The House of the Seven Gables
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Hepzibah listens to men outside her shop, who talk about how she scowls dreadfully and dismiss the idea of a cent-shop. Her next customer is a young urchin on his way to school who buys a bit of stale gingerbread. When she refuses to charge him, he stares at her with amazement at her kindness. When he buys a second one, he pays Hepzibah her first copper coin, a single cent that, to Hepzibah, demolishes the structure of her ancient aristocracy. Customers gradually come to Hepzibah's shop, often criticizing her for lacking certain wares. This led her to disagreeable conclusions about the temper and manners of the lower classes, but also to a bitter emotion toward the idle aristocracy.