Alas, this dinner. Have you really forgotten its true object? Then

let us whisper it, that you may start at once out of the oaken chair,

which really seems to be enchanted, like the one in Comus, or that in

which Moll Pitcher imprisoned your own grandfather. But ambition is a

talisman more powerful than witchcraft. Start up, then, and, hurrying

through the streets, burst in upon the company, that they may begin

before the fish is spoiled! They wait for you; and it is little for

your interest that they should wait. These gentlemen--need you be told

it?--have assembled, not without purpose, from every quarter of the

State. They are practised politicians, every man of them, and skilled

Advertisement..

to adjust those preliminary measures which steal from the people,

without its knowledge, the power of choosing its own rulers. The

popular voice, at the next gubernatorial election, though loud as

thunder, will be really but an echo of what these gentlemen shall

speak, under their breath, at your friend's festive board. They meet

to decide upon their candidate. This little knot of subtle schemers

will control the convention, and, through it, dictate to the party.

And what worthier candidate,--more wise and learned, more noted for

philanthropic liberality, truer to safe principles, tried oftener by

public trusts, more spotless in private character, with a larger stake

in the common welfare, and deeper grounded, by hereditary descent, in

the faith and practice of the Puritans,--what man can be presented for

the suffrage of the people, so eminently combining all these claims to

the chief-rulership as Judge Pyncheon here before us?

Make haste, then! Do your part! The meed for which you have toiled, and

fought, and climbed, and crept, is ready for your grasp! Be present at

this dinner!--drink a glass or two of that noble wine!--make your

pledges in as low a whisper as you will!--and you rise up from table

virtually governor of the glorious old State! Governor Pyncheon of

Massachusetts!

And is there no potent and exhilarating cordial in a certainty like

this? It has been the grand purpose of half your lifetime to obtain it.

Now, when there needs little more than to signify your acceptance, why

do you sit so lumpishly in your great-great-grandfather's oaken chair,

as if preferring it to the gubernatorial one? We have all heard of King

Log; but, in these jostling times, one of that royal kindred will

hardly win the race for an elective chief-magistracy.

Well; it is absolutely too late for dinner! Turtle, salmon, tautog,

woodcock, boiled turkey, South-Down mutton, pig, roast-beef, have

vanished, or exist only in fragments, with lukewarm potatoes, and

gravies crusted over with cold fat. The Judge, had he done nothing

else, would have achieved wonders with his knife and fork. It was he,

you know, of whom it used to be said, in reference to his ogre-like

appetite, that his Creator made him a great animal, but that the

dinner-hour made him a great beast. Persons of his large sensual

endowments must claim indulgence, at their feeding-time. But, for

once, the Judge is entirely too late for dinner! Too late, we fear,

even to join the party at their wine! The guests are warm and merry;

they have given up the Judge; and, concluding that the Free-Soilers

have him, they will fix upon another candidate. Were our friend now to

stalk in among them, with that wide-open stare, at once wild and

stolid, his ungenial presence would be apt to change their cheer.

Neither would it be seemly in Judge Pyncheon, generally so scrupulous

in his attire, to show himself at a dinner-table with that crimson

stain upon his shirt-bosom. By the bye, how came it there? It is an

ugly sight, at any rate; and the wisest way for the Judge is to button

his coat closely over his breast, and, taking his horse and chaise from

the livery stable, to make all speed to his own house. There, after a

glass of brandy and water, and a mutton-chop, a beefsteak, a broiled

fowl, or some such hasty little dinner and supper all in one, he had

better spend the evening by the fireside. He must toast his slippers a

long while, in order to get rid of the chilliness which the air of this

vile old house has sent curdling through his veins.