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by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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Although Septimius Felton appeared so much later than The Marble Faun, it was conceived and, in another form, begun before the Italian romance had presented itself to the author's mind. The legend of a bloody foot leaving its imprint where it passed, which figures so prominently in the following fiction, was brought to Hawthorne's notice on a visit to Smithell's Hall, Lancashire, England. Hawthorne went there by invitation, where the lady of the manor asked him "to write a ghost-story for her house;" and he observes in his notes, "the legend is a good one." He wrote in his English journal: --
"God himself cannot compensate us for being born for any period short of eternity. All the misery endured here constitutes a claim for another life, and still more all the happiness; because all true happiness involves something more than the earth owns, and needs something more than a mortal capacity for the enjoyment of it."
-- from George Parsons Lathrop's Introduction
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