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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 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.

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