The House of Seven Gables Author:Nathaniel Hawthorne Among the Puritan ancestors of the sensitive and guilt-persecuted Hawthorne was a judge -- John Hawthorne -- who participated in the infamous witchcraft trials of Salem. This John Hawthorne was probably the original of the cruel Colonel Pyncheon, builder of the House of Seven Gables, upon whose head old Matthew Maule, about to be hanged, uttere... more »d the curse that was to haunt the old house and its inhabitants for generations.
The climax of this powerful and darkly tragic novel comes when Judge Pyncheon, wealthy and hypocritical cousin of Miss Hepzibah Pyncheon and her brother Clifford, attempts to have Clifford declared insane. In a conclusion of great depth -- and containing some of Hawthorne's best writing -- the judge's hand is stayed by death and his wealth reverts to his intended victims. When the Pyncheons' country cousin Phoebe marries the lodger Holgrave -- old Maule's descendant -- the ancient curse is broken and peace descends on the House of Seven Gables.« less