A Word, Only a Word is a historical novel set in Germany's Black Forests in the 16th century, portraying realistic pictures of the persecutions and sufferings of the Jews in medieval Europe. "The safety of the town in the narrow forest-valley was well secured, a wall and ditch enclosed it; only the houses on the edge of the ravine were unprotected. True, the mouth of the pass was covered by the field pieces on the city wall, and the strong tower beside the gate, but it was not incumbent on the citizens to provide for the safety of the row of houses up there. It was called the Richtberg and nobody lived there except the rabble, executioners, and poor folk who were not granted the rights of citizenship. Adam, the smith, had forfeited his, and Ruth's father, Doctor Costa, was a Jew, who ought to be thankful that he was tolerated in the old forester's house. The street was perfectly still. A few children were jumping over the mud-puddles, and an old washerwoman was putting a wooden vessel under the gutter, to collect the rain-water."