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On Hawthorne's life in Europe from 1853-60

On Hawthorne's life in Concord in the first winter after his marriage to Sophia Peabody on July 9, 1842 and the following summer on the first anniversary of their marriage from Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times by James R. Mellow pp. 217 and 229 (courtesy of the author and Johns Hopkins University Press

Hawthorne was amazed at the solitude of their lives; for weeks, it seemed the only footprints in the snow that lay deep along the avenue were his own. Even his daily jaunts to the post office and the village reading room seemed to pass without a word spoken to another soul. 'My wife is, in the strictest sense, my sole companion,' he wrote in their double-entry journal, 'and I need no other-there is no vacancy in my mind, any more than in my heart. In truth, I have spent so many years in total seclusion from all human society, that it is no wonder if I now feel all my desires satisfied by this sole intercourse'" (217).

"On the first anniversary of their marriage, Hawthorne summed up his feelings. 'We never were so happy as now,' he wrote in his journal, ' -never such wide capacity for happiness, yet overflowing with all that the day and every moment brings to us. Me thinks this birthday of our married life is like a cape, which we have now doubled, an and find a more infinite ocean of love stretching out before us. God bless us and keep us; for there is something more awful in happiness than in sorrow.'

One reason for his happiness was Sophia's preceding journal entry for the same day. She had been experiencing the symptoms of a new pregnancy. [Her first had resulted in a miscarriage in February.] 'I have not felt very well for two weeks,' she wrote, 'but it is the very poetry of discomfort, for I rejoice at every smallest proof that I am as ladies wish to be who love their lords…Ah, may our little dovelet look like thee!'" (229).




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