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Full text of "The door in the book through which the children of to-day pass, to walk and to talk with the children of Bible times"

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THERE WAS THE DOOR — IN HER HAND THE 
KEY " 



The Door in the Book 



Through which the children of 
to-day pass, to walk and to talk 
with the children of Bible times 



By 
Charles Barnard 



Illustrated by 
Mary A. Lathbury 



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New York Chicago Toronto 

Fleming H. Revell Company 

London and Edinburgh 

T 



Copyright, 1901, by 

FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY 

{August) 



THE KEW TOEK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 



^8^.508B 



A8TOB, LENOX ASB 
nuySM FOUNDAfiONS 
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 



CONTENTS 



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 . . . . . 

Isaac ...... 

David ...... 

Samuel ...... 

The Maid in Naamati^s House . 
The Shujinamite Woman and Her Son 
Joseph 



Chapter 


III 


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IF 


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V 


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VI 


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VII 


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VIII 


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IX 


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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



Facing page 
" There was the Door — in Her Hand the 

Key" Title 

*' 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 

7 



8 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK 

successive generations had lived on the 
same colonial plantation for two hundred 
years. 

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 
daughter Edith." 

The old lady without rising from the 
settle extended one thin delicate hand 
to Edith, and said in a clear, silvery 
voice, 

" 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 
Book. 

" 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 
brother." 

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 
sake, dear." 

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- 
fashioned room. 

" 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 
door. 

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 
with age. 

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- 
tained. 

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 
gentle voice, 
" Follow me." 



II 

"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 
firelight. 

After an instant's pause the girl spoke 
again. 

" 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 
way. 

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 
she said, 

"Why are things so strange? What 
place is this? " 

*' This is the first chapter of the Book 
of Genesis." 

" 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 
waters." 

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 
said, 

" 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 
wide sea. 

" Oh ! " said Edith. " How beautiful. 
It cannot be we are on the sea — on 
some " 

" 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 
Genesis." 

" 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 
a text." 

*' 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 
here, Edith." 

" 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 
here?" 

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 
born." 

To Edith the girl's speech seemed 
full of strange contradictions and she 
could not help a certain perplexity and 
doubt. 

" 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 
the Book." 

" 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 
and said, 

" Be not afraid, Edith. No harm can 
befall you." 

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 
first moon." 

" 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 
day." 

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 
cried, 

" Oh ! There is Orion and the Pleia- 
des. I never knew they could be so 
beautiful." 

" 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 
them. 

Cornelia seemed to understand and said, 

" Perhaps you would like to see other 
places or visit certain people ? " 



"IN THE BEGINNING" 33 



nagMwaBnaiganoaooocouwHiMBBwi 



" And can I see any one I wish ? " 

" Of a truth. I will gladly lead you 
to Elijah or Paul or Solomon or to 
David." 

" Can I see David — I mean the boy 
David? Could I see Samuel in the 
Temple?" 

'^ 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 
understand him?" 

"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 
visit?" 

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 
Book." 

" You have chosen wisely. Shall we 
visit King Solomon or Moses, the law- 
giver? " 

" I would prefer to see the younger 
people. Could I not see the children of 
the Book?" 

" 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 
Pharaoh." 



"IN THE BEGINNING" 3^ 

Cornelia smiled sadly and said, half in 
reproof, 

" 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 
carefully." 

"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 
changing scene." 

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, 
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- 
cerning him." 

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 
land. 

" 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 
Egypt." 

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- 
pected meeting. 



Ill 

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." 

43 



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 
talkative. 

" 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 
presence. 

" 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 
meet her. 

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 
other places." 

" 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 
water." 

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. 



IV 

THF AECHER 

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 
56 



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 
Beersheba." 

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 
twenty-first chapter." 

" It seems a very lonel}^ and desolate 
place." 

" 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 
people." 

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 
boy, 

" 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 
quickly, 

" 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 
curiosity. 

" 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 

said, 

" 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 

then said, 

" 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 

trees?" 

" 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 
thirst." 

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 
them, saying, 

" She sat over there, as it were a bow- 
shot away. Where I put this arrow is 
the place." 

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 
almost upright. 

" You can use the bow well," said 
Edith. 

" 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 
the wilderness." 

*' 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 
mother." 

" 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 
in dreams." 

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 
reply. 

Cornelia seemed to answer for her, for 
she said, 

" 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 
journey." 

" Then will I go with thee upon thy 
way — for a little space — that ye find the 
road." 



70 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK 

" Nay. Stay in the shade and continue 
thy labors upon the arrows. I know the 
path." 

" 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- 
well." 

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 
71 



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 
and listen. 

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 
shaggy cattle. 

" 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 
the flocks." 

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." 

" 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 
him." 

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 
hands. 



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 
Jehovah-jireh." 

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 
said, 

" 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 
LORD" 



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 
murmur not. 

^' 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 
grief?" 

" 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 
he said, 

" 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- 
fering?'" 

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 
her sympathy. 

" 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- 
tent." 

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 
boy said, 

" 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, 
said, 

" 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 
the boy, 

"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 
thereof." 

" 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 
leagues." 



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 
he said, 

" 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 
Jehovah-jireh." 



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 
not." 

" 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 
and said, 

" 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 
thy words." 

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 
her, 

" 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 
in wisdom." 

" That is true," said Cornelia, " an angel 
whose voice you may never hear." 



90 



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 
angel visits. 

" 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 
majesty. 

"It is— his father?" 

'' Yes, the boy's father." 



T 



VI 

THE SHEPHERD 

"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 

92 



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- 
sengers." 

" 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 
Bethlehem." 

"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 
below. 

" 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 
loom." 

To these eager questions Edith could 
only reply, 

" 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 
His people. 

*' 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 
song?" 

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 



28ZSQ8n 



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 
pleasure." 

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 
sling." 

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 
quickly away. 

'' 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. 



VII 

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. 
105 



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 
here?" 

'' Only to the third chapter of Samuel 
in the Book and in quite another place. 
Come. We can soon be in the little town 
of Shiloh." 

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 
way, saying, 

" 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 
silent admiration. 

" She tells me thy name is Edith. It 
is a strange name. Of what tribe art 
thou?" 

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 
SEEN " 



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- 
ing " 



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 
told me." 

" 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. 



VIII 

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 
119 



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 
done so." 

" 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 
times?" 

" 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- 
happy." 

" 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 
nor sleeps." 

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 
her name?" 

" 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- 
nammite woman." 

" The woman whose boy died after the 
sunstroke? " 

" 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 
into Syria." 

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 
me." 

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 
said, 

'' We would abide with you in that 



126 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK 

part of the garden where you sit when 
grinding meal." 

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- 
man's wife." 

'' 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 — 
some day." 

" 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 
cure." 

" 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 
me." 

" 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 
Elisha." 



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 



o 



■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 
failed." 

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 world." 

The child looked up in Edith's face and 
said, 

" And wilt thou tell thy people aught 
of me?" 

" 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 
you are." 

" 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- 
maiden." 

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 
done that." 

" 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 
garden." 

" 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 
she lived. 

" 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 
content." 

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 
very grave. 

"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 
meant, said, 

" I thank you, dear. I shall tell my 
mother what you said." 

Then the child gravely put up her face 
and said, 

" 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 
Samaria. 

" I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath 
triumphed gloriously." 



IX 

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 
Red Sea." 

" 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 
139 



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 
her house." 

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 
visit." 

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 
us." 

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 
my left." 

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 
God. 

*' 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 
Cornelia. 

" 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- 
maiden." 

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 
sop." 

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 
world ? 

" 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 
her honor." 

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 
century ? 

" 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 
them?" 

" 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 



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fer^f,,^ 



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" 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? " 
said Cornelia. 

" 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 
wisdom." 

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 
the Lord." 

Cornelia seemed to divine what was in 
her mind and said, 

" Is not this the stair to the little cham- 
ber?" 

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 
and stables. 

" 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- 
turn." 

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 
and said, 

" 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 
her misery." 

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 
companion, 

" 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 

»58 



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 
way." 

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 
trouble. 

The two girls stood looking at him 
in silence for a moment and then Cornelia 
said softly, 

'' 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- 
pearance before." 

" 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 
boy added, 

" 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 
Lord." 

" Tell Edith of both thy dreams. Edith, 
tarry with the lad for he is the son of his 
father, Israel." 

" The maid is my guest. No harm 
can befall her," said the boy with manly 
dignity. 

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 
naturalness. 

" 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 
first. 

" 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 
be blessed." 

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 
me?" 

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 
dream?" 

" 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, 
Rachel." 

" 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- 
other meaning." 

*' 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 
men." 

" 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 
dream." 

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 
with me." 

" We shall be to them as they that are 
not." 

" 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- 
appointment. 

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 
his boyhood. 

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 
freedom. 

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 
west. 

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 
you always." 



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 
plain below. 

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 
cruelty." 

" 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- 
ing procession. 

" 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 
the south." 

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 
go." 



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- 
where. 

'* Surely they have not ? " 

She felt she could not speak the dread- 
ful thought and was glad when Cornelia 
said, 

" 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, 
twice, 

" 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 

I— I— Mil—— — ■■■■MIlPIIMIillllllllW^— — ■^■■■■■■—■■■IIIWWIIllMPIlll^^^^B^^^^W 

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- 
cape." 

" 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 
my heart." 

" Are you in any pain? Is the water 
deep?" 

" 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 
dreams." 

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- 
ren." 

*' 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 
and disappeared. 

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 
night. 

" Ah. Thou art come to mock at my 
misery." 

" 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 
anything." 

" 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 
Jacob." 

" 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 
of Israel. 

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." 



XI 

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." 
187 



i88 THE DOOR IN THE BOOK 

" You did wisely to comfort and sus- 
tain him at the last with words of confi- 
dent hope." 

" I felt I must tell him that his dreams 
were coming true, I knew they would 
come true." 

" Yes. And Joseph had faith without 
knowledge, which was a greater faith 
than yours. Come. Let us go." 

''Where?" 

" Back to some quiet spot near the 
door where we can sit awhile and, for a 
moment, ponder upon the things we have 
seen." 

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, 




tl 



I 




T 



TSfe 



\: 



'^*, 





M. 




SHE SAW A NEW WORLD " 



THE SEVENTH DAY 189 



unnwwaBuravmmnnfuruwnnn 



so fair, so wonderfully beautiful that she 
paused in wonder and delight. 

" Oh I How lovely — how perfectly 
beautiful." 

"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 
journey." 

" 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 
Book. 

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 
scene. 

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 
regret, 

" 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 
these things." 

" 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 
some lesson." 

" Oh. I am sure I hope it will be 
so." 

" 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 
Cornelia said, 

" 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 
changed." 

" 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- 
tion." 

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 
her heart. 

A moment later her mother entered 
the room. 

''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 
for words." 

" I have — it is too wonderful for words 
Where is Cousin Lizzy Williams ? " 

Just then she saw her cousin enter the 
room. 

" 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 
then said, 

" It is not possible, child — you found 
the legend?" 

" 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 
everything." 

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. " 



THE END 



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Flcmingf H. RcvcII Company 

Nbw York : 158 Fifth Avenue Chicago : 63 Washington Street 
ToRONTOi vj Richmond Street, W. 



RALPH CONNOR'S 

CRISP WESTERN TALES 



looth i,ooo 
Glengarry School Days. A Tale of 
Early Days in Glengarry. Illustrated, 
l2mo. Cloth, $1.25. 

"Wonderfully vivid and realistic. — Indeed it is a fair ques- 
tion whether the author has not given us in this book some bits 
not equalled elsewhere." — Brooklyn Eagle. 

i6oth 1,000 

The Man from Glengarry. A Tale of 

the Ottawa. i2mo. Cloth, ;^i.5o. 

"Bears the unmistakable mark of power." — Chicago Inter- 
Oeean. 

"There is pathos, subtle wit, humor, quaint character draw- 
ing. ... Life, warmth, color are all here." — Brooklyn Eaglt, 

200th 1,000 
The Sky Pilot. A Tale of the Foothills. 
l2mo. Cloth, 1^1.25. 

"Ralph Connor's 'Black Rock' was good, but 'The Sky 
Pilot' is better. His style, fresh, crisp and terse, accords with 
the Western life.which he well understands." — The Outlook, 

400th 1,000 

Black Rock. A Tale of the Selkirks. 
l2mo. Cloth, ^1.25. 

Popular Edition 50 cents. Special Edition 75' cents. 

"With perfect wholesomeness, with entire fidelity, with 
truest pathos, with freshest humor, he has delineated character, 
has analyzed motives and emotions, and has portrayed liie." 

— St. Louis Globe Democrat. 



FLEMING H. REV ELL COMPANY 

NEW YORK CHICAGO 

TORONTO LONDON EDINBURGH 



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