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House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 7

 

House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 7

 

 
PART I
 
 
When Phoebe came dovvnstairs the next morning, was already getting breakfast ready. She seemed very busy, Mr. had a cookbook in her hand and was preparing several spin i'm dishes. This was strange because Hepzibah never showcd mis interest in food. She never cooked anything—everything for i . II Hepzibah was also very nervous. Phoebe saw that son unusual was happening. During the course of the next utes Hepzibah’s manner changed several times. At she was very happy. She kissed Phoebe and drew.
 
I'don't need to help her.took Phoebe’s hand in heri.
 
"Today my heart is very full. I love you, Phoebe, though .'.ometimes I speak angrily. Think nothing at all. Later I shall be torrent.”
 
“My dearest cousin, can’t you what happened?” askod Phoebe.
 
“Ouiet! He is coming,” said Hepzibah. “Let hım sec you first, Phoebe, for you are young and eheerful looking. He always liked eheerful faces. Mine is old and sad now. There are tears in my eyes. Also, draw the curtains to one side so that the sun may come in. There has been little sunshine in his life. Poor, poor Clifford!”
 
Soon there was the sound on the stairs of someone coming down. The person came down very slowly, stopping several times. Hepzibah stood looking at the door. She waited.
 
“Dear Cousin Hepzibah, please don’t look so! You make me afraid. Is something really awful going to happen?” said Phoebe.
 
“Quiet!” said Hepzibah. “Be eheerful. Whatever may happen, be nothing but eheerful.”
 
Stili the person did not enter. Hepzibah could stand it no longer. She ran to the door and opened it, In the hail stood a very old man. His hair was white and very long. He wore an old dressing gown of a style that was used many years ago. Phoebe, after looking at him for a moment, began to understand why he moved so slowly. It was not that he was so old. It was the spirit of the man that could not walk. He stood for a moment in the entrance holding on to Hepzibah’s hand. He was like a small child. He saw Phoebe and seemed to try, out of politeness, to speak to her.
 
“Dear Clifford,” said Hepzibah, as though talking to a child. “This is our cousin Phoebe—little Phoebe Pyncheon. Arthur’s only child, you know. She has come to live with us for a time.”
 
“Phoebe? Phoebe Pyncheon?” said the old man slowly. “Arthur’s child? Ah, I forget. No matter. She is welcome.”
 
"C'mon, dear Clifford, take this chair,” said Hepzibah. Slu lod him to a place at the table. “Now let us begin breakfast.” The old man sat down. He looked around the room slow!y. It was clear that he did not know exactly where he was. He wanted to be certain that he was at home. Yet it seemed difficult for him to understand this.
 
Phoebe looked at him closely. She soon understood that this was the same face that she had seen in the small picture which Hepzibah had shown her. It seemed impossible. Yet it was true. The dressing gown was the same as in the picture. It was the same style, the same material. There was at times the same ex-pression in the man’s eyes.
 
Hepzibah began to give him his breakfast. He looked up at her strangely.
 
“Is this you, Hepzibah?” he asked softly. Then he seemed to talk to himself. “How changed! How changed! And is she angry with me? Why does she scowl at me so?”
 
Poor Hepzibah! Her scowl always made her look so angry. “Angry,” she said. “Angry with you? There is nothing but love here, Clifford. Nothing but love. You are at home.”
 
Comprehension, Oiscussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. What was Hepzibah doing when Phoebe came downstairs the next morning?
 
2. Why was this strange?
 
3. How did Phoebe see that Miss Hepzibah was nervous?
 
4. What did Phoebe bring from the garden?
 
5. What did Miss Hepzibah say to Phoebe when everything was ready?
 
6. Who was coming?
 
7. Why did Hepzibah want him to see Phoebe first?
 
8. Why did she teli Phoebe to draw the curtains to one side?
 
9. What sound did they hear on the stairs?
 
10. How did Hepzibah teli Phoebe she had to act?
 
11. Who was standing at the door? How did he look? How were he dressed?
 
12. Why did the man move so slowly?
 
PARTII
 
Clifford smiled weakly. His face for the moment had the same gentle character it had in the picture. Then he changed suddenly. He began to eat the food Hepzibah had put before him. He ate like an animal. He pushed the food into his mouth. He seemed to forget everything about him.
 
“More, more,” he cried soon. “This is what I need. Give me more.”
 
Hepzibah gave him more. He finished eating. Then he sat back in his.chair. He looked slowly around the room. He seemed to be trying again to make sure where he was. Perhaps he was afraid it was ali just a dream.
 
“How pleasant it is here,” he said. “Will it last? An open win-dow! How beautiful is the sunshine! Those flowers, how beauti-ful! That young girl’s face, how cheerful! Ah, this must ali be a dream it is so different from looking at four prison walls.”
 
His face grew dark. Perhaps the word prison had brought other thoughts to his mind. Phoebe went to him.
 
“Here is a new kind of rose which I found this morning in the garden,” she said. “There will soon be others on the bush. Isn’t it beautiful?”
 
“Ah, let me see! Let me hold it,” cried Clifford with great in-terest. He took the rose in his hand and looked at it. İt seemed almost to bring back to him something of the past. “Thank you. This has done me good. I remember how I used to love roses long ago, very long ago—or was it yesterday? It makes
 
me feel young again. Am I young? But how kind of the littlc girl. Thankyou! Thankyou!”
 
İle seemed suddenly happy. He might have continued so, but lıis eyes happened to fail on the picture of Colonel Pyncheon hanging on the wall.
 
“Hepzibah! Hepzibah!” he cried. “Why do you keep that picture on the wall? I hate it. I hate it. I have told you many times that it has had a bad influence on this house.”
 
“Dear Clifford,” said Hepzibah, “you know that it cannot be taken down.”
 
“Then cover it, please,” said Clifford. “I cannot stand that man looking at me ali the time.”
 
“Yes, Clifford. The picture will be covered. I have an old curtain upstairs that I can use. Phoebe will help me to cover it.”
 
“This very day, please,” he said. “Why should we remain in this ugly old house at ali? Why not go to France, to Italy? Paris, Naples, Venice, Rome? I suppose you will say we haven’t enough money.”
 
Clifford became quiet as though so much talking had tired him. He seemed to fail into a light sleep. The shop beli sounded suddenly, however, and woke him.
 
“Good heavens, Hepzibah!” he cried. “What awful noise is that? I have never heard such a sound in this house. What can it be?”
 
“Dear Clifford,” said Hepzibah kindly. “I wish I could keep the sound from you. It is very unpleasant even to me. But I have something to teli you. This ugly noise—please run, Phoebe, and see who it is—is nothing but our shop beli.”
 
“Shop beli?” said Clifford.
 
“Yes, our own shop beli. For you must know, dearest Cliffr ord, that we are very poor. There was nothing else I could do except open a shop. Alone, I would have been able to get along. But you were given back to me. I had to do something. Do you think, dear Clifford, that I have brought a great disgrace upon the family?”
 
“Disgrace? Do you speak these words to me?” said Clifford. His manner had changed suddenly. He became more serious, almost sad. Although he readily grew angry at small things, he
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Roviow
 
A. 1. What happened to Cliflord’s face whcn hc smilcd?
 
2. How did he cat?
 
3. Why did everything seem like a dream to hini?
 
4. What did Phoebe show to him?
 
5. What made him unhappy again?
 
6. What did he ask Hepzibah to do to the picture?
 
7. Where did he suggest that they go instead of staying in the House of the Seven Gables? Why couldn’t they go?
 
8. What woke him from his sleep?
 
9. Why had she opened the shop?
 
10.     Why did both of them feel that they had brought disgrace upon the family?