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


have been born and died, and have mingled their earthy
substance with the soil; until no small portion of it must
necessarily be akin to the mortal frame wherewith, for a little
while, I walk the streets. In part, therefore, the attachment
which I speak of is the mere sensuous sympathy of dust
for dust. Few of my countrymen can know what it is; nor, as
frequent transplantation is perhaps better for the stock, need
they consider it desirable to know.

But the sentiment has likewise its moral quality. The figure
of that first ancestor, invested by family tradition with a dim
and dusky grandeur, was present to my boyish imagination,
as far back as I can remember. It still haunts me, and induces a
sort of home-feeling with the past, which I scarcely claim
in reference to the present phase of the town. I seem to have
a stronger claim to a residence here on account of this grave,
bearded, sable-cloaked, and steeple-crowned progenitori,–
who came so early, with his Bible and his sword, and
trode the unworn street with such a stately port, and made so large a
figure, as a man of war and peace,–a stronger claim than for
myself, whose name is seldom heard and my face hardly
known. He was a soldier, legislator, judge; he was a ruler in
the Church; he had all the Puritanic traits, both good and evil.
He was likewise a bitter persecutor; as witness the Quakers,
who have remembered him in their histories, and relate an
incident of his hard severity towards a woman of their sect,
which will last longer, it is to be feared, than any record of
his better deeds, although these were many. His son, too,
inherited the persecuting spirit, and made himself so conspic
uous in the martyrdom of the witches, that their blood may
fairly be said to have left a stain upon him. So deep a stain,
indeed, that his old dry bones, in the Charter Street burial-
ground
, must still retain it, if they have not crumbled utterly
to dust! I know not whether these ancestors of mine bethought
themselves to repent, and ask pardon of Heaven for their
cruelties; or whether they are now groaning under the heavy

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/11934/


About US Privacy Policy Copyright Credits Site Map Site Help