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Nathaniel Hawthorne's gripping psychological drama concerns the Pyncheon family, a dynasty founded on pious theft, who live for generations under a dead man's curse until their house is finally exorcised by love. Colonel Pyncheon does well in denouncing Old Matthew: he founds a New England dynasty and builds a remarkable mansion; but on its opening day he is found dead, slaked in his own blood. By 1840, that dynasty is almost spent; amid the dust and decay of the Seven Gables, Clifford and Hepzibah believe in their own continued nobility as much as they believe in the mysterious curse still tracking the Pyncheons.