LILITH A Fantasy Novel By George MacDonald - online book

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34                                     LILITH
horizontally, turned it slowly round to all the points ol the compass, and said nothing.
I followed the beak with my eyes, and lo, without church or graves, all was a churchyard! Wherever the dreary wind swept, there was the raven's cemetery! He was sexton of all he surveyed! lord of all that was laid aside ! I stood in the burial-ground of the uni­verse ; its compass the unenclosed heath, its wall the gray horizon, low and starless ! I had left spring and sum­mer, autumn and sunshine behind me, and come to the winter that waited for me ! I had set out in the prime of my youth, and here I was already !—But I mistook. The day might well be long in that region, for it con­tained the seasons. "Winter slept there, the night through, in his winding-sheet of ice; with childlike smile, Spring came awake in the dawn; at noon, Summer blazed abroad in her gorgeous beauty; with the slow-changing afternoon, old Autumn crept in, and died at the first breath of the vaporous, ghosty night.
As we drew near the cottage, the clouded sun was rushing down the steepest slope of the west, and he sank while we were yet a few yards from the door. The same instant I was assailed by a cold that seemed almost a material presence, and I struggled across the threshold as if from the clutches of an icy death. A wind swelled up on the moor, and rushed at the door as with difficulty I closed it behind me. Then all was still, and I looked about me.
A candle burned on a deal table in the middle of the room, and the first thing I saw was the lid of a coffin, as I thought, set up against the wall; but it opened, for it was a door, and a woman entered. She was all in white —as white as new-fallen snow; and her face was as
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