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House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 15

House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 15

PART I
 
Phoebe, coming so suddenly from the light of day into the dark hail, could not see at first who had let her in. Before her eyes could accustom themselves to the change, a strong but friendly hand took hold of her arm. She felt herself drawn along, not towards the living room, but to another room of the old house not often used. Here the sunshine came in freely, so that Phoebe novv saw clearly what, in fact, had been no secret after the touch of the friendly hand upon her arm—that it was not
 
 
 
Hepzibah or Clifford, but Holgrave who had opened the door to her.
The photographer looked paler and even more serious than usual. Yet his smile, as Phoebe looked up at him, was warm and kindly. Phoebe had the feeling that he was very happy to see her.
 
“I really shouldn’t be so glad that you have come, Phoebe,” he said. “For we meet at a strange moment.”
“What has happened? Why is there no one in the house? Where are Clifford and Hepzibah?”
“I haven’t any idea,” said Holgrave. “We are alone in the house.”
“Hepzibah, Clifford gone? Impossible!” said Phoebe. “And why have you brought me to this room rather than to the living room? Oh, something awful has happened.
 
Imust run and see.” “No, no, Phoebe,” cried Holgrave, holding her back. “İt is as I have told you. They have gone, but I don’t know wherc" “But teli me what has happened.”
 
Holgrave looked at Phoebe with decp affection. “Phoebe," he said. “You must be strong- for 1 need yoıır help bııdly. Pcı haps you can teli mc what to do. Judgc Pyncheon s i t s in (lıc next room. He is dcad. And Clifford and Hepzibah have disap- peared. That is ali I knovv. Last night, I saw that there was no light in Hepzibah’s room or in Clifford’s. The house was dark and silent.
 
This morning from my window upstairs I heard someone in the Street say that Clifford and Hepzibah were seen leaving the house yesterday in the rain. I became curious as to what had happened. I came downstairs and went to the living room. I found Judge Pyncheon sitting there—dead.”
“But why haven’t you opened ali the doors and called in someone?” asked Phoebe. “It is awful being here alone.” “Because we must first consider vvhat is best for Clifford and Hepzibah. We know tnem both well. It is easy to suppose what happened.
 
They became frightened at what they savv. Like two small children, they did the natural thing—they ran avvay. If, on the other hand, they had remained here and told everyone of Judge Pyncheon’s death, it would have helped them greatly —especially Clifford.”
 
 
“People might j»ct a dillcırııl iden ol his character. It is clear that Judge Pynchcon did mitlimi death I or generations pasi, many men- of lıis faıııily lıave died iıı tlıis samc way. They died al lıis time of life and al a moment vvhen, for one reason ofanotlıer, they wcre very excited. ( lilîord's ııncle died in sim-i!ar circumstanccs thirty years ago. I helieve il miglıt bc proved that his death was also thc result of natural eauses and Clifford’s name would be eleared. But now thc fact that Clifford has run away only makes it worse for him. People may tlıink that lıe murdered Judge Pyncheon coo.”
 
“How could anyone have thought that such a gentle person as Clifford murdered his uncle? It seenıs impossible to believe.” said Phoebe.
 
“The circumstances connected with his unele’s death were very carefully arranged by the very man who now sits dead in the next room. In any case, that is what I believe. He simply made it appear as though Clifford murdered his uncle.”
 
“Then we must do something quickly. We must not keep this secret a moment longer. Clifford is a good man. God will help us prove it. Let us open the doors and cali in everyone to see the truth.”
 
“You are right, Phoebe,” said Holgrave. “You are no doubt right.”
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. What happened to Phoebe when she had been let into the house?
 
2. Who did she see that it was who had let her into the house?
 
3. How did Mr. Holgrave look?
 
4. How did he seem to feci at seeing Phoebe?
 
5. What did he teli her had happened?
 
6. What had he heard someone in the Street say?
 
7. Whathad he found in the living room?
 
8. Why hadn’t he called in someone?
 
9. Why did Holgrave think that Clifford should not have run away?
 
10. How did Holgrave think that Clifford’s uncle had died?
 
 
PARTII
 
Yet Holgrave did not seem to feel the deep fear which was natural to Phoebe’s gentle and order-loving character. He had no wish to run and open the door. He seemed almost to enjoy being alone with Phoebe. It was as if the two of them were sud-denly drawn closer together by the secret which they hcld. “Ouickly!” said Phoebe. “Why doyou wait?”
 
“Because,” said Holgrave, “it seems to mc that nevcr in ali our lives can there come anothcr moment like tlıis. Do you feci any pleasurc in bcing here alonc witlı mc like tlıis? Bcl'oıe you arrived, Phoebe, ali was dark and cold lıcrc. The dead man sitting there in the ncxt room made everything seem old and ugly. The whole world looked strange and wild to me. Then you came in—and hope and happiness came with you. I must teli you, Phoebe. I love you.”
 
“How can you love a simple girl like me?” said Phoebe. His serious manner made her ansvver him. “You have many thoughts and ideas which I do not understand.I could never make you happy.”
 
“You are my only hope of happiness,” said Holgrave. “I am unable to believe in happiness except when you make it pos-sible for me.”
 
“No, I am afraid,” said Phoebe. “You will lead me away from my own quiet ways. You will want me to follow you along a new course of life. It is not my nature. I will not be able to
do it.”
“Ah, Phoebe. It will be different from what you suppose. I will change. I will follow rather than lead. We shall build home together and live quietly like other people.
 
In this moment tlıcy hoth felt the experience of thc grealest happiness possible—that of the deep love of onc person foı another. Ali else was forgotten. The dead man in thc next room did not exist.
 
Soon, however, there came a sound from the front of the house.
 
“Now let us meet the world,” said Holgrave. “No donbt t lir story of Judge Pyncheon’s visit here and the running avvay of Clifford and Hepzibah has götten around. Officials of thc tovvıı are coming to find out what has happened.”
 
But, to their surprise, before they could do anything thcır was the sound of someone opening the front door. Therc wcır also the voices of two people, weak and tired.
 
“Can it be?” said Holgrave.
 
“It is they,” ansvvered Phoebe. “Thank God!”
 
Then they heard Hepzibah’s voice more clearly.
 
• “Thank God, my brother,” she said. “We are at home.”
 
“Yes—thank God!” answered Clifford. “A sad house it is but you have done well to bring me here. Wait! The living room door is open. I cannot pass by it. Let us go first to the garden and rest there—as I used to do so very, very long ago, as it seems.”
 
But the house was not so sad a place as Clifford supposed. They had not gone far before Phoebe ran to meet thenı. On seeing her, Hepzibah broke into tears. She put her head on Phoebe’s shoulder and cried. She seemed suddenly to havc grown too weak to stand. Clifford appeared then stronger of the two.
 
“It is our own little Phoebah, and Holgrave with her," he said with a smile. “I thought of you both as we came down the Street. How happy I am to see you here together.”
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
1.Why didn’t Holgrave rush to open the door?
 
2.How did the; house seem to Holgrave before Phoebe arrived?
 
1:What did he say that he felt about her?
 
4.Why did Phoebe think that he could not love her?
 
5.In what way did Holgrave say that he would change?
 
6.Did Phoebe say that she was in love with Holgrave?
 
7.What sounds did they hear from the front of the house?
 
8.Where did Clifford wish to go? Why didn’t he want to pass by the living room?
 
9.What did Hepzibah do when she saw Phoebe?