"There he is!" said Hepzibah to herself, gulping down a very bitter

emotion, and, since she could not rid herself of it, trying to drive it

back into her heart. "What does he think of it, I wonder? Does it

please him? Ah! he is looking back!"

The gentleman had paused in the street, and turned himself half about,

still with his eyes fixed on the shop-window. In fact, he wheeled

wholly round, and commenced a step or two, as if designing to enter the

shop; but, as it chanced, his purpose was anticipated by Hepzibah's

first customer, the little cannibal of Jim Crow, who, staring up at the

window, was irresistibly attracted by an elephant of gingerbread. What


a grand appetite had this small urchin!--Two Jim Crows immediately

after breakfast!--and now an elephant, as a preliminary whet before

dinner. By the time this latter purchase was completed, the elderly

gentleman had resumed his way, and turned the street corner.

"Take it as you like, Cousin Jaffrey," muttered the maiden lady, as

she drew back, after cautiously thrusting out her head, and looking up

and down the street,--"Take it as you like! You have seen my little

shop-window. Well!--what have you to say?--is not the Pyncheon House

my own, while I'm alive?"

After this incident, Hepzibah retreated to the back parlor, where she

at first caught up a half-finished stocking, and began knitting at it

with nervous and irregular jerks; but quickly finding herself at odds

with the stitches, she threw it aside, and walked hurriedly about the

room. At length she paused before the portrait of the stern old

Puritan, her ancestor, and the founder of the house. In one sense, this

picture had almost faded into the canvas, and hidden itself behind the

duskiness of age; in another, she could not but fancy that it had been

growing more prominent and strikingly expressive, ever since her

earliest familiarity with it as a child. For, while the physical

outline and substance were darkening away from the beholder's eye, the

bold, hard, and, at the same time, indirect character of the man seemed

to be brought out in a kind of spiritual relief. Such an effect may

occasionally be observed in pictures of antique date. They acquire a

look which an artist (if he have anything like the complacency of

artists nowadays) would never dream of presenting to a patron as his

own characteristic expression, but which, nevertheless, we at once

recognize as reflecting the unlovely truth of a human soul. In such

cases, the painter's deep conception of his subject's inward traits has

wrought itself into the essence of the picture, and is seen after the

superficial coloring has been rubbed off by time.

While gazing at the portrait, Hepzibah trembled under its eye. Her

hereditary reverence made her afraid to judge the character of the

original so harshly as a perception of the truth compelled her to do.

But still she gazed, because the face of the picture enabled her--at

least, she fancied so--to read more accurately, and to a greater depth,

the face which she had just seen in the street.