THE EMERALD. 49
of all hues and sizes, and again nebulous spaces of thousands of tiniest spots of brilliancy of every conceivable shade. Sometimes the colours ran together, and made a little river or lake of lambent interfusing and changing tints, which, by their variegation, seemed to imitate the flowing of water, or waves made by the wind Curdie would have gazed entranced, but that all the beauty of the cavern, yes, of all he knew of the whole creation, seemed gathered in one centre of harmony and loveliness in 'the person of the ancient lady who stood before him in the very summer of beauty and strength. Turning from the first glance at the circumfulgent splendour, it dwindled into nothing as he looked again at the lady. Nothing flashed or glowed or shone about her, and yet it was with a prevision of the truth that he said,—
" I was here once before, ma'am."
"I know that, Curdie," she replied.
* The place was full of torches, and the walls gleamed, but nothing as they do now, and there is no light in the place."
" You want to know where the light comes from ? " she said, smiling.
" Then see: I will go out of the cavern. Do not be
afraid, but watch."
She went slowly out. The moment she turned her