LILITH A Fantasy Novel By George MacDonald - online book

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178                                  LILITH
in the marble floor, and seemed to invite me to its embrace. Except the hot stream, two draughts in the cottage of the veiled woman, and the pools in the track of the wounded leopardess, I had not seen water since leaving home it looked a thing celestial. I plunged in.
Immediately my brain was filled with an odour strange and delicate, which yet I did not altogether like. It made me doubt the princess afresh: had she medicated it ? had she enchanted it ? was she in any way working on me unlawfully ? And how was there water in the palace, and not a drop in the city ? I remembered the crushed paw of the leopardess, and sprang from the bath.
What had I been bathing in? Again I saw the fleeing mother, again I heard the howl, again I saw the limping beast. But what matter whence it flowed ? was not the water sweet ? Was it not very water the pitcher-plant secreted from its heart, and stored for the weary traveller ? Water came from heaven : what mattered the well where it gathered, or the spring whence it burst ? But I did not re-enter the bath.
I put on the robe of white wool, embroidered on the neck and hem, that lay ready for me, and went down the stair to the room whither my hostess had directed me. It was round, all of alabaster, and without a single window: the light came through everywhere, a soft, pearly shimmer rather than shine. Vague shadowy forms went flitting about over the walls and low dome, like loose rain-clouds over a gray-blue sky.
The princess stood waiting me, in a robe embroidered with argentine rings and discs, rectangles and lozenges, close together—a silver mail. It fell unbroken from
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