Page:Nathaniel Hawthorne (Woodbury).djvu/112

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NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

best knowledge of myself would have been merely to know my own shadow,—to watch it flickering on the wall, and mistake its fantasies for my own real actions....

"Whenever I return to Salem, I feel how dark my life would be without the light that you shed upon it,—how cold, without the warmth of your love. Sitting in this chamber, where my youth wasted itself in vain, I can partly estimate the change that has been wrought. It seems as if the better part of me had been born since then. I had walked those many years in darkness, and might so have walked through life, with only a dreamy notion that there was any light in the universe, if you had not kissed my eyelids and given me to see. You, dearest, have always been positively happy. Not so I,—I have only not been miserable."

To turn to other matters, the preoccupation of Hawthorne's mind with his business, together with the distraction of his courtship, proved unfavorable to imaginative work. It may be, too, that the impulse to create had been somewhat exhausted by the rapid production of his later tales in the year or two preceding. Only one original story appeared in this period of labor and love, "John Inglefield's Thanksgiving," which was published in the "Democratic Review" for March, 1840, as by the Rev. A. A. Royce. An interesting edition of "The Gentle Boy,"[1] under Haw-

  1. The Gentle Boy. A Thrice Told Tale. By Nathaniel Haw-