Hawthorne in Salem Search Hawthorne in Salem





Facebook Page
[Home]  

The Scarlet Letter > Page
Previous Page Custom House Home Next Page   Audio Reading of Page

THE CUSTOM-HOUSE

who seemed to have a young girl's appreciation of the floral
tribe.

There, beside the fireplace, the brave old General used to
sit; while the Surveyor–though seldom, when it could be
avoided, taking upon himself the difficult task of engaging
him in conversation–was fond of standing at a distance, and
watching his quiet and almost slumberous countenance. He
seemed away from us, although we saw him but a few yards
off; remote, though we passed close beside his chair; unat-
tainable, though we might have stretched forth our hands and
touched his own. It might be, that he lived a more real life
within his thoughts, than amid the unappropriate environ-
ment of the Collector's office. The evolutions of the parade;
the tumult of the battle; the flourish of old, heroic music,
heard thirty years before;–such scenes and sounds, perhaps,
were all alive before his intellectual sense. Meanwhile, the
merchants and ship-masters, the spruce clerks, and uncouth
sailors, entered and departed; the bustle of this commercial
and Custom-House life kept up its little murmur roundabout
him; and neither with the men nor their affairs did the
General appear to sustain the most distant relation. He was as
much out of place as an old sword–now rusty, but which had
flashed once in the battle's front, and showed still a bright
gleam along its blade–would have been, among the inkstands,
paper-folders, and mahogany rulers, on the Deputy Collector's
desk.

There was one thing that much aided me in renewing
and re-creating the stalwart soldier of the Niagara frontier,–
the man of true and simple energy. It was the recollection of
those memorable words of his,–"I'll try, Sir!"–spoken on
the very verge of a desperate and heroic enterprise, and
breathing the soul and spirit of New England hardihood,
comprehending all perils, and encountering all. If, in our
country, valor were rewarded by heraldic honor, this phrase–
which it seems so easy to speak, but which only he, with such

The Scarlet Letter > Page
Previous Page Custom House Home Next Page   Audio Reading of Page
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,
21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45

Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/11948/


About US Privacy Policy Copyright Credits Site Map Site Help