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THE SCARLET LETTER
With Introductions from the Writings of Thomas
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
The Riverside Press Cambridge
I. HAWTHORNE: THE MAN AND THE AUTHOR
II. THE SCARLET LETTER
I. THE PRISON-Door
I. HAWTHORNE: THE MAN AND THE
BY THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON HAWTHORNE was a man of striking presence, and his physical strength and stateliness irresistibly connected themselves in the minds of those who saw him with the self-contained purpose, the large resources, the waiting power, of the great writer. I first met him on a summer morning in Concord, as he was walking along the road near the Old Manse, with his wife by his side, and a noble-looking baby boy in a little wagon which the father was pushing. I remember him as tall, firm, and strong in bearing; his wife looked pensive and dreamy, as she indeed was, then and always. When I passed, Hawthorne lifted upon me his great gray eyes, with a look too keen to seem indifferent, too shy to be sympathetic — and that was all. But it comes back to memory like that one glimpse of Shelley which Browning describes, and which he likens to the day when he found an eagle's feather.
It is surprising to be asked whether Hawthorne was not physically very small. It seems at the moment utterly inconceivable that he could have been anything less than the sombre and commanding personage he was. Ellery Channing well describes him as a
1 From A Reader's History of American Literature. By Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Henry Walcott Boynton. Copyright, 1903.