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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 520 pages of information about The Last Man.
of a long protracted misery.  It was whispered that he had died of the plague.  No one ventured on board the vessel, and strange sights were averred to be seen at night, walking the deck, and hanging on the masts and shrouds.  She soon went to pieces; I was shewn where she had been, and saw her disjoined timbers tossed on the waves.  The body of the man who had landed, had been buried deep in the sands; and none could tell more, than that the vessel was American built, and that several months before the Fortunatas had sailed from Philadelphia, of which no tidings were afterwards received.

CHAPTER IV.

I returned to my family estate in the autumn of the year 2092.  My heart had long been with them; and I felt sick with the hope and delight of seeing them again.  The district which contained them appeared the abode of every kindly spirit.  Happiness, love and peace, walked the forest paths, and tempered the atmosphere.  After all the agitation and sorrow I had endured in Greece, I sought Windsor, as the storm-driven bird does the nest in which it may fold its wings in tranquillity.

How unwise had the wanderers been, who had deserted its shelter, entangled themselves in the web of society, and entered on what men of the world call “life,”—­that labyrinth of evil, that scheme of mutual torture.  To live, according to this sense of the word, we must not only observe and learn, we must also feel; we must not be mere spectators of action, we must act; we must not describe, but be subjects of description.  Deep sorrow must have been the inmate of our bosoms; fraud must have lain in wait for us; the artful must have deceived us; sickening doubt and false hope must have chequered our days; hilarity and joy, that lap the soul in ecstasy, must at times have possessed us.  Who that knows what “life” is, would pine for this feverish species of existence?  I have lived.  I have spent days and nights of festivity; I have joined in ambitious hopes, and exulted in victory:  now,—­shut the door on the world, and build high the wall that is to separate me from the troubled scene enacted within its precincts.  Let us live for each other and for happiness; let us seek peace in our dear home, near the inland murmur of streams, and the gracious waving of trees, the beauteous vesture of earth, and sublime pageantry of the skies.  Let us leave “life,” that we may live.

Idris was well content with this resolve of mine.  Her native sprightliness needed no undue excitement, and her placid heart reposed contented on my love, the well-being of her children, and the beauty of surrounding nature.  Her pride and blameless ambition was to create smiles in all around her, and to shed repose on the fragile existence of her brother.  In spite of her tender nursing, the health of Adrian perceptibly declined.  Walking, riding, the common occupations of life, overcame him:  he felt no pain, but seemed

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