Infomotions, Inc.Frankenstein Or, The Modern Prometheus / Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft

Author: Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
Title: Frankenstein Or, The Modern Prometheus
Publisher: Eris Etext Project
Tag(s): clerval; justine; felix; elizabeth; english literature
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
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Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 75,295 words (short) Grade range: 12-14 (college) Readability score: 52 (average)
Identifier: shelley-frankenstein-160
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                           OR, THE MODERN PROMETHEUS

                         by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley


    THE event on which this fiction is founded has been supposed, by
Dr. Darwin, and some of the physiological writers of Germany, as not
of impossible occurrence. I shall not be supposed as according the
remotest degree of serious faith to such an imagination; yet, in
assuming it as the basis of a work of fancy, I have not considered
myself as merely weaving a series of supernatural terrors. The event
on which the interest of the story depends is exempt from the
disadvantages of a mere tale of spectres or enchantment. It was
recommended by the novelty of the situations which it develops; and,
however impossible as a physical fact, affords a point of view to
the imagination for the delineating of human passions more
comprehensive and commanding than any which the ordinary relations
of existing events can yield.

    I have thus endeavoured to preserve the truth of the elementary
principles of human nature, while I have not scrupled to innovate upon
their combinations. The Iliad, the tragic poetry of Greece-
Shakespeare, in the Tempest/and Midsummer Night's Dream- and most
especially Milton, in Paradise Lost, conform to this rule; and the
most humble novelist, who seeks to confer or receive amusement from
his labours, may, without presumption, apply to prose fiction a
licence, or rather a rule, from the adoption of which so many
exquisite combinations of human feeling have resulted in the highest
specimens of poetry.

    The circumstance on which my story rests was suggested in casual
conversation. It was commenced partly as a source of amusement, and
partly as an expedient for exercising any untried resources of mind.
Other motives were mingled with these as the work proceeded. I am by
no means indifferent to the manner in which whatever moral
tendencies exist in the sentiments or characters it contains shall
affect the reader; yet my chief concern in this respect has been
limited to avoiding the enervating effects of the novels of the
present day and to the exhibition of the amiableness of domestic
affection, and the excellence of universal virtue. The opinions
which naturally spring from the and situation of the hero are by no
means to be conceived as existing always in my own conviction; nor
is any inference justly to be drawn from the following pages as
prejudicing any philosophical doctrine of whatever kind.

    It is a subject also of additional interest to the author that
this story was begun in the majestic region where the scene is
principally laid, and in society which cannot cease to be regretted. I
passed the summer of 1816 in the environs of Geneva. The season was
cold and rainy, and in the evenings we crowded around a blazing wood
fire, and occasionally amused ourselves with some German stories of
ghosts, which happened to fall into our hands. These tales excited
in us a playful desire of imitation. Two other friends (a tale from
the pen of one of whom would be far more acceptable to the public than
anything I can ever hope to produce) and myself agreed to write each a
story founded on some supernatural occurrence.

    The weather, however, suddenly became serene; and my two friends
left me on a journey among the Alps, and lost, in the magnificent
scenes which they present, all memory of their ghostly visions. The
following tale is the only one which has been completed.

    Marlow, September, 1817.

                             LETTER I

                    To Mrs. Saville, England.

    YOU will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the
commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil
forebodings. I arrived here yesterday; and my first task is to
assure my dear sister of my welfare, and increasing confidence in
the success of my undertaking.

    I am already far north of London; and as I walk in the streets
of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play upon my cheeks,
which braces my nerves, and fills me with delight. Do you understand
this feeling? This breeze, which has travelled from the regions
towards which I am advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy
climes. Inspirited by this wind of promise, my day dreams become
more fervent and vivid. I try in vain to be persuaded that the pole is
the seat of frost and desolation; it ever presents itself to my
imagination as the region of beauty and delight. There, Margaret,
the sun is for ever visible its broad disc just skirting the
horizon, and diffusing a perpetual splendour. There- for with your
leave, my sister, I will put some trust in preceding navigators- there
snow and frost are banished; and, sailing over a calm sea, we play
be wafted to a land surpassing in wonders and in beauty every region
hitherto discovered on the habitable globe. Its productions and
features may be without example, as the phenomena of the heavenly
bodies undoubtedly are in those undiscovered solitudes. What may not
be expected in a country of eternal light? I may there discover the
wondrous power which attracts the needle; and may regulate a
thousand celestial observations, that require only this voyage to
render their seeming eccentricities consistent forever. I shall
satiate my ardent curiosity with the sight of a part of the world
never before visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by
the foot of man. These are my enticements, and they are sufficient
to conquer all fear of danger or death, and to induce me to commence
this laborious voyage with the joy a child feels when he embarks in
a little boat, with his holiday mates, on an expedition of discovery
up his native river. But, supposing all these conjectures to be false,
you cannot contest the inestimable benefit which I shall confer on all
mankind to the last generation, by discovering a passage near the pole
to those countries, to reach which at present so many months are
requisite; or by ascertaining the secret of the magnet, which, if at
all possible, can only be effected by an undertaking such as mine.

    These reflections have dispelled the agitation with which I
began my letter, and I feel my heart glow with an enthusiasm which
elevates me to heaven; for nothing contributes so much to tranquillise
the mind as a steady purpose- a point on which the soul may fix its
intellectual eye. This expedition has been the favourite dream of my
early years. I have read with ardour the accounts of the various
voyages which have been made in the prospect of arriving at the
North Pacific Ocean through the seas which surround the pole. You
may remember that a history of all the voyages made for purposes of
discovery composed the whole of our good uncle Thomas's library. My
education was neglected, yet I was passionately fond of reading. These
volumes were my study day and night, and my familiarity with them
increased that regret which I had felt, as a child, on learning that
my father's dying injunction had forbidden my uncle to allow me to
embark in a seafaring life.

    These visions faded when I perused, for the first time, those
poets whose effusions entranced my soul, and lifted it to heaven. I
also became a poet, and for one year lived in a Paradise of my own
creation; I imagined that I also might obtain a niche in the temple
where the names of Homer and Shakespeare are consecrated. You are well
acquainted with my failure, and how heavily I bore the disappointment.
But just at that time I inherited the fortune of my cousin, and my
thoughts were turned into the channel of their earlier bent.

    Six years have passed since I resolved on my present
undertaking. I can, even now, remember the hour from which I dedicated
myself to this great enterprise. I commenced by inuring my body to
hardship. I accompanied the whale-fishers on several expeditions to
the North Sea; I voluntarily endured cold, famine, thirst, and want of
sleep; I often worked harder than the common sailors during the day,
and devoted my nights to the study of mathematics, the theory of
medicine, and those branches of physical science from which a naval
adventurer might derive the greatest practical advantage. Twice I
actually hired myself as an under-mate in a Greenland whaler, and
acquitted myself to admiration. I must own I felt a little proud
when my captain offered me the second dignity in the vessel, and
entreated me to remain with the greatest earnestness; so valuable
did he consider my services.

    And now, dear Margaret, do I not deserve to accomplish some
great purpose? My life might have been passed in ease and luxury;
but I preferred glory to every enticement that wealth placed in my
path. Oh, that some encouraging voice would answer in the affirmative!
My courage and my resolution are firm; but my hopes fluctuate and my
spirits are often depressed. I am about to proceed on a long and
difficult voyage, the emergencies of which will demand all my
fortitude: I am required not only to raise the spirits of others,
but sometimes to sustain my own, when theirs are failing.

    This is the most favourable period for travelling in Russia.
They fly quickly over the snow in their sledges; the motion is
pleasant, and, in my opinion, far more agreeable than that of an
English stage-coach. The cold is not excessive, if you are wrapped
in furs- a dress which I have already adopted; for there is a great
difference between walking the deck and remaining seated motionless
for hours, when no exercise prevents the blood from actually
freezing in your veins. I have no ambition to lose my life on the
post-road between St. Petersburgh and Archangel.

    I shall depart for the latter town in a fortnight or three
weeks; and my intention is to hire a ship there, which can easily be
done by paying the insurance for the owner, and to engage as many
sailors as I think necessary among those who are accustomed to the
whale-fishing. I do not intend to sail until the month of June and
when shall I return? Ah, dear sister, how can I answer this
question? If I succeed, many, many months, perhaps years, will pass
before you and I may meet. If I fail, you will see me again soon, or

    Farewell, my dear, excellent Margaret. Heaven shower down
blessings on you, and save me, that I may again and again testify my
gratitude for all your love and kindness.- Your affectionate brother,

                                                    R. Walton.

                           LETTER II

    HOW slowly the time passes here, encompassed as I am by frost
and snow! yet a second step is taken towards my enterprise. I have
hired a vessel, and am occupied in collecting my sailors; those whom I
have already engaged appear to be men on whom I can depend, and are
certainly possessed of dauntless courage.

    But I have one want which I have never yet been able to satisfy;
and the absence of the object of which I now feel as a most severe
evil. I have no friend, Margaret: when I am glowing with the
enthusiasm of success, there will be none to participate my joy; if
I am assailed by disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me
in dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; but
that is a poor medium for the communication of feeling. I desire the
company of a man who could sympathise with me; whose eyes would
reply to mine. You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I
bitterly feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle
yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious
mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve or amend my plans.
How would such a friend repair the faults of your poor brother! I am
too ardent in execution, and too impatient of difficulties. But it
is a still greater evil to me that I am self-educated: for the first
fourteen years of my life I ran wild on a common, and read nothing but
our uncle Thomas's books of voyages. At that age I became acquainted
with the celebrated poets of our own country; but it was only when
it had ceased to be in my power to derive its most important
benefits from such a conviction that I perceived the necessity of
becoming acquainted with more languages than that of my native
country. Now I am twenty-eight, and am in reality more illiterate than
many schoolboys of fifteen. It is true that I have thought more, and
that my day dreams are more extended and magnificent; but they want
(as the painters call it) keeping; and I greatly need a friend who
would have sense enough not to despise me as romantic, and affection
enough for me to endeavour to regulate my mind.

    Well, these are useless complaints; I shall certainly find no
friend on the wide ocean, nor even here in Archangel, among
merchants and seamen. Yet some feelings, unallied to the dross of
human nature, beat even in these rugged bosoms. My lieutenant, for
instance, is a man of wonderful courage and enterprise; he is madly
desirous of glory: or rather, to word my phrase more
characteristically, of advancement in his profession. He is an
Englishman, and in the midst of national and professional
prejudices, unsoftened by cultivation, retains some of the noblest
endowments of humanity. I first became acquainted with him on board
a whale vessel: finding that he was unemployed in this city, I
easily engaged him to assist in my enterprise.

    The master is a person of an excellent disposition, and is
remarkable in the ship for his gentleness and the mildness of his
discipline. This circumstance, added to his well known integrity and
dauntless courage, made me very desirous to engage him. A youth passed
in solitude, my best years spent under your gentle and feminine
fosterage, has so refined the groundwork of my character that I cannot
overcome an intense distaste to the usual brutality exercised on board
ship: have never believed it to be necessary; and when I heard of a
mariner equally noted for his kindliness of heart, and the respect and
obedience paid to him by his crew, I felt myself peculiarly
fortunate in being able to secure his services. I heard of him first
in rather a romantic manner, from a lady who owes to him the happiness
of her life. This, briefly, is his story. Some years ago he loved a
young Russian lady of moderate fortune; and having amassed a
considerable sum in prize-money, the father of the girl consented to
the match. He saw his mistress once before the destined ceremony;
but she was bathed in tears, and, throwing herself at his feet,
entreated him to spare her, confessing at the same time that she loved
another, but that he was poor, and that her father would never consent
to the union. My generous friend reassured the suppliant, and on being
informed of the name of her lover, instantly abandoned his pursuit. He
had already bought a farm with his money, on which he had designed
to pass the remainder of his life; but he bestowed the whole on his
rival, together with the remains of his prize-money to purchase stock,
and then himself solicited the young woman's father to consent to
her marriage with her lover. But the old man decidedly refused,
thinking himself bound in honour to my friend; who, when he found
the father inexorable, quitted his country, nor returned until he
heard that his former mistress was married according to her
inclinations. "What a noble fellow!" you will exclaim. He is so; but
then he is wholly uneducated: he is as silent as a Turk, and a kind of
ignorant carelessness attends him, which, while it renders his conduct
the more astonishing, detracts from the interest and sympathy which
otherwise he would command.

    Yet do not suppose, because I complain a little, or because I
can conceive a consolation for my toils which I may never know that
I am wavering in my resolutions. Those are as fixed as fate; and my
voyage is only now delayed until the weather shall permit my
embarkation. The winter has been dreadfully severe; but the spring
promises well, and it is considered as a remarkably early season; so
that perhaps I may sail sooner than I expected. I shall do nothing
rashly: you know me sufficiently to confide in my prudence and
considerateness whenever the safety of others is committed to my care.

    I cannot describe to you my sensations on the near prospect of
undertaking. It is impossible to communicate to you a conception of
the trembling sensation, half pleasurable and half fearful, with which
I am preparing to depart. I am going to unexplored regions, to "the
land of mist and snow"; but I shall kill no albatross, therefore do
not be alarmed for my safety, or if I should come back to you as
worn and woeful as the "Ancient Mariner." You will smile at my
allusion but I will disclose a secret. I have often attributed my
attachment to, my passionate enthusiasm for, the dangerous mysteries
of ocean, to that production of the most imaginative of modern
poets. There is something at work in my soul which I do not
understand. I am practically industrious- painstaking;- a workman to
execute with perseverance and labour:- but besides this, there is a
love for the marvellous, a belief in the marvellous, intertwined in
all my projects, which hurries me out of the common pathways of men,
even to the wild sea and unvisited regions I am about to explore.

    But to return to dearer considerations. Shall I meet you again,
after having traversed immense seas, and returned by the most southern
cape of Africa or America? I dare not expect such success, yet I
cannot bear to look on the reverse of the picture. Continue for the
present to write to me by every opportunity; I may receive your
letters on some occasions when I need them most to support my spirits.
I love you very tenderly. Remember me with affection, should you never
hear from me again.- Your affectionate brother,

                                              Robert Walton.

                          LETTER III

    MY DEAR Sister,- I write a few lines in haste, to say that I am
safe, and well advanced on my voyage. This letter will reach England
by a merchantman now on its homeward voyage from Archangel; more
fortunate than I, who may not see my native land, perhaps, for many
years. I am, however, in good spirits: my men are bold, and apparently
firm of purpose; nor do the floating sheets of ice that continually
pass us, indicating the dangers of the region towards which we are
advancing, appear to dismay them. We have already reached a very
high latitude; but it is the height of summer, and although not so
warm as in England, the southern gales, which blow us speedily towards
those shores which I so ardently desire to attain, breathe a degree of
renovating warmth which I had not expected.

    No incidents have hitherto befallen us that would make a figure in
a letter. One or two stiff gales, and the springing of a leak, are
accidents which experienced navigators scarcely remember to record;
and I shall be well content if nothing worse happen to us during our

    Adieu, my dear Margaret. Be assured that for my own sake, as
well as yours, I will not rashly encounter danger. I will be cool,
persevering, and prudent.

    But success shall crown my endeavours. Wherefore not? Thus far I
have gone, tracing a secure way over the pathless seas: the very stars
themselves being witnesses and testimonies of my triumph. Why not
still proceed over the untamed yet obedient element? What can stop the
determined heart and resolved will of man?

    My swelling heart involuntarily pours itself out thus. But I
must finish. Heaven bless my beloved sister!


                          LETTER IV

    SO STRANGE an accident has happened to us that I cannot forbear
recording it, although it is very probable that you will see me before
these papers can come into your possession.

    Last Monday (July 31st), we were nearly surrounded by ice, which
closed in the ship on all sides, scarcely leaving her the sea-room
in which she floated. Our situation was somewhat dangerous, especially
as we were compassed round by a very thick fog. We accordingly lay to,
hoping that some change would take place in the atmosphere and

    About two o'clock the mist cleared away, and we beheld,
stretched out in every direction, vast and irregular plains of ice,
which seemed to have no end. Some of my comrades groaned, and my own
mind began to grow watchful with anxious thoughts, when a strange
sight suddenly attracted our attention, and diverted our solicitude
from our own situation. We perceived a low carriage, fixed on a sledge
and drawn by dogs, pass on towards the north, at the distance of
half a mile: a being which had the shape of a man, but apparently of
gigantic stature, sat in the sledge, and guided the dogs. We watched
the rapid progress of the traveller with our telescopes, until he
was lost among the distant inequalities of the ice.

    This appearance excited our unqualified wonder. We were, as we
believed, many hundred miles from any land; but this apparition seemed
to denote that it was not, in reality, so distant as we had
supposed. Shut in, however, by ice, it was impossible to follow his
track, which we had observed with the greatest attention.

    About two hours after this occurrence, we heard the ground sea;
and before night the ice broke, and freed our ship. We, however, lay
to until the morning, fearing to encounter in the dark those large
loose masses which float about after the breaking up of the ice. I
profited of this time to rest for a few hours.

    In the morning, however, as soon as it was light, I went upon
the deck, and found all the sailors busy on one side of the vessel,
apparently talking to some one in the sea. It was, in fact, a
sledge, like that we had seen before, which had drifted towards us
in the night, on a large fragment of ice. Only one dog remained alive;
but there was a human being within it, whom the sailors were
persuading to enter the vessel. He was not, as the other traveller
seemed to be, a savage inhabitant of some undiscovered island, but
an European. When I appeared on deck, the master said, "Here is our
captain, and he will not allow you to perish on the open sea."

    On perceiving me, the stranger addressed me in English, although
with a foreign accent. "Before I come on board your vessel," said
he, "will you have the kindness to inform me whither you are bound?"

    You may conceive my astonishment on hearing such a question
addressed to me from a man on the brink of destruction, and to whom
I should have supposed that my vessel would have been a resource which
he would not have exchanged for the most precious wealth the earth can
afford. I replied, however, that we were on a voyage of discovery
towards the northern pole.

    Upon hearing this he appeared satisfied, and consented to come
on board. Good God! Margaret, if you had seen the man who thus
capitulated for his safety, your surprise would have been boundless.
His limbs were nearly frozen, and his body dreadfully emaciated by
fatigue and suffering. I never saw a man in so wretched a condition.
We attempted to carry him into the cabin; but as soon as he had
quitted the fresh air, he fainted. We accordingly brought him back
to the deck, and restored him to animation by rubbing him with brandy,
and forcing him to swallow a small quantity. As soon as he showed
signs of life we wrapped him up in blankets, and placed him near the
chimney of the kitchen stove. By slow degrees he recovered, and ate
a little soup, which restored him wonderfully.

    Two days passed in this manner before he was able to speak; and
I often feared that his sufferings had deprived him of
understanding. When he had in some measure recovered, I removed him to
my own cabin, and attended on him as much as my duty would permit. I
never saw a more interesting creature: his eyes have generally an
expression of wildness, and even madness, but there are moments
when, if anyone performs an act of kindness towards him, or does him
any the most trifling service, his whole countenance is lighted up, as
it were, with a beam of benevolence and sweetness that I never saw
equalled. But he is generally melancholy and despairing; and sometimes
he gnashes his teeth, as if impatient of the weight of woes that
oppresses him.

    When my guest was a little recovered, I had great trouble to
keep off the men, who wished to ask him a thousand questions; but I
would not allow him to be tormented by their idle curiosity, in a
state of body and mind whose restoration evidently depended upon
entire repose. Once, however, the lieutenant asked, Why he had come so
far upon the ice in so strange a vehicle?

    His countenance instantly assumed an aspect of the deepest
gloom; and he replied, "To seek one who fled from me."

    "And did the man whom you pursued travel in the same fashion?"


    "Then I fancy we have seen him; for the day before we picked you
up, we saw some dogs drawing a sledge, with a man in it, across the

    This aroused the stranger's attention; and he asked a multitude of
questions concerning the route which the daemon, as he called him, had
pursued. Soon after, when he was alone with me, he said,- "I have,
doubtless, excited your curiosity, as well as that of these good
people; but you are too considerate to make inquiries."

    "Certainly; it would indeed be very impertinent and inhuman in
me to trouble you with any inquisitiveness of mine."

    "And yet you rescued me from a strange and perilous situation; you
have benevolently restored me to life."

    Soon after this he inquired if I thought that the breaking up of
the ice had destroyed the other sledge? I replied that I could not
answer with any degree of certainty; for the ice had not broken
until near midnight, and the traveller might have arrived at a place
of safety before that time; but of this I could not judge.

    From this time a new spirit of life animated the decaying frame of
the stranger. He manifested the greatest eagerness to be upon deck, to
watch for the sledge which had before appeared; but I have persuaded
him to remain in the cabin, for he is far too weak to sustain the
rawness of the atmosphere. I have promised that some one should
watch for him, and give him instant notice if any new object should
appear in sight.

    Such is my journal of what relates to this strange occurrence up
to the present day. The stranger has gradually improved in health, but
is very silent, and appears uneasy when any one except myself enters
his cabin. Yet his manners are so conciliating and gentle that the
sailors are all interested in him, although they have had very
little communication with him. For my own part, I begin to love him as
a brother; and his constant and deep grief fills me with sympathy
and compassion. He must have been a noble creature in his better days,
being even now in wreck so attractive and amiable.

    I said in one of my letters, my dear Margaret, that I should
find no friend on the wide ocean; yet I have found a man who, before
his spirit had been broken by misery, I should have been happy to have
possessed as the brother of my heart.

    I shall continue my journal concerning the stranger at
intervals, should I have any fresh incidents to record.

    My affection for my guest increases every day. He excites at
once my admiration and my pity to an astonishing degree. How can I see
so noble a creature destroyed by misery, without feeling the most
poignant grief? He is so gentle, yet so wise; his mind is so
cultivated; and when he speaks, although his words are culled with the
choicest art, yet they flow with rapidity and unparalleled eloquence.

    He is now much recovered from his illness, and is continually on
deck, apparently watching for the sledge that preceded his own. Yet,
although unhappy, he is not so utterly occupied by his own misery
but that he interests himself deeply in the projects of others. He has
frequently conversed with me on mine, which I have communicated to him
without disguise. He entered attentively into all my arguments in
favour of my eventual success, and into every minute detail of the
measures I had taken to secure it. I was easily led by the sympathy
which he evinced to use the language of my heart; to give utterance to
the burning ardour of my soul; and to say, with all the fervour that
warmed me, how gladly I would sacrifice my fortune, my existence, my
every hope, to the furtherance of my enterprise. One man's life or
death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the
knowledge which I sought; for the dominion I should acquire and
transmit over the elemental foes of our race. As I spoke, a dark gloom
spread over my listener's countenance. At first I perceived that he
tried to suppress his emotion; he placed his hands before his eyes;
and my voice quivered and failed me, as I beheld tears trickle fast
from between his fingers- a groan burst from his heaving breast. I
paused;- at length he spoke, in broken accents:- "Unhappy man! Do
you share my madness? Have you drank also of the intoxicating draught?
Hear me- let me reveal my tale, and you will dash the cup from your

    Such words, you may imagine, strongly excited my curiosity; but
the paroxysm of grief that had seized the stranger overcame his
weakened powers, and many hours of repose and tranquil conversation
were necessary to restore his composure.

    Having conquered the violence of his feelings, he appeared to
despise himself for being the slave of passion; and quelling the
dark tyranny of despair, he led me again to converse concerning myself
personally. He asked me the history of my earlier years. The tale
was quickly told: but it awakened various trains of reflection. I
spoke of my desire of finding a friend- of my thirst for a more
intimate sympathy with a fellow mind than had ever fallen to my lot;
and expressed my conviction that a man could boast of little
happiness, who did not enjoy this blessing.

    "I agree with you," replied the stranger; "we are unfashioned
creatures, but half made up, if one wiser, better, dearer than
ourselves such a friend ought to be- do not lend his aid to
perfectionate our weak and faulty natures. I once had a friend, the
most noble of human creatures, and am entitled, therefore, to judge
respecting friendship. You have hope, and the world before you, and
have no cause for despair. But I- I have lost everything, and cannot
begin life anew."

    As he said this, his countenance became expressive of a calm
settled grief that touched me to the heart. But he was silent, and
presently retired to his cabin.

    Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than
he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every
sight afforded by these wonderful regions, seem still to have the
power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double
existence: he may suffer misery, and be overwhelmed by
disappointments; yet, when he has retired into himself, he will be
like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose
circle no grief or folly ventures.

    Will you smile at the enthusiasm I express concerning this
divine wanderer? You would not if you saw him. You have been tutored
and refined by books and retirement from the world, and you are,
therefore, somewhat fastidious; but this only renders you the more fit
to appreciate the extraordinary merits of this wonderful man.
Sometimes I have endeavoured to discover what quality it is which he
possesses that elevates him so immeasurably above any other person I
ever knew. I believe it to be an intuitive discernment; a quick but
never-failing power of judgment; a penetration into the causes of
things, unequalled for clearness and precision; add to this a facility
of expression, and a voice whose varied intonations are
soul-subduing music.

    Yesterday the stranger said to me, "You may easily perceive,
Captain Walton, that I have suffered great and unparalleled
misfortunes. I had determined, at one time, that the memory of these
evils should die with me; but you have won me to alter my
determination. You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I
ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a
serpent to sting you, as mine has been. I do not know that the
relation of my disasters will be useful to you; yet, when I reflect
that you are pursuing the same course, exposing yourself to the same
dangers which have rendered me what I am, I imagine that you may
deduce an apt moral from my tale; one that may direct you if you
succeed in your undertaking, and console you in case of failure.
Prepare to hear of occurrences which are usually deemed marvellous.
Were we among the tamer scenes of nature, I might fear to encounter
your unbelief, perhaps your ridicule; but many things will appear
possible in these wild and mysterious regions which would provoke
the laughter of those unacquainted with the ever-varied powers of
nature:- nor can I doubt but that my tale conveys in its series
internal evidence of the truth of the events of which it is composed."

    You may easily imagine that I was much gratified by the offered
communication; yet I could not endure that he should renew his grief
by a recital of his misfortunes. I felt the greatest eagerness to hear
the promised narrative, partly from curiosity, and partly from a
strong desire to ameliorate his fate, if it were in my power. I
expressed these feelings in my answer.

    "I thank you," he replied, "for your sympathy, but it is
useless; my fate is nearly fulfilled. I wait but for one event, and
then I shall repose in peace. I understand your feeling," continued
he, perceiving that I wished to interrupt him; "but you are
mistaken, my friend, if thus you will allow me to name you; nothing
can alter my destiny: listen to my history, and you will perceive
how irrevocably it is determined."

    He then told me that he would commence his narrative the next
day when I should be at leisure. This promise drew from me the warmest
thanks. I have resolved every night, when I am not imperatively
occupied by my duties, to record, as nearly as possible in his own
words, what he has related during the day. If I should be engaged, I
will at least make notes. This manuscript will doubtless afford you
the greatest pleasure; but to me, who know him, and who hear it from
his own lips, with what interest and sympathy shall I read it in
some future day! Even now, as I commence my task, his full-toned voice
swells in my ears; his lustrous eyes dwell on me with all their
melancholy sweetness; I see his thin hand raised in animation, while
the lineaments of his face are irradiated by the soul within.
Strange and harrowing must be his story; frightful the storm which
embraced the gallant vessel on its course, and wrecked it- thus!

                          CHAPTER I

    I AM by birth a Genevese; and my family is one of the most
distinguished of that republic.

    My ancestors had been for many years counsellors and syndics;
and my father had filled several public situations with honour and
reputation. He was respected by all who knew him for his integrity and
indefatigable attention to public business. He passed his younger days
perpetually occupied by the affairs of his country; a variety of
circumstances had prevented his marrying early, nor was it until the
decline of life that he became a husband and the father of a family.

    As the circumstances of his marriage illustrate his character, I
cannot refrain from relating them. One of his most intimate friends
was a merchant, who, from a flourishing state, fell, through
numerous mischances, into poverty. This man, whose name was
Beaufort, was of a proud and unbending disposition, and could not bear
to live in poverty and oblivion in the same country where he had
formerly been distinguished for his rank and magnificence. Having paid
his debts, therefore, in the most honourable manner, he retreated with
his daughter to the town of Lucerne, where he lived unknown and in
wretchedness. My father loved Beaufort with the truest friendship, and
was deeply grieved by his retreat in these unfortunate
circumstances. He bitterly deplored the false pride which led his
friend to a conduct so little worthy of the affection that united
them. He lost no time in endeavouring to seek him out, with the hope
of persuading him to begin the world again through his credit and

    Beaufort had taken effectual measures to conceal himself; and it
was ten months before my father discovered his abode. Overjoyed at
this discovery, he hastened to the house, which was situated in a mean
street, near the Reuss. But when he entered, misery and despair
alone welcomed him. Beaufort had saved but a very small sum of money
from the wreck of his fortunes; but it was sufficient to provide him
with sustenance for some months, and in the meantime he hoped to
procure some respectable employment in a merchant's house. The
interval was, consequently, spent in inaction; his grief only became
more deep and rankling when he had leisure for reflection; and at
length it took so fast hold of his mind that at the end of three
months he lay on a bed of sickness, incapable any exertion.

    His daughter attended him with the greatest tenderness- but she
saw with despair that their little fund was rapidly decreasing, and
that there was no other prospect of support. But Caroline Beaufort
possessed a mind of an uncommon mould; and her courage rose to support
her in her adversity. She procured plain work; she plaited straw;
and by various means contrived to earn a pittance scarcely
sufficient to support life.

    Several months passed in this manner. Her father grew worse; her
time was more entirely occupied in attending him; her means of
subsistence decreased; and in the tenth month her father died in her
arms, leaving her an orphan and a beggar. This last blow overcame her;
and she knelt by Beaufort's coffin, weeping bitterly, when my father
entered the chamber. He came like a protecting spirit to the poor
girl, who committed herself to his care; and after the interment of
his friend, he conducted her to Geneva, and placed her under the
protection of a relation. Two years after this event Caroline became
his wife.

    There was a considerable difference between the ages of my
parents, but this circumstance seemed to unite them only closer in
bonds of devoted affection. There was a sense of justice in my
father's upright mind, which rendered it necessary that he should
approve highly to love strongly. Perhaps during former years he had
suffered from the late-discovered unworthiness of one beloved, and
so was disposed to set a greater value on tried worth. There was a
show of gratitude and worship in his attachment to my mother,
differing wholly from the doating fondness of age, for it was inspired
by reverence for her virtues, and a desire to be the means of, in some
degree, recompensing her for the sorrows she had endured, but which
gave inexpressible grace to his behaviour to her. Everything was
made to yield to her wishes and her convenience. He strove to
shelter her, as a fair exotic is sheltered by the gardener, from every
rougher wind, and to surround her with all that could tend to excite
pleasurable emotion in her soft and benevolent mind. Her health, and
even the tranquillity of her hitherto constant spirit, had been shaken
by what she had gone through. During the two years that had elapsed
previous to their marriage my father had gradually relinquished all
his public functions; and immediately after their union they sought
the pleasant climate of Italy, and the change of scene and interest
attendant on a tour through that land of wonders, as a restorative for
her weakened frame.

    From Italy they visited Germany and France. I, their eldest child,
was born in Naples, and as an infant accompanied them in their
rambles. I remained for several years their only child. Much as they
were attached to each other, they seemed to draw inexhaustible
stores of affection from a very mine of love to bestow them upon me.
My mother's tender caresses, and my father's smile of benevolent
pleasure while regarding me, are my first recollections. I was their
plaything and their idol, and something better- their child, the
innocent and helpless creature bestowed on them by Heaven, whom to
bring up to good, and whose future lot it was in their hands to direct
to happiness fulfilled their duties towards me. With this deep
consciousness of what they owed towards the being to which they had
given life, added to the active spirit of tenderness that animated
both, it may be imagined that while during every hour of my infant
life I received a lesson of patience, of charity, and of self-control,
I was so guided by a silken cord that all seemed but one train of
enjoyment to me.

    For a long time I was their only care. My mother had much
desired to have a daughter, but I continued their single offspring.
When I was about five years old, while making an excursion beyond
the frontiers of Italy, they passed a week on the shores of the Lake
of Como. Their benevolent disposition often made them enter the
cottages of the poor. This, to my mother, was more than a duty; it was
a necessity, a passion- remembering what she had suffered, and how she
had been relieved- for her to act in her turn the guardian angel to
the afflicted. During one of their walks a poor cot in the foldings of
a vale attracted their notice as being singularly disconsolate,
while the number of half-clothed children gathered about it spoke of
penury in its worst shape. One day, when my father had gone by himself
to Milain, my mother, accompanied by me, visited this abode. She found
a peasant and his wife, hard working, bent down by care and labour,
distributing a scanty meal to five hungry babes. Among these there was
one which attracted my mother far above all the rest. She appeared
of a different stock. The four others were dark-eyed, hardy little
vagrants; this child was thin, and very fair. Her hair was the
brightest living gold, and despite the poverty of her clothing, seemed
to set a crown of distinction on her head. Her brow was clear and
ample, her blue eyes cloudless, and her lips and the moulding of her
face so expressive of sensibility and sweetness, that none could
behold her without looking on her as of a distinct species, a being
heaven-sent, and bearing a celestial stamp in all her features.

    The peasant woman, perceiving that my mother fixed eyes of
wondering admiration on this lovely girl, eagerly communicated her
history. She was not her child, but the daughter of a Milanese
nobleman. Her mother was a German, and had died on giving her birth.
The infant had been placed with these good people to nurse: they
were better off then. They had not been long married, and their eldest
child was but just born. The father of their charge was one of those
Italians nursed in the memory of the antique glory of Italy- one among
the schiaviognor frementi, who exerted himself to obtain the liberty
of his country. He became the victim of weakness. Whether he had died,
or still lingered in the dungeons of Austria, was not known. His
property was confiscated, his child became an orphan and a beggar. She
continued with her foster parents, and bloomed in their rude abode,
fairer than a garden rose among dark-leaved brambles.

    When my father returned from Milan, he found playing with me in
the hall of our villa a child fairer than pictured cherub- a
creature who seemed to shed radiance from her looks, and whose form
and motions were lighter than the chamois of the hills. The apparition
was soon explained. With his permission my mother prevailed on her
rustic guardians to yield their charge to her. They were fond of the
sweet orphan. Her presence had seemed a blessing to them; but it would
be unfair to her to keep her in poverty and want, when Providence
afforded her such powerful protection. They consulted their village
priest, and the result was that Elizabeth Lavenza became the inmate of
my parents' house- my more than sister- the beautiful and adored
companion of all my occupations and my pleasures.

    Everyone loved Elizabeth. The passionate and almost reverential
attachment with which all regarded her became, while I shared it, my
pride and my delight. On the evening previous to her being brought
to my home, my mother had said playfully- "I have a pretty present for
my Victor- tomorrow he shall have it." And when, on the morrow, she
presented Elizabeth to me as her promised gift, I, with childish
seriousness, interpreted her words literally, and looked upon
Elizabeth as mine- mine to protect, love, and cherish. All praises
bestowed on her, I received as made to a possession of my own. We
called each other familiarly by the name of cousin. No word, no
expression could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to
me- my more than sister, since till death she was to be mine only.

                          CHAPTER II

    WE WERE brought up together; there was not quite a year difference
in our ages. I need not say that we were strangers to any species of
disunion or dispute. Harmony was the soul of our companionship, and
the diversity and contrast that subsisted in our characters drew us
nearer together. Elizabeth was of a calmer and more concentrated
disposition; but, with all my ardour, I was capable of a more
intense application, and was more deeply smitten with a thirst for
knowledge. She busied herself with following the aerial creations of
the poets; and in the majestic and wondrous scenes which surrounded
our Swiss home- the sublime shapes of the mountains; the changes of
the seasons; tempest and calm; the silence of winter, and the life and
turbulence of our Alpine summers- she found ample scope for admiration
and delight. While my companion contemplated with a serious and
satisfied spirit the magnificent appearances of things, I delighted in
investigating their causes. The world was to me a secret which I
desired to divine. Curiosity, earnest research to learn the hidden
laws of nature, gladness akin to rapture, as they were unfolded to me,
are among the earliest sensations I can remember.

    On the birth of a second son, my junior by seven years, my parents
gave up entirely their wandering life, and fixed themselves in their
native country. We possessed a house in Geneva, and a campagne on
Belrive, the eastern shore of the lake, at the distance of rather more
than a league from the city. We resided principally in the latter, and
the lives of my parents were passed in considerable seclusion. It
was my temper to avoid a crowd, and to attach myself fervently to a
few. I was indifferent, therefore, to my schoolfellows in general; but
I united myself in the bonds of the closest friendship to one among
them. Henry Clerval was the son of a merchant of Geneva. He was a
boy of singular talent and fancy. He loved enterprise, hardship, and
even danger, for its own sake. He was deeply read in books of chivalry
and romance. He composed heroic songs, and began to write many a
tale of enchantment and knightly adventure. He tried to make us act
plays, and to enter into masquerades, in which the characters were
drawn from the heroes of Roncesvalles, of the Round Table of King
Arthur, and the chivalrous train who shed their blood to redeem the
holy sepulchre from the hands of the infidels.

    No human being could have passed a happier childhood than
myself. My parents were possessed by the very spirit of kindness and
indulgence. We felt that they were not the tyrants to rule our lot
according to their caprice, but the agents and creators of all the
many delights which we enjoyed. When I mingled with other families,
I distinctly discerned how peculiarly fortunate my lot was, and
gratitude assisted the development of filial love.

    My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions vehement; but
by some law in my temperature they were turned, not towards childish
pursuits, but to an eager desire to learn, and not to learn all things
indiscriminately. I confess that neither the structure of languages,
nor the code of governments, nor the politics of various states,
possessed attractions for me. It was the secrets of heaven and earth
that I desired to learn; and whether it was the outward substance of
things, or the inner spirit of nature and the mysterious soul of man
that occupied me, still my inquiries were directed to the
metaphysical, or, in its highest sense, the physical secrets of the

    Meanwhile Clerval occupied himself, so to speak, with the moral
relations of things. The busy stage of life, the virtues of heroes,
and the actions of men, were his theme; and his hope and his dream was
to become one among those whose names are recorded in story, as the
gallant and adventurous benefactors of our species. The saintly soul
of Elizabeth shone like a shrine-dedicated lamp in our peaceful
home. Her sympathy was ours; her smile, her soft voice, the sweet
glance of her celestial eyes, were ever there to bless and animate us.
She was the living spirit of love to soften and attract: I might
have become sullen in my study, rough through the ardour of my nature,
but that she was there to subdue me to a semblance of her own
gentleness. And Clerval- could aught ill entrench on the noble spirit-
of Clerval?- Yet he might not have been so perfectly humane, so
thoughtful in his generosity- so full of kindness and tenderness
amidst his passion for adventurous exploit, had she not unfolded to
him the real loveliness of beneficence, and made the doing good the
end and aim of his soaring ambition.

    I feel exquisite pleasure in dwelling on the recollections of
childhood, before misfortune had tainted my mind, and changed its
bright visions of extensive usefulness into gloomy and narrow
reflections upon self. Besides, drawing the picture of early days, I
also record those events which led, by insensible steps, to my after
tale of misery: for when I would account to myself for the birth of
that passion, which afterwards ruled my destiny, I find it arise
like a mountain river, from ignoble and almost forgotten sources
but, swelling as it as it proceeded, it became the torrent which, in
its course, has swept away all my hopes and joys.

    Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate; I
desire, therefore, in this narration, to state those facts which led
to my predilection for that science. When I was thirteen years of age,
we all went on a party of pleasure to the baths near Thonon: the
inclemency of the weather obliged us to remain a day confined to the
inn. In this house I chanced to find a volume of the works of
Cornelius Agrippa. I opened it with apathy; the theory which he
attempts to demonstrate, and the wonderful facts which he relates,
soon changed this feeling into enthusiasm. A new light seemed to
dawn upon my mind; and, bounding with joy, I communicated my discovery
to my father. My father looked carelessly at the title page of my
book, and said, "Ah! Cornelius Agrippa! My dear Victor, do not waste
your time upon this; it is sad trash."

    If, instead of this remark, my father had taken the pains to
explain to me that the principles of Agrippa had been entirely
exploded, and that a modern system of science had been introduced,
which possessed much greater powers than the ancient, because the
powers of the latter were chimerical, while those of the former were
real and practical; under such circumstances, I should certainly
have thrown Agrippa aside, and have contented my imagination, warmed
as it was, by returning with greater ardour to my former studies. It
is even possible that the train of my ideas would never have
received the fatal impulse that led to my ruin. But the cursory glance
my father had taken of my volume by no means assured me that he was
acquainted with its contents; and I continued to read with the
greatest avidity.

    When I returned home, my first care was to procure the whole works
of this author, and afterwards of Paracelsus and Albertus Magnus. I
read and studied the wild fancies of these writers with delight;
they appeared to me treasures known to few beside myself I have
described myself as always having been embued with a fervent longing
to penetrate the secrets of nature. In spice of the intense labour and
wonderful discoveries of modern philosophers, I always came from my
studies discontented and unsatisfied. Sir Isaac Newton is said to have
avowed that he felt like a child picking up shells beside the great
and unexplored ocean of truth. Those of his successors in each
branch of natural philosophy with whom I was acquainted appeared, even
to my boys apprehensions, as tyros engaged in the same pursuit.

    The untaught peasant beheld the elements around him, and was
acquainted with their practical uses. The most learned philosopher
knew little more. He had partially unveiled the face of Nature, but
her immortal lineaments were still a wonder and a mystery. He might
dissect, anatomise, and give names; but, not to speak of a final
cause, causes in their secondary and tertiary grades were utterly
unknown to him. I had gazed upon the fortifications and impediments
that seemed to keep human beings from entering the citadel of
nature, and rashly and ignorantly I had repined.

    But here were books, and here were men who had penetrated deeper
and knew more. I took their word for all that they averred, and I
became their disciple. It may appear strange that such should arise in
the eighteenth century; but while I followed the routine of
education in the schools of Geneva, I was, to a great degree, self
taught with regard to my favourite studies. My father was not
scientific, and I was left to struggle with a child's blindness, added
to a student's thirst for knowledge. Under the guidance of my new
preceptors, I entered with the greatest diligence into the search of
the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life; but the latter soon
obtained my undivided attention. Wealth was an inferior object; but
what glory would attend the discovery, if I could banish disease
from the human frame, and render man invulnerable to any but a violent

    Nor were these my only visions. The raising of ghosts or devils
was a promise liberally accorded by my favourite authors, the
fulfillment of which I most eagerly sought; and if my incantations
were always unsuccessful, I attributed the failure rather to my own
inexperience and mistake than to a want of skill or fidelity in my
instructors. And thus for a time I was occupied by exploded systems,
mingling, like an unadept, a thousand contradictory theories, and
floundering desperately in a very slough of multifarious knowledge,
guided by an ardent imagination and childish reasoning, till an
accident again changed the current of my ideas.

    When I was about fifteen years old we had retired to our house
near Belrive, when we witnessed a most violent and terrible
thunderstorm. It advanced from behind the mountains of Jura; and the
thunder burst at once with frightful loudness from various quarters of
the heavens. I remained, while the storm lasted, watching its progress
with curiosity and delight. As I stood at the door, on a sudden I
beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and beautiful oak which
stood about twenty yards from our house; and so soon as the dazzling
light vanished the oak had disappeared, and nothing remained but a
blasted stump. When we visited it the next morning, we found the
tree shattered in a singular manner. It was not splintered by the
shock, but entirely reduced to thin ribands of wood. I never beheld
anything so utterly destroyed.

    Before this I was not unacquainted with the more obvious laws of
electricity. On this occasion a man of great research in natural
philosophy was with us, and, excited by this catastrophe, he entered
on the explanation of a theory which he had formed on the subject of
electricity and galvanism, which was at once new and astonishing to
me. All that he said threw greatly into the shade Cornelius Agrippa,
Albertus Magnus, and Paracelsus, the lords of my imagination; but by
some fatality the overthrow of these men disinclined me to pursue my
accustomed studies. It seemed to me as if nothing would or could
ever be known. All that had so long engaged my attention suddenly grew
despicable. By one of those caprices of the mind, which we are perhaps
most subject to in early youth, I at once gave up my former
occupations; set down natural history and all its progeny as a
deformed and abortive creation; and entertained the greatest disdain
for a would-be science, which could never even step within the
threshold of real knowledge. In this mood of mind I betook myself to
the mathematics, and the branches of study appertaining to that
science, as being built upon secure foundations, and so worthy of my

    Thus strangely are our souls constructed, and by such slight
ligaments are we bound to prosperity or ruin. When I look back, it
seems to me as if this almost miraculous change of inclination and
will was the immediate suggestion of the guardian angel of my life-
the last effort made by the spirit of preservation to avert the
storm that was even then hanging in the stars, and ready to envelope
me. Her victory was announced by an unusual tranquillity and
gladness of soul, which followed the relinquishing of my ancient and
latterly tormenting studies. It was thus that I was to be taught to
associate evil with their prosecution, happiness with their disregard.

    It was a strong effort of the spirit of good; but it was
ineffectual. Destiny was too potent, and her immutable laws had
decreed my utter and terrible destruction.

                        CHAPTER III

    WHEN I had attained the age of seventeen, my parents resolved that
I should become a student at the university of Ingolstadt. I had
hitherto attended the schools of Geneva; but my father thought it
necessary, for the completion of my education, that I should be made
acquainted with other customs than those of my native country. My
departure was therefore fixed at an early date; but before the day
resolved upon could arrive, the first misfortune of my life
occurred- an omen, as it were, of my future misery.

    Elizabeth had caught the scarlet fever; her illness was severe,
and she was in the greatest danger. During her illness, many arguments
had been urged to persuade my mother to refrain from attending upon
her. She had, at first, yielded to our entreaties; but when she
heard that the life of her favourite was menaced, she could no
longer control her anxiety. She attended her sick bed- her watchful
attentions triumphed over the malignity of the distemper- Elizabeth
was saved, but the consequences of this imprudence were fatal to her
preserver. On the third day my mother sickened; her fever was
accompanied by the most alarming symptoms, and the looks of her
medical attendants prognosticated the worst event. On her death-bed
the fortitude and benignity of this best of women did not desert
her. She joined the hands of Elizabeth and myself:- "My children," she
said, "my firmest hopes of future happiness were placed on the
prospect of your union. This expectation will now be the consolation
of your father. Elizabeth, my love, you must supply my place to my
younger children. Alas! I regret that I am taken from you; and,
happy and beloved as I have been, is it not hard to quit you all?
But these are not thoughts befitting me; I will endeavour to resign
myself cheerfully to death, and will indulge a hope of meeting you
in another world."

    She died calmly; and her countenance expressed affection even in
death. I need not describe the feelings of those whose dearest ties
are rent by that most irreparable evil; the void that presents
itself to the soul; and the despair that is exhibited on the
countenance. It is so long before the mind can persuade itself that
she, whom we saw every day, and whose very existence appeared a part
of our own, can have departed for ever- that the brightness of beloved
eye can have been extinguished, and the sound of a voice so
familiar, and dear to the ear, can be hushed, never more to be
heard. These are the reflections of the first days; but when the lapse
of time proves the reality of the evil, then the actual bitterness
of grief commences. Yet from whom has not that rude hand rent away
some dear connection? and why should I describe a sorrow which all
have felt, and must feel? The time at length arrives, when grief is
rather an indulgence than a necessity; and the smile that plays upon
the lips, although it may be deemed a sacrilege, is not banished. My
mother was dead, but we had still duties which we ought to perform; we
must continue our course with the rest, and learn to think ourselves
fortunate, whilst one remains whom the spoiler has not seized.

    My departure for Ingolstadt, which had been deferred by these
events, was now again determined upon. I obtained from my father a
respite of some weeks. It appeared to me sacrilege so soon to leave
the repose, akin to death, of the house of mourning, and to rush
into the thick of life. I was new to sorrow, but it did not the less
alarm me. I was unwilling to quit the sight of those that remained
to me; and, above all, I desired to see my sweet Elizabeth in some
degree consoled.

    She indeed veiled her grief, and strove to act the comforter to us
all. She looked steadily on life, and assumed its duties with
courage and zeal. She devoted herself to those whom she had been
taught to call her uncle and cousins. Never was she so enchanting as
at this time when she recalled the sunshine of her smiles and spent
them upon us. She forgot even her own regret in her endeavours to make
us forget.

    The day of my departure at length arrived. Clerval spent the
last evening with us. He had endeavoured to persuade his father to
permit him to accompany me, and to become my fellow student; but in
vain. His father was a narrow-minded trader, and saw idleness and ruin
in the aspirations and ambition of his son. Henry deeply felt the
misfortune of being debarred from a liberal education. He said little;
but when he spoke, I read in his kindling eye and in his animated
glance a restrained but firm resolve not to be chained to the
miserable details of commerce.

    We sat late. We could not tear ourselves away from each other, nor
persuade ourselves to say the word "Farewell!" It was said; and we
retired under the pretence of seeking repose, each fancying that the
other was deceived: but when at morning's dawn I descended to the
carriage which was to convey me away, they were all there- my father
again to bless me, Clerval to press my hand once more, my Elizabeth to
renew her entreaties that I would write often, and to bestow the
last feminine attentions on her playmate and friend.

    I threw myself into the chaise that was to convey me away, and
indulged in the most melancholy reflections. I, who had ever been
surrounded by amiable companions, continually engaged in
endeavouring to bestow mutual pleasure, I was now alone. In the
university, whither I was going, I must form my own friends, and be my
own protector. My life had hitherto been remarkably secluded and
domestic; and this had given me invincible repugnance to new
countenances. I loved my brothers, Elizabeth, and Clerval; these
were "old familiar faces"; but I believed myself totally unfitted
for the company of strangers. Such were my reflections as I
commenced my journey; but as I proceeded my spirits and hopes rose.
I ardently desired the acquisition of knowledge. I had often, when
at home, thought it hard to remain during my youth cooped up in one
place, and had longed to enter the world, and take my station among
other human beings. Now my desires were complied with, and it would,
indeed, have been folly to repent.

    I had sufficient leisure for these and many other reflections
during my journey to Ingolstadt, which was long and fatiguing. At
length the high white steeple of the town met my eyes. I alighted, and
was conducted to my solitary apartment, to spend the evening as I

    The next morning I delivered my letters of introduction and paid a
visit to some of the principal professors. Chance- or rather the
evil influence, the Angel of Destruction, which asserted omnipotent
sway over me from the moment I turned my reluctant steps from my
father's door- led me first to M. Krempe, professor of natural
philosophy. He was an uncouth man, but deeply embued in the secrets of
his science. He asked me several questions concerning my progress in
the different branches of science appertaining to natural
philosophy. I replied carelessly; and, partly in contempt, mentioned
the names of my alchymists as the principal authors I had studied. The
professor stared; "Have you," he said, "really spent your time in
studying such nonsense?"

    I replied in the affirmative. "Every minute," continued M.
Krempe with warmth, "every instant that you have wasted on those books
is utterly and entirely lost. You have burdened your memory with
exploded systems and useless names. Good God! in what desert land have
you lived, where no one was kind enough to inform you that these
fancies, which you have so greedily imbibed, are a thousand years old,
and as musty as they are ancient? I little expected, in this
enlightened and scientific age, to find a disciple of Albertus
Magnus and Paracelsus. My dear sir, you must begin your studies
entirely anew."

    So saying, he stepped aside, and wrote down a list of several
books treating of natural philosophy, which he desired me to
procure; and dismissed me, after mentioning that in the beginning of
the following week he intended to commence a course of lectures upon
natural philosophy in its general relations, and that M. Waldman,
fellow-professor, would lecture upon chemistry the alternate days that
he omitted.

    I returned home, not disappointed, for I have said that I had long
considered those authors useless whom the professor reprobated; but
I returned, not at all the more inclined to recur to these studies
in any shape. M. Krempe was a little squat man, with a gruff voice and
a repulsive countenance the teacher, therefore, did not prepossess
me in favour of his pursuits. In rather a too philosophical and
connected a strain, perhaps, I have given an account of the
conclusions I had come to concerning them in my early years. As a
child, I had not been content with the results promised by the
modern professors of natural science. With a confusion of ideas only
to be accounted for by my extreme youth, and my want of a guide on
such matters, I had retrod the steps of knowledge along the paths of
time, and exchanged the discoveries of recent inquirers for the dreams
of forgotten alchymists. Besides, I had a contempt for the uses of
modern natural philosophy. It was very different when the masters of
the science sought immortality and power; such views, although futile,
were grand: but now the scene was changed. The ambition of the
inquirer seemed to limit itself to the annihilation of those visions
on which my interest in science was chiefly founded. I was required to
exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur for realities of little worth.

    Such were my reflections during the first two or three days of
my residence at Ingolstadt, which were chiefly spent in becoming
acquainted with the localities, and the principal residents in my
new abode. But as the ensuing week commenced, I thought of the
information which M. Krempe had given me concerning the lectures.
And although I could not consent to go and hear that little
conceited fellow deliver sentences out of a pulpit, I recollected what
he had said of M. Waldman, whom I had never seen, as he had hitherto
been out of town.

    Partly from curiosity, and partly from idleness, I went into the
lecturing room, which M. Waldman entered shortly after. This professor
was very unlike his colleague. He appeared about fifty years of age,
but with an aspect expressive of the greatest benevolence; a few
grey hairs covered his temples, but those at the back of his head were
nearly black. His person was short, but remarkably erect; and his
voice the sweetest I had ever heard. He began his lecture by a
recapitulation of the history of chemistry, and the various
improvements made by different men of learning, pronouncing with
fervour the names of the most distinguished discoverers. He then
took a cursory view of the present state of the science, and explained
many of its elementary terms. After having made a few preparatory
experiments, he concluded with a panegyric upon modern chemistry,
the terms of which I shall never forget:-

    "The ancient teachers of this science," said he, "promised
impossibilities, and performed nothing. The modern masters promise
very little they know that metals cannot be transmuted, and that the
elixir of life is a chimera. But these philosophers, whose hands
seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the
microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles. They penetrate
into the recesses of nature, and show how she works in her hiding
places. They ascend into the heavens: they have discovered how the
blood circulates, and the nature of the air we breathe. They have
acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the
thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the
invisible world with its own shadows."

    Such were the professor's words- rather let me say such the
words of fate, enounced to destroy me. As he went on, I felt as if
my soul were grappling with a palpable enemy; one by one the various
keys were touched which formed the mechanism of my being: chord
after chord was sounded, and soon my mind was filled with one thought,
one conception, one purpose. So much has been done, exclaimed the soul
of Frankenstein- more, far more, will I achieve: treading in the steps
already marked, I will pioneer a new way, explore unknown powers,
and unfold to the world the deepest mysteries of creation.

    I closed not my eyes that night. My internal being was in a
state of insurrection and turmoil; I felt that order would thence
arise, but I had no power to produce it. By degrees after the
morning's dawn, sleep came. I awoke, and my yesternight's thoughts
were as a dream. There only remained a resolution to return to my
ancient studies, and to devote myself to a science for which I
believed myself to possess a natural talent. On the same day, I paid
M. Waldman a visit. His manners in private were even more mild and
attractive than in public; for there was a certain dignity in his mien
during his lecture, which in his own house was replaced by the
greatest affability and kindness. I gave him pretty nearly the same
account of my former pursuits as I had given to his
fellow-professor. He heard with attention the little narration
concerning my studies, and smiled at the names of Cornelius Agrippa
and Paracelsus, but without the contempt that M. Krempe had exhibited.
He said, that "these were men to whose indefatigable zeal modern
philosophers were indebted for most of the foundations of their
knowledge. They had left to us, as an easier task, to give new
names, and arrange in connected classifications, the facts which
they in a great degree had been the instruments of bringing to
light. The labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed,
scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advantage of
mankind." I listened to his statement, which was delivered without any
presumption or affectation; and then added, that his lecture had
removed my prejudices against modern chemists; I expressed myself in
measured terms, with the modesty and deference due from a youth to his
instructor, without letting escape (inexperience in life would have
made me ashamed) any of the enthusiasm which stimulated my intended
labours. I requested his advice concerning the books I ought to

    "I am happy," said M. Waldman, "to have gained a disciple; and
if your application equals your ability, I have no doubt of your
success. Chemistry is that branch of natural philosophy in which the
greatest improvements have been and may be made: it is on that account
that I have made it my peculiar study; but at the same time I have not
neglected the other branches of science. A man would make but a very
sorry chemist if he attended to that department of human knowledge
alone. If your wish is to become really a man of science, and not
merely a petty experimentalist, I should advise you to apply to
every branch of natural philosophy, including mathematics."

    He then took me into his laboratory, and explained to me the
uses of his various machines; instructing me as to what I ought to
procure, and promising me the use of his own when I should have
advanced far enough in the science not to derange their mechanism.
He also gave me the list of books which I had requested; and I took my

    Thus ended a day memorable to me: it decided my future destiny.

                        CHAPTER IV

    FROM this memorable day natural philosophy, and particularly
chemistry, in the most comprehensive sense of the term, became
nearly my sole occupation. I read with ardour those works, so full
of genius and discrimination, which modern inquirers have written on
these subjects. I attended the lectures, and cultivated the
acquaintance, of the men of science of the university; and I found
even in M. Krempe a great deal of sound sense and real information,
combined, it is true, with a repulsive physiognomy and manners, but
not on that account the less valuable. In M. Waldman I found a true
friend. His gentleness was never tinged by dogmatism and his
instructions were given with an air of frankness and good nature
that banished every idea of pedantry. In a thousand ways he smoothed
for me the path of knowledge, and made the most abstruse inquiries
clear and facile to my apprehension. My application was at first
fluctuating and uncertain; it gained strength as I proceeded, and soon
became so ardent and eager that the stars often disappeared in the
light of morning whilst I was yet engaged in my laboratory.

    As I applied so closely, it may be easily conceived that my
progress was rapid. My ardour was indeed the astonishment of the
students, and my proficiency that of the masters. Professor Krempe
often asked me, with a sly smile, how Cornelius Agrippa went on?
whilst M. Waldman expressed the most heartfelt exultation in my
progress. Two years passed in this manner, during which I paid no
visit to Geneva, but was engaged, heart and soul, in the pursuit of
some discoveries, which I hoped to make. None but those who have
experienced them can conceive of the enticements of science. In
other studies you go as far as others have gone before you, and
there is nothing more to know; but in a scientific pursuit there is
continual food for discovery and wonder. A mind of moderate
capacity, which closely pursues one study, must infallibly arrive at
great proficiency in that study; and I, who continually sought the
attainment of one object of pursuit, and was solely wrapped up in
this, improved so rapidly that, at the end of two years, I made some
discoveries in the improvement of some chemical instruments which
procured me great esteem and admiration at the university. When I
had arrived at this point, and had become as well acquainted with
the theory and practice of natural philosophy as depended on the
lessons of any of the professors at Ingolstadt, my residence there
being no longer conducive to my improvement, I thought of returning to
my friends and my native town, when an incident happened that
protracted my stay.

    One of the phenomena which had peculiarly attracted my attention
was the structure of the human frame, and, indeed, any animal endued
with life. Whence, I often asked myself, did the principle of life
proceed? It was a bold question, and one which has ever been
considered as a mystery; yet with how many things are we upon the
brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not
restrain our inquiries. I revolved these circumstances in my mind, and
determined thenceforth to apply myself more particularly to those
branches of natural philosophy which relate to physiology. Unless I
had been animated by an almost supernatural enthusiasm, my application
to this study would have been irksome, and almost intolerable. To
examine the causes of life, we must first have recourse to death. I
became acquainted with the science of, anatomy: but this was not
sufficient; I must also observe the natural decay and corruption of
the human body. In my education my father had taken the greatest
precautions that my mind should be impressed with no supernatural
horrors. I do not ever remember to have trembled at a tale of
superstition, or to have feared the apparition of a spirit. Darkness
had no effect upon my fancy; and a churchyard was to me merely the
receptacle of bodies deprived of life, which, from being the seat of
beauty and strength, had become food for the worm. Now I was led to
examine the cause and progress of this decay, and forced to spend days
and nights in vaults and charnel-houses. My attention was fixed upon
every object the most insupportable to the delicacy of the human
feelings. I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; I
beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of
life; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain. I
paused, examining and analysing all the minutiae of causation, as
exemplified in the change from life to death, and death to life, until
from the midst of this darkness a sudden light broke in upon me- a
light so brilliant and wondrous, yet so simple, that while I became
dizzy with the immensity of the prospect which it illustrated, I was
surprised, that among so many men of genius who had directed their
inquiries towards the same science, that I alone should be reserved to
discover so astonishing a secret.

    Remember, I am not recording the vision of a madman. The sun
does not more certainly shine in the heavens, than that which I now
affirm is true. Some miracle might have produced it, yet the stages of
the discovery were distinct and probable. After days and nights of
incredible labour and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of
generation and life; nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing
animation upon lifeless matter.

    The astonishment which I had at first experienced on this
discovery soon gave place to delight and rapture. After so much time
spent in painful labour, to arrive at once at the summit of my desires
was the most gratifying consummation of my toils. But this discovery
was so great and overwhelming that all the steps by which I had been
progressively led to it were obliterated, and I beheld only the
result. What had been the study and desire of the wisest men since the
creation of the world was now within my grasp. Not that, like a
magic scene, it all opened upon me at once: the information I had
obtained was of a nature rather to direct my endeavours so soon as I
should point them towards the object of my search, than to exhibit
that object already accomplished. I was like the Arabian who had
been buried with the dead, and found a passage to life, aided only
by one glimmering, and seemingly ineffectual, light.

    I see by your eagerness, and the wonder and hope which your eyes
express, my friend, that you expect to be informed of the secret
with which I am acquainted; that cannot be: listen patiently until the
end of my story, and you will easily perceive why I am reserved upon
that subject. I will not lead you on, unguarded and ardent as I then
was, to your destruction and infallible misery. Learn from me, if
not by my precepts, at least by my example, how dangerous is the
acquirement of knowledge, and how much happier that man is who
believes his native town to be the world, than he who aspires to
become greater than his nature will allow.

    When I found so astonishing a power placed within my hands, I
hesitated a long time concerning the manner in which I should employ
it. Although I possessed the capacity of bestowing animation, yet to
prepare a frame for the reception of it, with all its intricacies of
fibres, muscles, and veins, still remained a work of inconceivable
difficulty and labour. I doubted at first whether I should attempt the
creation of a being like myself, or one of simpler organisation; but
my imagination was too much exalted by my first success to permit me
to doubt of my ability to give life to an animal as complex and
wonderful as man. The materials at present within my command hardly
appeared adequate to so arduous an undertaking; but I doubted not that
I should ultimately succeed. I prepared myself for a multitude of
reverses; my operations might be incessantly baffled, and at last my
work be imperfect: yet, when I considered the improvement which
every day takes place in science and mechanics, I was encouraged to
hope my present attempts would at least lay the foundations of
future success. Nor could I consider the magnitude and complexity of
my plan as any argument of its impracticability. It was with these
feelings that I began the creation of a human being. As the minuteness
of the parts formed a great hindrance to my speed, I resolved,
contrary to my first intention, to make the being of a gigantic
stature; that is to say, about eight feet in height, and
proportionably large. After having formed this determination, and
having spent some months in successfully collecting and arranging my
materials, I began.

    No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore me onwards,
like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of success. Life and death
appeared to me ideal bounds, which I should first break through, and
pour a torrent of light into our dark world. A new species would bless
me as its creator and source; many happy and excellent natures would
owe their being to me. No father could claim the gratitude of his
child so completely as I should deserve theirs. Pursuing these
reflections, I thought, that if I could bestow animation upon lifeless
matter, I might in process of time (although I now found it
impossible) renew life where death had apparently devoted the body
to corruption.

    These thoughts supported my spirits, while I pursued my
undertaking with unremitting ardour. My cheek had grown pale with
study, and my person had become emaciated with confinement. Sometimes,
on the very brink of certainty, I failed; yet still I clung to the
hope which the next day or the next hour might realise. One secret
which I alone possessed was the hope to which I had dedicated
myself; and the moon gazed on my midnight labours, while, with
unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued nature to her
hiding-places. Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil, as
I dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave, or tortured the
living animal, to animate the lifeless clay? My limbs now tremble
and my eyes swim with the remembrance; but then a resistless, and
almost frantic, impulse urged me forward; I seemed to have lost all
soul or sensation but for this one pursuit. It was indeed but a
passing trance that only made me feel with renewed acuteness so soon
as, the unnatural stimulus ceasing to operate, I had returned to my
old habits. I collected bones from charnel-houses; and disturbed, with
profane fingers, the tremendous secrets of the human frame. In a
solitary chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and
separated from all the other apartments by a gallery and staircase,
I kept my workshop of filthy creation: my eye-balls were starting from
their sockets in attending to the details of my employment. The
dissecting room and the slaughter-house furnished many of my
materials; and often did my human nature turn with loathing from my
occupation, whilst, still urged on by an eagerness which perpetually
increased, I brought my work near to a conclusion.

    The summer months passed while I was thus engaged, heart and soul,
in one pursuit. It was a most beautiful season; never did the fields
bestow a more plentiful harvest, or the vines yield a more luxuriant
vintage: but my eyes were insensible to the charms of nature. And
the same feelings which made me neglect the scenes around me caused me
also to forget those friends who were so many miles absent, and whom I
had not seen for so long a time. I knew my silence disquieted them;
and I well remembered the words of my father: "I know that while you
are pleased with yourself, you will think of us with affection, and we
shall hear regularly from you. You must pardon me if I regard any
interruption in your correspondence as a proof that your other
duties are equally neglected."

    I knew well, therefore, what would be my father's feelings; but
I could not tear my thoughts from my employment, loathsome in
itself, but which had taken an irresistible hold of my imagination.
I wished, as it were, to procrastinate all that related to my feelings
of affection until the great object, which swallowed up every habit of
my nature, should be completed.

    I then thought that my father would be unjust if he ascribed my
neglect to vice, or faultiness on my part; but I am now convinced that
he was justified in conceiving that I should not be altogether free
from blame. A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a
calm and peaceful mind, and never to allow passion or a transitory
desire to disturb his tranquillity. I do not think that the pursuit of
knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the study to which you
apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to
destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can
possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say,
not befitting the human mind. If this rule were always observed; if no
man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the
tranquillity of his domestic affections, Greece had not been enslaved,
Caesar would have spared his country; America would have been
discovered more gradually; and the empires of Mexico and Peru had
not been destroyed.

    But I forget that I am moralising in the most interesting part
of my tale; and your looks remind me to proceed.

    My father made no reproach in his letters, and only took notice of
my silence by inquiring into my occupations more particularly than
before. Winter, spring, and summer passed away during my labours;
but I did not watch the blossom or the expanding leaves- sights
which before always yielded me supreme delight- so deeply was I
engrossed in my occupation. The leaves of that year had withered
before my work drew near to a close; and now every day showed me
more plainly how well I had succeeded. But my enthusiasm was checked
by my anxiety, and I appeared rather like one doomed by slavery to
toil in the mines, or any other unwholesome trade, than an artist
occupied by his favourite employment. Every night I was oppressed by a
slow fever, and I became nervous to a most painful degree; the fall of
a leaf startled me, and I shunned my fellow-creatures as if I had been
guilty of a crime. Sometimes I grew alarmed at the wreck I perceived
that I had become- the energy of my purpose alone sustained me: my
labours would soon end, and I believed that exercise and amusement
would then drive away incipient disease; and I promised myself both of
these when my creation should be complete.

                         CHAPTER V

    IT WAS on a dreary night of November that I beheld the
accomplishment of my toils. With an anxiety that almost amounted to
agony, collected the instruments of life around me, that I might
infuse a spark of being into the lifeless thing that lay at my feet.
It was already one in the morning; the rain pattered dismally
against the panes, and my candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the
glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye of
the creature open; it breathed hard, and a convulsive motion
agitated its limbs.

    How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how
delineate the wretch whom with such infinite pains and care I had
endeavoured to form? His limbs were in proportion, and I had
selected his features as beautiful. Beautiful!- Great God! His
yellow skin scarcely covered the work of muscles and arteries beneath;
his hair was of a lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of a pearly
whiteness; but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast
with his watery eyes, that seemed almost of the same colour as the dun
white sockets in which they were set, his shrivelled complexion and
straight black lips.

    The different accidents of life are not so changeable as the
feelings of human nature. I had worked hard for nearly two years,
for the sole purpose of infusing life into an inanimate body. For this
I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an
ardour that far exceeded moderation; but now that I had finished,
the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust
filled my heart. Unable to endure the aspect of the being I had
created, I rushed out of the room, continued a long time traversing my
bed chamber, unable to compose my mind to sleep. At length lassitude
succeeded to the tumult I had before endured; and I threw myself on
the bed in my clothes, endeavouring to seek a few moments of
forgetfulness. But it was in vain: I slept, indeed, but I was
disturbed by the wildest dreams. I thought I saw Elizabeth, in the
bloom of health, walking in the streets of Ingolstadt. Delighted and
surprised, I embraced her; but as I imprinted the first kiss on her
lips, they became livid with the hue of death; her features appeared
to change, and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in
my arms; a shroud enveloped her form, and I saw the grave-worms
crawling in the folds of the flannel. I started from my sleep with
horror; a cold dew covered my forehead, my teeth chattered, and
every limb became convulsed: when, by the dim and yellow light of
the moon, as it forced its way through the window shutters, I beheld
the wretch- the miserable monster whom I had created. He held up the
curtain of the bed and his eyes, if eyes they may be called, were
fixed on me. His jaws opened, and he muttered some inarticulate
sounds, while a grin wrinkled his cheeks. He might have spoken, but
I did not hear; one hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me,
but I escaped, and rushed down stairs. I took refuge in the
courtyard belonging to the house which I inhabited; where I remained
during the rest of the night, walking up and down in the greatest
agitation, listening attentively, catching and fearing each sound as
if it were to announce the approach of the demoniacal corpse to
which I had so miserably given life.

    Oh! no mortal could support the horror of that countenance. A
mummy again endued with animation could not be so hideous as that
wretch. I had gazed on him while unfinished he was ugly then; but when
those muscles and joints were rendered capable of motion, it became
a thing such as even Dante could not have conceived.

    I passed the night wretchedly. Sometimes my pulse beat so
quickly and hardly that I felt the palpitation of every artery; at
others, I nearly sank to the ground through languor and extreme
weakness. Mingled with this horror, I felt the bitterness of
disappointment; dreams that had been my food and pleasant rest for
so long a space were now become a hell to me; and the change was so
rapid, the overthrow so complete!

    Morning, dismal and wet, at length dawned, and discovered to my
sleepless and aching eyes the church of Ingolstadt, white steeple
and clock, which indicated the sixth hour. The porter opened the gates
of the court, which had that night been my asylum, and I issued into
the streets, pacing them with quick steps, as if I sought to avoid the
wretch whom I feared every turning of the street would present to my
view. I did not dare return to the apartment which I inhabited, but
felt impelled to hurry on, although drenched by the rain which
poured from a black and comfortless sky.

    I continued walking in this manner for some time, endeavouring, by
bodily exercise, to ease the load that weighed upon my mind. I
traversed the streets, without any clear conception of where I was, or
what I was doing. My heart palpitated in the sickness of fear; and I
hurried on with irregular steps, not daring to look about me:-

             "Like one who, on a lonely road,

               Doth walk in fear and dread,

             And, having once turned round, walks on,

               And turns no more his head;

             Because he knows a frightful fiend

               Doth close behind him tread."*

    * Coleridge's Ancient Mariner

    Continuing thus, I came at length opposite to the inn at which the
various diligences and carriages usually stopped. Here I paused, I
knew not why; but I remained some minutes with my eyes fixed on a
coach that was coming towards me from the other end of the street.
As it drew nearer, I observed that it was the Swiss diligence: it
stopped just where I was standing, and, on the door being opened, I
perceived Henry Clerval, who, on seeing me, instantly sprung out.
"My dear Frankenstein," exclaimed he, "how glad I am to see you! how
fortunate that you should be here at the very moment of my alighting!"

    Nothing could equal my delight on seeing Clerval; his presence
brought back to my thoughts my father, Elizabeth, and all those scenes
of home so dear to my recollection. I grasped his hand, and in a
moment forgot my horror and misfortune; I felt suddenly, and for the
first time during many months, calm and serene joy. I welcomed my
friend, therefore, in the most cordial manner, and we walked towards
my college. Clerval continued talking for some time about our mutual
friends, and his own good fortune in being permitted to come to
Ingolstadt. "You may easily believe," said he, "how great was the
difficulty to persuade my father that all necessary knowledge was
not comprised in the noble art of bookkeeping; and, indeed, I
believe I left him incredulous to the last, for his constant answer to
my unwearied entreaties was the same as that of the Dutch
school-master in the Vicar of Wakefield:- 'I have ten thousand florins
a year without Greek, I eat heartily without Greek.' But his affection
for me at length overcame his dislike of learning, and he has
permitted me to undertake a voyage of discovery to the land of

    "It gives me the greatest delight to see you; but tell me how
you left my father, brothers, and Elizabeth."

    "Very well, and very happy, only a little uneasy that they hear
from you so seldom. By the by, I mean to lecture you a little upon
their account myself.- But, my dear Frankenstein," continued he,
stopping short, and gazing full in my face, "I did not before remark
how very ill you appear; so thin and pale; you look as if you had been
watching for several nights."

    "You have guessed right; I have lately been so deeply engaged in
one occupation that I have not allowed myself sufficient rest, as
you see: but I hope, I sincerely hope, that all these employments
are now at an end, and that I am at length free."

    I trembled excessively; I could not endure to think of, and far
less to allude to, the occurrences of the preceding night. I walked
with a quick pace, and we soon arrived at my college. I then
reflected, and the thought made me shiver, that the creature whom I
had left in my apartment might still be there, alive, and walking
about. I dreaded to behold this monster; but I feared still more
that Henry should see him. Entreating him, therefore, to remain a
few minutes at the bottom of the stairs, I darted up towards my own
room. My hand was already on the lock of the door before I recollected
myself I then paused; and a cold shivering came over me. I threw the
door forcibly open, as children are accustomed to do when they
expect a spectre to stand in waiting for them on the other side; but
nothing appeared. I stepped fearfully in: the apartment was empty; and
my bedroom was also freed from its hideous guest. I could hardly
believe that so great a good fortune could have befallen me; but
when I became assured that my enemy had indeed fled, I clapped my
hands for joy, and ran down to Clerval.

    We ascended into my room, and the servant presently brought
breakfast; but I was unable to contain myself It was not joy only that
possessed me; I felt my flesh tingle with excess of sensitiveness, and
my pulse beat rapidly. I was unable to remain for a single instant
in the same place; I jumped over the chairs, clapped my hands, and
laughed aloud. Clerval at first attributed my unusual spirits to joy
on his arrival; but when he observed me more attentively he saw a
wildness in my eyes for which he could not account; and my loud,
unrestrained, heartless laughter frightened and astonished him.

    "My dear Victor," cried he, "what, for God's sake, is the
matter? Do not laugh in that manner. How ill you are! What is the
cause of all this?"

    "Do not ask me," cried I, putting my hands before my eyes for I
thought I saw the dreaded spectre glide into the room; "he can
tell.- Oh, save me! save me!" I imagined that the monster seized me; I
struggled furiously, and fell down in a fit.

    Poor Clerval! what must have been his feelings? A meeting, which
he anticipated with such joy, so strangely turned to bitterness. But I
was not the witness of his grief, for I was lifeless, and did not
recover my senses for a long, long time.

    This was the commencement of a nervous fever, which confined me
for several months. During all that time Henry was my only nurse. I
afterwards learned that, knowing my father's advanced age, and
unfitness for so long a journey, and how wretched my sickness would
make Elizabeth, he spared them this grief by concealing the extent
of my disorder. He knew that I could not have a more kind and
attentive nurse than himself; and, firm in the hope he felt of my
recovery, he did not doubt that, instead of doing harm, he performed
the kindest action that he could towards them.

    But I was in reality very ill; and surely nothing but the
unbounded and unremitting attentions of my friend could have
restored me to life. The form of the monster on whom I had bestowed
existence was forever before my eyes, and I raved incessantly
concerning him. Doubtless my words surprised Henry: he at first
believed them to be the wanderings of my disturbed imagination; but
the pertinacity with which I continually recurred to the same subject,
persuaded him that my disorder indeed owed its origin to some uncommon
and terrible event.

    By very slow degrees, and with frequent relapses that alarmed
and grieved my friend, I recovered. I remember the first time I became
capable of observing outward objects with any kind of pleasure, I
perceived that the fallen leaves had disappeared, and that the young
buds were shooting forth from the trees that shaded my window. It
was a divine spring; and the season contributed greatly to my
convalescence. I felt also sentiments of joy and affection revive in
my bosom; my gloom disappeared, and in a short time I became as
cheerful as before I was attacked by the fatal passion.

    "Dearest Clerval," exclaimed I, "how kind, how very good you are
to me. This whole winter, instead of being spent in study, as you
promised yourself, has been consumed in my sick room. How shall I ever
repay you? I feel the greatest remorse for the disappointment of which
I have been the occasion; but you will forgive me."

    "You will repay me entirely if you do not discompose yourself, but
get well as fast as you can; and since you appear in such good
spirits, I may speak to you on one subject, may I not?"

    I trembled. One subject! what could it be? Could he allude to an
object on whom I dared not even think?

    "Compose yourself," said Clerval, who observed my change of
colour, "I will not mention it, if it agitates you; but your father
and cousin would be very happy if they received a letter from you in
your own handwriting. They hardly know how ill you have been, and
are uneasy at your long silence."

    "Is that all, my dear Henry? How could you suppose that my first
thoughts would not fly towards those dear, dear friends whom I love,
and who are so deserving of my love."

    "If this is your present temper, my friend, you will perhaps be
glad to see a letter that has been lying here some days for you; it is
from your cousin, I believe."

                         CHAPTER VI

     CLERVAL then put the following letter into hands. It was from
my own Elizabeth:-

     My dearest Cousin,- You have been ill, very ill, and even the
constant letters of dear kind Henry are not sufficient to reassure me
on your account. You are forbidden to write- to hold a pen; yet one
word from you, dear Victor, is necessary to calm our apprehensions.
For a long time I have thought that each post would bring this line,
and my persuasions have restrained my uncle from undertaking a journey
to Ingolstadt. I have prevented his encountering the inconveniences
and perhaps dangers of so long a journey; yet how often have I
regretted not being able to perform it myself! I figure to myself that
the task of attending on your sick bed has devolved on some mercenary
old nurse, who could never guess your wishes, nor minister to them
with the care and affection of your poor cousin. Yet that is over now:
Clerval writes that indeed you are getting better. I eagerly hope that
you will confirm this intelligence soon in your own handwriting.

    Get well- and return to us. You will find a happy, cheerful
home, and friends who love you dearly. Your father's health is
vigorous, and he asks but to see you- but to be assured that you are
well; not a care will ever cloud his benevolent countenance. How
pleased you would be to remark the improvement of our Ernest! He is
now sixteen, and full of activity and spirit. He is desirous to be a
true Swiss, and to enter into foreign service; but we cannot part with
him, at least until his elder brother return to us. My uncle is not
pleased with the idea of a military career in a distant country; but
Ernest never had your powers of application. He looks upon study as an
odious fetter;- his time is spent in the open air, climbing the
hills or rowing on the lake. I fear that he will become an idler,
unless we yield the point, and permit him to enter on the profession
which he has selected.

    Little alteration, except the growth of our dear children, has
taken place since you left us. The blue lake, and snow-clad mountains,
they never change;- and I think our placid home and our contented
hearts are regulated by the same immutable laws. My trifling
occupations take up my time and amuse me, and I am rewarded for any
exertions by seeing none but happy, kind faces around me. Since you
left us, but one change has taken place in our little household. Do
you remember on what occasion Justine Moritz entered our family?
Probably you do not; I will relate her history, therefore, in a few
words. Madame Moritz, her mother, was a widow with four children, of
whom Justine was the third. This girl had always been the favourite of
her father; but through a strange perversity, her mother could not
endure her, and after the death of M. Moritz, treated her very ill. My
aunt observed this- and, when Justine was twelve years of age,
prevailed on her mother to allow her to live at our house. The
republican institutions of our country have produced simpler and
happier manners than those which prevail in the great monarchies
that surround it. Hence there is less distinction between the
several classes of its inhabitants; and the lower orders, being
neither so poor nor so despised, their manners are more refined and
moral. A servant in Geneva does not mean the same thing as a servant
in France and England. Justine, thus received in our family, learned
the duties of a servant, a condition which, in our fortunate
country, does not include the idea of ignorance, and a sacrifice of
the dignity of a human being.

    Justine, you may remember, was a great favourite of yours; and I
recollect you once remarked, that if you were in an ill-humour, one
glance from Justine could dissipate it, for the same reason that
Ariosto gives concerning the beauty of Angelica- she looked so
frank-hearted and happy. My aunt conceived a great attachment for
her, by which she was induced to give her an education superior to
that which she had at first intended. This benefit was fully repaid;
Justine was the most grateful little creature in the world: I do not
mean that she made any professions; I never heard one pass her lips;
but you could see by her eyes that she almost adored her
protectress. Although her disposition was gay, and in many respects
inconsiderate, yet she paid the greatest attention to every gesture of
my aunt. She thought her the model of all excellence, and
endeavoured to imitate her phraseology and manners, so that even now
she often reminds me of her.

    When my dearest aunt died, everyone was too much occupied in their
own grief to notice poor Justine, who had attended her during her
illness with the most anxious affection. Poor Justine was very ill;
but other trials were reserved for her.

    One by one, her brothers and sister died; and her mother, with the
exception of her neglected daughter, was left childless. The
conscience of the woman was troubled; she began to think that the
deaths of her favourites was a judgment from heaven to chastise her
partiality. She was a Roman Catholic; and I believe her confessor
confirmed the idea which she had conceived. Accordingly, a few
months after your departure for Ingolstadt, Justine was called home by
her repentant mother. Poor girl! She wept when she quitted our
house; she was much altered since the death of my aunt; grief had
given softness and a winning mildness to her manners, which had before
been remarkable for vivacity. Nor was her residence at her mother's
house of a nature to restore her gaiety. The poor woman was very
vacillating in her repentance. She sometimes begged Justine to forgive
her unkindness, but much oftener accused her of having caused the
deaths of her brothers and sister. Perpetual fretting at length
threw Madame Moritz into a decline, which at first increased her
irritability, but she is now at peace forever. She died on the first
approach of cold weather, at the beginning of this last winter.
Justine has returned to us; and I assure you I love her tenderly.
She is very clever and gentle, and extremely pretty; as I mentioned
before, her mien and her expressions continually remind me of my
dear aunt.

    I must say also a few words to you, my dear cousin, of little
darling William. I wish you could see him; he is very tall for his
age, with sweet laughing blue eyes, dark eyelashes, and curling
hair. When he smiles, two little dimples appear on each cheek, which
are rosy with health. He has already had one or two little wives,
but Louisa Biron is his favourite, a pretty little girl five years
of age.

    Now, dear Victor, I dare say you wish to be indulged in a little
gossip concerning the good people of Geneva. The pretty Miss Mansfield
has already received the congratulatory visits on her approaching
marriage with a young Englishman, John Melbourne, Esq. Her ugly
sister, Manon, married M. Duvillard, the rich banker, last autumn.
Your favourite schoolfellow, Louis Manoir, has suffered several
misfortunes since the departure of Clerval from Geneva. But he has
already recovered his spirits, and is reported to be on the point of
marrying a very lively pretty Frenchwoman, Madame Tavernier. She is
a widow, and much older than Manoir; but she is very much admired, and
a favourite with everybody.

    I have written myself into better spirits, dear cousin; but my
anxiety returns upon me as I conclude. Write, dearest Victor- one
line- one word will be a blessing to us. Ten thousand thanks to
Henry for his kindness, his affection, and his many letters: we are
sincerely grateful. Adieu! my cousin; take care of yourself; and, I
entreat you, write!

                                              Elizabeth Lavenza.

    "Dear, dear Elizabeth!" I exclaimed, when I had read her letter,
"I will write instantly, and relieve them from the anxiety they must
feel." I wrote, and this exertion greatly fatigued me; but my
convalescence had commenced, and proceeded regularly. In another
fortnight I was able to leave my chamber.

    One of my first duties on my recovery was to introduce Clerval
to the several professors of the university. In doing this, I
underwent a kind of rough usage, ill befitting the wounds that my mind
had sustained. Ever since the fatal night, the end of my labours,
add the beginning of my misfortunes, I had conceived a violent
antipathy even to the name of natural philosophy. When I was otherwise
quite restored to health, the sight of a chemical instrument would
renew all the agony of my nervous symptoms. Henry saw this, and had
removed all my apparatus from my view. He had also changed my
apartment; for he perceived that I had acquired a dislike for the room
which had previously been my laboratory. But these cares of Clerval
were made of no avail when I visited the professors. M. Waldman
inflicted torture when he praised, with kindness and warmth, the
astonishing progress I had made in the sciences. He soon perceived
that I disliked the subject; but not guessing the real cause, he
attributed my feelings to modesty, and changed the subject from my
improvement, to the science itself, with a desire, as I evidently saw,
of drawing me out. What could I do? He meant to please, and he
tormented me. I felt as if he had placed carefully, one by one, in
my view those instruments which were to be afterwards used in
putting me to a slow and cruel death. I writhed under his words, yet
dared not exhibit the pain I felt. Clerval, whose eyes and feelings
were always quick in discerning the sensations of others, declined the
subject, alleging, in excuse, his total ignorance; and the
conversation took a more general turn. I thanked my friend from my
heart, but I did not speak. I saw plainly that he was surprised, but
he never attempted to draw my secret from me; and although I loved him
with a mixture of affection and reverence that knew no bounds, yet I
could never persuade myself to confide to him that event which was
so often present to my recollection, but which I feared the detail
to another would only impress more deeply.

    M. Krempe was not equally docile; and in my condition at that
time, of almost insupportable sensitiveness, his harsh blunt encomiums
gave me even more pain than the benevolent approbation of M.
he has outstript us all. Ay, stare if you please; but it is
nevertheless true. A youngster who, but a few years ago, believed in
Cornelius Agrippa as firmly as in the gospel, has now set himself at
the head of the university; and if he is not soon pulled down, we
shall all be out of countenance.- Ay, ay," continued he, observing
my face expressive of suffering, "M. Frankenstein is modest; an
excellent quality in a young man. Young men should be diffident of
themselves, you know, M. Clerval: I was myself when young; but that
wears out in a very short time."

    M. Krempe had now commenced an eulogy on himself, which happily
turned the conversation from a subject that was so annoying to me.

    Clerval had never sympathised in my tastes for natural science;
and his literary pursuits differed wholly from those which had
occupied me. He came to the university with the design of making
himself complete master of the oriental languages, as thus he should
open a field for the plan of life he had marked out for himself
Resolved to pursue no inglorious career, he turned his eyes toward the
East, as affording scope for his spirit of enterprise. The Persian,
Arabic, and Sanscrit languages engaged his attention, and I was easily
induced to enter on the same studies. Idleness had ever been irksome
to me, and now that I wished to fly from reflection, and hated my
former studies, I felt great relief in being the fellow-pupil with
my friend, and found not only instruction but consolation in the works
of the orientalists. I did not, like him, attempt a critical knowledge
of their dialects, for I did not contemplate making any other use of
them than temporary amusement. I read merely to understand their
meaning, and they well repaid my labours. Their melancholy is
soothing, and their elevating, to a degree I never experienced in
studying the authors of any other country. When you read their
writings, life appears to consist in a warm sun and a garden of roses-
in the smiles and frowns of a fair enemy, and the fire that consumes
your own heart. How different from the manly and heroical poetry of
Greece and Rome!

    Summer passed away in these occupations, and my return to Geneva
was fixed for the latter end of autumn; but being delayed by several
accidents, winter and snow arrived, the roads were deemed
impassable, and my journey was retarded until the ensuing spring. I
felt this delay very bitterly for I longed to see my native town and
my beloved friends. My return had only been delayed so long from an
unwillingness to leave Clerval in a strange place, before he had
become acquainted with any of its inhabitants. The winter, however,
was spent cheerfully; and although the spring was uncommonly late,
when it came its beauty compensated for its dilatoriness.

    The month of May had already commenced, and I expected the
letter daily which was to fix the date of my departure, when Henry
proposed a pedestrian tour in the environs of Ingolstadt, that I might
bid a personal farewell to the country I had so long inhabited. I
acceded with pleasure to this proposition: I was fond of exercise, and
Clerval had always been my favourite companion in the rambles of
this nature that I had taken among the scenes of my native country.

    We passed a fortnight in these perambulations: my health and
spirits had long been restored, and they gained additional strength
from the salubrious air I breathed, the natural incidents of our
progress, and the conversation of my friend. Study had before secluded
me from the intercourse of my fellow-creatures, and rendered me
unsocial; but Clerval called forth the better feelings of my heart; he
again taught me to love the aspect of nature, and the cheerful faces
of children. Excellent friend! how sincerely did you love me, and
endeavour to elevate my mind until it was on a level with your own!
A selfish pursuit had cramped and narrowed me, until your gentleness
and affection warmed and opened my senses; I became the same happy
creature who, a few years ago, loved and beloved by all, had no sorrow
or care. When happy, inanimate nature had the power of bestowing on me
the most delightful sensations. A serene sky and verdant fields filled
me with ecstasy. The present season was indeed divine; the flowers
of spring bloomed in the hedges, while those of summer were already in
bud. I was undisturbed by thoughts which during the preceding year had
pressed upon me, notwithstanding my endeavours to throw them off, with
an invincible burden.

    Henry rejoiced in my gaiety, and sincerely sympathised in my
feelings: he exerted himself to amuse me, while he expressed the
sensations that filled his soul. The resources of his mind on this
occasion were truly astonishing: his conversation was full of
imagination; and very often, in imitation of the Persian and Arabic
writers, he invented tales of wonderful fancy and passion. At other
times he repeated my favourite poems, or drew me out into arguments,
which he supported with great ingenuity.

    We returned to our college on a Sunday afternoon: the peasants
were dancing, and every one we met appeared gay and happy. My own
spirits were high, and I bounded along with feelings of unbridled
joy and hilarity.

                       CHAPTER VII

    ON MY return, I found the following letter from my father,-

    My dear Victor,- You have probably waited impatiently for a letter
to fix the date of your return to us; and I was at first tempted to
write only a few lines, merely mentioning the day on which I should
expect you. But that would be a cruel kindness, and I dare not do
it. What would be your surprise, my son, when you expected a happy and
glad welcome, to behold, on the contrary, tears and wretchedness?
And how, Victor, can I relate our misfortune? Absence cannot have
rendered you callous to our joys and griefs; and how shall I inflict
pain on my long absent son? I wish to prepare you for the woeful news,
but I know it is impossible; even now your eye skims over the page, to
seek the words which are to convey to you the horrible tidings.

    William is dead!- that sweet child, whose smiles delighted and
warmed my heart, who was so gentle, yet so gay! Victor, he is

    I will not attempt to console you; but will simply relate the
circumstances of the transaction.

    Last Thursday (May 7th), I, my niece, and your two brothers,
went to walk in Plainpalais. The evening was warm and serene, and we
prolonged our walk farther than usual. It was already dusk before we
thought of returning; and then we discovered that William and
Ernest, who had gone on before, were not to be found. We accordingly
rested on a seat until they should return. Presently Ernest came,
and inquired if we had seen his brother: he said, that he had been
playing with him, that William had run away to hide himself, and
that he vainly sought for him, and afterwards waited for him a long
time, but that he did not return.

    This account rather alarmed us, and we continued to search for him
until night fell, when Elizabeth conjectured that he might have
returned to the house. He was not there. We returned again, with
torches; for I could not rest, when I thought that my sweet boy had
lost himself, and was exposed to all the damps and dews of night;
Elizabeth also suffered extreme anguish. About five in the morning I
discovered my lovely boy, whom the night before I had seen blooming
and active in health, stretched on the grass livid and motionless; the
print of the murderer's finger was on his neck.

    He was conveyed home, and the anguish that was visible in my
countenance betrayed the secret to Elizabeth. She was very earnest
to see the corpse. At first I attempted to prevent her- but she
persisted, and entering the room where it lay, hastily examined the
neck of the victim, and clasping her hands, exclaimed, "O God! I
have murdered my darling child!"

    She fainted, and was restored with extreme difficulty. When she
again lived, it was only to weep and sigh. She told me that that
same evening William had teased her to let him wear a very valuable
miniature that she possessed of your mother. This picture is gone, and
was doubtless the temptation which urged the murderer to the deed.
We have no trace of him at present, although our exertions to discover
him are unremitted; but they will not restore my beloved Wilham!

    Come, dearest Victor; you alone can console Elizabeth. She weeps
continually, and accuses herself unjustly as the cause of his death;
her words pierce my heart. We are all unhappy; but will not that be an
additional motive for you, my son, to return and be our comforter?
Your dear mother! Alas, Victor! I now say, Thank God she did not
live to witness the cruel, miserable death of her youngest darling!

    Come, Victor; not brooding thoughts of vengeance against the
assassin, but with feelings of peace and gentleness, that will heal,
instead of festering, the wounds of our minds. Enter the house of
mourning, my friend, but with kindness and affection for those who
love you, and not with hatred for your enemies.- Your affectionate and
afflicted father,

                                          Alphonse Frankenstein.

    Clerval, who had watched my countenance as I read this letter, was
surprised to observe the despair that succeeded to the joy I at
first expressed on receiving news from my friends. I threw the
letter on the table, and covered my face with my hands.

    "My dear Frankenstein," exclaimed Henry, when he perceived me weep
with bitterness, "are you always to be unhappy? My dear friend, what
has happened?"

    I motioned to him to take up the letter, while I walked up and
down the room in the extremest agitation. Tears also gushed from the
eyes of Clerval, as he read the account of my misfortune.

    "I can offer you no consolation, my friend," said he; "your
disaster is irreparable. What do you intend to do?"

    "To go instantly to Geneva: come with me, Henry, to order the

    During our walk, Clerval endeavoured to say a few words of
consolation; he could only express his heartfelt sympathy. "Poor
William!" said he, "dear lovely child, he now sleeps with his angel
mother! Who that had seen him bright and joyous in his young beauty,
but must weep over his untimely loss! To die so miserably; to feel the
murderer's grasp! How much more a murderer, that could destroy such
radiant innocence! Poor little fellow! one only consolation have we;
his friends mourn and weep, but he is at rest. The pang is over, his
sufferings are at an end for ever. A sod covers his gentle form, and
he knows no pain. He can no longer be a subject for pity; we must
reserve that for his miserable survivors."

    Clerval spoke thus as we hurried through the streets; the words
impressed themselves on my mind, and I remembered them afterwards in
solitude. But now, as soon as the horses arrived, I hurried into a
cabriolet, and bade farewell to my friend.

    My journey was very melancholy. At first I wished to hurry on, for
I longed to console and sympathise with my loved and sorrowing
friends; but when I drew near my native town, I slackened my progress.
I could hardly sustain the multitude of feelings that crowded into
my mind. I passed through scenes familiar to my youth, but which I had
not seen for nearly six years. How altered everything might be
during that time! One sudden and desolating change had taken place;
but a thousand little circumstances might have by degrees worked other
alterations, which, although they were done more tranquilly, might not
be the less decisive. Fear overcame me; I dared not advance,
dreading a thousand nameless evils that made me tremble, although I
was unable to define them.

    I remained two days at Lausanne, in this painful state of mind.
I contemplated the lake: the waters were placid; all around was
calm; and the snowy mountains, "the palaces of nature," were not
changed. By degrees the calm and heavenly scene restored me, and I
continued my journey towards Geneva.

    The road ran by the side of the lake, which became narrower as I
approached my native town. I discovered more distinctly the black
sides of Jura, and the bright summit of Mont Blanc. I wept like a
child. "Dear mountains! my own beautiful lake! how do you welcome your
wanderer? Your summits are clear; the sky and lake are blue and
placid. Is this to prognosticate peace, or to mock at my unhappiness?"

    I fear, my friend, that I shall render myself tedious by
dwelling on these preliminary circumstances; but they were days of
comparative happiness, and I think of them with pleasure. My
country, my beloved country! who but a native can tell the delight I
took in again beholding thy streams, thy mountains, and, more than
all, thy lovely lake!

    Yet, as I drew nearer home, grief and fear again overcame me.
Night also closed around; and when I could hardly see the dark
mountains, I felt still more gloomily. The picture appeared a vast and
dim scene of evil, and I foresaw obscurely that I was destined to
become the most wretched of human beings. Alas! I prophesied truly,
and failed only in one single circumstance, that in all the misery I
imagined and dreaded, I did not conceive the hundredth part of the
anguish I was destined to endure.

    It was completely dark when I arrived in the environs of Geneva;
the gates of the town were already shut; and I was obliged to pass the
night at Secheron, a village at the distance of half a league from the
city. The sky was serene; and, as I was unable to rest, I resolved
to visit the spot where my poor William had been murdered. As I
could not pass through the town, I was obliged to cross the lake in
a boat to arrive at Plainpalais. During this short voyage I saw the
lightnings playing on the summit of Mont Blanc in the most beautiful
figures. The storm appeared to approach rapidly; and, on landing, I
ascended a low hill, that I might observe its progress. It advanced;
the heavens were clouded, and I soon felt the rain coming slowly in
large drops, but its violence quickly increased.

    I quitted my seat, and walked on, although the darkness and
storm increased every minute, and the thunder burst with a terrific
crash over my head. It was echoed from Saleve, the Juras, and the Alps
of Savoy; vivid flashes of lightning dazzled my eyes, illuminating the
lake, making it appear like a vast sheet of fire; then for an
instant everything seemed of a pitchy darkness, until the eye
recovered itself from the preceding flash. The storm, as is often
the case in Switzerland, appeared at once in various parts of the
heavens. The most violent storm hung exactly north of the town, over
that part of the lake which lies between the promontory of Belrive and
the village of Copet. Another storm enlightened Jura with faint
flashes; and another darkened and sometimes disclosed the Mole, a
peaked mountain to the east of the lake.

    While I watched the tempest, so beautiful yet terrific, I wandered
on with a hasty step. This noble war in the sky elevated my spirits; I
clasped my hands, and exclaimed aloud, "William, dear angel! this is
thy funeral, this thy dirge!" As I said these words, I perceived in
the gloom a figure which stole from behind a clump of trees near me;
I stood fixed, gazing intently: I could not be mistaken. A flash of
lightning illuminated the object, and discovered its shape plainly
to me; its gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more
hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was
the wretch, the filthy daemon, to whom I had given life. What did he
there? Could he be (I shuddered at the conception) the murderer of
my brother? No sooner did that idea cross my imagination, than I
became convinced of its truth; my teeth chattered, and I was forced to
lean against a tree for support. The figure passed me quickly, and I
lost it in the gloom. Nothing in human shape could have destroyed that
fair child. He was the murderer! I could not doubt it. The mere
presence of the idea was an irresistible proof of the fact. I
thought of pursuing the devil; but it would have been in vain, for
another flash discovered him to me hanging among the rocks of the
nearly perpendicular ascent of Mont. Saleve, a hill that bounds
Plainpalais on the south. He soon reached the summit, and disappeared.

    I remained motionless. The thunder ceased; but the rain still
continued, and the scene was enveloped in an impenetrable darkness.
I revolved in my mind the events which I had until now sought to
forget: the whole train of my progress towards the creation; the
appearance of the work of my own hands alive at my bedside; its
departure. Two years had now nearly elapsed since the night on which
he first received life; and was this his first crime? Alas! I had
turned loose into the world a depraved wretch, whose delight was in
carnage and misery; had he not murdered my brother?

    No one can conceive the anguish I suffered during the remainder of
the night, which I spent, cold and wet, in the open air. But I did not
feel the inconvenience of the weather; my imagination was busy in
scenes of evil and despair. I considered the being whom I had cast
among mankind, and endowed with the will and power to effect
purposes of horror, such as the deed which he had now done, nearly
in the light of my own vampire, my own spirit let loose from the
grave, and forced to destroy all that was dear to me.

    Day dawned; and I directed my steps towards the town. The gates
were open, and I hastened to my father's house. My first thought was
to discover what I knew of the murderer and cause instant pursuit to
be made. But I paused when I reflected on the story that I had to
tell. A being whom I myself had formed, and endued with life, had
met me at midnight among the precipices of an inaccessible mountain. I
remembered also the nervous fever with which I had been seized just at
the time that I dated my creation, and which would give an air of
delirium to a tale otherwise so utterly improbable. I well knew that
if any other had communicated such a relation to me, I should have
looked upon it as the ravings of insanity. Besides, the strange nature
of the animal would elude all pursuit, even if I were so far
credited as to persuade my relatives to commence it. And then of
what use would be pursuit? Who could arrest a creature capable of
scaling the overhanging sides of Mont Saleve? These reflections
determined me, and I resolved to remain silent.

    It was about five in the morning when I entered my father's house.
I told the servants not to disturb the family, and went into the
library to attend their usual hour of rising.

    Six years had elapsed, passed as a dream but for one indelible
trace, and I stood in the same place where I had last embraced my
father before my departure for Ingolstadt. Beloved and venerable
parent! He still remained to me. I gazed on the picture of my
mother, which stood over the mantel-piece. It was an historical
subject, painted at my father's desire, and represented Caroline
Beaufort in an agony of despair, kneeling by the coffin of her dead
father. Her garb was rustic, and her cheek pale; but there was an
air of dignity and beauty, that hardly permitted the sentiment of
pity. Below this picture was a miniature of William; and my tears
flowed when I looked upon it. While I was thus engaged, Ernest
entered: he had heard me arrive, and hastened to welcome me. He
expressed a sorrowful delight to see me: "Welcome, my dearest Victor,"
said he. "Ah! I wish you had come three months ago, and then you would
have found us all joyous and delighted! You come to us now to share
a misery which nothing can alleviate; yet your presence will, I
hope, revive our father, who seems sinking under his misfortune; and
your persuasions will induce poor Elizabeth to cease her vain and
tormenting self-accusations.- Poor William! he was our darling and our

    Tears, unrestrained, fell from my brother's eyes; a sense of
mortal agony crept over my frame. Before, I had only imagined the'
wretchedness of my desolated home; the reality came on me as a new,
and a not less terrible, disaster. I tried to calm Ernest; I
inquired more minutely concerning my father and her I named my cousin.

    "She most of all," said Ernest, "requires consolation; she
accused herself of having caused the death of my brother, and that
made her very wretched. But since the murderer has been discovered-"

    "The murderer discovered! Good God! how can that be? who could
attempt to pursue him? It is impossible; one might as well try to
overtake the winds, or confine a mountain-stream with a straw. I saw
him too; he was free last night!"

    "I do not know what you mean," replied my brother, in accents of
wonder, "but to us the discovery we have made completes our misery. No
one would believe it at first; and even now Elizabeth will not be
convinced, notwithstanding all the evidence. Indeed, who would
credit that Justine Moritz, who was so amiable, and fond of all the
family, could suddenly become capable of so frightful, so appalling
a crime?"

    "Justine Moritz! Poor, poor girl, is she the accused? But it is
wrongfully; every one knows that; no one believes it, surely, Ernest?"

    "No one did at first; but several circumstances came out, that
have almost forced conviction upon us; and her own behaviour has
been so confused, as to add to the evidence of facts a weight that,
I fear, leaves no hope for doubt. But she will be tried to-day, and
you will then hear all."

    He related that, the morning on which the murder of poor Wilham
had been discovered, Justine had been taken ill, and confined to her
bed for several days. During this interval, one of the servants,
happening to examine the apparel she had worn on the night of the
murder, had discovered in her pocket the picture of my mother, which
had been judged to be the temptation of the murderer. The servant
instantly showed it to one of the others, who, without saying a word
to any of the family, went to a magistrate; and, upon their
deposition, Justine was apprehended. On being charged with the fact,
the poor girl confirmed the suspicion in a great measure by her
extreme confusion of manner.

    This was a strange tale, but it did not shake my faith; and I
replied earnestly, "You are all mistaken; I know the murderer Justine,
poor, good Justine, is innocent."

    At that instant my father entered. I saw unhappiness deeply
impressed on his countenance, but he endeavoured to welcome me
cheerfully; and, after we had exchanged our mournful greeting, would
have introduced some other topic than that of our disaster, had not
Ernest exclaimed, "Good God, papa! Victor says that he knows who was
the murderer of poor William."

    "We do also, unfortunately," replied my father; "for indeed I
had rather have been for ever ignorant than have discovered so much
depravity and ingratitude in one I valued so highly."

    "My dear father, you are mistaken; Justine is innocent."

    "If she is, God forbid that she should suffer as guilty. She is to
be tried to-day, and I hope, I sincerely hope, that she will be

    This speech calmed me. I was firmly convinced in my own mind
that Justine, and indeed every human being, was guiltless of this
murder. I had no fear, therefore, that any circumstantial evidence
could be brought forward strong enough to convict her. My tale was not
one to announce publicly; its astounding horror would be looked upon
as madness by the vulgar. Did any one indeed exist, except I, the
creator, who would believe, unless his senses convinced him, in the
existence of the living monument of presumption and rash ignorance
which I had let loose upon the world?

    We were soon joined by Elizabeth. Time had altered her since I
last beheld her; it had endowed her with loveliness surpassing the
beauty of her childish years. There was the same candour, the same
vivacity, but it was allied to an expression more full of
sensibility and intellect. She welcomed me with the greatest
affection. "Your arrival, my dear cousin," said she, "fills me with
hope. You perhaps will find some means to justify my poor guiltless
Justine. Alas! who is safe, if she be convicted of crime? I rely on
her innocence as certainly as I do upon my own. Our misfortune is
doubly hard to us; we have not only lost that lovely darling boy,
but this poor girl, whom I sincerely love, is to be torn away by
even a worse fate. If she is condemned, I never shall know joy more.
But she will not, I am sure she will not; and then I shall be happy
again, even after the sad death of my little William."

    "She is innocent, my Elizabeth," said I, "and that shall be
proved; fear nothing, but let your spirits be cheered by the assurance
of her acquittal."

    "How kind and generous you are! every one else believes in her
guilt, and that made me wretched, for I knew that it was impossible:
and to see everyone else prejudiced in so deadly a manner rendered
me hopeless and despairing." She wept.

    "Dearest niece," said my father, "dry your tears. If she is, as
you believe, innocent, rely on the justice of our laws, and the
activity with which I shall prevent the slightest shadow of

                        CHAPTER VIII

    WE PASSED a few sad hours, until eleven o'clock, when the trial
was to commence. My father and the rest of the family being obliged to
attend as witnesses, I accompanied them to the court. During the whole
of this wretched mockery of justice I suffered living torture. It
was to be decided, whether the result of my curiosity and lawless
devices would cause the death of two of my fellow-beings: one a
smiling babe, full of innocence and joy; the other far more dreadfully
murdered, with every aggravation of infamy that could make the
murder memorable in horror. Justine also was a girl of merit, and
possessed qualities which promised to render her life happy: now all
was to be obliterated in an ignominious grave; and I the cause! A
thousand times rather would I have confessed myself guilty of the
crime ascribed to Justine; but I was absent when it was committed, and
such a declaration would have been considered as the ravings of a
madman, and would not have exculpated her who suffered through me.

    The appearance of Justine was calm. She was dressed in mourning;
and her countenance, always engaging, was rendered, by the solemnity
of her feelings, exquisitely beautiful. Yet she appeared confident
in innocence, and did not tremble, although gazed on and execrated
by thousands; for all the kindness which her beauty might otherwise
have excited, was obliterated in the minds of the spectators by the
imagination of the enormity she was supposed to have committed. She
was tranquil, yet her tranquillity was evidently constrained; and as
her confusion had before been adduced as a proof of her guilt, she
worked up her mind to an appearance of courage. When she entered the
court, she threw her eyes round it, and quickly discovered where we
were seated. A tear seemed to dim her eye when she saw us; but she
quickly recovered herself, and a look of sorrowful affection seemed to
attest her utter guiltlessness.

    The trial began; and, after the advocate against her had stated
the charge, several witnesses were called. Several strange facts
combined against her, which might have staggered anyone who had not
such proof of her innocence as I had. She had been out the whole of
the night on which the murder had been committed, and towards
morning had been perceived by a market-woman not far from the spot
where the body of the murdered child had been afterwards found. The
woman asked her what she did there; but she looked very strangely, and
only returned a confused and unintelligible answer. She returned to
the house about eight o'clock; and, when one inquired where she had
passed the night, she replied that she had been looking for the child,
and demanded earnestly if anything had been heard concerning him. When
shown the body, she fell into violent hysterics, and kept her bed
for several days. The picture was then produced, which the servant had
found in her pocket; and when Elizabeth, in a faltering voice,
proved that it was the same which, an hour before the child had been
missed, she had placed round his neck, a murmur of horror and
indignation filled the court.

    Justine was called on for her defence. As the trial had proceeded,
her countenance had altered. Surprise, horror, and misery were
strongly expressed. Sometimes she struggled with her tears; but,
when she was desired to plead, she collected her powers, and spoke, in
an audible, although variable voice.

    "God knows," she said, "how entirely I am innocent. But I do not
pretend that my protestations should acquit me: I rest my innocence on
a plain and simple explanation of the facts which have been adduced
against me; and I hope the character I have always borne will
incline my judges to a favourable interpretation, where any
circumstance appears doubtful or suspicious."

    She then related that, by the permission of Elizabeth, she had
passed the evening of the night on which the murder had been committed
at the house of an aunt at Chene, a village situated at about a league
from Geneva. On her return, at about nine o'clock, she met a man,
who asked her if she had seen anything of the child who was lost.
She was alarmed by this account, and passed several hours in looking
for him, when the gates of Geneva were shut, and she was forced to
remain several hours of the night in a barn belonging to a cottage,
being unwilling to call up the inhabitants, to whom she was well
known. Most of the night she spent here watching; towards morning
she believed that she slept for a few minutes; some steps disturbed
her, and she awoke. It was dawn, and she quitted her asylum, that
she might again endeavour to find my brother. If she had gone near the
spot where his body lay, it was without her knowledge. That she had
been bewildered when questioned by the market-woman was not
surprising, since she had passed a sleepless night, and the fate of
poor William was yet uncertain. Concerning the picture she could
give no account.

    "I know," continued the unhappy victim, "how heavily and fatally
this one circumstance weighs against me, but I have no power of
explaining it; and when I have expressed my utter ignorance, I am only
left to conjecture concerning the probabilities by which it might have
been placed in my pocket. But here also I am checked. I believe that I
have no enemy on earth, and none surely would have been so wicked as
to destroy me wantonly. Did the murderer place it there? I know of
no opportunity afforded him for so doing; or, if I had, why should
he have stolen the jewel, to part with it again so soon?

    "I commit my cause to the justice of my judges, yet I see no
room for hope. I beg permission to have a few witnesses examined
concerning my character; and if their testimony shall not overweigh my
supposed guilt, I must be condemned, although I Would pledge my
salvation on my innocence."

    Several witnesses were called, who had known her for many years,
and they spoke well of her; but fear and hatred of the crime of
which they supposed her guilty rendered them timorous, and unwilling
to come forward. Elizabeth saw even this last resource, her
excellent dispositions and irreproachable conduct, about to fail the
accused, when, although violently agitated, she desired permission
to address the court.

    "I am," said she, "the cousin of the unhappy child who was
murdered, or rather his sister, for I was educated by, and have
lived with his parents ever since and even long before, his birth.
It may, therefore, be judged indecent in me to come forward on this
occasion; but when I see a fellow-creature about to perish through the
cowardice of her pretended friends, I wish to be allowed to speak,
that I may say what I know of her character. I am well acquainted with
the accused. I have lived in the same house with her, at one time
for five and at another for nearly two years. During all that period
she appeared to me the most amiable and benevolent of human creatures.
She nursed Madame Frankenstein, my aunt, in her last illness, with the
greatest affection and care; and afterwards attended her own mother
during a tedious illness, in a manner that excited the admiration of
all who knew her; after which she again lived in my uncle's house,
where she was beloved by all the family. She was warmly attached to
the child who is now dead, and acted towards him like a most
affectionate mother. For my own part, I do not hesitate to say,
that, notwithstanding all the evidence produced against her, I believe
and rely on her perfect innocence. She had no temptation for such an
action: as to the bauble on which the chief proof rests, if she had
earnestly desired it, I should have willingly given it to her; so much
do I esteem and value her."

    A murmur of approbation followed Elizabeth's simple and powerful
appeal but it was excited by her generous interference, and not in
turned with renewed violence, on whom the public indignation was
turned with renewed violence, charging her with the blackest
ingratitude. She herself wept as Elizabeth spoke, but she did not
answer. My own agitation and anguish was extreme during the whole
trial. I believed in her innocence; I knew it. Could the daemon, who
had (I did not for a minute doubt) murdered my brother, also in his
hellish sport have betrayed the innocent to death and ignominy? I
could not sustain the horror of my situation; and when I perceived
that the popular voice, and the countenances of the judges, had
already condemned my unhappy victim, I rushed out of the court in
agony. The tortures of the accused did not equal mine; she was
sustained by innocence, but the fangs of remorse tore my bosom, and
would not forego their hold.

    I passed a night of unmingled wretchedness. In the morning I
went to the court; my lips and throat were parched. I dared not ask
the fatal question; but I was known, and the officer guessed the cause
of my visit. The ballots had been thrown; they were all black, and
Justine was condemned.

    I cannot pretend to describe what I then felt. I had before
experienced sensations of horror; and I have endeavoured to bestow
upon them adequate expressions, but words cannot convey an idea of the
heart-sickening despair that I then endured. The person to whom I
addressed myself added, that Justine had already confessed her
guilt. "That evidence," he observed, "was hardly required in so
glaring a case, but I am glad of it; and, indeed, none of our judges
like to condemn a criminal upon circumstantial evidence, be it ever so

    This was strange and unexpected intelligence; what could it
mean? Had my eyes deceived me? and was I really as mad as the whole
world would believe me to be, if I disclosed the object of my
suspicions? I hastened to return home, and Elizabeth eagerly
demanded the result.

    "My cousin," replied I, "it is decided as you may have expected;
all judges had rather that ten innocent should suffer, than that one
guilty should escape. But she has confessed."

    This was a dire blow to poor Elizabeth, who had relied with
firmness upon Justine's innocence. "Alas!" said she, "how shall I ever
again believe in human goodness? Justine, whom I loved and esteemed as
my sister, how could she put on those smiles of innocence only to
betray? her mild eyes seemed incapable of any severity or guile, and
yet she has committed a murder."

    Soon after we heard that the poor victim had expressed a desire to
see my cousin. My father wished her not to go; but said, that he
left it to her own judgment and feelings to decide. "Yes," said
Elizabeth, "I will go, although she is guilty; and you, Victor,
shall accompany me: I cannot go alone." The idea of this visit was
torture to me, yet I could not refuse.

    We entered the gloomy prison-chamber, and beheld Justine sitting
on some straw at the farther end; her hands were manacled, and her
head rested on her knees. She rose on seeing us enter; and when we
were left alone with her, she threw herself at the feet of
Elizabeth, weeping bitterly. My cousin wept also.

    "Oh, Justine!" said she, "why did you rob me of my last
consolation? I relied on your innocence; and although I was then
very wretched, I was not so miserable as I am now."

    "And do you also believe that I am so very, very wicked? Do you
also join with my enemies to crush me, to condemn me as a murderer?"
Her voice was suffocated with sobs.

    "Rise, my poor girl," said Elizabeth, "why do you kneel, if you
are innocent? I am not one of your enemies; I believed you
guiltless, notwithstanding every evidence, until I heard that you
had yourself declared your guilt. That report, you say, is false;
and be assured, dear Justine, that nothing can shake my confidence
in you for a moment, but your own confession."

    "I did confess; but I confessed a lie. I confessed, that I might
obtain absolution; but now that falsehood lies heavier at my heart
than all my other sins. The God of heaven forgive me! Ever since I was
condemned, my confessor has besieged me; he threatened and menaced,
until I almost began to think that I was the monster that he said I
was. He threatened excommunication and hell fire in my last moments,
if I continued obdurate. Dear lady, I had none to support me; all
looked on me as a wretch doomed to ignominy and perdition. What
could I do? In an evil hour I subscribed to a lie; and now only am I
truly miserable."

    She paused, weeping, and then continued- "I thought with horror,
my sweet lady, that you should believe your Justine, whom your blessed
aunt had so highly honoured, and whom you loved, was a creature
capable of a crime which none but the devil himself could go have
perpetrated. Dear William! dearest blessed child! I soon shall see you
again in heaven, where we shall all be happy; and that consoles me,
going as I am to suffer ignominy and death."

    "Oh, Justine! forgive me for having for one moment distrusted you.
Why did you confess? But do not mourn, dear girl. Do not fear. I
will proclaim, I will prove your innocence. I will melt the stony
hearts of your enemies by my tears and prayers. You shall not die! No!
no! I never could survive so horrible a misfortune."

    Justine shook her head mournfully. "I do not fear to die," she
said; "that pang is past. I leave a sad and bitter world; and if you
remember me, and think of me as of one unjustly condemned, I am
resigned to the fate awaiting me. Learn from me, dear lady, to
submit in patience to the will of Heaven!"

    During this conversation I had retired to a corner of the
prison-room, where I could conceal the horrid anguish that possessed
me. I gnashed my teeth, and ground them together, uttering a groan
that came from my inmost soul. Justine started. When she saw who it
was, she approached me, and said, "Dear sir, you are kind to visit me;
you, I hope, do not believe that I am guilty?"

    I could not answer. "No, Justine," said Elizabeth; "he is more
convinced of your innocence than I was; for even when he heard that
you had confessed, he did not credit it."

    "I truly thank him. In these last moments I feel the sincerest
gratitude towards those who think of me with kindness. How sweet is
the affection of others to such a wretch as I am! It removes more than
half my misfortune; and I feel as if I could die in peace, now that my
innocence is acknowledged by you, dear lady, and your cousin."

    Thus the poor sufferer tried to comfort others and herself. She
indeed gained the resignation she desired. But I, the true murderer,
felt the never-dying worm alive in my bosom, which allowed of no
hope or consolation. Elizabeth also wept, and was unhappy; but hers
also was the misery of innocence, which, like a cloud that passes over
the fair moon, for a while hides but cannot tarnish its brightness.

    Justine assumed an air of cheerfulness, while she with
difficulty repressed her bitter tears. She embraced Elizabeth, and
said, in a voice of half-suppressed emotion, "Farewell, sweet lady,
dearest Elizabeth, my beloved and only friend; may this be the last
misfortune that you will ever suffer! Live, and be happy, and make
others so."

    And on the morrow Justine died. Elizabeth's heartrending eloquence
failed to move the judges from their settled conviction in the
criminality of the saintly sufferer. My passionate and indignant
appeals were lost upon them. And when I received their cold answers,
and heard the harsh unfeeling reasoning of these men, my purposed
avowal died away on my lips. Thus I might proclaim myself a madman,
but not revoke the sentence passed upon my wretched victim. She
perished on the scaffold as a murderess!

    From the tortures of my own heart, I turned to contemplate the
deep and voiceless grief of my Elizabeth. This also was my doing!
And my father's woe, and the desolation of that late so smiling
home- all was the work of my thrice- accursed hands! Ye weep,
unhappy ones; but these are not your last tears! Again shall you raise
the funeral wall, and the sound of your lamentations shall again and
again be heard! Frankenstein, your son, your kinsman, your early,
much-loved friend- he bids you weep- to shed countless tears; happy
beyond his hopes, if thus inexorable fate be satisfied, and if the
destruction pause before the peace of the grave have succeeded to your
sad torments!

    Thus spoke my prophetic soul, as, torn by remorse, horror, and
despair, I beheld those I loved spend vain sorrow upon the graves of
William and Justine, the first hapless victims to my unhallowed arts!

                          CHAPTER IX

    NOTHING is more painful to the human mind, than, after the
feelings have been worked up by a quick succession of events, the dead
calmness of inaction and certainty which follows, and deprives the
soul both of hope and fear. Justine died; she rested; and I was alive.
The blood flowed freely in my veins, but a weight of despair and
remorse pressed on my heart, which nothing could remove. Sleep fled
from my eyes; I wandered like an evil spirit, for I had committed
deeds of mischief beyond description horrible, and more, much more
(I persuaded myself), was yet behind. Yet my heart overflowed with
kindness and the love of virtue. I had begun life with benevolent
intentions, and thirsted for the moment when I should put them in
practice, and make myself useful to my fellow-beings. Now all was
blasted: instead of that serenity of conscience, which allowed me to
look back upon the past with self-satisfaction, and from thence to
gather promise of new hopes, I was seized by remorse and the sense
of guilt, which hurried me away to a hell of intense tortures, such as
no language can describe.

    This state of mind preyed upon my health, which had perhaps
never entirely recovered from the first shock it had sustained. I
shunned the face of man; all sound of joy or complacency was torture
to me; solitude was my only consolation- deep, dark, deathlike

    My father observed with pain the alteration perceptible in my
disposition and habits, and endeavoured by arguments deduced from
the feelings of his serene conscience and guiltless life, to inspire
me with fortitude, and awaken in me the courage to dispel the dark
cloud which brooded over me. "Do you think, Victor," said he, "that
I do not suffer also? No one could love a child more than I loved your
brother" (tears came into his eyes as he spoke); "but is it not a duty
to the survivors, that we should refrain from augmenting their
unhappiness by an appearance of immoderate grief? It is also a duty
owed to yourself; for excessive sorrow prevents improvement or
enjoyment, or even the discharge of daily usefulness, without which no
man is fit for society."

    This advice, although good, was totally inapplicable to my case; I
should have been the first to hide my grief, and console my friends,
if remorse had not mingled its bitterness, and terror its alarm with
my other sensations. Now I could only answer my father with a look
of despair, and endeavour to hide myself from his view.

    About this time we retired to our house at Belrive. This change
was particularly agreeable to me. The shutting of the gates
regularly at ten o'clock, and the impossibility of remaining on the
lake after that hour, had rendered our residence within the walls of
Geneva very irksome to me. I was now free. Often, after the rest of
the family had retired for the night, I took the boat, and passed many
hours upon the water. Sometimes, with my sails set, I was carried by
the wind; and sometimes, after rowing into the middle of the lake, I
left the boat to pursue its own course, and gave way to my own
miserable reflections. I was often tempted, when all was at peace
around me, and I the only unquiet thing that wandered restless in a
scene so beautiful and heavenly- if I except some bat, or the frogs,
whose harsh and interrupted croaking was heard only when I
approached the shore- often, I say, I was tempted to plunge into the
silent lake, that the waters might close over me and my calamities for
ever. But I was restrained, when I thought of the heroic and suffering
Elizabeth, whom I tenderly loved, and whose existence was bound up
in mine. I thought also of my father and surviving brother: should I
by my base desertion leave them exposed and unprotected to the
malice of the fiend whom I had let loose among them?

    At these moments I wept bitterly, and wished that peace would
revisit my mind only that I might afford them consolation and
happiness. But that could not be. Remorse extinguished every hope. I
had been the author of unalterable evils; and I lived in daily fear,
lest the monster whom I had created should perpetrate some new
wickedness. I had an obscure feeling that all was not over, and that
he would still commit some signal crime, which by its enormity
should almost efface the recollection of the past. There was always
scope for fear, so long as anything I loved remained behind. My
abhorrence of this fiend cannot be conceived. When I thought of him, I
gnashed my teeth, my eyes became inflamed, and I ardently wished to
extinguish that life which I had so thoughtlessly bestowed. When I
reflected on his crimes and malice, my hatred and revenge burst all
bounds of moderation. I would have made a pilgrimage to the highest
peak of the Andes, could I, when there, have precipitated him to their
base. I wished to see him again, that I might wreak the utmost
extent of abhorrence on his head, and avenge the deaths of William and

    Our house was the house of mourning. My father's health was deeply
shaken by the horror of the recent events. Elizabeth was sad and
desponding; she no longer took delight in her ordinary occupations;
all pleasure seemed to her sacrilege toward the dead; eternal woe
and tears she then thought was the just tribute she should pay to
innocence so blasted and destroyed. She was no longer that happy
creature, who in earlier youth wandered with me on the banks of the
lake, and talked with ecstasy of our future prospects. The first of
those sorrows which are sent to wean us from the earth, had visited
her, and its dimming influence quenched her dearest smiles.

    "When I reflect, my dear cousin," said she, "on the miserable
death of Justine Moritz, I no longer see the world and its works as
they before appeared to me. Before, I looked upon the accounts of vice
and injustice, that I read in books or heard from others, as tales
of ancient days, or imaginary evils; at least they were remote, and
more familiar to reason than to the imagination; but now misery has
come home, and men appear to me as monsters thirsting for each other's
blood. Yet I am certainly unjust. Everybody believed that poor girl to
be guilty; and if she could have committed the crime for which she
suffered, assuredly she would have been the most depraved of human
creatures. For the sake of a few jewels, to have murdered the son of
her benefactor and friend, a child whom she had nursed from its birth,
and appeared to love as if it had been her own! I could not consent to
the death of any human being; but certainly I should have thought such
a creature unfit to remain in the society of men. But she was
innocent. I know, I feel she was innocent; you are of the same
opinion, and that confirms me. Alas! Victor, when falsehood can look
so like the truth, who can assure themselves of certain happiness? I
feel if I were walking on the edge of a precipice, towards which
thousands are crowding, and endeavouring to plunge me into the
abyss. William and Justine were assassinated, and the murderer
escapes; he walks about the world free, and perhaps respected. But
even if I were condemned to suffer on the scaffold for the same
crimes, I would not change places with such a wretch."

    I listened to this discourse with the extremest agony. I, not in
deed, but in effect, was the true murderer. Elizabeth read my
anguish in my countenance, and kindly taking my hand, said, "My
dearest friend, you must calm yourself These events have affected
me, God knows how deeply; but I am not so wretched as you are. There
is an expression of despair, and sometimes of revenge, in your
countenance, that makes me tremble. Dear Victor, banish these dark
passions. Remember the friends around you, who centre all their
hopes in you. Have we lost the power of rendering you happy? Ah! while
we love- while we are true to each other, here in this land of peace
and beauty, your native country, we may reap every tranquil
blessing- what can disturb our peace?"

    And could not such words from her whom I fondly prized before
every other gift of fortune, suffice to chase away the fiend that
lurked in my heart? Even as she spoke I drew near to her, as if in
terror; lest at that very moment the destroyer had been near to rob me
of her.

    Thus not the tenderness of friendship, nor the beauty of earth,
nor of heaven, could redeem my soul from woe: the very accents of love
were ineffectual. I was encompassed by a cloud which no beneficial
influence could penetrate. The wounded deer dragging its fainting
limbs to some untrodden brake, there to gaze upon the arrow which
had pierced it, and to die- was but a type of me.

    Sometimes I could cope with the sullen despair that overwhelmed
me: but sometimes the whirlwind passions of my soul drove me to
seek, by bodily exercise and by change of place, some relief from my
intolerable sensations. It was during an access of this kind that I
suddenly left my home, and bending my steps towards the near Alpine
valleys, sought in the magnificence, the eternity of such scenes, to
forget myself and my ephemeral, because human, sorrows. My
wanderings were directed towards the valley of Chamounix. I had
visited it frequently during my boyhood. Six years had passed since
then: I was a wreck- but nought had changed in those savage and
enduring scenes.

    I performed the first part of my journey on horseback. I
afterwards hired a mule, as the more sure-footed, and least liable
to receive injury on these rugged roads. The weather was fine: it
was about the middle of the month of August, nearly two months after
the death of Justine; that miserable epoch from which I dated all my
woe. The weight upon my spirit was sensibly lightened as I plunged yet
deeper in the ravine of Arve. The immense mountains and precipices
that overhung me on every side- the sound of the river raging among
the rocks, and the dashing of the waterfalls around, spoke of a
power mighty as Omnipotence- and I ceased to fear, or to bend before
any being less almighty than that which had created and ruled the
elements, here displayed in their most terrific guise. Still, as I
ascended higher, the valley assumed a more magnificent and astonishing
character. Ruined castles hanging on the precipices of piny mountains;
the impetuous Arve, and cottages every here and there peeping forth
from among the trees, formed a scene of singular beauty. But it was
augmented and rendered sublime by the mighty Alps, whose white and
shining pyramids and domes towered above all, as belonging to
another earth, the habitations of another race of beings.

    I passed the bridge of Pelissier, where the ravine, which the
river forms, opened before me, and I began to ascend the mountain that
overhangs it. Soon after I entered the valley of Chamounix. This
valley is more wonderful and sublime, but not so beautiful and
picturesque, as that of Servox, through which I had just passed. The
high and snowy mountains were its immediate boundaries; but I saw no
more ruined castles and fertile fields. Immense glaciers approached
the road; I heard the rumbling thunder of the falling avalanche, and
marked the smoke of its passage. Mont Blanc, the supreme and
magnificent Mont Blanc, raised itself from the surrounding
aiguilles, and its tremendous dome overlooked the valley.

    A tingling long-lost sense of pleasure often came across me during
this journey. Some turn in the road, some new object suddenly
perceived and recognised, reminded me of days gone by, and were
associated with the light-hearted gaiety of boyhood. The very winds
whispered in soothing accents, and maternal nature bade me weep no
more. Then again the kindly influence ceased to act- I found myself
fettered again to grief, and indulging in all the misery of
reflection. Then I spurred on my animal, striving so to forget the
world, my fears, and, more than all, myself- or, in a more desperate
fashion, I alighted, and threw myself on the grass, weighed down by
horror and despair.

    At length I arrived at the village of Chamounix. Exhaustion
succeeded to the extreme fatigue both of body and of mind which I
had endured. For a short space of time I remained at the window,
watching the pallid lightnings that played above Mont Blanc, and
listening to the rushing of the Arve, which pursued its noisy way
beneath. The same lulling sounds acted as a lullaby to my too keen
sensations: when I placed my head upon my pillow, sleep crept over me;
I felt it as it came, and blest the giver of oblivion.

                          CHAPTER X

    I SPENT the following day roaming through the valley. I stood
beside the sources of the Arveiron, which take their rise in a
glacier, that with slow pace is advancing down from the summit of
the hills, to barricade the valley. The abrupt sides of vast mountains
were before me; the icy wall of the glacier overhung me; a few
shattered pines were scattered around; and the solemn silence of
this glorious presence-chamber of imperial Nature was broken only by
the brawling waves, or the fall of some vast fragment, the thunder
sound of the avalanche, or the cracking reverberated along the
mountains of the accumulated ice, which, by the silent working of
immutable laws, was ever and anon rent and tom, if it had been but a
plaything in their hands. These sublime and magnificent scenes
afforded me the greatest consolation that I was capable of
receiving. They elevated me from all littleness of feeling; and
although they did not remove my grief, they subdued and
tranquillised it. In some degree, also, they diverted my mind from the
thoughts over which it had brooded for the last month. I retired to
rest at night; my slumbers, as it were, waited on and ministered to by
the assemblance of grand shapes which I had contemplated during the
day. They congregated round me; the unstained snowy mountaintop, the
glittering pinnacle, the pine woods, and ragged bare ravine; the
eagle, soaring amidst the clouds- they all gathered round me, and bade
me be at peace.

    Where had they fled when the next morning I awoke? All of
soul-inspiriting fled with sleep, and dark melancholy clouded every
thought. The rain was pouring in torrents, and thick mists hid the
summits of the mountains, so that I even saw not the faces of those
mighty friends. Still I would penetrate their misty veil, and seek
them in their cloudy retreats. What were rain and storm to me? My mule
was brought to the door, and I resolved to ascend to the summit of
Montanvert. I remembered the effect that the view of the tremendous
and ever-moving glacier had produced upon my mind when I first saw it.
It had then filled me with a sublime ecstasy that gave wings to the
soul, and allowed it to soar from the obscure world to light and
joy. The sight of the awful and majestic in nature had indeed always
the effect of solemnising my mind, and causing me to forget the
passing cares of life. I determined to go without a guide, for I was
well acquainted with the path, and the presence of another would
destroy the solitary grandeur of the scene.

    The ascent is precipitous, but the path is cut into continual
and short windings, which enable you to surmount the
perpendicularity of the mountain. It is a scene terrifically desolate.
In a thousand spots the traces of the winter avalanche may be
perceived, where trees lie broken and strewed on the ground; some
entirely destroyed, others bent, leaning upon the jutting rocks of the
mountain, or transversely upon other trees. The path, as you ascend
higher, is intersected by ravines of snow, down which stones
continually roll from above; one of them is particularly dangerous, as
the slightest sound, such as even speaking in a loud voice, produces a
concussion of air sufficient to draw destruction upon the head of
the speaker. The pines are not tall or luxuriant, but they are sombre,
and add an air of severity to the scene. I looked on the valley
beneath; vast mists were rising from the rivers which ran through
it, and curling in thick wreaths around the opposite mountains,
whose summits were hid in the uniform clouds, while rain poured from
the dark sky, and added to the melancholy impression I received from
the objects around me. Alas! why does man boast of sensibilities
superior to those apparent in the brute; it only renders them more
necessary beings. If our impulses were confined to hunger, thirst, and
desire, we might be nearly free; but now we are moved by every wind
that blows, and a chance word or scene that that word may convey to

        "We rest; a dream has power to poison sleep.

          We rise; one wandering thought pollutes the day.

        We feel, conceive, or reason; laugh or weep,

          Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away;

        It is the same: for, be it joy or sorrow,

          The path of its departure still is free.

        Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;

          Nought may endure but mutability!"

    It was nearly noon when I arrived at the top of the ascent. For
some time I sat upon the rock that overlooks the sea of ice. A mist
covered both that and the surrounding mountains. Presently a breeze
dissipated the cloud, and I descended upon the glacier. The surface is
very uneven, rising like the waves of a troubled sea, descending
low, and interspersed by rifts that sink deep. The field of ice is
almost a league in width, but I spent nearly two hours in crossing it.
The opposite mountain is a bare perpendicular rock. From the side
where I now stood Montanvert was exactly opposite, at the distance
of a league; and above it rose Mont Blanc, in awful majesty. I
remained in a recess of the rock, gazing on this wonderful and
stupendous scene. The sea, or rather the vast river of ice, wound
among its dependent mountains, whose aerial summits hung over its
recesses. Their icy and glittering peaks shone in the sunlight over
the clouds. My heart, which was before sorrowful, now swelled with
something like joy; I exclaimed- "Wandering spirits, if indeed ye
wander, and do not rest in your narrow beds, allow me this faint
happiness, or take me, as your companion, away from the joys of life."

    As I said this, I suddenly beheld the figure of a man, at some
distance, advancing towards me with superhuman speed. He bounded
over the crevices in the ice, among which I had walked with caution;
his stature, also, as he approached, seemed to exceed that of man. I
was troubled: a mist came over my eyes, and I felt a faintness seize
me; but I was quickly restored by the cold gale of the mountains. I
perceived, as the shape came nearer (sight tremendous and abhorred!)
that it was the wretch whom I had created. I trembled with rage and
horror, resolving to wait his approach, and then close with him in
mortal combat. He approached; his countenance bespoke bitter, anguish,
combined with disdain and malignity, while its unearthly ugliness
rendered it almost too horrible for human eyes. But I scarcely
observed this; rage and hatred had at first deprived me of
utterance, and I recovered only to overwhelm him with words expressive
of furious detestation and contempt.

    "Devil," I exclaimed, "do you dare approach me? and do not you
fear the fierce vengeance of my arm wreaked on your miserable head?
Begone, vile insect! or rather, stay, that I may trample you to
dust! and, oh! that I could, with the extinction of your miserable
existence, restore those victims whom you have so diabolically

    "I expected this reception," said the daemon. "All men hate the
wretched; how, then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all
living things! Yet you, my creator, detest and spurn me, thy creature,
to whom thou art bound by ties only dissoluble by the annihilation
of one of us. You purpose to kill me. How dare you sport thus with
life? Do your duty towards me, and I will do mine towards you and
the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, I will
leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw of
death, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends."

    "Abhorred monster! fiend that thou art! the tortures of hell are
too mild a vengeance for thy crimes. Wretched devil! you reproach me
with your creation; come on, then, that I may extinguish the spark
which I so negligently bestowed."

    My rage was without bounds; I sprang on him, impelled by all the
feelings which can arm one being against the existence of another.

    He easily eluded me, and said-

    "Be calm! I entreat you to hear me, before you give vent to your
hatred on my devoted head. Have I not suffered enough that you seek to
increase my misery? Life, although it may only be an accumulation of
anguish, is dear to me, and I will defend it. Remember, thou hast made
me more powerful than thyself; my height is superior to thine; my
joints more supple. But I will not be tempted to set myself in
opposition to thee. I am thy creature, and I will be even mild and
docile to my natural lord and king, if thou wilt also perform thy
part, the which thou owest me. Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to
every other, and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and
even thy clemency and affection, is most due. Remember that I am thy
creature; I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel,
whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss,
from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good-
misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous."

    "Begone! I will not hear you. There can be no community between
you and me; we are enemies. Begone, or let us try our strength in a
fight, in which one must fall."

    "How can I move thee? Will no entreaties cause thee to turn a
favourable eye upon thy creature, who implores thy goodness and
compassion? Believe me, Frankenstein: I was benevolent; my soul glowed
with love and humanity: but am I not alone, miserably alone? You, my
creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your
fellow-creatures, who owe me nothing? they spurn and hate me. The
desert mountains and dreary glaciers are my refuge. I have wandered
here many days; the caves of ice, which I only do not fear, are a
dwelling to me, and the only one which man does not grudge. These
bleak skies I had, for they are kinder to me than your
fellow-beings. If the multitude of mankind knew of my existence,
they would do as you do, and arm themselves for my destruction.
Shall I not then hate them who abhor me? I will keep no terms with
my enemies. I am miserable, and they shall share my wretchedness.
Yet it is in your power to recompense me, and deliver them from an
evil which it only remains for you to make so great that not only
you and your family, but thousands of others, shall be swallowed up in
the whirlwinds of its rage. Let your compassion be moved, and do not
disdain me. Listen to my tale: when you have heard that, abandon or
commiserate me, as you shall judge that I deserve. But hear me. The
guilty are allowed, by human laws, bloody as they are, to speak in
their own defence before they are condemned. Listen to me,
Frankenstein. You accuse me of murder; and yet you would, with a
satisfied conscience, destroy your own creature. Oh, praise the
eternal justice of man! Yet I ask you not to spare me: listen to me;
and then, if you can, and if you will, destroy the work of your;

    "Why do you call to my remembrance," I rejoined, "circumstances,
of which I shudder to reflect, that I have been the miserable origin
and author? Cursed be the day, abhorred devil, in which you first
saw light! Cursed (although I curse myself) be the hands that formed
you! You have made me wretched beyond expression. You have left me
no power to consider whether I am just to you or not. Begone!
relieve me from the sight of your detested form."

    "Thus I relieve thee, my creator," he said, and placed his hated
hands before my eyes, which I flung from me with violence; "thus I
take from thee a sight which you abhor. Still thou canst listen to me,
and grant me thy compassion. By the virtues that I once possessed, I
demand this from you. Hear my tale; it is long and strange, and the
temperature of this place is not fitting to your fine sensations; come
to the hut upon the mountain. The sun is yet high in the heavens;
before it descends to hide itself behind yon snowy precipices, and
illuminate another world, you will have heard my story, and can
decide. On you it rests whether I quit forever the neighbourhood of
man, and lead a harmless life, or become the scourge of your
fellow-creatures, and the author of your own speedy ruin."

    As he said this, he led the way across the ice: I followed. My
heart was full, I did not answer him; but, as I proceeded, I weighed
the various arguments that he had used, and determined at least to
listen to his tale. I was partly urged by curiosity, and compassion
confirmed my resolution. I had hitherto supposed him to be the
murderer of my brother, and I eagerly sought a confirmation or
denial of this opinion. For the first time, also, I felt what the
duties of a creator towards his creature were, and that I ought to
render him happy before I complained of his wickedness. These
motives urged me to comply with his demand. We crossed the ice,
therefore, and ascended the opposite rock. The air was cold, and the
rain again began to descend: we entered the hut, the fiend with an air
of exultation, I with a heavy heart and depressed spirits. But I
consented to listen; and, seating myself by the fire which my odious
companion had lighted, he thus began his tale.

                          CHAPTER XI

    "IT IS with considerable difficulty that I remember the original
era of being: all the events of that period appear confused and
indistinct. A strange multiplicity of sensations seized me, and I saw,
felt, heard, and smelt, at the same time; and it was, indeed, a long
time before I learned to distinguish between the operations of my
various senses. By degrees, I remember, a stronger light pressed
upon my nerves, so that I was obliged to shut my eyes. Darkness then
came over me, and troubled me; but hardly had I felt this, when, by
opening my eyes, as I now suppose, the light poured in upon me
again. I walked, and, I believe, descended; but I presently found a
great alteration in my sensations. Before, dark and opaque bodies
had surrounded me, impervious to my touch or sight; but I now found
that I could wander on at liberty, with no obstacles which I could not
either surmount or avoid. The light became more and more oppressive to
me; and, the heat wearying me as I walked, I sought a place where I
could receive shade. This was the forest near Ingolstadt; and here I
lay by the side of a brook resting from my fatigue, until I felt
tormented by hunger and thirst. This roused me from my nearly
dormant state, and I ate some berries which I found hanging on the
trees, or lying on the ground. I slaked my thirst at the brook; and
then lying down, was overcome by sleep.

    "It was dark when I awoke; I felt cold also, and
half-frightened, as it were instinctively, finding myself so desolate.
Before I had quitted your apartment, on a sensation of cold, I had
covered myself with some clothes; but these were insufficient to
secure me from the dews of night. I was a poor, helpless, miserable
wretch; I knew, and could distinguish, nothing; but feeling pain
invade me on all sides, I sat down and wept.

    "Soon a gentle light stole over the heavens, and gave me a
sensation of pleasure. I started up, and beheld a radiant form rise
from among the trees.* I gazed with a kind of wonder. It moved slowly,
but it enlightened my path; and I again went out in search of berries.
I was still cold, when under one of the trees I found a huge cloak,
with which I covered myself, and sat down upon the ground. No distinct
ideas occupied my mind; all was confused. I felt light, and hunger,
and thirst, and darkness; innumerable sounds rung in my ears, and on
all sides various scents saluted me: the only object that I could
distinguish was the bright moon, and I fixed my eyes on that with

    * The moon.

    "Several changes of day and night passed, and the orb of night had
greatly lessened, when I began to distinguish my sensations from
each other. I gradually saw plainly the clear stream that supplied
me with drink, and the trees that shaded me with their foliage. I
was delighted when I first discovered that a pleasant sound, which
often saluted my ears, proceeded from the throats of the little winged
animals who had often intercepted the light from my eyes. I began also
to observe, with greater accuracy, the forms that surrounded me, and
to perceive the boundaries of the radiant roof of light which canopied
me. Sometimes I tried to imitate the pleasant songs of the birds,
but was unable. Sometimes I wished to express my sensations in my
own mode, but the uncouth and inarticulate sounds which broke from
me frightened me into silence again.

    "The moon had disappeared from the night, and again, with a
lessened form, showed itself, while I still remained in the forest. My
sensations had, by this time, become distinct, and my mind received
every day additional ideas. My eyes became accustomed to the light,
and to perceive objects in their right forms; I distinguished the
insect from the herb, and, by degrees, one herb from another. I
found that the sparrow uttered none but harsh notes, whilst those of
the blackbird and thrush were sweet and enticing.

    "One day, when I was oppressed by cold, I found a fire which had
been left by some wandering beggars, and was overcome with delight
at the warmth I experienced from it. In my joy I thrust my hand into
the live embers, but quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain. How
strange, I thought, that the same cause should produce such opposite
effects! I examined the materials of the fire, and to my joy found
it to be composed of wood. I quickly collected some branches; but they
were wet, and would not burn. I was pained at this, and sat still
watching the operation of the fire. The wet wood which I had placed
near the heat dried, and itself became inflamed. I reflected on
this; and by touching the various branches, I discovered the cause,
and busied myself in collecting a great quantity of wood, that I might
dry it, and have a plentiful supply of fire. When night came on, and
brought sleep with it, I was in the greatest fear lest my fire
should be extinguished. I covered it carefully with dry wood and
leaves, and placed wet branches upon it; and then, spreading my cloak,
I lay on the ground, and sunk into sleep.

    "It was morning when I awoke, and my first care was to visit the
fire. I uncovered it, and a gentle breeze quickly fanned it into a
flame. I observed this also, and contrived a fan of branches, which
roused the embers when they were nearly extinguished. When night
came again, I found, with pleasure, that the fire gave light as well
as heat; and that the discovery of this element was useful to me in my
food; for I found some of the offals that the travellers had left
had been roasted, and tasted much more savoury than the berries I
gathered from the trees. I tried, therefore, to dress my food in the
same manner, placing it on the live embers. I found that the berries
were spoiled by this operation, and the nuts and roots much improved.

    "Food, however, became scarce; and I often spent the whole day
searching in vain for a few acorns to assuage the pangs of hunger.
When I found this, I resolved to quit the place that I had hitherto
inhabited, to seek for one where the few wants I experienced would
be more easily satisfied. In this emigration, I exceedingly lamented
the loss of the fire which I had obtained through accident, and knew
not how to reproduce it. I gave several hours to the serious
consideration of this difficulty; but I was obliged to relinquish
all attempt to supply it; and, wrapping myself up in my cloak, I
struck across the wood towards the setting sun. I passed three days in
these rambles, and at length discovered the open country. A great fall
of snow had taken place the night before, and the fields were of one
uniform white; the appearance was disconsolate, and I found my feet
chilled by the cold damp substance that covered the ground.

    "It was about seven in the morning, and I longed to obtain food
and shelter; at length I perceived a small hut, on a rising ground,
which had doubtless been built for the convenience of some shepherd.
This was a new sight to me; and I examined the structure with great
curiosity. Finding the door open, I entered. An old man sat in it,
near a fire, over which he was preparing his breakfast. He turned on
hearing a noise; and, perceiving me, shrieked loudly, and, quitting
the hut, ran across the fields with a speed of which his debilitated
form hardly appeared capable. His appearance, different from any I had
ever before seen, and his flight, somewhat surprised me. But I was
enchanted by the appearance of the hut: here the snow and rain could
not penetrate; the ground was dry; and it presented to me then as
exquisite and divine a retreat as Pandaemonium appeared to the daemons
of hell after their sufferings in the lake of fire. I greedily
devoured the remnants of the shepherd's breakfast, which consisted
of bread, cheese, milk, and wine; the latter, however, I did not like.
Then, overcome by fatigue, I lay down among some straw, and fell

    "It was noon when I awoke; and, allured by the warmth of the
sun, which shone brightly on the white ground, I determined to
recommence my travels; and, depositing the remains of the peasant's
breakfast in a wallet I found, I proceeded across the fields for
several hours, until at sunset I arrived at a village. How
miraculous did this appear! the huts, the neater cottages, and stately
houses, engaged my admiration by turns. The vegetables in the gardens,
the milk and cheese that I saw placed at the windows of some of the
cottages, allured my appetite. One of the best of these I entered; but
I had hardly placed my foot within the door, before the children
shrieked, and one of the women fainted. The whole village was
roused; some fled, some attacked me, until, grievously bruised by
stones and many other kinds of missile weapons, I escaped to the
open country, and fearfully took refuge in a low hovel, quite bare,
and making a wretched appearance after the palaces I had beheld in the
village. This hovel, however, joined a cottage of a neat and
pleasant appearance; but, after my late dearly bought experience, I
dared not enter it. My place of refuge was constructed of wood, but so
low that I could with difficulty sit upright in it. No wood,
however, was placed on the earth, which formed the floor, but it was
dry; and although the wind entered it by innumerable chinks, I found
it an agreeable asylum from the snow and rain.

    "Here then I retreated, and lay down happy to have found a
shelter, however miserable, from the inclemency of the season, and
still more from the barbarity of man.

    "As soon as morning dawned, I crept from my kennel, that I might
view the adjacent cottage, and discover if I could remain in the
habitation I had found. It was situated against the back of the
cottage, and surrounded on the sides which were exposed by a pig-sty
and a clear pool of water. One part was open, and by that I had
crept in; but now I covered every crevice by which I might be
perceived with stones and wood, yet in such a manner that I might move
them on occasion to pass out: all the light I enjoyed came through the
sty, and that was sufficient for me.

    "Having thus arranged my dwelling, and carpeted it with clean
straw, I retired; for I saw the figure of a man at a distance, and I
remembered too well my treatment the night before to trust myself in
his power. I had first, however, provided for my sustenance for that
day, by a loaf of course bread, which I purloined, and a cup with
which I could drink, more conveniently than from my hand, of the
pure water which flowed by my retreat. The floor was a little
raised, so that it was kept perfectly dry, and by its vicinity to
the chimney of the cottage it was tolerably warm.

    "Being thus provided, I resolved to reside in this hovel until
something should occur which might alter my determination. It was
indeed a paradise compared to the bleak forest, my former residence,
the rain-dropping branches, and dank earth. I ate my breakfast with
pleasure, and was about to remove a plank to procure myself a little
water, when I heard a step, and looking through a small chink, I
beheld a young creature, with a pail on her head, passing before my
hovel. The girl was young, and of gentle demeanour, unlike what I have
since found cottagers and farm-house servants to be. Yet she was
meanly dressed, a coarse blue petticoat and a linen jacket being her
only garb; her fair hair was plaited, but not adorned: she looked
patient, yet sad. I lost sight of her; and in about a quarter of an
hour she returned, bearing the pail, which was now partly filled
with milk. As she walked along, seemingly incommoded by the burden,
a young man met her, whose countenance expressed a deeper despondence.
Uttering a few sounds with an air of melancholy, he took the pail from
her head, and bore it to the cottage himself. She followed, and they
disappeared. Presently I saw the young man again, with some tools in
his hand, cross the field behind the cottage; and the girl was also
busied, sometimes in the house, and sometimes in the yard.

    "On examining my dwelling, I found that one of the windows of
the cottage had formerly occupied a part of it, but the panes had been
filled up with wood. In one of these was a small and almost
imperceptible chink, through which the eye could just penetrate.
Through this crevice a small room was visible, whitewashed and
clean, but very bare of furniture. In one corner, near a small fire,
sat an old man, leaning his head on his hands in a disconsolate
attitude. The young girl was occupied in arranging the cottage; but
presently she took something out of a drawer, which employed her
hands, and she sat down beside the old man, who, taking up an
instrument, began to play, and to produce sounds sweeter than the
voice of the thrush or the nightingale. It was a lovely sight, even to
me, poor wretch! who had never beheld aught beautiful before. The
silver hair and benevolent countenance of the aged cottager won my
reverence, while the gentle manners of the girl enticed my love. He
played a sweet mournful air, which I perceived drew tears from the
eyes of his amiable companion, of which the old man took no notice,
until she sobbed audibly; he then pronounced a few sounds, and the
fair creature, leaving her work, knelt at his feet. He raised her, and
smiled with such kindness and affection that I felt sensations of a
peculiar and over-powering nature: they were a mixture of pain and
pleasure, such as I had never before experienced, either from hunger
or cold, warmth or food; and I withdrew from the window, unable to
bear these emotions.

    "Soon after this the young man returned, bearing on his
shoulders a load of wood. The girl met him at the door, helped to
relieve him of his burden, and, taking some of the fuel into the
cottage, placed it on the fire; then she and the youth went apart into
a nook of the cottage and he showed her a large loaf and a piece of
cheese. She seemed pleased, and went into the garden for some roots
and plants, which she placed in water, and then upon the fire. She
afterwards continued her work, whilst the young man went into the
garden, and appeared busily employed in digging and pulling up
roots. After he had been employed thus about an hour, the young
woman joined him, and they entered the cottage together.

    "The old man had, in the meantime, been pensive; but, on the
appearance of his companions, he assumed a more cheerful air, and they
sat down to eat. The meal was quickly despatched. The young woman
was again occupied in arranging the cottage; the old man walked before
the cottage in the sun for a few minutes, leaning on the arm of the
youth. Nothing could exceed in beauty the contrast between these two
excellent creatures. One was old, with silver hairs and a
countenance beaming with benevolence and love: the younger was
slight and graceful in his figure, and his features were moulded
with the finest symmetry; yet his eyes and attitude expressed the
utmost sadness and despondency. The old man returned to the cottage;
and the youth, with tools different from those he had used in the
morning, directed his steps across the fields.

    "Night quickly shut in, but to my extreme wonder, I found that the
cottagers had a means of prolonging light by the use of tapers, and
was delighted to find that the setting of the sun did not put an end
to the pleasure I experienced in watching my human neighbours. In
the evening, the young girl and her companion were employed in various
occupations which I did not understand; and the old man again took
up the instrument which produced the divine sounds that had
enchanted me in the morning. So soon as he had finished, the youth
began, not to play, but to utter sounds that were monotonous, and
neither resembling the harmony of the old man's instrument nor the
songs of the birds: I since found that he read aloud, but at that time
I knew nothing of the science of words or letters.

    "The family, after having been thus occupied for a short time,
extinguished their lights, and retired, as I conjectured, to rest.

                         CHAPTER XII

    "I LAY on my straw, but I could not sleep. I thought of the
occurrences of the day. What chiefly struck me was the gentle
manners of these people; and I longed to join them, but dared not. I
remembered too well the treatment I had suffered the night before from
the barbarous villagers, and resolved, whatever course of conduct I
might hereafter think it right to pursue, that for the present I would
remain quietly in my hovel, watching, and endeavouring to discover the
motives which influenced their actions.

    "The cottagers arose the next morning before the sun. The young
woman arranged the cottage, and prepared the food; and the youth
departed after the first meal.

    "This day was passed in the same routine as that which preceded
it. The young man was constantly employed out of doors, and the girl
in various laborious occupations within. The old man, whom I soon
perceived to be blind, employed his leisure hours on his instrument or
in contemplation. Nothing could exceed the love and respect which
the younger cottagers exhibited towards their venerable companion.
They performed towards him every little office of affection and duty
with gentleness; and he rewarded them by his benevolent smiles.

    "They were not entirely happy. The young man and his companion
often went apart, and appeared to weep. I saw no cause for their
unhappiness; but I was deeply affected by it. If such lovely creatures
were miserable, it was less strange that I, an imperfect and
solitary being, should be wretched. Yet why were these gentle beings
unhappy? They possessed a delightful house (for such it was in my
eyes) and every luxury; they had a fire to warm them when chill, and
delicious viands when hungry; they were dressed in excellent
clothes; and, still more, they enjoyed one another's company and
speech, interchanging each day looks of affection and kindness. What
did their tears imply? Did they really express pain? I was at first
unable to solve these questions; but perpetual attention and time
explained to me many appearances which were at first enigmatic.

    "A considerable period elapsed before I discovered one of the
causes of the uneasiness of this amiable family: it was poverty; and
they suffered that evil in a very distressing degree. Their
nourishment consisted entirely of the vegetables of their garden,
and the milk of one cow, which gave very little during the winter,
when its masters could scarcely procure food to support it. They
often, I believe, suffered the pangs of hunger very poignantly,
especially the two younger cottagers; for several times they placed
food before the old man when they reserved none for themselves.

    "This trait of kindness moved me sensibly. I had been
accustomed, during the night to steal a part of their store for my own
consumption; but when I found that in doing this I inflicted pain on
the cottagers, I abstained, and satisfied myself with berries, nuts,
and roots, which I gathered from a neighbouring wood.

    "I discovered also another means through which I was enabled to
assist their labours. I found that the youth spent a great part of
each day in collecting wood for the family fire; and, during the
night, I often took his tools, the use of which I quickly
discovered, and brought home firing sufficient for the consumption
of several days.

    "I remember the first time that I did this the young woman, when
she opened the door in the morning, appeared greatly astonished on
seeing a great pile of wood on the outside. She uttered some words
in a loud voice, and the youth joined her, who also expressed
surprise. I observed, with pleasure, that he did not go to the
forest that day, but spent it in repairing the cottage and cultivating
the garden.

    "By degrees I made a discovery of still greater moment. I found
that these people possessed a method of communicating their experience
and feelings to one another by articulate sounds. I perceived that the
words they spoke sometimes produced pleasure or pain, smiles or
sadness, in the minds and countenances of the hearers. This was indeed
a godlike science, and I ardently desired to become acquainted with
it. But I was baffled in every attempt I made for this purpose.
Their pronunciation was quick; and the words they uttered, not
having any apparent connection with visible objects, I was unable to
discover any clue by which I could unravel the mystery of their
reference. By great application, however, and after having remained
during the space of several revolutions of the moon in my hovel, I
discovered the names that were given to some of the most familiar
objects of discourse; I learned and applied the words, fire, milk,
bread, and wood. I learned also the names of the cottagers themselves.
The youth and his companion had each of them several names, but the
old man had only one, which was father. The girl was called sister, or
Agatha; and the youth Felix, brother, or son. I cannot describe the
delight I felt when I learned the ideas appropriated to each of
these sounds, and was able to pronounce them. I distinguished
several other words, without being able as yet to understand or
apply them; such as good, dearest, unhappy.

    "I spent the winter in this manner. The gentle manners and
beauty of the cottagers greatly endeared them to me: when they were
unhappy, I felt depressed; when they rejoiced, I sympathised in
their joys. I saw few human beings beside them; and if any other
happened to enter the cottage, their harsh manners and rude gait
only enhanced to me the superior accomplishments of my friends. The
old man, I could perceive, often endeavoured to encourage his
children, as sometimes I found that he called them, to cast off
their melancholy. He would talk in a cheerful accent, with an
expression of goodness that bestowed pleasure even upon me. Agatha
listened with respect, her eyes sometimes filled with tears, which she
endeavoured to wipe away unperceived; but I generally found that her
countenance and tone were more cheerful after having listened to the
exhortations of her father. It was not thus with Felix. He was
always the saddest of the group; and, even to my unpractised senses,
he appeared to have suffered more deeply than his friends. But if
his countenance was more sorrowful, his voice was more cheerful than
that of his sister, especially when he addressed the old man.

    "I could mention innumerable instances, which, although slight,
marked the dispositions of these amiable cottagers. In the midst of
poverty and want, Felix carried with pleasure to his sister the
first little white flower that peeped out from beneath the snowy
ground. Early in the morning, before she had risen, he cleared away
the snow that obstructed her path to the milkhouse, drew water from
the well, and brought the wood from the out-house, where, to his
perpetual astonishment, he found his store always replenished by an
invisible hand. In the day, I believe, he worked sometimes for a
neighbouring farmer, because he often went forth, and did not return
until dinner, yet brought no wood with him. At other times he worked
in the garden; but, as there was little to do in the frosty season, he
read to the old man and Agatha.

    "This reading had puzzled me extremely at first; but, by
degrees, I discovered that he uttered many of the same sounds when
he read as when he talked. I conjectured, therefore, that he found
on the paper signs for speech which he understood, and I ardently
longed to comprehend these also; but how was that possible, when I did
not even understand the sounds for which they stood as signs? I
improved, however, sensibly in this science, but not sufficiently to
follow up any kind of conversation, although I applied my whole mind
to the endeavour: for I easily perceived that, although I eagerly
longed to discover myself to the cottagers, I ought not to make the
attempt until I had first become master of their language; which
knowledge might enable me to make them overlook the deformity of my
figure; for with this also the contrast perpetually presented to my
eyes had made me acquainted.

    "I had admired the perfect forms of my cottagers- their grace,
beauty, and delicate complexions: but how was I terrified when I
viewed myself in a transparent pool! At first I started back, unable
to believe that it was indeed I who was reflected in the mirror; and
when I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster that I
am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and
mortification. Alas! I did not yet entirely know the fatal effects
of this miserable deformity.

    "As the sun became warmer, and the light of day longer, the snow
vanished, and I beheld the bare trees and the black earth. From this
time Felix was more employed; and the heart-moving indications of
impending famine disappeared. Their food, as I afterwards found, was
coarse, but it was wholesome; and they procured a sufficiency of it.
Several new kinds of plants sprung up in the garden, which they
dressed; and these signs of comfort increased daily as the season

    "The old man, leaning on his son, walked each day at noon, when it
did not rain, as I found it was called when the heavens poured forth
its waters. This frequently took place; but a high wind quickly
dried the earth, and the season became far more pleasant than it had

    "My mode of life in my hovel was uniform. During the morning, I
attended the motions of the cottagers; and when they were dispersed in
various occupations I slept: the remainder of the day was spent in
observing my friends. When they had retired to rest, if there was
any moon, or the night was star-light, I went into the woods, and
collected my own food and fuel for the cottage. When I returned, as
often as it was necessary, I cleared their path of the snow, and
performed those offices that I had seen done by Felix. I afterwards
found that these labours, performed by an invisible hand, greatly
astonished them; and once or twice I heard them, on these occasions,
utter the words good spirit, wonderful; but I did not then
understand the signification of these terms.

    "My thoughts now became more active, and I longed to discover
the motives and feelings of these lovely creatures; I was
inquisitive to know why Felix appeared so miserable and Agatha so sad.
I thought (foolish wretch!) that it might be in my power to restore
happiness to these deserving people. When I slept, or was absent,
the forms of the venerable blind father, the gentle Agatha, and the
excellent Felix flitted before me, I looked upon them as superior
beings, who would be the arbiters of my future destiny. I formed in my
imagination a thousand pictures of presenting myself to them, and
their reception of me. I imagined that they would be disgusted, until,
by my gentle demeanour and conciliating words, I should first win
their favour, and afterwards their love.

    "These thoughts exhilarated me, and led me to apply with fresh
ardour to the acquiring the art of language. My organs were indeed
harsh, but supple: and although my voice was very unlike the soft
music of their tones, yet I pronounced such words as I understood with
tolerable ease. It was as the ass and the lap-dog; yet surely the
gentle ass whose intentions were affectionate, although his manners
were rude, deserved better treatment than blows and execration.

    "The pleasant showers and genial warmth of spring greatly
altered the aspect of the earth. Men, who before this change seemed to
have been hid in caves, dispersed themselves, and were employed in
various arts of cultivation. The birds sang in more cheerful notes,
and the leaves began to bud forth on the trees. Happy, happy earth!
fit habitation for gods, which, so short a time before, was bleak,
damp, and unwholesome. My spirits were elevated by the enchanting
appearance of nature; the past was blotted from my memory, the present
was tranquil, and the future gilded by bright rays of hope and
anticipations of joy."

                       CHAPTER XIII

    "I NOW hasten to the more moving part of my story. I shall
relate events that impressed me with feelings which, from what I had
been, have made me what I am.

    "Spring advanced rapidly; the weather became fine, and the skies
cloudless. It surprised me that what before was desert and gloomy
should now bloom with the most beautiful flowers and verdure. My
senses were gratified and refreshed by a thousand scents of delight,
and a thousand sights of beauty.

    "It was on one of these days, when my cottagers periodically
rested from labour- the old man played on his guitar, and the children
listened to him- that I observed the countenance of Felix was
melancholy beyond expression; he sighed frequently; and once his
father paused in his music, and I conjectured by his manner that he
inquired the cause of his son's sorrow. Felix replied in a cheerful
accent, and the old man was recommencing his music when some one
tapped at the door.

    "It was a lady on horseback, accompanied by a countryman as a
guide. The lady was dressed in a dark suit, and covered with a thick
black veil. Agatha asked a question; to which the stranger only
replied by pronouncing, in a sweet accent, the name of Felix. Her
voice was musical, but unlike that of either of my friends. On hearing
this word, Felix came up hastily to the lady; who, when she saw him,
threw up her veil, and I beheld a countenance of angelic beauty and
expression. Her hair of a shining raven black, and curiously
braided; her eyes were dark, but gentle, although animated; her
features of a regular proportion, and her complexion wondrously
fair, each cheek tinged with a lovely pink.

    "Felix seemed ravished with delight when he saw her, every trait
of sorrow vanished from his face, and it instantly expressed a
degree of ecstatic joy, of which I could hardly have believed it
capable; his eyes sparkled as his cheek flushed with pleasure; and
at that moment I thought him as beautiful as the stranger. She
appeared affected by different feelings; wiping a few tears from her
lovely eyes, she held out her hand to Felix, who kissed it
rapturously, and called her, as well as I could distinguish, his sweet
Arabian. She did not appear to understand him, but smiled. He assisted
her to dismount, and dismissing her guide, conducted her into the
cottage. Some conversation took place between him and his father;
and the young stranger knelt at the old man's feet, and would have
kissed his hand, but he raised her, and embraced her affectionately.

    "I soon perceived that, although the stranger uttered articulate
sounds, and appeared to have a language of her own, she was neither
understood by, nor herself understood, the cottagers. They made many
signs which I did not comprehend; but I saw that her presence diffused
gladness through the cottage, dispelling their sorrow as the sun
dissipates the morning mists. Felix seemed peculiarly happy, and
with smiles of delight welcomed his Arabian. Agatha, the ever-gentle
Agatha, kissed the hands of the lovely stranger; and, pointing to
her brother, made signs which appeared to me to mean that he had
been sorrowful until she came. Some hours passed thus, while they,
by their countenances, expressed joy, the cause of which I did not
comprehend. Presently I found, by the frequent recurrence of some
sound which the stranger repeated after them, that she was
endeavouring to learn their language; and the idea instantly
occurred to me that I should make use of the same instructions to
the same end. The stranger learned about twenty words at the first
lesson, most of them, indeed, were those which I had before
understood, but I profited by the others.

    "As night came on, Agatha and the Arabian retired early. When they
separated, Felix kissed the hand of the stranger, and said, 'Good
night, sweet Safie.' He sat up much longer, conversing with his
father; and, by the frequent repetition of her name, I conjectured
that their lovely guest was the subject of their conversation. I
ardently desired to understand them, and bent every faculty towards
that purpose, but found it utterly impossible.

    "The next morning Felix went out to his work; and, after the usual
occupations of Agatha were finished, the Arabian sat at the feet of
the old man, and, taking his guitar, played some airs so
entrancingly beautiful that they at once drew tears of sorrow and
delight from my eyes. She sang, and her voice flowed in a rich
cadence, swelling or dying away, like a nightingale of the woods.

    "When she had finished, she gave the guitar to Agatha, who at
first declined it. She played a simple air, and her voice
accompanied it in sweet accents, but unlike the wondrous strain of the
stranger. The old man appeared enraptured, and said some words,
which Agatha endeavoured to explain to Safie, and by which he appeared
to wish to express that she bestowed on him the greatest delight by
her music.

    "The days now passed as peacefully as before, with the sole
alteration that joy had taken the place of sadness in the countenances
of my friends. Safie was always gay and happy; she and I improved
rapidly in the knowledge of language, so that in two months I began to
comprehend most of the words uttered by my protectors.

    "In the meanwhile also the black ground was covered with
herbage, and the green banks interspersed with innumerable flowers,
sweet to the scent and the eyes, stars of pale radiance among the
moonlight woods; the sun became warmer, the nights clear and balmy,
and my nocturnal rambles were an extreme pleasure to me, although they
were considerably shortened by the late setting and early rising of
the sun; for I never ventured abroad during daylight, fearful of
meeting with the same treatment I had formerly endured in the first
village which I entered.

    "My days were spent in close attention, that I might more speedily
master the language; and I may boast that I improved more rapidly than
the Arabian, who understood very little, and conversed in broken
accents, whilst I comprehended and could imitate almost every word
that was spoken.

    "While I improved in speech, I also learned the science of
letters, as it was taught to the stranger; and this opened before me a
wide field for wonder and delight.

    "The book from which Felix instructed Safie was Volney's Ruins
of Empires. I should not have understood the purport of this book, had
not Felix, in reading it, given very minute explanations. He had
chosen this work, he said, because the declamatory style was framed in
imitation of the eastern authors. Through this work I obtained a
cursory knowledge of history, and a view of the several empires at
present existing in the world it gave me an insight into the
manners, governments, and religions of the different nations of the
earth. I heard of the slothful Asiatics; of the stupendous genius
and mental activity of the Grecians; of the wars and wonderful
virtue of the early Romans- of their subsequent degenerating- of the
decline of that mighty empire; of chivalry, Christianity, and kings. I
heard of the discovery of the American hemisphere, and wept with Safie
over the hapless fate of its original inhabitants.

    "These wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings. Was
man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet
so vicious and base? He appeared at one time a mere scion of the
evil principle, and at another as all that can be conceived of noble
and godlike. To be a great and virtuous man appeared the highest
honour that can befall a sensitive being; to be base and vicious, as
many on record have been, appeared the lowest degradation, a condition
more abject than that of the blind mole or harmless worm. For a long
time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his
fellow, or even why there were laws and governments; but when I
heard details of vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased, and I turned
away with disgust and loathing.

    "Every conversation of the cottagers now opened new wonders to me.
While I listened to the instructions which Felix bestowed upon the
Arabian, the strange system of human society was explained to me. I
heard of the division of property, of immense wealth and squalid
poverty; of rank, descent, and noble blood.

    "The words induced me to turn towards myself. I learned that the
possessions most esteemed by your fellow-creatures were high and
unsullied descent united with riches. A man might be respected with
only one of these advantages but, without either, he was considered,
except in very rare instances, as a vagabond and a slave, doomed to
waste his powers for the profits of the chosen few! And what was I? Of
my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant; but I knew that I
possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides,
endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not
even of the same nature as men. I was more agile than they, and
could subsist upon coarser diet; I bore the extremes of heat and
cold with less injury to my frame; my stature far exceeded theirs.
When I looked around, I saw and heard of none like me. Was I then a
monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom
all men disowned?

    "I cannot describe to you the agony that these reflections
inflicted upon me: I tried to dispel them, but sorrow only increased
with knowledge. Oh, that I had forever remained in my native wood, nor
known nor felt beyond the sensations of hunger, thirst, and heat!

    "Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind,
when it has once seized on it, like a lichen on the rock. I wished
sometimes to shake off all thought and feeling; but I learned that
there was but one means to overcome the sensation of pain, and that
was death- a state which I feared yet did not understand. I admired
virtue and good feelings, and loved the gentle manners and amiable
qualities of my cottagers; but I was shut out from intercourse with
them, except through means which I obtained by stealth, when I was
unseen and unknown, and which rather increased than satisfied the
desire I had of becoming one among my fellows. The gentle words of
Agatha, and the animated smiles of the charming Arabian, were not
for me. The mild exhortations of the old man, and the lively
conversation of the loved Felix, were not for me. Miserable, unhappy

    "Other lessons were impressed upon me even more deeply. I heard of
the difference of sexes; and the birth and growth of children; how the
father doated on the smiles of the infant, and the lively sallies of
the older child; how all the life and cares of the mother were wrapped
up in the precious charge; how the mind of youth expanded and gained
knowledge; of brother, sister, and all the various relationships which
bind one human being to another in mutual bonds.

    "But where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my
infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses; or
if they had, all my past life was now a blot, a blind vacancy in which
I distinguished nothing. From my earliest remembrance I had been as
I then was in height and proportion. I had never yet seen a being
resembling me, or who claimed any intercourse with me. What was I? The
question again recurred, to be answered only with groans.

    "I will soon explain to what these feelings tended; but allow me
now to return to the cottagers, whose story excited in me such various
feelings of indignation, delight, and wonder, but which all terminated
in additional love and reverence for my protectors (for so I loved, in
an innocent, half painful self-deceit, to call them)."

                        CHAPTER XIV

    "SOME time elapsed before I learned the history of my friends. It
was one which could not fail to impress itself deeply on my mind,
unfolding as it did a number of circumstances, each interesting and
wonderful to one so utterly inexperienced as I was.

    "The name of the old man was De Lacey. He was descended from a
good family in France, where he had lived for many years in affluence,
respected by his superiors and beloved by his equals. His son was bred
in the service of his country; and Agatha had ranked with ladies of
the highest distinction. A few months before my arrival they had lived
in a large and luxurious city called Paris, surrounded by friends, and
possessed of every enjoyment which virtue, refinement of intellect, or
taste, accompanied by a moderate fortune, could afford.

    "The father of Safie had been the cause of their ruin. He was a
Turkish merchant, and had inhabited Paris for many years,when, for
some reason which I could not learn, he became obnoxious to the
government. He was seized and cast into prison the very day that Safie
arrived from Constantinople to join him. He was tried and condemned to
death. The injustice of his sentence was very flagrant; all Paris
was indignant; and it was judged that his religion and wealth,
rather than the crime alleged against him, had been the cause of his

    "Felix had accidentally been present at the trial; his horror
and indignation were uncontrollable when he heard the decision of
the court. He made, at that moment, a solemn vow to deliver him, and
then looked around for the means. After many fruitless attempts to
gain admittance to the prison, he found a strongly grated window in an
unguarded part of the building which lighted the dungeon of the
unfortunate Mahometan; who, loaded with chains, waited in despair
the execution of the barbarous sentence. Felix visited the grate at
night, and made known to the prisoner his intentions in his favour.
The Turk, amazed and delighted, endeavoured to kindle the zeal of
his deliverer by promises of reward and wealth. Felix rejected his
offers with contempt; yet when he saw the lovely Safie, who was
allowed to visit her father, and who, by her gestures, expressed her
lively gratitude, the youth could not help owning to his own mind that
the captive possessed a treasure which would fully reward his toil and

    "The Turk quickly perceived the impression that his daughter had
made on the heart of Felix, and endeavoured to secure him more
entirely in his interests by the promise of her hand in marriage, so
soon as he should be conveyed to a place of safety. Felix was too
delicate to accept this offer; yet he looked forward to the
probability of the event as to the consummation of his happiness.

    "During the ensuing days, while the preparations were going
forward for the escape of the merchant, the zeal of Felix was warmed
by several letters that he received from this lovely girl, who found
means to express her thoughts in the language of her lover by the
aid of an old man, a servant of her father, who understood French. She
thanked him in the most ardent terms for his intended services towards
her parent; and at the same time deeply deplored her own fate.

    "I have copies of these letters; for I found means, during my
residence in the hovel, to procure the implements of writing; and
the letters were often in the hands of Felix or Agatha. Before I
depart, I will give them to you, they will prove the truth of my tale;
but at present, as the sun is already far declined, I shall only
have time to repeat the substance of them to you.

    "Safie related that her mother was a Christian Arab, seized and
made a slave by the Turks; recommended by her beauty, she had won
the heart of the father of Safie, who married her. The young girl
spoke in high and enthusiastic terms of her mother, who, born in
freedom, spumed the bondage to which she was now reduced. She
instructed her daughter in the tenets of her religion, and taught
her to aspire to higher powers of intellect, and an independence of
spirit, forbidden to the female followers of Mahomet. This lady
died; but her lessons were indelibly impressed on the mind of Safie,
who sickened at the prospect of again returning to Asia and being
immured within the walls of a harem, allowed only to occupy herself
with infantile amusements, ill suited to the temper of her soul, now
accustomed to grand ideas and a noble emulation for virtue. The
prospect of marrying a Christian, and remaining in a country where
women were allowed to take a rank in society, was enchanting to her.

    "The day for the execution of the Turk was fixed; but, on the
night previous to it, he quitted his prison, and before morning was
distant many leagues from Paris. Felix had procured passports in the
name of his father, sister, and himself. He had previously
communicated his plan to the former, who aided the deceit by
quitting his house, under the pretence of a journey, and concealed
himself, with his daughter, in an obscure part of Paris.

    "Felix conducted the fugitives through France to Lyons, and across
Mont Cenis to Leghorn, where the merchant had decided to wait a
favourable opportunity of passing into some part of the Turkish

    "Safie resolved to remain with her father until the moment of
his departure, before which time the Turk renewed his promise that she
should be united to his deliverer; and Felix remained with them in
expectation of that event; and in the meantime he enjoyed the
society of the Arabian, who exhibited towards him the simplest and
tenderest affection. They conversed with one another through the means
of an interpreter, and sometimes with the interpretation of looks; and
Safie sang to him the divine airs of her native country.

    "The Turk allowed this intimacy to take place, and encouraged
the hopes of the youthful lovers, while in his heart he had formed far
other plans. He loathed the idea that his daughter should be united to
a Christian; but he feared the resentment of Felix, if he should
appear luke-warm; for he knew that he was still in the power of his
deliverer, if he should choose to betray him to the Italian state
which they inhabited. He revolved a thousand plans by which he
should be enabled to prolong the deceit until it might be no longer
necessary, and secretly to take his daughter with him when he
departed. His plans were facilitated by the news which arrived from

    "The government of France were greatly enraged at the escape of
their victim, and spared no pains to detect and punish his
deliverer. The plot of Felix was quickly discovered, and De Lacey
and Agatha were thrown into prison. The news reached Felix, and roused
him from his dream of pleasure. His blind and aged father, and his
gentle sister, lay in a noisome dungeon, while he enjoyed the free air
and the society of her whom he loved. This idea was torture to him. He
quickly arranged with the Turks that if the latter should find a
favourable opportunity for escape before Felix could return to
Italy, Safie should remain as a boarder at a convent at Leghorn; and
then, quitting the lovely Arabian, he hastened to Paris, and delivered
himself up to the vengeance of the law, hoping to free De Lacey and
Agatha by this proceeding.

    "He did not succeed. They remained confined for five months before
the trial took place; the result of which deprived them of their
fortune, and condemned them to a perpetual exile from their native

    "They found a miserable asylum in the cottage in Germany where I
discovered them. Felix soon learned that the treacherous Turk, for
whom he and his family endured such unheard-of oppression, on
discovering that his deliverer was thus reduced to poverty and ruin,
became a traitor to good feeling and honour, and had quitted Italy
with his daughter, insultingly sending Felix a pittance of money, to
aid him, as he said, in some plan of future maintenance.

    "Such were the events that preyed on the heart of Felix, and
rendered him, when I first saw him, the most miserable of his
family. He could have endured poverty; and while this distress had
been the meed of his virtue, he gloried in it: but the ingratitude
of the Turk, and the loss of his beloved Safie, were misfortunes
more bitter and irreparable. The arrival of the Arabian now infused
new life into his soul.

    "When the news reached Leghorn that Felix was deprived of his
wealth and rank, the merchant commanded his daughter to think no
more of her lover, but to prepare to return to her native country. The
generous nature of Safie was outraged by this command; she attempted
to expostulate with her father, but he left her angrily, reiterating
his tyrannical mandate.

    "A few days after, the Turk entered his daughter's apartment,
and told her hastily that he had reason to believe that his
residence at Leghorn had been divulged, and that he should speedily be
delivered up to the French government; he had, consequently, hired a
vessel to convey him to Constantinople, for which city he should
sail in a few hours. He intended to leave his daughter under the
care of a confidential servant, to follow at her leisure with the
greater part of his property, which had not yet arrived at Leghorn.

    "When alone, Safie resolved in her own mind the plan of conduct
that it would become her to pursue in this emergency. A residence in
Turkey was abhorrent to her; her religion and her feelings were
alike adverse to it. By some papers of her father, which fell into her
hands, she heard of the exile of her lover, and learnt the name of the
spot where he then resided. She hesitated some time, but at length she
formed her determination. Taking with her some jewels that belonged to
her, and a sum of money, she quitted Italy with an attendant, a native
of Leghorn, but who understood the common language of Turkey, and
departed for Germany.

    "She arrived in safety at a town about twenty leagues from the
cottage of De Lacey, when her attendant fell dangerously ill. Safie
nursed her with the most devoted affection; but the poor girl died,
and the Arabian was left alone, unacquainted with the language of
the country, and utterly ignorant of the customs of the world. She
fell, however, into good hands. The Italian had mentioned the name
of the spot for which they were bound and, after her death, the
woman of the house in which they had lived took care that Safie should
arrive in safety at the cottage of her lover."

                         CHAPTER XV

    "SUCH was the history of my beloved cottagers. It impressed me
deeply. I learned, from the views of social life which it developed,
to admire their virtues, and to deprecate the vices of mankind.

    "As yet I looked upon crime as a distant evil; benevolence and
generosity were ever present before me, inciting within me a desire to
become an actor in the busy scene where so many admirable qualities
were called forth and displayed. But, in giving an account of the
progress of my intellect, I must not omit a circumstance which
occurred in the beginning of the month of August of the same year.

    "One night, during my accustomed visit to the neighbouring wood,
where I collected my own food, and brought home firing for my
protectors, I found on the ground a leathern portmanteau, containing
several articles of dress and some books. I eagerly seized the
prize, and returned with it to my hovel. Fortunately the books were
written in the language the elements of which I had acquired at the
cottage; they consisted of Paradise Lost, a volume of Plutarch's
Lives, and the Sorrows of Werter. The possession of these treasures
gave me extreme delight; I now continually studied and exercised my
mind upon these histories, whilst my friends were employed in their
ordinary occupations.

    "I can hardly describe to you the effect of these books. They
produced in me an infinity of new images and feelings that sometimes
raised me to ecstasy, but more frequently sunk me into the lowest
dejection. In the Sorrows of Werter, besides the interest of its
simple and affecting story, so many opinions are canvassed, and so
many lights thrown upon what had hitherto been to me obscure subjects,
that I found in it a never-ending source of speculation and
astonishment. The gentle and domestic manners it described, combined
with lofty sentiments and feelings, which had for their object
something out of self, accorded well with my experience among my
protectors, and with the wants which were for ever alive in my own
bosom. But I thought Werter himself a more divine being than I had
ever beheld or imagined; his character contained no pretension, but it
sunk deep. The disquisitions upon death and suicide were calculated to
fill me with wonder. I did not pretend to enter into the merits of the
case, yet I inclined towards the opinions of the hero, whose
extinction I wept, without precisely understanding it.

    "As I read, however, I applied much personally to my own
feelings and condition. I found myself similar, yet at the same time
strangely unlike to the beings concerning whom I read, and to whose
conversation I was a listener. I sympathised with, and partly
understood them, but I was unformed in mind; I was dependent on none
and related to none. 'The path of my departure was free'; and there
was none to lament my annihilation. My person was hideous and my
stature gigantic. What did this mean? Who was I? What was I? Whence
did I come? What was my destination? These questions continually
recurred, but I was unable to solve them.

    "The volume of Plutarch's Lives, which I possessed, contained
the histories of the first founders of the ancient republics. This
book had a far different effect upon me from the Sorrows of Werter.
I learned from Werter's imaginations despondency and gloom: but
Plutarch taught me high thoughts; he elevated me above the wretched
sphere of my own reflections to admire and love the heroes of past
ages. Many things I read surpassed my understanding and experience.
I had a very confused knowledge of kingdoms, wide extents of
country, mighty rivers, and boundless seas. But I was perfectly
unacquainted with towns, and large assemblages of men. The cottage
of my protectors had been the only school in which I had studied human
nature; but this book developed new and mightier scenes of action. I
read of men concerned in public affairs, governing or massacring their
species. I felt the greatest ardour for virtue rise within me, and
abhorrence for vice, as far as I understood the signification of those
terms, relative as they were, as I applied them, to pleasure and
pain alone. Induced by these feelings, I was of course led to admire
peaceable lawgivers, Numa, Solon, and Lycurgus, in preference to
Romulus and Theseus. The patriarchal lives of my protectors caused
these impressions to take a firm hold on my mind; perhaps, if my first
introduction to humanity had been made by a young soldier, burning for
glory and slaughter, I should have been imbued with different

    "But Paradise Lost excited different and far deeper emotions. I
read it, as I had read the other volumes which had fallen into my
hands, as a true history. It moved every feeling of wonder and awe
that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was
capable of exciting. I often referred the several situations, as their
similarity struck me, to my own. Like Adam, I was apparently united by
no link to any other being in existence; but his state was far
different from mine in every other respect. He had come forth from the
hands of God a perfect creature, happy and prosperous, guarded by
the especial care of his Creator; he was allowed to converse with, and
acquire knowledge from, beings of a superior nature: but I was
wretched, helpless, and alone. Many times I considered Satan as the
fitter emblem of my condition; for often, like him, when I viewed
the bliss of my protectors, the bitter gall of envy rose within me.

    "Another circumstance strengthened and confirmed these feelings.
Soon after my arrival in the hovel, I discovered some papers in the
pocket of the dress which I had taken from your laboratory. At first I
had neglected them; but now that I was able to decipher the characters
in which they were written, I began to study them with diligence. It
was your journal of the four months that preceded my creation. You
minutely described in these papers every step you took in the progress
of your work; this history was mingled with accounts of domestic
occurrences. You, doubtless, recollect these papers. Here they are.
Everything is related in them which bears reference to my accursed
origin; the whole detail of that series of disgusting circumstances
which produced it is set in view; the minutest description of my
odious and loathsome person is given, in language which painted your
own horrors and rendered mine indelible. I sickened as I read.
'Hateful day when I received life!' I exclaimed in agony. 'Accursed
creator! Why did you form a monster so hideous that even you turned
from me in disgust? God, in pity, made man beautiful and alluring,
after his own image; but my form is a filthy type of yours, more
horrid even from the very resemblance. Satan had his companions,
fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him; but I am solitary and

    "These were the reflections of my hours of despondency and
solitude; but when I contemplated the virtues of the cottagers,
their amiable and benevolent dispositions, I persuaded myself that
when they should become acquainted with my admiration of their
virtues, they would compassionate me, and overlook my personal
deformity. Could they turn from their door one, however monstrous, who
solicited their compassion and friendship? I resolved, at least not to
despair, but in every way to fit myself for an interview with them
which would decide my fate. I postponed this attempt for some months
longer; for the importance attached to its success inspired me with
a dread lest I should fail. Besides, I found that my understanding
improved so much with every day's experience that I was unwilling to
commence this undertaking until a few more months should have added to
my sagacity.

    "Several changes, in the meantime, took place in the cottage.
The presence of Safie diffused happiness among its inhabitants; and
I also found that a greater degree of plenty reigned there. Felix
and Agatha spent more time in amusement and conversation, and were
assisted in their labours by servants. They did not appear rich, but
they were contented and happy; their feelings were serene and
peaceful, while mine became every day more tumultuous. Increase of
knowledge only discovered to me more clearly what a wretched outcast I
was. I cherished hope, it is true; but it vanished when I beheld my
person reflected in water, or my shadow in the moonshine, even as that
frail image and that inconstant shade.

    "I endeavoured to crush these fears, and to fortify myself for the
trial which in a few months I resolved to undergo; and sometimes I
allowed my thoughts, unchecked by reason, to ramble in the fields of
Paradise, and dared to fancy amiable and lovely creatures sympathising
with my feelings, and cheering my gloom; their angelic countenances
breathed smiles of consolation. But it was all a dream; no Eve soothed
my sorrows, nor shared my thoughts; I was alone. I remembered Adam's
supplication to his Creator. But where was mine? He had abandoned
me: and, in the bitterness of my heart, I cursed him.

    "Autumn passed thus. I saw, with surprise and grief, the leaves
decay and fall, and nature again assume the barren and bleak
appearance it had worn when I first beheld the woods and the lovely
moon. Yet I did not heed the bleakness of the weather; I was better
fitted by my conformation for the endurance of cold than heat. But
my chief delights were the sight of the flowers, the birds, and all
the gay apparel of summer; when those deserted me, I turned with
more attention towards the cottagers. Their happiness was not
decreased by the absence of summer. They loved, and sympathised with
one another; and their joys, depending on each other, were not
interrupted by the casualties that took place around them. The more
I saw of them, the greater became my desire to claim their
protection and kindness; my heart yearned to be known and loved by
these amiable creatures: to see their sweet looks directed towards
me with affection was the utmost limit of my ambition. I dared not
think that they would turn them from me with disdain and horror. The
poor that stopped at their door were never driven away. I asked, it is
true, for greater treasures than a little food or rest: I required
kindness and sympathy; but I did not believe myself utterly unworthy
of it.

    "The winter advanced, and an entire revolution of the seasons
had taken place since I awoke into life. My attention, at this time,
was solely directed towards my plan of introducing myself into the
cottage of my protectors. I revolved many projects; but that on
which I finally fixed was, to enter the dwelling when the blind old
man should be alone. I had sagacity enough to discover that the
unnatural hideousness of my person was the chief object of horror with
those who had formerly beheld me. My voice, although harsh, had
nothing terrible in it; I thought, therefore, that if, in the
absence of his children, I could gain the good-will and mediation of
the old De Lacey, I might, by his means, be tolerated by my younger

    "One day, when the sun shone on the red leaves that strewed the
ground, and diffused cheerfulness, although it denied warmth, Safie,
Agatha, and Felix departed on a long country walk, and the old man, at
his own desire, was left alone in the cottage. When his children had
departed, he took up his guitar, and played several mournful but sweet
airs, more sweet and mournful than I had ever heard him play before.
At first his countenance was illuminated with pleasure, but, as he
continued, thoughtfulness and sadness succeeded; at length, laying
aside the instrument, he sat absorbed in reflection.

    "My heart beat quick; this was the hour and moment of trial
which would decide my hopes or realise my fears. The servants were
gone to a neighbouring fair. All was silent in and around the cottage:
it was an excellent opportunity; yet, when I proceeded to execute my
plan, my limbs failed me, and I sank to the ground. Again I rose; and,
exerting all the firmness of which I was master, removed the planks
which I had placed before my hovel to conceal my retreat. The fresh
air revived me, and, with renewed determination, I approached the door
of their cottage.

    "I knocked. 'Who is there?' said the old man- 'Come in.'

    "I entered; 'Pardon this intrusion,' said I: 'I am a traveller
in want of a little rest; you would greatly oblige me if you would
allow me to remain a few minutes before the fire.'

    "'Enter,' said De Lacey; 'and I will try to relieve your wants;
but, unfortunately, my children are from home, and, as I am blind, I
am afraid I shall find it difficult to procure food for you.'

    "'Do not trouble yourself, my kind host, I have food; it is warmth
and rest only that I need.'

    "I sat down, and a silence ensued. I knew that every minute was
precious to me, yet I remained irresolute in what manner to commence
the interview; when the old man addressed me-

    "'By your language, stranger, I suppose you are my countryman- are
you French?'

    "'No; but I was educated by a French family, and understand that
language only. I am now going to claim the protection of some friends,
whom I sincerely love, and of whose favour I have some hopes.'

    "'Are they Germans?'

    "'No, they are French. But let us change the subject. I am an
unfortunate and deserted creature; I look around, and I have no
relation or friend upon earth. These amiable people to whom I go
have never seen me, and know little of me. I am full of fears; for
if I fail there, I am an outcast in the world for ever.'

    "'Do not despair. To be friendless is indeed to be unfortunate;
but the hearts of men, when unprejudiced by any obvious self-interest,
are full of brotherly love and charity. Rely, therefore, on your
hopes; and if these friends are good and amiable, do not despair.'

    "'They are kind- they are the most excellent creatures in the
world; but, unfortunately, they are prejudiced against me. I have good
dispositions; my life has been hitherto harmless, and in some degree
beneficial; but a fatal prejudice clouds their eyes, and where they
ought to see a feeling and kind friend, they behold only a
detestable monster.'

    "'That is indeed unfortunate; but if you are really blameless,
cannot you undeceive them?'

    "'I am about to undertake that task; and it is on that account
that I feel so many overwhelming terrors. I tenderly love these
friends; I have, unknown to them, been for many months in the habits
of daily kindness towards them; but they believe that I wish to injure
them, and it is that prejudice which I wish to overcome.'

    "'Where do these friends reside?'

    "'Near this spot.'

    "The old man paused, and then continued, 'If you will unreservedly
confide to me the particulars of your tale, I perhaps may be of use in
undeceiving them. I am blind, and cannot judge of your countenance,
but there is something in your words which persuades me that you are
sincere. I am poor, and an exile; but it will afford me true
pleasure to be in any way serviceable to a human creature.'

    "'Excellent man! I thank you, and accept your generous offer.
You raise me from the dust by this kindness; and I trust that, by your
aid, I shall not be driven from the society and sympathy of your

    "'Heaven forbid! even if you were really criminal; for that can
only drive you to desperation, and not instigate you to virtue. I also
am unfortunate; I and my family have been condemned, although
innocent: judge, therefore, if I do not feel for your misfortunes.'

    "'How can I thank you, my best and only benefactor? From your lips
first have I heard the voice of kindness directed towards me; I
shall be for ever grateful; and your present humanity assures me of
success with those friends whom I am on the point of meeting.'

    "'May I know the names and residence of those friends?'

    "I paused. This, I thought, was the moment of decision, which
was to rob me of, or bestow happiness on me forever. I struggled
vainly for firmness sufficient to answer him, but the effort destroyed
all my remaining strength; I sank on the chair, and sobbed aloud. At
that moment I heard the steps of my younger protectors. I had not a
moment to lose; but, seizing the hand of the old man, I cried, 'Now is
the time!- save and protect me! You and your family are the friends
whom I seek. Do not you desert me in the hour of trial!'

    "'Great God!' exclaimed the old man, 'who are you?'

    "At that instant the cottage door was opened, and Felix, Safie,
and Agatha entered. Who can describe their horror and consternation on
beholding me? Agatha fainted; and Safie, unable to attend to her
friend, rushed out of the cottage. Felix darted forward, and with
supernatural force tore me from his father, to whose knees I clung: in
a transport of fury, he dashed me to the ground and struck me
violently with a stick. I could have torn him limb from limb, as a
lion rends the antelope. But my heart sunk within me as with bitter
sickness, and I refrained. I saw him on the point of repeating his
blow, when, overcome by pain and anguish, I quitted the cottage and in
the general tumult escaped unperceived to my hovel.

                        CHAPTER XVI

    "CURSED, cursed creator! Why did I live? Why, in that instant, did
I not extinguish the spark of existence which you had so wantonly
bestowed? I know not; despair had not yet taken possession of me; my
feelings were those of rage and revenge. I could with pleasure have
destroyed the cottage and its inhabitants, and have glutted myself
with their shrieks and misery.

    "When night came, I quitted my retreat, and wandered in the
wood; and now, no longer restrained by the fear of discovery, I gave
vent to my anguish in fearful howlings. I was like a wild beast that
had broken the toils; destroying the objects that obstructed me, and
ranging through the wood with a stag-like swiftness. O! what a
miserable night I passed! the cold stars shone in mockery, and the
bare trees waved their branches above me: now and then the sweet voice
of a bird burst forth amidst the universal stillness. All, save I,
were at rest or in enjoyment: I, like the arch-fiend, bore a hell
within me; and, finding myself unsympathised with, wished to tear up
the trees, spread havoc and destruction around me, and then to have
sat down and enjoyed the ruin.

    "But this was a luxury of sensation that could not endure; I
became fatigued with excess of bodily exertion, and sank on the damp
grass in the sick impotence of despair. There was none among the
myriads of men that existed who would pity or assist me; and should
I feel kindness towards my enemies? No: from that moment I declared
everlasting war against the species, and, more than all, against him
who had formed me, and sent me forth to this insupportable misery.

    "The sun rose; I heard the voices of men, and knew that it was
impossible to return to my retreat during that day. Accordingly I
hid myself in some thick underwood, determining to devote the
ensuing hours to reflection on my situation.

    "The pleasant sunshine, and the pure air of day, restored me to
some degree of tranquillity; and when I considered what had passed
at the cottage, I could not help believing that I had been too hasty
in my conclusions. I had certainly acted imprudently. It was
apparent that my conversation had interested the father in my
behalf, and I was a fool in having exposed my person to the horror
of his children. I ought to have familiarised the old De Lacey to
me, and by degrees to have discovered myself to the rest of his
family, when they should have been prepared for my approach. But I did
not believe my errors to be irretrievable; and, after much
consideration, I resolved to return to the cottage, seek the old
man, and by my representations win him to my party.

    "These thoughts calmed me, and in the afternoon I sank into a
profound sleep; but the fever of my blood did not allow me to be
visited by peaceful dreams. The horrible scene of the preceding day
was forever acting before my eyes; the females were flying, and the
enraged Felix tearing me from his father's feet. I awoke exhausted;
and, finding that it was already night, I crept forth from my hiding
place, and went in search of food.

    "When my hunger was appeased, I directed my steps towards the
well-known path that conducted to the cottage. All there was at peace.
I crept into my hovel, and remained in silent expectation of the
accustomed hour when the family arose. That hour passed, the sun
mounted high in the heavens, but the cottagers did not appear. I
trembled violently, apprehending some dreadful misfortune. The
inside of the cottage was dark, and I heard no motion; I cannot
describe the agony of this suspense.

    "Presently two countrymen passed by; but, pausing near the
cottage, they entered into conversation, using violent gesticulations;
but I did not understand what they said, as they spoke the language of
the country, which differed from that of my protectors. Soon after,
however, Felix approached with another man: I was surprised, as I knew
that he had not quitted the cottage that morning, and waited anxiously
to discover, from his discourse, the meaning of these unusual

    "'Do you consider,' said his companion to him, 'that you will be
obliged to pay three months' rent, and to lose the produce of your
garden? I do not wish to take any unfair advantage, and I beg
therefore that you will take some days to consider of your

    "'It is utterly useless,' replied Felix; 'we can never again
inhabit your cottage. The life of my father is in the greatest danger,
owing to the dreadful circumstance that I have related. My wife and my
sister will never recover their horror. I entreat you not to reason
with me any more. Take possession of your tenement, and let me fly
from this place.'

    "Felix trembled violently as he said this. He and his companion
entered the cottage, in which they remained for a few minutes, and
then departed. I never saw any of the family of De Lacey more.

    "I continued for the remainder of the day in my hovel in a state
of utter and stupid despair. My protectors had departed, and had
broken the only link that held me to the world. For the first time the
feelings of revenge and hatred filled my bosom, and I did not strive
to control them; but, allowing myself to be borne away by the
stream, I bent my mind towards injury and death. When I thought of
my friends, of the mild voice of De Lacey, the gentle eyes of
Agatha, and the exquisite beauty of the Arabian, these thoughts
vanished, and a gush of tears somewhat soothed me. But again, when I
reflected that they had spurned and deserted me, anger returned, a
rage of anger; and, unable to injure anything human, I turned my
fury towards inanimate objects. As night advanced, I placed a
variety of combustibles around the cottage; and, after having
destroyed every vestige of cultivation in the garden, I waited with
forced impatience until the moon had sunk to commence my operations.

    "As the night advanced, a fierce wind arose from the woods, and
quickly dispersed the clouds that had loitered in the heavens: the
blast tore along like a mighty avalanche, and produced a kind of
insanity in my spirits that burst all bounds of reason and reflection.
I lighted the dry branch of a tree, and danced with fury around the
devoted cottage, my eyes still fixed on the western horizon, the
edge of which the moon nearly touched. A part of its orb was at length
hid, and I waved my brand; it sunk, and with a loud scream, I fired
the straw, and heath, and bushes, which I had collected. The wind
fanned the fire, and the cottage was quickly enveloped by the
flames, which clung to it, and licked it with their forked and
destroying tongues.

    "As soon as I was convinced that no assistance could save any part
of the habitation, I quitted the scene and sought for refuge in the

    "And now, with the world before me, whither should I bend my
steps? I resolved to fly far from the scene of my misfortunes; but
to me, hated and despised, every country must be equally horrible.
At length the thought of you crossed my mind. I learned from your
papers that you were my father, my creator; and to whom could I
apply with more fitness than to him who had given me life? Among the
lessons that Felix had bestowed upon Safie, geography had not been
omitted. I had learned from these the relative situations of the
different countries of the earth. You had mentioned Geneva as the name
of your native town; and towards this place I resolved to proceed.

    "But how was I to direct myself? I knew that I must travel in a
south-westerly direction to reach my destination; but the sun was my
only guide. I did not know the names of the towns that I was to pass
through, nor could I ask information from a single human being; but
I did not despair. From you only could I hope for succour, although
towards you I felt no sentiment but that of hatred. Unfeeling,
heartless creator! you had endowed me with perceptions and passions,
and then cast me abroad an object for the scorn and horror of mankind.
But on you only had I any claim for pity and redress, and from you I
determined to seek that justice which I vainly attempted to gain
from any other being that wore the human form.

    "My travels were long, and the sufferings I endured intense. It
was late in autumn when I quitted the district where I had so long
resided. I travelled only at night, fearful of encountering the visage
of a human being. Nature decayed around me, and the sun became
heatless; rain and snow poured around me; mighty rivers were frozen;
the surface of the earth was hard, and chill, and bare, and I found no
shelter. Oh, earth! how often did I imprecate curses on the cause of
my being! the mildness of my nature had fled, and all within me was
turned to gall and bitterness. The nearer I approached to your
habitation, the more deeply did I feel the spirit of revenge enkindled
in my heart. Snow fell, and the waters were hardened; but I rested
not. A few incidents now and then directed me, and I possessed a map
of the country; but I often wandered wide from my path. The agony of
my feelings allowed me no respite: no incident occurred from which
my rage and misery could not extract its food; but a circumstance that
happened when I arrived on the confines of Switzerland, when the sun
had recovered its warmth, and the earth again began to look green,
confirmed in an especial manner the bitterness and horror of my

    "I generally rested during the day, and travelled only when I
was secured by night from the view of man. One morning, however,
finding that my path lay through a deep wood, I ventured to continue
my journey after the sun had risen; the day, which was one of the
first of spring, cheered even me by the loveliness of its sunshine and
the balminess of the air. I felt emotions of gentleness and
pleasure, that had long appeared dead, revive within me. Half
surprised by the novelty of these sensations, I allowed myself to be
borne away by them; and, forgetting my solitude and deformity, dared
to be happy. Soft tears again bedewed my cheeks, and I even raised
my humid eyes with thankfulness towards the blessed sun which bestowed
such joy upon me.

    "I continued to wind among the paths of the wood, until I came
to its boundary, which was skirted by a deep and rapid river, into
which many of the trees bent their branches, now budding with the
fresh spring. Here I paused, not exactly knowing what path to
pursue, when I heard the sound of voices that induced me to conceal
myself under the shade of a cypress. I was scarcely hid, when a
young girl came running towards the spot where I was concealed,
laughing, as if she ran from some one in sport. She continued her
course along the precipitous sides of the river, when suddenly her
foot slipt, and she fell into the rapid stream. I rushed from my
hiding-place; and, with extreme labour from the force of the
current, saved her, and dragged her to shore. She was senseless; and I
endeavoured by every means in my power to restore animation, when I
was suddenly interrupted by the approach of rustic, who was probably
the person from whom she had playfully fled. On seeing me, he darted
towards me, and tearing the girl from my arms, hastened towards the
deeper parts of the wood. I followed speedily, hardly knew why; but
when the man saw me draw near, he aimed a gun, which he carried, at my
body, and fired. I sunk to the ground, and my injurer, with
increased swiftness, escaped into the wood.

    "This was then the reward of my benevolence! I had saved a human
being from destruction, and as a recompense, I now writhed under the
miserable pain of a wound, which shattered the flesh and bone. The
feelings of kindness and gentleness which I had entertained but a
few moments before gave place to hellish rage and gnashing of teeth.
Inflamed by pain, I vowed eternal hatred and vengeance to all mankind.
But the agony of my wound overcame me; my pulses paused, and I

    "For some weeks I led a miserable life in the woods,
endeavouring to cure the wound which I had received. The ball had
entered my shoulder, and I knew not whether it had remained there or
passed through; at any rate I had no means of extracting it. My
sufferings were augmented also by the oppressive sense of the
injustice and ingratitude of their infliction. My daily vows rose
for revenge- a deep and deadly revenge, such as would alone compensate
for the outrages and anguish I had endured.

    "After some weeks my wound healed, and I continued my journey. The
labours I endured were no longer to be alleviated by the bright sun or
gentle breezes of spring; all joy was but a mockery, which insulted my
desolate state, and made me feel more painfully that I was not made
for the enjoyment of pleasure.

    "But my toils now drew near a close; and in two months from this
time I reached the environs of Geneva.

    "It was evening when I arrived, and I retired to a hiding-place
among the fields that surround it, to meditate in what manner I should
apply to you. I was oppressed by fatigue and hunger, and far too
unhappy to enjoy the gentle breezes of evening, or the prospect of the
sun setting behind the stupendous mountains of Jura.

    "At this time a slight sleep relieved me from the pain of
reflection, which was disturbed by the approach of a beautiful
child, who came running into the recess I had chosen, with all the
sportiveness of infancy. Suddenly, as I gazed on him, an idea seized
me, that this little creature was unprejudiced, and had lived too
short a time to have imbibed a horror of deformity. If, therefore, I
could seize him, and educate him as my companion and friend, I
should not be so desolate in this peopled earth.

    "Urged by this impulse, I seized on the boy as he passed and
drew him towards me. As soon as he beheld my form, he placed his hands
before his eyes and uttered a shrill scream: I drew his hand
forcibly from his face, and said, 'Child, what is the meaning of this?
I do not intend to hurt you; listen to me.'

    "He struggled violently. 'Let me go,' he cried; 'monster! ugly
wretch! you wish to eat me, and tear me to pieces- You are an ogre-
Let me go, or I will tell my papa.'

    "'Boy, you will never see your father again; you must come with

    "'Hideous monster! let me go. My papa is a Syndic- he is M.
Frankenstein- he will punish you. You dare not keep me.'

    "'Frankenstein! you belong then to my enemy- to him towards whom I
have sworn eternal revenge; you shall be my first victim.'

    "The child still struggled, and loaded me with epithets which
carried despair to my heart; I grasped his throat to silence him,
and in a moment he lay dead at my feet.

    "I gazed on my victim, and my heart swelled with exultation and
hellish triumph: clapping my hands, I exclaimed, 'I, too, can create
desolation; my enemy is not invulnerable; this death will carry
despair to him, and a thousand other miseries shall torment and
destroy him.'

    "As I fixed my eyes on the child, I saw something glittering on
his breast. I took it; it was a portrait of a most lovely woman. In
spite of malignity, it softened and attracted me. For a few moments
I gazed with delight on her dark eyes, fringed by deep lashes, and her
lovely lips; but presently my rage returned: I remembered that I was
for ever deprived of the delights that such beautiful creatures
could bestow; and that she whose resemblance I contemplated would,
in regarding me, have changed that air of divine benignity to one
expressive of disgust and affright.

    "Can you wonder that such thoughts transported me with rage? I
only wonder that at that moment, instead of venting my sensations in
exclamations and agony, I did not rush among mankind and perish in the
attempt to destroy them.

    "While I was overcome by these feelings, I left the spot where I
had committed the murder, and seeking a more secluded hiding-place,
I entered a barn which had appeared to me to be empty. A woman was
sleeping on some straw; she was young: not indeed so beautiful as
her whose portrait I held; but of an agreeable aspect, and blooming in
the loveliness of youth and health. Here, I thought, is one of those
whose joy-imparting smiles are bestowed on all but me. And then I bent
over her, and whispered, 'Awake, fairest, thy lover is near- he who
would give his life but to obtain one look of affection from thine
eyes: my beloved, awake!'

    "The sleeper stirred; a thrill of terror ran through me. Should
she indeed awake, and see me, and curse me, and denounce the murderer?
Thus would she assuredly act, if her darkened eyes opened and she
beheld me. The thought was madness; it stirred the fiend within me-
not I, but she shall suffer: the murder I have committed because I
am forever robbed of all that she could give me, she shall atone.
The crime had its source in her: be hers the punishment! Thanks to the
lessons of Felix and the sanguinary laws of man, I had learned now
to work mischief I bent over her, and placed the portrait securely
in one of the folds of her dress. She moved again, and I fled.

    "For some days I haunted the spot where these scenes had taken
place; sometimes wishing to see you, sometimes resolved to quit the
world and its miseries forever. At length I wandered towards these
mountains, and have ranged through their immense recesses, consumed by
a burning passion which you alone can gratify. We may not part until
you have promised to comply with my requisition. I am alone, and
miserable; man will not associate with me; but one as deformed and
horrible as myself would not deny herself to me. My companion must
be of the same species, and have the same defects. This being you must

                         CHAPTER XVII

    THE BEING finished speaking, and fixed his looks upon me in
expectation of a reply. But I was bewildered, perplexed, and unable to
arrange my ideas sufficiently to understand the full extent of his
proposition. He continued:

    "You must create a female for me, with whom I can live in the
interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone
can do; and I demand it of you as a right which you must not refuse to

    The latter part of his tale had kindled anew in me the anger
that had died away while he narrated his peaceful life among the
cottagers, and, as he said this, I could no longer suppress the rage
that burned within me.

    "I do refuse it," I replied; "and no torture shall ever extort a
consent from me. You may render me the most miserable of men, but
you shall never make me base in my own eyes. Shall I create another
like yourself, whose joint wickedness might desolate the world!
Begone! I have answered you; you may torture me, but I will never

    "You are in the wrong," replied the fiend; "and, instead of
threatening, I am content to reason with you. I am malicious because I
am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by all mankind? You, my
creator, would tear me to pieces, and triumph; remember that, and tell
me why I should pity man more than he pities me? You would not call it
murder if you could precipitate me into one of those ice-rifts, and
destroy my frame, the work of your own hands. Shall I respect man when
he contemns me? Let him live with me in the interchange of kindness;
and, instead of injury, I would bestow every benefit upon him with
tears of gratitude at his acceptance. But that cannot be; the human
senses are insurmountable barriers to our union. Yet mine shall not be
the submission of abject slavery. I will revenge my injuries: if I
cannot inspire love, I will cause fear; and chiefly towards you my
arch-enemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguishable hatred.
Have a care: I will work at your destruction, nor finish until I
desolate your heart, so that you shall curse the hour of your birth."

    A fiendish rage animated him as he said this; his face was
wrinkled into contortions too horrible for human eyes to behold; but
presently he calmed himself and proceeded-

    "I intended to reason. This passion is detrimental to me; for
you do not reflect that you are the cause of its excess. If any
being felt emotions of benevolence towards me, should return them an
hundred and an hundred fold; for that one creature's sake, I would
make peace with the whole kind! But I now indulge in dreams of bliss
that cannot be realised. What I ask of is reasonable and moderate; I
demand a creature of another sex, but as hideous as myself; the
gratification is small, but it is all that I can receive, and it shall
content me. It is true we shall be monsters, cut off from all the
world; but on that account we shall be more attached to one another.
Our lives will not be happy, but they will be harmless, and free
from the misery I now feel. Oh! my creator, make me happy; let me feel
gratitude towards you for one benefit! Let me see that I excite the
sympathy of some existing thing; do not deny me my request!"

    I was moved. I shuddered when I thought of the possible
consequences of my consent; but I felt that there was some justice
in his argument. His tale, and the feelings he now expressed, proved
him to be a creature of fine sensations; and did I not as his maker
owe him all the portion of happiness that it was in my power to
bestow? He saw my change of feeling and continued-

    "If you consent, neither you nor any other human being shall
ever see us again: I will go to the vast wilds of South America. My
food is not that of man; I do not destroy the lamb and the kid to glut
my appetite; acorns and berries afford me sufficient nourishment. My
companion will be of the same nature as myself, and will be content
with the same fare. We shall make our bed of dried leaves; the sun
will shine on us as on man, and will ripen our food. The picture I
present to you is peaceful and human, and you must feel that you could
deny it only in the wantonness of power and cruelty. Pitiless as you
have been towards me, I now see compassion in your eyes; me seize
the favourable moment, and persuade you to promise what. I so ardently

    "You propose," replied I, "to fly from the habitations of man,
to dwell in those wilds where the beasts of the field will be your
only companions. How can you, who long for the love and sympathy of
man, persevere in this exile? You will return, and again seek their
kindness, and you will meet with their detestation; your evil passions
will be renewed, and you will then have a companion to aid you in
the task of destruction. This may not be: cease to argue the point,
for I cannot consent."

    "How inconstant are your feelings! but a moment ago you were moved
by my representations, and why do you again harden yourself to my
complaints? I swear to you, by the earth which I inhabit, and by you
that made me, that, with the companion you bestow, I will quit the
neighbourhood of man, and dwell as it may chance in the most savage of
places. My evil passions will have fled, for I shall meet with
sympathy! my life will flow quietly away, and, in my dying moments,
I shall not curse my maker."

    His words had a strange effect upon me. I compassionated him,
and sometimes felt a wish to console him; but when I looked upon
him, when I saw the filthy mass that moved and talked, my heart
sickened, and my feelings were altered to those of horror and
hatred. I tried to stifle these sensations; I thought that, as I could
not sympathise with him, I had no right to withhold from him the small
portion of happiness which was yet in my power to bestow.

    "You swear", I said, "to be harmless; but have you not already
shown a degree of malice that should reasonably make me distrust
you? May not even this be a feint that will increase your triumph by
affording a wider scope for your revenge."

    "How is this? I must not be trifled with: and I demand an
answer. If I have no ties and no affections, hatred and vice must be
my portion; the love of another will destroy the cause of my crimes,
and I shall become a thing of whose existence every one will be
ignorant. My vices are the children of a forced solitude that I abhor;
and my virtues will necessarily arise when I live in communion with an
equal. I shall feel the affections of a sensitive being, and become
linked to the chain of existence and events, from which I am now

    I paused some time to reflect on all he had related, and the
various arguments which he had employed. I thought of the promise of
virtues which he had displayed on the opening of his existence, and
the subsequent blight of all kindly feeling by the loathing and
scorn which his protectors had manifested towards him. His power and
threats were not omitted in my calculations: a creature who could
exist in the ice-caves of the glaciers, and hide himself from
pursuit among the ridges of inaccessible precipices, was a being
possessing faculties it would be vain to cope with. After a long pause
of reflection, I concluded that the justice due both to him and my
fellow-creatures demanded of me that I should comply with his request.
Turning to him, therefore, I said-

    "I consent to your demand, on your solemn oath to quit Europe
for ever, and every other place in the neighbourhood of man, as soon
as I shall deliver into your hands a female who will accompany you
in your exile."

    "I swear," he cried, "by the sun, and by the blue sky of Heaven,
and by the fire of love that burns my heart, that if you grant my
prayer, while they exist you shall never behold me again. Depart to
your home, and commence your labours: I shall watch their progress
with unutterable anxiety; and fear not but that when you are ready I
shall appear."

    Saying this, he suddenly quitted me, fearful, perhaps, of any
change in my sentiments. I saw him descend the mountain with greater
speed than the flight of an eagle, and quickly lost among the
undulations of the sea of ice.

    His tale had occupied the whole day; and the sun was upon the
verge of the horizon when he departed. I knew that I ought to hasten
my descent towards the valley, as I should soon be encompassed in
darkness; but my heart was heavy, and my steps slow. The labour of
winding among the little paths of the mountains, and fixing my feet
firmly as I advanced, perplexed me, occupied as I was by the
emotions which the occurrences of the day had produced. Night was
far advanced when I came to the half-way resting-place, and seated
myself beside the fountain. The stars shone at intervals, as the
clouds passed from over them the dark pines rose before me, and
every here and there a broken tree lay on the ground: it was a scene
of wonderful solemnity, and stirred strange thoughts within me. I wept
bitterly; and clasping my hands in agony, I exclaimed, "Oh! stars, and
clouds, and winds, ye are all about to mock me: if ye really pity
me, crush sensation and memory; let me become as nought; but if not,
depart, leave me in darkness."

    These were wild and miserable thoughts; but I cannot describe to
you how the eternal twinkling of the stars weighed upon me, and how
I listened to every blast of wind as if it were a dull ugly siroc on
its way to consume me.

    Morning dawned before I arrived at the village of Chamounix; I
took no rest, but returned immediately to Geneva. Even in my own heart
I could give no expression to my sensations- they weighed on me with a
mountain's weight, and their excess destroyed my agony beneath them.
Thus I returned home, and entering the house, presented myself to
the family. My haggard and wild appearance awoke intense alarm; but
I answered no question, scarcely did I speak. I felt as if I were
placed under a ban- as if I had no right to claim their sympathies- as
if never more might I enjoy companionship with them. Yet even thus I
loved them to adoration; and to save them, I resolved to dedicate
myself to my most abhorred task. The prospect of such an occupation
made every other circumstance of existence pass before me like a
dream; and that thought only had to me the reality of life.

                         CHAPTER XVIII

    DAY after day, week after week, passed away on my return to
Geneva; and I could not collect the courage to recommence my work. I
feared the vengeance of the disappointed fiend, yet I was unable to
overcome my repugnance to the task which was enjoined me. I found that
I could not compose a female without again devoting several months
to profound study and laborious disquisition. I had heard of some
discoveries having been made by an English philosopher, the
knowledge of which was material to my success, and I sometimes thought
of obtaining my father's consent to visit England for this purpose;
but I clung to every pretence of delay, and shrunk from taking the
first step in an undertaking whose immediate necessity began to appear
less absolute to me. A change indeed had taken place in me: my health,
which had hitherto declined, was now much restored; and my spirits,
when unchecked by the memory of my unhappy promise, rose
proportionably. My father saw this change with pleasure, and he turned
his thoughts towards the best method of eradicating the remains of
my melancholy, which every now and then would return by fits, and with
a devouring blackness overcast the approaching sunshine. At these
moments I took refuge in the most perfect solitude. I passed whole
days on the lake alone in a little boat, watching the clouds, and
listening to the rippling of the waves, silent and listless. But the
fresh air and bright sun seldom failed to restore me to some degree of
composure; and, on my return, I met the salutations of my friends with
a readier smile and a more cheerful heart.

    It was after my return from one of these rambles, that my
father, calling me aside, thus addressed me:-

    "I am happy to remark, my dear son, that you have resumed your
former pleasures, and seem to be returning to yourself. And yet you
are still unhappy, and still avoid our society. For some time I was
lost in conjecture as to the cause of this; but yesterday an idea
struck me, and if it is well founded, I conjure you to avow it.
Reserve on such a point would be not only useless, but draw down
treble misery on us all."

    I trembled violently at this exordium, and my father continued:

    "I confess, my son, that I have always looked forward to your
marriage with our dear Elizabeth as the tie of our domestic comfort,
and the stay of my declining years. You were attached to each other
from your earliest infancy; you studied together, and appeared, in
dispositions and tastes, entirely suited to one another. But so
blind is the experience of man that what I conceived to be the best
assistants to my plan may have entirely destroyed it. You, perhaps,
regard her as your sister, without any wish that she might become your
wife. Nay, you may have met with another whom you may love; and,
considering yourself as bound in honour to Elizabeth, this struggle
may occasion the poignant misery which you appear to feel."

    "My dear father, reassure yourself I love my cousin tenderly and
sincerely. I never saw any woman who excited, as Elizabeth does, my
warmest admiration and affection. My future hopes and prospects are
entirely bound up in the expectation of our union."

    "The expression of your sentiments on this subject, my dear
Victor, gives me more pleasure than I have for some time
experienced. If you feel thus, we shall assuredly be happy, however
present events may cast a gloom over us. But it is this gloom, which
appears to have taken so strong a hold of your mind, that I wish to
dissipate. Tell me, therefore, whether you object to an immediate
solemnisation of the marriage. We have been unfortunate, and recent
events have drawn us from that every-day tranquillity befitting my
years and infirmities. You are younger; yet I do not suppose,
possessed as you are of a competent fortune, that an early marriage
would at all interfere with any future plans of honour and utility
that you may have formed. Do not suppose, however, that I wish to
dictate happiness to you, or that a delay on your part would cause
me any serious uneasiness. Interpret my words with candour, and answer
me, I conjure you, with confidence and sincerity."

    I listened to my father in silence, and remained for some time
incapable of offering any reply. I revolved rapidly in my mind a
multitude of thoughts, and endeavoured to arrive at some conclusion.
Alas! to me the idea of an immediate union with my Elizabeth was one
of horror and dismay. I was bound by a solemn promise, which I had not
yet fulfilled, and dared not break; or, if I did, what manifold
miseries might not impend over me and my devoted family! Could I enter
into a festival with this deadly weight yet hanging round my neck, and
bowing me to the ground? I must perform my engagement and let the
monster depart with his mate, before I allowed myself to enjoy the
delight of an union from which I expected peace.

    I remembered also the necessity imposed upon me of either
journeying to England, or entering into a long correspondence with
those philosophers of that country, whose knowledge and discoveries
were of indispensable use to me in my present undertaking. The
latter method of obtaining the desired intelligence was dilatory and
unsatisfactory: besides, I had an insurmountable aversion to the
idea of engaging myself in my loathsome task in my father's house,
while in habits of familiar intercourse with those I loved. I knew
that a thousand fearful accidents might occur, the slightest of
which would disclose a tale to thrill all connected with me with
horror. I was aware also that I should often lose all self-command,
all capacity of hiding the harrowing sensations that would possess
me during the progress of my unearthly occupation. I must absent
myself from all I loved while thus employed. Once commenced, it
would quickly be achieved, and I might be restored to my family in
peace and happiness. My promise fulfilled, the monster would depart
forever. Or (so my fond fancy imaged) some accident might meanwhile
occur to destroy him, and put an end to my slavery for ever.

    These feelings dictated my answer to my father. I expressed a wish
to visit England; but, concealing the true reasons of this request,
I clothed my desires under a guise which excited no suspicion, while I
urged my desire with an earnestness that easily induced my father to
comply. After so long a period of an absorbing melancholy, that
resembled madness in its intensity and effects, he was glad to find
that I was capable of taking pleasure in the idea of such a journey,
and he hoped that change of scene and varied amusement would, before
my return, have restored me entirely to myself.

    The duration of my absence was left to my own choice; a few
months, or at most a year, was the period contemplated. One paternal
kind precaution he had taken to ensure my having a companion.
Without previously communicating with me, he had, in concert with
Elizabeth, arranged that Clerval should join me at Strasburgh. This
interfered with the solitude I coveted for the prosecution of my task;
yet at the commencement of my journey the presence of my friend
could in no way be an impediment, and truly I rejoiced that thus I
should be saved many hours of lonely, maddening reflection. Nay, Henry
might stand between me and the intrusion of my foe. If I were alone,
would he not at times force his abhorred presence on me, to remind
me of my task, or to contemplate its progress?

    To England, therefore, I was bound, and it was understood that
my union with Elizabeth should take place immediately on my return. My
father's age rendered him extremely averse to delay. For myself, there
was one reward I promised myself from my detested toils- one
consolation for my unparalleled sufferings; it was the prospect of
that day when, enfranchised from my miserable slavery, I might claim
Elizabeth, and forget the past in my union with her.

    I now made arrangements for my journey; but one feeling haunted
me, which filled me with fear and agitation. During my absence I
should leave my friends unconscious of the existence of their enemy,
and unprotected from his attacks, exasperated as he might be by my
departure. But he had promised to follow me wherever I might go; and
would he not accompany me to England? This imagination was dreadful in
itself, but soothing, inasmuch as it supposed the safety of my
friends. I was agonised with the idea of the possibility that the
reverse of this might happen. But through the whole period during
which I was the slave of my creature, I allowed myself to be
governed by the impulses of the moment; and my present sensations
strongly intimated that the fiend would follow me, and exempt my
family from the danger of his machinations.

    It was in the latter end of September that I again quitted my
native country. My journey had been my own suggestion, and
Elizabeth, therefore, acquiesced: but she was filled with disquiet
at the idea of my suffering, away from her, the inroads of misery
and grief. It had been her care which provided me a companion in
Clerval- and yet a man is blind to a thousand minute circumstances,
which call forth a woman's sedulous attention. She longed to bid me
hasten my return,- a thousand conflicting emotions rendered her mute
as she bade me a tearful silent farewell.

    I threw myself into the carriage that was to convey me away,
hardly knowing whither I was going, and careless of what was passing
around. I remembered only, and it was with a bitter anguish that I
reflected on it, to order that my chemical instruments should be
packed to go with me. Filled with dreary imaginations, I passed
through many beautiful and majestic scenes; but my eyes were fixed and
unobserving. I could only think of the bourne of my travels, and the
work which was to occupy me whilst they endured.

    After some days spent in listless indolence, during which I
traversed many leagues, I arrived at Strasburgh, where I waited two
days for Clerval. He came. Alas, how great was the contrast between
us! He was alive to every new scene; joyful when he saw the beauties
of the setting sun, and more happy when he beheld it rise, and
recommence a new day. He pointed out to me the shifting colours of the
landscape, and the appearances of the sky. "This is what it is to
live," he cried, "now I enjoy existence! But you, Frankenstein,
wherefore are you desponding and sorrowful!" In truth, I was
occupied by gloomy thoughts, and neither saw the descent of the
evening star, nor the golden sunrise reflected in the Rhine.- And you,
my friend, would be far more amused with the journal of Clerval, who
observed the scenery with an eye of feeling and delight, than in
listening to my reflections. I, a miserable wretch, haunted by a curse
that shut up every avenue to enjoyment.

    We had agreed to descend the Rhine in a boat from Strasburgh to
Rotterdam, whence we might take shipping for London. During this
voyage, we passed many willowy islands, and saw several beautiful
towns. We stayed a day at Manheim, and, on the fifth from our
departure from Strasburgh, arrived at Mayence. The course of the Rhine
below Mayence becomes much more picturesque. The river descends
rapidly, and winds between hills, not high, but steep, and of
beautiful forms. We saw many ruined castles standing on the edges of
precipices, surrounded by black woods, high and inaccessible. This
part of the Rhine, indeed, presents a singularly variegated landscape.
In one spot you view rugged hills, ruined castles overlooking
tremendous precipices, with the dark Rhine rushing beneath; and, on
the sudden turn of a promontory, flourishing vineyards, with green
sloping banks, and a meandering river, and populous towns occupy the

    We travelled at the time of the vintage, and heard the song of the
labourers, as we glided down the stream. Even I, depressed in mind,
and my spirits continually agitated by gloomy feelings, even I was
pleased. I lay at the bottom of the boat, and, as I gazed on the
cloudless blue sky, I seemed to drink in a tranquillity to which I had
long been a stranger. And if these were my sensations, who can
describe those of Henry? He felt as if he had been transported to
Fairyland, and enjoyed a happiness seldom tasted by man. "I have
seen," he said, "the most beautiful scenes of my own country; I have
visited the lakes of Lucerne and Uri, where the snowy mountains
descend almost perpendicularly to the water, casting black and
impenetrable shades, which would cause a gloomy and mournful
appearance, were it not for the most verdant islands that relieve
the eye by their gay appearance; I have seen this lake agitated by a
tempest, when the wind tore up whirlwinds of water, and gave you an
idea of what the waterspout must be on the great ocean; and the
waves dash with fury the base of the mountain, where the priest and
his mistress were overwhelmed by an avalanche, and where their dying
voices are still said to be heard amid the pauses of the nightly wind;
I have seen the mountains of La Valais, and the Pays de Vaud: but this
country, Victor, pleases me more than all those wonders. The mountains
of Switzerland are more majestic and strange; but there is a charm
in the banks of this divine river, that I never before saw equalled.
Look at that castle which overhangs yon precipice; and that also on
the island, almost concealed amongst the foliage of those lovely
trees; and now that group of labourers coming from among their
vines; and that village half hid in the recess of the mountain. Oh,
surely, the spirit that inhabits and guards this place has a soul more
in harmony with man than those who pile the glacier, or retire to
the inaccessible peaks of the mountains of our own country."

    Clerval! beloved friend! even now it delights me to record your
words; and to dwell on the praise of which you are so eminently
deserving. He was a being formed in the "very poetry of nature." His
wild and enthusiastic imagination was chastened by the sensibility
of his heart. His soul overflowed with ardent affections, and his
friendship was of that devoted and wondrous nature that the
worldy-minded teach us to look for only in the imagination. But even
human sympathies were not sufficient to satisfy his eager mind. The
scenery of external nature, which others regard only with
admiration, he loved with ardour:-

                          "The sounding cataract

          Haunted him like a passion: the tall rock,

          The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,

          Their colours and their forms, were then to him

          An appetite; a feeling, and a love,

          That had no need of a remoter charm,

          By thought supplied, or any interest

          Unborrow'd from the eye."*

    * Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey.

    And where does he now exist? Is this gentle and lovely being
lost forever? Has this mind, so replete with ideas, imaginations
fanciful and magnificent, which formed a world, whose existence
depended on the life of its creator;- has the mind perished? Does it
now only exist in my memory? No, it is not thus; your form so divinely
wrought, and beaming with beauty, has decayed, but your spirit still
visits and consoles your unhappy friend.

    Pardon this gush of sorrow; these ineffectual words are but a
slight tribute to the unexampled worth of Henry, but they soothe my
heart, overflowing with the anguish which his remembrance creates. I
will proceed with my tale.

    Beyond Cologne we descended to the plains of Holland; and we
resolved to post the remainder of our way; for the wind was
contrary, and the stream of the river was too gentle to aid us.

    Our journey here lost the interest arising from beautiful scenery;
but we arrived in a few days at Rotterdam, whence we proceeded by
sea to England. It was on a clear morning, in the latter days of
October, that I first saw the white cliffs of Britain. The banks of
the Thames presented a new scene; they were flat, but fertile, and
almost every town was marked by the remembrance of some story. We
saw Tilbury Fort, and remembered the Spanish armada; Gravesend,
Woolwich, and Greenwich, places which I had heard of even in my

    At length we saw the numerous steeples of London, St. Paul's
towering above all, and the Tower famed in English history.

                        CHAPTER XIX

    LONDON was our present point of rest; we determined to remain
several months in this wonderful and celebrated city. Clerval
desired the intercourse of the men of genius and talent who flourished
at this time; but this was with me a secondary object; I was
principally occupied with the means of obtaining the information
necessary for the completion of my promise, and quickly availed myself
of the letters of introduction that I had brought with me, addressed
to the most distinguished natural philosophers.

    If this journey had taken place during my days of study and
happiness, it would have afforded me inexpressible pleasure. But a
blight had come over my existence, and I only visited these people for
the sake of the information they might give me on the subject in which
my interest was so terribly profound. Company was irksome to me;
when alone, I could fill my mind with the sights of heaven and
earth; the voice of Henry soothed me, and I could thus cheat myself
into a transitory peace. But busy uninteresting joyous faces brought
back despair to my heart. I saw an insurmountable barrier placed
between me and my fellow-men this barrier was sealed with the blood of
William and Justine; and to reflect on the events connected with those
names filled my soul with anguish.

    But in Clerval I saw the image of my former self; he was
inquisitive, and anxious to gain experience and instruction. The
difference of manners which he observed was to him an inexhaustible
source of instruction and amusement. He was also pursuing an object he
had long had in view. His design was to visit India, in the belief
that he had in his knowledge of its various languages, and in the
views he had taken of its society, the means of materially assisting
the progress of European colonisation and trade. In Britain only could
he further the execution of his plan. He was for ever busy; and the
only check to his enjoyments was my sorrowful and dejected mind. I
tried to conceal this as much as possible, that I might not debar
him from the pleasures natural to one who was entering on a new
scene of life, undisturbed by any care or bitter recollection. I often
refused to accompany him, alleging another engagement, that I might
remain alone. I now also began to collect the materials necessary
for my new creation, and this was to me like the torture of single
drops of water continually falling on the head. Every thought that was
devoted to it was an extreme anguish, and every word that I spoke in
allusion to it caused my lips to quiver, and my heart to palpitate.

    After passing some months in London, we received a letter from a
person in Scotland, who had formerly been our visitor at Geneva. He
mentioned the beauties of his native country, and asked us if those
were not sufficient allurements to induce us to prolong our journey as
far north as Perth, where he resided. Clerval eagerly desired to
accept this invitation; and I, although I abhorred society, wished
to view again mountains and streams, and all the wondrous works with
which Nature adorns her chosen dwelling-places.

    We had arrived in England at the beginning of October, and it
was now February. We accordingly determined to commence our journey
towards the north at the expiration of another month. In this
expedition we did not intend to follow the great road to Edinburgh,
but to visit Windsor, Oxford, Matlock, and the Cumberland lakes,
resolving to arrive at the completion of this tour about the end of
July. I packed up my chemical instruments, and the materials I had
collected, resolving to finish my labours in some obscure nook in
the northern highlands of Scotland.

    We quitted London on the 27th of March, and remained a few days at
Windsor, rambling in its beautiful forest. This was a new scene to
us mountaineers; the majestic oaks, the quantity of game, and the
herds of stately deer, were all novelties to us.

    From thence we proceeded to Oxford. As we entered this city, our
minds were filled with the remembrance of the events that had been
transacted there more than a century and a half before. It was here
that Charles I. had collected his forces. This city had remained
faithful to him, after the whole nation had forsaken his cause to join
the standard of parliament and liberty. The memory of that unfortunate
king, and his companions, the amiable Falkland, the insolent Goring,
his queen, and son, gave a peculiar interest to every part of the city
which they might be supposed to have inhabited. The spirit of elder
days found a dwelling here, and we delighted to trace its footsteps.
If these feelings had not found an imaginary gratification, the
appearance of the city had yet in itself sufficient beauty to obtain
our admiration. The colleges are ancient and picturesque; the
streets are almost magnificent; and the lovely Isis, which flows
beside it through meadows of exquisite verdure, is spread forth into a
placid expanse of waters, which reflects its majestic assemblage of
towers, and spires, and domes, embosomed among aged trees.

    I enjoyed this scene; and yet my enjoyment was embittered both
by the memory of the past, and the anticipation of the future. I was
formed for peaceful happiness. During my youthful days discontent
never visited my mind; and if I was ever overcome by ennui, the
sight of what is beautiful in nature, or the study of what is
excellent and sublime in the productions of man, could always interest
my heart, and communicate elasticity to my spirits. But I am a blasted
tree; the bolt has entered my soul; and I felt then that I should
survive to exhibit, what I shall soon cease to be- a miserable
spectacle of wrecked humanity, pitiable to others, and intolerable
to myself.

    We passed a considerable period at Oxford, rambling among its
environs, and endeavouring to identify every spot which might relate
to the most animating epoch of English history. Our little voyages
of discovery were often prolonged by the successive objects that
presented themselves. We visited the tomb of the illustrious
Hampden, and the field on which that patriot fell. For a moment my
soul was elevated from its debasing and miserable fears, to
contemplate the divine ideas of liberty and self-sacrifice, of which
these sights were the monuments and the remembrancers. For an
instant I dared to shake off my chains, and look around me with a free
and lofty spirit; but the iron had eaten into my flesh, and I sank
again, trembling and hopeless, into my miserable self.

    We left Oxford with regret, and proceeded to Matlock, which was
our next place of rest. The country in the neighbourhood of this
village resembles, to a greater degree, the scenery of Switzerland;
but everything is on a lower scale, and the green hills want the crown
of distant white Alps, which always attend on the piny mountains of my
native country. We visited the wondrous cave, and the little
cabinets of natural history, where the curiosities are disposed in the
same manner as in the collections at Servox and Chamounix. The
latter name made me tremble when pronounced by Henry; and I hastened
to quit Matlock, with which that terrible scene was thus associated.

    From Derby, still journeying northward, we passed two months in
Cumberland and Westmoreland. I could now almost fancy mr self among
the Swiss mountains. The little patches of snow which yet lingered
on the northern sides of the mountains, the lakes, and the dashing
of the rocky streams, were all familiar and dear sights to me. Here
also we made some acquaintances, who almost contrived to cheat me into
happiness. The delight of Clerval was proportionably greater than
mine; his mind expanded in the company of men of talent, and he
found in his own nature greater capacities and resources than he could
have imagined himself to have possessed while he associated with his
inferiors. "I could pass my life here," said he to me; "and among
these mountains I should scarcely regret Switzerland and the Rhine."

    But he found that a traveller's life is one that includes much
pain amidst its enjoyments. His feelings are forever on the stretch;
and when he begins to sink into repose, he finds himself obliged to
quit that on which he rests in pleasure for something new, which again
engages his attention, and which also he forsakes for other novelties.

    We had scarcely visited the various lakes of Cumberland and
Westmoreland, and conceived an affection for some of the
inhabitants, when the period of our appointment with our Scotch friend
approached, and we left them to travel on. For my own part I was not
sorry. I had now neglected my promise for some time, and I feared
the effects of the daemon's disappointment. He might remain in
Switzerland, and wreak his vengeance on my relatives. This idea
pursued me, and tormented me at every moment from which I might
otherwise have snatched repose and peace. I waited for my letters with
feverish impatience: if they were delayed, I was miserable, and
overcome by a thousand fears; and when they arrived, and I saw the
superscription of Elizabeth or my father, I hardly dared to read and
ascertain my fate. Sometimes I thought that the fiend followed me, and
might expedite my remissness by murdering my companion. When these
thoughts possessed me, I would not quit Henry for a moment, but
followed him as his shadow, to protect him from the fancied rage of
his destroyer. I felt as if I had committed some great crime, the
consciousness of which haunted me. I was guiltless, but I had indeed
drawn down a horrible curse upon my head, as mortal as that of crime.

    I visited Edinburgh with languid eyes and mind; and yet that
city might have interested the most unfortunate being. Clerval did not
like it so well as Oxford: for the antiquity of the latter city was
more pleasing to him. But the beauty and regularity of the new town of
Edinburgh, its romantic castle, and its environs, the most
delightful in the world, Arthur's Seat, St. Bernard's Well, and the
Pentland Hills, compensated him for the change, and filled him with
cheerfulness and admiration. But I was impatient to arrive at the
termination of my journey.

    We left Edinburgh in a week, passing through Coupar, St. Andrew's,
and along the banks of the Tay, to Perth, where our friend expected
us. But I was in no mood to laugh and talk with strangers, or enter
into their feelings or plans with the good humour expected from a
guest; and accordingly I told Clerval that I wished to make the tour
of Scotland alone. "Do you," said I, "enjoy yourself, and let this
be our rendezvous. I may be absent a month or two; but do not
interfere with my motions, I entreat you: leave me to peace and
solitude for a short time; and when I return, I hope it will be with a
lighter heart, more congenial to your own temper."

    Henry wished to dissuade me; but, seeing me bent on this plan,
ceased to remonstrate. He entreated me to write often. "I had rather
be with you," he said, "in your solitary rambles, than with these
Scotch people, whom I do not know: hasten then, my dear friend, to
return, that I may again feel myself somewhat at home, which I
cannot do in your absence."

    Having parted from my friend, I determined to visit some remote
spot of Scotland, and finish my work in solitude. I did not doubt
but that the monster followed me, and would discover himself me when I
should have finished, that he might receive his companion.

    With this resolution I traversed the northern highlands, and fixed
on one of the remotest of the Orkneys as the scene of my labours. It
was a place fitted for such a work, being hardly more than a rock,
whose high sides were continually beaten upon by the waves. The soil
was barren, scarcely affording pasture for a few miserable cows, and
oatmeal for its inhabitants, which consisted of five persons, whose
gaunt and scraggy limbs gave tokens of their miserable fare.
Vegetables and bread, when they indulged in such luxuries, and even
fresh water, was to be procured from the mainland, which was about
five miles distant.

    On the whole island there were but three miserable huts, and one
of these was vacant when I arrived. This I hired. It contained but two
rooms, and these exhibited all the squalidness of the most miserable
penury. The thatch had fallen in, the walls were unplastered, and
the door was off its hinges. I ordered it to be repaired, bought
some furniture, and took possession; an incident which would,
doubtless, have occasioned some surprise, had not all the senses of
the cottagers been benumbed by want and squalid poverty. As it was,
I lived ungazed at and unmolested, hardly thanked for the pittance
of food and clothes which I gave; so much does suffering blunt even
the coarsest sensations of men.

    In this retreat I devoted the morning to labour; but in the
evening, when the weather permitted, I walked on the stony beach of
the sea, to listen to the waves as they roared and dashed at my
feet. It was a monotonous yet ever-changing scene. I thought of
Switzerland; it was far different from this desolate and appalling
landscape. Its hills are covered with vines, and its cottages are
scattered thickly in the plains. Its fair lakes reflect a blue and
gentle sky; and, when troubled by the winds, their tumult is but as
the play of a lively infant, when compared to the roarings of the
giant ocean.

    In this manner I distributed my occupations when I first
arrived; but, as I proceeded in my labour, it became every day more
horrible and irksome to me. Sometimes I could not prevail on myself to
enter my laboratory for several days; and at other times I toiled
day and night in order to complete my work. It was, indeed, a filthy
process in which I was engaged. During my first experiment, a kind
of enthusiastic frenzy had blinded me to the horror of my
employment; my mind was intently fixed on the consummation of my
labour, and my eyes were shut to the horror of my proceedings. But now
I went to it in cold blood, and my heart often sickened at the work of
my hands.

    Thus situated, employed in the most detestable occupation,
immersed in a solitude where nothing could for an instant call my
attention from the actual scene in which I was engaged, my spirits
became unequal; I grew restless and nervous. Every moment I feared
to meet my persecutor. Sometimes I sat with my eyes fixed on the
ground, fearing to raise them, lest they should encounter the object
which I so much dreaded to behold. I feared to wander from the sight
of my fellow-creatures, lest when alone he should come to claim his

    In the meantime I worked on, and my labour was already
considerably advanced. I looked towards its completion with a
tremulous and eager hope, which I dared not trust myself to
question, but which was intermixed with obscure forebodings of evil,
that made my heart sicken in my bosom.

                          CHAPTER XX

    I SAT one evening in my laboratory; the sun had set, and the
moon was just rising from the sea; I had not sufficient light for my
employment, and I remained idle, in a pause of consideration of
whether I should leave my labour for the night, or hasten its
conclusion by an unremitting attention to it. As I sat, a train of
reflection occurred to me, which led me to consider the effects of
what I was now doing. Three years before I was engaged in the same
manner, and had created a fiend whose unparalleled barbarity had
desolated my heart, and filled it for ever with the bitterest remorse.
I was now about to form another being, of whose dispositions I was
alike ignorant; she might become ten thousand times more malignant
than her mate, and delight, for its own sake, in murder and
wretchedness. He had sworn to quit the neighbourhood of man, and
hide himself in deserts; but she had not; and she, who in all
probability was to become a thinking and reasoning animal, might
refuse to comply with a compact made before her creation. They might
even hate each other; the creature who already lived loathed his own
deformity, and might he not conceive a greater abhorrence for it
when it came before his eyes in the female form? She also might turn
with disgust from him to the superior beauty of man; she might quit
him, and he be again alone, exasperated by the fresh provocation of
being deserted by one of his own species.

    Even if they were to leave Europe, and inhabit the deserts of
the new world, yet one of the first results of those sympathies for
which the daemon thirsted would be children, and a race of devils
would be propagated upon the earth who might make the very existence
of the species of man a condition precarious and full of terror. Had I
right, for my own benefit, to inflict this curse upon everlasting
generations? I had before been moved by the sophisms of the being I
had created; I had been struck senseless by his fiendish threats:
but now, for the first time, the wickedness of my promise burst upon
me; I shuddered to think that future ages might curse me as their
pest, whose selfishness had not hesitated to buy its own peace, at the
price, perhaps, of the existence of the whole human race.

    I trembled, and my heart failed within me; when, on looking up,
I saw, by the light of the moon, the daemon at the casement. A ghastly
grin wrinkled his lips as he gazed on me, where I sat fulfilling the
task which he had allotted to me. Yes, he had followed me in my
travels; he had loitered in forests, hid himself in caves, or taken
refuge in wide and desert heaths; and he now came to mark my progress,
and claim the fulfillment of my promise.

    As I looked on him, his countenance expressed the utmost extent of
malice and treachery. I thought with a sensation of madness on my
promise to create another like him, and trembling with passion, tore
to pieces the thing on which I was engaged. The wretch saw me
destroy the creature on whose future existence he depended for
happiness, and, with a howl of devilish despair and revenge, withdrew.

    I left the room, and, locking the door, made a solemn vow in my
own heart never to resume my labours; and then, with trembling
steps, sought my own apartment. I was alone; none were near me to
dissipate the gloom, and relieve me from the sickening oppression of
the most terrible reveries.

    Several hours passed, and I remained near my window gazing on
the sea; it was almost motionless, for the winds were hushed, and
all nature reposed under the eye of the quiet moon. A few fishing
vessels alone specked the water, and now and then the gentle breeze
wafted the sound of voices, as the fishermen called to one another.
I felt the silence, although I was hardly conscious of its extreme
profundity, until my ear was suddenly arrested by the paddling of oars
near the shore, and a person landed close to my house.

    In a few minutes after, I heard the creaking of my door, as if
some one endeavoured to open it softly. I trembled from head to
foot; I felt a presentiment of who it was, and wished to rouse one
of the peasants who dwelt in a cottage not far from mine; but I was
overcome by the sensation of helplessness, so often felt in
frightful dreams, when you in vain endeavour to fly from an
impending danger, and was rooted to the spot.

    Presently I heard the sound of footsteps along the passage; the
door opened, and the wretch whom I dreaded appeared. Shutting the
door, he approached me, and said, in a smothered voice-

    "You have destroyed the work which you began; what is it that
you intend? Do you dare to break your promise? I have endured toil and
misery: I left Switzerland with you; I crept along the shores of the
Rhine, among its willow islands, and over the summits of its hills.
I have dwelt many months in the heaths of England, and among the
deserts of Scotland. I have endured incalculable fatigue, and cold,
and hunger; do you dare destroy my hopes?"

    "Begone! I do break my promise; never will I create another like
yourself, equal in deformity and wickedness."

    "Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you have proved yourself
unworthy of my condescension. Remember that I have power; you
believe yourself miserable, but I can make you so wretched that the
light of day will be hateful to you. You are my creator, but I am your
master;- obey!"

    "The hour of my irresolution is past, and the period of your power
is arrived. Your threats cannot move me to do an act of wickedness;
but they confirm me in a determination of not creating you a companion
in vice. Shall I, in cool blood, set loose upon the earth a daemon,
whose delight is in death and wretchedness? Begone! I am firm, and
your words will only exasperate my rage."

    The monster saw my determination in my face, and gnashed his teeth
in the impotence of anger. "Shall each man," cried he, "find a wife
for his bosom, and each beast have his mate, and I be alone? I had
feelings of affection, and they were requited by detestation and
scorn. Man! you may hate; but beware! your hours will pass in dread
and misery, and soon the bolt will fall which must ravish from you
your happiness for ever. Are you to be happy while I grovel in the
intensity of my wretchedness? You can blast my other passions; but
revenge remains- revenge, henceforth dearer than light or food! I
may die; but first you, my tyrant and tormentor, shall curse the sun
that gazes on your misery. Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore
powerful. I will watch with the wiliness of a snake, that I may
sting with its venom. Man, you shall repent of the injuries you

    "Devil, cease; and do not poison the air with these sounds of
malice. I have declared my resolution to you, and I am no coward to
bend beneath words. Leave me; I am inexorable."

    "It is well. I go; but remember, I shall be with you on your

    I started forward, and exclaimed, "Villain! before you sign my
death-warrant, be sure that you are yourself safe."

    I would have seized him; but he eluded me, and quitted the house
with precipitation. In a few moments I saw him in his boat, which shot
across the waters with an arrowy swiftness and was soon lost amidst
the waves.

    All was again silent; but his words rung in my ears. I burned with
rage to pursue the murderer of my peace and precipitate him into the
ocean. I walked up and down my room hastily and perturbed, while my
imagination conjured up a thousand images to torment and sting me. Why
had I not followed him, and closed with him in mortal strife? But I
had suffered him to depart, and he had directed his course towards the
main land. I shuddered to think who might be the next victim
sacrificed to his insatiate revenge. And then I thought again of his
words- "I will be with you on your wedding-night." That then was the
period fixed for the fulfillment of my destiny. In that hour I
should die, and at once satisfy and extinguish his malice. The
prospect did not move me to fear; yet when I thought of my beloved
Elizabeth,- of her tears and endless sorrow, when she should find
her lover so barbarously snatched from her,- tears, the first I had
shed for many months, streamed from my eyes, and I resolved not to
fall before my enemy without a bitter struggle.

    The night passed away, and the sun rose from the ocean; my
feelings became calmer, if it may be called calmness, when the
violence of rage sinks into the depths of despair. I left the house,
the horrid scene of the last night's contention, and walked on the
beach of the sea, which I almost regarded as an insuperable barrier
between me and my fellow-creatures; nay, a wish that such should prove
the fact stole across me. I desired that I might pass my life on
that barren rock, wearily, it is true, but uninterrupted by any sudden
shock of misery. If I returned, it was to be sacrificed, or to see
those whom I most loved die under the grasp of a daemon whom I had
myself created.

    I walked about the isle like a restless spectre, separated from
all it loved, and miserable in the separation. When it became noon,
and the sun rose higher, I lay down on the grass, and was
overpowered by a deep sleep. I had been awake the whole of the
preceding night, my nerves were agitated, and my eyes inflamed by
watching and misery. The sleep into which I now sunk refreshed me; and
when I awoke, I again felt as if I belonged to a race of human
beings like myself, and I began to reflect upon what had passed with
greater composure; yet still the words of the fiend rung in my ears
like a death-knell, they appeared like a dream, yet distinct and
oppressive as a reality.

    The sun had far descended, and I still sat on the shore,
satisfying my appetite, which had become ravenous, with an oaten cake,
when I saw a fishing-boat land close to me, and one of the men brought
me a packet; it contained letters from Geneva, and one from Clerval,
entreating me to join him. He said that he was wearing away his time
fruitlessly where he was; that letters from the friends he had
formed in London desired his return to complete the negotiation they
had entered into for his Indian enterprise. He could not any longer
delay his departure; but as his journey to London might be followed,
even sooner than he now conjectured, by his longer voyage, he
entreated me to bestow as much of my society on him as I could
spare. He besought me, therefore, to leave my solitary isle, and to
meet him at Perth, that we might proceed southwards together. This
letter in a degree recalled me to life, and I determined to quit my
island at the expiration of two days.

    Yet, before I departed, there was a task to perform, on which I
shuddered to reflect: I must pack up my chemical instruments; and
for that purpose I must enter the room which had been the scene of
my odious work, and I must handle those utensils, the sight of which
was sickening to me. The next morning, at daybreak, I summoned
sufficient courage, and unlocked the door of my laboratory. The
remains of the half-finished creature, whom I had destroyed, lay
scattered on the floor, and I almost felt as if I had mangled the
living flesh of a human being. I paused to collect myself, and then
entered the chamber. With trembling hand I conveyed the instruments
out of the room; but I reflected that I ought not to leave the
relics of my work to excite the horror and suspicion of the
peasants; and I accordingly put them into a basket, with a great
quantity of stones, and, laying them up, determined to throw them into
the sea that very night; and in the meantime I sat upon the beach,
employed in cleaning and arranging my chemical apparatus.

    Nothing could be more complete than the alteration that had
taken place in my feelings since the night of the appearance of the
daemon. I had before regarded my promise with a gloomy despair, as a
thing that, with whatever consequences, must be fulfilled; but I now
felt as if a film had been taken from before my eyes, and that I,
for the first time, saw clearly. The idea of renewing my labours did
not for one instant occur to me; the threat I had heard weighed on
my thoughts, but I did not reflect that a voluntary act of mine
could avert it. I had resolved in my own mind, that to create
another like the fiend I had first made would be an act of the
basest and most atrocious selfishness; and I banished from my mind
every thought that could lead to a different conclusion.

    Between two and three in the morning the moon rose; and I then,
putting my basket aboard a little skill, sailed out about four miles
from the shore. The scene was perfectly solitary: a few boats were
returning towards land, but I sailed away from them. I felt as if I
was about the commission of a dreadful crime, and avoided with
shuddering anxiety any encounter with my fellow-creatures. At one time
the moon, which had before been clear, was suddenly overspread by a
thick cloud, and I took advantage of the moment of darkness, and
cast my basket into the sea: I listened to the gurgling sound as it
sunk, and then sailed away from the spot. The sky became clouded;
but the air was pure, although chilled by the north-east breeze that
was then rising. But it refreshed me, and filled me with such
agreeable sensations, that I resolved to prolong my stay on the water;
and, fixing the rudder in a direct position, stretched myself at the
bottom of the boat. Clouds hid the moon, everything was obscure, and I
heard only the sound of the boat, as its keel cut through the waves;
the murmur lulled me, and in a short time I slept soundly.

    I do not know how long I remained in this situation, but when I
awoke I found that the sun had already mounted considerably. The
wind was high, and the waves continually threatened the safety of my
little skill. I found that the wind was north-east, and must have
driven me far from the coast from which I had embarked. I
endeavoured to change my course, but quickly found that, if I again
made the attempt, the boat would be instantly filled with water.
Thus situated, my only resource was to drive before the wind. I
confess that I felt a few sensations of terror. I had no compass
with me, and was so slenderly acquainted with the geography of this
part of the world, that the sun was of little benefit to me. I might
be driven into the wide Atlantic, and feel all the tortures of
starvation, or be swallowed up in the immeasurable waters that
roared and buffeted around me. I had already been out many hours,
and felt the torment of a burning thirst, a prelude to my other
sufferings. I looked on the heavens, which were covered by clouds that
flew before the wind, only to be replaced by others: I looked upon the
sea, it was to be my grave. "Fiend," I exclaimed, "your task is
already fulfilled!" I thought of Elizabeth, of my father, and of
Clerval; all left behind, on whom the monster might satisfy his
sanguinary and merciless passions. This idea plunged me into a revery,
so despairing and frightful, that even now, when the scene is on the
point of closing before me forever, I shudder to reflect on it.

    Some hours passed thus; but by degrees, as the sun declined
towards the horizon, the wind died away into a gentle breeze, and
the sea became free from breakers. But these gave place to a heavy
swell: I felt sick, and hardly able to hold the rudder, when
suddenly I saw a line of high land towards the south.

    Almost spent, as I was, by fatigue, and the dreadful suspense I
endured for several hours, this sudden certainty of life rushed like a
flood of warm joy to my heart, and tears gushed from my eyes.

    How mutable are our feelings, and how strange is that clinging
love we have of life even in the excess of misery! I constructed
another sail with a part of my dress, and eagerly steered my course
towards the land. It had a wild and rocky appearance; but, as I
approached nearer, I easily perceived the traces of cultivation. I saw
vessels near the shore, and found myself suddenly transported back
to the neighbourhood of civilised man. I carefully traced the windings
of the land, and hailed a steeple which I at length saw issuing from
behind a small promontory. As I was in a state of extreme debility,
I resolved to sail directly towards the town, as a place where I could
most easily procure nourishment. Fortunately I had money with me. As I
turned the promontory, I perceived a small neat town and a good
harbour, which I entered, my heart bounding with joy at my
unexpected escape.

    As I was occupied in fixing the boat and arranging the sails
several people crowded towards the spot. They seemed much surprised at
my appearance; but, instead of offering me any assistance, whispered
together with gestures that at any other time might have produced in
me a slight sensation of alarm. As it was, I merely remarked that they
spoke English; and I therefore addressed them in that language: "My
good friends," said I, "will you be so kind as to tell me the name
of this town, and inform me where I am?"

    "You will know that soon enough," replied a man with a hoarse
voice. "May be you are come to a place that will not prove much to
your taste; but you will not be consulted as to your quarters, promise

    I was exceedingly surprised on receiving so rude an answer from
a stranger; and I was also disconcerted on perceiving the frowning and
angry countenances of his companions. "Why do you answer me so
roughly?" I replied; "surely it is not the custom of Englishmen to
receive strangers so inhospitably."

    "I do not know," said the man, "what the custom of the English may
be; but it is the custom of the Irish to hate villains."

    While this strange dialogue continued, I perceived the crowd
rapidly increase. Their faces expressed a mixture of curiosity and
anger, which annoyed, and in some degree alarmed me. I inquired the
way to the inn; but no one replied. I then moved forward, and a
murmuring sound arose from the crowd as they followed and surrounded
me; when an ill-looking man approaching, tapped me on the shoulder,
and said, "Come sir, you must follow me to Mr. Kirwins, to give an
account of yourself."

    "Who is Mr. Kirwin? Why am I to give an account of myself? Is
not this a free country?"

    "Ay, sir, free enough for honest folks. Mr. Kirwin is a
magistrate; and you are to give an account of the death of a gentleman
who was found murdered here last night."

    This answer startled me; but I presently recovered myself. I was
innocent; that could easily be proved: accordingly I followed my
conductor in silence, and was led to one of the best houses in the
town. I was ready to sink from fatigue and hunger; but, being
surrounded by a crowd, I thought it politic to rouse all my
strength, that no physical debility might be construed into
apprehension or conscious guilt. Little did I then expect the calamity
that was in a few moments to overwhelm me, and extinguish in horror
and despair all fear of ignominy or death.

    I must pause here; for it requires all my fortitude to recall
the memory of the frightful events which I am about to relate, in
proper detail, to my recollection.

                         CHAPTER XXI

    I WAS soon introduced into the presence of the magistrate, an
old benevolent man, with calm and mild manners. He looked upon me,
however, with some degree of severity: and then, turning towards my
conductors, he asked who appeared as witnesses on this occasion.

    About half a dozen men came forward; and one being selected by the
magistrate, he deposed that he had been out fishing the night before
with his son and brother-in-law, Daniel Nugent, when, about ten
o'clock, they observed a strong northerly blast rising, and they
accordingly put in for port. It was a very dark night, as the moon had
not yet risen; they did not land at the harbour, but, as they had been
accustomed, at a creek about two miles below. He walked on first,
carrying a part of the fishing tackle, and his companions followed him
at some distance. As he was proceeding along the sands, he struck
his foot against something, and fell at his length on the ground.
His companions came up to assist him; and, by the light of their
lantern, they found that he had fallen on the body of a man who was to
all appearance dead. Their first supposition was that it was the
corpse of some person who had been drowned, and was thrown on shore by
the waves; but, on examination, they found that the clothes were not
wet, and even that the body was not then cold. They instantly
carried it to the cottage of an old woman near the spot, and
endeavoured, but in vain, to restore it to life. It appeared to be a
handsome young man, about five and twenty years of age. He had
apparently been strangled; for there was no sign of any violence,
except the black mark of fingers on his neck.

    The first part of this deposition did not in the least interest
me; but when the mark of the fingers was mentioned, I remembered the
murder of my brother, and felt myself extremely agitated; my limbs
trembled, and a mist came over my eyes, which obliged me to lean on
a chair for support. The magistrate observed me with a keen eye, and
of course drew an unfavourable augury from my manner.

    The son confirmed his father's account: but when Daniel Nugent was
called, he swore positively that, just before the fall of his
companion, he saw a boat, with a single man in it, at a short distance
from the shore; and, as far as he could judge by the light of a few
stars, it was the same boat in which I had just landed.

    A woman deposed that she lived near the beach, and was standing at
the door of her cottage, waiting for the return of the fishermen,
about an hour before she heard of the discovery of the body, when
she saw a boat, with only one man in it, push off from that part of
the shore where the corpse was afterwards found.

    Another woman confirmed the account of the fishermen having
brought the body into her house; it was not cold. They put it into a
bed, and rubbed it; and Daniel went to the town for an apothecary, but
life was quite gone.

    Several other men were examined concerning my landing; and they
agreed that, with the strong north wind that had arisen during the
night, it was very probable that I had beaten about for many hours,
and had been obliged to return nearly to the same spot from which I
had departed. Besides, they observed that it appeared that I had
brought the body from another place, and it was likely that, as I
did not appear to know the shore, I might have put into the harbour
ignorant of the distance of the town of- from the place where I had
deposited the corpse.

    Mr. Kirwin on hearing this evidence, desired that I should be
taken into the room where the body lay for interment, that it might be
observed what effect the sight of it would produce upon me. This
idea was probably suggested by the extreme agitation I had exhibited
when the mode of the murder had been described. I was accordingly
conducted, by the magistrate and several other persons, to the inn.
I could not help being struck by the strange coincidences that had
taken place during this eventful night; but knowing that I had been
conversing with several persons in the island I had inhabited about
the time that the body had been found, I was perfectly tranquil as
to the consequences of the affair.

    I entered the room where the corpse lay, and was led up to the
coffin. How can I describe my sensations on beholding it? I feel yet
parched with horror, nor can I reflect on that terrible moment without
shuddering and agony. The examination, the presence of the
magistrate and witnesses, passed like a dream from my memory, when I
saw the lifeless form of Henry Clerval stretched before me. I gasped
for breath; and, throwing myself on the body, I exclaimed, "Have my
murderous machinations deprived you also, my dearest Henry, of life?
Two I have already destroyed; other victims await their destiny: but
you, Clerval, my friend, my benefactor-"

    The human frame could no longer support the agonies that I
endured, and I was carried out of the room in strong convulsions.

    A fever succeeded to this. I lay for two months on the point of
death: my ravings, as I afterwards heard, were frightful; I called
myself the murderer of William, of Justine, and of Clerval.
Sometimes I entreated my attendants to assist me in the destruction of
the fiend by whom I was tormented; and at others I felt the fingers of
the monster already grasping my neck, and screamed aloud with agony
and terror. Fortunately, as I spoke my native language, Mr. Kirwin
alone understood me; but my gestures and bitter cries were
sufficient to affright the other witnesses.

    Why did I not die? More miserable than man ever was before, why
did I not sink into forgetfulness and rest? Death snatches away many
blooming children, the only hopes of their doating parents: how many
brides and youthful lovers have been one day in the bloom of health
and hope, and the next a prey for worms and the decay of the tomb!
Of what materials was I made, that I could thus resist so many shocks,
which, like the turning of the wheel, continually renewed the torture?

    But I was doomed to live; and, in two months, found myself as
awaking from a dream, in a stretched on a wretched bed, surrounded
by gaolers, turnkeys, bolts, and all the miserable apparatus of a
dungeon. It was morning, I remember, when I thus awoke to
understanding: I had forgotten the particulars of what had happened,
and only felt as if some great misfortune had suddenly overwhelmed me;
but when I looked around, and saw the barred windows, and the
squalidness of the room in which I was, all flashed across my
memory, and I groaned bitterly.

    This sound disturbed an old woman who was sleeping in a chair
beside me. She was a hired nurse, the wife of one of the turnkeys, and
her countenance expressed all those bad qualities which often
characterise that class. The lines of her face were hard and rude,
like that of persons accustomed to see without sympathising in
sights of misery. Her tone expressed her entire indifference; she
addressed me in English, and the voice struck me as one that I had
heard during my sufferings:-

    "Are you better now, sir?" said she.

    I replied in the same language, with a feeble voice, "I believe
I am; but if it be all true, if indeed I did not dream, I am sorry
that I am still alive to feel this misery and horror."

    "For that matter," replied the old woman, "if you mean about the
gentleman you murdered, I believe that it were better for you if you
were dead, for I fancy it will go hard with you! However, that's
none of my business; I am sent to nurse you, and get you well; I do my
duty with a safe conscience; it were well if everybody did the same."

    I turned with loathing from the woman who could utter so unfeeling
a speech to a person just saved, on the very edge of death; but I felt
languid, and unable to reflect on all that had passed. The whole
series of my life appeared to me as a dream; I sometimes doubted if
indeed it were all true, for it never presented itself to my mind with
the force of reality.

    As the images that floated before me became more distinct, I
grew feverish; a darkness pressed around me: no one was near me who
soothed me with the gentle voice of love; no dear hand supported me.
The physician came and prescribed medicines, and the old woman
prepared them for me; but utter carelessness was visible in the first,
and the expression of brutality was strongly marked in the visage of
the second. Who could be interested in the fate of a murderer, but the
hangman who would gain his fee?

    These were my first reflections; but I soon learned that Mr.
Kirwin had shown me extreme kindness. He had caused the best room in
the prison to be prepared for me (wretched indeed was the best); and
it was he who had provided a physician and a nurse. It is true, he
seldom came to see me; for, although he ardently desired to relieve
the sufferings of every human creature, he did not wish to be
present at the agonies and miserable ravings of a murderer. He came,
therefore, sometimes, to see that I was not neglected but his visits
were short, and with long intervals.

    One day, while I was gradually recovering, I was seated in a
chair, my eyes half open, and my cheeks livid like those in death. I
was overcome by gloom and misery, and often reflected I had better
seek death than desire to remain in a world which to me was replete
with wretchedness. At one time I considered whether I should not
declare myself guilty, and suffer the penalty of the law, less
innocent than poor Justine had been. Such were my thoughts when the
door of my apartment was opened and Mr. Kirwin entered. His
countenance expressed sympathy and compassion; he drew a chair close
to mine, and addressed me in French-

    "I fear that this place is very shocking to you; can I do anything
to make you more comfortable?"

    "I thank you; but all that you mention is nothing to me: on the
whole earth there is no comfort which I am capable of receiving."

    "I know that the sympathy of a stranger can be but of little
relief to one borne down as you are by so strange a misfortune. But
you will, I hope, soon quit this melancholy abode; for, doubtless,
evidence can easily be brought to free you from the criminal charge."

    "That is my least concern: I am, by a course of strange events,
become the most miserable of mortals. Persecuted and tortured as I
am and have been, can death be any evil to me?"

    "Nothing indeed could be more unfortunate and agonising than the
strange chances that have lately occurred. You were thrown, by some
surprising accident, on this shore renowned its hospitality, seized
immediately, and charged with murder. The first sight that was
presented to your eyes was the body of your friend, murdered in so
unaccountable a manner, and placed, as it were, by some fiend across
your path."

    As Mr. Kirwin said this, notwithstanding the agitation I endured
on this retrospect of my sufferings, I also felt considerable surprise
at the knowledge he seemed to possess concerning me. suppose some
astonishment was exhibited in my countenance for Mr. Kirwin hastened
to say-

    "Immediately upon your being taken ill, all the papers that were
on your person were brought me, and I examined them that I might
discover some trace by which I could send to your relations an account
of your misfortune and illness. I found several letters, and, among
others, one which I discovered from its commencement to be from your
father. I instantly wrote to Geneva: nearly two months have elapsed
since the departure of my letter.- But you are ill; even now you
tremble: you are unfit for agitation of any kind."

    "This suspense is a thousand times worse than the most horrible
event: tell me what new scene of death has been acted, and whose
murder I am now to lament?"

    "Your family is perfectly well," said Mr. Kirwin, with gentleness;
"and some one, a friend, is come to visit you."

    I know not by what chain of thought the idea presented itself, but
it instantly darted into my mind that the murderer had come to mock at
my misery, and taunt me with the death of Clerval, as a new incitement
for me to comply with his hellish desires. I put my hand before my
eyes and cried out in agony-

    "Oh! take him away! I cannot see him; for God's sake do not let
him enter!"

    Mr. Kirwin regarded me with a troubled countenance. He could not
help regarding my exclamation as a presumption of my guilt, and
said, in rather a severe tone-

    "I should have thought, young man, that the presence of your
father would have been welcome instead of inspiring such violent

    "My father!" cried I, while every feature and every muscle was
relaxed from anguish to pleasure: "is my father indeed come? How kind,
how very kind! But where is he, why does he not hasten to me?"

    My change of manner surprised and pleased the magistrate;
perhaps he thought that my former exclamation was a momentary return
of delirium, and now he instantly resumed his former benevolence. He
rose and quitted the room with my nurse, and in a moment my father
entered it.

    Nothing, at this moment, could have given me greater pleasure than
the arrival of my father. I stretched out my hand to him and cried-

    "Are you then safe- and Elizabeth- and Ernest?"

    My father calmed me with assurances of their welfare, and
endeavoured, by dwelling on these subjects so interesting to my heart,
to raise my desponding spirits; but he soon felt that a prison
cannot be the abode of cheerfulness. "What a place is this that you
inhabit, my son!" said he, looking mournfully at the barred windows
and wretched appearance of the room. "You travelled to seek happiness,
but a fatality seems to pursue you. And poor Clerval-"

    The name of my unfortunate and murdered friend was an agitation
too great to be endured in my weak state; I shed tears.

    "Alas! yes, my father," replied I; "some destiny of the most
horrible kind hangs over me, and I must live to fulfill it, or
surely I should have died on the coffin of Henry."

    We were not allowed to converse for any length of time, for the
precarious state of my health rendered every precaution necessary that
could ensure tranquillity. Mr. Kirwin came in and insisted that my
strength should not be exhausted by too much exertion. But the
appearance of my father was to me like that of my good angel, and I
gradually recovered my health.

    As my sickness quitted me, I was absorbed by a gloomy and black
melancholy that nothing could dissipate. The image of Clerval was
forever before me, ghastly and murdered. More than once the
agitation into which these reflections threw me made my friends
dread a dangerous relapse. Alas! why did they preserve so miserable
and detested a life? It was surely that I might fulfill my destiny,
which is now drawing to a close. Soon, oh! very soon, will death
extinguish these throbbings, and relieve me from the mighty weight
of anguish that bears me to the dust; and, in executing the award of
justice, I shall also sink to rest. Then the appearance of death was
distant although the wish was ever present to my thoughts; and I often
sat for hours motionless and speechless, wishing for some mighty
revolution that might bury me and my destroyer in its ruins.

    The season of the assizes approached. I had already been three
months in prison; and although I was still weak, and in continual
danger of a relapse, I was obliged to travel nearly a hundred miles to
the county-town where the court was held. Mr. Kirwin charged himself
with every care of collecting witnesses and arranging my defence. I
was spared the disgrace of appearing publicly as a criminal, as the
case was not brought before the court that decides on life and
death. The grand jury rejected the bill on its being proved that I was
on the Orkney Islands at the hour the body of my friend was found; and
a fortnight after my removal I was liberated from prison.

    My father was enraptured on finding me freed from the vexations of
a criminal charge, that I was again allowed to breathe the fresh
atmosphere, and permitted to return to my native country. I did not
participate in these feelings; for to me the walls of a dungeon or a
palace were alike hateful. The cup of life was poisoned forever; and
although the sun shone upon me as upon the happy and gay of heart, I
saw around me nothing but a dense and frightful darkness, penetrated
by no light but the glimmer of two eyes that glared upon me. Sometimes
they were the expressive eyes of Henry languishing in death, the
dark orbs nearly covered by the lids, and the long black lashes that
fringed them; sometimes it was the watery, clouded eyes of the monster
as I first saw them in my chamber at Ingolstadt.

    My father tried to awaken in me the feelings of affection. He
talked of Geneva, which I should soon visit- of Elizabeth and
Ernest; but these words only drew deep groans from me. Sometimes,
indeed, I felt a wish for happiness; and thought, with melancholy
delight, of my beloved cousin; or longed, with a devouring maladie
du pays, to see once more the blue lake and rapid Rhone that had
been so dear to me in early childhood: but my general state of feeling
was a torpor in which a prison was as welcome a residence as the
divinest scene in nature; and these fits were seldom interrupted but
by paroxysms of anguish and despair. At these moments I often
endeavoured to put an end to the existence I loathed; and it
required unceasing attendance and vigilance to restrain me from
committing some dreadful act of violence.

    Yet one duty remained to me, the recollection of which finally
triumphed over my selfish despair. It was necessary that I should
return without delay to Geneva, there to watch over the lives of those
I so fondly loved; and to lie in wait for the murderer, that if any
chance led me to the place of his concealment, or if he dared again to
blast me by his presence, I might, with unfailing aim, put an end to
the existence of the monstrous Image which I had endued with the
mockery of a soul still more monstrous. My father still desired to
delay our departure, fearful that I could not sustain the fatigues
of a journey: for I was a shattered wreck- the shadow of a human
being. My strength was gone. I was a mere skeleton; and fever night
and day preyed upon my wasted frame.

    Still, as I urged our leaving Ireland with such inquietude and
impatience, my father thought it best to yield. We took our passage on
board a vessel bound for Havre-de-Grace, and sailed with a fair wind
from the Irish shores. It was midnight. I lay on the deck looking at
the stars and listening to the dashing of the waves. I hailed the
darkness that shut Ireland from my sight; and my pulse beat with a
feverish joy when I reflected that I should soon see Geneva. The
past appeared to me in the light of a frightful dream; yet the
vessel in which I was, the wind that blew me from the detested shore
of Ireland, and the sea which surrounded me, told me too forcibly that
I was deceived by no vision, and that Clerval, my friend and dearest
companion, had fallen a victim to me and the monster of my creation. I
repassed, in my memory, my whole life; my quiet happiness while
residing with my family in Geneva, the death of my mother, and my
departure for Ingolstadt. I remembered, shuddering, the mad enthusiasm
that hurried me on to the creation of my hideous enemy, and I called
to mind the night in which he first lived. I was unable to pursue
the train of thought; a thousand feelings pressed upon me, and I
wept bitterly.

    Ever since my recovery from the fever I had been in the custom
of taking every night a small quantity of laudanum; for it was by
means of this drug only that I was enabled to gain the rest
necessary for the preservation of life. Oppressed by the
recollection of my various misfortunes, I now swallowed double my
usual quantity and soon slept profoundly. But sleep did not afford
me respite from thought and misery; my dreams presented a thousand
objects that scared me. Towards morning I was possessed by a kind of
nightmare; I felt the fiend's grasp in my neck, and could not free
myself from it; groans and cries rung in my ears. My father, who was
watching over me, perceiving my restlessness, awoke me; the dashing
waves were around: the cloudy sky above; the fiend was not here: a
sense of security, a feeling that a truce mas established between
the present hour and the irresistible, disastrous future, imparted
to me a kind of calm forgetfulness, of which the human mind is by
its structure peculiarly susceptible.

                        CHAPTER XXII

    THE voyage came to an end. We landed and proceeded to Paris. I
soon found that I had overtaxed my strength, and that I must repose
before I could continue my journey. My father's care and attentions
were indefatigable; but he did not know the origin of my sufferings,
and sought erroneous methods to remedy the incurable ill. He wished me
to seek amusement in society. I abhorred the face of man. Oh, not
abhorred! they were my brethren, my fellow beings, and I felt
attracted even to the most repulsive among them as to creatures of
an angelic nature and celestial mechanism. But I felt that I had no
right to share their intercourse. I had unchained an enemy among them,
whose it was to shed their blood and to revel in their groans. How
they would, each and all, abhor me, and hunt me from the world, did
they know my unhallowed acts and the crimes which had their source
in me!

    My father yielded at length to my desire to avoid society, and
strove by various arguments to banish my despair. Sometimes he thought
that I felt deeply the degradation of being obliged to answer a charge
of murder, and he endeavoured to prove to me the futility of pride.

    "Alas! my father," said I, "how little do you know me. Human
beings, their feelings and passions, would indeed be degraded if
such a wretch as I felt pride. Justine, poor unhappy Justine, was as
innocent as I, and she suffered the same charge; she died for it;
and I am the cause of this- I murdered her. William, Justine, and
Henry- they all died by my hands."

    My father had often, during my imprisonment, heard me make the
same assertion; when I thus accused myself he sometimes seemed to
desire an explanation, and at others he appeared to consider it as the
offspring of delirium, and that, during my illness, some idea of
this kind had presented itself to my imagination, the remembrance of
which I preserved in my convalescence. I avoided explanation, and
maintained a continual silence concerning the wretch I had created.
I had a persuasion that I should be supposed mad; and this in itself
would forever have chained my tongue. But, besides, I could not
bring myself to disclose a secret which would fill my hearer with
consternation, and make fear and unnatural horror the inmates of his
breast. I checked, therefore, my impatient thirst for sympathy, and
was silent when I would have given the world to have confided the
fatal secret. Yet still words like those I have recorded would burst
uncontrollably from me. I could offer no explanation of them; but
their truth in part relieved the burden of my mysterious woe.

    Upon this occasion my father said, with an expression of unbounded
wonder, "My dearest Victor, what infatuation is this? My dear son, I
entreat you never to make such an assertion again."

    "I am not mad," I cried energetically; "the sun and the heavens,
who have viewed my operations, can bear witness of my truth. I am
the assassin of those most innocent victims; they died by my
machinations. A thousand times would I have shed my own blood, drop by
drop, to have saved their lives; but I could not, my father, indeed
I could not sacrifice the whole human race."

    The conclusion of this speech convinced my father that my ideas
were deranged, and he instantly changed the subject of our
conversation and endeavoured to alter the course of thoughts. He
wished as much as possible to obliterate the memory of the scenes that
had taken place in Ireland, and never alluded to them, or suffered
me to speak of my misfortunes.

    As time passed away I became more calm: misery had her dwelling in
my heart, but I no longer talked in the same incoherent manner of my
own crimes; sufficient for me was the consciousness of them. By the
utmost self-violence, I curbed the imperious voice of wretchedness,
which sometimes desired to declare itself to the whole world; and my
manners were calmer and more composed than they had ever been since my
journey to the sea of ice.

    A few days before we left Paris on our way to Switzerland, I
received the following letter from Elizabeth:-

    My dear friend,- It gave me the greatest pleasure to receive a
letter from my uncle dated at Paris; you are no longer at a formidable
distance, and I may hope to see you in less than a fortnight. My
poor cousin, how much you must have suffered! I expect to see you
looking even more ill than when you quitted Geneva. This winter has
been passed most miserably, tortured as I have been by anxious
suspense; yet I hope to see peace in your countenance, and to find
that your heart is not totally void of comfort and tranquillity.

    Yet I fear that the same feelings now exist that made you so
miserable a year ago, even perhaps augmented by time. I would not
disturb you at this period when so many misfortunes weigh upon you;
but a conversation that I had with my uncle previous to his
departure renders some explanation necessary before we meet.

    Explanation! you may possibly say; what can Elizabeth have to
explain? If you really say this, my questions are answered, and all my
doubts satisfied. But you are distant from me, and it is possible that
you may dread, and yet be pleased with this explanation; and, in a
probability of this being the case, I dare not any longer postpone
writing what, during your absence, I have often wished to express to
you, but have never had the courage to begin.

    You well know, Victor, that our union has been the favourite
plan of your parents ever since our infancy. We were told this when
young, and taught to look forward to it as an event that would
certainly take place. We were affectionate play-fellows during
childhood, and dear and valued friends to one another as we grew
older. But as brother and sister often entertain a lively affection
towards each other without desiring a more intimate union, may not
such also be our case? Tell me, dearest Victor. Answer me, I conjure
you by our mutual happiness, with simple truth- Do you not love

    You have travelled; you have spent several years of your life at
Ingolstadt; and I confess to you, my friend, that when I saw you
last autumn so unhappy, flying to solitude, from the society of
every creature, I could not help supposing that you might regret our
connection, and believe yourself bound in honour to fulfill the wishes
of your parents although they opposed themselves to your inclinations.
But this is false reasoning. I confess to you, my friend, that I
love you, and that in my air dreams of futurity you have been my
constant friend and companion. But it is your happiness I desire as
well as my own when I declare to you that our marriage would render me
eternally miserable unless it were the dictate of your own free
choice. Even now I weep to think that, borne down as you are by the
cruellest misfortunes, you may stifle, by the word honour, all hope of
that love and happiness which would alone restore you to yourself. I
who have so disinterested an affection for you, may increase your
miseries tenfold by being an obstacle to your wishes. Ah! Victor, be
assured that your cousin and playmate has too sincere a love for you
not to be made miserable by this supposition. Be happy, my friend; and
if you obey me in this one request, remain satisfied that nothing on
earth will have the power to interrupt my tranquillity.

    Do not let this letter disturb you; do not answer tomorrow, or the
next day, or even until you come, if it will give you pain. My uncle
will send me. news of your health; and if I see but one smile on
your lips when we meet, occasioned by this or any other exertion of
mine, I shall need no other happiness.

                                               Elizabeth Lavenza.

    This letter revived in my memory what I had before forgotten,
the threat of the fiend- "I be with you on your wedding-night!" Such
was my sentence, and on that night would the daemon employ every art
to destroy me, and tear me from the glimpse of happiness which
promised partly to console my sufferings. On that night he had
determined to consummate his crimes by my death. Well, be it so; a
deadly struggle would then assuredly take place, in which if he were
victorious I should be at peace, and his power over me be at an end.
If he were vanquished I should be a free man. Alas! what freedom? such
as the peasant enjoys when his family have been massacred before his
eyes, his cottage burnt, his lands laid waste, and he is turned
adrift, homeless, penniless and alone, but free. Such would be my
liberty except that in my Elizabeth I possessed a treasure; alas!
balanced by those horrors of remorse and guilt which would pursue me
until death.

    Sweet and beloved Elizabeth! I read and re-read her letter and
some softened feelings stole into my heart and dared to whisper
paradisaical dreams of love and joy; but the apple was already
eaten, and the angel's arm bared to drive me from all hope. Yet I
would die to make her happy. If the monster executed his threat, death
was inevitable; yet, again, I considered whether my marriage would
hasten my fate. My destruction might indeed arrive a few months
sooner; but if my torturer should suspect that I postponed it
influenced by his menaces he would surely find other and perhaps
more dreadful means of revenge. He had vowed to be with me on my
wedding-night, yet he did not consider that threat as binding him to
peace in the meantime; for, as if to show me that he was not yet
satiated with blood, he had murdered Clerval immediately after the
enunciation of his threats. I resolved, therefore, that if my
immediate union with my cousin would conduce either to hers or my
father's happiness, my adversary's designs against my life should
not retard it a single hour.

    In this state of mind I wrote to Elizabeth. My letter was calm and
affectionate. "I fear, my beloved girl," I said, "little happiness
remains for us on earth; yet all that I may one day enjoy is centred
in you. Chase away your idle fears; to you alone do I consecrate my
life and my endeavours for contentment. I have one secret,
Elizabeth, a dreadful one; when revealed to you it will chill your
frame with horror, and then, far from being surprised at my misery,
you will only wonder that I survive what I have endured. I will
confide this tale of misery and terror to you the day after our
marriage shall take place; for, my sweet cousin, there must be perfect
confidence between us. But until then, I conjure you, do not mention
or allude to it. This I most earnestly entreat, and I know you will

    In about a week after the arrival of Elizabeth's letter we
returned to Geneva. The sweet girl welcomed me with warm affection;
yet tears were in her eyes as she beheld my emaciated frame and
feverish cheeks. I saw a change in her also. She was thinner and had
lost much of that heavenly vivacity that had before charmed me; but
her gentleness and soft looks of compassion made her a more fit
companion for one blasted and miserable as I was.

    The tranquillity which I now enjoyed did not endure. Memory
brought madness with it; and when I thought of what had passed a
real insanity possessed me; sometimes I was furious and burnt with
rage; sometimes low and despondent. I neither spoke nor looked at
any one, but sat motionless, bewildered by the multitude of miseries
that overcame me.

    Elizabeth alone had the power to draw me from these fits; her
gentle voice would soothe me when transported by passion, and
inspire me with human feelings when sunk in torpor. She wept with me
and for me. When reason returned she would remonstrate and endeavour
to inspire me with resignation. Ah! it is well for the unfortunate
to be resigned, but for the guilty there is no peace. The agonies of
remorse poison the luxury there is otherwise sometimes found in
indulging the excess of grief.

    Soon after my arrival, my father spoke of my immediate marriage
with Elizabeth. I remained silent.

    "Have you, then, some other attachment?"

    "None on earth. I love Elizabeth, and look forward to our union
with delight. Let the day therefore be fixed; and on it I will
consecrate myself, in life or death, to the happiness of my cousin."

    "My dear Victor, do not speak thus. Heavy misfortunes have
befallen us; but let us only cling closer to what remains, and
transfer our love for those whom we have lost to those who yet live.
Our circle will be small, but bound close by the ties of affection and
mutual misfortune. And when time shall have softened your despair, new
and dear objects of care will be born to replace those. of whom we
have been so cruelly deprived."

    Such were the lessons of my father. But to me the remembrance of
the threat returned: nor can you wonder that, omnipotent as the
fiend had yet been in his deeds of blood, I should almost regard him
as invincible, and that when he had pronounced the words, "I shall
be with you on your wedding-night," I should regard the threatened
fate as unavoidable. But death was no evil to me if the loss of
Elizabeth were balanced with it; and I therefore, with a contented and
even cheerful countenance, agreed with my father that, if my cousin
would consent, the ceremony should take place in ten days, and thus
put, as I imagined, the seal to my fate.

    Great God! if for one instant I had thought what might be the
hellish intention of my fiendish adversary, I would rather have
banished myself for ever from my native country, and wandered a
friendless outcast over the earth, than to have consented to this
miserable marriage. But, if possessed of magic powers, the monster had
blinded me to his real intentions; and when I thought that I had
prepared only my own death, I hastened that of a far dearer victim.

    As the period fixed for our marriage drew nearer, whether from
cowardice or a prophetic feeling, I felt my heart sink within me.
But I concealed my feelings by an appearance of hilarity, that brought
smiles and joy to the countenance of my father, but hardly deceived
the ever-watchful and nicer eye of Elizabeth. She looked forward to
our union with placid contentment, not unmingled with a little fear,
which past misfortunes had impressed, that what now appeared certain
and tangible happiness might soon dissipate into an airy dream, and
leave no trace but deep and everlasting regret.

    Preparations were made for the event; congratulatory visits were
received; and all wore a smiling appearance. I shut up, as well as I
could, in my own heart the anxiety that preyed there, and entered with
seeming earnestness into the plans of my father, although they might
only serve as the decorations of my tragedy. Through my father's
exertions, a part of the inheritance of Elizabeth had been restored to
her by the Austrian government. A small possession on the shores of
Como belonged to her. It was agreed that, immediately after our union,
we should proceed to Villa Lavenza, and spend our first days of
happiness beside the beautiful lake near which it stood.

    In the meantime I took every precaution to defend my person in
case the fiend should openly attack me. I carried pistols and a dagger
constantly about me, and was ever on the watch to prevent artifice and
by these means gained a greater degree of tranquillity. Indeed, as the
period approached, the threat appeared more as a delusion, not to be
regarded as worthy to disturb my peace, while the happiness I hoped
for in my marriage wore a greater appearance of certainty as the day
fixed for its solemnisation drew nearer and I heard it continually
spoken of as an occurrence which no accident could possibly prevent.

    Elizabeth seemed happy; my tranquil demeanour contributed
greatly to calm her mind. But on the day that was to fulfill my wishes
and my destiny she was melancholy, and a presentiment of evil pervaded
her; and perhaps also she thought of the dreadful secret which I had
promised to reveal to her on the following day. My father was in the
meantime overjoyed, and, in the bustle of preparation, only recognised
in the melancholy of his niece the diffidence of a bride.

    After the ceremony was performed a large party assembled at my
father's; but it was agreed that Elizabeth and I should commerce our
journey by water, sleeping that night at Evian, and continuing our
voyage on the following day. The day was fair, the wind favourable,
all smiled on our nuptial embarkation.

    Those were the last moments of my life during which I enjoyed
the feeling of happiness. We passed rapidly along: the sun was hot,
but we were sheltered from its rays by a kind of canopy, while we
enjoyed the beauty of the scene, sometimes on one side of the lake,
where we saw Mont Saleve, the pleasant banks of Montalegre, and at a
distance, surmounting all, the beautiful Mont Blanc, and the
assemblage of snowy mountains that in vain endeavour to emulate her;
sometimes coasting the opposite banks, we saw the mighty Jura opposing
its dark side to the ambition that would quit its native country,
and an almost insurmountable barrier to the invader who should wish to
enslave it.

    I took the hand of Elizabeth: "You are sorrowful, my love. Ah!
if you knew what I have suffered, and what I may yet endure, you would
endeavour to let me taste the quiet and freedom from despair that this
one day at least permits me to enjoy."

    "Be happy, my dear Victor," replied Elizabeth; "there is, I
hope, nothing to distress you; and be assured that if a lively joy
is not painted in my face, my heart is contented. Something whispers
to me not to depend too much on the prospect that is opened before us;
but I will not listen to such a sinister voice. Observe how fast we
move along, and how the clouds, which sometimes obscure and
sometimes rise above the dome of Mont Blanc, render this scene of
beauty still more interesting. Look also at the innumerable fish
that are swimming in the clear waters, where we can distinguish
every pebble that lies at the bottom. What a divine day! how happy and
serene all nature appears!"

    Thus Elizabeth endeavoured to divert her thoughts and mine from
all reflection upon melancholy subjects. But her temper was
fluctuating; joy for a few instants shone in her eyes, but it
continually gave place to distraction and reverie.

    The sun sunk lower in the heavens; we passed the river Drance, and
observed its path through the chasms of the higher, and the glens of
the lower hills. The Alps here come closer to the lake, and we
approached the amphitheatre of mountains which forms its eastern
boundary. The spire of Evian shone under the woods that surrounded it,
and the range of mountain above mountain by which it was overhung.

    The wind, which had hitherto carried us along with amazing
rapidity, sunk at sunset to a light breeze; the soft air just
ruffled the water, and caused a pleasant motion among the trees as
we approached the shore, from which it wafted the most delightful
scent of flowers and hay. The sun sunk beneath the horizon as we
landed; and as I touched the shore, I felt those cares and fears
revive which soon were to clasp me and cling to me for ever.

                        CHAPTER XXIII

     IT WAS eight o'clock when we landed; we walked for a short time
on the shore enjoying the transitory light, and then retired to the
inn and contemplated the lovely scene of waters, woods, and mountains,
obscured in darkness, yet still displaying their black outlines.

    The wind, which had fallen in the south, now rose with great
violence in the west. The moon had reached her summit in the heavens
and was beginning to descend- the clouds swept across it swifter
than the flight of the vulture and dimmed her rays, while the lake
reflected the scene of the busy heavens, rendered still busier by
the restless waves that were beginning to rise. Suddenly a heavy storm
of rain descended.

    I had been calm during the day; but so soon as night obscured
the shapes of objects, a thousand fears arose in my mind. I was
anxious and watchful, while my right band grasped a pistol which was
hidden in my bosom; every sound terrified me; but I resolved that I
would sell my life dearly, and not shrink from the conflict until my
own life, or that of my adversary, was extinguished.

    Elizabeth observed my agitation for some time in timid and fearful
silence; but there was something in my glance which communicated
terror to her, and trembling she asked, "What is it that agitates you,
my dear Victor? What is it you fear?"

    "Oh! peace, my love," replied I; "this night and all will be safe:
but this night is dreadful, very dreadful."

    I passed an hour in this state of mind, when suddenly I
reflected how fearful the combat which I momentarily expected would be
to my wife, and I earnestly entreated her to retire, resolving not
to join her until I had obtained some knowledge as to the situation of
my enemy.

    She left me, and I continued some time walking up and down the
passages of the house, and inspecting every corner that might afford a
retreat to my adversary. But I discovered no trace of him, and was
beginning to conjecture that some fortunate chance had intervened to
prevent the execution of his menaces, when suddenly I heard a shrill
and dreadful scream. It came from the room into which Elizabeth had
retired. As I heard it, the whole truth rushed into my mind, my arms
dropped, the motion of every muscle and fibre was suspended; I could
feel the blood trickling in my veins and tingling in the extremities
of my limbs. This state lasted but for an instant; the scream was
repeated, and I rushed into the room.

    Great God! why did I not then expire! Why am I here to relate
the destruction of the best hope and the purest creature of earth? She
was there, lifeless and inanimate, thrown across the bed, her head
hanging down, and her pale and distorted features half covered by
her hair. Everywhere I turn I see the same figure- her bloodless
arms and relaxed form flung by the murderer on its bridal bier.
Could I behold this and live? Alas! life is obstinate and clings
closest where it is most hated. For a moment only did I lose
recollection; I fell senseless on the ground.

    When I recovered, I found myself surrounded by the people of the
inn; their countenances expressed a breathless terror: but the
horror of others appeared only as a mockery, a shadow of the
feelings that oppressed me. I escaped from them to the room where
lay the body of Elizabeth, my love, my wife, so lately living, so
dear, so worthy. She had been moved from the posture in which I had
first beheld her; and now, as she lay, her head upon her arm, and a
handkerchief thrown across her face and neck, I might have supposed
her asleep. I rushed towards her, and embraced her with ardour; but
the deadly languor and coldness of the limbs told me that what I now
held in my arms had ceased to be the Elizabeth whom I had loved and
cherished. The murderous mark of the fiend's grasp was on her neck,
and the breath had ceased to issue from her lips.

    While I still hung over her in the agony of despair, I happened to
look up. The windows of the room had before been darkened, and I
felt a kind of panic on seeing the pale yellow light of the moon
illuminate the chamber. The shutters had been thrown back; and, with a
sensation of horror not to be described, I saw at the open window a
figure the most hideous and abhorred. A grin was on the face of the
monster; he seemed to jeer as with his fiendish finger he pointed
towards the corpse of my wife. I rushed towards the window and,
drawing a pistol from my bosom, fired; but he eluded me, leaped from
his station, and, running with the swiftness of lightning, plunged
into the lake.

    The report of the pistol brought a crowd into the room. I
pointed to the spot where he had disappeared, and we followed the
track with boats; nets were cast, but in vain. After passing several
hours, we returned hopeless, most of my companions believing it to
have been a form conjured up by my fancy. After having landed, they
proceeded to search the country, parties going in different directions
among the woods and vines.

    I attempted to accompany them, and proceeded a short distance from
the house; but my head whirled round, my steps were like those of a
drunken man, I fell at last in a state of utter exhaustion; a film
covered my eyes, and my skin was parched with the heat of fever. In
this state I was carried back and placed on a bed, hardly conscious of
what had happened; my eyes wandered round the room as if to seek
something that I had lost.

    After an interval I arose and, as if by instinct, crawled into the
room where the corpse of my beloved lay. There were women weeping
around- I hung over it, and joined my sad tears to theirs- all this
time no distinct idea presented itself to my mind; but my thoughts
rambled to various subjects, reflecting confusedly on my misfortunes
and their cause. I was bewildered in a cloud of wonder and horror. The
death of William, the execution of Justine, the murder of Clerval, and
lastly of my wife; even at that moment I knew not that my only
remaining friends were safe from the malignity of the fiend; my father
even now might be writhing under his grasp, and Ernest might be dead
at his feet. This idea made me shudder and recalled me to action. I
started up and resolved to return to Geneva with all possible speed.

    There were no horses to be procured, and I must return by the
lake; but the wind was unfavourable and the rain fell in torrents.
However, it was hardly morning, and I might reasonably hope to
arrive by night. I hired men to row, and took an oar myself; for I had
always experienced relief from mental torment in bodily exercise.
But the overflowing misery I now felt, and the excess of agitation
that I endured, rendered me incapable of any exertion. I threw down
the oar, and leaning my head upon my hands gave way to every gloomy
idea that arose. If I looked up, I saw the scenes which were
familiar to me in my happier time, and which I had contemplated but
the day before in the company of her who was now but a shadow and a
recollection. Tears streamed from my eyes. The rain had ceased for a
moment, and I saw the fish play in the waters as they had done a few
hours before; they had then been observed by Elizabeth. Nothing is
so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. The sun
might shine or the clouds might lower: but nothing could appear to
me as it had done the day before. A fiend had snatched from me to me
as it every hope of future happiness: no creature had ever been so
miserable as I was; so frightful an event is single in the history
of man.

    But why should I dwell upon the incidents that followed this
last overwhelming event? Mine has been a tale of horrors; I have
reached their acme, and what I must now relate can but be tedious to
you. Know that, one by one, my friends were snatched away; I was
left desolate. My own strength is exhausted; and I must tell, in a few
words, what remains of my hideous narration.

    I arrived at Geneva. My father and Ernest yet lived; but the
former sunk under the tidings that I bore. I see him now, excellent
and venerable old man! his eyes wandered in vacancy, for they had lost
their charm and their delight- his Elizabeth, his more than
daughter, whom he doated on with all that affection which a man feels,
who in the decline of life, having few affections, clings more
earnestly to those that remain. Cursed, cursed be the fiend that
brought misery on his grey hairs, and doomed him to waste in
wretchedness! He could not live under the horrors that were
accumulated around him; the springs of existence suddenly gave way: he
was unable to rise from his bed, and in a few days he died in my arms.

    What then became of me? I know not; I lost sensation, and chains
and darkness were the only objects that pressed upon me. Sometimes,
indeed, I dreamt that I wandered in flowery meadows and pleasant vales
with the friends of my youth; but I awoke, and. found myself in a
dungeon. Melancholy followed, but by degrees I gained a clear
conception of my miseries and situation, and was then released from my
prison. For they had called me mad; and during many months, as I
understood, a solitary cell had been my habitation.

    Liberty, however, had been an useless gift to me had I not, as I
awakened to reason, at the same time awakened to revenge. As the
memory of past misfortunes pressed upon me, I began to reflect on
their cause- the monster whom I had created, the miserable daemon whom
I had sent abroad into the world for my destruction. I was possessed
by a maddening rage when I thought of him, and desired and ardently
prayed that I might have him within my grasp to wreak a great and
signal revenge on his cursed head.

    Nor did my hate long confine itself to useless wishes; I began
to reflect on the best means of securing him; and for this purpose,
about a month after my release, I repaired to a criminal judge in
the town, and told him that I had an accusation to make; and that I
knew the destroyer of my family; and that I required him to exert
his whole authority for the apprehension of the murderer.

   The magistrate listened to me with attention and kindness. "Be
assured, sir," said he "no pains or exertions on my part shall be
spared to discover the villain."

    "I thank you," replied I; "listen, therefore, to the deposition
that I have to make. It is indeed a tale so strange that I should fear
you would not credit it were there not something in truth which,
however wonderful, forces conviction. The story is too connected to be
mistaken for a dream, and I have no motive for falsehood." My manner
as I thus addressed him, was impressive but calm; I had formed in my
heart a resolution to pursue my destroyer to death; and this purpose
quieted my agony, and for an interval reconciled me to life. I now
related my history, briefly, but with firmness and precision,
marking the dates with accuracy, and never deviating into or

    The magistrate appeared at first perfectly incredulous, but as I
continued he became more attentive and interested; I saw him sometimes
shudder with horror, at others a lively surprise, unmingled with
disbelief, was painted on his countenance.

    When I had concluded my narration, I said, "This is the being whom
I accuse, and for whose seizure and punishment I call upon you to
exert your whole power. It is your duty as a magistrate, and I believe
and hope that your feelings as a man will not revolt from the
execution of those functions on this occasion."

    This address caused a considerable change in the physiognomy of my
own auditor. He had heard my story with that half kind of belief
that is given to a tale of spirits and supernatural events; but when
he was called upon to act officially in consequence, the whole tide of
his incredulity returned. He, however, answered mildly, "I would
willingly afford you every aid in your pursuit; but the creature of
whom you speak appears to have powers which would put all my exertions
to defiance. Who can follow an animal which can traverse the sea of
ice, and inhabit caves and dens where no man would venture to intrude?
Besides, some months have elapsed since the commission of his
crimes, and no one can conjecture to what place he has wandered, or
what region he may now inhabit."

    "I do not doubt that he hovers near the spot which I inhabit;
and if he has indeed taken refuge in the Alps, he may be hunted like
the chamois, and destroyed as a beast of prey. But I perceive your
thoughts: you do not credit my narrative, and do not intend to
pursue my enemy with the punishment which is his desert."

    As I spoke, rage sparkled in my eyes; the magistrate was
intimidated:- "You are mistaken," said he, "I will exert myself, if it
is in my power to seize the monster, be assured that he shall suffer
punishment proportionate to his crimes. But I fear, from what you have
yourself described to be his properties, that this will prove
impracticable; and thus, while every proper measure is pursued, you
should make up your mind to disappointment."

    "That cannot be; but all that I can say will be of little avail.
My revenge is of no moment to you; yet, while I allow it to be a vice,
I confess that it is the devouring and only passion of my soul. My
rage is unspeakable when I reflect that the murderer, whom I have
turned loose upon society, still exists. You refuse my just demand:
I have but one resource; and I devote myself, either in my life or
death, to his destruction."

    I trembled with excess of agitation as I said this; there was a
frenzy in my manner and something, I doubt not, of that haughty
fierceness which the martyrs of old are said to have possessed. But to
a Genevan magistrate, whose mind was occupied by far other ideas
than those of devotion and heroism, this elevation of mind had much
the appearance of madness. He endeavoured to soothe me as a nurse does
a child, and reverted to my tale as the effects of delirium.

    "Man," I cried, "how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!
Cease; you know not what it is you say."

    I broke from the house angry and disturbed, and retired to
meditate on some other mode of action.

                        CHAPTER XXIV

    MY PRESENT situation was one in which all voluntary thought was
swallowed up and lost. I was hurried away by fury; revenge alone
endowed me with strength and composure; it moulded my feelings, and
allowed me to be calculating and calm, at periods when otherwise
delirium or death would have been my portion.

    My first resolution was to quit Geneva forever; my country, which,
when I was happy and beloved, was dear to me, now, in my adversity,
became hateful. I provided myself with a sum of money, together with a
few jewels which had belonged to my mother, and departed.

    And now my wanderings began, which are to cease but with life. I
have traversed a vast portion of the earth, and have endured all the
hardships which travellers, in deserts and barbarous countries, are
wont to meet. How I have lived I hardly know; many times have I
stretched my failing limbs upon the sandy plain and prayed for
death. But revenge kept me alive; I dared not die and leave my
adversary in being.

    When I quitted Geneva my first labour was to gain some clue by
which I might trace the steps of my fiendish enemy. But my plan was
unsettled; and I wandered many hours round the confines of the town,
uncertain what path I should pursue. As night approached, I found
myself at the entrance of the cemetery where William, Elizabeth, and
my father reposed. I entered it and approached the tomb which marked
their graves. Everything was silent, except the leaves of the trees,
which were gently agitated by the wind; the night was nearly dark; and
the scene would have been solemn and affecting even to an uninterested
observer. The spirits of the departed seemed to flit around and to
cast a shadow, which was felt but not seen, around the head of the

    The deep grief which this scene had at first excited quickly
gave way to rage and despair. They were dead, and I lived; their
murderer also lived, and to destroy him I must drag out my weary
existence. I knelt on the grass and kissed the earth, and with
quivering lips exclaimed, "By the sacred earth on which I kneel, by
the shades that claimed, I wander near me, by the deep and eternal
grief that I feel, I swear; and by thee, O Night, and the spirits that
preside over thee, to pursue the daemon who caused this misery until
he or I shall perish in mortal conflict. For this purpose I will
preserve my life: to execute this dear revenge will I again behold the
sun and tread the green herbage of earth, which otherwise should
vanish from my eyes forever. And I call on you, spirits of the dead;
and on you, wandering ministers of vengeance, to aid and conduct me in
my work. Let the cursed and hellish monster drink deep of agony; let
him feel the despair that now torments me."

    I had begun my abjuration with solemnity and an awe which almost
assured me that the shades of my murdered friends heard and approved
my devotion; but the furies possessed me as I concluded, and rage
choked my utterance.

    I was answered through the stillness of night by a loud and
fiendish laugh. it rung on my ears long and heavily; the mountains
re-echoed it, and I felt as if all hell surrounded me with mockery and
laughter. Surely in that moment I should have been possessed by
frenzy, and have destroyed my miserable existence, but that my vow was
heard and that I was reserved for vengeance. The laughter died away;
when a well-known and abhorred voice, apparently close to my ear,
addressed me in an audible whisper- "I am satisfied: miserable wretch!
you have determined to live, and I am satisfied."

    I darted towards the spot from which the sound proceeded; but
the devil eluded my grasp. Suddenly the broad disk of the moon arose
and shone full upon his ghastly and distorted shape as he fled with
more than mortal speed.

    I pursued him; and for many months this has been my task. Guided
by a slight clue I followed the windings of the Rhone, but vainly. The
blue Mediterranean appeared; and, by a strange chance, I saw the fiend
enter by night and hide himself in a vessel bound for the Black Sea. I
took my passage in the same ship; but he escaped, I know not how.

    Amidst the wilds of Tartary and Russia, although he still evaded
me, I have ever followed in his track. Sometimes the peasants,
scared by this horrid apparition, informed me of his path; sometimes
he himself, who feared that if I lost all trace of him I should
despair and die, left some mark to guide me. The snows descended on my
head, and I saw the print of his huge step on the white plain. To
you first entering on life, to whom care is new and agony unknown, how
can you understand what I have felt and still feel? Cold, want, and
fatigue were the least pains which I was destined to endure; I was
cursed by some devil, and carried about with me my eternal hell; yet
still a spirit of good followed and directed my steps; and, when I
most murmured, would suddenly extricate me from seemingly
insurmountable difficulties. Sometimes, when nature, overcome by
hunger, sunk under the exhaustion, a repast was prepared for me in the
desert that restored and inspirited me. The fare was, indeed,
coarse, such as the peasants of the country ate; but I will not
doubt that it was set there by the spirits that I had invoked to aid
me. Often, when all was dry, the heavens cloudless, and I was
parched by thirst, a slight cloud would bedim the sky, shed the few
drops that revived me, and vanish.

    I followed, when I could, the courses of the rivers; but the
daemon generally avoided these, as it was here that the population
of the country chiefly collected. In other places human beings were
seldom seen; and I generally subsisted on the wild animals that
crossed my path. I had money with me, and gained the friendship of the
villagers by distributing it; or I brought with me some food that I
had killed, which, after taking a small part, I always presented to
those who had provided me with fire and utensils for cooking.

    My life, as it passed thus, was indeed hateful to me, and it was
during sleep alone that I could taste joy. O blessed sleep! often,
when most miserable, I sank to repose, and my dreams lulled me even to
rapture. The spirits that guarded me had provided these moments, or
rather hours, of happiness, that I might retain strength to fulfill my
pilgrimage. Deprived of this respite, I should have sunk under my
hardships. During the day I was sustained and inspirited by the hope
of night: for in sleep I saw my friends, my wife, and my beloved
country; again I saw the benevolent countenance of my father, heard
the silver tones of my Elizabeth's voice, and beheld Clerval
enjoying health and youth. Often, when wearied by a toilsome march,
I persuaded myself that I was dreaming, until night should come, and
that I should then enjoy reality in the arms of my dearest friends.
What agonising fondness did I feel for them! how did I cling to
their dear forms, as sometimes they haunted even my waking hours,
and persuade myself that they still lived! At such moments
vengeance, that burned within me, died in my heart, and I pursued my
path towards the destruction of the daemon more as a task enjoined
by heaven, as the mechanical impulse of some power of which I was
unconscious, than as the ardent desire of my soul.

    What his feelings were whom I pursued I cannot know. Sometimes,
indeed, he left marks in writing on the barks of the trees, or cut
in stone, that guided me and instigated my fury. "My reign is not
yet over" (these words were legible in one of these inscriptions);
"you live, and my power is complete. Follow me; I seek the everlasting
ices of the north, where you will feel the misery of cold and frost to
which I am impassive. You will find near this place, if you follow not
too tardily, a dead hare; eat and be refreshed. Come on, enemy; we
have yet to wrestle for our lives; but many hard and miserable hours
must you endure until that period shall arrive."

    Scoffing devil! Again do I vow vengeance; again do I devote
thee, miserable fiend, to torture and death. Never will I give up my
search until he or I perish; and then with what ecstasy shall I join
my Elizabeth and my departed friends, who even now prepare for me
the reward of my tedious toil and horrible pilgrimage!

    As I still pursued my journey to the northward, the snows
thickened and the cold increased in a degree almost too severe to
support. The peasants were shut up in their hovels, and only a few
of the most hardy ventured forth to seize the animals whom
starvation had forced from their hiding-places to seek for prey. The
rivers were covered with ice and no fish could be procured; and thus I
was cut off from my chief article of maintenance.

    The triumph of my enemy increased with the difficulty of my
labours. One inscription that he left was in these words:- "Prepare!
your toils only begin: wrap yourself in furs and provide food; for
we shall soon enter upon a journey where your sufferings will
satisfy my everlasting hatred."

    My courage and perseverance were invigorated by these scoffing
words; I resolved not to fail in my purpose; and, calling on Heaven to
support me, I continued with unabated fervour to traverse immense
deserts until the ocean appeared at a distance and formed the utmost
boundary of the horizon. Oh! how unlike it was to the blue seas of the
south! Covered with ice, it was only to be distinguished from land
by its superior wildness and ruggedness. The Greeks wept for joy
when they beheld the Mediterranean from the hills of Asia, and
hailed with rapture the boundary of their toils. I did not weep; but I
knelt down and, with a full heart, thanked my guiding spirit for
conducting me in safety to the place where I hoped, notwithstanding my
adversary's gibe, to meet and grapple with him.

    Some weeks before this period I had procured a sledge and dogs,
and thus traversed the snows with inconceivable speed. I know not
whether the fiend possessed the same advantages; but I found that,
as before I had daily lost ground in the pursuit, I now gained on him:
so much so that, when I first saw the ocean, he was but one day's
journey in advance, and I hoped to intercept him before he should
reach the beach. With new courage, therefore, I pressed on, and in two
days arrived at a wretched hamlet on the sea-shore. I inquired of
the inhabitants concerning the fiend, and gained accurate information.
A gigantic monster, they said, had arrived the night armed with a
gun and many pistols, putting to flight the inhabitants of a
solitary cottage through fear of his terrific appearance. He had
carried off their store of winter food, and placing it in a sledge, to
draw which he had seized on a numerous drove of trained dogs, he had
harnessed them, and the same night, to the joy of the horror-struck
villagers, had pursued his journey across the sea in a direction
that led to no land; and they conjectured that he must speedily be
destroyed by the breaking of the ice or frozen by the eternal frosts.

    On hearing this information, I suffered a temporary access of
despair. He had escaped me; and I must commence a destructive and
almost endless journey across the mountainous ices of the ocean-
amidst cold that few of the inhabitants could long endure, and which
I, the native of a genial and sunny climate, could not hope to
survive. Yet at the idea that the fiend should live and be triumphant,
my rage and vengeance returned, and, like a mighty tide, overwhelmed
every other feeling. After a slight repose, during which the spirits
of the dead hovered round and instigated me to toil and revenge, I
prepared for my journey.

    I exchanged my land-sledge for one fashioned for the
inequalities of the Frozen Ocean; and purchasing a plentiful stock
of provisions, I departed from land.

    I cannot guess how many days have passed since then; but I have
endured misery which nothing but the eternal sentiment of a just
retribution burning within my heart could have enabled me to
support. Immense and rugged mountains of ice often barred up my
passage, and I often heard the thunder of the ground sea which
threatened my destruction. But again the frost came and made the paths
of the sea secure.

    By the quantity of provision which I had consumed, I should
guess that I had passed three weeks in this journey; and the continual
protraction of hope, returning back upon the heart, often wrung bitter
drops of despondency and grief from my eyes. Despair had indeed almost
secured her prey, and I should soon have sunk beneath this misery.
Once, after the poor animals that conveyed me had with incredible toil
gained the summit of a sloping ice-mountain, and one, sinking under
his fatigue, died, I viewed the expanse before me with anguish, when
suddenly my eye caught a dark speck upon the dusky plain. I strained
my sight to discover what it could be, and uttered a wild cry of
ecstasy when I distinguished a sledge and the distorted proportions of
a well-known form within. Oh! with what a burning gush did hope
revisit my heart! warm tears filled my eyes, which I hastily wiped
away that they might not intercept the view I had of the daemon; but
still my sight was dimmed by the burning drops until, giving way to
the emotions that oppressed me, I wept aloud.

    But this was not the time for delay: I disencumbered the dogs of
their dead companion, gave them a plentiful portion of food; and,
after an hour's rest, which was absolutely necessary, and yet which
was bitterly irksome to me, I continued my route. The sledge was still
visible; nor did I again lose sight of it except at the moments when
for a short time some ice-rock concealed it with its intervening
crags. I indeed perceptibly gained on it; and when, after nearly two
days' journey, I beheld my enemy at no more than a mile distant, my
heart bounded within me.

    But now, when I appeared almost within grasp of my foe, my,
hopes were suddenly extinguished, and I lost all trace of him more
utterly than I had ever done before. A ground sea was heard; the
thunder of its progress, as the waters rolled and swelled beneath
me, became every moment more ominous and terrific. I pressed on, but
in vain. The wind arose; the sea roared; and, as with the mighty shock
of an earthquake, it split and cracked with a tremendous and
overwhelming sound. The work was soon finished: in a few minutes a
tumultuous sea rolled between me and my enemy, and I was left drifting
on a scattered piece of ice, that was continually lessening, and
thus preparing for me a hideous death.

    In this manner many appalling hours passed; several of my dogs
died; and I myself was about to sink under the accumulation of
distress when I saw your vessel riding at anchor, and holding forth to
me hopes of succour and life. I had no conception that vessels ever
came so far north, and was astonished at the sight. I quickly
destroyed part of my sledge to construct oars; and by these means
was enabled, with infinite fatigue, to move my ice-raft in the
direction of your ship. I had determined, if you were going southward,
still to trust myself to the mercy of the seas rather than abandon
my purpose. I hoped to induce you to grant me a boat with which I
could pursue my enemy. But your direction was northward. You took me
on board when my vigour was exhausted, and I should soon have sunk
under my multiplied hardships into a death which I still dread- for my
task is unfulfilled.

    Oh! when will my guiding spirit, in conducting me to the daemon,
allow me the rest I so much desire; or must I die and he yet live?
If I do, swear to me, Walton, that he shall not escape; that you
will seek him and satisfy my vengeance in his death. And do I dare
to ask of you to undertake my pilgrimage, to endure the hardships that
I have undergone? No; I am not so selfish. Yet, when I am dead, if
he should appear; if the ministers of vengeance should conduct him
to you, swear that he shall not live- swear that he shall not
triumph over my accumulated woes, and survive to add to the list of
his dark crimes. He is eloquent and persuasive; and once his words had
even power over my heart: but trust him not. His soul is as hellish as
his form, full of treachery and fiendish malice. Hear him not; call on
the names of William, Justine, Clerval, Elizabeth, my father, and of
the wretched Victor, and thrust your sword into his heart. I will
hover near and direct the steel aright.

    You have read this strange and terrific story, Margaret; and do
you not feel your blood congeal with horror like that which even now
curdles mine? Sometimes, seized with sudden agony, he could not
continue his tale; at others, his voice broken, yet piercing,
uttered with difficulty the words so replete with anguish. His fine
and lovely eyes were now lighted up with indignation, now subdued to
downcast sorrow, and quenched in infinite wretchedness. Sometimes he
commanded his countenance and tones, and related the most horrible
incidents with a tranquil voice, suppressing every mark of
agitation; then, like a volcano bursting forth, his face would
suddenly change to an expression of the wildest rage, as he shrieked
out imprecations on his persecutor.

    His tale is connected, and told with an appearance of the simplest
truth; yet I own to you that the letters of Felix and Safie, which
he showed me, and the apparition of the monster seen from our ship,
brought to me a greater conviction of the truth of his narrative
than his asseverations, however earnest and connected. Such a
monster has then really existence! I cannot doubt it; yet I am lost in
surprise and admiration. Sometimes I endeavoured to gain from
Frankenstein the particulars of his creature's formation: but on
this point he was impenetrable.

    "Are you mad, my friend?" said he; "or whither does your senseless
curiosity lead you? Would you also create for yourself and the world a
daemoniacal enemy? Peace, peace! learn my miseries, and do not seek to
increase your own."

    Frankenstein discovered that I made notes concerning his
history: he asked to see them, and then himself corrected and
augmented them in many places; but principally in giving the life
and spirit to the conversations he held with his enemy. "Since you
have preserved my narration," said he, "I would not that a mutilated
one should go down to posterity."

    Thus has a week passed away, while I have listened to the
strangest tale that ever imagination formed. My thoughts, and every
feeling of my soul, have been drunk up by the interest for my guest,
which this tale, and his own elevated and gentle manners, have
created. I wish to soothe him; yet can I counsel one so infinitely
miserable, so destitute of every hope of consolation, to live? Oh, no!
the only joy that he can now know will be when he composes his
shattered spirit to peace and death. Yet he enjoys one comfort, the
offspring of solitude and delirium: he believes that, when in dreams
he holds converse with his friends and derives from that communion
consolation for his miseries or excitements to his vengeance, they are
not the creations of his fancy, but the beings themselves who visit
him from the regions of a remote world. This faith gives a solemnity
to his reveries that render them to me almost as imposing and
interesting as truth.

    Our conversations are not always confined to his own history and
misfortunes. On every point of general literature he displays
unbounded knowledge and a quick and piercing apprehension. His
eloquence is forcible and touching; nor can I heir him, when he
relates a pathetic incident, or endeavours to move the passions of
pity or love, without tears. What a glorious creature must he have
been in the days of his prosperity when he is thus noble and godlike
in ruin! He seems to feel his own worth and the greatness of his fall.

    "When younger," said he, "I believed myself destined for some
great enterprise. My feelings are profound; but I possessed a coolness
of judgment that fitted me for illustrious achievements. This
sentiment of the worth of my nature supported me when others would
have been oppressed; for I deemed it criminal to throw away in useless
grief those talents that might be useful to my fellow-creatures.
When I reflected on the work I had completed, no less a one than the
creation of a sensitive and rational animal, could not rank myself
with the herd of common projectors. But this thought, which
supported me in the commencement of my career, now serves only to
plunge me lower in the dust. All my speculations and hopes are as
nothing; and, like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I am
chained in an eternal hell. My imagination was vivid, yet my powers of
analysis and application were intense; by the union of these qualities
I conceived the idea and executed the creation of a man. Even now I
cannot recollect without passion my reveries while the work was
incomplete. I trod heaven in my thoughts, now exulting in my powers,
now burning with the idea of their effects. From my infancy I was
imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition; but how am I sunk! Oh! my
friend, if you had known me as I once was you would not recognise me
in this state of degradation. Despondency rarely visited my heart; a
high destiny seemed to bear me on until I fell, never, never again
to rise."

    Must I then lose this admirable being? I have longed for a friend;
I have sought one who would sympathise with and love me. Behold, on
these desert seas I have found such a one; but I fear I have gained
him only to know his value and lose him. I would reconcile him to
life, but he repulses the idea.

    "I thank you, Walton, "he said, "for your kind intentions
towards so miserable a wretch; but when you speak of new ties and
fresh affections, think you that any can replace those who are gone?
Can any man be to me as Clerval was; or any woman another Elizabeth?
Even where the affections are not strongly moved by any superior
excellence, the companions of our childhood always possess a certain
power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain. They
know our infantile dispositions, which, however they may be afterwards
modified, are never eradicated; and they can judge of our actions with
more certain conclusions as to the integrity of our motives. A
sister or a brother can never, unless indeed such symptoms have been
shown early, suspect the other of fraud or false dealing, when another
friend, however strongly he may be attached, may, in spite of himself,
be contemplated with suspicion. But I enjoyed friends, dear not only
through habit and association, but from their own merits; and wherever
I am the soothing voice of my Elizabeth and the conversation of
Clerval will be ever whispered in my ear. They are dead, and but one
feeling in such a solitude can persuade me to preserve my life. If I
were engaged in any high undertaking or design, fraught with extensive
utility to my fellow-creatures, then could I live to fulfill it. But
such is not my destiny; I must pursue and destroy the being to whom
I gave existence; then my lot on earth will be fulfilled and I may

                                                  September 2nd.

My beloved Sister,- I write to you encompassed by peril and ignorant
whether I am ever doomed to see again dear England, and the dearer
friends that inhabit it. I am surrounded by mountains of ice which
admit of no escape and threaten every moment to crush my vessel. The
brave fellows whom I have persuaded to be my companions look towards
me for aid; but I have none to bestow. There is something terribly
appalling in our situation, yet my courage and hopes do not desert me.
Yet it is terrible to reflect that the lives of all these men are
endangered through me. If we are lost, my mad schemes are the cause.

    And what, Margaret, will be the state of your mind? You will not
hear of my destruction, and you will anxiously await my return.
Years will pass, and you will have visitings of despair, and yet be
tortured by hope. Oh! my beloved sister, the sickening failing of your
heartfelt expectations is, in prospect, more terrible to me than my
own death. But you have a husband and lovely children; you may be
happy: Heaven bless you and make you so!

    My unfortunate guest regards me with the tenderest compassion.
He endeavours to fill me with hope; and talks as if life were a
possession which he valued. He reminds me how often the same accidents
have happened to other navigators who have attempted this sea, and, in
spite of myself, he fills me with cheerful auguries. Even the
sailors feel the power of his eloquence: when he speaks they no longer
despair; he rouses their energies and, while they hear his voice, they
believe these vast mountains of ice are mole-hills which will vanish
before the resolutions of man. These feelings are transitory; each day
of expectation delayed fills them with fear, and I almost dread a
mutiny caused by this despair.

                                                  September 5th.

    A scene has just passed of such uncommon interest that although it
is highly probable that these papers may never reach you, yet I cannot
forbear recording it.

    We are still surrounded by mountains of ice, still in imminent
danger of being crushed in their conflict. The cold is excessive,
and many of my unfortunate comrades have already found a grave
amidst this scene of desolation. Frankenstein has daily declined in
health: a feverish fire still glimmers in his eyes; but he is
exhausted, and when suddenly roused to any exertion he speedily
sinks again into apparent lifelessness.

    I mentioned in my last letter the fears I entertained of a mutiny.
This morning, as I sat watching the wan countenance of my friend-
his eyes half closed, and his limbs hanging listlessly- I was roused
by half a dozen of the sailors who demanded admission into the
cabin. They entered, and their leader addressed me. He told me that he
and his companions had been chosen by the other sailors to come in
deputation to me, to make me a requisition which, in justice, I
could not refuse. We were immured in ice and should probably never
escape; but they feared that if, as was possible, the ice should
dissipate, and a free passage be opened, I should be rash enough to
continue my voyage and lead them into fresh dangers after they might
happily have surmounted this. They insisted, therefore, that I
should engage with a solemn promise that if the vessel should be freed
I would instantly direct my course southward.

    This speech troubled me. I had not despaired; nor had I yet
conceived the idea of returning if set free. Yet could I, in
justice, or even in possibility, refuse this demand? I hesitated
before I answered; when Frankenstein, who had at first been silent,
and, indeed, appeared hardly to have force enough to attend, now
roused himself; his eyes sparkled, and his cheeks flushed with
momentary vigour. Turning towards the men he said-

    "What do you mean? What do you demand of your captain? Are you
then so easily turned from your design? Did you not call this a
glorious expedition? And wherefore was it glorious? Not because the
way was smooth and placid as a southern sea, but because it was full
of dangers and terror; because at every new incident your fortitude
was to be called forth and your courage exhibited; because danger
and death surrounded it, and these you were to brave and overcome. For
this was it a glorious, for this was it an honourable undertaking. You
were hereafter to be hailed as the benefactors of your species; your
names adored as belonging to brave men who encountered death for
honour and the benefit of mankind. And now, behold, with the first
imagination of danger, or, if you will, the first mighty and
terrific trial of your courage, you shrink away, and are content to be
handed down as men who had not strength enough to endure cold and
peril; and so, poor souls, they were chilly and returned to their warm
firesides. Why that requires not this preparation; ye need not have
come thus far, and dragged your captain to the shame of a defeat,
merely to prove yourselves cowards. Oh! be men, or be more than men.
Be steady to your purposes and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of
such stuff as your hearts may be; it is mutable and cannot withstand
you if you say that it shall not. Do not return to your families
with the stigma of disgrace marked on your brows. Return as heroes who
have fought and conquered, and who know not what it is to turn their
backs on the foe."

    He spoke this with a voice so modulated to the different
feelings expressed in his speech, with an eye so full of lofty
design and heroism, that can you wonder that these men were moved?
They looked at one another and were unable to reply. I spoke; I told
them to retire and consider of what had been said: that I would not
lead them farther north if they strenuously desired the contrary;
but that I hoped that, with reflection, their courage would return.

    They retired, and I turned towards my friend; but he was sunk in
languor and almost deprived of life.

    How all this will terminate I know not; but I had rather die
than return shamefully- my purpose unfulfilled. Yet I fear such will
be my fate; the men, unsupported by ideas of glory and honour, can
never willingly continue to endure their present hardships.

                                                   September 7th.

    The die is cast; I have consented to return if we are not
destroyed. Thus are my hopes blasted by cowardice and indecision; I
come back ignorant and disappointed. It requires more philosophy
than I possess to bear this injustice with patience.

                                                  September 12th.

    It is past; I am returning to England. I have lost my hopes of
utility and glory;- I have lost my friend. But I will endeavour to
detail these bitter circumstances to you, my dear sister; and while
I am wafted towards England, and towards you, I will not despond.

    September 9th, the ice began to move, and roarings like thunder
were heard at a distance as the islands split and cracked in every
direction. We were in the most imminent peril; but, as we could only
remain passive, my chief attention was occupied by unfortunate
quest, whose illness increased in such a degree that he was entirely
confined to his bed. The ice cracked behind us, and was driven with
force towards the north; a breeze sprung from the west, and on the
11th the passage towards the south became perfectly free. When the
sailors saw this, and that their return to their native country was
apparently assured, a shout of tumultuous joy broke from them, loud
and long continued. Frankenstein, who was dozing, awoke and asked
the cause of the tumult. "They shout," I said, "because they will soon
return to England."

    "Do you then really return?"

    "Alas! yes; I cannot withstand their demands. I cannot lead them
unwillingly to danger, and I must return."

    "Do so, if you will; but I will not. You may give up your purpose,
but mine is assigned to me by Heaven, and I dare not. I am weak; but
surely the spirits who assist my vengeance will endow me with
sufficient strength." Saying this, he endeavoured to spring from the
bed, but the exertion was too great for him; he fell back and fainted.

    It was long before he was restored; and I often thought that
life was entirely extinct. At length he opened his eyes; he breathed
with difficulty, and was unable to speak. The surgeon gave him a
composing draught and ordered us to leave him undisturbed. In the
meantime he told me that my friend had not many hours to live.

    His sentence was pronounced, and I could only grieve and be
patient. I sat by his bed watching him; his eyes were closed, and I
thought he slept; but presently he called to me in a feeble voice, and
bidding me come near, said- "Alas! the strength I relied on is gone; I
feel that I shall soon die, and he, my enemy and persecutor, may still
be in being. Think not, Walten, that in the last moments of my
existence I feel that burning hatred: and ardent desire of revenge I
once expressed; but I feel myself justified in desiring the death of
my adversary. During these last days I have been occupied in examining
my past conduct; nor do I find it blamable. In a fit of enthusiastic
madness I created a rational creature, and was bound towards him, to
assure, as far as was in my power, his happiness and well-being.
This was my duty; but there was another still paramount to that. My
duties towards the beings of my own species had greater claims to my
attention, because they included a greater proportion of happiness
or misery. Urged by this view, I refused, and I did right in refusing,
to create a companion for the first creature. He showed unparalleled
malignity and selfishness, in evil: he destroyed my friends; he
devoted to destruction beings who possessed exquisite sensations,
happiness, and wisdom; nor do I know where this thirst for vengeance
may end. Miserable himself, that he may render no other wretched he
ought to die. The task of his destruction was mine, but I have failed.
When actuated by selfish and vicious motives I asked you to
undertake my unfinished work; and I renew this request now when I am
only induced by reason and virtue.

    "Yet I cannot ask you to renounce your country and friends to
fulfill this task; and now that you are returning to England you
will have little chance of meeting with him. But the consideration
of these points, and the well balancing of what you may esteem your
duties, I leave to you; my judgment and ideas are already disturbed by
the near approach of death. I dare not ask you to do what I think
right, for I may still be misled by passion.

    "That he should live to be an instrument of mischief disturbs
me; in other respects, this hour, when I momentarily expect my
release, is the only happy one which I have enjoyed for several years.
The forms of the beloved dead flit before me and I hasten to their
arms. Farewell, Walton! Seek happiness in tranquillity and avoid
ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of
distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries. Yet why do I say
this? I have myself been blasted in these hopes, yet another may

    His voice became fainter as he spoke; and at length, exhausted
by his effort, he sunk into silence. About half an hour afterwards
he attempted again to speak, but was unable; he pressed my hand
feebly, and his eyes closed forever, while the irradiation of a gentle
smile passed away from his lips.

    Margaret, what comment can I make on the untimely extinction of
this glorious spirit? What can I say that will enable you to
understand the depth of my sorrow? All that I should express would
be inadequate and feeble. My tears flow; my mind is overshadowed by
a cloud of disappointment. But I journey towards England, and I may
there find consolation.

    I am interrupted. What do these sounds portend? It is midnight;
the breeze blows fairly, and the watch on deck scarcely stir. Again;
there is a sound as of a human voice, but hoarser; it comes from the
cabin where the remains of Frankenstein still lie. I must arise and
examine. Good night, my sister.

    Great God! what a scene has just taken place! I am yet dizzy
with the remembrance of it. I hardly know whether I shall have the
power to detail it; yet the tale which I have recorded would be
incomplete without this final and wonderful catastrophe.

    I entered the cabin where lay the remains of my ill-fated and
admirable friend. Over him hung a form which I cannot find words to
describe; gigantic in stature, yet uncouth and distorted in its
proportions. As he hung over the coffin his face was concealed by long
locks of ragged hair; but one vast hand was extended, in colour and
apparent texture like that of a mummy. When he heard the sound of my
approach he ceased to utter exclamations of grief and horror and
sprung towards the window. Never did I behold a vision so horrible
as his face, of such loathsome yet appalling hideousness. I shut my
eyes involuntarily and endeavoured to recollect what were my duties
with regard to this destroyer. I called on him to stay.

    He paused, looking on me with wonder; and, again turning towards
the lifeless form of his creator, he seemed to forget my presence, and
every feature and gesture seemed instigated by the wildest rage of
some uncontrollable passion.

    "That is also my victim!" he exclaimed: "in his murder my crimes
are consummated; the miserable series of my being is wound to its
close! Oh, Frankenstein! generous and self-devoted being! what does it
avail that I now ask thee to pardon me? I, who irretrievably destroyed
thee by destroying all thou lovest. Alas! he is cold, he cannot answer

    His voice seemed suffocated; and my first impulses, which had
suggested to me the duty of obeying the dying request of my friend, in
destroying his enemy, were now suspended by a mixture of curiosity and
compassion. I approached this tremendous being; I dared not again
raise my eyes to his face, there was something so scaring and
unearthly in his ugliness. I attempted to speak, but the words died
away on my lips. The monster continued to utter wild and incoherent
self-reproaches. At length I gathered resolution to address him in a
pause of the tempest of his passion: "Your repentance," I said, "is
now superfluous. If you had listened to the voice of conscience, and
heeded the stings of remorse, before you had urged your diabolical
vengeance to this extremity, Frankenstein would yet have lived."

    "And do you dream?" said the daemon; "do you think that I was then
dead to agony and remorse?- He," he continued, pointing to the corpse,
"he suffered not in the consummation of the deed- oh! not the
ten-thousandth portion of the anguish that was mine during the
lingering detail of its execution. A frightful selfishness hurried
me on, while my heart was poisoned with remorse. Think you that the
groans of Clerval were music to my ears? My heart was fashioned to
be susceptible of love and sympathy; and when wrenched by misery to
vice and hatred it did not endure the violence of the change without
torture such as you cannot even imagine.

    "After the murder of Clerval I returned to Switzerland heartbroken
and overcome. I pitied Frankenstein; my pity amounted to horror: I
abhorred myself But when I discovered that he, the author at once of
my existence and of its unspeakable torments, dared to hope for
happiness; that while he accumulated wretchedness and despair upon
me he sought his own enjoyment in feelings and passions from the
indulgence of which I was forever barred, then impotent envy and
bitter indignation filled me with an insatiable thirst for
vengeance. I recollected my threat and resolved that it should be
accomplished. I knew that I was preparing for myself a deadly torture;
but I was the slave, not the master, of an impulse which I detested,
yet could not disobey. Yet when she died!- nay, then I was not
miserable. I had cast off all feeling, subdued all anguish, to riot in
the excess of my despair. Evil thenceforth became my good. Urged
thus far, I had no choice but to adapt my nature to an element which I
had willingly chosen. The completion of my daemoniacal design became
an insatiable passion. And now it is ended; there is my last victim!"

    I was at first touched by the expressions of his misery; yet, when
I called to mind what Frankenstein had said of his powers of eloquence
and persuasion, and when I again cast my eyes on the lifeless form
of my friend, indignation was rekindled within me. "Wretch!" I said,
"it is well that you come here to whine over the desolation that you
have made. You throw a torch into a pile of buildings; and when they
are consumed you sit among the ruins and lament the fall. Hypocritical
fiend! if he whom you mourn still lived, still would he be the object,
again would he become the prey, of your accursed vengeance. It is
not pity that you feel; you lament only because the victim of your
malignity is withdrawn from your power."

    "Oh, it not thus- not thus," interrupted the being; "yet such must
be the impression conveyed to you by what appears to be the purport of
my actions. Yet I seek not a fellow-feeling in my misery. No
sympathy may I ever find. When I first sought it, it was the love of
virtue, the feelings of happiness and affection with which my whole
being overflowed, that I wished to be participated. But now that
virtue has become to me a shadow and that happiness and affection
are turned into bitter and loathing despair, in what should I seek for
sympathy? I am content to suffer alone while my sufferings shall
endure: when I die, I am well satisfied that abhorrence and opprobrium
should load my memory. Once my fancy was soothed with dreams of
virtue, of fame, and of enjoyment. Once I falsely hoped to meet with
beings who, pardoning my outward form, would love me for the excellent
qualities which I was capable of unfolding. I was nourished with
high thoughts of honour and devotion. But now crime has degraded me
beneath the meanest animal. No guilt, no mischief, no malignity, no
misery, can be found comparable to mine. When I run over the frightful
catalogue of my sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature
whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent
visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness. But it is even
so; the fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of
God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone.

    "You, who call Frankenstein your friend, seem to have a
knowledge of my crimes and his misfortunes. But in the detail which he
gave you of them he could not sum up the hours and months of misery
which I endured, wasting in impotent passions. For while I destroyed
his hopes, I did not satisfy my own desires. They were for ever ardent
and craving; still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still
spurned. Was there no injustice in this? Am I to be thought the only
criminal when all human kind sinned against me? Why do you not hate
Felix who drove his friend from his door with contumely? Why do you
not execrate the rustic who sought to destroy the saviour of his
child? Nay, these are virtuous and immaculate beings! I, the miserable
and abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned, and kicked at, and
trampled on. Even now my blood boils at the recollection of this

    "But it is true that I am a wretch. I have murdered the lovely and
the helpless; I have strangled the innocent as they slept, and grasped
to death his throat who never injured me or any other living thing.
I have devoted my creator, the select specimen of all that is worthy
of love and admiration among men, to misery; I have pursued him even
to that irremediable ruin. There he lies, white and cold in death. You
hate me; but your abhorrence cannot equal that with which I regard
myself I look on the hands which executed the deed; think on the heart
in which the imagination of it was conceived, and long for the
moment when these hands will meet my eyes, when that imagination
will haunt my thoughts no more.

    "Fear not that I shall be the instrument of future mischief. My
work is nearly complete. Neither yours nor any man's death is needed
to consummate the series of my being, and accomplish that which must
be done; but it requires my own. Do not think that I shall be slow
to perform this sacrifice. I shall quit your vessel on the ice-raft
which brought me thither, and shall seek the most northern extremity
of the globe; I shall collect my funeral pile and consume to ashes
this miserable frame, that its remains may afford no light to any
curious and unhallowed wretch who would create such another as I
have been. I shall die. I shall no longer feel the agonies which now
consume me, or be the prey of feelings unsatisfied, yet unquenched. He
is dead who called me into being; and when I shall be no more the very
remembrance of us both will speedily vanish. I shall no longer see the
sun or stars, or feel the winds play on my cheeks. Light, feeling, and
sense will pass away; and in this condition must I find my
happiness. Some years ago, when the images which this world affords
first opened upon me, when I felt the cheering warmth of summer, and
heard the rustling of the leaves and the warbling of the birds, and
these were all to me, I should have wept to die; now it is my only
consolation. Polluted by crimes, and tom by the bitterest remorse,
where can I find rest but in death?

    "Farewell! I leave you, and in you the last of human kind whom
these eyes will ever behold. Farewell, Frankenstein! If thou wert
yet alive, and yet cherished a desire of revenge against me, it
would be better satiated in my life than in my destruction. But it was
not so; thou didst seek my extinction that I might not cause greater
wretchedness; and if yet, in some mode unknown to me, thou hast not
ceased to think and feel, thou wouldst not desire against me a
vengeance greater than that which I feel. Blasted as thou wert, my
agony was still superior to thine; for the bitter sting of remorse
will not cease to rankle in my wounds until death shall close them for

    "But soon," he cried, with sad and solemn enthusiasm, "I shall
die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning
miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile triumphantly,
and exult in the agony of the torturing flames. The light of that
conflagration will fade away; my ashes will be swept into the sea by
the winds. My spirit will sleep in peace; or if it thinks, it will not
surely think thus. Farewell."

    He sprung from the cabin-window, as he said this, upon the
ice-raft which lay close to the vessel. He was soon borne away by
the waves and lost in darkness and distance.

                          THE END


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