"George Washington Crosby began to hallucinate eight days before he died."
Astronomical Clock - Prague, 1410
Creative Commons AttributionAstronomical Clock - Prague, 1410 - Credit: Jay8085; Flickr

George's last eight days correspond to the eight days a standard clock will run before it stops and needs to be rewound. Paul Harding's maternal grandfather repaired clocks; and Harding was his apprentice for a short period.  References to clocks and horology are threaded throughout the book: time as a way of creating order in a chaotic world; time as an important element in the world's philosophies, cultures and science