The Last Man eBook

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

CHAPTER VIII.

In the mean time what did Perdita?

During the first months of his Protectorate, Raymond and she had been inseparable; each project was discussed with her, each plan approved by her.  I never beheld any one so perfectly happy as my sweet sister.  Her expressive eyes were two stars whose beams were love; hope and light-heartedness sat on her cloudless brow.  She fed even to tears of joy on the praise and glory of her Lord; her whole existence was one sacrifice to him, and if in the humility of her heart she felt self-complacency, it arose from the reflection that she had won the distinguished hero of the age, and had for years preserved him, even after time had taken from love its usual nourishment.  Her own feeling was as entire as at its birth.  Five years had failed to destroy the dazzling unreality of passion.  Most men ruthlessly destroy the sacred veil, with which the female heart is wont to adorn the idol of its affections.  Not so Raymond; he was an enchanter, whose reign was for ever undiminished; a king whose power never was suspended:  follow him through the details of common life, still the same charm of grace and majesty adorned him; nor could he be despoiled of the innate deification with which nature had invested him.  Perdita grew in beauty and excellence under his eye; I no longer recognised my reserved abstracted sister in the fascinating and open-hearted wife of Raymond.  The genius that enlightened her countenance, was now united to an expression of benevolence, which gave divine perfection to her beauty.

Happiness is in its highest degree the sister of goodness.  Suffering and amiability may exist together, and writers have loved to depict their conjunction; there is a human and touching harmony in the picture.  But perfect happiness is an attribute of angels; and those who possess it, appear angelic.  Fear has been said to be the parent of religion:  even of that religion is it the generator, which leads its votaries to sacrifice human victims at its altars; but the religion which springs from happiness is a lovelier growth; the religion which makes the heart breathe forth fervent thanksgiving, and causes us to pour out the overflowings of the soul before the author of our being; that which is the parent of the imagination and the nurse of poetry; that which bestows benevolent intelligence on the visible mechanism of the world, and makes earth a temple with heaven for its cope.  Such happiness, goodness, and religion inhabited the mind of Perdita.

During the five years we had spent together, a knot of happy human beings at Windsor Castle, her blissful lot had been the frequent theme of my sister’s conversation.  From early habit, and natural affection, she selected me in preference to Adrian or Idris, to be the partner in her overflowings of delight; perhaps, though apparently much unlike, some secret point of resemblance, the offspring of consanguinity,

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The Last Man from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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