Three Women in the House of the even Gables - Esther Dudley
Old Esther Dudley
Old Esther Dudley represents one type of female character that Hawthorne developed, an older woman who serves as a legacy and relic of the past. She is proud of her once aristocratic connections, eccentric in her behaviors, and gifted with what seem magical abilities to call forth the "presence" of those long gone. She has great affection for children, who do not mind her eccentricities, and often treats them to gingerbread. Old Esther refuses to leave the Province House when the British retreat during the American Revolution, sure that a Royal Governor will return.
She sees maintaining the Province House intact and ready for use as her historic charge. She remains faithful to this charge until her dying day, the day that John Hancock arrives to open the building for the new republic.
"He knew first hand about the cruel impoverishment of single women like his widowed mother and unmarried aunts and, later, his own sisters. His relationships with these women were positive on the whole. He learned of their abilities and respected their strengths." (Idol and Ponder)