The Last Man eBook

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

The very day that we arrived she had been attacked by symptomatic illness.  She was paralyzed with horror at the idea of leaving her aged, sightless father alone on the empty earth; but she had not courage to disclose the truth, and the very excess of her desperation animated her to surpassing exertions.  At the accustomed vesper hour, she led him to the chapel; and, though trembling and weeping on his account, she played, without fault in time, or error in note, the hymn written to celebrate the creation of the adorned earth, soon to be her tomb.

We came to her like visitors from heaven itself; her high-wrought courage; her hardly sustained firmness, fled with the appearance of relief.  With a shriek she rushed towards us, embraced the knees of Adrian, and uttering but the words, “O save my father!” with sobs and hysterical cries, opened the long-shut floodgates of her woe.

Poor girl!—­she and her father now lie side by side, beneath the high walnut-tree where her lover reposes, and which in her dying moments she had pointed out to us.  Her father, at length aware of his daughter’s danger, unable to see the changes of her dear countenance, obstinately held her hand, till it was chilled and stiffened by death.  Nor did he then move or speak, till, twelve hours after, kindly death took him to his breakless repose.  They rest beneath the sod, the tree their monument;—­the hallowed spot is distinct in my memory, paled in by craggy Jura, and the far, immeasurable Alps; the spire of the church they frequented still points from out the embosoming trees; and though her hand be cold, still methinks the sounds of divine music which they loved wander about, solacing their gentle ghosts.

[1] Burke’s Reflections on the French Revolution.


We had now reached Switzerland, so long the final mark and aim of our exertions.  We had looked, I know not wherefore, with hope and pleasing expectation on her congregation of hills and snowy crags, and opened our bosoms with renewed spirits to the icy Biz, which even at Midsummer used to come from the northern glacier laden with cold.  Yet how could we nourish expectation of relief?  Like our native England, and the vast extent of fertile France, this mountain-embowered land was desolate of its inhabitants.  Nor bleak mountain-top, nor snow-nourished rivulet; not the ice-laden Biz, nor thunder, the tamer of contagion, had preserved them—­ why therefore should we claim exemption?

Who was there indeed to save?  What troop had we brought fit to stand at bay, and combat with the conqueror?  We were a failing remnant, tamed to mere submission to the coming blow.  A train half dead, through fear of death—­a hopeless, unresisting, almost reckless crew, which, in the tossed bark of life, had given up all pilotage, and resigned themselves to the destructive force of ungoverned winds.  Like a few furrows of unreaped corn, which,

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The Last Man from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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