Mrs. Creede stood by her husband, regarding him with surprise and anxiety.
‘For Heaven’s sake,’ she said, ‘what ails you?’ Mr. Creede’s ailment having no obvious relation to the interests of the better land he did not apparently deem it necessary to expound it on that demand; he said nothing — merely stared. There were long moments of silence broken by nothing but the measured ticking of the clock, which seemed somewhat slower than usual, as if it were civilly granting them an extension of time in which to recover their wits.
‘Jane, I have gone mad — that is it.’ He spoke thickly and hurriedly. ‘You should have told me; you must have observed my symptoms before they became so pronounced that I have observed them myself. I thought I was passing Deemer’s store; it was open and lit up — that is what I thought; of course it is never open now. Silas Deemer stood at his desk behind the counter. My God, Jane, I saw him as distinctly as I see you. Remembering that you had said you wanted some maple syrup, I went in and bought some — that is all — I bought two quarts of maple syrup from Silas Deemer, who is dead and underground, but nevertheless drew that syrup from a cask and handed it to me in a jug. He talked with me, too, rather gravely, I remember, even more so than was his way, but not a word of what he said can I now recall. But I saw him-good Lord, I saw and talked with him — and he is dead So I thought, but I’m mad, Jane, I’m as crazy as a beetle; and you have kept it from me.’
This monologue gave the woman time to collect what faculties she had.
‘Alvan,’ she said, ‘you have given no evidence of insanity, believe me. This was undoubtedly an illusion — how should it be anything else? That would be too terrible! But there is no insanity; you are working too hard at the bank. You should not have attended the meeting of directors this evening; anyone could see that you were ill; I knew something would occur.’
It may have seemed to him that the prophecy had lagged a bit, awaiting the event, but he said nothing of that, being concerned with his own condition. He was calm now, and could think coherently.
‘Doubtless the phenomenon was subjective,’ he said, with a somewhat ludicrous transition to the slang of science. ‘Granting the possibility of spiritual apparition and even materialization, yet the apparition and materialization of a half-gallon brown clay jug — a piece of coarse, heavy pottery evolved from nothing — that is hardly thinkable.’