The House of the Seven Gables
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
The House of the Seven Gables Chapter 7 Summary
- Phoebe wakes up the next morning and walks downstairs.
- She finds Hepzibah looking at a cookbook.
- Hepzibah asks Phoebe to go look for an egg in the hen coop.
- Hepzibah begins cooking energetically.
- Phoebe, the rats, and the ghosts of the household are all surprised at this unusual activity.
- Phoebe gathers some flowers to put on the table.
- She is surprised to see that Hepzibah has set the table for three. Who is the third visitor?
- Throughout all of this preparation, Hepzibah has been trembling anxiously.
- Finally Hepzibah asks Phoebe to "bear with" (7.8) her.
- Phoebe asks what's upsetting Hepzibah so much.
- Hepzibah hushes Phoebe because "He is coming!" (7.10).
- There is a step in the passageway.
- The approaching footsteps come slowly in fits and starts.
- Finally the footsteps hesitate at the threshold of the door.
- Hepzibah warns Phoebe: "Whatever may happen, be nothing but cheerful!" (7.14).
- Hepzibah jumps up and leads an elderly man into the room.
- This man has unusually long white hair and a broken face.
- He looks like he is capable of thinking and feeling, but only sometimes – otherwise, his mind seems to "waver, and glimmer" (7.15).
- Hepzibah introduces Phoebe to Clifford Pyncheon.
- Clifford keeps looking around the room as though he cannot believe that he is there.
- Finally Phoebe realizes that she is seeing the face of the man in Hepzibah's miniature portrait.
- She can see, now and again, the remnants of that sensitive spirit captured in the portrait.
- Clifford thinks that Hepzibah is angry with him.
- Poor Hepzibah's permanent scowl – the result of heavy eyebrows and nearsightedness – freaks him out.
- But Hepzibah feels nothing but love and pity for her brother.
- Clifford eats a lot very quickly.
- He also quaffs down a pot of coffee.
- Clifford is unable to believe that this pleasant life will last.
- Phoebe, noticing Clifford's pleasure in the beauties of the garden, quickly distracts him from dark thoughts by pointing out a new kind of rose.
- Clifford is excited and asks to hold the rose.
- After enjoying the beauty of the rose for a time, Clifford is distracted by the portrait of Colonel Pyncheon.
- He demands that Hepzibah take it down.
- She replies that it cannot be taken down.
- Clifford asks that she cover it with a red cloth.
- Clifford insists that "It must not stare [him] in the face!" (7.41).
- Clifford slowly seems to be tiring: he's not used to so much excitement.
- When he hears the shop bell, he is horrified by the ugly noise.
- Hepzibah explains that she has had to open a shop.
- Hepzibah asks if Clifford is ashamed of her.
- Clifford asks Hepzibah how he could possibly be ashamed of her when he has just spent the last 30 years in jail.
- Clifford bursts in to tears before asking, with an odd smile, "Are we so very poor, Hepzibah?" (7.54).
- Clifford then falls asleep in his chair.
- Hepzibah feels filled with grief and pity at the sight.
People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...