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THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
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THERE WAS THE DOOR — IN HER HAND THE
The Door in the Book
Through which the children of
to-day pass, to walk and to talk
with the children of Bible times
Mary A. Lathbury
New York Chicago Toronto
Fleming H. Revell Company
London and Edinburgh
Copyright, 1901, by
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY
THE KEW TOEK
A8TOB, LENOX ASB
B 1944 L
New York: 158 Fifth Avenue
Chicago: 6} Washington Street
Toronto: 27 Richmond Street, W
London: 21 Paternoster Square
Edinburgh: 30 St. Mary Street
I. The Door is Opened .... 7
//. *■'- In the Beginning " ... 22
///. The Story Told Under the Palms . 43
IV. The Archer 56
V. In the Grove . . . . .71
VI. The Shepherd 92
VII. In the Temple at Shiloh . . .105
VIIL The Little Maid in the Garden . .119
IX. The Little Chamber Upon the Wall . 139
X. The Night in the Desert . . .158
XL The Seventh Day . . . .187
4 3 X 5 6 4 *
THE BIBLE CHARACTERS REPRESENTED
The Little Sister of Moses
Ishmael . . . . .
The Maid in Naamati^s House .
The Shujinamite Woman and Her Son
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
" There was the Door — in Her Hand the
*' The Book of the Life That was and now is
and mil he" 14
" And the Morning and the Evening were the
First Day" 30
'* // was There in Those Flags — We Set the
Little Boat Afloat " . . . .48
'' / Heard the Voice of the Angel Speaking to
My Mother" 64
** He too Walks in the Grove Before the Lord" 76
** It was not I alone did this " . , .98
The Most Beautiful Child She had ever seen 1 10
" Tell Me about Tour Mother^ Dear" . .128
This is Edith. She is a Stranger Within
Our Gates ..... 152
" Tell Me about Tour Father's Dream " .164
" She Saw a New World" . . . .188
The Door in The Book
THE DOOR IS OPENED
DITH CARROLL was born in New
York and at the time this story
■^ begins lived in a tall apartment
house overlooking Central Park. Silence
Sheldon, Edith's mother, was born in
Deerfield, Massachusetts, where she had
lived in her mother's house until she
married Thomas Carroll of Virginia.
Thus it happened Edith was related, on
her mother's side, to an old Puritan fam-
ily, whose early members settled in the
Deerfield Valley in 1735, and who origin-
ally came from the Bay Settlements where
some of the Sheldons had lived since
1640 when they had emigrated from
England. On her father's side she was
related to an old Virginia family whose
8 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
successive generations had lived on the
same colonial plantation for two hundred
These things are essential to a clear
understanding of the remarkable experi-
ences through which Edith Carroll passed
when she made her first visit to her
mother's old home in Deerfield, Massa-
chusetts, in the summer when she was
twelve years old. She had often heard
her mother describe the old Deerfield
home, but never had she dreamed that it
could be so fascinating. Her father could
not go with them and so it happened
that Edith and her mother made the trip
together, leaving New York at noon and
reaching Deerfield's beautiful old street,
lined with giant elms that had for a
century or more sheltered its ancestral
homes, just at dusk.
The Sheldon home was a great ram-
bling house on the corner of the main
street and a little lane and had been built
in 1780, Edith's first entrance into the
low square room, called the fore room,
gave her an impression that she had
THE DOOR IS OPENED 9
entered a house full of mystery. There
were great oak beams in the corners and
across the ceiling and on the walls be-
tween the narrow windows were beautiful
panels carved out of great pieces of white
pine and now yellow with age. Best of
all, there was a huge brick fireplace in
which roared with ruddy splendor great
logs piled high on fantastic iron fire-dogs.
And in front of the fire was a long high
backed wooden seat called a settle and on
the settle sat a little, white haired, old
lady with pink cheeks and bright eyes.
Edith's mother presented her to this
charming old lady saying,
" Cousin Lizzy Williams, this is my
The old lady without rising from the
settle extended one thin delicate hand
to Edith, and said in a clear, silvery
" You have the Williams nose and the
Sheldon eyes and I am sure you are a
good and wise child."
Edith hardly knew what to say to such
a curious welcome and smiled and said,
lo THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" I thank you, Cousin Lizzy. This is
my first visit to Deerfield."
"As if I didn't know that. I have
lived in Deerfield for seventy-eight years
and I know every soul born in the place
and most of the folks asleep in the cem'-
try, and all their children. My brother
Theophilus was minister at the brick
meeting-house for forty years and it was
he who left me the Book."
Then Edith was carried away to see the
rambling, quaint old house and to be
taken to her mother's room. When they
were alone up-stairs Edith asked her
mother what this cousin, whom she had
never seen before, meant by her reference
to her brother, the minister, and the
" It is a very curious story, dear. The-
ophilus Williams was minister in the
brick meeting-house that you shall see
to-morrow, for many, many years and was
said to be so familiar with the Scriptures
that he could name any verse or chapter
at will and Avas believed to know the en-
tire Bible by heart. Folks even said he
THE DOOR IS OPENED ii
seemed to be personally acquainted with
the people of the Bible, as if he had seen
them and knew them as well as he knew
the people of Deerfield. He had a queer
old Bible bound in wooden covers and
after supper Cousin Lizzy Williams shall
show it to you. It's just an ordinary, very
old-fashioned book, but Cousin Lizzy be-
lieves that there is some mystery about
the book. What it is, nobody knows —
not even dear, faithful old Lizzy Williams
who lives in the memory of her sainted
After supper in the antique dining
room with its curious corner cupboards
and immense fireplace, its portraits of
venerable worthies in wigs and strange
coats, its fantastic silhouettes of long dead
beauties, and its surprising secret drawers
and closets beside the fireplace, Edith
went to the fore room feeling that she
was indeed in a mystic house in which
anything might happen. She was thus,
in a measure, prepared for the extraor-
dinary events that followed in a few
moments after she again met her cousin
12 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
in that low browed, old-fashioned room in
this ancient house.
Cousin Lizzy Williams was already
seated in her favorite corner of the big
settle before the glorious wood-fire,
" Sit here beside me on the settle for I
wish to tell you something."
Edith sat on the high backed seat be-
tween her cousin and the fire with a
little thrill of curious expectation.
" I am very glad your mother brought
you back to the old Deerfield home for I
see that you are a worthy child of all
the wise and good men who have gone
before. I, too, shall follow them up the
old lane to the cem'try before long, for
I am an old, old woman."
Here she paused and looked dreamily
into the fire as if thinking of the past
and Edith thought it best not to disturb
her reverie. Presently her cousin leaned
forward and took from a little round
table a book covered, like a library book,
with white paper, now yellow with age.
" My dear," said the old lady, " I have
no property. I live on the exceeding
THE DOOR IS OPENED 13
kindness of your mother and father and
I have made no will for there is nothing
to leave — save the Book. This is my
only precious possession. It came to me
by will from my brother, thirty-nine
years ago. It was his constant com-
panion for years and it came to him from
his father, who was at one time a
minister in Boston, and he received it
from his grandfather who brought it
from Leyden in Holland. All who have
owned it were men of learning in the
Word of God. All of them treasured
this Book and read it. Now, that I have
seen you and, as I know much of your
goodness of heart, I have decided to give
it to you as my last and most precious
gift to any of my relatives."
Edith was surprised beyond measure
at this speech and still more at the
strange gift her beautiful old relative
now placed in her hands.
" Oh I thank you very much, Cousin
Lizzy. I am sure I shall read it with
great pleasure. What is the Book
about ? "
14 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" Life, child ! The life that was and
that is and that will be."
" Oh ! It is a Bible."
"Yes. It is the Bible. And "—here
she paused and leaned over to Edith
and spoke in a changed voice, as if
deeply moved — " there is a legend about
the Book. Each one of all of your for-
bears knew of this legend. Each one
knew that there was a mystery — a
precious something about this particular
Book. What it is none ever knew.
Perhaps, after all, they were only men —
and I was only a stupid, old woman and
it was not given to any of us to know.
It may be that only the pure heart and
fresh young eyes of a child can read the
legend. I hope it is so — for your own
With that the old lady leaned back in
the settle and sat gazing thoughtfully
into the fire, while Edith sat with this
mysterious Book in her lap, lost in won-
der, curiosity and expectation. She
hoped that her cousin would tell her
more, would repeat to her the legend of
"THE BOOK OF THE LIFE THAT WAS AND NOW
IS AND WILL BE "
THE DOOR IS OPENED 15
the Book. For a few moments neither
spoke and then her cousin rose and with
feeble steps went to the mantelpiece and
took down the tall candle burning in its
iron candlestick that had served to light,
with the aid of the fire, the quaint, old-
" I must bid you good-night now for I
am of country habits and retire early.
Read the Book, dear, and, if in God's
Providence it is given to you to under-
stand the legend of the Book, remember
that it will be required of you to report
all you see and hear that others may
learn, through you, to trust in the Lord.
God bless you, — dear, — good-night."
With these words she slowly walked
out of the room and taking the candle
and leaving Edith sitting alone in the
room now only lighted by the flickering
glare of the fire. So remarkable were
the words of her cousin, so earnest and
sincere her manner that Edith knew not
what to say. She felt she could not say
anything and accepted her cousin's bless-
ing and benediction in silence.
i6 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
What did it all mean ? What was this
that would be required of her? What
was it that she must see and hear?
What book was this surrounded by so
much of mystery ? After a little hesita-
tion she slipped down from the settle and
sat on the great rag rug that was spread
before the hearth and opening the book
tried to read it by the flickering light of
the fire. Its yellow pages were thumb-
marked by much earnest reading. On
the narrow margin beside the deep black
type she made out faint pencil marks, as
if some earnest student had made margi-
nal notes as he read. Then she turned
the book over and carefully examined it
inside and out. It seemed to have been
kept on some shelf with other books for
a very long time for the once white paper
with which it had been bound was very
thin and brittle. Beneath this paper
cover she felt another and stronger cover
and, thinking no harm would come to
the book, she tried to remove the outside
cover. To her surprise it split apart and
fluttered to the floor in brittle, dusty
THE DOOR IS OPENED 17
fragments and she held in her hand a
book bound in brown leather at the back
and having heavy wooden covers, black
with age. There was no name or mark
of any kind on the outside and she cau-
tiously opened it to see if there were any
marks on the back of the first cover. It
was yellow with age, but perfectly clean
and clear of any mark of date or owner-
ship. Then she turned to the back of
the back cover and found it also blank.
Closing the book she examined it even
more carefully and close to the fire to get
all the light possible. Suddenly she
made a surprising discovery. There was
on the outside cover the faint figure of
an old-fashioned door with heavy iron
hinges — -just such a door as she saw as
she entered this old home. With a little
search she found a tiny keyhole in the
What did it mean ? A door in a book
with a hole for the key ! Then there
must be a key. Perhaps this was the
mystery of the book — a door — and a key.
Edith looked about the room in almost
i8 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
frightened awe. What did it mean ?
What did her cousin mean by saying that
perhaps she was to learn the secret of the
book. She had given her the book. It
was her own to do as she wished and the
wish came to her to now learn all con-
cerning this strange book. She must
find the key — if key there might be.
Edith rose from the rug before the fire
and sat on the settle with the book in
her hand. For a long time she sat gaz-
ing at the fire wondering Avhat she had
best do — search for the key now or wait
until to-morrow and ask her cousin if she
knew of this door and could find the
key. Her fingers holding the book sug-
gested that she search the book, not with
her eyes, but by touch. Perhaps some
roughness or other indication on the
cover might tell her something. She
felt of the book carefully, but this search
told nothing. Then she opened the
covers and ran her fingers carefully over
the inside of both covers — and was
startled to find one spot on the inside
of the back cover that seemed hard, as
THE DOOR IS OPENED 19
if something were hidden there. She
eagerly rose and going to the table soon
found an old paper knife. With this
knife she tried to cut the paper back-
ing of the cover and to her surprise it
split open with a dusty little snap —
and there lay a tiny iron key black
Edith drew forth the little key and
held it in her hand in silent wonder.
Then she slowly opened the book and set
it upright on edge on the table. There
was the door — in her hand the key.
Then came a sudden impulse to put
the key in the tiny keyhole. She did so
and with a little click the lock turned
and the door seemed to move. Edith sat
down on the settle for a moment or two
gazing at this strange door. She was not
in the least surprised. It seemed per-
fectly proper that a book should have a
door. Perhaps that was the very best
way to enter a book and see what it con-
As she sat there thinking of these
things the door appeared to be growing
20 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
larger and larger. It stretched down to
the floor and up towards the great beam
in the ceiling. Very soon it was large
enough to allow any one who wished to
open the door and enter the book. Then
the door itself began to slowly open as if
some one were about to come out, while
through the crack, streamed a bright
rosy light, as if the book itself were full
of light. Edith thought it seemed just
as if some one had turned on the electric
light inside the door, just as she did
every night on entering her own room at
home in New York.
The door opened wider and Edith rose
filled with eager curiosity to see what
would happen next. The door opened
still more and there, in the brightly
lighted doorway, stood a beautiful young
girl with dark thoughtful eyes that
seemed very kind and friendly. Edith
was not startled or frightened. She was
not even surprised. There were people
in the Bible. She had often read of
them, men and women and children — and
angels. Perhaps this was some angelic
THE DOOR IS OPENED 21
visitor from the Land of the Book. It
seemed all right that this girl should
appear and her coming filled her with a
sense of unutterable peace and quiet
pleasure. She felt sure she was a friend
and wished to speak to her. Then the
girl looked her full in the face and
smiled and said in a commanding yet
" Follow me."
"IN THE BEGINNING "
WHEN the door in the Book be-
gan to grow large Edith was,
for just an instant, perplexed
and surprised. She glanced round the
room to make sure that this singular be-
havior of the door was not a dream.
There was the fire crackling in a friendly
and perfectly natural way. She could
see that its light made dancing shadows
beside the great oak beam in the ceiling.
There was the good old Deerfield rug on
the floor. She could hear her mother's
footsteps in the room overhead. This
was her mother's home — and yet there
stood the door in the Bible now large
enough for even a man to enter.
When the door opened and the strange
girl appeared, it still seemed home. Did
not the firelight shine on the girl's beauti-
"IN THE BEGINNING" 23
ful face? Edith felt it was all right,
must be all right. She found herself
eager to examine the girl's long flowing
and shining garments and even noticed
that her shimmering robe was bound
about her with a curious twisted girdle
of some gray material and that in the knot
in front a beautiful jewel sparkled in the
After an instant's pause the girl spoke
" Be not afraid. Follow me."
Without fear or hesitation, without
thought or wish, except to obey, Edith
moved nearer to the door. The girl
offered her hand and Edith took it gladly,
for it seemed both invitation and guid-
ance into some new and beautiful country,
the like of which it had never entered her
mind to imagine. It must be good to go
where so sweet a friend would lead the
So it was that Edith took the girl's
hand and together they entered the door
in the Book. The door closed softly be-
hind them and then the light suddenly
24 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
went out and it became quite dark. For
a moment she was alarmed and said,
" Oh ! Why is it so dark ? "
" Be not afraid. We shall come to the
light presently. Keep fast hold of my
hand and I will be your guide."
Edith was reassured and walked on a
few steps more and then the darkness
seemed uncertain, now black, now gray,
and again gloomy as upon a stormy day.
Things about them, whatever they were,
seemed vast, vague and without form, and
"Why are things so strange? What
place is this? "
*' This is the first chapter of the Book
" Why is it so wild and stormy here ?
Why was it so black when the door closed?
I thought it would be light here."
" You entered the Book by the door
and came to the first verse in the first
chapter — ' in the beginning.' Then we
walked on and now we have come to the
second verse. Even now the earth is
without form and void. Wait a moment.
"IN THE BEGINNING" 25
Say nothing, but wait — in silence — for the
Spirit of God moveth upon the face of the
The darkness, the sudden sense of vast,
unknown spaces all about her, and above
all the girl's strange words, seemed to fill
her with wonder and reverent awe, and
she stood in this unknown place beside
this unknown girl with bent head, but
without fear or doubt. Then the girl
" Come. Let us go."
For a moment or two Edith walked on
through the gloom guided only by the
friendly touch of the girl's hand. Sud-
denly it became strangely light, yet there
seemed to be neither sun nor moon. Far
away on every side spread the great and
" Oh ! " said Edith. " How beautiful.
It cannot be we are on the sea — on
" We have come to the third verse."
" The third verse ? I do not know
what you mean. What place is this ? "
The girl smiled and said,
26 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" This is the first chapter of Genesis
and we have passed through the first and
second verses since you entered the door."
" Oh ! You mean we are in the Bible ? "
" Of a verity — at the third verse of
" Oh ! Yes. Now I remember — ' And
God said, Let there be light.' "
" He hath just spoken it — and this is
the light of the first day."
" And I am in the Bible — and I am
myself — and see the light of the first day ?
I cannot believe it. Tell me. Did you
come here — to-day ? "
"Oh! No. No. I live here all the
time. My name is Cornelia. I am Con-
cordance, the Keeper of Texts. People
who wish to find a text often consult me
as to where the text may be. I heard
you unlock the door and I came quickly,
because I thought you might wish to find
*' No. Thank you, I do not care for
any particular text. I unlocked the
door because I Avished to see what was
inside the Book. And then you were so
"IN THE BEGINNING" 27
kind as to welcome me that I felt I would
like very much — well — just to see what
the Bible contained."
" Oh ! You are surely welcome. It is
not given to many to enter by the door,
and I shall be very glad to lead you to
any part of the Book you may wish to see.
First, tell me your name."
" My name is Edith."
" Edith. I do not recall that name
anywhere in the Book. It is a name of a
pleasant sound. You are very welcome
" And you live here — in the Book? "
" Yes. When any one wishes a text in
Exodus, or perhaps in Revelation, or in
Samuel or Ruth, I find it for them, for
there be many readers of the Book who
are infirm of memory."
" Ruth and Samuel I Do they live
Cornelia smiled and nodded.
" And do you know them ? "
'' Of a verity. I know them well."
" And are they real — I mean can I see
them and speak to them ? "
28 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" Of a certainty you can."
" But it is all so strange. They lived
long ago — and I live now. I don't quite
understand it all."
"It is a mystery. Let me make it
plain. By entering the Book by the
door you came, though a modern child,
to very ancient times, even to the be-
ginning. You are here on this first of
created days, when the Spirit of God
moved upon the face of the waters and
see all things as they are, and yet, to all
the people of the Book you are not yet
To Edith the girl's speech seemed
full of strange contradictions and she
could not help a certain perplexity and
" But I am here and I see you and hear
you and I see the water and these clouds
all about us."
" Yes. Because your eyes have been
unsealed that you may see all things in
" And if I should meet Ruth, will she
see and know me as I am ? "
"IN THE BEGINNING" ig
"Yes. When her eyes are unsealed."
Here it began to grow slowly dark and
Edith asked what it meant.
"It is the evening of the first day.
We have walked on through the Book
and we have come to the fifth verse."
Still a little perplexed, and also alarmed,
at the growing darkness, Edith stopped
and stood irresolute, not knowing what to
do. The girl seemed to read her thoughts
" Be not afraid, Edith. No harm can
The girl seemed so calm, so wise and so
friendly and, with it all, so like a real,
living girl, but a little older than herself,
that Edith felt sure she could believe and
trust her. They walked on together
through the darkness and then, after a
little thought, she said,
" It is all so new to me I haven't
thought, yet, where I would like to go.
Wait. I think I would like to see that
day when the first sun appeared and the
" That is very near. It is only from
30 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
the fifth to the fourteenth verse. We can
soon be there."
They both walked on through the
darkness of the first night and soon, to
Edith's surprise, the darkness began to
slowly melt away. Before them the sky
seemed to put on a pearly gray. As they
walked it seemed as if they were crossing
a grassy field, and she thought she saw
the dim forms of trees on either hand.
The air grew soft and fragrant with many
flowers. Slowly the silvery light seemed
to blush with glad surprise. High over-
head lovelj?- shades of blue appeared. It
grew lighter at every step, and then they
paused upon a sloping hillside, for the
sunrise was at hand.
For the next half hour Edith stood
lost in wonder and admiration at the
splendid rising of the sun over the sea.
The sloping grassy field on which they
stood reached down to the beach, where
she could see the white foam of the surf.
It seemed to Edith that never in all her life
had she seen or even imagined a more
splendid and glorious sunrise. And she
" AND THE MORNING AND THE EVENING WERE
THE FIRST DAY"
"IN THE BEGINNING" 31
and Cornelia, alone of all living things,
saw the rising of the sun on this, the
fourth created day. The breeze stirred
the leaves of the trees in gentle whisper-
ings, and now and then they caught the
roar of the surf, but all else was silent.
" Why is it so very still ? I do not
hear a single bird."
" You forget. That is not until we
come to the twentieth verse. We can go
on to that verse if you wish."
" No. Not now. The world is so
fresh, so new and beautiful I want to
see more — as it appears this fourth
Then for hours they both walked on
admiring the thousand varied beauties
of the land and sea. It did not seem to
Edith that she felt hunger or thirst or
weariness. Life seemed so sweet and
fresh she could not tire of seeing more
and more of the book. After a while,
the evening came and the sun went
down, behind great silent mountains, in
heavenly splendor and Edith looked up
and saw the silver bow of a new moon.
32 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
Then came out the familiar stars and she
" Oh ! There is Orion and the Pleia-
des. I never knew they could be so
" Ah. Now I know the text you want
to find. ' Canst thou bind the sweet in-
fluences of Pleiades or loose the bands of
Orion ? ' It is the thirty-eighth of Job.
Do you want to see that text ? "
Edith shook her head and smiled and
was silent, for she began to realize how
wonderful were her opportunities in thus
entering the Book by its door. She
could go slowly on and see all the
wonder of the first created days. If the
girl was right, she could also go to other
parts of the Book. What had she best
do, where go first? She began to run
over in her mind the people and places
of the Book and she was mortified to find
how very little she really knew about
Cornelia seemed to understand and said,
" Perhaps you would like to see other
places or visit certain people ? "
"IN THE BEGINNING" 33
" And can I see any one I wish ? "
" Of a truth. I will gladly lead you
to Elijah or Paul or Solomon or to
" Can I see David — I mean the boy
David? Could I see Samuel in the
'^ The boy Samuel is in the first Book
of Samuel, the third chapter. It is not
far. We can soon be in Shiloh."
" And can I talk with him and shall I
"It is given to those who enter by the
door to understand. Now, would you
not like to see Ruth ? She is a very
pleasant person and of a loving heart.
And there is Esther. She is of a comely
presence. Shall we not make her a
These words filled Edith with wonder-
ing delight. Never had she imagined so
remarkable an experience. To meet and
see these people of the Book, to visit their
homes, to hear all they might have to
tell her of themselves, their thoughts and
their lives, would be a pleasure far be-
34 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
yond anything she had ever dreamed.
If this was the meaning of entering the
Book by the door she was more glad that
she had come than any words could tell.
Now it was she understood the full meas-
ure of the great gift she had received
from her cousin when she had given her
the Book with a door. Then she turned
a face upon her companion that beamed
with new pleasure.
" Let me first see the people of the
" You have chosen wisely. Shall we
visit King Solomon or Moses, the law-
" I would prefer to see the younger
people. Could I not see the children of
" You can see any one you wish.
Whom shall we visit first ? "
'' I hardly know whom to see first. I
want to meet them all. Oh ! I remem-
ber ! There is the girl — I do not recall
her name. I mean the 3'oung sister
of Moses who met the daughter of
"IN THE BEGINNING" 3^
Cornelia smiled sadly and said, half in
" You are like many that seek my ad-
vice. You do not know any of the text
concerning the infant Moses."
" I am sorry to say I do not. When I
return home I shall study the Book more
"Why not study it now? You can
meet the children of the Book face to
face. Why not learn of them ? "
To Edith the girl's words seemed to
promise still another and unexpected
pleasure. To learn from David and
Samuel would certainly be most interest-
ing and she said,
" I wish you would take me to that
girl in Egypt, to-morrow. It is night
now and we might not be able to find
her in the dark."
" That need not hinder us from find-
ing her. All the verses in the Book are
like pictures. One picture may be of
day, another may show the twilight or
the midnight hour. It is night in this
nineteenth verse. In some other verse it
36 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
may be broad daylight. You will un-
derstand this better as we go from text
to text throughout the Book."
" Is the place where the girl lives far ?
Is it in this part — I mean is it in this
part of the world ? "
" No. It is in another time and place.
It is not in Genesis at all, but in the sec-
ond of Exodus. We might go on through
the whole of Genesis, through each chap-
ter in turn, but that would only weary
you. Take my hand and I will guide
you safely by another path whereby we
may reach our desired haven quickly.
Above all do not be frightened at the
Edith took her friend's hand and to-
gether they walked on under the stars of
that fourth night. The moon already a
golden copper color, was sinking in the
west and Edith saw that it would soon
disappear behind the lofty purple moun-
tain-tops lifted in solemn silence in the
star-decked sky. Then, to her surprise,
the golden crescent began to slowly fade
and melt away. The stars grew dim and
IN THE BEGINNING" 37
one by one went out like dying lamps
bereft of oil. Even the mountains grew
dim and faint and had it not been for
her friend's warning she might have
cried out in terror that the very world
was dissolving into nothingness before
her. She felt the warm pressure of her
friend's hand on her own and was reas-
sured and held her peace though lost in
wonder and surprise.
Then she began to notice that the very
ground on which they walked seemed to
change its character. It seemed as if
they had left the grassy fields and had
entered upon some sandy place like a
beach by the seashore.
Presently the sky seemed to grow
brighter and the air became warm and
dry as of some desert place. Very soon
it was broad daylight with a bright sun
high in the cloudless dark blue sky.
The sea and the mountains had utterly
disappeared and Edith saw that they
were walking along the sandy bank of a
wide and muddy river. On one hand
lay the great, swiftly flowing stream and
38 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
on the other stretched away a wide, un-
dulating sandy plain.
"What place is this?"
" This is the Egypt of that King who
knew not Joseph. The place in the
Book is the first of Exodus."
" Oh ! " cried Edith in alarm. " Who
are these dreadful people ? How savage
and cruel they are. Will they not see
us and do us some harm with their ter-
rible Avhips ? "
" Nay. Fear not. To all we shall
meet in the Book you are as one not yet
born. They cannot see you until I un-
seal their eyes."
Edith stood gazing on the extraordinary
scene before her in surprise and in fear,
for, in spite of her friend's words, she was
terrified at the aspect of the men she saw
not far away on the sandy plain. There
she saw a rude heavy wooden wagon and
on the wagon was a figure of an immense
lion carved in rosy granite. Horses there
were none and in place of horses there
were hundreds of wild, savage looking
men harnessed to long ropes and with
"IN THE BEGINNING" 39
dreadful toil dragging the great wagon
and its fearful load through the heavy
sand. On the wagon and beside the men
were others in white garments armed
with long whips and beating the men as
if they were beasts of burden.
'' Take me away. Lead me back to the
door. I cannot bear to see such terrible
things. Oh ! Those men are so cruel,
" I wanted you to see this thing be-
cause then you can understand what will
follow. These cruel task-masters are the
Egyptians. These men in bondage to
them are the children of Israel."
'' But cannot some one help them ?
Cannot some man stop this cruelty ? "
" There is already born in this land
one who will lead these people out of
Egypt. Let us go on for, haply, we
may find his sister and learn more con-
They walked on along the shore of the
river and the horrible scene slowly faded
away. Soon Edith saw before them beau-
tiful palms and not far away a marble
40 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
building surrounded by gardens. Be-
yond she saw strange monuments and
statues of curious creatures with the
heads of birds and the bodies of men.
In the distance there arose pointed
mountains of stone and she knew they
must be pyramids. Off on the great
river she saw beautiful boats with col-
ored sails and, as one boat, with its many
oars, passed quite near the shore, she
heard curious sounds of music as of
harps and cymbals. On the deck under
colored canopies were many young girls
and women in beautiful robes. The
whole scene seemed to be full of light
and joy and music as if cruel task-mas-
ters had never invaded this peaceful
" These are the Egyptians of this time,"
said Cornelia in explanation of the scene.
" You saw the children of Israel and
hither comes one who can tell you much
concerning her people and her brother
who is one day to deliver them out of
Edith looked along the river bank and
"IN THE BEGINNING" 41
saw a small child about seven years old
walking towards them. She wore a
single white cotton garment and her feet
and arms were bare. Above her black
hair, that fell loosely upon her shoulders,
she wore a narrow white scarf or hood to
protect her from the sun. She was gaz-
ing far off on the river and looking wist-
fully at the pleasure crafts that were sail-
ing so gaily over the wide river.
" She does not seem to see us."
" No. Not yet. I will unseal her eyes
presently and then she can talk with
you. I must leave you with her for a
little while, for some one has been asking
for a text and I must go to their assist-
ance. Do not be alarmed if I am de-
tained, for there be many teachers of
the Word who are of a controversial
mind — and they often make me journey
from Exodus to Revelation looking for
texts that they should know by heart."
With that Cornelia went up to the
small child and gravely kissed her upon
her eyes and straightway the girl smiled
and looked towards Edith and then came
42 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
forward as if curious to meet so great a
stranger in her land.
Cornelia also came forward and stood
by her side.
" This is Edith. She is of a far coun-
try and has asked to meet thee. I must
leave you both now for a little space."
Then she said to Edith, " This maid is of
the people of Israel. Abide with her
until I return."
With these words Cornelia walked
away and was soon lost to view beyond
some palm trees and Edith and the
strange girl stood together on the banks
of the Nile in ancient Egypt, surprised,
yet mutually pleased at this most unex-
THE STORY TOLD UNDER THE PALMS
FOR a moment or two neither Edith
nor the young girl spoke, for the
child seemed timid and a little
suspicious, and Edith did not know ex-
actly how to approach so singular a girl
in such a strange place. Edith made the
first advance by offering her hand in a
friendly way. The girl seemed to be re-
assured and said in a soft sweet voice,
" Peace be with thee."
Edith did not know exactly what to
say to such a salutation and the girl
added with just a touch of alarm,
" Art thou of the Egyptians ? "
Edith smiled and shook her head.
" Thy raiment is not of any tribe I
ever saw. If thou art not of Egypt then
art thou one of God's children ? "
" Oh ! I hope so. I suppose we must
all be His children."
44 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" Ah ! I do not suppose — I know I
am the Lord's handmaiden."
" You see, I am a stranger. I only just
now came here by the door of the Book."
The girl seemed to be greatly pleased
at this and at once became friendly and
" Oh ! I am most glad of that for
thou art favored above all maids to
have come to the Book by that way. I
am truly rejoiced to meet thee for thou
must be a maid beloved of the Lord.
Come, let us sit awhile in the shade of
these palms for I have much to tell thee
concerning the great mercies the Lord
hath bestowed upon my father arid my
mother and my little brother. And oh !
I would tell thee of my fears for my
brother, for he must soon leave us. I
would tell thee all for haply thee may
help me in my great sorrow."
'' I am sure I hope I can."
" I am sure thou canst, for I judge
thou hast a good heart and may be wise
above all maids I have ever seen. Let
us rest under these palms."
TOLD UNDER THE PALMS 45
With these words the girl led Edith to
a group of tall palms whose great flutter-
ing leaves made a spot of shifting shade
on the sand. Here they both sat down
and, for a moment or two, sat gazing at
the beautiful scene before them. Op-
posite, by the river bank, were many
flags and rushes growing in the shallow
water. To Edith they seemed just like
the tall " cat tails " she had seen in the
meadows at Van Cortland Park. There
was a soft warm breeze blowing over the
great river and a gentle surf broke upon
the beach just as she had seen it on
summer days along the seashore at home.
There was not a cloud in the deep blue
sky and the sunlight lay warm on the
shining sands all about them. After a
little the girl said,
" At first, I was afraid lest thou art of
the Egyptians, but now I perceive that
thou art a stranger here. If I tell thee
somewhat concerning my father and
mother and my little brother thou wilt
not betray me to the Egyptians ? "
"Oh, no. Certainly I will not. 1
46 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
wish to be your friend and hear more
about your brother. Where is he now? "
'' He is at home with my mother, for,
since the day when Pharaoh's daughter
found him he has been safe from the
cruelty of the Egyptians. We live not
far way, for father works in the brick-
yard for the Egyptians. It is not a
goodly place to live, but father must live
near the yard for the Egyptians be hard
task-masters. Thou canst know but
little of the misery of my people.
Pharaoh hath set over the Lord's people
task-masters to afflict us with heavy
burdens. Sometimes I murmur in my
heart that Joseph was ruler over Egypt
and that he brought the sons of Israel
here, for it has ended in more misery
than my people can bear. And then I
repent of my repining. We are the
Lord's people. Some day, in His good
time. He will send us a great captain who
shall lead "
" Oh ! I am sure He will — I know He
will. There is coming a great leader
who will lead your people "
TOLD UNDER THE PALMS 47
" Now I am sure thou art the daughter
of some prophet in thine own country.
How canst thou know of these things?
Who is this leader ? Hast thou seen his
star in the East ? All great men have been
born beneath a star. Even the priests of
the Egyptians will tell thee that."
Edith was perplexed and troubled by
these eager questions. How could she
speak of things that could not be known
to the girl? How could she ever ex-
plain to this girl, living so long ago, the
many things that have happened since
her time. She must not tell her any-
thing, and yet, she might, at least, give
her some little light and hope, for it was
plain she was very sorrowful by reason
of the oppression of her people.
" Dear heart. I am not the daughter
of any prophet. I am but a girl like
yourself and I would hear more about
thy mother and thy brother."
Unconsciously Edith had dropped into
the language of the girl herself and it
seemed to please the child and she con-
tinued her story.
48 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" Not long ago Pharaoh commanded
every one of his people saying, ' Every
son that is born of the children of Israel
ye shall cast into the river.' Think of
it ! So cruel, so wicked to destroy all the
men children. Father was of the house
of Levi and I was the eldest and then my
little brother was born. I wanted to run
and tell all our kinsfolk and my girl
friends saying, * Eejoice with me for unto
us a son is born.' But I had to go about
mute and only a few guessed the truth
that shone in my eyes. We dare not
trust any man, lest he tell some Egyptian
and the Egyptian take the child away
from us and we see it no more."
The child seemed to be greatly de-
pressed and paused as if unable to go on.
After a pause Edith said,
" Tell me more, dear. What happened
next ? "
" We hid the boy — for three dreadful
months. We let no man enter the house.
Mother went out alone and I did mind
the child in a little closet where there
was no window. And father made as if
TOLD UNDER THE PALMS 49
he had no son — which was a hard matter
for any man. And then it came that it
was no longer possible to hide the child
and mother and I made a little ark for
him, with a cover over the top. It was
woven of rushes and we closed the cracks
with slime and pitch, as it were a boat,
and mother laid the boy in it and early
in the morning, before any stirred, we
set it afloat on the water right there where
thou seest the flags by the river bank.
" And mother went away, weeping bit-
terly, and hid herself in the house. I
could not go for I was anxious for the
child, but as many began to pass along
the bank I feared they might see the ark
and destroy it, if I watched by it, so I
withdrew to these palms and hid myself
behind that acacia bush where I could
see the place where the ark lay and they
that passed would not be mindful of my
" I waited about three hours and then I
heard music and singing and I knew that
some Egyptian woman came with her
maids to bathe in the river. I kept very
50 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
still behind the acacia bush lest they see
me and as I looked I saw it was some Prin-
cess of the House of Pharaoh and I was
sore afraid lest she see the ark. Then
she came nearer and I saw by her dress
it was the very daughter of Pharaoh come
with her maids to wash. And as they
passed the place where the little ark lay
she must have seen it for I saw one of the
maids lift up the hem of her robe as if
she would wade in the shallow water. I
knew the maid was seeking the ark so I
prayed to the Lord for help and I walked
forth and went boldly along the shore as
if I were minded to go to some place down
the river. Then as I approached them I
saw the maid drag the little boat ashore
and when she had fetched it to Pharoah's
daughter I saw the maid open the ark
and show it to her mistress. Then I
stopped as if I were curious to see this
strange thing. They paid no heed to me
for I am only a daughter of Israel.
" Then I heard her say, ' This is one of
the Hebrew's children/ and the Lord put
it into my heart to say, as it were by
TOLD UNDER THE PALMS 51
chance, * Shall I go and call to thee a
nurse of the Hebrew women ? '
'' And she said, ' Go.' "
" Oh ! " cried Edith, " how brave and
wise you were. It was a grand thing to
do. Of course you called your mother."
" I walked away as if it were no great
matter to me until I got behind yonder
sand hill and then I ran and the moment
I reached the house all breathless and
full of tears of joy, I cried,
'' ' Come ! Come quickly. The daugh-
ter of Pharaoh hath found him. She
bid me find a nurse for him — and thou
must be the nurse.' And mother re-
joiced greatly and said it was the Lord
who had dealt marvellously with us.
'' And we came quickly to where the
Princess stood and behold she had the
boy upon her breast and the maid had
thrown the ark upon the waters. And
we both made as he were a strange child
to us. And the Princess said,
" * Take this child away and nurse it
for me and I will give thee thy wages.'
" And mother took the child and the
52 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
Princess went her way and we brought
the child home openl}^, for it was under
the protection of the Princess. And not
one of all our kinsfolk and neighbors
know that it was my brother, save
Simeon Levi, father's brother, a discreet
man among our people."
To Edith, this story, told with such
truth and earnestness, made a profound
impression. It was so real, so true that
she could only hold the girl's rough,
brown hand in her own in silent sym-
pathy. She sat thus looking out on the
scene of this wonderful tale trying to
think what she could say to cheer and
comfort the girl.
" Where is your brother now ? "
" At home. All I have told thee hap-
pened ten months ago. Soon my brother
will be old enough to go to Pharaoh's
palace. He is to be the very son of
Pharaoh's daughter. He is to be edu-
cated as an Egyptian. He will grow up
to forget our people."
" Oh, no, no. I am sure he will never
do that. Be comforted, dear. It must
TOLD UNDER THE PALMS 53
be God's will. Did He not save the
boy's life, did He not bring Him back to
your mother's arms ? Who knows what
great things may be in store for your
brother. He may become learned in the
Egyptian schools and yet, oh ! I am sure
he will never forget you or his people."
" Listen. Something of this has been
in my heart, and now I am glad thou
hast spoken of it so hopefully. I have
dreamed that, just as Joseph was raised
out of the pit to be a great ruler over
Egypt, so my little brother may be raised
out of the river to do great things for the
Lord's people. I do not know how or
when it will be. I only hope and wait."
" I know it will be so. I cannot tell
you, dear, why I know, but it will be so.
I am sure — oh ! so sure it will be so."
" Now I know thou art of prophetic
mind. Thy words have been of great
comfort to me. I see thy friend is re-
turning, and I doubt not thou art minded
to go with her."
To Edith's surprise she saw Cornelia
approaching along the river bank and she
54 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
and the girl both rose from their shady
seat under the palms and went forth to
As Cornelia came nearer the girl ran
forward eagerly and said,
" I am glad thee brought Edith to me.
Her words were as honey in my mouth.
She has comforted me greatly."
Cornelia seemed to be very much
pleased and said she was sorry that she
must take Edith away, and saying, " She
is my guest and we have many to see in
" She can go her way in peace. I am
rejoiced that I met her and shall treasure
all her words." Then to Edith she said,
" Thy mother must be glad in thee, for
thou art comely of feature and of a loving
heart. The peace of the Lord of Israel
abide with thee always, Edith."
To Edith this speech spoken by the
child with such sincerity and seriousness
seemed very sweet, and she impulsively
stooped and kissed her.
'^ Good-bye, dear. I am sure you will
not be afraid for your brother. He will
TOLD UNDER THE PALMS §5
not forget you or your mother, and some
day you may be very glad you stayed by
the little boat as it floated upon the
Then Edith and her companion turned
slowly away and walked along the river
bank in the vivid sunlight. Presently
Edith chanced to look back and saw that
the child had sunk down upon her knees
in the sand and lifted her bare thin hands
and arms to the deep blue sky as if in
thanks for an angel's visit.
EDITH and her companion walked
on along the river bank for a few
moments in silence. This meeting
with the sister of the young Moses was so
real, that it made a deep impression upon
Edith. If it were true that she was in
old Egypt in days that were gone cen-
turies ago, why may she not see more,
visit others in these strange lands and in
these long forgotten days ?
Cornelia seemed to anticipate her wish,
for she said,
" I am called back, just now, to the
Book of Genesis by some seeker after
texts. I shall pass near that place in
Beersheba where the boy Ishmael lives,
and if you Avould like to meet him I can
lead you to the well in the Wilderness
where I doubt not we shall find the boy."
*' Oh, I am sure I would like very much
THE ARCHER 57
to meet him. Is it far from here ? Is it
a long journey ? I do not wish to put you
to any trouble."
** Oh, no, no. It is only a pleasure.
We can easily go about from place to
place in the Book and can soon be in
Then, even as she spoke, the great river
and sandy plain seemed to slowly melt
away, and presently Edith saw that they
were entering upon a strange, sandy wil-
derness in quite another country,
" Where are we now in the Book? "
" We have returned to Genesis, to the
" It seems a very lonel}^ and desolate
" It is the wilderness of Beersheba. I
see a group of young palms to the south.
Let us go that way, for where the palms
grow there must be water, and where the
water is there we may find flocks, and
shepherds or the tents and homes of
They walked on some little distance
and, as they came nearer to the little
58 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
group of young palms standing alone on
the sandy plain, Cornelia stopped and
shading her eyes with her hand studied
the group of trees carefully.
" He is there ! I see a boy under a tree
fashioning an arrow. Wait here while I
go forward and speak to him and unseal
his eyes that he may see you."
Edith stopped and stood alone in the
tropic sunshine, watching her friend with
a curious thrill of surprise and pleasure.
Ishmael ! She had read of him and,
yet, was mortified to find how very little
she really knew about him. She remem-
bered having seen a picture in the old
Bible at her father's home in Virginia, of
the departure of Hagar and Ishmael, but
the place was not like this. Now she
was to see the boy, face to face, perhaps
to talk with him. What could she say to
him? How should she conduct herself
in such a strange meeting? She had
kept her eyes fixed upon her friend and
now saw that she had reached the palm
trees and then, to her great surprise, she
saw a young boy, clad in some brown
THE ARCHER 59
flowing garment, come out from behind
the palms. The boy seemed to recognize
Cornelia, for he spoke to her as if he knew
her well. For a moment they stood talk-
ing together and then Cornelia laid her
hand upon the boy's eyes and he turned
towards Edith and stood for a few seconds
regarding her earnestly. Then she saw
him nod his head to Cornelia, as if con-
senting to something she had said, and
then they both walked out from under
the shade of the palms into the full sun-
shine, towards the place where Edith stood
gazing at them in wondering expectation.
As they drew near Cornelia said to the
" This is Edith, Ishmael."
The boy came nearer to Edith and,
bowing low, said in a full, strong and yet
boyish treble voice,
'' The Lord be with thee."
Edith hardly knew how to reply to
this salutation, and the boy added
" Let us seek the shade of the palms
where the well of water is."
6o THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
The boy turned back towards the
palms and Edith and Cornelia walked
on either side. Presently they came to
the scanty shadows of the young palms
and to Edith's surprise there was a little
pool among the trees filled with clear
water and about the pools grew a tiny
fringe of bright green grass in strange
contrast with the yellow sand of the
desert all about them. Under one of the
trees she saw a bow and several arrows
and these the boy picked up and placed
one side saying,
" Sit thou and thy friend on the grass
by the well."
Cornelia, with a look, intimated to
Edith that they should accept the boy's
simple hospitality and they sat down
side by side, under the trees and the
boy threw himself down on the grass
and gazed upon Edith in undisguised
" Where does thy father pitch his
tents? Has he a good well for his
flocks ? "
Before Edith could reply to these
THE ARCHER 6l
rather perplexing questions Cornelia
" Ishmael, Edith is from a far country
and would hear of all that befell you
and your mother in the wilderness."
The boy seemed to think a moment as
if recalling some boyish experience and
" Dost thou mean the hour when the
angel of the Lord spake to my mother
concerning the well ? "
" Tell us everything as it befell thee."
Edith, surprised beyond measure at
the boy's question, spoke up eagerly and
looking earnestly at the boy,
" An angel spoke to your mother ? "
" Yea. An angel of the Lord. I
heard his voice though I was sore dis-
tressed of hunger and thirst."
" Where — where did this happen ? "
" Here ! Where thou sittest."
" By this pool of water, under these
" Nay. There was no pool here on the
morning of that day, nor any palms. It
was not until the angel spoke that my
62 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
mother saw the well and did give me to
drink for I was nigh unto perishing of
To Edith the boy's words, spoken with
such truth and simplicity, came as a
wonderful revelation. She looked at his
black, serious, yet boyish eyes, his
abundant hair falling on his bare
shoulders, his bare brown feet, his
strange flowing robe, his bare arms and
strong hands in mingled astonishment
and conviction. She was convinced,
this was Ishmael sitting on the grass be-
fore her and speaking to her in words she
could understand. A boy about six
years of age, yet talking of angels and
of their speech.
" Tell her the whole story, Ishmael."
" That I will gladly. Twice the Lord
spoke to my mother, Hagar, through His
angels. The first time was before I was
born, but I have often heard my mother
tell of it to our kinsfolk. The second
time I was with her and I heard the
angel — therefore, these things be true as
I have said.
THE ARCHER 63
'' My mother was of Egypt and she
was a bondwoman and we dwelt in the
tents of Abraham among his people and
kinsfolJi. I troubled not myself with
anything for I was only a boy among the
children in the tents and among the
flocks and cattle until the day when my
mother called me to her side and said we
would depart upon a journey. And I,
being only a lad, set out upon the
journey with much pleasure, for I
thought we were to see new tents and
new people and other flocks and herds.
And my mother took naught with her
save some bread and a bottle of water
which she carried upon her shoulder.
" And we did travel until the noon
hour, straight across the desert and then
we did stop and I ate the bread and
drank the water and I did ask my
mother to what people we would go and
she being exceedingly sorrowful answered
me nothing and said that we should wait
upon the Lord.
" Then did we journey on and rested in
the desert that night. And the next day
64 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
we wandered on all the day and I was
aweary and mother would fain have car-
ried me, but I was no longer a little
child. And, behold, the sun did burn
my head and I did cry to my mother for
water — and the water bottle was empty
and there was no water to be found any-
where nor any tree for shade. And I
did thirst sorely and my mother took me
in her arms to comfort me, but she could
not, for I was nigh to perish. Then she
laid me down by a bush for the sun was
sinking and the night was at hand. And
my mother withdrew herself for, I know,
she feared to see me die, and sat down
over against me Let me show thee
how far it was."
With this the boy sprang up and pick-
ing up his bow and arrow stood before
" She sat over there, as it were a bow-
shot away. Where I put this arrow is
To Edith's surprise and admiration the
boy held the bow in one hand and placed
the arrow in position with the other and
I HEARD THE VOICE OF THE ANGEL SPEAKING
TO MY MOTHER"
THE ARCHER 65
then drew back the bow-string with all
his young strength. The arrow flew out
into the bright sunlight and struck the
sand at some distance and stood there
" You can use the bow well," said
" I can and I take pride in it for my
mother says when I become a man I am
to be an archer."
Boylike he seemed to take pleasure in
his skill and said that when he had made
a new bow he could shoot still better.
'' And when did your mother discover
the well of water?" said Cornelia.
" I know not for I was ill unto death
and waited to die. I could hear my
mother weeping even where I lay and I
called unto the Lord in my distress. The
Lord heard me for soon I heard the angel
calling to her, ' What aileth thee, Hagar ?
Fear not.' And then I heard no more
for I must have fainted and I knew
naught that happened after I heard the
angel of the Lord speak, until my
mother did lift me in her arms and did
66 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
give me to drink. And when I sat up
in her lap behold this well was here in
*' This well — this very pool of water ? "
" Yea. The same. It was not here
when I was ready to perish and, when
the angel spoke, my mother saw it and
ran to it and filled the water bottle and
did give me to drink. Later, some of
Abraham's bondmen did set out young
palms about the well and already they
are growing rapidly as thou seest."
Then for a few moments neither spoke.
The boy had picked up one of his arrows
and was carefully sighting it to see if it
Avere straight, precisel}^ as Edith had seen
other boys do with their tools or play-
things. The child was, indeed, a boy
with boyish instincts and yet he had
heard an angel speak. He had spoken of
his experience in the desert as an actual
event in which he was deeply concerned.
He was sure the angel had come in answer
to his prayer when he said, " I called
upon the Lord in my distress." With
childlike confidence and faith he had ap-
THE ARCHER 67
pealed to the Lord as a real friend and
helper and the angel had come and per-
haps touched the dry sand and the pool
of water appeared. Even now she could
see the little grains of sand under the
crystal water dancing in the slender
stream that bubbled up out of the desert.
And the pool had remained for she could
see the fresh new grass and the young
palms. It was all true — true and real
and she herself saw the desert, the well
of water and the trees.
The wonderful story she had just heard
made a singular impression upon Edith.
It was not surprise, for, now that she had
in a manner become accustomed to this
strange experience within the Book, she
did not regard it as anything very aston-
ishing. It seemed simply real, in a vivid,
lifelike and intensely human and natural
way. She was sitting beside the boy Ish-
mael. She would accept this wonderful
fact with gratitude and complete confi-
dence. There sat her friend and com-
panion gazing at her with a quiet smile
as if to say Avithout words, '' Accept it all
68 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
— and be glad." There sat the boy — a
living, breathing boy — and yet the Ish-
mael of the Book. For herself she simply
knew that she was alive — and yet in the
desert of Beersheba. Edith rose and
stood up, and supported herself with one
hand against the stem of one of the slen-
der palms. Then she looked far around
over the hot, sunny, yellow desert. There
seemed to be a trembling " loom " on the
far horizon, just as she had once seen the
hot sands loom on the sand-dunes of Nan-
tucket. Then she brushed away a tear
from her eyes and knew that it was only
her tears that had come at the wonder
of this experience that had made the misty
horizon seem to quiver in the sunshine.
And oh ! to go on, to see more, to learn
more, to know and see how these children
of the Book felt about their own expe-
riences in these ancient days ! Already
she was eager to meet others, for she feared
she might not have time to make another
visit like these she had made upon the
girl in Egypt and the boy in Beersheba.
Cornelia here spoke to Ishmael,
THE ARCHER 69
" You are most hospitable, Ishmael,
and Edith has greatly enjoyed hearing
the story of God's mercies to you and your
" It was to me also a pleasure," said the
boy, " for I perceive that thy friend is of
a good heart. I doubt not God's angels
have already spoken to her — even if only
To Edith the boy's speech seemed so
truthful and so full of quiet confidence
that she had not one word to say. It was
a new aspect of life and many new thoughts
filled her mind. Such praise had never
been given her before and she could not
find any words that would make a fitting
Cornelia seemed to answer for her, for
" He hath given His angels charge over
every one of us. Now, Ishmael, we must
go, for we have set our faces to a long
" Then will I go with thee upon thy
way — for a little space — that ye find the
70 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" Nay. Stay in the shade and continue
thy labors upon the arrows. I know the
" Then I will finish this arrow, for I
am minded to practice with my bow be-
fore I return to my mother's tents. I am
rejoiced that ye came." Then to Edith
he said, ^' May His angels often speak
with thee, for I perceive thou art a maid
ever ready to hear them speak. Fare-
Cornelia waved her hand to the boy as
he sat down by the pool and took up his
arrows, and he nodded and smiled in re-
turn. And so it was Edith left Ishmael
and with her friend walked slowly away
over the burning sands of Beersheba
towards the west.
IN THE GROVE
WHEN Edith and Cornelia left
Ishmael by the well at Beer-
sheba they walked on for some
distance over the hot, yellow sands of the
desert in silence. Edith was busy with
her own thoughts and her friend wisely
left the events of this visit upon Ishmael
to make their own impression upon her.
They could talk about it all at some other
season, when she had seen other children
of the Book.
To Edith the boy had been so real, he
had shown such faith in the ministrations
of angels that she felt she must try to re-
member every word he had said. He had
said that she herself must have heard
some guardian angel speak to her. It
was the most beautiful thing that had ever
been said to her in her whole life, and for
a moment it made her very happy. Then
72 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
she wondered if it were true or ever would
be true. Perhaps some angel had already
spoken and she had heeded it not. How
would she know if an angel spoke ? She
could not imagine, and yet, she resolved
that, hereafter, she would always wait
Presently she began to look about over
the desert and was surprised to find they
had come to quite another country. The
dreary yellow waste had given place to a
grassy plain, over which roamed great
flocks of sheep and goats and herds of
" Where are we now, and who owns
these great flocks and herds ? "
" We are still in Beersheba — but in
another neighborhood. These flocks are
gathered about the well that Abraham
digged. You remember that Abraham
and Abimelech made a covenant concern-
ing this well. The well is over there on
your right, among those tall palms. I
see some of the shepherds there, watering
To Edith the scene seemed wild and
IN THE GROVE 73
lonely, for there was no sign of human
habitation anywhere. She stopped and
looked at the little group of palms in the
distance, and for a moment wanted to go
over that way and see the place.
" Shall we go to the well ? "
" We have no time, for it is yet some
distance to the grove that Abraham
planted and where he so often walked
among the trees, when he called upon
the name of the Lord. I came by this
path that you might have a passing
glance at these days of the shepherds.
Now we will go by another way to the
tents of Abraham that are not far from
the grove, for it is in the tents, or, per-
haps, in the grove that we may find
" Isaac ! Shall we see Isaac, the boy
who went with his father to the sac-
rifice ? "
*' It is to him I am leading you.
Give me your hand and we will seek
Edith, in silence, took her friend's
hand, for this new name inspired her
74 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
with a new eagerness to go on still
farther in this journey through the Book.
Then, as they walked, the whole, vast
prairie all about them seemed to slowly
melt and fade away. It grew darker and
much cooler and strange, gigantic forms
seemed to grow out of the dim light into
the forms of tall and splendid trees.
*' Oh ! How beautiful ! What a grand
forest. I never saw such splendid trees,
not even in the "
She paused abruptly. How could she
compare the Adirondack forests, noble as
they were, with this hushed and sacred
grove. No breeze stirred these leaves
and the soft and sandy ground was free
of underbrush. The trees were bare of
branches to a great height and their
lofty boughs made a green, arching roof,
here and there mottled with glimpses of
the blue sky. The light was subdued,
and the tall columns of the trees and the
faint fragrance of balsam gave the im-
pression that this was indeed the first
temple to the Lord — not made with
IN THE GROVE 75
" Oh ! It is like some cathedral — such
as I have seen in pictures."
" It is God's house, for here Abraham
daily calls upon the name of the Lord,
even the everlasting God. Wait. I see
some one coming,"
Edith looked ahead and saw at some
distance down one of the dim aisles a
young boy slowly walking with his hands
behind him and with face uplifted to the
leafy ceiling of this grand temple.
" He is like his father," said Cornelia
quietly. " He too walks in the grove be-
fore the Lord. Wait here a moment
while I speak with him."
Edith stepped one side between two
giant trees and stood watching her friend
with curious interest. She met the boy
not far away and he smiled and saluted her
with youthful dignity. Then they both
turned and came towards the place where
Edith stood in the soft and fragrant gloom
of the sacred grove. He seemed a boy of
about her own age and he wore a robe of
pure Avhite profusely embroidered in col-
ored threads. His feet were bare, and she
76 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
guessed at once that it was because he
was in a sacred place. He was strong
and well made, and, while dark, was of
a singularly winning countenance. He
seemed like one born to be a leader
among his people, and yet of a gentle,
affectionate and trusting disposition. All
this she caught in one quick glance, for
Cornelia led him to her and said,
'' This is the maid of whom I spoke.
Her name is Edith. She is from a land
far from here and would gladly stay
awhile with thee in this sacred grove
and would hear something of your
journey to the Mount of Sacrifice — even
The boy smiled and bowed very low
with great dignity and said,
" The Lord abide with thee, Edith."
Then he pointed to a great tree and
" The grove is cool and the sand clean.
Will ye not sit and rest awhile? "
Cornelia and Edith sat down, side by
side, close to the stem of the great tree
and the boy dropped upon the sand be-
HE TOO WALKS IN THE GROVE BEFORE THE
IN THE GROVE 77
fore them and supporting himself with one
hand looked at Edith in evident curiosity.
" Thy name, Edith, is strange to me,
yet I doubt not it is remembered of the
Lord's angels. Wouldst thou hear of all
that befell me on that day of sacrifice? "
'' Oh ! Tell me everything. When
did you start upon the journey and was
it a long trip and when did you return
after your father sacrificed the "
She stopped and the boy seemed
curious to know why she did not finish
the sentence. ^'^
" Thou art already familiar with the
story. Who could have told thee aught
concerning the matter when it was but
seven days since we returned? Thou
must have met some of my kinsfolk,
for we have every day rehearsed the
story of the Lord's mercies to my father
among our people with great rejoicings.
Every day since we returned to my
father's tents have I walked in the grove
calling upon the name of the Lord for
all His loving kindness. It was for that
I am here."
78 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" Edith," said Cornelia, '' has heard
nothing of this matter from any of thy
kinsfolk and would hear the story from
thine own lips."
After a pause in which Isaac seemed to
be recalling a familiar story he said,
" It was in the night season — in the
dark of the moon, which is now waxing
every night, that the Lord first spoke to
my father. And my father said, ' Be-
hold, here I am,' and the Lord said,
* Take now thy son, thine only son, Isaac,
whom thou lovest, and get thee to the
land of Moriah : and offer him there for
a burnt offering upon one of the moun-
tains which I will tell thee of.' Now
this was a hard saying, yet did my father
^' And I knew naught of this, neither
did any of my kinsfolk. How could
my father tell any one of this terrible
command of the Lord? He kept it
locked in his own heart. He was, in-
deed, serious and heavy with grief, yet
he gave no sign of the great burden laid
upon him. It was not until we returned
IN THE GROVE 79
to Beersheba with great rejoicings tliat I
or my mother or any of our household
knew of the command of the Lord.
'' And early in the morning after the
Lord spoke to him my father came to
the door of the tent where I slept with
some of the young men and did call me.
And his voice Avas shaken and his face
was as of the dead. It was before the
rising of the sun and I, fearing that he
was sick, would call my mother and her
women, but he bid me to call two of our
young men and bid them prepare to go
upon a journey. Then he said to one of
the bondmen that he should prepare
some wood for a fire and feed and water
an ass and load the wood upon the beast
together with food for a journey. And
after the morning meal, my father and
I and the two young men set forth
from our tents and my mother and all
our people gathered to see us depart.
There were some who would prevail
upon him not to go, but he only said, ' I
go to sacrifice unto the Lord ' — and they
were content with that. And so it was
8o THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
we departed and none knew whither we
went nor when we would return — save
only my father.
" As for me I rejoiced to go upon the
journey for the way was pleasant and the
young men were good companions and
beguiled the time with pleasant speech.
And soon I ceased to have any pleasure
in it for my father was serious and I saw
his heart was heavy and I dare not ask
him the cause of his grief. Three days
we travelled thus, sleeping on the
ground each night and each day my
father's heart grew more troubled. On
the third night I awoke in the middle of
the night and, looking up, I saw my
father walking up and down in the star-
light and I knew he called upon the
Lord, with great sorrow, for his heart was
broken — and yet he made no complaint."
Here the boy bowed his head in his
hands and rested them upon his knees.
To Edith it seemed as if the recollection
of the journey, that must be still fresh in
his mind, was too much for the boy and
she and her friend sat in sympathetic
IN THE GROVE 81
silence waiting for him to proceed. Pres-
ently he looked up and said in a
changed voice and manner,
" Wouldst thou hear more of my father's
" Tell me no more," said Edith, " if to
do so is painful."
" Nay thou shouldst hear the end, for
my father's faith was justified before the
Lord. I had no thought of myself,
through all the journey. My concern
was for my father, for, in the morning,
he looked abroad to the mountains round
about, for we had come to Moriah, and
pointed out to me a stony hill overgrown
with thickets and told me it was the
mount selected of the Lord. Then my
father bade the young men unload the
ass and he took from his girdle his sac-
rificial knife and filled a pot with coals
from our camp-fire. He bade the young
men tarry there with the beast until he
should return. And he would have me
carry the wood and so it was we departed
for the mountain leaving the others to
abide in the valley."
82 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
Again the boy paused and looked
dreamily away among the dim aisles of
the grove as if thinking of the tragic
scenes of his story. Then with an effort
" In all the journey I had thought
nothing of the lamb for a sacrifice.
There were many flocks along the way
and we could have taken a lamb from
among them. As we went on alone I
thought perhaps he knew of a flock upon
the mountain and I said nothing to my
father, for I perceived that he was very
sorrowful and I would not question him
concerning the lamb.
'' At last we reached the top of the
mount and I laid down the wood and
did help my father build an altar for
there were many stones in that place.
And when all was ready I said to my
father, ' Behold the fire and the wood ;
but where is the lamb for the burnt of-
Here the boy buried his face upon his
knees with a sob and would say no more.
Edith, moved to pity for him, rose and
IN THE GROVE 83
came to him, and resting her hand upon
the boy's head said gently,
" Tell us no more if it is such a grief.
I can understand the rest. You — were
the lamb to be laid upon the altar."
The boy made a motion of assent and
reaching up took her hand in his two
hands and held them in mute thanks for
" It mast have been terrible for you."
He looked up quickly and said,
" Nay. Thee does not even now under-
stand. It was not for myself I cared. I
understood all then. If I were to die —
it was the Lord's will — and I was con-
Here he rose to his feet and brushing
back the hair from his face said,
" Canst thou not see that I now under-
stood that the Lord had bid my father do
this thing as a trial of his faith ? and oh !
for a moment I feared my father would
at the last falter, but I saw that he would
not and I awaited the end without a mur-
mur. Then suddenly I heard the angel
of the Lord calling, ' Abraham ! Abra-
84 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
ham ! ' and I heard my father say in a
voice that was not shaken, ' Here am I.' "
" The angel of the Lord bade him loose
me and when I was unbound I saw a
ram, not far away, caught in a thicket
and we did take the ram and offered him
as a sacrifice unto the Lord and called
upon His name with great rejoicings."
Here Cornelia rose and going to the
" I am called to another place not far
away. I would that Edith be your guest
until I return presently. She has been
greatly moved by the story of your
father's faith. Let her walk awhile
within the grove for she would talk with
you concerning all these things."
" Edith can walk with me in the grove,
if it gives her pleasure. I will gladly
tell her all for she is a maid wise and
kind above all maids I ever met. I
doubt not, the Lord may also have
spoken to her father, or, haply, to her
mother, in her own country."
To Edith the boy's speech seemed so
sincere and so utterly void of flattery
IN THE GROVE 85
that, while she was greatly pleased, she
felt he regarded her as a girl having a
trust in the Lord equal to his own and
she knew that this could not be true.
Cornelia smiled and turned away among
the trees, leaving Isaac and his young
guest alone in the grove. The boy
seemed to be greatly pleased with his
girlish visitor and, with boyish pleasure,
" Wouldst thou like to see the flocks or
the well, or to see our tents, or visit my
mother or father ? "
For a moment she hesitated. Should
she accept this last invitation? The
temptation was very great to go to the
tents and see the boy's parents. Then
she remembered that Cornelia had not
suggested this and might not wish her to
meet them just now. Then she said to
"I think it best I remain in the grove
until our friend's return. She may not
be detained more than a few moments."
" Then let us walk in the grove."
*' That will be pleasant — then, too, I
86 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
wish you would tell me more about the
angel of the Lord and about your return
home. Did you really hear the angel
speak ? "
" Of a verity I did. And after we had
sacrificed we stood before the smoking
altar and the angel of the Lord spoke to
my father a second time. And the Lord
said, through His angel, that because of
this thing and because my father had not
withheld his son that the Lord would
bless all his children and that we chil-
dren through many generations would
be as the stars in that milky path in
the heavens or as the sands upon the
seashore. I have never seen the sea
and I know not the multitude of the
sand, yet have I seen the heavens and
I know no man can number the stars
" Oh ! " said Edith, '' I have seen the
seashore and the sea and you cannot
imagine how many are the grains of sand
even upon one small beach, and in my
country the seashore measures a thousand
IN THE GROVE 87
'' That must be a great land. Have
thy people many flocks and herds?"
The boy seemed to wish to know more
of Edith's home and people, but she
shook her head and smiled and said,
" Let me rather hear more of your re-
turn from the sacrifice."
The boy paused for a moment and then
" Tell me one thing more. Is thy
father a prophet?" Edith shook her
head, for she hardly knew how to answer
his question, and the boy added, '^ I had
hoped thee might tell me how it is that
my father's children are to be so greatly
multiplied in the earth ? Will there be
pasture for all their flocks, and what
cities will they conquer from the people
that dwell in other lands? The angel
said that the children of my father will
possess the gates of his enemies, so it must
be a leader will some day arise and lead
my people to great victories. These
things have troubled me since we re-
turned from the mount of sacrifice, even
88 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
During all this they had walked on,
side by side, through the shady aisles of
the grove so earnest in conversation that
Edith had not noticed that the woods
were growing thinner and lighter. Look-
ing forward she saw that they had reached
the end of the grove, for beyond, out in
the full sunlight, she saw several low,
brown tents pitched upon the grass. She
stopped and the boy looked in her face,
as if expecting some answer to his last
question. What could she say, how
answer him ? Finally she said as gently
as she could,
" Why not wait — and trust in the
Lord ? "
" Thou art wise above many maids —
and yet — the angel said more. He said
that because my father had not failed
in obeying the voice of the Lord, all
the nations of the earth should be
blessed in us. How that may be I know
" We cannot know these things. Such
knowledge is higher than you and L
We are but children, just boy and girl in
IN THE GROVE 89
our Father's house. Why not leave it all
to His Fatherly care?"
The boy seemed to be greatly surprised
" Now I know His angel hath surely
spoken to thee with great wisdom. Thy
words, and thy sympathy, while I told
thee of my father's trial are a great treas-
ure to me. I shall not forget thee and
Just then Edith saw Cornelia's shining
garments among the trees, and she was
glad she had come, for she was oppressed
with her own ignorance and want of
faith beside this boy of Beersheba. As
her friend drew near the boy cried out to
" Now am I rejoiced that thou brought-
est Edith to my father's grove. She has
been a comfort to me, for she listened to
my story with attention, and her words
concerning it were kind and discreet. I
feel sure some angel hath instructed her
" That is true," said Cornelia, " an angel
whose voice you may never hear."
THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" I knew it was so, and her angel must
stand very near the Lord."
Edith was greatly surprised at Cor-
nelia's speech and wondered what she
meant by it. She could not recall any
" Now," added Cornelia, " I have fin-
ished my task here, and we must depart
from the grove, for we have other tents
to visit beside thy father's."
'' Whatever tents thy friend Edith visits
they who dwell there will receive her
with joy, for she has a good heart."
Then he said to Edith, " May His angels
ever speak with thee. Peace be with thy
people, Edith. Farewell."
The boy bowed gravely before them
both and stood watching them with great'
interest as they turned away among the
aisles of the grove. They had not gone
far when Edith glanced back and then
stopped, for a tall man with white hair
and a long, silvery beard had joined the
boy. He wore a robe of white, beauti-
fully embroidered, and, as he stood
listening to something the boy was tell-
IN THE GROVE 91
ing him, he turned towards them and
Edith thought she had never seen any
human being with a face of such divine
"It is— his father?"
'' Yes, the boy's father."
"MIE interview with the boy in the
grove had given Edith much to
think about and, as they walked
on through the silent forest, she remem-
bered that each of the two boys she had
met had said that he was sure some angel
had, as one of them expressed it, " in-
structed her in wisdom." Then Cornelia
had said almost the same thing. Pres-
ently she said,
" What did you mean, dear, when you
said an angel, whose voice the boy might
never hear, had spoken to me ? I re-
member no angel's visits."
Cornelia put her arm about her com-
panion and said with a winning smile,
" May not the angels of the Lord be
encamped all about us every day ? We
are only a little — oh ! so very little
lower than the angels that they may be
THE SHEPHERD 93
nearer than we imagine. May we not be
more closely related to them than we
think ? Then, too, may not any human
being who brings us glad tidings or
speaks words of truth and wisdom be one
of His messengers ? Everywhere in the
Book all angels are called His mes-
" But why did these two boys both
say, they were sure some angel had
spoken to me ? "
" You have read the whole Book.
You have known of the Elder Brother,
of whom they know nothing. It must
be that, as a modern child, you have
something of the Elder Brother's like-
ness, and they recognize it and could only
explain it as an angelic visitation."
While they were thus talking they had
walked on for some distance and Edith
had not noticed that the scene had
gradually changed and that the forest
had disappeared. Presently she realized
that they were walking upon the grassy
slope of some high, rugged mountain.
There was a fresh, cool breeze blowing
94 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
and Edith looked up and saw that they
were standing on a lonely mountain-top
with still other mountains round about
them on every side.
'' Why, what place is this? "
" It is Beth-lehem."
" Not the place where the manger
stood ? Oh ! I should so like to see
"No. Not that little town. I have
not brought you so far into the Book as
that. We have now come to the First of
Samuel and are at the fifteenth verse of
the seventeenth chapter."
Edith looked about with the greatest
curiosity and presently saw a small flock
of sheep and near them, seated upon a
large, flat rock, was a boy clothed in a
curious garment fashioned out of the
woolly skin of a sheep.
" Is that one of the children ? I
don't remember him."
" It is David, the son of Jesse."
Just then the boy stood up and looked
about and Edith saw that he was a hand-
some, strong and well-made boy, a little
THE SHEPHERD 95
older than herself and with an earnest
and thoughtful face. His feet and arms
were bare and brown from exposure to
the sun and his complexion was ruddy
with health and his eyes were keen and
bright. He presently shaded his eyes
with his hand and looked anxiously
down into the green, wooded valley far
" He seems to be expecting some one."
" There is a terrible war come upon
Israel by reason of the Philistines. His
three elder brothers are already with
the hosts of Saul and he is impatient to
join them. I will bring him to you for
I wish you to see him. Then I must
leave you for a little time and you may
abide with the boy until I return."
Cornelia went to the boy who seemed
very glad to meet her and they talked
pleasantly together and then she led him
to where Edith stood, saying to her,
" I have told David of your coming,
Edith, and he is greatly pleased to be
able to meet you."
'' The Lord be mindful of thee," said
96 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
the boy with dignity. " Thy country
and people are not known to me, yet art
thou welcome. Abide with me for a
while until thy friend returns."
This strange presentation to a hand-
some and yet half-wild boy upon this
lonely mountainside was for a moment,
confusing and she hardly knew what to
say, and all she could do was to show
that she was glad to meet him. Then
Cornelia left them and neither seemed to
know what to do or say and Edith
looked timidly about to see if there were
any houses or people near for the place
seemed very wild and lonely.
" Sit upon this stone," said the boy.
*' Thank you," said Edith as she took
the proffered seat. " You are sure it is
quite safe here ? There are no wild ani-
mals about? "
" There are lions here and sometimes a
bear. Be not afraid. The Spirit of the
Lord is upon me. They shall not molest
thee. Listen. I was once with the sheep
upon this very mountain, and a lion and
a bear came forth and took a lamb out of
THE SHEPHERD 97
the flock, and I ran after him and smote
him and delivered the lamb out of his
mouth : and when he arose against me, I
caught him by his beard and smote him
and slew him.
'* It was not I alone did this. It
was the Lord who delivered me out of the
paw of the lion and out of the paw of the
bear. And to think that I must stand
here idle all the day long tending these
few poor sheep when that wicked giant
defies the armies of the living God.
Every day he cometh forth from the camp
of the Philistines and defieth the armies
of Israel to send out a man to fight him.
And our people are afraid. Oh ! If I
were there I would slay him as I slew the
lion and the bear."
" I fear you would have a very poor
chance against such a giant as Goliath."
" Ah ! Thou, too, knowest him. Hast
thou seen him ? Is he truly so great of
stature ? I hear he is six cubits and a
span high and wears a coat of mail, and
his shield is so heavy that a stout man
bears it before him. They tell me his
98 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
spear is like the beam of a weaver's
To these eager questions Edith could
" I have heard of him from others. I
never saw him. He is not of my people."
" Yea. Thy speech showeth that, yet I
Avould know more of him, for, in my
heart, I feel the Lord will some day give
me strength to deliver him into the hands
of our people. Sometimes upon these
lonely mountains I seem to hear the voice
of the Lord calling, calling me to save
*' The Lord God spoke to Abraham con-
cerning Isaac. He hath spoken also to
me. They that hear Him are as the an-
gels that excel in strength, that do His
commandments, hearkening unto the
voice of His word. When I think of
these things my spirit would break forth
into singing. Listen. Alone upon these
mountains have I lifted my voice in His
praise. Let me sing for thee a new
He paused a moment and drew forth
IT WAS NOT I ALONE DID THIS
THE SHEPHERD 99
from his coat a little pipe that seemed to
Edith like a flageolet. He put it to his
mouth and it breathed a soft note, and
thus he spake in the tone of his pipe,
" Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord
my God Thou art very great ; Thou art
clothed with honor and majesty : Who
coverest Thyself with light, as with a
garment ; who stretchest out the heavens
as a curtain. Who maketh His angels
spirits ; His ministers a flaming fire.
Bless the Lord all ye His hosts, ye minis-
ters of His that do His pleasure."
He paused abruptly and sat down on
the grass at her feet and buried his face
upon his knees. To Edith his song
seemed like some grand psalm. She could
only sit there and gaze far off over the
mountains and valleys and up at the wide
blue sky. It seemed to her as if the place
must be some grand cathedral where an
unseen organ filled the shadowy aisles
with music — so deep, so grand, that it
seemed music from some heavenly choir.
Then she turned and looked at the boy
at her feet. He seemed greatly cast down
loo THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
after his song. She wanted to speak to
him and yet dared not intrude upon his
grief. Then her eyes wandered over the
mountainside and presently she saw a
man coming slowly up the long grassy
slope at their feet. She slid gently down
from her seat and knelt upon the grass
beside the boy, and laid one hand upon
his bare brown arm.
" Be comforted. Perhaps even now the
Lord sends some one to tell you of His
The boy looked up and said,
"It is my brother. He hath some
command from my father."
" Arise and meet him. Who knows
what call to duty he brings ? "
" Ah ! " said the boy, standing up
quickly, " Now I know of a truth thou
art the daughter of some prophet in thy
own country. Wait thou here by the
sheep while I speak with him."
To her surprise he ran swiftly down the
long slope towards the man. She rose
from the ground and sat upon the stone
to watch the boy and the man. They
THE SHEPHERD loi
met not far away and she saw the boy
throw up his hands over his head as if
greatly excited over something the man
said. Then the man went away and the
boy came running back to where she sat
on the stone.
" Now rejoice with me. The Lord
God hath called me to the battle. My
elder brothers are with the armies of
Saul, encamped before the Philistines,
and my father hath prepared an ephah of
parched corn and ten loaves and ten
cheeses, and I am to take them to my
brethren and to the captain of their
thousand. Now, let no man's heart fail
because of this giant, for I, even I, the
servant of the Lord, will go forth to fight
with this Philistine."
To Edith the boy seemed suddenly
to have become a man. His eyes were
shining and his whole manner was
proud and self-reliant. And yet how
pitiful it all seemed. What could this
shepherd boy do before Goliath? He
seemed to guess her thought and said,
" It will not be of my own strength.
102 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
Did not the Lord deliver the lion to my
hand, and shall He not give me this
man's life who defies the armies of the
living God ? "
'' I know all that, and yet I wish you
had a coat-of-mail."
" Nay. I need no mail, for the Lord
will protect His servant in time of need.
I have my staff and my sling. Look
you. There sitteth a bird upon the limb
of that tree. I will sling a stone and
break the branch and the bird will fly
away unharmed. I have a pebble
in my script and I will put it in my
Edith did not in the least believe he
could hit so small a thing as the branch
of the tree at such a distance and felt
sure the bird was quite safe. She watched
the boy with breathless interest, and, yet,
feeling sure he would fail. Then he took
a hempen sling from his leather girdle,
and from a bag hanging from the girdle
he took a small round stone. A moment
later the sling was singing round his
head and the branch of the tree broke off
THE SHEPHERD 103
and fell down and the startled bird flew
'' That was well done. You have a
strong arm and a good eye."
" It is not I. It is the Lord giveth me
strength. And shall this Philistine pre-
vail when the battle is to the Lord ? Ah !
Thou didst not mind the sheep and they
have wandered away."
" Oh ! I forgot. I am very sorry."
" It matters not. What are a few poor
sheep when the Lord God calleth me to
do battle in His name ? "
" When shall you see Goliath ? I al-
most wish I could be there."
" Nay. Thou art a maid, and it were
not seemly for a maid to go to a battle.
I shall meet him on the morrow."
'' I did not mean exactly that, but it
would be grand to know that the Lord
will give you the victory."
" Farewell. The Lord calleth me to
do His work. Wait thou here until thy
friend returns. There is none here to
molest thee or make thee afraid. Thou
hast spoken wisely to me and I am glad
104 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
thy friend brought thee to me. The
Lord give thee strength and wisdom,
Edith. The Lord God calleth me to His
service. I hear the thunder of the battle
and the shouting of the captains. I come
— I come in the name of the King of
battles, the Lord of hosts. Farewell."
With this he ran swiftly down the
mountainside, leaving Edith seated upon
the stone. She looked about, and there
was no living thing to be seen. Even the
poor timid sheep had wandered away,
and she was alone.
IN THE TEMPLE AT SHILOH
EDITH looked about over the vast,
wild country. She knew per-
fectly well that she was alone in
this strange place, and she was quite con-
tent to sit a while and think of all she
had seen since she entered the door in
the Book. Already something of this
boy's faith and courage had entered her
own heart. And that girl in Egypt !
She trusted her little brother to Pharaoh's
daughter, because she trusted in the Lord.
Would that she herself might be like her.
And the young archer and the boy in the
grove ! How much they had said to her
that she felt was true and that she must
remember. How much there was in
everything she had seen that she must
remember, if only for her mother's sake.
Presently she saw her friend returning
and gladly went to meet her.
io6 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" A man called the boy and he said it
was a summons from the Lord to go forth
to battle. And he sang to me — a psalm
— oh ! more, more beautiful than any-
thing I ever heard in my life."
" He is to be a great singer in Israel —
and yet he is but a boy and knows it not.
Come, let us go, for there is another child
who abides not far from here, a dear child
whom the Lord called in the temple at
Shiloh. Shall we not see him also ? "
" Oh ! You mean Samuel. I shall be
very, very glad to see him. Is it far from
'' Only to the third chapter of Samuel
in the Book and in quite another place.
Come. We can soon be in the little town
Edith saw the wild country about them
slowly fade and she knew they would
quickly pass to other scenes in another
part of the Book, and she watched the
changing scene with the keenest interest,
for, of all the children in this part of the
Book, this was the one child she remem-
bered best and wished most to see.
TEMPLE AT SHILOH 107
In a few moments she found they were
walking in the middle of a narrow street
paved with stones, and having low stone
walls on each side, and over these walls
she thought she saw the tops of white,
flat-topped houses and the tops of trees
as if the houses stood in the midst of
gardens. There were many people walk-
ing in the street, but they seemed not to
know that she and her friend were there.
"What city is this?"
" Shiloh — that city to which Hannah
brought her son to give him to the Lord.
You must have read the third chapter of
the First Samuel. It is to that place in
the Book we are come. See. This the
House of the Lord."
They had reached the end of the nar-
row street and now came to an open
square, and in this square there stood a
fountain, and a large building, and Edith
knew that this must be the Temple. It
seemed to be late in the afternoon for the
twilight had come, and she only dimly
saw the outlines of the great building.
There was a large door in the middle and
io8 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
a curtain hung in the doorway. Every
few moments the curtain, that opened in
the middle, was pulled aside, and men
and women passed in and out. Waiting
a moment until there was no one passing,
Cornelia then drew the curtain aside and
they entered the great building.
For a moment Edith was confused and
clung to Cornelia for guidance. The
place was empty and dark, and the few
lights, here and there, seemed only to
show massive wooden posts that seemed
to support a huge canvas, as if the place
were a great tent with stone walls and an
awning for the roof Through the rifts
in the canvas she saw the stars. At the
foot of one of the posts there was a stone
seat, and to this seat Cornelia lead the
" Sit here until your eyes become ac-
customed to the light."
Edith sat down on the stone seat in
awed silence. It seemed like some great
cathedral, and she wondered at the vast-
ness, the lights and the silence. Would
there be hymns and prayers soon ?
TEMPLE AT SHILOH 109
Would there be any music? She was
alone yet she was not in the least afraid.
How could she be afraid in God's House,
even in this far time and country ? She
leaned back against the rough wooden
post and was glad she was soon to see
the one dear child of all who lived in the
Book. She even remembered having
seen pictures of the boy, and once she
had seen in a church a christening font,
and beside it there was a white marble
figure of a boy kneeling upon a cushion.
Would he look like any of the pictures
or the white marble Samuel ?
Half dreaming thus in the House of
God at Shiloh, she was startled by the
voice of her companion,
'' Edith, this is Samuel."
She sat up, surprised and more pleased
than words could tell. There on the
marble floor stood the most beautiful
child she had ever seen. He wore some
curious linen garment that left his arms
and feet bare. He wore white sandals
and a beautiful girdle was bound about
his coat. His complexion was olive and
no THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
his face oval in shape, his great eyes were
black and fringed with heavy lashes.
His wavy hair fell upon his young shoul-
ders in dark tawny masses. She could
not tell in the dim light whether it was
a deep, dark red or black with dark brown
lights upon it. He seemed to be about
six years old and his soft pale olive hands
and arms showed that he was a child ac-
customed to live indoors. Edith was so
surprised and charmed that she had not a
word to say, but sat gazing at the boy in
" She tells me thy name is Edith. It
is a strange name. Of what tribe art
He spoke softly and gently and with a
grave dignity that gave her the impression
that he was much older than he seemed.
" You would not understand, Samuel,"
said Cornelia. " Edith is from a far
country and would talk with you con-
cerning that night — you remember, Sam-
uel? You are not busy just now with
your ministrations in the Temple ? "
'' No. The lamp of God is still burning
THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CHILD SHE HAD EVER
TEMPLE AT SHILOH in
before the Ark of God. There are none
here now who need my services."
" Shall we sit here awhile? "
Edith made room upon the stone seat
and the boy sat down beside her, while
Cornelia sat also, with the child between
them. The boy seemed to be pleased with
Edith and nestled closely up to her. One
brown hand rested gently upon her shoul-
der and its touch seemed to thrill her,
like as a benediction. She put one arm
about him and drew him to her for she
was full of peace and a great joy and love
for the child.
" Thou art like my mother. I am
sometimes aweary here — without mother.
I see her only once a year — and yet I am
content for do I not dwell in God's house,
do I not minister to His people every day ?
Besides, since that night — I know of a
truth that God, the Lord hath spoken to
me. It was but a week ago — come next
Sabbath day eve. Yet, if it were a year
I should remember it well. Thou seest
that door yonder, beyond the Lamp of
God that swings by its ch un from the
112 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
roof, that door with the light beyond it.
That is the door to the house of the Priests.
Eli lives there with his two sons. He
hath a chamber convenient to the temple,
lest any that suffer needs call him. My
own place is on this side over there behind
that post of the temple, though I go to the
priests' house when we do eat. My room
is a little place, just a stone seat on which
is a mattress of wool and a linen sheet.
You know that my mother lent me to
the Lord and I must stay where I can at-
tend His ministrations. Before that night
I did sometimes wish I might go out as
do other children. But not now. I re-
pine no more."
" Was it late — when the Lord spoke to
you ? "
" I know not the hour. It could not
be very late because when I went to my
rest the Lamp of God was still burning
just as you see it now. It usually goes out
in the night, but I know not at what hour.
Eli must have lain down in his place
also for he is an aged man. I know not
how long I slept, when I awoke I thought
TEMPLE AT SHILOH 113
Eli called me and I arose quickl}'', put on
my sandals and went across the temple
before the Ark of God and came to the
door over there. It was very still and I
feared sore evil had befallen him so I
spoke softly at the door and said ' Here
am I ; for thou callest me.' And he
turned himself and said ' I called not.
Lie down again.' I was heavy with sleep
and I thought, haply, it was a dream, so
I went back to my place and slept again.
I know not how long it might be that I
slept Avhen I heard a voice calling me —
' Samuel ! Samuel ! ' "
The boy spoke these words in a whis-
per, soft, yet clear and Edith instinctively
drew him closer to her.
" Thou art like a mother who pitieth
her children. Shall I tell thee more ? "
" Yes. Yes. Tell me more. He
spoke — again to you ? "
" Yes, and again I thought it was Eli
and again I put on my sandals and hur-
ried to his place and I came to his bed
and said, ' Here am I ; for thou didst call
me.' And he was troubled and said, * I
114 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
called not, my son ; lie down again.' I
perceived not it was the Lord and went
again to my place and was soon asleep.
And behold, again the voice called me,
' Samuel ! Samuel! ' This time I did not
hasten, because I would not that Eli
should reprove me a third time. And as
I came to this spot I found the Lamp of
God had gone out and the temple was
dark and chill and the moonlight lay
white and cold on the floor and I wrapped
my little coat about me and stood by
Eli's bed and said again, ' Here am I ; for
thou didst call me.' Then was I greatly
troubled for he said nothing for the space
of a moment and then he said, ' Lie down
again, and it shall be if He call thee, that
thou shalt say, ' Speak, Lord ; for Thy
servant heareth.' Then I knew it was
the Lord's voice I had heard and with
great fear in my heart, I went back to my
place and lay down again, but could not
sleep for trembling.
** And after a little space I heard a
voice — a very still small voice call-
TEMPLE AT SHILOH 115
The boy stood up and seemed to be
listening. '' Hark ! Nay. It is noth-
ing. Since that night I often think I
hear Him speak again."
Edith listened in breathless attention,
leaning forward to catch every word.
" I cannot forget it. I start sometimes
in my sleep or in my ministrations be-
fore the Ark of God, thinking I hear that
voice calling, ' Samuel 1 Samuel ! ' "
He paused a moment as if hesitating
to go on and the two girls waited in si-
lence for every word.
" It came again. It seemed to be a
voice in the temple and I arose, but I put
not on my sandals for I knew, as did
Moses at the burning bush, that God was
near. And then I went out into the
temple and when I came to this place
where we are sitting I perceived the Ark
of God and it burned as with fire and I,
trembling and fearful, fell upon my knees
and bowed myself before the Ark and
said, * Speak ; for Thy servant heareth."'
For a moment Edith sat absorbed in
contemplation of the child to whom the
ii6 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
Lord had spoken. This child had heard
the voice of God. It seemed perfectly
natural that he should stand there before
her, clothed in such heavenly beauty.
She wanted to fall down before him and
clasp his knees and look up to him as to
an angel. The boy himself told them no
more. It seemed enough. The message
God gave to him was not of so much
consequence. The one great fact was that
the boy had heard the voice of God. He
seemed to desire sympathy and comfort
as if the burden of the great honor that
had been paid to him was more than he
could bear, for he sat down again and laid
his head upon Edith's shoulder and she
put her arm about him and kissed him
upon the forehead.
" Thou art as a mother to me. Some-
times I feel the Lord hath placed a heavy
burden upon me. Yet am I not cast
down. I shall grow up in His strength
to do His will."
" Oh ! I am sure of it — sure of it."
*' Art thou a Prophet's daughter in thy
country ? "
TEMPLE AT SHILOH 117
'' Oh ! No, no, and yet when I go
back to my own country I shall tell
every one that I meet of all you have
" I am rejoiced at that. I doubt not
that the Lord will speak to many in the
days to come. I know not when it will
be, yet, I cannot believe that I alone am
to hear the voice of the Lord. He called
me. He may call you and others. Thou
must remember that? "
" Yes, yes, I am sure I shall. Oh, I
know there will be many others, but
none could be more sweet and simple
about it than you."
*' Thou art kind to say that, yet am I
only the least of God's servants seeing I
am but a child like yourself."
Then he rose and said,
" I fear the hour is already late and
perhaps thou art minded to return to thy
home. I have much to do in the morn-
ing and must seek my rest. I am more
glad to have met thee than I can tell.
Farewell. Abide in peace this night."
A moment later Edith and Cornelia
ii8 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
parted the great curtain and stood in the
deserted streets of Shiloh. The moon-
light lit up the dark front of the great
temple and Edith looked back at the
building in wonder, hardly daring to
think of all the things she had seen and
heard. Never could she forget the beau-
tiful boy who had heard the voice of God
in His temple.
THE LITTLE MAID IN THE GARDEN
WHEN Edith and her companion
came out of the temple they
found themselves once more in
the great square in Shiloh. It was a fine
clear night and the stars in the deep, pur-
ple-black sky shone with wonderful bril-
liancy and a glorious moon flooded the
silent, deserted square with light and
touched the brilliant ornaments on the
wall of the temple as with silver fire. In
the middle of the square there was a stone
fountain and a tiny, tinkling stream from
a stone pipe filled it to the brim with
water that reflected the moon as in a
mirror. Edith had seen in her grand-
father's old Bible in his home in Virginia
a picture of just such a fountain and with
women in long robes drawing water in
great stone jars that they carried away
on their shoulders. In the picture one
120 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
woman sat on a stone seat before the
fountain. As they came nearer to the
fountain it gave Edith a new impression
of the vivid reality of her experience in
this strange journey to see a broken stone
water-jar standing on the edge of the
fountain and to find a stone seat, worn
smooth by much use, around the foun-
tain. This place was indeed Shiloh.
They both sat down upon the seat to
rest awhile and, as Edith said,
" To think it all over."
Presently Cornelia said,
''I knew when first I saw you enter
the door that you had a kind and sym-
pathetic heart. Your affection for Sam-
uel was a great comfort to the boy. Then,
while you were with David I went back
to Exodus and saw the sister of Moses
and she inquired diligently concerning
you and your people. Your sympathy
was more precious to her than anything
you could have given her, even more
precious than this ruby in my girdle and
that is a jewel of great price."
Edith looked at the wonderful gem in
THE LITTLE MAID 121
the girl's girdle and wondered that it
glowed with such fire even in the night.
She wished to ask what it meant, but
thought it perhaps rude to inquire. After
a moment's thought she said,
'' I could not help trying to comfort
the girl. The Elder Brother would have
" Yes. He would. And you are grow-
ing to be like Him."
" I try to be. We must all do that."
Then she added abruptly, ''Oh! Tell
me. There is one strange thing about all
these children. They are true and real,
are like boys and girls I know — and yet
there is such a difference."
" In what way ? "
" These children seem to know that
God is ever near them."
" He cannot be far from every one of us."
" Yes. We say that, but these children
know it, know it surely and truly and trust
in Him. Why, David actually told me he
was going off to fight with a giant with
only a sling — though I must say he can
use it with wonderful skill. I saw him
122 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
cut a twig of a tree in two and the bird
that sat on the twig flew away unharmed.
Boys that I know would have shot the
bird. Why was it David had such faith
in his victory over Goliath? Is it be-
cause in these old times in which he lives
God is nearer than, say, — in my own
" First of all. He was never nearer
than in the very times in which you live.
Then David, Isaac and Samuel have less
to do and see and think about than you
at home and God is more often in their
hearts and minds. Do not ever say that
He has gone away — for it is not true."
" Forgive me, dear. I did not think
that — and yet poor Samuel seemed a little
lonely and sad — as if he missed the com-
panionship of other children."
" Yet, you saw he was not wholly un-
" No. He had heard God speak and
after that he could not be unhappy. Do
you know, it reminded me of a beautiful
song I once heard. It was like this : — "
and with these words Edith leaned back
THE LITTLE MAID 123
against the great stone seat and to the ac-
companiment of the tinkling fountain
under the silver moon in old Shiloh she
sang softly these few words : —
" He watching over Israel slumbers not
For a little space neither spoke for they
had much to think about. Then Cor-
nelia said :
" There is another child you should see.
You remember the little maid in Syria? "
" A little maid in Syria ? What was
" She has no name. Her place is in
the fifth chapter of the Second Book of
Kings. Then, while we are in that part
of the Book, I want you to see the Shu-
" The woman whose boy died after the
" Ah ! I am glad you know that story.
It is in the fourth of the Second of Kings.
Would you not like to meet them both ?
It is not far. Come. Let us go down
So saying Cornelia stood up and Edith
124 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
eagerly took her hand and they walked
slowly away. The moonlit square, the
tinkling fountain and the dark mass of
the temple faded softly and presently they
were walking in a narrow lane between
high stone walls. The night had slowly
changed to a warm, tropical, sunny after-
noon. In the walls on either side there
were narrow doorways with heavy wooden
doors and presently Cornelia stopped be-
fore one of these doors. Over the top of
the walls they could see trees with dark,
shining leaves and above the door beside
them was a vine having white flowers
that gave out an overpowering fragrance.
Edith had never seen any flowers more
beautiful. There was behind the wall a
sound as some one slowly grinding two
stones together and with this strange
sound came the drowsy hum of many
bees busy among the flowers.
Cornelia knocked at the narrow door
and presently it was slowly opened and
they saw the face of a little girl. She
seemed to recognize her for she smiled
and opened the door wider.
THE LITTLE MAID " 115
" Thou art welcome. Come in. My
mistress is asleep for the day is warm."
" Wait a moment, dear. I have one
with me who would gladly meet you."
So saying she stooped and kissed the
child's eyes and straightway the child
stepped out of the narrow door and look-
ing up to Edith, held out one thin, small
hand, that seemed to be covered with
flour, and said gravely,
" The peace of the man of God abide
with thee. There is none in the gar-
den save myself and I was busy grind-
ing meal. Come into the garden with
Edith was greatly moved at the sight
of the child and took her flour-stained
hand in her own and said simply,
" I shall be very glad to come."
The child led the way and a moment
later Edith stood in a beautiful garden,
before a low, flat-roofed house, half hidden
among flowering vines. Cornelia seemed
to be familiar with the place for she
'' We would abide with you in that
126 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
part of the garden where you sit when
The child led the way to a vine cov-
ered trellis of rough poles over which
grew a grape-vine, filled with great clus-
ters of dark purple grapes. Under this
trellis was a long stone seat and on the
ground at one end was a pair of small
round stones placed one over the other.
The upper stone had a pair of upright
wooden handles and, on the ground beside
this ancient mill, was a bag of wheat and
a wooden bowl half filled with coarse
dark flour. The child pointed to the
stone seat and then knelt on the ground
beside the stone mill.
" I have not yet done the tale of meal
my mistress asked of me."
Edith was greatly surprised that such
a mite of a child should be set so heavy
a task and said :
" Do you not get very tired ? "
" Yes — often, but I am a slave to Naa-
'' Now, dear," said Cornelia, " you sit
in the shade and rest while I do your
THE LITTLE MAID 127
task. Talk with Edith. Tell her of
your home and of Naaman and of his
visit to Elisha, the man of God."
The poor child seemed to be very tired
and gladly rose from the ground and sat
beside Edith on the stone bench. Cor-
nelia poured a little of the wheat in the
hole in the middle of the upper mill-
stone and then gave the stone a few
turns. She seemed very strong and the
stones turned easily under her hand.
The child seemed to be greatly inter-
ested in Edith's frock and her shoes and
said simply :
" I know not of thy country, and thy
name is strange to me. Dost thou live
in a far country ? Is it more than a Sab-
bath day's journey ? "
The child's forlorn and dreary life, a
slave to some hard mistress, appealed to
Edith so strongly that she drew her
towards her as if to comfort her. The
child wore only a coarse blue cotton gar-
ment over some thin undergarments and
her knees and feet were bare and her thin
brown arms were dusty with flour and
128 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
she seemed to be very small and slight to
be doing such heavy labor.
The child sighed as if weary and
nestled closer to her and rested her
tumbled head of hair upon her breast.
" Now I know thou hast the heart of a
mother in Israel who gathereth her little
ones about her as a hen gathereth her
flock under her wings."
" Tell me about your mother, dear, and
of your home."
The child gave a little convulsive sob
and Edith felt a warm tear fall upon her
hand and she bent down and kissed the
poor little head. Presently the child said :
" We lived in Samaria, not far from
the mount where dwelt Elisha, the man
of God. And a great company of Syr-
ians came upon the land of Israel and
there was great trouble and the Syrians
stole me away and brought me to Syria
and gave me for five pieces of silver
to my lord, Naaman, who is a captain
in the host of the King of Syria, and
he gave me to his wife. Now Naaman
was a leper and it was only a few weeks
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR MOTHER, DEAR
THE LITTLE MAID 129
ago that he went upon a journey and
came back cured of his leprosy."
The child sat up and with her flour-
stained hands swept back the thick black
hair that fell over her forehead. Then
she added with a flush of conscious pride :
" It was I, even I, a little maid, who
was moved by the Lord to speak to my
mistress and out of it all came great good
and all they who heard of it now know
that the God of Israel is a great God and
Lord over all the gods of the Syrians.
Naaman was often in the house trying to
hide his afiliction and I was moved to
pity for him and one day I said to my
mistress, ' Would God my Lord were with
the Prophet that is in Samaria for he
would recover him of his leprosy.' I
doubt not my mistress told the King of
Syria for I am sure the Lord was mindful
of my words that they fail not. How be
it, I knew not of these things until after-
wards when Naaman returned with great
rejoicings from bathing in our beautiful
river in the land of Israel. Thou hast
never seen the Jordan ? "
130 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" No," said Edith gravel}^, " I may —
" It is one of God's best gifts to Israel.
Thou shouldst see it."
" You must have been very glad, dear,
to have been the means of Naaman's
" Nay. It was not I. It was the Lord
put it in my heart to speak. I was but
the servant of the Most High, that all
people might know that God is the Lord.
When Naaman returned there was great
feasting and rejoicing, both here and in
the palace of the king, and Naaman came
in haste to see his wife. It was the hour
I wait upon her and he came in quickly
and did tell her of all God's great mercy
to him. And I, being mindful of his
words, forgot to give my mistress her box
of ointment and she was wroth and chided
" And did not Naaman reward you or
thank you for what you had done ? "
" No. They forgot in their rejoicings
that it was I who said he should go to
THE LITTLE MAID 131
" Oh ! I am so sorry for you, dear. It
was very, very hard for you. One would
have thought that Naaman would have
set you free."
" I had thought he would do that, but
he did nothing. It matters not now, for
I hear that the fame of this thing has
spread through all lands and that many
have turned from their idols to worship
the God of my fathers. Was I not the
servant of the Lord that all might see
His majesty and glory ? What can all
else matter now ? "
Edith gently drew the poor little mite
closer to her. It all seemed so strange
and pitiful. She had spoken in compas-
sion for a man in great affliction and he
had been cured through her advice and
had forgotten her. And yet she seemed
content to be the nameless and unknown
means of bringing many people, even
great kings and captains to see that God
is the Lord. Edith even hoped that some-
thing of this child's brave, strong love of
God might, by some miracle, come even
to her own modern heart.
132 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" What led Naaman to follow your ad-
vice, dear? "
" I know not how it came about, but
they that are of our household told me af-
terwards that the King of Syria sent Naa-
man with many rich gifts to the King of
Israel and that the King of Israel was
greatly troubled for he said that none,
save God, can cure the leper. Haply
Elisha heard of it and sent word to the
King of Israel saying, ' Let him come
now to me, and he shall know that there
is a Prophet in Israel.'
" And Naaman went to the house of
the man of God and Elisha sent out a
message that he should wash in Jordan
seven times. My master is a proud man
and he expected that Elisha would come
out and do some great thing before all
the people and cure him and he went
away in a rage, saying that Abana and
Pharpar were better than all the waters
of Israel. Oh ! And I know he was mis-
taken there. There is no river in all the
world like our Jordan. Thou wilt say
that when thou seest it.
THE LITTLE MAID 13
■iiii Miw 7 anHiLH"iww'n niin
" Then they that were with him pre-
vailed upon my master to bathe in Jordan.
And so it was he was cured and I saw him
when he returned and he was clean and
his wife fell upon his neck and kissed
him. I, even I, saw all this and I know
it is true, and Naaman said to his wife
and I heard him say it, ' Behold now I
know that there is no God in all the
earth, but in Israel.' And his wife be-
lieved with him and all his household.
And when I heard it — I was content
for the Lord had been mindful of me
and the words of my mouth had not
The child stopped as if weary and
leaned her head upon Edith's shoulder
and for a moment there was no sound
in the little garden save the drowsy hum-
ming of the bees. During the story Cor-
nelia had left the mill and came and sat
down next to the child.
Presently she said to the child,
" Be comforted, dear, the fame of all
you have done will be kept as a remem-
brance for ages and ages to come and
134 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
more people will hear of all you did than
you could ever imagine might dwell in
The child looked up in Edith's face and
" And wilt thou tell thy people aught
" I shall tell many in a far country
that I saw you and heard from your own
lips the whole story. I shall tell all I
see what a dear, brave and patient child
" Nay. It is not of myself thou must
speak, but of the Lord who put it in my
heart to say my master should go to Elisha
to be cured that all men might believe in
the God of Israel."
" I will do as you say — and yet I can-
not help thinking Naaman might have
set you free."
The child's eyes filled with tears.
" Nay. It is God's will, though I have
at times dreamed of my mother — and
my home in Samaria and I have been
heavy with sorrow in the night — yet
in the morning I am content, because
THE LITTLE MAID 13^
of all the Lord did through me, His hand-
Here the child looked towards the
little stone mill and, seeing the bag that
held the wheat folded and resting on the
mill, she said,
" Oh ! Thou hast done the whole tale
of flour. Thou art strong of arm to have
" That's all right," said Edith. '' She
did it to give you a little rest."
"Come," said Cornelia. "Show our
friend some of the pleasant places of the
" That will I gladly."
So saying the child rose and taking
Edith's hand led her out of the shady
vine-covered arbor into a broad gravelled
walk among fruit trees and flowering
shrubs. For more than an hour the
three girls wandered through a wild
tangle of trees, vines, fountains and
shady arbors. The child, free from care
and labor, seemed to grow young and
happy. She named many of the plants
and flowers, but to Edith the names were
136 THE DOOR IN THE^BOOK
all so strange she could not remember
one of them. And then, as if remem-
bering her home in Samaria, the child
described to Edith the flowers of her own
dear country and told her of her mother
and father and her brothers and sis-
ters. To Edith it was a picture she
knew she could never forget as long as
" Perhaps, dear, some day you may go
back to Samaria."
" Nay. That will never be. I have
not been out of this walled garden here
for two years. If it be the Lord's will
His handmaiden abide here I shall be
By this time they had come back to
the door and Cornelia opened the door as
if to go out.
The child's smiling face grew suddenly
"Must ye depart? I have had great
pleasure in this visit. It has been more
to me than the visits of angels." Then
turning to Edith she said, " Thy mother
is most fortunate among women."
THE LITTLE MAID 137
Edith not knowing precisely what she
" I thank you, dear. I shall tell my
mother what you said."
Then the child gravely put up her face
" Kiss me for a remembrance unto the
Lord. May His peace abide with thee
always. It is a very precious thing and
more to be desired than rubies or much
fine gold. I know this, for, was I not
His handmaiden when Naaman went up
to wash in our Jordan ? Thou wilt not
forget to go to Jordan and perhaps some
of them that dwell there will show thee
the mountain where the man of God
dwelleth in Israel."
Edith knelt upon one knee and put
her arms about the thin, small mite of
humanity with the great heart and high
courage and kissed her. Then it seemed
as if she could say no more and she went
out quickly through the door into the
lane and Cornelia followed her and
softly closed the door.
As they walked slowly down the lane
138 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
they heard the little maid singing to her-
self one of the songs of her beloved
" I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath
THE LITTLE CHAMBER UPON THE WALL
EDITH listened a moment to the
voice of the child singing to her-
self in the garden and then said
to her companion,
"What song is that?"
" It is an old, old song handed down
from father to son through many genera-
tions. It is the song of Israel after the
overthrow of the hosts of Pharaoh in the
" Poor little maid ! How beautiful she
seemed when she walked with us in the
garden ! "
" She was happy in your company and
trust and faith make people beautiful."
By this time they had walked on down
the lane and presently came to the end of
the little town and they soon saw the
open country spread out before them un-
der the setting sun, and smiling with
140 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
yellow wheat-fields, dark groves of olive
trees and vineyards purple with grapes.
" Shall we visit the Shunammite woman
— she who built the chamber on the
wall wherein the man of God might rest ?
Shunem is not far and we can take the
very road Elisha travelled when he passed
Edith was more than ready to go and
presently the wheat-fields, the vineyards
and groves melted away and after a little
she found they were walking up a wind-
ing road that climbed a steep mountain-
side. Near the top she saw that the road
led past a large walled estate or castle.
There were many people coming and go-
ing along the dusty road, some carrying
sheaves of wheat, some with great water
jars upon their shoulders and others car-
rying baskets of grapes. None of the peo-
ple paid the slightest attention to Edith
and her friend and with a little care they
easily avoided all the people and went up
the road towards the white-walled castle.
As they came nearer Edith saw that the
place consisted of a group of buildings
THE LITTLE CHAMBER 141
completely surrounded by a high stone
wall. She soon saw a large square door
closed tightly by double doors and in one
of these was a little wicket or smaller
door just large enough to admit one per-
son at a time.
" Wait here beside the road a moment
while I prepare the woman for your
Edith found a flat ston6 under a tree
and sat down while Cornelia went to the
little wicket and knocked and then she
saw a man open the wicket and Cornelia
disappeared. Edith looked about with
the greatest curiosity. Not far away
were wheat-fields and she saw both men
and women gathering the wheat by cut-
ting it down with sickles. There were
also young girls who followed the reapers
and gathered up every stalk that none be
lost. It reminded her of Ruth gleaning
in the fields. Thus watching the reapers
and the people in the road the time passed
quickl}^ and presently the wicket opened
and Cornelia looked out and beckoned
her to come.
142 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
A man stood just -within the little
wicket and held it open that Edith might
enter. He gravely bowed low before her
as if receiving a princess and Edith
smiled and said,
" Thank you." But the man did not
seem to understand her and closed the
wicket and sat down beside the great door.
Edith saw that they had entered a large
court-yard surrounded by low stone build-
ings and filled with horses, camels and
mules and great piles of fresh cut grass.
There were several men about, feeding
the animals, but none paid any atten-
tion to her or to Cornelia.
" Come this way. The mistress of the
place is within, and is ready to welcome
Cornelia led the way to a door in one
of the buildings and then up a few stone
steps and they came to a curtain of heavy
red cloth. This she pushed aside and
Edith saw a large square room lighted
from a great opening in the roof. In the
middle of the stone floor was a square
pool filled with water. On three sides of
THE LITTLE CHAMBER 143
the room, next the wall were low wooden
seats covered with cushions and red and
yellow rugs. There were plants in great
stone jars on the floor by the pool and as
they entered the room a tall, red flamingo
that stood in the water raised his head
and spread his gorgeous wings and then,
seeming not to see them, he gravely stood
on one leg in the water and closed his
eyes. To Edith the room seemed strange
and barbaric, j^et it was evidently the
home of some very wealthy woman.
Then a narrow curtain at one side of
the room was pushed aside by a young
girl in a purple robe who entered and
held the curtain, and a tall, dark and
beautiful woman appeared. She was clad
in a long flowing robe of the color of gold
and it seemed to sparkle and shine with
a thousand silver ornaments embroidered
upon it. The robe was open at the top
and showed a white silken scarf embroid-
ered with garnets. Her black hair was
loose about her shoulders save where it
was bound about her brow with a band
of gold. Edith thought she had never
144 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
seen a more queenly and beautiful woman.
The maid let the curtain fall and disap-
peared and the lady advanced towards
Edith and said with a smile,
" Come, sit upon my right hand in the
place of honor, while thy friend sits upon
With these words she arranged the
cushions upon one of the broad seats and
paotioned to Edith to sit beside her.
Then she said to Cornelia,
" Thou tellest me that thy friend's name
is Edith. I never heard of such a name.
It is not of au}^ tongue I know." Then
turning to Edith, she said, " Thou art
welcome to my house, Edith."
" Edith," added Cornelia, " is a stranger
and would learn of thee something con-
cerning the man of God, for whom thou
didst build the chamber upon the wall."
"That I will gladly do," said the
woman to Edith. *' My husband's father
was a man of Shunem and so also was
my father and so it was my husband and
I were children together in Shunem and
when he became a man he asked my
THE LITTLE CHAMBER 145
father of me for a wife and my father did
give me in marriage with great rejoicings
and my husband built this house for me
and my heart was lifted up with joy and
pride. And the Lord prospered my hus-
band greatly until he had three score of
horses and many she asses and camels
and five score sheep and much land.
And I, being hard of heart and of a vain
pride was cast down, for the Lord denied
me a child. And I being disappointed
forgot God and murmured greatly.
" One day as I was beyond the gate I
saw a man pass by and he seemed very
weary and ahungered and I bid him en-
ter and partake of bread. And when he
brake bread with us in the house I per-
ceived that he was a man of God — and a
great hope sprang up in my heart.
" And then every time the man of God
passed our house, he tarried and did eat
with us and speak with us and my heart
burned within me at his words and I
ceased my repining and trusted again in
*' And I asked my husband to build a
146 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
little chamber upon the wall and he did
so. Then I placed a bed, and a table and
a stool, with a candlestick, in the room
and when next the man of God passed
this way I bid him rest and he gladly did
so. And often, when he sat with us at
meat, he told us many things concerning
that greater Prophet, Elijah, whose own
mantle he wore, and also of the widow
woman of Zarephath with whom Elijah
abode at the time of the famine, and of
the barrel of meal and the cruse of oil
that failed not through God's mercy."
"She had a son, had she not?" said
" Yea. She had a son and marvellous
things did the Lord do unto her — and to
me also. Even as the widow's son died
and was made alive again so was it to be-
fall my own son, for God was gracious to
me His handmaiden and gave me a son.
And I forgot God in my great joy in the
man child He had given me. And the
child waxed strong and was a delight to
my eyes. And one day when he was in
the fields with his father the sun smote
TH£ LITTLE CHAMBER 147
him and he cried to his father saying,
'My head! My head!' and his father
sent him to me by one of the lads in the
field. And my heart was sore afflicted
and, in my fear, I cried unto the Lord
and He heard me not, for about the hour
of noon, my son died in my arms. And
I, being distracted with grief, took him
to the little chamber of the man of God
and laid him upon the bed and closed
the door and came quickly to my hus-
band for I was minded to go to the man
of God, even to Mount Carmel."
She paused as if overcome with the re-
membrance of her trouble and for a mo-
ment they all sat in silence. Then the
woman, growing calmer, drew Edith to
her side with an affectionate embrace and
told of her hasty journey to Mount
Carmel and of the return of the Prophet
to her home where the child lay dead in
that little chamber.
" The man of God returned with me
and went alone to the room with the boy
and I know not what he there said or did.
I only know that after awhile he opened
148 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
the door and his face shone with a radi-
ance as of an angel of the Lord and he
bid me take up the child. And I, being
fearful, entered the room and the boy
held up his arms to me and I gathered
him in my bosom in a passion of joy and
thanksgiving unto God, for was not this
my son that was dead, alive again ? And
I told my neighbors and kinsfolk and
all rejoiced with me in exceeding great
joy. And the fame of it went out to all
lands and men believed in God the Lord
through His great mercy to me His hand-
Edith sat with her head against the
beautiful woman's breast and heard this
simple story, told with such truth and
earnestness, with a thrill of wonder and
surprise. It was all so real, so true, true
and true. Was not the woman's warm
breath upon her hair, was not her arm
about her ? Did she not almost hear her
heart beating with joy over the marvel-
lous return of her son ? How could she
doubt a word of it ? And, oh, how like
the stone rolled away from the sepul-
THE LITTLE CHAMBER 149
chre? The woman seemed lost in a
happy dream and for a moment or two
neither of them spoke. Then Edith felt
that the woman saw something or some
one and she sat up and looked in her
face. Her lips were parted and a light as
of heavenly happiness shone in her eyes.
Edith looked towards the curtain and
saw that the great red flamingo had
stepped out of the pool and stood look-
ing towards the curtain. The curtain
parted and a young boy entered the room.
For a moment Edith sat in silent admi-
ration, gazing at the child. She had
never imagined any child could be of
such heavenly grace and beauty. He
was clad in a yellow silk robe embroid-
ered with delicate silver threads and
upon his bare feet were red sandals. His
deep brown eyes seemed to glow with the
light of some celestial fire and his bare
arms were like living alabaster veined in
red and blue. His jet black hair fell in
curls upon his beautiful shoulders and
his hands seemed of exquisite delicacy
and refinement as if accustomed to touch-
150 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
ing the strings of heavenly harps. The
tall, red flamingo walked gravely up to
the boy and the child stroked his long
neck as he gazed in undisguised curiosity
at his mother's guests. To Edith the
boy was like a vision of an angel.
Where had the boy been — what had he
heard, what had he seen — when he lay so
still in the Prophet's chamber ?
'^ My son. Come hither and welcome
this stranger within our gates."
" Yes, mother. In a moment. Let me
first give the bird this cake thy hand-
maiden baked for me."
So saying he took from the fold in his
robe a small cake and offered it to the
flamingo. The bird took the cake in its
bill and walked solemnly into the pool
and dropped the cake into the water as if
to soften it.
" Oh ! mother," said the boy with a
laugh, " the bird dippeth the cake in the
Just like a boy, thought Edith, and
then she mentally regretted the un-
spoken speech for was not this boy
THE LITTLE CHAMBER 151
apart from all other children in the
" My son ! I bid thee come hither."
'' Yes, mother. I am here."
" This is Edith. She is a stranger
within our gates and thou must do
The boy came nearer and made a low
bow to Edith and then to Cornelia. And
then he said to Edith,
" God's peace abide with thee."
To Edith this simple speech seemed
like a blessing. Had not this child but
just returned from heaven ? She wanted
to ask him a hundred questions and yet
knew not how to begin.
" Thou art come from a far country ? "
said the boy. " Tell me about it."
" She is of they who come to the Book
by the door," said Cornelia. ''Thou
wouldst not understand anything she
told thee, for the glory of one country is
not like the glory of another and yet God
did make them all."
Edith gave one look of gratitude to
Cornelia, for the boy's question had
152 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
troubled her. How could she possibly
explain to him America or the twentieth
" My son," said the boy's mother,
" thou art forgetful of thy duties to the
stranger within our gates."
" I forget, mother, and I crave the
stranger's forgiveness." Then turning to
Edith he said, " I have four horses and
a hundred sheep my father gave me as
a heritage. Wouldst thou like to see
" I would like to see them very much,
if it is not too much trouble."
" Thou art a strange maiden," said the
boy. " Hospitality can be naught but a
pleasure. Come. Shall we go?"
" Go, both of ye," said the woman to
Edith and Ck)rnelia, " and then return to
me and we will break bread together."
For an hour Edith and her companion
followed the boy through the yards and
stables where the horses and cattle were
kept. The boy wished them to see and
admire everything, but to Edith it all
seemed very crude and wild and it did
" THIS IS EDITH. SHE IS A STRANGER WITHIN
OUR GATES "
THE LITTLE CHAMBER 153
not interest her. She had only one
thought and that was to see and hear the
child himself. Cornelia assumed the
honors of the occasion and asked the boy
many questions about his life, his duties
and pleasures in this his father's home,
and so kept up an interest for them both
in the things that interested the boy.
Then, having seen all, the boy led the
way back to the house. This seemed an
opportunity for Edith to ask the boy the
one question she was most anxious to
ask. To draw his attention to the matter
she asked if she might see the little
chamber on the wall.
" Thou art welcome, though it is but a
plain little room."
" It is the room of the man of God? "
" Yes. And mother says it sanctifies
the whole house. It was there mother
placed me — when I fell asleep in the
Lord. I go there whenever the man of
God is here — to give thanks for all the
mercies the Lord God bestowed upon me
and to listen to His Prophet, for mother
154 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
says I must incline my heart unto
To Edith this was a new and unex-
pected side to the boy's character. Be-
fore, he had seemed to be merely an ex-
ceedingly beautiful child. Now she was
eager to hear more, eager to ask him
what he had seen and heard — while, as
he expressed it, he had been " asleep in
Cornelia seemed to divine what was in
her mind and said,
" Is not this the stair to the little cham-
They had been standing by the wall of
one of the buildings and near a flight of
narrow stone steps leading to a curious
little building perched on the top of the
great wall that surrounded the houses
" That is the chamber of the man of
God. There is no one there and ye
canst visit it, if ye wish. I will sit
here in the sun and wait your re-
Cornelia led the way up the steps and
THE LITTLE CHAMBER 155
Edith followed her feeling a little disap-
pointed at leaving her questions unsaid.
A moment later Cornelia pushed aside a
heavy red curtain and they both entered
a tiny room with bare stone walls and
rough wooden floor. There was a small
square opening high on the wall that
served for a window, there were also a
few plain, rude pieces of furniture, and
yet it seemed to Edith some sacred place
and she stood just within the curtain
gazing in silence at the little room.
As she stood there, in wondering awe,
her companion put her arm about her
" Edith, I have learned to love you,
therefore I must chide. Do not ask the
child aught concerning the time he was
asleep. No man can know the things of
God. It hath not entered the heart of
man to conceive of the things that God
hath prepared for them that love Him.
The child could not tell you anything :
no one can ever tell anything whatever
of the life to come. We could not bear
the wonder and glory of it all. Ask
156 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
nothing, for such knowledge is too high
for any one of us."
" Oh ! pardon me. I didn't think. I
am glad now I did not ask him."
" The boy remembers nothing. It is
as if a man came out of a dark place sud-
denly into the full light of noonday and
instantly went back to his ancient dark-
ness. He could recall nothing for the
very brightness of the sunlight."
** But, dear. He is so beautiful. He
seems — so heavenly — 3^ou understand."
" Yes. I see what you mean and I can
tell you only this : Before the child died
he was less beautiful and it must be that
he caught and brought back a marvellous
beauty as if the heavenly radiance had
touched him with a diviner grace. His
mother sees that plainly and worships
the child with a new love, because she
thinks it is a sign that the angels of
tlic Lord smiled upon him while she was
away upon that dreadful journey to
Mount Carmel to call the man of God in
For a moment they stood looking at
THE LITTLE CHAMBER 157
the bare little room and then Edith
turned away and went silently down the
stairs. She could not speak. It was as
if she had been to some high and holy
place, a place to dream about and to
remember forever and forever.
At the foot of the stairs they met the
boy again and he led them back to
the room where they had met his
mother. She was already there and in-
vited them to sit beside her, while a
little maid, in a long, flowing robe of red
woollen, handed them little cakes and
tiny cups of honey. Then, having been
refreshed, Cornelia said they must be
upon their journey. The boy and his
mother came with them to the gate to
bid them farewell in God's name.
To Edith, the touch of the boy's hand,
as, with a smile of heavenly serenity, he
said, " The peace of the man of God go
with thee," seemed a benediction from
heaven. The woman wished them a
pleasant journey under God's guidance
and then they both turned away and
went down the road.
THE NIGHT IN THE DESERT
THIS visit to the Shunammite
woman left Edith anxious to go
on farther into the Book and to
see more, and as they walked slowly
down the mountain road she said to her
" Can we not go on farther into the
Book ? May I not see the rising of the
star in the East ? May I not now take
the road to Bethlehem? "
Cornelia put her arm about her friend
and said with gentle gravity,
" You are not yet ready, dear. Wait
— until another season. Let us, rather,
go back to the beginning when the world
was younger. Let us visit that Dreamer
who became a Prince in Egypt."
'' Oh ! You mean Joseph. Let me see
him as I have seen the others — not as a
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 159
great ruler in Egypt, but as the boy with
the coat of many colors."
" We have only to return to the thirty-
seventh chapter of Genesis and we can
find him wandering in the wilderness in
search of his brethren. Then, too, if you
wish, we can go with him to Dothan,
even to the pit in the wilderness."
Edith was more than willing to go and
gladly took her companion's hand, for
she knew they would now journey to
a far distant part of the book. They
walked on for some time and slowly the
landscape about them faded away and
after a while Edith saw that they had en-
tered a broad and grassy valley with
here and there groups of trees among
low, wooded hills. Presently Cornelia
stopped and shading her eyes with her
hand looked far off over the plain as
if searching for some one.
^' I see a man tending some sheep off to
the south. This place in the book is the
thirty-seventh of Genesis and the fif-
teenth verse and it was here that Joseph
lost his way on his journey to Shechem.
i6o THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
It is possible the flock of sheep off there
belongs to the man who found the boy
wandering in the fields. Let us go that
They walked on over the grassy plain
for a few moments and then Cornelia said,
" I see him. I will meet him and you
follow me a little way behind and then I
will speak to him and bring him to you."
Edith paused and looked all about over
the wide green plain, but saw no one.
Her companion seemed to have seen some
one for she walked confidently towards a
large oak tree that stood like a great leafy
tent in the sunny prairie. She came to
the tree and then she stopped and beck-
oned to Edith to follow her. As she
came nearer to the tree she saw in the
shade, by the huge stem of the tree, some-
thing that seemed like a mass of mingled
colors. Cornelia raised her hand to her
lips as if commanding silence and Edith
walked more slowly on the soft grass.
As she came to the edge of the shadow of
the great tree she saw a boy clad in a
loose flowing robe of red, embroidered and
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 161
decorated in white, brown and green. He
was seated upon the ground with his bare
head resting upon his knees as if in great
The two girls stood looking at him
in silence for a moment and then Cornelia
'' Joseph ! "
To Edith's surprise the boy lifted his
head and turned upon her friend great,
solemn, black eyes that seemed bright
with tears. The boy at Shunem had a
face of heavenly beauty. This boy was
not beautiful, but rather of a kingly dig-
nity and majesty, as if he were a youth-
ful prince born to rule a nation.
" Why do you linger here? "
" My father sent me to seek my breth-
ren in Shechem. Alas ! I have lost my
way and know not where to find them."
" Perhaps the way will be shown — at
the right season. As that time has not
come we would abide here awhile and talk
with you of your father Israel. I have
with me one from a far country who
would be very glad to meet you."
i62 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
So saying Cornelia laid her hand gently
upon the boy's eyes and he looked up
and seeing Edith he rose to his feet and
came nearer to her and Avith a low bow
said in a rich and beautiful voice,
" Now may the Lord bless thee and
thy people. I judge thy country must
be beyond the uttermost sea, far to the
west, for I saw not any maid of thy ap-
" Edith comes from a far country, even
beyond the going down of the sun."
" Thou art beloved of the Lord for thou
hast a pleasant name though it is new
to my ear. Is thy father a great King in
thy country ? "
Edith smiled and shook her head.
" Perhaps his tents are spread beside
rich pastures and his sheep are led by his
shepherds beside pleasant waters."
Edith again shook her head and the
" It matters not, for I perceive that the
Lord hath looked upon thee with favor.
Will ye not both rest awhile in the shade
for the day is warm ? "
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 163
" I am now called away to assist some
one who is seeking a text. I will leave
Edith in your care until I return and you
can tell her of your father and of his
vision at Bethel."
" I too, have had a dream from the
" Tell Edith of both thy dreams. Edith,
tarry with the lad for he is the son of his
" The maid is my guest. No harm
can befall her," said the boy with manly
Cornelia smiled and waved her hand
to them in farewell and disappeared
among a group of trees not far away. For
a moment Edith did not know what to
do. The boy had the face of a lad about
fourteen years of age, yet he had the
stature and bearing of a young man and
bore himself with great dignity as if he
were conscious of the kingly future before
him. How would he treat her and how
should she conduct herself before a youth
whom she knew would be a great ruler
in Egypt ? He set her mind at rest very
i64 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
quickly for he showed that he was, in
truth, a boy, with a boy's simplicity and
" Wilt thou not sit on the grass by the
tree while I sit at thy feet, for I perceive
that thou art come from the Lord."
Edith sat down with her back to the
great stem of the tree and the boy sat on
the grass a little below her as if she were
a guest of honor and he the humble host.
Then the boy waited, for he evidently
thought it proper that she should speak
" Your father ! Was he not Jacob —
when he was young? "
The boy nodded and smiled and said,
" I knew thou art of the family of
some Prophet of the Lord."
" I am a stranger here. Tell me about
your father's dream."
" Hast thou ever been to Beersheba as
thou goest towards Haran ? "
" No. All these places are new to me."
" I am sorry for that, because it was by
that way my father went when he had
that dream at the place we now call
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FATHER'S DREAM"
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 165
Bethel, — though there be some that call
it Luz. My father hath told me the
story many times. He was a young
man, at the time, his father Isaac sent
him to Padan-aram. Now it came to
pass that as he journeyed the sun went
down and he lay down to sleep and
using of the stones of that place such as
would serve as a pillow for his head.
Thou knowest my people dwell in tents.
When with the sheep or upon a journey
men often sleep out of doors. Is not the
sky the roof of God's house and the
stars the lamps thereof? They that
trust Him are within the Lord's house
everywhere. Then my father slept and
* Behold, it was a ladder set up on the
earth, even unto heaven and the angels
of God ascending and descending upon
it.' And my father in his dream heard
the voice of the Lord speaking to him
and the Lord did promise to be with him
and with all his children and saying that
in us should all the families of the earth
The boy paused in his story and sat
i66 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
regarding his visitor with some anxiety.
Then he said,
" Thou art from a far country. Canst
thou interpret my father's dream to
For a moment Edith was confused by
the boy's question and she said nothing.
" I had hoped thou couldst interpret
the dream. How can it be that in us all
the families of the earth are to be blessed ?
We are very few, a handful of men and
women. How can all men be blessed in
us who are such a feeble folk ? "
To Edith the boy's question seemed to
imply a doubt or, at least, a feeling that
the promise of the dream would not be
fulfilled for a very long, long time. It
filled her with regret, that knowing all
that she did of the Book, she could tell
him nothing of the glory and wonder of
his own future and of the future of count-
less generations that should follow him.
After a pause she said,
" What does your father think of the
" That it is of the Lord."
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 167
" Then is not that enough ? Tell me
more of your father's dream."
" There is no more. My father awa-
kened at the rising of the sun and arose
and bowed before the Lord saying,
* Surely the Lord is in this place ; and I
knew it not.' Then my father set up the
stone that he had used for a pillow and
poured some oil, that he had within the
skin of a kid, upon the stone to sanctify
it unto the Lord and did call the place
Bethel. And to this day the stone is the
sign of the Lord's promise to my father
and his children forever. And after that
my father journeyed to the people of the
East and then it was he met my mother,
" Perhaps the blessing had begun,"
said Edith with a smile.
" Yes. For my father loved Rachel
and yet — that may not be the interpreta-
tion of his dream. There may be an-
*' I am sure there is another meaning.
What it is I cannot tell you."
" I wish thee could, for thou seemest
i68 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
to be a maid of discernment. Later my
father built an altar at that same place
and the Lord spake again to my father
concerning the promise of the dream
and bid my father change his name to
Israel as he is known to this day of all
" Have you not also had dreams? "
" Yea. Two and both were of the Lord,
though He spake not to me in words, as
to my father, but in signs and wonders.
I dreamed and ' behold my brethren and
I were binding sheaves in my father's
field : and, lo, my sheaf arose and stood
upright : and, behold, all my brothers'
sheaves stood round about and made
obeisance to my sheaf I told my breth-
ren of this my dream and they hated me
and spoke harshly of me to my kinsfolk.
And again the Lord spoke to me by a
dream. Behold, the sun and the moon
and the eleven stars made obeisance to
me. This dream hath troubled me for I
know not its meaning. I wish thou
might read the interpretation thereof"
Edith smiled and shook her head.
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 169
She felt she knew — and yet must not and
could not tell him, so she contented her-
self with saying,
*' If it is of the Lord — wait."
" Yea. I can wait for now I know this
of a verity : The Lord abideth forever
and ever and His promise is sure. If I am
to be a King or Ruler — it will be so — if I
be worthy of it."
Edith moved forward a little and took
the boy's hand. He seemed grateful for
he turned upon her his large, steadfast,
serious eyes and said simply,
" His blessing rest upon thee for I
know by that sign thou believest my
Then he rose and looked off over the
plain and said, " I see thy friend return-
ing and it is time I sought my brethren."
Edith saw Cornelia approaching and
rising she went forward to meet her while
the boy remained by the tree.
" The hour is at hand," said Cornelia.
" He will now go to his brethren and
they will tear off his coat of many colors
and cast him into a pit to perish, for they
lyo THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
are greatly angered at his dreams. And
after that they will sell him as a slave
into Egypt. Yonder is that certain man
of this place with his sheep. Let us hear
what he says to the boy."
The flock of sheep in feeding had
moved up towards the tree and the shep-
herd apparently saw Joseph for he went
to him and said,
" What seekest thou ? "
" I seek my brethren : tell me, I pray
thee, where they feed their flocks ? "
" They are departed hence," said the
man as he pointed with his staff towards a
low gap in the hills to the south, ''for I
heard them say, ' Let us go to Dothan.' "
Joseph seemed to be pleased with this
information and thanked the man and
then the man followed his flock across the
prairie. Joseph then came to where
Edith and Cornelia stood and said,
" I go now to my brethren at Dothan."
" May we not go with you ? "
" Nay. My brethren hate me by rea-
son of my dreams. They are so angered
with me that I know not what they
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 171
might say or do if they saw two maids
" We shall be to them as they that are
" I wish I could go with you," said
Edith, " for there may be much before
you that may be hard to bear. We may
not be able to help you — but, at least, we
can give you our sympathy. Besides, I
want to hear more of your home and of
your father, Israel. Is it far to Dothan ? "
" About two hours' journey. I am re-
joiced that thou carest to go with me for
I perceive that thou art of a good heart
and wise above all maidens I ever met."
" Then we will both go," said Cornelia.
Through the long afternoon and the
brief twilight of the coming night Edith
passed through the most tragic experi-
ence of her young life. Of all her visits
to the children of the Book this seemed
the most sad and yet it was the most
deeply interesting for it showed her a
youth confident in the promise of a
dream he believed sent from the Lord,
and sustained by a trust that seemed
172 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
to abide through every trial and dis-
The boy led the way over the level
prairie towards the south where there
seemed to be a valley between the hills
and, Edith and Cornelia on either side,
gladly followed him. It was not difficult
with a few questions to lead him to talk
of himself, his short young life, of his
home in his father's wandering tents.
He seemed to show them the more youth-
ful and boyish side of his character for
he talked pleasantly as he told of many
things that were to Edith strange and
most interesting. She asked many ques-
tions about his home and experience and
he smiled at what seemed to him to be
strange mistakes and still stranger ques-
tions. He seemed really happy in his
companions' society and once or twice
laughed as he told of some memory of
To Edith, this walk and friendly talk
with the boy, while it was very pleasant,
had a certain sadness, for, at every step,
she knew he was drawing nearer to his
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 173
tragic fate. She began to wonder what
this, now light-hearted boy, would do
when sold as a slave to the Ishmaelites.
Would he shrink in cowardly fear or
would he be brave and strong in a real
trust in the Lord ?
Cornelia, older and more experienced
in the Book than Edith, led the boy
to talk chiefly of himself and of his
home, partly because thereby would
Edith learn the more of his time and
people and partly because of kindness to
the boy that he might enjoy in pleasant
converse the last few moments of his
So it was the three companions walked
across the plain and coming to the hills
entered a narrow canyon that led them
by a stony winding path through the
hills into quite another country. The
canyon ended abruptly at the edge of
a vast and sandy plain spread out before
and below them. Close beside the hills
there was a strip of rather poor grass and
beyond this ribbon of green spread the
dreary yellow desert reaching to the very
174 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
horizon where already the descending
sun burned crimson in the cloudless
Suddenly the boy stopped and said,
"I see my father's flocks. My breth-
ren must be near, for it is time to fold
them and set a watch for the night."
They walked on a little farther and
then Edith saw a number of rough-look-
ing men, dressed in sheep's skins, gath-
ered about a little camp-fire. The men
seemed to discover Joseph for they
pointed at him and she could see that
they were greatly excited about some-
thing and were plainly quarrelling among
themselves. To herself and her com-
panion they paid no attention whatever
and she knew that they did not see them.
" It is the camp of my brethren. I
shall abide with them to-night and to-
morrow journey back to my father's
tents in the vale of Hebron."
" And here we must leave you," said
Cornelia. " If any mishap befall, keep
up a good courage for the Lord is with
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 175
^■^^^^^M— ■— ^M^M^^^^— ^^^MM^^^— B^^ffifti^ip^B^— ^FBPW^MW WMlJfcf II^B^I M »^<t^^fp^
" Do not forget your dreams — even
if things do look dark. It will be all
right — in the end, I am sure," said Edith.
" I thank thee, for I perceive of a truth
thy people are a discerning family. I
have had thy company with great pleas-
ure. May the Lord abide with ye both
this night. Where will ye go, for, lo,
the sun goeth down ? "
" We, too, are with the Lord," said
Cornelia. " We have help thou knowest
not of Farewell."
The boy said farewell also and turned
away towards his brothers' camp and
leaving Edith and her friend standing in
the little path that led down to the great
To Edith's surprise the tragic ending
of this pleasant afternoon came quickly.
The men advanced to meet Joseph, still
quarrelling among themselves. One of
the younger men seemed to protest against
something the others wished to do, but
he was only one against many. The
next moment three of the men met Jo-
seph, and with loud cries of anger and
176 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
derision tore his beautiful colored coat
from his back and, rending it in shreds,
threw it upon the ground leaving the boy
clad in some white undergarment that
covered him like a robe. In vain, the
poor boy made tearful protests. In vain
the younger of the men tried to protect
him. One of the older men raised his
staff as if to strike the boy, and calling
him a dreamer, cried that they would see
that his dreams never came true.
'' Take me away," said Edith to her
companion. '' I cannot bear to see such
" Nay. Be not troubled. These men are
but unwitting instruments in the Lord's
hands. They will not harm him seriously,
but will cast him in a pit digged for wild
beasts. We cannot aid him if we would.
Let us then turn aside awhile till the
night Cometh. There is a tree. Let us
seek its shelter."
Cornelia led the way and presently they
came to a low and leafy tree and here
they sat down on the grass out of sight
and sound of the dreadful scene they had
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 177
just witnessed. Here too they had a wide
view over the vast, sandy desert below.
The setting sun, a ball of crimson fire, was
just sinking in the cloudless yellow sky.
The last red touch of the sun disappeared
and the purple night came quickly out
of the East and spread over all to the
West. Just as this dusky twilight faded
Edith saw off on the horizon the figures
of tall ungainly beasts, marching, in
silhouette, against the sky in a long, trail-
" What is that moving on the hori-
zon ? "
" Some merchant's caravan laden with
spicery and journeying into Egypt. They
will follow the trail till it brings them
nearer and then they will turn off towards
Soon after this the stars came out and
then the great white moon rose above the
hills to the east and filled all the desert
with silvery light. Then, after they had
rested awhile, Cornelia rose and said,
" Come. The hour is at hand. Let us
178 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
Edith rose and took her companion's
hand and together they went back to the
place where they had left Joseph and his
brethren. There was no one in sight.
Even the little camp-fire had gone out
and there was nothing save the stony
path leading down the hill to the vast,
dim desert — no sight or sound of life any-
'* Surely they have not ? "
She felt she could not speak the dread-
ful thought and was glad when Cornelia
" They have unwittingly carried out
the Lord's will and thrown him in a pit
by the edge of the desert. Come. Let
us find him."
With these words she led the way down
to the path towards the desert. Presently,
as they came nearer to the edge of the
sandy plain, Edith saw twinkling lights
in the distance.
" What are those lights over there ? "
'' It is the caravan going to Egypt that
we saw at set of sun. These merchants
often travel in the night to avoid the
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 179
heat of the day. Stop a moment. The
place must be hereabouts. Be careful,
for there is a pit digged here for a well
or for a trap for wild beasts."
Edith looked carefully about in the
moonlight and presently saw that they
had come to the ragged and irregular edge
of a pit or excavation in the sandy soil.
It seemed very dark and still and she
drew back in alarm. Cornelia advanced
cautiously to the edge and then kneeling
down peered into the black pit.
After a moment or two she called softly,
" Joseph ! Joseph ! "
Then out of the blackness below came
the boy's voice but strangely altered by
terror and misery.
" Have pity on me, oh ! Lord."
'' Nay. It is not the Lord calling thee,
but thy friends. Is it well with thee,
Joseph ? "
" Ah ! It is thou. Now am I rejoiced.
Thou must help me to escape."
It seemed dreadful to Edith to stand
there helpless and unable to rescue the
i8o THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
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boy and she waited anxiously to see what
her friend would do and say. For herself,
her first thought was to rescue the boy
and to send him back to his father Israel.
" Joseph," said Cornelia, with a firm and
commanding voice that was touched with
infinite pity, " the hour is at hand when
the Lord shall deliver thee. Be of good
heart for He is ever with thee."
" Nay. Ye might help me to es-
" Joseph," said Edith as she knelt at
the edge of the pit, " remember your
dreams. The interpretation of your
dreams may be grander and more splen-
did than you can ever imagine."
" Ah ! Now I know thou must be the
daughter of a great Prophet in thy
country. Thy words are a comfort to
" Are you in any pain? Is the water
" The pit is dry and my hurts are
soothed. Unless some wild beast find me
in the night I may live for a day or two
longer before I perish for lack of food."
NIGHT IN THE DESERT i8i
Here Cornelia touched Edith on the
shoulder and said,
''Come. The end is at hand."
Edith called down into the pit and said,
" Be of a good heart — and trust in your
They then both rose and walked away
for a little space, for the caravan had
arrived and stopped not far from the
mouth of the pit. Then from the long
line of men and animals standing there
in the moonlight a man came forward as
if to examine the pit. He picked up a
stone and threw it into the pit, but there
came no sound out of its black depths.
Then the man went back to his com-
panions, saying to them,
''There is no water. The pit is dry."
Then Edith saw the men loosen the
harness of the camels and the tall awk-
ward creatures lay down to rest on the
sand. Some of the men made little fires,
as if to prepare supper, while other men
fed the camels. She stood watching the
strange scene with the greatest interest
and wondering what would happen to
i82 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
the boy in the pit. She hoped the stone
the man had thrown into the pit had not
hurt him and was glad that he had
given no sign that he was there.
Presently, as they stood watching this
singular scene, Cornelia said in a whisper,
'' Hither come three of Joseph's breth-
*' What do they mean to do? Do they
mean to rescue him? "
" One of them would do so, but he is
not among these. They have another
plan that will, through its cruel mischief,
carry out the Lord's will — and lead to
the fulfilling of the poor boy's dreams."
The three shepherds passed quite close
to where Edith and her friend stood, but
paid not the slightest attention to them
and soon mingled with the men of the
caravan who were seated beside their
little camp-fires. It was then made plain
that the three shepherds proposed some
bargain to the merchants for there was a
great deal of discussion and rather volu-
ble dispute, though the men were all too
far away to catch a word that was said.
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 183
Then, after an exchange of some money
that Edith saw by the moonlight was
silver, the three shepherds borrowed a
rope of a camel driver and going to the
pit quickly drew Joseph out and led him
away to the merchants. One of the mer-
chants bound the boy's hands behind his
back with a cord and then tied a rope
round his neck and tied the other end to
the harness of one of the sleeping camels.
The three shepherds, the boy's own
brothers, looked on in utter indifference
and silently took the path up the hill
Edith saw all this in silence. She
seemed so helpless in the matter that she
almost felt herself as if in some sense
suffering with him. Cornelia put her
arm about her and kissed her upon the
cheek as if to brush away the tear that
had fallen there.
'' Dear heart. Be comforted. They
who read of these things see all things as
through a glass, darkly. It has been
given to you to see this young shepherd
boy who is to be a King, face to face and
i84 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
to know the real interpretation of his
dreams. We stand one side and see
things as God sees things for we know
whereof Joseph knows not. He feels
only the cords that bind his hands, he
feels the cruel desertion of his brethren
— and yet does he trust in the Lord.
Come, let us speak with him before he
departs into Egypt."
So saying she led Edith to the caravan.
Neither the men nor their beasts paid the
slightest attention to them and presently
they found Joseph standing with his face
to the silver moon — a white statue in the
" Ah. Thou art come to mock at my
" Oh ! No. No. You know we could
not be so unkind. We have only regret
and pity for you."
" Thou art like the dove that flew
back to the Ark in the days of Noah — a
sign of comfort. May the Lord bless
thee for thy words."
" And you will not doubt your dreams
— will you?"
NIGHT IN THE DESERT 185
"Nay. Thou misjudgest me for now
I know of a verity that God is the Lord.
I communed with Him in my misery
while in the pit. Did not Isaac trust in
Him even when laid upon the altar? I
go a slave unto Egypt yet do I not doubt
" Your dreams may be nearer to their
unfolding than you imagine."
" Yea. Thou art a maid wiser than all
the maids of my people, and I tell thee
that out of the stones of that pit I too,
have builded Bethel — as did my father
" Come," said Cornelia. '' The master
of the caravan is calling. The halt is
over. God abide with thee, Joseph."
" The Lord have ye both in His keep-
ing. Your visit has been a balm to my
sore heart. Farewell."
Edith and Cornelia hastily withdrew to
one side of the trail as the ungainly
beasts rose to their feet. Then came loud
cries and a cracking of whips and the
tinkle of many bells and the long pro-
cession of men and camels took up its
i86 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
lonely way through the silent night to
far off Egypt. Last of all came a camel
and a young man walking beside it. He
did not seem to see them for he held his
head high as if gazing upon the stars —
the very stars that in his dream made
obeisance to him — a Prince of the House
Edith watched the strange, wild pro-
cession until it was lost in the darkness
and silence of the desert. Then they
both quietly turned back upon the path
that led to the hills. Just as they ap-
proached the empty pit they saw a young
man clad in sheepskins approaching.
He did not pay any attention to them,
but went directly to the pit and kneeling
down on the edge called aloud,
" Joseph ! Joseph ! Where art thou ? "
There was no answer and the man
threw up his arms in despair and disap-
peared in the darkness.
" It is that other and more compassion-
ate brother who hoped to rescue Joseph."
" He is too late."
" Yes— too late."
THE SEVENTH DAY
TO Edith the tragic ending of her
little journey in the company of
Joseph made a profound and
rather sad impression. Even now she
could see the black, empty mouth of the
pit. Behind her lay the vast, gray,
moonlit desert into whose gloom the boy
had just disappeared. The intense re-
ality of all she had seen chilled her
young heart and, for a moment, she for-
got that she knew he was safe and that
all this shame and misery were but steps
to higher things and happier days.
Then she felt her friend's hand upon
her arm and in the white moonlight she
saw her beautiful face close to her own
and her eyes dewy with girlish sympathy.
" Dear heart. Be comforted. Let
your own faith be as this boy's faith."
" I wish it were."
i88 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
" You did wisely to comfort and sus-
tain him at the last with words of confi-
" I felt I must tell him that his dreams
were coming true, I knew they would
" Yes. And Joseph had faith without
knowledge, which was a greater faith
than yours. Come. Let us go."
" Back to some quiet spot near the
door where we can sit awhile and, for a
moment, ponder upon the things we have
Edith silently gave her hand to her
friend and suffered her to lead her where
she would. She had seen so much of life
in these ancient days that she felt it
would be a relief just to sit down quietly
in some pleasant corner of these strange
lands and talk it all over.
Absorbed in her own thoughts and
trusting implicitly in her friend's care
she walked on unheeding the changing
scene, till, in the growing light of a
beautiful morning, she saw a new world,
SHE SAW A NEW WORLD "
THE SEVENTH DAY 189
so fair, so wonderfully beautiful that she
paused in wonder and delight.
" Oh I How lovely — how perfectly
"Yes. It is the morning of the sev-
enth created day. We have come back
to the first verse of the second of Genesis.
The heavens and the earth are finished.
Last night, at the going down of the sun,
was the evening of the sixth day."
" Why, it is so calm and sweet, so fair
and still that it seems like a Sunday
morning in June."
" It is the Seventh day. And God
rested on the Seventh day from all His
work which He had made. Let us sit
here on this mossy bank under these
flowering trees and watch the sun rise on
this first Sabbath morning."
Edith gladly sat down, for the splen-
dor of the Eastern sky filled her with
wonder and she wished just to sit still
and look at the glory of this first Sab-
bath morn. The vast landscape of splen-
did, inspiring mountains, whose snowy
tops were already blushing rosy red in the
190 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
west, graceful hills and smiling meadows,
noble forests that clothed the mountains
as with a garment, the bewildering pro-
fusion of flowers and over all the im-
mense and gorgeous sky made a picture
unlike anything she had ever seen. The
air was vocal with a thousand birds and
when the sun, at last, appeared they
seemed to join in wheeling choirs rejoic-
ing together before the Lord.
As the sun rose higher a river caught
its light and sent out silvery reflections
along all its winding way.
"What river is that?"
'* It flows westward — out of the garden,
which is to the eastward. It parts into
four ways beyond the mountains and this
we see is Pison which compasseth the
land of Havilah."
'' The Garden ! Is it near ? "
"It is to the eastward — about a day's
" Is it more beautiful than this ? "
" It is very different, less wild and
mountainous, more quiet, more like a
place of pleasantness."
THE SEVENTH DAY 191
"Oh! What is that? What are all
these creatures ? "
" Every beast of the field, the fowls of
the air and the creeping things."
Edith gazed for more than an hour at the
multitude of living creatures that roamed
the wide fields all about her. There were
beautiful and gentle lions and graceful
and playful leopards, lambs, doves, rab-
bits, and silver-coated foxes, every man-
ner of living creature that she had ever
seen and hundreds she never saw before
and all freely mingled together in friendly
and peaceful neighborhood as if there
were none to harm them or make them
afraid. It seemed to her the most won-
derful sight she had ever seen in the
Then, at last, as the sun rose higher
and the day grew warmer the birds ceased
their songs and all living things seemed
to rest in leafy shades and a sweet
and holy calm filled all the wondrous
All this made a profound impres-
sion upon Edith and she turned to her
192 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
friend and said with just a little sigli of
" I must tell mother everything I liave
seen since I entered the Book. I wonder
— can I remember it all ? "
" It will be given j^ou to remember
" I hope so. There was that poor for-
lorn little thing in the garden in Syria.
She seemed to care nothing for herself.
She forgot her own hard lot in the thought
that, through her, so many were brought
to worship the God of her fathers. I
wish I had a little of her patience."
" It will be so. It is borne in upon me
that it was for this you were permitted to
enter the Book by the door. Listen, dear.
You have seen the life that was, you are
living in the life that now is, you met the
boy who saw, even if only a brief moment,
the life that is to be."
" Oh ! I 'm sure I can never forget that
child's heavenly beauty."
*' You will forget none of these you
have seen. Each and all brought you a
lesson. Remember them and something
THE SEVENTH DAY 193
of their trust and faith, patience and
courage will grow up in your own heart.
It cannot be that you should have seen
them and not have learned from each
" Oh. I am sure I hope it will be
" It will be so — be sure of that. Come.
Let us go."
Cornelia had risen and Edith stood be-
side her and offered her hand.
" Lead me, dear, where you will."
They walked on a few steps and then
" We are again — at the door."
"Oh! Is it so near? Must I go?
Must I leave you ? "
" Dear heart. Take this comfort with
you. It will be given you to remember
every word spoken by all those you met.
I perceive that already you are greatly
" I — changed — how can that be? "
" Something of the spirit of each of the
two nameless maids, something of the
spirit of David and Samuel, Joseph and
194 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
all the others is already growing up in
your own heart."
" Oh ! I am verj^ glad — if that is true."
" It is true and will be more true as j'^ou
remember these things. Here is — the
door in the Book."
Edith looked up and saw the door
partly open before them. She could even
see the firelight of her mother's home
shining in at the door. As it opened
wider she saw the settle, the hearth and
all the familiar room. The firelight
shone on the beautiful face of her friend
and Edith cried,
" How can I leave you ? I shall never
cease to remember and love you."
" The love of God abide with thee,
Edith, forever and ever. Farewell."
*' Kiss me once — dear — for a benedic-
An instant later Edith passed through
the open door and it closed softly and
Edith sat down upon the settle and gazed
in wonder upon the familiar fire flicker-
ing among its logs upon the hearth.
Then she looked at the table and there
THE SEVENTH DAY 19^
stood the Book upon the table just as she
had left it and with the little key still in
the door. She rose and went to the table
and with trembling fingers took out the
precious key and held it in her hand.
What should she do with it ? Then she
suddenly remembered the little gold cross
that she wore suspended by a gold chain
from her neck. She often wore the cross
under her dress. It had lain there close
to her heart through all the time she was
in the Book. She gently drew it forth
and touched a spring and the back of the
cross opened, showing a place for a tiny
picture or a lock of hair.
She slipped the mystic key in the cross,
closed the opening and slipped it back
beneath her dress. She would always
wear the cross and the key thus — next
A moment later her mother entered
''Why, Edith, dear. How well you
look. Deerfield air must agree with you.
You seem very happy. What have you
been doing? You look as if you had
196 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK
seen something too wonderfully beautiful
" I have — it is too wonderful for words
Where is Cousin Lizzy Williams ? "
Just then she saw her cousin enter the
" I am here, dear. I Avas wakeful and
restless and I did not retire and when I
heard your voice I came to you."
She stopped abruptly by the door and
" It is not possible, child — you found
" She has found something, for I never
saw a child so changed in my life. What
does it all mean ? "
" I will tell you — mother — for I can
never forget it as long as I live. Sit
down both of you — and I will tell you
So it was Edith told her mother and
her cousin everything concerning the
door in the Book — except the hiding-
place of the key. It seemed as if she
must keep that a secret and wisely told
them so and they consented that she
THE SEVENTH DAY 197
should keep its whereabouts a secret as
long as she wished. Neither of them
could ever enter the door. That must be
for a child like Edith herself. She told
all, of every visit, of all that each one
had said to her, and of every scene she
had passed through. In the next few
days Edith's mother wrote out every
word that Edith had told her concerning
her journeys in the Book.
And all that Edith said is here set
forth, just as Edith told her mother, not
forgetting a single word, for had not Cor-
nelia said truly, " it will be given you to
remember these things. "
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