'I will not' I cried again ; and in the compassing dark, the two gleamed out like spectres that waited on the dead; neither answered me ; each stood still and sad, and looked at the other.
' Be of good comfort; we watch the flock of the great shepherd,' said the sexton to his wife.
Then he turned to me.
' Didst thou not find the air of the place pure and sweet when thou enteredst it ?' he asked.
' Yes; but oh, so cold ! ' I answered.
- Then know,' he returned, and his voice was stern, ' that thou who callest thyself alive, hast brought into this chamber the odours of death, and its air will not be wholesome for the sleepers until thou art gone from it!'
They went farther into the great chamber, and I was left alone in the moonlight with the dead.
I turned to escape.
What a long way I found it back through the dead! At first I was too angry to be afraid, but as I grew calm, the still shapes grew terrible. At last, with loud offence to the gracious silence, I ran, I fled wildly, and, bursting out, flung-to the door behind me. It closed with an awful silence.
I stood in pitch-darkness. Feeling about me, I found a door, opened it, and was aware of the dim light of a lamp. I stood in my library, with the handle of the masked door in my hand.
Had I come to myself out of a vision ?—or lost myself by going back to one ? "Which was the real—what I now saw, or what I had just ceased to see ? Could both be real, interpenetrating yet unmingling ?
I threw myself on a couch, and fell asleep.