Septimius Felton

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


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Unfinished romance by Hawthorne, posthumously published in 1872.

During the Revolutionary War, Septimius Felton, a scholar who seeks a method of attaining earthly immortality, kills a British officer who has insulted his fiancée, Rose Garfield. On the hill top where he has buried the officer, he meets Sybil Dacy, a strange, unearthly creature, who is looking for a flower she expects to grow from the grave, and they become close friends. Before he died, the officer gave Septimius an old manuscript, containing the formula for an elixir of life, requiring the juice of the flower Sybil seeks. A Dr. Portsoaken, her uncle, visits Septimius and reveals that the scholar may be the heir to a British estate. Robert Hagburn, an American soldier and friend of Septimius, becomes engaged to Rose, after it is discovered that she is the scholar's half-sister. At the wedding of Robert and Rose, Sybil discloses to Septimius, who is about to drink the potion he has finally concocted, that the officer he killed was her lover, and that she has intended to seek revenge, but now loves Septimius. She drinks part of the potion, throws away the rest, and dies. Septimius disappears, and is believed to have gone to claim his English estate.

Subjects: Literature.

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