A fantasy novel by George MacDonald

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204                            PHANTASTES:
thing clearly defined. At last, as I sang of her des­cending hair, the glow of soul faded away, like a dying sunset A lamp within had been extin­guished, and the house of life shone blank in a winter morn. She was a statue once more—but visible, and that was much gained. Yet the revul­sion from hope and fruition was such, that, unable to restrain myself, I sprang to her, and, in defiance of the law of the place, flung my arms around her, as if I would tear her from the grasp of a visible Death, and lifted her from the pedestal down to my heart. But no sooner had her feet ceased to be in contact with the black pedestal, than she shuddered and trembled all over; then, writhing from my arms, before I could tighten their hold, she sprang into the corridor, with the reproachful cry, " You should not have touched me!" darted behind one of the exterior pillars of the circle, and disappeared. I followed almost as fast; but ere I could reach the pillar, the sound of a closing door, the saddest of all sounds sometimes, fell on*my ear; and, arriving at the spot where she had vanished, I saw, lighted by a pale yellow lamp which hung above it, a heavy, rough door, altoge­ther unlike any others I had seen in the palace;
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