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of his own country, and especially in the colonial tradition of New England, which was so near at hand, the field of fiction. He stored his mind, certainly, with the story of his own people during the two centuries since the settlement, and prepared himself to describe its stirring events and striking characters under the veil of imaginative history. The nature of his reading shows that this was a conscious aim; and, besides, it was an opinion, loudly proclaimed and widely shared in that decade, that American writers should look to their own country for their themes; Cooper was doing so in fiction, and Longfellow felt this predilection in his choice of subject for verse. Salem was a true centre of the old times; and a young imagination in that town and neighborhood, already disposed to writing prose romance, would feel the charm of historical association and naturally catch impulse from the past, especially if, as in the case of Hawthorne, the history of his ancestors was inwoven with its good and evil. It is not surprising therefore that, as Hawthorne had begun, though unsuccessfully, with tales of his native land, he should continue to work the vein; and, to adopt what seems to be a reasonable inference, he now gathered from his materials a new series which he knew as "Provincial Tales," in which it remains doubtful how much of the old survived, for the burnt manuscripts of youth have something of the phoenix in their ashes.
The first trace of these is "The Young Provincial,"