Hawthorne in Salem Search Hawthorne in Salem





Facebook Page
[Home]  

Excerpt from the final chapter of The House of the Seven Gables

Excerpt from the final chapter of The House of the Seven Gables

In the final chapter, "The Departure" Holgrave admits his new conservative leanings, a change of sensibility that surprises Phoebe and has prompted comment from many critics. Holgrave makes no further mention of an artistic or authorial vocation, suggesting that his newfound love and contentment have eased the alienation that aided his artistic pursuits.
Very soon after their change of fortune, Clifford, Hepzibah, and little Phoebe, with the approval of the artist, concluded to remove from the dismal old House of the Seven Gables, and take up their abode, for the present, at the elegant country-seat of the late Judge Pyncheon. Chanticleer and his family had already been transported thither, where the two hens had forthwith begun an indefatigable process of egg-laying, with an evident design, as a matter of duty and conscience, to continue their illustrious breed under better auspices than for a century past. On the day set for their departure, the principal personages of our story, including good Uncle Venner, were assembled in the parlor.

"The country-house is certainly a very fine one, so far as the plan goes," observed Holgrave, as the party were discussing their future arrangements. "But I wonder that the late judge--being so opulent, and with a reasonable prospect of transmitting his wealth to descendants of his own--should not have felt the propriety of embodying so excellent a piece of domestic architecture in stone, rather than in wood. Then, every generation of the family might have altered the interior, to suit its own taste and convenience; while the exterior, through the lapse of years, might have been adding venerableness to its original beauty, and thus giving that impression of permanence which I consider essential to the happiness of any one moment."

"Why," cried Phoebe, gazing into the artist's face with infinite amazement, "how wonderfully your ideas are changed! A house of stone, indeed! It is but two or three weeks ago, that you seemed to wish people to live in something as fragile and temporary as a bird's nest!"

"Ah, Phoebe, I told you how it would be!" said the artist, with a half-melancholy laugh. "You find me a conservative already! Little did I think ever to become one. It is especially unpardonable in this dwelling of so much hereditary misfortune, and under the eye of yonder portrait of a model conservative, who, in that very character, rendered himself so long the evil destiny of his race."




Page citation: http://www.hawthorneinsalem.org/page/11686/


About US Privacy Policy Copyright Credits Site Map Site Help