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“TWICE-TOLD TALES," "THE SCARLET LETTER, " HOUSE WITH SEVEN
GABLES," ETC., ETC.
BEDFORD STREET, STRAND.
MOSSES FROM AN OLD MANSE.
THE OLD MANSE.
The Author makes the Reader acquainted with his Abode.
BETWEEN two tall gateposts of rough hewn stone (the gate itself having fallen from its hinges at some unknown epoch) we beheld the grey front of the old parsonage, terminating the vista of an avenue of black ash trees. It was now a twelvemonth since the funeral procession of the venerable clergyman, its last inhabitant, had turned from that gateway towards the village burying ground. The wheel track leading to the door, as well as the whole breadth of the avenue, was almost overgrown with grass, affording dainty mouthfuls to two or three vagrant cows, and an old white horse, who had his own living to pick up along the roadside. The glimmering shadows that lay half asleep between the door of the house and the public highway, were a kind of spiritual medium, seen through which the edifice had not quite the aspect of belonging to the material world. Certainly it had little in common with those ordinary abodes which stand so imminent upon the road that every passer-by can thrust his head, as it were, into the domestic circle. From these quiet windows the figures of passing travellers looked too remote and dim to disturb the sense of privacy. In its near retirement and accessible seclusion it was the very spot for the residence of a clergyman-a man not estranged from human life, yet enveloped, in the midst of it, with a veil woven of intermingled gloom and brightness. It was worthy to have been one of the time-honoured parsonages of England, in which, through many generations, a succession of holy