Saturday, July 5


With cautious movements, and only a groan or two, the good Doctor transferred himself from the bed to the floor, where he stood awhile, gazing from one piece of quaint furniture to another, (such as stiff-backed Mayflower chairs, an oaken chest-of-drawers carved cunningly with shapes of animals and wreaths of foliage, a table with multitudinous legs, a family-record in faded embroidery, a shelf of black-bound books, a dirty heap of gallipots and phials in a dim corner,)—gazing at these things and steadying himself by the bedpost, while his inert brain, still partially benumbed with sleep, came slowly into accordance with the realities about him. The object which most helped to bring Dr. Dolliver completely to his waking perceptions was one that common observers might supposed to have been snatched bodily out of his dreams. The same sunbeam that had dazzled the Doctor between the bed curtains gleamed on the weather-beaten gilding which had once adorned this mysterious symbol, and showed it to be an enormous serpent, twining round a wooden post, and reaching quite from the floor of the chamber to its ceiling.

-- Nathaniel Hawthorne (b. 4 July 1804) "A Scene from the Dolliver Romance" The Atlantic Monthly July 1864

A Scene from the Dolliver Romance: The opening section of an unfinished novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Atlantic Monthly