“She” by Henry Rider Haggard— the end! Part VII

Let’s raise our glasses!  The book is finished!

When we left our “party” they were headed downward into endless
caverns following Ayesha, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed, who went
“springing from step to step, like a chamois . . .”  It took them a
half hour to go down to the bottom.  Going to the center of the
earth?

Hey! when did Jules Verne write “Journey to the Center of the
Earth”?  You probably already know it was 1864.  Hm-m-m, Haggard
wrote “She” in 1886.

I think he might have taken a little poetic license in having our group
go down into what sure sounds to me like the center of the earth . . .

Anyway, SHE has seen fit to “marry” Leo down in one of those caverns
and grants him power over sea and earth with her kiss.  That must have
been some kiss!   They continue to fly along swiftly through three MORE
caverns and then there’s a big noise and a flash of fire!

Ayesha commands that Leo step into the fire to be washed in the “living
flames”.  They all do and feel intoxicated and enriched by the experience.
(I’ll pass.)

Oops–now a dreadful muttering noise . . .ANOTHER set of flames and
this time Ayesha steps in after shedding her garments of gauze and Holly
hopes he’ll never forget how lovely she looked in those flames . . .
Then suddenly, her long black curling tresses fall to the floor of the cave!

Her beautiful face, that of a goddess, begins to change and———

Nope, spoiler alert!

You’ll have to finish this book yourself to find out how it ends.

The whole thing took place in three weeks.  Three weeks!  I feel (and
you feel) that I’ve been reading this book for three centuries.   I wonder
how many young English boys were swayed to take off for Africa after
reading this book.  Here’s one American girl who was just as happy
reading it from my armchair.  Now I’ll check it off my summer reading list!

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