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The House of the Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables


by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The House of the Seven Gables Chapter 14 Summary

Phoebe's Good-Bye

  • After Mr. Holgrave finishes reading his story aloud, he notices that Phoebe has become literally hypnotized as a result of his gestures.
  • Mr. Holgrave has a sudden temptation: he could establish total power over Phoebe in this state.
  • But he has too much respect for individual choice to do this to Phoebe, so he releases her from the hypnotic spell.
  • Mr. Holgrave teases Phoebe for falling asleep. She protests that she was awake the whole time. She just can't...quite...remember what his story was about.
  • The night falls and it's lovely.
  • Mr. Holgrave has never felt so happy as he does at this moment.
  • Phoebe admits that she's been more cheerful in the past, but she has a new appreciation for moonlight now.
  • Mr. Holgrave says this feeling is proof that her soul is developing into something better and more mature.
  • Phoebe realizes that she must go inside to help Hepzibah close up the shop.
  • Mr. Holgrave has heard that Phoebe plans to go back to the country in a couple of days.
  • Phoebe says it's true, but she's coming back soon. She enjoys living where she can be useful (i.e., at the House of the Seven Gables).
  • Mr. Holgrave says she is desperately needed by Hepzibah and Clifford, who are both as good as dead without her.
  • Phoebe wonders whether Mr. Holgrave cares what happens to Hepzibah and Clifford.
  • Mr. Holgrave is interested in the two of them, but in an intellectual way.
  • He is there primarily as "a privileged [...] spectator" (14.21) to this human drama.
  • Phoebe demands to know whether Mr. Holgrave is aware of anything that threatens Hepzibah and Clifford.
  • Mr. Holgrave apologizes and promises that he knows of nothing coming their way.
  • He has secrets, yes, but they are his own.
  • It's just that Mr. Holgrave has noticed that Judge Pyncheon seems unusually interested in Clifford. But why?
  • Phoebe says goodbye and promises that she is not angry.
  • Two days later Phoebe says farewell to Hepzibah and Clifford.
  • She weeps as she thinks over how much her life has changed over the last several weeks.
  • She feeds Chanticleer and the hens.
  • Hepzibah remarks that it's good Phoebe is going away for a bit – she needs to regain her old, easy smile.
  • Clifford tells Phoebe that she has changed from a child into a woman during her stay at the House.
  • Phoebe goes on her way after handing Ned Higgins another animal-shaped cookie.
  • Uncle Venner walks along the path with her awhile. He tells Phoebe to come back soon – she seems to belong here, and Clifford and Hepzibah won't be able to bear her absence.
  • Phoebe promises to come back.

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