Raff had started at once, and that was the last Dame Brinker saw of him in his right mind.
On the day when Hans was in Amsterdam looking for work, and Gretel, after performing her household labors, was wandering in search of chips, twigs, anything that could be burned, Dame Brinker with suppressed excitement had laid the watch in her husband's hand.
"It wasn't in reason," as she afterward said to Hans, "to wait any longer, when a word from the father would settle all. No woman living but would want to know how he came by that watch." Raff Brinker turned the bright polished thing over and over in his hand, then he examined the bit of smoothly ironed black ribbon fastened to it. He seemed hardly to recognize it. At last he said, "Ah, I remember this! Why, you've been rubbing it, vrouw, till it shines like a new guilder."
"Aye," said Dame Brinker, nodding her head complacently.
Raff looked at it again. "Poor boy!" he murmured, then fell into a brown study.
This was too much for the dame. "'Poor boy!'" she echoed, somewhat tartly. "What do you think I'm standing here for, Raff Brinker, and my spinning awaiting, if not to hear more than that?"
"I told ye all, long since," said Raff positively as he looked up in surprise.
"Indeed, and you never did!" retorted the vrouw.