Zanoni eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 456 pages of information about Zanoni.
feet of the foiled assassin, and writhed on the ground,—­the mental agony more intolerable than that of the body, which he had so lately undergone.  The robber looked at him with a hard disdain.  “What have I ever done to thee, wretch?” cried the old man,—­“what but loved and cherished thee?  Thou wert an orphan,—­an outcast.  I nurtured, nursed, adopted thee as my son.  If men call me a miser, it was but that none might despise thee, my heir, because Nature has stunted and deformed thee, when I was no more.  Thou wouldst have had all when I was dead.  Couldst thou not spare me a few months or days,—­nothing to thy youth, all that is left to my age?  What have I done to thee?”

“Thou hast continued to live, and thou wouldst make no will.”

“Mon Dieu!  Mon Dieu!”

Ton dieu!  Thy God!  Fool!  Hast thou not told me, from my childhood, that there is no God?  Hast thou not fed me on philosophy?  Hast thou not said, ’Be virtuous, be good, be just, for the sake of mankind:  but there is no life after this life’?  Mankind! why should I love mankind?  Hideous and misshapen, mankind jeer at me as I pass the streets.  What hast thou done to me?  Thou hast taken away from me, who am the scoff of this world, the hopes of another!  Is there no other life?  Well, then, I want thy gold, that at least I may hasten to make the best of this!”

“Monster!  Curses light on thy ingratitude, thy—­”

“And who hears thy curses?  Thou knowest there is no God!  Mark me; I have prepared all to fly.  See,—­I have my passport; my horses wait without; relays are ordered.  I have thy gold.” (And the wretch, as he spoke, continued coldly to load his person with the rouleaus).  “And now, if I spare thy life, how shall I be sure that thou wilt not inform against mine?” He advanced with a gloomy scowl and a menacing gesture as he spoke.

The old man’s anger changed to fear.  He cowered before the savage.  “Let me live! let me live!—­that—­that—­”

“That—­what?”

“I may pardon thee!  Yes, thou hast nothing to fear from me.  I swear it!”

“Swear!  But by whom and what, old man?  I cannot believe thee, if thou believest not in any God!  Ha, ha! behold the result of thy lessons.”

Another moment and those murderous fingers would have strangled their prey.  But between the assassin and his victim rose a form that seemed almost to both a visitor from the world that both denied,—­stately with majestic strength, glorious with awful beauty.

The ruffian recoiled, looked, trembled, and then turned and fled from the chamber.  The old man fell again to the ground insensible.

CHAPTER 1.VIII.

     To know how a bad man will act when in power, reverse all the
     doctrines he preaches when obscure.—­S.  Montague.

Antipathies also form a part of magic (falsely) so-called.  Man naturally has the same instinct as the animals, which warns them involuntarily against the creatures that are hostile or fatal to their existence.  But he so often neglects it, that it becomes dormant.  Not so the true cultivator of the Great Science, etc.

     —­Trismegistus the Fourth (a Rosicrucian).

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Zanoni from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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