Today in the year 1692, the Battle of La Hogue was fought.
Today in the year 1864, Nathaniel Hawthorne died.
The Battle was one in the Nine Years’ War between England and the Dutch Republic on the one side, and France on the other. The Anglo-Dutch side won the battle. It’s not that I have no curiosity about such things. But I’m just not feeling it today. If you are, Student Handouts has the skinny. The link above goes to that infallible source.
I would like for you to know that Twice-Told Tales was a best selling book in America in 1837. In 1850, The Scarlet Letter was, as was The House of the Seven Gables in 1851 (Mott, Golden Multitudes, 1947).
Daily Reading May 19
I recommend “The Great Carbuncle.”
Lastly, there was a handsome youth in rustic garb, and by his side a blooming little person, in whom a delicate shade of maiden reserve was just melting into the rich glow of a young wife’s affection. Her name was Hannah and her husband’s Matthew; two homely names, yet well enough adapted to the simple pair, who seemed strangely out of place among the whimsical fraternity whose wits had been set agog by the Great Carbuncle.
Beneath the shelter of one hut, in the bright blaze of the same fire, sat this varied group of adventurers, all so intent upon a single object, that, of whatever else they began to speak, their closing words were sure to be illuminated with the Great Carbuncle. Several related the circumstances that brought them thither. One had listened to a traveller’s tale of this marvellous stone in his own distant country, and had immediately been seized with such a thirst for beholding it as could only be quenched in its intensest lustre. Another, so long ago as when the famous Captain Smith visited these coasts, had seen it blazing far at sea, and had felt no rest in all the intervening years till now that he took up the search. A third, being encamped on a hunting expedition full forty miles south of the White Mountains, awoke at midnight, and beheld the Great Carbuncle gleaming like a meteor, so that the shadows of the trees fell backward from it. They spoke of the innumerable attempts which had been made to reach the spot, and of the singular fatality which had hitherto withheld success from all adventurers, though it might seem so easy to follow to its source a light that overpowered the moon, and almost matched the sun. It was observable that each smiled scornfully at the madness of every other in anticipating better fortune than the past, yet nourished a scarcely hidden conviction that he would himself be the favored one.
Stay well and keep reading!