Her thoughts in lovely dreamings seemed to glide.

Max was her trusted friend, did she confess

A closer happiness? Max could not tell.

Two years were over and his life he found

Sphered and complete. In restless eagerness

He waited for the "Horn of Fortune". Well

Had he his promise kept, abating not one pound.

38

Spring slipped away to Summer. Still no glass

Sighted the brigantine. Then Grootver came

Demanding Jufvrouw Kurler. His trespass

Was justified, for he had won the game.

Christine begged time, more time! Midsummer went,

And Grootver waxed impatient. Still the ship

Tarried. Christine, betrayed and weary, sank

To dreadful terrors. One day, crazed, she sent

For Max. "Come quickly," said her note, "I skip

The worst distress until we meet. The world is blank."

39

Through the long sunshine of late afternoon

Max went to her. In the pleached alley, lost

In bitter reverie, he found her soon.

And sitting down beside her, at the cost

Of all his secret, "Dear," said he, "what thing

So suddenly has happened?" Then, in tears,

She told that Grootver, on the following morn,

Would come to marry her, and shuddering:

"I will die rather, death has lesser fears."

Max felt the shackles drop from the oath which he had sworn.

40

"My Dearest One, the hid joy of my heart!

I love you, oh! you must indeed have known.

In strictest honour I have played my part;

But all this misery has overthrown

My scruples. If you love me, marry me

Before the sun has dipped behind those trees.

You cannot be wed twice, and Grootver, foiled,

Can eat his anger. My care it shall be

To pay your father's debt, by such degrees

As I can compass, and for years I've greatly toiled.

41

This is not haste, Christine, for long I've known

My love, and silence forced upon my lips.

I worship you with all the strength I've shown

In keeping faith." With pleading finger tips

He touched her arm. "Christine! Beloved! Think.

Let us not tempt the future. Dearest, speak,

I love you. Do my words fall too swift now?

They've been in leash so long upon the brink."

She sat quite still, her body loose and weak.

Then into him she melted, all her soul at flow.

42

And they were married ere the westering sun

Had disappeared behind the garden trees.

The evening poured on them its benison,

And flower-scents, that only night-time frees,

Rose up around them from the beamy ground,

Silvered and shadowed by a tranquil moon.

Within the arbour, long they lay embraced,

In such enraptured sweetness as they found

Close-partnered each to each, and thinking soon

To be enwoven, long ere night to morning faced.

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