LILITH A Fantasy Novel By George MacDonald - online book

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' It was a magnificent Persian—so wet and draggled, though, as to look what she was—worse than disrepu­table ! '
' What do you mean, Mr. Raven ? ' I cried, a fresh horror taking me by the throat. '—There was a beauti­ful blue Persian about the house, but she fled at the very sound of water!—Could she have been after the goldfish ?'
' We shall see !' returned the librarian. ' I know a little about cats of several sorts, and there is that in the room which will unmask this one, or I am mistaken in her.'
He rose, went to the door of the closet, brought from it the mutilated volume, and sat down again beside me. I stared at the book in his hand: it was a whole book, entire and sound!
' Where was the other half of it ? ' I gasped.
' Sticking through into my library,' he answered.
I held my peace. A single question more would have been a plunge into a bottomless sea, and there might be no time !
' Listen,' he said : ' I am going to read a stanza or two. There is one present who, I imagine, will hardly enjoy the reading ! '
He opened the vellum cover, and turned a leaf or two. The parchment was discoloured with age, and one leaf showed a dark stain over two-thirds of it. He slowly turned this also, and seemed looking for a certain passage in what appeared a continuous poem. Some­where about the middle of the book he began to read.
But what follows represents—not what he read, only the impression it made upon me. The poem seemed in a language I had never before heard, which yet I
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