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Excerpt from Chapter 1 of The House of the Seven Gables that describes the mirror that hangs in the house

We have already hinted that it is not our purpose to trace down the history of the Pyncheon family, in its unbroken connection with the House of the seven Gables; nor to show, as in a magic picture, how the rustiness and infirmity of age gathered over the venerable house itself. As regards its interior life, a large, dim looking glass used to hang in one of its rooms, and was fabled to contain within its depths all the shapes that had ever been reflected there-the old Colonel himself, and his many descendants, some in the garb of antique babyhood, and others in the bloom of feminine beauty or manly prime, or saddened with the wrinkles of frosty age. Had we the secret of that mirror, we would gladly sit down before it, and transfer its revelations to our page. But there was a story, for which it is difficult to conceive any foundation, hat the posterity of Matthew Maule had some connection with the mystery of the looking glass, and that, by what appears to have been a sort of mesmeric process, they could make its inner region all alive with the departed Pyncheons; not as they had shown themselves to the world nor in their better and happier hours, but as doing over again some deed of sin, or in the crisis of life's bitterest sorrow.



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