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The Intelligence Office

Nathaniel Hawthorne

Book Overview: 

The Intelligence Office is a short story written by American author Nathaniel Hawthorne.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .I to go further, I should have the whole population of the city upon my shoulders; since far the greater proportion of them are, more or less, in your predicament."

The applicant sank into a fit of despondency, and passed out of the door without again lifting his eyes; and, if he died of the disappointment, he was probably buried in the wrong tomb, inasmuch as the fatality of such people never deserts them, and, whether alive or dead, they are invariably out of place.

Almost immediately another foot was heard on the threshold. A youth entered hastily, and threw a glance around the office to ascertain whether the man of intelligence was alone. He then approached close to the desk, blushed like a maiden, and seemed at a loss how to broach his business.

"You come upon an affair of the heart," said the official personage, looking into him through his mysterious spectacles. "State it in as few words as may be."

"You are r. . . Read More

Community Reviews

First published in the United States Magazine and Democratic Review, XIV (March, 1844), “The Intelligence Office” is one of Hawthorne’s more successful short allegories, particularly noteworthy for the fact that it is here Ralph Waldo Emerson, though disguised, makes an appearance.

Hawthorne and E...more

What if the deepest, desirous secret of every human being was filed at a tiny downtown office ? Meet the guy who works there.

What introspection ! Mr. Hawthorne, you are hands-down the best <3

"The great folio, in which the Man of Intelligence recorded all these freaks of idle hearts, and aspir...more