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The House of the Seven Gables (Chapter 12)
It must not be supposed that the life of a personage naturally so
active as Phoebe could be wholly confined within the precincts of the
old Pyncheon House. Clifford's demands upon her time were usually
satisfied, in those long days, considerably earlier than sunset. Quiet
as his da ily existence seemed, it nevertheless drained all the
resources by which he lived. It was not physical exercise that
overwearied him,--for except that he sometimes wrought a little with a
hoe, or paced the garden-walk, or, in rainy weather, traversed a large
unoccupied room,--it was his tendency to remain only too quiescent, as
regarded any toil of the limbs and muscles. But, either there was a
smouldering fire within him that consumed his vital energy, or the
monotony that would have dragged itself with benumbing effect over a
mind differently situated was no monotony to Clifford. Possibly, he
was in a state of second growth and recovery, and was constantly
assimilating nutriment for his spirit and intellect from sights,
sounds, and events which passed as a perfect void to persons more
practised with the world. As all is activity and vicissitude to the
new mind of a child, so might it be, likewise, to a mind that had
undergone a kind of new creation, after its long-suspended life.
Be the cause what it might, Clifford commonly retired to rest,
thoroughly exhausted, while the sunbeams were still melting through his
window-curtains, or were thrown with late lustre on the chamber wall.
And while he thus slept early, as other children do, and dreamed of
childhood, Phoebe was free to follow her own tastes for the remainder
of the day and evening.