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Chippings with a Chisel (From "Twice Told Tales") by Nathaniel Hawthorne
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By Nathaniel Hawthorne

Passing a summer, several years since, at Edgartown, on the island of
Martha's Vineyard, I became acquainted with a certain carver of
tombstones, who had travelled and voyaged thither from the interior of
Massachusetts, in search of professional employment. The speculation
had turned out so successful, that my friend expected to transmute
slate and marble into silver and gold, to the amount of at least a
thousand dollars, during the few months of his sojourn at Nantucket
and the Vineyard. The secluded life, and the simple and primitive
spirit which still characterizes the inhabitants of those islands,
especially of Martha's Vineyard, insure their dead friends a longer
and dearer remembrance than the daily novelty and revolving bustle of
the world can elsewhere afford to beings of the past. Yet while every
family is anxious to erect a memorial to its departed members, the
untainted breath of ocean bestows such health and length of days upon
the people of the isles, as would cause a melancholy dearth of
business to a resident artist in that line. His own monument,
recording his disease by starvation, would probably be an early
specimen of his skill. Gravestones, therefore, have generally been an
article of imported merchandise.

In my walks through the burial-ground of Edgartown,--where the dead
have lain so long that the soil, once enriched by their decay, has
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