In one street through which she passed lived a simple Slovak priest. He was sorely torn over the sad conflict raging in Europe and was undecided whether he should preach a sermon advocating peace at all costs or preparation for fighting. He debated the question back and forth in his mind, and, unable to come to any decision in the narrow confines of his little house, walked up and down on the cold porch seeking for light in the matter. “Oh, for a sign from heaven,” he sighed, “such as came to the saints of old to solve their troublesome questions!” Scarcely had the wish passed through his mind when a vision appeared. Down the dark street came rushing the heroic image of Joan of Arc, with sword uplifted, her head shining with the refulgence of the halo. At his gate she paused and stood a long time looking at him. Sahwah thought that he would come down and help her out. Instead he fell on his knees on the porch and bowed his head, crying out something in a foreign tongue. Seeing that expectation of help from that quarter was useless, Sahwah ran on and turned a nearby corner. When the priest lifted his head again the vision was gone. “It is to be war, then,” he muttered. “I have a divine command to bid my people take up arms in battle.” This was the origin of the military demonstration which took place in the Slovak settlement the following Sunday, which ended in such serious rioting.
Sahwah, running onward, suddenly found herself in the very middle of the road where two carlines crossed each other. This was a very congested corner and a policeman was stationed there to direct the traffic. This policeman, however, on this cold February day, found Mike McCarty’s saloon on the corner a much pleasanter place than the middle of the road, and paid one visit after another, while the traffic directed itself. This last time he had stayed inside much longer than he had intended to, having become involved in an argument with the proprietor of the place, and coming to himself with a guilty start he hurried out to resume his duties. On the sidewalk he stood as if paralyzed. In the middle of the road, in his place, stood an enormously tall woman, directing the traffic with a gleaming sword. “Mother av Hiven,” he muttered superstitiously, “it’s one of the saints come down to look after the job I jumped, and waiting to strike me dead when I come back.” He turned on his heel and fled up the street without once looking over his shoulder.
And thus Sahwah went from place to place, vainly looking for some one who would pull her out of the statue, and leaving everywhere she went a trail of superstitious terror, such as had never been known in the annals of the city. For a week the papers were full of the mysterious appearance of the armed woman, which was taken as a presumptive augury of war. Many affirmed that she had stopped them on the street and commanded them in tones of thunder to take up arms to save the country from destruction, and promising