One inauspicious circumstance there was, which awakened a hardly

concealed displeasure in the breasts of a few of the more punctilious

visitors. The founder of this stately mansion--a gentleman noted for

the square and ponderous courtesy of his demeanor, ought surely to have

stood in his own hall, and to have offered the first welcome to so many

eminent personages as here presented themselves in honor of his solemn

festival. He was as yet invisible; the most favored of the guests had

not beheld him. This sluggishness on Colonel Pyncheon's part became

still more unaccountable, when the second dignitary of the province

made his appearance, and found no more ceremonious a reception. The

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lieutenant-governor, although his visit was one of the anticipated

glories of the day, had alighted from his horse, and assisted his lady

from her side-saddle, and crossed the Colonel's threshold, without

other greeting than that of the principal domestic.

This person--a gray-headed man, of quiet and most respectful

deportment--found it necessary to explain that his master still

remained in his study, or private apartment; on entering which, an hour

before, he had expressed a wish on no account to be disturbed.

"Do not you see, fellow," said the high-sheriff of the county, taking

the servant aside, "that this is no less a man than the

lieutenant-governor? Summon Colonel Pyncheon at once! I know that he

received letters from England this morning; and, in the perusal and

consideration of them, an hour may have passed away without his

noticing it. But he will be ill-pleased, I judge, if you suffer him to

neglect the courtesy due to one of our chief rulers, and who may be

said to represent King William, in the absence of the governor himself.

Call your master instantly."

"Nay, please your worship," answered the man, in much perplexity, but

with a backwardness that strikingly indicated the hard and severe

character of Colonel Pyncheon's domestic rule; "my master's orders were

exceeding strict; and, as your worship knows, he permits of no

discretion in the obedience of those who owe him service. Let who list

open yonder door; I dare not, though the governor's own voice should

bid me do it!"

"Pooh, pooh, master high sheriff!" cried the lieutenant-governor, who

had overheard the foregoing discussion, and felt himself high enough in

station to play a little with his dignity. "I will take the matter

into my own hands. It is time that the good Colonel came forth to

greet his friends; else we shall be apt to suspect that he has taken a

sip too much of his Canary wine, in his extreme deliberation which cask

it were best to broach in honor of the day! But since he is so much

behindhand, I will give him a remembrancer myself!"