Yes! in a score of drawing-rooms he would be more

than welcome. Mamma would advance to meet him, with outstretched hand;

the virgin daughter, elderly as he has now got to be,--an old widower,

as he smilingly describes himself,--would shake up the cushion for the

Judge, and do her pretty utmost to make him comfortable. For the Judge

is a prosperous man. He cherishes his schemes, moreover, like other

people, and reasonably brighter than most others; or did so, at least,

as he lay abed this morning, in an agreeable half-drowse, planning the

business of the day, and speculating on the probabilities of the next

fifteen years. With his firm health, and the little inroad that age

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has made upon him, fifteen years or twenty--yes, or perhaps

five-and-twenty!--are no more than he may fairly call his own.

Five-and-twenty years for the enjoyment of his real estate in town and

country, his railroad, bank, and insurance shares, his United States

stock,--his wealth, in short, however invested, now in possession, or

soon to be acquired; together with the public honors that have fallen

upon him, and the weightier ones that are yet to fall! It is good! It

is excellent! It is enough!

Still lingering in the old chair! If the Judge has a little time to

throw away, why does not he visit the insurance office, as is his

frequent custom, and sit awhile in one of their leathern-cushioned

arm-chairs, listening to the gossip of the day, and dropping some

deeply designed chance-word, which will be certain to become the gossip

of to-morrow. And have not the bank directors a meeting at which it

was the Judge's purpose to be present, and his office to preside?

Indeed they have; and the hour is noted on a card, which is, or ought

to be, in Judge Pyncheon's right vest-pocket. Let him go thither, and

loll at ease upon his moneybags! He has lounged long enough in the old

chair!

This was to have been such a busy day. In the first place, the

interview with Clifford. Half an hour, by the Judge's reckoning, was

to suffice for that; it would probably be less, but--taking into

consideration that Hepzibah was first to be dealt with, and that these

women are apt to make many words where a few would do much better--it

might be safest to allow half an hour. Half an hour? Why, Judge, it is

already two hours, by your own undeviatingly accurate chronometer.

Glance your eye down at it and see! Ah; he will not give himself the

trouble either to bend his head, or elevate his hand, so as to bring

the faithful time-keeper within his range of vision! Time, all at once,

appears to have become a matter of no moment with the Judge!