Imagens das páginas

sured, indicates strength and á genuine ing ripple on the stream. But put all nature. No apprentice at the use of these intimations together and they are language, no novice in thought, can frequent in Hawthorne's writings, and write thus. Before the metal pours forth you have a certain novel and original smooth and lustrous upon the floor of element in his compositions. It is the the smelting room there must have been shadow which Sin and Death in their the toiling fire in the furnace. Of what twin flights are for ever casting upon heterogeneous materials, of what storms the world; shadows which fall alike and passions, of wbat petty and misera- upon the so called evil and the so ble weaknesses, is the quiet of the manly called good, which darken all that is soul composed. Many costly ingre- pure, and defile all that is sacred, but dients, many rude ones, like rings and not more than in actual life. Writers crucifixes tumbled in with masses of ore of a light character are so accustomed in the casting of some old church bell, to look only upon what appears fair and have been melted down and purified to- good, or rather in their fair and good gether before there is music in the men and women are accustomed to find heart. There is nothing in human lise nothing else but what is good, that we that should sooner draw tears from a are startled in the class of composition refined and reflecting nature than the chosen by Hawthorne with these revecontemplation of the utter peacefulness, lations. Many readers may run hastily the childlike nature, the deference to over his compositions without suspectyouth, eagerness, perlaps, mere way. ing the morality, though few can hesiwardness of some well-disciplined man

taie to observe such striking passages who has gone to school in life and come as “ Fancy's show box," "The Minforth, wise, humble, chastened. Do not ister's Black Veil ” and “ the Wedding stop with Hawthorne's style as if it Knell.” The tender melancholy which were a happy gilt of nature ; so it is, is inspired after reading these tales is, but it is more, it is the expression of as we have remarked, allied to a kind Art. We begin then to look beneath, of fascination. “I lear thee, Ancient and presently find indications of some- Mariner !" No conventionalist art thing more than the agreeable essayist thou, or respecter of show and outside, who amuses the world by laughing at but as keensighted a moralist as temits little follies or tickles his fancy with fest - stricken Lear whose sagacity its picturesque exhibitions. There is a flashes forth from his exceedingly vexed deep moral sentiment and an original soul like the lightning from the stormexhibition of the elements of character driven clouds. In great moments, unwhich mark the author to some extent der the influence of great passions, the as a Creator. We feel that we are not soul sees clearly. No pretence or hyreading every day after-dinner writing, pocrisy can avail before the sentiment but that we are continually coming of our moralist. It pierces the snowy upon something which is strange and folds of the preacher's vestment and the individual. This something, whatever whiter covering of the maiden's heart. it turn out to be, is the measure of the Alas! is all evil? No! but the very man's originality ; it is that by which Heavens of this world are not pure. he differs from other essayists. We There is one tale of Hawthorne's which can describe it as nothing else than a he has not collected in his published power of fascination which is exercised volumes, the incidents of which fully over the mind by the occasional gloom disclose the secret of many of his and pale glimpses as it were of tiends writings. It is called “Young Goodstarting up on the page. The readers of man Brown," and the scene is laid in the German Hoffmann will understand Salem, witch - haunted Salem, where what is meant by this allusion, though his the author passed many years in “ the genius is more idiosyncratic, and his de- ordeal of retirement," and the peculiar vils are more tangible and fearful than historical atmosphere of which contriHawthorne's. Hoftinann brings in pecu- buted to many of the ghostly fancies liar grinning old men, very nasty and which he has carried elsewhere. Young very marvellous, full of witchcraft, as liv. Goodman Brown leaves his newly ing representations of the evil spirit; married wise, Faith, one evening at sunHawthorne indicates nothing more than a set, to keep a strange appointment in cloud passing over the sky at midsummer, the wood. After a parting scene at the a frown on the face of a maiden, a flicker doorway of great delicacy and beauty, he turns into the wood and presently wretches were seeking her, all through meets a traveller of some fifty years of the wilderness age, with the air of a man of the world, “The cry of grief, rage, and terror, was but with nothing else so remarkable yet piercing the night when the unhappy abont him as a staff, which twisted and husband held his breath for a response. stiffened into a cane one moment, the There was a scream, drowned immediatenext would be a serpent on the ground. into far-off laughter, as the dark cloud

ly in a louder murmur of voices, fading It was very evident who this gentleman was, without examining his boots or his swept away, leaving the clear and silent

sky above goodman Brown. But someforehead. Goodman Brown began to thing fluttered lightly down through the reluct at the journey and to think air, and caught on the branch of a tree. of meeting the eyes of his village cler- The young man seized it, and beheld a gyman again on the Sabbath. At this pink ribbon. the snake-bearer chuckled. Presently “My Faith is gone!' cried he, after one old Goody Cloyse came along, she who stupefied moment. There is no good on bad taught the young traveller his cate- earth; and sin is but a name. Come, chism, but his faith in virtue received a devil ! for to thee is this world given.'» shock when he overheard the conversa

He hastens then to the strange contion between the two elders. Who venticle. next but the Deacon with the Minister

“ And inaddened with despair, so that himself on this infernal road to a com

he laughed loud and long, did goodman munion with the powers of hell! What? Brown grasp his staff and set forth again, is not even Faith, his young wife, sa

at such a rate, that he seemed to fly along cred at home. See what passes in the the forest-path, rather than to walk or air.

run. The road grew wilder and drearier, and more faintly !raced, and vanished at

length, leaving him in the heart of the «« With Heaven above, and Faith be- dark wilderness, still rushing onward, low, I will yet stand firm against the de- with the instinci that guides mortal man vil ! cried goodman Brown,

to evil. The whole forest was peopled “While he still gazed upward, into the with frightful sounds; the creaking of the deep arch of the firmament, and had listed trees, the howling of wild beasts, and the his hands to pray, a cloud, though no yell of Indians; while, sometimes, the wind was stirring, hurried across the ze. wind tolled like a distant church-bell, and nith, and hid the brightening stars. The sometimes gave a broad roar around the blue sky was still visible, except directly traveller, as if all Nature were laughing overhead, where this black mass of cloud him to scorn. But he was himself the was sweeping swiftly northward. Aloit chief horror of the scene, and shrank not in the air, as if from the depths of the from its other horrors. cloud, came a confused and doubtful sound *• «Ha! ha! ha l' roared goodman Brown, of voices. Once, the listener fancied that when the wind laughed at him. "Let us he could distinguish the accents of town's. hear which will laugh the loudest! Think people of his own, men and women, both not to frighten me with your deviltry ! pious and ungodly, many of whom he had come witch, come wizard, come Indian met at the communion-table, and had powow, come devil himself! and here seen others rioting at the tavern. The comes goodman Brown. You may as well next moment, so indistinct were the fear him as he fear yon !' sounds, he doubled whether he had heard “In truth, all through the haunted for st, aught but the murmur of the old forest, there could be nothing more frightful than whispering without a wind. Then came the figure of goodman Brown. On he a stronger swell of those familiar tones, flew, among the black pines, brandishing heard daily in the sunshine, at Salem vil- his staff with frenzied gestures, now givlage, but never, until now, from a cloud ing vent to an inspiration of horrid blas. of night. There was one voice, of a phemy, and now shouting forth such young woman, uttering lamentations, yet laughter, as set all the echoes of ihe forest with an uncertain sorrow, and entreating laughing like demons around him. The for some favor, which, perhaps, it would fiend in his own shape is less hideous, grieve her to obtain. And all the unseen than when he rages in the breast of man. multitude, both saints and sinners, seemed Thus sped the demoniac on his course, to encourage her onward.

until, quivering among the trees, he saw 66• Faith!' shouted goodman Brown,in a a red light before him, as when the selled voice of agony and de peration; and the trunks and branches of a clearing have echoes of the forest mocked him, cry- been set on fire, and throw up their Jurid ing-Faith! Faith!' as if bewildered blaze against the sky, at the hour of midnight. He paused, in a lull of the tem- was strange to see, that the good shrunk pest that had driven him onward, and not from the wicked, nor were the sinners heard the swell of what seemed a hymn, abashed by the saints. Scaitered, also, rolling solemnly from a distance, with the among their pale-faced enemies, were the weight of many voices. He knew the Indian priests, or powows, who had often tune; it was a familiar one in the choir scared their native forest with more hideof the village meeting-house. The verse ous incantations than any known to Engdied heavily away, and was lengthened by lish witchcraft. a chorus, not of human voices, but of all "But, where is Faith ?' thought goodthe sounds of the benighted wilderness, man Brown; and, as hope came into his pealing in awful harmony together. Good heart, he trembled. man Brown cried out; and his cry was “ Another verse of the hymn arose, a lost to his own ear, by its unison with the slow and solemn strain, such as the pious cry of the desert.

love, but joined to words which expressed “ In the interval of silence, he stole for- all that our nature can conceive of sin, ward, until the light glared full upon his and darkly hinted at far more. Unfathomeyes. At one extremity of an open space, able to mere mortals is the lore of fiends. hemined in by the dark wall of the forest, Verse aller verse was sung. and still the arose a jock, bearing some rude, natural chorus of the desert swelled between, like resemblance either to an altar or a pulpit, the deepest tone of a mighty organ. And, and surrounded by four blazing pines, with the final peal of that dreadíul antheir tops a flame, their stems untouched, them, there came a sound, as if the roarlike candles at an evening meeting. The ing wind, the rushing streams, the bowlmass of foliage, that had overgrown the ing beasts, and every other voice of the summit of the rock, was all on fire, blaz- unconverted wilderness, were mingling ing high into the night, and fitfully illu- and according with the voice of guilty minating the whole tield. Each pendent man, in homage to the prince of all. The twig and lealy festoon was in a blaze. As four blazing pines threw up a lonier the red light arose and fell, a numerous flame, and obscurely discovered shapes congregation alternately shone forth, then and visages of horror on the smokedisappeared in shadow, and again grew, wreaths, above the impious assembly. At as it were, out of the darkness, peopling the same moment, the fire on the rock the heart of the solitary woods at once. shot redly forth, and formed a glowing

“A grave and dark-clad company! arch above its base, where now appeared quoth goodman Brown.

a figure. With reverence be it spoken, “In truth they were such. Among them, the apparition bore no slight similitude, quivering lo-and-fro, between gloom and both in garb and manner, to some grave splendor, appeared faces that would be divine of the New England churches. seen, next day, at the council-board of the “Bring forth the converts ! cried a province, and others which, Sabbath aster voice, that echoed through the field and Sabbath, looked devoutly heaven ward, rolled into the forest. and benignantly over the crowded pews, “At the word, goodman Brown stept from the holiest pulpits in the land. furth from the shadow of the trees, and Some affirm, that the lady of the governor approached the congregation, with whom was there. At least, ihere were high he felt a loathful brotherhood, by the symdames well known to her, and wives of pathy of all that was wicked in his heart. honored husbands, and widows, a great He could have well nigh sworn, that the multitude, and ancient maidens, all of ex- shape of his own dead father beckoned cellent repute, and sair young girls, who him to advance, looking downward from trembled lest their mothers should espy a snioke-wreath, while a woman, with them. Either the sudden gleams of light, dim features of despair, threw out her flashing over the obscure field, bedazzled hand to warn him back. Was it his mogoudman Brown, or he recognized a score ther? But he had no power to retreat of the church-members of Salem village, one step, nor to resist, even in thought, famous for their especial sanctity. Good when the minister and good old deacon old deacon Gookin had arrived, and wait- Gookin seized his arins, and led him to ed at the skirts of that venerable saint, the blazing rock. Thither came also his reverend pastor. But, irreverently the slender form of a veiled female, led consorting with these grave, reputable, between Goody Cloyse, that pious teacher and pious people, these elders of the of the calechism, and Martha Carrier, church, these chaste dames and dewy vir- who had received the devil's promise to gins, there were men of dissolute lives be queen of hell. A rampant hag was and women of spotted fame, wretches she! And there stood the proselytes, begiven over to all mean and filthy vice, neath the canopy of fire. and suspected even of horrid crimes. It *Welcome, my children,' said the dark figure, 'to the communion of your grave! A basin was hollowed, naturally, in the Ye have found, thus young, your nature rock. Did it contain water, reddened by and your destiny. My children, look be- the lurid light ? or was it blood ? or, perhind you !

chance, a liquid flame? Herein did the “ They turned ; and flashing forth, as it Shape of Evil dip his hand, and prepare to were, in a sheet of flame, the fiend-wor- lay the mark of baptism upon their foreshippers were seen ; the smile of welcome heads, that they might be partakers of the gleamed darkly on every visage.

mystery of sin, mure conscious of the se“There,' resumed the sable form,' are cret guilt of others, both in deed and all whom ye have reverenced from youth. thought, than they could now be of their Ye deemed them holier than yourselves, own. The husband cast one look at his and shrank from your own sin, contrast. pale wife, and Faith at him. Wbat poling it with their lives of righteousness, luted wretches would the next glance and prayerful aspirations heavenward. show them to each other, shuddering alike Yet, here are they all, in my worshipping at what they disclosed and what they assembly! This night it shall be granted saw! you to know their secret deeds; how “Faith! Faith! cried the husband. hoary-bearded elders of the church have "Look up to Heaven, and resist the whispered wanton words to the young Wicked One!' maids of their households ; how many a “ Whether Faith obeyed, he knew not. woman, eager for widow's weeds, has Hardly had he spoken, when he found given her husband a drink at bed-time, himself amid calm night and solitude, lis. and let him sleep his last sleep in her bo- tening to the roar of the wind, which died som; how beardless yonths have made heavily away through the forest. He haste to inherit their fathers' wealth ; staggered against the rock and felt it chill and how sair damsels-blush not, sweet and damp, while a hanging twig, that had ones !--have dug little graves in the gar- been all on fire, besprinkled his cheek den, and bidden me, the sole guest, to an with the coldest dew.” infant's funeral. By the sympathy of your human hearts for sin, ye shall scent out all In all this there is simply an enforcethe places—whether in church, bed-cham- ment of the old, well-known, often illusber, street, field, or forest—where crime trated truth, that there is a capacity for has been committed, and shall exult to be evil in the best of us, and that it rests hold the whole earth one stain of guilt,

much within our very

own choice one mighty blood-spot. Far more than this! It shall be yours to penetrate, in whether we shall be angels or devils

, every bosom, the deep inystery of sin, the

or in what proportion we shall mix the fountain of all wicked arts, and which ingredients. But how dramatically is inexhaustibly supplies more evil impulses the truth conveyed, how naturally are than human power—than my power, at these strange scenes managed! they its utmost !-can make manifest in deeds. show the possession of a power which And now, my children, look upon each it is “excellent to have” but “ tyrannous ulher.'

to nise." The writer makes amends “They did so ; and, by the blaze of the for this gloomy night-picture by the sunhell.kindled torches, the wrelched man shine of his - Little Annie." It is so beheld his Faith, and the wise her hus. cheerful a sketch and so full of pleasant band, trembling before that unhallowed imagery that we give it entire to the altar.

reader without apology. "Lo! there ye stand, my children,' said the figure, in a deep and solemn tone, al

“LITTLE ANNIE'S RAMBLE. most sad, with its despairing awfulness, as if his once angelic nature could yet “ DING-DONG! Ding-dong! Ding-dong! mourn for our iniserable race. Depend. “The town-crier has rung his bell, at a ing upon one another's hearts, ye had still distant corner, and little Annie stands on hoped that virtue were not all a dream. her father's door-steps, trying to hear Now are ye undeceived! Evil is the na. what the man with the loud voice is talk. ture of mankind. Evil must be your only ing about. Let me listen too. Oh! he happiness. Welcome, again, my child is telling the people that an elephant, and dren, to the communion of your race!' a lion, and a royal tiger, and a horse with

« Welcome!' repeated ihe fiend-wor. horns, and other strange beasts from soshippers, in one cry of despair and tri- reign countries, have come to town, and umph.

will receive all visitors who choose to “And there they stood, the only pair, as wait upon them. Perhaps little Annie it seemel, who were yet hesitating on the would like to go. Yes; and I can see verge of wickedness, in this dark world. that the pretty child is weary of this wide and pleasant street, with the green trees “ Here comes a big, rough dog,a countryflinging their shade across the quiet sun- man's dog in search of his master; smellshine, and the pavements and the side- ing al everyłody's heels, and touching walks all as clean as it'the housemaid had little Annie's hand with his cold pose, but just swept them with her brooin. She hurrying away, though she would sain feels that impulse to go strolling away, have pall d him. Success to your search, that longing after the mystery of the great Fidelity! And there sits a great yellow world-which many children feel, and cat upon a window-sill, a very corpulent which I felt in my childhood. Little and comfortable cat, gazing at this transiAnnie shall take a ramble with me. See! tory world, with owl's eyes, and making I do but hold out my hand, and, like some pithy comments, doubtless, or what appear bright bird in the sunny air, with her blue such, to the silly beast. Ob, sage puss, silk frock fluttering upwards from her make room for me beside you, and we will white pantalets, she comes bounding on be a pair of philosophers ! tiptoe across the street.

“ Here we see something to remind us “Smoothe back your brown curls, Annie; of the town-crier, and his ding-dong bell! and let me tie on your bonnet, and we will look! look at that great cloth spread out set forth! What a strange couple to go on in the air, pictured all over with wild their rambles together! One walks in beasts, as if they had met together to black attire, with a measured step, and a choose a king, according to their custom heavy brow, and his thoughtful eyes bent in the days of Æsop. But they are down, while the gay little girl trips lizhily choosing neither a king nor a President; along, as if she were forced to keep hold else we should hear a most horrible snarlof my hand, lest her feet should dance ing! They have come from the deep away from the earth. Yet there is sym- woods, and the wild mountains, and the pathy between us. If I pride myself on desert sands, and the polar snows, only to anything, it is because I have a smile that do homage to my lilile Annie. As we children love; and, on the other hand, enter among them, the great elephant there are few grown ladies that could makes us a bow, in the best style of eleentice me from the side of little Annie; phantine courtesy, bending lowly down for I delight to let my mind go hand in his mountain bulli, with trunk abased hand with the mind of a sinless child. So, and leg thrust out behind. Annie re urns come, Annie; but if I moralize as we go, the salute, much to the gratification of do not listen to me; only look about you, the elephant, who is certainly the best and be merry!

bred monster in the caravan. The lion “Now we elbow our way among the and the lioness are busy with two beef throng again. It is curious, in the mest bones. The royal tiger, the beautiful, the crowded part of a town, to meet with untamable, keeps pacing his narrow cage living creatures that had their birthplace with a haughty step, unmindful of the in some far solitude, but have acquired spectators, or recalling the fierce deeds of a second nature in the wilderness of men. his former life, when he was wont to leap Look up, Annie, at that canary bird, forth upon such inferior animals, from the hanging out of the window in his cage. jungles of Bengal. Poor little fellow! His golden feathers “Here we see the very same wolf-do are all tarnished in this smoky sunshine; not go near him, Appie!-the self-same he would have glistened twice as brightly wolf that devoured little Red Riding Hood among the summer islands; but still he and her grandmother. In the next cage, has become a citizen in all his tastes and a hyena from Egypt, who has doubtless habits, and would not sing half so well howled around the pyramids, and a black without the uproar that drowns his music. bear from our own forests, are fellow What a pity that he does not know how prisoners, and most excellent friends. miserable he is! There is a parrot, too, Are there any two living creatures, who calling out, “ Pretty Poll! Prelly Poll! have so few sympathies that they cannot as we pass by. Foolish bird, to be talk- possibly be friends? Here sits a great ing about her prettiness to strangers, es- white bear, whom common observers pecially as she is not a pretty Poll, though would call a very stupid beast, though I gaudily dressed in green and yellow. If perceive him to be only absorbed in conshe had said 'prelly Annie,' there would templation ; he is thinking of his voyages have been some sense in it. See that on an iceberg, and of his comfortable grey squirrel, at the door of the fruit-shop, home in the vicinity of the north pole and whirling round and round so merrily with of the little cubs whom he left rolling in in his wire wheel! Being condemned to the eternal snows. In fact, he is a bear the treadmill, he makes it an amusement. of sentiment. But, oh, those unsentimenAdmirable philosophy!

tal monkeys ! the ugly, grinning, aping

« AnteriorContinuar »