'Naphtali!' cried the young woman.
'Silence! silence! do not let that name pass your lips again,' he demanded, violently. 'The more you repeat it
the greater becomes your sin. Why did you not speak when you could have spoken? God can never easily
forgive you that. To be silent, to keep secret in one's breast what would have made another man happier than
the mightiest monarch! Thereby you have made him more than unhappy. He will nevermore have the desire to
be happy. Veile, God in heaven cannot forgive you for that.'
'Silence! silence!' groaned the wretched woman.
'No, Veile,' he continued, with a stronger voice, 'let me talk now. You are certainly willing to hear me
speak? Listen to me. You must do severe penance for this sin, the twofold sin which rests upon your head.
God is long-suffering and merciful. He will perhaps look down upon your misery, and will blot out your guilt
from the great book of transgressions. But you must become penitent. Hear, now, what it shall be.'
The rabbi paused. He was on the point of saying the severest thing that had ever passed his lips.
'You were silent, Veile,' then he cried, 'when you should have spoken. Be silent now forever to all men and
to yourself. From the moment you leave this house, until I grant it, you must be dumb; you dare not let a loud
word pass from your mouth. Will you undergo this penance?'
'I will do all you say,' moaned the young woman.
'Will you have strength to do it?' he asked, gently.
'I shall be as silent as death,' she replied.
'And one thing more I have to say to you,' he continued. 'You are the wife of your husband. Return home
and be a Jewish wife.'
'I understand you,' she sobbed in reply.
'Go to your home now, and bring peace to your parents and husband. The time will come when you may
speak, when your sin will be forgiven you. Till then bear what has been laid upon you.'
'May I say one thing more?' she cried, lifting up her head.
'Speak,' he said.
The rabbi covered his eyes with one hand, with the other motioned her to be silent. But she grasped his hand,
drew it to her lips. Hot tears fell upon it.
'Go now,' he sobbed, completely broken down.
She let go the hand. The rabbi had seized the candle, but she had already passed him, and glided through the dark hall. The door was left open. The rabbi locked it again.