Once again, nothing happened today. But wait until you hear what happened one week from today in 1593. You won’t believe it!
Daily Reading May 27
My Canadian friends may find Lady Dufferin rather interesting. Sounds as if she was well liked by you folks up north.
In some old magazine or newspaper, I recollect a story, told as truth, of a man – let us call him Wakefield – who absented himself for a long time, from his wife. The fact, thus abstractedly is not very uncommon, nor – without a proper distinction of circumstances – to be condemned either as naughty or nonsensical. Howbeit, this, though far from the most aggravated, is perhaps the strangest instance, on record, of marital delinquency; and, moreover, as remarkable a freak as may be found in the whole list of human oddities. The wedded couple lived in London. The man, under presence of going a journey, took lodgings in the next street to his own house, and there, unheard of by his wife or friends, and without the shadow of a reason for such self-banishment, dwelt upwards of twenty years. During that period, he beheld his home every day, and frequently the forlorn Mrs. Wakefield. And after so great a gap in his matrimonial felicity – when his death was reckoned certain, his estate settled, his name dismissed from memory, and his wife, long, long ago, resigned to her autumnal widowhood – he entered the door one evening, quietly, as from a day’s absence, and became a loving spouse till death.
This outline is all that I remember. But the incident, though of the purest originality, unexampled, and probably never to be repeated, is one, I think, which appeals to the general sympathies of mankind. We know, each for himself, that none of us would perpetrate such a folly, yet feel as if some other might. To my own contemplations, at least, it has often recurred, always wonder, but with a sense that the story must be true, and a conception of its hero’s character. Whenever any subject so forcibly affects the mind, time is well spent in thinking of it. If the reader choose, let him do his own meditation; or if he prefer to ramble with me through the twenty years of Wakefield’s vagary, I bid him welcome; trusting that there will be a pervading spirit and a moral, even should we fail to find them, done up neatly, and condensed into the final sentence. Thought has always its efficacy, and every striking incident its moral.
Oh brother. Searching Wakefield brings up a lot of hits of the sort a high school student might find useful come paper writing time. And what bologna.
Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “Wakefield” exposes how family relationships suppress individual freedom in American society.
I read it and enjoyed it.
Stay well. Keep reading. And for God’s own sake, and yours as well, think for yourself!