“She” by Henry Rider Haggard Part V

The leopard dancer from "She" by Henry Rider Haggard ©booksandbuttons

The leopard dancer from “She” by Henry Rider Haggard ©booksandbuttons

“Mayhap” you think I’ve quit reading “She”.  Mayhap you’re thinking
you’ll never find out how it ends (because you surely aren’t going to
read it!)  But no, I’m still reading along.  Let’s catch up.

SHE has declared her love for Leo and has ordered Ustane, Leo’s tribal
wife, to be killed.  Horace Holly, our narrator, pleads for her to be
saved, and She consents, but banishes Ustane from her view forever,
in lieu of death.  Ustane is dragged away by the deaf mutes.

Shortly thereafter, there’s another evening of amusement planned.
There is dancing.  Holly describes the dancing as sort of a cancan, with
a lot of kicking.  The thing is, I hate to tell you this,  there are dancers
carrying corpses from the caves–lots of them–and they’re aflame!

Then a black goat is sacrificed and a saucer of blood offered around.
That’s where I turned the page.

Happily, there’s a bit of diversion when one of the dancers, “a
particularly active leopard” comes near Holly and Leo.  (see photo
above)

It turns out to be Ustane in disguise and she urges Leo to run away
with her—away from She forever.  But Leo demurs (de bum) and
says that they’ll just explain sensibly to She that they are in love.
Methinks that won’t fly.

Just then there’s a “silvery little laugh” behind them and  . . .
Somebody is not happy.  SHE has Ustane killed right then and
there, in front of Leo.  Then she drops her veils and Leo is
smitten beyond words and he embraces She right in front of
the dying Ustane!

They go off for a good old cave tour—She wants to show Leo
something special.   And it turns out to be old, old Kallikrates
whom she has kept stored for two thousand years.  And the old
Kallikrates is really Leo—-and they all marvel that he looks
just like Leo Vincey.  She says he looks just like Leo Vincey
because he IS Leo Vincey—the first Leo Vincey.

Got it?  So you see there is such a thing as reincarnation.  It’s
right in this book.

Holly and Leo go back to their own cave to sleep.  They agree
that even though they know they should try to escape, that
it’s just impossible.  Mainly because they are both madly in
love with She.

In the meantime, you mayhap are blaming She for killing
Ustane.   But in her Wisdom, she thinks that there is only
one thing worth living for, and that is Love in its highest.
And since her Love for Leo is so intense, anything she did
to save that Love is all right—even murdering Ustane.

Whether you agree or not—that’s her story and she’s
sticking to it.

This part ended with She pouring some acid over the
“old” Kallikrates, leaving just a little pile of white ash.

to be continued——-we’re 75% of the way through!

Share Button
This entry was posted in books, travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *