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Strange Story, a — Volume 07 by Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton
page 1 of 83 (01%)

Lilian's wondrous gentleness of nature did not desert her in the
suspension of her reason. She was habitually calm,--very silent; when she
spoke it was rarely on earthly things, on things familiar to her past,
things one could comprehend. Her thought seemed to have quitted the
earth, seeking refuge in some imaginary heaven. She spoke of wanderings
with her father as if he were living still; she did not seem to understand
the meaning we attach to the word "Death." She would sit for hours
murmuring to herself: when one sought to catch the words, they seemed in
converse with invisible spirits. We found it cruel to disturb her at
such times, for if left unmolested, her face was serene,--more serenely
beautiful than I had seen it even in our happiest hours; but when we
called her back to the wrecks of her real life, her eye became troubled,
restless, anxious, and she would sigh--oh, so heavily! At times, if we
did not seem to observe her, she would quietly resume her once favourite
accomplishments,--drawing, music. And in these her young excellence was
still apparent, only the drawings were strange and fantastic: they had a
resemblance to those with which the painter Blake, himself a visionary,
illustrated the Poems of the "Night Thoughts" and "The Grave,"--faces of
exquisite loveliness, forms of aerial grace, coming forth from the bells
of flowers, or floating upwards amidst the spray of fountains, their
outlines melting away in fountain or in flower. So with her music: her
mother could not recognize the airs she played, for a while so sweetly and
with so ineffable a pathos, that one could scarcely hear her without
weeping; and then would come, as if involuntarily, an abrupt discord, and,
starting, she would cease and look around, disquieted, aghast.

And still she did not recognize Mrs. Ashleigh nor myself as her mother,
her husband; but she had by degrees learned to distinguish us both from