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On Hawthorne's life in Europe from 1853-60

On Hawthorne's life in Concord, Salem, and Boston during the fall and winter of 1844-1845 and his worsening financial problems from Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times by James R. Mellow pp. 253+. (courtesy of the author and Johns Hopkins University Press

"Throughout the fall and winter of 1844-1845, Hawthorne's financial situation worsened. For economic reasons, as well as family ones, he and Sophia and the baby [Una] spent Thanksgiving week with his mother and sisters in Salem... (252).

For the next month, the family shifted about. Sophia and the baby went to Boston; Hawthorne remained in Salem, making occasional visits to Boston, where he sometimes stayed overnight with the Hillards because of the crowded conditions at West Street [where the Peabodys lived]. He was plainly unhappy…( 254).

Although he was unhappy about his separation from his wife, Hawthorne felt some relief from his financial problems in Salem. [He wrote Sophia,] ' …This trouble [his debts] does not pursue me here; and even when we go back, I hope not to feel it nearly so much as before. Polk's election has certainly brightened our prospects; and we have a right to expect that our difficulties will vanish, in the course of a few months' (254).

"They had not been back in Concord long when they faced a crisis. …Hawthorne learned that they would have to vacate the manse by the early part of October" (262). [Samuel Ripley, the son of Reverend Ezra Ripley, wanted to move back into the house. Rev. Ripley had married the widow of Reverend William Emerson, who built the house in 1770.]

…Hawthorne had returned to Salem with only $10 in his back pocket. He still owed Samuel Ripley for a portion of his back rent…" (264)

If Hawthorne felt any special bitterness about his flight from Concord, he did not express it in the idyllic preface he wrote, months later, for his collection of stories Mosses from an Old Manse. He recalled only the happier moments: the privacy of his life with Sophia, the serene days in the midst of nature, the vegetable garden with its abundance, the misty glimpses of the slow Concord River" (264).




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