The people under whose eyes all this had passed made way for the servant, and even helped her fill the jar, so piteous was the grief her countenance showed.
“Who are they?” a woman asked.
Amrah meekly answered, “They used to be good to me.”
Raising the jar upon her shoulder, she hurried back. In forgetfulness she would have gone to them, but the cry “Unclean, unclean! Beware!” arrested her. Placing the water by the basket, she stepped back, and stood off a little way.
“Thank you, Amrah,” said the mistress, taking the articles into possession. “This is very good of you.”
“Is there nothing more I can do?” asked Amrah.
The mother’s hand was upon the jar, and she was fevered with thirst; yet she paused, and, rising, said firmly, “Yes, I know that Judah has come home. I saw him at the gate the night before last, asleep on the step. I saw you wake him.”
Amrah clasped her hands.
“O my mistress! You saw it, and did not come!”
“That would have been to kill him. I can never take him in my arms again. I can never kiss him more. O Amrah, Amrah, you love him, I know!”
“Yes,” said the true heart, bursting into tears again, and kneeling. “I would die for him.”
“Prove to me what you say, Amrah.”
“I am ready.”
“Then you shall not tell him where we are or that you have seen us- only that, Amrah.”
“But he is looking for you. He has come from afar to find you.”
“He must not find us. He shall become what we are. Hear, Amrah. You shall serve us as you have this day. You shall bring us the little we need- not long now- not long. You shall come every morning and evening thus, and- and”- the voice trembled, the strong will almost broke down- “and you shall tell us of him, Amrah; but to him you shall say nothing of us. Hear you?”
“Oh, it will be so hard to hear him speak of you, and see him going about looking for you- to see all his love, and not tell him so much as that you are alive!”
“Can you tell him we are well, Amrah?”
The servant bowed her head in her arms.
“No,” the mistress continued; “wherefore be silent altogether. Go now, and come this evening. We will look for you. Till then, farewell.”
“The burden will be heavy, O my mistress, and hard to bear,” said Amrah, falling upon her face.
“How much harder would it be to see him as we are,” the mother answered as she gave the basket to Tirzah. “Come again this evening,” she repeated, taking up the water, and starting for the tomb.
Amrah waited kneeling until they had disappeared; then she took the road sorrowfully home.
In the evening she returned and thereafter it became her custom to serve them in the morning and evening, so that they wanted for nothing needful. The tomb, though ever so stony and desolate, was less cheerless than the cell in the Tower had been. Daylight gilded its door, and it was in the beautiful world. Then, one can wait death with so much more faith out under the open sky.