Theory:

     By this time poor Mr Gathergold was dead and buried. His wealth, which was the body and spirit of his existence, had disappeared before his death. Since the melting away of his gold, it had been generally agreed that there was no great likeness, after all, between the ruined merchant and the majestic face upon the mountain.
 
     It so happened that another son of the valley had become a soldier many years before. After a great deal of hard fighting, he was now a famous commander. He was known on the battlefield by the name of Blood-and-Thunder. Old and tired now, he had lately expressed a desire to return to his native valley. The inhabitants, his old neighbours and their grown up children, prepared to welcome the renowned commander. It was being said that at last the likeness of the Great Stone Face had actually appeared. Great, therefore, was the excitement throughout the valley, and many people who had never once thought of glancing at the Great Stone Face now spent much time in gazing at it, for the sake of knowing exactly how General Blood-and-Thunder looked.
 
     On the day of the general’s arrival, Ernest and all the other people of the valley left their work, and proceeded to the spot where a great banquet had been prepared. Soldiers stood on guard, flags waved and the crowd roared. Ernest was standing too far back to see Blood-and-Thunder’s face. However, he could hear several voices.

     “It’s the same face, exactly!” cried one man, dancing for joy.
 
     “Wonderfully like it, that’s a fact!” replied another.
 
     “And why not?” cried a third; “he’s the greatest man of this or any other age, beyond a doubt.”
 
     Ernest at last could see the general’s face; and in the same glance, to the side, he could also see the Great Stone Face. If there was such a likeness as the crowd proclaimed, Ernest could not recognise it.
 
     “Fear not, Ernest,” said his heart, as if the Great Stone Face was whispering to him, “fear not, Ernest; he will come.”
Explanation:
 
By this time, Mr. Gathergold, died. It has been said that he died in poverty, losing all wealth he gained. With this information, people dismissed their belief on him to be a reflection of The Great Stone Face, but it happened to another native of the Valley named Blood-and-Thunder. From a Soldier’s position, he had risen to a position of Commander. Now, he is believed to resemble the likeness of The Great Stone Face.
 
commander draft.jpg
The Commander
 
People had spent time gazing at the Great Stone Face, to verify the similarity between it and the Commander. And, the day finally arrived, for which Earnest and people awaited long. People started shouting at the Commander’s arrival, claiming him to be the exact resemblance of The Great Stone Face, but Earnest couldn’t relate him in any way comparing the resemblance on Great Stone Face. The Story ends with a quest; as still Earnest feels The Great Stone Face replying him, it will come for sure.
Reference:
National Council of Educational Research and Training (2008). Honeydew. The Great Stone Face I -Nathaniel Hawthorne (pp. 120-125). Published at the Publication Division by the Secretary, National Council of Educational Research and Training, Sri Aurobindo Marg, New Delhi.