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Word Count: 641
When the prominent Colonel Pyncheon is found dead during a housewarming party at his new mansion the official cause of death is given as a stroke The townspeople suspect something different Colonel Pyncheon acquired the land for his new homestead only after its owner a poor man named Matthew Maule was hanged during the Salem witchhunts in 1692 for allegedly practicing witchcraft Until the end the innocent man suspected Colonel Pyncheon of encouraging the persecution in order to obtain the Maule property With the hangmans noose around his neck Maule cursed the Colonel The townspeople remembered the words of the wizard God will give him blood to drink For some one hundred and sixty years a long line of Pyncheons struggle to settle their claim to a vast territory in Maine and to preserve their dynasty against as long a line of Maules suspected of inheriting the wizards powers The Pyncheons real struggle though is against the sins of their forebears- sins that hang over them like the portrait of their ancestor the Colonel The Pyncheons are hobbled by a pride that isolates them from the world They are undone by a greed that leads to the mysterious sacrifice of a beautiful young woman Alice Pyncheon and the framing of young Clifford Pyncheon for murder The house of the seven gables which stands on the site once owned by the Maules is inhabited by an aging spinster Hepzibah Pyncheon Weatherbeaten and crumbling the house has lost all its former grandeur and presents a dismal appearance Seventeen-year-old Phoebe Pyncheon who comes from the country to live in the house of the seven gables is like a ray of sunshine flooding a dark corner The pretty young woman shares the house with her two elderly cousins and a boarder the young artist Holgrave Her cousin Hepzibah has recently been forced to abandon her delusions of aristocracy and open a shop to keep from starving Hepzibahs
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