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The House Of Death
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"Yes, it is cold," answered our host; "but you will not be cold in your sleep."
"Where are our nests?" asked more than one, looking round and seeing no couch unoccupied.
"Find places, and sleep where you choose," replied Adam.
Instantly they scattered, advancing fearlessly beyond the light, but we still heard their gentle voices, and it was plain they saw where I could not.
"Oh," cried one, "here is such a beautiful lady!--may I sleep beside her? I will creep in quietly, and not wake her."
"Yes, you may," answered the voice of Eve behind us; and we came to the couch while the little fellow was yet creeping slowly and softly under the sheet. He laid his head beside the lady's, looked up at us, and was still. His eyelids fell; he was asleep.
We went a little farther, and there was another who had climbed up on the couch of a woman.
"Mother! mother!" he cried, kneeling over her, his face close to hers. "--She's so cold she can't speak," he said, looking up to us; "but I will soon make her warm!"
He lay down, and pressing close to her, put his little arm over her. In an instant he too was asleep, smiling an absolute content.
We came to a third Little One; it was Luva. She stood on tiptoe, leaning over the edge of a couch.
"My own mother wouldn't have me," she said softly: "will you?"
Receiving no reply, she looked up at Eve. The great mother lifted her to the couch, and she got at once under the snowy covering.
Each of the Little Ones had by this time, except three of the boys, found at least an unobjecting bedfellow, and lay still and white beside a still, white woman. The little orphans had adopted mothers! One tiny girl had chosen a father to sleep with, and that was mine. A boy lay by the side of the beautiful matron with the slow-healing hand. On the middle one of the three couches hitherto unoccupied, lay Lona.
Eve set Lilith down beside it. Adam pointed to the vacant couch on Lona's right hand, and said,
"There, Lilith, is the bed I have prepared for you!"
She glanced at her daughter lying before her like a statue carved in semi-transparent alabaster, and shuddered from head to foot. "How cold it is!" she murmured.
"You will soon begin to find comfort in the cold," answered Adam.
"Promises to the dying are easy!" she said.
"But I know it: I too have slept. I am dead!"
"I believed you dead long ago; but I see you alive!"
"More alive than you know, or are able to understand. I was scarce alive when first you knew me. Now I have slept, and am awake; I am dead, and live indeed!"
"I fear that child," she said, pointing to Lona: "she will rise and terrify me!"
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