The Last Man eBook

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

“Repentance,” replied the man, whose sinister brow gathered clouds as he spoke.  “Obedience to the will of the Most High, made manifest to these his Elected People.  Do we not all die through your sins, O generation of unbelief, and have we not a right to demand of you repentance and obedience?”

“And if we refuse them, what then?” his opponent inquired mildly.

“Beware,” cried the man, “God hears you, and will smite your stony heart in his wrath; his poisoned arrows fly, his dogs of death are unleashed!  We will not perish unrevenged—­and mighty will our avenger be, when he descends in visible majesty, and scatters destruction among you.”

“My good fellow,” said Adrian, with quiet scorn, “I wish that you were ignorant only, and I think it would be no difficult task to prove to you, that you speak of what you do not understand.  On the present occasion however, it is enough for me to know that you seek nothing of us; and, heaven is our witness, we seek nothing of you.  I should be sorry to embitter by strife the few days that we any of us may have here to live; when there,” he pointed downwards, “we shall not be able to contend, while here we need not.  Go home, or stay; pray to your God in your own mode; your friends may do the like.  My orisons consist in peace and good will, in resignation and hope.  Farewell!”

He bowed slightly to the angry disputant who was about to reply; and, turning his horse down Rue Saint Honore, called on his friends to follow him.  He rode slowly, to give time to all to join him at the Barrier, and then issued his orders that those who yielded obedience to him, should rendezvous at Versailles.  In the meantime he remained within the walls of Paris, until he had secured the safe retreat of all.  In about a fortnight the remainder of the emigrants arrived from England, and they all repaired to Versailles; apartments were prepared for the family of the Protector in the Grand Trianon, and there, after the excitement of these events, we reposed amidst the luxuries of the departed Bourbons.

[1] Chorus in Oedipus Coloneus.

CHAPTER V.

After the repose of a few days, we held a council, to decide on our future movements.  Our first plan had been to quit our wintry native latitude, and seek for our diminished numbers the luxuries and delights of a southern climate.  We had not fixed on any precise spot as the termination of our wanderings; but a vague picture of perpetual spring, fragrant groves, and sparkling streams, floated in our imagination to entice us on.  A variety of causes had detained us in England, and we had now arrived at the middle of February; if we pursued our original project, we should find ourselves in a worse situation than before, having exchanged our temperate climate for the intolerable heats of a summer in Egypt or Persia.  We were therefore obliged to modify our plan, as the season continued to be inclement; and it was determined that we should await the arrival of spring in our present abode, and so order our future movements as to pass the hot months in the icy vallies of Switzerland, deferring our southern progress until the ensuing autumn, if such a season was ever again to be beheld by us.

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The Last Man from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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