I did not sleep well during what was left of the night, for my mind went traveling backward and forward through the ages. The next morning, at breakfast, Mr. Crowder appeared in his ordinary good spirits, but his wife was very quiet. She was pale, and occasionally I thought I saw signs of trouble on her usually placid brow. I felt sure that he had told her his story. As I looked at her, I could not prevent myself from seriously wondering that a man who had seen Abraham and Sarah, and had been personally acquainted with the Queen of Sheba, should now be married to a Quaker lady from North Sixteenth street, Philadelphia. After breakfast she found an opportunity of speaking to me privately.
“Do you believe,” she asked very hurriedly, “what my husband told you last night—the story of his earthly immortality?”
“I really do not know,” I answered, “whether I believe it or not. My reason assures me that it is impossible; and yet there is in Mr. Crowder’s manner so much sincerity, so much—”
Contrary to her usual habits, I am sure, she interrupted me.
“Excuse me,” she said, “but I must speak while I have the chance. You must believe what my husband has said to you. He has told me everything, and I know that it is impossible for him to tell a lie. I have not yet arranged my ideas in regard to this wonderful revelation, but I believe. If the time should ever come when I shall know I should not believe, that will be another matter. But he is my husband. I know him, I trust him. Will you not do the same?”
“I will do it,” I exclaimed, “until the time comes when I shall know that I cannot possibly do so.”
She gave me her hand, and I shook it heartily.
[Illustration: “She gave me her hand, and I shook it heartily.”]
About four months after my first acquaintance with Mr. and Mrs. Crowder, I found myself again in New York; and when I called at the house of my friends, I received from them a most earnest invitation to take up my abode with them during my stay in the city.
Of course this invitation was eagerly accepted; for not only was the Crowder house a home of the most charming hospitality, but my interest in the extraordinary man who was evidently so glad to be my host was such that not one day had passed since I last saw him in which I did not think of him, and consider his marvelous statements from every point of view which my judgment was capable of commanding. I found Mr. Crowder unchanged in appearance and manner, and his wife was the same charming young woman I had known. But there was nothing surprising in this. People generally do not change very much in four months; and yet, in talking to Mr. Crowder, I could not prevent myself from earnestly scanning his features to see if he had grown any older.