The Last Man eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 520 pages of information about The Last Man.
conferred certain favours and distinctions on him and his family for ever.  An ample estate was allotted to them, and they took the first rank among the peers of Great Britain.  Yet it might be conjectured that they had not forgotten their ancient heritage; and it was hard that his heir should suffer alike with any other pretender, if he attempted to regain what by ancient right and inheritance belonged to him.  He did not say that he should favour such an attempt; but he did say that such an attempt would be venial; and, if the aspirant did not go so far as to declare war, and erect a standard in the kingdom, his fault ought to be regarded with an indulgent eye.  In his amendment he proposed, that an exception should be made in the bill in favour of any person who claimed the sovereign power in right of the earls of Windsor.  Nor did Raymond make an end without drawing in vivid and glowing colours, the splendour of a kingdom, in opposition to the commercial spirit of republicanism.  He asserted, that each individual under the English monarchy, was then as now, capable of attaining high rank and power—­with one only exception, that of the function of chief magistrate; higher and nobler rank, than a bartering, timorous commonwealth could afford.  And for this one exception, to what did it amount?  The nature of riches and influence forcibly confined the list of candidates to a few of the wealthiest; and it was much to be feared, that the ill-humour and contention generated by this triennial struggle, would counterbalance its advantages in impartial eyes.  I can ill record the flow of language and graceful turns of expression, the wit and easy raillery that gave vigour and influence to his speech.  His manner, timid at first, became firm—­his changeful face was lit up to superhuman brilliancy; his voice, various as music, was like that enchanting.

It were useless to record the debate that followed this harangue.  Party speeches were delivered, which clothed the question in cant, and veiled its simple meaning in a woven wind of words.  The motion was lost; Ryland withdrew in rage and despair; and Raymond, gay and exulting, retired to dream of his future kingdom.

CHAPTER IV.

Is there such a feeling as love at first sight?  And if there be, in what does its nature differ from love founded in long observation and slow growth?  Perhaps its effects are not so permanent; but they are, while they last, as violent and intense.  We walk the pathless mazes of society, vacant of joy, till we hold this clue, leading us through that labyrinth to paradise.  Our nature dim, like to an unlighted torch, sleeps in formless blank till the fire attain it; this life of life, this light to moon, and glory to the sun.  What does it matter, whether the fire be struck from flint and steel, nourished with care into a flame, slowly communicated to the dark wick, or whether swiftly the radiant power of light and warmth

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The Last Man from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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