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   Chapter 5 FROM SALEM TO BERKSHIRE

Memories of Hawthorne By Rose Hawthorne Lathrop Characters: 32806

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04


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

UNITED STATES NAVY YARD, PORTSMOUTH, N. H.

August 6, 1849.

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

Yours ever, H. B.

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

PHILADELPHIA, July 1.

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

With much regard, truly yours,

C. M. BRIDGE.

Promptly, in their hour of misfortune, arrived a letter from one of

Mrs. Hawthorne's dearest friends, which I give here:-

STATEN ISLAND, September 10, 1849.

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

"Tired with all these, for restful death I cry, As, to behold desert

a beggar born, And needy nothing trimm'd in jollity."

God bless you, dear Sophia,-as He has, notwithstanding General

Taylor. Believe me ever most affectionately your friend, S. B. S.

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

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

E. HOAR.

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

Affectionately yours,

ELIZABETH HOAR.

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

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

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

With true sympathy and love, Affectionately yours,

MARIA WHITE.

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

BOSTON, March 28, 1850.

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

GEO. S. HILLARD.

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

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

Affectionately yours,

CAROLINE TAPPAN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SOPHIECHEN.

Sunday.

MY DEAR MOTHER,-'This has been a dull "heaven's day" for the children, who have not been so merry as on a sunny day. I have read to them, and shown them my drawings of Flaxman's Iliad and Odysse and Hesiod. I wish you could have seen them the other day, acting Giant Despair and Mrs. Diffidence. They were sitting on chairs opposite the doorsteps; Julian with one little leg over the other, in a nonchalant attitude; Una also in negligent position. They were discussing their prisoners, Hopeful and Christian, in very gruff and unamiable voices. "Well, what had we better do with them?" "Oh, beat them pretty well, every day!" The air of the two figures, and their tones, in comparison with the faces and forms, were very funny. I heard Una telling Julian that Christian's bundle was a "bunch of naughtiness." Julian b

ecame Columbus all at once, on Friday, and ran in from out of doors to get some blocks to build a cross on the island which he had discovered. He said, "Where is my sword to hold in my hand when I get out of my ship?" [He was between four and five years old.]

Sunday, 20th.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 8, 1850.

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

YOUR MOTHER.

August 1.

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

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

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

Most affectionately,

SOPHIECHEN.

September 4.

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

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

THE SERAPH AND THE DOVE.

A Seraph strayed to earth from upper spheres,

Impelled by inward motion, vague yet strong:

He knew not wherefore he must leave the throng

Of kindred hierarchs for a world of tears:

But, mailed in proof divine, he felt no fears,

Obedient to an impulse clear of wrong:

And so he ceased awhile his heavenly song,

To measure his immortal life by years.

His arched brow uprose, a throne of light,

Where ordered thought a rule superior held;

Within his eyes celestial splendors dwell'd,

Ready to glow and bless with subject might,

When he should find why God had sent him here,

Shot like a star from out his native sphere.

He was alone; he stood apart from men:

His simple nature could not solve their ways;

For he had lived a life of love and praise,

And they forgot that God their Source had been.

So mused he on the visions of his mind,

Which, wondrous fair, recalled his home above:

He wist not why he was to space confin'd,

But waited, trusting in Omnific love.

Then lo! came fluttering to his arms a Dove,

Which for her foot had never yet found rest:

The Seraph folded her within his breast,

And as he felt the brooding warmth, he conscious, smiled and said, "Yes,

Father! Heaven can only be where kindred spirits wed!"

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

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

Here is John.-No more. SOPHIA.

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