“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

3 responses to ““Practical Arrangement””

  1. rahraht Avatar
    rahraht

    I really enjoyed that book when I read it last – your quote has inspired me to pick it up again.Pheobe and I have similar decorating styles ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Anonymous Avatar
    Anonymous

    Ah hah!! Who has been sneaking around my house? Thank you for shedding good light on it…seeing as there were probably many other corners that didn’t look so inviting. That is the spot that remains most undisturbed as it is the spot that I straighten out before retiring at night so that is in readiness for me and my cup of coffee and quiet time first thing next morning. An added benefit to my “space” is the pair of robins that have chosen to build a home and nurture their young in one of Trina’s willow baskets that is on a shelf on our front porch. The art work in this corner has special significance ( as do the pieces of art in the rest of the house)– we have collected paintings over the years by artists that we know personally. The bottom right is an oil original by Walt Behrens,a friend of my father-in-law, who actually painted himself and dad into this picture of an African girl dancing–inspired from their tour of duty in Liberia, West Africa. The center painting is a watercolor by another friend of my father-in-law who we visited on the island of Corsica in 1994, Georges Quinos. The oil painting on the right is one my father-in-law acquired while serving as an advisor during the Vietnam War.I could go on about how I chose these paintings to be grouped together….or give you the titles of some of my favorite meditative book titles, etc.,but this should suffice for now. Thanks, mom

  3. Olivia Joy Avatar

    I recognize that corner ๐Ÿ˜‰

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