The House of the Seven Gables
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The House of the Seven Gables Chapter 10 Summary
The Pyncheon Garden
- Phoebe suggests that Clifford go out into the garden for some sunshine.
- She reads to Clifford outside, choosing from Mr. Holgrave's fiction and poetry collection.
- Clifford still doesn't think much of fiction, but he does enjoy the poetry, with its rhythmic language.
- Even more than Phoebe's reading, though, Clifford enjoys listening her talk.
- Phoebe chats about the garden and the flowers that are blooming.
- Mr. Holgrave plants a row of scarlet runner beans, whose red flowers attract hummingbirds.
- Clifford feels so happy to watch them that he becomes like "a child again" (10.6).
- Hepzibah sometimes cries when she sees Clifford's excitement because she can remember him just like this as a child.
- The narrator wants to give one anecdote of the garden life Clifford and Phoebe share.
- Phoebe often talks about the chickens to entertain Clifford.
- They are all rather amusing looking: there is one rooster, two hens, and one tiny, ancient-looking chick.
- One of the hens has a great deal of trouble laying an egg, but she finally manages it.
- Without a thought for the feelings of the hen, Hepzibah takes the egg to make Clifford's breakfast.
- The next day, the rooster and the hen stand in front of Clifford and caw angrily in revenge.
- They stop only when Phoebe offers them a piece of spice cake.
- The narrator explains that he's telling this trivial story as one example of the kind of ordinary event that was so good for Clifford's health.
- Clifford also gets into the habit of looking into Maule's well.
- He says he sees beautiful faces there.
- But every now and then Clifford will yell, "The dark face gazes at me!" (10.14) and run away.
- On Sundays after church, Phoebe, Clifford, Hepzibah, Uncle Venner, and Mr. Holgrave have little parties in the garden.
- Clifford quite enjoys being younger than someone for once – in this case, Uncle Venner.
- One afternoon Uncle Venner says that he expects life after he retires on his farm will be a lot like these Sunday afternoons.
- Clifford makes the strange comment that Uncle Venner "is always talking about his farm. But I have a better scheme for him, by and by. We shall see!" (10.18).
- Hepzibah asks Phoebe to help her gather the currants.
- Mr. Holgrave falls into conversation with Clifford.
- Clifford really starts to cheer up. But as the sun sets, he gets gloomy again.
- He whispers, "I want my happiness! [...] Many, many years have I waited for it! It is late!" (10.26).
- But, the narrator tells us, that happiness isn't going to come to Clifford, unless it's the happiness of sitting in the garden with his family.
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