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Lilith George MacDonald

That Night

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She stood rigid. Mara buried her head in her hands. I gazed on the face of one who knew existence but not love--knew nor life, nor joy, nor good; with my eyes I saw the face of a live death! She knew life only to know that it was dead, and that, in her, death lived. It was not merely that life had ceased in her, but that she was consciously a dead thing. She had killed her life, and was dead--and knew it. She must DEATH IT for ever and ever! She had tried her hardest to unmake herself, and could not! she was a dead life! she could not cease! she must BE! In her face I saw and read beyond its misery--saw in its dismay that the dismay behind it was more than it could manifest. It sent out a livid gloom; the light that was in her was darkness, and after its kind it shone. She was what God could not have created. She had usurped beyond her share in self-creation, and her part had undone His! She saw now what she had made, and behold, it was not good! She was as a conscious corpse, whose coffin would never come to pieces, never set her free! Her bodily eyes stood wide open, as if gazing into the heart of horror essential--her own indestructible evil. Her right hand also was now clenched--upon existent Nothing--her inheritance!

But with God all things are possible: He can save even the rich!

Without change of look, without sign of purpose, Lilith walked toward Mara. She felt her coming, and rose to meet her.

"I yield," said the princess. "I cannot hold out. I am defeated. --Not the less, I cannot open my hand."

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"Have you tried?"

"I am trying now with all my might."

"I will take you to my father. You have wronged him worst of the created, therefore he best of the created can help you."

"How can HE help me?"

"He will forgive you."

"Ah, if he would but help me to cease! Not even that am I capable of! I have no power over myself; I am a slave! I acknowledge it. Let me die."

"A slave thou art that shall one day be a child!" answered Mara.--"Verily, thou shalt die, but not as thou thinkest. Thou shalt die out of death into life. Now is the Life for, that never was against thee!"

Like her mother, in whom lay the motherhood of all the world, Mara put her arms around Lilith, and kissed her on the forehead. The fiery-cold misery went out of her eyes, and their fountains filled. She lifted, and bore her to her own bed in a corner of the room, laid her softly upon it, and closed her eyes with caressing hands.

Lilith lay and wept. The Lady of Sorrow went to the door and opened it.

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George MacDonald

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