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Percy Greg
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 490 pages of information about Across the Zodiac.
off my guard.  No man in his senses would voluntarily have accepted the position which had been forced upon me.  The Zveltau never introduce aliens into their households.  Their leading ideas and fundamental principles so deeply affect the conduct of existence, the motives of action, the bases of all moral reasoning—­so completely do the inferences drawn from them and the habits of thought to which they lead pervade and tinge the mind, conscience, and even language—­that though it may be easy to “live in the light at home and walk with the blind abroad,” yet in the familiar intercourse of household life even a cautious and reserved man (and I was neither) must betray to the keen instinctive perceptions of women whether he thought and felt like those around him, or was translating different thoughts into an alien language.  This difficulty is little felt between unbelievers and Christians.  The simple creed of the Zinta, however, like that of the Prophet, affects the thought and life as the complicated and subtle mysteries of more elaborate theologies, more refined philosophic systems rarely do.

One of Eveena’s favourite quotations bore the unmistakable stamp of Zveltic mysticism:—­

  “Symbols that invert the sense
   Form the Seal of Providence;
   Contradiction gives the key,
   Time unlocks the mystery.”

The danger in which my relation to the Zinta and its chief involved me, and the presence of half a dozen rivals to Eveena—­rivals also to that regard for the Star which at first I felt chiefly for her sake—­likely as they seemed to impair the strength and sweetness of the tie between us, actually worked to consolidate and endear it.  To enjoy, except on set occasions, without constant liability to interruption, Eveena’s sole society was no easy matter.  To conceal our real secret, and the fact that there was a secret, was imperative.  Avowedly exclusive confidence, conferences from which the rest of the household were directly shut out, would have suggested to their envious tempers that Eveena played the spy on them, or influenced and advised the exercise of my authority.  To be alone with her, therefore, as naturally and necessarily I must often wish to be, required manoeuvres and arrangements as delicate and difficult, though as innocent, as those employed by engaged couples under the strict conventions of European household usage; and the comparative rarity of such interviews, and the manner in which they had often to be contrived beforehand, kept alive in its earliest freshness the love which, if not really diminished, generally loses somewhat of its first bloom and delicacy in the unrestrained intercourse of marriage.  Absolutely and solely trusted, assured that her company was eagerly sought, and at least as deeply valued as ever—­compelled by the ideas of her race to accept the situation as natural and right, and wholly incapable of the pettier and meaner forms of jealousy—­Eveena was fully

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