The Life and Genius of Nathaniel Hawthorne
Frank Preston Stearns

Part 1 out of 6

This eBook was produced by Michelle Shephard, Eric Eldred,
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[Illustration: Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Frances Osborne Portrait: by
permission of the Essex Institute.]



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

"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."


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

F. P. S.



IV. LITTLE MISERY: 1825-1835
V. EOS AND EROS: 1835-1839
XI. PEGASUS IS FREE: 1850-1852
XVI. "THE MARBLE FAUN": 1859-1860


List of Illustrations





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

"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

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

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

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."



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.


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

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

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

"SALEM, Thursday, December, 1813.


"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,
[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 _littÚrateurs_ 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,


"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.

"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

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

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

"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.

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.



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

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

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.


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 AthenŠan, 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 AthenŠan, 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 AthenŠan.

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 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

"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 AthenŠan 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.


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."


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