The Last Man eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 624 pages of information about The Last Man.

“This is my post:  I was born for this—­to rule England in anarchy, to save her in danger—­to devote myself for her.  The blood of my forefathers cries aloud in my veins, and bids me be first among my countrymen.  Or, if this mode of speech offend you, let me say, that my mother, the proud queen, instilled early into me a love of distinction, and all that, if the weakness of my physical nature and my peculiar opinions had not prevented such a design, might have made me long since struggle for the lost inheritance of my race.  But now my mother, or, if you will, my mother’s lessons, awaken within me.  I cannot lead on to battle; I cannot, through intrigue and faithlessness rear again the throne upon the wreck of English public spirit.  But I can be the first to support and guard my country, now that terrific disasters and ruin have laid strong hands upon her.

“That country and my beloved sister are all I have.  I will protect the first—­the latter I commit to your charge.  If I survive, and she be lost, I were far better dead.  Preserve her—­for her own sake I know that you will—­if you require any other spur, think that, in preserving her, you preserve me.  Her faultless nature, one sum of perfections, is wrapt up in her affections—­if they were hurt, she would droop like an unwatered floweret, and the slightest injury they receive is a nipping frost to her.  Already she fears for us.  She fears for the children she adores, and for you, the father of these, her lover, husband, protector; and you must be near her to support and encourage her.  Return to Windsor then, my brother; for such you are by every tie—­fill the double place my absence imposes on you, and let me, in all my sufferings here, turn my eyes towards that dear seclusion, and say—­There is peace.”

[1] Shakespeare’s Sonnets.


I did proceed to Windsor, but not with the intention of remaining there.  I went but to obtain the consent of Idris, and then to return and take my station beside my unequalled friend; to share his labours, and save him, if so it must be, at the expence of my life.  Yet I dreaded to witness the anguish which my resolve might excite in Idris.  I had vowed to my own heart never to shadow her countenance even with transient grief, and should I prove recreant at the hour of greatest need?  I had begun my journey with anxious haste; now I desired to draw it out through the course of days and months.  I longed to avoid the necessity of action; I strove to escape from thought—­vainly—­futurity, like a dark image in a phantasmagoria, came nearer and more near, till it clasped the whole earth in its shadow.

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The Last Man from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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