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House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 8

 

House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 8

 
PART I
 
When Phoebe went to the shop, she found there young Neti Higgins. Ned was the boy who, as Hepzibah’s first customeı bought the penny cakes. He often came to the shop to buy cakes. This time, however, his mother had sent him. Phoebe sold him the things his mother had sent for. She also gavc hi a cake to eat. As he was leaving, he said:
 
“Mother wants to know how old maid Pyncheon’s brotlın is. People say that he has come home.”
“My cousin Hepzibah’s brother?” said Phoebe witlı gtral surprise. “But where has he been?”
 
The boy looked at her curiously. Perhaps he knew the ansvvcı to Phoebe’s question, perhaps not. Anyway, pushing tlıc n »ı of the cake into his mouth, he left without answering. In went out, an old gentleman came in. This man was very vvcll dressed. He carried a gold headed cane.
 
He was clearly a of great importance. The expression on his face also him to be of strong character. He had a smile on his face l the smile did not seem to be real. One had the feeling. i was something he put on or took off as he needed it. I le serilini greatly surprised to find Phoebe rather than Miss in the shop. He scowled deeply for a moment. The even more pleasantly than before.
 
“Yes, I can help you sir" said l’hoebr Yes not want the man to think that she was simply working . So she said: “I am a cousin of Miss Mepbah, who is visiling her.” “Hef cousin—and from the couııtry. Well, well!" He then bowed to Phoebe and smiled in his most pjeasaııt maııner, “İn that case we must get to know each otlıer betler i .et ıııe see-Mary?—Dolly?—Phoebe? Yes, Phoebe is the name. Yoıı a re the only child of my dear cousin Arthur. Ah, I see your dear l'ather now, as you smile. You are also my cousin, my child. Surely you must have heard of Judge Pyncheon.”
 
The judge leaned toward Phoebe and vvas about to kiss her on the cheek. As her cousin and a man much older than she, this was a natural thing for him to do. But Phoebe drew back suddenly. She did not want to kiss him. Something in his man-ner was unpleasant to her. The judge kissed the air instead of Phoebe’s cheek. He felt very foolish. His manner changed. His face became suddenly as dark as a rain cloud.
 
“Dear me!” said Phoebe to herself. “What is to be done now? He looks angry enough to kill me. Since he is my cousin I sup-pose I should have let him kiss me.”
 
In Judge Pyncheon’s face at the moment, Phoebe saw the same expression which she had seen in the picture of Colonel Pyncheon hanging in the living room. It was almost as though old Colonel Pyncheon had come into the shop. The clothes of the two men were naturally different. Colonel Pyncheon wore a long beard, Judge Pyncheon a short one. But the character vvas the same. Both were strong, hard men. They pushed aside the weak; they beat down anyone who stood up against them.
 
Phoebe’s eyes, while these thoughts went through her head, had come to rest on the judge’s face. He saw her looking at him. His expression changed again and he began to smile. His voice became suddenly soft and gentle.
 
“I like that, Cousin Phoebe,” he said. “I like it very much, little cousin. You know how to take care of yourself. A young girl—if she is pretty—cannot be too careful.”
 
“I did not mean to be unkind,” said Phoebe.
 
I uııderstand completely,” said Judge Pyncheon. “I should .also love remembered that perhaps you are not yourself today. The town air may not be good for little country girls. Also, ! bclieve another visitor has just come to the House of the Seven Gables. It is not strange that you are very nervous. To have to remain in the same house wiıh a man like that is enough to make anyone nervous.”
 
“I don’t understand you,” said Phoebe. “The man you seem to be speaking about is gentle and kind. I believe he is Miss Hepzibah’s brother. Perhaps he is not well. But no one need be afraid of him. He is like a small child.”
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. Who was the customer that Phoebe found in the shop?
2. Why did he often come to the shop?
3. What had he come to buy this time? What did Phoebe give him?
4. About whom did the boy ask?
5. Who came in as the boy went out?
6. Describe the man’s appearance.
7. At what did he seem to be greatly surprised?
8. Who was the man? What relation was he to Phoebe?
9. What did the judge start to do?
10. Why didn’t Phoebe want the judge to kiss her cheek?
11. How did his manner change then?
12. What expression did Phoebe see in his face? How were the judge and the man in the picture similar? How were they different?
13. How did the judge’s expression change when he saw that Phoebe was looking at him?
14. Why did the judge think that it was not strange for hı r to be nervous?
15. What did she say about the man who was staying tin
house?
 
PART II
 
“I am happy to speak no well of him,” said the judge. We wcre boys and young men togeljieı, I know him well Is il possible that yoıı hatfe never Pynchcon t hat you know nothing of his history? Your motlıer aııd fatlıer wcrc right in not telling you about lıiın. İt is not a pelcasant story. Now that he is back with us again, however, we must ali hope for the best. Is he in the living room?"
 
“Perhaps I had better cali my cousin Hepzibah,” said . “Her brother was resting after his breakfast. Please, let me teli her you are here.”
 
“No,” said Judge Pyncheon, a little strongly. “It is not neces-sary. I know this house well, and I know my cousin Hepzibah and her brother Clifford. It is only right that they hear from me directly that I wish them both well. Ah, here is cousin Hepzibah now.”
 
Such was the case. Hepzibah had heard the judge’s voice from the other room. She now came running to the shop. She stood in the entrance from the hail. She was scowling angrily.
 
“Hepzibah, my dear cousin,” said the judge. “Now at last you have something to live for. We ali have something to live for. He belongs to us ali. I have come to help you. I know Clif-ford’s love for the beautiful. Anything I have in my house— pictures, books, good wines—he can have them ali. May I see him now?”
 
“No,” said Hepzibah. “He cannot see visitors.”
 
“A visitor?” said the judge. “Do you cali me a visitor? Clifford is vveleome in my home anytime. You and he both can come to live there. You and I will watch över him together.” “Clifford has a home here,” said Hepzibah. She was too angry and nervous to say more.
 
“Please, Hepzibah,” said the judge. “We must forget the past. I stand here with an open heart. I am ready to help you both. Do not refuse my offer. It is not right to keep Clifford in this dark, ugly house.”
 
“Clifford and I will both remain here,” said Hepzibah.
 
The politeness that was so much a part of the judge’s every
 
day appearance disappeared. He scowled angrily. “Woman,” hc said. “Stand to one side. Let me pass!”
 
But at this moment there came a voice from the other room. It was Clifford speaking:
 
“Please, Hepzibah! Please!” Clifford said. “Stop him. Stop him. Do anything—anything! But do not let that man come in here! Do not let him enter!”
 
The judge, who was about to push Hepzibah to one side, stopped at Clifford’s words. He was silent for a moment. Then he turned around. To knovv Judge Pyncheon was to see him at this moment. A great changecame över him. He began to smile —pleasantly, warmly. His manner once again was that of the kind, friendly man of the world.
 
“It is ali right, Hepzibah,” he said softly. “I understand. I will come again. You are making a mistake—a very great mis-take. I know that some day you will think better of me. Clifford is not well. I will come to visit him another time.”.
 
The judge then bowed politely to both Hepzibah and Phoebe and left the shop. He went down the Street, smiling as always.
 
No sooner had he gone out than Hepzibah grew deathly white. She came to Phoebe. She let her head fail on Phoebe’s shoulder.
 
“Oh, Phoebe,” she said. “That man has given me nothing but trouble ali my life. Some day perhaps I will feel strong enough to teli him what he really is.”
 
“But is he so very bad?” asked Phoebe. “His offers seemed very kind.”
 
“Do not speak of them,” said Hepzibah. “The man is a devil at heart. Go now, child, and talk with Clifford. Try to quict him. It would bother him to see me so angry and nervous. Go, child, and I will try to take care of the shop.”
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Revievv
 
A. 1. Had Phoebe’s parents told her the story of Cliloril Pyncheon?
 
2. What did Judge Pyncheon want to do?
 
3. Why did Hepzibah comc running into the shop?
 
4. What did the judge of to Clifford?