We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The House of the Seven Gables

The House of the Seven Gables


by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The House of the Seven Gables Chapter 9 Summary

Clifford and Phoebe

  • Hepzibah has spent her entire life patiently waiting to get her beloved brother back home again.
  • Now that he is out of prison, she does her best to make him feel warm and loved again.
  • She brings down his old books of poetry and fiction.
  • But Clifford doesn't seem to enjoy listening to Hepzibah read. Her voice is harsh, and her reading sounds like a lecture.
  • Worst of all, Clifford cannot seem to get over his distaste for her ugly appearance.
  • There is just something clumsy and distressing about Hepzibah.
  • So Hepzibah asks Phoebe to look after Clifford.
  • Phoebe becomes essential to the daily comfort of her two elderly housemates, especially Clifford.
  • She lifts his spirits with her singing and her bustling presence.
  • Clifford appears younger when she is nearby.
  • Clifford isn't sexually attracted to Phoebe, mind you. He just sees in her the kind of girl he might once have loved, before his life was ruined.
  • Phoebe is annoyed that she doesn't know the secret of Clifford's life before this.
  • But she is always kind and patient with him.
  • She helps Clifford avoid his dark spells of depression.
  • Even Phoebe can't be entirely unaware of the dark gloom of the House of the Seven Gables. She is growing more thoughtful and quieter than she was before.
  • Soon, Clifford, Hepzibah, and Phoebe fall into a daily routine. Hepzibah and Phoebe take turns looking after the shop and after Clifford.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...