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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 64 pages of information about If.

MARY

Have nothing to do with it, John.

JOHN

All right, Mary, I’m not going to.  But, do you mean one could go back ten years?

ALI

Even so.

JOHN

Well, it seems odd, but I’ll take your word for it.  But look here, you can’t live ten years in a day, you know.

ALI

My master has power over time.

MARY

John, don’t have anything to do with him.

JOHN

All right, Mary.  But who is your master?

ALI

He is carved of one piece of jade, a god in the greenest mountains.  The years are his dreams.  This crystal is his treasure.  Guard it safely, for his power is in this more than in all the peaks of his native hills.  See what I give you, master.

JOHN

Well, really, it’s very good of you.

MARY

Good night, Mr. Ali.  We are very much obliged for your kind offer, which we are so sorry we can’t avail ourselves of.

JOHN

One moment, Mary.  Do you mean that I can go back ten years, and live till—­till now again, and only be away a day?

ALI

Start early and you will be here before midnight.

JOHN

Would eight o’clock do!

ALI

You could be back by eleven that evening.

JOHN

I don’t quite see how ten years could go in a single day.

ALI

They will go as dreams go.

JOHN

Even so, it seems rather unusual, doesn’t it?

ALI

Time is the slave of my master

MARY

John!

JOHN

All right, Mary. [In a lower voice.] I’m only trying to see what he’ll say.

MARY

All right, John, only . . .

ALI

Is there no step that you would wish untrodden, nor stride that you would make where once you faltered?

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