THE MISTRESS OF THE SILVER MOON. 23
you will soon satisfy yourself that there is a moon looking in at it."
The gentleness of the voice made Curdie remember his manners. He shut the door, and drew a step or two nearer to the moonlight.
All the time the sound of the spinning had been going on and on, and Curdie now caught sight of the wheel. Oh, it was such a thin, delicate thingóreminding him of a spider's web in a hedge ! It stood in the middle of the moonlight, and it seemed as if the moonlight had nearly melted it away. A step nearer, he saw, with a start, two little hands at work with it. And then at last, in the shadow on the other side of the moonlight which came like a river between, he saw the form to which the hands belonged : a small, withered creature, so old that no age would have seemed too great to write under her picture, seated on a stool beyond the spinning-wheel, which looked very large beside her, but, as I said, veiy thin, like a long-legged spider holding up its own web, which was the round wheel itself. She sat crumpled together, a filmy thing that it seemed a puff would blow away, more like the body of a fly the big spider had sucked empty and left hanging in his web, than anything else I can think of.
When Curdie saw her, he stood still again, a good deal in wonder, a very little in reverence, a little in doubt, and,