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Fifty Years of Hawthorne

Hawthorne was an excellent critic of his own writings. He recognizes repeatedly the impersonal and purely objective nature of his fiction. R. H. Hutton once called him the ghost of New England; and those who love his exquisite, though shadowy, art are impelled to give corporeal substance to this disembodied spirit: to draw him nearer out of his chill aloofness, by associating him with people and places with which they too have associations.

I heard Colonel Higginson say, in a lecture at Concord, that if a few drops of redder blood could have been added to Hawthorne's style, he would have been the foremost imaginative writer of his century. The ghosts in "The Æneid" were unable to speak aloud until they had drunk blood. Instinctively, then, one seeks to infuse more red corpuscles into the somewhat anæmic veins of these tales and romances. For Hawthorne's fiction is almost wholly ideal. He does not copy life like Thackeray, whose procedure is inductive: does not start with observed characters, but with an imagined problem or situation of the soul, inventing characters to fit. There is always a dreamy quality about the action: no violent quarrels, no passionate love scenes. Thus it has been often pointed out that in "The Scarlet Letter" we do not get the history of Dimmesdale's and Hester's sin: not the passion itself, but only its sequels in the conscience. So in "The House of the Seven Gables," and "The Marble Faun," a crime has preceded the opening of the story, which deals with the working out of the retribution.

When Hawthorne handled real persons, it was in the form of the character sketch—often the satirical character sketch,—as in the introduction to "The Scarlet Letter" which scandalized the people of Salem. If he could have made a novel out of his custom-house acquaintances, he might have given us something less immaterial. He felt the lack of solidity in his own creations: the folly of constructing "the semblance of a world out of airy matter"; the "value hidden in petty incidents and ordinary characters." "A better book than I shall ever write was there," he confesses, but "my brain wanted the insight and my hand the cunning to transcribe it."

Now and then, when he worked from observation, or utilized his own experiences, a piece of drastic realism results. The suicide of Zenobia is transferred, with the necessary changes, from a long passage in "The American Note Books," in which he tells of going out at night, with his neighbors, to drag for the body of a girl who had drowned herself in the Concord. Yet he did not refrain the touch of symbolism even here. There is a wound on Zenobia's breast, inflicted by the pole with which Hollingsworth is groping the river bottom.

And this is why one finds his "American Note Books" quite as interesting reading as his stories. Very remarkable things, these note books. They have puzzled Mr. James, who asks what the author would be at in them, and suggests that he is writing letters to himself, or practising his hand at description. They are not exactly a journal in-time; nor are they records of thought, like Emerson's ten volumes of journals. They are carefully composed, and are full of hints for plots, scenes, situations, characters, to be later worked up. In the three collections, "Twice-Told Tales," "Mosses from an Old Manse," and "The Snow Image," there are, in round numbers, a hundred tales and sketches; and Mr. Conway has declared that, in the number of his original plots, no modern author, save Browning, has equalled Hawthorne. Now, the germ of many, if not most, of these inventions may be found in some brief jotting—a paragraph, or a line or two—in "The American Note Books."

Yet it is not as literary material that these notes engage me most—by far the greater portion were never used,—but as records of observation and studies of life. I will even acknowledge a certain excitement when the diarist's wanderings lead him into my own neighborhood, however insignificant the result. Thus, in a letter from New Haven in 1830, he writes, "I heard some of the students at Yale College conjecturing that I was an Englishman." Mr. Lathrop thinks that it was on this trip through Connecticut that he hit upon his story, "The Seven Vagabonds," the scene of which is near Stamford, in the van of a travelling showman, where the seven wanderers take shelter during a thunderstorm. How quaintly true to the old provincial life of back-country New England are these figures—a life that survives to-day in out-of-the-way places. Holgrave, the young daguerreotypist in "The House of the Seven Gables," a type of the universal Yankee, had practised a number of these queer trades: had been a strolling dentist, a lecturer on mesmerism, a salesman in a village store, a district schoolmaster, editor of a country newspaper; and "had subsequently travelled New England and the Middle States, as a peddler, in the employment of a Connecticut manufactory of Cologne water and other essences." The Note Books tell us that, at North Adams in 1838, the author foregathered with a surgeon-dentist, who was also a preacher of the Baptist persuasion: and that, on the stage-coach between Worcester and Northampton, they took up an essence-vender who was peddling anise-seed, cloves, red-cedar, wormwood, opodeldoc, hair-oil, and Cologne water. Do you imagine that the essence-peddler is extinct? No, you may meet his covered wagon to-day on lonely roads between the hill-villages of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

It was while living that strange life of seclusion at Old Salem, compared with which Thoreau's hermitage at Walden was like the central roar of Broadway, that Hawthorne broke away now and then from his solitude, and went rambling off in search of contacts with real life. Here is another item that he fetched back from Connecticut under date of September, 1838: "In Connecticut and also sometimes in Berkshire, the villages are situated on the most elevated ground that can be found, so that they are visible for miles around. Litchfield is a remarkable instance, occupying a high plain, without the least shelter from the winds, and with almost as wide an expanse of view as from a mountain-top. The streets are very wide—two or three hundred feet at least—with wide green margins, and sometimes there is a wide green space between two road tracks.... The graveyard is on the slope, and at the foot of a swell, filled with old and new gravestones, some of red freestone, some of gray granite, most of them of white marble and one of cast iron with an inscription of raised letters." Do I not know that wind-swept hilltop, those grassy avenues? Do I not know that ancient graveyard, and what names are on its headstones? Yes, even as the heart knoweth its own bitterness.

As we go on in life, anniversaries become rather melancholy affairs. The turn of the year—the annual return of the day—birthdays or death-days or set festal occasions like Christmas or the New Year, bring reminders of loss and change. This is true of domestic anniversaries; while public literary celebrations, designed to recall to a forgetful generation the centenary or other dates in the lives of great writers, appear too often but milestones on the road to oblivion. Fifty years is too short a time to establish a literary immortality; and yet, if any American writer has already won the position of a classic, Hawthorne is that writer. Speaking in this country in 1883, Matthew Arnold said: "Hawthorne's literary talent is of the first order. His subjects are generally not to me subjects of the highest interest; but his literary talent is ... the finest, I think, which America has yet produced—finer, by much, than Emerson's." But how does the case stand to-day? I believe that Hawthorne's fame is secure as a whole, in spite of the fact that much of his work has begun to feel the disintegrating force of hostile criticism, and "the unimaginable touch of time."

For one thing, American fiction, for the past fifty years, has been taking a direction quite the contrary of his. Run over the names that will readily occur of modern novelists and short-story writers, and ask yourself whether the vivid coloring of these realistic schools must not inevitably have blanched to a still whiter pallor those visionary tales of which the author long ago confessed that they had "the pale tints of flowers that blossomed in too retired a shade." With practice has gone theory; and now the critics of realism are beginning to nibble at the accepted estimates of Hawthorne. A very damaging bit of dissection is the recent essay by Mr. W. C. Brownell, one of the most acute and unsparingly analytic of American critics. It is full of cruelly clever things: for example, "Zenobia and Miriam linger in one's memory rather as brunettes than as women." And again, à propos of Roger Chillingworth in "The Scarlet Letter,"—"His characters are not creations, but expedients." I admire these sayings; but they seem to me, like most epigrams, brilliant statements of half-truths. In general, Mr. Brownell's thesis is that Hawthorne was spoiled by allegory: that he abused his naturally rare gift of imagination by declining to grapple with reality, which is the proper material for the imagination, but allowing his fancy—an inferior faculty—to play with dreams and symbols; and that consequently he has left but one masterpiece.

This is an old complaint. Long ago, Edgar Poe, who did not live to read "The Scarlet Letter," but who wrote a favorable review of "The Twice-Told Tales," advised the author to give up allegory. In 1880, Mr. Henry James wrote a life of Hawthorne for the English Men of Letters series. This was addressed chiefly to the English public and was thought in this country to be a trifle unsympathetic; in particular in its patronizing way of dwelling upon the thinness of the American social environment and the consequent provincialism of Hawthorne's books. The "American Note Books," in particular, seem to Mr. James a chronicle of small beer, and he marvels at the triviality of an existence which could reduce the diarist to recording an impression that "the aromatic odor of peat smoke in the sunny autumnal air is very pleasant." This peat-smoke entry has become proverbial, and is mentioned by nearly everyone who writes about Hawthorne. Yet on a recent rereading of James's biography, it seemed to me not so unsympathetic as I had remembered it; but, in effect, cordially appreciative. He touches, however, on this same point, of the effect on Hawthorne's genius of his allegorizing habit. "Hawthorne," says Mr. James, "was not in the least a realist—he was not, to my mind, enough of one." The biographer allows him a liberal share of imagination, but adds that most of his short tales are more fanciful than imaginative. "Hawthorne, in his metaphysical moods, is nothing if not allegorical, and allegory, to my sense, is quite one of the lighter exercises of the imagination. Many excellent judges, I know, have a great stomach for it; they delight in symbols and correspondences, in seeing a story told as if it were another and a very different story. I frankly confess that it has never seemed to me a first-rate literary form. It is apt to spoil two good things—a story and a moral."

Except in that capital satire, "The Celestial Railroad," an ironical application of "The Pilgrim's Progress" to modern religion, Hawthorne seldom uses out-and-out allegory; but rather a more or less definite symbolism. Even in his full-length romances, this mental habit persists in the typical and, so to speak, algebraic nature of his figures and incidents. George Woodberry and others have drawn attention to the way in which his fancy clings to the physical image that represents the moral truth: the minister's black veil, emblem of the secret of every human heart; the print of a hand on the heroine's cheek in "The Birthmark," a sign of earthly imperfection which only death can eradicate; the mechanical butterfly in "The Artist of the Beautiful," for which the artist no longer cares, when once he has embodied his thought. Zenobia in "The Blithedale Romance" has every day a hot-house flower sent down from a Boston conservatory and wears it in her hair or the bosom of her gown, where it seems to express her exotic beauty. It is characteristic of the romancer that he does not specify whether this symbolic blossom was a gardenia, an orchid, a tuberose, a japonica, or what it was. Thoreau, if we can imagine him writing a romance, would have added the botanical name.

"Rappacini's Daughter" is a very representative instance of those "insubstantial fictions for the illustration of moral truths, not always of much moment." The suggestion of this tale we find in a quotation from Sir Thomas Browne in "The American Note Books" for 1837: "A story there passeth of an Indian King that sent unto Alexander a fair woman fed with aconite and other poisons, with this intent complexionally to destroy him." Here was one of those morbid situations, with a hint of psychological possibilities and moral applications, that never failed to fascinate Hawthorne. He let his imagination dwell upon it, and gradually evolved the story of a physician who made his own daughter the victim of a scientific experiment. In this tale, Mr. Brownell thinks, the narrative has no significance apart from the moral; and yet the moral is quite lost sight of in the development of the narrative, which might have been more attractive if told simply as a fairy tale. This is quite representative of Hawthorne's usual method. There is no explicit moral to "Rappacini's Daughter." But there are a number of parallels and applications open to the reader. He may make them, or he may abstain from making them as he chooses. Thus we are vaguely reminded of Mithridates, the Pontic King, who made himself immune to poisons by their daily employment. The doctor's theory, that every disease can be cured by the use of the appropriate poison, suggests the aconite and belladonna of the homeopathists and their motto, similia similibus curantur. Again we think of Holmes's novel "Elsie Venner," of the girl impregnated with the venom of the rattlesnake, whose life ended when the serpent nature died out of her; just as Beatrice, in Hawthorne's story, is killed by the powerful antidote which slays the poison. A very obvious incidental reflection is the cruelty of science, sacrificing its best loved object to its curiosity. And may we not turn the whole tale into a parable of the isolation produced by a peculiar and unnatural rearing, say in heterodox beliefs, or unconventional habits, unfitting the victim for society, making her to be shunned as dangerous?

The lure of the symbolic and the marvelous tempted Hawthorne constantly to the brink of the supernatural. But here his art is delicate. The old-fashioned ghost is too robust an apparition for modern credulity. The modern ghost is a "clot on the brain." Recall the ghosts in Henry James's "The Turn of the Screw"—just a suspicion of evil presences. The true interpretation of that story I have sometimes thought to be, that the woman who saw the phantoms was mad. Hawthorne is similarly ambiguous. His apparently preternatural phenomena always admit of a natural explanation. The water of Maule's well may have turned bitter in consequence of an ancient wrong; but also perhaps because of a disturbance in the underground springs. The sudden deaths of Colonel and Judge Pyncheon may have been due to the old wizard's curse that "God would give them blood to drink"; or simply to an inherited tendency to apoplexy. Did Donatello have furry, leaf-shaped ears, or was this merely his companions' teasing? Did old Mistress Hibben, the sister of Governor Bellingham of Massachusetts, attend witch meetings in the forest, and inscribe her name in the Black Man's book? Hawthorne does not say so, but only that the people so believed; and it is historical fact that she was executed as a witch. Was a red letter A actually seen in the midnight sky, or was it a freak of the aurora borealis? What did Chillingworth see on Dimmesdale's breast? The author will not tell us. But if it was the mark of the Scarlet Letter, may we not appeal to the phenomena of stigmatism: the print, for example, of the five wounds of Christ on the bodies of devotees? Hawthorne does not vouch for the truth of Alice Pyncheon's clairvoyant trances: he relates her story as a legend handed down in the Pyncheon family, explicable, if you please, on natural grounds—what was witchcraft in the seventeenth century having become mesmerism or hypnotism in the nineteenth.

Fifty years after his death, Hawthorne is already a classic. For even Mr. Brownell allows him one masterpiece, and one masterpiece means an immortality. I suppose it is generally agreed that "The Scarlet Letter" is his chef-d'œuvre. Certainly it is his most intensely conceived work, the most thoroughly fused and logically developed; and is free from those elements of fantasy, mystery, and unreality which enter into his other romances. But its unrelieved gloom, and the author's unrelaxing grasp upon his theme, make it less characteristic than some of his inferior works; and I think he was right in preferring "The House of the Seven Gables," as more fully representing all sides of his genius. The difference between the two is the difference between tragedy and romance. While we are riding the high horse of criticism and feeling virtuous, we will concede the superiority of the former genre; but when we give our literary conscience the slip, we yield ourselves again to the fascination of the haunted twilight.

The antique gabled mansion in its quiet back street has the charm of the still-life sketches in the early books, such as "Sights from a Steeple," "A Rill from the Town Pump," "Sunday at Home," and "The Toll-gatherer's Day." All manner of quaint figures, known to childhood, pass along that visionary street: the scissors grinder, town crier, baker's cart, lumbering stage-coach, charcoal vender, hand-organ man and monkey, a drove of cattle, a military parade—the "trainers," as we used to call them. Hawthorne had no love for his fellow citizens and took little part in the modern society of Salem. But he had struck deep roots into the soil of the old witch town, his birthplace and the home of generations of his ancestors. Does the reader know this ancient seaport, with its decayed shipping and mouldering wharves, its silted up harbor and idle custom-house, where Hawthorne served three years as surveyor of the port? Imposing still are the great houses around the square, built by retired merchants and shipmasters whose fortunes were made in the East India trade: with dark old drawing-rooms smelling of sandalwood and filled with cabinets of Oriental curiosities. Hawthorne had little to do with the aristocracy of Salem. But something of the life of these old families may be read in Mrs. Stoddard's novel "The Morgesons,"—a book which I am perpetually recommending to my friends, and they as perpetually refusing to read, returning my copy after a superficial perusal, with uncomplimentary comments upon my taste in fiction.

Hawthorne's academic connections are of particular interest. It is wonderful that he and Longfellow should have been classmates at Bowdoin. Equally wonderful that Emerson's "Nature" and Hawthorne's "Mosses" should have been written in the same little room in the Old Manse at Concord. It gives one a sense of how small New England was then, and in how narrow a runway genius went. Bowdoin College in those days was a little country school on the edge of the Maine wilderness, only twenty years old, its few buildings almost literally planted down among the pine stumps. Hawthorne's class—1825—graduated but thirty-seven strong. And yet Hawthorne and Longfellow were not intimate in college but belonged to different sets. And twelve years afterward, when Longfellow wrote a friendly review of "Twice-Told Tales" in The North American Review, his quondam classmate addressed him in a somewhat formal letter of thanks as "Dear Sir." Later the relations of the two became closer, though never perhaps intimate. It was Hawthorne who handed over to Longfellow that story of the dispersion of the Acadian exiles of Grandpré, which became "Evangeline": a story which his friend Conolly had suggested to Hawthorne, as mentioned in "The American Note Books." The point which arrested Hawthorne's attention was the incident in the Bayou Teche, where Gabriel's boat passes in the night within a few feet of the bank on which Evangeline and her company are sleeping.

This was one of those tricks of destiny that so often engaged Hawthorne's imagination: like the tale of "David Swan" the farmer's boy who, on his way to try his fortune in the city, falls asleep by a wayside spring. A rich and childless old couple stop to water their horse, are taken by his appearance and talk of adopting him, but drive away on hearing someone approaching. A young girl comes by and falls so much in love with his handsome face that she is tempted to waken him with a kiss, but she too is startled and goes on. Then a pair of tramps arrive and are about to murder him for his money, when they in turn are frightened off. Thus riches and love and death have passed him in his sleep; and he, all unconscious of the brush of the wings of fate, awakens and goes his way. Again, our romancer had read the common historical accounts of the great landslide which buried the inn in the Notch of the White Mountains. The names were known of all who had been there that night and had consequently perished—with one exception. One stranger had been present, who was never identified: Hawthorne's fancy played with this curious problem, and he made out of it his story of "The Ambitious Guest," a youth just starting on a brilliant career, entertaining the company around the fire, with excited descriptions of his hopes and plans; and then snuffed out utterly by ironic fate, and not even numbered among the missing.

Tales like these are among the most characteristic and original of the author's works. And wherever we notice this quality in a story, we call it Hawthornish. "Peter Rugg, the Missing Man," is Hawthornish; so is "Peter Schemil, the Man without a Shadow"; or Balzac's "Peau de Chagrin"; or later work, some of it manifestly inspired by Hawthorne, like Stevenson's tale of a double personality, "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"; or Edward Bellamy's "Dr. Heidenhoff's Process"—a process for ensuring forgetfulness of unpleasant things—a modern water of Lethe. Even some of James's early stories like "The Madonna of the Future" and "The Last of the Valerii," as well as Mr. Howells's "Undiscovered Country," have touches of Hawthorne.

Emerson and Hawthorne were fellow townsmen for some years at Concord, and held each other in high regard. One was a philosophical idealist: the other, an artist of the ideal, who sometimes doubted whether the tree on the bank, or its image in the stream was the more real. But they took no impress from one another's minds. Emerson could not read his neighbor's romances. Their morbid absorption in the problem of evil repelled the resolute optimist. He thought the best thing Hawthorne ever wrote was his "Recollections of a Gifted Woman," the chapter in "Our Old Home" concerning Miss Delia Bacon, originator of the Baconian theory of Shakespeare, whom Hawthorne befriended with unfailing patience and courtesy during his Liverpool consulship.

Hawthorne paid a fine tribute to Emerson in the introduction to "Mosses from an Old Manse," and even paid him the honor of quotation, contrary to his almost invariable practice. I cannot recall a half dozen quotations in all his works. I think he must have been principled against them. But he said he had come too late to Concord to fall under Emerson's influence. No risk of that, had he come earlier. There was a jealous independence in Hawthorne which resented the too close approach of an alien mind: a species of perversity even, that set him in contradiction to his environment. He always fought shy of literary people. During his Liverpool consulship, he did not make—apparently did not care to make—acquaintance with his intellectual equals. He did not meet Carlyle, Dickens, Thackeray, Tennyson, Mill, Grote, Charles Reade, George Eliot, or any other first-class minds. He barely met the Brownings, but did not really come to know them till afterwards in Italy. Surrounded by reformers, abolitionists, vegetarians, comeouters and radicals of all gospels, he remained stubbornly conservative. He held office under three Democratic administrations, and wrote a campaign life of his old college friend Franklin Pierce when he ran for President. Commenting on Emerson's sentence that John Brown had made the gallows sacred like the cross, Hawthorne said that Brown was a blood-stained fanatic and justly hanged.

This conservatism was allied with a certain fatalism, hopelessness, and moral indolence in Hawthorne's nature. Hollingsworth, in "The Blithedale Romance," is his picture of the one-ideaed reformer, sacrificing all to his hobby. Hollingsworth's hobby is prison reform, and characteristically Hawthorne gives us no details of his plan. It is vagueness itself, and its advocate is little better than a type. Holgrave again, in "The House of the Seven Gables," is the scornful young radical; and both he and Hollingsworth are guilty of the mistake of supposing that they can do anything directly to improve the condition of things. God will bring about amendment in his own good time. And this fatalism again is subtly connected with New England's ancestral creed—Calvinism. Hawthorne—it has been pointed out a hundred times—is the Puritan romancer. His tales are tales of the conscience: he is obsessed with the thought of sin, with the doctrines of foreordination and total depravity. In the theological library which he found stowed away in the garret of the Old Manse, he preferred the seventeenth-century folio volumes of Puritan divinity to the thin Unitarian sermons and controversial articles in the files of The Christian Examiner. The former, at least, had once been warm with a deep belief, however they had now "cooled down even to the freezing point." But "the frigidity of the modern productions" was "inherent." Hawthorne was never a church-goer and adhered to no particular form of creed. But speculatively he liked his religion thick.

The Psalm-tunes of the Puritan,
The songs that dared to go
Down searching through the abyss of man,
His deeps of conscious woe—

spoke more profoundly to his soul than the easy optimism of liberal Christianity. Hawthorne was no transcendentalist: he went to Brook Farm, not as a Fourierite or a believer in the principles of association, but attracted by the novelty of this experiment at communal living, and by the interesting varieties of human nature there assembled: literary material which he used in "The Blithedale Romance." He complains slyly of Miss Fuller's transcendental heifer which hooked the other cows (though Colonel Higginson once assured me that this heifer was only a symbol, and that Margaret never really owned a heifer or cow of any kind).

Mr. Lathrop proposed, as a rough formula for Hawthorne, Poe and Irving plus something of his own. The resemblances and differences between Poe and Hawthorne are obvious. The latter never deals in physical horror: his morbidest tragedy is of a spiritual kind; while once only—in the story entitled "William Wilson"—Poe enters that field of ethical romance which Hawthorne constantly occupies. What he has in common with Irving is chiefly the attitude of spectatorship, and the careful refinement of the style, so different from the loud, brassy manner of modern writing. Hawthorne never uses slang, dialect, oaths, or colloquial idioms. The talk of his characters is book talk. Why is it that many of us find this old-fashioned elegance of Irving and Hawthorne irritating? Is it the fault of the writer or of the reader? Partly of the former, I think: that anxious finish, those elaborately rounded periods have something of the artificial, which modern naturalism has taught us to distrust. But also, I believe, the fault is largely our own. We have grown so nervous, in these latter generations, so used to short cuts, that we are impatient of anything slow. Cut out the descriptions, cut out the reflections, coupez vos phrases. Hawthorne's style was the growth of reverie, solitude, leisure—"fine old leisure," whose disappearance from modern life George Eliot has lamented. On the walls of his study at the "Wayside" was written—though not by his own hand—the motto, "There is no joy but calm."

Sentiment and humor do not lie so near the surface in Hawthorne as in Irving. He had a deep sense of the ridiculous, well shown in such sketches as "P's Correspondence" and "The Celestial Railroad"; or in the description of the absurd old chickens in the Pyncheon yard, shrunk by in-breeding to a weazened race, but retaining all their top-knotted pride of lineage. Hawthorne's humor was less genial than Irving's, and had a sharp satiric edge. There is no merriment in it. Do you remember that scene at the Villa Borghese, where Miriam and Donatello break into a dance and all the people who are wandering in the gardens join with them? The author meant this to be a burst of wild mænad gaiety. As such I do not recall a more dismal failure. It is cold at the heart of it. It has no mirth, but is like a dance without music: like a dance of deaf mutes that I witnessed once, pretending to keep time to the inaudible scrapings of a deaf and dumb fiddler.

Henry James says that Hawthorne's stories are the only good American historical fiction; and Woodberry says that his method here is the same as Scott's. The truth of this may be admitted up to a certain point. Our Puritan romancer had certainly steeped his imagination in the annals of colonial New England, as Scott had done in his border legends. He was familiar with the documents—especially with Mather's "Magnalia," that great source book of New England poetry and romance. But it was not the history itself that interested him, the broad picture of an extinct society, the tableau large de la vie, which Scott delighted to paint; rather it was some adventure of the private soul. For example, Lowell had told him the tradition of the young hired man who was chopping wood at the backdoor of the Old Manse on the morning of the Concord fight; and who hurried to the battlefield in the neighboring lane, to find both armies gone and two British soldiers lying on the ground, one dead, the other wounded. As the wounded man raised himself on his knees and stared up at the lad, the latter, obeying a nervous impulse, struck him on the head with his axe and finished him. "The story," says Hawthorne, "comes home to me like truth. Oftentimes, as an intellectual and moral exercise, I have sought to follow that poor youth through his subsequent career and observe how his soul was tortured by the blood-stain.... This one circumstance has borne more fruit for me than all that history tells us of the fight." How different is this bit of pathology from the public feeling of Emerson's lines:

Spirit that made those heroes dare
To die and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.

Henry Augustin Beers