The House of the Seven Gables (Chapter 6)

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Chapter 6 : Page 1 of 11

After an early tea, the little country-girl strayed into the garden.
The enclosure had formerly been very extensive, but was now contracted
within small compass, and hemmed about, partly by high wooden fences,
and partly by the outbuildings of houses that stood on another street.
In its centre was a grass-plat, surrounding a ruinous little structure,
which showed just enough of its original design to indicate that it had
once been a summer-house. A hop-vine, springing from last year's root,
was beginning to clamber over it, but would be long in covering the
roof with its green mantle. Three of the seven gables either fronted
or looked sideways, with a dark solemnity of aspect, down into the
garden.

The black, rich soil had fed itself with the decay of a long period of
time; such as fallen leaves, the petals of flowers, and the stalks and
seed--vessels of vagrant and lawless plants, more useful after their
death than ever while flaunting in the sun. The evil of these departed
years would naturally have sprung up again, in such rank weeds
(symbolic of the transmitted vices of society) as are always prone to
root themselves about human dwellings. Phoebe saw, however, that their
growth must have been checked by a degree of careful labor, bestowed
daily and systematically on the garden. The white double rosebush had
evidently been propped up anew against the house since the commencement
of the season; and a pear-tree and three damson-trees, which, except a
row of currant-bushes, constituted the only varieties of fruit, bore
marks of the recent amputation of several superfluous or defective
limbs.


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