LILITH A Fantasy Novel By George MacDonald - online book

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64                                   LILITH
As I walked, my feet lost the heather, and trod a bare spongy soil, something like dry, powdery peat. To my dismay it gave a momentary heave under me; then pre­sently I saw what seemed the ripple of an earthquake running on before me, shadowy in the low moon. It passed into the distance ; but, while yet I stared after it, a single wave rose up, and came slowly toward me. A yard or two away it burst, and from it, with a scramble and a bound, issued an animal like a tiger. About his mouth and ears hung clots of mould, and his eyes winked and flamed as he rushed at me, showing his white teeth in a soundless snarl. I stood fascinated, unconscious of either courage or fear. He turned his head to the ground, and plunged into it.
' That moon is affecting my brain,' I said as I resumed my journey. ' What life can be here but the phantasmic—the stuff of which dreams are made ? I am indeed walking in a vain show! '
Thus I strove to keep my heart above the waters of fear, nor knew that she whom I distrusted was indeed my defence from the realities I took for phantoms ; her light controlled the monsters, else had I scarce taken a second step on the hideous ground. ' I will not be appalled by that which only seems !' I said to myself, yet felt it a terrible thing to walk on a sea where such fishes disported themselves below. With that, a step or two from me, the head of a worm began to come slowly out of the earth, as big as that of a polar bear and much resembling it, with a white mane to its red neck. The drawing wriggles with which its huge length ex­tricated itself were horrible, yet I dared not turn my eyes from them. The moment its tail was free, it lay
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