Up, therefore, Judge Pyncheon, up! You have lost a day. But to-morrow

will be here anon. Will you rise, betimes, and make the most of it?

To-morrow. To-morrow! To-morrow. We, that are alive, may rise betimes

to-morrow. As for him that has died to-day, his morrow will be the

resurrection morn.

Meanwhile the twilight is glooming upward out of the corners of the

room. The shadows of the tall furniture grow deeper, and at first

become more definite; then, spreading wider, they lose their

distinctness of outline in the dark gray tide of oblivion, as it were,

that creeps slowly over the various objects, and the one human figure


sitting in the midst of them. The gloom has not entered from without;

it has brooded here all day, and now, taking its own inevitable time,

will possess itself of everything. The Judge's face, indeed, rigid and

singularly white, refuses to melt into this universal solvent. Fainter

and fainter grows the light. It is as if another double-handful of

darkness had been scattered through the air. Now it is no longer gray,

but sable. There is still a faint appearance at the window; neither a

glow, nor a gleam, nor a glimmer,--any phrase of light would express

something far brighter than this doubtful perception, or sense, rather,

that there is a window there. Has it yet vanished? No!--yes!--not

quite! And there is still the swarthy whiteness,--we shall venture to

marry these ill-agreeing words,--the swarthy whiteness of Judge

Pyncheon's face. The features are all gone: there is only the paleness

of them left. And how looks it now? There is no window! There is no

face! An infinite, inscrutable blackness has annihilated sight! Where

is our universe? All crumbled away from us; and we, adrift in chaos,

may hearken to the gusts of homeless wind, that go sighing and

murmuring about in quest of what was once a world!

Is there no other sound? One other, and a fearful one. It is the

ticking of the Judge's watch, which, ever since Hepzibah left the room

in search of Clifford, he has been holding in his hand. Be the cause

what it may, this little, quiet, never-ceasing throb of Time's pulse,

repeating its small strokes with such busy regularity, in Judge

Pyncheon's motionless hand, has an effect of terror, which we do not

find in any other accompaniment of the scene.

But, listen! That puff of the breeze was louder. It had a tone unlike

the dreary and sullen one which has bemoaned itself, and afflicted all

mankind with miserable sympathy, for five days past. The wind has

veered about! It now comes boisterously from the northwest, and, taking

hold of the aged framework of the Seven Gables, gives it a shake, like

a wrestler that would try strength with his antagonist. Another and

another sturdy tussle with the blast! The old house creaks again, and

makes a vociferous but somewhat unintelligible bellowing in its sooty

throat (the big flue, we mean, of its wide chimney), partly in

complaint at the rude wind, but rather, as befits their century and a

half of hostile intimacy, in tough defiance. A rumbling kind of a

bluster roars behind the fire-board. A door has slammed above stairs.

A window, perhaps, has been left open, or else is driven in by an

unruly gust. It is not to be conceived, before-hand, what wonderful

wind-instruments are these old timber mansions, and how haunted with

the strangest noises, which immediately begin to sing, and sigh, and

sob, and shriek,--and to smite with sledge-hammers, airy but ponderous,

in some distant chamber,--and to tread along the entries as with

stately footsteps, and rustle up and down the staircase, as with silks

miraculously stiff,--whenever the gale catches the house with a window

open, and gets fairly into it. Would that we were not an attendant

spirit here! It is too awful! This clamor of the wind through the

lonely house; the Judge's quietude, as he sits invisible; and that

pertinacious ticking of his watch!