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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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