Hawthorne made three collections of his short stories and sketches: "Twice-Told Tales," "Mousses from an Old Manse," and "The Snow Image and Other Tales." The prefaces to these volumes express, with characteristic charm, the author's dissatisfaction with his handiwork. No critic has pointed out so clearly as Hawthorne himself has pointed out so clearly as Hawthorne himself the ineffectiveness of some of the "Twice-Told Tales"; he thinks that the "Mosses from an Old Manse" afford no solid basis for a literary reputation; and his comment upon the earlier and later work gathered indiscriminately into his final volume is that "the ripened autumnal fruit tastes but little better than the early windfalls."
It must be remembered that the collections were made in desultory fashion. They included some work that Hawthorne had outgrown even when the first volume was published, such as elaborate exercises in description and fanciful allegories, excellently composed but without substance.