It's a romantic story to rival the Brownings'. The handsome young author comes out of seclusion to mix with the educated Peabody sisters and court the youngest of the three, who heretofore has spent much time in bed with headaches. A reasonably lively boy and an almost frivolous college student, Nathaniel succumbed on graduation to the gloomy example of his withdrawn, widowed mother, who also makes recluses of her formerly normal daughters. Sophia, a lively child, is kept an invalid by her unhappy mother. Now her sisters and mother unite against exposing her to the horrible indignities of marriage. But after a too-long engagement, the lovers make the break; and the joint journal quoted extensively here speaks of perpetual bliss. Their happiness together seems to have lasted until their death in old age, though we are spared the journal entries after their first ecstatic year. Gaeddert also reproduces many letters, written in the effusive 19th-century manner though with spots of arch humor. Both the Hawthornes' style and the gist of their story may be against the current grain, but one suspects the romance can still elicit its share of sighs.