LILITH A Fantasy Novel By George MacDonald - online book

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70                                    LILITH
blending its individual motion with the sway of its branch and the rock of its bough. Among its leafy shapes was a pack of wolves that struggled to break from a wizard's leash: greyhounds would not have strained so savagely ! I watched them with an interest that grew as the wind gathered force, and their motions life.
Another mass of foliage, larger and more compact, presented my fancy with a group of horses' heads and forequarters projecting caparisoned from their stalls. Their necks kept moving up and down, with an im­patience that augmented as the growing wind broke their vertical rhythm with a wilder swaying from side to side. What heads they were! how gaunt, how strange !— several of them bare skulls—one with the skin tight on its bones ! One had lost the under jaw and hung low, looking unutterably weary—but now and then hove high as if to ease the bit. Above them, at the end of a branch, floated erect the form of a woman, waving her arms in imperious gesture. The definiteness of these and other leaf masses first surprised and then discom­posed me : what if they should overpower my brain with seeming reality ? But the twilight became darkness ; the wind ceased ; every shape was shut up in the night; I fell asleep.
It was still dark when I began to be aware of a far-off, confused, rushing noise, mingled with faint cries. It grew and grew until a tumult as of gathering multitudes filled the wood. On all sides at once the sounds drew nearer; the spot where I lay seemed the centre of a commotion that extended throughout the forest. I scarce moved hand or foot lest I should betray my pre­sence to hostile things.
The moon at length approached the forest, and came
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