Edward Fane
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Edward Fane's Rosebud (From "Twice Told Tales")


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Project Gutenberg EBook Edward Fane's Rosebud, by Nathaniel Hawthorne From "Twice Told Tales" #46 in our seriesby Nathaniel HawthorneCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloadingor redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of thisfile. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can alsofind out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****EBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers*****Title: Edward Fane's Rosebud (From "Twice Told Tales")Author: Nathaniel HawthorneRelease Date: Nov, 2005 [EBook #9219] [This file was first posted on August 31, 2003] [Last updated on February 5,2007]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK, EDWARD FANE'S ROSEBUD ***This eBook was produced by David Widger [widger@cecomet.net]TWICE TOLD TALESEDWARD FANE'S ROSEBUDBy Nathaniel HawthorneThere is hardly a more difficult exercise of fancy, than, ...



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Project Gutenberg EBook Edward Fane's Rosebud,by Nathaniel Hawthorne From "Twice Told Tales"#46 in our series by Nathaniel HawthornesCuorpey triog hcth leacwk st haer ec cohpayrniggihnt gl aawll so fvoerr  ytohue r wcooruldn.t rByebefore downloading or redistributing this or anyother Project Gutenberg eBook.vTiheiws inhge atdhiesr  Psrhoojeulcdt  bGeu ttheen bfierrsgt  tfihlien. gP lseeaesne  wdhoe nnotremove it. Do not change or edit the headerwithout written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and otherinformation about the eBook and ProjectGutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included isimportant information about your specific rights andrestrictions in how the file may be used. You canalso find out about how to make a donation toProject Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain VanillaElectronic Texts***C*oEmBpouotkesr sR, eSaidncaeb le1 9B7y1 *B*oth Humans and By*****These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousandsof Volunteers*****
Title: Edward Fane's Rosebud (From "Twice ToldTales")Author: Nathaniel HawthorneRelease Date: Nov, 2005 [EBook #9219] [This filewas first posted on August 31, 2003] [Last updatedon February 5, 2007]Edition: 10Language: English*E**B OSTOAK,R TE DOWF ATRHDE  FPARNOEJ'SE CRTO GSEUBTEUND B**E*RGThis eBook was produced by David Widger[widger@cecomet.net]TWICE TOLD TALESEDWARD FANE'S ROSEBUD
By Nathaniel HawthorneThere is hardly a more difficult exercise of fancy,than, while gazing at a figure of melancholy age, tore-create its youth, and, without entirely obliteratingthe identity of form and features, to restore thosegraces which time has snatched away. Some oldpeople, especially women, so age-worn and woefulare they, seem never to have been young and gay.It is easier to conceive that such gloomy phantomswere sent into the world as withered and decrepitas we behold them now, with sympathies only forpain and grief, to watch at death-beds, and weepat funerals. Even the sable garments of theirwidowhood appear essential to their existence; alltheir attributes combine to render them darksomeshadows, creeping strangely amid the sunshine ofhuman life. Yet it is no unprofitable task, to takeone of these doleful creatures, and set fancyresolutely at work to brighten the dim eye, anddarken the silvery locks, and paint the ashen cheekwith rose-color, and repair the shrunken and crazyform, till a dewy maiden shall be seen in the oldmatron's elbow-chair. The miracle being wrought,then let the years roll back again, each sadder thanthe last, and the whole weight of age and sorrowsettle down upon the youthful figure.Wrinkles and furrows, the handwriting of Time,may thus be deciphered, and found to containdeep lessons of thought and feeling. Such profit
might be derived, by a skilful observer, from mymuch-respected friend, the Widow Toothaker, anurse of great repute, who has breathed theatmosphere of sick-chambers and dying breathsthese forty years.See! she sits cowering over her lonesome hearth,with her gown and upper petticoat drawn upward,gathering thriftily into her person the whole warmthof the fire, which, now at nightfall, begins todissipate the autumnal chill of her chamber. Theblaze quivers capriciously in front, alternatelyglimmering into the deepest chasms of herwrinkled visage, and then permitting a ghostlydimness to mar the outlines of her venerablefigure. And Nurse Toothaker holds a teaspoon inher right hand, with which to stir up the contents ofa tumbler in her left, whence steams a vaporyfragrance, abhorred of temperance societies. Nowshe sips,—now stirs,—now sips again. Her sad oldheart has need to be revived by the rich infusion ofGeneva, which is mixed half and half with hotwater, in the tumbler. All day long she has beensitting by a death-pillow, and quitted it for herhome, only when the spirit of her patient left theclay and went homeward too. But now are hermelancholy meditations cheered, and her torpidblood warmed, and her shoulders lightened of atleast twenty ponderous years, by a draught fromthe true Fountain of Youth, in a case-bottle. It isstrange that men should deem that fount a fablewhen its liquor fills more bottles than the Congress-water! Sip it again, good nurse, and see whether asecond draught will not take off another score of
years, and perhaps ten more, and show us, in yourhigh-backed chair, the blooming damsel whoplighted troths with Edward Fane. Get you gone,Age and Widowhood! Come back, unweddedYouth! But, alas! the charm will not work. In spiteof fancy's most potent spell, I can see only an olddame cowering over the fire, a picture of decayand desolation, while the November blast roars ather in the chimney, and fitful showers rushsuddenly against the window.Yet there was a time when Rose Grafton—suchwas the pretty maiden name of Nurse Toothaker—possessed beauty that would have gladdened thisdim and dismal chamber as with sunshine. It wonfor her the heart of Edward Fane, who has sincemade so great a figure in the world, and is now agrand old gentleman, with powdered hair, and asgouty as a lord. These early lovers thought to havewalked hand in hand through life. They had wepttogether for Edward's little sister Mary, whom Rosetended in her sickness, partly because she was thesweetest child that ever lived or died, but more forlove of him. She was but three years old. Beingsuch an infant, Death could not embody his terrorsin her little corpse; nor did Rose fear to touch thedead child's brow, though chill, as she curled thesilken hair around it, nor to take her tiny hand, andclasp a flower within its fingers. Afterward, whenshe looked through the pane of glass in the coffin-lid, and beheld Mary's face, it seemed not so muchlike death, or life, as like a waxwork, wrought intothe perfect image of a child asleep, and dreamingof its mother's smile. Rose thought her too fair a
thing to be hidden in the grave, and wondered thatan angel did not snatch up little Mary's coffin, andbear the slumbering babe to heaven, and bid herwake immortal. But when the sods were laid onlittle Mary, the heart of Rose was troubled. Sheshuddered at the fantasy, that, in grasping thechild's cold fingers, her virgin hand had exchangeda first greeting with mortality, and could never losethe earthly taint. How many a greeting since! Butas yet, she was a fair young girl, with the dewdropsof fresh feeling in her bosom; and instead of Rose,which seemed too mature a name for her half-opened beauty, her lover called her Rosebud.The rosebud was destined never to bloom forEdward Fane. His mother was a rich and haughtydame, with all the aristocratic prejudices of colonialtimes. She scorned Rose Grafton's humbleparentage, and caused her son to break his faith,though, had she let him choose, he would haveprized his Rosebud above the richest diamond.The lovers parted, and have seldom met again.Both may have visited the same mansions, but notat the same time; for one was bidden to the festalhall, and the other to the sick-chamber; he was theguest of Pleasure and Prosperity, and she ofAnguish. Rose, after their separation, was longsecluded within the dwelling of Mr. Toothaker,whom she married with the revengeful hope ofbreaking her false lover's heart. She went to herbridegroom's arms with bitterer tears, they say,than young girls ought to shed at the threshold ofthe bridal chamber. Yet, though her husband'shead was getting gray, and his heart had been
chilled with an autumnal frost, Rose soon began tolove him, and wondered at her own conjugalaffection. He was all she had to love; there were nochildren.In a year or two, poor Mr. Toothaker was visitedwith a wearisome infirmity which settled in hisjoints, and made him weaker than a child. He creptforth about his business, and came home atdinner- time and eventide, not with the manly treadthat gladdens a wife's heart, but slowly, feebly,jotting down each dull footstep with a melancholydub of his staff. We must pardon his pretty wife, ifshe sometimes blushed to own him. Her visitors,when they heard him coming, looked for theappearance of some old, old man; but he draggedhis nerveless limbs into the parlor,—and there wasMr. Toothaker! The disease increasing, he neverwent into the sunshine, save with a staff in his righthand and his left on his wife's shoulder, bearingheavily downward, like a dead man's hand. Thus, aslender woman, still looking maiden-like, shesupported his tall, broad-chested frame along thepathway of their little garden, and plucked theroses for her gray-haired husband, and spokesoothingly, as to an infant. His mind was palsiedwith his body; its utmost energy was peevishness.In a few months more, she helped him up thestaircase, with a pause at every step, and a longerone upon the landingplace, and a heavy glancebehind, as he crossed the threshold of hischamber. He knew, poor man, that the precincts ofthose four walls would thenceforth be his world,—his world, his home, his tomb,—at once a dwelling
and a burial-place, till he were borne to a darkerand a narrower one. But Rose was with him in thetomb. He leaned upon her, in his daily passagefrom the bed to the chair by the fireside, and backagain from the weary chair to the joyless bed,—hisbed and hers,—their marriage-bed; till even thisshort journey ceased, and his head lay all day uponthe pillow, and hers all night beside it. How longpoor Mr. Toothaker was kept in misery! Deathseemed to draw near the door, and often to lift thelatch, and sometimes to thrust his ugly skull intothe chamber, nodding to Rose, and pointing at herhusband, but still delayed to enter. "This bedriddenwretch cannot escape me!" quoth Death. "I will goforth, and run a race with the swift, and fight abattle with the strong, and come back forToothaker at my leisure!" O, when the deliverercame so near in the dull anguish of her worn-outsympathies, did she never long to cry, "Death,come in!"But, no! We have no right to ascribe such a wish toour friend Rose. She never failed in a wife's duty toher poor sick husband. She murmured not, thougha glimpse of the sunny sky was as strange to heras him, nor answered peevishly, though hiscomplaining accents roused her from her sweetestdream, only to share his wretchedness. He knewher faith, yet nourished a cankered jealousy; andwhen the slow disease had chilled all his heart,save one lukewarm spot, which Death's frozenfingers were searching for, his last words were,"What would my Rose have done for her first love,if she has been so true and kind to a sick old man
like me!" And then his poor soul crept away, andleft the body lifeless, though hardly more so thanfor years before, and Rose a widow, though intruth it was the wedding-night that widowed her.She felt glad, it must be owned, when Mr.Toothaker was buried, because his corpse hadretained such a likeness to the man half alive, thatshe hearkened for the sad murmur of his voice,bidding her shift his pillow. But all through the nextwinter, though the grave had held him many amonth, she fancied him calling from that cold bed,"Rose! Rose! come put a blanket on my feet."So now the Rosebud was the Widow Toothaker.Her troubles had come early, and, tedious as theyseemed, had passed before all her bloom was fled.She was still fair enough to captivate a bachelor,or, with a widow's cheerful gravity, she might havewon a widower, stealing into his heart in the veryguise of his dead wife. But the Widow Toothakerhad no such projects. By her watchings andcontinual cares, her heart had become knit to herfirst husband with a constancy which changed itsvery nature, and made her love him for hisinfirmities, and infirmity for his sake. When thepalsied old man was gone, even her early lovercould not have supplied his place. She had dwelt ina sick-chamber, and been the companion of a half-dead wretch, till she could scarcely breathe in afree air, and felt ill at ease with the healthy and thehappy. She missed the fragrance of the doctor'sstuff. She walked the chamber with a noiselessfootfall. If visitors came in, she spoke in soft andsoothing accents, and was startled and shocked by
their loud voices. Often in the lonesome evening,she looked timorously from the fireside to the bed,with almost a hope of recognizing a ghastly faceupon the pillow. Then went her thoughts sadly toher husband's grave. If one impatient throb badwronged him in his lifetime,—if she had secretlyrepined, because her buoyant youth wasimprisoned with his torpid age,—if ever, whileslumbering beside him, a treacherous dream hadadmitted another into her heart,— yet the sick manhad been preparing a revenge, which the dead nowclaimed. On his painful pillow, he had cast a spellaround her; his groans and misery had provedmore captivating charms than gayety and youthfulgrace; in his semblance, Disease itself had won theRosebud for a bride; nor could his death dissolvethe nuptials. By that indissoluble bond she hadgained a home in every sick-chamber, andnowhere else; there were her brethren and sisters;thither her husband summoned her, with that voicewhich had seemed to issue from the grave ofToothaker. At length she recognized her destiny.We have beheld her as the maid, the wife, thewidow; now we see her in a separate and insulatedcharacter; she was, in all her attributes, NurseToothaker. And Nurse Toothaker alone, with herown shrivelled lips, could make known herexperience in that capacity. What a history mightshe record of the great sicknesses, in which shehas gone hand in hand with the exterminatingangel! She remembers when the small-pox hoisteda red banner on almost every house along thestreet. She has witnessed when the typhus fever