After his divorce from his wife, Blanche, Judge Cass Timberlane continues to meet his old friends socially and to hold court in his usual honest and effective manner. It is not until Jinny Marshland appears in his court as witness in a routine case, however, that Cass once more begins to find his life interesting. Cass is forty-one years old and Jinny in her early twenties, so he tells himself that he is foolish to think of her in a romantic manner. In spite of his logical reasoning, Cass thinks more and more about Jinny. Within a few days of their first meeting, he arranges to see her again. Dignified Judge Cass Timberlane is falling in love.
He has no smooth romantic style. His friends think him stupid to become involved with a young woman of the working class. It seems strange to Cass that his friends would dare to criticize anyone. For example, there is Dr. Roy Drover, who openly makes love to any and every cheap woman he can, without bothering to conceal his infidelities from his wife. In the same class are Boone and Queenie Havock, both loud, brassy, and vulgar; Jay Laverick, a rich, lustful drunkard; and Bradd Criley, notorious for his affairs with the wives of his best friends.
Cass’s friends are not the only ones opposed to the affair. Jinny’s young radical friends think Cass a stuffy conservative. The only two people who are sympathetic with Cass are Chris Grau, who also wants to marry him, and Mrs. Higbee, his housekeeper.
What his friends think of Jinny does not matter; it is what Jinny will think of them that worries Cass at the time of their marriage. After the honeymoon, they live in his old family home, although Jinny prefers a new house in the country club section. They go out seldom, for they are happy enough to stay at home together. It is the first year of World War II, and Jinny finds work to do in various civic activities. Cass hopes that the work will keep her stimulated. When he notices that she is beginning to be bored by civic duties, he encourages her to accept a part in a little theater production. Later, he is sorry that he encouraged her, for the town begins to talk about Jinny and various male members of the cast, particularly Jay Laverick. When Cass speaks to her about the gossip, Jinny accuses him of being unreasonably jealous and then apologizes. Cass loves her more than ever.
Cass sells some property at an unexpectedly high price and buys the new house that Jinny desires in the country club district. While waiting for it to be finished, they take a trip to New York. At first, Jinny is enchanted with the size and brightness of the city, but soon she is bored by the unfriendliness of everyone she meets. After Bradd Criley arrives in New York and takes them under his wing,...
(The entire section is 1,017 words.)