The House of the Seven Gables
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The House of the Seven Gables Chapter 14 Summary
- 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.
People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...