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Hawthorne on Thoreau

Hawthorne on Thoreau

Mr. Thorow [sic] dined with us yesterday. He is a singular character--a young man with much of wild original nature still remaining in him; and so far as he is sophisticated, it is in away and method of his own. He is as ugly as sin, long-nosed, queer-mouthed, and with uncouth and somewhat rustic, although courteous manners, corresponding very well with such an exterior . . . He was educated, I believe, at Cambridge, and formerly kept school in this town [Concord]; but for two or three years back, he has repudiated all regular modes of getting a living, and seems inclined to lead a sort of Indian life among civilized men--an Indian life, I mean, [with respect to] the absence of any systematic effort for a livelihood . . . he seldom walks over a ploughed field without picking up an arrow-point, a spear-head, or other relic . . . as if [the Indian] spirits willed him to be the inheritor of their simple wealth . . ..

[Hawthorne’s Journal, Labor Day, 1842]




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