MARY HOLLAND KINKAID
NEW YORK AND LONDON
HARPER & BROTHERS
PUBLISHERS .-. MCMIII
Copyright, 1903, by HARPER & BROTHERS.
All rights reserved.
Published March, 11)03.
For obvious reasons, the real name of the community
described herein is withheld ; but the scenes are pict
ured with almost photographic fidelity, and the life
portrayed is the life actually led to-day by a religious
co-operative community in a Western State.
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W A L D A
SO that is Zanah there at the foot of the hill?
It is a pretty village, Hans Peter. Step more
quickly with my bag. You are slow, my boy. Re
member there is a quarter of a dollar for you in my
The tall, broad-shouldered man who spoke took
a few strides along the plank walk that led from the
railway station to the village of Zanah, half a mile
away. Then he stopped to light a cigar while he
waited for the fat, short-legged figure that was bend
ing under the weight of a large valise to overtake
him. The man was in the early prime of life. When
he took off the soft felt travelling-hat he wore, a
strongly modelled head was silhouetted against the
sky. He looked across the field of purple cabbages
to the village that lay in the hush of the summer
evening. The gabled roofs of the houses were half
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hidden by trees, but on a rise of ground the porch
and belfry of a little church were plainly visible.
Hans Peter dropped his burden and, imitating the
stranger, removed from a shock of straw-colored hair
a cap mended with red yarn. The boy wore baggy
trousers of blue denim buttoned to a blouse of the
same material. The man smiled as he looked at the
" Do you hear me, Hans Peter? There is a quarter
in my pocket for you. I will find two quarters if
you walk faster. Do you know what I say to you?"
The boy replaced his cap, nodded his head, and
answered, with a German accent:
"Thou art talking to the simple one, the village
fool, sir. But Hans Peter knows thou wouldst give
It was the first time that the boy had s poken since
the station agent had called him by name and told
him to show the stranger to the inn in the village of
Zanah, just across the hill. The man gave his guide
a sharp look. Hans Peter had a round face that
was as blank as if no human emotion had ever been
written upon it. His pale eyes had a sleepy look, and
yet there was nothing in their expression to indicate
lack of intelligence.
"The village fool nonsense," said the stranger.
"Here is one piece of silver. See if it can t loosen
W A L D A
"Thy money belongs to Zanah, where no man is
richer than another," said Hans Peter. "I will give
it to the Herr Doktor."
"For a fool you speak well," said the stranger,
casting a glance of curiosity at the boy. "Why are
you called the simple one?"
Hans Peter put his hands in his pockets and an
"It may be because I talk too much to strangers."
The man laughed. He had a clear-cut, clean
shaven face, which was almost stern in repose, but
when he smiled it was plain that the spirit of youth
still dwelt in him.
"Well, Hans Peter, we shall continue our march
to Zanah," he said. " One, two, three. There! We
are off at a better pace."
He took the valise from Hans Peter, who began to
trot along at his side. The lad was not taller than
a twelve-year old boy, but there was something so
strange about him that the man asked him his age.
" One-and-twenty," replied Hans Peter. "If the
Lord had not made me a fool, thou wouldst know that
I have a man s years."
There was a little quiver in the voice of the village
fool, and it touched the heart of the stranger. He
put his hand on the boy s shoulder and said, gently:
"Of course, I knew you were not a child. You
seemed small beside me; but I should have noticed
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that you are a man. I am glad to know you first of
all in Zanah, for I want you to be my guide while I
am among the people, who are said to be different
from those I know out there in the world."
The boy raised his eyes to the western bluffs, which
seemed to touch the crimson sky. Then he nodded
"Hans Peter will do what he can," he promised,
"but the colony elders forbid us to talk to those who
come from the wicked cities, where people live not
according to the ways of God."
They moved on through the cabbage-field, and the
board walk presently led to a grass-grown lane that
widened into the village street. The street wavered
uncertainly between vine-covered fences which shut
in old-fashioned gardens all a tangle of flowers.
Back in the gardens were set stone houses with big
chimneys and shut-in porches. On benches before
the largest houses milk-pans and pewter plates were
leaning against the weather-beaten walls. The dia-
mond-paned windows reflected the gold of the sunset.
Up the street the stranger and the boy walked
without meeting any one. They came to a strag
gling stone house with many wings that opened upon
trellised verandas. It differed from the other stone
buildings in not being surrounded by a fence. Its
hinged windows were thrown open and white curtains
flapped in the gentle breeze. Here the street broad-
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ened into a public square, the centre of which was
occupied by a well. Hans Peter paused before the
worn steps leading to the front door.
"Sir, this is the gasthaits," he said.
The man looked up as if in search of a sign, but
there was nothing to indicate that it was an inn.
"Where is the landlord?" he asked. "This seems
to be a deserted village."
Hans Peter stared at him.
"Where are the people who live in Zanah?" the
stranger inquired, choosing words that the simple
one would understand.
"I will go for Diedrich Werther," the boy said.
"It is the sunset hour, and the men and women of
Zanah are busy getting all their work done before
Hans Peter s German accent reminded the stranger
to ask whether it was true that few people in Zanah
knew any tongue except the German. He had to
make the question very plain, and then Hans Peter
said: " It is only the fool of Zanah and the great men
like the Herr Doktor that know English." He ap
peared to be thinking hard for a moment, and after a
pause he explained: " The English makes the wicked
ness of the world easy to learn. It is only the great
men, who can put aside temptation, and the fool,
whose soul is accursed, that cannot be harmed by
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The man gave the simple one a glance of surprise.
He looked into the boy s face for a moment.
"I am afraid the people of Zanah are not good
Americans," he said. "English is the tongue of the
United States, and all should speak it, Hans Peter."
Hans Peter shook his head.
"Some of our young men have learned the Eng
lish and they have forsaken the ways of the colony
to go out into the world. They have listened to
Satan, and Zanah hath seen them no more. Two of
our girls ran away. The elders worry much about
the people, for it is hard to keep out evil things with
the railway so near. We are forbidden to make
images of anything on earth, but colored pictures
are sometimes brought to Zanah."
"The elders must have a hard task, indeed, if they
would keep out sin, Hans Peter." The stranger
laughed. "I am afraid the great world will swallow
up the colony some day."
"The elders will be guided, sir. Zanah is waiting
for Walda Kellar to speak with the voice of prophecy.
She will be the inspired one who will guide the people
of the colony."
"Who is Walda Kellar?" asked the stranger. But
the simple one was silent. The question was re
"The fool hath talked too much," said Hans
W A L D A
"Go call the landlord of the inn," commanded the
stranger, turning to seat himself in a splint -bot
tomed chair that stood in a corner of the veranda.
Diedrich Werther, the landlord, was slow in an
swering the summons of his chance guest. When he
made his appearance he walked with deliberation.
He was a short, stout man, with a red face, and he had
a wisp of sandy hair in the middle of his forehead.
His trousers, supported by knitted suspenders, were
of such generous size that they reached nearly to his
arm-pits. He wore a blue shirt and carpet slippers.
He received his guest with a lack of hospitality
which showed that visitors were of small importance
in his estimation. After making a bow, which in
cluded the scraping of one of his carpet slippers as
he bent his head, he looked at the stranger with un
winking eyes that revealed not the slightest sign of
"Do you permit travellers to stay at your inn?"
inquired the guest, first in English, but he received no
response, and he had to resort to the German picked
up in his student days at Heidelberg.
"Ja, ja," said Werther, and he motioned to Hans
Peter to carry the valise inside the inn.
"And can I have dinner here?" the stranger in
The landlord shook his head. Dinner was at mid
day, but a special supper would be made ready after
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evening prayer. The stranger could rest in the big
The church-bell rang out in solemn tones. It had
not sounded twice before the street became alive.
From every door issued men, women, and children.
Gate latches clicked, and soon a silent, solemn line of
villagers passed the inn. From his corner in the
porch the stranger looked on unobserved. All the
men were more or less like Diedrich Werther. They
wore the baggy, ill-fitting trousers and the blue shirt
which made the host of the inn of Zanah look like
the figures on beer mugs. The women had on gowns
of blue calico, straight and full in the skirts, and
made with plain, gathered waists, over which were
folded three-cornered kerchiefs. Black hoods, with
untied strings, covered their hair. Most of the women
of Zanah were stout of body and stolid of face. They
walked on the opposite side of the street from the
men. Among them were many young girls, with the
beauty of face that health and innocence give. The
church-bell ceased its ringing. Peering out between
the vines, the stranger saw the meeting-house on the
hill beyond a bridge on the other side of the square
where the street began to climb the hill. One by
one the villagers passed through its door.
The bell rang again. Into the little square before
the inn came a man different from the others. He
was tall and spare of figure. His oddly cut clothing
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fitted his body with snugness. A broad-brimmed,
gray felt hat shaded a sensitive face marked with
strong lines. Long hair, which fell over the wide
collar of his coat, gave him the look of one who be
longed to a past generation. Not old, and yet not
young, this man of Zanah had an unusual beauty
of countenance that bespoke patience and gentleness.
At his heels trooped a dozen boys who quickly sur
rounded the well. Standing on moss-covered stones,
they took turns dipping water from a gourd fastened
to the curb.
The man of Zanah stood with his face turned in the
direction whence he had come. Suddenly he doffed
the gray felt hat and waited with uncovered head
while three women approached the well. Two were
like the many who had gone by within the quarter-
hour. The third was young, and her beauty was of
such rare quality that the stranger stepped out to the
edge of the porch that he might better see her features.
She was of more than medium height, and she walked
with a majestic bearing. Her face, uplifted to the
sky, was lighted by the sunset glow. Over her fair
hair, which fell in two long braids below her waist,
she wore a cap of white lawn, and the kerchief crossed
upon her bosom was white. She appeared to be un
conscious of the presence of the man of Zanah until
her gown touched him. She turned her head and
smiled with such sweetness and such friendliness that
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the stranger, watching her, felt a pang of envy. The
man bent his head reverently, and the children
stopped their play to make obeisance to her. When
she had passed, the man of Zanah stood motionless
for a moment. He was suddenly startled from his
reverie by the simple one, who ran from the inn and
grasped his hand.
For a third time the bell rang. The man of Zanah
patted the fool on the head and turned towards the
meeting-house. After he had gone over the bridge,
the stranger hastened across the little square to the
place where Hans Peter was left standing alone.
"Who is the man that has just gone up the street?"
The village fool said it was Gerson Brandt, the
"And who was the girl the one with the white
Hans Peter pretended not to hear.
"Was that the one who is to be your prophetess?"
Hans Peter was silent. There was a look of cunning
in his eyes.
"Answer my question, Hans Peter," said the
stranger, with some impatience.
"The elders say wise men ask questions that fools
may not answer," replied the simple one, and then
he ran away across the bridge.
THE village of Zanah awoke at sunrise. Looking
from the front window of the inn, the stranger,
Stephen Everett, saw the quaint folk moving up and
down the little street. In the porches of a near-by
kitchen women were preparing breakfast. There was
a strange quiet that at first oppressed the visitor from
the outside world. The men and women were silent;
the children walked with decorous steps ; there was no
It was a perfect morning of late summer. Beyond
flat breadths of fertile fields the bluffs rose gently, and
hill-side and plain were dotted with vineyards. Wind
ing roads led through interlocking trees from which
birds were taking flight. The flowers, heavily laden
with dew, gave out a delightful fragrance. In the
sky was the pink flush of dawn, and the morning
star still kept watch over the hamlet from which the
bustling, every-day world was shut out.
The stranger in Zanah went in to breakfast, which
was served in a long, low room that had a sanded
floor. While he was standing at the table, upon
which the blue - gowned women waited, Adolph
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Schneider, the head of the colony, came to him.
Adolph Schneider showed that he was a man of im
portance. He was stout and bald. A grizzled fringe
of beard encircled his chin, which, on account of his
short neck, rested upon his black cravat. He had
small eyes, set close together, and he gave the im
pression that shrewdness was the key-note of his
" I am president of the Society of Zanah," he said,
in good English, "and I am come to inquire where
fore thou hast visited the colony in which the Lord s
people try to do his will in all humbleness and meek
The broad-rimmed straw hat that he wore set well
down upon his ears : he had the appearance of retiring
into it and his black cravat for the purpose of watch
ing the stranger. Everett rose to meet him.
"Chance brought me here," he said, looking down
upon the Herr Doktor. " I am something of a student,
and I want to see the books printed in Zanah. Per
haps you will sell some of them to me?"
Adolph Schneider leaned on the stout cane he car
ried to aid him in the difficult process of walking,
for he had gout, which was the result of a long diet
of fat meats, sauerkraut, and hot breads. He glanced
at Everett with a look of suspicion.
"We have many strangers from the outside world,"
he said, "but all come here to buy the blankets and
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printed cloths of Zanah. We have none who would
look into our books."
His small eyes rested upon the fine face of the
stranger, and there was much in it to give any man
confidence. The dark eyes had a frank expression,
and the lips and chin told that they belonged to one
who had command of himself while he was fitted to
"I have heard that your German books are good
specimens of hand-work, and I coveted some of them
because I am a collector," said Everett.
Schneider looked puzzled and repeated the word
"collector." Everett explained about his library,
and he was soon talking in the most friendly manner
to the Herr Doktor, whom he persuaded to sit at the
table and to drink coffee with him. When Everett
had finished breakfast, they went into the front room
of the inn, where Mother Werther, the landlord s wife,
sat behind a high counter keeping an eye on the dog
eared register and the blue china match-safe. Everett
offered cigars to the Herr Doktor, who declined them,
but was easily persuaded to try the tobacco that was
produced from the pocket of the stranger s coat.
After they had smoked together Everett knew more
about Zanah than he had expected to learn, although
his direct questions had been parried, and it had
required adroitness to obtain any information con
cerning the colony. The prospect of a sale of books
W A L D A
melted the heart of the village president, who ex
plained that he managed the money of the people.
"If thou wouldst see the books, come with me to
the school-master," said Schneider. " Gerson Brandt
was an artist before he came into the colony, fifteen
years ago. He hath a rare gift in the laying on of
colors, and he hath made some of the books of Zanah
good to look at."
They walked along the quiet street, crossed the rus
tic bridge, and climbed the little hill to the meeting
house, which was a low stone building covered with
vines. In place of the steeple a modest little belfry
rose above the peaked roof. Beyond the meeting
house, and separated from it by a stone wall, was the
school-house, such a rambling, weather-beaten wooden
building as any artist would delight in. It was en
tered from a latticed porch with long seats on either
side of the door. There was a garden in front of it
a well-kept garden, with trim walks and well- weeded
flower - beds. Over the porch a sturdy rose - bush
climbed. The hinged windows were thrown open and
the buzz of children s voices could be heard. Sud
denly all sounds were hushed. Everett and the Herr
Doktor ascended the wide steps, and as they were
about to push open the door a woman s voice rose in
a hymn. It was a voice clear and sweet, and its minor
cadence was sustained with wonderful power. The
words were German, and the tune was monotonous,
but the man from the outside world was strangely
moved by the melody. Everett uncovered his head
and listened reverently. Adolph Schneider leaned
against the door-frame, smoking, as if he did not hear.
When the hymn was ended Everett asked, in a low
"Who is the woman that sang?"
"Walda Kellar," answered the old man. He took
several puffs of his pipe and then he added, "She
is one called of God."
The Herr Doktor lifted the latch and stepped into
the long school-room, while Everett paused on the
threshold. It was a strange scene that met his gaze.
Seated in orderly rows, more than one hundred boys
faced the school-master, who stood beside his high
desk, but Gerson Brandt s face was turned away
from his charges; his eyes were fixed upon a figure
that chained Everett s attention. On the platform
stood Walda Kellar. She was turning the leaves of
a big Bible which was held before her by the village
fool. The girl was as tall and straight as a sapling.
The ample folds of her blue print gown did not hide
the slender grace of her figure. The white kerchief
crossed over her bosom revealed a rounded neck, upon
which her beautiful head was well set. Her cap was
white instead of black, like the head-coverings worn
by the other women, and beneath it her shining hair
curled about a broad, low forehead. The face was
W A L D A
nobly moulded. Everett could not see each feature,
but he knew that a pair of wonderful eyes were the
glory of her countenance, which had an expression of
exaltation he had never seen before on any face.
Back of the girl, knitting as if all Zanah were de
pendent upon her for winter mittens, sat a woman of
sour visage. As her needles moved she watched the
school-master and the girl. When Adolph Schneider
entered the room Walda Kellar looked past him, and
her eyes met those of the stranger with a look that
betrayed no consciousness of his presence, although
he blushed like a school - boy. Walda greeted the
Herr Doktor with a slight inclination of her head.
Then she whispered to the simple one, who closed the
Bible, gave it to the school-master, and took his place
on a stool near the teacher s platform.
"Mother Kaufmann, we will go back to the kinder -
hatis," said Walda Kellar. She spoke the German
so that it seemed the most musical tongue Everett
had ever heard. The elder woman rolled up her
knitting and put it into the capacious pocket of her
"Gerson Brandt, thy boys are truly well behaved;
thou hast done much with them."
Walda spoke to the school-master, who bestowed
upon her a look of gratitude and tenderness.
"It is thou who tamest all that is unruly in the
children of Zanah," he said. And then he walked
W A L D A
down the narrow aisle between the rows of tow-
headed urchins and flung open the door that she
might pass out.
" Come hither, friend Everett," said Adolph Schnei
der, advancing to the platform, where he met the
school - master. "I want to make you acquainted
with Brother Brandt. Brother Brandt might have
had that bubble men call fame if he had continued
to disobey the law of the Lord, for he made images of
the earth and sky, which is forbidden in the com
mandments. But he forsook his idols before he was
one - and - twenty and came into the safe refuge of
"Yet even now I long to behold great pictures,"
declared Gerson Brandt, as if he were confessing some
secret vice. "It is a quarter of a century since I
have looked on one."
"Tut, tut, Brother Brandt," said Schneider; "if
thou wilt talk of forbidden things, dismiss thy pupils."
The school-master lifted his hand, and with a bene
diction sent the tow-headed boys homeward. The
village fool alone of all the school remained in his
place. With his head bent forward he appeared to
"We have come to see thy books," said Adolph
Schneider, when he had taken the only chair in the
room and placed his cane against the black-board.
" Is that thy Bible that thou hast put so much work
W A L D A
upon?" He pointed to the big volume from which
Walda had been reading. It had a linen cover
neatly sewn upon it, and might have been the word
book so much thumbed by the pupils.
Gerson Brandt went to the desk, and, putting his
hand on the book, answered:
"This is my Bible, and I have been making the
letters that begin the chapters. I learned the secret
of the colors long ago from a monk. It is no sin to
make the Holy Book beautiful, for I have put in it no
images, only the letters in colors that are symbolic."
He spoke as if he were making excuse for some
transgression, but the Herr Doktor laughed leniently.
"Surely Zanah hath no fault to find with thy
book," Adolph Schneider said. "I want the stranger
to see the letters in it."
Gerson Brandt opened the Bible, and as he turned
the pages Everett, who stood beside him, felt an over
whelming desire to possess the volume. The old
German text was printed upon parchment. The
pages had broad margins, and the letters beginning
the chapters were illuminated with designs so delicate
and so minutely worked out that each repaid long
study. The coloring was exquisite, and gold, of a
brilliancy equalled in few books Everett had ever
seen, was applied with a generous hand.
" How long have you worked on it?" he asked.
" Five years," the school-master said, " and it is not
W A L D A
finished yet." Gerson Brandt loosened the linen that
he might display the binding of calfskin. On the
front cover was a monogram, but before Everett
could decipher the letters the linen was replaced.
"This is a beautiful bo0k," said Everett, taking it
in his hand and turning the pages. "I would give
much for it. Will you sell it to me?"
Gerson Brandt s thin face paled. He stretched out
a trembling hand and seized the Bible as he an
"This book was not made to be bartered to any
man. It is mine. If there is aught in it that com
mands thy favor it is because the making of the
letters has been a pleasant labor done with all my
The school - master held the volume close to his
breast. The simple one, who had not left his place
on the stool, opened his eyes. The Herr Doktor
glanced from beneath his bushy brows with a look
"Brother Brandt, thou speakest without proper
forethought," said Schneider; "thou knowest that
in Zanah all things belong to the Lord and that
thou hast not the right to say my or mine. "
A dull red swept over the face of the school-master,
and in his eyes was a look that told of rebellion in his
"For the good of Zanah we might be persuaded to
W A L D A
sell this Bible," the Herr Doktor continued. "It is
worth a great deal of money, for Brother Brandt hath
spent upon it much of the time that belonged to the
colony. How much wouldst thou give for it?"
" I should not think of buying the Bible if the artist
who illuminated it is unwilling to give it up," Ev
erett declared. The fear in the school-master s face
touched his heart. For the moment Gerson Brandt
had lost the look of youth which strangely sat on feat
ures that told of suffering. There was a new dignity
in the gaunt figure, clad in its queer garments. Ger
son Brandt s head was thrown back and his lips were
tightly closed. The habit of repression, learned in
the long years of colony life, was not easily thrown
off, and he stood motionless while Adolph Schneider
scowled at him.
"Wouldst thou think one hundred dollars too much
for the Bible?" the village president inquired. He
had risen and was leaning on his cane. Zanah needs
money, for the harvests have been poor. Brother
Brandt will sell the book if thou canst pay the
"One hundred dollars is little enough for the Bible,"
said Everett; "but we shall not discuss its purchase
"Yet thou wilt buy it if it is offered to thee by
Brother Brandt?" Adolph Schneider asked, persist
ently pressing the subject of the sale.
W A L D A
Everett looked straight at the school-master, and
his friendly eyes gave Gerson Brandt confidence.
" I would buy it if it was cheerfully offered by Mr.
Brandt," he replied.
The village fool aroused himself and stretched lazi
ly. Then, taking from his pocket a little yellow gourd,
he marked upon it with a big pocket-knife.
As Schneider and Everett left the school-house they
saw that something unusual had happened, for a
crowd was moving up the street. Women were lean
ing over fences. Children followed the crowd at a
The Herr Doktor stood for a moment as if uncer
tain what to do. It was quite impossible for him to
hasten, and he was of a phlegmatic nature not easily
"Some one must be hurt," Everett remarked. "I
think they are carrying a man."
In an instant Hans Peter had run down the hill.
The school-master, who had remained in the school-
house to put away the precious Bible, came to the
door to look out. The crowd had crossed the rustic
"They are coming here," Gerson Brandt exclaimed.
"Can it be that aught hath happened to Wilhelm
He hastened down the street, and Schneider stepped
out on the sidewalk.
W A L D A
"Wilhelm Kellar hath charge of our flannel-mill.
He liveth with Brother Brandt," explained the Herr
Doktor. "I trust that no accident hath befallen
It was plain that Adolph Schneider s anxiety was
twofold, and that he thought of the loss which might
be unavoidable in case the mill superintendent be
When Everett and the Herr Doktor met the vil
lagers, Gerson Brandt had stopped the crowd and was
bending over the rude stretcher upon which lay the
unconscious form of an old man.
"Wilhelm Kellar hath been stricken with a sudden
illness," said the school-master. "The apothecary
hath worked over him and cannot restore him. Will
not the Herr Doktor send for a physician?"
"The nearest chirurgeon is eight miles away," re
plied Adolph Schneider. "Let the apothecary bleed
Brother Kellar as soon as he is taken to his bed."
Seeing that the man was emaciated and had no
blood to lose, Everett stepped forward.
"I am a physician," he said. "I will do what I
He directed the crowd to fall back so that the sick
man could have more air, and helped to carry the
stretcher into an upper room of the school-house.
IN an upper room of the school -house Wilhelm
Kellar lay upon a high -post bedstead that was
screened by chintz curtains drawn back so that the
air could reach him. His thin, wan face looked old
and drawn as it rested on a feather pillow. He was
comfortable, he let Everett know, when the physician
went to visit him early in the morning after the seiz
ure. His tongue refused to frame the words he tried
to utter, but his eyes showed his gratitude. Everett
took a seat in the heavy wooden chair at the foot of
the bed, which stood in a little alcove. Beyond the
alcove the main room stretched out beneath the roof,
which gave it many queer corners. Rows of books
partially hid one wall. In one corner a high chest of
drawers held a pair of massive silver candlesticks.
An old desk with a sloping top occupied a little nook
lighted by a diamond window; here were quill-pens
and bottles of colored ink. This upper room, occu
pied jointly by Wilhelm Kellar and Gerson Brandt,
bore the impress of the school-master, who waited
now, leaning on the back of an old wooden arm-chair
polished with much use.
W A L D A
" He will be much better," said Everett. " He may
recover from the paralysis, but it will be a long time
before he leaves his room."
Behind the curtains there was something like a
groan. The sick man tried to say something, but
neither Everett nor Brandt could understand him.
Suddenly his eyes looked past them, and there was a
smile on his face. Walda entered the outer room and
came to her father, kneeling down beside him, ap
parently unaware that there was any one except them
"Art thou better, father?" she asked, in the softest
tone, and then, burying her white-capped head in the
pillow beside him, she murmured something in a low
voice. Everett and Gerson Brandt left the two to
gether and went into the larger room, where the*phy-
sician began to prepare some medicine. Presently
Walda s voice was heard in prayer. The two men
waited reverently until the last petition, uttered with
the fervency of great faith, had died away.
"The daughter loveth her father; she hath a true
heart," said the school-master. He turned to the
little window and looked out. Everett, who was dis
tributing powders among a lot of little papers, went
on with his work without making reply. The old
hour-glass on the high chest of drawers had meas
ured several minutes before any word was spoken.
Then it was Mother Kaufmann who broke the silence,
W A L D A
She entered the room with a heavy step, and with a
"Good-day, Brother Brandt," stood for a few mo
ments studying Everett.
"Where is Walda?" she asked. Gerson Brandt
made a little gesture towards the alcove.
"She hath no right to come here alone," the wom
an replied, with a frown. "She is my care, and she
hath done a foolish act. I shall forbid her to leave
the House of the Women without me."
"Walda was drawn hither by anxiety concerning
her father," said Gerson Brandt. "Thou wilt not
wound her by a reprimand, Sister Kaufmann?"
The woman went near to him and spoke in guttural
German some words that Everett could not catch,
but from her furtive looks and glances he knew she
was talking of him.
Walda passed through the room. Everett raised
his eyes and they met the girl s glance. Then he
bent his head in deferential recognition of her pres
ence. It was only a second that each had gazed at
the other, but the man from the outside world felt a
heart-throb. He spilled the powder on the table
cloth, and after he had brushed it off he hastily took
up his hat. He went down-stairs, Gerson Brandt and
Mother Kaufmann following him to ask about his
patient. The three stood in the little porch talking
of Wilhelm Kellar. From the garden, Walda, who
stood among the flowers, watched them as if she
W A L D A
would hear every word. Involuntarily she was drawn
to the little group.
"Thou wilt tell me the truth about my father," she
said, addressing Everett. She spoke in precise Eng
lish, with a soft accent and full tone.
"He is seriously ill, but he will recover from this
attack," Everett answered.
The girl folded her hands on her breast in the man
ner common to Zanah.
"It is my duty to rejoice when death freeth the
soul, and yet I cannot think of my father s illness
with aught but sadness," she said, as a tear trickled
down her cheek.
"Thou art showing weakness," admonished Mother
" Be not so stern," said Gerson Brandt. "She hath
not yet faced the mystery of death. She is young,
and she loveth her father."
"Always thou dost find excuse for Walda Kellar,"
said the woman. "She is near to the day of inspira
tion, and the things of this world should not touch
Walda Kellar appeared not to hear Mother Kauf-
mann s words. Her eyes were fastened upon Ever
ett s face.
"Thou art not going away from Zanah soon, art
thou?" she asked. "Nay, stay to watch my father
until he shall be out of danger." There was such
W A L D A
pleading in her tone that it touched the heart of the
man of the world. Her beauty cast a spell over him.
"Thou forgettest that the stranger hath much to
call him away," interposed Gerson Brandt. "Thou
wouldst not be selfish?"
"Oh, I would not think first of self, and yet I would
pray that the stranger might find it in his heart to
remain in Zanah to aid him whom I love above all,
for, strive as I may, I cannot forget that he is my
She stepped nearer to Everett; her lips quivered.
"It may be many days before your father is en
tirely well. It will be a privilege to be of service to
you," said Everett, remembering how seldom he had
been of any real use in the world. "I will remain
until your father is out of danger."
Mother Kaufmann took Walda by the arm and led
her down the hill towards the House of the Women.
Everett felt a resentment towards the unsympathetic
colony "mother." For a moment he was angry, and
then he tried to make himself believe that he was a
fool to waste a thought upon Walda Kellar or any
of the villagers. Still he could not stifle his curiosity.
A dozen questions rose to his lips, but there was some
thing in the look of the school-master that forbade
The man who belonged to the outside world walked
down to the bridge, and, turning, followed the turbu-
W A L D A
lent little creek to a place where there was a deserted
windmill beside a broken dam. Here he sat upon a
log, for he suddenly made the discovery that it was a
warm day. From the mill he could look back into
the village and out upon the vineyards and the
broad fields that surrounded the picturesque little
The peaceful scene soothed him. He fell to won
dering whether, after all, the colonists might not be
wise to bar out the world, but although his thoughts
travelled far away to the busy scenes in which he usu
ally moved, they always came back to Walda Kellar.
The novelty of his position rather amused him. He
had meant to spend only a day or two in Zanah, and
now he had made a promise that meant a sojourn of
several weeks, perhaps a month or two. He lighted
a fresh cigar and let his thoughts wander back to
the friends who were waiting for him in the Berkshire
Hills, where he had intended to spend the autumn
weeks. He knew that they would concern them
selves but little about his absence, for he had always
been erratic since, when a school-boy, he was left,
long ago, with an ample fortune and an indulgent
His reflections were suddenly interrupted, for he
heard a soft footstep inside the mill. In an instant
the fool had darted out, and, running to a tree that
formed a foot-bridge across the little stream, he
W A L D A
stooped to conceal something in the roots. Everett
was interested. It was clear that Hans Peter was
executing some commission that would not find favor
with the elders. Lest he might excite suspicion,
Everett turned his back and looked down the dusty
road. The simple one ran lightly past him.
Everett was still facing the road when he saw a
girl come towards the mill. She passed the stranger,
who was almost hidden by the wild clematis-vine that
covered a bush near him. She was pretty, after the
flaxen-haired, pink-cheeked type. She went to the
tree and took something that looked like a letter
from its roots. She opened it, read it hastily, and
concealed it beneath the black kerchief crossed upon
her breast. With quickened steps she turned back
towards the village. Half-way to the bridge she met
the fool, who was returning to the mill. They spoke a
few words, and the simple one continued on his way.
"So you are back?" said Everett, handing a coin to
Hans Peter, who put it in one of his bulging pockets.
"What wouldst thou have me do?" asked the sim
" I would have you sit there on the grass and an
swer my questions, Hans Peter. First, who is the
"She is Frieda Bergen, a village maid."
"What was it you put in the tree for her?"
Hans Peter looked aghast. He thrust both hands
W A L D A
into his pockets and appeared to be thinking. He
was a strange figure, for there was a curious blending
of shrewdness and foolishness in his expression as he
furtively glanced up at Everett.
"Thou wouldst not tell the elders," he pleaded,
presently, "if I trusted thee? I fear nothing, but I
would not make the maid unhappy."
Was it a love - letter that you put there for
Everett could not repress a smile. He was begin
ning to believe that he might find some amusement in
watching the people of Zanah. When the fool re
mained silent he repeated his question.
"I know not what was in the packet, as I carried it
for another," said Hans Peter. "Thou forgettest that
thou art talking to the fool of Zanah."
"Your wisdom makes me lose sight of that fact,
Hans Peter. Is not love against the law of the col
"Yea, all except Hans Peter, the fool, hold it a sin
to put their affections on the things of this world.
The simple one cannot understand aught but that
which is of the earth; he cannot reach up to heaven,
and so he seeth nothing wrong in love that maketh
men and women happy."
Everett rose and paced up and down the little foot
path. " I suppose the elders are always above temp
tation?" he remarked, stopping before Hans Peter.
W A L D A
The simple one looked almost wise, and, apparently
forgetting all prudence, said:
"Karl Weisel, head of the thirteen elders, hath been
tempted for many years. He loveth Gretchen Schnei
der, the daughter of the Herr Doktor President, but
he would have to give up his high place in Zanah if
he \vere to marry, and so he preacheth much against
the wickedness of loving."
"And what of Gretchen Schneider?"
"She hath always a bad temper; she spieth on all
the youths and maids. Frieda Bergen and Joseph
Hoff , who loveth her, fear Gretchen Schneider most of
all in Zanah."
"And what will be the punishment of Frieda Ber
gen and Joseph Hoff when it is discovered that they
love each other?" j
"Marriage," said the simple one, solemnly. "The
elders will rebuke them, and if still they love not God
above themselves they will be put in the third, or low
est, grade in the colony."
"And will they ever be forgiven? Will the elders
ever restore them to a high place in Zanah?"
Hans Peter made an awkward little gesture.
"When they have found out each other s faults
they may repent; the Lord s hand may be heavy on
them. Then, when they see that love bringeth pain
and grief, they may go before the elders, confess that
they have erred, and when they have proved that they
W A L D A
can serve God with singleness of purpose they will be
put in the foremost rank."
Hans Peter spoke as if he were repeating a lesson
often conned, and Everett said:
"You talk not like the simple one, my boy. If I
closed my eyes I should think the Herr Doktor him
self were speaking to me. But tell me, Hans Peter,
among all the married people of the village, how many
have failed to repent?"
"Diedrich Werther and Mother Werther alone love
much. They are still in the lowest grade, and it is
fifteen years since they were married. Most of the
men and women of Zanah are in the second grade, but
the Herr Doktor and Mother Schneider are among the
highest. It is said they hate each other."
"This has been a half-hour well spent," said Ev
erett. "You shall have another piece of silver, Hans
Peter, and to-morrow you will tell me more about the
people of Zanah."
The simple one rose from his place on the grass, took
the coin into his square, fat hand, and slouched away
with it. As he disappeared, Everett thought of a
hundred things he would have liked to ask about
Walda Kellar. Yet, strangely enough, he could not
bring himself to speak her name to the village fool.
A<TER giving his promise to stay in Zanah, Ev
erett found that the day dragged. Having fin
ished questioning the fool, he went to the inn, where
he ate his noonday dinner in silence. Then he wan
dered among the lanes and winding roads until it
was time for the evening meal, at which two taciturn
women waited on him. He made an effort to talk to
the women, but they pretended not to understand
his German, and insisted upon offering him hot bis
cuits and honey. He found that he had no appetite,
and soon left the table. As he passed through the
big room which served as an office, he noticed that
Diedrich Werther was not in his usual seat beside a
little, round table where at all hours the innkeeper
was to be seen smoking his pipe and drinking huge
cupfuls of black coffee. Hans Peter occupied his fa
vorite nook on the settle near the fireplace.
Everett went out on the porch, where he took
possession of his host s arm-chair. Naturally his
thoughts wandered to Walda. The girl was a mys
tery to him. Although he was slow to acknowledge
it, he knew that she aroused in him an insistent inter-
W A L D A
est. He who cared little for women suddenly found
his attention fixed upon a girl who belonged to a class
different from any other with which he had ever come
in contact. He usually classified all women he met.
He found that they were easily divided into com
paratively few types. Here was one whose educa
tion and whose traditions isolated her. He hoped
she would pass by the inn. Impatiently he looked at
his watch; the hour for evening prayer was slow in
coming. He had risen with the intention of strolling
about the square, when he heard the meeting-house
bell ring. In a moment the long street again became
alive. As the men and women went by on opposite
sides, many of them glanced at him. Even the de
mure, quiet girls allowed their eyes to rest upon him
for half a second. One, however, was unconscious of
his presence. Frieda Bergen, the village maid who
had taken the letter from the tree-trunk at the mill,
looked across the grass-grown road to a youth who
kept his eyes upon her until the blood mounted to her
cheeks and her glance was cast upon the ground.
The school-master walked with his head bowed, as if
he were deep in thought, and behind him followed the
boys, who forgot to romp and play. He stopped on
the rustic bridge. When all the villagers had passed,
Walda Kellar came. Her hands were crossed upon
her breast, and instead of keeping her eyes upon the
ground she had them fixed On the clouds, where the
W A L D A
crimson light was turning to purple and gray. On
either side of her walked women whom Everett had
never seen before. One of them was stout, and had
passed her first youth. As Walda walked by Gerson
Brandt on the bridge, the school - master and his
charges doffed their caps to her. Everett could see
that Walda smiled on the man of Zanah, and that she
spoke to him. The school-master waited in reverent
attitude until the future prophetess disappeared with
in the church porch. Then he motioned to his pupils
to go on, while he turned back towards the inn. With
lagging step he came into the village square.
"Hast thou half an hour to spend with one who
would speak to thee?" he asked, addressing Everett.
The stranger in Zanah hastened to assure the
school-master that he wanted companionship. With
out being summoned, Hans Peter appeared with a
chair. Gerson Brandt dropped into it as if he were
weary, and Everett had a chance to notice that the
delicate face was worn and haggard. There was
something extraordinarily impressive in the person
ality of this man of Zanah. His gaunt form was
well knit. Meekness and gentleness sat upon a face
that denoted an intense nature. The curve of the
lip told of unusual will-power, but the eyes revealed
the fact that the soul of a dreamer dwelt within the
"I would talk to thee about Brother Kellar," he
W A L D A
said. " Walda Kellar is concerned lest she hath been
selfish in asking thee to stay in the village. The wom
en of Zanah have told her that thou hast much to do
in the world and that thou canst ill afford to waste
thy time here in the colony."
Everett forgot his reflections of the previous hour
"I shall be glad to stay here. It is a privilege to
be useful once in a while."
"Dost thou work much?" asked the school-master.
Gerson Brandt folded his thin hands that bore the
marks of toil and turned to scrutinize the stranger.
"It is long since I left the world," he added. "I
know little of it as it is to-day, but I remember that
it was a very busy place."
Everett could not repress a smile.
"You speak as if the whole world were one great
village, and Zanah s only rival," he said.
Gerson Brandt laughed, and for an instant his face
"We colonists live shut up in our little valley so
closely that we can hardly be called a part of the
changing life of America," he said. "Once I loved
the things of the world, and even now I sometimes
long for what were once my idols."
"Once I dreamed of being a great artist," confessed
the school-master. "That was when I was a youth
W A L D A
in Munich. There came to me a disappointment.
Then it was shown to my soul that I must not fix my
hopes on the things of earth. I drifted to America.
The world was cruel to me. Somehow I found Zanah.
My art was a help to the people of the colony. They
took me in."
He spoke simply, but there was a little quaver in
his voice, and he turned his head away.
Everett rose and began to pace up and down the
porch. The humble tragedy in the life of the man of
Zanah touched him and made him feel ashamed of
his own paltry aims.
"Do you mean that you illuminated their books?"
Gerson Brandt shook his head.
"Not at first. I still loved beauty. I yet had am
bition, and it was long before I could trust myself to
use the colors. I had a hard discipline. For years I
have made the designs for the blue calicoes that the
mills turn out."
"By Jove! I don t know how a man can surren
der all his ambitions. I cannot make it out," Everett
exclaimed, pausing before the gentle school-master.
"How long have you been in Zanah?"
"Fifteen years. I was two-and-twenty when I
came. Some day, before I die, I mean to go out to see
what changes have taken place. I know that men
are doing marvellous things, for sometimes I talk to
W A L D A
strangers. But it is better not to know the world, for
it gives a man so many interests he forgets his God."
Gerson Brandt hesitated a moment. "Even under
the protection of Zanah it is hard for a man to subdue
all the human forces within him," he added.
"All human forces are not wicked. Such a creed
as that is not taught in the New Testament," said
Everett. He felt irresistibly drawn towards the
school-master. All the vigorous manhood in him
resented the restrictions that Zanah placed upon its
"There are many that seem not so to me," assented
the school-master, "but Zanah teaches that it is best
to fix all one s thoughts on heaven. Of course we
have our restless hours. We who have been touched
by the world find it hard to forget. Those whose
thoughts have been centred always in Zanah are the
"Walda Kellar is one of the happy ones, is she
Everett felt that the question would be parried, and
he hesitated to ask it ; but his impulse to speak of the
girl who occupied his thoughts gained the mastery.
Gerson Brandt s face reddened.
"There is peace and faith in the heart of her whom
the Lord hath chosen to be his instrument," said the
school-master, and, rising, he turned as if to leave the
presence of the stranger. He paused and added:
W A L D A
" I came here to talk with thee of Brother Wilhelm
Kellar. He is the closest to me of all Zanah, and I
would ask thee to tell me the truth concerning him.
Hath the Lord called him, or will he be spared to go
on with his work in the colony?"
"If no great shock and no unusual strain of work is
put on him he may live many years," said Everett.
"He appears to have much vitality, and I expect to
see him able to resume his duties within a month."
"The Unter suckung is but a month off," said Ger-
son Brandt, "and it will be a sore trial to him if he is
not able to see his daughter anointed prophetess of
Gerson Brandt did not listen to Everett s reply; he
rose and stood upon the steps of the inn with his face
turned towards the meeting-house. Down the street
came Mother Werther and Walda. The wife of the
host of the inn walked with the girl s hand clasped in
hers, and, entering the square, she drew Walda to the
place where the school-master stood.
After the manner of the men of Zanah, Gerson
Brandt made no sign until Walda had spoken to him.
"Thou wert missed at prayers, Gerson Brandt," she
said, "and because I asked thee to do a service for me.
Thou hast talked about my father to the stranger?"
The school-master nodded his head.
"It hath been shown to me that I was selfish in
begging thee to stay in Zanah," Walda said, address-
W A L D A
ing Everett. "Thou wilt forgive a girl who hath not
yet subdued her soul?"
In her presence Everett felt abashed. He saw in
her a mysterious mingling of the child, the woman,
and the prophetess. As she waited for him to answer
her, he had a chance to notice the noble outlines of
her face and the perfect poise of her lithe body.
" Do not concern yourself about me," he said. " I
assure you I am glad to stay in Zanah." As he spoke
the rare beauty of the girl again cast a spell over him,
and he meant what he said. Mother Werther put her
arm about Walda s waist and would have drawn her
inside the door of the inn had not Everett stopped
"One moment," he said. "There is a condition
that I should like to make. Your father needs faith
ful nursing the watchfulness that only love can give
him. If you will take care of him I shall feel that I
have the right help and that I shall not have cause
to regret that I remained in Zanah."
"That is a matter thou shouldst put before the Herr
Doktor," said Mother Werther. "Brother Schneider
is coming now; speak to him."
"Is it not customary for members of families here
in the colony to nurse one another?" Everett asked
"Not unless they are especially appointed to the
task," answered Gerson Brandt.
W A L D A
Adolph Schneider had reached the inn. He greeted
Everett with a show of cordiality, and, taking pos
session of the big arm-chair, lighted his pipe. He
began to talk of Wilhelm Kellar s illness, and to la
ment the loss of the elder s aid in carrying on the
business of the colony. Then Everett found his
chance to request Walda s attendance at the bedside
of her father.
"The Untersuchung is at hand," said the Herr Dok-
tor, "and it is the time for prayer and meditation.
Thou knowest that we believe she will be made the
instrument of the Lord, and therefore she should live
much alone until the hour when she shall speak with
a new tongue."
Adolph Schneider looked at Everett suspiciously.
The man of the world showed that he could outwit
the man of Zanah. With an assumption of indiffer
ence Everett replied:
"Of course it makes little difference to me. I
shall do the best I can to help Wilhelm Kellar back to
health, but if you send his daughter to nurse him he
is likely to recover twice as rapidly as he would other
He resumed his promenade on the porch. As he
walked back and forth the president of the colony
saw that he was a man of magnificent physique, erect
and athletic. With some misgiving he noticed that
the stranger had more than the ordinary share of
W A L D A
physical beauty, and that he had the indefinable air
which belongs to those accustomed to command the
best the world has to give.
"It is important that Wilhelm Kellar should be
well as soon as it is God s will to restore him," said
Adolph Schneider. "His sickness is a stroke of Prov
idence we may not question. Still, it behooveth us to
aid in his speedy recovery. Walda Kellar shall be
sent to nurse her father."
Everett put his hands behind him and turned his
back as if he had not heard. When the Herr Doktor
repeated his decision the man of the world said, in a
"Very well. I shall expect to see the new nurse in
the sick-room to-morrow."
WHEN Everett went to see his patient the next
morning he had a new interest in the case.
Mother Kaufmann met him at the door and took
him into the queer room under the eaves where, in his
little alcove, lay Wilhelm Kellar. The room was ex
quisitely neat. The little, hinged window at the foot
of the sick man s bed was open, and it let in the fra
grance wafted from the garden.
Everett looked around for Walda, but she was not
in the room. He was too wise to make any inquiry
for her. He went to the bedside, and while Mother
Kaufmann leaned upon the foot-board he felt the
pulse of the sick man. Wilhelm Kellar cast a ques
tioning look at the physician.
"You are better," Everett said, in German. "You
will be out in a week or two if nothing unforeseen
He stepped out of the alcove to prepare his medi
cines in the larger apartment. "Are you the nurse?"
he inquired of the woman.
"The Herr Doktor told me to help Walda Kellar,
W A L D A
who will come after her hour of prayer," Mother Kauf-
Everett left a few directions, and said he would call
again. He returned at sundown. The school-master
was out on the little porch poring over a yellow-paged
book. He let Everett pass him without salutation.
The younger man hastened up the narrow stairs.
The sick-room appeared quite changed when he en
tered it. Flowers were arranged in a great blue bowl
on the table. In a clumsy-looking cage that hung
by the window a chaffinch fluttered back and forth.
Plants bloomed in the bow- window at which sat Wai-
da Kellar. The girl s long, slender hands were busy
with her knitting. The folds of her blue gown swept
the sanded floor. The kerchief folded on her breast
was not whiter than her neck. One of her braids fell
over her bosom. She did not hear Everett, as she was
looking out upon the western bluffs even while her
hands kept the needles flying. He stepped into the
room. Walda rose and, putting her finger on her
"My father sleepeth." In rising she dropped her
ball of yarn. Everett picked it up, and, slowly wind
ing it, advanced until he was very close to her. As he
put the ball in her hand their fingers touched, but the
prophetess of Zanah appeared unconscious of the con
tact. Motioning him to a chair she again took her
place at the window. There was a long silence, during
W A L D A
which her knitting-needles flashed back and forth.
The girl showed no embarrassment ; indeed, she seem
ed to have forgotten him. In Zanah small talk was
unknown. Walda Kellar, who was to be inspired of
the Lord, had been taught to speak only when she
had something to say.
Everett suddenly found himself dumb. He sat op
posite Walda, and was as uneasy as a school-boy who
has not the courage to bestow the red apple in his
pocket upon his pretty neighbor across the aisle. As
the minutes went by he began to feel her presence
restful. She sat immovable except for her untiring
hands. Once or twice she raised her calm eyes and
caught the stranger s gaze resting on her. She ap
peared not to notice it, and continued her knitting.
At last the silence became unendurable, and Everett
"It will be a great help to me to have you here to
nurse your father." The girl looked up and did not
"Much depends upon you," he continued. "It is
only with your aid that I can do my best."
Walda Kellar again raised her eyes. Then, in her
soft, deep voice, she said:
"The Lord hath sent thee to Zanah. Thou shalt
have all my help. Thou hast already won my grati
Again a silence fell. Everett leaned back in the
W A L D A
splint-bottomed chair and resolved to make the most
of his opportunities of being alone with the prophetess.
Upon his perch the chaffinch looked out through the
bars at the quiet room.
Outside the crimson sky was turning to purple, the
fields had become a tender brown, and the bluffs made
a dark line to the west. Everett, who gazed at the
distant hills, compared the surging world to which he
belonged with the peaceful colony of Zanah, the
dwelling-place of Walda Kellar. The contrast be
tween his own life and that of the strange girl im
pressed itself upon him. Now and then he brought
his glance back from the far bluffs to look at the fair
woman who was oblivious of his presence.
The chaffinch chirped his drowsy notes, and Walda
Kellar, looking up at the bird, said:
"What disturbeth thee, Piepmatz?"
The bird turned his restless head back and forth,
and Everett imagined that the chaffinch might object
to his presence.
" Is that your bird?" he asked, relieved at even the
paltriest excuse for again starting a conversation.
Walda stopped her knitting and, smiling, said:
" Piepmatz is my licbcJicn; he hath a voice as clear
as that of a lark. He can whistle tunes; he knows a
bar of the doxology."
Everett went to the cage and whistled softly. The
bird chirped his silvery note, and, thus encouraged,
W A L D A
the man whistled the strain of a love-song. The bird
imitated three notes.
"That is a noble hymn thou art whistling," said
Walda Kellar. "I have heard that there is wonder
ful music out there in the world, and that they play
on strange instruments."
"And have you never heard an organ or a violin?"
Walda Kellar shook her head.
"And is even the piano barred out of Zanah?"
"Zanah permits no musical instrument. Gerson
Brandt keepeth yet a flute that he brought with him
from the world, but it is always silent here."
"Perhaps you will let me sing you the tune you
seemed to like?" said Everett. "Some day when I
am not afraid of disturbing your father you shall hear
Wilhelm Kellar stirred in his bed; Walda was at his
side in a moment. Everett followed her. Wilhelm
Kellar would have spoken, but his tongue still refused
to do his bidding. While he was looking up at his
daughter and the physician, Mother Kaufmann bus
"How comes it that thou art here alone with the
stranger?" she asked, casting an ugly look upon Walda.
" I am here to serve my father," said the girl, with
a sweet dignity. " Dost thou not know that the Herr
Doktor hath assigned me here?"
W A L D A
"He is foolish," snapped Mother Kaufmann.
"What art thou saying, woman?" asked the school
master, who had just passed through the doorway.
" Walda is in her father s care and in my care. It is
not thy concern to ask questions."
The woman scowled and drew her thin lips tightly
over her hideous teeth.
"And thou art a second father to Walda, I sup
pose?" she sneered.
"Yea, and more," said the school-master.
"Gerson Brandt hath spoken the truth. He is
more than father to me in that he is my teacher and
my safe counsellor," said Walda, stepping back tow
The school-master s pale face flushed.
"Thou art always my sacred charge for whom I
pray," said Gerson Brandt, in a soft voice. "For
thee and for thy happiness I would do all things in
my power." There was that in his face which told the
man of the world all emotion had not died in the heart
beating beneath the queer coat of the school-master.
"Ah, and I pray for thee every night when I ask a
blessing for my father," spoke Walda. "I entreat
wisdom and strength for thee."
Gerson Brandt looked into her eyes and a sudden
light illumined his face.
"Thou needest much of divine aid for thy work
with little children," the girl added.
W A L D A
"Yea, yea," the school-master said, as he turned
"Yea, yea, didst thou say?" repeated the shrill
voice of Mother Kaufmann. "Just remember that
thy conversation should be yea, yea and nay, nay."
Ignoring the elder woman, Everett gave a few di
rections to Walda. Then he passed out into the
THERE was labor for all in Zanah. Early in the
morning the villagers took their hasty breakfasts
in the kitchens and then went out to work in the mills
and fields. The children over six years of age were
gathered into the school-houses, the boys being ac
corded more privileges in the way of learning than the
girls, who were not permitted to enjoy the instructions
of Gerson Brandt. The future "mothers" of the col
ony were kept many hours in a rambling building,
where they were taught all the domestic arts, with
but now and then a lesson from the books borrowed
from the school-master. In the very centre of the
village stood the kinderhaus, where the babes of the
colony were tended during the working-hours of their
mothers. A wide porch surrounded the kinderhaus
on four sides, and a tangled garden of bloom divided
it from the street. In a vine-covered arbor, set
among the flowers, Walda Kellar was accustomed to
spend her hours of meditation during her last month
before the Untcrsnchung. It was not long before Ev
erett discovered this fact; and when Mother Kauf-
mann relieved the girl in the sick-room he often made
W A L D A
excuse to speak to her as she went through the little
wicket gate. Outside the sick-room, however, she
was always the prophetess of Zanah, aloof in manner
and difficult to reach by word.
One day as he wandered down the street, after
having assured himself that Walda was poring over a
book in the little arbor, he happened to meet Adolph
Schneider. Since the day when the stranger had
shown a willingness to pay a generous price for any
book he might wish to buy from the colony, the Herr
Doktor had treated him with a perceptible deference.
Adolph Schneider stopped now, and, leaning on his
" If thou hast a mind to buy that Bible shown thee
by Gerson Brandt, the people of Zanah are willing to
sell it to thee. Many times have I meant to speak to
thee concerning the barter, but thou knowest that the
sickness of Wilhelm Kellar hath interfered with all
the business of the colony."
Everett waited half a moment before he replied.
He read in the face of the Herr Doktor craftiness and
greed, and he knew he must use tact if he would
spare Gerson Brandt the pang of parting with his
"The Bible is not what I want," he said. "Some
smaller book will do as well for me."
Adolph Schneider was too shrewd to be easily put
W A L D A
"We have found that there is no writing for sale
in Zanah. Of all our books there is none that we
can part with except the Bible. Zanah is loath to
part with that, but the colony hath need of money."
Again Everett said that he did not wish to make
Adolph Schneider was not to be balked. "I will
send to the school-master for the book," he said, "and
thou shalt examine it at thy leisure. I will have it
taken to the inn."
Everett walked away towards one of the large vine
yards, which was situated on a sunny slope of a hill
just beyond the village. Here men and women were
silently picking the early grapes. Elders and village
mothers kept strict watch of the younger members of
the colony. No one appeared to take any notice of
the stranger, and he went over to a place where a pile
of stones offered him a seat. It was a glorious sum
mer day with a premature promise of the autumn in
its golden haziness. Along the edges of the fences
stalks of golden-rod here and there stood out among
the tall grasses. The fields stretched away in patches
of brown and green and yellow. He felt sure that
there was no more tranquil spot in all the earth. As
the quiet colonists worked among the vines, Everett
asked himself if they were really reconciled to the
barrenness of their lives. The world, with its delights,
its pains, its passions, was barred out, but he won-
W A L D A
dered whether the men and women found it possible
to close their hearts to all human emotion. With
heads bowed low the women kept their faithful hands
busy, each doing the work allotted to her. Apparent
ly the chagrins of coquetry, the pangs of aspiration,
the restlessness of unfulfilled ambition did not touch
them; yet, now and then, he caught the girls casting
sly glances at the youths who labored near them.
When the afternoon had advanced until the long
shadows began to fall upon the fields, Mother Werther
appeared, carrying two steaming tin pails fastened to
a bar that she balanced deftly. Her appearance was
the signal for every one to stop work. She put the
pails down in an open space, and, smiling kindly on
men and maids alike, said:
"Every man and woman here will be glad of a cup
of coffee, I am sure, and this to-day is stronger than
any I have boiled for many a week. It is from the
Herr Doktor s own bag."
There was a merry twinkle in her eye, and Everett
was sure he saw her wink at one of the village "moth
ers " who leaned against a near post that supported a
"Didst thou steal from Brother Schneider s store?"
inquired a fat old man who was leisurely sorting the
great bunches of grapes. "Fie, fie, Sister Werther!
I thought thou couldst be trusted, even though thou
art still in the lowest grade of Zanah s colonists."
W A L D A
Several of the older women laughed, and Mother
Werther made haste to reply:
"It was right that I should take the coffee, since
my stock was gone. Surely it should not be better
than that we all drink, for here in Zanah no one is en
titled to more than another."
One or two of the men sneered perceptibly.
"Hasten to serve us," urged an impatient girl.
"There are no cups," said Joseph Hoff, who had
drawn near to where Frieda Bergen stood.
"Ach! Where is that boy Hans Peter?" asked
Mother Werther. "He was to follow in my very foot
steps." She looked back across the field, and in the
distance the form of the simple one appeared. On his
head Hans Peter carried an immense basket. He
walked slowly in his usual listless way, and appeared
unmindful of the numerous urgent calls to him.
When he finally reached Mother Werther he put the
basket, which was heaped high with tin cups, down
upon the ground, and stood staring vacantly ahead
"Thou art tardy, foolish one," said a man who
scowled down upon the boy and took the- topmost
cup, which he dipped into one of the buckets of coffee.
Hans Peter made no reply.
"Where is Gerson Brandt?" asked the overseer, who
had been too closely engaged in examining some of the
vines to pay attention to anything that was going on
W A L D A
around him. "I need his advice, and he and all his
troop of boys should have been here a quarter-hour
"The Herr Doktor hath kept him in the school-
house. They are speaking together," explained the
"Go tell him that the work cannot go on until he
comes," said the overseer.
Hans Peter turned and went back with lagging
steps. The vineyard workers paid little attention to
him, however, for they were all intent upon helping
themselves to Mother Werther s clear coffee. Joseph
Hoff dipped a cup into one of the buckets. Calling
to Everett, he said:
"Wilt thou not join the men of Zanah in drinking
good luck to the wine-presses?"
Everett rose from his seat to take the proffered cup.
He saw that Joseph Hoff managed to pass by where
Frieda Bergen sat upon the ground. They spoke a
word to each other, but no one noticed them. Under
the cheering influence of the coffee, more talking was
permitted than the stranger in Zanah had heard at
any other time since he came to the colony. Now
and then the elder men and women exchanged a word.
The young girls laughed in low tones, and there was
even something like playfulness among the youths,
some of whom wrestled, and some of whom cuffed one
another in rough play.
W A L D A
"The quarter -hour is past," said the overseer,
and all the cups were thrown upon the ground in a
pile, while men and women, yoiiths and maidens,
turned again to their work. Everett had half a mind
to ask for a knife with which to cut the great clusters
of heavy fruit from the vines. He felt that he would
know how to do it quite as expertly as the men whom
he watched; but while he was hesitating about taking
upon himself anything that was like real work his
attention was attracted by the appearance of Hans
Peter, accompanied by the school-master, who was fol
lowed by his pupils. As the school-master came near,
Everett saw that he had a troubled look.
"What hath detained thee, Brother Brandt?" in
quired the overseer, who was superintending the load
ing of the grapes upon heavy wagons.
"I had mislaid a book," the school-master said,
simply. "I spent half an hour searching for it."
"Thou wert ever absent in thy mind," said Mother
Werther, with a laugh. "Thou wilt find it in some
odd place where it ought not to be."
" I was sure I put it safely in my chest of drawers,"
said the school -master. "I recall the very day on
which I laid it in the topmost place."
"Now recall the day thou didst take it from the
drawer," said the overseer.
" Nay, I know it hath lain there undisturbed by my
hand," said Gerson Brandt.
W A L D A
"Was it a book of much worth?" inquired Mother
"Yea, one most precious to me the Bible that I
have been illuminating these many months."
"The Bible that the stranger coveted?" inquired
the overseer, pointing towards Everett, who stood
by, listening to the conversation.
The school-master nodded.
It was not five minutes before every one working in
the vineyard knew that Gerson Brandt had lost his
Bible, and there were some, Everett noticed, among
both men and women, who muttered to one another
as if they accused the school-master of some sinister
design concerning the book the colony claimed. Ev
erett walked up and down among the rows of vines,
until he noticed that Adolph Schneider had come to
the place where Gerson Brandt had busied himself.
He could see that the Herr Doktor spoke emphatically
and waved his cane, and that the school-master re
plied with quiet dignity.
"The Bible that thou wouldst buy hath disap
peared in a strange manner," said Adolph Schnei
der, addressing Everett. "It will be found in the
space of a day or two, for we have no thieves in
Zanah. The overseer and I both believe Brother
Brandt hath forgotten where he put it, and that
he will find it when he maketh a more thorough
W A L D A
There was something like insinuation in his tone,
and Gerson Brandt s face flushed.
"The book hath been taken from my room," he
said. "It is where I cannot find it."
"Thou speakest as if thou wert brother to the sim
ple one," said Herr Schneider.
"I speak the truth," said Gerson Brandt.
"Yea, he telleth the truth," declared Hans Peter,
pulling himself up on his knees and looking at the
"The truth! What dost thou know about it
thou of little mind and less judgment?" said Adolph
"I may know much, and I may know little," said
Hans Peter, swaying himself back and forth on his
"Surely thou hast not taken my Bible?" said the
school-master, with a look of mingled hope and fear
on his face.
"Nay, I have not said that I took it," replied the
"Yet thou hast knowledge of it, Hans Peter?" asked
Gerson Brandt, his eyes scanning the dull face of the
" It is said I have knowledge of naught," said
Hans Peter, who rose to his feet and, folding his arms
across his ragged, blue blouse, confronted the school
master and the Herr Doktor with fearless eyes.
W A L D A
"Why bandy words with a fool?" said the over
seer. "There is much to be done."
The men and women of Zanah returned to their
tasks. Some of the men piled the grapes into large
tubs, which were lifted on wagons drawn by fat, sleek
horses. The women, scattered among the vines, in
dustriously cut off the bunches of luscious fruit, and
the boys who had accompanied Gerson Brandt into
the vineyard were sent back and forth, bearing pails
and baskets on their heads. Mother Werther gave
Hans Peter the tin cups to carry back to the village,
and he went away unnoticed except by Everett, who
had the feeling that the simple one might be able to
tell what had become of Gerson Brandt s treasured
The close of the summer day began to be noticed.
The sun sank behind the bluffs. Everett idly watch
ed the workers in the vineyard prepare to go home.
The women were first to leave their tasks, and, with
Mother Werther at the head of the procession, they
walked two and two towards the road. As they
walked they sang a dismal strain. The wagons
creaked as the wheels sank deeply into the soil, and
marching beside them went the men, carrying upon
their shoulders scythes and rakes, which they had
used in an adjoining hay-field. The vineyard toilers
wound down the hill-side. All had apparently for
gotten Everett, who had found a place where he
W A L D A
could lie upon the ground with his head pillowed
upon a smooth rock. The peace and quiet of the
evening soothed him, and again, for the hundredth
time in the day, he thought of Walda Kellar. As if
his thoughts were suggested by her proximity, he saw,
coming from the hay-field, the prophetess of Zanah.
She was leading a little child by the hand, and behind
her silently followed several of the "mothers" of the
colony. The women carried upon their heads great
bundles of hay, while back of them moved the har
vest wagons, piled high with heavy loads taken from
the great stacks that dotted the broad fields. Walda
appeared not to notice the stranger, who lay quietly
watching her. She was talking in a low, soothing
tone to the child, which apparently had been crying
for its mother. When Walda was within a few feet of
him, Everett quickly rose, but he hesitated to ad
dress her. With uncovered head, he waited until she
might see him. When she was very near him she
raised her eyes and started, as if surprised to find the
stranger in the vineyard. She would have passed on,
but he detained her by seizing upon the pretext that
she must be interested in hearing about her father,
whom he had seen after she left the sick-room. He
"Miss Kellar, your father is fast regaining strength.
To-day I find that he will soon be able to leave his
W A L D A
The girl stopped, and, looking at him, answered:
"Thou hast my prayers and my thanks, thou
stranger in Zanah."
" If I have done anything to deserve your thanks,
I am grateful, Miss Kellar."
The women had stopped at a little distance from
them, and he could see that they were muttering
something among themselves. Presently one of
"Sir, thou art addressing the prophetess of Zanah
with the vain title used in the world outside. If thou
must speak to her, thou shouldst call her Walda
Everett was embarrassed. He stood gazing at the
girl, who smiled upon him quite naturally.
"Yea, thou shouldst call me Walda," she said.
"Thou knowest that in the Bible the men and women
addressed one another by their simple names."
"Then, if I am to follow the custom of Zanah, you
must call me not stranger, but Stephen, " he said.
And she answered:
"Yea, Stephen, already thou seemest scarcely a
He felt a sudden quickening of the pulses when the
girl spoke to him by his given name, so seldom used,
for he was little burdened by kinsmen and the inti
macies of ordinary companionship. Stephen Everett
had always been a man who forbade those with whom
W A L D A
he came in contact to take liberties with him, yet he
had the quiet friendliness that kept for him the con
stancy and devotion of all who knew him. His name,
spoken by the prophetess of Zanah, had, however, a
sound that suddenly glorified it. As he stood there
he could think of nothing to say, and she passed on,
leaving him to look after her, and to feel in a new and
peculiar manner that the world had changed for him.
He saw that she walked with a firm step and a light
freedom of movement that gave her a rare grace.
She moved slowly, so that the little child could keep
pace with her, and he was grateful for the chance
duty that gave him a longer glimpse of her. She
passed through the wooden gate which cut off the
vineyard. Presently he saw her disappear among the
trees at the end of the village street, and a sense of
loneliness swept over him. He who had always been
glad of the opportunity to enjoy his own society felt
something of the homesickness of the soul.
GERSON BRANDT sat alone in his school-room.
His elbows were propped on the worn lid of his
black, oaken desk, and his chin was supported in the
palms of his hands. His face had a worried look.
The lines about his mouth had deepened within the
last few days, and his heavy brows were drawn to
gether. He was wondering what could have hap
pened to the precious Bible. Now that he had be
come accustomed to the changes brought about in
the routine of his daily life by the illness of Wil-
helm Kellar, he sorely missed the pleasant task of
each day making a letter or two upon the pages of
the Sacred Word. It had been his joy and his rec
reation, after the long school sessions, to turn to
his pens and his colored inks. Line by line he had
wrought the delicate traceries with many a thought
of Walda and many a prayer for her well-being. He
had dwelt so long in the faith that inspired Zanah
that he had felt in the hope of her inspiration a pe
culiar satisfaction and contentment. He was a poet
and a dreamer, so he found it not hard to believe
that this girl of Zanah would be given a special
W A L D A
power not vouchsafed to many souls that come into
the great domain of sin.
It was a week since the loss of the Bible had been
discovered. It was apparent to him, whose nature
was sensitive to every suggestion, that the people of
Zanah for some reason distrusted him, and imputed
blame to him because of the mysterious disappear
ance of the volume that might have brought the
colony the price of many rolls of flannel and many
bottles of wine. The Herr Doktor that very day
had been to see him about devising some means by
which more effective search could be made for the
Bible. Notwithstanding Wilhelm Kellar s illness, the
room up-stairs had been thoroughly searched. With
Schneider standing by, he had been obliged to sub
mit to the humiliation of unlocking each drawer and
turning out upon the floor all his few personal pos
sessions. From his bed in the alcove Wilhelm Kel-
lar had anxiously watched every movement, and had
shown keen disappointment when the big volume
could not be found. Mother Werther had been pres
ent, and had scrutinized each article as it was put
back in its accustomed place in the old-fashioned
chest of drawers. One thing alone she failed to ex
amine, and that was his old leather portfolio, much
worn with long years of constant use. In this port
folio was concealed his one forbidden possession the
sketch of Walda made years before, when she was
W A L D A
scarcely more than a child. Zanah permitted not the
image of anything on earth to be kept by a faithful
colonist; but he had treasured this, made in a mo
ment of weakness and loneliness. He had eased his
conscience with the thought that he had drawn not
the woman of the future, but the prophetess who
would some day guide his people.
Adolph Schneider had gone on his way but a few
moments before. The school-master still felt the
sting of his last words an injunction to find the
Bible within the next fortnight. Gerson Brandt had
spent all his unemployed waking moments in trying
to account for the disappearance of the big book. He
felt sure that there was no boy in the village mis
chievous enough to steal it, and no outsider except
Everett had been within the boundaries of Zanah for
many a week. Instinctively he knew that the colo
nists were judging him unkindly, for even in Zanah
jealousies and rivalries were not unknown. In all his
years of colony life he had escaped criticism, because
he had been the one elder untouched by personal am
bition. His gentleness and sweetness of nature had
made even the most selfish and disagreeable person
his friend, for no one in all Zanah had performed the
friendly services that belonged to the record made by
the school-master of the colony.
Presently he turned his face towards the window
and looked out upon the summer landscape. The
W A L D A
day seemed strangely silent. The late summer al
ready presaged the coming autumn. The birds had
long ceased their singing. There was not even the
hum of a lazy insect. A sense of loneliness crept over
this man, accustomed to the peculiar isolation of life
in Zanah. He half realized that the loss of the Bible
meant to him, in a certain sense, a cutting off of a
daily association of thought that bound him to Walda.
His mind had hardly turned towards the girl before
he heard her light footstep as she crossed the thresh
old. When he saw her framed in the doorway that
opened out on the little porch, he felt foolishly glad,
but although he rose to his feet he did not advance to
"Ah, Gerson Brandt, something is troubling thee,"
said Walda. "For fully two minutes I have been
watching thee from the porch. What is in thy mind
to rob thee thus of peace?"
"Nay, Walda, my peace is not gone, I trust," said
the school-master; but he paused, as if the assertion
made him cognizant that he might rot be speaking
the whole truth. " I have been thinking much about
the loss of my Bible."
"Yea, that is very strange," said Walda, standing
before his desk, and looking up into his eyes with an
inquiring glance. "I cannot understand what could
"If it cannot be found, my honor is touched," said
W A L D A
Gerson Brandt, and there was something like a quiver
on his sensitive lips. "There are those in Zanah who
will count it against me, because I put overmuch
work upon the book and grew to hold it as my best
"Nay, nay, Gerson Brandt, the people love thee,
and they will remember the injunction that they must
not judge one another."
Gerson Brandt stepped from the high platform.
Motioning towards a bench in front of the window, he
"Sit here near me, Walda; I would speak to thee
now alone, since there may not come another chance
before thy day of inspiration."
The girl took her place on the bench and Gerson
Brandt stood before her. For a moment he was silent.
With hands folded across his spare chest, and with
his head bent, he gazed down upon the beautiful girl.
He noticed a change in her face. It had lost some
thing of the childishness of its expression. It had a
graver look. The eyes bespoke a seriousness he
thought foretold the coming spiritual inspiration for
which the colony had waited so many years.
" It is well, Walda, that thou hast reached this time
in thy life without being touched by worldly emo
tions. Zanah hath watched over thee with a care
that hath kept thee pure for thy consecration to the
Lord s work."
"To Zanah I owe all my service," said Walda. "I
trust that great things may be revealed through me."
She spoke as if she thought of herself from an ob
jective point of view.
"This is an age when men should walk near God.
There are strange things going on in the great world,
and every year Zanah s safety is jeopardized. Un
toward manners and customs are already becoming
known among the young people. There is in my
heart much gratitude that thou hast escaped the
temptations to fathom earthly love."
"Gerson Brandt, is love the greatest of all the
sins?" asked Walda, looking up into the face of the
school-master, who bestowed upon her a look search
ing and withal tender.
" It is not given to me to judge what is the greatest
sin a woman can commit," Gerson Brandt answered,
slowly. "I have heard that love bringeth pain and
sorrow and disappointment."
"Yet there are many who do not seem afraid to
risk sorrow for love. Truly there must be some com
pensation for it," said Walda.
"There is, there is," replied the school-master. "At
first it intoxicates ; it bringeth fair dreams, high hopes,
and a courage strong enough to face all the ills that
earth can bring to men and women."
"Surely thou speakest with authority, Gerson
Brandt." As Walda spoke there was a little smile
W A L D A
upon her lips. I might almost think that thou hadst
known the joy and pain of loving."
"In books I have read of the love of men and
women. There is one named Shakespeare, who long
ago wrote much of the history of the human heart."
"In the Bible are many stories of the love of men
and women," said Walda, "and sometimes I have
wondered why, in this late day, it should have become
so wrong a thing to find on earth a dear companion
Gerson Brandt turned away and walked across the
room. When he came back he spoke in a steady
"When the soul findeth on earth peace and happi
ness, it is easy to forget there is a heaven that lasts
through eternity, and that these little years shall be
swallowed up in the vast expanse of time. It were
better to deny one s self joy here in order to be sure
of happiness hereafter."
"But even to me earth often seems so near and
dear, and heaven so far off, that now and then I can
understand why the soul should reach out towards
some one who could share all the little every-day hap
pinesses and troubles," said Walda.
" It hath been given to man always to be lonely in
the world," answered Gerson Brandt. "Each soul
must travel like a stray pilgrim who can only greet
other wayfarers and pass on.
W A L D A
"Nay, Gerson Brandt, we need not be lonely here.
In Zanah all are friends and brothers. So long as
thou livest I can never feel that I am a solitary trav
A crimson flush swept over the face of the school
master, and when the wave receded he was deathly
" All these years my care hath been over thee, Wai-
da. My prayers have been for thee; my hopes have
been set on thee. When thou hast become, indeed,
the prophetess of Zanah, I shall know that thou art
safe forever. Then shall I find peace indeed."
"Safe, Gerson Brandt! What dost thou mean?
Safe from what? I cannot be safer than I am now."
Gerson Brandt made no reply. He walked to the
window and looked out upon the little garden.
Walda was lost in thought for a moment or two.
Presently she said:
"Oh, Gerson Brandt, I know that I am like unto
Eve, for when thou and the elders warn me so much
about love there comes to me the desire to under
" None can understand love, Walda. It is revealed
to every man and every woman in a different form.
It is the all-compassing emotion that moveth the
Walda rose to her feet. Stepping close to the
school-master, she said:
W A L D A
"Why, Gerson Brandt, there is that in thy voice
that maketh me feel thou dost know much concern
ing love, which thou sayest is sinful and unworthy.
Hast thou been tempted?"
" Mayhap I have. Here in Zanah we who keep the
precepts of the colony close to our hearts are safe in
deed. By much praying and constant vigilance we
can escape all danger."
" Surely earthly love could never touch thee or me,
and why shouldst we waste time talking about the
pitfalls that will never come in the way of our foot
steps as we traverse the quiet paths of Zanah?"
" It is well to remember, Walda, that even in Zanah,
our Garden of Eden, there is a tree of knowledge; but
so long as we taste not the forbidden fruit we need
have no fears."
"Fears? My heart is so lifted up in these days
there falleth upon me not the smallest shadow of the
smallest fear to disturb me. I am full of gratitude
and humility in the knowledge that I have been
chosen to be the prophetess of Zanah, and each day
there comes to me a broader faith and a surer con
viction concerning the things revealed to us through
the Great Book."
Gerson Brandt was again silent for a long time.
Once he took a step towards the girl, who was still
standing before the bench from which she had risen.
He hesitated a moment. Then he said, slowly:
W A L D A
"Walda, when thou art given the tongue of the
Spirit, thou wilt be separated from all Zanah. Thou
wilt then live close to thy Creator, and, even though
I am an elder, I shall be denied the privilege of speak
ing to thee. Lest there be no opportunity to talk
again to thee alone, I will tell thee now that always
my thoughts will dwell close to thee. In my heart
the memory of the little girl that I have known so
many years will remain forever."
The tremor in his voice and the solemnity of his
manner cast a feeling of awe upon Walda. Moved by
an irresistible impulse, she dropped on her knees at his
"Give me thy blessing, Gerson Brandt," she said;
and the man held his hands high above her bent head
as he said, simply:
"God bless thee and keep thee, Walda Kellar."
The girl rose and slowly passed out of the door.
Gerson Brandt went back to his desk. Again he
put his elbows on the worn lid. Again he rested his
chin in his hands. He sat thus for half an hour.
Hans Peter, coming in on tiptoe, walked up a side
aisle without being noticed. He climbed upon the
stool, and the school-master roused himself to ask:
"Dost thou want me?"
"Thou wast thinking about thy lost Bible," said
the simple one, ignoring the question. "Thou hast
no cause to borrow trouble."
W A L D A
"What dost thou know about it?" demanded the
" I know that it is where the Herr Doktor seems not
to be able to find it," said the simple one, twirling his
thumbs. " I know that it is lost. I know thou canst
not find it."
" Hush, hush, Hans Peter. The Bible is not a sub
ject by which thou canst display thy talent for speak
ing: foolish words."
IT was the beginning of spinning - time in Zanah.,
The grape crop had been gathered, the bare fields
had been raked, and nothing remained to be done
outside that could not be accomplished by the men
and boys. Therefore the women of the colony were
assigned the task of making the linen used in the
households at Zanah. Although the very latest ma
chinery had been installed in the mills, it was still the
custom among the women to spin the colony sheets
and table napery. The large dining-room in the inn
had been cleared, and twenty wheels had been dis
tributed here and there for the use of the favored
"mothers" privileged to enjoy what was really an
annual week of gossip. Gathered in the great din
ing-room were Mother Schneider, Mother Kaufmann,
Mother Werther, and their nearest cronies. It was a
bright afternoon, and the sun came in through the
vine-covered windows. The door on the wide porch
was open, and near it, in the choicest place in the
room, sat Mother Schneider busy at her wheel. She
paused to put back one of the strings of her black cap
W A L D A
What say they up at the school-house concerning
the lost Bible, Sister Kaufmann?"
"They speak naught of it," replied the sour-visaged
woman, as she broke her thread. "Many times have
I tried to make Brother Brandt tell me what he really
thinks, but thou knowest he hath a way of holding
"Walda Kellar hath made a good nurse," said
Mother Werther, who was busy sorting the flax.
"Anything that she undertaketh she doeth well."
"She hath too much freedom in that sick-room,"
declared Mother Schneider.
"Yea, she hath," agreed Mother Kaufmann.
"There are many hours that I cannot be there to
"Thou forgettest that Walda Kellar needeth not
watching as do other girls. She who hath been
chosen to speak for the Lord surely can be trusted.
And then thou knowest she is with her own fa
Mother Werther cast an indignant glance at the wife
of the Herr Doktor, who had started the conversa
" I trust not that physician from the outside world,"
said Mother Kaufmann. "He hath queer ways that
are not like those of the men of Zanah."
"He is always most kind and thoughtful; he treats
women with much reverence," said Mother Werther.
W A L D A
" I know him best of all persons in Zanah, for doth he
not stay here at the gasthaus?"
"Since when didst thou become a good judge of
men?" asked Mother Kaufmann, with a taunting laugh
that showed her ugly tusks. "The wife who after fif
teen years hath not discovered the faults of her hus
band is not fitted to pass judgment on any man. I
do not like that Stephen Everett."
" He is helping Wilhelm Kellar to regain his health,"
said a meek, middle-aged woman who sat in a far
"It is a fortnight since Brother Kellar was taken
ill, and he is still in bed," said Mother Kaufmann.
"Thou forgettest that Brother Kellar hath been
nigh unto death," said Mother Werther.
"That doctor from the world is a handsome man,"
remarked Gretchen Schneider, who had come in and
taken her seat near her mother.
"Tut, tut; I am ashamed of thee," said Mother
Schneider, in a tone of reproof. "Thou forgettest that
the maidens of Zanah must not look upon men, and
must not care whether they be handsome or hideous."
" Dost thou find him more comely than Karl Weisel,
our respected elder?" inquired Mother Werther; and,
despite the scowl of the wife of the Herr Doktor,
smothered laughs were heard from various parts of
the room. Gretchen Schneider s pale face flushed.
Before she could reply her mother retorted:
W A L D A
"Thy words are unseemly, Sister Werther. I bid
thee keep silence."
"I have the right of free speech," the innkeeper s
wife answered; "and there is none in Zanah who doth
not know there would have been a wedding long ago
if the head of the thirteen elders had not loved his
place of authority better than the daughter of the
In a moment Mother Schneider flew into a rage, quite
inconsistent with the religious principles of Zanah.
"Hold thou thy clattering tongue," she command
ed ; and for the space of two minutes not a word was
spoken in the room. The whirring of the busy wheels
alone disturbed the quiet.
The entrance of Frieda Bergen fortunately relieved
the situation of its tensity. The girl came into the
room bearing on her head a bundle of flax, which she
deposited before Mother Werther.
"This I brought from the station, whither I went
with Mother Schmidt," she said.
"Thou shouldst not have been allowed to go to the
railroad," said Mother Kaufmann. "But what didst
thou see there?"
"A train came by while I stood on the platform. I
looked through one of the windows and saw silken-
cushioned seats, and mirrors that showed gayly dress
ed men and women. There was also a car in which
were dining-tables. Black men waited on women,
W A L D A
who laughed and talked with men. Some of the
women wore on their fingers jewels that looked like
The wheels had all stopped. Every "mother" in
the room was listening.
"The sparkling glass that thou sawest was what is
called a diamond," said Gretchen Schneider. "Jew
els are worn by those who have vanity in their
"Truly, the rings were very beautiful," said Frieda
"Thou wert ever a foolish maid," said Mother
Schneider, in a tone of severe reproof. "Put out of
thy thoughts what thou hast seen to-day. I shall
have the Herr Doktor forbid thee from going to the
" Nay, Sister Schneider, scold not Frieda. She hath
done no harm," said Mother Werther. "It should not
hurt her to get a glimpse of the vanities of the world,
for she is well grounded in the faith of Zanah. She
knoweth that the costly gauds are but the playthings
of sin-ridden women."
Standing in the middle of the room, Frieda Bergen
shook her head doubtfully.
"Truly, those worldly ones appeared happy," she
said. "There were some that read books and leaned
back on velvet cushions. They looked as if they
never worked. Some of the women were beautiful.
W A L D A
They wore no caps upon their hair. Their frocks
were not all alike, as they are here in Zanah."
"See, the daughter of Zanah is touched by the
temptations of the world," said Mother Schneider.
"We have heard enough. Begin thy work, Frieda
" If what I hear is true, the elders should discipline
Frieda," said Mother Kaufmann, with a sneer. "It
hath come to my ears that she hath often spoken with
Frieda Bergen bent her head over her work. A tell
tale blush overspread her delicate skin, and her hand
trembled as she took up her distaff.
"Frieda Bergen hath the right to love Joseph Hoff
if she chooseth," said Mother Werther, rising from her
chair and walking the length of the room to the place
where the girl sat. " Love may be a foolish thing in
the eyes of Zanah, but it bringeth its reward."
"Thou art teaching heresy, Sister Werther," said
Mother Schneider. "If the elders knew of thy het
erodoxy thou wouldst have to do penance through
some hard task."
Mother Werther smiled in a tantalizing way. She
drew in a long breath as she were about to retort, and
then, thinking better of it, went back to her work.
"If Frieda is wise she will follow the example of
some of us who have served God faithfully all un
mindful of man," said Mother Kaufmann. Her re-
W A L D A
mark was too much for Mother Werther. Dropping
her flax, the innkeeper s wife put her hands upon her
hips and laughed.
"And hast thou always been unmindful of Gerson
Brandt?" she inquired.
"Mother, thou shouldst put an end to this unseemly
talk," said Gretchen Schneider.
"Yea, thou hast something to fear lest it be remem
bered how narrowly thou hast escaped love," said
"Stop thine unruly tongue," admonished Mother
"Thou forgettest that in Zanah all men and women
are equal," said Mother Werther. "Thy husband, the
Herr Doktor, is enjoying but a brief authority. Thou
art not greater than any other woman in the colony."
Mother Schneider gasped in anger, but before she
could reply a shadow was cast upon the floor and
Walda Kellar entered. Her sweet face wore an un
troubled look. She smiled upon all the women gath
ered in the room.
"Something brought me here among you," she said.
"I have but just come from my father s sick-room,
and as I walked long, thinking of the coming Unter-
suchung, I felt that I wanted once more to spin with
the women of Zanah."
"Thou bringest peace with thee," said Mother
W A L D A
Frieda Bergen rose frpm her little, low-backed
chair, and Walda Kellar seated herself before the
girl s wheel.
Silence fell upon the room. The girl s presence
commanded reverence. In her eyes was a peculiar
light, and her face was radiant. Slowly she began to
turn her wheel.
"It is very good to be here," she said, presently.
" If the Lord giveth me the tongue of inspiration there
will be other tasks for me, and now and then, when I
am not quite so strong in the faith as I ought to be, I
wonder whether I shall not sometimes be an unworthy
instrument of the Lord, because the little things of
life, it seemeth, will always have a charm for me.
While the great, leather-bound books of Zanah have
much to teach me, there are days when my inclina
tions draw me towards the labors which belong jo the
women of the colony."
No one answered. For a few moments the wheels
whirred again, and not a word disturbed the pleasant
hum of industry. Presently Walda s voice rose in a
minor hymn. The deep, rich cadences swelled above
the sound of the wheels. It was a weird, plaintive
tune to which she sang German words which breathed
a prayer for light upon the way that led through the
sin-encompassed world. She paused after the first
verse. Appearing to forget her work, she clasped her
hands in her lap and sang again with such sweetness
W A L D A
and such pathos that Mother Werther wiped her eyes.
The singing had brought some one to the porch out
side, but Walda appeared not to hear the footstep.
She sang on and on, and when the last verse died upon
her lips she sat very still, as if her soul had gone out
with the strange melody.
Everett, who had come to the window, looking
through the blinds, beheld the prophetess. For the
moment the woman was lost, and he felt an over
whelming sense of her aloofness from him. There
came to him a full realization of the gulf between him
and this woman of Zanah, who belonged so little to
the world and so much to heaven. For several min
utes he stood fascinated as he gazed upon her, but,
summoning all his will-power, he turned away lest
he should be discovered spying upon the women of
Zanah. As he walked towards the bluffs he met
Hans Peter moving along in a leisurely manner. The
witchery of Walda s song was still upon him, and
he would have passed the simple one without a
greeting, but Hans Peter stepped directly in his
"Thou hast made trouble in Zanah," said the sim
ple one, staring at him with unblinking eyes and
doubling up one fat fist. "The day that thou goest
hence to the wicked world where thou belongest will
be a happy one."
"You speak with but scant respect for the stranger
W A L D A
within your gates," said Everett, who was amused by
the vehemence of the village fool.
Hans Peter removed his ragged cap. "Thou hast
brought sorrow to Gerson Brandt," he continued,
"for thou wouldst have taken the Bible that he was
making beautiful for Walda Kellar."
Everett studied the odd little figure before him for
a moment. It was the first time that Hans Peter had
betrayed, in manner or countenance, the least trace
of emotion. Even now, as the simple one stood blink
ing his eyes, the man of the world could not compre
hend his motive in making the unexpected accusa
"You seem almost excited, Hans Peter," said Ev
erett, presently, when the boy had begun to show that
the silence was uncomfortable. "And why are you
concerned about the Bible?"
"The school-master setteth great store on the Sa
cred Book," replied the simple one. "He hath been
kind to me, and I like not to see him troubled."
"And is not every one kind to you, Hans Peter?"
The simple one thrust his hand into his deep pocket
and hung his head.
The people of Zanah are many times vexed with
the fool," he said. "They have scant patience with
one who believes not as they do. In all the colony
there are only three who seem to forget that Hans
Peter is the village fool."
W A L D A
"And who are they? Gerson Brandt is one, I
know. Who are the others?"
"The prophetess of Zanah and Mother Werther."
"And do you not believe in the prophetess of Zanah ?
Have you not faith that she will be the inspired one?"
"Why do you question the village fool?" asked
Hans Peter, suddenly, wary lest he should tell some
thing that he wished to conceal. "Thou knowest
that to all the colony Walda Kellar is the revered one.
Truly, she walketh near to God."
"Then perhaps some day she will lead you into
the full faith of Zanah?" said Everett. But the fool
shook his head.
"Hans Peter loveth earth, not heaven. He would
not be wise as the men of Zanah are wise, for verily
their wisdom bringeth them no joy."
"Hans Peter, you speak as one who has much
knowledge, after all. I am beginning to think that
you are the wisest man in the colony."
"If there is wisdom in knowing one is a fool and
being content in his own folly, then am I wise. They
say that the fool is often given the power of prophecy ;
and when I was carving the day of the month upon
one of the gourds I keep to help my memory, there
came to me the fear that something was coming to
Zanah through thee. I ran to seek thee that I might
give warning of the trouble thou art bringing to the
W A L D A
Everett reached into the pocket of his coat, took
out a cigar, and lighted it. " Perhaps you will be kind
enough to tell me in just what way I am to bring
more trouble to Zanah," he said, with a smile. "I
had nothing to do with the loss of the Bible, for I have
refused to buy it, and I give you my word now, Hans
Peter, that I will never take it away from Gerson
"Thy word is not needed now," answered the fool.
"The Bible is where thou canst not get it."
"And you know where it is," said Everett, so
quickly that the fool was taken off his guard.
"And if I do, no one shall find it," the simple one
declared, with a gesture of his arm and a stamp of his
" Don t you think it would be wise for you to take
back the Bible to Gerson Brandt?" Everett inquired,
walking a few steps to his right, where there was a
great tree against which he leaned.
" If the Bible could be found it would not again be
put in Gerson Brandt s hands. It is better that it
should be lost forever than that he should see it owned
by another man."
"Why is this Bible so precious to the school-master?
Can t you tell me, Hans Peter? Perhaps I may help
you to restore it to him. You see, I might buy it and
give it back to Gerson Brandt."
"No man in Zanah can own anything. If the
W A L D A
Bible should be given to Gerson Brandt it would still
belong to the colony, and it could be sold again."
The simple one had thrown himself upon the ground,
and, with chin in his hands and elbows dug deeply in
the earth, he appeared to be thinking.
"Tell me about the Bible," urged Everett, and he
waited as impatiently for the village fool to speak as
if some matter of tremendous importance to him, the
man of affairs out in the great world, hung in the bal
ance. There was something almost absurd in the
contrast between the two who talked there in the
summer afternoon. Stephen Everett was a man to
be noticed anywhere. It was not altogether his phys
ical beauty that invariably commanded attention; he
had an unusual charm of personality.
Hans Peter, with his long, straight tow hair tangled
upon his big, round head, kicked his earth-stained feet
in the air as he lay at length upon the ground. His
blue cotton shirt, torn down the back, revealed a strip
of white skin, and his baggy trousers were held by the
one button which attached them to a knitted suspen
der. The pocket in the back of his trousers bulged
with one of the gourds that he carried with him wher
ever he went.
"I am waiting for you to tell me about the Bible,"
Everett remarked, when he had smoked half of his
Hans Peter reached back and removed the gourd
W A L D A
from his pocket. Then, sitting up, he began to ex
amine it carefully.
"It was long ago that it came to Hans Peter one
day, as he watched Gerson Brandt at work with his
bright inks, that the school-master s thoughts were on
Walda Kellar as he made the gay letters in the great
book. Lest the fool might forget, he marked on his
gourd some lines to make him remember. Many
times after that he saw that the school-master was
praying for her who would be inspired. Hans Peter
knew that the Bible was for Walda Kellar, and that
the school-master meant it for her to read every day
when she should become an instrument of the Lord.
That is why Gerson Brandt loved the Bible. That is
why no other man should have it.".
Everett left his place at the tree, and, pacing back
and forth, pondered for a few moments upon the in
formation that the simple one had given him.
"Ah, the school-master is a second father to Walda
Kellar, I suppose?" he said, presently, casting a fur
tive glance at the fool.
"Nay, he hath not years enough to make it right
he should love her as a father," declared Hans Peter,
nodding his head. "The simple one hath been taught
that love is a wicked thing, but there is in Gerson
Brandt s heart something that may be love, like that
with which he worships angels."
"Again I tell you, Hans Peter, you are the wisest
W A L D A
of all the colonists in Zanah," said Everett. "There,
go about your errands."
"But thou wilt promise not to buy the Bible, even
if it is ever found?" said Hans Peter, coming close to
Everett and lowering his voice.
"Yes, yes; you have my word for it. I shall not
buy it unless it is to aid Gerson Brandt," Everett re
plied. "And, Hans Peter, give me your hand. I
pledge my word."
The fool hesitatingly put out his fat, work-hardened
hand, and Everett gave it a hearty clasp.
WILHELM KELLAR lay propped up in the four-
posted bedstead that stood in his little alcove.
His thin face showed the effect of his illness, and the
hand that played with the flowered coverlet was thin
to the point of translucency. His long, white hair
was brushed straight back from his high forehead ; his
eyes, which had sunk deep into their sockets, wan
"Walda, where art thou?" he said, in a thick, in
distinct voice. Walda pushed back the chintz cur
tains that divided the alcove from the larger room,
and, kneeling beside her father, took one of his hands
I have been thinking of the Untersuchung, daugh
ter," said the sick man, "and I pray that I may be
able to be present when the spirit descends upon
"Thou wilt be well in another month," said Walda,
soothingly, as she stroked the white hair. "The phy
sician hath said that thou canst soon leave thy bed."
" But the Untersuchung is only two weeks off," said
Wilhelm Kellar, " It may be that if strength is not
W A L D A
vouchsafed me so that I may walk again a litter can
be made for me. I would be carried to the place if I
cannot go there myself."
"There is some talk that the Untersuchung may be
delayed for a month," said Walda, "and then thou
wilt surely be able to take thy place among the
"It would be well, indeed, to postpone the Unter-
snchung, for thou hast been much distracted from thy
meditations by my illness."
"Nay, nay, father. Strange thoughts have come
to me since I have been sitting here many hours a day
in this room. Never hath heaven seemed so near to
"It is well,, indeed, that thou hast never been
touched by earthly love," said the old man, scanning
the face of his daughter. "It was to keep thee free
from it that I brought thee here when thou wast a
little child, for it putteth waywardness and froward-
ness into the heart of a woman. Since I have been
near to death it hath been shown to me that I must
warn thee again lest thou some time feel its evil in
fluence. Thy mother forgot all duty. She forfeited
her soul for love."
The old man spoke with intense feeling; he trem
bled as a long-controlled emotion swept over him. It
was as if he had unlocked the flood-gates of a passion
barred for many years within his heart.
W A L D A
"What dost thou mean, father?" asked Walda, ris
ing to her feet. A deathly pallor overspread her face,
but the habit of repression, taught so persistently in
Zanah, prevented her from showing the terror with
which his words smote her.
"I mean," said Wilhelm Kellar, drawing a quick
breath "I mean " But suddenly his tongue stif
fened and refused to frame the words he would have
"Thou wilt make thyself more ill," said Walda.
"Think not of the past." Taking a pewter cup of
water from the table, she moistened his lips. The old
man clinched his fists and closed his eyes. He lay as
if he were dead. The frightened girl ran to the door
of the room to summon help. Stephen Everett was
coming up the stairs.
"Oh, hasten to my father!" Walda implored. "I
fear greatly for him."
Everett went to the bedside, felt the old man s
pulse, listened to his heart, and discovered that his
patient had, indeed, some serious symptoms.
"Has anything happened to disturb your father?"
he asked, turning to Walda, who stood with hands
clasped around one of the head-posts of the bed while
she watched him with breathless interest.
"He began to talk to me of the past," said the
girl, with hesitation, and Everett saw tears in her
W A L D A
"And he recalled some memory that troubled him ?"
" Yea, yea ; he would have told me something of my
mother," said the girl, as she turned to go into the
Everett administered a soothing-potion, and went
out of the alcove to find that Walda was sitting by
the old carven table with her head bowed upon her
" Do not be alarmed," he said, "your father will re
cover from this temporary relapse." His voice and
manner were so sympathetic that the girl began to
" Be blind to my weakness, O stranger in Zanah,"
she said, presently lifting her head proudly and bit
ing her trembling lips. "My faith teacheth me that
nothing which belongeth to earth is worth a tear.
The people of Zanah are trained to accept the de
crees of God. For an hour I have been thinking of
self. Strength will be given me to put these rebel
lious impulses from me." She went to the win
dow, where the chaffinch was hanging in his wicker
"Piepmatz, thou hast no foolish tears; thou canst
teach me a lesson that I need; thou art undisturbed
by any distrust in thy nature." Piepmatz, thrusting
his head for ward /looked out between the bars of his
little prison. Then he chirped a cheery note. Ev-
W A L D A
erett went close to the cage and whistled to the bird,
which paid no attention to him.
" If I can be of service to you, you must command
me," he said to Walda Kellar. "You must not think
of me as the stranger in Zanah. Have I not earned
the right to be called a friend?" He did not look at
her as he spoke lest she might be awakened to the
fact that he took more than a passing interest in her.
" We use not the word friend in Zanah," said Walda.
" Here we are all brothers and sisters. And what dost
thou mean by being a friend?"
Out in the world Everett had the reputation of
being ever ready with words, but when the future
prophetess of Zanah looked up at him with question
ing eyes he was abashed.
" I mean," he began " I mean that I want you to
feel you can trust me even more than if I were a
brother of Zanah," he replied, rather lamely.
Walda looked puzzled.
"There is none whom I could trust more than the
men of Zanah," she said. "I have been taught by
Adolph Schneider and the elders that there is no
such thing as friendship between men and women.
The Bible telleth that David and Jonathan were
friends, but truly I cannot remember that there were
men and women in Holy Writ who called each other
by that word thou wouldst have me give to thee in
W A L D A
Everett now sought in vain for an argument that
he would dare make bold to use. Suddenly he re
gretted that he had neglected to study the Bible
since his Sunday-school days had ended. He tried to
think of all the Scripture stories he knew, dimly hop
ing that somewhere he could recall one that would be
a fit illustration. He felt a disgust with himself when
he discovered how lamentably ignorant he was. If
he could only have commanded a text that would be
convincing, he felt that he might be able to win some
thing more than an impersonal gratitude from the
future prophetess of Zanah, who had almost ignored
him during the fortnight that had passed since he had
been serving her father for her sake.
"Out in the world there are many friendships be
tween men and women," he declared.
"Then, indeed, must they be sinful," said Walda,
for I have heard that there be few who serve the
Lord with singleness of purpose out there beyond the
"Do not condemn the world too severely. Surely
you do not think that I am such a wicked man?" His
effort to draw attention to himself failed, however, for
Walda was gazing out upon the bluffs as if she had
forgotten him in thinking of the great world that
Zanah barred out.
"Still thou hast not told me the true meaning of a
friend." she said, presently, and again Everett be-
W A L D A
came aware that somehow he had lost the gift of
" Perhaps I cannot find words to make the meaning
of friendship plain," he said, finally, "but I will try to
teach you what the word implies."
"Nay, Stephen Everett, it is not right that thou
shouldst teach me anything, since thou art of the
world, to which thou wilt soon return."
"The world will never be the same to me after I
leave Zanah," said Everett.
"Hast thine eyes been opened to its wickedness?"
"No. Since I came to the colony I have thought
little of the world, but my eyes have been opened to
some things to which they were blind before things
that do not belong to the every-day world."
Again he was afraid to let himself look at Walda,
and he appeared to be addressing Piepmatz. Walda
did not reply to him. She was thinking again of the
life beyond the bluffs.
"Often have I tried to imagine what life must be
outside of Zanah," Walda remarked, by-and-by, after
a long silence. " Now and then stray memories come
back to me, for thou knowest I was born in the world,
and that I was a little child who brought to the colony
recollections of another existence. It is these memo
ries that compel me oftentimes to pray that I may be
spared temptation which should never assail a woman
W A L D A
"Surely no temptation could come to you," said
"Thou knowest little of a woman s heart. The seeds
of vanity are here," she said, folding her hands upon
her breast. "I find pleasure in the flowers and the
pretty things that God hath made."
"It seems to me a sin for the colonists to deny its
members the highest joys that have been given to
men and women," said Everett. " I have often won
dered whether you had any idea of all that you miss
here in Zanah."
"I miss nothing that is best for my well-being,"
said Walda. "Thou wouldst not plant discontent in
my heart, wouldst thou, Stephen Everett?"
" I would have you enjoy all that is most to be de
sired in life," said Everett; and as he spoke he felt
for the hundredth time an overwhelming impatience
with the creed of the colony which denied to the young
and beautiful all that made living worth while.
Walda went to the chest of drawers, and, taking her
knitting from a little basket, sank upon a low chair,
from which she could get a glimpse of her sleeping
father. Everett felt that she had dismissed him. He
took up his hat and said:
"You told me I might call you Walda, so I shall
say, Good-night, Walda."
"Good-night," said the girl.
W A L D A
"Will you not say, Good-night, Stephen ?" he
Walda stopped knitting.
"Why wouldst thou have me say thy name again?"
For the twentieth time Everett was embarrassed.
"Because it is the custom of friends to speak one
another s names," he explained.
"But we are not friends," said Walda.
"At least you will repay me for my long stay here
in the colony by speaking my name now and then,"
he insisted, hypocritically.
There was the barest shadow of a smile on the lips
of the future prophetess of Zanah. "Good-night,
Stephen," she said; and because he could find no ex
cuse for lingering longer in the quaint room under the
eaves, he went away.
WILHELM KELLAR S health mended slowly.
Some days he felt strong enough to be lifted out
upon the chintz-covered lounge in the large room, but
every attempt to hasten convalescence appeared fu
tile, and after a morning spent out of bed he always
felt a reaction. On one of his best days he lay on the
lounge, which had been pushed into the bay-window.
Above his head hung Piepmatz. When Everett came
to make the first call of the day, the bird was trilling
his one bar of the doxology, with long breaks now
and then between the notes. Walda was trimming a
plant that stood on the table near which sat Gerson
Brandt. The school-master watched the future proph
etess intently, and at first he did not notice Everett s
"My patient must be better," said Everett, passing
to the window, and Walda, turning from the table,
"We are happy, indeed, to-day. My father hath
already begun to think about his work in the col
"You must not be too ambitious," said Everett,
W A L D A
drawing a stool to the foot of the lounge and placing
himself where he could study the old man s face.
"I have declared a half-holiday that I may cele
brate the return of health to Brother Kellar," said
Gerson Brandt, smiling upon his old friend, who lay,
weak and prostrated, among the pillows. At this
point Piepmatz abandoned the doxology and burst
into a flood of song.
" Hush, thou saucy bird," Walda commanded. She
went to the cage and playfully shook her finger at
the chaffinch. "See, he knoweth there is reason to
be glad," she declared. "Verily he hath much wis
" Piepmatz is something of a philosopher," remark
ed Everett. " He makes the best of his imprisonment.
Like the people of Zanah, he appears to care little
for the great world."
" He hath taught me many a lesson of submission,"
"Still, his tiny heart is easily touched by worldly
things," said the school-master. "He hath shown a
dangerous inclination to take up the song the stranger
Let me see whether you have forgotten the world
ly song." It was Everett who spoke. Going to the
cage he whistled the minor strain of the love-song.
Piepmatz proudly imitated him.
"You see, I might have been a good school-master
W A L D A
if fate had not decreed otherwise," said Everett, ad
dressing Gerson Brandt.
"What is thy work in the world?" asked Walda.
"Since my thoughtless plea kept thee here I have
often wondered about thy daily labors. At first I
thought thou didst tend the sick, but once I heard
thee say that thou hadst not yet begun that labor."
"So far I have not done any one thing," Everett
confessed, with a feeling of shame.
" How dost thou spend thy days?" the school-mas
Everett hesitated before answering. In all his life
it had never occurred to him to think how his days
"Since I left college I have travelled a great deal,"
he replied, evasively.
"And hast thou seen the whole world?" asked
Walda. Wonder was written on her face.
"I have seen much of it."
Wilhelm Kellar made an inarticulate sound.
"Perhaps it disturbeth Brother Kellar to hear thee
speak of the wicked world which he left long ago,"
said Gerson Brandt. " Like thee, he hath seen it all;
he hath wandered over land and sea."
"Knowing the world, my father hath kept me safe
from it." Walda had drawn the stool first occupied
by Everett close to the head of the lounge, and, sitting
near to the sick man, she clasped one of his hands.
W A L D A
"Thou knowest, dear, that I have put away from me
all vain longings to know aught of life outside of
Wilhelm Kellar closed his eyes with a look of con
Didst thou mean me to understand that thou art
that abomination of the Lord, an idle and slothful
man?" he asked Everett, after a moment of reflec
"I confess that I have not done half my duty," said
Everett, humbly; "but I have spent many years in
study; I have dipped into science."
"Science? Zanah hath naught to do with science,"
said Gerson Brandt. "Science would reveal the mys
teries of nature that the Lord hath hidden from his
"Don t you think that the man who inquires just
how the tiny body of Piepmatz has had its origin in
the egg, how the bones and muscles that form the
wing give him the power of flight, and how his mite of
a brain is made to be the home of at least a frag
ment of intelligence has a wider conception of the
omnipotence of God than he who knows nothing
of what you call the secrets of nature?" asked Ev
" I would not place my judgment against the judg
ment of Zanah," said Gerson Brandt. " And yet when
I was a boy I learned about the growth of a flower,
W A L D A
and my soul was quickened with a new impulse tow
"They tell me there is a magic force called elec
tricity that is now performing what would once have
been called miracles," said Walda.
It seemed incredible to Everett that, notwithstand
ing all the barriers placed between Zanah and the out
side world, it could be possible so completely to shut
out all that was modern.
"Yes ; electricity propels cars ; it gives men the pow
er to talk when they are hundreds of miles apart; it
sends words across the continent, literally, with light
ning rapidity. You know the latest achievement of
science is the discovery of the x-ray, by which it is
possible to look through a man s body so that the
bones are visible."
"How strange it all is!" exclaimed Walda, who was
still stroking her father s hand.
"The wisdom of the world is so great that no one
man can understand more than the smallest fragment
of it," averred Gerson Brandt.
Walda was lost in thought for another moment or
"Thou makest it clear to me that we people of
Zanah must seem strange, indeed, to thee." She
spoke slowly. "According to thy standard, I, who
am thought wise enough to be chosen prophetess
of the colony, must be ignorant and childish. Out
W A L D A
in the world they would jeer at me, would they
Thou wilt have a wisdom that the world cannot
give," said Gerson Brandt. "Thou shalt be spared
from contact with the mammon of unrighteousness."
" Nay, Gerson, it seemeth to me there must be good
men in the world. Stephen Everett, the stranger
who hath come to us, belongeth not to those who are
bound to the idols of sin."
Everett, who had been sitting in one of the splint-
bottomed arm-chairs, was touched by the girl s artless
words. He rose to his feet and responded quickly:
"According to Zanah s standard I may not be a
good man, but out in the world I am not singled out
as one of the profligates. I hold honor dear. You
people of Zanah may trust me."
"We have trusted thee," said Gerson Brandt. "We
have prayed much over thee, and it hath been re
vealed to us that thou wert sent from the Lord. We
trust thee so much that we have let thee speak to
Walda Kellar, who hath never known any one be
longing to the world."
Gerson Brandt stood up and faced Everett. An
intensity in his tone gave his words strong emphasis.
Wilhelm Kellar turned his head on his pillow, and his
sunken eyes stared at Everett as if they would read
his uttermost thoughts. A deep flush overspread
Everett s face, and the realization swept over him
W A L D A
that perhaps he might have it in his power to disturb
all the plans of Zanah by turning Walda Kellar s
thoughts away from what he regarded as the super
stition of the colony. Human nature is contradictory,
and Gerson Brandt s words presented clearly a temp
tation that had but vaguely suggested itself to him.
He could appear not to recognize the insinuation con
veyed by the school-master, and therefore he replied,
"My intentions are good. It was an unselfish mo
tive that prompted me to remain in the colony. When
Wilhelm Kellar has recovered I shall go away, and
you will all forget that I ever came to Zanah."
"Nay, we shall not forget thee," said Walda. "We
shall always be grateful to thee."
The conversation was interrupted at this point by
the appearance of Karl Weisel. He had scarcely
finished his greetings when Mother Kaufmann and
Gretchen Schneider came into the room.
" How is it that the prophetess of Zanah hath time
to spend in the company of men?" asked Mother
Kaufmann. "It might be better to pass the days
alone, praying and reading the Bible."
"How is it that Mother Kaufmann dares to speak
thus sharply in the presence of the woman chosen
to guide the colony of Zanah?" retorted Gerson
"I like not this dispensation which permits Walda
W A L D A
Kellar to be brought under the influence of a sinful
man of the world."
Mother Kaufmann spoke in her guttural German.
She had advanced close to Gerson Brandt.
"The colony is not ruled by old women, and thy
likes weigh little in Zanah," declared Karl Weisel,
whose chair had been drawn near to the one chosen
by Gretchen Schneider.
" If Zanah were ruled by old women the head of the
thirteen elders would not be coveting the daughter of
the Herr Doktor," said Mother Kaufmann, losing all
caution in her anger.
Gretchen Schneider s thin face turned a livid yellow,
and Karl Weisel sprang forward as if he would like to
grasp the woman by the throat.
" Peace, children of Zanah," commanded Walda, ris
ing in majestic indignation. "Your words are shame
ful. Put away from you the spirit of contention."
Wilhelm Kellar had made an effort to speak, but in
the excitement of the moment his tongue refused to
frame the words. Everett, looking at him, saw that
there were beads of perspiration on his brow and that
he looked exhausted.
"Send these people out of the room," he said to
Gerson Brandt. "Wilhelm Kellar must be kept
quiet." He went to the table, where he began to
mix a soothing draught, while Gerson Brandt dis
missed the three visitors. The school - master pre-
W A L D A
ceded them out of the room, leaving Walda and Ev
erett to soothe the sick man, who showed signs of
extreme exhaustion. When the medicine had been
administered, Walda drew together the white curtains
and placed a chintz screen before the window.
"He looketh almost as if death were near," she
whispered to Everett.
"Do not be alarmed," he replied; "he will soon fall
asleep, and when he awakens he will be as well as he
was this morning."
The girl bent over her father to watch the faint
breathing. The old man s face was ghastly in its
emaciation and pallor.
"Thou wilt not leave me yet?" she said, entreat-
ingly. " Sit here with me until I am sure he is slum
Walda took her place on an old oaken bench above
which hung Gerson Brandt s book-shelves, and Ev
erett drew one of the chairs close to the table, near to
the place where Walda sat. Instead of taking up her
knitting the girl leaned on the oaken arm of the
bench, and with her chin in her hands she became
lost in thought.
"Through thee it hath become plain to me that I
am different from the women out there in the world,
she said, presently. "Sometimes there hath come
over me a great fear lest one day I shall be sorely
tempted to go forth among men and women of the
W A L D A
earth. In the days of my rebellion, when I turned a
deaf ear to the calling of the spirit, I dreamed of going
away from Zanah. Since I have known thee I have
sometimes faltered, even as my steps were being led
near to the place of peace which will be revealed to
me when the inspiration cometh." She spoke as if
she were thinking aloud, and Everett made no re
sponse, for he dared not say the words that came to
" Thou knowest the world," she continued. " Dost
thou think that I could ever be tempted to forget my
duty to the people of Zanah ? Shall I be able always
to walk near to God?"
"It is said that there is a supreme temptation for
every man and for every woman," said Everett, not
daring to look at her. " You may be spared that, or,
if it comes to you, you may be strong enough to resist
"There are strange, earthly impulses in my heart
that none but Gerson Brandt can understand," she
said. "But even he will not let me speak of them."
"What are your besetting sins?" Everett asked,
gently. "Can t you confess them to me? Perhaps
I can judge more fairly than any one in Zanah, be
cause mine must be the broader view."
Walda cast upon him a look of such trustfulness
that his conscience smote him.
"Stephen, my faith in the devil is not strong. I
W A L D A
like not to think of the power of evil, for truly the
world seemeth good to me. When I walk forth into
the fields something in me maketh me to love the
beauty of the sky, the vast stretches of rolling prairie,
and the shining water of the distant lake. The bird-
voices seem human to me, and yet the meadow-lark
and the robin, the little creatures that God hath made,
appear not to know of Satan s rule."
"Walda, you are not sinning. The Creator of all
things is speaking to you through nature."
" Dost thou believe that, Stephen?"
"Yes; science teaches that. Have you not been
taught that the wood which burns so brightly on
your hearth is giving out the sunshine stored for years,
so that in time man might use it?"
Walda listened with parted lips.
"Ah, that is good," she said. "Perhaps thou
couldst unlock many of the mysteries that disturb
me. Canst thou tell how the grain of wheat groweth
when it is put into the ground? Dost thou know how
the egg is changed into the nestling?"
"Science has probed the secrets of the seed and the
egg, and it has discovered much. If it is permitted, I
will send you books when I have returned to the
"Nay, I am but a child in my ignorance. Canst
thou not tell me about the mysteries when thou
comest here to this room?"
W A L D A
" It would be a privilege to teach you," said Ever
ett. "We might have our first lesson to-morrow."
" I have not told thee half my wayward impulses,"
Walda declared, presently. "When strangers have
driven to the village I have caught glimpses of women
who wore gay clothes, and I have coveted the gowns
of exquisite color." She hesitated for a moment, with
something like embarrassment. "And, Stephen," she
added, " I like thy garb better than that of the men
of Zanah. Thou hast a ring on thy finger that I
think is pretty, and when thou takest from thy pocket
thy gold watch I have a curiosity to look at it. This
shows how easily I am tempted by earthly gauds."
Everett could not repress a little laugh, but seeing
how much in earnest she was, he said, quite sol
Walda, these are not sins. Your confessions show
that you are a woman with a woman s impulses. Even
a prophetess cannot help being a little human."
He took his watch from his pocket and placed it in
her lap. Drawing from his finger a ring of beautifully
wrought gold, he put it into her hand. Walda s face
"Thou must not persuade me to put it on," she half
pleaded, as she looked at the ring; and then, as if to
prevent herself from succumbing to temptation, she
passed it back to Everett. The watch she examined
carefully. "This will mark the seconds, the mo-
W A L D A
ments, and the hours of all thy life. It should re
mind one to make good account of his time."
"It has marked some very pleasant moments since
I came to Zanah," said Everett, and his tones con
veyed to Walda a dim impression that made her sud
Some one knocked twice on the door, lifted the
latch, and entered. It was Hans Peter, who carried
in his hand a package of books, letters, and papers.
"These have I brought from the post-office," said
the simple one, his pale eyes wandering from Walda
to Everett as they sat close together. It was plain,
even to a fool, that their conversation had been of a
sort interesting only to themselves.
"The elders ordered that thy mail be given into thy
hands, and I have followed thee here that I might
deliver the chronicles of the wicked world into thy
Everett thanked the simple one, who made no move
to leave the room. Hans Peter still stood playing
with his queer cap and balancing himself first on one
foot and then on the other.
"Wouldst thou give me the newspaper when thou
hast read it?" he asked, with something like eager
ness in his tone.
"No, no, Hans Peter, I cannot disregard the rules
of the colony, " Everett said, carelessly.
"Dost thou not know that the fool cannot be hurt?"
W A L D A
asked the simple one. "He hath so little knowledge
that he knoweth not folly from wisdom. To him the
wicked appear good and the good wicked."
Everett s mail was scattered on the table where the
simple one had put it. Among the envelopes the man
of the world saw one that enclosed a photograph.
"This may be a picture that will interest you," he
said. "Will you pardon me if I open it?" He tore
off the envelope, and the photograph of a young and
beautiful girl was disclosed. The hair was dressed in
rather an elaborate fashion, and the gown was slightly
de collete .
"This is my young cousin Beatrice," he remarked.
"She is one of my favorite relatives. I want you to
tell me what you think of her, Walda."
" It is forbidden in Zanah that we should make the
image of anything on earth," declared Walda, turn
ing her eyes away when Everett held the photograph
"I beg your pardon," he said.
The fool had come close to Everett s chair, and he
now looked over the stranger s shoulder.
"Is she called beautiful?" he asked.
" I believe she is," said Everett. "Don t you think
she is a pretty girl?"
"I like her hair and her necklace," the simple one
said. "She hath no cap or kerchief. Yea, she is like
an angel." He hesitated for a moment, looking from
W A L D A
the picture to Walda, as if he were comparing the
two faces, and he added: "She is not so fair as the
prophetess of Zanah. Dost thou think her more
comely than Walda Kellar?"
" Hush, Hans Peter; thou knowest it is a sin to see
that a woman is fair or comely," warned Walda.
The simple one shook his head of tangled, straw-
colored hair, and answered:
"Thou forgettest the fool knoweth not right from
wrong; he is the only free man in the whole colony."
He threw his cap into the air, but his stolid face be
trayed no sign that he might be exulting over his
emancipation from the laws of Zanah.
" Here, gather up these letters and papers and come
with me to the inn," said Everett. He thrust the
photograph into the outside pocket of his coat.
"Now, indeed, do I know that I am a daughter of
Eve," said Walda, rising. "To-day it hath been made
plain to me that I am not like unto the women of
the world. I I I would have one glimpse of thy
cousin. Dost thou think it would be very sinful if I
looked at the image of thy kinswoman?"
" Sinful! I think it is your right to know something
of the women outside the colony," Everett declared.
He took the picture from his pocket and put it into
Walda studied the face for a few moments.
"Thy cousin Beatrice is fair indeed." As she spoke
W A L D A
the faintest sigh accompanied her words. " Wilt thou
not tell me something of her?" she asked. "Doth she
wear this gown and this necklace when she worketh?"
The picture of his cousin Beatrice working was so
absurd that Everett smiled.
"This is the sort of a gown my cousin wears when
she goes to a ball," he explained.
"A ball! What is a ball?" asked Walda.
"Oh, it is a party an assembly of men and women
where there are music and flowers and brilliant lights."
"And what do the people do? Do they sing hymns
and pray as we do at our meetings?"
Again Everett smiled. The spectacle of the guests
at a modern ball joining in hymns and prayers would
be entertaining indeed, he thought.
"They talk and dance, Walda."
"There is dancing spoken of in the Bible," said
Walda; "but the elders of Zanah have told the people
how the rite hath been degraded by the men and
women of the world. I have heard that dancing is no
longer a religious ceremony."
"That is true, indeed," said Everett, and the mem
ory of some of the stage-dancing flashed across his
"What is thy cousin s work?" Walda inquired,
again studying the photograph.
"Work?" repeated Everett. "Why, she has no
W A L D A
"And doth all thy family belong to the drones?"
Walda asked. " How is it that out in the world some
men and women are permitted to be idle while others
"Now, Walda, you have hit upon one of the great
social problems. Out in the world the people do not
work for the common good. Selfishness rules. Some
men and some women are born to wealth, and some
are born to poverty."
"Thou meanest that some men are like Solomon
and others are like the beggars that lay outside the
gates of Jerusalem?"
"Yes, that is what I mean," said Everett.
Art thou like Solomon ? Hast thou gold that thou
keepest from the poor and hungry?" Walda placed
the picture upon the table and withdrew several steps
"I am not like Solomon, Walda," Everett replied,
with an uncomfortable feeling that he belonged to a
"But you have money so that you live without
"Yes," admitted Everett, with some reluctance.
"He carrieth much silver with him," said Hans
Peter, who had listened intently to the conversation.
"He hath tossed me many a piece when I have run
errands for him."
"Oh, thou dost give away thy money?" Walda s
tone betrayed her relief at the thought that, after all,
Everett might not be altogether selfish.
"Yes, I give away some of my money," Stephen
answered; "but I have not done half the good with it
that I should. Perhaps I may learn here in Zanah
how to employ my time and my money to better ad
" Now, indeed, I know that the Lord hath sent thee
here for thine own good."
"Sometimes I am not so sure of it, Walda," said
Everett, and, turning quickly, he took up his hat. He
pushed open the door, motioned to the simple one to
pass out first, hesitated a moment, and then returned
to Walda s side.
"Don t think of me as such a bad man," he said.
"Nay, there is something in my heart that maketh
me believe only that thou art wise and true."
Quickly he left the room, and as he went down the
stairs he reflected that one of the first steps in wisdom
is that which takes a man away from a great tempta
tion. Walda, standing alone by the table, thought of
many things, and then, strangely enough, Piepmatz,
looking from his little cage, whistled the notes of the
love-song that Everett had taught him.
ATER leaving Walda, Stephen Everett walked far
out into the country. At first he did not try to
analyze his thoughts. He felt an unwonted buoy
ancy and hope. Between him and the brilliant sky
he saw the face of the future prophetess of Zanah.
He felt her sweet presence, and gradually he came
into a knowledge that the girl was gaining a master
ing power over him. Because he was more or less of
a trifler in the great world of action, he had been will
ing to stay in the colony long enough to gain some
new impressions. At first the girl had been only a
central figure in a quaint picture that seemed to be
long to another time and to another country. There
had been days that had bored him, and a hundred
times he had repented of his rash pledge that held
him in Zanah for an indefinite period. Now he knew
that Walda Kellar had become to him more than a
passing acquaintance. As he hastened away from the
village, his first exultation in having gained from her
something of a personal recognition led him to think
of his own motives in attempting to win what he
called the friendship of this woman of Zanah.
W A L D A
Beneath all his aimlessness and indifference, Ever
ett held high ideals of womanhood. He was a man
who cherished chivalrous traditions, and when his
footsteps finally brought him back from the foot of
the bluff to the edge of the little lake, that now re
flected a purple sky, he threw himself upon the ground
to think seriously of his intentions. It was plain to
him that the prophetess of Zanah never could belong
wholly to his world. The memory of his associations
in New York and Newport made him almost doubt
his own identity. Visions of the fashionable and friv
olous women who were part of what is known as
American society presented themselves to him. He
saw the gorgeous gowns and flashing jewels of matrons
and maids whom he knew. He recalled their rather
brilliant conversation. In his mind s eye he pictured
an autumn ball at Tuxedo he had just received a
letter mentioning a great entertainment that was to
take place that very evening and he tried to imagine
how Walda Kellar would appear as one of those whom
the colony condemned. There were girls belonging
to the gayest circles of Eastern cities who were
pleased to call him friend, and yet he valued their
favors as nothing compared with the esteem that he
coveted from the woman of Zanah. In thinking of
Walda he soothed his conscience by telling himself
that esteem was the word which described the interest
he wished the girl to feel for him. And then the
W A L D A
thought came to him, insistently, that he was playing
the part of a contemptible egotist, and that he was
secretly longing to awaken in the heart of the proph
etess of Zanah earthly love that was forbidden to her.
It is a human trait to desire what is beyond one s
reach, and Everett acknowledged to himself that part
of the charm which the girl of the colony cast upon
him was due to her elusiveness and to her ignorance
of all that pertained to what were the every-day ex
periences of ordinary women. She was the one wom
an that he might claim unsullied and untouched by
love for any other man, and yet with a sudden sen
sation of shame he realized that he was presumptuous
to feel himself entitled to a love that would, indeed,
be sent from heaven.
Everett took from his pocket some of the letters
that he had received during the week. All of them
told of events that formerly had interested him. The
letters took him back to his own place in the broad
life of America. He reasoned with himself that he
might leave Zanah within a week. He would go away
without striving further to probe the mysterious nat
ure of the prophetess of Zanah, and he would remem
ber his sojourn in the colony as one of the many pleas
ant incidents in his varied life. Having settled the
question to his own satisfaction, he experienced a
sensation of relief. He strolled back to the village.
Entering the inn, he found Diedrich Werther smoking
W A L D A
a pipe behind the dog-eared register, which had not
recorded a name since his own had been written there.
He asked some questions about the hunting, and the
innkeeper told him of a distant pond where ducks
were plentiful. Everett announced that he meant to
take his gun out early the next morning, and he asked
whether Hans Peter might accompany him. Inci
dentally he dropped the remark that he expected to
leave the colony within a few days. Then he bor
rowed the old-fashioned ink-horn and a quill-pen,
which he took to one of the tables in a far corner of
the main room of the inn. Selecting a dozen sheets
of yellow paper from Diedrich Werther s store of sta
tionery, he began to write letters to the friends he had
almost forgotten for a fortnight.
There was a woman in Newport to whom he had
meant to send a note. He thought of her amusement
when she would receive a sample of Diedrich Werther s
yellow stationery. He wrote the date line, and then he
found it difficult to frame a graceful and conventional
greeting to one whom he had quite forgotten for many
days. He leaned back in his chair and tried to im
agine how this woman and Walda would appear if he
saw them together. The one was a typical product
of American civilization, that educates its women
broadly, giving them the liberty to mingle freely with
the greatest of many lands a woman born to wealth
and station, one who knew how to value her extraor-
W A L D A
dinary advantages, and how to make the most of them.
She was still young, but she had learned much of the
world, for she had travelled widely and had read
books of every class. She had few illusions. He re
membered that her broad grasp of life had sometimes
shocked him. She had studied much of philosophy,
and had but desultory connection with a fashionable
church. She was witty, brilliant, fascinating. She
was an aristocrat, in the best sense of the word. Her
gowns were artistic masterpieces. A picture of her
as he had seen her at an Easter ball came back to him.
He recalled the shimmering satin and the frost of lace
that set off her imperious beauty. That night he had
been almost persuaded that she was the one woman
in the world. For a moment he quite forgot Zanah.
He was impatient to go back to the gay world that
held so much of beauty and brightness. It was a
strange vagary, this sojourn in the colony. He dipped
the quill-pen into the ink-horn again. He drew the
ugly sheet of yellow paper towards him, and then
he heard the heavy step of Mother Werther as she
hastened across the great kitchen to the porch.
"Walda, where art thou going?" she said.
Before he knew what he was doing, Everett had
dropped his pen and sauntered out-of-doors into the
little square where Walda had paused at the well. She
was giving a cup of water to a child, and at first she
did not see Everett. She was standing so that he.
W A L D A
could see only her profile, and its purity of outline
made him say to himself that he had never beheld a
face so clear-cut. The delicate line of the lips, which
were always firmly closed, denoted a strength of char
acter that the chin rather contradicted in its full
curve. He went to her, and, taking the cup from her
hand, hung it in its accustomed place.
"I am glad to have met you, Walda," he said, with
a little hesitation as he spoke her name, "for I am
thinking of going away this week
The girl gave him a startled look.
"Nay, tell me not that, Stephen Everett," she an
swered. "Truly, thou dost not mean thou wilt leave
Zanah before the Untersuchung ?"
"Surely, you do not care whether I go or stay?" he
The prophetess of Zanah knew no arts of coquetry.
She did not understand the significance of his words,
and she looked into his face with clear, untroubled
"Ah, but I do care," she exclaimed. "My father
needs thee yet; he is not so strong to-day."
She turned away from the well and began to walk
towards the bridge. Everett followed her.
"Your father will get on without me," he declared,
with some coldness, for the girl s unconscious rebuff
"Nay, thou seemest to hold the power which keep
W A L D A
eth him alive. I mean, that although it is the Lord
that hath vouchsafed to spare him, thou art his in
strument. My faith is not steadfast. I am weak,
indeed; but thou hast seemed to me a stay, a strong
staff upon which I lean."
" It is good to know that you count me even a little
help." An intonation in his voice told her that he
felt himself aggrieved.
"Thou must count me a selfish woman of Zanah,"
she made haste to say. "Thou hast stayed many
days here in the colony, and neglected thine own
work that thou mightst minister to my father."
"I have but kept my pledge to you."
"Thou hast my gratitude, Stephen." She paused
on the bridge. "I cannot estimate what sacrifice
thou hast made to keep thy word, but thou hast
caused me to know that all who belong to the great
world are not wicked. Verily, Stephen, thou dost
serve the Lord."
Everett did not reply immediately. He had a
guilty sense of misleading the prophetess of Zanah.
He knew that of all his life but the smallest fragments
had been given to service of any sort. A sense of
regret for the futile years he had spent made him turn
away, for the girl was looking at him with a searching
gaze that made him uncomfortable.
"The darkness is falling; I must hasten on," said
Walda, but she did not move.
W A L D A
"Where were you going?" asked Everett. "Let
me walk with you?"
"It is not the custom for the men of Zanah to talk
with the women, or to walk with them," said Walda.
"It hath been decreed by the elders that I shall go
alone at this hour every night to pray at the grave of
"I am not a man of Zanah. The cemetery is half
a mile from here, along a lonely road. Let me go
with you?" he pleaded, and, without waiting for an
answer, he took her permission for granted. It was
the hour for the evening meeting, and the street was
quite deserted, so he knew that they ran little risk of
being seen together in the dusk of the late summer
They walked slowly up the hill beyond the bridge.
They passed the school-house, and Walda paused to
look up at the little window of her father s room,
whence shone a candle-beam.
"When I think that through thy help I still have
my father, there is so much of gratitude in my heart
that I cannot speak it," she said. "Surely, it will not
be long before he is again able to mingle with the
" Not very long, if all goes well," said Everett. " I
hear that he is much needed by the elders of Zanah."
" Bad luck hath come to the mills and the crops. I
fear that we have not looked steadfastly to the Lord
W A L D A
for guidance. I pray that it may be revealed through
me what we shall do to increase the prosperity of
They were on the brow of the hill now, and had en
tered the wavering road, arched with oak and maple
trees. Everett was silent for a few minutes while he
pondered upon some method by which he could lead
the conversation away from general topics. While
the girl betrayed no uneasiness in his compan
ionship, he knew that he must use the utmost tact
if he would appeal to the woman instead of the
"And when you are inspired, will you live apart
from the people of Zanah?" he said. "You will par
don me, but I have often wondered just what your
life will be. Are you never to know the duties and
the joys that belong to other women?"
"I am to walk close to God. I am to forget self.
I am to serve Zanah all my life."
Walda spoke in a solemn tone, and her absolute
resignation to the lot that appeared to the man of the
world a needless and ridiculous sacrifice awoke a spirit
of revolt in Everett s heart.
"Temptations have assailed me," she confessed,
after a pause. "Now and then there hath been a rest
lessness within me. Thou hast sometimes appeared
to me as one sent from Satan, for thou hast painted
the great world most alluringly."
W A L D A
Walda drew away from Everett, and he could feel
that she was looking at him with fear and distrust.
" You misunderstand me," said Everett. "I know
that you live near to heaven, that you are better than
the women I know. I reverence you, I I
Although Everett made an effort to speak calmly,
the intensity of his voice and manner disturbed the
unfathomed depths of Walda s soul. After the man
ner of Zanah she instinctively folded her hands over
her bosom with a gesture that signified to the colonists
the warding off of all worldly influences.
" Hush!" she said. "Speak not thus to the proph
etess of Zanah."
"I am not speaking to the prophetess now," said
Everett, taking a quick step in front of her. "Walda,
listen to me. Don t you know that you are choosing
for your life loneliness and isolation? I think of you
here in Zanah in the years that are coming, and I can
not bear to feel that one day will be just like another
until the end."
"A man thou art who hath set his thoughts on
earth. Stephen, dost thou not know sorrow and
trouble cannot touch me when I walk near to God?
Hast thy spirit never been lifted up above all that be
longs to self? Hast thou never been near to heaven
in thy thoughts?"
"Never until now," said Everett.
Into Walda s face came a new light.
W A L D A
"Dost thou mean that thou hast learned in Zanah
to think less of the world and to long for heaven?"
The man looked down at the girl. She was so near
him that the light breeze blew her gown against him.
He stifled a longing to put out his hand to touch her.
"Yes, Walda, I can say with all truthfulness that
the world has become as nothing to me, and that I
long for heaven."
"Thou hast made me very happy, Stephen. It
hath been a sorrow to me to know that thou wert not
numbered with those who strive to earn eternal life."
"Then you have been troubled about me?" Everett
The girl hesitated a moment.
"I have hoped that I might meet thee in the other
life, where there are none of the barriers that divide
men and women who would serve the Lord."
Everett felt the blood pour out of his heart. The
girl had made a strange admission. For a brief mo
ment he was glad with all the joy of an unexpected
victory. Exultant words came to his lips, but when
he looked at Walda he felt anew the awe that her in
nocence and her spirituality cast upon him. She
appeared absolutely unconscious of what her admis
sion meant to the man of the world. She moved on
ward. They emerged from the wooded road and
came to the shore of the placid little lake. The dis
tant bluffs beyond the lake were dimly outlined in the
W A L D A
evening shadows, and above them the last lingering
purple of the sunset was fading in the sky. In the
trees behind them a bird trilled the fragment of a
dream-song. The beauty of the scene, the quiet of
the night, and the nearness of Walda stirred in Ev
erett warring impulses, yet he was dumb before the
prophetess of Zanah. The girl s attitude of perfect
trust in him forbade him to take advantage of the op
portunity to tell her that his heaven was not the one
for which she lived and worked, and yet he felt almost
cowardly in letting her believe that his sudden aspira
tion was a religious experience.
"Stephen, I would have thee know what is in my
heart," she said, fixing her clear eyes on him. "I
would have thee understand that I am but a weak
woman of Zanah, called to do the Lord s will. There
have been times when Satan tempted me with long
ing for the things forever denied to the people of
Zanah. There have been days when I begged that I
might not be compelled to be the prophetess. Often
have I prayed to escape this work of the Master, but
since thou earnest to Zanah there hath been a new
strength in me. Thou hast made me see many things
unto which mine eyes were closed; thou hast helped
me to wisdom not vouchsafed to the colony of Zanah.
Since one day, when thou didst teach me to look from
the window of my father s room, and behold the beau
ties of earth and sky, peace hath come to me from
W A L D A
the woods and fields whenever there was unrest in my
soul. Now that thou hast aspirations for heaven, I
am assured that thou art one sent from God to help
the least of his children."
"I am unworthy to be your teacher," Everett fal
They walked on until they came to the high, arched
gate of the graveyard. Everett unlatched the gate
and they went in among the sunken mounds, each of
which was marked by a flat stone bearing the simple
name of some colonist who had passed out of the nar
row life of Zanah. On a little knoll, separated from
the other graves, was one over which a willow-tree
trailed its low branches. Towards this Walda led the
way, and when they had come to it she said to Ev
"Thou must leave me now."
"I was thinking of going away from Zanah," said
Everett, with a sudden memory of his letters. "When
I took the liberty of walking with you to-night it was
my intention to say good-bye to you, Walda."
The girl turned on him a glance of such frank regret
that he asked again:
"Will you miss me, Walda?"
"Missthee?" she repeated. "Yea, for I have come
to count thee as one who maketh each day better for
me. Thou hast become like unto Gerson Brandt in
thy brotherly care."
W A L D A
"But I don t want you to think of me as your
brother," he said. "I would have you call me
" Nay, friendship is denied between men and women
in Zanah. Have I not told thee that before? But
surely thou wilt not go away before the Untersu-
There was a tone of pleading in the girl s voice.
"Since I have to leave Zanah, since I have to go out
into the world, where I shall be lost to you, I may as
well go now as at any future time."
"Nay, wait in Zanah until after the spirit of
strength hath taken possession of me. When I am,
indeed, the instrument of the Lord, then can I see thee
turn again to the world. Then can I know, indeed,
it will be well with me. Stephen, thou hast just said
thou art near to heaven, and I would send thee forth
with a firm faith. From now until the day of the
Untersuchung I will pray for thee."
"Your wishes shall be commands to me, Walda.
But if I decide to stay in Zanah, it will mean much to
me. There may be days when I shall repent that I
changed my mind." He stood looking at her for a
moment. " I will pledge myself to wait in Zanah un
til the day on which the colonists expect to recognize
you as their prophetess."
" Thou hast made me glad, Stephen. Since it is for
W A L D A
thy good to stay here, I can no longer feel that I am
"Inasmuch as you have accepted my pledge, you
must let me take your hand as a token of my prom
ise," said Everett. In the intensity of his longing
there was such a compelling force that Walda made
no objection when, without waiting for her permis
sion, he took both her hands in his, and held them for a
moment. A deep flush suffused her pure face, and for
the first time in all their acquaintance her eyes refused
to meet his. Her hands trembled, and with a sudden
awakening to something of the consciousness that first
comes to every woman who is loved, she suddenly
"Peace be with thee to-night, Stephen," she said.
She turned quickly, and took a few slow steps tow
ards the grave of Marta Bachmann. Everett, looking
after her, beheld a strange shape rise above the tomb.
He strode forward to see what it might be, and in the
dim light recognized Hans Peter.
"What are you doing here?" he demanded, in a
The fool leisurely seated himself upon the flat stone
"The simple one doth not have to account to any
man concerning himself. The fool can do no harm.
It is the man from the wicked world that should be
under watch among the people of Zanah."
W A L D A
Hans Peter swung his short legs over the edge of
the gravestone ; and if his words had a sinister mean
ing, his round, immobile face betrayed not the slight
est expression of intelligence. He took from his
pocket one of his treasured gourds, calmly opened
his knife, and made a few marks.
"Hans Peter, thou shouldst remember to treat the
stranger within our gates with respect," said Walda,
reprovingly; but the fool seemed not to hear her.
Everett lingered beside the girl, as if he could not
summon courage to go away.
"Leave me here alone," Walda commanded, gently.
"Hans Peter will take me back to the village."
As Everett latched the gate to the cemetery he
looked back to see Walda kneeling at the grave,
while Hans Peter, who had withdrawn to a little dis
tance, lay flat upon a sunken stone.
GERSON BRANDT went about his duties with a
listless air. The boys who gathered every morn
ing in the learning-school noticed that he was less
exacting about their lessons, and that often his
thoughts appeared far away. When he ascended to
the little platform, after returning from morning
prayers in the meeting-house, he looked down upon
them with compassion in his glance. It was noticed
that his thin face was pinched and that his eyes were
sunken. When they opened their word-books for the
spelling-class he showed slight interest. During re
cess he sat with his head resting on his hands and his
eyes fixed on the old desk. One day, when he was
even more preoccupied than usual, Adolph Schnei
der and Karl Weisel visited the school in order to in
quire into the progress of the boys of Zanah. Ger-
son Brandt called his pupils to order.
"The Herr Doktor would speak with you," he said.
"Yea, I would know whether you are diligent in
your lessons," announced Adolph Schneider. He
pounded on the floor with his cane, and spoke in a
tone that frightened the more timid of the children.
W A L D A
"Why was Adam cast out of the Garden of Eden?"
There was a moment of silence. All the tow-head
ed boys, with arms folded across their breasts, stared
straight ahead of them. Karl Weisel, who had taken
the school-master s chair, tipped it back against the
black-board, twirled his thumbs, and stared at the
rows of benches with something like a sneer on his
heavy features. The school-master, standing on the
floor beside the platform, looked out of the nearest
window and waited patiently for the tardy answer.
"Can any one tell me why Adam was cast out of the
Garden of Eden?"
The Herr Doktor repeated his question in a thun
"Because he ate an apple," piped a small voice
from a far corner of the room.
"And art thou taught that it is wicked to eat an
A dozen tow-heads were shaken emphatically.
"The apple grew on the tree of knowledge." It
was a pale, red-haired child who spoke.
"It is Johann Werther who knows about the tree
of knowledge," said the Herr Doktor. "At the gast-
haus Johann sometimes hath a glimpse of forbidden
Scores of round eyes immediately were turned upon
Johann with glances of envy.
" But did man fall through his own sinful desires?"
W A L D A
questioned the Herr Doktor, standing very straight,
throwing out his chest, and lifting his chin out of his
"It was Eve who did tempt him," announced a
small boy that sat on the front seat.
" Right. Sin came into the world through a wom
an, and ever since then the man who would reach
heaven hath to guard against the wiles of the temp
tress. If it had not been for a woman, we might now
be living in the Garden of Eden."
"Nay, Brother Schneider, teach not that women
are evil." Gerson Brandt placed one thin hand on
the desk and turned on the Herr Doktor a face in
which was a determined look. "It is meet that thou
shouldst tell the children how the world was saved
through a woman, w^o was the mother of Christ."
"Gerson Brandt, interrupt not this lesson. I have
come here to measure the knowledge of those intrusted
to thy care." Adolph Schneider again pounded the
floor with his cane. "Can the school tell me nothing
more about Eve s fall?" Adolph Schneider asked.
In the back part of the room rose the fool. He had
in his hand one of the gourds that he always carried
"The Bible teacheth us it was the serpent that did
tempt Eve," he said, studying the gourd as if he were
reading from it.
" Ja, ja," said the Herr Doktor; "but Eve, being a
W A L D A
woman, was full of curiosity; she inclined her ear to
"And Adam did incline his ear to Eve," the simple
one announced. "It is said it is always thus. Even
in the colony I have noticed that the men are keen,
indeed, to hear what the women would say."
Something like a smile flitted over Karl Weisel s
face. He brought his chair forward on its four legs,
and listened for what was coming.
"Take thy seat. How darest thou comment on the
men and women of Zanah ? Thou art the simple one
who cannot separate good from evil."
The fool still stood in his place with the gourd in
"The fool hath ears that he can hear; he hath eyes
that he can see."
" But what he seeth and heareth hath not the right
meaning to him."
"The fool hath seen Karl Weisel, head of the thir
teen elders, listen to the words of Gretchen Schneider,
the daughter of the leader of Zanah," declared the
fool, still reading from his gourd.
"Silence!" shouted the Herr Doktor. Turning to
Gerson Brandt, he said: "So the fool hath become a
spy. He is more dangerous than a wise man."
"The truth is not in him," said Karl Weisel, spring
ing to his feet. Hans Peter should be kept in con
finement where he cannot speak harmful things."
W A L D A
" He meaneth nothing wrong," said Gerson Brandt.
"Be merciful to the simple one."
"The main object in coming here to-day was to in
struct you concerning the Untersuchung," said Adolph
Schneider, when Karl Weisel had resumed his seat
and the children were once more gazing stolidly in
front of them. " I hope you are all prepared to give
an account of your souls when the elders of Zanah
shall inquire into your spiritual condition. From
now until the day when we hope to behold the inspira
tion of a new prophetess I want you all to think over
your sins. I wonder how many of you have told a lie
this week." Every boy in the school looked guilty.
"I should like to have all who have spoken only the
truth stand up that I may see them."
"Nay, ask not that," said the school-master. "I
fear lest the children be tempted to forget their short
comings and to act a falsehood because they desire
to appear well before thee."
"Since the loss of thine illuminated Bible thou art
tender-hearted towards liars," said Karl Weisel, in an
"Thy taunt shouldst cost thee dear, Karl Weisel,
were it not forbidden in Zanah that we should resent
insult." In an instant the gentle school-master was
transformed. He stood erect, and the scorn in his
tone made the head of the thirteen elders feel that the
contempt of a righteous man was something not to be
W A L D A
easily ignored. The Herr Doktor gave the boys no
opportunity to perjure themselves.
"I want you to prepare for the Untersuchung with
prayer and fasting," he said, and there was dismay
upon every face before him.
" It hath been shown the elders of Zanah that Wai-
da Kellar is to be the instrument of the Lord. From
her lips will fall words of wisdom. You all know her,
for she hath often spoken to you. She hath sung to
you hymns of praise. She will no longer come among
you, for she must live apart, but it will be revealed to
her what is best for the colony. You must no longer
run to her as if she were your mother. You must
bow before her. You must no longer speak unto
her, for she will be above all the people of the
The hand of Johann Werther was raised, and, when
he had been given permission to speak, he asked:
"Are all women daughters of Eve?"
"Yea, yea," declared the Herr Doktor. "Thou
knowest that Eve was the mother of all."
"And Walda Kellar is to be the instrument of the
Why ask foolish questions ? Thou knowest she is
to be the inspired one."
"I would know why a man was not chosen instead
of a daughter of Eve?" said Johann.
"Thou shouldst use thy silly brain for less mighty
W A L D A
questions," was the stern reply. Turning to the
school-master the Herr Doktor gave the order:
"Dismiss thy pupils." Adding: "We would talk
Gerson Brandt sent the boys out-of-doors, and then
waited for the president of the colony to speak.
" Brother Weisel and I are dissatisfied about many
things in the colony," announced Adolph Schneider,
taking a seat on the platform. "There is general dis
content. If the Untersuchung were not so near, we
should be alarmed for the peace of Zanah. The loss
of the Bible hath cast suspicion upon thee, Brother
Brandt. It is not my desire to say unpleasant things
to thee, but in Zanah we are all truthful. Thou wilt
not again be elected as elder unless thou canst trace
"It would be better for thee to say that Brother
Brandt cannot be elected unless he decides to bring
the Bible from the hidden place that he hath found
for it," broke in Karl Weisel.
"Silence!" commanded the school-master. "Thou
shalt not accuse me of stealing the Bible from the
colony of Zanah and then of denying all knowledge
of it. Take back thy cowardly words."
"It is the custom to speak what we hold to be the
truth," said Karl Weisel, in a mocking tone. "I be
lieve that thou knowest where that Bible is secreted."
"It hath been said that men always suspect other
W A L D A
men of being what they themselves are, and so I make
some allowance for thy words ; but thou shalt ask my
pardon." Gerson Brandt spoke calmly, but his tone
as well as his words made the elder cringe.
"I spoke merely for thine own good. It were bet
ter that I told thee what I thought than that I
thought these things and turned to thee a dissem
"Crave my pardon," said Gerson Brandt.
"I humiliate myself before no man," said Karl
Weisel. "It is my right to say what I think."
"It is not thy right to cast aspersions on mine
honor. I give thee one more chance to retract thy
Karl Weisel put his fat hands into his deep pockets,
rose from his chair, and walked back and forth upon
"This quarrel is most unseemly," remarked Adolph
Schneider, who had been leaning on his cane and idly
"Speak!" said Gerson Brandt. "Thou shalt not
leave this room until thou hast taken back thy
Karl Weisel laughed, but in an instant the school
master had sprung upon the platform. He clutched
the man by the collar, and, with the strength born of
a tremendous indignation, he shook the heavy body of
Karl Weisel until the elder s teeth chattered.
W A L D A
"Loose thine hold upon me!" cried Karl Weisel,
who had turned pale with terror.
Gerson Brandt flung him off. He knew he had for
gotten all the precepts of the colony, but again the
elder laughed, this time to disguise his fright.
" I give thee a chance to defend thyself," said Ger
son Brandt. "As man to man we shall fight this
Adolph Schneider put himself between the two com
batants, but Gerson Brandt, stepping past him, drag
ged Karl Weisel to the open space beside the platform,
and there, facing him. said:
"I give thee thy last opportunity to beg my par
Karl Weisel did not open his lips. Instead, he cov
ertly measured the distance to the door, and with a
movement of unusual quickness turned in flight. He
had not gone half a dozen steps before Gerson Brandt
had him by the collar, and, dragging him back to his
position, waited an instant for him to recover himself.
Then he struck a blow that felled the elder.
"Help! Help!" shouted Adolph Schneider, who
still stood upon the platform.
At first the prospect of a fight between the two in
fluential men of the colony had suggested possibilities
likely to redound into material good for himself, and
he had been content to play the part of listener and
spectator. Now, as he looked at Gerson Brandt, he no
W A L D A
longer saw the school-master, but a man tall, sinewy,
and muscular a man in whose eye flashed anger and
whose pose revealed an unsuspected strength.
"Help! Help!" he shouted again.
Gerson Brandt assisted his adversary to rise. The
elder was stunned ; the school-master pushed him into
a chair, where he sat dazed and silent. Just then
Hans Peter came shuffling in at the door. He walked
as if he had heard an ordinary summons.
"Didst thou call?" he asked, addressing the Herr
Doktor. His pale eyes rested on the figure of Karl
Weisel, and there was just the faintest gleam of un
derstanding in them. Before Adolph Schneider had
a chance to answer, a rustle of skirts and a light step
was heard on the stair that led from Wilhelm Kellar s
"Hath anything gone amiss here?" asked Walda,
throwing open the door and standing on the thresh
old. With a woman s intuition she saw that there
had been some quarrel.
"Be not alarmed," said Gerson Brandt, walking
down a side aisle at the end of the long benches. "The
elder, Karl Weisel, accused me of stealing the Bible
and of bearing false witness concerning it. The man
in me resented the insult. He refused to apologize,
and I struck him. Even now I am sorry that I should
have hurt one of my fellow-colonists."
"Nay, Gerson Brandt, thou didst forget that the
W A L D A
Lord hath said, Vengeance is Mine, " cried Walda,
going near to Gerson Brandt. " It is not like thee to
let human passions triumph."
"This will cost Gerson Brandt his place as an el
der," declared Karl Weisel, coming to himself enough
to smooth his ruffled hair and settle his loosened
"This is bad, indeed!" exclaimed Adolph Schneider.
"In all my years of colony life I have never known
one man in Zanah to raise his hand against a brother-
"Surely my provocation was great," said Gerson
Brandt, "but I am sorry that I allowed anger to con
trol me even for a moment."
"This Very night shall I prefer charges against
thee," Karl Weisel said, rising and waving his hand
with a threatening gesture.
"This very night thou shouldst think well over the
quarrel," said Walda, advancing. "Thou knowest
there hath been wrong on both sides. Art thou will
ing to confess that thou hast called thy brother a liar?"
There was a simple majesty in the pose of the girl.
For the moment she was the prophetess of Zanah.
" Beware lest thou bring disgrace and dishonor to the
people of Zanah. It is best that this hour be forgot
ten. Blot out thine enmities."
"When Gerson Brandt hath explained what be
came of the Bible the cause of all the trouble will be
W A L D A
removed," said Karl Weisel, turning away from the
intense gaze of the girl.
"Thou knowest the Good Book is lost. Thou
knowest that Gerson Brandt never told aught but the
truth. How darest thou impute evil to him? He
hath been always one of the most faithful men in all
Turning to the school-master, she said:
"Ah, Gerson Brandt, I have prayed much about
the Bible. Disturb not thyself. I have faith that it
will be found. I would that it could be brought to
In the back of the school-room, Hans Peter, who
had been sitting cross-legged in the doorway, pulled
himself to his feet.
" I could find the Bible; it is not far away," he said.
"What dost thou know of it?" asked the Herr
"I know that it lieth in the earth beneath a great
stone. It is safe. Have no fears for it." Hans
Peter balanced himself first on one bare foot, and then
on the other, and in his face was such a stupid look
that Karl Weisel said:
"Look at the fool! He would shield the school
master, to whom he shows a dog s devotion."
"Dost thou really know where the Bible is, Hans
Peter?" asked Walda, laying her hand upon the sim
ple one s shoulder.
W A L D A
"I have not said I knew. I said I knew I could get
it," answered the fool.
"Nay, dissemble not," pleaded Walda. "I know
now it was thou that didst hide the Bible from the
The boy looked down to the floor.
"Yea, I did take the Bible so that the stranger in
Zanah could not buy it with his silver. It was for thy
sake and for Gerson Brandt s that I took it."
"Listen not to the fool," said Karl Weisel. "I
tell thee he would shield Gerson Brandt."
"There is a likelihood of truth in his words," de
clared the Herr Doktor. Then, in a thundering tone,
he commanded: "Bring the Bible to me."
"It may not be easily found," Hans Peter an
swered, still keeping his eyes on the floor.
"Dare not try to put me off," thundered Adolph
Schneider, shaking his cane at the simple one. With
out more ado, fetch it to me."
All this time Gerson Brandt had been standing
silent and sad. He now waited expectantly for the
last answer. He knew that his precious book was,
indeed, in jeopardy.
Hans Peter gently took Walda s hand from his
shoulder, and, backing to the door, said, rolling his
great head from side to side:
"The fool hath no memory. If he would know the
thing that happened yesterday he must mark upon a
W A L D A
gourd words that will bring back to his poor mind
what is past."
"Let him not make terms; let him not trade upon
his folly," interposed Karl Weisel.
"Thou hast not forgotten where the Bible is hid
den?" inquired Walda, very gently.
" I did bury the gourd that told me where the Bible
is, and upon another gourd I marked where that
gourd was hidden."
"Quick! We care not about thy lunatic pastimes.
Bring the Bible!" shouted the Herr Doktor, overcome
"And the second gourd I carried in my pocket until
one day, when I was marking on it something the
stranger had told me, the Herr Doktor struck it out
of my hand with his cane and put his heel upon it.
The Bible is safe, but it cannot be found without long
When the simple one had made his tantalizing
speech, the school-master spoke in a quiet tone:
" Hans Peter, thou knowest that the precious book
may be spoiled in the ground. Try to think where it
"Nay, I tell thee it is safe, for it is wrapped in the
oil-skin in which thou didst keep it, and it is nailed in
a great box that is covered with another box. I did
work upon the boxes a large part of the night before I
buried the Bible."
W A L D A
"The village fool is not to be believed," said Karl
Weisel, "but he ought to be locked up until he can be
made to confess that what he is telling is all a lie."
The Herr Doktor descended from the platform, and,
going to the door, clutched Hans Peter by the shoul
der. "Thou shalt have a chance to collect thy wits,
my boy. Come with me. In a dark room in the
cellar of the gasthaus thou canst stay until thou hast
some memory about the Bible."
" Before we part it is well that we all agree to for
get this misunderstanding," said Walda. " I am sure
Hans Peter will find the Bible, and that we can cast
out all anxiety concerning it."
Hans Peter made no reply. He stood with both
hands thrust into his capacious pockets. The Herr
Doktor pulled him through the door, and, followed by
Karl Weisel, he went down the street towards the inn.
Gerson Brandt turned a white and troubled face to
Walda when they were left alone together.
"Thou hast seen me in the clutch of an earthly pas
sion," he said. "Thou knowest now how unworthy
I am to be counted as a counsellor of a prophetess. I
have naught to say in extenuation, except that in man
human impulses often triumph over the divine aspira
tions. Canst thou forget that I have thus resented
Walda came closer to him.
"Gerson Brandt, it may be wicked of me, but some-
W A L D A
how I like thee better because thou hast demanded
that Karl Weisel retract his sinful words. He hath
called his brother a liar, and God will judge him for
"And I should have remembered that I am not the
judge," said Gerson Brandt. "I should not have let
myself take vengeance into mine own hand. When
thou art the prophetess thou wilt become my teacher,
and, Walda, I am half glad I shall need thine aid to
"Thou hast been my teacher so long it seemeth I
could never have any wisdom greater than thine."
Gerson Brandt looked into her eyes.
"Being a woman, thou hast wisdom and power of
which thou little dreamest," he said.
" If I have aught of wisdom, it is because thou hast
been my guide ever since I was a child. Gerson
Brandt, thou hast been nearer to me than my father;
thou hast been more to me than all the brothers in the
" It hath always seemed, Walda, that thou wert sent
to reconcile me to life in Zanah. Thy presence hath
helped me to overcome all rebellion. Having prayed
for the time of thine inspiration, it is a struggle for me
to give thee up. It is as if I were losing thee, even
though thou wilt still be in the colony."
"Nay, Gerson, it seemeth to me that when the light
of inspiration cometh to me thou must share it, for,
W A L D A
after all, it is thy knowledge and thy faith that is in
me. There hath come to me lately something of the
illumination thou hast told me to expect, Gerson
Brandt. There are days when it is as if I stood on the
threshold of heaven. My heart is lifted up with a
strange joy. I hear harmony in the rustling of the
leaves in the trees and the flowing of the water under
the bridge and the faint night-sounds that come to
mine ears when the village hath gone to sleep. Long
after the curfew-bell hath sounded I open my case
ment and look out into the sky. It is then I feel the
vastness of the universe, and yet know that God hath
not forgotten me."
As Walda spoke her face was radiant with new joy,
and Gerson Brandt knew she was even then far re
moved from him.
"Thou lookest from thy casement every night?
Dost thou gaze at the moon?" he asked.
"Yea, Gerson Brandt, I look long at the moon."
"Walda, that is a habit maidens have when they
think not of God but of man. Thou hast in thy
thought no human being?"
"There is often a light in the inn; it shineth from
the window of him whom we not long ago called
the stranger in Zanah. It bringeth him into my
mind, and I thank God for his coming to the
Walda s words smote the school-master. A faint
W A L D A
color came into his thin cheeks. He steadied himself
against the desk.
"It is not thy duty to pray for the stranger. The
elders can do that," he declared.
"Nay, but he hath helped me much. He hath
brought me strength."
" Beware lest that strength become thy weakness."
There was a tremor in Gerson Brandt s voice, and his
manner puzzled the girl.
"Thou dost speak in riddles," she said. "Thou
knowest his world could not touch me. When I gaze
from my window I am glad, indeed, that the bluffs
shut me out from all the wickedness of the life beyond
"I beg thy pardon, Walda. It was an unworthy
suspicion that crossed my mind. Surely to-day Satan
is close to me. And when thou gazest at the moon
dost thou think of any one else?"
" Of my father, Gerson Brandt, and always of thee."
"And how do I come to thee in thy thoughts,
"Thou comest as one that is ever dear to me. Since
thou didst first take me on thy knee thou hast shared
with my father all the earthly love of my heart. Have
I not often told thee so?"
"Thou didst never think of me as nearer to thine
own age than thy father? Do I always appear so old
W A L D A
"Truly, them dost seem like my father." In her
voice was an infinite tenderness, and the school-mas
ter, with a tremor in his voice, answered:
"And yet I am but fifteen years thy senior."
" But thou lovest me as if I were thy daughter. I
have always felt that- thou didst give me something
more than the neighborly regard in which all the peo
ple of Zanah hold one another."
Gerson Brandt made no answer.
"Thou dost love me as if I were thy daughter?"
"Thou hast forever a place in the sanctuary of my
The school - master and the prophetess of Zanah
looked into each other s eyes for a brief moment.
" Then I know that thou wilt always pray for me
that thou wilt always keep me safe from all worldly
"Yea, thou wilt always have my care. Thou wilt
always command my services and my prayers. To
day I feel humble, indeed, because I lost my self-
control, but I shall strive always to be worthy to be
counted as one who walketh near to the prophetess
of Zanah. Walda, to-day I am weak indeed. I feel
how much I shall need divine strength in the years to
come. My way is a lonely one. It is said that after
the inspiration is vouchsafed to a prophetess her soul
withdraws itself from all human companionship, and
W A L D A
that even if it were not the custom to separate the
instrument of the Lord from the colonists of Zanah,
there would be naught in common between her and
those who try to serve God in humbler ways. Lately,
Walda, I have looked forward with a feeling that the
years without thee will be weary. When thou art the
prophetess there will be none with whom I can speak
of the dreams I have shared with thee."
"Thy dreams, as thou callest them, first made me
feel the mysteries of life. Gerson Brandt, it was thou
who didst awaken my soul ; it was thou who didst turn
my heart to God, and now, verily, thou wilt not be sor
rowful when my day of inspiration comes?"
"To-day there is so much of self victorious in me
that I know the day of the Untersuchung will make
me sad. It was my intention on that day to give thee
the Bible that is lost. For many months thou know-
est I worked upon it, making the letters beautiful for
thine eyes, and it was a solace to me to feel, every day
as I turned the pages upon which I had worked with
many a prayer and blessing for thy welfare, that thou
wouldst take pleasure in its beauty."
"And was that Bible for me, Gerson? On the last
day when thou didst give it to me to read before the
school I did covet it."
"I did think that I should never tell thee, and it
was a sore trouble when Adolph Schneider demanded
that it be sold. I tell thee this because, as I have
W A L D A
said to-day, I am weak, and I would say something
in extenuation of my unseemly conduct towards the
head of the thirteen elders."
"And I am very human, for I am glad that the book
is lost, and that the elders had no chance to take it
"I could not endure the thought that the stranger
from the outside world should possess what I had
come to believe belonged to thee."
Walda turned her head away a moment. Then she
"I want the Bible very much indeed; but, Gerson
Brandt, if any stranger were to have it, it had been
better it should go to Stephen Everett than to any
A look of pain came into the school-master s face.
His eyes sought the girl s with a glance that strove to
read her heart.
"And I would rather that the Bible be destroyed,
that its pages be scattered and its letters obliterated,
than that Stephen Everett should call it his own."
"Why, Gerson Brandt, thou speakest with much
stress. Thou art, indeed, unlike thyself to-day."
"Perhaps my real self is uppermost, Walda, and the
school - master, who was always so submissive and
passive, is not the actual man."
"Peace to thy heart." Walda came close to him.
" Let me tell thee that I should have held the Bible as
W A L D A
a precious token from thee, and that I am grateful for
the kindly thought with which thou hast wrought it
Tears were in her eyes. She hesitated a moment, as
if waiting for an answer. Gerson Brandt, with arms
folded across his breast, pressed his lips tightly to
gether lest he might speak with the fervor of one who
covets from God a supreme gift that must be forever
WHEN Hans Peter was led away from the school
room after his confession concerning the Bible,
Karl Weisel and Adolph Schneider conducted him
towards the inn. The Herr Doktor, thoroughly up
set from his usual phlegmatic tranquillity, held the
ear of the simple one in a pinching grasp. With a
speed that caused the colony president to pant, the
three descended the hill on their way to the inn.
"Hans Peter should be locked up until he confess-
eth that he hath borne false witness," said Karl
" I believe he knoweth where the Holy Book is hid
den," answered Adolph Schneider. "We will lock
him up where he can have a chance to think over his
Hans Peter, dragging slowly after the Herr Doktor,
who every now and then jerked his head, appeared
not to hear what was said about him.
"Tell us now what thou didst mean by thy foolish
lie about the Bible," urged the head of the thirteen
"I spoke the truth. But not every one knoweth
W A L D A
the truth to understand it," answered the simple
"He still defieth us," exclaimed Karl Weisel. Then,
giving Hans Peter a cuff, he added, addressing him:
"Thou shalt spend the night in the cellar of the
gastkaus, and if thou dost not speak so as to make it
clear that thou dost share all thy knowledge with the
elders and those in authority, thou shalt be put in the
"Threaten not too hastily, Brother Weisel," said
the Herr Doktor. "Thou knowest the stocks have
not been used these ten years, and the dismembered
timbers pertaining to it are stored in the hay-loft of
the gasthaus barn."
"The stocks can be put together easily enough,"
muttered Karl Weisel; and Hans Peter, turning his
head as much as Adolph Schneider s hold upon his
ear permitted, said:
"The village fool feareth no punishment thou canst
devise. Ye men of Zanah shall never get possession
of Gerson Brandt s Bible."
"Hear! He defieth us!" cried Karl Weisel; and
Adolph Schneider responded with an angry grunt, that
he punctuated with a superfluous pinch administered
to Hans Peter s ear.
They reached the inn, where Diedrich Werther re
ceived them with his customary imperturbability.
"Hast thou a place in the cellar where thou canst
W A L D A
lock up this culprit?" Karl Weisel inquired. At the
same time the Herr Doktor pushed the simple one
into the middle of the room.
"There is a heavy bolt on the potato-bin," said
Werther, taking his pipe out of his mouth and leaning
upon the dog-eared register.
"Conduct Hans Peter to it, and be his jailer until
to-morrow morning. Mind that he hath no supper."
"What is Hans Peter s offence?" Mother Werther
asked, opening the door from the kitchen and putting
her black-capped head into the room. "Tut, tut, my
boy! I hope thou hast not been exhibiting thy folly
in some hazardous manner."
Hans Peter put his hands into his deep pockets,
hung his head, and made no reply.
"The simple one is to be locked in your potato-bin
until he tells the truth about the Bible," announced
the Herr Doktor.
"Nay, be not too severe with him. Hans Peter
will tell wilt not thou, boy?" said Mother Werther,
But the simple one only shook his round head.
"You may have to stay down there in the darkness
with the rats for a week," said Karl Weisel.
"Yea, thou shalt not baffle the elders of Zanah,"
declared the Herr Doktor. "It will be the cellar or
the stocks until thou dost wag thy stubborn tongue
to good purpose."
W A L D A
"Now thou art speaking wisely, Brother Schnei
der," said Karl Weisel. "Why dost thou not order
Diedrich Werther to conduct the fool to his prison?"
"Take him away," commanded the Herr Doktor.
"Thou knowest I permit no rats in the gasthaus
cellar," said Mother Werther, shaking her head indig
nantly at Karl Weisel; and edging up to Hans Peter,
she bent low to whisper: "Thou shalt have the best
supper I can carry to thee."
"Verily, even Mother Werther appears to be en
couraging sedition in Zanah," remarked Karl Weisel,
pointing to the innkeeper s wife with a backward
movement of his thumb.
" If there is sedition in Zanah, it is thou that sowest
discontent." Mother Werther put her arms on her
broad hips, and looked at him for a moment with such
contempt in her kindly face that the head of the thir
teen elders slunk aside to a chair behind the high
"I will take Hans Peter to the potato-bin, and he
shall have a clean straw tick to lie on," she said.
"Come, Hans Peter."
Mother Werther put a hand on the simple one s
shoulder and walked out into the kitchen with him.
Presently they were heard descending the stairs, and
then their voices sounded from the distant place of
It was late that night when Everett returned to the
W A L D A
inn after a walk far a-field. At supper-time he had
asked about Hans Peter, but he had learned nothing
of the whereabouts of the simple one. He had a faint
idea that he ought to search for the fool, but his
thoughts were absorbed by Walda. He spoke to
Diedrich Werther, who dozed in an arm-chair, and the
landlord slowly lighted a tall tallow dip and passed it
to Everett. He lingered to ask whether any message
had come from Wilhelm Kellar. The landlord replied
that the school - master had stopped to ask for the
stranger in Zanah, but it was nothing urgent, for
Gerson Brandt had told how fast Wilhelm Kellar was
Everett stumbled along the dark, narrow passage
that led to his room. A draught blew out his candle,
which he did not relight. Feeling his way to his bed,
he threw himself down upon it and tried to think
what course was wisest for him to pursue in winning
Walda. He was not blind to the many obstacles be
tween them, but he was a man who was accustomed
to obtain what he coveted, and he admitted no
thought of defeat. He wanted Walda with all the
intensity of a strong nature. He knew now that he
loved her, and he felt that she was his by right of that
claim. A sense of his own unworthiness haunted
him when he thought of her innocence and her un-
worldliness, but there had been born in him a new
spirit that consumed all his old desires. He knew
W A L D A
that even if he could make the prophetess of Zanah
love him, it would be impossible for him to persuade
her to leave the colony as long as her father lived. He
felt a hot wave of shame every time he realized that if
love came to Walda it would bring her only dishonor
before her people. Whenever this view of the end of
his wooing presented itself, he resolutely refused to
face it. He listened to the cry of his heart. He loved
the woman of Zanah; he coveted her for his wife.
Women are happy to enshrine love in their hearts
even when it must burn in a vestal flame, but men are
not content unless they can carry it as a torch from
which to light the fires in the hearts of those whom
they would make their own. Women can kneel be
fore the embers of a great passion and be grateful,
even though it must burn out before it can reach their
own hearth-stones ; men would snatch the holy fire
at any cost. Everett had slowly reached the point
where he had deliberately determined to make Walda
love him. He had eased his conscience by the plea
that it was a crime for a woman of such rare beauty
to be buried in the colony. He was sure he could
make her happy in the world that held so much for
him. He could reason himself into the belief that he
was saving her from a wasted life. Yet, with all his
reasoning, he could not see how he was to obtain her
consent to marry him and to go away with him.
Still, he hugged to his heart the belief that fate
W A L D A
would befriend him, and he resolved not to look be
yond the one great aim of making Walda love him.
He could not sleep. The thoughts that had har
assed him, since suddenly he had come to know Wal
da had all his love, disturbed him as he lay on the
high bed. He stared at the window, which afforded
glimpses of a starlit sky between the leaves and
branches of a tree that had become black in the night.
Day was breaking before he began to feel drowsy.
Finally he fell into a deep slumber that was not dis
turbed until the sun was high in the heavens. He
was awakened by a remittent pounding, the sound of
which came from the front of the inn. He went to
the latticed window, whence he could see that several
men were building something in the village square.
He made a hasty toilet in his primitive dressing-room,
where two buckets of water and a wooden wash-tub
were provided for his bath. The cold water refreshed
him, but he still had a sense of depression.
Everett hastened out into the village square. In
all the time he had sojourned in Zanah nothing un
usual had happened. It was pleasing to hope that at
last something out of the common might be taking
place. Three middle-aged men and two boys were
engaged in putting together a most extraordinary
structure. They had fixed in place several weather-
beaten beams and a number of old planks that led up
to the rude platform.
W A L D A
"What are you building?" Everett asked, but the
men pretended not to understand, although he spoke
in German. They kept on with their work.
"Cannot you tell me what this is?" Everett asked.
The men were still uncommunicative, but one of the
"These are the stocks in which Hans Peter must
sit until he tells where the school-master s Bible is
"Where is Hans Peter now?"
The boy had been silenced by the men, and he dared
During the breakfast-hour Everett could obtain no
further information. He was desirous of seeing the
simple one, for he felt in a measure responsible for
poor Hans Peter s trouble. He made a perfunctory
visit to his patient. Walda Kellar had ceased to be
on duty in the sick-room, and the case had lost much
of its interest.
Wilhelm Kellar was sitting up in a big chair. He
looked weak and ill, but he proudly announced, with
a tongue slow to respond to his thoughts:
"I shall be able to attend the Untersuchung. The
Lord hath decreed that I shall see the day of my
daughter s final victory over earthly temptations."
The old man s joy smote Everett, to whom the Unter
suchung might mean the loss of Walda. He turned
to whistle to Piepmatz.
W A L D A
"I owe thee much for thine aid in helping nature
to overcome my illness," said the old man, speaking
slowly. "Thou hast been so kind that thou hast won
my enduring confidence. For the first time in a score
of years my faith in a man of the outside world is al
Again Everett s heart smote him. He who had
come to love Wilhelm Kellar s daughter knew that he
stood ready to tempt Walda away from her vocation
as prophetess. He had always held honor first, and
he was ill at ease. The day had gone by, however,
when he could consider the possibility of renuncia
tion where his heart s desire was concerned. He had
meant to flee from Zanah, but he had stayed because
he loved Walda, and because he did not mean to be
disappointed in the hope of winning her.
"You are not indebted to me," he said to Wilhelm
Kellar. "The weeks spent in Zanah have been very
pleasant to me."
"Thou art truly a good man, Stephen Everett, and
I am thankful that the Lord did turn thy steps to
Zanah," the old man replied.
Piepmatz, looking out from his rustic cage, moved
his head from side to side as if he were listening to the
conversation. Presently he whistled the bar of the
love-song that Everett had taught him. The first
notes sounded clear and true, and then Piepmatz sang
a false note or two. He began the bar a second time
W A L D A
and broke down. Everett heard the song, and the
bird-voice carried with it an accusation against his
"You had better go back to your doxology," he
said, snapping his fingers at the bird.
He said a hasty farewell and went back to the inn.
The stocks had been completed and Hans Peter had
just been placed in them. His fat, red hands and his
bare feet were held so firmly that it was plain the
pressure was most uncomfortable. The simple one s
face, however, betrayed no sign of pain. He kept his
eyes shut so that he could not see the passers-by, who
paused to stare at him. His shock of tow-hair was
matted on his head, and his blue shirt-sleeves were
torn from the arm-holes by the unusual strain upon
the garment, which was too small for him. When
Everett beheld the simple one thus ignominiously
punished his indignation arose. Without speaking
to Hans Peter he went into the inn, where he found
Adolph Schneider and Karl Weisel.
" It is only fair to believe you do not know you are
inflicting a cruel penalty upon Hans Peter," he said,
addressing the Herr Doktor. "You must lessen the
pressure on the boy s wrists and ankles, and you must
do it now."
"Whence didst thou get thine authority to issue
commands to the president of the colony of Zanah?"
asked Karl Weisel.
W A L D A
"I was not addressing you," answered Everett, and
the head of the thirteen elders, taking account of the
athletic build of the man of the world, deemed dis
cretion the better part of valor. He forbore to pick
"Speaking as a physician, I must protest against
the use of the stocks," said Everett. His tone was so
cool and determined that Adolph Schneider adopted
a conciliatory manner.
" Hans Peter will not remain long in the stocks," he
said, burying his heavy chin in his neck-cloth. "He
will soon tell what he knows about the Bible. He
would have confessed this morning, but Mother Wer-
ther made him so comfortable in the potato-bin that
he did not take the trouble to think over our injunc
tion to lay bare the facts about the Bible."
"Even though Hans Peter may not remain in the
stocks an hour, you must confine his hands and feet
less closely. I dare say he is numb now," Everett in
"Well, well, I will call one of the carpenters," said
the Herr Doktor, but he did not move from his chair.
"I will wait until the carpenter comes," said Ev
erett; "and he must come without delay."
Adolph Schneider sullenly conceded to Everett s
humane demand, and they went out to the stocks to
gether. A crowd had gathered in the square, and
some of the boys who had escaped from Gerson
W A L D A
Brandt s care were jeering at the simple one. Hans
Peter made no sign until Everett spoke to him.
Everett ascended the three steps to the platform
of the stocks and waited impatiently while Hans
Peter s hands and feet were freed temporarily. The
simple one was quite stiff when he was commanded to
stand up. He straightened his back with some diffi
culty, although he had not been an hour in the stocks.
Everett stooped to examine the marks upon the lad s
"Can you call yourselves Christians, and torture a
boy in this fashion?" he inquired, in anger, addressing
the Herr Doktor.
"Hans Peter is none the worse for a little lesson
that will teach him to obey the commands of Zanah,"
Adolph Schneider answered.
"Do you intend to put him back?" Everett asked.
Adolph Schneider showed some signs of hesitation,
but Karl Weisel replied:
"He shall stay there until his contumacious spirit
is broken. He must be punished until he confesseth."
"Are you sure that you do not wish to tell where
the Bible is?" Everett asked, kindly. But the sim
ple one replied:
"They can keep me in the stocks until I die. I care
not. I will not deliver the Sacred Book into their
hands." His lips were white, and the perspiration
stood upon his forehead, over which his matted hair
W A L D A
hung into his eyes. He tried to raise his hand to his
head, but the pain made the effort futile. Everett
took one of the simple one s swollen hands in his and
began to chafe the arms, which were numb.
The carpenters soon had their work done, and Karl
Weisel ordered Hans Peter back to his place in the
"Isn t there something I can do to prevent this
outrage?" Everett spoke in a threatening tone.
"How can you stoop to such persecution?"
Involuntarily he clinched his hands and drew him
self up to his full height. Towering above the men
of Zanah, he looked from one to the other, as if un
decided which to knock down first.
Karl Weisel took the precaution to leave the plat
form, and when safe on the ground he answered,
"Thine interference will not be tolerated in Zanah.
Thou shalt not defeat the ends of justice."
"Nay, mind not Hans Peter; the village fool doth
not fear those who are called wise in Zanah." The
simple one spoke calmly, and he moved past Everett
to the beam upon which he had been sitting.
It occurred to Everett that any violent measures
might only cause another method of torture to be de
vised, and he went into the inn to think about some
means by which he could deliver Hans Peter. The
day wore away, and late in the afternoon the simple
W A L D A
one was still in the stocks. An attempt to discuss
the matter with the Herr Doktor had proved fruitless.
Everett went to the school-master, and Gerson Brandt
told him that protest was useless.
I warned them that I would not consent to such
a show of venge fulness," said Gerson Brandt, "but
they laughed at me, and hinted that the simple one
was my accomplice." He was sitting at his desk,
and his attitude betrayed the deepest despond
Everett went back to the inn just as the afternoon
bell rang. It was the signal for the girls knitting-
school and the boys learning-school to dismiss pupils.
At this hour the mill-hands had a brief respite for the
drinking of coffee. Soon the village street was full,
and all the men, women, and children turned their
steps towards the square. Here they stood in groups,
talking in low tones, and casting glances up at the
simple one, whose face was not less stolid than usual.
Hans Peter had become deathly pale, but as he sat
with bent back and bowed head he appeared oblivious
of the crowd that was gazing at him.
At last the village fool hath found his right place
in the world," remarked Mother Kaufmann, taking a
seat on the lowest step of the stocks and beginning to
" I hope he will remember all the impertinent things
he hath said to us, and know that he is receiving his
W A L D A
just dues," said Gretchen Schneider, who had come
into the square with Mother Kaufmann.
" It seemeth to me that Hans Peter is one possessed
of a devil," declared Karl Weisel, joining Gretchen
Schneider, and taking care to stand so close to her
that his coat-sleeve brushed her arm.
On the other side of the stocks Frieda Bergen had
stopped to look up at the prisoner with compassion
written on her pretty face. She wiped her eyes on
the corner of her apron, and Joseph Hoff, who saw her
grief, passed by her once or twice, biding his time
until he could speak to her without attracting the
attention of the elders or colony mothers, among
whom his attachment for the girl had become com
"Hans Peter may be free to-morrow," he said, re
assuringly. "Do not feel bad for him."
"There is a tenderness in my heart for all God s
creatures, Joseph," the girl answered.
"Be sure thou givest me most of thy sympathy,"
Joseph Hoff said, and they smiled into each other s
faces with a look of perfect understanding.
Many of the children gazed silently at the culprit,
and some of them climbed up the stout beams that
supported the stocks. A few venturesome boys seat
ed themselves upon the heavy plank that held poor
Hans Peter s hands. Mother Werther, who had been
going back and forth all day between the stocks and
W A L D A
the inn, sought a place whence she could speak a cheer
ing word to the simple one. Several times Adolph
Schneider had stepped to the inn-porch, and, with a
flourish of his cane, had admonished the people of
Zanah to preserve order. He had taken occasion to
call attention to the ways that the Lord found by
which the wicked were punished. He had just fin
ished one of his exhortations when it was whispered
that Walda Kellar was coming.
The prophetess of Zanah walked over the bridge
with her head bent, as if she were preoccupied. When
she looked up it was plain that the crowd astonished
her. She quickened her steps, and, advancing with
her eyes fixed on the stocks, said, in a clear tone,
which was heard by all the people :
"What meaneth this thing?"
She turned flashing eyes from one to another in the
throng, and those near her fell back.
"Where is some one who will answer me? I would
speak to one of the elders. By what authority is
Hans Peter placed in the stocks? Who hath dared
to pass such severe judgment upon one of the most
helpless in Zanah?"
There was no answer. Walda waited for a mo
"I would speak to Adolph Schneider or Karl Wei-
sel," she said; but neither responded to her summons.
Adolph Schneider had disappeared into the gasthaus
W A L D A
when he saw her, and Karl Weisel had drifted out of
sight. Walda turned to survey the crowd.
"Why are ye here, looking on calmly? Hath no
one raised a voice in behalf of him who hath harmed
none in the colony?" she cried.
She moved towards the stocks, men, women, and
children separating to let her pass. Ascending the
steps, she looked down upon the colonists. Suddenly
she became clothed in a strange majesty. Her body
swayed with the strength of her emotion. She opened
her lips as if to address the throng, but some wiser
impulse restrained her. She stood as if in prayer, and
presently, raising her hand to command attention,
"Hath it been forgotten that it is written in the
Bible, With what judgment ye judge ye shall be
judged; and with what measure ye mete it shall be
measured to you again ? Are ye so wise that ye can
know how guilty Hans Peter is in seizing the Bible?
Can ye see into the heart of him whom all have called
the simple one ? Can ye know his motives ? Has none
of you, to whom the Lord hath given greater under
standing than He hath vouchsafed to this humble
child of Zanah, sinned in larger measure than Hans
Peter? There hath been lost to Zanah a Bible of
great value; but where is your faith? Can ye not
believe that if it is best it will be returned unto you?
Liberate Hans Peter, and I say unto you it shall be
W A L D A
made plain that ye have done what is good. Your
mercy will be rewarded twofold."
After she spoke the last words she paused for a
moment. A murmur passed over the crowd. One
of the colonists cried :
"Free him! Free him!"
"Listen not to the voice of a woman s pity," warned
Karl Weisel, from his place on the well-curb, which
raised him above the heads of the crowd.
" Nay, hear her. The power may be upon her. She
may be foretelling what will happen if Hans Peter is
It was Mother Werther who raised her voice. She
was standing upon the steps of the inn, and her words
caused a hush to fall upon the people of Zanah.
"All we in Zanah can learn a lesson to-day from
Hans Peter," said Walda Kellar, turning towards the
simple one, who made no sign that he had heard her
plea for him. "This poor lad hath meant no harm.
He hath followed some strong impulse, born of the be
lief that he is doing right, and you put him into the
stocks, where he remaineth firm in his determination
not to undo what he hath thought was a noble deed.
For some reason he hath desired to keep the Bible in
Zanah, when you would have bartered it for gold
and silver. Can ye say that it was not God s will he
should hide it so that it could not be sent out into the
world, where it might not be valued at its true worth ?
W A L D A
How can ye be sure that it may not be you, instead
of Hans Peter, who should be punished? Doth this
structure built by your hands appear to be work that
was inspired by God? Were not the stocks devised
by Satan? Is it thus that the Father in Heaven
would have ye deal with those subjects in your
"Verily, she speaketh as if she were listening to the
still, small voice with which the Lord quickeneth the
consciences of his people," said the meekest of the
thirteen elders, a little, bent man, who supported him
self against a fence-rail.
"The time draweth near for the Untersuchung,when
you will listen to words of wisdom from me," con
tinued Walda, her voice softening into a tone of hu
mility. " Much have I prayed that I may be worthy
to be chosen from among you to be the prophetess of
Zanah. In these last few weeks there hath come to
me a new light. It is yet but as a candle-beam of di
vine knowledge, but it hath made all things sacred in
mine eyes. The glory of God hath been revealed to
me in the smallest ways. Instead of feeling the maj
esty of the Ruler of the universe, I have known some
thing of the meaning of the eternal love which encom-
passeth the highest and the lowliest. In the Father s
eyes, when the day of judgment cometh, this hour in
the stocks may be counted so much in outweighing
the sins of the simple one that he will be placed above
W A L D A
us all. This day s record in the Book of Life may
have a great significance."
Walda, looking down upon the upturned faces be
fore her, read fear written upon many and compassion
upon a few.
" I beseech you, with one voice declare Hans Peter
free," she said, turning her face first towards one side
of the square and then towards the other, so that all
gathered there felt she addressed each separately.
"Hesitate not. Each moment that ye wait adds to
the pain suffered by your prisoner."
"Dost thou believe the Lord will reward us if we
show mercy?" asked the Herr Doktor, who had come
out of the inn to hear what Walda had to say.
"The people of Zanah should not weigh the chance
of reward for doing what is just and right," answered
Walda stood as if she were listening for some word
of pity from the colonists.
"If ye would show that ye have confidence in me,
whom ye look to as the prophetess of Zanah, permit
me to liberate Hans Peter. Can ye deny me this
privilege?" she asked, presently.
"It is meet that we shift the judgment of the
simple one to her upon whom the inspiration is al
ready descending," said Mother Werther. "Women
of Zanah, pledge her your faith."
Cries of "Give Walba Kellar the judgment!" " Let
W A L D A
her loosen the stocks!" "The prophetess of Zanah
hath spoken!" were heard on every side.
"Nay, the spirit hath not descended on her. Put
not such power in a girl s hands," shouted Mother
Kaufmann, waving the hand that still clasped her
Her words were followed by low hisses, and instant
ly several of the men were heard demanding Hans
Peter s release.
"She did say that the value of the Bible might be
returned twofold," said Diedrich Werther, who had
been encouraged to speak by vigorous nudges from
his wife. Mother Werther had pushed him from his
place on the porch, where he had been hidden by the
"Walda Kellar, is it the spirit which prompts thee
to say the value of the Bible will be made good to the
colony?" inquired the Herr Doktor.
Again Walda Kellar stood with her head turned, as
if she were listening to the still, small voice of her
"Nay, Adolph Schneider, I cannot say that it is the
spirit; I know not whether my words are words of
prophecy. Yet my faith, looking up to God, maketh
me believe that if thou showest mercy to the foolish
one, a recompense will be given thee."
Her words came slowly. They fell upon the ears
of the people in Zanah with a distinctness and a fervor
W A L D A
that awed them, and again the murmur was heard in
"Free him! Free him!" shouted Joseph Hoff, and
the cry was taken up by men, women, and children.
A tall, burly farm-hand pushed his way from the
stocks to the porch of the inn, where the Herr Doktor
still stood. He was followed by three or four of those
who were known as the keepers of the vineyard.
"Beware how thou dost challenge the curses of
Heaven," said the farm-hand. "Dost thou intend
to obey the prophetess, now that she hath spoken?"
"We have had bad luck enough already," said one
of the keepers of the vineyard. "Defy not Heaven
Something like fear showed itself in the face of
Adolph Schneider. He cast his small eyes towards
Karl Weisel, who shook his head. The people had
now turned their faces from the stocks, and the crowd
gazed upon the village president, who was plainly
hesitating concerning what would be the best policy.
"The men of Zanah have spoken wisely," declared
the meek elder, from his place near the fence. " Thou
must listen to the voice of the people."
"Free him! Free him!" the crowd shouted. Amid
all the clamor Walda Kellar stood motionless, with
her eyes fixed upon the far bluffs, and Hans Peter sat
with head drooped so that his face could not be seen.
While the crowd was threatening to become a mob,
W A L D A
it was not noticed that the school-master had crossed
the fields, pushed his way to the stocks, and ascended
" Men and women of Zanah, if ye turn a deaf ear to
Walda Kellar, let me offer myself as the one upon
whom to inflict the punishment ye deem fitting be
cause the Bible upon which I put much patient work
hath disappeared." Gerson Brandt s voice was low,
but it had a determined ring in it as he spoke to the
colonists. He had removed his hat, and those who
looked upon his face marvelled that the gentle school
master could be so threatening in mien and gesture.
"Since the Sacred Book disappeared while i t was in
my custody, I am responsible for it. If any one is to
be put into the stocks, it is I, that served you all as
your elder I, to whom you have intrusted the train
ing of your boys. This day s work shall long be a re
proach to Zanah, for ye have stood by while the sim
ple one hath been made to suffer. Even though he
may have been guilty of the offence imputed to him,
the penalty is greater than his deed hath merited."
The uproar that followed this speech caused the
Herr Doktor to tremble as he leaned upon his cane.
"Surely no one in all Zanah would see Gerson
Brandt put into the stocks," said Mother Werther,
taking her place beside Adolph Schneider. "For
shame, brethren and sisters of Zanah! Give Hans
Peter his liberty."
W A L D A
"We demand the release of the simple one," said
the vineyard workers. "Let him go! Let him go!"
"Gerson Brandt, thine offer to take Hans Peter s
place in the stocks is an insult to thy high office as an
elder of Zanah," said the Herr Doktor. "I will ac
cede to the wishes of the people. Thou canst liberate
the village fool."
Adolph Schneider turned to go into the inn, and
Stephen Everett, who had been watching the strange
scene from the corner of the porch, went out into the
square to offer aid to Gerson Brandt. The school
master had acted quickly, and before Everett reached
the stocks Hans Peter s feet were free. Everett loosed
the simple one s hands and raised him to an upright
position. Hans Peter was so stiff that he fell upon
the rude platform.
"He is exhausted. I will take him into the inn,"
said Everett, addressing Walda, who was leaning over
the prostrate form of Hans Petei.
"I know that thou wilt minister to him, and that
thou wilt restore his senses. See, he hath swooned!"
"I will take care of him. You can trust me to
see that he is made comfortable," Everett prom
"Yea, I always trust thee, Stephen."
The man and woman bending over the form of the
simple one looked into each other s eyes for a second.
Then Everett lifted Hans Peter in his arms, carried
W A L D A
him down the steps, and, passing through the crowd,
disappeared within the door of the inn.
Standing upon the platform of the stocks, Walda
looked after them until the inn-door had closed. Turn
ing, she beheld Gerson Brandt staring at her with ter
ror in his eyes. He was ghastly pale, and his thin
nostrils were widely dilated with the quickness of his
"Art thou ill, Gerson Brandt?" she asked.
"Nay, I have my usual health. Just now, fear
clutcheth at my heart."
"Fear, Gerson Brandt? Thou wert ever brave.
What is it that thou couldst fear?"
"A shadow was cast over me. It hath passed."
Gerson Brandt stooped to pick up his hat, and mo
tioned to Walda to pass down the steps before him.
As Walda walked through the square the people
bowed before her, in token of their recognition that
she was, indeed, the prophetess, for it was whispered
that the stranger from the outside world had given
his word to Adolph Schneider that he would pay twice
the value of the Bible on condition that Hans Peter
should not be further punished.
EVERETT counted the days until the Unlersu-
chung. Only ten intervened. In less than a fort
night Walda would be cut off from all communication
with him. She would have entered into her duties as
the leader of the colony. She would be the prophetess
the inspired one. He tried to imagine himself look
ing on during the quaint ceremony of the Untersu-
chung, and he had to face the knowledge that he could
not stand by while the girl passed forever beyond his
reach. Even while he dared vaguely to plan some
way by which he could win her for himself, he had a
few misgivings concerning her unfitness for his world,
which he knew she would find strange and cruel. He
told himself that he could protect her, that he could
make her happy, and that he could help her to become
adjusted to a different sphere. With the unreason of
the lover he imagined how they would live for each
other, aloof from all the ordinary demands of every
day existence. He knew that she loved the few books
that had been open to her in Zanah, and he dreamed
of the days when he would guide her into a broader
knowledge, when he would help her to acquire the sort
W A L D A
of an education suited to her unusual mind. He was
confident that her artistic nature would develop in a
congenial atmosphere. It would be his pride to cul
tivate her glorious voice, and to teach her to under
stand the painter s art, which Zanah held sinful. His
thoughts travelled over the same circle again and
again, but always he came back to the idea that he
must act quickly if he would save her from bondage to
the colony if he would awaken her to the meaning
of his love.
He was thankful for the opportunity her daily pray
ers at the tomb of Marta Bachmann gave him to meet
her, but the next night after he had walked with her
to the little cemetery he had seen her cross the bridge
accompanied by no less a person than Mother Schnei
der herself. He had been compelled to pace restlessly
back and forth among the trees, keeping out of sight
lest his presence might be discovered.
On the third night he watched for Walda at the
point where the road reached the shore of the lake.
It was late, and he had almost given up hope of see
ing her when she came slowly towards him. For an
hour he had been reconnoitring the whole distance
between the lake and the cemetery. And now, when
he beheld her, he felt as if he must claim her by the
right of his love for her. His better judgment, how
ever, told him that he must be circumspect in his
wooing. One impetuous word might put her on her
W A L D A
guard. The touch of his hand had given her a pre
science of danger, for, according to her belief, love was
the greatest danger that could beset her path. When
Walda saw him she appeared surprised at the chance
encounter. It was evident she had no suspicion that
he had deliberately waylaid her.
" It is good that I should meet thee here, Stephen,"
she said, "for my heart is so full of joy I feel as if I
must share my gladness with some one."
"What has happened to make you so happy?" Ev
erett asked. He saw that there was a radiance in her
face, and that her eyes shone with an unusual brill
"There hath been no outward experience different
from those that come to me every day," she said.
" But, Stephen, my heart is lifted up exceedingly. I
feel in me a new strength. My spirit dwelleth in
" Dreams, Walda? What are your dreams like?"
" They are misty formless. It is as if a light were
just breaking over the darkness of my soul. I feel the
whisperings of a divine knowledge ; a marvellous pow
er hath been given to me. Stephen, I know the in
spiration is coming to me. All my doubts are vanish
ing. I feel very near to God."
She was transfigured with the intensity of her emo
tions. In her exaltation of spirit she was so aloof
from Everett that he stood dumb before her.
W A L D A
"Stephen, hast thou nothing to say? Dost thou
not rejoice with me?"
"I am glad to know that you are happy, Walda;
but being just a man of the world, I am selfish enough
to feel unreconciled to your separation from me. Wal
da, I crave a little part of your thoughts. I want to
share your joy. And now I behold you carried so
far away from me that I cannot even comprehend
the transformation which is taking place in you. Is
it prayer that is raising your spirit above the
"It is not prayer alone that hath made me behold
new glories, Stephen, for through all my years spent
in Zanah I have prayed unceasingly. Thou hast
helped to open mine eyes; thou hast been the messen
ger that hath turned my face to the light. Verily, it
is written that the Lord doth choose mysterious ways
by which to work his will."
For a moment Everett felt he was, indeed, a hypo
crite. He was not an egotist, but his hopes, which a
moment before had been cast down by the girl s ex
traordinary rapture, now rose, for he perceived that
he had, indeed, gained an influence over her.
" I want to talk to you, Walda," Everett said, after
he had thought for a moment. " Come with me down
to the shore of the lake, where there is a log that makes
a comfortable seat."
W A L D A
"Nay, Stephen, I must hasten to Marta Bach-
mann s grave."
" Don t you think that sometimes it may be better
to talk with the living than to pray with the dead?"
Everett asked. "I thought you were interested in
my welfare. Don t you know that a few words from
you may change my whole life?"
"If I could lead thee towards heaven it would be
my duty to speak with thee."
"Well, you can lead me to heaven."
Everett parted the low branches of the trees so that
Walda could pass through, and as she stepped into the
little path to the water s edge one of her long, fair
braids caught upon a twig. She turned her face back
ward as she felt the sharp pull, and Everett, thanking
his stars for a lucky fate that appeared to be attend
ing him on this particular evening, disengaged the
shining hair. He pretended to be very clumsy, and
his head was brought close to Walda s. The slightest
trace of embarrassment showed itself in the manner
of the prophetess of Zanah as she smoothed the braid
and adjusted her cap. She walked forward rather
hastily, and Everett pointed out the log, at one end of
which the limbs made a graceful back for the rustic
"Let me help you over these stones," said Everett,
and, taking her hand, he led her to the log. He
placed her comfortably, and, standing beside her,
W A L D A
told her to look at the wavering shadows in the
"All is peace here, Stephen," the girl said, looking
up at him. "In Zanah there is rest for the weary
spirit. Couldst thou not be contented here always?"
"If we could always be together as we are now,
Walda, it seems to me I could never wish for anything
He seated himself upon the log quite close to her,
and, leaning with his elbow on his knee, studied every
feature of her beautiful face. In his heart was a tu
multuous longing to make her know that he loved her,
but her presence overcame him with a feeling that she
was too holy to be disturbed by the knowledge of his
passion. Walda said, presently:
" It is strange that when I am with thee neither the
past nor the future harasses me. I am satisfied with
the present; it is as if thou didst encompass my soul
with the fortress of thy strength. To-night all my
fears about the future are gone. I am happy, Ste
phen strangely happy."
She leaned back against the gnarled limbs of the
old tree, and turned her face towards the lake.
"Walda, has your religion never taught you that
only in the union of a man s soul and a woman s soul
can there be perfect knowledge of life?"
She thought a moment, and then answered:
"Nay, Stephen, there is naught in the Bible which
W A L D A
teacheth that the prophets needed any but divine aid.
In no place in the Bible were two souls united in re
ceiving the inspiration of God. Yet it hath seemed
to me that thou wert somehow joined to me in my
inspiration. Instead of separating me from thee, the
knowledge that is coming to me maketh me feel de
pendent upon thee."
Stephen touched her hand, and she drew it away
to hide it in the folds of her blue cotton gown.
"You don t mind having me near you, do you,
Walda?" he asked.
"Nay, Stephen; it hath seemed lately that I craved
thy presence too much."
Everett felt his pulses quicken.
" I know that thou hast been sent to me by divine
dispensation," she continued. "But since the spirit
of prophecy hath begun to come to me, thou dost
stir my heart. I know that I must withdraw
from association with thee and with my people. To
night there cometh over me a vague alarm. I am
happy near thee, and yet I fear this peace may
"You cannot deny me the privilege of speaking
to you in these few days before the Unterstichung,"
Everett answered. He gently took the hand Walda
had hidden in her gown, and, holding it in a firm
" I have a mind never to let you go from me, Walda.
W A L D A
I need you all my life. I cannot look forward to the
years out there in the world without you."
"Dost thou mean, Stephen, that thou wouldst stay
here in Zanah serving the Lord with the men of the
colony? Stay for the good of thy soul?"
Everett pictured himself attired in colony garb and
meekly accepting the orders of Adolph Schneider and
Karl Weisel; but, holding Walda s hand, the absurdity
of such a position became every second less apparent
to him. He felt that no sacrifice could be too great
if it kept him near to the prophetess of Zanah.
"Do you want me to stay, Walda?" he asked.
" Yea, Stephen, even if I might not speak to thee, it
would cheer me to look upon thy face. I have thought
much of thy going away, and I have felt that Zanah
will be dreary without thee. Sometimes I have fear
ed lest I might be tempted to carry thine image in my
heart. It is gratitude that maketh thee thus inhabit
"It is not your gratitude that I want, Walda,"
Stephen said. "No, you cannot take away your hand.
I want to hold it while I talk to you. In these few
weeks in Zanah I have come to know that you will be
always the one woman who can command all my rev
erence, my respect, and my allegiance. You have
taught me that I have lived too much for self ; you have
aroused in me an impulse to make more of my oppor
tunities. You have become my good angel, I can-
W A L D A
not go back to the world, and to a lazy, careless ex
istence. I have forsaken my old idols, Walda."
"Thou hast builded thee a new altar, Stephen.
And now thou wilt not profane it."
It was the prophetess, not the woman, who spoke.
Walda had forgotten all the vague alarm. She was
looking upon Stephen as a new disciple of Zanah
whom she was glad to welcome into the fold.
"Yes, I have a new altar upon which I am willing
to sacrifice all my old habits, my previous interests,"
he confessed. "To it I bring the incense of love and
service and loyalty. Before it I feel my own un-
worthiness. Walda, I am but an ordinary man, one
who has been content to live for the day. Since I
came to Zanah, my future years have a new mean
"When a man turneth his footsteps towards heav
en, then, indeed, the future is glorified. Henceforth
thou wilt press onward towards the gates of heaven."
" But, Walda, I may find the gates closed, after all.
Don t you know it is you who hold the key?"
"Nay, thou art almost blasphemous. I can only
point the way."
They sat there silent for a few minutes. The twi
light was gathering. The shadows of evening closed
out Zanah and all the earth. A soft wind rippled the
lake, which broke in tiny waves at their feet.
"Walda, you who are so wise in the knowledge of
W A L D A
things that pertain to heaven are ignorant of many
of the fundamental principles of life here upon earth.
Cannot you understand that at this very moment I
am like a wayfarer standing at the gate of paradise?"
Involuntarily he tightened the clasp of his hand,
and love, sleeping in the heart of the woman, was sud
Walda drew her hand away, and, rising to her feet,
looked at Everett with fear in her face.
"To-night thou dost speak in parables, Stephen,"
she said. "To-night thou dost cause me to tremble
before thee. Let me go to the grave of Marta Bach-
mann, where I can pray until my spirit is soothed."
Everett stood before her as if he would block her
path. He uncovered her head, and gazed at her with
all the passionate longing of a strong nature. He
would have put out his arms to draw her close to him,
but her sweetness and innocence made him ashamed
of the impulse. She was in his power, but he saw
that her momentary fear had passed away, for, with
her eyes raised to the stars that had appeared above
the horizon, she was praying. The man s mood
changed instantly. He could have knelt before her
to kiss the hem of her gown.
"Walda, I ask your forgiveness for showing to
night that I am almost unworthy of your trust in me,"
he said. "Turn your face to me now, and tell me
that you will go away thinking of me as one who
W A L D A
would hold you so sacred that he would sacrifice his
heart s desire if in so doing he could assure you of the
fulfilment of life s best promises."
Walda had folded her hands upon her breast. Hav
ing thus made the sign of Zanah, which was believed
to ward off all earthly influences, she said:
"Verily, Stephen, thou hast put unrest in my heart,
yet even now I feel an abiding faith in thee."
" I shall try to be worthy of your faith, Walda."
While they stood close together the curfew -bell
sounded from the village belfry. It brought back to
earth the man and woman who lingered thus just
outside the walls of paradise.
"Good-night, Stephen. God be with thee."
Walda had again become the prophetess of Zanah.
She passed him in the narrow path from which he
had stepped aside, and he let her go without a word.
She walked a few paces only, her face still uplifted to
the sky and her hands still folded across her breast.
Then she paused to look backward at the man whose
parables had in them a meaning which she had never
found in the words of Holy Writ.
And being a woman, as well as a prophetess, she
saw that Everett was good to look upon.
IT was a rainy day in Zanah. Early in the morn
ing, when Everett looked out of the diamond-
paned window of his bedroom, he saw that the trees
and vines in the garden were dripping. The night-
wind had beaten off many of the leaves, which had
grown yellow in the long drought and the dying
summer. The distant bluffs were hidden behind a
curtain of mist. Two village "mothers " passed, their
shawls drawn over their heads and their feet drag
ging slowly in their clumsy, wooden shoes. Everett
dressed quickly, for his room was dark, and the si
lence of the village oppressed him. When he went
out to his breakfast in the long, bare dining-room,
Mother Werther served him in silence. He wondered
at her unusual taciturnity, and he tried to start a
cheerful conversation. She replied to him in mono
syllables. The entrance of a boy whom he re
membered seeing at the learning - school tempora
rily diverted Mother Werther from her unpleasant
"This is my son Johann," she said, pushing the lad
W A L D A
The boy hung his head, and Everett inquired why
Johann was never at home.
"It is not wise that he should be kept at the gast-
haus," Mother Werther explained, as she fixed a place
for Johann at the distant end of the table.
"Does some unusual occurrence bring him here to
day?" Everett inquired, with a show of interest.
"It is the Day of Warning, and families hold com
munion before they go to the meeting-house," Mother
Werther explained. "It is the last Sabbath before
the Untersuchung, and we make ready for the annual
accounting of our faults and follies."
The woman s words brought uppermost in his mind
the thought that had harassed him in the hours of the
night. The time of Walda s ordination as prophetess
was very near. He rose from the table. He heard
the rain falling upon the slate roof of the side porch
upon which the dining - room opened. Lifting the
heavy latch, he pushed the door slightly ajar. The
downpour was steady.
"Does your prophetess take any special part in to
day s ceremonies?" Everett asked, because he felt that
he must contrive to see Walda.
"Nay, she will be present at the meeting, that is
all," said Mother Werther, bustling out into the back
Everett sauntered into the office, which was occu
pied by Hans Peter. The simple one had placed upon
W A L D A
the mantel-shelf above the fireplace half a dozen of his
marked gourds, and he was studying them intently.
He did not pay any attention to Everett, who stepped
up beside him.
"Are you preparing for the Day of Warning and the
Untersuchung, Hans Peter?" Everett asked.
The village fool shook his head.
"Thou forgettest that Hans Peter is one whom the
Lord hath forgotten," he said. "The Almighty
taketh no account of the sayings and doings of the
The simple one took into his hand a gourd which
toore but one or two deep cuts dried into its hardened
"This Hans Peter had in his pocket on the day
that he carried the carpet-bag of the stranger," he
"What do the marks stand for, Hans Peter? I
hope they do not mean anything uncomplimentary."
The simple one said that he did not understand, and
"This meaneth that the stranger in Zanah bringeth
trouble," the village fool answered.
Everett paced up and down the sanded floor for a
"You are not a prophet, Hans Peter," he said,
stopping to pull the village fool s ear. " Have I done
any harm in Zanah?"
W A L D A
"Thou hast sown some seeds of discord."
" Cannot you forgive me for the Bible episode ? You
know I have done my best to make amends. You
will not always blame me for your suffering in the
stocks, I hope."
The simple one put the gourd he had been examin
ing into one of his deep pockets.
"Thou knowest the stocks were but the penalty of
mine own deed," he said. "There are other things
that even a fool can see and hear. Thou hast a soft
voice when thou speakest to the prophetess of Zanah.
Thine eyes watch her always when she is near thee."
Hans Peter folded his arms in imitation of Everett
and stared at him with unblinking eyes.
"You are observant, Hans Peter. As I have often
told you, every day I am more and more convinced
you are the wisest man in Zanah." Everett flicked
the ashes from the cigar he was smoking and smiled
down at the queer little figure. "What conclusions
do you draw from your two discoveries?"
"It seemeth that thine actions are like Joseph
Hoff s, and the people of Zanah say that he hath
earthly love in his heart."
"If my memory serves me right, it was you who
aided Joseph Hoff to send messages to the one he
loves," said Everett.
"She was not a prophetess," the fool declared.
Hans Peter had selected a second gourd from the
W A L D A
shelf, and had fled from the room before Everett could
sound him on the subject of acting as errand-boy.
Still the rain poured down. Everett chafed under
his enforced inactivity, for he felt that every hour
meant much to him. Presently, because he had noth
ing better to do, he took down from its place beside
Hans Peter s gourds the old tinder-box, and lighted
the wood that was piled in the fireplace. He lounged
upon the settle and idly watched the flames creep
along the logs. His thoughts flew out to Walda. He
wondered what she was doing. He felt a disgust for
the fanaticism of the colony, and he tried to think of
some way of claiming the woman he loved. He was
ready to carry her off without any ado, but he knew
that as long as her father lived he could not persuade
her to go away. Although he had not yet made her
realize she loved him, he would not harbor the thought
that he could lose her and yet his suit appeared
His reflections were disturbed by the voice of
Mother Werther raised in indignant remonstrance.
She was in the next room, and he heard her say:
"Diedrich, thou dost vex me much lately. And
now thou dost tell me thou likest to gaze through
the car-windows to behold the women of the world
as they pass by Zanah."
"They are comely," the innkeeper answered, in his
W A L D A
" How darest thou tell me that? To-day I am half
persuaded to confess to the elders that at last I have
learned the love of man is not to be trusted. I have
a mind to claim promotion to the second rank of the
colony, and who knows but I may soon hate thee
enough to serve the Lord in singleness of purpose!"
"Thy tongue proveth thou mayst yet become like
Mother Schneider and Mother Kaufmann, who have
long been in the third rank because they love not
men," remarked Diedrich Werther.
" Thou speakest hateful words." Mother Werther s
voice was choked with anger. "Many times hast
thou tried me sorely, but never until to-day have I
seen that thou art indeed a man with sinful impulses.
Thy feet have been turned from the straight and nar
row way. Thou hast a liking for wicked things."
Everett smiled when he heard what he might take
as an object-lesson of the inevitable experience of even
the most faithful of married couples. He shrugged
his shoulders, and thought that, after all, it was only
the few who knew the real meaning of love, the love
that blended worship and lofty aspiration.
Diedrich Werther came into the office. It was
plain that the berating he had received had not dis
turbed his phlegmatic calm. He shuffled along in his
carpet slippers until he reached the desk, behind which
he perched himself on a high stool. Everett felt irri
tated at the unpleasant interruption to his thoughts
W A L D A
of Walda. He snatched up his soft felt hat and went
out into the muddy street. He turned his steps tow
ards Wilhelm Kellar s room, where he found his pa
tient sitting up in an arm-chair. Gerson Brandt was
with him. The two colonists showed an unusual re
straint in the presence of the stranger in Zanah.
"I have been telling Brother Brandt that I need
thy services no longer," said Wilhelm Kellar, ad
dressing Everett. "There is nothing to hinder thee
from leaving Zanah to-morrow."
Everett noticed that Gerson Brandt watched him
closely while Wilhelm Kellar spoke.
" I shall not go away for at least a week," said Ev
erett, leaning against the chest of drawers, and as
suming an indifferent manner.
" It is strange that thou findest colony life so pleas
ant," said Gerson Brandt.
"It is restful and interesting to me," Everett re
As he faced the two elders of Zanah he felt a twinge
of remorse, because his dearest purpose in life was to
win from them Walda Kellar. He who had held hon
or first experienced a certain amount of self-abase
ment, but he quieted his conscience, as he had many
times before, by the thought that love was the ruling
power of the world, and that all things should give
way before it.
"The colony of Zanah would recompense thee for
W A L D A
thy services in helping to restore me to health," said
Wilhelm Kellar. "Wilt thou render to me thine ac
" Whatever aid you have received from me has not
been given for money," Everett replied, in a voice so
decided in its accents that both his hearers felt there
was beneath his words something which they could
" The colony never shirks the payment of its debts,"
Wilhelm Kellar declared, proudly.
"If you think you owe me anything, accept the
amount as a gift to Zanah," said Everett.
A moment of embarrassment followed, and he was
glad to take his leave rather hastily. When he reach
ed the inn, many of the villagers were assembled in
the main room and on the porches. The meeting
house bell sounded as he went up the steps, and in
stantly the men and women moved towards the old
building on the hill. The women drew heavy shawls
over their heads to protect them from the rain, and
the men, who walked apart from them, now and then
removed their caps to shake off the water which ran
down upon their hair and shoulders. No one spoke.
It was evident that the Day of Warning had its terrors
for many of the colonists. Everett stood on the top
most step watching the little children, who were min
iature reproductions of the men and women, and
listening to the click of the wooden shoes upon the
W A L D A
board-walk. He looked down the street in the hope
that he might see Walda Kellar, but he was disap
"Would I be admitted to the meeting-house?" he
asked Diedrich Werther, who was putting a long-
tailed coat over a faded blue-gingham shirt.
" Ja, ja; if thou desirest to attend a service of much
solemnity, come with me," the innkeeper answered.
The meeting - house was crowded when they en
tered. Its interior was as devoid of ornament as its
exterior. The bare, white walls were broken at regu
lar intervals with small-paned, clear glass windows,
which let in but little light on a gloomy day. A
broad middle aisle led straight to a platform upon
which sat the thirteen elders, for Everett was aston
ished to see that Wilhelm Kellar had been carried in
his arm-chair from his room in the near-by school-
house. The men occupied rude benches on the right
side of the meeting-house, and the women sat on the
left. The children were placed in front, the boys on
the men s side and the girls on the women s. On a
dais in the middle of the elders platform was a heavy
A few moments after Everett s entrance a group of
colonists, who still lingered at the door, separated to
allow some one to pass in. A hush fell upon the as
semblage, for Walda Kellar was walking up the aisle.
Over her blue gown she wore a long cloak with a point-
W A L D A
ed hood that she put back from her head as she moved
slowly forward. The damp air had caused her hair
to curl in many unruly ringlets about her forehead,
and her pure skin had the peculiar clearness and trans
parency that a rainy day imparts to a delicate com
plexion. Everett could see only her profile. There was
a majesty in her carriage, a consciousness of power
in her pose, that made her seem far off from him. His
heart beat wildly as he looked at her, and when the
villagers knelt in acknowledgment of her presence, he
obeyed the impulse of worship, and bent forward with
a despairing humility in his heart. He, to whom
prayer had long ceased to be a daily habit, breathed
his heart s sincere desire in a petition that his love
might be given its reward.
When Everett raised his eyes again Walda had as
cended the platform, and had taken her place on the
steps in front of the chair which it was plain was the
seat reserved for the prophetess. She had thrown
aside her cloak, and she sat with her hands folded in
her lap. Adolph Schneider spoke, in German, the
words of a droning invocation. He left the front of
the platform, and Everett was surprised to see Walda
come forward as if she were about to speak. Instead
of making an address, she began to sing a monot
onous hymn, to which her rich voice lent a glorious
While Walda sang, the man of the world listened
W A L D A
in breathless awe. Her voice thrilled with the diapa
son of hope. It rose in triumphant notes, and then
fell with a softened cadence. His soul went out to
hers, but in the tense moment that followed her hymn
he felt as if she were far away from him. Her purity
rebuked the passion of love in him, and yet he could
scarcely restrain himself from the impulse to claim
her there before all Zanah. She went back to her
place on the steps before the chair of the prophetess,
which she was to occupy before another week had
Adolph Schneider commanded the colonists to lis
ten with undivided attention to what he had to say to
them. It was the Day of Warning, when all who felt
they were not prepared for the Untersuchung would
make confession. If there was any man or woman
who desired to ask for promotion in the colony, the
time had come to show reason for a desire for ad
A tall, large-boned woman rose from her place far
back in the congregation.
" I would seek advancement to the first grade of the
colony," she said.
" What is thy ground for making this request ? Why
dost thou believe that thou art worthy?" the Herr
" It is five years since I refused to listen to the elders
of Zanah when they told me of the trials earthly love
W A L D A
would bring," answered the woman, turning a sallow,
weather-beaten face towards the platform. "Now
have I learned that marriage is a hard discipline.
Otto Schmidt hath vexed me every day for forty
months. I have found that the love of man for wom
an is fleeting, and now do I know that I can worship
God in singleness of heart."
On the men s side a stout mill-worker pulled him
self to his feet.
"Christina hath not suffered the smallest tithe of
the mortification of spirit that hath been mine," he
declared, in an emphatic tone. "It was for her sake
that I gave up my place in the first grade of Zanah s
people, and now do I confess that the elders of Zanah
are wise when they entreat the people to beware of
love. Love is but the fire of man s vanity kindled to
flame by a woman s wanton eyes."
" Nay, it is but a woman s faith which is nourished
by man s false promises of kindness and constancy,"
replied the woman, who was still standing.
"Let the brother and sister of Zanah be seated,"
commanded Adolph Schneider.
As she obeyed, Christina Schmidt cast a glance of
hatred towards her husband.
The elders spoke together. While they were hold
ing their conference, Everett noticed that Hans Peter
was creeping slowly up the aisle with a letter in his
hand. He passed the envelope up to Adolph Schnei-
W A L D A
der and tiptoed to a vacant place on the front seat.
The elders examined the letter. The colonists waited
without any show of impatience.
"It is my sad duty to announce that one of the
colony youths hath looked with longing eyes on a
maid, and that he entreats permission to wed her,"
said the Herr Doktor, standing upon the edge of the
platform and looking down at the people with a stern
expression on his face. His small eyes scanned the
women and then the men. "I would have Frieda
Bergen and Joseph Hoff step forward."
It would not have been in human nature for the
people to remain impassive. More than half of them
turned their heads to look for the culprits. Joseph
Hoff made his way towards the elders. He carried
his head high, and had an air of bravado that showed
how little he cared because he was transgressing the
laws of the colony. He waited for Frieda Bergen,
who came towards him with her head bent and her
cheeks flaming. " Be of good courage," he whispered,
as they faced Adolph Schneider.
"You two have made for yourselves idols here on
earth," said the president of the colony in a thunder
ing tone, which frightened every youth and maiden in
the meeting-house. "Ye have not heeded the behests
of Zanah. How did Satan manage to tempt you when
all the safeguards of Zanah were thrown around you?"
Neither of the lovers spoke.
W A L D A
" It is not permitted here in the colony for men and
women who are unmarried to speak together except
on rare occasions, and never are they allowed to talk
when no one is near them ; how then did ye two sur
render to the tempter?"
Still there was no answer.
"Speak, Joseph Hoff!" Adolph Schneider shouted,
in a tone which showed that he was filled with indig
"Love needeth not words or messengers; love is
carried on the winds that blow across a woman s
cheek," said Joseph.
" Nay, it is like a prayer that cometh from the heart
of man to the heart of woman," faltered Frieda, bend
ing in a low courtesy.
"Thou art blaspheming!" Adolph Schneider cried,
looking on the maiden with angry eyes. "It is plain
that thou art made mad by what thou callest love.
To you two erring ones shall be given a chance to re
pent between now and the Untersuchung, but if your
eyes are then still blind to your iniquities ye shall be
allowed to marry. Ponder well upon the testimony
given here this day by Otto and Christina Schmidt.
Human love lasteth but a few years, and eternity is
not long enough to blot out the sorrow it can bring to
a human soul. Go hence to pray that ye may be de
livered from paying the hard penalties earthly love
bringeth to all."
W A L D A
Tears were streaming from the girl s eyes as she
walked back to the women s side of the building, but
in her face was no sign of repentance.
Karl Weisel and the other elders had listened with
stolid faces while Adolph Schneider rebuked the peo
ple. After the young lovers had taken their seats,
Wilhelm Kellar pronounced a benediction. The col
onists filed slowly out of the meeting-house. Everett
lingered in the hope that by some happy circumstance
he might speak to Walda, but she was detained by the
elders, who gathered around her. He had given up
hope of getting near her when it occurred to him to
make Wilhelm Kellar s imprudence an excuse by
which he might at least go closer to the woman he
loved. He went forward to where Wilhelm Kellar
stood at the foot of the platform steps.
"You have taken a great risk," he said, to his pa
tient. "You should not have come here to-day."
The old man drew himself up with a show of
strength and said he was well enough to make an ef
fort to enter the Lord s house.
Walda, who had smiled upon Everett when she
saw him coming towards her, put her hand upon her
father s shoulder and persuaded him to be carried
back to his room. Gerson Brandt and another man of
Zanah lifted the invalid s chair. Everett opened the
side door that they might pass out. Walda, who was
anxious for her father s comfort, would have gone into
W A L D A
the rain ahead of them, but Everett reminded her she
had not put on her cloak. He stepped up to the chair
of the prophetess without taking thought that he
might be profaning the place of the elders, and, taking
the long garment, put it around her. Although Karl
Weisel and the other elders stood by, he calmly fast
ened the clasp at the neck and drew the hood over the
head of the prophetess. Walda, looking up into his
face, beheld in the deep-set eyes as they rested upon
her something that sent the blood to her face. Ger-
son Brandt, looking back over his shoulder, saw Ev
erett hold the door open while Walda went through,
and he noticed that the strong face of the man of the
world had upon it a look of tenderness such as he had
never seen before.
Everett hesitated a moment as he buttoned his
mackintosh. He was uncertain whether to go out
into the woods for a long walk or whether to return
to the dreary inn. He turned his steps towards the
inn, and he had not gone half-way down the hill be
fore he saw Walda coming from the school-house.
The prophetess was with Frieda Bergen, and behind
them walked two of the village "mothers." Everett
let them pass him, but he noticed with a pang that
Walda appeared not to see him as he stood with un
covered head while she walked by.
"The elders have asked me to entreat thee to over
come this love that thou hast confessed," he heard
W A L D A
Walda say to Frieda Bergen; but they had gone be
yond ear-shot before the girl replied.
They went into the inn, whither Everett followed
them after a time. Walda drew Frieda Bergen to the
settle near the fire which Everett had kindled.
"Thou seemest so happy in thy sin that I would
know what is thy feeling," said Walda. "Thou hast
the look of one to whom heaven hath been revealed."
"A great joy hath come to me, Walda. If it is
wicked to love, then would I continue in my sin,"
answered Frieda. "Hast thou never known the
temptation of love? Hast thou never seen one who
maketh the world seem better to thee?"
"Gerson Brandt and Stephen Everett have taught
me much," said Walda, "but no one hath ever tempt
ed me to forget God and to worship man. Doth not
thy conscience make thee repentant?"
"Nay, I cannot believe that it is wicked to love."
" How didst thou come to know that thou lovest?"
"One day, as we worked together, Joseph Hoff
looked at me through the trellis of a hop-vine. He
was on one side and I was on the other. My heart
trembled, and thenceforth his face was often before
"That is but a small matter. The stranger in Za-
nah hath sometimes made my heart leap, but that
" After the hour in which Joseph Hoff looked at me,
W A L D A
the day was happier when I could see him. I no long
er rebelled against the hard tasks given me. I had
sweet dreams," declared Frieda.
" I have felt as thou sayest thou feelest, but it was
prayer and fasting that made the earth like the outer
courts of heaven. Frieda, Frieda, thou hast mistaken
the spirit of holiness for earthly love."
Walda Kellar leaned forward, clasping her hands
together in a gesture which betrayed her relief at
what she supposed was her discovery of the true state
of her companion s mind.
"Nay, nay, it was love that made a new life for
me," insisted Frieda, shaking her black-capped head
and speaking in a low voice.
"How couldst thou know?
"One day Joseph spoke to me sweet words; he
touched my hand. Life became changed again. In
my heart thenceforth was a great loneliness except
when I was near Joseph Hoff. I trembled when he
touched my hand, and I would have had him always
by my side."
"Ah, this that thou tellest me is strange indeed. I
have known something of this loneliness, but it was
the loneliness of the soul that seeketh God and fear-
eth to lose the way to heaven. Tell me something
more of thy love."
"Joseph Hoff sometimes said I was like an angel to
him. He spoke softly of love."
"Thou wert wrong to listen," said Walda.
"Thou hast spoken often with the stranger in
" True, but we talked of books, and the woods ; of the
wonders of the heavens and the glories of the earth."
"We spoke few words, but they gave me strange
strength. The earth seemed a pleasanter place after
we had talked together. Hast thou never known a
day when suddenly the flowers became more beautiful
and the sun shone brighter?"
"Yea, lately, since the inspiration hath come to me,
it is as if Zanah were bathed in a heavenly radiance.
But tell me more, Frieda."
"The days became pleasant; every one was joyous.
There was in my heart a singing that made me care
not for the reproofs of the village mothers."
" I know what thou meanest. Thy experiences are
not different from mine." Walda looked into her
companion s face with a smile of sympathy. "Dis
turb not thyself any longer. Thou hast the revela
tion of divinity that the Lord sendeth to those who
serve Him. Why didst thou think this new glory in
thy life was an earthly love? Foolish girl, I am glad
that I did have this chance to probe thy heart to
" It was not love of God that was in my heart, Wal
da." Frieda looked into the fire and shook her head
thoughtfully. "Else why should I look each day for
W A L D A
a glimpse of Joseph Hoff ? Why should the simplest
word from him be more to me than the longest prayer
of any of the elders ? Even if I had thought in the be
ginning that the tumult in my heart was due to the
fervor of my religious faith, I found out very soon
that it was Joseph Hoff I loved."
" How did the revelation come?" Walda whispered.
"One day, when I went back into the hay-field to
find a rake I had left, Joseph Hoff, who was working
on the top of the stack, came down to the field, and,
taking both my hands, he kissed me." Frieda lifted
the corner of her apron and half hid her face as she
made this confession.
"Ah, that was sinful, indeed!" exclaimed Walda,
her eyes wide with horror. "We of Zanah have been
taught that a kiss is the password that Satan giveth
to weak and foolish men and women. I hope that
thou didst rebuke the bold and sinful youth."
Frieda raised her apron a little higher and made no
"What didst thou do when he had kissed thee?"
Walda asked, after a moment of silence.
"I I waited for him to kiss me again."
Walda drew away from the girl beside her. " How
couldst thou let any man touch thy lips?" she ex
claimed in indignation.
"Because I loved him."
" And since Joseph Hoff hath kissed thee, hast thou
J 4 20Q
W A L D A
not lost the sense of holiness that belongeth to the
people of Zanah?"
"Nay, every kiss hath added a glory to the earth.
I care no longer for heaven if I may dwell with Joseph
Hoff here in Zanah."
"Truly, thy state of mind doth alarm me, Frieda.
Thou hast many of the emotions that have come to
me since the beginning of mine inspiration, and yet
thou hast fallen a victim to the wiles of man. Pray
that thine eyes may be opened to thine errors."
"Nay, I would not pray that, lest my prayer should
be answered. If I prayed from my heart, I would ask
that many years might be given me to live and love
Joseph Hoff here on earth." Frieda Bergen rose and
walked away, but she turned back to put her hand
on Walda Kellar s shoulder.
"Forgive me if I seem of a stubborn spirit. I
know that thou canst not understand how the love of
man can take possession of a woman s heart. Thou
wilt be satisfied to live aloof from the people of Zanah
that thou mayst be near to God, but I would rather
have the love of Joseph Hoff than the inspiration that
cometh to a prophetess of Zanah."
"It is my duty to reprimand thee for thy sin, but
somehow, when thou speakest of Joseph Hoff, I cannot
feel the abhorrence for thy transgression that should
fill my heart. I will pray that the Lord may show
thee the right way."
W A L D A
Walda leaned her head against the settle and
thought about Frieda Bergen s state of mind, but her
thoughts were confused. Her reflections were inter
rupted by Everett, who came into the inn. Draw
ing near to the fireplace, he made a great show of dry
ing his hat, which was wet from the rain. Walda did
not seem to notice his presence.
"You appear to be troubled about something," he
"Yea. A matter of much moment hath been laid
before me, and I have not wisdom enough to see it in
all its sinfulness."
"Do you suppose my worldly advice would help
you?" Everett asked.
"Nay, thou hast different measures of judgment
from those set by the people of Zanah. Thou dost
not hold earthly love a sin."
"No, I do not, Walda." Everett smiled. " I hold
love the earthly love you are taught to try to escape
as the most precious gift the Creator gave to the
children of men."
His voice was low, and it betrayed an intensity of
feeling that caused Walda to give him a questioning
glance. Everett looked at her with so much tender
ness she turned her head away.
"Thou hast in thy tones the same sound that was
strange in Frieda s voice. Dost thou love? Hast
thou the same unreasoning rapture as Joseph Hoff ?"
W A L D A
"Not the same, Walda. I love much more than
any man in Zanah."
Walda s face became as white as the cap upon her
soft hair. She clasped her hands tightly together and
said, with a catch in her voice:
"Stephen, why hast thou never told me of thy
"Because I thought you would not care to hear
about it. Because it is forbidden to speak of love in
Zanah," Everett answered.
He seated himself beside her on the settle. From
behind the high desk Diedrich Werther now and then
stared at them with a glimmer of suspicion in his
eyes. His recent contact with the world at the rail
way station evidently had made him less trustful than
his fellow-colonists. Everett noticed the innkeeper s
watchfulness, and therefore was careful not to betray
"Walda, you are not angry because I have deceived
you, are you?" he said, when she did not answer him.
"Angry with thee, Stephen? Nay, thy love can
not concern the prophetess of Zanah." Her lip quiv
ered, but she held her head high, and disdained to let
him know that the heart beneath her kerchief was
throbbing so that her words were almost smothered
in her throat. "Thy confession did cause me to be
abashed for a moment. I had never thought that
out in the world some woman loved thee."
W A L D A
She rose to her feet as she spoke, and she would
have gone away without another word but he boldly
caught her hand and pulled her back upon the settle.
Diedrich Werther looked on with jaw dropped and
pipe suspended at elbow-length, but Everett defied
"You misunderstand me, Walda. I want to ex
plain to you, but this is not the place."
" I I would not hear what thou hast to say about
thy love, Stephen," she said, with a faint smile.
" Frieda hath told me her story, and it is enough for
me to think of in the watches of the night. Detain
me not. I must pray for Frieda Bergen. I must
seek divine light for the understanding of mortal
weaknesses, of which love is said to be the most dan
gerous. Verily, to-day I fear the inspiration hath
been withdrawn from me, for I am dull of compre
Before Everett could reply, Gerson Brandt entered
the room. The school-master came towards them
with a stern look upon his face.
"Why dost thou talk here with the prophetess of
Zanah?" he said, addressing Everett. "Thou canst
have nothing to say that will be worthy of her hear
ing, since she is close to heaven and thou art of the
His long hair was wet as it lay upon his shoulders,
and his thin face was deeply lined.
W A L D A
"We were talking of love earthly love," Walda
said, leaving her place beside Everett. "Gerson
Brandt, he hath just told me that he loveth."
The school-master s tall, gaunt form swayed be
neath the burden of a great emotion.
"Tell me, sir, thou hast not dared to speak of love
to the prophetess of Zanah?" he cried.
"Yes, I have spoken of love," said Everett, going
to the farther side of the fireplace. "Yes, I have
spoken of love." He was again the cool, well-poised
man of the world. Carelessly he took up an old pair
of bellows, as he added: " But you need not fear. The
prophetess of Zanah did not care to hear about my
"Walda, thou wouldst not listen to any man who
would dare to speak of love to thee, wouldst thou?"
Gerson Brandt asked, in an agony of fear.
"Disturb not thyself, Gerson Brandt," Walda an
swered. "What harm can there be in Stephen Ev
erett s declaration that he loveth a woman out in the
An expression of relief passed over the face of
the school - master. Beads of perspiration stood
upon his white forehead. He was shaking so that
he had to steady himself against the end of the
"Thy time of inspiration is so near that thou
shouldst not speak to the stranger," he said, in a soft-
W A L D A
ened tone. "Thou art close to heaven, and it is not
wise for thee to commune with any man."
" Must I speak no more with thee, Gerson Brandt?"
Walda looked at him with all the tenderness of a deep
affection shining in her eyes. Everett watched her
as she addressed the school - master. The childish
heart and the unawakened soul associated with the
majestic form of a woman had fascinated him when
he first came to Zanah, but he saw that the face, once
as placid as a nun s, showed the inner disquietude
that is the recompense of those who come into a
knowledge of the great emotions of life.
"Thou wouldst better dwell alone until the great
day of the Untersuchung," Gerson Brandt said to Wal
da. "Go now to thy closet, where thou canst pray
until thou forgettest what thou hast heard of earthly
Walda started to obey the counsel of the school
master, but she hesitated after she had gone to the
door. She glanced at Everett. His tall form was
outlined in the fire-light, but she could not see his
face, which was in the shadow.
" I would speak a last word with Stephen Everett,"
she said. Gerson Brandt stood by the door while
she went near to Everett.
"Since this may be my last meeting with thee, I
would offer thee gratitude from my heart for all
that thou hast done for my father and for me," she
W A L D A
said. "Thou hast helped me to gain wisdom, Ste
"Do not speak of gratitude, Walda. You cannot
say good-bye to me here, for I shall see you again."
"Nay, I may not be permitted to see thee again."
She stopped, as if she were taking care to speak wisely.
"It is my prayer, Stephen, that thy love shall bring
happiness to thee and to the woman upon whom thou
hast set thine heart."
She was gone before she could hear Everett s reply.
THE evening of the Day of Warning closed in dark
and dreary. The rain stopped and a high wind
came up. After tea in the inn, Everett walked up and
down the porch. The village square and the winding
street were deserted. At long intervals lights gleam
ed from fast-curtained windows. At first he took it
for granted that Walda would not make her night
ly visit to the grave of Marta Bachmann. When he
thought over the matter, however, it occurred to him
that it might be well to walk out towards the cem
etery. He knew the fanaticism of the colonists
caused them to be punctilious in the smallest religious
observances. He watched for Walda in vain. After
Gerson Brandt s exhibition of evident unfriendliness
to him he knew that precautions might be taken to
prevent Walda from passing the gasthaus. As he had
nothing else to do, he decided that a walk out through
the woods to the shore of the lake might possibly be
rewarded by a glimpse of the prophetess. He met no
one on the way to the cemetery, but when he reached
the gate he could dimly discern the forms of two wom
en who were standing by the grave of Marta Bach-
W A L D A
mann. He guessed that Mother Kaufmann had been
sent with Walda. A tall hedge surrounded the God s-
acre of Zanah, and he followed this evergreen wall to
the point where it was nearest the grave of the dead
prophetess. He was careful that his presence should
not be discovered by the colony "mother."
An old oak-tree spread its branches over the little
plot of ground in which the tomb of Marta Bachmann
was situated. The wind waved the branches of this
tree and blew a shower of brown leaves upon the two
women. It wound Walda s cloak about her and tore
the shawl from Mother Kaufmann s shoulders.
"This is a night to make the spirits of the dead
walk about their old haunts," said Mother Kauf
"Put superstition away from thee," Walda an
swered. "If thou hast fixed thy faith on God, evil
spirits cannot harm thee."
Mother Kaufmann put her hand to her forehead
while she peered about her, as if to discover some
"Dost thou not hear footsteps among the dried
leaves?" she asked Walda.
"Nay, Mother Kaufmann. Why art thou so af
frighted?" the girl replied. At that moment a gust
of wind almost swept them from their feet. Mother
Kaufmann uttered a scream of terror and pointed to
a far corner of the graveyard where a white form was
W A L D A
moving about among the graves. She did not wait
to find out who or what the unexpected apparition
might be. Gathering her skirts in her hand she fled,
leaving Walda alone beside the grave. Everett step
ped through the hedge and spoke gently to Walda.
" Do not be afraid," he said. " I will find out what
sort of a ghost has frightened Mother Kaufmann."
He walked towards the place, where what appeared to
be a headless form wrapped in a sheet was moving
back and forth. When he came near to it he saw that
it was a most substantial substance, for Hans Peter
had borrowed a white rubber blanket, through which
he had thrust his head, and thus improvised a most
"What are you doing here?" Everett asked, in an
angry tone of voice. "Do you know that you have
scared one of the colony women?"
" Thou hast no concern in what my errand may be,"
said the simple one, gathering his rubber blanket
around him and calmly seating himself upon the near
est gravestone. "If Mother Kaufmann had been
scared to death there is none in Zanah who would have
wept upon her bier."
"You had better go back to the village," Everett
advised, as he with difficulty restrained a laugh.
" Nay, it is thou who hast no occasion to linger near
the cemetery," the simple one replied. " I have come
to wait for Walda Kellar."
W A L D A
Another gust of wind, even stronger than the pre
ceding one, carried Everett s hat away, and while he
searched for it in the dark a tree was uprooted. It
fell with a crash that carne from the direction of
Marta Bachmann s grave, towards which Everett ran
in a frenzy of fear lest Walda had been injured.
"Stephen, Stephen," he heard her call. She took
a few steps towards him, and in a moment his arms
were around her.
"You are not hurt, are you?" he said, putting his
right hand upon her head, and drawing it close to him
until it rested on his shoulder. He felt her tremble,
and he said:
"You are quite safe now. I will take you home."
The simple one had come near. Without glancing
towards Stephen and Walda, he went to Marta Bach
mann s grave, and, climbing over the branches of the
fallen tree, began to search for something. Everett
gently put Walda away from him lest the simple one
should notice them. Then, taking her by the hand,
he led her through the hedge and along the road until
they came to the open place by the lake.
"Stephen, I have shown a grievous weakness and
lack of faith," said Walda, catching her breath, and
drawing her hand from his. "The prophetess of
Zanah should not know fear, and yet I felt a strength
and comfort in thine aid that my prayers have never
W A L D A
Walda raised her face to him, and again he put his
arms around her.
"Walda, I mean to take care of you always," he
said. " I shall never let you go. Cannot you under
stand that it is meant you should belong to me?" He
kissed her on the lips, and, abashed and trembling, she
drew away from him.
" Stephen, thou dost betray my trust in thee. Why
wouldst thou profane the lips of a prophetess of
Zanah?" she cried. She put her hands over her heart,
as if to still its wild beating, and her eyes were wide
with fear and astonishment.
"Walda, I love you. I think I have loved you ever
since the first day I came to Zanah. I have kissed
you because my heart claims you from all the world.
Life without you means nothing to me. Can t you
love me, Walda?"
"I know not what it means to love. I have been
warned that it is selfish and sinful for men and
women to fix all their thoughts upon each other. Oh,
Stephen, what have I done that thou shouldst speak
thus to me?"
"You have made me centre all my hopes in you.
You have won my reverence. I know I am unworthy
to touch your hand, but this love that has come to me
gives me a supreme courage. Walda, surely your
heart answers mine. Words are so clumsy that, now
that my tongue should tell you how great and holy a
W A L D A
thing is the love of a man for a woman, I am but a poor
supplicant." He took both her hands in his and
drew her towards him. Again he kissed her, and,
instead of resenting the caress, she hid her face upon
his shoulder. He held her thus for a moment. He
pushed back the white cap and softly touched her
" Walda, do you know, I have often been afraid of
the prophetess of Zanah," he said, in a low tone, "and
if it were not for my great love I would not have the
courage to covet you for my wife. Love is stronger
than reason, and so I dare covet you for my own for
ever. You are mine, for I could not love you so if you
were not the woman destined to rule my life. Can
not you find in your heart a little love for me?"
"I know not what is in my heart," she answered.
"Thy kisses make me ashamed, Stephen, and yet my
heart is glad. This night my weakness hath been re
vealed to me. Even now I cling to thee when I should
bid thee go away from me."
" You do love me, Walda. You must love me. It
was fate that brought me to Zanah to find you. I
know that all my years I have been waiting for you.
You have been kept for me here in Zanah. Cannot
you begin to comprehend that love is the birthright
of every man and woman? Zanah would have cheat
ed you, but now it cannot separate us."
"Thy words make me think of my duty, Stephen."
W A L D A
Walda s voice trembled. "Since thou hast kissed me,
I am no longer fit to be the prophetess of Zanah."
"You will be a wife instead of a prophetess, Walda.
You can still be an instrument of the Lord, for you
will make the world outside better for your presence."
She was very quiet for a moment. It was as if she
had not heard him.
"Is it love that maketh my heart beat? Is it
love that casteth out fear while thou hast thine arms
around me?" she asked, presently. "What meaning
is there in a kiss that it should make me ashamed and
yet happy, Stephen? Verily, thy kisses are not like
the kisses of good-fellowship that the elders give one
another at the Untersuchung ; they are not like the
kisses the mothers have pressed upon my forehead."
"Of course they are not," Everett said, and he
laughed aloud in the joy the knowledge of her love
gave him. "Look up, Walda, and let me kiss you
again, and you will learn that the kiss of love is the
token that unlocks the hearts of men and women."
She looked into his eyes, and their lips met.
" Thou speakest truly, Stephen," Walda said. " Let
us go back to the village. I would think of thee and
of love in solitude and with much prayer. This hour
hath robbed me of the mantle of the prophetess."
"But it has given you the highest heritage of life.
It is better to be a wife than a prophetess, Walda."
KNEELING by the window in her bare little room,
Walda tried to pray after the manner of Zanah,
yet no words of penitence came to the lips that had
been touched by a lover s kiss. The soul that the
good elders had turned towards heaven as a mirror
upon which the divine will might be reflected held an
earthly image. A human love was enshrined in the
heart that had been consecrated to God. As the girl
prostrated herself, the discipline of long years of re
ligious training was forgotten. Her Zanah life fell
from her. New emotions swept over her, submerging
her old character and bringing strange, sweet hopes.
The soul of the priestess was consumed by the su
preme passion of earth, and in its place flamed the soul
of a woman.
One by one the lowly duties that had occupied her
days came up before her. She recalled the pious
fervor that had made them pleasant. Looking back
to the time when Everett s chance words in the sick
room had tempted her to enjoy the beauties of sky
and field, she realized how far she had grown away
from her former self since the almost imperceptible
W A L D A
beginning of the fuller life which she had unconscious
ly entered. Kneeling there in the darkness, for the
first time in all her life she rebelled against the laws
of Zanah. Her youth and womanhood demanded the
privilege of accepting human love. Everett s influ
ence was over her, and she gave little thought to the
future. It was enough to feel the exaltation of love,
to comprehend that she stood at the threshold of the
ultimate mystery of life. She looked out at the stars
that shone above the far horizon. She felt that she
had ceased to belong to Zanah. It was as if she
had entered into a larger kinship with all nature.
Love had wrought the miracle that puts away
all one s years and leads the soul into a new exist
ence independent of the past, expectant of the
Long after the village had gone to sleep Everett
stayed out in the starlight, thinking of the weeks he
had spent in Zanah, and of the woman who would
henceforth claim his life s allegiance. He dreamed
of the future that was his and Walda s. He saw the
girl s stunted life expanding under its new environ
ments. His thoughts wandered over imaginary years,
and he beheld her clad in the ripened charm of ma
turity. He saw the light of happiness in her eyes re
flected in the eyes of their children. Sometimes, per
haps, they would look back to Zanah and thank God
that among the middle-aged mothers with dwarfed
W A L D A
minds and cramped souls there was none that bore the
name of Walda Kellar.
For Walda the next day dawned with mysterious
splendor. Zanah had fallen under a spell of enchant
ment, yet as the village awoke to life all its influences
once more stole over her. Looking out of her window,
she began to remember that she had been the proph
etess of Zanah. She watched the men and boys walk
leisurely towards the factory. Ox-teams creaked up
the narrow street. The children solemnly wandered
schoolward. She could no longer put her father or
Gerson Brandt from her thoughts. The realization
that she would give them pain burst upon her.
She tried to think what Everett s love meant to her,
but she found it impossible to get beyond the one idea
that she was to be unfaithful to the trust that the peo
ple of Zanah had put in her. She did not shrink from
facing the change in her position in the colony, but
she could not understand what her future would be.
She recalled that Everett had taken it for granted she
would leave Zanah, but she knew she could not desert
her father, even though a greater love than that which
she bore for him might call her away. She was not
sad, however, for underneath her new anxieties there
was the consciousness of the revelation of love, the
recognition of divinity that was so different from the
one to which she had looked forward since her child
hood. It gradually came over her that the inspira-
W A L D A
tion she had felt came through a human medium, and
not directly from heaven. She fell upon her knees
before the low table that held her little German Bible.
She tried to pray that she might know the will of God,
but she could not bring herself to plead that she would
have power to cast out from her heart the human love
which had brought to her life the holy exaltation she
had hoped to obtain through rigid conformity to the
creed of Zanah.
Walda went out of the house of the women and
stood in the little street, in which she felt suddenly
that she was a stranger. She turned her steps tow
ards the hill, for she obeyed the impulse to go to her
father. Wilhelm Kellar was sitting in the window
whence Walda had looked so many times at the far-off
bluffs. He was reading his Bible, and as Walda en
tered the room he was mildly rebuking Piepmatz, who
was singing the doxology and the love-song, mingled
in such a medley as was never before heard from the
throat of any bird.
"Peace be with thee, daughter," he said, taking off
his horn spectacles and stretching out his thin hand to
Walda clasped his hands, and her eyes fell beneath
his glance. "Thou art feeling better, I hope?" she
said, sinking upon a stool that was just beneath Piep-
matz s cage.
"The knowledge that the day of the Untersuchung
W A L D A
is so near giveth me new life," declared the old man.
"To-day I am full of gratitude because the Lord hath
kept thee safe from the wiles of men. I have given
thanks unto the Lord that thou art to be the proph
Walda s face flushed and then became pale. Her
heart beat so that she could not answer.
"Come near to me, Walda," her father said. "I
would tell thee that thou hast crowned my life with
happiness, that thou hast atoned for the sin of the
mother who bore thee."
Walda knelt before him and hid her face upon his
"Nay, nay, father," she cried, "I am unworthy of
thy trust. I am but a weak woman such as thou
sayest my mother was."
"It is right that thou shouldst feel humble, my
daughter," the old man replied, putting both hands
upon her head. "But thou hast not sinned in de
ceiving those that trust thee. Thou hast not known
the temptations of a human love."
"Father, father!" Walda raised her head and
looked up with tearful eyes.
A knock sounded on the door, and Hans Peter, still
tapping on the door-jamb with one of his gourds,
crossed the threshold.
"The elders have sent me to tell thee they would
consult with thee. They bade me make ready the
W A L D A
ink-horn and the papers, as they have business of
much importance," he announced.
Walda went away from her father s room with her
confession still unspoken. She lingered for a moment
on the school-house porch, for she felt uncertain what
to do with her day. For the first time in all her Zanah
life she had no inviting task before her. She was al
ready removed from the calm routine of duty. Or
dinarily she would have gone to study the heavy books
kept in the elders room which occupied a little wing
of the meeting-house, but as she looked at the door,
which stood invitingly open, she felt that she would no
longer need to be familiar with the annals of former
prophetesses and the discourses of the elders long
since sanctified by good works. She had a sense of
being outside the colony. A pang of homesickness
made her sink upon the bench and look out upon the
The years had slipped by so noiselessly that she had
come into womanhood without realizing the changes
wrought by time. When she was a child, the colonists
had labored in simple harmony and humble faith,
content to work for the common welfare. Each sea
son their harvests had been more abundant, their
vineyards more fruitful, their lands more extensive.
In the midst of this well-preserved plenty she had been
happy, although she had often vexed the "mothers"
by her sudden impulses and hasty actions. Beneath
W A L D A
the kerchief crossed upon her breast now an eager,
restless heart beat, and she comprehended that all the
teachings of the good elders had not altered her in
tense nature. It seemed to her that Zanah had been
metamorphosed since the coming of the early sum
mer-time when she had looked forward to the autumn
with a large hope for the final step towards her com
plete consecration to the service of God and the col
ony. She felt that, somehow, mysterious influences
were at work. There was a general discontent. It
had been a bad year for both the mills and the harvest
fields, and she had represented hope and wisdom to
the colonists. Tears came to her eyes when she
thought that she had betrayed the trust of Zanah, and
yet underneath her remorse was the consciousness
that she was being led by the divine power in which
she had trusted. Love flamed beneath every shifting
Through her tears Walda gazed down at the quaint
village. The low - roofed stone houses were almost
hidden beneath the vines and shrubbery that were
turning to gorgeous color with the magic touch of the
first frosts which had come early. Beyond the village
the little valley melted into the plain, which rolled
away to the far-off bluffs. The fields were brown
and gold, as the gleaners had left them after the har
vests, except here and there where the rich, black
earth had been turned up by the plough. Cattle
W A L D A
grazed beside the placid river that flowed almost im
perceptibly onward to the Mississippi. The sunlight,
mellowed by the autumn haze, glorified even the com
monest every-day things. The scene had the beauty
that gave it unreality. As her eyes rested upon the
familiar landscape Walda felt a vague fear that it
might vanish, since she had forfeited her right to re
main in it as one of the faithful colonists. While she
was looking down the wavering street she saw Gerson
Brandt slowly climbing the hill. He had taken off
the broad-rimmed hat that distinguished him from
the other men of Zanah, and Walda noticed with a
pang that his face had the stamp of pain upon it. He
paused half-way up the hill to look back upon the
village, and the girl, whose perceptions had been
quickened with her recognition of an earthly love,
noticed that the school-master s tall form was more
stooped than usual. When he resumed his walk tow
ards the school-house Gerson Brandt caught sight of
Walda, and his face took on an expression of glad
" Providence is kind to give me yet another chance
to speak with thee before the Untersuchung," he said,
pausing before her. He saw that there were tears in
her eyes, which refused to meet his glance. "Thou
hast no sorrow? Surely, I know that nothing can dis
turb thee, now that thou art so near to thy Father in
heaven. Yet why dost thou weep?"
W A L D A
He pushed the long hair back from his forehead
with a trembling hand while he waited for her reply,
but she remained silent, with only her profile turned to
him. The white kerchief on her breast moved with
her quick breathing.
"Canst thou not answer me, Walda?" he asked, in
the tender tone that she remembered from her child
Walda rested her elbows on the back of the porch
seat, and, with her chin in her hands, shook her white-
capped head. The tears began to fall so rapidly that
she dared not try to speak. Gerson Brandt sank upon
the seat opposite her.
" It would be foolish for me to offer thee solace for
thine aching heart, for I know that thou, who art the
prophetess of Zanah, no longer cravest human sym
pathy. Forgive me for forgetting that thou art no
longer the colony maiden over whom I have felt a care
all these years. Yet thy tears are no more sacred to
me now than they were in thine earliest childhood,
Walda. Thy griefs were always felt by me." Gerson
Brandt leaned forward as if he would read what was
in Walda s heart, and he paled with a formless fear.
"Thy tears distress me," he said, presently, "and
yet I know that it is but natural thou shouldst feel
awe-stricken and oppressed with a weight of respon
sibility, now that thou art so near to thy consecra
W A L D A
"Speak not so. Thy words smite me," exclaimed
Walda, turning towards him and blushing scarlet as
she met his eyes. " I am not worthy to be the proph
etess. I I I am sorely troubled." She put her
face upon her arms and sobbed.
"To them whom the Lord maketh most strong He
revealeth weakness," the school-master replied.
"I shall need much strength," said Walda, con
trolling herself with an effort.
"Yea, that is true," agreed Gerson Brandt. "My
prayers will help to support thee, for thou art always
in my mind. Much have I rejoiced to know that thou
hast escaped all danger from earthly love. Ah, now
that thou hast safely passed thy period of probation
nothing can befall thee."
" Gerson Brandt, tell me what would have happened
if I had found an earthly love?" asked Walda, turn
ing to him with an intensity of interest that was but
"Why wouldst thou waste time talking of such an
unprofitable subject now at this holy season? It is a
sacrilege to link the name of the prophetess of Zanah
with an earthly love."
The school-master was looking far away as he an
swered, and he did not see that his words caused the
girl to clasp her hands tightly and to bite her full, red
"Tell me, is human love such a wicked thing, after
W A L D A
all? Thou didst once speak to me as if thou hadst
known it, and thou canst tell me whether it hath in
it something of the divine quality. If I had loved,
wouldst thou have condemned me as severely as would
those of the colonists who live like the cattle on the
fields, feeling none of the mystery and the glory of
"If thou hadst loved any man I should have sor
rowed more than all the colony, for I have longed to
see thee spared the pangs and pains that love brings."
"Doth love never bring happiness?"
"The woman who loveth must surfer much," de
clared Gerson Brandt.
"But women are glad to suffer for love."
In Walda s eyes shone the light of a new-born cour
age, and Gerson Brandt, catching some of the spirit
that had taken possession of her, answered:
"Walda, it passeth understanding that thou
shouldst speak thus of love now, when thou hast
gone forever beyond the reach of temptation. Thy
mood doth confound me."
He went near to her, and, standing before her,
studied her face.
"In thine eyes I behold a mystery," he said, pres
ently, with a tremor in his voice. "Thou hast lost
the essence of childhood that lingered with thee until
was it yesterday or to-day that thou didst lose it?"
"The world hath been different to me since the sun
W A L D A
set yesterday." Walda spoke the words softly, and
Gerson Brandt beheld in her face a radiance which
made him ashamed of the vague suspicions that had
sent a chill to his heart.
"Verily, the spirit of prophecy hath descended upon
thee. Thou hast come into the full possession of the
divine gift." He drew away from her, and looked at
her in awe.
"Nay, nay," Walda faltered; "thou art deceived."
Her gaze wandered past him as she spoke, and she
saw, ascending the hill, six of the village mothers.
Gerson Brandt, following her glance, said: "This is
the day when thy vigil beginneth. The watchers are
coming for thee."
Walda s face paled.
" I had forgotten that the time had come," she ex
claimed. "I am not ready for it. I am unworthy."
"It is the hour of our last talk together," Gerson
Brandt announced, in a solemn tone. "Thy misgiv
ings are only human." He raised his hands above
her bowed head and gave her his blessing. He could
not trust himself to look at her again. Passing by
her he entered the school-house, closing the door tight
ly behind him, lest he might be tempted to look back.
Walda submissively followed the women, who led
the way to the little room that opened out of the bare
auditorium of the meeting-house. It was here that
she had spent many hours of study among the elders
W A L D A
books, but its appearance was slightly changed. In
one corner stood a cot covered with white blankets of
the finest weave that came from the looms of Zanah.
In the centre was a reading-desk, upon which a large
Bible lay open. Six chairs were ranged along the
wall just outside the door that led into the interior of
"Thou wilt find nothing to distract thy thoughts
here," said Mother Kaufmann, glancing into the
"We will take good care that thou art not dis
turbed," asserted Mother Schneider.
Walda gave no sign that she heard. Crossing the
threshold she closed the door, shutting out the six
women. She threw herself upon the bed, and gave
way to a paroxysm of weeping. The realization that
she had missed her opportunity to confess her love for
Everett at first frightened her, for she knew it was now
too late to speak before going to the Untersuchung.
Zanah guarded a prophetess so carefully that when
once the door of the sanctuary in which Marta Bach-
mann had fasted and prayed closed upon one sup
posed to be inspired, no word could be spoken. She
lay awake far into the night. When the day had
faded, a single candle had been put upon her reading-
desk by Mother Kaufmann, who scanned her face
with the inquisitive look of a mischief-maker. Wal
da, sitting with folded hands, had appeared oblivious
W A L D A
of the woman s presence. She had heard the evening
prayers of the colony gathered in the meeting-house.
She felt a dull pain when she recalled her father s face.
Underneath every emotion that she experienced in
the dreary watches of the night she was always con
scious of the memory of Everett s voice as he pleaded
for her love. At first she had a faint hope that he
might speak to her through the window, or that, in
some way, he would send her a token of encourage
ment, but nothing disturbed the oppressive quiet of
the laggard hours.
Walda was wakened early in the morning, after a
brief and troubled sleep, by the whispers of the wom
en outside her door. She knew that the watch was
being changed, and that soon she would be expected
to be kneeling at her prayers. Rising from the cot
she looked out of the one window it overlooked the
school -house garden, and she saw Gerson Brandt
walking back and forth amid the tangled nasturtiums
and late asters. As he moved to and fro he never
once turned his eyes towards the meeting - house.
With difficulty Walda repressed an impulse to call him
to her. Through all her childhood and girlhood he
had bent a ready ear when she told him her troubles,
and now it seemed an easy matter to confide in
him. While she was still at the window, Gerson
Brandt went up the worn steps that led to the school
W A L D A
A long, dull day followed for Walda. Her pride
enabled her to preserve an outward calm when, on
various pretexts, the women opened the door to look
in upon her. She tried to think what she ought to do.
So great is the power of love that it did not occur to
her she might try to put out of her heart the sacred
emotion she had mistaken for religious inspiration.
She accepted it as the divine gift for which she had
been waiting. Although she knew that it was likely
her father would forbid her marriage to Everett,
she told herself no one in Zanah could take away
from her the glory of an earthly love. Towards the
end of the day she fell again into the old habit of
praying much. Kneeling at the reading-desk, with
her head upon the big Bible, she asked that she might
be given strength to do her duty to her father, and to
submit to the will of Zanah.
For the second time the evening hymns were chant
ed outside the door. Walda listened quite calmly,
and, long after she knew the meeting-house was emp
tied of all except the six watchers, she sat in the fad
ing light of the evening looking out into the school
yard, and thinking serenely of the life she was putting
behind her. Presently her thoughts were disturbed
by a man s voice. With a heart-flutter she recognized
Everett s low, clear tones. She heard him command
one of the women to open the door. Rising to her
feet, she listened breathlessly to the protracted parley
W A L D A
that followed. Without warning, a light knock sound
ed on the door.
"Let me in, Walda," said Everett.
Before she could go to the door, he had lifted the
latch and had entered, followed by the six women, all
of whom spoke words of angry protest.
"So this is where they have hidden you, Walda?"
he said, paying no attention to the colony mothers.
" I have searched for you all day, for I have much that
I wish to say to you."
His manner was quiet and determined. " I wish to
be left alone with Walda Kellar," he said, turning to
the watchers. "I have a message of much import
ance to give to her."
"How darest thou break in upon the vigil of a
prophetess of Zanah!" shrieked Mother Kaufmann.
" Dost thou not know that the instrument of the Lord
is not permitted to speak until the last hour of her
probation hath expired?"
" Ja, ja, Mother Kaufmann is right. We will send
for the elders if thou dost not leave here this minute,"
chorused the women.
Everett coolly surveyed the group. Putting out
his hand he grasped Walda s arm, and quickly drew
her into the meeting-house assembly-room. With a
quick motion he slammed the door and turned the
key, imprisoning the six women, who immediately
began to call for help. Reopening the door for a little
W A L D A
space he ordered them to keep silence, accompanying
his admonition with the remark that if they sum
moned a crowd they would prove they were not fit to
watch the prophetess. For the second time he turned
the big key. Walda had watched the proceeding
with astonishment. Her face was white and scared
when he put his arms around her and drew her to
"There, do not be frightened," he said, soothingly,
as he kissed her on the forehead. "I have come to
take you away."
"Ah, Stephen; now, indeed, do I know that I was
never fitted to be a prophetess," said Walda, looking
up into his face. "My heart hath thirsted for thee.
With thine arms around me I feel as if I had found a
safe refuge from all my troubles. When thou didst
kiss me I forgot for a moment that I had been untrue
to the people who trusted me."
" I mean never to let you go away from me again,"
he said. "But come; we are wasting time. Let us
go now to your father and tell him that you are to
belong to me, and not to Zanah."
Walda drew away from him. "Nay, Stephen,"
she said. "In the nights and day that I have been
alone there in that room, it hath been made plain to
me that I must tell all the people how I have betrayed
their faith in me."
"You owe the people nothing," said Everett, with
W A L D A
a trace of impatience in his voice. " Come ; there is no
time to be lost. I mean to take you away from Zanah
this very night. Your father and Gerson Brandt can
explain to the colony why you are not to be their
Walda shook her head. "Wouldst thou have me
show a craven spirit?" she inquired. "Dost thou
think I could go away to be happy with thee and for
get my father, even if I could be unmindful of what I
owe the men and women of Zanah?"
"Do you not think you owe me any duty?" Stephen
asked. "Do not let us stand here discussing what is
right and wrong. It is right that you should be my
wife. You have been the victim of the bigotry and
superstition of a clannish, religious sect. Love has
made you free. Doesn t your heart tell you to an
swer the call from my heart?" He stretched out his
arms to her, but she stepped beyond his reach.
"Stephen, I have prayed constantly that wisdom
might be given me, and my way hath been made plain
before me," she answered, firmly. " I must go before
the Untersiichung, and, for my father s sake, I must
accept whatever penalty is meted out to me."
"Do you mean that you would submit to any de
cree of the colony of Zanah? That signifies that you
do not love me, after all. It means that you are lost
to me forever."
The strong man s voice trembled as he spoke. A
W A L D A
wave of passion and longing swept over him. He
drew her to him and held her close, pillowing her head
upon his breast, and whispering to her that she was
his; it was not in her power to make the choice since
love gave him the right to her.
"Thou dost affright me. There is something in thy
love that terrifies me," she said, trying to make him
"I shall not let you go until you have promised
that you will marry me," he said.
"I cannot promise that, Stephen," she said, so
faintly that he scarcely heard her. "Thou knowest
I cannot leave my father, and surely thou wouldst
not be content to stay here in Zanah."
"I could live here or anywhere else with you.
"Nay, nay, I cannot," she repeated.
"Will you pledge yourself to marry me when your
conscience tells you that you are free?"
" It is in my heart to promise that to thee, Stephen,
but during my vigil I have come to know that if thou
shouldst live away from me out in the world thou
mightst no longer love me. Nay, I will not bind thee.
The only pledge I give thee is the pledge that I will
love thee all my life."
A furious knocking on the door made them remem
ber the imprisoned watchers.
" If you refuse to go with me now what do you wish
W A L D A
to do?" Stephen asked, coming back to the subject of
his original errand.
" I want to wait until the Untersuchung, and I want
thee to be patient until thou hearest what the elders
say. I shall pray that I may be given to thee."
"There is no danger of your repenting of love, is
She smiled confidently and answered: "Thy love
will dwell in my heart forever."
He kissed her farewell, holding both her hands in
"I wish I could spare you the ordeal of the Unter
suchung," he exclaimed. "Why need we care for all
"Hush!" she said. "We care not for Zanah or the
whole world, but if we would keep our love holy, we
must be true, Stephen, to all our duties."
After he had kissed her for the last time, she stood
before the elders platform and looked up at the chair
of the prophetess. Everett unlocked the door.
"I appreciate the opportunity you have given me
of speaking to Walda Kellar," he said, with a suavity
and courtesy to which the women of the colony were
so unaccustomed they did not know what it meant.
They stood scowling at him until Mother Kaufmann
"Thou wilt be ordered out of the colony for this
day s work."
W A L D A
"If you are wise and I am sure you are, or you
would not have been chosen to attend the prophetess
of Zanah you will not make any complaints." He
bowed deferentially to all of them, and passing Walda,
before whom he stopped to whisper "Farewell, until
the Untersuchung," he went out of the meeting-house.
" It must have been a message of much import that
brought the stranger here," sneered Mother Kauf-
mann, as she seated herself on the nearest chair.
" He hath small respect for the laws of Zanah," de
clared a second watcher.
Without uttering a word, Walda returned to her
place of temporary imprisonment. Kneeling before
her reading-desk, she prayed that she might be given
strength and courage to accept whatever penalty the
elders might allot to her.
THE day of the Untersuchung came at last. A
brilliant sun shone upon Zanah. An early frost
had turned the maples yellow and had touched the
oaks with crimson. In the vineyards the last pur
ple grapes hung in the shrivelled foliage. Along the
winding road the golden-rod was blossoming in the
tall, feathery grasses. A hush fell upon the quiet
valley in the morning. The brown fields on lowland
and hill-side were deserted. At the edge of the village
the mill-wheels had ceased their busy whir.
Everett had walked out under the autumn sky
nearly all night. In the days that had passed since
his interview with Walda at the meeting-house all the
villagers had avoided him. Even the school-master
had passed him by with scarcely a nod of recognition.
Time had dragged. Of all the people of Zanah, Hans
Peter alone remained on friendly terms with him.
At dawn Everett arose from a brief sleep, and dress
ed himself with unusual care. The thought came to
him that before sundown he might be robbed of Wal
da. All his strength left him. He dropped upon a
chair near the window. Love had become life to him.
W A L D A
Sitting with his elbows on his knees he looked out
upon Zanah. Walda represented hope, worship, as
piration. The touch of her lips had awakened all
that was good in him. He, who had rarely prayed,
petitioned, in an agony of longing, that he might be
given the woman of Zanah.
Some one knocked. Everett jumped to his feet to
open the door. Hans Peter, freshly scoured with soap
until his round face shone, stood in the hall, twirling a
cap that had been recently mended.
"The elders have sent me to tell thee that thou art
to remain away from the timber-land where the Un-
tersuchung is to be held," announced the simple one.
"And why is my absence desirable?" Everett asked.
" Question not the village fool," Hans Peter replied.
"He knoweth not what the great men of Zanah think
inside their wise heads."
"What do you think inside your foolish head?"
Everett laughed, as if he made light of the order.
Hans Peter looked down at a pair of copper-toed
shoes, which were to him the insignia of an unusual
"It seemeth to the simple one of Zanah that it is
wise for the stranger to be far away when the proph
etess doth pledge herself to love only God and the
"I intend to go to the Untersuehung, Hans Peter,
and I want you to find a good place from which I can
W A L D A
look on during the hours when the people give their
testimonies concerning the state of their souls."
"Thou canst not sit among the colonists," said
Hans Peter. "The men and women of Zanah have
turned against thee. They will not permit thee to
mingle with them on the most solemn day of all the
"Whether or not they permit me, I shall go to the
Untersuchung," Everett replied. "Would it not be
safe for me to wait behind the line of poplars not
far off from the platform upon which the elders will
" If thou shouldst go out there early, and stay where
the wild hop- vine might hide thee, there is a chance
no one would behold thee," admitted the simple one.
"When does the prophetess go before the elders?"
Everett inquired. "I know nothing of to-day s ar
rangements, because here at the inn no one will give
me any information. You are my only friend, Hans
Peter. I expect you to tell me all you know."
"Thou forgettest that the fool hath no memory."
"Where are your gourds? Is there not one that
will help me to find out when to hide among the pop
Hans Peter twirled his cap.
"Thou wert merciful to me when I was in the
stocks," he said, slowly. "The fool s memory hath
still a knowledge of that day. The fool doth know
W A L D A
that, last of all Zanah, Walda Kellar will appear be
fore the elders."
"That means I need not go to the Untersuchung
until this afternoon?" queried Everett.
"Yea, thou shouldst wait until late in the day."
Hans Peter turned as if to run away, but Everett
caught him by the sleeve of his gingham shirt.
"Have you been to the meeting-house to-day?"
Everett asked, looking at the simple one with such
entreaty in his eyes that Hans Peter answered:
"Yea, I have but just come from the place where
the prophetess of Zanah hath been keeping her vigil."
"You went there on an errand, I suppose?"
"I carried orders from the elders." At this point
Hans Peter closed his mouth very tightly and stared
stupidly. Everett saw that further questioning
would be of no avail.
As soon as he had had breakfast Everett walked
out to the timber-land where the Untersuchung was to
be held. The elders had chosen a strip of woods near
the lake as a place for the ceremonies of the inquisi
tion. The road leading to it was that over which Ev
erett had walked with Walda the first day she visited
the cemetery to pray at the grave of Marta Bach-
mann. About two hundred yards from the shore of
the lake a large clearing had been made. A rude
platform for the elders had been built between the
lake shore and rough benches, which had been ar^
W A L D A
ranged in orderly rows beneath the intertwining
trees. Everett saw that the line of poplars was be
yond the place where the path led into the out-door
chapel. Hidden there he could easily escape detec
tion, and he would be near enough to hear most of
what was said from the platform. He walked to the
farther shore of the little lake, and lay down upon the
ground to wait as patiently as he could for the laggard
hours to pass. The quiet beauty of the day appealed
to him, and, thinking of Walda, he was finally lulled
to sleep. It was mid-day when he awoke. He saun
tered back to the scene of the Untersuchung. He made
a seat for himself at the foot of one of the poplars
where the vines were thick. Through the screen of
leaves he saw the people slowly gathering. The wom
en occupied the benches nearest him.
By two o clock all the colonists had assembled. The
thirteen elders formed a solemn row, Adolph Schnei
der holding the middle place, with Wilhelm Kellar at
one end of the platform and Gerson Brandt at the
other. After a droning hymn and a tedious prayer,
those who were candidates for preferment in the col
ony went before the elders. The men first were cat
echised by Adolph Schneider, who did not rise from
his chair. Everett was astonished to see how few
signified ambition for colony honors. When the
women s turn came the applicants greatly outnum
bered the men. In both cases those who pleaded for
W A L D A
advancement boasted of spiritual conflicts and vic
tories. Their sing-song voices maddened the impa
tient lover. At last, when he had begun to fear that
Walda would not be summoned until the next day,
Everett noticed that the people, who had sat stolid
and unmoved through the hours of dreary recitative,
stirred with something like interest. Everett pulled
himself to his feet, and, looking down the road, saw
a sight that made his heart beat.
Two by two, a long line of girls approached slowly.
All wore the blue gowns of the colony, but white caps
and white kerchiefs were substituted for those of ev-
ery-day use. Each carried in her hand a large hymn-
book. When the procession turned into the path of
the woodland chapel Everett caught sight of Walda,
walking last of all. As they marched slowly onward,
the girls chanted a hymn. Walda carried her head
in the old, proud way, and her manner reassured the
watcher who loved her. She was clothed in a trailing
gown, fashioned of the white flannel from the colony
mills. The clinging folds brought out the noble lines
of her figure. The kerchief crossed upon her bosom
was of some thin material of the same tint as the flan
nel. The cap, pushed back from her brow, revealed
the waves of her fair hair, which was confined in two
long braids. Her face was pale; her lips were firmly
set; her eyes shone with the light of peace and cour
age. The little procession passed quite near Everett,
W A L D A
but, although his heart called to her, and his eyes fol
lowed her, she appeared unconscious of his presence.
He noticed that her hands hung at her sides, and he
read a meaning in the fact that she no longer crossed
them upon her breast in the old fashion, signifying that
she would keep out the world and all its emotions.
When the procession appeared before the colonists
all the people knelt in their places, none daring to lift
curious eyes to her whom they hailed as the instru
ment of the Lord. The procession moved back of the
assembly, crossing to the farther side of the clearing,
and then advancing to the front of the platform.
Here Walda took the central position, the girls sep
arating to stand on either side of her. The chanting
ceased, and Walda bowed her head in prayer.
All the elders rose to receive the prophetess of Za-
nah. Wilhelm Kellar, still weak from his illness, lean
ed upon his cane and murmured a thanksgiving to the
Lord. Gerson Brandt, at the other end of the plat
form, looked at Walda, and then turned his eyes away,
as if the day and hour held something that brought a
severe test to the spirit long disciplined to self-control.
"Stand not before me, O ye elders," Walda said,
in a clear, steady voice, lifting up one hand to claim
attention. "Bow not, O ye people of Zanah, for I
am unworthy to be your prophetess."
"Speak not such words of humility," said Adolph
Schneider. "We know that the inspiration hath
W A L D A
come to thee. Thou hast already shown to us that
thou hast received the gift of tongues. To-day thou
shalt be anointed prophetess of Zanah."
"Amen!" shouted one of the elders, and the word
was repeated in a chorus by the men.
Walda s face became as white as marble. She stood
immovable, with one hand pressed against her breast
as if she would stop the beating of her heart. She
would have spoken, but the Herr Doktor turned to
command that the chair of the prophetess be lifted
to the centre of the platform. The elders moved to
give it space, and, when it had been put in position,
Adolph Schneider said:
"Come hither to thy rightful place among the el
"My place is among the lowliest of the colonists,"
said Walda. " Let me stand here while I speak to the
people of Zanah."
The elders shook their heads, and the people mur
mured that they could not hear. Walda walked to
the end of the platform where the steps ascended. She
moved slowly, pausing for a moment as she passed
Gerson Brandt. She crossed the platform with head
bowed, but when she faced the multitude there shone
in her eyes a strange radiance that filled the colonists
"To all you of Zanah I have a last message," she
said, turning first to the elders and then to the people.
W A L D A
" From the years of my childhood ye have led me in
the ways of the Lord. Ye have looked upon me as
the instrument chosen to reveal the divine will of
Zanah. I have prayed through the months and
years for the day of inspiration. It was not until
this summer that mine eyes were opened to the glory
of God. In my heart suddenly gushed a well-spring
of happiness. I read meanings in the stars, and the
smallest things of earth spake to me. It was as if I
walked very near to God."
Walda, pausing, swept the assembly with her eyes.
In the exaltation of her mood she had become clothed
in a majesty that overawed the people. Some of the
women fell to their knees, weeping.
"Behold the prophetess! Behold the prophetess!
Blessed be her name!" shouted one of the elders.
Walda continued, unheeding:
" In my heart I felt a gratitude, for I believed that
at last the divine revelation had come to me. I
thought that the love in my heart, which made all
that pertaineth to life sacred, belonged to heaven
alone. I thanked God that the baptism of the Holy
Spirit had been given me."
Cries of joy ascended from the throng.
" In the first days of the inspiration that had come
to me I was impatient for this time, when I could dedi
cate my whole life to the service of Zanah. It seemed
easy to live always near to God. Voices spake to me.
W A L D A
I believed that I was, indeed, the prophetess of Zanah
the prophetess who could live untouched by human
emotions. But one day there was given to me a
clearer vision. Just before the beginning of my vigil
it was shown to me that mine was not the rapture of
the saints" Walda paused and caught her breath
" I came into the knowledge that my inspiration had
its origin in human love."
She pronounced the last words distinctly, with her
eyes uplifted. Gerson Brandt uttered her name in an
agonized groan. Wilhelm Kellar strove to speak, but
his voice died in his throat.
"What sayest thou, Walda Kellar?" demanded
Adolph Schneider, rising from his chair. The colo
nists listened stolidly, as if they did not comprehend
the meaning of Walda s speech.
"Nay, surely thou hast not been touched by an
earthly love?" said Gerson Brandt, in a tone which
told that despair was clutching at his heart. "Thy
words are vague."
Walda saw the horror in her father s face. She
looked away from him and the school-master, waiting
a moment that she might choose her words so that
they would not give unnecessary pain.
"We believe thou hast not looked with favor on any
man," Adolph Schneider said, encouragingly, and then
he added, as if to convey a covert warning to the peo
ple of Zanah: "Yet thou art a woman, and all that
W A L D A
are made in the image of Eve are easy to be persuaded
by the voice of Satan, speaking through man."
"A love that is of heaven, and yet of earth, hath
taken possession of my heart," declared Walda, fix
ing her eyes upon the people. " It came to me like a
great light shining through the gates of heaven. I
did not know the glory that enfolded me was what ye
of Zanah call an earthly love, for, truly, even now it
seemeth to have in it more of heaven than of that
which pertaineth to earth. I did not fight against
this love which hath been revealed to me, for I did not
know it was human love which made me feel a kinship
with God. Here, in Zanah, ye have taught me that
the love of men and women is a sinful thing, and there
came to me no prick of the conscience no warning
that I was transgressing the law of God."
She was transfigured with the mystery and beauty
of her new heritage of love, and the people listened
in awe. When she had stopped speaking, she turned
to her father with a look of such pleading and en
treaty that the old man, who had heard as one that
dreams, moved his lips in an effort to speak. Pres
ently there arose a murmur from the people. The
Herr Doktor commanded that all should hold their
"What man in Zanah hath stolen thy thoughts
from God?" the Herr Doktor asked, in a stern voice.
"I love Stephen Everett, the stranger who belong-
W A L D A
eth not to Zanah," Walda answered, in unfaltering
A wail arose from the people. It grew into a mighty
sound that was like the autumn winds rushing through
the tall trees on the slopes of the bluffs.
"The tempter hath come to Walda Kellar even as
he came to Marta Bachmann, but repentance is possi
ble for her who hath been chosen to be the instrument
of the Lord," declared Adolph Schneider. " Daughter
of Zanah, pluck this love from thine heart."
"I have proclaimed to you that this love seemeth
a holy thing sent from heaven. It is fixed in my
Walda was again the prophetess. She spoke slowly,
and it was as if she were but repeating the promptings
of some inner voice.
"Walda, I command thee, let the fountains of thy
tears wash away this earthly love!" Wilhelm Kellar
cried, rising from his chair and lifting his arms as if he
were beseeching the intervention of Heaven.
"Nay, I cannot repent. There is that which tells
me this is the love that is stronger than death,"
Walda said, softly. " Father, I crave thy forgiveness,
and the forgiveness of all that belong to Zanah."
She went to him and knelt humbly before him.
Gerson Brandt stood with arms folded across his
breast and head bowed over them. Karl Weisel
gathered some of the other elders close to him and
W A L D A
talked to them in whispers. The people looked on
breathlessly. Suddenly, from her place among the
women, arose Mother Kaufmann.
" Behold the unfaithful one asking for forgiveness,"
she cried, in rage. "Through her vanity and her weak
ness the divine messages that were to direct Zanah
how to prosper are withheld from the colony. Our
crops may fail and we may starve, but she careth for
naught if she may love a man. She hath chosen a
stranger sent by Satan from the outside world to
Cries of derision and reproach were heard among
the women. At first they were but low mutterings.
Then an old hag jumped upon a bench and shouted:
"Send her back to the room where the watchers
can guard her. Cast the stranger out of Zanah."
"Yea, yea, cast out Satan s messenger," shouted
the women. The men took up the cry, and in a mo
ment the orderly crowd of religionists became a mob
of fanatics which pressed towards the platform.
"Repent, lepent!" shouted the people. " Remem
ber thy duty!" "Put aside thy sinful love!" "Ask
the Lord to forgive thee for thy transgression!"
Walda faced the angry mob fearlessly. Her per
sonality still impressed the people, so that none dare
lay hands upon her.
" Let the curse of Heaven descend upon the head of
the stranger in Zanah!" Mother Kaufmann shrieked.
W A L D A
"Curse him! Curse him!" called out the men, re
peating the woman s imprecation.
In an instant Walda compelled silence. She raised
her arms in a warning gesture, and shamed the peo
ple by the contempt she showed for their weakness
as she looked down upon them.
" How are ye fitted to judge the stranger in Zanah?"
she asked, in a scornful tone. "Have ye the Chris
tian charity the Bible enjoins you to cherish in your
hearts? If there is any one to be blamed for the loss
of your prophetess it is I, Walda Kellar, that should
bear it all. But again I tell you there is naught con
cerning love of which I would repent."
"She would defy Heaven!" shouted Mother Kauf-
mann. " Let the elders take her away that the sight
of her shall not breed sinful thoughts of love in the
hearts of the maidens of Zanah."
"Yea, lock her up until she cometh to her right
mind," said the old hag, waving her hands to invite
the elders attention.
The uproar became deafening. Gerson Brandt step
ped forward where he could stand between Walda
and the mob. Through all the commotion Everett,
with difficulty, had restrained himself from rushing
out to protect Walda from the maddened colonists,
but he realized that his appearance would but fan the
flame of wrath and increase the confusion.
In the centre of the women s division of the out-
W A L D A
door chapel Mother Schneider and her daughter
Gretchen had been sitting. Both had taken little
part in the demonstration against the fallen proph
etess. When Gerson Brandt was seen to move for
ward on the platform Mother Schneider said to the
women near her:
"It is a sorry day when the women of Zanah are
permitted to hear a maiden boast of a love that know-
eth no bounds. It is an indecent confession that
Walda Kellar maketh. Truly, she belongeth to the
class of women that should be stoned."
" It is such as she that cast wicked spells upon men.
Behold, the elders fear to discipline her," answered a
mother, who that day had been promoted to the high
est grade of the colony because she testified that she
had found earthly love an unholy thing.
She should be stoned ! She should be stoned !" re
peated the women ; and the words passed from mouth
to mouth until they reached a boy who loitered on the
edge of the crowd. The boy picked up a flat stone,
and, aiming it at Walda, threw it with all the force at
his command. It sailed above the heads of the peo
ple. Gerson Brandt, with a quick movement, pulled
Walda aside. The stone struck him on the forehead,
making a deep gash, from which the blood coursed
down his cheek. Walda, with a woman s quick in
stinct of ministration, undid the kerchief around her
neck, and gave it to Gerson Brandt.
W A L D A
"Stanch the blood with this," she said, and when
he made no effort to take it, she pressed it against his
Everett threw every consideration of prudence to
the winds when he saw the stone hurled towards Wai-
da. He pushed his way to the platform, but he had
to fight his path through the crowd, which had been
dazed at the sight of the blood on the school-master s
face. The men frowned at him sullenly, and some
muttered low imprecations. Everett climbed to a
place near Walda. When the people of Zanah saw
him they shouted in angry protest. One burly man
sought to lay hold of him, but he shook off the colonist
and would have gone closer to Walda, but Gerson
Brandt put out a restraining hand.
"Profane not this place with thy presence," said
the school - master, stepping between Everett and
Walda. "Thou art a traitor. Thou hast betrayed
the trust we put in thee. The brother of Zanah
doeth well to hold thee back."
All the pent-up emotion of the hour suddenly burst
out as Gerson Brandt spoke. His gaunt form trem
bled with the strength of his passion.
"It is this man who should bear all the curses of
Zanah," he continued, turning to address the people.
"We took him into close communion with us, and he
hath repaid our faith in him by seeking to ensnare the
love of our prophetess. He pledged me his honor,
W A L D A
and he cared naught for his word given with the seal
of a hand-clasp. He is a Judas who hath worked se
cretly for the undoing of Zanah a Judas who hath
cared for neither honor nor truth, so that he might
win the woman whom he coveted. He deserveth not
mercy. Let us cast him out of Zanah, and when he
hath gone back to the wicked world to which he be-
longeth, the soul of Walda Kellar can be cleansed of
the stain of an earthly love. Much prayer and fast
ing will restore her to fellowship with God."
Everett moved close to Walda, and, laying his hand
upon her arm, would have drawn her away from the
infuriated mob. When he touched her, the sight of
what seemed an assertion of his claim enraged Gerson
Brandt. The school - master was imbued with the
strength of a giant. He thrust Everett away with a
mighty stroke of his arm.
"Seize this man!" he commanded. "Bind him,
and put him out of the sight of the people!"
Four or five colonists sprang forward to obey Ger
son Brandt s orders, but Everett threw them off as
lightly as if they were children.
"You have no right to touch me," he said, tower
ing above even the tallest. "I have broken no law,
and I can hold you responsible if you deprive me of
The elders had gathered about Gerson Brandt and
Walda. Wilhelm Kellar tottered to his daughter s
W A L D A
side, and implored her to surrender her will to the
will of Zanah.
"Shame on you! Shame on you, men of Zanah!"
cried Mother Kaufmann, who had climbed to the top
of a high tree-stump. "Will ye let one man make
cowards of you? Do the bidding of Gerson Brandt."
Some of the women hissed, and a score of the mill-
hands fought their way to the platform. Surround
ing Everett, they closed in upon him. One, more
daring than the rest, sought to seize him. Everett
felled the colonist with a quick blow. The others en
deavored to detain him, but none was a match for the
athlete with muscles of steel. Knocking down two
or three of the most aggressive of his assailants, Ev
erett went to Walda, who trembled with fear for his
safety. He drew her close to him. The quavering
voice of Wilhelm Kellar sounded in their ears.
"Offend not the eyes of Zanah by parading your
unseemly love," he said, raising his cane as if he would
strike the man of the world. The effort was too much
for his feeble strength. He almost fell, and Walda
knelt before him to support him with her outstretched
arms. His indignation changed to grief, and, looking
down at the daughter upon whom he had built all his
ambition, he gave way to bitter lamentation.
" Oh, Lord, how have I deserved this punishment?"
Walda sobbed, still holding his frail body close to
her. "Forgive me, father," said she, looking up
through her tears.
" Nay, ask not my forgiveness," he answered, stern
ly. "Seek the forgiveness of the Lord, whom thou
hast offended. Repent now, when it is not yet too
"There is no repentance in my heart," she said, ris
ing to her feet. "This love must ever seem to me a
"Come away with me now, for I would talk to
thee alone. Let us flee from the presence of this
man and the people of Zanah," pleaded Wilhelm
"Yea, we will go away together," Walda answered.
She drew his arm through hers, and gently led him
to the end of the platform. They slowly descended
the steps and walked to the middle aisle, which offered
them a chance of egress. As they passed the women,
Mother Kaufmann hissed Walda, and taunts and jeers
from the crowd assailed her. Wilhelm Kellar stopped.
Raising himself on his cane, he said, with a tremen
"Wag not your tongues, ye women of Zanah. Ye
have no right to heap insult upon her whom an hour
ago ye were proud to hail as the prophetess."
" Lo, this prophetess is but a Jezebel!" sneered
Mother Kaufmann; and the women near her repeated
the name "Jezebel! Jezebel!"
W A L D A
Wilhelm Kellar heard the insult to his daughter,
and once more raising himself on his cane, he called
"Let your evil tongues be silent! There is none in
Zanah who hath suffered the bitterness of disappoint
ment that hath come to me, yet now do I forgive
Walda Kellar, and bespeak for her your mercy and
His voice died in a rattle in his throat. His gray
head sank upon his breast. His arm loosened its
tense hold upon Walda, and he fell in a heap at her
Walda bent over him with a cry of such agony and
fear that it pierced to the outer edge of the great as
Raising his head, she looked upon his face, ghastly
with the touch of death. In his eyes a last flicker of
light faded as she stooped to pillow his head upon her
"Stephen, Stephen," she called, "come to my
Everett gently lifted the emaciated form of the
elder, and, waving the crowd apart, laid his burden
down upon the ground. A glance told him that a soul
had gone out of Zanah.
My father is dead! Dead!" shrieked Walda.
Sinking on her knees, she wrung her hands and gave
way to her grief.
W A L D A
"Wilhelm Kellar is dead," Gerson Brandt an
nounced, in solemn tones.
He stood for a moment on the edge of the plat
form, where he could see the white face upturned to
the sky. Then his eyes fell upon Walda, who was
weeping with her head supported on the shoulder
of Everett. The school - master jumped from the
platform, and, pointing to Everett, ordered that
he be bound. With his own hands he loosed the
stranger s arms, and would have made the weep
ing girl lean upon him, but she proudly drew
"Brothers of Zanah, bind this man," he said, re
peating his command. "Through him, death and
grievous trouble have come to the colony." Everett
waited, ready to defend himself, but the men hesi
tated before making a second attempt to carry out
the elder s orders.
"Let them bind thee, Stephen," Walda said. "In
the presence of death it is not meet there should be
" I want my liberty in order that I may defend you
from these mad zealots," Everett answered.
"Nay, Stephen, thou forgettest that I am in the
Lord s hand," Walda replied, with a little quiver of
" I surrender myself as your prisoner," Everett said,
addressing Gerson Brandt. " It will not be necessary
W A L D A
for you to have me tied. I give you my word that I
will not try to escape."
"It hath been shown to me that thou hast no re
gard for thy promises," Gerson Brandt said, in an
angry voice. "When thou art securely bound I shall
have faith in thy word, and not till then."
The insult kindled Everett s anger. He would have
retorted, but a sign from Walda compelled his silence.
He let the men tie his hands behind him. They used
the rope clumsily, and drew it so tightly over the
flesh that it was painful. During the process Gerson
Brandt looked on, and Walda stood with eyes upon
the ground. The colonists waited quietly. The el
ders on the platform had resumed the air of stolidity
which generally distinguished them. They watched
the proceedings without interference. By common
consent they permitted Gerson Brandt to take the
initiative in dealing with the tragic climax of the
"Let a bier be brought that the body of Wilhelm
Kellar, who hath fallen into his last sleep, may be
carried back to the village," Gerson Brandt directed.
Diedrich Werther with three other colonists carried
a heavy bier, over which was thrown a black pall,
down the grassy aisle of the out-door chapel. Fol
lowing it walked Hans Peter, carrying a gourd in
his hand. The body of Wilhelm Kellar was lifted
upon the bier and covered with the pall. When the
W A L D A
men stooped to raise the bier, Adolph Schneider
"Behold, this day we have lost one of the leading
men of Zanah. Wilhelm Kellar hath guided the busi
ness affairs of the colony. He hath been my strong
arm. Lo! he is slain by the frowardness of the daugh
ter upon whom he had centred too much affection.
He hath suffered because he let her become an idol of
earth. If she repenteth, so that she may become the
prophetess of Zanah, her crime may be blotted out of
the book of life."
He paused, but the people made no demonstration.
"Repent, O daughter of Zanah!" the Herr Doktor
shouted, in a voice intended to terrify all who heard
it. " Repent now. Pledge thyself to put earthly love
out of thy heart, and to serve the Lord forever."
"Love that hath taken root in the heart cannot be
plucked out at will. This love must remain always
with me," Walda replied.
"Let thy shame be upon thine own head," shouted
Adolph Schneider. "Thou art a woman possessed of
Satan. Thou hast caused thy father s death, and yet
thou darest to defy the laws of God and the laws of
"She hath committed murder," cried a woman.
"The mark of Cain is set upon her forehead."
The colonists surged around the place where Walda
and Gerson Brandt stood. Straining at his bonds,
W A L D A
Everett, who had been dragged back upon the plat
form and thrown before the vacant chair of the
prophetess, shouted to the elders to preserve order.
Seeing Walda s peril, he demanded that he be released,
and poured forth such a torrent of invective and en
treaty that Adolph Schneider and Karl Weisel were
moved to action. The two elders tried in vain to
obtain a hearing. The crowd was clamoring for re
venge. Infuriated by disappointment and goaded
by superstition, the colonists pressed so closely upon
Walda that she was in danger of being crushed.
Some of the women would have spat upon her, but
Gerson Brandt pushed them away. Terrible in his
anger, he widened the circle around the white-clad
figure of the fallen prophetess, who seemed unmindful
of the turmoil about her. She stood with bowed head,
and her lips moved in prayer.
"Make way for the bier!" Gerson Brandt said.
Diedrich Werther and his three companions lifted the
bier, and slowly started down the grassy aisle. When
Walda would have followed, one of the most turbu
lent of the colonists roughly shoved her back. Ger
son Brandt threw out his arm with a protecting
gesture, and in the surging of the crowd Walda was
pressed close to him. His arms folded about her, and
for one moment he felt her heart beating upon his. In
that moment the fires of life that had long smoul
dered in him flamed up and illuminated his soul. In
W A L D A
that moment came to him the knowledge that he, the
elder of Zanah, had long been possessed of the earthly
love against which he had preached so many years.
For a few seconds the golden autumn day faded from
his sight. He passed into a new existence. His di
vinity was unveiled to him. When the mist before
his eyes cleared away he looked into Walda s face,
and, still clasping her close to his breast, said:
"Canst thou forgive me for mine anger, which hath
brought upon thee much unnecessary trouble this
day? Until this moment I have been blinded. I
have done thee and him whom thou lovest a grievous
"Thy provocation hath been great," Walda an
swered. "Yet there is resentment in my heart since
thou hast caused Stephen Everett to be bound."
"Forgive me, and I will make reparation for mine
offence," he pleaded. "For the sake of the past, for
thy father s sake, bear no enmity against me."
"Thou wilt see that no harm befalleth Stephen Ev
erett?" she said. Unconscious of the tumult in the
school-master s heart, and indifferent to his touch,
she thought only of the stranger in Zanah. The mob
moved forward, and Gerson Brandt gently put Walda
away from him.
"Let Walda Kellar follow the bier of her father,"
Again the women hissed their fallen prophetess.
W A L D A
Raising her hands to heaven, Walda uttered the
"Lord, have mercy upon us, thy people in Zanah.
Forgive us our transgressions."
The colonists jeers were silenced. As Walda pass
ed down the aisle, the majesty of her carriage and the
exaltation that was written on her face cast a fear
upon the people. One woman who had but a mo
ment before uttered bitter gibes kissed the hem of the
white garment of the fallen prophetess.
Hans Peter, who had been watching the proceed
ings from the limb of a tree, slid from his high seat
and walked a few feet behind Walda.
A hush fell upon the multitude. Standing with
uncovered head, Gerson Brandt waited until the bier
disappeared among the trees and the last glimpse of
Walda s white-robed figure was obscured.
The distant bell of the meeting-house tolled. The
sunset hour of prayer had come. Beneath the sky,
dyed in crimson and purple, the people of Zanah
bowed their heads.
FOR three days after the Untersuchung Zanah was
in mourning. The body of Wilhelm Kellar lay
in the meeting-house, and there the colonists spent
many hours in prayer and fasting. Gerson Brandt
shut himself in the upper room where Wilhelm Kellar
had been so long ill and where Piepmatz still hung in
the big wicker cage. The school-master sat for hours
looking towards the bluffs which shut out the busy
world. He thought constantly of Walda. He had
given her a pledge that he would make reparation for
his part in the Untersuchung, but his heart rebelled
against his task. He coveted Walda with all the
strength of a nature in which the best human impulses
had been thwarted. He knew that he must give up
the woman he loved to the stranger in Zanah, but his
soul cried out against the fate that took her from him.
He looked back upon the years in Zanah, and he
knew that she had become all of life to him. At first
he was dead to the sense of his own unfaithfulness to
the colony. Gradually he realized that his had been
the part of the unconscious traitor. He felt relieved
W A L D A
when he looked forward to his release from the irk
some duties of a leader of Zanah.
A sense of terrible loneliness took possession of him
whenever he thought of the death of his friend, but
his grief became more poignant with the thought that
Wilhelm Kellar s death made Walda s departure from
the colony possible. There was no reason why she
should not go out into the world as Everett s wife.
Night after night he battled with himself to the end
that he might be strong enough to help the woman
he loved to the attainment of happiness. He gained
many partial victories over himself, but at first he
could not summon the courage to go to see Walda in
the House of the Women where she was kept under
surveillance. The day after the Untersuchung he com
pelled himself to ask that Everett be released, but he
found that the cupidity of Adolph Schneider had been
aroused by the possibility of exacting a fine from the
stranger, who was locked in his room at the inn. It
was a rule of the colony that a member who brought
money into the community should, in case of depart
ure from Zanah, receive just what he had contrib
uted. Wilhelm Kellar s share was not small, and the
danger of Walda s marriage, and consequent demand
for her portion of her father s property, was one that
the elders desired to avert.
"Thou canst persuade Walda Kellar that the curse
of God will descend upon her if she leaveth Zanah,"
W A L D A
Karl Weisel said to Gerson Brandt, at the close of a
long conference of the elders. "She is suffering from
remorse, and thou canst sway her woman s heart."
" I refuse to have aught to do with inclining Walda s
will to the will of Zanah," said the school-master, in a
tone so decisive that the matter was dropped.
It was two days after Wilhelm Kellar s death that
Gerson Brandt, who had gone to look once more upon
the still face of his friend, encountered Walda. The
girl was kneeling alone beside the bier.
"See how peaceful he looketh," she said, in a voice
that was shaken with sobs. "It is a comfort to re
member that his last words told me and all the people
that he had forgiven my failure to fulfil his hopes."
"He hath attained greater wisdom. He knoweth
that thou wast led by a stronger power than thine own
will," the school-master answered.
"As thou art my friend, point out the path of duty
to me," Walda implored, rising to her feet. " I have
prayed constantly, and it seemeth that it is right I
should stay here in Zanah serving the people, and
proving to them that while love must ever be in my
heart, I can still follow in the paths of righteousness."
Gerson Brandt was silent. He stood looking at her
as if he would have her image graven on his mind for
all his coming years. The tempter spoke to him. One
word of counsel, given as from her father s friend, and
he could keep her safe in Zanah.
W A L D A
Art thou strong enough to let Stephen Everett go
back into the world without thee?" he questioned.
"I have prayed for fortitude. I have found cour
age to think of living on here without him," she re
plied. "I have seen myself an old woman of Zanah
who goes her way dreaming still of the love of her
"Thou knowest that I would watch o er thee," said
"Yea; but thy brotherly compassion hath not the
sustaining power of love."
"Thou knowest not what sustaining power broth
erly compassion may reveal."
Gerson Brandt s voice betrayed suppressed emo
tion, and, looking up, Walda saw that his face had
become suddenly old and drawn.
" I have pained thee by my seeming ingratitude for
all thy kindnesses," she said, putting her hand on his
arm. The school-master s face flushed, for her touch
made his heart throb.
The tempter s voice spoke insistently.
"Shall I send Stephen Everett away?" Walda
asked, after a brief pause. "Direct me aright. Help
me to do what my father would have me do."
Gerson Brandt did not answer.
"The people of Zanah accused me of murdering my
father," Walda said, after a long silence. "All the
night after the Untersuchung I was filled with terror,
W A L D A
but now I know that I could not have spared him the
sorrow. I was, indeed, but the instrument of fate. I
had to tell the truth as it was made clear to me. Oh,
tell me that thou dost not deem me guilty of my fa
ther s death."
She was weeping again, and Gerson Brandt was
stirred to compassion.
"Cease thy lamentation," he said, gently. " I have
thought much about thee ever since thou didst make
thy confession of love. I have come to know that
thou must follow the dictates of thy heart. It is right
that thou shouldst go out into the world as Stephen
Everett s wife. There thou wilt find pain and suffer
ing, but all will be glorified by thy love."
The tempter was vanquished. The school-master
had listened to him for the last time.
"Nay, speak to me as my father would speak."
"As thy father s friend, and as one who holds thee
in the deep recesses of his heart, I tell thee to go forth
from Zanah with the man thou lovest."
"And do I owe no duty to the colony? Is it not
right that I should strive to make amends for my un
faithfulness to the trust reposed in me? Tell me the
whole truth. Spare me not, for I would do the Lord s
"The colony hath forfeited all claim upon thee,
for the men and women did shamelessly flout thee.
Thy father hath recompensed the people of Zanah a
W A L D A
hundredfold for whatever may have been done for
Walda gazed at the face of her dead father. Its
calmness gave her assurance of his forgiveness. Then
the realization of her loss impressed itself on her. She
wept again. Stroking his stiffened hands, she prayed
that he might know she had not meant to disregard
his teachings or to bring him to dishonor.
Distressed at the sight of her remorse, Gerson
Brandt urged her to leave the meeting-house, and
when she gave no heed to him he led her away, hold
ing her hand as was his custom in the years of her
childhood. Two colony mothers were waiting on the
"Remember my counsel," said the school-master.
"There is but one path for thee."
Walda walked slowly towards the House of the
Women, and left him standing on the threshold of the
meeting-house. A mist came before Gerson Brandt s
eyes, and as it cleared away he saw Hans Peter run
ning up the hill.
"The stranger, who is still bound at the inn, would
speak with thee," said the simple one, when he had
reached the meeting-house steps.
"What doth he want?" said the school-master.
"He hath not talked with the village fool," an
swered Hans Peter, "but even the simple one might
guess that he wants thee to have him set free."
W A L D A
Gerson Brandt thought for a moment. Walda s
presence still exerted its influence over him. He had
not the courage to see the man she loved.
"Tell Stephen Everett that I cannot go to him until
after Wilhelm Kellar s funeral," said the school-mas
ter, "and you may give him the message that he may
trust me to work for his deliverance."
" He hath made threats that he will not be patient
much longer," Hans Peter volunteered. "He hath
told the Herr Doktor that it will cost Zanah much if
he is imprisoned another day."
"According to the laws of the United States he hath
right on his side," declared Gerson Brandt.
" He hath offered to pay much money if they will let
him take Walda Kellar away, and every hour that he
remaineth with his hands behind him he is more
wasteful of his dollars."
"Stand not here gossiping, Hans Peter. Hasten
back with my reply to the stranger s message," ad
monished the school-master, to whom the words of
the simple one had suggested an easy method of
obtaining permission for Walda to leave Zanah. If
the elders were seeking to profit financially from the
loss of money as a compensation for the loss of their
prophetess, they would be likely to consent to let
Walda leave the colony on one condition the forfeit
of her property rights.
In his room at the inn Everett received Hans Peter
W A L D A
with much impatience, and, after he had heard Ger-
son Brandt s message, gave expression to his views
on Zanah s methods of dealing with strangers.
"So I am to remain bound until to-morrow," he
said. "Since Diedrich Werther consented to tie my
hands less tightly I am not so uncomfortable. But I
want you to summon the Herr Doktor immediately."
Adolph Schneider was slow in making his appear
ance, and Everett, who had fretted under the delay,
was not in his usual self-contained mood.
"I sent for you to tell you that I am tired of this
outrageous treatment," he said, as soon as the Herr
Doktor s burly form appeared at the door. "You
must come to an understanding with me to-night, or I
will show you that Zanah cannot ignore all the laws of
the United States. I will have you and all the leaders
arrested for falsely imprisoning me. I will cause an
investigation of the affairs of the colony."
Adolph Schneider s fat face was deeply lined and
his thick skin was a pallid yellow. He showed plainly
that he was worried with the numerous troubles that
had come upon the colony. He sat upon the nearest
chair, and, letting his head sink into his neckcloth,
studied Everett furtively.
"What do you intend to do with me?" the prisoner
asked, after his first outburst had remained unan
"After the funeral to-morrow thou art to have a
W A L D A
trial, and then the people of Zanah will fix thy pen
"Penalty? Penalty for what? I have broken no
law. I have done nothing for which you can deprive
me of my liberty."
"Thou art not the judge of that," declared the Herr
Doktor. "Thou hast acknowledged that thou hast
wronged the people of Zanah, for hast thou not offered
to pay a fine?"
"I have offered to buy my freedom, because I can
not expect to obtain justice here among you bigots,"
returned Everett. "I warn you that if you do not
take this rope off my arms, I shall see that you do not
get a penny from me, and that you pay for this week s
"So long as Walda Kellar is guarded it will be safe
to let thee have thy freedom, but we take no chances
"Walda Kellar is my promised wife, and I demand
her liberty as well as my own."
"Walda Kellar belongeth to Zanah, and thou canst
not assert any claim to her," Adolph Schneider re
"You will see what I can do," Everett said. "But
I do not want to try coercion. Give your consent to
our marriage, and I will make Zanah a gift of money
to signify my gratitude."
The Herr Doktor s little eyes glittered,
W A L D A
"How much?" he asked.
"We will not discuss terms until I am freed from
these ropes," said Everett. "My imprisonment would
be much easier to bear if you would let me have my
hands free, so that I can smoke."
Adolph Schneider surveyed the stranger in Zanah
with a look of suspicion.
"Zanah would not be doing the will of God if Wai-
da Kellar was not punished for causing her father s
death," he remarked.
"How dare you accuse her!"
The prisoner strained his bonds, as if he would use
his hands to some purpose in defending the woman he
"Her confession broke her father s heart," said the
"The cruelty of you zealots of Zanah made Wilhelm
Kellar die," declared the prisoner. " I warn you to be
careful how you blame an innocent girl, who simply
told the truth at your Untcrsuchung."
Everett s face was so stern in its expression that the
wily colonist thought it wise not to pursue the sub
"When thou art ready to make an offer of money,
the elders will weigh it against Walda Kellar s trans
gression," he said. "If it is found better for the
colony that she be cast out with thee, consent to the
marriage may be given." He thought for a. moment,
W A L D A
with his chin in his neckcloth. Shaking his head, he
added: "There is still a chance that Walda Kellar
may receive the true inspiration. She may yet lead
the people. It is but small hope that I can give thee."
He turned to go out. *
"Stop! How about these ropes? Have them
taken off," Everett said, in a tone that was menacing.
"I shall be here to my trial. Don t think I would
miss that. I shall stay in Zanah until I can leave the
colony with Walda Kellar."
Adolph Schneider paid no attention to Everett s
demand. Instead, he stalked through the door, his
cane pounding in unison with every other step.
IT was noontime when the colonists gathered in the
meeting-house to attend the funeral of Wilhelm
Kellar. The bier, placed before the platform of the
elders, was covered with flowers the late garden
blossoms of autumn. White dahlias and asters, in-
twined in wreaths, almost concealed the lid of the
coffin. The women, who wore gowns of black calico,
gathered solemnly on their side of the big, bare room.
The men stood in groups until the elders had taken
their places on the platform where the vacant chair of
Wilhelm Kellar was draped in black. This occupied
the position formerly given to the chair of the proph
etess, which was pushed back and turned so that it
faced the wall.
The bell tolled the age of the dead elder. When
its fiftieth stroke had died away Walda was brought
in from the room where she had held her vigil be
fore the Untersuchung. Mother Werther and Mother
Kaufmann accompanied her. Her appearance caused
a hush to fall upon the assembly, and some of the
women covered their eyes, for it was seen that over
her black gown was thrown the scarlet cloak, which
W A L D A
betokened that her soul was clothed in the garment of
sin. It was the same cloak that Marta Bachmann
had worn during the time of her probation, and some
of the softer-hearted of the colony "mothers" prayed
that the fallen prophetess might follow in Marta Bach-
mann s footsteps until she reached the height of final
repentance. The maidens of Zanah gazed on Walda
with fascinated eyes. A few were bold enough to
hope that she might be able to leave Zanah with the
stranger whose worldly ways and physical beauty had
charmed even those who had never spoken to him.
At the head of the coffin a stool had been provided for
Walda, and she sank upon it as if overcome with sud
den weakness. For a moment she bowed her black-
capped head in prayer, and then, looking unflinching
ly into the faces of the colonists, waited with courage
for the service to begin. She was very pale, and once
she threw off the cloak, as if it smothered her. In a
second she remembered its significance, and drew it
about her shoulders.
From his seat at one end of the platform Gerson
Brandt, with pitying eyes, looked upon Walda. His
thin face had a pinched look, and from his eyes had
faded the last smouldering fires of youth and hope.
He sat with hands tensely clasped, except when, now
and then, he pressed his thin fingers to his temples,
from which the long hair, touched with gray, fell back
to his shoulders.
W A L D A
Karl Weisel read a long chapter from the Bible, and
then a meek elder offered a prayer. Adolph Schnei
der next told the people of their dead brother s ser
vices to the colony. His thick, droning voice, monot
onous in its cadences, did not hold Walda s attention,
until presently she knew he was speaking of her and
accusing her of unfaithfulness to Zanah. She listened
with downcast eyes, her lithe body quivering with
emotion, but she was too proud to show the pain she
suffered. She choked back the tears and prayed for
At last the funeral address was finished. The bier
was carried out into the golden sunshine. Walda rose
as if to follow it, but one of the elders detained her.
"Is it meet that one who wears the scarlet cloak
should walk first behind the bier?" he asked.
Gerson Brandt answered by going to Walda s side,
pulling her arm through his, and waving the people
"He hath touched Walda Kellar s hand, and he
is no kin to her!" cried Mother Kaufmann; but the
school-master walked on as if he had not heard her.
Tenderly he supported Walda s faltering footsteps.
The procession formed behind them, the men and
women walking on opposite sides of the village street,
while Gerson Brandt and Walda kept in the middle
of the grass-grown road, directly behind Wilhelm Kel
lar s coffin.
W A L D A
"Gerson Brandt, thou art, indeed, a friend in mine
hour of trouble," Walda said, when they had reached
the strip of woods and the bier had been put down in
order that its bearers might rest.
" Until death thou wilt be ever safe in my heart,"
the school-master answered, solemnly.
"Pray that I may have fortitude when I see the
earth cover my father s body," she whispered, as the
procession started again, and he pressed her arm to
give her the assurance of his aid.
The school-master could have prayed that the walk
to the graveyard might last forever. He knew that,
in all the coming years which might belong to him on
earth, he might never again touch her or be close to
her. He trembled in the excess of his joy. He felt a
great strength taking possession of him. They came
to the lake, and he looked out upon it as it lay undis
turbed by wave or ripple. Around the water s hem
the yellowing willows dipped into the placid pool.
The sumach flamed among the oak-trees.
"When thou art gone from me out into the world I
shall pray that thy soul shall be untroubled as is this
lake to-day," he murmured, softly.
"Ah! To-day I feel that I must remain here in
Zanah to make atonement for my betrayal of the peo
ple s trust," she answered.
The tempter had spoken to him for the last time,
and so he made haste to say:
W A L D A
"Thy love leads the way of thy duty. Harbor no
longer the thought of sacrificing thyself to no pur
They reached the high gate of the graveyard. The
bier was carried to the rise of ground where Marta
Bachmann s burial-place had been selected many
years before. A grave had been hollowed out near
that of the prophetess of revered memory. The col
onists gathered around it. Walda and the school
master stood on one side and the elders on the other
while the coffin was lowered. The simple one, who
had not been seen at the meeting-house or in the pro
cession, looked on from a place of vantage on the
gravestone of Marta Bachmann.
Adolph Schneider announced that there would be
a reading of the Scriptures. An awkward pause fol
lowed. It was discovered that the Bible had been
forgotten. The elders held a conference, while the
villagers waited stolidly.
" Hans Peter shall be sent back for the Holy Book,"
announced the Herr Doktor, motioning to the simple
Hans Peter advanced with slow steps.
"There is a Bible here," he said.
"Bring it quickly, then," ordered the elder.
"It can be brought only after an understanding,"
answered the simple one. " Gerson Brandt s lost Bible
is hidden here. It belongeth now to the stranger in
W A L D A
Zanah. If it is the will of him who made it gay with
colors that it be given to the stranger I will bring the
"Would the fool make terms with the elders of
Zanah? Bring forth the Bible," commanded the
Hans Peter did not stir.
"Dost thou defy me?" asked Adolph Schneider.
The simple one made no sign that he heard.
"Speak," urged Gerson Brandt. "Stephen Everett
shall have the Bible."
"When the promise is given that the elders will let
me deliver it to the owner I will find it," said Hans
The promise was given, after a brief consultation of
the elders. Hans Peter went back to Marta Bach-
mann s gravestone, and from beneath it pulled out a
stout wooden box. This he opened with some diffi
culty, and from it produced the Bible, which was
wrapped in oil-cloth. Gerson Brandt s heart gave a
throb of joy when he saw it.
" Bring it here to me," he commanded, and the sim
ple one, almost staggering under its weight, obeyed
the wish of the school-master.
The people whispered among themselves, and the
elders looked sullenly at the volume about which there
had been so many conjectures.
"I will read from the Scriptures," announced Ger-
W A L D A
son Brandt, motioning to the village fool to help him
hold the heavy book. He turned to the fourteenth
chapter of St. John, and, scanning a page more beau
tiful in its illumination than all the rest, he began
to read the message of peace. After he had finished
he closed the Sacred Book. One of the elders prayed,
and while the people s heads were bowed Hans Peter
stole away with the Bible.
Diedrich Werther began to shovel the earth into
the grave. Walda, with a sudden feeling of horror,
clutched Gerson Brandt s arm, upon which she buried
her face. The school - master forgot the people of
Zanah. He leaned over her, whispering words of com
fort and strength. Half fearfully he touched her on
the shoulder, and bade her remember that the Lord
worketh in wondrous ways. He told her that the
Father in heaven had planned for her deliverance
The people had begun to leave the graveyard be
fore Walda was calm. Two of the colony "mothers "
waited for her, and she bade the school-master return
to Zanah, leaving her alone with the women.
Gerson Brandt hesitated, loath to walk away from
the place that had become to him one of the outer
courts of heaven.
"I would pray here for a time," Walda said, "and
thou shalt be remembered in my petitions."
He looked at her, not trusting himself to speak.
W A L D A
He led her close to the new-made grave and left her
there. Not until he had closed the graveyard gate
behind him did he dare to look back. Gazing with
straining eyes he beheld the prophetess as she lay face
downward on the ground, with the scarlet cloak still
wrapped around her. From a place a little distant
the colony women watched her.
IMMEDIATELY after the funeral the colonists gath-
1 ered in the village square for the trial of Stephen
Everett. The stocks still stood where they had been
erected for the punishment of Hans Peter, and upon
the high platform surrounding the culprit s seat the
elders met for the purpose of passing judgment. The
prisoner was not brought from the inn until after all
the villagers were assembled. He walked from the
porch of the gasthaus with a step that showed he was
glad to have a chance to make a plea for liberty. An
expression of scorn and anger was plainly visible on
his handsome face. He had been inclined to accept
whatever happened in Zanah as rather an amusing
experience, but the events since the morning of the
Untersuchung had awakened him to a full sense of
what he had at stake. He meant to have Walda at
any hazard, but his patience had been exhausted in
his tiresome ordeal of imprisonment. His old, care
less manner asserted itself when he had ascended the
steps to the stocks and had taken a seat upon the
great beam in which the simple one s feet had been
W A L D A
At the first sight of him some of the villagers gave
vent to indignant murmurs, which were quickly
"This man is accused of being one whom Satan
hath sent to Zanah," announced Karl Weisel. "He
hath stolen the affections of her who would have been
our prophetess; he hath tempted the Lord s chosen
one with an earthly love. He hath broken his pledge
to an elder of the colony. Through his wicked plot-
tings the plans of Zanah are overthrown. He hath
lost to the people who serve God the instrument that
would have led the people in the paths of pleasant
"He shall be punished!" shouted some of the
"Yea; he shall be punished," agreed the head of the
thirteen elders, puffing out his chest and knitting his
brows. "He shall be punished; but is there a penalty
severe enough for offences such as his?"
"He shall be made to pay a fine," said Adolph
Schneider. "Many thousand dollars would not wipe
out the harm he hath done to the crops since we are
deprived of the guidance of a prophetess."
"Cast him out of Zanah!" clamored many voices.
At this point Gerson Brandt advanced from his
place at the end of the row of elders.
"Who is fitted to determine the stranger s punish
ment?" he asked.
W A L D A
No one answered. With arms folded upon his
breast Gerson Brandt waited for a response.
"In this case it seemeth just that only he who hath
not succumbed to the same temptation that Stephen
Everett hath found here in Zanah is fit to choose a
penalty for this offence. Let the man of Zanah who
hath lived twenty-one years without loving a woman
say what the stranger s punishment shall be."
The men of Zanah stared at one another. The
women tiptoed to see if they might read long-buried
secrets in the faces of their husbands and brothers.
"There must be many here who have escaped the
lure that lurketh in the eyes of women," the school
master said, presently. "It may be that my mean
ing hath not been made plain. Let him who hath
attained the age of manhood without knowing what
Zanah calleth an earthly love judge Stephen Everett."
The men of Zanah looked at one another with
"Is not he who hath loved and repented a better
judge?" asked Karl Weisel.
" Nay; why should one that hath been weak in the
presence of woman judge another?" responded the
school-master. "There are many men of Zanah who
have never married. Why do not they answer? Why
do not they volunteer to measure the sin of loving a
A minute passed.
W A L D A
"Is there none in Zanah qualified to judge the
stranger?" inquired Gerson Brandt.
From the edge of the crowd came the simple one.
"I, the fool of Zanah, have passed the age of one-
and-twenty without loving," he declared, in a tone
that betrayed not the least trace of any feeling.
His face was, as usual, absolutely without expres
"Set a fool to judge a fool," sneered Mother Schnei
der. But the men had nothing to say.
"What is thy judgment, Hans Peter?" asked the
"The simple one would have the stranger freed,"
said Hans Peter. Standing with both hands in his
pockets, he waited to be dismissed. He had uncov
ered his head, and as he stood there before the people
something of the tragedy of the simple one s life was
revealed to Zanah. He was a creature apart ; one who
had reached the years of manhood without attaining
to the full stature and the full knowledge of maturity.
Some strange recesses of his brain were closed to mem
ory, and yet nature had made compensation by giv
ing him queer flashes of wit and odd shreds of intelli
gence that often confounded Zanah. In the crowd
were some, more superstitious than the rest, who
looked at the village fool with fear written on their
"Let us free the stranger and send him out of
W A L D A
Zanah. He hath brought a curse with him. The
sooner he goeth from among us the better," spoke
Mother Werther, who, since the Untersuchung, had
gone about with care marked upon her good-natured
" He whom you call the simple one is the only man
in Zanah who hath not transgressed the colony law
forbidding all who would attain to serve the Lord in
singleness of purpose to put away earthly love," said
the school - master. "Would not your own weak
nesses teach you lenity?"
From his place on the stocks Everett scanned the
dull faces below him. The idea of associating senti
ment or romance with the heavy-featured men of
Zanah brought a contemptuous smile to his lips.
" How is it that thou dost not judge the stranger?"
asked Mother Kaufmann. "Surely thou hast not
loved a daughter of Eve?" She laughed, mockingly,
showing her hideous tusks.
"Let Gerson Brandt, the elder and school-master,
be the judge of the stranger," cried a sturdy colonist,
who had been quietly looking on from the porch of the
A chorus of voices bade the school-master deal with
Gerson Brandt motioned to Hans Peter to retire
from the place in front of the stocks.
"Thou hast this day taught Zanah a lesson," he
W A L D A
declared, in a kindly voice. "Thy verdict is right.
It should be accepted by the people."
"Faugh! Wouldst thou let a fool decide a matter
of great importance to Zanah?" angrily inquired
Adolph Schneider, who had with difficulty smoth
ered his rage when he saw the chief law of the colony
made ridiculous by Gerson Brandt s declaration that
the man who had never loved should judge Stephen
"We demand that the school-master shall fix the
penalty," shouted Mother Schneider. "He knoweth
best to what extent the madness of an earthly love
hath afflicted her who would have been a prophetess ;
he hath lost his best friend through the iniquitous in
fluence of the stranger."
The people became unruly, for their patience had
been tried by the suspense. They clamored for speedy
justice to him who had made trouble for them.
"Gerson Brandt, thou shalt pass the verdict," said
Karl Weisel. "Since thou didst order Stephen Ev
erett made a prisoner, thou shouldst make sure that
he suffers for his misdeeds."
The school-master pushed back the hair from his
forehead. He waited for a moment, lifting his hands
to invite the attention of the people.
"None is more unworthy to judge this man for lov
ing a woman than I, Gerson Brandt," he said, with a
quaver in his voice. "It is my desire that some of
W A L D A
you fix his punishment, for even though you may set
him free, I shall do penance for him. I have sinned
against Zanah more than he."
"What meanest thou, Brother Brandt?" asked
Adolph Schneider, confronting him. "Beware how
thou dost forfeit the respect of the people."
" I have treasured in my heart an earthly love," the
school-master confessed, turning from Adolph Schnei
der and speaking to the colonists.
His words caused even the most stoical of the el
ders to turn pale. It meant much to the colony to
lose the school-master from among those who man
aged the affairs of the community.
The people heard and yet appeared not to believe
their ears. The square became so quiet that when
Piepmatz, hanging in his cage from a rafter of the inn-
porch, sang the one bar of the love-song, the bird-
voice reached every one in the throng, and presently
broke the spell of amazement that held the villagers.
"Thy case shall be taken up presently," said Karl
Weisel, who was the first to recover from astonish
ment. "Thy sin is minor to his, in that thou didst
not love the prophetess."
"Mine offence is greater than his," answered Ger-
son Brandt. He had gained complete control of him
self, and he spoke in a voice clear and unfaltering. " I
have loved Walda Kellar even from the days of her
childhood with a love that is stronger than all else in
W A L D A
life. I had thought that mine affection was merely
that of a teacher, a counsellor, a friend, until, through
the stranger, it became known to me that I loved her
who might have been the prophetess as a man loveth
the woman whom the Lord hath sent into the world
for him to cherish until death. There is no word of
extenuation for me. I love Walda Kellar with the
longing to claim her from Zanah and all the world."
He paused, as if the flood-gates of his heart had
broken, and the tide of his emotion drowned his words.
Stephen Everett, who had listened with a shamed
sense of his own good- fortune, gazed upon the school
master s face until he was compelled to turn his eyes
away, for he saw despair and pain so deeply graven
there that the pity of it brought tears.
In the heat of what I thought a righteous anger I
did order the stranger to be bound," Gerson Brandt
said, after a brief pause. " But there, in the place of
the Untersuchung, it was made clear to me that jeal
ousy actuated me unworthily to use my power as an
elder. For that offence, I crave Stephen Everett s
pardon and Zanah s forgiveness."
The people were stirred with indignation and sor
row. They began to speak to one another, but Ger
son Brandt compelled them to hear him to the end.
" I would ask you to release the prisoner and to give
Walda Kellar into his keeping. The love I bear for
this daughter of Zanah hath in it that which giveth
W A L D A
me the strength to surrender my heart s desire, and so
I crave for her the happiness that cometh through the
love of another man. I plead with you to consent to
the marriage of Stephen Everett and Walda Kellar.
Send them forth into the world together this night.
Delay not in meting out to them the judgment that
will give them joy. The punishment is mine."
Gerson Brandt leaned against one of the supports
of the stocks. He was dimly conscious that the el
ders whispered to one another and that the people
gathered in groups to talk earnestly.
The afternoon was far advanced. A golden haze
had settled upon the valley. Above his head the dry
leaves of the trees were rustled by a gentle wind that
soothed his spirit. He was conscious of a sudden
faintness. His little world, the colony of Zanah,
slipped away from him for a moment, but he remem
bered that he had not won his battle for Walda s free
dom, and he steadied himself, calling all his senses to
serve him until the end of the day s ordeal.
"Art thou aware that when an elder lets human
love into his heart he must be put under the ban of
silence?" asked Adolph Schneider. "It is the law of
Zanah. Thou art the first elder to prove himself too
weak for the high office."
Gerson Brandt made no response. Far down the
road he caught sight of the scarlet cloak worn by the
W A L D A
The elders continued their conference, presently
taking Stephen Everett into their circle. The school
master kept his eyes on the approaching figure of
Walda, who came towards the square with lagging
steps. Her attendants followed her closely, and when
the three at last came into the crowd he saw that some
of the villagers gathered about them.
"Will Walda Kellar stand before the stocks," com
manded Karl Weisel, seeing that the fallen prophetess
had come into the square.
Walda obeyed the summons.
"Art thou willing to forsake Zanah in order that
thou mayst go forth into the world with a stranger?"
Everett looked at her with pleading in his eyes, but
she hesitated before replying. He leaned forward in
an agony of suspense.
"Tell the elders that thou art under a law high
er than any of Zanah," prompted Gerson Brandt.
"Thou art led by the law of love, which ruleth the
world outside the colony. This day hath shown that
it ruleth here, even in Zanah."
"If in leaving Zanah I am not ignoring any alle
giance I owe to the memory of my father, I would go
with Stephen Everett. This love that I bear to him
hath given me a desire to be always near him," Walda
"Thou shalt be cut off from the roll of those who
W A L D A
serve the Lord in Zanah," declared the head of the
thirteen elders. "Thou shalt leave Zanah to-night,
after the village hath closed its doors on thee, so that
the eyes of the men and women may not be offended
by seeing the beginning of thy journey into the world."
"I would give vent to my gratitude," Walda said,
tremulously. "Even now I prayed at my father s
grave that if it be the will of God I might be permitted
to be the wife of Stephen Everett, and lo! when I least
hoped for it my prayer hath been answered."
" Silence ! Dare not to rejoice in thy frowardness of
heart here before the people of Zanah," Karl Weisel
admonished. " Remember that there may be a curse
in answered prayer."
Walda shrank under the lash of his cruel words.
She glanced around her as if seeking sympathy
from some of the women, but all who were nearest
her drew their skirts away as if they would not be
denied by the touch of her scarlet cloak. Her pride
came to the rescue, and, drawing the crimson mantle
around her, she stood proudly waiting for a sign that
she might pass on.
"From this moment Walda Kellar, once hailed as
the prophetess of Zanah, is no longer to be counted
with the colonists who live in the hope of earning an
entrance to heaven by walking in the paths of right
eousness," announced Adolph Schneider, coming for
ward. "She hath listened to the voice of Satan, and
W A L D A
she hath been unfaithful to a most sacred trust. She
hath lost the gift of tongues; she hath turned a deaf
ear to the voice of prophecy. Henceforth, forever,
her name shall not be spoken in Zanah. Let her go
in peace, and may she repent of her sin."
Some of the colonists shuddered as the Herr Doktor
proclaimed the excommunication of the fallen proph
etess. Walda read reassurance and encouragement
in Gerson Brandt s face. She stood gazing up at him,
and he held her spirit in calm submission.
"Stephen Everett is hereby liberated. He hath
consented to pay to Zanah a goodly fine, which is still
out of proportion to his great offence," Adolph Schnei
der next announced. "Through the agency of Ger
son Brandt, Walda Kellar hath waived all claim on
her share of the property of Zanah. She shall go
forth from the colony penniless, and dependent upon
"That is good," agreed some of the men.
"To-night Stephen Everett and Walda Kellar shall
leave Zanah, even as Adam and Eve were cast out of
the Garden of Eden," continued the Herr Doktor,
pronouncing the sentence so that it might intimidate
all possible lovers in the colony. "They shall go
forth, never to return."
When Adolph Schneider dwelt on the words "never
to return," Gerson Brandt caught his breath as if he
felt a sudden pain.
W A L D A
"It is my duty to pronounce upon Gerson Brandt
the ban of silence," Karl Weisel said, taking the Herr
Doktor s place at the front of the platform. "As
head of the thirteen elders I hereby declare to the peo
ple of Zanah that his office of counsellor and guide to
the colony is vacant. Like the fallen prophetess, he
hath forfeited all right to a high place in Zanah by
opening his heart to an earthly love."
Walda could not repress an exclamation of surprise.
She glanced questioningly among the women, as if she
would discover the one upon whom the school-master
had bestowed his heart, but she received such looks
of anger and indignation that she turned to Gerson
Brandt, as if she would read his secret. He gave her
a smile, and she listened sadly to the terrible sentence
pronounced upon him.
" For the space of a year no man or woman of Zanah
shall speak to Gerson Brandt," the elder continued, in
a loud voice. "Although he hath been the school
master, the children shall not be permitted to utter
one word to him. He shall no longer be a teacher in
the colony. Instead, he shall dwell alone, avoided
by all. Because Zanah harboreth no drones, he shall
serve the colony as night-watchman. During all the
hours of darkness he shall pace up and down the street
of Zanah. He shall call out the hours from sunset
until sunrise, and he shall be forgotten by all who
serve the Lord."
W A L D A
Gerson Brandt heard the words unmoved, as if the
sentence were of little concern to him. In a moment,
after Karl Weisel ceased speaking, his thoughts were
far away. He exulted over the solitude before him.
He knew that he could live in memories; precious
dreams would be his. Each night, while he walked
alone, he told himself that he could send to Walda his
best hopes. He could speak her name in his prayers.
After all, he had triumphed over himself and over the
laws of Zanah. Unconsciously he drew his thin body
to its full height. The light of victory illumined his
face. He looked at Walda and saw that she was
weeping for him. Then he was troubled.
"This sentence is monstrous," Everett asserted,
with wrath in his voice. "Gerson Brandt shall come
out into the world with me. Walda Kellar and I owe
him whatever of happiness may be ours in the future,
and we shall see that he has some of the joys of
"Nay, nay," spoke Gerson Brandt. "I would be
out of place in the great world. I thank thee, but I
am better here. I shall be quite contented to remain
in Zanah. Outward conditions count for naught."
When Everett still would have insisted, he showed
such evident embarrassment and uneasiness that it
was kindlier to cease to importune him.
"Stephen Everett, thou shalt take Walda Kellar to
the gasthaus, there to wait until darkness falls," snarl -
W A L D A
ed Adolph Schneider, who had begun to feel that he
had not made the stranger s fine large enough.
Everett hastened to Walda s side. When he gently
took her by the arm, Gerson Brandt turned his head
away. The crowd began to disperse. The school
master walked down the steps from the stocks. All
the colonists pretended not to see him. As he crossed
the square a little girl ran to him, clasping her arms
about his knees. He stooped to disengage himself,
and a woman snatched the child away from him. A
few steps farther on several of the boys who had been
his pupils ran away from him, one hiding behind a
tree to peep at him, as if he were an evil thing. He
had not reached the bridge before he felt some one
touch him on the arm. It was Hans Peter.
"I shall dwell with thee," said the simple one.
"The laws of Zanah rule not the village fool."
EVERETT led Walda into the living-room of the
inn and shut the door. Taking the red cloak
from her shoulders, he tenderly placed her in one of
the big rocking-chairs.
"From this moment you are always to be in my
care," he said. "Ah, Walda, I cannot realize that at
last you are to be mine all mine."
She looked up at him with tears in her eyes.
"Stephen, it is strange, but now that I am about to
go out into the great world with thee I am full of mis
givings," she replied.
He knelt beside her, and, taking her hand, said:
"You have had a tragic day. You are exhausted.
Surely, you are not afraid to trust yourself to me?"
"Nay, nay. When thou art close to me I feel safe
from all trouble; yet my heart trembles. Thy love
hath a power that affrights me."
He had risen and kissed her, drawing her head upon
his breast and holding it there. She hid her face with
a sudden shame while she asked:
"Are we to be married to-morrow, Stephen?"
" It was the agreement that we should leave Zanah
W A L D A
at midnight. We shall drive to a town twenty-five
miles away, and there, at sunrise, you and I will at
tend our own wedding."
"Thou art sure that my father would have had it
"Yes, Walda; I would have gained his consent.
You are to forget all the troubles that my love has
brought to you. I shall try to atone for every heart
ache of these last few days."
"Our love was sent from heaven. Truly thou be
lie vest that?"
"Fate has given you to me. You must not ask any
more questions. We are to begin to be happy now."
He stroked her cheek and soothed her as if she were
a child, and his great strength gave her confidence.
"The first thing that I shall do will be to send for
your white gown, so that you can take off this mourn
ing," he said, lightly, when he saw that she was more
composed. "I bought from the elders the white
gown and the red cloak, for both have a significance
for us both have marked great days in our lives."
She smiled faintly, and he began to unpin the black
cap that she wore. It was securely fastened to her
fair hair. He had to ask her assistance in getting rid
of it. When it was loosened he threw it on the floor,
and then walked off to look at her. She was very pale,
after the sorrow and excitement of the day. Her
black gown accentuated the fairness of her skin, and
W A L D A
her clear - cut features were brought out in relief
against the dark back of the chair.
"You are the most beautiful woman I have ever
seen," he said, with the fervor of sincerity. "How
often you will hear your praises sung when you belong
to the world."
"Art thou teaching me vanity so soon, Stephen?"
she exclaimed, with a sigh, for she was in no mood for
"I am half afraid to take you into the world," he
answered, with some seriousness. "You see, I have
my misgivings. But you did not tell me what dis
turbed you. Come over here to Mother Werther s
sofa, where you can whisper to me all the vague fears
of your heart."
"Thou knowest I shall need thy charity often
times," Walda said, after Stephen had made her rest
her head upon his shoulder. " I shall not understand
many of thy ways even thy thoughts will be too
deep for me to understand."
"You forget that you have wisdom and goodness
that I can never fathom."
" Here in Zanah those who love soon weary of each
other. Surely, it is not so in the world, where earthly
love is not counted a sin. Is it?" she questioned.
"Our love is for all our life," he said, softly. "I
shall be faithful to it always."
"And thou wilt be patient with me? Thou wilt
teach me all that I should learn, if I would be thy
"I would not have you changed in any way,Walda."
" Ah! but love bringeth wisdom, and I have thought
much about our marriage. I shall be unlike all the
people thou knowest. When Gerson Brandt said he
would be out of place in the great world, his words
"You shall learn all that you need to know about
the ways of the world," Everett promised, easily.
"Is there any other subject that is causing you ap
"Nay; none that I may voice to thee. When a
woman is about to give herself to the man she loveth
there is a tumult in her heart. It is of mingled faith
and fear. Love carrieth both with it, for, while it ex
alts the soul, it bringeth the wisdom that hath a far
sight of the meanings and mysteries of life."
Walda put her hands upon his shoulders, and, look
ing into his eyes, saw in them something that gave her
" Let us be grateful in this hour of our deliverance,"
she said, rising. "Have the white gown my wed
ding-gown brought to me."
Everett went up to the room he had occupied dur
ing his last sojourn in Zanah, leaving Walda alone
while he made his preparations for the journey.
W A L D A
Walda, leaning on the window-sill, looked out upon
the quiet village that had been so long her home.
One by one the lights in the stone houses on the wind
ing street went out. The footsteps of chance passers-
by became less frequent. The noises in the inn were
hushed. At last every door was closed against her.
When the tall clock struck eleven, Everett entered
the room. The solitary candle had burned out, and
Walda was sitting in the darkness.
"Can you see to find your cloak?" he asked. "It
is time for us to start."
Walda caught up the wrap from its place on the
sofa, and followed Everett out on the porch of the
gasthaus. There was not a sign of life anywhere.
"The carriage will be waiting for us on the other
side of the square beneath the old oak-tree," said
Everett. " Don t you want to say good-bye to Piep-
matz, or would you like to take him with you?"
"Nay, Stephen; Piepmatz is like the others that
dwell in Zanah. He would not feel at home in the
great world," Walda answered, going to the cage
where the chaffinch, with his head beneath his wing,
slumbered in happy unconsciousness of the influence
On the bridge appeared a lantern. It came tow
ards the inn, and when it was a few feet away the
form of the bearer, Gerson Brandt, was discerned.
By his side walked Hans Peter.
W A L D A
"I was afraid I should not have the chance to say
good-bye to thee, Gerson Brandt," Walda exclaimed,
going down the steps to meet him. Everett drew the
simple one away, with the excuse that they would go
to see whether the carriage had come.
" Nay, at any cost, I meant to send thee out into
the world with my blessing," Gerson Brandt answered.
He set down his lantern and put his hands behind him
lest he should be tempted to touch her.
" It seemeth selfish of me to be so happy when thou
art sad, Gerson Brandt." Walda put her hand upon
his arm, and they looked into each other s faces with
something of the old frankness in their glance.
" In this hour of parting it is good to know that thou
leavest Zanah with a light heart." Gerson Brandt
spoke bravely, but his lips quivered. "Farewell,
Walda. If I never behold thy face again, remember
thine image is ever treasured in the memory of a man
of Zanah. To him thou wilt never grow old. Here
in my thoughts thou shalt dwell always in thy youth
He trusted himself to let one hand reach out above
"Peace go with thee. The Lord bless and keep
thee," he said, softly, lifting his face to heaven, be
cause he could no longer depend upon his human
They stood silent for a moment.
W A L D A
Everett and Hans Peter returned to the inn to say
that the carriage was waiting.
"Thou shalt have Piepmatz, if thou art willing to be
burdened with the care of the chaffinch," said Walda,
speaking to the simple one.
"Nay, give him to both of us," pleaded Gerson
Brandt so earnestly that she bestowed the bird upon
him and Hans Peter, with the injunction that they
must not disagree over the partnership.
Everett put the scarlet cloak upon Walda s shoul
ders and led her away. She went without waiting to
say a last word to the man of Zanah, who had lifted
his lantern and held it so that it might give her light.
Gerson Brandt would have gone on ahead illuminat
ing the way, but a sudden weakness overcame him
when he saw that Walda had forgotten his presence
in the excitement of her departure. He sank upon
the well -curb, at the very place where Everett had
first seen him and Walda speak to each other. He
listened for the wheels of the carriage. He heard the
horses start and then stop suddenly. Hans Peter
had run out of the inn carrying on his shoulders the
illuminated Bible which had become, by right of pur
chase, the property of the stranger.
Gerson Brandt quelled in his heart the rebellion he
felt because to him was denied even the privilege of
giving to Walda the Sacred Book into which he had
wrought so many of his best thoughts and most pre-
W A L D A
cious hopes. He buried his head in his hands, waiting
patiently until he should know that the woman he
loved had gone forever beyond his reach.
The horses hoofs struck the soft road with a muf
fled sound. The wheels started a second time. Ger-
son Brandt closed his ears for a moment, and then,
rising, listened for the last sound of the carriage. He
was still standing in the deserted square when Hans
Peter spoke to him.
" It is almost the beginning of a new hour," the fool
Gerson Brandt examined his big, silver watch by
the light of the lantern.
"Midnight!" he called, in a voice out of which all
hope had gone. "Midnight!
"And all is well!" cried the simple one, taking up
the words that Gerson Brandt had not power to
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