I SLEEP THE SLEEP 313
wait there until she appear. Then ask counsel of her, for she is true, and her wisdom is great.'
He fell to weeping afresh, and I left him weeping. What I said, I fear he did not heed. But Mara would find him !
The sun was down, and the moon unrisen, when I reached the abode of the monsters, but it was still as a stone till I passed over. Then I heard a noise of many waters, and a great cry behind me, but I did not turn my head.
Ere I reached the house of death, the cold was bitter and the darkness dense; and the cold and the darkness were one, and entered into my bones together. But the candle of Eve, shining from the window, guided me, and kept both frost and murk from my heart.
The door stood open, and the cottage lay empty. I sat down disconsolate.
And as I sat, there grew in me such a sense of loneli≠ness as never yet in my wanderings had I felt. Thou≠sands were near me, not one was with me ! True, it was I who was dead, not they; but, whether by their life or by my death, we were divided ! They were alive, but I was not dead enough even to know them alive: doubt would come. They were, at best, far from me, and helpers I had none to lay me beside them!
Never before had I known, or truly imagined deso≠lation ! In vain I took myself to task, saying the soli≠tude was but a seeming : I was awake, and they sleptó that was all! it was only that they lay so still and did not speak ! they were with me now, and soon, soon I should be with them !
I dropped Adam's old spade, and the dull sound of its fall on the clay floor seemed reverberated from the