The complete works of Nathaniel Hawthorne (v. 13)
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Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC
By: Nathaniel Hawthorne
Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. Doctor Grimshawe, after the foregone scene, began a practice of conversing more with the children than formerly: directing his discourse chiefly to Ned, although Elsie's vivacity and more outspoken and demonstrative character made her take quite as large a share in the conversation as he. The Doctor's comiminications referred chiefly to a village, or neighborhood, or locality in England, which he chose to call Newnham: although he told the children that this was not the real name, which, for reasons best known to himself, he wished to conceal. Whatever the name were, he seemed to know the place so intimately, that the children, as a matter of course, adopted the conclusion that it was his birthplace, and the spot where he had spent his schoolboy days, and had lived until some inscrutable reason had impelled him to quit its ivy-grown antiquity, and all the aged beauty and strength that he spoke of, and to cross the sea. He used to tell of an old church, far unlike the brick and pine-built meeting-houses with which the children were familiar : a church, the stones of which were laid, every one of them, before the world knew of the country in which he was then speaking: andhow it had a spire, the lower part of which was mantled with ivy, and up which, towards its very spire, the ivy was still creeping: and how there was a tradition, that, if the ivy ever reached the top, the spire would fall upon the roof of the old gray church, and crush it all down among its surrounding tombstones.1 And so, as this misfortune would be so heavy a one, there seemed to be a miracle wrought from year to year, by which the ivy, though always flourishing, could never grow beyond a certain point: so that the spire and church had stood unharmed for thirty years: though the wise old pe...