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0100_005E Lilith George MacDonald

The Waking

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She ceased with a smile and a look that seemed to say, "We are mother and son; we understand each other! Between us no farewell is possible."

Mara kissed me on the forehead, and said, gayly,

"I told you, brother, all would be well!--When next you would comfort, say, `What will be well, is even now well.'"

She gave a little sigh, and I thought it meant, "But they will not believe you!"

"--You know me now!" she ended, with a smile like her mother's.

"I know you!" I answered: "you are the voice that cried in the wilderness before ever the Baptist came! you are the shepherd whose wolves hunt the wandering sheep home ere the shadow rise and the night grow dark!"

"My work will one day be over," she said, "and then I shall be glad with the gladness of the great shepherd who sent me."

"All the night long the morning is at hand," said Adam.

"What is that flapping of wings I hear?" I asked.

"The Shadow is hovering," replied Adam: "there is one here whom he counts his own! But ours once, never more can she be his!"

I turned to look on the faces of my father and mother, and kiss them ere we went: their couches were empty save of the Little Ones who had with love's boldness appropriated their hospitality! For an instant that awful dream of desolation overshadowed me, and I turned aside.

"What is it, my heart?" said Lona.

"Their empty places frightened me," I answered.

"They are up and away long ago," said Adam. "They kissed you ere they went, and whispered, `Come soon.'"

"And I neither to feel nor hear them!" I murmured.

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"How could you--far away in your dreary old house! You thought the dreadful place had you once more! Now go and find them.--Your parents, my child," he added, turning to Lona, "must come and find you!"

The hour of our departure was at hand. Lona went to the couch of the mother who had slain her, and kissed her tenderly--then laid herself in her father's arms.

"That kiss will draw her homeward, my Lona!" said Adam.

"Who were her parents?" asked Lona.

"My father," answered Adam, "is her father also."

She turned and laid her hand in mine.

I kneeled and humbly thanked the three for helping me to die. Lona knelt beside me, and they all breathed upon us.

"Hark! I hear the sun," said Adam.

I listened: he was coming with the rush as of a thousand times ten thousand far-off wings, with the roar of a molten and flaming world millions upon millions of miles away. His approach was a crescendo chord of a hundred harmonies.

The three looked at each other and smiled, and that smile went floating heavenward a three-petaled flower, the family's morning thanksgiving. From their mouths and their faces it spread over their bodies and shone through their garments. Ere I could say, "Lo, they change!" Adam and Eve stood before me the angels of the resurrection, and Mara was the Magdalene with them at the sepulchre. The countenance of Adam was like lightning, and Eve held a napkin that flung flakes of splendour about the place.

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