"God bless you!" said Dr. Boekman, seizing the boy's hand. "It may be as you say. I shall try--I shall try--and, Brinker, if ever the faintest gleam of recollection concerning him should come to you, you will send me word at once?"
"Indeed we will!" cried all but Hans, whose silent promise would have satisfied the doctor even had the others not spoken.
"Your boy's eyes," he said, turning to Dame Brinker, "are strangely like my son's. The first time I met him it seemed that Laurens himself was looking at me."
"Aye, mynheer," replied the mother proudly. "I have marked that you were much drawn to the child."
For a few moments the meester seemed lost in thought, then, arousing himself, he spoke in a new voice. "Forgive me, Raff Brinker, for this tumult. Do not feel distressed on my account. I leave your house today a happier man than I have been for many a long year. Shall I take the watch?"
"Certainly, you must, mynheer. It was your son's wish."
"Even so," responded the doctor, regarding his treasure with a queer frown, for his face could not throw off its bad habits in an hour, "even so. And now I must be gone. No medicine is needed by my patient, only peace and cheerfulness, and both are here in plenty. Heaven bless you, my good friends! I shall ever be grateful to you."
"May Heaven bless you, too, mynheer, and may you soon find the young gentleman," said Dame Brinker earnestly, after hurriedly wiping her eyes upon the corner of her apron.