The House of the Seven Gables

by

Nathaniel Hawthorne

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Judge Pyncheon (Cousin Jaffrey) Character Analysis

Judge Pyncheon is Hepzibah and Clifford’s cousin and a nephew of Uncle Jaffrey. (In fact, his first name is also Jaffrey, but he is generally referred to as “the Judge” so as not to confuse him with his uncle.) The House of the Seven Gables and most of Jaffrey’s other riches are passed onto the Judge after Jaffrey’s death. Following a wild youth, the Judge studied law and entered politics, establishing himself as a respectable citizen with an impeccable reputation. He lives on a country estate a few miles outside of town. Judge Pyncheon has a famously jovial exterior—but inside, he’s as cold and hard as his ancestor, Colonel Pyncheon, whom he uncannily resembles. Judge Pyncheon was responsible for Uncle Jaffrey’s death, but he lets Clifford take the fall for it and deeply suppresses this fact in his conscience. Hepzibah always suspects the Judge, calling him “the horror of [her] life,” refusing his monetary support, and barring him from access to Clifford as best she can. The Judge is obsessed with his status, his political aspirations (his friends are poised to hand him the governorship), and adding to his wealth. After Clifford is released from jail, Judge Pyncheon threatens him with commitment to an asylum if he does not reveal the whereabouts of Jaffrey’s remaining wealth. Shortly thereafter, he suddenly and mysteriously dies, and his wealth and property passes to Clifford, Hepzibah, and Phoebe.

Judge Pyncheon (Cousin Jaffrey) Quotes in The House of the Seven Gables

The The House of the Seven Gables quotes below are all either spoken by Judge Pyncheon (Cousin Jaffrey) or refer to Judge Pyncheon (Cousin Jaffrey). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Wrongdoing, Guilt, and Retribution Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Thrift Editions edition of The House of the Seven Gables published in 1999.
Chapter 6 Quotes

"l can assure you that this is a modern face, and one which you will very probably meet. Now, the remarkable point is, that the original wears, to the world's eye—and, for aught I know, to his most intimate friends—an exceedingly pleasant countenance, indicative of benevolence, openness of heart, sunny good humor, and other praiseworthy qualities of that cast. The sun, as you see, tells quite another story, and will not be coaxed out of it, after half a dozen patient attempts on my part. Here we have the man, sly, subtle, hard, imperious, and, withal, cold as ice. […] And yet, if you could only see the benign smile of the original! It is so much the more unfortunate, as he is a public character of some eminence, and the likeness was intended to be engraved."

Related Symbols: Portrait and Daguerreotype
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

Then, all at once, it struck Phoebe that this very Judge Pyncheon was the original of the miniature which the daguerreotypist had shown her in the garden, and that the hard, stern, relentless look now on his face was the same that the sun had so inflexibly persisted in bringing out. Was it, therefore, no momentary mood, but, however skillfully concealed, the settled temper of his life? And not merely so, but was it hereditary in him, and transmitted down, as a precious heirloom, from that bearded ancestor […] as by a kind of prophecy? […] It implied that the weaknesses and defects […] and the moral diseases which lead to crime are handed down from one generation to another, by a far surer process of transmission than human law has been able to establish[.]

Related Symbols: Portrait and Daguerreotype
Page Number: 82
Explanation and Analysis:

[B]esides these cold, formal, and empty words of the chisel that inscribes, the voice that speaks, and the pen that writes, for the public eye […] there were traditions about the ancestor, and private diurnal gossip about the Judge, remarkably accordant in their testimony. It is often instructive to take the woman's, the private and domestic, view of a public man; nor can anything be more curious than the vast discrepancy between portraits intended for engraving and the pencil sketches that pass from hand to hand behind the original's back.

Related Symbols: Portrait and Daguerreotype
Page Number: 84
Explanation and Analysis:

Phoebe […] perplexed herself, meanwhile, with queries as to […] whether judges, clergymen, and other characters of that eminent stamp and respectability could really, in any single instance, be otherwise than just and upright men. A doubt of this nature has a most disturbing influence, and, if shown to be a fact, comes with fearful and startling effect on minds of the trim, orderly, and limit-loving class, in which we find our little country girl. […] A wider scope of view, and a deeper insight, may see rank, dignity, and station all proved illusory so far as regards their claim to human reverence, and yet not feel as if the universe were thereby tumbled headlong into chaos. But Phoebe, in order to keep the universe in its old place, was fain to smother, in some degree, her own intuitions as to Judge Pyncheon's character.

Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

By the involuntarily effect of a genial temperament, Phoebe soon grew to be absolutely essential to the daily comfort, if not the daily life, of her two forlorn companions. The grime and sordidness of the House of the Seven Gables seemed to have vanished since her appearance there; the gnawing tooth of the dry rot was stayed among the old timbers of its skeleton frame; the dust had ceased to settle down so densely, from the antique ceilings, upon the floors and furniture of the rooms below—or, at any rate, there was a little housewife, as light-footed as the breeze that sweeps a garden walk, gliding hither and thither to brush it all away.

Related Symbols: House
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

Clifford would, doubtless, have been glad to share their sports. One afternoon, he was seized with an irresistible desire to blow soap bubbles; an amusement, as Hepzibah told Phoebe apart, that had been a favorite one with her brother when they were both children. Behold him, therefore, at the arched window, with an earthen pipe in his mouth! Behold him, with his gray hair, and a wan, unreal smile over his countenance, […] Behold him, scattering airy spheres abroad, from the window into the street! Little impalpable worlds were those soap bubbles, with the big world depicted, in hues bright as imagination, on the nothing of their surface.

Related Symbols: House
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

[U]nder those seven gables, at which we now look up—and which old Colonel Pyncheon meant to be the house of his descendants, in prosperity and happiness, down to an epoch far beyond the present—under that roof, through a portion of three centuries, there has been perpetual remorse of conscience, a constantly defeated hope, strife amongst kindred, various misery, a strange form of death, dark suspicion, unspeakable disgrace—all or most of which calamity I have the means of tracing to the old Puritan's inordinate desire to plant and endow a family. To plant a family! This idea is at the bottom of most of the wrong and mischief which men do. The truth is, that, once in every half century, at longest, a family should be merged into the great, obscure mass of humanity, and forget all about its ancestors.

Related Symbols: House
Page Number: 128
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

The Judge, beyond all question, was a man of eminent respectability. The church acknowledged it; the state acknowledged it. It was denied by nobody. […] Nor […] did Judge Pyncheon himself, probably, entertain many or very frequent doubts that his enviable reputation accorded with his deserts. His conscience, therefore […] bore an accordant testimony with the world's laudatory voice.

Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:

Men of strong minds, great force of character, and a hard texture of the sensibilities are very capable of falling into mistakes of this kind. They are ordinarily men to whom forms are of paramount importance. Their field of action lies among the external phenomena of life. They possess vast ability in grasping, and arranging, and appropriating to themselves the big, heavy, solid unrealities, such as gold, landed estate, offices of trust and emolument, and public honors. With these materials, and with deeds of goodly aspect, done in the public eye, an individual of this class builds up, as it were, a tall and stately edifice, which, in the view of other people, and ultimately in his own view, is no other than the man's character, or the man himself. Behold, therefore, a palace!

Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

At last, therefore, and after so long estrangement from everything that the world acted or enjoyed, they had been drawn into the great current of human life, and were swept away with it, as by the suction of fate itself.

Still haunted with the idea that not one of the past incidents, inclusive of Judge Pyncheon’s visit, could be real, the recluse of the Seven Gables murmured in her brother's ear: "Clifford! Clifford! Is not this a dream?"

"A dream, Hepzibah!" repeated he, almost laughing in her face. "On the contrary, I have never been awake before!"

Related Characters: Hepzibah Pyncheon (speaker), Clifford Pyncheon (speaker), Judge Pyncheon (Cousin Jaffrey)
Related Symbols: House
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

And it was in this hour, so full of doubt and awe, that the one miracle was wrought without which every human existence is a blank. The bliss which makes all things true, beautiful, and holy shone around this youth and maiden. They were conscious of nothing sad nor old. They transfigured the earth, and made it Eden again, and themselves the two first dwellers in it. The dead man, so close beside them, was forgotten. At such a crisis, there is no death; for immortality is revealed anew, and embraces everything in its hallowed atmosphere.

Related Symbols: House
Page Number: 215
Explanation and Analysis:
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Judge Pyncheon (Cousin Jaffrey) Character Timeline in The House of the Seven Gables

The timeline below shows where the character Judge Pyncheon (Cousin Jaffrey) appears in The House of the Seven Gables. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: The Old Pyncheon Family
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...property, including the House of the Seven Gables, passes into the hands of his nephew, Judge Pyncheon, a cousin of the alleged murderer. This nephew led a dissipated youth and then... (full context)
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There are very few Pyncheons left. The Judge is known to have one son, who is currently traveling in Europe. Besides the imprisoned... (full context)
Chapter 4: A Day Behind the Counter
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...cookie of the day, the man has gone. Hepzibah mutters, “Take it as you like, Cousin Jaffrey !” (full context)
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...Colonel Pyncheon’s portrait. She trembles, imagining that the Colonel’s hard expression reveals the truth of Cousin Jaffrey ’s character, too. She also calls to mind the softer, more sensitive expression on the... (full context)
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...retire to the farm—what others call the workhouse—in a few years. Uncle Venner mentions seeing Judge Pyncheon on the street and wonders why he doesn’t provide for Hepzibah; Hepzibah says it... (full context)
Chapter 6: Maule’s Well
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...seeing the face of Colonel Pyncheon. Holgrave tells her that it’s actually a modern face, Judge Pyncheon’s—one which shows good humor in public, but whose photographed expression reflects the Colonel’s cold,... (full context)
Chapter 8: The Pyncheon of Today
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...bowing and smiling. When he realizes that Phoebe is a relative, he introduces himself as Judge Pyncheon. When he leans forward to offer a kiss of greeting, Phoebe instinctively draws back,... (full context)
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Phoebe realizes that Judge Pyncheon is the subject of the miniature daguerreotype which Holgrave had shown her yesterday. She... (full context)
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When Phoebe looks again, however, Judge Pyncheon has resumed his sunny, benevolent mood. Phoebe stays reserved, unable to shake the feeling... (full context)
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Judge Pyncheon’s reputation is as good as his venerable ancestor’s, but public testimony isn’t always as... (full context)
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...sometimes be heard gurgling in Pyncheon throats—so when she hears an odd noise in the Judge’s throat, she startles. Judge Pyncheon supposes that her fear is because of the arrival of... (full context)
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When Phoebe tries to stop Judge Pyncheon from entering the house unannounced, he sets her aside, reminding her that she is... (full context)
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After the Judge leaves, Hepzibah rests her head on Phoebe’s shoulder, calling the Judge “the horror of [her]... (full context)
Chapter 11: The Arched Window
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...the window blowing soap-bubbles as he’d once loved doing. Many people stop to watch, including Judge Pyncheon, who happens to be passing by. He sarcastically says, “Aha, Cousin Clifford! […] Still... (full context)
Chapter 12: The Daguerreotypist
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...adds that Colonel Pyncheon appears to have “perpetuated himself” in the subject of Holgrave’s daguerreotype, Judge Pyncheon. Phoebe is startled by Holgrave’s passion. He admits that the topic has seized him... (full context)
Chapter 14: Phoebe’s Good-by
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...actually know what will befall her family. He does, however, have a morbid suspicion of Judge Pyncheon. He hears Maule’s well murmuring strangely. (full context)
Chapter 15: The Scowl and Smile
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...is heard—as well as a gurgling sound. Hepzibah, scowling, goes to the shop and finds Judge Pyncheon, as she’d expected. (full context)
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Judge Pyncheon asks after Clifford while smiling brightly. He suggests that company would do Clifford good.... (full context)
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The Judge is an eminent figure in his community, as everybody acknowledges. In fact, even the Judge... (full context)
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There is enough “splendid rubbish” in the Judge’s life to deceive his own conscience. He is a good judge, public servant, and philanthropist,... (full context)
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Even if, in his long-ago youth, the Judge had committed a single wrong act—or perhaps other ones here and there throughout his life—can... (full context)
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...is shocked at having said what she has been thinking for 30 years. Hearing it, Judge Pyncheon’s mild expression turns dark and stern, looking for all the world like Colonel Pyncheon.... (full context)
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Hepzibah mocks such an idea, but the Judge insists that before Jaffrey’s death, Clifford taunted him with the claim of secret knowledge of... (full context)
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Hepzibah tries to reason with Judge Pyncheon. He is old and already possesses great wealth—what more could he need? With his... (full context)
Chapter 16: Clifford’s Chamber
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...one catastrophe after another, and she has the foreboding sense that she, Clifford, and the Judge are about to add to it. She pauses by the arched window and watches life... (full context)
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Hepzibah believes that the coming encounter between the Judge and Clifford will lead to the latter’s ruin, due to his delicate nature. Men with... (full context)
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...around her. Yet if she cried for help, people would run to help the stronger party—Judge Pyncheon has a magnetic attraction, causing even Hepzibah to momentarily question her doubts about his... (full context)
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...of the daguerreotypes lying on the table, and “fate [stares] her in the face”: it’s Judge Pyncheon. Hepzibah has never felt more alone. She tries to pray but fears she is... (full context)
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...to end his misery by jumping into the sea. She runs downstairs, calling to the Judge for help. But when she enters the darkened parlor, she finds the Judge sitting in... (full context)
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...laugh […] The weight is gone, Hepzibah!” Hepzibah pushes past him and looks at the Judge, then gives a cry of horror. “What is to become of us?” she asks. (full context)
Chapter 18: Governor Pyncheon
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Judge Pyncheon, meanwhile, still sits in the House of the Seven Gables. He hasn’t moved for... (full context)
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After interviewing Clifford, the Judge was to have met with a broker and then attended a real estate auction, at... (full context)
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...growing in the parlor by now. The only distinct sight is the whiteness of the Judge’s face, the only sound the ticking of his watch. Then, the house begins to creak... (full context)
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...a carpenter, pointing and laughing inaudibly. Two other figures join the crowd—it appears to be Judge Pyncheon and his only son! How could this be? If it’s true that both are... (full context)
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...mere fantasy, not a part of the actual story. The moonbeams, the wind, and the Judge’s immovable figure have prompted these fancies. A strange cat stares unnervingly in the window. (full context)
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The Judge’s watch has at last stopped ticking. Morning is breaking. Will the Judge finally stir and... (full context)
Chapter 19: Alice’s Posies
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...the house, but of course he doesn’t believe in ghosts. Uncle Venner mentions having seen Judge Pyncheon enter the house yesterday, and he encourages Holgrave to pick one of Alice’s Posies... (full context)
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...to the shop. Another neighbor tells her that she thinks the Pyncheons traveled to the Judge’s estate in the country yesterday; she saw them leaving. A bit later, Ned Higgins stops... (full context)
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...plays through his cycle of songs, not knowing that his only audience is the dead Judge. The narrator remarks that this is “the emblem of many a human heart.” (full context)
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...lurk in the House, Dixey and his companion happen by once again and discover that Judge Pyncheon’s card, with yesterday’s schedule written on it, had been dropped on the doorstep. Suspecting... (full context)
Chapter 20: The Flower of Eden
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...with a terrible thing that has happened. He shows her a daguerreotype of the dead Judge Pyncheon, which he has just finished taking. Upon discovering the body and the missing Pyncheons... (full context)
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...that the Pyncheons had a tendency to die of a strange medical complaint around the Judge’s age (indeed, perhaps Matthew Maule knew of this when he pronounced his curse). This death... (full context)
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...share. He tells Phoebe how horrified he felt before her arrival—the sight of the dead Judge, with the atmosphere of guilt and retribution, stole his youth. But when Phoebe entered, she... (full context)
Chapter 21: The Departure
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Judge Pyncheon’s sudden death creates a sensation. Yet, as is the case with most people, the... (full context)
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The newly circulating story claims that the youthful Judge Pyncheon was an “irreclaimable scapegrace” of lowly character. One night, the future Judge had searched... (full context)
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About a week after the Judge’s death, news of his son’s death of cholera reaches them. That means that the entire... (full context)
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After the Judge’s death, however, Clifford is able to be happy. He, Hepzibah, and Phoebe decide to move... (full context)