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House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 9

 

House of The Seven Gables - Chapter 9

 
PART I
 
Truly, there was something good and beautiful in the clıaı acter of our poor Hepzibah. Through many long years sin waited. She had gotten along with very little. She had not ;for much. At times she had lost hope. But now, at last, ( lilfm ı had come back to her. He needed her not only for the fox İn ate but also for everything that would keep him livin)’ I'll zibah was ready to do everything possible. She lied affection for him to do a hundred times more if it sorry.
 
Hey how are you Clifford, as a young man, liked to recad good books. Slie tried to read to him. She got tlıe same books he ııscd to read. But Clifford showed little in-terest. i am.ibah’s voice, as she read, was sad and unpleasant. She had liltlc success in reading to him. She turned to other things birt with the sartıe poor success.
 
The worst part of ali was that Clifford found Hepzibah’s appearance unpleasant. Hepzibah had never been beautiful. But now her face was old and deeply lined. Her scowl always made her look angry. Her dress, her manners, ali were strange. It was natural that a lover of the beautiful like Clifford should turn his eyes away from her. There was no help for it.
 
In this sad situation Hepzibah turned naturally to Phoebe. Phoebe was young and pretty. She took up the work cheerfully as she did everything else. Phoebe’s influence in the House of the Seven Gables was already very great. The old house was now a far different place than when Phoebe first came there. There was no longer dust everywhere. Phoebe had cleaned everything. She had also touched everything with her happy spirits. Before, everything had been dark and ugly, now there was light and sunshine everywhere.
 
To Clifford, Phoebe was particularly necessary. He never exactly talked with her or held a conversation with her. But if she was not present, he beçame nervous and unhappy. He would walk around the room, or he would sit sadly in his chair, resting his head on his hand.
 
When Phoebe came in or if he heard her singing somewhere, he would change. Phoebe always sang as she worked. If Clifford heard her singing upstairs or even in a room far away, he would stop and listen. A smile would appear on his face.
 
He was most happy when Phoebe sat at his side. He seemed to become younger when she was with him. The gray hair, the deep lines in his face seemed to dissappear.
 
Phoebe, it is probable, did not understand very clearly the character of Clifford: But this was not important. She was pretty. Her manner was light and cheerful. For Clifford this was ali that was necessary. As for Phoebe herself, she was not one of those persons who are attracted by what is strange or ıınusual. She was a simple country girl. The history of Clifford.
 
wits probably not pleasant for her. But she tried not to talk about these things. She gave Clifford ali of her affection because he so clearly needed it. He had received so little love in his life. She saw what was good for him, and did it. Perhaps she some- times looked up into his face and wondered about him.
 
His face was without any expression. Had he always been like this? No, Clifford had once been young and good-looking. The world had simply been unkind to him, Phoebe thought. Others might feel toward him as they wished. For her, he was just a gentle old man. She was ready to do for him whatever she thought might make him happy.
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. Why was there something good and beautiful in Hepzibah’s
character?
2. Why did Hepzibah have little success when she read to Clifford?
3. In what way did Clifford find Hepzibah’s appearance un- pleasant?
4. Why did Hepzibah turn to Phoebe in this situation?
5. Why was the House of the Seven Gables different from the time when Phoebe had first come there?
6. How did Clifford show that Phoebe was a particular neces- sity to him?
7. How did he ehange when Phoebe sat at his side?
8. Did Phoebe have any deep understanding of Clifford or his history?
9. What kind of girl vvas Phoebe?
10. Why did she give ali her affection to Clifford?
11. What did Phoebe sometimes wonder about Clifford?
 
PARTII
 
I'll it were not for I’ll, Clill'ord leave passed ali his time in thc living 6m. He would sil there by the hour. His eyes would elose. He would fail into a light slecp. Phoebe, therefere, often used to take hini to a room on thc second floor. Here there was a large window from whicl he could look down into the Street.
 
Clifford took a great interest in everything that went on below. His face would light up whenever he saw any-thing already familiar to him. On the other hand, things in the Street which were familiar to even the youngest child vvere often strange to him. If an omnibus passed or stopped to let someone get on or get off, he watched with great interest.
 
He would follow the omnibus vvith his eyes until it disappeared in the dis-tance. The everyday sounds of men vvorking or people passing in the Street pleased him very much. These sounds, it seems, had become familiar to him as a child. Other sounds made him afraid; for example, the noise of a train passing in the distance.
 
At other times, when the weather was good, Phoebe used to take Clifford to the garden. The photographer, Mr. Holgrave, and Uncle Venner had been working in the garden. It was now a very pleasant place in vvhich to sit. Here Phoebe often read to Clifford. She had a soft, pleasant voice.
 
Clifford liked to listen to her. She read stories of everyday life. But these did not interest Clifford very much. It seemed that he had not had enough experience to understand them. Sometimes Phoebe vvould laugh at something she vvas reading. At other times tears vvould come to her eyes at some sad part in the story.
 
But Clifford seemed to feel nothing of this. He liked it better vvhen Phoebe read poetry to him. Then he follovved the rise and fail of her voice. He became more interested.
 
Clifford’s feeling for flovvers vvas still very strong. Every day he would ask Phoebe what new flowers there were in the garden. He liked to hold a flower in his hand. He would look at it elosely.
 
Then he would tum and look into Phoebe’s face. To him, both were beautiful the flower and Phoebe’s face. He seemed to connect the two in his mind. He also liked to wateh the birds that came to the garden. He would teli Phoebe to be quiet. Then he would listen to the birds singing in the trace.
 
On Sundays, after she had come home from church, Phoebe made it the custom to have little parties in the garden. To these parties she invited two other persons. One of these was Mr. Holgrave, the photographer. The other was the old man, Uncle Venner.
 
Clifford liked Uncle Venner very much. It seemed easier for him to talk with this simple old man than with other people. Perhaps, too, the fact that Uncle Venner was so much older, made him feel younger in spirit.
 
Mr. Holgrave also proved to be a pleasant visitor at these parties. He talked with Clifford and Uncle Venner. Though his character stili seemed a little strange to both Phoebe and Hep­zibah, they found that they liked him.
 
Phoebe said to herself: “How pleasant he can be.” He was always ready to help in every way he could. He had planted more vegetables in the gar­den.
 
He showed these to Clifford and talked with him about them. Together with the others, he tried to make everything as pleasant as possible for Clifford. So little happiness remained for Clifford. It seemed that each one wanted to help him find it.
 
Comprehension, Discussion, and Vocabulary Review
 
A. 1. What did Clifford do when he was in the living room?
 
2. Why did Phoebe often take him to a room on the second floor?
 
3. What kind of things did he watch with great interest?
 
4. What sounds pleased him?
 
5. What sounds made him afraid?
 
6. Where else did Phoebe take Clifford? Why was it now a pleasant place?