THE GOLOSHES OF FORTUNE 99
He could not find the bridge, nor was there any paling. 1 It is quite scandalous how things look -here 1' he said— never had he thought his own times so miserable as this evening. ' I think it will be best if I take a cab,' thought he. But where were the cabs ?—not one was to be seen. ' I shall have to go back to the King's New Market, where there are many carriages standing, otherwise I shall never get as far as Christian's Haven.'
Now he went towards East Street, and had almost gone through it when the moon burst forth.
' What in the world have they been erecting here ? ' he exclaimed, when he saw the East Gate, which in those days stood at the end of East Street.
In the meantime, however, he found a passage open, and through this he came out upon our New Market; but it was a broad meadow. Single bushes stood forth, and across the meadow ran a great canal or stream. A few miserable wooden booths for skippers from Holland were erected on the opposite shore.
' Either I behold a Fata Morgana, or I am tipsy,' sighed the councillor. ' What can that be ? what can that be ? '
He turned back, in the full persuasion that he must be ill. In walking up the street he looked more closely at the houses ; most of them were built of laths, and many were only thatched with straw.
' No, I don't feel well at all ! ' he lamented. * And yet I only drank one glass of punch ! But I cannot stand that ; and besides, it was very foolish to give us punch and warm salmon. I shall mention that to our hostess—the agent's lady. Suppose I go back, and say how I feel ? But that looks ridiculous, and it is a question if they will be up still.'
He looked for the house, but could not find it.
' That is dreadful ! ' he cried ; ' I don't know East Street again. Not one shop is to be seen ; old, miserable, tumble-down huts are all I see, as if I were at Roskilde or Ringstedt. Oh, I am ill! It's no use to make ceremony. But where in all the world is the agent's house ? It is no longer the same ; but within there are people up still. I certainly must be ill ! '
He now reached a half-open door, where the light shone