Six Figments from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Note-Books

  1. A blind man on a dark night carried a torch, in order that people might see him, and not run against him, and direct him how to avoid dangers.
  2. To picture a child’s (one of four or five years old) reminiscences at sunset of a long summer’s day,–his first awakening, his studies, his sports, his little fits of passion, perhaps a whipping, etc.
  3. The blind man’s walk.
  4. To picture a virtuous family, the different members examples of virtuous dispositions in their way; then introduce a vicious person, and trace out the relations that arise between him and them, and the manner in which all are affected.
  5. A man to flatter himself with the idea that he would not be guilty of some certain wickedness,–as, for instance, to yield to the personal temptations of the Devil,–yet to find, ultimately, that he was at that very time committing that same wickedness.
  6. What would a man do, if he were compelled to live always in the sultry heat of society, and could never bathe himself in cool solitude?

Notations from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s American Note-Books.


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