one part of the west rampart, looking across the heath
"He surely can destroy it," answered Imlac, "since, however imperishable, it receives from a superior nature its power of duration. That it will not perish by any inherent cause of decay or principle of corruption, may be shown by philosophy; but philosophy can tell no more. That it will not be annihilated by Him that made it, we must humbly learn from higher authority."
The whole assembly stood awhile silent and collected. "Let us return," said Rasselas, "from this scene of mortality. How gloomy would be these mansions of the dead to him who did not know that he should never die; that what now acts shall continue its agency, and what now thinks shall think on for ever. Those that lie here stretched before us, the wise and the powerful of ancient times, warn us to remember the shortness of our present state; they were perhaps snatched away while they were busy, like us, in the CHOICE OF LIFE."
"To me," said the Princess, "the choice of life is become less important; I hope hereafter to think only on the choice of eternity."
They then hastened out of the caverns, and under the protection of their guard returned to Cairo.
CHAPTER XLIX - THE CONCLUSION, IN WHICH NOTHING IS CONCLUDED.
IT was now the time of the inundation of the Nile. A few days after their visit to the catacombs the river began to rise.
They were confined to their house. The whole region being under water, gave them no invitation to any excursions; and being well supplied with materials for talk, they diverted themselves with comparisons of the different forms of life which they had observed, and with various schemes of happiness which each of them had formed.
Pekuah was never so much charmed with any place as the Convent of St. Anthony, where the Arab restored her to the Princess, and wished only to fill it with pious maidens and to be made prioress of the order. She was weary of expectation and disgust, and would gladly be fixed in some unvariable state.