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On Thoreau and Hawthorne in Concord

On Thoreau and Hawthorne in Concord from "Hawthorne in Concord," lecture by Philip McFarland, Teacher Emeritus, Concord Academy, delivered at The House of the Seven Gables Historic Site on April 6, 2005 (courtesy of the author)

Most of the time [in Concord after they were first married] they were alone with each other, and needed no one else, though friends did occasionally stop by. Margaret Fuller, whose company both of the Hawthornes relished, would go for boat rides with them on the river, and Emerson and Hawthorne on one occasion strolled through two glorious September days the forty miles to Harvard village and back. Henry David Thoreau was another of the villagers with whom the reclusive Hawthorne was willing to spend time; in fact, he liked Thoreau best perhaps of all the Concordians. Sophia describes one memorable December scene involving those two and one other, neighbors skating together on the frozen river by the Manse. "Henry Thoreau is an experienced skater," she wrote, "and was figuring dithyrambic dances and Bacchic leaps on the ice - very remarkable, but very ugly, methought. Next him followed Mr. Hawthorne who, wrapped in his cloak, moved like a self-impelled Greek statue, stately and grave. Mr. Emerson closed the line, evidently too weary to hold himself erect, pitching headforemost, half lying on the air." Taking a break, Emerson had stepped into the Manse, and, Sophia wrote, "said to me that Hawthorne was a tiger, a bear, a lion, and there was no tiring him out; and he might be the death of a man like himself. And then, turning upon me that kindling smile for which he is so memorable, he added, 'Mr. Hawthorne is such an Ajax, who can cope with him!' "

Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/12470/

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