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TO THE ORIGINAL EDITION.
THIS biography will not be found to err on the side of reticence. The compiler has given everything that the most liberal construction of his obligation could demand. The closet, to be sure, had no skeleton in it; there was nothing to be hidden. What should be published and what withheld, became, therefore, a matter of taste rather than of discretion; and though a right selection under the former condition may be more difficult than under the latter, its importance is less.
I have allowed the subjects of the biography, and their friends, to speak for themselves whenever possible; and, fortunately, they have done so very largely. My own share in the matter has been chiefly confined to effecting a running connection between the component parts. I have not cared to comment or to apologize, nor have I been concerned to announce or confirm any theory. This book is a simple record of lives; and whatever else the reader wishes to find in it must be contributed by himself. I will only remark that if true love and married happiness
should ever be in need of vindication, ample material for that purpose may be found in these volumes.
Of Hawthorne as an author I have had little or nothing to say: literary criticism had no place in my present design. His writings are a subject by themselves; they are open to the world, and the world during the past thirty or forty years has been discussing them, not to much purpose as a rule. Originality remains a mystery for generations.
I have received assistance, in the shape of letters. and other material, from various friends, to whom I gratefully acknowledge my indebtedness. Mr. Henry Bright (whose death occurred as the last pages of the book were writing) sent me valuable notes of Hawthorne's English experiences; and Miss E. P. Peabody has afforded me help which could scarcely have been dispensed with. Mr. Richard Manning, of Salem, in addition to other courtesies, has allowed the portrait of Hawthorne, in his possession, to be etched by Mr. Schoff. And in this connection I cannot refrain from saying that Mr. Schoff's success in all the six likenesses which illustrate these volumes has been quite exceptional. As likenesses they could not be better; and they are their own evidence of their artistic merit.
NEW YORK, July, 1884.