One has just been sent out as a biblical dove, has found nothing green, and slips back
into the darkness of the ark -- Kafka

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Franklin Pierce Discovers Hawthorne's Dead Body


The "clip" and letter fragment are from the following website: http://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/franklin-pierce-discovers-the-body-of-nathaniel-hawthorne/

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The two friends left Boston together and traveled to Pierce’s home in Concord, N.H., and traveled to Dixville Notch once the weather was good enough. On May 18, 1864, they were returning through Plymouth. They turned in at the Pemigewasset Hotel, where Hawthorne took a nap, ate a bit of food and drank a cup of tea before going to bed. Pierce, in a letter four years later, described what happened next:

Passing from his room to my own, leaving the door open and so placing the lamp that its direct rays would not fall upon him and yet enable me to see distinctly from my bed, I betook myself to rest too, a little after ten o'clock. But I awoke before twelve, and noticed that he was lying in a perfectly natural position, like a child, with his right hand under his cheek. That noble brow and face struck me as more grand serenely calm then than ever before. With new hope that such undisturbed repose might bring back fresh vigor, I fell asleep again; but he was so very restless the night previous that I was surprised and startled when I noticed, at three o'clock, that his position was identically the same as when I observed him between eleven and twelve. Hastening softly to his bedside, I could not perceive that he breathed, although no change had come over his features. I seized his wrist, but found no pulse; ran my hands down upon his bare side, but the great, generous, brave heart beat no more.


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