Reading 12

The following passage is adapted from the story “The Artist of the Beautiful” by Nathaniel Hawthorne (published in 1844 by Nathaniel Hawthorne).

  1. An elderly man, with his pretty
  2. daughter on his arm, was passing
  3. along the street, and emerged
  4. from the gloom of the cloudy
  5. evening into the light that fell
  6. across the pavement from the
  7. window of a small shop. It was a
  8. projecting window; and on the
  9. inside were suspended a variety
  10. of watches, pinchbeck, silver, and
  11. one or two of gold, all with their
  12. faces turned from the streets,
  13. as if churlishly disinclined to
  14. inform the wayfarers what
  15. o’clock it was.
  16. Seated within the shop, sidelong
  17. to the window with his pale face
  18. bent earnestly over some delicate
  19. piece of mechanism on which was
  20. thrown the concentrated lustre
  21. of a shade lamp, appeared a
  22. young man.
  23. “What can Owen Warland
  24. be about?” muttered old Peter
  25. Hovenden, himself a retired
  26. watchmaker, and the former
  27. master of this same young man
  28. whose occupation he was now
  29. wondering at. “What can the
  30. fellow be about? These six
  31. months past I have never come
  32. by his shop without seeing him
  33. just as steadily at work as now.
  34. It would be a flight beyond his
  35. usual foolery to seek for the
  36. perpetual motion; and yet I know
  37. enough of my old business to be
  38. certain that what he is now so
  39. busy with is no part of the
  40. machinery of a watch.”
  41. “Perhaps, father,” said Annie,
  42. without showing much interest in
  43. the question, “Owen is inventing
  44. a new kind of timekeeper. I am
  45. sure he has ingenuity enough.”
  46. “Poh, child! He has not the sort of
  47. ingenuity to invent anything
  48. better than a Dutch toy,”
  49. answered her father, who had
  50. formerly been put to much
  51. vexation by Owen Warland’s
  52. irregular genius. “A plague on
  53. such ingenuity! All the effect that
  54. ever I knew of it was to spoil the
  55. accuracy of some of the best
  56. watches in my shop. He would
  57. turn the sun out of its orbit
  58. and derange the whole course
  59. of time, if, as I said before,
  60. his ingenuity could grasp anything
  61. bigger than a child’s toy!”
  62. “Hush, father! He hears you!”
  63. whispered Annie, pressing the
  64. old man’s arm. “His ears are as
  65. delicate as his feelings; and you
  66. know how easily disturbed they
  67. are. Do let us move on.”
  68. So Peter Hovenden and his
  69. daughter Annie plodded on
  70. without further conversation,
  71. until in a by-street of the town
  72. they found themselves passing
  73. the open door of a blacksmith’s
  74. shop. Within was seen the forge,
  75. now blazing up and illuminating
  76. the high and dusky roof, and now
  77. confining its luster to a narrow
  78. precinct of the coal-strewn floor.
  79. In the intervals of brightness
  80. it was easy to distinguish objects
  81. in remote corners of the shop and
  82. the horseshoes that hung upon
  83. the wall; in the momentary gloom
  84. the fire seemed to be glimmering
  85. amidst the vagueness of
  86. unenclosed space. Moving about
  87. in this red glare and alternate
  88. dusk was the figure of the
  89. blacksmith, well worthy to be
  90. viewed in so picturesque an
  91. aspect of light and shade, where
  92. the bright blaze struggled with
  93. the black night, as if each would
  94. have snatched his comely strength
  95. from the other. Anon he drew a
  96. white-hot bar of iron from the
  97. coals, laid it on the anvil, uplifted
  98. his arm of might, and was soon
  99. enveloped in the myriads of sparks.
  100. Now, that is a pleasant sight,
  101. said the old watchmaker.
  102. “I know what it is to work in
  103. gold; but give me the worker
  104. in iron after all is said and done.
  105. He spends his labor upon a reality.
  106. What say you, daughter Annie?”
  107. “Pray don’t speak so loud, father,”
  108. whispered Annie, “Robert
  109. Danforth will hear you.”
  110. “And what if he should hear me?”
  111. said Peter Hovenden. “I say again,
  112. it is a good and a wholesome
  113. thing to depend upon main
  114. strength and reality, and to earn
  115. one’s bread with the bare and
  116. brawny arm of a blacksmith.
  117. Did you ever hear of a blacksmith
  118. being such a fool as
  119. Owen Warland yonder?”