The Experiment of Doctor Heidegger by Nathaniel Hawthorne

One day, old Doctor Heidegger, that most odd man, asked four friends to meet in his office. Three white-bearded gentlemen were present: Mister Gascoigne, Mister Medbourne, and Colonel Killigrew. Additionally, there was an elderly woman, known as the Widow Wycherly, who was thin and had lost her husband. They were all elderly, dejected beings who had had bad luck in life. Mister Medbourne had lost all of his money in a poorly thought out business venture when he was a young man. Colonel Killigrew squandered his prime years and well-being indulging in the delights of adultery and alcohol. With a dark past, Mr. Gascoigne was a shattered politician. Tradition states that the Widow Wycherly was once a remarkable beauty. However, the town’s residents had rejected her due to startling rumors about her history. She thus led a very alone life.

It is important to note that the Widow Wycherly was once in love with each of these three men. And there had been a time when they were about to kill each other over her. Doctor Heidegger replied, “My dear old friends, I would like your help in one of my little experiments.” He gestured for them to take a seat. The office of Doctor Heidegger was an odd place. The room was dim, full with dust, cobwebs, and books. A painting of the young lady that Doctor Heidegger was supposed to marry hung on a different wall. But after ingesting one of the doctor’s prescriptions, she passed on the night before their wedding. A big book with a black leather cover was the most enigmatic item in the room. It was claimed to be a magical book.

In the center of the room on the June afternoon of our tale was a black table. There was a lovely cut-glass vase on it. On the table were four glasses as well. Physician Heidegger was well-known for his peculiar research. However, none of his four visitors were expecting much of an intriguing show. The physician took up his magical black leather book. He took out an old rose that had dried from its pages. “Sylvia Ward, whose painting is on this wall, gave me this rose fifty-five years ago,” the doctor remarked. I had it on for our wedding. Do you believe there’s a chance this old rose will ever bloom again?”

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