thou art intertwined with my being

November 18th 1848

Castle Dismal

Ownest Phoebe,

Thy letter did not come till to-day; and I know not that I was ever more disappointed and impatient for I was sure that it ought to have come yesterday, and went to the Post Office three times after it. Now I have nothing to tell thee, belovedest wife, but write thee just a word, because I must. Thou growest more and more absolutely essential to me, every day we live. I never knew how thou art intertwined with my being, till this absence.

Darlingest, thou hast mentioned Horace's sickness two or three times, and I have speculated somewhat thereupon. Thou hast removed to West-street, likewise, and reservest the reasons till we meet. I wonder whether there be any connection between these two matters. But I do not feel anxious. If I am not of a hopeful nature, at least my imagination is not suggestive of evil. If Una were to have the hooping-cough, I should be glad thou wast within Dr. Wesselhoeft s sphere.

What a shadowy day is this! While this weather lasts, thou canst not come.


Do not hasten home on my account stay as
long as thou deemest good. I well know how
thy heart is tugging thec hitherward.

Mrs. Sophia A. Hawthorne,
Care of Dr. N. Peabody,
Boston, Massachusetts.


an indespensable and unexpected engagement

Boston, Novr. 15th [1858] -- very late

Dearest and best wife, I meant to have written you a long letter this evening; but an indispensable and unexpected engagement with Gen. M Neil has prevented me. Belovedest, your yesterday's letter was received; and gave me infinite comfort. Yet, Oh. be prepared for the worst if this may be called worst -- which is in truth best for all and more than all for George. I cannot help trembling for you, dearest. God bless you and keep you.

I will write a full letter in a day or two. Meantime, as your husband is to rise with peep of day tomorrow, he must betake him to his mattress. Good night dearest.

Your Ownest


You are not your own, dearest you must not give way to grief.

Custom House, November 14th 1839

My dearest Wife,

May God sustain you under this affliction. I have long dreaded it for your sake. Oh, let your heart be full of love for me now, and realise how entirely my happiness depends on your well-being. You are not your own, dearest you must not give way to grief. Were it possible, I would come to see you now.

I will write you again on Saturday.

Your Own Husband

My dearest, this note seems cold and lifeless to me, as if there were no tenderness nor comfort in it. Think for yourself all that I cannot speak.


ancient strength, a little softened by decay...

Leamington, November 11th, 1859.

J---- and I walked to Lillington the other day. Its little church was undergoing renovation when we were here two years ago, and now seems to be quite renewed, with the exception of its square, grey, battlemented tower, which has still the aspect of unadulterated antiquity. On Saturday J---- and I walked to Warwick by the old road, passing over the bridge of the Avon, within view of the castle. It is as fine a piece of English scenery as exists anywhere the quiet little river, shadowed with drooping trees, and, in its vista, the grey towers and long line of windows of the lordly castle, with a picturesquely varied outline; ancient strength, a little softened by decay . . .

The town of Warwick, I think, has been considerably modernised since I first saw it. The whole of the central portion of the principal street now looks modern, with its stuccoed or brick fronts of houses, and, in many cases, handsome shop windows. Leicester hospital and its adjoining chapel still look venerably antique; and so does a gateway that half bestrides the street. Beyond these two points on either side it has a much older aspect. The modern signs heighten the antique impression.

The sun shines into my soul

November 11th, 1840

How delightfully long the evenings are now! I do not get intolerably tired any longer, and my thoughts sometimes wander back to literature, and I have momentary impulses to write stories. But this will not be at present. The utmost that I can hope to do will be to portray some of the characteristics of the life which I am now living, and of the people with whom I am brought into contact, for future use. The days are cold now, the air eager and nipping, yet it suits my health amazingly. I feel as if I could run a hundred miles at a stretch, and jump over all the houses that happen to be in my way.

I have never had the good luck to profit much, or indeed any, by attending lectures, so that I think the ticket had better be bestowed on somebody who can listen to Mr. ---- more worthily. My evenings are very precious to me, and some of them are unavoidably thrown away in paying or receiving visits, or in writing letters of business, and therefore I prize the rest as if the sands of the hour-glass were gold or diamond dust.

I was invited to dine at Mr. Bancroft's yesterday with Miss Margaret Fuller; but Providence had given me some business to do, for which I was very thankful.

Is not this a beautiful morning? The sun shines into my soul.


I am sorry that our journal has fallen so into neglect; but I see no chance of amendment.

November 8th 1842

I am sorry that our journal has fallen so into neglect; but I see no chance of amendment. All my scribbling propensities will be far more than gratified in writing nonsense for the press; so that any gratuitous labour of the pen becomes peculiarly distasteful. Since the last date we have paid a visit of nine days to Boston and Salem, whence we returned a week ago yesterday. Thus we lost above a week of delicious autumnal weather, which should have been spent in the woods or upon the river. Ever since our return, however, until to-day, there has been a succession of genuine Indian-summer days, with gentle winds or none at all, and a misty atmosphere, which idealizes all nature, and a mild, beneficent sunshine, inviting one to lie down in a nook and forget all earthly care. To-day the sky is dark and lowering, and occasionally lets fall a few sullen tears. I suppose we must bid farewell to Indian summer now, and expect no more love and tenderness from Mother Nature till next spring be well advanced. She has already made herself as unlovely in outward aspect as can well be. We took a walk to Sleepy Hollow yesterday, and beheld scarcely a green thing, except the everlasting verdure of the family of pines, which, indeed, are trees to thank God for at this season. A range of young birches had retained a pretty liberal colouring of yellow or tawny leaves, which became very cheerful in the sunshine. There were one or two oak-trees whose foliage still retained a deep, dusky red, which looked rich and warm; but most of the oaks had reached the last stage of autumnal decay, the dusky brown hue. Millions of their leaves strew the woods, antd rustle underneath the foot; but enough remain upon the boughs to make a melancholy harping when the wind sweeps over them. We found some fringed gentians in the meadow, most of them blighted and withered: but a few were quite perfect, The other day, since our return from Salem, I found a violet; yet it was so cold that day, that a large pool of water, under the shadow of some trees, had remained frozen from morning till afternoon. The ice was so thick as not to be broken by some sticks and small stones which I threw upon it. But ice and snow too will soon be no extraordinary matters with us.

During the last week we have had three stoves put up, and henceforth no light of a cheerful fire will gladden us at eventide. Stoves are detestable in every respect, except that they keep us perfectly comfortable.


clothed in robes of light

Editor's note: the following entries were written between October 1836 and July 1837; no specific date is written in the journal.

The Abyssinians, after dressing their hair, sleep with their heads in a forked stick, in order not to discompose it.

At the battle of Edge Hill, October 23, 1642, Captain John Smith, a soldier of note, Captain-Lieutenant to Lord James Stuart s horse, with only a groom, attacked a Parliament officer, three cuirassiers, and three arquebusiers, and rescued the royal standard, which they had taken and were guarding. Was this the Virginian Smith?

Stephen Gowans supposed that the bodies of Adam and Eve were clothed in robes of light, which vanished after their sin.

Lord Chancellor Clare, towards the close of his life, went to a village church, where he might not be known, to partake of the Sacrament.

A missionary to the heathen in a great city, to describe his labours in the manner of a foreign mission.

In the tenth century, mechanism of organs so clumsy, that one in Westminster Abbey, with four hundred pipes, required twenty-six bellows and seventy stout men. First organ ever known in Europe received by King Pepin, from the Emperor Constantine in 757. Water boiling was kept in a reservoir under the pipes; and, the keys being struck, the valves opened, and steam rushed through with noise. The secret of working them thus is now lost. Then came bellows organs, first used by Louis le Debonnaire.

After the siege of Antwerp, the children played marbles in the streets with grape and cannon shot.

A shell, in falling, buries itself in the earth, and, when it explodes, a large pit is made by the earth being blown about in all directions, large enough, sometimes, to hold three or four cart-loads of earth. The holes are circular.

A French artilleryman being buried in his military cloak on the ramparts, a shell exploded, and unburied him.

In the Netherlands, to form hedges, young trees are interwoven into a sort of lattice-work; and, in time, they grow together at the point of junction, so that the fence is all of one piece.