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House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 12

 

House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 12

 

Chapter 12
 
PART I
 
When Phoebe had first come to the House of the Seven Gables she had not been sure whether she was going to remain or not. Now it was to be her home. She therefore decided to visit her mother for a few days. She also wanted to bring back with her certain things she had left behind. Without Phoebe, the House of the Seven Gables now seemed a very different place.
 
The weather happened to be bad during these few days. The sky was dark. The house once rnore had the sad air it had before Phoebe arrived. Clifford was cut off from ali the little things he enjoyed so much. With Phoebe away, he drew more and rnore within himself. Hepzibah too seemed more serious in man-ner.
 
She tried to help Clifford pass the long hours but with poor success. She could do little more than sit silently in a corner of the room and watch over him. He sat as usual in his chair in the living room, dreaming and falling awav into sleep. On the fifth day he remained in bed and did not even come downstairs.
 
Later in the morning Hepzibah heard the sound of a piano. Could this be Clifford playing upon the old piano of Alice Pyncheon? The piano had not been touched for years except that it was thought that Alice returned to play whenever there was a death in the house. Clifford had studied music as a young man. But could he stili play and was the piano stili able to give out sound and music? The shop beli sounded at that
 
moment, and the music 'stopped suddenly. Hepzibah started at once toward the shop. Someone had already come in. The person made a strange, coughing sound in his throat. Hepzibah knew this sound well. A little frightened, she ran into the shop. As she had feared, Judge Pyncheon was waiting there for her.
 
“How do you do, Cousin Hepzibah,” he said in his most pleasant manner. “And how does Clifford feel in this bad weather? I could not rest without calling to ask, once more, if I can’t help him in some way.”
 
“You can do nothing,” said Hepzibah. “I do everything that is necessary for Clifford. He is very comfortable here.”
 
“But let me say, dear Cousin,” said the judge, “that I think you are making a great mistake in keeping him so much alone. He has already passed too much of his life alone. He should go out more and meet people. May I speak with him?”
 
“You cannot speak with him,” said Hepzibah. “He has been in bed since yesterday.”
 
“What? Is he sick?” said the judge a little angrily. “Then must and will speak with him. What if he should die?”
 
“He will not die,” said Hepzibah. “But perhaps the same man who tried before will now try again to cause his death.”
 
“Cousin Hepzibah,” said Judge Pyncheon. His voice was soft and friendly again. “Is it possible that you do not see how un-kind, how foolish is this idea of yours about me? What I did to Clifford a long time ago could not be helped. I only did what I legally had to do. And do not think that it was easy for me. From that day to this I have felt Clifford’s problem very deeply. You can also be sure that no one is happier than I to see him free again and to have him back with us once more. You little know me, Hepzibah. You little know this heart of mine. It now beats strongly at the thought of meeting him.”
 
“In God’s name,” said Hepzibah angrily, “stop this greal show of affeetion for my brother. I do not understand hovv God can let you talk this way without doing something awful to you You hate Clifford. Say so, like a man. At this moment you holıl in your heart some black plan. Speak it out, at once or do yon prefer to wait until your success is complete? But never speak again of your love for my brother. I cannot bear it. You will make me lose my mind. Not another word!”
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. Why d id Phocbc dccide to visil hor nıothcr for a few days?
 
2. How was the wcathır jvhile shc was away?
 
3. How did Clifîord bccome while shc was away?
 
4. Wha| did Hcpzibah do to hclp Clifîord pass thc time?
 
5. What did he do on thc fıfth day?
 
6. What did Hepzibah hear later in thc morning?
 
7. What story was told about the piano?
 
8. What happened at that moment?
 
9. Who was waiting in the shop? How did Hcpzibah know who it was going to be?
 
10. Why did Judge Pyncheon say that he had called?
 
11. Why did he say that Hepzibah was making a mistake in keeping Clifîord alone too much?
 
12. How did Judge Pyncheon explain his aetions toward Clifîord in the past?
 
13. How did Hepzibah ansvver him?
 
B. Use the follovving words and expressions in sentences of your
own:
cut off from watch over making a mistake
 
PARTII
 
For once, Hepzibah was angry enough to say just what she thought. She had spoken out freely for the first time. But Judge Pyncheon paid little attention to her. “I plan to see Clifîord before I leave this house,” he said. “Remember, Hepzibah, that I am Clifford’s only friend. I am also a person of very great influence in this town. If it were not for me, Clifîord would stili be in prison. Perhaps you did not know that. But it was I who arranged for him to have his freedom.”
 
“You?” said Hepzibah with great surprise. “I never will be-lieve it. It was you who put him in prison. It was God who gave him his freedom.”
 
“It was I who gave him his freedom and now I am here to decide whether he shall continue to be free or not. For that reason I must speak to him.”
 
“Never! It will cause him to lose his mind,” said Hepzibah, novv almost in tears. “And why should you want to see this poor, broken old man. His mind is not clear he can do nothing for you.”
 
“Listen, Miss Hepzibah,” said Judge Pyncheon coldly. “I will explain to you clearly my reasons for wanting to talk with Clifford. At the death, thirty years ago, of our Uncle Jaffrey, it was found that he lef t much less money than was expected. He was supposed to be very rich. No one doubted that he was one of the richest men of his day. Yet he was a strange man. He often invested his money under other names particularly in businesses in other countries. By his last will ali his money and everything he owned passed to me. You were given a life in-terest in this old family home.”
 
“And now you want to take this away from me,” said Hep--zibah. “Is that how you vvish to be paid for helping Clifford?” “Certainly not,” said Judge Pyncheon. “I am not interested in owııing this old house. But of ali my uncle’s money, not one half no, even less appeared at the time of his death. Novv I have reason to believe that your brother Clifford knows where Uncle Jaffrey had put or invested the rest of it.”
 
“No, no!” said Hepzibah. “You are dreaming.”
 
“I do not belong to the dreaming kind of men. Some time be-fore our uncle died, Clifford told me rather proudly that he knew where Uncle Jaffrey kept his money and his important papers. Though he spoke lightly, I have good reason to think that he was telling the truth. Later, of course, after Uncle Jaf-frey’s death, Clifford no longer considered me his friend. He even thought me to be the cause of his disgrace. Naturally, while in prison, he would do nothing to help me find the rest of my uncle’s money. But the moment has novv arrived when he must give up the secret.”
 
“And what if he should refuse,” asked Hepzibah, “or, as I believe, if he knows nothing at ali about this matter?”
 
“My dear Cousin,” said Judge Pyncheon coldly, “since Clif-ford’s retum, I have taken the trouble to have every move he has made watched carefully. People who live near have kept their eyes on him for me. I understand that once he tried to throw himself into the Street from the upstâirs window. His general and switch has done cause me to believe that is not i'm his right in such a case, if he docs not agree"
 
“You cannot nıcan it," cricd llcp/ibah. “Oh, Jaffrey! Cousin Jaffrey! It is you vvho arc sick in ıııind. You lıave forgotten that your mother was a woıııan that you havc had sisters and bro-thers, or that tlıcrc is such a thing as afîection in this world. Else how could you havc dreamed of doing this? You are no longer young. Your hair is vvhite. Arc you not rich enough? You could live with only a small part of the money you already have. This wish for more and more money has run in the blood of our family these two hundred years. You are but doing över again what others have done before you and with such awful results.”
 
“Do not talk so foolishly,” said Judge Pyncheon. “I have made up my mind. And, as you know, I am not a man vvho can be easily changed. You yourself must now decide what is to be done. Cali Clifford and let me talk with him or I will go ahead with my other plan.”
 
“You are stronger than I,” said Hepzibah. “Clifford is not out of his mind now, but after talking with you he may be. But what can I do? There is no other course open to me. I will cali him. But remember, Jaffrey Pyncheon, God is looking down upon you at this moment.”
 
Judge Pyncheon followed Hepzibah from the shop, where this conversation had taken place. While Hepzibah went up-stairs to find Clifford, he went into the living room. He sat down. He took out his watch and held it in his hand as though to see how long it would take Clifford to come down. He coughed lightly or rather made the same lovv sound in his throat that Hepzibah had heard him make when he first entered the shop.
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. Why had Hepzibah spoken out freely?
 
2. Who, according to the judge, had arranged for Clifford to have his freedom?
 
3. Who, according to Hepzibah, had put him in prison?
 
4. Why did Judge Pyncheon say that he must see Clifford?
 
5. What had been found when Jaffrey Pyncheon died?
 
6. What did he leave to Judge Pyncheon? What did he leave to Hepzibah?
 
7. What did Judge Pyncheon believe that Clifford knew?
 
8. What had Clifford told the judge before their uncle died?
 
9. Why had Clifford later done nothing to help the judge?
 
10. What did the judge say that he would do to Clifford if he would not help him?
 
11. What did Hepzibah answer to this?
 
12. Why did Hepzibah finally agree to cali Clifford?
 
13. What did the judge do while Hepzibah went upstairs to find Clifford?