Excerpts from Chapter 20, "Flower of Eden," of The House of the Seven Gables,
which focus on Hepzibah
And then, as if in sympathy with Phoebe's whispered ejaculation, they heard
Hepzibah's voice, more distinctly.
"Thank God, my brother, we are at home!"
"Well!--Yes!--thank God!" responded Clifford. "A dreary home, Hepzibah!
But you have done well to bring me hither! Stay! That parlor-door is open.
I cannot pass by it! Let me go and rest me in the arbor, where I used,--oh,
very long ago, it seems to me, after what has befallen us,--where I used
to be so happy with little Phoebe!"
But the house was not altogether so dreary as Clifford imagined it.
They had not made many steps,--in truth, they were lingering in the entry,
with the listlessness of an accomplished purpose, uncertain what to do
next,--when Phoebe ran to meet them. On beholding her, Hepzibah burst into
tears. With all her might, she had staggered onward beneath the burden
of grief and responsibility, until now that it was safe to fling it down.
Indeed, she had not energy to fling it down, but had ceased to uphold it,
and suffered it to press her to the earth. Clifford appeared the stronger
of the two.(Chapter