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Part II. Nathaniel Hawthorne

X. Thomas Hutchinson

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Coming down to the epoch of the second charter, Hutchinson thought of the ship-carpenter Phips springing from the lowest of the people and attaining to the loftiest station in the land. But he smiled to perceive that this governor's example would awaken no turbulent ambition in the lower orders; for it was a king's gracious boon alone that made the ship-carpenter a ruler. Hutchinson rejoiced to mark the gradual growth of an aristocratic class, to whom the common people, as in duty bound, were learning humbly to resign the honors, emoluments, and authority of state. He saw--or else deceived himself--that, throughout this epoch, the people's disposition to self-government had been growing weaker through long disuse, and now existed only as a faint traditionary feeling.

The lieutenant-governor's reverie had now come down to the period at which he himself was sitting in the historic chair. He endeavored to throw his glance forward over the coming years. There, probably, he saw visions of hereditary rank for himself and other aristocratic colonists. He saw the fertile fields of New England proportioned out among a few great landholders, and descending by entail from generation to generation. He saw the people a race of tenantry, dependent on their lords. He saw stars, garters, coronets, and castles.

"But," added Grandfather, turning to Laurence, "the lieutenant-governor's castles were built nowhere but among the red embers of the fire before which he was sitting. And, just as he had constructed a baronial residence for himself and his posterity, the fire rolled down upon the hearth and crumbled it to ashes!"

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Grandfather now looked at his watch, which hung within a beautiful little ebony temple, supported by four Ionic columns. He then laid his hand on the golden locks of little Alice, whose head had sunk down upon the arm of our illustrious chair.

"To bed, to bed, dear child!" said he. "Grandfather has put you to sleep already by his stories about these FAMOUS OLD PEOPLE."

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Grandfather's Chair
Nathaniel Hawthorne

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