Father and mother, eldest daughter and aged grandmother, are briefly described as assuming the guises of persons of their ages who are filled with great contentment.
Up the chimney roared the fire, and brightened the room with its broad blaze. The faces of the father and mother had a sober gladness; the children laughed; the eldest daughter was the image of Happiness at seventeen; and the aged grandmother, who sat knitting in the warmest place, was the image of Happiness grown old.
They had found the "herb, heart's-ease," in the bleakest spot of all New England.
This family were situated in the Notch of the White Hills, where the wind was sharp throughout the year, and pitilessly cold in the winter,--giving their cottage all its fresh inclemency before it descended on the valley of the Saco.
They dwelt in a cold spot and a dangerous one; for a mountain towered above their heads, so steep, that the stones would often rumble down its sides and startle them at midnight. The daughter had just uttered some simple jest that filled them all with mirth, when the wind came through the Notch and seemed to pause before their cottage--rattling the door, with a sound of wailing and lamentation, before it passed into the valley.
For a moment it saddened them, though there was nothing unusual in the tones. But the family were glad again when they perceived that the latch was lifted by some traveller, whose footsteps had been unheard amid the dreary blast which heralded his approach, and wailed as he was entering, and went moaning away from the door.
Though they dwelt in such a solitude, these people held daily converse with the world. The romantic pass of the Notch is a great artery, through which the life-blood of internal commerce is continually throbbing between Maine, on one side, and the Green Mountains and the shores of the St.
Lawrence, on the other. The stage-coach always drew up before the door of the cottage. The wayfarer, with no companion but his staff, paused here to exchange a word, that the sense of loneliness might not utterly overcome him ere he could pass through the cleft of the mountain, or reach the first house in the valley.
And here the teamster, on his way to Portland market, would put up for the night; and, if a bachelor, might sit an hour beyond the usual bedtime, and steal a kiss from the mountain maid at parting. It was one of those primitive taverns where the traveller pays only for food and lodging, but meets with a homely kindness beyond all price.
When the footsteps were heard, therefore, between the outer door and the inner one, the whole family rose up, grandmother, children and all, as if about to welcome some one who belonged to them, and whose fate was linked with theirs. The door was opened by a young man. His face at first wore the melancholy expression, almost despondency, of one who travels a wild and bleak road, at nightfall and alone, but soon brightened up when he saw the kindly warmth of his reception.
He felt his heart spring forward to meet them all, from the old woman, who wiped a chair with her apron, to the little child that held out its arms to him. One glance and smile placed the stranger on a footing of innocent familiarity with the eldest daughter.
I am quite benumbed; for the Notch is just like the pipe of a great pair of bellows; it has blown a terrible blast in my face all the way from Bartlett.
It is no matter; for, when I saw this good fire, and all your cheerful faces, I felt as if you had kindled it on purpose for me, and were waiting my arrival.
So I shall sit down among you, and make myself at home. The family held their breath, because they knew the sound, and their guest held his by instinct. Besides we have a sure place of refuge hard by if he should be coming in good earnest.
He was of a proud, yet gentle spirit--haughty and reserved among the rich and great; but ever ready to stoop his head to the lowly cottage door, and be like a brother or a son at the poor man's fireside. In the household of the Notch he found warmth and simplicity of feeling, the pervading intelligence of New England, and a poetry of native growth, which they had gathered when they little thought of it from the mountain peaks and chasms, and at the very threshold of their romantic and dangerous abode.
He had travelled far and alone; his whole life, indeed, had been a solitary path; for, with the lofty caution of his nature, he had kept himself apart from those who might otherwise have been his companions. The family, too, though so kind and hospitable, had that consciousness of unity among themselves, and separation from the world at large, which, in every domestic circle, should still keep a holy place where no stranger may intrude.
But this evening a prophetic sympathy impelled the refined and educated youth to pour out his heart before the simple mountaineers, and constrained them to answer him with the same free confidence.
And thus it should have been. Is not the kindred of a common fate a closer tie than that of birth? The secret of the young man's character was a high and abstracted ambition. He could have borne to live an undistinguished life, but not to be forgotten in the grave.
Yearning desire had been transformed to hope; and hope, long cherished, had become like certainty, that, obscurely as he journeyed now, a glory was to beam on all his pathway,--though not, perhaps, while he was treading it.
But when posterity should gaze back into the gloom of what was now the present, they would trace the brightness of his footsteps, brightening as meaner glories faded, and confess that a gifted one had passed from his cradle to his tomb with none to recognize him. Were I to vanish from the earth to-morrow, none would know so much of me as you: Not a soul would ask, 'Who was he?
Whither did the wanderer go? Then, let Death come! I shall have built my monument! With quick sensibility of the ludicrous, he blushed at the ardor into which he had been betrayed. And, truly, that would be a noble pedestal for a man's statue!
It is strange, wife, how his talk has set my head running on things that are pretty certain never to come to pass.The Ambitious Guest Conclusion. love, a natural phenomenon between two human beings, and familial affinity which is inherent in many families, are explored in the two texts As You Like It, a pastoral comedy play by William Shakespeare, and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story The Ambitious Guest.
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Oct 26, · But his story “The Ambitious Guest” is scarier than anything in Poe, and its dark romanticism makes no recourse to haunted houses, death masques, black cats, supernaturally sustained heartbeats, or any other genre trope.
It’s just about a weary . The Ambitious Guest Essay Sample One September night a family had gathered round their hearth, and piled it high with the driftwood of mountain streams, the dry cones of the pine, and the splintered ruins of great trees that had come crashing down the precipice.
“The Ambitious Guest” is not the greatest of his short-stories, but it is one of the most characteristic in its quaint simplicity and in its wide application. It was included in the second series of “Twice Told Tales” published in ; but it had been written several years earlier.
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