Mr. Higginbotham's Catastrophe

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


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Story by Hawthorne, published in The Token (1834) and in Twice-Told Tales (1837).

Dominicus Pike, an itinerant tobacco peddler, is informed of the hanging of wealthy old Mr. Higginbotham of Kimballton. He spreads the rumor as he travels, only to have it denied by persons who have seen the old man since his supposed death. Hearing again of the hanging, and being contradicted by Higginbotham's niece, he goes to Kimballton and arrives just in time to save her uncle from actual murder. It is revealed that the murder was planned by three men, two of whom successively lost courage and fled, spreading the rumor. Dominicus is rewarded by becoming Higginbotham's heir, as well as marrying the niece.

Subjects: Literature.

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