Infomotions, Inc.The Life and Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne / Stearns, Frank Preston, 1846-1917



Author: Stearns, Frank Preston, 1846-1917
Title: The Life and Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne
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Title: The Life and Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne

Author: Frank Preston Stearns

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THE
LIFE AND GENIUS
OF
NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE



BY
FRANK PRESTON STEARNS

AUTHOR OF "THE REAL AND IDEAL IN LITERATURE," "LIFE OF
TINTORETTO," "LIFE OF BISMARCK," "TRUE REPUBLICANISM," "CAMBRIDGE
SKETCHES," ETC.



[Illustration: Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Frances Osborne Portrait: by
permission of the Essex Institute.]

INSCRIBED

TO
EMILIA MACIEL STEARNS

                       "In the elder days of art
                        Builders wrought with greatest care
                        Each minute and unseen part,--
                        For the gods see everywhere."
                                           --_Longfellow_

               "Oh, happy dreams of such a soul have I,
                And softly to myself of him I sing,
                Whose seraph pride all pride doth overwing;
                Who stoops to greatness, matches low with high,
                And as in grand equalities of sky,
                Stands level with the beggar and the king."
                                           --_Wasson_




Preface


The simple events of Nathaniel Hawthorne's life have long been before
the public. From 1835 onward they may easily be traced in the various
Note-books, which have been edited from his diary, and previous to that
time we are indebted for them chiefly to the recollections of his two
faithful friends, Horatio Bridge and Elizabeth Peabody. These were
first systematised and published by George P. Lathrop in 1872, but a
more complete and authoritative biography was issued by Julian
Hawthorne twelve years later, in which, however, the writer has
modestly refrained from expressing an opinion as to the quality of his
father's genius, or from attempting any critical examination of his
father's literary work. It is in order to supply in some measure this
deficiency, that the present volume has been written. At the same time,
I trust to have given credit where it was due to my predecessors, in
the good work of making known the true character of so rare a genius
and so exceptional a personality.

The publication of Horatio Bridge's memoirs and of Elizabeth Manning's
account of the boyhood of Hawthorne have placed before the world much
that is new and valuable concerning the earlier portion of Hawthorne's
life, of which previous biographers could not very well reap the
advantage. I have made thorough researches in regard to Hawthorne's
American ancestry, but have been able to find no ground for the
statements of Conway and Lathrop, that William Hathorne, their first
ancestor on this side of the ocean, was directly connected with the
Quaker persecution. Some other mistakes, like Hawthorne's supposed
connection with the duel between Cilley and Graves, have also been
corrected.

                                                          F. P. S.




CONTENTS


CHAPTER

    I. SALEM AND THE HATHORNES: 1630-1800
   II. BOYHOOD OF HAWTHORNE: 1804-1821
  III. BOWDOIN COLLEGE: 1821-1825
   IV. LITTLE MISERY: 1825-1835
    V. EOS AND EROS: 1835-1839
   VI. PEGASUS AT THE CART: 1839-1841
  VII. HAWTHORNE AS A SOCIALIST: 1841-1842
 VIII. CONCORD AND THE OLD MANSE: 1842-1845
   IX. "MOSSES FROM AN OLD MANSE": 1845
    X. FROM CONCORD TO LENOX: 1845-1849
   XI. PEGASUS IS FREE: 1850-1852
  XII. THE LIVERPOOL CONSULATE: 1852-1854
 XIII. HAWTHORNE IN ENGLAND: 1854-1858
  XIV. ITALY
   XV. HAWTHORNE AS ART CRITIC: 1858
  XVI. "THE MARBLE FAUN": 1859-1860
 XVII. HOMEWARD BOUND: 1860-1862
XVIII. IMMORTALITY

       PORTRAITS OF HAWTHORNE
       EDITIONS OF HAWTHORNE'S BOOKS PUBLISHED UNDER HIS OWN DIRECTION.
       MRS. EMERSON AND MRS. HAWTHORNE
       APPENDICES


List of Illustrations

PORTRAIT OF HAWTHORNE, BY FRANCES OSBORNE IN 1893
HAWTHORNE'S BIRTHPLACE
HORATIO BRIDGE, FROM THE PORTRAIT BY EASTMAN JOHNSON
HAWTHORNE, FROM THE PORTRAIT BY CHARLES OSGOOD IN 1840
THE OLD MANSE, RESIDENCE OF DR. RIPLEY
THE CUSTOM HOUSE, SALEM, MASS
THE WAYSIDE
GUIDO RENI'S PORTRAIT OF BEATRICE CENCI
STATUE OF PRAXITELES' RESTING FAUN
TORRE MEDIAVALLE DELLA SCIMMIA (HILDA'S TOWER) IN ROME




THE LIFE AND GENIUS OF NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE





CHAPTER I

SALEM AND THE HATHORNES: 1630-1800


The three earliest settlements on the New England coast were Plymouth,
Boston, and Salem; but Boston soon proved its superior advantages to
the two others, not only from its more capacious harbor, but also from
the convenient waterway which the Charles River afforded to the
interior of the Colony. We find that a number of English families, and
among them the ancestors of Gen. Joseph Warren and Wendell Phillips,
who crossed the ocean in 1640 in the "good ship Arbella," soon
afterward migrated to Watertown on Charles River for the sake of the
excellent farming lands which they found there. Salem, however,
maintained its ascendency over Plymouth and other neighboring harbors
on the coast, and soon grew to be the second city of importance in the
Colony during the eighteenth century, when the only sources of wealth
were fishing, shipbuilding, and commerce. Salem nourished remarkably.
Its leading citizens became wealthy and developed a social aristocracy
as cultivated, as well educated, and, it may also be added, as
fastidious as that of Boston itself. In this respect it differed widely
from the other small cities of New England, and the exclusiveness of
its first families was more strongly marked on account of the limited
size of the place. Thus it continued down to the middle of the last
century, when railroads and the tendency to centralization began to
draw away its financial prosperity, and left the city to small
manufactures and its traditional respectability.

The finest examples of American eighteenth century architecture are
supposed to exist in and about the city of Salem, and they have the
advantage, which American architecture lacks so painfully at the
present time, of possessing a definite style and character--edifices
which are not of a single type, like most of the houses in Fifth
Avenue, but which, while differing in many respects, have a certain
general resemblance, that places them all in the same category. The
small old country churches of Essex County are not distinguished for
fine carving or other ornamentation, and still less by the costliness
of their material, for they are mostly built of white pine, but they
have an indefinable air of pleasantness about them, as if they graced
the ground they stand on, and their steeples seem to float in the air
above us. If we enter them on a Sunday forenoon--for on week-days they
are like a sheepfold without its occupants--we meet with much the same
kind of pleasantness in the assemblage there. We do not find the deep
religious twilight of past ages, or the noonday glare of a fashionable
synagogue, but a neatly attired congregation of weather-beaten farmers
and mariners, and their sensible looking wives, with something of the
original Puritan hardness in their faces, much ameliorated by the
liberalism and free thinking of the past fifty years. Among them too
you will see some remarkably pretty young women; and young men like
those who dug the trenches on Breed's Hill in the afternoon of June 16,
1775. There may be veterans in the audience who helped Grant to go to
Richmond. Withal there is much of the spirit of the early Christians
among them, and virtue enough to save their country in any emergency.

These old churches have mostly disappeared from Salem city and have
been replaced by more aristocratic edifices, whose square or octagonal
towers are typical of their leading parishioners,--a dignified class,
if somewhat haughty and reserved; but they too will soon belong to the
past, drawn off to the great social centres in and about Boston. In the
midst of Salem there is a triangular common, "with its never-failing
elms," where the boys large and small formerly played cricket--married
men too--as they do still on the village greens of good old England,
and around this enclosure the successful merchants and navigators of
the city built their mansion houses; not half houses like those in the
larger cities, but with spacious halls and rooms on either side going
up three stories. It is in the gracefully ornamented doorways and the
delicate interior wood-work, the carving of wainscots, mantels and
cornices, the skilful adaptations of classic forms to a soft and
delicate material that the charm of this architecture chiefly
consists,--especially in the staircases, with their carved spiral posts
and slender railings, rising upward in the centre of the front hall,
and turning right and left on the story above. It is said that after
the year eighteen hundred the quality of this decoration sensibly
declined; it was soon replaced by more prosaic forms, and now the tools
no longer exist that can make it. Sir Christopher Wren and Inigo Jones
would have admired it. America, excepting in New York City, escaped the
false rococo taste of the eighteenth century.

The Salem sea-captains of old times were among the boldest of our early
navigators; sailing among the pirates of the Persian Gulf and trading
with the cannibals of Polynesia, and the trophies which they brought
home from those strange regions, savage implements of war and domestic
use, clubs, spears, boomerangs, various cooking utensils, all carved
with infinite pains from stone, ebony and iron-wood, cloth from the
bark of the tapa tree, are now deposited in the Peabody Academy, where
they form one of the largest collections of the kind extant. Even more
interesting is the sword of a sword-fish, pierced through the oak
planking of a Salem vessel for six inches or more. No human force could
do that even with a spear of the sharpest steel. Was the sword-fish
roused to anger when the ship came upon him sleeping in the water; or
did he mistake it for a strange species of whale?

There is a court-house on Federal Street, built in Webster's time, of
hard cold granite in the Grecian fashion of the day, not of the white
translucent marble with which the Greeks would have built it. Is it the
court-house where Webster made his celebrated argument in the White
murder case, or was that court-house torn down and a plough run through
the ground where it stood, as Webster affirmed that it ought to be?
Salem people were curiously reticent in regard to that trial, and
fashionable society there did not like Webster the better for having
the two Knapps convicted.

Much more valuable than such associations is William Hunt's full-length
portrait of Chief Justice Shaw, which hangs over the judge's bench in
the front court-room. "When I look at your honor I see that you are
homely, but when I think of you I know that you are great." it is this
combination of an unprepossessing physique with rare dignity of
character which Hunt has represented in what many consider the best of
American portraits. It is perhaps too much in the sketchy style of
Velasquez, but admirable for all that.

Time has dealt kindly with Salem, in effacing all memorials of the
witchcraft persecution, except a picturesque old house at the corner of
North and Essex Streets, where there are said to have been preliminary
examinations for witchcraft,--a matter which concerns us now but
slightly. The youthful associations of a genius are valuable to us on
account of the influence which they may be supposed to have had on his
early life, but associations which have no determining consequences may
as well be neglected. The hill where those poor martyrs to superstition
were executed may be easily seen on the left of the city, as you roll
in on the train from Boston. It is part of a ridge which rises between
the Concord and Charles Rivers and extends to Cape Ann, where it dives
into the ocean, to reappear again like a school of krakens, or other
marine monsters, in the Isles of Shoals.

New England has not the fertile soil of many sections of the United
States, and its racking climate is proverbial, but it is blessed with
the two decided advantages of pure water and fine scenery. There is no
more beautiful section of its coast than that between Salem Harbor and
Salisbury Beach, long stretches of smooth sand alternating with bold
rocky promontories. A summer drive from Swampscott to Marblehead
reminds one even of the Bay of Naples (without Vesuvius), and the
wilder coast of Cape Ann, with its dark pines, red-roofed cottages, and
sparkling surf, is quite as delightful. William Hunt went there in the
last sad years of his life to paint "sunshine," as he said; and
Whittier has given us poetic touches of the inland scenery in elevated
verse:

                "Fleecy clouds casting their shadows
                 Over uplands and meadows;
                 And country roads winding as roads will,
                 Here to a ferry, there to a mill."

Poets arise where there is poetic nourishment, internal and external,
for them to feed on; and it is not surprising that a Whittier and a
Hawthorne should have been evolved from the environment in which they
grew to manhood.

It is a common saying with old Boston families that their ancestors
came to America in the "Arbella" with Governor Winthrop, but as a
matter of fact there were at least fifteen vessels that brought
colonists to Massachusetts in 1630, and I cannot discover that any
lists of their passengers have been preserved. The statement that
certain persons came over at the same time with Governor Winthrop might
soon become a tradition that they came in the same ship with him; but
all that we know certainly is that Governor Winthrop landed about the
middle of June, 1630, and that his son arrived two weeks later in the
"Talbot," and was drowned July 2, while attempting to cross one of the
tide rivers at Salem. Who arrived in the thirteen other vessels that
year we know not. Ten years later Sir Richard Saltonstall emigrated to
Boston with the Phillips and Warren families in the "Arbella" (or
"Arabella"), and there is no telling how much longer she sailed the
ocean.

Hawthorne himself states that his ancestors came from Wig Castle in
Wigton in Warwickshire, [Footnote: Diary, August 22, 1837.] but no such
castle has been discovered, and the only Wigton in England appears to
be located in Cumberland. [Footnote: Lathrop's "Study of Hawthorne,"
46.] He does not tell us where he obtained this information, and it
certainly could not have been from authentic documents,--more likely
from conversation with an English traveller. Hawthorne never troubled
himself much concerning his ancestry, English or American; while he was
consul at Liverpool, he had exceptional advantages for investigating
the subject, but whatever attempt he made there resulted in nothing. It
is only recently that Mr. Henry F. Waters, who spent fifteen years in
England searching out the records of old New England families,
succeeded in discovering the connecting link between the first American
Hawthornes and their relatives in the old country. It was a bill of
exchange for one hundred pounds drawn by William Hathorne, of Salem,
payable to Robert Hathorne in London, and dated October 19, 1651, which
first gave Mr. Waters the clue to his discovery. Robert not only
accepted his brother's draft, but wrote him this simple and business-
like but truly affectionate epistle in return:


"GOOD BROTHER: Remember my love to my sister, my brother John and
sister, my brother Davenport and sister and the rest of our friends.

                  "In haste I rest
                       "Your loving brother,

"From Bray this 1 April, 1653.     ROBERT HATHORNE."


From this it appears that Major William Hathorne not only had a brother
John, who established himself in Lynn, but a sister Elizabeth, who
married Richard Davenport, of Salem. Concerning Robert Hathorne we only
know further that he died in 1689; but in the probate records of
Berkshire, England, there is a will proved May 2, 1651, of William
Hathorne, of Binfield, who left all his lands, buildings and tenements
in that county to his son Robert, on condition that Robert should pay
to his father's eldest son, William, one hundred pounds, and to his son
John twenty pounds sterling. He also left to another son, Edmund,
thirty acres of land in Bray, and there are other legacies; but it
cannot be doubted that the hundred pounds mentioned in this will is the
same that Major William Hathorne drew for five months later, and that
we have identified here the last English ancestor of Nathaniel
Hawthorne. His wife's given name was Sarah, but her maiden name still
remains unknown. The family resided chiefly at Binfield, on the borders
of Windsor Park, and evidently were in comfortable circumstances at
that time. From William Hathorne, senior, their genealogy has been
traced back to John Hathorne (spelled at that time Hothorne), who died
in 1520, but little is known of their affairs, or how they sustained
themselves during the strenuous vicissitudes of the Reformation.
[Footnote: "Hawthorne Centenary at Salem," 81.]

Emmerton and Waters [Footnote: "English Records about New England
Families."] state that William Hathorne came to Massachusetts Bay in
1630, and this is probable enough, though by no means certain, for they
give no authority for it. We first hear of him definitely as a
freeholder in the settlement of Dorchester in 1634, but his name is not
on the list of the first twenty-four Dorchester citizens, dated October
19, 1630. All accounts agree that he moved to Salem in 1636, or the
year following, and Nathaniel Hawthorne believed that he came to
America at that time. Upham, the historian of Salem witchcraft, who has
made the most thorough researches in the archives of old Salem
families, says of William Hathorne:

"William Hathorne appears on the church records as early as 1636. He
died in June, 1681, seventy-four years of age. No one in our annals
fills a larger space. As soldier, commanding important and difficult
expeditions, as counsel in cases before the courts, as judge on the
bench, and innumerable other positions requiring talent and
intelligence, he was constantly called to serve the public. He was
distinguished as a public speaker, and is the only person, I believe,
of that period, whose reputation as an orator has come down to us. He
was an Assistant, that is, in the upper branch of the Legislature,
seventeen years. He was a deputy twenty years. When the deputies, who
before sat with the assistants, were separated into a distinct body,
and the House of Representatives thus came into existence, in 1644,
Hathorne was their first Speaker. He occupied the chair, with
intermediate services on the floor from time to time, until raised to
the other House. He was an inhabitant of Salem Village, having his farm
there, and a dwelling-house, in which he resided when his legislative,
military, and other official duties permitted. His son John, who
succeeded him in all his public honors, also lived on his own farm in
the village a great part of the time." [Footnote: "Salem Witchcraft,"
i. 99.]

Evidently he was the most important person in the colony, next to
Governor Winthrop, and unequalled by any of his descendants, except
Nathaniel Hawthorne, and by him in a wholly different manner; for it is
in vain that we seek for traits similar to those of the great romance
writer among his ancestors. We can only say that they both possessed
exceptional mental ability, and there the comparison ends.

The attempt has been made to connect William Hathorne with the
persecution of the Quakers, [Footnote: Conway's "Life of Hawthorne,"
15.] and it is true that he was a member of the Colonial Assembly
during the period of the persecution; it is likely that his vote
supported the measures in favor of it, but this is not absolutely
certain. We do not learn that he acted at any time in the capacity of
sheriff; the most diligent researches in the archives of the State
House at Boston have failed to discover any direct connection on the
part of William Hathorne with that movement; and the best authorities
in regard to the events of that time make no mention of him. [Footnote:
Sewel, Hallowell, Ellis.] It was the clergy who aroused public opinion
and instigated the prosecutions against both the Quakers and the
supposed witches of Salem, and the civil authorities were little more
than passive instruments in their hands. Hathorne's work was
essentially a legislative one,--a highly important work in that wild,
unsettled country,--to adapt English statutes and legal procedures to
new and strange conditions. He was twice Speaker of the House between
1660 and 1671, and as presiding officer he could exert less influence
on measures of expediency than any other person present, as he could
not argue either for or against them. And yet, after Charles II. had
interfered in behalf of the Quakers, William Hathorne wrote an
elaborate and rather circuitous letter to the British Ministry, arguing
for non-intervention in the affairs of the colony, which might have
possessed greater efficacy if he had not signed it with an assumed
name. [Footnote: J. Hawthorne's "Nathaniel Hawthorne," i. 24.] However
strong a Puritan he may have been, William Hathorne evidently had no
intention of becoming a martyr to the cause of colonial independence.
Yet it may be stated in his favor, and in that of the colonists
generally, that the fault was not wholly on one side, for the Quakers
evidently sought persecution, and would have it, cost what it might.
[Footnote: Hallowell's "Quaker Invasion of New England."] Much the same
may be affirmed of his son John, who had the singular misfortune to be
judge in Salem at the time of the witchcraft epidemic. The belief in
witchcraft has always had its stronghold among the fogs and gloomy
fiords of the North. James I. brought it with him from Scotland to
England, and in due course it was transplanted to America. Judge
Hathorne appears to have been at the top of affairs at Salem in his
time, and it is more than probable that another in his place would have
found himself obliged to act as he did. Law is, after all, in
exceptional cases little more than a reflex of public opinion. "The
common law," said Webster, "is common-sense," which simply means the
common opinion of the most influential people. Much more to blame than
John Hathorne were those infatuated persons who deceived themselves
into thinking that the pains of rheumatism, neuralgia, or some similar
malady were caused by the malevolent influence of a neighbor against
whom they had perhaps long harbored a grudge. _They_ were the true
witches and goblins of that epoch, and the only ones, if any, who ought
to have been hanged for it.

What never has been reasoned up cannot be reasoned down. It seems
incredible in this enlightened era, as the newspapers call it, that any
woman should be at once so inhuman and so frivolous as to swear away
the life of a fellow-creature upon an idle fancy; and yet, even in
regard to this, there were slightly mitigating conditions. Consider
only the position of that handful of Europeans in this vast wilderness,
as it then was. The forests came down to the sea-shore, and brought
with them all the weird fancies, terrors and awful forebodings which
the human mind could conjure up. They feared the Indians, the wild
beasts, and most of all one another, for society was not yet
sufficiently organized to afford that repose and contentment of spirit
which they had left behind in the Old World. They had come to America
to escape despotism, but they had brought despotism in their own
hearts. They could escape from the Stuarts, but there was no escape
from human nature.

It is likely that their immediate progenitors would not have carried
the witchcraft craze to such an extreme. The emigrating Puritans were a
fairly well-educated class of men and women, but their children did not
enjoy equal opportunities. The new continent had to be subdued
physically and reorganized before any mental growth could be raised
there. Levelling the forest was a small matter beside clearing the land
of stumps and stones. All hands were obliged to work hard, and there
was little opportunity for intellectual development or social culture.
As a logical consequence, an era ensued not unlike the dark ages of
Europe. But this was essential to the evolution of a new type of man,
and for the foundation of American nationality; and it was thus that
the various nationalities of Europe arose out of the ruins of the Roman
Empire.

The scenes that took place in Judge Hathorne's court-room have never
been equalled since in American jurisprudence. Powerful forces came
into play there, and the reports that have been preserved read like
scenes from Shakespeare. In the case of Rebecca Nurse, the Judge said
to the defendant:

"'You do know whether you are guilty, and have familiarity with the
Devil; and now when you are here present to see such a thing as these
testify,--and a black man whispering in your ear, and devils about
you,--what do you say to it?'"

To which she replied:

"'It is all false. I am clear.' Whereupon Mrs. Pope, one of the
witnesses, fell into a grievous fit." [Footnote: Upham's "Salem
Witchcraft," ii. 64.]

Alas, poor beleaguered soul! And one may well say, "What imaginations
those women had!" Tituba, the West Indian Aztec who appears in this
social-religious explosion as the chief and original incendiary,--
verily the root of all evil,--gave the following testimony:

"Q. 'Did you not pinch Elizabeth Hubbard this morning?'

"A. 'The man brought her to me, and made me pinch her.'

"Q. 'Why did you go to Thomas Putnam's last night and hurt his child?'

"A. 'They pull and haul me, and make me go.'

"Q. 'And what would they have you do?'

"A. 'Kill her with a knife.'

"(Lieutenant Fuller and others said at this time, when the child saw
these persons, and was tormented by them, that she did complain of a
knife,--that they would have her cut her head off with a knife.)

"Q. 'How did you go?'

"A. 'We ride upon sticks, and are there presently.'

"Q. 'Do you go through the trees or over them?'

"A. 'We see nothing, but are there presently.'

"Q. 'Why did you not tell your master?'

"A. 'I was afraid. They said they would cut off my head if I told.'

"Q. 'Would you not have hurt others, if you could?'

"A. 'They said they would hurt others, but they could not.'

"Q. 'What attendants hath Sarah Good?'

"A. 'A yellow-bird, and she would have given me one.'

"Q. 'What meat did she give it?'

"A. 'It did suck her between her fingers.'".

This might serve as an epilogue to "Macbeth," and the wonder is that an
unlettered Indian should have had the wit to make such apt and subtle
replies. It is also noteworthy that these strange proceedings took
place after the expulsion of the royal governor, and previous to the
provincial government of William III. If Sir Edmund Andros had
remained, the tragedy might have been changed into a farce.

After all, it appears that John Hathorne was not a lawyer, for he
describes himself in his last will, dated June 27, 1717, as a merchant,
and it is quite possible that his legal education was no better than
that of the average English squire in Fielding's time. It is evident,
however, from the testimony given above, that he was a strong believer
in the supernatural, and here if anywhere we find a relationship
between him and his more celebrated descendant. Nathaniel Hawthorne was
too clear-sighted to place confidence in the pretended revelations of
trance mediums, and he was not in the least superstitious; but he was
remarkably fond of reading ghost stories, and would have liked to
believe them, if he could have done so in all sincerity. He sometimes
felt as if he were a ghost himself, gliding noiselessly in the walks of
men, and wondered that the sun should cast a shadow from him. However,
we cannot imagine him as seated in jurisdiction at a criminal tribunal.
His gentle nature would have recoiled from that, as it might from a
serpent.

In the Charter Street burial-ground there is a slate gravestone,
artistically carved about its edges, with the name, "Col. John Hathorne
Esq.," upon it. It is somewhat sunken into the earth, and leans forward
as if wishing to hide the inscription upon it from the gaze of mankind.
The grass about it and the moss upon the stone assist in doing this,
although repeatedly cut and cleaned away. It seems as if Nature wished
to draw a kind of veil over the memory of the witch's judge, himself
the sorrowful victim of a theocratic oligarchy. The lesson we learn
from his errors is, to trust our own hearts and not to believe too
fixedly in the doctrines of Church and State. It must be a dull
sensibility that can look on this old slate-stone without a feeling of
pathos and a larger charity for the errors of human nature.

It is said that one of the convicted witches cursed Judge Hathorne,--
himself and his descendants forever; but it is more than likely that
they all cursed him bitterly enough, and this curse took effect in a
very natural and direct manner. Every extravagant political or social
movement is followed by a corresponding reaction, even if the movement
be on the whole a salutary one, and retribution is sure to fall in one
shape or another on the leaders of it. After this time the Hathornes
ceased to be conspicuous in Salem affairs. The family was not in favor,
and the avenues of prosperity were closed to them, as commonly happens
in such cases. Neither does the family appear to have multiplied and
extended itself like most of the old New England families, who can now
count from a dozen to twenty branches in various places. Of John
Hathorne's three sons only one appears to have left children. The name
has wholly disappeared from among Salem families, and thus in a manner
has the witch's curse been fulfilled.

Joseph Hathorne, the son of the Judge, was mostly a farmer, and that is
all that we now know of him. His son Daniel, however, showed a more
adventurous spirit, becoming a shipmaster quite early in life. It has
also been intimated that he was something of a smuggler, which was no
great discredit to him in a time when the unfair and even prohibitory
measures of the British Parliament in regard to American commerce made
smuggling a practical necessity. Even as the captain of a trading
vessel, however, Daniel Hathorne was not likely to advance the social
interests of his family. It is significant that he should have left the
central portion of Salem, where his ancestors had lived, and have built
a house for himself close to the city wharves,--a house well built and
commodious enough, but not in a fashionable location.

But Daniel Hathorne had the advantage over fashionable society in
Salem, in being a thorough patriot. Boston and Salem were the two
strongholds of Toryism during the war for Independence, which was
natural enough, as their wealthy citizens were in close mercantile
relations with English houses, and sent their children to England to be
educated. Daniel Hathorne, however, as soon as hostilities had begun,
fitted out his bark as a privateer, and spent the following six years
in preying upon British merchantmen. How successful he was in this line
of business we have not been informed, but he certainly did not grow
rich by it; although he is credited with one engagement with the enemy,
in which his ship came off with honor, though perhaps not with a
decisive victory. This exploit was celebrated in a rude ballad of the
time, which has been preserved in "Griswold's Curiosities of American
Literature," and has at least the merit of plain unvarnished language.
[Footnote: Also in Lathrop's "Hawthorne."]

There is a miniature portrait of Daniel Hathorne, such as was common in
Copley's time, still in the possession of the Hawthorne family, and it
represents him as rather a bullet-headed man, with a bright, open,
cheery face, a broad English chin and strongly marked brows,--an
excellent physiognomy for a sea-captain. He appears besides to have had
light brown or sandy hair, a ruddy complexion and bright blue eyes; but
we cannot determine how truthful the miniature may be in respect to
coloring. At all events, he was of a very different appearance from
Nathaniel Hawthorne, and if he resembled his grandson in any external
respect, it was in his large eyes and their overshadowing brows. He has
not the look of a dare-devil. One might suppose that he was a person of
rather an obstinate disposition, but it is always difficult to draw the
line between obstinacy and determination.

A similar miniature of his son Nathaniel, born in 1775, and who died at
Surinam in his thirty-fourth year, gives us the impression of a person
somewhat like his father, and also somewhat like his son Nathaniel. He
has a long face instead of a round one, and his features are more
delicate and refined than those of the bold Daniel. The expression is
gentle, dreamy and pensive, and unless the portrait belies him, he
could not have been the stern, domineering captain that he has been
represented. He had rather a slender figure, and was probably much more
like his mother, who was a Miss Phelps, than the race of Judge
Hathorne. He may have been a reticent man, but never a bold one, and we
find in him a new departure. His face is more amiable and attractive
than his father's, but not so strong. In 1799 he was married to Miss
Elizabeth Clarke Manning, the daughter of Richard Manning, and then
only nineteen years of age. She appears to have been an exceptionally
sensitive and rather shy young woman--such as would be likely to
attract the attention of a chivalrous young mariner--but with fine
traits of intellect and character.

The maternal ancestry of a distinguished man is quite as important as
the paternal, but in the present instance it is much more difficult to
obtain information concerning it. The increasing fame of Hawthorne has
been like a calcium-light, illuminating for the past fifty years
everything to which that name attaches, and leaving the Manning family
in a shadow so much the deeper. All we can learn of them now is, that
they were descended from Richard Manning, of Dartmouth in Devonshire,
England, whose son Thomas emigrated to Salem with his widowed mother in
1679, but afterwards removed to Ipswich, ten miles to the north, whence
the family has since extended itself far and wide,--the Reverend Jacob
M. Manning, of the Old South Church, the fearless champion of practical
anti-slaveryism, having been among them. It appears that Thomas's
grandson Richard started in life as a blacksmith, which was no strange
thing in those primitive times; but, being a thrifty and enterprising
man, he lived to establish a line of stage-coaches between Salem and
Boston, and this continued in the possession of his family until it was
superseded by the Eastern Railway. After this catastrophe, Robert
Manning, the son of Richard and brother of Mrs. Nathaniel Hathorne,
became noted as a fruit-grower (a business in which Essex County people
have always taken an active interest), and was one of the founders of
the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. The Mannings were always
respected in Salem, although they never came to affluent circumstances,
nor did they own a house about the city common. Robert Manning, Jr.,
was Secretary of the Horticultural Society in Boston for a long term of
years, a pleasant, kindly man, with an aspect of general culture.
Hawthorne's maternal grandmother was Miriam Lord, of Ipswich, and his
paternal grandmother was Rachel Phelps, of Salem. His father was only
thirty-three when he died at Surinam.

In regard to the family name, there are at present Hawthornes and
Hathornes in England, and although the two names may have been
identical originally, they have long since become as distinct as Smith
and Smythe. I have discovered only two instances in which the first
William Hathorne wrote his own name, and in the various documents at
the State House in which it appears written by others, it is variously
spelled Hathorn, Hathorne, Hawthorn, Haythorne, and Harthorne,--from
which we can only conclude that the a was pronounced broadly. It was
not until the reign of Queen Anne, when books first became cheap and
popular, that there was any decided spelling of either proper or common
names. Then the printers took the matter into their own hands and made
witch-work enough of it. The word "sovereign," for instance, which is
derived from the old French _souvrain_, and which Milton spelled
"sovran," they tortured into its present form,--much as the clerks of
Massachusetts Colony tortured the name of William Hathorne. This,
however, was spelled Hathorne oftener than in other ways, and it was so
spelled in the two signatures above referred to, one of which was
attached as witness to a deed for the settlement of the boundary
between Lynn and Salem, [Footnote: Also in Lathrop's "Hawthorne."] and
the other to a report of the commissioners for the investigation of the
French vessels coming to Salem and Boston in 1651, the two other
commissioners being Samuel Bradstreet and David Denison. [Footnote:
Massachusetts Archives, x. 171.]The name was undoubtedly Hathorne, and
so it continued with one or two slight variations during the eighteenth
century down to the time of Nathaniel Hathorne, Jr., who entered and
graduated at Bowdoin College under that name, but who soon afterward
changed it to Hawthorne, for reasons that have never been explained.

All cognomens would seem to have been derived originally from some
personal peculiarity, although it is no longer possible to trace this
back to its source, which probably lies far away in the Dark Ages,--the
formative period of languages and of families. Sometimes, however, we
meet with individuals whose peculiarities suggest the origin of their
names: a tall, slender, long-necked man named Crane; or a timid,
retiring student named Leverett; or an over-confident, supercilious
person called Godkin In the name of Hawthorne also we may imagine a
curious significance: "When the may is on the thorn," says Tennyson.
The English country people call the flowering of the hawthorn "the
may." It is a beautiful tree when in full bloom. How sweet-scented and
delicately colored are its blossoms! But it seems to say to us, "Do not
come too close to me."




CHAPTER II

BOYHOOD OF HAWTHORNE: 1804-1821


Salem treasures the memory of Hawthorne, and preserves everything
tangible relating to him. The house in which he was born, No. 27 Union
Street, is in much the same style and probably of the same age as the
Old Manse at Concord, but somewhat smaller, with only a single window
on either side of the doorway--five windows in all on the front, one
large chimney in the centre, and the roof not exactly a gambrel, for
the true gambrel has a curve first inward and then outward, but
something like it. A modest, cosy and rather picturesque dwelling,
which if placed on a green knoll with a few trees about it might become
a subject for a sketching class. It did not belong to Hawthorne's
father, after all, but to the widow of the bold Daniel, It was the
cradle of genius, and is now a shrine for many pilgrims. Long may it
survive, so that our grandchildren may gaze upon it.

Here Nathaniel Hawthorne first saw daylight one hundred years ago
[Footnote: 1804.] on the Fourth of July, as if to make a protest
against Chauvinistic patriotism; here his mother sat at the window to
see her husband's bark sail out of the harbor on his last voyage; and
here she watched day after day for its return, only to bring a life-
long sorrow with it. The life of a sea-captain's wife is always a half-
widowhood, but Mrs. Hathorne was left at twenty-eight with three small
children, including a daughter, Elizabeth, older than Nathaniel, and
another, Louisa, the youngest. The shadow of a heavy misfortune had
come upon them, and from this shadow they never wholly escaped.

Lowell criticised a letter which John Brown wrote concerning his
boyhood to Henry L. Stearns, as the finest bit of autobiography of the
nineteenth century.[Footnote: _North American Review_, April
1860.] It is in fact almost the only literature of the kind that we
possess. A frequent difficulty that parents find in dealing with their
children is, that they have wholly forgotten the sensations and
impressions of their own childhood. The instructor cannot place himself
in the position of the pupil. A naturalist will spend years with a
microscope studying the development of a plant from the seed, but no
one has ever applied a similar process to the budding of genius or even
of ordinary intellect. We have the autobiography of one of the greatest
geniuses, written in the calm and stillness of old age, when youthful
memories come back to us involuntarily; yet he barely lifts the veil
from his own childhood, and has much more to say of external events and
older people than of himself and his young companions. How valuable is
the story of George Washington and his hatchet, hackneyed as it has
become! What do we know of the boyhood of Franklin, Webster, Seward and
Longfellow? Nothing, or next to nothing.

[Illustration: WINDOW OF THIS CHAMBER]

Goethe says that the admirable woman is she who, when her husband dies,
becomes a father to his children; but in the case of Hawthorne's
mother, this did not happen to be necessary. Her brother, Robert
Manning, a thrifty and fairly prosperous young man, immediately took
Mrs. Hathorne and her three children into his house on Herbert Street,
and made it essentially a home for them afterward. To the fatherless
boy he was more than his own father, away from home ten months of the
year, ever could have been; and though young Nathaniel must have missed
that tenderness of feeling which a man can only entertain toward his
own child, there was no lack of kindness or consideration on Robert
Manning's part, to either the boy or his sisters.

It was Mrs. Hathorne who chiefly suffered from this change of domicile.
She would seem to have been always on good terms with her brother's
wife, and on the whole they formed a remarkably harmonious family,--at
least we hear nothing to the contrary,--but she was no longer mistress
of her own household. She had her daughters to instruct, and to train
up in domestic ways, and she could be helpful in various matters, large
and small; but the mental occupation which comes from the oversight and
direction of household affairs, and which might have served to divert
her mind from sorrowful memories, was now gone from her. Her widowhood
separated her from the outside world and from all society, excepting a
few devoted friends, [Footnote: _Wide Awake_, xxxiii. 502.] so
that under these conditions it is not surprising that her life became
continually more secluded and reserved. It is probable that her
temperament was very similar to her son's; but the impression which has
gone forth, that she indulged her melancholy to an excess, is by no
means a just one. The circumstances of her case should be taken into
consideration.

Rebecca Manning says:

"I remember aunt Hawthorne as busy about the house, attending to
various matters. Her cooking was excellent, and she was noted for a
certain kind of sauce, which nobody else knew how to make. We always
enjoyed going to see her when we were children, for she took great
pains to please us and to give us nice things to eat. Her daughter
Elizabeth resembled her in that respect. In old letters and in the
journal of another aunt, which has come into our possession, we read of
her going about making visits, taking drives, and sometimes going on a
journey. In later years she was not well, and I do not remember that
she ever came here, but her friends always received a cordial welcome
when they visited her."

This refers to a late period of Madam Hathorne's life, and if she
absented herself from the table, as Elizabeth Peabody states,
[Footnote: Lathrop's "Study of Hawthorne."] there was good reason for
it.

Hawthorne himself has left no word concerning his mother, of favorable
or unfavorable import, but it seems probable that he owed his genius to
her, if he can be said to have owed it to any of his ancestors. In
after life he affirmed that his sister Elizabeth, who appears to have
been her mother over again, could have written as well as he did, and
although we have no palpable evidence of this--and the letter which she
wrote Elizabeth Peabody does not indicate it,--we are willing to take
his word for it. With the shyness and proud reserve which he inherited
from his mother, there also came that exquisite refinement and feminine
grace of style which forms the chief charm of his writing. The same
refinement of feeling is noticeable in the letters of other members of
the Manning family. Where his imagination came from, it would be
useless to speculate; but there is no good art without delicacy.

Doctor Nathaniel Peabody lived near the house on Herbert Street, and
his daughter Elizabeth (who afterward became a woman of prodigious
learning) soon made acquaintance with the Hathorne children. She
remembers the boy Nathaniel jumping about his uncle's yard, and this is
the first picture that we have of him. When we consider what a
beautiful boy he must have been, with his wavy brown hair, large
wistful eyes and vigorous figure, without doubt he was a pleasure to
look upon. We do not hear of him again until November 10, 1813, when he
injured his foot in some unknown manner while at play, and was made
lame by it more or less for the three years succeeding. After being
laid up for a month, he wrote this pathetic little letter to his uncle,
Robert Manning, then in Maine, which I have punctuated properly so that
the excellence of its composition may appeal more plainly to the
reader.

                                     "SALEM, Thursday, December, 1813.

      "DEAR UNCLE:

"I hope you are well, and I hope Richard is too. My foot is no better.
Louisa has got so well that she has begun to go to school, but she did
not go this forenoon because it snowed. Mama is going to send for
Doctor Kitridge to-day, when William Cross comes home at 12 o'clock,
and maybe he will do some good, for Doctor Barstow has not, and I don't
know as Doctor Kitridge will. It is about 4 weeks yesterday since I
have been to school, and I don't know but it will be 4 weeks longer
before I go again. I have been out of the office two or three times and
have set down on the step of the door, and once I hopped out into the
street. Yesterday I went out in the office and had 4 cakes. Hannah
carried me out once, but not then. Elizabeth and Louisa send their love
to you. I hope you will write to me soon, but I have nothing more to
write; so good-bye, dear Uncle.

                         "Your affectionate Nephew,
                              "NATHANIEL HATHORNE."
[Footnote: Elizabeth Manning in _Wide Awake_, Nov. 1891.]

This is not so precocious as Mozart's musical compositions at the same
age, but how could the boy Hawthorne have given a clearer account of
himself and his situation at the time, without one word of complaint?
It is worth noting also that his prediction in regard to Doctor
Kitridge proved to be correct and even more.

It is evident that neither of his doctors treated him in a physio-
logical manner. Kitridge was a water-cure physician, and his method of
treatment deserves to be recorded for its novelty. He directed
Nathaniel to project his naked foot out of a sitting-room window, while
he poured cold water on it from the story above. This, however, does
not appear to have helped the case, and the infirmity continued so long
that it was generally feared that his lameness would be permanent.

Horatio Bridge considered this a fortunate accident for Nathaniel,
since it prevented him from being spoiled by his female relatives, as
there is always danger that an only son with two or more sisters will
be spoiled. But it was an advantage to the boy in a different manner
from this. He learned from it the lesson of suffering and endurance,
which we all have to learn sooner or later; and it compelled him,
perhaps too young, to seek the comfort of life from internal sources.
There were excellent books in the house,--Shakespeare and Milton, of
course, but also Pope's "Iliad," Thomson's "Seasons," the "Spectator,"
"Pilgrim's Progress," and the "Faerie Queene," and the time had now
come when these would be serviceable to him. He was not the only boy
that has enjoyed Shakespeare at the age of ten, but that he should have
found interest in Spenser's "Faerie Queene" is somewhat exceptional.
Even among professed _litterateurs_ there are few that read that
long allegory, and still fewer who enjoy it; and yet Miss Manning
assures us that Hawthorne would muse over it for hours. Its influence
may be perceptible in some of his shorter stories, but "Pilgrim's
Progress" evidently had an effect upon him; and so had Scott's novels,
as we may judge from the first romance that he published.

At the age of twelve years and seven months he composed a short poem,
so perfect in form and mature in judgment that it is difficult to
believe that so young a person could have written it. Not so poetic as
it is philosophical, it is valuable as indicating that the boy had
already formed a moral axis for himself,--a life principle from which
he never afterward deviated; and it is given herewith: [Footnote:  A
facsimile of the original can be found in _Wide Awake_, November,
1891.]


                           "MODERATE VIEWS.

                 "With passions unruffled, untainted by pride,
                    By reason my life let me square;
                  The wants of my nature are cheaply supplied,
                    And the rest are but folly and care.
                  How vainly through infinite trouble and strife,
                    The many their labours employ,
                  Since all, that is truly delightful in life,
                     Is what all if they please may enjoy.

                                          "NATHANIEL HATHORNE.
                  "SALEM, February 13, 1817."

He wrote this with the greatest nicety, framing it in broad black
lines, and ornamenting the capitals in a manner that recalls the
decoration of John Hathorne's gravestone. He composed a number of poems
between his thirteenth and seventeenth years, quite as good as those of
Longfellow at the same age; but after he entered Bowdoin College he
dropped the practice altogether and never resumed it, although one
would suppose that Longfellow's example would have stimulated him to
better efforts. Neither does he appear to have tried his hand in
writing tales, as boys who have no thought of literary distinction
frequently do. During the years of his lameness he sometimes invented
extemporaneous stories, which invariably commenced with a voyage to
some foreign country, from which his hero never returned. This shows
how continually his father's fate was in his mind, although he said
nothing of it.

Robert Manning's interest in the stage-company afforded the boy fine
opportunities for free rides, and he probably also frequented the
stables; although neither as youth nor as man did he take much interest
in driving or riding. He was more fond of playing upon the wharves, a
good healthy place,--and watching the great ships sailing forth to far-
off lands, and returning with their strange cargoes,--enough to
stimulate any boy's imagination, if he has it in him. It is likely that
if Nathaniel's father had lived, he would also have followed a
seafaring life, and would never have become useful to the world in the
way that he did.

Somewhere about the close of the eighteenth century, Richard Manning,
the father of Mrs. Hathorne, purchased a large tract of land in
Cumberland County, Maine, between Lake Sebago and the town of Casco;
and in 1813 Robert Manning built a house near the lake, in the township
of Raymond, and his brother Richard, who had become much of an invalid,
went to live there, partly for his health and partly to keep an
oversight on the property. In 1817 Mrs. Hathorne also went there,
taking her children with her, and remaining, with some intermissions,
until 1822. Meanwhile the Mannings sold some thousands of acres of
land, although not, as we may suppose, at very good prices, and the
name of Elizabeth Hathorne was repeatedly attached to the deeds of
conveyance. The house that Robert built was the plainest sort of
structure, of only two stories, and with no appearance of having been
painted; but the farmers in the vicinity criticised it as "Manning's
folly,"--exactly why, does not appear clearly, unless they foresaw what
actually happened, that the house could be neither sold nor rented
after the Mannings had left it. For many years, it served as a meeting-
house,--one could not call it a church,--and now it has become a
Hawthorne museum, the town of Raymond very laudably keeping it in
repair.

Although none of the events in the early life of Hawthorne ought to be
considered positive misfortunes, as they all contributed to make him
what he was, yet upon general principles it is much to be regretted
that he should have passed the best years of his boyhood in this out-
of-the-way place. His good uncle supplied him with a boat and a gun,
and he enjoyed the small shooting, fishing, sailing and skating that
the place afforded; but in later years he wrote to Bridge, "It was at
Sebago that I learned my cursed habit of solitude," and this pursued
him through life like an evil genius, placing him continually at a
disadvantage with his fellow-men. It has been supposed that this mode
of life assisted in developing his individuality, but quite as strong
individualities have been developed in the midst of large cities.
"Speech is more refreshing than light."

When will parents learn wisdom in regard to their children? A
conscientious, tender-hearted boy will be sent to a rough country
school, to be scoffed at and maltreated there, before he is twelve
years old; while another of a coarser and harder nature will be kept at
home, to be petted and pampered until all the vigor and manliness are
sapped out of him. Parents who prefer to live in a modest, humble
manner, in order that their children may have better advantages,
deserve the highest commendation, but in this respect good instruction
is less important than favorable associations. From fourteen to twenty-
one is the formative period of character, and the influences which may
be brought to bear on the growing mind are of the highest importance.
Lake Sebago served as an excellent gymnasium for young Hawthorne, and
may have helped to develop his sense of the beautiful, but he found few
companions there, and those not of the most suitable kind. He was
exceedingly fond of skating--so much so that when the ice was smooth he
sometimes remained on the lake far into the night. This we can envy
him, for skating is the poetry of motion.

The captain of the "Hawthorne," which plies back and forth across the
lake in summer, regularly points out to his passengers the house where
the Hathornes lived. It is easily seen from the steamer,--a severely
plain, unpainted building, in appearance much like the Manning house on
Herbert Street. Nearly in line with it a great cliff-like rock juts out
from the centre of the lake, on which the Indians centuries ago etched
and painted great warlike figures, whose significance is now known to
no one. It is said that Hawthorne frequently sailed or rowed to Indian
Rock, and to a sort of grotto there which was large enough for his boat
to enter. Both the rock and the Manning house are now difficult of
access. Longfellow wrote a pretty descriptive poem of a voyage on
Sebago, and it is remarkable how he has made use of every feature of
the landscape, every incident of the excursion, to fill his verses. The
lake has much the shape of an hour-glass, the northern and southern
portions being connected by a winding strait, so crooked that it
requires the constant effort of the pilot to prevent the little steamer
from running aground. There used to be fine fishing in it,--large
perch, bass, and a species of fresh-water salmon often weighing from
six to eight pounds.

Strangely enough, one of Hawthorne's acquaintances on the shores of
Sebago was a mulatto boy named William Symmes, the son of a Virginia
slave, foisted by his father upon a Maine sea-captain named Britton,
who lived in the half-wilderness around Raymond. Symmes afterwards
became a sailor, and continued in that vocation until the Civil War,
when he went to live in Alexandria, Va. In 1870 he published in the
Portland _Transcript_ what pretended to be a series of extracts
from a diary which young Hawthorne had kept while at Raymond, and which
was found there, after the departure of the Manning family, by a man
named Small, while moving a load of furniture which had been sold to
another party. Small preserved it until 1864, and then made a present
of it to Symmes.

Doubts have been cast on the genuineness of this diary, as was natural
enough under the circumstances; for the original manuscript was never
produced by Symmes, who died the following year, and no one knows what
has become of it. It may also be asked, why should Small have disposed
so readily of this manuscript to Symmes after preserving it sedulously
for more than forty years? Why did he not return it to its rightful
owner; or, if he felt ashamed of his original abstraction, why did not
Symmes restore it to the Hawthorne family after Hawthorne's death, when
every newspaper in the country was celebrating Hawthorne's genius? It
also might have occurred to one of them that such property would have a
marketable value, and could be disposed of at a high price to some
collector of literary curiosities; but Symmes did not even ask to be
remunerated for the portion that he contributed to the Portland
Transcript. Neither did he harbor the slightest ill feeling toward
Hawthorne, whom he claimed to have met several times in the course of
his wanderings,--once at Salem, and again at Liverpool,--and was always
treated by him with exceptional kindness and civility.

The only answer that can be made to these queries is, that men in
Symmes's position in life do not act according to any method that can
be previously calculated. In a case like the present, there could be no
predicting it; and it is possible that this mulatto valued the diary
above all price, as a souvenir of the one white man who had ever been
kind and good to him. Who knows what a heart there may have been in
William Symmes?

The internal evidence of this diary is so strongly in its favor as to
be almost conclusive. Lathrop, who made a special study of it, says:

"The fabrication of the journal by a person possessed of some literary
skill and familiar with the localities mentioned, at dates so long ago
as 1816 to 1819, might not be an impossible feat, but it is an
extremely improbable one."

To which it might be added, that it could be only a Hawthorne that
could accomplish such a fabrication. Few things in literature are more
difficult than to make a boy talk _like_ a boy, and the tone of
this Sebago journal is not only boyish, but sweet and pleasant to the
ear, such as we might imagine the talk of the youthful Hawthorne. Not
only this, but there is a gradated improvement of intelligence in the
course of it,--rather too much so for entire credibility. It is quite
possible that there is more of it than Hawthorne ever wrote, but that
does not prevent us from having faith in the larger portion of it. The
purity of its diction, the nice adaptation of each word to its purpose,
and the accuracy of detail are much in its favor; besides which, the
personal reflections in it are exactly like Hawthorne. The published
portion of the diary in Mr. Pickard's book makes about fifty rather
small pages, but no dates are given except at the close, and that is
August, 1818; and as Hawthorne went to Sebago for the first time the
preceding year, we may presume that this note-book represents a winter
and summer vacation, during which he would seem to have enjoyed himself
in a healthy boyish fashion. We have only space for a few extracts from
this publication, which serve both to exemplify Hawthorne's mode of
life at Raymond and to illustrate the preceding statement concerning
the book.

The first observation in the diary is quoted by Lathrop, and has a
decidedly youthful tone.

"Two kingbirds have built their nest between our house and the mill-
pond. The male is more courageous than any creature that I know about.
He seems to have taken possession of the territory from the great pond
to the small one, and goes out to war with every fish-hawk that flies
from one to the other over his dominion. The fish-hawks must be
miserable cowards to be driven by such a speck of a bird. I have not
yet seen one turn to defend himself."

Kingbirds are the knights-errant of the feathered tribes. They never
attack another bird unless it is three times their own size; but when a
few years older, the boy Hawthorne would probably have noticed that the
kingbirds' powers of flight are so superior that all other birds are
practically at their mercy. This fixes the date of the entry in the
early summer of 1817, for kingbirds are not belligerent except during
the nesting season. Somewhat later in the year he writes:

"Went yesterday in a sail-boat on the Great Pond with Mr. Peter White,
of Windham. He sailed up here from White's Bridge to see Captain
Dingley, and invited Joseph Dingley and Mr. Ring to take a boat-ride
out to the Dingley Islands and to the Images. He was also kind enough
to say that I might go, with my mother's consent, which she gave after
much coaxing. Since the loss of my father, she dreads to have any one
belonging to her go upon the water. It is strange that this beautiful
body of water is called a 'pond.' The geography tells of many in
Scotland and Ireland, not near so large, that are called 'Lakes.'"

Notice his objection to bad nomenclature, and his school-boy argument
against it. In his account of this excursion he says further:

"After we got ashore, Mr. White allowed me to fire his long gun at a
mark. I did not hit the mark, and am not sure that I saw it at the time
the gun went off, but believe rather that I was watching for the noise
that I was about to make.

"Mr. Ring said that with practice I could be a gunner, and that now,
with a very heavy charge, he thought I could kill a horse at eight
paces!"

Here or nowhere do we recognize the budding of Hawthorne's genius. This
clear introspective analysis is the foundation of all true mental
power, and Hawthorne might have become a Platonic philosopher, if he
had not preferred to be a story-teller.

These sports came to an end in the autumn when he was sent to study
with the Reverend Caleb Bradley, a somewhat eccentric graduate of
Harvard, who resided at Stroudwater, Maine, and with whom he remained
during the winter. [Footnote: S. T. Pickard's "Hawthorne's First
Diary."]He refers to this period of tuition in the short story of "The
Vision of the Fountain," and whether or no any such vision appeared to
him, we can fairly believe that the tale was suggested by some pretty
school-girl who made an impression on him, only to disappear in a
tantalizing manner. It is to be presumed that he returned to his mother
at Raymond, for Christmas; and at that time he heard a story of how an
Otisfield man named Henry Turner had killed three hibernating bears
which he discovered in a cave near Moose Pond, not a difficult feat
when one comes upon them in that torpid condition. This would place the
killing of the bears at about the first of December, which would be
probable enough, and the fact itself has been substantiated by Samuel
Pickard. The next succeeding entry relates to the drowning of a boy
while swimming, which could only have happened the following June. Mrs.
Hathorne was greatly alarmed, and objected to Nathaniel's going in
bathing with the other boys. He did not like the restriction, but
writes that he shall obey his mother.

There is a ghost story in the diary, quite original, and told with an
air of excellent credibility; and also a short anthropomorphic romance
concerning a badly treated horse, full of genuine pathos and kindly
sympathy,--more sympathetic, in fact, than Hawthorne's later stories,
in which he is sometimes almost too reserved and unemotional:

"'Good morning, Mr. Horse, how are you to-day?' 'Good morning,
youngster,' said he, just as plain as a horse can speak, and then said,
'I am almost dead, and I wish I was quite. I am hungry, have had no
breakfast and stand here tied by the head while they are grinding the
corn, and until master drinks two or three glasses of rum at the store,
and then drag him and the meal up the Ben Ham hill, and home, and am
now so weak that I can hardly stand. Oh, dear, I am in a bad way,' and
the old creature cried,--I almost cried myself."

The only difficulty in believing this diary to be genuine is the
question: If Hawthorne could write with such perspicuity at fourteen,
why are there no evidences of it during his college years? But it
sometimes happens so.

We cannot refrain from quoting one more extract from the last entry in
the Sebago diary, so beautifully tender and considerate as it is of his
mother's position toward her only son. He had been invited by a party
of their neighbors to go on an all-day excursion, and though his mother
grants his request to be allowed to join them, he feels the reluctance
with which she does so and he writes:

"She said 'Yes,' but I was almost sorry, knowing that my day's pleasure
would cost _her_ one of anxiety. However, I gathered up my hooks
and lines, with some white salted pork for bait, and with a fabulous
number of biscuit, split in the middle, the insides well buttered, then
skilfully put together again, and all stowed in sister's large work-
bag, and slung over my shoulder, I started, making a wager with Enoch
White, as we walked down to the boat, as to which could catch the
largest number of fish." [Footnote: Appendix A.]

This is the only entry that is dated (August, 1818), and as it was on
this same occasion that the black ducks were shot, it must have been on
one of the last days of August. We may presume that Nathaniel returned
to his studies at Stroudwater the following month, for we do not hear
of him again at Raymond--or in Salem, either--until March 24, when he
writes to his uncle, Robert Manning, who has evidently just returned
from Raymond to Salem, and speaks of expecting to go to Portland with a
Mr. Linch for the day. On May 16, 1819, he writes to his uncle Robert
again:

"The grass and trees are green, the fences finished and the garden
planted. Two of the goats are on the island and the other kept for the
milk. I have shot a partridge and a hen-hawk and caught eighteen large
trout [probably Sebago salmon]. I am sorry that my uncle intends
sending me to school again, for my mother can hardly spare me."

From which it is easy to infer that he had not attended school very
regularly of late, and Uncle Robert would seem to have concluded that
it would be better to have his fine nephew where he could personally
supervise his goings and comings. Accordingly, on July 26 we find
Nathaniel attending school in Salem,--a most unusual season for it,--
and although his mother remained at Raymond two years longer, he was
not permitted to return there again, except possibly for short periods.

Emerson once pointed out to me on Sudbury Street, Boston, an extremely
old man with long white locks and the face of a devoted scholar,
advancing toward us with slow and cautious steps. "That," said he, "is
Doctor Worcester, the lexicographer." Hawthorne's early education
remains much of a mystery. In 1819 he complains in a letter to his
mother that he has to go to a cheap school,--a good indication that he
did not intend to trust to fortune for his future welfare; soon after
this we hear that dictionary Worcester is his chief instructor. He
could not have found a more amiable or painstaking pedagogue; nor is it
likely that the fine qualities of his teacher were ever better
appreciated. Hawthorne himself says nothing of this, for it was not his
way to express admiration for man or woman, but we can believe that he
felt the same affection for the doctor that well-behaved boys commonly
do for their old masters. It was from Worcester that he derived his
excellent knowledge of Latin, the single study of which he was fond;
and it is his preference for words derived from the Latin which gives
grace and flexibility to Hawthorne's style, as the force and severity
of Emerson's style come from his partiality for Saxon words. During his
last year at school, Hawthorne took private lessons of a Salem lawyer,
Benjamin Oliver, and perhaps studied with him altogether at the finish.

Hawthorne's life had been so irregular for years that it is creditable
to him that he should have succeeded in entering college at all. We
hear of him at Sebago in winter and at Salem in July. He writes to his
Uncle Robert to look out for the shot-gun which he left in a closet at
Sebago, and which has a rather heavy charge of powder in it. He appears
to have found as little companionship in Salem as he did in that
wilderness,--the natural effect of such a life. He may have been
acquainted with half the boys in Salem, but he did not make any warm
friends among them. His sister Louisa, who was a more vivacious person
than Elizabeth, was his chief companion and comfort. Seated at the
window with her on summer evenings, he elaborated the plan of an
imaginary society, a club of two, called the "Pin Society," to which
all fees, assessments and fines were paid in pins,--then made by hand
and much more expensive than now. He constituted himself its secretary,
and wrote imaginary reports of its proceedings, in which Louisa is
frequently fined for absence from meetings. We do not hear of their
going to parties or dances with other children.

In August, 1820, he started an imaginary newspaper called the
_Spectator_, which he wrote himself with some help from Louisa,
and of which there was only one copy of each number. He continued this
through five successive issues, and we trace in its pages the
commencement of Hawthorne's peculiar humor,--too quiet and gentle to
make us laugh, but with a penetrating tinge of pathos. Take for
instance the following:

"There is no situation in life more irksome than that of an editor who
is obliged to find amusement for his Readers, from a head which is too
often (as is the present predicament with our own) filled with
emptiness. Since commencing this paper, we have received no
communication of any kind, so that the whole weight of the business
devolves upon our own shoulders, a load far too great for them to bear.
We hope the Public will reflect on these grievances."

This is true fiction, and Nathaniel was not the first or the last
editor to whom the statement has applied. His difficulties are
imaginary, but he realizes what they might be in reality.

In another number he says:

"We know of no news, either domestic or foreign, and we hope our
readers will excuse our not inserting any. The law which prohibits
paying debts when a person has no money will apply in this case."

Then he makes this quiet hit against the people of Maine for having
separated themselves and their territory from Massachusetts:

"By a gentleman in the state of Maine, we learn that a famine is
seriously apprehended owing to the want of rain. Potatoes could not be
procured in some places. When children break their leading strings, and
run away from their Parent, (as Maine has done) they may expect
sometimes to suffer hunger." [Footnote: _Wide Awake_, xxxiii.
512.]

Of his religious instruction we hear nothing; but church-going in New
England during the first forty years of the nineteenth century was
wellnigh universal, and it makes little difference now to which of the
various forms of Calvinistic worship the Manning family subscribed.
That young Hawthorne was seriously impressed in this way is evident
from the following ode, which he may have composed as early as his
fifteenth year:

                 "Oh, I have roamed in rapture wild
                  Where the majestic rocks are piled
                  In lonely, stern, magnificence around
                  The troubled ocean's steadfast bound;
                  And I have seen the storms arise
                  And darkness veil from mortal eyes
                  The Heavens that shine so fair and bright,
                  And all was solemn, silent night.
                  Then I have seen the storm disperse,
                  And Mercy hush the whirlwind fierce,
                  And all my soul in transport owned
                  There is a God, in Heaven enthroned."

There is more of a rhetorical flourish than of serious religious
feeling in this; but genuine piety is hardly to be expected, and not
greatly to be desired, in a boy of that age. It represents the desire
to be religious, and to express something, he knows not what.

Nathaniel Hawthorne had already decided on his vocation in life before
he entered Bowdoin College,--a decision which he afterwards adhered to
with inflexible determination, in spite of the most discouraging
obstacles. In a memorable letter to his mother, written March 13, 1821,
he says:

"I am quite reconciled to going to college, since I am to spend my
vacations with you. Yet four years of the best part of my life is a
great deal to throw away. I have not yet concluded what profession I
shall have. The being a minister is of course out of the question. I
shall not think that even you could desire me to choose so dull a way
of life. Oh, no, mother, I was not born to vegetate forever in one
place, and to live and die as tranquil as--a puddle of water. As to
lawyers, there are so many of them already that one-half of them (upon
a moderate calculation) are in a state of actual starvation. A
physician, then, seems to be 'Hobson's choice'; but yet I should not
like to live by the diseases and infirmities of my fellow-creatures.
And it would weigh very hardly on my conscience, in the course of my
practice, if I should chance to send any unlucky patient '_ad
infernum_,' which, being interpreted, is 'to the realms below.' Oh
that I was rich enough to live without profession! What do you think of
my becoming an author, and relying for support upon my pen? Indeed, I
think the illegibility of my hand is very author-like." [Footnote:
Conway, 24.]

Such were the Ides of March for Hawthorne. It was no boyish ambition
for public distinction, nor a vain grasping at the laurel wreath, but a
calmly considered and clear-sighted judgment.




CHAPTER III

BOWDOIN COLLEGE: 1821-1825.


The life of man is not like a game of chess, in which the two players
start upon equal terms and can deliberate sufficiently over every move;
but more like whist, in which the cards we hold represent our fortunes
at the beginning, but the result of the game depends also on the skill
with which we play it. Life also resembles whist in this, that we are
obliged to follow suit in a general way to those who happen to have the
lead.

Why Hawthorne should have entered Bowdoin College instead of Harvard
has not been explained, nor is it easily explained. The standard of
scholarship maintained at Harvard and Yale has always been higher than
that at what Doctor Holmes designated as the "freshwater colleges," and
this may have proved an unfavorable difference to the mind of a young
man who was not greatly inclined to his studies; but Harvard College is
only eighteen miles from Salem, and he could have returned to his home
once a week if he had chosen to do so, and this is a decided moral and
social advantage to a young man in those risky years. If Hawthorne had
entered Harvard in the next class to Emerson, he could not well have
escaped the latter's attention, and would have come in contact with
other vigorous and stimulating minds; but it is of little use to
speculate on what might have been.

Boys are encouraged to study for college by accounts of the rare
enjoyment of university life, but they commonly find the first term of
Freshman year both dismal and discouraging. Their class is a medley of
strangers, their studies are a dry routine, and if they are not hazed
by the Sophomores, they are at least treated by them with haughtiness
and contempt. It is still summer when they arrive, but the leaves soon
fall from the trees, and their spirits fall with them.

Hawthorne may have felt this more acutely than any other member of his
class, and in addition to the prevailing sense of discomfort he was
seized early in November with that disgusting malady, the measles,
which boys usually go through with before they are old enough to
realize how disagreeable it is. It appears to have been a light attack,
however, and in three weeks he was able to attend recitations again. He
made no complaint of it, only writing to his uncle for ten dollars with
which to pay the doctor. He likes his chum, Mason, of Portsmouth, and
does not find his studies so arduous as at Salem before entering.
Neither are the college laws so strict as he anticipated.

In the following May he received the present of his first watch,
presumably from Uncle Robert, and he writes to his mother, who is still
at Sebago, that he is mightily pleased with it, and that it enables him
"to cut a great dash" at college. His letters to his relatives are not
brilliant, but they indicate a healthful and contented mind.

We will now consider some of the distinguished personages who were
Hawthorne's friends and associates during these four years of his
apprenticeship to actual life; and there were rare characters among
them.

In the same coach in which Hawthorne left Portland for Brunswick, in
the summer of 1821, were Franklin Pierce and Jonathan Cilley.
[Footnote: Bridge's Memoir of Hawthorne, 3.] Two men seated together in
a modern railway-carriage will often become better acquainted in three
hours than they might as next-door neighbors in three years; and this
was still more likely to happen in the old days of coach journeys, when
the very tedium of the occasion served as an inducement to frank and
friendly conversation. Pierce was the right man to bring Hawthorne out
of his hard shell of Sebago seclusion. He had already been one year at
Bowdoin, and at that time there was not the same caste feeling between
Sophomores and Freshmen--or at least very little of it--that has since
arisen in American colleges. He was amiable and kindly, and possessed
the rare gift of personal magnetism. Nature sometimes endows men and
women with this quality in lieu of all other advantages, and such would
seem to have been the case with Franklin Pierce. He was not much above
the average in intellect, and, as Hawthorne afterward confessed, not
particularly attractive in appearance; with a stiff military neck,
features strong but small, and opaque gray eyes,--a rather unimpressive
face, and one hardly capable of a decided expression. Yet with such
abilities as he had, aided by personal magnetism and the lack of
conspicuous faults, he became United States Senator at the age of
thirty-five, and President fifteen years later. The best we can say of
him is, that he was always Hawthorne's friend. From the first day that
they met he became Hawthorne's patron and protector--so far as he may
have required the latter. There must have been some fine quality in the
man which is not easily discernible from his outward acts; a narrow-
minded man, but of a refined nature.

Jonathan Cilley was an abler man than Pierce, and a bold party-leader,
but not so attractive personally. He always remained Hawthorne's
friend, but the latter saw little of him and rarely heard from him
after they had graduated. The one letter of his which has been
published gives the impression of an impulsive, rough-and-tumble sort
of person, always ready to take a hand in whatever might turn up.

On the same day, Horatio Bridge, who lived at Augusta, was coming down
the Kennebec River to Brunswick. Hawthorne did not make his
acquaintance until some weeks later, but he proved to be the best
friend of them all, and Hawthorne's most constant companion during the
four years they remained together. Pierce, Cilley and Bridge were all
born politicians, and it was this class of men with whom it would seem
that Hawthorne naturally assimilated.

On the same day, or the one previous, another boy set out from Portland
for Brunswick, only fourteen years old, named Henry W. Longfellow,--a
name that is now known to thousands who never heard of Franklin Pierce.
Would it have made a difference in the warp and woof of Hawthorne's
life, if he had happened to ride that day in the same coach with
Longfellow? Who can tell? Was there any one in the breadth of the land
with whom he might have felt an equal sympathy, with whom he could have
matured a more enduring fellowship? It might have been a friendship
like that of Beaumont and Fletcher, or, better still, like that of
Goethe and Schiller,--but it was not written in the book of Fate.
Longfellow also had tried his hand on the Sebago region, and was fond
of the woods and of a gun; but he was too precocious to adapt himself
easily to persons of his own age, or even somewhat older. He had no
sooner arrived at Bowdoin than he became the associate and favorite of
the professors. In this way he missed altogether the storm-and-stress
period of youthful life, which is a useful experience of its kind; and
if we notice in his poetry a certain lack, the absence of a close
contact with reality,--as if he looked at his subject through a glass
casement,--this may be assigned as the reason for it.

[Illustration: HORATIO BRIDGE. FROM THE PORTRAIT BY EASTMAN JOHNSON]

During the four years they went back and forth to their instruction
together, Hawthorne and Longfellow never became cordially acquainted.
They also belonged to rival societies. There were only two principal
societies at Bowdoin, which continued through the college course--the
Peucinian and the Athenaan, and the difference between them might be
described by the words "citified" and "countrified," without taking
either of those terms in an objectionable sense. Pierce was already a
leading character in the Athenaan, and was soon followed by Cilley,
Bridge and Hawthorne. The Peucinian suffered from the disadvantage of
having members of the college faculty on its active list, and this must
have given a rather constrained and academic character to its meetings.
There was much more of the true college spirit and classmate feeling in
the Athenaan.

Horatio Bridge is our single authority in regard to Bowdoin College at
this time, and his off-hand sketches of Hawthorne, Pierce and
Longfellow are invaluable. Never has such a group of distinguished
young men been gathered together at an American college. He says of
Hawthorne:

"Hawthorne was a slender lad, having a massive head, with dark,
brilliant, and most expressive eyes, heavy eyebrows, and a profusion of
dark hair. For his appearance at that time the inquirers must rely
wholly upon the testimony of friends; for, I think, no portrait of him
as a lad is extant. On one occasion, in our senior years, the class
wished to have their profiles cut in silhouette by a wandering artist
of the scissors, and interchanged by all the thirty-eight. Hawthorne
disapproved the proposed plan, and steadily refused to go into the
Class Golgotha, as he styled the dismal collection. I joined him in
this freak, and so our places were left vacant. I now regret the whim,
since even a moderately correct outline of his features as a youth
would, at this day, be interesting.

"Hawthorne's figure was somewhat singular, owing to his carrying his
head a little on one side; but his walk was square and firm, and his
manner self-respecting and reserved. A fashionable boy of the present
day might have seen something to amuse him in the new student's
appearance; but had he indicated this he would have rued it, for
Hawthorne's clear appreciation of the social proprieties and his great
physical courage would have made it as unsafe to treat him with
discourtesy then as at any later time.

"Though quiet and most amiable, he had great pluck and determination. I
remember that in one of our convivial meetings we had the laugh upon
him for some cause, an occurrence so rare that the bantering was
carried too far. After bearing it awhile, Hawthorne singled out the one
among us who had the reputation of being the best pugilist, and in a
few words quietly told him that he would not permit the rallying to go
farther. His bearing was so resolute, and there was so much of danger
in his eye, that no one afterward alluded to the offensive subject in
his presence." [Footnote: Horatio Bridge, 5.]

Horatio Bridge is a veracious witness, but we have to consider that he
was nearly ninety years of age at the time his memoirs were given to
the public. It is difficult to imagine Hawthorne as a slender youth,
for his whole figure was in keeping with the structure of his head. It
is more likely that he had a spare figure. Persons of a lively
imagination have always been apt to hold their heads on one side, but
not commonly while they are walking. It is for this reason that
phrenologists have supposed that the organ of ideality is located on
the side of the head,--if there really is any such organ.

Bridge says of Longfellow precisely what one might expect:

"He had decided personal beauty and most attractive manners. He was
frank, courteous, and affable, while morally he was proof against the
temptations that beset lads on first leaving the salutary restraints of
home. He was diligent, conscientious, and most attentive to all his
college duties, whether in the recitation-room, the lecture-hall, or
the chapel. The word 'student' best expresses his literary habit, and
in his intercourse with all he was conspicuously the gentleman."

In addition to those already mentioned, James W. Bradbury of Portland,
afterwards United States Senator, and the Reverend Dr. George B.
Cheever, the vigorous anti-slavery preacher, were members of this
class. Three others, Cilley, Benson and Sawtelle, were afterward
members of the United States House of Representatives. Surely there
must have been quite a fermentation of youthful intellect at Bowdoin
between 1821 and 1825.

Franklin Pierce was so deeply interested in military affairs that it
was a pity he should not have had a West Point cadetship. He was
captain of the college militia company, in which Hawthorne and Bridge
drilled and marched; a healthy and profitable exercise, and better than
a gymnasium, if rather monotonous. Pierce was the popular hero and
_magnus Apollo_ of his class, as distinguished foot-ball players
are now; but just at this time he was neglecting his studies so badly
that at the close of his second year he found himself at the very foot
of the rank list. The fact became known through the college, and Pierce
was so chagrined that he concluded to withdraw from Bowdoin altogether,
and it was only by the urgent persuasion of his friends that he was
induced to continue his course. "If I remain, however," he said, "you
will witness a change in me." For months together he burned midnight
oil in order to recover lost ground. During his last two years at
college, he only missed two recitations, both for sufficient reasons.
His conduct was unexceptionable, he incurred no deductions, and finally
graduated third in his class. It is an uncommon character that can play
fast-and-loose with itself in this manner. The boy Franklin had
departed, and Pierce the man had taken his place. [Footnote: Professor
Packard's "History of Bowdoin College."] Horatio Bridge gives a rather
more idealized portrait of him than he does of Hawthorne. He says:

"In person Pierce was slender, of medium height, with fair complexion
and light hair, erect, with a military bearing, active, and always
bright and cheerful. In character he was impulsive, not rash; generous,
not lavish; chivalric, courteous, manly, and warm-hearted,--and he was
one of the most popular students in the whole college."

The instruction in American colleges during the first half of the
nineteenth century was excellent for Greek, Latin and mathematics,--
always the groundwork of a good education,--but the modern languages
were indifferently taught by French and German exiles, and other
subjects were treated still more indifferently. The two noble studies
of history and philosophy were presented to the young aspiring soul in
narrow, prejudiced text-books, which have long since been consigned to
that bourn from which no literary work ever returns. As already stated,
Hawthorne's best study was Latin, and in that he acquired good
proficiency; but he was slow in mathematics, as artistic minds usually
are, and in his other studies he only exerted himself sufficiently to
pass his examinations in a creditable manner. We may presume that he
took the juice and left the rind; which was the sensible thing to do.
As might be expected, his themes and forensics were beautifully
written, although the arguments in them were not always logical; but it
is significant that he never could be prevailed upon to make a
declamation. There have been sensitive men, like Sumner and George W.
Curtis, who were not at all afraid of the platform, but they were not,
like Hawthorne, bashful men. The college faculty would seem to have
realized the true difficulty in his case, and treated him in a kindly
and lenient manner. No doubt he suffered enough in his own mind on
account of this deficiency, and it may have occurred to him what
difficulties he might have to encounter in after-life by reason of it.
If a student at college cannot bring himself to make a declamation, how
can the mature man face an audience in a lecture-room, command a ship,
or administer any important office? Such thoughts must have caused
Hawthorne no slight anxiety, at that sensitive age.

The out-door sports of the students did not attract Hawthorne greatly.
He was a fast runner and a good leaper, but seemed to dislike violent
exercise. He much preferred walking in the woods with a single
companion, or by the banks of the great river on which Brunswick is
situated. There were fine trout-brooks in the neighborhood, and
formerly the woods of Maine were traversed by vast flocks of passenger
pigeons, which with the large gray squirrels afforded excellent
shooting. How skilful Hawthorne became with his fowling-piece we have
not been informed, but it is evident from passages in "Fanshawe" that
he learned something of trout-fishing; and on the whole he enjoyed
advantages at Bowdoin which the present student at Harvard or Oxford
might well envy, him. The fish we catch in the streams and lakes of
Maine only represent a portion of our enjoyment there. Horatio Bridge
says:

"There was one favorite spot in a little ravine, where a copious spring
of clear, cold water gushed out from the sandy bank, and joined the
larger stream. This was the Paradise Spring, which deserves much more
than its present celebrity for the absolute purity of its waters. Of
late years the brook has been better known as a favorite haunt of the
great romance writer, and it is now often called the Hawthorne Brook.

"Another locality, above the bridge, afforded an occasional stroll
through the fields and by the river. There, in spring, we used to
linger for hours to watch the giant pine-logs (for there were giants in
those days) from the far-off forests, floating by hundreds in the
stream until they came to the falls; then, balancing for a moment on
the brink, they plunged into the foamy pool below."

At the lower end of the town there was an old weather-beaten cot, where
the railroad track now runs, inhabited by a lone woman nearly as old
and time-worn as the dwelling itself. She pretended to be a fortune-
teller, and to her Hawthorne and Bridge sometimes had recourse, to lift
the veil of their future prospects; which she always succeeded in doing
to their good entertainment. The old crone knew her business well,
especially the art of giving sufficient variety of detail to the same
old story. For a nine-pence she would predict a beautiful blond wife
for Hawthorne, and an equally handsome dark-complexioned one for
Bridge. Riches were of course thrown in by the handful; and Bridge
remarks that although these never came to pass they both happened to be
blessed with excellent wives. It is not surprising that the handsome
Hawthorne and his tall, elegant-looking companion should have
stimulated the old woman's imagination in a favorable manner. The small
coin they gave her may have been the least happiness that their visits
brought into her life.

Close by the college grounds there was a miserable little inn, which
went by the name of Ward's Tavern, and thither the more uproarious
class of students consorted at intervals for the purpose of keeping
care at a distance, and singing, "Landlord, fill your flowing bowls."
Strange to say, the reserved, thoughtful Hawthorne was often to be
found among them. It does not seem quite consistent with the gravity of
his customary demeanor, but youth has its period of reckless
ebullition. Punch-bowl societies exist in all our colleges, and many
who disapprove of them join them for the sake of popularity. Hawthorne
may have been as grave and well-behaved on these occasions as he was
customarily. We have Bridge's word for this; and the matter would
hardly be worth mentioning if it had not led to more serious
proceedings. May 29, 1822, President Allen wrote to Mrs. Hathorne at
Salem that her son had been fined fifty cents for gaming at cards.
[Footnote: In 1864 a Harvard student was fined three dollars for
writing on the woodwork with a lead-pencil--erased with a sponge.]
Certainly this was not very severe treatment; and if the Bowdoin
faculty, being on the spot, concluded that young Hawthorne had only
injured his moral nature fifty cents' worth, I think we shall do well
to agree with their decision. At the same time Nathaniel wrote his
mother the following manly letter:


                                       "BRUNSWICK, May 30th, 1822.

"MY DEAR MOTHER:--I hope you have safely arrived in Salem. I have
nothing particular to inform you of, except that all the card-players
in college have been found out, and my unfortunate self among the
number. One has been dismissed from college, two suspended, and the
rest, with myself, have been fined fifty cents each. I believe the
President intends to write to the friends of all the delinquents.
Should that be the case, you must show the letter to nobody. If I am
again detected, I shall have the honor of being suspended. When the
President asked what we played for, I thought it proper to inform him
it was fifty cents, although it happened to be a quart of wine; but if
I had told him of that, he would probably have fined me for having a
blow. There was no untruth in the case, as the wine cost fifty cents. I
have not played at all this term. I have not drank any kind of spirits
or wine this term, and shall not till the last week." [Footnote:
Horatio Bridge, 118.]


The clemency with which the college authorities treated Bridge and
Hawthorne is a plain indication of the confidence which they felt in
them, and speaks more highly for their respective characters than if
they had been patterns of good behavior. Some of the others were not so
fortunate. One young man, whose name is properly withheld from us, was
expelled from the institution. He was supposed to have been the
ringleader in this dubious business, but Hawthorne manfully resented
the supposition that any one could have influenced him, or did
influence him, in this matter. It is more likely that he was influenced
by the spirit of investigation, and wished to know what the sensation
was like from personal experience.

"Letters home" from college are not commonly interesting to the general
public, and those which Hawthorne wrote to his mother and sisters do
not differ essentially from such as other young men write under similar
conditions. At the age when it is so difficult to decide whether we
have become men or are still boys, all our actions partake of a similar
uncertainty, and the result of what we do and say is likely to be a
rather confused impression. Though college students appear different
enough to one another, they all seem alike to the outside world.

University towns always contain more or less cultivated society, and
young Hawthorne might have been welcome to the best of it if he had
felt so inclined; but he was as shy of the fair sex as Goldsmith's
bashful lover. M. D. Conway, who knew him, doubts if he ever became
well acquainted with a young lady until his engagement to Miss Peabody.
Considering this, it seems as if Jonathan Cilley made rather a
hazardous wager with Hawthorne, before leaving Bowdoin,--a wager of a
cask of Madeira, that Hawthorne would become a married man within the
next twelve years. Papers to that effect were duly signed by the
respective parties, sealed, and delivered for safe-keeping to Horatio
Bridge, who preserved them faithfully until the appointed time arrived.
Under ordinary conditions the chances of this bet were in Cilley's
favor, for in those primitive days it was much easier for educated
young men to obtain a start in life than it is at present, and early
marriages were in consequence much more common.[Footnote: Horatio
Bridge, 47. The contract was dated November 14, 1824.]

The year 1824 was a serious one in American politics. The Republican-
Democratic party, having become omnipotent, broke to pieces of its own
weight. The eastern interest nominated John Quincy Adams for the
Presidency; the western interest nominated Henry Clay; and the frontier
interest nominated Andrew Jackson. Unfortunately the frontier interest
included all the unsettled and continually shifting elements in the
country, so that Jackson had nearly as strong a support in the East as
in the West. Bridge says, "We were all enthusiastic supporters of old
Hickory." It was evidently Pierce who led them into this, and although
it proved in a material sense for Hawthorne's benefit, it separated him
permanently from the class to which he properly belonged--the
enlightened men of culture of his time; and Cilley's tragical fate can
be directly traced to it. The Jackson movement was in its essence a
revolt against _civility_,--and it seems as if Hawthorne and
Bridge might have recognized this.

Hawthorne was well liked in his class in spite of his reserved manners,
but he held no class offices that we hear of, except a place on a
committee of the Athenaan Society with Franklin Pierce. Class days and
class suppers, so prolific of small honors, were not introduced at
Bowdoin until some years later. He graduated eighteenth in a class of
thirty-eight, but this was not sufficient to give him a part in the
commencement exercises. [Footnote: The President informed him that his
rank in the class would have entitled him to a part if it had not been
for his neglect of declamations; and Hawthorne wrote to his mother that
he was perfectly satisfied with this, for it saved him the
mortification of appearing in public.] Accordingly Hawthorne, Bridge,
and others who were in a like predicament, organized a mock
Commencement celebration at Ward's Tavern, where they elected officers
of a comical sort, such as boatswain and sea-cook, and concluded their
celebration in a manner suitable to the occasion.

Hawthorne was commonly known among his classmates, as "Hath," and his
friends addressed him in this manner long after he had graduated. His
degree was made out in the name of Nathaniel Hathorne, above which he
subsequently wrote "Hawthorne," in bold letters.

The question may well be raised here, how it happened that America
produced so many men of remarkable intellect with such slight
opportunities for education in former times, while our greatly improved
universities have not graduated an orator like Webster, a poet like
Longfellow, or a prose-writer equal to Hawthorne during the past forty
years. There have been few enough who have risen above mediocrity.

It is the same, more or less, all over the civilized world. We have
entered into a mechanical age, which is natural enough considering the
rapid advances of science and the numerous mechanical inventions, but
which is decidedly unfavorable to the development of art and
literature. Everything now goes by machinery, from Harvard University
to Ohio politics and the gigantic United States Steel Company; and
every man has to find his place in some machine or other, or he is
thrown out of line. Individual effort, as well as independence of
thought and action, is everywhere frowned upon; but without freedom of
thought and action there can be no great individualities, which is the
same as saying that there can be no poets like Longfellow, or writers
like Hawthorne and Emerson. Spontaneity is the life of the true artist,
and in a mechanical civilization there can be neither spontaneity nor
the poetic material which is essential to artistic work of a high
order. There can be no great orators, for masses of men are no longer
influenced by oratory, but by newspapers. Genius is like a plant of
slow growth, which requires sunshine and Mother Earth to nourish it,
not chemicals and electric lights.




CHAPTER IV

LITTLE MISERY: 1825-1835


During the War of the American Revolution, the officers of the French
fleet, which was stationed at Newport, invented a game of cards, called
"Boston," of which one peculiarity was, that under certain conditions,
whoever held the lowest hand would win the count. This was called
"Little Misery," and this was the kind of hand which Nathaniel
Hawthorne had to play for fifteen years after leaving Bowdoin College.
Only his indomitable will could have carried him through it.

A college graduate who lacks the means to study a profession, and who
has no influential relative to make a place for him in the world, finds
himself in a most discouraging position. The only thing that his
education has fitted him to do is, to teach school, and he may not be
adapted to this, on account of some personal peculiarity. There was,
and I suppose is still, a prejudice among mercantile men against
college graduates, as a class of proud, indolent, neglectful persons,
very difficult to instruct. Undoubtedly there are many such, but the
innocent have to suffer with the guilty. It is natural that a man who
has not had a liberal education should object to employing a
subordinate who knows Latin and Greek. Whether Hawthorne's Uncle
Robert, who had thus far proved to be his guardian genius, would have
educated him for a profession, we have no means of knowing. This would
mean of course a partial support for years afterward, and it is quite
possible that Mr. Manning considered his duties to his own children
paramount to it. What he did for Nathaniel may have been the best he
could, to give him the position of book-keeper for the stage-company.
This was of course Pegasus in harness (or rather at the hitching-post),
but it is excellent experience for every young man; although the
compensation in Hawthorne's case was small and there could be no
expectation of future advancement.

In this dilemma he decided to do the one thing for which Nature
intended him,--to become a writer of fiction,--and he held fast to this
determination in the face of most discouraging obstacles. He composed a
series of short stories,--echoes of his academic years,--which he
proposed to publish under the title of Wordsworth's popular poem, "We
Are Seven." One of these is said to have been based on the witchcraft
delusion, and it is a pity that it should not have been preserved, but
their feminine titles afford no indication of their character. He carried
them to a publisher, who received him politely and promised to examine
them, but one month passed after another without Hawthorne's hearing from
him, so that he concluded at length to make inquiries. [Footnote: J.
Hawthorne, i. 124.] The publisher confessed that he had not even undertaken
to read them, and Nathaniel carried them back, with a sinking heart, to
his little chamber in the house on Herbert Street,--where he may have
had melancholy thoughts enough for the next few weeks.

Youth, however, soon outgrows its chagrins. In less than two years
Hawthorne was prepared to enter the literary lists, equipped with a
novelette, called "Fanshawe"; but here again he was destined to meet
with a rebuff. After tendering it to a number of publishers without
encouragement, he concluded to take the risk of publishing it himself.
This only cost him a few hundred dollars, but the result was
unsatisfactory, and he afterward destroyed all the copies that he could
regain possession of.

Hawthorne's genius was of slow development. He was only twenty-four
when he published this rather immature work, and it might have been
better if he had waited longer. It was to him what the "Sorrows of
Werther" was to Goethe, but while the "Sorrows of Werther" made Goethe
famous in many countries, "Fanshawe" fell still-born. The latter was
not more imitative of Scott than the "Sorrows of Werther" is of
Rousseau, and now that we consider it in the cool critical light of the
twentieth century, we cannot but wonder that the "Sorrows of Werther"
ever produced such enthusiasm. It is quite as difficult to see why
"Fanshawe" should not have proved a success. It lacks the grace and
dignity of Hawthorne's mature style, but it has an ingenious plot, a
lively action, and is written in sufficiently good English. One would
suppose that its faults would have helped to make it popular, for
portions of it are so exciting as to border closely on the sensational.
It may be affirmed that when a novel becomes so exciting that we wish
to turn over the pages and anticipate the conclusion, either the action
of the story is too heated or its incidents are too highly colored. The
introduction of pirates in a work of fiction is decidely sensational,
from Walter Scott downward, and, though Hawthorne never fell into this
error, he approaches closely to it in "Fanshawe." There is some dark
secret between the two villains of the piece, which he leaves to the
reader as an exercise for the imagination. This is a characteristic of
all his longer stories. There is an unknown quantity, an insoluble
point, in them, which tantalizes the reader.

What we especially feel in "Fanshawe" is the author's lack of social
experience. His heroine at times behaves in a truly feminine manner,
and at others her performances make us shiver. Her leaving her
guardian's house at midnight to go off with an unknown man, whom her
maidenly instinct should have taught her to distrust, even if Fanshawe
had not warned her against him, might have been characteristic of the
Middle Ages, but is certainly not of modern life. Bowdoin College
evidently served Hawthorne as a background to his plot, although
removed some distance into the country, and it is likely that the
portrait of the kindly professor might have been recognized there.
Ward's Tavern serves for the public-house where the various characters
congregate, and there is a high rocky ledge in the woods, or what used
to be woods at Brunswick, where the students often tried their skill in
climbing, and which Hawthorne has idealized into the cliff where the
would-be abductor met his timely fate. The trout-brook where Bridge and
Hawthorne used to fish is also introduced.

Fanshawe himself seems like a house of which only two sides have been
built. There are such persons, and it is no wonder if they prove to be
short-lived. Yet the scene in which he makes his noble renunciation of
the woman who is devoted to him, purely from a sense of gratitude, is
finely and tenderly drawn, and worthy of Hawthorne in his best years.
The story was republished after its author's death, and fully deserves
its position in his works.

It was about this time (1827) that Nathaniel Hathorne changed his name
to Hawthorne. No reason has ever been assigned for his doing so, and he
had no legal right to do it without an act of the Legislature, but he
took a revolutionary right, and as his family and fellow-citizens
acquiesced in this, it became an established fact. His living relatives
in the Manning family are unable to explain his reason for it. It may
have been for the sake of euphony, or he may have had a fanciful
notion, that such a change would break the spell which seemed to be
dragging his family down with him. Conway's theory that it was intended
to serve him as an incognito is quite untenable. His name first appears
with a _w_ in the Bowdoin Triennial Catalogue of 1828.

There are very few data existing as to Hawthorne's life during his
first ten years of manhood, but it must have been a hard, dreary period
for him. The Manning children, Robert, Elizabeth and Rebecca, were now
growing up, and must have been a source of entertainment in their way,
and his sister Louisa was always a comfort; but Horatio Bridge, who
made a number of flying visits to him, states that he never saw the
elder sister, even at table,--a fact from which we may draw our own
conclusions. Hawthorne had no friends at this time, except his college
associates, and they were all at a distance,--Pierce and Cilley both
flourishing young lawyers, one at Concord, New Hampshire, and the other
at Thomaston, Maine,--while Longfellow was teaching modern languages at
Bowdoin. He had no lady friends to brighten his evenings for him, and
if he went into society, it was only to be stared at for his personal
beauty, like a jaguar in a menagerie. He had no fund of the small
conversation which serves like oil to make the social machinery run
smoothly. Like all deep natures, he found it difficult to adapt himself
to minds of a different calibre. Salem people noticed this, and his
apparent lack of an object in life,--for he maintained a profound
secrecy in regard to his literary efforts,--and concluded that he was
an indolent young man without any faculty for business, and would never
come to good in this world. No doubt elderly females admonished him for
neglecting his opportunities, and small wits buzzed about him as they
have about many another under similar conditions. It was Hans
Andersen's story of the ugly duck that proved to be a swan.

No wonder that Hawthorne betook himself to the solitude of his own
chamber, and consoled himself like the philosopher who said, "When I am
alone, then I am least alone." He had an internal life with which only
his most intimate friends were acquainted, and he could people his room
with forms from his own fancy, much more real to him than the palpable
_ignota_ whom he passed in the street. Beautiful visions came to
him, instead of sermonizing ladies, patronizing money-changers,
aggressive upstarts, grimacing wiseacres, and that large class of
amiable, well-meaning persons that makes up the bulk of society. We
should not be surprised if angels sometimes came to hover round him,
for to the pure in heart heaven descends upon earth.

There is a passage in Hawthorne's diary under date of October 4, 1840,
which has often been quoted; but it will have to be quoted again, for
it cannot be read too often, and no biography of him would be adequate
without it. He says:

"Here I sit in my old accustomed chamber where I used to sit in days
gone by....This claims to be called a haunted chamber, for thousands
upon thousands of visions have appeared to me in it; and some few of
them have become visible to the world. If ever I should have a
biographer, he ought to make great mention of this chamber in my
memoirs, because so much of my lonely youth was wasted here, and here
my mind and character were formed; and here I have been glad and
hopeful, and here I have been despondent. And here I sat a long, long
time, waiting patiently for the world to know me, and sometimes
wondering why it did not know me sooner, or whether it would ever know
me at all,--at least, till I were in my grave. And sometimes it seemed
as if I were already in the grave, with only life enough to be chilled
and benumbed. But oftener I was happy,--at least as happy as I then
knew how to be, or was aware of the possibility of being. By and by,
the world found me out in my lonely chamber, and called me forth,--not
indeed, with a loud roar of acclamation, but rather with a still, small
voice,--and forth I went, but found nothing in the world that I thought
preferable to my solitude till now ... and now I begin to understand
why I was imprisoned so many years in this lonely chamber, and why I
could never break through the viewless bolts and bars; for if I had
sooner made my escape into the world, I should have grown hard and
rough, and been covered with earthly dust, and my heart might have
become callous by rude encounters with the multitude.... But living in
solitude till the fulness of time was come, I still kept the dew of my
youth, and the freshness of my heart."

During these dismal years Horatio Bridge was Hawthorne's good genius.
The letters that Hawthorne wrote to him have not been preserved, but we
may judge of their character by Bridge's replies to him--always frank,
manly, sympathetic and encouraging. Hawthorne evidently confided his
troubles and difficulties to Bridge, as he would to an elder brother.
Bridge finally destroyed Hawthorne's letters, not so much on account of
their complaining tone as for the personalities they contained;
[Footnote: Horatio Bridge, 69.] and this suggests to us that there was
still another side to Hawthorne's life at this epoch concerning which
we shall never be enlightened. A man could not have had a better friend
than Horatio Bridge. He was to Hawthorne what Edward Irving was to
Carlyle; and the world is more indebted to them both than it often
realizes.

There is in fact a decided similarity between the lives of Carlyle and
Hawthorne, in spite of radical differences in their work and
characters. Both started at the foot of the ladder, and met with a
hard, long struggle for recognition; both found it equally difficult to
earn their living by their pens; both were assisted by most devoted
friends, and both finally achieved a reputation among the highest in
their own time. If there is sometimes a melancholy tinge in their
writings, may we wonder at it? Pericles said, "We need the theatre to
chase away the sadness of life," and it might have benefited the whole
Hawthorne family to have gone to the theatre once a fortnight; but
there were few entertainments in Salem, except of the stiff
conventional sort, or in the shape of public dances open to firemen and
shop-girls. Long afterward, Elizabeth Hawthorne wrote of her brother:

"His habits were as regular as possible. In the evening after tea he
went out for about an hour, whatever the weather was; and in winter,
after his return, he ate a pint bowl of thick chocolate--(not cocoa,
but the old-fashioned chocolate) crumbed full of bread: eating never
hurt him then, and he liked good things. In summer he ate something
equivalent, finishing with fruit in the season of it. In the evening we
discussed political affairs, upon which we differed in opinion; he
being a Democrat, and I of the opposite party. In reality, his interest
in such things was so slight that I think nothing would have kept it
alive but my contentious spirit. Sometimes, when he had a book that he
particularly liked, he would not talk. He read a great many novels."
[Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 125.]

If Elizabeth possessed the genius which her brother supposed, she
certainly does not indicate it in this letter; but genius in the ore is
very different from genius smelted and refined by effort and
experience. The one important fact in her statement is that Hawthorne
was in the habit of taking solitary rambles after dark,--an owlish
practice, but very attractive to romantic minds. Human nature appears
in a more pictorial guise by lamplight, after the day's work is over.
The groups at the street corners, the glittering display in the
watchmaker's windows, the carriages flashing by and disappearing in the
darkness, the mysterious errands of foot-passengers, all served as
object-lessons for this student of his own kind.

Jonathan Cilley once said:

"I love Hawthorne; I admire him; but I do not know him. He lives in a
mysterious world of thought and imagination which he never permits me
to enter." [Footnote: Packard's "Bowdoin College," 306.]

Long-continued thinking is sure to take effect at last, either in words
or in action, and Hawthorne's mind had to disburden itself in some
manner. So, after the failure of "Fanshawe," he returned to his
original plan of writing short stories, and this time with success. In
January, 1830, the well-known tale of "The Gentle Boy" was accepted by
S. G. Goodrich, the editor of a Boston publication called the
_Token_, who was himself better known in those days under the
_nom de plume_ of "Peter Parley." "The Wives of the Dead," "Roger
Malvin's Burial," and "Major Molineaux" soon followed. In 1833 he
published the "Seven Vagabonds," and some others. The New York
_Knickerbocker_ published the "Fountain of Youth" and "Edward
Fayne's Rosebud." After 1833 the _Token_ and the _New England
Magazine_ [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 175.] stood ready to accept
all the short pieces that Hawthorne could give them, but they did not
encourage him to write serial stories. However, it was not the custom
then for writers to sign their names to magazine articles, so that
Hawthorne gained nothing in reputation by this. Some of his earliest
pieces were printed over the signature of "Oberon."

An autumn expedition to the White Mountains, Lake Champlain and Lake
Ontario, and Niagara Falls, in 1832, raised Hawthorne's spirits and
stimulated his ambition. He wrote to his mother from Burlington,
Vermont, September 16:

"I have arrived in safety, having passed through the White Hills,
stopping at Ethan Crawford's house, and climbing Mt. Washington. I have
not decided as to my future course. I have no intention of going into
Canada. I have heard that cholera is prevalent in Boston."

It was something to have stood on the highest summit east of the Rocky
Mountains, and to have seen all New England lying at his feet. A hard
wind in the Crawford Notch, which he describes in his story of "The
Ambitious Guest," must have been in his own experience, and as he
passed the monument of the ill-fated Willey family he may have thought
that he too might become celebrated after his death, even as they were
from their poetic catastrophe. This expedition provided him with the
materials for a number of small plots.

The ice was now broken; but a new class of difficulties arose before
him. American literature was then in the bud and promised a beautiful
blossoming, but the public was not prepared for it. Monthly magazines
had a precarious existence, and their uncertainty of remuneration
reacted on the contributors. Hawthorne was poorly paid, often obliged
to wait a long time for his pay, and occasionally lost it altogether.
For his story of "The Gentle Boy," one of the gems of literature, which
ought to be read aloud every year in the public schools, he received
the paltry sum of thirty-five dollars. Evidently he could not earn even
a modest maintenance on such terms, and his letters to Bridge became
more despondent than ever.

Goodrich, who was a writer of the Andrews Norton class, soon perceived
that Hawthorne could make better sentences than his own, and engaged
him to write historical abstracts for his pitiful Peter Parley books,
paying him a hundred dollars for the whole work, and securing for
himself all the credit that appertained to it. Everybody knew who Peter
Parley was, but it has only recently been discovered that much of the
literature which passed under his name was the work of Nathaniel
Hawthorne.

The editor of a New York magazine to which Hawthorne contributed a
number of sketches repeatedly deferred the payment for them, and
finally confessed his inability to make it,--which he probably knew or
intended beforehand. Then, with true metropolitan assurance, he begged
of Hawthorne the use of certain unpublished manuscripts, which he still
had in his possession. Hawthorne with unlimited contempt told the
fellow that he might keep them, and then wrote to Bridge:

"Thus has this man, who would be considered a Macenas, taken from a
penniless writer material incomparably better than any his own brain
can supply." [Footnote: Horatio Bridge, 68, 69.]

Whether this New York periodical was the _Knickerbocker_ or some
other, we are not informed; neither do we know what Bridge replied to
Hawthorne, who had closed his letter with a malediction, on the
aforesaid editor, but elsewhere in his memoirs he remarks:

"Hawthorne received but small compensation for any of this literary
work, for he lacked the knowledge of business and the self-assertion
necessary to obtain even the moderate remuneration vouchsafed to
writers fifty years ago." [Footnote: Horatio Bridge, 77.]

If Horatio Bridge had been an author himself, he would not have written
this statement concerning his friend. Magazine editors are like men in
other professions: some of them are honorable and others are less so;
but an author who offers a manuscript to the editor of a magazine is
wholly at his mercy, so far as that small piece of property is
concerned. The author cannot make a bargain with the editor as he can
with the publisher of his book, and is obliged to accept whatever the
latter chooses to give him. Instances have been known where an editor
has destroyed a valuable manuscript, without compensation or
explanation of any kind. Hawthorne was doing the best that a human
being could under the conditions that were given him. Above all things,
he was true to himself; no man could be more so.

Yet Bridge wrote to him on Christmas Day, 1836:

"The bane of your life has been self-distrust. This has kept you back
for many years; which, if you had improved by publishing, would long
ago have given you what you must now wait a long time for. It may be
for the best, but I doubt it."

Nothing is more trying in misfortune than the ill-judged advice of
well-meaning friends. There is no nettle that stings like it. To expect
Hawthorne to become a literary genius, and at the same time to develop
the peculiar faculties of a commercial traveller or a curb-stone
broker, was unreasonable. In the phraseology of Sir William Hamilton,
the two vocations are "non-compossible." Bridge himself was undertaking
a grandly unpractical project about this time: nothing less than an
attempt to dam the Androscoggin, a river liable to devastating floods;
and in this enterprise he was obliged to trust to a class of men who
were much more uncertain in their ways and methods than those with whom
Hawthorne dealt. Horatio Bridge had not studied civil engineering, and
the result was that before two years had elapsed the floods on the
Androscoggin swept the dam away, and his fortune with it.

In the same letter we also notice this paragraph concerning another
Bowdoin friend:

"And so Frank Pierce is elected Senator. There is an instance of what a
man can do by trying. With no very remarkable talents, he at the age of
thirty-four fills one of the highest stations in the nation. He is a
good fellow, and I rejoice at his success." [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i.
148.]

Pierce certainly possessed the cap of Fortunatus, and it seems as if
there must have been some magic faculty in the man, which enabled him
to win high positions so easily; and he continued to do this, although
he had not distinguished himself particularly as a member of Congress,
and he appeared to still less advantage among the great party leaders
in the United States Senate. He illustrated the faculty for "getting
elected."

In October, 1836, the time arrived for settling the matrimonial wager
between Hawthorne and Jonathan Cilley, which they had made at college
twelve years before. Bridge accordingly examined the documents which
they had deposited with him, and notified Cilley that he was under
obligation to provide Hawthorne with an octavo of Madeira.

Cilley's letter to Hawthorne on this occasion does not impress one
favorably. [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 144.] It is familiar and jocose,
without being either witty or friendly, and he gives no intimation in
it of an intention to fulfil his promise. Hawthorne appears to have
sent the letter to Bridge, who replied:

"I doubt whether you ever get your wine from Cilley. His inquiring of
you whether he had really lost the bet is suspicious; and he has
written me in a manner inconsistent with an intention of paying
promptly; and if a bet grows old it grows cold. He wished me to propose
to you to have it paid at Brunswick next Commencement, and to have as
many of our classmates as could be mustered to drink it. It may be
Cilley's idea to pay over the balance after taking a strong pull at it;
if so, it is well enough. But still it should be tendered within the
month."

In short, Cilley behaved in this matter much in the style of a tricky
Van Buren politician, making a great bluster of words, and privately
intending to do nothing. He was running for Congress at the time on the
Van Buren ticket, and it is quite likely that the expenses of the
campaign had exhausted his funds. That he should never have paid the
bet was less to Hawthorne's disadvantage than his own.

It was now that Horatio Bridge proved himself a true friend, and
equally a man. In the spring of 1836 Goodrich had obtained for
Hawthorne the editorship of the _American Magazine of Useful and
Entertaining Knowledge_, with a salary of five hundred dollars;
[Footnote: Conway, 45.]but he soon discovered that he had embarked on a
ship with a rotten hulk. He started off heroically, writing the whole
of the first number with the help of his sister Elizabeth; but by
midsummer the concern was bankrupt, and he retired to his lonely cell,
more gloomy and despondent than before. There are few sadder spectacles
then that of a man seeking work without being able to obtain it; and
this applies to the man of genius as well as to the day laborer.

Horatio Bridge now realized that the time had come for him to
interfere. He recognized that Hawthorne was gradually lapsing into a
hypochondria that might terminate fatally; that he was Goethe's oak
planted in a flowerpot, and that unless the flower-pot could be broken,
the oak would die. He also saw that Hawthorne would never receive the
public recognition that was due to his ability, so long as he published
magazine articles under an assumed name. He accordingly wrote to
Goodrich--fortunately before his mill-dam gave way--suggesting the
publication of a volume of Hawthorne's stories, and offered to
guarantee the publisher against loss. This proposition was readily
accepted, but Bridge might have made a much better bargain. What it
amounted to was, the half-profit system without the half-profit. The
necessary papers were exchanged and Hawthorne gladly acceded to
Goodrich's terms. Bridge, however, had cautioned Goodrich not to inform
Hawthorne of his share in the enterprise, and the consequence of this
was that he shortly received a letter from Hawthorne, informing him of
the good news--which he knew already--and praising Goodrich, to whom he
proposed to dedicate his new volume. Bridge's generosity had come back
to him, dried and salted,--as it has to many another.

What could Bridge do, in the premises? Goodrich had written to
Hawthorne that the publisher, Mr. Howes, was confident of making a
favorable arrangement _with a man of capital who would edit the
book_; but Bridge did not know this, and he suspected Goodrich of
sailing into Hawthorne's favor under a false flag. He therefore wrote
to Hawthorne, November 17, 1836:

"I fear you will hurt yourself by puffing Goodrich
_undeservedly_,--for there is no doubt in my mind of his
selfishness in regard to your work and yourself. I am perfectly aware
that he has taken a good deal of interest in you, but when did he ever
do anything for you without a _quid pro quo_? The magazine was
given to you for $100 less than it should have been. The _Token_
was saved by your writing. Unless you are already committed, do not mar
the prospects of your _first_ book by hoisting Goodrich into
favor."

This prevented the dedication, for which Hawthorne was afterward
thankful enough. The book, which was the first volume of "Twice Told
Tales" came from the press the following spring, and proved an
immediate success, although not a highly lucrative one for its author.
With the help of Longfellow's cordial review of it in the <b>North
American</b> it established Hawthorne's reputation on a firm and
irrefragable basis. All honor to Horatio.

As if Hawthorne had not seen a sufficiently long "winter of discontent"
already, his friends now proposed to obtain the position of secretary
and chronicler for him on Commodore Jones's exploring expedition to the
South Pole! Franklin Pierce was the first to think of this, but Bridge
interceded with Cilley to give it his support, and there can be no
doubt that they would have succeeded in obtaining the position for
Hawthorne, but the expedition itself failed, for lack of a
Congressional appropriation. The following year, 1838, the project was
again brought forward by the administration, and Congress being in a
more amiable frame of mind granted the requisite funds; but Hawthorne
had now contracted new ties in his native city, bound, as it were, by
an inseparable cord stronger than a Manila hawser, and Doctor Nathaniel
Peabody's hospitable parlors were more attractive to him than anything
the Antarctic regions could offer.

We have now entered upon the period where Hawthorne's own diary
commences, the autobiography of a pure-minded, closely observing man;
an invaluable record, which began apparently in 1835, and was continued
nearly until the close of his life; now published in a succession of
American, English and Italian note-books. In it we find records of what
he saw and thought; descriptive passages, afterward made serviceable in
his works of fiction, and perhaps written with that object in view;
fanciful notions, jotted down on the impulse of the moment; records of
his social life; but little critical writing or personal confessions,--
although the latter may have been reserved; from publication by his
different editors. It is known that much of his diary has not yet been
given to the public, and perhaps never will be.

In July, 1837, Hawthorne went to Augusta, to spend a month with his
friend Horatio Bridge; went fishing with him, for what they called
white perch, probably the saibling; [Footnote: The American saibling,
or golden trout, is only indigenous to Lake Sunapee, New Hampshire, and
to a small lake near Augusta.] and was greatly entertained with the
peculiarities of an idiomatic Frenchman, an itinerant teacher of that
language, whom Bridge, in the kindness of his heart, had taken into his
own house. The last of July, Cilley also made his appearance, but did
not bring the Madeira with him, and Hawthorne has left this rather
critical portrait of him in his diary:

"Friday, July 28th.--Saw my classmate and formerly intimate friend, ----,
for the first time since we graduated. He has met with good success
in life, in spite of circumstances, having struggled upward against
bitter opposition, by the force of his abilities, to be a member of
Congress, after having been for some time the leader of his party in
the State Legislature. We met like old friends, and conversed almost as
freely as we used to do in college days, twelve years ago and more. He
is a singular person, shrewd, crafty, insinuating, with wonderful tact,
seizing on each man by his manageable point, and using him for his own
purpose, often without the man's suspecting that he is made a tool of;
and yet, artificial as his character would seem to be, his
conversation, at least to myself, was full of natural feeling, the
expression of which can hardly be mistaken, and his revelations with
regard to himself had really a great deal of frankness. A man of the
most open nature might well have been more reserved to a friend, after
twelve years separation, than ---- was to me. Nevertheless, he is
really a crafty man, concealing, like a murder-secret, anything that it
is not good for him to have known. He by no means feigns the good
feeling that he professes, nor is there anything affected in the
frankness of his conversation; and it is this that makes him so
fascinating. There is such a quantity of truth and kindliness and warm
affections, that a man's heart opens to him, in spite of himself. He
deceives by truth. And not only is he crafty, but, when occasion
demands, bold and fierce like a tiger, determined, and even
straightforward and undisguised in his measures,--a daring fellow as
well as a sly one."

This can be no other than Jonathan Cilley; like many of his class, a
man of great good humor but not over-scrupulous, so far as the means he
might make use of were concerned. He did not, however, prove to be as
skilful a diplomat as Hawthorne seems to have supposed him. The duel
between Cilley and Graves, of Kentucky, has been so variously
misrepresented that the present occasion would seem a fitting
opportunity to tell the plain truth concerning it.

President Jackson was an honest man, in the customary sense of the
term, and he would have scorned to take a dollar that was not his own;
but he suffered greatly from parasites, who pilfered the nation's
money,--the natural consequence of the spoils-of-office system. The
exposure of these peculations gave the Whigs a decided advantage, and
Cilley, who had quickly proved his ability in debate, attempted to set
a back-fire by accusing Watson Webb, the editor of the _Courier and
Enquirer_, of having been bribed to change the politics of his
paper. The true facts of the case were, that the paper had been
purchased by the Whigs, and Webb, of course, had a right to change his
politics if he chose to; and the net result of Cilley's attack was a
challenge to mortal combat, carried by Representative Graves, of
Kentucky. Cilley, although a man of courage, declined this, on the
ground that members of Congress ought not to be called to account
outside of the Capitol, for words spoken in debate. "Then," said
Graves, "you will at least admit that my friend is a gentleman."

This was a fair offer toward conciliation, and if Cilley had been
peaceably inclined he would certainly have accepted it; but he
obstinately refused to acknowledge that General Webb was a gentleman,
and in consequence of this he received a second challenge the next day
from Graves, brought by Henry A. Wise, afterward Governor of Virginia.
Cilley still objected to fighting, but members of his party urged him
into it: the duel took place, and Cilley was killed.

It may be said in favor of the "code of honor" that it discourages
blackguardism and instructs a man to keep a civil tongue; but it is not
always possible to prevent outbursts of temper, especially in hot
climates, and a man's wife and children should also be considered.
Andrew Jackson said at the close of his life, that there was nothing he
regretted so much as having killed a human being in a duel. Man rises
by humility, and angels fall from pride.

Hawthorne wrote a kindly and regretful notice of the death of his old
acquaintance, which was published in the _Democratic Review_, and
which closed with this significant passage:

"Alas, that over the grave of a dear friend, my sorrow for the
bereavement must be mingled with another grief--that he threw away such
a life in so miserable a cause! Why, as he was true to the Northern
character in all things else, did he swerve from his Northern
principles in this final scene?" [Footnote: Conway, 63.]

It will be well to bear this in mind in connection with a somewhat
similar incident, which we have now to consider.

An anecdote has been repeated in all the books about Hawthorne
published since 1880, which would do him little credit if it could be
proved,--a story that he challenged one of his friends to a duel, at
the instigation of a vulgar and unprincipled young woman. Horatio
Bridge says in reference to it:

"This characteristic was notably displayed several years later, when a
lady incited him to quarrel with one of his best friends on account of
a groundless pique of hers. He went to Washington for the purpose of
challenging the gentleman, and it was only after ample explanation had
been made, showing that his friend had behaved with entire honor, that
Pierce and Cilley, who were his advisers, could persuade him to be
satisfied without a fight." [Footnote: Bridge, 5.]

How the good Horatio could have fallen into this pit is unimaginable,
for a double contradiction is contained in his statement. "Some time
after this," that is after leaving college, would give the impression
that the affair took place about 1830, whereas Pierce and Cilley were
not in Washington together till five or six years later--probably seven
years later. Moreover, Hawthorne states in a letter to Pierce's friend
O'Sullivan, on April 1, 1853, that he had never been in Washington up
to that time. The Manning family and Mrs. Hawthorne's relatives never
heard of the story previous to its publication.

The internal evidence is equally strong against it. What New England
girl would behave in the manner that Hawthorne's son represents this
one to have done? What young gentleman would have listened to such a
communication as he supposes, and especially the reserved and modest
Hawthorne? One can even imagine the aspect of horror on his face at
such an unlady-like proceeding. The story would be an ignominious one
for Hawthorne, if it were credible, but there is no occasion for our
believing it until some tangible evidence is adduced in its support.
There was no element of Quixotism in his composition, and it is quite
as impossible to locate the identity of the person whom Hawthorne is
supposed to have challenged.




CHAPTER V

EOS AND EROS: 1835-1839


It was fortunate for Hawthorne that there was at this time a periodical
in the United States, the _North American Review_, which was
generally looked upon as an authority in literature, and which in most
instances deserved the confidence that was placed in it, for its
reviews were written by men of distinguished ability. It was the
_North American Review_ which made the reputation of L. Maria
Child, and which enrolled Hawthorne in the order of geniuses.

There is not much literary criticism in Longfellow's review, and he
does not "rise to the level of the accomplished essayist" of our own
time, [Footnote: Who writes so correctly and says so little to the
purpose.] but he goes to the main point with the single-mindness of the
true poet. "A new star," he says, "has appeared in the skies"--a
veritable prediction. "Others will gaze at it with telescopes, and
decide whether it is in the constellation of Orion or the Great Bear.
It is enough for us to gaze at it, to admire it, and welcome it."

"Although Hawthorne writes in prose, he belongs among the poets. To
every subject he touches he gives a poetic personality which emanates
from the man himself. His sympathies extend to all things living, and
even to the inanimates. Another characteristic is the exceeding beauty
of his style. It is as clear as running waters are. Indeed he uses
words as mere stepping-stones, upon which, with a free and youthful
bound, his spirit crosses and re-crosses the bright and rushing stream
of thought."

Again he says:

"A calm, thoughtful face seems to be looking at you from every page;
with now a pleasant smile, and now a shade of sadness stealing over its
features. Sometimes, though not often, it glares wildly at you, with a
strange and painful expression, as, in the German romance, the bronze
knocker of the Archivarius Lindhorst makes up faces at the Student
Anselmus."

Here we have a portrait of Hawthorne, by one who knew him, in a few
simple words; and behind a calm thoughtful face there is that
mysterious unknown quantity which puzzles Longfellow here, and always
perplexed Hawthorne's friends. It may have been the nucleus or tap-root
of his genius.

Longfellow seems to have felt it as a dividing line between them. He
probably felt so at college; and this brings us back to an old subject.
Hawthorne's superiority to Longfellow as an artist consisted
essentially in this, that he was never an optimist. Puritanism looked
upon human nature with a hostile eye, and was inclined to see evil in
it where none existed; and Doctor Channing, who inaugurated the great
moral movement which swept Puritanism away in this country, tended, as
all reformers do, to the opposite extreme,--to that scepticism of evil
which, as George Brandes says, is greatly to the advantage of
hypocrites and sharpers. This was justifiable in Doctor Channing, but
among his followers it has often degenerated into an inverted or
homoeopathic kind of Puritanism,--a habit of excusing the faults of
others, or of themselves, on the score of good intentions--a habit of
self-justification, and even to the perverse belief that, as everything
is for the best, whatever we do in this world must be for good. To this
class of sentimentalists the most serious evil is truth-seeing and
truth-speaking. It is an excellent plan to look upon the bright side of
things, but one should not do this to the extent of blinding oneself to
facts. Doctor Johnson once said to Boswell, "Beware, my friend, of
mixing up virtue and vice;" but there is something worse than that, and
it is, to stigmatize a writer as a pessimist or a hypochondriac for
refusing to take rainbow-colored views. This, however, would never
apply to Longfellow.

Hawthorne, with his eye ever on the mark, pursued a middle course. He
separated himself from the Puritans without joining their opponents,
and thus attained the most independent stand-point of any American
writer of his time; and if this alienated him from the various
humanitarian movements that were going forward, it was nevertheless a
decided advantage for the work he was intended to do. In this respect
he resembled Scott, Thackeray and George Eliot.

What we call evil or sin is merely the negative of civilization,--a
tendency to return to the original savage condition. In the light of
history, there is always progress or improvement, but in individual
cases there is often the reverse, and so far as the individual is
concerned evil is no imaginary metaphor, but as real and absolute as
what we call good. The Bulgarian massacres of 1877 were a historical
necessity, and we console ourselves in thinking of them by the fact
that they may have assisted the Bulgarians in obtaining their
independence; but this was no consolation to the twenty or thirty
thousand human beings who were ground to powder there. To them there
was no comfort, no hope,--only the terrible reality. Neither can we
cast the responsibility of such events on the mysterious ways of
Providence. The ways of Providence are not so mysterious to those who
have eyes to read with. Take for instance one of the most notable cases
of depravity, that of Nero. If we consider the conditions under which
he was born and brought up, the necessity of that form of government to
hold a vast empire together, and the course of history for a hundred
years previous, it is not difficult to trace the genesis of Nero's
crimes to the greed of the Roman people (especially of its merchants)
for conquest and plunder; and Nero was the price which they were
finally called on to pay for this. Marcus Aurelius, a noble nature
reared under favorable conditions for its development, became the
Washington of his time.

It is the same in private life. In many families there are evil
tendencies, which if they are permitted to increase will take permanent
hold, like a bad demon, of some weak individual, and make of him a
terror and a torment to his relatives--fortunate if he is not in a
position of authority. He may serve as a warning to the general public,
but in the domestic circle he is an unmitigated evil,--he or she,
though it is not so likely to be a woman. When a crime is committed
within the precincts of good society, we are greatly shocked; but we do
not often notice the debasement of character which leads down to it,
and still more rarely notice the instances in which fear or some other
motive arrests demoralization before the final step, and leaves the
delinquent as it were in a condition of moral suspense.

It was in such tragic situations that Hawthorne found the material
which was best suited to the bent of his genius.

In the two volumes, however, of "Twice Told Tales,"--the second
published two years later,--the tragical element only appears as an
undercurrent of pathos in such stories as "The Gentle Boy,"
"Wakefield," "The Maypole of Merry-mount," and "The Haunted Mind," but
reaches a climax in "The Ambitious Guest" and "Lady Eleanor's Mantle."
There are others, like "Lights from a Steeple," and "Little Annie's
Ramble," that are of a more cheerful cast, but are also much less
serious in their composition. "The Minister's Black Veil," "The Great
Carbuncle," and "The Ambitious Guest," are Dantean allegories. We
notice that each volume begins with a highly patriotic tale, the "Gray
Champion," and "Howe's Masquerade," but the patriotism is genuine and
almost fervid.

When I first looked upon the house in which Hawthorne lived at Sebago,
I was immediately reminded of these earlier studies in human nature,
which are of so simple and quiet a diction, so wholly devoid of
rhetoric, that Elizabeth Peabody thought they must be the work of his
sister, and others supposed them to have been written by a Quaker. They
resemble Durer's wood-cuts,--gentle and tender in line, but unswerving
in their fidelity. We sometimes wish that they were not so quiet and
evenly composed, and then repent of our wish that anything so perfect
should be different from what it is. His "Twice Told Tales" are a
picture-gallery that may be owned in any house-hold. They stand alone
in English, and there is not their like in any other language.

Yet Hawthorne is not a word-painter like Browning and Carlyle, but
obtains his pictorial effect by simple accuracy of description, a more
difficult process than the other, but also more satisfactory. His eyes
penetrate the masks and wrappings which cover human nature, as the
Rontgen rays penetrate the human body. He sees a man's heart through
the flesh and bones, and knows what is concealed in it. He ascends a
church-steeple, and looking down from the belfry the whole life of the
town is spread out before him. Men and women come and go--Hawthorne
knows the errands they are on. He sees a militia company parading
below, and they remind him from that elevation of the toy soldiers in a
shop-window,--which they turned out to be, pretty much, at Bull Run. A
fashionable young man comes along the street escorting two young
ladies, and suddenly at a crossing encounters their father, who takes
them away from him; but one of them gives him a sweet parting look,
which amply compensates him in its presage of future opportunities. How
plainly that consolatory look appears between our eyes and the printed
page! Then Hawthorne describes the grand march of a thunder-storm,--as
in Rembrandt's "Three Trees,"--with its rolling masses of dark vapor,
preceded by a skirmish-line of white feathery clouds. The militia
company is defeated at the first onset of this, its meteoric enemy, and
driven under cover. The artillery of the skies booms and flashes about
Hawthorne himself, until finally: "A little speck of azure has widened
in the western heavens; the sunbeams find a passage and go rejoicing
through the tempest, and on yonder darkest cloud, born like hallowed
hopes of the glory of another world and the trouble and tears of this,
brightens forth the rainbow." All this may have happened just as it is
set down.

"Lady Eleanor's Mantle" exemplifies the old proverb, "Pride goeth
before destruction," in almost too severe a manner, but the tale is
said to have a legendary foundation; and "The Minister's Black Veil" is
an equally awful symbolism for that barrier between man and man, which
we construct through suspicion and our lack of frankness in our
dealings with one another. We all hide ourselves behind veils, and, as
Emerson says, "Man crouches and blushes, absconds and conceals."

"The Ambitious Guest" allegorizes a vain imagination, and is the most
important of these three. A young man suffers from a craving for
distinction, which he believes will only come to him after this life is
ended. He is walking through the White Mountains, and stops overnight
at the house of the ill-fated Willey family. He talks freely on the
subject of his vain expectations, when Destiny, in the shape of an
avalanche, suddenly overtakes him, and buries him so deeply that
neither his body nor his name has ever been recovered. Hawthorne might
have drawn another allegory from the same source, for if the Willey
family had trusted to Providence, and remained in their house, instead
of rushing out into the dark, they would not have lost their lives.

In the _Democratic Review_ for 1834, Hawthorne published the
account of a visit to Niagara Falls, one of the fruits of his
expedition thither in September, 1832, by way of the White Mountains
and Burlington, the journey from Salem to Niagara in those days being
fully equal to going from New York to the cataracts of the Nile in our
own time. "The Ambitious Guest" was published in the same volume with
it, and "The Ontario Steamboat" first appeared in the _American
Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge_, in 1836. Hawthorne
may have made other expeditions to the White Mountains, but we do not
hear of them.

In addition to the three studies already mentioned, Hawthorne drew from
this source the two finest of his allegories, "The Great Carbuncle" and
"The Great Stone Face."

"The Great Carbuncle" is not only one of the most beautiful of
Hawthorne's tales, but the most far-reaching in its significance. The
idea of it must have originated in the Alpine glow, an effect of the
rising or setting sun on the icy peaks of a mountain, which looks at a
distance like a burning coal; an appearance only visible in the White
Mountains during the winter, and there is no reason why Hawthorne
should not have seen it at that season from Lake Sebago. At a distance
of twenty miles or more it blazes wonderfully, but on a nearer approach
it entirely disappears. Hawthorne could not have found a more
fascinating subject, and he imagines it for us as a great carbuncle
located in the upper recesses of the mountains.

A number of explorers for this wonderful gem meet together at the foot
of the mountain beyond the confines of civilization, and build a hut in
which to pass the night. They are recognizable, from Hawthorne's
description, as the man of one idea, who has spent his whole life
seeking the gem; a scientific experimenter who wishes to grind it up
for the benefit of his crucible; a cynical sceptic who has come to
disprove the existence of the great gem; a greedy speculator who seeks
the carbuncle as he would prospect for a silver-mine; an English lord
who wishes to add it to his hereditary possessions; and finally a young
married couple who want to obtain it for an ornament to their new
cottage. The interest of the reader immediately centres on these last
two, and we care much more concerning their fortunes and adventures
than we do about the carbuncle.

The conversation that evening between these ill-assorted companions is
in Hawthorne's most subtle vein of irony, and would have delighted old
Socrates himself. Meanwhile the young bride weaves a screen of twigs
and leaves, to protect herself and her husband from the gaze of the
curious.

The following morning they all set out by different paths in search of
the carbuncle; but our thoughts accompany the steps of the young bride,
as she makes one toilsome ascent after another until she feels ready to
sink to the ground with fatigue and discouragement. They have already
decided to return, when the rosy light of the carbuncle bursts upon
them from beneath the lifting clouds; but they now feel instinctively
that it is too great a prize for their possession. The man of one idea
also sees it, and his life goes out in the exultation over his final
success. The skeptic appears, but cannot discover it, although his face
is illumined by its light, until he takes off his large spectacles;
whereupon, he instantly becomes blind. The English nobleman and the
American speculator fail to discover it; the former returns to his
ancestral halls, as wise as he was before; and the latter is captured
by a party of Indians and obliged to pay a heavy ransom to regain
freedom. The scientific pedant finds a rare specimen of primeval
granite, which serves his purpose quite as well as the carbuncle; and
the two young doves return to their cot, having learned the lesson of
contentment.

How fortunate was Hawthorne at the age of thirty thus to anatomize the
chief illusions of life, which so many others follow until old age!

It is an erroneous notion that Hawthorne found the chief material for
his work in old New England traditions. There are some half-dozen
sketches of this sort, but they are more formally written than the
others, and remind one of those portraits by Titian which were painted
from other portraits,--better than the originals, but not equal to
those which he painted from Nature.

In the "Sights from a Steeple" Hawthorne exposes his methods of study
and betrays the active principle of his existence. He says:

"The most desirable mode of existence might be that of a spiritualized
Paul Pry hovering invisible round man and woman, witnessing their
deeds, searching into their hearths, borrowing brightness from their
felicity and shade from their sorrow, and retaining no emotion peculiar
to himself."

There are those who would dislike this busybody occupation, and others,
such as Emerson perhaps, might not consider it justifiable; but
Hawthorne is not to be censured for it, for his motive was an elevated
one, and without this close scrutiny of human nature we should have had
neither a Hawthorne nor a Shakespeare. There is no quality more
conspicuous in "Twice Told Tales" than the calm, evenly balanced mental
condition of the author, who seems to look down on human life not so
much from a church steeple as from the blue firmament itself.

Such was the _Eos_ or dawn of Hawthorne's literary art.

Hawthorne returned thanks to Longfellow in a gracefully humorous
letter, to which Longfellow replied with a cordial wish to see
Hawthorne in Cambridge, and by advising him to dive into deeper water
and write a history of the Acadians before and after their expulsion
from Nova Scotia; but this was not practicable for minds like
Hawthorne's, surcharged with poetic images, and the attempt might have
proved a disturbing influence for him. He had already contributed the
substance to Longfellow of "Evangeline," and he now wrote a eulogium on
the poem for a Salem newspaper, which it must be confessed did not
differ essentially from other reviews of the same order. He does not
give us any clear idea of how the poem actually impressed him, which is
after all the best that one can do in such cases. Poetry is not like a
problem in mathematics, which can be marked right or wrong according to
its solution.

When a young man obtains a substantial footing in his profession or
business, he looks about him for a wife--unless he happens to be
already pledged in that particular; and Hawthorne was not an exception
to this rule. He was not obliged to look very far, and yet the chance
came to him in such an exceptional manner that it seems as if some
special providence were connected with it. His position in this respect
was a peculiar one. He does not appear to have been much acquainted in
Salem even now; and the only son of a widow with two unmarried sisters
may be said to have rather a slim chance for escaping from those strong
ties which have grown up between them from childhood. Many a mother has
prevented her son from getting married until it has become too late for
him to change his bachelor habits. His mother and his sisters realize
that he ought to be married, and that he has a right to a home of his
own; but in their heart of hearts they combat the idea, and their
opposition takes the form of an unsparing criticism of any young lady
whom he follows with his eyes. This frequently happens also in a family
of girls: they all remain unmarried because, if one of them shows an
inclination in that direction, the others unite in a conspiracy against
her. On the other hand, a family of four or five boys will marry early,
if they can obtain the means of doing so, simply from the need of
feminine cheer and sympathy. A devoted female friend will sometimes
prevent a young woman from being married. Love affairs are soft earth
for an intriguing and unprincipled woman to work in, but, fortunately,
Mrs. Hawthorne did not belong in that category.

It was stout, large-hearted Elizabeth Peabody who broke the spell of
the enchanted castle in which Hawthorne was confined. The Peabodys were
a cultivated family in Salem, who lived pretty much by themselves, as
the Hawthornes and Mannings did. Doctor Nathaniel Peabody was a
respectable practitioner, but he had not succeeded in curing the
headaches of his daughter Sophia, which came upon her at the close of
her girlhood and still continued intermittently until this time. The
Graces had not been bountiful the Peabody family, so, to compensate for
this, they all cultivated the Muses, in whose society they ascended no
little distance on the way to Parnassus. Elizabeth Peabody was quite a
feminine pundit. She learned French and German, and studied history and
archaeology; she taught history on a large scale at Sanborn's Concord
School and at many others; she had a method of painting dates on
squares, which fixed them indelibly in the minds of her pupils; she
talked at Margaret Fuller's transcendental club, and was an active
member of the Radical or Chestnut Street Club, thirty years later; but
her chief distinction was the introduction of Froebel's Kindergarten
teaching, by which she well-nigh revolutionized primary instruction in
America. She was a most self-forgetful person, and her scholars became
devotedly attached to her.

Her sister Mary was as much like Elizabeth mentally as she differed
from her in figure and general appearance, but soon after this she was
married to Horace Mann and her public activity became merged in that of
her husband, who was the first educator of his time. Sophia Peabody
read poetry and other fine writings, and acquired a fair proficiency in
drawing and painting. They lived what was then called the "higher
life," and it certainly led them to excellent results.

Shortly before the publication of "Twice Told Tales," Elizabeth Peabody
learned that the author of "The Gentle Boy," and other stories which
she had enjoyed in the _Token_, lived in Salem, and that the name
was Hawthorne. She immediately jumped to the conclusion that they were
the work of Miss Elizabeth Hawthorne, whom she had known somewhat in
earlier days, and she concluded to call upon her and offer her
congratulations. When informed by Louisa Hawthorne, who came to her in
the parlor, instead of the elder sister, that "The Gentle Boy" was
written by Nathaniel, Miss Peabody made the significant remark, "If
your brother can do work like that, he has no right to be idle"
[Footnote: Lathrop, 168. Miss Peabody would seem to have narrated this
to him.]--to which Miss Louisa retorted, it is to be hoped with some
indignation, that her brother never was idle.

It is only too evident from this that public opinion in Salem had
already decided that Hawthorne was an idle fellow, who was living on
his female relatives. That is the way the world judges--from external
facts without any consideration of internal causes or conditions. It
gratifies the vanity of those who are fortunate and prosperous, to
believe that all men have an equal chance in the race of life. Emerson
once blamed two young men for idleness, who were struggling against
obstacles such as he could have had no conception of. Those who have
been fortunate from the cradle never learn what life is really like.

The spell, however, was broken and the friendliness of Elizabeth
Peabody found a deeply sympathetic response in the Hawthorne household.
Nathaniel at last found a person who expressed a genuine and heartfelt
appreciation of his work, and it was like the return of the sun to the
Arctic explorer after his long winter night. Rather to Miss Peabody's
surprise he and his sisters soon returned her call, and visits between
the two families thereafter became frequent.

Sophia Peabody belonged to the class of young women for whom
Shakespeare's Ophelia serves as a typical example. She was gentle,
affectionate, refined, and amiable to a fault,--much too tender-hearted
for this rough world, if her sister Elizabeth had not always stood like
a barrier between her and it.

How Hawthorne might have acted in Hamlet's place it is useless to
surmise, but in his true nature he was quite the opposite of Hamlet,--
slow and cautious, but driven onward by an inexorable will. If Hamlet
had possessed half of Hawthorne's determination, he might have broken
through the network of evil conditions which surrounded him, and lived
to make Ophelia a happy woman. It was only necessary to come into
Hawthorne's presence in order to recognize the force that was in him.

Sophia Amelia Peabody was born September 21, 1811, so that at the time
of which we are now writing she was twenty-five years of age. Hawthorne
was then thirty-two, when a man is more attractive to the fair sex than
at any other time of life, for then he unites the freshness and vigor
of youth with sufficient maturity of judgment to inspire confidence and
trust. Yet her sister Elizabeth found it difficult to persuade her to
come into the parlor and meet the handsomest man in Salem. When she did
come she evidently attracted Nathaniel Hawthorne's attention, for,
although she said little, he looked at her repeatedly while conversing
with her sister. It may not have been an instance of love at first
sight,--which may happen to any young man at a dancing party, and be
forgotten two days later,--but it was something more than a casual
interest. On his second or third call she showed him a sketch she had
made of "the gentle boy," according to her idea of him, and the subdued
tone with which he received it plainly indicated that he was already
somewhat under her influence. Julian Hawthorne writes of this:
[Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 179.]

"It may be remarked here, that Mrs. Hawthorne in telling her children,
many years afterwards, of these first meetings with their father, used
to say that his presence, from the very beginning, exercised so strong
a magnetic attraction upon her, that instinctively, and in self-defence
as it were, she drew back and repelled him. The power which she felt in
him alarmed her; she did not understand what it meant, and was only
able to feel that she must resist."

Every true woman feels this reluctance at first toward a suitor for her
hand, but a sensitive young lady might well have a sense of awe on
finding that she had attracted to herself such a mundane force as
Hawthorne, and it is no wonder that this first impression was
recollected throughout her life. There are many who would have refused
Hawthorne's suit, because they felt that he was too great and strong
for them, and it is to the honor of Sophia Peabody that she was not
only attracted by the magnetism of Hawthorne, but finally had the
courage to unite herself to such an enigmatical person.

We also obtain a glimpse of Hawthorne's side of this courtship from a
letter which he wrote to Longfellow in June, 1837, and in which he
says, "I have now, or shall soon have a sharper spur to exertion, which
I lacked at an earlier period;" [Footnote: Conway, 75.] and this is all
the information he has vouchsafed us on the subject. If there is
anything more in his diary, it has not been given to the public, and
probably never will be. A number of letters which he wrote to Miss
Sophia from Boston, or Brook Farm, have been published by his son, but
it would be neither right nor judicious to introduce them here.

It is, however, evident from the above that Hawthorne was already
engaged in June, 1837, but his engagement long remained a secret, for
three excellent reasons; viz., his slender means of support, the
delicate health of his betrothed, and the disturbance which it might
create in the Hawthorne family. The last did not prove so serious a
difficulty as he seems to have imagined; but his apprehensiveness on
that point many another could justify from personal experience.
[Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 196.]

From this time also the health of Sophia Peabody steadily improved, nor
is it necessary to account for it by any magical influence on the part
of her lover. Her trouble was plainly some recondite difficulty of the
circulation. The heart is supposed to be the seat of the affections
because mental emotion stimulates the nervous system and acts upon the
heart as the centre of all organic functions. A healthy natural
excitement will cause the heart to vibrate more firmly and evenly; but
an unhealthy excitement, like fear or anger, will cause it to beat in a
rapid and uneven manner. Contrarily, despondency, or a lethargic state
of mind, causes the movement of the blood to slacken. The happiness of
love is thus the best of all stimulants and correctives for a torpid
circulation, and it expands the whole being of a woman like the
blossoming of a flower in the sunshine. From the time of her betrothal,
Sophia Peabody's headaches became less and less frequent, until they
ceased altogether. The true seat of the affections is in the mind. The
first consideration proved to be a more serious matter. If Hawthorne
had not succeeded in earning his own livelihood by literature so far,
what prospect was there of supporting a wife and family in that manner?
What should he do; whither should he turn? He continually turned the
subject over in his mind, without, however, reaching any definite
conclusion. Nor is this to be wondered at. If the ordinary avenues of
human industry were not available to him as a college graduate, they
were now permanently closed. A man in his predicament at the present
time might obtain the position of librarian in one of our inland
cities; but such places are few and the applications are many. Bronson
Alcott once offered his services as teacher of a primary school, a
position he might have filled better than most, for its one requisite
is kindliness, but the Concord school committee would not hear of it.
If Hawthorne had attempted to turn pedagogue he might have met with a
similar experience.

Conway remarks very justly that an American author could not be
expected to earn his own living in a country where foreign books could
be pirated as they were in the United States until 1890, and this was
especially true during the popularity of Dickens and George Eliot.
Dickens was the great humanitarian writer of the nineteenth century,
but he was also a caricaturist and a bohemian. He did not represent
life as it is, but with a certain comical oddity. As an author he is to
Hawthorne what a peony is to a rose, or a garnet is to a ruby; but ten,
persons would purchase a novel of Dickens when one would select the
"Twice Told Tales." Scott and Tennyson are exceptional instances of a
high order of literary work which also proved fairly remunerative; but
they do not equal Hawthorne in grace of diction and in the rare quality
of his thought,--whatever advantages they may possess in other
respects. Thackeray earned his living by his pen, but it was only in
England that he could have done this.




CHAPTER VI

PEGASUS AT THE CART: 1839-1841


Horatio Bridge's dam was washed away in the spring of 1837, by a sudden
and unprecedented rising of the Androscoggin River. Bridge was
financially ruined, but like a brave and generous young man he did not
permit this stroke of evil fortune, severe as it was, to oppress him
heavily, and Hawthorne seems to have felt no shadow of it during his
visit to Augusta the following summer. He returned to Salem in August
with pleasanter anticipations than ever before,--to enjoy the society
of his _fiancee_, and to prepare the second volume of "Twice Told
Tales."

The course of Hawthorne's life during the next twenty months is mostly
a blank to us. He would seem to have exerted himself to escape from the
monotone in which he had been living so long, but of his efforts,
disappointments, and struggles against the giant coils of Fate, there
is no report. He wrote the four Province House tales as a send-off to
his second volume, as well as "The Toll-Gatherer's Day," "Footprints on
the Seashore," "Snow-Flakes," and "Chippings with a Chisel," which are
to be found in it. [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, 176.] There is a long blank
in Hawthorne's diary during the winter of 1837-38 which may be owing to
his indifference to the outer world at that time, but more likely
because its contents have not yet been revealed to us. It was the
period of Cilley's duel, and what Hawthorne's reflections were on that
subject, aside from the account which he wrote for the _Democratic
Review_, would be highly interesting now, but the absence of any
reference to it is significant, and there is no published entry in his
diary between December 6, 1837, and May 11, 1838.

Horatio Bridge obtained the position of paymaster on the United States
warship "Cyane," which arrived at Boston early in June, and on the 16th
of the month Hawthorne went to call on his friend in his new quarters,
which he found to be pleasant enough in their narrow and limited way.
Bridge returned with him to Boston, and they dined together at the
Tremont House, drinking iced champagne and claret in pitchers,--which
latter would seem to have been a fashion of the place. Hawthorne's
description of the day is purely external, and he tells us nothing of
his friend,--concerning whom we were anxious to hear,--or of the new
life on which he had entered.

On July 4, his thirty-fifth birthday, he wrote a microscopic account of
the proceedings on Salem Common, which is interesting now, but will
become more valuable as time goes on and the customs of the American
people change with it. The object of these detailed pictorial studies,
which not only remind one of Durer's drawings but of Carlyle's local
descriptions (when he uses simple English and does not fly off into
recondite comparisons), is not clearly apparent; but the artist has
instincts of his own, like a vine which swings in the wind and seizes
upon the first tree that its tendrils come into contact with. We
sometimes wish that, as in the case of Bridge and his warship, they
were not so objective and external, and that, like Carlyle, he would
throw more of himself into them.

On July 27, Hawthorne started on an expedition to the Berkshire Hills,
by way of Worcester, remaining there nearly till the first of
September, and describing the scenery, the people he met by the way,
and the commencement at Williams College, which then took place in the
middle of August, in his customary accurate manner. He has given a full
and connected account of his travels; so full that we wonder how he
found time to write to Miss Sophia Peabody. He would seem to have been
entirely alone, and to have travelled mainly by stage. On the route
from Pittsfield to North Adams he notices the sunset, and describes it
in these simple terms: [Footnote: American Note-book, 130.]

"After or about sunset there was a heavy shower, the thunder rumbling
round and round the mountain wall, and the clouds stretching from
rampart to rampart. When it abated the clouds in all parts of the
visible heavens were tinged with glory from the west; some that hung
low being purple and gold, while the higher ones were gray. The slender
curve of the new moon was also visible, brightening amidst the fading
brightness of the sunny part of the sky."

At North Adams he takes notice of one of the Select-men, and gives this
account of him: [Footnote: American Note-book, 153.]

"One of the most sensible men in this village is a plain, tall, elderly
person, who is overseeing the mending of a road,--humorous,
intelligent, with much thought about matters and things; and while at
work he had a sort of dignity in handling the hoe or crow-bar, which
shows him to be the chief. In the evening he sits under the stoop,
silent and observant from under the brim of his hat; but, occasion
suiting, he holds an argument about the benefit or otherwise of
manufactories or other things. A simplicity characterizes him more than
appertains to most Yankees."

He did not return to Salem until September 24. A month later he was at
the Tremont House in Boston, looking out of the windows toward Beacon
Street, which may have served him for an idea in "The Blithedale
Romance." After this there are no entries published from his diary till
the following spring, so that the manner in which he occupied himself
during the winter of 1838-39 will have to be left to the imagination.
On April 27, 1839, he wrote a letter to Miss Sophia Peabody from
Boston, in which he says:

"I feel pretty secure against intruders, for the bad weather will
defend me from foreign invasion; and as to Cousin Haley, he and I had a
bitter political dispute last evening, at the close of which he went to
bed in high dudgeon, and probably will not speak to me these three
days. Thus you perceive that strife and wrangling, as well as east
winds and rain, are the methods of a kind Providence to promote my
comfort,--which would not have been so well secured in any other way.
Six or seven hours of cheerful solitude! But I will not be alone. I
invite your spirit to be with me,--at any hour and as many hours as you
please, but especially at the twilight hour before I light my lamp. I
bid you at that particular time, because I can see visions more vividly
in the dusky glow of firelight than either by daylight or lamplight.
Come, and let me renew my spell against headache and other direful
effects of the east wind. How I wish I could give you a portion of my
insensibility! and yet I should be almost afraid of some radical
transformation, were I to produce a change in that respect. If you
cannot grow plump and rosy and tough and vigorous without being changed
into another nature, then I do think, for this short life, you had
better remain just what you are. Yes; but you will be the same to me,
because we have met in eternity, and there our intimacy was formed. So
get well as soon as you possibly can."

This statement deserves consideration under two headings; and the last
shall be first, and the first shall be last.

It will be noticed that the accounts in Hawthorne's diary are for the
most part of a dispassionate objective character, as if he had come
down from the moon to take an observation of mundane affairs. His
letters to Miss Peabody were also dispassionate, but strongly
subjective, and, like the one just quoted, mainly evolved from his
imagination, like orchids living in the air. It was also about this
time that Carlyle wrote to Emerson concerning the _Dial_ that it
seemed "like an unborn human soul." The orchid imagination was an
influence of the time, penetrating everywhere like an ether.

In the opening sentences in this letter, Hawthorne comes within an inch
of disclosing his political opinions, and yet provokingly fails to do
so. There is nothing about the man concerning which we are so much in
the dark, and which we should so much like to know, as this; and it is
certain from this letter that he held very decided opinions on
political subjects and could defend them with a good deal of energy. On
one occasion when Hawthorne was asked why he was a Democrat, he
replied, "Because I live in a democratic country," which was, of
course, simply an evasion; and such were the answers which he commonly
gave to all interrogatories. His proclivities were certainly not
democratic; but the greater the tenacity with which a man holds his
opinions, the less inclined he feels to discuss them with others. The
Boston aristocracy now vote the Democratic ticket out of opposition to
the dominant party in Massachusetts, and Hawthorne may have done so for
a similar reason.

Hawthorne was now a weigher and gauger in the Boston Custom House, one
of the most laborious positions in the government service. The
defalcation of Swartwout with over a million dollars from the New York
customs' receipts had forced upon President Van Buren the importance of
filling such posts with honorable men, instead of political shysters,
and Bancroft, though a rather narrow historian, was a gentleman and a
scholar. He was the right man to appreciate Hawthorne, but whether he
bestowed this place upon him of his own accord, or through the ulterior
agency of Franklin Pierce, we are not informed. It is quite possible
that Elizabeth Peabody had a hand in the case, for she was always an
indefatigable petitioner for the benefit of the needy, and had
opportunities for meeting Bancroft in Boston society. His kindness to
Hawthorne was at least some compensation for having originated the most
ill-favored looking public building in the city. [Footnote: The present
Boston Custom House. George S. Hillard called it an architectural
monstrosity.]

Hawthorne's salary was twelve hundred dollars a year,--fully equal to
eighteen hundred at the present time,--and his position appears to have
been what is now called a store-keeper. He fully earned his salary. He
had charge and oversight of all the dutiable imports that came to
Long Wharf, the most important in the city, and was obliged to keep an
account of all dutiable articles which were received there. He had to
superintend personally the unloading of vessels, and although in some
instances this was not unpleasant, he was constantly receiving
shiploads of soft coal,--Sidney or Pictou coal,--which is the dirtiest
stuff in the world; it cannot be touched without raising a dusty vapor
which settles in the eyes, nose, and mouth, and inside the shirt-
collar. He counted every basketful that was brought ashore, and his
position on such occasions was to be envied only by the sooty laborers
who handled that commodity. We wonder what the frequenters of Long
Wharf thought of this handsome, poetic-looking man occupied in such a
business.

Yet he appreciated the value of this Spartan discipline,--the
inestimable value of being for once in his life brought down to hard-
pan and the plain necessities of life. The juice of wormwood is bitter,
but it is also strengthening. On July 3, 1839, he wrote: [Footnote:
American Note-book.]

"I do not mean to imply that I am unhappy or discontented, for this is
not the case. My life only is a burden in the same way that it is to
every toilsome man, and mine is a healthy weariness, such as needs only
a night's sleep to remove it. But from henceforth forever I shall be
entitled to call the sons of toil my brethren, and shall know how to
sympathize with them, seeing that I likewise have risen at the dawn,
and borne the fervor of the midday sun, nor turned my heavy footsteps
homeward till eventide. Years hence, perhaps, the experience that my
heart is acquiring now will flow out in truth and wisdom."

This is one of the noblest passages in his writings.

On August 27 he notices the intense heat in the centre of the city,
although it is somewhat cooler on the wharves. At this time Emerson may
have been composing his "Wood Notes" or "Threnody" in the cool pine
groves of Concord. Such is the difference between inheriting twenty
thousand dollars and two thousand. Hawthorne lived in Boston at such a
boarding-place as Doctor Holmes describes in the "Autocrat of the
Breakfast Table," and for all we know it may have been the same one. He
lived economically, reading and writing to Miss Peabody in the evening,
and rarely going to the theatre or other entertainments,--a life like
that of a store clerk whose salary only suffices for his board and
clothing. George Bancroft was kindly disposed toward him, and would
have introduced Hawthorne into any society that he could have wished to
enter; but Hawthorne, then and always, declined to be lionized.
Hawthorne made but one friend in Boston during this time, and that one,
George S. Hillard, a most faithful and serviceable friend,--not only
to Hawthorne during his life, but afterwards as a trustee for his
family, and equally kind and helpful to them in their bereavement,
which is more than could be said of all his friends,--especially of
Pierce. Hillard belonged to the brilliant coterie of Cambridge literary
men, which included Longfellow, Sumner and Felton. He was a lawyer,
politician, editor, orator and author; at this time, or shortly
afterward, Sumner's law partner; one of the most kindly sympathetic
men, with a keen appreciation of all that is finest in art and
literature, but somewhat lacking in firmness and independence of
character. His "Six Months in Italy," written in the purest English,
long served as a standard work for American travellers in that ideal
land, and his rather unsymmetrical figure only made the graces of his
oratory more conspicuous.

Hawthorne kept at his work through summer's heat and winter's cold. On
February 11, 1840, he wrote to his fiancee:

"I have been measuring coal all day, on board of a black little British
schooner, in a dismal dock at the north end of the city. Most of the
time I paced the deck to keep myself warm....

"... Sometimes I descended into the dirty little cabin of the schooner,
and warmed myself by a red-hot stove among biscuit barrels, pots and
kettles, sea chests, and innumerable lumber of all sorts,--my
olfactories, meanwhile, being greatly refreshed by the odor of a pipe,
which the captain or some of his crew was smoking."

[Illustration: HAWTHORNE. FROM THE PORTRAIT BY CHARLES OSGOOD IN 1840.
IN THE POSSESSION OF MRS. RICHARD C. MANNING, SALEM, MASS. FROM
NEGATIVE IN POSSESSION OF AND OWNED BY FRANK COUSIN, SALEM]

One would have to go to Dante's "Inferno" to realize a situation more
thoroughly disagreeable; yet the very pathos of Hawthorne's employment
served to inspire him with elevated thoughts and beautiful reflections.
His letters are full of aerial fancies. He notices what a beautiful day
it was on April 18, 1840, and regrets that he cannot "fling himself on
a gentle breeze and be blown away into the country." April 30 is
another beautiful day,--"a real happiness to live; if he had been a
mere vegetable, a hawthorn bush, he would have felt its influence." He
goes to a picture gallery in the Athenaeum, but only mentions seeing
two paintings by Sarah Clarke. He returns to Salem in October, and
writes in his own chamber the passage already quoted, in which he
mourns the lonely years of his youth, and the long, long waiting for
appreciation, "while he felt the life chilling in his veins and
sometimes it seemed as if he were already in the grave;" but an early
return to his post gives him brighter thoughts. He takes notice of the
magnificent black and yellow butterflies that have strangely come to
Long Wharf, as if seeking to sail to other climes since the last flower
had faded. Mr. Bancroft has appointed him to suppress an insurrection
among the government laborers, and he writes to Miss Sophia Peabody:

"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 shovellers aboard a coal-vessel. I would you
could have beheld the awful sternness of my visage and demeanor in the
execution of this momentous duty. Well,--I have conquered the rebels,
and proclaimed an amnesty; so to-morrow I shall return to that paradise
of measurers, the end of Long Wharf,--not to my former salt-ship, she
being now discharged, but to another, which will probably employ me
well-nigh a fortnight longer."

A month later we meet with this ominous remark in his diary:

"I was invited to dine at Mr. Bancroft's yesterday with Miss Margaret
Fuller; but Providence had given me some business to do, for which I
was very thankful."

Had Hawthorne already encountered this remarkable woman with the
feminine heart and masculine mind, and had he already conceived that
aversion for her which is almost painfully apparent in his Italian
diary? Certainly in many respects they were antipodes.

The Whig party came into power on March 4, 1841, with "Tippecanoe" for
a figure-head and Daniel Webster as its conductor of the "grand
orchestra." A month later Bancroft was removed, and Hawthorne went with
him, not at all regretful to depart. In fact, he had come to feel that
he could not endure the Custom House, or at least his particular share
of it, any longer. One object he had in view in accepting the position
was, to obtain practical experience, and this he certainly did in a
rough and unpleasant manner. The experience of a routine office,
however, is not like that of a broker who has goods to sell and who
must dispose of them to the best advantage, in order to keep his
reputation at high-water mark; nor is it like the experience of a young
doctor or a lawyer struggling to obtain a practice. Those are the men
who know what life actually is; and it is this thoroughness of
experience which makes the chief difference between a Dante and a
Tennyson.

These reflections lead directly to Hawthorne's casual and oft-repeated
commentary on American politicians. He wrote March 15:

"I do detest all offices--all, at least, that are held on a political
tenure. And I want nothing to do with politicians. Their hearts wither
away, and die out of their bodies. Their consciences are turned to
india-rubber, or to some substance as black as that, and which will
stretch as much. One thing, if no more, I have gained by my custom-
house experience,--to know a politician." [Footnote: American
Notebook, i. 220.]

This seems rather severe, but at the time when Hawthorne wrote it,
American politics were on the lowest plane of demagogism. It was the
inevitable result of the spoils-of-office system, and the meanest
species of the class were the ward politicians who received small
government offices in return for services in canvassing ignorant
foreign voters. They were naturally coarse, hardened adventurers, and
it was such that Hawthorne chiefly came in contact with in his official
business. Cleon, the brawling tanner of Athens, has reappeared in every
representative government since his time, and plays his clownish part
with multifarious variations; but it is to little purpose that we
deride the men who govern us, for they are what we and our institutions
have made them. If we want better representatives, we must mend our own
ways and especially purge ourselves of political cant and national
vanity,--which is the food that ward politicians grow fat on. The
profession of a politician is based on instability, and he cannot
acquire, as matters now stand, the solidity of character that we look
for in other professions.

So far, however, was Hawthorne at this juncture from considering men
and things critically, that he closes the account of his first
government experience in this rather optimistic manner:

"Old Father Time has gone onward somewhat less heavily than is his wont
when I am imprisoned within the walls of the Custom-house. My breath
had never belonged to anybody but me. It came fresh from the ocean....

"... It was exhilarating to see the vessels, how they bounded over the
waves, while a sheet of foam broke out around them. I found a good deal
of enjoyment, too, in the busy scene around me. It pleased me to think
that I also had a part to act in the material and tangible business of
this life, and that a portion of all this industry could not have gone
on without my presence." [Footnote: American Note-book, i. 230.]

When Hawthorne philosophizes it is not in old threadbare proverbs or
Orphic generalities, but always specifically and to the point.




CHAPTER VII

HAWTHORNE AS A SOCIALIST: 1841-1842


Who can compute the amount of mischief that Fourier has done, and those
well-meaning but inexperienced dreamers who have followed after him? A
Fourth-of-July firecracker once consumed the half of a large city. The
boy who exploded it had no evil intentions; neither did Fourier and
other speculators in philanthropy contemplate what might be the effect
of their doctrines on minds actuated by the lowest and most inevitable
wants. Wendell Phillips, in the most brilliant of his orations, said:
"The track of God's lightning is a straight line from justice to
iniquity," and one might have said to Phillips, in his later years,
that there is in the affairs of men a straight line from infatuation to
destruction. In what degree Fourier was responsible for the effusion of
blood in Paris in the spring of 1871 it is not possible to determine;
but the relation of Rousseau to the first French revolution is not more
certain. _Fate_ is the spoken word which cannot be recalled, and
who can tell the good and evil consequences that lie hidden in it? The
proper cure for socialism, in educated minds, would be a study of the
law. There we discover what a wonderful mechanism is the present
organization of society, and how difficult it would be to reconstruct
this, if it once were overturned.

As society is constituted at present, the honest and industrious are
always more or less at the mercy of the vicious and indolent, and the
only protection against this lies in the right of individual ownership.
In a general community of goods, there might be some means of
preventing or punishing flagrant misdemeanors, but what protection
could there be against indolence? Those who were ready and willing to
work would have to bear all the burdens of society.

In order that an idea should take external or concrete form it has to
be married, as it were, to some desire or tendency in the individual.
Reverend George Ripley had become imbued with Fourierism through his
studies of French philosophy, but he had also been brought up on a
farm, and preferred the fresh air and vigorous exercise of that mode of
life to city preaching. He was endowed with a strong constitution and
possessed of an independent fortune, and his aristocratic wife, more
devoted than women of that class are usually, sympathized with his
plans, and was prepared to follow him to the ends of the earth. He not
only felt great enthusiasm for the project but was capable of inspiring
others with it. There were many socialistic experiments undertaken
about that time, but George Ripley's was the only one that has acquired
a historical value. It is much to his credit that he gave the scheme a
thorough trial, and by carrying it out to a logical conclusion proved
its radical impracticability.

Such a failure is more valuable than the successes of a hundred men who
merely make their own fortunes and leave no legacy of experience that
can benefit the human race.

It must have been Elizabeth Peabody who persuaded Hawthorne to enlist
in the Brook Farm enterprise. She wrote a paper for the _Dial_
[Footnote: _Dial_, ii. 361.] on the subject, explaining the object
of the West Roxbury community and holding forth the prospect of the
"higher life" which could be enjoyed there. Hawthorne was in himself
the very antipodes of socialism, and it was part of the irony of his
life that he should have embarked in such an experiment; but he
invested a thousand dollars in it, which he had saved from his Custom
House salary, and was one of the first on the ground. What he really
hoped for from it--as we learn by his letters to Miss Sophia Peabody--
was a means of gaining his daily bread, with leisure to accomplish a
fair amount of writing, and at the same time to enter into such society
as might be congenial to his future consort. It seemed reasonable to
presume this, and yet the result did not correspond to it. He went to
West Roxbury on April 12, 1841, and as it happened in a driving
northeast snowstorm,--an unpropitious beginning, of which he has given
a graphic account in "The Blithedale Romance."

At first he liked his work at the Farm. The novelty of it proved
attractive to him. On May 3 he wrote a letter to his sister Louisa,
which reflects the practical nature of his new surroundings; and it
must be confessed that this is a refreshing change from the sublunary
considerations at his Boston boarding-house. He has already "learned to
plant potatoes, to milk cows, and to cut straw and hay for the cattle,
and does various other mighty works." He has gained strength
wonderfully, and can do a day's work without the slightest
inconvenience; wears a tremendous pair of cowhide boots. He goes to bed
at nine, and gets up at half-past four to sound the rising-horn,--much
too early for a socialistic paradise, where human nature is supposed to
find a pleasant as well as a salutary existence. George Ripley would
seem to be driving the wedge in by the larger end. Hawthorne is
delighted with the topographical aspect, and writes:

"This is one of the most beautiful places I ever saw in my life, and as
secluded as if it were a hundred miles from any city or village. There
are woods, in which we can ramble all day without meeting anybody or
scarcely seeing a house. Our house stands apart from the main road, so
that we are not troubled even with passengers looking at us. Once in a
while we have a transcendental visitor, such as Mr. Alcott; but
generally we pass whole days without seeing a single face save those of
the brethren. The whole fraternity eat together; and such a delectable
way of life has never been seen on earth since the days of the early
Christians." [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 228.]

From Louisa Hawthorne's reply, it may be surmised that his family did
not altogether approve of the Brook Farm venture, perhaps because it
withdrew him from his own home at a time when they had looked with fond
expectation for his return; and here we have a glimpse into the
beautiful soul of this younger sister, otherwise so little known to us.
Elizabeth is skeptical of its ultimate success, but Louisa is fearful
that he may work too hard and wants him to take good care of himself.
She is delighted with the miniature of him, which they have lately
received: "It has one advantage over the original,--I can make it go
with me where I choose!"

Louisa wrote another warm and beautiful letter on June 11, recalling
the days when they used to go fishing together on Lake Sebago, and
adds:

"Elizabeth Cleveland says she saw Mr. George Bradford in Lowell last
winter, and he told her he was going to be associated with you; but
they say his mind misgave him terribly when the time came for him to go
to Roxbury, and whether to make such a desperate step or not he could
not tell." [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 232.]

George P. Bradford was the masculine complement to Elizabeth Peabody--
flitting across the paths of Emerson and Hawthorne throughout their
lives. His name appears continually in the biographies of that time,
but future generations would never know the sort of man he was, but for
Louisa's amiable commentary. He appeared at Brook Farm a few days
later, and became one of George Ripley's strongest and most faithful
adherents. He is the historian of the West Roxbury community, and late
in life the editor of the _Century_ asked him to write a special
account of it for that periodical. Bradford did so, and received one
hundred dollars in return for his manuscript; but it never was
published, presumably because it was too original for the editor's
purpose.

Is it possible that Hawthorne put on a good face for this letter to his
sister, in order to keep up appearances; or was it like the common
experience of music and drawing teachers that the first lessons are the
best performed; or did he really have some disagreement with Ripley,
like that which he represents in "The Blithedale Romance"? The last is
the more probable, although we do not hear of it otherwise. Spring is
the least agreeable season for farming, with its muddy soil, its
dressing the ground, its weeds to be kept down and its insects to be
kept off. After the first week of June, the work becomes much
pleasanter; and the harvesting is delightful,--stacking the grain,
picking the fruit,--with the cheery wood fires, so restful to mind and
body. Yet we find on August 12 that Hawthorne had become thoroughly
disenchanted with his Arcadian life, although he admits that the labors
of the farm were not so pressing as they had been. Ten days later, he
refers to having spent the better part of a night with one of his co-
workers, "who was quite out of his wits" and left the community next
day. He then continues in his diary: [Footnote: American Notebook, ii.
15.]

"It is extremely doubtful whether Mr. Ripley will succeed in locating
his community on the farm. He can bring Mr. E---- to no terms, and the
more they talk about the matter, the further they appear to be from a
settlement. We must form other plans for ourselves; for I can see few
or no signs that Providence purposes to give us a home here. I am
weary, weary, thrice weary, of waiting so many ages. Whatever may be my
gifts, I have not hitherto shown a single one that may avail to gather
gold."

Here are already three disaffected personages, desirous of escaping
from an earthly paradise. Mr. Ripley has by no means an easy row to
hoe. Yet he keeps on ploughing steadily through his difficulties, as he
did through the soil of his meadows. In September we find Hawthorne at
Salem, and on the third he writes: [Footnote: American Notebook, ii.
16.]

"But really I should judge it to be twenty years since I left Brook
Farm; and I take this to be one proof that my life there was unnatural
and unsuitable, and therefore an unreal one. It already looks like a
dream behind me. The real Me was never an associate of the community:
there has been a spectral appearance there, sounding the horn at
daybreak, and milking the cows, and hoeing potatoes, and raking hay,
toiling in the sun, and doing me the honor to assume my name. But this
spectre was not myself."

This idea of himself as a spectre seems to have accompanied him much in
the way that the daemon did Socrates, and to have served in a similar
manner as a warning to him. He left Brook Farm almost exactly as he
describes himself doing, in "The Blithedale Romance," and he returned
again on the twenty-second, but the brilliant woodland carnival which
he describes, both in his "Note-book" and in "The Blithedale Romance,"
did not take place there until September 28. It was a masquerade in
which Margaret Fuller and Emerson appeared as invited guests, and held
a meeting of the Transcendental club "_sub tegmine fagi_." As
Hawthorne remarks, "Much conversation followed,"--in which he evidently
found little to interest him. Margaret Fuller also made a present of a
heifer to the live-stock of the Farm, of whose unruly gambols Hawthorne
seems to have taken more particular notice. He would seem in fact to
have attributed the same characteristics to the animal and its owner.

Having more time at his own disposal, he now attempted to write another
volume of history for Peter Parley's library, but, although this was
rather a childish affair, he found himself unequal to it. "I have not,"
he said, "the sense of perfect seclusion here, which has always been
essential to my power of producing anything. It is true, nobody
intrudes into my room; but still I cannot be quiet. Nothing here is
settled; and my mind will not be abstracted." During the whole of
October he went on long woodland walks, sometimes alone and at others
with a single companion. He tried, like Emerson, courting Nature in her
solitudes, and made the acquaintance of her denizens as if he were the
original Adam taking an account of his animal kingdom. He picks up a
terrapin, the _Emys picta_, which attempts to hide itself from
him in a stone wall, and carries it considerately to a pond of water;
but there is not much to be found in the woods, and one can travel a
whole day in the forest primeval without coming across anything better
than a few squirrels and small birds. In fact, two young sportsmen once
rode on horseback with their guns from the Missouri River to the
Pacific Ocean without meeting any larger game than prairie-chickens.

It was all in vain. Hawthorne's nature was not like Emerson's, and what
stimulated the latter mentally made comparatively little impression on
the former. Hawthorne found, then as always, that in order to practice
his art, he must devote himself to it, wholly and completely, leaving
side issues to go astern. In order to create an ideal world of his own,
he was obliged to separate himself from all existing conditions, as
Beethoven did when composing his symphonies. Composition for Hawthorne
meant a severe mental strain. Those sentences, pellucid as a mountain
spring, were not clarified without an effort. The faculty on which
Hawthorne depended for this, as every artist does, was his imagination,
and imagination is as easily disturbed as the electric needle. There is
no fine art without sensitiveness. We see it in the portrait of
Leonardo da Vinci, a man who could bend horseshoes in his hands; and
Bismarck, who was also an artist in his way, confessed to the same
mental disturbance from noise and general conversation, which Hawthorne
felt at Brook Farm. It was the mental sensitiveness of Carlyle and
Bismarck which caused their insomnia, and much other suffering besides.

George Ripley published an essay in the _Dial_, in which he
heralded Fourier as the great man who was destined to regenerate
society; but Fourier has passed away, and society continues in its old
course. What he left out of his calculations, or perhaps did not
understand, was the principle of population. If food and raiment were
as common as air and water, mankind would double its numbers every
twelve or fifteen years, and the tendency to do so produces a pressure
on poor human nature, which is almost like the scourge of a whip,
driving it into all kinds of ways and means in order to obtain
sufficient sustenance. Most notable among the methods thus employed is,
and always has been, the division of labor, and it will be readily seen
that a community like Brook Farm, where skilled labor, properly
speaking, was unknown, and all men were all things by turns, could
never sustain so large a population relatively as a community where a
strict division of industries existed. If a nation like France, for
instance, where the population is nearly stationary, were to adopt
Fourier's plan of social organization, it would prove a more severe
restriction on human life than the wars of Napoleon. This is the reason
why the attempt to plant a colony of Englishmen in Tennessee failed so
badly. There was a kind of division of labor among them, but it was
purely a local and a foreign division and not adapted to the region
about them. Ripley's method of allowing work to be counted by the hour
instead of by the day or half-day, was of itself sufficient to prevent
the enterprise from being a financial success. Farming everywhere
except on the Western prairies requires the closest thrift and economy,
and all hands have to work hard.

Neither could such an experiment prove a success from a moral point of
view. Emerson said of it: "The women did not object so much to a common
table as they did to a common nursery." In truth one might expect that
a common nursery would finally result in a free fight. The tendency of
all such institutions would be to destroy the sanctity of family life;
and it would also include a tendency to the deterioration of manliness.
One of the professed objects of the Brook Farm association was, to
escape from the evils of the great world,--from the trickery of trade,
the pedantry of colleges, the flunkyism of office, and the arrogant
pretensions of wealth. Every honest man must feel a sympathy with this;
there are times when we all feel that the struggle of life is an
unequal conflict, from which it would be a permanent blessing to
escape; yet he who turns his back upon it, is like a soldier who runs
away from the battle-field. It is the conflict with evil in the great
world, and in ourselves, that constitutes virtue and develops
character. It is _good_ to learn the trickery of knaves and to
expose it, to contend against pedantry and set a better example, to
administer offices with a modest impartiality, and to treat the gilded
fool with a dignified contempt. But if the wings of the archangel are
torn and soiled in his conflict with sin, does it not add to the honor
of the victory? The man who left his wife and children, because he
found that he could not live with them without occasionally losing his
temper, committed a grievous wrong; and it is equally true that
hypocrisy, the meanest of vices, may sometimes become a virtue.

George P. Bradford, and a few others, enjoyed the life at Brook Farm,
and would have liked to remain there longer. John S. Dwight, the
translator of Goethe's and Schiller's ballads, [Footnote: One of the
most musical translations in any language.] said in his old age that if
he were a young man, he would be only too glad to return there; and it
is undeniable that such a place is suited to a certain class of
persons, both men and women. It cannot be repeated too often, however,
that the true object of life is not happiness, but development. It is
our special business on this planet, to improve the human race as our
progenitors improved it, and developed it out of we know not what. By
doing this, we also improve ourselves and happiness comes to us
incidentally; but if we pursue happiness directly, we soon become
pleasure-seekers, and, like Faust, join company with Mephistopheles.
Happiness comes to a philosopher, perhaps while he is picking berries;
to a judge, watching the approach of a thunder-storm; to a merchant,
teaching his boy to skate. It came to Napoleon listening to a prayer-
bell, and to Hawthorne playing games with his children. [Footnote:
Perhaps also in his kindliness to the terrapin.] Happiness flies when
we seek it, and steals upon us unawares.

George P. Bradford's account of Brook Farm in the "Memorial History of
Boston" [Footnote: Vol. iv. 330.] is not so satisfactory as it might
have been if he had given more specific details in regard to its
management. The general supposition has been that there was an annual
deficit in the accounts of the association, which could only be met by
Mr. Ripley himself, who ultimately lost the larger portion of his
investment. It is difficult to imagine how such an experiment could end
otherwise, and the final conflagration of the principal building, or
"The Hive," as it was called, served as a fitting consummation of the
whole enterprise,--a truly dramatic climax. George Ripley went to New
York to become literary editor of the _Tribune_, and was as
distinguished there for the excellence of his reviews, and the elegance
of his turnout in Central Park as he had been for the use of the spade
and pitchfork at West Roxbury.

Mr. Bradford returned to the instruction of young ladies in French and
Latin; and John S. Dwight became one of the civilizing forces of his
time, by editing the Boston _Journal of Music_. None of them were
the worse for their agrarian experiment.

Even if the West Roxbury _commune_ had proved a success for two or
three generations, it would not have sufficed for a test of Fourier's
theory for it would have been a republic within a republic, protected
by the laws and government of the United States, without being
subjected to the inconvenience of its own political machinery. The only
fair trial for such a system would be to introduce it in some tract of
country especially set apart and made independent for the purpose; but
the chances are ten to one that a community organized in this manner
would soon be driven into the same process of formation that other
colonies have passed through under similar conditions. The true
socialism is the present organization of society, and although it might
be improved in detail, to revolutionize it would be dangerous. Yet the
interest that has been aroused at various times by discussions of the
Brook Farm project, shows how strong the undercurrent is setting
against the present order of things; and this is my chief excuse for
making such a long digression on the subject.

During these last months of his bachelorhood, Hawthorne appears to us
somewhat in the light of a hibernating bear; for we hear nothing of him
at that season at all. Between the last of October, 1841, and July,
1842, there are a large number of odd fancies, themes for romances, and
the like, published from his diary, but no entries of a personal
character. We hear incidentally that he was at Brook Farm during a
portion of the spring, which is not surprising in view of the fact that
Doctor Nathaniel Peabody had removed from Salem to Boston in the mean
time. One conclusion Hawthorne had evidently arrived at during the
winter months, and it was that his engagement to Miss Sophia Peabody
ought to be terminated in the way all such affairs should be; viz., by
matrimony. Their prospects in life were not brilliant, but it was
difficult to foresee any advantage in waiting longer, and there were
decided disadvantages in doing so. It was accordingly agreed that they
should be married at, or near, the summer solstice, the most suitable
of all times for weddings--or engagements. On June 20, he wrote to his
_fiancee_ from Salem, reminding her that within ten days they were
to become man and wife, and added this significant reflection: "Nothing
can part us now; for God himself hath ordained that we shall be one. So
nothing remains but to reconcile yourself to your destiny. Year by year
we shall grow closer to each other; and a thousand years hence, we
shall be only in the honeymoon of our marriage."

Yet we find him writing again the tenderest and most graceful of love-
letters on June 30. [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 241.] The wedding has
evidently been postponed; but two days later he is in Boston, and finds
a pleasant recreation watching the boys sail their toy boats on the
Frog Pond. The ceremony finally was performed on July 9, and it was
only the day previous that Hawthorne wrote the following letter, which
is dated from 54 Pinckney Street:


"MY DEAR SIR:

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

                                   "Very respectfully yours,
                                         "NATH. HAWTHORNE.

"REV. JAMES F. CLARKE,
   "Chestnut St."


George S. Hillard lived on Pinckney Street, and Hawthorne may have been
visiting him at the moment. The Peabodys attended service at Mr.
Clarke's church in Indiana Place, where Hawthorne may also have gone
with them. He could not have made a more judicious choice; but,
singularly enough, although Mr. Clarke became Elizabeth Peabody's life-
long friend, and even went to Concord to lecture, he and Hawthorne
never met again after this occasion.

The ceremony was performed at the house of Sophia Peabody's father, No.
13 West Street, a building of which not one stone now rests upon
another. It was a quiet family wedding (such as oftenest leads to
future happiness), and most deeply impressive to those concerned in it.
What must it have been to Hawthorne, who had known so much loneliness,
and had waited so long for the comfort and sympathy which only a
devoted wife can give?

Time has drawn a veil over Hawthorne's honeymoon, but exactly four
weeks after the wedding, we find him and his wife installed in the
house at Concord, owned by the descendants of Reverend Dr. Ripley. It
will be remembered that Hawthorne had invested his only thousand
dollars in the West Roxbury Utopia, whence it was no longer possible to
recover it. He had, however, an unsubstantial Utopian sort of claim for
it, against the Association, which he placed in the hands of George S.
Hillard, and subsequent negotiation would seem to have resulted in
giving Hawthorne a lease of the Ripley house, or "Old Manse," in return
for it. It was already classic ground, for Emerson had occupied the
house for a time and had written his first book there; and thither
Hawthorne went to locate himself, determined to try once more if he
could earn his living by his pen.

[Illustration: THE OLD MANSE, RESIDENCE OF DR. RIPLEY]




CHAPTER VIII

CONCORD AND THE OLD MANSE: 1842-1845


The Ripley house dates back to the times of Captain Daniel Hathorne, or
even before him, and at Concord Fight the British left wing must have
extended close to it. Old and unpainted as it is, it gives a distinct
impression of refinement and good taste. Alone, I believe, among the
Concord houses of former times, it is set back far enough from the
country-road to have an avenue leading to it, lined with balm of Gilead
trees, and guarded at the entrance by two tall granite posts somewhat
like obelisks. On the further side of the house, Dr. Ripley had planted
an apple orchard, which included some rare varieties, especially the
blue pearmain, a dark-red autumn apple with a purple bloom upon it like
the bloom upon the rye. A high rounded hill on the northeast partially
shelters the house from the storms in that direction; and on the
opposite side the river sweeps by in a magnificent curve, with broad
meadows and rugged hills, leading up to the pale-blue outline of Mount
Wachusett on the western horizon. The Musketequid or Concord River has
not been praised too highly. Its clear, gently flowing current,
margined by bulrushes and grassy banks, produces an effect of mental
peacefulness, very different from the rushing turbulent waters and
rocky banks of Maine and New Hampshire rivers. From whatever point you
approach the Old Manse, it becomes the central object in a charming
country scene, and it does not require the peculiar effect of
mouldering walls to make it picturesque. It has stood there long, and
may it long remain.

There was formerly an Indian encampment on the same ground,--a well-
chosen position both strategically and for its southern exposure. Old
Mrs. Ripley had a large collection of stone arrow-heads, corn-mortars,
and other relics of the aborigines, which she used to show to the young
people who came to call on her grandchildren; and there were among them
pieces of a dark-bluish porphyry which she said was not to be found in
Massachusetts, but must have been brought from northern New England.
There was no reason why they should not have been. The Indians could go
from Concord in their canoes to the White Mountains or the Maine lakes,
and shoot the deer that came down to drink from the banks of the river;
but the deer disappeared before the advance of the American farmer, and
the Indians went with them. Now a grandson of Madam Ripley, in the
bronze likeness of a minuteman of 1775, stands sentinel at "The Old
North Bridge."

Hawthorne ascended the hill opposite his house and wrote of the view
from it:

"The scenery of Concord, as I beheld it from the summit of the hill,
has no very marked characteristics, but has a great deal of quiet
beauty, in keeping with the river. There are broad and peaceful
meadows, which, I think, are among the most satisfying objects in
natural scenery. The heart reposes on them with a feeling that few
things else can give, because almost all other objects are abrupt and
clearly defined; but a meadow stretches out like a small infinity, yet
with a secure homeliness which we do not find either in an expanse of
water or air."

The great cranberry meadows below the north bridge are sometimes a
wonderful place in winter, when the river overflows its banks and they
become a broad sheet of ice extending for miles. There one can have a
little skating, an exercise of which Hawthorne was always fond.

It was now, and not at Brook Farm, that he found his true Arcadia, and
we have his wife's testimony that for the first eighteen months or more
at the Old Manse, they were supremely happy. Every morning after
breakfast he donned the blue frock, which he had worn at West Roxbury,
and went to the woodshed to saw and split wood for the daily
consumption. After that he ascended to his study in the second story,
where he wrote and pondered until dinner-time. It appears also that he
sometimes assisted in washing the dishes--like a helpful mate. After
dinner he usually walked to the post-office and to a reading-room in
the centre of the town, where he looked over the Boston _Post_ for
half an hour. Later in the afternoon, he went rowing or fishing on the
river, but his wife does not seem to have accompanied him in these
excursions, for Judge Keyes, who often met him in his boat, does not
mention seeing her with him. In the evenings he read Shakespeare with
Mrs. Hawthorne, commencing with the first volume, and going straight
through to the end, "Titus Andronicus" and all,--and this must have
occupied them a large portion of the winter. How can a man fail to be
happy in such a mode of life!

Hawthorne also went swimming in the river when the weather suited--
rather exceptional in Concord for a middle-aged gentleman; but there
were two very attractive bathing places near the Old Manse, one, a
little above on the opposite side of the river, and the other,
afterwards known as Simmons's Landing, where there was a row of tall
elms a short distance below the bridge. It is probable that Hawthorne
frequented the latter place, as being more remote from human
habitations. He did not take to his gun again, although he could see
the wild ducks in autumn, flying past his house. There were grouse and
quail in the woods, and woodcock were to be found along the brook which
ran through Emerson's pasture; but perhaps Hawthorne had become too
tenderhearted for field-sports.

If Boston is the hub of the universe, Concord might be considered as
the linchpin which holds it on. Its population was originally derived
from Boston, and it must be admitted that it retains more Bostonian
peculiarities than most other New England towns. It does not assimilate
readily to the outside world. Nor is it surprising that few local
visitors called upon the Hawthornes at the Old Manse. Emerson, always
hospitable and public-spirited, went to call on them at once; and John
Keyes, also a liberal-minded man, introduced Hawthorne at the reading-
club. Margaret Fuller came and left a book for Hawthorne to read, which
may have annoyed him more than anything she could have said. Elizabeth
Hoar, a woman of exalted character, to whose judgment Emerson sometimes
applied for a criticism of his verses, also came sometimes; but the Old
Manse was nearly a mile away from Emerson's house, and also from what
might be called the "court end" of the town. Hawthorne's nearest
neighbor was a milk-farmer named George L. Prescott, afterward Colonel
of the Thirty-second Massachusetts Volunteers. He not only brought them
milk, but also occasionally a bouquet culled out of his own fine
nature, as a tribute to genius. A slightly educated man, he was
nevertheless one of Nature's gentlemen, and his death in Grant's
advance on Richmond was a universal cause of mourning at a time when so
many brave lives were lost.

Hawthorne, as usual, was on the lookout for ghosts, and there could not
have been a more suitable abode for those airy nothings, than the Old
Manse. Mysterious sounds were heard in it repeatedly, especially in the
nighttime, when the change of temperature produces a kind of settlement
in the affairs of old woodwork. Under date of August 8 he writes in his
diary:

"We have seen no apparitions as yet,--but we hear strange noises,
especially in the kitchen, and last night, while sitting in the parlor,
we heard a thumping and pounding as of somebody at work in my study.
Nay, if I mistake not (for I was half asleep), there was a sound as of
some person crumpling paper in his hand in our very bedchamber. This
must have been old Dr. Ripley with one of his sermons."

Evidently he would have preferred seeing a ghost to receiving an
honorary degree from Bowdoin College, and if the shade of Doctor Ripley
had appeared to him in a dissolving light, like the Rontgen rays,
Hawthorne would certainly have welcomed him as a kindred spirit and
have expressed his pleasure at the manifestation.

Another idiosyncrasy of his, which seems like the idiom in a language,
was his total indifference to distinguished persons, simply as such. It
was not that he considered all men on a level, for no one recognized
more clearly the profound inequalities of human nature; but he was
quite as likely to take an interest in a store clerk as in a famous
writer. It is not necessary to suppose that a man is a parasite of fame
because he goes to a President's reception, or wishes to meet a
celebrated English lecturer. It is natural that we should desire to
know how such people appear--their expression, their tone of voice,
their general behavior; but Hawthorne did not care for this. At the
time of which we write, Doctor Samuel G. Howe, the hero of Greek
independence and the mental liberator of Laura Bridgman, was a more
famous man than Emerson or Longfellow. He came to Concord with his
brilliant wife, and they called at the Old Manse, where Mrs. Hawthorne
received them very cordially, but they saw nothing of her husband,
except a dark figure gliding through the entry with his hat over his
eyes. One can only explain this by one of those fits of exceeding
bashfulness that sometimes overtake supersensitive natures. School-
girls just budding into womanhood often behave in a similar manner; and
they are no more to be censured for it than Hawthorne,--to whom it may
have caused moments of poignant self-reproach in his daily reflections.
But Doctor Howe was the man of all men whom Hawthorne ought to have
known, and half an hour's conversation might have made them friends for
life.

George William Curtis was a remarkably brilliant young man, and gave
even better promise for the future than he afterwards fulfilled,--as
the editor of a weekly newspaper. He was at Brook Farm with Hawthorne,
and afterward followed him to Concord, but is only referred to by
Hawthorne once, and then in the briefest manner. Neither has Hawthorne
much to say of Emerson; but Thoreau and Ellery Channing evidently
attracted his attention, for he refers to them repeatedly in his diary,
and he has left the one life-like portrait of Thoreau--better than a
photograph--that now exists. He surveys them both in rather a critical
manner, and takes note that Thoreau is the more substantial and
original of the two; and he is also rather sceptical as to Channing's
poetry, which Emerson valued at a high rate; yet he narrowly missed
making a friend of Channing, with whom he afterward corresponded in a
desultory way.

We should not have known of Hawthorne's skating at Concord, but for
Mrs. Hawthorne's "Memoirs," from which we learn that he frequently
skated on the overflowed meadows, where the Lowell railway station now
stands. She writes: "Wrapped in his cloak, he moved like a self-
impelled Greek statue, stately and grave." This is the manner in which
we should imagine Hawthorne to have skated; but all others were a foil
to her husband in the eyes of his wife. [Footnote: "Memories of
Hawthorne," 52.]  He was evidently a fine skater, gliding over the ice
in long sweeping curves. Emerson was also a dignified skater, but with
a shorter stroke, and stopping occasionally to take breath, or look
about him, as he did in his lectures. Thoreau came sometimes and
performed rare glacial exploits, interesting to watch, but rather in
the line of the professional acrobat. What a transfiguration of
Hawthorne, to think of him skating alone amid the reflections of a
brilliant winter sunset!

When winter came Emerson arranged a course of evening receptions at his
house for the intellectual people of Concord, with apples and
gingerbread for refreshments. Curtis attended these, and has told us
how Hawthorne always sat apart with an expression on his face like a
distant thunder-cloud, saying little, and not only listening to but
watching the others. Curtis noticed a certain external and internal
resemblance in him to Webster, who was at times a thunderous-looking
person--denoting, I suppose, the electric concentration in his
cranium. Emerson also watched Hawthorne, and the whole company felt his
silent presence, and missed him greatly once or twice when he failed to
come. Miss Elizabeth Hoar said:

"The people about Emerson, Channing, Thoreau and the rest, echo his
manner so much that it is a relief to him to meet a man like Hawthorne,
on whom his own personality makes no impression." Neither did Mrs.
Emerson echo her husband.

The greater a man is, intellectually, the more distinct his difference
from a general type and also from other men of genius. No two
personalities could be more unlike than Hawthorne and Emerson.

It would seem to be part of the irony of Fate that they should have
lived on the same street, and, have been obliged to meet and speak with
each other. One was like sunshine, the other shadow. Emerson was
transparent, and wished to be so; he had nothing to conceal from friend
or enemy. Hawthorne was simply impenetrable. Emerson was cordial and
moderately sympathetic. Hawthorne was reserved, but his sympathies were
as profound as the human soul itself. To study human nature as
Hawthorne and Shakespeare did, and to make models of their
acquaintances for works of fiction, Emerson would have considered a
sin; while the evolution of sin and its effect on character was the
principal study of Hawthorne's life. One was an optimist, and the other
what is sometimes unjustly called a pessimist; that is, one who looks
facts in the face and sees people as they are.

[Footnote: "Sketches from Concord and Appledore."]

While Emerson's mind was essentially analytic, Hawthorne's was
synthetic, and, as Conway says, he did not receive the world into his
intellect, but into his heart, or soul, where it was mirrored in a
magical completeness. The notion that the artist requires merely an
observing eye is a superficial delusion. Observation is worth little
without reflection, and everything depends on the manner in which the
observer deals with his facts. Emerson looked at life in order to
penetrate it; Hawthorne, in order to comprehend it, and assimilate it
to his own nature. The one talked heroism and the other lived it. Not
but that Emerson's life was a stoical one, but Hawthorne's was still
more so, and only his wife and children knew what a heart there was in
him.

The world will never know what these two great men thought of one
another. Hawthorne has left some fragmentary sentences concerning
Emerson, such as, "that everlasting rejecter of all that is, and seeker
for he knows not what," and "Emerson the mystic, stretching his hand
out of cloud-land in vain search for something real;" but he likes
Emerson's ingenuous way of interrogating people, "as if every man had
something to give him." However, he makes no attempt at a general
estimate; although this expression should also be remembered:
"Clergymen, whose creed had become like an iron band about their brows,
came to Emerson to obtain relief,"--a sincere recognition of his
spiritual influence.

Several witnesses have testified that Emerson had no high opinion of
Hawthorne's writing,--that he preferred Reade's "Christie Johnstone" to
"The Scarlet Letter," but Emerson never manifested much interest in
art, simply for its own sake. Like Bismarck, whom he also resembled in
his enormous self-confidence, he cared little for anything that had not
a practical value. He read Shakespeare and Goethe, not so much for the
poetry as for the "fine thoughts" he found in them. George Bradford
stated more than once that Emerson showed little interest in the
pictorial art; and after walking through the sculpture-gallery of the
Vatican, he remarked that the statues seemed to him like toys. His
essay on Michel Angelo is little more than a catalogue of great
achievements; he recognizes the moral impressiveness of the man, but
not the value of his sublime conceptions. Music, neither he nor
Hawthorne cared for, for it belongs to emotional natures.

In his "Society and Solitude" Emerson has drawn a picture of Hawthorne
as the lover of a hermitical life; a picture only representing that
side of his character, and developed after Emerson's fashion to an
artistic extreme. "Whilst he suffered at being seen where he was, he
consoled himself with the delicious thought of the inconceivable number
of places where he was not," and "He had a remorse running to despair,
of his social _gaucheries_, and walked miles and miles to get the
twitching out of his face, the starts and shrugs out of his shoulders."

[Footnote: "Society and Solitude," 4, 5.]

There is a touch of arrogance in this, and it merely marks the
difference between the modest author of the "Essays," and the proud,
censorious Emerson of 1870; but his love of absolute statements
ofttimes led him into strange contradictions, and the injustice which
results from judging our fellow-mortals by an inflexible standard was
the final outcome of his optimism. Hawthorne was more charitable when
he remarked that without Byron's faults we should not have had his
virtues; but the truth lies between the two.

There have been many instances of genius as sensitive as Hawthorne's in
various branches of art: Shelley and Southey, Schubert and Chopin,
Correggio and Corot. Southey not only blushed red but blushed blue--as
if the life were going out of him; and in Chopin and Correggio at least
we feel that they could not have been what they were without it.
Napoleon, whose nerves were like steel wires, suffered nevertheless
from a peculiar kind of physical sensitiveness. He could not take
medicines like other men,--a small dose had a terrible effect on him,--
and it was much the same with respect to changes of food, climate, and
the like.

What Hawthorne required was sympathetic company. Do not we all require
it? The hypercritical morality of the Emersonians, especially in
Concord, could not have been favorable to his mental ease and comfort.
How could a man in a happily married condition feel anything but
repugnance to Thoreau's idea of marriage as a necessary evil; or
Alcott's theory that eating animal food tended directly to the
commission of crime?

On the first anniversary of Hawthorne's wedding, a tragical drama was
enacted in Concord, in which he was called upon to perform a
subordinate part. One Miss Hunt, a school-teacher and the daughter of a
Concord farmer, drowned herself in the river nearly opposite the place
where Hawthorne was accustomed to bathe. The cause of her suicide has
never been adequately explained, but as she was a transcendentalist, or
considered herself so, there were those who believed that in some
occult way that was the occasion of it. However, as one of her sisters
afterward followed her example, it would seem more likely to have come
from the development of some family trait. She was seen walking upon
the bank for a long time, before she took the final plunge; but the
catastrophe was not discovered until near evening.

Ellery Channing came with a man named Buttrick to borrow Hawthorne's
boat for the search, and Hawthorne went with them. As it happened, they
were the ones who found the corpse, and Hawthorne's account in his
diary of its recovery is a terribly accurate description,--softened
down and poetized in the rewritten statement of "The Blithedale
Romance." There is in fact no description of a death in Homer or
Shakespeare so appalling as this literal transcript of the veritable
fact.

[Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 300.]

What concerns us here, however, are the comments he set down on the
dolorous event. Concerning her appearance, he says:

"If she could have foreseen while she stood, at five o'clock that
morning on the bank of the river, how her maiden corpse would have
looked eighteen hours afterwards, and how coarse men would strive with
hand and foot to reduce it to a decent aspect, and all in vain,--it
would surely have saved her from the deed."

And again:

"I suppose one friend would have saved her; but she died for want of
sympathy--a severe penalty for having cultivated and refined herself
out of the sphere of her natural connections."

The first remark has often been misunderstood. It is not the vanity of
women, which is after all only a reflection (or the reflective
consequence) of the admiration of man, which Hawthorne intends, but
that delicacy of feeling which Nature requires of woman for her own
protection; and he may not have been far wrong in supposing that if
Miss Hunt had foreseen the exact consequences of her fatal act she
would not have committed it. Hawthorne's remark that her death was a
consequence of having refined and cultivated herself beyond the reach
of her relatives, seems a rather hard judgment. The latter often
happens in American life, and although it commonly results in more or
less family discord, are we to condemn it for that reason? If she died
as Hawthorne imagines, from the lack of intellectual sympathy, we may
well inquire if there was no one in Concord who might have given aid
and encouragement to this young aspiring soul.

                       "Take her up tenderly;
                        Lift her with care,
                        Fashioned so slenderly,
                        Young and so fair."

And one is also tempted to add:

                       "Alas! for the rarity
                        Of Christian charity."

Hawthorne's earthly paradise only endured until the autumn of 1843.
When cool weather arrived, want and care came also. On November 26 he
wrote to George S. Hillard:

"I wish at some leisure moment you would give yourself the trouble to
call into Munroe's book-store and inquire about the state of my 'Twice-
told Tales.' At the last accounts (now about a year since) the sales
had not been enough to pay expenses; but it may be otherwise now--else
I shall be forced to consider myself a writer for posterity; or at all
events not for the present generation. Surely the book was puffed
enough to meet with a sale."

[Footnote: London Athenaum, August 10, 1889.]

The interpretation of this is that Longfellow, Hillard and Bridge could
appreciate Hawthorne's art, but the solid men of Boston (with some rare
exceptions) could not. Even Webster preferred the grotesque art of
Dickens to Hawthorne's "wells of English undefiled." Recently, one of
the few surviving original copies of "Fanshawe" was sold at auction for
six hundred dollars. Such is the difference between genius and
celebrity.

The trouble then and now is that wealthy Americans as a class feel no
genuine interest in art or literature. They do not form a true
aristocracy, but a plutocracy, and are for the most part very poorly
educated. It was formerly the brag of the Winthrops and Otises that
they could go through college and learn their lessons in the
recitation-room. Now they go to row, and play foot-ball, and after they
graduate, they leave the best portion of their lives behind them. Then
if they have a talent for business they become absorbed in commercial
affairs; or if not, they travel from one country to another, picking up
a smattering of everything, but not resting long enough in any one
place for their impressions to develop and bear good fruit. They are
not like the aristocratic classes of England, France and Germany, who
become cultivated men and women, and serve to maintain a high standard
of art and literature in those countries.

The captain of a Cunard steamship, who owned quite a library, said in
1869: "I have bought some very interesting books in New York,
especially by a writer named Hawthorne, but the type and paper are so
poor that they are not worth binding." The reason why American
publishers do not bring out books in such good form as foreign
publishers--is that there is no demand for a first-rate article. Thus
do the fine arts languish. When rich young Americans take as much
interest in painting and sculpture as they do in foot-ball and
yachting, we shall have our Vandycks and Murillos,--if nothing better.

Discouraged with the ill success of "Fanshawe," Hawthorne had limited
himself since then to the writing of short sketches, such as would be
acceptable to the magazine editors, and now that he had formed this
habit, he found it difficult to escape from it. He informs us in the
preface to "Mosses from an Old Manse" that he had hoped a more serious
and extended plot would come to him on the banks of Concord River, but
his imagination did not prove equal to the occasion. Most of the
stories in "Mosses" must have been composed at Concord, but "Mrs. Bull-
Frog'" and "Monsieur du Miroir" must have been written previously, for
he refers to them in a letter at Brook Farm. A few were published in
the _Democratic Review_, and others may have been elsewhere; but
the proceeds he derived from them would not have supported a day-
laborer, and toward the close of his second year at the Manse,
Hawthorne found himself running in debt for the necessaries of life. He
endured this with his usual stoical reticence, although there is
nothing like debt to sicken a man's heart,--unless he be a decidedly
light-minded man. Better fortune, however, was on its way to him in the
shape of a political revolution.

On March 3, 1844, a daughter was born to the Hawthornes, whom they
named Una, in spite of Hillard's objection that the name was too poetic
or too fanciful for the prosaic practicalities of real life. The name
was an excellent one for a poet's daughter, and did not seem out of
place in Arcadian Concord. Miss Una grew up into a graceful, fair and
poetic young lady,--in all respects worthy of her name. She had an
uncommonly fine figure, and, as often happens with first-born children,
resembled her father much more than her mother. Her name also suggests
the early influence of Spenser in her father's style and mode of
thought.

Soon after this fortunate event Hawthorne wrote a letter to Hillard, in
which he said:

"I find it a very sober and serious kind of happiness that springs from
the birth of a child. It ought not come too early in a man's life--not
till he has fully enjoyed his youth--for methinks the spirit can never
be thoroughly gay and careless again, after this great event. We gain
infinitely by the exchange; but we do give up something nevertheless.
As for myself who have been a trifler preposterously long, I find it
necessary to come out of my cloud-region, and allow myself to be woven
into the sombre texture of humanity."

It seems then that his conscience sometimes reproached him, but this
only proves that his moral nature was in a healthy normal condition.
There was a certain kind of indolence in him, a love of the _dolce
far niente_, and an inclination to general inactivity which he may
have inherited from his seafaring ancestors. Much better so, than to
suffer from the nervous restlessness, which is the rule rather than the
exception in New England life.

In the same letter he mentions having forwarded a story to _Graham's
Magazine_, which was accepted but not yet published after many
months. He also anticipates an amelioration of his affairs from a
Democratic victory in the fall elections.

Meanwhile, Horatio Bridge had been traversing the high seas in the
"Cyane," which was finally detailed to watch for slavers and to protect
American commerce on the African coast. He had kept a journal of his
various experiences and observations, which he sent to Hawthorne with a
rather diffident interrogation as to whether it might be worth
publishing. Hawthorne was decidedly of the opinion that it ought to be
published,--in which we cordially agree with him,--and was well pleased
to edit it for his friend; and, although it has now shared the fate of
most of the books of its class, it is excellent reading for those who
chance to find a copy of it. Bridge was a good observer, and a candid
writer.

The election of 1844 was the most momentous that had yet taken place in
American history. It decided the annexation of Texas, and the
acquisition of California, with a coast-line on the Pacific Ocean
nearly equal to that on the Atlantic; but it also brought with it an
unjust war of greed and spoliation, and other evil consequences of
which we are only now begining to reach the end. The slaveholders and
the Democratic leaders desired Texas in order to perpetuate their
control of the government, and it was precisely through this measure
that they lost it,--as happens so often in human affairs. It was the
gold discoveries in California that upset their calculations.
California would _not_ come into the Union as a slave state.
Enraged at this failure, the Southern politicians made a desperate
attempt to recover lost ground, by seizing on the fertile prairies in
the Northwest; but there they came into conflict with the industrial
classes of the North, who fought them on their own ground and abolished
slavery. Never had public injustice been followed by so swift and
terrible a retribution.

In regard to the candidates of 1844, it was hardly possible to compare
them. Polk possessed the ability to preside over the House of
Representatives, but he did not rise above this; while Clay could be
fairly compared on some points with Washington himself, and united with
this a persuasive eloquence second only to Webster's. He was
practically defeated by fifteen or twenty thousand abolitionists who
preferred to throw away their votes rather than to cast them for a
slave-holder.

Hawthorne, in the quiet seclusion of his country home, did not realize
this danger to the Republic. He only knew that his friends were
victorious, and was happy in the expectation of escaping from his
debts, and of providing more favorably for his little family.




CHAPTER IX

"MOSSES PROM AN OLD MANSE": 1845


There is no evidence in the Hawthorne documents or publications to show
exactly when the first edition of "Mosses from an Old Manse" made its
appearance, and copies of it are now exceedingly rare, but we find the
Hawthorne family in Salem reading the book in the autumn of 1845, so
that it was probably brought out at that time and helped to maintain
its author during his last days at Concord.

There must have been some magical influence in the Old Manse or in its
surrounding scenery, to have stimulated both Emerson's and Hawthorne's
love of Nature to such a degree. Emerson's eye dilates as he looks upon
the sunshine gilding the trunks of the balm of Gilead trees on his
avenue; and Hawthorne dwells with equal delight on the luxuriant squash
vines which spread over his vegetable garden. Discoursing on this he
says:

"Speaking of summer squashes, I must say a word of their beautiful and
varied forms. They presented an endless diversity of urns and vases,
shallow or deep, scalloped or plain, molded in patterns which a
sculptor would do well to copy, since art has never invented anything
more graceful."

And again:

"A cabbage, too--especially the early Dutch cabbage, which swells to a
monstrous circumference, until its ambitious heart often bursts
asunder--is a matter to be proud of when we can claim a share with the
earth and sky in producing it."

It would seem as if no one before Hawthorne had rightly observed these
common vegetables, whose external appearance is always before our eyes.
He not only humanizes whatever attracts his attention, but he looks
through a refining medium of his own personality. He has the gift of
Midas to bring back the Golden Age for us. Who besides Homer has been
able to describe a chariot-race, and who but Hawthorne could extract
such poetry from a farmer's garden?

If we compare this introductory chapter with such earlier sketches as
"The Vision at the Fountain" and "The Toll-Gatherer's Day," we
recognize the progress that Hawthorne has made since the first volume
of "Twice Told Tales." We are no longer reminded of the plain unpainted
house on Lake Sebago. His style is not only more graceful, but has
acquired greater fulness of expression, and he is evidently working in
a deeper and richer vein of thought. Purity of expression is still his
polar star, and his writing is nowhere overloaded, but it has a warmer
tone, a deeper perspective, and an atmospheric quality which painters
call _chi-aroscuro_. He charms with pleasing fancies, while he
penetrates to the soul.

Hawthorne rarely repeats himself in details, and never in designs. Two
of Dickens's most interesting novels, "Oliver Twist" and "David
Copperfield," are constructed on the same theme, but each of the
studies in this collection has a distinct individuality which appeals
to the reader after a fashion of its own. Each has its moral, or rather
central, idea to which all its component parts are related, and teaches
a lesson of its own, so unobtrusively that we become possessed of it
almost unawares. Some are intensely, even tragically, serious; others
so light and airy that they seem as if woven out of gossamer.

There are a few, however, that do not harmonize with the general tone
and character of the rest,--especially "Mrs. Bull-Frog," which
Hawthorne himself confessed to having been an experiment, and which
strangely enough is much more in the style of his son Julian. "Monsieur
du Miroir" and "Sketches from Memory" are relics of his earlier
writings; perhaps also "Feather-Top" and "The Procession of Life." It
would have been better perhaps if "Young Goodman Brown" had been used
to light a fire at the Old Manse.

"Monsieur du Miroir" is chiefly interesting as an example of
Hawthorne's faculty for elaborating the most simple subject until every
possible phase of it has been exhausted. It may also throw some light
scientifically on the origin of consciousness. We see ourselves
reflected not only in the mirror, but on the blade of a knife, or a
puddle in the road; and, if we look sharply enough, in the eyes of
other men--even in the expression of their faces. In such manner does
Nature force upon us a recognition of our various personalities--the
nucleus of self-knowledge, and self-respect.

Whittier once spoke of "Young Goodman Brown" as indicating a mental
peculiarity in Hawthorne, which like the cuttle-fish rarely rises to
the surface. The plot is cynical, and largely enigmatical. The very
name of it (in the way Hawthorne develops the story) is a fearful
satire on human nature. He may have intended this for an exposure of
the inconsistency, and consequent hypocrisy, of Puritanism; but the
name of Goodman Brown's wife is Faith, and this suggests that Brown may
have been himself intended for an incarnation of _doubt_, or
_disbelief_ carried to a logical extreme. Whatever may have been
Hawthorne's design, the effect is decidedly unpleasant.

Emerson talked in proverbs, and Hawthorne in parables. The finest
sketches in this collection are parables. "The Birth Mark,"
"Rappacini's Daughter," "A Select Party," "Egotism," and "The Artist of
the Beautiful." "The Celestial Railroad" is an allegory, a variation on
"Pilgrim's Progress."

"The Birth Mark" and "Rappacini's Daughter" are like divergent lines,
which originate at an single point; and that point is the radical
viciousness of trying experiments on human beings. It is bad enough,
although excusable, to vivisect dogs and rabbits; but why should we
attempt the same course of procedure with those that are nearest and
dearest to us? Such parables were not required in the time of Tiberius
Casar and men and women grew up in a natural, vigorous manner; but now
we have become so scientific that we continually attempt to improve on
Nature,--like the artist who left the rainbow out of his picture of
Niagara because its colors did not harmonize with the background.

The line of divergence in "The Birth Mark" is indicated by its name. We
all have our birth-marks,--traits of character, which may be
temporarily suppressed, or relegated to the background, but which
cannot be eradicated and are certain to reappear at unguarded moments,
or on exceptional occasions. Education and culture can do much to
soften and temper the disposition, but the original material remains
the same. The father who attempts to force his son into a mode of life
for which Nature did not intend him, or the mother who quarrels with
her daughter's friends, commits an error similar to that of Hawthorne's
alchemist, who endeavors to remove the birthmark from the otherwise
beautiful face of his wife, but only succeeds in effecting this
together with her death. The tragical termination of the alchemist's
experiments, the pathetic yielding up of life by his sweet "Clytie," is
described with an impressive tenderness. She sinks to her last sleep
without a murmur of reproach.

"Rappacini's Daughter" might serve as a protest against bringing up
children in an exceptional and abnormal manner. I once knew an
excellent lady, who, with the best possible intentions, brought up her
daughter to be different from all other girls. As a consequence, she
_was_ different,--could not assimilate herself to others. She had
no admirers, or young friends of her own sex, for there were few points
of contact between herself and general society. Her mother was her only
friend. She aged rapidly and died early. Similarly, a boy brought up in
a secluded condition of purity and ignorance, finally developed into
one of the most vicious of men.

Hawthorne has prefigured this by a bright colored flower which sparkles
like a gem, very attractive at a distance, but exhaling a deadly
perfume. He may not have been aware that the opium poppy has so
brilliant a flower that it can be seen at a distance from which all
other flowers are invisible. The scene of his story is placed in
Italy,--the land of beauty, but also the country of poisoners.
Rappacini, an old botanist and necromancer, has trained up his daughter
in the solitary companionship of this flower, from which she has
acquired its peculiar properties. A handsome young student is induced
to enter the garden, partly from curiosity and partly through the
legerdemain of Rappacini. The student soon falls under the daughter's
influence and finds himself being gradually poisoned. A watchful
apothecary, who has penetrated the necromancer's secret, provides the
young man with an antidote which saves him, but deprives the maiden of
life. She crosses the barrier which separated her from a healthy
existence, and the poison reacts upon her system and kills her. The old
apothecary looks out from his window, and cries, "O Rappacini! Is this
the consummation of your experiment?"

The underlying agreement between this story and "The Birth Mark"
becomes apparent when we observe that the termination of one is simply
a variation upon the last scene of the other. In one instance a
beautiful daughter is sacrificed by her father, and in the other a
lovely wife is victimized by her husband. There have been thousands, if
not millions, of such cases.

There is no other writer but Shakespeare who has portrayed the absolute
devotion of a woman's love with such delicacy of feeling and depth of
sympathy as Hawthorne. In the two stories we have just considered, and
also in "The Bosom Serpent," this element serves, like the refrain of a
Greek chorus, to give a sweet, penetrating undertone which reconciles
us to much that would otherwise seem intolerable. The heroines in these
pieces have such a close spiritual relationship that one suspects them
of having been studied from the same model, and who could this have
been so likely as Hawthorne's own wife. [Footnote: Notice also the
similar character of Sophia in J. Hawthorne's "Bressant."]

The theme of "The Bosom Serpent" is a husband's jealousy; and it is the
self-forgetful devotion of his wife that finally cures his malady and
relieves him of his unpleasant companion. The tale ends with one of
those mystifying passages which Hawthorne weaves so skilfully, so that
it is difficult to determine from the text whether there was a real
serpent secreted under the man's clothing, or only an imaginary one,--
although we presume the latter. Francis of Verulam says, "the best
fortune for a husband is for his wife to consider him wise, which she
will never do if she find him jealous"; and with good reason, for if he
is unreasonably jealous, it shows a lack of confidence in her; but
mutal confidence is the well-spring from which love flows, and if the
well dries up, there is an end of it.

"The Select Party" is quite a relief, after this tragical trilogy. It
is easy to believe that Hawthorne imagined this dream of a summer
evening, while watching the great cumulus clouds, tinted with rose and
lavender like aerial snow-mountains, floating toward the horizon. Here
were true castles in the air, which he could people with shapes
according to his fancy; but he chose the most common abstract
conceptions, such as, the Clerk of the Weather, the Beau Ideal, Mr. So-
they-say, the Coming Man, and other ubiquitous personages, whom we
continually hear of, but never see. The Man of Fancy invites these and
many others to a banquet in his cloud-castle, where they all converse
and behave according to their special characters. A ripple of delicate
humor, like the ripple made by a light summer breeze upon the calm
surface of a lake, runs through the piece from the first sentence to
the last; and the scene is brought to a close by the approach of a
thunder-storm, which spreads consternation among these unsubstantial
guests, much like that which takes place at a picnic under similar
circumstances; and Hawthorne, with his customary mystification, leaves
us in doubt as to whether they ever reached _terra firma_ again.

There is one proverbial character, however, whom Hawthorne has omitted
from this account; namely, Mr. Everybody. "What Everybody says, must be
true;" but unfortunately Everybody's information is none of the best,
and his judgment does not rise above his information. His self-
confidence, however, is enormous. He understands law better than the
lawyer, and medicine better than the physicians. He is never tired of
settling the affairs of the country, and of proposing constitutional
amendments. Is it not perfectly natural that Everybody should
understand Everybody's business as well as or better than his own? He
is continually predicting future events, and if they fail to take place
he predicts them again. He is omnipresent, but if you seek him he is
nowhere to be found,--which we may presume to be the reason why he did
not appear at the entertainment given by the Man of Fancy.

That which gives the elevated character to Raphael's faces--as in the
"Sistine Madonna" and other paintings--is not their drawing, though
that is always refined, but the expression of the eyes, which are truly
the windows of the soul. It was the same in Hawthorne's face, and may
be observed in all good portraits of him. An immutable calmness
overspread his features, but in and about his eyes there was a spring-
like mirthfulness; while down in the shadowy depth of those luminous
orbs was concealed the pathos that formed the undercurrent of his life.
So it is that high comedy, as Plato long ago observed, lies very close
to tragedy.

A well-known French writer compares English humor, in a general way, to
beer-drinking, and this is more particularly applicable to Dickens's
characters. The very name of Mark Tapley suggests ale bottles.
Thackeray's humor is of a more refined quality, but a trifle sharp and
satirical. It is, however, pure and healthful and might be compared to
Rhine-wine. Hawthorne's humor at its best is more refined than
Thackeray's, as well as of a more amiable quality, and reminds one (on
Taine's principle) of those delicate Italian wines which have very
little body, but a delightful bouquet. As a humorist, however,
Hawthorne varies in different times and places more than in any other
respect. He adapts himself to his subject; is light and playful in "The
Select Party"; takes on a more serious vein in "The Celestial
Railroad"; in his resuscitation of Byron, in the letter from a lunatic
called "P's Correspondence" he is simply sardonic; and "The Virtuoso's
Collection" has all the effect, although he does not anywhere descend
to low comedy, of a roaring farce. In "Mrs. Bull-Frog," as the title
intimates, he approaches closely to the grotesque.

In "The Virtuoso's Collection" we have the humor of impossibility.
Nothing is more common than this, but Hawthorne gives it a peculiar
value of his own. A procession of mythological objects, strange
historical relics, and the odd creations of fiction passes before our
eyes. The abruptness of their juxtaposition excites continuous laughter
in us. It would be an extremely phlegmatic person who could read it
with a serious face. Don Quixote's Rosinante, Doctor Johnson's cat,
Shelley's skylark, a live phonix, Prospero's magic wand, the hard-
ridden Pegasus, the dove which brought the olive branch, and many
others appear in such rapid succession that the reader has no time to
take breath, or to consider what will turn up next. Like an
accomplished showman, Hawthorne enlivens the performance here and there
with original reflections on life, which are perfectly dignified, but
become humorous from contrast with their surroundings. In spite of its
comical effect, the piece has a very genteel air, for its material is
taken from that general stock of information that passes current in
cultivated families. The young man of fashion who had never heard of
Elijah, or of Poe's "Raven," would not have understood it.

In "The Hall of Fantasy," we catch some glimpses of Hawthorne's
favorite authors:

"The grand old countenance of Homer, the shrunken and decrepit form,
but vivid face, of Asop, the dark presence of Dante, the wild Ariosto,
Rabelais's smile of deep-wrought mirth, the profound, pathetic humor of
Cervantes, the all glorious Shakespeare, Spenser, meet guest for an
allegoric structure, the severe divinity of Milton and Bunyan, molded
of the homeliest clay, but instinct with celestial fire--were those
that chiefly attracted my eye. Fielding, Richardson, and Scott occupied
conspicuous pedestals."

He also adds Goethe and Swedenborg, and remarks of them:

"Were ever two men of transcendent imagination more unlike?"

It is evident that Byron was not a favorite with Hawthorne. In addition
to his severe treatment of that poet, in "P's Correspondence," he says
in "Earth's Holocaust," where he imagines the works of various authors
to be consumed in a bonfire:

"Speaking of the properties of flame, me-thought Shelley's poetry
emitted a purer light than almost any other productions of his day,
contrasting beautifully with the fitful and lurid gleams and gushes of
black vapor that flashed and eddied from the volumes of Lord Byron."

This seems like rather puritanical treatment. If there are false lines
in Byron, there are quite as many weak lines in Shelley. If sincerity
were to give out a pure flame, Byron would stand that test equal to
any. His real fault is to be found in his somewhat glaring diction,
like the _voix blanc_ in singing, and in an occasional stroke of
_persiflage_. This increases his attractiveness to youthful minds,
but to a nature like Hawthorne's anything of an exhibitory character
must always be unpleasant.

Emerson and Hawthorne only knew Goethe through the translations of
Dwight, Carlyle and Margaret Fuller, and yet his poetry made a deeper
impression on them than on Lowell and Longfellow, who read it in the
original. Hawthorne appears to have taken lessons in German while at
Brook Farm, for we find him studying a German book at the Old Manse,
with a grammar and lexicon; but, as he confesses in his diary, without
making satisfactory progress.

"The Artist of the Beautiful" is a Dantean allegory, and a poetic gem.
A young watchmaker, imbued with a spirit above his calling, neglects
the profits of his business in order to construct an artificial
butterfly,--at once the type of useless beauty and the symbol of
immortality, and he perseveres in spite of the difficulties of the
undertaking and the contemptuous opposition of his acquaintances. He
finally succeeds in making one which seems to be almost endowed with
life, but only to be informed that it is no better than a toy, and that
he has wasted his time on a thing which has no practical value. A child
(who represents the thoughtlessness of the great world) crushes the
exquisite piece of workmanship in his little hand; but the watch-maker
does not repine at this, for he realizes that after having achieved the
beautiful, in his own spirit, the outward symbol of it has
comparatively little value. The Artist of the Beautiful is Hawthorne
himself; and in this exquisite fable he has not only unfolded the
secret of all high art, but his own life-secret as well.


HAWTHORNE AND TRANSCENDENTALISM

The French and English scepticism of the eighteenth century, produced a
reaction in the more contemplative German nature, which took the form
of a strong assertion of spirit or mind as an entity in itself, and
distinct from matter. This movement was more like a national impulse
than the proselytism of a sect, but the individual in whom this
spiritual impulse of the German people manifested itself at that time
was Immanuel Kant. Without discrediting the revelations of Hebrew
tradition, he taught the doctrine that instead of looking for evidence
of a Supreme Being in the external world, we should seek him in our own
hearts; that every man could find a revelation in his own conscience,--
in the consciousness of good and evil, by which man improves his
condition on earth; that the ideas of a Supreme Being, or of
immortality and freedom of will, are inherent in the human mind, and
are not to be acquired from experience; but that, as the finite mind
cannot comprehend the infinite, we cannot know God in the same sense
that we know our own earthly fathers, or as Goethe afterwards expressed
it,---

                     "Who can say I know Him;
                      Who can say, I know Him not;"

and that it is in this aspiration for the unattainable, in this
reverence for absolute purity, wisdom and love, that the spirit of true
religion consists.

The new philosophy was named "Transcendentalism" by Kant's followers,
because it included ideas which were beyond the range of experience. It
became popular in Germany, as Platonism, to which it is closely
related, became popular in ancient Greece. It has never been accepted
in France, where scepticism still predominates, though we hear of it in
Taine and a few other writers; but in Great Britain, although the
English universities repudiated it, Transcendentalism became so
influential that Gladstone has spoken of it, in his Romanes lecture, as
the dominant philosophy of the nineteenth century. Every notable
English writer of that period, with the exception of Macaulay, Mill,
and Spencer, became largely imbued with it. In America its influence
did not extend much beyond New England, but in that section at least
its proselytes were numbered by thousands, and it effected an
intellectual revolution which has since influenced the whole country.

The Concord group of transcendentalists did not accept the teaching of
Kant in its original purity; but mixed with it a number of other
imported products, that in no way appertain to it. Thoreau was an
American _sansculotte_, a believer in the natural man; Ripley was
mainly a socialist; Margaret Fuller was one of the earliest leaders in
woman's rights; Alcott was a Neo-Platonist, a vegetarian, and a non-
resistant; while Emerson sympathized largely with Thoreau, and from his
poetic exaltation of Nature was looked upon as a pantheist by those who
were not accustomed to nice discriminations. Thus it happened that
Transcendentalism came to be associated in the public mind with any
exceptional mode or theory of life. Its best representatives in
America, like Professor Hedge of Harvard, Reverend David A. Wasson and
Doctor William T. Harris (so long Chief of the National Bureau of
Education), were much abler men than Emerson's followers, but did not
attract so much attention, simply because they lived according to the
customs of good society.

Sleepy Hollow, before it was converted into a cemetery, was one of the
most attractive sylvan resorts in the environs of Concord. It was a
sort of natural amphitheatre, a small oval plane, more than half
surrounded by a low wooded ridge; a sheltered and sequestered spot,
cool in summer, but also warm and sunny in spring, where the wild
flowers bloomed and the birds sang earlier than in other places.

There, on August 22, 1842, a notable meeting took place, between
Hawthorne, Emerson, and Margaret Fuller, who came that afternoon to
enjoy the inspiration of the place, without preconcerted agreement.
Margaret Fuller was first on the ground, and Hawthorne found her seated
on the hill-side--his gravestone now overlooks the spot--reading a book
with a peculiar name, which he "did not understand, and could not
afterward recollect." Such a description could only apply to Kant's
"Critique of Pure Reason," the original fountain-head and gospel of
Transcendentalism.

It does not appear that Nathaniel Hawthorne ever studied "The Critique
of Pure Reason." His mind was wholly of the artistic order,--the most
perfect type of an artist, one might say, living at that time,--and a
scientific analysis of the mental faculties would have been as
distasteful to him as the dissection of a human body. History,
biography, fiction, did not appear to him as a logical chain of cause
and effect, but as a succession of pictures illustrating an ideal
determination of the human race. He could not even look at a group of
turkeys without seeing a dramatic situation in them. In addition to
this, as a true artist, he was possessed of a strong dislike for
everything eccentric and abnormal; he wished for symmetry in all
things, and above all in human actions; and those restless, unbalanced
spirits, who attached themselves to the transcendental movement and the
anti-slavery cause, were particularly objectionable to him. It has been
rightly affirmed that no revolutionary movement could be carried
through without the support of that ill-regulated class of persons who
are always seeking they know not what, and they have their value in the
community, like the rest of us; but Hawthorne was not a revolutionary
character, and to his mind they appeared like so many obstacles to the
peaceable enjoyment of life. His motto was, "Live and let live." There
are passages in his Concord diary in which he refers to the itinerant
transcendentalist in no very sympathetic manner.

His experience at Brook Farm may have helped to deepen this feeling.
There is no necessary connection between such an idyllic-socialistic
experiment and a belief in the direct perception of a great First
Clause; but Brook Farm was popularly supposed at that time to be an
emanation of Transcendentalism, and is still largely so considered. He
was wearied at Brook Farm by the philosophical discussions of George
Ripley and his friends, and took to walking in the country lanes, where
he could contemplate and philosophize in his own fashion,--which after
all proved to be more fruitful than theirs. Having exchanged his
interest in the West Roxbury Association for the Old Manse at Concord
(truly a poetic bargain), he wrote the most keenly humorous of his
shorter sketches, his "The Celestial Railroad," and in it represented
the dismal cavern where Bunyan located the two great enemies of true
religion, the Pope and the Pagan, as now occupied by a German giant,
the Transcendentalist, who "makes it his business to seize upon honest
travellers and fat them for his table with plentiful meals of smoke,
mist, moonshine, raw potatoes, and sawdust."

That Transcendentalism was largely associated in Hawthorne's mind with
the unnecessary discomforts and hardships of his West Roxbury life is
evident from a remark which he lets fall in "The Virtuoso's
Collection." The Virtuoso calls his attention to the seven-league boots
of childhood mythology, and Hawthorne replies, "I could show you quite
as curious a pair of cowhide boots at the transcendental community of
Brook Farm." Yet there could have been no malice in his satire, for
Mrs. Hawthorne's two sisters, Mrs. Mann and Miss Peabody, were both
transcendentalists; and so was Horace Mann himself, so far as we know
definitely in regard to his metaphysical creed. Do not we all feel at
times that the search for abstract truth is like a diet of sawdust or
Scotch mist,--a "chimera buzzing in a vacuum"?

James Russell Lowell similarly attacked Emerson in his Class Day poem,
and afterward became converted to Emerson's views through the influence
of Maria White. It is possible that a similar change took place in
Hawthorne's consciousness; although his consciousness was so profound
and his nature so reticent that what happened in the depths of it was
never indicated by more than a few bubbles at the surface. He was
emphatically an idealist, as every truly great artist must be, and
Transcendentalism was the local costume which ideality wore in
Hawthorne's time. He was a philosopher after a way of his own, and his
reflections on life and manners often have the highest value. It was
inevitable that he should feel and assimilate something from the wave
of German thought which was sweeping over England and America, and if
he did this unconsciously it was so much the better for the quality of
his art.

There are evidences of this even among his earliest sketches. In his
account of "Sunday at Home" he says: "Time--where a man lives not--what
is it but Eternity?" Does he not recognize in this condensed statement
Kant's theorem that time is a mental condition, which only exists in
man, and for man, and has no place in the external world? In fact, it
only exists by divisions of time, and it is _man_ who makes the
divisions. The rising of the sun does not constitute time; for the sun
is always rising--somewhere. The positivists and Herbert Spencer deny
this, and argue to prove that time is an external entity--independent
of man--like electricity; but Hawthorne did not agree with them. He
evidently trusted the validity of his consciousness. In that exquisite
pastoral, "The Vision at the Fountain," he says:

"We were aware of each other's presence, not by sight or sound or
touch, but by an inward consciousness. Would it not be so among the
dead?"

You have probably heard of the German who attempted to evolve a camel
out of his inner consciousness. That and similar jibes are common among
those persons of whom the Scriptures tell us that they are in the habit
of straining at gnats; but Hawthorne believed consciousness to be a
trustworthy guide. Why should he not? It was the consciousness of
_self_ that raised man above the level of the brute. This was the
rock from which Moses struck forth the fountain of everlasting life.

Again, in "Fancy's Show-Box" we meet with the following:

"Or, while none but crimes perpetrated are cognizable before an earthly
tribunal, will guilty thoughts,--of which guilty deeds are no more than
shadows,--will these draw down the full weight of a condemning sentence
in the supreme court of eternity?"

Is this not an induction from or corollary to the preceding? If it is
not Kantian philosophy, it is certainly Goethean. Margaret Fuller was
the first American critic, if not the first of all critics, to point
out that Goethe in writing "Elective Affinities" designed to show that
an evil thought may have consequences as serious and irremediable as an
evil action--in addition to the well-known homily that evil thoughts
lead to evil actions. In his "Hall of Fantasy" Hawthorne mentions
Goethe and Swedenborg as two literary idols of the present time who may
be expected to endure through all time. Emerson makes the same
prediction in one of his poems.

In "Rappacini's Daughter" Hawthorne says: "There is something truer and
more real than what we can see with the eyes and touch with the
finger."

And in "The Select Party" he remarks: "To such beholders it was unreal
because they lacked the imaginative faith. Had they been worthy to pass
within its portals, they would have recognized the truth that the
dominions which the spirit conquers for itself among unrealities become
a thousand times more real than the earth whereon they stamp their
feet, saying, 'This is solid and substantial! This may be called a
fact!'"

The essence of Transcendentalism is the assertion of the
indestructibility of spirit, that mind is more real than matter, and
the unseen than the seen. "The visible has value only," says Carlyle,
"when it is based on the invisible." No writer of the nineteenth
century affirms this more persistently than Hawthorne, and in none of
his romances is the principle so conspicuous as in "The House of the
Seven Gables." It is a sister's love which, like a cord stronger than
steel, binds together the various incidents of the story, while the
avaricious Judge Pyncheon, "with his landed estate, public honors,
offices of trust and other solid _un_realities," has after all
only succeeded in building a card castle for himself, which may be
dissipated by a single breath. Holgrave, the daguerreotypist, who
serves as a contrast to the factitious judge, is a genuine character,
and may stand for a type of the young New England liberal of 1850: a
freethinker, and so much of a transcendentalist that we suspect
Hawthorne's model for him to have been one of the younger associates of
the Brook Farm experiment. He is evidently studied from life, and
Hawthorne says of him:

"Altogether, in his culture and want of culture, in his crude, wild,
and misty philosophy, and the practical experience that counteracted
some of its tendencies; in his magnanimous zeal for man's welfare, and
his recklessness of whatever the ages had established in man's behalf;
in his faith, and in his infidelity; in what he had, and in what he
lacked, the artist might fitly enough stand forth as the representative
of many compeers in his native land."

This is a fairly sympathetic portrait, and it largely represents the
class of young men who went to hear Emerson and supported Charles
Sumner. In the story, Holgrave achieves the reward of a veracious
nature by winning the heart of the purest and loveliest young woman in
American fiction.

If Hawthorne were still living he might object to the foregoing
argument as a misrepresentation; nor could he be blamed for this, for
Ripley, Thoreau, Alcott and other like visionary spirits have so
vitiated the significance of Transcendentalism that it ought now to be
classed among words of doubtful and uncertain meaning.

Students of German philosophy are now chiefly known as Kantists or
Hegelians, and outside of the universities they are commonly classed as
Emersonians.




CHAPTER X

FROM CONCORD TO LENOX: 1845-1849


In May, 1845, Paymaster Bridge found himself again on the American
coast. Meeting with Franklin Pierce in Boston, they agreed to go to
Concord together, and look into Hawthorne's affairs. Soon after
breakfast, Mrs. Hawthorne espied them coming through the gateway. She
had never met Pierce, but she recognized Bridge's tall, elegant figure,
when he waved his hat to her in the distance. Hawthorne himself was
sawing and splitting in the wood-shed, and thither she directed his
friends--to his no slight astonishment when they appeared before him.
Pierce had his arm across Hawthorne's broad shoulders when they
reappeared. There is one pleasure, indeed, which young people cannot
know, and that is, the meeting of old friends. Mrs. Hawthorne was
favorably impressed with Franklin Pierce's personality; while Horatio
Bridge danced about and acted an impromptu pantomime, making up faces
like an owl. They assured Hawthorne that something should be done to
relieve his financial embarrassment.[Footnote: J. Hawthorne, 281.]

All those whose attention Hawthorne attracted out of the rush and hurry
of the world were sure to become interested in his welfare. O'Sullivan,
the editor of the _Democratic Review_, had already exerted himself
in Hawthorne's behalf; but President Polk evidently did not know who
Hawthorne was, so that O'Sullivan was obliged to have a puff inserted
in his review for the President's better information. George Bancroft
was now in the Cabinet, and could easily have obtained a lucrative post
for Hawthorne, but it is plain that Bancroft was not over-friendly to
him and that Hawthorne was fully aware of this. Hawthorne had suggested
the Salem postmastership, but when O'Sullivan mentioned this, Bancroft
objected on the ground that the present incumbent was too good a man to
be displaced, and proposed the consulates of Genoa and Marseilles, two
deplorable positions and quite out of the question for Hawthorne, in
the condition of his family at that time. Perhaps it would have been
better for him in a material sense, if he had accepted the invitation
to dine with Margaret Fuller.

The summer wore away, but nothing was acomplished; and late in the
autumn Hawthorne left the Old Manse to return to his Uncle Robert
Manning's house in Salem, where he could always count on a warm
welcome. There he spent the winter with his wife and child, until
suddenly, in March, 1846, he was appointed Surveyor of the Port, or, as
it is now more properly called, Collector of Customs.

This was, in truth, worth waiting for. The salary was not large, but it
was a dignified position and allowed Hawthorne sufficient leisure for
other pursuits,--the leisure of the merchant or banker. Salem had
already begun to lose its foreign trade, and for days together it
sometimes happened that there was nothing to do. Hawthorne's chief
business was to prevent the government from being cheated, either by
the importers or by his own subordinates; and it required a pretty
sharp eye to do this. All the appointments, even to his own clerks,
were made by outside politicians, and when a reduction of employees was
necessary, Hawthorne consulted with the local Democratic Committee, and
followed their advice. Such a method was not to the advantage of the
public service, but it saved Hawthorne from an annoying responsibility.
His strictness and impartiality, however, soon brought him into
conflict with his more self-important subordinates, who were by no
means accustomed to exactness in their dealings, and this finally
produced a good deal of official unpleasantness; and the unfavorable
reports which were afterward circulated concerning Hawthorne's life
during this period, probably originated in that quarter.

[Illustration: THE CUSTOM HOUSE, SALEM, MASS., WHERE HAWTHORNE WAS
EMPLOYED AS SURVEYOR OF THE FORT OF SALEM, AT THE TIME OF HIS WRITING
"THE SCARLET LETTER"]

All the poetry that Hawthorne could extract from his occupation at the
Custom House is to be found in his preface to "The Scarlet Letter," but
he withholds from us the prosaic side of it,--as he well might. At
times he comes close to caricature, especially in his descriptions of
"those venerable incumbents who hibernated during the winter season,
and then crawled out during the warm days of spring to draw their pay
and perform those pretended duties, for which they were engaged." There
were formerly large numbers of moss-grown loafers in the government
service, with whiskey-reddened noses and greasy old clothing, who would
sun themselves on the door-steps, and tell anecdotes of General
Jackson, Senator Benton, and other popular heroes, with whom they would
intimate a good acquaintance at some remote period of their lives. If
removed from office, they were quite as likely to turn up in a
neighboring jail as in any other location. This is no satire, but
serious truth; and instances of it can be given.

Hawthorne's life during the next three years was essentially domestic.
In June, 1846, his son Julian was born--a remarkably vigorous baby--at
Doctor Peabody's house in West Street, Boston; Mrs. Hawthorne wisely
preferring to be with her own mother during her confinement. [Footnote:
At the age of thirty-five, Julian resembled his father so closely that
Nathaniel Hawthorne's old friends were sometimes startled by him, as if
they had seen an apparition. He was, however, of a stouter build, and
his eyes were different.] With two small children on her hands, Mrs.
Hawthorne had slight opportunity to enjoy general society, fashionable
or otherwise. Rebecca Manning says, however:

"Neither Hawthorne nor his wife could be said to be 'in society' in the
technical sense. When the Peabody family lived in Salem, they were, I
have been told, somewhat straitened pecuniarily. After Hawthorne's
marriage, I think I remember hearing of his wife going to parties and
dinners occasionally. Dr. Loring's wife was her cousin. Other friends
were the Misses Howes, one of whom is now Mrs. Cabot of Boston. Mrs.
Foote, who was a daughter of Judge White, was a friend, and I remember
some Silsbees who were also her friends. Hawthorne's wife knew how to
cultivate her friends and make the most of them far better than either
Hawthorne or his sisters did. I have been told that when Hawthorne was
a young man, before his marriage, if he had chosen to enter Salem's
'first circle' he would have been welcome there."

During this last sojourn in his native city Hawthorne was chosen on the
committee for the lyceum lecture course, and proved instrumental in
bringing Webster to Salem,--where he had not been popular since the
trial of the two Knapps,--to deliver an oration on the Constitution; of
which Mrs. Hawthorne has given a graphic description in a letter to her
mother on November 19, 1848:

"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."

A pure piece of acting. The national Constitution was not even
endangered by the Southern rebellion,--much less by the small band of
original abolitionists; and Webster was too sensible not to be aware of
this.

While Hawthorne was at the Salem Custom House, he made at least two
valuable friends: Doctor George B. Loring, who had married a cousin of
Mrs. Hawthorne, and William B. Pike, who occupied a subordinate
position in the Custom House, but whom Hawthorne valued for moral and
intellectual qualities of which he would seem to have been the first
discoverer. They were not friends who would be likely to affect
Hawthorne's political views, except to encourage him in the direction
to which he had always tended. Four years earlier, Doctor Loring had
been on cordial terms with Longfellow and Sumner, being a refined and
intellectual sort of man, but like Hillard, had withdrawn from them on
account of political differences. He was an able public speaker, and
became a Democratic politician, until 1862, when he went over to the
Republicans; but after that he was looked upon with a good deal of
suspicion by both parties. The governorship was supposed to have been
the object of his ambition, but he never could obtain the nomination.
Late in life he was appointed Commissioner of Agriculture, a post for
which he was eminently fitted, and finally went to Portugal as United
States Minister.

William B. Pike either lacked the opportunity or the necessary
concentration to develop his genius in the larger world, but Hawthorne
continued to communicate with him irregularly until the close of his
life. He invited him to Lenox when he resided there, and Mrs. Lathrop
recollects seeing him at the Wayside in Concord, after Hawthorne's
return from Europe. She discribes him as a "short, sturdy, phlegmatic
and plebeian looking man," but with a gentle step and a finely
modulated voice. It may have been as well for him that he never became
distinguished. [Footnote: Mrs. Lathrop, "Memories of Hawthorne," 154.]

The war with Mexico was now fairly afield, and Franklin Pierce, who
left the United States Senate on account of his wife's health, was
organizing a regiment of New Hampshire volunteers, as a "patriotic
duty." Salem people thought differently, and party feeling there soon
rose to the boiling-point. There is no other community where political
excitement is so likely to become virulent as in a small city. In a
country town, like Concord, every man feels the necessity for
conciliating his neighbor, but the moneyed class in Salem was
sufficient for its own purposes, and was opposed to the war in a solid
body. The Whigs looked upon the invasion of Mexico as a piratical
attempt of the Democratic leaders to secure the permanent ascendency of
their party, and this was probably the true reason for Franklin
Pierce's joining it. In their eyes, Hawthorne was the representative of
a corrupt administration, and they would have been more than human if
they had not wished him to feel this. The Salem gentry could not draw
him into an argument very well, but they could look daggers at him on
the street and exhibit their coldness toward him when they went on
business to the Custom House. It is evident that he was made to suffer
in some such manner, and to a tenderhearted man with a clear
conscience, it must have seemed unkind and unjust. [Footnote: When the
engagement between the "Chesapeake" and the "Shannon" took place off
Salem harbor in August, 1813, and Captain Lawrence was killed in the
action, the anti-war sentiment ran so high that it was difficult to
find a respectable mansion where his funeral would be permitted.] In
his Custom House preface, Hawthorne compares the Whigs rather
unfavorably with the Democrats, and this is not to be wondered at; but
he should have remembered that it was his own party which first
introduced the spoils-of-office system.

The first use that Hawthorne made of his government salary was to
cancel his obligations to the Concord tradespeople, and the next was to
provide a home for his wife and mother. They first moved to 18 Chestnut
Street, in June, 1846; and thence to a larger house, 14 Mall Street, in
September, 1847, in which "The Snow Image" was prepared for
publication, and "The Scarlet Letter" was written. Hawthorne's study or
workshop was the front room in the third story, an apartment of some
width but with a ceiling in direct contradiction to the elevated
thoughts of the writer. There is an ominous silence in the American
Note-book between 1846 and 1850, which is rather increased than
diminished by the publication from his diary of a number of extracts
concerning the children. The babies of geniuses do not differ
essentially from those of other people, and it is not supposable that
Hawthorne's reflections during this period were wholly confined to his
own family. It is to be hoped that fuller information will yet be given
to the public concerning their affairs in Salem; for the truth deserves
to be told.

In January, 1846, Mrs. Hawthorne wrote to her mother:

"No one, I think, has a right to break the will of a child, but God;
and if the child is taught to submit to Him through love, all other
submission will follow with heavenly effect upon the character. God
never drives even the most desperate sinner, but only invites or
suggests through the events of His providence."

Nothing is more unfortunate than to break the will of a child, for all
manliness and womanliness is grounded in the will; but it is often
necessary to control the desires and humors of children for their self-
preservation. Hawthorne himself was not troubled with such fancies.
Alcott, who was his nearest neighbor at the Wayside, once remarked that
there was only one will in the Hawthorne family, and that was
Nathaniel's. His will was law and no one thought of disputing it. Yet
what he writes concerning children is always sweet, tender, and
beautiful, with the single exception of a criticism of his own
daughter, which was published long after his death and could not have
been intended for the public eye.

The war with Mexico was wonderfully successful from a military point of
view, but its political effects were equally confounding to the
politicians who projected it. The American people resemble the French,
quite as much perhaps as they do the English, and the admiration of
military glory is one of their Gallic traits. It happened that the two
highest positions in the army were both held by Whig generals, and the
victory of Buena Vista carried Zachary Taylor into the White House, in
spite of the opposition of Webster and Clay, as well as that of the
Democrats and the Free Soilers. Polk, Bancroft, and Pierce had all
contributed to the defeat of their own party. The war proved their
political terminus to the two former; but, _mirabile dictu_, it
became the cap of Fortunatus to Pierce and Hawthorne.

This, however, could not have been foreseen at the time, and the
election of Taylor in November, 1848, had a sufficiently chilling
effect on the little family in Mall Street. Hawthorne entertained the
hope that he might be spared in the general out-turning, as a
distinguished writer and an inoffensive partisan, and this indicates
how loath he was to relinquish his comfortable position. Let us place
ourselves in his situation and we shall not wonder at it. He was now
forty-five, with a wife and two children, and destitution was staring
him in the face. For ten years he had struggled bravely, and this was
the net result of all his endeavors. Never had the future looked so
gloomy to him.

The railroad had superseded his Uncle Manning's business, as it had
that of half the mercantile class in the city, and his father-in-law
was in a somewhat similar predicament. At this time Elizabeth Peabody
was keeping a small foreign book-store in a room of her father's house
on West Street. One has to realize these conditions, in order to
appreciate the mood in which Hawthorne's Custom House preface was
written.

There is one passage in it, however, that is always likely to be
misunderstood. It is where he says:

"I thought my own prospects of retaining office, to be better than
those of my Democratic brethren; but who can see an inch into futurity,
beyond his nose? My own head was the first that fell!"

It is clear that some kind of an effort was made to prevent his
removal, presumably by George S. Hillard, who was a Whig in good favor;
but the conclusion which one would naturally draw from the above, that
Hawthorne was turned out of office in a summary and ungracious manner,
is not justified by the evidence. He was not relieved from duty until
June 14, 1849; that is, he was given a hundred days of grace, which is
much more than officeholders commonly are favored with, in such cases.
We may consider it morally certain that Hillard did what he could in
Hawthorne's behalf. He was well acquainted with Webster, but
unfortunately Webster had opposed the nomination of General Taylor, and
was so imprudent as to characterize it as a nomination not fit to be
made. This was echoed all over the country, and left Webster without
influence at Washington. For the time being Seward was everything, and
Webster was nothing.

In a letter to Horace Mann, shortly after his removal, Hawthorne refers
to two distinct calumnies which had been circulated concerning him in
Salem, and only too widely credited. The most important of these--for
it has seriously compromised a number of Salem gentlemen--was never
explained until the publication of Mrs. Lathrop's "Memories of
Hawthorne" in 1897; where we find a letter from Mrs. Hawthorne to her
mother, dated June 10, 1849, and containing the following passage:

"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. 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!" So it appears that the gutta-percha formula [Footnote: By
which eighty-eight per cent, of the classified service were removed.]
of President Cleveland in regard to "offensive partisanship" was really
invented forty years before his time, and had as much value in one case
as in the other. It is possible that such a document as Mrs. Hawthorne
describes was circulated, signed, and sent to Washington, to make the
way easy for President Taylor's advisers, and if so it was a highly
contemptible proceeding; but the statement rests wholly on the
affirmation of a single witness, whose name has always been withheld,
and even if it were true that Hawthorne had written political articles
for Democratic papers the fact would have in no wise been injurious to
his reputation. The result must have been the same in any case. General
Taylor was an honorable man, and no doubt intended to keep his word, as
other Presidents have intended since; but what could even a brave
general effect against the army of hungry office-seekers who were
besieging the White House,--a more formidable army than the Mexicans
whom he had defeated at Buena Vista? In all probability he knew nothing
of Hawthorne and never heard of his case.

The second calumny which Hawthorne refers to was decidedly second-rate,
and closely resembles a servant's intrigue. The Department at
Washington, in a temporary fit of economy, had requested him to
discharge two of his supervisors. He did not like to take the men's
bread away from them, and made a mild protest against the order. At the
same time he consulted his chief clerk as to what it might be best to
do, and they agreed upon suspending two of the supervisors who might
suffer less from it than some others. As it happened, the Department
considered Hawthorne's report favorably, and no suspension took place;
but his clerk betrayed the secret to the two men concerned, who hated
Hawthorne in consequence, and afterward circulated a report that he had
threatened to discharge them unless they contributed to the Democratic
campaign fund. This return of evil for good appears to have been a new
experience for Hawthorne, but those who are much concerned in the
affairs of the world soon become accustomed to it, and pay little
attention to either the malice or the mendacity of mankind.

Twenty years later one of Hawthorne's clerks, who had prudently shifted
from the Democratic to the Republican ranks, held a small office in the
Boston Navy Yard, and was much given to bragging of his intimacy with
"Nat," and of the sprees they went on together; but the style and
description of the man were sufficient to discredit his statements
without further evidence. There were, however, several old shipmasters
in the Salem Custom House who had seen Calcutta, Canton, and even a
hurricane or two; men who had lived close to reality, with a vein of
true heroism in them, moreover; and if Hawthorne preferred their
conversation to that of the shipowners, who had spent their lives in
calculating the profits of commercial adventures, there are many among
the well educated who would agree with him. He refers particularly to
one aged inspector of imports, whose remarkable adventures by flood and
field were an almost daily recreation to him; and if the narratives of
this ancient mariner were somewhat mixed with romance, assuredly
Hawthorne should have been the last person to complain of them on that
account.

At first he was wholly unnerved by his dismissal. He returned to Mall
Street and said to his wife: "I have lost my place. What shall we now
do for bread?" But Mrs. Hawthorne replied: "Never fear. You will now
have leisure to finish your novel. Meanwhile, I will earn bread for us
with my pencil and paint-brush." [Footnote: Mrs. George S. Hillard.]
Besides this, she brought forward two or three hundred dollars, which
she had saved from his salary unbeknown to him; but who would not have
been encouraged by such a brave wife? Fortunately her pencil and paint-
brush were not put to the test; at least so far as we know. Already on
June 8, her husband had written a long letter to Hillard, explaining
the state of his affairs and containing this pathetic appeal:

"If you could do anything in the way of procuring me some stated
literary employment, in connection with a newspaper, or as corrector of
the press to some printing establishment, etc., it could not come at a
better time. Perhaps Epes Sargent, who is a friend of mine, would know
of something. I shall not stand upon my dignity; that must take care of
itself. Perhaps there may be some subordinate office connected with the
Boston Athenaum (Literary). Do not think anything too humble to be
mentioned to me." [Footnote: Conway, 113.]

There have been many tragical episodes in the history of literature,
but since "Paradise Lost" was sold for five pounds and a contingent
interest, there has been nothing more simply pathetic than this,--that
an immortal writer should feel obliged to apply for a subordinate
position in a counting-room, a description of work which nobody likes
too well, and which to Hawthorne would have been little less than a
death in life. "Do not think anything too humble to be mentioned to
me"!

What Hillard attempted to do at this time is uncertain, but he was not
the man to allow the shrine of genius to be converted into a gas-
burner, if he could possibly prevent it. We may presume that he went to
Salem and encouraged Hawthorne in his amiable, half-eloquent manner.
But we do not hear of him again until the new year. Meanwhile Madam
Hawthorne fell into her last illness and departed this life on July 31;
a solemn event even to a hard-hearted son--how much more to such a man
as she had brought into the world. Three days before her death, he
writes in his diary of "her heart beating its funeral march," and
diverts his mind from the awful _finale_ by an accurate description of
his two children playing a serio-comic game of doctor and patient, in the
adjoining room.

It was under such tragical conditions, well suited to the subject, that
he continued his work on "The Scarlet Letter," and his painfully
contracted brow seemed to indicate that he suffered as much in
imagination, as the characters in that romance are represented to have
suffered. In addition he wrote "The Great Stone Pace," one of the most
impressive of his shorter pieces (published, alas! in a Washington
newspaper), and the sketch called "Main Street," both afterward
included in the volume of "The Snow Image." On January 17, 1850, he was
greatly surprised to receive a letter from George S. Hillard with a
large check in it,--more than half-way to a thousand dollars,--which
the writer with all possible delicacy begged him to accept from a few
of his Boston admirers. It was only from such a good friend as Hillard
that Hawthorne would have accepted assistance in this form; but he
always considered it in the character of a loan, and afterward insisted
on repaying it to the original subscribers,--Professor Ticknor, Judge
Curtis, and others. Hillard also persuaded James T. Fields, the younger
partner of Ticknor & Company, to take an interest in Hawthorne as an
author who required to be encouraged, and perhaps coaxed a little, in
order to bring out the best that was in him. Fields accordingly went to
Salem soon afterward, and has given an account of his first interview
with Hawthorne in "Yesterdays with Authors," which seems rather
melodramatic: "found him cowering over a stove," and altogether in a
woe-begone condition. The main point of discussion between them,
however, was whether "The Scarlet Letter" should be published
separately or in conjunction with other subjects. Hawthorne feared that
such a serious plot, continued with so little diversity of motive,
would not be likely to produce a favorable impression unless it were
leavened with material of a different kind. Fields, on the contrary,
thought it better that the work should stand by itself, in solitary
grandeur, and feared that it would only be dwarfed by any additions of
a different kind. He predicted a good sale for the book, and succeeded
in disillusionizing Hawthorne from the notions he had acquired from the
failure of "Fanshawe."

As it was late in the season, Fields would not even wait for the
romance to be finished, but sent it to the press at once; and on
February 4, Hawthorne wrote to Horatio Bridge:

"I finished my book only yesterday; one end being in the press at
Boston, while the other was in my head here at Salem; so that, as you
see, the story is at least fourteen miles long."

The time of publication was a propitious one: the gold was flowing in
from California, and every man and woman had a dollar to spend. The
first edition of five thousand copies was taken up within a month, and
after this Hawthorne suffered no more financial embarrassments. The
succeeding twelve years of his life were as prosperous and cheerful as
his friends and readers could desire for him; although the sombre past
still seemed to cast a ghostly shadow across his way, which even the
sunshine of Italy could not entirely dissipate.


"THE SCARLET LETTER"

The germ of this romance is to be found in the tale of "Endicott and
the Red Cross," published in the _Token_ in 1838, so that it must
have been at least ten years sprouting and developing in Hawthorne's
mind. In that story he gives a tragically comic description of the
Puritan penitentiary,--in the public square,--where, among others, a
good-looking young woman was exposed with a red letter A on her breast,
which she had embroidered herself, so elegantly that it seemed as if it
was rather intended for a badge of distinction than as a mark of
infamy. Hawthorne did not conjure this up wholly out of his
imagination, for in 1704 the General Court of Massachusetts Bay passed
the following law, which he was no doubt aware of:

"Convicted before the Justice of Assize,--both Man and Woman to be set
on the Gallows an Hour with a Rope about their Necks and the other end
cast over the Gallowses. And in the way from thence to the common Gaol,
to he Scourged not exceeding Forty Stripes. And forever after to wear a
Capital A of two inches long, of a contrary colour to their cloathes,
sewed on their upper Garments, on the Back or Arm, in open view. And as
often as they appear without it, openly to be Scourged, not exceeding
Fifteen Stripes." [Footnote: Boston, Timothy Green, 1704.]

The most diligent investigation, however, has failed to discover an
instance in which punishment was inflicted under this law, so that we
must conclude that Hawthorne invented that portion of his statement. In
fact, nothing that Hawthorne published himself is to be considered of
historical or biographical value. It is all fiction. He sported with
historical facts and traditions, as poets and painters always have
done, and the manuscript which he pretends to have discovered in his
office at the Custom House, written by one of his predecessors there,
is a piece of pure imagination, which serves to give additional
credibility to his narrative. He knew well enough how large a portion
of what is called history is fiction after all, and the extent to which
professed historians deal in romance. He felt that he was justified so
long as he did not depart from the truth of human nature. We may thank
him that he did not dispel the illusion of his poetic imagery by the
introduction of well-known historical characters. This is permissible
in a certain class of novels, but its effect is always more or less
prosaic.

Our Puritan ancestors evidently did not realize the evil effects of
their law against faithless wives,--its glaring indelicacy, and
brutalizing influence on the minds of the young; but it was of a piece
with their exclusion of church-music and other amenities of
civilization. Was it through a natural attraction for the primeval
granite that they landed on the New England coast? Their severe self-
discipline was certainly well adapted to their situation, but, while it
built up their social edifice on an enduring foundation, its tendency
was to crush out the gentler and more sympathetic qualities in human
nature. In no other community would the story of Hester Prynne acquire
an equal cogency and significance. A German might, perhaps, understand
it; but a Frenchman or an Italian not at all.

The same subject has been treated in its most venial form by
Shakespeare in "Measure for Measure," and in its most condemnable form
in Goethe's "Faust." "The Scarlet Letter" lies midway between these
two. Hester Prynne has married a man of morose, vindictive disposition,
such as no woman could be happy with. He is, moreover, much older than
herself, and has gone off on a wild expedition in pursuit of objects
which he evidently cares for, more than for his wife. She has not heard
from him for over a year, and knows not whether he has deserted her, or
if he is no longer living. She is alone in a strange wild country, and
it is natural that she should seek counsel and encouragement from the
young clergyman, who is worthy of her love, but, unfortunately, not a
strong character. Lightning is not swifter than the transition in our
minds from good to evil, and in an unguarded moment he brings ruin upon
himself, and a life-long penance on Hester Prynne. Hawthorne tells this
story with such purity and delicacy of feeling that a maiden of sixteen
can read it without offence.

"The Scarlet Letter" is at once the most poetic and the most powerful
of Hawthorne's larger works, much more powerful than "The Vicar of
Wakefield," which has been accepted as the type of a romance in all
languages. Goldsmith's tale will always be more popular than "The
Scarlet Letter," owing to its blithesome spirit, its amusing incidents
and bright effects of light and shade; but "The Scarlet Letter" strikes
a more penetrating chord in the human breast, and adheres more closely
to the truth of life. There are certain highly improbable circumstances
woven in the tissue of "The Vicar of Wakefield," which a prudent,
reflective reader finds it difficult to surmount. It is rather
surprising that the Vicar should not have discovered the true social
position of his friend Mr. Burchell, which must have been known to
every farmer in the vicinity; and still more so that Mr. Burchell
should have permitted the father of a young woman in whom he was deeply
interested, to be carried to prison for debt without making an inquiry
into his case. "The Scarlet Letter" is, as Hawthorne noticed, a
continual variation on a single theme, and that a decidedly solemn one;
but its different incidents form a dynamic sequence, leading onward to
the final catastrophe, and if its progress is slow--the narrative
extends over a period of seven years--this is as inevitable as the
march of Fate. From the first scene in the drama, we are lifted above
ourselves, and sustained so by Hawthorne's genius, until the close.

This sense of power arises from dealing with a subject which demanded
the whole force and intensity of Hawthorne's nature. Hester Prynne
herself is a strong character, and her errors are those of strength and
independence rather than of weakness. She says to Mr. Dimmesdale that
what they did "had a consecration of its own," and it is this belief
which supports her under a weight of obloquy that would have crushed a
more fragile spirit. She does not collapse into a pitiful nonentity,
like Scott's Effie Deans, nor is she maddened to crime like George
Eliot's "Hetty Sorrel"; [Footnote: A name apparently compounded from
Hester Prynne and Schiller's Agnes Sorrel.] but from the outset she
forms definite resolutions,--first to rehabilitate her own character,
and next to protect the partner of her shame. This last may seem to be
a mistaken devotion, and contrary to his true interest, for the first
step in the regeneration from sin is to acknowledge manfully the
responsibility of it; but to give the repentance even the appearance of
sincerity, the confession must be a voluntary one, and not be forced
upon the delinquent person by external pressure. We cannot withhold our
admiration for Hester's unswerving fidelity to this twofold purpose. We
may condemn her in our minds, but we cannot refuse her a measure of
sympathy in our hearts.

I believe this to be the explanation of her apparent inconsistency at
the close of the book. Many of Hawthorne's commentators have been
puzzled by the fact that Hester, after so many years of contrition,
should advise Dimmesdale to fly to England, and even offered to
accompany him. Women have not the same idea of law that men have. In
their ideas of right and wrong they depend chiefly on their sense of
purity; and it is very difficult to persuade a woman that she could be
wrong in obeying the dictates of her heart. Hester perceives that her
former lover is being tortured to death by the silent tyranny of
Chillingworth; the tide of affection so long restrained flows back into
her soul; and her own reputation is as nothing compared with the life
of the man she hopes to save. There is no other passage in American
fiction so pathetic as that woodland meeting, at which their mutual
hopes of happiness blaze up like the momentary brightness of a dying
flame. Hester's innocent child, however, representing the spirit of
truthfulness, is suddenly seized with an aversion to her father and
refuses to join their company,--an unfavorable omen and dark presage of
the minister's doom.

Pearl's behavior, on this occasion, may be supposed to represent the
author's own judgment. How far shall we agree with him? The past
generation witnessed one of the noblest of women uniting herself, for
life and death, to a man whom she could not marry on account of purely
legal objections. Whether Hester's position in the last act of this
drama is comparable with that of Marian Evans every one must decide
according to his or her conscience.

Hawthorne certainly proves himself a good Puritan when he says, "And be
the stern and sad truth spoken that the breach which guilt has once
made into the human soul, is never in this mortal state repaired." The
magnitude of the evil of course makes a difference; but do we not all
live in a continual state of sinning, and self-correction? That is the
road to self-improvement, and those who adhere most closely to
inflexible rules of conduct discover at length that the rules
themselves have become an evil. Mankind has not yet fully decided as to
what things are evil, and what are good; and neither Hawthorne nor the
Puritan lawmakers would seem to have remembered Christ's admonition on
a similar occasion: "Let him who is without sin among you, cast the
first stone."

A writer in the _Andover Review_, some twenty years ago,
criticised the impersonation of Pearl as a fable--"a golden wreck." He
quoted Emerson to the effect that in all the ages that man has been
upon the earth, no communication has been established between him and
the lower animals, and he affirmed that we know quite as little of the
thoughts and motives of our own children. Both conclusions are wide of
the mark. There is much more communication between man and the domestic
animals than between animals of the same species. The understanding
between an Arab and his horse is almost perfect, and so is that between
a sportsman and his setters. Even the sluggish ox knows the word of
command. Then what shall we say of the sympathetic relation between a
mother and her child? Who can describe it--that clairvoyant
sensibility, intangible, too swift for words? Who has depicted it,
except Hawthorne and Raphael? Pearl is like a pure spirit in "The
Scarlet Letter," reconciling us to its gloomy scenes. She is like the
sunshine in a dark forest, breaking through the tree-tops and dancing
in our pathway. It is true that Hawthorne has carried her clairvoyant
insight to its furthest limits, but this is in accordance with the
ideal character of his work. She has no rival except Goethe's Mignon.

Hawthorne's method of developing his stories resembled closely that of
the historical painter; and it was only in this way that he could
produce such vivid effects. He selected models for his principal
characters and studied them as his work progressed. The original of
Reverend Mr. Dimmesdale was quickly recognized in Salem as an amiable
inoffensive person, of whom no one suspected any evil,--and that was,
no doubt, the reason why Hawthorne selected him for his purpose. It was
no discredit to the man himself, although tongues were not wanting to
blame Hawthorne for it. Who Hester may have been still remains a
mystery; but it was evidently some one with whom the author was well
acquainted,--perhaps his younger sister. So Rubens painted his own wife
at one time an angel, and at another in the likeness of Herodias. It is
still more probable that Pearl is a picture of Hawthorne's own
daughter, who was of the right age for such a study, and whose
sprightly, fitful, and impulsive actions correspond to those of
Hester's child. This would also explain why her father gave Una so much
space in his Note-book. He may have noticed the antagonism between her
and the Whig children of the neighborhood and have applied it to
Pearl's case. It was also his custom, as appears from his last
unfinished work, to leave blank spaces in his manuscript while in the
heat of composition, which, like a painter's background, were
afterwards filled in with descriptions of scenery or some subsidiary
narrative.

The models of the novelist cannot be hired for the purpose, like those
used by the painter or sculptor, but have to be studied when and where
they can be found, for the least self-consciousness spoils the effect.
Hawthorne in this only followed the example of the best authors and
dramatists; and those who think that good fiction or dramatic poetry
can be written wholly out of a man's or a woman's imagination, would do
well to make the experiment themselves.




CHAPTER XI

PEGASUS IS FREE: 1850-1852


Frederick W. Loring, that bright young poet who was so soon lost to us,
once remarked: "Appreciation is to the artist what sunshine is to
flowers. He cannot expand without it." The success of "The Scarlet
Letter" proved that all Hawthorne's genius required was a little
moderate encouragement,--not industry but opportunity. His pen, no
longer slow and hesitating, moved freer and easier; the long pent-up
flood of thoughts, emotions, and experiences had at length found an
outlet; and the next three years were the most productive of his life.

His first impulse, however, was to escape from Salem. Although his
removal from office had been a foregone conclusion, Hawthorne felt a
certain degree of chagrin connected with it, and also imagined a
certain amount of animosity toward himself which made the place
uncomfortable to him. He was informed that the old Sparhawk mansion,
close to the Portsmouth Navy Yard, was for sale or to rent, and the
first of May, Hawthorne went thither to consider whether it would serve
him for a home. [Footnote: Lathrop, 225.] One would suppose that sedate
old Portsmouth, with its courteous society and its dash of military
life, would have suited Hawthorne even better than Concord; but he
decided differently, and he returned to meet his family in Boston,
where he made the acquaintance of Professor Ticknor, who introduced him
at the Athenaeum Library. He saw Hildreth at the Athenaum working on
his history of the United States; sat for his portrait to C. E.
Thompson; went to the theatre; studied human nature in the smoking-room
at Parker's; and relaxed himself generally. He must have stayed with
his family at Doctor Peabody's on West Street, for he speaks of the
incessant noise from Washington Street, and of looking out from the
back windows on Temple Place. This locates the house very nearly.

Two months later, July 5, 1850, he was at Lenox, in the Berkshire
Mountains. Mrs. Caroline Sturgis Tappan, a brilliant Boston lady,
equally poetic and sensible, owned a small red cottage there, which she
was ready to lease to Hawthorne for a nominal rent. Lowell was going
there on account of his wife, a delicate flower-like nature already
beginning to droop. Doctor Holmes was going on account of Lowell, and
perhaps with the expectation of seeing a rattlesnake; Fields was going
on account of Lowell and Holmes. Mrs. Frances Kemble, already the most
distinguished of Shakespearian readers, had a summer cottage there; and
it was hoped that in such company Hawthorne would at last find the
element to which he properly belonged.

Unfortunately Hawthorne took to raising chickens, and that seems to
have interested him more than anything else at Lenox. He fell in
cordially with the plans of his friends; ascended Monument Mountain,
and went on other excursions with them; but it may be more than
suspected that Lowell and Holmes did most of the talking. He
assimilated himself more to Holmes perhaps than to any of the others.
His meeting with Mrs. Kemble must have been like a collision of the
centrifugal and centripetal forces; and for once, Hawthorne may be said
to have met his antipodes. They could sincerely admire one another as
we all do, in their respective spheres; but such a chasm as yawned
between them in difference of temperament, character, and mode of
living, could not have been bridged over by Captain Eads.

Fannie Kemble, as she was universally called, had by long and
sympathetic reading of Shakespeare transformed herself into a woman of
the Elizabethan era, and could barely be said to belong to the
nineteenth century. Among other Elizabethan traits she had acquired an
unconsciousness of self, together with an enormous self-confidence, and
no idea of what people thought of her in polite society ever seems to
have occurred to her. She had the heart of a woman, but mentally she
was like a composite picture of Shakespeare's _dramatis personae_,
and that Emerson should have spoken of her as "a great exaggerated
creature" is not to be wondered at. In her own department she was
marvellous.

The severity of a mountain winter and the disagreeableness of its
thawing out in spring, is atoned for by its summer,--that fine
exhilarating ether, which seems to bring elevated thoughts, by virtue
of its own nature. Hawthorne enjoyed this with his children and his
chickens; and his wife enjoyed it with him. It is evident from her
letters that she had not been so happy since their first year at the
Old Manse. She had now an opportunity to indulge her love of artistic
decoration, in adorning the walls of their little red cottage, which
has since unfortunately been destroyed by fire. She even began to give
her daughter, who was only six years old, some instruction in drawing.
The following extract concerning her husband, from a letter written to
her mother, is charmingly significant of her state of mind at this
time.

"Beauty and the love of it, in him, are the true culmination of the
good and true, and there is no beauty to him without these bases. He
has perfect dominion over himself in every respect, so that to do the
highest, wisest, loveliest thing is not the least effort to him, any
more than it is to a baby to be innocent. It is his spontaneous act,
and a baby is not more unconscious in its innocence. I never knew such
loftiness, so simply borne. I have never known him to stoop from it in
the most trivial household matter, any more than in a larger or more
public one." [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 373.]

Truly this gives us a beautiful insight into their home-life, and
Hawthorne himself could not have written a more accurate eulogium. As
intimated in the last chapter, we all make our way through life by
correcting our daily trespasses, and Hawthorne was no exception to it;
but as a mental analysis of this man at his best Mrs. Hawthorne's
statement deserves a lasting recognition.


"THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES"

It was not until early frosts and shortening days drove Hawthorne
within doors that he again took up his writing, but who can tell how
long he had been dreaming over his subject? Within five months, or by
the last week of January, "The House of the Seven Gables" was ready for
the press. There is no such house in Salem, exactly as he describes it;
but an odd, antiquated-looking structure at No. 54 Turner Street is
supposed to have served him for the suggestion of it. The name is
picturesque and well suited to introduce the reader to a homely
suburban romance.

The subject of the story goes back to the witchcraft period, and its
active principle is a wizard's curse, which descends from one
generation to another, until it is finally removed by the marriage of a
descendant of the injured party to a descendant of the guilty one.
Woven together with this, there is an exposition of mesmerism, or, as
it is now called, Christian Science, with its good and evil features.

Each of Hawthorne's larger romances has a distinct style and quality of
its own, apart from the fine individualized style of the author.
Lathrop makes an excellent remark in regard to "The House of the Seven
Gables," that the perfection of its art seems to stand between the
reader and his subject. It resembles in this respect those Dutch
paintings whose enamelled surface seems like a barrier to prevent the
spectator from entering the scenes which they represent. It would be a
mistake to consider this a fault, but one cannot help noticing the
accuracy with which the subordinate details of the plot are elaborated.
Is it possible that this is connected in a way with the rarefied
atmosphere of Lenox, in which distant objects appear so sharply
defined?

"The House of the Seven Gables" might be symbolized by two paintings,
in the first of which Hepzibah Pyncheon stands as the central figure,
her face turned upward in a silent prayer for justice, her brother
Clifford, with his head bowed helplessly, at one side, and the judge,
with his chronic smile of satisfaction, behind Clifford; on the other
side the keen-eyed Holgrave would appear, sympathetically watching the
progress of events, with Phoebe Pyncheon at his left hand. Old Uncle
Banner and little Ned Higgins might fill in the background. In the
second picture the stricken judge would be found in a large old-
fashioned arm-chair, with Clifford and Hepzibah flying through a
doorway to the right, while Phoebe and Holgrave, the one happy and the
other startled, enter on the left.

Hepzibah, not Phoebe, is the true heroine of the romance,--or at least
its central figure. Nowhere do we look more deeply into Hawthorne's
nature than through this sympathetic portrait of the cross-looking old
maid, whose only inheritance is the House of the Seven Gables, in which
she has lived many years, poor, solitary, friendless, with a disgrace
upon her family, only sustained by the hope that she may yet be a help
and comfort to her unfortunate brother. The jury before whom Clifford
was tried believed him to be guilty, but his sister never would believe
it. She lives for him and suffers with him. Hawthorne does not mitigate
the unpleasantness of her appearance, but he instructs us that there is
a divine spark glowing within. Very pitiful is her attempt to support
the enfeebled brother by keeping a candy store; but noble and heroic is
her resistance to the designs of her tyrannical cousin. It is her
intrepidity that effects the crisis of the drama.

Both Hepzibah and Clifford Pyncheon are examples of what fine
portraiture Hawthorne could accomplish in exceptional or abnormal
personalities, without ever descending to caricature. Judge Pyncheon
has been criticised as being too much of a stage villain, but the same
might be alleged of Shakespeare's (or Fletcher's) Richard III. What is
he, in effect, but a Richard III. reduced to private life? Moreover,
his habit of smiling is an individual trait which gives him a certain
distinction of his own. Usually,

                     Faces ever blandly smiling
                     Are victims of their own beguiling.

But Judge Pyncheon is a candidate for the governorship, and among the
more mercenary class of politicians smiling often becomes a habit for
the sake of popularity. Hawthorne might have added something to the
judge's _personale_ by representing him with a droll wit, like
James Fiske, Jr., or some others that we have known, and he might have
exposed more of his internal reflections; but he serves as a fair
example of the hard, grasping, hypocritical type of Yankee. We see only
one side of him, but there are men, and women too, who only have one
side to their characters.

It has been affirmed that Hawthorne made use of the Honorable Mr.
Upham, the excellent historian of Salem witchcraft, as a model for
Judge Pyncheon, and that this was done in revenge for Mr. Upham's
inimical influence in regard to the Salem surveyorship. It is
impossible, at this date, to disentangle the snarl of Hawthorne's
political relations in regard to that office, but Upham had been a
member of Congress and was perhaps as influential a Whig as any in the
city. If Hawthorne was removed through his instrumentality, he
performed our author a service, which neither of them could have
realized at the time. Hawthorne, however, had a strong precedent in his
favor in this instance; namely, Shakespeare's caricature of Sir Thomas
Luce, as Justice Shallow in "The Merry Wives of Windsor"; but there is
no reason why we should think better or worse of Mr. Upham on this
account.

Phoebe Pyncheon is an ideal character, the type of youthful New England
womanhood, and the most charming of all Hawthorne's feminine creations.
Protected by the shield of her own innocence, she leaves her country
home from the same undefined impulse by which birds fly north in
spring, and accomplishes her destiny where she might have least
expected to meet with it. She fills the whole book with her sunny
brightness, and like many a young woman at her age she seems more like
a spirit than a character. Her maidenly dignity repels analysis, and
Hawthorne himself extends a wise deference to his own creation.

The future of a great nation depends more on its young women than upon
its laws or its statesmen.

In regard to Holgrave, we have already said somewhat; but he is so
lifelike that it seems as if he must have been studied from one of the
younger members of the Brook Farm association; perhaps the one of whom
Emerson tells us, [Footnote: Lecture on Brook Farm.] that he spent his
leisure hours in playing with the children, but had "so subtle a mind"
that he was always consulted whenever important business was on foot.
He is visible to our mental perspective as a rather slender man, above
medium height, with keen hazel eyes, a long nose, and long legs, and
quick and lively in his movements. Phoebe has a more symmetrical
figure, bluish-gray eyes, a complexion slightly browned from going
without her hat, luxuriant chestnut-brown hair, always quiet and
graceful. We have no doubt that Holgrave made a worthy husband for her,
and that he occasionally took a hand in public affairs.

Judge Pyncheon's duplicity is revealed to Holgrave by the medium of a
daguerreotype. Men or women who are actors in real life should avoid
being photographed, for the camera is pretty sure to penetrate their
hypocrisy, and expose them to the world as they actually are. Every
photograph album is to a certain extent a rogues' gallery, in which our
faults, peculiarities, and perhaps vices are ruthlessly portrayed for
the student of human nature. If a merchant were to have all his
customers photographed, he would soon learn to distinguish those who
were not much to be trusted.

Notice also Hawthorne's eye for color. When Clifford, Hepzibah, and
Phoebe are about to leave the seven-gabled house for the last time, "A
plain, but handsome dark-green barouche" is drawn to the door. This is
evidently his idea of a fine equipage; and it happens that the
background of Raphael's "Pope Julius" is of this same half-invisible
green, and harmonizes so well with the Pope's figure that few realize
its coloring.

The plot of this picturesque story is the most ingenious of Hawthorne's
life, but sufficiently probable throughout to answer the purpose of a
romance, and it is the only one of Hawthorne's larger works which ends
happily. It was brought out by Ticknor & Company at Easter 1850,--less
than ten weeks after it was finished; but we think of the House of the
Seven Gables as standing empty, deserted and forlorn.

In December Emerson had written to Hawthorne concerning a new magazine
in which he and Lowell were interested, and if Hawthorne would only
give it his support its success could not be questioned. What Hawthorne
replied to this invitation has never been discovered, but he had seen
too many such periodicals go to wreck to feel much confidence in this
enterprise. [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 381.] It is of more importance
now that Emerson should have addressed him as "My dear Hawthorne," for
such cordial friendliness was rare in "the poet of the pines." Mrs.
Alcott once remarked that Emerson never spoke to her husband otherwise
than as "Mr. Alcott," and it is far from likely that he ever spoke to
Hawthorne differently from this. The conventionalities of letter-
writing run back to a period when gentlemen addressed one another--and
perhaps felt so too--in a more friendly manner than they do at present.

Works of fiction and sentimental poetry stir up a class of readers
which no other literature seems to reach, and Hawthorne was soon
inundated with letters from unknown, and perhaps unknowable, admirers;
but the most remarkable came from a man named Pyncheon, who asserted
that his grandfather had been a judge in Salem, and who was highly
indignant at the use which Hawthorne had made of his name. [Footnote:
Conway, 135.] This shows how difficult it is for a writer of fiction or
a biographer to escape giving offence. The lightning is sure to strike
somewhere.


"THE SNOW IMAGE"


The question now was, what next? As it happened, the next important
event in the Hawthorne family was the advent of their younger daughter,
born like Agassiz, "in the lovely month of May," and amid scenery as
beautiful as the Pays de Vaud. Her father named her Rose, in defiance
of Hillard's objection to idyllic nomenclature; and as a child she
seemed much like the spirit of that almost fabulous flower, the wild
orange-rose. Ten years later, she was the most graceful girl in the
Concord dancing-school, and resembled her elder sister so closely that
they could not have been mistaken for anything but sisters. As she grew
older she came more and more to resemble her mother.

It was said that Hawthorne's "Wonder Book" originated in his telling
free versions of the Greek myths to his children on winter evenings;
and also that Horace Mann's boys, who were almost exactly of the same
age as Una and Julian, participated in the entertainment. This may have
happened the following winter at Newton, but could hardly have taken
place at Lenox; and otherwise it is quite impossible to identify all
the children with botanical names in Hawthorne's introduction. Julian
once remarked, at school, that he believed that he was the original of
Squash-blossom, and that is as near as we can get to it. Some of them
may have been as imaginary as the ingenious Mr. Eustace Bright, and
might serve as well to represent one group of children as another.

The book was written very rapidly, at an average of ten pages a day,
and it has Hawthorne's grace and purity of style, but it does not
belong to the legitimate series of his works. It is an excellent book
for the young, for they learn from it much that every one ought to
know; but to mature minds the original fables, even in a translation,
are more satisfactory than these Anglo-Saxon versions in the "Wonder
Book."

The collection of tales which passes by the name of "The Snow Image" is
a much more serious work. "The Great Stone Face" and one or two others
in the collection were prepared at Salem for the same volume as "The
Scarlet Letter," but judiciously excluded by Mr. Fields. "The Snow
Image" itself, however, is plainly derived from Hawthorne's own
experience during the winter at Lenox. The common-sensible farmer and
his poetic wife could not be mistaken for Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne, but
the two sportive children are easily identified as Una and Julian. They
are not only of the same age, but the "slight graceful girl" and
"chubby red-cheeked boy" describes them exactly. The idea has been
derived from the fable of the Greek sculptor Pygmalion whose statue
came to life. That seems far enough off to be pleasantly credible, but
to have such a transubstantiation take place in the front yard of a
white-fenced American residence, is rather startling. Yet Hawthorne,
with the help of the twilight, carries us through on the broad wings of
his imagination, even to the melting of the little snow-sister before
an airtight stove in a close New England parlor. The moral that
Hawthorne draws from this fable might be summed up in the old adage,
"What is one man's meat is another man's poison"; but it has a deeper
significance, which the author does not seem to have perceived. The
key-note of the fable is the same as that in Goethe's celebrated
ballad, "The Erl King"; namely, that those things which children
imagine, are as real to them as the facts of the external world. Nor do
we altogether escape from this so long as we live.

The origin of "The Great Stone Face" is readily traced to the profile
face in the Franconia Mountains,--which has not only a strangely human
appearance, but a grave dignified expression, and, as a natural
phenomenon, ranks next to Niagara Falls. The value of the fable,
however, has perhaps been over-estimated. It is an old story in a
modern garb, the saying so often repeated in the Book of Isaiah: "The
last shall be first, and the first shall be last." The man Ernest, who
is much in his ways like Hawthorne himself, spends his leisure in
contemplating the Great Stone Face, and thus acquires a similar
expression in his own. The wealthy merchant, the famous general, the
great party leader, and the popular poet, all come upon the scene; but
not one of them appears to advantage before the tranquil countenance of
the Great Stone Face. Finally, Ernest in his old age carries off the
laurel; and in this Hawthorne hits the mark, for it is only through
earnestness that man becomes immortal. Yet, one would suppose that
constantly gazing at a face of stone, would give one a rather stony
expression; as sculptors are liable to become statuesque from their
occupation.

Another Dantean allegory, and fully equal in power to any Canto in
Dante's "Inferno," is the story of "Ethan Brandt," or "The Unpardonable
Sin." We have a clew to its origin in the statement that it was part of
an unfinished romance; presumably commenced at Concord, but afterward
discarded, owing to the author's dissatisfaction with his work--an
illustration of Hawthorne's severe criticism of his own writing. The
scene is laid at a limekiln in a dark and gloomy wood, where a lime-
burner, far from human habitations, is watching his fires at night. To
him Ethan Brandt appears, a strange personage, long known for his quest
after the unpardonable sin, and the solitude echoes back the gloominess
of their conversation. Finally, the lime-burner fixes his fires for the
night, rolls himself up in his blanket, and goes to sleep. When he
awakes in the morning, the stranger is gone, but, on ascending the kiln
to look at his caldron, he finds there the skeleton of a man, and
between its ribs a heart of white marble. This is the unpardonable sin,
for which there is neither dispensation nor repentance. Ethan Brandt
has committed suicide because life had become intolerable on such
conditions.

The summer of 1851 in Lenox was by no means brilliant. It had not yet
become the tip end of fashion, and Hawthorne's chief entertainment
seems to have been the congratulatory letters he received from
distinguished people. Mrs. Frances Kemble wrote to him from England,
announcing the success of his book there, and offering him the use of
her cottage, a more palatial affair than Mrs. Tappan's, for the ensuing
winter. Mrs. Hawthorne, however, felt the distance between herself and
her relatives, and perhaps they both felt it. Mrs. Hawthorne's sister
Mary, now Mrs. Horace Mann, was living in West Newton, and the last of
June Mrs. Hawthorne went to her for a long summer visit, taking her two
daughters with her and leaving Julian in charge of his father, with
whom it may be affirmed he was sufficiently safe. It rarely happens
that a father and son are so much together as these two were, and they
must have become very strongly attached.

For older company he had Hermann Melville, and G. P. R. James, whose
society he may have found as interesting as that of more distinguished
writers, and also Mr. Tappan, whom Hawthorne had learned to respect for
his good sense and conciliatory disposition--a true peace-maker among
men and women. Burill Curtis, the amateur brother of George W. Curtis,
came to sketch the lake from Hawthorne's porch, and Doctor Holmes
turned up once or twice. On July 24 Hawthorne wrote to his friend Pike
at Salem: [Footnote: Mrs. Lathrop, 151.]

"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."

The evident meaning of this is that the Hawthornes had no desire to
spend a second winter in the Berkshire hills. The world was large, but
he knew not where to rest his head. Mrs. Hawthorne solved the problem
on her return to Lenox, and it was decided to remove to West Newton
when cold weather came. Thither they went November 21 in a driving
storm of snow and sleet,--a parting salute from old Berkshire,--and
reached Horace Mann's house the same evening.

Nobody knows where the Hawthornes lived in Newton. The oldest survivors
of both families were only five years of age at that time. Mrs.
Hawthorne's father also resided in Newton that winter, and it is more
than likely that they made their residence with him. Julian Hawthorne
has a distinct recollection of the long freight-trains with their
clouds of black smoke blowing across his father's ground during the
winter; so they could not have lived very far from the Worcester
railroad. Horace Mann's house is still standing, opposite a school-
house on the road from the station, where a by-way meets it at an acute
angle. The freight-trains and their anthracite smoke must have had a
disturbing influence on Hawthorne's sensibility.

The long-extended town of Newton, which is now a populous city, has
much the best situation of any of the Boston suburbs--on a moderately
high range of hills, skirted by the Charles River, both healthful and
picturesque. It is not as hot in summer nor so chilly at other seasons
as Concord, and enjoys the advantage of a closer proximity to the city.
Its society is, and always has been, more liberal and progressive than
Salem society in Hawthorne's time. Its citizens, mainly professional
and mercantile men, are active, intelligent, and sensible, without
being too fastidious. It was a healthful change for Hawthorne, and we
are not surprised to find that his literary work was affected by it.
Mrs. L. Maria Child lived there at the time, and so did Celia Thaxter,
although not yet known to fame. The sound, penetrating intelligence of
Horace Mann may have also had its salutary effect.


"THE BLITHEDALE ROMANCE"

Hawthorne's "Wonder Book" and "The Snow Image" were expressed to
Ticknor & Company before leaving Lenox, and "The Blithedale Romance"
may also have been commenced before that change of base. We only know,
from his diary, that it was finished on the last day of April, 1852,
and that he received the first proof-sheets of it two weeks later--
which shows what expedition publishers can make, when they feel
inclined.

The name itself is somewhat satirical, for Hawthorne did not find the
life at Brook Farm very blithesome, and in the story, with the
exception of the sylvan masquerade, there is much more rue than
heart's-ease, as commonly happens in his stories. The tale ends
tragically, and without the gleam of distant happiness which lights up
the last scenes of "The Scarlet Letter." It commences with a severe
April snowstorm, an unfavorable omen; the same in which Hawthorne set
out to join the West Roxbury community.

And yet the name is not without a serious meaning--a stern, sad moral
significance. The earth is not naturally beautiful, for rank Nature
ever runs to an excess. It is only beautiful when man controls and
remodels it; but what man makes physically, he can unmake spiritually.
We pass by a handsome estate, a grand arcade of elms over its avenue,
spacious lawns, an elegant mansion, a luxurious flower-garden; but we
are informed that happiness does not dwell there, that its owner is a
misanthropic person, whose nature has been perverted by the selfishness
of luxury; that there are no pleasant parties on the lawn, no happy
wooing in that garden, no marriage festivals in those halls; and those
possessions, which might have proved a blessing to generations yet
unborn, are no better than a curse and a whited sepulchre. How many
such instances could be named.

It may have occurred to Hawthorne, that, if George Ripley, instead of
following after a will-o'-the-wisp notion, which could only lead him
into a bog, had used the means at his disposal to cultivate Brook Farm
in a rational manner, and had made it a hospitable rendezvous for
intellectual and progressive people,--an oasis of culture amid the wide
waste of commercialism,--the place might well have been called
Blithedale, and Mr. Ripley would have inaugurated a movement as rare as
it was beneficial. It was only at a city like Boston, whose suburbs
were pleasant and easily accessible, that such a plan could be carried
out; and it was only a man of Mr. Ripley's scholarship and intellectual
acumen who could have drawn together the requisite elements for it. It
looks as if he missed an opportunity.

We should avoid, however, confounding George Ripley with Hawthorne's
Hollingsworth. It is quite possible that Hawthorne made use of certain
traits in Ripley's character for this purpose, and also that he may
have had some slight collision with him, such as he represents in "The
Blithedale Romance;" but Ripley was an essentially veracious nature,
who, as already remarked, carried out his experiment to its logical
conclusion. Hollingsworth, on the contrary, proposes to pervert the
trust confided to him, in order to establish at Blithedale an
institution for the reformation of criminals, by which proceeding he
would, after a fashion, become a criminal himself. At the same time, he
plays fast and loose with the affections of Zenobia and Priscilla, who
are both in love with him, designing to marry the one who would make
the most favorable match for his purpose. It is through the junction of
these two streams of evil that the catastrophe is brought about.

Priscilla is evidently taken from the little seamstress whom Hawthorne
mentions in his diary for October 9, 1841, and if she ever discovered
this, she could hardly have been displeased, for she is one of his most
lovable creations; not so much of an ideal as Phoebe Pyncheon, for she
is older and has already seen hard fortune. Her quiet, almost
submissive ways at first excite pity rather than admiration, but at
length we discover that there is a spirit within her, which shines
through its earthly envelope, like the twinkling of a star.

Zenobia has a larger nature and a more gifted mind than Priscilla, but
also a more mixed character. Her name suggests a queenly presence and
she is fully conscious of this. She does not acquire an equal influence
over the other sex, for she is evidently in love with herself. She is
described as handsome and attractive, but no sooner had "Blithedale"
been published than people said, "Margaret Fuller" [Footnote: the name
of Zenobia is not very remotely significant of Margaret Fuller. Palmyra
was the centre of Greek philosophy in Zenobia's time, and she also
resembled Margaret in her tragical fate.]--although Margaret Fuller
was rather plain looking, and never joined the Brook Farm association.

If this surmise be correct, it leads to a curious consideration. After
painting a portrait of Zenobia in Chapter VI of "Blithedale," quite
worthy of Rubens or Titian, he remarks, through the incognito of Miles
Coverdale, in the first part of Chapter VII, that Priscilla reminds him
of Margaret Fuller, and says this to Priscilla herself. Now it proves
in the sequel that Priscilla and Zenobia are half-sisters, but it would
be as difficult to imagine this from anything that is said in the story
about them, as it is to understand how the shy, undemonstrative
Priscilla could have reminded Coverdale of the brilliant and aggressive
leader of the Transcendentalists.

The introduction of Margaret Fuller's name in that place comes abruptly
on the reader, and momentarily dispels the illusion of the tale. Was
Hawthorne conscious of the undercurrent of relationship, which he had
already formulated in his mind, between Priscilla and Zenobia; or what
is more likely, did he make the comparison in order to lead his readers
away from any conceptions they might have formed in regard to the
original of his heroine? If the latter supposition be true, he
certainly was not very successful, for in either case it is evident
that Margaret Fuller was prominent in his thoughts at the time he wrote
those two chapters.

Hawthorne's idea of her, however, should not be accepted as a finality.
What Emerson and other friends have said concerning her should also be
considered in order to obtain a just impression of a woman who combined
more varied qualities than perhaps any other person of that time.
Hawthorne says of Zenobia, that she was naturally a stump oratoress,--
rather an awkward expression for him--and that "her mind was full of
weeds." Margaret Fuller was a natural orator, and her mind was full of
many subjects in which Hawthorne could take little interest. She was a
revolutionary character, a sort of female Garibaldi, who attacked old
Puritan traditions with a two-edged sword; she won victories for
liberalism, but left confusion behind her. Like all such characters,
she made friends and enemies wherever she went. She sometimes gave
offence by hasty impulsive utterances, but more frequently by keenly
penetrating arguments for the various causes which she espoused. Only a
woman could deliver such telling shots.

Lowell, who was fond of an argument himself, did not like her better
than Hawthorne did. There may be some truth in what he says in "The
Fable for Critics," that the expression of her face seemed to suggest a
life-long familiarity with the "infinite soul"; but Margaret Fuller was
sound at heart, and when she talked on those subjects which interested
her, no one could be more self-forgetful or thoroughly in earnest. At
times, she seemed like an inspired prophetess, and if she had lived two
thousand years earlier, she might have been remembered as a sibyl.
[Footnote: See Appendix B.]

"The Blithedale Romance" is written with a freer pen and less carefully
than "The House of the Seven Gables," and is so much the better; for
the author's state of mind in which he is writing will always affect
the reader more or less, and if the former feels under a slight
constraint the latter will also. A writer cannot be too exact in
ascertaining the truth,--Macaulay to the contrary,--but he can trouble
himself too much as to the expression of it. At the same time, "The
Blithedale Romance" is the least poetic of Hawthorne's more serious
works (which is the same as saying that it is more like a novel), for
the reason that Hawthorne in this instance was closer to his subject.
It is also more of a personal reminiscence, and less an effort of the
imagination. He has included in it a number of descriptive passages
taken from his Brook Farm diary; most notably the account of that
sylvan masquerade, in which Coverdale finds his former associates
engaged on his return to Blithedale in the autumn. Perhaps this is the
reason why the book has so pleasant a flavor--a mellow after-thought of
old associations.

An air of mystery adds an enchantment to a work of art, whether in
poetry, painting, or sculpture,--perhaps also in music; but there is a
difference in kind between mystery and uncertainty. We do not like to
be left half in the dark, in regard to things which we think we ought
to know. There is a break in Hawthorne's chain of evidence against
Hollingsworth and Zenobia, which might possibly have been filled to
advantage. He would certainly have been non-suited, if his case had
been carried into court. We are permitted to suppose that Zenobia, in
order to clear her path of a successful rival, assists the mountebank,
Westervelt, to entrap Priscilla, over whom he possesses a kind hypnotic
power, and to carry her off for the benefit of his mountebank
exhibitions; but it remains a supposition and nothing more. We cannot
but feel rejoiced, when Hollingsworth steps onto the platform and
releases Priscilla from the psychological net-work in which she is
involved, and from which she has not sufficient will-power to free
herself. He certainly deserves her hand and fortune; but, as to his
condemnatory charges against Zenobia, which led directly to her
suicide,--what could they have been? Was there nothing more than the
trick she had attempted upon Priscilla? And if he accused her of that
only, why should he suffer perpetual remorse on account of her death?
Surely there was need of further explanation here, for the catastrophe
and its consequences are out of all proportion to the apparent cause.

His account of the recovery of Zenobia's body is a close transcript of
the search for that unfortunate school-mistress, who drowned herself in
Concord River; and it is possible that, if Hawthorne had not been
present on that occasion, the plot might have terminated in some other
manner.

The story closes without a ray of hope for Hollingsworth; but the
reader can perceive one in the generous devotion of his single-minded
wife, even if Hawthorne did not.




CHAPTER XII

THE LIVERPOOL CONSULATE: 1852-1854


Why Hawthorne returned to Concord in 1852 is more of a mystery than the
suicide of Zenobia. Horace Mann also left Newton, to be President of
Antioch College (and to die there in the cause of feminine education),
in the autumn of that year; but this could hardly have been expected
six months earlier. Hawthorne was not very favorably situated at
Newton, being rather too near the railroad; but there was plenty of
land on the top of the hill, where he might have built himself a house,
and in the course of twelve years his property would have quadrupled in
value. A poet will not be less of a poet, but more so, for
understanding the practical affairs of life. Or he might have removed
to Cambridge, where Longfellow, always foremost in kind offices, would
have been like a guardian angel to him, and where he could have made
friends like Felton and Agassiz, who would have been much more in
harmony with his political views. Ellery Channing was the only friend
he appears to have retained in Concord, and it was not altogether a
favorable place to bring up his children; but the natural topography of
Concord is unusually attractive, and it may be suspected that he was
drawn thither more from the love of its pine solitudes and shimmering
waters, than from any other motive.

The house he purchased was nearly a mile from the centre of the town,
and has ever since been known by the name of the Wayside. After
Hawthorne's return from Europe in 1860, he remodelled it somewhat, so
that it has a more dignified aspect than when he first took possession
of it. Alcott, who occupied it for some years previously, had adorned
it with that species of rustic architecture in which he was so skilful.
The house was half surrounded by a group of locust trees, much in
fashion seventy years ago, and had been set so close against the hill-
side, that a thicket of stunted pines and other wild growth rose above
the roof like a crest. Bronson Alcott was his next-door neighbor,--
almost too strong a contrast to him,--and Emerson's house was half a
mile away; so that these three families formed a group by themselves in
that portion of Concord.

Hawthorne wrote a letter to his sister Elizabeth, describing his new
acquisition, and expressing satisfaction in it. It was the first house
that he had ever owned; and it is no small comfort to a man to live
under his own roof, even though it be a humble one. At this time,
however, he did not remain at the Wayside but a single year. After
that, the house stood empty until the untimely death of Horace Mann,
August 2, 1859, when Mrs. Mann came to Concord with her three boys, and
occupied it until Hawthorne's return from Europe.

[Illustration: THE WAYSIDE]

It may as well be noticed here, that, during the eight years which
Hawthorne spent altogether in Concord, he accomplished little literary
work, and none of any real importance. It is impossible to account for
this, except upon those psychological conditions which sometimes affect
delicately balanced minds. Whether the trouble was in the social
atmosphere of the place, or in its climatic conditions, perhaps
Hawthorne himself could not have decided; but there must have been a
reason for it of some description. Julian Hawthorne states that his
father had a plan at this time of writing another romance, of a more
cheerful tone than "The Blithedale Romance," but the full current of
his poetic activity was suddenly brought to a standstill by an event
that nobody would have dreamed of.

Hawthorne had hardly established himself in his new abode, when
Franklin Pierce was nominated for the presidency by the Democratic
party. The whole country was astonished, for no such nomination had
ever been made before, and it is probable that Pierce himself shared
largely in this. The New Hampshire delegation had presented his name to
the convention, in order to procure him distinction in his own State,
but without expectation that he would become a serious candidate. Like
the nomination of Hayes in 1876, it resulted from the jealousy of the
great party leaders,--always an unfortunate position for a public man
to be placed in. Theodore Parker said, "Any one is now in danger of
becoming President."

Hawthorne evidently felt this, for he wrote to Bridge, "I do not
consider Pierce the brightest man in the country, for there are twenty
more so." It would have been a mild statement if he had said two
hundred. Pierce wanted him, of course, to write a campaign biography,
and communicated with him to that effect; but Hawthorne disliked
meddling in such matters, and at first declined to do it, although it
was expected to be highly remunerative. Pierce, however, insisted, for
Hawthorne's reputation was now much beyond his own, and he felt that a
biography by so distinguished a writer would confer upon him great
dignity in the eyes of the world; and as Hawthorne felt already much
indebted to Pierce, he finally consented,--although a cheap spread-
eagle affair would have served the purpose of his party quite as well.
The book had to be written in haste, and just at the time when
Hawthorne wished to take a little leisure. There were so few salient
points in Pierce's life, that it was almost like making a biography out
of nothing, and as for describing him as a hero, that was quite
impossible. It was fortunate that he knew so much of Pierce's early
life, and also that Pierce had kept a diary during the Mexican War,
which formed a considerable portion of the biography.

The book is worth reading, although written in this prosaic manner.
Hawthorne states in the preface, frankly and manfully, that he objected
to writing it, and this ought to be an excuse sufficient for his doing
so--if excuse be needed. He does not attempt to represent his friend as
a great statesman, but rather as a patriotic country gentleman, who is
interested in public affairs, and who rises from one honorable position
to another through a well-deserved popularity. This would seem to have
been the truth; and yet there was a decided inconsistency in Franklin
Pierce's life, which Hawthorne represents plainly enough, although he
makes no comment thereon.

Franklin Pierce's father was captain of a militia company in 1798, when
war was declared against the French Directory, for seizing and
confiscating American merchant ships, contrary to the law of nations.
There could not have been a more just occasion for war, but Captain
Pierce resigned his commission, because he considered it wrong to fight
against a republic; and Hawthorne approves of him for this. Franklin
Pierce, however, resigned his seat in the Senate in 1842, on account of
the interests of his family, alleging that "he would never enter public
life again, unless the needs of his country imperatively demanded it,"
yet four years later he organized a regiment for the invasion of
Mexico,--not only for making war upon a republic, but an unjust and
indefensible war. General Grant's opinion ought to be conclusive on
this latter point, for he belonged to the same political party as
Pierce and Hawthorne. Certainly, Pierce's services were not required
for the defence of his native land.

To do Hawthorne justice, there can be no doubt that in his heart he
disapproved of this; for in one of his sketches written at the Old
Manse, he speaks censoriously of "those adventurous spirits who leave
their homes to emigrate to Texas." He evidently foresaw that trouble
would arise in that direction, and perhaps Ellery Channing assisted him
in penetrating the true inwardness of the movement.

It will be remembered that in Franklin Pierce's youth, he was
exceptionally interested in military manouvres, and this may have been
one of the inducements which led him into the Mexican War; but young
men who are fond of holiday epaulets do not, for obvious reasons, make
the best fighters. Pierce's military career was not a distinguished
one; for, whether he was thrown from his horse in his first engagement,
or, as the Whigs alleged, fell from it as soon as he came under fire,
it is certain that he did not cover himself with glory, as the phrase
was at that time. But we can believe Hawthorne, when he tells us that
Pierce took good charge of the troops under his command, and that he
was kind and considerate to sick and wounded soldiers. That was in
accordance with his natural character.

It was impossible at that time to avoid the slavery question in dealing
with political subjects, and what Hawthorne said on this point, in the
life of General Pierce, attracted more attention than the book itself.
Like Webster he considered slavery an evil, but he believed it to be
one of those evils which the human race outgrows, by progress in
civilization,--like the human sacrifices of the Gauls perhaps,--and he
greatly deprecated the anti-slavery agitation, which only served to
inflame men's minds and make them unreasonable.

There were many sensible persons in the Northern States at that time,
like Hawthorne and Hillard, who sincerely believed in this doctrine,
but they do not seem to have been aware that there was a pro-slavery
agitation at the South which antedated Garrison's _Liberator_ and
which was much more aggressive and vehement than the anti-slavery
movement, because there were large pecuniary interests connected with
it. The desperate grasping of the slave-holders for new territory,
first in the Northwest and then in the Southwest, was not because they
were in any need of land, but because new slave States increased their
political power. Horatio Bridge says, relatively to this subject:

"No Northern man had better means for knowing the dangers impending,
previous to the outbreak of the war, than had General Pierce.
Intimately associated--as he was--with the strong men of the South, in
his Cabinet and in Congress, he saw that the Southerners were
determined, at all hazards, to defend their peculiar institution of
slavery, which was imperilled by the abolitionists."

If Franklin Pierce was desirous of preserving the Union, why did he
give Jefferson Davis a place in his Cabinet, and take him for his chief
adviser? Davis was already a pronounced secessionist, and had been
defeated in his own State on that issue. In subserviency to Southern
interests, no other Northern man ever went so far as Franklin Pierce,
nor did Garrison himself accomplish so much toward the dissolution of
the Union. He was an instance in real life of Goldsmith's "good-natured
man," and the same qualities which assisted him to the position of
President prevented his administration from being a success. Presidents
ought to be made of firmer and sterner material.

Hawthorne had barely finished with the proofs of this volume, when he
received the saddest, most harrowing news that ever came to him. After
her mother's death, in 1849, Louisa Hawthorne had gone to live with her
aunt, Mrs. John Dike; and in July, 1852, Mr. Dike went with her on an
excursion to Saratoga and New York City. On the morning of July 27,
they left Albany on the steamboat "Henry Clay," which, as is well
known, never reached its destination. When nearing Yonkers, a fire
broke out near the engines, where the wood-work was saturated with oil,
and instantly the centre of the vessel was in a bright blaze. Mr. Dike
happened to be on the forward deck at the moment, but Louisa Hawthorne
was in the ladies' cabin, and it was impossible to reach her. The
captain of the Henry Clay immediately ran the vessel on shore, so that
Mr. Dike and those who were with him escaped to land, but Louisa and
more than seventy others, who threw themselves into the water, were
drowned. It would seem to have been impossible to save her.

The death of Hawthorne's mother may be said to have come in the course
of Nature, and his mind was prepared for it; but Louisa had been the
playmate of his childhood, and her death seemed as unnecessary as it
was sharp and sudden. It happened almost on the third anniversary of
his mother's death, and these were the only two occasions in
Hawthorne's life, when the Dark Angel hovered about his door.

Rebecca Manning says: "Louisa Hawthorne was a most delightful, lovable,
interesting woman--not at all 'commonplace,' as has been stated. Her
death was a great sorrow to all her friends. Her name was Maria Louisa,
and she was often called Maria by her mother and sister and aunts."

Depressed and unnerved, in the most trying season of the year,
Hawthorne went in the latter part of August to visit Franklin Pierce at
Concord, New Hampshire; but there a severe torrid wave came on, so that
Pierce advised him to go at once to the Isles of Shoals, promising to
follow in a few days, if his numerous engagements would permit him.

The Isles of Shoals have the finest summer climate on the Atlantic
Ocean; an atmosphere at once quieting and strengthening, and always at
its best when it is hottest on the main-land. Hawthorne found a pair of
friends ready-made there, and prepared to receive him,--Levi Thaxter,
afterwards widely known as the apostle of Browning in America, and his
wife, Celia, a poetess in the bud, only sixteen, but very bright,
original, and pleasant. They admired Hawthorne above all living men,
and his sudden advent on their barren island seemed, as Thaxter
afterward expressed it, like a supernatural presence. They became good
companions in the next two weeks; climbing the rocks, rowing from one
island to another,--bald pieces of rock, like the summits of mountains
rising above the surface of the sea,--visiting the light-house, the
monument to Captain John Smith, Betty Moody's Cave, the graves of the
Spanish sailors, the trap dikes of ancient lava, and much else. Every
day Hawthorne wrote a minute account in his diary of his various
proceedings there, including the observation of a live shark, which
came into the cove by the hotel, a rare spectacle on that coast.
General Pierce did not make his appearance, however, and on September
15, Hawthorne returned to his own home.

The election of Pierce to the presidency was as remarkable as his
nomination. In 1848, General Taylor, the victor of a single battle, but
a man of little education, was nominated for the presidency over the
heads of the finest orators and ablest statesmen in America, and was
enthusiastically elected. General Scott, Franklin Pierce's opponent,
defeated the Mexicans in four decisive battles, captured the capital of
the country, and conducted one of the most skilful military expeditions
of the past century. He was a man of rare administrative ability, and
there is no substantial argument against his character. We have Grant's
testimony that it was pleasant to serve under him. Yet he was
overwhelmingly defeated at the polls by a militia general without
distinction, military or civil.

Hawthorne was naturally delighted at the result of the election;
unfortunate as it afterwards proved for his country. He derived a
threefold satisfaction from it, in the success of his friend, in the
defeat of the Whigs, and in the happy prospects which it opened for
himself. He could now return to the Salem Custom House in triumph,--as
the wisest man might be tempted to do,--but he looked forward to
something that would be more advantageous to his family. He had already
written on October 18 to Horatio Bridge:

"Before undertaking it [the biography] I made an inward resolution,
that I should accept no office from him; but, to say the truth, I doubt
whether it would not be rather folly than heroism to adhere to this
purpose, in case he should offer me anything particularly good. We
shall see. A foreign mission I could not afford to take. The consulship
at Liverpool, I might." [Footnote: Bridge 130]

We may conclude from this, that Pierce had already intimated the
Liverpool consulate, which at that time was supposed to be worth
twenty-five thousand dollars a year in fees. It was an excellent plan
for the President of the United States to have such a gift at his
disposal, to reward some individual like Hawthorne, to whom the whole
nation was indebted to an extent that could never be repaid; but it is
a question whether it would not have been as well, in this particular
case, for Hawthorne to have remained in his own country. If he could
have written five or six romances more, this would have secured him a
good competency, and would have assured a sufficient income for his
family after his death. As it happened, the Liverpool consulate did not
prove so profitable as was anticipated.

With such "great expectations" before him, Hawthorne could do no
serious work that winter, so he occupied himself leisurely enough, with
writing a sequel to his "Wonder Book," which he called "Tanglewood
Tales," apparently after the thicket which surmounted the hill above
his residence. This was finished early in March, and given to Ticknor &
Company to publish when they saw fit. As it is a book intended for
children, the consideration of it need not detain us.

Early in April, 1853, Hawthorne was appointed and confirmed to the
Liverpool consulate, and on the 14th he went to Washington, as he tells
us, for the first time, to thank the President in person. Otherwise he
has divulged nothing concerning this journey, except that he was
introduced to a larger number of persons than he could remember the
names or faces of, and received ten times as many invitations as he
could accept. If Charles V. honored himself with posterity by picking
up the paint-brush which Titian had dropped on the floor, President
Pierce might have done himself equal credit by making Hawthorne his
guest at the White House; but if he did not go so far as this, it
cannot be doubted that he treated Hawthorne handsomely. There were
giants at Washington in those days. Webster and Clay were gone, but
Seward was the Charles Fox and Sumner the Edmund Burke of America;
Chase and Marcy were not much less in intellectual stature. Hawthorne
must have met them, but we hear nothing of them from him.

Hawthorne delayed his departure for England, until the most favorable
season arrived, for his fragile wife and infant children to cross the
"rolling forties." At length, on July 6, two days after his forty-ninth
birthday, he sailed from Boston in the "Niagara," and with _placida
onda prospero il vento_, in about twelve days they all arrived
safely at their destination.

The great stone docks of Liverpool, extending along its whole water-
front, give one a strong impression of the power and solidity of
England. Otherwise the city is almost devoid of interest, and
travellers customarily pass through it, to take the next train for
Oxford or London, without further observation, unless it be to give a
look at the conventional statue of Prince Albert on an Arab horse.
Liverpool is not so foggy a place as London, but it has a damper and
less pleasant climate, without those varied attractions and substantial
enjoyments which make London one of the most pleasant residences and
most interesting of cities.

London fog is composed of soft-coal smoke, which, ascending from
innumerable chimneys, is filtered in the upper skies, and then, mixed
with vapor, is cast back upon the city by every change of wind. It is
not unpleasant to the taste, and seems to be rather healthful than
otherwise; but all the vapors which sail down the Gulf Stream, and
which are not condensed on the Irish coast in the form of rain, collect
about the mouth of the Mersey, so that the adjacent country is the best
watered portion of all England, Cornwall possibly excepted. There is
plenty of wealth in Liverpool, and all kinds of private entertainments,
but in no other city of its size are there so few public
entertainments, and the only interesting occupation that a stranger
might find there, would be to watch the strange and curious characters
in the lower classes, faces and figures that cannot be caricatured,
emerging from cellar-ways or disappearing through side-doors. Go into
an alehouse in the evening and, beside the pretty barmaid, who deserves
consideration as much for her good behavior as for her looks, you will
see plainly enough where Dickens obtained his _dramatis personae_
for "Barnaby Rudge" and "The Old Curiosity Shop." Either in Liverpool
or in London you can see more grotesque comedy characters in a day,
than you could meet with in a year in America. These poor creatures are
pressed down, and squeezed out into what they are, under the
superincumbent weight of an enormous leisure class.

Such was the environment in which Hawthorne was obliged to spend the
ensuing four years. He soon, however, discovered a means to escape from
the monotonous and labyrinthine streets of the city, by renting an
imitation castle at Rock Ferry,--a very pretty place, much like Dobbs
Ferry, on the Hudson, although the river is not so fine,--where his
wife and children enjoyed fresh air, green grass, and all the sunshine
attainable, and whence he could reach the consulate every morning by
the Mersey boat. We find them located there before September 1.

Of the consulate itself, Hawthorne has given a minute pictorial
description in "Our Old Home," from which the following extract is
especially pertinent to our present inquiry:

"The Consulate of the United States in my day, was located in
Washington Buildings (a shabby and smoke-stained edifice of four
stories high, thus illustriously named in honor of our national
establishment), at the lower corner of Brunswick Street, contiguous to
the Goree Arcade, and in the neighborhood of some of the oldest docks.
This was by no means a polite or elegant portion of England's great
commercial city, nor were the apartments of the American official so
splendid as to indicate the assumption of much consular pomp on his
part. A narrow and ill-lighted staircase gave access to an equally
narrow and ill-lighted passage-way on the first floor, at the extremity
of which, surmounting a door frame, appeared an exceedingly stiff
pictorial representation of the Goose and Gridiron, according to the
English idea of those ever-to-be-honored symbols. The staircase and
passage-way were often thronged of a morning, with a set of beggarly
and piratical-looking scoundrels (I do no wrong to our countrymen in
styling them so, for not one in twenty was a genuine American),
purporting to belong to our mercantile marine, and chiefly composed of
Liverpool Blackballers, and the scum of every maritime nation on earth;
such being the seamen by whose assistance we then disputed the
navigation of the world with England. These specimens of a most
unfortunate class of people were shipwrecked crews in quest of bed,
board, and clothing, invalids asking permits for the hospital, bruised
and bloody wretches complaining of ill-treatment by their officers,
drunkards, desperadoes, vagabonds, and cheats, perplexingly
intermingled with an uncertain proportion of reasonably honest men. All
of them (save here and there a poor devil of a kidnapped landsman in
his shore-going rags) wore red flannel shirts, in which they had
sweltered or shivered throughout the voyage, and all required consular
assistance in one form or another."

The position of an American consul in a large foreign seaport,
especially at Liverpool, is anything but a sinecure, and in fact
requires a continual exercise of judgment much beyond the average
duties of a foreign minister. The difficulty also of being continually
obliged to distinguish between true and false applications for charity,
especially when the false are greatly in excess of the true, and among
a class of persons notably given to mendacious tricks, is one of the
most unpleasant conditions in which a tender-hearted man can find
himself. As curious studies in low life, the rascality of these
nautical mendicants may often have been interesting, and even amusing,
to Hawthorne, but as a steady pull they must have worn hard on his
nerves, even though his experienced clerk served as a breakwater to a
considerable portion. It has already been noticed that Hawthorne was a
conscientious office-holder, and he never trusted to others any duties
which he was able to attend to in person. Moreover, although he was a
man of reserved manners, there was an exceptionally tender, sympathetic
heart behind this impenetrable exterior, and it may be suspected that
he relieved many instances of actual distress, which could not be
brought within the government regulations. He may have suffered like
the ghost in Dickens's "Haunted Man," on account of those whom he could
not assist. It is certain that he aged more, in appearance at least,
during these four years, than at any similar period of his life.

It is no wonder, therefore, that, after a visit to the English lakes,
the following summer, Hawthorne wrote to his friend, Henry Bright, from
Liverpool:

"I have come back only for a day or two to this black and miserable
hole. I do not mean to apply these two adjectives to my consulate, but
to the whole of Liverpool."

Yet it should be recollected that there were nearly a million of
persons in Liverpool, who were obliged to spend their lives there, for
good and evil fortune; and, as Emerson says, we can never think too
lightly of our own difficulties.

Neither did Hawthorne find the news from America particularly
interesting. On March 30, 1854, he wrote to Bridge:

"I like my office well enough, but my official duties and obligations
are irksome to me beyond expression. Nevertheless, the emoluments will
be a sufficient inducement to keep me here, though they are not above a
quarter part what some people suppose them.

"It sickens me to look back to America. I am sick to death of the
continual fuss and tumult and excitement and bad blood which we keep up
about political topics. If it were not for my children, I should
probably never return, but--after quitting office--should go to Italy,
and live and die there. If Mrs. Bridge and you would go too, we might
form a little colony amongst ourselves, and see our children grow up
together. But it will never do to deprive them of their native land,
which I hope will be a more comfortable and happy residence in their
day than it has been in ours."

[Footnote: J. Hawthorne, ii. 65.]

The last sentence in this ought to be printed in italics, for it is the
essence of patriotism. The "fuss and tumult" in America were due, for
the time being, to the apple of discord which Douglas had cast into the
Senate, by his Kansas-Nebraska bill. Hawthorne was too far away to
distinguish the full force and insidious character of that measure, but
if he had been in Concord, we believe he would have recognized (as so
many did who never had before) the imminent danger to the Union, from
the repeated concessions to the slave power. After he had become
disenthralled from his allegiance to party, we find him in his letters
to Bridge, taking broad views on political subjects.

An event was soon to happen, well calculated to disenthrall him. The
Congress of 1854, after passing the Kansas-Nebraska bill, resolved, in
order to prove its democratic spirit, to economize in the
representation of our government to foreign powers. On April 14, the
good-hearted, theoretical O'Sullivan arrived in Liverpool, on his way
to be minister to Portugal, and warned Hawthorne that there was a bill
before Congress to reduce the consulate there to a salaried position.
This was a terrible damper on Hawthorne's great expectations, and on
April 17 he wrote again to Bridge, protesting against the change:
[Footnote: Bridge, 135, 136.]

"I trust, in Heaven's mercy, that no change will be made as regards the
emoluments of the Liverpool consulate--unless indeed a salary is to be
given in addition to the fees, in which case I should receive it very
thankfully. This, however, is not to be expected; and if Liverpool is
touched at all, it will be to limit its emoluments by a fixed salary--
which will render the office not worth any man's holding. It is
impossible (especially for a man with a family and keeping any kind of
an establishment) not to spend a vast deal of money here. The office,
unfortunately, is regarded as one of great dignity, and puts the holder
on a level with the highest society, and compels him to associate on
equal terms with men who spend more than my whole income on the mere
entertainments and other trimmings and embroidery of their lives. Then
I feel bound to exercise some hospitality towards my own countrymen. I
keep out of society as much as I decently can, and really practice as
stern an economy as I ever did in my life; but, nevertheless, I have
spent many thousands of dollars in the few months of my residence here,
and cannot reasonably hope to spend less than six thousand per annum,
even after all the expenditure of setting up an establishment is
defrayed."

In addition to this, he states that his predecessor in office, John J.
Crittenden, never received above fifteen thousand dollars in fees, of
which he saved less than half.

We can trust this to be the plain truth in regard to the Liverpool
consulate, and if twenty-five thousand a year was ever obtained from
it, there must have been some kind of deviltry in the business.
Congress proved inexorable,--as it might not have been, had Hawthorne
possessed the influence of a prominent politician like Crittenden. It
was a direct affront to the President from his own party, and Pierce
did not dare to veto the bill.

What O'Sullivan said to Hawthorne on other subjects may be readily
inferred from Hawthorne's next letter to Bridge, in which he begs him
to remain in Washington for Pierce's sake, and says:

"I feel a sorrowful sympathy for the poor fellow (for God's sake don't
show him this), and hate to have him left without one true friend, or
one man, who will speak a single honest word to him."

It is not very clear how Horatio Bridge could counteract the influence
of Jefferson Davis and Caleb Cushing, but this shows that Franklin
Pierce's weakness as an administrator was already painfully apparent to
his friends, and that even Hawthorne could no longer disguise it to
himself.




CHAPTER XIII

HAWTHORNE IN ENGLAND: 1854-1858


Hawthorne's life in England was too generally monotonous to afford many
salient points to his biographer. It was monotonous in his official
duties, in his pleasure-trips, and in his social experiences. He found
one good friend in Liverpool, Mr. Henry Bright, to whom he had already
been introduced in America, and he soon made another in Mr. Francis
Bennoch, who lived near the same city. They were both excellent men,
and belonged to that fine class of Englishmen who possess a comfortable
income, but live moderately, and prefer cultivating their minds and the
society of their friends, to clubs, yachting, horse-racing, and other
forms of external show. They were not distinguished, and were too
sensible to desire distinction. Henry Bright may have been the more
highly favored in Hawthorne's esteem, but they both possessed that tact
and delicacy of feeling which is rare among Englishmen, and by
accepting Hawthorne simply as a man like themselves, instead of as a
celebrity, they won that place in his confidence from which so many had
been excluded.

Otherwise, Hawthorne contracted no friendships among distinguished
Englishmen of letters, like that between Emerson and Carlyle; and from
first to last he saw little of them. He had no sooner landed than he
was greeted with a number of epistles from sentimental ladies, or
authors of a single publication, who claimed a spiritual kinship with
him, because of their admiration for his writings. One of them even
addressed him as "My dear brother." These he filed away with a mental
reservation to give the writers as wide a circuit as he possibly could.
He attended a respectable number of dinner parties in both Liverpool
and London, at which he remained for the most part a silent and
unobtrusive guest. He was not favored with an invitation to Holland
House, although he met Lady Holland on one occasion, and has left a
description of her, not more flattering than others that have been
preserved for us. He also met Macaulay and the Brownings at Lord
Houghton's; but for once Macaulay would not talk. Mrs. Browning
evidently pleased Hawthorne very much. [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, ii.
129.]

The great lights of English literature besides these,--Tennyson,
Carlyle, Ruskin, Thackeray, Dickens,--he was never introduced to,
although he saw Tennyson in a picture-gallery at Manchester, and has
left a description of him, such as might endure to the end of time.
Neither did he make the acquaintance of those three luminaries, Froude,
Marian Evans, and Max Muller, who rose above the horizon, previous to
his return to America. That he was not presented at Court was a matter
of course. There was nothing which he could have cared for less.

After his return he published a volume of English sketches, which he
entitled "Our Old Home," but he seems to have felt actually less at
home in England than in any other country that he visited. In that
book, and also in his diary, the even tenor of his discourse is
interrupted here and there by fits of irritability which disclose
themselves in the use of epithets such as one would hardly expect from
the pen of Hawthorne. If we apply to him the well-known proverb with
respect to the Russians, we can imagine that under similar conditions
an inherited sailor-like tendency in him came to the surface. We only
remember one such instance in his American Note-book, that in which he
speaks of Thoreau's having a face "as homely as sin."

[Footnote: The general effect of Thoreau's face was by no means
unpleasant.]

Hawthorne did not carry with him to Europe that narrow provincialism,
which asserts itself in either condemning or ridiculing everything that
differs essentially from American ways and methods. On the contrary,
when he compares the old country with the new,--for instance, the
English scenery with that of New England,--Hawthorne is usually as
fair, discriminating, and dispassionate as any one could wish, and
perhaps more so than some would desire. His judgment cannot be
questioned in preferring the American elm, with its wine-glass shape,
to the rotund European species; but he admires the English lake country
above anything that he has seen like it in his own land. "Centuries of
cultivation have given the English oak a domestic character," while
American trees are still to be classed with the wild flowers which
bloom beneath their outstretched arms.

Matthew Arnold spoke of his commentaries on England as the writing of a
man chagrined; but what could have chagrined Hawthorne there? The
socially ambitious man may become chagrined, if he finds that doors are
closed to him, and so may an unappreciated would-be genius. But
Hawthorne's position as an author was already more firmly established
than Matthew Arnold's ever could be; and as for social ambition, no
writer since Shakespeare has been so free from it. It seems more
probable that the difficulty with Hawthorne in this respect was due to
his old position on the slavery question, which now began to bear
bitter fruit for him. All Englishmen at that time, with the exception
of Carlyle, Froude, and the nobility, were very strongly anti-slavery,
--the more so, as it cost them nothing to have other men's slaves
liberated,--and the English are particularly blunt, not to say
_gauche_, in introducing topics of conversation which are liable
to become a matter of controversy. At the first dinner-party I attended
in London some thirty-odd years ago, I had scarcely tasted the soup,
before a gentleman opposite asked me: "What progress are you making in
the United States toward free trade? Can you tell me, sir?" He might as
well have asked me what progress we were making in the direction of
monarchy. Fortunately for Hawthorne, his good taste prevented him from
introducing the slavery question in his publications, excepting in the
life of Pierce, but for this same reason his English acquaintances in
various places were obliged to discover his opinions at first hand, nor
is it very likely that they were slow to do this. Phillips and Garrison
had been to England and through England, and their dignified speeches
had made an excellent impression. Longfellow, Emerson, Lowell and
Whittier had spoken with no uncertain sound, protesting against what
they considered a great national evil. How did it happen that Hawthorne
was an exception?

Through his kind friend Mr. Bennoch, he fell in with a worthy whom it
would have been just as well to have avoided--the proverbial-philosophy
poet, Martin Farquhar Tupper; not a genuine poet, nor considered as
such by trustworthy critics, but such a good imitation, that he
persuaded himself and a large portion of the British public, including
Queen Victoria, that he was one. Hawthorne has given an account of his
visit to this man, [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, ii. 114.] second only in
value to his description of Tennyson; for it is quite as important for
us to recognize the deficiencies of the one, as it is to know the true
appearance of the other. It is an unsparing study of human nature, but
if a man places himself on a pedestal for all people to gaze at, it is
just this and nothing more that he has to expect. Hawthorne represents
him as a kindly, domestic, affectionate, bustling little man, who kept
on bustling with his hands and tongue, even while he was seated--a man
of no dignity of character or perception of his deficiency of it. This
all does well enough, but when Hawthorne says, "I liked him, and
laughed in my sleeve at him, and was utterly weary of him; for
certainly he is the ass of asses," we feel that he has gone too far,
and suspect that there was some unpleasantness connected with the
occasion, of which we are not informed. The word "ass," as applied to a
human being, is not current in good literature, unless low comedy be
entitled to that position, and coming from Hawthorne, of all writers,
it seems like an oath from the mouth of a woman. Tupper, who was quite
proud of his philanthropy, was also much of an abolitionist, and he may
have trodden on Hawthorne's metaphysical toes half a dozen times,
without being aware of what he was doing. Altogether, it seems like
rather an ill return for Tupper's hospitality; but Hawthorne himself
did not intend it for publication, and on the whole one does not regret
that it has been given to the public. We have been, however,
anticipating the order of events.

During the summer of 1854, the Hawthorne family made a number of
unimportant expeditions, visiting mediaeval abbeys and ruinous
castles,--especially one to Chester and Eton Hall, which was not quite
worth the fees they paid to the janitors. An ancient walled city is
much of a novelty to an American for the first time, but, having seen
one, you have seen them all, and Chester Cathedral does not stand high
in English architecture. On September 14, O'Sullivan appeared again,
and they all went into the Welsh mountains, where they examined the old
fortresses of Rhyl and Conway, which were built by Edward Longshanks to
hold the Welshmen in check. Those relics of the feudal system are very
impressive, not only on account of their solidity and the great human
forces which they represent, but from a peculiar beauty of their own,
which modern fortifications do not possess at all. They seem to belong
to the ground they stand on, and the people who live about them look
upon them as cherished landmarks. They are the monuments of an heroic
age, and Hawthorne's interest in them was characteristic of his nature.

O'Sullivan returned to Lisbon early in October, and on the 5th of that
month, Hawthorne found himself obliged to make a speech at an
entertainment on board a merchant vessel called the "James Barnes,"
which had been built in Boston for a Liverpool firm of ship-owners. He
considered this the most serious portion of his official duty,--the
necessity of making after-dinner speeches at the Mayor's or other
public tables. He writes several pages on the subject in a humorously
complainant tone, congratulating himself that on the present occasion
he has succeeded admirably, for he has really said nothing, and that is
precisely what he intended to do. After-dinner speeches are like soap-
bubbles: they are made of nothing, signify nothing, float for a moment
in the air, attract a momentary attention, and then disappear. But the
difficulty is, to make an apparent something out of nothing, to say
nothing that will offend anybody, and to say something that will be
different from what others say. It is truly a hard situation in which
to place even a very talented man, and, as Longfellow once remarked,
those were most fortunate who made their speeches first, and could then
enjoy their dinner, while their successors were writhing in agony.
However, there are those who like it, and having practised it to
perfection, can do it better than anything else. Hawthorne analyzes his
sensations, after finishing his speech, with rare self-perception.
"After sitting down, I was conscious of an enjoyment in speaking to a
public assembly, and felt as if I should like to rise again. It is
something like being under fire,--a sort of excitement, not exactly
pleasure, but more piquant than most pleasures." Was it President
Jackson, or Senator Benton, who said that fighting a duel was very much
like making one's maiden speech?

Mrs. Hawthorne thus describes the residence of the President of the
Chamber of Commerce at Liverpool: [Footnote: Mrs. Lathrop, 238.] "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."

This was the coarse commercial taste of the time, previous to the
reforms of Ruskin and Eastlake. The same might be said of Versailles.
There is no true elegance in gilding and glass-work, including mirrors,
unless they be sparingly used.

The Hawthornes were equally overpowered by a dinner-party given by a
millionaire and country squire of Liscard Vale; "two enormous silver
dish-covers, with the gleam of Damascus blades, putting out all the
rest of the light;" and after the fish, these were replaced by two
other enormous dishes of equal brilliancy. The table was shortly
covered with an array of silver dishes, reflecting the lights above in
dazzling splendor. At one end of the table was a roast goose and at the
other a boiled turkey; while "cutlets, fricassees, ragouts, tongue,
chicken-pies," and much else, filled the intermediate spaces, and the
sideboard groaned under a round of beef "like the dome of St. Peter's."
It was fortunate that the American consul came to this Herculean repast
with an excellent appetite.

Henry Bright was their chief refuge from this flummery, as Hawthorne
called it; "an extremely interesting, sincere, earnest, independent,
warm and generous hearted man; not at all dogmatic; full of questions,
and with ready answers. He is highly cultivated, and writes for the
_Westminster_,"--a man who respected formalities and could
preserve decorum in his own household, but liked a simple,
unostentatious mode of living--in brief, he was a true English
gentleman. Mrs. Hawthorne has drawn his portrait with only less skill
than her husband:

"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."

He appears to have been engaged in the Australian carrying trade, and
owned the largest sailing vessel afloat.

Hawthorne went to an exhibition of English landscape paintings, and he
remarked that Turner's seemed too ethereal to have been painted by
mortal hands,--the finest compliment that Turner could have received,
for in delicate effects of light and shade,--in painting the atmosphere
itself,--he has no rival.

In January, James Buchanan, who was then minister to England, came to
visit Hawthorne, and talked with him about the presidency,--for which
he considered himself altogether too old; but at the same time he did
not suggest the renomination of Franklin Pierce. This, of course,
disclosed his own ambition, and as Hawthorne's impartial pen-and-ink
sketch of him may not be recognized by many readers, on account of the
form in which it appears in the note-books, we append it here, with the
regret that Hawthorne could not have treated his friend Pierce in an
equally candid manner.

"I like Mr.--. He cannot exactly be called gentlemanly in his manners,
there being a sort of rusticity about him; moreover, he has a habit of
squinting one eye, and an awkward carriage of his head; but, withal, a
dignity in his large person, and a consciousness of high position and
importance, which give him ease and freedom. Very simple and frank in
his address, he may be as crafty as other diplomatists are said to be;
but I see only good sense and plainness of speech,--appreciative, too,
and genial enough to make himself conversable. He talked very freely of
himself and of other public people, and of American and English
affairs. He returns to America, he says, next October, and then retires
forever from public life."

A certain amount of rusticity would seem to have been essential to a
presidential candidate during the middle of the past century.

During this dismal winter Hawthorne was beset more than ever, by
nautical mendicants of all countries,--Hungarians, Poles, Cubans,
Spanish Americans, and French Republicans, who, unhappily for him, had
discovered that the American consul was a tender-hearted man. He had,
beside, to deal with a number of difficult cases of maltreated American
sailors,--the more difficult, because both parties to the suits were
greatly given to lying, even on occasions when it would have been more
expedient for them to tell the truth. He has recorded one such in his
diary, that deserves more than a superficial consideration.

An American bark was on the point of sailing, when the captain cast
ashore a bruised and battered-looking man, who made his way painfully
to the consulate, and begged Hawthorne for a permit to be placed in the
hospital. He called himself the son of a South Carolina farmer, and
stated that he had gone on board this vessel with a load of farm
products, but had been impressed by the captain for the voyage, and had
been so maltreated, that he thought he would die,--and so he did, not
long afterward, at the hospital. Letters were found upon him,
substantiating the statement concerning his father, but it was
discovered, from the same source, that he was a jail-bird, and the
tattooed figures upon his arms showed that he had been a sailor of many
years' standing, although he had denied this to the consul. Hawthorne
speaks of him as an innocent man, the victim of criminal brutality
little less than murder; it is certainly difficult to account for such
severe ill-treatment, but the man was clearly a bad character, and it
is also true that sea-captains do not interfere with their deck-hands
without some kind of provocation. The man clung desperately to life up
to the last moment, and the letters he carried with him indicated that
he was more intelligent than the average of the nautical fraternity.

In June, Hawthorne went with his family to Leamington, of which he
afterward published an account in the _Atlantic Monthly_,
criticised at the time for the manner in which he referred to English
ladies, as "covering a large area of Nature's foot-stool"; but this
element in Hawthorne's English writing has already been considered.
From Leamington he went, early in July, to the English lakes,
especially Windermere, and fortunately found time to thoroughly enjoy
them. He enjoyed them not only for their scenery, which he preferred to
that of New England, but also as illustrations to many descriptive
passages in Wordsworth's poetry, which serves the same purpose in the
guidebook of that region, as "Childe Harold" serves in the guidebooks
for Italy and Greece. Hawthorne also was interested in such places for
the sake of their associations. He describes Wordsworth's house, the
grounds about it, and the cemetery where he lies, with the accuracy of
a scientific report. He finds the grass growing too high about the
head-stone of Wordsworth's grave, and plucks it away with his own
hands, reflecting that it may have drawn its nourishment from his
mortal remains. We may suppose that he preserved this grass, and it is
only from such incidental circumstances that we discover who were
Hawthorne's favorites among poets and other distinguished writers. He
twice visited Wordsworth's grave.

Their first two winters in Liverpool had not proved favorable to Mrs.
Hawthorne's health She had contracted a disorder in her throat from the
prevailing dampness, which threatened to become chronic, and her
husband felt that it would not be prudent for her to remain there
another winter. He thought of resigning and returning to America. Then
he thought of exchanging his consulship for one in southern Europe,
although the salaries of the more southern consulates were hardly
sufficient to support a married man. Then he thought of exchanging
places with O'Sullivan, but he hardly knew languages well enough for an
ambassador. The doctors, however, had advised Mrs. Hawthorne to spend a
winter at Madeira, and she courageously solved the problem by proposing
to go there alone with her daughters, for which Lisbon and O'Sullivan
would serve as a stepping-stone by the way. There are wives who would
prefer such an expedition to spending a winter in England with their
husbands, but Mrs. Hawthorne was not of that mould, and in her case it
was a brave thing to do.

Accordingly, on the second Monday in October, Mrs. Hawthorne and her
two daughters sailed for Lisbon. She was presented at court there;
concerning which occasion she wrote a lengthy and very interesting
account to her husband, published in her son's biography. The King of
Portugal held a long conversation with her and Minister O'Sullivan, and
she describes him as dressed in a flamboyant manner,--a scarlet
uniform, lavishly ornamented with diamonds. With how much better taste
did the Empress of Austria receive the President of the French
Republic,--in a simple robe of black velvet, fastened at her throat
with a diamond brooch. One can envy Mrs. Hawthorne a winter at Madeira,
for there is no place in Europe pleasanter for that purpose, unless it
be Rome. Meanwhile, her husband spent the winter with his son (who was
now old enough to be trusted safely about the streets), at a sea-
captains' boarding-house in Liverpool. There, as in Salem, he felt
himself most companionable in such company, as he had been accustomed
to it from boyhood; and it appears that at this time he was in the
habit of composing fables for the entertainment of Julian, not unlike
the yarns which sailors often spin to beguile landsmen. [Footnote: J.
Hawthorne, ii. 75.]

Hawthorne found his third winter in Liverpool dismal enough without his
wife and the two little girls, and this feeling was considerably
increased by his dislike for the sea-captains' boarding-house keeper,
[Footnote: English Note-book, November 28, 1855.]with whom he was
living, and concerning whom he remarks, that a woman in England "is
either decidedly a lady or decidedly not." She would not have annoyed
him so much, had it not been for "her bustle, affectation, intensity,
and pretension of literary taste." The race of landladies contains
curious specimens, although we have met with some who were real ladies
nevertheless. Thackeray's description of a French boarding-house keeper
in "The Adventures of Philip" goes to every heart. Hawthorne writes
much in his diary, at this juncture, of his friend Francis Bennoch, who
clearly did the best he could, as a man and a brother, to make life
cheerful for his American friend; a true, sturdy, warm-hearted
Englishman.

Christmas was celebrated at Mrs. Blodgett's, after the fashion of a
second-rate English house of entertainment. The servants hung mistletoe
about in various places, and woe to the unlucky wight that was caught
under it. Hawthorne presents an amusing picture of his boy Julian, nine
years old, struggling against the endearments of a chamber-maid, and
believes that he himself was the only male person in the house that
escaped. [Footnote: English Note-book, December, 1855.]If any man would
be sure to escape that benediction, he would have been the one; for no
one could be more averse to public demonstrations of affection.

Hawthorne was witness to a curious strategic manouvre between President
Pierce and Minister Buchanan, which, however, he was not sufficiently
familiar with practical politics to perceive the full meaning of. On
the way to Southampton with his wife in October, they called on
Buchanan in London, and were not only civilly but kindly received. Mrs.
Hawthorne wished to view the Houses of Parliament while they were in
session, and the ambassador made a knot in his handkerchief, so as to
be sure to remember his promise to her. He informed Hawthorne at that
time of his desire to return to America, but stated that the President
had just written to him, requesting him to remain until April, although
he was determined not to do so. He excused himself on the plea of old
age, and Hawthorne seems to have had a suspicion of the insincerity of
this, but concluded on reflection not to harbor it. Pierce knew already
that Buchanan was his most dangerous rival for renomination, and
desired that he should remain as far off as possible; while Buchanan
was aware that, if he intended to be on the ground, he must not return
so late as to attract public attention. There were so many presidential
aspirants that Pierce may have found it difficult to supply Buchanan's
place, for the time being.

Buchanan delayed a respectful length of time, and then handed in his
resignation. His successor, George M. Dallas, arrived at Liverpool
during the second week of March, and Hawthorne who does not mention him
by name, called upon him at once, and gives us this valuable portrait
of him.

"The ambassador is a venerable old gentleman, with a full head of
perfectly white hair, looking not unlike an old-fashioned wig; and
this, together with his collarless white neckcloth and his brown coat,
gave him precisely such an aspect as one would expect in a respectable
person of pre-revolutionary days. There was a formal simplicity, too,
in his manners, that might have belonged to the same era. He must have
been a very handsome man in his youthful days, and is now comely, very
erect, moderately tall, not overburdened with flesh; of benign and
agreeable address, with a pleasant smile; but his eyes, which are not
very large, impressed me as sharp and cold. He did not at all stamp
himself upon me as a man of much intellectual or characteristic vigor.
I found no such matter in his conversation, nor did I feel it in the
indefinable way by which strength always makes itself acknowledged.
Buchanan, though somehow plain and uncouth, yet vindicates himself as a
large man of the world, able, experienced, fit to handle difficult
circumstances of life, dignified, too, and able to hold his own in any
society." [Footnote: English Note-book, March, 1856.]

Morton McMichael, whose statue now stands in Fairmount Park, once
related this incident concerning Dallas, at a meeting of the
Philadelphia Hock Club. Somewhere about 1850 Dallas was invited to
deliver a 4th of July oration at Harrisburg, where McMichael was also
requested to read the Declaration of Independence. McMichael performed
his part of the ceremony, and sat down; then Dallas arose and thanked
the assembly for honoring him with such an invitation, but confessed to
some difficulty in considering what he should say, for an occasion
which had been celebrated by so many famous orators; but that a few
nights since, while he was lying awake, it occurred to him what he
should say to them. After this he proceeded to read his address from a
newspaper printed in 1841, which the audience could not see, but which
McMichael, from his position on the platform, could see perfectly well.

Hawthorne's description suggests a man somewhat like this; but the
opinion of the Hock Club was that Dallas was not greatly to blame; for
how could any man make two distinct and original 4th of July orations?

The 1st of April 1856, Hawthorne and Bennoch set off on a bachelor
expedition of their own, first to visit Tupper at Albany, as has been
already related, and then going to view a muster of British troops at
Aldershot; thence to Battle Abbey, which Hawthorne greatly admired, and
the field of Hastings, where England's greatness began in defeat. He
does not mention the battle, however, in his diary, and it may be
remarked that, generally, Hawthorne felt little interest in historical
subjects. After this, they went to London, where Bennoch introduced
Hawthorne at the Milton Club and the Reform Club. At the former, he
again encountered Martin F. Tupper, and became acquainted with Tom
Taylor, the editor of _Punch_, as well as other writers and
editors, of whom he had not previously heard. The Club was by no means
Miltonic, and one would suppose not exactly the place where Hawthorne
would find himself much at home. Neither were the proceedings
altogether in good taste. Bennoch opened the ball with a highly
eulogistic speech about Hawthorne, and was followed by some fifty
others in a similar strain, so that the unfortunate incumbent must have
wished that the earth would open and let him down to the shades of
night below. On such an occasion, even a feather weight becomes a
burden. Oh, for a boy, with a tin horn!

Neither did Hawthorne apparently find his peers at the Reform Club.
Douglas Jerrold, who reminded him somewhat of Ellery Channing, was the
most notable writer he met there. There was, however, very little
speech-making, and plenty of good conversation. Unfortunately, he
offended Jerrold, by using the word "acrid" as applied to his writing,
instead of some other word, which he could not think of at the moment.
The difficulty, however, was made up over a fresh bottle of Burgundy,
and with the help of Hawthorne's unlimited good-will, so that they
parted excellent friends, and much the better for having known each
other. Either Jerrold or some other present told Hawthorne that the
English aristocracy, for the most part hated, despised, and feared men
of literary genius. Is it not much the same in America?

After these two celebrations, and attending the Lord Mayor's banquet,
where he admired the beautiful Jewess whom he has described as Miriam
in "The Marble Faun," Hawthorne returned to Liverpool; and early in May
took another recess, with a Mr. Bowman, to York, Edinburgh, the
Trossachs, Abbotsford, and all the haunts of Scott and Burns; with his
account of which a large portion of the second volume of English Note-
books is filled; so that, if Scotland should sink into the sea, as a
portion is already supposed to have done in antediluvian times, all
those places could be reconstructed through Hawthorne's description of
them.

This expedition lasted nearly three weeks, and on June 12 Hawthorne
received word that his wife, with Una and Rose, had already landed at
Southampton. He hastened at once to meet them, greatly rejoiced to find
Mrs. Hawthorne entirely restored to health. They had been separated for
more than seven months.

They first proceeded to Salisbury, to see the cathedral and
Stonehenge,--the former, very impressive externally, but not so
satisfactory within; and the latter, a work of man emerging out of
Nature. Then they went to London, to enjoy the June season, and see the
regular course of sights in that huge metropolis. They visited St.
Paul's, the Tower, Guildhall, the National Gallery, the British Museum,
Westminster Abbey, and the Houses of Parliament, apparently finding as
much satisfaction in this conventional occupation as they did in the
social entertainments of London. At the house of Mr. S. C. Hall, a
noted entertainer of those days, Hawthorne became acquainted with the
most celebrated singer of her time, or perhaps of all time; namely,
Jenny Lind. No modern orator has held such a sway over the hearts of
men and women, as that Swedish nightingale,--for the purity of her
voice seemed no more than the emanation of her lofty nature. Hawthorne
describes her as a frank, sincere person, rather tall,--certainly no
beauty, but with sense and self-reliance in her aspect and manners. She
immediately gave Hawthorne an illustration of her frankness by
complaining of the unhealthy manner in which Americans, and especially
American women, lived. This seems like a prosaic subject for such a
person, but it was natural enough; for a concert singer has to live
like a race-horse, and this would be what would constantly strike her
attention in a foreign country. Hawthorne rallied to the support of his
countrywomen, and believed that they were, on the whole, as healthy and
long-lived as Europeans. This may be so now, but there has been great
improvement in the American mode of living, during the past fifty
years, and we can imagine that Jenny Lind often found it difficult to
obtain such food as she required.

That she should have requested an introduction to Hawthorne is
significant of her interest in American literature, and suggests a
taste as refined and elevated as her music.

It was on Hawthorne's wedding-day this happened, and a few days later
he was invited to a select company at Monckton Milnes's, which included
Macaulay, the Brownings, and Professor Ticknor. He found both the
Brownings exceedingly pleasant and accessible, but was somewhat
startled to find that Mrs. Browning was a believer in spiritism--not
such a sound and healthy intelligence as the author of "Middle-march,"
and he might have been still more so, if he had known that she and her
husband were ardent admirers of Louis Napoleon. That was something
which an American in those days could not quite understand. However, he
found her an exceedingly pleasant companion. After dinner they looked
over several volumes of autographs, in which Oliver Cromwell's was the
only one that would to-day be more valuable than Hawthorne's own.

A breakfast at Monckton Milnes's usually included the reading of a copy
of verses of his own composition, but perhaps he had not yet reached
that stage on the present occasion.

Hawthorne heard such varied and conflicting accounts of Charles Dickens
that he hardly knew whether he would like to meet him or not. He wanted
to see Tennyson when he was at the Isle of Wight, but feared that his
visit might be looked on as an intrusion, by a person who lived so
retired a life,--judging perhaps from his own experience. While at
Windermere he paused for a moment in front of Harriet Martineau's
cottage, but on second thought he concluded to leave the good deaf lady
in peace.

Conway speaks of Hawthorne's social life in England as a failure; but
failure suggests an effort in some direction or other, and Hawthorne
made no social efforts. Being lionized was not his business. He had
seen enough of it during the London season of 1856, and after that he
retired into his domestic shell, cultivating the acquaintance of his
wife and children more assiduously than ever, so that even his two
faithful allies, Bright and Bennoch, found it difficult to withdraw him
from it. Watching the development of a fine child is much more
satisfactory than any course of fashionable entertainments--even than
Lowell's twenty-nine dinner-parties in the month of June. Nothing
becomes more tedious than long-continued pleasure-seeking, with post-
prandial speeches and a constant effort to be agreeable.

Hawthorne remained in England fully seventeen months after this, and
made a number of excursions; especially one to Oxford, where he and his
family were dined by a former mayor of the city, and where he greatly
admired the broad verdant grounds and Gothic architecture of the
colleges; and also a second journey to Edinburgh and the Trossachs,
undertaken for the benefit of Mrs. Hawthorne and Una. But we hear no
more of him in London society, and it only remains for us to chronicle
his exceptional kindness to an unfortunate American woman.

It seems strange that the first doubt in regard to the authorship of
Shakespeare should have originated on this side of the Atlantic. If
Dante was a self-educated poet, there seems no good reason why
Shakespeare should not have been; and if the greatest of French writers
earned his living as an actor, why should not the greatest of English
writers have done the same? That would seem to be much more in harmony
with the central idea of American life--the principle of self-
helpfulness; but this is a skeptical epoch, and the tendency of our
political institutions is toward skepticism of character and distrust
of tradition. Hence we have Delia Bacon, Holmes, and Donnelly.

Hawthorne has given future generations an account of Delia Bacon, which
will endure as the portrait of a gifted and interesting woman, diverted
from the normal channels of feminine activity by the force of a single
idea; but he makes no mention of his efforts in her behalf. He found
her in the lodgings of a London tradesman, and although she received
him in a pleasant and lady-like manner, he quickly perceived that her
mind was in an abnormal condition, and that it was positively dangerous
to discuss her favorite topic in a rational manner. He had a feeling
that the least opposition on his part to the Baconian theory would
result in his expulsion from the room, yet he found her conversation
interesting, and recognized that if her conclusions were erroneous she
had nevertheless unearthed valuable historic material, which ought to
be given to the world. He loaned her money, which he did not expect to
be repaid, and exerted himself to find a publisher for her,
recollecting perhaps the vows he had made to the gods in the days of
his own obscurity. He mentions in his diary calling on the Rutledges
for this purpose--where he saw Charles Reade, a tall, strong-looking
man, just leaving the office. He also wrote to Ticknor & Fields, and
finally did get Miss Bacon's volume brought out in London. The critics
treated it in a contemptuous manner, as a desecration of Shakespeare's
memory; and Hawthorne was prepared for this, but it opened a new era in
English bibliography. Shortly after the publication of her book Miss
Bacon became insane.

To many this appeared like a Quixotic adventure, but now we can see
that it was not, and that it was necessary in its way to prove the
generosity of Hawthorne. We can readily infer from it what he might
have done with ampler means, and what he must often have wished to do.
To be sure, the truest kindness to Delia Bacon would have been to have
purchased a ticket on a Cunard steamer for her, after her own funds had
given out, and to have persuaded her to return to her own country; but
those who have dealt with persons whose whole vitality is absorbed in a
single idea, can testify how difficult, if not impossible, this would
have been. It redounds the more to Hawthorne's credit that although
Elizabeth Peabody was converted to Delia Bacon's theory, Hawthorne
himself never entertained misgivings as to the reality of Shakespeare
as a poet and a dramatist.

He had doubts, however, and I felt the same in regard to the
authenticity of the verses on Shakespeare's marble slab. It is
fortunate that Miss Bacon's purpose of opening the tomb at Stratford
was not carried out, but that is no reason why it should not be opened
in a properly conducted manner, for scientific purposes--in order to
discover all that is possible concerning so remarkable and mysterious a
personality. Raphael's tomb has been opened, and why should not
Shakespeare's be also?

At the Democratic convention in 1856 the Southern delegates wished to
renominate Franklin Pierce, but the Northern delegates refused their
agreement to this, because they knew that in such a case they would be
liable to defeat in their own districts. James Buchanan was accordingly
nominated, and Pierce's fears in regard to him were fully realized. He
was elected in November, and the following June appointed Beverly
Tucker to succeed Hawthorne as consul at Liverpool. Hawthorne resigned
his office on July 1, 1857, and went with his family on a long tour in
Scotland. Two weeks earlier he had written a memorial to the Secretary
of State concerning the maltreatment of a special class of seamen,
which deserved more consideration than it received from the government
at Washington.

The gold discoveries in California had induced a large immigration to
America from the British Isles, and many who went thither in hopes of
bettering their fortunes became destitute from lack of employment, and
attempted to work their passage back to Liverpool in American sailing
vessels. It is likely that they often represented themselves as more
experienced mariners than they actually were, and there were also a
good many stowaways who might expect little mercy; but there was no
court in England that could take cognizance of their wrongs,--in order
to obtain justice they would have to return to America,--and it cannot
be doubted that the more brutal sort of officers took advantage of this
fact. The evil became so notorious that the British minister at
Washington requested Pierce's administration to have legislation
enacted that would cover this class of cases, but the President
declined to interfere. This may have been prudent policy, but Hawthorne
felt for the sufferers, and the memorial that he submitted to our
government on their account has a dignity, a clearness and cogency of
statement, worthy of Blackstone or Marshall. It is in marked contrast
to the evasive reply of Secretary Cass, both for its fine English and
for the directness of its logic. It is published at length in Julian
Hawthorne's biography of his father, and is unique for the insight
which it affords as to Hawthorne's mental ability in this direction. We
may infer from it that if he had made a study of jurisprudence, he
might have risen to the highest position as a writer on law.

Hawthorne's English Note-books are the least interesting of that
series, on account of the literal descriptions of castles, abbeys,
scenery and palaces, with which they abound. The perfectly cultivated
condition of England and Scotland, so far as he went in the latter
country, is not stimulating to the imagination; for, as he says
somewhere, even the trees seemed to be thoroughly domesticated. They
are excellent reading for Americans who have never been to England, or
for those who wish to renew their memories in regard to certain places
there--perhaps better for the latter than for the former; and there are
fine passages in them, especially his descriptions of the old abbeys
and Gothic cathedrals, which seem to have delighted him more than the
gardens at Blenheim and Eton, and to have brought to the surface a rare
quality in his nature, or otherwise hidden in its depths,--his
enthusiasm. Never before did words fail him until he attempted to
describe the effect of a Gothic cathedral,--the time-honored mystery of
its arches, the sober radiance of its stained windows, and the solemn
aspiration of its lofty vault. As Schiller says, they are the monuments
of a mighty civilization of which we know only too little.

Hawthorne's object in writing these detailed accounts of his various
expeditions becomes apparent from a passage in his Note-book, of the
date of August 21, 1856, in which he says: "In my English romance, an
American might bring a certain tradition from over the sea, and so
discover the cross which had been long since forgotten." It may have
been his intention from the first to write a romance based on English
soil, but that soil was no longer productive of such intellectual
fruit, except in the form in which Dickens dug it up, like peat, out of
the lower classes. We find Francis Bennoch writing to Hawthorne after
his return to America, [Footnote: Mrs. Lathrop, 310.] hoping to
encourage him in this direction, but without apparent effect. Instead
of a romance, he made a collection of essays from those portions of his
diary which were most closely connected together, enlarging them and
rounding them out, which he published after his return to America, in
the volume we have often referred to as "Our Old Home." But as truthful
studies of English life and manners Mrs. Hawthorne's letters, though
not always sensible, are much more interesting than her husband's
diary.

When Doctor Johnson was inquired of by a lady why he defined "pastern"
in his Dictionary as the knee of a horse, he replied, "Ignorance,
madam, pure ignorance;" and if Hawthorne had been asked a year
afterwards why he went to Scotland in the summer of 1857, instead of to
the Rhine and Switzerland, he might have given a similar excuse. In
this way he missed the grandest and some of the most beautiful scenery
in Europe. He could not, however, have been ignorant of the attractions
of Paris, and yet he lingered in England until the following January,
and then went over to that metropolis of fashion at a most unseasonable
time. He had, indeed, planned to leave England in October, [Footnote:
English Note-book, December, 1857.] and does not explain why he
remained longer. He made a last visit to London in November, where he
became reconciled to his fellow-townsmen of Salem, in the person of
Edward Silsbee, of whom he writes as "a man of great intelligence and
true feeling, absolutely brimming over with ideas." Mr. Silsbee was an
amateur art critic and connoisseur, who often made himself serviceable
to American travellers in the way of a gentleman-cicerone. He went with
the Hawthorne family to the Crystal Palace, where there were casts of
all famous statues, models of architecture, and the like, and gave
Hawthorne his first lesson in art criticism. Hawthorne indicated a
preference for Michel Angelo's statue of Giuliano de Medici, called "Il
Pensero;" also for the "Perseus" of Cellini, and the Gates of the
Florentine Baptistery by Lorenzo Ghiberti. If we except the other
statues of Michel Angelo, these are the most distinguished works in
sculpture of the modern world.




CHAPTER XIV

ITALY


Hawthorne went to Italy as naturally as the salmon ascends the rivers
in spring. His artistic instinct drew him thither as the original home
of modern art and literature, and perhaps also his interest in the
Latin language, the single study which he cared for in boyhood. Does
not romance come originally from Roma,--as well as Romulus? He wished
to stand where Casar stood, to behold the snowy Soracte of Horace, and
to read Virgil's description of an Italian night on Italian ground. It
is noticeable that he cared little or nothing for the splendors of
Paris, the glittering peaks of Switzerland, medical-musical Vienna, or
the grand scholarship and homely sweetness of old Germany.

Of all the Anglo-Saxon writers who have celebrated Italy, Byron,
Shelley, Rogers, Ruskin and the two Brownings, none were more admirably
equipped for it than Hawthorne. We cannot read "The Romance of Monte
Beni" without recognizing a decidedly Italian element in his
composition,--not the light-hearted, subtle, elastic, fiery Italian,
such as we are accustomed to think them, but the tenderly feeling,
terribly earnest Tuscan, like Dante and Savonarola. The myrtle and the
cypress are both emblematic of Italian character, and there was more of
the latter than the former, though something of either, in Hawthorne's
own make-up.

The Hawthornes left London on January 6, and, reaching Paris the
following day, they made themselves comfortable at the Hotel du Louvre.
However, they only remained there one week, during which it was so cold
that they saw little and enjoyed little. They went to Notre Dame, the
Louvre, the Madeleine, and the Champs Elysees, but without being
greatly impressed by what they beheld. Hawthorne does not mention a
single painting or statue among the art treasures of the Louvre, which
if rivalled elsewhere are certainly unsurpassed; but Hawthorne began
his studies in this line by an examination of the drawings of the old
masters, and confesses that he was afterward too much fatigued to
appreciate their finished paintings.

On January 19 they reached Marseilles, and two days later they embarked
on that dreary winter voyage, so pleasant at an earlier season, for
Civita Vecchia; and on the 20th they rolled into the Eternal City, with
such sensations as one may imagine. On the 24th they located themselves
for the season in the Palazzo Larazani, Via Porta Pinciana. [Footnote.
Italian Note-book.]

_Nemo similis Homeri_.--There is nothing like the charm of a first
visit to Rome. The first sight of the Forum, with its single pathetic
column, brings us back to our school-days, to the study of Casar and
the reading of Plutarch; and the intervening period drops out of our
lives, taking all our care and anxiety with it. In England, France,
Germany, we feel the weight of the present, but in Rome the present is
like a glass window through which we view the grand procession of past
events. What _is_, becomes of less importance than what was, and
for the first time we feel the true sense of our indebtedness to the
ages that have gone before. We bathe deep in the spirit of classical
antiquity, and we come out refreshed, enlarged and purified. We return
to the actualities of to-day with a clearer understanding, and better
prepared to act our part in them.

Hawthorne did not feel this at first. He arrived in inclement weather,
and it was some weeks before he became accustomed to the climatic
conditions--so different from any northern atmosphere. He hated the
filth of the much-neglected city, the squalor of its lower classes, the
narrowness of its streets, and the peculiar pavement, which, as he says
makes walking in Rome a penitential pilgrimage. He goes to the
carnival, and his penetrating glance proves it to be a sham
entertainment.

But in due course he emerges from this mood; he rejoices in the
atmospheric immensity of St. Peter's; he looks out from the Pincian
hill, and sees _Nivea Soracte_ as Horace beheld it; and he is
overawed (if Hawthorne could be) by the Forum of Trajan and the Column
of Antoninus. He makes a great discovery, or rediscovery, that
Phidias's colossal statues of Castor and Pollux on the Monte Cavallo
are the finest figures in Rome. They are late Roman copies, but
probably from Phidias,--not by Lysippus or Praxiteles; and he felt the
presence of Michel Angelo in the Baths of Diocletian. It is not long
before he goes to the Pincian in the afternoon to play at jack-stones
with his youngest daughter.

William W. Story, the American sculptor, would seem to have been a
former acquaintance. His father, the famous law lecturer, lived in
Salem during Hawthorne's youth, but afterward removed to Cambridge,
where the younger Story was educated, and there married an intimate
friend of Mrs. James Russell Lowell. This brought him into close
relations with Lowell, Longfellow, and their most intimate friends. He
was something of a poet, and more of a sculptor, but, inheriting an
independent fortune and living in the Barberini Palace, he soon became
more of an Englishman than an American, a tendency which was visibly
increased by a patent of nobility bestowed on him by the King of
Naples.

Hawthorne soon renewed William Story's acquaintance, and found him
modelling the statue of Cleopatra, of which Hawthorne has given a
somewhat idealized description in "The Marble Faun." This may have
interested him the more from the fact that he witnessed its development
under the sculptor's hands, and saw that distinguished historical
person emerge as it were out of the clay, like a second Eve; but he
makes a mental reservation that it would be better if English and
American sculptors would make a freer use of their chisels--of which
more hereafter. Story was a light-hearted, discursive person, with a
large amount of bric-a-brac information, who could appreciate Hawthorne
either as a genius or as a celebrity. He soon became Hawthorne's chief
companion and social mainstay in Rome, literally a _vade mecum_,
and we may believe that he exercised more or less influence over
Hawthorne's judgment in matters of art.

Hawthorne listened to Story, and read Mrs. Jameson, although Edward
Silsbee had warned him against her as an uncertain authority; but
Hawthorne depended chiefly on his own investigations. He and his wife
declined an invitation to Mrs. Story's masquerade, and lived very
quietly during this first winter in Rome, making few acquaintances, but
seeing a good deal of the city. They went together to all the principal
churches and the princely galleries; and beside this Hawthorne
traversed Rome from one end to the other, and across in every
direction, sometimes alone, or in company with Julian, investigating
everything from the Mamartine prison, in which Jugurtha was starved, to
the catacombs of St. Calixtus and the buffaloes on the Campagna. The
impression which Conway gives, that he went about sight-seeing and
drinking sour wine with Story and Lothrop Motley, is not quite correct,
for Motley did not come to Rome until the following December, and then
only met Hawthorne a few times, according to his own confession.
[Footnote: Mrs. Lathrop, 406.] We must not forget, however, that
excellent lady and skilful astronomer, Miss Maria Mitchell, who joined
the Hawthorne party in Paris, and became an indispensable accompaniment
to them the rest of the winter.

Hawthorne also became acquainted with Buchanan Read, who afterward
painted that stirring picture of General Sheridan galloping to the
battle of Cedar Run; and on March 12 Mr. Read gave a party, at his
Roman dwelling, of painters and sculptors, which Hawthorne attended,
and has entered in full, with the moonlight excursion afterward, in
"The Marble Faun." There Hawthorne met Gibson, to whom he refers as the
most distinguished sculptor of the time. So he was, in England, but
there were much better sculptors in France and in Germany. Gibson's
personality interested Hawthorne, as it well might, but he saw clearly
that Gibson was merely a skilful imitator of the antique, or, as he
calls him, a pagan idealist. He also made acquaintance with two
American sculptors, a Yankee and a girlish young woman, whose names are
prudently withheld; for he afterward visited their studios, and readily
discovered that they had no real talent for their profession.

If we feel inclined to quarrel with Hawthorne anywhere, it is in his
disparagement of Crawford. There might be two opinions in regard to the
slavery question, but there never has been but one as to the greatest
of American artists. It was a pity that his friend Hillard could not
have been with Hawthorne at this time to counteract the jealous
influences to which he was exposed. He writes no word of regret at the
untimely death of Crawford, but goes into his studio after that sad
event and condemns his work. Only the _genre_ figure of a boy
playing marbles, gives him any satisfaction there; although a plea of
extenuation might be entered in Hawthorne's favor, for statues of
heroic size could not be seen to greater disadvantage than when packed
together in a studio. The immense buttons on the waistcoats of our
revolutionary heroes seem to have startled him on his first entrance,
and this may be accepted as an indication of the rest. Yet the tone of
his criticism, both in the "Note-book" and in "The Marble Faun," is far
from friendly to Crawford. He does not refer to the statue of
Beethoven, which was Crawford's masterpiece, nor to the statue of
Liberty, which now poses on the lantern of the Capitol at Washington,--
much too beautiful, as Hartmann says, for its elevated position, and
superior in every respect to the French statue of Liberty in New York
harbor.

Hawthorne had already come to the conclusion that there was a certain
degree of poison in the Roman atmosphere, and in April he found the
climate decidedly languid, but he had fallen in love with this pagan
capital and he hated to leave it. Mrs. Anna Jameson arrived late in
April; a sturdy, warm-hearted Englishwoman greatly devoted to art, for
which her books served as elementary treatises and pioneers to the
English and Americans of those days. She was so anxious to meet
Hawthorne that she persuaded William Story to bring him and his wife to
her lodgings when she was too ill to go forth. They had read each
other's writings and could compliment each other in all sincerity, for
Mrs. Jameson had also an excellent narrative style; but Hawthorne found
her rather didactic, and although she professed to be able "to read a
picture like a book," her conversation was by no means brilliant. She
had contracted an unhappy marriage early in life, and found an escape
from her sorrows and regrets in this elevated interest.

It was just before leaving Rome that Hawthorne conceived the idea of a
romance in which the "Faun" of Praxiteles should come to life, and play
a characteristic part in the modern world; the catastrophe naturally
resulting from his coming into conflict with a social organization for
which he was unfitted. This portion of Hawthorne's diary is intensely
interesting to those who have walked on classic ground.

On May 24 Hawthorne commenced his journey to Florence with a
_vetturino_ by easy stages, and one can cordially envy him this
portion of his Italian sojourn; with his devoted wife and three happy
children; travelling through some of the most beautiful scenery in the
world,--nearly if not quite equal to the Rhineland--without even the
smallest cloud of care and anxiety upon his sky, his mind stored with
mighty memories, and looking forward with equal expectations to the
prospect before him,--_bella Firenze_, the treasure-house of
Italian cities; through sunny valleys, with their streams and hill-
sides winding seaward; up the precipitous spurs of the Apennines, with
their old baronial castles perched like vultures' nests on inaccessible
crags; passing through gloomy, tortuous defiles, guarded by Roman
strongholds; and then drawn up by white bullocks over Monte Somma, and
to the mountain cities of Assisi and Perugia, older than Rome itself;
by Lake Trasimenus, still ominous of the name of Hannibal; over hill-
sides silver-gray with olive orchards; always a fresh view and a new
panorama, bounded by the purple peaks on the horizon; and over all, the
tender blue of the Italian sky. Hawthorne may have felt that his whole
previous life, all he had struggled, lived and suffered for, was but a
preparation for this one week of perfectly harmonious existence. Such
vacations from earthly troubles come but rarely in the most fortunate
lives, and are never of long duration.

When they reached Florence, they found it, as Rose Hawthorne says, very
hot--much too hot to enjoy the city as it should be enjoyed. Her
reminiscences of their life at Florence, and especially of the Villa
Manteuto, have a charming freshness and virginal simplicity, although
written in a somewhat high-flown manner. She succeeds, in spite of her
peculiar style, in giving a distinct impression of the old chateau, its
surroundings, the life her family led there, and of the wonderful view
from Bellosguardo. One feels that beneath the disguise of a fashionable
dress there is an innocent, sympathetic, and pure-spirited nature.

The Hawthornes arrived in Florence on the afternoon of June 3, and
spent the first night at the Albergo della Fontano, and the next day
obtained apartments in the Casa del Bello, opposite Hiram Powers'
studio, and just outside of the Porta Romana. Hawthorne made Mr.
Powers' acquaintance even before he entered the city, and Powers soon
became to him what Story had been in Rome. The Brownings were already
at Casa Guidi,--still noted in the annals of English poesy,--and called
upon the Hawthornes at the first notice of their arrival. Alacrity or
readiness would seem to have been one of Robert Browning's prominent
characteristics. Elizabeth Browning's mind was as much occupied with
spiritism as when Hawthorne met her two years previously at Monckton
Milnes's breakfast; an unfortunate proclivity for a person of frail
physique and delicate nerves. Neither did she live very long after
this. Her husband and Hawthorne both cordially disapproved of these
mesmeric practices; but Mrs. Browning could not be prevented from
talking on the subject, and this evidently produced an ecstatic and
febrile condition of mind in her, very wearing to a poetic temperament.
Hawthorne heartily liked Browning himself, and always speaks well of
him; but there must also have been an undercurrent of disagreement
between him and so ardent an admirer of Louis Napoleon, and he recalls
little or nothing of what Browning said to him. This continued till the
last of June, when Robert and Elizabeth left Florence for cooler
regions.

Meanwhile Hawthorne occupied himself seriously with seeing Florence and
studying art, like a man who intends to get at the root of the matter.
Florence afforded better advantages than Rome for the study of art, not
only from the superiority of its collections, but because there the
development of mediaeval art can be traced to its fountain-source. He
had no textbooks to guide him,--at least he does not refer to any,--and
his investigations were consequently of rather an irregular kind, but
it was evidently the subject which interested him most deeply at this
time. His Note-book is full of it, and also of discussions on sculpture
with Hiram Powers, in which Hawthorne has frequently the best of the
argument.

In fact Powers looked upon his art from much too literal a stand-point.
He agreed with Hawthorne as to the fine expression of the face of
Michel Angelo's "Giuliano de Medici," [Footnote: As Hawthorne did not
prepare his diary for publication, it would not be fair to hold him
responsible for the many instances of bad Italian in the Note-book,
which ought to have been edited by some one who knew the language.] but
affirmed that it was owing to a trick of overshadowing the face by the
projecting visor of Giuliano's helmet. Hawthorne did not see why such a
device did not come within the range of legitimate art, the truth of
the matter being that Michel Angelo left the face unfinished; but the
expression of the statue is not in its face, but in the inclination of
the head, the position of the arms, the heavy droop of the armor, and
in fact in the whole figure. Powers' "Greek Slave," on the contrary,
though finely modelled and sufficiently modern in type, has no definite
expression whatever.

Hawthorne found an exceptional interest in the "Venus de Medici," now
supposed to have been the work of one of the sons of Praxiteles, and
its wonderful symmetry gives it a radiance like that of the sun behind
a summer cloud; but Powers cooled down his enthusiasm by objecting to
the position of the ears, the vacancy of the face, the misrepresentation
of the inner surface of the lips, and by condemning particularly the
structure of the eyes, which he declared were such as no human being
could see with. [Footnote: Italian Note-book, June 13, 1858.] Hawthorne
was somewhat puzzled by these subtleties of criticism, which he did not
know very well how to answer, but he still held fast to the opinion that
he was fundamentally right, and retaliated by criticising Powers' own
statues in his diary.

The Greeks, in the best period of their favorite art, never attempted a
literal reproduction of the human figure. Certain features, like the
nostrils, were merely indicated; others, like the eyelashes, often so
expressive in woman, were omitted altogether; hair and drapery were
treated in a schematic manner. In order to give an expression to the
eyes, various devices were resorted to. The eyelids of the bust of
Pericles on the Acropolis had bevelled edges, and the eyeballs of the
"Apollo Belvedere" are exceptionally convex, to produce the effect of
looking to a distance, although the human eye when gazing afar off
becomes slightly contracted. The head of the "Venus de Medici" is
finely shaped, but small, and her features are pretty, rather than
beautiful; but her eyes are exceptional among all feminine statues for
their tenderness of expression--swimming, as it were, with love; and it
is the manner in which this effect is produced that Powers mistook for
bad sculpture. Hiram Powers' most exceptional proposition was to the
effect that the busts of the Roman emperors were not characteristic
portraits. Hawthorne strongly dissented from this; and he was in the
right, for if the character of a man can be read from marble, it is
from those old blocks. Hawthorne has some admirable remarks on this
point.

Such was Hawthorne's internal life during his first month at Florence.
He was full of admiration for the cathedral, the equestrian statue of
Cosmo de Medici, the "David" of Michel Angelo, the Loggia de Lanzi,
Raphael's portrait of Julius II., the "Fates" of Michel Angelo, and
many others; yet he confesses that the Dutch, French, and English
paintings gave him a more simple, natural pleasure,--probably because
their subjects came closer to his own experience.

A strange figure of an old man, with "a Palmer-like beard," continually
crossed Hawthorne's path, both in Rome and in Florence, where he dines
with him at the Brownings'. His name is withheld, but Hawthorne informs
us that he is an American editor, a poet; that he voted for Buchanan,
and was rejoicing in the defeat of the Free-soilers,--"a man to whom
the world lacks substance because he has not sufficiently cultivated
his emotional nature;" and "his personal intercourse, though kindly,
does not stir one's blood in the least." Yet Hawthorne finds him to be
good-hearted, intelligent, and sensible. This can be no other than
William Cullen Bryant. [Footnote: Italian Note-book, ii. 15.]

In the evening of June 27 the Hawthornes went to call on a Miss
Blagden, who occupied a villa on Bellosguardo, and where they met the
Brownings, and a Mr. Trollope, a brother of the novelist. It could not
have been the Villa Manteuto, which Miss Blagden rented, for we hear of
her at Bellosguardo again in August, when Hawthorne was living there
himself; and after this we do not hear of the Brownings again.

Hawthorne's remark on Browning's poetry is one of the rare instances in
which he criticises a contemporary author:

"I am rather surprised that Browning's conversation should be so clear,
and so much to the purpose at the moment, since his poetry can seldom
proceed far, without running into the high grass of latent meanings and
obscure allusions."

It is precisely this which has prevented Browning from achieving the
reputation that his genius deserves. We wish that Hawthorne could have
favored us with as much literary criticism as he has given us of art
criticism, and we almost lose patience with him for his repeated
canonization of General Jackson--St. Hickory--united with a
disparagement of Washington and Sumner; but although Hawthorne's
insight into human nature was wonderful in its way, it would seem to
have been confined within narrow boundaries. At least he seems to have
possessed little insight into grand characters and magnanimous natures.
He wishes now that Raphael could have painted Jackson's portrait. So,
conversely, Shakespeare belittles Casar in order to suit the purpose of
his play. Which of Shakespeare's male characters can be measured beside
George Washington? There is not one of them, unless Kent in "King
Lear." Strong, resolute natures, like Washington, Hamilton, Sumner, are
not adapted to dramatic fiction, either in prose or in verse.

A Florentine summer is about equal to one in South Carolina, and now,
when Switzerland can be reached by rail in twenty-four hours, no
American or Englishman thinks of spending July and August there; but in
Hawthorne's time it was a long and expensive journey over the Pennine
Alps; Hawthorne's physique was as well attempered to heat as to cold;
and he continued to frequent the picture-galleries and museums after
all others had ceased to do so; although he complains in his diary that
he had never known it so hot before, and that the flagstones in the
street reflect the sun's rays upon him like the open doors of a
furnace.

At length, in an entry of July 27, he says:

"I seldom go out nowadays, having already seen Florence tolerably well,
and the streets being very hot, and myself having been engaged in
sketching out a romance, [Footnote: "The Marble Faun."] which whether
it will ever come to anything is a point yet to be decided. At any
rate, it leaves me little heart for journalizing, and describing new
things; and six months of uninterrupted monotony would be more valuable
to me just now, than the most brilliant succession of novelties."

This is the second instance in which we hear of a romance based on the
"Faun" of Praxiteles, and now at last he appears to be in earnest.

It may be suspected that his entertaining friend, Hiram Powers, was the
chief obstacle to the progress of his new plot, and it is rather
amusing to believe that it was through the agency of Mr. Powers, who
cared for nothing so much as Hawthorne's welfare, that this impediment
was removed. Five days later, Hawthorne and his household gods, which
were chiefly his wife and children, left the Casa del Bello for the
Villa Manteuto where they remained in peaceful retirement until the
first of October.

On the tower of the Villa he could enjoy whatever enlivening breezes
came across to Florence from the mountains to the north and east. When
the _tramontana_ blew, he was comfortable enough. Thunder-storms
also came frequently, with the roar of heaven's artillery reverberating
from peak to peak, and enveloping Bellosguardo in a dense vapor, like
the smoke from Napoleon's cannon; after which they would career down
the valley of the Arno to Pisa, flashing and cannonading like a
victorious army in pursuit of the enemy.

The beauty of the summer nights at Florence amply compensates for the
sultriness of the days,--especially if they be moonlight nights,--and
the bright starlight of the Mediterranean is little less beautiful.
Travellers who only see Italy in winter, know not what they miss.
Hawthorne noticed that the Italian sky had a softer blue than that of
England and America, and that there was a peculiar luminous quality in
the atmosphere, as well as a more decided difference between sunshine
and shadow, than in countries north of the Alps. The atmosphere of
Italy, Spain, and Greece is not like any American air that I am
acquainted with. During the summer season, all Italians whose
occupation will permit them, sleep at noon,--the laborers in the
shadows of the walls,--and sit up late at night, enjoying the fine air
and the pleasant conversation which it inspires. Hawthorne found the
atmosphere of Tuscany favorable for literary work, even in August.

On the 4th of that month he looked out from his castle wall late at
night and noticed the brilliancy of the stars,--also that the Great
Dipper exactly overhung the valley of the Arno. At that same hour the
astronomer Donati was sweeping the heavens with his telescope at the
Florentine observatory, and it may have been ten days later that he
discovered in the handle of the Dipper the great comet which will
always bear his name,--the most magnificent comet of modern times, only
excepting that of 1680, which could be seen at noonday. It first became
visible to the naked eye during the last week of August, as a small
star with a smaller tail, near the second star from the end of the
handle of the Dipper; after which it grew apace until it extended
nearly from the horizon to the zenith, with a tail millions of miles in
length. This, however, did not take place until near the time of
Hawthorne's departure from Florence. In his case it proved sorrowfully
enough a harbinger of calamity.

Hawthorne blocked out his sketch of "The Romance of Monte Beni" in a
single month, and then returned to the churches and picture-galleries.
He could not expect to revisit Italy in this life, and prudently
concluded to make the most of it while the opportunity lasted. He
notices the peculiar fatigue which sight-seeing causes in deep natures,
and becomes unspeakably weary of it, yet returns to it again next day
with an interest as fresh as before.

Neither did he lack for society. William Story came over to see him
from Siena, where he was spending the summer, exactly as Hawthorne
describes the visit of Kenyon to Donatello in his romance. Mr. and Mrs.
Powers came frequently up the hill in the cool of the evening, and Miss
Blagden also proved an excellent neighbor. Early in September the
"spirits" appeared again in great force. Mrs. Hawthorne discovered a
medium in her English governess; table-rappings and table-tippings were
the order of the evening; and some rather surprising results were
obtained through Miss Shepard's fingers. [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i.
31.] Powers related a still more surprising performance [Footnote:
Italian Note-book.] that he had witnessed, which was conducted by D. D.
Home, an American mountebank, who hoaxed more crowned heads, princes,
princesses, and especially English duchesses than Cagliostro himself.
Hawthorne felt the repugnance of the true artist to this uncanny
business, and his thorough detestation of the subject commends itself
to every sensible reader. He came to the conclusion that the supposed
revelations of spirits were nothing more than the mental vagaries of
persons in the same room, conveyed in some occult manner to the brain
of the medium. The governess, Miss Shepard, agreed with him in this,
but she could give no explanation as to the manner in which the
response came to her. Twenty years of scientific investigations have
added little or nothing to this diagnosis of Hawthorne's, nor are we
any nearer to an explanation of the simple fact; which is wonderful
enough in its way. Hawthorne compares the revelations of mediums to
dreams, but they are not exactly like them, for they are at the same
time more rational and less original or spontaneous than dreams. In my
dreams my old friends often come back to me and speak in their
characteristic manner,--more characteristic perhaps than I could
represent them when awake,--but the responses of mediums are either
evasive or too highly generalized to be of any particular value. The
story of Mary Runnel, or Rondel, which Julian Hawthorne narrates, is an
excellent case in point. Hawthorne had probably heard of that
flirtation of his grandfather some time in his youth, and the fact was
unconsciously latent in his mind; but nothing that Mary divulged at
Bellosguardo was of real interest to him or to the others concerned.
The practice of spiritism, hypnotism, or Christian Science opens a wide
door for superstition and imposture to walk in and seat themselves by
our firesides.

About a year before this, Congress had given Hiram Powers a commission
to model a colossal statue of _America_ for the Capitol at
Washington. This he had done, and the committee in charge accepted his
design,--Hawthorne also writes admiringly of it,--but it was also
necessary to receive the approval of the President, and this Buchanan
with his peculiar obstinacy refused to give. Powers was left without
compensation for a whole year of arduous labor, and Hawthorne for once
was thoroughly indignant. He wrote in his diary:

"I wish our great Republic had the spirit to do as much, according to
its vast means, as Florence did for sculpture and architecture when it
was a republic.... And yet the less we attempt to do for art the
better, if our future attempts are to have no better result than such
brazen troopers as the equestrian statue of General Jackson, or even
such naked respectabilities as Greeneough's Washington."

Perhaps Powers' "America" was a fortunate escape, and yet it does not
seem right that any enlightened government should set such a pitfall
for honest men to stumble into. There certainly ought to be some
compensation in such cases. The experience of history hitherto has been
that, whereas painting and literature have nourished under all forms of
government, sculpture has only attained its highest excellence in
republics like Athens, Rhodes, Florence, and Nuremberg; so that upon
this line of argument there is good hope for America in the future.




CHAPTER XV

HAWTHORNE AS ART CRITIC: 1858


Nearly one-third of the Italian Note-book is devoted to the criticisms
or descriptions of paintings, statues, and architecture, for which we
can be only too thankful as coming from such a bright, penetrating, and
ingenious intelligence. It is much in their favor that Hawthorne had
not previously undertaken a course of instruction in art; that he wrote
for his own benefit, and not for publication; and that he was not
biased by preconceived opinions. It cannot be doubted that he was
sometimes influenced by the opinions of Story, Powers, and other
artists with whom he came in contact; but this could have happened only
in particular cases, and more especially in respect to modern works of
art. When Hawthorne visited the galleries he usually went alone, or
only accompanied by his wife.

The only opportunities for the study of aesthetics or art criticism,
fifty years ago, were to be found in German universities. Kugler's
handbook of painting was the chief authority in use, rather academic,
but correct enough in a general way. Ruskin, a more eloquent and
discriminating writer, had devoted himself chiefly to celebrating the
merits of Turner and Tintoretto, but was never quite just to Florentine
art. Mrs. Jameson followed closely after Kugler, and was the only one
of these that Hawthorne appears to have consulted. Winckelmann's
history of Greek sculpture, which was not a history in the proper sense
of the word, had been translated by Lodge, but Hawthorne does not
mention it, and it would not have been much assistance to him if he had
read it. Like Winckelmann and Lessing, however, he admired the
"Laocoon,"--an admiration now somewhat out of fashion.

There can be no final authority in art, for the most experienced
critics still continue to differ in their estimates of the same
painting or statue. More than this, it is safe to affirm that any one
writer who makes a statement concerning a certain work of art at a
given time, would have made a somewhat different statement at another
time. In fact, this not unfrequently happens in actual practice; for
all that any of us can do is, to reproduce the impression made on us at
the moment, and this depends as much on our own state of mind, and on
our peculiarities, as on the peculiarities of the picture or statue
that we criticise. It is the same in art itself. If Raphael had not
painted the "Sistine Madonna" at the time he did, he would have
produced a different work. It was the concentration of that particular
occasion, and if any accident had happened to prevent it, that pious
and beautiful vision would have been lost to the world.

It requires years of study and observation of the best masters to
become a trustworthy art critic, and then everything depends of course
upon the genius of the individual. It has happened more than once that
a wealthy American, with a certain kind of enthusiasm for art, has
prepared himself at a German university, has studied the science of
connoisseurship, and has become associate member of a number of foreign
societies, only to discover at length that he had no talent for the
profession. Hawthorne enjoyed no such advantages, nor did he even think
of becoming a connoisseur. His whole experience in the art of design
might be included within twelve months, and his original basis was
nothing better than his wife's water-color painting and the mediocre
pictures in the Boston Athenaeum; but he brought to his subject an eye
that was trained to the closest observation of Nature and a mind
experienced beyond all others [Footnote: At least at that time.] in the
mysteries of human life. He begins tentatively, and as might be
expected makes a number of errors, but quite as often he hits the nail,
where others have missed it. He learns by his mistakes, and steadily
improves in critical faculty. Hawthorne's Italian Note-book is a unique
record, in which the development of a highly organized mind has
advanced from small beginnings to exceptional skill in a fresh
department of activity.

Hawthorne brought with him to Italy the Yankee preference for newness
and nicety, which our forefathers themselves derived from their
residence in Holland, and there is no city in Europe where this
sentiment could have troubled him so much as in Rome. He disliked the
dingy picture-frames, the uncleanly canvases, the earth-stains and
broken noses of the antique statues, the smoked-up walls of the Sistine
Chapel, and the cracks in Raphael's frescos. He condemns everything as
rubbish which has not an external perfection; forgetting that, as in
human nature, the most precious treasures are sometimes allied with an
ungainly exterior. Yet in this he only echoes the impressions of
thousands of others who have gone to the Vatican and returned
disconsolate, because amid a perplexing multitude of objects they knew
not where to look for consummate art. One can imagine if an experienced
friend had accompanied Hawthorne to the Raphael stanza, and had pointed
out the figures of the Pope, the cardinal, and the angelic boys in the
"Mass at Bolsena," he would have admired them without limitation. He
quickly discovered Raphael's "Transfiguration," and considered it the
greatest painting that the world contains.

The paintings in the princely collections in Rome are, with the
exception of those in the Borghese gallery, far removed from princely.
A large proportion of their best paintings had long since been sold to
the royal collections of northern Europe, and had been replaced either
by copies or by works of inferior masters. In the Barberini palace
there are not more than three or four paintings such as might
reasonably detain a traveller, and it is about the same in the Ludovisi
gallery. There was not a grain of affectation in Hawthorne; he never
pretended to admire what he did not like, nor did he strain himself
into liking anything that his inner nature rebelled against.

Hawthorne's taste in art was much in advance of his time. His quick
appreciation of the colossal statues of Castor and Pollux on the
Quirinal is the best proof of this. Ten years later it was the fashion
in Rome to deride those statues, as a late work of the empire and
greatly lacking in artistic style. Brunn, in his history of ancient
sculpture, attributes them to the school of Lysippus, a contemporary of
Alexander, which Brunn certainly would not have done if he had
possessed a good eye for form. Vasari, on the contrary, a surer critic,
considered them worthy to be placed beside Michel Angelo's "David"; but
it remained for Furtwangler to restore them to their true position as a
work of the Periclean age, although copied by Italian sculptors. They
must have been the product of a single mind, [Footnote: On the base of
one is _Opus Phidiae_, and on that of the other, _Opus Praxitelis._]
either Phidias, Alcameres, or the elder Praxiteles--if there ever was
such a person; and they have the finest figures of any statues in Rome
(much finer than the dandified "Apollo Belvedere") and also the most
spirited action.

Hawthorne went to the Villa Ludovisi to see the much-vaunted bas-relief
of Antinous, which fifty years ago was considered one of the art
treasures of the city; but a more refined taste has since discovered
that in spite of the rare technical skill, its hard glassy finish gives
it a cold and conventional effect. Hawthorne returned from it
disappointed, and wrote in his diary:

"This Antinous is said to be the finest relic of antiquity next to the
Apollo and the Laocoon; but I could not feel it to be so, partly, I
suppose, because the features of Antinous do not seem to me beautiful
in themselves; and that heavy, downward look is repeated till I am more
weary of it than of anything else in sculpture."

The Greek artist of Adrian's time attempted to give the face a pensive
expression, but only succeeded in this heavy downward look.

Hawthorne felt the same disappointment after his first visit to the
sculpture-gallery of the Vatican. "I must confess," he wrote, "taking
such transient glimpses as I did, I was more impressed with the extent
of the Vatican, and the beautiful order in which it is kept and its
great sunny, open courts, with fountains, grass, and shrubs ... than
with the statuary." The Vatican collection has great archaeological
value, but, with the exception of the "Laocoon," the "Meleager," the
"Apollo," and a few others, little or no artistic value. The vast
majority of the statues there are either late Roman works or cheap
Roman copies of second-rate Hellenic statues. Some of them are
positively bad and others are archaic, and Hawthorne was fully
justified in his disatisfaction with them. He noticed, however, a
decided difference between the original "Apollo" and the casts of it
with which he was familiar. On a subsequent visit he fails to observe
the numerous faults in Canova's "Perseus," and afterwards writes this
original statement concerning the "Laocoon":

"I felt the Laocoon very powerfully, though very quietly; an immortal
agony with a strange calmness diffused through it, so that it resembles
the vast age of the sea, calm on account of its immensity; as the
tumult of Niagara, which does not seem to be tumult, because it keeps
pouring on forever and ever."

Professor E. A. Gardner and the more fastidious school of critics have
recently decided that the action of the "Laocoon" is too violent to be
contained within the proper boundaries of sculpture; but Hawthorne
controverts this view in a single sentence. The action is violent, it
is true, but the _impression_ which the statue makes on him is not
a violent one; for the greatness of the art sublimates the motive. It
is a tragedy in marble, and Pliny, who had seen the works of Phidias
and Praxiteles, placed Agesander's "Laocoon" above them all. This,
however, is a Roman view. What Hawthorne wrote in his diary should not
always be taken literally. When he declares that he would like to have
every artist that perpetrates an allegory put to death, he merely
expresses the puzzling effects which such compositions frequently
exercise on the weary-minded traveller; and when he wishes that all the
frescos on Italian walls could be obliterated, he only repeats a
sentiment of similar strain. Perhaps we should class in the same
category Hawthorne's remark concerning the Elgin marbles in the British
Museum, that "it would be well if they were converted into paving-
stones." There are no grander monuments of ancient art than those
battered and headless statues from the pediment of the Parthenon (the
figures of the so-called "Three Fates" surpass the "Venus of Melos"),
and archaeologists are still in dispute as to what they may have
represented; but the significance of the subject before him was always
the point in which Hawthorne was interested. Julian Hawthorne says of
his father, in regard to a similar instance:

"Of technicalities,--difficulties overcome, harmony of lines, and so
forth,--he had no explicit knowledge; they produced their effect upon
him of course, but without his recognizing the manner of it. All that
concerned him was the sentiment which the artist had meant to express;
the means and method were comparatively unimportant." [Footnote: J.
Hawthorne, ii. 193.]

The technicalities of art differ with every clime and every generation.
They belong chiefly to the connoisseur, and have their value, but the
less a critic thinks of them in making a general estimate of a painting
or statue, the more likely he is to render an impartial judgment.
Hawthorne's analysis of Praxiteles's "Faun," in his "Romance of Monte
Beni," being a subject in which he was particularly interested, is
almost without a rival in the literature of its kind; and this is the
more remarkable since the copy of the "Faun" in the museum of the
Capitol is not one of the best, at least it is inferior to the one in
the Glyptothek at Munich. It seems as if Hawthorne had penetrated to
the first conception of it in the mind of Praxiteles.

The Sistine Chapel, like the Italian scenery, only unfolds its beauties
on a bright day, and Hawthorne happened to go there when the sky was
full of drifting clouds, a time when it is difficult to see any object
as it really is. It may have been on this account that he entirely
mistook the action of the Saviour in Michel Angelo's "Last Judgment."
Christ has raised his arm above his head in order to display the mark
where he was nailed to the cross, and Hawthorne presumed this, as many
others have done, to be an angry threatening gesture of condemnation,
which would not accord with his merciful spirit. He appreciated the
symmetrical figure of Adam, and the majestic forms of the prophets and
sibyls encircling the ceiling, and if he had seen the face of the
Saviour in a fair light, he might have recognized that such divine
calmness of expression could not coexist with a vindictive motive.
This, however, can be seen to better advantage in a Braun photograph
than in the painting itself.

Hawthorne goes to the Church of San Pietro in Vincolo to see Michel
Angelo's "Moses," but he does not moralize before it, like a certain
Concord artist, on "the weakness of exaggeration;" nor does he
consider, like Ruskin, that its conventional horns are a serious
detriment. On the contrary he finds it "grand and sublime, with a beard
flowing down like a cataract; a truly majestic figure, but not so
benign as it were desirable that such strength should hold." An
Englishman present remarked that the "Moses" had very fine features,--
"a compliment," says Hawthorne, "for which the colossal Hebrew ought to
have made the Englishman a bow."

[Footnote: Italian Note-book, p. 164.]

Perhaps the Englishman really meant that the face had a noble
expression. The somewhat satyr-like features of the "Moses" would seem
to have been unconsciously adopted, together with the horns, from a
statue of the god Pan, which thus serves as an intermediate link
between the "Moses" and the "Faun" of Praxiteles; but he who cannot
appreciate Michel Angelo's "Moses" in spite of this, knows nothing of
the Alpine heights of human nature.

Of all the paintings that Hawthorne saw in Rome none impressed him so
deeply as Guido's portrait of Beatrice Cenci, and none more justly. If
the "Laocoon" is the type of an old Greek tragedy, a strong man
strangled in the coils of Fate, the portrait of Beatrice represents the
tragedy of mediaeval Italy, a beautiful woman crushed by the downfall
of a splendid civilization. The fate of Joan of Arc or of Madame Roland
was merciful compared to that of poor Beatrice. Religion is no
consolation to her, for it is the Pope himself who signs her death-
warrant. She is massacred to gratify the avarice of the Holy See. Yet
in this last evening of her tragical life, she does find strength and
consolation in her dignity as a woman. Never was art consecrated to a
higher purpose; Guido rose above himself; and, as Hawthorne says, it
seems as if mortal man could not have wrought such an effect. It has
always been the most popular painting in Rome, but Hawthorne was the
first to celebrate its unique superiority in writing, and his discourse
upon it in various places leaves little for those that follow.

It may have been long since discovered that Hawthorne's single weakness
was a weakness for his friends; certainly an amiable weakness, but
nevertheless that is the proper name for it. When Phocion was Archon of
Athens, he said that a chief magistrate should know no friends; and the
same should be true of an authoritative writer. Hawthorne has not gone
so far in this direction as many others have who had less reason to
speak with authority than he; but he has indicated his partiality for
Franklin Pierce plainly enough, and his over-praise of Hiram Powers and
William Story, as well as his under-praise of Crawford, will go down to
future generations as something of an injustice to those three artists.

[Illustration: GUIDO RENI'S PORTRAIT OF BEATRICE CENCI, PAINTED WHILE
SHE WAS IN PRISON, WHICH SUGGESTED TO HAWTHORNE THE PLOT OF "THE MARBLE
FAUN"]

It is not necessary to repeat here what Hawthorne wrote concerning
Powers' Webster. The statue stands in front of the State House at
Boston, and serves as a good likeness of the famous orator, but more
than that one cannot say for it. The face has no definable expression,
and those who have looked for a central motive in the figure will be
pleased to learn what it is by reading Hawthorne's description of it,
as he saw it in Powers' studio at Florence. A sculptor of the present
day can find no better study for his art than the attitudes and changes
of countenance in an eloquent speaker; but which of them can be said to
have taken advantage of this? Story made an attempt in his statue of
Everett, but even his most indulgent friends did not consider it a
success. His "George Peabody," opposite the Bank of England, could not
perhaps have been altogether different from what it is.

What chiefly interested Story in his profession seems to have been the
modelling of unhappy women in various attitudes of reflection. He made
a number of these, of which his "Cleopatra" is the only one known to
fame, and in the expression of her face he has certainly achieved a
high degree of excellence. Neither has Hawthorne valued it too highly,
--the expression of worldly splendor incarnated in a beautiful woman on
the tragical verge of an abyss. If she only were beautiful! Here the
limitations of the statue commence. Hawthorne says, "The sculptor had
not shunned to give the full, Nubian lips and other characteristics of
the Egyptian physiognomy."

Here he follows the sculptor himself, and it is remarkable that a
college graduate like William Story should have made so transparent a
mistake. Cleopatra was not an Egyptian at all. The Ptolemies were
Greeks, and it is simply impossible to believe that they would have
allied themselves with a subject and alien race. This kind of small
pedantry has often led artists astray, and was peculiarly virulent
during the middle of the past century. The whole figure of Story's
"Cleopatra" suffers from it. Hawthorne says again, "She was draped from
head to foot in a costume minutely and scrupulously studied from that
of ancient Egypt." In fact, the body and limbs of the statue are so
closely shrouded as to deprive the work of that sense of freedom of
action and royal abandon which greets us in Shakespeare's and
Plutarch's "Cleopatra." Story might have taken a lesson from Titian's
matchless "Cleopatra" in the Cassel gallery, or from Marc Antonio's
small woodcut of Raphael's "Cleopatra."

Perhaps it is not too much to say of Crawford that he was the finest
plastic genius of the Anglo-Saxon race. His technique may not have been
equal to Flaxman's or St. Gaudens', but his designs have more of
grandeur than the former, and he is more original than the latter.
There are faults of modelling in his "Orpheus," and its attitude
resembles that of the eldest son of Niobe in the Florentine gallery,--
although the Niobe youth looks upward and Orpheus is peering into
darkness,--its features are rather too pretty; but the statue has
exactly what Powers' "Greek Slave" lacks, a definite motive,--that of
an earnest seeker,--which pervades it from head to foot; and it is no
imaginary pathos that we feel in its presence. There is, at least, no
imitation of the antique in Crawford's "Beethoven," for its conception,
the listening to internal harmonies, would never have occurred to a
Greek or a Roman. Even Hawthorne admits Crawford's skill in the
treatment of drapery; and this is very important, for it is in his
drapery quite as much as in the nude that we recognize the superiority
of Michel Angelo to Raphael; and the folds of Beethoven's mantle are as
rhythmical as his own harmonies. The features lack something of
firmness, but it is altogether a statue in the grand manner.

Hawthorne is rather too exacting in his requirements of modern
sculptors. Warrington Wood, who commenced life as a marble-worker,
always employed Italian workmen to carve his statues, although he was
perfectly able to do it himself, and always put on the finishing
touches,--as I presume they all do. Bronze statues are finished with a
file, and of course do not require any knowledge of the chisel.

In regard to the imitation of antique attitudes, there has certainly
been too much of it, as Hawthorne supposes; but the Greeks themselves
were given to this form of plagiarism, and even Praxiteles sometimes
adopted the motives of his predecessors; but Hawthorne praises Powers,
Story, and Harriet Hosmer above their merits.

The whole brotherhood of artists and their critical friends might rise
up against me, if I were to support Hawthorne's condemnation of modern
Venuses, and "the guilty glimpses stolen at hired models." They are not
necessarily guilty glimpses. To an experienced artist the customary
study from a naked figure, male or female, is little more than what a
low-necked dress at a party would be to many others. Yet the instinct
of the age shrinks from this exposure. We can make pretty good Venuses,
but we cannot look at them through the same mental and moral atmosphere
as the contemporaries of Scopas, or even with the same eyes that Michel
Angelo saw them. We feel the difference between a modern Venus and an
ancient one. There is a statue in the Vatican of a Roman emperor, of
which every one says that it ought to wear clothes; and the reason is
because the face has such a modern look. A raving Bacchante may be a
good acquisition to an art museum, but it is out of place in a public
library. A female statue requires more or less drapery to set off the
outlines of the figure and to give it dignity. We feel this even in the
finest Greek work--like the "Venus of Cnidos."

In this matter Hawthorne certainly exposes his Puritanic education, and
he also places too high a value on the carving of button-holes and
shoestrings by Italian workmen. Such things are the fag-ends of
statuary.

His judgment, however, is clear and convincing in regard to the tinted
Eves and Venuses of Gibson. Whatever may have been the ancient practice
in this respect, Gibson's experiment proved a failure. Nobody likes
those statues; and no other sculptor has since followed Gibson's
example. The tinting of statues by the Greeks did not commence until
the time of Aristotle, and does not seem to have been very general.
Their object evidently was, not so much to imitate flesh as to tone
down the crystalline glare of the new marble. Pausanias speaks of a
statue in Arcadia, the drapery of which was painted with vermilion, "so
as to look very gay." This was of course the consequence of a late and
degraded taste. That traces of paint should have been discovered on
Greek temples is no evidence that the marble was painted when they were
first built.

It may be suspected that Hawthorne was one of the very few who have
seen the "Venus de Medici" and recognized the true significance of the
statue. The vast majority of visitors to the Uffizi only see in it the
type of a perfectly symmetrical woman bashfully posing for her likeness
in marble, but Hawthorne's perception in it went much beyond that, and
the fact that he attempts no explanation of its motive is in accordance
with the present theory. He also noticed that statues had sometimes
exercised a potent spell over him, and at others a very slight
influence.

Froude says that a man's modesty is the best part of him. Notice that,
ye strugglers for preferment, and how beautifully modest Hawthorne is,
when he writes in his Florentine diary:

"In a year's time, with the advantage of access to this magnificent
gallery, I think I might come to have some little knowledge of
pictures. At present I still know nothing; but am glad to find myself
capable, at least, of loving one picture better than another. I am
sensible, however, that a process is going on, and has been ever since
I came to Italy, that puts me in a state to see pictures with less
toil, and more pleasure, and makes me more fastidious, yet more
sensible of beauty where I saw none before."

Hawthorne belongs to the same class of amateur critics as Shelley and
Goethe, who, even if their opinions cannot always be accepted as final,
illuminate the subject with the radiance of genius and have an equal
value with the most experienced connoisseurs.

       *       *       *       *       *

The return of the Hawthornes to Rome through Tuscany was even more
interesting than their journey to Florence in the spring, and they
enjoyed the inestimable advantage of a _vetturino_ who would seem
to have been the Sir Philip Sidney of his profession, a compendium of
human excellences. There are such men, though rarely met with, and we
may trust Hawthorne's word that Constantino Bacci was one of them; not
only a skilful driver, but a generous provider, honest, courteous,
kindly, and agreeable. They went first to Siena, where they were
entertained for a week or more by the versatile Mr. Story, and where
Hawthorne wrote an eloquent description of the cathedral; then over the
mountain pass where Radicofani nestles among the iron-browed crags
above the clouds; past the malarious Lake of Bolsena, scene of the
miracle which Raphael has commemorated in the Vatican; through Viterbo
and _Sette Vene_; and finally, on October 16, into Rome, through
the Porta' del Popolo, designed by Michel Angelo in his massive style,
--Donati's comet flaming before them every night. Thompson, the portrait
painter, had already secured a furnished house, No. 68 Piazza Poli, for
the Hawthornes, to which they went immediately.

Since the death of Julius Casar, comets have always been looked upon as
the forerunners of pestilence and war, but wars are sometimes
blessings, and Donati's discovery proved a harbinger of good to Italy,
--but to the Hawthornes, a prediction of evil. Continually in
Hawthorne's Italian journal we meet with references to the Roman
malaria, as if it were a subject that occupied his thoughts, and
nowhere is this more common than during the return-journey from
Florence. Did it occur to him that the lightning might strike in his
own house? No sensible American now would take his children to Rome
unless for a very brief visit; and yet William Story brought up his
family there with excellent success, so far as health was concerned.

We can believe that Hawthorne took every possible precaution, so far as
he knew, but in spite of that on November 1 his eldest daughter was
seized with Roman fever, and for six weeks thereafter lay trembling
between life and death, so that it seemed as if a feather might turn
the balance.

She does not appear to have been imprudent. Her father believed that
the "old hag" breathed upon her while she was with her mother, who was
sketching in the Palace of the Casars; but the Palatine Hill is on high
ground, with a foundation of solid masonry, and was guarded by French
soldiers, and it would have been difficult to find a more cleanly spot
in the city. A German count, who lived in a villa on the Calian Hill,
close by, considered his residence one of the most healthful in Rome.
Miss Una had a passionate attachment for the capital of the ancient
world; and it seems as if the evil spirit of the place had seized upon
her, as the Ice Maiden is supposed to entrap chamois hunters in the
Alps.

One of the evils attendant on sickness in a foreign country is, the
uncertainty in regard to a doctor, and this naturally leads to a
distrust and suspicion of the one that is employed. Even so shrewd a
man as Bismarck fell into the hands of a charlatan at St. Petersburg
and suffered severely in consequence. Hawthorne either had a similar
experience, or, what came to the same thing, believed that he did. He
considered himself obliged to change doctors for his daughter, and this
added to his care and anxiety. During the next four months he wrote not
a word in his journal (or elsewhere, so far as we know), and he visibly
aged before his wife's eyes. He went to walk on occasion with Story or
Thompson, but it was merely for the preservation of his own health. His
thoughts were always in his daughter's chamber, and this was so
strongly marked upon his face that any one could read it. Toward the
Ides of March, Miss Una was sufficiently improved to take a short look
at the carnival, but it was two months later before she was in a
condition to travel, and neither she nor her father ever wholly
recovered from the effects of this sad experience.




CHAPTER XVI

"THE MARBLE FAUN": 1859-1860


What the Roman carnival was a hundred and fifty years ago, when the
Italian princes poured out their wealth upon it, and when it served as
a medium for the communication of lovers as well as for social and
political intrigue, which sometimes resulted in conflicts like those of
the Montagues and Capulets, can only be imagined. Goethe witnessed it
from a balcony in the Corso, and his carnival in the second part of
"Faust" was worked up from notes taken on that occasion; but it is so
highly poetized that little can be determined from it, except as a
portion of the drama. By Hawthorne's time the aristocratic Italians had
long since given up their favorite holiday to English and American
travellers,--crowded out, as it were, by the superiority of money; and
since the advent of Victor Emmanuel, the carnival has become so
democratic that you are more likely to encounter your landlady's
daughter there than any more distinguished person. Hawthorne's
description of it in "The Marble Faun" is not overdrawn, and is one of
the happiest passages in the book.

The carnival of 1859 was an exceptionally brilliant one. The Prince of
Wales attended it with a suite of young English nobles, who, always
decorous and polite on public occasions, nevertheless infused great
spirit into the proceedings. Sumner and Motley were there, and Motley
rented a balcony in a palace, to which the Hawthornes received general
and repeated invitations. On March 7, Miss Una was driven through the
Corso in a barouche, and the Prince of Wales threw her a bouquet,
probably recognizing her father, who was with her; and to prove his
good intentions he threw her another, when her carriage returned from
the Piazza, del Popolo. The present English sovereign has always been
noted for a sort of journalistic interest in prominent men of letters,
science, and public affairs, and it is likely that he was better
informed in regard to the Hawthornes than they imagined. Hawthorne
himself was too much subdued by his recent trial to enter into the
spirit of the carnival, even with a heart much relieved from anxiety,
but he sometimes appeared in the Motleys' balcony, and sometimes went
along the narrow sidewalk of the Corso, "for an hour or so among the
people, just on the edges of the fun." Sumner invited Mrs. Hawthorne to
take a stroll and see pictures with him, from which she returned
delighted with his criticisms and erudition.

A few days later Franklin Pierce suddenly appeared at No. 68 Piazza
Poli, with that shadow on his face which was never wholly to leave it.
The man who fears God and keeps his commandments will never feel quite
alone in the world; but for the man who lives on popularity, what will
there be left when that forsakes him? Hawthorne was almost shocked at
the change in his friend's appearance; not only at his gray hair and
wrinkled brow, but at the change in his voice, and at a certain lack of
substance in him, as if the personal magnetism had gone out of him.
Hawthorne went to walk with him, and tried to encourage him by
suggesting another term of the presidency, but this did not help much,
for even Pierce's own State had deserted him,--a fact of which
Hawthorne may not have been aware. The companionship of his old friend,
however, and the manifold novelty of Rome itself, somewhat revived the
ex-President, as may be imagined; and a month later he left for Venice,
in better spirits than he came.

They celebrated the Ides of March by going to see Harriet Hosmer's
statue of Zenobia, which was afterward exhibited in America. Hawthorne
immediately detected its resemblance to the antique,--the figure was in
fact a pure plagiarism from the smaller statue of Ceres in the
Vatican,--but Miss Hosmer succeeded in giving the face an expression of
injured and sorrowing majesty, which Hawthorne was equally ready to
appreciate.

On this second visit to Rome he became acquainted with a sculptor,
whose name is not given, but who criticised Hiram Powers with a rather
suspicious severity. He would not allow Powers "to be an artist at all,
or to know anything of the laws of art," although acknowledging him to
be a great bust-maker, and to have put together the "Greek Slave" and
the "Fisher-Boy" very ingeniously. "The latter, however (he says), is
copied from the Spinario in the _Tribune_ of the Uffizi; and the
former made up of beauties that had no reference to one another; and he
affirms that Powers is ready to sell, and has actually sold, the 'Greek
Slave,' limb by limb, dismembering it by reversing the process of
putting it together. Powers knows nothing scientifically of the human
frame, and only succeeds in representing it, as a natural bone-doctor
succeeds in setting a dislocated limb, by a happy accident or special
providence." [Footnote: Italian Note-book, 483.]

We may judge, from "the style, the matter, and the drift" of this
discourse, that it emanated from the same sculptor who is mentioned, in
"Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife," as having traduced Margaret Fuller
and her husband Count Ossoli. As Tennyson says, "A lie that is half a
truth is ever the blackest of lies," and this fellow would seem to have
been an adept in unveracious exaggeration. It is remarkable that
Hawthorne should have given serious attention to such a man; but an
English critic said in regard to this same incident that if Hawthorne
had been a more communicative person, if he had talked freely to a
larger number of people, he would not have been so easily prejudiced by
those few with whom he was chiefly intimate. To which it could be
added, that he might also have taken broader views in regard to public
affairs.

Hawthorne was fortunate to have been present at the discovery of the
St. Petersburg "Venus," the twin sister of the "Venus de Medici," which
was dug up in a vineyard outside the Porta Portese. The proprietor of
the vineyard, who made his fortune at a stroke by the discovery,
happened to select the site for a new building over the buried ruins of
an ancient villa, and the "Venus" was discovered in what appeared to
Hawthorne as an old Roman bath-room. The statue was in more perfect
preservation than the "Venus de Medici," both of whose arms have been
restored, and Hawthorne noticed that the head was larger and the face
more characteristic, with wide-open eyes and a more confident
expression. He was one of the very few who saw it before it was
transported to St. Petersburg, and a thorough artistic analysis of it
is still one of the _desiderata_. The difference in expression,
however, would seem to be in favor of the "Venus de Medici," as more in
accordance with the ruling motive of the figure.

Miss Una Hawthorne had not sufficiently recovered to travel until the
last of May, when they all set forth northward by way of Genoa and
Marseilles, in which latter place we find them on the 28th, enjoying
the comfort and elegance of a good French hotel. Thence they proceeded
to Avignon, but did not find much to admire there except the Rhone; so
they continued to Geneva, the most pleasant, homelike resting place in
Europe, but quite deficient in other attractions.

It seems as if Hawthorne's Roman friends were somewhat remiss in not
giving him better advice in regard to European travelling. At Geneva he
was within a stone's throw of Chamounix, and hardly more than that of
Strasburg Cathedral, and yet he visited neither. Why did he go out of
his way to see so little and to miss so much? He went across the lake
to visit Lausanne and the Castle of Chillon, and he was more than
astonished at the view of the Pennine Alps from the deck of the
steamer. He had never imagined anything like it; and he might have said
the same if he had visited Cologne Cathedral. Instead of that, however,
he hurried through France again, with the intention of sailing for
America the middle of July; but after reaching London he concluded to
remain another year in England, to write his "Romance of Monte Beni,"
and obtain an English copyright for it.

He left Geneva on June 15, and as he turned his face northward, he felt
that Henry Bright and Francis Bennoch were his only real friends in
Great Britain. There could hardly have been a stronger contrast than
these two. Bright was tall, slender, rather pale for an Englishman,
grave and philosophical. Bennoch was short, plump, lively and jovial,
with a ready fund of humor much in the style of Dickens, with whom he
was personally acquainted. Yet Hawthorne recognized that Bright and
Bennoch liked him for what he was, in and of himself, and not for his
celebrity alone.

Bright was in London when Hawthorne reached there, and proposed that
they should go together to call on Sumner, [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, ii.
223.] who had been cured from the effects of Brooks's assault by an
equally heroic treatment; but Hawthorne objected that as neither of
them was Lord Chancellor, Sumner would not be likely to pay them much
attention; to which Bright replied, that Sumner had been very kind to
him in America, and they accordingly went. Sumner was kind to
thousands,--the kindest as well as the most upright man of his time,--
and no one in America, except Longfellow, appreciated Hawthorne so
well; but he was the champion of the anti-slavery movement and the
inveterate opponent of President Pierce. I suppose a man's mind cannot
help being colored somewhat by such conditions and influences.

Hawthorne wished for a quiet, healthful place, where he could write his
romance without the disturbances that are incident to celebrity, and
his friends recommended Redcar, on the eastern coast of Yorkshire, a
town that otherwise Americans would not have heard of. He went there
about the middle of July, remaining until the 5th of October, but of
his life there we know nothing except that he must have worked
assiduously, for in that space of time he nearly finished a book
containing almost twice as many pages as "The Scarlet Letter."
Meanwhile Mrs. Hawthorne entertained the children and kept them from
interfering with their father (in his small cottage), by making a
collection of sea-mosses, which Una and Julian gathered at low tides,
and which their mother afterward dried and preserved on paper. On
October 4th Una Hawthorne wrote to her aunt, Elizabeth Peabody:

"Our last day in Redcar, 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."

[Footnote: Mrs. Lathrop, 35 a.]

One can see that it was a pleasant place even after the days had begun
to shorten, which they do very rapidly in northern England. From
Redcar, Hawthorne went to Leamington, where he finished his romance
about the first of December, and remained until some time in March,
living quietly and making occasional pedestrian tours to neighboring
towns. He was particularly fond of the walk to Warwick Castle, and of
standing on the bridge which crosses the Avon, and gazing at the walls
of the Castle, as they rise above the trees--"as fine a piece of
English scenery as exists anywhere; the gray towers and long line of
windows of the lordly castle, with a picturesquely varied outline;
ancient strength, a little softened by decay." It is a view that has
often been sketched, painted and engraved.

The romance was written, but had to be revised, the least pleasant
portion of an author's duties,--unless he chooses to make the index
himself. This required five or six weeks longer, after which Hawthorne
went to London and arranged for its publication with Smith & Elder, who
agreed to bring it out in three volumes--although two would have been
quite sufficient; but according to English ideas, the length of a work
of fiction adds to its importance. Unfortunately, Smith & Elder also
desired to cater to the more prosaic class of readers by changing the
name of the romance from "The Marble Faun" to "Transformation," and
they appear to have done this without consulting Hawthorne's wishes in
the matter. It was simply squeezing the title dry of all poetic
suggestions; and it would have been quite as appropriate to change the
name of "The Scarlet Letter" to "The Clergyman's Penance," or to call
"The Blithedale Romance" "The Suicide of a Jilt." If Smith & Elder
considered "The Marble Faun" too recondite a title for the English
public, what better name could they have hit upon than "The Romance of
Monte Beni"? Would not the Count of Monte Beni be a cousin Italian, as
it were, to the Count of Monte Cristo? We are thankful to observe that
when Hawthorne published the book in America, he had his own way in
regard to this point.

It was now that a new star was rising in the literary firmament, not of
the "shooting" or transitory species, and the genius of Marian Evans
(George Eliot) was casting its genial penetrating radiance over Great
Britain and the United States. She was as difficult a person to meet
with as Hawthorne himself, and they never saw one another; but a friend
of Mr. Bennoch, who lived at Coventry, invited the Hawthornes there in
the first week of February to meet Bennoch and others, and Marian Evans
would seem to have been the chief subject of conversation at the table
that evening. What Hawthorne gathered concerning her on that occasion
he has preserved in this compact and discriminating statement:

"Miss Evans (who wrote 'Adam Bede') was the daughter of a steward, and
gained her exact knowledge of English rural life by the connection with
which this origin brought her with the farmers. She was entirely self-
educated, and has made herself an admirable scholar in classical as
well as in modern languages. Those who knew her had always recognized
her wonderful endowments, and only watched to see in what way they
would develop themselves. She is a person of the simplest manners and
character, amiable and unpretending, and Mrs. B---- spoke of her with
great affection and respect."

There is actually more of the real George Eliot in this summary than in
the three volumes of her biography by Mr. Cross.

Thorwaldsen's well-known simile in regard to the three stages of
sculpture, the life, the death and the resurrection, also has its
application to literature. The manuscript is the birth of an author's
work, and its revision always seems like taking the life out of it; but
when the proof comes, it is like a new birth, and he sees his design
for the first time in its true proportions. Then he goes over it as the
sculptor does his newly-cast bronze, smoothing the rough places and
giving it those final touches which serve to make its expression
clearer. Hawthorne was never more to be envied than while correcting
the proof of "The Marble Faun" at Leamington. The book was given to the
public at Easter-time; and there seems to have been only one person in
England that appreciated it, even as a work of art--John Lothrop
Motley. The most distinguished reviewers wholly failed to catch the
significance of it; and even Henry Bright, while warmly admiring the
story, expressed a dissatisfaction at the conclusion of it,--although
he could have found a notable precedent for that in Goethe's "Wilhelm
Meister." The _Saturday Review_, a publication similar in tone to
the New York _Nation_, said of "Transformation:"

[Footnote: J. Hawthorne, ii. 250.]

"A mystery is set before us to unriddle; at the end the author turns
round and asks us what is the good of solving it. That the impression
of emptiness and un-meaningness thus produced is in itself a blemish to
the work no one can deny. Mr. Hawthorne really trades upon the honesty
of other writers. We feel a sort of interest in the story, slightly and
sketchily as it is told, because our experience of other novels leads
us to assume that, when an author pretends to have a plot, he has one."

The _Art Journal_ said of it: [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, ii. 249.]

"We are not to accept this book as a story; in that respect it is
grievously deficient. The characters are utterly untrue to nature and
to fact; they speak, all and always, the sentiments of the author;
their words also are his; there is no one of them for which the world
has furnished a model."

And the London _Athenaeum_ said: [Footnote: Ibid., ii. 244.]

"To Mr. Hawthorne truth always seems to arrive through the medium of
the imagination.... His hero, the Count of Monte Beni, would never have
lived had not the Faun of Praxiteles stirred the author's
admiration.... The other characters, Mr. Hawthorne must bear to be
told, are not new to a tale of his. Miriam, the mysterious, with her
hideous tormentor, was indicated in the Zenobia of 'The Blithedale
Romance.' Hilda, the pure and innocent, is own cousin to Phoebe in 'The
House of the Seven Gables'."

If the reviewer is to be reviewed, it is not too much to designate
these criticisms as miserable failures. They are not even well written.
Henry Bright seemed to be thankful that they were no worse, for he
wrote to Hawthorne: "I am glad that sulky _Athenaeum_ was so
civil; for they are equally powerful and unprincipled." The writer in
the _Athenaeum_ evidently belonged to that class of domineering
critics who have no literary standing, but who, like bankers' clerks,
arrogate to themselves all the importance of the establishment with
which they are connected. Fortunately, there are few such in America.
No keen-witted reader would ever confound the active, rosy, domestic
Phoebe Pyncheon with the dreamy, sensitive, and strongly subjective
Hilda of "The Marble Faun;" and Hawthorne might have sent a
communication to the _Athenaeum_ to refresh the reviewer's memory,
for it was not Zenobia in "The Blithedale Romance" who was dogged by a
mysterious persecutor, but her half-sister--Priscilla. Shakespeare's
Beatrice and his Rosalind are more alike (for Brandes supposes them to
have been taken from the same model) than Zenobia and Miriam; and the
difference between the persecutors of Priscilla and Miriam, as well as
their respective methods, is world-wide; but there are none so blind as
those who are enveloped in the turbid medium of their self-conceit.

The pure-hearted, chivalrous Motley read these reviews, and wrote to
Hawthorne a vindication of his work, which must have seemed to him like
a broad belt of New England sunshine in the midst of the London fog. In
reference to its disparagement by so-called authorities, Motley said:
[Footnote: Mrs. Lathrop, 408.]

"I have said a dozen times that nobody can write English but you. With
regard to the story which has been  slightingly 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 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 everyday novel. It is exactly the romantic
atmosphere of the book in which I revel."

The calm face of Motley, with his classic features, rises before us as
we read this, illumined as it were by "the mild radiance of a hidden
sun." He also had known what it was to be disparaged by English
periodicals; and if it had not been for Froude's spirited assertion in
his behalf, his history of the Dutch Republic might not have met with
the celebrity it deserved. He was aware of the difference between a
Hawthorne and a Reade or a Trollope, and knew how unfair it would be to
judge Hawthorne even by the same standard as Thackeray. He does not
touch in this letter on the philosophical character of the work,
although that must have been evident to him, for he had said enough
without it; but one could wish that he had printed the above statement
over his own name, in some English journal.

American reviewers were equally puzzled by "The Marble Faun," and,
although it was generally praised here, the literary critics treated it
in rather a cautious manner, as if it contained material of a dangerous
nature. The _North American_, which should have devoted five or
six pages to it, gave it less than one; praising it in a conventional
and rather unsympathetic tone. Longfellow read it, and wrote in his
diary, "A wonderful book; but with the old, dull pain in it that runs
through all Hawthorne's writings." There was always something of this
dull pain in the expression of Hawthorne's face.


ANALYSIS OF "THE MARBLE FAUN"

It is like a picture, or a succession of pictures, painted in what the
Italians call the _sfumato_, or "smoky" manner. The book is
pervaded with the spirit of a dreamy pathos, such as constitutes the
mental atmosphere of modern Rome; not unlike the haze of an Indian
summer day, which we only half enjoy from a foreboding of the approach
of winter. All outlines are softened and partially blurred in it, as
time and decay have softened the outlines of the old Roman ruins. We
recognize the same style with which we are familiar in "The Scarlet
Letter," but influenced by a change in Hawthorne's external
impressions.

It is a rare opportunity when the work of a great writer can be traced
back to its first nebulous conception, as we trace the design of a
pictorial artist to the first drawing that he made for his subject.
Although we cannot witness the development of the plot of this romance
in Hawthorne's mind, it is much to see in what manner the different
elements of which it is composed, first presented themselves to him,
and how he adapted them to his purpose.

The first of these in order of time was the beautiful Jewess, whom he
met at the Lord Mayor's banquet in London; who attracted him by her
_tout ensemble_, but at the same time repelled him by an indefinable
impression, a mysterious something, that he could not analyze. There would
seem, however, to have been another Jewess connected with the character
of Miriam; for I once heard Mrs. Hawthorne narrating a story in which she
stated that she and her husband were driving through London in a cab,
and passing close to the sidewalk in a crowded street they saw a beautiful
woman, with black hair and a ruddy complexion, walking with the most ill-
favored and disagreeable looking Jew that could be imagined; and on the
woman's face there was an expression of such deep-seated unhappiness that
Hawthorne and his wife turned to each other, and he said, "I think that
woman's face will always haunt me." I did not hear the beginning of Mrs.
Hawthorne's tale, but I always supposed that it related to "The Marble
Faun," and it would seem as if the character of Miriam was a composite
of these two daughters of Israel, uniting the enigmatical quality of one
with the unfortunate companionship of the other, and the beauty of both.

As previously noticed, the portrait of Beatrice Cenci excited a deeply
penetrating interest in Hawthorne, and his reflections on it day after
day would naturally lead him to a similar design in regard to the
romance which he was contemplating. The attribution of a catastrophe
like Beatrice's to either of the two Jewesses, would of course be
adventitious, and should be considered in the light of an artistic
privilege.

The "Faun" of Praxiteles in the museum of the Capitol next attracted
his attention. This is but a poor copy of the original; but he
penetrated the motive of the sculptor with those deep-seeing eyes of
his, and there is no analysis of an ancient statue by Brunn or
Furtwangler that equals Hawthorne's description of this one. It seems
as if he must have looked backward across the centuries into the very
mind of Praxiteles, and he was, in fact, the first critic to appreciate
its high value. The perfect ease and simple beauty of the figure belong
to a higher grade of art than the Apollo Belvedere, and Hawthorne
discovered what Winckelmann had overlooked. He immediately conceived
the idea of bringing the faun to life, and seeing how he would behave
and comport himself in the modern world--in brief, to use the design of
Praxiteles as the mainspring of a romance. In the evening of April 22,
1858, he wrote in his journal:

[Illustration: STATUE OF PRAXITELES' RESTING FAUN, WHICH HAWTHORNE HAS
DESCRIBED AND BROUGHT TO LIFE IN THE CHARACTER OF DONATELLO]

"I looked at the Faun of Praxiteles, and was sensible of a peculiar
charm in it; a sylvan beauty and homeliness, friendly and wild at once.
It seems to me that a story, with all sorts of fun and pathos in it,
might be contrived on the idea of their species having become
intermingled with the human race; a family with the faun blood in them,
having prolonged itself from the classic era till our own days. The
tail might have disappeared, by dint of constant intermarriages with
ordinary mortals; but the pretty hairy ears should occasionally
reappear in members of the family; and the moral instincts and
intellectual characteristics of the faun might be most picturesquely
brought out, without detriment to the human interest of the story."

This statue served to concentrate the various speculative objects which
had been hovering before Hawthorne's imagination during the past
winter, and when he reached Florence six weeks later, the chief details
of the plot were already developed in his mind.

Hilda and Kenyon are, of course, subordinate characters, like the first
walking lady and the first walking gentleman on the stage. They are the
sympathetic friends who watch the progress of the drama, continually
hoping to be of service, but still finding themselves powerless to
prevent the catastrophe. It was perhaps their unselfish interest in
their mutual friends that at length taught them to know each other's
worth, so that they finally became more than friends to one another.
True love, to be firmly based, requires such a mutual interest or
common ground on which the parties can meet,--something in addition to
the usual attraction of the sexes. Mrs. Hawthorne has been supposed by
some to have been the original of Hilda; and by others her daughter
Una.

Conway holds an exceptional opinion, that Hilda was the feminine
counterpart of Hawthorne himself; but Hilda is only too transparent a
character, while Hawthorne always was, and still remains, impenetrable;
and there was enough of her father in Miss Una, to render the same
objection applicable in her case. Hilda seems to me very much like Mrs.
Hawthorne, as one may imagine her in her younger days; like her in her
mental purity, her conscientiousness, her devotion to her art,--which
we trust afterwards was transformed into a devotion to her husband,--
her tendency to self-seclusion, her sensitiveness and her lack of
decisive resolution. She is essentially what they call on the stage an
_ingenue_ character; that is, one that remains inexperienced in
the midst of experience; and it is in this character that she
contributes to the catastrophe of the drama.

If Hawthorne appears anywhere in his own fiction, it is not in "The
Blithedale Romance," but in the role of Kenyon. Although Kenyon's
profession is that of a sculptor, he is not to be confounded with the
gay and versatile Story. Neither is he statuesque, as the English
reviewer criticised him. He is rather a shadowy character, as Hawthorne
himself was shadowy, and as an author always must be shadowy to his
readers; but Kenyon is to Hawthorne what Prospero is to Shakespeare,
and if he does not make use of magic arts, it is because they no longer
serve their purpose in human affairs. He is a wise, all-seeing,
sympathetic mind, and his active influence in the play is less
conspicuous because it is always so quiet, and so correct.

It will be noticed that the first chapter and the last chapter of this
romance have the same title: "Miriam, Hilda, Kenyon, Donatello." This
is according to their respective ages and sexes; but it is also the
terms of a proportion,--as Miriam is to Hilda, so is Kenyon to
Donatello. As the experienced woman is to the inexperienced woman, so
is the experienced man to the inexperienced man. This seems simple
enough, but it has momentous consequences in the story. Donatello, who
is a type of natural but untried virtue, falls in love with Miriam, not
only for her beauty, but because she has acquired that worldly
experience which he lacks. Hilda, suddenly aroused to a sense of her
danger in the isolated life she is leading, accepts Kenyon as a
protector. The means in this proportion come together and unite,
because they are the mean terms, and pursue a medium course. The
extremes fly apart and are separated, simply because they are extremes.
But there is a spiritual bond between them, invisible, but stronger
than steel, which will bring them together again--at the Day of
Judgment, if not sooner.

All tragedy is an investigation or exemplification of that form of
human error which we call sin; a catastrophe of nature or a simple
error of judgment may be tragical, but will not constitute a tragedy
without the moral or poetic element.

In "The Scarlet Letter," we have the sin of concealment and its
consequences. The first step toward reformation is confession, and
without that, repentance is little more than a good intention.

In "The House of the Seven Gables," Hawthorne has treated the sin of
hypocrisy--a smiling politician who courts popularity and pretends to
be everybody's friend, and agrees with everybody,--only with a slight
reservation. There may be occasions on which hypocrisy is a virtue; but
the habit of hypocrisy for personal ends is like a dry rot in the heart
of man.

In "The Blithedale Romance," we find the sin of moral affectation.
Neither Hollingsworth nor Zenobia is really what they pretend
themselves to be. Their morality is a hollow shell, and gives way to
the first effective temptation. Zenobia betrays Priscilla; and is
betrayed in turn by Hollingsworth,--as well as the interests of the
association which had been committed to his charge.

The kernel of "The Marble Faun" is _original sin_. It is a story
of the fall of man, told again in the light of modern science. It is a
wonderful coincidence that almost in the same months that Hawthorne was
writing this romance, Charles Darwin was also finishing his work on the
"Origin of Species;" for one is the moral counterpart of the other.
Hawthorne did not read scientific and philosophical books, but he may
have heard something of Darwin's undertaking in England, as well as
Napoleon's prophetic statement at St. Helena, that all the animals form
an ascending series, leading up to man. [Footnote: Dr. O'Meara's "A
Voice from St. Helena."] The skeleton of a prehistoric man discovered
in the Neanderthal cave, which was supposed to have proved the
Darwinian theory, does not suggest a figure similar to the "Faun" of
Praxiteles, but the followers of Darwin have frequently adverted to the
Hellenic traditions of fauns and satyrs in support of their theory.
Hawthorne, however, has made a long stride beyond Darwin, for he has
endeavored to reconcile this view of creation with the Mosaic
cosmogony; and it must be admitted that he has been fairly successful.
The lesson that Hawthorne teaches is, that evil does not reside in
error, but in neglecting to be instructed by our errors. It is this
which makes the difference between a St. Paul and a Nero. The fall of
man was only apparent; it was really a rise in life. The Garden of Eden
prefigures the childhood of the human race. Do we not all go through
this idyllic moral condition in childhood, learning through our errors
that the only true happiness consists in self-control? Do not all
judicious parents protect their children from a knowledge of the
world's wickedness, so long as it is possible to prevent it,--and yet
not too long, for then they would become unfitted for their struggle
with the world, and in order to avoid the pitfalls of mature life they
must know where the pitfalls are. It is no longer essential for the
individual to pass through the Cain and Abel experience--that has been
accomplished by the race as a whole; but it is quite possible to
imagine an incipient condition of society in which the distinction of
justifiable homicide in self-defence (which is really the justification
of war between nations) has not yet obtained.

Hawthorne's Donatello is supposed to belong, in theory at least, to
that primitive era; but it is not necessary to go back further than the
feudal period to look for a man who never has known a will above his
own. Donatello seizes Miriam's tormentor and casts him down the
Tarpeian Rock,--from the same instinct, or clairvoyant perception, that
a hound springs at the throat of his master's enemy. When the deed is
done he recognizes that the punishment is out of all proportion to the
offence,--which is in itself the primary recognition of a penal code,--
and more especially that the judgment of man is against him. He
realizes for the first time the fearful possibilities of his nature,
and begins to reflect. He is a changed person; and if not changed for
the better yet with a possibility of great improvement in the future.
His act was at least an unselfish one, and it might serve as the
argument for a debate, whether Donatello did not do society a service
in ridding the earth of such a human monstrosity. Hawthorne has
adjusted the moral balance of his case so nicely, that a single scruple
would turn the scales.

The tradition among the Greeks and Romans, of a Golden Age, corresponds
in a manner to the Garden of Eden of Semitic belief. There may be some
truth in it. Captain Speke, while exploring the sources of the Nile,
discovered in central Africa a negro tribe uncontaminated by European
traders, and as innocent of guile as the antelopes upon their own
plains; and this suggests to us that all families and races of men may
have passed through the Donatello stage of existence.

Hawthorne's master-stroke in the romance is his description or analysis
of the effect produced by this homicide on the different members of the
group to which he has introduced us. The experienced and worldly-wise
Kenyon is not informed of the deed until his engagement to Hilda, but
he has sufficient reason to suspect something of the kind from the
simultaneous disappearance of Donatello and the model, as well as from
the sudden change in Miriam's behavior. Yet he does not treat Donatello
with any lack of confidence. He visits him at his castle of Monte Beni,
which is simply the Villa Manteuto somewhat idealized and removed into
the recesses of the Apennines; he consoles him in his melancholy humor;
tries to divert him from gloomy thoughts; and meanwhile watches with a
keen eye and friendly solicitude for the _denouement_ of this
mysterious drama. If he had seen what Hilda saw, he would probably have
left Rome as quickly as possible, never to return; and Donatello's fate
might have been different.

The effect on the sensitive and inexperienced Hilda was like a horrible
nightmare. She cannot believe her senses, and yet she has to believe
them. It seems to her as if the fiery pit has yawned between her and
the rest of the human race. Her position is much like that of Hamlet,
and the effect on her is somewhat similar. She thrusts Miriam from her
with bitterness; yet forms no definite resolutions, and does she knows
not what; until, overburdened by the consciousness of her fatal secret,
she discloses the affair to an unknown priest in the church of St.
Peter. Neither does she seem to be aware at any time of the serious
consequences of this action.

Miriam, more experienced even than Kenyon, is not affected by the death
of her tormentor so much directly as she is by its influence on
Donatello. Hitherto she had been indifferently pleased by his
admiration for her; now the tables are turned and she conceives the
very strongest attachment for him. She follows him to his castle in
disguise, dogs his footsteps on the excursion which he and Kenyon make
together, shadows his presence again in Rome, and is with him at the
moment of his arrest. This is all that we know of her from the time of
her last unhappy interview with Hilda. Her crime consisted merely in a
look,--the expression of her eyes,--and the whole world is free to her;
but her heart is imprisoned in the same cell with Donatello. There is
not a more powerful ethical effect in Dante or Sophocles.

A certain French writer [Footnote: Name forgotten, but the fact is
indelible.] blames Hilda severely for her betrayal of Miriam (who was
at least her best friend in Rome), and furthermore designates her as an
immoral character. This, we may suppose, is intended for a hit at New
England Puritanism; and from the French stand-point, it is not unfair.
Hilda represents Puritanism in its weakness and in its strength. It is
true, what Hamlet says, that "conscience makes cowards of us all," but
only true under conditions like those of Hamlet,--desperate
emergencies, which require exceptional expedients. On the contrary, in
carrying out a great reform like the abolition of slavery, the
education of the blind, or the foundation of national unity, a man's
conscience becomes a tower of strength to him. As already intimated,
what Hilda ought to have done was, to leave Rome at once, and forever;
but she is no more capable of forming such a resolution, than Hamlet
was of organizing a conspiracy against his usurping uncle. When,
however, the priest steps out from the confessional-box and attempts to
make a convert of Hilda,--for which indeed she has given him a fair
opening,--she asserts herself and her New England training, with true
feminine dignity, and in fact has decidedly the best of the argument.
It is a trying situation, in which she develops unexpected resources.
Hawthorne's genius never shone forth more brilliantly than in this
scene at St. Peter's. It is Shakespearian.

Much dissatisfaction was expressed when "The Marble Faun" was first
published, at the general vagueness of its conclusion. Hawthorne's
admirers wished especially for some clearer explanation of Miriam's
earlier life, and of her relation to the strange apparition of the
catacombs. He answered these interrogatories in a supplementary chapter
which practically left the subject where it was before--an additional
piece of mystification. In a letter to Henry Bright he admitted that he
had no very definite scheme in his mind in regard to Miriam's previous
history, and this is probably the reason why his readers feel this
vague sense of dissatisfaction with the plot. I have myself often tried
to think out a prelude to the story, but without any definite result.
Miriam's persecuting model was evidently a husband who had been forced
upon her by her parents, and would not that be sufficient to account
for her moods of gloom and despondency? Yet Hawthorne repeatedly
intimates that there was something more than this. Let us not think of
it. If the tale was not framed in mystery, Donatello would not seem so
real to us. Do not the characters in "Don Quixote" and "Wilhelm
Meister" spring up as it were out of the ground? They come we know not
whence, and they go we know not whither. It is with these that "The
Marble Faun" should be classed and compared, and not with "Middle-
march," "Henry Esmond," or "The Heart of Midlothian."

[Illustration: TORRE MEDIAVALLE DELLA SCIMMIA (HILDA'S TOWER), OF THE
VIA PORTOGHESE AT ROME, WHERE HAWTHORNE REPRESENTS HILDA TO HAVE LIVED
AND TENDED THE LAMP AT THE VIRGIN'S SHRINE ON THE TOP OF THE TOWER]

Goethe said, while looking at the group of the "Laocoon," "I think that
young fellow on the right will escape the serpents." This was not
according to the story Virgil tells, but it is true to natural history.
Similarly, it is pleasant to think that the Pope's mercy may ultimately
have been extended to Donatello. We can imagine an aged couple living a
serious, retired life in the castle of Monte Beni, childless, and to a
certain extent joyless, but taking comfort in their mutual affection,
and in acts of kindness to their fellow-mortals.

In order to see Hilda's tower in Rome, go straight down from the
Spanish Steps to the Corso, turn to the right, and you will soon come
to the Via Portoghese (on the opposite side), where you will easily
recognize the tower on the right hand. The tower is five stories in
height, set in the front of the palace, and would seem to be older than
the building about it; the relic, perhaps, of some distinguished
mediaeval structure. The odd little shrine to the Virgin, a toy-like
affair, still surmounts it; but its lamp is no longer burning. It was
fine imagination to place Hilda in this lofty abode.




CHAPTER XVII

HOMEWARD BOUND: 1860-1862


There is no portion of Hawthorne's life concerning which we know less
than the four years after his return from England to his native land.
He was so celebrated that every eye was upon him; boys stopped their
games to see him pass by, and farmers stood still in the road to stare
at him. He was Hawthorne the famous, and every movement he made was
remembered, every word spoken by him was recorded or related, and yet
altogether it amounts to little enough. Letters have been preserved in
number,--many of his own and others from his English friends, and those
from his wife to her relatives; but they do not add much to the picture
we have already formed in our minds of the man. As he said somewhere,
fame had come too late to be a satisfaction to him, but on the contrary
more of an annoyance. Hawthorne left Leamington the last of March, and
transferred his family to Bath, which he soon discovered to be the
pleasantest English city he had lived in yet,--symmetrically laid out,
like a Continental city, and built for the most part of a yellowish
sandstone; not unlike in appearance the travertine of which St. Peter's
at Rome is built. The older portion of the city lies in a hollow among
the hills, like an amphitheatre, and the more recent additions rise
upon the hill-sides above it to a considerable height. This is the last
note of enthusiasm in his writings; and in the next entry in his diary,
which was written at Lothrop Motley's house, Hertford Street, London,
May 16, he makes this ominous confession: "I would gladly journalize
some of my proceedings, and describe things and people, but I find the
same coldness and stiffness in my pen as always since our return to
England." It is only too evident that from this time literary
composition, which had been the chief recreation of his youth, and in
which he had always found satisfaction until now, was no longer a
pleasure to him. It is the last entry in his journal, at least for more
than two years, and whatever writing he accomplished in the mean time
was done for the sake of his wife and children. Dickens had a similar
experience the last year of his life. Clearly, Hawthorne's nervous
force was waning.

On May 15, Hawthorne and Motley were invited to dine by Earl Dufferin,
that admirable diplomat and one of the pleasantest of men. In fact, if
there was a person living who could make Hawthorne feel perfectly at
his ease, it was Dufferin. Motley provided some entertainment or other
for his guest every day, and Hawthorne confessed that the stir and
activity of London life were doing him "a wonderful deal of good." What
he seems to have needed at this time was a vigorous, objective
employment that would give his circulation a start in the right
direction; but how was he to obtain that?

He enjoyed one last stroll with Henry Bright through Hyde Park and
along the Strand, and found time to say a long farewell to Francis
Bennoch: the last time he was to meet either of them on this side of
eternity.

He returned to Bath the 1st of June, and ten days later they all
embarked for Boston,--as it happened, by a pleasant coincidence, with
the same captain with whom they had left America seven years before.
Mrs. Hawthorne's sister, Mrs. Horace Mann, prepared their house at
Concord for their reception, and there they arrived at the summer
solstice.

The good people of Concord had been mightily stirred up that spring, by
an attempt to arrest Frank B. Sanborn and carry him forcibly to
Washington,--contrary to law, as the Supreme Court of the State decided
the following day. The marshal who arrested him certainly proceeded
more after the manner of a burglar than of a civil officer, hiding
himself with his _posse comitatus_ in a barn close to Sanborn's
school-house, watching his proceedings through the cracks in the
boards, and finally arresting him at night, just as he was going to
bed; but the alarm was quickly sounded, and the whole male population
of the place, including Emerson, turned out like a swarm of angry
hornets, and the marshal and his posse were soon thankful to escape
with their bones in a normal condition. A few nights later, the barn,
which was owned by a prominent official in the Boston Custom House, was
burned to the ground (the fire-company assisting), as a sacrifice on
the altar of personal liberty.

The excitement of this event had not yet subsided when the arrival of
the Hawthorne family produced a milder and more amiable, but no less
profound, sensation in the old settlement; and this was considerably
increased by the fact that for the first month nothing was seen of
them, except a sturdy-looking boy fishing from a rock in Concord River,
opposite the spot where his father and Channing had discovered the
unfortunate school-mistress. Old friends made their calls and were
cordially received, but Hawthorne himself did not appear in public
places; and it was soon noticed that he did not take the long walks
which formerly carried him to the outer limits of the town. He was
sometimes met on the way to Walden Pond, either alone or in company
with his son; but Bronson Alcott more frequently noticed him gliding
along in a ghost-like manner by the rustic fence which separated their
two estates, or on the way to Sleepy Hollow. When the weather became
cooler he formed a habit of walking back and forth on the hill-side
above his house, where the bank descends sharply like a railroad-cut,
with dwarf pines and shrub oaks on the further side of it. He wore a
path there, which is described in "Septimius Felton," and it is quite
possible that the first inception of that story entered his mind while
looking down upon the Lexington road beneath him, and imagining how it
appeared while filled with marching British soldiers.

About July 10, 1860, the scholars of Mr. Sanborn's school, male and
female, gave an entertainment in the Town Hall, not unlike Harvard
Class Day. Mrs. Hawthorne and her eldest daughter appeared among the
guests, and attracted much attention from the quiet grace and dignity
of their manners; but there was an expression of weariness on Miss
Una's face, which contrasted strangely with the happy, blithesome looks
of the school-girls. Some idea of the occasion may be derived from a
passing remark of Mrs. Hawthorne to a Harvard student present: "My
daughter will be happy to dance with you, sir, if I can only find her."

In September Hawthorne wrote to James T. Fields: [Footnote: Mrs. J. T.
Fields, 118.]

"We are in great trouble on account of our poor Una, in whom the bitter
dregs of that Roman fever are still rankling, and have now developed
themselves in a way which the physicians foreboded. I do not like to
write about it, but will tell you when we meet. Say nothing."

Miss Una was evidently far from well, and her father's anxiety for her
sensibly affected his mental tone.

He was invited at once to join the Saturday Club, popularly known at
that time as the Atlantic Club, because its most conspicuous members
were contributors to that periodical. Hawthorne did not return in
season to take part in the Club's expedition to the Adirondack
Mountains, concerning which Doctor Holmes remarked that, considering
the number of rifles they carried, it was fortunate that they all
returned alive. The meetings of the Club came but once a month, and as
the last train to Concord was not a very late one, Judge Hoar had his
carryall taken down to Waltham on such occasions, and thence he, with
Hawthorne and Emerson, drove back to Concord through the woods in the
darkness or moonlight; and Hawthorne may have enjoyed this as much as
any portion of the entertainment.

A club whose membership is based upon celebrity reminds one rather of a
congregation of stags, all with antlers of seven tines. There was every
shade of opinion, political, philosophical and religious, represented
in the Saturday Club, and if they never fought over such subjects it
was certainly much to their credit. Very little has been divulged of
what took place at their meetings; but it is generally known that in
the winter of 1861 Longfellow was obliged to warn his associates that
if they persisted in abusing Sumner he should be obliged to leave their
company; Sumner being looked upon by the Democrats and more timid
Republicans as the chief obstacle to pacification; as if any one man
could prop a house up when it was about to fall. After the War began,
this naturally came to an end, and Sumner was afterwards invited to
join the Club, with what satisfaction to Hoar, Lowell, and Holmes it
might be considering rather curiously to inquire. We can at least feel
confident that Hawthorne had no share in this. He did not believe in
fighting shadows, and he at least respected Sumner for his frankness
and disinterestedness.

Such differences of opinion, however, are not conducive to freedom of
discussion. Henry James, Sr., lifts the veil for a moment in a letter
to Emerson, written about this time, [Footnote: Memoir of Bronson
Alcott; also the "Hawthorne Centenary."] and affords us a picture of
Hawthorne at the Saturday Club, which might bear the designation of a
highly-flavored caricature. According to Mr. James, John M. Forbes, the
Canton millionaire, preserved the balance at one end of the table,
while Hawthorne, an oasis in a desert, served as the nearest approach
to a human being, at the other. "How he buried his eyes in his plate
and ate with such a voracity! that no one should dare to ask him a
question."

We do not realize the caricaturist in Henry James, Jr., so readily, on
account of his elastic power of expression; but the relationship is
plain and apparent. Both father and son ought to have been baptized in
the Castalian Fount. There are those who have been at table with both
Hawthorne and the elder James, and without the slightest reflection on
Mr. James, have confessed their preference for the quiet composure and
simple dignity of Hawthorne. In truth Hawthorne's manners were above
those of the polished courtier or the accomplished man of fashion: they
were poetic manners, and in this respect Longfellow most nearly
resembled him of all members of the Club; although Emerson also had
admirable manners and they were largely the cause of his success. It
would have done no harm if Emerson had burned this letter after its
first perusal, but since it is out of the bag we must even consider it
as it deserves.

Hawthorne must have enjoyed the meetings of the Club or he would not
have attended them so regularly. He wrote an account of the first
occasion on which he was present, giving an accurate description of the
dinner itself and enclosing a diagram of the manner in which the guests
were seated, but without any commentary on the proceedings of the day.
It was, after all, one of the nerve-centres of the great world, and an
agreeable change from the domestic monotony of the Wayside. Thackeray
would have descried rich material for his pen in it, but Hawthorne's
studies lay in another direction. Great men were not his line in
literature.

Meanwhile Mrs. Hawthorne and her daughter were transforming their
Concord home into a small repository of the fine arts. Without much
that would pass by the title of elegance, they succeeded in giving it
an unpretentious air of refinement, and one could not enter it without
realizing that the materials of a world-wide culture had been brought
together there. Hawthorne soon found the dimensions of the house too
narrow for the enlarged views which he had brought with him from
abroad, and he designed a tower to be constructed at one corner of it,
similar to, if not so lofty as that of the Villa Manteuto. This
occupied him and the dilatory Concord carpenter for nearly half a year;
and meanwhile chaos and confusion reigned supreme. There was no one
whose ears could be more severely offended by the music of the
carpenter's box and the mason's trowel than Hawthorne, and he knew not
whether to fly his home or remain in it. Not until all this was over
could he think seriously of a new romance.

He made his study in the upper room of the tower; a room exactly twenty
feet square, with a square vaulted ceiling and five windows,--too
many, one would suppose, to produce a pleasant effect of light,--and
walls papered light yellow. There he could be as quiet and retired as
in the attic of his Uncle Robert Manning's house in Salem. Conway
states that he wrote at a high desk, like Longfellow, and walked back
and forth in the room while thinking out what he was going to say. The
view from his windows extended across the meadows to Walden woods and
the Fitchburg railroad track, and it also commanded the Alcott house
and the road to Concord village. It was in this work-shop that he
prepared "Our Old Home" for the press and wrote the greater part of
"Septimius Felton" and "The Dolliver Romance."

The War was a new source of distraction. It broke out before the tower
was finished, stimulating Hawthorne's nerves, but disturbing that
delicate mental equilibrium upon which satisfactory procedure of his
writing depended. On May 26, 1861, he wrote to Horatio Bridge:

"The war, strange to say, has had a beneficial effect upon my spirits,
which were flagging wofully before it broke out. But it was delightful
to share in the heroic sentiment of the time, and to feel that I had a
country,--a consciousness which seemed to make me young again. One
thing as regards this matter I regret, and one thing I am glad of. The
regrettable thing is that I am too old to shoulder a musket myself, and
the joyful thing is that Julian is too young." [Footnote: J. Hawthorne,
ii. 276.]

Hawthorne's patriotism was genuine and deep-seated. He was not the only
American whom the bombardment of Fort Sumter had awakened to the fact
that he had a country. What we have always enjoyed, we do not think of
until there is danger of losing it. In the same letter, he confesses
that he does not quite understand "what we are fighting for, or what
definite result can be expected. If we pummel the South ever so hard,
they will love us none the better for it; and even if we subjugate
them, our next step should be to cut them adrift."

There were many in those times who thought and felt as Hawthorne did.
Douglas said in the Senate, "Even if you coerce the Southern States and
bring them back by force, it will not be the same Union." A
_people_ does not necessarily mean a _nation_; for the idea
of nationality is of slow growth, and is in a manner opposed to the
idea of democracy; for if the right of government depends on the
consent of the governed, the primary right of the governed must be to
abrogate that government whenever they choose to do so. Hawthorne was
simply a consistent democrat; but time has proved the fallacy of
Douglas's statement, and that a forcible restoration of the Union was
entirely compatible with friendliness and mutal good-will between the
different sections of the country,--after slavery, which was the real
obstacle to this, had been eliminated. If the States east of the
Alleghanies should attempt to separate from the rest of the nation, it
would inevitably produce a war similar to that of 1861.

Hawthorne even went to the length at this time of proposing to arm the
negroes, and preparing them "for future citizenship by allowing them to
fight for their own liberties, and educating them through heroic
influences." [Footnote: The "Hawthorne Centenary," 197.] When George L.
Stearns was organizing the colored regiments in Tennessee in 1863 he
wrote concerning his work, in almost exactly these terms; and the
inference is plain that Hawthorne might have been more of a
humanitarian if his early associations had been different.

Such an original character as Bronson Alcott for a next-door neighbor
could not long escape Hawthorne's penetrating glance. Alcott was an
interesting personality, perfectly genuine, frank, kindly and
imperturbably good-humored. He had a benevolent aspect, and in general
appearance so much resembled the portraits of Benjamin Franklin that
his ingenious daughters made use of him in charades and theatricals for
that purpose. Hawthorne had known him many years earlier, and had
spoken very pleasantly of him in his first publication of "The Hall of
Fantasy." He even said, "So calm and gentle was he, so quiet in the
utterance of what his soul brooded upon, that one might readily
conceive his Orphic Sayings to well up from a fountain in his breast,
which communicated with the infinite abyss of thought,"--rather an
optimistic view for Hawthorne. Alcott's philosophy had the decided
merit, which Herbert Spencer's has not, of a strong affirmation of a
Great First Cause, and our direct responsibility thereto: but it was
chiefly the philosophy of Plotinus; and his constant reiteration of a
"lapse" in human nature from divine perfection (which was simply the
Donatello phase expressed in logic), with the various corollaries
deduced from it, finally became as wearisome as the harp with a single
string. Whether he troubled Hawthorne in that way, is rather doubtful,
for even as a hobby-rider, Alcott was a man of Yankee shrewdness and
considerable tact. Rose Hawthorne says that "he once brought a
particularly long poem to read, aloud to my mother and father; a
seemingly harmless thing from which they never recovered." What poem
this could have been I have no idea, but in his later years Alcott
wrote some excellent poetry, and those who ought to know do not think
that he bored Hawthorne very severely. They frequently went to walk
together, taking Julian for a make-weight, and Hawthorne could easily
have avoided this if he had chosen. There are times for all of us when
our next-door neighbors prove a burden; and it cannot be doubted that
in most instances this is reciprocal. [Footnote: Rose Hawthorne,
however, writes charmingly of the Alcotts. Take this swift sketch,
among others: "I imagine 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."]

Alcott was a romance character of exceptional value, and Hawthorne
recognized this, but did not succeed in inventing a plot that would
suit the subject. The only one of Hawthorne's preparatory sketches
given to the public--in which we see his genius in the "midmost heat of
composition"--supposes a household in which an old man keeps a crab-
spider for a pet, a deadly poisonous creature; and in the same family
there is a boy whose fortunes will be mysteriously affected in some
manner by this dangerous insect. He did not proceed sufficiently to
indicate for us how this would turn out, but he closes the sketch with
the significant remark, "In person and figure Mr. Alcott"; from which
it may be inferred that the crab-spider was intended to symbolize
Alcott's philosophy, and the catastrophe of the romance would naturally
result from the unhealthy mental atmosphere in which the boy grew up,--
a catastrophe which in Alcott's family was averted by the practical
sagacity of his daughters. The idea, however, became modified in its
application.

It is with regret that we do not allot a larger space to this important
sketch, for it is clearly an original study (like an artist's drawing)
of the unfinished romance which was published in 1883 under the title
of "Doctor Grimshawe's Secret." Long lost sight of in the mass of
Hawthorne's manuscripts, this last of his posthumous works was reviewed
by the critics with some incredulity, and Lathrop had the hardihood to
publicly assert that no such romance by Hawthorne's pen existed,
thereby casting a gratuitous slander on his own brother-in-law. We may
have our doubts in regard to the authorship of Shakespeare's plays, for
we have no absolute standard by which to judge of Shakespeare's style,
but the "style, the matter, and the drift" of "Doctor Grimshawe's
Secret" are so essentially Hawthornish that a person experienced in
judging of such matters should not hesitate long in deciding that it
belongs in the same category with "Fanshawe" and "The Dolliver
Romance." It is even possible to determine, from certain peculiarities
in its style, the exact period at which it was written; which must have
been shortly after Hawthorne's return from Europe. In addition to this,
if further evidence were required, its close relationship to the
aforementioned sketch is a fact which no sophistry can reason away.
[Footnote:  This sketch was published in the _Century_, January,
1883.]

The bloody footstep suggested to Hawthorne by the antediluvian print in
the stone step at Smithell's Hall, in Lancashire, serves as the key-
note of this romance; but the eccentric recluse, the big crab-spider,
the orphaned grandchild, and even Bronson Alcott also appear in it.
Alcott, however,--and his identity cannot be mistaken,--does not play
the leading part in the piece, but comes in at the fifth chapter, only
to disappear mysteriously in the eighth; the orphan boy is companioned
by a girl of equal age, and these two bright spirits, mutually
sustaining each other, cast a radiance over the old Doctor in his
dusty, frowsy, cobwebby study, which brings out the external appearance
and internal peculiarities of the man, in the most vivid manner. The
dispositions and appearances of the two children are also contrasted,
as Raphael might have drawn and contrasted them, if he had painted a
picture on a similar subject.

The crab-spider is one of the most horrible of Nature's creations.
Hawthorne saw one in the British Museum and it seems to have haunted
his imagination ever afterward. Why the creature should have been
introduced into this romance is not very clear, for it plays no part in
the development of the plot. The spider hangs suspended over the old
Doctor's head like the sword of Damocles, and one would expect it to
descend at the proper moment in the narrative, and make an end of him
with its nippers; but Doctor Grimshawe dies a comparatively natural
death, and the desiccated body of the spider is found still clinging to
the web above him. The man and the insect were too closely akin in the
modes and purposes of their lives for either to outlast the other.
There is nothing abnormal in the fact of Doctor Grimshawe's possessing
this dangerous pet; for all kinds of poisonous creatures have a well-
known fascination for the medical profession. Doctor Holmes amused
himself with a rattlesnake.

In spite of its unpleasant associations with spiders and blood-stains,
"Doctor Grimshawe's Secret" is one of the most interesting of
Hawthorne's works, containing much of his finest thought and most
characteristic description. The portrait of the grouty old Doctor
himself has a solidity of impast like Shakespeare's Falstaff, and the
grave-digger, who has survived from colonial times, carries us back
involuntarily to the burial scene in "Hamlet." Alcott, whose name is
changed to Colcord, is not treated realistically, but rather idealized
in such kindly sympathetic manner as might prevent all possibility of
offence at the artistic theft of his personality. The plot, too, is a
most ingenious one, turning and winding like a hare, and even diving
out of sight for a time; but only to reappear again, as the school-
master Colcord does, with a full and satisfactory explanation of its
mysterious course. To judge from the appearance of the manuscript, this
romance was written very rapidly, and there are places in the text
which intimate this; but it vies in power with "The Scarlet Letter,"
and why Hawthorne should have become dissatisfied with it,--why he
should have failed to complete, revise, and publish it--can only be
accounted for by the mental or nervous depression which was now
fastening itself upon him.

It is noticeable, however, that where the plot is transferred to
English ground Hawthorne's writing has much the same tone and quality
that we find in "Our Old Home." External appearances seem to impede his
insight there; but this is additional proof of the authenticity of the
work. [Footnote: There are many other evidences; such as, "after-dinner
speeches on the necessity of friendly relations between England and the
United States," and "the whistling of the railway train, _two_ or
_three_ times a day."]

Shortly after the battle of Bull Run Hawthorne went with his boy to
recuperate at Beverly Farms, leaving his wife and daughters at the
Wayside, and the letters which passed between these two divisions of
the family, during his absence, give some very pretty glimpses of their
idyllic summer life. Mrs. Hawthorne "cultivated her garden," and gave
drawing lessons to the neighbors' children, while her husband, forty
miles away, was fishing and bathing. The Beverly shore has not a
stimulating climate, but is very attractive in summer to those who do
not mind a few sultry nights from land breezes. It was near enough to
Salem for Hawthorne to revive the reminiscences of his youth (which
become more and more precious after the age of fifty), without
obtruding himself on the gaze of his former townsmen or of the young
lady "who wished she could poison him." [Footnote: W. D. Howells'
Memoirs.] It is to be hoped that he saw something of his sister
Elizabeth again, the last remnant of his mother's household, who for
some inscrutable reason had never visited him at Concord.

We note here a curious circumstance; namely, that Hawthorne appears to
have lost the art of writing short sketches. It will be recollected
that twenty years earlier he did not feel equal to anything beyond
this, and that it cost him a strenuous effort to escape from the habit.
Now when he would have liked to return to that class of composition he
could not do so. Fields would have welcomed anything from his pen (so
severe a critic he was of himself), but his name does not appear in the
_Atlantic Monthly_ from July, 1861, to June, 1862, and it cannot
be doubted that with the education of his son before him, the
remuneration would have been welcome. It was not until nearly a year
later that he conceived the idea of cutting his English Note-book into
sections, and publishing them as magazine articles.

From this time forth, one discouragement followed another. In the
autumn of 1861 the illness of his daughter, which he had expected and
predicted, came to pass in a violent form. The old Roman virus, kept
under in her blood, for a time, by continual changes of air and
climate, at last gained the mastery, and brought her once more in
danger of her life. She had to be removed to the house of her aunt,
Mrs. Mann, who lived in the centre of the town, on account of her
father's nerves, so that the Concord doctor could attend her at night
when necessary. It was the severest and most protracted case of fever
that the physician had ever known to be followed by a recovery. Miss
Una did recover, but the mental strain upon her father was even more
exhausting than that which her previous illness had caused, and he was
not in an equal condition to bear it.

"Septimius Felton" may have been written about this time (perhaps
during his daughter's convalescence), but his family knew nothing of
it, until they discovered the manuscript after his death. When it was
published ten years later, the poet Whittier spoke of it as a failure,
and Hawthorne would seem to have considered it so; for he left it in an
unfinished condition, and immediately began a different story on the
same theme,--the elixir of life. It has no connection with the sketch
already mentioned, in which Alcott's personality becomes the
mainspring, but with another abortive romance, called "The Ancestral
Footstep," which Hawthorne commenced while he was in England. It is
invaluable for the light it throws on his method of working.
Descriptive passages are mentioned in it "to be inserted" at a later
time, meanwhile concentrating his energy on more important portions of
the narrative. Half way through the story he changed his original plan,
transforming the young woman who previously had been Septimius's
sweetheart to Septimius's sister; and it may have been the difficulty
of adjusting this change to the portion previously written, that
discouraged Hawthorne from completing the romance. But the work suffers
also from a tendency to exaggeration. The name of Hagburn is
unpleasantly realistic, and Doctor Portsoaken, with his canopy of
spider-webs hanging in noisome festoons above his head, is closely akin
to the repulsive. The amateur critic who averred that he could not read
Hawthorne without feeling a sensation as if cobwebs were drawn across
his face, must have had "Septimius Felton" in mind. Yet there are
refreshing passages in it, and the youthful English officer who kisses
Septimius's sweetheart before his eyes, and afterward fights an
impromptu duel with him, dying as cheerfully as he had lived, is an
original and charming character. The scene of the story has a peculiar
interest, from the fact that it is laid at Hawthorne's own door; the
Feltons are supposed to have lived at the Wayside and the Hagburns in
the Alcott house.

The firm of Ticknor & Fields now began to feel anxious on Hawthorne's
account, and the last of the winter the senior partner proposed a
journey to Washington, which was accordingly accomplished in the second
week of March. Horatio Bridge was now chief of a bureau in the Navy
Department, and was well qualified to obtain for his veteran friend an
inside position for whatever happened to be going on. In the midst of
the turmoil and excitement of war, Hawthorne attracted as much
attention as the arrival of a new ambassador from Great Britain.
Secretary Stanton appointed him on a civil commission to report
concerning the condition of the Army of the Potomac. He was introduced
to President Lincoln, and made excursions to Harper's Ferry and
Fortress Monroe. Concerning General McClellan, he wrote to his daughter
on March 16:

"The outcry opened against Gen. McClellan, since the enemy's retreat
from Manassas, is really terrible, and almost universal; because it is
found that we might have taken their fortifications with perfect ease
six months ago, they being defended chiefly by wooden guns. Unless he
achieves something wonderful within a week, he will be removed from
command, at least I hope so; I never did more than half believe in him.
By a message from the State Department, I have reason to think that
there is money enough due me from the government to pay the expenses of
my journey. I think the public buildings are as fine, if not finer,
than anything we saw in Europe." [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, ii. 309.]

General McClellan was not a great man, and Hawthorne's opinion of him
is more significant from the fact that at that time McClellan was
expected to be the Joshua who would lead the Democratic party out of
its wilderness. On his return to Concord, Hawthorne prepared a
commentary on what he had seen and heard at the seat of war, and sent
it to the _Atlantic Monthly_; but, although patriotic enough, his
melancholy humor was prominent in it, and Fields particularly protested
against his referring to President Lincoln as "Old Abe," although the
President was almost universally called so in Washington; and the
consequence of this was that Hawthorne eliminated everything that he
had written about Lincoln in his account,--which might be called
"dehamletizing" the subject. In addition to this he wrote a number of
foot-notes purporting to come from the editor, but really intended to
counteract the unpopularity of certain statements in the text. This was
not done with any intention to deceive, but, with the exception of
Emerson and a few others who could always recognize Hawthorne's style,
the readers of the _Atlantic_ supposed that these foot-notes were
written by either James T. Fields or James Russell Lowell, who had been
until recently the editor of the Magazine,--a practical joke which
Hawthorne enjoyed immensely when it was discovered to him.

This contribution, essay, or whatever it may be called, had only a
temporary value, but it contained a prediction, which has been often
recollected in Hawthorne's favor; namely, that after the war was over
"one bullet-headed general after another would succeed to the
presidential chair." In fact, five generals, whether bullet-headed or
not, followed after Lincoln and Johnson; and then the sequence came to
an end apparently because the supply of politician generals was
exhausted. Certainly the Anglo-Saxon race yields to no other in
admiration for military glory.

Fields afterward published Hawthorne's monograph on President Lincoln,
and, although it is rather an unsympathetic statement of the man, it
remains the only authentic pen-and-ink sketch that we have of him. Most
important is his recognition of Lincoln as "essentially a Yankee" in
appearance and character; for it has only recently been discovered that
Lincoln was descended from an old New England family, and that his
ancestors first emigrated to Virginia and afterward to Kentucky.
[Footnote: Essay on Lincoln in "True Republicanism."] Hawthorne says of
him:

"If put to guess his calling and livelihood, I should have taken him
for a country schoolmaster as soon as anything else. [Footnote: The
country school-master of that time.--Ed.] He was dressed in a rusty
black frock-coat and pantaloons, unbrushed, and worn so faithfully that
the suit had adapted itself to the curves and angularities of his
figure, and had grown to be the outer skin of the man. He had shabby
slippers on his feet. His hair was black, still unmixed with gray,
stiff, somewhat bushy, and had apparently been acquainted with neither
brush nor comb that morning, after the disarrangement of the pillow;
and as to a nightcap, Uncle Abe probably knows nothing of such
effeminacies. His complexion is dark and sallow, betokening, I fear, an
insalubrious atmosphere around the White House; he has thick black
eyebrows and impending brow; his nose is large, and the lines about his
mouth are very strongly denned.

"The whole physiognomy is as coarse a one as you would meet anywhere in
the length and breadth of the States; but, withal, it is redeemed,
illuminated, softened, and brightened by a kindly though serious look
out of his eyes, and an expression of homely sagacity, that seems
weighted with rich results of village experience. A great deal of
native sense; no bookish cultivation, no refinement; honest at heart,
and thoroughly so, and yet, in some sort, sly,--at least, endowed with
a sort of tact and wisdom that are akin to craft.... But on the whole,
I liked this sallow, queer, sagacious visage, with the homely human
sympathies that warmed it; and, for my small share in the matter, would
as lief have Uncle Abe for a ruler as any man whom it would have been
practicable to put in his place." [Footnote: "Yesterdays with Authors,"
99.]

This is not a flattered portrait, like those by Lincoln's political
biographers; neither is it an idealized likeness, such as we may
imagine him delivering his Gettysburg Address. It is rather an external
description of the man, but it is, after all, Lincoln as he appeared in
the White House to the innumerable visitors, who, as sovereign American
citizens, believed they had a right to an interview with the people's
distinguished servant.

Hawthorne's European letter-bag in 1862 is chiefly interesting for
Henry Bright's statement that the English people might have more
sympathy with the Union cause in the War if they could understand
clearly what the national government was fighting for; and that Lord
Houghton and Thomas Hughes were the only two men he had met who
heartily supported the Northern side. Perhaps Mr. Bright would have
found it equally as difficult to explain why the British Government
should have made war upon Napoleon for twelve consecutive years.

Henry Bright, moreover, seemed to be quite as much interested in a new
American poet, named J. G. Holland, and his poem called "Bitter-Sweet."
Lord Houghton agreed with him that it was a very remarkable poem, and
they wished to know what Hawthorne could tell them about its author. As
Holland was not recognized as a poet by the Saturday Club, Hawthorne's
answer on this point would be very valuable if we could only obtain a
sight of it. Holland was in certain respects the counterpart of Martin
F. Tupper.

In the summer of this year Hawthorne went to West Goldsboro', Maine, an
unimportant place opposite Mount Desert Island, taking Julian with him;
a place with a stimulating climate but a rather foggy atmosphere. He
must have gone there for his health, and it is pathetic to see how the
change of climate braced him up at first, so that he even made the
commencement of a new diary, and then, as always happens in such cases,
it let him down again to where he was before. He did not complain, but
he felt that something was wrong with him and he could not tell what it
was.

Wherever he went in passing through the civilized portion of Maine, he
found the country astir with recruits who had volunteered for the war,
so that it seemed as if that were the only subject which occupied men's
minds. He says of this in his journal:

"I doubt whether any people was ever actuated by a more genuine and
disinterested public spirit; though, of course, it is not unalloyed
with baser motives and tendencies. We met a train of cars with a
regiment or two just starting for the South, and apparently in high
spirits. Everywhere some insignia of soldiership were to be seen,--
bright buttons, a red stripe down the trousers, a military cap, and
sometimes a round-shouldered bumpkin in the entire uniform. They
require a great deal to give them the aspect of soldiers; indeed, it
seems as if they needed to have a good deal taken away and added, like
the rough clay of a sculptor as it grows to be a model."

Such is the last entry in his journal. Hawthorne was not carried off
his feet by the excitement of the time, but looked calmly on while
others expended their patriotism in hurrahing for the Union. What he
remarks concerning the volunteers was perfectly true Men cannot change
their profession in a day, and soldiers are not to be made out of
farmers' boys and store clerks simply by clothing them in uniform, no
matter how much courage they may have. War is a profession like other
professions, and requires the severest training of them all.




CHAPTER XVIII

IMMORTALITY


In the autumn of 1862 there was great excitement in Massachusetts.
President Lincoln had issued his premonitory proclamation of
emancipation, and Harvard College was stirred to its academic depths.
Professor Joel Parker, of the Law School, pronounced Lincoln's action
unconstitutional, subversive of the rights of property, and a most
dangerous precedent. With Charles Eliot Norton and other American
Tories, Parker headed a movement for the organization of a People's
Party, which had for its immediate object the defeat of Andrew for
Governor and the relegation of Sumner to private life. The first they
could hardly expect to accomplish, but it was hoped that a sufficient
number of conservative representatives would be elected to the
Legislature to replace Sumner by a Republican, who would be more to
their own minds; and they would be willing to compromise on such a
candidate as Honorable E. R. Hoar,--although Judge Hoar was innocent of
this himself and was quite as strongly anti-slavery as Sumner. The
movement came to nothing, as commonly happens with political movements
that originate in universities, but for the time being it caused a
great commotion and nowhere more so than in the town of Concord.
Emerson was never more emphatic than in demanding the re-election of
Andrew and Sumner.

How Hawthorne felt about this and how he voted in November, can only be
conjectured by certain indications, slight, it is true, but all
pointing in one direction. As long since explained, he entertained no
very friendly feeling toward the Cotton Whigs; his letter to his
daughter concerning Gen. McClellan, who set himself against the
proclamation and was removed in consequence, should be taken into
consideration; and still more significant is the letter to Horatio
Bridge, in which Hawthorne proposed the enlistment of negro soldiers.
Doctor George B. Loring, of Salem, always a loyal friend to the
Hawthorne family, came to Concord in September to deliver an address at
the annual cattle-show, and visited at the Wayside. He had left the
Democratic party and become a member of the Bird Club, which was then
the centre of political influence in the State. As a matter of course
he explained his new position to Hawthorne. He had long felt attracted
to the Republican party, and but for his influential position among his
fellow-Democrats, he would have joined it sooner. Parties were being
reconstructed. Half the Democrats had become Republicans; and a
considerable portion of the Whigs had joined the Democratic party. The
interests of the Republic were in the hands of the Republican party and
it ought to be supported. We can believe that Hawthorne listened to him
with close attention.

It was in the spring of 1862 that I first became well acquainted with
the Hawthorne family, which seemed to exist in an atmosphere of purity
and refinement derived from the man's own genius. Julian visited me at
our house in Medford during the early summer, where he made great havoc
among the small fruits of the season. We boxed, fenced, skated, played
cricket and studied Cicero together. As my father was one of the most
revolutionary of the Free-Soilers, this may have amused Hawthorne as an
instance of the Montagues and Capulets; but I found much sympathy with
my political notions in his household. When the first of January came
there was a grand celebration of the Emancipation in Boston Music Hall.
Mrs. Hawthorne and Una were very desirous to attend it, and I believe
they both did so--Miss Una at all events. If Mrs. Hawthorne's opinions
could be taken in any sense as a reflection of her husband's mind, he
was certainly drifting away from his old associations.

In October, 1862, Hawthorne published the first of a series of studies
from English life and scenery, taken chiefly from his Note-book, and he
continued this at intervals until the following summer, when Ticknor &
Fields brought them out with some additions in book form as "Our Old
Home;" a volume which has already been considered in these pages. It
was not a favorable time for the publication of classic literature, for
the whole population of the United States was in a ferment; and
moreover the unfriendly attitude of the English educated classes toward
the cause of the Union, was beginning to have its effect with us. In
truth it seemed rather inconsistent that the philanthropic Gladstone,
who had always professed himself the friend of freedom, should glorify
Jefferson Davis as the founder of a new nation--a republic of
slaveholders. In addition to this, Hawthorne insisted on dedicating the
volume to President Pierce, and when his publishers protested that this
would tend to make the book unpopular, he replied in a spirited manner,
that if that was the case it was all the more reason why Pierce's
friends should signify their continued confidence in him. This may have
made little difference, however, for comparatively few readers notice
the dedication of a book until after they have purchased it; and we
like Hawthorne for his firmness in this instance.

In England the book produced a sensation of the unfavorable sort.
Hawthorne's attack on the rotundity of the English ladies, whatever may
have been his reason for it, was, to speak reservedly, somewhat lacking
in delicacy. It stirred up a swarm of newspaper enemies against him;
and proved a severe strain to the attachment of his friends there.
Henry Bright wrote to him:

"It really was too bad, some of the things you say. You talk like a
cannibal. Mrs. Heywood says to my mother, 'I really believe you and I
were the only ladies he knew in Liverpool, and we are not like
beefsteaks.' So all the ladies are furious." [Footnote: J. Hawthorne,
ii. 280. Good Mrs. Alcott also objected stoutly to the reflections on
her sex.]

But Hawthorne was no longer what he had been, and allowance should be
made for this.

Hawthorne's chief interest at this time, however, lay in the
preparation of his son for Harvard College. Julian was sixteen in
August and, considering the itinerant life he had lived, well advanced
in his studies. He was the best-behaved boy in Concord, in school or
out, and an industrious though not ambitious scholar. He was strong,
vigorous and manly; and his parents had sufficient reason to be proud
of him. To expect him, however, to enter Harvard College at the age of
seventeen was somewhat unreasonable. His father had entered Bowdoin at
that age, but the requirements at Harvard were much more severe than at
Bowdoin; enough to make a difference of at least one year in the age of
the applicant. For a boy to enter college in a half-fitted condition is
simply to make a false start in life, for he is only too likely to
become discouraged, and either to drag along at the foot of the class
or to lose his place in it altogether. Hawthorne may have felt that the
end of earthly affairs was close upon him, and wished to see his son
started on the right road before that came; but Emerson also had an
interest in having Julian go to college at exactly this time; namely,
to obtain him as a chum for his wife's nephew, with the advantage of a
tutor's room thrown in as an extra inducement. He advised Hawthorne to
place Julian in charge of a Harvard professor who was supposed to have
a sleight-of-hand faculty for getting his pupils through the
examinations. Julian worked bravely, and succeeded in entering Harvard
the following July; but he was nine months (or a good school year),
younger than the average of his class.

Hawthorne did not leave home this summer (1863), and the only letter we
have of his was the one to James T. Fields concerning the dedication of
"Our Old Home," which was published in the autumn. Julian states that
his father spent much of his time standing or walking in his narrow
garden before the house, and looking wistfully across the meadows to
Walden woods. His strength was evidently failing him, yet he could not
explain why--nor has it ever been explained.

One bright day in November two of us walked up from Cambridge with
Julian and lunched at his father's. Mr. Hawthorne received us
cordially, but in a tremulous manner that betrayed the weakness of his
nerves. As soon as Julian had left the room, he said to us, "I suppose
it would be of little use to ask you young gentlemen what sort of a
scholar Julian is." H---- replied to this, that we were neither of us
in the division with him, but that he had heard nothing unfavorable in
regard to his recitations; and I told him that Julian went to the
gymnasium with me every evening, and appeared to live a very regular
kind of life. This seemed to please Mr. Hawthorne very much, and he
soon produced a decanter of port, and, his son having entered the room
again, he said, "I want to teach Julian the taste of good wine, so that
he will learn to avoid those horrible punches, which I am told you have
at Harvard." We all laughed greatly at this, which was afterward
increased by Julian's saying that the only punches he had yet seen were
those which the sophomores gave us in the foot-ball fight,--or some
such statement. It was a bright occasion for all of us, and when Mrs.
Hawthorne and her daughters entered the room, such a beautiful group as
they all formed together! And Hawthorne himself seemed ten years
younger than when he first greeted us.

He was the most distinguished-looking man that I ever beheld, and no
sensible person could meet him without instantly recognizing his
superior mental endowment. His features were not only classic but
grandly classic; and his eyes large, dark, luminous, unfathomable--
looking into them was like looking into a deep well. His face seemed to
give a pictorial reflection of whatever was taking place about him; and
again became like a transparency through which one could see dim vistas
of beautiful objects. The changes of expression on it were like the
sunshine and clouds of a summer day--perhaps thunder clouds sometimes,
with flashes of lightning, which his son may still remember; for where
there is a great heart there will always be great heat.


"THE DOLLIVER ROMANCE"

According to James T. Fields, the ground-plan of this work was laid the
preceding winter, but Hawthorne became dissatisfied with the way in
which the subject developed itself and so set the manuscript aside
until he could come to it again with fresh inspiration. With the more
bracing weather of September he commenced on it again, and wrote during
the next two months that portion which we now have. On December 1 he
forwarded two chapters to Ticknor & Fields, requesting to have them set
up so that he could see them in print and obtain a retrospective view
of his work before he proceeded further. Yet on December 15 he wrote
again, saying that he had not yet found courage to attack the proofs,
and that all mental exertion had become hateful to him. [Footnote:
"Yesterdays with Authors," 115.] He was evidently feeling badly, and
for the first time Mrs. Hawthorne was seriously anxious for him. Four
days later she wrote to Una, who was visiting in Beverly:

"Papa is comfortable to-day, but very thin and pale and weak. I give
him oysters now. Hitherto he has had only toasted crackers and lamb and
beef tea. I am very impatient that he should see Dr. Vanderseude, but
he wants to go to him himself, and he cannot go till it be good
weather.... The splendor and pride of strength in him have succumbed;
but they can be restored, I am sure. Meanwhile he is very nervous and
delicate; he cannot bear anything, and he must be handled like the
airiest Venetian glass." [Footnote: J. Hawthorne, ii. 333.]

He divided his time between lying on a sofa and sitting in an arm-
chair; and he did not seem very comfortable in either position. It was
long since he had attended meetings of the Saturday Club.

It is clear from this that Hawthorne had not recently consulted a
doctor concerning his condition, and perhaps not at all. He may have
been right enough in supposing that no common practitioner could give
him help, but there was at that time one of the finest of physiologists
in Boston, Dr. Edward H. Clark, who cured hundreds of sick people every
year, as quietly and unostentatiously as Dame Nature herself. He was a
graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and as such not generally
looked upon with favor by the Boston medical profession, but when
Agassiz's large brain gave way in 1868, Dr. Brown-Sequard telegraphed
to him from Europe to consult Edward Clark, and Doctor Clark so
improved his health that Agassiz afterward enjoyed a number of years of
useful work. Perhaps he might have accomplished as much for Hawthorne;
but how was Hawthorne in his retired and uncommunicative life to know
of him? There are decided advantages in living in the great world, and
in knowing what goes on there,--if one only can.

It is doubtful if Hawthorne ever opened the proof of "The Dolliver
Romance." In February he wrote to Fields that he could not possibly go
on with it, and as it had already been advertised for the _Atlantic
Monthly_, a notification had to be published concerning the matter,
which startled Longfellow, Whittier and other old friends of Hawthorne,
who were not in the way of knowing much about him. The fragment that we
now have of it was printed in the _Atlantic_ many years after his
death.

It was the last expiring ember of Hawthorne's genius, blazing up
fitfully and momentarily with the same brightness as of old, and then
disappearing like Hawthorne himself into the unknown and the
unknowable. It is a fragment, and yet it seems complete, for it is
impossible to imagine how the story could have been continued beyond
its present limits; and Hawthorne left no word from which we can
conjecture his further intentions in regard to it.

There was an old apothecary in Concord, named Reynolds, a similar man
to, but not so aged as, Hawthorne's Doctor Dolliver; and he also had a
son, a bright enterprising boy,--too bright and spirited to suit Boston
commercialism,--who went westward in 1858 to seek his fortune, nor have
I ever heard of his return. The child Pansie, frisking with her kitten
--a more simple, ingenuous, and self-centred, but also less sympathetic
nature than the Pearl of Hester Prynne--may have been studied from
Hawthorne's daughter Rose. There also lived at Concord in Hawthorne's
time a man with the title of Colonel, a pretentious, self-satisfied
person, who corresponded fairly to his description of Colonel Dabney,
in "The Dolliver Romance." Neither is it singular that the apothecary's
garden should have bordered on a grave-yard, for there are two old
cemeteries in Concord in the very centre of the town.

I know of no such portrait of an old man as Doctor Dolliver in art or
literature,--except perhaps Tintoretto's portrait of his aged self, in
the Louvre. We not only see the customary marks of age upon him, but we
feel them so that it seems as if we grew old and stiff and infirm as we
read of him; and the internal life of old age is revealed to us, not by
confessions of the man himself, but by every word he speaks and every
act he does as if the writer were a skilful tragedian upon the stage.
It seems as if Hawthorne must have felt all this himself during the
last year of his life, to describe it so vividly; but he ascends by
these infirm steps to loftier heights than ever before, and the scene
in which he represents Doctor Dolliver seated at night before the fire
in his chamber after Pansie had been put to bed, is the noblest passage
in the whole cycle of Hawthorne's art; one of those rare passages
written in moments of gifted insight, when it seems as if a higher
power guided the writer's hand. It is given here entire, for to
subtract a word from it would be an irreparable injury.

"While that music lasted, the old man was alive and happy. And there
were seasons, it might be, happier than even these, when Pansie had
been kissed and put to bed, and Grandsir Dolliver sat by his fireside
gazing in among the massive coals, and absorbing their glow into those
cavernous abysses with which all men communicate. Hence come angels or
fiends into our twilight musings, according as we may have peopled them
in by-gone years. Over our friend's face, in the rosy flicker of the
fire-gleam, stole an expression of repose and perfect trust that made
him as beautiful to look at, in his high-backed chair, as the child
Pansie on her pillow; and sometimes the spirits that were watching him
beheld a calm surprise draw slowly over his features and brighten into
joy, yet not so vividly as to break his evening quietude. The gate of
heaven had been kindly left ajar, that this forlorn old creature might
catch a glimpse within. All the night afterwards, he would be semi-
conscious of an intangible bliss diffused through the fitful lapses of
an old man's slumber, and would awake, at early dawn, with a faint
thrilling of the heart-strings, as if there had been music just now
wandering over them."

So Jacob in the desert saw angels descending and ascending on a ladder
from Heaven. Discouraged, depressed, the door closed upon his earthly
hopes, not only for himself, but for those whom he loves much better
than himself, so far as he could ever be a help and a providence to
them, Hawthorne finds a purer joy and a higher hope in the depths of
his own spirit.

In the second chapter, or fragment, of this romance, Doctor Dolliver,
followed by Pansie, goes out into the garden one frosty October
morning, and while the apothecary is digging at his herbs, the
imitative child, with an instinctive repulsion for everything strange
and morbid, pulls up the fatal plant from which the elixir of life was
distilled, and frightened at her grandfather's chiding, runs with it
into the cemetery where it is lost among the graves and never seen
again. This account stands by itself, having no direct connection with
what precedes or follows; but the delineation is so vivid, the poetic
element in it so strong, that it may be said to stand without
assistance, and does not require the name of Hawthorne to give it
value.

In the conclusion, the elixir of life proves to be an elixir of death;
extremes meet and are reconciled. As he says in "The Marble Faun," joy
changes to sorrow and sorrow is laughed away; the experience of both
being that which is really valuable. Doctor Dolliver and Pansie are
figures for the end and the beginning of life; the Old Year and the
New. Such is the sum of Hawthorne's philosophy--the ultimate goal of
his thought. There could have been no more fitting consummation of his
work. The cycle of his art is complete, and death binds the laurel
round his brow.


A HERO'S END

After Hawthorne's letter of February 25, Fields felt that he ought to
make an effort in his behalf. Fields's partner, W. D. Ticknor, was also
ailing, and it was arranged that he and Hawthorne should go on a
journey southward as soon as the weather permitted. Doctor Holmes was
consulted, and the last of March Hawthorne came to Boston and met
Holmes at Fields's house. Holmes made an examination, which was
anything but satisfactory to his own mind; in fact, he was appalled at
the condition in which he found his former companion of the Saturday
Club. "He was very gentle," Holmes says; "very willing to answer
questions, very docile to such counsel as I offered him, but evidently
had no hope of recovering his health. He spoke as if his work were
done, and he should write no more." [Footnote: _Atlantic Monthly_,
July, 1864.] The doctor, however, must have been mistaken in supposing
that Hawthorne was suffering from the same malady that carried off
General Grant, for no human being could die in that manner without
suffering greater pain than Hawthorne gave any indication of; and the
sedatives which Holmes prescribed for him could only have resulted in a
weakening of the nerves. He even warned Hawthorne against the use of
alcoholic stimulants, to which for some time he had been more or less
accustomed.

Hawthorne and Ticknor went to New York, and two days later Ticknor was
able to write to Mrs. Hawthorne that her husband appeared to be much
improved. How cruelly disappointing to meet him at their own door four
days later, haggard, weary and more dispirited than when he had left
the Wayside on March 26! He had proceeded to Philadelphia with Ticknor,
and there at the Continental Hotel Ticknor was suddenly seized with a
mortal malady and died almost in Hawthorne's arms, before the latter
could notify his family in Boston that he was ill. What a severe ordeal
for a man who was strong and well, but to a person in Hawthorne's
condition it was like a thunderbolt. Ticknor's son came to him at once,
and together they performed the necessary duties of the occasion, and
made their melancholy way homeward. Nothing, perhaps, except a death in
his own family, could have had so unfavorable an effect upon
Hawthorne's condition.

Some good angel now notified Franklin Pierce of the serious posture of
affairs, and he came at once to Concord to offer his services in
Hawthorne's behalf. However, he could propose nothing more hopeful than
a journey in the uplands of New Hampshire, and for this it would be
necessary to wait for settled weather. So Hawthorne remained at home
for the next month without his condition becoming apparently either
better or worse. At length, on May 13, the ex-President returned and
they went together the following day.

We will not linger over that leave-taking on the porch of the Wayside;
so pathetic, so full of tenderness, even of despair, and yet with a
slender ray of hope beneath the leaden cloud of anxiety. To Hawthorne
it must have seemed even more discouraging than to his wife and
children, though none of them could have suspected that the end would
be so soon.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the morning of May 20, I had just returned from my first recitation
when Julian Hawthorne appeared at my room in the Massachusetts
dormitory, and said, like a man gasping for breath, "My father is dead,
and I want you to come with me." Fields had sent him word through
Professor Gurney, who knew how to deliver such a message in the
kindliest manner. We went at once to Fields's house on Charles Street,
where Mrs. Fields gave Julian the little information already known to
them through a dispatch from Franklin Pierce,--that his father died
during his sleep in the night of May 18, at the Pemmigewasset House,
Plymouth, New Hampshire. After this we wandered about Boston, silent
and aimless, until the afternoon train carried him to Concord. He
greatly dreaded meeting the gaze of his fellow-townsmen, and confessed
that he wanted to hide himself in the woods like a wounded deer.
[Footnote: The passage in "A Fool of Nature," in which he describes
Murgatroyd's discovery of his father's death, must have been a
reminiscence of this time--a passage of the finest genius.]

On Wednesday, May 18, Hawthorne and Pierce drove from Centre Harbor to
Plymouth, a long and rather rough journey to be taken in a carriage.
Hawthorne, however, did not make much complaint of this, nor did he
seem to be unusually fatigued. He retired to his room soon after nine
o'clock, and was sleeping comfortably an hour later. Pierce was
evidently nervous about him, for he went in to look at him at two in
the morning, and again at four; and the last time he discovered that
life was extinct. Hawthorne had died in his sleep as quietly and
peacefully as he had lived. There is the same mystery in his death that
there was in his life, and it is difficult to assign either an
immediate or a proximate cause for it. With such a physique, and his
simple, regular habits of life, he ought to have reached the age of
ninety. General Pierce believed that he died of paralysis, and that is
the most probable explanation; but it was not like the usual cases of
paralysis at Hawthorne's age; for, as we have seen, the process of
disintegration and failure of his powers had been going on for years.
Nor did this follow, as commonly happens, a protracted period of
adversity, but it came upon him during the most prosperous portion of
his life. The first ten years following upon his marriage were years of
anxiety, self-denial and even hardship; but other men, Alcott, for
example, have suffered as much and yet lived to a good old age. It may
have been "the old dull pain" which Longfellow associated with him,
filing perpetually on the vital cord. It was part of the enigmatic side
of his nature.

The last ceremonies of respect to the earthly remains of Hawthorne were
performed at Concord on May 23, 1864, in the Unitarian Church, a
commodious building, [Footnote: In 1899 this building was burned to the
ground, and a new church has been erected on the same spot.] well
adapted to the great concourse of mourners who gathered there on this
occasion. Reverend James Freeman Clarke, who had united Hawthorne and
Sophia Peabody in marriage twenty-two years before, was now called upon
to preside over the last act in their married life. The simple
eloquence of his address penetrated to the heart of every person
present. "Hawthorne had achieved a twofold immortality,--and his
immortality on earth would be a comforting presence to all who mourned
him. The noblest men of the age had gathered there, to testify to his
worth as a man as well as to his genius as a writer." Faces were to be
seen in that assembly that were never beheld in Concord before. Among
these was the soldierly figure and flashing eye of the poet Whittier.
Longfellow, Emerson, Lowell, Agassiz, Alcott and Hillard were present;
and ex-President Pierce shook hands with Judge Hoar over Hawthorne's
bier. After the services the assembly of mourners proceeded to Sleepy
Hollow cemetery, and there the mortal remains of Hawthorne were buried
under the pine trees on the same hill-side where he and Emerson and
Margaret Fuller conversed together on the summer afternoon twenty years
before. He needs no monument, for he has found a place in the universal
pantheon of art and literature.

       *       *       *       *       *

It would seem advisable at this parting of the ways to say something of
Hawthorne's religious convictions. He went as a boy with his mother and
sisters to the East Church in Salem, a society of liberal tendencies
and then on the verge of Unitarianism. All the Manning family attended
service there, but at a later time Robert Manning separated from it and
joined an orthodox society. Hawthorne's mother and his sister Louisa
became Unitarians, and at Madam Hawthorne's death in 1848 the funeral
services were conducted by Reverend Thomas T. Stone, of the First Salem
Church. It is presumable that Nathaniel Hawthorne also became a
Unitarian, so far as he can be considered a sectarian at all; but
certain elements of the older faith still remained in his mental
composition. It cannot be questioned that the strong optimism in
Emerson's philosophy was derived from Doctor Channing's instruction,
and it is equally certain that Hawthorne could never agree to this.
Whatever might be the origin of evil or its abstract value, he found it
too potent an element in human affairs to be quietly reasoned out of
existence. Whatever might be the ultimate purpose of Divine Providence,
the witchcraft prosecutions were an awful calamity to those who were
concerned in them. In this respect he resembled David A. Wasson, one of
the most devout religious minds, who left the church of Calvin (as it
was in his time), without ever becoming a Unitarian or a radical. Miss
Rebecca Manning says:

"I never knew of Hawthorne's going to church at all, after I remember
about him, and do not think he was ever in the habit of going. I think
he may have gone sometimes when he was in England, but I do not know
about it. Somewhere in Julian or Rose Hawthorne's reminiscences, there
is mention made of his reading family prayers, when he was in England.
He, as also his mother and sisters were people of deeply religious
natures, though not always showing it by outward observances."

A Concord judge and an old Free-Soil politician once attended a
religious convention, and after the business of the day was over they
went to walk together. The politician confessed to the judge that he
had no very definite religious belief, for which the judge thought he
did himself great injustice; but is not that the most advanced and
intelligent condition of a man's religious faith? How can we possess
clear and definite ideas of the grand mystery of Creation? Consider
only this simple metaphysical fact, that space has no limit, and that
we can neither conceive a beginning of time nor imagine time without a
beginning. What is there outside of the universe? The brain reels as we
think of it. The time has gone by when a man can say to himself
definitely, I believe this or I believe that; but we know at least that
we, "the creature of a day," cannot be the highest form of intelligence
in this wonderful world. We thought that we lived in solid bodies, but
electric rays have been discovered by which the skeletons inside of us
become visible. The correlation and conservation of forces brings us
very close to the origin of all force; and yet in another sense we are
as far off as ever from the perception of it.

This would seem to have been also Hawthorne's position in regard to
religious faith. What do we know of the religious belief of Michel
Angelo, of Shakespeare, or of Beethoven? We cannot doubt that they were
sincerely and purely religious men; but neither of them made any
confession of their faith. Vittoria Colonna may have known something of
Michel Angelo's belief, but Vasari does not mention it; and Beethoven
confessed it was a subject that he did not like to talk about. The
deeper a man's sense of the awe and mystery which underlies Nature, the
less he feels inclined to expose it to the public gaze. Hawthorne's own
family did not know what his religious opinions were--only that he was
religious. One may imagine that the reticent man would be more reticent
on this subject than on any other; but we can feel confident that at
least he was not a sceptic, for the confirmed sceptic inevitably
becomes a chatterer. He walks to Walden Pond with Hillard and Emerson
on Sunday, and confesses his doubts as to the utility of the Church (in
its condition at that time), for spiritual enlightenment; but in regard
to the great omnipresent fact of spirituality he has no doubt. In "The
Snow Image" he makes a statue come to life, and says in conclusion that
if a new miracle is ever wrought in this world it will be in some such
simple manner as he has described.

To the poetic mind, which is after all the highest form of intellect,
the grand fact of existence is a sufficient miracle. The rising of the
sun, the changes of the seasons, the blooming of flowers and the
ripening of the grain, were all miracles to Hawthorne, and none the
less so because they are continually being repeated. The scientists
tell us that all these happen according to natural laws: perfectly
true, but WHO was it that made those laws? WHO is it that keeps the
universe running? Laws made for the regulation of human affairs by the
wisest of men often prove ineffective, and inadequate to the purpose
for which they were intended; but the laws of Nature work with
unfailing accuracy. The boy solves his problem in algebra, finding out
the unknown quantity by those values which are given him; and can we
not also infer something of the _unknown_ from the great panorama
that passes unceasingly before us? The one thing that Hawthorne could
not have understood was, how gifted minds like Lucretius and Auguste
Comte could recognize only the evidence of their senses, and
deliberately blind themselves to the evidence of their intellects. He
who denies the existence of mind as a reality resembles a person
looking for his spectacles when they are on his nose; but it is the
imagination of the poet that leads civilization onward to its goal.

College life is rather generally followed by a period of scepticism,
partly owing in former times to the enforced attendance at morning
prayers, and still more perhaps to the study of Greek and Latin
authors. During what might be called Hawthorne's period of despair, he
could not very well have obtained consolation from the traditional
forms of divine worship; at least, such has been the experience of all
those who have passed through the Wertherian stage, so far as we know
of them. It is a time when every man has to strike the fountain of
spiritual life out of the hard rock of his own existence; and those are
fortunate who, like Moses and Hawthorne, strike forcibly enough to
accomplish this. It is the "new birth from above," in the light of
which religious forms seem of least importance.

One effect of matrimony is commonly a deepening of religious feeling,
but it is not surprising that Hawthorne should not have attended church
after his marriage. His wife had not been accustomed to church-going,
on account of the uncertainty of her health; the Old Manse was a long
distance from the Concord tabernacle; Hawthorne's associates in
Concord, with the exception of Judge Keyes, were not in the habit of
going to church; and the officiating minister, both at that time and
during his later sojourn, was not a person who could have been
intellectually attractive to him. Somewhat similar reasons may have
interfered with his attendance after his return to Salem; and during
the last fifteen years of his life, he was too much of a wanderer to
take a serious interest in the local affairs of the various places he
inhabited; but he was desirous that his children should go to church
and should be brought up in honest Christian ways.

Little more need to be said concerning Hawthorne's character as a man.
It was not so perfect as Longfellow's, to whom all other American
authors should bow the head in this respect--the Washington of poets;
and yet it was a rare example of purity, refinement, and patient
endurance. His faults were insignificant in comparison with his
virtues, and the most conspicuous of them, his tendency to revenge
himself for real or fancied injuries, is but a part of the natural
instinct in us to return the blows we receive in self-defence.
Wantonly, and of his own accord, he never injured human being. His
domestic life was as pure and innocent as that which appeared before
the world; and Mrs. Hawthorne once said of him in my presence that she
did not believe he ever committed an act that could properly be
considered wrong. It was like his writing, and his "wells of English
undefiled" were but as a synonym for the clear current of his daily
existence.

The ideality in Hawthorne's face was so conspicuous that it is
recognizable in every portrait of him. It was not the cold visionary
expression of the abstract thinker, but a human poetic intelligence,
which resolved all things into a spiritual alembic of its own. It is
this which elevates him above all writers who only deal with the outer
world as they find it, and add nothing to it from their own natures.

George Brandes, the Danish critic and essayist, speaks of Hawthorne
somewhere as "the baby poet;" but we suspect that if he had ever met
the living Hawthorne, he would have stood very much in awe of him. It
would not have been like meeting Ernest Renan or John Stuart Mill.
Although Hawthorne was not splenetic or rash, there was an occasional
look in his eye which a prudent person might beware of. He was
emphatically a man of courage.

The wide and liberal interest which German scholars and writers have so
long taken in the literature of other nations, has resulted in founding
an informal literary tribunal in Germany, to which the rest of the
world is accustomed to appeal. A. E. Schonbach, one of the most recent
German writers on universal literature, gives his impression of
Hawthorne in the following statement:

"I find the distinguishing excellence of Hawthorne's imaginative
writings in the union of profound, keen, psychological development of
characters and problems with the most lucid objectivity and a joyous
modern realism. Occasionally there appears a light and delicate humor,
sometimes hidden in a mere adjective, or little phrase which lights up
the gloomiest situation with a gentle ray of hope. Far from unimportant
do I rate the charm of his language, its purity, its melody, its
graceful flexibility, the wealth of vocabulary, the polish which rarely
betrays the touch of the file. After, or with George Eliot, Hawthorne
is the first English prose writer of our century. At the same time he
sacrifices nothing of his peculiar American quality. Not only does he
penetrate into the most secret inner movements of the old colonial
life, as no one else has done, and reproduces the spirit of his
forefathers with a power of intuition which no historical work could
equal; but in all his other works, from the biography of General
Pierce, to the 'Marble Faun,' Hawthorne shows the freshness and
keenness, the precision and lucidity, and other qualities not easy to
describe, which belong to American literature. He is its chief
representative." [Footnote: "Gesammelte Aufsatze zur neueren
Litteratur," p. 346.]

Hawthorne has always been accorded a high position in literature, and
as time goes on I believe this will be increased rather than
diminished. In beauty of diction he is the first of American writers,
and there are few that equal him in this respect in other languages. It
is a pleasure to read him, simply for his form of expression, and apart
from the meaning which he conveys in his sentences. It is like the
grace of the Latin races,--like Dante and Chateaubriand; and the
adaptation of his words is so perfect that we never have to think twice
for his meaning. In those editions called the Elzevirs, which are so
much prized by book collectors, the clearness and legibility of the
type result from such a fine proportion of space and line that no other
printer has succeeded in imitating it; and there is something similar
to this in the construction of Hawthorne's sentences.

He is the romance writer of the English language; and there is no form
of literature which the human race prizes more. How many translations
there have been of "The Vicar of Wakefield," and of "The Sorrows of
Werther"! The latter is not one of Goethe's best, and yet it made him
famous at the age of twenty-eight. The novel deals with what is new and
surprising; the romance with what is old and universal. In "The Vicar
of Wakefield" we have the old story of virtue outwitted by evil, which
is in its turn outwitted by wisdom. There is nothing new in it except
the charming exposition which Goldsmith's genius has given to the
subject. Thackeray ridiculed "The Sorrows of Werther," and in the light
of matured judgment the tale appears ridiculous; but it strikes home to
the heart, because we all learn wisdom through such experiences, of
which young Werther's is an extreme instance. It was only another
example of the close relation that subsists between comedy and tragedy.

It cannot be questioned that "The Scarlet Letter" ranks above "The
Sorrows of Werther;" nor is it less evident that "The Marble Faun"
falls short of "Wilhelm Meister" and "Don Quixote." [Footnote: See
"Cervantes" in _North American Review_, May, 1905] Hawthorne's
position, therefore, lies between these two--nearer perhaps to
"Werther" than to "Wilhelm Meister." In certain respects he is
surpassed by the great English novelists: Fielding, Scott, Thackeray,
Dickens and Marian Evans; but he in turn surpasses them all in the
perfection and poetic quality of his art. There is much poetry in Scott
and Dickens, a little also in Thackeray and Miss Evans, but Hawthorne's
poetic vein has a more penetrating tone, and appeals more deeply than
Scott's verses. If power and versatility of characterization were to be
the test of imaginative writing, Dickens would push closely on to
Shakespeare; but we do not go to Shakespeare to read about Hamlet or
Falstaff, or for the sake of the story, or even for his wisdom, but for
the _tout ensemble_--to read Shakespeare. Raphael painted a dozen
or more pictures on the same subject, but they are all original,
interesting and valuable, because Raphael painted them. If it were not
for the odd characters and variety of incident in Dickens's novels they
would hardly be worth reading. Hawthorne's _dramatis persona_ is
not a long one, for his plots do not admit of it, but his characters
are finely drawn, and the fact that they have not become popular types
is rather in their favor. There are Dombeys and Shylocks in plenty, but
who has ever met a Hamlet or a Rosalind in real life?

A certain English writer promulgated a list of the hundred superior
authors of all times and countries. There were no Americans in his
catalogue, but he admitted that if the number was increased to one
hundred and eighteen Hawthorne and Emerson might be included in it.
Doubtless he had not heard of Webster or Alexander Hamilton, and many
of his countrymen would be inclined to place Longfellow before Emerson.

I have myself frequently counted over the great writers of all times
and languages, weighing their respective values carefully in my mind,
but I have never been able to discover more than thirty-five authors
who seem to me decidedly superior to Hawthorne, nor above forty others
who might be placed on an equality with him. [Footnote: Appendix C.]
This, of course, is only an individual opinion, and should be accepted
for what it is worth; but there are many ancient writers, like Hesiod,
Xenophon, and Catullus, whose chief value resides in their antiquity,
and a much larger number of modern authors, such as Balzac, Victor
Hugo, Freytag, and Ruskin, who have been over-estimated in their own
time. Petrarch, and the author of "Gil Bias," might be placed on a
level with Hawthorne, but certainly not above him. Those whom he most
closely resembles in style and subject matter are Goldsmith, Manzoni,
and Auerbach.

Yet Hawthorne is essentially a domestic writer,--a poetizer of the
hearth-stone. Social life is always the proper subject for works of
fiction, and political life should never enter into them, except as a
subordinate element; but there is a border-land between the two, in
which politics and society act and react on each other, and it is from
this field that the great subjects for epic and dramatic poetry have
always been reaped. Hawthorne only knew of this by hearsay. Of the
strenuous conflict that continually goes on in political centres like
London and New York, a struggle for wealth, for honor, and precedence;
of plots and counterplots, of foiled ambition and ruined reputations,--
with all this Hawthorne had but slight acquaintance. We miss in him the
masculine vigor of Fielding, the humanity of Dickens, and the trenchant
criticism of Thackeray; but he knew that the true poetry of life (at
the present time) was to be found in quiet nooks and in places far off
from the turbulent maelstrom of humanity, and in his own line he
remains unrivalled.


PORTRAITS OF HAWTHORNE

Hawthorne had no more vanity in his nature than is requisite to
preserve a good appearance in public, but he always sat for his
portrait when asked to do so, and this was undoubtedly the most
sensible way. He was first painted by Charles Osgood in 1840, a
portrait which has at least the merit of a fine poetic expression. He
was afterward painted by Thompson, Healy, and Emanuel Leutze, and drawn
in crayon by Rowse and Eastman Johnson. Frances Osborne also painted a
portrait of him from photographs in 1893, an excellent likeness, and
notable especially for its far-off gaze. Of all these, Rowse's portrait
is the finest work of art, for Rowse was a man of genius, but there is
a slight tendency to exaggeration in it, and it does not afford so
clear an idea of Hawthorne as he was, as the Osborne portrait. Healy
was not very successful with Hawthorne, and Miss Lander's bust has no
merit whatever. The following list contains most of the portraits and
photographs of Hawthorne now known to exist, with their respective
ownerships and locations.

Oil portrait painted by Charles Osgood, in 1840. Owned by Mrs. Richard
C. Manning.

Crayon portrait drawn by Eastman H. Johnson, in 1846. Owned by Miss
Alice M. Longfellow.

Oil portrait painted by George P. A. Healy, in 1850. Now in the
possession of Kirk Pierce, Esq.

Oil portrait by Miss H. Frances Osborne, after a photograph by Silsbee,
Case & Co., Boston.

Crayon portrait drawn by Samuel W. Rowse, in 1866. Owned by Mrs. Annie
Fields.

Engraving after the portrait painted in 1850 by Cephas G. Thompson.
Owned by Hon. Henry C. Leach.

The Grolier Club bronze medallion, made in 1892, by Ringel d'Illzach.
Owned by B. W. Pierson.

Cabinet photograph, bust, by Elliott & Fry, London. Owned by Mrs.
Richard C. Manning.

Card photograph, full length, seated, with book in right hand, by Black
& Case, Boston.

Cabinet photograph, three-quarter length, standing beside a pillar,
copy by Mackintire of the original photograph.

Card photograph, three-quarter length, seated, from Warren's
Photographic Studio, Boston.

Card photograph, bust, by Brady, New York, with autographic signature.
Owned by Hon. Henry C. Leach.

Bust in the Concord (Massachusetts) Public Library, by Miss Louise
Lander.

Card photograph, bust, from Warren's Photographic Studio, Boston. Owned
by Mrs. Richard C. Manning.

Oil portrait by Emanuel Leutze, painted in April, 1852. Owned by Julian
Hawthorne.

Photograph by Mayall, London. The so-called "Motley photograph."

Two photographs by Brady, full length; one seated, the other standing.

Photograph showing Hawthorne, Ticknor and Fields standing together.




Editions of Nathaniel Hawthorne's Books published under his own
Direction

Fanshawe: A Tale, Boston, 1828.
Twice-Told Tales, Boston, 1837.
   Another edition, Boston, 1842.
Peter Parley's Universal History, Boston, 1837.
The Gentle Boy: A Thrice-Told Tale, Boston, 1839.
Grandfather's Chair: A History for Youth, Boston, 1841.
Famous Old People: or Grandfather's Chair II, Boston, 1841.
Liberty Tree: The Last Words of Grandfather's Chair, Boston, 1841.
Biographical Stories for Children, Boston, 1842.
Historical Tales for Youth, Boston, 1842.
The Celestial Railroad, Boston, 1843.
Mosses from an Old Manse, New York, 1846, 1851.
The Scarlet Letter, Boston, 1850.
True Stories from History and Biography, Boston, 1851.
The House of the Seven Gables, Boston, 1852.
A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys, Boston, 1851.
   Another edition, Boston, 1857.
The Snow-Image and Other Tales, Boston, 1852.
   Another edition, Boston, 1857.
The Blithedale Romance, Boston, 1852.
Life of Franklin Pierce, Boston, 1852.
Tanglewood Tales for Girls and Boys, Boston, 1853.
Transformation, or the Romance of Monte Beni, Smith & Elder, London, 1860.
The Marble Faun, or the Romance of Monte Beni, Boston, 1860.
Our Old Home, Boston, 1863.

_A complete list of Hawthorne's contributions to American magazines
will be found in the appendix to Conway's "Life of Hawthorne." _


Mrs. Emerson and Mrs. Hawthorne [Footnote: Read at the Emerson Club, at
Boston, January 2, 1906]

In 1892, when I was constructing the volume known as "Sketches from
Concord and Appledore," I said in comparing Emerson with Hawthorne that
one was like _day_, and the other like _night_. I was not aware that four years
earlier M. D. Conway had made a similar statement in his Life of Hawthorne,
which was published in London. Miss Rebecca Manning, Hawthorne's own
cousin, still living at the age of eighty and an admirable old lady,
distinctly confirms my statement, that "wherever Hawthorne went he
carried twilight with him." Emerson, on the contrary, was of a sanguine
temperament and an essentially sunny nature. His writings are full of
good cheer, and the opening of his Divinity School Address is as full of
summer sunshine as the finest July day. It was only necessary to see him
look at the sunshine from his own porch to recognize how it penetrated
into the depths of his nature.

It would seem consistent with the rational order of things, that
_day_ should be supplemented by _night_, and _night_ again by _day_;
and here we are almost startled by the completeness of our allegory. We
sometimes come across faces in the streets of a large city, which show
by their expression that they are more accustomed to artificial light
than to the light of the sun. Mrs. Emerson was one of these. She never
seemed to be fully herself, until the lamps were lighted. Her pale face
seemed to give forth moonlight, and its habitual expression was much like
that of a Sister of Charity. It was said of her that she was the last
in the house to retire at night, always reading or busying herself with
household affairs, until twelve or one o'clock; but this mode of life
would appear to have been suited to her organization, for in spite of
her colorless look she lived to be over ninety.

So far I can tread upon firm earth, without drawing upon my
imagination, but in regard to Mrs. Hawthorne I cannot speak with the
same assurance, for I only became acquainted with her after her
husband's health had begun to fail, and the anxiety in her face was
strongly marked; yet I have reason to believe that her temperament was
originally sanguine and optimistic, and that she alternated from
dreamy, pensive moods to bright vivacious ones. She certainly was very
different from her husband. Her sister, Elizabeth Peabody, was the most
sanguine person of her time, and her introduction of the kindergarten
into America was accomplished through her unbounded hopefulness. The
Wayside, where Mrs. Hawthorne lived, has an extended southern exposure.
The house was always full of light, which is not often the case with
New England country houses; and when she lived at Liverpool, where
sunshine is a rare commodity, she became unwell, so that Mr. Hawthorne
was obliged to send her to Madeira in order to avert a dangerous
illness.

These two estimable ladies were alike in the excellence of their
housekeeping, the purity of their manners, their universal kindliness,
and their devotion to the welfare of their husbands and children. It
was a pleasure to pass them on the road-side; the fare at their tables
was always of the nicest, even if it happened to be frugal; and people
of all classes could have testified to their helpful liberality. In
these respects they might almost have served as models, but otherwise
they were as different as possible. Mrs. Emerson was of a tall,
slender, and somewhat angular figure (like her husband), but she
presided at table with a grace and dignity that quite justified his
favorite epithet of "Queenie." There was even more of the Puritan left
in her than there was in him, and although she encouraged the liberal
movements and tendencies of her time, one always felt in her mental
attitude the inflexibility of the moral law. To her mind there was no
shady border-land between right and wrong, but the two were separated
by a sharply defined line, which was never to be crossed, and she lived
up to this herself, and, in theory at least, she had but little mercy
for sinners. On one occasion I was telling Mr. Emerson of a fraudulent
manufacturing company, which had failed, as it deserved to, and which
was found on investigation to have kept two sets of books, one for
themselves, and another for their creditors. Mrs. Emerson listened to
this narrative with evident impatience, and at the close of it she
exclaimed, "This world has become so wicked that if I were the maker of
it, I should blow it up at once." Emerson himself did not like such
stories; and although he once said that "all deaf children ought to be
put in the water with their faces downward," he was not always willing
to accept human nature for what it really is.

Mrs. Emerson did not agree with her husband's religious views; neither
did she adopt the transcendental faith, that the idea of God is innate
in the human mind, so that we cannot be dispossessed of it. She
belonged to the conservative branch of the Unitarian Church, which was
represented by Reverend James Freeman Clarke and Doctor Andrew P.
Peabody. The subject was one which was permitted to remain in abeyance
between them, but Mrs. Emerson was naturally suspicious of those
reverend gentlemen who called upon her husband, and this may have been
the reason why he did not encourage the visits of clergymen like Samuel
Johnson, Samuel Longfellow, and Professor Hedge, whom he greatly
respected, and who should have been by good rights his chosen
companions. I suppose all husbands are obliged to make these domestic
compromises.

Mrs. Emerson had also something of the spirit-militant in her. When
David A. Wasson came to dine at Mr. Emerson's invitation, she said to
him, by way of grace before meat: "I see you have been carrying on a
controversy with Reverend Mr. Sears, of Wayland, and you will excuse me
for expressing my opinion that Mr. Sears had the best of it." But after
sounding this little nourish of trumpets, she was as kindly and
hospitable as any one could desire. She was one of the earliest
recruits to the anti-slavery cause,--not only a volunteer, but a
recruiting officer as well,--and she made this decision entirely of her
own mind, without any special encouragement from her husband or
relatives. At the time of John Brown's execution she wanted to have the
bells tolled in Concord, and urged her husband energetically to see
that it was done. Mrs. Emerson was always thoroughly herself. There
never was the shadow of an affectation upon her; nor more than a shadow
of self-consciousness--very rare among conscientious persons. One of
her fine traits was her fondness for flowers, which she cultivated in
the little garden between her house and the mill-brook, with a loving
assiduity. She is supposed to have inspired Emerson's poem, beginning:

                 "O fair and stately maid, whose eyes
                  Were kindled in the upper skies
                    At the same torch that lighted mine:
                  For so I must interpret still
                  Thy sweet dominion o'er my will,
                    A sympathy divine."

There are other references to her in his published writings, which only
those who were personally acquainted with her would recognize.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Hawthorne belonged to the class of womankind which Shakespeare has
typified in Ophelia, a tender-hearted, affectionate nature, too
sensitive for the rough strains of life, and too innocent to recognize
the guile in others. This was at once her strength and her weakness;
but it was united, as often happens, with a fine artistic nature, and
superior intelligence. Her face and manners both gave the impression of
a wide and elevated culture. One could see that although she lived by
the wayside, she had been accustomed to enter palaces. Her long
residence in England, her Italian experience, her visit to the Court of
Portugal, her enjoyment of fine pictures, poetry, and architecture, the
acquaintance of distinguished men and women in different countries, had
all left their impress upon her, combined in a quiet and lady-like
harmony. Her conversation was cosmopolitan, and though she did not
quite possess the narrative gift of her sister Elizabeth, it was often
exceedingly interesting.

Hawthorne has been looked upon as the necrologist of the Puritans, and
yet a certain coloring of Puritanism adhered to him to the last. It was
his wife who had entirely escaped from the old New England conventicle.
Severity was at the opposite pole from her moral nature. Tolerant and
charitable to the faults of others, her only fault was the lack of
severity. She believed in the law of love, and when kind words did not
serve her purpose she let matters take what course they would, trusting
that good might fall, "At last far off at last to all."

I suspect her pathway was by no means a flowery one. Mrs. Emerson's
life had to be as stoical as her husband's, and Mrs. Hawthorne's,
previous to the Liverpool consulate,--the consulship of Hawthorne,--was
even more difficult. No one knew better than she the meaning of that
heroism which each day requires. A writer in the _Atlantic
Monthly_, reviewing Julian Hawthorne's biography of his father,
emphasizes, "the dual selfishness of Mr. and Mrs. Hawthorne." Insensate
words! There was no room for selfishness in the lives they led. In a
certain sense they lived almost wholly for one another and for their
children; but Hawthorne himself lived for all time and for all mankind,
and his wife lived through him to the same purpose. The especial form
of their material life was as essential to its spiritual outgrowth as
the rose-bush is to the rose; and it would be a cankered selfishness to
complain of them for it.




Appendices

APPENDIX A


There is at least one error in the Symmes diary, which is however
explainable, and need not vitiate the whole of it. It has been
ascertained that the drowning of Henry Jackson in Songo River by being
kicked in the mouth by another boy while swimming, took place in 1828,
so that the statement to that effect in the diary, must have been
interpolated. As it happened, however, another Henry Jackson was
drowned in the Songo River, so Mr. Pickard says, more than twenty years
before that, and it is quite possible that young Hawthorne overheard
some talk about that catastrophe, and mistook it for a recent event;
and that Symmes afterwards confounding the two Jacksons and the
difference in time, amended Hawthorne's statement as we now have it.
Mr. Pickard says in a recent letter:

"This item alone led me to doubt. But I cannot doubt, the more I
reflect upon it, that H. himself had a hand in most, if not all, the
other items. Who but his uncle could have written that inscription? The
negro Symmes could not have composed that--only a man of culture."...
"The sketch of the sail on Sebago Lake surely was written by some one
who was in that party. Symmes _might_ have been there, but he was
a genius deserving the fame of a Chatterton if he really did this.
Three of that party I personally knew--one (Sawyer) was a cousin of my
grandfather. His sleight of hand, his skill with rifle, his being a
'votary of chance,' are traditions in my family."

This does not differ essentially from the opinion I have already
expressed in Chapter II. F. B. Sanborn, who is one of the best-informed
of living men in regard to Hawthorne, takes a similar view.




APPENDIX B


In February, 1883, a review of "Nathaniel Hawthorne and his Wife" was
published in the _Atlantic Monthly_, evidently written by a person
with no good-will toward the family. Editors ought to beware of such
reviews, for their character is easily recognized, and the effect they
produce often reacts upon the publication that contains them. In the
present instance, the ill-humor of the writer had evidently been
bottled up for many years.

To place typographical errors to the debit of an author's account--not
very numerous for a work of eight hundred pages--suggests either an
inexperienced or a strongly prejudiced critic. This is what the
_Atlantic_ writer begins with, and he (or she) next proceeds to
complain that the book does not contain a complete bibliography of
Hawthorne's works; although many excellent biographies have been
published without this, and it is quite possible that Hawthorne's son
preferred not to insert it. No notice is taken of the many fine
passages in the book, like the apostrophe upon Hawthorne's marriage,
[Footnote: J. Hawthorne, i. 242,] and that excellent description of the
performances of a trance medium at Florence, but continues in an
ascending climax of fault-finding until he (or she) reaches the passage
from Hawthorne's Roman diary concerning Margaret Fuller. [Footnote: J.
Hawthorne, i. 30-35.]

If public opinion has any value, this passage concerning Margaret
Fuller's marriage ought not to have been published; but what can
Margaret Fuller's friends and admirers expect? Do they think that a
young American woman can go to a foreign country, and live with a
foreign gentleman, in defiance of the customs of modern society,
without subjecting herself to the severest criticism? It is true that
she married Count d'Ossoli before her child was born, and her friends,
who were certainly an enlightened class, always believed that she acted
throughout from the most honorable motives (my own opinion is, that she
acted in imitation of Goethe), but how can they expect the great mass
of mankind to think so? Hawthorne had a right to his opinion, as well
as Emerson and Channing, and although it was certainly not a very
charitable opinion, we cannot doubt that it was an honest one. In
regard to the marriage tie, Hawthorne was always strict and
conservative.

This is the climax of the _Atlantic_ critique, and its anti-climax
is an excoriation of Hawthorne's son for neglecting to do equal and
exact justice to James T. Fields. This truly is a grievous accusation.
Fields was Hawthorne's publisher and would seem to have taken a
personal and friendly interest in him besides, but we cannot look on it
as a wholly unselfish interest. It was not like Hillard's, Pierce's,
and Bridge's interest in Hawthorne. If Fields had not been his
publisher, it is not probable that Hawthorne would have made his
acquaintance; and if his son has not enlarged on Fields's good offices
in bringing "The Scarlet Letter" before the public, there is an
excellent reason for it, in the fact that Fields had already done so
for himself in his "Yesterdays with Authors." That Fields's name should
have been omitted in the index to "Nathaniel Hawthorne and his Wife,"
may have been an oversight; but, at all events, it is too microscopic a
matter to deserve consideration in a first-class review.

Are we become such babies, that it is no longer possible for a writer
to tell the plain, ostensible truth concerning human nature, without
having a storm raised about his head for it? George P. Bradford and
Martin F. Tupper are similar instances, and like Boswell have suffered
the penalty which accrues to men of small stature for associating with
giants.




APPENDIX C


The great poets and other writers of all nations whom I conceive to be
superior to Hawthorne, may be found in the following list: Homer,
Aschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Pindar, Thucydides, Plato, Aristotle,
Demosthenes, Theocritus, Plutarch; Horace, Virgil, Cicero, Tacitus;
Dante, Tasso, Petrarch; Cervantes, Calderon, Camoens; Moliere, Racine,
Descartes, Voltaire; Lessing, Goethe, Schiller, Kant; Swedenborg;
Chaucer, Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton, and perhaps Burns and Byron;
Alexander Hamilton, Napoleon.

These also may be placed more on an equality with Hawthorne, although
there will of course always be wide differences of opinion on that
point: Hesiod, Herodotus, Menander, Aristophases; Livy, Casar,
Lucretius, Juvenal; Ariosto, Macchiavelli, Manzoni, Lope de Vega,
Buthas Pato; Corneille, Pascal, Rousseau; Wieland, Klopstock, Heine,
Auerbach; Spenser, Ben Jonson, Fletcher, Fielding, Pope, Scott,
Wordsworth, Shelley, Carlyle, Browning, Tennyson, Froude; Webster,
Emerson, Wasson. Sappho, Bion, Moschus, and Cleanthes were certainly
poets of a high order, but only some fragments of their poetry have
survived. Gottfried of Strassburg, the Minnesinger, might be included,
and some of the finest English poetry was written by unknown geniuses
of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Ballads like "Chevy Chace"
and the "Child of Elle" deserve a high place in the rank of poetry; and
the German "Reineke Fuchs" is in its way without a rival. There may be
other French, German, and Spanish writers of exceptional excellence
with whom I am unacquainted, but I do not feel that any French or
German novelists of the last century ought to be placed on a level with
Hawthorne--only excepting Auerbach. Victor Hugo is grandiloquent, and
the others all have some serious fault or limitation. I suppose that
not one in ten of Emerson's readers has ever heard of Wasson, but he
was the better prose writer of the two, and little inferior as a poet.
More elevated he could not be, but more profound, just, logical and
humane--that is, more like Hawthorne. Emerson could not have filled his
place on the _Atlantic Monthly_ and the _North American Review_.




Index

Index

Adams, John Quincy
After-dinner speeches
Alcott, A. Bronson
"Ambitious Guest, The,"
"Ancestral Footstep, The,"
_Antinous_ of the villa Ludovisi
"Arabella," the ship
Arnold, Matthew
"Artist of the Beautiful, The,"
Athenaan Society
Atlantic Club
Aurelius, Marcus

Bacon's, Miss, volume published
Balzac
Bancroft, George
Beethoven
Bennoch, Francis
"Blithedale Romance"
Blodgett's boarding-house
"Bloody Footstep"
"Birth Mark, The,"
"Bosom Serpent, The,"
Bradford, George P
Brandes, Danish critic
Bridge, Horatio,
Bright, Henry A.
Brook Farm
Brown, John
Browning and Carlyle
Browning, Mrs. Elizabeth Barrett
Browning, Robert
Buchanan, President

Carlyle and Hawthorne
Castor and Pollux, statues of
"Celestial Railroad, The"
Cenci, Beatrice, portrait of
Channing, Ellery
Channing, William H.
Cilley and Graves duel
Cilley, Jonathan
  description of
Clarke, Edward H.
Clarke, Rev. Dr. James F.
"Code of Honor," the
College skepticism
Columbia, statue of
Concord River
Conway, Rev. M. D.
Crab spider, the
Crawford, sculptor
"Critique of Pure Reason, The"
Curtis, George William

Dallas, George M.
Dante's _Inferno_
Dickens
"Doctor Grimshawe's Secret"
Dolliver, Dr.
"Dolliver Romance, The"
Donatello's crime
Dwight, John S., musical critic

Elgin marbles
Eliot, George
Emerson
  essays
Emerson, Mrs. R. W.
  her figure
  religious views
English lakes
"English Note-book"
English scenery
Essex County people
Evans, Marian

"Fancy's Show Box"
"Fanshawe"
"Faun of Praxiteles"
"Felton, Septimius,"
Fielding
Fields, James T
Florentine art
Fourier
Fuller, Margaret
  as Zenobia
  her marriage

Gardner, E. A., Prof
Genius, its growth
"Gentle Boy, The,"
Ghosts
Gibson, sculptor
  his tinted Eves and Venuses
Gladstone, William E., on transcendentalism
Godkin, E. L.
Goethe
Golden Age, A
Goodrich, S. G., editor
"Great Carbuncle, The,"
"Great Stone Face, The,"
Guilty glimpses at hired models
Gurney, Prof. E. W.

"Hall of Fantasy, The,"
Harris, Dr. William T.
Harvard Law School
Hathorne, Daniel
Hathorne, John
  witches' judge
  his last will
  his gravestone
Hathorne, Joseph
Hathorne, Nathaniel
Hathorne, William
  Letter to British Ministry
Hawthorne, Elizabeth
Hawthorne, Julian
Hawthorne, Louisa
  her death
Hawthorne, Mrs. Sophia Peabody
  becomes engaged to Hawthorne
  writes to her mother
  encourages her husband
  praises her husband
  is out of health
  goes to Madeira
  is presented at court
  the original of Hilda
  at Concord
  her opinions
  character and style
Hawthorne, Nathaniel,
  his English ancestors
  family name
  birthplace
  his lameness
  early poetry
  life at Sebago
  his first diary
  the budding of his genius
  fits for college
  "Pin Society"
  religious instruction
  decides on his vocation
  has the measles
  his life at Bowdoin
  outdoor sports
  is fined for gambling
  graduates at Bowdoin
  decides his profession
  publishes "Fanshawe"
  changes his name
  despondency
  goes to Lake Champlain
  wins his bet with Cilley
  commences his diary
  his supposed challenge
  thanks Longfellow
  goes to Berkshire Hills
  character of his diary
  his engagement
  enters Custom House
  goes to Brook Farm
  his marriage
  his true Arcadia
  his skating
  opinion of Emerson
  birth of a daughter
  his indolence
  style as an author
  returns to Robert Manning's house
  is appointed Surveyor of the Port
  son Julian is born
  occupies house on Mall street
  is removed from office
  publishes "Scarlet Letter"
  method of development
  sits for his portrait; goes to Lenox
  publishes "House of Seven Gables"
  birth of his daughter Rose
  leaves Lenox for Newton
  returns to Concord
  writes the "Life of Pierce"
  the Liverpool consulate
  sails for England
  as an office-holder
  his life in England
  makes a speech
  kindness to Delia Bacon
  resigns the Consulate
  as a law writer
  goes to Paris
  arrives at Rome
  journeys to Florence
  goes to the Vatican
  on modern sculpture
  returns to Rome
  visits Geneva
  summer at Redcar
  publishes the "Marble Faun
  Hawthorne the famous
  begins to dislike writing
  returns to Concord
  method of writing
  patriotism
  proposes to arm negroes
  preparatory sketches
  sojourns at Beverly Farms
  last entry in his journal
  dedicates book to President Pierce
  at home
  personal appearance
  seriously ill
  Hawthorne's philosophy
  his death
  his funeral
  religious convictions
  his position in literature
Hawthorne, Rose, her birth
  her memoirs
Hawthorne's mother
  her character
  her death
Hawthorne, Una, her birth
  severe illness of
Hilda, character of
  her tower
Hillard, George S.
Hoar, Miss Elizabeth
Holiday epauletes
Holmes, Oliver Wendell
Hosmer, Harriet
Houghton, Lord
"House of the Seven Gables, The"
Howe, Dr. Samuel G.
Hunt, suicide of Miss

Italian Note-book

Jackson, Andrew
James, Henry, Jr.
James, Henry, Sr.
Jameson, Mrs. Anna
Jerrold, Douglas

Kansas-Nebraska Bill
Kant, Immanuel
Kemble, Frances
Kitridge, Doctor

"Lady Eleanor's Mantle"
_Laocoon_
Lathrop, George P.
Leamington
Lincoln, President
Liverpool Consulate
Longfellow, Henry W.
  reviews Hawthorne
Loring, Frederick W.
Loring, Dr. George B.
Lowell, James Russell

Mann, Horace
Mann, Mrs. Horace
Manning family
Manning, Rebecca
Manning, Richard
Manning, Robert
"Marble Faun, The," English reviews of
  analysis of
  its original
McClellan, General George B.
McMichael, Morton
Melville, Hermann
Mexican War
Michel Angelo
  his _Last Judgment and Moses_
"Miroir, Monsieur du"
"Mosses from an Old Manse"
Motley's opinions
"Mrs. Bullfrog"

Niagara Falls, visit to
_North American Review_
Nurse, Rebecca, a witch

Offensive partisanship
"Old Manse," the
"Ontario Steamboat, The"
O'Sullivan, an editor
"Our Old Home"

Parker, Theodore
Peabody, Elizabeth
Peabody, Sophia Amelia
Philadelphia Hock Club
Pickard, Samuel T.
Pierce, Franklin
  elected Senator
  goes to the war
  nominated for President
  his father
  various
Pike, William B.
Poetic mind, the
Politicians, opinion of
Portraits of Hawthorne by Osgood, Healy, Rowse, and
  others
Positivists
Powers, Hiram
  his _America_
Prescott, George L
Prince of Wales
Pyncheon, Clifford

Quakers, persecution of

Raphael's _Transfiguration_
"Rappacini's Daughter"
Reform Club of London
Ripley, George
Rock Ferry
Roman Carnival
Runnel, Mary, sweetheart of Daniel Hathorne
Ruskin

Sailors maltreated
Salem architecture
Salem, situation of
Salem society
Salem's sea-captains
Sanborn, Frank B., attempt to kidnap
"Scarlet Letter, The,"
Schonbach, A. E., German critic
"Select Party, The,"
Shakespeare, authorship of
  Epitaph
Shaw, Chief Justice
Shelley
Sheridan's Ride
"Sights from a Steeple"
Silsbee, Edward
Sistine Chapel
Skepticism of evil
Slavery Question
"Snow Image"
Spartan discipline
Story, William W.
St. Petersburg _Venus_
Sumner and Motley
Sumner, Charles
Swartwout's defalcation
Symms, William, a mulatto

"Tanglewood Tales"
Taylor, President
Thoreau
  of marriage
Ticknor, W. D., death of
Tituba, the Aztec
Tragedy, character of
Trance medium, a
Transcendentalism
  essence of
Tupper, Martin Farquhar
Turner, J. M. W.
"Twice Told Tales"

"Unpardonable Sin, The,"
Upham, the historian

Vanity of Women
Vasari
_Venus de Medici_
"Vicar of Wakefield"
Victor Hugo
Villa Manteuto
"Virtuoso's Collection, The,"
"Vision at the Fountain, The,"

Ward's Tavern
Warwick Castle
Wasson, David A
Waters, Henry F., researches of
Wayside, The
Webster, Daniel
West Roxbury commune
Whittier, the poet
Wig Castle in Wigton
Witchcraft persecution
Wood, Warrington
Worcester, Doctor, the lexicographer

"Young Goodman Brown"





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