Page:Nathaniel Hawthorne (Woodbury).djvu/18

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NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

the Maine home of Hawthorne, of which he cherished the memory as the brightest part of his boyhood. The spots that can be named which may have excited his curiosity or interested his imagination are few, and similar places would not be far off anywhere on the coast. There was near his home a Pulpit Rock, such as tradition often preserves, and by the Pond there was a cliff with the usual legend of a romantic leap, and under it were the Indian rock-paintings called the Images; but the essential charm of the place was that in all directions the country lay open for adventure by boat or by trail. Hawthorne had visited the scene before, in summer times, and he revisited it afterward in vacations, but his long stay here was in his fifteenth year, the greater part of which he passed in its neighborhood.

The contemporary record of these days is contained in a diary[1] which has been regarded as Hawthorne's earliest writing. The original has never been produced, and the copy was communicated for publication under circumstances of mystery that easily allow doubts of its authenticity to arise. The diary is said to have been given to him by his uncle Richard "with the advice that he write out his thoughts, some every day, in as good words as he can, upon any and all subjects,

  1. Hawthorne's First Diary, with an account of its discovery and loss. By Samuel T. Pickard. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1897. The volume has been withdrawn by its editor in consequence of his later doubts of its authenticity.