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The circumstance that I have had access to several American Magazines, hardly of recent date, and to the various American editions of Nathaniel Hawthorne's works, has enabled me to trace out several short stories and sketches of his which, though acknowledged by him, have never been reprinted here or given to English readers. Believing that a certain literary and a very distinct autobiographic value attaches itself to every page that Hawthorne wrote, I devoted my first leisure time to expanding and revising, in the light of this later and more extended search, a short memoir of him, which I had previously written. The results are, for the most part, contained in this volume.
As to the new matter, a few words niay be allowed me here. "Mother Rigby's Pipe,' if it is not one of the most striking and generally interesting of Hawthorne's tales, is decidedly characteristic. Here we have an illustration of his unique power of concentrating himself on one point and throwing down on it from all sides the most capricious lights of fancy; while yet never ceasing to moralise through a delicate medium of allegory. The meanings are profound enough, but the humour is of the finest and relieves their
presence; gently lighting up the whole now and then, suddenly, as a smile will unexpectedly pass over a pensive countenance. It required no little skill so to use witchcraft as to gently satirise, by means of it, the artificialities and follies of
There are many meanings in the story, but the leading one it is not easy to miss. The chief secondary lesson is worth pointing out—that simplicity alone is the unfailing guarantee and accompaniment of