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Full text of "Walda; a novel"

WALDA 



JRobel 



BY 

MARY HOLLAND KINKAID 




NEW YORK AND LONDON 
HARPER & BROTHERS 
PUBLISHERS .-. MCMIII 



Copyright, 1903, by HARPER & BROTHERS. 

All rights reserved. 
Published March, 11)03. 



PUBLISHERS NOTE 

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. 



W A L D A 



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 
pocket." 

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 

i 



W A L D A 

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 
odd figure. 

" 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 
him silver." 

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 
your tongue." 

2 



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 
swered : 

"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 

3 



W A L D A 

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 
his head. 

"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- 

4 



W A L D A 

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 
evening prayer." 

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 
it." 

5 



W A L D A 

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 
peated. 

"The fool hath talked too much," said Hans 
Peter. 

6 



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 
cordiality. 

"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 
quired. 

The landlord shook his head. Dinner was at mid 
day, but a special supper would be made ready after 

7 



W A L D A 

evening prayer. The stranger could rest in the big 
chair. 

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 

8 



W A L D A 

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 

9 



W A L D A 

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?" 
he inquired. 

The village fool said it was Gerson Brandt, the 
school-master. 

"And who was the girl the one with the white 
cap?" 

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. 



II 



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 
unseemly laughter. 

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 

ii 



W A L D A 

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 
character. 

" 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 
ness." 

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 

12 



W A L D A 

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 
rule others. 

"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 

13 



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, 

14 



WALDA 

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 
tone: 

"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 
gingham apron. 

"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 

16 



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 
Zanah." 

"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 
be asleep. 

"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 

17 



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 
18 



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 
swered, coldly: 

"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 
heart." 

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 
of surprise. 

"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 
soul. 

"For the good of Zanah we might be persuaded to 

19 



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 
price." 

"One hundred dollars is little enough for the Bible," 
said Everett; "but we shall not discuss its purchase 
now." 

"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. 

20 



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 
distance. 

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 
excited. 

"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 
bridge. 

"They are coming here," Gerson Brandt exclaimed. 
"Can it be that aught hath happened to Wilhelm 
Kellar?" 

He hastened down the street, and Schneider stepped 
out on the sidewalk. 

21 



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 
him." 

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 
came incapacitated. 

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 
can." 

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. 



Ill 



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. 

23 



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 
selves present. 

"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, 

24 



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 

25 



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 
Kaufmann. 

" 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 
her." 

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 

26 



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 
father." 

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 
any inquiries. 

The man who belonged to the outside world walked 
down to the bridge, and, turning, followed the turbu- 

27 



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 
settlement. 

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 
guardian. 

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 

28 



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 
ple one. 

" I would have you sit there on the grass and an 
swer my questions, Hans Peter. First, who is the 
girl?" 

"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 
29 



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 
her?" 

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 
ony?" 

"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. 

30 



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. 



IV 



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- 
* 33 



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 

34 



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 
school-master. 

"I would talk to thee about Brother Kellar," he 
35 



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 
and replied: 

"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 
was young. 

"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." 

"Your idols?" 

"Once I dreamed of being a great artist," confessed 
the school-master. "That was when I was a youth 

36 



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?" 
he asked. 

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 

37 



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 
disciples. 

"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 
happy ones." 

"Walda Kellar is one of the happy ones, is she 
not?" 

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: 

38 



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 
Zanah." 

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- 

39 



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 
them. 

"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 
the school-master. 

"Not unless they are especially appointed to the 
task," answered Gerson Brandt. 

40 



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 
wise." 

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 
quiet tone: 

"Very well. I shall expect to see the new nurse in 
the sick-room to-morrow." 



V 



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 
happens." 

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, 
43 



W A L D A 

who will come after her hour of prayer," Mother Kauf- 
mann replied. 

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 
lips, said: 

"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 

44 



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 
said: 

"It will be a great help to me to have you here to 
nurse your father." The girl looked up and did not 
answer. 

"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 
tude." 

Again a silence fell. Everett leaned back in the 
45 



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, 

46 



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?" 
asked Everett. 

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 
it all." 

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 
tled in. 

"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?" 

47 



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 
ards him. 

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. 

48 



W A L D A 

"Yea, yea," the school-master said, as he turned 
away. 

"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 
darkening evening. 



VI 



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 
cane, said: 

" 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 
precious book. 

"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 
off. 



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 
the purchase. 

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- 

52 



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 
well-stripped vine. 

"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." 

53 



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 
of him. 

"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 

54 



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 
ago." 

"The Herr Doktor hath kept him in the school- 
house. They are speaking together," explained the 
village fool. 

"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. 

55 



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. 

56 



W A L D A 

"Was it a book of much worth?" inquired Mother 
Werther. 

"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 
search." 

57 



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 
Herr Doktor. 

"The truth! What dost thou know about it 
thou of little mind and less judgment?" said Adolph 
Schneider. 

"I may know much, and I may know little," said 
Hans Peter, swaying himself back and forth on his 
knees. 

"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 
fool. 

"Yet thou hast knowledge of it, Hans Peter?" asked 
Gerson Brandt, his eyes scanning the dull face of the 
simple one. 

" 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. 

58 



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 
volume. 

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 

59 



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 
said: 

"Miss Kellar, your father is fast regaining strength. 
To-day I find that he will soon be able to leave his 
bed." 

60 



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 
them spoke: 

"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 
Kellar." 

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 
stranger." 

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 

61 



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. 



VII 



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 

63 



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 

64 



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 
65 



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 
meet her. 

"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 
befall it." 

"If it cannot be found, my honor is touched," said 
66 



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 
possession." 

"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 
said: 

"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." 

67 



WALDA 

"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 

68 



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 
ship." 

Gerson Brandt turned away and walked across the 
room. When he came back he spoke in a steady 
voice. 

"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. 

69 



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 
eller." 

A crimson flush swept over the face of the school 
master, and when the wave receded he was deathly 
pale. 

" 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 
stand it." 

" 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 
world." 

Walda rose to her feet. Stepping close to the 
school-master, she said: 

70 



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 
feet. 

"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." 

72 



W A L D A 

"What dost thou know about it?" demanded the 
school-master. 

" 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." 



VIII 

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 
and asked: 

74 



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 
his tongue." 

"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 
watch her." 

"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 
ther." 

Mother Werther cast an indignant glance at the wife 
of the Herr Doktor, who had started the conversa 
tion. 

" 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. 

75 



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 
corner. 

"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: 

76 



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 
Herr Doktor." 

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, 

77 



W A L D A 

who laughed and talked with men. Some of the 
women wore on their fingers jewels that looked like 
sparkling glass." 

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 
souls." 

"Truly, the rings were very beautiful," said Frieda 
Bergen. 

"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 
station." 

" 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. 

78 



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 
Bergen." 

" 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 
Joseph Hoff." 

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- 

79 



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 
Mother Werther. 

"Stop thine unruly tongue," admonished Mother 
Schneider. 

"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 
Werther. 

80 



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 

6 8l 



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 
path. 

"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 
82 



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 
tion. 

"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." 

83 



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 
colony." 

84 



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 
Brandt." 

"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 
bare foot. 

" 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 
85 



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 
cigar. 

Hans Peter reached back and removed the gourd 
86 



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 
87 



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. 



IX 



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 
dered restlessly. 

"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 
in hers. 

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 
thee." 

"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 

89 



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 
elders." 

"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 
me." 

"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. 

90 



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 
spoken. 

"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 
eyes. 



W A L D A 

"And he recalled some memory that troubled him ?" 
asked Everett. 

" Yea, yea ; he would have told me something of my 
mother," said the girl, as she turned to go into the 
outer room. 

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 
hands. 

" 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 
weep. 

" 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 
cage. 

"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- 

92 



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 
my thoughts." 

93 



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 
bluffs." 

"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- 

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W A L D A 

came aware that somehow he had lost the gift of 
speech. 

" 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 
of Zanah." 

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W A L D A 

"Surely no temptation could come to you," said 
Everett. 

"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. 

Everett hesitated. 

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W A L D A 

"Will you not say, Good-night, Stephen ?" he 
asked. 

Walda stopped knitting. 

"Why wouldst thou have me say thy name again?" 
she inquired. 

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. 

7 



X 



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 
entrance. 

"My patient must be better," said Everett, passing 
to the window, and Walda, turning from the table, 
answered : 

"We are happy, indeed, to-day. My father hath 
already begun to think about his work in the col 
ony." 

"You must not be too ambitious," said Everett, 
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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 
dom." 

" 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," 
said Walda. 

"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 
hath whistled." 

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 
99 



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 
ter inquired. 

Everett hesitated before answering. In all his life 
it had never occurred to him to think how his days 
were spent. 

"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. 

100 



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 
Zanah." 

Wilhelm Kellar closed his eyes with a look of con 
tentment. 

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 
tion. 

"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 
people." 

"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 
erett. 

" 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, 

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W A L D A 

and my soul was quickened with a new impulse tow 
ards worship. 

"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 
two. 

"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 

102 



W A L D A 

in the world they would jeer at me, would they 
not?" 

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 

103 



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, 
evasively : 

"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 
Brandt. 

"I like not this dispensation which permits Walda 
104 



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- 

105 



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 
bering peacefully." 

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 

106 



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 
his lips. 

" 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 
it." 

"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 
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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 
world." 

"Nay, I am but a child in my ignorance. Canst 
thou not tell me about the mysteries when thou 
comest here to this room?" 

1 08 



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 
emnly: 

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 
crimsoned. 

"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- 

109 



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 
denly shy. 

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 
keeping." 

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?" 
no 



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 
towards her. 

"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 

in 



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 
her hand. 

Walda studied the face for a few moments. 

"Thy cousin Beatrice is fair indeed." As she spoke 
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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 
brain. 

"What is thy cousin s work?" Walda inquired, 
again studying the photograph. 

"Work?" repeated Everett. "Why, she has no 
work." 

8 113 



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 
labor?" 

"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 
from Everett. 

"I am not like Solomon, Walda," Everett replied, 
with an uncomfortable feeling that he belonged to a 
useless class. 

"But you have money so that you live without 
work?" 

"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 
114 



WALDA 

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 
vantage." 

" 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. 



XI 



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. 

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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 

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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 

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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- 

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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. 

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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 
said. 

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 
eyes. 

"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 
irritated him. 

"Nay, thou seemest to hold the power which keep 

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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. 

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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 
Marta Bachmann." 

"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 
day. 

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 
colony?" 

" 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 

123 



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 
Zanah." 

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 
prophetess. 

"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." 

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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 
questioned. 

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 

126 



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 

127 



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 
tered. 

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 
erett : 

"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." 

128 



W A L D A 

Everett winced. 

"But I don t want you to think of me as your 
brother," he said. "I would have you call me 
friend." 

" 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- 
chung ?" 

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 
9 129 



W A L D A 

thy good to stay here, I can no longer feel that I am 
selfish." 

"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 
freed herself. 

"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 
stern voice. 

The fool leisurely seated himself upon the flat stone 
and answered: 

"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." 

130 



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. 



XII 



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. 

132 



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 
dering tone. 

"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 
apple?" 

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 
things." 

Scores of round eyes immediately were turned upon 
Johann with glances of envy. 

" But did man fall through his own sinful desires?" 
133 



W A L D A 

questioned the Herr Doktor, standing very straight, 
throwing out his chest, and lifting his chin out of his 
big stock. 

"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 
with him. 

"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 
134 



W A L D A 

woman, was full of curiosity; she inclined her ear to 
the serpent." 

"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 
his hand. 

"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." 

135 



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 
undertone. 

"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 

136 



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 
colony." 

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 
Lord?" 

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 
with thee." 

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 
the Bible." 

"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 
138 



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 
bling face." 

"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 
base charges." 

Karl Weisel put his fat hands into his deep pockets, 
rose from his chair, and walked back and forth upon 
the platform. 

"This quarrel is most unseemly," remarked Adolph 
Schneider, who had been leaning on his cane and idly 
listening. 

"Speak!" said Gerson Brandt. "Thou shalt not 
leave this room until thou hast taken back thy 
words." 

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. 

139 



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 
out." 

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 
don." 

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 

140 



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 
room. 

"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 
141 



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 
stock. 

"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- 
colonist." 

"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 

142 



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 
Zanah." 

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 
thee to-day." 

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 
Doktor. 

"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 
elders." 

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 

144 



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 
with impatience. 

"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 
search." 

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 
is." 

"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." 

145 



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 
an insult?" 

Walda came closer to him. 

"Gerson Brandt, it may be wicked of me, but some- 
146 



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 
that." 

"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 
overcome sin." 

"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 
colony." 

" 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, 

147 



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 
colony." 

Walda s words smote the school-master. A faint 
148 



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 
the colony." 

"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, 
Walda?" 

"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 
to thee?" 

149 



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?" 
she repeated. 

"Thou hast forever a place in the sanctuary of my 
heart, Walda." 

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 
temptations." 

"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 
from thee." 

"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 
answered : 

"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 
one else." 

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 

152 



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 
for me." 

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 
beyond reach. 



XIII 

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 
Weisel. 

" 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 
transgressions." 

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 
elders. 

"I spoke the truth. But not every one knoweth 
54 



W A L D A 

the truth to understand it," answered the simple 
one. 

"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 
stocks." 

"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, 
coaxingly. 

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." 

5* 



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 
counter. 

"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 
imprisonment. 

It was late that night when Everett returned to the 
157 



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 
gaining strength. 

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 

158 



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. 

160 



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 
boys said: 

"These are the stocks in which Hans Peter must 
sit until he tells where the school-master s Bible is 
hidden." 

"Where is Hans Peter now?" 

The boy had been silenced by the men, and he dared 
not reply. 

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. 

" 161 



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 
most restored." 

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 

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W A L D A 

and broke down. Everett heard the song, and the 
bird-voice carried with it an accusation against his 
loyalty. 

"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. 

163 



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 
a quarrel. 

"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 
sisted. 

"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 

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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 
ankles. 

"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 

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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 
stocks. 

"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, 
tauntingly : 

"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 

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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 
ency. 

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 
knit. 

" I hope he will remember all the impertinent things 
he hath said to us, and know that he is receiving his 

167 



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 
mon gossip. 

"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 

168 



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 
ment. 

"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 

169 



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, 
she said: 

"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 

170 



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 
set free." 

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 ? 

171 



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 
power?" 

"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 

172 



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 
the prophetess. 

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 
173 



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 
knitting. 

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 
vines. 

"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 
conscience. 

"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 
the square. 

"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 
now." 

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, 

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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 
two steps. 

" 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." 

176 



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 
ised. 

"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 

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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 
breathing. 

"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. 



XIV 

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 

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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 

1 80 



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 
iance. 

"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." 

" 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. 

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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 
earth?" 

"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." 

Walda hesitated. 

182 



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 
seat. 

"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, 

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W A L D A 

told her to look at the wavering shadows in the 
water. 

"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 
more." 

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 
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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 
vanish." 

"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 
clasp, said: 

" I have a mind never to let you go from me, Walda. 
85 



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 
my thoughts." 

"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- 

186 



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 
ing." 

"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 
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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 
denly disturbed. 

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 

188 



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. 



XV 



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 
thoughts. 

"This is my son Johann," she said, pushing the lad 
forward. 

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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 
kitchen. 

Everett sauntered into the office, which was occu 
pied by Hans Peter. The simple one had placed upon 

191 



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 
simple one." 

The simple one took into his hand a gourd which 
toore but one or two deep cuts dried into its hardened 
surface. 

"This Hans Peter had in his pocket on the day 
that he carried the carpet-bag of the stranger," he 
said. 

"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 
Everett explained. 

"This meaneth that the stranger in Zanah bringeth 
trouble," the village fool answered. 

Everett paced up and down the sanded floor for a 
few moments. 

"You are not a prophet, Hans Peter," he said, 
stopping to pull the village fool s ear. " Have I done 
any harm in Zanah?" 

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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 
13 193 



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 
hopeless. 

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 
laconic fashion. 

194 



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 

195 



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 
plied, carelessly. 

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 
196 



W A L D A 

thy services in helping to restore me to health," said 
Wilhelm Kellar. "Wilt thou render to me thine ac 
counting?" 

" 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 
not understand. 

" 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 
pointed. 

"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 
oaken chair. 

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- 

198 



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 
melody. 

While Walda sang, the man of the world listened 
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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 
passed. 

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 
vancement. 

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 
Doktor asked. 

" 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- 

201 



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. 
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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 
nation. 

"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." 

203 



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 

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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 

205 



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 
me." 

"That is but a small matter. The stranger in Za- 
nah hath sometimes made my heart leap, but that 
meaneth naught." 

" After the hour in which Joseph Hoff looked at me, 
206 



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." 

207 



WALDA 

"Thou wert wrong to listen," said Walda. 

"Thou hast spoken often with the stranger in 
Zanah." 

" 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 
day." 

" 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 

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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 
reply. 

"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." 

2IO 



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 
said. 

"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 ?" 

211 



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 
love?" 

"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 
emotion. 

"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." 

212 



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 
him. 

"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 
hension." 

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 
wicked world." 

His long hair was wet as it lay upon his shoulders, 
and his thin face was deeply lined. 

213 



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 
love." 

"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 
world?" 

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 
settle. 

"Thy time of inspiration is so near that thou 
shouldst not speak to the stranger," he said, in a soft- 

214 



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 
love." 

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 
phen." 

"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. 



XVI 

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- 

217 



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 
mann. 

"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 
chance ghost. 

"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 

218 



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 
serviceable rain-coat. 

"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." 

219 



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 
given me." 

220 



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 
hair. 

" 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." 

222 



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." 



XVII 

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 

224 



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 
future. 

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 
ts 225 



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- 

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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 
her. 

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 
227 



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 
etess." 

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 
knee. 

"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 

228 



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 
quiet valley. 

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 

229 



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 
emotion. 

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 

230 



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 
ness. 

" 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?" 

231 



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 
hood. 

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 
tion." 

232 



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 
lightly disguised. 

"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 
lips. 

"Tell me, is human love such a wicked thing, after 
2 33 



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 
life?" 

"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 
234 



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 

235 



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 
the meeting-house. 

"Thou wilt find nothing to distract thy thoughts 
here," said Mother Kaufmann, glancing into the 
room. 

"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 

236 



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 
room. 

2 37 



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 

238 



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 

2 39 



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 
him. 

"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 
240 



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 
prophetess." 

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 

16 241 



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 
free her. 

"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. 
Promise." 

"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 
242 



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 
there, Walda?" 

She smiled confidently and answered: "Thy love 
will dwell in my heart forever." 

He kissed her farewell, holding both her hands in 
his. 

"I wish I could spare you the ordeal of the Unter 
suchung," he exclaimed. "Why need we care for all 
the world?" 

"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 
replied : 

"Thou wilt be ordered out of the colony for this 
day s work." 

243 



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. 



XVIII 

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. 

245 



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 
occasion. 

"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 
angels." 

"I intend to go to the Untersuehung, Hans Peter, 
and I want you to find a good place from which I can 

246 



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 
year." 

"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 
sit?" 

" 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 
lars?" 

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 

247 



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^ 

248 



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 

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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, 

250 



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 

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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 
ders." 

"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 
with awe. 

"To all you of Zanah I have a last message," she 
said, turning first to the elders and then to the people. 

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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. 

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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 

254 



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 
peace. 

"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- 
255 



W A L D A 

eth not to Zanah," Walda answered, in unfaltering 
tones. 

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 
heart forever." 

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 

256 



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 
confound us." 

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. 
17 257 



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- 
258 



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. 

259 



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 
cheek. 

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, 

260 



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 
my liberty." 

The elders had gathered about Gerson Brandt and 
Walda. Wilhelm Kellar tottered to his daughter s 

261 



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?" 
he cried. 

Walda sobbed, still holding his frail body close to 
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WALDA 

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 
late." 

"There is no repentance in my heart," she said, ris 
ing to her feet. "This love must ever seem to me a 
holy thing." 

"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 
Kellar. 

"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 
dous effort: 

"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!" 

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W A L D A 

Wilhelm Kellar heard the insult to his daughter, 
and once more raising himself on his cane, he called 
out: 

"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 
loving kindness." 

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 
feet. 

Walda bent over him with a cry of such agony and 
fear that it pierced to the outer edge of the great as 
sembly. 

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 
bosom. 

"Stephen, Stephen," she called, "come to my 
father! 

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. 

264 



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 
away. 

"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 
strife." 

" 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 
the lips. 

" I surrender myself as your prisoner," Everett said, 
addressing Gerson Brandt. " It will not be necessary 

265 



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 
Untersuchung. 

"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 

266 



W A L D A 

men stooped to raise the bier, Adolph Schneider 
spoke : 

"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 
Zanah." 

"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, 

267 



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 

268 



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 
wrong." 

"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," 
he commanded. 

Again the women hissed their fallen prophetess. 
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W A L D A 

Raising her hands to heaven, Walda uttered the 
words : 

"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. 



XIX 

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 

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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," 

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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. 

18 273 



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 
youth." 

"Thou knowest that I would watch o er thee," said 
the school-master. 

"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, 

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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 
will." 

"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 

275 



W A L D A 

hundredfold for whatever may have been done for 
thee." 

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 
steps. 

"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." 

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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 
277 



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 
swered. 

"After the funeral to-morrow thou art to have a 
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W A L D A 

trial, and then the people of Zanah will fix thy pen 
alty." 

"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 
work." 

"So long as Walda Kellar is guarded it will be safe 
to let thee have thy freedom, but we take no chances 
now." 

"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 
torted, angrily. 

"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, 
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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 
loved. 

"Her confession broke her father s heart," said the 
Herr Doktor. 

"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 
ject. 

"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, 

289 



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. 



XX 



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 

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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. 

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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 
strength. 

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 
aside. 

"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. 

284 



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: 

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W A L D A 

"Thy love leads the way of thy duty. Harbor no 
longer the thought of sacrificing thyself to no pur 
pose." 

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 
one. 

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 

286 



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 
Bible forth." 

"Would the fool make terms with the elders of 
Zanah? Bring forth the Bible," commanded the 
Herr Doktor. 

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 
Peter. 

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- 
287 



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 
from Zanah. 

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. 
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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. 

19 



XXI 

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 
fastened. 

290 



W A L D A 

At the first sight of him some of the villagers gave 
vent to indignant murmurs, which were quickly 
quieted. 

"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 
ness." 

"He shall be punished!" shouted some of the 
people. 

"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. 

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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 
shamefaced glances. 

"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 
woman?" 

A minute passed. 

292 



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 
sion. 

"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 
school-master. 

"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 
faces. 

"Let us free the stranger and send him out of 
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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 
face. 

" 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 
inn. 

A chorus of voices bade the school-master deal with 
the prisoner. 

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 
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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 
Everett. 

"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 

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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 

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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 

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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 
fallen prophetess. 

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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?" 
he asked. 

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 
answered. 

"Thou shalt be cut off from the roll of those who 
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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 

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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 
the stranger." 

"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. 

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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." 

302 



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 
life." 

"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 - 

303 



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." 



XXII 

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 
35 



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 
so?" 

"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 

306 



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 
gayety. 

"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." 

Everett laughed. 

"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." 

37 



WALDA 

"And thou wilt be patient with me? Thou wilt 
teach me all that I should learn, if I would be thy 
worthy companion?" 

"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 
smote me." 

"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 
prehension?" 

"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 
courage. 

" 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. 

308 



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 
of love-songs. 

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. 

39 



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 
and beauty." 

He trusted himself to let one hand reach out above 
her head. 

"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 
strength. 

They stood silent for a moment. 
310 



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- 

3 11 



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 
said. 

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 
speak. 



THE END 



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