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|King Solomon's Mines||H. Rider Haggard|
Solomon's Treasure Chamber
|Page 6 of 8||
What we did not see, however, was the look of fearful malevolence that old Gagool favoured us with as she crept, crept like a snake, out of the treasure chamber and down the passage towards the door of solid rock.
Hark! Cry upon cry comes ringing up the vaulted path. It is Foulata's voice!
"Oh, Bougwan! help! help! the stone falls!"
"Leave go, girl! Then--"
"Help! help! she has stabbed me!"
By now we are running down the passage, and this is what the light from the lamp shows us. The door of the rock is closing down slowly; it is not three feet from the floor. Near it struggle Foulata and Gagool. The red blood of the former runs to her knee, but still the brave girl holds the old witch, who fights like a wild cat. Ah! she is free! Foulata falls, and Gagool throws herself on the ground, to twist like a snake through the crack of the closing stone. She is under--ah! god! too late! too late! The stone nips her, and she yells in agony. Down, down it comes, all the thirty tons of it, slowly pressing her old body against the rock below. Shriek upon shriek, such as we have never heard, then a long sickening crunch, and the door was shut just as, rushing down the passage, we hurled ourselves against it.
It was all done in four seconds.
Then we turned to Foulata. The poor girl was stabbed in the body, and I saw that she could not live long.
"Ah! Bougwan, I die!" gasped the beautiful creature. "She crept out-- Gagool; I did not see her, I was faint--and the door began to fall; then she came back, and was looking up the path--I saw her come in through the slowly falling door, and caught her and held her, and she stabbed me, and I die, Bougwan!"
"Poor girl! poor girl!" Good cried in his distress; and then, as he could do nothing else, he fell to kissing her.
"Bougwan," she said, after a pause, "is Macumazahn there? It grows so dark, I cannot see."
"Here I am, Foulata."
"Macumazahn, be my tongue for a moment, I pray thee, for Bougwan cannot understand me, and before I go into the darkness I would speak to him a word."
"Say on, Foulata, I will render it."
"Say to my lord, Bougwan, that--I love him, and that I am glad to die because I know that he cannot cumber his life with such as I am, for the sun may not mate with the darkness, nor the white with the black.
"Say that, since I saw him, at times I have felt as though there were a bird in my bosom, which would one day fly hence and sing elsewhere. Even now, though I cannot lift my hand, and my brain grows cold, I do not feel as though my heart were dying; it is so full of love that it could live ten thousand years, and yet be young. Say that if I live again, mayhap I shall see him in the Stars, and that--I will search them all, though perchance there I should still be black and he would --still be white. Say--nay, Macumazahn, say no more, save that I love --Oh, hold me closer, Bougwan, I cannot feel thine arms--oh! oh!"
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|King Solomon's Mines
H. Rider Haggard
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