Another business, which, however, he puts no great weight on (it is

well, you know, to be heedful, but not over-anxious, as respects one's

personal health),--another business, then, was to consult his family

physician. About what, for Heaven's sake? Why, it is rather difficult

to describe the symptoms. A mere dimness of sight and dizziness of

brain, was it?--or disagreeable choking, or stifling, or gurgling, or

bubbling, in the region of the thorax, as the anatomists say?--or was

it a pretty severe throbbing and kicking of the heart, rather

creditable to him than otherwise, as showing that the organ had not

been left out of the Judge's physical contrivance? No matter what it


was. The doctor probably would smile at the statement of such trifles

to his professional ear; the Judge would smile in his turn; and meeting

one another's eyes, they would enjoy a hearty laugh together! But a fig

for medical advice. The Judge will never need it.

Pray, pray, Judge Pyncheon, look at your watch, Now! What--not a

glance! It is within ten minutes of the dinner hour! It surely cannot

have slipped your memory that the dinner of to-day is to be the most

important, in its consequences, of all the dinners you ever ate. Yes,

precisely the most important; although, in the course of your somewhat

eminent career, you have been placed high towards the head of the

table, at splendid banquets, and have poured out your festive eloquence

to ears yet echoing with Webster's mighty organ-tones. No public

dinner this, however. It is merely a gathering of some dozen or so of

friends from several districts of the State; men of distinguished

character and influence, assembling, almost casually, at the house of a

common friend, likewise distinguished, who will make them welcome to a

little better than his ordinary fare. Nothing in the way of French

cookery, but an excellent dinner, nevertheless. Real turtle, we

understand, and salmon, tautog, canvas-backs, pig, English mutton, good

roast beef, or dainties of that serious kind, fit for substantial

country gentlemen, as these honorable persons mostly are. The

delicacies of the season, in short, and flavored by a brand of old

Madeira which has been the pride of many seasons. It is the Juno

brand; a glorious wine, fragrant, and full of gentle might; a

bottled-up happiness, put by for use; a golden liquid, worth more than

liquid gold; so rare and admirable, that veteran wine-bibbers count it

among their epochs to have tasted it! It drives away the heart-ache,

and substitutes no head-ache! Could the Judge but quaff a glass, it

might enable him to shake off the unaccountable lethargy which (for the

ten intervening minutes, and five to boot, are already past) has made

him such a laggard at this momentous dinner. It would all but revive a

dead man! Would you like to sip it now, Judge Pyncheon?