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Three Women in the House of The Seven Gables:Phoebe

Three Women in The House of the Seven Gables: Phoebe

Picture of chicken yard from <I>House of the Seven Gables</I>
Picture of chicken yard from House of the Seven Gables (courtesy of Dr. John L. Idol, Jr.)
Phoebe, Hepzibah's young cousin from the country, offers contrasts to Hepzibah. Hepzibah is timid, reclusive, uncomfortable with shoppers at the Cente Shoppe, and fixed with a perpetually sour expression. Phoebe, on the other hand, is curious, socially at ease, charmed by the shoppers, and in the bloom of youth. However, the two form a close relationship as Hepzibah provides a home for Phoebe and Phoebe provides companionship to Hepzibah and cheerfully takes over the shop-keeping duties. Together they care for the tired, much maligned Clifford Pyncheon who has just spent 30 years in jail falsely accused for the murder of his uncle. Phoebe Pyncheon's uplifting spirit transforms the dreary Seven Gables, the forlorn Clifford, the wasted Hepzibah, and the bitter Holgrave. Scenes from the following eight chapters capture her spirit and growth: 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 14, 19, and 20.
  • In Chapter 4 - "A Day Behind the Counter," Phoebe arrives, expecting in her country innocence to be welcomed as family at Seven Gables -- whose "sordid and ugly luxuriance" contrasts her fresh wholesomeness. Full text of Chapter 4-"A Day Behind the Counter"

  • Illustration by Helen Mason Grose of Phoebe in <I>The House of the Seven Gables</I> from the 1924 edition published by Houghton Mifflin
    Illustration by Helen Mason Grose of Phoebe in The House of the Seven Gables from the 1924 edition published by Houghton Mifflin (with special thanks to Dr. John L. Idol Jr.)
  • In Chapter 5 - "May and November," Phoebe begins to transform the dreary house into a place of light, Hepzibah into a person taking an interest in her surroundings, and the Cente Shoppe into a thriving business. Full text of Chapter 5-"May and November"
  • In Chapter 6 - "Maule's Well," Phoebe begins to restore the garden as she unconsciously begins to mend Holgrave's heart. Full text of Chapter 6-"Maule's Well"

  • In Chapter 7 - "The Guest," Phoebe works with Hepzibah on the occasion of Clifford's return after a 30-year absence in prison, to prepare him a feast for his first full meal in freedom. In the garden Phoebe becomes acquainted with Chanticleer, the rooster, a symbol of the decline of the Pyncheon former stature. (Full text of chapter 7 - "The Guest"
  • In chapter 9 - "Clifford and Phoebe," Phoebe's genial temperament brightens the gloomy house and infects Hepzibah and Clifford with glimpses of sweetness and joy. (Full text of chapter 9 - "The Guest"

  • Kitchen fireplace
    Kitchen fireplace (courtesy of The House of the Seven Gables Historic Site)
  • In chapter 14 - "Phoebe's Goodbye," Phoebe comes under Holgrave's spell, and the artist resists the temptation to control her spirit. Therefore, Phoebe, unlike Alice, remains free to choose to love him. She departs from the house wiser and more thoughtful than when she came. She promises Uncle Venner to return. (Full text of chapter 14 - "Phoebe's Goodbye"

  • In chapter 19 - "Alice's Posies," Phoebe returns to what appears to be a deserted house that hides an awful secret. (Full text of chapter 19 - "Alice's Posies"

  • In chapter 20 - "The Flower of Eden," Phoebe returns to Seven Gables, anxiously needing to learn what has befallen Clifford and Hepzibah. She finds a haven in Holgrave's embrace. The young couple declare their love for each other. (Full text of chapter 19 - "Alice's Posies"

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