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Hawthorne and Melville

Excerpt from Hawthorne's "The Old Manse" in Mosses from an Old Manse in which the term "mosses" is clarified in reference to the qualities of the mosses on the walls of the house, the significance of the term lying not only in its use in the title of the collection of short stories but also Melville's use of it in his review of that work and elsewhere.

I never grew quite acquainted with my habitation, till a long spell of sulky rain had confined me beneath its roof. There could not be a more sombre aspect of external Nature, than as then seen from the windows of my study. The great willow-tree had caught, and retained among its leaves, a whole cataract of water, to be shaken down, at intervals, by the frequent gusts of wind. All day long, and for a week together, the rain was drip-drip-dripping and splash-splash-splashing from the eaves, and bubbling and foaming into the tubs beneath the spouts. The old, unpainted shingles of the house and outbuildings were black with moisture; and the mosses, of ancient growth upon the walls, looked green and fresh, as if they were the newest things and after-thought of Time.





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