26

Home, through the emptying streets, Max took Christine,

Who would have hid her sorrow from his gaze.

Before the iron gateway, clasped between

Each garden wall, he stopped. She, in amaze,

Asked, "Do you enter not then, Mynheer Breuck?

My father told me of your courtesy.

Since I am now your charge, 'tis meet for me

To show such hospitality as maiden may,

Without disdaining rules must not be broke.

Katrina will have coffee, and she bakes today."

27

She straight unhasped the tall, beflowered gate.

Curled into tendrils, twisted into cones

Of leaves and roses, iron infoliate,

It guards the pleasance, and its stiffened bones

Are budded with much peering at the rows,

And beds, and arbours, which it keeps inside.

Max started at the beauty, at the glare

Of tints. At either end was set a wide

Path strewn with fine, red gravel, and such shows

Of tulips in their splendour flaunted everywhere!

28

From side to side, midway each path, there ran

A longer one which cut the space in two.

And, like a tunnel some magician

Has wrought in twinkling green, an alley grew,

Pleached thick and walled with apple trees; their flowers

Incensed the garden, and when Autumn came

The plump and heavy apples crowding stood

And tapped against the arbour. Then the dame

Katrina shook them down, in pelting showers

They plunged to earth, and died transformed to sugared food.

29

Against the high, encircling walls were grapes,

Nailed close to feel the baking of the sun

From glowing bricks. Their microscopic shapes

Half hidden by serrated leaves. And one

Old cherry tossed its branches near the door.

Bordered along the wall, in beds between,

Flickering, streaming, nodding in the air,

The pride of all the garden, there were more

Tulips than Max had ever dreamed or seen.

They jostled, mobbed, and danced. Max stood at helpless stare.

30

"Within the arbour, Mynheer Breuck, I'll bring

Coffee and cakes, a pipe, and Father's best

Tobacco, brought from countries harbouring

Dawn's earliest footstep. Wait." With girlish zest

To please her guest she flew. A moment more

She came again, with her old nurse behind.

Then, sitting on the bench and knitting fast,

She talked as someone with a noble store

Of hidden fancies, blown upon the wind,

Eager to flutter forth and leave their silent past.

31

The little apple leaves above their heads

Let fall a quivering sunshine. Quiet, cool,

In blossomed boughs they sat. Beyond, the beds

Of tulips blazed, a proper vestibule

And antechamber to the rainbow. Dyes

Of prismed richness: Carmine. Madder. Blues

Tinging dark browns to purple. Silvers flushed

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