LILITH A Fantasy Novel By George MacDonald - online book

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i So
you found me, I found a man ! I put you to the test; you stood it; your love was genuine !—It was, however, far from ideal—far from such love as I would have. You loved me truly, but not with true love. Pity has, but is not love. What woman of any world would return love for pity ? Such love as yours was then, is hateful to me. I knew that, if you saw me as I am, you would love me—like the rest of them—to have and to hold : I would none of that either! I would be otherwise loved ! I would have a love that outlived hopelessness, outmeasured indifference, hate, scorn ! Therefore did I put on cruelty, despite, ingratitude. When I left you, I had shown myself such as you could at least no longer follow from pity: I was no longer in need of you! But you must satisfy my desire or set me free— prove yourself priceless or worthless ! To satisfy the hunger of my love, you must follow me, looking for nothing, not gratitude, not even pity in return !—follow and find me, and be content with merest presence, with scantest forbearance !—I, not you, have failed ; I yield the contest.'
She looked at me tenderly, and hid her face in her hands. But I had caught a flash and a sparkle behind the tenderness, and did not believe her. She laid herself out to secure and enslave me ; she only fascinated me !
' Beautiful princess,' I said, ' let me understand how you came to be found in such evil plight.'
' There are things I cannot explain,' she replied, 'until you have become capable of understanding them—which can only be when love is grown perfect. There are many things so hidden from you that you cannot even wish to know them; but any question you can put, I can in some measure answer.
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