The sexton stood in the porch of Milford meeting-house, pulling lustily at the
bell-rope. The old people of the village came stooping
along the street. Children, with bright faces, tripped
merrily beside their parents, or mimicked a graver gait, in
the conscious dignity of their Sunday clothes. Spruce
bachelors looked sidelong at the pretty maidens, and fancied
that the Sabbath sunshine made them prettier than on week
days. When the throng had mostly streamed into the porch,
the sexton began to toll the bell, keeping his eye on the
Reverend Mr. Hooper's door. The first glimpse of the
clergyman's figure was the signal for the bell to cease its
"But what has good Parson Hooper
got upon his face?" cried the sexton in
All within hearing immediately turned
about, and beheld the semblance of Mr. Hooper, pacing
slowly his meditative way towards the meeting-house. With
one accord they started, expressing more wonder than if some
strange minister were coming to dust the cushions of Mr.
"Are you sure it is our
parson?" inquired Goodman Gray of the sexton.
"Of a certainty it is good Mr.
Hooper," replied the sexton. "He was to have
exchanged pulpits with Parson Shute, of Westbury; but Parson
Shute sent to excuse himself yesterday, being to preach a
The cause of so much amazement may
appear sufficiently slight. Mr. Hooper, a gentlemanly
person, of about thirty, though still a bachelor, was
dressed with due clerical neatness, as if a careful wife had
starched his band, and brushed the weekly dust from his
Sunday's garb. There was but one thing remarkable in his
appearance. Swathed about his forehead, and hanging down
over his face, so low as to be shaken by his breath, Mr.
Hooper had on a black veil. On a nearer view it seemed to
consist of two folds of crape, which entirely concealed his
features, except the mouth and chin, but probably did not
intercept his sight, further than to give a darkened aspect
to all living and inanimate things. With this gloomy shade
before him, good Mr. Hooper walked onward, at a slow and
quiet pace, stooping somewhat, and looking on the ground, as
is customary with abstracted men, yet nodding kindly to
those of his parishioners who still waited on the
meeting-house steps. But so wonder-struck were they that
his greeting hardly met with a return.
"I can't really feel as if good
Mr. Hooper's face was behind that piece of crape,"
said the sexton.
"I don't like it," muttered
an old woman, as she hobbled into the meeting-house.
"He has changed himself into something awful, only by
hiding his face."
"Our parson has gone mad!"
cried Goodman Gray, following him across the threshold.
A rumor of some unaccountable
phenomenon had preceded Mr. Hooper into the meeting-house,
and set all the congregation astir. Few could refrain from
twisting their heads towards the door; many stood upright,
and turned directly about; while several little boys
clambered upon the seats, and came down again with a
terrible racket. There was a general bustle, a rustling of
the women's gowns and shuffling of the men's feet, greatly
at variance with that hushed repose which should attend the
entrance of the minister. But Mr. Hooper appeared not to
notice the perturbation of his people. He entered with an
almost noiseless step, bent his head mildly to the pews on
each side, and bowed as he passed his oldest parishioner, a
white-haired great-grandsire, who occupied an arm-chair in
the centre of the aisle. It was strange to observe how
slowly this venerable man became conscious of something
singular in the appearance of his pastor. He seemed not
fully to partake of the prevailing wonder, till Mr. Hooper
had ascended the stairs, and showed himself in the pulpit,
face to face with his congregation, except for the black
veil. That mysterious emblem was never once withdrawn. It
shook with his measured breath, as he gave out the psalm; it
threw its obscurity between him and the holy page, as he
read the Scriptures; and while he prayed, the veil lay
heavily on his uplifted countenance. Did he seek to hide it
from the dread Being whom he was addressing?
Such was the effect of this simple
piece of crape, that more than one woman of delicate nerves
was forced to leave the meeting-house. Yet perhaps the
pale-faced congregation was almost as fearful a sight to the
minister, as his black veil to them.
Mr. Hooper had the reputation of a
good preacher, but not an energetic one: he strove to win
his people heavenward by mild, persuasive influences, rather
than to drive them thither by the thunders of the Word. The
sermon which he now delivered was marked by the same
characteristics of style and manner as the general series of
his pulpit oratory. But there was something, either in the
sentiment of the discourse itself, or in the imagination of
the auditors, which made it greatly the most powerful effort
that they had ever heard from their pastor's lips. It was
tinged, rather more darkly than usual, with the gentle gloom
of Mr. Hooper's temperament. The subject had reference to
secret sin, and those sad mysteries which we hide from our
nearest and dearest, and would fain conceal from our own
consciousness, even forgetting that the Omniscient can
detect them. A subtle power was breathed into his words.
Each member of the congregation, the most innocent girl, and
the man of hardened breast, felt as if the preacher had
crept upon them, behind his awful veil, and discovered their
hoarded iniquity of deed or thought. Many spread their
clasped hands on their bosoms. There was nothing terrible
in what Mr. Hooper said, at least, no violence; and yet,
with every tremor of his melancholy voice, the hearers
quaked. An unsought pathos came hand in hand with awe. So
sensible were the audience of some unwonted attribute in
their minister, that they longed for a breath of wind to
blow aside the veil, almost believing that a stranger's
visage would be discovered, though the form, gesture, and
voice were those of Mr. Hooper.
At the close of the services, the
people hurried out with indecorous confusion, eager to
communicate their pent-up amazement, and conscious of
lighter spirits the moment they lost sight of the black
veil. Some gathered in little circles, huddled closely
together, with their mouths all whispering in the centre;
some went homeward alone, wrapt in silent meditation; some
talked loudly, and profaned the Sabbath day with
ostentatious laughter. A few shook their sagacious heads,
intimating that they could penetrate the mystery; while one
or two affirmed that there was no mystery at all, but only
that Mr. Hooper's eyes were so weakened by the midnight
lamp, as to require a shade. After a brief interval, forth
came good Mr. Hooper also, in the rear of his flock.
Turning his veiled face from one group to another, he paid
due reverence to the hoary heads, saluted the middle aged
with kind dignity as their friend and spiritual guide,
greeted the young with mingled authority and love, and laid
his hands on the little children's heads to bless them.
Such was always his custom on the Sabbath day. Strange and
bewildered looks repaid him for his courtesy. None, as on
former occasions, aspired to the honor of walking by their
pastor's side. Old Squire Saunders, doubtless by an
accidental lapse of memory, neglected to invite Mr. Hooper
to his table, where the good clergyman had been wont to
bless the food, almost every Sunday since his settlement.
He returned, therefore, to the parsonage, and, at the moment
of closing the door, was observed to look back upon the
people, all of whom had their eyes fixed upon the minister.
A sad smile gleamed faintly from beneath the black veil, and
flickered about his mouth, glimmering as he disappeared.
"How strange," said a lady,
"that a simple black veil, such as any woman might wear
on her bonnet, should become such a terrible thing on Mr.
"Something must surely be amiss
with Mr. Hooper's intellects," observed her husband,
the physician of the village. "But the strangest part
of the affair is the effect of this vagary, even on a
sober-minded man like myself. The black veil, though it
covers only our pastor's face, throws its influence over his
whole person, and makes him ghostlike from head to foot. Do
you not feel it so?"
"Truly do I," replied the
lady; "and I would not be alone with him for the world.
I wonder he is not afraid to be alone with
"Men sometimes are so," said
The afternoon service was attended with
similar circumstances. At its conclusion, the bell tolled
for the funeral of a young lady. The relatives and friends
were assembled in the house, and the more distant
acquaintances stood about the door, speaking of the good
qualities of the deceased, when their talk was interrupted
by the appearance of Mr. Hooper, still covered with his
black veil. It was now an appropriate emblem. The
clergyman stepped into the room where the corpse was laid,
and bent over the coffin, to take a last farewell of his
deceased parishioner. As he stooped, the veil hung straight
down from his forehead, so that, if her eyelids had not been
closed forever, the dead maiden might have seen his face.
Could Mr. Hooper be fearful of her glance, that he so
hastily caught back the black veil? A person who watched
the interview between the dead and living, scrupled not to
affirm, that, at the instant when the clergyman's features
were disclosed, the corpse had slightly shuddered, rustling
the shroud and muslin cap, though the countenance retained
the composure of death. A superstitious old woman was the
only witness of this prodigy. From the coffin Mr. Hooper
passed into the chamber of the mourners, and thence to the
head of the staircase, to make the funeral prayer. It was a
tender and heart-dissolving prayer, full of sorrow, yet so
imbued with celestial hopes, that the music of a heavenly
harp, swept by the fingers of the dead, seemed faintly to be
heard among the saddest accents of the minister. The people
trembled, though they but darkly understood him when he
prayed that they, and himself, and all of mortal race, might
be ready, as he trusted this young maiden had been, for the
dreadful hour that should snatch the veil from their faces.
The bearers went heavily forth, and the mourners followed,
saddening all the street, with the dead before them, and Mr.
Hooper in his black veil behind.
"Why do you look back?" said
one in the procession to his partner.
I had a fancy," replied she,
"that the minister and the maiden's spirit were walking
hand in hand."
"And so had I, at the same
moment," said the other.
That night, the handsomest couple in
Milford village were to be joined in wedlock. Though
reckoned a melancholy man, Mr. Hooper had a placid
cheerfulness for such occasions, which often excited a
sympathetic smile where livelier merriment would have been
thrown away. There was no quality of his disposition which
made him more beloved than this. The company at the wedding
awaited his arrival with impatience, trusting that the
strange awe, which had gathered over him throughout the day,
would now be dispelled. But such was not the result. When
Mr. Hooper came, the first thing that their eyes rested on
was the same horrible black veil, which had added deeper
gloom to the funeral, and could portend nothing but evil to
the wedding. Such was its immediate effect on the guests
that a cloud seemed to have rolled duskily from beneath the
black crape, and dimmed the light of the candles. The
bridal pair stood up before the minister. But the bride's
cold fingers quivered in the tremulous hand of the
bridegroom, and her deathlike paleness caused a whisper that
the maiden who had been buried a few hours before was come
from her grave to be married. If ever another wedding were
so dismal, it was that famous one where they tolled the
wedding knell. After performing the ceremony, Mr. Hooper
raised a glass of wine to his lips, wishing happiness to the
new-married couple in a strain of mild pleasantry that ought
to have brightened the features of the guests, like a
cheerful gleam from the hearth. At that instant, catching a
glimpse of his figure in the looking-glass, the black veil
involved his own spirit in the horror with which it
overwhelmed all others. His frame shuddered—his lips grew
white—he spilt the untasted wine upon the carpet—and
rushed forth into the darkness. For the Earth, too, had on
her Black Veil.
The next day, the whole village of
Milford talked of little else than Parson Hooper's black
veil. That, and the mystery concealed behind it, supplied a
topic for discussion between acquaintances meeting in the
street, and good women gossiping at their open windows. It
was the first item of news that the tavern-keeper told to
his guests. The children babbled of it on their way to
school. One imitative little imp covered his face with an
old black handkerchief, thereby so affrighting his playmates
that the panic seized himself, and he well-nigh lost his
wits by his own waggery.
It was remarkable that of all the
busybodies and impertinent people in the parish, not one
ventured to put the plain question to Mr. Hooper, wherefore
he did this thing. Hitherto, whenever there appeared the
slightest call for such interference, he had never lacked
advisers, nor shown himself adverse to be guided by their
judgment. If he erred at all, it was by so painful a degree
of self-distrust, that even the mildest censure would lead
him to consider an indifferent action as a crime. Yet,
though so well acquainted with this amiable weakness, no
individual among his parishioners chose to make the black
veil a subject of friendly remonstrance. There was a
feeling of dread, neither plainly confessed nor carefully
concealed, which caused each to shift the responsibility
upon another, till at length it was found expedient to send
a deputation of the church, in order to deal with Mr.
Hooper about the mystery, before it should grow into a
scandal. Never did an embassy so ill discharge its duties.
The minister received them with friendly courtesy, but
became silent, after they were seated, leaving to his
visitors the whole burden of introducing their important
business. The topic, it might be supposed, was obvious
enough. There was the black veil swathed round Mr.
Hooper's forehead, and concealing every feature above his
placid mouth, on which, at times, they could perceive the
glimmering of a melancholy smile. But that piece of crape,
to their imagination, seemed to hang down before his heart,
the symbol of a fearful secret between him and them. Were
the veil but cast aside, they might speak freely of it, but
not till then. Thus they sat a considerable time,
speechless, confused, and shrinking uneasily from Mr.
Hooper's eye, which they felt to be fixed upon them with an
invisible glance. Finally, the deputies returned abashed to
their constituents, pronouncing the matter too weighty to be
handled, except by a council of the churches, if, indeed, it
might not require a general synod.
But there was one person in the village
unappalled by the awe with which the black veil had
impressed all beside herself. When the deputies returned
without an explanation, or even venturing to demand one,
she, with the calm energy of her character, determined to
chase away the strange cloud that appeared to be settling
round Mr. Hooper, every moment more darkly than before. As
his plighted wife, it should be her privilege to know what
the black veil concealed. At the minister's first visit,
therefore, she entered upon the subject with a direct
simplicity, which made the task easier both for him and her.
After he had seated himself, she fixed her eyes steadfastly
upon the veil, but could discern nothing of the dreadful
gloom that had so overawed the multitude: it was but a
double fold of crape, hanging down from his forehead to his
mouth, and slightly stirring with his breath.
"No," said she aloud, and
smiling, "there is nothing terrible in this piece of
crape, except that it hides a face which I am always glad to
look upon. Come, good sir, let the sun shine from behind
the cloud. First lay aside your black veil: then tell me
why you put it on."
Mr. Hooper's smile glimmered
"There is an hour to come,"
said he, "when all of us shall cast aside our veils.
Take it not amiss, beloved friend, if I wear this piece of
crape till then."
"Your words are a mystery,
too," returned the young lady. "Take away the
veil from them, at least."
"Elizabeth, I will," said he,
"so far as my vow may suffer me. Know, then, this veil
is a type and a symbol, and I am bound to wear it ever, both
in light and darkness, in solitude and before the gaze of
multitudes, and as with strangers, so with my familiar
friends. No mortal eye will see it withdrawn. This dismal
shade must separate me from the world: even you, Elizabeth,
can never come behind it!"
"What grievous affliction hath
befallen you," she earnestly inquired, "that you
should thus darken your eyes forever?"
"If it be a sign of
mourning," replied Mr. Hooper, "I, perhaps, like
most other mortals, have sorrows dark enough to be typified
by a black veil."
"But what if the world will not
believe that it is the type of an innocent sorrow?"
urged Elizabeth. "Beloved and respected as you are,
there may be whispers that you hide your face under the
consciousness of secret sin. For the sake of your holy
office, do away this scandal!"
The color rose into her cheeks as she
intimated the nature of the rumors that were already abroad
in the village. But Mr. Hooper's mildness did not forsake
him. He even smiled again—that same sad smile, which
always appeared like a faint glimmering of light, proceeding
from the obscurity beneath the veil.
"If I hide my face for sorrow,
there is cause enough," he merely replied; "and if
I cover it for secret sin, what mortal might not do the
And with this gentle, but unconquerable
obstinacy did he resist all her entreaties. At length
Elizabeth sat silent. For a few moments she appeared lost
in thought, considering, probably, what new methods might be
tried to withdraw her lover from so dark a fantasy, which,
if it had no other meaning, was perhaps a symptom of mental
disease. Though of a firmer character than his own, the
tears rolled down her cheeks. But, in an instant, as it
were, a new feeling took the place of sorrow: her eyes were
fixed insensibly on the black veil, when, like a sudden
twilight in the air, its terrors fell around her. She
arose, and stood trembling before him.
"And do you feel it then, at
last?" said he mournfully.
She made no reply, but covered her eyes
with her hand, and turned to leave the room. He rushed
forward and caught her arm.
"Have patience with me,
Elizabeth!" cried he, passionately. "Do not
desert me, though this veil must be between us here on
earth. Be mine, and hereafter there shall be no veil over
my face, no darkness between our souls! It is but a mortal
veil—it is not for eternity! Oh! you know not how lonely I
am, and how frightened, to be alone behind my black veil.
Do not leave me in this miserable obscurity
"Lift the veil but once, and look
me in the face," said she.
"Never! It cannot be!"
replied Mr. Hooper.
"Then farewell!" said
She withdrew her arm from his grasp,
and slowly departed, pausing at the door, to give one long
shuddering gaze, that seemed almost to penetrate the mystery
of the black veil. But, even amid his grief, Mr. Hooper
smiled to think that only a material emblem had separated
him from happiness, though the horrors, which it shadowed
forth, must be drawn darkly between the fondest of
From that time no attempts were made to
remove Mr. Hooper's black veil, or, by a direct appeal, to
discover the secret which it was supposed to hide. By
persons who claimed a superiority to popular prejudice, it
was reckoned merely an eccentric whim, such as often mingles
with the sober actions of men otherwise rational, and tinges
them all with its own semblance of insanity. But with the
multitude, good Mr. Hooper was irreparably a bugbear. He
could not walk the street with any peace of mind, so
conscious was he that the gentle and timid would turn aside
to avoid him, and that others would make it a point of
hardihood to throw themselves in his way. The impertinence
of the latter class compelled him to give up his customary
walk at sunset to the burial ground; for when he leaned
pensively over the gate, there would always be faces behind
the gravestones, peeping at his black veil. A fable went
the rounds that the stare of the dead people drove him
thence. It grieved him, to the very depth of his kind
heart, to observe how the children fled from his approach,
breaking up their merriest sports, while his melancholy
figure was yet afar off. Their instinctive dread caused him
to feel more strongly than aught else, that a preternatural
horror was interwoven with the threads of the black crape.
In truth, his own antipathy to the veil was known to be so
great, that he never willingly passed before a mirror, nor
stooped to drink at a still fountain, lest, in its peaceful
bosom, he should be affrighted by himself. This was what
gave plausibility to the whispers, that Mr. Hooper's
conscience tortured him for some great crime too horrible to
be entirely concealed, or otherwise than so obscurely
intimated. Thus, from beneath the black veil, there rolled
a cloud into the sunshine, an ambiguity of sin or sorrow,
which enveloped the poor minister, so that love or sympathy
could never reach him. It was said that ghost and fiend
consorted with him there. With self-shudderings and outward
terrors, he walked continually in its shadow, groping darkly
within his own soul, or gazing through a medium that
saddened the whole world. Even the lawless wind, it was
believed, respected his dreadful secret, and never blew
aside the veil. But still good Mr. Hooper sadly smiled at
the pale visages of the worldly throng as he passed by.
Among all its bad influences, the black
veil had the one desirable effect, of making its wearer a
very efficient clergyman. By the aid of his mysterious
emblem—for there was no other apparent cause—he became a
man of awful power over souls that were in agony for sin.
His converts always regarded him with a dread peculiar to
themselves, affirming, though but figuratively, that, before
he brought them to celestial light, they had been with him
behind the black veil. Its gloom, indeed, enabled him to
sympathize with all dark affections. Dying sinners cried
aloud for Mr. Hooper, and would not yield their breath till
he appeared; though ever, as he stooped to whisper
consolation, they shuddered at the veiled face so near their
own. Such were the terrors of the black veil, even when
Death had bared his visage! Strangers came long distances
to attend service at his church, with the mere idle purpose
of gazing at his figure, because it was forbidden them to
behold his face. But many were made to quake ere they
departed! Once, during Governor Belcher's administration,
Mr. Hooper was appointed to preach the election sermon.
Covered with his black veil, he stood before the chief
magistrate, the council, and the representatives, and
wrought so deep an impression that the legislative measures
of that year were characterized by all the gloom and piety
of our earliest ancestral sway.
In this manner Mr. Hooper spent a long
life, irreproachable in outward act, yet shrouded in dismal
suspicions; kind and loving, though unloved, and dimly
feared; a man apart from men, shunned in their health and
joy, but ever summoned to their aid in mortal anguish. As
years wore on, shedding their snows above his sable veil, he
acquired a name throughout the New England churches, and
they called him Father Hooper. Nearly all his parishioners,
who were of mature age when he was settled, had been borne
away by many a funeral: he had one congregation in the
church, and a more crowded one in the churchyard; and having
wrought so late into the evening, and done his work so well,
it was now good Father Hooper's turn to rest.
Several persons were visible by the
shaded candlelight, in the death-chamber of the old
clergyman. Natural connections he had none. But there was
the decorously grave, though unmoved physician, seeking only
to mitigate the last pangs of the patient whom he could not
save. There were the deacons, and other eminently pious
members of his church. There, also, was the Reverend Mr.
Clark, of Westbury, a young and zealous divine, who had
ridden in haste to pray by the bed-side of the expiring
minister. There was the nurse, no hired handmaiden of
death, but one whose calm affection had endured thus long in
secrecy, in solitude, amid the chill of age, and would not
perish, even at the dying hour. Who, but Elizabeth! And
there lay the hoary head of good Father Hooper upon the
death-pillow, with the black veil still swathed about his
brow, and reaching down over his face, so that each more
difficult gasp of his faint breath caused it to stir. All
through life that piece of crape had hung between him and
the world: it had separated him from cheerful brotherhood
and woman's love, and kept him in that saddest of all
prisons, his own heart; and still it lay upon his face, as
if to deepen the gloom of his darksome chamber, and shade
him from the sunshine of eternity.
For some time previous, his mind had
been confused, wavering doubtfully between the past and the
present, and hovering forward, as it were, at intervals,
into the indistinctness of the world to come. There had
been feverish turns, which tossed him from side to side, and
wore away what little strength he had. But in his most
convulsive struggles, and in the wildest vagaries of his
intellect, when no other thought retained its sober
influence, he still showed an awful solicitude lest the
black veil should slip aside. Even if his bewildered soul
could have forgotten, there was a faithful woman at his
pillow, who, with averted eyes, would have covered that aged
face, which she had last beheld in the comeliness of
manhood. At length the death-stricken old man lay quietly
in the torpor of mental and bodily exhaustion, with an
imperceptible pulse, and breath that grew fainter and
fainter, except when a long, deep, and irregular inspiration
seemed to prelude the flight of his spirit.
The minister of Westbury approached the
"Venerable Father Hooper,"
said he, "the moment of your release is at hand. Are
you ready for the lifting of the veil that shuts in time
Father Hooper at first replied merely
by a feeble motion of his head; then, apprehensive, perhaps,
that his meaning might be doubtful, he exerted himself to
"Yea," said he, in faint
accents, "my soul hath a patient weariness until that
veil be lifted."
"And is it fitting," resumed
the Reverend Mr. Clark, "that a man so given to
prayer, of such a blameless example, holy in deed and
thought, so far as mortal judgment may pronounce; is it
fitting that a father in the church should leave a shadow on
his memory, that may seem to blacken a life so pure? I pray
you, my venerable brother, let not this thing be! Suffer us
to be gladdened by your triumphant aspect as you go to your
reward. Before the veil of eternity be lifted, let me cast
aside this black veil from your face!"
And thus speaking, the Reverend Mr.
Clark bent forward to reveal the mystery of so many years.
But, exerting a sudden energy, that made all the beholders
stand aghast, Father Hooper snatched both his hands from
beneath the bedclothes, and pressed them strongly on the
black veil, resolute to struggle, if the minister of
Westbury would contend with a dying man.
"Never!" cried the veiled
clergyman. "On earth, never!"
"Dark old man!" exclaimed the
affrighted minister, "with what horrible crime upon
your soul are you now passing to the judgment?"
Father Hooper's breath heaved; it
rattled in his throat; but, with a mighty effort, grasping
forward with his hands, he caught hold of life, and held it
back till he should speak. He even raised himself in bed;
and there he sat, shivering with the arms of death around
him, while the black veil hung down, awful at that last
moment, in the gathered terrors of a lifetime. And yet the
faint, sad smile, so often there, now seemed to glimmer from
its obscurity, and linger on Father Hooper's lips.
"Why do you tremble at me
alone?" cried he, turning his veiled face round the
circle of pale spectators. "Tremble also at each
other! Have men avoided me, and women shown no pity, and
children screamed and fled, only for my black veil? What,
but the mystery which it obscurely typifies, has made this
piece of crape so awful? When the friend shows his inmost
heart to his friend; the lover to his best beloved; when man
does not vainly shrink from the eye of his Creator,
loathsomely treasuring up the secret of his sin; then deem
me a monster, for the symbol beneath which I have lived, and
die! I look around me, and, lo! on every visage a Black
While his auditors shrank from one
another, in mutual affright, Father Hooper fell back upon
his pillow, a veiled corpse, with a faint smile lingering on
the lips. Still veiled, they laid him in his coffin, and a
veiled corpse they bore him to the grave. The grass of many
years has sprung up and withered on that grave, the burial
stone is moss-grown, and good Mr. Hooper's face is dust;
but awful is still the thought that it mouldered beneath the
[HAWTHORNES NOTE.] Another clergyman in New England,
Mr. Joseph Moody, of York, Maine, who died about eighty
years since, made himself remarkable by the same
eccentricity that is here related of the Reverend Mr.
Hooper. In his case, however, the symbol had a different
import. In early life he had accidentally killed a beloved
friend; and from that day till the hour of his own death, he
hid his face from men.