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The Last Man eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 520 pages of information about The Last Man.

I did not accuse Evadne of hypocrisy or a wish to deceive her lover; but the first letter that I saw of hers convinced me that she did not love him; it was written with elegance, and, foreigner as she was, with great command of language.  The hand-writing itself was exquisitely beautiful; there was something in her very paper and its folds, which even I, who did not love, and was withal unskilled in such matters, could discern as being tasteful.  There was much kindness, gratitude, and sweetness in her expression, but no love.  Evadne was two years older than Adrian; and who, at eighteen, ever loved one so much their junior?  I compared her placid epistles with the burning ones of Adrian.  His soul seemed to distil itself into the words he wrote; and they breathed on the paper, bearing with them a portion of the life of love, which was his life.  The very writing used to exhaust him; and he would weep over them, merely from the excess of emotion they awakened in his heart.

Adrian’s soul was painted in his countenance, and concealment or deceit were at the antipodes to the dreadless frankness of his nature.  Evadne made it her earnest request that the tale of their loves should not be revealed to his mother; and after for a while contesting the point, he yielded it to her.  A vain concession; his demeanour quickly betrayed his secret to the quick eyes of the ex-queen.  With the same wary prudence that characterized her whole conduct, she concealed her discovery, but hastened to remove her son from the sphere of the attractive Greek.  He was sent to Cumberland; but the plan of correspondence between the lovers, arranged by Evadne, was effectually hidden from her.  Thus the absence of Adrian, concerted for the purpose of separating, united them in firmer bonds than ever.  To me he discoursed ceaselessly of his beloved Ionian.  Her country, its ancient annals, its late memorable struggles, were all made to partake in her glory and excellence.  He submitted to be away from her, because she commanded this submission; but for her influence, he would have declared his attachment before all England, and resisted, with unshaken constancy, his mother’s opposition.  Evadne’s feminine prudence perceived how useless any assertion of his resolves would be, till added years gave weight to his power.  Perhaps there was besides a lurking dislike to bind herself in the face of the world to one whom she did not love—­not love, at least, with that passionate enthusiasm which her heart told her she might one day feel towards another.  He obeyed her injunctions, and passed a year in exile in Cumberland.

CHAPTER III.

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