With a bow to Hepzibah, and a degree of paternal benevolence in his

parting nod to Phoebe, the Judge left the shop, and went smiling along

the street. As is customary with the rich, when they aim at the honors

of a republic, he apologized, as it were, to the people, for his

wealth, prosperity, and elevated station, by a free and hearty manner

towards those who knew him; putting off the more of his dignity in due

proportion with the humbleness of the man whom he saluted, and thereby

proving a haughty consciousness of his advantages as irrefragably as if

he had marched forth preceded by a troop of lackeys to clear the way.

On this particular forenoon, so excessive was the warmth of Judge

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Pyncheon's kindly aspect, that (such, at least, was the rumor about

town) an extra passage of the water-carts was found essential, in order

to lay the dust occasioned by so much extra sunshine!

No sooner had he disappeared than Hepzibah grew deadly white, and,

staggering towards Phoebe, let her head fall on the young girl's

shoulder.

"O Phoebe!" murmured she, "that man has been the horror of my life!

Shall I never, never have the courage,--will my voice never cease from

trembling long enough to let me tell him what he is?"

"Is he so very wicked?" asked Phoebe. "Yet his offers were surely

kind!"

"Do not speak of them,--he has a heart of iron!" rejoined Hepzibah.

"Go, now, and talk to Clifford! Amuse and keep him quiet! It would

disturb him wretchedly to see me so agitated as I am. There, go, dear

child, and I will try to look after the shop."

Phoebe went accordingly, but perplexed herself, meanwhile, with queries

as to the purport of the scene which she had just witnessed, and also

whether judges, clergymen, and other characters of that eminent stamp

and respectability, could really, in any single instance, be otherwise

than just and upright men. A doubt of this nature has a most

disturbing influence, and, if shown to be a fact, comes with fearful

and startling effect on minds of the trim, orderly, and limit-loving

class, in which we find our little country-girl. Dispositions more

boldly speculative may derive a stern enjoyment from the discovery,

since there must be evil in the world, that a high man is as likely to

grasp his share of it as a low one. A wider scope of view, and a

deeper insight, may see rank, dignity, and station, all proved

illusory, so far as regards their claim to human reverence, and yet not

feel as if the universe were thereby tumbled headlong into chaos. But

Phoebe, in order to keep the universe in its old place, was fain to

smother, in some degree, her own intuitions as to Judge Pyncheon's

character. And as for her cousin's testimony in disparagement of it,

she concluded that Hepzibah's judgment was embittered by one of those

family feuds which render hatred the more deadly by the dead and

corrupted love that they intermingle with its native poison.