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´╗┐Title: Memories of Hawthorne
Author: Lathrop, Rose Hawthorne
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 "Memories of Hawthorne" ***

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MEMORIES OF HAWTHORNE

By

Rose Hawthorne Lathrop



PREFACE


It will be seen that this volume is really written by Sophia
Hawthorne; whose letters from earliest girlhood are so expressed, and
so profound in thought and loveliness, that some will of sterner
quality than a daughter's must cast them aside. I have tried to weed
out those written records of hers (even from 1820) reaching to her
last year in 1871, that could give no especial pleasure to any
descendant who might come upon them; and I have been astonished to
find that there was scarcely one such page. This is the explanation of
my return, in the company of the friends of my father and mother, to
an old garden, a familiar discourse, and a circle of life that
embraced so much beauty.

ROSE HAWTHORNE LATHROP.

NEW YORK, February 20th, 1897.



CONTENTS

[online ed: page numbers omitted]

CHAPTER I

THE HAWTHORNES AND THE PEABODYS

The Hawthornes summoned from their quietude by the Peabodys. Sophia
Peabody's mother and grandmother, the latter wife of General Palmer,
who was prominent in the Revolution. Characteristics of the Misses
Peabody. Letters to the Hawthornes from the Peabodys, though so close
at hand, because of the difficulty of seeing the former at any time.
The dignity of George Peabody's nature. Sophia's fondness for profound
books. The great affection of friends for her, who bring rare flowers
to the little studio where she is often imprisoned. Elizabeth
Hawthorne consents to walk with the Peabodys. Dr. Channing's regard
for Sophia's artistic talent and motive. Miss Burley's literary club,
to which Hawthorne liked to go with Sophia. The wooing not a moment
delayed. Visits from Emerson and Very. Elizabeth goes forth among the
most interesting people of Boston, and remains to teach their
daughters.

CHAPTER II

THE DAYS OF THE ENGAGEMENT

Hawthorne and Sophia become engaged, but defer the announcement for a
year. Sophia visits friends in Boston, and Hawthorne visits Boston
also. Washington Allston's deep approval of Sophia's talents.
Elizabeth visits the Emersons in Concord, and writes as if from
heaven. Mr. Bancroft remarked to Emerson that Hawthorne was
exceptionally thorough in business. Sophia draws and paints vigorously
in her happy security of the highest love. Letters from Hawthorne to
her. Fragment of a Scrap-Book kept by Hawthorne at the Boston Custom
House. Friends rejoice in the engagement when it is made known.

CHAPTER III

THE EARLY DAYS OF THE MARRIAGE

The beautiful marriage is appreciated by all. Letters to Mrs. Caleb
Foote and to Sophia's mother describe life at the Old Manse in
Concord. The birth of Una. Emerson, Thoreau, and Hawthorne skate upon
the river near the Manse, with differing aspects. The radiance and
sublimity of a Massachusetts winter enrich the landscape. Evening
readings by Hawthorne to his wife from the classics begun and always
continued. Friends call somewhat frequently, at last, from the outside
world; Visits to relatives in Boston and Salem. Mary Peabody becomes
the wife of Horace Mann. Sophia describes Una's favorable impression
upon the circle of friends in Salem and Boston. Returning to the Old
Manse renews the enjoyment of nature and peace.

CHAPTER IV

LIFE IN SALEM

Salem becomes their home for the second time. Letter from George W.
Curtis while in Europe. Sophia expresses in a letter to Hawthorne her
entire satisfaction, though poor and in the midst of petty cares,
under his enchanting protection. Daniel Webster's oration in Salem.
Alcott's monologue. Thoreau's lecture. Letters about the attack of
certain mistaken people upon Hawthorne as a Democrat and official.
Hawthorne writes to Horace Mann upon the subject. The best citizens
are active to remedy the offense against Hawthorne. George Mullet's
letters describing Hawthorne as official and man.

CHAPTER V

FROM SALEM TO BERKSHIRE

The Hawthornes seek a home by the sea, but drift up to the mountains
of Berkshire, and are happy. Letter from Mrs. James R. Lowell, _nee_
White. The Sedgwicks are the kindest friends in the world. Herman
Melville is drawn to the life by Mrs. Hawthorne, in a letter to her
mother. A poem, by Mrs. Hawthorne, to her husband.

CHAPTER VI

LENOX

Letters and visits from friends are frequent in Lenox, where a
literary group begin to suggest flight to the Hawthornes, who have no
liking for a fussy succession of intercourse. Hawthorne reads the
"House of the Seven Gables" aloud to his wife as he writes it. He
sends a long letter to William B. Pike. Charming long letters come
from Herman Melville, though he is not far off.

CHAPTER VII

FROM LENOX TO CONCORD

Letter, full of amused astonishment, from Hawthorne to Mrs. Tappan.
Descriptions of the divine Lenox home life, by Mrs. Hawthorne. The
removal to West Newton, and finally to Concord, is made. Letter from
Maria L. Porter, a kindred nature. Mr. Alcott is lovingly analyzed by
Mrs. Hawthorne. Letters to her from Mr. Alcott. Letters to her, from
Emerson, of an earlier date. Letters from Margaret Fuller. Mrs.
Hawthorne describes The Wayside. General Solomon McNiel wields his
affable sword. The Emersons pervade the little town like reigning
powers.

CHAPTER VIII

THE LIVERPOOL CONSULATE

The Wayside begins to be hospitable in earnest, and Mr. Miller, the
artist, talks unceasingly there. Mrs. Hawthorne describes her husband.
Hawthorne visits the Isles of Shoals. Ex-President Pierce is insulted
and bears it well. Hawthorne visits Brunswick College, and is welcomed
back there. A talk on The Wayside hill. The Liverpool Consulate is
given to Hawthorne, who visits Washington before embarking for
England. Description of Hawthorne by his daughter Rose. The voyage is
described in a letter from Mrs. Hawthorne. Field Talfourd pleases her,
especially. Mr. Henry Bright shines upon the family. Rose describes
him. Mrs. Hawthorne writes to her father about him, his family at
their home, and of English ways.

CHAPTER IX

ENGLISH DAYS: I

Hospitable English strangers make the American strangers welcome. An
English mansion described by Mrs. Hawthorne. Liverpool organizations
honor Hawthorne by attentions. The Squareys of Dacre Hill. Hawthorne's
unstinted friendliness towards Americans in distress. The De Quincey
family greatly desire to see Hawthorne, Ticknor says. Hawthorne meets
the sons of Burns. Liscard Vale and its dinner-party described by Mrs.
Hawthorne, who is entertained by the magnificence and the characters
richly gathered there. Mrs. Hawthorne tells her father about a visit
to Chester on Sunday. The "Westminster Review" praises Hawthorne's
art. Distinguished English people seek Hawthorne out. Mr. Martineau
described by Mrs. Hawthorne. Mr. Bennoch's first call upon the family.
Miss Cushman visits the Hawthornes with her splendid geniality. Mrs.
Hawthorne described by her daughter Rose. Hawthorne is hunted to
gorgeous dinners against his better instincts. Henry Bright more
delightfully drives him to beautiful scenes. "The Scarlet Letter"
sells very largely in England, and is read. The Consulate is sighed
over by Mrs. Hawthorne.

CHAPTER X

ENGLISH DAYS: II

The Isle of Man is visited as if it were Fairyland. The Consulate is
again described by Mrs. Hawthorne. Hawthorne refuses to let two
hundred shipwrecked American soldiers die in destitution, and charters
a ship to send them home, at some risk of personal bankruptcy. The
death of Mrs. Hawthorne's father is communicated to her by her
husband. A letter from Una tells about the family and the scene of the
country-side, and refers to Lenox pastimes. Visit of the family to
Wales. Hawthorne goes to a dinner-party to meet Mr. Buchanan and Miss
Lane. Hawthorne and Mrs. Hawthorne described by Rose. Hawthorne still
reads aloud in the evenings. Letters from Hawthorne to Rose. His
playfulness and generous thought for his children noted. The home life
of the family depicted, and also Mrs. Hawthorne's energy of geniality.
A sketch of Mr. Bennoch, and a letter from him. Lord Houghton and
others try to bring Hawthorne to society by letter. The family go to
London for the ostensible purpose of enjoying society, but Hawthorne
is obliged to spend part of the time in Liverpool. Mrs. Hawthorne
writes to him of London and Henry Bright, who is there, and speaks of
Miss Bacon's genius.

CHAPTER XI

ENGLISH DAYS: III

Mrs. Hawthorne's letter to Miss Elizabeth P. Peabody describes
Wordsworth's country. The family visit Southport for the winter, for
Mrs. Hawthorne's health. A trip to Manchester, for the Exhibition,
includes a glimpse of Tennyson and his family. Mrs. Hawthorne
carefully describes them. She refers to slavery with contempt.
Hawthorne writes to Miss Elizabeth P. Peabody about her anti-slavery
essay with frankest honesty and distaste, being importuned for his
opinion. His estimate of Goodrich. A visit to Kenilworth by the family
is portrayed in a letter of Mrs. Hawthorne's. English days in
Leamington are quiet and economical, but always suggestive to
imagination. A visit to a genuinely palatial hotel in Bath described
by Mrs. Hawthorne. Redcar and Hawthorne's enjoyment of it reproduced
by descriptions and diaries. "The Marble Faun" worked out and finished
in this seaport town.

CHAPTER XII

ITALIAN DAYS: I

Rome has a superlative effect upon the family. Hawthorne's manner in
the midst of the richest scene in history. A host of friends happen to
congregate, at Carnival time. Miss Maria Mitchell, Miss Harriet
Hosmer, and Miss Elizabeth Hoar described. Una's illness proves the
true friendship of lifelong and new acquaintances. C. G. Thompson and
his studio sketched. Rome's lasting charm for a little girl
evident.

CHAPTER XIII

ITALIAN DAYS: II

Six months in Florence. Mrs. Hawthorne's letters continue to catch and
imprison the atmosphere of every scene. The castle of Montauto
fascinates the family. Catholicity penetrates the heart of both
husband and wife, in spite of much armor. Stella humbly and silently
expresses religious gentleness. Spiritualism introduces its clumsy
morbidness to Mrs. Hawthorne in the presence of the Brownings. Mr. and
Mrs. Browning described from the enthusiastic memory of a child.
Motley's letter about "Monte Beni" is given.

CHAPTER XIV

THE WAYSIDE

The Wayside welcomes the family to a life of simplicity, second-rate
enjoyment, and sacrifice. Interesting minds working for humanity are
the happy reward for a quiet life. Emerson, Alcott, Thoreau and
Channing described. Visits to the Fields's in Boston, where rare
people are met. The Wayside, quiet as it is, is not quite out of the
world, and friends and letters from abroad often follow Hawthorne
thither. One of Louisa Alcott's jolly little poems. General Hitchcock
is mentioned by Mrs. Hawthorne, who valued him among a group of finest
minds. Concord life portrayed in Mrs. Hawthorne's journals and
letters. Hawthorne's breaking health soon affects the family with
half-admitted dread. President Lincoln becomes a verified ideal.

CHAPTER XV

THE ARTIST AT WORK

Hawthorne's habits of work are described, and his attitude of mind is
guessed, by his daughter Rose. The "North British Review" quoted upon
Hawthorne's art. His efforts to continue at his work unflinchingly, by
means of exercise and hardihood.

CHAPTER XVI

THE LEAVE-TAKING

Emerson and Longfellow write of their desire to be with Hawthorne in
companionship. Dr. Holmes flashes joyfully yet longingly as he speaks
of Hawthorne's personality. Miss Elizabeth M. Hawthorne makes a visit
to The Wayside, and her niece Rose tries to study her. Una's lifelong
love and admiration for her. Hawthorne's devoted care for her, which
he bequeathed to his family. Mrs. Hawthorne expresses in a letter to
a friend some of her vigorous and sublime principles of thought and
action. Hawthorne's death comes while he is away from his wife, but
she is conscious of its presence.



MEMORIES OF HAWTHORNE


CHAPTER I

THE HAWTHORNES AND THE PEABODYS


To my lot have fallen sundry letters of my mother's, received in youth
by her sisters and friends, and by her husband and others in later
life. I have often read over these magic little pictures of old days,
and each time have felt less inclined to let them remain silently in
the family. The letters are full of sunshine, which is not even yet
in the least dimmed; and there is a pleasant chatter of persons of
whom we have heard widely in the most refined atmosphere this country
knows.

The scene surrounds a soul, my father's, whose excellence grows more
and more evident, and who enriches every incident and expression that
comes in contact with him. The tone of the life depicted is usually
glad; but even where discomfort and sorrow break it, Hawthorne's
unflinching endurance suggests unsoured activity and a brave glance.

I will preserve, as well as I can by selections, the effect produced
upon me by the many packages of letters which I opened some years ago.
What Hawthorne cared for is somewhat clearly shown by side-lights; and
there is also some explanation from my mother, as unintentionally
given as the rest, of why he cared.

It was a genial and vivid existence which enveloped her family always;
and it became an interesting problem to the Peabodys to entice the
reticent Hawthornes into it, from the adjacent Herbert Street,--by
gentle degrees, well-adjusted baits, and affectionate compliments.
Trout-fishing comes to mind,--and the trout were very skillful in
keeping aloof. Nevertheless, Hawthorne liked all he heard and saw at
the Peabodys' in Charter Street; and Sophia, his future wife, gleams
near him as the unwitting guide to the warm contact with his kind for
which he searched, though with delicacy of choice.

Sophia's mother had strong intellect and great refinement, as well as
a strength of character which gave her the will to teach school for
many years, while her own children were growing up. She was very well
connected in various directions; in other words, she had sprung from
cultivated intelligences.

Mrs. Peabody's mother was the wife of Judge Cranch, of Boston, whose
sister, the wife of General Palmer, wrote to her in Revolutionary days
the following letter, wherein very mild words stand for very strong
emotions:--


GERMANTOWN, February 12, 1775.

DEAR SISTER,--It is a long time since we have heard from you, except
by transient reports that your family was pretty well. I suppose you
are all anxious about publick affairs as well as other folks. 'T is a
dreadful dull time for writing; this suspense that we are in seems to
absorb every Faculty of the mind, especially in our situation where we
seldom see anybody from the busy world.

Mr. Palmer has been gone a fortnight to Congress, and we have never
heard a word from him. The folks are almost impatient to hear what
they are about.

Certainly we at this time want every motive of Religion to strengthen
our souls and bear up our spirits, that we may not faint in the evil
time. Why should not there be religious as well as Political
correspondencies? I believe much good might be done by such means, as
those who are sincerely good would be able to strengthen each
other--oh dear! I am so stupid! I wonder whether you feel so, too; but
you have little ones about you that will keep you rousing. My Love to
them all, together with my Brother.

Your affectionate sister, M. PALMER.


Literature, art, and intercourse were the three gracious deities of
the Peabody home, and many persons came to join the family in
worshiping them; so that the pages of all the letters and journals,
from which but a fragmentary gleaning has been made, blossom daily
with name after name of callers. Elizabeth was profoundly
interesting, Mary was brilliant, and Sophia was lovely in her studio,
to which everybody eagerly mounted. At about the time when I begin to
levy upon the letters, the efforts of these young ladies to establish
common ground of friendship with the Hawthornes peep forth in small
messages, bequeathed to me by my recluse aunt Ebie Hawthorne.

Elizabeth Peabody was the first and most frequent angler at the
brookside, and actually succeeded in establishing a sturdy friendship
with the young author, who was being sought for by the best people in
Salem. His mother and sisters, walks and books, were the principal
factors in his capture by the admiring enemy. Elizabeth had already a
high intercourse upon high themes with the best minds among manly
American thought. Her perfect simplicity of motive and abandonment of
selfish, vain effeminateness made her the delight of the great men she
met. She was a connoisseur in this field. To such a genial cultivator
of development it seemed folly for the women of the Hawthorne family
so to conceal their value; it was positively non-permissible for the
genius of the family to conceal _his_, and so this New World Walton
fished him forth. She sends a note to Herbert Street:--


MY DEAR MRS. HAWTHORNE,--I have taken the liberty to have your book
bound before I returned it to you, as it was somewhat abused at the
printing-office. And besides, I thought there should be some attempt
at harmony between the outside and the inside; and more than that, I
wanted in some slight degree to express my respect for it. How happy
you must be in reading these tales! For if the genius which produced
them is independent of all source but the divine bounty, the holiness
and virtue which breathe on every page may be fairly attributed to the
sacred influences of a pure New England home, in no small degree. But
to enter upon the satisfactions of a mother in such a case I feel to
be intruding upon consecrated ground. Yet you will easily pardon the
feeling that impels me.

With the greatest respect, yours,

ELIZABETH P. PEABODY.


My mother joins in the pursuit, though interested only in catching a
glimpse of the widow and the shy eldest daughter. It must have been
worth many experiments to gently succeed in putting their skill in
hiding to naught. She slaps a dainty fishing-line through the
leaves:--


MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--I send you a volume of Carlyle, lately published.
It is well worth reading; and your mother--will she like to read it? I
shall charge Bridget to inquire how your mother's and Louisa's
headaches are. I should have gone myself to-day to ask, had not the
wind been east. Won't you come to walk to-morrow afternoon with my
mother, dear Elizabeth, and then I shall see you a few minutes? I want
very much to see you, and to show you a certain white vase filled with
brilliant flowers, which would charm your eye. I hope you enjoyed the
music last evening.

Truly yours and Louisa's,

S. A. PEABODY.


I can imagine nothing more curious to the Peabodys than people who
withdrew themselves from choice. My mother was often hidden, because
of great delicacy of health, which her ardent pursuance of art
constantly fatigued; but she saw so many people that there was
scarcely a whole day of isolation. At the Hawthornes', on the
contrary, quiet prevailed: caused partly by bereavement, partly by
proud poverty, and no doubt not a little by the witch-shadow of Judge
Hawthorne's unfortunate condemnation of Rebecca Nurse, whose dying
curse was never ignored; partly also by a sense of superiority, which,
I think, was the skeleton in every Hawthorne's body at that time.

For a year one of the brothers at the Peabodys', George, remained in
his room, slowly dying from the effects of over-exertion in athletic
sports. He was of large frame and of noble appearance, and was
referred to by my mother in after-life with the deepest admiration.
She writes:--


"It is difficult to realize how ill he is. He has none of the ways of
sick people. His voice is as cheerful as ever, with no whine in its
tones. He has no whims. He is always ready to smile, and reads
constantly. . . . Mary and I spent the evening with the beloved one.
He was pretty cheery, and told a comical anecdote of Dean Swift. He
stood up on Friday much more firmly than formerly. Elizabeth
Hawthorne sent him Miss Martineau's book, after tea, which was
certainly very kind and attentive in her. I am determined to go and
see her this week. I spent the morning upon my bed, reading Herodotus.
. . . I found that mother had taken James and gone to Paradise after a
_hawthorne_ bush. It is a bush for which she has had a longing for
several years, but never could get any kind friend to uproot it for
her."


The highest principles of thought and action are constantly danced
about and caressed by my mother in all her letters, as we imagine a
Greek maiden paying cheerful homage to beautiful statues of the gods.
For instance, in writing to the brother already mentioned, before his
illness, she says:--


"I do not like to have you say that you enjoy despising people,
George. It would be a little better to say you cannot help it
sometimes; and even that is a dangerous attitude of mind. It is
better to sorrow over than to despise. You know, Wordsworth says, 'He
that feels contempt for any living thing hath faculties which he has
never used.'"


A message from Mary Peabody shows how intimate Herbert and Charter
streets were growing:--


MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--I am very sorry to have been prevented from
walking, but I hope to be able to go by Tuesday. George is fast
growing weaker, and we do not know what a day may bring forth. Still,
I feel it is necessary to take exercise when I can. We do not tell all
our fears to Sophia, whom we wish to keep cheerfully employed as long
as we can. Will you ask your brother to dine with us to-morrow?
Elizabeth [who was then teaching school in Boston] depends upon the
pleasure of seeing him when she comes. We dine as early as twelve on
Sunday. Yours very truly,

MARY T. PEABODY.


From this point, the letters and fragments of journals bring to view
what Hawthorne saw, and make real to us the woman he soon loved.


SALEM, October 22, 1832.

I have been in old native Salem for ten days. Betty and I returned by
seven o'clock to our minimum of a house, and upon entering I really
felt a slight want of breath to find the walls so near together and
the ceiling nearly upon my head. But there stood my beloved mother,
all in white, her face radiant with welcome and love, and in her arms
there was no want of room. In September or October I live _par
excellence_. I feel in the abstract just as an autumn leaf _looks_. I
step abroad from my clay house, and become a part of the splendor and
claritude and vigor around.

DEAR BETTY,--I forgot to tell you that mother's garden has been
arranged. She is quite happy in it. Father presided over a man as he
uprooted and planted. The man was quite an original. He came looking
very nice, very gentlemanly, in broadcloth and cambric cravat. But
after disappearing into the barn for several minutes, he came forth
transformed into a dirty workman, though still somewhat distinguished
by his figure and air. He expressed himself in very courtly phrase,
also, and was quite sentimental about the shrubbery round the tombs.
[A graveyard was close to the house.] I should much like to know the
history of his mind and career. . . . The clematis which climbs into
my window is all sprouting. My glorious tree--my hieroglyphic for the
everlasting forests--is also putting forth leaves, and the robins sing
among the branches.

Ellen Barstow came with an exquisite crimson rose, for me, which she
wished to present herself; and as I was lying down, she went away to
come again. So towards tea-time I saw her and Augusta running along.
Ellen discovered me at the window, and shouted and flew on. As they
were ascending the stairs I heard Ellen say, "Now hold your hand
behind you, Augusta!" They entered with hands concealed and gleaming
faces, and when they were within reach suddenly the concealed hands
were thrust towards my face, each adorned with a crimson rose. My
exclamation of delight seemed to fulfill their desires; and now I want
to know if it is not worth fifteen years of bodily pain and discomfort
to be the cause of such divine sentiment in the souls of so many
children as I am? I feel perfectly consecrated by it, and bound over
to be worthy of such pure emotions. Oh, _not_ mysterious Providence! How
even are thy golden scales--sweetest compensations poising exactly the
ills! It is not suffering which I think beautiful or desirable, but
what suffering brings along with it, and _causes_. My door was open,
and who should unexpectedly come out of Mary's room but Miss Elizabeth
Hawthorne, going to walk with Mary. I was very glad to see her, and
wanted her to come into my studio, but Mary was in haste to be
walking. Miss Hawthorne looked very interesting. They had a
delightful ramble, and she sent me a bunch of seaweed fastened to a
rock, which she stepped into the sea to get for me. It looks like a
drooping plume if it is held up, and I went into George's room to get
his admiration; but he persisted in declaring it hideous. I was
delighted by her thinking of sending it to me.

I happened to be up in the third story just as the children were going
home [Mary was teaching two or three little girls], and they went into
my studio with Mary. I was very much impressed with what I heard said
in tones of reverence. "_Look_ at that hammock! _Oh,_ that picture! And
there are the flowers! Oh, _I_ gave her those! Miss Peabody, is that a
_bed?_ _Oh,_ how beautifully everything looks! Is Sophia gone out?" I
cannot convey to you the intonations of affection and interest which
made these sentences so touching.

This morning Mary came in and threw at me a beautiful handful of
flowers, which I crowed over for a time, and then arose. I worked a
little while at my painting, and then Mary Channing came gliding in
upon me, like a dream, with more flowers, the Scotch rose and many
rare things among them. Mr. Doughty [the artist, who had consented to
give Sophia lessons] came, as bright as possible. The cool breezes,
the flowers, etc., put him into excellent humor. He said it was luxury
to sit and paint here. He created a glowing bank in broad sunshine.
Mr. Russell called, and came up into my studio. He thought such a
studio and such an occupation must cure the headache. Then I prepared
to make several calls, but on my way was arrested by Mr. George
Hillard, who was altogether too agreeable to leave. He is amazingly
entertaining, to be sure. He remarked what a torment of his life Mr.
Reed, the postmaster in Cambridge, was. He is an old man, about a
hundred and forty years old, who always made him think of the little
end of nothing sharpened off into a point. He had but one joke--to
tell people sometimes when they asked for a letter that they must pay
half a dollar for it; and then, if in their simplicity they gave it,
he would laugh, and say it was a joke. After Mr. Hillard went away,
Sally Gardiner came in with an armful of roses, which she poured upon
me, taken from Judge Jackson's garden. She had just returned from
Milton, and was overflowing with its grandeur and beauty.

Yours affectionately,

SOPHIE.


The somewhat invalided little artist was highly and widely admired;
and to illustrate the happy fact I quote this letter, written by her
spirited sister Mary:--


BOSTON, June 19, 1833.

MY DEAREST,--I went to Dr. Channing's yesterday afternoon and carried
him your drawings, with which he was so enchanted that I left them for
him to look at again. He gathered himself up in a little striped
cloak, and all radiant with that soul of his, said with his most
divine inflection, "This is a great and noble undertaking, and will do
much for us here." And then he rolled his orbs upon me in that
majestic way of his, which, when it melts into loveliness as it
sometimes does, so takes captivity captive. In short, he was quite in
an ecstasy with you and your notions. [Probably drawings illustrating
auxiliary verbs.] He inquired very particularly for you, and showed me
all the new books he had just received from England, which he thought
a great imposition, they being big books. Edward [his brother] came
in, and they greeted affectionately. After a long survey of the
Professor, he exclaimed, "Why, Edward, you look gross--take care of
the intellect!" Then he handed him one of the great books, just
arrived, which was an edition of Thomas Belsham's works, with a
likeness of the author. "There," said he, "is a man who had not quite
the dimensions of a hogshead; but he was the largest man I ever saw."
Edward looked rather uneasy. "William," he replied, "I don't think you
are any judge of large men. Last week I looked quite thin, but to-day
my head and face are very much swelled." The Doctor, in the simplicity
of his heart, never thinks of feelings, only of things, as Plato would
say. Your affectionate sister,

MARY.

Sophia writes to Elizabeth in Boston, in 1838, of her daily life, as
follows:--

"I went to my hammock [in the studio] with Xenophon. Socrates was
divinest, after Jesus Christ, I think. He lived up to his thought. . . .
After dinner, Mary went out 'to take the fresh,' intending to
finish the afternoon by a walk with Miss Hawthorne, and I commissioned
her to bring home both her and her brother, if he should go, that I
might give him my fragrant violets. . . .

"Miss Hawthorne came to walk, and remarked to Mary how beautiful the
crocuses were which I had given to her brother. Mary told her that I
sent them _to her_. 'That is a pretty story,' she replied. 'He never
told me so.'

"Just after seven Mr. Hawthorne came. He looked very brilliant. . . .
His coming here is one sure way of keeping you in mind, and it must be
excessively tame for him after his experience of your society and
conversation; so that, I think, you will shine the more by contrast."

One evening, she says, she "showed him Sarah Clarke's picture of the
island, and that gorgeous flower in the Chinese book of which there is
a mighty tree in Cuba. And then I turned over the pictures of those
hideous birds, which diverted him exceedingly. One he thought deserved
study. . . .

"I was to go to see his sister Elizabeth that afternoon, and he had
heard about it. He asked if I could go, and said he should have waited
for me to come if he had not supposed the east wind would prevent me.
I said that it would. He wanted to know if I would come the next day.
I meant to call Mary, but he prevented me by saying he could not stay
long enough. . . . [He seldom stayed unless he found Sophia alone.]

"Last evening Mr. Hawthorne came for Mary to go with him to Miss
Burley's [to a club which met every week]. Mary could not go. It
seemed a shame to refuse him. I came down to catch a glimpse of him.
He has a celestial expression which I do not like to lose. . . .

"The children have just come in, and brought me a host of odorous
violets. I made George a visit in the afternoon, in the midst of my
battle with headache, and to my question of 'How dost?' he replied,
for the first time, 'Pretty fair,' instead of the unvarying
'Middling.' Skeptics surely cannot disbelieve in one thing that is
invisible, and that is Pain."

May, 1838.

After my siesta I went down to Herbert Street with the book I wished
to leave, and when I opened the gate [of the Hawthornes' house] the
old woman with her hood on [an aunt of the Hawthornes] was stooping
over a flower-bed, planting seeds. She lifted her smiling face, which
must have been very pretty in her youth, and said, "How do you do,
Miss Peabody?" Yet I never saw her in my life before. She begged me to
walk in, but I refused, and gave her my message of thanks for the
book.

Ever thine wholly,

SOPHIECHEN.

May 14, 1838.

To-day I was tempted to trot about the room and arrange all my vases,
and give an air to the various knickknacks. I am much more easily
tired than ever before. My walk to Castle Hill before February did not
make me feel so hopelessly tired as it now does to walk as far as the
Hawthornes'. Mr. Hawthorne had declined to come to dine with you on
your arrival, but was to be here directly after dinner. When he came I
happened to be the only one ready to go down. His first question was,
"Where is Elizabeth?" He was not at all inclined to bear the
disappointment of your not being here, after all. He thought it "too
bad," "insufferable," "not fair," and wondered what could be the
reason. I told him your excuse, and that there was a letter for him,
which Mary soon brought. He put it into his pocket without breaking
the seal. He looked very handsome, and was full of smiles. I assured
him the morning was the best time to do creative work. He said he
believed he would go and take a walk in South Salem. "Won't you go?"
he asked of me. But the wind was east.

MY DEAR LIZZIE,--I can think of nothing now but Charles Emerson. A
sudden gloom seems to overshadow me. I hope you will tell us to-morrow
whether he is dangerously ill. We had an exquisite visit from Waldo.
It was the warbling of the Attic bird. The gleam of his _diffused_
smile; the musical thunder of his voice; his repose, so full of the
essence of life; his simplicity--just think of all these, and of my
privilege in seeing and hearing him. He enjoyed everything we showed
him so much. He talked so divinely to Raphael's Madonna del Pesce. I
vainly imagined I was very quiet all the while, preserving a very
demure exterior, and supposed I was sharing his oceanic calm. But the
next day I was aware that I had been in a very intense state. I told
Mary, that night after he had gone, that I felt like a gem; that was
the only way I could express it. I don't know what Mary hoped to get
from him, but I was sure of drinking in that which would make me paint
Cuban skies better than even my recollections could have made me, were
they as vivid as the rays of the sun in that sunniest of climates. He
made me feel as Eliza Dwight did once, when she looked uncommonly
beautiful and animated. I felt as if her beauty was all about the
room, and that I was in it, and therefore beautiful too. It seemed
just so with Waldo's soul-beauty. Good-by,

SOPHY.

June 1, 1838.

One afternoon Elizabeth Hawthorne came to walk with Mary, and mother
went with her instead. She first came up into my chamber, and seemed
well pleased with it, but especially admired the elm-tree outside. She
looked very interesting. Mother took her to the cold spring, and they
did not return till just at dark, loaded with airy anemones and blue
violets and a few columbines. They had found Mr. John King and his
daughter at the spring, looking for wild-flowers, and mother
introduced Miss Hawthorne; but she hung her head and scarcely
answered, and did not open her lips again, though Mr. King accompanied
them all the way home. He gave mother some columbines, and after a
while said, "I must make your bunch like Mrs. Peabody's, my dear," and
so put some more into Miss Hawthorne's hand.

The day before Mr. Hawthorne had called at noon to see our ladyships,
and I never saw him look so brilliantly rayonnant. He said to me,
"Your story will be finished soon, Sophia--to-morrow or next day." I
was surprised to have the story so appropriated, and I do long to see
it. [Probably Edward Randolph's Portrait.] He proposed to Mary to go
to the beach the same day, and she consented. He said that he had not
spoken to his sister about it, but would do so as soon as he went
home. He wished to go early, and have a good walk. Only think what
progress! To come and propose a walk at mid-day!

He said he had a letter nearly written to you, but should not finish
it till you wrote. He seemed quite impatient to hear from you, and
remarked that he had not heard since you were here. Mary went to
Herbert Street to join Miss Hawthorne for the walk, but did not see
her. Her mother said Elizabeth did not want to go because it was
windy, and the sun was too hot, and clouds were in the south! (It was
the loveliest day in the world.) Was it not too bad to disappoint her
brother so? I could have whipped her. When Mary went the next day
with the tulips, Louisa told her that Elizabeth was very sorry
afterwards that she did not go.

A successful visit, almost accidental, upon Ebie Hawthorne pleased
Sophia very much, and she writes:--

"She was very agreeable, and took the trouble to go and get some
engravings of heads to show me, Wordsworth among the number, which I
had never seen before.

"Elizabeth also inquired particularly for George, and gave me more
books for him. She asked if we did not miss you exceedingly. I should
like to have stayed for two or three hours. She came downstairs with
me, and out of the door, and talked about the front yard, where her
aunt is going to make a garden."

Elizabeth Peabody's letters are always delight-, fully direct, and
varied in quality of emotion, being equally urgent over philosophy or
daily bread, as the ensuing one will show in part:--

53 MYRTLE STREET, BOSTON, 1838.

MY DEAR SOPHIA,--Your beautiful letters require an answer, but I
cannot possibly answer them in kind. This evening, notwithstanding
the storm, George and Susan Hillard have gone to a singing-school, and
left me to amuse myself. I hoped Mr. Hawthorne would come in. I have
not seen him yet. Last night I took tea with Sally Gardiner and Miss
Jackson, who are still enjoying your Flaxman drawings. Why do not you
Salem folks have a hencoop and keep hens! five or six hens would
overwhelm you with eggs all the year round. I like to hear the little
items about Hawthorne. I had a nice talk with Mr. Capen about him
to-day. He has him in his mind, and I hope it will come to some good
purpose for the public.

Yours truly and ever, E. P. P.

Sophia writes:--

July 23, 1838.

William White arrived on Saturday. Why did not you send Stuart's
Athens by him? He said that he had heard it remarked that Mr. Emerson
expected another Messiah. Your slight account of Mr. E.'s "Address" is
enough to wake the dead, and I do not know what the original utterance
must have done. I told Mary I thought Mr. Emerson was the Word again.
She exclaimed, "You blasphemer!" "Do you really think it blasphemy?"
said I. "Oh no," she replied. "It is the gospel according to you." Was
not that a happy saying? While the maid was at Miss Hurley's on an
errand, she saw Mr. Hawthorne enter, probably for a take-leave call.
He was here also, looking radiant. He said he took up my Journal
[written in Cuba] to bring it back, but my "works were so voluminous
that he concluded to send them!"

Elizabeth Peabody makes, upon her return to 'Salem for the winter, an
heroic move towards gaining a still more affectionate advantage over
the solitaries in Herbert Street. A little smile must have given her
face its most piquant expression as she wrote:--

Saturday, November 10, 1838.

DEAR LOUISA,--You know I want to knit those little stockings and
shoes,--I think I will do it in the course of time at your house,--and
would thank you to buy the materials for me, and I will pay you what
they cost, when I know what it is. I suppose the four or five evenings
which I shall anticipate spending with you (in the course of the
winter!) will complete the articles.

When Elizabeth wakes, please give her this note and rose and book; and
when Nathaniel comes to dinner please give him the note I wrote to
him. He said he was going to write to-day, and therefore I should
prefer that he should not be interrupted on purpose to read it. We
will not interrupt the bird in his song. I wonder what sort of a
preparation he finds an evening of whist, for the company of the Muse!

Yours ever truly,

E. P. PEABODY.

It is delightful to picture the commotion in the fernlike seclusion
which enveloped the women of the Hawthorne household when this note
was opened and read. Squirrels aroused, owls awakened, foxes startled,
would have sympathized. Louisa, the only really active member of the
trio, wonderfully deft in finest sewing and embroidery, generously
willing to labor for all the relatives when illness required, may not
have felt faint or fierce. But Mrs. Hawthorne, even in the covert of
her chamber, where she chiefly resided, no doubt drew back; and
Elizabeth's beautiful eyes must have shone superbly. However, to prove
that the trio among the ferns (guarding, as testimony proves,
Hawthorne himself with unasked care) could serve the needs of others
on occasion,

I will insert a little letter of a much earlier date, from Louisa.

TO MISS MARY MANNING, RAYMOND, MAINE, CARE OF RICHARD MANNING, ESQ.

SALEM, March 3, 1831.

MY DEAR AUNT,--Uncle Sammie has returned from Boston, and has taken up
his abode for the present at uncle Robert's [his brother, who
befriended Hawthorne in his early youth], and is much better than we
expected to see him. We should have been glad to have him with us,
and would have done everything in our power to make him happy. We are
so near that he can at any time command our services and our company.
Nathaniel goes in to see him, and I am there a great part of the time.
Mother has kept about all winter. There have been worse storms than I
ever remember; the roads were absolutely impassable, and the
snow-banks almost as high as the house. I would write more, but my
time is much taken up now. I remain yours, With much affection,

M. L. HATHORNE.

That the reluctance to be genial with very genial folk was bravely
overcome (to some extent) the ensuing notes prove:--

DEAR ELIZABETH,--As you were out on Saturday evening, I hope you will
be able to come and spend to-morrow evening with us--will you not? I
should be extremely happy to see Mary, though I despair of it; and
though I cannot venture to ask Sophia, perhaps you can for me. Pray
tell me particularly how your father is; we are all anxious to hear;
and whether George is as he was when we heard last.

I am, in haste, E, M. H.

DEAR ELIZABETH,--Shall we go to the beach? If so, I propose that we
set off instanter. I think a sea-breeze would be most refreshing this
afternoon. Truly yours,

M. T. P.

Don't forget to ask your brother.

MY DEAR E.,--I am afraid I shall not be able to go and spend an
evening with you while the girls are gone. To-morrow, you know, is the
eclipse. I wish you would come here in the afternoon. The graveyard
is an open place to see it from, and I should be very glad of your
company. Yesterday I heard of Nathaniel. A gentleman was shut up with
him on a rainy day in a tavern in Berkshire, and was perfectly charmed
with his luck. In haste, yours,

E. P. P.

By and by Elizabeth Peabody returns to Boston, and Sophia goes on with
letters:--

I do not think I am subject to my imagination; I can let an idea go to
the grave that I see is false. When I am altogether true to the light
I have, I shall be in the heaven where the angelic Very now is. I went
to see dear Miss Burley, who sent for me to go to her room. She
insisted upon accompanying me all the way downstairs, limping
painfully, and would open the outer door for me, and bow me out with
as much deference as if I had been Victoria, or Hawthorne himself! So
much for the Word uttering itself through my fingers in the face of
Ilbrahim. [She had just finished illustrating "The Gentle Boy" by a
drawing which was greatly praised.]

Jones Very came to tea that afternoon. He was troubled at first, but
we comforted him with sympathy. His conversation with George was
divine, and such level rays of celestial light as beamed from his face
upon George, every time he looked up at him, were lovely to behold. We
told him of our enjoyment of his sonnets. He smiled, and said that,
unless we thought them beautiful because we also heard the Voice in
reading them, they would be of no avail. "Since I have shown you my
sonnets," said he to me, "I think you should show me your paintings,"
Mary brought my drawing-book and "AEschylus" [wonderfully perfect
drawings from Flaxman's illustrations]. He deeply enjoyed all. I told
him of my Ilbrahim. He said he delighted in the "Twice-Told Tales."
Yesterday Mr. Hawthorne came in, and said, "I am going to Miss
Hurley's, but you must not go. It is too cold. You certainly must not
go." I assured him I should go, and was sorry I was not wanted. He
laughed, and said I was not. But I persisted. He knew I should be made
sick; that it was too cold. Meanwhile I put on an incalculable
quantity of clothes. Father kept remonstrating, but not violently, and
I gently imploring. When I was ready, Mr. Hawthorne said he was glad I
was going. Mary was packed up safely, also. I was very animated, and
felt much better than on either of the previous club nights. Mr.
Hawthorne declared it must be the spirit of contradiction that made me
so; and I told him it was nothing but fact. We walked quite fast, for
I seemed stepping on air. It was partly because I had not got tired
during the day. It was splendid moonlight. I was not in the least
cold, except my thumb and phiz. Mr. H. said he should have done
admirably were it not for his nose. He did not believe but that it
would moderate, "For God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb, and when
you go out we may expect mild weather!" Was not that sweet? Mr. II.
and I went into the parlor together, and Miss Burley looked delighted.
He was exquisitely agreeable, and talked a great deal, and looked
serene and happy and exceedingly beautiful. Miss Burley showed Mary
and me some botanical specimens, and he came to the table and added
much to the lights. But oh, we missed you so much; Miss Burley said
so, and I felt it. They do not understand Very, there. When we were
taking leave, Mr. Howes said to Mr. Hawthorne that he hoped nothing
would prevent his coming next Saturday.

"Oh no," replied he. "It is so much a custom, now, that I cannot do
without it." Was not that delightful for Miss Burley's ears? I was so
glad he said it. When we came out it was much more moderate, and we
got home very comfortably. Mr. H. said he thought of coming for me to
walk on Friday, but was afraid the walking was not good enough. I told
him how we were all disappointed at his vanishing that night, and he
laughed greatly. He said he should not be able to come this evening to
meet Very, because he had something to read, for he was engaged Monday
and Tuesday evening and could not read then. I am so sorry.

Yours affectionately, SOPHIE.



CHAPTER II

THE DAYS OF THE ENGAGEMENT


The engagement of Hawthorne to his future wife was now a fact, but it
was not spoken of except to one or two persons. Sophia had slipped
away for a visit to friends in Boston; but as Elizabeth was at present
in Newton, her letters to the latter continued as follows:--

WEST STREET, BOSTON, May 19, 1839.

DEAREST LIZZIE,--Two days ago Mr. Hawthorne came. He said that there
was nothing to which he could possibly compare his surprise, to find
that the bird had flown when he went to our house. He said he sat for
half an hour in the parlor before he knocked to announce his presence,
feeling sure I would know he was there, and descend,--till at last he
was 'tired of waiting. "Oh, it was terrible to find you gone," he
said. And it was such a loss, to be sure, to me not to see him. I am
glad you enjoyed his visit so much. He told me he should be at the
picture-gallery the next morning [Sophia went very early to avoid the
crowd], and there I found him at eight o'clock. He came home with me
through a piercing east wind, which he was sure would 'make me ill for
a week. In the evening he came to see if it had given me a cold, but
it had not. Caroline [Tappan] was busy with her children, and did not
come down for half an hour. When she did, she was very agreeable, and
so was Mr. Hawthorne. She admired him greatly. He said he should be at
the gallery this morning, if possible. I went before eight, and found
the room empty, except for Mr. William Russell. Mr. IT. arrived at
nine, for, as it was cloudy weather until then, he thought I would not
be there, and he came with the sunshine. At ten it began to grow
crowded, and we went out. He peremptorily declared I should ride.

Washington Allston had a great regard for Sophia's talent in art.
Elizabeth refers to it in a letter written while visiting the
Emersons:--

CONCORD, MASS., June 23, 1839.

Here I am on the Mount of Transfiguration, but very much in the
condition of the disciples when they were prostrate in the dust. I got
terribly tired in Boston. I went to the Athenaeum Gallery on Monday
morning, and in the evening Hawthorne came and said that he went to
the Allston gallery on Saturday afternoon. I went to Allston's on
Tuesday evening. He was in delightful spirits, but soft as a summer
evening. He seemed transported with delight on hearing of your
freedom from pain, and was eager to know what you were going to paint.
I said you had several things a-going, but did not like to tell of
your plans. He said, then you would be more likely to execute them,
and that it was a good thing to have several paintings at once,
because that would save time, as you could rest yourself by change. I
carried to him a volume of "Twice-Told Tales," to exchange for mine.
He said he thirsted for imaginative writing, and all the family had
read the book with great delight. I am really provoked that I did not
bring "The Token" with me, so as to have "The Mermaid" and "The
Haunted Mind" to read to people. I was hardly seated here, after tea
yesterday, before Mr. Emerson asked me what I had to say of Hawthorne,
and told me that Mr. Bancroft said that Hawthorne was the most
efficient and best of the Custom House officers. Pray tell that down
in Herbert Street. Mr. Emerson seemed all congenial about him, but has
not yet read his writings. He is in a good mood to do so, however, and
I intend to bring him to his knees in a day or two, so that he will
read the book, and all that Hawthorne has written. He is in a
delightful state of mind; not yet rested from last winter's undue
labors, but keenly industrious. He has uttered no heresies about Mr.
Allston, but only beautiful things,--dwelling, however, on his highest
merits least. He says Very forbids all correcting of his verses; but
nevertheless he [Emerson] selects and combines with sovereign will,
"and shall," he says, "make out quite a little gem of a volume."
"But," says he, "Hawthorne says he [Very] is always vain. I find I
cannot forget that dictum which you repeated; but it is continually
confirmed by himself, amidst all his sublimities." And then he
repeated some of Very's speeches, and told how he dealt with him. I am
very stupid. I have been awake for about two months! Mr. Emerson is
very luminous, and wiser than ever. Oh, he is beautiful, and good, and
great! Your sister, E.

Sophia, once more in Salem, replies:--

June 29, 1839.

I am very sorry you were disappointed by not meeting Mr. Hawthorne at
the galleries. But I am delighted that you saw Mr. Allston. How kind
and inspiring is his interest about my health. I am rejoiced that Mr.
Emerson has uttered no heresies about our High Priest of Nature. For
him to think that because a man is born to-day instead of yesterday he
cannot move the soul seems quite inconsistent with his proclamation
that "the sun shines to-day, also!"

When some other callers had departed, came Mr. Hawthorne. It was a
powerful east wind, and he would not let me go out; but we were both
so virtuous that he went alone to Miss Burley's. You never can know
what a sacrifice that was! If you could, you would never again accuse
either of us of disregard of the claims of others. I told him what
Mr. Bancroft said, and he blushed deeply, and replied, "What fame!"
After he went away, I read "Bettina von Arnim." She is not to be
judged; she is to be received and believed. She is genius, life, love,
inspiration. If anybody undertakes to criticise her before me, I
intend to vanish, if it is from a precipice into the sea. Tuesday, my
Demon called upon me to draw some of the Auxiliary Verbs. . . .

July 5. Yesterday was the great day, and this wretched town made no
appropriations for celebrating it--not even for the ringing of bells.
So the people in wrath hung flags at half-mast, and declared they
would toll the bells. Then it was granted that there should be joyful
ringing at noon and sunset. They pealed forth jubilantly, and I heard
the clash of cymbals in the afternoon. Every soul in America should
thrill on the anniversary of the most illustrious event in all
history; and as some souls sleep, these should be stirred with bells,
trumpets, and eloquence.

To-day the Demon demanded the completion of St. George and Una; and,
alternating with my music, I drew all the morning. A horse has leaped
out of my mind. I wonder what those learned in horses would say to
him. George says he is superb. My idea was to have St. George's whole
figure express the profoundest repose, command, and self-involvedness,
while the horse should be in most vivid action and motion, the glory
of his nostrils terrible, "as much disdaining to the curb to yield."
The foam of power, and the stillness of power. You must judge if I
have succeeded. The figure of Una is now far better than the first
one. You cannot imagine with what ease I draw; I feel as if I could
and might do anything, now. Next week, if Outlines do not prevail, I
shall begin again with oils. I feel on a height. Oh, I am so happy!
But I have not ridden horse-back since Tuesday on account of the
weather. Is it not well that I kept fast hold of the white hand of
Hope, dear Betty? For behold where she has led me! My wildest
imaginations, during my hours of sickness in the past, never could
have compassed such a destiny. All my life long my word has been,
"This is well, and to-morrow it will be better; and God knows when to
bring that morrow." You mistake me if you thought I ever believed that
we should not be active for others. That is of course. With regard to
our own minds, it seems to me we should take holy care of the present
moment, and leave the end to God.

Now I am indeed made deeply conscious of what it is to be loved. Most
tunefully sweet is this voice which affirms ever, for negation belongs
to this world only. Its breath so informs the natural body that the
spiritual body begins to plume its wings within, and I seem appareled
in celestial light.

A few paragraphs from letters written by Hawthorne follow:--

Six o'clock, P. M.

What a wonderful vision that is--the dream-angel. I do esteem it
almost a miracle that your pencil should unconsciously have produced
it; it is as much an apparition of an ethereal being as if the
heavenly face and form had been shadowed forth in the air, instead of
upon paper. It seems to me that it is our guardian angel, who kneels
at the footstool of God, and is pointing to us upon earth, and asking
earthly and heavenly blessings for us,--entreating that we may not be
much longer divided, that we may sit by our own fire-side. . . .


BOSTON, September 9, half past eight P. M., 1839.

I was not at the end of Long Wharf to-day, but in a distant region; my
authority having been put in requisition to quell a rebellion of the
captain and "gang" of shovelers aboard a coal-vessel. . . . Well--I
have conquered the rebels, and proclaimed an amnesty; so to-morrow I
shall return to that Paradise of Measures, the end of Long Wharf. Not
to my former salt-ship, she being now discharged; but to another,
which will probably employ me wellnigh a fortnight longer. The salt
is white and pure--there is something holy in salt.

BOSTON, 1839.

Your wisdom is not of the earth; it has passed through no other mind,
but gushes fresh and pure from your own, and therefore I deem myself
the safer when I receive your outpourings as a revelation from Heaven.
Not but what you have read, and tasted deeply, no doubt, of the
thoughts of other minds; but the thoughts of other minds make no
change in your essence, as they do in almost everybody else's essence.
You are still sweet Sophie Hawthorne, and still your soul and
intellect breathe forth an influence like that of wildflowers, to
which God, not man, gives all their sweetness. . . . If the whole world
had been ransacked for a name, I do not think that another could have
been found to suit you half so well. It is as sweet as a wildflower.
You ought to have been born with that very name--only then I should
have done you an irreparable injury by merging it in my own.

You are fitly expressed to my soul's apprehension by those two magic
words--Sophia Hawthorne! I repeat them to myself sometimes; and always
they have a new charm. I am afraid I do not write very clearly, having
been pretty hard at work since sunrise. You are wiser than I, and will
know what I have tried to say. . . . NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

Their engagement was not announced for about a year, because it was
expected that it would be a very long one; and also to avoid, for as
great an interval as possible, causing consternation in Herbert
Street, since there, the approach of any permanent change on
Hawthorne's part from a quiet sojourn under shadows and through
enchantingly mellowed lights was looked upon as a Waterloo.

I go back a little from the last date to give the following fragment
of a diary, contained in a small leather-bound memorandum-book, marked
on the cover "Scrap-Book, 1839." The period covered is a brief portion
of Hawthorne's service as weigher and ganger in the Boston Custom
House, a position to which he was appointed by George Bancroft, at
that time collector of the port.

February 7, 1839. Yesterday and day before, measuring a load of coal
from the schooner Thomas Lowder, of St. John, N. B. A little, black,
dirty vessel. The coal stowed in the hold, so as to fill the schooner
full, and make her a solid mass of black mineral. The master, Best, a
likely young man; his mate a fellow jabbering in some strange
gibberish, English I believe--or nearer that than anything else--but
gushing out all together--whole sentences confounded into one long,
unintelligible word. Irishmen shoveling the coal into the two Custom
House tubs, to be craned out of the hold, and others wheeling it away
in barrows, to be laden into wagons. The first day, I walked the
wharf, suffering not a little from cold; yesterday, I sat in the cabin
whence I could look through the interstices of the bulkhead, or
whatever they call it, into the hold. My eyes, what a cabin! Three
paces would more than measure it in any direction, and it was filled
with barrels, not clean and new, but black, and containing probably
the provender of the vessel; jugs, firkins, the cook's utensils and
kitchen furniture--everything grimy and sable with coal dust. There
were two or three tiers of berths; and the blankets, etc., are not to
be thought of. A cooking stove, wherein was burning some of the
coal--excellent fuel, burning as freely as wood, and without the
bituminous melting of Newcastle coal. The cook of the vessel, a grimy,
unshaven, middle-aged man, trimming the fire at need, and sometimes
washing his dishes in water that seemed to have cleansed the whole
world beforehand--the draining of gutters, or caught at sink-spouts.
In the cessations of labor, the Irishmen in the hold would poke their
heads through the open space into the cabin and call "Cook!"--for a
drink of water or a pipe--whereupon Cook would fill a short black
pipe, put a coal into it, and stick it into the Irishman's mouth. Here
sat I on a bench before the fire, the other guests of the cabin being
the stevedore, who takes the job of getting the coal ashore, and the
owner of the horse that raised the tackle--the horse being driven by a
boy. The cabin was lined with slabs--the rudest and dirtiest hole
imaginable, yet the passengers had been accommodated here in the trip
from New Brunswick. The bitter zero atmosphere came down the
companion-way, and threw its chill over me sometimes, but I was pretty
comfortable--though, on reaching home, I found that I had swaggered
through several thronged streets with coal streaks on my visage.

The wharfinger's office is a general resort and refuge for people who
have business to do on the wharf, in the spaces before work is
commenced, between the hours of one and two, etc. A salamander
stove--a table of the signals, wharves, and agent of packets plying to
and from Boston--a snuff-box--a few chairs--etc., constituting the
furniture. A newspaper.

February 11. Talk at the Custom House on Temperance. Gibson gives an
account of his brother's sore leg, which was amputated. Major Grafton
talks of ancestors settling early in Salem--in 1632. Of a swallow's
nest, which he observed, year after year, on revisiting his boyhood's
residence in Salem, for thirty years. It was so situated under the
eaves of the house, that he could put his hand in and feel the young
ones. At last, he found the nest gone, and was grieved thereby.
Query, whether the descendants of the original builders of the nest
inhabited it during the whole thirty years. If so, the family might
vie for duration with the majority of human families.

February 15. At the Custom House, Mr. Pike told a story of a human
skeleton without a head being discovered in High Street, Salem, about
eight years ago--I think in digging the foundations of a building. It
was about four feet below the surface. He sought information about the
mystery of an old traditionary woman of eighty, resident in the
neighborhood. She, coming to the spot where the bones were, lifted up
her hands and cried out, "So! they 've found the rest of the poor
Frenchman's bones at last!" Then, with great excitement, she told the
bystanders how, some seventy-five years before, a young Frenchman had
come from over-seas with a Captain Tanent, and had resided with him in
Salem. He was said to be very wealthy, and was gayly appareled in the
fashion of those times. After a while the Frenchman disappeared and
Captain Tanent gave out that he had gone to some other place, and been
killed there. After two or three years, it was found that the Captain
had grown rich; but he squandered his money in dissipated habits, died
poor--and there are now none left of the race. Many years afterwards,
digging near his habitation, the workmen found a human skull; and it
was supposed to be that of the young Frenchman, who was all along
supposed to have been murdered by the Captain. They did not seek for
the rest of the skeleton; and no more was seen of it till Mr. Pike
happened to be present at the discovery. The bone first found was that
of the leg. He described it as lying along horizontally, so that the
head was under the corner of the house; and now I recollect that they
were digging a post-hole when the last discovery was made, and at that
of the head they were digging the foundation of the house. The bones
did not adhere together, though the shape of a man was plainly
discernible. There were no remnants of clothing.

Mr. Pike told furthermore how a lady of truth and respectability--a
church member--averred to him that she had seen a ghost. She was
'sitting with an old gentleman, who was engaged in reading the
newspaper; and she saw the figure of a woman advance behind him and
look over his shoulder. The narrator then called to the old gentleman
to look around. He did so rather pettishly, and said, "Well, what do
you want me to look round for?" The figure either vanished or went out
of the room, and he resumed the reading of his newspaper. Again the
narrator saw the same figure of a woman come in and look over his
shoulder, bending forward her head. This time she did not speak, but
hemmed so as to attract the old gentleman's attention; and again the
apparition vanished. But a third time it entered the room, and glided
behind the old gentleman's chair, as before, appearing, I suppose, to
glance at the newspaper; and this time, if I mistake not, she nodded
or made some sort of sign to the woman. How the ghost vanished, I do
not recollect; but the old gentleman, when told of the matter,
answered very scornfully. Nevertheless, it turned out that his wife
had died precisely, allowing for the difference of time caused by
distance of place, at the time when this apparition had made its
threefold visit.

Mr. Pike is not an utter disbeliever in ghosts, and has had some
singular experiences himself:--for instance, he saw, one night, a
boy's face, as plainly as ever he saw anything in his life, gazing at
him. Another time--or, as I think, two or three other times--he saw
the figure of a man standing motionless for half an hour in Norman
Street, where the headless ghost is said to walk.

February 19. Mr. Pike is a shortish man, very stoutly built, with a
short neck--an apoplectic frame. His forehead is marked, but not
expansive, though large--I mean, it has not a broad, smooth quietude.
His face dark and sallow--ugly, but with a pleasant, kindly, as well
as strong and thoughtful expression. Stiff, black hair, which starts
bushy and almost erect from his forehead--a heavy, yet very
intelligent countenance. He is subject to the asthma, and moreover to
a sort of apoplectic fit, which compels [him] to sleep almost as erect
as he sits; and if he were to lie down horizontally in bed, he would
feel almost sure of one of these fits. When they seize him, he awakes
feeling as if [his] head were swelled to enormous size, and on the
point of bursting--with great pain. He has his perfect consciousness,
but is unable to call for assistance, or make any noise except by
blowing forcibly with his mouth, and unless this brings help, he must
die. When shaken violently, and lifted to a sitting posture, he
recovers. After a fit, he feels a great horror of going to bed again.
If one were to seize him at his boarding-house, his chance would be
bad, because if any heard his snortings, they would not probably know
what was the matter. These two afflictions might seem enough to make
one man miserable, yet he appears in pretty fair spirits.

He is a Methodist, has occasionally preached, and believes that he has
an assurance of salvation immediate from the Deity. Last Sunday, he
says, he gave religious instruction to a class in the State's Prison.

Speaking of his political hostilities, he said that he never could
feel ill will against a person when he personally met him, that he
was not capable of hatred, but of strong affection,--that he always
remembered that "every man once had a mother, and she loved him."
A strong, stubborn, kindly nature this.

The City-Crier, talking in a familiar style to his auditors--
delivering various messages to them, intermixed with his own
remarks. He then runs over his memory to see whether he has omitted
anything, and recollects a lost child--"We've lost a child," says he;
as if, in his universal sympathy for all who have wants, and seek the
gratification of them through his medium, he were one with the parents
of the child. He then tells the people, whenever they find lost
children, not to keep them overnight, but to bring them to his office.
"For it is a cruel thing"--to keep them; and at the conclusion of his
lecture, he tells them that he has already worn out his lungs, talking
to them of these things. He completely personifies the public, and
considers it as an individual with whom he holds converse,--he being
as important on his side, as they on theirs.

An old man fishing on Long Wharf with a pole three or four feet
long--just long enough to clear the edge of the wharf. Patched
clothes, old, black coat--does not look as if he fished for what he
might catch, but as a pastime, yet quite poor and needy looking.
Fishing all the afternoon, and takes nothing but a plaice or two,
which get quite sun-dried. Sometimes he hauls up his line, with as
much briskness as he can, and finds a sculpin on the hook. The boys
come around him, and eye his motions, and make pitying or impertinent
remarks at his ill-luck--the old man answers not, but fishes on
imperturbably. Anon, he gathers up his clams or worms, and his one
sun-baked flounder--you think he is going home--but no, he is merely
going to another corner of the wharf, where he throws his line under a
vessel's counter, and fishes on with the same deathlike patience as
before. He seems not quiet so much as torpid,--not kindly nor unkindly
feeling--but not to have anything to do with the rest of the world. He
has no business, no amusement, but just to crawl to the end of Long
Wharf, and throw his line over. He has no sort of skill in fishing,
but a peculiar clumsiness.

Objects on a wharf--a huge pile of cotton bales, from a New Orleans
ship, twenty or thirty feet high, as high as a house. Barrels of
molasses, in regular ranges; casks of linseed oil. Iron in bars
landing from a vessel, and the weigher's scales standing conveniently.
To stand on the elevated deck or rail of a ship, and look up the
wharf, you see the whole space of it thronged with trucks and carts,
removing the cargoes of vessels, or taking commodities to and from
stores. Long Wharf is devoted to ponderous, evil-smelling, inelegant
necessaries of life--such as salt, salt-fish, oil, iron, molasses,
etc.

Near the head of Long Wharf there is an old sloop, which has been
converted into a store for the sale of wooden ware, made at Hingham.
It is afloat, and is sometimes moored close to the wharf;--or, when
another vessel wishes to take its place, midway in the dock. It has
been there many years. The storekeeper lives and sleeps on board.

Schooners more than any other vessels seem to have such names as
Betsey, Emma-Jane, Sarah, Alice,--being the namesakes of the owner's
wife, daughter, or sweet-heart. They are a sort of domestic concern,
in which all the family take an interest. Not a cold, stately,
unpersonified thing, like a merchant's tall ship, perhaps one of half
a dozen, in which he takes pride, but which he does not love, nor has
a family feeling for. Now Betsey, or Sarah-Ann, seems like one of the
family--something like a cow.

Long flat-boats, taking in salt to carry it up the Merrimack canal, to
Concord, in New Hampshire. Contrast and similarities between a stout,
likely country fellow, aboard one of these, to whom the scenes of a
sea-port are entirely new, but who is brisk, ready, and shrewd in his
own way, and the mate of a ship, who has sailed to every port. They
talk together, and take to each other.

The brig Tiberius, from an English port, with seventy or thereabouts
factory girls, imported to work in our factories. Some pale and
delicate-looking; others rugged and coarse. The scene of landing them
in boats, at the wharf-stairs, to the considerable display of their
legs;--whence they are carried off to the Worcester railroad in hacks
and omnibuses. Their farewells to the men--Good-by, John, etc.,--with
wavings of handkerchiefs as long as they were in sight.

A pert, petulant young clerk, continually fooling with the mate,
swearing at the stevedores and laboring men, who regard him not.
Somewhat dissipated, probably.

The mate of a coal-vessel--a leathern belt round his waist, sustaining
a knife in a leathern sheath. Probably he uses it to eat his dinner
with; perhaps also as a weapon.

A young sailor, with an anchor handsomely traced on the back of his
hand--a foul anchor--and perhaps other naval insignia on his wrists
and breast. He wears a sky-blue silk short jacket, with velvet
collar--a bosom-pin, etc.

An old seaman, seventy years of age--he has spent seven years in the
British Navy (being of English birth) and nine in ours; has voyaged
all over the world--for instance, I asked if he had ever been in the
Red Sea, and he had, in the American sloop of war that carried General
Eaton, in 1803. His hair is brown--without a single visible gray hair
in it; and he would seem not much above fifty. He is of particularly
quiet demeanor--but observant of all things, and reflective--a
philosopher in a check shirt and sail-cloth trousers. Giving an
impression of the strictest integrity--of inability not to do his
duty, and his whole duty. Seemingly, he does not take a very strong
interest in the world, being a widower without children; but he feels
kindly towards it, and judges mildly of it; and enjoys it very
tolerably well, although he has so slight a hold on it that it would
not trouble him much to give it up. He said he hoped he should die at
sea, because then it would be so little trouble to bury him. Me is a
skeptic,--and when I asked him if he would not wish to live again, he
spoke doubtfully and coldly. He said that he had been in England
within two or three years--in his native county, Yorkshire--and
finding his brother's children in very poor condition, he gave them
sixty golden sovereigns. "I have always had too many poor friends," he
said, "and that has kept me poor." This old man kept tally of the
Alfred Tyler's cargo, on behalf of the Captain, diligently marking all
day long, and calling "tally, Sir," to me at every sixth tub. Often
would he have to attend to some call of the stevedores, or wheelers,
or shovelers--now for a piece of spun-yarn--now for a handspike--now
for a hammer, or some nails--now for some of the ship's molasses, to
sweeten water--the which the Captain afterwards reprehended him for
giving. These calls would keep him in about movement enough to give
variety to his tallying--he moving quietly about the decks, as if he
belonged aboard ship and nowhere else. Then sitting down he would
converse (though by no means forward to talk) about the weather, about
his recent or former voyages, etc., etc., etc., we dodging the intense
sun round the main mast.


Sophia writes to Hawthorne from Milton:--

Sunday A. M., May 30, 1841.

DEAREST,--The chilling atmosphere keeps me from church to-day. . . .
Since I saw you at the Farm, I wish far more than ever to have a home
for you to come to, after associating with men at the Farm [Brook
Farm] all day. A sacred retreat you should have, of all men. Most
people would not desire or like it, but notwithstanding your exquisite
courtesy and conformableness and geniality there, I could see very
plainly that you were not leading your ideal life. Never upon the face
of any mortal was there such a divine expression of sweetness and
kindliness as I saw upon yours during the various transactions and
witticisms of the excellent fraternity. Yet it was also the expression
of a witness and hearer, rather than of comradeship. Had I perceived a
particle of even the highest kind of pride in your manner, it would
have spoiled the perfect beauty and fitness.

M. L. Sturgis, in a little note, gives a glimpse of Sophia's world at
that date:--

"I have seen your 'Gentle Boy' to-night. I like it very much indeed.
The boy I love already. Do you see Mr. Hawthorne often? It was a shame
he did not talk more that night at the Farm. Just recall that
beautiful moon over the water, and those dear trees!"

Ellen Hooper, when the engagement is known, shows how people felt
about the new author:--

"Your note seems to require a mood quite apart from the 'every day' of
one's life, wherein to be read and answered. . . . I do not know Mr.
Hawthorne--and yet I do; and I love him with that eminently Platonic
love which one has for a friend in black and white [print]. He seems
very near to me, for he is not only a dreamer, but wakes now and then
with a pleasant 'Good-morrow' for shabby human interests. I am glad to
hear that he is healthful, for I profoundly admire this quality; and
particularly in one who is not entitled to it on the ground of being
stupid!"

Sophia's aptness for writing poetry led her to inclose this poem to
her future husband in one of her letters:--

  God granteth not to man a richer boon
  Than tow'rd himself to draw the waiting soul,
  Making it swift to pray this high control.
  Would with according grace its jars attune.
  And man on man the largest gift bestows
  When from the vision-mount he sings aloud,
  And pours upon the unascended crowd
  Pure Order's heavenly stream that o'er him flows.
  So thou, my friend, hast risen through thought supreme
  To central insight of eternal law.
  Thy golden-cadenced intuitions gleam
  From that new heaven which John of Patmos saw;
  And I my spirit lowly bend to thine,
  In recognition of thy words divine.

From Salem she writes to Elizabeth, her summer jaunt being over:--

"I have not touched a pencil since I came home. I cannot be grateful
enough that I can be hands and feet to the dearest mother in the
world, who has all my life been all things to me, so delicate as I
have been. There is pastime, pleasure, and a touch of the infinitely
beautiful to me in what is generally considered drudgery; and I find
there is nothing so inconsiderable in life that the moving of the
spirit of love over it does not commute it into essential beauty."



CHAPTER III

THE EARLY DAYS OF THE MARRIAGE


Just before her marriage, on July 9, 1842, and her residence in the
Old Manse, Sophia wrote to Mrs. Caleb Foote, of Salem:--

July 5.

MY DEAR MARY,--You mistake much when you say you will not hear from me
after I have gone to my own home. I shall tell those who are dear to
me that I love them still. I feel to-day like a rising Phoenix.

Mr. Hawthorne has been here, looking like the angel of the Apocalypse,
so powerful and gentle. It seems as if I were realizing the dreams of
the poets in my own person. Just think of the felicity of showing him
my inscriptions with pencil and sculpturing-tool--and he so just and
severe a critic! He is far the best critic I ever had. The agent of
Heaven in this Concord plan was Elizabeth Hoar; a fit minister on such
an errand, for minister means angel of God. Her interest has been very
great in every detail. . . . Yours affectionately,

SOPHIA.

The following note is descriptive of the real happiness in the
marriage, which was felt and often uttered by friends:--

DEAR SOPHIA,--I am not much used to expressing to others what I feel
about them, but I will give way to the feeling which prompts me to
tell you how much I think about you now. An event like your marriage
with Mr. Hawthorne is, like the presence of a few persons in this
world, precious to me as an assurance of the good we all long for. I
do not know your husband personally, but I care for him so much that I
could well do the thought of him a passing reverence, like the young
man who, I was told, uncovered his head as he passed Mr. Hawthorne's
house. Perhaps you are too much absorbed to recognize now, even in
thought, the greeting of a friend; perhaps we shall meet very little
hereafter, as indeed we have hardly been intimate heretofore; but I
shall remember you with interest. Affectionately yours,

E. S. HOOPER.

Mrs. Hawthorne's letters and journals while at the Old Manse now
portray a beautiful existence:--

CONCORD, December 18, 1842.

MY DEAR MARY [Mrs. Caleb Foote, of Salem],--I hoped I should see you
again, before I came home to our Paradise. I intended to give you a
concise history of my elysian life. Soon after we returned, my dear
lord began to write in earnest; and then commenced my leisure,
because, till we meet at dinner, I do not see him. I have had to sew,
as I did not touch a needle all summer, and far into the autumn, Mr.
Hawthorne not letting me have a needle or a pen in my hand. We were
interrupted by no one, except a short call now and then from Elizabeth
Hoar, who can hardly be called an earthly inhabitant; and Mr. Emerson,
whose face pictured the promised land (which we were then enjoying),
and intruded no more than a sunset, or a rich warble from a bird.

One evening, two days after our arrival at the Old Manse, George
Hillard and Henry Cleveland appeared for fifteen minutes, on their way
to Niagara Falls, and were thrown into raptures by the embowering
flowers and the dear old house they adorned, and the pictures of Holy
Mothers mild on the walls, and Mr. Hawthorne's Study, and the noble
avenue. We forgave them for their appearance here, because they were
gone as soon as they had come, and we felt very hospitable. We
wandered down to our sweet, sleepy river, and it was so silent all
around us and so solitary, that we seemed the only persons living. We
sat beneath our stately trees, and felt as if we were the rightful
inheritors of the old abbey, which had descended to us from a long
line. The treetops waved a majestic welcome, and rustled their
thousand leaves like brooks over our heads. But the bloom and
fragrance of nature had become secondary to us, though we were lovers
of it. In my husband's face and eyes I saw a fairer world, of which
the other was a faint copy. I fast ceased to represent Lilias Fay,
under the influence of happiness, peace, and rest. We explored the
woods. Sarah the maid was very tasty, and we had beautiful order; and
when we ran races down the avenue, or I danced before my husband to
the measures of the great music-box, she declared it did her heart
good to see us as joyful as two children.

December 30. Sweet, dear Mary, nearly a fortnight has passed since I
wrote the above. I really believe I will finish my letter to-day,
though I do not promise. That magician upstairs is very potent! In the
afternoon and evening I sit in the Study with him. It is the
pleasantest niche in our temple. We watch the sun, together,
descending in purple and gold, in every variety of magnificence, over
the river. Lately, we go on the river, which is now frozen; my lord to
skate, and I to run and slide, during the dolphin-death of day. I
consider my husband a rare sight, gliding over the icy stream. For,
wrapped in his cloak, he looks very graceful; perpetually darting from
me in long, sweeping curves, and returning again--again to shoot away.
Our meadow at the bottom of the orchard is like a small frozen sea,
now; and that is the present scene of our heroic games. Sometimes, in
the splendor of the dying light, we seem sporting upon transparent
gold, so prismatic becomes the ice; and the snow takes opaline hues,
from the gems that float above as clouds. It is eminently the hour to
see objects, just after the sun has disappeared. Oh, such oxygen as we
inhale! Often other skaters appear,--young men and boys,--who
principally interest me as foils to my husband, who, in the presence
of nature, loses all shyness, and moves regally like a king. One
afternoon, Mr. Emerson and Mr. Thoreau went with him down the river.
Henry Thoreau is an experienced skater, and was figuring dithyrambic
dances and Bacchic leaps on the ice--very remarkable, but very ugly,
methought. Next him followed Mr. Hawthorne who, wrapped in his cloak,
moved like a self-impelled Greek statue, stately and grave. Mr.
Emerson closed the line, evidently too weary to hold himself erect,
pitching headforemost, half lying on the air. He came in to rest
himself, and said to me that Hawthorne was a tiger, a bear, a
lion,--in short, a satyr, and there was no tiring him out; and he
might be the death of a man like himself. And then, turning upon me
that kindling smile for which he is so memorable, he added, "Mr.
Hawthorne is such an Ajax, who can cope with him!"

After the first snowstorm, before it was so deep, we walked in the
woods, very beautiful in winter, and found slides in Sleepy Hollow,
where we became children, and enjoyed ourselves as of old,--only more,
a great deal. Sometimes it is before breakfast that Mr. Hawthorne goes
to skate upon the meadow. Yesterday, before he went out, he said it
was very cloudy and gloomy, and he thought it would storm. In half an
hour, oh, wonder! what a scene! Instead of black sky, the rising sun,
not yet above the hill, had changed the firmament into a vast rose! On
every side, east, west, north, and south,--every point blushed roses.
I ran to the Study, and the meadow sea also was a rose, the reflection
of that above. And there was my husband, careering about, glorified by
the light. Such is Paradise.

In the evening we are gathered together beneath our luminous star, in
the Study, for we have a large hanging astral lamp, which beautifully
illumines the room, with its walls of pale yellow paper, its Holy
Mother over the fireplace, and pleasant books, and its pretty bronze
vase, on one of the secretaries, filled with ferns. Except once Mr.
Emerson, no one hunts us out in the evening. Then Mr. Hawthorne reads
to me. At present we can only get along with the old English writers,
and we find that they are the hive from which all modern honey is
stolen. They are thick-set with thought, instead of one thought
serving for a whole book. Shakespeare is preeminent; Spenser is music.
We dare to dislike Milton when he goes to heaven. We do not recognize
God in his picture of Him. There is something so penetrating and clear
in Mr. Hawthorne's intellect, that now I am acquainted with it, merely
thinking of him as I read winnows the chaff from the wheat at once.
And when he reads to me, it is the acutest criticism. Such a voice,
too,--such sweet thunder! Whatever is not worth much shows sadly,
coming through such a medium, fit only for noblest ideas. From reading
his books you can have some idea of what it is to dwell with Mr.
Hawthorne. But only a shadow of him is found in his books. The half is
not told there. Your true friend,

SOPHIA A. HAWTHORNE.

P. S. Mr. Hawthorne sends his love to your husband.

CONCORD, April 6, 1843.

MY DEAREST MARY,--I received your letter of April 2 late last evening.
It is one, I am sure, which might call a response out of a heart of
adamant; and mine, being of a tenderer substance, it answers with all
its chords. Dear, sweet, tender, loving Mary, you are more like
Herder's Swan than anything else I can think of. The spirits of your
translated babes bring you airs from heaven. What a lovely trinity of
souls; what a fair star they form, according to Swedenborg's beautiful
idea. I doubt not there is a path of descent, like that of Jacob's
ladder, from their Father's bosom to your heart, and they ascend and
descend, like those angels of his dream.

Dear Mary, just imagine my husband in reality, as faintly shadowed in
his productions. Fresh as a young fountain, with childlike,
transparent emotions; vivid as the flash of a sword in the sun with
sharp wit and penetration; of such an unworn, unworldly observance of
all that is enacted and thought under the sun; as free from prejudice
and party or sectarian bias as the birds, and therefore wise with a
large wisdom that is as impartial as God's winds and sunbeams. His
frolic is like the sport of Milton's "unarmed youth of heaven." But I
will not pretend to describe his intellect; and I have by no means yet
searched it out. I repose in it as upon some elemental force, which
always seems just created, though we cannot tell when it began to be.
Of his beautiful, genial, tender, and great nature I can still less
adequately discourse. His magnanimity, strength, and sweetness
alternately, and together, charm me. He fascinates, wins, and
commands.

We have passed the winter delightfully, reading to each other, and
lately studying German. I knew a little, just enough to empower me to
hold the rod, and be somewhat impertinent, and I have entire
preeminence in the way of pronunciation. But ever and anon I am made
quite humble by being helped out of thick forests by my knight,
instead of guiding him. So we teach each other in the most charming
manner, and I call it the royal road to knowledge, finally discovered
by us. Mr. Hawthorne writes all the morning. Do you see "The
Democratic Review"? In the March number is "The Procession of Life."
Mr. Jonathan Phillips told Elizabeth he thought it a great production,
and immediately undertook to read all else my husband had written.
"The Celestial Railroad," for the April number, is unique, and of deep
significance. It is a rare privilege to hear him read his manuscript
aloud with the true expression.

Elizabeth Hoar has taken tea with us only once this winter, and I have
seen her very rarely. The walking is so bad in the country in winter
that only tall boots can cope with it. Unawares one foot sinks down to
the Celestial Empire, and the other anchors in the moon. I have had to
confine myself principally to the avenue, through which our
Flibbertigibbet [or Imp] made a clear path for me. Mr. Thoreau has
been pretty often, and is very interesting. Mr. Emerson, from January,
was at the South; so Sirius was not visible to the eye for nearly
three months.

Among other things, I have been very much interested in teaching my
Irish angel to read and write. She is as bright as Burke, and repays
me an hundredfold by her progress. She is so sweet and generous and
gentle, that it is pleasant to happen upon her pretty face about the
house.

Mr. Hawthorne, says I must tell you that he shall be most happy to
meet you in heaven; but he wishes you would as a preliminary come and
spend a week with us this summer. He says this is the best way to get
acquainted with him.

To Mrs. Peabody, now living in Boston, Sophia writes:--

May.

DARLING MOTHER,--I find my heart cannot rest unless I send you an
enormous bunch of columbines; and so I have concluded to take my
cake-box and fill it with flowers. My husband and I have gathered all
these columbines since dinner, on the bank of the river, two fields
off from the battle-ground. Now I think of it, it is Lizzie's favorite
wildflower. I cannot bear to think of you as two prisoners in the
book-room, at this time. I do not know, however, as Elizabeth would be
happy to remain in the country, because men and women are her flowers,
and they do not grow on hills and slopes. But you were born to live in
a garden, where flowers at your tendance might gladlier grow
(according to Milton). We had a letter from Louisa Hawthorne to-day,
which says that the cat Beelzebub is dead. We are going to put our
Pigwiggin in mourning for her cousin. [Hawthorne was, as all his
family were, remarkably fond of cats. He had given Beelzebub his
name.]

Another letter now goes to Mrs. Foote:--

August 11.

BELOVED MARY,--I received your long expected letter during a visit
from the Hillards. I feared you were ill, but not that you had
forgotten me; for I have an imperturbable faith in the love of my
friends which appearances cannot affect.

No influenzas or epidemics of any kind reach our old abbey, though in
the village of Concord they often prevail. I think the angel who
descended with healing in his wings, and stirred the pool of Bethesda,
must purify the air around us. We have had a charming summer. At the
first flinging open of our doors my father made us a visit of a week,
and, according to his love of order, put everything out of doors in
place; moved patriarchal boards covered with venerable moss, and
vividly exercised all his mechanical powers. Among other things he
prepared the clay with which I mould men and heroes, so that I began
Mr. Hawthorne's bust. Next came Miss Anna Shaw [Mrs. S. G. Ward], in
full glory of her golden curls, flowing free over her neck and brows,
so that she looked like the goddess Diana, or Aurora. Everything
happened just right. The day she arrived, Mr. Emerson came to dine,
and shone back to the shining Anna. He was truly "tangled in the
meshes of her golden hair," for he reported in several places how
beautiful it was, afterwards. It was very warm, and after Mr. Emerson
left us, we went out upon the lawn under the shady trees, and Anna
extended herself on the grass, leaning her arms upon a low cricket,
and "Sydnian showers of sweet discourse" distilled upon us. Towards
sunset we went to the terrace on the bank of the river, and then there
was a walk to Sleepy Hollow. Afterwards, we again resorted to the
lawn, and the stars all came out over our heads with great brilliancy;
and Anna, again upon the grass, pointed out the most beautiful
constellations. Now we expect Louisa Hawthorne every day. Excepting
for the three weeks and a little more occupied by our friends, we have
been quite alone. The 9th of July, our wedding-day, was most heavenly,
and at night there was a most lustrous moon. That night Mr. Allston
died. Nature certainly arrayed herself in her most lovely guise, to
bid him farewell. Mr. Hawthorne has written a little, and cultivated
his garden a great deal; and as you may suppose, such vegetables never
before were tasted. It is a sober fact, dear Mary, that I never ate
any so good. When Apollos tend herds and till the earth, it is but
reasonable to expect unusual effects. I planted flowers, which grow
pretty well. We have voyaged on the river constantly, harvesting
water-lilies; and lately cardinal-flowers, which enrich the borders
with their superb scarlet mantles in great conclaves.

I have just finished Ranke's "History of the Popes." I stumbled quite
accidentally upon ecclesiastical history, lately. I asked my husband
to bring me any book that he chanced to touch upon from his Study, one
day, and it proved to be "Luther, and the Reformation." So I have gone
on and backwards, upon the same subject. I read several volumes of the
Theological Library, fretting all the time over the narrow spirit in
which great men were written about. Finally I took Ranke. He is
splendid and whole-sided, and has given me an idea of the state of
Europe from the first times.

Elizabeth Hoar came while Susan Hillard was here, looking as usual
like the Rose of Sharon, though thinner than ever. Ellery Channing and
E. live in a little red cottage on the road, with one acre attached,
upon which Ellery has worked very hard. E. keeps a small school for
little children. They are very happy, and Ellery is a very charming
companion. He talks very agreeably.

October 15.

BELOVED MARIE,--I received your requiem for Mrs. Peabody [not a near
connection of Mrs. Hawthorne's, but of Mr. George Peabody's, the
philanthropist] yesterday, and cannot delay responding to it. We talk
a great deal about the reality of Heaven and the shadowiness of earth,
but no one acts as if it were the truth. It seems as if the benign and
tender Father of men, in whose presence we rejoice and confide, became
suddenly changed into a dark power, and curtained Himself with gloom,
the instant death laid its hand upon our present bodies, and freed the
soul for another condition. And this, too, although Jesus Christ at
the hour when His spirit resigned the clay rent the veil from top to
bottom, and revealed to all eyes the golden cherubim and the Holy of
Holies. God alone knows whether I could act my belief in the greatest
of all possible earthly separations. But before I loved as I now do
heaven was dim to me in comparison. I cannot conceive of a separation
for one moment from my transfigured soul in him who is transfused with
my being. I am in heaven now. Oh, let me not doubt it, if for a little
while a shadow should wrap his material form from my sight.

I am in rejoicing and most vigorous health. After breakfast I paint
for two or three hours. I am now copying Mr. Emerson's divine
Endymion. After dinner we walk till about five.


The following letter refers to Sophia's sister Mary, who had become
Mrs. Horace Mann:--

DEAREST MARY,--I do not know whether you were ever aware of the
peculiar love I have felt from childhood for my precious sister, who
is now so blest. It has always been enthusiastic and profound. Her
still and perfect disinterestedness, her noiseless self-devotion, her
transparent truthfulness and all-comprehensive benevolence through
life! No words can ever express what a spear in my side it has been to
see her year after year toiling for all but herself, and growing thin
and pale with too much effort. Not that ever her heroic heart uttered
a word of complaint or depreciation. But so much the more did I feel
for her. I saw her lose her enchanting gayety, and become grave and
sad, yet could do nothing to restore her spirits. I was hardly aware,
until it was removed, how weighty had been the burden of her
unfulfilled life upon my heart. At her engagement, all my wings were
unfolded, and my body was light as air.

Mrs. Mann had been to Europe for her wedding-tour, and was thus
welcomed home:--


November 7.

BELOVED MARY,--Yesterday noon my dear husband came home from the
village but a few seconds--it seemed even to me--after he left me,
shining with glad tidings. They were, that the steamer had arrived
with you in it! Imagine my joy, for I cannot tell it. You will come
and see me, I am sure. I am especially commissioned by Mr. Emerson to
request my dear and honorable brother, Mr. Mann, to come to Concord to
lecture at the Lyceum as soon as he possibly can. He says that Mr.
Hoar told him he had never heard such eloquence from human lips as
from Mr. Mann's. "Therefore," says he, "this is the place of all
others for him to come and lecture." Tell me beforehand whether your
husband eats anything in particular, that I may have it all ready for
him. I am in the greatest hurry that mortal has been in since Absalom
ran from his pursuers. Your own

SOPHIECHEN.


The record for Sophia's mother goes on unfailingly:--


November 19.

My DEAREST MOTHER,--This Indian summer is very beautiful. The dulcet
air and stillness are lovely. This morning we watched the opal dawn,
and the stars becoming pale before it, as also the old moon, which
rose between five and six o'clock, and, in the form of a boat of pure
silvery-gold, floated up the sea of clear, rosy air. I am so very
early a riser that the first faint light usually finds me busy.

I wish you could see how charmingly my husband's Study looks now. As
we abandon our drawing-room this winter, I have hung on his walls the
two Lake Como and the Loch Lomond pictures, all of which I painted
expressly for him; and the little mahogany centre-table stands under
the astral lamp, covered with a crimson cloth. The antique
centre-table broke down one day beneath my dear husband's arms, with a
mighty sound, astonishing me in my studio below the Study. He has
mended it. On one of the secretaries stands the lovely Ceres, and
opposite it Margaret Fuller's bronze vase. In the afternoon, when the
sun fills the room and lights up the pictures, it is beautiful. Yet
still more, perhaps, in the evening, when the astral enacts the sun,
and pours shine upon all the objects, and shows, beneath, the noblest
head in Christendom, in the ancient chair with its sculptured back [a
chair said to have come over in the Mayflower, and owned by the
Hawthorne family]; and whenever I look up, two stars beneath a brow of
serene white radiate love and sympathy upon me. Can you think of a
happier life, with its rich intellectual feasts? That downy bloom of
happiness, which unfaithful and ignoble poets have persisted in
declaring always vanished at the touch and wear of life, is delicate
and fresh as ever, and must remain so if we remain unprofane. The
sacredness, the loftiness, the ethereal delicacy of such a soul as my
husband's will keep heaven about us. My thought does not yet compass
him. December. For the world's eye I care nothing; but in the
profound shelter of this home I would put on daily a velvet robe, and
pearls in my hair, to gratify my husband's taste. This is a true
wife's world. Directly after dinner my lord went to the Athenaeum; and
when he returned, he sat reading Horace Walpole till he went out to
the wood-house to saw and split wood. Presently I saw, hastening up
the avenue, Mr. George Bradford. He stayed to tea. His beautiful
character makes him perennial in interest. As my husband says, we can
see nature through him straight, without refraction. My water this
morning was deadly cold instead of livingly cold, and I knew the Imp
must have taken it from some already drawn, instead of right from the
well. The maid brought for me from Mrs. Emerson's "The Mysteries of
Paris," which I read all the evening. I have been to see E. Channing,
who looked very pretty. She has a dog named Romeo, which Mrs. S. G.
Ward gave them. I borrowed a book of E. about sainted women. In "The
Democratic Review" was my husband's "Fire Worship." I could not wait
to read it! It is perfectly inimitable, as usual. His wit is as subtle
as fire. This morning I got up by moonlight again, and sewed till Mary
brought my fresh-drawn water. The moon did not set till after dawn.
To-day I promenaded in the gallery with wadded dress and muff and
tippet on. After tea, my lord read Jones Very's criticism upon
"Hamlet." This morning was very superb, and the sunlight played upon
the white earth like the glow of rubies upon pearls. My husband was
entirely satisfied with the beauty of it. He is so seldom fully
satisfied with weather, things, or people, that I am always glad to
find him pleased. Nothing short of perfection can content him. How can
seraphs be contented with less? After breakfast, as I could not walk
out on account of the snow, I concluded to housewife. My husband
shoveled paths (heaps of snow being trifles to his might), and sawed
and split wood, and brought me water from the well. To such uses do
seraphs come when they get astray on earth. I painted till after one
o'clock. There was a purple and gold sunset. After dinner to-day Mr.
Hawthorne went to the village, and brought back "The Salem Gazette."
Some one had the impudence to speak of him in it as "gentle Nat
Hawthorne." I cannot conceive who could be so bold and so familiar.
Gentle he surely is, but such an epithet does not comprehend him, and
gives a false idea. As usual after sunset, he went out to find
exercise till quite dark. Then he read aloud part of "The Tempest,"
while I sewed. In the evening he told me about his early life in
Raymond [Maine], and he gave me some of Mr. Bridge's famous wine.
To-day my husband partly read "Two Gentlemen of Verona." I do not like
it much. What a queer mood Shakespeare must have been in, to write
it. He seems to be making fun. I wrote to Mrs. Follen, and made up a
budget of a paper from my husband for her "Child's Friend." It was the
incident of Mr. Raike's life, with regard to his founding of
Sunday-schools, most exquisitely told, and set in a frame of precious
jewels. Whatever my husband touches turns to gold in the intellectual
and spiritual world. I sewed on a purple blouse for him till dusk. We
have the luxury of our maid's absence, and Apollo helped me by making
the fires. I warmed rice for myself, and had the happiness of toasting
his bread. He read aloud "Love's Labour 's Lost," and said that play
had no foundation in nature. To-day there have been bright gleams,
but no steady sunshine. Apollo boiled some potatoes for breakfast.
Imagine him with that magnificent head bent over a cooking-stove, and
those star-eyes watching the pot boil! In consequence, there never
were such good potatoes before. For dinner we did not succeed in
warming the potatoes effectually; but they were edible, and we had
meat, cheese, and apples. This is Christmas Day, which I consider the
most illustrious and sacred day of the year. Before sunrise, a great,
dark blue cloud in the east made me suppose it was to be a dismal day;
but I was quite mistaken, for it has been uncommonly beautiful. Peace
has seemed brooding "with turtle wing" over the world, and no one
stirs, as if all men obeyed the command of the elements, which was,
"Be still, as we are." I intended to make a fine bowl of chocolate for
my husband's dinner, but he proposed to celebrate Christmas by having
no cooking at all. At one o'clock we went together to the village, my
husband going to the Athenaeum, and I to Mrs. Emerson's, where Mr.
Thoreau was dining. On the way home I saw in the distance the form of
forms approaching. We dined on preserved fruits and bread and
milk,--quite elegant and very nice. What a miracle my husband is! He
has the faculty of accommodating himself to all sorts of circumstances
with marvelous grace of soul. In the afternoon he brought me some
letters, one being from E. Hooper, with verses which she had written
after reading "Fire Worship." The motto is "Fight for your stoves!"
and the measure that of "Scots wha hae." It is very good. The maid
returned. This morning we awoke to a mighty snowstorm. The trees stood
white-armed all around us. In the afternoon some one knocked at the
front door. I was amazed, supposing no one could overcome the roads,
and thought it must be a government officer. As the door opened, I
heard a voice say, "Where is the man?" It was Ellery Channing, who
exclaimed, as he appeared at the Study, where we were, that it was the
very time to come,--he liked the snow. He looked like a shaggy bear;
but his face was quite shining, as usual. He brought some novels and
reviews, which Queen Margaret [Fuller] had sent to Ellen Channing [her
sister] to read. We had to leave him, while we dined, at three. He
would not join us, and made his exit while we were in the dining-room.
To-day as I painted the wind arose, and howled and swept about, and
clouded the sun, and wearied my spirits. I was obliged to put away my
palette at half past twelve o'clock, and then came up, and looked into
the Study at my husband. He was writing, and I was conscience-stricken
for having interrupted him. We went to walk, and a neighbor invited us
to drive to town in his sleigh. I accepted, but my husband did not.
The Imp sprang on, as we passed his house; and then I found that the
kind old man was Mr. Jarvis of the hill. I went to the post-office,
where my husband was reading a letter from Mr. Hillard. We stayed at
the Athenaeum till after two, and then braved the warring winds
homewards. We had no reading in the evening, for the wind was too
noisy.

January 1, 1844. A quiet morning at last; the wind had howled itself
dead, as if it were the breath of the Old Year, by midnight. On our
way home to-day from the Athenaeum, Dr. Bartlett met us, and offered
to take me along. On the way he spoke of George Bradford's worshiping
Mr. Hawthorne. I had a fine time painting, this morning. Everything
went right, and I succeeded quite to my mind. I felt sure my husband
above me must also be having a propitious morning. When he came to
dinner, he said he did not know as he ever felt so much like writing
on any one day. Mr. Emerson called.

January 9.

BELOVED MOTHER,--I dated all the documents I sent by Plato [Mr.
Emerson] a day too late. My husband will dispatch a budget to Mr.
Hillard's care, containing a paper which he is to send to Mr.
Griswold, editor of "Graham's Magazine." He wrote to my husband, when
he took the editorship, and requested him to contribute, telling him
he intended to make the magazine of a higher character, and therefore
ventured to ask, offering five dollars per page, and the liberty of
drawing for the money the moment the article was published. "The
Democratic Review" is so poor now that it can only offer twenty
dollars for an article of what length soever, so that Mr. Hawthorne
cannot well afford to give any but short stories to it; and it is
besides sadly dilatory about payment. The last paper he sent to it was
a real gift, as it was more than four pages; but he thought its
character better suited to the grave "Democrat" than for the other
publication. Why did not you send the last number? lie is quite
impatient for it. I also long to read again that terrific and true
picture of a cold heart. [The Bosom Serpent.] I do not know what the
present production is about, even; for I have made it a law to myself
never to ask him a word concerning what he is writing, because I
always disliked to speak of what I was painting. He often tells me;
but sometimes the story remains hidden till he reads it aloud to me,
before sending it away. I can comprehend the delicacy and tricksiness
of his mood when he is evolving a work of art. He waits upon the light
in such a purely simple way that I do not wonder at the perfection of
each of his stories. Of several sketches, first one and then another
come up to be clothed upon with language, after their own will and
pleasure. It is real inspiration, and few are reverent and patient
enough to wait for it as he does. I think it is in this way .that he
comes to be so void of extravagance in his style and material. He does
not meddle with the clear, true picture that is painted on his mind.
He lifts the curtain, and we see a microcosm of nature, so cunningly
portrayed that truth itself seems to have been the agent of its
appearance. Thus his taste is genuine--the most faultless I ever knew.
Now, behold! all unforeseen, a criticism upon the genius of Nathaniel
Hawthorne!

Dear mother, Louisa Hawthorne has sent me some exquisite silk flannel
for little shirts, but not quite enough. It is a dollar a yard. Mrs.
Emerson says that you will find it at Jacobs', on Tremont Street. I
could not refuse my child the luxury of feeling such a material over
its dear little bosom. I have to spend a great deal of time in darning
the small craters in my stockings.

January 21. In the hope of some unoccupied carrier-pigeon's straying
this way, I shall write to-day. The extreme cold freezes the ground,
and my lord will not consent to my putting foot out of doors, so I
remain a singing-bird in my happy cage, endeavoring by walks in the
long upper entry (which is enlivened by sundry winds rushing through a
broken window-pane) to make some amends for being deprived of the
outward world. Yesterday I felt as if I had dieted upon diamonds and
were sparkling with rainbow colors like an icicle in the sun. I
painted upon Endymion. My husband blasphemes the fierce winds and
extreme cold in a very picturesque manner; but the disapprobation he
feels is a moral ope, not a physical discomfort. He cleaves the air
like a Damascus blade, so finely attempered that he is unharmed. I
never knew any person in such fine health as he is; because he is not
obtusely well--he has no brute force; but every part of his frame
seems in perfect diapason, like a bird's. I should be afraid of him
if he were in ferocious health; but his health is heavenly. Endymion
will certainly be finished this week if I remain alive, and the sun
shines. [It is a picture in pale brown monochromes, of the most
remarkable perfection of finish and beauty of draughtsmanship.] I
shall ask Plato to carry it to Boston in his arms, unless my honorable
brother Horace [Mann] will take it when he comes to lecture. It will
be perfectly light, but cannot be given up to the stage-man. I do not
want it shown to any person until it be framed, with a glass over it.
Daggett must be made to hasten his work; but he is as obstinate and
cross as a mule; yet no one can make such superlative frames. The
price must be an hundred dollars independently of the frame; if it be
worth one cent, it is worth that. I dearly desire that some one I know
should possess it. I shall be glad some day to redeem it, for it has
come out of my soul. What a record it is of these happy, hopeful days!
The divine dream shining in Endymion's face, his body entranced in
sleep, his soul bathed in light, every curve flowing in consummate
beauty--in some way it is my life. But, for Endymion, I must look upon
a small bit of gold. [Her husband would not let her sell the picture,
after all.]

March 16.

MY DEAREST MOTHER,--The sumptuous boxful arrived, and the dressed beef
is most acceptable, and the wafers are very nice, Mr. Hawthorne liking
them exceedingly. Una went to see her father yesterday morning, the
nurse declaring that she looked as nice as silver and pretty as a
white rose. Great was his surprise to see his little daughter coming
to him! My husband wishes father would please go to the agents for
"The Democratic Review," and tell them he is on the free list. The
three last numbers have not been sent to him, they having stopped
sending at the printing of "The Christmas Banquet." Will father also
look into "Graham's Magazine" for March, and see whether it contains
"Earth's Holocaust," and if so, send it to us?

August.

Directly after you left us, baby went to sleep, and slept three hours,
during which time I accomplished wonders. We dined upon potatoes,
corn, carrots, and whortleberry pudding, quite sumptuously. Our cook
was Hyperion, whom we have engaged. He, with his eyes of light, his
arched brow, and "locks of lovely splendor," officiated even to
dish-washing, with the air of one making worlds. I, with babe on arm,
looked at him part of the time. No accident happened, except that a
sprigged saucer "came into halves;" and I found that Hyperion, in his
new office, had put the ivory handles of the knives into the water,
knowing no better, and left the silver to be washed last instead of
first. I dragged Una in her carriage in the avenue, and she was very
happy. She woke a little after four this morning, and when I first
opened my eyes upon her, her feet were "in the sky." I laid the
breakfast-table, and prepared everything for Hyperion to cook milk and
boil water. At breakfast, baby sat radiant in her coach. George
Prescott brought a hot Indian cake from his mother, while we were at
table. Before Hyperion had quite finished his kitchen-work, Colonel
Hall and his little son came to see him. The Colonel only stayed about
an hour, and could not come to dinner. The unhappy lamb was boiled,
together with some shelled beans and corn.

August 20. Your packet arrived last evening. I am much inclined to
have the black woman. My husband says he does not want me to
undertake to keep anybody who is apparently innocent, after my late
sore experience. He says the old black lady is probably as bad already
as she ever will be. If you find the blackey not disinclined to come
to such poor folks, I will take her in September. I cannot well ask
dear Mary to visit me while my Hyperion is cook and maid. He will not
let me go into his kitchen, hardly; but it is no poetry to cook, and
wash dishes; and I cannot let him do it for anybody but myself alone.
The only way we can make money now seems to be to save it; and as he
declares he can manage till September, we will remain alone till then.
It is beyond words enchanting to be so. But, I assure you, his office
is no sinecure. He actually does everything. And I sit upstairs, and
out of doors with baby, more of a queen than ever, for I have a king
to my servitor. It would cost too much to board; you know we cannot
live cheaper anywhere or anyhow than thus.

Again, a letter is sent to Mrs. Caleb Foote:--

The Promised Land.

MY DEAR MARY,--You are the most satisfactory person to draw for of any
one I know. [Sophia had sent one of her pictures as a present.] Your
letter gave me the purest pleasure, for it made me feel as if I had
caused two hearts to be glad, and that is worth living for, if it be
done but once in a life. . . . We have passed the happiest winter, the
long evenings lifted out of the common sphere by the magic of
Shakespeare. Mr. Hawthorne read aloud to me all the Plays. And you
must know how he reads, before you can have any idea what it was. I
can truly say I never comprehended Shakespeare before; and my husband
was pleased to declare that he never himself understood him so well,
though he has pored over the Plays all his life. All the magnificence,
the pomp, the cunning beauty, the wisdom and fine wit, and the grace
were revealed to me as by a new light. Every character is unfixed from
the page, and stands free in life. Meanwhile I sewed, and whenever a
little garment was finished, I held it up, and won a radiant smile for
it and the never-weary question (with the charming, arch glance)
"Pray, who is that for?"

We breakfast about nine o'clock, because we do not dine till three;
and we have no tea ceremony, because it broke our evenings too much. I
break my fast upon fruit, and we lunch upon fruit, and in the evening,
also, partake of that paradisaical food. Mr. Emerson, with his sunrise
smile, Ellery Channing, radiating dark light, and, very rarely,
Elizabeth Hoar, with spirit voice and tread, have alone varied our
days from without; but we have felt no want. My sweet, intelligent
maid sings at her work, with melodious note. I do not know what is in
store for me; but I know well that God is in the future, and I do not
fear, or lose the precious present by anticipating possible evil. I
remember Father Taylor's inspired words, "Heaven is not afar. We are
like phials of water in the midst of the ocean. Eternity, heaven, God,
are all around us, and we are full of God. Let the thin crystal
break, and it is all one." Mr. Mann came to Concord to lecture last
week. He looked happiest. What can he ask for more, having Mary for
his own? Hold me ever as Your true and affectionate friend,

SOPHIA.


The Hawthornes left the Old Manse for visits to their relatives.
Hawthorne went to Salem in advance of his wife, who writes to him:--


BOSTON, August 15.

. . . Yesterday your letter raised me to the eighth heaven--one heaven
beyond the imagination of the great poet. . . . I am very sorry you did
not come, for Mr. Atherton was to be at home at eight o'clock that
evening, hoping to see you, and Mr. Pierce was also in the city,
desiring to meet you. Una knew Mr. Atherton directly, when I took her
to call, and at once challenged him to run after her. Soon afterwards
a fine wooden singing-bird arrived, with a card on which was written
"for Una Hawthorne." Mrs. Williams called. She asked me to give you a
great deal of love. She wished we would visit her in Augusta, Maine. I
have taken Una upon the Common several times, and she runs after all
babies and dogs. She is so beautiful that I am astonished at her.
Frank Shaw says she is perfect, and like Raphael's ideal babies. This
morning a letter came to you from the Count [Mr. John O'Sullivan was
usually called by this title by the Hawthornes], who has some good
proposals. The offer from the "Blatant Beast" [name given by
Hawthorne to a certain publisher] of the--But I will send the letter;
it will not cost any more than mine alone, thanks to the new law.

Having gone to stay for a few days in Herbert Street, Mrs. Hawthorne
writes to her mother:--


SALEM, November 19.

. . . Father took most beautiful care of us, and did not leave us till
we were seated in the cars. Mr. Dike followed. I told him that if he
wished to see Una, he could do it by sitting behind. This he did, and
kept up a constant talking with her, all the way. She looked lofty and
grave, and unfathomable in her eyes; but finally had compassion on
him, and faintly smiled in that way which always makes her father say,
"Mightily gracious, madam!" An old man by the side of Mr. Dike asked
him whether Una were his grandchild! She liked the old man, and smiled
at him whenever he spoke to her. Upon arriving in Salem, Mr. Dike
went to find my husband; whom, however, I saw afar off in the crowd of
ugly men, showing like a jewel (pearl) in an Ethiop's ear, so fine and
pale, with the large lids cast down, and a radiant smile on his lips.

For the first time since my husband can remember, he dined with his
mother! This is only one of the miracles which the baby is to perform.
Her grandmother held her on her lap till one of us should finish
dining, and then ate her own meal. She thinks Una is a beauty, and, I
believe, is not at all disappointed in her. Her grandmother also says
she has the most perfect form she ever saw in a baby. She waked this
morning like another dawn, and smiled bountifully, and was borne off
to the penetralia of the house to see Madam Hawthorne and aunt
Elizabeth. My husband's muse is urging him now, and he is writing
again. He never looked so excellently beautiful. Una is to be dressed
as sumptuously as possible to-day, to visit her grandaunt Ruth
[Manning]. Louisa wants her to overcome with all kinds of beauty,
outward and inward. I feel just made. All are quite well here, and
enjoy the baby vastly.

To Hawthorne in Salem:--

BOSTON, December 19.

. . . If I asked myself strictly whether I could write to you this
evening, I should say absolutely no, for ten thousand different things
demand the precious moments while our baby sleeps. . . . I bless God for
such a destiny as mine; you satisfy me beyond all things. . . . Una is
now downstairs with her aunt Elizabeth, and she shines with perfection
of well-being. When she is near a chair, with both hands resting upon
it, she will suddenly let go, and for a few glorious seconds maintain
her equilibrium, and then down she sits upon the floor. C. Sturgis and
Anna Shaw have been to see her. I took her to William Story's
yesterday, and he thought her eyes very beautiful, and said he had
scarcely ever seen perfectly gray eyes before; and that such were the
finest eyes in the world, capable of the most expression. He added,
that her eyes were like those of an exquisite child of Raphael's,
which he had seen, in oils.

Mr. Colton has been again to see you. Perhaps it is quite fortunate
that you were guarded from an interview, since you would have refused
his offers. When will you come back? Mr. Hillard said you promised to
go there again. You can always come here.

Your loving wife, PHOEBE.

After returning home, Sophia writes:--

CONCORD, January 26, 1845.

BEST MOTHER (I like that Swedish epithet),--The jewel is precisely
what I wanted. It appears strange for us to make presents of precious
stones set in gold; but the occasion is sufficient to justify it. Mrs.
Prescott is perpetually doing for me what she will not allow me to pay
for, and often what I cannot pay for. She remains rich in
consciousness, but the burden of obligation is too great. She papered
my kitchen with her own hands, and would not let me even pay for the
paper; she also employed her man to put up a partition; and she is
stiff-necked as an Israelite on these points. She sends us Indian
cakes and milk bread, or any nicety she happens to have. George has
the pleasantest way of going of errands about which I cannot employ
the Imp, Ben, and he took excellent care of Leo, the dog, during our
absence, feeding him so sumptuously that he looked very superb when we
returned, only requiring to have an heroic soul to be the Doge of
dogs. I never imagined anything so enchanting as Una's rapid
development. Every morning, as soon as she is awake, she extends her
little hand to the Madonna. Then she points to Loch Lomond (which I
have moved to my room), and then to Abbotsford, each time observing
something about the pictures, as she gazes into my face. My replies I
always feel to be very stupid; but I do as well as I can, considering
that I am not now a baby. Another of her acts is to put up her
forefinger to my mouth, to be kissed; and often she puts up her own
mouth for a kiss, and then smiles with an expression of covert
fun--sub ridens, her father calls it. The other evening, while the
trees were still crystal chandeliers, it grew dusk before the lamps
were lighted; and all at once, behold the full moon rose up from
behind the hill "over against our house," exactly between the trees at
the entrance of our avenue. Picture to yourself the magnificence. The
sharp gleam of the crystals made it seem as if the stars had fallen,
and were caught by the branches, and a thousand shining scimitars
flashed into view. Una happened to be turned towards the scene. How I
wish you could have seen the wonder and gleam of her face! As the moon
rose higher and higher, she continued to talk about it, her hand
extended. We lighted no lamp that evening. The next morning I asked
her where the moon was, and she turned towards the window with a
questioning tone. Last evening my better than Epaminondas was
stretched upon the floor, for her entertainment. It was the prettiest
sight that ever was. Una is as strong as a little lion, and I could
dance at any moment. The half-hour glass that you gave me is a great
enchantment to my husband, and has already suggested some divine
production.

To Mrs. Foote, once more:--

Paradise Regained, May 4, 1845.

MY DEAR MARY,--My husband and I will be most happy to receive you, I
would say at once, but I must wait till these avenue trees are in
leaf, because I want you to see our quiet Eden in its full summer
dress. It has begun to array itself; and the Balm of Gilead, a
significant tree for us, is already in tender green, and the showerful
poplar, so mightily abused, is, this lovely morning, becoming golden
with new yellow foliage. But as this is our last year in the blessed
old abbey, you must see it in perfection. The lawn beneath the trees
is already a rich emerald, and large gold stars begin to spangle it.
You shall see my little darling running over the green grass, with a
continued song of exultation. She thinks this is the first Paradise,
and that her father is the primal Adam, and that she possesses the
earth, now that she is out of leading-strings.

December 7, 1845.

I was very glad of an answer to my volume of a letter, and that it
gave you satisfaction. Words are a poor portrait of Una, this ray of
light. The distinctness and intelligence of her language are a kind of
miracle. Her father said one day that she was the book of Revelation.
Once, I said for her Mother Goose's "Cushy cow bonny, let down your
milk!" and after hearing the whole verse several times she began to
repeat it to herself, but said, "Tushy tow bonny, let down Nona's milk!"
And she always corrects me if I omit her name. She often says,
"Bobby Shafto's done to sea; tome back, marry Nona!" with a very
facetious expression. Her father tells her that he shall not allow
Bobby to marry her.



CHAPTER IV

LIFE IN SALEM


The Hawthornes now moved to Salem, where they remained for several
years.

Washington's Birthday, 1846.

TRUE MOTHER,--Through the howling storm your little box of benefits
came safely. I was especially grateful to hear from you, because I had
read in the paper of Mr. Mann's walking into the dock, and feared he
might be very ill after it. I was exceedingly relieved to hear that
he was none the worse for such an unexpected baptism. I thought that
after getting tired and heated by lecturing, the transition might be
almost mortal for his delicate frame. I, in my old-fashioned
simplicity of faith, would have it that God saved him. My husband has
found "The Christmas Banquet," and he has made up the second volume,
which I send with this, for dear father to transmit to New York. The
second volume must be printed first, because he has not long enough
dreamed over the new tale or essay which is to commence the first
volume. From all question as to what this precious web may be, last
woven in the loom of his genius, I sacredly abstain till the fullness
of time. Oh, I am so glad that these scattered jewels are now to be
set together!

"Zuna" is spreading out her painted tea-set upon a little oval tray
that came from beyond sea, in her father's childhood. She plays
tea-drinking with infinite grace and skill. Last week Louisa Hawthorne
and I spent the day with Mrs. Dike, and Una behaved like a consummate
lady, although she frolicked like a child. Mrs. Dike gave her some
beautiful silver playthings, with which she had a tea-party. Rebecca
Manning [a little cousin] was there, and over their airy tea Una
undertook to be agreeable, and began of her own accord to converse,
and tell Rebecca about her life in Concord. She said, "In Tontord Zuna
went out into the orchard and picked apples in her little basket, for
papa and mamma to eat." And then, with a countenance and tone of
triumph, she exclaimed, "And papa's boat!"

A long letter written by George William Curtis is a bright ray from a
beautiful personality, containing these descriptions:--

ROME, January 14, 1847.

MY DEAR FRIENDS,--How often in the long sunny silence of that summer
voyage, when in the Atlantic all day the sea rippled as gently about
the ship as the waters of Walden pour against their shore, and in the
Mediterranean the moon would have no other mirror, but entranced its
waves to an oily calmness in which she shone unbroken, did I figure
you gliding with us on our fairy way to France, Italy, and in the next
summer, Switzerland! One day in our voyage we passed the Straits of
Gibraltar--seeing land for the first time in twenty-eight days. We
came so near and passed so rapidly, saw so distinctly the dusky gray
olive foliage of Spain and the little round towers whence the old
Spaniards looked for the Moors; and on the other side, so grim and
lonely, the intricate mountain outline of Africa, so distinctly, and
at night again, and for many days after, the same broad water; that it
lies more dreamily in my memory than anything else. . . . On the
forty-fifth day I stepped ashore in France; but not without more
regret than I thought possible, for the ship; and one of the crew, of
my own age, with whom I had seen the stars fade in the morning during
his watch, had become very dear to me. Yet in Marseilles everything
was quaint. . . . The same features I had always known in a
city,--men, houses, streets, squares; but with an expression unknown
before. At night, with my sailor friend, I threaded some of the
narrower streets, which were like corridors in an unshapely Titan
palace. At the doors of the smallest shops on each side sat the
spinsters in the moonlight, gossiping and knitting; while over them
bent old French tradesmen, in long yarn stockings and velvet
knee-breeches. The street was barely wide enough for a carriage, and
they talked across; and all was as gay and happy as Arcadia. Every day
[in Florence], I was in the galleries, which are freely open to every
one, and here saw the grandest works of Raphael in his middle and best
style. Of the wonderful feminine grace and tenderness of these, of
which no copy can give an idea, I cannot properly speak. From him only
have I received the idea of the Immaculate Mother--the union of
celestial superiority with human maternity. The innumerable other
Madonnas are beautiful pictures; but they are either mere mothers or
mere angels. It is the same union in kind with what you may observe in
his portrait, where masculine character is so blended and tempered
with feminine grace and flexibility. Raphael is the clear, deep,
beautiful eye, in which and through which is seen the undoubted
heaven. . . .

How glad I am that I have a right to send you a letter! I have left a
small space into which to squeeze a large love, which I send to Mrs.
H., with my thanks for her kind letter, which could not come too late,
and which I am very sure highly gratified Mr. Crawford. He desires to
make his especial regards to Mrs. H., and said that he should write
her a note, if it were not too great a liberty, which he would send in
a letter to Mrs. Howe. Mention my name to Una; for in some dim
remembrance of Concord meadows I may then figure as a shadowy faun. A
long, pleasant letter from George Bradford, the other day, gave me the
last news from our old home, which is very placid and beautiful in my
memory. I should love to see Ellery Channing's new book. But I am
sure that he will never forgive himself for coming to Rome for sixteen
days. I am sorry to say good-by. G. W. CURTIS.

While on a visit to her mother, Mrs. Hawthorne writes to her
husband:--

BOSTON, July.

. . . I received your most precious letter yesterday. I do not need to
stand apart from daily life to see how fair and blest our lot is.
Every mother is not like me--because not every mother has such a
father for her children; so that my cares are forever light. Am I not
eminently well, round, and rubicund? Even in the very centre of
simultaneous screams from both darling little throats, I am quite as
sensible of my happiness as when the most dulcet sounds are issuing
thence. I have suffered only for you, in my babydom. You ought not to
be obliged to undergo the wear and tear of the nursery; it is contrary
to your nature and your mood. You were born to muse, and through
undisturbed dreams to enlighten the world. Una mourns for you. "Oh, I
must go home to see my papa! Oh, when are we going to Salem?" Her
little heart has enough of mine in it to feel widowed without you.
Julian does not walk yet; but he understands everything, and talks a
great deal.

There was a sharp contrast between Mrs. Hawthorne's earlier life of
intercourse with trooping, charming friends, and devotion to art and
literature, and the toils of motherhood in poverty which now absorbed
her days. She refers to this new order of existence with joyful
patience in the following letters to Mrs. Peabody:--

SALEM, September, 1848.

Dora Golden [Julian's nurse] takes this to you. She deferred her
visit to Boston for my convenience, because Mr. Hawthorne thought of
going to Temple, to visit General Miller; but he did not go. Mr.
Hawthorne will contribute to Elizabeth's book, but not for pay. Mary
Chase took Una and me to Nahant to see Rebecca Kinsman at her cottage.
It was a dear little nest, on the brow of a hill commanding the
boundless sea. Una flew around like a petrel; only that her hair
floated golden in the sunshine, and the petrel's feathers are gray.
You are quite right; I am so happy that I require nothing more. No art
nor beauty can excel my daily life, with such a husband and such
children, the exponents of all art and beauty. I really have not even
the temptation to go out of my house to find anything better. Not
that I enjoy less any specimen of earthly or heavenly grace when I
meet it elsewhere; but I have so much in perpetual presence that I am
not hungry for such things.

November 19, 1848.

I intended almost every day last week to go to Boston, but was
detained by various circumstances. Among other things, Mr. Daniel
Webster was to come to lecture, and I thought I must wait to hear him.
I am glad I did, for it was a very useful lecture, and in some parts
quite grand. It was upon the Constitution--a noble subject. You know
he is particularly designated as the Expounder of the Constitution.
He stood like an Egyptian column, solid and without any Corinthian
grace, but with dignity and composed majesty. He gave a simple
statement of facts concerning the formation of our united government;
and towards the close, he now and then thundered, and his great
cavernous eyes lightened, as he eloquently showed how noble and
wonderful it was, and how astonishing the sagacity and insight of
those young patriots had been in the memorable Congress. The old Lion
walked the stage with a sort of repressed rage, when he referred to
those persons who cried out, "Down with the Constitution!" "Madmen! Or
most wicked if not mad!" said he, with a glare of fire, as he looked
about him. He had risen with his hat in his hand, and held it all the
time, making no gestures excepting once, when he referred to the
American eagle and flag. He then raised his hand and pointed as if the
eagle were cleaving the air; and he said, "Who calls this the
Massachusetts eagle, the Illinois eagle,--or this the Virginia flag,
or the New Hampshire flag? Are they not the American eagle and the
American flag? And wherever the flag waves, let him touch it who
dares!" His voice and glance as he pronounced these words were the
artillery of a storm; and they were followed by tremendous rolls of
applause. Mr. Hawthorne, who is one of the managers of the Lyceum (!)
was deputed to go on Monday to West Newton, to see Mr. Mann about
lecturing here.

Sophia writes to Mrs. Mann, then in Washington:--

"Is Congress behaving any worse than usual? The members are always
giving the lie and seizing each other by the collar, ever since the
grave and majestic days of the first Sessions, it seems to me. But we
have not got to being quite such monkeys as the French are in their
Assemblies. Mrs. George Peabody, a week or two ago, gave a great
ball, to which she invited us. I heard that Mr. Peabody had put his
magnificent Murillo picture in the finest light imaginable, having
built a temporary oratory for it, on the piazza upon which the library
opens. The library was dark as night, and as I entered it, the only
object I could see was this divine Madonna at the end of the
illuminated oratory. It is the Annunciation. There is not the
smallest glory of color in the picture. The power, the wonder of the
picture, is the beauty of the expression and features. Her eyes are
lifted and her hands crossed upon her bosom. The features seem hardly
material, such a fineness and spiritual light transfigure them. It is
the greatest picture I ever saw."

A fragment of a letter suggests a lecture and a great innovation.

"My husband bought a ticket for himself, and went with me!! Mr. Alcott
spent an evening with us a week or more ago, and was very interesting;
telling, at my request, about his youth, and peddling, etc. There were
six ladies and six gentlemen present last Monday evening. They
assembled at Mr. Stone's. Miss Hannah Hodges, Mrs. J. C. Lee, and two
ladies whom I did not know, besides Mrs. Stone and myself; Mr.
Frothingham, Mr. William Silsbee, Mr. Shackford, of Lynn, Mr. Pike,
Mr. Streeter, and my husband, besides Mr. Stone and his son. Mr.
Alcott said he would commence with the Nativity, and first read
Milton's Hymn. Then he retreated to his corner, and for about an hour
and three quarters kept up an even flow of thought, without a word
being uttered by any other person present. Then Mr. Stone questioned
him upon his use of the word 'artistic;' which provoked a fine
analysis from him of the word 'artist' as distinguished from
'artisan.' I thought the whole monologue very beautiful and clear.
This evening Mr. Thoreau is going to lecture, and will stay with us.
His lecture before was so enchanting; such a revelation of nature in
all its exquisite details of wood-thrushes, squirrels, sunshine, mists
and shadows, fresh, vernal odors, pine-tree ocean melodies, that my
ear rang with music, and I seemed to have been wandering through copse
and dingle! Mr. Thoreau has risen above all his arrogance of manner,
and is as gentle, simple, ruddy, and meek as all geniuses should be;
and now his great blue eyes fairly outshine and put into shade a nose
which I once thought must make him uncomely forever."

Several letters from Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne break in upon the usual
quietude with allusions to the real hardship of public misapprehension;
yet no false statements and judgments were ever more coolly received.
Still, Mrs. Hawthorne writes with an excited hand:--

June 8, 1849.

MY DEAR FATHER,--Mr. Hawthorne received news by telegraph to-day that
he is turned out of office headlong. I have written to mother, and
told her, fearing she would hear of it accidentally. We are not cast
down at all, and do not be anxious for us. You will see by my letter
to mother how we are hopeful and cheerful about it, and expect better
things. The cock is crowing the noon of night and I must to bed. I
have written a long letter to mother. We are all well. Your
affectionate daughter,

SOPHIA.

The letter to her mother has not been completely preserved, but
runs:--

. . . The telegraph to-day brought us news that would have made the
cottage [at Lenox] particularly acceptable, because we could have
lived there upon our own responsibility--for the Old General has
turned Mr. Hawthorne out of the Surveyorship. Do not be troubled;
for we are not.

Mr. Hawthorne never liked the office at all, and is rather relieved
than otherwise that it is taken out of his hands, and has an inward
confidence that something much better and more suitable for him will
turn up. As for me, you know I am composed of Hope and Faith, and
while I have my husband and the children I feel as if Montezuma's
diamonds and emeralds were spiritually in my possession. But we look
forward with a kind of rapture to the possibility of now going into
the country somewhere this summer, and setting Una down in a field,
where she so pines to go. Meantime, the newly appointed Surveyor's
commission has not arrived, and so Mr. Hawthorne is not yet out of
office.

I have not seen my husband happier than since this turning out. He has
felt in chains for a long time, and being a MAN, he is not alarmed at
being set upon his own feet again,--or on his head, I might say,--for
that contains the available gold, of a mine scarcely yet worked at
all. As Margaret [Fuller] truly said once, "We have had but a drop or
so from that ocean." We are both perfectly well, too, and brave with
happiness, and "a credence in our hearts, and esperance so absolutely
strong, as doth outvie the attest of eyes and ears." (So Shakespeare
somewhere speaks for us, somewhat so--but not verbatim, for I forget
one or two words.)

Above all, it has come in the way of an inevitable Providence to us
(whatever knavery some people may have to answer for, who have been
the agents in the removal), and I never receive inevitable Providences
with resignation merely; but with joy, as certainly, undoubtedly, the
best possible events that can happen for me--and immediately I begin
to weave the apparent straw into gold, like the maiden in the fairy
tale.

Good-by now, dear mother. Do not be anxious. I should not have told
you this now--fearing you might be troubled--but I was afraid you
might see the removal in the papers, or hear of it; and I thought it
best to let you know just how it is with us, so that you might not
have a shock. Your most affectionate child,

SOPHIA.

MY DEAR FATHER,--Here is a pretty business, discovered in an
unexpected manner to Mr. Hawthorne by a friendly and honorable Whig.
Perhaps you know that the President said before he took the chair that
he should make no removals, except for dishonesty and unfaithfulness.
So that all who voted for him after that declaration pledged
themselves to the same course. You know also doubtless that there has
never been such a succession of removals of honorable and honest men
since we were a nation as since the accession of President
Taylor,--not even under Jackson,--who, however, always removed people
because they were Whigs, without any covert implication of character.
This has been Democratic conduct--to remove for political reasons.

This conduct the Whigs always disapproved, and always said that no one
ought to be removed but from disability or dishonesty. So that now
when any one is removed, it is implied that the person is either a
shiftless or a dishonest man. It is very plain that neither of these
charges could be brought against Mr. Hawthorne. Therefore a most base
and incredible falsehood has been told--written down and signed and
sent to the Cabinet in secret. This infamous paper certifies among
other things (of which we have not heard)--that Mr. Hawthorne has been
in the habit of writing political articles in magazines and
newspapers!

This he has never done, as every one knows, in his life--not one word
of politics was ever written by him. His townsfolk, of course, know it
well. But what will surprise you more than this fact is to hear who
got up this paper, and perjured his soul upon it; who followed his
name with their signatures, and how it was indorsed. It was no less a
person than Mr. C. W. U.!!! who has thus proved himself a liar and a
most consummate hypocrite; for he has always professed himself the
warmest friend. He certifies the facts of the paper; and thirty other
gentlemen of Salem sign their names! Among whom are G. D. and young N.
S., and Mr. R. R.! Can you believe it? Not one of these gentlemen knew
this to be true, because it is not true; and yet, for party ends, they
have all perjured themselves to get away this office, and make the
President believe there were plausible pretexts; they had no idea it
could be found out. But the District Attorney saw the paper. He is a
Whig, but friendly to Mr. Hawthorne, on literary grounds; and the
District Attorney told a Salem gentleman, also a Whig and a personal
friend of Mr. Hawthorne's. Thus, the "murder" is out, through better
members of the same party.

Mr. Hawthorne took the removal with perfect composure and content,
having long expected it on account of his being a Democrat. But
yesterday, when he went to Boston and found out this, the lion was
roused in him. He says it is a cowardly attack upon his character,
done in such secrecy; and that he shall use his pen now in a way he
never has done, and expose the lie, addressing the public. Your child,

SOPHIA.

June 17.

MY BLESSED MOTHER,--Your most welcome and beautiful letter of the 11th
I very gladly received. You take our reverse of fortune in the way I
hoped you would. I feel "beyond the utmost scope and vision of
calamity" (as Pericles said to Aspasia), while my husband satisfies my
highest ideal, and while the graces of heaven fill the hearts of my
children. Everything else is very external. This is the immortal life
which makes flowers of asphodel bloom in my path, and no rude step can
crush them. I exult in my husband. He stands upon a table-land of
high behavior which is far above these mean and false proceedings,
with which a party of intriguers are now concerning themselves, and
covering themselves with the hopeless mud of Dante's Inferno. The
more harm they try to do, deeper down they plunge into the mire; and I
doubt if ever in this world some of them will be able to wash their
faces clean again. My husband supposed he was removed because he was a
Democrat (and you know very well how he has always been a Democrat,
not a Locofoco--if that means a lucifer match). Therefore he took it
as a matter of course in the way of politics; though it surprised me,
because General Taylor had pledged himself not to remove any person
for political opinions, but only for dishonesty and inefficiency. This
was why all Mr. Hawthorne's Whig as well as Democrat friends were sure
he would not be disturbed. He could not even have provoked hostility
by having taken any active part in politics,--never writing, never
speaking, never moving for the cause. But these intriguers secretly
carried out their plan. They wrote in letters false charges which they
sent to Washington, and thirty gentlemen signed their names to a paper
requesting the appointment of Mr. Putnam.

June 21, Thursday.

MY OWN DEAR MOTHER,--I am truly disappointed that you have not had
this letter before, but the tide of events has hurried me away from
it. Now I must write a few words. You never heard of such a time about
any one as there has been about Mr. Hawthorne. The whole country is
up in arms, and will not allow Mr. Hawthorne to be removed. And now I
have the good news to tell you that his removal is suspended at
Washington, and he is either to be reinstated if he will consent, or
to be presented with a better office. At Washington the Government was
deceived, and were not told that the person to be removed was Mr.
Hawthorne--so secret and cunning were these four gentlemen of Salem! I
cannot tell you all the abominable story now; and it is no matter,
since they are caught in their own toils, and defeated. Mr.
Hawthorne's name is ringing through the land. All the latent feeling
about him now comes out, and he finds himself very famous. Mr. Samuel
Hooper has been very active for him. Mr. Howes has done nothing else
for ten days but go back and forth to Boston, and come here to see my
husband, upon the subject. It has wholly roused him out of his deep
affliction for the death of Frederic [his brother], for whom he feels
as if he were acting now, so deep was Frederic's love and admiration
for Mr. Hawthorne. I wrote the above on my lap, following Julian
about, this hottest day. Now I can only say good-by, and implore you
to stay through July among the mountains. It is too hot in West Street
for you. We are all well, here, and there. When I see you, I will
tell you this long story about the removal, which has proved no
removal, as Mr. Hawthorne has not left the Custom House, and the
commission of the new officer has not arrived.

Your loving child,

SOPHIA.

P. S. Just to show to what a detail of meanness and cunning the
reverend person descends, I must tell you that he brought from
Washington a paper which he copied from the original memorial there;
which memorial was a testimony of the merchants of Salem in favor of
Colonel Miller's being Collector. This memorial Mr. Hawthorne, in
official capacity as Surveyor of the Port, and acquainted therefore
with the merchants, indorsed,--saying that, "to the best of his
recollection," these were all the principal merchants, and that they
were responsible persons. In the copy which Mr. U. made he left out
"to the best of his recollection," and made it read that these were
all the merchants of Salem. Stephen C. Phillips's name was not
signed. And so Mr. U. brings this to prove that Mr. Hawthorne is
impeachable for want of veracity! He tried hard to find that my
husband acted politically with regard to Colonel Miller's appointment;
and as this was impossible, he thought he would try to prove him a
false witness. Did you ever know of such pitiful evasions? But there
is no language to describe him. He is, my husband says, the most
satisfactory villain that ever was, for at every point he is
consummate. The Government had decided to reinstate Mr. Hawthorne
before Mr. U.'s arrival at Washington, and his representations changed
the purpose. I trust Mr. Everett will be enlightened about the latter,
so as to see what an unjust act he has committed by retracting his
first letter. "What!" said Charles Sumner of Mr. U., "that smooth,
smiling, oily man of God!"

Hawthorne has occasion to write to the

HON. HORACE MANN, M. C., WEST NEWTON, MASS.

SALEM, June 26, 1849.

MY DEAR SIR,--I have just received your note, in which you kindly
offer me your interest towards reinstating me in the office of
Surveyor.

I was perfectly in earnest in what I told Elizabeth, and should still
be very unwilling to have you enter into treaty with Mr. K., Mr. U.,
or other members of the local party, in my behalf. But, on returning
here, after an absence of two or three days, I found a state of things
rather different from what I expected, the general feeling being
strongly in my favor, and a disposition to make a compromise,
advantageous to me, on the part of some, at least, of those who had
acted against me. "The Essex Register," of yesterday, speaks of an
intention to offer me some better office than that of which I have
been deprived. Now, I do not think that I can, preserving my
self-respect, accept of any compromise. No other office can be offered
me that will not have been made vacant by the removal of a Democrat;
and, even if there were such an office, still, as charges have been
made against me, complete justice can be done only by placing me
exactly where I was before. This also would be the easiest thing for
the Administration to do, as they still hold my successor's commission
suspended. A compromise might indeed be made, not with me, but with
Captain Putnam, by giving him a place in this Custom House--which
would be of greater emolument than my office; and I have reason to
believe that the Collector would accede to such an arrangement.
Perhaps this idea might do something towards inducing Mr. Meredith to
make the reinstatement.

I did not intend to involve you in this business; nor, indeed, have I
desired any friend to take up my cause; but if, in view of the whole
matter, you should see fit to do as Mr. Mills advises, I shall feel
truly obliged. Of course, after consenting that you should use your
influence in my behalf, I should feel myself bound to accept the
reinstatement, if offered. I beg you to believe, also, that I would
not allow you to say a word for me, if I did not know that I have
within my power a complete refutation of any charges of official
misconduct that have been, or may be, brought against me.

Sophia and the children are well. The managers of the Lyceum desire to
know if you will deliver two lectures for them, before the session of
Congress.

Very truly yours,

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.


SALEM, July 2, 1849.

MY DEAR SIR,--I am inclined to think, from various suspicious
indications that I have noticed or heard of, between the Whigs and one
or two of my subordinate officers, that they are concocting, or have
already concocted, a new set of charges against me. Would it not be a
judicious measure for you to write to the Department, requesting a
copy of these charges, that I may have an opportunity of answering
them? There can be nothing (setting aside the most direct false
testimony, if even that) which I shall not have it in my power either
to explain, defend, or disprove. I had some idea of calling for these
charges through the newspapers, but it would bring on a controversy
which might be interminable, and would only, however clearly I should
prove my innocence, make my reinstatement the more difficult; so that
I judge it best to meet the charges in this way--always provided that
there are any.

It grieves me to give you so much trouble; but you must recollect that
it was your own voluntary kindness, and not my importunity, that
involves you in it. Very truly yours,

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

The following letter is fragmentary, because of the demands of some
autograph-hunter.

. . . It occurred to me, after sending off those documents, yesterday,
that I ought to have given you some particulars as to the political
character and standing of the gentlemen who signed them. B. Barstow,
Esq., is Vice-President of the Hickory Club, and a member of the
Democratic Town Committee. William B. Pike is Chairman of the
Democratic County Committee. T. Burchmore, Jr., Esq., is Chairman of
the Democratic Congressional District Committee. Dr. B. E. Browne
signs in his own official character as a member of the Democratic
State Committee. They have all been active in our local politics, and
thoroughly acquainted with the political . . . [mutilated for
autograph signature].

As respects the letter from T. Burchmore, Jr., to myself, I wish to
say a few words. Mr. Burchmore has, for twenty-five years past,
occupied a situation in the Custom House; and for a long time past,
though nominally only head clerk, has been the actual head of the
establishment, owing to his great business talent and thorough
acquaintance with all matters connected with the revenue. He is an
upright and honorable . . . [mutilated] . . . in my behalf; and I would
wish, therefore, in communicating with the Department, that you would
use him as tenderly as possible. Of course, his letter may be sent
on, but it would be best not to advert to his being connected with the
Custom House; and as he holds his office from the Collector, it is
very probable that the Department may not know him in an official
character.

My successor's commission has not yet arrived.

The enemy is very quiet, and I know little or nothing about their
motions.

Mrs. Mann's letter to Sophia arrived this morning.

P. S. The gentlemen above mentioned have a high social standing, as
well as a political one. Mr. Barstow, for instance, you may recollect
as Vice-President of the Salem Lyceum, where he was introduced to you.


SALEM, August 8, 1849.

MY DEAR SIR,--My case is so simple, and the necessary evidence comes
from so few sources, and is so direct in its application, that I think
I cannot mistake my way through it; nor do I see how it can be
prejudiced by my remaining quiet, for the present. I will sketch it to
you as briefly as possible.

Mr. U. accuses me of suspending one or more inspectors for refusing to
pay party subscriptions, and avers that I sent them a letter of
suspension by a messenger, whom he names, and that--I suppose after
the payment of the subscription--I withdrew the suspension.

I shall prove that a question was referred to me--as chief executive
officer of the Custom House--from the Collector's office, as to what
action should be taken on a letter from the Treasury Department,
requiring the dismissal of our temporary inspectors. We had two
officers in that position. They were Democrats, men with large
families and no resources, and irreproachable as officers; and for
these reasons I was unwilling that they should lose their situations.
In order, therefore, to comply with the spirit of the Treasury order,
without ruining these two men, I projected a plan of suspending them
from office during the inactive season of the year, but without
removing them, and in such a manner that they might return to duty
when the state of business should justify it. I wrote an order (which
I still have in my possession) covering these objects, which, however,
was not intended to be acted on immediately, but for previous
consultation with the Deputy Collector and the head clerk. On
consulting the latter gentleman, he was of opinion, for various
reasons which he cited, that the two inspectors might be allowed to
remain undisturbed until further orders from the Treasury; to which,
as the responsibility was entirely with the Collector's Department, I
made no objection. And here, so far as I had any knowledge or concern,
the matter ended.

But it is said that I notified the inspectors of their suspension by a
certain person, who is named. I have required an explanation of this
person, and he at once avowed that, being aware of this contemplated
movement, and being in friendly relations with these two men, he
thought it his duty to inform them of it; but he most distinctly
states that he did it without my authority or knowledge, and that he
will testify to this effect whenever I call upon him so to do. I did
not inquire what communication he had with the two inspectors, or with
either of them; for I look upon his evidence as clearing me, whatever
may have passed between him and them. But my idea is (I may be
mistaken, but it is founded on some observation of the manoeuvres of
small politicians, and knowing the rigid discipline of custom houses
as to party subscriptions) that there really was an operation, to
squeeze an assessment out of the recusant inspectors, under the terror
of an impending removal or suspension; that one of the inspectors
turned traitor, and was impelled, by the threats and promises of Mr.
U. and his coadjutors, to bring his evidence to a pretty direct point
on me; and that Mr. U., in his memorial to the Treasury Department,
defined and completed the lie, in such shape as I have given it above.
But I do not see how it can stand for a moment against my defense.

The head clerk (the same Mr. Burchmore whose letter I transmitted to
you) was turned out a week ago, and will gladly give his evidence at
any moment, proving the grounds on which I acted. The other person who
is said to have acted as messenger is still in office, a weigher and
gauger, at a salary of $1500 per annum. He is a poor man, having been
in office but two years, and expended all his income in paying debts
for which he was an indorser, and he now wishes to get a few hundred
dollars to carry him to California, or give him some other start in
life. Still, he will come forward if I call upon him, but, of course,
would rather wait for his removal, which will doubtless take place
before the session of Congress. Meantime, I have no object to obtain,
worth purchasing at the sacrifice which he must make. My surveyorship
is lost, and I have no expectation, nor any desire, of regaining it.
My purpose is simply to make such a defense to the Senate as will
insure the rejection of my successor, and thus satisfy the public that
I was removed on false or insufficient grounds. Then, if Mr. U. should
give me occasion,--or perhaps if he should not,--I shall do my best to
kill and scalp him in the public prints; and I think I shall succeed.

I mean soon to comply with your kind invitation to come and see you,
not on the above business, but because I think of writing a
schoolbook,--or, at any rate, a book for the young,--and should highly
prize your advice as to what is wanted, and how it should be achieved.
I mean, as soon as possible,--that is to say, as soon as I can find a
cheap, pleasant, and healthy residence,--to remove into the country,
and bid farewell forever to this abominable city; for, now that my
mother is gone, I have no longer anything to keep me here.

Sophia and the children are pretty well. With my best regards to Mrs.
Mann, I am, Very truly yours,

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

P. S. Do pardon me for troubling you with this long letter: but I am
glad to put you in possession of the facts, in case of accidents.

I will insert here some letters that relate to this time, though
written in 1884:--

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, September 15.

DEAR MRS. LATHROP, . . . That matter of the memorial fountain, or
monument [in honor of "The Town Pump "], which the death of Mrs.
Brooks prevented our going on with, I trust may yet in the fullness of
time be accomplished. I have a plan which may fructify, although some
years may intervene before any decided steps can be taken. Perhaps it
will be just as well to wait, after all, until some of those wretches
who delight in vilifying your father perish from the face of the
earth. Let us have patience. They are fast becoming superannuated, and
the "venom of their spleen" will perish with them. They comprehend him
not, and are willfully blind and deaf. Dr. Wheatland estimates that
less than a score of these strange malignants are now to be met with
on the streets of Salem. But he has not like me

  "Unaware,
  Ranging the woods to start a hare,
  Come to the mouth of the dark lair,
  Where growling low, a fierce old bear,
  Lies amid bones and blood."

By the bye, I found once that Miss Savage had wholly forgotten
Hawthorne's reference to the Town Pump which closes his Custom House
chapter, and so I put "The Scarlet Letter" into my valise (she having
lost her copy), and two or three weeks ago I called at her house and
read her the passage. Afterwards, I dropped in to see Mullet, and I
left the book with him, as he had not read it for many years. I think
you will like to see a note he has written me, so I inclose it.

Faithfully yours,

GEORGE H. HOLDEN.


February 5.

MY DEAR MRS. LATHROP,--Rummaging among my papers, last evening, I ran
across another letter from our "bright-eyed" and noble-hearted friend
Mullet, which I think you will be glad to read, because Mullet wrote
it. I therefore inclose the letter. Mullet is very hard of hearing,
and on that account goes out but little. During the twelve years that
I lived in Salem I am sure I never once met him on the street. In
fact, I think I never heard of him, even, till after I moved to
Providence. I heard of him one day at the "Gazette" office, and
forthwith dug him out. He is a great reader. The Harpers have sent me
all of Rolfe's Shakespeare, and I found that I have duplicate copies
of three or four of the Plays. These duplicates I shall ask Mullet to
oblige me by accepting. Mullet is not the chap who bored your father
so fearfully by endless talk about Shakespeare and Napoleon, but he is
a prodigious admirer of the great dramatist. He has the Plays in one
huge, unwieldy volume, and for that reason reads them less than he
would if they were in a more handy form. Mullet is a great reader of
the old English poets (I don't mean so far back as Chaucer and
Spenser), and I suppose he can repeat from memory thousands of lines.
I have found no chance to call upon him since I fruitlessly rang his
doorbell, as stated in his letter.

Please remind me to tell you about an African fetich which Mullet gave
me one day, and a reminiscence of your father linked therewith. Ever
faithfully,

GEORGE H. HOLDEN.


SALEM, September 10, 1884.

DEAR MR. HOLDEN,--It was my good fortune during the year 1850 to be
presented with a copy of "The Scarlet Letter," together with "the
compliments of the author." Of course, the gift was highly prized; but
its fate was that of many other volumes, borrowed and never returned.
A volume of the same, from the late edition issued last year, proved a
most welcome visitor to my enforced seclusion. After the lapse of many
years I once more had the real pleasure of reading over that popular
work. The enjoyment derived from a fresh perusal of the introductory
chapter on the Custom House was great indeed. It seemed like living
over that period of my existence again. The scenes described in such a
masterly manner were vividly before me; and while reading I frequently
stopped to laugh at the scrupulously nice delineation. The zest with
which I read was heightened by the reproduction of the characters in
that superlative picture of word-painting, for they together with the
artist were vividly--I had almost said palpably--before me, as though
it were a thing of yesterday. How real the "patriarchal body of
veterans" appeared, "tipped back in chairs," and "at times asleep; but
occasionally might be heard talking together in voices between speech
and a snore. There was no more vivacity than in the drowsy drone of
so many bumblebees." However much others may be entertained by reading
that chapter of exquisite humor, those who were the daily witnesses of
the scenes for several years can best appreciate its nicety and
drollery. The "veteran shipmaster," concerning whom Hawthorne says,
"scarcely a day passed that he did not stir me to laughter and
admiration by his marvelous gift as a story-teller," was Captain
Stephen Burchmore, the public storekeeper. The stories of themselves
were generally extravagant and grotesque. It was "the marvelous gift"
of narration that carried people off their legs. I have known the
company present to roar with laughter, and not one more convulsed than
Mr. Hawthorne. Truly yours,

GEORGE W. MULLET.


SALEM, October 1, 1883.

DEAR MR. HOLDEN,--You request me to "write the particulars about the
good turn I had done Hawthorne in sacrificing my own interests in his
behalf."

Mr. Hawthorne had not been thought of in connection with any office in
the Custom House until after arrangements were made to have them
filled with others. Richard Lindsay was supported for the surveyorship
and myself for the naval office. All necessary documents had been
forwarded to Washington, duly authenticated, and tidings of the
appointments daily looked for.

At this late stage Hawthorne was first suggested for Surveyor. The
matter was urgently pushed. To accomplish it, Lindsay must be
prevailed upon to withdraw. All were agreed that I was the one to
engineer the matter, Lindsay and myself being fast friends, and our
relations uninterruptedly pleasant. That he would willingly consent
was not expected, and indeed it was problematical if he would at all.
I felt exceedingly delicate about suggesting the business, as I had in
person been through the country obtaining signatures from resident
committees favoring his appointment. I therefore voluntarily offered
to withdraw my application for the naval office in favor of Hawthorne,
but that found no favor.

Finally, to secure the desideratum, I proposed that Lindsay and self
both withdraw, and have the offices filled with others. I desired my
friend should understand that I asked for no sacrifice I was not
willing to share. My withdrawal was stoutly opposed as entirely
unnecessary, but it was my ultimatum; on no other condition would I
move in the matter. The business was then broken by me to Lindsay, and
it required all the persuasion I could exercise to reconcile him to
the arrangement. The expedient of my own withdrawal brought it about;
otherwise it would not have been accomplished.

It now only remained for us to write to Washington, withdrawing our
candidatures, and transferring all our support to the applications of
Hawthorne for Surveyor and Howard for Naval Officer. Soon their
commissions came, and Lindsay and myself were subsequently appointed
as inspectors under Hawthorne.

At that time I regarded Hawthorne's appointment as decidedly popular
with the party, with men of letters, and with the increasing multitude
who admired him as one of the brightest stars in the literary
firmament.

Never have I experienced the least regret for waiving my own advantage
to bring the pleasing result about. For nearly four years it brought
me almost daily into proximity with him, either officially or
casually. The recollection well repays the little sacrifice made. His
port, his placidity, his hours of abstraction, his mild, pleasant
voice,--no sweeter ever uttered by mortal lips,--are all readily
recalled. Truly yours,

G. W. MULLET.



CHAPTER V

FROM SALEM TO BERKSHIRE


Plans for retiring into the depths of the country were made, and
Horatio Bridge was requested to see what chance there was for a home
near the ocean, to which Hawthorne always turned as to the most
desirable neighbor. Mr. Bridge responds in part:--

UNITED STATES NAVY YARD, PORTSMOUTH, N. H.

August 6, 1849.

DEAR HAWTHORNE,--. . . I have looked at a house, which you will probably
like . . . and it commands a fine sea view. If it can be hired, it is
just the place. . . . We are busy in fixing ourselves in our new
quarters, where we shall be most happy to see you. Mrs. Bridge joins
me in kind regards to Mrs. H. and yourself. Love to Una and the unseen
Julian.

Yours ever, H. B.

A letter from Mrs. Bridge, which does not mention the year, is a
specimen of many similar ones from other friends:--

PHILADELPHIA, July 1.

MY DEAR MRS. HAWTHORNE,--I heard yesterday by way of Africa that you
had not received a note which I left at the Winthrop House for you
last summer. You must have thought me very neglectful. I should have
acknowledged the receipt of any book you might have sent me; but most
sincerely did I thank you for that which had given me so much
pleasure. I remember very distinctly my past knowledge of Mr.
Hawthorne as an author, and the bitter tears I shed over "The Gentle
Boy." When I had read it until I thought myself quite hardened to its
influence, I offered to read it to our dear old nurse, who had been
the patient listener to the whole family for many a year. I prided
myself upon my nursery reputation for stoicism, which I should lose if
my voice faltered. I was beginning to doubt my ability to get calmly
through the next page, when the old lady exclaimed, in such a truly
yet ludicrously indignant tone, "Dretful creturs!" that I had a fair
right to laugh while she wiped the tears off of her spectacles. The
time gained placed me on a firmer footing, and I got safely through
thereby. I enjoy Mr. Hawthorne's writings none the less now that I
can laugh and cry when I am inclined. Will you give him my kindest
regards. He is very often mentioned by Mr. Bridge, who, by the way,
goes to the Mediterranean in September. I hope to join him there.

With much regard, truly yours,

C. M. BRIDGE.

Promptly, in their hour of misfortune, arrived a letter from one of
Mrs. Hawthorne's dearest friends, which I give here:--

STATEN ISLAND, September 10, 1849.

Thank you, my dear Sophia, for your letter. I have been thinking a
great deal of you lately, and was glad to know of your plans. Before I
heard from you, I had expended a great amount of indignation upon
"General Taylor" and his myrmidons, and politics and parties, and the
whole host of public blessings which produce private misfortunes. I
am glad you are going to Lenox, because it is such a beautiful place,
and you have so many warm friends there. Life is a pretty sad affair,
dear Sophia; at least, I find it so. . . . We have felt, that Bob
[Colonel Robert Shaw] required to be removed from home influences, as
he has no brothers; and, being unwilling to send him to a school of
the usual order, we chose the Jesuit College at Fordham, near New
York, where there are a hundred and fifty boys, and a great many holy
fathers to teach and take care of them. I inclose a check from Frank,
which he hopes Mr. Hawthorne will accept as it is offered, and as lie
would do if the fate had been reversed. He does not ask you to accept
his gift,--so pay it back when you don't want it, here or hereafter,
or never. I only wish it was a thousand. Dear Sophia, when I think of
such men as your husband, Page, and some others, so pinched and
cramped for this abominable money, it makes me outrageous. If it were
one of those trials that do people good, it would be bearable; but it
kills one down so. Shakespeare felt it when he said:--

 "Tired with all these, for restful death I cry, As, to behold desert
a beggar born, And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity."

God bless you, dear Sophia,--as He has, notwithstanding General
Taylor. Believe me ever most affectionately your friend, S. B. S.

Miss Elizabeth Hoar, engaged to Mr. Emerson's brother Charles, who
died in youth, writes letters of regret for the departure of the
Hawthornes from Concord:--

. . . Remember me to Mr. Hawthorne and beautiful Una. That you three
have lived here in Concord for so many fair days is a page of romance
which I shall not forget; whatever happens, so much we have and cannot
lose. Affectionately always,

E. HOAR.

. . . I should like very much to see you and Mr. Hawthorne, and your Una
and her brother, and have made two unsuccessful efforts to spend a day
with you in Salem. I was in New Haven at the time of the publication
of the "Mosses," and all my friends were reading them. I found myself
quite a lion because I knew Mr. Hawthorne; and became a sort of author
in my turn, by telling stories of the inhabitants of the Old Manse,
omitted in the printed books. Father was charmed with them, and wrote
to me quite at length about them. Pray remember me to Mr. Hawthorne,
and give him my thanks for writing the book. Mr. Emerson is in Paris
from May 6th to joth, then lectures in London six times, and sees
everybody and everything. I am heartily glad. He has letters which are
to show him Lamartine.

Affectionately yours,

ELIZABETH HOAR.

The first Mrs. Lowell, who had long been an intimate friend of my
mother's, sends beautiful letters, from which I will make selections,
too lovely to be set aside:--

"How blessed it is that God sends these 'perpetual messiahs' among us,
to lead us back to innocence and free-heartedness and faith. . . . I
have seen a picture of the Annunciation in which Mary is reading the
prophecy of the Messiah's coming. . . . Mary is a type of all women,
and I love the Roman Catholic feeling that enshrines and appeals to
her. It has its root in the very deepest principle of life. . . .
James is very well, and to say that he is very happy, too, is
unnecessary to any one who knows his elastic, joyful nature. . . .
When I feel well and strong, I feel so well and strong that I could,
like Atlas, bear the world about with me. . . . I love to work with my
hands; to nail, to glue, to scour, to dig; all these satisfy a
yearning in my nature for something substantial and honest. My mother
often tells me I was born to be a poor man's wife, I have such an
aptitude for all trades."

. . . Is not June the crown of the year, the Carnival of Nature, when
the very trees pelt each other with blossoms, and are stirring and
bending when no wind is near them, because they are so full of inward
life, and must shiver for joy to feel how fast the sap is rushing up
from the ground? On such days can you sing anything but, "Oh,
beautiful Love"? Doesn't it seem as if Nature wore your livery and
wished to show the joy of your heart in every possible form? The
everlasting hum and seething of myriad life satisfies and soothes me.
I feel as if something were going on in the world, else why all this
shouting, and bedecking of every weed in its best, this endless strain
from every tiny weed or great oaken flute? All that cannot sing,
dances; the gnats in the air and the long-legged spiders on the water.
Even the ants and beetles, the workers that are quoted for examples by
hoarding men, run about doing nothing, putting their busy antennae
into everything, tumbling over the brown mould for sheer enjoyment,
and running home at last without the little white paper parcel in
their mouths which gives them so respectable an air. Doubtless the
poor things are scolded by their infirm parents, who sit sunning
themselves at the door of the house. . . . Beetles seem to me to have
a pleasant life, because they, who have fed for two or three years
underground upon the roots, come forth at last winged, and find their
nourishment in the blooms of the very same tree. It comforts me,
because we have ourselves to eat many bitter roots here, whose perfect
flower shall one day delight us. This, dear Sophia, has been a long
ramble. I promised to copy that sonnet of James's for you, so I
inclose it.

With true sympathy and love, Affectionately yours,

MARIA WHITE.

From George S. Hillard came the following letter. On the envelope my
father has written Hillard's name and "The Scarlet Letter," showing
with what interest he preserved this friend's criticism and praise. On
the other side of the envelope is written, "Foi, Foi, Faith." No one
ever was more faithful to, and consequently ever had more faith in,
his friends than my father.

BOSTON, March 28, 1850.

MY DEAR HAWTHORNE,--You have written a most remarkable book; in point
of .literary talent, beyond all your previous efforts; a book full of
tragic power, nice observation, delicate tact, and rare knowledge of
the human heart. I think it will take a place in our literature among
the highest efforts of what may be called the Tragic Muse of fiction.
You are, intellectually speaking, quite a puzzle to me. How comes it
that with so thoroughly healthy an organization as you have, you have
such a taste for the morbid anatomy of the human heart, and such
knowledge of it, too? I should fancy from your books that you were
burdened with 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 was in
Paradise. For my own taste, I could wish that you would dwell more in
the sun, and converse more with cheerful thoughts and lightsome
images, and expand into a story the spirit of the Town Pump. But while
waiting for this, let me be thankful for the weird and sad strain
which breathes from "The Scarlet Letter," which I read with most
absorbing interest. Yours ever,

GEO. S. HILLARD.

The owner of the cottage which the Hawthornes hired in Lenox sends a
welcome:--

DEAR SOPHIA,--Since we came up here, I have examined the little house
you think of taking, and cannot but hope you will take the red house
in preference; for although that is not so large or convenient as I
wish it were for you, it is much more so than the little garden house.
You have a rough plan of that, which Mr. Tappan drew for Mr.
Hawthorne, and I will give you one of this. There are four good
sleeping-rooms upstairs, but without fireplaces, and could only be
ameliorated in winter by an entry stove. The house is pleasantly
situated, having a view of the Lake, as you know. The road passing by
the red house is so little traveled that it is no annoyance. Perhaps
you and Mr. Hawthorne would like to come and see the houses for
yourselves; if so, we shall be very glad to have you stay with us. I
have no time to tell you how lovely it is here, or how glad we are you
are coming.

Affectionately yours,

CAROLINE TAPPAN.

The search for a desirable hillside or meadow space where they might
make a new home, away from city streets and the hurrying prisoners
upon them, was pleasantly ended for the Hawthornes. The transfer of
the little family to Lenox soon occurred, and to the "red house,"
which was in existence until lately. I will quote a description of the
cottage and the views about the spot, given in a Stockbridge paper not
long after the small dwelling disappeared:--

"On a stand in the curious old hotel in Stockbridge is a charred chunk
of an oaken house-beam that is as carefully treasured as if it were of
gold; and every guest strolling through the parlor wherein it is shown
halts and gazes at it with a singular interest. A placard pinned to
the cinder explains in these words why it is treasured and why the
people gaze at it: 'Relic from the Hawthorne Cottage.' The Hawthorne
Cottage stood half a mile out of Stockbridge on the road to Lenox. It
was burned two months ago. It was a little red story-and-a-half house
on a lonely farm, and an old farmer, himself somewhat of a bookworm,
dwelt in it with his family at the time it mysteriously took fire. The
cottage was a landmark, because Nathaniel Hawthorne dwelt therein in
1850 and 1851 for a year and a half. A great many people go out to
see the ruins of it.

"Drive along a lonely winding road through a homely New England
district several hundred yards west of the pretentious mansions of
Stockbridge, pass through a breezy open patch of pines, and one comes
to a characteristic hillside New England orchard, the branches of
whose trees just now are bright with ripening red apples. On the
hillslope in the middle of the orchard and overlooking the famous
'Stockbridge Bowl'--a round deep tarn among the hills--are the brick
cellar walls and brick underpinning of what was a very humble
dwelling--the Hawthorne Cottage. About the ruins is a quiet, modest,
New England neighborhood. There is not much to see at the site of the
Hawthorne Cottage, yet every day fashionable folk from New York and
Boston and a score of western cities drive thither with fine equipages
and jingling harness, halt, and look curiously for a minute or two at
the green turf of the dooryard and the crumbling brick walls of the
cottage site."

To go from Salem to Lenox was to contrast very forcibly the somewhat
oppressed spirits of historical association with the healthy grandeur
of nature. The books my father wrote here embrace this joy of
untheoried, peaceful, or gloriously perturbed life of sky and land.
Theory of plot or principle was as much beneath him as the
cobble-stones; from self-righteous harangues he turned as one who had
heard a divine voice that alone deserved to declare. He taught as
Nature does, always leading to thoughts of something higher than the
dictum of men, and nobler than their greatest beauty of action. He
said it was difficult for him to write in the presence of such a view
as the "little red house" commanded. It certainly must have been a
scene that expressed otherwise unutterable sublimity. But if my father
struggled to bring his human power forward in the presence of an
outlook that so reminded him of God, he did bring it forward there,
and we perceive the aroma and the color which his work could not have
gained so well in a town or a village covert.

Mrs. Hawthorne's letters, written for the pleasure of her family, in
spite of her growing cares, continue to be a source of intelligence to
us:--

MY DEAR LIZZIE,--I have just received your letter, for which I am very
glad. You say that mother may come to-night. I truly hope she will.
But as the heavy fog we had here this morning may have been a rain in
Boston, I write now, to request father to go to Oak Hall, or to some
ready-made linen-store, and buy Mr. Hawthorne two linen sacks, well
made, and good linen. He is a perfect bunch of rags, and he will not
let me make him anything to wear--absolutely will not. But he consents
that something shall be bought. If mother should be delayed beyond
Monday, this can be done; otherwise it cannot.

I am very sorry about the little books; but I do not see any help.
Ticknor & Co. were going to have illustrations drawn for them, and Mr.
Hawthorne thinks they are begun, that money has been expended, and
that it is too late to change the plan. He says, he is bound by his
engagement, and cannot recede; but that if you can change their
purposes independently of him,--if they are willing, he is. Mr. Fields
has not said a word about the Fairy Tales, and I do not know whether
Mr. H. intends to write them now. I never ask him what he is about.
But I know he is not writing seriously this hot weather. God bless
you all,

SOPHIECHEN.

Sunday.

MY DEAR MOTHER,--'This has been a dull "heaven's day" for the
children, who have not been so merry as on a sunny day. I have read to
them, and shown them my drawings of Flaxman's Iliad and Odysse and
Hesiod. I wish you could have seen them the other day, acting Giant
Despair and Mrs. Diffidence. They were sitting on chairs opposite the
doorsteps; Julian with one little leg over the other, in a nonchalant
attitude; Una also in negligent position. They were discussing their
prisoners, Hopeful and Christian, in very gruff and unamiable voices.
"Well, what had we better do with them?" "Oh, beat them pretty well,
every day!" The air of the two figures, and their tones, in comparison
with the faces and forms, were very funny. I heard Una telling Julian
that Christian's bundle was a "bunch of naughtiness." Julian became
Columbus all at once, on Friday, and ran in from out of doors to get
some blocks to build a cross on the island which he had discovered. He
said, "Where is my sword to hold in my hand when I get out of my
ship?" [He was between four and five years old.]

Sunday, 20th.

A famous snowstorm. I read from Spenser to the children, in the
morning, of St. George and Una, Una and the Lion, and Prince Arthur.
Then, Cinderella. They made an exquisite picture, with the
hobby-horse. Julian was upon the horse,--as a king; Una at his side,
presenting ambrosia. In the P. M. I read them Andersen's "Angel and
Child," "The Swineherd," and "Little Ida's Flowers;" and their father
read to them from "The Black Aunt." In the evening my husband read to
me the "Death of Adam and Eve," by Montgomery, and something of
Crabbe's.

Tuesday, 22d. Clear, splendid day. The children took their little
straw baskets and went to find flowers. They were gone a great while,
and came back with a charming bunch--arbutus, anemones, violets, and
houstonia.

They went to walk with their father in the afternoon, to the woods and
mountains, and brought home arbutus; and Julian, laurel for me to make
a wreath for papa's head,--laurel of last year.

23d. Julian arranged his cabinet of shells and animals, hammered, ran
like a wolf, told stories to himself, helped me make beds, and held
cotton for me to wind, watched Mr. Tappan at his young trees, and when
his father came down [from writing upstairs] played with him. I sewed
all the evening while my husband read the "Castle of Indolence," and
finished it.

DEAREST LIZZIE,--Mrs. Sedgwick takes the most kind and motherly
interest in my affairs. Both she and her husband come quite often,
and Mr. Sedgwick sends Mr. Hawthorne a great many papers. I wish you
would tell me whether you think Tall Ann is able to do our work; but
from what she said about being deprived of the Church services and
Holy Communion, I know she would not do without them. She would be as
quiet here as in heaven. There have been a succession of golden days
for a long while, and I have thought

  "Time had run back, and brought the age of gold,"

it has been so superb. It is now a golden and rose-colored twilight.
The most distant mountains are of the palest azure, and the Lake, pale
rose. It is haymaking season, and the children roam abroad with the
haymakers,--oh, such happy hours! The air is fragrant with the dying
breath of clover and sweet-scented grass. Julian is getting nut-brown.
He is a real chestnut. We are all wonderfully happy, and I can
conceive of no greater peace and content. Last Sunday afternoon we all
went to the Lake, and Una and I wove a laurel wreath, and Una crowned
her father. For mountain-laurel grows about us. We have now twelve
hens. Twice a day we all go and feed them. We go in single file. Mr.
Hawthorne called it to-day the procession of the equinoxes. The hens
have some of them been named: Snowdrop, Crown Imperial, Queenie, and
Fawn. Snowdrop is very handsome and white.

Mrs. Hawthorne's mother writes to her in this manner:--

June 8, 1850.

MY BELOVED,--Esther Sturgis brought me your letter yesterday. . . . I
hope you have time to enjoy this fine weather. I please myself with
imagining various enjoyments for you all in the peaceful scenes around
you, maugre the household cares that must fall to your lot. May the
spirit of inspiration drive all petty cares from your husband, and
fill his soul with thoughts that shall bear blessings to ages yet
unborn!' He must write--therefore you must court the love of the
humble, whose destiny it is to lighten the labors of the gifted ones
of the earth. I feel ashamed when I detect myself in thinking that a
kitchen-maid is lower in the scale of being than I am. What would the
learned and the gifted do if there was no humble one to make the bread
that supports life? Kiss your precious little ones, and tell them that
grandmamma thinks of them daily; that in spirit she joins in their
charming walks, in their search for flowers, in their admiration of
the woods, mountains, and fields, and in their holy inspirations while
gazing at the glories of the starlit heavens, or the rising or setting
sun. May God bless and keep you all.

YOUR MOTHER.

August 1.

MY DEAREST MOTHER,--I was more troubled at the hindrance Mr. Hawthorne
suffered by our being without help a fortnight than by anything else,
because he would not let me bear any weight of care or labor, but
insisted upon doing everything himself. Yet he says that he cannot
write deeply during midsummer, at any rate. He can only seize the
skirts of ideas and pin them down for further investigation. Besides,
he has not recovered his pristine vigor. The year ending in June was
the trying year of his life, as well as of mine [on account of
political calumny]. I have not yet found again all my wings; neither
is his tread yet again elastic. But the ministrations of nature will
have their effect in due time. Mr. Hawthorne thinks it is Salem which
he is dragging at his ankles still. . . . Yes, we find kindest friends
on every side. The truest friendliness is the great characteristic of
the Sedgwick family in all its branches. They seem to delight to make
happy, and they are as happy as summer days themselves. They really
take the responsibility of my being comfortable, as if they were
mother, father, brother, sister. We have fallen into the arms of
loving-kindness, and cannot suffer for any aid or support in
emergencies. This I know will give you a reposeful content concerning
us. Mr. Tappan is a horn of benefits. He seems to have the sweetest
disposition; and his shy, dark eyes are always gleaming with
hospitable smiles for us. We could not be in more agreeable
circumstances, very well,--only I feel rather too far from you all. I
want you to come, to avoid those terrible prostrations from heat.
Here, we will give you a fresh egg every morning, beaten up to a foam
with new milk; and you shall have honey in the comb, and sweetest
vegetables out of our garden, and currants to refresh your parched
mouth. And you shall have peace, and rest, and quiet walks in stately
woods; and you shall sit in the barn upon clover hay, and see the dear
children play about and rejoice in your presence. You shall see us
feed the hennipennies, and hear that most quiet sound of their
clucking and murmuring.

Last Saturday night who should appear but Mr. O' Sullivan! The last we
had heard of him was that he had the yellow fever at New Orleans, and
that he was arrested for some movements with regard to Cuba. He is now
on bail, and will return to be tried in December. He returned to
Stockbridge that night, and on Monday came in a double carriage and
took us there, to the house of Mrs. Field, an old friend of his
mother's. We were received with the most whole-hearted hospitality,
and Una and I stayed all night, and Mr. O'Sullivan brought Mr.
Hawthorne and Julian back, because Mr. Hawthorne did not wish to stay.
I stayed ostensibly to go to a torchlight festival in an ice glen, but
I wished more to see the O'Sullivans than the festival. We had a
charming visit. Mrs. Field carried me to the scene of the sacrifice of
Everell in "Hope Leslie," for it is upon her estate,--a superb hill
covered with laurels,--and this sacrifice rock near the summit, and
the council chambers beneath. That was where the noble Magawesca's
arm was stricken off. The children enjoyed themselves extremely, and
behaved so beautifully that they won all hearts. They thought that
there never was such a superb child as Julian, nor such a grace as
Una. "They are neither too shy, nor bold," said Mrs. Field, "but just
right." There was a huge black Newfoundland dog, Hero, which delighted
Julian, and he rode on its back; and a little white silk dog, Fay,
very piquant and intelligent. It was a large, rambling mansion, with
india-rubber rooms that always stretch to accommodate any number of
guests, Mr. O'Sullivan said, such is Mrs. Field's boundless
hospitality. The house stands in a bower of trees, and behind it is
the richest dell, out of which rises Laurel Hill, which in its season
is one of perfect bloom. Rustic seats are at hand all about, and the
prettiest winding .paths, and glimpses of the Housatonic River gem the
plain. It has not the wide scope and proud effect of our picture, but
it is the dearest, sweetest, lovingest retreat one can imagine. Mr.
O'Sullivan took me to see Mrs. Harry Sedgwick, in the evening; a noble
woman with a gleam in her face. I owed her a call. There I also saw
Mrs. Robert Sedgwick, and the Ashburners, who called upon us at
Highwood.

We went to a bridge where we could see the torchlight party come out
of the Ice Glen, and it looked as if a host of stars had fallen out of
the sky, and broken to pieces; so said the Count O'S. We waited till
they arrived to us, and then we saw Mrs. Charles Sedgwick and her
pretty school-girls embark in an endless open omnibus for Lenox. They
were all lighted up by the burning torches, and were dressed in
fantastic costumes of brilliant colors, scarlet being predominant.
Those girls looked like a bouquet of bright flowers, as they sat
waving farewells, and receiving with smiles the cheers of all the
young gentlemen, who raised their torches and shouted, "Hurrah!" Poor,
dear Mrs. Charles! She looked so warm and so flushed--just like a
torch, herself!--and so lovely, kind, and happy, in the midst of her
living roses. Above, serenely shone myriads of pale stars in the clear
sky; around the horizon, heat-lightning flashed. The moon was rising
in the east; and in the north, the aurora borealis bloomed like a vast
lily. It was really a rare scene. We returned to Mrs. Harry
Sedgwick's. There she stood, receiving the greetings of the members
of the party; every gentleman bearing a torch, which lighted up a rosy
face at his side. Such happiness as they enjoyed--such spirit and
such mirth! It was worth witnessing. I found that everybody of note in
Stockbridge dearly loves our friend, Mr. O'Sullivan. He is the "pet"
and "darling" and "the angelic" with them all. And through him we were
known to them.

Most affectionately,

SOPHIECHEN.

September 4.

MY DEAREST MOTHER,--To-day, Mr. Hawthorne and Mr. Melville have gone
to dine at Pittsfield. Mr. Tappan took them in his carriage. I went
to Highwood after breakfast, to ask for the carriage and horses, as
you know Mr. Tappan has put them at our disposition, if we will only
drive. I found James sitting in state at the gate, in the wagon, and
concluded that there was no hope. But behold, Mr. Tappan was just
about starting for Pittsfield, himself; and with the most beautiful
cordiality of hospitality he said he would come over to take the
gentlemen. This would have been no particular courtesy in some
persons, but for this shy dear, who particularly did not wish, for
some reason, to be introduced to Mr. Melville, it was very pretty. I
have no doubt he will be repaid by finding Mr. Melville a very
different man from what he imagines, and very agreeable and
entertaining. We find him so. A man with a true, warm heart, and a
soul and an intellect,--with life to his finger-tips; earnest,
sincere, and reverent; very tender and modest. And I am not sure that
he is not a very great man; but I have not quite decided upon my own
opinion. I should say, I am not quite sure that _I_ do not think him a
very great man; for my opinion is, of course, as far as possible from
settling the matter. He has very keen perceptive power; but what
astonishes me is, that his eyes are not large and deep. He seems to
see everything very accurately; and how he can do so with his small
eyes, I cannot tell. They are not keen eyes, either, but quite
undistinguished in any way. His nose is straight and rather handsome,
his mouth expressive of sensibility and emotion. He is tall and erect,
with an air free, brave, and manly. When conversing, he is full of
gesture and force, and loses himself in his subject. There is no grace
nor polish. Once in a while, his animation gives place to a singularly
quiet expression, out of these eyes to which I have objected; an
indrawn, dim look, but which at the same time makes you feel that he
is at that instant taking deepest note of what is before him. It is a
strange, lazy glance, but with a power in it quite unique. It does not
seem to penetrate through you, but to take you into himself. I saw him
look at Una so, yesterday, several times. He says it is Mr. Mathews
who is writing in "The Literary World" the visit to Berkshire. Mr.
Mathews calls Mr. Hawthorne "Mr. Noble Melancholy," in the next number
of the paper. You know, what you read was the introduction only. It is
singular how many people insist that Mr. Hawthorne is gloomy, since he
is not. He is pensive, perhaps, as all contemplative persons must be;
especially when, as in him, "a great heart is the household fire of a
grand intellect" (to quote his own words), because he sees and
sympathizes with all human suffering. He has always seemed to me, in
his remote moods, like a stray Seraph, who had experienced in his own
life no evil, but by the intention of a divine intellect, saw and
sorrowed over all evil.

[Among my mother's early letters to my father, this poem, written in
her fine, delicate hand upon old-fashioned fancy note paper, was
evidently her expression of this feeling.]

  THE SERAPH AND THE DOVE.

  A Seraph strayed to earth from upper spheres,
  Impelled by inward motion, vague yet strong:
  He knew not wherefore he must leave the throng
  Of kindred hierarchs for a world of tears:
  But, mailed in proof divine, he felt no fears,
  Obedient to an impulse clear of wrong:
  And so he ceased awhile his heavenly song,
  To measure his immortal life by years.
  His arched brow uprose, a throne of light,
  Where ordered thought a rule superior held;
  Within his eyes celestial splendors dwell'd,
  Ready to glow and bless with subject might,
  When he should find why God had sent him here,
  Shot like a star from out his native sphere.

  He was alone; he stood apart from men:
  His simple nature could not solve their ways;
  For he had lived a life of love and praise,
  And they forgot that God their Source had been.
  So mused he on the visions of his mind,
  Which, wondrous fair, recalled his home above:
  He wist not why he was to space confin'd,
  But waited, trusting in Omnific love.
  Then lo! came fluttering to his arms a Dove,
  Which for her foot had never yet found rest:
  The Seraph folded her within his breast,

And as he felt the brooding warmth, he conscious, smiled and said, "Yes,
Father! Heaven can only be where kindred spirits wed!"

["My Dove" was one of my father's names for my mother; he found her a
seal with a dove upon it. She several times referred to this title
with joy, in talks with me.]

As his life has literally been so pure from the smallest taint of
earthliness, it can only be because he is a Seer, that he knows of
crime. Not Julian's little (no, great) angel heart and life are freer
from any intention or act of wrong than his. And this is best proof
to me of the absurdity of the prevalent idea that it is necessary to
go through the fiery ordeal of sin to become wise and good. I think
such an idea is blasphemy and the unpardonable sin. It is really
abjuring God's voice within. We have not received, as we ought to have
done, the last Saturday's number of "The Literary World." I have a
great curiosity to read about "Mr. Noble Melancholy." Poor aunty! [Her
aunt Pickman.] I really do not believe Shakespeare will be injured by
being spoken of in the same paper with Mr. Hawthorne. But no
comparison is made between them, though there is no reason why one
great man may not be compared to another. There is no absolute
difference in created souls, after all; and the intuitions of genius
are identical, necessarily; for what is an intuition of genius but
God's truth, revealed to a soul in high communion? I suppose it is not
impossible for another Shakespeare to culminate. Even I--little bit
of a tot of I--have sometimes recognized my own thought in
Shakespeare. But do not tell aunt Pickman of this. Not believing in
an absolute source of thought, she would pronounce me either
irrecoverably insane or infinitely self-conceited.

Here is John.--No more. SOPHIA.



CHAPTER VI

LENOX


One of the authors in that excellent company congregated at this
period in this part of Berkshire--Mr. Mansfield--writes to Mrs.
Hawthorne for the pleasure of the thing; and one fairly hears the
drone of time as the days hang ripe and sleepy upon his hands. I quote
a few paragraphs from his letters:--

HOME, January 15, 1851.

DEAR MADAM,--It was very kind in you to take up my affairs, and I will
say here upon the margin of this reply, that I SHOULD have very much
liked your opinion of the "Pundison Letters" I sent out; but now--so
long ago is it--I have had time to let my whimsical nature find some
other occupation; and the "Up-Country Letters" may lie as they are,
not unlikely for the next thousand years. I am absorbed and busied
with Bishop Butler's Analogy, which is all things to me at this
present; and I am not sure that "The House of the Seven Gables" could
tempt me away from it until I get my fill. . . . The Bishop is great,
and I hope to have him with me until the frost comes out of the
ground, and I can busy myself with Nature herself.

I laughed the other day loud and long at a report of the plot of "The
House of the Seven Gables," in a letter to a lady. . . . The remark
was, that "the plot of 'The House of the Seven Gables' was--deepening
damnably." . . . You speak of "the crimson and violet sunrises, and
the green and gold sunsets," etc.; and I am glad to get so good an
authority for the fact of mixed colors in sunrising. In my little
book, I speak somewhere of "the silver and rose tint flame of the
morning." . . . My wife, who sends her love, has taken possession of
your note, and is to keep it somewhere "with care." That is, it is to
be so carefully hidden that no one will ever find it. Perhaps she is
a little jealous; but, in any case, she wants the autograph. Please
make my regards to the man in "The House of the Seven Gables," and
believe me, with sincere respect, Yours--obliged--

L. W. MANSFIELD.


HOME, January 22.

DEAR MADAM,--I suppose Mr. Hawthorne will smile at the idea of my
writing him a letter of condolence, and such I do not intend; but I
have been a little provoked at an article in "The Church Review;" and
whether Mr. Hawthorne cares for my opinion or not, it will be a relief
and satisfaction for me to say my say about it. Nor do I suppose that
he can live so exclusively in a world of his own as not to be pleased
at knowing that his friends recognize as such any impertinence that
may be said about him. In this case also it comes home to the question
which I submitted in the "Up-Country Letters," which I sent you. Now I
will say (and I venture to say that I am one of twenty thousand
respectable people that would say the same) that the little bits of
personal description and reference which Mr. Hawthorne has given in
two instances have added--I was going to say tenfold to the interest
which attaches to all his writings, and so modestly and quietly, and
in such exquisite taste were those references made, that it does
strike me as the sublime of stupidity that any one could misunderstand
them. . . .

Please excuse my long letter, and believe me, with sincere regards,
yours,

L. W. MANSFIELD.


My mother's notes of every-day life proceed:--


January 2. This morning, one cloud in the east looked like a goldfish
close to the horizon. I began to build a snow-house with the
children, and shoveled paths.

5th. I walked out in the splendid sunset with the children, to meet
papa. I told them, on the way, the story of Genevieve.

10th. Walked before dinner with the children along the road, telling
them of Mary, Queen of Scots.

11th. My husband read me the preface to the third edition of the
"Twice-Told Tales." It is absolutely perfect, of course.

Sunday, 12th. My husband came down from writing at three. It was
reviving to see him. I took dear little Julian and walked to Mr.
Wilcox's barn. He enjoyed it as much as I did; the soft hues of the
mountains, the slumbering sunshine, and the sparkling snow which
towards sunset became violet color. He stooped down to lap up snow,
and shouted, "Oh, how pretty!" and I found he was admiring the shining
globes. "They lie on the air, mamma!" said he. Mr. Hawthorne received
a request for an autograph, and an autobiography!

13th. In the evening my husband said he should begin to read his book
["The House of the Seven Gables "]. Oh, joy unspeakable!

14th. When the children had gone to bed, my husband took his
manuscript again. I am always so dazzled and bewildered with the
richness of beauty in his productions, that I look forward to a second
reading during which I can ponder and muse. The reading closed with a
legend, so graphic, so powerful, with such a strain of grace and
witchery through it, that I seemed to be in a trance. Such a vision as
Alice, with so few touches, such a real existence! The sturdy,
handsome, and strong Maule; the inevitable fate, "the innocent
suffering for the guilty," seemingly so dark, yet so clear a law!

15th. Sewed all day, thinking only of Maule's Well. The sunset was a
great, red ball of fire.

In the evening, the manuscript was again read from. How ever more
wonderful! How transparent are all events in life to my husband's
awful power of insight; and how he perpetually brings up out of the
muddied wells the pearl of price!

16th. The sun rose fiery red, like a dog-day sun. Julian is a
prisoner, because his india-rubbers are worn out. I looked forward all
day to listening to my husband's inspirations in the evening; but
behold! he has no more as yet to read. This morning Julian sat down in
a little chair and took his father's foot on his lap. "I want to be
papa's toadstool!" said Julian, making one of his funniest mistakes.
My husband proposed reading "Thalaba." I was glad, though Southey is
no favorite of mine. But I like to be familiar with such things, and
to hear my husband's voice is the best music. Mrs. Sedgwick called to
see us.

18th. In the morning I took the children and went to Luther's. We went
to the barn to find him, and there he was, grinding oats. The children
were much grieved and very indignant because the horse was in a
treadmill, and could not stop if he would.

22d. Mild. In the morning Anna Greene appeared at my door. I was
rejoiced to see her. She stayed two hours. In the evening Herman
Melville came, and Anna again, also.

23d. Anna Greene came early, and wanted us to walk with her, on this
warm, radiant day. We went to the Lake, with the children, and had a
delightful talk. In the evening Anna and Caroline Tappan came; and we
had champagne and beaten egg, which they thought ethereal beverage.
Caroline said she had wanted just this all winter.

24th. In the evening my husband read De Quincey.

Sunday, 26th. I read all over to myself "The House of the Seven
Gables," in manuscript.

29th. In the midst of a storm, who should appear at the door of our
shanty but Sarah Shaw! Anna Greene only began the glories of arrivals.
I cannot tell how glad I was to see her. It was perfectly delightful
to talk with her again, after a separation of four years.

February I. In the evening my husband read "David Copperfield." I
cannot express how much I enjoy it, made vocal by him. He reads so
wonderfully. Each person is so distinct; his tones are so various,
apt, and rich. I believe that in his breast is Gabriel's harp. It is
better than any acting I ever saw on the stage.

5th. My husband answered a letter from Robert Adair, of Kentucky,
which was to appoint him an honorary member of the Prescott Literary
Society there. I took a walk with the children to the brook.

9th. Two proofs came of "The House of the Seven Gables," which I read
with fresh interest. There never was such perfection of style.

12th. We all walked out, papa and Una to the Lake, and across it, and
Julian and I on the sunny side of the house. There was a golden
sunset.

19th. My husband took the children out on the ice-bound lake. He read
aloud "Samson Agonistes" in the evening.

March 3. Una's birthday. She is seven years old. My husband began
"Wallenstein."

5th. Mr. Ticknor sent five engraved heads of Mr. Hawthorne. The face
is very melancholy.

8th. Mr. Tappan thinks Mr. Hawthorne's portrait looks like Tennyson.

10th. Mrs. Sedgwick brought me a letter from Elizabeth Bartol. My
husband read me Pope's "Epistles."

12th. At dusk arrived Herman Melville from Pittsfield. He was
entertained with champagne foam, manufactured of beaten eggs, loaf
sugar, and champagne. He invited us all to go and spend to-morrow
with him. My husband decided to go, with Una.

13th. Snowstorm. My husband has gone to Pittsfield. As soon as he and
Una drove off in the wagon, dear little Julian for the first time
thought of himself, and burst into a heart-breaking cry. To comfort
him, I told him I would read him "The Bear and the Skrattel," and
"Sam, the Cockerel," which made him laugh through floods of tears.
Then he relapsed, and said he would do nothing without Una. So I told
him he should have the Swiss cottage, the pearls, and the velvet
furniture. This was enchantment.

During his dinner he discoursed all the time about Giant Despair and
Christian. He improvised, while playing ball, a sad tragedy, and among
other things said, "I wept, and pitied myself." Now he has stopped
playing, for the lambs have come to graze before the windows, and he
is talking incessantly about having one for his own pet lamb. It is
now snowing thickly. I cannot see the Lake; no farther than the fringe
of trees upon the banks. The lambs look anything but snow-white, half
covered with snowflakes. Julian ran for his slate, and drew one pretty
well. Then Midnight came [dog, man, or cat is not known] and
frightened them away, and Julian reminded me of my promise to read
"The Bear." This I did, squeaking as sharply as occasion required. "I
feel very lonely without papa or Una," said Julian. After dinner he
asked me to read to him the story of Sir William Phips. When I put him
to bed, he said, as he jumped into it, that the angels were lying down
beside him.

14th. What a superb day! But Julian and I are worn out with waiting.
Prince Rose-Red talked without one second's intermission the whole
time I was dressing him; and I allowed it, as papa and Una were not
here to be disturbed by the clishmaclaver. At breakfast we were
dismal. Julian mourned for his father most touchingly, and more than
for Una. "Oh, dear," said he, "I feel as if I were alone on a great
mountain, without papa!" I have clipped off the ends of his long
curls; and all of these he has tenderly shut up in a domino-box, to
distribute among his friends hereafter. After his dinner, I dressed
him to go out. He hopes to meet his father, and get into the wagon.
But before he went out I took down the "Twice-Told Tales" from the
shelf, to look at the engraving. We enjoyed it very much. Blessed be
Phillebrown, blessed be Ticknor, Reed and Fields, blessed be Thompson,
C. G. Julian was struck with its life. "It is not a drawn papa," said
he, "for it smiles at me, though he does not speak. It is a real
papa!" Now that he has gone out, I have put it up before me, so that I
can see it every time I lift my eyes. Was ever one so loved?

George W. Curtis sends a letter, once more:--

BOSTON, March 19, 1851.

MY DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE,--You will see by the book which I send you with
this note ["Nile Notes of a Howadji"] that I break our long silence by
a speech of some length; and I should not have waited until now to
tell you that I had returned, had I not wished to tell you at the same
time something of the delights that kept me so long away. For, like a
young lover, I think, of course, that no one had ever so good a time
as I. In this book I have aimed to convey the character of the
satisfaction that I experienced, and that, I am sure, every man like
me must needs experience upon the Nile.

But you will believe--if you still believe in me--that I have seized
this small paper, only that I may not send you preserved in cold ink
those fruits of travel that I hope one day to shake upon you, warm
from the tongue.

I am passing a brace of days only in Boston, having as yet seen no
one, and in despair and disgust at the storm. You, I think of in
Lenox--which is a summer spot only to my memory; alas! with nothing
summery now, I fancy, but your rage at the equinoctial. Does Mrs.
Hawthorne yet remember that she sent me a golden key to the studio of
Crawford, in Rome? I have neither forgotten that, nor any smallest
token of her frequent courtesy in the Concord days. Such be our days
forever! Yours truly,

GEORGE W. CURTIS.

Among many messages from friends there was a welcome note from
Cambridge:--

MY DEAR HAWTHORNE,--Mr. Duyckinck and his friend Mr. Beekman, of New
York, having read your "Twice-Told Tales" with great wonderment and
delight, "desire you of more acquaintance." I therefore am happy to
make you known to each other. Yours truly,

LONGFELLOW. June 30.

Mr. G. P. R. James, the novelist, lived somewhat near, but writes to
Hawthorne between calls:--


STOCKBRIDGE, MASS., 4th July, 1851.

MY DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE,--The night before last I received the two
portentous bundles [essays by Miss Sedgwick's scholars]. Last
night--though to give up reading "The House of the Seven Gables" for
the purpose of reading a packet of seventy gabbles was like tearing
the flesh from my bones--I set to, and got through ten of the
compositions--six of the minors and four of the majors. . . . Of what I
have read, I am inclined to say, "the devil a barrel a better
herring." All contain great inaccuracies of style and grammar; and few
display a trace of original thought. As far as I have gone, it is all
desk-fancy and "book larning"--parrotism, in short. . . . I was
exceedingly sorry to find, from my son and daughter, that you could
not bring your young people to our haymaking on Wednesday. But they
consoled me with a promise, in your name, of bringing them another day
to spend the whole of it with us. I hold you to it; and if you fail,
or fail of prompt performance, I shall look upon you as faithless, and
mans worn to

Yours ever, G. P. R. JAMES.

Mrs. Hawthorne writes on:--

MY DEAREST LIZZIE,--What a sumptuous present, or budget of presents,
you are making me! I am affronted, if they come in the way of return
for the pitiful hospitality you received. You not only had no bed to
sleep on, and no room to sleep in, but nothing to eat, besides sewing
all the time, and washing your own clothes! I was very unhappy about
it all, but thought I would not add to the trouble by complaining, as
I did not see how I could remedy the matter. I never intend to have a
guest again for so long as father stayed, on Mr. Hawthorne's account.
It fairly destroys both his artistic and his domestic life. He has no
other life--never visiting, and having nothing to do with the public.
I do not know as any one but myself can estimate the cost to him of
having a stranger in our courts; especially in these narrow ones. A
week or so does very well; but months will not do at all. . . . You
know that he has but just stepped over the threshold of a hermitage.
He is but just not a hermit still.

Hawthorne responds to the substantial friendship of a lifelong
comrade:--

LENOX, July 24, 1851.

DEAR PIKE,--I should have written to you long since, acknowledging the
receipt of your gin, and in answer to your letter, but I have been
very busy with my pen. As to the gin, I cannot speak of its quality,
for the bottle has not yet been opened, and will probably remain
corked until cold weather, when I mean to take an occasional sip. I
really thank you for it, however; nor could I help shedding a few
quiet tears over that which was so uselessly spilt by the expressman.

The most important news I have to tell you (if you have not already
heard it) is, that we have another daughter, now about two months old.
She is a very bright and healthy child, and neither more nor less
handsome than babies generally are. 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
(at least, so it is to be hoped) of my declining years--the last child
whom I expect or intend to have. What a sad account you give of your
solitude, in your letter! I am not likely ever to have the feeling of
loneliness which you express; and I most heartily wish that you would
take measures to remedy it in your own case, by marrying Miss
Brookhouse or somebody else as soon as possible. If I were at all in
the habit of shedding tears, I should have felt inclined to do so at
your description of your present situation; without family, and
estranged from your former friends.

Whenever you feel 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 heretofore 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 $1500 to $2000, I wish you would keep your eye on it for me. I
should wish it to be on the seacoast, or at all events with easy
access to the sea. Very little land would suit my purpose, but I want
a good house, with space enough inside, and which will not need any
considerable repairs. I find that I do not feel at home among these
hills, and should not like to 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 none
so vigorous as I used to be on the seacoast. The same is the case with
my wife; and though the children seem perfectly well, yet I rather
think they would flourish better near the sea. Say nothing about my
wishes, but if you see a place likely to suit me, let me know. I shall
be in Salem probably as soon as October, and possibly you will have
something in view by that time.

Why did you not express your opinion of The House of the Seven Gables,
which I sent you? I suppose you were afraid of hurting my feelings by
disapproval; but you need not have been. 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 others, and I must confess that I myself am among the
number. It is more characteristic of the author, and a more natural
book for me to write, than The Scarlet Letter was. When I write
another romance, I shall take the Community for a subject, and shall
give some of my experiences and observations at Brook Farm. Since the
publication of the Seven Gables I have written a book for children,
which is to be put to press immediately.

My wife, with the baby and Una, is going southward in two or three
weeks to see her mother, who, I think, will not survive another
winter. I shall remain here with Julian. If you can be spared from
that miserable Custom House, I wish you would pay me a visit, although
my wife would hardly forgive you for coming while she was away. But I
do long to see you, and to talk about a thousand things relating to
this world and the next. I am very glad of your testimony in favor of
spiritual intercourse. I have heard and read much on the subject, and
it appears to me to be the strangest and most bewildering affair I
ever heard of. I should be very glad to believe that these rappers
are, in any one instance, the spirits of the persons whom they profess
themselves to be; but though I have talked with those who have had the
freest communication, there has always been something that makes me
doubt. So you must allow me to withhold my full and entire belief,
until I have heard some of the details of your own spiritual
intercourse.

On receiving your letter, I wrote to Longfellow, requesting him to
forward you any books that might facilitate your progress, in the
Swedish language. He has not told me whether or no he did so. I asked
him to send them to the Mansion House in Salem. I wish you had rather
undertaken Latin, or French, or German, or indeed, almost any other
language, in which there would have been a more extensive and
attainable literature than in the Swedish. But if it turns out to
be a pleasure and improvement to yourself, the end is attained. You
will never, I fear (you see that I take a friend's privilege to speak
plainly), make the impression on the world that, in years gone by, I
used to hope you would. It will not be your fault, however, but the
fault of circumstances. Your flower was not destined to bloom in this
world. I hope to see its glory in the next.

I had much more to say, but it has escaped my memory just now, and it
is of no use trying to say any real thing in a letter. Hoping to see
you sooner or later,

Your friend ever,

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

Excuse this illegible scrawl; but I have contracted such a habit of
scrawling that I cannot possibly help it.

Mr. Pike was one of the half-earthy intelligences which are capable of
bloom, like a granite-strewn hill, revealing upon a closer glance
unexpected imagination. I once saw him coming through a little pine
grove near The Wayside with my father; it was after our return from
England. He was so short, sturdy, phlegmatic of exterior, and
plebeian, that I was astonished at my father's pleasure in his
company, until I noticed a certain gentleness in his manner of
stepping, and heard the modulations of his voice, and caught the
fragrance of his humility. One or two letters of his already printed
are delightfully straightforward,--even more so in their unabridged
state than as they now stand; showing unconsciousness of the methods
of a devious subtlety of penetration, though sensitiveness to its
influence, as an ox slowly turns his great eye about at the sound of a
bee, but never catches a glimpse of him; showing a restful stupidity
that nevertheless had enough intellectual fire to take a kind, eager
delight in telling, as it were, the sculptor that his clay was gray
and his marble white. To a mind whose subtlety could never bewilder
itself by no matter what intricacies of sudden turning, the solid
stare before his nose of Mr. Pike must have been agreeable, since it
was joined to a capital vision of whatever actually crossed that
patient gaze, and to a tenderness which sprang like purest refreshment
from a hard promise. Anything that can restfully attract a thinker is,
of course, at a premium with him. Mr. Pike might be as plebeian as he
pleased, the more the better, since he was one of the people who could
apprehend truth, talk of love like a troubadour for sincere belief in
it, and say a good thing when one least expected him to do so, which
is the nick of time for brilliancy.

Herman Melville writes, the date being recorded by my father,
"Received July 24, 1851," one of the frolicsome letters which it
requires second-sight to decipher, the handwriting being, apparently,
"writ in water:"--


Tuesday afternoon.

MY DEAR HAWTHORNE,--This is not a letter, or even a note, but only a
passing word said to you over your garden gate. I thank you for your
easy-flowing long letter (received yesterday), which flowed through
me, and refreshed all my meadows, as the Housatonic--opposite me--does
in reality. I am now busy with various things, not incessantly though;
but enough to require my frequent tinkerings; and this is the height
of the haying season, and my nag is dragging home his winter's dinners
all the time. And so, one way and another, I am not a disengaged man,
but shall be very soon. Meantime, the earliest good chance I get, I
shall roll down to you, my good fellow, seeing we--that is, you and
I--must hit upon some little bit of vagabondism before autumn comes.
Graylock--we must go and vagabondize there. But ere we start, we must
dig a deep hole, and bury all Blue Devils, there to abide till the
Last Day. . . . Good-by.

His X MARK.

And again:--

PITTSFIELD, Monday afternoon.

MY DEAR HAWTHORNE,--People think that if a man has undergone any
hardship, he should have a reward; but for my part, if I have done the
hardest possible day's work, and then come to sit down in a corner and
eat my supper comfortably--why, then I don't think I deserve any
reward for my hard day's work--for am I not now at peace? Is not my
supper good? My peace and my supper are my reward, my dear Hawthorne.
So your joy-giving and exultation-breeding letter is not my reward for
my ditcher's work with that book, but is the good goddess's bonus over
and above what was stipulated for--for not one man in five cycles, who
is wise, will expect appreciative recognition from his fellows, or any
one of them. Appreciation! Recognition! Is love appreciated? Why,
ever since Adam, who has got to the meaning of his great allegory--
the world? Then we pygmies must be content to have our paper
allegories but ill comprehended. I say your appreciation is my
glorious gratuity. In my proud, humble way,--a shepherd-king,--I was
lord of a little vale in the solitary Crimea; but you have now given
me the crown of India. But on trying it on my head, I found it fell
down on my ears, notwithstanding their asinine length--for it's only
such ears that sustain such crowns.

Your letter was handed me last night on the road going to Mr.
Morewood's, and I read it there. Had I been at home, I would have sat
down at once and answered it. In me divine magnanimities are
spontaneous and instantaneous--catch them while you can. The world
goes round, and the other side comes up. So now I can't write what I
felt. But I felt pantheistic then--your heart beat in my ribs and mine
in yours, and both in God's. A sense of unspeakable security is in me
this moment, on account of your having understood the book. I have
written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb. Ineffable
socialities are in me. I would sit down and dine with you and all the
gods in old Rome's Pantheon. It is a strange feeling--no hopefulness
is in it, no despair. Content--that is it; and irresponsibility; but
without licentious inclination. I speak now of my profoundest sense of
being, not of an incidental feeling.

Whence come you, Hawthorne? By what right do you drink from my flagon
of life? And when I put it to my lips--lo, they are yours and not
mine. I feel that the Godhead is broken up like the bread at the
Supper, and that we are the pieces. Hence this infinite fraternity of
feeling. Now, sympathizing with the paper, my angel turns over
another page. You did not care a penny for the book. But, now and then
as you read, you understood the pervading thought that impelled the
book--and that you praised. Was it not so? You were archangel enough
to despise the imperfect body, and embrace the soul. Once you hugged
the ugly Socrates because you saw the flame in the mouth, and heard
the rushing of the demon,--the familiar,--and recognized the sound;
for you have heard it in your own solitudes.

My dear Hawthorne, the atmospheric skepticisms steal into me now, and
make me doubtful of my sanity in writing you thus. But, believe me, I
am not mad, most noble Festus! But truth is ever incoherent, and when
the big hearts strike together, the concussion is a little stunning.
Farewell. Don't write a word about the book. That would be robbing me
of my miserly delight. I am heartily sorry I ever wrote anything about
you--it was paltry. Lord, when shall we be done growing? As long as we
have anything more to do, we have done nothing. So, now, let us add
Moby Dick to our blessing, and step from that. Leviathan is not the
biggest fish;--I have heard of Krakens.

This is a long letter, but you are not at all bound to answer it.
Possibly, if you do answer it, and direct it to Herman Melville, you
will missend it--for the very fingers that now guide this pen are not
precisely the same that just took it up and put it on this paper.
Lord, when shall we be done changing? Ah! it 's a long stage, and no
inn in sight, and night coming, and the body cold. But with you for a
passenger, I am content and can be happy. I shall leave the world, I
feel, with more satisfaction for having come to know you. Knowing you
persuades me more than the Bible of our immortality.

What a pity, that, for your plain, bluff letter, you should get such
gibberish! Mention me to Mrs. Hawthorne and to the children, and so,
good-by to you, with my blessing.

HERMAN.

P. S. I can't stop yet. If the world was entirely made up of Magians,
I'll tell you what I should do. I should have a paper-mill established
at one end of the house, and so have an endless riband of foolscap
rolling in upon my desk; and upon that endless riband I should write a
thousand--a million--billion thoughts, all under the form of a letter
to you. The divine magnet is on you, and my magnet responds. Which is
the biggest? A foolish question--they are One. H.

P. P. S. Don't think that by writing me a letter, you shall always be
bored with an immediate reply to it--and so keep both of us delving
over a writing-desk eternally. No such thing! I sha'n't always answer
your letters, and you may do just as you please.

Hawthorne is left alone for a few days, while his wife visits her
mother, which causes the following notes to be written:--


LENOX, August 8, 1851.

OWNEST PHOEBE,--I wrote thee a note yesterday, and sent it to the
village by Cornelius; but as he may have neglected to put it in, I
write again. If thou wilt start from West Newton on Thursday next, I
will meet thee at Pittsfield, which will answer the same purpose as if
I came all the way. . . .

Julian is very well, and keeps himself happy from morning till night.
I hope Una does the same. Give my love to her. . . .

Thine, N. H.


August 9, Saturday.

I received yesterday thy note, in which thou speakest of deferring thy
return some days longer. Stay by all means as long as may be needful.
Julian gets along perfectly well; and I am eager for thy coming only
because it is unpleasant to remain torn asunder. Thou wilt write to
tell me finally what day thou decidest upon; but unless I hear
further, I shall go to Pittsfield on Saturday, a week from to-day. But
if thou seest reason for staying longer do so, that nothing may be
left at loose ends.

Julian and I had a fine ride yesterday with Herman Melville and two
other gentlemen.

Mrs. Peters is perfectly angelic.

Thinest, N. H.

Mrs. Peters, a negress of the dignified type, was the general
house-servant, an aged, forbidding, harmlessly morose soul, often
recalled by my mother in her references to Lenox, when talking, as she
did most easily and fascinatingly, to us children of the past. The
picturing of Mrs. Peters always impressed me very much, and she no
doubt stood for a suggestion of Aunt Keziah in "Septimius Felton." She
was an invaluable tyrant, an unloaded weapon, a creature who seemed to
say, "Forget my qualities if you dare--there is one of them which is
fatal!" As my parents possessed the capacity to pay respect where it
could be earned, the qualities of Mrs. Peters were respected, and she
found herself in a sort of heaven of courteous tolerance.

Mrs. Hawthorne writes to her mother:--

On Sunday Mr. Samuel G. Ward came to see us. He gave me an excellent
drawing of Highwood Porch, for "The Wonder-Book," which he said he had
asked Burrill Curtis to draw. We have sent it to Mr. Fields. On Monday
Mr. Curtis called. He is taking sketches all about, and is going back
to Europe this autumn. Just now, Dr. Holmes and Mr. Upham's son
Charles drove up. They came in, a few moments. First came Dr. Holmes,
to peep at the Lake through the boudoir window,--for he was afraid to
leave the horse, even tied; then he went out for Charles to come in;
and Mr. Hawthorne insisted upon holding the horse, and having them
both come in. When Dr. Holmes went back, he laughed to see Mr.
Hawthorne at his horse's head, and exclaimed, "Is there another man in
all America who ever had so great an honor, as to have the author of
'The Scarlet Letter' hold his horse?" My love to your lovely
household. Your most

Affectionate child, SOPHIA.



CHAPTER VII

FROM LENOX TO CONCORD


The following letters were evoked by one of those entanglements
concerning the petty matters of existence which will sometimes occur
in the most enchanting web and woof of good feeling and high thought.
A luxuriant fruit garden, attached to the "red house," seems to have
suddenly cast a spell over its original mistress, and around this
humorous tragedy my father throws some gleams of mirth and sense, as
follows:--

September 5.

DEAR MRS. TAPPAN,--As questions of disputed boundary are very ticklish
ones, whether between nations or individuals, I think it best to take
the diplomatic correspondence, on our part, into my own hands; and I
do it the more readily as I am quite an idle man nowadays, and shall
find it rather agreeable than otherwise; whereas Sophia is exceedingly
busy, and moreover is averse to any kind of a dispute. You will be
kind enough to give me credit for writing in a spirit of undisturbed
good humor and friendly courtesy; and this being the case, I shall
feel myself safe in writing with likewise the most perfect frankness.

In the first place permit me to notice the question which you put to
Sophia, whether she would not prefer to receive kindness rather than
assume rights. I do not know what would be her reply; but, for myself,
in view of the infirmities of human nature in general and my especial
infirmities, and how few people are fit even to receive kindnesses,
and how far fewer are worthy to do them, I infinitely prefer a small
right to a great favor. It was this feeling that made me see the
necessity of a sum stipulated in the way of rent, between Mr. Tappan
and myself. The little difficulty, in which we now find ourselves,
merely serves to confirm me in my principle, and will instruct me in
all future cases, to have my rights more sharply defined than they are
now.

Undoubtedly, by consenting to receive money from me, Mr. Tappan did
invest me with certain rights, and among the most evident of them, I
consider the property in the fruit. What is a garden without its
currant bushes and fruit trees? Last year, no question of this nature
was raised: our right seemed to be tacitly conceded, and if you
claimed or exercised any manorial privileges, it never came to my
knowledge. This season when Mr. Tappan inquired what part of the
garden I wanted to cultivate, I supposed that he wished to know in
order that he might send Cornelius to plough it--as he very kindly
did. It never came into my mind that I should lose the most valuable
part of the demesne by failing to plant it. If the fruit trees have
suffered by my neglect, this was reasonable ground for remonstrance on
Mr. Tappan's part, but would hardly justify him in so summary a
measure as that of taking the property out of my hands, at once, and
without a word of explanation, or even informing me of the fact. Nor
do I conceive that he had any purpose of doing so.

At all events, Sophia and I supposed ourselves to be in full
possession of that part of the garden, and in having a right of
property over its products, more extensive than that of Adam and Eve
in Eden, inasmuch as it excluded not a single tree. Such being our
view of the matter, you meet Mary Beekman, carrying a basket of fruit.
You stop her, look at the contents of the basket, and inquire as to
its destination. You ask her (at least so she averred to Mrs. Peters,
although she has since qualified her statement) whether it had been
given away or sold. You conduct this examination in such a mode, as to
make it evident to our servant-girl that you consider Sophia and Mrs.
Peters as combining in a depredation on your property.

You follow this up with a note of remonstrance to Sophia, in which you
take her to task not merely for giving away some of the fruit, but for
presuming to choose her own time to gather it for our own use. Now let
us suppose the perfectly parallel case, that Mrs. Ward should take
upon herself to pursue the same course in regard to the fruit of
Highwood. Would Mrs. Tappan have responded to Mrs. Ward by a gentler
assertion of right than Sophia's to yourself? I think not. I do not
see how you could. And if you did so, it would be purely out of your
own abundant grace and good nature, and would by no means be due to
any propriety in the supposed behavior of Mrs. Ward.

Finally in your note of last evening, you give us very clearly to
understand that you look upon us as having no rights here whatever.
Allow me to say that this is precisely the crisis which I contemplated
when I felt it essential to be understood that I had bought my rights,
even from persons so generously disposed as yourself and Mr. Tappan.
The right of purchase is the only safe one. This is a world of bargain
and sale; and no absurdity is more certain to be exposed than the
attempt to make it anything else.

As regards the apples of discord (meaning thereby the plums, pears,
peaches, and whatever besides) we sincerely hope you will take as many
of them as you please, and on such grounds as may cause them to taste
most agreeably. If you choose to make a raid, and to seize the fruit
with the strong hand, so far from offering any armed resistance, we
shall not so much as remonstrate. But would it not be wiser to drop
the question of right, and receive it as a free-will offering from us?
We have not shrunk from the word "gift," although we happen to be so
much the poorer of two parties, that it is rather a suspicious word
from you to us. Or, if this do not suit you, you can take the fruit in
humble requital of some of the many favors bestowed in times past and
which we may perhaps remember more faithfully than you do.

And then the recollection of this slight acidity of sentiment, between
friends of some years' standing, may impart a pleasant and spirited
flavor to the preserves and jams, when they come upon your table. At
any rate, take what you want and that speedily, or there will be
little else than a parcel of rotten plums to dispute about.

With kind regards to Mr. Tappan,

Very truly yours, N. H.

Mrs. Hawthorne writes to her sister, Miss E. P. Peabody:--

I send you Mr. Tappan's answer, so noble and beautiful. Mr. Hawthorne
wrote him a beautiful note in reply, in which he said: "My dear sir, I
trust you will not put more weight than it deserves upon a letter
which I wrote rather to relieve Sophia of what might have disturbed
her, than because I look upon the affair in a serious light. Your own
letter is of a character to make one ashamed of any narrower or
ignobler sentiment than those of universal beneficence and good will;
and I freely confess that the world will not deserve to be called a
world of bargain and sale so long as it shall include men like
yourself. With much regard truly yours, N. H."

Two letters to Mrs. Peabody describe the Lenox scene:--


September 7, Sunday.

MY DEAREST MOTHER,--It is heaven's day, to-day, and the Lord's day,
and now baby sleeps and Una is at Highwood and Julian at play, and I
will begin at least to answer your sweet, patient, wise, and tender
letters. Yesterday and to-day have been tropical in heat and richness
and expansiveness, and I feel as if it is on such days only that we
really live and know how good is GOD. I wish I knew that you enjoy
such warmth and are not made languid by it. You will perhaps remember
that I am always strongest at 98 degrees Fahrenheit. I delight to
think that you also can look forth as I do now upon a broad valley and
a fine amphitheatre of hills, and are about to watch the stately
ceremony of sunset from your piazza. But you have not this lovely
Lake, nor I suppose the delicate purple mist which folds these
slumbering mountains in airy veils.

Mr. Hawthorne has been lying down in the sunshine, slightly fleckered
with the shadows of a tree, and Una and Julian have been making him
look like the mighty Tan by covering his chin and breast with long
grass-blades, that looked like a verdant and venerable beard. I walked
down to them a moment, leaving baby asleep, and while there Una
exclaimed, "Oh, how I wish Georgie was here!" [George C. Mann, her
cousin.] Thus the dear little boy harmonizes with the large and dreamy
landscape, so that his presence would only help the beauty of this
peerless day. I never heard Una wish for any one before, when enjoying
Elemental life, and her father. Baby Rose has had a carriage for a
week or more, and we took her one day down to the Lake. I wish you
could have seen her in the wood, when I held her in my arms. She
smiled and smiled and smiled, at the trees and the Lake and the
wood-land sounds, till she transported mamma almost out of the
proprieties. "To kiss her all to pieces," "to hug her to death," "to
devour her," were processes to which she rendered herself fearfully
liable. How wonderful is this love for which there is no mortal
expression, but which we can only shadow forth by death and
destruction. Julian has begun to speak to the baby now. He exclaims,
"Oh, you darling!" and holds her on his lap, with such a look of
bountiful and boundless tenderness and care as would charm you to see.
I should as soon expect an angel from the sky to descend to a rough
scuffle with a desperado as for Julian to disturb or annoy the little
Rosebud. Sometimes we go down to the wood near, and baby sleeps in
the carriage to the music of pine-tree murmurs and cricket-chirpings,
and once in a while of birds, while Una and Julian build piles of tiny
sticks for the fairies' winter fuel, and papa and mamma sit and muse
in the breathless noon. But it is seldom warm enough. These last two
days are warm enough, and my soul seems to "expand and grow like corn
and melons," and I remember all beautiful behavior and noble deeds and
grand thoughts and high endeavors'; and the whole vast Universe seems
to blend in one single, unbroken recognition of the "Higher Law." Can
there be wrong, hate, fraud, injustice, cruelty, war, in such a
lovely, fair world as this before my eyes? Cannot cities be abolished,
so that men may realize the beauty of love and peace by contemplating
the broad and genial spaces where there is no strife? In the country
they would see that sunbeams do not wrangle, that forests of trees
agree together, that no flower disturbs another flower. I have written
and the sun has set; and the moon has risen, and reveals the fine
sculpture of nature. Una and Julian and Baby Rose are all in profound
repose. Not a sound can be heard but my pen-strokes, and the ever
welcome voice of the cricket, which seems expressly created to
announce silence and peace. . . . It is very singular how much more
we are in the centre of society in Lenox than we were in Salem, and
all literary persons seem settling around us. But when they get
established here I dare say we shall take flight. . . . Our present
picture is Julian, lying on an ottoman in the boudoir, looking at
drawings of Grecian gems; and just now he is filled with indignation
at the man who sent Hercules the poisoned shirt, because he is
contemplating that superb head of the "Suffering Hercules." He says he
hopes that man is dead; and I assure him that he is dead, dead, dead,
and can send no more poisoned shirts to anybody. It happened to be a
woman, however, sad to tell, but I thought I would not reveal to him
the terrible story of Dejanira and the wicked Nessus. Una is
whittling, but at this instant runs off to help Mary Beekman to do
something. Mr. Hawthorne has retired to his Study. Baby sleeps.
Good-by, dear mother. Love to your household. Your loving child,
SOPHIA.

DEAREST MOTHER,--To-day I took Julian for a walk. He waited to speak
to his beloved Mr. Tappan, who was in his field. Julian picked up one
sheaf after another, and carried them to him, calling, "Mr. Tappan!
Mr. Tappan! Here are your oats!" Mr. Tappan turned at last, smiling,
and thanked him for his help. The afternoon was so beautiful that
every incident seemed like a perfect jewel on a golden crown. The load
of yellow sheaves, the rainbow child, the Castilian with his curls and
dark smiling eyes [Mr. Tappan]--every object was a picture which
Murillo could not paint. I waited for Julian till he ran to me; and
when we came into our yard, there was lady baby in her carriage, in a
little azure robe, looking like a pale star on a blue sky. We came
into the dining-room, and out of the window there was this grand and
also exquisite picture--lake, meadow, mountains; forever new, forever
changing; now so rich with this peculiar autumn sunshine, like which
my husband says there is nothing in the world. The children enjoy,
very much, this landscape, while they eat their supper. Una ate hers,
and went upstairs to see grand-mamma; and Julian sat on my lap, very
tired with play, eating a cold buckwheat cake, and gazing out. "Mamma!
Mountain! Lake!" he kept ejaculating. Wise child! What could be added,
in the way of adjective, that would enhance? "Thou eye among the
blind!" thought his mother. At last he was so weary with sport that he
slipped down upon the floor, and lay upon his back, till he finished
eating his buckwheat cake. Then I put him to bed. Me clasped his
blessed little arms so tightly around my neck, with such an energetic
kiss, that we both nearly lost breath. One merry gleam from his eyes
was succeeded by a cloud of sleepiness, and he was soon with the
angels. For he says the angels take him, when he goes to sleep, and
bring him back in the morning. Then I began this letter. Dear little
harp-souled Una--whose love for her father grows more profound every
day, as her comprehending intellect and heart perceive more and more
fully what he is--was made quite unhappy because he did not go at the
same time with her to the Lake. His absence darkened all the sunshine
to her; and when I asked her why she could not enjoy the walk as
Julian did, she replied, "Ah, he does not love papa as I do!" But when
we arrived, there sat papa on a rock, and her face and figure were
transfigured from a Niobe's to an Allegra's instantly. After I put
Julian to bed, I went out to the barn to see about the chickens, and
she wished to go. There sat papa on the hay, and like a needle to a
magnet she was drawn, and begged to see papa a little longer, and stay
with him. Now she has come, weary enough; and after steeping her
spirit in this rose and gold of twilight, she has gone to bed. With
such a father, and such a scene before her eyes, and with eyes to see,
what may we not hope of her? I heard her and Julian talking together
about their father's smile, the other day. They had been speaking of
some other person's smile--Mr. Tappan's, I believe; and presently Una
said, "But you know, Julian, that there is no smile like papa's!" "Oh
no," replied Julian. "Not like papas!" Una has such an intuitive
perception of spheres, that I do not wonder at her feeling about her
father. She can as yet hardly tell why she is so powerfully attracted;
but her mother can sympathize,--and knows very well.

Do not wait an hour to procure the two last numbers of "The Literary
World," and read a new criticism on Mr. Hawthorne. At last some one
speaks the right word of him. I have not before heard it. I have been
wearied and annoyed hitherto with hearing him compared to Washington
Irving and other American writers, and put, generally, second. At last
some one dares to say what in my secret mind I have often
thought--that he is only to be mentioned with the Swan of Avon; the
great heart and the grand intellect combined. I know you will enjoy
the words of this ardent Virginian as I do. But it is funny to see how
he does not know how this heart and this intellect are enshrined.


It was decided to return to the neighborhood of Boston, and for a
short time the family remained in West Newton:--


November 28.

MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--Here we are, in possession of Mary Mann's house
and effects. I took baby on a sledge to see her grandmother Peabody on
Thanksgiving Day, who was charmed with my smiling, fair baby. Una
reads her grandmother "The Wonder-Book," very sweetly, when she is
there. Mother says she could never tire of listening to her.

Your affectionate sister,

SOPHIA.


WEST NEWTON, December 25, 1851.

MY DEAR LOUISA [HAWTHORNE],--This very morning I intended to write to
you again, to inquire why you neither came nor responded to my letter,
and then I received yours. The children watched for you many days, and
finally gave you up. They will be delighted at your coming. Pray come
as soon as the second week of January. Grace Greenwood spent two or
three days, and was very pleasant. Mr. Fields writes from Paris that
Mr. Hawthorne's books are printed there as much as in England; that
his fame is great there [in England], and that Browning says he is the
finest genius that has appeared in English literature for many years.

Your affectionate sister,

SOPHIA.

P. S. [By Hawthorne.] I have published a new collection of tales; but
you shall not have a copy till you come for it. N. H.

P. S. [By Mrs. Hawthorne.] This new volume of "Twice-Told Tales" was
published on Thursday; and yesterday Mr. Ticknor told Nathaniel that
he had already sold a thousand copies, and had not enough bound to
supply the demand.


I give a letter which must have come like the song of a wood-thrush to
the author, its diction being as pure as his own, and yet as strong.


BROOKLYN; July 7, 1852.

MR. HAWTHORNE,--You have expressed the kind hope that your writings
might interest those who claim the same birthplace with yourself. And
as we need but slight apology for doing what inclination suggests, I
easily persuade myself that it will not be very inappropriate for me
to assure you that in one heart, at least, pride in your genius and
gratitude for high enjoyment owed to you have added to, and made still
more sacred, the strong love otherwise felt for the spot where the
precious gift of life was received.

In earlier days, with your "Twice-Told Tales," you played upon my
spirit-harp a sweet melody, the notes of which have never died
away--and years after, when my heart was just uplifting itself from a
deep sorrow, I read the introduction to your "Mosses from an Old
Manse;" and I rejoiced in your words, as a tree, borne down by the
wind and storm, rejoices in the first gentle breeze or ray of kindly
sunshine.

And now, as after repeated griefs and lengthened anxieties I think I
am come to that period of second youth of which you speak, I am
permitted to delight in the marvelous beauty and infinite delicacy of
the narration of "The Scarlet Letter," and the deep insight into human
hearts and minds shown in that and the later production. When I am
tempted to lay down the burden which, of one kind or another, mortals
must daily bear, and forget that "all human liberty is but a restraint
self-imposed or consented to," I shall call to mind the touching
moment when Hester Prynne sadly bound up her flowing tresses, but just
released, and meekly reassumed the badge of her shame. And the little
Phoebe,--with her genial sympathies and cheerful tones,--I am not
altogether without hope that she may aid me to throw off some of the
morbid tendencies which have ever clung to my life (if, perchance,
this last moral lesson should not destroy the first); and these
sorrows once overcome, existence would not lose its corresponding
exquisiteness of enjoyment.

I once lived in the "Old Hawthorne house;" whether or not you, sir,
ever crossed the threshold tradition hath not deigned to inform me.
Possibly you lived there when a child. And if the spirit renew itself
once in seven years, as the body is said to do, the soul of those
younger hours may have remained, may have shared with us our more
ethereal pleasures, while it frowned on our prosaic sports. At least,
to some such fancy as this, united with the idea of second childhood
before alluded to, must be referred the folly of which I have been
guilty in addressing a person, who, so far as bodily presence is
concerned, is to me an entire stranger, and to whom I am utterly
unknown.

However, sir, humbly begging your pardon for this same folly, and
entreating that by no accident may the shades of the Salem witches
become aware of it,

I am yours with much esteem,

MARY A. PORTER.


Upon the envelope Hawthorne has written, "Answered, July 18th." The
letter has been preserved out of many thrown aside, and Mrs. Hawthorne
has spoken to me of Mary Porter as of a real friend. Her delicacy and
good sense of expression contrast well with the over-fanciful,
unliterary quality of the letters of persons who came prominently
forward as teachers of thought and literature, and who no doubt jarred
miserably in their letters, if not in their conversation, upon the
refined skill of Hawthorne and his wife. At any rate (and though the
intercourse with these persons to whom I refer with daring comment was
received most gratefully and cordially as generally the best to be
found) Mary Porter was never forgotten.

That my mother and father enjoyed their next home at The Wayside there
are immediate letters to prove; but if they had not feasted their eyes
upon a vision of beautiful spaces, it might have been less delightful
to return to the haunts of friends, and a hollow among hills. One
grandeur of the distance they did not leave behind at Lenox: the
sunsets to be seen over the meadows between The Wayside and the west
are spaciously revealed and splendidly rich. Economy had a restless
manner of drifting them from place to place. Now, however, a home was
to be bought (the title-deed exists, with Mr. Emerson's name, and that
of his wife, attached); so that the drifting appeared to be at an end.
I have reserved until now several letters from Concord friends, of an
earlier date, in order to show to what the Hawthornes looked forward
in the matter of personalities, when re-establishing themselves in the
distinguished village.

Mr. Alcott was prominent. In her girlhood, Mrs. Hawthorne, hearing
from Miss Peabody that Mr. James Freeman Clarke had talked with some
amusement of the school prophet's ideas, etc., had written:--

"Mr. Alcott's sublime simplicity and depth of soul would make it
impossible for me to make jest of him. I cannot imagine why persons
should not do themselves justice and yet be humble as a little child.
I do not believe he is in the least self-elated. I should think it
impossible, in the nature of things, for him to arrive at the kind of
truths he does without entire simplicity of soul. I should think they
could not be accessible to one of a contrary character."

But, nevertheless, Mr. Alcott's official post seems to have been that
of visionary plenipotentiary, and one which was a source of most
excellent entertainment. He writes in 1836:--

August 23.

DEAR FRIEND,--I have just returned, and find your two letters waiting
for me. I have read them with a double sentiment. The interest which
you express in my thoughts, and their influence over you, I can
explain in no other way than as arising from similarity of temperament
and of taste, heightened exceedingly by an instinctive tendency--
almost preternatural--to reverence whatever approaches, either in
Spirit or Form, your standard of the Ideal. Of minds of this
class it is impious to ask for tempered expressions. They admire,
they marvel, they love. These are the law of their being, and to
refuse them the homage of this spiritual oneness with the object of
their regard, is death! Their words have a significance borrowed from
their inmost being, and are to be interpreted, not by ordinary and
popular acceptation, but by the genius of the individual that utters
them. These have a significance of their own. They commune not with
words, but in spite of them. Ordinary minds mistake them. . . . You
inquire whether portions of "Psyche" are to be copied for the press.
Mr. Emerson has not returned the manuscript. But should I find
anything left (after his revisions) worthy of attention, I will send
it to you, . . . I send you some numbers of the "Reformer," among others
is the one containing Mr. [Orestes] Brownson's notice of the "Story
Without An End." The allegories which you copied while with us are
also among them. I read your allegory to Mr. Brownson, who was
interested in it, and took it for the "Reformer." It is a beautiful
thing, and will be useful. . . . Write me as often as you feel
inclined. I would write often, were I at all given to the practice. My
mind flows not freely and simply in an epistle.

Very truly yours,

A. BRONSON ALCOTT.

P. S. I have read Carlyle's "Schiller." You re-utter my conceptions at
the time. You are very kind to propose copying the Young Christ [for
Mr. Alcott's schoolroom]. The original is a borrowed one, and a copy
would be useful.


September 12, 1836.

DEAR FRIEND,--I was glad to hear from you again, for I find my
thoughts often dwelling on you. The sympathy of spirits is the heart's
undersong, and its warblings are heard in the quiet hours of solitude,
as if they were from the soft voices of celestial choirs. Music
reaches us from the distance, amid the discordant noises of the
External. Your remarks on de Maistre have interested me in the book.'
Mr. Brownson [afterwards famous as a Catholic writer] takes it to-day,
and I shall have the interesting passages from him. If you have a copy
of the "Valley of Solitude" [one of my mother's original allegories]
will you send it? I am under the impression that you preserved
portions of the "Valley," and intended to recall and write out the
remainder at your leisure. Now, don't attempt this, because Mr.
Thacher wants it for his "Boston Book," but simply tell me how much is
preserved. . . . Have you seen Mr. Emerson's "Nature"? If you have
not, let me send you a copy. It is a divine poem on the External. It
is just to your taste. . . . It reminds me more of Sampson Reid's
"Growth of the Mind" than any work of modern date. But it is unlike
any other work. I send you Mr. Brownson's notice of it. Mr. Brownson
gave us two splendid discourses lately. Surely this man is a terror to
pseudo-ministers and would-be philosophers. He is one of the most
eloquent preachers. He grapples with the highest truths and deepest
wants of our being, and spreads these before the reason as with a
light from heaven. He will write to you soon. With great regard,

A. BRONSON ALCOTT.

Emerson in the same year responded to a gift of some drawings which my
mother had made for him, in these kind and thoughtful sentences:--

MY DEAR MISS SOPHIA,--I beg you to accept my thanks for the beautiful
drawings you have sent me. . . . I shall keep them as a treasure to be
shown to all my friends who have good or capable eyes, that they may
rejoice with me in the power of the artist. From these fair forms I
hope to receive many a wise suggestion, many a silent reproof. . . .

Your obliged friend and servant, R. WALDO EMERSON.


And later:--


CONCORD, January 20, 1838.

You make me heartily ashamed, my kind friend, by the excess of your
praise of two such little books. I could not possibly recognize
anything of me in your glowing and pictorial words. So I take it for
granted that as a true artist you have the beauty-making eye, which
transfigures the landscape and the heads it looks upon, and can read
poetry out of dull prose. I am not the less glad to have been the
occasion to you of pleasant thoughts, and I delight in the genuine
admiration you express of that ideal beauty which haunts us ever and
makes actual life look sometimes like the coarsest caricature. I like
very well what you say of Flaxman, and shall give him the greater
heed. And indeed who can see the works of a great artist without
feeling that not so much the private as the common wealth is by him
indicated. I think the true soul--humble, rapt, conspiring with all,
regards all souls as its lieutenants and proxies--itself in another
place--and saith of the Parthenon, of the picture, of the poem,--It is
also my work. I can never quarrel with your state of mind concerning
original attempts in your own art. I admire it rather. And I am pained
to think of the grievous resistance which your genius has been so long
tasked to overcome, of bodily suffering.

You ask for my lectures. I wish they were fit to send. They should go
immediately to Salem if they were. I have not allowed one of them to
go in manuscript out of my family. The first one of the course, which
is the most presentable, I will cheerfully lend you whenever I can get
time to patch his coat a little. It is, however, already promised to
two persons.

I thank you for the beautiful little drawing you sent me of Perseus.
It is admired of all beholders. Tell your sister Elizabeth that her
account of Mr. Very interested me much, and I have already begged Mr.
Whiting to bring him to our Lyceum, and he promised his good offices
to get him here.

R. W. EMERSON.


A letter mentions a medallion which Mrs. Hawthorne had made of Charles
Emerson, after his death:--


CONCORD, May 18, 1840.

MY DEAR Miss SOPHIA,--I have begged Mr. Garey to call on you to-day
for the medallion to go to Waterford, and the one for New York, if
ready . . . one of which I wish to send to Mr. Abel Adams.

Elizabeth [Hoar] is very well content with the cast, though she thinks
it has lost some of the precision, as well as the agreeable tint, of
the clay. All our friends find the likeness--some of them slowly--but
all at last. We all count it a beautiful possession; the gift of a
Muse, and not the less valuable that it was so unexpected. You must
now gratify us all by fixing a time when you will come to Concord and
hear what we have to say of it.

Will you not come hither the last week of this month, or the second
week in June? If neither of these dates suits you, you shall choose
any day thereafter, only do not fail us.

Your friend and servant,

R. W. EMERSON.

When arranging to escort the young artist to Concord for the proposed
visit, he proceeds:--

. . . In regard to certain expressions in your letter, I ought to say,
you will presently be undeceived. Though I am fond of writing, and of
public speaking, I am a very poor talker and for the most part very
much prefer silence. Of Charles's beautiful talent in that art I have
had no share; but our common friend, Mr. Alcott, the prince of
conversers, lives little more than a mile from our house, and we will
call in his aid, as we often do, to make amends for our deficiency,
when you come. . . . Will you say to your sister Elizabeth that I
received her kind letter relating to certain high matters, which I
have not yet been in the vein to answer,--indeed, I dream that she
knows all my answer to that question,--has it ready in her rich
suggestion, and only waits for mine to see how well they will tally. I
have laid the letter by, shall presently read it again, and if I have
anything material, I will write. With great regard, yours,

R. W. EMERSON.


CONCORD, April 20, 1841.

MY DEAR Miss SOPHIA,--Will you accept from my sister Elizabeth Hoar
and me the few accompanying prints?

A word of apology must go with them. Elizabeth and I sent, last
summer, by a gentleman who was going to Europe, an order for a few
prints of pictures of Raffaelle and Michel Angelo (specifying
particularly the Prophets and Sibyls of Michel), with the hope that we
might receive something fit to send you. Our agent was less acquainted
with these matters than we supposed; still, we hope they will not be
quite without value in your studio, as we have both of us found
something to admire in these stern drawings. The Transfiguration is a
more spirited copy than most that I have seen, though the principal
figure seems never to be quite well copied. Here is a Virgin of
Leonardo da Vinci and one from Correggio.

Will you have the goodness to thank your sister Elizabeth for the fine
statement she has given the Englishwoman [Miss Martineau] of the
enterprise we are all so proud of; and I can easily suppose the
colonists were content with the portrait. She has in a note
propounded to me certain questions which and the like of which I
always fancy one can answer with a word, as they arise;--but to answer
them with the pen, one must sit like Simmides from month to month,
from year to year. With great regard,

Your friend and servant,

R. WALDO EMERSON.

Elizabeth Hoar wishes to keep the Martineau letter a day or two
longer. I am also to thank your sister Elizabeth for the summons to
the torchlight exhibition, which however I could not easily obey.

A fragment, of most informal import, but exemplifying Emerson's quaint
agility of expression, written about 1843, runs:--

Do not be chagrined, and excellent lady, if I should demand interest
in advance for my loan; but if possibly I can get my errands ready, I
shall stop the passing coach, and load you with freight and
commissions; not compliments and congratulations, merely. Do not
misconceive me--but messages relative to merest chores. And so with
thanks,

Yours, R. W. E.


Margaret Fuller d'Ossoli expresses herself, at the time of my parents'
marriage, as thoughtfully as the rest. Her personality never ceased to
hover about Concord, even after her death. She is a part of its
fascination:--


MY DEAR SOPHIA,--After reading your letter I wanted to write a few
lines, as are not in such a hasty, interrupted fashion. Yet not much
have I to say, for great occasions of bliss, of bane,--tell their own
story, and we would not by unnecessary words come limping after the
true sense. If ever mortal was secure of a pure and rational
happiness which shall grow and extend into immortal life, I think it
is you, for the love that binds you to him you love is wise and pure
and religious; it is a love given not chosen, and the growth not of
wants and wishes, but of the demands of character. Its whole scope and
promise is very fair in my eyes; and in daily life as well as in the
long account I think there will be great happiness; for if ever I saw
a man who combined delicate tenderness to understand the heart of a
woman, with quiet depth and manliness enough to satisfy her, it is Mr.
Hawthorne. . . . To one who cannot think of love merely in the heart,
or even in the common destiny of two souls, but as necessarily
comprehending intellectual friendship too, it seems the happiest lot
imaginable that lies before you. . . . The whole earth is decked for a
bridal. I see not a spot upon her full and gold-bespangled drapery.
All her perfumes breathe, and her eye glows with joy. . . . My
affectionate remembrances to your friend. You rightly felt how glad I
should be to be thought of in the happy hour. As far as bearing an
intelligent heart, I think I deserve to be esteemed a friend. And
thus in affection and prayer, dear Sophia,

Yours, MARGARET F.


A year or two later my father received the following letter from
her:--


DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE,--You must not think I have any black design
against your domestic peace. Neither am I the agent of any secret
tribunal of the dagger and cord; nor am I commissioned by the malice
of some baffled lover to make you wretched. Yet it may look so, when
you find me once again, in defiance of my failure last summer, despite
your letter of full exposition, once more attempting to mix a foreign
element in your well compounded cup. But indeed, oh severest and most
resolute man, these propositions are none of mine. How can I help it,
if gentle souls, ill at ease elsewhere, wish to rest with you upon the
margin of that sleepy stream? How can I help it if they choose me for
an interpreter? [A suggestion is then made, for the second time, that
my parents should admit a friend into the Old Manse as a boarder. The
notion was sometimes alluded to by my mother in after-years with
unfading horror.] I should like much to hear something about
yourselves; what the genius loci says, whether through voice of ghost,
or rat, or winter wind, or kettle-singing symphony to the happy duet;
and whether by any chance you sometimes give a thought to your friend

MARGARET.


And again:--


NEW YORK, May 22, evening.

DEAR SOPHIA AND MR. HAWTHORNE,--I received your letter and read it
with attention; then laid it aside, and thought I would not reply, for
so much had been said and written about my pamphlet that I was weary
of it, and had turned to other things. When my interest revives, I
shall probably make reply, but I hope viva voce.

Yes! I hope to see you once more at the clear old house, with the
green fields and lazy river; and have, perhaps, sweet hours [fragment
torn away] and if all works well, I hope to come. Una alone will be
changed; yet still, I think, the same. Farewell, dear friends, now;
for this is only meant as a hasty sign of affection from M.

Mrs. Hawthorne writes, at the threshold of The Wayside residence:--


June 6, 1852, Sunday.

MY DEAREST MOTHER,--Your beautiful little note was very grateful to
me. . . . We arrived at the Middlesex Hotel after one o'clock. At four
o'clock I was driven to The Wayside. The cart-man had tumbled all the
wet mattresses in a heap in the farthest corner of the barn, and I had
them all pulled out to dry. It was very hot weather. A good deal was
accomplished, when the man and woman who were working for me went to
supper, and left me and Una in quiet possession of our home.

We set forth slowly village-ward, and met Mr. Emerson and Mr.
Thoreau. Mr. Emerson was most cordial, and his beautiful smile added
to the wonderful beauty of the sunset. He turned back and walked with
us till we met the carriage. The next morning, Una actually nailed
down the brown paper upon the dining-room and Study, and was very
helpful and charming, and perfectly enchanted with her home. It is
really astonishing what magical changes have been wrought inside the
horrible old house by painters, paperers, and carpenters, and a little
upholstery. The carpet on the Study looks like rich velvet. It has a
ground of lapis lazuli blue, and upon that is an acanthus figure of
fine wood-color; and then, once in a while is a lovely rose and
rosebud and green leaf. I like it even better than when I bought it.
The woodwork down-stairs is all painted in oak, and it has an
admirable effect, and is quite in keeping with the antiquity of the
dwelling. The dining-room is quite elegant, with a handsome paper
having a silvery sheen, and the brown and green Brussels carpet. When
Mr. Hawthorne arrived, he had quite a civilized impression of the
house at first glance, and was delighted with it, not having seen it
since his first visit in snow-time, when it seemed fit only for a
menagerie of cattle. You will be glad to know that I have done nothing
myself, having so many assistants. But it is no sinecure to keep
people at work. Una was impatient of waiting for papa and Julian, and
walked off to meet them. At last I heard the rumble of the carriage,
and took baby out on the piazza. When Julian passed, he was at the
open window of the carriage; and baby saw him and screamed for joy;
and Julian shouted to see me; and the echoes were fairly roused by the
ecstasy of meeting, all round.

The other morning, at the Middlesex Hotel, Una remarked that she was
going to see Mr. Emerson. I supposed she was jesting; but I missed
her soon after, and in about an hour she returned, and said she had
been to see him. She had rung at the door, and a servant came, and she
inquired for Mr. Emerson! He came out and greeted her very kindly, and
said, "I suppose you have come to see Mrs. Emerson." "No," replied
Una, "I have come to see you" So he politely put aside his studies,
and accompanied his young lady visitor over the gardens and into the
Gothic summer-house [constructed of twisted branches by Mr. Alcott]. I
called there on my way here, and Mr. Emerson told me that he would
like Una to go in and out, just as if it were her own home. I said
that he was Una's friend ever since she had heard "The Humble Bee" and
"The Rhodora."

Una likes her native place prodigiously, and everybody near and far
seems quite "angelic," as Julian would say. . . . Last Sunday Mrs.
Emerson and her three children came to make a call. The Study is the
pet room, the temple of the Muses and the Delphic Shrine. The
beautiful carpet lays the foundation of its charms, and the oak
woodwork harmonizes with the tint in which Endymion is painted. At
last I have Endymion where I always wanted it--in my husband's Study,
and it occupies one whole division of the wall. In the corner on that
side stands the pedestal with Apollo on it, and there is a
fountain-shaped vase of damask and yellow roses. Between the windows
is the Transfiguration [given by Mr. Emerson]. (The drawing-room is
to be redeemed with one picture only,--Correggio's Madonna and
Christ.) On another side of the Study are the two Lake Comos. On
another, that agreeable picture of Luther and his family around the
Christmas-tree, which Mr. George Bradford gave to Mr. Hawthorne. Mr.
Emerson took Julian to walk in the woods, the other afternoon. I have
no time to think what to say, for there is a dear little mob around
me. Baby looks fairest of fair to-day. She walks miles about the
house. Ever and ever your most loving child,

SOPHIA.

July 4.

MY DEAREST MOTHER,--Here is another Sunday again, with seemingly no
time between, so fast does, the old Father hasten on. Last week was
memorable in the children's life by the occurrence of a party. Mrs.
Emerson, with magnificent hospitality, invited all the children in
town, from babyhood upwards (and their mothers), for a great festival.
Rose and I were prevented from going by the arrival of three gentlemen
from Boston, who stayed to tea, one being the brilliant Mr. Whipple.
On that day we had five gentlemen, among them another Whipple, a man
of genius and a colonel of brave renown, whose hair stands up straight
upon his brow, over fine eyes and a swarthy face. He invited us to go
to his beautiful home on the borders of Winnipiseogee Lake. A great
many gentlemen come to see Mr. Hawthorne all the time from foreign
parts. That morning the first arrival was General Solomon McNeil, a
veteran of nearly seven feet in height, whose head was amazingly near
the ceiling of our low dining-room, and who stooped low to go out of
the door. He had an extraordinary face. His gray hair stood up
straight, as well as Colonel Whipple's, and was full of demonic
energy; and his gray eyes flashed beneath overhanging brows. As he
entered the room, I advanced to meet him. He said, "Mrs. Hawthorne, I
presume. I have scarcely seen your husband; but I have known him well
for fifteen years." (At this, he raised his hand and arm as if he were
wielding a sword, with intent to do battle.) "And I told his friend,
when I read his book,--his friend who said that he was perfect, except
for a want of confidence in his power,--I told him, Never fear; he
will go it!" (Another sweep with the sword.) "He will go it! I found
ideas there--ideas!" I vanished, to call my husband. Mr. Hawthorne
then came in, and we found the old gentleman intently gazing at my
husband's portrait,--so intently that he did not observe our entrance,
till Mr. Hawthorne spoke. He turned, and placed his hand with such
force upon my husband's shoulder that you would have supposed he had
dubbed him knight. They left the room to go to the Study, the General
brandishing the sword tremendously at every sentence he uttered on the
way. It was really good to see such a man; so mighty in physique, with
such a strong character, such resolute will, and such a gleam of
loving-kindness in his eyes, to temper the force.

I have wandered off from the party. The children had a charming time,
and brought back word that each had behaved perfectly. The next day I
went to tell Mrs. Emerson why Rose and I did not appear. I found Mr.
Emerson, sitting on the side doorstep, with Edith on his knee and
Edward riding about the lawn on his pony. Mr. Emerson said that "the
show of children was very pretty. But Julian! He makes his mark
everywhere; there is no child so fine as Julian!" Was not that
pleasant to hear from him? I told him how singular it was that Julian
should find in Concord the desire of his imagination for two years--a
pony [Mr. Emerson had already superintended the little boy's mounting,
and falling off from, Edward's pony]; and he smiled like Sirius.
"Well, that is good. Send him this afternoon." He then called Edward,
and bade him go home with me, mount Julian, and bring him back; and
this was accordingly done. But first, Mr. Emerson invited me to go up
with him to the hilltop, opposite his house, where there is a fine
view. His house is in a thick bower of evergreen and horse-chestnut
trees. The grove is Academe, and could not have been more musical or
deep; and Plato's disciple walks there.

Last week I drew The Wayside for George Putnam, who is going to have
it engraved. I must also make sketches of Mr. Emerson's and the Old
Manse. To-morrow Una goes to a picnic at Mrs. Pratt's [mother-in-law
of a daughter of Mr. Alcott's] with Ellen and Edith Emerson. We
expect Louisa Hawthorne this week. She has been coming for a good
while, but was delayed by the severe illness of Mrs. Robert Manning.

Yesterday Mr. Hawthorne went to Boston to meet Mr. Atherton. A
daguerreotypist seized him, and took three pictures of him, from which
the man politely asks me to choose. They are somewhat good. Julian had
a tooth out the other day, and laughed instead of crying. Edward was
so unfortunate a day or two since as to have four teeth drop out at
once; and Mr. Emerson says he must be put under a barrel until the
others grow.

Monday P. M. Mr. Hawthorne, Una, and Julian have gone to the picnic.
This morning I went to the post-office, for I did not like to send Una
when boys were firing crackers in every direction. Julian always is my
shadow--so he went with me. I stopped at Mrs. Emerson's, to ask her
when and how her children were going. I found a superb George
Washington in the dining-room, nearly as large as life, engraved from
Stuart's painting. We saw no one of the family, but finally a door
opened, and the rich music of Mr. Emerson's voice filled the entry.
Julian ran out at the sound, and Ellen and her father came into the
room. Mr. Emerson asked me if that head (pointing to Washington) were
not a fine celebration of the Fourth of July. "He would seem to have
absorbed into that face all the serenity of these United States, and
left none elsewhere, excepting" (and he laid his hand on
Julian)--"excepting what is in Julian. Washington is the Great Repose,
and Julian is the Little Repose--hereafter to become also the Great
Repose!" He asked if Julian were going to the picnic; and I told him
"no," as I was not going. "Oh, but if Una is going, that would be a
divided cherry, would it not?" Finding that Mrs. Emerson was to go,
and that they were all to ride, I of course had no objection. And then
Mr. Emerson wanted Mr. Hawthorne to go with him, at five o'clock. My
lord consented, and so they are all gone. Last evening, Mrs. Emerson
came to see us with her sister, loaded with roses, and she was
delighted with our house. Rosebud walked all round with us, in perfect
sobriety, listening to our conversation. Is not this hot weather
delightful? It is to me luxury and strength. Mr. Hawthorne has sold
the grass for thirty dollars. He has cut his bean-poles in his own
woods. We find The Wayside prettier and prettier. Baby keeps pulling
my arm.

Your child, SOPHY.



CHAPTER VIII

THE LIVERPOOL CONSULATE


The letters to Mrs. Peabody sketch on:--

DEAREST MOTHER,--We have had an Englishman here, an artist, whom
George Putnam [a cousin] sent to take sketches. He came here with his
carpet-bag, and there seemed nothing to be done but to ask him to stay
with us while in town. I was the more glad to do so, hoping thereby to
save George some pennies, as I was obliged to disappoint him about
making the drawings myself. This artist is from the North of England.
He seems very good and simple-hearted, and he talks like the Cataract
of Lodore. He has the magnetic influence upon Mr. Hawthorne which
produces sleepiness.

He is enchanted with The Wayside.

You know Mr. Hawthorne is a sort of load-stone, which attracts all
men's confidences without a word of question, and scarcely any answer;
and so Mr. Miller tells his whole life and thoughts. If he has the
national reservedness generally, it certainly vanishes in my husband's
presence, for it seems as if he could not tell enough. On Monday and
Tuesday we expected to have Mr. Ticknor here, whom Mr. Hawthorne
wished to see about his book, but he did not come.

Mr. Hawthorne feels better now, and looks natural, with living color.
[He had been terribly shocked and overcome by the death, by drowning
from a burning vessel, of his sister Louisa.] Poor, dear Louisa! It is
harder and harder for me to realize that I shall not see her again.
And she had such a genuine joy in the children. But it is a positive
bliss to me to contemplate Louisa and her mother together. If there is
anything immortal in life it is the home relations, and heaven would
be no heaven without them. God never has knit my soul with my
husband's soul for such a paltry moment as this human life! I have not
loved my mother for one short day! My children do not thrill my
heart-strings with less than an eternal melody. We know that God
cannot trifle! This is all more real to me than what my human eye
rests on. I heard one of the truly second-sighted say once, that in a
trance he saw the spiritual world; and while gazing enraptured on its
green pastures, a spirit whispered to him, "Out of this greenness your
earthly pastures are green."

Yesterday afternoon Mr. Miller left us. Oh, dear, how the little man
talked! I do not know as the Cataract of Lodore is an adequate
exemplification, for that has some airy, fairy jets and overfalls. But
the good faith and earnestness with which Mr. Miller coined the air
into words were more like the noise and pertinacity of a manufactory.
He was certainly a new phase of man to me. When he finally vanished,
with his portfolio under his arm, my wings sprang up as if an iron
band had been holding them down. It was with a truly divine patience
that my husband gave ear to this personated Paper-Mill, because he saw
that he was good and true and honest. (I might have only said
"good.") Into those depths of misty gray light which stand for eyes
under my husband's brow, the little man was drawn as by a line. Miss
Bremer said to me of Mr. Hawthorne's eyes, "Wonderful, wonderful eyes!
They give, but receive not." But they do draw in. Mr. Miller kept his
face turned to him, as the sunflower to the sun; and when I spoke, and
he tried to turn to me, his head whirled back again. It really is
marvelous, how the mighty heart, with its charities, and comprehending
humanity, which glows and burns beneath the grand intellect, as if to
keep warm and fused the otherwise cold abstractions of thought,--it is
marvelous how it opens the bosoms of men. I have seen it so often, in
persons who have come to him. So Mr. Melville, generally silent and
incommunicative, pours out the rich floods of his mind and experience
to him, so sure of apprehension, so sure of a large and generous
interpretation, and of the most delicate and fine judgment. Thus only
could the poetic insight and far-searching analytic power be safely
intrusted to him. To him only who can tenderly sympathize must be
given the highest and profoundest insight.

How wonderfully it is arranged, that in the very person who most
imperiously demands absolute beauty and perfection (for so does Mr.
Hawthorne), in this very person is found the subtlest and widest
appreciation of human shortcomings, and the pleadings of weakness and
failure. In "Blithedale" I think one feels this tender humanity. It
will come out more and more.

Shall I tell you where I am? I am sitting in our acacia grove, on the
hill, with a few pines near enough for me to hear their oceanic
murmur. It is only necessary for me to shut my eyes, to hear every
variety of water sounds. The pine gives me the long, majestic swell
and retreat of the sea waves; the birch, the silvery tinkle of a
pebbly brook; the acacia, the soft fall of a cascade; and all mingled
together, a sound of many waters most refreshing to the sense. I thank
heaven that we possess a hilltop. No amount of plains could compete
with the value of this. To look down on the world actually is typical
of looking down spiritually, and so it is good. Una and Julian are
wandering around; Una having been reading to Julian. Rosebud is
asleep. Oh, she enjoys a summer day so much! This morning I set her
down on the green grass. Without looking at me, the happiest smile
began to dawn over her face; and then she suddenly waved her hands
like wings, and set forth. To fall down seemed a new joy. Julian
undertook to be her escort. It was a charming picture--the two figures
grouped together; the fair little blue-eyed face turned up to the
great brown, loving eyes, and all sorts of dulcet sounds responding to
one another. I could not help smiling to read in your letter that you
would have a rug spread for her. I should as soon think of keeping an
untamed bird on a rug as baby. I assure you that since she has had the
use of her feet she does not pause in the race of life. . . . It is good
to see such an expression of immense satisfaction as dwells upon her
face. Most lovingly your child,

SOPHIECHEN.


September 19.

MY DEAR MOTHER,--On Friday Mr. Hawthorne returned from nearly a three
weeks' visit to the Isles of Shoals. I did not tell you about it while
he was there, because your heart is so tender I knew you would have no
peace, and you would all the time be thinking that he was separated
from us by water. But here he is, looking in splendid health, all safe
and sound. General Pierce, and some other dignitaries with their
wives, met Mr. Hawthorne for a day or two; and the rest of the time he
had all to himself. I must tell you a story, by which you will be
enabled to see into political slander. An officer of the army,
resident at Baltimore, told the editor of a paper friendly to General
Pierce, that while in Mexico General Pierce was at a gambling-table
with another officer; and, a squabble ensuing, this officer struck
General Pierce in the face, and that the General took it without a
word. He told the editor also that the officer who offered this insult
was in California, making it difficult to have a word from him upon
the subject. The editor, in perplexity, sent the paragraph to General
Pierce, who was at a loss how to prove the utter falsity of the whole
story. But, behold, the next thing which he laid his hand upon, on his
table, was a letter postmarked "California." He opened it, and it was
from the very officer who was said to have insulted him so foully, and
was an expression of the highest admiration and respect, and
congratulations upon his present position. This was an unanswerable
denial; and so he sent the letter to Baltimore. This story, fabricated
out of nothing but malice, was meant to injure in two ways, by proving
him a gambler, and also pusillanimous. The slanderous officer will
probably cease to be one, as I believe falsehood is not considered a
military grace.

Mr. Hawthorne went to Brunswick, having been cordially invited by the
President of the College. He met his classmates there. On account of
the heavy rains he was detained so many hours on his way thither that
he did not arrive till noon of the day, and thus providentially
escaped hearing himself orated and poetized about in the morning.
Brunswick was so full that he had to go to Bath to sleep; and there he
had funny adventures, some old sea-captains insisting upon considering
him a brother, and calling him all the time "Cap'n Hathorne." At the
Isles of Shoals he had the ocean all to himself; but when he wished to
see human beings, he found Mr. and Mrs. Thaxter very pleasant. Mrs.
Thaxter sent Una a necklace of native shells with a gold and coral
clasp, Julian a plume made of white owl feathers, and Rosebud a most
exquisite wreath of sea-moss upon a card. I kept a journal for my
husband, according to his express injunction. The children missed
papa miserably, and I could not bear the trial very well. I could not
eat, sitting opposite his empty chair at table, and I lost several
pounds of flesh.

To-day, when baby waked from a nap of four hours and a half, she
called for the first time, "Mamma!" I ran up, and she was smiling like
a constellation of stars. She mourned after papa a great deal, and
sometimes would hold a long discourse about him, pointing all the
while at the portrait. One day a neighbor sent me, to cheer my
loneliness, the most superb bouquet of rare and costly rosebuds that I
ever saw. I put them in the Study, in a pretty champagne-glass [the
tall, old-fashioned kind], and they filled the room with fragrance. I
tended them very carefully; but they bloomed too fully at last. Yet
just at that moment, the lady gave me a fresh supply--the very day
before Mr. Hawthorne's return; and on that bright Friday afternoon I
put the vase of delicious rosebuds, and a beautiful China plate of
peaches and grapes, and a basket of splendid golden Porter apples on
his table; and we opened the western door [leading from the Study to
the lawn] and let in a flood of sunsetting. Apollo's "beautiful
disdain" seemed kindled anew. Endymion smiled richly in his dream of
Diana. Lake Como was wrapped in golden mist. The divine form in the
Transfiguration floated in light. I thought it would be a pity if Mr.
Hawthorne did not come that moment. As I thought this, I heard the
railroad-coach--and he was here. He looked, to be sure, as he wrote in
one of his letters, "twice the man he was." Dear little Una went to
the village with the mail-bag, just before it was time to expect her
father, and I told her I hoped she would drive home with him. She met
him, caught a glance, and he was gone. It surprised me that her sense
of duty prevented her from turning back at once. I asked her why she
did not, as the letters were not of so much importance, since papa had
come. "Oh," said she, "I did not know but it would be wrong to go back
only because I wanted to." At last she came. She entered the Study in
a very quiet way (apparently), received his loving greeting, and then,
taking off her hat, sat down at my feet to look at him, and hear him.
When she went to bed, she said, "Oh, mamma, my head has tingled so,
ever since I saw papa, that I could hardly bear the pain! Do not tell
him, for it might trouble him." Was it not sweet and heroic in her to
keep so quiet for two hours? This is a good specimen of Una's powers
of self-sacrifice. It has sometimes made me wish to weep over her
delicious tears.


Sunday, October 24, 1852.

MY DEAREST MOTHER,--To-day we all went into the woods above and behind
our house, and sat down and wove wreaths of red and russet leaves, and
dreamed and mused with a far-off sound of booming waves and plash of
sea on smooth beach in the pine-trees about us. It was beautiful to
see the serene gleam of Una's face, fleckered with sunlight; and
Julian, with his coronet of curls, sitting quiet in the great peace.
My husband, at full length on the carpet of withered pine, presented
no hindrance to the tides of divine life that are ready to flow
through us, if we will. There are no Words to describe such enjoyment;
but you can understand it well. It is the highest wisdom, I think, to
sometimes do nothing; but only keep still, and reverently be happy,
and receptive of the great omnipresence. How studiously we mortals
keep it out of our eternal business. There should be no business at
least once a week. I rather think it is the best proof that Moses was
inspired that he instituted a Sabbath of rest from labor. God needs
not, but man needs, rest.

Sunset. I left you to go out again and join my husband on the hilltop,
while the children's voices kept us advised of their welfare somewhere
about the place. My husband and I sat on a terrace on the side of the
hill, both looking off upon the tranquil horizon, beginning to be
veiled with a dim blue haze. Una ran up, calling out that Mr. Hosmer
wished to see papa and mamma. So we descended, and met the old
gentleman on a lower terrace, where I invited him to sit on the green
sofa; and we grouped about him. Julian at first went rushing through
our ranks like a young Olympian exercising heroic games, and finally
extended himself on the grass to listen to the palaver. Mr. Hosmer
began with the Great Daniel [Webster], who died at three o'clock this
morning. He expressed admiration of him, as we all did; and I thought
his death an immense loss. Mr. Hosmer was very glad that he died in
the fullness of his power of mind, and not sunken in the socket. He
discoursed upon the massive grandeur of his speeches, his wonderful
letters, and of all that was mighty in him. Also of his shortcomings
and their retribution. You would have liked to have heard Mr. Hosmer
glorify John Adams--even his appearance. He said that at eighty-three
(when he sat near him every Sunday at church) he was a "perfect
beauty;" that his cheeks were as unwrinkled as a girl's, and as fair
and white, and his head was a noble crown; and that any woman would
fall in love with him. So we talked of great men, till I came in to
watch baby's sleep. She soon waked, all smiles and love; and then Mr.
Hawthorne and Mr. Hosmer came in, still upon the theme of great men.
Mr. Hosmer thought Oliver Cromwell greatest of all, I believe. Una and
I made you a wreath of richly tinted oak leaves to-day, and when I go
to Newton I will take it. I wish you could hear her repeat poetry in
her dulcet, touching tones. I never heard any one repeat poetry so
much to my mind.

Evening. Mr. Hawthorne is drawn forcibly out of doors by the moon's
rays, they are so clear and superb to-night. He looked out and sighed,
for he did not really want to go; but he felt under a moral necessity.
I walk out in him, being mamma and nurse [Rosebud was still up]. When
you write to Mr. Plumly, bless him for me for the mantle [his gift to
Mrs. Peabody] and his beautiful, refreshing letter about it. I had a
great mind to write to him myself of his appreciation of you and of my
husband. What a noble, lovely person he is!

Your child, SOPHY.


April 14, 1853.

My husband went off in a dark rain this morning, on his way to
Washington. Mary Herne called to baby to come and take care of her
dolly, who was upon the floor in the kitchen. Rose rushed in a
breakneck manner across the parlor, exclaiming as if in the utmost
maternal distress, "Oh, mershy, mershy!" and rescued Dolly from her
peril. She was quite happy and still in the kitchen; and then I heard
her shout, "I like it--I like it motch!" I asked Mary what it was that
baby liked so "motch." When Mary got up to investigate, she found baby
in the closet at the molasses jug, still crying, "I like it--I like it
motch!" She was very much diverted by our consternation; and when, at
tea-time, I was speaking of it, she burst into inextinguishable
laughter; and as soon as she could speak, said, "I glad! Was ever such
a mischief?" Twice to-day she began to go into the Study for "papa
take her." I sent Julian to the village at five, and he returned in a
pouring rain. His sack kept him dry, but he thought he was soaked to
the skin because his nose was wet. He brought a letter from Charlotte
Bridge, inclosing two notes to my husband from Mr. Bridge. To-day I
found nothing in the post-office but Mr. Emerson. He walked along with
me and said he had a letter from Mr. Synge [whom Hawthorne met, later,
in England], an attache of the British Legation, asking for an
autograph of Mr. Hawthorne. Grandpapa, baby, and I sat in the parlor
in the afternoon, and baby was in the highest spirits, and conversed
for the first time in the most facetious manner, casting side glances,
and laughing with a great pretense of being vastly amused, and of
superior insight into the bearing of things.

April 19. The great day of the Concord fight. I was awakened by
cannon and the ringing of bells. The cannon thundered all around the
welkin, in a very grand, stately, and leisurely manner. I read the
history of the day to the children. What made the morning beautiful
and springlike to me was a letter which Julian brought from my
husband.

April 21. A day like a dulcimer. It was so charming to rake and plant
and prune that I remained out a long time, and tore my hands nicely.

Julian requested to go and take a quiet walk in the woods, and
returned just as I was becoming anxious about him, shouting, with a
sweet-brier bush which he had pulled up by the roots in the wood. I
took a spade, and dug a great cave, and planted it beneath his western
window; and I am sure it must grow for him, for he sent sunshine down
into the earth from his eyes upon the roots while I was setting it
out.

The stage-coach drove up and brought me Mrs. S. G. Ward and Sarah
Clarke. Mrs. Ward was cruelly disappointed not to see Mr. Hawthorne;
and I told her that he would probably tear his hair when he came back
and found what he had lost. "Tell him," said she, "that I tore out all
mine." She was splendid and radiant beyond my power to tell; dressed
in rich green and a rose-colored bonnet, and her beautiful hair
curling round her wonderful face. I do not believe there is another
such woman in the world. When she had stepped from the house, Julian
begged me to run after her, and tell her she must go to England
[whither the family now expected to journey]; and with the most
enchanting grace she laughed, and said, "Tell him I certainly shall!"

Sunday. At ten, my little flock gathered [Mrs. Hawthorne taught
reading, geography, drawing, etc., to several children besides her
own, for love, and gave them Sunday-school lessons also]; and I read
them the story of Balaam's ass, and about the death of Moses. They
were much afflicted that Moses was not allowed to go to the Promised
Land. I read that he looked down from Mount Pisgah and saw Canaan and
the City of Palms, and showed them my Cuban sketch of a palm,
describing exactly how they looked and grew; and the vision of the
City of Palms became very beautiful to them. Poor little Mary Ellen
felt ill, but she was so interested that I could not persuade her to
go home.

April 26. I met Mr. Rockwood Hoar, who congratulated us upon our
expected residence in England, which he said was "the only place fit
to live in out of America."

April 29. A neighbor came yesterday with an English white rose, and
set out the tree for me. He said it was for Rosebud. We are getting
to look quite nice, but all will look black and bare to my husband,
after being at the South. Baby is filled with joy to be out in such
lovely weather, and makes no hesitation to take the heaviest tools,
and dig and rake and hoe. She will not come in even to drink her milk.
Some documents came this morning from the State Department, relating
to the Consulate at Liverpool. The peach-trees are all in bloom, and
the cherry-trees also. I looked about, as I sat down in our pine
grove, and tried to bear my husband's absence but it is desolation
without him. This is the sweetest place--I really cannot bear to leave
it. My scholars drew flowers, this morning. Mr. Emerson and Ellery
Charming passed along; and Mr. Emerson asked Julian to go with the
children to Fairy Land [in Walden woods]. He went, in a state of
ecstatic bliss. He brought me home, in a basket, cowslips, anemones,
and violets.

In June the voyage to England, as Hawthorne was appointed Consul at
Liverpool by President Pierce, was undertaken, and pleasantly
accomplished.

Hawthorne's "English Note-Books," as well as the elaborated papers
that make up "Our Old Home," disclose something of his daily life in
England during his consulship; but it was in the rapid, familiar
letters of my mother to her family that his life was most freely
narrated. I have preserved these letters, and shall give extracts from
them in the pages that follow, prefacing and interpolating a few
girlish memories of my father and of the places in which I saw him,
although they are trivial and meagre in incident. He died the day
before my thirteenth birthday, and as my existence had begun at a time
when his quiet life was invaded (if we may use that term in connection
with a welcome guest) by fame, with its attendant activity in the
outside world, my intercourse with him was both juvenile and brief. In
England, he mingled more than ever before with the members of literary
and fashionable society. I, who in 1853 was but two years old, had to
be satisfied with a glance and a smile, which were so much less than
he had been able to give to my brother and sister in their happier
childhood days, for they had enjoyed hours of his companionship as a
constant pastime. I was, moreover, much younger than the others, and
was never allowed to grow, as I wished, out of the appellations of
Rosebud, Baby, and Bab (as my father always called me), and all the
infantine thought which those pet names imply. I longed myself to
hear the splendidly grotesque fairy tales, sprung from his delicious
jollity of imagination, which Una and Julian had reveled in when our
father had been at leisure in Lenox and Concord; and the various
frolics about which I received appetizing hints as I grew into
girlhood made me seem to myself a stranger who had come too late. But
a stranger at Hawthorne's side could be very happy, and, whatever my
losses, I knew myself to be rich.

In the early years of our stay in England his personality was most
radiant. His face was sunny, his aspect that of shining elegance.
There was the perpetual gleam of a glad smile on his mouth and in his
eyes. His eyes were either a light gray or a violet blue, according to
his mood. His hair was brown and waved loosely (I take it very hard
when people ask me if it was at all red!), and his complexion was as
clear and luminous as his mother's, who was the most beautiful woman
some people have ever seen. He was tall, and with as little
superfluous flesh and as much sturdy vigor as a young athlete; for his
mode of life was always athletic, simple, and abstemious. He leaned
his head a little to one side, often, in a position indicating alert
rest, such as we find in many Greek statues,--so different from the
straight, dogged pose of a Roman emperor. He was very apt to make an
assent with an upward movement of the head, a comfortable h'm-m, and a
half-smile. Sympathetic he was, indeed, and warm with the fire that
never goes out in great natures. He had much dignity; so much that
persons in his own country sometimes thought him shy and reticent to
the verge of morbidness. But it was merely the gentlemanliness of the
man, who was jocund with no one but his intimate friends, and never
fierce except with rascals, as I observed on one or two occasions.
Those who thought him too silent were bores whom he desired not to
attract. Those who thought him unphilosophical (and some philosophers
thought that) were not artists, and could not analyze his work. Those
who knew him for a man and a friend were manly and salubrious of soul
themselves. They have given plenty of testimony as to the
good-fellowship of a nature which could be so silent at will.

He was usually reserved, but he was ready for action all the time. His
full, smooth lips, sensitive as a child's, would tell a student of
facial lines how vivid was his life, though absolutely under his cool
command. He was a delightful companion even when little was said,
because his eyes spoke with a sort of apprehension of your thought, so
that you felt that your expression of face was a clear record for him,
and that words would have been a sort of anticlimax. His companionship
was exquisitely restful, since it was instinctively sympathetic. He
did not need to exert himself to know you deeply, and he saw all the
good in you there was to know; and the weakness and the wrong of any
heart he weighed as nicely in the balance of tender mercy as we could
do in pity for ourselves. I always felt a great awe of him, a
tremendous sense of his power. His large eyes, liquid with blue and
white light and deep with dark shadows, told me even when I was very
young that he was in some respects different from other people. He
could be most tender in outward action, but he never threw such action
away. He knew swine under the cleverest disguise. I speak of outward
acts of tenderness. As for his spirit, it was always arousing mine,
or any one's, and acting towards one's spiritual being invisibly and
silently, but with gentle earnestness. He evinced by it either a
sternly sweet dignity of tolerance, or an approbation generous as a
broad meadow, or a sadly glanced, adverse comment that lashed one's
inner consciousness with remorse. He was meditative, as all those are
who care that the world is full of sorrow and sin, but cheerful, as
those are who have the character and genius to see the finite beauty
and perfection in the world, which are sent to the true-hearted as
indications of heaven. He could be full of cheer, and at the same
time never lose the solemnity of a perception of the Infinite,--that
familiar fact which we, so many of us, have ceased to fear, but which
the greatest men so remember and reverence. He never became wholly
merged in fun, however gay the games in which he joined with us
children; just as a man of refinement who has been in war never quite
throws aside the dignity of the sorrow which he has seen. He might
seem, at a superficial glance, to be the merriest of us all, but on
second thoughts he was not. Of course, there were times when it was
very evident to me that my father was as comfortable and happy as he
cared to be. When he stood upon the hearth-rug, before the snapping,
blushing English fire (always poked into a blaze towards evening, as
he was about to enter the parlor),--when he stood there with his hands
clasped behind him, swaying from side to side in a way peculiar to
him, and which recalled the many sea-swayed ancestors of his who had
kept their feet on rolling decks, then he was a picture of benevolent
pleasure. Perhaps, for this moment, the soldier from the battlefields
of the soul ceased to remember scenes of cruelty and agony. He swayed
from side to side, and raised himself on his toes, and creaked his
slippered heels jocosely, and smiled upon me, and lost himself in
agreeable musings. He was very courteous, entirely sincere, and quiet
with fixed principles as a great machine with consistent movement. He
treated children handsomely; harshness was not in him to be subdued,
and scorn of anything that was honestly developing would have seemed
to him blasphemy. He stooped to my intelligence, and rejoiced it. We
were usually a silent couple when off for a walk together, or when we
met by chance in the household. I suppose that we were seeing which
could outdo the other at "holding the tongue." But still, our
intercourse, as I remarked before, might be complete. I knew him very
well indeed,--' his power, his supremacy of honesty, his wealth of
refinement. And he, I was fully aware, could see through me as easily
as if I were a soul in one of his own books.

Even as a child, knowing that he could not think me a remunerative
companion, I realized how remarkable it was that in all his being
there was not an atom of the poison of contempt. If he did not love
stupidity, he forgave it. If he was strong with analysis and the
rejection of all sham and wrong, his hand was ready to grasp s any
hand, because it was a human creature's, whose destiny was a part of
every destiny--even Christ's. This sympathy, which caused the choice
he had made of his character-studies, and brought many confessions to
his judgment from bewildered men and women, was with him so entire
that it showed itself in the little things of existence, as a whole
garden-path is noble with the nature of the rose that stands blooming
there.

His aspect avoided, as did that of his art, which exactly reproduced
his character, anything like self-conscious picturesqueness. It is
pleasant to have the object of our regard unconscious of himself. He
had a way of ignoring, while observing automatically, all accessories,
which reminded us that his soul was ever awake, and waiting to be made
free of earthly things and common ideas.

During our European life he frequently wore a soft brown felt hat and
a brown talma of finest broadcloth, whose Greek-like folds and
double-decked effect were artistic, but did not tempt him to pose or
remember his material self. He was as forgetful of his appearance as
an Irishman of the true quality, who may have heard something about
his coat or his hair, but has let slip from his mind what it was, and
cares not, so long as the song of his comrades is tender and the
laughter generous. In some such downright way, I was convinced, my
father regarded the beauty and stateliness which were his, and for
which he had been praised all through his existence. He forgot himself
in high aims, which are greater than things seen, no matter how fine
soever.

We made a very happy family group as we gladly followed and looked
upon him when he took ship to start for the Liverpool Consulate; and
of this journey and the new experiences which ensued my mother writes
to Dr. Peabody as follows:--


STEAMER NIAGARA, ATLANTIC OCEAN,

July 7, 1853.

MY DEAREST FATHER,--It is early morning. Wrapped in furs and blanket
shawl, in the sun and close against the vast scarlet cylinder of
scalding hot steam, I have seated myself to greet you from Halifax,
where we shall arrive to-night. I was glad to leave the sight of you
while you were talking with Mr. Fields, whose cheerful face (and
words, no doubt) caused you to smile. I was so glad to leave you
smiling happily. Then came the cannonade, which was very long. And why
do you suppose it was so long? Mr. Ticknor says that always they give
a salute of two guns; but that yesterday so many were thundered off
because Mr. Hawthorne, the distinguished United States Consul and
author, was leaving the shore, and honoring her Majesty's steamship
with his presence. While they were stabbing me with their noise I was
ignorant of this. Perhaps my wifely pride would have enabled me to
bear it better if I had known that the steamer were trembling with
honor rendered to my husband. After this we were quiet, enough, for
we were moving magically over a sea like a vast pearl, almost white
with peace. I never saw anything so fair and lovely as the whole
aspect of the mighty ocean. Off on the horizon a celestial blue seemed
to meet the sky. Julian sat absorbed. He did not turn his head, but
gazed and gazed on this, to him, new and wondrous picture. Seeing a
point of land running out, he said, "That, I suppose, is the end of
America! I do not think America reaches very far!" I managed to change
his beaver and plume for his great straw Fayal hat, but he would not
turn his head for it. It was excessively hot. An awning was spread at
the stern, and then it was very comfortable. I heard that the British
minister was on board, and I searched round to find him out. I decided
upon a fine-looking elderly gentleman who was asleep near the
helm-house. Afterwards the mail-agent came to Mr. Hawthorne and said
the minister wished to make his acquaintance; and behold, here was my
minister, a stately, handsome person, with an air noble and of great
simplicity and charm of manner. Mr. Hawthorne introduced me, but I had
no conversation then. Later, I had a very delightful interview. . . .
Near by stood a gentleman whom I supposed his attache; and with him I
had a very long and interesting conversation. We had a nice talk
about art and Rome, and America and England, and architecture. I do
not yet know his name, but only that his brother was joint executor
with Sir Robert Peel on the estate of Hadley, the artist. This unknown
told me that the minister was an exquisite amateur artist, and his
portfolio was full of the finest sketches. This accounted for the
serene expression of his eyes, that rest contemplatively upon all
objects. Mr. Silsbee looks so thin and pale that I fear for him; but I
will take good care of him. At table, Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne have the
seats of honor, on either hand of the captain. He is a very
remarkable man. The minister told me that he sailed with him five
years ago, when the captain was very young, and he was then astonished
at his skill and power of command; that the captains of these great
English steamers are picked men, trained in the navy, and eminent for
ability and accomplishment, and that Captain Leitch is remarkable
among the best. It was good to see his assured military air, as he
walked back and forth while we moved out of the beautiful harbor. He
made motions with his hand with such an air of majesty and conscious
power. His smile is charming, and his voice fine. The enunciation of
Mr. Crampton, the minister, is also wonderfully fine. Mr. Crampton
says that these steamers have run for seventeen years, and that not
one accident has happened, and not a man been lost, except that once a
steamer was lost in a fog, but all the passengers and crew were safely
got off. Una enjoys herself very much, and reads the "Tanglewood
Tales," and walks and races on the upper deck with Julian, this fine
cold morning. It is glorious, glorious,--this blue surrounding sea,
and no land.

Your affectionate daughter,

SOPHIA.


WATERLOO HOUSE, LIVERPOOL, July 17, Sunday morning.

Here we are, dear father, in England; and I cannot realize it, because
a moment ago we were in Boston Harbor, and how can I be three thousand
miles afar? If we had had more difficulty, storms, and danger, I could
realize it better; but it seems like a pleasure excursion on a lake. I
sit in a parlor, with one great, broad window from ceiling to floor, a
casement opening upon a balcony, which commands a handsome street. It
does not look like Boston, and, Mr. Hawthorne says, not like New York,
but--like Liverpool. People are going to church, and the bells are
chiming in a pleasant jangle. Every gentleman has an umbrella under
his arm; for it is bright sunshine one moment, and a merry little
shower the next.

I spoke in my note from Halifax of Mr. Crampton, and a gentleman whom
I thought his attached Mr. Crampton we lost at Halifax, but the
supposed attache remained; and I was glad, for he was the most
interesting person in the steamer. We in vain tried to discover his
name, but at last found it to be Field Talfourd, brother of Sir Thomas
Talfourd, author of "Ion." I had very charming conversations with him.
He was a perfect gentleman, with an ease of manner so fascinating and
rare, showing high breeding, and a voice rich and full. Whenever he
spoke, his words came out clear from the surrounding babble and all
the noise of the ship, so that I could always tell where he was. He is
one of the primitive men, in contradistinction to the derivative (as
Sarah Clarice once divided people). He seemed never at a loss on any
subject soever; and when the passengers were trying feats of skill and
physical prowess to pass the time, I saw Mr. Talfourd exhibit
marvelous power as a gymnast in performing a feat which no one else
would even attempt. His education was all-sided, body and mind,
apparently; and, with all, this charm of gentlemanliness,--not very
often met with in America. It seems to require more leisure and a
deeper culture than we Americans have yet, to produce such a lovely
flower. . . .

July 19. We all have colds now, except Mr. Hawthorne, with whom
earth's maladies have nothing to do. Julian and Una are homesick for
broad fields and hilltops. Julian, in this narrow, high room, is very
much like an eagle crowded into a canary-bird's cage! They shall go to
Prince's Park as soon as I can find' the way; and there they will see
water and green grass and trees. They think of the dear Wayside with
despair. As soon as possible we shall go into the country. Yesterday
the waning consul, Mr. Crittendon, called. Mr. Hawthorne likes him
much. Mr. Silsbee and Mr. Wight called. The latter talked a great deal
of transcendental philosophy to me, on the Niagara; and I was
sometimes tempted to fling him to the fishes, to baptize him in
realities.

July 21. An Oxford graduate, who went to see Mr. Hawthorne in Concord,
called to see him, and brought his father, a fine-looking gentleman.
Their name is Bright. Mary Herne thought the son was Eustace Bright
himself! To-day the father came to invite us all out to West Derby to
tea on Saturday, and the son is coming for us. There the children
will see swans and gardens and green grass, and they are in raptures.
Young Henry Bright is a very enthusiastic young gentleman, full of
life and emotion; and he very politely brought me from his gardens a
radiant bouquet of flowers, among which the heliotrope and moss-roses
and all other roses and mignonette make delicious fragrance. Yesterday
Miss Lynch sent me a bunch of moss-rose buds--nine! Just think of
seeing together nine moss-rose buds! Henry Bright brought the
"Westminster Review" to Mr. Hawthorne, and said he should bring him
all the new books. Mrs. Train called to see me before she went to town
[London], and Mr. Hawthorne and I went back with her to the Adelphi,
and walked on to see a very magnificent stone building, called St.
George's Hall. It is not quite finished; and as far as the mist would
allow me to see, it was sumptuous. . . . We have strawberries as large
as small peaches, one being quite a feast, and fine raspberries. The
head of the Waterloo House, Mr. Lynn, is a venerable-looking person,
resembling one's idea of an ancient duke,--dressing with elaborate
elegance, and with the finest ruffled bosoms. Out of peculiar respect
to the Consul of the United States, he comes in at the serving of the
soup, and holds each plate while I pour the soup, and then, with great
state, presents it to the waiter to place before each person. After
this ceremony he retires with a respectful obeisance. This homage
diverts Mr. Hawthorne so much that I am afraid he will smile some day.
The gravity of the servants is imperturbable. One, Mr. Hawthorne calls
our Methodist preacher. The service is absolutely perfect. Your
affectionate child,

SOPHIA.

The Brights, especially Henry Bright, appear frequently in the
"Note-Books," and their names occur very often in my mother's letters.
The young Oxford graduate I remember most distinctly. He was thin,
and so tall that he waved like a reed, and so shining-eyed that his
eyes seemed like icebergs; they were very prominent. His nose was one
of your English masterpieces,--a mountainous range of aristocratic
formation; and his far-sweeping eyebrows of delicate brown, his red,
red lips and white doglike teeth, and his deeply cleft British chin
were a source of fathomless study. In England a man can be
extraordinarily ordinary and material; but the men of culture are, as
a rule, remarkably forcible in unique and deep-cut characteristics,
both of face and of mind, with a prevailing freedom from
self-analysis--except privately, no doubt.

The strong features of Henry Bright, at any rate, made a total of
ravishing refinement. He and my father would sit on opposite sides of
the fire; Mr. Bright with a staring, frosty gaze directed unmeltingly
at the sunny glow of the coals as he talked, his slender long fingers
propping up his charming head (over which his delicately brown hair
fell in close-gliding waves) as he leaned on the arm of his
easy-chair. Sometimes he held a book of Tennyson's poetry to his
near-sighted, prominent eyes, as closely as two materials could remain
and not blend into one. He recited "The Brook" in a fine fury of
appreciation, and with a sure movement that suggested well the
down-tumbling of the frolicking element, with its under-current of
sympathizing pathos, the life-blood of the stream. "For men may come,
and men may go, but I go on for ever!" rang in my empty little head
for years, and summed up, as I guessed, all of Egyptian wisdom and
spiritual perpetuity in a single suggestive fact. Mr. Bright had a way
of laughing that I could never cease to enjoy, even in the faint echo
of retrospect. It always ended in a whispered snort from the great
mountain range of his nose. He laughed often, at his own and my
father's remarks, and at the close of the tumbling diction of "The
Brook;" and he therefore frequently snorted in this
sweeping-of-the-wind fashion. I listened, spellbound. He also very
gently and breezily expressed his touched sensibility, after some
recitation of his of rare lines from other poems, but in the same odd
manner. My father stirred this beloved friend with judicious,
thought-developing opposition of opinion concerning all sorts of
polite subjects, but principally, when I overheard, concerning the
respective worth of writers. The small volume of Tennyson which Mr.
Bright held in his two hands caressingly, with that Anglo-literary
filliping of the leaves which is so great a compliment to any book,
contained for him a large share of Great Britain's greatness. His
brave heart beat for Tennyson; I think my father's did not, though his
head applauded. My mother, for her part, was entranced by the
goldsmith's work of the noble poet, and by the gems enclasped in its
perfection of formative art,--perfections within the pale of
convention and fashion and romantic beauty which make lovely
Tennyson's baronial domain. Henry Bright wrote verses, too; and he was
beginning to be successful in a certain profound interest which
customarily absorbs young men of genuine feeling who are not yet
married; and therefore it was worth while to stir the young lover up,
and hear what he could say for "The Princess" and "The Lord of
Burleigh." My mother, in a letter written six months after we had
reached England, and when he was established as a household friend,
draws a graphic picture of his lively personality:--

ROCK PARK, December 8.

. . . We had a charming visit from Henry Bright a fortnight ago. He
stayed all night, and he talks--I was going to say, like a storm; but
it is more like a breeze, for he is very gentle. He is extremely
interesting, sincere, earnest, independent, warm and generous hearted;
not at all dogmatic; full of questions, and with ready answers. He is
highly cultivated, and writes for the "Westminster." . . . Eustace
Bright, as described in "The Wonder-Book," is so much like him in
certain things that it is really curious: "Slender, pale, yet of a
healthy aspect, and as light and active as if he had wings to his
shoes." He is also near-sighted, though he does not wear spectacles.
His eyes are large, bright, and prominent, rather, indicating great
facility of language, which he has. He is an Oxford scholar, and has
decided literary tastes. He is delicately strung, and is as
transparent-minded and pure-hearted as a child, with great enthusiasm
and earnestness of character; and, though a Liberal, very loyal to his
Queen and very admiring of the aristocracy. This comes partly by
blood, as his mother has noble blood in her veins from various
directions, even the Percys and Stanleys, and is therefore a native
aristocrat. He enjoyed his visit to America extremely, and says
Boston is the Mecca of English Unitarians, and Dr. Channing is their
patron saint. I like to talk with him: he can really converse. He goes
to the Consulate a good deal, for he evidently loves Mr. Hawthorne
dearly. I wish my husband could always have visitors so agreeable. The
other day a woman went to him about a case in Chancery. Mr. Hawthorne
thought she was crazy; and I believe all people are who have a suit in
Chancery.

A few weeks after the date of the last letters, a visit was paid to
the Brights at their family home, and my mother thus writes of it:--

ROCK PARK, February 16, 1854.

I returned yesterday from a visit to Sandheys, the domain of Mr.
Bright. He has been urging all winter that we should go and dine and
stay all night, and I have refused, till last week Mrs. Bright wrote
a cordial note and invited Mr. Hawthorne and Una and me to go and
meet Mr. and Mrs. James Martineau, and stay two nights. It seemed
not possible to refuse without being uncivil, though I did not like to
leave Julian and baby so long. Mr. Hawthorne, however, intended
to stay but one night, and the next morning would come home and see
Julian and Rose, and take Julian to spend the day at the Consulate
with him; and we left King, that excellent butler, in the house. It
was really safe enough; only, you know, mothers have, perhaps,
unfounded alarms. We took a carriage at Pier-head (Una and I) and
drove to the Consulate, where we took up Mr. Hawthorne and Mr. Bright.
. . . We arrived at about six o'clock, and Una and I had to dress for
dinner after our arrival. It was a party of twelve. . . . Mrs. H.
[aunt of Henry Bright] is a fashionable lady, who resides in London in
season, and out of season at Norris Green. She was dressed in crimson
velvet, with pearls and diamonds, and her neck and arms were very fair
and pretty.

She was resolved to tease Mr. Hawthorne into consenting to go to her
ball. Just imagine him in the clutches of a lady of fashion! But he
always behaves so superbly under the most trying circumstances, that I
was exceedingly proud of him while I pitied him. . . . Finally she
could not tell whether he would accept or not, and said she would
leave the matter to me, with confidence that I would prevail. . . .
Just after luncheon on Tuesday, Mrs. Bright's brother came to tell her
that the Great Britain had come, and she would not believe it, because
her husband had not telegraphed her about it, . . . that largest ship in
the world, belonging to Mr. Bright. It had come back from Australia. . . .
Mr. Martineau has a kind of apostolic dignity about him. . . . But
the full dress of the gentlemen now requiring a white cravat and tie,
they all looked ministerial to me, except the United States Consul,
who will hold on to black satin, let the etiquette be what it may. He
does not choose to do as the Romans do while in Rome. At least, he is
not yet broken in. I suppose it is useless for me to say that he was
by far the handsomest person present, and might have been taken for
the king of them all. The chandelier that poured floods of light down
on the heads beneath was very becoming to him; for the more light
there is, the better he looks always. The dinner was exceedingly
elegant, and the service as beautiful as silver, finest porcelain, and
crystal could make it. And one of the attendants, the coachman,
diverted me very much by the air with which he carried off his black
satin breeches, white silk long hose, scarlet vest buttoned up with
gold, and the antique-cut coat embroidered with silver. Not the
autocrat of all the Russias feels grander than these livery servants.
The butler, who is really above the livery servants in position,
looked meek in his black suit and white vest and cravat, though he had
a right to look down on the varlet in small-clothes. This last,
however, was much the most imposing, in figure, and fair round red
cheeks, and splendid shining black hair. Dear me, what is man! At the
sound of a bell, when the dessert was put upon the table, the children
came in. They never dine with mamma and papa, . . . and all troop in
at dessert, looking so pretty, in full dress, . . . thin white muslin
or tulle, with short sleeves and low necks, and long streaming sashes.
I found the next day that it was just the same when there was no great
party at dinner. Little S. looked funny in his white vest and muslin
cravat,--like a picture of the old regime. In the evening we had
music, weaving itself into the conversation.

Mrs. Bright is . . . a person of delicate and fine taste; . . . she has
eight children, but in her face one does not find wearing care. . . . It
is a face of great sensibility. . . . Her smile breaks out like real
sunshine, revealing a happy and satisfied spirit, a fresh and unworn
nature. Her children seem to regard her as a precious treasure. Her
husband, with a white head and perfectly Eastern face, is exceedingly
pleasant; and when he comes home to dinner he goes to his wife and
takes her hand, as if he had been gone many months, and asks her
particularly how it is with her, in a tender and at the same time
playful way, which causes a great deal of sunshine. Then he runs
upstairs to dress, and comes back in an incredibly short time, as nice
as a new pin, and overflowing with the kindest hospitality. It is such
a pretty scene: the elegant drawing-room, the recess a bow window of
great size, filled with such large and clear plate glass that it seems
wide open, looking out upon the verdant lawn and rich green--
evergreen--shrubbery; two superb cranes, with stately crests,
walking about with proud steps, or with outspread wings half flying,
and uttering a short, sharp cry; oval and circular plots of ground
surrounded now with snowdrops, about twice as large as those we have
in America. Everything is lovely outside. Inside, innumerable gems of
art and mechanism cover the tables. . . . In the evening . . . the
group of airily dressed children; the tender mother in her rich
brocade and lace mantle; the happy father; the agreeable governess
(Miss Cumberland is a remarkably accomplished person, and has been
with the family fifteen years); the music, talk, and aesthetic
tea,--it is a charming picture. . . . The grave butler brings in a
tray with cups and saucers and an urn, and leaves the room. H. makes
tea, pours it out, and takes it to each person, with a little morsel
of spread bread. S. and A. look about for empty cups, and return them
to the tray. There is no fuss; it is all enfamille; and the tray is
borne off again by the butler, stepping with noiseless feet. There is
no noise at any time anywhere in the house, except the angry squall of
the cockatoo, who gets into a violent rage once in a while with some
invisible foe, and tears his cage, and erects the long feathers on his
head like so many swords drawn out of their scabbards. . . . The
Brights treated me in the sweetest way, as if they had always known
me, and I felt quite at home. H. is to go to her aunt's fancy ball as
a mermaid; and on Tuesday I helped sprinkle her sea-green veil with
pearls.

This family is very charming. Mrs. Bright is the lady of ladies; her
children are all clever (in an English sense), and one son a prodigy.
. . . They are all good as well as clever; well educated,
accomplished, and most entirely united. It is all peace and love and
happiness there, and I cannot discover where the shadow is. Health,
wealth, cultivation, and all the Christian graces and virtues--I
cannot see the trail of the serpent anywhere in that Paradise.

. . . Mrs. Bright and I had some nice little talks. She told me
elaborately how she admired and loved Mr. Hawthorne's books; how she
had found expressed in them what she had found nowhere else; with what
rapture one of her sisters read, re-read, and read again "The
Wonder-Book;" . . . how Mrs. H. thought him peerless; and so on. There
is not the least extravagance about Mrs. Bright, but remarkable
sobriety; and so what she said had double force. We talked . . .
while we sprinkled pearls over the mermaid's sea-green veil. On
Wednesday the sun shone! If you lived here [in or near Liverpool] you
would hardly credit such a phenomenon.



CHAPTER IX

ENGLISH DAYS: I


In order to give a full idea of Henry Bright and his home, I have
anticipated dates somewhat, but at this point will go back a little to
the summer of our arrival in England, since the atmosphere which
surrounded Hawthorne and the aspect of typical personalities which he
enjoyed are thus easily caught.

August 5, 1853.

. . . We have been so hospitably received that very little clear
leisure has been left for my own private use. . . . The children have
suffered very much from confinement within doors and bad air without,
and almost "everduring" rain. We find it will not do to remain in the
city any longer, and to-morrow we go across the Mersey to Rock-ferry,
a fine watering-place, twenty minutes off by steam, where the air is
pure and healthy.

We had a call from a certain Mrs. R. S. Ely and her mamma. She said
she herself was an American. On the afternoon of the same day we
received a formal invitation from this lady for a dinner-party. But
Mr. Hawthorne was engaged for that day to dine with Mr. Crittendon. As
she was a very fine lady, and resides in a very aristocratic street, I
was glad to be obliged to refuse, because my brocade was not yet
appointed, and I could wear nothing less in state. At the Waterloo we
received a call from Mrs. William Rathbone and her daughter, Mrs.
Thorn. It was a sister-in-law, Mrs. Richard Rathbone, who wrote that
exquisite book, "The Diary of Lady Willoughby." She resides in London.
Mr. William Rathbone is a millionaire. His wife is a cordial and
excellent lady, who seemed to take us right into her heart, just as
the Brights did. . . . We have been to make our promised call at
Sandheys. Before we drove there, Mr. Bright took us to Norris Green,
the estate of his uncle. How can I convey to you an adequate idea of
it? I do not know what we are to do with the regal paradises of
England if I cannot cope with this. . . . Here in all directions
spread out actual velvet lawns, upon which when I trod I seemed to
sink into a downy enchantment; and these lawns were of such a tint, of
the most delicate pea-green, with a lustre upon it! . . .

Evening. I have been interrupted all day, receiving and making calls.
Mr. Hawthorne has made his maiden speech, and followed it by another
to-day, when he received the Chamber of Commerce in Mrs. Blodget's
great drawing-room.

Mrs. William Rathbone sent her carriage to take us to Green Bank. The
floors of the halls are almost invariably pavements of stone,
sometimes in colored mosaic. . . . By and by came Mr. Rathbone,--a
very animated, upright, facetious old gentleman, who seems to enjoy
life and his millions quite serenely. He is a person of great energy,
and full of benevolence, and the fountain of many of the great
charities of Liverpool. Then came his son, and then a pretty lady,
Miss Stuart; remarkably pretty she was. We were summoned to tea by
what I at first thought was a distant band of music; but I believe it
was an East Indian gong, merely stirred into a delicate melody. Tea
was at one end of the table, and coffee at the other; and old Mr.
Rathbone presided at the coffee, and Mrs. Thorn at the tea. The house
was hung with pictures from ceiling to floor, every room I entered. In
walking all round the grounds before tea, we came upon a fine view of
the Welsh mountains over the sunny slopes; for it proved the loveliest
afternoon, though in the morning it rained straight down. Mrs. Thorn
spoke to me with great fervor of "The Scarlet Letter." She said that
no book ever produced so powerful an effect upon her. She was obliged
to put it away when half through, to quiet the tumultuous excitement
it caused in her. She said she felt as if each word in it was the only
word that ought to be used, and the wholeness, the unity, the
perfection of art amazed her. . . .

The Chamber of Commerce wished to pay their respects to Mr. Hawthorne;
but Mr. Hawthorne could not receive a cloud of gentlemen at our parlor
there, unless they had all "stood upon their dignity," as the witty
Miss Lynch suggested that Mr. Hawthorne should. The President of the
Chamber was a Mr. Barber, and, behold, when we came out to Rockferry
he called again, and invited us to dine at Poulton Hall, his
country-seat at Bebbington, on this side of the Mersey, where he
resides with his two maiden sisters. He came for us in his beautiful
carriage,--a chariot it was, with a coachman as straight as a
lightning-rod,--and off we bowled to Poulton Hall. [My mother's
inexperience concerning splendid effects in luxurious life led her to
look upon them in a naive, though perfectly composed manner. One is
reminded of the New Adam and Eve, and one is glad that the patient
objects of time-honored beauty had found surprise at last.] It is four
hundred years old; and there we came upon unspoiled nature, as well as
elaborate art. It is an enchanting spot, with a lawn shaded by ancient
oaks and other forest trees; but green fields beyond and around that
had never been trimmed and repressed into thick velvet. The Hall had
belonged to the Greens, and the history of it is full of ghost stories
and awful tragedies. We entered a hall, and by the ancient oaken
staircase reposed upon the carpet a fox, in a fine attitude, with
erect head and brilliant eyes,--really a splendid specimen of a
creature. I was surprised at the quiet manner in which he reposed,
undisturbed by our entrance; but I was much more astonished to find it
was a dead fox stuffed. I could scarcely believe it after I was told.
Mr. Barber is a lover of sport, and is going with his family to-morrow
to Scotland to hunt grouse. He says that at this season the hills of
Scotland are gorgeous with heath flowers, like a carpet of rich dyes.
We were ushered into the drawing-room, which looked more like a
brilliant apartment in Versailles than what I had expected to see. The
panels were richly gilt, with mirrors in the centre, and hangings of
gilded paper; and the broad windows were hung with golden-colored
damask; the furniture was all of the same hue; with a carpet of superb
flowers; and vases of living flowers standing everywhere; and a
chandelier of diamonds (as to indefatigable and vivid shining), and
candlesticks of the same,--not the long prisms, like those on Mary's
astral, but a network of crystals diamond-cut. The two ladies were in
embroidered white muslin dresses over rose-colored silk, and black
velvet jackets, basque-shaped, with a dozen bracelets on their arms,
which were bare, with flowing sleeves. They received us with that
whole-hearted cordiality we meet everywhere. They told us some
terrible stories about the haunted house, and about a lady who was
imprisoned and tortured in one of the attic chambers on account of her
faith, and how she resisted to the end, and was starved to death. The
room bore the name of the "Martyr's Chamber." ["Dr. Grimshawe's
Secret" refers to this mansion.] We went up there, and saw the window
in the roof,--so high that the wretched lady could not look out; and
the door of solid oak, which was ruthlessly barred. We saw the spot
where one of the gentlemen of the former family cut his throat, and
was found dead; and Miss Marianne said children had been murdered in
the house, and uneasy spirits revisited the "glimpses of the moon." We
went all over the house, in which are twenty-five sleeping apartments.
One room contains a library in black letter, but that we could only
peep at through a great keyhole, because it was barred and padlocked.
I think Mr. Hawthorne would like to examine that. The ladies said
that, if we wished to go to church, we could tell the beadle of the
old Bebbington church to guide us to their pew. We passed this
venerable church on our way. Its tower is very fine, and has ivy and
golden flowers far up near its summit, and is built of reddish stone.
Both ladies spoke of "The Scarlet Letter" with admiration and wonder.
They said it had the loftiest moral of any book they had ever read.
. . . On Friday, Mr. Hawthorne dined with his worship the Mayor, the
Judges, the Grand Jury, the leading members of the bar, and some other
gentlemen, at the Town Hall. Mr. Hawthorne said the room was the most
stately and handsomest he ever saw. The city plate was superb, and
the city livery of the footmen was very splendid, and the footmen
themselves very handsome. His worship wore his robes of state, as did
the worshipful Judges, with their wigs. Speeches were made, and Mr.
Hawthorne made his third speech! Oh, how I wish I could have heard it!
. . . This morning the ferry steamers brought over two or three thousand
children--boys and girls of the Industrial School--to have a good
time. I hope they are kindly treated; but it makes me shudder, and
actually weep, to look upon the assemblage of young creatures, not one
of them able to call upon a mother; each with a distinct character,
each with a human heart. Poor little motherless children!

On Sunday afternoon we took a delightful walk. I think we made a
circuit of five miles, if not more. We went over Dacre Hill, from
which a sweet, tranquil landscape is seen; and onwards, down a lovely
lane. These lanes are all bordered with hedges of hawthorn, ivy, and
holly; and one of them abounded in lovely harebells, with stems so
delicate that I found it very difficult to see and seize them, so as
to pluck them. These hedges had not walls before them, and were not
too high, so that we could look over into the fields. A well-worn path
led from the harebell lane along the edge of a field; and very
convenient stone steps led over the walls. When we got to the street,
it seemed a very ancient place. This region was once the kingdom of
Mercia. The road seemed hewn out of stone. I cannot tell you how much
the cottages seemed like the first dwellings that ever were made. . . .
When I called on Mrs. Squarey, we found her a pleasant lady, and
Una thought she looked like Miss Maria Mitchell, and therefore Una
liked her. Our call was extremely agreeable. Mr. Hawthorne insists
upon calling her Mrs. Roundey. When Mr. Hawthorne came home this
afternoon, he said he met on the other side the children of the
Industrial School just landed. He saw them face to face, and he said
their faces were uncomely to the last degree. He said he never
imagined such faces,--so irredeemably stupid and homely. I do not
think I have realized the sin of the Old World in any way so much as
in a few faces I saw in Liverpool. It made me shiver and contract to
look at them,--so haggard, so without hope or faith, or any sign of
humanity. . . . Mr. Hawthorne had a letter from Kossuth to-day.

August 26.

MY DEAR FATHER,--I am just as stupid as an owl at noonday, but it is a
shame that a steamer should go without a letter from me to you, and it
shall not. Mr. Hawthorne wishes to escape from too constant
invitations to dinner in Liverpool, and by living in Rockferry will
always have a good excuse for refusing when there is really no reason
or rhyme in accepting, for the last steamer leaves Liverpool at ten in
the evening; and I shall have a fair cause for keeping out of all
company which I do not very much covet. I have no particular fancy for
Liverpool society, except the Rathbones' and Brights'.

Mr. Hawthorne was obliged the other day to bury an American captain
who died at his boarding-house. He paid for the funeral out of his
private purse, though I believe he expects some brother captains will
subscribe a part of the amount. Mr. Hawthorne was the whole funeral,
and in one of those plumed carriages he followed the friendless
captain. The children are delighted with the aspect of things, and
with the house, which they think very stately and elegant. I have been
racing round the lawn and shrubberies with them. The flowers rejoice.
The scarlet geraniums, the crimson and rose-colored fuchsias, the deep
garnet carnations, the roses, and the enormous variously colored
pansies (pensees) look radiantly in the sun. There are many other
kinds of flowers besides; and the beautiful light green, smooth-shaven
lawn is a rest to the eyes.

There is a vast amount of latent force and energy here, but it takes a
cannon to put it in action. Of course there are exceptions enough.
Our friend Henry Bright is a slender, diaphanous young gentleman, of a
nervous temperament, with no beer or roast beef apparent in his mind
or person; and there are doubtless many like him. The English are
unfortunate in noses. Their noses are unspiritual, thick at the end;
and there is an expression about the mouth of enormous self-complacency.
The specimens of this amount to superb sometimes, when the curves of
the mouth are Apollo-like. Unfortunately there is too often a deep
stain of wine in the cheeks, or a general suffusion; and unless the
face is quite pale, one can find no other hue,--no healthy bloom either
in man or woman.

A young American was found in a deranged state, and taken before a
magistrate. There was one of two things to do,--either to put him in
the workhouse, or pay his board at the insane hospital. Mr. Hawthorne,
of course, chose the latter. It was just like him to choose it. The
young man's mother had lately married a second time, and was in
Naples. When Mrs. Blodget came to see me, a day or two since, she
exclaimed that she knew his mother, and that she was a lady of
fortune. . . .

September 30. Mr. Hawthorne and Mr. Ticknor had a fine excursion to
Old Chester, and were so occupied with it that no time was left for
Eaton Hall. Julian has been parading round the garden this morning,
blowing a trumpet which papa brought him from Chester, and dragging
after him a portentous wooden cannon, which would not help to gain the
smallest battle. It is actually a sunny day! . . . A very great joy it
is to Rosebud to see the lovely little English robins come to pick up
crumbs. They excite a peculiar love. They have great faith in man, and
come close to the window without fear. They have told the linnets and
thrushes of our hospitality, and the linnets actually come, though
with dread and trembling; and they carry off the largest crumbs for
their families and neighbors. The English robin is very dear. . . .

Mr. Ticknor has been to see De Quincey, and says he is a noble old man
and eloquent, and wins hearts in personal intercourse. His three
daughters, Margaret, Florence, and Emily, are also very attractive and
cultivated, and they are all most impatient to see Mr. Hawthorne. . . .

We are all going to Chester first on a Sunday, to attend the Cathedral
service with the children. How very singular that this dream of mine,
like so many other dreams, is coming true! For I always wished
earnestly that the children might go to church first in a grand old
cathedral, so that their impression of social worship might be
commensurate with its real sublimity. And, behold, it will be so,--for
they never yet have been to church. The echoes of those lofty vaults
are scarcely ever silent, for an anthem is sung there every day.
Afterwards we shall go on a week-day to examine the old town, said to
be older than Rome itself!

October 5. On Saturday, the ist, Mr. Hawthorne went to dine at Mr.
Aikens's with the two sons of Burns, Colonel and Major Burns. He says
they were gentlemanly persons, and agreeable, but not resembling their
father. After dinner, one of them sang one of Burns's songs, and again
another in the drawing-room. . . . Mr. Fields says, "'Tanglewood' is
going finely. Three thousand were sold at once on its appearance, and
it is still moving rapidly. The notices have been glorious everywhere;
and they ought to be, for the book is one of the most delightful which
your pen has let slip."

October 21. We are going to dine out this evening, at Mr. and Mrs.
Charles Holland's, Liscard Vale. These persons Mr. Hawthorne met a
little while ago at the house of Mr. Aikens, where he saw the sons of
Burns. For the benefit of cousin Mary Loring [the very beautiful and
spirited Mrs. George B. Loring, nee Pickman], I will say now that my
wreath is just from Paris, and consists of very exquisite flowers that
grow in wreaths. Part of it is the blackberry-vine (strange to say),
of such cunning workmanship that Julian says he knows the berries are
good to eat. The blossoms, and the black and red and green fruit and
leaves, are all equally perfect. Then there are little golden balls,
to imitate a plant that grows in Ireland,--fretted gold. Small flowers
are woven closely in, over the top of the head, and behind the ears
the long, streaming vines hang in a cluster.

October 23. At sunset the clouds cleared off and the sun shone, so
that our drive of six miles to Liscard Vale was much more pleasant
than we expected. It was rather dreary; uncultivated moors and
sea-nipped foliage. Finally we began to hasten, at a greatly
accelerated pace, down, down, and then entered a gate. It was too dark
to see distinctly; but, as far as I could discover, the land seemed
formed of low hills and vales, with trees in thin groves; and the
mouth of the Mersey, and Liverpool glittering with a thousand lights,
were visible through the vistas. Mrs. Holland is ladylike, and
therefore simple in her manners. Mr. Holland has the figure and air of
an American gentleman, rather thin and pale. The drawing-room was
beautiful. It was of very great size, and at one end was a window in
semicircular form, larger than any but a church window. Depending from
the lofty ceiling were several chains, in different parts of the room,
holding vases filled with richly colored flowers with long vines
streaming. Mr. Hawthorne as chief guest--there were twelve--took Mrs.
Holland, and sat at her right hand. The table was very handsome; two
enormous silver dish-covers, with the gleam of Damascus blades,
putting out all the rest of the light. After the soup, these covers
were removed, revealing a boiled turbot under one, and fried fish
under the other. The fish was replaced by two other enormous dishes
with shining covers; and then the whole table was immediately covered
with silver dishes; and in the centre was a tall silver stand holding
a silver bowl of celery. It would be useless to try to tell you all
the various dishes. A boiled turkey was before Mrs. Holland, and a
roasted goose before Mr. Holland; and in the intermediate spaces,
cutlets, fricassees, ragouts, tongue, chicken-pies, and many things
whose names I did not know, and on a side-table a boiled round of beef
as large as the dome of St. Peter's. The pastry of the chicken-pie
was of very elaborate sculpture. It was laid in a silver plate, an oak
vine being precisely cut all round, and flowers and fruits moulded on
the top. It really was a shame to spoil it. All these were then swept
off in a very noiseless manner. Grouse and pheasants are always served
with the sweets in England, and they appeared at either end of the
table. There were napkins under the finger-bowls, upon each of which a
castle or palace was traced in indelible ink, and its name written
beneath. The wines were port, sherry, madeira, claret, hock, and
champagne. I refused the five first, but the champagne was poured into
my glass without any question. So now you have the material elements
of the dinner-party. Perhaps I cannot give the spiritual so well. Mr.
Littledale was a gentleman with a face in full bloom, a very white
cravat coming out even with his chin; and within it he bridled with
the unmistakable English sense of superiority to the rest of mankind.
He is a specimen of the independent, rich country gentleman of
England. His conservatories were the best in the world, . . . and so
on through all things appertaining to him. One could see directly that
any attempt to convince him to the contrary would be utterly futile.
His ears were not made to admit any such remarks. . . . He declared that
the weather of the last twelve months was unprecedented. I meekly
suggested Bulwer's testimony, but he scoffed at it. . . . He discussed
with Mrs. Holland the probable merits of a pudding before her, and
concluded he would not try it. There was something peremptory,
petulant, and whimsical about him. . . . He was precisely a character
such as I have read about in English novels, and entertained me very
much. He was evidently of the war party of Britain, and thought
Kossuth's last letter to the people of Straffan "exceedingly clever."
In speaking of contested elections, he referred to one which cost
100,000 pounds; and some one asked Mr. Hawthorne if an election ever
cost so much as that in America. Upon this question, a young
gentleman, a fair-haired Egbert, with an aristocratic face and head,
observed that he supposed 100,000 pounds would purchase all America!
Was not that impertinent? Mr. Hawthorne gravely replied that from the
number of elections it was impossible that any such purchasing could
be made. Opposite me sat a Mrs. Mann;--an old lady with an
extraordinary cap, trimmed with pink ribbon, and a magnificent
necklace of rubies round her neck, and bracelets of the same. She had
a very intelligent face. There was a Mrs. Miller, who floated in fine,
white, embroidered muslin, with a long scarlet sash, and a scarlet net
upon the back of her head, confining her dark hair in a heavy clump,
very low. She was a very romantic, graceful-looking person, slender
and pale and elegant; and I had a good deal of conversation with her.
She is one of Mr. Hawthorne's profound admirers. . . . She smiled
very brightly; but a look of unspeakable sadness alternated with her
smile that expressed great suffering of some kind. She spoke of
having been ill once, when her friends called her the White Lady of
Avenel; and that is just her picture now. Her dress made her fairness
so apparent,--the gossamer tissue, the bright scarlet, and raven hair
and dark eyes and lashes. The tones of her voice were very airy and
distant, so that I could scarcely catch her words; and this I have
observed in several English ladies. "Where could Zenobia have found
her ever-fresh, rich flower?" asked Mrs. Holland. It is singular to
observe how familiar and like a household word Mr. Hawthorne is to all
cultivated English people. People who have not heard of Thackeray
here, know Mr. Hawthorne. Is not that funny? We ladies had a very good
time together in the drawing-room. Coffee was served in exquisite
little china cups all flowers and gold. . . . Mr. Holland asked me
whether Mr. Hawthorne was mobbed in "the States," and said that if he
should go to London it would be hard work for him, for he would
inevitably be mobbed. He then remarked that he did not like
"Blithedale" so well as the other books. He spoke of Bulwer, and said
that when he saw him he concluded it was better never to see an
author, for he generally disappointed us; that Bulwer was an entirely
made-up man in appearance, effeminate and finical,--flowing curls and
curling mustachios, and elaborate and formal manners. I told him I
should expect just such a looking person in Bulwer, from reading all
his first novels, so very inferior to "The Caxtons" and "My Novel."

November 6.

MY DEAREST FATHER,--Last Sunday was a day that seemed to be dropped
from heaven. I immediately thought that this was the Sunday for
Chester. . . . So we sent to Mr. Squarey, who returned word that he
would meet us at the depot at nine. We did not pick him out from all
others for a companion to the Cathedral, but his wife first requested
us to go with them, and so we were, in a certain way, bound not to go
without, them. It was very affecting to me when I came suddenly upon
the Cathedral. . . . Every "Amen" was slow, solemn, full music, which
had a wonderful effect. It was like the melodious assent of all
nature and mankind to the preceding prayer,--"So be it!" . . . Una and
Julian, especially Julian, suffered much ennui during the sermon; and
Una wrote the other day in one of her letters that "it was very
tegeuse" (her first attempt at spelling "tedious") "for there was
hardly anything in it." Julian inadvertently gaped aloud, which so
startled Mr. Hawthorne that he exclaimed, "Good God!" thus making the
matter much worse; but as even I, who sat next him, did not hear him,
I presume that the same great spaces which took up the canon's voice
disposed of Mr. Hawthorne's exclamation. I am sorry the children were
obliged to stay through the sermon, as it rather spoiled the effect of
the preceding service. It would have been far better to have had
another of David's Psalms chanted. While listening to those of the
morning lesson, I thought how marvelous it was that these Psalms, sung
by the Jewish king and poet to his harp three thousand years ago,
should now be a portion of the religious service of nearly all
Christendom; so many organs grandly accompanying thousands of voices
in praising God in his very words, as the worthiest which man has yet
uttered. And they are indeed worthy; and in this stately old Cathedral
with its manifold associations they sounded grander, more touching,
more eloquent than ever, borne up from the points of the flaming
pinnacles, on solemn organ-tones, to God. This united worship affected
me very deeply, it is so long since I have been to church,--hardly
once since Una was born! You know I always loved to go to church,
always supplying by my imagination what I did not find. . . . I think
that the English Church is the merest petrifaction now. It has not the
fervor and unction of the Roman Catholic even (that is dead enough,
and will be dead soon). The English Church is fat, lazy, cold, timid,
and selfish. How natural that some strong souls, with warm hearts and
the fire of genius in them, should go back to Romanism from its icy
presence!

November 8. Yesterday afternoon was beautiful, and we (Una, Julian,
and I) were quite rejoiced to find Mr. Hawthorne in the ferry-boat
when we returned from Liverpool. It was beautiful,--up in the sky, I
mean; for there never was anything so nasty as Liverpool. Thousands of
footsteps had stirred up the wetness and earth into such a mud-slush
as one can have no idea of in America. It was necessary to look aloft
into the clean heavens to believe any longer that mud was not eternal,
infinite, omnipresent. . . . I left you introduced into the Cathedral
cloisters in Chester, but I suppose you do not wish to stay there any
longer. We went upon the walls afterwards, as we had three hours upon
our hands. I had a great desire to plant my foot in Wales, and so we
crossed the river Dee. I stopped to look at the river Dee. It is a
mere brook in comparison to our great rivers, though the Concord is no
wider in some places. It was flowing peacefully along; and I
remembered that Edgar the Peaceable was rowed in triumph by eight
kings from his palace on the south bank to the monastery in 973. It
was too late to walk far into the immense grounds of Eaton Hall, the
seat of the Marquis of Westminster. He is a Norman noble. I told Mr.
Squarey that my father was of Welsh descent, and he asked me why I did
not fall down and kiss my fatherland.

November.

Mr. Hawthorne's speeches are never "reported," dear father, or I would
send them to you. They remain only in the ear of him who hears them,
happy man that he is.

Oh, these fogs! If you have read "Bleak House," you have read a
description of a London fog; but still you could scarcely have a true
image of it. Out of doors one feels hooded with fog, and cannot see
his own hand. It is just as if one should jump into a great bag of
cotton-wool,--not lamb's wool, for that is a little pervious. Our
fogs here are impervious. Mr. Ogden (the large-hearted western
gentleman whom Elizabeth knows) called at the Consulate upon Mr.
Hawthorne, and Mr. Hawthorne invited him to make us a visit. He is
overflowing with life, and seems to have the broad prairies in him. He
entertained me very much with an account of the Lord Mayor's dinner in
London, and other wonders he had seen. At the dinner he had a
peculiarly pleasant, clever, and amiable group immediately around him
of baronets. He told us about going with Miss Bacon to the old city of
Verulam to see Lord Bacon's estate and his tomb. They went into the
vault of the church where the family is buried, but they could not
prevail upon the beadle to open the brick sepulchre where Lord Bacon
himself is supposed to be interred. The ruins of the castle in which
Lord Bacon lived show that it was very rich and sumptuous; and the
very grove in which he used to walk and meditate and study stands
unmolested,--a grand old grove of stately trees planted by man, for
they are in regular rows. When Mr. Hawthorne came home the next
evening, he brought me a superb bouquet of flowers, which he said was
a parting gift to me from Mr. Ogden, who actually followed him to the
boat with them. They are a bright and fragrant memory of that
agreeable and excellent gentleman.

From the "Westminster Review" which lies on the table I will extract
for you one passage: "Few have observed mankind closely enough to be
able to trace through all its windings the tortuous course of a man
who, having made one false step, finds himself thereby compelled to
leave the path of truth and uprightness, and seldom regains it. We
can, however, refer to at least one living author who has done so; and
in 'The Scarlet Letter' by Hawthorne, the greatest of American
novelists, Mr. [Wilkie] Collins might see the mode in which the moral
lesson from examples of error and crime ought to be drawn. There is a
tale of sin, and its inevitable consequences, from which the most pure
need not turn away." In another paper in the same number the reviewer
speaks of some one who "writes with the pure poetry of Nathaniel
Hawthorne." As I have entered upon the subject of glorification, I
will continue a little. From London an American traveler writes to
Mr. Hawthorne: "A great day I spent with Sir William Hamilton, and two
blessed evenings with De Quincey and his daughters. In De Quincey's
house yours is the only portrait. They spoke of you with the greatest
enthusiasm, and I was loved for even having seen you. Sir William
Hamilton has read you with admiration, and says your 'House of the
Seven Gables' is more powerful in description than 'The Scarlet
Letter.'" Did I tell you once of an English lady who went to the
Consulate to see Mr. Hawthorne, and introduced herself as a literary
sister, and who had never been in Liverpool before, and desired Mr.
Hawthorne to show her the lions, and he actually escorted her about?
An American lady, who knows this Englishwoman, sent the other day a
bit of a note, torn off, to Mr. Hawthorne, and on this scrap the
English lady says, "I admire Mr. Hawthorne, as a man and as an
author, more than any other human being."

I have diligently taken cold these four months, and now have a hard
cough. It is very noisy and wearying. Mr. Hawthorne does not mind fog,
chill, or rain. He has no colds, feels perfectly well, and is the only
Phoebus that shines in England.

I told you in my last of Lord Dufferin's urgent invitation to Mr.
Hawthorne to go to his seat of Clandeboye, in Ireland, four or five
hours from Liverpool. Mr. Hawthorne declined, and then came another
note. The first was quite formal, but this begins:--

"MY DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE,--. . . Mrs. Norton [his aunt, the Honorable
Mrs. Norton] hopes . . . that you will allow her to have the pleasure
of receiving you at her house in Chesterfield Street; and I trust you
will always remember that I shall esteem it an honor to be allowed to
receive you here whenever you may be disposed to pay this country a
visit. Believe me, my dear Mr. Hawthorne,

"Yours very truly,

"DUFFERIN."

"CLANDEBOYE, HOLYWOOD."

Now have I not given you a fine feast of homage,--"flummery" Mr.
Hawthorne calls it?

To-morrow is Thanksgiving Day. We are going to observe it in memory of
the fatherland. Mr. Bright will dine with us by his own invitation,
not knowing it was a festival day with us. He has long been projecting
a visit, and finally proposed coming this week. He will remain all
night, as Sandheys is on the other side of Liverpool, and his mamma
does not wish him to cross the river [usually foggy] in the dark.

The English people, the ladies and gentlemen with whom we have become
acquainted, are very lovely and affectionate and friendly. They seem
lifelong acquaintances. I suppose there is no society in the world
that can quite compare to this. It is all stereotyped, crystallized,
with the repose and quiet in it of an immovable condition of caste.
There is such a simplicity, such an ease, such an entire cordiality,
such sweetness, that it is really beautiful to see. It is only when
looking at the matter outside--or rather out of it--that one can see
any disadvantage or unloveliness. It is a deep and great
question,--this about rank. Birth and wealth often are causes of the
superior cultivation and refinement that are found with them. In this
old civilization there seems to be no jealousy, no effort to alter
position. . . . Provided that the lowest orders could be redeemed from
the brutal misery in which they are plunged, there could be a little
more enjoyment in contemplating and mingling with the higher. But it
seems as if everything must be turned upside down rather than for one
moment more to tolerate such suffering, such bestiality. There have
been one or two individual cases that went before the courts that
really make it almost wicked ever to smile again. . . . As Mr. Hawthorne
delays to go to London, London is beginning to come to him, for Mr.
Holland says he must inevitably be mobbed in England. Two Londoners
called lately,--one a Mr. William Jerdan, about seventy years old, a
literary man, who for fifty years has been familiar with the best
society in London, and knows everybody for whom one cares to ask. He
is a perfect mine of rich memories. He pleased me mightily, and made
me think of Dr. Johnson. Rose sat on his knee, and gazed with
unwinking, earnest eyes into his face. He said he never saw anything
like it except the gaze of Talleyrand (whom he knew very well). He
said that Talleyrand undertook to look at a man and not allow a man to
look into him,--he always fixed such a glance as that upon one.
Imperturbably, baby continued to gaze, without any smile; and he kept
dodging from her and making funny contortions, but she was not in the
least moved. "Why," he exclaimed, "you would be an admirable judge,
and I should not like to be the fellow who would take sentence from
your Lordship when you get on your black cap!" At last she smiled
confidingly at him. "There," he said, "now I have it! She loves me,
she loves me!" At eight they left us for London, intending not to
shoot through that night, but sleep at Birmingham, halfway. "Oh," said
Mr. Jerdan, "I make nothing of going out to dine an hundred miles and
returning!" The gentleman with him was Mr. Bennoch, a patron of poets
and artists, and as pleasant, merry, and genial as possible. He told
Julian that, if he would go to London with him, he should have a pony
as low as the table and a dog as high as the pony; but Julian would
not, even in prospect of possessing what his heart desireth most.

December 8.

Yesterday who should come to see me but Mr. James Martineau and his
wife! I have the greatest admiration for him as a divine, and I do not
know what I expected to see in the outward man. But I was well
pleased with his aspect as I found it. He is not tall, and he is pale,
though not thin, with the most perfectly simple manners and beautiful
expression. It seemed as if he had always been my brother; as if I
could find in him counselor, friend, saint, and sage; and I have no
doubt it is so, so potent is the aroma of character, without a word or
sign. How worse than folly it is to imagine that character can either
be cried up or cried down! No veil can conceal, no blazonry exalt,
either the good or the evil. A man has only to come in and sit down,
and there he is, for better, for worse. I, at least, am always, as it
were, hit by a person's sphere; and either the music of the spheres or
the contrary supervenes, and sometimes also nothing at all, if there
is not much strength of character. Mr. Martineau did not say much;
but his voice was very pleasant and sympathetic, and he won regard
merely by his manner of being. Mrs. Martineau sat with her back to the
only dim light there was, and I could receive no impression from her
face; but she seemed pleasant and friendly. Mrs. Martineau said she
wished very much that we would go to her party on the 19th, which was
their silver wedding day. She said we should meet Mrs. Gaskell, the
author of "Mary Barton," "Ruth," and "Cranford," and several other
friends. It is the greatest pity that we cannot go; but it would be
madness to think of going out at night in these solid fogs with my
cough. They live beyond Liverpool, in Prince's Park. Mrs. Martineau
showed herself perfectly well-bred by not being importunate. It was a
delightful call; and I feel as if I had friends indeed and in need
just from that one interview. Mr. Martineau said Una would be homesick
until she had some friends of her own age, and that he had a daughter
a little older, who might do for one of them. They wished to see Mr.
Hawthorne, and came pretty near it, for they could not have got out of
the lodge gate before he came home! Was not that a shame?

I must tell you that there is a splendid show which Mr. Jerdan wants
us to see at Lord Warremore de Tabley's; it is a vast salt mine of
twenty acres, cut into a symmetrical columned gallery! He says it
shall be lighted up, so that we shall walk in a diamond corridor. Mr.
Jerdan said that salt used to be the medium of traffic in those
districts; and I think Lord de Tabley [1] is a beauty for having his
mines cut in the form of art, instead of hewed and hacked as a Vandal
would have done. Mr. Jerdan said that on account of some circumstance
he was called Lord de Tableau for a pseudonym, and in the sense I have
heard people exclaim to a good child, "Oh, you picture!"

[1] Mr. Hawthorne's severe taste is annoyed by that expression, but I
must let it go for the sake of what follows.


In the "North British Review" this week is a review of Mr. Hawthorne's
three last romances. It gives very high praise.

December 18.

I went to Liverpool yesterday for a Christmas present for you, and got
a silver pen in a pearl handle, which you will use for Una's sake.
While I was gone, Mr. Martineau and Mrs. Gaskell called! I was very
sorry to lose the visit. They left a note from the Misses Yates
inviting us to dine to-day and stay all night, and go to Mrs.
Martineau's evening party to-morrow! It would be a charming
visitation, if it were possible. Mr. Bright cannot find language to
express the Misses Yates' delightsomeness, and was wishing that we
knew them.

By this steamer Mr. Ticknor has sent us a Christmas present of a
barrel of apples. I wish you could see Rosebud with her bright cheeks
and laughing eyes. A lady thought her four years old, the other day!
Julian has to-day gone with his father to the Consulate. Una is in the
drawing-room reading Miss Edgeworth. Rose is on the back of my chair.

On Christmas night the bells chimed in the dawn, beginning at twelve
and continuing till daybreak. I wish you could hear this chiming of
bells. It is the most joyful sound you can imagine,--the most hopeful,
the most enlivening. I waked before light, and thought I heard some
ineffable music. I thought of the song of the angels on that blessed
morn; but while listening, through a sudden opening in the air, or
breeze blowing towards us, I found it was not the angels, but the
bells of Liverpool. One day when I was driving through Liverpool with
Una and Julian, these bells suddenly broke forth on the occasion of a
marriage, and I could scarcely keep the children in the carriage. They
leaped up and down, and Una declared she would be married in England,
if only to hear the chime of the bells. The mummers stood at our gate
on Christmas morning and sang in the dawn, acting the part of the
heavenly host. The Old Year was tolled out and the New Year chimed in
also, and again the mummers sang at the gate.

Perhaps you have heard of Miss Charlotte Cushman, the actress? The
summer before we left America, she sent a note to Mr. Hawthorne,
requesting him to sit to a lady for his miniature, which she wished to
take to England. Mr. Hawthorne could not refuse, though you can
imagine his repugnance on every account. He went and did penance, and
was then introduced to Miss Cushman. He liked her for a very sensible
person with perfectly simple manners. The other day he met her in
Liverpool, and she told him she had been intending to call on me ever
since she had been at her sister's at Rose Hill Hall, Woolton, seven
miles from Liverpool. Mr. Hawthorne wished me to invite her to dine
and pass the night. I invited her to dine on the 29th of December.
She accepted and came. I found her tall as her famous character, Meg
Merrilies, with a face of peculiar, square form, most amiable in
expression, and so very untheatrical in manner and bearing that I
should never suspect her to be an actress. She has left the stage now
two years, and retires upon the fortune she has made; for she was a
very great favorite on the English stage, and retired in the height of
her fame. The children liked her prodigiously, and Rose was never
weary of the treasures attached to her watch-chain. I could not
recount to you the gems clustered there,--such as a fairy tiny gold
palette, with all the colors arranged; a tiny easel with a colored
landscape, quarter of an inch wide; a tragic and comic mask, just big
enough for a gnome; a cross of the Legion of Honor; a wallet, opening
with a spring, and disclosing compartments just of a size for the
Keeper of the Privy Purse of the Fairy Queen; a dagger for a pygmy;
two minute daguerreotypes of friends, each as large as a small pea, in
a gold case; an opera-glass; Faith, Hope, and Charity represented by a
golden heart and anchor, and I forget what,--a little harp; I cannot
remember any more. These were all, I think, memorials of friends. In
the morning she sat down to 'Una's beautifully toned piano, and sang
one of Lockhart's Spanish ballads, with eloquent expression, so as to
make my blood tingle.

Hospitality was quite frequent now in our first English home, as many
letters affirm. The delightful novelty to my small self of a peep at
the glitter of little dinner-parties was as surprising to me as if I
could have had a real consciousness of its contrast to all the former
simplicity of my parents' life. Down the damask trooped the splendid
silver covers, entrancingly catching a hundred reflections from
candle-flame and cut-glass, and my own face as I hovered for a moment
upon the scene while the butler was gliding hither and thither to
complete his artistic arrangements. On my father's side of the family
there had been a distinct trait of material elegance, appearing in
such evidences as an exquisite tea-service, brought from China by my
grandfather, with the intricate monogram and dainty shapes and
decoration of a hundred years ago; and in a few chairs and tables that
could not be surpassed for graceful design and finish; and so on. As
for my mother's traits of inborn refinement, they were marked enough,
but she writes of herself to her sister at this time, "You cannot
think how I cannot be in the least tonish, such is my indomitable
simplicity of style." Her opinion of herself was always humble; and I
can testify to the distinguished figure she made as she wore the first
ball-dress I ever detected her in. I was supposed to be fast asleep,
and she had come to look at me before going out to some social
function, as she has told me she never failed to do when leaving the
house for a party. Her superb brocade, pale-tinted, low-necked, and
short-sleeved, her happy, airy manner, her glowing though pale face,
her dancing eyes, her ever-hovering smile of perfect kindness, all
flashed upon me in the sudden light as I roused myself. I insisted
upon gazing and admiring, yet I ended by indignantly weeping to find
that my gentle little mother could be so splendid and wear so
triumphant an expression. "She is frightened at my fine gown!" my
mother exclaimed, with a changed look of self-forgetting concern; and
I never lost the lesson of how much more beautiful her noble glance
was than her triumphant one. A faded bill has been preserved, for the
humor of it, from Salem days, in which it is recorded that for the
year 1841 she ordered ten pairs of number two kid slippers,--which was
not precisely economical for a young lady who needed to earn money by
painting, and who denied herself a multitude of pleasures and comforts
which were enjoyed by relatives and friends.

In our early experience of English society, my mother's suppressed
fondness for the superb burst into fruition, and the remnants of such
indulgence have turned up among severest humdrum for many years; but
soon she refused to permit herself even momentary extravagances. To
those who will remember duty, hosts of duties appeal, and it was not
long before my father and mother began to save for their children's
future the money which flowed in. Miss Cushman's vagary of an amusing
watch-chain was exactly the sort of thing which they never imitated;
they smiled at it as the saucy tyranny over a great character of great
wealth. My father's rigid economy was perhaps more un broken than my
mother's. Still, she has written, "I never knew what charity meant
till I knew my husband." There are many records of his having heard
clearly the teaching that home duties are not so necessary or loving
as duty towards the homeless.

Julian came home from Liverpool with papa one afternoon with four
masks, with which we made merry for several days. One was the face of
a simpleton, and that was very funny upon papa,--such a
transformation! A spectacled old beldame, looking exactly like a
terrific auld wife at Lenox, was very diverting upon Julian, turning
him into a gnome; and Una was irresistible beneath the mask of a
meaningless young miss, resembling a silly-looking doll. Julian put on
another with a portentous nose, and then danced the schottische with
Una in her doll's mask. Hearing this morning that a gentleman had sent
to some regiments 50 pounds worth of postage stamps, he said he
thought it would be better to have an arrangement for all the
soldiers' letters to go and come free. I do not know but he had better
send this suggestion to the "London Times."

March 12.

Mr. Hawthorne dined at Aigbarth, one of the suburbs of Liverpool, with
Mr. Bramley Moore, an M. P. Mr. Moore took an effectual way to secure
Mr. Hawthorne, for he went one day himself to his office, and asked
him for the very same evening, thus bearding the lion in his den and
clutching him. And Mrs. H., the aunt of Henry Bright, would not be
discouraged. She could not get Mr. Hawthorne to go to her splendid
fancy ball, to meet Lord and Lady Sefton and all the aristocracy of
the county . . . but wrote him a note telling him that if he wished
for her forgiveness he must agree with me upon a day when we would go
and dine with her. Mr. Hawthorne delayed, and then she wrote me a
note, appointing the 16th of March for us to go and meet the
Martineaus and Brights and remain all night. There was no evading
this, so he is going; but I refused. Her husband is a mighty banker,
and she is sister of the present Chancellor of the Exchequer, W. E.
Gladstone, and they are nobly connected all round. . . . Mr. Hawthorne
does not want to go, and especially curses the hour when white muslin
cravats became the sine qua non of a gentleman's full dress. Just
think how reverend he must look! I believe he would even rather wear a
sword and cocked hat, for he declares a white muslin cravat the last
abomination, the chief enormity of fashion, and that all the natural
feelings of a man cry out against it; and that it is alike abhorrent
to taste and to sentiment. To all this I reply that he looks a great
deal handsomer with white about his throat than with a stiff old black
satin stock, which always to me looks like the stocks, and that it is
habit only which makes him prefer it. . . .


March 16.

Mr. Hawthorne has gone to West Derby to dine . . . and stay all night.
He left me with a powerful anathema against all dinner-parties,
declaring he did not believe anybody liked them, and therefore they
were a malicious invention for destroying human comfort. Mr. Bramley
Moore again seized Mr. Hawthorne in the Consulate, the other clay, and
dragged him to Aigbarth to dine with Mr. Warren, the author of "Ten
Thousand a Year" and "The Diary of a Physician." Mr. Hawthorne liked
him very well. Mr. Warren commenced to say something very
complimentary to Mr. Hawthorne in a low tone, across an intermediate
gentleman, when Mr. Bramley Moore requested that the company might
have the benefit of it, so Mr. Warren spoke aloud; and then Mr.
Hawthorne had to make a speech in return! We expected Mr. Warren here
to dine afterwards, but he has gone home to Hull.

Mrs. Sanders again sent a peremptory summons for us all to go to
London and make her a visit. I wish Mr. Hawthorne could leave his
affairs and go, for she lives in Portman Square, and Mr. Buchanan
would get us admitted everywhere. Mr. Sanders has been rejected by
the Senate; but I do not suppose he cares much, since he is worth a
half million of dollars.

Sir Thomas Talfourd, the author of "Ion," suddenly died the other day,
universally mourned. I believe his brother Field, who came to England
with us, is again in America, now. I trust the rest of the notable men
of England will live till I have seen them. This gentleman wished
very much to meet Mr. Hawthorne.

March 30.

Mr. Hawthorne went to Norris Green and dined with the H----s,
Martineaus, and Brights, and others, and stayed all night, as
appointed. He declared that, when he looked in the glass before going
down to dinner, he presented the appearance of a respectable butler,
with his white cravat--and thought of hiring himself out. He liked Mr.
H. . . . He gives away 7000 pounds a year in charity! Mrs. H. is good,
too, for she goes herself and sees into the condition of a whole
district in Liverpool, though a dainty lady of fashion. She showed Mr.
Hawthorne a miniature of the famous Sir Kenelm Digby, who was her
ancestor; and so through his family she is connected with the Percys
and the Stanleys, Earls of Derby. Everything was in sumptuous fashion,
served by gorgeous footmen. Mr. Hawthorne was chief guest. . . . Mrs.
H. has sense, and is rather sentimental, too. She has no children, and
had the assurance to tell Mr. Hawthorne she preferred chickens to
children.

The next day Mr. Bright invited Mr. Hawthorne to drive. Mr. Bright
wanted to call on his cousin, Sir Thomas Birch. And as he was the
nearest neighbor of the Earl of Derby, he took them to Knowsley, Lord
Derby's seat. At Sir Thomas's, Mr. Hawthorne saw a rookery for the
first time; and a picture of Lady Birch, his mother, painted by Sir
Thomas Lawrence, but not quite finished. It is said to be one of his
best pictures. Mr. Hawthorne was disappointed in the house at
Knowsley. It was lower than he had imagined, and of various eras, but
so large as to be able to entertain an hundred guests.

April 14, Good Friday.

MY DEAR FATHER,--This is a day of great and solemn fast in England;
when all business is suspended, and no work is done in house or
street; when there is really a mighty pause in worldly affairs, and
all people remind themselves that Christ was crucified, and died for
us. From early morning till late evening, all churches are open and
service is performed.

I wish you could be undeceived about the income of this Consulate. Mr.
Hawthorne now knows actually everything about it. . . . He goes from us
at nine, and we do not see him again till five!!! I only wish we could
be pelted within an inch of our lives with a hailstorm of sovereigns,
so as to satisfy every one's most gorgeous hopes; but I am afraid we
shall have but a gentle shower, after all. . . . I am sorry I have had
the expectation of so much, because I am rather disappointed to be so
circumscribed. With my husband's present constant devotion to the
duties of his office, he could no more write a syllable than he could
build a cathedral. . . . He never writes by candle-light. . . . Mr.
Crittendon tells Mr. Hawthorne that he thinks he may save $5000 a year
by economy. He himself, living in a very quiet manner, not going into
society, has spent $4000 a year. He thinks we must spend more. People
will not let Mr. Hawthorne alone, as they have Mr. Crittendon,
because they feel as if they had a right to him, and he cannot well
forego their claim. "The Scarlet Letter" seems to have placed him on a
pinnacle of fame and love here. . . . It will give you pleasure, I
think, to hear that Mr. Cecil read a volume of "The Scarlet Letter"
the other day which was one of the thirty-fifth thousand of one
publisher. Is it not provoking that the author should not have even
one penny a volume?

I have only room to put in the truest, warmest sympathy with all your
efforts and trials, and the wish that I could lift you up out of all,
and sorrow that I cannot. Mr. Hawthorne has relations and personal
friends who look to him, I think, with great desires. I can demand
nothing for mine.

Though the great Reform Bill of Lord John Russell was deferred by him
the other night to another period on account of war, yet reforms on
every point in social life are going on here, or moving to go on.
Nothing seems to escape some eye that has suddenly opened. The Earl of
Shaftesbury is one of God's Angels of Benefits. The hideous condition
of the very poor and even of tradesmen is being demonstrated to the
nation; a condition in which, a writer in the London "Athenaeum" says,
"Virtue is impossible"! From this most crying and worst evil, up
through all things, sounds the trumpet of reform.

Such abuse of the good President as there is, is sickening. I hope
those who vilify him for doing what he considers his duty have a
quarter of his conscience and uprightness. He is a brave man. . . . He
wrote Mr. Hawthorne that he had no hope of being popular during the
first part of his administration at least. He can be neither bribed,
bought, nor tempted in his political course; he will do what he thinks
constitutional and right, and find content in it. . . . I wish our
Senators had as good manners as the noble lords of Parliament. But we
are perfect savages in manners as yet, and have no self-control, nor
reverence. The dignity and serenity of maturer age will, I trust, come
at last to us. . . .

I never dreamed of putting myself into a picture, because I am not
handsome enough. But I will endeavor that you have Mr. Hawthorne and
Rosebud, some time or other. Mr. Hawthorne looks supremely handsome
here; handsomer than anybody I see; every other face looks coarse,
compared; and his air and bearing are far superior to those of any
Englishman I have seen. The English say that they should suppose he
were an Englishman--till he speaks. This is a high compliment from the
English. They look at him as much as they can, covertly; as much as
they can without being uncivil and staring, as if they wanted to
assure themselves that he really were so wondrous handsome. He does
not observe this; but it is nuts to me, and / observe it. The lofty,
sumptuous apartments become him very much. I always thought he was
born for a palace, and he shows that he was.

We have had some delightful experiences, and have seen some
interesting people, some literary celebrities, and beautiful English
life within jealous stone walls, draped with ivy inside. We see why
comfort is an essentially English word, and we understand Shakespeare
and all the old poets properly now we are on the scene.



CHAPTER X

ENGLISH DAYS: II


DOUGLAS, MONA, July 18.

MY DEAR FATHER,--I little dreamed that I should next address you from
the Isle of Man! Yet here we all are, with one grievous exception, to
be sure; for Mr. Hawthorne, after fetching us one day, and staying the
two next, went away to the tiresome old Consulate, so conscientious
and devoted is he; for his clerk assured him he might stay a little.
Yet I know that there are reasons of state why he should not; and
therefore, though I am nothing less than infinitely desolate without
him, and hate to look at anything new unless he is looking too, I
cannot complain. But is it not wonderful that I am here in this
remote and interesting and storied spot?--the last retreat of the
little people called fairies, the lurking-place of giants and
enchanters. . . . At Stonehenge we found a few rude stones for a temple.
I could not gather into a small enough focus the wide glances of
Julian's great brown, searching eyes to make him see even what there
was; and when finally he comprehended that the circle of stones once
marked out a temple, and that the Druids really once stood there, he
curled his lip, scornfully exclaiming, "Is that all?" and bounded off
to pluck flowers. I think that, having heard of Stonehenge and a Druid
temple which was built of stones so large that it was considered
almost miraculous that they were moved to their places, he expected to
see a temple touching the sky, perhaps. . . . Mr. Hawthorne came back
the next Friday, much to our joy, and on Saturday afternoon we walked
to the Nunnery with him, which was founded by St. Bridget. A few ruins
remain, overgrown with old ivy vines of such enormous size that I
think they probably hold the walls together. . . . Julian and Una were
enchanted with the clear stream, and Julian was wild for turtles; but
there are no reptiles in the Isle of Man. . . . I kept thinking, "And
this is the rugged, bare, rocky isle which I dreaded to come to,--this
soft, rich, verdant paradise!" It really seems as if the giants had
thrown aloft the bold, precipitous rocks and headlands round the edge
of the island, to guard the sylvan solitudes for the fairies, whose
stronghold was the Isle of Man. I should not have been surprised at
any time to have seen those small people peeping out of the wild
foxgloves, which are their favorite hiding-places. So poetical is the
air of these regions that mermaids, fairies, and giants seem quite
natural to it. In the morning of the day we went to the Nunnery Mr.
Hawthorne took Julian and went to the Douglas market, which is held in
the open air. . . . My husband said that living manners were so
interesting and valuable that he would not miss the scene for even
Peel Castle. One day, when Una and I went to shop in Douglas, we saw
in the market square a second-hand bookstall. I had been trying in
vain to get "Peveril of the Peak" at the library and bookstores, and
hoped this sales-counter might have it. So I looked over the books,
and what do you think I saw? A well-read and soiled copy of the
handsome edition of Mr. Hawthorne's "Blithedale Romance"! Yes, even in
Mona. We have heard of some families in England who keep in use two
copies of "The Scarlet Letter;" but I never dreamed of finding either
of these books here.

Sunday was the perfectest day in our remembrance. In the morning Mr.
Hawthorne walked to Kirk Braddon, and the afternoon we spent on
Douglas Head. It is quite impossible to put into words that afternoon.
Such softness and splendor and freshness combined in the air; such a
clearest sunshine; such a deep blue sea and cloudless blue heaven;
such fragrance and such repose. We looked from our great height upon
all the beauty and grandeur, and in Mr. Hawthorne's face was a
reflection of the incredible loveliness and majesty of the scene. Una
was a lily, and Julian a magnolia. I think that for once, at least,
Mr. Hawthorne was satisfied with weather and circumstances. Towards
sunset the mountains of Cumberland were visible, for the first time
during our visit, on the horizon, which proved that even in England
the air was clear that day. A pale purple outline of waving hills lay
on the silvery sea, which, as it grew later, became opaline in hue. . . .

July 20.

. . . This morning, soon after ten, we summoned a boat, and were rowed
to St. Mary's Rock, which has a good beach on one side, and spent two
hours there. There was a delicious air and bright sunshine, and we
found innumerable pretty pearl shells among the pebbles; and Julian
bathed in the sea. Rosebud enjoyed it very much, and kept close to me
all the time. I asked her why she kept so near mamma, and she replied,
"Oh, dear mamma, I cannot help it." Once she put her little foot into
a pool, and I had to take off her sock and shoe to dry them in the
sun. Her snowy little foot and pink toes looked, on the rocks, like a
new kind of shell, and I told her I was afraid a gentleman who was
seeking shells on the other side of the island would come and take it
for a conch shell, and put it in his pocket for his little children.
She shouted at this; and then threw back her head, with a' silent
laugh, like Leatherstocking, showing all her little pearly teeth,--so
pretty with her rosy cheeks and streaming hair. I actually seem in a
dream, and not here in bodily presence. I cannot imagine myself here;
much less realize it. Through the mist Douglas looked like a vast
leviathan asleep on the sea, as we approached. It is a pity that steam
should come near such a place, for its bustle is not in harmony with
the vast repose.

I suppose the world could scarcely furnish another such stately and
salubrious spot as exactly this; for the climate of the Isle of Man is
extremely mild and genial. From my parlor windows, in the Fort Anne
Hotel, I look out on the beautiful crescent harbor from a good height.
. . . Mountains rise above high hills on the horizon in soft, large,
mellow lines, which I am never weary of gazing at. The hills are of
precious emerald stone; the sea is an opal; the distant mountains are
a pile of topazes; and the sky is turquoise and gold. But why attempt
to put into ink such a magnificent setting as this? No jewels could be
compared to it. God alone could mingle these colors and pencil these
grand lines. . . .

ROCK PARK, August 2.

DEAR ELIZABETH,--We returned last Saturday, after a delightful visit
to Mona of a fortnight. We had constantly splendid weather, and there
was one day which Mr. Hawthorne and I concluded we had never seen
equaled in any hemisphere. . . . I took Una and Julian to Glen Darragh
to see the ruins of a Druidical temple. . . . We ascended Mount
Murray . . . and a magnificent landscape was revealed to us; a fertile
valley of immense extent. . . . But before we arrived at Glen Darragh
we came to Kirk Braddon, an uncommonly lovely place. I knew that in
the churchyard were two very old Runic monuments, so we alighted. . . .
The family residence of the late Duke of Atholl is situated at the
extremity of a flat meadow; and as far as I could see, it did not seem
a very princely residence. But in this country I am often struck with
the simplicity and freedom from show which those of real rank are
contented with. They seem really to agree with Burns that "the man's
the gawd." At Knowsley, the residence of the Earls of Derby, the
inside of the mansion was very simple, and they are the proudest
nobles of England.

We finally arrived at Glen Darragh, and I gazed about in vain to see
the ruins of a temple. . . . We came at last to some mounds of earth,
with rough stones on their tops, but I could discover no design or
order to them, and was quite cast down. But then I saw more, at a
short distance, of better hope, and I ran to them, and found they were
stones placed in a circular form, inclosing about fourteen yards
diameter. These stones, however, were unhewn and of moderate size. And
this was all. I broke off a crumb of one of the stones, and looked
around me. It was quite desolate, for a large space. Not a tree or a
shrub grew near, but grand mountains rose up on every side. Glen
Darragh means the vale of oaks, but not an oak could be seen. The
singular destruction of trees in this be-battled, be-conquered island
is unaccountable. Why invaders should uproot such innocent adorners of
the earth is a mystery. It is said that the Druids found a great many
pine woods there, and that they up-rooted them and planted their
favorite oaks. But pines, oaks, Druids, temples, and all are gone now,
except these few stones. I wondered whether any terrible human
sacrifices had been offered on the spot where I was standing. The
mountains were the same, and the sky was the same; but all else had
changed since those fearful days. . . . Of course Rome was here, for
where did that proud queen not set her imperial foot? But the only
sign of her left is at Castletown: it is an ancient altar. I looked
out of the chamber window one night, and at twelve o'clock the golden
flush of sunset still glowed in the west, and in the east was an
enormous star. We often see Venus very large at home, but this was
three times as large as we ever see it. I do not know what this star
was. It must have been Venus, however. The star of beauty should
surely rise over such a day as this had been. Once we rowed about the
island, and it was truly superb--this circumnavigation. We were near
enough to the shore to see every house and animal and tree, but far
off from dangerous rocks. We passed St. Manghold's Head. The saint was
an Irish prince, converted by St. Patrick, and became so eminent for
sanctity that St. Bridget came from Ireland to receive the veil from
him. It is the most eastern point of the island, and its summit is
crested with rocks. Under one is a spring, called St. Manghold's
Well, which is thought to have medicinal virtues; and if any one who
drinks the waters sits at the same time in the saint's chair,--a rude
stone seat near,--they will certainly prove beneficial. We landed at
Ramsey, and walked through the town. Towns fade into utter
insignificance in that island. Nature is so grand there that houses
and streets seem impertinences, and make no account, unless some
stately castle towers up. The towns look like barnacles clinging to a
majestic ship's sides. . . . This evening Mr. Hawthorne brings me news
of the death of L. Howes! We were thinking yesterday what a mournful
change had come over that family since we used to go every Saturday
evening and see them, in most charming family group, all those bright,
intelligent, happy faces gathered round the centre-table or fireside,
beaming with life, and mind, and heart. . . .

Julian enjoyed the rocks and beaches and sea-bathing at Mona greatly,
and on his return here was homesick for it all for two days. Una grew
so homesick for Rockferry that she could hardly be kept away till I
was ready to come, though she also enjoyed the sea and the island very
much. But I think she has inhabitiveness to a great degree. As to
Rose, she was like a sunbeam from morning to night. . . . I have a
slight journal of my visit to the Isle of Man, written at the earnest
request of Mr. Hawthorne.

Rose is in no danger of forgetting you. We talk to her about you a
great deal, and she is always referring to "When I was in 'Morica."
Miss Martineau is about Liverpool, and while I was at the island Mr.
Bright took Mr. Hawthorne to see her. She was extremely agreeable and
brilliant. She has become quite infidel in her opinions. . . . It must
be either a fool or a madman who says there is no GOD. . . . I had a
delightful visit from the Cochrans, and went with them to Chester.
Martha was deeply affected by the Cathedral, especially by the
cloisters. Tears filled her eyes. After luncheon, we went to see a
Roman bath and a Roman crypt, the last discovered within a few months.
The bath is back of, and beneath, a crockery shop. We saw first a cold
bath. It was merely an oblong stone basin, built round a perpetual
spring. A high iron railing now guards it, and we looked into what
seemed almost a well, where the Romans used to plunge. . . . The
black water reflected the candle and glittered far below. It might be
the eye of one of the twentieth legion. We then went into a shop and
asked for the crypt. The men pointed to a door, which we opened, and
nearly tumbled down some stone steps. By degrees our eyes became
owlish, and we gradually saw, as if looming out of past ages, the
beautiful arches of the roof, and the columns on each side. . . .

My mother gives a glimpse of the vicissitudes of the Consulate,--that
precinct which I pictured as an ogre's lair, though the ogre was
temporarily absent, while my father, like a prince bewitched, had been
compelled by a rash vow to languish in the man-eater's place for a
term of years:--

"In the evening Mr. Hawthorne told me that there were suddenly thrown
upon his care two hundred soldiers who had been shipwrecked in the
San Francisco, and that he must clothe and board them and send them
home to the United States. They were picked up somewhere on the sea
and brought to Liverpool. Mr. Hawthorne has no official authority to
take care of any but sailors in distress. He invited the lieutenant to
come and stay here, and he must take care of the soldiers, even if the
expense comes out of his own purse." [Later.] "Mr. Hawthorne sent to
Mr. Buchanan (the Ambassador) about the soldiers, and he would share
no responsibility, though it was much more a matter pertaining to his
powers than to a consul. . . . Mr. Hawthorne has supplied them with
clothes and lodgings, and has finally chartered for their passage home
one of the Cunard steamers! Such are his official reverses."

"Last Friday I received a note from the wife of the U. S. Consul at
London, inviting me and the children to go with Mr. Hawthorne to town,
to see the Queen open Parliament. It was such a cordial invitation
that it was nearly impossible to refuse; but we could not go, Mr.
Hawthorne was so busy with these soldiers, and with trials in the
police courts; so that he could not leave his post." [Still later.]
"As to shipwrecked sailors, there seems no end to them; and for all
Mr. Hawthorne's costs for them he is, of course, repaid. His hands are
full all the time. But in the history of the world, it is said, there
never were so many shipwrecks as there have been this last winter. The
coasts of Great Britain seem to have been nothing but stumbling-blocks
in the way of every ship. . . . I have seen, in an American paper, a
passage in which the writer undertakes to defend my husband from some
dirty aspersions. It seems that some one had told the absolute
falsehood that he had shirked all responsibility about the shipwrecked
soldiers, and his defender stated the case just as it was, and that
Mr. Buchanan declined having anything to do with the matter. The
government will make the chartering of the steamer good to Mr.
Hawthorne. . . . He has been very busily occupied at the Consulate
this winter and spring,--so many disasters at sea, and vagabonds
asking for money. He has already lost more than a hundred pounds by
these impostors. But he is very careful indeed, and those persons who
have proved dishonest were gentlemen in their own esteem, and it was
difficult to suspect them. But he is well on his guard now; and he
says the moment he sees a coat-tail he knows whether the man it
belongs to is going to beg! His life in the Consulate is not charming.
He has to pay a great penalty for the result of his toil. Not that he
has any drudgery, but he is imprisoned and in harness. He will not let
me take a pen in my hand when he is at home, because at any rate I see
him so little."

Such paragraphs as the one I add, from a little letter of my sister's,
often appear; but in this instance it was the glad exclamation of
release, just before we removed to Italy:--

"Papa will be with us on Monday, free from the terrors of the old
Consulate. Perhaps you can imagine what infinitely joyful news that is
to us; and to him, too, as much, if not more so; for he has had all
the work, and we have only suffered from his absence."

The letters proceed:--

MY DEAR FATHER,--It was delightful to see your handwriting this week,
written with the same firmness as ever. It gives me unspeakable
satisfaction to know that the drafts Mr. Hawthorne sent contribute to
your ease, and supply you with embellishments and luxuries, which in
sickness are necessaries. I only wish I could put strength into your
limbs, as well as provide you with a stuffed chair to repose them
upon. Mr. Hawthorne has wished, you see, to prevent your having any
anxiety about little wants. It will be all right for the present, and
future too. . . . I suppose the War will affect everything in a
disastrous manner, except the End, and that God will take into His own
hands for good, no doubt, though not as either party proposes.

Here in England we are wholly occupied with the War. No one thinks or
talks of anything else. Every face is grave with sorrow for the
suffering and slaughter, and then triumphant with pride and joy at the
incredible heroism of the troops. . . . In his sermon before the last,
Mr. Channing brought out my dearest, inmost doctrines and faith; the
sovereignty of good; the unfallen ideal in man; the impossibility of
God's ever for one moment turning from man, or being averse to him;
the essential transitoriness of evil. . . . I deeply regret that Una and
Julian cannot hear the sermons for the little people, for I think it
would do much towards saving their souls.

My mother's loss in the death of her father was a great grief, which
fell upon her at this time. She wrote to my aunt:--

DEAR ELIZABETH,--If anything could have softened such a blow, it would
have been the divine way in which my husband told me. If a seraph can
look more radiant with love--a flaming love, veiled with most tender,
sorrowing sympathy--than he did, I am sure I cannot conceive of it,
and am quite contented not to. I saw and felt in a moment how beyond
computation and desert I was still rich,--richest. Father's sincerity,
his childlike guilelessness, his good sense and rectitude, his
unaffected piety,--all and each of his qualities made him interesting
to my husband. I really do not believe any one else ever listened to
his stories and his conversation with as much love and interest.
Whatever is real and simple and true attracts my husband both as a
poet and as a man. Genuine nature he always springs to. Father was
entirely unspoiled by the world--as pure of it as a dewdrop. This
indeed made him a rare person. He seems to stand meekly in the
presence of God. Where more arch-angelic intellect--divine
genius--would tremble and faint, simple goodness will feel quite at
home, with its one talent become two talents, and its faith
and hope blossomed into reality. By and by I shall perhaps have a
vivid sense of his presence, as I did of mother's, six weeks after her
departure.

We have been out, for the first time, walking in the garden. The
morning was beautiful. The budding shrubbery was on every side, and
daisies and wallflowers and auriculas blooming even while a thin veil
of snow lay in some places.

Una, in writing home to America, portrays the family peace, and the
little landscapes of the quieter corners of our "Old Home:"--

"We have got to England at last. It does not seem as if we were in
England, but in Boston or Salem. There is not so much noise here as
there was in Boston.

"Mamma has told you about Mr. Rathbone's place, but I do not think she
has told you about one place by the wall. The wall is run over with
all sorts of vines, and there are summer-houses close up by the wall,
and a little brook rippling in front, and a great many mighty trees in
front, so that not a ray of the sun could peep through.

"On Sunday, the great Easter Sunday, we went to the Chapel of the
Blind, and stayed through the Communion service. Mamma received the
sacrament. The sermon was very tiresome. It was about the skins that
Adam and Eve wore. . . . I was very much interested in Chester, and
all the old things I saw there, especially the Cathedral. As we
walked round the cloisters you could almost fancy you saw the monks
pacing slowly round, and looking now and then on the beautiful dewy
green grass which is in the middle of the cloisters. On Monday my
dear godpapa [Mr. O'Sullivan] went to London. Mamma got up at
half past four and set on the table some chicken-pie, some oranges,
and what she thought to be stout, and some flowers which I had
gathered in the morning, and gave all these to him.

"Rose is sitting on papa's knee, and through her golden hair I can see
her little contented face. She has got down now, and is engaged in a
lively discussion with Julian about her name. Julian has been dancing
round with the heat, for he thought dancing round would keep him cool.
Rose is sitting in mamma's lap now, and she looks so jolly. Her very
rosy round face and her waving flowing hair make her look so pretty.
She is very sharp, and she has a great deal of fun in her. She has
learnt 'Hark, the lark,' 'The Cuckoo,' and 'Where the bee sucks, there
suck I.' She says them very prettily, and she has a sweet, simple way
of saying what she knows."

Thoughts of her own country recall the joys of Lenox:--

"I have been nutting a great many times in Berkshire. Papa and mamma,
Julian and I, all took large baskets and went into the woods, and
there we would stay sometimes all day, picking walnuts and chestnuts.
Perhaps where we were there were mostly walnuts; but still there were
a good many chestnuts. We had a very large oven in which we put as
many of our nuts as we could, and the rest we put into large bags. We,
and the rats and mice, had nice feasts on them every winter.

"Papa bought Julian a pop-gun to console him when we were going away
to visit the Brights, for he had not been invited. He was very good
about it indeed, and fired off his pop-gun in honor of mamma's going
away.

"Papa gave Julian a new boat a little while ago, a yacht, and mamma
has painted it beautifully in oils. I am going to make the sails for
it.

"Please call me Primrose in your letters. Rose is called Periwinkle.
Papa bought her an image of Uncle Tom and Eva, sitting on a bank, and
Uncle Tom is reading the Bible. Eva has on a plaid apron, and has
yellow cheeks, and is not very pretty. Uncle Tom is not either. Baby
was very much pleased."

To return to my mother's records:--

RHYL, NORTH WALES.

Dr. Drysdale thought we needed another change of air, and so we came
south this time. . . . The sun sinks just beside Great Orme's Head,
after turning the sea into living gold, and the heights into heaps of
amethyst. On the right is only sea, sea, sea. . . . I intended to go to
the Queen's Hotel, and knew nothing about the manner of living in the
lodging fashion. So we have to submit to German silver and the most
ordinary table service. . . . Ever since our marriage we have always
eaten off the finest French china, and had all things pretty and
tasteful; because, you know, I would never have second-best services,
considering my husband to be my most illustrious guest. But now! It is
really laughable to think of the appointments of the table at which
the Ambassador to Lisbon and the American Consul sat down last
Saturday, when they honored me with their presence. And we did laugh,
for it was of no consequence,--and the great bow window of our parlor
looked out upon the sea. We did not come here to see French china and
pure silver forks and spoons, but to walk on the beach, bathe in the
ocean, and drive to magnificent old castles,--and get rid of
whooping-cough. I had the enterprise to take all the children and
Mary, and come without Mr. Hawthorne; for he was in a great hurry to
get me off, fearing the good weather would not last. He followed on
Saturday with Mr. O'Sullivan, who arrived from Lisbon just an hour
before they both started for Rhyl. . . . Julian's worship of nature
and natural objects meets with satisfaction here. . . .

The following was also written from Rhyl:--

"While the carriage stopped I heard the rapturous warble of the
skylark, and finally discovered him, mounting higher still and higher,
pressing upwards, and pouring out such rich, delicious music that I
wanted to close my eyes and shut out the world, and listen to nothing
but that. Not even Shelley's or Wordsworth's words can convey an
adequate idea of this song. It seems as if its little throat were the
outlet of all the joy that had been experienced on the earth since
creation; and that with all its power it were besieging heaven with
gratitude and love for the infinite bliss of life. Life, joy, love.
The blessed, darling little bird, quivering, warbling, urging its way
farther and farther; and finally swooning with excess of delight, and
sinking back to earth! You see I am vainly trying to help you to an
idea of it, but I cannot do it. I do not understand why the skylark
should not rise from our meadows as well, and the nightingale sing to
our roses."

Society and the sternness of life were, however, but a hair's-breadth
away:--

"Monday evening Mr. Hawthorne went to Richmond Hill to meet Mr.
Buchanan. The service was entirely silver, plates and all, and in a
high state of sheen. The Queen's autograph letter was spoken of (which
you will see in the 'Northern Times' that goes with this); and as it
happens to be very clumsily expressed, Mr. Hawthorne was much
perplexed by Mr. Buchanan's asking him, before the whole company at
dinner, 'what he thought of the Queen's letter.' Mr. Hawthorne replied
that it showed very kind feeling. 'No,' persisted the wicked
Ambassador; 'but what do you think of the style?' Mr. Hawthorne was
equal to him, or rather, conquered him, however, for he said, 'The
Queen has a perfect right to do what she pleases with her own
English.' Mr. Hawthorne thought Miss Lane, Mr. Buchanan's niece, a
very elegant person, and far superior to any English lady present. The
next evening Mr. Hawthorne went to another dinner at Everton; so that
on Wednesday, when we again sat down together, I felt as if he had
been gone a month. This second dinner was not remarkable in any way,
except that when the ladies took leave they all went to him and
requested to shake hands with him!

"No act of the British people in behalf of the soldiers has struck me
as so noble and touching as that of the reformed criminals at an
institution in London. They wished to contribute something to the
Patriotic Fund. The only way they could do it was by fasting. So from
Sunday night till Tuesday morning they ate nothing, and the money
saved (three pounds and over) was sent to the Fund! Precious money is
this."

In Rockferry, my first remembered home, the personality of my father
was the most cheerful element, and the one which we all needed, as the
sunshine is needed by an English scene to make its happiness apparent.
If he was at all "morbid," my advice would be to adopt morbidness at
once. Perhaps he would have been a sad man if he had been an ordinary
one. Genius can make charming presences of characters that really are
gloomy and savage, being so magical in its transmutation of dry fact.
People were glad to be scolded by Carlyle, and shot down by Dr.
Johnson. But I am persuaded by reason that those who called Hawthorne
sad would have complained of the tears of Coriolanus or Othello; and,
with Coriolanus, he could say, "It is no little thing to make mine
eyes to sweat compassion." It was the presence of the sorrow of the
world which made him silent. Who dares to sneer at that? When I think
of my mother,--naturally hopeful, gently merry, ever smiling,--who,
while my father lived, was so glad a woman that her sparkling glance
was never dimmed, and when I have to acknowledge that even she did not
fill us children with the zest of content which he brought into the
room for us, I must conclude that genius and cheer together made him
life-giving; and so he was enchanting to those who were intimate with
him, and to many who saw him for but a moment. Dora Golden, my
brother's old nurse, has said that when she first came to the family
she feared my father was going to be severe, because he had a way of
looking at strangers from under bent brows. But the moment he lifted
his head his eyes flashed forth beautiful and kindly. She has told me
that my mother and she used to think at dusk, when he entered the room
before the lamps were lit, that the place was illuminated by his face;
his eyes shone, his whole countenance gleamed, and my mother simply
called him "our sunlight."

My sister's girlish letters are evidence of the enthusiasm of the
family for my father's companionship, and of our stanch hatred for the
Consulate because it took him away from us so much. He read aloud, as
he always had done, in the easiest, clearest, most genial way, as if
he had been born only to let his voice enunciate an endless procession
of words. He read "The Lady of the Lake" aloud about this time, and
Una wrote expressing our delight in his personality over and above
that in his usefulness: "Papa has gone to dine in Liverpool, so we
shall not hear 'Don Quixote' this evening, or have papa either."
Little references to him show how he was always weaving golden threads
into the woof of daily monotony. Julian, seven years old, writes to
his grandfather, "Papa has taught Una and me to make paper boats, and
the bureau in my room is covered with paper steamers and boats." I can
see him folding them now, as if it were yesterday, and how intricate
the newspapers became which he made into hulls, decks, and sails. At
one time Una bursts out, in recognition of the unbroken peace and good
will in the home, "It will certainly be my own fault if I am not
pretty good when I grow up, for I have had both example and precept."

The nurse to whom I have just referred has said that when Julian was
about four, sometimes he would annoy her while she was sewing; and if
his father was in the room, she would tell Julian to go to him and ask
him to read about Robbie, who was Robinson Crusoe. He would sit
quietly all the time his father read to him, no matter for how long.
But her master finally told Dora not to send Julian to him in this way
to hear "Robinson Crusoe," because he was "tired of reading it to
him." The nurse was a bit of a genius herself, in her way, and not to
be easily suppressed, and when her charge became fidgety, and she was
in a hurry, she made one more experiment with Robbie. Her master
turned round in his chair, and for the first time in four years she
saw an angry look on his face, and he commanded her "never to do it
again." At three years of age Julian played pranks upon his father
without trepidation. There was a "boudoir" in the house which had a
large, pleasant window, and was therefore thought to be agreeable
enough to be used as a prison-house for Una and Julian when they were
naughty. Julian conveyed his father into the boudoir, and shut the
door on him adroitly. It had no handle on the inner side, purposely,
and the astonished parent was caged. "You cannot come out," said
Julian, "until you have promised to be a good boy." Through the
persistent dignity with which Hawthorne behaved, and with which he was
always treated by the household, Julian had felt the down of playful
love.

Here are letters written to me while I was in Portugal with my mother,
in 1856:--

MY DEAR LITTLE ROSEBUD,--I have put a kiss for you in this nice, clean
piece of paper. I shall fold it up carefully, and I hope it will not
drop out before it gets to Lisbon. If you cannot find it, you must ask
Mamma to look for it. Perhaps you will find it on her lips. Give my
best regards to your Uncle John and Aunt Sue, and to all your kind
friends, not forgetting your Nurse. Your affectionate father,

N. H.


MY DEAR LITTLE ROSEBUD,--It is a great while since I wrote to you; and
I am afraid this letter will be a great while in reaching you. I hope
you are a very good little girl; and I am sure you never get into a
passion, and never scream, and never scratch and strike your dear
Nurse or your dear sister Una. Oh no! my little Rosebud would never do
such naughty things as those. It would grieve me very much if I were
to hear of her doing such things. When you come back to England, I
shall ask Mamma whether you have been a good little girl; and Mamma (I
hope) will say: "Yes; our little Rosebud has been the best and
sweetest little girl I ever knew in my life. She has never screamed
nor uttered any but the softest and sweetest sounds. She has never
struck Nurse nor Una nor dear Mamma with her little fist, nor
scratched them with her sharp little nails; and if ever there was a
little angel on earth, it is our dear little Rosebud!" And when Papa
hears this, he will be very glad, and will take Rosebud up in his arms
and kiss her over and over again. But if he were to hear that she had
been naughty, Papa would feel it his duty to eat little Rosebud up!
Would not that be very terrible?

Julian is quite well, and sends you his love. I have put a kiss for
you in this letter; and if you do not find it, you may be sure that
some naughty person has got it. Tell Nurse I want to see her very
much. Kiss Una for me.

Your loving PAPA.


The next letter is of later date, having been written while the rest
of the family were in Manchester:--


MY DEAR LITTLE PESSIMA,--I am very glad that Mamma is going to take
you to see "Tom Thump;" and I think it is much better to call him
Thump than Thumb, and I always mean to call him so from this time
forward. It is a very nice name, is Tom Thump. I hope you will call
him Tom Thump to his face when you see him, and thump him well if he
finds fault with it. Do you still thump dear Mamma, and Fanny, and
Una, and Julian, as you did when I saw you last? If you do, I shall
call you little Rose Thump; and then people will think that you are
Tom Thump's wife. And now I shall stop thumping on this subject.

Your friend little Frank Hallet is at Mrs. Blodget's. Do you remember
how you used to play with him at Southport, and how he sometimes beat
you? He seems to be a better little boy than he was then, but still he
is not so good as he might be. This morning he had some very nice
breakfast in his plate, but he would not eat it because his mamma
refused to give him something that was not good for him; and so, all
breakfast-time, this foolish little boy refused to eat a mouthful,
though I could see that he was very hungry, and would have eaten it
all up if he could have got it into his mouth without anybody seeing.
Was not he a silly child? Little Pessima never behaved so,--oh no!

There are two or three very nice little girls at Mrs. Blodget's, and
also a nice large dog, who is very kind and gentle, and never bites
anybody; and also a tabby cat, who very often comes to me and mews for
something to eat. So you see we have a very pleasant family; but, for
all that, I would rather be at home.

And now I have written you such a long letter that my head is quite
tired out; and so I shall leave off, and amuse myself with looking at
some pages of figures.

Be a good little girl, and do not tease Mamma, nor trouble Fanny, nor
quarrel with Una and Julian; and when I come home I shall call you
little Pessima (because I am very sure you will deserve that name),
and shall kiss you more than once. N. H.

If he said a few kind words to me, my father gave me a sense of having
a strong ally among the great ones of life; and if I were ill, I was
roused by his standing beside me to defy the illness. When I was
seriously indisposed, at the age of three, he brought me a black doll,
which I heard my mother say she thought would alarm me, as it was very
ugly, and I had never seen a negro. I remember the much-knowing smile
with which my father's face was indefinitely lighted up as he stood
looking at me, while I, half unconscious to most of the things of
this world, was nevertheless clutching his gift gladly to my heart.
The hideous darky was soon converted by my nurse Fanny (my mother
called her Fancy, because of her rare skill with the needle and her
rich decorations of all sorts of things) into a beautifully dressed
footman, who was a very large item in my existence for years. I
thought my father an intensely clever man to have hit upon Pompey, and
to have understood so well that he would make an angel. All his
presents to us Old People, as he called us, were either unusual or of
exquisite workmanship. The fairy quality was indispensable before he
chose them. We children have clung to them even to our real old age.
The fairies were always just round the corner of the point of sight,
with me, and in recognition of my keen delight of confidence in the
small fry my father gave me little objects that were adapted to them:
delicate bureaus with tiny mirrors that had reflected fairy faces a
moment before, and little tops that opened by unscrewing them in an
unthought-of way and held minute silver spoons. Once he brought home
to Julian a china donkey's head in a tall gray hat such as negroes and
politicians elect to wear, and its brains were composed entirely of
borrowed brilliancy in the shape of matches. We love the donkey still,
and it always occupies a place of honor. He brought me a little
Bacchus in Parian marble, wearing a wreath of grapes, and holding a
mug on his knee, and greeting his jolly stomach with one outspread
hand, as if he were inwardly smiling as he is outwardly. This is a
vase for flowers, and the white smile of the god has gleamed through
countless of my sweetest bouquets.

My father's enjoyment of frolicking fun was as hilarious as that
accorded by some of us to wildest comic opera. He had a delicate way
of throwing himself into the scrimmage of laughter, and I do not for
an instant attempt to explain how he managed it. I can say that he
lowered his eye-lids when he laughed hardest, and drew in his breath
half a dozen times with dulcet sounds and a murmur of mirth between.
Before and after this performance he would look at you straight from
under his black brows, and his eyes seemed dazzling. I think the
hilarity was revealed in them, although his cheeks rounded in ecstasy.
I was a little roguish child, but he was the youngest and merriest
person in the room when he was amused. Yet he was never far removed
from his companion,--a sort of Virgil,--his knowledge of sin and
tragedy at our very hearthstones. It was with such a memory in the
centre of home joys that the Pilgrim Fathers turned towards the door,
ever and anon, to guard it from creeping Indian forms.

On Sundays, at sundown, when the winter rain had very likely dulled
everybody's sense of more moderate humor, the blue law of quietness
was lifted from the atmosphere; and between five and six o'clock we
spread butterfly wings again, and had blind man's buff. We ran around
the large centre-table, and made this gambol most tempestuously merry.
If anything had been left upon the table before we began, it was
removed with rapidity before we finished. There was a distinct
understanding that our blindfolded father must not be permitted to
touch any of us, or else we should be reduced forthwith to our
original dust. The pulsing grasp of his great hands and heavy
fingers, soft and springing in their manipulation of one's shoulders
as the touch of a wild thing, was amusingly harmless, considering the
howls with which his onslaught was evaded as long as our flying legs
were loyal to us. My father's gentle laughter and happy-looking lips
were a revelation during these bouts. I remember with what awe I once
tied the blinding handkerchief round his head, feeling the fine
crispness of his silky hair, full of electricity, as some people's is
only on frosty days; yet without any of that crinkly resistance of
most hair that is full of energy. But there were times when I used to
stand at a distance and gaze at his peaceful aspect, and wonder if he
would ever open the floodgates of fun in a game of romp on any rainy
Sunday of the future. If a traveler caught the Sphinx humming to
herself, would he not be inclined to sit down and watch her till she
did it again?

I have referred to his large hand. I shall never see a more reassuring
one than his. It was broad, generous, supple. It had the little
depressions and the smoothness to be noticed in the hands of truest
charity; yet it had the ample outlines of the vigorously imaginative
temperament, so different from the hard plumpness of coarseness or
brutality. At the point where the fingers joined the back of the hand
were the roundings-in that are reminiscent of childhood's simplicity,
and are to be found in many philanthropic persons. His way of using
his fingers was slow, well thought out, and gentle, though never
lagging, that most unpleasant fault indicative of self-absorbed
natures. When he did anything with his hands he seemed very active,
because thoroughly in earnest. He delighted me by the way in which he
took hold of any material thing, for it proved his self-mastery.
Strength of will joined to self-restraint is a combination always
enjoyable to the onlooker; but it is also evidence of discomfort and
effort enough in the heroic character that has won the state which we
contemplate with so much approval. I remember his standing once by
the fire, leaning upon the mantelpiece, when a vase on the shelf
toppled over in some way. It was a cheap, lodging-house article, and
yet my father tried to save it from falling to the floor as earnestly
as he did anything which he set out to do. His hand almost seized the
vase, but it rebounded; and three times he half caught it. The fourth
time he rescued it as it was near the floor, having become flushed and
sparkling with the effort of will and deftness. For years that moment
came back to me, because his determination had been so valiantly
intense, and I was led to carry out determinations of all sorts from
witnessing his self-respect and his success in so small a matter.
People of power care all the time. It is their life-blood to succeed;
they must encourage their precision of eye and thought by repeated
triumphs, which so soothe and rejoice the nerves.

He was very kind in amusing me by aid of my slate. That sort of
pastime suited my hours of silence, which became less and less broken
by the talkative vein. His forefinger rubbed away defects in the
aspect of faces or animals with a lion-like suppleness of sweep that
seemed to me to wipe out the world. We also had a delicious game of a
labyrinth of lines, which it was necessary to traverse with the pencil
without touching the hedges, as I called the winding marks. We
wandered in and around without a murmur, and I reveled in delight
because he was near.

Walking was always a great resource in the family, and it was a
half-hearted matter for us unless we were at his side. His gait was
one of long, easy steps which were leisurely and not rapid, and he
cast an occasional look around, stopping if anything more lovely than
usual was to be seen in sky or landscape. It is the people who love
their race even better than themselves who can take into their thought
an outdoor scene. In England the outdoor life had many enchantments
of velvet sward upon broad hills and flowers innumerable and fragrant.
A little letter of Una's not long after we arrived in Rockferry
alludes to this element in our happiness:--

"We went to take a walk to-day, and I do not think I ever had such a
beautiful walk before in all my life. Julian and I got some very
pretty flowers, such as do not grow wild in America. I found some
exquisite harebells by the roadside, and some very delicate little
pink flowers. And I got some wild holly, which is very pretty indeed;
it has very glossy and prickery leaves. I have seen a great many
hedges made of it since I have been here; for nothing can get over it
or get through it, for it is almost as prickery as the Hawthorne [the
bush and the family name were always the same thing to us children],
of which almost all the hedges in Liverpool, and everywhere I have
been, are made; and there it grows up into high trees, so that nothing
in the world can look through it, or climb over it, or crawl through
it; and I am afraid our poor hedge in Concord will never look so well,
because the earth round it is so sandy and dry, and here it is so very
moist and rich. It ought to be moist, at any rate, for it rains
enough." But later she writes on "the eighteenth day of perfect
weather," and where can the weather seem so perfect as in England?

After breakfast on Christmas we always went to the places, in that
parlor where Christmas found us (nomads that we were), where our
mother had set out our gifts. Sometimes they were on the large
centre-table, sometimes on little separate tables, but invariably
covered with draperies; so that we studied the structure of each mound
in fascinated delay, in order to guess what the humps and hubbies
might indicate as to the nature of the objects of our treasure-trove.
The happy-faced mother, who could be radiant and calm at once,--small,
but with a sphere that was not small, and blessed us grandly,--
received gifts that had been arranged by Una and the nurse after
all the other El Dorados were thoroughly veiled, and our hearts
stood still to hear her musical cry of delight, when, having directed
the rest of us to our presents, she at last uncovered her own. Our
treasures always exceeded in number and charm our wildest hopes,
although simplicity was the rule. Whatever my mother interested
herself about, she accomplished with a finish and spirit that
distinguished her performance as a title on a reputation distinguishes
common clay. She threw over it the faithful ardor which is akin to
miracle: the simplest twig in her hand budded; her dewdrops were
filled with all the colors of the rainbow, because with her the sun
always shone. She writes a description of our happy first Christmas in
England, in which are these passages: "We had no St. Nicholas or
Christmas-tree; and so, after all had gone to bed, I arranged the
presents upon the centre-table in the drawing-room. . . . From a vase
in the middle a banner floated with an inscription upon it: 'A Merry
Christmas to all!' Una had given Rose a little watch for her footman
Pompey; Mrs. O'Sullivan had sent her a porcelain rosary, which was put
in a little box; and Mr. Bright had sent her an illuminated edition of
'This is the House that Jack Built.' Julian found a splendid flag from
Nurse. This flag was a wonder. . . . The stripes were made of a rich
red and white striped satin, which must have been manufactured for the
express purpose of composing the American flag. The stars were
embroidered in silver on a dark blue satin sky. On the reverse, a rich
white satin lining bore Julian's cipher, surrounded with silver
embroidery. . . . The children amused themselves with their presents
all day. But first I took my new Milton and read aloud to them the
Hymn of the Nativity, which I do every Christmas." "How easy it is,"
my mother writes of a Christmas-tree for poor children, "with a small
thing to cause a great joy, if there is only the will to do it!" But
most deeply did we delight in the presents given to our beloved
parents, whom we considered to be absolutely perfect beings; and there
was nothing which we ever perceived to make the supposition
unreasonable. In one of Una's girlish letters she declares: "I will
tell you what has given me almost--nay, quite as great pleasure as any
I have had in England; that is, that Mamma has bought a gold
watch-chain. She bought it yesterday at Douglas." We had such
thorough lessons in generosity that they sometimes took effect in a
genuine self-effacement, like this. A letter from my mother joyfully
records of my brother:--

"Julian was asking Papa for a very expensive toy, and his father told
him he was very poor this year, because the Consulate had not much
business, and that it was impossible to buy him everything that struck
his fancy. Julian said no more; and when he went to bed he expressed
great condolence, and said he would not ask his father for anything if
he were so poor, but that he would give him all his own money
(amounting to five-pence halfpenny). When he lay down, his face shone
with a splendor of joy that he was able thus to make his father's
affairs assume a brighter aspect. This enormous sum of money which
Julian had he intended, at Christmas-time, to devote to buying a toy
for baby or for Una. He intended to give his all, and he could no
more. In the morning, he took an opportunity when I was not looking to
go behind his father, and silently handed him the fivepence halfpenny
over his shoulder. My attention was first attracted by hearing Mr.
Hawthorne say, 'No, I thank you, my boy; when I am starving, I will
apply to you!' I turned round, and Julian's face was deep red, and his
lips were quivering as he took back the money. I was sorry his father
did not keep it, however. I have never allowed the children to hoard
money. I think the flower of sentiment is bruised and crushed by a
strong-box; and they never yet have had any idea of money except to
use it for another's benefit or pleasure. Julian saw an advertisement
in the street of the loss of a watch, and some guineas reward. 'Oh,'
said he, 'how gladly would I find that watch, and present it to the
gentleman, and say, No reward, thank you, sir!'" My sister, who was
made quite delicate, at first, by the English climate, and acquired
from this temporary check and the position of eldest child a pathetic
nobility which struck the keynote of her character, writes from
Rockferry: "This morning of the New Year was very pleasant. It was
almost as good as any day in winter in America. I went out with Mamma
and Sweet Fern [Julian]. The snow is about half a foot deep. Julian
is out, now, playing. I packed him up very warmly indeed. I wish I
could go out in the new snow very much. Julian is making a hollow
house of snow by the rhododendron-tree." What not to do we learned
occasionally from the birds. "The little robins and a thrush and some
little sparrows have been here this morning; and the thrush was so
large that she ate up the crumbs very fast, and the other poor little
birds did not dare to come near her till she had done eating." My
father used to treat the Old and the New Year with the deepest
respect. I never knew the moments to be so immense as when, with
pitying gentleness, we silently attended the Old Year across the
ghostly threshold of midnight, and my father at last rose reverently
from his chair to open the window, through which, at that breath, the
first peals would float with new promise and remembering toll.

We children were expected to come into the presence of the grown
people and enjoy the interesting guests whom we all loved. My father
was skillful in choosing friends: they were rare, good men, and he and
they really met; their loves and interests and his were stirred by the
intercourse, as if unused muscles had been stretched. I could perceive
that my father and his best cronies glowed with refreshment. Mr.
Bennoch was a great favorite with us. He was short and fat, witty and
jovial. He was so different in style and finish from the tall, pale,
spiritual Henry Bright (whom my mother speaks of as "shining like a
star" during an inspiring sermon) that I almost went to sleep in the
unending effort to understand why God made so sharp a variety in
types. Mr. Bennoch wrote more poetry than Mr. Bright did, even, and
he took delight in breathing the same air with writers. But he himself
had no capacity more perfected than that of chuckling like a whole
brood of chickens at his own jokes as well as those of others. The
point of his joke might be obscure to us, but the chuckle never failed
to satisfy. He was a source of entire rest to the dark-browed,
deep-eyed thinker who smiled before him. The only anecdote of Mr.
Bennoch which I remember is of a Scotchman who, at an inn, was
wandering disconsolately about the parlor while his dinner was being
prepared. A distinguished traveler--Dickens, I think--was dashing off
a letter at the centre-table, describing the weather and some of the
odd fellows he had observed in his travels. "And," he wrote, "there
is in the room at the present moment a long, lank, red-headed,
empty-brained nincompoop, who looks as if he had not eaten a square
meal for a month, and is stamping about for his dinner. Now he
approaches me as I sit writing, and I hear his step pause behind my
chair. The fool is actually looking over my shoulder, and reading
these words"--A torrent of Scotch burst forth right here: "It's a lee,
sir,--it's a lee! I never read a worrd that yer wrort!" Screams from
us; while Mr. Bennoch's sudden aspect of dramatic rage was as suddenly
dropped, and he blazed once more with broad smiles, chuckling. I will
insert here a letter written by this dear friend in 1861:--

80 WOOD STREET, LONDON.

MY DEAR HAWTHORNE,--A few lines just received from Mr. Fields remind
me of my too long silence. Rest assured that you and yours are never
long out of our thoughts, and we only wish you were here in our
peaceful country, far removed from the terrible anxieties caused by
wicked and willful men on one side, and on the other permitted by the
incompetents set over you. How little you thought, when you suggested
to me the propriety of old soldiers only going into battle, that you
should have been absolutely predicting the unhappy course of events!
Do you remember adding that "a premium should be offered for men of
fourscore, as, with one foot in the grave, they would be less likely
to run away"? I observe that the "Herald" advises that "the
guillotine should be used in cropping the heads of a lot of the
officers, beginning at the city of Washington, and so make room for
the young genius with which the whole republic palpitates." . . .
Truly, my dear Hawthorne, it is a melancholy condition of things. Let
us turn to a far more agreeable subject! It is pleasant to learn that,
amid all the other troubles, your domestic anxieties have passed away
so far as the health of your family is concerned. The sturdy youth
will be almost a man, and Una quite a woman, while Rosebud will be
opening day by day in knowledge and deep interest. I hear that your
pen is busy, and that from your tower you are looking upon old England
and estimating her influences and the character of her people. Recent
experiences must modify your judgment in many ways. A romance laid in
England, painted as you only can paint, must be a great success. I
struggle on, and only wish I were worthy the respect my friends so
foolishly exhibit.

With affectionate regards to all, ever yours truly, F. BENNOCH.

On November 17, 1854, my mother writes:--"Last evening a great
package came from Mr. Milnes [Lord Houghton], and it proved to be all
his own works, and a splendid edition of Keats with a memoir by Mr.
Milnes. This elegant gift was only a return of favors, as Mr.
Hawthorne had just sent him some American books. He expended three
notes upon my husband's going to meet him at Crewe Hall, two of
entreaty and one of regret; but he declares he will have him at
Yorkshire. Mrs. Milnes is Lord Crewe's sister. The last note says:
'The books arrived safely, and alas! alone. When I get to Yorkshire,
to my own home, I shall try again for you, as I may find you in a more
ductile mood. For, seriously, it would be a great injustice--not to
yourself, but to us--if you went home without seeing something of our
domestic country life: it is really the most special thing about our
social system, and something which no other country has or ever will
have.'"

Another note from Lord Houghton is extant, saying:--

DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE,--Why did not you come to see us when you were in
London? You promised to do so, but we sought you in vain. I wanted to
see you, mainly for your own sake, and also to ask you about an
American book which has fallen into my hands. It is called "Leaves of
Grass," and the author calls himself Walt Whitman. Do you know
anything about him? I will not call it poetry, because I am unwilling
to apply that word to a work totally destitute of art; but, whatever
we call it, it is a most notable and true book. It is not written
virginibus puerisque; but as I am neither the one nor the other, I may
express my admiration of its vigorous virility and bold natural truth.
There are things in it that read like the old Greek plays. It is of
the same family as those delightful books of Thoreau's which you
introduced me to, and which are so little known and valued here.
Patmore has just published a continuation of "The Angel in the House,"
which I recommend to your attention. I am quite annoyed at having
been so long within the same four seas with you, and having seen you
so little. Mrs. Milnes begs her best remembrances. I am yours very
truly,

RICHD. MONCKTON MILNES.

16 UPPER BROOK STREET, June 30.

It is a perpetual marvel with some people why some others do not wish
to be looked at and questioned. Dinner invitations were constantly
coming in, and were very apt to be couched in tones of anxious
surprise at the difficulty of securing my father. An illustration may
be found in this little note from Mr. Procter (father of Adelaide
Procter):--

32 WEYMOUTH STREET, Tuesday morning.

DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE,--It seems almost like an idle ceremony to ask you
and Mrs. Hawthorne to dine here on Friday; but I cannot help it. I
have only just returned from a circuit in the country, and heard this
morning that you were likely to leave London in a few days. Yours
always sincerely,

B. W. PROCTER.

It was desirable to meet such people as Mr. Procter, and I have heard
enthusiastic descriptions, with which later my mother amused our quiet
days in Concord, of the intellectual pleasures that such friendships
brought, and of the sounding titles and their magnificent accessories,
with human beings involved, against whom my parents were now sometimes
thrust by the rapid tide of celebrity. But my father was never to be
found in the track of admiring social gatherings except by the deepest
scheming. In her first English letters my mother had written: "It is
said that there is nothing in Liverpool but dinners. Alas for it!"
The buzz of greeting was constant. It must have been delightful in
certain respects. She sent home one odd letter as a specimen of
hundreds of similar ones which came to my father from admirers. Yet
very soon individuals make a crowd, and the person who attracts their
attention is more nearly suffocated than the rest quite realize. His
attempts at self-preservation are not more than half understood, and,
if successful, are remembered with a dash of bitterness by the
onlookers.

To her husband in Liverpool, Mrs. Hawthorne writes:--

LONDON, September 19.

MY DEAREST,--At half past three Mrs. Russell Sturgis came in her
sumptuous barouche. We drove all through the fashionable squares and
Streets and parks, and all through Kensington, even to the real
Holland House. But Leigh Hunt's book went all out of my head when I
tried to think what he said about it. Mrs. Sturgis knows him very
well, and often visits him in his humble cottage. Oh, dear me! Such
superb squares and terraces as I saw! Mrs. Sturgis told me where Sir
E. B. Lytton, and many noted and noble persons, lived. We drove
through Mayfair, but I did not see Miss Cushman's house, I Bolton Row.
We certainly had a fine time. At five we got back, and I found the
Ambassador's card, and Miss Lane's, inviting us there this evening.

September 20. I was just hurrying off with Mr. Bright when I wrote the
two lines of post-script in my letter this morning, in answer to your
note,--so like you; so tender and kind. Since I must go away, I ought
not to have said a word; but you must ascribe what I said and say to
infinite love only; for it is only because of this that I do not look
forward with delight to a winter in Lisbon with the O'Sullivans. I
could not be happy if you made any sacrifice for me; and as our
interests are indissoluble, it would be my sacrifice, too. So I will
be good, and not distress you with more regrets. I once thought that
no power on earth should ever induce me to live without you, and
especially thought that an ocean should never roll between us. But I
am over-powered by necessity; and since my life is of importance to
you, I will not dare to neglect any means of preserving it.

This morning baby was dressed in a beautiful embroidered white frock
and blue sash, blue kid shoes, laced with blue ribbon, and blue silk
sack fastened with a blue girdle, and a hat trimmed with blue and
gray. Her long curls streamed out beneath: She was thus arrayed to
visit Portland Place and the Sturgis children. Una looked very lovely
in her summer cloud-muslin.

Mr. Bright came at twelve o'clock, bringing five or six superb
photographs of Cologne; I never saw any so splendid. Then we started
for the Crystal Palace. It has been one of the divinest days--one of
our days, like that at Stratford-on-Avon.' When we got into the cab,
however, Mr. Bright proposed to go to the Houses of Parliament first,
and then at last concluded to give up the Crystal Palace, and see the
sights of London instead. So we drove to the old St. James's Palace
Yard. But a police-officer said we could only go in on Saturday, and
then by a ticket from the Lord Chamberlain. I knew that, but supposed
Mr. Bright had some other means of gaining admittance. He had not,
nevertheless. He took us (Julian was with me) over Westminster Bridge.
. . . We went into the Photographic Exhibition of persons and places
at the Crimea, which was just like taking up groups of the army and
putting them before one's eyes. It must be of wonderful interest to
the relatives and friends of those who are there. The room was full of
fine-looking, aristocratic people. From this we drove to Kensington
Gardens; and I must say, my dear lord, that I never imagined any place
so grand and majestic, so royal and superb, as those grounds. The
trees--oh, the trees--every one of them kings, emperors, and Czars; so
tall, so rich, and the lawn beneath them so sunny-velvet green, all
made illustrious by the clearest warm sunshine, and a soft, sweet air.
The magnificent groves of trees all round; and far off in the
terminus, the towers and pinnacles of the Parliament Houses, and
Westminster Abbey towers, rise into the clear sky over the blue waters
of the Serpentine. A pretty yacht, with one white wing, slowly moved
along. Large, princely lambs grazed on the sunny lawns. I think that
thou wouldst have asked no more in the way of a park. We sat down on a
felled tree and talked awhile. I would almost give a kingdom to sit on
the tree again, with thee. Was not Mr. Bright good and lovely to
devote his only whole day in London to me? He certainly is the most
amiable and hospitable of mortals. THY DOVE.

My mother writes of Miss Bacon, who put Lord Bacon in that place in
her heart where Shakespeare should have been:--

MY DEAREST,--I have been reading Miss Bacon's manuscript this
afternoon, and it is marvelous. She reveals by her interpretation of
Lord Bacon more fully to me what I already divined dimly of the power
of Christ over nature; and it is the first word that I have found
spoken or written which is commensurate with my actual idea. I felt as
if I wanted to take this manuscript and all the others, and run off to
some profound retreat, and study it all over, and reproduce it again
with my own faculties. Oh, that I could read them with you! I almost
begin to love the pain with which I delve after the thoughts presented
in such a close and difficult handwriting.

To Miss Peabody:--

"Miss Bacon cannot speak out fairly [upon the subject of Bacon and
Shakespeare], though there is neither the Tower, the scaffold, nor the
pile of fagots to deter her. But she is a wonder and a benefactor,--
and let us not criticise her style; or rather, it is no matter whether
we did or not, so much remains for her. I did not see her. I was just
going to take Una and call upon her, when she went to Stratford.

"I hope Mr. Plumly has not forgotten his project of beneficence
[towards her]. It must be a foretaste of heaven to have money to give
away."



CHAPTER XI

ENGLISH DAYS: III


Tourist letters describe Wordsworth's house and country at Rydal:--

MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--I had a hope that when I left Rock Park I should
be clothed with wings, and be able to write letters and journal and to
draw. But I have been particularly wingless during the whole six weeks
of our absence, and have clone literally nothing but use my eyes. At
Windermere we left Una, Rose, and Nurse at a charming, homelike house,
and Mr. Hawthorne, Julian, and I went farther north. We went first to
Rydal and Grasmere, and at Grasmere Hotel, which is nearly opposite
the grave of Wordsworth, I had set my heart upon writing you a long
letter about those sacred places, especially sacred to you, the true
lover of Wordsworth. On a most superb afternoon we took an open
carriage at Lowood Hotel, where we had been staying for several days,
and drove to Grasmere Hotel, where we left our luggage and then drove
back to Rydal Water. We alighted just at the commencement of the lake,
intending to loiter and enjoy it at leisure. The lake surprised me by
its extreme smallness,--in America we should never think of calling it
a lake; but it receives dignity from the lofty hills and mountains
that embosom it, and I thought it was irreverent in Mr. Hawthorne to
say he "could carry it all away in a porringer." It has several very
small islands in it, and one rather larger, which is a heronry. The
lake and all the parks and grounds around belong to Sir Richard le
Fleming, who is Lord of the Manor and of a very ancient family in
those regions. We presently came to a fine old crag by the shore, up
which were some friendly steps; and we were entirely sure that
Wordsworth had often gone up there and looked off upon his beloved
Rydal from the summit. We went up and sat down where we knew he must
have sat, and there I could have dreamed for many hours. The gleam,
the shadow, and the peace supreme were there, and I thought with an
infinite joy how human beings have the power to consecrate the earth
by genius, heroic deeds, and even homely virtues. The gorgeous
richness of the vegetation, the fresh verdure, the living green of the
lawns and woodlands, flooded and gilded by the sunshine, made me
wonder whether the Delectable Mountain could be much more beautiful,
and made me realize deeply the poetic rapture, the noble, sustained
enthusiasm of Wordsworth in his descriptions of natural scenery. It is
only for perhaps a week in June that we in America can obtain an idea
of the magnificent richness and freshness of English scenery. How can
I find language airy and delicate enough to picture to you the fields
of harebells, tossing their lovely heads on their threadlike stems,
and bringing heaven to earth in the hue of their petals! Then the pale
golden cuckoo-buds, the yellow gorse, the stately foxglove, standing
in rows, like prismatic candelabra, all along the roadside,--and ah
me, alas!--the endless trees and vines of wild eglantine, with
blossoms of every shade of pink, from carmine to the faintest blush,
wreathing themselves about and throwing out into your face and hands
long streamers of buds and blossoms, so rarely and exquisitely lovely!
One wonders whether it can be true or whether one is dreaming on the
Enchanted Plain. I loved Wordsworth as I never could have done if I
had not been in the very place that knew him, and seen how and why he
worshiped as he did, what really seems there the perpetual Morning of
Creation.

At the right of the doorstep a superb fuchsia-tree stood, and I asked
the man to pluck me one of the jewel blossoms. But he declined to
approach so near, as he feared to disturb Mrs. Wordsworth. And he did
not introduce us into her presence, because he said Lady le Fleming
had told him never to disturb her with visitors, but only show them
the outside of the house. He said Lady le Fleming built the house and
it was hers, as well as everything else round about. But we might have
gone in, we now find, and Mrs. Wordsworth likes very much to see
people. So this intelligent man led us through the pretty gardens and
grounds, up and up and up innumerable steps in successive short
flights, through many wickets, till I began to think we could never
reach our goal. Finally we came to a spot of constant shade where was
a singularly shaped rock--a kind of slab--thrusting itself out from
the wall, in which a brass plate was inserted with an inscription by
Wordsworth, which we read. It expressed that he had pleaded for this
rock as often as he had for other natural objects.

The gardener opened a wicket, after passing the deep, shady nook, and
said, "This is Mr. Wordsworth's garden." I looked about and saw
troops of flowers, and sought for the white fox-glove, which was a
favorite of his, and found it; and the air was loaded with a fine
perfume, which I discovered to be from large beds of mignonette. In
those paths he walked and watched and tended his plants and shrubs.
Presently, after so much mounting of steps, and threading of
embowered paths and lanes of flowers, we were ushered into the grounds
immediately around the actual house. And the man first took us upon
that memorable terraced lawn, in great part made by Wordsworth's own
hands. It is circular, and the turf, like thick-piled velvet, yielding
to the feet and of delicious green--smooth and soft. Perhaps it is
thirty feet in diameter, and double, with a very high step. Beneath it
is a gravel walk, and then a hedge of thick shrubs. Julian flung
himself at full length on the velvet sward, and Mr. Hawthorne and I
sat down on the even tops of two stumps of trees, evidently intended
for seats, as one meets them everywhere, arranged for that purpose.
But how am I to tell you what I saw from them?

Wordsworth must have described it somewhere. It was his beloved view.
Richer could not have been the Vale of Cashmere. The mountains take
most picturesque forms, and after throwing against the sky bold and
grand outlines, they so softly curve down into the lovely dells that
they seemed doing homage to beauty, lordly and gentle. And far away at
the end of the valley, Windermere, Queen of the Lakes, reposed,
gleaming silvery blue. This fair, open eye completed the picture. In
that was the soul revealed. I wished I had had my sketch-book to draw
just the outlines, but was not too sorry, because I intended to go
again, and then I would have it. Now I was content to gaze alone.

The attractions of London are fully admitted by Mrs. Hawthorne, in
various letters, from which I gather these sentences:--

"At last I have found myself in London society. I suppose Ellen and
Mary [her nieces] would like to know what I wore on one occasion. I
had on a sky-blue glace silk, with three flounces, which were
embroidered with white floss, making a very silvery shine. The dress
had low neck and short sleeves; but I wore a jacket of starred blonde
with flowing sleeves; and had round me also a shawl of Madeira lace,
which, though very airy, fleecy, and cloud-looking, is warm and soft.
My headdress was pearl, in the shape of bunches of grapes and leaves,
mingled with blue ribbon, with a wreath of pearl-traced leaves round
my hair, which was rolled in coronet fashion. Was not that a pretty
dress?

"Mr. Hawthorne was invited to Monckton Millies' to a dejeuner, and met
there Macaulay, Mr. and Mrs. Browning, Lord Stanley, the Marquis of
Lansdowne, Lord Goderich, etc. He enjoyed it very much; and the
venerable old Marquis seemed bent on doing him honor and showing him
respect. He insisted upon Mr. Hawthorne's taking precedence of himself
on every occasion. It is an immense disappointment to me that we
cannot spend some months within daily reach of London, because I want
Mr. Hawthorne to take a very full draught of it. But I shall persuade
him to go up to the grim, glorious old city by himself, if possible."

My mother had been so seriously attacked by bronchitis as to endanger
her lungs, which led to a visit of six months to Lisbon and Madeira,
my father remaining at the Consulate. While in exile, she writes to
him:--

"I am all the time tumbling into fathomless reveries about going home.

"Dearest, I have an idea! Next winter, if you wish to remain in
England, and my coughing continues, I will tell you how I might do,
and be most happy and comfortable. I might remain in my chamber all
winter, and keep it at an even temperature, and exercise by means of
the portable gymnasium. I am sure the joy of your presence would be
better than any tropic or equator without you. And I hate to be the
means of your resigning from the Consulate."

We also went to Southport for my mother's health. Here she writes:--

MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--The Doctor will not let me walk more than thirty
minutes at a time. Here there are no carriages with horses, but with
donkeys, sometimes two or three abreast. They will go out to the edge
of the deep sea. The donkeys walk, unless they take it into their
heads to run a little. One day I mounted Una and Julian on donkeys,
while Rose and I were in the carriage. One little girl belabored the
two saddled donkeys, and one guided my two. They were weather-beaten,
rosy girls, one with a very sweet young face. The elder conversed with
me awhile, and said the young gentleman's donkey was twenty years old
and belonged to her brother, who would surely die if they bartered it,
"because it is his, you know." She smiled reluctantly when I smiled at
her, as if she had too much care to allow herself to smile often, but
evidently she was a sound-hearted, healthy, contented child, ready to
shine back when shone upon.

Mr. Hawthorne now knows what has been my danger, and he is watchful of
every breath I draw; and I would not exchange his guardianship for
that of any winged angel of the hosts. God has given him to me for my
angel, only He makes him visible to my eye, as He does not every one's
angel. It seems as if even / never knew what felicity was till now. As
the years develop my soul and faculties, I am better conscious of the
pure amber in which I find myself imbedded.

The Doctor shows me that it is my DUTY to be self-indulgent, and I can
be so with a quiet conscience, and shall soon be all right in body, as
I am all right in mind and heart. Mr. Hawthorne never has anything. I
do not believe there is another spirit so little disturbed by its body
as his.

. . . Mr. Hawthorne, you may be sure, will take care of me. I should
think he would suppose you thought he had no interest in the matter;
but he thinks of nothing else, and would give up the Consulate to-day
if he saw it was best for me.

After so hard a beginning, I long for him to repose from anxiety for
the future of our life. I only wish that for others as well as for
ourselves the fables about this Consulate had been truths. Because
what my husband would like would be to find always his right hand
(unknown to his left) full of just what his fellow mortals might need,
with no more end of means than there is of will to bestow. In him is
the very poetry of beneficence, the pure, unalloyed fountain of
bounty. It has been well tested here, where every kind of woe and
want have besieged him.

That provoking Consular bill has been in force nearly two years,
depriving us of our rights to the amount now of about $35,000, because
ever since it became the law the times have been more prosperous. The
year before that the business was miserable. I think it was unjust
that the actual incumbents of the office should not have been allowed
to fulfill their terms with the conditions upon which they commenced
them. It was a bill hoisted in on the shoulders of the ministerial
bill, which very strangely does not come in play till 1857.

December u.

Mr. Hawthorne is dining in the suburbs of Liverpool this evening, with
a Mr. William Browne, M. P., to meet Baron Alderson. It is only the
second dinner he has been obliged to sacrifice himself to since we
have been in Southport. This Mr. Browne is a venerable gentleman, who
takes the trouble to go to the Consulate, and bend his white head in
entreaty, and he can no more be refused, all things considered, than
two and two can refuse to be four. So, at the present moment, there
sits my lord at the gorgeous board, shining like a galaxy with plate
and crystal. There was lately a banquet in honor of Mr. Browne,
which went off magnificently. All Liverpool and part of the county
shared in it; and the town was hung with banners from end to end, and
business was suspended. It was a superb day of bright sunshine and
perfectly dry streets, and the procession of the selected guests, and
then of subscribers, was immensely long. I believe fifteen hundred
collated at St. George's Hall; and on an elevated dais the twenty
invited guests sat. Mr. Hawthorne was one of these. He had received
notice that Monckton Milnes was to give him a toast, and a speech
would be expected. You may see by some papers that Mr. Milnes gave
"The United States;" but this is a mistake. It was "Nathaniel
Hawthorne." He was very cordial and complimentary; but he did not say,
as the reporter of the "Post" wrote, "that the 'Scarlet Letter' stuck
to the hearts of all who came in contact with it," as if it were a
kind of adhesive plaster; but that it "struck to the hearts of all who
read it." When Mr. Hawthorne rose there was such a thunder of applause
and cheers that, after a while, he actually sat down till quiet was
restored. Mr. Channing told me, day before yesterday, that his speech
was admirable, and delighted all who knew him, and made the Americans
proud of him. He sat beneath, but very near him. Was it not a burning
shame that I was not there? Many ladies were present in the galleries,
and one of them sent a footman to Mr. Hawthorne, requesting a flower
or a leaf as a memento. The modest and generous Mr. Browne [who had
just made a public bequest] was overwhelmed with the reverberations of
gratitude on every side. Mr. Hawthorne said he liked Lord Stanley,
though he was rather disappointed in his appearance. The latter had
to respond to "The House of Stanley." Lord Derby was to come, but was
unable. Before the banquet, the corner-stone was laid. What a wise
way this is--for rich men to make bequests during life. I hope many
will do likewise.

Yes, I have read about a thousand times over of Mr. Peabody's gift to
Baltimore. We have a great many American papers, and the English
papers repeat everything of importance. Mr. Browne has done the same
thing in Liverpool.

December 18. Mr. Hawthorne had a stupid time enough at Mr. Browne's
dinner at Richmond Hill. Mr. Browne himself is always stupid, and Mrs.
Browne never says a word. The judges were dumb and lofty with their
own grandeur, and communicated no ideas. Do you know how very grand
the judges are when in acto? Do you know that they are then kings, and
when the Queen is present they still have precedence? So Imperial is
Law in this realm. In going down to dinner, therefore, at Mr. Browne's
(whose dinner they kept waiting exactly an hour) they led the way,
followed humbly by the High Sheriff of the county, who is always the
first dignitary except where the judges lead. Then went the Mayor,
attended by one of his magnificent footmen in the Town livery, which
is so very splendid and imposing that "each one looks like twenty
generals in full military costume," as Mr. Hawthorne says; with
scarlet plush vests, innumerable cordons and tassels of gold,
small-clothes, and white hose, and blue coats embroidered with gold
flowers. No crowned emperor ever felt so blindingly superb, and how
they ever condescend to put down their feet on the floor is a wonder.
Mr. Hawthorne followed next to the Mayor. There being no conversation,
there was ample time to look at the truly gorgeous appointments of the
table, upon which no china appeared, but only massive plate. The
epergne was Phoebus Apollo in his chariot of the sun, with four horses
galloping perpetually along the table without moving. The
dessert-plates were bordered with wreaths of flowers and fruits in
high relief, all of silver. Perhaps Mr. Browne's wits have turned to
silver, as Midas's surroundings into gold. Mr. Hawthorne has gone to
another dinner this evening at the Mayor's. It is a state dinner to my
lords the judges. Baron Alderson nearly expires with preeminence on
these occasions, and perhaps he will cease to breathe to-night. These
are heavy hours to Mr. Hawthorne. London society has put him even
more out of patience than usual with Liverpool dinners, and I know he
is wishing he were at home at this moment. Last evening he was reading
to me the rare and beautiful "Espousals" of Coventry Patmore. Have you
seen "The Angel in the House" yet? It takes a truly married husband
and wife to appreciate its exquisite meaning and perfection; but with
your miraculous power of sympathy and apprehension, I think you will
enjoy it, next to us.

This evening, as I wrote, Prince Rose-red entered, holding aloft a
clay head which he had been modeling. It was a great improvement upon
the first attempts, and resembled Chevalier Daddi, Una's music-teacher
in Lisbon. He put it upon the grate to bake, and then lay down on the
rug, with his head on a footstool, to watch the process. But before
it was finished I sent him to bed. It is after ten now, and the
Chevalier has become thoroughly baked, with a crack across his left
cheek. In all sorts of athletic exercises, in which a young Titan is
required, Julian is eminent. Monsieur Huguenin, the gymnast, said
that in all his years of teaching athletics, he had never met but once
with his equal. Yet he moves in dancing in courtly measures and
motions, and when he runs, he throws himself on the wind like a bird,
and flits like a greyhound. Julian's great head is a delicately
organized one. I am obliged to have all his hats made expressly for
him, and my hatter, Mr. Nodder, says he never saw such a circumference
in his life. I always look upon his head as one of the planets.

Our house has been robbed by two notorious thieves. They had much
better have risked their lives in stealing the Hungarian Baron
Alderson, whose full dress is incrusted with forty thousand pounds'
worth of diamonds and emeralds. We have met with a greater loss than
these robbers caused us. Mrs. Blodget has all our luggage at her house
in Liverpool; and one of her servant-men opened two of my trunks,
which were in the cellar, and stole almost every piece of plate we
possess--all the forks and spoons, and so on. He has confessed, while
ill in a hospital. But Mr. Hawthorne will not prosecute him.

Have you read Froude's history, just published, from the period of the
fall of Wolsey to the death of Elizabeth? His style is wholly unlike
that of the stately, but rather tiresome unchangeable canter of
Macaulay's. Macaulay takes care of his style, but Froude is only
interested in his theme. I do not suppose any one historian has yet
climbed up to the pinnacle of perfect impartiality,--unless my darling
Herodotus, who has the simplicity of a child, and no theories at all.
But Macaulay's style tires me. He is so ferociously lucid that he
confuses me, as with too much light. It is the regular refrain of his
brilliant sentences that finally has the effect of a grand jangle of
musical instruments.

The Manchester Exhibition framed a particularly rare spectacle:--

MANCHESTER.

MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--We are now at Old Trafford, close by the Palace of
Art Treasures, which we have come here expressly to see. There is no
confusion, no noise, no rudeness of any kind, though there are
thousands of the second-class people there every day. If you shut
your eyes, you only hear the low thunder of movement. . . . Yesterday
we were all there, and met--now, whom do you think? Even Tennyson. He
is the most picturesque of men, very handsome and careless-looking,
with a wide-awake hat, a black beard, round shoulders, and slouching
gait; most romantic, poetic, and interesting. He was in the saloons of
the ancient masters. Was not that rare luck for us? Is it not a wonder
that we should meet? His voice is also deep and musical, his hair wild
and stormy. He is clearly the "love of love and hate of hate," and "in
a golden clime was born." He is the Morte d'Arthur, In Memoriam, and
Maud. He is Mariana in the moated grange. He is the Lady Clara Vere de
Vere and "rare, pale Margaret." There is a fine bust of him in the
exhibition, and a beautiful one of Wordsworth. . . . Ary Scheffer's
Magdalen, when Christ says, "Mary!" is the greatest picture of his I
have ever seen. Ary Scheffer himself was at the exhibition the other
day. . . .

Again Mr. Hawthorne, Una, and I were at the Palace all day. We went up
into the gallery of engraving to listen to the music; and suddenly Una
exclaimed, "Mamma! there is Tennyson!" He was sitting by the organ,
listening to the orchestra. He had a child with him, a little boy, in
whose emotions and impressions he evidently had great interest; and I
presumed it was his son. I was soon convinced that I saw also his
wife and another little son,--and all this proved true. It was
charming to watch the group. Mrs. Tennyson had a sweet face, and the
very sweetest smile I ever saw; and when she spoke to her husband or
listened to him, her face showered a tender, happy rain of light. She
was graceful, too, and gentle, but at the same time had a slightly
peasant air. . . . The children were very pretty and picturesque, and
Tennyson seemed to love them immensely. He devoted himself to them,
and was absorbed in their interest. In him is a careless ease and a
noble air which show him of the gentle blood he is. He is the most
romantic-looking person. His complexion is _brun_, and he looks in ill
health and has a hollow line in his cheeks. . . . Allingham, another
English poet, told Mr. Hawthorne that his wife was an admirable one
for him,--wise, tender, and of perfect temper; and she looks all this;
and there is a kind of adoration in her expression when she addresses
him. If he is moody and ill, I am sure she must be a blessed solace
to him. When he moved to go, we also moved, and followed him and his
family faithfully. By this means we saw him stop at his own
photograph, to show it to his wife and children; and then I heard them
exclaim in sweet voices, "That is papa!" Passing a table where
catalogues were sold, . . . his youngest son stopped with the maid to
buy one, while Tennyson and his wife went on and downstairs. So then I
seized the youngest darling with gold hair, and kissed him to my
heart's content; and he smiled and seemed well pleased. And I was well
pleased to have had in my arms Tennyson's child. After my raid I went
on. . . .

Of this glimpse of the great poet fortunately accorded to our family
my father writes in the "Note-Books:" "Gazing at him with all my eyes,
I liked him very well, and rejoiced more in him than in all the other
wonders of the exhibition." Again my mother refers to the interesting
experience:--


MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--My last letter I had not time to even double up
myself, as Mr. Hawthorne was booted and spurred for Liverpool before I
was aware, and everything was huddled up in a hasty manner. It was
something about Tennyson's family that I was saying. I wanted you to
know how happy and loving they all seemed together. As Tennyson is in
very ill health, very shy and moody, I had sometimes thought his wife
might look worn and sad. I was delighted, therefore, to see her serene
and sweet face. I cannot say, however, that there was no solicitude in
it, but it was a solicitude entirely penetrated with satisfied
tenderness. . . .

I did not reply to your last long letter to me about slavery. . . .
There is not a single person whom I know or ever talked with who
advocates slavery. Your letters to me would be far more appropriate to
a slaveholder. . . . I do not see how they apply to me at all. . . .

There has been the customary misinterpretation of calm justice in the
case of my father's moderation during the wild ardor of abolition.
This sort of ardor is very likely necessary in great upheavals, but it
is not necessary that every individual should join the partisans
(while they slash somewhat promiscuously) at the expense of his own
merciful discretion. My mother writes in eloquent exposition of her
husband's and her own loyalty to the highest views in regard to the
relations of all members of the human family, but she never convinced
the hot fidelity of the correspondents of her own household. I will
add a letter and note, from Hawthorne to Miss Peabody, partly upon
this subject:--

LIVERPOOL, August 13th, '57.

DEAR E.,--I return this manuscript pamphlet on the Abolition question,
for I do not choose to bother Sophia with it; and yet should think it
a pity to burn so much of your thought and feeling. You had better
publish it. I speak trustingly, though not knowingly, of its merits;
for to tell you the truth, I have read only the first line or two, not
expecting much benefit even were I to get the whole by heart. No doubt
it seems the truth of truth to you; but I do assure you that, like
every other Abolitionist, you look at matters with an awful squint,
which distorts everything within your line of vision; and it is queer,
though natural, that you think everybody squints, except yourselves.
Perhaps they do; but certainly you do.

As regards Goodrich's accounts of the relations between him and me, it
is funny enough to see him taking the airs of a patron; but I do not
mind it in the least, nor feel the slightest inclination to defend
myself, or be defended. I should as soon think of controverting his
statement about my personal appearance (of which he draws no very
lovely picture) as about anything else that he says. So pray do not
take up the cudgels on my behalf; especially as I perceive that your
recollections are rather inaccurate. For instance, it was Park
Benjamin, not Goodrich, who cut up the "Story-teller." As for
Goodrich, I have rather a kindly feeling towards him, and he himself
is a not unkindly man, in spite of his propensity to feed and fatten
himself on better brains than his own. Only let him do that, and he
will really sometimes put himself to some trouble to do a good-natured
act. His quarrel with me was, that I broke away from him before he had
quite finished his meal, and while a portion of my brain was left; and
I have not the slightest doubt that he really felt himself wronged by
my so doing. Really, I half think so too. He was born to do what he
did, as maggots to feed on rich cheese.

Sophia has enjoyed herself much for some months past, and enjoyment
seems to agree with her constitution, for her health and vigour have
been very satisfactory. Neither did I ever have a better time in my
life, than during our recent tours in England and Scotland. Between
us, we might write an immense book of travels. I have six or seven
volumes of journals, written during my residence in England; but
unfortunately, it is written with so free and truth-telling a pen that
I never shall dare to publish it. Perhaps parts of it shall be read to
you, some winter evening, after we get home; but I entirely yield the
palm to Sophia on the score of fullness and accuracy of description.
[Considerably more of the letter is cut off, and the following
fragment of another letter is pasted over a portion of the first.]


LIVERPOOL, October 8th, '57.

DEAR E.,--I read your manuscript Abolition pamphlet, supposing it to
be a new production, and only discovered afterwards that it was the
one I had sent back. Upon my word, it is not very good; not worthy of
being sent three times across the ocean; not so good as I supposed you
would always write, on a subject in which your mind and heart were
interested. However, since you make a point of it, I will give it to
Sophia, and will tell her all about its rejection and return.

Pictures of Leamington and its vicinity were sent home, as follows:--

No. 10 LANSDOWNE CIRCUS, LEAMINGTON, WARWICKSHIRE, September 9, 1857.

MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--Do not suppose that we are among horses,
mountebanks, and clowns by my date. On the contrary, we are in a
charming little paradise of gardens, with a park in the centre,
towards which all these gardens converge. It is such a paradise as
the English only know how to make out of any given flat bit of land.
Fancy a circle of houses at the end of a street. They are white
stucco houses, with balconies leading out of the drawing-rooms, in
which to sit and enjoy the gardens, made up of sunny green lawns,
bright rainbow flowers, and dark green shrubbery and trees. The park
is full of lovely trees and evergreens, with lawns and gravel-walks.
We are in profound quiet. Nothing but a bird's note ever breaks our
stillness. The air is full of mignonette, roses, and wallflowers. It
is autumn; but the grass and foliage are like those of early spring or
summer.

In Manchester, which we have lately visited, I found that the foul air
of the manufactories made me cough more, and the moment Mr. Hawthorne
perceived it, he decided to come away. Nothing but the Palace of Art
would ever have made us think of being one hour in such a nasty old
ugly place. I could never be weary of looking at some of the
masterpieces, to the end of my clays. I should think the Good Shepherd
would convert the Jew, Baron L. R., to Christianity; for it is his.
No words can possibly do justice to that, or to the Madonna in Glory.
. . .

September 12. To-day we went to Kenilworth. There was not blue sky
enough to encourage Mr. Hawthorne at first; but at eleven o'clock we
set forth in very good sunshine, and delicious air. By a short turn
out of our Circus we came into a street called Regent's Grove, on
account of a lovely promenade between noble trees for a very
long-distance, almost to the railroad station; and Una and I walked
that way, leaving Mr. Hawthorne and Julian to follow, as we wished to
saunter. They overtook us, having gone down the Parade, which is the
principal street, containing hotels and shops; and it crosses at right
angles Warwick Street, which reaches for several miles, until it
arrives at Warwick Castle itself.

The bright greens of England seem to be lined with gold; and in the
autumn, the leaves merely turn their golden linings.

The approach to the domain of Kenilworth is through roads with trees,
winding along, and also across a narrow river, which we should call a
brook, glimpses of the castle towers appearing at every turn.

The grass was very wet, and I had no india-rubbers, and Mr. Hawthorne
went off with Una to buy me some, being resolved to make them, I
believe, if he could not find any in the only shop not explored, for
we had already tried for them. He returned with the only pair in
Kenilworth that would fit me--and the last pair the shopman had left
in his box. . . . The ivy, after climbing up the sides of the Castle
in a diffusive embrace, reaches the crumbling battlements; and to
conceal the gnawing teeth of time there, it rises into perfect trees,
full and round, where it does not find it lovelier to trail over and
hang in festoons and wreaths and tassels. Ivy and time contend for the
mastery, and have a drawn battle of it. Enormous hawthorn-trees,
large as our largest horse-chestnuts, also abound around the Castle,
and are now made rich and brilliant with scarlet haws. Mr. Hawthorne
and I were filled with amazement at their size. Instead of the rich
silk hangings which graced the walls when Elizabeth entered the
banqueting-room, now waved the long wreaths of ivy, and instead of
gold borders, was sunshine, and for music and revel--SILENCE--
profound, not even a breeze breaking it. For we had again one of
those brooding, still days which we have so often been fortunate
enough to have among ruined castles and abbeys. Bare stone seats are
still left around Elizabeth's boudoir, upon which, when softly
cushioned with gold, she sat, and saw a fair prospect. The park and
chase extended twenty miles!

Nothing but music can ever equal or surpass architecture in variety of
utterance. Music is poetry to the ear, architecture to the eye, and
poetry is music and architecture to the soul, for it can reproduce
both. Music, however, seems to be freer from all shackles than any
other art; and I remember that in one of my essays for Margaret
Fuller, I made it out to my own satisfaction to be the apex of
expression. The old Glasgow verger of whom I wrote you had not got so
far as to see that it needed the "Kist of Whistles," as he called the
organ, to make his beloved Cathedral soar and glow with life and
praise to its utmost capacity. But I cannot say that it does not sing,
even without a sound, in its immortal curves, as Ruskin calls those
curves that return in no conceivable time or space. Cathedrals sing,
and they also pray, with pointed arches for folded hands. Julian
liked these ruins better than any he had seen, he said; and he climbed
up on the dismantled turret of Leicester's buildings, and settled
himself among the ivy like some rare bird with wonderful eyes. His
hair had grown very long, and clustered round his head in hyacinthine
fashion, and I think my lord would have been glad to call him his
princely boy. [Such things he never allowed himself to say.] All the
princeliness that lies in clustering curls Julian has lost to-day, for
a hair-dresser has cropped him like a Puritan.

As for myself, fine weather, flower-filled lanes, sturdy walks, and
the zest of environs that aroused the rest of the family through
association as well as loveliness, seemed to awaken in my mind a vivid
era that was exciting if laborious. I had night-vigils which were
delightfully entertained by a faculty for hearing quite splendid
music,--music that my imagination composed with a full orchestra of
admirable brilliancy; and I was also able to see in perfect
distinctness a splendid bazaar, filled with any quantity of toys,
which I could summon at will. But this pastime required a great deal
of will-power, a peculiar subtlety of condition, and could only be
kept up for a few moments at a time; and in the course of several
months the charming capacity was modified to that of being able to
evoke most clearly scenes where imaginary characters, more real than
actual companions, leaped into being, and talked and moved to any
extent. I suppose numbers of people have this faculty, and it is a
sovereign protection against ennui; or would be, if remedies could
always be relied upon. I mention these matters to prove that I
moderately possessed artistic perception. I can see, nevertheless,
quite well, that I must have been a very stupid child most of the
time, and that the befogged state of my mind was certainly a pity and
perhaps a shame. Yet there was a sort of advantage in it: fogs choose
with much good sense what they will emphasize; and the intellect
bereft of fussy clearness may have a startling grasp that reminds one
of occult methods. My observations could not pretend to so much, but
they caught truths not very often stared into capture by a little
girl; and my father interested me more, and was more frequently the
subject of my meditations, than any one else.

In Leamington there seemed to be some opportunity for quiet pursuits.
In the first place, there were great preparations for Christmas; which
means, that my sister Una made a few little hand-worked presents in
complete secrecy, and there was a breathless spending of a few
sixpences. If a good deal of money was used by my parents, it was
never distributed with freedom, but for those luxuries which would
gather the least rust; and not a little was exchanged for heavenly
treasure itself, in charity that answered appeals too pathetic to
disregard. And we children learned--though we did not learn to save
money, because our parents could not--to go without the luxuries money
oftenest brings; a lesson that comes to happy fruition in maturer
life, if there is need of it. I say happy, because we look back with
joy to the hours spent in toughening the sinews of endurance. I
remember that long and Penelope-like were my own Christmas
preparations; but what they evolved is a matter as lost to thought as
a breeze on the desert, in spite of the clearness with which I
remember the gifts from my sister and our genteel Nurse, Fanny, who
was with us again, and shone more sweetly than ever in Leamington.
The handsomest objects we had were given us by Fanfan, or Fancy, as my
mother called her. My mother writes, "Our Twelfth Cake was a superb
little illuminated Book of Ruth, which never can be eaten up, and will
be a joy forever to all our posterity after us, and to our
contemporaries."

I will insert here an account of how perfect the smoothness of English
mechanism may be:--


13 CHARLES STREET, BATH.

MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--We asked the porter at the depot to tell us of a
good hotel, and he sent us to York House. After being deposited in it,
with our stones round our necks (as I call our luggage), we found it
was not only the first hotel in Bath, but one famous throughout the
land. A terrible fear came over me that a year's income would scarcely
defray our expenses even for one day and night; but as we did not
arrive till five, we could not leave till the next day. So we had
nothing to do but to take it grandly. We were put in possession of a
lordly sitting-room, hung with crimson. There was nothing gaudy, but a
solid richness. Papa and Mamma were the Duke and Duchess of Maine [in
remembrance of a lordly claim at Raymond], Julian was Lord Waldo, and
Una, Lady Raymond. The finest cut crystal, and knives and forks with
solid silver handles, and spoons too heavy to lift easily, delicate
rose and gold china, and an entire service of silver dishes, came upon
the table. Our attendants were the Sublime and the Pensive, in the
form of two men. The Sublime had a bosom full of linen lilies in
peculiarly wide bloom; while the Pensive was adorned rather with
snowdrops. Their footfalls were descending snowflakes, their manners
devout, solemn, and stately. It was really quite delicious, just for a
short time; and it was impossible not to be convinced that we at least
came over with William the Conqueror; or we might be descended in a
straight line from Prince Bladud, who flourished in Bath eight hundred
years before the Christian era. At all events, we were the noblest in
the land, and received the salaams of the Sublime and the Pensive as
obviously due to our exalted rank. As I looked at my husband, so
kingly in aspect by nature, of such high courtesy in manner; and at
Una, princesslike, with her sweet dignity, I did not at all wonder at
the stolen glances of our waiters; that looking without looking for
which a thorough-bred English waiter is so remarkable. Lord Waldo also
"bore it well;" and as to the Lady Rose, she might have bloomed in a
royal conservatory. Sumptuous wax candles, in richly chased silver
candlesticks, lighted us up in the evening. Whenever I left the
sitting-room for my chamber, the Sublime was suddenly at the door to
open and shut it for me, bowing down with all his lilies. Ah, me! But
how can I describe the York House table! Such Apician food, so
delicately touched with fire! And who can ever sing adequately the
graceful curves in which the Pensive swept off the covers, at the
sound of some inaudible music--inaudible except to his ear--as soon as
we were all seated! I felt so grand that I was ready to shout with
laughter--having gone full circle from the sublime to the ridiculous
several times. I felt the ducal coronet on my brow, flashing fine
flames from diamonds and emeralds. His Grace's diadem put my eyes out
(as it often does, even when not in York House, and we not all in full
dress). The weather was dull and cold, and a glorious fire blazed in
the large grate, fed and tended by a third noiseless apparition, the
Soft, in the shape of a boy, who gently deposited black boulders of
coal without raising any dust, and with a brush delicately invited
away the ashes from the bars and the hearth, and poked as one would
kiss a sleeping babe. The eyes of the Soft did not wander; they were
kept snug beneath their lids with well-trained reverence; and this
genius of the fire always appeared as soon as the glow began to fade,
as if by inspiration. In my large chamber, draped with white muslin
over rose color and drab damask, a superb fire glowed. I must make an
end of this nonsense.

The next day I drove about Bath to get apartments,--the first hour in
vain; and everybody said the city was full, and we should not succeed.
The children cried out to stay in York House, enjoying the luxury. But
again I took a Bath chair, and with Fanny the nurse at my side to talk
for me, and Rosebud to look out for signs of "To Let," we tried again,
and found this modest house; where, such is the simplicity of my
nature, I am ten times as comfortable and at home as at even York
House, with its shaded grandeur. Yet I am very fond of splendor, I
have to confess; and, moreover, our surprise was great when, upon
demanding the account, the Sublime brought on a silver salver charges
actually more moderate than those of many inferior hotels all about
England.

I will proceed here with our visit to Redcar, though that occurred in
1859, when we had returned from Rome.

Redcar is in the midst of a stately region, grand with an outline of
hard-bosomed, endless beach and vast sky, of sea and sand-hills, where
my father stands forth very distinctly in my memory. When he went out
at fixed hours of the day, between the hours for writing, he walked
over the long, long beach, and very often with my brother and myself;
stopping now and then in his firm, regal tread to look at what nature
could do in far-stretching color and beckoning horizon line. Along the
sand-hills, frolicking in the breeze or faithfully clinging in the
strong wind to their native thimbleful of earth, hung the cerulean
harebells, to which I ardently clambered, listening for their chimes.
In the preface to "Monte Beni," the compliment paid to Redcar is well
hidden. My father speaks of reproducing the book (sketched out among
the dreamy interests of Florence) "on the broad and dreary sands of
Redcar, with the gray German Ocean tumbling in upon me, and the
northern blast always howling in my ears." Nothing could have pleased
him better as an atmosphere for his work; all that the atmosphere
included he did not mean to admit, just then. And London was not so
very far away.

On September 9, 1859, my mother says in her diary, "My husband gave me
his manuscript to read." There are no other entries on that clay or
the next, except, "Reading manuscript." On the 11th she says, "Reading
manuscript for the second time." The diary refers to reading the
manuscript on the third day, but on the two following days, in which
she was to finish as much of the romance as was ready, there are
wholly blank spaces. These mean more than words to me, who know so
well how she never set aside daily rules, and how unbrokenly her
little diaries flow on. She writes home:--

"Mr. Hawthorne has about finished his book. More than four hundred
pages of manuscripts are now in the hands of the publishers. I have
read as much as that, but do not yet know the denouement. He is very
well, and in very good spirits, despite all his hard toil of so many
months. As usual, he thinks the book good for nothing, and based upon
a very foolish idea which nobody will like or accept. But I am used to
such opinions, and understand why he feels oppressed with disgust of
what has so long occupied him. The true judgment of the work was his
first idea of it, when it seemed to him worth the doing. He has
regularly despised each one of his books immediately upon finishing
it. My enthusiasm is too much his own music, as it were. It needs the
reverberation of the impartial mind to reassure him that he has not
been guilty of a betise.

"Mr. Hawthorne had no idea of portraying me in Hilda. Whatever
resemblance one sees is accidental."

On November 8 (we were then in Leamington once more) she records in
very large script, "My husband to-day finished his book, 'The Romance
of Monte Beni.'"

My mother was especially fortunate in finding the smallest rose-tinted
and most gleaming among the shells which we came across upon the
sands, and of these a few superlative but almost invisible specimens
were long the cherished possession of her English work-box. She often
went with me to the sands, spending much time there; her diary saying:
"Superb, calm day. I went on sands with Rosebud to gather shells.
Stayed three hours." Or: "Most superb day possible. I went on the
sands with Rose, and sat all the morning in a sand-chair, reading,
while Rose played. It was a divine day; the air like rose petals, the
sky cerulean, the sea sapphire. I felt so serene and quiet;--a great
calm." Then comes the inevitable contrast: "Tremendous sea. Rose and I
went on the sands to gather shells." These shells, which we could none
of us find in so perfect a state as my mother could, were
object-lessons to me in the refinements of art, as the harebells were
in the refinements of nature; for were not the dancing flowers alive,
and the stirless shells the passive work of thought?

Sometimes she read Disraeli's "Sibyl," while I built a sand fortress
round her; or she read "Venetia," "Oliver Twist," "The Life of Mary
II.," "Romany Rye," and "The Lives of the Last Four Popes." She
remembered Pio Nono with unflagging interest, and mentions his serious
illness, and then his recovery. She read "a queer biography of
Wordsworth by Hood," and she regarded Carlyle's diction in the "French
Revolution" as "rubbishy."

Besides the pilgrimages in search of shells, another pursuit was
inaugurated by my mother, in her breathlessly calm way, which was the
finding of multitudinous seaweeds of every eccentricity of style. The
Yankee elm, the English oak, the kitchen-garden herb, or Italian
stone-pine, the fern, and tresses, as they seemed, of women's fair or
dusky hair, were all so cleverly imitated by the seaweeds that one
might have supposed them to be the schoolbooks of the sea; or the
latest news there, regarding the nature of the dry world. Many spare
moments were given to mounting these pretty living pictures of
growths. My lack of success in producing a single very neat specimen
was, I grieve to admit, hardly bettered by any of us; my father
joining in the scientific excess only so far as to turn his luminous
eyes upon our enthusiasm, with his genial "h'm-m" of permission.

Excursions were made to Whitby, Wilton Castle, and other places; and I
made an excursion on my own account, which kept me lame for some time.
"Rose fell and hurt her knees and elbow, following a monkey." But my
most considerate mother would never have let me perceive the humorous
and possibly unintelligent aspect of my adventurous spirit; and the
next day she tenderly inscribes the historical fact, "Poor baby lame."

Here are a few words of testimony, from my sister, to the charm of
this shore:--

REDCAR, October 4, 1859.

Our last day in Redcar, dearest aunt Lizzie; and a most lovely one it
is. The sea seems to reproach us for leaving it. But I am glad we are
going, for I feel so homesick that I want constant change to divert my
thoughts. How troublesome feelings and affections are! When one ought
to forget, they are strongest.

Your loving niece,

U. H.

I thought that the petty lodging in which we were established was an
odd nook for my father to be in. I liked to get out with him upon the
martial plain of sand and tremendous waves, where folly was not, by
law of wind and light of Titan power, and where the most insignificant
ornament was far from insignificant: the whorl of an exquisite shell,
beautiful and still, as if just dead; or the seaweeds, that are so
like pictures of other growths. I felt that this scene was a worthy
one for the kind but never familiar man who walked and reflected
there. We enjoyed a constant outdoor life. But in those uninspired
hours when there was no father in sight, and my mother was resting in
seclusion, I played at grocer's shop on the sands with a little girl
called Hannah, whom I then despised for her name, her homely neat
clothes, her sweetness and silence, and in retrospect learned to love.
As we pounded brick, secured sugary-looking sands of different tints,
and heaped up minute pebbles, a darkly clad, tastefully picturesque
form would approach,--a form to which I bowed down in spirit as,
fortunately for me, my father. He would look askance at my utterly
useless, time-frittering amusement, which I already knew was withering
my brain and soul. In his tacit reproach my small intellect delighted,
and loftier thoughts than those of the counter would refresh me for
the rest of the day; and I thankfully returned to the heights and
lengths of wide nature, full of color and roaring waves.



CHAPTER XII

ITALIAN DAYS: I


My first frequent companionship with my father began in Italy, when I
was seven years old. We entered Rome after a long, wet, cold carriage
journey that would have disillusionized a Dore. As we jolted along,
my mother held me in her arms, while I slept as much as I could; and
when I could not, I blessed the patient, weary bosom upon which I lay
exhausted. It was a solemn-faced load of Americans which shook and
shivered into the city of memories that night. In "Monte Beni," as he
preferred to call "The Marble Faun," my father speaks of Rome with
mingled contempt for its discomforts and delighted heartiness for its
outshining fascinations. "The desolation of her ruin" does not prevent
her from being "more intimately our home than even the spot where we
were born." A ruin or a picture could not satisfy his heart, which
accepted no yoke less strong than spiritual power. Rome supplies the
most telling evidence of human failure, because she is the theatre of
the greatest human effort, both in the ranks of Satan and of God; and
she visibly mourns her sins of mistake at the feet of spiritual
victory, Saints Peter and Paul. (As a Catholic, I could hardly win the
respect of the gentle reader if I were so un-American as to fear to
stand by my belief.) And while the observer in Rome may well feel sad
in the midst of reminders of the enormous sins of the past, there is
an uplifting, for the soul eager to perceive the truth, in all her
assurances of that mercy which is the cause of religion. If the Holy
See was established in Rome because it was the city where the worst
wickedness upon earth, because the most intelligent, was to be found,
we may conclude that the old emperors, stormy and grotesque, are
responsible for its melancholy "atmosphere of sin," to which Hilda
alludes as a condition of the whole planet; and not the popes who have
prayed in Rome, nor the people who believe there. In printed remarks
about Italy both my parents say that she most reminds them of what is
highest.

But, whether chilly or warm, the Eternal City did not at once make a
conquest of my father's allegiance, though before he bade it farewell,
it had painted itself upon his mind as sometimes the sunniest and most
splendid habitation for a populace, that he knew. In the spring my
sister wrote:--

"We are having perfectly splendid weather now,--unclouded Italian
skies, blazing sun, everything warm and glorious. But the sky is too
blue, the sun is too blazing, everything is too vivid. Often I long
for the more cloudy skies and peace of that dear, beautiful England.
Rome makes us all languid. We have to pay a fearful price for the
supreme enjoyment there is in standing on the very spots made
interesting by poetry or by prose, imagination, or (which is still
more absorbing) truth. Sometimes I wish there had never been anything
done or written in the world! My father and I seem to feel in this way
more than the rest. We agree about Rome as we did about England."

In the course of the winter my mother had written of our chilly
reception thus:--

NO. 37 VIA PORTA PINCIANA, 2D PLANO,

PALAZZO LAIIAZANI, ROME.

MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--I could not have believed I could be in Rome a day
without announcing it to you in words and expressions which would have
the effect at least of the bell of St. Peter's or the cannon of St.
Angelo. . . . But my soul has been iced over, as well as the hitherto
flowing fountains of the Piazza, di San Pietro. I have not been able
to expand like corn and melons under a summer sun. Nipped have been
all my blossoming hopes and enthusiasms, and my hands have been too
numb to hold a pen. Added to this, Mr. Hawthorne has had the severest
cold he ever had, because bright, keen cold he cannot bear so well as
damp; and .Rosebud has not been well since she entered the city. It is
colder than for twenty years before. We find it enormously expensive
to live in Rome; our apartment is twelve hundred a year.

But I am in Rome, Rome, Rome! I have stood in the Forum and beneath
the Arch of Titus, at the end of the Sacra Via. I have wandered about
the Coliseum, the stupendous grandeur of which equals my dream and
hope. I have seen the sun kindling the open courts of the Temple of
Peace, where Sarah Clarke said, years ago, that my children would some
time play. (It is now called Constantine's Basilica.) I have climbed
the Capitoline and stood before the Capitol, by the side of the
equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius,--the finest in the world [my
father calls it "the most majestic representation of kingly character
that ever the world has seen "],--once in front' of the Arch of
Septimius Severus. I have been into the Pantheon, whose sublime
portico quietly rises out of the region of criticism into its own
sphere,--a fit entrance to the temple of all the gods. How wise was
the wise and tact-gifted Augustus to reject the homage of Agrippa, who
built it for his apotheosis, and to dedicate it to the immortal gods!
It is now dedicated to the Immortal God.

And I have been to St. Peter's! There alone in Rome is perpetual
summer. You have heard of the wonderful atmosphere of this world of a
basilica. It would seem to be warmed by the ardent soul of Peter, or
by the breath of prayer from innumerable saints. One drops the
hermetical seal of a curtain behind, upon entering, and behold, with
the world is also shut out the bitter cold, and one is folded, as it
were, in a soft mantle of down, as if angels wrapped their wings about
us. I expanded at once under the invisible sun. There have been
moments when I have felt the spell of Rome, but every one says here
that it dawns gradually upon the mind. It would not have been so with
me, I am convinced, if I had been warm. Who ever heard of an icicle
glowing with emotion? What is Rome to a frozen clod? . . .

We were not able to seize upon the choicest luxuries of living, as our
accommodations, even such as they were, proved to be expensive enough
to hamper us. We had all expected to be blissful in Italy, and so the
inartistic and inhuman accessories of life were harder to bear there
than elsewhere. I remember a perpetual rice pudding (sent in the tin
ten-story edifices which caterers supply laden with food), of which
the almost daily sight maddened us, and threw us into a Burton's
melancholy of silence, for nothing could prevent it from appearing. We
all know what such simple despairs can do, and, by concerted movement,
they can make Rome tame. If we had sustained ourselves on milk, like
Romulus and Remus, and dressed in Russian furs, we might have had
fewer vicissitudes in the midst of the classic wonders on all sides.
But spring was faithful, and at its return we began to enjoy the
scenes of most note within and beyond the walls: the gleaming ruins,
and fresh, uncontaminated daisies that trustfully throve beside some
of them; the little fountains, with their one-legged or flat-nosed
statues strutting ineffectually above them,--fountains either dry as
dead revelers or tinkling a pathetic sob into a stone trough; the open
views where the colors of sunlit marble and the motions of dancing
light surrounded the peasants who sprang up from the ground like
belated actors in a drama we only keep with us out of childish
delight.

My father had never looked so serious as he did now, and he was more
slim than in England. He impressed me as permeated by an atmosphere of
perception. A magnetic current of sympathy with the city rendered him
contemplative and absorbent as a cloud. He was everywhere, but only
looked in silence, so far as I was aware. "The Marble Faun" shows what
he thought in sentences that reveal, like mineral specimens, strata of
ideas stretching far beyond the confines of the novel. While he
observed Rome, as he frequently mentions, he felt the sadness of the
problems of the race which there were brought to a focus. Yet it is a
singular fact that, notwithstanding this regret for her human pathos,
perhaps the best book he ever wrote was created among the suggestive
qualities of this haven of faith,--the book which inculcates the most
sterling hope of any of his works. I saw in my walks with him how much
he enjoyed the salable treasures and humble diversions of the
thoroughfare, as his readers have always perceived. Ingenuous
simplicity, freedom from self-consciousness and whitewash, frank
selfishness on a plane so humble that it can do little harm,--all this
is amusing and restful after long hours with transcendental folk. In
regard to the tenets of these, my mother writes to her sister:--

"I am just on the point of declaring that I hate transcendentalism,
because it is full of immoderate dicta which would disorganize
society, and should never be uttered, in my opinion, except behind the
veil, among priests. As to displaying before the great, innocent eyes
of a girl like Una all the horror of a slave-auction--a convent is
better than such untimely revelations. Now, you must not think I am a
Catholic. I know the Lord withholds the pure from seeing what they
should not--blessed be the Lord!--but I will not be the one to put
what should not be seen before the eyes of the pure."

My father looked in good spirits as we moved along. When he trafficked
with an Italian fruit-vender, and put a few big hot chestnuts into his
pocket, with a smile for me, I (who found his smile the greatest joy
in the world) was persuaded that really fine things were being done.
The slender copper piece which was all-sufficient for the transaction
not only thrilled the huckster with delight, but became precious to me
as my father's supple, broad fingers held it, dark, thin, small, in a
respectful manner. He caressed it for a moment with his large
thumb,--he who was liberal as nature in June,--and when the
fruit-vender was wrought up to the proper point of ecstasy he was
allowed to receive the money, which he did with a smile of Italian
gracefulness and sparkle, while my father looked conscious of the
mirthfulness of the situation with as lofty a manner as you please. As
for the peasant women we met, under their little light-stands of
head-drapery, they were easily comprehensible, and expressed without a
shadow of reserve their vanity and tiger blood by an openly proud
smile and a swing of the brilliantly striped skirt. The handsomest men
and women possible, elaborately dressed, shone beside tiers of the
sweetest bunches of pale violets, or a solitary boy, so beautiful that
his human splendor scintillated, small as he was, sat in the pose and
apparel that the world knows through pictures, and which pigment can
never well render any more than it can catch the power of a sunset or
an American autumn. The marble-shops were very pleasant places. A
whirring sound lulled the senses into dreamy receptiveness, as the
stone wheel heavily turned with soft swiftness, giving the impression
that here hard matter was controlled to a nicety by airy forces; and a
fragrance floated from the wet marble lather, while the polishing of
our newly picked up mementos from the ruins went on, which was as
subtle as that of flowers. A man or two, hoary with marble-dust and
ennobled by the "bloom" of it, stood tall and sad about the wheel, and
we handed to these refined creatures our treasures of giallo-antico
and porphyry and other marbles picked up "for remembrance" (and no
doubt once pressed by a Caesar's foot or met by a Caesar's glance), in
order to observe the fresh color leap to the surface,--yellow, red,
black, or green.

Far more were we thrilled at finding scraps of iridescent glass
lachrymals, containing all the glories of Persian magnificence, while
pathetically hinting of the tears of a Roman woman (precious only to
herself, whatever her flatterers might aver) two thousand years ago.

The heart of Rome was acknowledged to be St. Peter's, and its pulse
the Pope. The most striking effect the Holy Father produced upon me,
standing at gaze before him with my parents, was when he appeared, in
Holy Week, high up in the balcony before the mountainous dome, looking
off over the great multitude of people gathered to receive his
blessing. Those eyes of his carried expression a long way, and he
looked most kingly, though unlike other kings. He was clothed in white
not whiter than his wonderful pallor. My father implies in a remark
that Pio Nono impressed him by a becoming sincerity of countenance,
and this was so entirely my infantile opinion that I became eloquent
about the Pope, and was rewarded by a gift from my mother of a little
medallion of him and a gold scudo with an excellent likeness thereon,
both always tenderly reverenced by me.

Going to the Pincian Hill on Sunday afternoons, when my father quite
regularly made me his companion, was the event of my week which
entertained me best of all. To play a simple game of stones on one of
the gray benches in the late afternoon sunshine, with him for
courteous opponent, was to feel my eyes, lips, hands, all my being,
glow with the fullest human happiness. When he threw down a pebble
upon one of the squares which he had marked with chalk, I was
enchanted. When one game was finished, I trembled lest he would not go
on with another. He was never fatigued or annoyed--outwardly. He had
as much control over the man we saw in him as a sentinel on duty.
Therefore he proceeded with the tossing of pebbles, genially though
quietly, not exhibiting the least reluctance, and uttering a few
amused sounds, like mellow wood-notes. Between the buxom groups of
luxuriant foliage the great stream of fashion rolled by in carriages,
the music of the well-trained band pealing forth upon the breeze; and
in the tinted distance, beyond the wall of the high-perched garden
which surrounded us, the sunset shook out its pennons. Through the
glinting bustle of the crowd and the richness of nature my father
peacefully breathed, in half-withdrawn brooding, either pursuing our
pebble warfare with kindest stateliness, or strolling beside lovely
plots of shadowed grass, fragrant from lofty trees of box. An element
by no means slight in the rejoicing of my mind, when I was with him of
a Sunday afternoon, was his cigar, which he puffed at very
deliberately, as if smoking were a rite. The aroma was wonderful. The
classicism which followed my parents about in everything of course
connected itself with my father's chief luxury, in the form of a
bronze match-box, given him in Rome by my sister, upon which an autumn
scene of harvest figures was modeled with Greek elegance, and to this
we turned our eyes admiringly during the lighting of the cigar. There
was a hunter returning to a home draped with the grape, bringing still
more of that fruit, and a rabbit and bird, hung upon a pole, while his
wife and child were ever so comfortably disposed upon the threshold,
and the hunting-dog affectionately lapped the young matron's hand. An
autumn was also depicted on the reverse, presumably a year earlier
than the one just described, where two lovers stood among sheaves of
wheat, their sickles in hand, and the youth held up a bunch of grapes
which the maiden, down-looking, gently raised her arm to receive. At
last it would grow too late to play another game, and my father's
darkly clothed form would be drawn up, and his strongly beautiful face
lifted ominously. Before leaving the hill we went to look over the
parapet to the west, where stood, according to "Monte Beni," "the
grandest edifice ever built by man, painted against God's loveliest
sky." Quoit-players were no doubt rolling their disks upon the road
below us; and on the very first glance it almost always happened that
a springing, vaporous-looking quoit would appear without one's seeing
the man whose hand had sent it on its way. It was a refined pastime,
immortalized by the Discobolus, which, however, cannot give the charm
of the whirling quoit.

The entries in my mother's diary so abound in names and persons met
day by day, names both unknown to the world and familiar to it, that
it is hard to understand how there was time for sightseeing or
illness, or the reading which was kept up. The wife of a
distinguished sculptor in Rorffe afterwards said in a letter that this
year of 1859 was remarkably for its crowd of tourists, and added that
1860 proved very quiet. It does not sound quiet to hear that she had
just enjoyed a horseback ride with Mr. Browning; but Americans and
English certainly did have rich enjoyment in Italy in those days, and
grew exacting. The jottings of the diary stir the imagination quite
pleasantly, beginning January 16, 1859: "Mr. Browning called to visit
us. Delightful visit. I read Charlotte Bronte for the second
time.--Mrs. Story sent a note to my husband to invite him to tea [my
mother being housed with my sick sister] with Mr. Browning.--Mr.
Horatio Bridge spent the evening.--Read 'Frederick the Great.'--Mr.
Motley called, and brought 'Paradise Lost' for Una.--I went to the
sunny Corso with my husband, who is far from well. Mrs. Story asks us
to dine with Mr. de Vere, Lady William Russell, Mr. Alison, Mr.
Browning, and other interesting people.--Lovely turquoise day. I
prepared Julian's Carnival dress. Went to the Hoars' balcony, and the
Conservatori passed in gorgeous array. The George Joneses took Una to
drive in the Corso, and the Prince of Wales threw her a bouquet from
his balcony. I read the 'Howadji in Syria' as I sat at the Hoars'
window.--I had a delightful visit from E. Hoar. She saw the Pope
yesterday, and he blessed her. Mrs. Story looked very pretty in a
carriage at the Carnival, with a hat trimmed with a wreath of violets.
--Mr. and Mrs. Story called for us to go to the Doria Villa. We had a
glorious excursion, finding rainbow anemones and seeing wonderful
views. Mr. Christopher Cranch joined us.--I went to the Vatican for
the first time this year, with E. Hoar. We met there Mr. Hawthorne
escorting Mrs. Pierce and Miss Vandervoort. We went through all the
miles of sculpture.--Una and I called on Mrs. Pierce, Mrs. Browning,
Mrs. Pickman, Mrs. Hoar, and met Mrs. Motley. In the afternoon I went
with E. Hoar to Mr. Story's studio. Mrs. Pickman called on me.--Mr.
Hawthorne and I and Julian went to call on Miss Cushman, and to Mr.
Page's studio. Mr. Motley had made a long call early in the day, and
teased Mr. Hawthorne to dine with him, to meet Lord Spencer's
son.--Mrs. Story brought Una the first lilies-of-the-valley that have
bloomed in Rome this year. I went with Rose to Trinita dei Monti to
hear the nuns sing vespers. Coming out, I met' Miss Harriet
Hosmer.--Superb day. I went with my husband to call at Miss Hosmer's
studio, and met the Hon. Mr. Cowper, who stopped to talk. Mr. Browning
darted upon us across the Piazza., glowing with cordiality. Miss
Hosmer could not admit us, because she was modeling Lady Mordaunt's
nose.--Governor Seymour called.--I took Rose to a window in the
Carnival. It was a mad, merry time. A gentleman tossed me a beautiful
bouquet and a bonbon.--Julian and I went to the Albani Villa with
Mrs. Ward and Mr. Charles Sumner. A charming time.--In the twilight
I went with Mr. Hawthorne to the Coliseum and the Forum. It grew to
lovely moonlight.--After dinner I went to the Pincian gardens with
Mr. Hawthorne and Julian. It was moonlight.--Mr. Sumner made a long
call."

Among the friends much with us was the astronomer, Miss Maria
Mitchell, whom we had long known intimately. She smiled blissfully in
Rome, as if really visiting a constellation; flashing her eyes with
silent laughter, and curling her soft, full, splendid lips with
fascinating expressions of satisfaction. I loved her for this, but
principally because, while with us in Paris, it was she who had with
delicious comradeship introduced me to that perfection of all
infantile taste--French gingerbread, warm (on an outdoor counter) with
the sunshine of the skies! She had the long list of churches and ruins
and pictures catalogued upon her efficient tongue, and she and my
mother ran together like sisters to see the sights of beauty and
reminiscence; neither of them ever tired, and never disappointed. Her
voice was richly mellow, like my father's, and her wit was the merry
spray of deep waves of thought. The sculptor, Miss Harriet Hosmer, it
was easy to note, charmed the romancer. She was cheerfulness itself,
touched off with a jaunty cap. Her smile I remember as one of those
very precious gleams that make us forget everything but the present
moment. She could be wittily gay; but there was plenty of brain power
behind the clever mot, as immensities are at the source of the
sun-ray. There was a blessing in the presence of Miss Elizabeth Hoar,
once engaged to that beloved brother of Mr. Emerson whom death had
taken. She seemed to me (I plead guilty to fancifulness) like a tall,
speaking monument, composed of diamonds and pearls. She talked a
great deal, gently, with a penetrating sweetness of voice, and looking
somewhat down, as those do who have just received the news of a bitter
sorrow. She knew everything that was fine in history and poetry and
art; and to be near her, and to catch at moments the clear unfaltering
challenge of her sad but brave eyes, was to live a little nobler one's
self.

I will give here two letters from this friend, showing her strength of
sympathy and tenderness:--

FLORENCE, May.

DEAR SOPHIA,--We are here after a journey entirely prosperous in every
respect, driving through a country as lovely as it could be. Such
wreaths of hawthorn, such hanging tassels of laburnum, such masses of
delicate purple flowers draping the rocks and carpeting every broken
ground,--golden broom on every hillside, scarlet poppies illuminating
every field of grain, and the richest crimson clover, like endless
fields of strawberries,--I never saw before. We have had just clouds
enough to make beautiful shadows on the mountains. How I wish you and
Una could be floated on a cloud over the charming region. I thought of
the dear child at every new flower, but not without a pang; for my
only disappointment in leaving Rome (no, the other was that I had not
seen Mr. Browning) was that I could not send Una some flowers the
morning of our departure. I had set my heart upon it, but could not
find any pretty enough. Every fresh spray of hawthorn on our journey
renewed the prick of my disappointment. We should have liked to take
Julian along with us as our traveling artist, to lay up the flowers
for us in imperishable colors [he already painted flowers remarkably];
we were reminded of him very often. I saw dear little Rose's patron,
St. Rosa, in the Staffa Gallery at Perugia,--very beautiful. I have
much to thank you for, dear Sophia, in all sorts of aid and sympathy.
Very charming is the recollection of every meeting with you, from the
first lovely Sunday at the Villa Doria; and then the day when we
visited the willful Queen of Egypt as she sat waiting to be made again
immortal in marble [in Story's studio]. Those days in Rome were made
brighter to me by the sunshine of kindness and a hearty sympathy,
beginning with the day which will be an exhilarating thought to me as
long as I live, when you showed me St. Peter's Piazza under the blue
sky; and then we passed the wall of the Capitol, and looked down upon
ancient Rome. It was a wonderful day, Sophia, and I shall never forget
that you received me in that city. I hope you will have many joyous
days before you leave Europe, so that you may all forget the many
anxieties of the last three months. I wish to send my love to Mrs.
Story. I enjoy the thought of her, and Mr. Story, very much. I have
always loved them for their thorough kindness to Margaret [Fuller
d'Ossoli], and now I have seen them I love them for themselves. Love
and constant remembrance to Una and dear little Rose. You don't know
how hard it is not to know about you, day by day. [Later.] I had your
other letter in Genoa, and was rejoiced to get it. I had driven with
Lizzie and Mr. May the very day before from Villeneuve to Montreux to
call upon you, the people at Hotel Byron assuring us you were to spend
a month at Montreux. However, the news from Una was precious, for it
was the first intelligence we had had since we left the dear child in
bed in Rome, with that trickish fever playing about her. I did not
receive the note from Mr. Hawthorne. I am almost glad you are not
going to take her back into the low ground at Concord this autumn. . . .

Many friends were in Rome, both as residents and as tourists, and in
all my after-life our two winters there were the richest of memories,
in regard both to personalities and exquisite objects, and to scenes
of artistic charm. Yet, as I have said elsewhere, if the tall, slender
figure of my father were not at hand, even my mother's constantly
cheering presence and a talkative group of people could not warm the
imagination quite enough. He says, in speaking of the Carnival, "For
my part, though I pretended to take no interest in the matter, I could
have bandied confetti and nosegays as readily and riotously as any
urchin there." These few words explain his magnetism. The decorous
pretense of his observant calm could not make us forget the bursts of
mirth and vigorous abandon which now and then revealed the flame of
unstinted life in his heart. And I, watching constantly as I did, saw
a riotous throw of the confetti, a mirthful smile of Carnival spirits,
when my father was radiant for a few moments with a youth's, a faun's
merriment.

Having quoted a letter of my sister's which expresses his opinion and
her own of the irksomeness of sight-seeing, however heroic the spot, I
will add this little paragraph from the next winter's correspondence,
when, though only fifteen, she wrote very well of Europe and America,
concluding: "It shows you have not lived in Europe, dear aunt, and do
not know what it is to breathe day after day the atmosphere of art,
that you can think of our being satisfied. We have seen
satisfactorily, but the longer we stay, the higher and deeper is our
enjoyment, and the more are our minds fitted to understand and admire,
and the nearer do our souls approach in thought and imagination to
that fount of glory and beauty, from which the old artists drew so
freely."

In art, Catholicity was utterly bowed down to by my relatives and
their friends, because without it this great art would not have been.
For, as scientists and dreamers have proved that gold cannot be made
until we know as much as the earth, so uninspired artists have proved
that religious art can only grow under conditions known solely to the
heart that is Catholic. Every religious school of art which has
departed from imitation of the Old Masters has forfeited holiness in
depicting the Holy Family.

My mother's letters describing my sister's illness with Roman fever
recall the many persons of interest whom we saw. She writes:
"Carriages were constantly driving to the door with inquiries. People
were always coming. Even dear Mrs. Browning, who almost never goes
upstairs, came the moment she heard. She was like an angel. I saw her
but a moment, but the clasp of her hand was electric, and her voice
penetrated my heart. Mrs. Ward, also usually unable to go upstairs,
came every day for five days. One day there seemed a cloud of good
spirits in the drawing-room, Mrs. Ward, Mrs. Browning, Mrs. Story,
and so on, all standing and waiting. Magnificent flowers were always
coming, baskets and bouquets, which were presented with tearful eyes.
The American minister constantly called. Mr. Aubrey de Vere came.
Every one who had seen Una in society or anywhere came to ask. Mrs.
Story came three times in one day to talk about a consultation. The
doctor wished all the food prepared exactly after his prescription,
and would accept no one's dishes. 'Whose broth is this?' 'This is
Mrs. Browning's.' 'Then tell Mrs. Browning to write her poesies, and
not to meddle with my broths for my patient!' 'Whose jelly is this?'
'Mrs. Story's.' 'I wish Mrs. Story would help her husband to model his
statues, and not try to feed Miss Una!' General Pierce came three
times a day. I think I owe to him, almost, my husband's life. He was
divinely tender, sweet, sympathizing, and helpful." She adds: "No one
shared my nursing, because Una wanted my touch and voice; and she was
not obliged to tell me what she wanted. For days, she only opened her
eyes long enough to see if I were there. For thirty days and nights I
did not go to bed; or sleep, except in the morning in a chair, while
Miss Shepard watched for an hour or so. Una had intervals of
brightness and perfect consciousness. In one of these, she tied up a
bouquet of flowers with hands that almost shook the flowers to pieces
with their trembling, to send them to a friend who was ill. She raised
herself upon her elbow, and wrote with a pencil a graceful note,
quoting her father's 'Wonder-Book' in reference to the bouquet."

I went with my father and mother to several painters' and sculptors'
studios (besides innumerable visits to churches and galleries), all
filling my mind with unfailing riches of memory. I hope I shall be
pardoned for giving the general effect of this companionship and
sight-seeing upon many years of reflection in a strain that is
autobiographical. The studio which I best remember was Mr.
Thompson's, he who had painted the portrait of my father used in the
editions of "Twice-Told Tales." The room was very large, but not very
high, and it had a great deal of shadow in it. I did not think he
painted as well as Raphael; but I delighted in the smell of his
pigments, which were intensely fragrant. I thought his still moist
canvas upon the easel, of a little Peter and a well-groomed angel,
infinitely amusing. It was history scrubbed, and rather reduced in
size. I was half appalled, half fascinated, by my temerity in having
such frivolous private opinions of a picture that my mother and father
felt the excellence of with reverence and praise. A minute portrait of
me was painted by Mr. Thompson; one for which I did not find it at all
amusing to sit, as I had to occupy a stiff chair (I think it was even
a high stool) without any of the family to keep me in heart, although
I had almost never been left with friends in that way, and although I
was by that time a perfect recluse in disposition. So I was under the
impression that I was being punished by the invisible powers, which I
was conscious of eminently deserving. The small painting shows this
idea of Purgatorial arrest by a clever touch here and there, without
depicting a frown or positive gloom. The patronizing demeanor of an
artist at work upon a portrait, which we all know so well,--the
inevitable effect of his faith in himself, the very breath of artistic
endeavor, without which he would lounge through life asking, "Of what
use is it to attempt?"--made me furious, in my naughty, secret mind. I
was not accustomed to being patronized; my mother herself had never
given me a command. Besides, I was out of temper to think that my
quietly observant father had stood in admiration before that picture
of the liberating of St. Peter, of which I wearied, liking it so
cordially that he had uttered his conclusive, deeply sympathetic
"Yes," when my mother gave voice to her praise; whereas I had not had
the grace to glow, but voted all the pictures bores in a lump. Mr.
Thompson, below the average size, and harmlessly handsome, always wore
the prevailing gleam of a smile that showed chiefly at the eyes,
offset by a nimbus of gray and black hair.

I wondered, even at seven years of age, how sculptors in the flesh
could come and carve original conceptions among the unspeakably
successful attempts of those who were already thinnest dust, yet whose
names have so much personality in them that a sovereign presence fills
the place where they are spoken,--sculptors whose statues step as it
were unexpectedly (themselves surprised) into sight, with none of the
avoirdupois of later stone-work; that heaviness which, in some of the
finest of these modern figures, causes them to pause involuntarily, as
if snowed upon. The high degree of smoothness of the old statues, as
well as their mellowed whiteness, may give life; added to that
wonderful deep cutting in all crevices and detail of nature, such as
gives, in literature, the life to Balzac's endlessly studied facts of
situation. The sugary porousness of much of the inferior marble of
to-day arrests the eye, and troubles it. Story's Cleopatra is smooth,
close-fibred as glass, and the snowstorm has not been allowed to drift
upon the folds of her robe, the interstices of her modeling. She, with
a few others of still later date, comes near to the old art, which has
as much possibility for our imaginative survey as the plot of "The
Marble Faun," so marvelously, so intricately, so unslavishly finished.
In looking at the Dying Gladiator, we wonder whether he has already
passed on from mastering the thought of his approaching death to the
remembrance of his wife and children; or whether upon the agony of the
physical pang and the insult to courage, which his wound has brought
him to endure, is yet to break the pathos of a hero's regret for the
relinquished sweetness of love and home.

The Marble Faun suggests the problem as to whether he has for an
instant stopped laughing, or will not immediately laugh; and what has
a little while ago, or will suddenly cause, the animal fury of
gladness to turn this jocund athlete into a dancing, bewilderingly
enticing companion, chiming with guffaws and songs. Cleopatra's
watchful melancholy partook also of classic momentariness, and I hoped
she would spring to her feet. I liked very much to go to Mr. Story's
studio, and I thought that for so slight a figure he was remarkably
fearless.

The arches of triumph, which my mother studied reverently, seemed to
me too premeditated and unnecessary; although an architect could no
doubt have explained why, even to the present day, the little door for
the little cat should supplement the big door of all space, which one
would at first take to be a hero's best environment. Not thus
unnecessary appeared the Coliseum; haunted by wild beasts, especially
lions, leaping (I imagined) in hobgoblin array from the cavernous
entrances which were pointed out to me as connected in the days of
triumphant tyranny with their donjons. Many tender thoughts filled my
reflections as I saw pilgrims visiting, and kneeling before, the black
cross in the centre, and the altars around the walls. I delighted to
muse within the circular ruin, upon whose upper rim, jagged but
sunlit, delicate vegetation found a repentant welcome. The circular
form of the ruin is full of eloquence, as one approaches from the
Forum. What would be grace in a smaller structure is tragedy in so
immense a sweep, which melts into vagueness, or comes mountainously
upon you, or swirls before you in a retreating curve that figures the
never-changing change of eternity.

The tomb of Cecilia Metella, and other successive tombs of the Appian
Way beyond the walls, gave me my first impression of death that really
was death. There could be, I reflected, looking at the sepulchres of
these old Romans, no pretty story about the poor folk having gone to
heaven comfortably from their apparent bodies. Here were the ashes of
them, after a thousand years, in contemptible little urns; and they
were expected to enjoy, in that much impaired state, sundry rusty
bric-a-brac, dolls, and tear-vials of spookish iridescence, until, in
the vast lapse of time, even a ghost must have got tired. Unaided by
the right comment, I was dragged down considerably by those pagan
tombs; and as an antidote, the unexplained catacombs were not
sufficiently elevating. I did not read the signs of the subterranean
churches aright, any more than the uncultivated Yankee reads aright an
Egyptian portraiture. Monkish skulls and other unburied bones, seen by
the light of moccoletti, were to me nothing but forms of folly. The
abounding life of Catholicity was hardly understood by our party,
which for some reason seemed inclined to impute the most death to the
faith which has the most form. We did not gather how this abounding
life can afford, though making more of our little fleshly sojourn than
any other patron, to compare a skull with the life of the spirit, and
relegate it to ornamentation and symbol.

Through the streets of Rome trotted in brown garb and great
unloveliness a frequent monk, brave and true; and each of these, I was
led by the feminine members of the family, to regard as a probable
demon, eager for my intellectual blood. A fairer sight were the
Penitents, in neat buff clothes of monastic outline, their faces
covered with their hoods, whose points rose overhead like church
steeples, two holes permitting the eyes to peep with beetle
glistenings upon you. They went hurryingly along, called from their
worldly affairs; and my mother imparted to me her belief that they
were somewhat free of superstition because undoubtedly clean.
Sometimes processions of them, chanting, came slowly through the city,
bearing the dead to burial. I did not know, then, that the chanting
was the voicing of good, honest, Bible-derived prayers; I thought it
was child's play, useless and fascinating. In the churches the
chanting monks and boys impressed me differently. Who does not feel,
without a word to reveal the fact, the wondrous virtue of Catholic
religious observance in the churches? The holiness of these regions
sent through me waves of peace. I stepped softly past the old men and
women who knelt upon the pavements, and gazed longingly upon their
simpler spiritual plane; I drew back reluctantly from the only garden
where the Cross is planted in visible, reverential substance. For the
year ensuing this life in Rome, I entertained the family with dramatic
imitations of religious chants, grumbling out at sundown the low,
ominous echoings of the priests, answered by the treble, rapid and
trustful, of the little choristers, gladly picturing to myself as I
did so the winding processions in St. Peter's.

In the square beneath our windows, during Lent, booths were set, and
countless flat pancake-looking pieces of dough were caught up by a
white-capped and aproned cook, with a long-handled spoon, and fried in
olive oil placed in a caldron at the booth's door, to be served to
passers in the twinkling of an eye. I watched this process until I
grew to regard Lent as a tiresome custom. Having tested the cakes, I
found them to be indistinct in taste, for all their pretty buff tint,
and the dexterous twist of the cook's wrist as he dumped them and
picked them up. If they had been appetizing I should have been sharply
interested in the idea of becoming a Catholic, but their entire
absence of relish convinced me that the Italians lacked mental grasp
and salvation at a single swoop: and this in spite of the fact that
one of my mother's most valued friends, Mrs. Ward, had lately joined
the Church. It was her husband who said of her, "Whatever church has
Anna, has St. Anna!" Perhaps the most exquisite speech ever uttered by
a husband.

Before this serious season of pancakes, which was all Lent was to me
at the time of which I speak, the Carnival had rushed upon my sight,
carrying all our friends through its whirlpool. Every gay cloth,
shawl, and mat that could be brought into service I had rejoiced to
see displayed upon the balconies. A narrow, winding street the Corso
seemed, being so full, and the houses so high; and a merry blue strip
of heaven far away overhead, glancing along the housetops, assured us
space still existed. Sudden descents of flowers upon one's shoulders
and lap in the carriage, from a window or a passer, or a kindly
feeling stranger in another carriage, made one start in mirthful
response. Sudden meetings with dear friends, or friends who seemed
almost dear in the cheerful hurly-burly, became part of the funny
scrimmage. At each side-street sat on a stony standing horse a
beautifully proportioned and equipped guard, in gleaming helmet and
calm demeanor.

To stand or sit at the windows beside the show was an experience full
of pleasure; and if the window was on a level with the heads of the
huddling passers, one could be in all the merriment yet not jostled;
one could easily pick out a pretty woman or a handsome man to whom to
throw a bouquet; and one could see energetic revelers, already well
supplied with flowers, reaching high windows with bouquets by means of
those wooden contrivances which can be extended or contracted at will,
and look like impracticable ladders. The fair recipient at the lattice
never failed to respond with an ecstatic smile if this Jacob's ladder
had been sufficiently long to reach her welcoming hand. Meantime,
many bunches of flowers, some large and elegant, some small and merely
gay of color, were being thrown aloft or flung downward, making
fountains and cataracts of flowers. Sometimes these bouquets fell into
the street dejectedly, upon whose pavement little ragamuffins were
always ready to pounce for them, and sell them again as fast as
possible to passers who had exhausted their supply, had become mad
with the Carnival, and caught sight, in that very moment, of some
cherished comrade to whom they wished to throw a greeting. There was
an intoxicating enjoyment in being singled out as the recipient of
fragrant flowers, sent with a laugh of the eyes; or of a handful of
sugared almonds, tossed with a gay shout of compliment. If the passer
who thus honored us was a complete stranger, meeting us for this one
moment in racial kindness, we felt the untrammeled bonhomie which, God
knows, we were expected to feel as a matter of course not for a moment
only, but for life.

Upon all these things I delighted to think and afterwards to ponder,
because I realized that they were of vital interest to the
intelligence which was to me greatest and dearest.



CHAPTER XIII

ITALIAN DAYS: II


Between our two winters in Rome we spent the summer in Florence, to
which we journeyed by carriage over a road that was hung like a rare
gallery with landscapes of the most picturesque description, and
bordered close at hand by many a blue or crimson or yellow Italian
anemone with its black centre. This experience was all sunshine, all
pastime. On the way, stopping at Lake Thrasymene, my mother wrote:--

May 29, 1858.

MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--I have just been watching the moon rise over the
lake, exactly opposite the window of our parlor. We thought to go out
and see the moonlight this evening, when I saw on the horizon what
seemed a mighty conflagration, which I immediately supposed must be
the moon, though I had never seen it look so red. The clouds were of
a fiery splendor, and then the flaming rim of the moon appeared above
the mountains, like the shield of some warrior of the great battle
between Flaminius and Hannibal on this spot, rising with its ghostly
invisible hero to see how it was now on the former field of blood.
The "peace supreme" that reigns here this evening distances all
thought of war and terror. We left Perugia this afternoon at three
o'clock, with the finest weather. Our drive was enchanting all the
way, along rich valleys and up mountains. And when climbing mountains
we have two milk-white steers which majestically draw us along. Their
eyes are deep wells of dark, peaceful light, that seem to express
broad levels of rich waving grain, pure lapsing streams, olives and
vines, and every other sign of plenty and quiet husbandry, with no end
of dawns, twilights, and cool thickets. The golden age of rural life
slumbers in their great orbs. Byron calls them "the purest gods of
gentle waters."

June 7. Here we are, then, in enchanting Florence! I shall try to send
you a journal by the Bryants, who are here now. The Brownings are
close by, and we are going to see them soon. The language has yet to
be made in which to describe beautiful, beautiful Florence, with its
air of nectar and sherbet and soft odors, its palaces, Arno, and
smooth streets, arched bridges, and all its other charms and
splendors. . . .

We were hot in the city of Florence. My only consolation was to eat
unnumbered cherries and apricots, for I did not as yet like the figs.
My brother and I sometimes had a lurid delight in cracking the cherry
and apricot stones and devouring the bitter contents, with the
dreadful expectation of soon dying from the effects. Altogether I
considered our sojourn in the town house, Casa del Bello, a morose
experience; but it was, fortunately, short. My mother had a different
feeling: she wrote home to America, "It is a delightful residence."
Without doubt it contained much engaging finery. Three parlors, giving
upon a garden, were absorbed into the "study" for my father alone; and
my mother was greatly pleased to find that fifteen easy-chairs were
within reach of any whim for momentary rest between the campaigns of
sight-seeing. To add to my own arbitrary shadow and regret of that
time, the garden at the rear of the house was to me clamp; full of
green things and gracefully drooping trees, doubtless, but never
embracing a ray of sunshine. Yet it was hot; all was relaxing; summer
prevailed in one of its ill-humored moods. To make matters worse, my
brother had caught in this Dantesque garden a brown bird, whether
because sick or lame I know not. But an imprisoned bird it certainly
was; and its prison consisted of a small, cell-like room, bare of
anything but the heart-broken glances of its occupant. My father
objected to the capture and caging of birds, and looked with cold
disapproval upon the hospitable endeavor of my brother to lengthen
the existence of a little creature that was really safer in the hands
of Dame Nature. Presently the bird from the sad garden died, and then
indeed Florence became intolerable to me! I wandered through the long,
darkish hall that penetrated our edifice from front to back, and I
sometimes emerged into the garden's bosky sullenness in my unsmiling
misery. Again my mother's testimony proves my mind to have been
strangely influenced by what to her was a garden full of roses,
jessamine, orange and lemon trees, and a large willow-tree drooping
over a fountain in its midst, with a row of marble busts along a
terrace: altogether a place that should have filled me with kittenish
glee. The "Note-Books," to be sure, suggest that it harbored malaria.
I looked with painful disappointment upon the unceasing dishes of
fresh purple figs, which everybody else seemed to enjoy. I saw pale
golden wine poured from poetic bottles braided with strands of straw,
like pretty girls' heads of flaxen hair; and I was surprised that my
father had the joyousness to smile, though sipping what he was later
to call "Monte Beni Sunshine."

That nothing of misery might be excluded from my dismal round of woe,
the only people whom I could go to see were the Powers family, living
opposite to us. Mr. Powers petrified me by the sang-froid with which
he turned out, and pointed out, his statues. Great artists are apt to
be like reflections from a greater light,--they know more about that
light, than about themselves; but Mr. Powers seemed to me to defy art
to lord it over his splendid mechanical genius, the self he managed so
well. To prove beyond a doubt that material could not resist him, he
would step from the studio into an adjoining apartment, and strike off
button-like bits of metal from an iron apparatus which he had
invented. It was either buttons or Venuses with him, indifferently, as
I supposed.

Gray to me, though "bright" to my mother, were the galleries and
narrow halls of marble busts, where started back into this life old
Medicean barbarians, of imperial power and worm-like ugliness;
presided over, as I looked upon them in memory during my girlhood, by
that knightly form of Michel Angelo's seated Lorenzo de' Medici, whose
attitude and shadowed eyes seem to express a lofty disapproval of such
a world.

A morning dawned when the interest in living again became vigorous. A
delicate-looking, essentially dignified young gentleman, the Count da
Montauto, seeming considerably starved, but fascinatingly
blue-blooded, appeared in our tiresome house. I heard that we were to
remove to a villa at Bellosguardo, a hill distant fifteen minutes'
drive from the city, where the summer was reasonable; and as the count
owned this haunt of refreshment, I became enthusiastically tender in
my respect for him. For years afterwards my sensibilities were
exercised over the question as to where the count was put while we
enjoyed the space and loveliness of Montauto; I did not know that he
had a palace in town. His sad, sweetly resentful glance had conveyed
to me the idea, "Must I still live, if I live beneath my rank, and as
a leaser of villas?"

One day, happy day, we toiled by carriage, between light-colored
walls, sometimes too high for any view,--that once caused my mother a
three hours' walk, because of a misturn,--over little hot, dusty
roads, out and up to the villa. My father and brother had already
walked thither; and my brother's spirits, as he stood beside the high
iron gateway, in front of the gray tower which was the theme, or chief
outline, of the old country-seat, were pleasant to witness, and
illustrated my own pent-up feelings. He shouted and danced before the
iron bars of the gate like a humanized note of music, uncertain where
it belonged, and glad of it. Our very first knowledge of Montauto was
rich and varied, with the relief from pretentiousness which all
ancient things enjoy, and with the appealing sweetness of time-worn
shabbiness. The walls of the hall and staircase were of gray stone, as
were the steps which led echoingly up to the second story of the
house. My sister exclaims in delight concerning the whole scene: "This
villa,--you have no idea how delightful it is! I think there must be
pretty nearly a hundred rooms in it, of all shapes, sizes, and
heights. The walls are never less than five feet thick, and sometimes
more, so that it is perfectly cool. I should feel very happy to live
here always. I am sitting in the loggia, which is delightful in the
morning freshness. Oh, how I love every inch of that beautiful
landscape!" The tower and the adjacent loggia were the features that
preeminently sated our thirst for suggestive charm, and they became
our proud boast and the chief precincts of our daily life and social
intercourse. The ragged gray giant looked over the road-walls at its
foot, and beyond and below them over the Arno valley, rimmed atop with
azure distance, and touched with the delicate dark of trees.
Internally, the tower (crowned, like a rough old king of the days of
the Round Table, with a machicolated summit) was dusty, broken, and
somewhat dangerous of ascent. Owls that knew every wrinkle of despair
and hoot-toot of pessimism clung to narrow crevices in the deserted
rooms, where the skeleton-like prison frameworks at the unglazed
windows were in keeping with the dreadful spirits of these
unregenerate anchorites. The forlorn apartments were piled one above
the other until the historic cylinder of stone opened to the sky. In
contrast to the barrenness of the gray inclosures, through the squares
of the windows throbbed the blue and gold, green and lilac, of Italian
heavens and countryside.

At the dangers of the stairway my father laughed, with flashing
glances. He always laughed (it was a sound peculiarly passionate and
low, full, yet unobtrusive) at dangers in which he could share
himself, although so grave when, in the moral turmoil, he was obliged
to stand and watch uneven battle; not the less sorry for human nature
because weakness comes from our ignoring the weapons we might have
used. But on those trembling stairs he approved of the risk we ran,
while cautioning me not to drop through one of the holes, and then
stumbled within an inch of breaking his own neck, and laughed again.
"While gropingly descending these crazy steps one dusky evening, I
gratified Julian exceedingly by hitting my nose against the wall," he
admits in the "Note-Books." Who would not enjoy seeing a monarch come
to so humble a contact with the bulwarks of his tower? Especially if
he were royal enough not to take offense at one's mirth, as this one
never did. Reaching the topmost heights of the stone pile, shaggy with
yellow moss, we eagerly pressed to the battlements and drank in the
view, finding all Florence spread out before us, far down from the
breeze and light and prospect of our perch,--understanding the joy of
falcons that are long hooded, and then finally look.

On one side of the tower was the lawn, hemmed round by a somewhat high
semicircular stone wall. In front of it was Florence, pinnacled and
roof-crowded, across the gentle valley. Not far away rose Galileo's
rival tower, and the habitations of one or two friends. On another
side of the keep the valley clipped more decidedly; and in the
foreground clustered a collection of trees upon a grassy slope,
divided from the villa lawn by a low wall, over which my father and
mother sometimes bought grapes, figs, pomegranates, and peaches grown
upon the place, which were smilingly offered by the count's contadini.
These from their numbers were unrecognizable, while their prices for
the exquisite fruit were so small that it was a pleasure to be
cheated. Behind the tower stretched lengthily the house, its large
arched doorway looking upon all comers with a frown of shadow. Still
further behind basked a bevy of fruit gardens and olive-tree dotted
hill-sides with their vines of the grape. We used to sit on the lawn
in the evenings, and sometimes received guests there; looking at the
sky, moon, comet, and stars ("flowers of light," my mother called
them) as if they were new. Any mortal might have been forgiven for so
regarding them, in the sapphire glory of an Italian night. My mother's
untiring voice of melodious enthusiasm echoed about the group in
ejaculations of praise.

In connection with the comet my elders spoke of war and misery, of
which it was accused of being the messenger. My child's heart already
knew the iron truth, and was not astonished at the intrusion of such a
thought, that beauty and peace must always entertain the herald of the
other country--the dark one. There was a sadness about Italy, although
it lay under "the smile of God," as my father calls its sunshine. He
and my mother often mention this shadow, as before remarked, in their
records. At times the cause seems to them to come from the "incubus"
of the Catholic religion, although they both believed it capable of
being wholly perfect. Glorious scenes were constantly soothing this
sense of human sorrow, scenes such as cannot be found in regions
outside the Church. In the Basilica of San Spirito my mother came
upon several visible lovelinesses of elaborate devotion, which with
her limpid purity of justice she enthusiastically notes down. She
entered the church one day for coolness and rest, and, recognizing its
"noble" beauties, she described, in her journal already printed, "a
function going on before one of the side-chapels--the burial service
of a child. The coffin was covered with a white satin pall,
embroidered with purple and gold. The officiating priests were in
robes of white satin and gold, and the altar was alight with candles,
besides those borne by young boys in white tunics. This scene in the
aisle was a splendid picture in the soft gloom of the church; and when
the organ burst forth in a kind of tender rapture, rolling pearly
waves of harmony along the large spaces, and filling the dome with the
foam and spray of interlacing measures, it seemed as if angels were
welcoming the young child to heaven." The pettiness of a brief burial
service in a private parlor or in a meagre meeting-house would not
have touched her heart so profoundly, because it would not have
recalled heaven so impressively in all its grandeur and tenderness.
She evidently perceived here the sweet and even cheering veracity of a
devotion that is glad to remember all the possibilities of reverent
observance, each motion and aspect of which have a reference to God
and to religious history. Again San Spirito gave her an insight into
the dignity of painstaking worship. "While we were walking about, the
priests and monks of the Order of St. Augustine, who have a convent
attached, came in a procession from the sacristy, and knelt down in
their sweeping black robes upon the marble pavement, in two lines, one
behind the other, and chanted aloud their Ave Maria. It was a
wonderful picture." She still clung to the Puritanical idea that in
religion itself, "What looks so wondrous, wondrous fair, His
providence has taught us to fear. . . . Angels only are fit to live as
monks pretend to live." But she contradicts this theory. No one was
more adapted than she to perceive the godliness of the monastic
sacrifice, when she realized the object of it. Among her dearest
friends and verified ideals were Mr. George Bradford, who always
reminded me of a priest of the true type; and Miss Hoar, whose vestal
soul, celebrating constant rites over the memory of her dead
betrothed, made her the image of a nun. This welcome delicacy and
loftiness of self-consecration my mother also observed in the ranks of
the sometimes harshly criticised friars. At Fiesole, "A young monk
unveiled the picture for us. He was very courteous, and had an air of
unusual goodness and sincerity. He is one of those who 'bear
witness.' As a matter of course I offered him a fee for his trouble,
but he made a sad and decided gesture of refusal, that was very
surprising and remarkable; for it was impossible to gainsay him, and I
felt embarrassed that I had thought of the gold that perishes in the
presence of the heavenly picture and the holy youth. I wish I knew his
history." I also wish she had known it, for it would have unveiled for
her the most beautiful facts about other holy youths of our own day,
as well as similar facts of earlier days,--truths whose purity would
have rapt her thought even more deeply than Fra Angelico's purity in
art, uncurtained by brave and humble hands for her sight. It is to be
observed that her views and tacit beliefs and my father's are
identical. They did not really believe that Italy was under an
"incubus;" they felt the physical weight of Catholicity, or the Cross,
and half guessed its spiritual spring.

Some of the rooms at Montauto I studiously avoided. The forlorn cavern
of a parlor, or ball-room, I remember to have seen only once. There
was a painful vacuum where good spirits ought to have been. Along the
walls were fixed seats, like those in the apse of some morally fallen
cathedral, and they were covered with blue threadbare magnificence
that told the secrets of vanity. Heavy tables crowded down the centre
of the room. I came, saw, and fled. The oratory was the most thrilling
place of all. It opened out of my sister's room, which was a large,
sombre apartment. It was said to attract a frequently seen ghost by
the force of its profound twilight and historic sorrows; and my
sister, who was courageous enough to startle a ghost, highly approved
of this corner of her domain. But she suddenly lost her buoyant taste
for disembodied spirits, and a rumor floated mistily about that Una
had seen the wretched woman who could not forget her woes in death.
In "Monte Beni" this oratory is minutely pictured, where "beneath the
crucifix . . . lay a human skull . . . carved in gray alabaster, most
skillfully done . . . with accurate imitation of the teeth, the
sutures, the empty eye-caverns." Everywhere the intense
picturesqueness gave material, at Montauto, for my father's romance.
Stella, whom he invited into the story without changing her name, was
a sympathetic object in my now somewhat alarmed and lonely days. I
call her an "object," because I could not understand a word she said,
and she soon gave up opening her lips when we were together. She
looked kind, in spite of her rocky hardness of Italian feature, and
she fed me on dried melon-seeds when I was at the lowest tide of
depression. Sometimes she was to be found at the well, close to the
entrance-arch. There the faithful servant let down a bucket by its
heavy chain with a doomsday clank. The sunlight revealed the smallness
and brilliancy and number of her black braids and the infinite
multitude of her wrinkles, as well as the yellowness of her dangling
gold earrings and the texture of her parchment-like arms, which were
the color of glossy brown leaves. Sometimes she would awaken me from
soporific melancholy by allowing herself to be found upon her knees in
her bedroom, a bare and colorless abode, her great black crucifix
hanging in majestic solitude upon the wall above her handsome old
head. I thought her temporarily insane to pray so much, and at all to
an audience; but I recognized the gentleness of the attacks, and I
somehow loved her for them. Even to the ignorance of error truth can
be beautiful. An extremely attractive little Italian maid, of sixteen
or less, used also to be found on her knees before the crucifix.

Stella was obliged to drive this dark-eyed butterfly to her devotions.
If I discovered her, I had no reverence, and tried unmercifully to
interrupt her soft whispers. Stella's loving revenge for my wickedness
was to give me a tiny wax sleeping Bambino, surrounded by flowers
under a convex glass, whose minute face had a heaven of smiling
forgiveness in it. Often I surreptitiously studied the smile on the
sleeping face. I felt that He loved us even during His sleep; and I
cherished the gaze of shining gladness with which Stella herself had
placed this treasure in my hand, which could so simply quicken
sluggish thought.

To give a clearer glimpse of the villa, which with our life there
became one of the most precious of our memories, and a glimpse also of
one or two people and events, I will insert this letter from my
mother:--

August 14, 1858.

MY DEAR ELIZABETH,--Una and Rose were getting pale for the first time
in their lives, and Mr. Hawthorne was languid and weary of the city
life, and an English lady, a friend of the Brownings, told us of this
villa, which the Count da Montauto wished to let this summer, though
never before, and so we tried for it and got it. It is a most
enchanting situation, and the villa is immensely large and very nice.
We have an old mediaeval tower at the oldest end, in which Savonarola
was confined, and from its summit we have a view which one might dream
of, but seldom see. We are so high, however, that from the first
floor we have a sweeping view, and look down on the most sumptuous
valley of the Arno from our western windows,--a level plain,
cultivated every inch with grapes and olives and other fruits; and all
round rise up soft hills, and the Apennines afar off where the sun
sets. We see the noble white steers slowly moving in the valley, among
the trees, ploughing as in the days of Cincinnatus. An infinite peace
and quiet reign. We hear birds, and in the evening the cue owl utters
his melodious, melancholy one note. The world does not disturb us. The
air is as pure and fresh as air can possibly be, blowing from the
sweet, carefully tended plain, and sweeping down from the mountains.
Near us is the villa and tower of Aurora Leigh, just at the end of our
estate, and farther off is Galileo's tower, where he studied the
heavens. Northeast from us lies the beautiful Florence, burning in
the bottom of the cup of hills, with all its domes and campaniles,
palaces and churches. Fiesole, the cradle of Florence, is visible
among the heights at the east, and San Miniato, with its grove of
cypresses, is farther off to the south. There is no end of beauty and
interest, and the view becomes ideal and poetic the moment the sun
begins its decline; for then the rose and purple mists drape the
hills, and mountains--the common earth--turn to amethysts, topazes,
and sapphires, and words can never convey an idea of the opaline
heavens, which seem to have illimitable abysses of a penetrable
substance, made up of the light of pearls.

Literally and carefully I speak of the light of pearls, with the
opaline changes. I am quite happy that I have seized the image. The
effect is of a roundness with the confused yet clear outline of a
pearl, an outline which also is not one, and the light looks living
and absorbing. One evening, after the sun went down, rays of blue and
rose came from it in a half-wheel shape, so ineffably delicate that if
we looked too pryingly they were not there, but if we glanced unawares
there they were. It was more like the thought of them than the
realities. This summer we have our first sight of Italian sunsets, for
we were assured we should have fever if we were out at the hour in
Rome. We began by watching them from the bridges over the Arno, which
are perhaps the finest points of view, because the river is added. It
flows east and west, and so we have all the glory by standing on
either of the bridges. The arches, the reflections in the waters, the
city's palaces and churches, the distant hills, all come in for a part
of the pomp and splendor,--all that man can do, all that God has done,
for this lovely land.

Una's chamber is in the tower [but approached from the house], a
large, lofty, vaulted chamber, with an oratory attached, full of
Madonnas, pyxes, "and all sorts," as Mr. Browning says. There is a
regular chapel besides. Mr. Hawthorne has a delightful suite of study,
saloon, dressing-room, and chamber, away from all the rest of the
family.

August 25. Last evening Miss Ada Shepard and I went to a neighboring
villa to see some table-turning, which I have never seen, nor anything
appertaining to spirits. Mr. Frank Boott was there and a Fleming,
Una's drawing-master. We tried patiently for two hours with the
table, but though it trembled and wavered, nothing came of it; so Miss
Shepard then took a pencil and paper for the spirits to write, if they
would. [The attempt on Miss Shepard's part was now, and always
afterwards, successful. My mother speaks of several somewhat vulgar
spirits who caused great merriment.] Then Ada felt quite a different
and new power seize her hand, rapidly writing: "Who?" "Mother." "Whose
mother?" "Mrs. Hawthorne's. My dear child, I am with you. I wish to
speak to you. My dearest child, I am near you. I am oftener with you
than with any one." Ada's hand was carried forcibly back to make a
strong underline beneath "near," and it was all written with the most
eager haste, so that it agitated the medium very much, and me too; for
I had kept aloof in mind, because Mr. Hawthorne has such a repugnance
to the whole thing. Mrs. Browning is a spiritualist. Mr. Browning
opposes and protests with all his might, but he says he is ready to be
convinced. Mrs. Browning is wonderfully interesting. She is the most
delicate sheath for a soul I ever saw. One evening at Casa Guidi
there was a conversation about spirits, and a marvelous story was told
of two hands that crowned Mrs. Browning with a wreath through the
mediumship of Mr. Hume. Mr. Browning declared that he believed the
two hands were made by Mr. Hume and fastened to Mr. Hume's toes, and
that he made them move by moving his feet. Mrs. Browning kept trying
to stem his flow of eager, funny talk with her slender voice, but,
like an arrowy river, he rushed and foamed and leaped over her slight
tones, and she could not succeed in explaining how she knew they were
spirit hands. She will certainly be in Rome next winter, unless she
goes to Egypt. You would be infinitely charmed with Mrs. Browning,
and with Mr. Browning as well. The latter is very mobile, and flings
himself about just as he flings his thoughts on paper, and his wife is
still and contemplative. Love, evidently, has saved her life. I think
with you that "'Aurora Leigh' overflows with well-considered thought;"
and I think all literature does not contain such a sweet baby, so
dewy, so soft, so tender, so fresh. Mr. Hawthorne read me the book in
Southport, but I have read it now again, sitting in our loggia, with
Aurora's tower full in view. . . .

This loggia opened widely to the air on two sides, so that the
opalescent views were framed in oblong borders of stone that rested
our rejoicing eyes. Under the stone shade, in the centre of the
Raphaelesque distances, many mornings were passed ideally. Visitors
often joined us here. Among them was Miss Elizabeth Boott, afterwards
Mrs. Duveneck, who came with her little sketch-book. She made a
water-color portrait of my father, which, as the young artist was then
but a girl, looked like a cherub of pug-nosed, pink good nature, with
its head loose. I can see that little sketch now, and I feel still a
wave of the dizziness of my indignation at its strange depiction of a
strong man reduced to dollhood. Miss Boott being a true artist in the
bud, there was, of course, the eerie likeness of some unlike
portraits. It became famous with us all as the most startling
semblance we had ever witnessed. I sincerely wish that the ardor with
which the young girl made her sketch could have been used later on a
portrait, which certainly would have been superbly honest and
vigorous, like all the work that has come from her wonderfully noble
nature and her skillful perception. Another young lady appeared
against the Raphaelesque landscape. She was very pretty in every way,
and my mother was delighted to have her present, and showered
endearing epithets upon her. Her large brown eyes were alluring beyond
words, and her features pathetically piquant and expressive. Her face
was rather round, pale, and emphatically saddened by the great
sculptor Regret. She sat in picturesque attitudes, her cheek leaning
against her hand, and her elbow somewhere on the back or arm of her
chair; yet her positions were never excessive, but eminently gentle.
She had been disappointed in love, and one was sure it was not in the
love of the young man. She was too pretty to die, but she could look
sad, and we all liked to have her with us, and preferred her charming
misery to any other mood.

The roads going to and fro between the cream-colored stone walls of
the surrounding country were unsparingly hot. I can feel now the flash
of sunbeams that made me expect to curl up and die like a bit of
vegetation in a flame. I tried to feel cooler when I saw the peasant
women approaching, bent under their loads of wheat or of brush. If
they had no shading load, it made me gasp to observe that their Tuscan
hats, as large as cart-wheels and ostensibly meant to shadow their
faces, were either dangling in their hands or flapping backward
uselessly. It seemed to be no end of a walk to Florence, and the drive
thither was also detestable,--all from the heat and dust, and probably
only at that time of year. The views of many-colored landscape, hazy
with steaming fields, were lovely if you could once muster the energy
to gaze across the high road-walls when the thoroughfare sank clown a
declivity. After a while there were cottages, outside of which ancient
crones sat knitting like the wind, or spinning as smoothly as
machines, by the aid of a distaff. Little girls, who were
full-fledged peasant women in everything but size, pecked away at
their knitting of blue socks, proud of their lately won skill and
patient of the undesired toil. They were so small and comely and
conformable, and yet conveyed such an idea of volcanic force ready to
rebel, that they entranced me. Further inside the heart of the city
upstarted the intoxications of sin and the terrible beggars with their
maimed children. I never lost the impressions of human wrong there
gathered into a telling argument. The crowded hurry and the dirty
creatures that attend commercial greed and selfish enjoyment in cities
everywhere weltered along the sidewalks and unhesitatingly plunged
into the mud of the streets. It seemed to me even then that something
should be done for the children maimed by inhuman fathers, and for
their weeping mothers too. My father did not forget in his art the
note he found in beautiful Florence, though it was too sad to
introduce by a definite exposition, and falls upon the ear, in "Monte
Beni," like a wordless minor chord.

I sometimes went with my mother when she called at Casa Guidi, where
the Brownings lived. I had a fixed idea that Galileo belonged to
their family circle; and I had a vision of him in my mind which was
quite as clear as Mrs. Browning ever was (although I sat upon her
lap), representing him as holding the sun captive in his back yard,
while he blinked down upon it from a high prison of his own. The
house, as I recall it, seemed to have a network of second-story
piazzas, and the rooms were very much shadowed and delightfully cool.
Mr. Browning was shining in the shadow, by the temperate brightness of
mind alone, and ever talking merrily. Cultivated English folk are
endowed with sounding gayety of voice, but he surpassed them all, as
the medley of his rushing thought and the glorious cheer of his
perception would suggest. Mrs. Browning was there: so you knew by her
heavy dark curls and white cheeks, but doubted, nevertheless, when you
came to meet her great eyes, so dreamy that you wondered which was
alive, you or she. Her hand, usually held up to her cheek, was
absolutely ghostlike. Her form was so small, and deeply imbedded in a
reclining-chair or couch-corner, that it amounted to nothing. The dead
Galileo could not possibly have had a wiser or more doubtfully
attested being as a neighbor. If the poor scientist had been there to
assert that Mrs. Browning breathed, he would probably have been
imprisoned forthwith by another incredulous generation. My mother
speaks, on her second visit to Rome, of the refreshment of Mr.
Browning's calls, and says that the sudden meetings with him gave her
weary nerves rest during the strain of my sister's illness. She could
not have rejoiced in his spirited loveliness more than the little girl
by her side, who sometimes languished for direct personal intercourse
in all the panorama of pictures and statues, and friends absorbed in
sight-seeing. I had learned to be grateful for art and ruins, if only
they were superlative of their kind. I put away a store of such in my
fancy. But Mr. Browning was a perfection which looked at me, and
moved vigorously! For many years he associated himself in my mind with
the blessed visions that had enriched my soul in Italy, and continued
to give it sustenance in the loneliness of my days when we again threw
ourselves upon the inartistic mercies of a New England village. He
grouped himself with a lovely Diana at the Vatican, with some of
Raphael's Madonnas and the statue of Perseus, with Beatrice Cenci and
the wildflowers of our journeys by vettura, besides a few other
faultless treasures deeply appreciated by me. We all noticed Mr.
Browning's capacity for springing through substances and covering
space without the assistance of time.

My mother says in her little diary of Rome, "I met Mr. Browning; or
rather, he rushed at me from a distance, and seemed to come through a
carriage in his way." It was as if he longed to teach people how to
follow his thoughts in poetry, as they flash electrically from one
spot to another, thinking nothing of leaping to a mountain-top from an
inspection of "callow nestlings," or any other tender fact of smallest
interest. Not one of all the cherubs of the great masters had a
sunnier face, more dancing curls, or a sweeter smile than he. The most
present personality was his; the most distant, even when near, was the
personality he married. I have wondered whether the Faun would have
sprung with such untainted jollity into the sorrows of to-day if Mr.
Browning had not leaped so blithely before my father's eyes.
"Browning's nonsense," he writes, "is of a very genuine and excellent
quality, the true babble and effervescence of a bright and powerful
mind; and he lets it play 'among his friends with the faith and
simplicity of a child."

I think I must be right in tracing one of the chief enchantments of
the story of Dr. Grimshawe to these months upon the hill of
Bellosguardo. For at Montauto one of the terrors was the cohort of
great spiders. There is no word in the dictionary so large or so
menacing as a large spider of the Dr. Grimshawe kind. Such appear,
like exclamations, all over the world. I saw one as huge and thrilling
as these Italian monsters on the Larch Path at the Wayside, a few
years later; but at Montauto they really swaggered and remained. We
perceive such things from a great distance, as all disaster may be
perceived if we are not more usefully employed. A presentiment
whispers, "There he is!" and looking unswervingly in the right
direction, there he is, to be sure. I could easily have written a poor
story, though not a good novel, upon the effectiveness of these
spiders, glaring in the chinks of bed-curtains, or moving like shadows
upon the chamber wall or around the windows, and I can guess my
father's amusement over them. They were as large as plums, with
numerous legs that spread and brought their personality out to the
verge of impossibility. I suppose they stopped there, but I am not
sure. No wonder the romancer humorously added a touch that made a
spider of the doctor himself, with his vast web of pipe-smoke!

The great romance of "Monte Beni" is thus referred to by Mr. Motley
and his wife; I give a few sentences written by the latter, a friend
of many years' standing, and I insert Mr. Motley's letter entire:--


WALTON-ON-THAMES, April 13, 1860.

DEAREST SOPHIA,--My pen continues to be the same instrument of torture
to me that you remember it always was in my youth, when I used to read
your letters with such wonder and delight. This spell is still upon
me, for I appreciate the magic of your mind now as much as I did then,
and have treasured up every little bit of a note that you wrote me in
Rome. I like your fresh feminine enthusiasm, and always feel better
and happier under its influence. . . . I am glad that you were so much
pleased with Lothrop's letter of praise and thanksgiving; a poor
return at best for the happiness we had derived from reading Mr.
Hawthorne's exquisite romance. . . . I shall not now attempt to add any
poor words of mine to his expressive ones, except to assure you of my
deep sympathy for the infinite content and joy you must feel in this
new expression of your husband's genius. We were so much pleased to
find that he was willing to come to us in London, which we hardly
dared to hope for. . . . At least I can promise to attend to him as
little as possible. . . . We have taken for the season a small house
in Hertford Street, 31, which belongs to Lady Byron, who has fitted it
up for her grand-daughter, Lady Annabella King. . . . The eldest
brother, Lord Ockham, is a mechanic, and is now working in a
machine-shop in Blackwall Island, where he lives. This eccentric
course is rather, I fear, the development of a propensity for low
company and pursuits than from anything Peter the Greatish there is
about him. His father, who is the quintessence of aristocracy, has
cast him off. . . . Lothrop was very much gratified by all the fine
things you said about him, and so was I; for praise from you means
something and is worth having, because it comes from the heart. There
is another volume written, . . . but another must be written before
either is published.

Ever your affectionate M. E. M.

The "letter of praise and thanksgiving" referred to above is as
follows:--

WALTON-ON-THAMES.

MY DEAR HAWTHORNE,--I can't resist the impulse to write a line to you,
in order to thank you for the exquisite pleasure I have derived from
your new romance. Everything that you have ever written, I believe, I
have read many times; and I am particularly vain of having admired
"Lights 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;
and of having detected and cherished, at a later day, an "Old Apple
Dealer," whom I believe that you have unhandsomely thrust out of your
presence, now 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 (alas, not too
frequent, but that was never my fault) walks we used to take along the
Tiber or in the Campagna, during that dark period when your Una was
the cause of such anxiety to your household and to all your friends;
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 the plummet's sound. I admire the book
exceedingly. I don't suppose that it is a matter of much consequence
to you whether I do or not, but I feel as much disposition to say so
as if it were quite an original and peculiar idea of my own, and as if
the whole world were not just now saying the same thing. I suppose
that your ears are somewhat stunned with your praises, appearing as
you do after so long an interval; but I hope that, amid the din, you
will not disdain the whisper from such sincere admirers as I am
myself, and my wife and daughter are. I don't know which of the trio
is the warmest one, and we have been fighting over the book, as it is
one which, for the first reading at least, I did not like to hear
aloud. I am only writing in a vague, maundering, uncritical way, to
express sincere sympathy and gratitude, not to exhibit any dissenting
powers, if I have any. If I were composing an article for a review, of
course I should feel obliged to show cause for my admiration, but I am
now only obeying an impulse. Permit me to say, however, that your
style seems, if possible, more perfect than ever. Where, oh where is
the godmother who gave you to talk pearls and diamonds? How easy it
seems till anybody else tries! 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
slightly criticised, 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; and to those who complain, I suppose nothing
less than an illustrated edition, with a large gallows on the last
page, with Donatello in the most pensive of attitudes, his ears
revealed at last through a white nightcap, would be satisfactory.

I beg your pardon for such profanation, but it really moves my spleen
that people should wish to bring down the volatile figures of your
romance to the level of an every-day novel. It is exactly the romantic
atmosphere of the book in which I revel. You who could cast a glamour
over the black scenery and personalities of ancient and of modern
Massachusetts could hardly fail to throw the tenderest and most
magical hues over Italy, and you have done so. I don't know that I am
especially in love with Miriam or Hilda, or that I care very much what
is the fate of Donatello; but what I do like is the air of unreality
with which you have clothed familiar scenes without making them less
familiar. 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. As I said before, I can't
single out any special scene, description, or personage by which to
justify or illustrate my feeling about the book. That I could do
better after a second reading, when it would be easy to be coldly
critical. I write now just after having swallowed the three volumes
almost at a draught; and if my tone is one of undue exhilaration, I
can only say it was you gave me the wine. It is the book--as a
whole--that I admire, and I hope you will forgive my saying so in four
pages instead of four words.

Is there any chance of our seeing you this summer? We expect to be in
London next month. It will be very shabby of you not to let us have a
glimpse of you; but I know you to be capable of any meanness in that
line. At any rate, you can have little doubt how much pleasure it will
give us. Pray don't answer this if it is in the least a bore to you to
do so. I know that you are getting notes of admiration by the bushel,
and I have no right to expect to hear from you. At the same time it
would be a great pleasure to me to hear from you, for old (alas,
no,--new) acquaintance' sake.

I remain very sincerely yours,

J. L. MOTLEY.

Of the discussions about "Monte Beni" I remember hearing a good deal,
as my mother laughingly rehearsed passages in letters and reviews
which scolded about Hawthorne's tantalizing vagueness and
conscienceless Catholicity. My parents tried to be lenient towards
the public, whose excitement was so complimentary, if its usually
heavy inability to analyze its best intellectual wine was fatiguing.
My father never for a moment expected to be widely understood,
although he no doubt hoped to be so in certain cases. He must have
easily deduced something in the way of chances for appreciative
analysis from prevalent literature. He struck me as a good deal like
an innocent prisoner at the bar, and if I had not been a member of his
family I might have been sorry for him. As it was, I felt convinced
that he could afford to be silent, patient, indifferent, now that his
work was perfected. My mother put into words all that was necessary of
indignation at people's desire for a romance or a "penny dreadful"
that would have been temporary and ineffective. Meantime, such rewards
as Mr. Motley offered weighed down the already laden scales on the
side of artistic wealth.

Perhaps it will not be impertinent for me to remark, in reference to
this admirable and delightful letter, that its writer here exemplifies
the best feelings about Hawthorne's art without quite knowing it. We
see him bubbling glad ejaculations in the true style of an Omar
Khayyam who has drained the magic cup handed to him. It is delicious
to hear that he was not sure he cared about the personages of a story
that had clutched his imagination and heart, until he reeled a little
with responsive enchantment; though it is hard to say about what he
cared if not about the romancer's powerful allies, who carried his
meaning for him. Mr. Motley tries to attribute to the scenes he knew
so well in reality, under their new guise of dreamy vividness, the
spell which came, I believe, from the reality of moral grandeur, in
both its sin and its holiness, but which we so entirely ignore every
precious hour by sinking to the realities of bricks and common clay.
Miriam and Donatello may seem at first glance like visions; but I have
always been taught that their spell lay in our innate sense that they
were ourselves, as we really are. The wine of great truth is at first
the most heady of all, making its revelations shimmer.



CHAPTER XIV

THE WAYSIDE


In order to give an idea of how it happened that our family could
return from Europe to Concord with a few great expectations, I will
rehearse somewhat of the charm which had been found in the illustrious
village when my father and mother first knew it. There a group of
people conversed together who have left an echo that is still heard.
There also is still heard "the shot fired round the world," which of
course returned to Concord on completing its circuit. But even the
endless concourse of visitors, making the claims of any region
wearisomely familiar, cannot diminish the simple solemnity of the
town's historical as well as literary importance; and indeed it has so
many medals for various merit that it is no wonder its residents have
a way of speaking about it which some of us would call Bostonian.
Emerson, Thoreau, Channing, and Alcott dispersed a fragrance that
attracted at once, and all they said was resonant with charity and
courage.

The first flash of individuality from Emerson could hardly fail to
suggest that he resembled the American eagle; and he presided over
Concord in a way not unlike our glorious symbol, the Friend of Light.
It must have been exhilarating to look forward to many years in
Emerson's hamlet. My earliest remembered glimpse of him was when he
appeared--tall, side-slanting, peering with almost undue questioning
into my face, but with a smile so constant as to seem like an added
feature, dressed in a solemn, slender, dark overcoat, and a dark,
shadowing hat--upon the Concord highroad; the same yellow thoroughfare
which reaches out to. Lexington its papyrus-strip of history. At the
onset of Emerson--for psychic men do attack one with their
superiority--awe took possession of me; and, as we passed (a great
force and a small girl) I wondered if I should survive. I not only did
so, but felt better than before. It then became one of my happiest
experiences to pass Emerson upon the street. A distinct exaltation
followed my glance into his splendid face. Yet I caviled at his
self-consciousness, his perpetual smile. I complained that he ought to
wait for something to smile at. I could not be sure that he was
privately enjoying some joke from Greek fun-makers, remembered under a
Concord elm. After a time, I realized that he always had something to
smile for, if not to smile at; and that a cheerful countenance is
heroic. By and by I learned that he always could find something to
smile at, also; for he tells us, "The best of all jokes is the
sympathetic contemplation of things by the understanding, from the
philosopher's point of view." But, in my unenlightened state, when I
saw him begin to answer some question, however trivial, with this
smile, slowly, very slowly growing, until it lit up his whole
countenance with a refulgent beam before he answered (the whole
performance dominated by a deliberation as great and brilliant as the
dawn), I argued that this good cheer was out of proportion; that
Emerson should keep back a smile so striking and circumstantial for
rare occasions, such as enormous surprise; or, he should make it the
precursor to a tremendous roar of laughter. I have yet to learn that
any one heard him laugh aloud,--which pastime he has called, with
certainly a familiar precision that indicates personal experience, a
"pleasant spasm," a "muscular irritation."

In maturer years I believed that his smile brought refreshment,
encouragement, and waves of virtue to those who saw it. To be sure, it
was a sort of questioning; sometimes even quizzical; sometimes only a
safeguard; but it was eminently kind, and no one else could do it. His
manner was patronizing, in spite of its suavity; but it grew finer
every spring, until it had become as exquisitely courteous as Sir
Philip Sidney's must have been. The arch of his dark eyebrows
sometimes seemed almost angry, being quickly lifted, and then bent in
a scowl of earnestness; but as age advanced this sternness of brow
grew to be, unchangeably, a calm sweep of infinite kindness.

It was never so well understood at The Wayside that its owner had
retiring habits as when Alcott was reported to be approaching along
the Larch Path, which stretched in feathery bowers between our house
and his. Yet I was not aware that the seer failed at any hour to gain
admittance,--one cause, perhaps, of the awe in which his visits were
held. I remember that my observation was attracted to him curiously
from the fact that my mother's eyes changed to a darker gray at his
advents, as they did only when she was silently sacrificing herself. I
clearly understood that Mr. Alcott was admirable; but he sometimes
brought manuscript poetry with him, the dear child of his own Muse,
and a guest more unwelcome than the enfant terrible of the
drawing-room. There was one particularly long poem which he had read
aloud to my mother and father; a seemingly harmless thing, from which
they never recovered. Out of the mentions made of this effusion I
gathered that it was like a moonlit expanse, quiet, somnolent, cool,
and flat as a month of prairies. Rapture, conviction, tenderness,
often glowed upon Alcott's features and trembled in his voice. I
believe he was never once startled from the dream of illusive joy
which pictured to him all high aims as possible of realization through
talk. Often he was so happy that he could have danced like a child;
and he laughed merrily like one; and the quick, upward lift of his
head, which his great height induced him to hold, as a rule, slightly
bent forward,--this rapid, playful lift, and the glance, bright and
eager though not deep, which sparkled upon you, were sweet and good to
see. Yet I have noticed his condition as pale and dolorous enough,
before the event of his noble daughter's splendid success. But such
was not his character; circumstances had enslaved him, and he appeared
thin and forlorn by incongruous accident, like a lamb in chains. He
might have been taken for a centenarian when I beheld him one day
slowly and pathetically constructing a pretty rustic fence before his
gabled brown house, as if at the unreasonable command of some
latter-day Pharaoh. Ten years afterward he was, on the contrary, a
Titan: gay, silvery-locked, elegant, ready to begin his life over
again.

Alcott represented to me a fairy element in the up-country region in
which I so often saw him. I heard that he walked the woods for the
purpose of finding odd coils of tree-roots and branches, which would
on the instant suggest to him an ingenious use in his art of rustic
building. It was rumored that nobody's outlying curios in this line
were safe under his eye, and that if you possessed an eccentric tree
for a time, it was fated to close its existence in the keeping of
Alcott. I imagined his slightly stooping, yet tall and well-grown
figure, clothed in black, and with a picturesque straw hat, twining
itself in and out of forest aisles, or craftily returning home with
gargoyle-like stems over his shoulders. The magic of his pursuit was
emphasized by the notorious fact that his handiwork fell together in
the middle, faded like shadows from bronze to hoary pallor; its
longevity was a protracted death. In short, his arbors broke under the
weight of a purpose, as poems become doggerel in the service of a
theorist. Truly, Alcott was completely at the beck of illusion; and he
was always safer alone with it than near the hard uses of adverse
reality. I well remember my astonishment when I was told that he had
set forth to go into the jaws of the Rebellion after Louisa, his
daughter, who had succumbed to typhus fever while nursing the
soldiers. His object was to bring her home; but it was difficult to
believe that he would be successful in entering the field of misery
and uproar. I never expected to see him again. Almost the only point
at which he normally met this world was in his worship of apple-trees.
Here, in his orchard, he was an all-admirable human being and lovely
to observe. As he looked upon the undulating arms or piled the
excellent apples, red and russet, which seemed to shine at his glance,
his figure became supple, his countenance beamed with a ruby and gold
akin to the fruit. In his orchard by the highroad, with its trees
rising to a great height from a basin-shaped side lawn (which may
originally have been marshy ground), he seemed to me a perfect soul.
We all enjoyed greatly seeing him there, as we wended to and from our
little town. No doubt the garden of children at the beginning of his
career inspired him likewise; and in it he must have shown the same
tender solicitude and benevolence, and beamed upon his young scholars
with a love which exquisitely tempered his fantastical suppositions.

He often spoke humbly, but he never let people think he was humble.
His foibles appeared to me ridiculous, and provoked me exceedingly,--
the brave cat of the proverb must be my excuse,--but I awakened
to the eternal verity that some such husks are rather natural to
persons of purely distinctive minds, perhaps shielding them. And I
think one comes to value a bent blessed with earnest unconsciousness;
a not too clever Argus vision; a childlike gullibility and
spontaneity. This untarnished gullibility and gentle confidence, for
all his self-laudations, Alcott had, and when he did not emerge either
from his apple orchard or his inspirations he was essentially
wholesome, full of an ardent simplicity, and a happy faith in the
capacities given him by his Creator. So that his outline is one of
much dignity, in spite of the somewhat capricious coloring of his
character; the latter being not unlike the efforts of a nursery artist
upon a print of "The Father of His Country," for whom, as he stands
proudly upon the page, a green coat and purple pantaloons were not
intended, and are only minor incidents of destiny.

Mr. Ellery Channing was, I am sure, the townsman who was most gladly
welcome. My parents felt great admiration and friendliness for him,
and it would be a sacrifice on my own part not to mention this
companion of theirs, although I must beg his pardon for doing so.
There is no doubt that Concord would have hung with several added
pounds of weight upon our imaginations if it had not been for him.
Over his tender-heartedness, as I saw him in the old days, played
delicious eccentricities, phosphorescent, fitful, touch-me-not antics
of feeling. I was glad to meet the long glance of his gray, dazzling
eyes, lowered gracefully at last. The gaze seemed to pass through me
to the wall, and beyond even that barrier to the sky at the horizon
line. It did not disturb me; it had been too kindly to criticise, or
so I thought. No doubt Mr. Channing had made his little regretful,
uncomplimentary notes in passing, but it was characteristic of his
exquisite comradeship towards all that we did not fear his eyes. I say
comradeship, although the power which I believed touched him with its
wand so mischievously had induced him to drop (as a boy loses
successively all his marbles) all his devoted friends, without a word
of explanation, because without a shadow of reason; the only thing to
be said about it being that the loss was entirely voluntary on the
part of this charming boy. He would cease to bow, as he passed. Then
he found the marbles again, pocketed them as if nothing had happened,
smiled, called, and hob-nobbed. A man's high-water mark is his
calibre; and at high-water mark Mr. Channing's sea was to us buoyant,
rich-tinted, sunlit; a great force, darkening and dazzling with
beautiful emotions. He was in those days devoted to the outer air,
and to the wonders of the nature we do not often understand, even when
we trap it and classify it. He always invited his favorites to walk
with him, and I once had the honor of climbing a very high hill by his
side, in time to look at a Concord sunset, which I myself realized was
the finest in the world.

Another peculiar spirit now and then haunted us, usually sad as a
pine-tree--Thoreau. His enormous eyes, tame with religious intellect
and wild with the loose rein, making a steady flash in this strange
unison of forces, frightened me dreadfully at first. The unanswerable
argument which he unwittingly made to soften my heart towards him was
to fall desperately ill. During his long illness my mother lent him
our sweet old music-box, to which she had danced as it warbled at the
Old Manse, in the first year of her marriage, and which now softly
dreamed forth its tunes in a time-mellowed tone. When he died, it
seemed as if an anemone, more lovely than any other, had been carried
from the borders of a wood into its silent depths, and dropped, in
solitude and shadow, among the recluse ferns and mosses which are so
seldom disturbed by passing feet. Son of freedom and opportunity that
he was, he touched the heart by going to nature's peacefulness like
the saints, and girding upon his American sovereignty the hair-shirt
of service to self-denial. He was happy in his intense discipline of
the flesh, as all men are when they have once tasted power--if it is
the power which awakens perception of the highest concerns. His
countenance had an April pensiveness about it; you would never have
guessed that he could write of owls so jocosely. His manner was such
as to suggest that he could mope and weep with them. I never crossed
an airy hill or broad field in Concord, without thinking of him who
had been the companion of space as well as of delicacy; the lover of
the wood-thrush, as well as of the Indian. Walden woods rustled the
name of Thoreau whenever we walked in them.

When we drove from the station to The Wayside, in arriving from
Europe, on a hot summer day, I distinctly remember the ugliness of the
un-English landscape and the forlornness of the little cottage which
was to be our home. Melancholy and stupid days immediately followed
(at least they were so in my estimation). I marveled at the amount of
sand in the flower-borders and at the horrifying delinquencies of our
single servant.

For some years I was eager to use all the eloquence I could muster in
my epistles to girl friends, in England or anywhere, as to the paucity
of life in Concord. Perhaps the following extracts from two letters,
one written at Bath, England, and the other at Concord, and never
sent, but kept by my mother from the flames with many more of my
expressions in correspondence, may convey the feelings of the whole
family:--

31 CHARLES STREET, BATH, ENGLAND.

DEAR HANNAH [Redcar Hannah],--When I go home I think that I shall
never have such a nice time as when I go home; for I shall have such a
big garden, and I shall have little and big girls to come and see me.
Never on earth shall I have such a nice time as when I am at home.

After the transition:--

CONCORD, MASS.

I am in Concord now, and long to see you again, but I suppose that it
is useless to think of it. I am going out, after I have done my
lessons, to have a good time.--A very good time indeed, to be sure,
for there was nothing but frozen ground, and I had to be doing
something to keep myself warm, and I had to come back after a little
while. I do not know how to keep myself warm. Happy are you who keep
warm all the time in England. The frost has made thick leaves on our
windows everywhere, and you can hardly see through them.

I tried to bring the stimulus of great events into the Concord life by
writing stories, of which I would report the progress to my one or two
confidantes. My father overheard some vainglorious boasts from my
lips, one afternoon, when the windows of the little library where he
sat were open; and the small girl who listened to me, wide-eyed, and I
myself, proud and glad to have reached a thrilling denouement, were
standing beside the sweet-clover bed, not dreaming of anything more
severe than its white bloom. A few minutes afterwards, my father hung
over me, dark as a prophetic flight of birds. "Never let me hear of
your writing stories!" he exclaimed, with as near an approach to anger
as I had ever seen in him. "I forbid you to write them!" But I believe
this command only added a new attraction to authorship, agreeably
haunting me as I beckoned imaginary scenes and souls out of chaos. An
oasis bloomed at remote seasons, when we went to visit Mr. and Mrs.
Fields in Boston. My mother writes of my reviving, and even becoming
radiant, as soon as a visit of this fragrant nature breathed upon me.
I joyously begin a letter of my mother's with the following greeting:
"As soon as we got to Boston. My dear, dear Papa. We will write to
you very promptly indeed. We have got here safely, and are also very
glad to get here. We had some rich cake and sherry as soon as we got
here.--[My mother proceeds:] Annie glided in upon us, looking
excellently lovely. Heart's-Ease [Mr. Fields] appeared just before
dinner. He declares that the 'Consular Experiences' is superb.--I
write in the deep green shade of this wood of a library. We all went
to church through the hot sunshine. Mr. Fields walked on the sunny
side, and when Mrs. Fields [Mrs. Meadows was the playful name by
which we called her] asked him why, he said, 'Because it makes us grow
so. Oh, I am growing so fast I can scarcely get along!' Mr. Fields
said it made him very sleepy to go to church, and he thought it was
because of the deacons.--He says the world is wild with rapture over
your 'Leamington Spa.' He did not know how to express his appreciation
of it.--We met Mr. Tom Appleton at the gallery, and he was very
edifying. There is a good portrait by Hunt. Mr. Appleton called it
'big art,' which took my fancy, it being so refreshing after hearing
so much said about 'high art.' There is a portrait of Hunt by himself,
which has a line about the brow that is Michelangelic; 'the bars of
Michelangelo.' A head of Fremont was handsome, but showing a man
incapable of large combinations. He looks eagle-like and loyal and
brilliant, but not wise. We felt quite glorious with the war news, and
were surprised to see so few flags flying. To breakfast we had Mr.
Dysie. It was pleasant to hear his English brogue--a slight excess of
Henry Bright's Lancashire accent. To tea we had Mr. and Mrs. Bartol,
and Mr. Fields was so infinitely witty that we all died at the
tea-table. Mr. Bartol, in gasps, assured him that he had contrived a
way to save the food by keeping us in convulsions during the ceremony
of eating, and killing us off at the end. Annie had on a scarlet
coronet that made her look enchanting, and Mr. Fields declared she was
Moses in the burning bush. Oh, do delay the acacia blossoms till I
come! Give a sky full of love to Una and Julian."

My father also tasted the piquant flavors of merriment and luxury in
this exquisite domicile of Heart's-Ease and Mrs. Meadows.

And at The Wayside, too, we had delightful pleasures, in the teeth and
front of simplicity and seclusion, sandy flower-borders, rioting
weeds, and intense heats. Concord itself could gleam occasionally,
even outside of its perfect Junes and Octobers, as we can see here in
the merry geniality of Louisa Alcott, who no more failed to make
people laugh than she failed to live one of the bravest and best of
lives. In return for a package of birthday gifts she sent us a poem,
from which I take these verses:--

 "The Hawthorne is a gracious tree
  From latest twig to parent root,
  For when all others leafless stand
  It gayly blossoms and bears fruit.
  On certain days a friendly wind
  Wafts from its spreading boughs a store
  Of canny gifts that flutter in
  Like snowflakes at a neighbor's door.

 "The spinster who has just been blessed
  Finds solemn thirty much improved,
  By proofs that such a crabbed soul
  Is still remembered and beloved.
  Kind wishes 'ancient Lu' has stored
  In the 'best chamber' of her heart,
  And every gift on Fancy's stage
  Already plays its little part.

  "Long may it stand, the friendly tree,
  That blooms in autumn and in spring,
  Beneath whose shade the humblest bird
  May safely sit, may gratefully sing.
  Time will give it an evergreen name,
  Axe cannot harm it, frost cannot kill;
  With Emerson's pine and Thoreau's oak
  Will the Hawthorne be loved and honored still!"

My mother's records, moreover, in letters to her husband, refer to the
humble labors that almost filled up her devoted year (her daughters
tried to imitate her example), and these references indicate the
difference we felt between Europe and home:--

Rose raised all the echoes of the county by screaming with joy over
her blooming crocuses, which she found in her garden. The spring
intoxicates her with "remembering wine." She hugs and kisses me almost
to a mummy, with her raptures. Little spots of green grass choke her
with unutterable ecstasy.

September 9, 1860. Julian illuminated till tea-time; and after tea I
read to both him and Rose a chapter of Matthew, and told them about
Paul.--Rosebud has been drawing wonderfully on the blackboard
recognizable portraits of Mr. Bennoch, her beloved Charlotte Marston,
and Julian. Ben Mann appeared with a letter from dear Nona [Una]; and
with one from Bentley, England, modestly asking of thee a book, to
publish!--The weeds in the garden now exceed belief. There is not a
trace to be seen of the melon or cucumber vines, or squashes, or of
the beans towards the lane. All are completely overtopped by gigantic
plants, like the Anakins overrunning the Israelites. Such riot of
uninvited guests I never imagined. I shall try to do something, but I
fear my puny might will not effect much against such hordes. The wet
and heat together produce such growths as I never saw except in Cuba.
There is a real forest at the back door, between the house and the
terraces. The greenness is truly English and Irish.--I picked forty
ears of corn to-day.--We all met at the Alcotts' at tea-time. It was
a clear, frosty air that bit me as I went in through the sunset. We
had a delightful visit. Mr. Alcott was sweet and benign as possible,
and Mrs. Alcott looked like Jupiter Olympus.--General Hitchcock has
been gone about an hour. Baby had got me some exquisite roses from
Mr. Bull's, of various shades from deep crimson to light pink, and I
arranged a flat glass dish full on the Roman mosaic table, and a tall
glass on the white marble table, and a glass on the Hawthorne
tea-table, while the illuminated crocus [a vase] was splendid with
dahlias and tiger-lilies beneath the Transfiguration. So the
drawing-room looked lovelily, and a fine rose-odor was diffused. All
the blinds were open and the shades up, and a glory of greenness
refreshed the eyes outside on the plumy, bowery hill and lawn. In this
charming apartment I received my General. The most beautiful light of
life beamed from his face at my recognition of his ideas, and at any
expression of mine which showed a unity with his; or rather with
truth. His quiet eyes have gathered innumerable harvests, and his
observations are invaluable because impersonal. [He had made a study
of the alchemists, and all mystical philosophy.]--Elizabeth Hoar spent
the whole of yesterday morning with me. We talked Roman and Florentine
talk. She thought our house the most fascinating of mansions. She is
always full of St. Paul's charity. On the Roman table was a glass
dish of exquisite pond-lilies, which Una brought from the river this
morning; and out of the centre of the lilies rose a tall glass of
superb cardinal-flowers. On the white table was a glass dish of
balsams of every shade of red, from deep crimson through scarlet to
pale pink, over to purple and up to white.--Una returned to-day from
Boston. She has had a nice visit, and seen many persons, all of whom
expressed to her unbounded adoration of you. "Why mamma, how everybody
loves, adores him!" said she. Of course.--I had a call from the
dancing-master, a most debonair individual, all smile and bow and
curvets. I wish you could have seen the man. It was the broad
caricature of elegant manners. How funny things are! I can hear you
say, "Natur' is cur'ous."--I looked in upon Edith Emerson's party, and
she had a large table spread with flowers, cake, and sugar-plums,
beneath the trees, and a dozen children were running and laughing
round a "pretty Poll," who scolded at them all. Mrs. Emerson was
flitting like the spirit of a Lady Abbess in and out, in winged lace
headdress and black silk. Your letter was a bomb of joy to me last
evening.--I have taken heaps of your clothes to mend. What a rag-fair
your closet was--and you did not tell me! Mrs. Alcott brought me some
beer made of spruce only, and it was nice. Thou shalt have thy own
beer, when you come home.--Bab went to see Mrs. Alcott, and I resumed
weeding. At seven I heard thirteen cannon-shots, and did not
understand it. Then I possessed The Wayside all alone till near eight
of the evening. Not a sound but birds' last notes was to be heard. It
was strange and sweet. I thought of you in a sea-breeze with felicity.
At about eight I heard little feet racing along the Larch Path, and
Baby came to view. She read aloud to me some of your "Virtuoso's
Collection," and then to bed, celestial.--A letter came from Mr.
Bennoch. He wails like Jeremiah over our war, and longs for a letter
from you. He sends cartes de visite of himself and his wife. He looks
uncommonly dumpy, with a pair of winged whiskers of astounding effect,
and the expression of his face is blandly seraphic.

[From my mother's diary.] January 1, 1862. Letter and wine from
General Pierce. I heard Mr. Emerson's lecture on War. Furious
wind--There is a lovely new moon; a golden boat.--Papa read "The Heart
of Mid-Lothian" aloud in the evening.--I wish I knew whether the lines
of my hand are like those of Sir Thomas Browne's.

--My husband has made an anagram of my name: "A hope while in a storm,
aha!"--General Pierce arrived at noon. I went to the Town Hall to hear
the Quintette Club play the Fifth Symphony of Beethoven. Mrs. Alcott
came with us. Bright moonlight at midnight. General Pierce remained
all night.--My husband made an anagram of the General's name,
"Princelie Frank."

--My husband read aloud to me "Sir Launcelot Greaves." Papa read "Anne
of Geierstein."--I prepared Julian for acting Bluebeard; and Ellen
Emerson lent me the gear. We worked hard all day.--We received the
photographs of Una and myself. Mine of course uncomely.--Mr. Ticknor
came to dine; and Mr. Burchmore [son of Stephen Burchmore, whose tales
at the Custom House were so inimitable] also came.--My husband is not
well. I have been very anxious about him; but he is better this
evening, thank God.--My right hand is so bad that I have to bathe it
in arnica all the time, for I have worn it out by making shoes [and
other ornamented articles for a masquerade to which her children were
to go].

[The letters to my father continue.] Ellen and Edith Emerson took tea
with Una, and they went home early, at about eight. At ten I heard a
man's step and a ring at the door-bell. I went to the door, and not
opening it, in a voice of command asked, "Who is it?" No reply. I
again fiercely inquired, "WHO IS IT?" "Is Ellen here?" pleaded the
surprised, quiet voice of Mr. Emerson! I immediately unlocked my
portcullis, and in the lowest tone of woman begged the Sage to excuse
my peremptory challenge.--The Masquerade was worth the great trouble
taken in preparing for it. Una was quite gorgeous with her glittering
embroideries of silver and gold, and her exquisite turban gleaming
with precious stones and pearls. The most delicate roses bloomed in
her cheeks, and her eyes were like two large radiant stars. She
danced with Sir Kenneth of Scotland, personated admirably by Edward
Emerson, in armor of black and gold, severe and simple.--[My sister
adds her own delighted reference to my mother's.] "Oh, father! I did
have the most awfully jolly time at the Masquerade that ever anybody
had. It was the most perfectly Arabian Nights' scene, and the Princess
Scheherezade [herself] at last saw in very fact one of the scenes that
her glowing fancy had painted; but being now freed from the fear of
death, her mind had lost its terrific stimulus and returned to its
normal condition, or perhaps was a little duller than usual from being
so long overtaxed; at all events, she did not compose a new story on
the occasion, as might have been expected. A great many people spoke
to me of the splendor of my dress. Mamma was so delighted with the
becomingness of my black velvet jacket, that she has bought me a
splendid dress of the same, and has sent for a bushel of seed-pearls
to trim it with. The little bill for these items is awaiting you on
your desk. I shall set up for a queen for the rest of my life, and if
you are still going to call me Onion, you must find out the Persian
for it."

[The diary resumes.] My husband read to me his paper on his visit to
Washington. Dr. George B. Loring and Mr. Pike [of Salem] came to tea
in the evening. Mr. Thoreau died this morning.--The funeral services
were in the church. Mr. Emerson spoke. Mr. Alcott read from Mr.
Thoreau's writings. The body was in the vestibule, covered with
wildflowers. We went to the grave. Thence my husband and I walked to
the Old Manse and Monument. Then I went to see Annie Fields at Mr.
Emerson's.--Fog and sultry. Brobdingnag dropping from eaves.--Superb
morning. My husband transplanted sunflowers [of which he was immensely
fond, though lilies-of-the-valley were his favorites].--My husband and
Julian went to Boston; and Julian walked home in eight and a half
hours [twenty miles].--Una's party took place to-night. Papa
illuminated it with his presence.--Pleasant day. Papa magnanimously
picked some strawberries.--I went on the hilltop with my husband all
the morning [of a Sunday in June].--Our wedding-day. It is very hot
and smoky. We think it the smokes of battles.--Very warm and fine. Mr.
Alcott worked all day, lacking three hours [in constructing a rustic
seat at the foot of our hill]. I went on the hilltop with my husband
for a long time. Ineffable felicity.--A perfectly lovely day. I read
"Christ the Spirit." Rose had a discourse from the Sermon on the
Mount; the four verses about giving alms. We have very nice discourses
[my mother's]. Una went to church.--Mr. George Bradford came to see
us. Una and Julian went to the Emersons' in the evening.--Read again
"Leamington Spa." Inimitable, fascinating.--Thanksgiving Day. We
invited Ellery Channing, but he could not come.--Julian and I went to
Boston. When I came home I found my husband looking very ill. Julian
has gone on a visit to the Fields's.--My husband quite ill.
Everything seems sad, when he is ill. I sewed all day.--My husband
seems much better. He went up on the hill. Papa and the children
played whist in the evening, while I read Charles Reade.--Celia
cleared the old attic to-day. I found my dear hanging astral, that
lighted my husband in his study at the Old Manse, and also Una's baby
socks.--Judge Hoar came to invite my husband to tea with Mr. Eustis
and Mr. Bemis and Mr. Emerson. He would not go.--I read ominous news
of the war, which quite saddened and alarmed me. I read "Christ the
Spirit."--I read about Alchemy and Swedenborg. Ellery Channing came to
tea and spent the evening. He asked me if he might bring General
Barlow to tea on Tuesday.

It was almost immediately after our return home that the first notes
of the requiem about to envelop us fell through the sound of daily
affairs, at long intervals, because my father, from that year, began
to grow less and less vigorous.

There are many references in my mother's diaries and letters to my
father's enforced monotony, and also to his gradually failing health,
which, by the very instinct of loving alarm, we none of us analyzed
as fatal; though, from his expression of face, if for no other reason,
I judge he himself understood it perfectly. Death sat with him, at his
right hand, long before he allowed his physical decline to change his
mode of life. He tried to stem the tide setting against him, because
it is the drowning man's part, even if hopeless. He walked a great
deal upon the high hill-ridge behind the house, his dark, quietly
moving figure passing slowly across the dim light of the mingled sky
and branches, as seen from the large lawn, around which the embowered
terraces rose like an amphitheatre. A friend tells me that, from a
neighboring farm, he sometimes watched my father in an occupation
which he had undertaken for his health. A cord of wood had been cut
upon the hill, and he deliberately dragged it to the lower level of
his dwelling, two logs at a time, by means of a rope. Along the ridge
and down the winding pine-flanked path he slowly and studiously
stepped, musing, looking up, stopping to solve some point of plot or
morals; and meanwhile the cord of wood changed its abiding-place as
surely as water may wear away a stone. But his splendid vigor paled,
his hair grew snowy white, before the end. My mother wrote to him in
the following manner from time to time, when he was away for change of
scene:--

September 9, 1860. My crown of glory. This morning I waked to clouds
and rain, but for myself I did not care, as you were not here to be
depressed by it. There was a clear and golden sunset, making the
loveliest shadows and lights on the meadows and across my straight
path [over the field to the willows, between firs], and now the stars
shine.--The way in which Concordians observe Fast is by loafing about
the streets, driving up and down, and dawdling generally. No
one seems to mourn over his own or his country's sins. Such behavior
must disturb our Puritan fathers even on the other side of the
Jordan.--In the evening Julian brought me a letter. "It is from New
York," said he, "but not from papa." But my heart knew better, though
I did not know the handwriting. I clashed it open, and saw "N. H.,"
and then, "I am entirely well," not scratched out. Thank God! . . .
The sun has not shone to-day, and there is now a stormy wind that
howls like a beast of prey over its dead. It is the most ominous,
boding sound I ever heard.

March 15, 1862. The news of your appetite sends new life into me, and
immediately increases my own.

July. I am afraid you have been in frightful despair at this rainy
day. It has flooded here in sheets, with heavy thunder. But I have
snatched intervals to weed. I could see and hear everything growing
around me in the warm rain. The army corn has hopped up as if it were
parched. The yellow lilies are reeling up to the skies. Pig-weed has
become camelopard weed. . . . Alas that you should be insulted with
dried-apple pie and molasses preserves! Oh, horror! I thought that you
would have fresh fruit and vegetables. Pray go to a civilized house
and have decent fare.--I know it will do you immense good to make this
journey. You should oftener make such visits, and then you would "like
things" better. Your spirits get below concert pitch by staying in one
place so long at a time. I am glad Leutze keeps you on [to paint
Hawthorne's portrait]. Do not come home till the middle of September.
Just remember how hot and dead it is here in hot weather, and how you
cannot bear it.--I do not think I have a purer pleasure and completer
satisfaction, nowadays, than I am conscious of when I get you fairly
away from Concord influences. I then sit down and feel rested through
my whole constitution. All care seems at an end. I would not have had
you here yesterday for all England. It was red-hot from morn to dewy
eve. We burned without motion or sound. But you were in Boston, and
not under this hill. If you wish me to be happy, you must consent to
spend the dog-days at the sea.--After a cool morning followed a
red-hot day. It seemed to me more intolerable than any before. You
could not have borne such dead weather. The house was a refrigerator
in comparison to the outdoor atmosphere.--We have had some intolerably
muggy days. That is, they would have been so, if you had not been at
the sea.--You have been far too long in one place without change, and
I am sure you will get benefit under such pleasant conditions as being
the guest of Mr. and Mrs. [Horatio] Bridge, and a witness of such new
phases of life as those in Washington.--Splendors upon splendors have
been heaped into this day. Loads of silky plumed corn or even sheaves
of cardinal-flowers cannot be compared to the new sunshine and the
magnificent air which have filled the earth from early dawn. The brook
that became a broad river in the flood of yesterday made our landscape
perfect. It seemed to me that I must dance and sing, and now I know
it was because you were writing to me. Rose and I went down the
straight path [called later the Cathedral Aisle] to look at the fresh
river. I delayed to be embroidered with gold sun over and over, and
through and through. At the gate I was arrested by the tower, also
illustrious with the glory of the atmosphere, and very pretty indeed,
lifting its nice, shapely head above the decrepit old ridge-pole of
the ancient house.--I took my saw and went on a lovely wander, with a
fell intent against all dead and confusing branches. How infinitely
sweet it is to have access to this woodland virtue! It does me
measureless good; and I am sure such air as we have on these fine days
must be the effect of heroic and gentle deeds, and is a pledge that
there are not tens only, but tens of thousands of heroes on this
earth, keeping it in life and being.--Your letter has kindled us all
up into lamps of light to-day. But I am wholly dissatisfied with your
boarding-house, so full of deaf women, and violin din, and
schoolgirls! Pray change your residence and have peace. You will curse
your stars if you have to "bellow" for three weeks, when you so hate
to speak even in your natural inward tone.--Mary has just sent me a
note, saying that there is a paragraph in the paper about your being
at Washington, and that the President [Lincoln] received you with
especial graciousness. Stay as long as you can, and get great good. I
cannot have you return yet.--The President has had a delicious palaver
with a deputation of black folk, talking to them as to babies. I
suspect the President is a jewel. I like him very well.--If it were
not such a bore, I could wish thou mightest be President through this
crisis, and show the world what can be done by using two eyes, and
turning each thing upside down and inside out, before judging and
acting. I should not wonder if thy great presence in Washington might
affect the moral air and work good. If you like the President, then
give him my love and blessing.--The President's immortal special
message fills me with unbounded satisfaction. It is so almost
superhumanly wise, moderate, fitting, that I am ready to believe an
angel came straight from heaven to him with it. He must be honest and
true, or an angel would not come to him. Mary Mann says she thinks the
message feeble, and not to the point. But I think a man shows strength
when he can be moderate at such a moment as this. Thou hadst better
give my high regards to the President. I meant to write to him; but
that mood has passed. I wish to express my obligations for the wisdom
of his message.



CHAPTER XV

THE ARTIST AT WORK


I was once asked to write of my father's "literary methods," and the
idea struck me as delightfully impossible. I wish I knew just what
those methods were--I might hope to write a romance. But as the bird
on the tree-bough catches here and there a glimpse of what men are
about, although he hardly aspires to plough the field himself, or
benefit by human labor until the harvest comes, so I have observed
some facts and gathered some notions as to how my father thought out
his literary work.

One method of obtaining his end was to devote himself constantly to
writing, whether it brought him money or not. He might not have seemed
to be working all the time, but to be enjoying endless leisure in
walking through the country or the city streets. But even a bird would
have had more penetration than to make such a mistake as to think
this. Another wise provision was to love and pity mankind more than he
scorned them, so that he never created a character which did not
possess a soul--the only puppet he ever contrived of straw,
"Feathertop," having an excellent soul until the end of the story.
Still another method of gaining his success was to write with a noble
respect for his own best effort, on which account he never felt
satisfied with his writing unless he had exerted every muscle of his
faculty; unless every word he had written seemed to his severest
self-criticism absolutely true. He loved his art more than his time,
more than his ease, and could thrust into the flames an armful of
manuscript because he suspected the pages of weakness and
exaggeration.

One of his methods of avoiding failure was to be rigorous in the care
of his daily existence. A preponderance of frivolous interruption to a
modicum of thorough labor at thinking was a system utterly foreign to
him. He would not talk with a fool; as a usual thing he would not
entertain a bore. If thrown with these common pests, he tried, I
think, to study them. And they report that he did so very silently.
But he did not waste his time, either by politely chattering with
people whom he meant to sneer at after they had turned their backs, or
in indulgences of loafing of all sorts which leave a narcotic
stupidity in their wake. He had plenty of time, therefore, for
thought, and he could think while walking either in the fresh air, or
back and forth in his study. Men of success detest inactivity. It is
a hardship for them to be as if dead for a single moment. So, when my
father could not walk out-of doors during meditation, he moved back
and forth in his room, sturdily alert, his hands clasped behind him,
quietly thinking, his head either bent forward or suddenly lifted
upward with a light in his gray eyes.

He wrote principally in the morning, with that absorption and
regularity which characterize the labor of men who are remembered.
When his health began to show signs of giving way, in 1861, it was
suggested by a relative, whose intellect, strength of will, and
appetite for theories were of equally splendid proportions, that my
father only needed a high desk at which to stand when writing, to be
restored to all his pristine vigor. With his usual tolerance of
possible wisdom he permitted such a desk to be arranged in the
tower-study at The Wayside; but with his inexorable contempt for
mistakes of judgment he never, after a brief trial, used it for
writing. Upon his simple desk of walnut wood, of which he had nothing
to complain, although it barely served its purpose, like most of the
inexpensive objects about him, was a charming. Italian bronze
ink-stand, over whose cover wrestled the infant Hercules in the act of
strangling a goose--in friendly aid of "drivers of the quill." My
father wrote with a gold pen, and I can hear now, as it seems, the
rapid rolling of his chirography over the broad page, as he formed his
small, rounded, but irregular letters, when filling his journals, in
Italy. He leaned very much on, his left arm while writing, often
holding the top of the manuscript book lovingly with his left hand,
quite in the attitude of a boy. At the end of a sentence or two he
would sometimes unconsciously bow his head, as if bidding good-by to a
thought well rid of for the present in its new garb of ink.

In writing he had little care for paper and ink. To be sure, his
large, square manuscript was firmly bound into covers, and the paper
was usually of a neutral blue; and when I say that he had little care
for his mechanical materials I mean that he had no servile anxiety as
to how they looked to another person, for I am convinced that he
himself loved his manuscript books. There was a certain air of
humorous respect about the titles, which he wrote with a flourish, as
compared with the involved minuteness of the rest of the script, and
the latter covers every limit of the page in a devoted way. His
letters were formed obscurely, though most fascinatingly, and he was
almost frolicsome in his indifference to the comfort of the
compositor. Still he had none of the frantic reconsiderations of Scott
or Balzac. If he made a change in a word it was while it was fresh,
and no one could obliterate what he had written with a more fearless
blot of the finger, or one which looked more earnest and interesting.
There was no scratching nor quiddling in the manner with which he
fought for his art. Each day he thought out the problems he had set
himself before beginning to write, and if a word offended him, as he
recorded the result, he thrust it back into chaos before the ink had
dried. I think that the manuscript of "Dr. Grimshawe's Secret" is an
exception, to some extent. There are many written self-communings and
changes in it. My father was declining in health while it was being
evolved. But yet, in "The Dolliver Romance," the last work of all in
process of development, written while he was physically breaking down,
we see the effect of will and heroic attempt. It is the most beautiful
of his compositions, because his mind was greater at that time than
ever, and because death could not frighten him, and in its very face
he desired to complete the proof of his whole power, as the dying
soldier rises to the greatest act of his life, having given his
life-blood for his country's cause. Though the script of this
manuscript is extremely difficult to read, the speculation had
evidently been done before taking up the pen. I am not sure but that
my father sometimes destroyed first drafts, of which his family knew
nothing. Indeed, we have his own word for it that "he passed the day
in writing stories and the night in burning them." Nevertheless, his
tendency we know to have been that of thinking out his plots and
scenes and characters, and transcribing them rapidly without further
change.

Since he did not write anything wholly for the pleasure of creative
writing, but had moral motives and perfect artistic harmony to
consider, he could not have indulged in the spontaneous, passionate
effusions which are the substance of so much other fiction. He was
obliged to train his mind to reflection and judgment, and therefore he
never tasted luxury of any kind. The mere enjoyment of historical
settings in all their charm and richness, rehabilitated for their own
sake or for worldly gain; and that of caricatures of the members of
the human family, because they are so often so desperately funny; the
gloating over realistic pictures of life as it is found, because life
as it is found is a more absorbing study than that of geology or
chemistry; the tasting of redundant scenes of love and intrigue, which
flatter the reader like experiences of his own,--these excesses he was
not willing to admit to his art, a magic that served his literary
palate with still finer food. He wrote with temperateness, and in
pitying love of human nature, in the instinctive hope of helping it to
know and redeem itself. His quality was philosophy, his style
forgiveness. And for this temperate and logical and laconic
work--giving nothing to the world for its mere enjoyment, but going
beyond all that to ennoble each reader by his perfect renunciation of
artistic claptrap and artistic license--for this aim he needed a
mental method that could entirely command itself, and, when necessary,
weigh and gauge with the laborious fidelity of a coal-surveyor, before
the account was rendered with pen and ink upon paper. When he brought
within his art the personality of a human devil, he honored its
humanity, and proved that the real devil is quite another thing. In
fact, perhaps he would not have permitted the above epithet. In one of
her letters my mother remarks, "I think no sort of man can be called a
devil, unless it be a slanderer."

Though he dealt with romance he never gave the advantage of an inch to
the wiles of bizarre witchery, the grotesque masks of wanton caprice
in imagination--those elements which exhibit the intoxication of
talent. His terrors were those of our own hearts; his playfulness had
the merit of the sunlight. In short, he was artistically con-.
secrated, guiding the forces he used with the reins of truth; and he
could do this unbrokenly because he governed his character by
Christian fellowship. If he shrank from unnecessary interruptions,
which jarred the harmony of his artistic life, he nevertheless met
courteously any that were to him inevitable. Could he have written
with the heart's blood of old Hepzibah if he had failed to put his own
shoulder to the domestic wheel, on the plea that it was too deep in
the slough of disaster to command his assistance? He did not dread
besmirching his hands with any affairs sent him by God.

"The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger intermeddleth
not with its joy;" and the joy and the bitterness of creative work are
not intermeddled with as much as one might suppose by the outside
weather of praise or non-comprehension, if the artist is great enough
to keep his private self-respect. I am of the opinion that my father
enjoyed his own indifference to his accomplished work, yet knew its
value to the minutest ray of the diamond; that he had sharply
challenged the enchantment of his first conception, and heard the
right watchword, yet recognized that no human conception can fathom
the marvels of the superhuman. I believe that the men we admire most,
in the small group of great minds, are sufficiently necromantic to
look two ways at once--to appreciate and to condemn themselves. So my
father heard himself praised with composure, and blamed his skill
rejoicingly.

Some passages from a copy of an article in "The North British Review"
of Edinburgh during 1851 were capable of filling a wife's heart with
exultation, and my mother quotes: "'The most striking features in
these tales are the extraordinary skill and masterly care which are
displayed in their composition. . . . It would be difficult to pick out
a page which could be omitted without loss to the development of
the narrative and the idea, which are always mutually illustrative to
a degree not often attained in any species of modern art. . . . His
language, though extraordinarily accurate, is always light and
free. . . . We know of nothing equal to it, in its way [the portrayal
of Dimmesdale], in the whole circle of English literature;' and much
more in the same superlative vein."

But if my father could weigh his artistic success with the precision
of a coal-heaver, who will ever be able to weigh and gauge the genius
which carries methods and philosophies and aims into an atmosphere of
wonderful power, where the sunlight and the color and the lightning
and frowning clouds transfigure the familiar things of life in
glorious haste and inspiration? While following his rules and habits
my father was constantly attended by the rapturous spirit of such a
genius, transmuting swarming reality into a few symbolic types.

Another way in which he effected telling labor was to conserve his
force in the matter of wrangling. He kept his temper. He was not
without the fires of life, but he banked them. He did not permit
disgust at others or at the adverse destiny of the moment to absorb
his vitality, by throwing it off in long harangues of rage, long
seasons of the sulks. There are no such good calculators as men of
consummate genius. They dread the squandering of energy of an Edgar
Allan Poe or of a boiling Walter Savage Landor. Temperateness implies
the control of fierce elements; and in all management of volcanic
power we perceive sweetness and beauty.

When my father handled sin, it became uncontaminating tragedy; when he
handled vulgarity, as in "The Artist of the Beautiful," it became
inevitable pathos; when he handled suspicion, as in "The Birthmark"
and "Rappaccini's Daughter," it evolved devoted trust.

The frequent question as to whether Hawthorne drew from his family or
friends in portraying human nature shows an unfamiliarity with
literary art. Portraiture is not art, in literature, though a great
artist includes it, if he chooses, in the category of his productions.
To any one permeated by the atmosphere of art (though not quite of it)
as I was, it seems strange that a truly artistic work should be
thought to be an imitation of individual models. The distance of
inspiration is the distance of a heavenly fair day, or of a night made
luminous by mystery, giving a new quality and a new species of delight
to facts about us. In reading the sympathetic merriment of the
introduction to "The Scarlet Letter," and then the story itself, we
perceive the difference between the charm of a Dutch-like realism and
the thrill of imaginative creation, which uses material made
incomprehensibly wonderful by God in order to make it comprehensibly
wonderful to men. But, of course, the material thus transmuted by the
distance of inspiration is only new and fine to men who have ears to
hear and eyes to see. My father never imitated the men and women he
met, nor man nor woman, and such conceptions of his way would bring us
to a dense forest of mistake.

In the afternoon my father went, if practicable, into the open spaces
of nature, or at least into the fresh air, to gather inspiration for
his work. He had no better or stronger or more lavish aids than air
and landscape, unless I except his cigar. He never, I think, smoked
but one cigar a day, but it was of a quality to make up for this
self-denial, and I am sure that he reserved his most puzzling literary
involutions for the delicious half-hour of this dainty enjoyment.

In 1861 and thereafter he traversed, as has been said, the wooded
hilltop behind his home, which was reached by various pretty climbing
paths that crept under larches and pines, and scraggy, goat-like
apple-trees. We could catch sight of him going back and forth up
there, with now and then a pale blue gleam of sky among the trees,
against which his figure passed clear. Along this path, made by his
own steps only, he thought out the tragedy of "Septimius Felton," who
buried the young English officer at the foot of one of the large pines
which my father saw at each return. At one end of the hilltop path was
a thicket of birch and maple trees; and at the end towards the west
and the village was the open brow of the hill, sloping rapidly to the
Lexington Road, and overlooking meadows and distant wood-ranges, some
of the cottages of humble folk, and the neighboring huge,
owlet-haunted elms of Alcott's lawn. Along this path in spring huddled
pale blue violets, of a blue that held sunlight, pure as his own eyes.
Masses also of sweet-fern grew at the side of these abundant bordering
violets, and spacious apartments of brown-floored pine groves flanked
the sweet-fern, or receded a little before heaps of blackberry
branches and simple flowers. My father's violets were the wonder of
the year to us. We never saw so many of these broad, pale-petaled ones
anywhere else, until the year of his death, when they greeted him with
their celestial color as he was borne into Sleepy Hollow, as if in
remembrance of his long companionship on The Wayside hill.

It is well with those who forget themselves in generous interest for
the hopes, possibilities, and spiritual loftiness of human beings all
over the world. Such men may remain poor, may never in life have the
full praise of their fellows; but they could easily give testimony as
to the delights of praise from God,--that which comes to our lips
after little spiritual victories, like spring water on a hot day, and
of which the workers in noble thought or adventure drink so deep.
These representative men, if they cheer their fancy with fair thoughts
of wide public approbation, choose the undying sort, that blooms like
the edelweiss beyond the dust of sudden success. Hawthorne worked hard
and nobly. Not even the mechanic who toils for his family all day, all
week-days of the year, and never swears at wife or child, toils more
nobly than this sensitive, warm-hearted, brave, recluse, much-seeing
man. He teaches the spiritual greatness of the smallest fidelity, and
the spiritual destruction in the most familiar temptations. The
Butterfly which he describes floats everywhere through his pages, and
it is broken wherever the heart of one of his characters breaks, for
there sin has clutched its victim. It floats about us lovingly to
attract our attention to higher things; and I am sure the radiant
delicacy of the winged creature throbbed on a flower near David Swan,
as he slept honestly through the perils of evil.

Every touch of inner meaning that he gives speaks of his affection,
his desire to bring us accounts of what he has learned of God's
benevolence, in his long walks on the thoroughfares and in the byways,
and over the uncontaminated open country, of human hope. Poverty,
trouble, sin, fraudulent begging, stupidity, conceit,--nothing forced
him absolutely to turn away his observation of all these usual rebuffs
to sympathy, if his inconvenience could be made another's gain. But he
was firm with a manliness that was uncringing before insolence, and
did not shrink from speaking home truths that pruned the injurious
branches of the will; yet he never could be insulting, because he had
no selfish end. As a comrade he led to higher perceptions and moods.
The men who chatted with him in the Salem Custom House, the Liverpool
Consulate, and elsewhere, never forgot that he was the most inspiring
man they had known. All this was work. The idle man, lazy in a drunken
carouse, is in a world of his own. His sphere stretches out no
connecting tendrils to the spheres of others; he seems to Us dead in
spirit; he will tell you he believes in no one's true friendship, and
wishes for no companionship; we do not know how to touch his heart,
nor in what language to make him hear when we call,--he is in Mars.
But the sentinel, still as marble, or moving like a well-adjusted
machine that will not defy law--he stirs us by his energy, his
laboring vigilance. His care for others would make him surrender his
life at once. The trusted soldier has left selfishness and cowardice
on the first tenting-ground, and works hard, though he stands
statue-like. It is his business to be of use, and he is never
useless. So with a great artist. He is brother to gentleman or churl.
Hawthorne had not an atom of the poison of contempt. As I have said
before, if he did not love stupidity, he forgave it.

He was fond of using his hands for work, too; and he had skill in
whatever he did. His activity of this manual sort may be inferred from
the fact that when a young man he gradually whittled away one of the
leaves of his writing-table, while musing over his stories. He did not
know, unpleasantly, that he was doing it. What fun he must have had!
Think of the rich scenery of thought that spread about him, the
people, the subtle motives, the eerie truths, the entrancing outlooks
into divine beauty, that entertained him as his sharp blade carved and
sliced his table, which gladly gave itself up to such destruction!
When he was writing "The Scarlet Letter," as Julian's nurse Dora long
delighted to tell, his wife with her dainty care in sewing was making
the little boy a shirt of the finest linen, and was putting in one
sleeve, while the other lay on the table. Dora saw Hawthorne, who was
reading, lay down his book and take up something which he proceeded to
cut into shreds with some small scissors that exactly suited him.

"Where can the little sleeve be which I finished, and wished to sew in
here, my love?" said his blissful wife. Hawthorne (blissfully thinking
of his novel) only half heard the question; but on the table was a
heap of delicate linen shavings, and the new scissors testified over
them.

His jack-knife was a never-ending source of pleasure, and he was
seldom without the impulse, if a good opportunity offered, to subject
a sapling to it for a whistle, or to make some other amusing trifle,
or to cut a bit of licorice with a slow, sure movement that made the
black lump most acceptable.

His mind was never in a stound. It was either observing, or using
observations. Of course he lost his way while walking, and destroyed
commonplace things while musing; and the world hung just so much the
less heavily upon his moving pinions of thought.

His diligence of mind is reported of him at an early age. His sister,
Ebie Hawthorne, gave me a bust of John Wesley, in clerical white bib,
and of a countenance much resembling Alcott's, even to the long,
white, waving hair. Its very aspect cried out, though never so
mercifully, "My sermon is endless!"

Aunt Ebie, hunching her shoulders in mirthful appreciation, said,
"Nathaniel always hated it!"

Why not? At four years of age he had already had enough of Wesley; and
my aunt, with a rejoicing laugh, described how, not being able to
induce his elders to act upon his abhorrence of the melancholy, tinted
object, at last, in dead of winter, he filled it with water through a
hole in the pedestal, which had revealed its hollowness. He then stood
the bust upside down against the wall in a cold place, confidently
awaiting the freezing of the water, in which event it was to be hoped
that the puppet sermonizer would burst, like a pitcher under similar
odds. But John Wesley never burst, to the disgust of a broader mind
and the offended wonder of childish eyes.



CHAPTER XVI

THE LEAVE-TAKING


A few words from a letter of Emerson's to my mother, written after my
father's death, will give a true impression of the friendship which
existed strongly between the two lovers of their race, who, though
they did not have time to meet often, may be said to have been
together through oneness of aim:--


CONCORD, 11th July [1864].

DEAR MRS. HAWTHORNE,--Guests and visitors prevented me from writing
you, last evening, to thank you for your note, and to say how much
pleasure it gives me, that you find succor and refreshment in
sources so pure and lofty. The very selection of his images proves
Behman poet as well as saint, yet a saint first, and poet through
sanctity. It is the true though severe test to put the Teacher to,--to
try if his solitary lessons meet our case. And for these thoughts and
experiences of which you speak, their very confines and approaches
lift us out of the world. I have twice lately proposed to see you, and
once was on my way, and unexpectedly prevented. I have had my own pain
in the loss of your husband. He was always a mine of hope to me, and
I promised myself a rich future in achieving at some day, when we
should both be less engaged to tyrannical studies and habitudes, an
unreserved intercourse with him. I thought I could well wait his time
and mine for what was so well worth waiting. And as he always appeared
to me superior to his own performances, I counted this yet untold
force an insurance of a long life. Though sternly disappointed in the
manner and working, I do not hold the guarantee less real. But I must
use an early hour to come and see you to say more.

R. W. EMERSON.

If my father expected a full renewal of comradeship with American men
of his own circle, and even the deeper pleasure of such friendship in
a maturer prime alluded to by Emerson, circumstances sadly intervened.
The thunderstorm of the war was not the only cause of his retiring
more into himself than he had done in Europe, although he felt that
sorrow heavily. Or perhaps I might say with greater correctness that
when he appeared, it was without the joyous air that he had lately
displayed in England, among his particular friends, when his literary
work was over for the time being after the finishing of "Monte Beni."
I remember that he often attended the dinners of the Saturday Club. A
bill of fare of one of the banquets, but belonging to an early date,
1852, read: "Tremont House. Paran Stevens, Proprietor. Dinner for
Twelve Persons, at three o'clock." A superb menu follows, wherein
canvas-back ducks and madeira testify to the satisfaction felt by the
gentlemen whose names my father penciled in the order in which they
sat; Mr. Emerson, Mr. Clough, Mr. Ellery Channing, Mr. Charles Sumner,
Mr. Theodore Parker, Mr. Longfellow, Mr. Lowell, Mr. Greenough, Mr.
Samuel Ward, and several others making the shining list. His keen care
for the health of his forces induced him to hold back from visits even
to his best friends, if he were very deeply at work, or paying more
rapidly than usual from his capital of physical strength, which had
now begun to sink. Lowell tried to fascinate him out of seclusion, in
the frisky letter given in "A Study of Hawthorne;" but very likely did
not gain his point, since Longfellow and others had infrequent success
in similar attempts.

I chanced to discover the impression my father made upon Dr. Holmes,
as we sat beside each other at a dinner given by the Papyrus Club of
Boston more than fifteen years ago, on ladies' night. That same
evening I dashed down a verbatim account of part of our conversation,
which I will insert here.

He passed his card over to my goblet, and took mine. "That is the
simplest way, is it not?" he asked.

"I was just going to introduce myself," said I. Then Mrs. Elizabeth
Stoddard sat down by me, and I turned to speak with her.

In a moment Dr. Holmes held my card forward again. "Now let me see!"
he said.

"And you don't know who I am, yet?" I asked.

He smiled, gazed at the card through his eyeglasses, and leaned
towards me hesitatingly. "And what _was_ your name?" he ventured.

"Rose Hawthorne."

He started, and beamed. "There!--I _thought_--but you understand
how--if I had made a mistake--Could anything have been worse if you
had _not_ been? I was looking, you know, for the resemblance. Some
look I seemed to discover, but "----

"The complexion," I helped him by interrupting, "is entirely
different."

He went on: "I was--no, I cannot say I was intimate with your
father, as others may have been; and yet a very delightful kind of
intercourse existed between us. I did not see him often; but when I
did, I had no difficulty in making him converse with me. My
intercourse with your mother was also of a very gratifying nature." To
this I earnestly replied respecting the admiration of my parents for
him. "I delighted in suggesting a train of thought to your father,"
Dr. Holmes ran on, in his exquisitely cultured way, and with the
_esprit_ which has surprised us all by its loveliness. "Perhaps he
would not answer for some time. Sometimes it was a long while before
the answer came, like an echo; but it was sure to come. It was as if
the high mountain range, you know!--_The house-wall there_ would have
rapped out a speedy, babbling response at once; but _the mountain_!--I
not long ago was visiting the Custom House at Salem, the place in
which your father discovered those mysterious records that unfolded
into 'The Scarlet Letter.' Ah, how suddenly and easily genius renders
the spot rare and full of a great and new virtue (however ordinary and
bare in reality) when _it_ has looked and dwelt! A light falls upon
the place not of land or sea! How much he did for Salem! Oh, the
purple light, the soft haze, that now rests upon our glaring New
England! He has _done_ it, and it will never be harsh country again.
How perfectly he understood Salem!"

"Salem is certainly very remarkable," I responded.

"Yes, certainly so," he agreed. "Strange folk! Salem had a type of
itself in its very harbor. The ship America, at Downer's wharf, grew
old and went to pieces in that one spot, through years. Bit by bit it
fell to atoms, but never ceded itself to the new era. So with Salem,
precisely. It is the most delightful place to visit for this reason,
because it so carefully retains the spirit of the past; and 'The House
of the Seven Gables'!" Dr. Holmes smiled, well knowing the
intangibility of that house.

Said I: "The people are rich in extraordinary oddities. At every turn
a stranger is astonished by some intense characteristic. One feels
strongly its different atmosphere."

"And their very surroundings bear them out!" Dr. Holmes cried,
vivacious in movement and glance as a boy. "Where else are the little
door-yards that hold their glint of sunlight so tenaciously, like the
still light of wine in a glass? Year after year it is ever there, the
golden square of precious sunbeams, held on the palm of the jealous
garden-patch, as we would hold the vial of radiant wine in our hand!
Do you know?" He so forcibly appealed to my ability to follow his
thought that I seemed to know anything he wished. "I hope I shall not
be doing wrong," he continued,--"I hope not,--in asking if you have
any preference among your father's books; supposing you read them,
which I believe is by no means always the case with the children of
authors."

"I am surprised by that remark. After the age of fifteen, when I read
all my father's writings except 'The Scarlet Letter,' which I was told
to reserve till I was eighteen, I did not study his books thoroughly
till several years ago, in order to cherish the enjoyment of fresh
effects,--except 'The Marble Faun,' which I think I prefer."

He answered: "I feel that 'The Scarlet Letter' is the greatest. It
will be, it seems to me, the one upon which his future renown will
rest."

I admitted that I also considered it the greatest. In the above
conversation I was entranced by what I have experienced often: the
praise of my father's personality or work (in many cases by people who
have never met him) is not only the courtesy that might be thought
decorous towards a member of his family, or the bright zest of a
student of literature, but also the glowing ardor of a creature
feeling itself a part of him in spirit; one who longs for the human
sweetness of the grasp of his hand; who longs to hear him speak, to
meet his fellowship, but finds the limit reached in saying, at a
distance of time and space, "I love him!" I have lowered my eyes
before the emotion to be observed in the faces of some of his readers
who were trying to reach him through a spoken word of eagerness. Very
few have seen him, but how glad I am to cross their paths! Dr.
Holmes's warmth of enthusiasm was so radiant that it could not be
forgotten. It lit every word with the magic of the passion we feel for
what is perfect, unique, and beyond our actual possession, now and
forever.

Towards the last an unacknowledged fear took hold of my mother's
consciousness, so that she gave every evidence of foretelling my
father's death without once presenting the possibility to herself.
This little note of mine, dated April 4, 1864, six weeks before he
died, shows the truth:--

"I am so glad that you are getting on so well; but for your own sake I
think you had better stay somewhere till you get entirely well. Mamma
thought from the last letter from Mr. Ticknor that you were not so
well; but Julian explained to her that, as Mr. Ticknor said in every
line that you were better, he did not see how it could possibly be. I
do not either."

From the first year of our return to America letters and visitors from
abroad had interrupted the sense of utter quiet; and many friends
called in amiable pilgrimage. But a week of monotony is immensely
long, and a few hours of zest are provokingly short. Nature and
seclusion are welcome when, at our option, we can bid them good-by.
All England is refreshing with the nearness of London. In the rush of
cares and interruptions which we suppose will kill the opportunity,
while we half lose ourselves and our intellectual threads of
speculation, the flowers of inspiration suddenly blow, the gems flash
color. This is a pleasant, but not always an essential satisfaction;
yet, in my father's case, I think his life suffered with peculiar
severity from the sudden clashing aside of manly interests which he
had already denied to himself, or which circumstances had denied to
him, with the utmost persistence ever known in so perceptive a genius.
He undoubtedly had a large store of inherited experiences to draw
upon; he was richly endowed with these, and could sit and walk alone,
year after year (except for occasional warm reunions with friends of
the cleanest joviality), and feel the intercourse with the world, of
his ancestors, stirring in his veins. He tells us that this was
ghostly pastime; but it is an inheritance that makes a man well
equipped and self-sustained, for all that. When too late, the great
men about him realized that they had estimated his presence very
cheaply, considering his worth. Should he frequently have sought them
out, and asked if they were inclined to spare a chat to Hawthorne; or
should they have insisted upon strengthening their greatness from his
inimitably pure and unerring perception and his never weary
imagination? It is impossible to ignore the superiority of his
simplicity of truth over the often labored searchings for it of the
men and women he knew, whose very diction shows the straining after
effect, the desire to enchant themselves with their own minds, which
is the bane of intellect, or else the uneasy skip and jump of a wit
that dares not keep still. As time ripens, these things are more and
more apparent to all, as they were to him. In a manner similar to
Emerson's, who spoke of his regret for losing the chance of
associating fully with my father, Longfellow wrote to my mother:--

CAMBRIDGE, June 23, 1864.

DEAR MRS. HAWTHORNE,--I have long been wishing to write to you, to
thank you for your kind remembrance, in sending me the volume of
Goldsmith, but I have not had the heart to do it. There are some
things that one cannot say; and I hardly need tell you how much I
value your gift, and how often I shall look at the familiar name on
the blank leaf--a name which, more than any other, links me to my
youth.

I have written a few lines trying to express the impressions of May
23, and I venture to send you a copy of them. I had rather no one
should see them but yourself; as I have also sent them to Mr. Fields
for the "Atlantic." I feel how imperfect and inadequate they are; but
I trust you will pardon their deficiencies for the love I bear his
memory. More than ever I now regret that I postponed from day to day
coming to see you in Concord, and that at last I should have seen your
house only on the outside! With deepest sympathy, Yours truly,

HENRY W. LONGFELLOW.

To go back to our Concord amusements. Mr. Bright caroled out a
greeting not very long after our return:--

WEST DERBY, September 8, 1860.

MY DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE,--Of course not!--I knew you 'd never write to
me, though you declared you would. Probably by this time you've
forgotten us all, and sent us off into mistland with Miriam and
Donatello; possibly all England looks by this time nothing but
mistland, and you believe only in Concord and its white houses, and
the asters on the hill behind your house, and the pumpkins in the
valley below. Well, at any rate I have not forgotten you or yours; and
I feel that, now you have left us, a pleasure has slipped out of our
grasp. Do you remember all our talks in that odious office of yours;
my visits to Rock-ferry; my one visit, all in the snow, to Southport;
our excursions into Wales, and through the London streets, and to
Rugby and to Cambridge; and how you plucked the laurel at Addison's
Bilton, and found the skeleton in Dr. Williams's library; and lost
your umbrella in those dark rooms in Trinity; and dined at Richmond,
and saw the old lady looking like a maid of honor of Queen Charlotte's
time; and chatted at the Cosmopolitan; and heard Tom Hughes sing the
"Tight Little Island;" and--But really I must stop, and can only trust
that now at last you will be convinced of my existence, and remember
your promise, and write me a good long letter about everything and
everybody. "The Marble Faun" [manuscript] is now in process of
binding. The photograph came just as I had begun to despair of it, and
I lost not a moment in putting the precious manuscript into my
binder's hands. I've been for a week's holiday at Tryston, and met
several friends of yours: Mr. and Mrs. Tom Hughes, Mrs. and Miss
Procter, Mrs. Milnes. The latter spoke most affectionately about you.
And so did Mrs. Ainsworth, whom I met two days ago. But she says you
promised to write her the story of the Bloody Footstep ["The Ancestral
Footstep "], and have never done it. I'm very fond of Mrs. Ainsworth;
she talks such good nonsense. She told us gravely, the other day, that
the Druses were much more interesting than the Maronites, because they
sounded like Drusus and Rome, whereas the Maronites were only like
marrons glaces, etc. The H----s are at Norris Green. Mrs. H. is
becoming "devout," and will go to church on Wednesdays and Fridays. I
want news from your side. What is Longfellow about? Tell me about
"Leaves of Grass," which I saw at Milnes's. Who and what is the
author; and who buy and who read the audacious (I use mildest epithet)
book? I must now bring this letter to an end. Emerson will have
forgotten so humble a person as I am; but I can't forget the pleasant
day I spent with him. Ask Longfellow to come over here very soon.
And for yourself, ever believe me most heartily yours,

H. A. BRIGHT.

He writes to my mother, "Thank you for the precious autograph letters,
and the signatures of the various generals in your war. . . . What a
pleasant account you give of Julian. Remember me to him. What a big
fellow he has become, and formidable. I sincerely hope he 's given up
his old wish to 'kill an Englishman, some day!' Don't forget us all,
for we think of all of you." He speaks of my father's friendship as
"the proudest treasure of my life."

A friend of Mr. Bright's pardons my father's unfeeling indifference by
a request:--


WALTHAM HOUSE, WALTHAM CROSS, August 10, 1861.

DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE,--Am I not showing my Christian charity when, in
spite of the terrible disappointment which I felt at your broken
promise to come with Bright to smoke a cigar with me about this time
last year, I entreat you, in greeting Mr. Anthony Trollope, who with
his wife is about to visit America, to give him an extra welcome and
shake of the hand, for the sake of yours most sincerely and
respectfully,

W. W. SYNGE.

I will quote two letters from Mr. Chorley, written before we left
England, to show that even writers and friends there could be a trifle
irksome in comment. My mother amused me sometimes by telling me how
she had written warringly to this noted critic (a cherished
acquaintance), when he had printed a disquisition upon "Monte Beni"
which did not hit the bull's-eye. But the last supplementary chapter
in the Romance was due to his fainting desire for more revelation,--a
chapter which my father and mother looked upon as entirely useless,
and British.

13 EATON PLACE, WEST, March 6, '60.

DEAR MRS. HAWTHORNE,--I cannot but affectionately thank you for your
remembrance of me, and your patience with my note.--If I do not return
on my own critical fancies about the "Romance" (and pray, recollect, I
am the last who would assume that critics wear a mail celestial, and
as such can do no wrong)--it may be from some knowledge, that those
who have lived with a work while it is growing--and those who greet
it, when it is born, complete into life,--cannot see with the same
eyes. I don't think, if we three sate together, and could talk the
whole dream out, a matter, by the way, hardly possible, we should have
so much difference as you fancy--so much did I enjoy, and so deeply
was I stirred by the book, that (let alone past associations and
predilections) I neither read, nor wrote (meant to write, that is) in
a caviling spirit: but that which simply and clearly seemed to present
itself in regard to a book which had possessed me (for better for
worse) in no common degree--by one on whom (I think is known) I set no
common store.--If I have seemed to yourselves hasty or superficial or
flippant--all I can say is, such was not my meaning.--Surely the best
things can bear the closest looking at,--whether as regards beauty or
blemish.--

I repeat that, while I thank you affectionately for the trouble you
have taken to expostulate with my frowardness (if so it be)--I am just
as much concerned if what was printed gave any pain. But, when I look
again (I have been interrupted twenty times since I began this)--did I
not say that Hilda was "cousin"--that is, family likeness, not
identity--though it means, what I meant, the same sort of light of
purity and grace, and redemption let into a maze, through somewhat the
same sort of chink.--I totally resist any idea of mannerism, dear
friend Hawthorne,--on your part,--and as to the story growing on you,
as you grow into it: well, I dare' say that has happened ere
this:--the best creations have come by chance: and if Hawthorne did
not mean to excite an interest when he wanted merely to make a Roman
idyl, why did we go into those Catacombs?--

Might I say (like Moliere's old woman) how earnestly I desire, that
for a second edition, a few more openings of the door should be added
to the story--towards its close?

You have been so kind in bearing with me,--in coming to me when in
London,--and in remembering the nothing I could do here to make you
welcome, as I fancied you might like best to be welcomed,--that I
venture to send you this letter out of my heart,--and if there be
nonsense in it, or what may seem spectacled critical pedantry, I must
trust to your good nature to allow for them.

Won't you come to town again? and wont you eat another cosy dinner at
my table?--And pray, dear friend Hawthorne, don't be so long
again:--and pray, once for all, recollect that you have no more
faithful nor real literary friend (perhaps, too, in other ways might I
show it) Than yours as always,

HENRY N. CHORLEY.

P. S. This is a sort of salad note, written both to "He" and "She" (as
they said in old duetts)--once again, excuse every incoherence. I am
still very ill--and have all the day been interrupted.


13 EATON PLACE, WEST, March 10, '60.

DEAR MRS. HAWTHORNE,--I assure you I feel the good nature not to be on
my side of the treaty. It is not common for a critic to get any kind
construction, or to be credited with anything save a desire to show
ingenuity, no matter whether just or unjust.--Most deeply, too, do I
feel the honor of having a suggestion such as mine adopted,--I thought
when my letter had gone that I had written in a strange, random humor,
and that had I got a "Mind your own business" sort of answer, it was
no more than such unasked-for meddling might expect. I am glad with
all my heart at what you tell me about the success of the tale. But
we really will not wait so long for number five?

To-day's train takes you my Italian story:--I had every trouble in the
world to find a publisher for it: having the gift of no-success in a
very remarkable degree. The dedication tells its own story. It was
begun in 1848:--and ended not before the Italian war broke out.--Some
of my few readers (within a dozen) are aggrieved at my having only
told part of the story of Italian patriotism.--I meant it merely as a
picture of manners: and have seen too much of the class "refugee," not
to have felt how they have as a class retarded, not aided, the cause
of real freedom and high morals. I should have sent it before, but I
always feel, like Teresa Panza, when she sent acorns to the Duchess.

You will come to town, and eat in my quiet corner before you go, I
know:--Perhaps, I may call on you at Easter: as there is just a chance
of my being at Birmingham.

There is an old house, Compton Wingates, that I very much want to see.
Has Hawthorne seen it?

Once more thank you affectionately,--these sort of passages are among
the very few set-offs to the difficulties of a harsh life and all
ungracious career. My seeing you face to face was, I assure you, one
of my best pleasures in 1859. Ever yours faithfully,

HENRY N. CHORLEY.

Hawthorne had returned, for the purpose of cherishing American loyalty
in his children, from a scene that was after his own heart, even to
the actors in it. He had hoped for quietude and the inimitable flavor
of home, of course; but this hope was chiefly a self-persuasion. The
title of his first book after returning, "Our Old Home," was a concise
confession. He would have considered it a base resource to live abroad
during the war, bringing up his son in an alien land, however dear and
related it might be to our bone and sinew; and if his children did not
enjoy the American phase of the universe in its crude stage, he, at
any rate, had done his best to make them love it. His loyalty was
always something flawless. A friend might treat him with the grossest
dishonor, but he would let you think he was himself deficient in
perception or in a proper regard for his money before he would let you
guess that his friend should be denounced. With loyal love, he had,
for his part, wound about New England the purple haze of which Dr.
Holmes spoke in ecstasy, because he had found his country standing
only half appreciated, though with a wealth of virtue and meaning that
makes her fairer every year. With love, also, he came home, after
having barely tasted the delights of London and Oxford completeness.

In Concord he entered upon a long renunciation. Of necessity this was
beneficial to his art. He was now fully primed with observation, and
"The Dolliver Romance," hammered out from several beginnings that he
successively cast aside, appeared so exquisitely pure and fine because
of the hush of fasting and reflection which environed the worker. It
is the unfailing history of great souls that they seem to destroy
themselves most in relation to the world's happiness when they most
deserve and acquire a better reward. He was starving, but he steadily
wrote. He was weary of the pinched and unpromising condition of our
daily life, but he smiled, and entertained us and guided us with
unflagging manliness, though with longer and longer intervals of
wordless reserve. I was never afraid to run to him for his sympathy,
as he sat reading in an easy-chair, in some one of those positions of
his which looked as if he could so sit and peruse till the end of
time. I knew that his response would be so cordially given that it
would brim over me, and so melodiously that it would echo in my heart
for a great while; yet it would be as brief as the single murmurous
stroke of one from a cathedral tower, half startling by its intensity,
but which attracts the birds, who wing by preference to that lofty
spot. A source of deep enjoyment to my father was a long visit from
his sister, Ebie Hawthorne (he having given her that pretty title
instead of any other abbreviation of Elizabeth). I came to know her
very well in after-years, and was astonished at her magic resemblance
to my father in many ways. I always felt her unmistakable power. She
was chock-full of worldly wisdom, though living in the utmost monastic
retirement, only allowing herself to browse in two wide regions,--the
woods and literature. She knew the latest news from the papers, and
the oldest classics alongside of them. She was potentially, we
thought, rather hazardous, or perverse. But language refuses to
explain her. Her brother seemed not to dream of this, yet no doubt
relished the fact that a nature as unique as any he had drawn sparkled
in his sister. She was a good deal unspiritual in everything; but all
besides in her was fine mind, wisdom, and loving-kindness of a lazy,
artistic sort. That is to say, she was unregenerate, but excellent;
and she fascinated like a wood-creature seldom seen and observant,
refined and untrained. My sister was devoted to her, and says, for
the hundredth time, in a passage among many pages of their
correspondence bequeathed to me:--

My OWN DEAR AUNTIE,--I was made very happy by your letter this week.
What perfectly charming letters you write! Now, don't laugh and say I
am talking nonsense; it is really true. You make the simplest things
interesting by your way of telling them; and your observations and
humor are so keen that I often feel sorry the world does not know
something of them. I never remember you to have told me anything
twice, and that can be said of very few people; but there are few
enough people in the least like you, my dearest auntie. . . .

Aunt Ebie did not look romantic, or, exactly mysterious, as I first
saw her. But she puzzled me splendidly nevertheless. She was knitting
some very heavy blue socks in our library, and her needles were
extremely large and shining. I do not know why she had undertaken this
prosaic occupation. Everybody was, to be sure, knitting socks for the
soldiers at that time; but somehow aunt Ebie did not strike me as
absolutely benevolent, and I doubt if she would have labored very
eagerly for a soldier whom she had never seen. She desired to teach
me to knit; and, as I was really afraid of her, I pretended to be
anxious to learn.

I had been told that it was almost an impossibility to get her to
travel even a few miles; that the excitement of change and crowds, and
danger from steam and horse, made her extremely tremulous and
wretched. I was the more impressed by these quavers in her because I
also knew that she had sufficient strength of character to upset a
kingdom, if she chose; that she could use a sceptre of keen sarcasm
which made heads roll off on all sides; that there was nothing which
her large, lustrous eyes could not see, and nothing they could not
conceal. To think, then, that she trembled beside a steam-engine made
her a problem.

She wore a quaintly round dress of lightish-brown mohair, which would
not fall into graceful folds. So there she sat in the little library,
knitting Titanically; and I sat alone with her, learning to round
Hatteras at the heel in a swirl of contradictory impressions. I felt
that she ought to have been dressed in soft dark silks, with a large,
half-idle fan before her lips.

She quickly saw that I was a miniature mystery/ myself, and presently
got me out into the woods. Here I came into contact with her for the
first time.

She stepped along under the trees with great deliberation, holding up
the inflexible mohair skirt as if it could tear on brambles or in
gales, and looking around quickly and ardently at the sound of a
bird-note or the glance of a squirrel-leap; her great eyes peering for
a moment from their widely opened lids, and then disappearing utterly
again under those white veils. Her dark brown, long lashes and broadly
sweeping eyebrows were distinct against the pallor of her skin, which
was so delicately clear, yet vigorous, that I felt its gleam as one
feels the moon, even if I were not looking directly at her. By and by
her cheeks took on a dawn-flush of beautiful pink. The perfection of
her health was shown, until her last sickness, by this girlish glow of
color in her wood-rambles.

Long before we had arrived at a particularly nice flower or species of
moss, she knew it was to be found, and gathered it up as Fate makes a
clean sweep of all its opportunities. I was almost as happy when out
of doors with her as when I was with my father. She had the same
eloquence in her silences; and when she spoke, it was with a sympathy
that played upon one's whole perception, as a harp is swept
inclusively of every string by an eager hurry of music. Still, aunt
Ebie seemed to love moss and leaves as much as some people love souls,
and I thought she had chosen them as the least dangerous objects of
affection; whereas my father seemed most to love souls, and would have
saved mine or another's at the expense of all the forests and vines of
Eden.

To Miss Peabody I wrote of this visit in a manner which shows its
reviving effect upon me:--

MY DEAR AUNT LIZZIE,--I like to get your letters, as they tell about
everything which everybody does not do. What a pleasant time I did
have with aunt Ebie Hawthorne last summer! It was last summer; and all
the lovely flowers were nodding, and the sun shone with all its might,
and we each took a basket and a book and stayed all the afternoon. We
brought home heaps of flowers and greens. I never had such a pleasant
time here in the woods. In England my nurse Fanny and I used to take
long walks on Sunday through the lanes, or into the parks; and take
baskets and pick baskets full of daisies, pink-and-white. Then we
went into the endless lanes, long, without a single sign of house or
cottage (until we came to walk so far as to come to a little village).
Nobody came along in rattling gigs or carriages; on Sunday you would
not meet a person. With great ditches on each side, filled with tall
grass as high as yourself, if you chose to get down into it. But I
used to jump across, to get wild hawthorn and rose and honeysuckle and
wall-flowers, and make great bunches of them. And then the buttercups
and daisies and violets in the green grass! For in the lanes there was
not a sign of earth,--all high, green grass. The sun shining so hot
that you could go in your house-dress but for the properness of it.
But I cannot explain and you cannot imagine; you must go to the place
and look for yourself, and then you will know all about it. The parks
are not level at all, but are nothing but high hills all
together,--dear!--so lovely to run down and roll over on, and skip
rope and jump!

My father began to express his wishes in regard to provision for our
aunt in case of his death; to burn old letters; and to impart to my
mother and Una all that he particularly desired to say to them, among
other things his dislike of biographies, and that he forbade any such
matter in connection with himself in any distance of the future. This
command, respected for a number of years, has been, like all such
forcible and prophetic demurs, most signally set aside. It would take
long to explain my own modifications of opinion from arguments of
fierce resistance to the request for a biographical handling of him;
and it matters, no doubt, very little. Such a man must be thoroughly
known, as great saints are always sooner or later known, though
endeavoring to hide their victories of holiness and charity. Certainly
my father did not like to die, though he now wished to do so. My
mother, later, often spoke, in consolation for us and for herself, of
his dread of helpless old age; and she tried to be glad that his
desire to disappear before decrepitude had been fulfilled. But such
wise wishes are not carried out as we might choose. The sudden
transformation which took place in my father after his coming to
America was like an instant's change in the atmosphere from sunshine
to dusky cold. I have never had the least difficulty in explaining it
to myself.

One large item in the sum of his regrets was his unexpectedly narrowed
means. It would have required a generous amount of money to put The
Wayside and its grounds into the delectable order at first
contemplated, to bring them into any sort of English perfection, and
my parents found that they could not afford it; and so all resulted in
semi-comfort and rough appearances. This narrowing of means was caused
not a little by the want of veracity of a person whom my father had
trusted with entire affection and a very considerable loan, about
which we none of us ever heard again. A crust becomes more than
proverbially dry under these circumstances.

My mother bore every reverse nobly. She writes, after her husband's
death: "I have 'enjoyed life,' and 'its hard pinches' have not too
deeply bitten into my heart. But this has been because I am not only
hopeful and of indomitable credence by nature, but because this
temperament, together with the silent ministry of pain, has helped me
to the perfect, the unshadowed belief in the instant providence of
God; in his eternal love, patience, sweetness; in his shining face,
never averted. It is because I cannot be disappointed on account of
this belief. To stand and wait after doing all that is legitimate is
my instinct, my best wisdom, my inspiration; and I always hear the
still, small voice at last. If man would not babble so much, we could
much oftener hear God. The lesson of my life has been patience. It
has only made me feel the more humble that God has been so beyond
count benignant to me. I have been cushioned and pillowed with tender
love from the cradle. Such a mother seldom falls to the lot of
mortals. She was the angel of my life. Her looks and tones and her
acts of high-bred womanhood were the light and music and model of my
childhood. Then God joined my destiny with him who was to be all
relations in one. Pain passed away when my husband came. Poverty was
lighter than a thistle-down with such a power of felicity to uphold
it. With 'lowering clouds' I have never been long darkened, because
the sun above has been so penetrating that their tissue has directly
become silvered and goldened. Our own closed eyelids are too often the
only clouds between us and the ever-shining sun. I hold all as if it
were not mine, but God's, and ready to resign it."

It seemed to me a terrible thing that one so peculiarly strong,
sentient, luminous, as my father should grow feebler and fainter, and
finally ghostly still and white. Yet when his step was tottering and
his frame that of a wraith, he was as dignified as in the days of
greater pride, holding himself, in military self-command, even more
erect than before. He did not omit to come in his very best black coat
to the dinner-table, where the extremely prosaic fare had no effect
upon the distinction of the meal. He hated failure, dependence, and
disorder, broken rules and weariness of discipline, as he hated
cowardice. I cannot express how brave he seemed to me. The last time I
saw him, he was leaving the house to take the journey for his health
which led suddenly to the next world. My mother was to go to the
station with him,--she who, at the moment when it was said that he
died, staggered and groaned, though so far from him, telling us that
something seemed to be sapping all her strength; I could hardly bear
to let my eyes rest upon her shrunken, suffering form on this day of
farewell. My father certainly knew, what she vaguely felt, that he
would never return.

Like a snow image of an unbending but an old, old man, he stood for a
moment gazing at me. My mother sobbed, as she walked beside him to the
carriage. We have missed him in the sunshine, in the storm, in the
twilight, ever since.



INDEX OF PERSONS
[online ed: page numbers have been omitted.]

Aikens, Mr.

Ainsworth, Mrs.

Alcott, A. Bronson

Alcott, Mrs. A, B.

Alcott, Louisa M.

Alderson, Baron

Allston, Washington

Appleton, Thomas G.

Atherton, Mr.

Bacon, Miss Delia

Bancroft, George

Barber, Mr.

Barstow, B.

Barstow, Ellen

Bartol, Mr.

Bartol, Mrs.

Bennoch, Francis

Birch, Sir Thomas

Blodget, Mrs.

Boott, Miss Elizabeth

Boott, Frank

Bradford, George

Bremer, Miss Frederika

Bridge, Horatio

Bridge, Mrs. Horatio

Bright, Henry

Browne, William

Browning, Mr.

Browning, Mrs.

Brownson, Orestes

Bryant, Mr. and Miss

Buchanan, President

Burchmore, Captain Stephen

Burchmore, T.

Burley, Miss

Burns, Colonel, 244.

Burns, Major

Capen, Dr.

Cecil, Mr.

Channing, Dr.

Channing, Dr. W. E.

Channing, Edward

Channing, Ellery

Chorley, Henry N,

Clarke, Sarah

Cleveland, Henry

Clough, A. H.

Cochran, Misses

Colton, Mr.

Crampton, Mr.

Cranch, Christopher P.

Crauch, Judge

Crawford, Mr.

Crittendon, Mr.

Curtis, Burrill

Curtis, George W.

Cushman, Charlotte

De Quincey, Thomas

Dike, Mr.

Doughty, Mr.

Duffcrin, Lord

Dysie, Mr.

Ely, Mrs. R. S.

Emerson, Charles

Emerson, Mrs. R. W.

Emerson, R. W.

Fields, James T.

Fields, Mrs. James T.

Fleming, Lady le

Foote, Mrs. Caleb

Fuller, Margaret

Gardiner, Miss Sally

Gaskell, Mrs.

Goodrich, S. G.

Greene, Mrs. Anna

Greenough, Mr,

H., Mrs.

Hawthorne, Mrs.

Hawthorne, Elizabeth M.

Hawthorne, Louisa

Hillard, George S,

Hiliard, Mrs, Susan

Hoar, E. Rockwood

Hoar, Miss Elizabeth

Holden, George H.

Holland, Mr. and Mrs. Charles

Holmes, Dr. O. W.

Hooper, Ellen

Hooper, Samuel

Hosmer, Harriet

Hosmer, Mr.

Houghton, Lord

Howes, Mr.

Hughes, Thomas

Jackson, Miss

James, G. P. R.

Jerdan, William

Jones, George

King, John

Lane, Miss Harriet

Leitch, Captain

Lincoln, President

Lindsay, Richard

Littledale, Mr.

Liverpool, Mayor of

Longfellow, Henry W.

Loring, Dr. George

Loring, Mrs. George B.

Lowell, James R.

Lowell, Mrs. James R.

Lynch, Miss

Mann, Horace

Mann, Mrs. Horace

Manning, Miss Mary

Manning, Richard

Manning, Samuel

Mansfield, L. W.

Martineau, Miss Harriet

Martineau, Mrs. James

Melville, Herman

Meredith, Mr.

Miller, Colonel

Miller, Mr.

Miller, Mrs.

Mills, Mr.

Mitchell, Miss Maria

Moore, Bramley

Motley, John Lothrop

Motley, Mrs. J. L.

Mullet, George W.

Nurse, Rebecca

Ogden, Mr.

O'Sullivan, John

Palmer, General

Palmer, Mrs. General

Parker, Theodore

Peabody, Dr.

Peabody, Elizabeth P.

Peabody, George

Peabody, Mary T.

Peabody, Mrs.

Phillebrown, Mr.

Phillips, Jonathan

Pierce, President

Pike, William B.

Porter, Mary A.

Powers, Hiram

Prescott, Mrs.

Procter, It. W.

Putnam, Captain

Rathbone, Mrs. Richard

Rathbone, Mrs. William

Sanders, Mrs.

Sedgwick, Mrs.

Seymour, Governor, 364.

Shaw, Miss Anna

Shaw, Frank

Shaw, Sarah

Shepard, Miss Ada

Silsbee, Mr.

Squarey, Mr.

Squarey, Mrs.

Stevens, Paran

Stoddard, Mrs. Elizabeth

Story, William W.

Sturgis, M. L.

Sturgis, Mrs. Russell

Sumner, Charles

Synge, W. W.

Tabley, Lord Warremore de

Talfourd, Field

Talfourd, Sir Thomas

Tappan, Mr.

Tappan, Mrs.

Tennyson, Lord

Thompson, C. G.

Thoreau, Henry D.

Ticknor, George

Thaxter, Mr. and Mrs.

Upham, C. W.

Very, Jones

Ward, Mr. Samuel G.

Ward, Mrs. S. G.

Warren, Samuel,

Webster, Daniel,

Whipple, Colonel,

White, William,

Wordsworth, Mrs.





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