Richard Digby, who believes his philosophy on life is the correct one, refuses to share his ideas with anyone else. His heart ails from collections of calculous. He leaves his home, deciding to become a hermit. In the wilderness he discovers a cave and decides to make it his new home, a place where he can meditate.One day, the spirit of Mary Goffe appears before him, and she asks Digby to return to mankind. She says he needs mankind and the path to salvation is not within the cave. He orders her to leave him alone. She asks him to drink from the fountain and to let her read the Bible alongside him, and then his heart will be cured of its ailment. He refuses this also, and his heart stops.
Years later, a family discovers the cave. Digby still sits at the mouth of the cave, but his body has been turned to adamant. The family closes the mouth of the cave to conceal the horrible image.
Nathaniel Hawthorne's reputation as a writer is a very pleasing fact, because his writing is not good for anything, and this is a tribute to the man.—Ralph Waldo Emerson
The fine thing in Hawthorne is that he cared for the deeper psychology, and that, in his way, he tried to become familiar with it.—Henry James
The style of Hawthorne is purity itself. His tone is singularly effective—wild, plaintive, thoughtful, and in full accordance with his themes... We look upon him as one of the few men of indisputable genius to whom our country has as yet given birth.—Edgar Allan Poe
- The Man of Adamant