DEAD OR ALIVE? 133
doing nothing.' So tight was the skin upon her bones that I dared not use friction.
I crept into the heap of leaves, got as close to her as I could, and took her in my arms. I had not much heat left in me, but what I had I would share with her ! Thus I spent what remained of the night, sleepless, and longing for the sun. Her cold seemed to radiate into me, but no heat to pass from me to her.
Had I fled from the beautiful sleepers, I thought, each on her ' dim, straight' silver couch, to lie alone with such a bedfellow! I had refused a lovely privilege : I was given over to an awful duty! Beneath the sad, slow-setting moon, I lay with the dead, and watched for the dawn.
The darkness had given way, and the eastern horizon was growing dimly clearer, when I caught sight of a motion rather than of anything that moved—not far from me, and close to the ground. It was the low undulating of a large snake, which passed me in an unswerving line. Presently appeared, making as it seemed for the same point, what I took for a roebuck-doe and her calf. Again a while, and two creatures like bear-cubs came, with three or four smaller ones behind them. The light was now growing so rapidly that when, a few minutes after, a troop of horses went trotting past, I could see that, although the largest of them were no bigger than the smallest Shetland pony, they must yet be full-grown, so perfect were they in form, and so much had they all the ways and action of great horses. They were of many breeds. Some seemed models of carthorses, others of chargers, hunters, racers. Dwarf cattle and small elephants followed.
' Why are the children not here !' I said to myself.