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   Chapter 6 LENOX

Memories of Hawthorne By Rose Hawthorne Lathrop Characters: 32281

Updated: 2017-11-29 00:04


One of the authors in that excellent company congregated at this period in this part of Berkshire-Mr. Mansfield-writes to Mrs. Hawthorne for the pleasure of the thing; and one fairly hears the drone of time as the days hang ripe and sleepy upon his hands. I quote a few paragraphs from his letters:-

HOME, January 15, 1851.

DEAR MADAM,-It was very kind in you to take up my affairs, and I will say here upon the margin of this reply, that I SHOULD have very much liked your opinion of the "Pundison Letters" I sent out; but now-so long ago is it-I have had time to let my whimsical nature find some other occupation; and the "Up-Country Letters" may lie as they are, not unlikely for the next thousand years. I am absorbed and busied with Bishop Butler's Analogy, which is all things to me at this present; and I am not sure that "The House of the Seven Gables" could tempt me away from it until I get my fill. . . . The Bishop is great, and I hope to have him with me until the frost comes out of the ground, and I can busy myself with Nature herself.

I laughed the other day loud and long at a report of the plot of "The House of the Seven Gables," in a letter to a lady. . . . The remark was, that "the plot of 'The House of the Seven Gables' was-deepening damnably." . . . You speak of "the crimson and violet sunrises, and the green and gold sunsets," etc.; and I am glad to get so good an authority for the fact of mixed colors in sunrising. In my little book, I speak somewhere of "the silver and rose tint flame of the morning." . . . My wife, who sends her love, has taken possession of your note, and is to keep it somewhere "with care." That is, it is to be so carefully hidden that no one will ever find it. Perhaps she is a little jealous; but, in any case, she wants the autograph. Please make my regards to the man in "The House of the Seven Gables," and believe me, with sincere respect, Yours-obliged-

L. W. MANSFIELD.

HOME, January 22.

DEAR MADAM,-I suppose Mr. Hawthorne will smile at the idea of my writing him a letter of condolence, and such I do not intend; but I have been a little provoked at an article in "The Church Review;" and whether Mr. Hawthorne cares for my opinion or not, it will be a relief and satisfaction for me to say my say about it. Nor do I suppose that he can live so exclusively in a world of his own as not to be pleased at knowing that his friends recognize as such any impertinence that may be said about him. In this case also it comes home to the question which I submitted in the "Up-Country Letters," which I sent you. Now I will say (and I venture to say that I am one of twenty thousand respectable people that would say the same) that the little bits of personal description and reference which Mr. Hawthorne has given in two instances have added-I was going to say tenfold to the interest which attaches to all his writings, and so modestly and quietly, and in such exquisite taste were those references made, that it does strike me as the sublime of stupidity that any one could misunderstand them. . . .

Please excuse my long letter, and believe me, with sincere regards, yours,

L. W. MANSFIELD.

My mother's notes of every-day life proceed:-

January 2. This morning, one cloud in the east looked like a goldfish close to the horizon. I began to build a snow-house with the children, and shoveled paths.

5th. I walked out in the splendid sunset with the children, to meet papa. I told them, on the way, the story of Genevieve.

10th. Walked before dinner with the children along the road, telling them of Mary, Queen of Scots.

11th. My husband read me the preface to the third edition of the "Twice-Told Tales." It is absolutely perfect, of course.

Sunday, 12th. My husband came down from writing at three. It was reviving to see him. I took dear little Julian and walked to Mr. Wilcox's barn. He enjoyed it as much as I did; the soft hues of the mountains, the slumbering sunshine, and the sparkling snow which towards sunset became violet color. He stooped down to lap up snow, and shouted, "Oh, how pretty!" and I found he was admiring the shining globes. "They lie on the air, mamma!" said he. Mr. Hawthorne received a request for an autograph, and an autobiography!

13th. In the evening my husband said he should begin to read his book ["The House of the Seven Gables "]. Oh, joy unspeakable!

14th. When the children had gone to bed, my husband took his manuscript again. I am always so dazzled and bewildered with the richness of beauty in his productions, that I look forward to a second reading during which I can ponder and muse. The reading closed with a legend, so graphic, so powerful, with such a strain of grace and witchery through it, that I seemed to be in a trance. Such a vision as Alice, with so few touches, such a real existence! The sturdy, handsome, and strong Maule; the inevitable fate, "the innocent suffering for the guilty," seemingly so dark, yet so clear a law!

15th. Sewed all day, thinking only of Maule's Well. The sunset was a great, red ball of fire.

In the evening, the manuscript was again read from. How ever more wonderful! How transparent are all events in life to my husband's awful power of insight; and how he perpetually brings up out of the muddied wells the pearl of price!

16th. The sun rose fiery red, like a dog-day sun. Julian is a prisoner, because his india-rubbers are worn out. I looked forward all day to listening to my husband's inspirations in the evening; but behold! he has no more as yet to read. This morning Julian sat down in a little chair and took his father's foot on his lap. "I want to be papa's toadstool!" said Julian, making one of his funniest mistakes. My husband proposed reading "Thalaba." I was glad, though Southey is no favorite of mine. But I like to be familiar with such things, and to hear my husband's voice is the best music. Mrs. Sedgwick called to see us.

18th. In the morning I took the children and went to Luther's. We went to the barn to find him, and there he was, grinding oats. The children were much grieved and very indignant because the horse was in a treadmill, and could not stop if he would.

22d. Mild. In the morning Anna Greene appeared at my door. I was rejoiced to see her. She stayed two hours. In the evening Herman Melville came, and Anna again, also.

23d. Anna Greene came early, and wanted us to walk with her, on this warm, radiant day. We went to the Lake, with the children, and had a delightful talk. In the evening Anna and Caroline Tappan came; and we had champagne and beaten egg, which they thought ethereal beverage. Caroline said she had wanted just this all winter.

24th. In the evening my husband read De Quincey.

Sunday, 26th. I read all over to myself "The House of the Seven

Gables," in manuscript.

29th. In the midst of a storm, who should appear at the door of our shanty but Sarah Shaw! Anna Greene only began the glories of arrivals. I cannot tell how glad I was to see her. It was perfectly delightful to talk with her again, after a separation of four years.

February I. In the evening my husband read "David Copperfield." I cannot express how much I enjoy it, made vocal by him. He reads so wonderfully. Each person is so distinct; his tones are so various, apt, and rich. I believe that in his breast is Gabriel's harp. It is better than any acting I ever saw on the stage.

5th. My husband answered a letter from Robert Adair, of Kentucky, which was to appoint him an honorary member of the Prescott Literary Society there. I took a walk with the children to the brook.

9th. Two proofs came of "The House of the Seven Gables," which I read with fresh interest. There never was such perfection of style.

12th. We all walked out, papa and Una to the Lake, and across it, and Julian and I on the sunny side of the house. There was a golden sunset.

19th. My husband took the children out on the ice-bound lake. He read aloud "Samson Agonistes" in the evening.

March 3. Una's birthday. She is seven years old. My husband began

"Wallenstein."

5th. Mr. Ticknor sent five engraved heads of Mr. Hawthorne. The face is very melancholy.

8th. Mr. Tappan thinks Mr. Hawthorne's portrait looks like Tennyson.

10th. Mrs. Sedgwick brought me a letter from Elizabeth Bartol. My husband read me Pope's "Epistles."

12th. At dusk arrived Herman Melville from Pittsfield. He was entertained with champagne foam, manufactured of beaten eggs, loaf sugar, and champagne. He invited us all to go and spend to-morrow with him. My husband decided to go, with Una.

13th. Snowstorm. My husband has gone to Pittsfield. As soon as he and Una drove off in the wagon, dear little Julian for the first time thought of himself, and burst into a heart-breaking cry. To comfort him, I told him I would read him "The Bear and the Skrattel," and "Sam, the Cockerel," which made him laugh through floods of tears. Then he relapsed, and said he would do nothing without Una. So I told him he should have the Swiss cottage, the pearls, and the velvet furniture. This was enchantment.

During his dinner he discoursed all the time about Giant Despair and Christian. He improvised, while playing ball, a sad tragedy, and among other things said, "I wept, and pitied myself." Now he has stopped playing, for the lambs have come to graze before the windows, and he is talking incessantly about having one for his own pet lamb. It is now snowing thickly. I cannot see the Lake; no farther than the fringe of trees upon the banks. The lambs look anything but snow-white, half covered with snowflakes. Julian ran for his slate, and drew one pretty well. Then Midnight came [dog, man, or cat is not known] and frightened them away, and Julian reminded me of my promise to read "The Bear." This I did, squeaking as sharply as occasion required. "I feel very lonely without papa or Una," said Julian. After dinner he asked me to read to him the story of Sir William Phips. When I put him to bed, he said, as he jumped into it, that the angels were lying down beside him.

14th. What a superb day! But Julian and I are worn out with waiting. Prince Rose-Red talked without one second's intermission the whole time I was dressing him; and I allowed it, as papa and Una were not here to be disturbed by the clishmaclaver. At breakfast we were dismal. Julian mourned for his father most touchingly, and more than for Una. "Oh, dear," said he, "I feel as if I were alone on a great mountain, without papa!" I have clipped off the ends of his long curls; and all of these he has tenderly shut up in a domino-box, to distribute among his friends hereafter. After his dinner, I dressed him to go out. He hopes to meet his father, and get into the wagon. But before he went out I took down the "Twice-Told Tales" from the shelf, to look at the engraving. We enjoyed it very much. Blessed be Phillebrown, blessed be Ticknor, Reed and Fields, blessed be Thompson, C. G. Julian was struck with its life. "It is not a drawn papa," said he, "for it smiles at me, though he does not speak. It is a real papa!" Now that he has gone out, I have put it up before me, so that I can see it every time I lift my eyes. Was ever one so loved?

George W. Curtis sends a letter, once more:-

BOSTON, March 19, 1851.

MY DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE,-You will see by the book which I send you with this note ["Nile Notes of a Howadji"] that I break our long silence by a speech of some length; and I should not have waited until now to tell you that I had returned, had I not wished to tell you at the same time something of the delights that kept me so long away. For, like a young lover, I think, of course, that no one had ever so good a time as I. In this book I have aimed to convey the character of the satisfaction that I experienced, and that, I am sure, every man like me must needs experience upon the Nile.

But you will believe-if you still believe in me-that I have seized this small paper, only that I may not send you preserved in cold ink those fruits of travel that I hope one day to shake upon you, warm from the tongue.

I am passing a brace of days only in Boston, having as yet seen no one, and in despair and disgust at the storm. You, I think of in Lenox-which is a summer spot only to my memory; alas! with nothing summery now, I fancy, but your rage at the equinoctial. Does Mrs. Hawthorne yet remember that she sent me a golden key to the studio of Crawford, in Rome? I have neither forgotten that, nor any smallest token of her frequent courtesy in the Concord days. Such be our days forever! Yours truly,

GEORGE W. CURTIS.

Among many messages from friends there was a welcome note from

Cambridge:-

MY DEAR HAWTHORNE,-Mr. Duyckinck and his friend Mr. Beekman, of New York, having read your "Twice-Told Tales" with great wonderment and delight, "desire you of more acquaintance." I therefore am happy to make you known to each other. Yours truly,

LONGFELLOW. June 30.

Mr. G. P. R. James, the novelist, lived somewhat near, but writes to

Hawthorne between calls:-

STOCKBRIDGE, MASS., 4th July, 1851.

MY DEAR MR. HAWTHORNE,-The night before last I received the two portentous bundles [essays by Miss Sedgwick's scholars]. Last night-though to give up reading "The House of the Seven Gables" for the purpose of reading a packet of seventy gabbles was like tearing the flesh from my bones-I set to, and got through ten of the compositions-six of the minors and four of the majors. . . . Of what I have read, I am inclined to say, "the devil a barrel a better herring." All contain great inaccuracies of style and grammar; and few display a trace of original thought. As far as I have gone, it is all desk-fancy and "book larning"-parrotism, in short. . . . I was exceedingly sorry to find, from my son and daughter, that you could not bring your young people to our haymaking on Wednesday. But they consoled me with a promise, in your name, of bringing them another day to spend the whole of it with us. I hold you to it; and if you fail, or fail of prompt performance, I shall look upon you as faithless, and mans worn to

Yours ever, G. P. R. JAMES.

Mrs. Hawthorne writes on:-

MY DEAREST LIZZIE,-What a sumptuous present, or budget of presents, you are making me! I am affronted, if they come in the way of return for the pitiful hospitality you received. You not only had no bed to sleep on, and no room to sleep in, but nothing to eat, besides sewing all the time, and washing your own clothes! I was very unhappy about it all, but thought I would not add to the trouble by complaining, as I did not see how I could remedy the matter. I never intend to have a guest again for so long as father stayed, on Mr. Hawthorne's account. It fairly destroys both his artistic and his domestic life. He has no other life-never visiting, and having nothing to do with the public. I do not know as any one but myself can estimate the cost to him of having a stranger in our courts; especially in these narrow ones. A week or so does very well; but months will not do at all. . . . You know that he has but just stepped over the threshold of a hermitage. He is but just not a hermit still.

Hawthorne responds to the substantial friendship of a lifelong comrade:-

LENOX, July 24, 1851.

DEAR PIKE,-I should have written to you long since, acknowledging the receipt of your gin, and in answer to your letter, but I have been very busy with my pen. As to the gin, I cannot speak of its quality, for the bottle has not yet been opened, and will probably remain corked until cold weather, when I mean to take an occasional sip. I really thank you for it, however; nor could I help shedding a few quiet tears over that which was so uselessly spilt by the expressman.

The most important news I have to tell you (if you have not already heard it) is, that we have another daughter, now about two months old. She is a very bright and healthy child, and neither more nor less handsome than babies generally are. I think I feel more interest in her than I did in

the other children at the same age, from the consideration that she is to be the daughter of my age-the comfort (at least, so it is to be hoped) of my declining years-the last child whom I expect or intend to have. What a sad account you give of your solitude, in your letter! I am not likely ever to have the feeling of loneliness which you express; and I most heartily wish that you would take measures to remedy it in your own case, by marrying Miss Brookhouse or somebody else as soon as possible. If I were at all in the habit of shedding tears, I should have felt inclined to do so at your description of your present situation; without family, and estranged from your former friends.

Whenever you feel it quite intolerable (and I can hardly help wishing that it may become so soon), do come to me. By the way, if I continue to prosper as heretofore in the literary line, I shall soon be in a condition to buy a place; and if you should hear of one, say, worth from $1500 to $2000, I wish you would keep your eye on it for me. I should wish it to be on the seacoast, or at all events with easy access to the sea. Very little land would suit my purpose, but I want a good house, with space enough inside, and which will not need any considerable repairs. I find that I do not feel at home among these hills, and should not like to consider myself permanently settled here. I do not get acclimated to the peculiar state of the atmosphere, and, except in mid-winter, I am continually catching cold, and am none so vigorous as I used to be on the seacoast. The same is the case with my wife; and though the children seem perfectly well, yet I rather think they would flourish better near the sea. Say nothing about my wishes, but if you see a place likely to suit me, let me know. I shall be in Salem probably as soon as October, and possibly you will have something in view by that time.

Why did you not express your opinion of The House of the Seven Gables, which I sent you? I suppose you were afraid of hurting my feelings by disapproval; but you need not have been. I should receive friendly censure with just as much equanimity as if it were praise; though certainly I had rather you would like the book than not. At any rate, it has sold finely, and seems to have pleased a good many people better than the others, and I must confess that I myself am among the number. It is more characteristic of the author, and a more natural book for me to write, than The Scarlet Letter was. When I write another romance, I shall take the Community for a subject, and shall give some of my experiences and observations at Brook Farm. Since the publication of the Seven Gables I have written a book for children, which is to be put to press immediately.

My wife, with the baby and Una, is going southward in two or three weeks to see her mother, who, I think, will not survive another winter. I shall remain here with Julian. If you can be spared from that miserable Custom House, I wish you would pay me a visit, although my wife would hardly forgive you for coming while she was away. But I do long to see you, and to talk about a thousand things relating to this world and the next. I am very glad of your testimony in favor of spiritual intercourse. I have heard and read much on the subject, and it appears to me to be the strangest and most bewildering affair I ever heard of. I should be very glad to believe that these rappers are, in any one instance, the spirits of the persons whom they profess themselves to be; but though I have talked with those who have had the freest communication, there has always been something that makes me doubt. So you must allow me to withhold my full and entire belief, until I have heard some of the details of your own spiritual intercourse.

On receiving your letter, I wrote to Longfellow, requesting him to forward you any books that might facilitate your progress, in the Swedish language. He has not told me whether or no he did so. I asked him to send them to the Mansion House in Salem. I wish you had rather undertaken Latin, or French, or German, or indeed, almost any other language, in which there would have been a more extensive and attainable literature than in the Swedish. But if it turns out to be a pleasure and improvement to yourself, the end is attained. You will never, I fear (you see that I take a friend's privilege to speak plainly), make the impression on the world that, in years gone by, I used to hope you would. It will not be your fault, however, but the fault of circumstances. Your flower was not destined to bloom in this world. I hope to see its glory in the next.

I had much more to say, but it has escaped my memory just now, and it is of no use trying to say any real thing in a letter. Hoping to see you sooner or later,

Your friend ever,

NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE.

Excuse this illegible scrawl; but I have contracted such a habit of scrawling that I cannot possibly help it.

Mr. Pike was one of the half-earthy intelligences which are capable of bloom, like a granite-strewn hill, revealing upon a closer glance unexpected imagination. I once saw him coming through a little pine grove near The Wayside with my father; it was after our return from England. He was so short, sturdy, phlegmatic of exterior, and plebeian, that I was astonished at my father's pleasure in his company, until I noticed a certain gentleness in his manner of stepping, and heard the modulations of his voice, and caught the fragrance of his humility. One or two letters of his already printed are delightfully straightforward,-even more so in their unabridged state than as they now stand; showing unconsciousness of the methods of a devious subtlety of penetration, though sensitiveness to its influence, as an ox slowly turns his great eye about at the sound of a bee, but never catches a glimpse of him; showing a restful stupidity that nevertheless had enough intellectual fire to take a kind, eager delight in telling, as it were, the sculptor that his clay was gray and his marble white. To a mind whose subtlety could never bewilder itself by no matter what intricacies of sudden turning, the solid stare before his nose of Mr. Pike must have been agreeable, since it was joined to a capital vision of whatever actually crossed that patient gaze, and to a tenderness which sprang like purest refreshment from a hard promise. Anything that can restfully attract a thinker is, of course, at a premium with him. Mr. Pike might be as plebeian as he pleased, the more the better, since he was one of the people who could apprehend truth, talk of love like a troubadour for sincere belief in it, and say a good thing when one least expected him to do so, which is the nick of time for brilliancy.

Herman Melville writes, the date being recorded by my father, "Received July 24, 1851," one of the frolicsome letters which it requires second-sight to decipher, the handwriting being, apparently, "writ in water:"-

Tuesday afternoon.

MY DEAR HAWTHORNE,-This is not a letter, or even a note, but only a passing word said to you over your garden gate. I thank you for your easy-flowing long letter (received yesterday), which flowed through me, and refreshed all my meadows, as the Housatonic-opposite me-does in reality. I am now busy with various things, not incessantly though; but enough to require my frequent tinkerings; and this is the height of the haying season, and my nag is dragging home his winter's dinners all the time. And so, one way and another, I am not a disengaged man, but shall be very soon. Meantime, the earliest good chance I get, I shall roll down to you, my good fellow, seeing we-that is, you and I-must hit upon some little bit of vagabondism before autumn comes. Graylock-we must go and vagabondize there. But ere we start, we must dig a deep hole, and bury all Blue Devils, there to abide till the Last Day. . . . Good-by.

His X MARK.

And again:-

PITTSFIELD, Monday afternoon.

MY DEAR HAWTHORNE,-People think that if a man has undergone any hardship, he should have a reward; but for my part, if I have done the hardest possible day's work, and then come to sit down in a corner and eat my supper comfortably-why, then I don't think I deserve any reward for my hard day's work-for am I not now at peace? Is not my supper good? My peace and my supper are my reward, my dear Hawthorne. So your joy-giving and exultation-breeding letter is not my reward for my ditcher's work with that book, but is the good goddess's bonus over and above what was stipulated for-for not one man in five cycles, who is wise, will expect appreciative recognition from his fellows, or any one of them. Appreciation! Recognition! Is love appreciated? Why, ever since Adam, who has got to the meaning of his great allegory- the world? Then we pygmies must be content to have our paper allegories but ill comprehended. I say your appreciation is my glorious gratuity. In my proud, humble way,-a shepherd-king,-I was lord of a little vale in the solitary Crimea; but you have now given me the crown of India. But on trying it on my head, I found it fell down on my ears, notwithstanding their asinine length-for it's only such ears that sustain such crowns.

Your letter was handed me last night on the road going to Mr. Morewood's, and I read it there. Had I been at home, I would have sat down at once and answered it. In me divine magnanimities are spontaneous and instantaneous-catch them while you can. The world goes round, and the other side comes up. So now I can't write what I felt. But I felt pantheistic then-your heart beat in my ribs and mine in yours, and both in God's. A sense of unspeakable security is in me this moment, on account of your having understood the book. I have written a wicked book, and feel spotless as the lamb. Ineffable socialities are in me. I would sit down and dine with you and all the gods in old Rome's Pantheon. It is a strange feeling-no hopefulness is in it, no despair. Content-that is it; and irresponsibility; but without licentious inclination. I speak now of my profoundest sense of being, not of an incidental feeling.

Whence come you, Hawthorne? By what right do you drink from my flagon of life? And when I put it to my lips-lo, they are yours and not mine. I feel that the Godhead is broken up like the bread at the Supper, and that we are the pieces. Hence this infinite fraternity of feeling. Now, sympathizing with the paper, my angel turns over another page. You did not care a penny for the book. But, now and then as you read, you understood the pervading thought that impelled the book-and that you praised. Was it not so? You were archangel enough to despise the imperfect body, and embrace the soul. Once you hugged the ugly Socrates because you saw the flame in the mouth, and heard the rushing of the demon,-the familiar,-and recognized the sound; for you have heard it in your own solitudes.

My dear Hawthorne, the atmospheric skepticisms steal into me now, and make me doubtful of my sanity in writing you thus. But, believe me, I am not mad, most noble Festus! But truth is ever incoherent, and when the big hearts strike together, the concussion is a little stunning. Farewell. Don't write a word about the book. That would be robbing me of my miserly delight. I am heartily sorry I ever wrote anything about you-it was paltry. Lord, when shall we be done growing? As long as we have anything more to do, we have done nothing. So, now, let us add Moby Dick to our blessing, and step from that. Leviathan is not the biggest fish;-I have heard of Krakens.

This is a long letter, but you are not at all bound to answer it. Possibly, if you do answer it, and direct it to Herman Melville, you will missend it-for the very fingers that now guide this pen are not precisely the same that just took it up and put it on this paper. Lord, when shall we be done changing? Ah! it 's a long stage, and no inn in sight, and night coming, and the body cold. But with you for a passenger, I am content and can be happy. I shall leave the world, I feel, with more satisfaction for having come to know you. Knowing you persuades me more than the Bible of our immortality.

What a pity, that, for your plain, bluff letter, you should get such gibberish! Mention me to Mrs. Hawthorne and to the children, and so, good-by to you, with my blessing.

HERMAN.

P. S. I can't stop yet. If the world was entirely made up of Magians, I'll tell you what I should do. I should have a paper-mill established at one end of the house, and so have an endless riband of foolscap rolling in upon my desk; and upon that endless riband I should write a thousand-a million-billion thoughts, all under the form of a letter to you. The divine magnet is on you, and my magnet responds. Which is the biggest? A foolish question-they are One. H.

P. P. S. Don't think that by writing me a letter, you shall always be bored with an immediate reply to it-and so keep both of us delving over a writing-desk eternally. No such thing! I sha'n't always answer your letters, and you may do just as you please.

Hawthorne is left alone for a few days, while his wife visits her mother, which causes the following notes to be written:-

LENOX, August 8, 1851.

OWNEST PHOEBE,-I wrote thee a note yesterday, and sent it to the village by Cornelius; but as he may have neglected to put it in, I write again. If thou wilt start from West Newton on Thursday next, I will meet thee at Pittsfield, which will answer the same purpose as if I came all the way. . . .

Julian is very well, and keeps himself happy from morning till night.

I hope Una does the same. Give my love to her. . . .

Thine, N. H.

August 9, Saturday.

I received yesterday thy note, in which thou speakest of deferring thy return some days longer. Stay by all means as long as may be needful. Julian gets along perfectly well; and I am eager for thy coming only because it is unpleasant to remain torn asunder. Thou wilt write to tell me finally what day thou decidest upon; but unless I hear further, I shall go to Pittsfield on Saturday, a week from to-day. But if thou seest reason for staying longer do so, that nothing may be left at loose ends.

Julian and I had a fine ride yesterday with Herman Melville and two other gentlemen.

Mrs. Peters is perfectly angelic.

Thinest, N. H.

Mrs. Peters, a negress of the dignified type, was the general house-servant, an aged, forbidding, harmlessly morose soul, often recalled by my mother in her references to Lenox, when talking, as she did most easily and fascinatingly, to us children of the past. The picturing of Mrs. Peters always impressed me very much, and she no doubt stood for a suggestion of Aunt Keziah in "Septimius Felton." She was an invaluable tyrant, an unloaded weapon, a creature who seemed to say, "Forget my qualities if you dare-there is one of them which is fatal!" As my parents possessed the capacity to pay respect where it could be earned, the qualities of Mrs. Peters were respected, and she found herself in a sort of heaven of courteous tolerance.

Mrs. Hawthorne writes to her mother:-

On Sunday Mr. Samuel G. Ward came to see us. He gave me an excellent drawing of Highwood Porch, for "The Wonder-Book," which he said he had asked Burrill Curtis to draw. We have sent it to Mr. Fields. On Monday Mr. Curtis called. He is taking sketches all about, and is going back to Europe this autumn. Just now, Dr. Holmes and Mr. Upham's son Charles drove up. They came in, a few moments. First came Dr. Holmes, to peep at the Lake through the boudoir window,-for he was afraid to leave the horse, even tied; then he went out for Charles to come in; and Mr. Hawthorne insisted upon holding the horse, and having them both come in. When Dr. Holmes went back, he laughed to see Mr. Hawthorne at his horse's head, and exclaimed, "Is there another man in all America who ever had so great an honor, as to have the author of 'The Scarlet Letter' hold his horse?" My love to your lovely household. Your most

Affectionate child, SOPHIA.

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