Monday, May 8, 2023

the last book I ever read (The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne, excerpt six)

from The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne

After arranging matters to her satisfaction, Phoebe emerged from her chamber, with a purpose to descend again into the garden. Besides the rose-bush, she had observed several other species of flowers, growing there in a wilderness of neglect, and obstructing one another’s developement (as is often the parallel case in human society) by their uneducated entanglement and confusion. At the head of the stairs, however, she met Hepzibah, who, it being still early, invited her into a room which she would probably have called her boudoir, had her education embraced any such French phrase. It was strewn about with a few old books, and a work-basket, and a dusty writing-desk, and had, on one side, a large, black article of furniture, of very strange appearance, which the old gentle woman told Phoebe was a harpsichord. It looked more like a coffin than anything else; and, indeed—not having been played upon, or opened, for years—there must have been a vast deal of dead music in it, stifled for want of air. Human finger was hardly known to have touched its chords, since the days of Alice Pyncheon, who had learned the sweet accomplishment of melody, in Europe.

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