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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 2 Summary

The Little Shop-Window

  • Miss Hepzibah Pyncheon, the elderly unmarried cousin of Judge Pyncheon, gets out of bed early one midsummer morning.
  • Hepzibah is a recluse, which means she doesn't go out and socialize with other people at all.
  • She's alone in the house except for a lodger, an artist who lives in a distant part of the house.
  • This particular morning, Hepzibah looks as though she's preparing for some terrible task.
  • She looks at a miniature portrait of a handsome young man with an emotional face.
  • She puts away the portrait and continues with her preparations for the day.
  • Hepzibah is setting up the long-forgotten shop to open again, for the first time in 100 years.
  • The shop is going to sell soap, candles, toys, gingerbread – a pretty random assortment of stuff.
  • She is completely awkward as she tries to decide where to place her goods.
  • It's obvious that Hepzibah does not want to open this shop. But she truly feels that she has no choice – she doesn't know enough to teach children, and she's not strong enough to sew professionally.
  • But she keeps approaching the opening of the store as though it's a crime.
  • It's dawn and the town is waking up.
  • She has to open the door and declare her shop open sooner or later.
  • Reluctantly, Hepzibah opens the lock on the shop door and leaves it open for customers.
  • This accomplished, she throws herself into a chair and starts to cry.

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