It is not however to be disguised, that the work went on but slowly, and that the people heard of the intended descent with something like an actionless wonderment, in consequence of those by whom it had been planned not sending forth any declaration of their views and intents.
He hurried toward the dining-hall, fumbling his lips, mumbling incoherent sentences. He came to a stand on the threshold. "Blundering fool," he cried passionately, "what have you said and done?" At the sound of his father's voice, the Chevalier's rage returned; but it was a cold rage, actionless. "What have I done? I have written it large, Monsieur, that I am only your poor bastard.
To meet him then, you would not have known him for the sedate, actionless boy, whom you had seen in the morning looking listlessly on while his schoolfellows played.
The whole country around resounded as with the uproar of a universal battle. I felt the passion of my spirit return; I could no longer restrain myself, nor remain where I was. Snatching up my carabine, I left my actionless post at the window, and hurried down stairs, and out of the house.
A system thus based upon severe mathematical considerations, and taking as its starting-point a vacuum and atoms the former actionless and passionless; which considers the production of new things as only new aggregations, and the decay of the old as separations; which recognizes in compound bodies specific arrangements of atoms to one another; which can rise to the conception that even a single atom may constitute a world such a system may commend itself to our attention for its results, but surely not to our approval, when we find it carrying us to the conclusions that even mathematical cognition is a mere semblance; that the soul is only a finely-constituted form fitted into the grosser bodily frame; that even for reason itself there is an absolute impossibility of all certainty; that scepticism is to be indulged in to that degree that we may doubt whether, when a cone has been cut asunder, its two surfaces are alike; that the final result of human inquiry is the absolute demonstration that man is incapable of knowledge; that, even if the truth be in his possession, he can never be certain of it; that the world is an illusive phantasm, and that there is no God.
With all his rare qualities and great opportunities he had done nothing but frequently embroil matters in which he had meddled, and had never been anything but a great lord with a good deal of wit. Actionless penetration and sceptical severity may sometimes clear the judgment and the thoughts, but they give no force or influence that has power over men.
Within this, sitting on a low wooden stool placed upon a double matting of skins cows' below and leopards' above on an elevated platform of grass, was the great king Kamrasi, looking, enshrouded in his mbugu dress, for all the world like a pope in state calm and actionless.