LILITH A Fantasy Novel By George MacDonald - online book

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142                                   LIL1TII
Several weeks had passed thus, when one night, after lying a long time awake, I rose, thinking to go out and breathe the cooler air; for, although from the running of the stream it was always fresh in the cave, the heat was not seldom a little oppressive. The moon outside was full, the air within shadowy clear, and natu­rally I cast a lingering look on my treasure ere I went. 9 Bliss eternal!' I cried aloud, ' do I see her eyes ? ' Great orbs, dark as if cut from the sphere of a starless night, and luminous by excess of darkness, seemed to shine amid the glimmering whiteness of her face. I stole nearer, my heart beating so that I feared the noise of it startling her. I bent over her. Alas, her eyelids were close shut! Hope and Imagination had wrought mutual illusion! my heart's desire would never be! I turned away, threw myself on the floor of the cave, and wept. Then I bethought me that her eyes had been a little open, and that now the awful chink out of which nothingness had peered, was gone : it might be that she had opened them for a moment, and was again asleep ! —it might be she was awake and holding them close ! In either case, life, less or more, must have shut them! I was comforted, and fell fast asleep.
That night I was again bitten, and awoke with a burning thirst.
In the morning I searched yet more thoroughly, but again in vain. The wound was of the same character, and, as before, was nearly well by the evening. I con­cluded that some large creature of the leech kind came occasionally from the hot stream. ' But, if blood be its object,' I said to myself, so long as I am there, I need hardly fear for my treasure ! '
That same morning, when, having peeled a grape as usual and taken away the seeds, I put it in her mouth,
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