I’m not a native English speaker, and I was reading George MacDonald’s fantasy novel of 1858 Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women.
Everything was going fine but suddenly I saw this sentence near the end of a long paragraph, and I couldn't understand what the sentence meant or even how it was put together in its syntax.
Here is the very end of that long paragraph, with the sentence that so puzzles me rendered in bold:
[...] Almost fearing to touch them, they witnessed so mutely to the law of oblivion, I leaned back in my chair, an regarded them for a moment; when suddenly there stood on the threshold of the little chamber, as though she had just emerged from its depth, a tiny woman-form, as perfect in shape as if she had been a small Greek statuette roused to life and motion. Her dress was of a kind that could never grow old-fashioned, because it was simply natural: a robe plaited in a band around the next, and confined by a belt around the waist, descended to her feet. I took notice of her dress, although my surprise was by no means of so overpowering a degree as such an apparition might naturally be expected to excite. Seeing, however, as I suppose, some astonishment in my countenance, she came forward within a yard of me, and said, in a voice that strangely recalled a sensation of twilight, and reedy river banks, and a low wind, even in this deathly room:
“Anodos, you never saw such a little creature before, did you?”
I can’t make heads or tails of the sentence in bold. The words don’t even seem to fit together into a coherent sentence. Even though I know what each word means by itself, all jumbled together like that the meaning is lost to me.
Can you rearrange the words in that sentence to make something I can understand?