A fantasy novel by George MacDonald

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82              .              PHANTASTES:
admiration he manifests) makes her very lovely—with a self-destructive beauty, though; for it is that which is constantly wearing her away within, till, at last, the decay will reach her face, and her whole front, when all the lovely mask of nothing will fall to pieces, and she be vanished for ever. So a wise man, whom she met in the wood some years ago, and who, I think, for all his wisdom, fared no better than you, told me, when, like you, he spent the next night here, and recounted to me his adventures."
I thanked her very warmly for her solution, though it was but partial; wondering much that in her, as in the woman I met on my first entering the forest, there should be such superiority to her apparent con­dition. Here she left me to take some rest; though, indeed, I was too much agitated to rest in any other way than by simply ceasing to move.
In half an hour, I heard a heavy step approach and enter the house. A jolly voice, whose slight huskiness appeared to proceed from overmuch laughter, called out: " Betsy, the pigs5 trough is quite empty, and that is a pity. Let them swill, lass! They 're of no use but to get fat Ha! ha! ha! Gluttony is not forbidden in their commandments. Ha! ha! ha! " The very voice, kind and jovial,
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