Hawthornes reunited in death

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s wife will join him in death at last. Her body has been shipped to Concord from the London cemetery where she’s been buried since 1871.

Apparently the Hawthornes were deeply committed to each other. “I once thought that no power on earth should ever induce me to live without thee, and especially thought an ocean should never roll between us,” Sophia wrote to her husband.

But I still keep thinking of the grim conclusion to Hawthorne’s creepiest Puritan tale.

Often, waking suddenly at midnight, he shrank from the bosom of Faith; and at morning or eventide, when the family knelt down at prayer, he scowled and muttered to himself, and gazed sternly at his wife, and turned away. And when he had lived long, and was borne to his grave a hoary corpse, followed by Faith, an aged woman, and children and grandchildren, a goodly procession, besides neighbors not a few, they carved no hopeful verse upon his tombstone, for his dying hour was gloom.

(Yes, it’s true. I’m obsessed with authors’ graves. Graves in general, really, ever since I discovered that some ancestors I never knew about are buried a couple blocks from my sister’s first Northampton, MA apartment.)


Comments are closed.