His career it would be difficult to prefigure. There appeared to be

qualities in Holgrave, such as, in a country where everything is free

to the hand that can grasp it, could hardly fail to put some of the

world's prizes within his reach. But these matters are delightfully

uncertain. At almost every step in life, we meet with young men of

just about Holgrave's age, for whom we anticipate wonderful things, but

of whom, even after much and careful inquiry, we never happen to hear

another word. The effervescence of youth and passion, and the fresh

gloss of the intellect and imagination, endow them with a false

brilliancy, which makes fools of themselves and other people. Like


certain chintzes, calicoes, and ginghams, they show finely in their

first newness, but cannot stand the sun and rain, and assume a very

sober aspect after washing-day.

But our business is with Holgrave as we find him on this particular

afternoon, and in the arbor of the Pyncheon garden. In that point of

view, it was a pleasant sight to behold this young man, with so much

faith in himself, and so fair an appearance of admirable powers,--so

little harmed, too, by the many tests that had tried his metal,--it was

pleasant to see him in his kindly intercourse with Phoebe. Her thought

had scarcely done him justice when it pronounced him cold; or, if so,

he had grown warmer now. Without such purpose on her part, and

unconsciously on his, she made the House of the Seven Gables like a

home to him, and the garden a familiar precinct. With the insight on

which he prided himself, he fancied that he could look through Phoebe,

and all around her, and could read her off like a page of a child's

story-book. But these transparent natures are often deceptive in their

depth; those pebbles at the bottom of the fountain are farther from us

than we think. Thus the artist, whatever he might judge of Phoebe's

capacity, was beguiled, by some silent charm of hers, to talk freely of

what he dreamed of doing in the world. He poured himself out as to

another self. Very possibly, he forgot Phoebe while he talked to her,

and was moved only by the inevitable tendency of thought, when rendered

sympathetic by enthusiasm and emotion, to flow into the first safe

reservoir which it finds. But, had you peeped at them through the

chinks of the garden-fence, the young man's earnestness and heightened

color might have led you to suppose that he was making love to the

young girl!

At length, something was said by Holgrave that made it apposite for

Phoebe to inquire what had first brought him acquainted with her cousin

Hepzibah, and why he now chose to lodge in the desolate old Pyncheon

House. Without directly answering her, he turned from the Future,

which had heretofore been the theme of his discourse, and began to

speak of the influences of the Past. One subject, indeed, is but the

reverberation of the other.