“She” by Henry Rider Haggard Part III

How are you coming along with your reading of She?
What? you’re ahead of me?

I’m at 48%.  Wish it could have been 50% for this post, but
“She” is just about, just about to pull the filmy veiling from her
face for Holly to see and I didn’t want to give away that scene yet.

So let’s recount what’s new in the story.  Holly and Leo and Job
and Mahomed are led by the Amahaggers to a special place
where there will be entertainment and a big feast.  Turns
out there’s not really much entertainment and the feast will
be THEM!  The Amahaggers have a quaint old custom of
“red-hot potting” captives and then eating them.

Some fun, eh?  Poor Mahomed is killed during the red-hot pot
malarkey, but Holly, Job and Leo escape after tremendous
battles with the group.  Leo is in pretty bad shape but somehow
they get out of there.

They camp out for a much needed rest, and Holly tells us that
“I lay and watched the stars come out by thousands, till all the
immense arch of heaven was strewn with glittering points, and
every point a world!”  Nice.

Soon they run into Billali, the old man with snowy beard, who tells
Holly that “She” has especially summoned him to visit her.  “Yikes!”
thinks Holly—although he remembers in time that he’s an
Englishman and shouldn’t be in awe of some woman living like a
savage in the jungle.

Still, with all the writing on those shards and scrolls that She might
hold the key to life and death—what if, what if it might be possible
to live a longer life?  Sort of the old Ponce-de-Leon theory.

Did I tell you I ran into Ponce-de-Leon the other day at the
supermarket?  Yes, I know someone, a true descendant of Ponce-
de-Leon!!  He’s in my French club—I waved a “Bonjour” and
continued shopping.

Well, so Holly and the others are blindfolded and brought up hill
and dale, through swamps, mires, and grassy plains to a sheer cliff of
a mountain with a secret passage inside.  Guess who lives there.
Remember “She” is guarded and served by deaf and dumb natives.
It turns out that there are a LOT of them!  How’d they find so many?

Holly is brought alone to meet She, called Hiya (huh?).  She tells
him her real name is Ayesha and there’s an author’s note:
“pronounced Assha. H.R.H”      Right.

She’s tall! and all dressed/covered in a white filmy costume which
completely covers her yet “the wrappings were so thin that one
could distinctly see the gleam of the pink flesh beneath them.”
(plot thickens)

She speaks in this little musical voice which I bet can get pretty
annoying after awhile, and tells him that she has lived for centuries
and is waiting for the love of her life.  That is, she had a love of her
life years ago, and she’s waiting for him to be reborn and join her.
I think she’s been eating too many betel nuts.

But maybe not, because it turns out she’s a light eater, like me,
just fruit, cakes of flour and a little water . . .

She asks about the others in his party and seems curiously most
interested in Leo.  “The lion” she says.  And because she has a
special fountain pond thing, she can see Leo and marvels at his
golden hair and hesitates—-” . . .very.  So like—but it is not
possible!”

Methinks Leo might be old loverboy reborn after all!
And in that case, what happens with his girlfriend, Ustane?

She has taken quite a shine to Holly and asks him if he has
any favor to ask of her.

Holly asks one favor—“I would gaze upon thy face.”

“She laughed out in her bell-like notes. ‘Bethink thee, Holly,’
she answered.”   And she warns him that he might perish when
he sees her beauty.  But he still wants to see her face.  Well, I
think it’s only her face.  Time will tell.

Must fly!   to be continued . . .

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