"You are not happy, Hepzibah!" said Clifford apart, in a tone of
approach. "You are thinking of that dismal old house, and of Cousin
Jaffrey"--here came the quake through him,--"and of Cousin Jaffrey
sitting there, all by himself! Take my advice,--follow my example,--and
let such things slip aside. Here we are, in the world, Hepzibah!--in
the midst of life!--in the throng of our fellow beings! Let you and I
be happy! As happy as that youth and those pretty girls, at their game
"Happy--" thought Hepzibah, bitterly conscious, at the word, of her
dull and heavy heart, with the frozen pain in it,--"happy. He is mad
already; and, if I could once feel myself broad awake, I should go mad
If a fixed idea be madness, she was perhaps not remote from it. Fast
and far as they had rattled and clattered along the iron track, they
might just as well, as regarded Hepzibah's mental images, have been
passing up and down Pyncheon Street. With miles and miles of varied
scenery between, there was no scene for her save the seven old
gable-peaks, with their moss, and the tuft of weeds in one of the
angles, and the shop-window, and a customer shaking the door, and
compelling the little bell to jingle fiercely, but without disturbing
Judge Pyncheon! This one old house was everywhere! It transported its
great, lumbering bulk with more than railroad speed, and set itself
phlegmatically down on whatever spot she glanced at. The quality of
Hepzibah's mind was too unmalleable to take new impressions so readily
as Clifford's. He had a winged nature; she was rather of the vegetable
kind, and could hardly be kept long alive, if drawn up by the roots.
Thus it happened that the relation heretofore existing between her
brother and herself was changed. At home, she was his guardian; here,
Clifford had become hers, and seemed to comprehend whatever belonged to
their new position with a singular rapidity of intelligence. He had
been startled into manhood and intellectual vigor; or, at least, into a
condition that resembled them, though it might be both diseased and
The conductor now applied for their tickets; and Clifford, who had made
himself the purse-bearer, put a bank-note into his hand, as he had
observed others do.
"For the lady and yourself?" asked the conductor. "And how far?"
"As far as that will carry us," said Clifford. "It is no great matter.
We are riding for pleasure merely."
"You choose a strange day for it, sir!" remarked a gimlet-eyed old
gentleman on the other side of the car, looking at Clifford and his
companion, as if curious to make them out. "The best chance of
pleasure, in an easterly rain, I take it, is in a man's own house, with
a nice little fire in the chimney."