But you have not this lovely lake, nor, I suppose, the
delicate purple mist which folds these slumbering mountains in airy
veils. Mr. Hawthorne has been lying down in the sun shine, slightly
fleckered with the shadows of a tree, and Una and Julian have been
making him look like the mighty Pan, by covering his chin and breast
with long grass-blades, that looked like a verdant and venerable
beard." The pleasantness and peace of his surroundings and of his
modest home, in Lenox, may be taken into account as harmonizing with
the mellow serenity of the romance then produced. Of the work, when it
appeared in the early spring of 1851, he wrote to Horatio Bridge these
words, now published for the first time:-"'The House of the Seven Gables' in my opinion, is better than 'The
Scarlet Letter:' but I should not wonder if I had refined upon the
principal character a little too much for popular appreciation, nor if
the romance of the book should be somewhat at odds with the humble and
familiar scenery in which I invest it. But I feel that portions of it
are as good as anything I can hope to write, and the publisher speaks
encouragingly of its success."
From England, especially, came many warm expressions of praise,--a fact
which Mrs. Hawthorne, in a private letter, commented on as the
fulfillment of a possibility which Hawthorne, writing in boyhood to his
mother, had looked forward to. He had asked her if she would not like
him to become an author and have his books read in England.
G. P. L.