What is vicissitude? (From Hawthorne's The House of Seven Gables)
Vicissitude is a natural change or mutation visible in nature or in human affairs.
The aspect of the venerable mansion has always affected me like a human countenance, bearing the traces not merely of outward storm and sunshine, but expressive also, of the long lapse of mortal life, and accompanying vicissitudes that have passed within.
From Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of Seven Gables