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House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 6

House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 6


One afternoon Phoebe went into the garden. The garden looked as though no one had touched it for years. Flovvers grew everywhere but in almost a wild state. Yet, as Phoebe looked a little closer, she saw that someone had been vvorking there not too long ago. Certain flovver bushes here and there shovved that someone had begun to take care of them. Some vegetables vvere also beginning to grow in another section. Who could this person be? Certainly, it vvas not Hepzibah. She never left the house. She had no interest in the garden or in anything else in the outside vvorld.

Phoebe liked being in the garden. The air vvas fresh and pleasant. The birds sang prettily in the trees. There vvere even four or five chickens that lived in one of the far corners. They seemed to have lived there for many years. They almost seemed a part of the old House of the Seven Gables. Phoebe vvent back into the house to get them something to eat. On her vvay back to the garden she called to them, making a particular sound vvhich they seemed to understand. They came to her at once. One chicken began to eat out of her hand.

“That chicken seems to knovv you already,” said a voice behind Phoebe.

Phoebe, turning quickly around, vvas surprised to see a young man. He had come from the house to vvork in the garden.

“They have known me much longer than they have known you,” the young man continued. “But they never come to me. And almost every day I bring food to them. I am sure that your cousin Hepzibah will say that the chickens know you to be a Pyncheon.’"

“The truth is that I have learned to talk,with chickens,” said Phoebe.

“But these chickens, like everyone in the Pyncheon family, are aristocrats. They don’t talk with just anybody. They wouldn’t have anything to do with you if you vveren’t a Pyncheon. And you are a Pyncheon, aren’t you?”

“My name is Phoebe Pyncheon,” said Phoebe vvith politeness. She understood that the young man could be no other than Mr. Holgrave, about whom Miss Hepzibah had spoken to her. “I did not know that my cousin’s garden was under another per-son’s care.”

“I come here sometimes for an hour or two as a change from my work inside, 1 find the sun and the fresh air very pleasantVI am a photographer. Miss Hepzibah lets me have a room in one of the gables of the house. Perhaps sometime I can show you some of the pictures which I take.”

“I don’t much like pictures,” said Phoebe. “Usually they make people look so hard and unpleasant.”

“That is because the people themselves are often that way. The sun and the light bring out the real character of the person— not the character that the person tries to show to the world.” “That may be. Yet my cousin Hepzibah showed me a small picture this morning. I am sure that no sun or light could pos-sibly make such a face hard or unpleasant.”

“You have seen that picture, then?” cried Holgrave with great interest. “I never did—but I am very curious to see it. Did you like the face?”

“There never vvas a more pleasant face. It is almost too soft and gentle for a man.”

“But is there nothing vvild in the eye? Nothing dark or un-usual in the expression? The man vvas a murderer—or so they say.”

“That is foolish. You must be speaking of another person. Why don’t you ask Miss Hepzibah to shovv you the picture?”

“Perhaps I prefer to wait and see the person himself. But let’s talk about something more pleasant. I have an idea. I am not very good at taking care of flovvers. Why don’t you take over the care of the flowers? Corning fresh from the country air, you vvill soon feel the need for some such work outside. I vvill take care of the vegetables. Ali the vegetables vvhich I grow I vvill give to you and Hepzibah for your table. In that vvay vve can both vvork in the garden.”

Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review

A.    1. Hovv did Phoebe knovv that someone had been vvorking in

the garden?

2.    Why did Phoebe like being in the garden?

3.    What vvas there in one of the corners of the garden?

4.    Why did Phoebe go back into the house?

5.    What did one chicken begin to do?

6.    Who had come to vvork in the garden?

7.    Why did he say that the chickens seemed to knovv Phoebe?

8.    Why did Holgrave come to vvork in the garden?

9.    Why didn’t Phoebe like pictures very much?

10.    What picture vvas Holgrave curious to see?

11.    What did he say about the man in the picture?

12.    Why did he suggest that Phoebe take care of the flovvers?

13.    What did he suggest that he vvould take care of?

B.    Use the follovving vvords and expressions in sentences of your
taking care of on her vvay back tuming around
take over at once particular


Phoebe did not ansvver. Instead, rather to her ovvn surprise, she began to vvork in one of the flovver beds. Holgrave vvent over to vvhere the vegetables vvere grovving. He began to vvork there.

ous in his manner. He also attracted her in a vvay vvhich made her almost afraid of him.

The sun began to go dovvn. Holgrave started back tovvard the house. He stopped near Phoebe and said:

“Someday, if you put one of those flovvers in your hair and come to my shop on Central Street, I vvill take a picture of the flovver and its vvearer. By the vvay, be careful not to drink in Maule’s vvell. Don’t drink there or put the vvater to your face.” “Maule’s vvell?” asked Phoebe. “Is that it over there? I have never thought of drinking there. But vvhy not?”

“Oh,” said the photographer, laughing. “The vvater has been tumed bad by some old vvitch.”

Then he left. Phoebe remained in the garden a few minutes longer. Soon she savv a light go on in one of the gables vvhere Holgrave had his room. She herself then vvent into the house. The sun had novv gone dovvn completely. It vvas very dark inside. Hepzibah vvas sitting in a far comer of the living room.

“Shall I light a lamp, Cousin Hepzibah?” asked Phoebe. “Do, if you please. But put it on the table in the hail,” said Hepzibah. “My eyes are poor, and the light bothers them at times.”

Hepzibah’s voice sounded a little strange to Phoebe. Phoebe vvent into the hail. She thought she heard Hepzibah speak to her again. She called back, but Hepzibah did not ansvver. After she had lighted the lamp, Phoebe vvent back to the living room. “Cousin, did you speak to me just novv?” Phoebe asked.

“No, child,” ansvvered Hepzibah.

Hepzibah’s voice stili sounded strange. Phoebe sat dovvn. She did not speak. There vvas deep silence in the room. The room vvas so dark that Phoebe could not see clearly. Yet for some reason she had the feeling that there vvas another person present in the room.

“My dear Cousin,” she said at last, “is there not someone in the room vvith us?”

“Phoebe, my dear child,” said Hepzibah after a moment. “You have had a long, hard day. You must be tired. Please go to bed. I vvill sit here a little longer. It has been my custom to do this for more years than you have lived.”