so that I can put the Court-time back to the very moment!”
“Excuse me,” I said. “I don’t understand.”
Silently the Professor drew front his pocket a square gold watch,
with six or eight hands, and held it out for my inspection.
“This,” he began, “is an Outlandish Watch–”
“So I should have thought.”
“–which has the peculiar property that, instead of its going with the
time, the time goes with it. I trust you understand me now?”
“Hardly,” I said.
“Permit me to explain. So long as it is let alone, it takes its own
course. Time has no effect upon it.”
“I have known such watches,” I remarked.
“It goes, of course, at the usual rate. Only the time has to go with it.
Hence, if I move the hands, I change the time. To move them forwards,
in advance of the true time, is impossible: but I can move them as much
as a month backwards—that is the limit. And then you have the events
all over again–with any alterations experience may suggest.”
“What a blessing such a watch would be,” I thought, “in real life!
To be able to unsay some heedless word–to undo some reckless deed!
Might I see the thing done?”
“With pleasure!” said the good natured Professor. “When I move this
hand back to here,” pointing out the place, “History goes back fifteen
Trembling with excitement, I watched him push the hand round as he
“Hurted mine self welly much!”
Shrilly and suddenly the words rang in my ears, and, more startled than
I cared to show, I turned to look for the speaker.
Yes! There was Bruno, standing with the tears running down his cheeks,
just as I had seen him a quarter of an hour ago; and there was Sylvie
with her arms round his neck!
I had not the heart to make the dear little fellow go through his
troubles a second time, so hastily begged the Professor to push the
hands round into their former position. In a moment Sylvie and Bruno
were gone again, and I could just see them in the far distance, picking
“Wonderful, indeed!” I exclaimed.
“It has another property, yet more wonderful,” said the Professor.
“You see this little peg? That is called the ‘Reversal Peg.’ If you
push it in, the events of the next hour happen in the reverse order.
Do not try it now. I will lend you the Watch for a few days, and you
can amuse yourself with experiments.”
“Thank you very much!” I said as he gave me the Watch. “I’ll take the
greatest care of it–why, here are the children again!”
“We could only but find six dindledums,” said Bruno, putting them into
my hands, “’cause Sylvie said it were time to go back. And here’s a
big blackberry for ooself! We couldn’t only find but two!”
“Thank you: it’s very nice,” I said. And I suppose you ate the other,
“No, I didn’t,” Bruno said, carelessly. “Aren’t they pretty dindledums,
“Yes, very: but what makes you limp so, my child?”
“Mine foot’s come hurted again!” Bruno mournfully replied. And he sat
down on the ground, and began nursing it.
The Professor held his head between his hands–an attitude that I knew
indicated distraction of mind. “Better rest a minute,” he said.
“It may be better then–or it may be worse. If only I had some of my
medicines here! I’m Court-Physician, you know,” he added, aside to me.
“Shall I go and get you some blackberries, darling?” Sylvie whispered,
with her arms round his neck; and she kissed away a tear that was
trickling down his cheek.
Bruno brightened up in a moment. “That are a good plan!” he exclaimed.
“I thinks my foot would come quite unhurted, if I eated a blackberry–
two or three blackberries–six or seven blackberries–”
Sylvie got up hastily. “I’d better go she said, aside to me, before he
gets into the double figures!
Let me come and help you, I said. I can reach higher up than you can.
Yes, please, said Sylvie, putting her hand into mine: and we walked off
Bruno loves blackberries, she said, as we paced slowly along by a tall