pondering and writing notes, and says: ‘It is delightful to revolve in one's mind a new conception.’
He also works upon it in a fragmentary way in July and in November, and remarks, in the midst of it, that he has lying on his table more than sixty requests for autographs.
As a background to all of this lie the peculiar excitements of that stormy summer of 1856, when his friend Sumner
was struck down in the United States Senate and he himself, meeting with an accident, was lamed for weeks and was unable to go to Europe
with his children as he had intended.
The first rough draft of ‘Wenlook Christison,’ whose title was afterwards changed to ‘John Endicott
,’ and which was the first of ‘The New England
Tragedies,’ was not finished till August 27, 1857, and the work alternated for a time with that done on ‘Miles Standish;’ but it was more than ten years (October 10, 1868) before it was published, having first been written in prose, and only ten copies printed and afterwards rewritten in verse.
With it was associated the second New England
Tragedy, ‘Giles Corey
’ of the Salem farms
, written rapidly in February of that same year.
The volume never made a marked impression; even the sympathetic Mr. Fields
, the publisher, receiving it rather coldly.
It never satisfied even its author, and the new poetic idea which occurred