Two men were passing, just as the barouche drove off.

"Well, Dixey," said one of them, "what do you think of this? My wife

kept a cent-shop three months, and lost five dollars on her outlay.

Old Maid Pyncheon has been in trade just about as long, and rides off

in her carriage with a couple of hundred thousand,--reckoning her

share, and Clifford's, and Phoebe's,--and some say twice as much! If

you choose to call it luck, it is all very well; but if we are to take

it as the will of Providence, why, I can't exactly fathom it!"

"Pretty good business!" quoth the sagacious Dixey,--"pretty good

business!"

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Maule's well, all this time, though left in solitude, was throwing up a

succession of kaleidoscopic pictures, in which a gifted eye might have

seen foreshadowed the coming fortunes of Hepzibah and Clifford, and the

descendant of the legendary wizard, and the village maiden, over whom

he had thrown love's web of sorcery. The Pyncheon Elm, moreover, with

what foliage the September gale had spared to it, whispered

unintelligible prophecies. And wise Uncle Venner, passing slowly from

the ruinous porch, seemed to hear a strain of music, and fancied that

sweet Alice Pyncheon--after witnessing these deeds, this bygone woe and

this present happiness, of her kindred mortals--had given one farewell

touch of a spirit's joy upon her harpsichord, as she floated heavenward

from the HOUSE OF THE SEVEN GABLES!



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