Hildegard takes an interest in John Anderson, the newcomer, when she pays him a visit after overhearing that the man will not allow the parish to gather in his lovely garden for their annual picnic, as is the 75 year tradition. While he's a bit of a curmudgeon, Anderson wins the interest of Hildegard, who eventually deduces that he must be a famous judge out of Boston, now retired and living in seclusion. The annual parish picnic is held at Anderson's house, and Hildegard divulges his identity. Townspeople come to respect and trust him greatly on account of his reputation. When he dies, everyone in the town feels the loss, and Hildegard's father must deliver the eulogy. Just as he is preparing his last respects, it is discovered that Anderson's real name is John Louton. He was a convicted strangler who the real Judge Anderson had sentenced years before. Hildegard's father decides to let him rest in peace and carry the secret with him, and from this time forward, he and Hildegard have a better understanding of one another.