The Minister's Black Veil





A PARABLE[1]





[1] Another clergyman in New England, Mr. Joseph Moody, of York,

Maine, 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.





The sexton stood in the porch of Milford meeting-house, pulling

busily 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 summons.



"But what has good Parson Hooper got upon his face?" cried the

sexton in astonishment.



All within hearing immediately turned about, and beheld the

semblance of Mr. Hooper, pacing slowly his meditative way towards

the meetinghouse. With one accord they started, expressing more

wonder than if some strange minister were coming to dust the

cushions of Mr. Hooper's pulpit.



"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

funeral sermon."



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. Hooper's face!"



"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

himself!"



"Men sometimes are so," said her husband.



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 all of 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 averse 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 then 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 faintly.



"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 same?"



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! O! 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 forever!"



"Lift the veil but once, and look me in the face," said she.



"Never! It cannot be!" replied Mr. Hooper.



"Then farewell!" said Elizabeth.



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

lovers.



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 bedside 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 this 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 bedside.



"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 from eternity?"



Father Hooper at first replied merely by a feeble motion of his

head; then, apprehensive, perhaps, that his meaning might be

doubted, he exerted himself to speak.



"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 Veil!"



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

Black Veil!





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