"Tell me again," said Dame Brinker, wisely warding off another digression.
"Well, just before jumping from the boat, he says, handing me the watch, 'I'm flying from my country as I never thought I could. I'll trust you because you look honest. Will you take this to my father--not today but in a week--and tell him his unhappy boy sent it, and tell him if ever the time comes that he wants me to come back to him, I'll brave everything and come. Tell him to send a letter to--to'--there, the rest is all gone from me. I CAN'T remember where the letter was to go. Poor lad, poor lad!" resumed Raff, sorrowfully, taking the watch from his vrouw's lap as he spoke. "And it's never been sent to his father to this day."
"I'll take it, Raff, never fear--the moment Gretel gets back. She will be in soon. What was the father's name, did you say? Where were you to find him?"
"Alack!" answered Raff, speaking very slowly. "It's all slipped me. I can see the lad's face and his great eyes, just as plain--and I remember his opening the watch and snatching something from it and kissing it--but no more. All the rest whirls past me; there's a sound like rushing waters comes over me when I try to think."
"Aye. That's plain to see, Raff, but I've had the same feeling after a fever. You're tired now. I must get ye straight on the bed again. Where IS the child, I wonder?"
Dame Brinker opened the door, and called, "Gretel! Gretel!"
"Stand aside, vrouw," said Raff feebly as he leaned forward and endeavored to look out upon the bare landscape. "I've half a mind to stand beyond the door just once."
"Nay, nay." She laughed. "I'll tell the meester how ye tease and fidget and bother to be let out in the air; and if he says it, I'll bundle ye warm tomorrow and give ye a turn on your feet. But I'm freezing you with this door open. I declare if there isn't Gretel with her apron full, skating on the canal like wild. Why, man," she continued almost in a scream as she slammed the door, "thou'rt walking to the bed without my touching thee! Thou'lt fall!"