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Full text of "Frankenstein: Or, The Modern Prometheus"

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HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY 

From the Library of 

JOHN LIVINGSTON LOWES 

Professor of English 191 8-1930 

Francis Lee Higginson Professor of English 

Literature 1930-1945 




FRANKENSTEIN 



OR 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS 



FRANKENSTEIN 

OR 

THE MODERN PROMETHEUS 

Br 
MRS. SHELLEY 




LONDON 

GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS 

Broadway, Ludgate Hill 

GLASGOW AND NEW YORK 

1888 



Kce<F<Pc 




H-^yM/^ 



INTRODUCTION. 



THE Publishers of the Standard Novels, in selecting 
" Frankenstein " for one of their series, expressed 
a wish that I should furnish them with some account 
of the origin of the story. I am the more willing to 
comply, because I shall thus give a general answer to 
the question, so very frequently asked me— "How I, 
then a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, 
so very hideous an idea?" It is true that I am very 
averse to bringing myself forward in print; but as my 
account will only appear as an appendage to a former 
production, and as it will be confined to such topics as 
have connection with my authorship alone, I can scarcely 
accuse myself of a personal intrusion. 

It is not singular that, as the daughter of two persons 
of distinguished literary celebrity, I should very early in 
life have thought of writing. As a child I scribbled; 
and my favourite pastime, during the hours given me 
for recreation, was to "write stories." Still I had a 
dearer pleasure than this, which was the formation of 
castles in the air— the indulging in waking dreams— the 
following up trains of thought, which had for their 
subject the formation of a succession of imaginary in- 
cidents. My dreams were at once more fantastic and 
agreeable than my writings. In the latter I was a close 



VI INTRODUCTION. 

imitator — ratber doing as others had done, than putting 
down the suggestions of my own mind. What I wrote 
was intended at least for one other eye — my childhood's 
companion and friend ; but my dreams were all my own ; 
I accounted for them to nobody ; they were my refuge 
when annoyed—my dearest pleasure when free.' 

I lived principally in the country as a girl, and passed 
a considerable time in Scotland. I made occasional 
visits to the more picturesque parts; but my habitual 
residence was on the blank and dreary northern shores 
of the Tay, near Dundee. Blank and dreary on retro- 
spection I call them; they were not so to me then. 
They were the eyry of freedom, and the pleasant region 
where unheeded I could commune with the creatures 
of my fancy. I wrote then— but in a most common- 
place style. It was beneath the trees of the grounds 
belonging to our house, or on die blesdc sides of the 
woodless mountains near, that my true compositions, 
the airy flights of my imagination, were bom and fostered. 
I did not make myself the heroine of my tales. Life 
appeared to me too commonplace an a6Eur as regarded 
myself. I could not figure to mysdf that romantic woes 
or wonderful events would ever be my lot ; but I was 
not confined to my own identity, and I could people the 
hours -with creations far more interesting to me at that 
age than my own sensations. 

After this my life became busier, and reality stood in 
place of fiction. My husband, howcTer, was from the 
first very anxious that I should prove myself worthy of 
my parentage, and enrol myself on the page of fame. 
He was for ever inciting me to obtain literary repuUtion, 
which even on my own part I cared for then, though 
since I have become infinitely tndifierent to it. At this 



INTRODUCTION. Ttt 

time he desired that I shoald -write, not so much witb 
the idea that I could produce anything worthy <^ notice, 
but that he might himsdf pidge how far I possessed the 
promise of better things hereafter. Still I did nothing. 
Trarelling, and the cares of a family, occupied my time ; 
and study, in the way of reading, or improving my 
ideas in communication with his far more cultivated 
mind, was all of literary employment that engaged mj 
attention. 

In the summer of i8f6 we visited Switzerland, and 
became the neighbours of Lord Byron. At first we spent 
our pleasant hours on the lake, or wandering on its 
shores; and Lord Byron, who was writing the third 
canto of *' Childe Harold,*' was the only one among us 
who put his thoughts upon paper. These, as be boought 
them successively to us, clothed in all the light and bar- 
mony of poetry, seemed to stamp as divine the g^ries of 
heaven and earth, whose influences we partook with him. 

But it proved a wet, ungenial summer, and incessant 
rain often confined us for days to the house. Some 
volumes of ghost stories, translated from die German 
into French, fell into our hands. There was the History 
of the Inconstant Lover, who, when he tbonght to cla^ 
the bride to whom he had pledged his vows, £ound him* 
self in the arms of the pale ghost of her whom he bad 
deserted. There was the tale of the sinful founder of his 
race, whose miserable doom it was to bestow the kiss of 
death on all the younger sons of his fated house, just 
when they reached the age of promise. His gigantic, 
shadowy form, clothed like the ghost in Hamlet, in com* 
plete armour, but with the beaver up, was seen at mid* 
night, by the moon's fitful beams, to advance slowly 
along the gloomy avenue. The shape was lost beneath 



Vm INTRODUCTION. 

the shadow of the castle walls, but soon a gate swung 
back, a step was heard, the door of the chamber opened, 
and he advanced to the couch of the blooming youths, 
cradled in liealthy sleep. Eternal sorrow sat upon his 
face as he bent down and kissed the forehead of the boys, 
who from that hour withered like flowers snapt upon the 
stalk. I have not seen these stories since then ; but their 
incidents are as fresh in my mind as if I had read them 
yesterday. 

" We will each write a ghosl story," said Lord Byron ; 
and his proposition was acceded to. There were four of 
us. The noble author began a tale, a fragment of which 
he printed at the end of his poem of Mazeppa. Shelley, 
more apt to embody ideas and sentiments in the radiance 
of brilliant imagery, and in the music of the most melo- 
dious verse that adorns our language, than to invent the 
machinery of a story, commenced one founded on the 
experiences of his early life. Poor Polidori had some 
terrible idea about a skull -headed lady, who was so 
punished for peeping through a keyhole— what to seel 
forget — something very shocking and wrong of course ; 
but when she was reduced to a worse condition than the 
renowned Tom of Coventry, he did not know what to do 
with her, and was obliged to despatch her to the tomb of 
the dpulets, the only place for which she was fitted. 
The illustrious poets also, annoyed by the platitude of 
prose, speedily relinquished their uncongenial task. 

I busied myself to think of a story , — a story to rival 
those which had excited us to this task. One which 
would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature, and 
awaken thrilling horror — one to make the reader dread to 
look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings 
of the heart. If I did not accomplish these things, my 



INTRODUCTION. IX 

ghost story would be unworthy of its name. I thought 
and pondered — vainly. I felt that blank incapability of 
invention which is the greatest misery of authorship, 
when dull Nothing replies to our anxious invocations. 
Have you thought of a story 1 I was asked each morning, 
and each morning I was forced to reply with a mortifying 
negative. 

Everything must have a beginning, to speak in San* 
chean phrase; and that beginning must be linked to 
something that went before. The Hindoos give the 
world an elephant to support it, but they make the 
elephant stand upon a tortoise. Invention, it must be 
humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of 
Toid, but out of chaos; the materials must, in the first 
place, be afforded : it can give form to dark, shapeless 
substances, but cannot bring into being the substance 
itself. In all matters of discovery and invention, even 
of those that appertain to the imagination, we are con- 
tinually reminded of the story of Columbus and his tgg. 
Invention consists in the capacity of seizing on the 
capabilities of a subject, and in the power of moulding 
and fashioning ideas suggested to it. 

Many and long were the conversations between Lord 
Byron and Shelley, to which I was a devout but nearly 
silent listener. During one of these, various philo- 
sophical doctrines were discussed, and among others the 
nature of the principle of life, and whether there was any 
probability of its ever being discovered and communicated. 
They talked of the experiments of Dr. Darwin (I speak 
not of what the Doctor really did, or said that he did, 
but, as more to my purpose, of what was then spoken of 
as having been done by him), who preserved a piece of 
vermicelli in a glass case, till by some extraordinary 



X INTRODUCTION. 

means it began to move with voluntary motion. Not 
thus, after all, would life be given. Perhaps a corpse 
would be reanimated; galvanism had given token of 
such things : perhaps the component parts of a creature 
might be manufactured, brought together, and endued 
with vital warmth. 

Night waned upon this talk ; and even the witching 
hour had gone by, Ijefore we retired to rest. When I 
placed my head on my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could 
I be said to think. My imagination, unbidden, possessed 
and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in 
my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of 
reverie. I saw — with shut eyes, but acute mental vision 
— I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling 
beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous 
phantasm of a njan stretched out, and then, on the 
working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, 
and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful 
must it be ; for supremely frightful would be the effect of 
any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechan- 
ism of the Creator of the world. His success would 
terrify the artist; he would rush away from his odious 
handiwork, horror-stricken. He would hope that, left 
to itself, the slight spark of life which he had communi- 
cated would fade; that this thing, which had received 
such imperfect animation, would subside into dead 
matter ; and he might sleep in the belief that the silence 
of the grave would quench for ever the transient existence 
of the hideous corpse which he had looked upon as the 
cradle of life. He sleeps ; but he is awakened; he opens 
his eyes; behold the horrid thing stands at his bedside, 
opening his curtains, and looking on him with yellow, 
watery, but speculative eyes. 



INTRODUCTION. XI 

I opened mine in terror. The idea so possessed my 
mind, that a thrill of fear ran through me, and I wished 
to exchange the ghastly image of my fancy for the 
realities around. I see them still ; the very room, the 
dark parquet, the closed shutters, with the moonlight 
struggling through, and the sense I had that the glassy 
lake and white high Alps were beyond. I conld not so 
easily get rid of my hideous phantom ; still it haunted 
me. 1 must try to think of something else. I recurred 
to my ghost story, — my tiresome unlucky ghost story 1 
Oh ! if I could only contrive one which would frighten 
my reader as I myself had been frightened that night ! 

Swift as light and as cheering was the idea that broke 
in upon me. " I have found it ! What terrified me will 
terrify others ; and I need only describe the spectre which 
had haunted my midnight pillow." On the morrow 
I announced that I had thought of a story. I began that 
day with the words. It was on a dreary nigbt of November, 
making only a transcript of the grim terrors of my 
waking dream. 

At first I thought but of a few pages — of a short tale ; 
but Shelley urged me to develop the idea at greater 
length. I certainly did not owe the suggestion of one 
incident, nor scarcely of one train of feeling, to my 
husband, and yet but for his incitement it would never 
have taken the form in which it was presented to the 
world. From this declaration I must except the preface. 
As far as I can recollect, it was entirely written by him. 

And now, once again, I bid my hideous progeny go 
forth and prosper. I have an aflfection for it, for it was 
the offspring of happy days, when death and grief were 
but words, which found no true echo in my heart. Its 
several pages speak of many a walk, many a drive, and 



Xll INTRODUCTION. 

many a conversation, when I was not alone; and my 
companion was one whom, in this world, I shall never 
see more. But this is for myself; my readers have 
nothing to do with these associations. 

I will add but one word as to the alterations I have 
made. They are principally those of style. I have 
changed no portion of the story, nor introduced any 
new ideas or circumsunces. I have mended the lan- 
guage where it was so bald as to interfere with the 
interest of the narrative ; and these changes occur almost 
exclusively in the beginning of the first volume. Through- 
out they are entirely confined to such parts as are mere 
adjuncts to the story, leaving the core and substance of 
it untouched. M. W. S. 



London, October 15, 1831. 



PREFACE. 



'TTHE event on which this fiction is founded has been 
•*■ supposed, by Dr. Darwin and some of the physiolo- 
gical 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 imagina- 
tion for the delineating of human passions more compre- 
hensive and commanding than any which the ordinarj' 
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, — Shakspeare, in the Tempest 
and Midsummer Night's Dreslm, — and most especially 
Milton, in Paradise Lost, conform to this rule ; and the 



XIV PREFACE. 

most humble novelist, who seeks to confer or receive 
amusement from his labours, may, without presumption, 
apply to prose fiction a license, 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 
saurce of amusement, and partly as an expedient for exer- 
cising 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 the avoiding the ener- 
vatk^ 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 
natorally spring from the character and situation of the 
here 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 philo- 
sophical 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 



PREFACE. XV 

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. 



-Sfe 



FRANKENSTEIN; 

OR, 

THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 



LETTER I. 

To Mrs, Saville, England. 

St. Petersburg, Dec. ii, 17—. 
'V'OU will rejoice to hear that no disaster has 
■*• accompanied the commencement of an en- 
terprise 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 Petersburg, I feel a cold northern 
breeze play upon my cheeks, which braces my 
nerves, and fills me with delight. Do you under- 
stand this feeling? This breeze, which has travelled 
from the regions towards which I am advancing. 



1 8 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 per- 
suaded that the pole is the seat of frost and desola- 
tion ; it ever presents itself to my imagination as 
the region of beauty and delight There, Margaret, 
the sun is for ever visible ; its broad disk 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 may be wafted to a land surpassing in 
wonders and in beauty every region hitherto dis- 
covered 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 for 
ever. 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 die 
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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 9 

expedition of discovery up his native river. But, 
supposing all tiiese conjectures to be false, you 
cannot contest the inestimable benefit which I shall 
confer on all mankind to the last generation, by dis- 
covering 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 
affected 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 tran- 
quillise the mind as a steady purpose, — a point on 
which the soul may fix its intellectual eye. This 
expediticxi 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 
die prospect of arriving at the North Pacific Ocean 
through the seas which surround the pole. You 
may remember, that a history of all the vo5'ages 
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 read- 
ing. 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 



20 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 Shakspeare 
are consecrated. You are well acquainted with 
my failure, and how heavily I bore the disap- 
pointment. 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 earnest- 
ness ; so valuable did he consider my services. 

And now, dear Margaret, do I not deserve to 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 21 

accomplish some great purpose? My life might 
have been passed in ease and luxury ; but I pre- 
ferred 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 is firm ; but my hopes fluc- 
tuate, 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. Petersburg 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 



22 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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^ per- 
haps years, will pass before you and I may meeL 
If I fail, you will see me again soon, or never. 

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 n. 
To Mrs, Saville, England. 

Archangel, 28M Marck, 17 — . 

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 parti- 
cipate my joy ; if I am assailed by disappointment, 
no one will endeavour to sustain me in dejection. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 23 

I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true ; 
but that is a poor medium for the communication 
c^ 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 
dojuf 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 J 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. 



24 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 char- 
acteristically, of advancement in his profession. 
He is an Englishman, and in the midst of national 
and professional prejudices, unsoftened by culti- 
vation, 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 : I 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 2$ 

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 con- 
sent 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 I "you will 
exclaim. He is so ; but then he is wholly un- 
educated : he is as silent as a Turk, and a kind of 
ignorant carelessness attends him^ which, while it 



26 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 ray embarkation. The winter has 
been dreadfully severe ; but the spring promises 
well, and it is considered as a remarkably early 
season ; so tliat peiiiaps I may sail sooner than I 
expected. I shall do notliing 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 my undertaking. It is impossible 
to communicate to you a conception of the trem- 
bling 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 dtsdose 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 modem poets. There 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 2^ 

is something at work in my soul, which I do not 
understand. I am practically industrious — pains- 
taking ;— a workman to execute with perseverance 
and labour ; — but besides this, there is a love for 
the marvellous, a belief in the marvellous, inter- 
twined 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. Gxitinue 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. Re- 
member me with affection, should you never hear 
from me again.— Your affectionate brother, 

Robert Walton. 



LETTER III. 

To Mrs, SavilUy England. 

July 7. 17—. 

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 



28 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 voyage. 

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. Where- 
fore not ? Thus far I have gone, tracing a secure 
way over the pathless seas : the very stars them- 
selves being \^atnesses and testimonies of my 
triumph. Why not still proceed over the untamed 
yet obedient element ? What can stop the deter- 
mined heart and resolved will of man ? 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 29 

My swelling heart involuntarily pours itself out 
thus. But I must finish. Heaven bless my be- 
loved sister I R. W. 



LETl'ER IV. 

To Mrs. Saville, England. 

August 5, 17—. 

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 sur- 
rounded by ice, which closed in the ship on all 
sides, scarcely leaving her the sea-room in which 
she floated. Our situation was somewhat danger- 
ous, especially as we were compassed round by a 
very thick fog. We accordingly lay to, hoping 
that some change would take place in the atmos- 
phere and weather. 

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 



30 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

the north, at the distance of half a mik : 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 ob- 
served 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 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 inhabi- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 3 1 

tant of some undiscovared 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 
Enghsh, although witli 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 dis- 
covery towards the northern pole. 

Upon hearing this he appeared satisfied, and con- 
sented to come on board. Good God I Margaret, 
if you had seen the man who thus capitulated for 
his safety, your surprise would have been boundless. 
His limbs were nearly fi-ozen, and his body dread- 
fully 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 



32 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 any one 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 some- 
times 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.'* 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 33 

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

''Yes." 

** Tlien I fancy we have seen him ; for the day 
before we picked you up, we saw some dogs draw- 
ing a sledge, with a man in it, across the ice." 

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 in- 
quisitiveness 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 theother 
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 

(31) * 



34 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

have persuaded him to remain iA the cabin, for he 
is far too weak to sustain the rawness of the atmos- 
vphere. 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 conciliat- 
ing and gentle, that the sailors are all interested in 
him, although they have had very little coramuni- 
<:ation 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 l^rgaret, 
that I should find no friend on the ^4de 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 
su-anger at intervals, should I hav« any fresh in- 
cidents to record. 

August 13, 17 — . 

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 noWe a crea- 
ture destroyed by misery, without feelirg the most 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 35 

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 doquence. 

He is now much recovered from his illness, and 
is continually on the deck, apparently watdiing 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 m the 
projects of others. He has frequently conversed 
with me on mine, which I have communicated to 
him without disguise. He entered attentively imo 
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 glacQy I would sacrifice my fortune, my exist- 
ence, 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 firom between 
his fingers, — z groan burst from his heaving breast 



36 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

I paused ; — at length he spoke, in broken accents : 
— " Unhappy man I 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 lips I " 

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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 37 

for despair. But I — I have lost everything, and 
cannot begin life anew." 

As he said this, his countenance became expres- 
sive 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, seems 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 con- 
cerning 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 extra- 
ordinary merits of this wonderful man. Sometimes 
I have endeavoured to discover what quality it is 
which he possesses, that elevates him so immeasur- 
ably 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. 



38 FRANKEKSTEIN ; OR, 

and a voice whose varied intonations are soul- 
subduing music. 

August 19, 17 — . 

Yesterday the stranger said to me, ** You may 
easily perceive, Captain Walton, that I have suffered 
great and unparalleled misfortunes. I had deter- 
mined, 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 gratificati<Mi 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 reflea 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 under- 
taking, 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 unbeKef, 
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 grati- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 39 

fied by the offered commDnication ; yet I could 
not endure that he should renew his grief by a 
recital of his misfortunes. I felt the greatest 
eao;emess to hear the promised narrative, partly 
from curiosity, and partly from a strong deare to 
ameliorate his fate, if.it were in my power. 1 
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 shsdl repose in peace» 
I understand your feeling," continued he, perceiving 
that I wished to interrupt him ; ** but you are mis- 
taken, 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. 
Tliis promise drew from me the warmest thanks. 
1 have resolved every night, when I am not impera- 
tively occupied by my duties, to record, as nearly 
as possible in his own words, what he has rdated 
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 ia 
some future day I Even now, as I commence my 
task, his full-toned voice swells in my ears; his 
lustrous ej-es dwell on me with all their melancholy 



40 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 I 



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 cir- 
cumstances 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 nume- 
rous mischahces, 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 magni- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 4 1 

ficence. 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 circum- 
stances. 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 assistance. 

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 pro- 
vide 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 of any exertion. 
His daughter attended him with the greatest 
tenderness ; but she saw with despair that their 

B2 



42 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 adver- 
sity. 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 lime was more entirely 
occupied in attending him ; her means of subsist- 
ence 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 wonh. There was a show of gratitude and 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 43 

-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, recom- 
pensing 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 
^ 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 
^uiion 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 bom at Naples, and as an 
infant accompanied them in their rambles. I re- 
mained 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 



44 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

first recollections. I was their plaything and their 
idol, and something better — their child, the inno- 
cent 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 
or misery, according as they 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 bene- 
volent disposition often made them enter the 
cottages of the poor. This, to my mother, was 
more than a duty ; it was a necessit}', a passion, — 
remembering what she had sufiered, and how she 
had been relieved, — for her to act in her turn the 
guardian angel to the afflicted. During one of 
'.heir walks a poor cot in the foldings of a vale 
attracted their notice, as being singularly dis- 
consolate, while the number of half-clothed chil- 
dren gathered about it, spoke of penury in its worst 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 45 

shape. One day, when my father had gone by 
himself to Milan, 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 wonder and admiration on this lovely 
girl, eagerly communicated her history. She was 
not her child, but the daughter of a Milanese noble- 
man. 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 schiavi ognor frementiy who exerted himself to 



46 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

obtain liie liberty of his country. He became the 
victim of its weakness. Whether he had died, or 
still lingered in the dungeons of Austria, was not 
known. His property ^as confiscated, his child 
became an orphan and a beggar. She continued 
wnh 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 
plapng with me in the hall of our villa, a child 
feirer than pictured cheruh — a creature who seemed 
to shed radiance from her looks, and whose form 
and nfiotions 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 un- 
fair 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 occupa- 
tions and my pleasures. 

Every one loved Elizabeth. The passionate and 
dmost reverential attadiment with which all re- 
garded 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. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 47 



— "I have a pretty present for my Victor - 
morrow he shall have it." And when, on the 
morrow, she presented Rizabeth to me as her 
promised gift, I, with childisli seriousness, inter- 
preted 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 dis- 
uttion or dispme. 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 the 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 



48 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 in- 
different, 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 enter- 
prise, 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 49 

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 chival- 
rous 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 tem- 
perature 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, pos- 
sessed attractions for me. It was the secrets of 
heaven and earth that I desire'd 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 world. 

Meanwhile Clerval occupied himself, so to speak, 



50 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 sem- 
blance 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 thoughtfol in his generosity — so full of 
kindness and tenderness amidst his passion for ad- 
venturous exploit, had she not onfolded to him the 
real loveliness of beneficence, and made the doing 
good the end and aim of his soaring ambition. 

I feel exquisite pleasurein dwelling on the recollec- 
tions of childhood, before misfortune had tainted 
my mind, and changed its bright visions of exten- 
sive usefulness into gloomy and narrow reflections 
upon self. Besides, in drawing the picture of my 
early days, I also record those evems which led, 
by insensible steps, to my after tale of misery : for 
when I would account to myself for the birth of 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 5 1 

that passion, which afterwards riiied tny destiny, 
I find it arise, like a mountain river, from ignoble 
and almost forgotten sources; but swelling ^s it 
proceeded, it became the torrent which in its 
course has swept away ail my hopes and yoys* 

Natural philosophy is the genius that has regu- 
lated my fate ; I desire, therefore, in this narration, 
"to sute 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 <:arelesdy at ike title-page of my 
book, and said, '*Ah1 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 x 
modern system of science had been introduced^ 
whic^h possessed much greater powers than the 
ancient, because the powers of the Jatter were 
chimerical, while those of the former were real 



52 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 con- 
tinued to read with the greatest avidity. 

When I returned home, my first care was to 
procure the whole works of this author, and after- 
wards 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 imbued with a fervent longing 
to penetrate the secrets of nature. In spite of the 
intense labour and wonderful discoveries of modern 
philosophers, I always came from my studies dis- 
contented 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 boy*s apprehensions as tyros 
engaged in the same pursuit. 

Theuntaught peasant beheld the elements around 
him, and was acquainted with their practical uses. 
The most learned philosopher knew little more. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 53 

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 fortifica- 
tions 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 pre- 
ceptors, 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 death ! 

Nor were these my only visions. The raising 
of ghosts or devils was a promise liberally accorded 
by my favourite authors, the fulfilment of which I 



54 FRANKENSTEIN i OR^ 

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 re- 
tired to our house near Bekive, when we witnessed 
a most violent and terrible thunderstorm. It ad- 
vanced 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 streani of fire issue from an old 
and beautiful oak, which stood about twenty yards 
froni our house ; and so soon as the dazzling l%ht 
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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 55 

with US, and, excited by this catastrophe, he entered 
on the explanation of a theory which he had formed 
on the subjea of electricity and galvanism, which 
was at once new and astonishing to Hie. All 
that he said threw greatly into the shade Cornelius 
Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Paracelsus, the 
lords of my imagmation ; 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 despi- 
cable. 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 apper- 
taining to that science, as being built upon secure 
foundations, and so worthy of my consideration. 

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 envelop 



$6 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

me. Her victory was announced by an unusual 
tranquillity and gladness of soul, which followed 
the relinquishing of my ancient and latterly tor- 
menting '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 edu- 
cation, 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 ill- 
ness 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 en- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 57 

treaties ; 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 Eliza- 
beth 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 1 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, 



^8 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

and whose very existence appeared a part of otir 
own, can have departed for ever — that the bright- 
ness of a 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 
e\'il, then the actual Wttemess of grief commences. 
Yet from whom has not that rude Itand rent away 
some dear connection ? and why should I describe 
a sorrow which all have felt, and must fed ? Tlie 
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 bad been 
deferred by these events, was now again determined 
upon, I obtained from mj' 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 



THE MODERN PR03f£TH£US. 59 

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 
sunsliine of her smiles and spent tiiem upon us. 
She fo^ot even her own regret in her endeavours 
to make us forget. 

The day of my dq)arture at length arrived. 
Clerval spent the last evening widi us. He had 
endeavoured to persuade his father to permit him 
to accompany me, and to become my fellow- 
student ; but in vain. His fiather was a narrow- 
minded trader, aod saw idloiess and ruin in the 
aspirations and ambition of his son. Henry deeply 
felt the misfortune of being debarred from a liberd 
education. He said littk ; but when he spoke, I 
read in his kindling eye and in his animated glance 
a restcained but firm resolve, not to be chakied to 
the miserable details of commerce. 

We sat late. We could not tear ourselves away 
from eadi 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 mom- 
ning'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 
liand once more* my Elizabeth to rene^ her en- 
treaties that I would write often, and to bestow 



6o FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 endeav- 
ouring 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 repug- 
nance 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 reflec- 
tions as I commenced my journey ; but as I pro- 
ceeded, 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 com- 
plied with, and it would, indeed, have been folly 
to repent. 

I had suflficient 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 pleased. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 6 1 

The next morning 1 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 
imbued 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 
alchemists 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, "everj' 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 1 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 stept aside, and wrote down a list 



62 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 commeiKe a course 
of lectures upon natural philosophy in its general 
relations, and that M. Waldman, a fellow-professor, 
would lecture upon chemistry the alternate days 
that he omitted. 

I returned home not disappointed, for I haye 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 alche- 
mists. Besides, I had a contempt for the uses of 
modem natural philosophy. It was very different, 
when the masters of the science sought immor- 
tality and power ; such views, although futile, were 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 63 

grand : but now the scene ^-as 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 diimeras of boundless grandeur for 
realities of Kttle worth. 

Such were my reflections during the first two or 
tkree days of my residence at Ingolstadt, which 
were chiefly spent in becoming acquainted with 
the localities, and die 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 consem to go and hear that 
little conceited fellow deliver sentences out of a 
pulpit, I recollected what he had said of M. Wald- 
man, 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. Wald- 
man emered shortly after. This professor was 
very unlike his coUeague. 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 remark- 
ably 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, 



64 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 con- 
cluded with a panegyric upon modem 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 com- 
mand the thunders of heaven, mimic the earth- 
quake, 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 65 

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 m)rsteries of creation. 

I closed not my eyes that night My internal 
being was in a state of insurrection and turmoil ; 
1 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 with- 
out the contempt that M. Krempe had exhibited. 
He said, that ** these were men to whose inde- 
fatigable zeal modem philosophers were indebted 
for most of the foundations of their knowledge. 

(31) c 



<66 fbakkensthn; ok, 

They had left to us, as an easier task, to give new 
ixames, aod 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 geniuSj however erroneously directed, 
-scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid 
advantage of mankind." I listened to hisstatement, 
which was delivered without any presumption or 
■affectation ; and then added, that his lectui<e had re- 
moved my prejudicesagainstmodem chemists; I ex- 
pressed myself in measured terms, with the modesty 
and deiereixe 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 procure. 
" I am happy," said M. Waldnian, ** to have 
gained a disciple ; and if your application equals 
your ability, 1 have no doubt of your success. 
Chemistry is that branch of natural philosopliy 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 die 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." 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 67 

He then took me into his laboratory, and ex- 
pkined to me the uses of his varioirs 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 leave. 

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



CHAPTER IV. 

From dns day natural philosophy, and particularly 
chemistry, in the most comprehensive sense of the 
term, became nearly my sde occupation, I read 
with ardour those works, so full of genius and dis- 
crimination, which modem inquirers ha\'e written 
on these subjects. I attended the leaures, and 
cultivated the acquaintance, of the men of science 
c^ the university ; and I found even in M. Krempe 
a great deal of sound sense and real in^mation, 
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 



68 FRANKENSTEIN *, OR, 

for me the path of knowledge, and made the most 
abstruse inquiries clear and facile to my apprehen- 
sion. 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 con- 
ceived 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 ex- 
perienced 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 con- 
tinual 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 
wrapt 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 69 

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 improvements, 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 de- 
termined thenceforth to apply myself more particu- 
larly to those branches of natural philosophy which 
relate to ph)rsiology. Unless I had been animated 
by an almost supernatural enthusiasm, my applica- 
tion 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 pre- 



70 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

cautions that my mind should be impressed with 
no supernatural horrors. I do not ever remehaber 
to liave trembled at a tale of superstition, or to have 
feared the apparition of a spirit, Dackness had no 
effea upon my £ancy; and a church^^ard was to 
me merely tlie 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 objea tlie most insupportable to the delicacy 
of the human feelings. I saw how the fine fonn 
of man was degraded and wasted ; I beheld the 
corruption of death succeed to the blooming chedc 
of life ; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders 
of the eye and braio. I paused, examining and 
analysing all the minutiae of causation, as exemplified 
in the change from Hfe to death, and death to life, 
until from the midst of this darkness a sudden H^ 
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, 1 am not recording the vision of a 
madman. The sun does not more certainly shine 
in the heavens, than that which 1 now affirm is true. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. yt 

Some mirack might hare produced h, y^ the stages • 
of the discovery were distinct and probable. After 
days and nights of incredible labour and fatigue, I 
s u c ceede d in dbco^^dg the cause of generation ondi 
life ; nay, moce, I became myself capable of bestow- 
ing animation upon lifeless matter. 

The astonishment "vhidi I had at first experienced 
on this discovery soon gave j^ce to dcKght and 
rapture. After so mudi time spent in painful labou r,, 
to arrive at once at the summit of my desires, was 
the most gratifying consummation of my toils. But 
tliis discovery was so great and overwhelming, that 
all the steps by which I had been progressiv^y 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 wass now within 
my grasp. Not that, Hke a magic scene, it aM opened, 
upon me at once : die information I had obtained 
was of a nature rather to direct my endeavours so 
soon as I should point them towanis tbe object of 
my search, than to exhibit that cAyyict already 
accoQc^lished. I was like the Ambiau who had 
been buried with the dead, and fotmd a passage to^ 
life, aided only by one glimmering, and seemingly 
ineffectual, light. 

I see by your eagerness, and the wander and hope 
wliich your eyes express, my friend, that you expcct 
to be informed of the secret with which I am ac- 
quainted ; that cannot be : listen patiently until the 
end of my story, and you will easily perceive whjr 



72 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 as- 
pires to become greater than his nature will allow. 
When I found so astonishing a power placed 
within my hands, I hesitated a long time con- 
cerning 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 diffi- 
culty and labour. I doubted at first whether I 
should attempt the creation of a being like myself, 
or one of simpler organisation ; but my imagi- 
nation 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 founda- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS, 73 

tions of future success. Nor could I consider the 
magnitude and complexity of my plan as any argu- 
ment 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 hin- 
drance 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 pro- 
portionably large. After having formed this deter- 
mination, and having spent some months in success- 
fully collecting and arranging my materials, I begaa 

No one can conceive the variety of feehngs 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 ; 



74 FRANKEKSTEIN ; OR, 

3ret still I clung to the hope which the next day or 
the next hour might realise. One secret which I 
akme possessed was the hope to which I had dedi- 
■cated myself ; and the moon gazed on my midnight 
labours,- while, with unrdaxed and breathless eager- 
ness, I pursued nature to her hiding-places. Who 
shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil, as I 
<Jabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave, 
or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless 
<lay ? 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 acute- 
ness so soon as, the unnatural stimulus ceasing 
to operate, I had rctiumcd to my old habits. I 
collected bones from chamel-liouses ; and disturbed, 
with profene 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 deuils 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 MODERN PROMETHEUS. 75 

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 re- 
membered 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 youi You must pardon me if I regard any 
interruption in your correspondence as a proof tliat 
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 



76 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

never to allow passion or a transitory desire to dis- 
turb his tranquillity. I do not think that the pur- 
suit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If 
tiie study to which you apply yourself has a ten- 
dency 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 ; Cresar 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 77 

by slavery to toil in the mines, or any other un- 
wholesome trade, than an artist occupied by his 
favourite employment. Every night I was oppressed 
by a slow fever, and 1 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 mypur- 
pose 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, I 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 creamre open ; it breathed hard, and a 
convulsive motion agitated its limbs. 

How can I describe my emotions at this catas- 
trophe, or how delineate the wretch whom with 



78 FRANKENSTEIN; OR 

such infinite pains and care I had endeavoured to 
form? His Hmbs 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 change- 
able 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, and con- 
tinued a long time traversing my bedchamber, 
unable to compose my mind to sleep. At length las- 
situde succeeded to the tumult I had before endured ; 
and I threw myself on tlie bed in my clothes, 
endeavouring to seek a few moments of forgetflil- 
ness. 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 healtli, walking in the 
streets of Ingolstadt. Delighted and surprised, I 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 79 

embraced her ; but as I imprinted the first kiss oa 
her lips, they became livid with the hue of death ; 
her features appeared to change, and I thought that 
I held the onrpse 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 tlirough the 
window shutters, I beheld the wretch — the miser- 
able naonster whom I had created. He held up 
the curtain of the bed ; and liis 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 
downstairs. I took refuge in the courtyard belong- 
ing to the house which I inhabited ; where I re- 
mained during the rest of the night, walking up 
and down in the greatest agitation, listening atten- 
tively, 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. 

Ohl 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 unfinislied ; he was 
ugly then; but when those muscles and joints 



80 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 weak- 
ness. Mingled with this horror, I felt the bitter- 
ness 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 I 

Morning, dismal and wet, at length dawned, 
and discovered to my sleepless and aching eyes the 
church of Ingolstadt, its 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 eveiy turning of the street 
would present to my view. I did not dare return 
to the apartment which I inhabited, but feh im- 
pelled 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 : — 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 8 1 

" Like one when 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." * 

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 ob- 
served 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 sprang 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 I " 

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 

* Coleridge's "Ancient Mariner.** 



82 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

to Ingolstadt. *' You may easily believe," said he, 
**how great was the difficulty to persuade my 
father that all necessary knowledge was not com- 
prised in the noble art of book-keeping; 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 schoolmaster 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 over- 
came his dislike of learning, and he has pei^mitted 
me to undertake a voyage of discovery to tlie land 
of knowledge." 

" 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-bye, 
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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 8j 

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 thea 
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, 1 
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 recolleaed myself. I then paused ; and a cdd 
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 
bed-room 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 poe- 
sently brought breakfast ; but I was unable to con- 
tain myself. It was not joy only that possessed me p 
I felt my flesh tmgle with excess of sensitiveness, 
and my pulse beat rapidly. 1 was unable to reraaia 
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 



84 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 be- 
fore my eyes, for I thought I saw the dreaded spectre 
glide into the room ; " ^ 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 85 

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 for ever 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, 1 recovered. I 
remember the first time I became capable of ob- 
serving 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 disap- 
peared, 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.** 



^6 FRANKEKSTHIN ; OR, 

" You will repay me entirely, if you do not dis- 
compose yourself, but get well as fast as you can ; 
and since you appear in such good spirhs, I may 
speak tp 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 
«ven think ? 

** Compose yourself," said Clerval, who observed 
my change of colour, " I will not mention it, if it 
4igitates you ; but your father and cousin would be 
^ery 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 
rsuppose that my first thought wxjuld 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 my 
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 for- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 87 

bidden to write — to hold a pen ; yet one word from you, 
dear Victor, is necessary to calm our apprehensions. For 
a long time 1 haye thought that each post would bring 
this line, and my persuasions have restrained my uncle 
from undertaking a journey to Ingolstadt. I have pre- 
vented 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 1 1 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 aflSection of your poor cousin. Yet that is over 
now : Clenal writes that mdeed you are getting better. 
I eagerly hope tl:at you will con&nn tlm 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 ; and not a care will 
ever cloud his benevolent countenance. How pleased 
YOU would be to remark the improvement of our Ernest I 
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 rowinp: 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 chil- 
dren, 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. 



88 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

kind faces around me. Since you left us, t>ut one change 
has taken place in our little household. Do you re- 
memher on what occasion Justine Moritz entered our 
family ? Probably you do not ; I will relate her histor}', 
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 in- 
stitutions of our country have produced simpler and 
happier manners than those which prevail in the great 
monarchies that surround it. Hence there is less dis- 
tinction 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 igno- 
rance, and a sacrifice of the disunity of a human being. 

"Justine, you may rememoer, 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 con- 
cerning the beauty of Angelica — she looked so frank- 
hearted and happy. My aunt conceived a great attach- 
ment 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 mv aunt. She 
thought her the model of all excellence, and endeavoured 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 89 

to imitate her phraseology and manners, so that even 
now she often reminds me of her. 

'* When my dearest aunt died, every one 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 
tier contessor 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 for ever. She 
died on the first approach of cold weather, at the begin- 
ning of this last winter. ' Justine has returned to us ; and 
I assure you I love her tenderly. She is verv 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 of 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 



90 FRAKKENSTEIM ; OR> 

bealth. He has already had oae or two Httle wtves, bat 
Louisa Biron is his favourite, a pretty little girl of five 
years of age. 

" Now, dear Victor, I dare say you wish to be indulged 
in a huk gossip concerning the good people of Geneva. 
The pretty Miss Mansfield has ^ready received the con- 
gratulatory visits on her approaching marriage with a. 
young Englishman, John Melbourne, Esq. Her ugly 
sister, Manon, married M. Duvillatd, the rich banker, 
last autumn. Your favourite schoolfellow,^ Louis Manoir, 
has su&red several misfortunes since the departure of 
Oerval from Geneva. But he has already recovered his 
spirits, and is reported to be on the poinct of marrying 
a \'ery Itvdy pretty Frenchwoman, >iadame Taveraier. 
She is a widow, and much older than Manoir ; bat she 
is very much admired, and a favourite with everybody. 

*' I have written myself into better spirits, dear co«siii ; 
bat my anxiety returns upon me as I conclude. Write, 
dearest Victoar— one line — one word will be a blessing to 
us. Ten thousand thanks to Henry for his kindness, his 
a&ction, and his many letters : we are sincerely gnttefnl. 
Adieu I my cousin; take care of yourself; and, 1 entreat 
you, write 1 "Elizabeth La vemza. 

*'Qbnrva, March 18, aj— ." 

" Dear, dear Elizabeth I " I exclaimed, when I 
had read lier 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 



THE ICODERN FRQMETUEUS. 9S 

rough usage, iU befitting the wounds that my mind 
ha4 sustained. £v)er since the fatal night, the end 
of my labours, and the begmoing of my misfortunes^ 
I bad conceived a violent antipathy even to the 
name of natural pbibsophy. When I was other- 
wise quite restored to health, the sight of a chemical 
instrument would renew aU the agony of my ner- 
vous 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 
Cierval were made of no avail when I visited the 
professors. M. Waldman inflicted torture when 
he praised, with kindness and warmth, the astonish- 
ing progress I had made in the sciences. He soon 
perceived that I dishkcd the subject ; but not guess- 
ing the real cause, he attributed my feelings to 
modesty, and changed the sctbject ^om my im- 
provement to the science iuelf, with a desire, as I 
evidently saw, oi 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 whidi were to be afterwards 
used in putting me to a slow and cruel death. I 
wdthed under his words, yet dared not exhibit the 
pain I felt. Cierval, whose eyes and feelings were 
always quick in discerning tiie sensations of others^ 
declined the subject, alleging, in excuse, his total 
ignorance ; and the conversation took a more 



92 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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. Waldman. " D— n the fellow ! '* cried he ; 
"why, M. Clerval, I assure you 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," con- 
tinued 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. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 9 J 

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 en- 
gaged 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 
joy 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 con- 
sumes your own heart. How different from the 
manly and heroical poetr)' of Greece and Rome ! 

Summer passed away in these occupations, and 



94 FRANKENSTEW; OR, 

my return to Geneva was fixed for the latter end of 
autttmn ; but being ddayed by severai accidents, 
winter and snow arrived, the roads were deemed 
impassable, and my jource}^ was retarded until the 
ensuing spring. I feh tliis delay very bitteriy ; 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 Qerval in a strange 
place, before he had become acquainted with 
any of its inhabitants. The winter, however, was 
spent cheerfully; and ahhough the spring was 
uncommonly late, when it came its beauty com- 
pensated for its dilatoriness* 

The momh 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 Ingoistadt, that I might bid 
a personal farewell to the coumry I had so long in- 
habited. I acceded with pleasure to this proposi- 
tion : I was fond of exerdse, 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 perambulatians : 
my health and spirits had long been restored, and 
they gained additional strength from the salubrious 
ail I breathed, the natural incidents of our progress, 
and tlie conversation of my friend. Study had 
before secluded me from the intercourse of my 
fellow-creatures^ and rendered me unsocial; but 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 95 

Clerval called forth tlie better feelings of my heart ; 
he again taught me to love the aspect of nature, and 
the cheerful faces of children. Excellent friend I 
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, in- 
animate 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 ah-eady in bud. I was imdisturbed 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 ray gaiety, and sincerely sym- 
pathised in my feelings; he exerted liiniself to 
amosc 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 imita- 
tion 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. 



96 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

We returned to our college on a Sunday after- 
noon : 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 im- 
patiently 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 ciay 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 tne 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 1— that sweet child, whose smiles de- 
lighted and warmed my heart, who was so gentle, yet so 
gay ! Victor, he is murdered I 

** 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 ; 
aud then we discovered that William and Ernest, who had 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 97 

gone on before, were not to be found. We accordingly 
rested on a seat until they should return. Presently 
Ernest came, and inquired it 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 mur- 
derer's Mnger 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 I ' 

" 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 tea^ 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 exer- 
tions to discover him are unremitted ; but tney will not 
restore my beloved William I 

" Come, dearest Victor ; you alone can console Eliza- 
beth. 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 vou, my son, to return and be our comforter? Your 

(31) D 



98 PRANKEKSTEDJ ; OR, 

dear mtnher I Alas, Victor 1 I now say, Thank God she 
did not live to witness the cruel, miserable death of her 
youngest darling I 

" Come, Victor ; not brooding thoughts of vengeance 
against the assassin, but with feelings ol peace and gentle- 
ness, that will heal, instead of festering, the woimds of 
our minds. Enter the house of mourning, my friend, 
but wjjth kindness anda&ction for those who lore you, 
and not with :hatred for your enemies. — Yottr affectionate 
and afflicted father^ 

" Alphonse Frankenstein. 

** Geneva, Jl% 12, 17—." 

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

" My dear Frankdnstein," exclaimed Hemy,when 
he perceived me weep with bitterness, '''^re j-ou 
always to be unhappy ? My dear friend, what has 
hapipened ? '* 

i motioned to him to take up the letter, while 
I walked up and down the room in the extremest 
agitation. Tears aJso 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 mtend to do ? " 

^'To go instantly to Geneva: come with me, 
Henry, to order the horses." 

During our walk, Qerval endeavoured to say a 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 99 

few words of consolation ; he could only express 
his heartfelt sy-mpathy. "Poor William 1" said 
he, "dear lovely chill, he now sleeps with his 
angel mother! Who that had seen him bright 
and joj'ous in his young beauty, but must weep 
over his untimely loss i To die so miserably ; to 
fed the murderer's grasp! How much more a 
murderer, that could destroy such radiant inno- 
cence I Poor little fcUow I 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 
be knows no pain. He am no longer he a subject 
for pity ; we must reserve that for his miserable 
survivors." 

Qerval spoke thus as we htirried through the 
streets; the words impressed themselves on my 
mind, and I remembered them afterwards in soli- 
tude. But now, as soon as Ae horses arriwd, I 
hurried imo a cabriolet, and bade farewell to my 
friend. 

My jonrney 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 stistain the muhhude 
of feelings that aowded into my mind. I passed 
through scenes ^miliar to ray youth, but which I 
had fflot seen for neariy six years. How altered 
eveiydnog might be during that time 1 One 



lOO FRANKEKSTEIN ; OR, 

sudden and desolating change had taken place ; but 
a thousand little circumstances might have by 
degrees worked other alteration?, 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 scsne 
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 1 my own beautiful 
lake I 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 circum- 
stances ; but they were days of comparative happi- 
ness, 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 01 

Streams, thy mountains, and, more than all, thy 
lovely lake I 

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 1 I prophesied truly, and 
failed only in one single circumstance, that in all 
the misery I imagined and dreaded, I did not con- 
ceive 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 Mount Blanc in the most 
beautiful figures. The storm appeared to approach 
rapidly ; and, on landing, I ascended a low hill, that 
I n)ight 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. 



102 FRANKENSTEIN; OR^ 

I quitted my seat, and walked on, although the 
darkness and storm increased every minute, and the 
thunder burSt with a terrifi-c cmsh, over my head. 
It. was echoed feom Saleve, die Juras^and the Alps 
6£ Savoy y vivid flashes of lightning dazzled my 
eyes, illuminating the lake, making it ^pear like a 
vast sheet of ftre *,. then for an instant everything 
seemed of a pitchy darkness^ until the eye recovered 
itself from die preceding flash. The stormy as is 
oftea the case in Switzerland, appeared at once ia 
varioOfS parts of the heavens. The most violent 
storm himg exactly north of the town, over that 
part of the lake which lies between the promootory 
of Bdrive and the v^lage of Cop^t. Another storm 
enliglitened Jora with faint flashes j and another 
darkened and sometimes disclosed the Mdle,. a 
peaked mountain to the east of the lake. 

While I watched the tempest, so beautiful yet 
terrific,! wandered on with a hasty step. Tliis 
noble war im the sky elevated my spirits ; I clasped 
my liands, and exclaimed aloud, ^^ William, dear 
angel ! diis is tliy funeral,, the thy dirge ! " As I 
said these vrards, I percei\'ed in the gloom a figure 
which stole firom beliind a clump of trees near me ; 
I stood fixed, gazing intently : I could not be mis- 
taken. A flash of lightning illuminated the objea, 
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 



THE MODERN PROStETflEUS. 10 3 

I had gtven 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 v 
my teetit chattered^ and I was forced to lean against 
a tree for support. The figure passed me quickly, 
aad I lost it in the gloom. Nothing in htmian 
sliape could have destroyed that fair child. He 
was the murderer ! I coiild not doubt it. The 
mere presence of the idea was an irresistible proof 
of tbe fact. I thought o£ pursuing the devil j but 
h wookL have been in vain, ias another flash dis- 
covered him tio me hanging among die rocks of 
the neady perpendicular ascent of Monr Sa^ve^ a 
hiU that bounds Plainpalais on die sootk. He soon 
reached the summit^ and disappeared. 

I remained mottoaless. The thimder ceased; 
but the rain still continued, and. the^ scene wa& 
envetoped in an unpenetrable darkness. I revolved 
in my mind the events which I had until nowsought 
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 iatjo the 
world a depraved wretch^ whose del%ht was ia 
carnage and misery ; had he not murdered my 
brother? 

No one can conceive the angubh I suB^red duringr 



104 l^HANKENSTEIK ; OR, 

the remainder of the night, which 1 spent, cold and 
wet, in the open air. But I did not feel the in- 
convenience 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 >\ath 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 1 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 10$ 

Sal^ve ? 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 alle- 
viate ; yet your presence will, I hope, revive our 
father, who seems sinking under his misfortune ; 
and your persuasions will induce poor Elizabeth to 



I06 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

cease her vain and tormenting self-accusations. 
— Poor William ! he was our darling and our 
pride ! " 

Tears, unrestrained, fell from my brother's eyes ; 
41 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 con- 
solation ; slie accused herself of having caused the 
death of my brother, and that made her very 
wretched. But since tiie murderer has been dis- 
covered" 

" 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 liim too ; he was free last night ! " 

" I do not know what you mean," replied my 
brotlier, in accents of wonder, ** but to us the dis- 
covery we have made completes our misery. No 
•one would believe it at first ; and even now Eliza- 
beth 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 fright- 
ful, so appalling a crime ? " 

"Justine Moritz I Poor, poor girl, is she the 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. IO7 

accused ? But it is wrongfully ; ever}' 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 mur- 
der of poor William had been discovered, Justine 
had been taken ill, and confined to her bed for 
several day^. During this interval, one of the ser- 
vants, 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 mis- 
taken ; I know the murderer. Justine, poor, good 
Justine, is innocent," 

At that instant my father entered. I saw un- 
happiness deeply impressed on his countenance, but 
he endeavoured to wekome me cheerfully ; and» 
after we had exchanged our mournful greeting, 



I08 FRANKENSTEIN J OB, 

woulci 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 WilHam." 

" We do also, unfortunately," replied my father ; 
" for indeed I had rather have been for ever ignorant 
than have discovered so much depravity and in- 
gratitude 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 acquitted." 

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 
liis 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. IO9 

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 con- 
victed 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 I everyone 
else believes in her guilt, and that made me 
wretched, for I knew that it was impossible : and 
to see every one 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 
1 shall prevent the slightest shadow of partiality." 



no FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 



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 oblite- 
rated in an ignominious grave ; and I the cause f 
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 ex- 
culpated 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 
confidentininnocence, and did not tremble, although 
gazed on and execrated by thousands ; for all the 
kindness which her beauty might otherwise have 



THE MODERX PROMETHEUS. Ill 

excited, was obliterated in the minds of the specta- 
tors 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 ^ection 
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 any one who had not 
such proof of her innocence as I had. She had been 
out the "\\4iole 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 kouse 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 violem hysterics, and kept her bed for several 



1 1 2 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

days. The picture was then produced, which the 
servant had found in her pocket ; and when Eliza- 
beth, in a fahering 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 ex- 
pressed. 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 protesta- 
tions 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 favouraWe interpretation, where any 
circumstance appears doubtful or suspicious." 

She then related that, by the permission of Eliza- 
beth, she had passed the evening of the night on 
which the murder had been committed at the house 
of an aunt at Ch^ne, 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. II3 

were shut, and she was forced to remain several 
hours of the night in a bam 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 proba- 
bilities 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 



114 FRANKENSTEIN; 0R, 

have a few witnesses examined concerning my 
character ; and if their testimony shall not over- 
weigh my supposed guilt, I must be condemned, 
although I would pledge my salvation on my 
innocence." 

Several wimesses 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 per- 
mission 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 pre- 
tended 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 1 j. 

attended her own motlier during a tedious illness^ 
in a naanner that excited the admiration of all who 
knew her ; after which she again lived in my unde'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 aflfectionate 
motlier. 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 inno- 
cence. 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 wil- 
lingly given it to her; so much do I esteem and 
value her." 

A murmur of approbation followed Elizabeth's 
sunple and powerful appeal ; but it was excited by 
her generous interference, and not in favour of poor 
Justine, on whom the public indignation was turned 
with renewed violence, dialing her with the 
bladkest 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 tlie 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 ia 



Il6 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

agon)'. 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 decisive." 

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 tliat ten 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. II7 

innocent should suffer, than that one guihy 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, liow 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 j 
and you, Victor, shall accompany me: I cannot 
go alone." The idea of this visit was tormre 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 her- 
self at the feet of Elizabeth, weeping bitterly. My 
cousin wept also. 

*' O Justine I " said she, ** why did you rob me 
of my last consolation ? I relied on your inno- 
cence ; 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 



3 1 8 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

wicked? Do you also join with my enemies to 
-crush me, to condemn me as a murderer?" Her 
voice was suffocated witii 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, notwith- 
standing every evidence, until I heard that you had 
yourself declared your guilt. That report, you 
.^ay, is false; and be assured, dear Justine, that 
nothing can shake my confidence in you for a 
inoment, but your own confession." 

" I did confess ; but I confessed a lie. I con- 
fessed, 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 tiiat 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 evfl 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 
ioved^ was a creature capable of a crime which- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. II9 

none but the devil himself could 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." 

*'0 Justine! forgive me for having for one 
moment distrusted you. Why did you confess? 
But do not mourn, dear giri. Do not fear. I will 
proclaim, I will prove your innocence, I will meh 
the stony hearts of your enemies by my tears and 
prayers. You shall not die ! — You, my playfellow, 
my companion, my sister, perish on the scaffold I 
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 God 
raises ray weakness, and gives me courage to endure 
tiie worst. 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 rae, dear lady, to submit 
in patience to the will of Heaven ! " 

During the conversation I had retired to a comer 
of the prison-room, where I could conceal the horrid 
anguish that possessed me. Despair ! Who dared 
talk of tiiat ? The poor victim, who on the morrow 
was to pass the awful boundary between life and 
death, felt not as I did, such deep and bitter agony. 
I gnashed my teeth, and ground them together, 
uttering a groan that came from my inmost souL 



120 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

Justine started. When she saw who it was, she 
approached me, and said, ** Dear sir, you are very- 
kind to visit me ; you, I hope, do not believe that 
I am guilty ? *' 

I could not answer. '* No, Justine," said Eliza- 
beth ; ** 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 i 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. Anguish and despair 
had penetrated into the core of my heart ; I bore 
a hell within me, which nothing could extinguish. 
We stayed several hours with Justine : and it was 
with great difficulty that Elizabeth could tear her- 
self away. " I wish," cried she, " that I were to die 
with you ; I cannot live in this world of misery." 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 121 

Justine assumed an air of cheerfulness, while she 
with difficulty repressed her bitter tears. She em- 
braced Elizabeth, and said, in a voice of half-sup- 
pressed emotion, "FareweU, sweet lady, dearest 
Elizabeth, my beloved and only friend ; may Heaven, 
in its bounty, bless and preserve you ; may this be 
the last misfortune that you will ever suffer I 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 vsrretched victim. She perished on the scaffold 
as a murderess I 

From the tortures of my own heart, I turned to 
contemplate the deep and voiceless grief of my 
Elizabeth. This also was my doing I 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 I Again shall you 
raise the funeral wail, and the sound of your 
lamentations shall again and again be heard 1 
Frankenstein, your son, your kinsman, your early, 
much-loved friend *, he who would spend each vital 



122 FRAKKEKSTHIN ; OR, 

drop of blood for your sokes— who has no tiiought 
nor sense of jojv except as it is mirrored also in 
your dear countenances: — who would fill, the air 
with blessings, and spend bis life in serving yoa — 
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 souly as, torn by re- 
morse, horror, and despair, I beheid those: I laved 
spend vain sorrow upon the graves of William, and 
Justine, the first haj^s victims to my unhailowsd 
arts. 



CHAPTER IX. 

NoTHQSG is. nnore painfiil to the human mind^ 
than, after the feelings have been worked up by a 
quick succession of events, die dead calmness of 
inaction and certainty which follows^ and deprives 
thffi. soul' both of hope aiid fear. Justine died^ she 
rested ^ and I was alive. The blood flowed feedy 
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, fior I had committed deeds of mischief beyond 
description horriblcy and more, much more (I per- 
suaded raysdfX was yet behind. Yet my heart 
ovcrflawed whh kindness, and the love of virtue;. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I23 

I had begun life with benevolent intentioos, and 
thirsted for the moment when I should put them 
in practice, and make myself useful to mj fellow- 
beings. Now all was blasted: instead of that 
serenity of conscience, which allowed me to look 
back upon the past with self-satisfacdon,. and frona 
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 toittoes, such as no 
language can describe. 

This state of mind preyed upon my health, winch 
had perhaps never entirely recovered from tlic first 
sliock it had sustained. I shunned the face of man -y 
all sound of )oy or con^lacency was torture to me ;. 
solitude was ray only consolation — deep, dark, 
deathlike soUtudie. 

My fatlier observed with pain the aheration 
perceptible in my disposition and hatntSy and en^ 
deavoured 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 dairk 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 
1 loved your brother ;" (tears came into his e^'es as 
he spoke ; ) *' but is it not a duty to the sorvivors,^ 
that we sliould refrain from augmenting their un^ 
happiness by an appearance of immoderate giief^ 
It is also a duty owed to yourself ; for excessive 
sorrow prevents improvement or enjoyment, or 



124 FRANKENSTEIN; OR^ 

even the discharge of daily usefulness, without 
which no man is fit for society." 

This advice, although good, was totally inappli- 
cable 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 en- 
deavour 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 some- 
times, 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, 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 125 

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 Justine. 



126 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

Out house was the laouse of mourning. My 
father's health was deeply Shaken by the horror of 
riie recent events. EKzabeih was sad and despond- 
ing ; she oo longer took ^delight in her ordmary 
occupations ; all pleasure seemed to her sacrilege 
toward the xlead ; eternal woe and tears she then 
thought was the just trrbnte she should pay to 
innocence so blasted and destroyed. She was no 
longer lihat happy creature, who in earlier youth 
wandered whh 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 
froni 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 
lomger see the world and its works as they before 
appeared to me. Before, I looked upon rhe 
accounts of vice and injustice, that I read in books 
or heard from odiers, as tales of ancient dsys, or 
imaginary evils ; at least they were remote, and 
more familiar to reason than to the imagination ; 
bait now misery lias come liome, and men appear 
to ane as monsters thirsting for each other's Wood. 
Yet I :am certainly unjust. Everybody believed 
that poor girl to be guilty ; and if she could have 
committed the crime for which she suflered, 
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 bene£actor and 



THE MODERN PHQMETHEUS. 1 27 

friend, a child whom she had nursed from its 
hinhg 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 im£t to remain in the society of 
men. But she was innocettt. I know, I feel she 
was innocent ; you are of the same opinbn, and 
that confirms me. Alas 1 Victor, when falsehood 
can look so like the truth, who can assure them- 
selves of certain happiness ? I feel as if I were 
walking on the ^gQ of a precipice, towards wJiicli 
thousands are <:rowding^ and endeavouring to 
plunge me into the abyss, William and Justine 
were assassinated, and the anurderer escapes ; he 
walks about the worid free^ and perhaps respected. 
But even if I were condemned to suffer xm the 
scaffold lor the same crimes, I would not diange 
places with sucli a wretch." 

I listened to this discourse with die 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 expr>ession 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 liopes in you. Have we lost the power of 



128 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

rendering you happy ? Ah 1 while we love— while 
we afe 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 in- 
effectual. 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 whirl- 
wind 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 29 

had passed since then : / 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 ^Jeeper in the ravine of Arve. 
The immense mountains and precipices that over- 
hung 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 impe- 
tuous 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 habi- 
tations of another race of beings. 

I passed the bridge of P^lissier, where the ravine, 
(31) R 



130 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

which the river forms, opened before mc, and I 
began to ascend the mountain that overiiangs it 
Soon after I entered the valley of Chamounix. This 
valley is more wonderful and sublime, but not so 
beautiful and picturesque, as thatof 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 approach 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 
ddme 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I3I 

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 blessed 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 sokmn 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, through 
the silent working of immutable laws, was ever 
and anon rent and torn, as if it had been but a 
plaything in their hands. These sublime and 
magnificent scenes afforded me the greatest coo- 



132 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

solation that I was capable of receiving. They 
elevated me from all littleness of feeling ; and 
although they did not remove my grief, they sub- 
dued 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 
mountain-top, 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 re- 
membered the eflect 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 ecstacy, 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 33 

nature had indeed always the effect of solemnising 
my mind, and causing me to forget the passing 
cares of hfe. 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, pro- 
duces a concussion of air sufficient to draw destruc- 
tion 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 1 why does man boast of sensi- 



134 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

bilities 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 us. 

'* We rest ; a dream has power to poison sleep. 

We rise ; one vrand'nng thought pollutes the day. 
We feel, conceive, or reason ;,laugh or weep. 

Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away ; 
It is the sane : for, be it joy or sorrow, 

The path of its departure still is free. 
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his nKurrow ; 

Nought may endure but mutability i " 

It was nearly noon when I arrived at the top of 
tlie ascent. For some time I sat upon the rock 
that overlooks the sea of ice. K 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 35 

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 tremen- 
dous and abhorred I) 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, 



136 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

vile insect I 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 murdered ! " 

"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 i^iU 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 ; 1 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 57 

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. O Franken- 
stein, 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 ean I move thee? Will no entreaties 
cause thee to turn a favourable eye upon thy crea- 
ture, who implores thy goodness and compassion ? 
Believe me, Frankeinstein : 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 



138 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

^re 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 hail, for they are 
kinder to me than your fellow-beings. If the 
muhitude 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 wretched- 
ness. 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 guihy are 
allowed, by human laws, bloody as they are, to 
speak in their own defence before they are con- 
demned. 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 I 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 hands." 

•*Why do you call to my remembrance," I 
rejoined, "circumstances, of which I shudder to 
reflect, that I have been the miserable origin and 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 59 

author? Cursed be the day, abhorred devil, in 
which you first saw light! Cursed (although I 
curse myself) be the hands that foritied }'0U ! You 
have made me wretched beyond expression. You 
have left me no power to consider whether I am 
just to you, or not. Begone I 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 
fisien 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 for ever 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, and I did not 
answer him ; but, as I proceeded, I weighed the 
various arguments that he had used, and deter- 
mined at least to listen to his tale. I was partly 
urged by curiosity, and compassion confirmed my 



140 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 con- 
sented 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 my 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 dis- 
tinguish 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I41 

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 
ray 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 tor- 
mented 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 
m)rself so desolate. Before I had quitted your 
apartment, on a sensation of cold, I had covered 
myself with some clothes ; but these were insuf- 
ficient 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 ovjer the heavens, and 
gave me a sensation of pleasure. I started up, and 



142 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 
1 covered myselfj^ and sat down upon the ground. 
No distinct ideas occupied my mind ; all was con- 
fused, 1 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 pleasure. 

" 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 dear stream that supplied 
me with drink, and the trees that shaded me with 
their ^iage. I was delighted when I first dis- 
covered 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 
ray own mode, but the uncouth and inarticulate 

* The moon. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I4J 

sounds which broke from me frightened me into 
silence again. 

'* The moon had disappeared from the night, and 
again, with a kssened form, showed itself, while I 
still remained in the forest. My sensations had,, 
by this thne, become distinct, and my mind received 
every day additional ideas. My eyes became accus- 
tomed 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 tiie blackbird and thrush 
were sweet and entidng. 

" One day, when I was oppressed by cold, I 
found a fire which had been left by some wander- 
ing beggais, and was overcome with delight at the 
w^armth 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 1 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 bum. 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 collect- 
ing a great quantity of wood, that I might dry it, 



144 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 
oflals 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 mudi im- 
proved. 

" 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, 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 14) 

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 dis- 
covered 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 discon- 
solate, 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 dr}' ; 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 



146 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

devoured the remnants of the shepherd's breakfast^ 
which consisted of bread, cheese, milk, and wine ; 
the latter, however, I did not like. Then, over- 
come by fatigue, I lay down among some straw, 
and fell asleep. 

"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 I 
the huts, the neater cottages, and stately houses, 
engaged my admiration by turns. The vegetables 
in the gardens, the milk and cheese that 1 saw 
placed at the windows of some of the cottages, 
allured my appetite. One of the best of these 1 
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 fear- 
fully 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 47 

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 innumer- 
able 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 niy^ 
kennel, tliat 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 car- 
peted 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 coarse 
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* 



I 



148 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 re- 
turned, 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 despond- 
ence. Uttering a few sounds with an air of melan- 
choly, 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, 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 49 

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 occu- 
pied 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 comer, 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 pro- 
duce sounds sweeter than the voice of the thrush 
or the nightingale. It was a lovely sight, even to 
me, poor wretch I 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 sensa- 
tions of a peculiar and overpowering nature : they 



150 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

-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, bear- 
ing 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 cot- 
tage, 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 piece of cheese. She 
rseemed pleased, and went into the garden for some 
roots and plants, which she placed in water, and 
then upon tlie fire. She afterwards continued her 
work, whilst the young man went into the garden, 
and appeared busily employed in digging and pull- 
ing 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 



« J 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I5I 

was slight and graceful in his figure, and his 
features were moulded with the finest symmetry ; 
yet his eyes and attitude expressed the utmost sad- 
ness and despondency. The old man returned to 
the cottage; and the youth, with tools different 
from those he had used in the morning, direaed 
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 de- 
lighted 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 pro- 
duced 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 har- 
mony 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. 



152 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

CHAPTER XII. 

**I LAY on my straw, but I could not sleep. 1 
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 here- 
after think it right to pursue, that for the present I 
would remain quietly in my hovel, watching, and 
endeavouring to discover the motives which in- 
fluenced 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 contempla- 
tion. 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 benevo- 
lent smiles. 

** They were not entirely happy. The young 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I 53 

man and his companion often went apart, and 
appeared to weep. I saw no cause for their un- 
happiness ; but I was deeply aflfected 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 un- 
happy? 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 ex- 
cellent clothes ; and, still more, they enjoyed one 
another's company and speech, interchanging each 
day looks of aflfection 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 dis- 
covered 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 poig- 
nantly, especially the two younger cottagers ; for 
several times they placed food before the old man, 
when the)' reserved none for themselves. 

** This trait of kindness moved me sensibly. I 



154 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

liad 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 witli 
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 collect- 
ing 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 suf- 
ficient 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, >^dth 
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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I55 

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 unravd 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, milky hready 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 sistery or Agatha ; and 
the youth Felix, brother y ov son, I cannot describe 
the delight I felt when I learned the ideas appro- 
priated 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, unlmppy, 

'* I spent the winter in this manner. The gentle 
manners and beauty of the cottagers greatly en- 
deared 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 
cotuge, their harsh manners and rude gait only 
enhanced to me the superior accomplishments of 



156 FRAKKENSTEIK ; OR, 

my friends. The old man, I could perceive, often 
endeavoured to encourage his children, as some- 
times 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 Jier countenance and tone were 
more cheerful after having listened to the exhorta- 
tions 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 be- 
neath the snowy ground. Early in the morning, 
before ^he had risen, he cleared away the snow 
that obstructed her path to the milk-house, drew 
water from the well, and brought the wood from 
the outhouse, where, to his perpetual astonish- 
ment, he found his store always replenished by an 
invisible hand. In the day, I believe, he worked 
sometimes for a neighbouring farmer, because he 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I 57 

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, al- 
though I eagerly longed to discover myself to the 
trottagers, I ought not to make the attempt until I 
had first become master of their language ; which 
knowledge might enable me to make them over- 
look 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 



158 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

that I was in reality the monster that I am, I was 
filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence 
and mortification. Alas I 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 advanced. 

** 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 be- 
came far more pleasant than it had been. 

**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 from the snow, and performed those 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I 59 

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 under- 
stand the signification of these terms. 

" My thoughts now became more aaive, 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 ima- 
gined 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, 



l60 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 thou- 
sand scents of delight, and a thousand sights of 
beauty. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. l6l 

** It was on one of these da)rs, when my cot- 
tagers 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 fre- 
quently ; 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 recommenc- 
ing 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 

(31) F 



l62 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

Avith pleasure ; and at that moment I thought him 
^s beautiful as the stranger. She appeared affected 
by diflferent 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, con- 
ducted 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 tliat her presence diffused gladness through 
the cottage, dispelling their sorrow as the sun dissi- 
pates the morning mists. Felix seemed peculiarly 
haj^y, 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 coun- 
tenances, expressed joy, the cause of which I did 
not comprehend. Presently I found, by the fre- 
<que»f rectirrence of some sound which the stranger 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 163 

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 under- 
stood, 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 
tliat 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 entranc- 
ingly 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 



1 64 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

explain to Safie, and by which he appeared to wish 
to express that she bestowed on him the greatest 
delight by her music. 

The da)rs now passed as peaceably as before, with 
the sole alteration, that joy had taken place of sad- 
ness 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 inter- 
spersed 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 atteniion, 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 ; 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. l6$ 

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, govern- 
ments, 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 



1 66 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 
fortli 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 in- 
structions 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 re- 
spected 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 1 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 pro- 
perty. I was, besides, endued with a figure hide- 
ously deformed and loathsome ; I was not even of * 
the same nature as man. I was more agile than 
they, and could subsist upon coarser diet ; I bore 
the extremes of heat and cold with less injury to 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 6/ 

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 knonwrlcdge. 
Oil, that I had for ever remained in my native 
wood, nor known nor felt be}XMid the sensations 
of hui^ger, tliirst, and heat 1 

*' Of what a strange nature is knowledge I It 
clings to the mind, when it has once seized on it^ 
like a lichen on the rock. I wished sometimes ta 
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 w^bich 
Hither increased than satisHed 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 con- 
versation of the loved Felix, were not for me. 
Miserable unhappy wretch I 

'* Other lessons were impressed upon me even 



1 68 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

more deeply. I heard of the difference of sexes ; 
and the birth and growth of children ; how the 
father doted 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 inter- 
course with me. What was I? The question 
again recurred, to be answered only with groans. 

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



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 169 



CHAPTER XrV. 

" 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 pos- 
sessed 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 in- 
habited Paris for many years, when, for some 
reason which I could not learn, he became ob- 
noxious 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 



170 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

was judged that his religion and wealth, rather 
than the crime alleged against him, had been the 
cause of his condemnation. 

** 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 fout^ 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 hdp owning to 
his own mind, that the captive possessed a treasure 
which vi-ould fully reward his toil and hazatxL 

** The Turk quickly perceived the impression 
tliat his daughter had made on tlie heart of Felix, 
and endeavoured to secure liim more entffehr 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 ; 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I7I 

yet he looked forward to the probability of the 
event as to the consummation of his happiness. 

** During the ensuing days, while the prepara^ 
tions 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, wlio 
fi^und means to express her thoughts in the lan- 
guage of her lover by the aid 9f an old man, a 
servant of her father, who understood French. She 
thanked him in the most ardent terms for bis in- 
tended services towards her parem; and at the 
same time she gently deplored her own fate. 

**I liave copies of these letters; for I found 
means, during ray residence in the hovel» to pro- 
cure tiic 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 pnDve 
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 ; re- 
commended 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, bom in freedom, spurned 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 intel- 
lect, and an independence of spirit, forbidden to 



172 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 her- 
self 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 him- 
self, 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 favour- 
able opportunity of passing into some part of the 
Turkish dominions. 

" 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I73 

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 resent- 
ment of Felix, if he should appear lukewarm ; 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 Paris. 

"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. 



174 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

This idea was torture to him. He quickly arranged 
with the Turk, that if tlie 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 fortm»e, and 
condemned them to a perpetual exile from their 
native country. 

"They found a miserable asjdum in the cottage 
in Germany, where I discovered them. Felix soon 
learned that the treacherous Turk, for whom he 
and his femily 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 liad quitted Italy with his 
daughter, insultingly sending Felix a pittance of 
mone}% 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 MODERN PROMETHEUS. I7> 

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 out- 
raged by this command ; she attempted to expos- 
tuiate with her father, but he left her angrily, 
reiterating his tyrannical mandate. 

"A fewda}'S 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, conse- 
quent!}', hired a vessel to convey him to Constanti- 
nople, 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 cmei^ncy. A residence in Turkey 
was abhorrent to lier ; her religion and her feelings 
w^re ahke adverse to it. By some papers of her 
father, which fell into her hands, she beard 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. 



176 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

Taking With htr some jewels that belonged to her, 
and a sum of money, she quitted Italy with an 
attendant, a native of Leghorn, but who under- 
stood the common language of Turkey, and de- 
parted 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 countr}% and utterly igno- 
rant of the customs of the world. She fell, how- 
ever, 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 safetj' 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 admir- 
able qualities were called forth and displayed. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 77 

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 occu- 
pations. 

" 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 
ecstacy, 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 



178 FRANKEKSTEIN ; OR, 

\kith lofty sentiments and feelings, which liad for 
their object something out of self, accorded wdi 
with my experience among ray protectors, and 
with the wants which were for ever alive in my 
own bosom. But I thought Werter himself a 
more divine being tlian I had ever beheld or ima- 
gined ; 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 tlie merits of thecase^ 
yet I incHncd towards the opinions of the hero, 
whose extinction I wept, without precisely under- 
standing it. 

" As I read, however, I apphed much personally 
to my own feelings and condition. I foimd my- 
self similar, yet at the same time strangdy unlike 
to the beings concerning whom I read, ^nd to 
whose conversation I was a listener. 1 sympathised 
with, and partly understood them, but I vws un- 
formed 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 anniliiia- 
tion. 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 re- 
curred, 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 repubUcs. This book liad 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 79 

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 sur- 
passed my understanding and experience. I had a 
very confused knowledge of kingdoms, wide extents 
of country, mighty rivers, and boundless seas. 
But I was perfealy unacquainted with towtis, 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 pro- 
tectors caused these impressions to take a firm hold 
on my mind ; perhaps, if my first introduction to 
humanity had been made by a }'oung soldier, 
burning for glory and slaughter, I should have 
been imbued with different sensations. 

" But ' Paradise Lost ' excited different and far 
deeper emotions. I read it, as I had read the other 



l8o FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 ap- 
parently 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, hke him, when I viewed 
the bliss of my protectors, the bitter gall of envy 
rose within me. 

"Another circumstance strengthened and con- 
firmed 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 kboratory. 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 thesepapers 
every step you took in the progress of your work ; 
this history was mingled with accounts of domestic 
occurrences. You^ doubtless, recollect these papers. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. l8l 

Here they are. Everything is related in them 
which bears reference to my accursed origin ; the 
whole detail of that series of disgusting circum- 
stances 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 ' 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 abhorred.' 

"These were the reflections of my hours of 
despondency and solitude ; but when I contem- 
plated 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 compas- 
sionate 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 post- 
poned this attempt for some months longer ; for 
the importance attached to its success inspired me 



l82 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

with a dread lest I should fail. Besides, I found 
that my understanding improved so much with 
every day's experience, that 1 was unwilling to 
commence this undertaking until a few more 
months should have added to my sagacity. 

"Several charges, in the meantime, took place 
in the cottage. The presence of Safie difiused 
happiness among its inhabitants ; and I also found 
that a greater degree of ^ plenty reigned there. 
Felix and Agatlia spent more time in amusement 
and conversation, and "w^tq assisted in their labours 
by servants. They did not appear rich, but they 
were contented and happy; their feeliogs were 
serene and peaceful, while mine became every day 
morfr 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 moonsliine, even as 
that frail image and that inconstant shade. 

*'I endeavoured to crush tliese 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 183 

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 confc^rma- 
tion 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 ^nth 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 tlietn, the greater became my desire 
to claim their protection and kindness ; my heart 
jreamed 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 un^^^rthy of it. 

** The winter advanced, and an entire revolution 



184 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 pro- 
jects; 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 protectors. 

** 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 countr}' 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. l8> 

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 re- 
main a few minutes before the fire.* 

"* Enter,' said De Lacey; 'and I will try in 
what manner I can relieve your wants ; but, un- 
fortunately, my children are from home, and, as 
I am blind, I am afraid I shall find it difficuh 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 inter- 
view; 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 



l86 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 pe(q)le 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 dispo- 
sitions ; my life has been hitherto harmless, and in 
some degree benefkiai ; but a fetal prejudice clouds 
their eyes, and where they ought to sec 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 havc» 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 87 

unknown to them, been for many months in tlie 
liabits 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 particu- 
lars of your tale, I perhaps may be of use in un- 
deceiving them. I am blind, and cannot judge of 
\*our countenance, but there is something in your 
words, which persuades me that you are sincere. 
I am poor, and an exile ; but it will aflford 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 fellow-creatures.' 

*' * Heaven forbid I even if you were really 
criminal ; for that can only drive you to despera- 
tion, and not instigate you to virtue. I also am un- 
fortunate ; I and my ^mily have been condemned, 
although itmocent : judge, therefore, if I do not 
feel for your misfortunes.' 

" ' How can I thank you, my best atk! 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 



l88 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 for ever. 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 1 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 the lion rends the antelope. 
But my heart sunk within me as with bitter sick- 
ness, and I refrained. I saw him on the point of 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 89 

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 I 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 re- 
strained by the fear of discovery, I gave vent to my 
anguish in fearful bowlings. I was like a wild 
beast that had broken the toils; diestroying the 
objects that obstructed me, and ranging through 
the wood with a stag-like swiftness. Oh ! 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 



190 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

trees, spread havoc and destruction ailDund 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 ever- 
lasting 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 en- 
suing hours to reflection on my simation. 

" 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 impru- 
dently. 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I9I 

much consideration, I resolved to return to the 
cottage, seek the old man, and by my representa- 
tions win him to my party. 

** These thoughts calmed me, and in the after- 
noon I sank into a profound sleep ; but the ferer 
of my blood did not allow me to be visited by 
peaceful dreams. The horrible scene of the pre- 
ceding day was for ever acting before my eyes ; 
the females were flying, and the enraged Felix 
tearing me from his father's feet. I awoke ex- 
hausted ; and, finding that it was already night, 1 
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 con- 
versation, using violent gesticulations; but I did 
not understand what they said, as they spoke tlie 
language of the country, which differed from that 
of my protectors. Soon after, however, Felix 



192 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 
appearances. 

" * 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 j^our determination.' 

" * 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 



^^ 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. I93 

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 spumed 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 
(31) G 



I 



1^4 PRASIKENST^M 4 OR) 

couM -save any part of tiae iiabitation, I qaiited the 
scene, sixi sougiit for refuge in the woods. 

" And now, whh the woiid beffore me, whither 
should J tend ray :steps ? I resolved to fly far from 
the sceoeiof my ndsforttmes; hut tx9 me, hated and 
des^isod, every ooantry must be eqnaify horrible. 
At lengdi tine thought of yrou crossed my naind. 
1 learned irom }iour papers that yon were toy fiufeer, 
my creator; and to whom couldlappjiy wkh more 
dijftess than /to him who had ^iven me life ? Among 
the lessons titat Pelix hxd bestowed ispoia Sa^ 
Igeogra^iby had not been Kinniitced : I had learned 
from these the rdatavie -situdtionis of id&e «difienent 
<0Qnttihe6 of the earth. You had mentioned 
Geneva as the mame cf your native 4own ; and 
towards tins place I nesolved to proceed, 

** But hfcw was I to direct mysdf ? I knew that 
I must travel hi ;a south- westerly 'direct ixz)n to reach 
my idestination:; bstut ithe sun w:as my only tguide. I 
did j!)ot 4bdow cibe names nf t^ie mwm that I was 
to pass thromgh, nor could I askiinfonnation frcxn a 
single hujman being ; but il did not despair. From 
you 'Only iconki I liope ior succour, although 
Siowands y/aa i fdt no sentiment hut that of hattred. 
(Jnfeeliag, heartless cireator! you had endowed 
one with perceptions and passions, and then cast 
ame abroad ,an object for the scorn and hotror of 
mankind. But on you only liad I any daini 
for pity and redress, and from yon I determined 
to seek that justice which I vainly attempted to 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 95 

gain from any other being that wore the human 
form. 

*'My travels were Jong, and the sufferings I 
endured intense. It -was late in atrtunm when I 
quitted the dtstiia w^^re I had so long resided. 
1 travelled only at niglit, fearful of encountering 
the visage of a "human being. Nature <kcayed 
arotmd me, and the sun became heafless; 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 I Hie mildness of my nature had fled, and 
all within me was turned to gall and bitterness. 
The nearer I approached to yxmr habitation the 
more deeply did I feel tlie spirit of revenge en- 
kindled 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 cir- 
cumstance that happened wlien I arrived on tlie con- 
fines of Switzerland, when the sun had Teco\'ered its 
warmth, and the earth again began to look green, 
confirmed in an especial manner the bitterness and 
horror of my feelings. 

** I generally rested during the day, and travelled 
only when I was secured by night from the view of 



196 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

man. One morning, however, finding that my 
path lay through a deep wood, I ventured to con- 
tinue 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 balmi- 
ness 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 sensa- 
tions, 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 know- 
ing 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 slipped, 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1 97 

endeavoured, by every means in my power, to 
restore animation, when I was suddenly inter- 
rupted by the approach of a rustic, who was pro- 
bably 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, I 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 
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 ven- 
geance to all mankind . But the agony of my wound 
overcame me ; my pulses paused, and I fainted. 

*'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 ingrati- 
tude of their infliction. My daily vows rose for 
revenge — a deep and deadly revenge, such as would 



198 FRANKEKSTEm; OK, 

alone compensate for the outrages and anguisk I 
had endured. 

''After some weeks my wound healed, and I 
continued nay joum^. The labours- 1 endured 
were no loiager ta be alleviated by the bright sun 
or gentk breezes of sprii^ ; aU joy was but a 
mockery, which insulted my desolate state, and 
made me feel more painfully that I was not made 
for the enjojntnent of pleasure, 

<^ But osy tcnls now drew near a close ; and, in 
two months from this time, I reached the cn.TiroQS 
of Geneva. 

" It was evening when 1 arrived, and I retired 
to a hiding-place among the fields that surround 
it^ to meditate in what manner I should apply ta 
you. I was oppressed by fatigue and hunger, and 
far too unhappy to enjpy the gentle breezes of 
evening,, or the prospect of the sun setting behind 
the stupendous mountains of Jura. 

'* At this time a ^ght sleep relieved me from 
the paiLEL of reflection, which was disturbed by the 
approach of a beautiful child, who came running 
into the recess I had chosen, with all the spcMrtive- 
ness of infancy. Suddenly, as I giized on him, aj^ 
idea seized me, that this little creature was unpre- 
judiced, 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. 



THE MODERN F&OMETHEUS. 199^ 

" Urged by this iraipufce, I seized 00 the bojr as 
he passed, and drew him towards me. As soon as 
he bchdd my form^ be placed his hands before his^ 
eyesy and uttered a shnll icream : 1 drew his^hand. 
forcibly from his face, and said, ' Ch^ what is the 
meaasing of this? I da Boot intend to hurt you v 
Ibten to. me;* 

* ' He stroggled victently . * Let sne go,' he cried ;- 
^ monster I ugly wvetcb ! 3rDU wish to eat me, and? 
tear nae to pieces — yon are aa c^rc— let me go, or 
I will tcD my papa.' 

" ' Boy,, yoa will never see your father again ;. 
you. must come with me.* 

^' ' Hideotis monster I let roe go. My papa is ai 
Syndic — he is M. Frankenstein — ^be vnlA punish. 
you. You dare not keep noe.* 

*' * Frankenstein 1; you belong then to my enemy 
— to him towards whom I have sworn eternaH 
revenge ; you shall be my first victim.' 

" The diild still struggled, and loaded me wiri> 
epithets wliich 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 hellisli triumph : clappings my 
hands, I exclaimed, ^I, too, can create desolation ;. 
my enemy is not invulnerable ; tlMS death wiH carry 
despair to him, and a thousand other miseides shaUl 
torment and destroy him,' 

*' As I fixed my eyes on the child, I saw some- 



200 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

thing glittering on his breast. I took it ; it was a 
portrait of a most lovely woman. In spite of my 
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 re- 
garding me, have changed that air of divine be- 
nignity 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 por- 
trait I held ; but of an agreeable aspect, and bloom- 
ing 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 MODERN PROMETHEUS. 201 

" 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 for ever 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 for ever. 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 requi- 
sition. 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 com- 
panion must be of the same species, and have the 
same defects. This being you must create." 



202 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

CHAPTER XVII. 

The beir^g finished speaking and fixed Ins looks 
upon me in expectation of a reply. But I was 
i)ewildered, perplexed, and unable to rarrange my 
ideas sufficiently to understand die full extent of 
ibis proposition. He continued — " Yon must create 
a female for me, with whom I can live in the 
in-terchange of those sympathies necessary for my 
iseing. This you alone cam do ; and I demand it 
of you as a right which you must not refuse to 
concede." 

The latter partof Jiis tale had kindled anewiai 
nie the anger that had died away while he narrated 
his peaceful life among tlie cottagers, and, as he 
said this, I could no longer suppress (the rage that 
homed within ame. 

** Ido refuse it," I replied ; ** aud no tortnre 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 
amxtherlike 3-ourself, whose joint wickedness might 
desolate tlie world ? Begone I I have answered 
3XXU ; 3^ou,may torture me, but I will never consent." 

**You are in the wrong," ^repdied the fiend; 
**.and, instead of threatenmg, I am contremt to 
reason witli 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 203 

why I should pity man more than he pities iwe ? 
You would not call it murder, if yooi <:ould pre- 
cipitate me into one of those ice-rifts, and desftroy. 
my frame, the work of your own hands. Shall I 
respect man, when iae contemns me? Let him 
live with me in the interchamgte of ^ndness ; ;and, 
instead of injury, I would bestow eveiy benefit 
upon him with tears of gratitude at his aoceptas^ce. 
But that cannot be ; tlie human -senses are iiwur- 
mountable barriers to our union. Yet onine -shall 
not be the submission of abject slavery. I will 
revenge my injuries : if I cannot inspire kwe, I 
will cause fear ; and chiefly towards you my arch- 
enemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguish- 
able hatred. Have a care : I will work at your 
tiestruction, 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 e3res to bdaold ; but presently be calmed 
himself and proceeded — "I intended to reason. 
This passion is detrimental to me ; for you do not 
refkct that you are the cause of its excess. If any 
bemg felt emotions of irenevolence towards me, I 
should return them an hundred and an hundred 
fc^d ; for that one creature's satke, I would make 
peace with the whole kind 1 But I now indulge 
in dreams of bliss that cannot be realised. Wiiat 
I ask of you is reasonable and moderate ; I demand 
a feature of another sex, but as hideous as myself; 



204 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 oflf from all the world ; but 
on that account we shall be more attached to one 
another. Our lives will not be happy, but they 
^^^ll 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 " 

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 argu- 
ment. 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 feeHng, 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 con- 
tent 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 wan- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 20$ 

tonness of power and cruelty. Pitiless as you have 
been towards me, I now see compassion in your 
eyes; let me seize the favourable moment, and 
persuade you to promise what I so ardently desire." 

'* You propose," replied I, " to fly from the habi- 
tations 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 representa- 
tions, 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 neigh- 
bourhood 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 



206 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

tboae of horror and hatred.. 1 tried to stifle diese 
seiftsatians.;. 1 thought, tliat as I could not syn^ 
pathise. with him,. I had no right to withhold fK»n. 
hina: the smaU portion, of happiness which wa& yet 
in my power to bestow. 

*'You s>**ear," 1 said^ **to be^ harmless ; bat 
hawe you not already shown a degree of maiice itet 
shouiK^ rei^onably make me distrust you. B Maty noi 
evemi this bje ai feint that will increase- yotnr triumph 
by afFocding a wider scope for your revenge.." 

'*^How is. tins?- I m)ust not be trifled with : 
and I diemand aa answer. If I have no ties, and 
no aE^ctioD5, hatredi aooid vice must be my portion ; 
tlifi love o£ anodicr will destroy tlie cause o£ my 
crinaes, and I shall become a thing, of whose exist- 
ence every one will be ignorant. My vices are the 
children. o( a forced solitude that I abhor y and my 
virtues widl necessarily arise when I Irve in coni- 
muoicni witli an equal. I shall feel the affections, 
of a sensitive being, and become linked ta the 
chain. o£ existence and events,, from which: I am. 
aow excluded." 

I paused some time to< reflect on all be had 
rekted, and the various arguments which he had 
employed. I thought of the promise of virtues. 
which he had displayed, on tlie opening of his 
existence^, and the subsequent blight of all kindly 
feehng by the loathing and scorn which l»s pro- 
tectors kiad manifested towards him. His power 
and threats were not onmtted in my calculations ; 



THE. MODERN PROMETHEyS. 20J 

a creature who could' exist in tire ice-caves of the 
glaciers,, aanid: hide himself frcim pursuit among tlie 
ridges of inaccessible prcdpices, was a being pos- 
sessiiiig faicui'ties it would* be vain- to cope with. 
After a' long pause of reflection, I concluded that 
thejii^ce.due both to hinvand my fellow-creatures 
demanded of me: tliat I should comply with his 
ropiest. Turning to him, therefee, I said — " I 
consent to your demand, on your solemn oath to 
quk Europe for ever, and every other place in the 
nciglibourhood of man, as soon as I shall deliver 
iMD^ your hands- a female who will accompany you 
in yocur exile.'* 

"I swear," he cried, ** by the sun, and by the- 
Wine sky of Heaveni, and by the fire of love- that 
burns my heart, that if you grant my prayer, while- 
they exist you.shall never beh?old me again*. Depart 
to your home, and commence your labours : I sliall' 
watch their progress with unucteTaibl'e anxiety ; and 
feaar aotbut that when youare ready I shall appear.^ 

Saying i?his, he suddenly quitted me, fearfol, 
perhapSy of any change in my sentiments. I saw 
him descend the mountain wilii greater speed than: 
the: flrglxti of an eagle^ and quickly lost among the 
undulations; of tlie. sea of ice. 

His taie had occupied' the whole day, and the- 
sua: was upon the verge of the horizon when 
he departed. 1' knew that I ought to hasten my 
descem towards the valley, as I shouid soon be 
encompassed in darkness; but my heart was 



208 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

heavy, and my steps slow. The labour of wind- 
ing 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 occur- 
rences 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 liere 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, depart, and leave me 
in darkness." 

Tliese 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 imme- 
diately 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 2O9 

myself to the family. My haggard and wild appear- 
ance awoke intense alarm ; but I answered no ques- 
tion, 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 com- 
panionship 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 ven- 
geance 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 



2IO FRAKKJENSTEIK; OR, 

Step in an. unidectaking wliose immediate necessity 
began, to appear less absohiite ta me. A change 
indeed had taken plajce in me : my lieohliii, which 
had hitherto dccHned^ was now mudx restored*^ 
and my spirits,. when unchecked by the njcmoiry of 
my -unhappy promise,, rose proportionably. Mjp 
fo-ther saw this change wkh pleasune^ and hetiuimedf 
hi& thoughts towards. the best meiliod of eradicajting 
the remains, of my mekncholy^ wlaich) every now 
and, then would return, by fits^ and with a devouring.' 
blackness- overcast the approacliiiag: siMsliime. At! 
these moments I took refuge in the most pcrfecr 
solitude. I passed whole days on the lake alone 
in a little boat, watching the clouds, and listening 
to the rippling of the waives., silent and listless. 
But the fresh air and bright sun seldom failed to 
restore me to. some degree, of con3|rosuTe ; amd, otv 
my return,.! met the sailutationsof my friends with 
a readien smile and a more, cheerful heart. 

It was. after my return fromi one of these rambles^,, 
that my fiuher, calling me: aside, thus addressed 
me— "I am happy to remark,. i«y dear son^ that 
you) have resumed your former pleasures, and seem/ 
to be returning to yourselL And yet- you are stiHf 
unliappy, and still avoid' our society. For some 
time L was lost ia conjecture as to the cause of this ; 
but yesterday an idea; struck me, and if it is wdl' 
founded, 1 conjure you to avow it. Reserve on* 
such ai point would be not only useless-, ftut draw 
do^Ti trcblfi: misery an ua aUj.'" 



THE MODERN PROMFFHEUS. 2^11 

1 trembled violeatly at his exordium, and my 
father comiiiuied— '' I confess, my son, that I ha\'e 
aiwarrs looked forward to your marriage with our 
dear Elizatbeth as the tie of ouar domestic comfort,, 
imd 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 swited to one another. But so 
blind, is the experience of man, that what I con- 
ceived to be the best assistanus to my plan^ may- 
have entirely destroyed it. You, perhaps, regard, 
her as youar sister,, without any wish that slie might 
become youir wife:. Nay, you may have met with 
another whom yo« may love; and, considering 
youiself as bound in honour to EUzabeth, tins- 
struggle may occasion the- poignant misery which 
you appear to feel/' 

" My dear father, re-assure yourself. I love my 
cousin tcndterly and sincerely. I never saw any 
woman who cxdted, as Elizabeth does, my warmest 
adnricatiott and affection. My future hopes and 
prospeas are entirely bound up in the expeaation 
of ottf tinion." 

" Tbe expression of yoiir sentiments on this sub- 
ject, my dear Victor, ^ves me more pleasure than 
I have- for some time experienced. If you feel 
thus, we shali assuredly be happy, however present 
events may cast a gloom over us. But it is tliis 
gloom which appears to have taken so strong* a lK>ld 
of >roiir ndnd, that I wish to dissipate. Tell me, 



212 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

therefore, whether you object to an immediate 
solemnisation of the marriage. We have been un- 
fortunate, 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 con- 
•clusion. Alas 1 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 21 3 

nie 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 aversioti to the 
idea of engaging myself in my loathsome task in 
my father's house, while in habits of familiar inter- 
course 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 w^ould quickly 
be achieved, and I might be restored to my family 
in peace and happiness. My promise fulfilled, the 
monster would depart for ever. 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, conceal- 
ing 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 



214 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

41 period of an absorbing melancholy, thai resembled 
madness in its intensity^nd effects, he was g^ad to 
find that I was capable of taking pleasure in the 
itiea of such a journey, and be hoped that <:hange 
of scene and varied amusemecft 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 tlic 
period contemplated. One paternal kind precautrion 
he had taken to ensure my having a companion. 
Without previously communicating v,iih me, he 
had, in concert with Elizabeth, ZTrang^A that 
Qerval should join me at Strasburg. This inter- 
fered with the solitude I coveted for the prosecaiion 
of my task; ^^et at tl>e commencement ^ my 
journey tlie presence of my friend could in noway 
be an impediment, and truly I rejoiced that thus 
I should be saved many hours of lonely, maddening 
reflection. Nay, Henr}'^ might stand -betwewi me 
And the intrusion of my foe. If I were i^one, 
would he not at times force his abhorred presence 
on me, to remind me of my task, or to comemplate 
its progress ? 

To England, therefore, I was bound, and h was 
understood that my union with Elizabeth -should 
take place immediately on my return. My father's 
age Tendered him extremely averse to delay. For 
nn-self, there was one reward I promised -myself 
from my detested toils — one consolation for my 
unparalleled sufferings ; it was the prospect of that 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 2 1 > 

-day when, enfranchised from my miserable 'SlaTery, 
•I migfht claim Elizabeth, and forget the pa* tin my 
union with her. 

I now ma^ arrangements for my journey ; but 
one feeling hatmted me, which filled me wii!h fear 
smd agitation. Dming my absence I shot^ld leave 
my friends unconscious 'of the existence of their 
enemy, and unprotected from his attaclis, exas- 
perated as he might 'be by my departure. But he 
iiad promised to follow me wherever I mighft go ; 
and would he not accompany me to England? 
This imagination was dreadful in itself, Txrt 'sooth- 
ing, inasmuch as it -sirpposed the safety of my 
friends. I was agonised with the idea df the 
possibility that the reverse of this might happen. 
But through the whole period during whrdi I was 
tlte slave of my creature, I allowed myself to be 
governed 'by the impulses of the nroment ; and my 
present sensations strongly intimarted that the "fiend 
would follow me, and exempt my faniily 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, there- 
fore, acquiesced : hut she was filled with disquiet 
at the idea of tny suffering, away from her, the 
inroads of misery and grief. It had heen her care 
Which provided me a companion in Clervafl — and 
yet a man is blind to a thousand ratrrate cir- 
cumstances, which call forth a womah^s sedulous 



2l6 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

attention. She longed to bid me hasten my re- 
turn, — a thousand conflicting emotions rendered 
her mute, as she bade me a tearful silent farewell. 

I threw myself into the carriage that was to con- 
vey me away, hardly knowing whither I was going, 
and careless of what was passing around. I re- 
membered 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 Strasburg, where I waited two days for ClervaL 
He came. Alas, how great was the contrast be- 
tween us 1 He was alive to every new scene ; joy- 
ful when he saw the beauties of the setting sun, 
and more happy when he beheld it rise, and re- 
commence a new day. He pointed out to me the 
shifting colours of the landscape, and the appear- 
ances of the sky. ** This is what it is to live," 
he cried, " now I enjoy existence ! But you, my 
dear 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 217 

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 Strasburg 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 Stras- 
burg, arrived at Mayence. The course of the 
Rhine below Mayence becomes much more pictur- 
esque. The river descends rapidly, and winds be- 
tween 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 scene. 

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 



2l8 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

of the boat, and, as I gazed on the ctoudless Mae 
sky, I seemed to dritii in a tranquillity to which I 
had long been a stranger. And if these were- my 
sensations, who can dfescribe those of Henr}' ? 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 
ray own coimtry; I have visited the lakes of 
Lucerne and Uri, where the snowy mountains de- 
scend almost perpendicularly to the water, casting 
Wack and impenetrable shades, which would cause 
a gloomy and mournful appearance, were it not 
for the most verdant fsknds that relieve the eye 
by their gay appearance; 1 have seen this lake 
agitafted by a tempest, when the wind tore up 
whirlwinds of Water, and gave you an idea crf^ 
what the waterspout must be on the great ocean ; 
and the waves dash 'with fury the base of tfee 
mountain, where the priest and his mistress were 
overwliehned 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 
mocrmams of La Valais, and the Pays de Vaud r 
but this countt}', 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 
liie isfand, almost concealed amongst the foliage 



THE MODEKH PROMETHEUS. 21$ 

of those lovely trees ; and now that group* oC 
labourers coming from among tkeir 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 m harmony with man» than 
those who pile the glacier,, or retire to the inaccesi- 
sible peaks of the mountains of our own country." 
Clerval I beloved ^nd 1 even now it dielights 
me to record 3'oui woids^ and to dwiell on the 
praise of which you are so cnunently deserving^ 
He was a being frxrmed 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 thatdevoted and wondrous nature 
that the worldly-minded teach us to look for only 
in the imagination. But even human sympathies 
were not sufficient tosatbfy his eager mind. The 
scenery of exteiiaall nature, which others regard ody 
with admiration^ he loved with ardour : — 

" The sounding cataract 
Haunted biin likea passioa : the tall rock, 
The mouataia, and the deep and gloomy wood* 
Their colours and thetr forms, were then to him 
An appetite ; a feelias, and a love, 
That Had no need of a remoter charm. 
By thought supplied, or any interest 
Unborrowed from the eye;" * 

And where does he now exist ? Is this gentle 
and lovely being lost for ever ? Has this mind> so 

* Wordswocth's Tintem Abbey. 



220 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

replete with ideas, imaginations fanciful and magni- 
ficent, which formed a world, whose existence de- 
pended on the life of its creator *, — has this 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, over- 
flowing 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 
December, 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 country. 

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



THE AlODERN PROMETHEUS. 221 

CHAPTER XIX. 

London was our present point of rest ; we deter- 
mined 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 com- 
pletion 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 
ipexpressible 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 insurmount- 
able 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 



222 FRANKEKSTEIK ; OR, 

self; he was inquisitive, aod anxious to gain expe- 
rience and instruction. The difference of manners 
which lie observed was to him an inexhaustible 
sonroe of instruoion and amusement. He T^-as 
aiso pursuing an object he had long had in view. 
His design was to visit India, in the belief that he 
^d ia. his knowledge of its various languages, and 
in the views he had taken of its society, the mean$ of 
materially assisting the progiess of European colo- 
iiisaicion and trade. In Biitain only could he Richer 
the csecntion 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 
jhim from die pleasures natural to one wIk> was 
•entering x>n a new scene of life, undisturbed by any 
care or bitter recollection. I often refosed to 
accompany him, alleging another engagement, that 
I might remain aiooe, I now also began to coHect 
the materials necessary for my new creation, and 
tliis was to me like the torture of single drops of 
water continually felling on the head. Every 
thought that was devoted to it was an extreme 
angui^, snd every word that I sp6ke in allusion 
to it carased ray lips to qmvcr, and my heart to 
■palpitate. 

After passing some months in London, we rc- 
cerved a letter from a person in Scotland, who had 
formerly been our visitor at Geneva. He mentioned 
the beauties of his native country, and asflted us if 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 223 

those were not sufEci^t allurements to Muce us 
to prolong our journey as far north as Perdi, where 
he resided. Clerval eagerly desired to accept this 
invita.tion ; .and l, although I abhocred society, 
wished to view .again n^ountains and streams, and 
all the wondrous works with which Nature .adoms 
her chosen dwelling-places. 

We had arrived in England at the beginmng of 
October, and it was roow February. We .acawdii^y 
determined to commenoe our journey towards the 
north at the expiration of ono^er tnondi. ^ this 
expedition we did not intend to idiow tks great 
road to Edinburgh, but to visit Wacdsor, Oxford, 
Matlock, and the Cumberland lakes, resohrang to 
arrive at tl>e completion of this tour iabout tlic end 
of July. I packed up my diemical itnstramaits, and 
the .materials I had .collectedl, resolving t!0 finish 
my labours in some ohscnve Aook tn ithe nor^em 
highlands of Scotland. 

We quitted London on the 27th of March, and 
remained a few days at Windsor, rambliiag in its 
beautiful forest. This was a new scene 10 us 
mountaineers ; the majestic oaks, the qnamuaiy of 
-game, and tlie herds of stalely deer, wserc ajl 
•novelties to us. 

Erom thence we proceeded to Oxford. As -we 
entered this city, our minds were filled -wkh the 
remembrance of the -events that had beentnmsaaed 
there more than a century and a half before. It 
was here that Charles I. had collected his forces. 



224 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 dwell- 
ing here, and we delighted to trace its footsteps. 
If these feelings had not found an imaginary grati- 
fication, 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 Isi's, which 
flows beside it through meadows of exquisite ver- 
dure, 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 y the sight of what is beauti- 
ful 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 — 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 22$ 

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 miser- 
able fears, to contemplate the divine ideas of liberty 
and self-sacrifice, of which these sights were the 
monuments and the remembrancers. For an in- 
stant 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 re- 
sembled, to a greater degree, the scenery of Switzer- 
land ; but everything is on a lower scale, and the 
green hills want the crown of distant white Alps, 
which alwajrs 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 

(31) H 



r226 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

iHenry ; 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 Westmore- 
land. I could now almost fancy myself among the 
Swiss mountains. The little patches of snow which 
yet lingered on the northom sides of the tstountains, 
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 propoftionably greater than mine ; his mind 
expanded in the company of men of talent, and he 
found in his own nature greater capacities and re- 
sources than he could have imagined himself to 
have possessed while he associated with his in- 
feriors. **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 for ever 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 some- 
thing new, which again engages his attention, and 
whidi also he forsakes for other novdtiesw 

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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 227 

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 de- 
layed, I was miserable, and overcome by a thousand 
fears ; and when they arrived, and I saw the super- 
scription 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 regu- 
larity 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 



228 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 
Cupar, St. Andrews, 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 your- 
self, 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 en- 
treated 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 229 

to 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. 



230 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 
tliickly 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 iiad 
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 



THE MODERK PROMETHEUS. 23r 

actual scene in which I was engaged, mj spirits- 
became unequal; I grew restless and nervous. 
Every nKKnent 1 feared to meet my persecutor. 
Sometimes I sat with my eyes fixed on the ground, 
fearing to raise them, lest they should etKounter 
the object which I so much dreaded to behoW. 
I feared to wander from the sight of my fellow- 
creatures, lest when alone he should come to claim, 
his companion. 

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 mjrself 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 employmei^t, 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 
1 was now doing. Three years before I was 
engaged in the same manner, and had created a 
fiend whose unparalleled barbarity had desolated. 



232 FRANKENSTEIN j OR, 

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 hato 
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 ever- 
lasting 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 233 

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 fulfilment of my promise. 

As I looked on him, his countenance expressed 
the utmost extent of malice and treachery. I thought 
witli a sensation of madness on my promise of 
creating another like to 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 hap- 
piness, 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, I 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. 



234 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

Several hours passed, and I remained near my 
window gazing on the sea ; it was almost motion- 
less, 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 ^ar 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 fieh 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 im- 
pending 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. Sliutting the door, he 
approached me, and said, in a smothered voice— 
** You have destroyed the woric 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 235 

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 I do break my promise; never will 
I create another like yourself, equal in deformity 
and '^'ickedness." 

"Slave, I before reasoned with you, but you 
have proved yourself imworthy of my condescen- 
sion. Remember that I have power ; you believe 
you-rself 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 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, aftd they were 
requited by detestation and scorn. Man I you may 
hate ; but beware I 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 



236 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 inflict." 

** Devil, cease ; and do not poison the air with 
these sounds of malice. I have declared my reso- 
lution 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 wedding-night." 

I started forward and exclaimed, "Villain I be- 
fore 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 per- 
turbed, while my imagination conjured up a thou- 
sand images to torment and sting me. Why had 
I not followed him, and closed with him in mortal 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 237 

Strife? But I had suffered him to depart, and he 
had directed his course towards the mainland. I 
shuddered to think who might be the next victim 
sacrificed to his insatiate revenge. And then I 
thought again of his words — ** / will he with you 
on your wedding-night" That then was the period 
fixed for the fulfilment of my destiny. In that 
hour I should die, and at once satisfy and extin- 
guish his malice. The prospect did not move me 
to fear ; yet when I thought of my beloved Eliza- 
beth, — 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, w^earily, 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, 



2j8 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

separated from all it loved, and miserable in the 
separation. When it became noon, and the son 
rose higher, I lay down on the grass, and was 
overpowered by a deep steep. I had been awake 
tiie whole of the preceding night, my nerves were 
agitated, and my eyes inflamed by watching 
and misery. The steep 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 my- 
self, and 1 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 be- 
come 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 239 

my solitary isle, and to meet him at Perth, that 
we mig^t proceed southwards together. This 
letter in a degree recalled me to life, and I deter- 
mined to quit my island at the expiration of two 
days. 

Yet, before I departed, there was a task to per- 
form, 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 suf- 
ficient courage, and unlocked the door of my 
laboratory. The remains of tlie 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 
tlie 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 mean- 
time I sat upon the beach, employed in cleaning 
and arranging my chemical apparatus. 

Nothing could be more complete than the altera- 
tion that had taken place in my feelings since the 
night of the appearance of the daemon. I had 



240 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 selfish- 
ness ; 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 skiff, 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 24 1 

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 situa- 
tion^ 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 skiff. I found that the wind 
was north-east, and must have driven me far from 
the coast from which I had embarked. I en- 
deavoured 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 



242 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

the sea, it was to be my grave. ** Fiend," I ex- 
claimed, ** yonr task is already fiilfiikd I " 1 
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 reverie, so despairing and 
frightful, that even now, when the scene is on 
the point of closing before me for ever, 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 dread- 
ful 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 1 I constructed another sail with 
a part of my dress, and eagerly steered my course 
towards the land. It had a wild and rocky appear- 
ance ; 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 245 

which I at length saw issuing from behind a small 
promontory. As I was in a state of extreme de- 
bility, I resolved to sail directly towards the town,, 
as a place where I could most easily procure nourish- 
ment. 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 arrang- 
ing the sails, several people crowded towards the 
spot They seemed much surprised at my appear- 
ance ; but, instead of offering me any assistance, 
whispered together with gestures that at any other 
time might have produced in me a slight sensa- 
tion 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, 
I promise you." 

I was exceedingly surprised on receiving so rude 
an answer from a stranger; and I was also dis- 
concerted on perceiving the frowning and angry 
countenances of his companions. " Why do you 
answer me so roughly ? " I replied ; " surely it is 



244 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

not the custom of Englishmen to receive strangers 
so inhospitably." 

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

While this strange dialogue continued, I per- 
ceived the crowd rapidly increase. Their faces 
expressed a mixture of curiosity and anger, which 
annoyed, and in some degree alarmed me. I in- 
quired 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. Kirwin's, to give an account 
of yourself." 

"Who is Mr. Kin^nn? 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 re- 
covered 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 appre- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 24$ 

hension or conscious guilt. Little did I then expect 
the calamity that was in a few moments to over- 
whelm 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 re- 
collection. 



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, carr}'ing a part of the fishing 
tackle, and his companions followed him at some 
distance. As he was proceeding along the sands, 



246 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 sup- 
position 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 ben handsome young man, about five- 
and-twenty years of age. He had apparently been 
strangled ; for there was no sign of any vidence, 
except the black mark of fingers on his neck. 

The first part of tliis 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 fdt 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 



THE MODERN PROlilETHEUS. 247 

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, pu^ off from 
that part of the shore where the corpse was after- 
wards 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 firom 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. 



248 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 249 

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 witoesses. 

Why did I not die ? More miserable than man 
ever was before, why did I not sink into forget- 
fulness 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 J 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 fi*om a dream, in a prison, 
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 over- 
whelmed me; but when I looked around, and 



250 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

saw the barred windows, and the squalidness of 
the room in whicli I was, ail flashed across my 
memory, and I groaned bitterly. 

This sonnd disturbed an old vraman who was 
sleeping in a chair beside me. She was a hired 
nurse» the wife of one of the turnkeys, and her 
coumenance expressed all those bad qualities which 
often characterise that class. The lines of her face 
were hard and rude, hke 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 su£[eriags — 
** Are you better now, sir ? " said she, 

I replied in the same language, with a feeble 
voice, "I bdieve 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 I Ho.w- 
ever, 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 everj'body 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 cdg^ of death; but I felt 
languid, and unable to reflea on all that had 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 2$ I 

passed. The whole series of my life appeared to 
me as a dream ; I sometime^ 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 distina, 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 inte- 
rested 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 sufierings of every human creature, 
he did not wish to be present at the agonies and 
miserable ravings of a murderer. He came, there- 
fore, 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 



252 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 coun- 
tenance 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 sur- 
prising accident, on this shore, renowned for its 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 2$ 5 

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 suffer- 
ings, I also felt considerable surprise at the know- 
ledge he seemed to possess concerning me. I 
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 ilt; 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 



254 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 I take him away \ I cannot 
see him ; for God's sake do not let him enter I '* 

Mr. Kirwin regarded me with a troubled coun- 
tenance. He could not help regarding my exclama- 
tion 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 repugnance," 

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

My change of marmer surprised and pleased the 
magistrate; perhaps he thought that my former 
exclamation was a momentary return of delirium, 
and now he instamly resumed his former benevo- 
lence. 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. ^5$ 

i^'clfare, 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 I " said he, 
looking mournfully at the barred windows, and 
wretched appearance of the rooni . ** You travelled 
to seek happiness, but a fatality seems to pursue 
you. And poor Clerval " — ^ 

The name of my unlbrtunate 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 fulfil 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 ren- 
dered 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 for ever be- 
fore me, ghastly and murdered. More than once 
the agitation into which these rcfleaions threw 
me made my friends dread a dangerous relapse. 



256 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

Alas ! why did they preserve so miserable and de- 
tested a life ? It was surely that I might fulfil my 
destiny, which is now drawing to a close. Soon, 
oh ! very soon, will death extinguish these th rob- 
bings, and relieve me from the mighty weight of 
anguish that bears me to the dust ; and, in execut- 
ing 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 re- 
lapse, 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 de- 
fence. 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 2 $7 

permitted to return to my native country. I did 
not participate in these feelings; for to me the 
waUs of a dungeon or a palace were alike hateful. 
The cup of life was poisoned for ever ; and al- 
though 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 
soonvisit— of Elizabeth and Ernest; but these words 
only drew deep groans from me. Sometimes, in- 
deed, I felt a wish for happiness ; and thought, 
with melancholy delight, of my beloved cousin ; or 
longed, with a devouring mdladie 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 inter- 
rupted 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 

(31) I 



258 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

me from committing some dreadful act of vio- 
lence. 

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 con- 
cealment, 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 witli 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 tlie vessel 
in which I was, the wind that blew me from the 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 2 $9 

detested shore of Ireland, and the sea which sur- 
rounded me, told me too forcibly that I was deceived 
by no vision, and that Clerval, ray 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 ray 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 thou- 
sand 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. To- 
wards morning I was possessed by a kind of night- 
mare; 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, 



26o FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

a feeling that a truce was established between the 
present hour and the irresistible, disastrous future, 
imparted to me a kind of calm forgetfuhiess, of 
which the human mind is by its structure peculiarly 
susceptible. 



CHAPTER XXII. 

The voyage came to an end. We landed, and pro- 
ceeded 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 atten- 
tions 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 I 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 joy 
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 I 

My father yielded at length to my desire to avoid 
society, and strove by various arguments to banish 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 26 1 

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 I 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 Jus- 
tine, 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 explana- 
tion, 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 
for ever 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 sym- 
pathy, and was silent when I would have given 
the world to have confided the fatal secret. Yet 



262 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

Still words like those I have recorded, would burst 
uncontrollably from me. I could oflFer no explana- 
tion of them ; but their truth in part relieved tlie 
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 opera- 
tions, 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, ray 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 in- 
stantly changed the subject of our conversation, and 
endeavoured to alter the course of my thoughts. 
He wished as much as possible to obliterate the 
memory of the scenes that had taken placein 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 tlie consciousness of them. 
By the utmost self-violence, 1 curbed the imperious 



THE MODERN P&OMETUEUS. 26^ 

voice of wretchedness, which sometimes desired ta 
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 ta 
Swiuerland, 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 ; youare 
no longer at a formidable distance, and 1 may hope to see 
you in less than a fortnight. My poor cousin, how much 
you must have suffered t I expect to see you looking 
even more ill than when 3'ou 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 I you may possibly say ; what can Eliza- 
beth 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 pro- 
bability 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. 



264 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

** You well know, Victor, that our union had 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 toke place . We were 
affectionate playfellows during childhood, and, I believe, 
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 hap- 
piness, with simple truth— Do you not love another? 

" 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 fulfil 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 airy 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 eter- 
nally 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 dis. 
interested an afl'ection for you, may increase your miseries 
tenfold, by being an obstacle to your wishes . Ah 1 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 265 

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 to- 
morrow, 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 sniile on your lips 
when we meet, occasioned by this or any other exertion 
of mine, I shall need no other happiness. 

"Elizabeth Lavenza. 

** Geneva, May x8, 17—." 

This letter revived in my memory what I had 
before forgotten, the threat of the fiend— " /wxV/ 
"be with you on your wedding night I " 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 deter- 
mined 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 I 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. 



266 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

Sweet and beloved Elizabeth I I read and re- 
read her letter, and some softened feelings stole 
into my heart, and dared to whisper paradisiacal 
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 in- 
evitable ; 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 ine on my ufeddittg 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 enuncia- 
tion of his threats. I resolved, therefore, that if 
my immediate union with my cousin would con- 
duce 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, 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 267 

Elizabeth, a dreadful one ; when revealed to yoa, 
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, 
nay 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 comply." 

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 
jendure. 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 



268 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 bom to replace 
those of whom we have been so cruelly de- 
prived." 

Such were the lessons of my father. But to 
me the remembrance of the threat returned : nor 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 269 

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 threat- 
ened 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 cheer- 
ful countenance, agreed with my father, that if 
my cousin would consent, the ceremony should 
take place in ten days, and thus put, as I ima- 
gined, 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 countr}', and wandered 
a friendless outcast over the earth, than have 
consented to this miserable marriage. But, as 
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 



270 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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; con- 
gratulatory visits were received ; and all wore a 
smiling appearance. I shut up, as well as I could, 
in my own heart the anxiety tliat 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 beauti- 
ful 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 27 1 

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 fulfil 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 commence 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 durftig 
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, some- 
times on one side of the lake, where we saw Mont 
Sal^ve, the pleasant banks of Montal^gre, 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 



272 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 sorrow- 
ful, 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 swim- 
ming in the clear waters, where we can distinguish 
every pebble that lies at the bottoni. What a divine 
day I how happy and serene all nature appears I " 

Thus Elizabeth endeavoured to diverther thoughts 
and mine from all reflection upon melancholy sub- 
jects. 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 MODERN PROMETHEUS. 273 

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 transi- 
tory light, and then retired to the inn, and contem- 
plated the lovely scene of waters, woods, and 
mountains, obscured in darkness, yet still displa5^ing 
their black outlines. 

The wind, which had fallen in the south, now 
rose with great violence in the west. The moon 



274 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

had reached her summit in the heavens^ and was 
beginning to descend ; the clouds swept across it 
swifter than the flight of the vuhure, 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 watch- 
ful, while my right hand 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 some- 
thing 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 I peace, peace, my love," replied I, " this 
night, and all will be safe : but this night is dread- 
ful, 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. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 275. 

She left me, and I continued ?ome time walking 
up and down the passages of the house, and in- 
specting every comer 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 
Ehzabeth 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 dis- 
torted features half covered by her hair. Every- 
where I turn I see the same figure — her bloodless^ 
arms and relaxed form flung by the murderer oh 
its bridal bier. Could I behold this, and live? 
Alas I 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 



276 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 MODERN PROMETHEUS. 277 

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 com- 
panions believing it to have been a form conjured 
up by my fancy. After having landed, they pro- 
ceeded 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 ex- 
haustion ; 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 wan- 
dered round the room^ as if to seek something 
that I had lost. 

After an interval, I arose, as if by instinct, and 
crawled into the room where the corpse of my be- 
loved 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 



^78 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

only remaining friends were safe from die malig- 
nity 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 every hope of future happiness : 



^f- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 279 

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 e5res wandered in vacancy, for they 
had lost their charm and their delight — his Eliza- 
beth, 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 wretched- 
ness ! 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, 



280 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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. Melan- 
choly 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 habi- 
tation. 

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 ; 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 28 1 

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 own hedrt a resolution to pursue 
pay destroyer to death ; and this purpose quieted 
my agony, and for an interval reconciled me to 
life. I now related my history, briefly, but \^nth 
firmness and precision, marking the dates with 
accuracy, and never deviating into invective or 
exclamation. 

The magistrate appeared at first perfectly in- 
credulous, 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." 



2^2 FRANKENSTEIN; OER, 

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 aflford yon every aid in your 
pursuit; but the creature of whom yoo 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 siiKe 
the ccHxmiission of his crimes^ and no one can 
cofl}ecture to what place he has wandered, or what 
region he may now inhabit." 

** 1 do not doubt tliat he hovers near the spot 
which I inhabit ; and if he has indeed taken reliige 
in the Alps, he may be hunted Kke the chamois^ 
and destroyed as a beast of prey. But I percdve 
your thoughts: you do not credit my narrative, 
and do not intend to pursue my enemy with the 
punislmient which is his desert,** 

As I spoke, rage sparkled in my e)res ; tlie magis- 
trate was intimidated. " You are mistaken," said 
he, "1 will exert mysdf ; and if it is in my power 
to seize the monster, be assured that he sliall suffer 
punishment proportionate to his crimes. But I 
fear, from what you have yourself described to be 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 2S3 

his properties, that this will prove impracticable ; 
and thus, while every proper measure is pursued, 
you should make up 3'our mind to disappoint- 
ment." 

"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 destruc- 
tion." 

I trembled with excess of agitation as I said 
this ; there was a freiuy in my manner, and some- 
thing, 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 occu- 
pied 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 I Cease; you know not 
what it is you say." 

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



284 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 



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 for 
ever ; my country, which, when I was happy 
and beloved, was dear to me, now, in my adver- 
sity, 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 coun- 
tries, 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 w*andered many hours round the 
confines of the town, uncertain what path I should 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 28$ 

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 
mourner. 

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 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 for ever. And I call 
on you, spirits of the dead ; and on you, wander- 
ing ministers of vengeance, to aid and conduct me 



286 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

in my work. Let the cursed and hellish monster 
drink deep of agony ; let him feel the despair that 
now torments me." 

I had began my adjuration 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 con- 
cluded, and rage choked my utterance. 

I was answered through the stillness of the 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 satis- 
fied : miserable wretch I 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 Rlione, but vainly. The blue 
Mediterranean appeared ; and, by a strange chance, 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 287 

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 ^ilds of Tartary and Russia, 
although he still evaded me, I have ever followed 
in bis track. Sometimes the peasants, scared by 
diis horrid apparition, informed me of his path ; 
sometimes be 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 liave felt, and still feel? 
Cold, want, and fatigue, were the least pains 
which I was destined tt> 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 tlie 
country ate ; but I will not doubt that it was set 
there by the spirits that I had invoked to aid me. 
Oft«i, when all was dry, the heavens cloudless, 
and I was parched by thirst, a slight cloud would 



288 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 fulfil 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 enjoy- 
ing health and youth. Often, when wearied by 
a toilsome march, I persuaded myself that I was 
dreaming until night should come, and that I 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 289 

should then enjoy reality in the arms of my dearest 
friends. What agonising fondness did I feel for 
them 1 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 can- 
not 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 ever- 
lasting 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, my 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 

(31) ^ 



.^90 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

•even now prepare for me the reward of my tedious 
toil and horrible pilgrimage I 

As I still pursued my journey to the northward, 
the snows thickened, and the cold increased in a 
d^ree 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 main- 
tenance. 

The triumph of my enemy increased with the 
-difficulty of my labours. One inscription that he 
left was in these words: — "Prepare I 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 dis- 
tance, and formed the utmost boundary of the 
horizon. Oh I 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 
^nd ruggedness. The Greeks wept for joy when 
they beheld the Mediterranean from the hills of 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 29 1 

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 hipi. 

Some weeks before this period I had procured 
a sledge and dogs, and thus traversed tlie snowls 
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 
before, 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 



292 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

the breaking of the ice, or frozen by the eternal 
frosts. 

On hearing this information, I suffered a tem- 
porary 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 sur- 
vive. Yet at the idea that the fiend should live 
and be triumphant, my rage and vengeance re- 
tumed, 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 pur- 
chasing 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 retribu- 
tion buming 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 con- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 293 

sumed, I should guess that I had passed three 
weeks in this journey ; and the continual protrac- 
tion 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 con- 
veyed me had with incredible toil gained the 
summit of a sloping ice-mountain, and one, sink- 
ing 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 distin- 
guished 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 emo- 
tions that oppressed me, I wept aloud. 

But this was not the time for delay : I disen- 
cumbered 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 continuecf 
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 



294 FRANKENSTEIK ; OR, 

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 1 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 vnth 
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 astounded 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 295. 

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 I 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 sur- 
vive 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 fiendlike malice. Hear him not ; call on the 
names of William, Justine, Clerval, Elizabeth, my 
fath^, and of the wretched Victor, and thrust your 
. sword into his heart. I will hover near, and direct 
the steel aright. 



296 FRANKEKSTEIN ; OR, 

WaltoNi in continuation, 

August 26, 17 — , 

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 diflSculty 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 com- 
manded 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 sud- 
denly change to an expression of the wildest 
rage, as he shrieked out imprecations on his per- 
secutor. 

His tale is connected, and told with an appear- 
ance 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 297 

I endeavoured to gain from Frankenstein the par- 
ticulars 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 demoniacal enemy? Peace, peace I 
learn my miseries, and do not seek to increase 
your own." 

Frankenstein discovered that I made notes con- 
cerning 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 I 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 off- 
spring of solitude and delirium : he belfeves, that, 
when in dreams he holds converse with his friends, 

K2 



298 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

and derives from that communion consolation for 
his miseries, or excitements to his vengeance, that 
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 know- 
ledge, and a quick and piercing apprehension. 
His eloquence is forcible and touching ; nor can I 
hear 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 I 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 judg- 
ment 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, I could not rank 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 299 

myself with the herd of common projectors. Bat 
this thought, which supported me in the com- 
mencement of my career, now serves only to 
piunge 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 in- 
tense ; 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 degra- 
dation. Despondency rarely visited my heart ; a 
high destiny seemed to bear me on, until I fell, 
never, never again to rise." 

Af ust 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 re- 
pulses the idea. 

**I thank you, Walton," he said, **for your 
kind intentions towards so miserable a wretch ; 



300 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

but when you speak of new ties, and fresh affec- 
tions, 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 infantine dispositions, which, how- 
ever 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 fulfil 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 die." 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 3OI 

September 2. 

My Beloved Sister, — I write to )'ou, encom- 
passed 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 moun- 
tains 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 com- 
panions, 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 I 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 ten- 
derest 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 



302 FRANKENSTEIN; OR^ 

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-hUls, 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 tliis despair. 

September 5. 

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 enter- 
tained of a mutiny. This morning, as I sat 
watching the wan countenance of my friend — his 
eyes half closed, and his limbs hanging listlessly. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 3O3 

— 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 en- 
gage 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 possi- 
bility, 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 mo- 
mentary vigour. Turning towards the men, he 
said — ''What do you mean? What do you de- 
mand 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 



304 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

pladd as a southern sea, but because it was full of 
dangers and terror: because, at every new inci- 
dent, 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 bene- 
fit 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 your- 
selves 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 with- 
stand 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 305 

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 con- 
trary : 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 pur- 
pose 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 7. 

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 12. 

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 



306 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 my unfortunate guest, 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 sprang from the west, and on the nth the 
passage towards the south became perfectly free. 
When the sailors saw this, and that their return 
to their native country w^as 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 tliis, 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 307 

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 Hfe 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 certainly 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 I 
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, Walton, 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 crea- 
ture, 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 



308 FRAXKENSTEIM ; OR, 

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 sen- 
sations, happiness, and wisdom ; nor do I know 
where this thirst for vengeance may end. Miser- 
able 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 under- 
take my unfinished work ; and I renew this re- 
quest now, when I am only induced by reason 
and virtue. 

"Yet I cannot ask you to renounce your 
country and friends to fulfil this task, and now 
that you are remming to England, you will have 
little chance of meeting with him. But the con- 
sideration 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 309 

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 succeed." 

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 for 
ever, 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 disappoint- 
ment. But I journey towards England, and I may 
there find consolation. 

I am interrupted. What do these sounds por- 
tend? 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. 



310 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 involun- 
tarily, 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, 
^gain 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 I " he exclaimed : " in 
his murder my crimes are consummated ; the 
miserable series of my being is wound to its 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 3II 

close ! Oh, Frankenstein I 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 lovedst. 
Alas ! he is cold, he cannot answer me." 

His voice seemed suffocated ; and my first im- 
pulses, which had suggested to me the duty of 
obeying the dying request of my friend, in destroy- 
ing 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 
Kved." 

"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 



312 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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, heart-broken 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 happi- 
ness; that while he accumulated wretchedness 
and despair upon me, he sought his own enjoy- 
ment in feelings and passions from the indulgence 
of which I was for ever 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 accom- 
plished. 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 I — 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 demoniacal de- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 313 

sign 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 Franken- 
stein 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 re- 
kindled within me. ** Wretch 1" I said, "it is 
well that you come here to whine over the desola- 
tion that you have made. You throw a torch 
into a pile of buildings ; and, when they are con- 
sumed, 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 is not thus — not thus," interrupted the 
being; **yet such must be the impression con- 
veyed 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 



314 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 meartest 
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 transr 
cendent 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 frieiid, seem 
to have a knowledge of my crimes and his mis- 
fortunes. But in the detail which he gave you of 
them, he could not sum up the hours and months 
of misery which 1 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 ; stilll desired love and fellow- 
ship, and I was still spurned. Was there no 
injustice in this? Am i to be thought the only 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 315 

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 
inmiaculate beings I I, the miserable and the 
abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and 
kicked, and trampled on. Even now my Wood 
boils at the recollection of this injustice. 

"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 ; I 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. 



3l6 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 aflford 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, y^hen 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 war- 
bling of the birds, and these were all to me, I 
should have wept to die ; now it is my only con- 
solation. Polluted by crimes, and torn 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 wiU ever behold. 
Farewell, Frankenstein I 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS, 317 

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 hadst 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 ever. 

*'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 trium- 
phantly, 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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