"Come!" said Clifford in a tone of brief decision, most unlike what was

usual with him. "We stay here too long! Let us leave the old house to

our cousin Jaffrey! He will take good care of it!"

Hepzibah now noticed that Clifford had on a cloak,--a garment of long

ago,--in which he had constantly muffled himself during these days of

easterly storm. He beckoned with his hand, and intimated, so far as

she could comprehend him, his purpose that they should go together from

the house. There are chaotic, blind, or drunken moments, in the lives

of persons who lack real force of character,--moments of test, in which

courage would most assert itself,--but where these individuals, if left

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to themselves, stagger aimlessly along, or follow implicitly whatever

guidance may befall them, even if it be a child's. No matter how

preposterous or insane, a purpose is a Godsend to them. Hepzibah had

reached this point. Unaccustomed to action or responsibility,--full of

horror at what she had seen, and afraid to inquire, or almost to

imagine, how it had come to pass,--affrighted at the fatality which

seemed to pursue her brother,--stupefied by the dim, thick, stifling

atmosphere of dread which filled the house as with a death-smell, and

obliterated all definiteness of thought,--she yielded without a

question, and on the instant, to the will which Clifford expressed.

For herself, she was like a person in a dream, when the will always

sleeps. Clifford, ordinarily so destitute of this faculty, had found

it in the tension of the crisis.

"Why do you delay so?" cried he sharply. "Put on your cloak and hood,

or whatever it pleases you to wear! No matter what; you cannot look

beautiful nor brilliant, my poor Hepzibah! Take your purse, with money

in it, and come along!"

Hepzibah obeyed these instructions, as if nothing else were to be done

or thought of. She began to wonder, it is true, why she did not wake

up, and at what still more intolerable pitch of dizzy trouble her

spirit would struggle out of the maze, and make her conscious that

nothing of all this had actually happened. Of course it was not real;

no such black, easterly day as this had yet begun to be; Judge Pyncheon

had not talked with, her. Clifford had not laughed, pointed, beckoned

her away with him; but she had merely been afflicted--as lonely

sleepers often are--with a great deal of unreasonable misery, in a

morning dream!

"Now--now--I shall certainly awake!" thought Hepzibah, as she went to

and fro, making her little preparations. "I can bear it no longer I

must wake up now!"

But it came not, that awakening moment! It came not, even when, just

before they left the house, Clifford stole to the parlor-door, and made

a parting obeisance to the sole occupant of the room.