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From Mosses From An Old Manse
Hawthorne

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FROM MOSSES FROM AN OLD MANSE 

THE BIRTHMARK 

In the latter part of the last century there lived a man of
science, an eminent proficient in every branch of natural
philosophy, who not long before our story opens had made
experience of a spiritual affinity more attractive than any
chemical one.  He had left his laboratory to the care of an
assistant, cleared his fine countenance from the furnace smoke,
washed the stain of acids from his fingers, and persuaded a
beautiful woman to become his wife.  In those days when the
comparatively recent discovery of electricity and other kindred
mysteries of Nature seemed to open paths into the region of
miracle, it was not unusual for the love of science to rival the
love of woman in its depth and absorbing energy.  The higher
intellect, the imagination, the spirit, and even the heart might
all find their congenial aliment in pursuits which, as some of
their ardent votaries believed, would ascend from one step of

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