To amethyst and tinct with gold. Round eyes

Of scarlet, spotting tender saffron hues.

Violets sunk to blacks, and reds in orange crushed.


Of every pattern and in every shade.

Nacreous, iridescent, mottled, checked.

Some purest sulphur-yellow, others made

An ivory-white with disks of copper flecked.

Sprinkled and striped, tasselled, or keenest edged.

Striated, powdered, freckled, long or short.

They bloomed, and seemed strange wonder-moths new-fledged,

Born of the spectrum wedded to a flame.

The shade within the arbour made a port

To o'ertaxed eyes, its still, green twilight rest became.


Her knitting-needles clicked and Christine talked,

This child matured to woman unaware,

The first time left alone. Now dreams once balked

Found utterance. Max thought her very fair.

Beneath her cap her ornaments shone gold,

And purest gold they were. Kurler was rich

And heedful. Her old maiden aunt had died

Whose darling care she was. Now, growing bold,

She asked, had Max a sister? Dropped a stitch

At her own candour. Then she paused and softly sighed.


Two years was long! She loved her father well,

But fears she had not. He had always been

Just sailed or sailing. And she must not dwell

On sad thoughts, he had told her so, and seen

Her smile at parting. But she sighed once more.

Two years was long; 'twas not one hour yet!

Mynheer Grootver she would not see at all.

Yes, yes, she knew, but ere the date so set,

The "Horn of Fortune" would be at the wall.

When Max had bid farewell, she watched him from the door.


The next day, and the next, Max went to ask

The health of Jufvrouw Kurler, and the news:

Another tulip blown, or the great task

Of gathering petals which the high wind strews;

The polishing of floors, the pictured tiles

Well scrubbed, and oaken chairs most deftly oiled.

Such things were Christine's world, and his was she

Winter drew near, his sun was in her smiles.

Another Spring, and at his law he toiled,

Unspoken hope counselled a wise efficiency.


Max Breuck was honour's soul, he knew himself

The guardian of this girl; no more, no less.

As one in charge of guineas on a shelf

Loose in a china teapot, may confess

His need, but may not borrow till his friend

Comes back to give. So Max, in honour, said

No word of love or marriage; but the days

He clipped off on his almanac. The end

Must come! The second year, with feet of lead,

Lagged slowly by till Spring had plumped the willow sprays.


Two years had made Christine a woman grown,

With dignity and gently certain pride.

But all her childhood fancies had not flown,

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