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House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 10

 

House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 10

 

 

It must not be supposed that Clifford took ali of Phoebc’s time. Clifford became tired easily. He went to bed early. Phoebc was therefore often free to do as she pleased. She took lorif walks in the fresh air.
 
She went shopping. She visited placcs ol interest in the town. It was a pleasant change for her to do these things. The House of the Seven Gables was not exactly the best place for a young girl to pass ali her time.
 
Phoebc wn happy in her present life, but she seemed at times less cheerl'ııl than when she had first arrived. Her eyes looked larger and deeper. She seemed, each day, less of a girl and more of ıı vvoman.
 
The only young person whom Phoebe ever saw was Mr. I lol grave, the photographer. In other circumstances thesc lwı> young people would probably have shown little interest in em li other.
 
But their daily life often brought them togetlıcı Mı Holgrave often went to the shop when Phoebe was there. Tlırv met almost every day in the garden.
 
They became good fricnıK Mr. Holgrave had told Phoebe something of his history. Ilııl stili Phoebe did not feel that she understood him. Young ııs lu* was, Holgrave had already had a full life. He was boru ol u poor family.
 
He had not passed much time in school yrl lı< himself had taught in a small country school in a country store, and as a writer.

 

on a slıip and vısiiol scvcral countrics in Europe. His present work, that ol ı phologıapher, was only a passing interest. He saki lıe plamıed İn eontinue it only until something better came along.
 
Y>‘t his ideas wcre so strange and different from Phoebe’s that slıe did not always feel comfortable with him. She was a simple country girl. She believed in everyone. She accepted things as tlıey were. Holgrave, on the other hand, questioned everytlıiııg. He looked at things coldly, calmly.
 
He wanted to knovv the reason for things being as they were. He was also ready to fight against anything, particularly things from the past, which he felt did not have a right to exist. He took a great interest in Clifford and Hepzibah, and in Phoebe. He studied them. He was ready to do whatever good he could for them.
 
But his interest, as always, seemed to come from the mind, not from his heart.
 
One day the conversation turned to Miss Hepzibah and the House of the Seven Gables. Phoebe asked him how he hap-pened to come to live in such an ugly old house.
 
“Oh, I am continuing my studies here not in books, how-ever,” he said. “This house is representative of the past with ali its bad influences. live here so that I may know better how to hate this past.”
 
“But why do you hate the past so?” asked Phoebe. “I don’t understand.”
 
“It seems to me,” said Holgrave, “that the past lies upon the present like some great dead body. We are servants to this past. Our legal cases are ali decided by the ideas of men who have died years ago. We read dead men’s books; we laugh at dead men’s stories. The dead, cold hand of the past, holding us back, is upon everything we try to do. I should also say that we live in dead men’s houses.”
 
“And why not?” asked Phoebe, “if we enjoy living in them?”
 
“No man should build a house for his descendants to live in,” Holgrave continued. “If each generation could build its ovvn houses, its own new public places, its own churches, that one change would be enough to make the world a better place to live in. Every twenty years or so we could then examine our different institutions"

 

we change. Colonel Pyncheon built t-his house with the hope that his family would live here generation after genera-tion. But what has happened? The family has known nothing but trouble. Its history is one of death, murder, want, and dis-grace. I suppose you know the story of Maule, the witch, and what happened between him and old Colonel Pyncheon at the very beginning.”
 
“Yes,” said Phoebe. “I heard it long ago from my father and two or three times from cousin Hepzibah since I have been here. She seems to think that ali the troubles of the family began with the fight between the two men.”
 
“The history of your family is something vvhich has inter-ested me greatly for a long time ever since I came to live in this house. In fact, I have written up a part of this history and hope to seli it as a short story.”
 
“Do you write for the magazines?” asked Phoebe.
 
“Is it possible you did not know?” said Holgrave laughing. “Yes, I have written several things which have appeared in some of the leading magazines. They teli me that I write rather well. But shall I read you my story? I happen to have it here with me.”
 
“If it is not too long,” said Phoebe, smiling. “And if it is in-teresting.”
 
Holgrave began to read.
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. Did Gifford take ali of Phoebe’s time?
 
2. What did Phoebe do with her free time?
 
3. How had Phoebe changed since she had been living in the House of the Seven Gables?
 
4. Who was the only young person that Phoebe ever saw?
 
5. What were some of the things that Phoebe had leamed about Mr. Holgrave’s life?
 
6. How were Phoebe and Mr. Holgrave different from each other?
 
7. What kind of interest did he come to take in Clifford and Hepzibah?
 
8. Why did Holgrave say that he was living in the House of the Seven Gables?