Of your befuddled wits. I know not why

I am to be your butt. At my request

You'll choose among you one who'll answer for

Your most unseasonable mirth. Good-night

And good-by,--gentlemen. You'll hear from me."

But Franz had caught him at the very door,

"It is no lie, Max Breuck, and for your plight

I am to blame. Come back, and we'll talk quietly.

55

You have no business, that is why we laughed,

Since you had none a few minutes ago.

As to your wedding, naturally we chaffed,

Knowing the length of time it takes to do

A simple thing like that in this slow world.

Indeed, Max, 'twas a dream. Forgive me then.

I'll burn the drug if you prefer." But Breuck

Muttered and stared,--"A lie." And then he hurled,

Distraught, this word at Franz: "Prove it. And when

It's proven, I'll believe. That thing shall be your work.

56

I'll give you just one week to make your case.

On August thirty-first, eighteen-fourteen,

I shall require your proof." With wondering face

Franz cried, "A week to August, and fourteen

The year! You're mad, 'tis April now.

April, and eighteen-twelve." Max staggered, caught

A chair,--"April two years ago! Indeed,

Or you, or I, are mad. I know not how

Either could blunder so." Hilverdink brought

"The Amsterdam Gazette", and Max was forced to read.

57

"Eighteen hundred and twelve," in largest print;

And next to it, "April the twenty-first."

The letters smeared and jumbled, but by dint

Of straining every nerve to meet the worst,

He read it, and into his pounding brain

Tumbled a horror. Like a roaring sea

Foreboding shipwreck, came the message plain:

"This is two years ago! What of Christine?"

He fled the cellar, in his agony

Running to outstrip Fate, and save his holy shrine.

58

The darkened buildings echoed to his feet

Clap-clapping on the pavement as he ran.

Across moon-misted squares clamoured his fleet

And terror-winged steps. His heart began

To labour at the speed. And still no sign,

No flutter of a leaf against the sky.

And this should be the garden wall, and round

The corner, the old gate. No even line

Was this! No wall! And then a fearful cry

Shattered the stillness. Two stiff houses filled the ground.

59

Shoulder to shoulder, like dragoons in line,

They stood, and Max knew them to be the ones

To right and left of Kurler's garden. Spine

Rigid next frozen spine. No mellow tones

Of ancient gilded iron, undulate,

Expanding in wide circles and broad curves,

The twisted iron of the garden gate,

Was there. The houses touched and left no space

Between. With glassy eyes and shaking nerves

Max gazed. Then mad with fear, fled still, and left that place.

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