(From Hart and Leininger's Oxford Companion to American Literature)
HAWTHORNE, NATHANIEL (1804-64) was born at Salem, Mass., of a prominent Puritan family, which had spelled the name Hathorne and included a judge at the Salem witchcraft trials, who figures as the accursed founder of The House of the Seven Gables. Nathaniel's father, a sea captain, died of yellow fever in Dutch Guiana in 1808, leaving his widow to mourn him during a long life of eccentric seclusion, and this influenced her son's somber and solitary attitude. During his childhood, he read extensively in the poets and romancers, and spent an impressionable year at a remote Maine lake, after which he attended Bowdoin College, graduating in 1825. Returning to Salem, he began to write historical sketches and allegorical tales, dealing with moral conflicts in colonial New England.
In 1828 he published anonymously, at his own expense, an immature novel, *Fanshawe, whose hero resembles the author at this period. The work went practically unnoticed, but interested S. C. Goodrich, who then published many of Hawthorne's stories in *The Token. These were reprinted in *Twice-Told Tales (1837, enlarged 1842) and included *"The Maypole of Merrymount," *"Endicott and the Red Cross," *"The Minister's Black Veil," *"Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe," *"Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," *"The Grey Champion," *"The Ambitious Guest," and the "Legends of the Province House," containing *"Lady Eleanor's Mantle" and *"Howe's Masquerade." These tales, which the author said had "the pale tint of flowers that blossomed in too retired a shade," deal with the themes of guilt and secrecy, and intellectual and moral pride, and show Hawthorne's constant preoccupation with the effects of Puritanism in New England. In imaginative, allegorical fashion, he depicts the dramatic results of a Puritanism that was at the roots of the culture he knew, recognizing its decadence in his own time.
In 1836 he emerged from the seclusion at Salem to begin a career of hack writing and editing. For Goodrich he edited the monthly American Magazine of Useful and Entertaining Knowledge (1836), and later compiled the popular Peter Parley's Universal History (1837), as well as writing such books for children as Grandfather's Chair (1841), Famous Old People (1841), Liberty Tree (1841), and Biographical Stories for Children (1842). Meanwhile he had also been employed in the Boston Custom House (1839-41), and now spent six or seven months at Brook Farm, where his sensitiveness and solitary habits, as well as his lack of enthusiasm for communal living, unfitted him for fruitful participation. He married Sophia Peabody, an ardent follower of the Concord school, but even this marriage, although it was a happy turning point in his life, did not bring Hawthorne to share the optimistic philosophy of Transcendentalism. Settling in Concord at the Old Manse, he continued his analysis of the Puritan mind in the tales that were collected in *Mosses from an Old Manse (1846), including *"Young Goodman Brown," *"The Celestial Rairoad"; *"Rappacini's Daughter," *"The Artist of the Beautiful," *"The Birthmark," and *"Roger Malvin's Burial."
As Surveyor of the Port of Salem (1846-49), he wrote little, but satirically observed his associates, as he described in the introduction to *The Scarlet Letter (1850). This novel, written after Hawthorne's dismissal from his post owing to a change of administrations, proved to be his greatest work, and indeed summed up in classic terms the Puritan dilemma that had so long occupied his imagination. Other books of this period include *The House of the Seven Gables (1851), another great romance, concerned with the decadence of Puritanism; *The Blithedale Romance (1852), in which he turned to the contemporary scene and his Brook Farm experiences; *The Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales (1851), containing *"The Snow-Image," *"The Great Stone Face," and *"Ethan Brand"; and *A Wonder-Book (1852) and *Tanglewood Tales (1853), stories for children.
During these years, he lived for a time in the Berkshires, where he was friendly with his admirer, Melville. After he rote a campaign biography of his college friend Franklin Pierce (1852) he was rewarded with a consulship at Liverpool. His departure for Europe (1853) marks another turning point in his life. The ensuing years abroad were filled with sightseeing and keeping a journal, and, although his new cultural acquirements had little influence on his writing, they throw significant light on his character of mind. After his consular term (1853-57), he spent two years in Italy, returning to settle again in Concord (1860). *Our Old Home (1863), shrewd essays on his observations in England, and *The Marble Faun (1860), a romance set in Italy, were results of his European residence.
His last years, during which he continued to contribute to the Atlantic Monthly, were marked by declining creative powers. His attempts to write a romance based on the themes of an elixir of life and an American claimant to an English estate resulted only in four posthumous fragments: *Septimius Felton (1872); *The Dolliver Romance (1876); *Dr. Grimshawe's Secret (1883) and The Ancestral Footstep (1883). Other posthumous publications include Passages from the American Notebooks (1868), Passages from the English Notebooks (1870) and Passages from the French and Italian Notebooks (1871), all edited by his wife. The English Notebooks were newly edited from original manuscripts (1942) by Randall Stewart.
Hawthorne had long been recognized as a classic interpreter of the spiritual history of New England, and in many of his short works , as well as in The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables, he wrote masterpieces of romantic fiction. Like Poe, but with an emphasis on moral significance, he was a leader in the development of the short story as a distinctive American genre. The philosophic attitude implicit in his writing is generally pessimistic, growing out of the Puritan background, although his use of the supernatural has an aesthetic rather than a religious foundation, for he presented New England's early Puritanism and its decay in terms of romantic fiction. Emphasis on allegory and symbolism causes his characters to be recalled as the embodiment of psychological traits or moral concepts more than as living figures.
Fanshawe, romance by Hawthorne, published anonymously in 1828. It was probably written during the author's college years, and the background resembles Bowdoin.
Ellen Langton comes to live with a friend of her father, Dr. Melmouth, orthodox minister and head of Harley College. Her principal suitors are Edward Walcott, a normal young gentleman, and Fanshawe, a scholarly ascetic who now begins to lead a more worldly life, though he realizes that he can never have much in common with Ellen. The three are walking one day in the woods when an enemy of Ellen's father attempts to kidnap her. Fanshawe rescues her, and the kidnapper is killed in a fall from a precipice. Mr. Langton arrives, but Fanshawe refuses his offer of money. When Ellen offers to marry him, Fanshawe refuses because of their incompatibility. He goes away, devotes himself to his studies, and soon dies. A few years later, Ellen and Edward marry.
The Token, (1827-42), Boston gift book, published by S. G. Goodrich. It was the first medium to give Hawthorne's work wide circulation, and the Twice-Told Tales were mostly reprinted from The Token. Among other prose contributors were Timothy Flint, Lydia Child, Edward Everett, Longfellow, James Hall, Sarah J. Hale, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. lThe level of its poetry is indicated by the prominent representation of Goodrich and Lydia Huntley Sigourney, although Holmes, Longfellow and Lowell contributed occasionally. N. P. Willis edited the 1829 issue.
Twice-Told Tales, 39 stories by Hawthorne, printed in The Token, collected (1837) and enlarged (1842). Among the tales, many of them marked by the author's interest in the supernatural, are sketches of New England history, like *"The Grey Champion," *"Endicott and the Red Cross," *"The Maypole of Merrymount," and the four "Legends of the Province House," which include *"Howe's Masquerade" and *"Lady Eleanor's Mantle"; stories of incident, like *"Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe." and moral allegories, like *"The Minister's Black Veil," *"Dr. Heidegger's Experiment," and *"The Ambitious Guest."
The Maypole of Merrymount, allegorical tale by Hawthorne, publishedd in 1836 and collected in Twice-Told Tales (1837). It is based on historical accounts of the Anglican settlement at *Merry Mount.
Among the revelers about the Maypole at Merrymount are a handsome youth and a beautiful maiden, who, at the height of the festivities, are married by a jolly Anglican priest. At this moment the proceedings are interrupted by a raid of Endecott and his Puritan followers. The latter are dissuaded from punishing the pair when each pleads for the other, and they join the Puritan colony, becoming sober and respectable citizens.
Endicott and the Red Cross, story by Hawthorne, published in Twice-Told Tales (1837). It is a brief account of the rebellious gesture of the Puritan governor John Endecott, who, when Charles I decided to send an Anglican governor to [New] England, tore the Red Cross from the British ensign, because he wished to demonstrate the dislike of the Massachusetts Bay colonists for "the idolatrous forms of English episcopacy." A passage in the tale describes the punishment of an adulteress, later the theme of The Scarlet Letter.
The Minister's Black Veil, parable by Hawthorne, published in The Token (1836) and in Twice-Told Tales (1837).
The Rev. Mr. Hooper, a New England Puritan minister, appears one sunday with his face covered by a black veil. Refusing to explain his action to his terrified congregation, or to his fiancée, who leaves him, he goes through life concealing his face, saying only that the veil is a symbol of the curtain that hides every man's heart and makes him a stranger even to his friend, his lover, and his God.
Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe, story by Hawthorne, published in The Token (1934) and in Twice-Told Tales (1837).
Dominicus Pike, an itinerant tobacco peddler, is informed of the hanging of wealthy old Mr. Higginbotham of Kimballton. He spreads the rumor as he travels, only to have it denied by persons who have seen the old man since his supposed death. Hearing again of the hanging, and being contradicted by Higginbotham's niece, he goes to Kimballton and arrives just in time to save her uncle from actual murder. It is revealed that the murder was planned by three men, two of whom successively lost courage and fled, spreading the rumor. Dominicus is rewarded by becoming Higginbotham's heir, as well as marrying the niece.
Dr. Heidegger's Experiment, allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in Twice-Told Tales (1837).
The doctor, an aged physician and scientist, invites four of his vernerable, eccentric acquaintances to take part in a test of some water from the Fountain of Youth. Medbourne, an impoverished former merchant, Gascoigne, a ruined politician, Colonel Killigrew, a goaty old wastrel, and the Widow Wycherly, a faded beauty, see the doctor restore a dried rose by applying the water, and are eager to try it. Dr. Heidegger declares he merely wishes to see the results, and does not drink, but serves his guests full glasses. They become increasingly younger until they reach gay and reckless youth, when the three then vie for the favors of the Widow. They accident tally upset the table, and spill the water. Then the doctor notices that his rose has faded again, and gradually his guests resume their aged appearance. He says that he has learned from the experiment not to desire the delirium of youth, but his frieds resolve to make a pilgrimage to Florida in search of the Fountain.
The Grey Champion, historical sketch by Hawthorne, published in Twice-Told Tales (1837). It is concerned with the appearance of the regicide Goffe in Boston, at a time when rebellion threatened the colony. In his intimidation of Andros, Goffe is presented as "the grey champion" of the spirits of independence and colonial rights.
Goffe, William (c. 1605-79), English Puritan, signer of the death warrant of Charles I. During the Restoration he fled to America, where he lived mainly in seclusion at Hadley, Mass. He is said to have been instrumental in repelling an Indian attack during King Philip's War. He figures in Cooper's The Wept of Wish-ton-Wish, Barker's Superstition, Paulding's The Puritan and His Daughter, Hawthorne's "The Grey Champion," McHenry's The Spectre of the Forest, and Delia Bacon's Tales of the Puritans, as well as in Scott's Peveril of the Peak. A factual account of Goffe is contained in Ezra Stiles's History of the Judges of Charles I (1794). His father-in-law and fellow regicide, Edward Whalley, accompanied Goffe to America.The Ambitious Guest, allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in The Token (1835) and in Twice-Told Tales (1837).
A solitary youth stops for the night at a lonely cottage in the Notch of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. He tells of his hopes of fame and fortune, and each member of his host's family is moved to divulge his intimate desires. The head of the house would like "to be called Squire, and sent to General Court for a term or two"; the youngest child would like to go at once on an excursion to "take a drink out of the basin of the Flume"; his older sister hardly conceals her growing interest in the young stranger, and even the grandmother speaks of her wish to look well in her coffin. While they talk, a great landslide begins, which buries the whole company.
Lady Eleanor's Mantle, allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in 1838 and reprinted in Twice-Told Tales (1842).
Lady Eleanore Rochcliffe comes to live at the Boston Province House, in the family of her guardian, Colonel Shute. Her haughty beauty distracts Jervase Helwyse, whose love she scorns, and affects all who see her. The curious mantle she wears is said to have supernatural powers and to have some influence in the epidemic of smallpox that soon breaks out, striking first the aristocratic circle of Lady Eleanore, and then the common people she despises. At last she herself is stricken, and as she is dying confesses, "I wrapped myself in Pride as in a Mantle, and scorned the sympathies of nature; and therefore has nature made this wretched body the medium of a dreadful sympathy." Helwyne takes her mantle, which is burned by a mob, an the pestilence begins to subside.
Howe's Masquerade, story by Hawthorne, published in Twice-Told Tales (1842).
At the Boston tavern, the Old Province House, once headquarters of the royal governors, the proprietor tells a visitor this legend. When Governor Howe gave an entertainment, the night before the patriots' victory in the siege of Boston, the guests were costumed as figures of history and fiction, with comic individuals in rags representing Washington and his generals. Late in the evening, a funeral march was heard, and a solemn procession of ancient figures passed through the ballroom. Colonel Joliffe, an aged patriot detained during the siege, was present with his granddaughter, and identified the apparitions as early Puritan governors, "summoned to form the funeral procession of royal authority in New England." According to legend, the procession reappears on each anniversary of the occasion.
Mosses from an Old Manse, tales and sketches written by Hawthorne during his residence (1842-46) at the Old Manse in Concord. They were published in two volumes (1846), with an introductory essay, "The Old Manse," followed by 25 short stories and historical sketches. Among them are historical pieces, like *"Roger Malvin's Burial"; satirical allegories, like *"The Celestial Railroad"; and allegorical tales of the supernatural, like *"Young Goodman Brown," *"Rappacini's Daughter," *"The Birthmark," and *"The Artist of the Beautiful."
Young Goodman Brown, allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in The New England Magazine (1835) and in Mosses from an Old Manse (1846).
Goodman Brown, a Puritan of early Salem, leaves his young wife Faith, who pleads with him to to go, to attend a witches' sabbath in the woods. Among the congregation are many prominent people of the village and church. At the climax of the ceremonies, he and a young woman are about to be confirmed into the group, but he finds she is Faith, and cries to her to "look up to heaven, and resist the wicked one." Immediately he is alone in the forest, and all the fearful, flaming spectacle has disappeared. He returns to his home, but lives a dismal, gloomy life, dommed to skeptical doubt of all about him, and never able to believe in goodness or piety.
The Celestial Railroad, allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in 1843 and collected in Mosses from an Old Manse (1846).
The narrator travels the way of Christian in Pilgrim's Progress, from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Instead of going afoot, he finds that modern achievement has made possible an easy, convenient Celestial Railroad, on which he rides in the company of affable, bluff Mr. Smooth-it-away, who scoffs at the difficult path of old-fashioned pilgrims. The ancient landmarks and institutions are all changed, and on arriving at the end of the line, the passengers expect to cross the river by steam ferryboat. But here Mr. Smooth-it-away deserts them, laughing and showing his identity by breathing smoke and flame. About to drown, the narrator suddenly awakens to "thank Heaven it was a Dream!"
Rappacini's Daughter, allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in 1844 anbd reprinted in Mosses from an Old Manse (1846).
Giovanni Guaconti comes to study at the University of Padua and lodges next door to the house of Giacomo Rappacini, a doctor. In the latter's garden he sees and falls in love with Rappacini's daughter Beatrice, whose beauty strangely resembles that of her father's poisonous flowers. Pietro Baglioni, a friendly professor, warns Giovanni that Rappacini's love of science has led him beyond moral or humane considerations, and that the girls nature seems a product of his sinister art, but the yhoung man is undeterred. Under the scientific regard of her father, the affection of the two grows deeper, and Giovanni himself becomes tainted by the poisonous breath of the garden. Then he gives Beatrice a potion that Baglioni has supplied him as an antidote to all poisons. She drinks it, but "as poison had been life, so the powerful antidote was death; and thus the poor victim of man's ingenuity and of thwarted nature . . . perished there, at the feet of her father and Giovanni."
The Artist of the Beautiful, allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in the Democratic Review (1844) and in Mosses from an Old Manse (1846).
Owen Warland, a youthful watchmaker, obsessed with a desire to create something ideally beautiful, loves Annie Hovenden, daughter of his former master. She is unsympathetic towards his aspirations and his delicate nature, and Peter Hovenden and the blacksmith, Robert Danforth, both rough and unimaginative, oppress Owen and destroy his inspiration. Annie marries Danforth, and for a time Owen forsakes his dreams for grosser practical activities, but then devotes himself to creating a mechanical butterfly, fragile, lovely, and endowed with living qualities. Whan he exhibits his work to Annie and her family, Danforth and Hovenden seem to oppress the insect as they do its creator, while Annie prefers to admire her child. The child, who resembles his grandfather, rudely crushes the butterfly, but Owen looks on calmly; "he had caught a far other butterfly than this."
The Birthmark, allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in Mosses from an Old Manse (1846).
Aylmer, a scientist, marries Georgiana, a beautiful woman whose single physical flaw is a tiny crimson birthmark on her left cheek, resembling a hand. The mark repels Aylmer, who determines to use his scientific knowledge to remove it. Assisted by his rude, earthly servant, Aminadab, he unsuccessfully tries every known method, finally using a powerful potion which, although it causes the birthmark to fade, causes her death also. Aminadab laughs, and the author concludes:
Thus ever does the gross fatality of earth exult in its invariable triumph over the immortal essence which, in this dim sphere of half-development, demands the completeness of a higher state.
Roger Malvin's Burial, story by Hawthorne, published in The Token (1832) and in Mosses from an Old Manse (1846).
Two wounded survivors of a foray against Indians, led by John Lovewell, make their escape through the Maine woods. Roger Malvin, an old man mortally injured, urges his young companion, Reuben Bourne, to desert him, and seek safety. Reuben protests, but is finally persuaded and promises to send help. He makes his way home, but cannot bring himself to tell Dorcas Malvin of the circumstances in which he left her father. He claims to have buried him in the forest, is hailed as a hero, and soon married Dorcas. Their life is not happy, for his conscience disturbs him, and when their son Cyrus is 15, they leave the settlement to seek a new home in the wilderness. One evening Reuben accidentally shoots his son while hunting, and is horrified to discover the boy's body at the same spot where he left Malvin, years before. Dorcas discovers her son's death, and falls unconscious. The upper branch of an oak, where Reuben hung a bloody handkerchief as a signal, has withered and now crumbles and drops, while Reuben prays, feeling that at last his crime is expiated and the curse lifted.
The Scalet Letter, romance by Hawthorne, published in 1850. Based on a theme that appears in "Endicott and the Red Cross," this somber romance of conscience and the tragic consequences of concealed guilt is set in Puritan Boston during the mid-17th century. An introductory essay describes the author's experiences as an official of the Salem Custom House and his supposed discovery of a scarlet cloth letter and documents relating the story of Hester.
An aged English scholar sends his young wife, Hester Prynne, to establish their home in Boston. When he arrives two years later, he finds Hester on the pillory with her illegitimate child in her arms. She refuses to name her lover and is sentenced to wear a scarlet A, signifying Adulteress, as a token of her sin. The husband conceals his identity, assumes the name Roger Chillingworth, and in the guise of a doctor seeks to discover her paramour. Hester, a woman of strong independent nature, in her ostracism becomes sympathetic with other unfortunates, and her works of mercy gradually win her the respect of her neighbors. Chillingworth meanwhile discovers that the Rev. Arthur Dimmesdale, a revered, seemingly saintly young minister, is the father of Hester's beautiful, mischevious child, Pearl. Dimmesdale has struggled for years with his burden of hidden guilt, but, though he does secret penance, pride prevents him from confessing publicly, and he continues to be tortured by his conscience. Chillingworth's life is ruined by his preoccupation with his cruel search, and he becomes a morally degraded monomaniac. Hester wishes her lover to flee with her to Europe, but he refuses the plan as a temptation from the Evil One, and makes a public confession on the pillory in which Hester had once been placed. He dies there in her arms, a man broken by his concealed guilt, but Hester lives on, triumphant over her sin because she openly confessed it, to devote herself to ensuring a happy life in Europe for Pearl and helping others in misfortune.
The House of the Seven Gables, romance by Hawthorne, published in 1851. It is based on the tradition of a curse pronounced on the author's family when his great-grandfather was a judge in the Salem witchcraft trials.
In Salem stands the ancestral home of the Pyncheons, cursed by Wizard Maule when the first Colonel Pyncheon despoiled him of his wealth. In the mid-19th century, the house is owned by hypocritical Judge Jaffrey Pyncheon, whose studied benevolence makes him an honored citizen. He does not live in the dilapidated mansion, whose occupants are his poor cousin Hepzibah, reduced to operating a cent-shop; a country relative, Phoebe; a single lodger, the young daguerreotypist Holgrave, who falls in love with Phoebe; and Hepzibah's brother Clifford, ill and feeble-minded, just released from prison after a term of 30 years for the supposed murder of a rich uncle. Jaffrey, who had obtained Clifford's arrest, now harasses him in an attempt to find the missing deeds to their rich uncle's property, and threatens to have Clifford confined in an insane asylum. Hepzibah attempts to aid her brother and circumvent the judge, but the latter's sudden death frees them and makes them his heirs. Holgrave reveals that he is actually the last of the Maules, and that the judge, like the rich uncle, died by the curse on the house. Revealing the location of the missing deeds, he marries Phoebe, leaving the House of the Seven Gables, freed of its curse, to Hepzibah and Clifford.
The Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales, 17 short stories by Hawthorne, published in 1851. The volume includes historical sketches, tales of the supernatural, and such allegorical stories as *"Ethan Brand," *"My Kinsman, Major Molyneux," and *"The Great Stone Face."
"The Snow-Image: A Childish Miracle" is an allegory in which Peony and Violet Lindsey, gay, fanciful children, build an image of snow, encouraged by their mother, who tells them it will be their snow-sister and playfellow. In their enthusiasm they are hardly surprised when the image comes to life as a beautiful child in a flimsy white dress, who plays with them in the garden. When the children's father, a matter-of-fact merchant, comes home, he disregards their remonstrances and takes the snow-child into the house, intending to clothe her, feed her, and take her to her own home. But the child vanishes, and only a pool of water remains before the stove. The author concludes that "should some phenomenon of nature or providence transcend" the system of men of Lindsey's stamp,, "They will not recognize it even if it come to pass under their very noses. What has been established as an element of good to one being may prove absolute mischief for another."
The Great Stone Face, allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in The Snow-Image and Other Twice-Told Tales (1831). "Old Stony Phiz" is said to represent Webster.
In a mountain valley dominated by a towering rock formation that resembles a noble, majestic face lives the boy Ernest, who learns from his mother the legend that some day a great man bearing the features of the Face will visit the community. He eagerly awaits the coming of this man, but, though he grows to old age and sees Mr. Gathergold the banker, Old Blood-and-Thunder the general, and Old Stony Phiz the statesman, all reputed to resemble the face, his expectations are disappointed. He has meanwhile lived an honest, helpful life, communing with the spirit of the landmark, and has come to be honored and revered. A poet visits him, in whom again Erenst hopes to see the features of the image but fails. At an outdoor meeting where Ernest preaches, the poet sees that it is Ernest himself who resembles the Stone Face. The simple, venerable old man, unconscious of this, continues to await his hero.
Ethan Brand: A Chapter from an Abortive Romance, story by Hawthorne, published in The Snow-Image (1851).
Ethan Brand, formerly a lime-burner, has sought the Unpardonable Sin, and now returns to his New England home, announcing that he has found it in his own soul, in intellectual pride and in the separation of mind and heart. The townspeople do not understand him and consider him mad. He takes the place of his successor at the limekiln, and during the night lies down to perish in the furnace. When the other lime-burner returns in the morning, he finds the lime all burnt wnow-white, and on its surface a human skeleton within whose ribs is a piece of marble in the shape of a heart.
A Wonder-Book, tales for children adapted from Greek myths by Hawthorne, published in 1852. Tanglewood Tales (1853) is a similar collection.
Our Old Home, sketches by Hawthorne, published in 1863, describing his observations and experiences during his residence in England.
The Marble Faun, romance by Hawthorne, published in 1860. It was issued in England as Transformation.
Kenyon, an American sculptor, Hilda, a New England girl, and the mysterious Miriam are friends among the art students in Rome. They become acquainted with Donatello, Count of Monte Beni, a handsome Italian who resembles the Faun of Praxiteles, not only physically, but laso in his mingling of human and animal qualities, his amoral attitude, and his simple enjoyment of the life of the senses. The dark, passionate Miriam is loved by Donatello, but she is haunted by an unrevealed sin and by the persecution of a mysteriuos man who dogs her footsteps after an accidental meeting in the Catacombs. Donatello is enraged by this man, and after an encouraging lance from Miriam flings him to his death from the Tarpeian Rock. Thereafter they are linked by their mutual guilt, which they keep secret. Donatello becoems brooding and conscience-stricken, and, though humanized by his suffering, is a broken spirit when he finally gives himself up to justice. Hilda, who saw the crime committed, is also involved in the sin until she forsakes Puritan tradition and pours out her secret at a church confessional. The unhappy Miriam disappears into the shadowy world from which she came, and Hilda and Kenyon are married.
Septimius Felton; or, The Elixir of Life, unfinished romance by Hawthorne, posthumously published in 1872.
During the Revolutionary War, Septimius Felton, a scholar who seeks a method of attaining earthly immortality, kills a British officer who has insulted his fiancée, Rose Garfield. On the hill top where he has buried the officer, he meets Sybil Dacy, a strange, unearthly creature, who is looking for a flower she expects to grow from the grave, and they become close friends. Before he died, the officer gave Septimius an old manuscript, containing the formula for an elixir of life, requiring the juice of the flower Sybil seeks. A Dr. Portsoaken, her uncle, vistis Septimius and reveals that the scholar my be the heir to a British estate. Robert Hagburn, an American soldier and friend of Septimius, becomes engaged to Rose, after it is discovered that she is the scholar's half-sister. At the wedding of Robert and Rose, Sybil discloses to Septimius, who is about to drink the potion he has finally concocted, that the officer he killed was her lover, and that she has intended to seek revenge, but now loves Septimius. She drinks part of the potion, throws away the rest, and dies. Septimius disappears, and is believed to have gone to claim his English estate.
The Dolliver Romance, unfinished novel by Hawthorne, posthumously published in the Atlantic Monthly (1864, 1871) and in book form in 1876. The author's last work, it was an attempt to develop the theme of the elixir of life also essayed in Septimius Felton.
In a New England town lives an aged apothecary, with the sole remaining member of his family, his great-granddaughter Pansie. One day he tries a cordial presented to him by a stranger seven years before, and when the potion rejuvenates him he takes further doses. Colonel Dabney, an impetuous, sensual old man, comes to demand the cordial, which he says is rightfully his. When he threatens the apothecary with a pistol, he is given the drink. Swallowing a large amount of it, he rises to his feet, shrieks, and falls dead. The apothecary sees that for a moment the colonel's face becomes that of a young man, but then it is aged and withered in death. An inquest pronounces the death to have occurred "by the visitation of God."
Dr. Grimshawe's Secret, romance by Hawthorne, posthumously edited from an unfinished manuscript by his son Julian and published in 1883.
In a New England town in the early 19th century lives Dr. Grimshawe, an eccentric recluse, and two orphans, Ned and Elsie. The children are involved in a secret related to an estate in England, whence the doctor originally came. This estate has lacked a direct heir since the rign of Charles I, when the incumbent disappeared, leaving a bloody footprint on the threshold. After their guardian's death, the children are separated, but meet again years later in England. Ned, now Edward Redclyffe, is injured while investigating the estate and is befriended by Colcord, his boyhood tutor. Lord Braithwaite, the estate's present owner, invites Edward to live at the Hall, and recognizes him as the Sir Edward Redclyffe of the time of the bloody footprint. When the old man dies, colcord produces a locket that proves Edward to be the heir.