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“Doubtless, however, either of these stern and black-browed Puritans would have thought it quite a sufficient retribution for his sins, that, after so long a lapse of years, the old trunk of the family tree, with so much venerable moss upon it, should have borne, as its topmost bough, an idler like myself.  No aim, that I have ever cherished, would they recognize as laudable; no success of mine–if my life, beyond its domestic scope, had ever been brightened by success–would they deem other wise than worthless, if not positively disgraceful.  “What is he?” murmurs one gray shadow of my forefathers to the other.  “A writer of story-books!  What kind of a business in life, –what mode of glorifying God, or being serviceable to mankind in his day and generation, –may that be?  Why, the degenerate fellow might as well have been a fiddler!”  Such are the compliments bandied between my great-grandsires and myself, across the gulf of time!  And yet, let them scorn me as they will, strong traits of their nature have intertwined themselves with mine.” —from “The Custom House”, the introduction to The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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“And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes–a fresh, green breast of the new world.  Its vanished trees,  the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.”  from The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925.