Page:Nathaniel Hawthorne (Woodbury).djvu/92

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Hindoo self-devotion to the manes of her husband. She was a woman of fine understanding and very cultivated mind. But she had very sensitive nerves." Elizabeth, Hawthorne's sister, was strong-minded but abnormally retired, jealous of her brother, and not much disposed to have him stolen out of the house. Louisa was more companionable, and with his mother would sit with Hawthorne after tea; and there was an old maiden aunt flitting about in the little garden, apparently as recluse as the rest. With these feminine members of the household Elizabeth Peabody made friends, and though a year elapsed in the process, she then had her reward in receiving Hawthorne and his sisters, who one evening came to call. She ran upstairs to her sister, exclaiming, "Oh, Sophia, you must get up and dress and come down! The Hawthornes are here, and you never saw anything so splendid as he is,—he is handsomer than Lord Byron!" But Sophia did not come down, and it was only on the second call that the two met as has been described.

Sophia Peabody was at this time twenty-six years old, having been born in 1811, and had been an invalid through her girlhood; she was afflicted with an acute nervous headache which lasted uninterruptedly, says her son, from her twelfth to her thirty-first year, though the pain was not so severe, her sister remarks, but that she could sometimes read. She had received her education at home, mainly from her sister, who kept a school