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This is one of Hawthorne's early stories (and perhaps not one of his favorites) and is a coming-of-age and quest story. The quest the hero is on is the search for his second-cousin who promised long ago to help him get established in the world. The coming-of-age element is that he learns that he must either return home of learn to make his own in the world based on his own mind and abilities. He discovers this when he sees his second-cousin being driven through town in disgrace and a kindly and wise guide (everyone needs the help of a kindly and wise guide) advises him to try to see what he can accomplish on his own natural talents and abilities.
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