated it. Oddly enough,
my success was generally in proportion to the difference between the
conception and accomplishment.  I provided two or more commencements
and catastrophes to many of the tales,--a happy expedient, suggested
by the double sets of sleeves and trimmings which diversified the
suits in Sir Piercy Shafton's wardrobe.  But my best efforts had a
unity, a wholeness, and a separate character that did not admit of
this sort of mechanism.



THE VILLAGE THEATRE

About the first of September my fellow-traveller and myself arrived
at a country town, where a small company of actors, on their return
from a summer's campaign in the British Provinces, were giving a
series of dramatic exhibitions.  A moderately sized hall of the
tavern had been converted into a theatre.  The performances that
evening were, The Heir at Law, and No Song, no Supper, with the
recitation of Alexander's Feast between the play and farce.  The
house was thin and dull.  But the next day there appeared to be
brighter prospects, the playbills announcing at every corner, on the
town-pump, and--awful sacrilege!--on the very door of the meeting-house,
an Unprecedented Attraction! After setting forth the ordinary
entertainments of a theatre, the public were informed, in the hugest
type that the printing-office could supply, that the manager had
been fortunate enough to accomplish an engagement with the
celebrated Story-Teller.  He would make his first appearance that
evening, and recite his famous tale of Mr. Higginbotham's
Catastrophe, which had been received with rapturous applause by
audiences in all the principal cities.  This outrageous flourish of
trumpets, be it known, was wholly unauthorized by me, who had merely
made an engagement for a single evening, without assuming any more
celebrity than the little I possessed.  As for the tale, it could
hardly have been applauded by rapturous audiences, being as yet an
unfilled plot; nor even when I stepped upon the stage was it decided
whether Mr. Higginbotham should live or die.

In two or three places, underneath the flaming bills which announced
the Story-Teller, was pasted a small slip of paper, giving notice,
in tremulous characters, of a religious meeting to be held at the
school-house, where, with divine permission, Eliakim Abbott would
address sinners on the welfare of their immortal souls.

In the evening, after the commencement of the tragedy of Douglas, I
took a ramble through the town to quicken my ideas by active motion.
My spirits were good, with a certain glow of mind which I had
already learned to depend upon as the sure prognostic of success.
Passing a small and solitary school-house, where a light was burning
dimly and a few people were entering the door, I went in with them,
and saw my friend Eliakim at the desk.  He had collected about
fifteen hearers, mostly females.  Just as I entered he was beginning
to pray in accents so low and interrupted that he seemed to doubt
the reception of his efforts both with God and man.  There was room
for distrust in regard to the latter.  At the conclusion of the
prayer several of the little audience went out, leaving him to begin
his discourse under such discouraging circumstances, added to his
natural and agonizing diffidence.  Knowing that my presence on these
occasions increased his embarrassment, I had stationed myself in a
dusky place near the door, and now stole softly out.

On my return to the tavern the tragedy was already concluded; and,
being a feeble one in itself and indifferently performed, it left so
much the better chance for the Story-Teller.  The bar was thronged
with customers, the toddy-stick keeping a continual tattoo; while in
the hall there was a broad, deep, buzzing sound, with an occasional
peal of impatient thunder,--all symptoms of all overflowing house
and an eager audience.  I drank a glass of wine-and-water, and stood
at the side scene conversing with a young person of doubtful sex.
If a gentleman, how could he have performed the singing girl the
night before in No Song, no Supper?  Or, if a lady, why did she
enact Young Norval, and now wear a green coat and white pantaloons
in the character of Little Pickle?  In either case the dress was
pretty and the wearer bewitching; so that, at the proper moment, I
stepped forward with a gay heart and a hold one; while the orchestra
played a tune that had resounded at many a country ball, and the
curtain, as it rose, discovered something like a country bar-room.
Such a scene was well enough adapted to such a tale.

The orchestra of our little theatre consisted of two fiddles and a
clarinet; but, if the whole harmony of the Tremont had been there,
it might have swelled in vain beneath the tumult of applause that
greeted me.  The good people of the town, knowing that the world
contained innumerable persons of celebrity undreamed of by them,
took it for granted that I was one, and that their roar of welcome
was but a feeble echo of those which had thundered around me in
lofty theatres.  Such an enthusiastic uproar was never heard.  Each
person seemed a Briarcus clapping a hundred hands, besides keeping
his feet and several cudgels in play with stamping and thumping on
the floor; while the ladies flourished their white cambric
handkerchiefs, intermixed with yellow and red bandanna, like the
flags of different nations. After such a salutation, the celebrated
Story-Teller felt almost ashamed to produce so humble an affair as
Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe.

This story was originally more dramatic than as there presented, and
afforded good scope for mimicry and buffoonery, neither of which, to
my shame, did I spare.  I never knew the "magic of a name" till I
used that of Mr. Higginbotham.  Often as I repeated it, there were
louder bursts of merriment than those which responded to what, in my
opinion, were more legitimate strokes of humor.  The success of the
piece was incalculably heightened by a stiff cue of horsehair, which
Little Pickle, in the spirit of that mischief-loving character, had
fastened to my collar, where, unknown to me, it kept making the
queerest gestures of its own in correspondence with all mine.  The
audience, supposing that some enormous joke was appended to this
long tail behind, were ineffably delighted, and gave way to such a
tumult of approbation that, just as the story closed, the benches
broke beneath them and left one whole row of my admirers on the
floor.  Even in that predicament they continued their applause.  In
after times, when I had grown a bitter moralizer, I took this scene
for an example how much of fame is humbug; how much the meed of what
our better nature blushes at; how much an accident; how much
bestowed on mistaken principles; and how small and poor the remnant.
From pit and boxes there was now a universal call for the Story-Teller.

That celebrated personage came not when they did call to him.  As I
left the stage, the landlord, being also the postmaster, had given
me a letter with the postmark of my native village, and directed to
my assumed name in the stiff old handwriting of Parson Thumpcushion.
Doubtless he had heard of the rising renown of the Story-Teller, and
conjectured at once that such a nondescript luminary could be no
other than his lost ward.  His epistle, though I never read it,
affected me most painfully.  I seemed to see the Puritanic figure of
my guardian standing among the fripperies of the theatre and
pointing to the players,--the fantastic and effeminate men, the
painted women, the giddy girl in boy's clothes, merrier than
modest,--pointing to these with solemn ridicule, and eying me with
stern rebuke.  His image was a type of the austere duty, and they of
the vanities of life.

I hastened with the letter to my chamber and held it unopened in my
hand, while the applause of my buffoonery yet sounded through the
theatre.  Another train of thought came over me.  The stern old man
appeared again, but now with the gentleness of sorrow, softening his
authority with love as a father might, and even bending his
venerable head, as if to say that my errors had an apology in his
own mistaken discipline.  I strode twice across the chamber, then
held the letter in the flame of the candle, and beheld it consume
unread.  It is fixed in my mind, and was so at the time, that he had
addressed me in a style of paternal wisdom, and love, and
reconciliation which I could not have resisted had I but risked the
trial.  The thought still haunts me that then I made my irrevocable
choice between good and evil fate.

Meanwhile, as this occurrence had disturbed my mind and indisposed
me to the present exercise of my profession, I left the town, in
spite of a laudatory critique in the newspaper, and untempted by the
liberal offers of the manager.  As we walked onward, following the
same road, on two such different errands, Eliakim groaned in spirit,
and labored with tears to convince me of the guilt and madness of my
life.





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