22 February 2012

Dawn Kissed her Brow

Phoebe slept, on the night of her arrival, in a chamber that looked down on the garden of the old house. It fronted towards the east, so that at a very seasonable hour a glow of crimson light came flooding through the window, and bathed the dingy ceiling and paper-hangings in its own hue.

There were curtains to Phoebe's bed; a dark, antique canopy, and ponderous festoons of a stuff which had been rich, and even magnificent, in its time; but which now brooded over the girl like a cloud, making a night in that one corner, while elsewhere it was beginning to be day.

The morning light, however, soon stole into the aperture at the foot of the bed, betwixt those faded curtains. Finding the new guest there,—with a bloom on her cheeks like the morning's own, and a gentle stir of departing slumber in her limbs, as when an early breeze moves the foliage,—the dawn kissed her brow. It was the caress which a dewy maiden—such as the Dawn is, immortally—gives to her sleeping sister, partly from the impulse of irresistible fondness, and partly as a pretty hint that it is time now to unclose her eyes.

Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables

Painting: Jean Francois Millet, Sleeping Nude (1844)


  1. The House of the Seven Gables is definitely a masterpiece.

  2. This is one of those books that I have always read about - but never read. Your excerpt has pushed me to buy the book and read. Thanks

  3. Thanks for visiting Pierotucci. Hawthorne has a way of running with extended metaphors that you don't see very often. I hope you enjoy the book. The Seven Gables is one of the best novels I've read. But take that with a grain of salt, I'm biased.


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