"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

of ball!"

"Happy--" thought Hepzibah, bitterly conscious, at the word, of her

dull and heavy heart, with the frozen pain in it,--"happy. He is mad

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already; and, if I could once feel myself broad awake, I should go mad

too!"

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

transitory.

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."