Lady Eleanore's Mantle

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Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804—1864) American novelist and short-story writer

Twice-Told Tales


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Allegorical tale by Hawthorne, published in 1838 and reprinted in Twice-Told Tales (1842).

Lady Eleanore Rochcliffe comes to live at the Boston Province House, in the family of her guardian, Colonel Shute. Her haughty beauty distracts Jervase Helwyse, whose love she scorns, and affects all who see her. The curious mantle she wears is said to have supernatural powers and to have some influence in the epidemic of smallpox that soon breaks out, striking first the aristocratic circle of Lady Eleanore, and then the common people she despises. At last she herself is stricken, and as she is dying confesses, I wrapped myself in Pride as in a Mantle, and scorned the sympathies of nature; and therefore has nature made this wretched body the medium of a dreadful sympathy.” Helwyse takes her mantle, which is burned by a mob, and the pestilence begins to subside.

Subjects: Literature.

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