"Good-morning, Uncle Venner!" said the daguerreotypist, leaning
out of the window. "Do you hear nobody stirring?"
"Not a soul," said the man of patches. "But that's no wonder. 'T
is barely half an hour past sunrise, yet. But I'm really glad to
see you, Mr. Holgrave! There's a strange, lonesome look about this
side of the house; so that my heart misgave me, somehow or other,
and I felt as if there was nobody alive in it. The front of the
house looks a good deal cheerier; and Alice's Posies are blooming
there beautifully; and if I were a young man, Mr. Holgrave, my
sweetheart should have one of those flowers in her bosom, though I
risked my neck climbing for it!--Well, and did the wind keep you
awake last night?"
"It did, indeed!" answered the artist, smiling. "If I were a
believer in ghosts,--and I don't quite know whether I am or
not,--I should have concluded that all the old Pyncheons were
running riot in the lower rooms, especially in Miss Hepzibah's
part of the house. But it is very quiet now."
"Yes, Miss Hepzibah will be apt to over-sleep herself, after being
disturbed, all night, with the racket," said Uncle Venner. "But it
would be odd, now, wouldn't it, if the judge had taken both his
cousins into the country along with him? I saw him go into the
"At what hour?" inquired Holgrave.
"Oh, along in the forenoon," said the old man. "Well, well! I must
go my rounds, and so must my wheelbarrow. But I'll be back here at
dinner-time; for my pig likes a dinner as well as a breakfast. No
meal-time, and no sort of victuals, ever seems to come amiss to my
pig. Good-morning to you! And, Mr. Holgrave, if I were a young
man, like you, I'd get one of Alice's Posies, and keep it in water
till Phoebe comes back."
"I have heard," said the daguerreotypist, as he drew in his head,
"that the water of Maule's well suits those flowers best."
Here the conversation ceased, and Uncle Venner went on his way.
For half an hour longer, nothing disturbed the repose of the seven
gables; nor was there any visitor, except a carrier-boy, who, as
he passed the front door-step, threw down one of his newspapers;
for Hepzibah, of late, had regularly taken it in.