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The complete works of Nathaniel Hawthorne (v. 3)

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Pages: 368

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Nathaniel Hawthorne

Excerpt from book: THE HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES. THE OLD PYNCHEON FAMILY. Half-way down a by-street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst. The street is Pyncheon Street: the house is the old Pyncheon House: and an elm-tree, of wide circumference, rooted before the door, is familiar to every town-born child by the title of the Pyncheon Elm. On my occasional visits to the town aforesaid, I seldom failed to turn down Pyncheon Street, for the sake of passing through the shadow of these two antiquities, — the great elm-tree and the weather-beaten edifice. The aspect of the venerable mansion has always affected me like a human countenance, bearing the traces not merely of outward storm and sunshine, but expressive, also, of the long lapse of mortal life, and accompanying vicissitudes that have passed within. Were these to be worthily recounted, they would form a narrative of no small interest and instruction, and possessing, moreover, a certain remarkable unity, Vol. m. 2 which might almost seem the result of artistic arrange, ment. But the story would include a chain of events extending over the better part of two centuries, and, written out with reasonable amplitude, would fill a bigger folio volume, or a longer series of duodecimos, than could prudently be appropriated to the annals of all New England during a similar period. It eonse queutly becomes imperative to make short work with most of the traditionary lore of which the old Pyn- cheon House, otherwise known as the House of the Seven Gables, has been the theme. With a brief sketch, therefore, of the circumstances amid which the foundation of the house was laid, and a rapid glimpse at ...  


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