Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804-1864) was een Amerikaanse schrijver. Na hun huwelijk hielden hij en zijn vrouw Sophia Peabody een gezamenlijk dagboek bij. Hieronder zijn eerste bijdrage daaraan.
August 5th. Friday
A rainy day—a rainy day—and I do verily believe there is no sunshine in this world, except what beams from my wife's eyes. At present, she has laid her strict command on me to take pen in hand; and, to ensure my obedience has banished me to the little ten-foot-square apartment, misnamed my study; but she must not be surprised, if the dismalness of the day, and the dulness of my solitude, should be the prominent characteristics of what I write. And what is there to write about at all? Happiness has no succession of events; because it is a part of eternity, and we have been living in eternity, ever since we came to this old Manse. Like Enoch, we seem to have been translated to the other state of being, without having passed through death. Our spirits must have flitted away, unconsciously, in the deep and quiet rapture of some long embrace; and we can only perceive that we have cast off our mortal part, by the more real and earnest life of our spirits. Externally, our Paradise has very much the aspect of a pleasant old domicile, on earth. The antique house (for it looks antique, though it was created by Providence expressly for our use, and at the precise time when we wanted it) stands behind a noble avenue of Balm of Gilead trees; and when we chance to observe a passing traveller, through the sunshine and the shadow of this long avenue, his figure appears too dim and remote to disturb our sense of blissful seclusion. Few, indeed are the mortals who venture within our sacred precincts. George Prescott—who has not yet grown earthly enough, I suppose, to be debarred from occasional visits to Paradise—comes daily to bring three pints of milk, from some ambrosial cow; —occasionally, also, he makes an offering of mortal flowers, at the shrine of a certain angelic personage. Mr. Emerson comes sometimes, and has been so far favored to be feasted (with a gnome, yclept Ellery Channing) on our nectar and ambrosia. Mr. Thorow has twice listened to the music of the spheres, which, for our private convenience, we have packed into a musical box. Elizabeth Hoar (who is much more at home among spirits than among fleshly bodies) came hither a few times, merely to welcome us to the ethereal world; but latterly she has vanished into some other region of infinite space. One rash mortal, on the second Sunday after our arrival, obtruded himself upon us in a gig. There have since been three or four callers, who preposterously think that the courtesies of the lower world are to be responded to by people whose home is in Paradise.