THE HOUSE OF DEATH 303
' Hold, Mara !' cried her father. ' There is danger ! ' The princess turned her eyes upon Eve, beseechingly.
I There was a sword I once saw in your husband's hands,' she murmured. 'I fled when I saw it. I heard him who bore it say it would divide whatever was not one and indivisible! '
'I have the sword,' said [Adam. ' The angel gave it me when he left the gate.'
' Bring it, Adam,' pleaded Lilith, ' and cut me off this hand that I may sleep.'
' I will,' he answered.
He gave the candle to Eve, and went. The princess closed her eyes.
In a few minutes Adam returned with an ancient weapon in his hand. The scabbard looked like vellum grown dark with years, but the hilt shone like gold that nothing could tarnish. He drew out the blade. It flashed like a pale blue northern streamer, and the light of it made the princess open her eyes. She saw the sword, shuddered, and held out her hand. Adam took it. The sword gleamed once, there was one little gush of blood, and he laid the severed hand in Mara's lap. Lilith had given one moan, and was already fast asleep. Mara covered the arm with the sheet, and the three turned away.
' Will you not dress the wound ? ' I said.
' A wound from that sword,' answered Adam, needs no dressing. It is healing and not hurt.'
' Poor lady !' I said, ' she will wake with but one hand ! '
'Where the dead deformity clung,' replied Mara, ' the true, lovely hand is already growing.'
We heard a childish voice behind us, and turned