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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 19 Summary

Alice's Posies

  • Uncle Venner is the first person awake the morning after the storm.
  • Everything looks clean and refreshed, even the House of the Seven Gables.
  • The most eye-catching thing about the whole house is the full bloom of Alice's Posies, the flowers sown by Alice Pyncheon so many years before.
  • Uncle Venner stops by the House of the Seven Gables for scraps to feed his pig.
  • He's surprised that Hepzibah hasn't left him anything.
  • Mr. Holgrave sees Uncle Venner at the gate. Uncle Venner explains that no one is up yet. He asks if the wind kept Mr. Holgrave up the night before.
  • Mr. Holgrave replies, "If I were a believer in ghosts [...] I should have concluded that all the old Pyncheons were running riot in the lower rooms" (19.7).
  • But it's all very quiet now.
  • Uncle Venner mentions that he saw Judge Pyncheon in the shop the day before.
  • Uncle Venner suggests that Mr. Holgrave pick one of Alice's Posies and keep it in water until Phoebe comes back.
  • Mr. Holgrave agrees that the water of Maule's well suits Alice's Posies the best.
  • Uncle Venner goes on his way.
  • The next visitor is an angry housewife, Mrs. Gubbins. She wants to buy half a pound of pork. A neighbor across the street tells her not to bother: nobody's home.
  • Well, that's too bad, says the neighbor across the way – both Hepzibah and Clifford have gone off with Judge Pyncheon.
  • Mrs. Gubbins thinks that's unlikely: everyone knows that Hepzibah and Judge Pyncheon have had a falling out, and that's why Hepzibah is so poor.
  • The neighbor claims only a blood relative like Judge Pyncheon would bother to help out dreadful Hepzibah and Clifford.
  • Mrs. Gubbins stalks off.
  • Ned Higgins goes up the street on his way to school and stops to buy a cookie.
  • He bangs on the door because he wants "an elephant!" (19.23).
  • The little brat almost throws a stone through the window, but a passerby stops him in time.
  • Ned sobs, "They won't open the door; and I can't get my elephant!" (19.26).
  • The man sends Ned off to school.
  • The man then turns to his friend Dixey and wonders what has happened to the Pyncheons.
  • It's odd because Judge Pyncheon – who is a man of very regular habits – didn't come home the night before.
  • Dixey thinks Judge Pyncheon will be fine. He speculates that Hepzibah has gotten into debt and run off.
  • Several delivery people stop by throughout the morning but they get no answer at the door.
  • The butcher peeps through the window and sees someone sitting down in the parlor.
  • He thinks it's Clifford ignoring the doorbell and drives off in a snit.
  • The man with the barrel-organ and the monkey stops to play outside of the house.
  • A crowd of children collect. They argue over whether anyone is home.
  • The man with the barrel-organ keeps playing, hoping to catch a glimpse of Phoebe or Clifford.
  • The children finally get bored and tell him to go along.
  • Two men passing by tell the barrel-organ player to be quiet.
  • One of them says the Pyncheons will be wanting no music: "it is reported all over town that Judge Pyncheon, who owns the house, has been murdered [...] So be off with you, at once!" (19.46)
  • The barrel-organ player finds a card on the doorstep. It belonged to Judge Pyncheon and has a bunch of appointments written on the back.
  • Dixey decides they have to bring the card to the city marshal.
  • Dixey thinks Clifford "may have been up at his old tricks" (19.49) – in other words, that he and Hepzibah have killed Judge Pyncheon.
  • The children run off in fright, but they start daring each other to run past the House of the Seven Gables.
  • They think they can see Clifford and Hepzibah scowling at them from the windows.
  • Half an hour later, a cab stops at the door.
  • It's Phoebe! She's back!
  • Ned Higgins screams at her not to go inside.
  • Ned Higgins thinks there's "something wicked there!" (19.57).
  • The doors are locked, so Phoebe goes around to the garden.
  • She sees that the storm has made Maule's well overflow.
  • Phoebe starts to feel slightly nervous.
  • The side door swings open and Phoebe walks inside.
  • The door swings shut behind her.

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