"Practical Arrangement"

“Little Phoebe was one of those persons who possess, as their exclusive patrimony, the gift of practical arrangement. It is a kind of natural magic that enables these favored ones to bring out the hidden capabilities of things around them; and particularly to give a look of comfort and habitableness to any place which, for however brief a period, may happen to be their home. A wild hut of underbrush, tossed together by wayfarers through the primitive forest, would acquire the home aspect by one night’s lodging of such a woman, and would retain it long after her quiet figure had disappeared into the surrounding shade. No less a portion of such homely witchcraft was requisite to claim, as it were, Phoebe’s waste, cheerless, and dusky chamber, which had been untenanted so long- except by spiders and mice, and rats , and ghosts – that it was all overgrown with the desolation which watches to obliterate every trace of man’s happier hours. What was precisely Phoebe’s process we find it impossible to say. She appeared to have no preliminary design, but gave a touch here and another there; brought some articles of furniture to light and dragged others into the shadow; looped up or let down a window curtain; and, in the course of half an hour, had fully succeeded in throwing a kindly and hospitable smile over the apartment.”

“The House of the Seven Gables” by Nathanael Hawthorne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *