The House Of Seven Gables
Nathaniel Hawthorne


1. Hucksteress (p. 54) All such proofs of a ready mind and skillful handiwork were highly acceptable to the aristocratic hucksteress, so long as she could murmur to herself with a grim smile, and a half-natural sigh and a sentiment of mixed wonder, pity and growing affection. Feminine of huckster, someone who sells or advertises something in an aggressive, dishonest, or annoying way. (13th century)

2. Plebeianism (p. 55) It was a fair parallel between new Plebeianism and old Gentility. Plebian, a common person. Favoring the common person over the aristocratic gentility. (1533)

3. Eulogium (p. 56) Uncle Venner’s eulogium, if it appears rather too high-strained for the person and occasion, had, nevertheless, a sense in which it was both subtile and true. Modern eulogy, eulogium, Medieval Latin, from Greek eulogia praise; a commendatory oration, high praise, or writing especially in honor of one deceased . (15th century)

4. Lugubriously (p. 57) The old gentlewoman took a dreary and proud satisfaction in leading Phoebe from room to room of the house, and recounting the traditions with which, as we may say, the walls were lugubriously frescoed. Lugubriously, full of sadness or sorrow; very sad, especially in an exaggerated or insincere way. (1585)

5. Esculent (p. 60) The remainder of the garden presented a well-selected assortment of esculent vegetable, in a praiseworthy state of advancement. Esculent, edible (1626)

6. Tutelary (p. 61) They were a species of tutelary sprite or Banshee; although winged and feathered differently from most other guardian angels. Also The vapor of the broiled fish arose like incense from the shrine of a barbarian idol, while the fragrance of the Mocha might have gratified the nostrils of a tutelary Lar, or whatever power has scope over a modern breakfast table. (p. 69) Tutelary, having the guardianship of a person or a thing; of or relating to a guardian. (1611) Lar, tutelary god or spirit associated with Vesta and the Penates as a guardian of the household by the ancient Romans. (1586)

7. Porringer (p. 69) All this, with the quaint gorgeousness of the old china cups and saucer, and the crested spoons, and a silver cream jug (Hepzibah’s only other article of plate, and shaped like the rudest porringer), set out a board at which the stateliest of old Colonel Pyncheon’s guests need not have scorned to take his place. Porringer, a low usually metal bowl with a single and usually flat and pierced handle. (1522)

8. Damask (p. 71) At the first glance, Phoebe saw an elderly personage, in an old-fashioned dressing gown of faded damask, and wearing his gray or almost white hair of an unusual length. Damask, a thick usually shiny cloth that has patterns woven into it. (14th century)

9. Asperity (p. 73) Her tone, as she uttered the exclamation, has a plaintive and really exquisite melody thrilling through it, yet without subduing a certain something which an obtuse auditor might still have mistaken for asperity. Asperity, harshness of behavior or speech that expresses bitterness or anger. (13th century)

10. Meed (p. 74) To these heroic tempers, such martyrdom is the richest meed in the world’s gift. Meed, archaic, an earned reward or wage; a fitting return or recompense. (before the 12th century)

11. Sybarite (p. 74) Not to speak it harshly or scornfully, it seemed to Clifford’s nature to be a sybarite. Sybarite, voluptuary, a person whose chief interests are luxury and the gratification of sensual appetites ; sensualist, persistent or excessive pursuit of sensual pleasures and interests. (c. 1555)

12. Mien (p. 74) How could he—so yellow as she was, so wrinkled, so sad of mien, with that odd uncouthness of a turban on her head, and that most perverse of scowls contorting her brow—how could he love to gaze at her? Mien, air or bearing especially as expressive of attitude or personality. (1522)

13. Benignity (p. 80) A susceptible observer, at any rate, might have regarded it as affording very little evidence of the general benignity of soul whereof it purported to be the outward reflection. Benignity, of a gentle disposition, gracious; showing kindness and gentleness; favorable, wholesome; of a mild type or character that does not threaten health or life; having no significant effect. (14th century)

14. Chary (p. 82) A young girl—especially if she be a very pretty one—can never be too chary of her lips. Chary, cautious about doing something. (15th century)

15. Fifty-six (p. 83) Though looked upon as a weighty man among his contemporaries in respect of animal substance, and as favored with a remarkable degree of fundamental development, well adapting him for the judicial bench, we conceive that the modern Judge Pyncheon, if weighed in the same balance with his ancestor, would require at least an old-fashioned fifty-six to keep the scale in equilibrio. Fifty-six, a round, iron or lead ball weight 56 pounds (four stones) with a handle attacked that was swung and released in a sporting contest similar to throwing a hammer or tossing a caper. (19th century?)

16. Diurnal (p. 84) But, besides these cold, formal and empty words of the chisel that inscribes, the voice that speaks and the pen that writes, for the public eye and for distant time—and which inevitably lose much of their truth and freedom by the fatal consciousness of so doing—there were traditions about the ancestor, and private diurnal gossip about the Judge, remarkably accordant to their testimony. Diurnal, active mainly during the day; happening every day. (14th century)

17. Acerbity (p. 88) It was quite otherwise with Hepzibah; the Judge’s smile seemed to operate on her acerbity of heart like sunshine upon vinegar, making it ten times sourer than ever. Acerbity, the quality of be acerbic, acid—sharp, biting, or sour in manner, disposition, or nature—in temper, mood, or tone. (1572)

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