“What have you done, Amrah?” she said. “Is it by such disobedience you prove your love for us? Wicked woman! You are lost; and he- your master- you can never, never go back to him.”
Amrah grovelled sobbing in the dust.
“The ban of the Law is upon you, too; you cannot return to Jerusalem. What will become of us? Who will bring us bread? O wicked, wicked Amrah! We are all, all undone alike!”
“Mercy, mercy!” Amrah answered from the ground.
“You should have been merciful to yourself, and by so doing been most merciful to us. Now where can we fly? There is no one to help us. O false servant! The wrath of the Lord was already too heavy upon us.”
Here Tirzah, awakened by the noise, appeared at the door of the tomb. The pen shrinks from the picture she presented. In the half-clad apparition, patched with scales, lividly seamed, nearly blind, its limbs and extremities swollen to grotesque largeness, familiar eyes however sharpened by love could not have recognized the creature of grace and purity we first beheld her.
“Is it Amrah, mother?”
The servant tried to crawl to her also.
“Stay, Amrah!’ the widow cried, imperiously. “I forbid you touching her. Rise, and get you gone before any at the well see you here. Nay, I forgot- it is too late! You must remain now and share our doom. Rise, I say!”
Amrah rose to her knees, and said, brokenly and with clasped hands, “O good mistress! I am not false- I am not wicked. I bring you good tidings.”
“Of Judah?” and as she spoke, the widow half withdrew the cloth from her head.
“There is a wonderful man,” Amrah continued, “who has power to cure you. He speaks a word, and the sick are made well, and even the dead come to life. I have come to take you to him.”
“Poor Amrah!” said Tirzah, compassionately.
“No,” cried Amrah, detecting the doubt underlying the expression- “no, as the Lord lives, even the Lord of Israel, my God as well as yours, I speak the truth. Go with me, I pray, and lose no time. This morning he will pass by on his way to the city. See! the day is at hand. Take the food here- eat, and let us go.”
The mother listened eagerly. Not unlikely she had heard of the wonderful man, for by this time his fame had penetrated every nook in the land.
“Who is he?” she asked.
“Who told you about him?”
“Judah told you? Is he at home?”
“He came last night.”
The widow, trying to still the beating of her heart, was silent awhile.
“Did Judah send you to tell us this?” she next asked.
“No. He believes you dead.”
“There was a prophet once who cured a leper,” the mother said thoughtfully to Tirzah; “but he had his power from God.” Then addressing Amrah, she asked, “How does my son know this man so possessed?”