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

wages!" In short, the almost torpid creatures of my own fancy
twitted me with imbecility, and not without fair occasion.
It was not merely during the three hours and a half which
Uncle Sam claimed as his share of my daily life, that this
wretched numbness held possession of me. It went with me on
my sea-shore walks and rambles into the country, whenever
which was seldom and reluctantly–I bestirred myself to seek
that invigorating charm of Nature, which used to give me
such freshness and activity of thought, the moment that I
stepped across the threshold of the Old Manse. The same
torpor, as regarded the capacity for intellectual effort, accom-
panied me home, and weighed upon me in the chamber which
I most absurdly termed my study. Nor did it quit me, when,
late at night, I sat in the deserted parlour, lighted only by
the glimmering coal-fire and the moon, striving to picture forth
imaginary scenes, which, the next day, might flow out on the
brightening page in many-hued description.

If the imaginative faculty refused to act at such an hour, it
might well be deemed a hopeless case. Moonlight, in a fa-
miliar room, falling so white upon the carpet, and showing all
its figures so distinctly,–making every object so minutely
visible, yet so unlike a morning or noontide visibility,–is a
medium the most suitable for a romance-writer to get ac-
quainted with his illusive guests. There is the little domestic
scenery of the well-known apartment; the chairs, with each its
separate individuality; the centre-table, sustaining a work-
basket, a volume or two, and an extinguished lamp; the sofa;
the book-case; the picture on the wall;–all these details, so
completely seen, are so spiritualized by the unusual light, that
they seem to lose their actual substance, and become things
of intellect. Nothing is too small or too trifling to undergo this
change, and acquire dignity thereby. A child's shoe; the doll,
seated in her little wicker carriage; the hobby-horse;–what-
ever, in a word, has been used or played with, during the day,
is now invested with a quality of strangeness and remoteness,

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/11960/


About US Privacy Policy Copyright Credits Site Map Site Help