She eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 371 pages of information about She.
wrung from Nature, since at last I too must die?  What is a span of ten thousand years, or ten times ten thousand years, in the history of time?  It is as naught—­it is as the mists that roll up in the sunlight; it fleeth away like an hour of sleep or a breath of the Eternal Spirit.  Behold the lot of man!  Certainly it shall overtake us, and we shall sleep.  Certainly, too, we shall awake and live again, and again shall sleep, and so on and on, through periods, spaces, and times, from aeon unto aeon, till the world is dead, and the worlds beyond the world are dead, and naught liveth but the Spirit that is Life.  But for us twain and for these dead ones shall the end of ends be Life, or shall it be Death?  As yet Death is but Life’s Night, but out of the night is the Morrow born again, and doth again beget the Night.  Only when Day and Night, and Life and Death, are ended and swallowed up in that from which they came, what shall be our fate, oh Holly?  Who can see so far?  Not even I!”

And then, with a sudden change of tone and manner—­

“Hast thou seen enough, my stranger guest, or shall I show thee more of the wonders of these tombs that are my palace halls?  If thou wilt, I can lead thee to where Tisno, the mightiest and most valorous King of Kor, in whose day these caves were ended, lies in a pomp that seems to mock at nothingness, and bid the empty shadows of the past do homage to his sculptured vanity!”

“I have seen enough, oh Queen,” I answered.  “My heart is overwhelmed by the power of the present Death.  Mortality is weak, and easily broken down by a sense of the companionship that waits upon its end.  Take me hence, oh Ayesha!”

XVII

THE BALANCE TURNS

In a few minutes, following the lamps of the mutes, which, held out from the body as a bearer holds water in a vessel, had the appearance of floating down the darkness by themselves, we came to a stair which led us to She’s ante-room, the same that Billali had crept up upon on all fours on the previous day.  Here I would have bid the Queen adieu, but she would not.

“Nay,” she said, “enter with me, oh Holly, for of a truth thy conversation pleaseth me.  Think, oh Holly:  for two thousand years have I had none to converse with save slaves and my own thoughts, and though of all this thinking hath much wisdom come, and many secrets been made plain, yet am I weary of my thoughts, and have come to loathe mine own society, for surely the food that memory gives to eat is bitter to the taste, and it is only with the teeth of hope that we can bear to bite it.  Now, though thy thoughts are green and tender, as becometh one so young, yet are they those of a thinking brain, and in truth thou dost bring back to my mind certain of those old philosophers with whom in days bygone I have disputed at Athens, and at Becca in Arabia, for thou hast the same crabbed air and dusty look,

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Project Gutenberg
She from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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