"You speak very unceremoniously of my kindred," said Phoebe, debating

with herself whether she ought to take offence.

"I speak true thoughts to a true mind!" answered Holgrave, with a

vehemence which Phoebe had not before witnessed in him. "The truth is

as I say! Furthermore, the original perpetrator and father of this

mischief appears to have perpetuated himself, and still walks the

street,--at least, his very image, in mind and body,--with the fairest

prospect of transmitting to posterity as rich and as wretched an

inheritance as he has received! Do you remember the daguerreotype, and

its resemblance to the old portrait?"


"How strangely in earnest you are!" exclaimed Phoebe, looking at him

with surprise and perplexity; half alarmed and partly inclined to

laugh. "You talk of the lunacy of the Pyncheons; is it contagious?"

"I understand you!" said the artist, coloring and laughing. "I believe

I am a little mad. This subject has taken hold of my mind with the

strangest tenacity of clutch since I have lodged in yonder old gable.

As one method of throwing it off, I have put an incident of the

Pyncheon family history, with which I happen to be acquainted, into the

form of a legend, and mean to publish it in a magazine."

"Do you write for the magazines?" inquired Phoebe.

"Is it possible you did not know it?" cried Holgrave. "Well, such is

literary fame! Yes. Miss Phoebe Pyncheon, among the multitude of my

marvellous gifts I have that of writing stories; and my name has

figured, I can assure you, on the covers of Graham and Godey, making as

respectable an appearance, for aught I could see, as any of the

canonized bead-roll with which it was associated. In the humorous

line, I am thought to have a very pretty way with me; and as for

pathos, I am as provocative of tears as an onion. But shall I read you

my story?"

"Yes, if it is not very long," said Phoebe,--and added

laughingly,--"nor very dull."

As this latter point was one which the daguerreotypist could not decide

for himself, he forthwith produced his roll of manuscript, and, while

the late sunbeams gilded the seven gables, began to read.