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The House of the Seven Gables
The House of the Seven Gables
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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.
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