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Part III. Nathaniel Hawthorne

III. The Hutchinson Mob

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"No, foolish child!" he replied, playfully patting her cheek. "There is no tumult. Our Boston mobs are satisfied with what mischief they have already done. The king's friends need not tremble."

So Hutchinson resumed his pleasant and peaceful meditations, and again forgot that there were any troubles in the world. But his family were alarmed, and could not help straining their ears to catch the slightest sound. More and more distinctly they heard shouts, and then the trampling of many feet. While they were listening, one of the neighbors rushed breathless into the room.

"A mob! a terrible mob'!" cried he. "They have broken into Mr. Storey's house, and into Mr. Hallo-well's, and have made themselves drunk with the liquors in his cellar; and now they are coming hither, as wild as so many tigers. Flee, lieutenant-governor, for your life! for your life!"

"Father, dear father, make haste!" shrieked his children.

But Hutchinson would not hearken to them. He was an old lawyer; and he could not realize that the people would do anything so utterly lawless as to assault him in his peaceful home. He was one of King George's chief officers - and it would be an insult and outrage upon the king himself if the lieutenant-governor should suffer any wrong.

"Have no fears on my account," said he. "I am perfectly safe. The king's name shall be my protection.''

Yet he bade his family retire into one of the neighboring houses. His daughter would have remained; but he forced her away.

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The huzzas and riotous uproar of the mob were now heard, close at hand. The sound was terrible, and struck Hutchinson with the same sort of dread as if an enraged wild beast had broken loose and were roaring for its prey. He crept softly to the window. There he beheld an immense concourse of people, filling all the street and rolling onward to his house. It was like a tempestuous flood, that had swelled beyond its bounds and would sweep everything before it. Hutchinson trembled; he felt, at that moment, that the wrath of the people was a thousand-fold more terrible than the wrath of a king.

That was a moment when a loyalist and an aristocrat like Hutchinson might have learned how powerless are kings, nobles, and great men, when the low and humble range themselves against them. King George could do nothing for his servant now. Had King George been there he could have done nothing for himself. If Hutchinson had understood this lesson, and remembered it, he need not, in after years, have been an exile from his native country, nor finally have laid his bones in a distant land.

There was now a rush against the doors of the house. The people sent up a hoarse cry. At this instant the lieutenant-governor's daughter, whom he had supposed to be in a place of safety, ran into the room and threw her arms around him. She had returned by a private entrance.

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Grandfather's Chair
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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