Indulging our fancy in this freak, we have partly lost the power of

restraint and guidance. We distinguish an unlooked-for figure in our

visionary scene. Among those ancestral people there is a young man,

dressed in the very fashion of to-day: he wears a dark frock-coat,

almost destitute of skirts, gray pantaloons, gaiter boots of patent

leather, and has a finely wrought gold chain across his breast, and a

little silver-headed whalebone stick in his hand. Were we to meet this

figure at noonday, we should greet him as young Jaffrey Pyncheon, the

Judge's only surviving child, who has been spending the last two years

in foreign travel. If still in life, how comes his shadow hither? If

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dead, what a misfortune! The old Pyncheon property, together with the

great estate acquired by the young man's father, would devolve on whom?

On poor, foolish Clifford, gaunt Hepzibah, and rustic little Phoebe!

But another and a greater marvel greets us! Can we believe our eyes? A

stout, elderly gentleman has made his appearance; he has an aspect of

eminent respectability, wears a black coat and pantaloons, of roomy

width, and might be pronounced scrupulously neat in his attire, but for

a broad crimson stain across his snowy neckcloth and down his

shirt-bosom. Is it the Judge, or no? How can it be Judge Pyncheon? We

discern his figure, as plainly as the flickering moonbeams can show us

anything, still seated in the oaken chair! Be the apparition whose it

may, it advances to the picture, seems to seize the frame, tries to

peep behind it, and turns away, with a frown as black as the ancestral

one.

The fantastic scene just hinted at must by no means be considered as

forming an actual portion of our story. We were betrayed into this

brief extravagance by the quiver of the moonbeams; they dance

hand-in-hand with shadows, and are reflected in the looking-glass,

which, you are aware, is always a kind of window or doorway into the

spiritual world. We needed relief, moreover, from our too long and

exclusive contemplation of that figure in the chair. This wild wind,

too, has tossed our thoughts into strange confusion, but without

tearing them away from their one determined centre. Yonder leaden

Judge sits immovably upon our soul. Will he never stir again? We shall

go mad unless he stirs! You may the better estimate his quietude by the

fearlessness of a little mouse, which sits on its hind legs, in a

streak of moonlight, close by Judge Pyncheon's foot, and seems to

meditate a journey of exploration over this great black bulk. Ha! what

has startled the nimble little mouse? It is the visage of grimalkin,

outside of the window, where he appears to have posted himself for a

deliberate watch. This grimalkin has a very ugly look. Is it a cat

watching for a mouse, or the devil for a human soul? Would we could

scare him from the window!