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Full text of "Frankenstein, or, The modern Prometheus"

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Presented to the 
LIBRARY of the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

by 

Mrs . Andrew Kellogg 




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FRANKENSTEIN 



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INTRODUCTION. IX 

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 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 ? I 
was asked each morning, and each morning I was 
forced to reply with a mortifying negative. 

Every thing 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 ele- 
phant stand upon a tortoise. Invention, it must be 
humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of 
void, 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 egg. 
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 




X INTRODUCTION. 

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 pre- 
served a piece of vermicelli in a glass case, till by some 
extraordinary means it began to move with voluntary 
motion. Not thus, after all, would life be given. Per- 
haps a corpse would be re-animated ; galvanism had 
given token of such things: perhaps the component 
parts of a creature might be manufactured, brought to- 
gether, and endued with vital warmth. 

Night waned upon this talk, and even the witching 
hour had gone by, before 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 un- 
hallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put 
together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man 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 mechanism of the Creator of the world. 
His success would terrify the artist; he would rush 
away from his odious handywork, horror-stricken. He 
would hope that, left to itself, the slight spark of life 
which he had communicated 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 



INTRODUCTION. XI 

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 cur- 
tains, and looking on him with yellow, watery, but 
speculative eyes. 

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 could not so 
easily get rid of my hideous phantom ; still it haunted 
me. I must try to think of something else. I recurred 
to my ghost story, my tiresome unlucky ghost story! 
O ! 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 1 What terrified me will 
terrify others ; and I need only describe the spectre 
which had haunted my midnight pillow." On the mor- 
row I announced that I had thought of a story. I began 
that day with the words, It was on a dreary night of No- 
vember, 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 develope the idea at greater 
length. I certainly did not owe the suggestion of one 
incident, nor scarcely of one train of feeling, to my hus- 
band, 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. 



Xll INTRODUCTION. 

And now, once again, I bid my hideous progeny go 
forth and prosper. I have an affection 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 
many a conversation, when I was not alone ; and my com- 
panion was one who, in this world, I shall never see 
more. But this is for myself ; my readers have nothing 
to do with these associations. 

1 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 circumstances. 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. 
Throughout 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 1 5. 1831. 



PREFACE. 



THE event on which this fiction is founded, has been 
supposed, by Dr. Darwin, and some of the physiological 
writers of Germany, as not of impossible occurrence. I 
shall not be supposed as according the remotest degree of 
serious faith to such an imagination ; yet, in assuming it 
as the basis of a work of fancy, I have not considered my- 
self 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 en- 
chantment. It was recommended by the novelty of the 
situations which it developes ; and, however impossible as 
a physical fact, affords a point of view to the imagination 
for the delineating of human passions more comprehensive 
and commanding than any which the ordinary relations of 
existing events can yield. 

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

The circumstance on which my story rests was suggested 
in casual conversation. It was commenced partly as a 
source of amusement, and partly as an expedient for exer- 
cising any untried resources of mind. Other motives were 



Z PBEFACHSJ. 

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 enervating effects of 
the novels of the present day, and to the exhibition of the 
amiableness of domestic affection, and the excellence of 
universal virtue. The opinions which naturally spring 
from the character and situation of the hero are by no 
means to be conceived as existing always in my own con- 
viction j nor is any inference justly to be drawn from the 
following pages as prejudicing any philosophical doctrine of 
whatever kind. 

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



FRANKENSTEIN ; 



OR, 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 



LETTER I. 

To Mrs. Saville, England. 

St. Petersburgh, Dec. llth, 17. 

You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied 
the commencement of an enterprise which you have re- 
garded 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 j and as I walk in the 
streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play 
upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves, and fills me 
with delight. Do you understand this feeling ? This breeze, 
which has travelled from the regions towards which I am 
advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy climes. In- 
spirited by this wind of promise, my day dreams become 
more fervent and vivid. I try in vain to be persuaded that 
the pole is the seat of frost and desolation ; it ever presents 
itself to my imagination as the region of beauty and de- 
light. There, Margaret, the sun is for ever visible; its 
broad disk just skirting the horizon, and diffusing a per- 
petual 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 discovered on the habitable 
globe. Its productions and features may be without ex- 
B 2 



4 FRANKENSTEIN ; OB, 

ample, 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 dis- 
cover the wondrous power which attracts the needle ; and 
may regulate a thousand celestial observations, that require 
only this voyage to render their seeming eccentricities con- 
sistent 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 the foot of 
man. These are my enticements, and they are sufficient 
to conquer all fear of danger or death, and to induce me 
to commence this laborious voyage with the joy a child 
feels when he embarks in a little boat,, with his holiday mates, 
on an expedition of discovery up his native river. But, 
supposing all these conjectures to be false, you cannot con- 
test the inestimable benefit which I shall confer on all 
mankind to the last generation, by discovering a passage 
near the pole to those countries, to reach which at present 
so many months are requisite ; or by ascertaining the secret 
of the magnet, which, if at all possible, can only be effected 
by an undertaking such as mine. 

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

These visions faded when I perused, for the first time, 
those poets whose effusions entranced my soul, and lifted 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 5 

it to heaven. I also became a poet, and for one year lived 
in a Paradise of my own creation ; 1 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 
disappointment. But just at that time I inherited the for- 
tune 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 com- 
menced 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 my- 
self 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 ear- 
nestness ; so valuable did he consider my services. 

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

This is the most favourable period for travelling in 
Russia. They fly quickly over the snow in their sledges ; 
the motion is pleasant, and, in my opinion, far more agree- 
able than that of an English stage-coach. The cold is not 
excessive, if you are wrapped in furs, a dress which I have 

B 3 



6 FRANKENSTEIN j OR, 

already adopted ; for there is a great difference between 
walking the deck and remaining seated motionless for hours, 
when no exercise prevents the blood from actually freezing 
in your veins. I have no ambition to lose my life on the 
post-road between St. Petersburgh and Archangel. 

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

Archangel, 28th March, 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 col- 
lecting my sailors ; those whom I have already engaged, 
appear to be men on whom I can depend, and are certainly 
possessed of dauntless courage. 

But I have one want which I have never yet been able 
to satisfy ; and the absence of the object of which I now 
feel as a most severe evil. I have no friend, Margaret : 
when I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there 
will be none to participate my joy ; if I am assailed by 
disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in 
dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is 
true j but that is a poor medium for the communication of 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 7 

feeling. I desire the company of a man who could sym- 
pathise with me ; whose eyes would reply to mine. You 
may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly feel 
the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle yet 
courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a capacious 
mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve or amend 
my plans. How would such a friend repair the faults of 
your poor brother ! I am too ardent in execution, and too 
impatient of difficulties. But it is a still greater evil to me 
that I am self-educated : for the first fourteen years of my 
life I ran wild on a common, and read nothing but our 
uncle Thomas's books of voyages. At that age I became 
acquainted with the celebrated poets of our own country ; 
but it was only when it had ceased to be in my power to 
derive its most important benefits from such a conviction, 
that I perceived the necessity of becoming acquainted with 
more languages than that of my native country. Now I 
am twenty-eight, and am in reality more illiterate than 
many schoolboys of fifteen. It is true that I have thought 
more, and that my day dreams are more extended and 
magnificent; but they want (as the painters call it) keeping ; 
and I greatly need a friend who would have sense enough 
not to despise me as romantic, and affection enough for me 
to endeavour to regulate my mind. 

Well, these are useless complaints ; I shall certainly find 
no friend on the wide ocean, nor even here in Archangel, 
among merchants and seamen. Yet some feelings, un- 
allied to the dross of human nature, beat even in these 
rugged bosoms. My lieutenant, for instance, is a man of 
wonderful courage and enterprise ; he is madly desirous of 
glory : or rather, to word my phrase more characteristically, 
of advancement in his profession. He is an Englishman, 
and in the midst of national and professional prejudices, 
unsoftened by cultivation, retains some of the noblest en- 
dowments of humanity. I first became acquainted with 
him on board a whale vessel : finding that he was unem- 
ployed 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 mild- 
B 4 



8 FRANKENSTEIN ; OH, 

ness 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 can- 
not overcome an intense distaste to the usual brutality ex- 
ercised 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 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 mo- 
derate fortune ; and having amassed a considerable sum in 
prize-money, the father of the girl consented to the match. 
He saw his mistress once before the destined ceremony ; 
but she was bathed in tears, and, throwing herself at his 
feet, entreated him to spare her, confessing at the same time 
that she loved another, but that he was poor, and that her 
father would never consent to the union. My generous 
friend reassured the suppliant, and on being informed of 
the name of her lover, instantly abandoned his pursuit. 
He had already bought a farm with his money, on which 
he had designed to pass the remainder of his life ; but he 
bestowed the whole on his rival, together with the remains 
of his prize-money to purchase stock, and then himself so- 
licited the young woman's father to consent to her marriage 
with her lover. But the old man decidedly refused, think- 
ing himself bound in honour to my friend ; who, when he 
found the father inexorable, quitted his country, nor re- 
turned until he heard that his former mistress was married 
according to her inclinations. " What a noble fellow ! " 
you will exclaim. He is so ; but then he is wholly un- 
educated : he is as silent as a Turk, and a kind of ignorant 
carelessness attends him, which, while it renders his con- 
duct 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 9 

may never know, that I am wavering in my resolutions. 
Those are as fixed as fate ; and my voyage is only now 
delayed until the weather shall permit my embarkation. 
The winter has been dreadfully severe ; but the spring 
promises well, and it is considered as a remarkably early 
season j so that perhaps I may sail sooner than I expected. 
I shall do nothing rashly : you know me sufficiently to 
confide in my prudence and considerateness, whenever the 
safety of others is committed to my care. 

I cannot describe to you my sensations on the near 
prospect of my undertaking. It is impossible to communi- 
cate to you a conception of the trembling sensation, half 
pleasurable and half fearful, with which I am preparing to 
depart. I am going to unexplored regions, to ee the land of 
mist and snow j" 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 woful as the fc Ancient Mariner ? " You 
wih 1 smile at my allusion ; but I will disclose a secret. I 
have often attributed my attachment to, my passionate 
enthusiasm for, the dangerous mysteries of ocean, to that 
production of the most imaginative of modern poets. 
There is something at work in my soul, which I do not 
understand. I am practically industrious 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, intertwined in all my projects, which 
hurries me out of the common pathways of men, even to 
the wild sea and unvisited regions I am about to explore. 

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

Your affectionate brother, 

ROBERT WALTON. 



10 FRANKENSTEIN j OB, 

LETTER III. 
To Mrs. Saville, England. 

MY DEAR SISTER, Jul y 7th ' 17 

I WRITE a few lines in haste, to say that I am safe, and 
well advanced on my voyage. This letter will reach Eng- 
land by a merchantman now on its homeward voyage from 
Archangel ; more fortunate than I, who may not see my 
native land, perhaps, for many years. I am, however, in 
good spirits : my men are bold, and apparently firm of pur- 
pose ; 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 sum- 
mer, 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 renovat- 
ing 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 spring- 
ing 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. Wherefore 
not ? Thus far I have gone, tracing a secure way over the 
pathless seas : the very stars themselves being witnesses and 
testimonies of my triumph. Why not still proceed over 
the untamed yet obedient element? What can stop the 
determined heart and resolved will of man ? 

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

R. W. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 11 

LETTER IV. 

To Mrs, Savitte, England. 

August 5th, 17 . 

So strange an accident has happened to us, that I cannot 
forhear recording it, although it is very probable that you 
will see me before these papers can come into your pos- 
session. 

Last Monday (July 3 1st),, we were nearly surrounded 
by ice, which closed in the ship on all sides, scarcely leav- 
ing her the sea-room in which she floated. Our situation 
was somewhat dangerous, especially as we were compassed 
round by a very thick fog. We accordingly lay to, hoping 
that some change would take place in the atmosphere and 
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 com- 
rades groaned, and my own mind began to grow watchful 
with anxious thoughts, when a strange sight suddenly 
attracted our attention, and diverted our solicitude from 
our own situation. We perceived a low carriage, fixed on 
a sledge and drawn by dogs, pass on towards the north, at 
the distance of half a mile : a being which had the shape 
of a man, but apparently of gigantic stature, sat in the 
sledge, and guided the dogs. We watched the rapid pro- 
gress of the traveller with our telescopes, until he was lost 
among the distant inequalities of the ice. 

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

About two hours after this occurrence, we heard the 
ground sea ; and before night the ice broke, and freed our 
ship. We, however, lay to until the morning, fearing to 



12 FRANKENSTEIN; on, 

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 inhabitant of some undiscovered island, but an 
European. When I appeared on deck, the master said, 
" Here is our captain, and he will not allow you to perish 
on the open sea." 

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

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

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



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 13 

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 tor- 
mented by their idle curiosity, in a state of body and mind 
whose restoration evidently depended upon entire repose. 
Once, however, the lieutenant asked, Why he had come so 
far upon the ice in so strange a vehicle ? 

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

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

Yes." 

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

This aroused the stranger's attention; and he asked a 
multitude of questions concerning the route which the dae- 
mon, 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 enquiries." 

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



14 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 13th, 17 . 

My affection for my guest increases every day. He ex- 
cites at once my admiration and my pity to an astonishing 
degree. How can I see so noble a creature destroyed by 
misery, without feeling the most poignant grief? He is so 






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 15 

gentle, yet so wise ; his mind is so cultivated ; and when he 
speaks, although his words are culled with the choicest art, 
yet they flow with rapidity and unparalleled eloquence. 

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

Such words, you may imagine, strongly excited my cu- 
riosity; 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 : 



1 6 FRANKENSTEIN j OR, 

but it awakened various trains of reflection. I spoke of my 
desire of finding a friend of my thirst for a more intimate 
sympathy with a fellow mind than had ever fallen to my 
lot ; and expressed my conviction that a man could boast 
of little happiness, who did not enjoy this blessing. 

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

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

Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more 
deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry 
sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful 
regions, 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 concerning 
this divine wanderer ? You would not, if you saw him. 
You have been tutored and refined by books and retirement 
from the world, and you are, therefore, somewhat fastidious ; 
but this only renders you the more fit to appreciate the 
extraordinary merits of this wonderful man. Sometimes I 
have endeavoured to discover what quality it is which he 
possesses, that elevates him so immeasurably above any 
other person I ever knew. I believe it to be an intuitive 
discernment ; a quick but never- failing power of judg- 
ment ; a penetration into the causes of things, unequalled 
for clearness and precision ; add to this a facility of ex- 
pression, and a voice whose varied intonations are soul-sub- 
duing music. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 17 

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

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

" T thank you," he replied, " for your sympathy, but 
it'is useless; my fate is nearly fulfilled. I wait but for 
one event, and then I shall repose in peace. I understand 
your feeling," continued he, perceiving that I wished to 
interrupt him ; " but you are mistaken, my friend, if thus 
you will allow me to name you ; nothing can alter my des- 
tiny : listen to my history, and you will perceive how 
irrevocably it is determined." 
c 



18 



FRANKENSTEIN ! OB, 



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



CHAPTER I. 

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

As the circumstances of his marriage illustrate his cha- 
racter, I cannot refrain from relating them. One of his 
most intimate friends was a merchant, who, from a flou- 
rishing state, fell, through numerous mischances, into po- 
verty. 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. 1Q 

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 wretched- 
ness. My father loved Beaufort with the truest friendship, 
and was deeply grieved by his retreat in these unfortunate 
circumstances. He bitterly deplored the false pride which 
led his friend to a conduct so little worthy of the affection 
that united them. He lost no time in endeavouring to seek 
him out, with the hope of persuading him to begin the 
world again through his credit and 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 
provide him with sustenance for some months, and in the 
mean time he hoped to procure some respectable employ- 
ment 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 ex- 
ertion. 

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

Several months passed in this manner. Her father grew 
worse ; her time was more entirely occupied in attending 
him ; her means of subsistence decreased ; and in the tenth 
month her father died in her arms, leaving her an orphan 
and a beggar. This last blow overcame her ; and she knelt 
by Beaufort's coffin, weeping bitterly, when my father en- 
tered the chamber. He came like a protecting spirit to the 
c 2 



20 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 dis- 
posed to set a greater value on tried worth. There was a 
show of gratitude and worship in his attachment to my 
mother, differing wholly from the doating fondness of age, 
for it was inspired by reverence for her virtues, and a 
desire to be the means of, in some degree, recompensing 
her for the sorrows she had endured, but which gave in- 
expressible grace to his behaviour to her. Every thing 
was made to yield to her wishes and her convenience. He 
strove to shelter her, as a fair exotic is sheltered by the 
gardener, from every rougher wind, and to surround her 
with all that could tend to excite pleasurable emotion in 
her soft and benevolent mind. Her health, and even the 
tranquillity of her hitherto constant spirit, had been shaken 
by what she had gone through. During the two years that 
had elapsed previous to their marriage my father had 
gradually relinquished all his public functions; and imme- 
diately after their union they sought the pleasant climate 
of Italy, and the change of scene and interest attendant on 
a tour through that land of wonders, as a restorative for her 
weakened frame. 

From Italy they visited Germany and France. I, their 
eldest child, was born at Naples, and as an infant accom- 
panied them in their rambles. I remained for several years 
their only child. Much as they were attached to each 
other, they seemed to draw inexhaustible stores of affection 
from a very mine of love to bestow them upon me. My 
mother's tender caresses, and my father's smile of benevolent 
pleasure while regarding me, are my first recollections. I 
was their plaything and their idol, and something better 



THE 3IODERN PROMETHEUS. 21 

their child, the innocent and helpless creature hestowed 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 
benevolent disposition often made them enter the cottages 
of the poor. This, to my mother, was more than a duty ; 
it was a necessity, a passion, remembering what she had 
suffered, and how she had been relieved, for her to act in 
her turn the guardian angel to the afflicted. During one 
of their walks a poor cot in the foldings of a vale attracted 
their notice, as being singularly disconsolate, while the 
number of half-clothed children gathered about it, spoke of 
penury in its worst shape. One day, when my father had 
gone by himself to 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 mould- 
ing 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. 

c 3 



22 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 nobleman. Her mother was a 
German, and had died on giving her birth. The infant 
had been placed with these good people to nurse : they 
were better off then. They had not been long married,, 
and their eldest child was but just born. The father of 
their charge was one of those Italians nursed in the me- 
mory of the antique glory of Italy, one among the schiavi 
ognor frementi, who exerted himself to obtain the 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 was confiscated, his 
child became an orphan and a beggar. She continued with 
her foster parents, and bloomed in their rude abode, fairer 
than a garden rose among dark-leaved brambles. 

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

Every one loved Elizabeth. The passionate and almost 
reverential attachment with which all regarded her became, 
while I shared it, my pride and my delight. On the evening 
previous to her being brought to my home, my mother had 
said playfully, " I have a pretty present for my Victor- 
to-morrow he shall have it." And when, on the morrow, 
she presented Elizabeth to me as her promised gift, I, with 
childish seriousness, interpreted her words literally, and 
looked upon Elizabeth as mine mine to protect, love, and 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 23 

cherish. All praises bestowed on her, I received as made 
to a possession of my own. We called each other fami- 
liarly by the name of cousin. No word, no expression 
could body forth the kind of relation in which she stood to 
me my more than sister,, since till death she was to be 
mine only. 



CHAPTER II. 

WE were brought up together ; there was not quite a year 
difference in our ages. I need not say that we were 
strangers to any species of disunion or dispute. Harmony 
was the soul of our companionship, and the diversity and con- 
trast that subsisted in our characters drew us nearer toge- 
ther. Elizabeth was of a calmer and more concentrated dis- 
position; 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 
wondrous scenes which surrounded our Swiss home -{ 
sublime shapes of the mountains ; the changes of the sea- 
sons; 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 mag- 
nificent appearances of things, I delighted in investigating 
their causes. The world was to me a secret which I de- 
sired 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 






24 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

the lives of my parents were passed in considerable seclu- 
sion. It was my temper to avoid a crowd,, and to attach 
myself fervently to a few. I was indifferent, therefore., to 
my schoolfellows in general ; but I united myself in the 
bonds of the closest friendship to one among them. Henry 
Clerval was the son of a merchant of Geneva. He was a 
boy of singular talent and fancy. He loved enterprise, 
hardship, and even danger, for its own sake. He was 
deeply read in books of chivalry and romance. He com- 
posed heroic songs, and began to write many a tale of 
enchantment and knightly adventure. He tried to make 
us act plays, and to enter into masquerades, in which the 
characters were drawn from the heroes of Roncesvalles, of 
the Round Table of King Arthur, and the chivalrous train 
who shed their blood to redeem the holy sepulchre from 
the hands of the infidels. 

No human being could have passed a happier childhood 
than myself. My parents were possessed by the very spirit 
of kindness and indulgence. We felt that they were not 
the tyrants to rule our lot according to their caprice, but 
the agents and creators of all the many delights which we 
er/]-oyed. When I mingled with other families, I distinctly 
discerned how peculiarly fortunate my lot was, and grati- 
tude assisted the developement of filial love. 
- My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions ve- 
hement ; but by some law in my temperature they were 
turned, not towards childish pursuits, but to an eager de- 
sire to learn, and not to learn all things indiscriminately. 
I confess that neither the structure of languages, nor the 
code of governments, nor the politics of various states, 
possessed attractions for me. It was the secrets of heaven 
and earth that I desired to learn ; and whether it was the 
outward substance of things, or the inner spirit of nature 
and the mysterious soul of man that occupied me, still my 
enquiries were directed to the metaphysical, or, in its high- 
est sense, the physical secrets of the world. 

Meanwhile Clerval occupied himself, so to speak, with 
the moral relations of things. The busy stage of life, the 
virtues of heroes, and the actions of men, were his theme ; 
and his hope and his dream was to become one among those 



THE MODERN PR031ETHEUS. 25 

whose names are recorded in story, as the gallant and ad- 
venturous benefactors of our species. The saintly soul of 
Elizabeth shone like a shrine-dedicated lamp in our peace- 
ful home. Her sympathy was ours ; her smile, her soft 
voice, the sweet glance of her celestial eyes, were ever there 
to bless and animate us. She was the living spirit of love 
to soften and attract : I might have become sullen in my 
study, rough through the ardour of my nature, but that she 
was there to subdue me to a semblance of her own gentle- 
ness. And Clerval could aught ill entrench on the noble 
spirit of Clerval? yet he might not have been so per- 
fectly humane, so thoughtful in his generosity so full of 
kindness and tenderness amidst his passion for adventurous 
exploit, had she not unfolded to him the real loveliness of 
beneficence, and made the doing good the end and aim of 
his soaring ambition. 

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

Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my 
fate j I desire, therefore, in this narration, to state those 
facts which led to my predilection for that science. When 
I was thirteen years of age, we all went on a party of 
pleasure to the baths near Thonon : the inclemency of the 
weather obliged us to remain a day confined to the inn. 
In this house I chanced to find a volume of the works of 
Cornelius Agrippa. I opened it with apathy ; the theory 
which he attempts to demonstrate, and the wonderful facts 
which he relates, soon changed this feeling into enthusiasm. 
A new light seemed to dawn upon my mind ; and, bound- 
ing with joy, I communicated my discovery to my father. 



xiO FRANKEXSTEIN ; OR, 

My father looked carelessly at the titlepage of my book, 
and said, ' ' Ah ! Cornelius Agrippa ! My dear Victor, do 
not waste your time upon this ; it is sad trash." 

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

When I returned home, my first care was to procure the 
whole works of this author, and afterwards of Paracelsus 
and Albertus Magnus. I read and studied the wild fancies 
of these writers with delight ; they appeared to me trea- 
sures known to few beside myself. I have described my- 
self as always having been embued 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 discontented and unsatis- 
fied. Sir Isaac Newton is said to have avowed that he felt 
like a child picking up shells beside the great and unex- 
plored 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. 

The untaught peasant beheld the elements around him, 
and was acquainted with their practical uses. The most 
learned philosopher knew little more. He had partially 
unveiled the face of Nature, but her immortal lineaments 
were still a wonder and a mystery. He might dissect, 
anatomise, and give names ; but, not to speak of a final 
cause, causes in their secondary and tertiary grades were 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 2? 

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 igno- 
rantly I had repined. 

But here were books, and here were men who had pene- 
trated deeper and knew more. I took their word for all that 
they averred, and I became their disciple. It may appear 
strange that such should arise in the eighteenth century ; 
but while I followed the routine of education in the schools 
of Geneva, I was, to a great degree, self taught with regard 
to my favourite studies. My father was not scientific, and 
I was left to struggle with a child's blindness, added to a 
student's thirst for knowledge. Under the guidance of my 
new preceptors, I entered with the greatest diligence into 
the search of the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life; 
but the latter soon obtained my undivided attention. 
Wealth was an inferior object ; but what glory w r ould at- 
tend 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 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 ^floun- 
dering desperately in a very slough of multifarious know- 
ledge, guided by an ardent imagination and childish reason- 
ing, till an accident again changed the current of my ideas. 

When I was about fifteen years old we had retired to our 
house near Belrive, when we witnessed a most violent and 
terrible thunder-storm. It advanced from behind the 
mountains of Jura; and the thunder burst at once with 
frightful loudness from various quarters of the heavens. I 
remained, while the storm lasted, watching its progress 
with curiosity and delight. As I stood at the door, on a 
sudden I beheld a stream of fire issue from an old and 
beautiful oak, which stood about twenty yards from our 



28 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

house ; and so soon as the dazzling light vanished, the oak 
had disappeared, and nothing remained hut 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 any thing so utterly destroyed. 

Before this I was not unacquainted with the more ob- 
vious laws of electricity. On this occasion a man of great 
research in natural philosophy was with us, and, excited by 
this catastrophe, he entered on the explanation of a theory 
which he had formed on the subject of electricity and gal- 
vanism, which was at once new and astonishing to me. All 
that he said threw greatly into the shade Cornelius Agrippa, 
Albertus Magnus, and Paracelsus, the lords of my imagin- 
ation ; but by some fatality the overthrow of these men 
disinclined me to pursue my accustomed studies. It 
seemed to me as if nothing would or could ever be known. 
All that had so long engaged my attention suddenly grew 
despicable. By one of those caprices of the mind, which 
we are perhaps most subject to in early youth, I at once 
gave up my former occupations ; set down natural history 
and all its progeny as a deformed and abortive creation ; 
and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science, 
which could never even step within the threshold of real 
knowledge. In this mood of mind I betook myself to the 
mathematics, and the branches of study appertaining to 
that science, as being built upon secure foundations, and so 
worthy of my 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 sug- 
gestion of the guardian angel of my life the last effort 
made by the spirit of preservation to avert the storm that 
was even then hanging in the stars, and ready to envelope 
me. Her victory was announced by an unusual tranquil- 
lity and gladness of soul, which followed the relinquishing 
of my ancient and latterly tormenting studies. It was thus 
that I was to be taught to associate evil with their prose- 
cution, happiness with their disregard. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 29 

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. 

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

Elizabeth had caught the scarlet fever ; her illness was 
severe, and she was in the greatest danger. During her 
illness, many arguments had been urged to persuade my 
mother to refrain from attending upon her. She had, at 
first, yielded to our entreaties ; but when she heard that the 
life of her favourite was menaced, she could no longer con- 
trol her anxiety. She attended her sick bed, her watch- 
ful attentions triumphed over the malignity of the dis- 
temper, 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 ! I regret that I am 
taken from you ; and, happy and beloved as I have been, 



SO FRANKENSTEIN j OR, 

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

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

She indeed veiled her grief, and strove to act the com- 
forter 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 31 

cousins. Never was she so enchanting as at this time, 
when she recalled the sunshine of her smiles and spent 
them upon us. She forgot even her own regret in her 
endeavours to make us forget. 

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

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

it, I threw myself into the chaise that was to convey me 
away, and indulged in the most melancholy reflections. I, 
who had ever been surrounded by amiable companions, 
continually engaged in endeavouring to bestow mutual plea- 
sure, I was now alone. In the university, whither I was 
going, I must form my own friends, and be my own pro- 
tector. My life had hitherto been remarkably secluded 
and domestic ; and this had given me invincible repugnance 
to new countenances. I loved my brothers, Elizabeth, and 
Clerval ; these were " old familiar faces ; " but I believed 
myself totally unfitted for the company of strangers. Such 
were my reflections as 1 commenced my journey ; but as 
I proceeded, my spirits and hopes rose. I ardently desired 
the acquisition of knowledge. I had often, when at home, 
thought it hard to remain during my youth cooped up in 
one place, and had longed to enter the world,, and take my 



32 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

station among other human heings. Now my desires were 
complied with, and it would, indeed, have been folly to 
repent. 

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

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

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



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. S3 

I returned home,, not disappointed, for I have said that 
I had long considered those authors useless whom the pro- 
fessor reprobated ; but I returned, not at all the more in- 
clined 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 enquirers for the 
dreams of forgotten alchymists. Besides, I had a contempt 
for the uses of modern natural philosophy. It was very 
different, when the masters of the science sought immor- 
tality and power ; such views, although futile, were grand : 
but now the scene was changed. The ambition of the 
enquirer seemed to limit itself to the annihilation of those 
visions on which my interest in science was chiefly founded, 
I was required to exchange chimeras of boundless grandeur 
for realities of little worth. 

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

Partly from curiosity, and partly from idleness, I went 
into the lecturing room, which M. Waldman entered shortly 
after. This professor was very unlike his colleague. He 
appeared about fifty years of age, but with an aspect ex- 
pressive of the greatest benevolence j a few grey hairs co- 
vered his temples, but those at the back of his head were 

D 



34 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

nearly black. His person was short, but remarkably erect ; 
and his voice the sweetest I had ever heard. He began his 
lecture by a recapitulation of the history of chemistry, and 
the various improvements made by different men of learn- 
ing, pronouncing with fervour the names of the most dis- 
tinguished discoverers. He then took a cursory view of 
the present state of the science, and explained many of its 
elementary terms. After having made a few preparatory 
experiments, he concluded with a panegyric upon modern 
chemistry, the terms of which I shall never forget : 

" The ancient teachers of this science," said he, " pro- 
mised impossibilities, and performed nothing. The mo- 
dern 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 mi- 
croscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles. They 
penetrate into the recesses of nature, and show how she 
works in her hiding places. They ascend into the heavens: 
they have discovered how the blood circulates, and the 
nature of the air we breathe. They have acquired new 
and almost unlimited powers ; they can command the 
thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock 
the invisible world with its own shadows." 

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

I closed not my eyes that night. My internal being 
was in a state of insurrection and turmoil ; I felt that order 
would thence arise, but I had no power to produce it. By 
degrees, after the morning's dawn, sleep came. I awoke, 
and my yesternight's thoughts were as a dream. There only 



i : 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 35 



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 Para- 
celsus, but without the contempt that M. Krempe had ex- 
hibited. He said, that ' ' these were men to whose inde- 
fatigable zeal modern philosophers were indebted for most 
of the foundations of their knowledge. They had left to 
us, as an easier task, to give new names, and arrange in 
connected classifications, the facts which they in a great 
degree had been the instruments of bringing to light. The 
labours of men of genius, however erroneously directed, 
scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advan- 
tage of mankind." I listened to his statement, which was 
delivered without any presumption or affectation j and 
then added, that his lecture had removed my prejudices 
against modern chemists ; I expressed myself in measured 
terms, with the modesty and deference due from a youth 
to his instructor, without letting escape (inexperience in 
life would have made me ashamed) any of the enthusiasm 
which stimulated my intended labours. I requested his 
advice concerning the books I ought to procure. 

" I am happy/' said M. Waldman, " to have gained a 
disciple ; and if your application equals your ability, I have 
no doubt of your success. Chemistry is that branch of 
natural philosophy in which the greatest improvements have 
been and may be made : it is on that account that I have 
made it my peculiar study ; but at the same time I have 
not neglected the other branches of science. A man would 
make but a very sorry chemist if he attended to that de-i 
partment of human knowledge alone. If your wish is to 
become really a man of science, and not merely a petty ex- 
D 2 



86 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

perimentalist, I should advise you to apply to every branch 
of natural philosophy, including mathematics." 

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

As I applied so closely, it may be easily conceived that 
my progress was rapid. My ardour was indeed the asto- 
nishment of the students, and my proficiency that of the 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 37 

masters. Professor Krempe often asked me, with a sly 
smile, how Cornelius Agrippa went on ? whilst M. Wald- 
man expressed the most heartfelt exultation in my progress. 
Two years passed in this manner, during which I paid no 
visit to Geneva, but was engaged, heart and soul, in the 
pursuit of some discoveries, which I hoped to make. None 
but those who have experienced them can conceive of the 
enticements of science. In other studies you go as far as 
others have gone before you, and there is nothing more to 
know j but in a scientific pursuit there is continual food 
for discovery and wonder. A mind of moderate capacity, 
which closely pursues one study, must infallibly arrive at 
great proficiency in that study; and I, who continually 
sought the attainment of one object of pursuit, and was 
solely wrapt up in this, improved so rapidly, that, at the 
end of two years, I made some discoveries in the improve- 
ment of some chemical instruments, which procured me 
great esteem and admiration at the university. When I 
had arrived at this point, and had become as well acquainted 
with the theory and practice of natural philosophy as de- 
pended on the lessons of any of the professors at Ingolstadt, 
my residence there being no longer conducive to my im- 
provements, I thought of returning to my friends and my 
native town, when an incident happened that protracted 
ray 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 enquiries. I revolved these circumstances 
in my mind, and determined thenceforth to apply myself 
more particularly to those branches of natural philosophy 
which relate to physiology. Unless I had been animated 
by an almost supernatural enthusiasm, my application 
to this study would have been irksome, Jand almost in- 
tolerable. To examine the causes of life, we must first 
have recourse to death. I became acquainted with the 
D 3 



38 FRANKENSTEIN ; OB, 

science of anatomy : but this was not sufficient j I must 
also observe the natural decay and corruption of the human 
body. In my education my father had taken the greatest 
precautions that my mind should be impressed with no 
supernatural horrors. I do not ever remember to have 
trembled at a tale of superstition, or to have feared the 
apparition of a spirit. Darkness had no effect upon my 
fancy ; and a churchyard was to me merely the receptacle 
of bodies deprived of life, which, from being the seat of 
beauty and strength,, had become food for the worm. Now 
I was led to examine the cause and progress of this decay, 
and forced to spend days and nights in vaults and charnel- 
houses. My attention was fixed upon every object the 
most insupportable to the delicacy of the human feelings. 
I saw how the fine form of man was degraded and wasted; 
I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming 
cheek of life ; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders 
of the eye and brain. I paused, examining and analysing 
all the minutiae of causation, as exemplified in the change 
from life to death, and death to life, until from the midst 
of this darkness a sudden light broke in upon me a light 
so brilliant and wondrous, yet so simple, that while I be- 
came dizzy with the immensity of the prospect which it 
illustrated, I was surprised, that among so many men of 
genius who had directed their enquiries towards the same 
science, that I alone should be reserved to discover so aston- 
ishing a secret. 

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

The astonishment which I had at first experienced on 
this discovery soon gave place to delight and rapture. 
After so much time spent in painful labour, to arrive at 
once at the summit of my desires, was the most gratifying 
consummation of my toils. But this discovery was so 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 39 

great and overwhelming, that all the steps by which I had 
been progressively led to it were obliterated,, and I beheld 
only the result. What had been the study and desire of 
the wisest men since the creation of the world was now 
within my grasp. Not that, like a magic scene, it all 
opened upon me at once : the information I had obtained 
was of a nature rather to direct my endeavours so soon as 
I should point them towards the object of my search, than 
to exhibit that object already accomplished. I was like the 
Arabian who had been buried with the dead, and found a 
passage to life, aided only by one glimmering, and seem- 
ingly ineffectual, light. 

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

When I found so astonishing a power placed within my 
hands, I hesitated a long time concerning the manner in 
which I should employ it. Although I possessed the ca- 
pacity of bestowing animation, yet to prepare a frame for 
the reception of it, with all its intricacies of fibres, muscles^ 
and veins, still remained a work of inconceivable difficulty 
and labour. I doubted at first whether I should attempt 
the creation of a being like myself, or one of simpler organ- 
ization ; but my imagination was too much exalted by my 
first success to permit me to doubt of my ability to give life 
to an animal as complex and wonderful as man. The 
materials at present within my command hardly appeared 
adequate to so arduous an undertaking ; but I doubted not 
that I should ultimately succeed. I prepared myself for a 
multitude of reverses ; my operations might be incessantly 
baffled, and at last my work be imperfect: yet, when I 
D 4 



40 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

considered the improvement which every day takes place in 
science and mechanics, I was encouraged to hope my pre- 
sent attempts would at least lay the foundations of future 
success. Nor could I consider the magnitude and com- 
plexity of my plan as any argument of its impracticability, 
It was with these feelings that I began the creation of a 
human being. As the minuteness of the parts formed a 
great hinderance to my speed, I resolved,, contrary to my 
first intention, to make the being of a gigantic stature; that 
is to say, about eight feet in height, and proportionably 
large. After having formed this determination, and having 
spent some months in successfully collecting and arranging 
my materials, I began. 

No one can conceive the variety of feelings which bore 
me onwards, like a hurricane, in the first enthusiasm of 
success. Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds, 
which I should first break through, and pour a torrent of 
light into our dark world. A new species would bless me 
as its creator and source ; many happy and excellent na- 
tures 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, J thought, that if I 
could bestow animation upon lifeless matter, I might in 
process of time (although I now found it impossible) re- 
new 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 ema- 
ciated with confinement. Sometimes, on the very brink of 
certainty, I failed ; yet still I clung to the hope which the 
next day or the next hour might realise. One secret which 
I alone possessed was the hope to which I had dedicated 
myself; and the moon gazed on my midnight labours, 
while, with unrelaxed and breathless eagerness, I pursued 
nature to her hiding-places. Who shall conceive the horrors 
of my secret toil, as I dabbled among the unhallowed damps 
of the grave, or tortured the living animal to animate the 
lifeless clay ? My limbs now tremble, and my eyes swim 
with the remembrance ; but then a resistless, and almost 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 41 

frantic, impulse, urged me forward ; I seemed to have lost 
all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit. It was indeed 
but a passing trance, that only made me feel with renewed 
acuteness so soon as, the unnatural stimulus ceasing to 
operate, I had returned to my old habits. I collected bones 
from charnel-houses ; and disturbed, with profane fingers, 
the tremendous secrets of the human frame. In a solitary 
chamber, or rather cell, at the top of the house, and separ- 
ated from all the other apartments by a gallery and stair- 
case, I kept my workshop of filthy creation : my eye-balls 
were starting from their sockets in attending to the details 
of my employment. The dissecting room and the slaughter- 
house furnished many of my materials ; and often did my 
human nature turn with loathing from my occupation, 
whilst, still urged on by an eagerness which perpetually 
increased, I brought my work near to a conclusion. 

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

I knew well therefore what would be my father's feel- 
ings ; but I could not tear my thoughts from my employ- 
ment, loathsome in itself, but which had taken an irre- 
sistible 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 



42 FRANKENSTEIN ,' OK, 

I should not be altogether free from blame. A human 
being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and 
peaceful mind, and never to allow passion or a transitory 
desire to disturb his tranquillity. I do not think that the 
pursuit of knowledge is an exception to this rule. If the 
study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken 
your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple 
pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that 
study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the 
human mind. If this rule were always observed; if no 
man allowed any pursuit whatsoever to interfere with the 
tranquillity of his domestic affections, Greece had not been 
enslaved ; Caesar would have spared his country; America 
would have been discovered more gradually; and the em- 
pires 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 enquiring 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 en- 
grossed 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 suc- 
ceeded. But my enthusiasm was checked by my anxiety, 
and I appeared rather like one doomed by slavery to toil in 
the mines, or any other unwholesome trade, than an artist 
occupied by his favourite employment. Every night I was 
oppressed by a slow fever, and I became nervous to a most 
painful degree ; the fall of a leaf startled me, and I shunned 
my fellow- creatures as if I had been guilty of a crime. 
Sometimes I grew alarmed at the wreck I perceived that I 
had become ; the energy of my purpose alone sustained me: 
my labours would soon end, and I believed that exercise and 
amusement would then drive away incipient disease ; and I 
promised myself both of these when my creation should be 
complete. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 43 



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 creature open ; it breathed hard, and a convulsive 
motion agitated its limbs. 

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

The different accidents of life are not so changeable as 
the feelings of human nature. I had worked hard for 
nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing life into 
an inanimate body. For this I had deprived myself of rest 
and health. I had desired it with an ardour that far ex- 
ceeded 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 continued a 
long time traversing my bedchamber, unable to compose my 
mind to sleep. At length lassitude succeeded to the tumult 
I had before endured ; and I threw myself on the bed in 
my clothes, endeavouring to seek a few moments of forget- 
fulness. But it was in vain : I slept, indeed, but I was 
disturbed by the wildest dreams. I thought I saw Eliza- 
beth, in the bloom of health, walking in the streets of 



44 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

Ingolstadt. Delighted and surprised, I embraced her ; but 
as I imprinted the first kiss on her lips, they became livid 
with the hue of death ; her features appeared to change, 
and I thought that I held the corpse of my dead mother in 
my arms ; a shroud enveloped her form, and I saw the 
grave- worms crawling in the folds of the flannel. I started 
from my sleep with horror ; a cold dew covered my fore- 
head, my teeth chattered, and every limb became convulsed : 
when, by the dim and yellow light of the moon, as it 
forced its way through the window shutters, I beheld the 
wretch the miserable monster whom I had created. He 
held up the curtain of the bed ; and his eyes, if eyes they 
may be called, were fixed on me. His jaws opened, and 
he muttered some inarticulate sounds, while a grin wrinkled 
his cheeks. He might have spoken, but I did not hear ; one 
hand was stretched out, seemingly to detain me, but I 
escaped, and rushed down stairs. I took refuge in the court- 
yard belonging to the house which I inhabited ; where J 
remained during the rest of the night, walking up and 
down in the greatest agitation, listening attentively, catch- 
ing and fearing each sound as if it were to announce the 
approach of the demoniacal corpse to which I had so 
miserably given life. 

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

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

Morning, dismal and wet, at length dawned, and dis- 
covered to my sleepless and aching eyes the church of In- 
golstadt, its white steeple and clock, which indicated the 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 45 

sixth hour. The porter opened the gates of the court, which 
had that night been my asylum, and I issued into the 
streets, pacing them with quick steps, as if I sought to 
avoid the wretch whom I feared every turning of the street 
would present to my view. I did not dare return to the 
apartment which I inhabited, but felt impelled to hurry on, 
although drenched by the rain which poured from a black 
and comfortless sky. 

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

" Like one who, on a lonely road, 

Doth walk in fear and dread, 
And, having once turned round, walks on, 

And turns no more his head ; 
Because he knows a frightful fiend 

Doth close behind him tread."* 

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 sprung out. 
" My dear Frankenstein," exclaimed he, " how glad I am 
to see you ! how fortunate that you should be here at the 
very moment of my alighting !" 

Nothing could equal my delight on seeing Clerval ; his 
presence brought back to my thoughts my father, Eliza- 
beth, and all those scenes of home so dear to my recollec- 
tion. 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 wel- 
comed 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 

Coleridge's " Ancient Mariner." 



46 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

good fortune in being permitted to come to Ingolstadt. c ' You 
may easily believe," said he, (( how great was the diffi- 
culty to persuade my father that all necessary knowledge 
was not comprised 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 Wake- 
field : ' I have ten thousand florins a year without 
Greek, I eat heartily without Greek/ But his affection 
for me at length overcame his dislike of learning, and he 
has permitted me to undertake a voyage of discovery to the 
land of 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 by, I mean to 
lecture you a little upon their account myself. But, my 
dear Frankenstein," continued he, stopping short, and gazing 
full in my face, f( I did not before remark how very ill you 
appear ; so thin and pale ; you look as if you had been 
watching for several nights." 

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

I trembled excessively ; I could not endure to think of, 
and far less to allude to, the occurrences of the preceding 
night. I walked with a quick pace, and we soon arrived 
at my college. I then reflected, and the thought made me 
shiver, that the creature whom I had left in my apartment 
might still be there, alive, and walking about. I dreaded 
to behold this monster ; but I feared still more that Henry 
should see him. Entreating him, therefore, to remain a 
few minutes at the bottom of the stairs, I darted up towards 
my own room. My hand was already on the lock of the 
door before I recollected myself. I then paused ; and a 
cold shivering came over me. I threw the door forcibly 
Open, as children are accustomed to do when they expect a 
spectre to stand in waiting for them on the other side; but 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 47 

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

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

" Do not ask me," cried I, putting my hands before my 
eyes, for I thought I saw the dreaded spectre glide into the 
room ; " he can tell. Oh, save me ! save me !" I ima- 
gined 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 ex- 
tent 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. 



48 FRANKENSTEIN j OR, 

But I was in reality very ill ; and surely nothing but the 
unbounded and unremitting attentions of my friend could 
have restored me to life. The form of the monster on 
whom I had bestowed existence was 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 pertina- 
city with which I continually recurred to the same subject, 
persuaded him that my disorder indeed owed its origin to 
some uncommon and terrible event. 

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

{f 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 con- 
sumed in my sick room. How shall I ever repay you ? I 
feel the greatest remorse for the disappointment of which I 
have been the occasion ; but you will forgive me." 

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

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

" Compose yourself," said Clerval, who observed my 
change of colour, " I will not mention it, if it agitates you; 
but your father and cousin would be very happy if they 
received a letter from you in your own hand-writing. 
They hardly know how ill you have been, and are uneasy 
at your long silence." 
i, " Is that all, my dear Henry ? How could you suppose 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 49 

that my first thought would not fly towards those dear, 
dear friends whom I love,, and who are so deserving of my 
love." 

' ' If this is your present temper, my friend, you will per- 
haps 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 : 

Ci My dearest Cousin, 

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

" Get well and return to us. You will find a happy, 
cheerful home, and friends who love you dearly. Your 
father's health is vigorous, and he asks but to see you, - 
but to be assured that you are well ; and not a care will 
ever cloud his benevolent countenance. How pleased you 
would be to remark the improvement of our Ernest ! He 
is now sixteen, and full of activity and spirit. He is de- 
sirous to be a true Swiss, and to enter into foreign service ; 



50 FRANKENSTEIN ; OB, 

but we cannot part with him, at least until his elder bro- 
ther 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, climb- 
ing the hills or rowing on the lake. I fear that he will be- 
come 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 exer- 
tions by seeing none but happy, kind faces around me. 
Since you left us, but one change has taken place in our 
little household. Do you remember on what occasion Jus- 
tine Moritz entered our family ? Probably you do not ; I 
will relate her history, therefore, in a few words. Madame 
Moritz, her mother, was a widow with four children, of 
whom Justine was the third. This girl had always been 
the favourite of her father ; but, through a strange per- 
versity, her mother could not endure her, and, after the 
death of M. Moritz, treated her very ill. My aunt observed 
this ; and, when Justine was twelve years of age, prevailed 
on her mother to allow her to live at our house. The 
republican institutions of our country have produced 
simpler and happier manners than those which prevail in 
the great monarchies that surround it. Hence there is less 
distinction between the several classes of its inhabitants ; 
and the lower orders, being neither so poor nor so despised, 
their manners are more refined and moral. A servant in 
Geneva does not mean the same thing as a servant in France 
and England. Justine, thus received in our family, learned 
the duties of a servant; a condition which, in our for- 
tunate country, does not include the idea of ignorance, 
and a sacrifice of the dignity of a human being. 

" Justine, you may remember, was a great favourite of 
yours ; and I recollect you once remarked, that if you were 
in an ill-humour, one glance from Justine could dissipate 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 51 

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

" When my dearest aunt died, 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 affec- 
tion. Poor Justine was very ill ; but other trials were re- 
served for her. 

" One by one, her brothers and sister died ; and her 
mother, with the exception of her neglected daughter, was 
left childless. The conscience of the woman was troubled ; 
she began to think that the deaths of her favourites was a 
judgment from heaven to chastise her partiality. She was 
a Roman catholic ; and I believe her confessor confirmed 
the idea which she had conceived. Accordingly, a few 
months after your departure for Ingolstadt, Justine was 
called home by her repentant mother. Poor girl ! she wept 
when she quitted our house j she was much altered since 
the death of my aunt ; grief had given softness and a win- 
ning mildness to her manners, which had before been re- 
markable 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 beginning of this 

H 2 



52 FRANKENSTEIN; OK, 

last winter. Justine has returned to us ; and I assure you 
I love her tenderly. She is very clever and gentle, and 
extremely pretty ; as I mentioned before, her mien and 
her expressions continually remind me of my dear aunt. 

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

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

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

" ELIZABETH LAVENZA. 
"Geneva, March 18th, 17 ." 

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



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 53 

One of my first duties on my recovery was to introduce 
Clerval to the several professors of the university. In doing 
this, I underwent a kind of rough usage, ill befitting the 
wounds that my mind had sustained. Ever since the fatal 
night, the end of my labours, and the beginning of my 
misfortunes, I had conceived a violent antipathy even to 
the name of natural philosophy. When I was otherwise 
quite restored to health, the sight of a chemical instrument 
would renew all the agony of 'my nervous symptoms. Henry 
saw this, and had removed all my apparatus from my view. 
He had also changed my apartment ; for he perceived 
that I had acquired a dislike for the room which had pre- 
viously been my laboratory. But these cares of Clerval 
were made of no avail when I visited the professors. 
M. Waldman inflicted torture when he praised, with kind- 
ness and warmth,, the astonishing progress I had made in 
the sciences. He soon perceived that I disliked the sub- 
ject ; but not guessing the real cause, he attributed my 
feelings to modesty, and changed the subject from my im- 
provement, to the science itself, with a desire, as I evidently 
saw, of drawing me out. What could I do ? He meant to 
please, and he tormented me. I felt as if he had placed 
carefully, one by one, in my view those instruments which 
were to be afterwards used in putting me to a slow and 
cruel death. I writhed under his words, yet dared not 
exhibit the pain I felt. Clerval, whose eyes and feelings 
were always quick in discerning the sensations of others, 
declined the subject, alleging, in excuse, his total ignorance; 
and the conversation took a more general turn. I thanked 
my friend from my heart, but I did not speak. I saw 
plainly that he was surprised, but he never attempted to 
draw my secret from me ; and although I loved him with 
a mixture of affection and reverence that knew no bounds, 
yet 1 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 bene- 
E 3 



54? FRANKENSTEIN ; OK, 

volent approbation of M. Waldman. " D n the fellow I" 
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 Corne- 
lius 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. 

Clerval had never sympathised in my tastes for natural 
science ; and his literary pursuits differed wholly from those 
which had occupied me. He came to the university with 
the design of making himself complete master of the oriental 
languages, as thus he should open a field for the plan of life 
he had marked out for himself. Resolved to pursue no 
inglorious career, he turned his eyes toward the East, as 
affording scope for his spirit of enterprise. The Persian, 
Arabic, and Sanscrit languages engaged his attention, and 
I was easily induced to enter on the same studies. Idleness 
had ever been irksome to me, and now that I wished to fly 
from reflection, and hated my former studies, I felt great- 
relief in being the fellow-pupil with my friend, and found 
not only instruction but consolation in the works of the 
orientalists. I did not, like him, attempt a critical know- 
ledge 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 writ- 
ings, life appears to consist in a warm sun and a garden of 
roses, in the smiles and frowns of a fair enemy, and the 
fire that consumes your own heart. How different from 
the manly and hejroical poetry of Greece and Rome ! 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 55 

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

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

We passed a fortnight in these perambulations : my 
health and spirits had long been restored, and they gained 
additional strength from the salubrious air I breathed, the 
natural incidents of our progress, and the conversation of 
my friend. Study had before secluded me from the inter- 
course of my fellow-creatures, and rendered me unsocial ; 
but Clerval called forth the better feelings of my heart ; he 
again taught me to love the aspect of nature, and the 
cheerful faces of children. Excellent friend ! how sin- 
cerely did you love me, and endeavour to elevate my mind 
until it was on a level with your own ! A selfish pursuit 
had cramped and narrowed me, until your gentleness and 
affection warmed and opened my senses ; I became the same 
happy creature who, a few years ago, loved and beloved by 
all, had no sorrow or care. When happy, inanimate 
nature had the power of bestowing on me the most de- 
lightful 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 
E 4 



56 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

of summer were already in bud. I was undisturbed by 
thoughts which during the preceding year had pressed upon 
me, notwithstanding my endeavours to throw them off, 
with an invincible burden. 

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

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



CHAPTER VII. 

ON my return, I found the following letter from my 
father : 

" My dear Victor, 

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

' ' William is dead ! that sweet child, whose smiles de- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 57 

lighted and warmed my heart, who was so gentle, yet so 
gay ! Victor, he is murdered ! 

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

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

"This account rather alarmed us, and we continued 
to search for him until night fell, when Elizabeth con- 
jectured 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 him- 
self, 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 finger was on his neck. 

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

" She fainted, and was restored with extreme difficulty. 
When she again lived, it was only to weep and sigh. She 
told me, that that same evening William had teased her to 
let him wear a very valuable miniature that she possessed 
of your mother. This picture is gone, and was doubtless 
the temptation which urged the murderer to the deed. We 



58 FRANKENSTEIN j OR, 

have no trace of him at present, although our exertions to 
discover him are unremitted ; but they will not restore my 
beloved William ! 

" Come, dearest Victor j 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 you, my son,, to return and be our comforter ? Your 
dear mother ! Alas, Victor ! I now say, Thank God she 
did not live to witness the cruel, miserable death of her 
youngest darling ! 

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

" Your affectionate and afflicted father, 

" ALPHONSE FRANKENSTEIN. 
" Geneva, May 12th, 17 " 

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

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

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

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



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

During our walk, Clerval endeavoured to say a few 
words of consolation ; he could only express his heartfelt 
sympathy. " Poor William !" said he, " dear lovely child, 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 59 

he now sleeps with his angel mother ! Who that had seen him 
hright and joyous in his young beauty, but must weep over 
his untimely loss ! To die so miserably ; to feel the mur- 
derer's grasp ! How much more a murderer, that could 
destroy such radiant innocence ! Poor little fellow ! one 
only consolation have we; his friends mourn and weep, 
but he is at rest. The pang is over, his sufferings are at 
an end for ever. A sod covers his gentle form, and he knows 
no pain. He can no longer be a subject for pity ; we must 
reserve that for his miserable survivors." 

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

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

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

The road ran by the side of the lake, which became 
narrower as I approached my native town. I discovered 
more distinctly the black sides of Jura, and the bright 
summit of Mont Blanc. I wept like a child. " Dear 



FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

mountains ! my own beautiful lake ! how do you welcome 
your wanderer ? Your summits are clear ; the sky and 
lake are blue and placid. Is this to prognosticate peace, or 
to mock at my unhappiness ? " 

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

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

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

I quitted my seat, and walked on, although the darkness 
and storm increased every minute, and the thunder burst 
with a terrific crash over iny head. It was echoed from 
Saleve, the Juras, and the Alps of Savoy ; vivid flashes of 
lightning dazzled my eyes, illuminating the lake, making 
it appear like a vast sheet of fire ; then for an instant every 
thing seemed of a pitchy darkness, until the eye recovered 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 01 

itself from the preceding flash. The storm, as is often the 
case in Switzerland, appeared at once in various parts of 
the heavens. The most violent storm hung exactly north 
of the town, over that part of the lake which lies between 
the promontory of Belrive and the village of Copet. Another 
storm enlightened Jura with faint flashes ; and another 
darkened and sometimes disclosed the Mole, a peaked 
mountain to the east of the lake. 

While I watched the tempest, so beautiful yet terrific, I 
wandered on with a hasty step. This noble war in the 
sky elevated my spirits ; I clasped my hands, and exclaimed 
aloud, " William, dear angel ! this is thy funeral, this thy 
dirge ! " As I said these words, I perceived in the gloom 
a figure which stole from behind a clump of trees near me; 
I stood fixed, gazing intently : I could not be mistaken. 
A flash of lightning illuminated the object, and discovered 
its shape plainly to me ; its gigantic stature, and the de- 
formity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to hu- 
manity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the 
filthy daemon, to whom I had given life. What did he 
there ? Could he be (I shuddered at the conception) the 
murderer of my brother ? No sooner did that idea cross 
my imagination, than 1 became convinced of its truth j my 
teeth chattered, and I was forced to lean against a tree for 
support. The figure passed me quickly, and I lost it in 
the gloom. Nothing in human shape could have destroyed 
that fair child. He was the murderer ! I could not doubt 
it. The mere presence of the idea was an irresistible proof 
of the fact. I thought of pursuing the devil ; but it would 
have been in vain, for another flash discovered him to me 
hanging among the rocks of the nearly perpendicular as- 
cent of Mont Saleve, a hill that bounds Plainpalais on the 
south. He soon reached the summit, and disappeared. 

I remained motionless. The thunder ceased j but the 
rain still continued, and the scene was enveloped in an 
impenetrable darkness. I revolved in my mind the events 
which I had until now sought to forget : the whole train 
of my progress towards the creation ; the appearance of the 
work of my own hands alive at my bedside ; its departure. 
Two years had now nearly elapsed since the night on which 



62 FRANKENSTEIN J OB, 

he first received life ; and was this his first crime ? Alas ! 
I had turned loose into the world a depraved wretch, whose 
delight was in carnage and misery ; had he not murdered 
my brother ? 

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

Day dawned j and I directed my steps towards the town. 
The gates were open, and I hastened to my father's house. 
My first thought was to discover what I knew of the mur- 
derer, 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 other- 
wise 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 over- 
hanging sides of Mont Saleve ? These reflections deter- 
mined 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. 




THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 63 

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 Vic- 
tor," said he. " Ah ! I wish you had come three months 
ago, and then you would have found us all joyous am 
delighted. You come to us now to share a misery whi< 
nothing can alleviate ; yet your presence will, I hope, revivL. 
our father, who seems sinking under his misfortune ; and 
your persuasions will induce poor Elizabeth to cease her 
vain and tormenting self-accusations. Poor William ! 
he was our darling and our pride ! " 

Tears, unrestrained, fell from my brother's eyes ; a sense 
of mortal agony crept over my frame. Before, I had only 

agined the wretchedness of my desolated home ; the 
ity came on me as a new, and a not less terrible, disaster. 
I tried to calm Ernest ; I enquired more minutely con- 
cerning my father, and her I named my cousin. 

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

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

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






64 FRANKENSTEIN ; OB, 

the family, could suddenly become capable of so frightful, 
so appalling a crime ? " 

' ' Justine Moritz ! Poor, poor girl, is she the accused ? 
But it is wrongfully ; every one knows that ; no one be- 
lieves 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 evi- 
dence of facts a weight that, I fear, leaves no hope for doubt. 
But she will be tried to-day, and you will then hear all." 

He related that, the morning on which the murder of 
poor William had been discovered, Justine had been taken 
ill, and confined to her bed for several days. During this 
interval, one of the servants, happening to examine the 
apparel she had worn on the night of the murder, had dis- 
covered 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, with- 
out saying a word to any of the family, went to a magis- 
trate ; and, upon their deposition, Justine was apprehended. 
On being charged with tjie fact, the poor girl confirmed 
the suspicion in a great measure by her extreme confusion 
of manner. 

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

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

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

" My dear father, you are mistaken ; Justine is in- 
nocent." 

" If she is, God forbid that she should suffer as guilty. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 



65 



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

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

" How kind and generous you are ! every one else be- 
lieves 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 despair- 
ing." She wept. 

" Dearest niece," said my father, " dry your tears. If 
she is, as you believe, innocent, rely on the justice of our 
F 



66 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

laws., and the activity with which I shall prevent the 
slightest shadow of partiality." 



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 heing 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 he 
decided, whether the result of my curiosity and lawless 
devices would cause the death of two of my fellow-beings : 
one a smiling babe, full of innocence and joy ; the other 
far more dreadfully murdered, with every aggravation of 
infamy that could make the murder memorable in horror. 
Justine also was a girl of merit, and possessed qualities 
which promised to render her life happy : now all was to 
be obliterated in an ignominious grave ; and I the cause ! 
A thousand times rather would I have confessed myself 
guilty of the crime ascribed to Justine ; but I was absent 
when it was committed, and such a declaration would have 
been considered as the ravings of a madman, and would not 
have exculpated her who suffered through me. 

The appearance of Justine was calm. She was dressed 
in mourning ; and her countenance, always engaging, was 
rendered, by the solemnity of her feelings, exquisitely 
beautiful. Yet she appeared confident in innocence, and 
did not tremble, although gazed on and execrated by thou- 
sands ; for all the kindness which her beauty might other- 
wise have excited, was obliterated in the minds of the 
spectators by the imagination of the enormity she was 
supposed to have committed. She was tranquil, yet her 
tranquillity was evidently constrained; and as her con- 
fusion 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 






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 



seemed to dim her eye when she saw us ; but she quickly 
recovered herself, and a look of sorrowful affection seemed 
to attest her utter guiltlessness. 

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

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

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

She then related that, by the permission of Elizabeth, 
she had passed the evening of the night on which the 
F 2 



68 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

murder had been committed at the house of an aunt at 
Chene, a village situated at about a league from Geneva. 
On her return, at about nine o'clock, she met a man, who 
asked her if she had seen any thing of the child who was 
lost. She was alarmed by this account, and passed several 
hours in looking for him, when the gates of Geneva were 
shut, and she was forced to remain several hours of the 
night in a barn belonging to a cottage, being unwilling to 
call up the inhabitants, to whom she was well known. Most 
of the night she spent here watching ; towards morning she 
believed that slie slept for a few minutes ; some steps dis- 
turbed 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 con- 
jecture concerning the probabilities by which it might have 
been placed in my pocket. But here also I am checked. 
I believe that I have no enemy on earth, and none surely 
would have been so wicked as to destroy me wantonly. Did 
the murderer place it there ? I know of no opportunity 
afforded him for so doing ; or, if I had, why should he have 
stolen the jewel, to part with it again so soon ? 

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

Several witnesses were called, who had known her for 
many years, and they spoke well of her ; but fear, and 
hatred of the crime of which they supposed her guilty, 
rendered them timorous, and unwilling to come forward. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 69 

Elizabeth saw even this last resource, her excellent dis- 
positions 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 pretended friends, I wish to be allowed to speak, that 
I may say what I know of her character. I am well ac- 
quainted 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 at- 
tended her own mother during a tedious illness, in a man- 
ner that excited the admiration of all who knew her ; after 
which she again lived in my uncle's house, where she was 
beloved by all the family. She was warmly attached to the 
child who is now dead, and acted towards him like a most 
affectionate mother. For my own part, I do not hesitate 
to say, that, notwithstanding all the evidence produced 
against her, I believe and rely on her perfect innocence. 
She had no temptation for such an action : as to the bauble 
on which the chief proof rests, if she had earnestly desired 
it, I should have willingly given it to her ; so much do I 
esteem and value her." 

A murmur of approbation followed Elizabeth's simple 
and powerful appeal ; but it was excited by her generous 
interference, and not in favour of poor Justine, on whom 
the public indignation was turned with renewed violence, 
charging her with the blackest ingratitude. She herself 
wept as Elizabeth spoke, but she did not answer. My own 
agitation and anguish was extreme during the \fhole trial. 
I believed in her innocence ; I knew it. Could the daemon, 
who had (I did not for a minute doubt) murdered my 
brother, also in his hellish sport have betrayed the innocent 
F 3 



70 FRANKENSTEIN; on, 

to death and ignominy? I could not sustain the horror of 
my situation ; and when I perceived that the popular voice, 
and the countenances of the judges, had already condemned 
my unhappy victim, I rushed out of the court in agony. 
The tortures of the accused did not equal mine ; she was 
sustained by innocence, but the fangs of remorse tore my 
bosom,, and would not forego their hold. 

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

I cannot pretend to describe what I then felt. I had 
before experienced sensations of horror ; and I have endea- 
voured 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 re- 
turn home, and Elizabeth eagerly demanded the result. 

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

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

Soon after we heard that the poor victim had expressed 






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 71 

a desire to see my cousin. My father wished her not to 
go ; hut said, that he left it to her own judgment and feel- 
ings to decide. " Yes/' said Elizabeth, " I will go, al- 
though she is guilty ; and you, Victor, shall accompany 
me : I cannot go alone." The idea of this visit was tor- 
ture to me, yet I could not refuse. 

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

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

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

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

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

She paused, weeping, and then continued "I thought 
F 4 



72 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

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

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

Justine shook her head mournfully. " I do no not fear 
to die," she said ; " that pang is past. God raises my 
weakness, and gives me courage to endure the worst. I 
leave a sad and bitter world ; and if you remember me, 
and think of me as of one unjustly condemned, I am re- 
signed to the fate awaiting me. Learn from me, dear lady, 
to submit in patience to the will of Heaven ! " 

During this conversation I had retired to a corner of 
the prison-room, where I could conceal the horrid anguish 
that possessed me. Despair ! Who dared talk of that ? 
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. 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 Elizabeth ; 
<c 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 73 

wretch as I am ! It removes more than half my misfor- 
tune ; 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 her- 
self. 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. Eli- 
zabeth also wept, and was unhappy ; but her's 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 
herself away. {e I wish," cried she, " that I were to die 
with you ; I cannot live in this world of misery." 

Justine assumed an air of cheerfulness, while she with 
difficulty repressed her bitter tears. She embraced Eliza- 
beth, and said, in a voice of half-suppressed emotion, 
e{ Farewell, 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 ! Live, and be happy, and make others so/' 

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

From the tortures of my own heart, I turned to con- 
template the deep and voiceless grief of my Elizabeth, 
This also was my doing ! And my father's woe, and the 
desolation of that late so smiling home all was the work 
of my thrice-accursed hands ! Ye weep, unhappy ones ; 
but these are not your last tears ! Again shall you raise 



74 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

the funeral wail, and the sound of your lamentations shall 
again and again be heard ! Frankenstein,, your son, your 
kinsman, your early, much-loved friend; he who would 
spend each vital drop of blood for your sakes who has 
no thought nor sense of joy, except as it is mirrored also 
in your dear countenances who would fill the air with 
blessings, and spend his life in serving you he bids 
you weep to shed countless tears; happy beyond his hopes, 
if thus inexorable fate be satisfied, and if the destruction 
pause before the peace of the grave have succeeded to your 
sad torments ! 

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



CHAPTER IX. 

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



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 75 

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

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

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

About this time we retired to our house at Belrive. This 
change was particularly agreeable to me. The shutting of 
the gates regularly at ten o'clock, and the impossibility of 
remaining on the lake after that hour, had rendered our re- 
sidence within the walls of Geneva very irksome to me. I 
was now free. Often, after the rest of the family had re- 
tired for the night, I took the boat, and passed many hours 
upon the water. Sometimes, with my sails set, I was car- 
ried by the wind; and sometimes, after rowing into the 
middle of the lake, I left the boat to pursue its own course, 
and gave way to my own miserable reflections. I was often 
tempted, when all was at peace around me, and I the only 
unquiet thing that wandered restless in a scene so beautiful 
and heavenly if I except some bat, or the frogs, whose 
harsh and interrupted croaking was heard only when I ap- 



/O FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

preached the shore often, I say, I was tempted to plunge 
into the silent lake, that the waters might close over me 
and my calamities for ever. But I was restrained, when I 
thought of the heroic and suffering Elizabeth, whom I ten- 
derly 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 unpro- 
tected 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 con- 
solation and happiness. But that could not be. Remorse 
extinguished every hope. I had been the author of un- 
alterable evils ; and I lived in daily fear, lest the monster 
whom I had created should perpetrate some new wicked- 
ness. 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 any thing I 
loved remained behind. My abhorrence of this fiend can- 
not 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. 

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






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 77 



sent to wean us from the earth, had visited her, and its 
dimming influence quenched her dearest smiles. 

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

I listened to this discourse with the extremest agony. I, 
not in deed, but in effect, was the true murderer. Eliza- 
beth read my anguish in my countenance, and kindly taking 
my hand, said, " My dearest friend, you must calm your- 
self. These events have affected me, God knows how 
deeply ; but I am not so wretched as you are. There is 
an expression of despair, and sometimes of revenge, in your 
countenance, that makes me tremble. Dear Victor, banish 
these dark passions. Remember the friends around you., 



78 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

who centre all their hopes in you. Have we lost the power 
of rendering you happy ? Ah ! while we love while we 
are true to each other, here in this land of peace and 
beauty, your native country, we may reap every tranquil 
blessing, what can disturb our peace?" 

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

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

Sometimes I could cope with the sullen despair that 
overwhelmed me: but sometimes the whirlwind passions 
of my soul drove me to seek, by bodily exercise and by 
change of place, some relief from my intolerable sensations. 
It was during an access of this kind that I suddenly left 
my home, and bending my steps towards the near Alpine 
valleys, sought in the magnificence, the eternity of such 
scenes, to forget myself and my ephemeral, because human, 
sorrows. My wanderings were directed towards the valley 
of Chamounix. I had visited it frequently during my boy- 
hood. Six years 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 deeper in the ravine of Arve. The immense mountains 
and precipices that overhung me on every side the sound 
of the river raging among the rocks, and the dashing of the 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 79 

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 asto- 
nishing character. Ruined castles hanging on the pre- 
cipices of piny mountains ; the impetuous Arve, and 
cottages every here and there peeping forth from among 
the trees, formed a scene of singular beauty. But it was 
augmented and rendered sublime by the mighty Alps, 
whose white and shining pyramids and domes towered 
above all, as belonging to another earth, the habitations of 
another race of beings. 

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

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

At length I arrived at the village of Chamounix. Ex- 
haustion succeeded to the extreme fatigue both of body and 



80 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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



CHAPTER X. 

I SPENT the following day roaming through the valley. I 
stood beside the sources of the Arveiron, which take their 
rise in a glacier, that with slow pace is advancing down 
from the summit of the hills, to barricade the valley. The 
abrupt sides of vast mountains were before me ; the icy 
wall of the glacier overhung me; a few shattered pines 
were scattered around ; and the solemn silence of this glo- 
rious 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, rever- 
berated 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 consolation that I was capable of receiving. 
They elevated me from all littleness of feeling; and although 
they did not remove my grief, they subdued and tranquil- 
lised 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 ? 



I 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 8l 

All of soul-inspiriting fled with sleep, and dark melancholy 
clouded every thought. The rain was pouring in torrents, 
and thick mists hid the summits of the mountains, so that 
I even saw not the faces of those mighty friends. Still I 
would penetrate their misty veil, and seek them in their 
cloudy retreats. What were rain and storm to me ? My 
mule was brought to the door, and I resolved to ascend to 
the summit of Montanvert. I remembered the effect that 
the view of the tremendous and ever-moving glacier had 
produced upon my mind when I first saw it. It had then 
filled me with a sublime ecstasy, that gave wings to the 
soul, and allowed it to soar from the obscure world to light 
and joy. The sight of the awful and majestic in nature had 
indeed always the effect of solemnising my mind, and 
causing me to forget the passing cares of life. I deter- 
mined 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 con- 
tinual and short windings, which enable you to surmount 
the perpendicularity of the mountain. It is a scene terri- 
fically 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 a.bove ; one of them is parti- 
cularly dangerous, as the slightest sound, such as even 
speaking in aloud voice, produces a concussion of air suffi- 
cient to draw destruction upon the head of the speaker. 
The pines are not tall or luxuriant, but they are sombre, 
and add an air of severity to the scene. I looked on the 
valley beneath ; vast mists were rising from the rivers 
which ran through it, and curling in thick wreaths around 
the opposite mountains, whose summits were hid in the 
uniform clouds, while rain poured from the dark sky, and 
added to the melancholy impression I received from the 
objects around me. Alas ! why does man boast of sensi- 
bilities superior to those apparent in the brute ; it only 

G 



82 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 wand'ring thought pollutes the day. 
We feel, conceive, or reason ; laugh or weep, 

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

The path of its departure still is free. 
Man's yesterday may ne'er belike his morrow ; 

Nought may endure but mutability ! 

It was nearly noon when I arrived at the top of the 
ascent. For some time I sat upon the rock that overlooks 
the sea of ice. A mist covered both that and the sur- 
rounding 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, des- 
cending 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 
Mon tan vert was exactly opposite, at the distance of a league ; 
and above it rose Mont Blanc, in awful majesty. I re- 
mained in a recess of the rock, gazing on this wonderful and 
stupendous scene. The sea, or rather the vast river of 
ice, wound among its dependent mountains, whose aerial 
summits hung over its recesses. Their icy and glittering 
peaks shone in the sunlight over the clouds. My heart, 
which was before sorrowful, now swelled with something 
like joy ; I exclaimed " Wandering spirits, if indeed ye 
wander, and do not rest in your narrow beds, allow me 
this faint happiness, or take me, as your companion, away 
from the joys of life." 

As I said this, I suddenly beheld the figure of a man, at 
some distance, advancing towards me with superhuman 
speed. He bounded over the crevices in the ice, among 
which I had walked with caution ; his stature, also, as he 
approached, seemed to exceed that of man. I was troubled: 
a mist came over my eyes, and I felt a faintness seize me ; 
but I was quickly restored by the cold gale of the mountains. 
I perceived, as the shape came nearer (sight tremendous and 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 83 

abhorred !) that it was the wretch whom I had created. I 
tremhlecl with rage and horror, resolving to wait his ap- 
proach,, and then close with him in mortal combat. He 
approached ; his countenance bespoke bitter anguish, com- 
bined with disdain and malignity, while its unearthly ug- 
liness rendered it almost too horrible for human eyes. But 
I scarcely observed this ; rage and hatred had at first de- 
prived me of utterance, and I recovered only to overwhelm 
him with words expressive of furious detestation and con- 
tempt. 

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

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

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

My rage was without bounds j I sprang on him, im- 
pelled 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 suf- 
fered enough, that you seek to increase my misery? Life, 
although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear 
G 2 



84> FRANKENSTEIN ; OK X 

to me, and I will defend it. Remember,, thou liast made 
me more powerful than thyself; my height is superior to 
thine ; my joints more supple. But I will not be tempted 
to set myself in opposition to thee. I am thy creature, and 
I will be even mild and docile to my natural lord and king, 
if thou wilt also perform thy part, the which thou owest 
me. Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to every other, 
and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and even 
thy clemency and affection, is most due. Remember, that 
I am thy creature ; I ought to be thy Adam ; but I am 
rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no 
misdeed. Every where 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." 

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

1 e How can I move thee ? Will no entreaties cause thee 
to turn a favourable eye upon thy creature, who implores 
thy goodness and compassion ? Believe me, Frankenstein r 
I was benevolent ; my soul glowed with love and humanity: 
but am I not alone, miserably alone? You, my creator, 
abhor me ; what hope can I gather from your fellow- 
creatures, who owe me nothing ? they spurn and hate me. 
The desert mountains and dreary glaciers are my refuge. 
I have wandered here many days ; the caves of ice, which 
I only do not fear, are a dwelling to me, and the only one 
which man does not grudge. These bleak skies I hail, for 
they are kinder to me than your fellow-beings. If the 
multitude of mankind knew of my existence, they would do 
as you do, and arm themselves for my destruction. Shall 
I not then hate them who abhor me ? I will keep no terms 
with my enemies. I am miserable, and they shall share 
my wretchedness. Yet it is in your power to recompense 
me, and deliver them from an evil which it only remains for 
you to make so great, that not only you and your family, 
but thousands of others, shall be swallowed up in the whirl- 
winds of its rage. Let your compassion be moved, and do 






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 85 

not disdain me. Listen to my tale : when you have heard 
that, abandon or commiserate me., as you shall judge that I 
deserve. But hear me. The guilty are allowed, by human 
laws, bloody as they are, to speak in their own defence 
before they are condemned. Listen to me, Frankenstein. 
You accuse me of murder ; and yet you would, with a sa- 
tisfied conscience, destroy your own creature. Oh, praise 
the eternal justice of man ! Yet I ask you not to spare me: 
listen to me ; and then, if you can, and if you will, destroy 
the work of your 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 author ? Cursed be the day, 
abhorred devil, in which you first saw light ! Cursed 
(although I curse myself) be the hands that formed you ! 
You have made me wretched beyond expression. You 
have left me no power to consider whether I am just to 
you, or not. Begone ! relieve me from the sight of your 
detested form." 

" Thus I relieve thee, my creator," he said, and placed 
his hated hands before my eyes, which I flung from me with 
violence ; " thus I take from thee a sight which you abhor. 
Still thou canst listen to me, and grant me thy compassion, 
By the virtues that I once possessed, I demand this from 
you. Hear my tale ; it is long and strange, and the tem- 
perature 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 fol- 
lowed. My heart was full, and I did not answer him ; but, 
as I proceeded, I weighed the various arguments that he 
had used, and determined at least to listen to his tale. I 
was partly urged by curiosity, and compassion confirmed 
my resolution. I had hitherto supposed him to be the 
murderer of my brother, and I eagerly sought a confirm- 
G 3 



8 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

ation 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 as- 
cended the opposite rock. Tfye air was cold, and the rain 
again began to descend : we entered the hut, the fiend with 
an air of exultation, I with a heavy heart, and depressed 
spirits. But I consented to listen ; and, seating myself by 
the fire which my odious companion had lighted, he thus 
began his tale. 



CHAPTER XI. 

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



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 87 

ground. I slaked my thirst at the brook ; and then lying 
down, was overcome by sleep. 

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

" Soon a gentle light stole over the heavens, and gave 
me a sensation of pleasure.' I started up, and beheld a 
radiant form rise from among the trees.* I gazed with a 
kind of wonder. It moved slowly, but it enlightened my 
path ; and I again went out in search of berries. I was 
still cold, when under one of the trees I found a huge cloak, 
with which I covered myself, and sat down upon the 
ground. No distinct ideas occupied my mind ; all was 
confused. I felt light, and hunger, and thirst, and dark- 
ness ; 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 clear stream that supplied me with drink, and the trees 
that shaded me with their foliage. I was delighted when 
I first discovered that a pleasant sound, which often saluted 
my ears, proceeded from the throats of the little winged 
animals who had often intercepted the light from my eyes. 
I began also to observe, with greater accuracy, the forms 
that surrounded me, and to perceive the boundaries of the 
radiant roof of light which canopied me. Sometimes I tried 
to imitate the pleasant songs of the birds, but was unable. 
Sometimes I wished to express my sensations in my own 
mode, but the uncouth and inarticulate sounds which broke 
from me frightened me into silence again. 

" The moon had disappeared from the night, and again, 

* The moon. 
O 4 



88 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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

e( One day, when I was oppressed by cold, I found a fire 
which had been left by some wandering beggars, and was 
overcome with delight at the warmth I experienced from 
it. In my joy I thrust my hand into the live embers, but 
quickly drew it out again with a cry of pain. How strange, 
I thought, that the same cause should produce such op- 
posite effects ! I examined the materials of the fire, and 
to my joy found it to be composed of wood. I quickly 
collected some branches ; but they were wet, and would not 
burn. I was pained at this, and sat still watching the 
operation of the fire. The wet wood which I had placed 
near the heat dried, and itself became inflamed. I reflected 
on this ; and, by touching the various branches, I disco- 
vered the cause, and busied myself in collecting a great 
quantity of wood, that I might dry it, and have a plentiful 
supply of fire. When night came on, and brought sleep 
with it, I was in the greatest fear lest my fire should be 
extinguished. 1 covered it carefully with dry wood and 
leaves, and placed wet branches upon it ; and then, spread- 
ing my cloak, I lay on the ground, and sunk into sleep. 

" It was morning when I awoke, and my first care was 
to visit the fire. I uncovered it, and a gentle breeze 
quickly fanned it into a flame. I observed this also, and 
contrived a fan of branches, which roused the embers when 
they were nearly extinguished. When night came again, 
I found, with pleasure, that the fire gave light as well as 
heat ; and that the discovery of this element was useful to 
me in my food ; for I found some of the offals that the 
travellers had left had been roasted, and tasted much more 
savoury than the berries 1 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. O[) 

were spoiled by this operation, and the nuts and roots much 
improved. 

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

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

" It was noon when I awoke ; and, allured by the 






90 FRANKENSTE IN ; OR, 

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 mira- 
culous did this appear ! the huts, the neater cottages, and 
stately houses, engaged my admiration by turns. The 
vegetables in the gardens, the milk and cheese that I saw 
placed at the windows of some of the cottages, allured my 
appetite. One of the best of these I entered; but I had 
hardly placed my foot within the door, before the children 
shrieked, and one of the women fainted. The whole vil- 
lage was roused ; some fled, some attacked me, until, 
grievously bruised by stones and many other kinds of mis- 
sile weapons, I escaped to the open country, and fearfully 
took refuge in a low hovel, quite bare, and making a 
wretched appearance after the palaces I had beheld in the 
village. This hovel, however, joined a cottage of a neat 
and pleasant appearance ; but, after my late dearly bought 
experience, I dared not enter it. My place of refuge was 
constructed of wood, but so low, that I could with diffi- 
culty sit upright in it. No wood, however, was placed on 
the earth, which formed the floor, but it was dry; and 
although the wind entered it by innumerable chinks, I found 
it an agreeable asylum from the snow and rain. 

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

" As soon as morning dawned, I crept from my kennel, 
that I might view the adjacent cottage, and discover if I 
could remain in the habitation I had found. It was 
situated against the back of the cottage, and surrounded on 
the sides which were exposed by a pig-sty and a clear pool 
of water. One part was open, and by that I had crept in ; 
but now I covered every crevice by which I might be per- 
ceived 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. 

fc Having thus arranged my dwelling, and carpeted it 
with clean straw, I retired ; for I saw the figure of a man 






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 9 

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. 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, 

(e Being thus provided, I resolved to reside in this hovel, 
until something should occur which might alter my deter- 
mination. 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 plea- 
sure, 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 cot- 
tagers and farm-house servants to be. Yet she was meanly 
dressed, a coarse blue petticoat and a linen jacket being 
her only garb ; her fair hair was plaited, but not adorned : 
she looked patient, yet sad. I lost sight of her ; and in 
about a quarter of an hour she returned, bearing the pail, 
which was now partly filled with milk. As she walked 
along, seemingly incommoded by the burden, a young man 
met her, whose countenance expressed a deeper despond- 
ence. Uttering a few sounds with an air of melancholy, 
he took the pail from her head, and bore it to the cottage 
himself. She followed, and they disappeared. Presently I 
saw the young man again, with some tools in his hand, 
cross the field behind the cottage ; and the girl was also 
busied, sometimes in the house, and sometimes in the yard. 

" On examining my dwelling, I found that one of the 
windows of the cottage had formerly occupied a part of it, 
but the panes had been filled up with wood. In one of 
these was a small and almost imperceptible chink, through 
which the eye could just penetrate. Through this crevice 
a small room was visible, whitewashed and clean, but very 
bare of furniture. In one corner, near a small fire, sat an 
old man, leaning his head on his hands in a disconsolate 



9*2 FRANKENSTEIN j OR, 

attitude. The young girl was occupied in arranging the 
cottage ; but presently she took something out of a drawer, 
which employed her hands., and she sat down beside the old 
man, who, taking up an instrument, began to play, and to 
produce sounds sweeter than the voice of the thrush or the 
nightingale. It was a lovely sight, even to rne, poor wretch ! 
who had never beheld aught beautiful before. The silver 
hair and benevolent countenance of the aged cottager won 
my reverence, while the gentle manners of the girl enticed 
my love. He played a sweet mournful air, which I per- 
ceived drew tears from the eyes of his amiable companion, 
of which the old man took no notice, until she sobbed 
audibly; he then pronounced a few sounds, and the fair 
creature, leaving her work, knelt at his feet. He raised 
her, and smiled with such kindness and affection, that I 
felt sensations of a peculiar and overpowering nature : they 
were a mixture of pain and pleasure, such as I had never 
before experienced, either from hunger or cold, warmth or 
food; and I withdrew from the window, unable to bear 
these emotions. 

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

" The old man had, in the mean time, bseix 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 93 

between these two excellent creatures. One was old, with 
silver hairs and a countenance beaming with benevolence 
and love : the younger was slight and graceful in his figure, 
and his features were moulded with the finest symmetry; 
yet his eyes and attitude expressed the utmost sadness and 
despondency. The old man returned to the cottage ; and 
the youth, with tools different from those he had used in 
the morning, directed his steps across the fields. 

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

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



CHAPTER XII. 

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

fe The cottagers arose the next morning before the sun. 



94 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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 con- 
templation. Nothing could exceed the love and respect 
which the younger cottagers exhibited towards their vene- 
rable companion. They performed towards him every 
little office of affection and duty with gentleness ; and he 
rewarded them by his benevolent smiles. 

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

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

" This trait of kindness moved me sensibly. I had been 
accustomed, during the night, to steal a part of their store 



THE JIODEBN PROMETHEUS. 95 

for my own consumption ; but when I found that in doing 
this I inflicted pain on the cottagers, I abstained, and satis- 
fied myself with berries, nuts, and roots, which I gathered 
from a neighbouring wood. 

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

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

(e By degrees I made a discovery of still greater moment. 
I found that these people possessed a method of commu- 
nicating 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 in- 
deed a godlike science, and I ardently desired to become 
acquainted with it. But I was baffled in every attempt I 
made for this purpose. Their pronunciation was quick ; 
and the words they uttered, not having any apparent con- 
nection with visible objects, I was unable to discover any 
clue by which I could unravel the mystery of their refer- 
ence. By great application, however, and after having re- 
mained during the space of several revolutions of the moon 
in my hovel, I discovered the names that were given to 
some of the most familiar objects of discourse ; I learned 
and applied the words, fire, milk, bread, and wood. I 
learned also the names of the cottagers themselves. The 
youth and his companion had each of them several names^ 
but the old man had only one, which was father. The 
girl was called sister, or Agatha; and the youth Felix, bro- 
ther, or son. I cannot describe the delight I felt when I 
learned the ideas appropriated to each of these sounds, and 



96 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

was able to pronounce them. I distinguished several other 
words, without being able as yet to understand or apply 
them ; such as good, dearest, unhappy. 

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

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






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 97 

" 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 un- 
derstand the sounds for which they stood as signs ? I im- 
proved, however, sensibly in this science, but not sufficiently 
to follow up any kind of conversation, although I applied 
my whole mind to the endeavour : for I easily perceived 
that, although I eagerly longed to discover myself to the 
cottagers, I ought not to make the attempt until I had first 
become master of their language ; which knowledge might 
enable me to make them overlook the deformity of my 
figure ; for with this also the contrast perpetually presented 
to my eyes had made me acquainted. 

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

" As the sun became warmer, and the light of day longer, 
the snow vanished, and I beheld the bare trees and the 
black earth. From this time Felix was more employed ; 
and the heart-moving indications of impending famine dis- 
appeared. 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 became far more pleasant than it had been. 

" My mode of life in my hovel was uniform. During 
H 



98 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

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 offices that I had seen done by 
Felix. I afterwards found that these labours, performed 
by an invisible hand, greatly astonished them ; and once or 
twice I heard them, on these occasions, utter the words 
good spirit, wonderful ; but I did not then understand the 
signification of these terms. 

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

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

" The pleasant showers and genial warmth of spring 
greatly altered the aspect of the earth. Men, who before 
this change seemed to have been hid in caves, dispersed 
themselves, and were employed in various arts of cultiva- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 99 

tion. 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 ele- 
vated by the enchanting appearance of nature ; the past 
was blotted from my memory, the present was tranquil, and 
the future gilded by bright rays of hope, and anticipations 
of joy." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

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

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

" It was on one of these days, when my cottagers period- 
ically 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 expres- 
sion ; he sighed frequently ; and once his father paused in 
his music, and I conjectured by his manner that he en- 
quired the cause of his son's sorrow. Felix replied in a 
cheerful accent, and the old man was recommencing his 
music, when some one tapped at the door. 

" It was a lady on horseback, accompanied by a coun 
tryman as a guide. The lady was dressed in a dark suit, 
and covered with a thick black veil. Agatha asked a ques- 
tion ; 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 

H 2 



100 FRANKENSTEIN; on, 

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

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



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 101 

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

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

ce 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 won- 
drous strain of the stranger. The old man appeared en- 
raptured, and said some words, which Agatha endeavoured 
to explain to Safie, and by which he appeared to wish to 
express that she bestowed on him the greatest delight by 
her music. 

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

" In the meanwhile also the black ground was covered 
with herbage, and the green banks interspersed with innu- 
merable 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 day- 
light, fearful of meeting with the same treatment I had 
formerly endured in the first village which I entered. 

" My days were spent in close attention, that I might 
H 3 



102 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

more speedily master the language ; and I may boast that 
I improved more rapidly than the Arabian, who under- 
stood very little, and conversed in broken accents, whilst I 
comprehended and could imitate almost every word that was 
spoken. 

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

"The book from which Felix instructed Safie was Volney's 
' Ruins of Empires/ I should not have understood the 
purport of this book, had not Felix, in reading it, given 
very minute explanations. He had chosen this work, he 
said, because the declamatory style was framed in imitation 
of the eastern authors. Through this work I obtained a 
cursory knowledge of history, and a view of the several 
empires at present existing in the world; it gave me an 
insight into the manners, governments, and religions of the 
different nations of the earth. I heard of the slothful 
Asiatics; of the stupendous genius and mental activity of 
the Grecians ; of the wars and wonderful virtue of the 
early Romans of their subsequent degenerating of the 
decline of that mighty empire ; of chivalry, Christianity, 
and kings. I heard of the discovery of the American he- 
misphere, 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 vir- 
tuous, and magnificent, yet so vicious and base ? He ap- 
peared at one time a mere scion of the evil principle, and at 
another, as all that can be conceived of noble and godlike. 
To be a great and virtuous man appeared the highest honour 
that can befall a sensitive being ; to be base and vicious, as 
many on record have been, appeared the lowest degradation, 
a condition more abject than that of the blind mole or 
harmless worm. For a long time I could not conceive 
how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or even 
why there were laws and governments ; but when I heard 
details of vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased, and I 
turned away with disgust and loathing. 

" Every conversation of the cottagers now opened new 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 103 

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

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

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

" Of what a strange nature is knowledge ! It clings to 
the mind, when it has once seized on it, like a lichen on 
the rock. I wished sometimes to shake off all thought and 
feeling ; but I learned that there was but one means to 
overcome the sensation of pain, and that was death a 
state which I feared yet did not understand. I admired 
virtue and good feelings, and loved the gentle manners and 
amiable qualities of my cottagers ; but I was shut out from 
intercourse with them, except through means which I ob- 
tained by stealth, when I was unseen and unknown, and 
which rather increased than satisfied the desire I had of 
becoming one among my fellows. The gentle words of 
H 4 



1 04* FRANKENSTEIN ; OB, 

Agatha, and the animated smiles of the charming Arabian, 
were not for me. The mild exhortations of the old man, 
and the lively conversation of the loved Felix, were not for 
me. Miserable, unhappy wretch ! 

" Other lessons were impressed upon me even more 
deeply. I heard of the difference of sexes ; and the birth 
and growth of children; how the father doated on the 
smiles of the infant, and the lively sallies of the older child ; 
how ah 1 the life and cares of the mother were wrapped up 
in the precious charge ; how the mind of youth expanded 
and gained knowledge ; of brother, sister, and all the various 
relationships which bind one human being to another in 
mutual bonds. 

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



answered only with groans. 
" I will soon explain to \ 



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



CHAPTER XIV. 

" SOME time elapsed before I learned the history of my 
friends. It was one which could not fail to impress itself 
deeply on my mind, unfolding as it did a number of cir- 
cumstances, 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 105 

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, sur- 
rounded by friends, and possessed of every enjoyment which 
virtue, refinement of intellect, or taste, accompanied by a 
moderate fortune, could afford. 

" The father of Safie had been the cause of their ruin. 
He was a Turkish merchant, and had inhabited Paris for 
many years, when, for some reason which I could not 
learn, he became obnoxious to the government. He was 
seized and cast into prison the very day that Safie arrived 
from Constantinople to join him. He was tried, and con- 
demned to death. The injustice of his sentence was very 
flagrant ; all Paris was indignant ; and it was judged that 
his religion and wealth, rather than the crime alleged against 
him, had been the cause of his 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 found a strongly grated window in an un- 
guarded 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 deli- 
verer by promises of reward and wealth. Felix rejected 
his offers with contempt j yet when he saw the lovely 
Safie, who was allowed to visit her father, and who, by her 
gestures, expressed her lively gratitude, the youth could 
not help owning to his own mind, that the captive pos- 
sessed a treasure which would fully reward his toil and 
hazard. 

:e The Turk quickly perceived the impression that his 
daughter had made on the heart of Felix, and endeavoured 
re him more entirely in his interests by the promise 



- 



106 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

of her hand in marriage, so soon as he should he conveyed 
to a place of safety. Felix was too delicate to accept this 
offer ; yet he looked forward to the probability of the event 
as to the consummation of his happiness. 

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

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

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

ff The day for the execution of the Turk was fixed ; but, 
on the night previous to it, he quitted his prison, and be- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 107 

fore morning was distant many leagues from Paris. Felix 
had procured passports in the name of his father, sister, 
and himself. He had previously communicated his plan 
to the former, who aided the deceit by quitting his house, 
under the pretence of a journey, and concealed himself, with 
his daughter, in an obscure part of Paris. 

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

" Safie resolved to remain with her father until the mo- 
ment of his departure, before which time the Turk re- 
newed his promise that she should be united to his deliverer; 
and Felix remained with them in expectation of that event; 
and in the mean time he enjoyed the society of the Arabian, 
who exhibited towards him the simplest and tenderest af- 
fection. They conversed with one another through the 
means of an interpreter, arid sometimes with the interpret- 
ation 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 
hearj; he had formed far other plans. He loathed the idea that 
his daughter should be united to a Christian ; but he feared 
the resentment of Felix, if he should appear 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 dis- 
covered, 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 
v-ur, and the society of her whom he loved. This idea was 



108 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

torture to him. He quickly arranged with the Turks, that 
if the latter should find a favourable opportunity for escape 
before Felix could return to Italy, Safie should remain as a 
boarder at a convent at Leghorn ; and then, quitting the 
lovely Arabian, he hastened to Paris, and delivered him- 
self up to the vengeance of the law, hoping to free De 
Lacey and Agatha by this proceeding. 

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

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

" Such were the events that preyed on the heart of Felix, 
and rendered him, when I first saw him, the most miser- 
able 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 -ir- 
reparable. The arrival of the Arabian now infused new- 
life into his soul. 

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

" A few days after, the Turk entered his daughter's 
apartment, and told her hastily, that he had reason to be- 
lieve that his residence at Leghorn had been divulged, and 
that he should speedily be delivered up to the French go- 
vernment ; he had, consequently hired a vessel to convey 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 109 

him to Constantinople,, for which city he should sail in a 
few hours. He intended to leave his daughter under the 
care of a confidential servant, to follow at her leisure with 
the greater part of his property, which had not yet arrived 
at Leghorn. 

" When alone, Safie resolved in her own mind the plan 
of conduct that it would become her to pursue in this emer- 
gency. A residence in Turkey was abhorrent to her ; her 
religion and her feelings were alike adverse to it. By some 
papers of her father, which fell into her hands, she heard 
of the exile of her lover, and learnt the name of the spot 
where he then resided. She hesitated some time, but at 
length she formed her determination. Taking with her 
some jewels that belonged to her, and a sum of money, she 
quitted Italy with an attendant, a native of Leghorn, but 
who understood the common language of Turkey, and 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 devotee! 
affection j but the poor girl died, and the Arabian was left 
alone, unacquainted with the language of the country, and 
utterly ignorant of the customs of the world. She fell, 
however, into good hands. The Italian had mentioned the 
name of the spot for which they were bound ; and, after 
her death, the woman of the house in which they had lived 
took care that Safie should arrive in safety at the cottage 
of her lover. 



CHAPTER XV. 

" SUCH was the history of my beloved cottagers. It im- 
pressed 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 ; bene- 
volence and generosity were ever present before me, inciting 



110 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

within me a desire to become an actor in the busy scene 
where so many admirable qualities were called forth and 
displayed. But, in giving an account of the progress of 
my intellect, I must not omit a circumstance which oc- 
curred in the beginning of the month of August of the same 
year. 

" One night, during my accustomed visit to the neigh- 
bouring 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 ordi- 
nary occupations. 

" I can hardly describe to you the effect of these books. 
They produced in me an infinity of new images and feel- 
ings, that sometimes raised me to ecstacy, but more fre- 
quently 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 sub- 
jects, that I found in it a never-ending source of speculation 
and astonishment. The gentle and domestic manners it 
described, combined with lofty sentiments and feelings, 
which had for their object something out of self, accorded 
well with my experience among my protectors, and with 
the wants which were for ever alive in my own bosom. 
But I thought Werter himself a more divine being than I 
had ever beheld or imagined ; his character contained no 
pretension, but it sunk deep. The disquisitions upon death 
and suicide were calculated to fill me with wonder. I did 
not pretend to enter into the merits of the case, yet I in- 
clined towards the opinions of the hero, whose extinction I 
wept, without precisely understanding it. 

" As I read, however, I applied much personally to my 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. Ill 

own feelings and condition. I found myself similar, yet 
at the same time strangely unlike to the beings concerning 
whom I read, and to whose conversation I was a listener. 
I sympathised with, and partly understood them, hut I was 
unformed in mind ; I was dependent on none, and related 
to none. ' The path of my departure was free ; ' and there 
was nor,e to lament my annihilation. My person was 
hideous, and my stature gigantic ? What did this mean ? 
Who was I ? What was I ? Whence did I come ? What 
was my destination ? These questions continually recurred, 
but I was unable to solve them. 

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

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






112 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 per- 
fect 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 con- 
sidered Satan as the fitter emblem of my condition ; for 
often, like him, when I viewed the bliss of my protectors, 
the bitter gall of envy rose within me. 

" Another circumstance strengthened and confirmed these 
feelings. Soon after my arrival in the hovel, I discovered 
some papers in the pocket of the dress which I had taken 
from your laboratory. At first I had neglected them ; but 
now that I was able to decipher the characters in which 
they were written, I began to study them with diligence. 
It was your journal of the four months that preceded my 
creation. You minutely described in these papers every 
step you took in the progress of your work ; this history 
was mingled with accounts of domestic occurrences. You, 
doubtless, recollect these papers. Here they are. Every 
thing is related in them which bears reference to my ac- 
cursed origin ; the whole detail of that series of disgusting 
circumstances which produced it, is set in view; the minutest 
description of my odious and loathsome p srson is given, in 
language which painted your own horrors, and rendered 
mine indelible. I sickened as I read. ' Hateful day when 
I received life ! ' I exclaimed in agony. f 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 ab- 
horred/ 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 113 

" These were the reflections of my hours of despond- 
ency and solitude ; but when I contemplated the virtues of 
the cottagers, their amiable and benevolent dispositions, I 
persuaded myself that when they should become acquainted 
with my admiration of their virtues, they would 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 im- 
portance attached to its success inspired me with a dread 
lest I should fail. Besides, I found that my understanding 
improved so much with every day's experience, that I was 
unwilling to commence this undertaking until a few more 
months should have added to my sagacity. 

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

" I endeavoured to crush these fears, and to fortify my- 
self 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 ard lovely creatures sympathising with my 
feelings, and cheering my gloom; their angelic counte- 
nances breathed smiles of consolation. But it was all a 
dream ; no Eve soothed my sorrows, nor shared my thoughts; 
I was alone. I remembered Adam's supplication to h'is 
Creator. But where was mine? He had abandoned me- 
and, in the bitterness of my heart, I cursed him. 
i 



114 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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

" The winter advanced, and an entire revolution of the 
seasons had taken place since I awoke into life. My at- 
tention, at this time, was solely directed towards my plan 
of introducing myself into the cottage of my protectors. I 
revolved many projects ; but that on which I finally fixed 
was, to enter the dwelling when the blind old man should 
be alone. I had sagacity enough to discover, that the un- 
natural 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 pro- 
tectors. 

(( 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 115 

long country walk, and the old man, at his own desire, was 
left alone in the cottage. When his children had departed, 
he took up his guitar, and played several mournful but 
sweet airs, more sweet and mournful than I had ever heard 
him play before. At first his countenance was illuminated 
with pleasure, but, as he continued, thoughtfulness and 
sadness succeeded ; at length, laying aside the instrument, 
he sat absorbed in reflection. 

ee My heart beat quick ; this was the hour and moment 
of trial, which would decide my hopes, or realise my fears. 
The servants were gone to a neighbouring fair. All was 
silent in and around the cottage : it was an excellent oppor- 
tunity; 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, re- 
moved 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 ; f Pardon this intrusion,* said I : c I am a 
traveller in want of a little rest ; you would greatly oblige 
me, if you would allow me to remain a few minutes before 
the fire.' 

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

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

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

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

" ' No ; but I was educated by a French family, and 
understand that language only. I am now going to claim 
i 2 



116 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

the protection of some friends,, whom I sincerely love, and 
of whose favour I have some hopes.' 

" ' Are they Germans ? ' 

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

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

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

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

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

" e Where do these friends reside ? ' 

" < Near this spot.' 

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

" ' Excellent man ! I thank you, and accept your ge- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 117 

nerous 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.' 

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

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

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

" I paused. This, I thought, was the moment of deci- 
sion, 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 ! 
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, c 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 sickness, and I refrained. 
I saw him on the point of repeating his blow, when, over- 
come by pain and anguish, I quitted the cottage, and in the 
general tumult escaped unperceived to my hovel, 
i 3 



118 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 



CHAPTER XVI. 

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

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

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

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

" The pleasant sunshine, and the pure air of day, re- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 

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

" These thoughts calmed me, and in the afternoon I 
sank into a profound sleep ; but the fever of my blood did 
not allow me to be visited by peaceful dreams. The hor- 
rible scene of the preceding 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 exhausted; 
and, rinding that it was already night, T crept forth from 
my hiding-place, and went in search of food. 

ff 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 re- 
mained in silent expectation of the accustomed hour when 
the family arose. That hour passed, the sun mounted high 
in the heavens, but the cottagers did not appear. I trembled 
violently, apprehending some dreadful misfortune. The 
inside of the cottage was dark, and I heard no motion ; I 
cannot describe the agony of this suspense. 

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

" ' Do you consider/ said his companion to him, f that 
i 4 



120 



FRANKENSTEIN ,' OB, 



you will be obliged to pay three months' rent, and to lose 
the produce of your garden ? I do not wish to take any 
unfair advantage, and I beg therefore that you will take 
some days to consider of your 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 mind towards injury and death. When I 
thought of my friends, of the mild voice of De Lacey, the 
gentle eyes of Agatha, and the exquisite beauty of the 
Arabian, these thoughts vanished, and a gush of tears 
somewhat soothed me. But again, when I reflected that 
they had spurned and deserted me, anger returned, a rage 
of anger ; and, unable to injure any thing human, I turned 
my fury towards inanimate objects. As night advanced, I 
placed a variety of combustibles around the cottage ; and, 
after having destroyed everf*Vestige of cultivation in the 
garden, 1 waited with forced impatience until the moon 
Jiad sunk to commence my operations. 

(c 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 






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 121 

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. 

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

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

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

" My travels were long, and the sufferings I endured 
intense. It was late in autumn when I quitted the district 
where I had so long resided. I travelled only at night, 
fearful of encountering the visage of a human being. Na- 
ture decayed around me, and the sun became heatless ; rain 
and snow poured around me ; mighty rivers were frozen ; 



122 FRANKENSTEIN ; OB, 

the surface of the earth was hard and chill, and bare, and 
I found no shelter. Oh, earth ! how often did I imprecate 
curses on the cause of my being ! The mildness of my 
nature had fled, and all within me was turned to gall and 
bitterness. The nearer I approached to your habitation, 
the more deeply did I feel the spirit of revenge enkindled 
in my heart. Snow fell, and the waters were hardened; but 
I rested not. A few incidents now and then directed me, 
and I possessed a map of the country ; but I often wan- 
dered wide from my path. The agony of my feelings al- 
lowed me no respite : no incident occurred from which my 
rage and misery could not extract its food ; but a circum- 
stance 'that happened when I arrived on the confines of 
Switzerland, when the sun had recovered its warmth, and 
the earth again began to look green, confirmed in an especial 
manner the bitterness and horror of my feelings. 

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

" I continued to wind among the paths of the wood, 
until I came to its boundary, which was skirted by a deep 
and rapid river, into which many of the trees bent their 
branches, now budding with the fresh spring. Here I 
paused, not exactly knowing what path to pursue, when I 
heard the sound of voices, that induced me to conceal myself 
under the shade of a cypress. I was scarcely hid, when a 
young girl came running towards the spot where I was con- 
cealed, laughing, as if she ran from some one in sport. She 
continued her course along the precipitous sides of the river, 
when suddenly her foot slipt, and she fell into the rapid 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 123 

stream. I rushed from my hiding-place; and, with extreme 
labour from the force of the current,, saved her, and dragged 
her to shore. She was senseless ; and I endeavoured, by 
every means in my power, to restore animation, when I was 
suddenly interrupted by the approach of a rustic, who was 
probably the person from whom she had playfully fled. On 
seeing me, he darted towards me, and tearing the girl from 
my arms, hastened towards the deeper parts of the wood. 
I followed speedily, 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 in- 
jurer, with increased swiftness, escaped into the wood. 

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

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

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

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

" It was evening when I arrived, and I retired to a 
hiding-place among the fields that surround it, to meditate 



14 FRANKENSTEIN ; OB, 

in what manner I should apply to you. I was oppressed 
by fatigue and hunger, and far too unhappy to enjoy the 
gentle breezes of evening, or the prospect of the sun setting 
behind the stupendous mountains of Jura. 

f( At this time a slight sleep relieved me from the pain of 
reflection, which was disturbed by the approach of a beautiful 
child, who came running into the recess I had chosen, with 
all the sportiveness of infancy. Suddenly, as I gazed on 
him, an idea seized me, that this little creature was 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. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

e< I gazed on my victim, and my heart swelled with ex- 
ultation and hellish triumph : clapping my hands, I ex- 
claimed, c I, too, can create desolation ; my enemy is not 
invulnerable ; this death will carry despair to him, and a 
thousand other miseries shall torment and destroy him/ 

" As I fixed my eyes on the child, I saw something 
glittering on his breast. I took it ; it was a portrait of a 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 125 

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 regarding me, have changed that 
air of divine benignity to one expressive of disgust and 
affright. 

(f 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. 

ft While I was overcome by these feelings, I left the spot 
where I had committed the murder, and seeking a more se 
eluded 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 j but of an agreeable aspect, and blooming in 
the loveliness of youth and health. Here, I thought, is one 
of those whose joy-imparting smiles are bestowed on all but 
me. And then I bent over her, and whispered ' Awake, 
fairest, thy lover is near he who would give his life but to 
obtain one look of affection from thine eyes : my beloved, 
awake ! ' 

" The sleeper stirred ; a thrill of terror ran through me. 
Should she indeed awake, and see me, and curse me, and 
denounce the murderer ? Thus would she assuredly act, if 
her darkened eyes opened, and she beheld me. The thought 
was madness; it stirred the fiend within me not I, but 
she shall suffer: the murder I have committed because I 
am 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 san- 
guinary 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. 

<e For some days I haunted the spot where these scenes 
had taken place ; sometimes wishing to see you, some- 
times resolved to quit the world and its miseries for ever. 






126 



FRANKENSTEIN ! OR, 



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 companion must be of 
the same species, and have the same defects. This being 
you must create." 



CHAPTER XVII. 

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

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

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

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

" You are in the wrong," replied the fiend ; " and, in- 
stead of threatening, I am content to reason with you. I 
am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned 
and hated by all mankind ? You, my creator, would tear 
me to pieces, and triumph ; remember that, and tell me 
why I should pity man more than he pities me ? You would 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 127 

not call it murder, if you could precipitate me into one 
of those ice-rifts, and destroy my frame, the work of your 
own hands. Shall I respect man, when he contemns me ? 
Let him live with me in the interchange of kindness ; and, 
instead of injury, I would bestow every benefit upon him 
with tears of gratitude at his acceptance. But that cannot 
be ; the human senses are insurmountable barriers to our 
union. Yet mine shall not be the submission of abject 
slavery. I will revenge my injuries : if I cannot inspire 
love, I will cause fear ; and chiefly towards you my arch- 
enemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguishable 
hatred. Have a care : I will work at your destruction, nor 
finish until I desolate your heart, so that you shall curse 
the hour of your birth." 

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

" I intended to reason. This passion is detrimental to 
me ; for you do not reflect that you are the cause of its 
excess. If any being felt emotions of benevolence towards 
me, I should return them an hundred and an hundred 
fold ; for that one creature's sake, I would make peace with 
the whole kind ! But I now indulge in dreams of bliss that 
cannot be realised. What I ask of you is reasonable and 
moderate ; I demand a creature of another sex, but as 
hideous as myself; the gratification is small, but it is all 
that I can receive, and it shall content me. It is true, we 
shall be monsters, cut off from all the world ; but on that 
account we shall be more attached to one another. Our 
lives will not be happy, but they will be harmless, and free 
from the misery I now feel. Oh ! my creator, make me 
happy ; let me feel gratitude towards you for one benefit 1 
Let me see that I excite the sympathy of some existing 
thing ; do not deny me my request ! " 

I was moved. I shuddered when I thought of the pos- 
sible consequences of my consent ; but I felt that there was 
some justice in his argument. His tale, and the feelings 
he now expressed, proved him to be a creature of fine sen- 
sations ; and did I not as his maker, owe him all the portion 



128 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

of happiness that it was in my power to bestow ? He saw 
my change of feeling, and continued 

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

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

" How inconstant are your feelings ! but a moment ago 
you were moved by my representations, and why do you 
again harden yourself to my complaints ? I swear to you, 
by the earth which I inhabit, and by you that made me, 
that, with the companion you bestow, I will quit the 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 compas- 
sionated him, and sometimes felt a wish to console him ; 
but when I looked upon him, when I saw the filthy mass 
that moved and talked, my heart sickened, and my feelings 
were altered to those of horror and hatred. I tried to 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 129 

stifle these sensations ; I thought, that as I could not sym- 
pathise with him, I had no right to withhold from him the 
small portion of happiness which was yet in my power to 
bestow. 

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

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

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

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

" I swear," he cried, " by the sun, and by the blue sky 
of Heaven, and by the fire of love that burns my heart, 
that if you grant my prayer, while they exist you shall 

K 



130 FRANKENSTEIN ; OH, 

never behold me again. Depart to your home, and com- 
mence your labours : I shall watch their progress with 
unutterable anxiety ; and fear not but that when you are 
ready I shall appear." 

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

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

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

Morning dawned before I arrived at the village of Cha- 
mounix ; I took no rest, but returned immediately to 
Geneva. Even in my own heart I could give no expres- 
sion to my sensations they weighed on me with a moun- 
tain's weight, and their excess destroyed my agony beneath 
them. Thus I returned home, and entering the house, 
presented myself to the family. My haggard and wild 
appearance awoke intense alarm ; but I answered no ques- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 131 

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 companionship with them. 
Yet even thus I loved them to adoration ; and to save them, 
I resolved to dedicate myself to my most abhorred task. 
The prospect of such an occupation made every other cir- 
cumstance 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 re- 
commence my work. I feared the vengeance of the disap- 
pointed 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 phi- 
losopher, the knowledge of which was material to my success, 
and I sometimes thought of obtaining my father's consent 
to visit England for this purpose; but I clung to every 
pretence of delay, and shrunk from taking the first step in 
an undertaking whose immediate necessity began to appear 
less absolute to me. A change indeed had taken place in 
me : my health, which had hitherto declined, was now much 
restored ; and my spirits, when unchecked by the memory 
of my unhappy promise, rose proportion ably. My father 
saw this change with pleasure, and he turned his thoughts 
towards the best method of eradicating the remains of my 
melancholy, which every now and then would return by fits, 
and with a devouring blackness overcast the approaching 
sunshine. At these moments 1 took refuge in the most 
perfect solitude. I passed whole days on the lake alone in 
a little boat, watching the clouds, and listening to the 
rippling of the waves, silent and listless. But the fresh air 
and bright sun seldom failed to restore me to some degree 
K 2 



FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

of composure ; and, on my return,, I met the salutations of 
my friends with a readier smile and a more cheerful heart. 

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

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

I trembled violently at his exordium, and my father con- 
tinued 

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

ff My dear father, re-assure yourself. I love my cousin 
tenderly and sincerely. I never saw any woman who ex- 
cited, as Elizabeth does, my warmest admiration and affec- 
tion. My future hopes and prospects are entirely bound 
up in the expectation of our union." 

" The expression of your sentiments of this subject, my 
dear Victor, gives me more pleasure than I have for some 
time experienced. If you feel thus, we shall assuredly be 
happy, however present events may cast a gloom over us. 
But it is this gloom which appears to have taken so strong 
a hold of your mind, that I wish to dissipate. Tell me, 
therefore, whether you object to an immediate solemnis- 
ation of the marriage. We have been unfortunate, and 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 133 

recent events have drawn us from that every-day tranquil, 
lity 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 can- 
dour, and answer me, I conjure you, with confidence and 
sincerity." 

I listened to my father in silence, and remained for some 
time incapable of offering any reply. I revolved rapidly 
in my mind a multitude of thoughts, and endeavoured to 
arrive at some conclusion. Alas ! to me the idea of an 
immediate union with my Elizabeth was one of horror 
and dismay. I was bound by a solemn promise, which 
I had not yet fulfilled, and dared not break ; or, if I did, 
what manifold miseries might not impend over me and my 
devoted family ! Could I enter into a festival with this 
ileadly 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 my- 
self to enjoy the delight of an union from which I expected 
peace. 

I remembered also the necessity imposed upon me of 
either journeying to England, or entering into a long cor- 
respondence with those philosophers of that country, whose 
knowledge and discoveries were of indispensable use to 
me in my present undertaking. The latter method of ob- 
taining the desired intelligence was dilatory and unsatis- 
factory : besides, I had an insurmountable aversion to the 
idea of engaging myself in my loathsome task in my 
father's house, while in habits of familiar intercourse with 
those I loved. I knew that a thousand fearful accidents 
might occur, the slightest of which would disclose a tale to 
thrill all connected with me with horror. I was aware als/> 
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 

K3 



134, 



FRANKENSTEIN ! OR, 



commenced, it would quickly be achieved, and I might be 
restored to my family in peace and happiness. My pro- 
mise 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 ex- 
pressed a wish to visit England ; but, concealing the true 
reasons of this request, I clothed my desires under a guise 
which excited no suspicion, while I urged my desire with an 
earnestness that easily induced my father to comply. After 
so long a period of an absorbing melancholy, that resembled 
madness in its intensity and effects, he was glad to find that 
I was capable of taking pleasure in the idea of such a jour- 
ney, and he hoped that change of scene and varied amuse- 
ment would, before my return, have restored me entirely to 
myself. 

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

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

I now made arrangements for my journey; but one 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 135 

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

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

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

After some days spent in listless indolence, during which 
I traversed many leagues, I arrived at Strasburgh, where I 
waited two days for Clerval. He came. Alas, how great 
was the contrast between us ! He was alive to every new 
scene ; joyful when he saw the beauties of the setting sun, 
K 4 



136 



FRANKENSTEIN ' OK, 



and more happy when he beheld it rise, and recommence a 
new day. He pointed out to me the shifting colours of the 
landscape, and the appearances of the sky. " This is what 
it is to live," he cried, e ' 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 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 miser- 
able wretch, haunted by a curse that shut up every avenue 
to enjoyment. 

We had agreed to descend the Rhine in a boat from 
Strasburgb to Rotterdam, whence we might take shipping 
for London. During this voyage, we passed many willowy 
islands, and saw several beautiful towns. We stayed a day 
at Manheim, and, on the fifth from our departure from 
Strasburgh, arrived at Mayence. The course of the Rhine 
below Mayence becomes much more picturesque. The river 
descends rapidly, and winds between hills, not high, but 
steep, and of beautiful forms. We saw many ruined castles 
standing on the edges of precipices, surrounded by black 
woods, high and inaccessible. This part of the Rhine, 
indeed, presents a singularly variegated landscape. In one 
spot you view rugged hills, ruined castles overlooking tre- 
mendous precipices, with the dark Rhine rushing beneath ; 
and, on the sudden turn of a promontory, flourishing vine- 
yards, 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 bot- 
tom of the boat, and, as I gazed on the cloudless blue sky, 
I seemed to drink in a tranquillity to which I had long been 
a stranger. And if these were my sensations, who can 
describe those of Henry ? He felt as if he had been trans- 
ported to Fairy-land, and enjoyed a happiness seldom tasted 
by man. " I have seen," he said, (( the most beautiful 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 137 

scenes of my own country; I have visited the lakes of Lu- 
cerne and Uri, where the snowy mountains descend almost 
perpendicularly to the water, casting black and impenetrable 
shades, which would cause a gloomy and mournful appear- 
ance, were it not for the most verdant islands that relieve 
the eye by their gay appearance; I have seen this lake 
agitated by a tempest, when the wind tore up whirlwinds 
of water, and gave you an idea of what the water-spout 
must be on the great ocean ; and the waves dash with fury 
the base of the mountain, where the priest and his mis- 
tress were overwhelmed by an avalanche, and where their 
dying voices are still said to be heard amid the pauses of 
the nightly wind ; I have seen the mountains of La Valais, 
and the Pays de Vaud : but this country, Victor, pleases 
ine more than all those wonders. The mountains of Swit- 
zerland 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 preci- 
pice ; and that also on the island, almost concealed amongst 
the foliage of those lovely trees j and now that group of 
labourers coming from among their vines ; and that village 
half hid in the recess of the mountain. Oh, surely, the 
spirit that inhabits and guards this place has a soul more 
in harmony with man, than those who pile the glacier, or 
retire to the inaccessible peaks of the mountains of our own 
country." 

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



138 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

" The sounding cataract 

Haunted him like a passion : the tall rock, 
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood, 
Their colours and their forms, were then to him 
An appetite ; a feeling, and a love, 
That had no need of a remoter charm, 
By thought supplied, or any interest 
UnborrowM from the eye "* 

And where does he now exist ? Is this gentle and lovely 
being lost for ever? Has this mind, so replete with ideas, 
imaginations fanciful and magnificent, which formed a 
world, whose existence depended on the life of its creator ; 
has 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, overflowing with the anguish 
which his remembrance creates. I will proceed with my 
tale. 

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

Our journey here lost the interest arising from beautiful 
scenery; but we arrived in a few days at Rotterdam, whence 
we proceeded by sea to England. It was on a clear morn- 
ing, in the latter days of December, that I first saw the 
white cliffs of Britain. The banks of the Thames pre- 
sented 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 ar- 
mada ; 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 history. 

* Wordsworth's Tintern Abbey. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 139 



CHAPTER XIX. 

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

If this journey had taken place during my days of study 
and happiness, it would have afforded me inexpressible 
pleasure. But a blight had come over my existence, and 
I only visited these people for the sake of the information 
they might give me on the subject in which my interest 
was so terribly profound. Company was irksome to me ; 
when alone, 1 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 unin- 
teresting joyous faces brought back despair to my heart. I 
saw an insurmountable barrier placed between me and my 
fellow-men ; this barrier was sealed with the blood of Wil- 
liam and Justine ; and to reflect on the events connected 
with those names filled my soul with anguish. 

But in Clerval I saw the image of my former self; he 
was inquisitive, and anxious to gain experience and instruc- 
tion. The difference of manners which he observed was to 
him an inexhaustible source of instruction and amusement. 
He was also pursuing an object he had long had in view. 
His design was to visit India, in the belief that he had in 
his knowledge of its various languages, and in the views he 
had taken of its society, the means of materially assisting 
the progress of European colonisation and trade. In Britain 
only could he further the execution of his plan. He was for 
ever busy; and the only check to his enjoyments was my 
sorrowful and dejected mind. I tried to conceal this as 
much as possible, that I might not debar him from the 



140 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

pleasures natural to one, who was entering on a new scene 
of life, undisturbed by any care or bitter recollection. I 
often refused to accompany him, alleging another engage- 
ment, that I might remain alone. I now also began to 
collect the materials necessary for my new creation, and 
this was to me like the torture of single drops of water 
continually falling on the head. Every thought that was 
devoted to it was an extreme anguish, and every word that 
I spoke in allusion to it caused my lips to quiver, and my 
heart to palpitate. 

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

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

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

From thence we proceeded to Oxford. As we entered 
this city, our minds were rilled with the remembrance of 
the events that had been transacted there more than a 
century and a half before. It was here that Charles I. had 
collected his forces. This city had remained faithful to 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 141 

him, after the whole nation had forsaken his cause to join 
the standard of parliament and liberty. The memory of 
that unfortunate king, and his companions, the amiable 
Falkland., the insolent Goring, his queen, and son, gave a 
peculiar interest to every part of the city, which they might 
be supposed to have inhabited. The spirit of elder days 
found a dwelling here, and we delighted to trace its foot- 
steps. If these feelings had not found an imaginary gra- 
tification, the appearance of the city had yet in itself sufficient 
beauty to obtain our admiration. The colleges are ancient 
and picturesque ; the streets are almost magnificent ; and 
the lovely Isis, which flows beside it through meadows of 
exquisite verdure, is spread forth into a placid expanse of 
waters, which reflects its majestic assemblage of towers, and 
spires, and domes, embosomed among aged trees. 

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

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



142 FRANKENSTEIN ; OB, 

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 resembled, to a greater degree, 
the scenery of Switzerland ; but every thing is on a lower 
scale, and the green hills want the crown of distant white 
Alps, which always attendonthe 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 Cha- 
mounix. The latter name made me tremble, when pro- 
nounced by Henry ; and I hastened to quit Matlock, with 
which that terrible scene was thus associated. 

From Derby, still journeying northward, we passed two 
months in Cumberland and Westmorland. I could now 
almost fancy myself among the Swiss mountains. The 
little patches of snow which yet lingered on the northern 
sides of the mountains, the lakes, and the dashing of the 
rocky streams, were all familiar and dear sights to me. 
Here also we made some acquaintances, who almost con- 
trived to cheat me into happiness. The delight of Clerval 
was proportionably greater than mine; his mind expanded 
in the company of men of talent, and he found in his own 
nature greater capacities and resources than he could have 
imagined himself to have possessed while he associated with 
his inferiors. <c 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 something new, which again engages his at- 
tention, and which also he forsakes for other novelties. 

We had scarcely visited the various lakes of Cumberland 
and Westmorland, and conceived an affection for some of 
the inhabitants, when the period of our appointment with 
our Scotch friend approached, and we left them to travel on. 
For my own part I was not sorry. I had now neglected 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 143 

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 pur- 
sued me, and tormented me at every moment from which 
I might otherwise have snatched repose and peace. I 
waited for my letters with feverish impatience : if they were 
delayed, I was miserable, and overcome by a thousand fears; 
and when they arrived, and I saw the superscription of 
Elizabeth or my father, I hardly dared to read and ascertain 
my fate. Sometimes I thought that the fiend followed me, 
and might expedite my remissness by murdering my com- 
panion. 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 con- 
sciousness of which haunted me. I was guiltless, but I 
had indeed drawn down a horrible curse upon my head, as 
mortal as that of crime. 

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

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



144 FRANKENSTEIN; on, 

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

Having parted from my friend, I determined to visit 
some remote spot of Scotland, and finish my work in soli- 
tude. I did not doubt but that the monster followed me, 
and would discover himself 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 main 
land, which was about five miles distant. 

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

In this retreat I devoted the morning to labour ; but in 
the evening, when the weather permitted, I walked on the 
stony beach of the sea, to listen to the waves as they roared 
and dashed at my feet. It was a monotonous yet ever- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 145 

changing scene. I thought of Switzerland j it was far 
different from this desolate and appalling landscape. Its 
hills are covered with vines, and its cottages are scattered 
thickly in the plains. Its fair lakes reflect a hlue and gentle 
sky ; and., when troubled by the winds, their tumult is but 
as the play of a lively infant, when compared to the roar- 
ings 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 bad-blinded me to the horror of my 
employment ; my mind was intently fixed on the consum- 
mation 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 occupa- 
tion, immersed in a solitude where nothing could for an 
instant call my attention from the actual scene in which I 
was engaged, my spirits became unequal ; I grew restless 
and nervous. Every moment I feared to meet my per- 
secutor. Sometimes I sat with my eyes fixed on the ground, 
fearing to raise them, lest they should encounter the object 
which I so much dreaded to behold. I feared to wander 
from the sight of my fellow-creatures, lest when alone he 
should come to claim his companion. 

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




146 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 



CHAPTER XX. 

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

Even if they were to leave Europe, and inhabit the de- 
serts of the new world, yet one of the first results of those 
sympathies for which the daemon thirsted would be children, 
and a race of devils would be propagated upon the earth, 
who might make the very existence of the species of man 
a condition precarious and full of terror. Had I right, for 
my own benefit, to inflict this curse upon everlasting ge- 
nerations ? I had before been moved by the sophisms of 
the being I had created ; I had been struck senseless by his 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 147 

fiendish threats : but now, for the first time, the wickedness 
of my promise burst upon me ; I shuddered to think that 
future ages might curse me as their pest, whose selfishness 
had not hesitated to buy its own peace at the price, per- 
haps, 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 pro- 
gress, and claim the fulfilment of my promise. 

As I looked on him, his countenance expressed the ut- 
most extent of malice and treachery. I thought with 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 de- 
stroy the creature on whose future existence he depended 
for happiness, and, with a howl of devilish despair and re- 
venge, 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. 

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

In a few minutes after, I heard the creaking of my door, 
as if some one endeavoured to open it softly. I trembled 
from head to foot; I felt a presentiment of who it was, and 
L 2 



148 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

wished to rouse one of the peasants who dwelt in a cottage 
not far from mine ; but I was overcome hy the sensation 
of helplessness, so often felt in frightful dreams, when you 
in vain endeavour to fly from an impending danger, and 
was rooted to the spot. 

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

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

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

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

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

The monster saw my determination in my face, and 
gnashed his teeth in the impotence of anger. " Shall each 
man," cried he, " find a wife for his bosom, and each beast 
have his mate, and I be alone ? I had feelings of affection, 
and they were requited by detestation and scorn. Man I 
you may hate ; but beware ! your hours will pass in dread 
and misery, and soon the bolt will fall which must ravish 
from you your happiness for ever. Are you to be happy, 
while I grovel in the intensity of my wretchedness ? You 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 149 

can blast my other passions ; but revenge remains re- 
venge, 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 resolution to you, 
and I am no coward to bend beneath words. Leave me ; 
I am inexorable." 

e( It is well. I go ; but remember, I shall be with you 
on your wedding-night." 

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

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

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

The night passed away, and the sun rose from the ocean ; 
my feelings became calmer, if it may be called calmness. 
I 3 



1 50 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

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

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

The sun had far descended, and I still sat on the shore, 
satisfying my appetite, which had become ravenous, with 
an oaten cake, when I saw a fishing-boat land close to me, 
and one of the men brought me a packet ; it contained let- 
ters 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 enter- 
prise. He could not any longer delay his departure ; but 
as his journey to London might be followed, even sooner 
than he now conjectured, by his longer voyage, he entreated 
me to bestow as much of my society on him as I could 
spare. He besought me, therefore, to leave my solitary 
isle, and to meet him at Perth, that we might proceed 
southwards together. This letter in a degree recalled me 
to life, and I determined to quit my island at the expiration 
of two days. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 151 

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

Notling could be more complete than the alteration that 
had talen place in my feelings since the night of the ap- 
pearance of the daemon. I had before regarded my promise 
with a gloomy despair, as a thing that, with whatever con- 
sequents, must be fulfilled ; but I now felt as if a film 
had beei taken from before my eyes, and that I, for the 
first tim<, saw clearly. The idea of renewing my labours 
did not br one instant occur to me ; the threat I had heard 
weighed Dn my thoughts, but I did not reflect that a vo- 
luntary jet of mine could avert it. I had resolved in my 
own mird, that to create another like the fiend I had first 
made wmld be an act of the basest and most atrocious 
selfishness ; and I banished from my mind every thought 
tha* could lead to a different conclusion. 

3etween two and three in the morning the moon rose ; 
ani I then, putting my basket aboard a little skiff, sailed 
ou about four miles from the shore. The scene was per- 
fecly solitary : a few boats were returning towards land, 
bu I sailed away from them. J felt as if I was about the 
conmission of a dreadful crime, and avoided with shud- 
deing anxiety any encounter with my fellow-creatures. At 
L 4 



1 52 FRANKENSTEIN j OB, 

one time the moon, which had before been clear, was sud- 
denly overspread by a thick cloud, and I took advantage 
of the moment of darkness, and cast my basket into the 
sea : I listened to the gurgling sound as it sunk, and then 
sailed away from the spot. The sky became clouded ; but 
the air was pure, although chilled by the north-east breeze 
that was then rising. But it refreshed me, and filled me 
with such agreeable sensations, that I resolved to prolong 
my stay on the water j and, fixing the rudder in a direct 
position, stretched myself at the bottom of the boat. Cloud; 
hid the moon, every thing was obscure, and I heard only 
the sound of the boat, as its keel cut through the waves; 
the murmur lulled me, and in a short time I slept soundly. 
I do not know how long I remained in this situation, 
but when I awoke I found that the sun had already mounted 
considerably. The wind w r as high, and the wa\es con- 
tinually threatened the safety of my little skiff. I found 
that the wind was north-east, and must have drivm me far 
from the coast from which I had embarked. I endeavoured 
to change my course, but quickly found that, if 1 again 
made the attempt, the boat would be instantly filkl with 
water. Thus situated, my only resource was to drivj before 
the wind. I confess that I felt a few sensations o: 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 roired and 
buffeted around me. I had already been out mary hours, 
and felt the torment of a burning thirst, a preluce to my 
other sufferings. I looked on the heavens, which were 
covered by clouds that flew before the wind, omy to be 
replaced by others : I looked upon the sea, it was to be my 
grave. " Fiend," I exclaimed, " your task is already id- 
filled ! " I thought of Elizabeth, of my father, and of CLr- 
val ; all left behind, on whom the monster might satify 
his sanguinary and merciless passions. This idea plunged 
me into a reverie, so despairing and frightful, that e^n 
now, when the scene is on the point of closing before a< 
for ever, I shudder to reflect on it. 



THE MODERN PR031ETHEUS. 



153 



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

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

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

As I was occupied in fixing the boat and arranging the 
sails, several people crowded towards the spot. They seemed 
much surprised at my appearance ; but, instead of offering 
me any assistance, whispered together with gestures that 
at any other time might have produced in me a slight 
sensation of alarm. As it was, I merely remarked that 
they spohe 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 
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." 



154 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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

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

While this strange dialogue continued, I perceived the 
crowd rapidly increase. Their faces expressed a mixture 
of curiosity and anger, which annoyed, and in some degree 
alarmed me. I enquired 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. Kirwin ? Why am I to give an account 
of myself ? Is not this a free country ? " 

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

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

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



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 155 



CHAPTER XXI. 

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

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

The first part of this deposition did not in the least 
interest me ; but when the mark of the fingers was men- 
tioned, I remembered the murder of my brother, and felt 
myself extremely agitated ; my limbs trembled, and a mist 
came over my eyes, which obliged me to lean on a chair 



156 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

for support. The magistrate observed me with a keen 
eye, and of course drew an unfavourable augury from my 
manner. 

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

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

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

Several other men were examined concerning my land- 
ing; 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 de- 
parted. Besides, they observed that it appeared that I had 
brought the body from another place, and it was likely, 
that as I did not appear to know the shore, I might 
have put into the harbour ignorant of the distance of the 
town of * * * from the place where I had deposited 
the corpse. 

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



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 157 

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 be- 
holding 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 de- 
prived you also, my dearest Henry, of life ? Two I have 
already destroyed ; other victims await their destiny : but 
you, Clerval, my friend, my benefactor " 

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

A fever succeeded to this. I lay for two months on the 
point of death : my ravings, as I afterwards heard, were 
frightful ; I called myself the murderer of William, of 
Justine, and of Clerval. Sometimes I entreated my at- 
tendants 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 ges- 
tures and bitter cries were sufficient to affright the other 
witnesses. 

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

But I was doomed to live ; and, in two months, found 
myself as awaking from a dream, in a prison, stretched 



158 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 understand- 
ing : I had forgotten the particulars of what had happened, 
and only felt as if some great misfortune had suddenly 
overwhelmed me ; but when I looked around, and saw the 
barred windows, and the squalidness of the room in which 
I was, all flashed across my memory, and I groaned bit- 
terly. 

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

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

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

' ' For that matter," replied the old woman, f ' if you 
mean about the gentleman you murdered, I believe that it 
were better for you if you were dead, for I fancy it will go 
hard with you ! However, that's none of my business; I am 
sent to nurse you, and get you well ; I do my duty with 
a safe conscience ; it were well if every 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 
edge of death ; but I felt languid, and unable to reflect on 
all that had passed. The whole series of my life appeared 
to me as a dream ; I sometimes doubted if indeed it were 
all true, for it never presented itself to my mind with the 
force of reality. 

As the images that floated before me became more dis- 
tinct, I grew feverish ; a darkness pressed around me : no 
one was near me who soothed me with the gentle voice of 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 159 

love ; no dear hand supported me. The physician came 
and prescribed medicines, and the old woman prepared 
them for me ; but utter carelessness was visible in the first, 
and the expression of brutality was strongly marked in the 
visage of the second. Who could be interested in the 
fate of a murderer, but the hangman who would gain his 
fee? 

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

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



]60 



FRANKENSTEIN; 



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 ago- 
nising than the strange chances that have lately occurred. 
You were thrown, by some surprising accident, on this 
shore., renowned for its hospitality ; seized immediately, 
and charged with murder. The first sight that was pre- 
sented to your eyes was the body of your friend, murdered 
in so unaccountable a manner, and placed, as it were, by some 
fiend across your path." 

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

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

ff 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?" 

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

I know not by what chain of thought, the idea presented 
itself, but it instantly darted into my mind that the mur- 
derer 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 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. l6'l 

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

Mr. Kirwin regarded me with a troubled countenance. 
He could not help regarding my exclamation as a presump- 
tion 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 inspir- 
ing such violent repugnance." 

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

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

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

" Are you then safe and Elizabeth and Ernest ? " 

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

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

ft 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 rendered every pre- 

M 



162 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

caution necessary that could ensure tranquillity. Mr. Kir- 
win 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 gra- 
dually 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 before me, ghastly and mur- 
dered. More than once the agitation into which these re- 
flections threw me made my friends dread a dangerous 
relapse. Alas ! why did they preserve so miserable and 
detested a life ? It was surely that I might fulfil my des- 
tiny, which is now drawing to a close. Soon, oh ! very 
soon, will death extinguish these throbbings, and relieve 
me from the mighty weight of anguish that bears me to 
the dust ; and, in executing the award of justice, I shall 
also sink to rest. Then the appearance of death was dis- 
tant, although the wish was ever present to my thoughts ; 
and I often sat for hours motionless and speechless, wishing 
for some mighty revolution that might bury me and my 
destroyer in its ruins. 

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

My father was enraptured on finding me freed from the 
vexations of a criminal charge, that I was again allowed to 
breathe the fresh atmosphere, and permitted to return to my 
native country. I did not participate in these feelings ; for 
to me the walls of a dungeon or a palace were alike hateful. 
The cup of life was poisoned for ever ; and although the sun 
shone upon me, as upon the happy and gay of heart, I saw 






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. l63 

around me nothing but a dense and frightful darkness,, pe- 
netrated by no light but the glimmer of two eyes that glared 
upon me. Sometimes they were the expressive eyes of 
Henry, languishing in death, the dark orbs nearly covered 
by the lids, and the long black lashes that fringed them ; 
sometimes it was the watery, clouded eyes of the monster, 
as I first saw them in my chamber at Ingolstadt. 

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

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

Still, as 1 urged our leaving Ireland with such inquietude 

and impatience, my father thought it best to yield. We 

took our passage on board a vessel bound for Havre-de- 

Grace, and sailed with a fair wind from the Irish shores. 

M 2 



16*4 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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

Ever since my recovery from the fever, I had been in 
the custom of taking every night a small quantity of lauda- 
num ; 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 misfor- 
tunes, I now swallowed double my usual quantity, and soon 
slept profoundly. But sleep did not afford me respite from 
thought and misery ; my dreams presented a thousand 
objects that scared me. Towards morning I was possessed 
by a kind of night-mare ; I felt the fiend's grasp in my 
neck, and could not free myself from it j groans and cries 
rung in my ears. My father, who was watching over 
me, perceiving my restlessness, awoke me ; the dashing 
waves were around : the cloudy sky above ; the fiend was 
not here : a sense of security, a feeling that a truce was 
established between the present hour and the irresistible, 
disastrous future, imparted' to me a kind of calm forgetful- 
ness, of which the human mind is by its structure peculiarly 
susceptible. 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. l65 



CHAPTER XXII. 

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

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

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

My father had often, during my imprisonment, heard me 
make the same assertion ; when I thus accused myself, he 
sometimes seemed to desire an explanation, and at others he 
appeared to consider it as the offspring of delirium, and 
that, during my illness, some idea of this kind had pre- 
sented itself to my imagination, the remembrance of which 
I preserved in my convalescence. I avoided explanation, 
M 3 



166 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 sympathy, and 
was silent when I would have given the world to have con- 
fided the fatal secret. Yet still words like those I have 
recorded, would burst uncontrollably from me. I could 
offer no explanation of them ; but their truth in part re- 
lieved the burden of my mysterious woe. 

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

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

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

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

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






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 167 

(C My dear Friend, 

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

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

" Explanation ! you may possibly say ; what can 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 probability 
of this being the case, I dare not any longer postpone writ- 
ing what, during your absence, I have often wished to ex- 
press to you, but have never had the courage to begin. 

" 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 take 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 happiness, with 
simple truth Do you not love another ? 

f{ 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 
M 4 



168 FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

solitude,, from the society of every creature, I could not 
help supposing that you might regret our connection, and 
believe yourself hound in honour to fulfil the wishes of 
you 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 eternally 
miserable, unless it were the dictate of your own free choice. 
Even now I weep to think, that, borne down as you are by 
the cruellest misfortunes, you may stifle, by the word honour, 
all hope of that love and happiness which would alone re- 
store you to yourself. I, who have so disinterested an affec- 
tion for you, may increase your miseries tenfold, by being an 
obstacle to your wishes. Ah ! Victor, be assured that your 
cousin and playmate has too sincere a love for you not to 
be made miserable by this supposition. Be happy, my 
friend ; and if you obey me in this one request, remain 
satisfied that nothing on earth will have the power to inter- 
rupt 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 smile 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 18th, 17 ." 

This letter revived in my memory what I had before for- 
gotten, the threat of the fiend " I will be with you on your 
wedding night!" Such was my sentence, and on that night 
would the daemon employ every art to destroy me, and tear 
me from the glimpse of happiness which promised partly to 
console my sufferings. On that night he had determined to 
consummate his crimes by my death. Well, be it so; a 
deadly struggle would then assuredly take place, in which if 
he were victorious I should be at peace, and his power over 
me be at an end. If he were vanquished, I should be a 
free man. Alas ! what freedom ? such as the peasant enjoys 






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 169 

t 

when his family have been massacred before his eyes, his 
cottage burnt, his lands laid waste, and he is turned adrift, 
homeless, penniless, and alone, but free. Such would be 
my liberty, except that in my Elizabeth I possessed a 
treasure ; alas ! balanced by those horrors of remorse and 
guilt, which would pursue me until death. 

Sweet and beloved Elizabeth ! I read and re-read her 
letter, and some softened feelings stole into my heart, and 
dared to whisper 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 me on my wedding-night, 
yet he did not consider that threat as binding him to peace 
in the mean time ; for, as if to show me that he was not yet 
satiated with blood, he had murdered Clerval immediately 
after the enunciation of his threats. I resolved, therefore, that 
if my immediate union with my cousin would conduce either 
to hers or my father's happiness, my adversary's designs 
against my life should not retard it a single hour. 

In this state of mind I wrote to Elizabeth. My letter 
was calm and affectionate. " I fear, my beloved girl," I 
said, " little happiness remains for us on earth ; yet all that 
I may one day enjoy is centred in you. Chase away your 
idle fears ; to you alone do I consecrate my life, and my 
endeavours for contentment. I have one secret, Elizabeth, 
a dreadful one ; when revealed to you, it will chill your 
frame with horror, and then, far from being surprised at my 
misery, you will only wonder that I survive what I have 
endured. I will confide this tale of misery and terror to 
you the day after our marriage shall take place ; for, my 
sweet cousin, there must be perfect confidence between us. 
But until then, 1 conjure you, do not mention or allude to 
it. This I most earnestly entreat, and I know you will 
comply." 



170 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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

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

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

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

(C 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 1 will consecrate myself, in life or death, to the 
happiness of my cousin." 

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

Such were the lessons of my father. But to me the 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1?1 

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

Great God ! if for one instant I had thought what might 
be the hellish intention of my fiendish adversary, I would 
rather have banished myself for ever from my native 
country, and wandered a friendless outcast over the earth, 
than 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, whe- 
ther from cowardice or a prophetic feeling, I felt my heart 
sink within me. But I concealed my feelings by an ap- 
pearance of hilarity, that brought smiles and joy to the 
countenance of my father, but hardly deceived the ever- 
watchful and nicer eye of Elizabeth. She looked forward 
to our union with placid contentment, not unmingled with 
a little fear, which past misfortunes had impressed, that 
what now appeared certain and tangible happiness, might 
soon dissipate into an airy dream, and leave no trace but 
deep and everlasting regret. 

Preparations were made for the event ; congratulatory 
visits were received ; and all wore a smiling appearance. I 
shut up, as well as I could, in my own heart the anxiety 
that preyed there, and entered with seeming earnestness into 
the plans of my father, although they might only serve as 
the decorations of my tragedy. Through my father's ex- 
ertions, 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 






172 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

to Villa Lavenza, and spend our first days of happiness beside 
the beautiful lake near which it stood. 

In the mean time I took every precaution to defend my 
person,, in case the fiend should openly attack me. I car- 
ried 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 solemnisa- 
tion drew nearer, and I heard it continually spoken of as 
an occurrence which no accident could possibly prevent. 

Elizabeth seemed happy ; my tranquil demeanour pon- 
tributed greatly to calm her mind. But on the day that 
was to fulfil my wishes and my destiny, she was melan- 
choly, and a presentiment of evil pervaded her ; and per- 
haps also she thought of the dreadful secret which I had 
promised to reveal to her on the following day. My father 
was in the mean time overjoyed, and, in the bustle of pre- 
paration, only recognised in the melancholy of his niece the 
diffidence of a bride. 

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



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 173 

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

" Be happy, my dear Victor," replied Elizabeth ; (i 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 con- 
tented. Something whispers to me not to depend too much 
on the prospect that is opened before us ; but I will not 
listen to such a sinister voice. Observe how fast we move 
along, and how the clouds, which sometimes obscure and 
sometimes rise above the dome of Mont Blanc, render this 
scene of beauty still more interesting. Look also at the 
innumerable fish that are swimming in the clear waters, 
where we can distinguish every pebble that lies at the bot- 
tom. What a divine day ! how happy and serene all nature 
appears ! " 

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

The sun sunk lower in the heavens ; we passed the river 
Drance, and observed its path through the chasms of the 
higher, and the glens of the lower hills. The Alps here 
come closer to the lake, and we approached the amphi- 
theatre 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. 



174 FRANKENSTEIN j OR, 



CHAPTER XXIII. 

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

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

I had been calm during the day ; but so soon as night 
obscured the shapes of objects, a thousand fears arose in my 
mind. I was anxious and watchful, while my right 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 something in my glance 
which communicated terror to her, and trembling she asked, 
" What is it that agitates you, my dear Victor ? What is 
it you fear ? " 

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

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

She left me, and I continued some time walking up and 
down the passages of the house, and inspecting every corner 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 175 

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

Great God ! why did I not then expire ! Why am I 
here to relate the destruction of the best hope,, and the 
purest creature of earth ? She was there, lifeless and in- 
animate, thrown across the bed, her head hanging down, 
and her pale and distorted 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 on its bridal 
bier. Could I behold this, and live ? Alas ! life is obsti- 
nate, and clings closest where it is most hated. For a mo- 
ment only did I lose recollection j I fell senseless on the 
ground. 

When I recovered, I found myself surrounded by the 
people of the inn j their countenances expressed a breath- 
less terror : but the horror of others appeared only as a 
mockery, a shadow of the feelings that oppressed me. I 
escaped from them to the room where lay the body of Eliza- 
beth, 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 



176 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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, run- 
ning with the swiftness of lightning, plunged into the 
lake. 

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

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

After an interval, I arose, and, as if by instinct, crawled 
into the room where the corpse of my beloved lay. There 
were women weeping around I hung over it, and joined 
my sad tears to theirs all this time no distinct idea pre- 
sented 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 Jus- 
tine, the murder of Clerval, and lastly of my wife ; even at 
that moment I knew not that my only remaining friends 
were safe from the malignity of the fiend ; my father even 
now might be writhing under his grasp, and Ernest might 
be dead at his feet. This idea made me shudder, and re- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEU&. 177 

called 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 j 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 re- 
collection. 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 clone the day before. A fiend had snatched from 
me every hope of future happiness : no creature had ever 
been so miserable as I was ; so frightful an event is single 
in the history of man. 

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

I arrived at Geneva. My father and Ernest yet lived ; 
but the former sunk under the tidings that I bore. I see 
him now, excellent and venerable old man ! his eyes wan- 
dered in vacancy, for they had lost their charm and their 
delight his Elizabeth, his more than daughter, whom he 
doated on with all that affection which a man feels, who in 
the decline of life, having few affections, clings more ear- 
nestly to those that remain. Cursed, cursed be the fiend 

N 



178 FRANKENSTEIN ; OR, 

that brought misery on his grey hairs, and doomed him to 
waste in wretchedness ! He could not live under the hor- 
rors 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 sensa- 
tion, and chains and darkness were the only objects that 
pressed upon me. Sometimes, indeed, I dreamt that I 
wandered in flowery meadows and pleasant vales with the 
friends of my youth ; but I awoke, and found myself in a 
dungeon. Melancholy followed, but by degrees I gained a 
clear conception of my miseries and situation, and was then 
released from my prison. For they had called me mad ; and 
during many months, as I understood, a solitary cell had 
been my habitation. 

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

Nor did my hate long confine itself to useless wishes ; I 
began to reflect on the best means of securing him ; and 
for this purpose, about a month after my release, I re- 
paired 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 kind- 
ness : " Be assured, sir," said he, <e no pains or exertions 
on my part shall be spared to discover the villain." 

(( I thank you," replied I ; " listen, therefore, to the 
deposition that I have to make. It is indeed a tale so 
strange, that I should fear you would not credit it, were 
there not something in truth which, however wonderful, 
forces conviction. The story is too connected to be mis- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 179 

taken 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 heart a resolution to pur- 
sue my destroyer to death ; and this purpose quieted my 
agony, and for an interval reconciled me to life. I now 
related my history, briefly, but with firmness and precision, 
marking the dates with accuracy, and never deviating into 
invective or exclamation. 

The magistrate appeared at first perfectly incredulous, 
but as 1 continued he became more attentive and inter- 
ested ; 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 punish- 
ment I call upon you to exert your whole power. It is 
your duty as a magistrate, and I believe and hope that your 
feelings as a man will not revolt from the execution of those 
functions on this occasion." 

This address caused a considerable change in the physi- 
ognomy of my own auditor. He Tiad 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, <e I would will- 
ingly afford you every aid in your pursuit ; but the crea- 
ture of whom you speak appears to have powers which 
would put all my exertions to defiance. Who can fol- 
low an animal which can traverse the sea of ice, and in- 
habit caves and dens where no man would venture to 
intrude ? Besides, some months have elapsed since the 
commission of his crimes, and no one can conjecture to 
what place he has wandered, or what region he may now 
inhabit." 

" I do not doubt that he hovers near the spot which 
I inhabit ; and if he has indeed taken refuge in the 
Alps, he may be hunted like the chamois, and destroyed as 
a beast of prey. But I perceive your thoughts : you do not 
credit my narrative, and do not intend to pursue my enemy 
with the punishment which is his desert." 
N 2 



180 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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

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

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

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



CHAPTER XXIV. 

MY present situation was one in which all voluntary thought 
was swallowed up and lost. I was hurried away by fury ; 
revenge alone endowed me with strength and composure ; 
it moulded my feelings, and allowed me to be calculating 




THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 181 

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 adversity, became hateful. I provided 
myself with a sum of money, together with a few jewels 
which had belonged to my mother, and departed. 

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

When I quitted Geneva, my first labour was to gain 
some clue by which I might trace the steps of my fiendish 
enemy. But my plan was unsettled; and I wandered 
many hours round the confines of the town, uncertain what 
path I should pursue. As night approached, I found my- 
self at the entrance of the cemetery where William, Eliza- 
beth, and my father reposed. I entered it, and approached 
the tomb which marked their graves. Every thing 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 pre- 
side over thee, to pursue the daemon, who caused this mi- 
sery, until he or I shall perish in mortal conflict. For 
this purpose I will preserve my life : to execute this dear 
N 3 



182 



FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 



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, wandering ministers of vengeance, to aid and con- 
duct me in my work. Let the cursed and hellish monster 
drink deep of agony; let him feel the despair that now 
torments me." 

I had begun my 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 concluded, and rage choked my utter- 
ance. 

I was answered through the stillness of night by a loud 
and fiendish laugh. It rung on my ears long and heavily; 
the mountains re-echoed it, and I felt as if all hell sur- 
rounded 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, ap- 
parently close to my ear, addressed me in an audible whisper 
" I am satisfied : miserable wretch ! you have deter- 
mined to live, and I am satisfied." 

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

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

Amidst the wilds of Tarfcary and Russia, although he 
still evaded me, I have ever followed in his track. Some- 
times the peasants, scared by this horrid apparition, in- 
formed me of his path ; sometimes he himself, who feared 
that if I lost all trace of him, I should despair and die, left 
some mark to guide me. The snows descended on my 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 183 

head, and I saw the print of his huge step on the white 
plain. To you first entering on life, to whom care is new, 
and agony unknown, how can you understand what I have 
felt, and still feel? Cold, want, and fatigue, were the 
least pains which I was destined to endure; I was cursed 
hy 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 hy hunger, sunk under the ex- 
haustion, a repast was prepared for me in the desert, that 
restored and inspirited me. The fare was, indeed, coarse, 
such as the peasants of the country ate ; hut I will not 
doubt that it was set there by the spirits that I had invoked 
to aid me. Often, when all was dry, the heavens cloud- 
less, and I was parched by thirst, a slight cloud would 
bedim the sky, shed the few drops that revived me, and 
vanish. 

I followed, when I could, the courses of the rivers ; but 
the daemon generally avoided these, as it was here that the 
population of the country chiefly collected. In other places 
human beings were seldom seen ; and I generally subsisted 
on the wild animals that crossed my path. I had money 
with me, and gained the friendship of the villagers by dis- 
tributing 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 pil- 
grimage. Deprived of this respite, I should have sunk 
under my hardships. During the day I was sustained and 
inspirited by the hope of night : for in sleep I saw my 
friends, my wife, and my beloved country ; again I saw 
the benevolent countenance of my father, heard the silver 
tones of my Elizabeth's voice, and beheld Clerval enjoying 
N 4 



184 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

health and youth. Often, when wearied by a toilsome 
march, I persuaded myself that I was dreaming until night 
should come, and that I should then enjoy reality in the 
arms of my dearest friends. What agonising fondness did 
I feel for them ! how did I cling to their dear forms, as 
sometimes they haunted even my waking hours, and per- 
suade myself that they still lived ! At such moments ven- 
geance, that burned within me, died in my heart, and 1 
pursued my path towards the destruction of the daemon, 
more as a task enjoined by heaven, as the mechanical im- 
pulse of some power of which I was unconscious, than as 
the ardent desire of my soul. 

What his feelings were whom I pursued I cannot know. 
Sometimes, indeed, he left marks in writing on the barks 
of the trees, or cut in stone, that guided me, and instigated 
my fury. " My reign is not yet over,'* (these words were 
legible in one of these inscriptions;) " you live, and my 
power is complete. Follow me ; I seek the everlasting 
ices of the north, where you will feel the misery of cold and 
frost, to which I am impassive. You will find near this 
place, if you follow not too tardily, a dead hare ; eat, and 
be refreshed. Come on, 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 de- 
parted friends, who even now prepare for me the reward of 
my tedious toil and horrible pilgrimage ! 

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

The triumph of my enemy increased with the difficulty 
of my labours. One inscription that he left was in these 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 185 

words: "Prepare! your toils only begin: wrap your- 
self in furs,, and provide food; for we shall soon enter 
upon a journey where your sufferings will satisfy my ever- 
lasting 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 un- 
abated fervour to traverse immense deserts, until the ocean 
appeared at a distance, and formed the utmost boundary of 
the horizon. Oh ! how unlike it was to the blue seas of 
the south ! Covered with ice, it was only to be distin- 
guished from land by its superior wildness and ruggedness. 
The Greeks wept for joy when they beheld the Mediter- 
ranean from the hills of Asia, and hailed with rapture the 
boundary of their toils. I did not weep ; but I knelt 
down, and, with a full heart, thanked my guiding spirit for 
conducting me in safety to the place where I hoped, not- 
withstanding my adversary's gibe, to meet and grapple 
with him. 

Some weeks before this period I had procured a sledge 
and dogs, and thus traversed the snows with inconceivable 
speed. I know not whether the fiend possessed the same ad- 
vantages ; 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 enquired of the inhabitants concerning the 
fiend, and gained accurate information. A gigantic mon- 
ster, 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 



186 



FRANKENSTEIN I OR, 



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

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

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

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

By the quantity of provision which I had consumed, I 
should guess that I had passed three weeks in this journey; 
and the continual protraction of hope, returning back upon 
the heart, often wrung bitter drops of despondency and 
grief from my eyes. Despair had indeed almost secured 
her prey, and I should soon have sunk beneath this misery. 
Once, after the poor animals that conveyed me had with 
incredible toil gained the summit of a sloping ice-mountain, 
and one, sinking under his fatigue, died, I viewed the 
expanse before me with anguish, when suddenly my eye 
caught a dark speck upon the dusky plain. I strained my 
sight to discover what it could be, and uttered a wild cry 
of ecstasy when I distinguished a sledge, and the distorted 
proportions of a well-known form within. Oh ! with 
what a burning gush did hope revisit my heart ! warm 






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 187 

tears filled my eyes, which I hastily wiped away, that they 
might not intercept the view I had of the daemon ; but 
still my sight was dimmed by the burning drops, until, 
giving way to the emotions that oppressed me, I wept 
aloud. 

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

But now, when I appeared almost within grasp of my 
foe, my hopes were suddenly extinguished, and I lost 
all trace of him more utterly than I had ever done before. 
A ground sea was heard ; the thunder of its progress, as 
the waters rolled and swelled beneath me, became every 
moment more ominous and terrific. I pressed on, but in 
vain. The wind arose ; the sea roared ; and, as with the 
mighty shock of an earthquake, it split, and cracked with a 
tremendous and overwhelming sound. The work was soon 
finished : in a few minutes a tumultuous sea rolled between 
me and my enemy, and I was left drifting on a scattered 
piece of ice, that was continually lessening, and thus pre- 
paring 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 en- 
abled, with infinite fatigue, to move my ice-raft in the di- 
rection of your ship. I had determined, if you were going 
southward, still to trust myself to the mercy of the seas 
rather than abandon my purpose. I hoped to induce you 
to grant me a boat with which I could pursue my enemy. 



188 FRANKENSTEIN; on, 

But your direction was northward. You took me on board 
when my vigour was exhausted,, and I should soon have 
sunk under my multiplied hardships into a death which I 
still dread for my task is unfulfilled. 

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

WALTON, in continuation. 

August 26th, 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 difficulty the 
words so replete with anguish; His fine and lovely eyes were 
now lighted up with indignation, now subdued to downcast 
sorrow, and quenched in infinite wretchedness. Sometimes 
he commanded his countenance and tones, and related the 
most horrible incidents with a tranquil voice, suppressing 
every mark of agitation ; then, like a volcano bursting forth, 
his face would suddenly change to an expression of the 
wildest rage, as he shrieked out imprecations on his per- 
secutor. 






THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 189 

His tale is connected, and told with an appearance of the 
simplest truth ; yet I own to you that the letters of Felix 
and Safie, which he showed me, and the apparition of the 
monster seen from our ship, brought to me a greater con- 
viction 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 sur- 
prise and admiration. Sometimes I endeavoured to gain 
from Frankenstein the particulars of his creature's form- 
ation : but on this point he was impenetrable. 

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

Frankenstein discovered that II made notes concerning 
his history : he asked to see them, and then himself cor- 
rected and augmented them in many places ; but princi- 
pally in giving the life and spirit to the conversations he 
held with his enemy. " Since you have preserved my nar- 
ration," 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 des- 
titute of every hope of consolation, to live ? Oh, no ! the 
only joy that he can now know will be when he composes 
his shattered spirit to peace and death. Yet he enjoys one 
comfort, the offspring of solitude and delirium : he believes, 
that, when in dreams he holds converse with his friends, 
and derives from that communion consolation for his mi- 
series, 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 



190 FRANKENSTEIN ; OB, 

history and misfortunes. On every point of general litera- 
ture he displays unbounded knowledge, and a quick and 
piercing apprehension. His eloquence is forcible and touch- 
ing ; nor can I hear him, when he relates a pathetic inci. 
dent, or endeavours to move the passions of pity or love, 
without tears. What a glorious creature must he have 
been in the days of his prosperity, when he is thus noble 
and godlike in ruin ! He seems to feel his own worth, and 
the greatness of his fall. 

" When younger," said he, " I believed myself destined 
for some great enterprise. My feelings are profound ; but 
I possessed a coolness of judgment that fitted me for illus- 
trious achievements. This sentiment of the worth of 
my nature supported me, when others would have been 
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 myself with the herd of common 
projectors. But this thought, which supported me in the 
commencement of my career, now serves only to plunge me 
lower in the dust. Ah 1 my speculations and hopes are as 
nothing ; and, like the archangel who aspired to omnipo- 
tence, I am chained in an eternal hell. My imagination 
was vivid, yet my powers of analysis and application were 
intense ; by the union of these qualities I conceived the 
idea, and executed the creation of a man. Even now I 
cannot recollect, without passion, my reveries while the 
work was incomplete. I trod heaven in my thoughts, now 
exulting in my powers, now burning with the idea of their 
effects. From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes 
and a lofty ambition ; but how am I sunk ! Oh ! my 
friend, if you had known me as I once was, you would not 
recognise me in this state of degradation. Despondency 
rarely visited my heart ; a high destiny seemed to bear me 
on, until I fell, never, never again to rise." 

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



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 1$1 

know his value, and lose him. I would reconcile him to 
life, but he repulses the idea. 

" I thank you, Walton," he said, ie for your kind in- 
tentions towards so miserable a wretch ; but when you speak 
of new ties, and fresh affections, think you that any can 
replace those who are gone ? Can any man be to me as 
Clerval was; or any woman another Elizabeth? Even 
where the affections are not strongly moved by any superior 
excellence, the companions of our childhood always possess 
a certain power over our minds, which hardly any later 
friend can obtain. They know our infantine dispositions, 
which, however they may be afterwards modified, are 
never eradicated ; and they can judge of our actions with 
more certain conclusions as to the integrity of our motives. 
A sister or a brother can never, unless indeed such symp- 
toms 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 soli- 
tude can persuade me to preserve my life. If I were en- 
gaged 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." 

My beloved Sister, September 2d. 

I write to you, encompassed by peril, and ignorant 
whether I am ever doomed to see again dear England, and 
the dearer friends that inhabit it. I am surrounded by 
mountains of ice, which admit of no escape, and threaten 
every moment to crush my vessel. The brave fellows, 
whom I have persuaded to be my companions, look towards 
me for aid ; but I have none to bestow. There is some- 
thing terribly appalling in our situation, yet my courage 
and hopes do not desert me. Yet it is terrible to reflect 



FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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 visit- 
ings of despair, and yet be tortured by hope. Oh ! my be- 
loved sister, the sickening failing of your heart-felt expect- 
ations is, in prospect, more terrible to me than my own 
death. But you have a husband, and lovely children ; you 
may be happy : Heaven bless you, and make you so ! 

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

September 5th. 

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

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

I mentioned in my last letter the fears I entertained of a 
mutiny. This morning, as I sat watching the wan coun- 
tenance of my friend his eyes half closed, and his limbs 
hanging listlessly, I was roused by half a dozen of the 
sailors, who demanded admission into the cabin. They 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 193 

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, there- 
fore, that I should engage with a solemn promise, that if 
the vessel should be freed I would instantly direct my 
course southward. 

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

f< What do you mean ? What do you demand of your cap- 
tain ? Are you then so easily turned from your design ? Did 
you not call this a glorious expedition ? And wherefore was 
it glorious ? Not because the way was smooth and placid 
as a southern sea, but because it was full of dangers and 
terror ; because, at every new incident, your fortitude was 
to be called forth, and your courage exhibited; because 
danger and death surrounded it, and these you were to brave 
and overcome. For this was it a glorious, for this was it 
an honourable undertaking. You were hereafter to be 
hailed as the benefactors of your species; your names 
adored, as belonging to brave men who encountered death 
for honour, and the benefit of mankind. And now, behold, 
with the first imagination of danger, or, if you will, the 
first mighty and terrific trial of your courage, you shrink 
away, and are content to be handed down as men who had 
not strength enough to endure cold and peril; and so, poor 
souls, they were chilly, and returned to their warm fire- 
sides. Why, that requires not this preparation ; ye need 
not have corne thus far, and dragged your captain to the 
o 



194 FRANKENSTEIN; on, 

shame of a defeat, merely to prove yourselves cowards. 
Oh ! be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your 
purposes, and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of 
such stuff as your hearts may be ; it is mutable, and cannot 
withstand you, if you say that it shall not. Do not return 
to your families with the stigma of disgrace marked on your 
brows. Return, as heroes who have fought and conquered, 
and who know not what"it is to turn their backs on the 
foe." 

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

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

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

September 7th. ' 

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

September 12th. l 

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

September 9th, the ice began to move, and roarings like 
thunder were heard at a distance, as the islands split and 
cracked in every direction. We were in the most imminent 
peril ; but, as we could only remain passive, my chief atten- 



THE MODERN" PROMETHEUS. 1Q 

tion 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 sprung from the west, 
and on the llth the passage towards the south became per- 
fectly free. When the sailors saw this, and that their 
return to their native country was apparently assured, a 
shout of tumultuous joy broke from them, loud and long- 
continued. Frankenstein, who was dozing, awoke, and 
asked the cause of the tumult. " They shout," I said, 
" because they will soon return to England." 

" Do you then really return ? " 

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

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

It was long before he was restored ; and I often thought 
that life was entirely extinct. At length he opened his 
eyes ; he breathed with difficulty, and was unable to speak. 
The surgeon gave him a composing draught, and ordered 
us to leave him undisturbed. In the mean time 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 ! 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 jus- 
tified in desiring the death of my adversary. During these 
last days I have been occupied in examining my past con- 
duct ; nor do I find it blamable. In a fit of enthusiastic 
madness I created a rational creature, and was bound to- 
o 2 



196' FRANKENSTEIN; OB, 

wards him, to assure, as far as was in my power, his hap- 
piness and well-being. This was my duty ; but there was 
another still paramount to that. My duties towards the 
beings of my own species had greater claims to my atten- 
tion, because they included a greater proportion of happiness 
or misery. Urged by this view, I refused, and I did right 
in refusing, to create a companion for the first creature. 
He showed unparalleled malignity and selfishness, in evil : 
he destroyed my friends ; he devoted to destruction beings 
who possessed exquisite sensations, happiness, and wisdom; 
nor do I know where this thirst for vengeance may end. 
Miserable himself, that he may render no other wretched, 
he ought to die. The task of his destruction was mine, 
but I have failed. When actuated by selfish and vicious 
motives, I asked you to undertake my unfinished work ; and 
I renew this request now, when I am only induced by 
reason and virtue. 

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

" That he should live to be an instrument of mischief 
disturbs me j in other respects, this hour, when I moment- 
arily expect my release, is the only happy one which I have 
enjoyed for several years. The forms of the beloved dead 
flit before me, and I hasten to their arms. Farewell, 
Walton ! Seek happiness in tranquillity, and avoid am- 
bition, 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 foe 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 197 

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 
disappointment. But I journey towards England, and I 
may there find consolation. 

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

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

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

He paused, looking on me with wonder ; and, again 

turning towards the lifeless form of his creator, he seemed 

to forget my presence, and every feature and gesture seemed 

instigated by the wildest rage of some uncontrollable passion. 

1 ( That is also my victim ! " he exclaimed : ' e in his 

murder my crimes are consummated ; the miserable series 

of my being is wound to its close ! Oh_, Frankenstein ! 

o 3 



198 FRANKENSTEIN; OR, 

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

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

(< After the murder of Clerval, I returned to Switzerland, 
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 happiness ; 
that while he accumulated wretchedness and despair upon 
me, he sought his own enjoyment in feelings and passions 
from the indulgence of which I was for ever barred, then 
impotent envy and bitter indignation filled me with an in- 



THE MODERN PROMETHEUS. 199 

satiable thirst for vengeance. I recollected my threat, and 
resolved that it should be accomplished. I knew that I was 
preparing for myself a deadly torture j but I was the slave, 
not the master, of an impulse, which I detested, yet could 
not disobey. Yet when she died! nay, then I was not 
miserable. I had cast off all feeling, subdued all anguish, 
to riot in the excess of my despair. Evil thenceforth be- 
came 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 design became 
an insatiable passion. And now it is ended ; there is my 
last victim ! " 

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

" Oh, it is not thus not thus," interrupted the being; 
" yet such must be the impression conveyed to you by what 
appears to be the purport of my actions. Yet I seek not a 
fellow-feeling in my misery. No sympathy may I ever 
find. When I first sought it, it was the love of virtue, 
the feelings of happiness and affection with which my 
whole being overflowed, that I wished to be participated. 
But now, that virtue has become to me a shadow, and that 
happiness and affection are turned into bitter and loathing 
despair, in what should I seek for sympathy ? I am content 
to suffer alone, while my sufferings shall endure : when I 
die, I am well satisfied that abhorrence and opprobrium 
should load my memory. Once my fancy was soothed 
with dreams of virtue, of fame, and of enjoyment. Once 
I falsely hoped to meet with beings, who, pardoning my 



200 FRANKENSTEIN; on, 

outward form, would love me for the excellent qualities 
which I was capable of unfolding. I was nourished with 
high thoughts of honour and devotion. But now crime has 
degraded me beneath the meanest animal. No guilt,, no 
mischief, no malignity, no misery, can be found comparable 
to mine. When I run over the frightful catalogue of my 
sins, I cannot believe that I am the same creature whose 
thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendent 
visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness. But it 
is even so; the fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. 
Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and asso- 
ciates in his desolation ; I am alone. 

" You, who call Frankenstein your friend, seem to have 
a knowledge of my crimes and his misfortunes. But, in 
the detail which he gave you of them, he could not sum up 
the hours and months of misery which I endured, wasting 
in impotent passions. For while I destroyed his hopes, I 
did not satisfy my own desires. They were for ever ardent 
and craving ; still I desired love and fellowship, and I 
was still spurned. Was there no injustice in this ? Am 
I to be thought the only criminal, when all human kind 
sinned against me? Why do you not hate Felix, who 
drove his friend from his door with contumely ? Why do 
you not execrate the rustic who sought to destroy the 
saviour of his child ? Nay, these are virtuous and imma- 
culate beings ! I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an 
abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on. 
Even now my blood 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 MODERN PROMETHEUS. 201 

the moment when these hands will meet my eyes, when 
that imagination will haunt my thoughts no more. 

" Fear not that I shah 1 be the instrument of future mis- 
chief. My work is nearly complete. Neither yours nor 
any man's death is needed to consummate the series of my 
being, and accomplish that which must be done ; but it 
requires my own. Do not think that I shall be slow to 
perform this sacrifice. I shall quit your vessel on the ice- 
raft which brought me thither, and shall seek the most 
northern extremity of the globe ; I shall collect my funeral 
pile, and consume to ashes this miserable frame, that its 
remains may afford no light to any curious and unhallowed 
wretch, who would create such another as I have been. I 
shall die. I shall no longer feel the agonies which now consume 
me, or be the prey of feelings unsatisfied, yetun quenched. He 
is dead who called me into being ; and when I shall be no 
more, the very remembrance of us both will speedily vanish. 
I shall no longer see the sun or stars, or feel the winds play 
on my cheeks. Light, feeling, and sense will pass away ; 
and in this condition must I find my happiness. Some 
years ago, when the images which this world affords first 
opened upon me, when I felt the cheering warmth of sum- 
mer, and heard the rustling of the leaves and the warbling 
of the birds, and these were all to me, I should have wept 
to die j now it is my only consolation. 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 will ever behold. Farewell, Frank- 
enstein ! If thou wert yet alive, and yet cherished a desire 
of revenge against me, it would be better satiated in my 
life than in my destruction. But it was not so; thou 
didst seek my extinction, that I might not cause greater 
wretchedness ; and if yet, in some mode unknown to me, 
thou 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. 



202 FRANKENSTEIN. 

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

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



THE END. 



LONDON: 

Printed by A. & R. Spottiswoode, 
New-Street- Square, 



THE 

GHOST-SEEB. 



THE 



G H O S T-S E E R! 



FROM THE GERMAN 



OF 



SCHILLER. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 

VOL. I. 



LONDON: 
HENRY COLBURN AND RICHARD BENTLEY, 

NEW BURLINGTON STREET; 

BELL AND BRADFUTE, EDINBURGH; 

AND GUMMING, DUBLIN. 

1831. 



Presented to the 
LIBRARY of the 

UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO 

by 

Mrs . Andre-w Kellogg 



INTRODUCTION. 



- LIFE AND WRITINGS OF SCHILLER. 

" FREDERICK SCHILLER was the son of an officer in the 
Bavarian army, who subsequently attained the rank of 
major, and served in the campaigns for the disputed suc- 
cession. Frederick was born at Marbach, a little town in 
Wurtemburgh, on the 10th day of November, 1759, and 
was finally bred to the surgical profession. His early 
education was not very favourable for the developement of 
those great powers which he afterwards discovered, and 
which burst forth with sudden and impetuous vigour at the 
age of nineteen, as if indignant at the scholastic discipline 
and restraints which had been imposed upon them. Schiller 
pursued his studies at the public seminary of Ludwigsburg, 
and for several years he went through the regular examin- 
ations preparatory to the clerical profession. As he grew 
older, however, he performed his tasks with less docility 
and alacrity; he imbibed no very deep regard for the 
classics as they were there inculcated ; while the scholastic 
forms and regulations proved still more irksome to him. 
Even at that early age, he began to discover the peculiar 
bias of his genius : he was fond of walking, reading, and 
studying alone ; he sought Nature in her loneliest scenes ; 
and would stand gazing on the heavens, or watching the 
progress of the storm. He continued at this seminary 
upwards of six years ; the most irksome and unprofitable, 
according to his own admission, that he ever spent. He 
was compelled to drudge through all the preliminary forms 
and examinations, indiscriminately insisted upon in the 
Stutgard system, under the patronage and dictation of the 
A 2 



4 INTRODUCTION. 

reigning Duke. In this wretched servitude he went through 
a course of legal study, which he was only permitted to 
relinquish in favour of that of medicine, to which he was 
little more adapted or attached. Instead of taking down 
notes of the lectures, he was secretly perusing Shakspeare ; 
and procured small editions of Klopstock, Herder, Goethe, 
Garve, and Lessing, the father of the modern drama of 
Germany. Early inspired by a perusal of them, he pro- 
duced an epic poem, like our own Pope, at the age of four- 
teen ; which he as judiciously, however, destroyed. 

<l In his second effort, he at once assumed a high rank 
as one of the popular dramatists of the country. This was 
his tragedy of ' The Robbers,' composed at the age of 
nineteen ; and almost appallingly impressed with the most 
striking characteristics of a daring, enthusiastic, and impa- 
tient spirit. Wild and extravagant as it must be allowed 
to be, it was the production, so to say, of a future great 
writer the luxurious promise of a glorious harvest the 
struggle of a lofty mind at issue with its destiny, exhibiting 
the whole of its gigantic, but untutored strength. The re- 
putation obtained by this, and two subsequent pieces 
' The Conspiracy of Fiesco/ and ' Intrigue and Love,' 
soon brought Schiller advantageous offers from the theatre 
of Manheim, one of the best conducted in Germany. 
During his engagement here, he projected a translation of 
Shakspeare's plays, though the tragedy of Macbeth was the 
only one which he presented to his countrymen in a new 
dress ; but he judiciously abandoned the undertaking, and 
entered upon the subject of Don Carlos, which he borrowed 
from the French of the Abbe St. Real. At the same period 
he was engaged in a variety of minor works ; one of which 
was a theatrical journal, in which several scenes of his 
' Don Carlos' first made their appearance. Dramatic essays 
and poetical effusions, published in the same journal, like- 
wise occupied much of his time. Though commenced in 
his twenty-fifth year, this tragedy was not completed until 
long afterwards ; nor did it appear entire until 1 794, when 
he was more than thirty-five years of age. Nearly at the 
same time he began his series of ' Philosophical Letters,' 
which, throughout, display singular ardour and boldness of 



INTRODUCTION. 

enquiry on a great diversity of topics. Schiller now became 
one of the most popular writers of his age, and he daily 
received gratifying proofs of it, both of a public and private 
kind. He himself relates one which he considered the 
most pleasing of all a present of two beautiful miniature 
portraits from the fair originals, accompanied by a very 
elegant pocket-book, and letters filled with the most flatter- 
ing compliments to his genius. 

fc Upon closing his engagements at Manheim, Schiller 
took up his residence at Leipsic, where he became acquainted 
with a number of eminent contemporaries, among whom 
were Professor Huber, Zollikofer, Hiller, Oeser, and the 
celebrated actor Reinike. Soon after his arrival, finding 
himself somewhat disappointed in the extent of his literary 
views, he had serious intentions of adopting the medical 
profession, to which his final academic studies had been 
directed ; but this idea was again abandoned, and he re- 
sumed his literary occupations with increased ardour and 
activity. Though ranking among the chief ornaments of his 
country as a poet and a dramatist, he still sighed for fresh 
fields of enterprise, for which he was every way qualified, 
and in which he ultimately gathered more brilliant and un- 
fading laurels. At no period did he produce more important 
works, than during his residence at Dresden. It was there 
he first began to devote his nights, as well as a large portion 
of the day, to intellectual labour, a habit which no consti- 
tution could long withstand. Besides the interruptions he 
was so frequently liable to in the day, he was fond of 
spending his mornings in the woods, or upon the banks of 
the Elbe; sometimes sailing upon its bosom; sometimes 
wandering, with a book, in its solitary vicinity. He spent 
a portion of the evening in society ; and then came the 
baneful night, invariably set apart for the most difficult 
and abstracted pursuits. It was thus he most probably laid 
the foundation of his subsequent maladies, and his premature 
decease. About the year 1787, he visited Weimar, in order 
to cultivate a personal acquaintance with some of his most 
celebrated contemporaries. He was there introduced to 
Wieland, already advanced in years, and to Herder ; and 
was the warm reception he met with, that he declared 
A 3 



6' INTRODUCTION. 

his intention of fixing his residence at Weimar, then con- 
spicuous for the numher of its distinguished writers. 
Goethe was next added to the list of his acquaintance ; but 
not, during some period at least, to that of his friends. 
Men of totally opposite minds and character, in a literary 
view, their first meeting is described as having been some- 
what singular ; by no means cordial and pleasing. Schiller 
being much younger, and of a reserved temper, was rather 
surprised, than attracted, by the perfect ease and openness, 
the versatility and extent of information, which Goethe's 
conversation exhibited ; and declared, after the interview, 
that he and Goethe were cast in different moulds, that they 
lived in different worlds, and that it was almost impossible 
for them ever to understand, or become ultimately acquainted 
with each other. f Time, however,' he concluded, ' will 
try/ It is gratifying to add, that they subsequently grew 
sincerely attached to each other, assisted in the same under- 
takings, and for some period, resided with each other. On 
Schiller's removal to Jena, where he succeeded Eichhorn in 
the professorship of history, he entered into a matrimonial 
connection with a lady of the name of Lengefeld, to whom 
he had some time before been attached. In a letter to one 
of his friends, he thus alludes to the event, many months 
afterwards: f How different does life now begin to ap- 
pear, seated at the side of a beloved wife, instead of being 
forsaken and alone, as I have so long been ! ' 

" During his professorship, Schiller entered upon his 
history of the Thirty Years' War, a work which appeared 
in 1791- This is universally admitted to be his chief 
historical performance, no less in Germany than in other 
countries. A just comparison, however, can scarcely be 
instituted, his previous work upon the Netherlands having 
unfortunately never been carried to a conclusion. In the 
year HQl, he suffered a very severe attack upon his lungs, 
from which he with difficulty recovered, after it had greatly 
shattered his constitution. Still, with returning strength, 
he resumed his labours with equal ardour, and was never 
heard to utter a complaint. It was on his recovery, that 
Schiller, for the first time, studied the new Kantean doc- 



INTRODUCTION. 7 

trine, though it does not appear how far he proceeded through 
the labyrinths of the transcendental terminology. 

" A number of productions, amongst which ranks the 
most finished specimen of his dramatic labours, ' Wallenstein/ 
followed his partial restoration to health. But the ardour 
and impetuosity with which he composed, and which was 
become too habitual to him for restraint, more especially in 
his lyric pieces, and his tragedies, brought on a dangerous 
relapse/ All human aid, and human hope, proved alike in 
vain; and on the 9th day of May, 1805, his disorder 
reached its crisis, and Schiller, only in his forty-sixth year, 
had but a few hours to live. 

" Early that morning he grew delirious ; but soon this 
was observed gradually to subside, and he appeared to be 
settling into a deep slumber. In this state, after continuing 
during several hours, he awoke about four o'clock in the 
afternoon, with entire composure, and a perfect conscious- 
ness of his situation. His manner was firm and tranquil : 
he took a tender farewell of his friends and family ; and on 
being asked how he felt, he replied, s Only calmer and 
calmer.' He once spoke with a happy and lively air ; 
' Many things are now becoming clearer and clearer to 
me !' Soon afterwards he relapsed into deep sleep, be- 
came more and more insensible, though still calm,, and in 
that state he almost imperceptibly expired. 

f{ Schiller wrote but few prose fictions, though these few 
are enough to display the great powers he possessed. The 
' Geisterseher/ of which the following is a translation, is the 
most important and most striking of its kind." * 

This singular romance was written in Dresden, in which 
town Schiller became enamoured of a beautiful lady, who 
has been designated by some of his biographers as ' ' Fraulein 

A ." The intercourse which subsisted between the 

poet and his charmer appears not to have been of the most 
reputable kind ; but it is certain that, for a time, she held 
exclusive possession of his heart, and that she even in- 
fluenced his writings. She was the original of the Princess 
Eboli, in his play of Don Carlos ; and it is probable that 
his passion for her might have suggested that important 

* Roscoe's German Novelists, vol. iii 
A 4 



8 INTRODUCTION. 

part of his story of "the Ghost-Seer" which delineates 
the mad love entertained by the Prince, for the lady whose 
fascinations first enthralled him, as he saw her under the 
rays of the setting sun, praying in the evening solitude of 
the church in Venice. During his residence in Dresden, 
and whilst under the intoxicating influence just mentioned, 
Schiller's mind might well be supposed to have been in an 
unsettled state ; but, though unguided by any determinate 
and wholesome purpose, it ( ' hovered among a multitude of 
vast plans," and was on the watch for any object that 
might give consistency to his views. (< The Ghost-Seer" 
is the first product arising out of this mental fermentation. 
Its origin may be traced to the tricks of a certain Count 
Cagliostro, the prince of quacks, whose juggleries were, 
about that time, turning the heads of the good people at 
Paris, who paid their money lavishly, in order to be ter- 
rified, and to ft snatch a fearful joy." 

" The Ghost-Seer" is unquestionably one of the " curi- 
osities of literature." It is alone of its kind ; and, perhaps, 
there is no work in the circle of romance, in which the 
reader is so irresistibly impelled through the pages ; or 
wherein his longing is more acutely excited for a solution 
of the mystery of the plot. The agency, supernatural as it 
seems, is, however, all the effect of imposture and extensive 
confederacy ; though even a knowledge of this, in which 
the reader is made to participate early in the story, does 
not abate his wonder at the incidents, or lessen the interest 
he takes in the characters. If any objection may be made 
to the scheme of the tale, it might be said that it is too in- 
tricate; that the conspiracy against the Prince, and the 
counter-conspiracy to save him, perplex the attention of 
him who would trace the windings of the labyrinth. Still, 
who does not feel a keen sympathy in the bewilderment of the 
amiable but feeble-minded victim of the conspirators? Who 
does not participate in the honest wishes of the two Eng- 
lishmen, who strive to protect him from snares such as never 
before were spread for the ruin of a human being ? Who 
can look without awe at the inscrutable Armenian, or con- 
template, unless with a heart-thrill, the terrific agency which 
his cunning and his science are able to evoke ? 

O. C. 



THE 



GHOST-SEER 



Narrative of the Count O . 

I AM about to relate an occurrence, which, to many persons, 
will appear incredible,, yet to which I was myself, in great 
part, an eye-witness. The few who are acquainted with a 
certain political occurrence, will (if these leaves should find 
them alive) have a perfect key to the publication; but without 
this key, it will be looked upon as an addition to the history 
of deceit and artifice so often imposed upon mankind. The 
boldness of the undertaking, which malice was able to con. 
jecture and to pursue, must excite astonishment; while 
the singularity of the means employed, is calculated to 
create no less surprise. Genuine, bold truth, will conduct 
my pen ; for when these leaves go into the world, I shall 
probably be no more, and shall never experience the credi 
with which they are received. 

It was on my return to Courland, in the year 17 > 
about the time of the Carnival, that I paid a visit to the 
Prince of W in Venice. We had known each other 
in the P military service, and renewed here an ac 

quaintance which peace had interrupted. As I wished to 
see the remarkable city of Venice, the Prince easily per- 
suaded me to bear him company, and to delay my departure 
from hence until his remittances, which were expected every 
day, arrived. We agreed to live together as long as our 
stay at Venice should last, and the Prince was so kind as to 
offer to share his habitation with me at the Moor Hotel. 



10 THE GHOST-SEER. 

He lived in disguise, because he wished to enjoy himself, 
and his little income did not permit him to maintain the 
dignity of his rank. Two cavaliers, upon whose secrecy 
he could entirely rely, composed (besides some trusty ser- 
vants) his whole household. He shunned expense more 
from temperance than economy. He fled from diversions 
of all kinds ; and at the age of thirty-five years, it may be 
said, that he had resisted all the charms of that voluptuous 
city. The fair sex was not regarded by him : gravity, and 
an almost profound melancholy, overshadowed his mind. 
His passions were still, but obstinate to excess ; his choice 
slow and fearful ; his attachment warm and lasting. Locked 
up in his own visionary ideas, he often was a stranger to 
the world about him ; arid, conscious of his own deficiency 
in the knowledge of mankind, he very seldom observed that 
line of conduct which influences those who are wary and 
suspicious. No one, perhaps, was more exposed than he, 
to suffer himself to be influenced and commanded by the 
opinion of others. No one was more liable to mental 
weakness; but as soon as he was once convinced, he possessed 
equal courage to combat an acknowledged prejudice, and to 
die for a new one. As the third prince of his house, he could 
not have any views for the sovereignty; his ambition, there- 
fore, on that point, was never awakened : his passion had 
taken quite another direction. Conscious of his own aversion 
to being governed by the opinion of others, he never forced 
his own upon any person as a law. The peaceable paths 
of solitude, and a private life, were the summit of his 
wishes. He read much, but without selection. A narrow 
education, together with being initiated into the military 
service early in life, served to check all application to the 
study of literature ; all the knowledge which he afterward, 
acquired added but little to his ideas. He was a Protestants 
as all his family had been, by birth, not by enquiry, which 
he never attempted, though he was, in a certain epoch of 
his life, an enthusiast ; he never, to my knowledge, became 
a free-mason. 

One evening we, as usual, took a walk by ourselves, 
very well masked, upon St. Mark's Place. As it grew late, 
and the people were dispersing, the Prince observed that a 



THE GHOST-SEER. 11 

mask followed us every where. The mask was an Arme- 
nian,, and walked alone. We doubled our steps, and sought 
by striking into different turns of our road to lose him, but 
in vain., for he always remained close behind us. 

ff You have not had, I hope, any intrigue here ? " said 
the Prince at last to me. tf The husbands at Venice are 
very dangerous." " I know not one lady," I replied. 
" Let us sit down here, and speak German," he continued : 
' ' I imagine they mistake us for some other persons." We 
sat down upon a stone bench, and expected that the mask 
would pass by. He came straight towards us, and took his 
seat very close by the side of the Prince ; who drew out his 
watch, and said rather loud, in French, rising at the same 
time from his seat, "Nine come! we forget that they 
wait for us at the Louvre." This was only a pretence to 
deceive the mask as to our route. "Nine !" repeated the 
mask in the same language, very expressively and slowly. 
" Wish yourself joy, Prince (whilst he called him by his 
right name) ; at nine o'clock he died" With this he rose, 
and went away : we looked at one another very much 
amazed. " Who is dead ? " said the Prince, after a long 
silence. " Let us follow him," said I, " and request an 
explanation." 

We hurried through all the by-ways of St. Mark, but 
the mask was not to be found. Chagrined at our bad 
success, we proceeded to our hotel. The Prince spoke not 
a word in our way home, but walked apart from me, ap. 
parently in deep reflection, and greatly agitated, as he 
afterwards confessed to me. When we got home, assum- 
ing an air of gaiety " It is indeed laughable," said he, 
t( that a madman should thus be able to disturb the tran- 
quillity of a person's mind by a couple of words." 

We wished each other a good night ; and as soon as I 
was in my own room, I noted in my pocket-book the day 
and the hour when this extraordinary event happened it 
was upon a Thursday. The following evening the Prince 
said to me, " Let us take a walk again to St. Mark's 
Place, and try to discover this mysterious Armenian. I 
am very anxious to unravel this adventure." 

I agreed to the proposal, and we remained till eleven 



12 THE GHOST-SEER. 

o'clock wandering about the place : the Armenian was no- 
where to be seen. We repeated our visits the four following 
evenings, and each time with the same bad success. The 
sixth evening, when we left our hotel, I had the foresight 
to tell the servants where we might be found, if there should 
be any enquiry after us. The Prince observed this, and 
praised my attention with a smiling countenance. There 
was a great crowd upon St. Mark's Place when we arrived 
there ; and we scarcely had gone thirty steps, when I 
observed the Armenian, who pushed himself through the 
crowd in great haste, and seemed to be in the act of 
searching for somebody. We were just upon the point of 

reaching him, when the Baron F , one of the Prince's 

companions, came breathless towards us, and delivered a 
letter to the Prince. 

fe It is sealed black," said he ; and we thought that it 
might contain intelligence of great consequence. It 
struck me like a thunderbolt. The Prince went to a lamp, 
and began to read the contents. ef My cousin is dead," 
he cried. ' ' When ? " said I, interrupting him hastily. 
He once more read the letter. " Last Thursday, at nine 
o'clock in the evening." We scarcely had time to recover 
ourselves from our surprise, when the Armenian appeared. 
" You are known here, gracious Sire," said he to the 
Prince. ( * Hasten to the Moor : you'll find there am- 
bassadors from the Senate, and do not hesitate to accept 

the honour which they will offer you. The Baron F 

forgot to tell you that your remittances are arrived." 

He left us precipitately, and mingled with the crowd. 
We hastened to our hotel, and found every thing as the 
Armenian had announced to us. Three noblemen of the 
Republic were there ready to receive the Prince, and to 
conduct him with splendour to the assembly, where the 
first nobility of the city expected him. He had just time 
enough to let me understand, by a slight hint, that he 
wished me to sit up for him. About eleven o'clock at 
night he returned. He came into the room serious and 
thoughtful ; and, after having dismissed the servants, he 
seized me by the hand. " Count," he said, in the words 
of Hamlet, " there are more things in heaven and earth 



THE GHOST-SEER. 13 

than are dreamt of in our philosophy." " Gracious Sir/' 
I replied,, " you seem to forget that you are enriched with 
the prospect of a sovereignty."* " Do not remind me of 
that," said the Prince ; <f I have something of greater im- 
portance to me than a crown that now claims my attention, 
if that Armenian has not been at guess-work." " How is 
that possible. Prince ? " I replied. " Then will I resign 
all my princely hope for the habit of a monk." 

The following evening we went together earlier to the 
market-place. A heavy shower of rain obliged us to take 
shelter in a coffee-house, where we observed a number of 
persons at a gaming-table. The Prince placed himself be- 
hind the chair of a Spaniard to see the game played, whilst 
I went into an adjoining room to read the papers. A little 
time afterwards I heard a noise. Before the arrival of the 
Prince, the Spaniard universally lost ; but since he entered, 
the latter won upon every card. The whole game was 
totally changed, and the bank was in danger of being 
broken by the man whom this lucky reverse of fortune 
had made bolder. The Venetian, who kept it, said to the 
Prince in a surly tone, " You have changed the luck, 
and shall quit the table." The Prince looked at him 
coolly, without giving him an answer, and kept his place ; 
but the Venetian repeated his command in French. The 
latter thought that the Prince did not understand either 
language ; and, addressing himself to the company with a 
sneering grin " Tell me, gentlemen," said he, " how I 
shall make myself understood by this fool ?" Hereupon 
he stood up, and would have struck the Prince ; but the 
Prince's patience forsaking him, he did not wait for the at- 
tack, but seized the Venetian by the throat, and dashed him 
with violence on the ground. This circumstance threw the 
whole house into confusion. Upon hearing the uproar, I 
ran into the room, and unguardedly called him by his 
name. " Take care, Prince," said I, incautiously ; " we 
are in Venice !" 

* The deceased was the hereditary Prince, the only son of the reigning , 

who was in years, very sickly, and without the least prospect of having an heir 
to his dominions. An uncle of our Prince, almost in the same situation, now 
alone stood between him and the throne. I am obliged to mention this cir. 
cumstancc, as the subject will be treated of in the work. 

CEHMAtf EDITOR. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 

The name of the Prince excited an universal silence, and 
soon after a confused murmur ran through the assembly, 
which appeared to me to have a dangerous tendency. The 
Italians present crowded round each other, and walked 
aside. They soon quitted the room, one after the other, 
and we found ourselves left only with the Spaniard and 
several Frenchmen. " You are lost, gracious Sir," said a 
Frenchman, " if you do not leave the city directly. The 
Venetian, whom you have handled so roughly, is rich enough 
to hire a bravo ; it will only cost him fifty sequins to be 
revenged by your death." 

The Spaniard, in concert with the Frenchmen, offered to 
conduct the Prince with safety to his house. We were 
standing thus consulting what was best to be done, when 
the door of the room was suddenly opened, and several offi- 
cers of the State Inquisition entered. They produced an 
order from the government, in which we were both com- 
manded to follow them immediately. They conducted us 
under a strong escort to a canal, where a boat waited for us. 
We were ordered to embark ; but before we quitted it, our 
eyes were blindfolded j and, upon our landing, we found 
that they led us up a stone staircase, and then through 
a long winding passage over arches, as we could discover by 
the repeated echoes that sounded under our feet. We soon 
arrived at another staircase, which in twenty-six steps 
brought us to the bottom. We then heard a door creak 
upon its hinges ; and when they took the bandage from our 
eyes, we found ourselves in a spacious hall, encircled by an 
assembly of venerable old men. All appeared in sable 
robes ; and the hall, hung with black cloth, was dimly lighted 
by a few scattered tapers. A deadly silence prevailed 
through the assembly, which caused in us an awful sens- 
ation, too powerful to be described. One of the old men, 
who appeared to be the principal State Inquisitor, came near 
to the Prince, and spoke to him with a solemn countenance, 
whilst another set before him the Venetian. 

" Do you acknowledge this man to be the same that you 
used so roughly in the coffee-house ? " " Yes ! " answered 
the Prince. Then turning to the prisoner " Is that the 
person you would bave assassinated this evening ? " The 



THE GHOST-SEER. 15 

prisoner answered, " Yes." Immediately the judges opened 
tiie circle, and \ve saw, with the utmost horror, the head of 
the Venetian separated from his shoulders. " Are you sa- 
tisfied with this sacrifice ? " said the State Inquisitor. The 
Prince fainted in the arms of his conductors. " Go," he 
continued, with a terrible voice, as he turned towards me ; 
ff and think in future more favourably of the administration 
of justice in Venice." 

We could not learn who our unknown friend was, 
who had thus delivered us, by the arm of justice, from 
the diabolical plans of the assassin. We reached our 
habitation terrified in the extreme. It was midnight. 

The chamberlain Z waited for us upon the stairs 

with great impatience. " How lucky it was," said he to 
the Prince, as he lighted us up stairs, " that you sent the 
messenger as you did; the intelligence from the Baron, 
which was brought to this house from the market-place, ex- 
cited in us a dreadful anxiety for your safety." " I sent a 
message ! " said the Prince. " When ? I know nothing of 
it." <e This evening, after eight o'clock, a person arrived, 
and said, we must not be alarmed if you should not return 
until late at night." Here the Prince said to me, " You, 
perhaps, without my knowledge, have taken this precaution." 
(f I know nothing of it," said I. " It must certainly be 
so, your Highness," said the chamberlain ; " for here is 
your watch, which he left with me as a proof that he had 
been with you." The Prince felt his pocket immediately : 
the watch was actually gone, and, looking upon that which 
the chamberlain held in his hand, he acknowledged it to be 
his own. te Who brought it ? " said he, with eagerness. 
" An unknown mask in an Armenian habit, who imme- 
diately went away." We stood and looked at each other in 
silent horror. " What think you of this ? " said the Prince 
at last, after a long pause ; " it is now certain that I have in 
Venice a secret inspector." 

The frightful transactions of this night threw the Prince 
into a fever, which confined him to his room for eight days. 
During this time our hotel was crowded with citizens and 
strangers, who had lately learned the rank of the Prince. 
They strove to vie with each other in showing civility to 



16 THE GHOST-SEER. 

him ; and we saw with pleasure every night how fast sus- 
picion was wearing away. Love-letters and billets came 
from all quarters. Every person endeavoured to make 
himself useful. The whole proceedings of the State In- 
quisition were no longer thought of. In the mean time, 

the Court of did not wish to hasten the departure of 

the Prince, and therefore gave instructions to a rich banker 
in Venice to furnish him with large sums of money. Thus 
he was put into a condition, contrary to his inclination, of 
remaining longer in Italy ; and, agreeably to his wishes, I 
consented not to hasten my departure. As soon as he was 
so far recovered as to be able to leave his chamber, the 
physician ordered him to make an excursion upon the 
Brenta for the benefit of the air. The weather was fine, 
and we soon made an agreeable party. Just as we were 
about to step into the gondola, the Prince missed a key to 
a little box which contained some valuable papers. We 
returned immediately to look for it. He remembered 
perfectly to have locked the box the day before, and since 
that time he had not quitted the room. But all our efforts 
to discover thekey were fruitless : we therefore abandoned the 
search ; and the Prince, whose soul was above suspicion, 
gave it over as lost, but requested me not to take any notice 
of it. The voyage was delightfully enchanting ; the land- 
scape seemed to increase in beauty and variety at every 
turn of the river ; added to this, a clear sky, which, in the 
middle of February, formed a May-day. The charming 
gardens that surrounded the elegant country houses which 
every where adorned the sides of the Brenta, together with 
the majestic Venice crowned with a hundred towers, as if 
rising from the water, offered us one of the most delightful 
prospects in the world. We lost ourselves entirely in the 
beautiful magic of the scenery around us. Our spirits 
were elated ; and even the Prince assumed an air of gaiety, 
and joined with us in our frolicksome pleasantry. Sweet 
music occupied our attention, when we got to the shore 
about two Italian miles from the town. It proceeded from 
a small village where they were holding a fair. Here every 
art was practised by the company. A troop of young 
maidens and children, dressed in a. theatrical manner, wel- 



THE GHOST-SEER. 1? 

corned us with a pantomimic dance. The invention was 
new: nimbleness and grace animated every motion. Before 
the dance was ended, one of them, who seemed to be the 
principal person, and who acted the part of the queen, sud- 
denly stopped, as if restrained by an invisible power. She 
stood still; all followed her example; and the music ceased. 
An universal silence prevailed in the whole assembly, whilst 
she remained with her eyes fixed upon the ground as in a 
profound trance ; then she became as if inspired, looked 
wild, and cried in a transport of joy " A king is amongst 
us !" 

She arose, took her crown from her head, and placed it at 
the feet of the Prince. All who were present directed their 
eyes towards the Prince, who was a long time uncertain 
what could be the meaning of this juggle, so well had 
she acted the monkey tricks of this farce. At length an 
universal clapping of hands interrupted this silence. I 
looked at the Prince, and perceived that he was not a little 
concerned and hurt to be examined by the enquiring eyes 
of the company. He distributed money to the children, 
and hastened from the crowd. We had not gone far, when 
a venerable monk came from the throng, and placed himself 
in the path we were pursuing. 

" Sir," said the monk, " bestow some of your money 
upon Madonna ; you will need her prayers." 

He spoke this in a tone which startled us the crowd, 
however, soon separated him from us. Our suite was 
in the mean time increased. An English lord, whom the 
Prince had seen before at Nizza, several merchants from 
Leghorn, a German prelate, a French abbe, with several 
ladies, and a Russian officer, attached themselves to our 
party. The physiognomy of this last had something so 
remarkable about it, that it attracted our attention. Never 
in my life did I see so many traits, and so little character ; 
so much inviting benevolence, and such forbidding coldness, 
painted together in one man's countenance. Every passion 
seemed to have formerly dwelt there, and to have abandoned 
it. Nothing remained but the still piercing look of a per- 
fect man of the world. Every eye was fixed upon him 

VOL. I. B 



18 THE GHOST-SEER. 

wherever he went. This stranger followed at a distance, 
and seemed indifferent to whatever was going on. We 
arrived at the booth where a lottery was kept : the ladies 
bought tickets we followed their example, and the Prince 
also purchased a share. He won a snuff-box ; and, when 
he opened it, I perceived him turn pale, and start back 
with the utmost surprise the little key he had lost was in 
it. ' ' What is this ? " said he to me when we were alone, 
with a fixed countenance ; " an unknown power pursues 
me; an all-powerful being hovers over me; an invisible 
agency, which I cannot flee from, watches over all my 
actions. I must seek the Armenian, and obtain an ex- 
planation from him." 

The sun was setting as we arrived at the pleasure-house 
where the supper was served up. The name of the Prince 
had increased our party to the number of sixteen persons. 
.Besides our former companions, a virtuoso from Rome, 
several Swiss, and an adventurer from Palermo, who wore 
an uniform, and gave himself out for a captain, insinuated 
themselves into our society. It was agreed to spend the 
whole evening here, and to return home by torchlight. 
The entertainment at the table was good, and the con- 
versation very sprightly ; the Prince could not refrain from 
relating the adventure of the key, which excited a general 
astonishment. A great dispute arose concerning this affair : 
the major part of the company had the temerity to 
think all these cunning tricks depended upon witchcraft. 
The Abbe, who had already drank a sufficient quantity of 
wine, challenged the whole kingdom of ghosts into the ring. 
The Englishman talked blasphemy, while another made 
sign of the cross to aroint the devil. A few, in the number 
of whom was the Prince, maintained that it was better not 
to give any decided opinion upon these subjects. During 
this conversation the Russian officer entertained himself 
with the ladies, and seemed to be perfectly inattentive to 
our discussion. In the height of this dispute, 'no one 
observed that the Sicilian had retired. A short time after- 
wards he returned, clothed in a mantle, and placed himself 
behind the chair of the Frenchman. 

" You have had the boldness/' said he, " to challenge 



THE GHOST-SEER. 19 

all the kingdom of ghosts. Will you try one ? " " Yes ! " 
said the Abbe,, " if you will undertake to bring one before 
me." " That I will," replied the Sicilian, turning himself 
about, " when these ladies and gentlemen shall have left 
us." " Why so !" exclaimed the Englishman ; " a jovial 
ghost will enjoy himself in such good company." " I will 
not answer for the consequences/' said the Sicilian. " Oh, 
heavens !" cried the ladies, and fled, terrified, from their 
seats. " Let your ghost come," said the Abbe, daringly, 
" but warn him beforehand that he will find here sharp- 
pointed tools ; " at the same time endeavouring to bdrrow 
a sword. " You may do, in that respect, as you please," 
said the Sicilian coolly, " when you see it." 

Here he turned himself towards the Prince. " Gracious 
Sir," said he to him, " you believe that your key was in 
strange hands can you guess in whose ? " " No." 
" Do you suspect any body ? " "I had certainly a sus- 
picion." " Should you know the person if you were to see 
him ? " " Without doubt." 

Here the Sicilian put aside his mantle, and took from 
under it a looking-glass, which he held before the eyes of 
the Prince. " Is this the man ? " The Prince started 
back with the utmost terror. " What have you seen ? " 
asked I. " The Armenian ! " The Sicilian put the glass 
under his mantle. " Was that the person you meant ? " 
enquired the whole company. " The very same." 

Upon this, every countenance was changed, no one was 
heard to laugh, and all eyes were fixed attentively upon 
the Sicilian. " Monsieur Abbe," said the Englishman, 
" this thing becomes serious : I advise you to think of 
your retreat." " The fellow is in league with the devil," 
cried the Frenchman, and rushed out of the house. The 
ladies ran shrieking from the hall the virtuoso followed 
them the German prelate snored in his chair the 
Russian remained sitting as if perfectly indifferent to what 
was passing. 

" You thought, perhaps, to have excited a great laugh," 
said the Prince, " against this boaster, if he had not gone 
out ; or did you intend to have performed what you pro- 
mised ? " " It is true," said the Sicilian, " with the 
B 2 



20 THE GHOST-SEER. 

Abbe I was not in earnest ; I took him at his word, be- 
cause I knew that the coward would not suffer me to go 
so far as to put it in execution. The thing itself is of 
too serious a nature to make a joke of." tc You maintain, 
then, that you have it in your power to do what you as- 
serted ? " The magician was silent, and seemed to be 
studying the expressive countenance of the Prince. (t Yes," 
answered he, at length. 

The curiosity of the Prince was already excited to the 
highest degree, for he had always believed in supernatural 
beings, and this act of the Armenian brought back to his 
mind all his former reflections on this subject, which 
reason had in some measure driven away. He went aside 
with the Sicilian, and I heard him conversing with him 
very earnestly. " You have before you a man," con- 
tinued he, (f who burns with impatience for an explanation 
of this affair. I would esteem that man as my benefactor, 
as my best friend, who would, in this respect, remove my 
doubts, and dissipate the mist from my eyes. Will you 
do me this great service ? " ' ( What do you require 
of me?" said the magician with thoughtfulness. "To 
give me immediately a' proof of your art ; let me see an 
apparition." " Why should I do this ? " " That you 
may judge, from a nearer acquaintance, whether I am 
worthy of higher instruction." e( I esteem you above 
all others, mighty Prince. A secret power in your coun- 
tenance, which you yourself are ignorant of, bound me 
at first sight irresistibly to you. You are more powerful 
than you are aware of. You have an undoubted right 
to command all my power, but " " Then allow me to 
see an apparition." " I must be first certain that you do 
not make this request out of curiosity ; for, although the 
supernatural powers are subjected to my will in some 
respects, it is under the sacred condition that I do not 
abuse my authority." (( My motives are the purest. I 
wish for an explanation of facts." 

Here they left their places, and approached to a distant 
window, where I could not hear what was said. The 
Englishman, who had also heard this conversation, took 
me aside. <c Your prince has a noble mind," said he ; 



THE GHOST-SEER. 21 

" but I pity him,, for I will bet my life he has to deal 
with a sharper." " That will be proved/' said I, " when 
he comes to investigate this matter." " Let me tell you/' 
said the Englishman, " that the devil makes himself very 
dear. He will not practise his art without touching the 
cash. There are nine of us. We will make a collection. 
This will break the neck of his scheme, and perhaps open 
the eyes of the Prince." f{ I am content, said I." 

The Englishman immediately threw six guineas into a 
plate, and gathered in the ring. Each gave several louis. 
The Russian especially was highly pleased at our pro- 
posal ; he put a bank note of a hundred sequins into the 
plate a piece of extravagance which startled the English- 
man. We brought the collection to the Prince. " Have 
the goodness," said the Englishman, " to entreat, in our 
names, that gentleman to let us see a proof of his art, and 
persuade him to accept this small token of our acknowledg- 
ments for his trouble." The Prince also put a costly ring 
into the plate, and presented it to the Sicilian. He con- 
sidered of our proposal. " Gentlemen," he began, " this 
unexpected generosity is highly flattering. I obey your 
wishes. Your desires shall be fulfilled." In the mean 
time he rang the bell, (( With respect to this money," 
he continued, " to which I have no right, if you will give 
me leave, I will present it to the nearest monastery, as a 
gratuity towards so benevolent an institution. This ring I 
shall always keep, as a valuable proof of the goodness of 
the best of princes." 

Here the master of the house entered, to whom he im- 
mediately delivered the money. ee He is still a swindler," 
said the Englishman, e< although he refuses the gold. It 
is done that he may get more into the Prince's favour." 
Another said, " The landlord is in league with him." 
' ' What would you wish to see ? " said the Sicilian to the 
Prince. " Let us have a great man," said the Lord : 
" challenge the Pope Ganginelli ; it will be the same to 
this gentleman." The Sicilian bit his lips. " I dare not 
call for one who has received extreme unction." " That 
is bad," said the Englishman ; " perhaps we should learn 
from him of what disorder he died." " The Marquis of 
B 3 




THE GHOST-SEER. 

Lanoy," said the Prince, " was a French brigadier in a 
former war, and my most intimate friend. In a battle 
near Hastinbeck he received a deadly wound. They took 
him to my tent, where he soon after died in my arms. 
Before he expired ' Prince/ said he, ' I shall never 
again behold my native country ; I will therefore intrust 
you with a secret, which is known to no one but myself. 
In a cloister upon the borders of Flanders, there lives 

a * At that instant he expired. Death destroyed the 

thread of his discourse. I could wish to have him brought 
before me, and to hear the conclusion of his tale." " Well 
requested, by Heaven," said the Englishman ; " I shall 
esteem you as the greatest conjurer in the world if you 
comply with this request." We admired the wise choice 
of the Prince, and unanimously gave our consent to the 
proposition. In the mean time the magician walked up 
and down the room with hasty steps, and seemed to be 
holding a conference with himself. " And was that all 
which the deceased communicated to you ? " " All." 
" Did you make any further enquiries, on account of 
what you heard, in his native country ? " " It was in 
vain." ' f Did the Marquis of Lanoy live irreproachably ? - 
for I dare not call any one I please from the dead." " He 
died with penitence for the sins of his youth." " Have 
you about you any token of his ? " " Yes." The Prince 
had actually a snuff-box, on the lid of which a miniature 
picture of the Marquis was painted in enamel, which he 
usually laid near him upon the table. " I do not desire 
to know what it is. Leave me alone: you shall see the 
deceased." 

We were desired to go into another apartment, and 
wait until he called for us. At the same time he ordered 
all the moveables to be taken from the hall, the windows 
to be taken out, and the window shutters to be put close 
to. He also ordered the landlord, with whom he had 
already been conniving, to bring in a vessel filled with hot 
coals, and to put out all the fires in the house carefully 
with water. Before we returned, he made us all promise 
that we would observe a profound silence during the whole 
of what we should see or hear. All the doors of the 



THE GHOST-SEER. 23 

rooms behind us leading to this apartment were fastened. 
The clock had struck eleven. A deadly silence prevailed 
through the whole house. Before we went out, the Rus- 
sian said to me " Have we any loaded pistols with us?" 
" Why ? " said I. ' e It is at all events convenient," an- 
swered he. " Wait a minute, and I will go and see after 
some." 

He \\ent out, and the Baron and myself opened a window 
which looked towards another room, and we thought we 
heard people talking together, and a noise as if they were 
placing a ladder under it ; but as that might only be a con- 
jecture, I dared not give it out as certain. The Russian 
returned with a brace of pistols, after being absent about 
half an hour. We saw him load them. It was now near 
two o'clock when the magician appeared again, and an- 
nounced that he was prepared. Before we returned, he 
ordered us to pull off our shoes, and to appear in our shirts, 
stockings, and under garments. The doors as before were 
all fastened. We found, when we returned into the hall, 
a large circle made with coals, in which we could all stand 
very conveniently. Round about the room, and by the four 
walls, the boards were taken away, so that we seemed to 
stand as it were upon an island. An altar, hung with 
black cloth, was erected in the middle of the circle, under 
which was spread a carpet of red silk ; a Chaldean Bible 
lay open near a death's head upon the altar, and a silver 
crucifix was fastened in the centre. Instead of candles, 
spirits were burning in a silver vessel. A thick smoke of 
olive wood darkened the hall, which almost extinguished the 
lights. The conjurer was clothed as we were, but bare- 
footed. On his bare neck he wore an amulet* suspended 
by a chain of human hair. Upon his loins he wore a white 
mantle, which was decorated with magical characters and 
mysterious figures. He made us join hands, and maintain 
a deep silence. Above all, he recommended us not to ask 
the apparition any questions. He requested the English- 

* Amulet was the name of a charm made of wood or other materials, and 
on which was engraved particular words and characters, and worn about the 
neck, to subvert the machinations of the Devil and his agents. They were 
held in high esteem by the Arabs, Turks, and Jews, and particularly amongst 
the Catholics. 

B 4 






24 THE GHOST-SEER. 

man and myself (for he seemed to entertain the greatest 
suspicion of us) to hold two drawn swords, steadily and cross- 
wise, an inch above his head, as long as the ceremony 
should last. We stood in a half circle around him. The 
Russian officer pressed near to the Englishman, and stood 
next to the altar. The magician placed himself upon the 
carpet, with his face towards the east, sprinkled holy water 
to the four points of the compass, and bowed thrice before 
the Bible. A quarter of an hour passed in ceremonious 
acts, perfectly unintelligible to us ; at the end of which, he 
gave those a sign who stood behind him to hold him fast by 
the hair. Struggling apparently with dreadful convulsions, 
he called the deceased by name three times ; at the last, he 
stretched out his hand towards the crucifix. We instantly 
experienced a violent shock, which separated our hands. A 
sudden clap of thunder shook the house to its foundation ; 
at the same time the window shutters rattled, and all the 
doors were burst open. The apparatus fell in pieces, and 
as soon as the light was extinguished, we observed dis- 
tinctly on the wall over the chimney-piece the figure of a 
man clothed in a bloody garment, with a pale and livid 
aspect. 

" Who called me ? " cried a faint, hollow voice. ' ' Thy 
friend," said the conjurer, " who venerates thy memory, and 
prays for thy soul." At the same time he mentioned the 
name of the Prince. "What does he want?" continued 
the ghost, after a very long pause. (( He wishes to hear 
your confession to the end, which you began in this world 
but did not finish." ef In a cloister upon the borders of 
Flanders there lives " Here the house shook again, the 
door opened of its own accord, and a violent clap of 
thunder was heard, as a flash of lightning illuminated the 
room. Immediately another figure, bloody and pale like the 
first, appeared at the threshold. The spirits in the vase 
began to burn again, and the hall was as it first appeared. 

" Who is among us?" cried the magician, looking with 
horror and astonishment at the spectators. " I did not 
much wish for thee." The ghost immediately walked with 
a slow and majestic step to the altar, and stood upon the 
carpet opposite to us. It seized the crucifix, and the first 



THE GHOST-SEER. 25 

apparition instantly vanished. t( Who is it that has called 
me ? " said the second apparition. The magician began to 
tremble. Fear and astonishment almost overpowered us. 
I now seized a pistol the magician wrested it from my 
hand, and fired at the ghost. The ball rolled along the 
altar, and the figure remained amidst the smoke unhurt. 
The magician immediately sunk down in a fit. 

" What have we here?" exclaimed the Englishman 
with astonishment, as he endeavoured to strike the ghost 
with his sword. The apparition arrested his arm, and the 
sword fell to the ground. Here the sweat of anguish started 
from my forehead, and the Baron confessed to us afterwards 
that he employed himself in praying. All this time the 
Prince stood fearless and unmoved, with his eyes riveted 
upon the figure. " Yes ! " said he at last, pathetically, " \ 
know thee : thou art Lanoy thou art my friend. From 
whence dost thou come ? " " I cannot divulge the mysteries 
of eternity. Ask me any question that relates to my ex- 
istence on earth." " Who lives in the cloister," said the 
Prince, ' ' of which you gave me notice at the hour of your 
death ? " " My daughter." ' ' How ! Have you ever 
been a father ? " " I would that I had not been." " Are 
you not happy, Lanoy ? " " God is my judge." " Can 
I not render you any service in this world ? " ee None ; 
but think of yourself." " How must I do that ? " " You 
will learn it at Rome." 

" Immediately a clap of thunder was heard a thick 
smoke filled the room ; and when it cleared up, the figure 
had vanished. I pushed open a window-shutter it was 
day-light. 

The conjurer soon recovered his senses. (e Where are 
we ? " he cried, when he saw the day-light. The Russian 
officer stood close behind him ; and looking over his shoul- 
der, " Juggler," he said, with a piercing frown, " this is 
the last time thou wilt ever have it in thy power to summon 
another ghost to appear on earth." The Sicilian turned 
hastily round ; and, looking stedfastly in his face, uttered 
a loud shriek, and fell senseless on the ground. Imme- 
diately the pretended Russian was discovered by the Prince to 
be no other person than his mysterious friend the Armenian. 



^O THE GHOST-SEER. 

No language can paint the horror this circumstance oc- 
casioned in the mind of the Prince, and the consternation 
that generally pervaded the company. We stood motion- 
less as we surveyed this awful being, who penetrated us to 
the soul with his looks. A dead silence reigned for some 
minutes : at length several loud knocks at the door roused 
us from a state of stupefaction. The noise continued, and 
the door was soon after shattered in pieces, when several 
police officers, with a guard, rushed into the hall. " Here 
we find them altogether," cried the commander, turning to 
his followers. fs In the name of the government," (ad- 
dressing himself to us) cried he, " I arrest you all." 

We had scarcely time to recollect ourselves, ere we were 
all surrounded by the guard. The Russian, whom I shall 
now call the Armenian, took the commander aside ; and 
notwithstanding the confusion we were in, I observed that 
he whispered something in his ear, and showed him a paper, 
at the sight of which the man bowed respectfully and re- 
tired as he passed us he took off his hat. " Forgive 
me, gentlemen," said he, " for having confounded you with 
this impostor. I will not ask who you are; this person 
assures me that I have men of honour before me." 

In the mean time he gave his people a hint to withdraw 
from us. He commanded them, however, to seize the 
Sicilian, and to bind him. " This fellow has reigned long 
enough," added he ; " we have been upon the watch for him 
these seven months." 

The miserable wretch was indeed an object of pity. 
The sudden fright which the second apparition occasioned, 
and the unexpected reproach from the Armenian, had over- 
powered his senses. He suffered himself to be bound with- 
out the least opposition. His eyes rolled in his head, and 
a death-like paleness spread itself over his countenance, as 
at intervals he heaved convulsive sighs. Every moment 
we expected that he would become frantic. The Prince 
pitied his distress, and undertook to solicit his discharge 
from the leader of the police, to whom he discovered his 
rank. " Gracious Prince," said the officer, " do you know 
who this man is ? and for whom you so generously inter- 
cede ? The tricks which he practised to deceive you are the 



THE GHOST-SEER. 2? 

least of his crimes. We have already secured his accom- 
plices, and they have discovered transactions which he has 
been concerned in of the most horrid nature. He may 
think himself well off if he escapes with banishment to the 
galleys." 

In the mean time we observed the landlord and his family 
fettered and led through the yard. " Is that man guilty ?" 
cried the Prince j cc what has he done ? " ' ' He was his 
accomplice/' said the officer,, " and assisted him in his 
mountebank tricks and robberies, and shared the spoil with 
him. I will convince you immediately, gracious Sir, of the 
truth of my assertion" (turning towards his followers). 
ff Search the house/' he cried, " and bring me immediately 
intelligence as to what you discover." 

The Prince looked for the Armenian, but he was gone. 
In the confusion which this unexpected circumstance occa- 
sioned, he found means to steal off without being observed. 
The Prince was inconsolable: he determined to send servants 
after him, and also search for him himself ; and, hurrying 
with me to the window, we observed the whole house sur- 
rounded by the populace, whom the account of this event 
had drawn to the spot. " It is impossible to make our 
way through the crowd," said I ; ee and if it is the intention 
of the Armenian to elude our search, he certainly knows the 
means to do it effectually : let us rather stay here a little 
longer, gracious Sir. Perhaps this officer of the police can 
give us some information respecting him, to whom he has, 
if I have rightly observed, discovered himself." 

We recollected that we were still in an undress, and pro- 
mising to return soon, we hastened into a room to put on 
our clothes as quickly as possible. When we came back, the 
searching of the house was finished. After they had re- 
moved the altar, and forced up the boards of the floor, they 
discovered a vault where a man was able to sit upright, 
which was separated by a secret door from a narrow stair- 
case that led to a gloomy cave. In this abyss they found an 
electrical machine, a clock, and a small silver beU ; which 
last, as well as the electrical machine, had a communication 
with the altar and the crucifix that was fixed upon it. A hole 
had been made in the window-shutter opposite the chimney, 






28 THE GHOST-SEER. 

which opened and shut with a slide. In this hole, as we 
learned afterwards, was fixed a magic lantern, from which 
the figure of the ghost had been reflected on the opposite 
wall over the chimney. From the garret and the cave they 
brought several drums, to which large leaden bullets were 
fastened by strings : these had probably been used to imitate 
the roaring of thunder which we had heard. In searching 
the Sicilian's clothes, they found in a case different powders, 
genuine mercury in vials and boxes, phosphorus in a glass 
bottle, and a ring, which we immediately knew to be mag- 
netic, because it adhered to a steel button that had been 
placed near to it by accident. In his coat pockets were a 
rosary, a Jew's beard, a dagger, and a pocket pistol. fe Let 
us see if it is loaded," said one of the watch, and fired up 
the chimney. " Jesus Maria ! " cried a voice, which we 
knew to be the same as that we had heard when the first 
spirit appeared ; and at the same instant we beheld a bleed- 
ing person tumbling down the chimney. tc What ! not yet 
at rest, poor ghost?" cried the Englishman, whilst we 
started back affrighted. " Go to thy grave. Thou hast 
appeared what thou wast not, and now thou wilt be what 
thou hast appeared." " Jesus Maria ! I am wounded ! " 
replied the man. The ball had fractured his right leg. 
Care was immediately taken to have the wound dressed. 

<e But who art thou ? " said the English lord ; " and what 
evil spirit brought thee here ? " " I am a poor solitary 
monk," answered the wounded man. " A strange gentle- 
man offered me a zechin to " ' ' Repeat your magical 
lesson. And why did you not withdraw immediately you 
had finished ? " ' ' I was waiting for a signal to continue my 
speech, as had been agreed on between us ; but as this sig- 
nal was not given, I was endeavouring to get off, when I 
found the ladder had been removed." " And what was the 
formula he taught thee ? " 

The wounded man fainted : nothing more could be 
got from him. When we observed his features more 
minutely, we discovered him to be the same man that stood 
in the pathway of the Prince the evening before, and 
asked alms for the Madonna. The Prince addressed the 
leader of the watch, giving him at the same time some 




THE GHOST-SEER. 29 

pieces of gold. " You have rescued us/' said he, " from 
the hands of a deceiver,, and done us justice even ^without 
knowing us : increase our gratitude by telling us who the 
stranger was, that, by speaking only a few words, pro- 
cured us our liberty ? " ' ' Whom do you mean ? " asked 
the officer, with a countenance which seemed to indicate that 
the question was useless. " The gentleman in a Russian 
uniform, who took you aside, showed you a written paper, 
and whispered in your ear, in consequence of which you 
immediately set us free." " Do not you know the gentle- 
man ? " said the officer. et Was he not one of your com- 
pany ? " " No," said the Prince ; " and I have very 
important reasons for wishing to be acquainted with him." 
" He is a perfect stranger to me too," replied the officer ; 
" even his name is unknown to me. I saw him to-day for 
the first time in my life." " How ! And was he able in 
so short a space of time, and by using only a few words, to 
convince you that we were all innocent ?" " Undoubtedly, 
Sire, with a single word." " And this was? I confess I 
wish to know it." " This stranger, my Prince,'' (weighing 
the zechins in his hand) " you have been too generous for 
me to make it any longer a mystery this stranger is an 
officer of the Inquisition." ' ' Of the Inquisition ! What ! 
that man ? " " Nothing else, my Prince. I was convinced 
of it by the paper which he showed to me." " That man 
did you say ? It cannot be." ' ' I will tell you more, my 
Prince ; it was upon his information that I have been sent 
here to arrest the conjurer." 

We looked at each other with the utmost astonishment. 

" Now we know," said the English lord, " why the 
poor devil of a sorcerer started when he came near his 
face. He knew him to be a spy, and for that reason he 
made such a horrible outcry, and threw himself at his 
feet." " No," interrupted the Prince ; cc this man is 
whatever he wishes to be, and whatever the moment re- 
quires him to be. No mortal ever knew what he really 
was. Did not you see the knees of the Sicilian sink under 
him, when he said, with a terrible voice, ( Thou shalt no 
more call a ghost.' There is something mysterious in this 
matter. No person can persuade me that one man should 



30 THE GHOST-SEER. 

be thus alarmed at the sight of another, without some most 
essential reason." " The conjurer will probably explain 
it the best/' said the English lord, " if that gentleman " 
(pointing to the officer) (l will procure us an opportunity of 
speaking to his prisoner." The officer consented to it; 
and, after having agreed with the Englishman to visit the 
Sicilian in the morning, we returned to Venice. * 

Lord Seymour (this was the name of the Englishman) 
called upon us very early in the forenoon, and was soon 
after followed by a person whom the officer had intrusted 
with the care of conducting us to the prison. I forgot 
to mention, that one of the Prince's domestics, a native 
of Bremen, who had served him many years with the 
strictest fidelity, and who possessed his confidence, had 
been missing for several days. Whether he had met with 
any accident, been kidnapped, or had voluntarily absented 
himself, was a secret to every one. The last supposition 
was extremely improbable, as his conduct had always been 
regular and irreproachable. All that his companions could 
recollect was, that he had been for some time very melan- 
choly, and that, whenever he had a moment's leisure, he 
used to visit a certain monastery in the Giudecca, where 
he had formed an acquaintance with some monks. This 
led us to suppose that he might have fallen into the hands 
of the priests, and had been persuaded to turn Catholic. 
The Prince was indifferent about matters of this kind, and 
the few enquiries he caused to be made proving unsuccess- 
ful, he gave up the search. He, however, regretted the 
loss of this man, who had so constantly attended him in 
his campaigns, had always been faithfully attached to 
him, and whom it was therefore difficult to replace in a 
foreign country. The very same day the Prince's banker, 
whom he had commissioned to provide him with another 
servant, came at the moment we were going out ; he pre- 

* Count O , whose narrative I have thus far literally copied, describes 

minutely the various effects of this adventure upon the mind of the Princi 1 , 
and of his companions, and recounts a variety of tales of apparitions, which 
this event gave occasion to introduce. I shall omit giving them to the reader, 
on the supposition that he is as curious as myself to know the conclusion of 
the adventure, and its effects on the conduct of the Prince. I shall only add, 
that the Prince got no sleep the remainder of the night, and that lie waited 
with impatience for the moment which was to disclose this incomprehensible 
mystery. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 31 

sented to the Prince a well-dressed man, of a good appear- 
ance, about forty years of age, who had been for a long 
time secretary to a procurator ; spoke French and a little 
German, and was besides furnished with the best recom- 
mendations. The Prince was pleased with the man's 
physiognomy ; and as he declared that he would be satisfied 
with such wages as his service should be found to merit, 
the Prince engaged him immediately. 

We found the Sicilian in a private prison, where, as the 
keeper assured us, he had been lodged for the present, to ac- 
commodate the Prince, as he was to be confined in future 
under the lead roofs, to which there is no access. These 
lead roofs are the most terrible dungeons in Venice. They 
are situated on the top of the Palace of St. Mark, and the 
miserable criminals suffer so excessively from the heat of 
the leads, occasioned by the burning rays of the sun 
descending directly upon them, that they frequently become 
distracted. The Sicilian had recovered from his terror, 
and rose respectfully at the sight of the Prince. He had 
fetters on one hand and one leg, but he was able to walk 
about the room. The keeper left the dungeon as soon as 
we had entered. 

" I come," said the Prince, " to request an explanation 
of you on two subjects. You owe me the one, and it 
shall not be to your disadvantage if you grant me the 
other." " My part is now acted,' replied the Sicilian : 
" my destiny is in your hands." " Your sincerity alone 
can mitigate your punishment." " Ask, my Prince ; I 
am ready to answer you. I have nothing more to lose." 
tf You showed me the face of the Armenian in your look- 
ing-glass How was it done?" " What you saw was 
no looking-glass a portrait in pastel behind a glass, re- 
presenting a man in an Armenian dress, deceived you. 
The want of light, your astonishment, and my own dex- 
terity, favoured the deception. The picture itself must 
have been found among the other things seized at the inn." 
(i But how came you so well acquainted with my ideas as 
to hit upon the Armenian ? " " This was not difficult, 
my Prince. You have, perhaps, frequently mentioned 
your adventure with the Armenian at table, in presence of 



32 THE GHOST-SEER. 

your domestics. One of my servants got accidentally ac- 
quainted with one of yours in the Giudecca, and soon 
learned from him as much as I wished to know." " Where 
is this man ? " asked the Prince ; " I miss him, and in 
all probability you are acquainted with the place of his 
retreat, and the reason why he deserted my service." <f I 
swear to you, gracious Sir, that I know not the least of 
him. I have never seen him myself, nor had any other 
concern with him than the one before mentioned." 

" Go on," said the Prince. " By this means also, I 
received the first information of your residence, and of 
your adventures at Venice j and I resolved immediately to 
profit by them. Your Highness sees that I am ingenuous. 
I was apprised of your intended excursion on the Brenta 
I was prepared for it : and a key, that dropped by 
chance from your pocket, afforded me the first opportunity 
of trying my art upon you." " How ! Have I been mis- 
taken ? The adventure of the key then was a trick of 
yours, and not of the Armenian ? You say this key fell 
from my pocket ? " " You accidentally dropped it in 
taking out your purse, and I instantly covered it with my 
foot. The person of whom you bought the lottery ticket 
was in concert with me. He caused you to draw it from 
a box where there was no blank, and the key had been in 
the snuff-box long before it came into your possession." 
' f It is almost incomprehensible And the monk who 
stopped me in my way, and addressed me in a manner so 
solemn " " Was the same that I hear has been wounded 
in the chimney. He is one of my accomplices, and under 
that disguise has rendered me many important services." 

"But what purpose was this intended to answer?" 
" To render you thoughtful : to inspire you with such a 
train of ideas as should be favourable to the wonders I 
intended to make you believe." " The pantomimical 
dance, which ended in a manner so extraordinary, was at 
least none of your contrivance." " I had taught the girl 
\vho represented the queen. Her performance was the 
result of my instructions. 1 supposed your Highness 
would not be a little astonished to find yourself known in 
this place, and (I entreat your Highness's pardon) your 



THE GHOST-SEER. 

adventure with the Armenian gave room for me to hope 
that you were already disposed to reject natural interpret- 
ations, and to search for the marvellous." 

" Indeed ! " exclaimed the Prince, at once angry and 
amazed, and casting upon me a significant look " In- 
deed, I did not expect this.* But," continued he, after a 
long silence, " how did you produce the figure that ap- 
peared on the wall over the chimney ? " ' c By means of a 
magic lantern that was fixed in the opposite window- 
shutter, in which you have, no doubt, observed an open- 
ing." " And how did it happen that none of us 



34t THE GHOST-SEER. 

I asked whether you had any thing ahout you as a me- 
morial of your friend. Your Highness answered in the 
affirmative. I conjectured it might be the box. I had 
attentively considered the picture during supper, and being 
very expert in drawing, and not less happy in taking like- 
nesses, I had no difficulty in giving to my shade the 
superficial resemblance you have perceived, because the 
Marquis's features are very striking." fc But the figure 
seemed to move ?" " It appeared so; yet it was not the 
figure, but the smoke which received its light." " And 
the man who fell down in the chimney spoke for the 
apparition ? " fe He did." " But he could not hear your 
questions distinctly." " There was no occasion for it. 
Your Highness will recollect, that I ordered you all very 
strictly not to propose any question yourselves to the ap- 
parition. My enquiries and his answers were pre-con- 
certed between us ; and that no mistake might happen, I 
caused him to speak at long intervals, which he counted 
by the beating of a watch." " You ordered the inn- 
keeper carefully to extinguish every fire in the house. 
This was undoubtedly " " To save the man from the 
danger of being smothered ; because the chimneys in the 
house communicate with each other, and I did not think 
myself very secure from your retinue," 

f( How did it happen," asked Lord Seymour, " that your 
ghost appeared neither sooner nor later than you wished 
him ? " <( The ghost was in the room for some time before 
I called him ; but while the room was lighted, the shade 
was too faint to be perceived. When the formula of the 
conjuration was finished, I caused the cover of the box, in 
which the spirit was burning, to drop down ; the hall was 
darkened, and it was not till then that the figure on the 
wall cculd be distinctly seen, although it had been reflected 
there a considerable time before." " When the ghost ap- 
peared, we all felt an electrical stroke. How was that 
managed ?" " You have discovered the machine under the 
altar. You have also seen, that I was standing upon a silk 
carpet. I ordered you to form a half moon around me, 
and to take hold of each other's hand. When the crisis 
approached, I gave a sign to one of you to seize me by the 



THE GHOST-SEER. 35 

hair. The silver crucifix was the conductor; and you felt 
the electrical shock when I touched it with my hand." 

" You ordered Count O and myself," continued 

Lord Seymour, " to hold two naked swords across over 
your head, during the whole time of the conjuration ; for 
what purpose ? " " For no other than to engage your at- 
tention during the operation ; because I distrusted you two 
the most. You remember, that I expressly commanded 
you to hold the swords one inch above my head ; by con- 
fining you exactly to this distance, I prevented you from 
looking where I did not wish you. I had not then per- 
ceived my principal enemy." 

" I own," said Lord Seymour, " you acted cautiously ; 
but why were we obliged to appear undressed ? " " Merely 
to give a greater solemnity to the scene, and to fill your 
imaginations with the idea of something extraordinary." 
" The second apparition prevented your ghost from speak- 
ing," said the Prince ; " what should we have learned from 
him ? " ' ' Nearly the same as what you heard afterwards. 
It was not without design that I asked your Highness 
whether you had told me every thing that the deceased 
communicated to you, and whether you had made any 
further enquiries on this subject in his country ? I thought 
this was necessary, in order to prevent the deposition of 
the ghost from being contradicted by facts that you were 
previously acquainted with. Knowing likewise that every 
man, especially in his youth, is liable to error, I enquired 
whether the life of your friend had been irreproachable, 
and on your answer I founded that of the ghost." 

" Your explanation of this matter is in some measure 
satisfactory," said the Prince ; " but there remains yet one 
material circumstance which I must insist upon being cleared 
up." " If it be in my power, and " " I shall not listen 
to any conditions. Justice, into whose hands you are fallen, 
ought not, perhaps, to deal with you so delicately. Who 
was the man at whose feet we saw you fall ? What do you 
know of him ? Ho\v did you get acquainted with him ? 
and what do you know of the second apparition ? " " Your 

Highness " " Hesitate not a moment. Recollect, 

that on looking at the Russian officer attentively, you 
c 2 



86 



THE GHOST-SEEK. 



screamed aloud, and fell on your knees before him. What 
are we to understand by that?" "That man, rny Prince 

" He stopped, grew visibly pale and perplexed, and, 

looking around him with an awful trepidation " Yes, 
your Highness," he continued, "that man is a terrible 
being." " What do you know of him ? What connection 
have you with him ? Do not conceal the truth from us." 
"I will not; but I am not certain that he is not among us 
at this very moment ? '' 

" Where? Who?" exclaimed we all together, looking 
fearfully about the room. " It is impossible." " That 
man, or whatever else he may be, is a being incompre- 
hensible ; all things seem possible for him to do." " Who 
is he ? Whence does he come ? Is he Armenian or Rus- 
sian ? Of the characters he assumes, which is his real 
one ? " <e He is not what he appears to be. There are few 
conditions or countries in which he has not worn the mask. 
No person knows who he is, whence he comes, or whither 
he goes. Some say he has been for a long time in Egypt, 
and that he has brought from thence, out of a catacomb, 
his occult sciences. Here we only know him by the name 
of the Incomprehensible. How old, for instance, do you 
think he is ? " " To judge from his appearance, he can 
scarcely have passed forty." " And of what age do you 
suppose I am?" " Not far from fifty." "Well; and I 
must tell you, that I was but a boy of seventeen when my 
grandfather spoke to me of this extraordinary man, whom 
he had seen at Famagusta ; at which time he appeared 
nearly of the same age as he does at present." " Im- 
possible," said the Prince; "it is ridiculous, and in- 
credible." 

te By no means, sir. Were I not prevented by these 
fetters, I could produce vouchers that would readily confirm 
my assertion. There are several credible persons who re- 
member having seen him, each at the same time, in dif- 
ferent parts of the globe. No sword can wound no 
poison hurt no fire burn him no vessel in which he 
embarks can be shipwrecked or sunk : time itself seems to 
have no influence over him ; years do not affect his 
constitution, nor age whiten his hair. He was never seen 






THE GHOST-SEER. 3? 

to take any food. He is a stranger to love. No sleep 
closes his eyes. Of the twenty-four hours in the day, 
there is only one which he cannot command, during which 
no person ever, saw him, and during which he never was 
employed in any terrestrial occupation." 
" And this hour is " 

<e That of midnight. When the clock strikes twelve, he 
ceases to belong to the living. In whatever place he is, he 
must immediately be gone ; whatever business he is engaged 
in, he must instantly leave it. That dreadful hour tears 
him from the arms of friendship, hurries him from the 
sacred altar, and would, even in the agonies of death, drag 
him from his bed. His haunt has never been discovered,, 
nor his engagements at that hour known. No person 
ventures to interrogate, and still less to follow him. As the 
time approaches, his features are enveloped in the gloom of 
melancholy, and are so terrifying that no person has courage 
to look him in the face or to speak a word to him. However 
lively the conversation may have been, a dead silence im- 
mediately succeeds it, and all around him wait for his 
return in awful horror, without venturing to quit their 
seats, or to open the door through which he has passed." 

" Does nothing extraordinary appear in his person when 
he returns ? " " Nothing, except that he seems pale and 
languid, nearly in the state of a man who has just suffered 
a painful operation, or received disastrous intelligence. 
Some pretend to have seen drops of blood on his linen, 
but with what degree of veracity I cannot affirm." " Did 
no person ever attempt to conceal the approach of this 
hour from him, or endeavour to engage him in such diver- 
sions as might make him forget it ? " " Once only, it is 
said, he passed the fatal hour. The company was nume- 
rous, and remained together until late at night. All the 
clocks and watches were purposely set wrong, and the 
warmth of conversation diverted his attention. When the 
moment arrived, he suddenly became silent and motionless ; 
his limbs continued in the position in which this instant 
had arrested them ; his eyes were fixed, his pulse ceased 
to beat ; all the means employed to awake him proved 
fruitless, and this situation endured till the hour had 
c 3 



3o THE GHOST-SEER. 

elapsed ; he then revived on a sudden, and continued his 
speech from the same syllable that he was pronouncing at 
the moment of interruption. The general consternation dis- 
covered to him what had happened; and he, declared, with 
an awful solemnity, that they ought to think themselves 
happy in having escaped with no other injury than fear. 
The same night he quitted for ever the place where this 
circumstance had occurred. The common opinion is, that 
during this mysterious hour he converses with his attend- 
ant spirits. Some even suppose him to be one of the 
departed, who is allowed to pass twenty-three hours of 
the day among the living, and that in the twenty-fourth 
his soul is obliged to return to the infernal regions to suffer 
its punishment. Some believe him to be the famous Apol- 
lonius of Tyana*, and others the disciple of St. John the 
Baptist, of whom it is said that he shall remain wandering 
on the earth until the day of judgment." 

" A character so wonderful," replied the Prince, " can- 
not fail to give rise to extraordinary conjectures. But all 
this you profess to know only by hearsay ; and yet his 
behaviour to you, and yours to him, seemed to indicate a 
more intimate acquaintance. Is it not founded upon some 
particular event, in which yourself have been concerned? 
Conceal nothing from us." The Sicilian remained silent, 
as if uncertain whether he should speak or not. " If it 
concern any thing," said the Prince, "that you do not 

* Apollonius, a Pythagorean philosopher, was born at Tyana, in Cappadocia, 
about three or four years before the birth of Christ. At sixteen years of age 
he became a strict observer of Pythagorean rules, renouncing wine, women, and 
all sorts of flesh ; not wearing shoes, letting his hair grow, and clothing himself 
with nothing but linen. He soon after set up for a reformer of mankind, and 
chose his habitation in the temple of JEsculapius, where he is said to have per- 
formed many miraculous cures. On his coming of age, he gave part of his 
wealth to his eldest brother, distributed another part to some poor relations, 
and kept very little for himself. There are numberless fabulous stories re- 
counted of him. He went five years without speaking, and yet, during this 
time, he stopped many seditions in Cilicia and Pamphylia. He travelled, set 
up for a legislator, and gave out that he understood all languages without 
having ever learned them. He could tell the thoughts of men, and understood 
he oracles which birds delivered by their singing. The Heathens opposed the 
pretended miracles of this man to those of our Saviour, and gave the preference 
to this philosopher. After having for a long time imposed upon the world, 
and gained a great number of disciples, he died in a very Advanced age about 
the end of the first century. His life, which is tilled with absurdities, was 
written by Philostratus ; and M. du Pin has published a Confutation of Apol- 
lonius's life, in which he proves, that the miracles of this pretended philosopher 
carry strong marks of falsehood, and that there is not one which may not 
b ascribed to chance or artifice. Apollonius himself wrote some works which 
are now lost. 



THE GHOST-SEER. #9 

wish to publish, I promise you hy my honour, and before 
these gentlemen, the most inviolable secrecy ; but speak 
openly, and without reserve/' te Could I hope," answered 
the prisoner at last, " that you would not produce these 
gentlemen as evidence against me, I would tell you a 
remarkable adventure of this Armenian, to which I myself 
was witness, and which will leave you no doubt of his 
supernatural powers. But I beg leave to conceal some 
names." " Cannot you do it without this condition ? " 
" No, your Highness : there is a family concerned in it 
which I must respect." " Let us hear then." 

" Above five years ago, being at Naples, where I prac- 
tised my art with success, I became acquainted with a 

person of the name of Lorenzo del M- : , chevalier of the 

order of St. Stephen ; a young and rich nobleman of one of 
the first families in the kingdom, who loaded me with 
civilities, and seemed to have a great esteem for my occult 

science. He told me that the Marquis del M- , his 

father, was a zealous admirer of the cabbala *, and would 
think himself happy in having a philosopher like me (for 
such he was pleased to call me) under his roof. The 
Marquis resided in one of his country seats on the sea-shore, 
about seven miles from Naples ; and there, almost entirely 
secluded from the world, he mourned the loss of a beloved 
son, of whom he had been deprived by a fatal and melan- 
choly accident. The chevalier gave me to understand, that 
he and his family might perhaps have occasion to employ 
my secret arts in obtaining some very important intelligence, 
to procure which every natural means had been exhausted 
in vain. He added, with a very significant look, that 
he himself might at some future period consider me as 

* Cabbala is properly a mysterious kind of science delivered by revelation to 
the ancient Jews, and transmitted by oral tradition to those of our times; 
serving for the interpretation of difficult passages in Scripture, and to discover 
future events by the combination of particular words, letters, and numbers. 
It is likewise termed the oral law. But Cabbala, among the Christians, is also 
applied to the use, or rather abuse, which visionaries and enthusiasts make of 
Scripture for discovering futurity, by the study and consideration of the com- 
bination of certain words, letters, and numbers in the sacred writings. All the 
words, terms, magif characters, or figures, with stones and talismans, numbers, 
letters, charms, &c. in magic operations, are comprised under this species of 
Cabbala ; and the word is used for any kind of magic, on account of the re- 
semblance this art bears to the Jewish Cabbala. The Jews, however, never 
use the word in any such sense, but always with the utmost respect and 
veneration. 

c 4 



4-0 THE GHOST-SEER, 

the author of all his earthly happiness. I did not choose 
to press him for an explanation. The affair was as fol- 
lows : Lorenzo, being the youngest son of the Marquis, 
had been destined for the church. The family estates were 
to devolve to the eldest. Jeronymo, which was the name 
of the latter,, had spent many years on his travels, and re- 
turned to his country about seven years prior to the event 
which I am about to relate, in order to celebrate his mar- 
riage with the only daughter of a neighbouring count. 
This marriage had been determined on by the parents during 
the infancy of the children, in order to unite the very large 
fortunes of the two houses. But though this agreement 
ivas made by the two families without consulting the hearts 
of the parties concerned, the latter had secretly entertained 

an affection for each other. Jeronymo del M and 

Antonia C had been always brought up together; and 

the little constraint imposed on two children, whom their 
parents were already accustomed to regard as united, soon 
produced between them a connection of the tenderest kind. 
The congeniality of their tempers cemented this intimacy, 
and in riper years it matured insensibly into love. An 
absence of four years, far from cooling this passion, had 
only served to inflame it ; and Jeronymo returned to the 
arms of his intended bride as faithful and as ardent as if 
they had never been separated. The raptures occasioned 
by his return had not subsided, nor the preparations for 
the happy day discontinued, when Jeronymo disappeared. 
He used frequently to pass the afternoon in a summer- 
house which commanded a prospect of the sea, and was 
accustomed to take the diversion of sailing on the water. 
One day, when he was at his favourite retirement, it was 
observed that he remained a much longer time than usual 
without returning, and his friends began to be very uneasy 
on his account, Boats were despatched after him, vessels 
were sent to sea in quest of him no person had seen him 
none of his servants could have attended him, for none 
of them were absent night came on, and he did not ap- 
pear. The next morning dawned the day passed the 
evening succeeded Jeronymo came not. Already had 
they begun to give themselves up to the most melancholy 



THE GHOST-SEER. 41 

conjectures, when the news arrived that an Algerine pirate 
had landed the preceding day on that coast, and carried off 
several of the inhabitants. Two galleys, ready equipped, 
were immediately ordered to sea. The old Marquis him- 
self embarked in one of them, to attempt the deliverance of 
his son at the peril of his own life. On the third day they 
perceived the corsair. The wind was favourable they 
were just about to overtake him, and even approached so 
near to him, that Lorenzo, who was in one of the galleys, 
fancied that he saw, upon the deck of the adversary's ship, 
a signal made by his brother when a sudden storm sepa- 
rated the vessels. Hardly could the almost shipwrecked 
galleys sustain the fury of the tempest. The pirate, in the 
mean time, had disappeared, and the distressed state of the 
other vessels obliged them to put into Malta. The afflic- 
tion of the family was beyond all bounds. The distracted 
old Marquis tore his grey hairs in the utmost violence of 
grief ; and the life of the young Countess was despaired of. 
<f Five years were consumed after this event in fruitless 
enquiries ; diligent search was made all along the coast of 
Barbary ; and immense sums were offered for the ranscm 
of the young Marquis, but to no purpose. The only con- 
jecture founded on probability was, that the same storm 
which had separated the galleys from the pirate had 
destroyed the latter vessel^ and that the whole ship's 
company had perished in the waves. But this supposition, 
however probable, as it did not by any means amount to a 
certainty, could not authorise the family to renounce the 
hope that the absent Jeronymo might again appear. In 
case, however, that he did not, either the family's name must 
be suffered to perish, or the youngest son must relinquish 
the church, and enter into the rights of the eldest. Justice 
seemed to oppose the latter measure ; and, on the other 
hand, the necessity of preserving the family from anni- 
hilation required that the scruple should not be carried too 
far. In the mean time, sorrow, added to the weight of age, 
was bringing the Marquis fast to his grave. Every unsuc- 
cessful attempt served to increase his distress, and diminish 
the hope of finding his lost son. He saw that his name 



*xS THE GHOST-SEER. 

might be perpetuated by acting with a little injustice, in 
consenting to favour his younger son at the expense of the 

elder. The fulfilment of his agreement with Count C 

required only the change of a name j for the object of the 
two families was equally accomplished, whether Antonia 
became the wife of Lorenzo or Jeronymo. The faint pro- 
bability of the latter's appearing again weighed but little 
against the certain and pressing danger of the total extinc- 
tion of the family ; and the old Marquis, who considered 
his dissolution fast approaching, ardently wished to die free 
from this inquietude. Lorenzo alone, who was to be prin- 
cipally benefited by this measure, opposed it with the 
greatest obstinacy. He resisted with equal firmness the 
allurements of an immense fortune, and the attractions of 
a beautiful and accomplished object ready to be delivered 
into his arms. He refused, on principles the most generous 
and conscientious, to invade the rights of a brother, who 
for any thing he knew might himself be in a capacity to 
resume them. 

" ' Is not the lot of my Jeronymo/ said he, ' made suf- 
ficiently miserable by the horrors of a long captivity, with- 
out the aggravation of being deprived for ever of all that 
he holds most dear ? With what conscience could I sup- 
plicate Heaven for his return, when his wife is in my arms? 
With what countenance could I meet him, if at last he 
should be restored to us by a miracle ? And even suppos- 
ing that he is torn from us for ever, can we honour his 
memory better than by keeping constantly open the chasm 
which his death has caused in our circle ? Can we better 
show our respects to him than by sacrificing our dearest 
hopes upon his tomb, and keeping untouched, as a sacred 
deposit, what was peculiarly his own ? ' But these argu- 
ments of fraternal delicacy could not reconcile the old 
Marquis to the idea of being obliged to witness the decay 
of a tree which nine centuries had beheld flourishing. All 
that Lorenzo could obtain was a delay of two years. During 
this period they continued their enquiries with the utmost 
diligence. Lorenzo himself made several voyages, and ex- 
posed his person to many dangers. No trouble, no ex- 



THE GHOST-SEER. 43 

pense, was spared to recover the lost Jeronymo. These 
two years, however, like those which preceded them, were 
consumed in vain." 

te And Antonia," said the Prince. " You tell us nothing 
of her. Could she so calmly submit to her fate ? I can- 
not suppose it." 

" Antonia," answered the Sicilian, " experienced the 
most violent struggle between duty and inclination, between 
dislike and admiration. The disinterested generosity of a 
brother affected her. She felt herself forced to esteem a 
person whom she could never love. Her heart, torn by con- 
trary sentiments, felt the bitterest distress ; but her repug- 
nance to the chevalier seemed to increase in the same 
degree as his claims upon her esteem augmented. Lorenzo 
perceived with heartfelt sorrow the secret grief that con- 
sumed her youth* An unconquerable sympathy for her 
misfortune insensibly eradicated that indifference with which 
till then Lorenzo had been accustomed to consider her. But 
this delusive sentiment deceived him, and an ungovernable 
passion began rapidly to shake the steadiness of his virtue, 
which till then had been unequalled. He, however, still 
ob'eyed the dictates of generosity, though at the expense of 
his love. By his efforts alone was the unfortunate victim 
protected against the cruel and arbitrary proceedings of the 
rest of the family. But his endeavours were ineffectual. 
Every victory he gained over his passion rendered him more 
worthy of Antonia ; and the disinterestedness with which 
he refused her, left her without an apology for resistance. 
Thus were affairs situated, when the chevalier engaged me 
to visit him at his father's villa. The earnest recommend- 
ation of my patron procured me a reception which ex- 
ceeded my most sanguine wishes. I must not forget to 
mention, that, by some remarkable operations, I had 
previously rendered my name famous in different lodges 
of free-masons. This circumstance perhaps contributed to 
strengthen the old Marquis's confidence in me, and to 
heighten his expectations. I beg you will excuse me from 
describing particularly the lengths I went with him, or the 
means which I employed. You may form some judgment 
of them from what I have before confessed to you. Profit- 



44 THE GHOST-SEER. 

ing by the mystic books which I found in his very extensive 
library, I was soon able to speak to him in his own lan- 
guage, and to adorn my system of the invisible world with 
the most extraordinary inventions. He was therefore with 
so little difficulty induced to credit the fables I taught him, 
that in a short time he would have believed as implicitly in 
the secret commerce of philosophers and sylphs as in any 
article of the canon. The Marquis, being very religious, 
had acquired in the school of theology a facility of belief, 
which caused him at once to be fascinated with the stories 
I told him, and to put the most unreserved confidence in 
my character. At length I entangled him so completely in 
mystery, that he would no longer believe any thing that 
was natural. In short, I became the adored apostle of the 
house. The usual subject of my lectures was the exaltartiori 
of human nature, and the intercourse of men with superior 
things; the infallible Count Gabolis* was my oracle. An- 
tonia, whose mind since the loss of her lover had been more 
occupied in the world of spirits than in that of nature, and 
who had a strong tincture of melancholy in her composition, 
caught every hint I gave her with a fearful satisfaction. 
Even the servants contrived to have some business in me 
room when I was speaking, and, seizing part of my con- 
versation, formed from it mysterious presages. Two 
months were passed in this manner at the Marquis's villa, 
when the chevalier one morning entered my apartment. 
His features had experienced a considerable alteration, and 
from his sorrowful countenance I suspected that something 
preyed upon his mind. He threw himself upon a couch 
with every symptom of despair. 

. <( ' I am distracted, ruined/ said he ; e I must, I cannot 
support it any longer.' ' What is the matter with you, 
chevalier ? What has befallen you ? ' ' Oh ! this terrible 
passion ! ' said he, starting from his seat, and throwing 
himself into my arms. ' I have combated against it like a 
man, but can resist it no longer/ ' And whose fault is it but 
your own, my dear chevalier*? Are they not all willing to 
gratify this passion ? Your father ? Your relations ? ' 
' My father ! my relations ! What are they to me ? I want 

* A mystical work written in French by the Abbe de Villars. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 4)O 

not to be united to her by force. Have not I a rival ? 
Alas ! and what a rival ! Perhaps a dead one ! Oh ! let me 
go, let me go to the end of the world ; I must find my 
brother.' ' What ! after so many unsuccessful attempts, 
have you still any hope ? ' ' Hope ! Alas, no ! It has long 
since been banished from my heart, but it has not from 
hers ; of what consequence are my sentiments ? Is it pos- 
sible that I should be happy whilst there remains a gleam 
of hope in Antonia's breast. Two words, my friend, would 
end my torments, but in vain ; my destiny must continue 
to be miserable, till eternity shall break its long silence, and 
the grave shall speak in my behalf.' ' Is it then a state of 
certainty that would render you happy ? ' f Happy ! Alas ! 
I doubt whether I shall ever be happy again ; but uncer- 
tainty is of all others the most dreadful affliction.' 

" After a short interval of silence, he continued with an 
emotion less violent : ' If he could see my torments ! Surely 
a constancy which renders his brother miserable cannot add 
to his happiness ! Can it be just, that the living should suffer 
so much for the sake of the dead ; that I should fruitlessly 
pine for an object which Jeronymo can no longer enjoy ? 
If he knew the pangs I suffer,' (said he, concealing his face 
while the tears streamed from his eyes,) ' perhaps he himself 
would conduct her to my arms.' ' But is there no possibility 
of gratifying your wishes ? ' He started ! ' What do you- 
say, my friend ? ' ' Less important occasions than the pre- 
sent,' said I, ' have disturbed the repose of the dead for the 
sake of the living; is not the terrestrial happiness of a 
man, of a brother ' ' The terrestrial happiness ! Ah, 
my friend, I feel but too sensibly the force of your expres- 
sion my entire felicity ! ' ' And the tranquillity of a 
distressed family, are not these sufficient to justify such a 
measure ? If any sublunary concern can authorise us to 
interrupt the peace of the blessed, to make use of a power 
' ' For God's sake, my friend ! ' said he, interrupting 
me, f no more of this once, I avow it, I had such a 
thought ; I think I mentioned it to you ; but I have long 
since rejected it as horrid and abominable.' 

" You will have conjectured already," continued the Si- 
cilian, " to what this conversation led us ; I endeavoured 



46 THE GHOST-SEER. 

to overcome the scruples of the chevalier,, and at last suc- 
ceeded. We resolved to call the ghost of the deceased Je- 
ronymo ; I only stipulated for a delay of a fortnight, in 
order, as I pretended, to prepare, in a suitable manner, for 
an act so solemn. The time being expired, and my ma- 
chinery in readiness, I took advantage of a very gloomy day, 
when we were all assembled as usual, to communicate the affair 
to the family ; and not only brought them to consent to it, 
but even to make it a subject of their own request. The 
most difficult part of the task was to obtain the approbation 
of Antonia, whose presence was essential. My endeavours 
were, however, greatly assisted by the melancholy turn of 
her mind, and perhaps still more so by a faint hope that 
Jeronymo might still be living, and therefore would not ap- 
pear. A want of confidence in the thing itself was the 
only obstacle which I had to remove. Having obtained 
the consent of the family, the third day was fixed on for the 
operation ; I prepared then for the solemn transaction, by 
mystical instruction, fasting, solitude, and prayers, which I 
ordered to be continued till late in the night. Much use 
was also made of a certain musical instrument *, unknown 
till that time ; and, in such cases, it has often been found 
very powerful. The effect of these artifices was so much 
beyond my expectation, that the enthusiasm which on this 
occasion I was obliged to show, was infinitely heightened 
by that of my audience. The long-expected moment at 
last arrived." 

" I guess," said the Prince, "whom you are now going to 
introduce. But go on, go on." " Your Highness is mis- 
taken. The deception succeeded according to my wishes/' 
" How ! Where then is the Armenian ?" " Your Highness's 
patience : he will appear but too soon. I omit the description 
of the juggling farce itself, as it would be too tedious to re- 
late. It is sufficient to say, that it answered my expect- 
ation ; the old Marquis, the young Countess, her mother, 
Lorenzo, and several other persons of the family were pre- 
sent. You will imagine, that during my long residence in 
the house I took all opportunities of gathering information 
respecting every thing that concerned the deceased. Seve- 

* The JEoIian harp. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 47 

ral of his portraits enabled me to give the apparition a strik- 
ing likeness ; and as I suffered the ghost to speak only by 
signs, that the sound of his voice might excite no suspicion, 
the departed Jeronymo appeared in the dress of a Moorish 
slave, with a deep wound in his neck. You observe, that 
in this respect I was counteracting the general supposition 
that he had perished in the waves. I had reason to hope, 
that this unexpected circumstance would heighten the belief 
in the apparition itself ; for nothing appeared to me more 
dangerous than to be too natural." 

" I think you judged well," said the Prince ; " in 
whatever respects apparitions, the most probable is the 
least acceptable. If their communications are easily com- 
prehended, we undervalue the channel by which they are 
obtained ; nay, we even suspect the reality of the miracle, 
if the discoveries which it brings to light are such as might 
easily have been imagined. Why should we disturb the 
repose of a spirit, to inform us of nothing more than the 
ordinary powers of the intellect are capable of teaching us ? 
But, on the other hand, if the intelligence which we 
receive be extraordinary and unexpected, it confirms, in 
some degree, the miracle by which it is obtained ; for who 
can doubt an operation to be supernatural, when its effect 
could not be produced by natural means ? I have inter- 
rupted you," added the Prince : " proceed in your nar- 
rative." " I asked the ghost, whether there was any 
thing in this world which he still considered as his own, 
and whether he had left any thing behind that was par- 
ticularly dear to him ? The ghost thrice shook his head, 
and lifted up his hands towards heaven. Previous to his 
retiring, he dropped a ring from his finger, which was found 
on the floor after he had disappeared ; Antonia took it, 
and, looking at it attentively, she knew it to be the wed- 
ding-ring she had presented to her intended husband." 

" The wedding-ring ! " exclaimed the Prince, with sur- 
prise. " How did you get it ? " " Who ? I ! It 
was not the true one ! I procured it. It was only a 
counterfeit." " A counterfeit !" repeated the Prince. " But 
in order to counterfeit, you must have been in possession 
of the true one. How did you come at it ? Surely the 



48 THE GHOSJ--SEER. 

deceased never went without it." fc That is true," replied 
the Sicilian, apparently confused. (i But, from a descrip- 
tion which was given me of the original wedding-ring " 
( f A description which was given you ! by whom ? " 
ff Long before that time. It was a plain gold ring, and 
had, I believe, the name of the young Countess engraved 
on it. But you make me lose the connection." 

" What happened farther ? " said the Prince, with a 
very dissatisfied countenance. fc The family fancied them- 
selves convinced that Jeronymo was no more. From that 
very day they publicly announced his death, and went 
into mourning. The circumstance of the ring left no 
doubt even in the mind of Antonia, and added a consider- 
able weight to the addresses of the chevalier. In the 
mean time, the violent impression which the young Coun- 
tess had received from the sight of the apparition brought 
on her a disorder so dangerous, that the hopes of Lorenzo 
were very near being destroyed for ever. On her recover- 
ing, she insisted upon taking the veil ; and it was only by 
the serious remonstrances of her confessor, in whom she 
placed an implicit confidence, that she was brought to 
abandon her project. At length, the united solicitations of 
the family, aided by the confessor, wrested from her the 
desired consent. The last day of mourning was fixed on 
for the day of marriage, and the old Marquis determined 
to add to the solemnity of the occasion, by resigning all 
his estates to his lawful heir. The day arrived, and 
Lorenzo received his trembling bride at the altar. In the 
evening, a splendid banquet was prepared for the guests, 
in a hall superbly illuminated. The most lively and de- 
lightful music contributed to increase the general joy of 
the assembly. The venerable Marquis wished all the 
world to participate in his felicity. The gates of the 
palace were thrown open, and every one that came in was 
joyfully welcomed. In the midst of the throng " 

The Sicilian paused a trembling expectation sus- 
pended our breath. " In the midst of the throng," con- 
tinued the prisoner, " appeared a Franciscan monk, to 
whom my attention was directed by a person who sat next 
to me at table. He was standing motionless like a marble 



THE GHOST-SEER. 49 

pillar. His shape was tall and thin ; his face pale and 
ghastly; his aspect grave and mournful; and his eyes 
were fixed on the new-married couple. The joy which 
beamed on the face of every one present, appeared not on 
his. His countenance never once varied. He seemed 
like a statue among living persons. Such an object, ap- 
pearing amidst the general joy, struck me more forcibly 
from its contrast with every thing around me. It left on 
my mind so durable an impression, that from it alone I 
have been enabled (which would otherwise have been im- 
possible) to recollect in the Russian officer the features of 
this Franciscan monk ; for without doubt you must have 
already conceived, that the person I have described was no 
other than your Armenian. I frequently attempted to 
withdraw my eyes from this figure, but they returned in- 
voluntarily, and found him always unaltered. I pointed 
him out to the person who sat nearest to me on the other 
side, and he did the same to the person next to him. In 
a few minutes, a general curiosity and astonishment per- 
vaded the whole company. The conversation languished ; 
a general silence succeeded ; nor did the monk interrupt 
it. He continued motionless, and always the same ; his 
grave and mournful looks constantly fixed upon the new- 
married couple : His appearance struck every one with 
terror. The young Countess akne, who found the tran- 
script of her own sorrow in the face of the stranger, beheld 
with a sullen satisfaction the only object that seemed to 
sympathise in her sufferings. The crowd insensibly di- 
minished, for it was past midnight. The music became 
faint and languid ; the tapers grew dim, and many of them 
went out. The conversation, declining by degrees, lost 
itself at last in secret murmurs, and the faintly illuminated 
hall was nearly deserted. The monk, in the mean time, 
continued motionless, his grave and mournful look still 
fixed on the new-married couple. The company at length 
rose from the table. The guests dispersed. The family 
assembled in a separate group, and the monk, though un- 
invited, continued near them. How it happened that no 
person spoke to him, I cannot conceive. The female 
friends now surrounded the trembling bride, who cast a 

VOL. I. D 



50 THE GHOST-SEER. 

supplicating and distressed look on the awful stranger ; 
but he did not answer it. The gentlemen assembled in 
the same manner around the bridegroom. A solemn and 
anxious silence prevailed among them. 

" At length ' How happy we are here together ! ' 
said the old Marquis, who alone seemed not to behold the 
stranger,, or at least seemed to behold him without dismay. 
e How happy we are here together ! and yet my son Jero- 
nymo cannot be with us ! ' ' Have you not invited him, 
and did not he answer your invitation ? ' asked the monk. It 
was the first time he had spoken. We looked at him 
alarmed. ' Alas ! he is gone to a place whence there is 
no return/ answered the old man. ' Reverend father, you 
misunderstood me ; my son Jeronymo is dead.' ' Per- 
haps he only fears to appear in this company/ replied the 
monk. ' Who knows how your son Jeronymo may be 
situated > Let him now hear the voice which he heard 
the last. Desire your son Lorenzo to call him.' ( What 
does he mean ? ' whispered the company one to another. 

" Lorenzo changed colour. My own hair almost stood 
erect on my head. In the mean time the monk approached 
a sideboard. He took a glass of wine, and bringing it to 
his lips, ' To the memory of our dear Jeronymo/ said 
he : ' every one who loved the deceased will follow my 
example.' ' Wherever you come from, reverend father,' 
exclaimed the old Marquis, e you have pronounced a 
dearly beloved name, and you are welcome here / then 
turning to us, he offered us full glasses ' Come, my 
friends ! let us not be surpassed by a stranger. The 
memory of my son Jeronymo !' Never, I believe, was 
any toast less heartily received. ' There is one glass left,' 
said the Marquis. ' Why does my son Lorenzo refuse to 
pay this friendly tribute ? ' Lorenzo tremblingly received 
the glass from the hands of the monk, tremblingly he 
put it to his lips. ( My dearly beloved brother Jero- 
nymo ! ' . The name trembled on his tongue, and, being 
seized with horror, he replaced the glass unemptied. 
f That is the voice of my murderer !' exclaimed a terrible 
figure, which appeared instantaneously in the midst of us, 
covered with blood, and disfigured with horrible wounds. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 51 



' " But ask nothing further from me," added the Sicilian, 
with every symptom of horror in his countenance. " I 
lost my senses the moment I looked at this apparition. The 
same happened to every one present. When we recovered, 
the monk and the ghost had disappeared. Lorenzo was in 
the agonies of death. He was carried to hed in the most 
dreadful convulsions. No person attended him hut his 
confessor and the sorrowful old Marquis, in whose presence 
he expired ; the Marquis died a few weeks after him. 
Lorenzo's secret is concealed in the bosom of the priest 
who received his last confession, and no person ever learned 
what it was. Soon after this event, a deep well was cleaned 
in the farm yard of the Marquis's villa. It had been dis- 
used many years, and the mouth of it was almost closed up 
by shrubs and old trees. A 'skeleton was found among 
the rubbish. The house where this happened is now no 

more; the family del M is extinct, and Antonia's 

tomb may be seen in a convent not far from Salerno." 

Astonishment kept us silent. " You see," continued 
the Sicilian, " how my acquaintance with the Russian 
officer, Armenian or Franciscan friar, has originated. Judge 
whether I had not cause to tremble at the sight of a being 
who has twice placed himself in my way in a manner so 
terrible." te I beg you will answer me one question more," 
said the Prince, rising from his seat ; t( Have you been 
sincere in your account of the chevalier ? " " Yes, your 
Highness, to the best of my knowledge." " You really 
believe him to be an honest man?" " I do, by heaven 1 
I believe him to be an honest man." " Even &t the time 
that he gave you the ring ? " " How ! he gave me no 
ring. I did not say that he gave me the ring." 

te Very well ! " said the Prince, pulling the bell, and 
preparing to depart. " And you believe" (going back to 
the prisoner) " that the ghost of the Marquis de Lanoy, 
which the Russian officer introduced after your apparition, 
was a real ghost ? " "I cannot think otherwise." " Let 
us go!" said the Prince, addressing himself to us. The 
gaoler came in. " We have done," said the Prince to 
him. " As for you," turning to the prisoner, " you shall 
hear farther from me." " I am tempted to ask your High- 
D 2 



52 THE GHOST-SEER. 

ness the last question you proposed to the conjurer/' said 
I to the Prince, when we were alone. " Do you believe 
the second ghost to have been a real one ? " (t I believe 
it ! No, not now, most assuredly." " Not now ? Then 
you did once believe it." (( I confess I was tempted for a 
moment to believe it to have been something more than 
the contrivance of a juggler ; and I could wish to see the 
man, who under similar circumstances would not have 
formed the same supposition." " But what reason have 
you for altering your opinion ? What the prisoner has 
related of the Armenian, ought to increase rather than 
diminish your belief in his supernatural powers." 

' ' What this wretch has related of him ! " said the 
Prince, interrupting me very gravely. " I hope," con- 
tinued he, " you have not now any doubt that we have 
had to do with a villain." " No ; but must his evidence 
on that account " " The evidence of a villain ! Sup- 
pose I had no other reason for doubt, the evidence of such 
a person can be of no weight against common sense and 
established truth. Does a man who has already deceived 
me several times, and whose trade it is to deceive, does he 
deserve to be heard in a cause in which the unsupported 
testimony of even the most sincere adherent to truth could 
not be received ? Ought we to believe a man who per- 
haps never once spoke truth for its own sake ? Does such 
a man deserve credit, when he appears as evidence against 
human reason and the eternal laws of nature ? Would it 
not be as absurd as to admit the accusation of a person 
notoriously infamous against unblemished and reproachless 
innocence ? " " But what motives could he have for giv- 
ing so great a character to a man whom he has so many 
reasons to hate ? " " I am not to conclude that he can 
have no motives for doing this, because I am unable 
to comprehend them ? Do I know who has bribed him to 
.deceive me? I confess I cannot penetrate through the 
mystery of this plan ; but he has certainly done a material 
injury to the cause he contends for, by showing himself at 
least an impostor, and perhaps something worse." ec The 
circumstance of the ring, I allow, appears suspicious." 

" It is more than suspicious ; it is decisive. He received 



THE GHOST-SEEB. 53 

this ring from the murderer. Let us even suppose the 
circumstances he has related are true ; at the moment he 
received it, he must have been certain that it was from the 
perpetrator of the murder. Who hut the assassin could 
have taken from Jeronymo's finger a ring, which he un- 
doubtedly never was without ? Throughout the whole of 
his narration, the Sicilian has laboured to persuade us, 
that while he was endeavouring to deceive Lorenzo, Lo- 
renzo was in reality deceiving him. Would he have had 
recourse to this subterfuge, if he had not been sensible that 
he should lose much of our confidence, by confessing him- 
self an accomplice with the assassin ? The whole story is 
visibly nothing but a series of impostures, invented merely 
to connect the few truths he has thought proper to give us. 
Ought I then to hesitate in disbelieving the eleventh as- 
sertion of a person who has already deceived me ten times, 
rather than admit a violation of the fundamental laws of 
nature, which I have ever found in the most perfect har- 
mony ? " " I have nothing to reply to all this ; but the 
apparition we saw is to me not the less incomprehensible." 
" It is also incomprehensible to me, although I have been 
tempted to find a key to it." " How ? " " Do not you 
recollect that the second apparition, as soon as he entered, 
walked directly up to the altar, took the crucifix in his 
hand, and placed himself upon the carpet ? " " It ap- 
peared so to me." (f And this crucifix, according to the 
Sicilian's confession, was a conductor. You see, that the 
apparition hastened to make himself electrical. Thus the 
blow which Lord Seymour struck him with his sword, 
must of necessity be ineffectual, the electric stroke having 
disabled his arm." " That is true with respect to the 
sword. But the pistol fired by the Sicilian, the ball of 
which rolled slowly upon the altar " " Are you con- 
vinced that this was the same ball which was fired from 
the pistol ? Not to mention that the puppet, or the man 
who represented the ghost, may have been so well ac- 
coutred as to be invulnerable by swords or bullets; but 
consider who had loaded the pistols." 

et True," said I ; and a sudden light darted into my 
mind. " The Russian officer had loaded them, but it was 
D 3 



34 THE GHOST-SEER. 

in our presence. How could he have deceived us?" 
ff Why should he not have deceived us ? Did you suspect 
him sufficiently to observe him ? Did you examine the 
ball before it was put into the pistol ? It may have been 
one of quicksilver or clay. Did you take notice whether 
the Russian officer really put it into the barrel, or dropped 
it into his other hand? But supposing that he actually 
loaded the pistols, how can you be sure that he did not 
leave them behind him, and take some unloaded ones into 
the room where the ghost appeared. He might very easily 
have exchanged them while we were undressing. No per- 
son ever thought of noticing him in particular. It is very 
possible, too, that the figure, at the moment when we were 
prevented from seeing it by the smoke of the pistol, might 
have dropped another ball on the altar. Which of these 
conjectures is impossible?" " Your Highness is right- 
But that striking resemblance to your deceased friend ! I 
have often seen him with you, and I immediately recog- 
nised him in the apparition." " I did the same, and I must 
confess the illusion was complete ; but as the juggler, from 
a few secret glances at the snuff-box, was able to give to 
his apparition such a likeness as deceived us both, what was 
to prevent the Russian officer (who had used the box during 
the whole time of supper, who had liberty to observe the 
picture unnoticed, and to whom I had discovered in confi- 
dence the person it represented) from doing the same ? 
Add to this, what has been before observed by the Sicilian, 
that the prominent features of the Marquis were so striking 
as to be easily imitated. What now remains to be explained 
respecting the second ghost ? " " The words he uttered, 
the information he gave you about your friend/' " What ! 
Did not the juggler assure us, that from the little which he 
had learned from me, he had composed a similar story ? 
Does not this prove that the invention was obvious and na- 
tural ? Beside, the answers of the ghost, like those of an 
oracle, were so obscure, that he was in no danger of being 
detected in a falsehood. If the man who personated the 
ghost possessed sagacity and presence of mind, and knew 
ever so little of the affairs on which he was consulted, to 
what length might he not have carried the deception ?" 



THE GHOST-SEER. 55 

ff I beg your Highness to consider, how much preparation 
such a complicated artifice would have required from the 
Armenian ; what a time it requires to paint a face with 
sufficient exactness ; what a time would have been requisite 
to instruct the pretended ghost, so as to guard him against 
gross errors ; what a degree of minute attention to regulate 
every attendant or adventitious circumstance which might 
be useful or detrimental. And remember, that the Russian 
officer was absent but half an hour. Was that short space 
sufficient to make even such arrangements as were indis- 
pensably necessary ? Surely not. Even a dramatic writer, 
who has the least desire to preserve the three unities of 
Aristotle, durst not venture to load the interval between one 
act and another with such a variety of actions, or to sup- 
pose in his audience such a facility of belief." " What ! 
You think it absolutely impossible that every necessary pre- 
paration should have been made in the space of half an 
hour." " Indeed, I look upon it as almost impossible." 
" I do not understand this expression. Does it militate 
against the laws of time and space, or of matter and motion, 
that a man so ingenious and so expert as this Armenian 
must necessarily be, assisted by agents whose dexterity and 
acuteness are probably not inferior to his own, provided 
with such means and instruments as a man of this profes- 
sion is never without; is it impossible that such a man, 
favoured by such circumstances, should effect so much in 
so short a time ? Is it absurd to suppose, that by a very 
small number of words or signs, he can convey to his as- 
sistants very extensive commissions, and direct very com- 
plex operations ? Nothing ought to be admitted against the 
established laws of nature, unless it is something with 
which these laws are absolutely incompatible. Would you 
rather give credit to a miracle than admit an improbability ? 
Would you solve a difficulty rather by overturning the 
powers of nature, than by believing an artful and uncommon 
combination of them ? " 

et Though the fact will not justify a conclusion such as you 
have condemned, you must grant that it is far beyond our 
conception." Cl I am almost tempted to dispute even this," 
said the Prince, with a sarcastic smile. " What would you 



56 THE GHOST-SEER. 

say, my dear Count, if it should be proved, for instance, that 
the operations of the Armenian were prepared and carried 
on not only during the half hour that he was absent from 
us, not only in haste and incidentally, but during the whole 
evening and the whole night ? You recollect that the 
Sicilian employed near three hours in preparation/' " The 
Sicilian, your Highness!" "And how will you convince 
me that this juggler had not as much concern in the second 
apparition as in the first ? " " How ! " " That he was not 
the principal assistant of the Armenian ; in a word, how 
will you convince me that they did not co-operate ? " ' ' It 
would be a difficult task to prove that they did/' exclaimed 
I, with no little surprise. 

" Not so difficult, my dear Count, as you imagine. 
What ! could it have happened by mere chance that these 
two men should form a design so extraordinary and so 
complicated upon the same person, at the same time, and in 
the same place ? Could mere chance have produced such 
an exact harmony between their operations, that one of 
them should appear as if subservient to the other ? Sup- 
pose the Armenian has intended to heighten the effect of 
his deception, by introducing it after a less refined one ; 
that he has created a Hector to make himself an Achilles. 
Suppose he has done all this, to see what degree of cre- 
dulity he should find in me ; to examine the avenues to my 
confidence ; to familiarise himself with his subject by an 
attempt that might have miscarried without any prejudice 
to his plan ; in a word, to try the instrument on which he 
intended to play. Suppose he has done this with a view to 
draw my attention on himself, in order to divert it from 
another object more important to his design. Lastly, sup- 
pose he wishes to have imputed to the juggler some indirect 
methods of information which himself has had occasion to 
practise." 

" What do you mean ? " " It is possible that he may 
have bribed some of my servants to give him secret intelli- 
gence, or perhaps some papers which may serve his purpose. 
One of my domestics has absconded. What reason have I 
to think that the Armenian is not concerned in his leaving 
me ? Such a connection, however, if it exists, may be ac- 



THE GHOST-SEER. 57 

cidentally discovered ; a letter may be intercepted ; a 
servant who is in the secret may betray his trust. Now 
all the consequence of the Armenian is destroyed,, if I de- 
tect the source of his omniscience ; he therefore introduces 
this juggler, who must be supposed to have the same or 
some other design upon me. He takes care to give me 
early notice of him and his intentions, so that whatever I 
may hereafter discover, my suspicions must necessarily rest 
upon the Sicilian. This is the puppet with which he 
amuses me, whilst he himself, unobserved and unsuspected, 
is entangling me in invisible snares." " We will allow 
this. But is it consistent with the Armenian's plan, that 
he himself should destroy the illusion which he has created, 
and disclose the mysteries of his science to the eyes of the 
profane ? " 

( ' What mysteries does he disclose ? None, surely, 
which he intends to practise on me; he therefore loses 
nothing by the discovery. But, on the other hand, what an 
advantage will he gain if this pretended victory over 
juggling and deception should render me secure and unsus- 
pecting ; if he succeeds in diverting my attention from the 
right quarter (I mean himself), and in fixing my wavering 
suspicions on an object most remote from the real one. If 
at any time, either from my own doubts or at the sug- 
gestion of another, I should be tempted to seek in the occult 
sciences for a key to his mysterious wonders, how could he 
better provide against such an enquiry than by contrasting 
his prodigies with the tricks of the juggler ? By confining 
the latter within artificial limits, and by delivering, as it 
were, into my hands, a scale by which to appreciate them, 
he naturally exalts and perplexes my ideas of the former. 
How many suspicions does he preclude by this single con- 
trivance ! How many methods of accounting for his 
miracles, which might afterwards have occurred to me, 
does he refute beforehand!" ei But in exposing such a 
finished deception, he has very much counteracted his own 
interest, both by quickening the penetration of those whom 
he meant to impose upon, and by staggering their belief of 
miracles in general. If he had had such a plan, your 
Highness's self is the best proof of its insufficiency." 



58 THE GHOST-SEEB. 

" Perhaps he has heen mistaken in respect to myself, but 
his conclusions have nevertheless been well founded. Could 
he foresee that I should exactly notice the very circumstance 
which exposed the whole artifice? Was it in his plan, 
that the creature he employed should be so communicative ? 
Are we certain that the Sicilian has not far exceeded his 
commission ? He has undoubtedly done so with respect to 
the ring, and yet it is chiefly this single circumstance which 
determined my distrust in him. A plan whose contexture 
is so artful and refined, is easily spoiled in the execution by 
an awkward instrument. It certainly was not the Ar- 
menian's intention that the juggler should speak to us in 
the style of a mountebank, that he should endeavour to 
impose upon us such fables as are too gross to bear the least 
reflection. For instance, with what countenance could this 
impostor affirm, that the miraculous being he spoke of, re- 
nounces all commerce with mankind at twelve in the night ? 
Did not we see him among us at that very hour ? " " That 
is true. He must have forgotten it." "People of this 
description naturally overact their parts ; and, by exceeding 
every limit of creclibility, mar the effects which a well- 
managed deception is calculated to produce." " I cannot, 
however, yet prevail on myself to look upon the whole as a 
mere contrivance of art. What ! the Sicilian's terror, his 
convulsive fits, his sword, the deplorable situation in which 
we saw him, and which was even such as to move our pity; 
were all these nothing more than the mimickry of an actor ? 
I allow that a skilful performer may carry imitation to a 
very high pitch, but he certainly has no power over the or- 
gans of life." ff As for that, my friend, I have seen the 
celebrated Garrick in the character of Richard the Third. 
But were we at that moment sufficiently cool to be capable of 
observing dispassionately ? Could we judge of the emotions 
of the Sicilian, when we were almost overcome by our own ? 
Besides, the decisive crisis, even of a deception, is so mo- 
mentous to the deceiver himself, that excessive anxiety may 
produce in him symptoms as violent as those which sur- 
prise excites in the deceived. Add to this, the unexpected 
entrance of the watch." te I am glad your Highness 
mentions that. Would the Armenian have ventured to 



THE GHOST-SEER. 59 

discover such an infamous scheme to the eye of justice, to 
expose the fidelity of his creature to such a dangerous test? 
And for what purpose ?" " Leave that matter to him; he 
is no doubt acquainted with the people he employs. Do 
we know what secret crimes may have secured him the dis- 
cretion of this man ? You have been informed of the 
office he holds at Venice ; what difficulty will he find in 
saving a man, of whom himself is the only accuser ? " 

This suggestion of the Prince was but too well justified 
by the event. For, some days after, on enquiring about 
the prisoner, we were told that he had escaped, and had 
not since been heard of. " You ask what could be his 
motives for delivering this man into the hands of justice?" 
continued the Prince. " By what other method, except 
this violent one, could he have wrested from the Sicilian 
such an infamous and improbable confession, which, how- 
ever, was material to the success of his plan ? Who but a 
man whose case is desperate, and who has nothing to lose, 
would consent to give so humiliating an account of himself? 
Under what other circumstances than such as these could 
we have believed such a confession." " I grant your 
Highness all this. The two apparitions were mere con- 
trivances of art : the Sicilian has imposed upon us a tale 
which the Armenian his master had previously taught him : 
the efforts of both have been directed to the same end; and 
by this mutual intelligence all the wonderful incidents that 
have astonished us in this adventure may be easily ex- 
plained. But the prophecy of the square of St. Mark, that 
first miracle, which as it were opened the door to all the 
rest, remains still unexplained ; and of what use is the key 
to all his other wonders, if we must despair of resolving this 
single one?" 

" Rather invert the proposition, my dear Count, and say, 
what do all these wonders prove, if I can demonstrate that 
a single one among them is a manifest deception ? The 
prediction, I allow, is above my conception. If it had 
stopped there, if the Armenian had closed the scene with 
it, I confess, I do not know how far I might have been 
carried. But in the base alloy with which it is mixed, 



60 THE GHOST- SEER. 

it is certainly suspicious." " Gracious Sir, I grant it; 
but it still remains incomprehensible, and I defy all our 
philosophy to explain it." " But," continued the Prince, 
ec can it be really so inexplicable ? " After a few moments' 
reflection ef I am far from pretending to the title of 
a philosopher, and yet I am almost tempted to account for 
this miracle in a natural way, or at least to deprive it 
entirely of any extraordinary appearance." " If your 
Highness can do that," replied I, with a very unbelieving 
smile, " you will be the only wonder in which I have any 
faith." " As a proof," continued he, tf how little we 
are justified in flying to supernatural powers for an ex- 
planation, I will point out to you two different ways by 
which we may perhaps account for this event, without 
doing any violence to nature." ' ' Two ways at once ! You 
do indeed raise my expectations." 

(f You have read, as well as I, the last accounts of my 
late cousin's illness. He died of an apoplexy It was an 
attack during a fit of the ague. The extraordinariness of his 
death, I confess it, induced me to ask the opinions of some 
physicians upon the subject, and the knowledge which 
I acquired from that circumstance gives me a clue to this 
enchantment. The disorder of my deceased relative, which 
was one of a most uncommon and alarming nature, had this 
peculiar symptom, that during the fit of the ague it threw 
the patient into a deep and irrecoverable sleep, which 
naturally put an end to his existence on the return of the 
apoplectic paroxysm. As these paroxysms return in the 
most regular order, and at an appointed hour, the physician 
is enabled, from the very moment in which he forms his 
opinion on the nature of the disorder, to predict the hour 
of the patient's decease. The third paroxysm of a tertian 
ague will fall to a certainty on the fifth day after the ap- 
pearance of the illness. Let us suppose then that our 
Armenian possesses a vigilant correspondent among the 
attendants of the deceased ; that he was very much in- 
terested to gain information from thence; that he had 
views upon my person, to the prosecution of which my 
belief in the wonderful and the appearance of supernatural 



THE GHOST-SEER. 6l 

powers would greatly conduce thus you have a natural 
clue to this prediction, which is so inconceivable to you. 
This is sufficient, for you may hence see the possibility of 
a third person's informing another of a death which hap- 
pened at the moment when he announced it, in a place at 
forty miles' distance." 

" In truth your Highness in this instance combines 
things together, which, taken singly, appear very natural, 
but which could only be brought together by something that 
is not much better than enchantment." " What ! Do you 
then fear a wonder less than an uncommon plan ? As soon 
as we allow that the Armenian is engaged in a plan of 
consequence, of which my destruction is either the end, or 
at least conducive to it, (and may we not form that opinion 
of him with which his appearance first inspired us ?) no- 
thing will seem unnatural or forced, which could bring his 
scheme to a conclusion in the most expeditious manner. 
But what way could he devise more expeditious, than the 
securing his object by putting on the appearance of a 
miracle-worker ? Who can resist a man to whom the spirits 
are obedient ? However, I grant you that my conjectures 
are not perfectly natural; I confess that I am not evea 
myself satisfied with them. I do not insist upon it, be- 
cause I do not think it worth my while to call in to my 
assistance a well- formed and deliberate design, when it may 
at last turn out to be a mere accident." cc What ! " re- 
plied I ; " may it be a mere accident ? " " Certainly, 
.nothing more !" continued the Prince. " The Armenian 
was aware of the danger of my cousin. He met us in the 
place of St. Mark. The opportunity invited him to hazard 
a prophecy, which, if it failed, would be nothing more than 
a loose word but if it succeeded, might be of the greatest 
consequence. The event was favourable to this attempt 
and he might still design to make use of the gift of pro- 
phecy for the connection of his plan time will disclose 
this secret, or bury it in oblivion. But believe me, friend," 
(and he laid his hand upon mine, with a very earnest 
countenance,) " a man, to whose word the higher powers are 
obedient, will either not want the assistance of deception, 
or at least will despise it." 



62 THE GHOST-SEER. 

Thus ended a conversation which I have faithfully re- 
lated, because it shows the difficulties which were to be 
overcome before the Prince could be effectually imposed 
upon. I hope it may free his memory from the imputation 
of having blindly and inconsiderately thrown himself into 
a snare which was spread for his destruction by the most 
unexampled and diabolical iniquity. Many, at the moment 
I am writing this, are, perhaps, smiling contemptuously at 
the Prince's credulity ; but not all those who, in the fancied 
superiority of their own understanding, think themselves 
entitled to condemn him not all those, I apprehend, would 
have resisted this first attempt with so much firmness. If 
afterwards, notwithstanding this happy prepossession, we 
witness his downfall ; if we see that the black design against 
which, at its very opening, he was thus providentially 
warned, is finally successful, we shall not be so much in- 
clined to ridicule his weakness, as to be astonished at the 
infamous ingenuity of a plot which could seduce an under- 
standing so admirably prepared. Considerations of interest 
have no influence in my testimony. He, who alone would 
be thankful for it, is now no more. His dreadful destiny 
is accomplished. His soul has long since been purified be- 
fore the throne of truth, where mine must likewise shortly 
appear. Pardon the involuntary tears jwhich now flow at 
the remembance of my deceased friend. But for the sake 
of justice I write this history. He was a great character, 
and would have adorned a throne which, seduced by the 
most atrocious artifice, he attempted to ascend by the com- 
mission of a murder. 

Not long after these events, I began to observe an extra- 
ordinary alteration in the disposition of the Prince, which 
was partly the immediate consequence of the last event, and 
partly produced by the concurrence of many adventitious cir- 
cumstances; for hitherto the Prince had avoided every severe 
trial of his faith, and contented himself with purifying the 
rude and unabstracted notions of religion in which he had 
been educated, by those more rational ideas upon the sub- 
ject which obtruded themselves upon him, and by com- 
paring the discordant opinions with each other, rather 
than by enquiring into the foundations of his faith. The 



THE GHOST-SEER. 6B 

mystery of religion, he has many times confessed to me, 
always appeared to him like an enchanted castle, into 
which one does not set one's foot without horror; and that 
we act a much wiser part if for that reason we pass it with 
a willing resignation, without exposing ourselves to the 
danger of being bewildered in its labyrinths. Nevertheless, 
a contrary propensity irresistibly impelled him to those re- 
searches which were connected with it. A servile and 
bigoted education was the cause of this bias : this had 
impressed frightful images upon his tender brain, which he 
was never able perfectly to obliterate during his whole life. 
Religious melancholy was an hereditary disorder in his 
family. The education which he and his brothers received 
was actuated by this principle ; the men to whose care they 
were entrusted, selected with this view, were also either 
enthusiasts or hypocrites, whose only method of securing to 
themselves the approbation of his noble parents, was by 
stifling all the sprightliness of the boy by a gloomy restraint 
of his mental faculties. 

Such was the dark and gloomy aspect which the whole of 
our Prince's childhood wore. Mirth was banished even 
from his amusements. All his ideas of religion were accom- 
panied by some frightful image, and the representations of 
terror and severity were those which first possessed them- 
selves of his lively imagination, and which also the longest 
retained their empire over it. His God was an object of 
terror, a being whose sole occupation is the chastisement 
of his creatures ; the adoration which he paid to him a 
blind submission, stifling all his courage and vigour. In all 
his infantine or youthful propensities, which a stout body 
and blooming constitution naturally excited to break out 
with greater violence, Religion stood in his way; she opposed 
every thing upon which his youthful heart was bent : he 
learned to consider her not as a friend, but as the scourge of 
his passions; so that a silent indignation was continually 
kindled against her in his heart, which, together with a re- 
vering faith and a blind dread, made both in his heart and 
head the strangest mixture an abhorrence of the Lord 
before whom he trembled. It is no wonder, therefore, that 
he took the first opportunity of escaping from so galling a 



64} THE GHOST-SEER. 

yoke but he fled from it as a bond-slave from his rigor- 
ous master, who even in the midst of freedom drags along 
with him a sense of his servitude ; for, as he did not re- 
nounce the faith of his earlier years from a deliberate con- 
viction ashe did not wait till the maturity and improvement 
of his reason had weaned him from it ashe had escaped 
from it like a fugitive, upon whose person the rights of his 
master are still in force, so was he obliged, even after his 
widest separation, to return to it at last. He had escaped 
with his chain ; and must necessarily become the prey of 
any one who should discover it, and know how to make use 
of the discovery. That he considered himself in such a 
light, though the reader may not yet have supposed so, the 
sequel of this history will prove. 

The confessions of the Sicilian left impressed upon his 
mind more important conclusions than the whole of the cir- 
cumstance deserved ; and the small victory which his reason 
had thence gained over this weak imposture, remarkably in- 
creased his reliance upon it. The facility with which he 
had been able to unravel this deception, appeared to have 
perfectly overwhelmed him. Truth and error were not yet 
so accurately distinguished from each other in his mind, but 
that he often happened to mistake the arguments which 
were in favour of the one for those which were in favour 
of the other. Thence it arose, that the same blow which 
urged his faith to credulity, made the whole edifice of it 
totter. In this instance he fell into the same error as an 
unexperienced man who has been deceived in love or friend- 
ship because he made a bad choice, and who drops all 
credit in these sensations, because he takes mere incidental 
circumstances for their actual distinguishing features. The 
unmasking of a deception made even truth suspicious to him, 
because he had unfortunately discovered the truth on very 
weak grounds. This imaginary triumph pleased him in 
proportion to the magnitude of the oppression from which 
it seemed to have delivered him. From this instant there 
arose in his mind a scepticism which did not spare even the 
most venerable objects. Many circumstances concurred to 
encourage him in this turn of mind, and still more to confirm 
him in it. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 



65 



He now quitted the retirement in which he had hitherto 
lived, and was obliged to give way to a more dissipated 
mode of life. His rank was discovered. Attentions which 
he was obliged to return, etiquettes for which he was 
indebted to his rank, drew him imperceptibly within the 
vortex of the great world. His rank, as well as his per- 
sonal attractions, opened to him the circles of all the beaux 
esprits in Venice, and he soon found himself on terms of 
intimacy with the most enlightened persons in the republic, 
the men of learning as well as politicians. This obliged 
him to enlarge the uniform and narrow circle to which his 
understanding had hitherto been confined. He began to 
perceive the poverty and debility of his ideas, and to feel 
the want of more elevated impressions. The old-fashioned 
dress of his understanding, spite of the many advantages 
with which it was accompanied, formed an unpleasing con- 
trast with the current ideas of society ; his ignorance of the 
commonest things frequently exposed him to ridicule, and 
nothing did he dread so much as that. The veneration 
for high birth entertained in his native country, appeared to 
him a challenge to overcome it in his own person. Thence 
arose a peculiarity in his character ; he was offended with 
every attention that he thought he owed to his rank, and 
not to his natural good qualities. He felt this humiliation 
principally in the company of persons who shone by their 
abilities, and triumphed, as it were, over their birth by 
their merit. To perceive himself distinguished as a prince 
in such a society, was always a base humiliation to him, 
because he unfortunately conceived that by that title he 
was totally excluded from all competition. All these cir- 
cumstances together convinced him of the necessity for the 
formation of his mind, which he had hitherto neglected, in 
order to raise it to a level with the thinking part of the 
world, from which he had remained so far remote ; and for 
that purpose he chose the most fashionable books, to which 
he now applied himself with all the ardour with which he 
was accustomed to pursue every object he pitched upon. 
But the unskilful hand that directed his choice always 
prompted him to select such as were ittle calculated for the 
improvement either of his heart or his reason. And even, 

VOL. i. B 



66 THE GHOST- SEER. 

in this instance, he was influenced hy that propensity which 
rendered the charms of every thing incomprehensible and 
irresistible. He had neither attention nor memory for any 
thing that was not connected with this : his reason and his 
heart remained empty, while he was filling the vacuities in 
his brain with confused ideas. The dazzling style of the 
one captivated his imagination, while the subtlety of the 
other ensnared his reason. They were both able easily to 
possess themselves of a mind which became the prey of any 
one who obtruded himself upon it with a good assurance. 
A course of reading, which had been continued with ardour 
for more than a year, had scarcely enriched him with one 
benevolent idea; but filled his head with doubts, which, as 
a natural consequence with such a character, had almost 
found an unfortunate road to his heart. In a word, he 
had entered this labyrinth as a credulous enthusiast, had 
left it as a sceptic, and was at length become a perfect free- 
thinker. 

Among the many circles into which they had introduced 
him, there was a private society called the Bucentauro, 
which, under the external show of a noble and rational 
liberality of sentiment, encouraged the most unbridled 
licentiousness of manners and opinions. As they enumerated 
many of the clergy among their members, and could even 
boast of some cardinals at their head, the Prince was the 
more easily induced to be admitted into it. He thought 
that certain dangerous truths, which reason discovers, could 
be no where better preserved than in the hands of such 
persons, whose rank confined them to moderation, and who 
had had the advantage of hearing and examining the other 
side of the question ; but the Prince did not recollect that 
licentiousness of sentiment and manners takes so much the 
stronger hold among persons of this rank, inasmuch as 
they for that reason feel one curb less. This was the case 
with the Bucentauro ; most of whose members, through 
an execrable philosophy, and manners worthy of such a 
guide, were not only a disgrace to their own rank, but even 
to human nature itself. The society had its secret degrees; 
and I will believe, for the credit of the Prince, that they 
never thought him worthy of admission into the inmost 



THE GHOST-SEER. 07 

sanctuary. Every one who entered this society was obliged, 
at least so long as he continued to be a member of it, to lay 
aside all distinctions arising from rank, nation, or religion; 
in short, every general mark or distinction whatever, and to 
submit himself to the condition of universal equality. To 
be elected a member was, indeed, a difficult matter, as 
superiority of understanding alone paved the way to it. 
The society boasted of the highest ton and the most 
cultivated taste, and such indeed was its fame throughout 
all Venice. This, as well as the appearance of equality 
which predominated in it, attracted the Prince irresistibly. 
Sensible conversations, set off by the most admirable 
humour, instructive amusements, and the flower of the 
learned and political world, which were all attracted to this 
point as to their common centre, concealed from him for a 
long time the danger of this connection. Though he had 
by degrees discovered, through its mask, the spirit of the 
institution, as they were tired of being any longer on their 
guard before him, to recede was dangerous, and false 
shame and anxiety for his safety obliged him to conceal 
the displeasure which he felt. But he already began, 
merely from familiarity with men of this class and their 
sentiments, though they did not excite him to imitation, to 
lose the pure and charming simplicity of his character, and 
the delicacy of his moral feelings. His understanding, so 
little supported by any real knowledge, could not, without 
foreign assistance, solve the fallacious sophisms with which 
he had been here ensnared ; and this fatal corroder had 
consumed, all, or nearly all, on which his morality rested. 
He gave away the natural and necessary supports of his 
happiness for sophisms which deserted him at a critical 
moment, and consequently obliged him to abide by the best 
decision which should first offer itself. 

Perhaps it was yet left to the hand of a friend to extri- 
cate him at a proper opportunity from this abyss ; but, 
besides that I did not become acquainted with the interior 
of the Bucentauro till long after the evil had taken place, 
an urgent circumstance called me away from Venice just 
at the beginning of this period. Moreover, Lord Seymour, 
a valuable acquaintance of the Prince's, whose under- 



68 THE GHOST-SEER. 

standing was proof against every species of deception,, and 
who would infallibly have been a secure support to him, 
left us at this time in order to return to his native country. 
Those in whose hands I left the Prince were very worthy 
men, but inexperienced, excessively narrow in their re- 
ligious opinions, and as much deficient in insight into the 
evil as in credit with the Prince. They had nothing to 
oppose to his captious sophisms, except the maxims of a 
blind and unenquiring faith, which either irritated him or 
excited his ridicule. He saw through them too easily, and 
his superior reason soon silenced those weak defenders of 
the good cause, which will be clearly evinced from an 
instance that I shall introduce in the sequel. The others, 
who, subsequent to this, possessed themselves of his con- 
fidence, were much more occupied in plunging him deeper 
into it. When I returned to Venice in the following year, 
a change had taken place in every thing. 

The influence of this new philosophy soon showed itself 
in the Prince's conduct. The more he openly pursued 
pleasure, and formed new friendships, the more did he 
desert his old ones. He pleased me less and less every 
day ; we saw each other seldom, and indeed he was seldom 
to be found. He had launched out into the torrent of the 
great world. His threshold was never clear when he was 
at home. One amusement introduced another one ban- 
quet another and one pleasure was succeeded by a second. 
He was the beauty whom every one adored the king 
and idol of every circle. As often as he reflected on the 
former quietness of his retired life, amidst the bustle of 
the world, so often did he find more reason for astonish- 
ment. Every thing met his wishes ; whatever he uttered 
was admirable, and when he remained silent, it was com- 
mitting a robbery upon the company. They understood 
the art of almost banishing reflection from his soul by an 
agreeable thoughtlessness, and through a delicate assistance 
to overwhelm him with it. This happiness, which accom- 
panied him every where, and this universal success, raised 
him indeed too much in his own ideas, because it gave 
him reliance upon and confidence in himself. 

The high opinion which he thence acquired of his own 



THE GHOST-SEER. 69 

.vorth, made him credit the excessive and almost idolatrous 
adoration that was paid to his understanding ; which, with- 
out this augmented and somewhat just self-complacency, 
must have necessarily recalled him to his senses. For the 
present, however, this universal voice was only the confirm- 
ation of that which his complacent vanity whispered to him 
in private a tribute which he was entitled to by right. 
He would have infallibly disengaged himself from this 
snare, had they allowed him to take breath had they 
granted him a moment of uninterrupted leisure for com- 
paring his real merit with the picture that was exhibited 
to hftn in this seducing mirror ; but his existence was a 
continued state of intoxication, of a staggering dizziness. 
The higher he had been elevated, the more difficulty had 
he to support himself in his elevation. This incessant 
exertion slowly undermined him, rest had forsaken even 
his slumbers. They had discovered his weakness, and 
turned to good account the passion which they had kindled 
in his breast. 

His worthy attendants soon suffered for the spirit of 
their lord. That anxious sensibility, those glorious truths 
which his heart once embraced with the greatest enthu- 
siasm, now began to be the objects of his ridicule. He 
revenged himself on the great truths of religion for the 
oppression which he had so long suffered from misconcep- 
tion. But, since from too true a voice his heart combated 
the intoxication of his head, there was more of acrimony 
than of humour in his jokes. His disposition began to 
alter, and caprice to make its appearance. The most 
beautiful ornament of his character, his moderation, va- 
nished, parasites had poisoned his excellent heart. That 
tender delicacy of address which frequently made his 
attendants forget that he was their lord, was now obliged 
not seldom to give place to a decisive and despotic tone, 
that made the more sensible impression because it was not 
founded upon the external distinction of birth, for the 
want of which they could have more easily consoled them- 
selves, and which he himself esteemed less ; but upon an 
injurious estimation of his own individual merit : since, 
when at home, he was attacked by reflections that seldom 
it 3 



70 THE GHOST-SEER. 

made their appearance in the bustle of company ; his own 
people seldom beheld him otherwise than gloomy, peevish, 
and unhappy, whilst a forced vivacity made him the soul 
of every circle. With the sincerest sorrow did we behold 
him treading this dangerous path. In the tumult in which 
he was involved, the feeble voice of friendship was no 
longer heard, and he was yet too much intoxicated to 
understand it. 

Just at the beginning of this epoch an affair of the 
greatest consequence required my presence in the court of 
my sovereign, and which I dared not postpone even for the 
dearest interests of friendship. An invisible hand, which 
I did not discover till long after that period, had contrived 
to derange my affairs there, and to spread reports which I 
was obliged to hasten to contradict by my presence. My 
absence from the Prince was as painful to me as it was 
pleasing to him. The ties which united us had now been 
severed for some time ; but his fate had awakened all my 

anxiety : I on that account made the Baron de F 

promise to inform me in his letters of every event, which 
he has done in the most conscientious manner. As I was 
now for a considerable time no longer an eye-witness of 
these events, it will be allowable for me to introduce the 

Baron de F in my stead, and to fill up the gap in my 

narrative by the contents of his letters, though the repre- 
sentation of my friend F is not always that which I 

should have given. I would not, however, alter any of 
his expressions, by which the reader will, -be enabled to 
discover the truth with very little trouble. 



Baron F to the Count O 

I thank you, my beloved friend, that you have given me 
permission to continue with you, even in your absence, the 
conversation of friendship, which, during your stay here, 
was my greatest pleasure. There is not any person here 
with whom I could venture to converse, as you are well 
aware, on account of private transactions j and, independent 
of that, I despise the character of the people. Since the 
Prince became a member of their society, and from the 



THE GHOST-SEER. 71 

moment that you were torn from us, I have been friend- 
less in the midst of this populous city. 

Z takes it in an easier manner; for, encircled by 

the fair ones at Venice, he learns to forget the sorrows 
which he is obliged to share with me when at home. And 
why should he perplex himself ? He desires nothing from 
the Prince but that which a master would bestow ; but I, 
you know, place him nearer to my heart, and think I can 
never be too solicitous about his welfare and happiness ; 
and, indeed, I have reason for it. I have now lived with 
him sixteen years, and exist only for him. At the age of 
nine years I entered into his service, and since that time I 
have never been separated from him. I have grown up 
under his patronage, shared with him his pleasures and 
misfortunes, and time has converted respect into a sincere 
attachment. Until now I looked upon him as my friend 
and brother ; we basked in the sunbeam of happiness, un- 
interrupted by the clouds of misery. 

Since you have left us, considerable alterations have 

taken place. The Prince de arrived here last 

week with a great retinue, and has corrupted our circle of 
acquaintance with ideas of a tumultuous life. As he and 
our Prince are so nearly related, and live at present upon 
good terms, I suspect they will not separate from one 
another during his stay here, which will last, as I have 
heard, till the Ascension. His debut has already attracted 
notice ; and for ten days the Prince has been in the midst 

of gaiety. The style in which the Prince de 

has begun his career may be justified upon the ground that 
his stay here wiU not be long ; but the first part of the 
business is, that he has induced our Prince to partake of 
those insidious pleasures, knowing that he could not easily 
deny him his request, on account of the peculiar connection 
which exists between their houses ; added to this, in a few 
weeks we must depart from Venice, when he will be 
obliged to abandon this extraordinary and insufferable 
mockery of happiness, and which, perhaps, may make a 
serious impression on his mind. 

The Prince de , it is reported, is here on the 

bus ness of the order of . That he has taken advan- 

E 4 



72 THE GHOST-SEER. 

tage of all the acquaintances of our Prince you may easily 
imagine. He was received into the Bucentauro with great 
splendour,, and pleased himself with the idea that he was 
characterised as a wit, and one of great spirit ; and he has 
called himself in his correspondence (which he maintains 
in all parts of the world) the philosophical Prince. I 
know not whether you have ever had the fortune to see 
him personally. He displays a promising exterior, piercing 
eyes, and a countenance full of expression. Polite, and 
unaffected, he entertains (pardon me this expression) a 
princely respect for the feelings of his inferiors, hut at the 
same time puts great confidence in himself. Who could 
refuse to pay adoration to so princely a character ? and 
how such a solitary Prince as ours will appear in oppo- 
sition to such dazzling accomplishments, time itself must 
discover. In the arrangement of our affairs, many and 
great changes have taken place. We possess a new and 
magnificent house opposite the new Procuracy, because the 
lodgings at the Moor Hotel were too small for the Prince. 
Our household has been augmented by twelve persons. 
Pages, moors, body-guards, &c. grace our retinue. You 
complained during your stay here of extravagance ; you 
should be here now to witness the present system. Our 
internal arrangements are still the same ; only that the 
Prince, who no longer respects the advice of those he once 
loved, is become more reserved and cold towards us, and 
that we very seldom see him or are in his company, except 
in the hours employed in dressing and undressing him. 
Under the pretext that we speak the French language very 
badly, and the Italian not at all, he excludes us from his 
presence, which would not affect me in any great degree, 
but that I believe, to speak the truth, he is ashamed of us ; 
and that circumstance displeases me, because I am con- 
fident we have not deserved such treatment. 

Of all our people (as you wish to know the minutiae) 
he seems most attached to Biondello, whom he took into 
his service, as you must remember, when he could not 
discover the retreat of his former servant from Bremen, 
and who has become, by this new manner of life, quite a 
necessary being. This man knows hoAv every thing is 
going on at Venice^ and he employs his time to some pur- 



I 



THE GHOST-SEER. 73 

pose. He is as if he had a thousand eyes and a thousand 
hands to set in motion at once. He contrives all plans, 
and gains the greater part of his knowledge, as he says, by 
the help of the gondoliers ; for that reason, he has become 
a great acquision to the Prince. He makes him acquainted 
with every new face whom the Prince has met in his 
societies ; and the secret information which he gives his 
Highness has always been found correct. Beside this, he 
reads and writes the Italian and French in an excellent 
style, by which means he has already become the Prince's 
secretary. I must relate to you a trait of fidelity in him, 
which is indeed very rare to be found in men of his station. 
Not long ago a merchant of great consequence from 
Rimini begged to be admitted to the Prince. The matter 
concerned a particular complaint against Biondello. The 
Procurator, his former master, who must have been an 
odd fellow, had for some time lived upon bad terms with 
his relations. Biondello possessed his confidence, and to 
him he intrusted all his secrets. As he was upon his death- 
bed, he made him swear never to disclose them to any 
one, that his relations might not be benefited by them, and 
gave him, as a reward, a great legacy. 

When the will was opened, and his papers inspected, 
there were found considerable numbers of blanks, to which 
Biondello alone could furnish the key. He denied that he 
knew any thing of the matter, gave up to the relations his 
legacy, and persevered in his fidelity to the injunctions of 
his deceased master. Great offers were made to him by the 
relations, but all to no purpose ; at last he eluded their 
threats of forcing him to confession, by entering into the 
service of the Prince. This merchant, who was the heir 
at law, addressed himself to the Prince, and made still 
greater offers to Biondello if he would discover the secret 
but it was ah" in vain. The Prince interfered, but he 
remained firm. He confessed, however, to his Highness, 
that secrets of great importance were confided to him, and 
he did not deny that the deceased might have acted with 
too much severity towards his relations ; but he added, 
" he was my good master and benefactor, and with the 
firmest confidence in my sincerity he died. I was the only 
friend he left in the world as such I will never betray 



74- THE GHOST-SEER. 

my trust, nor act in contradiction to his dying request." 
In the mean time he gave a hint, that a discovery would 
not add to the honour of his deceased master. Was not 
such conduct worthy to be imitated? You may easily imagine 
that the Prince did not insist upon his violating his vow of 
fidelity. This extraordinary attachment which he showed 
for the deceased gained him the most unlimited confidence 
of his royal master. 

Happiness attend you, my dear friend. I look back 
upon our former manner of life with secret pleasure, to 
which you have contributed in a high degree. I fear we 
shall never more enjoy those tranquil hours at Venice 
which we were wont formerly to do, and am much mistaken 
if the Prince is not of the same way of thinking. The 
element in which he lives at present is not that in which 
he can be happy in future, or an experience of sixteen years 
deceives me. Farewell ! 

The same to the same. 

May 18. 

I had no idea that our stay at Venice would prove so 
satisfactory as it has done. He has saved the life of a man 
I am reconciled to him. The Prince not long ago 
suffered himself to be carried home in a chair from the 
Bicentauro ; and two footmen, with Biondello, conducted 
him. I know not how it happened, but the chair, which 
had been hired in haste, broke, and the Prince was obliged 
to walk on foot the remainder of the way. Biondello went 
before. The way lay through several dark streets ; and as 
it was not far from day- break, some of the lamps burnt but 
faintly, while the others were totally extinguished. They 
had been walking a quarter of an hour, when Biondello 
discovered that he had taken the wrong road. The simi- 
larity of the bridges had deceived him, and instead of 
crossing that of St. Mark, they found themselves in Sestiere 
di Castello. It was in one of the by streets, and not a 
soul stirring near the spot. They were obliged to turn 
back to gain, as the best way, one of the principal streets. 
They had walked but a few steps, when in an adjoining 
street they distinctly heard the cry of " Murder ! " The 
Prince, unarmed as he was, snatched from one of the ser- 



THE GHOST-SEER. > 

vants a stick ; and with his usual courage, which you have 
often witnessed, ran towards the place whence the voice 
issued. Three ruffianlike fellows were just on the point of 
vanquishing a person, who, with his servant, was defending 
himself, apparently overcome by fatigue, when the Prince 
appeared, and prevented the villains from murdering him. 
His voice, and those of his servants, startled the murderers, 
who did not expect in such a dismal place to meet with any 
interruption. 

They immediately left their man, after several slight 
stabs w r ith their daggers, and took flight. Fainting with 
loss of blood, the wounded man sunk into the arms of the 
Prince : his conductors then told him, that he had saved 
the life of the Marquis of Civitella, the nephew of the 

Cardinal A i. As the Marquis's wounds bled very 

much, Biondello performed as well as he was able the office 
of surgeon, and the Prince immediately saw him taken to 
the palace of his uncle, which was not far distant from the 
spot. This done, he left the house, without discovering 
his rank. But through the means of a footman, who was 
acquainted with Biondello, he was betrayed. The follow- 
ing morning the Cardinal appeared, an old acquaintance 
from the Bucentauro. The visit lasted an hour ; the Car- 
dinal was in great emotion, and when they separated tears 
stood in his eyes ; the Prince also appeared extremely con- 
cerned. The same evening his Highness paid a visit to 
the wounded man, whom the surgeon affirmed would soon 
recover. The cloak in which he was wrapped up had in 
some measure shielded him from the force with which the 
stabs were given. Since that accident, not a day has 
passed over without the Prince paying a visit to the Car- 
dinal, or receiving one from him ; and a great friendship 
begins to exist between him and that family. 

The Cardinal is a venerable man of sixty, with a majestic 
appearance, but full of gaiety and good health. They think 
him one of the richest prelates in the whole republic. Of his 
enormous fortune he himself is the treasurer; and, although 
a prudent economist, he does not despise the pleasures of the 
world. This nephew, who is his only heir, does not always 
possess the good opinion of his uncle. Although the old 






76 



THE GHOST-SEER. 



man is not an enemy to youthful pleasures, the conduct of 
the nephew appears to exhaust every principle of tolerance 
in his relation. His dissipated principles, and his licentious 
mariner of living, supported by every vice that is coun- 
tenanced by the grossest sensuality, make him the terror of 
all fathers, and the curse of domestic happiness. This last 
attack, it is said, was owing to an intrigue which he had 

concerted with the wife of the ambassador : not to 

mention other troubles, from which only the power and 
money of the Cardinal could extricate him. But for this 
the Cardinal might be the most enviable man in all Italy, 
because he possesses every thing that can make life worth 
preserving. But his nephew's enormities render the gifts of 
fortune superfluous ; and the continual fear of not being 
able to find an heir worthy of his property, diminishes the 
comfort that his Eminence would otherwise enjoy in such 
a state of affluence. 

I have this information from Biondello. In this man the 
Prince has acquired a treasure. Every day he makes him- 
self more worthy of estimation, and we almost hourly dis- 
cover in him some new talent. Not long ago the Prince, 
being over-fatigued, could not sleep. The night-lamp was 
extinguished, and no bell could waken the valet de chambre, 
who it was soon found had gone out of the house to visit 
an opera girl. The Prince had the resolution to get 
up himself, to call one of his people. He had not gone 
far, when he heard at a little distance from him enchanting 
music. He followed the sound, and found Biondello playing 
upon the flute in his room, with his fellow-servants round 
him. He commanded him to proceed. With admirable 
skill Biondello repeated the same air, with the most delightful 
variations and niceties of a virtuoso. The Prince, who is a 
connoisseur in music, declared, that he might play with 
great confidence in the best concert. 

fe I must dismiss this man," said he to me the following 
morning ; " I am unable to recompense him according to 
his merits." Biondello, who heard these words, came to* 
wards him. ' ' Gracious sir, if you do that, you deprive me 
of my best reward." " You are worthy of something bet- 
ter than being a servant," said my master. " I will not 



THE GHOST-SEER. 77 

any longer be a bar to the improvement of your fortune." 
" Do not press upon me any other fortune., gracious sir, 
than that which I have chosen myself." " And to neglect 
such a talent No ! I must not consent." " Then permit 
me,, your Highness, to exercise it every now and then in your 
presence." J > -'f .4 

To this proposition the Prince immediately consented, 
and Biondello obtained an apartment adjoining the sleeping- 
room of his master, where he lulled him to repose by soft 
and delicate airs, and awoke him in the morning with the 
same melody. The Prince insisted upon increasing his 
salary, which he did not accept without requesting his 
Highness to permit him to let it lie in his hands, as a 
capital which perhaps at some future period might be of 
service to him. The Prince expected that he would soon 
apply for his money, or some other favour ; and whatever 
it might have been the Prince would not have denied it. 
Farewell, my best of friends. I expect with impatience 
news from R n. 

The same to the same. 

June 4. 

The Marquis Civitella, who is now entirely recovered 
from his wounds, was introduced last week by the Cardinal 
his uncle to the Prince, and since that day he has followed 
him like his shadow. Biondello, I suspect, has not told me 
the truth concerning the character of the Marquis, at least 
he has gone too far in his description. He is to all appear- 
ance a most amiable man, and irresistible in company. It 
is not possible to be angry with him ; the first sight of him 
has conquered all my prejudices. Figure to your mind a 
man of the most enchanting person, a face full of un- 
common expression, an insinuating tone of voice, pos- 
sessed of the most fluent eloquence, united with all the 
advantages of the best education. He has none of that low 
despicable pride which in general so much disgraces the 
nobility here. Every action teems with the energy of 
youth, benevolence, and warm sensibility. They must, in 
relating his extravagances, have gone far beyond the truth ; 
I never saw a more perfect contrast than his conduct is to 






78 THE GHOST-SEER. 

that which is represented of him. If he be really so licen- 
tious as Biondello asserted, then he is a siren, whom no 
creature is able to resist. 

Towards me he acted with unreserved confidence. He 
confessed to me with the most agreeable frankness,, that he 
did not stand in high favour with his uncle the Cardinal, 
and perhaps he might have deserved his censure. But he 
was seriously resolved to amend his life ; and he declared 
that the merit of his reformation would entirely fall to the 
Prince : in the mean time he hoped, through his interfer- 
ence, to be entirely reconciled with his uncle, because he had 
the highest confidence in the Prince's character. He had 
wanted till now a friend and instructor, and he hoped to 
acquire both in the person of the Prince, who, indeed, ex- 
ercises all the authority of a tutor over him, and guides 
him with the paternal watchfulness and solicitude of a 
Mentor. This confidence also gives him certain advantages, 
and he knows perfectly well how to make them valuable. 
He seldom quits the presence of the Prince ; he partakes of 
all his pleasures, and has lately become one of the Bucen- 
tauro ; and that is lucky for him, he was before too 
young. Wherever he goes with the Prince, he charms the 
society by his accomplishments, which he is well skilled in 
turning to the greatest advantage. Nobody, they say, ever 
could succeed in reclaiming him ; and should the Prince 
accomplish this Herculean labour, he will deserve the high- 
est encomiums for his conduct. But I fear very much the 
tide will turn, and Mentor become the pupil of his scholar ; 
to this end all the present circumstances seem to lead. 

The Prince d has departed, to the greatest 

satisfaction of all here, my master not excepted. What 

I thought, dear O , is thus happily accomplished. Two 

such opposite characters could not long, I was confident, 
maintain a good understanding with each other. The Prince 

d was not long at Venice before I observed a 

schism in their friendship; from which circumstance the Prince 
was in danger of losing all his former admirers. Wherever 
he went, he found this rival in his way, who possessed the 
artful quality of turning every advantage in which our 
Prince was deficient to good account. He had a variety of 



THE GHOST-SEER. 79 

little manoeuvres at his command, which our master, from 
a noble sensibility,, disdained. From such circumstances, 
in a short time, he procured a number of friends of his 
own description to follow his advice and participate in his 
schemes. * It would have been better for the Prince if he 
had not considered him as an enemy ; but had looked for- 
ward to the time when this would have been the case. But 
now he has advanced too far into the stream, to reach the 
shore without difficulty. Although these trifles, by habit, 
have acquired an ascendency over him, and probably he may 
despise them in his heart,, yet his pride will not permit 
him to renounce them, naturally supposing that his submis- 
sion will appear like conviction, rather than a free disposi- 
tion to confess his abhorrence of them. The satirical man- 
ner in which they always conversed, and the spirit of 
rivalship that influenced his opponent, have also seized upon 
him. To preserve his conquests, and to maintain him- 
self upon the dangerous principles to which the opinion of 
the world had rivetted him, he is resolved to augment the 
allurements of fashion and gaiety, and this cannot be ac- 
quired but by splendour equal to his rank ; on that account 
he has been involved in perpetual banquets, concerts, and 
gaming. A long chain of poverty is the unavoidable con- 
sequence of this unhappy connection. 

We have got rid at last of the rival ; but what he has 
subverted cannot so easily be restored. The treasure of 
the Prince is exhausted ; all that he had saved by a strict 
economy is gone ; we must hasten from Venice,, or else 
be involved in debt, which, till now, he has carefully avoided. 
Our departure is certainly to take place as soon as fresh 
remittances arrive. The many unnecessary expenses he 
has incurred would be of little consequence if his happiness 
increased in proportion ; but he was never less happy than 
at present ! He feels that he is not now what he formerly 
was he is dissatisfied with himself, and rushes into new 
dissipation, to avoid the piercing consequences of reflec- 

* In the unfavourable opinion which the Baron F forms of our Prince 

in several parts of the first letter, every one who has the happiness to know 
him intimately, will think with me, that he went beyond the limits of his judg- 
ment, and will ascribe it to the prejudice of this young observer. 

NOTE OF THE COUNT O . 






80 THE GHOST-SEEB. 

tion. One new acquaintance follows another, which is 
fatal to his reformation. I know not what may happen ; 
we must depart, we have no other safety. But, dear 
friend, as yet I have not received a single line from you ; 
how must I interpret this long silence ? 

The same to the same. 

June 12th. 

Receive my thanks, dear friend, for that token of your 

remembrance which young B hi brought over to me. 

But what do you say about letters which I was to have 
received ? I have not received any letters from you till 
now, not even a line. What a circuit must those which 

I now receive have taken ! For the future, dear O , 

when you honour me with your letters, send them by 
Trent, and under cover to my master. 

We have at length been obliged, my dear friend, to take 
that step which we had hitherto so fortunately avoided. The 
remittances were kept back, even at this pressing emergency 
for the first time were they kept back ; we were abso- 
lutely compelled to have recourse to a usurer, and the 
Prince willingly pays something more for the sake of 
secrecy. The worst of these unpleasant circumstances is, 
that it delays our departure. Such was the state of our 
affairs when the Prince and I came to an explanation. 
The whole of the business had passed through Biondello's 
hands, and the Jew was present before I had the least sus- 
picion of it. I was grieved to the heart to see the Prince 
reduced to such an extremity, and it revived in me all the 
recollection of the past, and all my fears for the future ; so 
that I certainly might have looked a little melancholy and 
gloomy when the usurer left the room. The Prince, to 
whom the preceding scene had doubtless been by no means 
pleasing, walked backwards and forwards with uneasiness. 
The rouleaus of gold were yet lying on the table I was 
standing at the window, and employing myself in counting 
the windows in the Procuratie there was a long silence. 
At length he addressed himself to me 

" F ," he began, " I cannot bear any dismal faces 

about me." I was silent. " Why do you not answer 



THE GHOST-SEER. 81 

me ? Do I not see that it will break your heart not to 
pour forth your vexation ? I command you to speak. You 
may, perhaps, wonder what extraordinary affairs I am 
concealing from you." " If I am gloomy, gracious Sir," 
replied I, " it is only because I do not see you in better 
spirits." " I know," continued he, " that you think I 
have acted wrongly for some time past that every step 

which I have taken has displeased you that What 

does the Count d'O say in his letters ? " " The 

Count d'O has not written to me." " Not written ! 

Why will you not confess the truth ? You lay open your 
hearts to each other you and the Count. I know it very 
well : however, you need not conceal it from me. I shall 
not introduce myself into your secrets." " The Count 

d'O ," replied I, <e has only answered the first of 

three letters which I wrote to him." u I was wrong," 
continued he; <c is it not so?" (taking up one of the 
rouleaus) ce I should not have acted thus." f< I see very 
plainly that the step was necessary." " I ought not to 
have involved myself in such a necessity." 

I remained silent. <f Indeed, I ought not to have ven- 
tured beyond that point in the completion of my wishes, 
so as to have become a grey-beard as soon as I became a 
man. Because I once step forth from the dreary uniform- 
ity of my former life, and look around me to see whether 
there will spring up no source of enjoyment for me in 

any other quarter ; because I " <e If it were only a 

trial, gracious Sir, I have nothing more to say ; for the 
experience which it has procured for you would not be 
purchased at too dear a rate, though it cost three times as 
much. It hurts me, I must confess, that the opinion of 
the world should have to decide upon the question, How 
you can be happy?" ce Fortunate man, who can thus 
despise the opinion of the world ! I am its creature, and 
must be its slave. What else are we governed by but 
opinion ? Opinion is every thing with us princes. Opinion 
is our nurse and educatress in infancy, our legislatress and 
mistress in our manly years, and our crutch in old age. 
Take from us what we receive from opinion, and the 
meanest of the humblest class is better off than we are ; 

VOL. i. p 



82 THE GHOST- SEER. 

for his fate has taught him a philosophy which enables 
him to bear it. A prince who laughs at opinion, is his 
own destroyer, like the priest who denies the existence of 
a God." 

" And yet, gracious Prince " " I know what you are 
going to say. I can pass the boundary of the circle which 
my birth has drawn around me. But can I eradicate from 
my memory all the foolish ideas which education and early 
habit have planted in it, and which a hundred thousand of 
you fools have ever been impressing with more and more 
firmness? Every one wishes to be what he is to per- 
fe6tion, and our existence consists, in short, in appearing 
happy. If we cannot be so according to your mode, shall 
we not for that reason be so at all ? If we can no longer 
taste of joy immediately from its uncorrupted source, shall 
we not deceive ourselves with an artificial enjoyment ? shall 
we not snatch a small compensation even from the very 
hand which robs us ? " ' ( You once found these joys in 
your own heart." " But if I do not any longer find them 
there ! Oh, how came we to fall upon this subject ? 
Why must you awake in me the recollection of that, even 
if I have had recourse to this tumult of voluptuousness, in 
order to stifle a voice which renders my life miserable 
in order to lull to rest this inquisitive reason, which moves 
to and fro in my brain like a sharp sickle, and with every 
new stroke cuts off a new branch of my happiness ? " 
"Best of princes!" He got up, and walked backwards 
and forwards in the room with unusual agitation, and soon 
after left it. 

Pardon, dear O , this tedious letter. You wish to 

know every trifle which concerns the Prince, and I may 
justly rank his moral philosophy among them. I know 
that the state of his mind is important to you, and his 
actions, I am aware, are on that account also important 
to you. I have for that reason faithfully transcribed all 
that I recollected of this conversation. I shall at a future 
period inform you of a new occurrence, which you could 
hardly have been led to expect from a dialogue like that of 
to-day. Farewell. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 83 

The same to the same. 

July I. 

As the time for our departure from Venice approaches, we 
are determined to employ this week in an examination of 
all the remarkable pictures and buildings,, which is ge- 
nerally delayed to the last moment. They praised highly 
the work* of Paul Veronese, which was to be seen in a 
Benedictine convent upon the island of St. George. You 
must not expect from me a minute description of this 
beautiful masterpiece, from the contemplation of which 
I derived the most satisfactory pleasure; but it was a sight 
worthy to be enjoyed longer. We should have had as 
many hours as minutes to study a painting of a hundred 
and twenty figures, which is thirty feet in breadth. It is 
impossible to observe the beauties which the artist has dis- 
played in it, by just glancing at the whole. It is however 
a pity that so valuable a work, which ought to adorn a 
place of more utility, should be buried within the walls of 
a convent for a few monks to gaze at. The church of 
this convent deserves also the attention of the connoisseur: 
it is one of the handsomest in the city. 

Towards evening we set off for the Giudecca, to spend 
a few hours in the charming gardens that surround it. 
The society, which was not numerous, separated very 
soon ; and Civitella, who had been the whole day seeking 
for an opportunity to speak to me in private, thus ad- 
dressed me <c You are the friend of the Prince, and 
possess his confidence, as I know from good authority. 
When I went to-day to his hotel, I met a man upon the 
stairs, and immediately guessed the business he had been 
upon. I found the Prince, as I entered his apartments, 
thoughtful and dejected." I was about to interrupt him. 
t{ You cannot deny it," he continued, " I know the man, 
for I took very particular notice of his person. Is it pos- 
sible that the Prince, who has friends at Venice, to whom 
he is as dear as life, should in a case of necessity make use 
of such a wretch ? Be sincere, baron ! Is the Prince 
embarrassed in his circumstances? You may endeavour 

* The marriage at Cana. 
F 2 



84 THE GHOST-SEER. 

to hide the truth, but it is in vain. What I cannot learn 
from you I will obtain from a man to whom every secret 
is a prize, and ready to be sold." ' ' What, Marquis ! " 
c( Pardon me. I must endure the charge of being in- 
discreet, to avoid the imputation of ingratitude. The 
Prince saved my life, and, what goes far beyond that, he 
has instilled into my mind the principles of virtue. If I 
see the Prince act in a manner which must be expensive 
to him, and beneath his dignity ; if it is in my power to 
assist him, I never can resist it." " The Prince is not 
now in any embarrassment. Several remittances, which we 
expected from Trent, are, indeed, unexpectedly detained ; 
but accidentally perhaps, or from the idea that his de- 
parture is near at hand. This is now fixed upon ; and 
till then " He shook his head. <e Do not deceive me," 
said he. " I mean not by doing this to diminish the obli- 
gation I owe the Prince. No, not all the riches of my 
uncle eould repay him. I am anxious to free him from 
one unhappy moment. My uncle possesses a large fortune, 
which I can dispose of as if it were my own. I cor. 
sider it a fortunate circumstance that the moment is arrived 
when I can be useful to the Prince. I know," he con- 
tinued, " with what delicacy the Prince will treat my 
offer; but, on the other hand, I hope he will lay aside 
his prejudices, and suffer me to enjoy the satisfaction of 
having in some measure returned the obligation I owe to 
him." He continued to urge his request till I had pro- 
mised him that I would do all in my power to make the 
Prince accept his offer. But I knew his character, and 
for that reason I despaired of success. He appeared satis- 
fied however with my promise, though he confessed that it 
would give him great uneasiness if the Prince considered 
him in the light of a stranger. Lost in conversation, we 
had wandered from the company, and were just about to 

return, when Z approached us. " I thought the 

Prince had been with you ?" said he: " is he not here?" 
We immediately returned with him, thinking to find the 
Prince with the other part of the company. fc The so- 
ciety is together, but the Prince is not among them," said 
I ; ( ' I really do not know how it happened that we missed 



THE GHOST-SEER. 85 

him." Here Civitella suggested that he might possibly 
have visited the adjoining church, which he had a little 
time before remarked for its beauty. We immediately 
went to seek for him there. As we approached it we dis- 
covered Biondello waiting at the entrance. When we 
came nearer, we observed the Prince rush hastily out from 
a small door ; the agitation of his mind was impressed 
upon his countenance. He called Biondello to him, and 
seemed to instruct him in the execution of some commission 
of consequence ; his eyes were constantly directed to the 
gate, which remained open. Biondello hastened into the 
church. The Prince, without perceiving us, pushed through 
the crowd, and went back to the society. 

It was resolved to sup in an open pavilion, and the 
Marquis, without our knowledge, had procured some mu- 
sicians to entertain us with a concert. It was quite select; 
but there was among the performers a young lady who sung 
delightfully, and whose voice did not more enchant us than 
the beauty of her person. Nothing seemed to make an im- 
pression upon the Prince ; he spoke little, and answered 
our questions confusedly; his eyes were constantly riveted 
upon the spot from whence Biondello was to come ; and it 
was visible to all, that something of consequence affected 
his mind. Civitella asked him how he liked the church ; 
he could not give any description of it. He spoke of 
several remarkable pictures, which were highly esteemed ; 
but he had not observed them. We perceived that our 
questions were unpleasant to him, and therefore we dis- 
continued our enquiries. One hour after another passed 
away, and Biondello did not arrive. The impatience of 
the Prince could no longer be concealed : he went from 
supper very early, and walked alone up and down the aisles 
of the church with agitated steps. No person could imagine 
what had happened to him. I did not venture to ask him 
the reason for such a sudden change in his disposition, as I 
could not now treat him with that familiarity I did formerly. 
With so much more impatience, therefore, did I expect 
the arrival of Biondello, that he might explain to me the 
mystery. 

It was past ten o'clock before he came back. The ac- 
F 3 



86 



THE GHOST-SEER. 



counts which he brought to the Prince did not contribute to 
dissipate the gloom of melancholy. He returned to the 
pavilion apparently uneasy and dissatisfied. Soon after, the 
boat was ordered, and we went home. I could not find a 
single opportunity the whole evening to speak with Bion- 
dello ; and I was at last obliged to go to bed without being 
able to satisfy my curiosity. The Prince dismissed us very 
early; but a thousand unpleasant reflections which tor- 
mented me kept me awake. I could distinctly hear the 
Prince walking up and down his chamber till a late hour ; 
at last I dropped into a dose, but was soon roused from 
slumber by a person who appeared at my bedside with a 
lamp in his hand. When I looked up, I discovered it to 
be the Prince. He could not close his eyes, he said, and 
begged of me to pass the night with him. I would have 
risen and dressed myself; but he commanded me to remain 
as I was, and seated himself on my bed. 

cc An extraordinary circumstance has happened to me to- 
day," said he, "and the impression it has made upon my 
mind will never be effaced. I went, as you must recollect, 
to see * * * church, to which Civitella directed my at- 
tention, and which had at a distance excited my curiosity. 
As neither you nor he were present, I went in alone, and 
bade Biondello wait for me at the entrance. The church was 
quite dark and solitary. The aisles were cold and damp. 
I felt a sudden dullness steal all over me ; I saw myself 
alone amidst the dead, in a sanctuary where a solemn 
silence, as in the grave, reigned in every part. I placed 
myself in the middle of the dome, and gave my soul up to 
contemplation. Soon, however, the gothic beauty of the 
building arrested my attention. It appeared, as I examined 
it, more and more delightful. It called forth the powers of 
awful meditation. The evening bell was tolling ; its hollow 
sound, as I heard it faintly in the aisle, overpowered me 
with an unusual melancholy. Some altar-pieces at a dis- 
tance attracted my attention. I went nearer, to view them 
distinctly : unperceived, I had wandered through the aisles 
of the church, and was approaching the end, when, by ac- 
cident, I went round a pillar up a flight of steps, which 
lead into a side chapel, decorated with several little altars 



THE GHOST-SEER. 87 

and statues of saints. As soon as I entered the chapel I 
heard a soft whispering, turned towards the spot from 
whence I heard the voice, and about two steps from me dis- 
covered a female figure. Fright almost overpowered me ; 
but after a few moments had elapsed I recovered, and con- 
templated an object which I cannot describe with justice." 

" And does your Highness know for certain that it was 
alive that it was not fancy a picture of the brain?" 
" Hear farther it was a lady. Until that moment I had 
never regarded the sex ! The rays of the setting sun, that 
illumined the chapel, enabled me to observe that she was in 
the act of praying before an altar. Nature seemed to have 
lavished all her perfections on her lovely form. She was 
elegantly dressed in black silk, which spread around her in 
large folds like a Spanish robe ; her long light-coloured hair 
burst from under the veil, and flowed in charming disorder 
down her back ; one of her hands touched the crucifix, as 
she rested her head upon the other. But how shall I find 
words to describe to you the angelic beauty of her coun- 
tenance ! The sunbeams played upon it, and heightened 
the divine expression that seemed to glow in it. Can you 
call back to your mind the Madonna of Florence ? She was 
the exact copy of the artless enchanting beauty which is so 
irresistibly expressed in that picture." 

Of the Madonna of which the Prince speaks, the case is 
this : Shortly after your departure, the Prince became 
acquainted with a painter from Florence, who had been 
ordered to Venice to paint an altar-piece for a church ; his 
name I do not now remember. He brought with him three 
pictures, which he had executed for the gallery in the Ca- 
narian Palace. The subjects were a Madonna, a Heloise, 
and a Venus in dishabille. From the exquisite manner in 
which they were all painted, it was almost impossible to de- 
cide which was superior in beauty. The Prince alone did 
not hesitate a moment to decide ; they were scarcely put 
before him when the Madonna attracted his whole attention ; 
in both the others the genius of the painter was admired, 
but this he surveyed with enthusiasm. He was so en- 
amoured with it, that he could not be persuaded to quit it. 
The artist, we could perceive by his countenance, enjoyed 
r 4 



88 THE GHOST- SEER. 

the judgment of the Prince ; he had the wit not to separate 
the three pictures, and demanded 1500 zequins for them. 
The Prince offered him half the price for the Madonna. 
The artist insisted upon his demand; and who knows what 
might have happened if he had not found a purchaser for 
his works ? Two hours after, all the three pieces were 
gone ; and we have not seen them since. This was the 
picture that the Prince brought to his memory. 

" I stood/' he continued, <( in silent admiration. She 
did not ohserve me j she was not disturbed by my arrival ; 
so entirely was she lost in adoration. She prayed to her God, 
and I prayed to her eyes ; saints, altars, or burning tapers, 
had never before reminded me that I was in a sanctuary ; 
I was seized with enthusiasm. Shall I confess to you, 
that I believed, from that very moment, in the influence of 
the crucifix she held in her beautiful hand. I read our 
Saviour's answer in her eyes. Thanks to her charming 
piety ! she painted his true character to me. My ideas 
wandered with her's through the ways of heaven. She 
rose, and I stepped aside with embarrassment ; the noise 
I made discovered me. The unexpected appearance of a 
man alarmed her ; I was fearful that my boldness might 
offend ; for as she glanced at me, the beauteous rays 
of innocence and virtue played upon her countenance. As 
she rose from prayer, I was the first happy creature which 
offered itself to her sight. In an adjoining corner of the 
chapel, I saw an elderly lady rise from her seat, and come 
towards us. I had not till then perceived her. She was 
but a few steps distant from me, and no doubt had wit- 
nessed all my actions. I was somewhat confused I cast 
my eyes as it were involuntarily on the ground, and they 
rushed by me. I looked after her as she passed along the 
aisle. The beautiful figure was with her What grace, 
what majesty appeared in all her steps ! She was no 
longer the being that I first beheld ; no, she was possessed 
of a thousand new charms. I followed at a distance with 
trembling steps, undetermined whether I should overtake 
her or not. I waited with impatience to see if she would 
bestow upon me another look ; for the one she gave me 
as she passed by was lost upon me. With what extreme 
anxiety did I expect it ! 



THE GHOST-SEER. 8Q 

(< They stopped suddenly ; but I was not able to set a 
foot forwards. The elderly lady, who perhaps might be 
her mother, observed the disorder of her hair, and imme- 
diately adjusted it. That done, they approached the gate. 
I doubled my steps she disappeared by degrees I 
could only see the shadow of her robe as it floated in the 
air. A flower had fallen from her bosom ; she returned in 
haste to fetch it she once more looked back, and after 
me ! whom else could she seek in a place so solitary ? 
She appeared as if I was no longer a stranger to her ; 
but she deserted me like the flower which seemed unworthy 

to be replaced in her bosom. Dear F I am almost 

ashamed to own to you with what childish rapture I inter- 
preted that look that last expressive look, which was not 
perhaps designed for me ! " 

fe You may rely upon it, it was." 

" It is singular/' said the Prince, after a long silence, 
(( that we should lament the loss of an object we never 
saw before but I feel as if I exist only for her. That 
in a single moment man should display two such opposite 
characters ? I look back upon the happiness I received 
yesterday morning with all that exquisite feeling with 
which we trace the days of childhood. This picture lives 
in my remembrance, and forces me to acknowledge that it 
is my god ! " " Recollect, gracious Sir," said I, " in 
what gloomy though tfulness your mind was wrapt when 
this ideal divinity appeared to you ; the association of 
ideas alone inflamed your imagination. Quitting the 
beautifuriight of day, and the tumult of the world, you 
were suddenly surrounded by darkness and silence, im- 
pressed with sensations which, as you confessed yourself, 
tended to impress you with melancholy, whilst the majesty 
of the structure, and the contemplation of beauty in the 
works of different artists, aided the train of ideas you were 
supporting. In the mean time, alone and solitary, you 
gave yourself up to reflection ; in the midst of your medi- 
tations you observe the figure of a female, where you did 
not expect to meet a soul still more enchanting by a 
fine form, which was heightened by a favourable illumi- 
nation of the setting sun a fortunate situation, and a 



90 THE GHOST-SEER. 

captivating display of piety what is. more likely than 
that your disturbed fancy deceived you ? " 

" Can memory give back impressions it has never re- 
ceived ? In my whole country there is nothing that I 
could justly put in comparison with that picture. Entire 
and unchanged, as in the moment of beholding it, it lies 
in my memory ; I can think of nothing but that picture 
and in vain might you offer me a whole world for it ! " 
(f Gracious Prince, this is love." " Must it then be by a 
name that I am to be made happy ? Love ! Do not 
think so meanly of my feelings as to accuse me of that 
which influences a thousand feeble souls ! Who has ever 
felt what I endure ! Such a being as I am never was in 
existence before ! How then can you give my sensations 
a name ? It is a new and singular suffering, originating 
with her that I adore. Love ! No, from love I am 
quite secure ! " " You sent Biondello, no doubt, to find 
out the path your fair unknown pursued, and to get some 
information of her What accounts did he bring you 
back?" 

" Biondello has discovered nothing. He found her at 
the church gate. An old well-dressed man (who had the 
appearance of a citizen from this city, and not a servant) 
conducted her to the boat. Some poor peasants smiled 
upon her as she passed them, and she rewarded them with 
money. By this means one of her hands became visible; 
it was ornamented with several precious stones. She said 
something to her companion, which Biondello did not under- 
stand ; he maintained it to be Greek. She had to walk a 
considerable distance to the canal. The people began to 
collect round her ; so extraordinary a sight surprised all 
the peasants. Nobody knew her but beauty is born a 
queen. All made way for her in an humble submissive 
manner. She let fall a black veil over her face, and hast- 
ened into the boat. To the extent of the channel of the 
Giudecca, Biondello kept the boat in sight, but' could not 
pursue its course farther, owing to the concourse of people." 
" Has he not taken notice of the waterman ? " " He en- 
deavoured in vain to find him ; for it was not one of them 
with whom he is connected. The poor people of whom 



THE GHOST-SEER. 91 

he enquired could give him no other account, than that the 
lady for several weeks past had landed on the same spot on 
a Sunday evening, when she distributed some gold pieces 
amongst them. They were Dutch ducats, which I dis- 
covered by one that Biondello had procured." 

" A Greek lady of fortune and rank, as it should seem 
by your description. That is quite sufficient, gracious Sir, 
to aid us in a discovery. But a Greek lady and in a 
catholic church ! " ' ' Why not ? She may have changed her 
religion. But I admit there is something in all this that we 
do not understand. Why does she come only once a week ? 
Why only on a Sunday evening, at an hour when the 
church is entirely deserted, as Biondello told me ? Next 
Sunday evening must decide this. But till then, my dear 
friend, assist me in the difficult task of passing away the 
time ! Days and hours will elapse in their ordinary course, 
but are of too long duration for a mind like mine." (< And 
when that day arrives what is to be done ? " " What 
is to be done ? I shall see her again. I shall discover 
who she is, and the place of her residence. Why should I 
be unhappy, when I know how to alleviate my sufferings ?" 
ei But our departure from Venice, which is fixed for the 
beginning of next month ? " " Could I imagine that 
Venice contained such a treasure ! I will not think of my 
past life, but date my existence from this hour." 

I thought this a favourable opportunity of keeping my 
word with the Marquis. I gave the Prince to understand, 
that for him to continue at Venice in the present state of 
our finances would by no means be proper ; and that, if 
he prolonged his stay beyond the term, he could not expect 
that his court would support him. I now discovered a 
secret which till then had been unknown to me, that he 
received succours clandestinely from his sister, the reigning 

Princess of , which she is very willing to increase if 

his court should abandon him. This sister is a pious 
fanatic, you know, and thinks the great savings which she 
makes at a very economical court cannot be disposed of 
better than to a brother whose character she enthusiastically 
venerates. I was confident, some time back, that there 
existed a good understanding between them, and that many 






92 THE GHOST-SEER. 

letters had been exchanged ; but as the Prince's own re- 
sources were sufficient to defray his expenses, I never once 
thought of this secret channel. It was now clear that the 
Prince had expenses which were unknown to me : these 
still remain a secret ; and if I may conclude from what I 
know of his character, they are not of that nature which 
will disgrace him. I was certain now that I had found 
him out. I did not therefore hesitate to make known to 
him immediately the offer of the Marquis, which, to my 
great astonishment, was accepted without any difficulty. 
He gave me free liberty to conduct the business with the 
Marquis in such a manner as I thought, best, and then 
ordered me to dismiss the usurer, and write immediately 
to his sister. 

It was daybreak when we separated. This event has 
made me very uneasy for more reasons than one, par- 
ticularly that it compels us to prolong our stay at Venice. 
This sudden passion for the unknown lady I expect will 
rather be of service to him than otherwise. She will 
perhaps be the means of reclaiming the Prince. I hope it 
will affect him in the ordinary way with a slight illness, 
and so eradicate his prejudices. Farewell, my dear friend. 
I have written this letter on the spur of the moment. The 
post is about to depart. You will receive this letter with 
the foregoing one on the same day. 

The same to the same. 

July 20. 

This Civitella is one of the most serviceable men in the 
\vorld. The Prince had not long left me when a note ar- 
rived from the Marquis, in which he politely reminded me 
of my promise, I sent him immediately a bond, executed 
by the Prince for six thousand zechins ; in less than half 
an hour it was returned, with an enclosed draught for double 
the sum. The Prince accepted it, but insisted that the 
bond should be given in return, which was only for the 
space of six weeks. 

This whole week has been spent in enquiries after the 
mysterious Greek lady. Biondello put his machines in 
motion ; but all were fruitless. He has indeed found the 



THE GHOST-SEER. 

waterman ; but he could learn nothing farther from him,, 
than that he had set both the ladies on shore upon the 
island of Murano, where two chairs waited for them. He 
supposed her to be an English lady, because she spoke a 
foreign language, and paid him in gold. He did not know 
her conductor, but he appeared to him to be a looking-glass 
manufacturer from Murano. We were now convinced that 
we had not to seek for her in the Giudecca, and that she 
was probably at home upon the island of Murano ; but the 
misfortune was, that, from the description which the Prince 
gave of her, she could not be known by a third person. 
The impassioned frenzy which seized him at the moment 
hindered him from observing her minutely. To that to 
which other people would have principally directed their 
attention, he was quite blind. After such a description as 
his, one might have sought for her in Ariosto or Tasso with 
more probability than upon a Venetian island. His en- 
quiries must be made with the greatest secrecy and precau- 
tion, to prevent impeaching the virtue of the lady ; and as 
Biondello was the only person besides the Prince who had 
seen her through the veil, and therefore could know her 
again, they sought together for her in ah 1 places where it 
was thought possible that she could be. The life of this 
good-tempered man was this week spent in traversing all 
the streets of Venice. In the Greek church he made par- 
ticular enquiries, but all to no purpose ; and the Prince, 
although more and more impatient at every disappointment, 
was at last obliged to comfort himself till the next Sun- 
day evening. 

His impatience was pitiable. Nothing pleased him 
nothing excited his attention. His hours were spent in 
anxiety and distress : he fled from society, but the evil in- 
creased in solitude. He was never more surrounded by 
visiters than he was this. week. His departure had been 
announced as near at hand all pressed themselves upon 
him. Being obliged to entertain those people, to avoid all 
suspicion, we contrived to occupy his mind in order that 
we might dissipate his melancholy. In this situation Civi- 
tella hit upon gaming ; and to detain the company, he pro- 
posed to stake very high. In the mean time he flattered 



THE GHOST-SEER. 






himself that he should tempt the Prince to play, which he 
thought would very soon conquer his romantic ideas. This 
scheme, although hazardous, they knew could not injure 
him, as they had it in their power to desist at any time from 
playing. 

" Cards," said the Marquis, " have often prevented me 
from pursuing follies which I anticipated, and relieved me 
from reflectingupon those I had committed. The tranquillity 
of mind which a pair of charming eyes deprive me of, I 
have very often found again at the faro table ; and women 
never had half the effect upon my spirits as not being en- 
abled to play from poverty." 

I consented, in as far as I thought Civitella might be 
in the right; but the means which we instituted began 
soon to become more dangerous than the evil we endea- 
voured to destroy. The Prince, who thought to make the 
game attractive by betting very high, found very soon no 
bounds to it. He was quite out of his element. What he 
did was with apparent indifference, although his actions 
betrayed impatience and uneasiness of mind. You know 
how indifferent he is about money, and now he became 
totally insensible of its value. Gold pieces ran away like 
water. He lost almost upon every card, because he played 
without paying any attention. He forfeited large sums, 
because he ventured like a desperate, unfortunate man. 

Dear O , I communicate this with an aching heart: 

In four days we had not any of the twelve thousand ze- 
chins. Do not reproach me. I accuse myself sufficiently. 
But could I prevent it ? Could I oblige the Prince to listen 
to me ? Could I do more than remonstrate with him ? I 
did what lay in my power : surely I may say, that I am 
not guilty. Civitella also lost. I won six hundred zechins ! 
The unexampled misfortune of the Prince was observed by 
all, and for that very reason he would not abandon the 
game. Civitella, who likes to show his readiness to oblige 
him, lent him immediately the required sums. 

This scene is closed ; but the Prince is indebted to the 
Marquis twenty-four thousand zechins. Oh how I long 
for the spare money of his pious sister 1 If all princes 
acted thus, my dear friend .' His Highness behaves towards 



TJfE GHOST-SEER. 95 

the Marquis as if he had done him the greatest honour,, and 
thus he plays his part very well. Civitella sought to console me, 
by saying, that he thought his extraordinary ill luck would 
powerfully assist in bringing the Prince back again to reason. 
As for the money, he was not anxious about it. He himself 
did riot miss it three times as much was at the Prince's 
service. The Cardinal also assured me., that the sentiments 
of his nephew were sincere, and that he was always ready 
to support him in them. The worst was., that these extra- 
ordinary sacrifices did not at all affect him. One would 
think the Prince at least had played with some intent : but 
it was not so. The passion which we endeavoured to destroy 
seemed only to increase with ill luck : when a great sum 
was staked, all pressed around his chair with expectation, 
but his eyes were watching for Biondello, to steal from his 
looks the news which he might have for him. Biondello 
always returned unsuccessful, and he as continually lost. The 
money at last fell into very distressed hands. Some poor 
noblemen, who report says are supported by the alms they 
obtain in the market-place, came into the house perfect beg- 
gars, and left it as rich as Jews. Civitella pointed them 
out to me. 

" Behold," said he, " how many poor devils this money 
is of service to ; how comes it then that men of wit do not 
direct their attention to such practices ? This circumstance 
pleases me : it is princely. A great man may sometimes, 
by his errors, make people happy, and like a bounteous 
stream enrich the neighbouring fields by overflowing its 
banks." Civitella' s ideas are noble but the Prince owes 
him 24,000 zechins. 

At last the long expected Sunday evening arrived, and 
my master could not be prevented from ..walking in the 
afternoon in the * * * church. His stand was taken exactly 
upon the same spot in -the chapel where he had seen for the 
first time the unknown that had captivated him, yet so that 
he could not immediately be seen by her. Biondello was 
ordered to keep watch near the church gate, and to form a 
connection with the attendants of the lady. I had deter- 
mined to step, as by accident, into the boat at its return, 
to trace the unknown farther, if the first scheme should not 



96 THE GHOST-SEER. 

succeed. At the place where, upon the report of the 
watermen,, she landed, we hired two chairs, and the Prince 

commanded the chamberlain Z to follow in a separate 

boat, and he himself would meet her in the church, and try 
his fortune there first. Civitella did not assist us, because 
he had already acquired a bad character with the females at 
Venice, and therefore he determined not to make the lady 
mistrust his friend by his presence. You see, my dear 
Count, that it could not be for want of plans, if the beau- 
tiful unknown escaped us. Never was there offered up in 
a church more sanguine prayers for success, nor greater 
hopes created, and never was man deceived more cruelly. 
The Prince waited till sunset. He trembled at every noise 
that approached the chapel : the creaking of every church- 
door increased his anxiety. Seven long hours passed, and 
no Greek lady arrived. I say nothing of the state of his 
mind. You know well what it is to be disappointed in the 
attainment of an object for which one has sighed seven days 
and nights. 

The same to the same. 

August. 

No, my dear friend, you wrong the good Biondello. In- 
deed you entertain a false suspicion of him. I give up to 
your prejudices ah 1 Italians ; but this man is honest. You 
think it singular that a man of such brilliant talents, and 
conduct without example, should hire himself as a servant, 
if he had no secret ends to answer ; and from that you 
draw the conclusion that he is a suspicious character. How ! 
Is it then so extraordinary that a man of talents should 
make himself respected by a prince, in whose power it is 
to advance his fortune ? Is it dishonourable to serve him ? 
Does not Biondello clearly show that his attachment to the 
Prince is personal? He has already confessed to him that 
he has a particular favour to ask of him, and which, when 
known, will undoubtedly unravel all the secret. He per- 
haps has entered into his service with some particular view; 
but may it not be innocent ? It appears strange to you 
that this Biondello, when you were present, did not display 
the great talents which he now seems to be possessed of. 
That is true ; but he had not then an opportunity to dis- 



THE GHOST-SEER. 97 

tinguish himself ? The Prince did not at that time want 
him, and his other qualities were discovered in him by 
accident. But we experienced not long ago a proof of his 
sincerity, which will remove all your doubts. The Prince 
of late has been very particularly noticed. Endeavours are 
made to obtain a secret knowledge of his manner of life, 
and of his acquaintance. I know not for what reason 
those enquiries are made ; but attend to what I shall com- 
municate. 

There is at St. George a public-house, to which Biondello 
often resorts. He may have some love-intrigue there for 
aught I know. He was there for several days in the com- 
pany of advocates, men in office under the government, 
merry brothers and old acquaintances. They were equally 
astonished and rejoiced to behold him again. The former 
friendship was renewed, and every one related his adven- 
tures since their separation. Biondello also told his. He 
did it in a few words. They wished him joy of his new 
situation : they had heard of the splendid manner in which 
the Prince lived ; of his liberality in particular towards his 
people that knew how to keep a secret ; his acquaintance 

with the Cardinal A was also well known ; and his 

partiality for gaming, &c. &c. Biondello started. They 
told him, that he played his part very well, but they said they 
knew that he was the secret messenger of the Prince. The 
advocates sat on each side of him, and the bottle was 
speedily emptied. They persuaded him to drink more : 
he excused himself, and said that his head would not bear 
much wine; he therefore affected to be intoxicated. ff Yes," 
said one of the advocates at last, " Biondello may under- 
stand his business ; but he has not yet finished his lesson 
he is but half a scholar." fl What is wanting ? " said 
Biondello. " He understands one art," said the man ; 
" that is, to keep a secret ; but he is not acquainted with 
the other, which is, to get rid of it again with profit/' 
" Am I likely to find a purchaser for it ? " asked Biondello. 

The other part of the company left the room, and he 
remained alone with his two friends, who now came to the 
point. To make it short, he was to give them the means 
by which the Prince became acquainted with the Cardinal 

VOL. I. G 



98 THE GHOST-SEES, 

and his nephew,, to discover to them the sources by which 
the Prince received, and the way he exhausted his money, 
and to deliver into their hands the letters which were written 

to the Count O . Biondello appointed to meet them, 

and discuss it another time : who it was that induced them 
to do this he could not get from them, but concluded, from 
the great offers which were made to him, that it must be 
some wealthy person who commissioned them to entice him 
to this confession. Last night he discovered to my master 
the whole of this affair. He was anxious to imprison the 
advocates; but Biondello remonstrated, and said, if they 
were ever to be at liberty again, he should lose all his credit 
with that class of people, and perhaps his life. These sort 
of people all hang together, and stand up for each other. 
He would sooner, he said, have the high council at Venice 
for his enemy than be looked upon by them as a betrayer ; 
and he could not be so useful to the Prince, if he lost the 
confidence of these people. We tried to conjecture with 
whom this curiosity might originate. Who is there at 
Venice that can be interested in knowing what my master 
receives and spends ; what concerns he has with the Car- 
dinal A , and what I write to you ? Is this a scheme 

of the Prince d ? or is the Armenian with us 

again ? 

The same to the same. 

August. 

The Prince abounds in happiness and love. He has 
found the Greek lady. Hear how this happened. A stranger 
who had travelled over Chiozza, and gave an enchanting de- 
scription of that beautiful city, which is situated near the Gulf, 
made the Prince desirous to see it. Yesterday his wishes 
were put in execution ; and to avoid all unnecessary expense, 
no other person attended him but Z , Biondello, and my- 
self, as he travelled incognito. We took places in a boat that 
usually sailed to that place with company. The society was 
not very select, and the voyage far from being agreeable. 
Chiozza is built upon piles, like Venice, and has about 
forty thousand inhabitants. You meet there very few peo- 
ple of distinction ; the streets are crowded with fishermen 



THE GHOST-SEER. 99 

and sailors. He who wears a wig and a mantle is called a 
rich man ; lappels and veils are the sign of poverty. The 
city itself is handsome., but to admire it, you must not have 
seen Venice. 

The waterman, who had more passengers to carry, was 
obliged to be quick in his return to Venice, and nothing at 
Chiozza particularly attracted the notice of the Prince. 
The vessel was full when we arrived. As the company was 
rather troublesome on our passage thither, we hired a separate 
room for our better accommodation. The Prince enquired, 
who were the other passengers ? A Dominican, was the 
answer, and several ladies. My master was not at all curious 
to see them, and immediately went to his room. The Greek 
lady was the sole object of our discourse on our passage, 
and it was the same on our return. The Prince repeated 
his adventure in the church in the highest transports of 
delight; the time was passed in forming plans, and then 
rejecting them; till, before we were aware of it, Venice 
was in sight. Some of the passengers left the vessel, the 
Dominican was amongst them. The waterman went to the 
ladies, who, as we now learned, had been only separated 
from us by a thin partition. He asked them, where he 
should land them. " Upon the island of Murano," was 
the answer. " The island of Murano!" cried the Prince, 
as the sudden transport of joy shot through his soul. Be- 
fore I could make him any answer, Biondello rushed in. 

" Do you know with whom we have travelled ? " 
The Prince started up " Is she here ?" " Yes, she is," 
rontinued Biondello. " I am just come from her conduc- 
tor." The Prince rushed out of the room. A thousand 
sensations overpowered his mind, He was seized with a 
Hidden trembling : a deathlike paleness spread itself over 
his countenance. I burned with expectation. It is impos- 
sible for me to describe to you our situation. 

The boat stopped at Murano. The Prince jumped upon 
the shore. She came. I perceived, from the Prince's 
countenance, that it was she. Her appearance did not 
leave any doubt of the fact. A more beautiful figure I 
never saw : the flattering descriptions the Prince had given 
of her, were fully realised. A blush of satisfaction was 
G 2 



100 THE GHOST-SEER. 

spread over her face, when she beheld the Prince. She 
must have overheard our whole conversation, and could not 
doubt that she had been the subject of it. She gave her 
attendant a significant look, which seemed to say, te This 
is he !" and with an artless embarrassment she cast her eyes 
upon the ground. A small board was placed from the shore 
to the ship, on which she had to walk. She seemed anxious 
to land ; but although she affected timidity, it appeared to 
arise more from a desire to be assisted, than from the danger 
of crossing the plank. The Prince stretched out his arm to 
assist her. Necessity overcame etiquette. She accepted 
his hand, and leaped upon the shore. The sudden agita- 
tion of the Prince made him uncivil ; for he forgot the 
other lady, who waited for the same act of politeness 
And what would he not have forgotten in that moment ? I 
at last rendered her that service, and deprived myself of the 
pleasure of observing how the interview, which took place 
between my master and the lady, affected her. He still 
held her hand in his ; and, I believe, without knowing that 
he did so. 

" It is not the first time, Signora, that that " He 
hesitated. " I ought to remember," she lisped. " In the 
church," said he. " Yes," said she, " it was there/' 
" And could I flatter myself to-day so near." Here she 
drew her hand softly out of his. He recovered himself 
immediately. Biondello, who in the mean time had spoken 
with the servant, came to his assistance. " Signora," he 
began, " the ladies ordered their chairs to be waiting for 
them at a certain time, but we have arrived here sooner than 
was expected. Here is a garden in the vicinity, where you 
may retire to avoid the tumult." The proposal was ac- 
cepted, and you may judge with what delight the Prince 
accompanied her. They remained in the garden till late in 
the evening. It fell to my lot, assisted by Z , to enter- 
tain the old lady, that the Prince might remain undisturbed 
with his beloved. He made good use of his time, for he 
obtained permission to pay her a visit. He is now there. 
As soon as he returns, I shall know more of the matter. 

Yesterday, when we came home, we found the expected 
remittances from our court, but accompanied by a letter, 



THE GHOST-SEER. 101 

which affected my master very much. He is recalled by it, 
and in a tone which he has not been accustomed to. He has 
answered it contemptuously, and intends to prolong his stay 
here. The remittances are just sufficient to pay the inter- 
est of the capital which he owes. We look for an answer 
from his sister with great anxiety. 

The same to the same. 

September. 

The Prince has had a quarrel with his court : all our re- 
sources from thence are cut off. The six weeks, which were 
limited for my master to have paid the debt due to the Mar- 
quis, are elapsed; we have received no remittances from his 
cousin, whom he earnestly solicited to assist him ; neither 
have we had any from his sister. You may easily imagine 
that Civitella does not remind him of his engagement ; but 
the faithful memory of the Prince continually imposes upon 
him the idea, that he is still the Marquis's debtor. Yes- 
terday came letters from the reigning Count. We had just 
concluded a new contract with the master of our hotel ; and 
the Prince had openly declared, that he intended to protract 
his stay in Venice. Without speaking a word, he gave me 
the letter. His eyes darted fire : to me his countenance 
was a sufficient indication of the contents. Should you 

imagine, dear O , that they are at * * * informed of all 

my master's connections ; and that calumny has been very 
busy in inventing falsehoods to defame him ? 

They had heard with displeasure, it is said in the letter, 
that the Prince had not supported his former character, but 
had pursued a conduct which was in total contradiction to 
his former praiseworthy manner of thinking. They af- 
firmed that he rioted with women, and was addicted to 
gaming in an extravagant manner ; that he was involved 
in debt ; that he studied physiognomy, and sought after 
conjurors ; that he held suspicious correspondence with pre- 
lates, and that he possessed a household which was more 
than his income could support. They had even been 
assured that it was his intention to complete his bad conduct 
by turning an apostate, and embracing the Roman catholic 
religion; and, to exculpate himself from the last serious 
G 3 



102 THE GHOST-SEER. 

accusation, they expected he would immediately return. A 
banker at Venice, to whom he was directed to deliver in the 
amount of his debts, was authorised, immediately after his 
departure, to satisfy his creditors ; for, under circum- 
stances so unpleasant, they did not think it safe to trust the 
money in his own hands. What accusations ! and in what 
an artful manner alleged ! I took the letter, and read it 
over a second time I -endeavoured to palliate the offence, 
but I did not succeed. 

Z now reminded me of the secret enquiries which had 

been made by the advocates. The time, the contents, all 
circumstances agreed. We had falsely attributed them to the 
Armenian. Now it was clear from whom they were derived; 
Apostasy ! But whose interest can it be to calumniate my 
master in such an execrable manner ? I fear it is a piece 
of mischief invented by the Prince d , who will follow 
it up, to get my master from Venice. He remained silent, 
with his eyes fixed upon the ground. His countenanc* 
made me tremble. I threw myself at his feet. " For 
Heaven's sake, gracious Prince," I exclaimed, ec do not 
think of it so seriously. You shall, you will, have the 
greatest satisfaction. Leave the business to me. Send me 
there, for it is beneath your dignity to go personally to jus- 
tify yourself against such vile calumnies : permit me to do 
it. The calumniator must, he shah 1 , be named, and the 
eyes of the * * * must be opened. 

In this situation Civitella found us : he asked, with 

astonishment, the reason of our embarrassment. Z and 

I were silent. The Prince, who never made any distinc- 
tion between him and us, was now too much agitated in his 
mind to act prudently on this occasion, and commanded us 
to communicate to him the contents of the letter. I hesi* 
tated, but the Prince snatched it from my hands, and gave 
it to the Marquis himself. I am your debtor, Marquis," 
he began, after he had finished the letter, " but let that 
give you no uneasiness. " Allow me but a respite of 
twenty days, and you shall be paid." " Gracious Prince!" 
exclaimed Civitella, with feeling and surprise, " do I de- 
serve this ? " ' ' You did not choose to remind me of my 
engagement. I know your delicacy in this matter, and 



THE GHOST-SEER. 103 

thank you for your liberality. In twenty days, as I said 
before, you sball be paid." " What is the meaning of all 
this ? " said Civitella with anxiety. " Explain to me this 
mystery. I cannot comprehend it." 

We gave him all the information in our power. He 
fell into a rage. The Prince, he said, must insist upon 
satisfaction : the offence is infamous. In the mean time,, 
he conjured the Prince to make use of his property and 
credit as if they were his own. The Marquis left us, and 
the Prince still continued silent. He walked with hasty 
steps up and down the room : something of an extra- 
ordinary nature seemed to oppress his senses. At last he 
stood still, and murmured incoherently " Wish yourself 
happiness at nine o'clock he died." 

i We looked at him with horror. " Wish yourself hap- 
piness," he continued. " Happiness Did he not say so? 
What was it that he meant by these words ? " i( Why do 
you now repeat that foolish admonition ? " I exclaimed, 
" What has this to do with it ? " "I could not then un- 
derstand what the Armenian meant by that expression. 
Now I comprehend him. Oh, it is intolerably hard to 
have a master over one ! " " My dearest Prince ! " " Who 
can make me experience it ! Ah ! it must be exquisite !" 

He stopped again. There was in his countenance a 
wildness resembling insanity. I never before had seen him 
so much agitated. " The most miserable among the 
people," he continued, " or the next Prince to the throne ! 
are the same. There is but one distinction among men 
to obey or to govern." He once more looked into the 
letter. " You have seen the man," he continued, f( who 
has ventured to write thus to me. Would you salute him 
in the street if fate had not made him your master ? By 
heavens ! there is something wonderfully great about the 
wearer of a crown ! " He continued speaking in this un- 
intelligible manner for some time, and many of his words I 
dare not commit to paper. But the Prince has discovered 
to me a circumstance, which involved me in surprise and 
anxiety, and which may probably ere long lead to bad 
consequences. We were ignorant of the family circum- 
stances at the court of * * * until now. The Prince 
G 4 



104? THE GHOST-SEER. 

answered the letter upon the spot, though I opposed it 
with violence, and the manner in which he has done it 
will, in all probability, prevent a reconciliation. 

You will also be desirous, dear O to hear some- 
thing about the Greek lady. I can say but little upon 
that subject, as I am not able at present to learn any thing 
satisfactory concerning her. The Prince discloses no- 
thing, because he is, no doubt, bound to secrecy, as I 
presume, by his word of honour. But she is not the 
Greek lady that we supposed. She is a German of noble 
extraction. It is reported that she has a mother of rank, 
and also that she is the fruit of an illicit connection, of 
which much was said in Europe. Clandestine pursuits, it 
is said, have forced her to seek refuge at Venice ; and these 
also are the reasons why she avoids society, and secretes 
herself in a private dwelling, where it would have been 
impossible for the Prince to have discovered her. The 
veneration with which the Prince speaks of her, and cer- 
tain traits which he observes in her conduct, seem to 
authorise this presumption. He is passionately fond of 
her, and his attachment increases every day. In the first 
outset the visits were not repeated very often; however, 
the second week the interval was shortened, and now not a 
day passes without the Prince's being there. We are not 
able to see him sometimes for whole evenings together ; 
and even, if he is not in her society, she is the only object 
that occupies his attention. His nature seems to be 
changed. He walks about like a madman: he is in- 
attentive to every thing that formerly interested him. 

What will be the consequence, dearest friend, I cannot 
imagine. The quarrel with his court has thrown my 
master into the degrading situation of being dependent 
upon an individual, the Marquis Civitella. He is at 
present master of all our secrets, and perhaps of our fate. 
Will he always think so nobly as he does at present? 
Will this good understanding be of long duration ? and is 
it right to give so much power and consequence to a man, 
let him be ever so excellent a character ? A letter has 
been despatched to the sister of the Prince. The issue of 
it I hope to communicate to you in my next letter. 






THE GHOST-SEER. 105 

The Count O , in continuation. 

But this promised letter never arrived. Three whole 
months passed over,, before I obtained any farther accounts 
from Venice ; an interruption which is explained in the se- 
quel. All the letters of my friend to me had been sup- 
pressed. You may guess the situation of my mind, when, 
in the month of December, I obtained the following writ- 
ing, which mere accident (Biondello's illness) brought to 
my hands. 

" You do not write. You do not answer. Come 
Oh, come upon the wings of friendship. Our hope is gone. 
Read this with resolution. All our hope is gone. The Mar- 
quis's wound is mortal. The Cardinal cries for revenge, 
and his assassins seek the Prince's life. My master Oh, 
my unhappy master ! Is it come to this ? Unworthy, ter- 
rible fate ! We must fly like criminals from the poniards 
of murderers. I write to you from the Convent ***, 
where the Prince has taken refuge. He is lying asleep upon 
a mattress by my side. Alas ! it is the slumber of exhausted 
nature, which will soon again resign him to the horror of 
new sufferings. During the ten days that she was ill, no 
sleep closed his eyes. I was present at the dissection of 
the body. They discovered traces of poison. To-day she 
will be buried. 

" Alas, dear O , my heart is almost broken. I was 

witness to a scene that never will be rooted from my me- 
mory. I stood by her dying bed. She expired with divine 
resignation, and her last words hailed her beloved to accom- 
pany her to the throne of heaven. All our resolution for- 
sook us ; the Prince alone was firm and collected ; and 
though he must have suffered almost beyond description, 
yet he had fortitude enough to refuse the pious fanatic her 
last prayer." 

In this was enclosed the following : 

To the Prince ***, from his Sister. 

" The religion which the Prince *** has embraced will 
not let him want the means to continue his present mode of 



106 



THE GHOST-SEER. 



life, which is to be attributed to that alone. I have tears 
and prayers for an unfortunate, but no more benefits for one 
unworthy of them. 

" HENBIETTE." 

I set off immediately; and travelling night and day, in 
the third week' I arrived [at Venice. My haste was of no 
consequence. I went to comfort an unhappy being ; but I 
found one who did not want my feeble assistance. F 
was very ill, and was not to be spoken with, when I ar- 
rived ; they gave me, however, the following note : 

(c Return, dear O , to where you came from. The 

Prince does not want your assistance nor mine. His debts 
are paid, the Cardinal consoled, and the Marquis restored. 
Do you remember the Armenian who entrapped us last year 
so dexterously ? In his power you '11 find the Prince ; who 
has these five days attended mass." 

Notwithstanding this, I waited upon the Prince, but was 
refused admittance. On the bed of my friend, however., I 
heard the following extraordinary history. After taking my 
lodgings, not far from the Prince's hotel, I was obliged to 
wait a long time before I could speak with my friend F 
He was indisposed with a fever, and the physician that at- 
tended him despaired of his recovery. My situation was 
afflicting in the extreme ; for I beheld the Prince, as it were, 
upon the verge of a most terrible abyss, and my friend F 
on the brink of the grave. Harassed almost to death with 
misfortunes, I resolved, at all events, to speak once more 
with the prince ; but I found, after several ineffectual at- 
tempts, that it was in vain ; and the last visit I made I was 
dismissed with the following intimation : e ' That the 
Prince was not to be spoken to by me, and that it was alone 
owing to his former attachment for me that I still enjoyed 
my liberty." 

Biondello, who told me this, added to the weight of his 
information, by his serious and strongly marked countenance. 
I was not able to make him any answer, but felt my knees 
shake under me, and my lips quiver in a convulsive man- 
ner. I went immediately to my lodgings, and, almost insen- 
sible with apprehension, threw myself into an arm chair. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 107 

and endeavoured to dispel the gloom of anticipation that 
hung over me. A noise brought me at last to myself ; I 
looked up, and saw the physician who attended F stand- 
ing before me, whom I had not heard enter the room during 
my perplexity. " I like to be myself the messenger of 
happy news/' said he to me, " and I come to announce to 
you, that your friend F finds himself so much reco- 
vered,, that he is able to converse without difficulty, and 
wishes to speak to you ; the cause of his illness seems to be 
entirely removed, but you must expect to see him weak, and 
rather low." I did not suffer him to proceed in his speech, 
but wrapped myself up in a cloak, and hastened to congratu- 
late my friend upon his recovery, with as much satisfaction 
as if the welfare of millions had depended upon my walk. 

" Oh ! how much have I sighed after you, my dear 

O ," said he, with a feeble voice, as he pressed my hand 

to his breast ; ( ' but the physician conjured me, until now, 
to avoid all sensations." I looked at him. He was lying 
beiore me the picture of death. A tear started from my 
eye ; I could not suppress it : he observed it. " I thank 
you, my friend, for this sincere proof of affection ; it con- 
vinces me that my loss will not be indifferent to you." 
t( Speak not of your death," said I, with concern, " the 
physician assures me he has removed your complaint, and 
that in a little time you will be well again." " Ay," he 
replied, with a deep sigh, " he has repeatedly said so, but 
I think the contrary. My internal feelings prove to me 
that I cannot exist long in this world." 

He sank back on his pillow. A cold sweat stood upon 
his forehead. His speech became fainter by degrees ; but 
I collected sufficient to understand, that he suspected some 
one had poisoned him, for that he and myself had been sus- 
pected for some time of having maliciously and secretly 
calumniated the Prince at court. This accounted for the 
cold and unfriendly treatment I had lately received from 
the Prince ; and the very thought of being subject to so 
powerful an enemy threw me into a state of melancholy. I 
looked back upon my conduct, and tried to recollect any 
circumstance that might throw some light upon the matter, 
but in vain. In the midst of these reflections F 



108 THE GHOST-SEER. 

awaked, which aroused me from my lethargy. His first 
word was to entreat me to be secret as to what he had dis- 
covered respecting himself, and persuaded me, fearful that 
a similar lot would hefall me, to absent myself immediately 
after his death from Venice. He added, with a smile, 
ff See me laid in my grave first, for I wish very much to 
receive that last service from the hand of a friend whom I 
affectionately love." I embraced him, and bedewed his 
death-pale cheek with tears. " I forgive those," he said, 
ff who are the cause of my death ; it will not be painful to 
me ; and as you have not deprived me of your presence in 
my last hours, I owe you the greatest thanks." 

A long pause ensued; after that, F related to 

me as follows. I have collected into a narrative the sen- 
tences which he spoke at intervals, and added what I ex- 
torted from him by questions ; for his feebleness did not 
permit him to speak in a continued series. I also was 
often obliged to assist him, on account of the defect of 
his memory, as far as it could be done by questions. I 
must be permitted to introduce him speaking here, because, 
of all that I communicate, nothing is done by me but the 
chronological arrangement. I have, indeed, given myself 
the trouble to use his own language, which I am enabled to 
do, as I had my pocket-book always in my hand, and 
carefully noted down every thing which I thought would 
slip from my memory. 

" I begin," said F , " my story from that period 

when my letters to you were intercepted. By the last of 
them * you know, that the Prince had fallen out with his 
court, and had nothing more to expect from thence. His 
sister did not write to him, and left us for the space of two 
months in an anxious state of uncertainty, when the letter, 
which I enclosed for you last, arrived. It threw the Prince 
into the most horrid state of distress. His debt to Civitella 
was very much increased, and his expenses were not in the 
least diminished; and we found there was not any proba- 
bility of maintaining the system much longer. I must 
confess to you, that at that period I seldom enjoyed a happy 
hour. In the most splendid entertainments I was solitary, 

* That from the month of September. See the foregoing. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 109 

and sunk in deep reflection. Z contented himself as 

well as he could. If he was not obliged to be at home, 
from necessity, he seldom stayed with me; and if at any 
time I mentioned the subject of our distress to him, he 
never listened to me, but answered, that he did not choose 
to interfere in his master's concerns. I had no friend 
left ; and from you I received no answers to my letters. 
The Prince was seldom to be seen, being in general Oc- 
cupied with Biondello, upon the management of his in- 
trigues. He must have had no other thought than that of 
visiting the Greek lady, for he had already promised four 
times to the Marquis to pay him ; but instead of that, he 
borrowed fresh sums. You know formerly with what 
strict punctuality he performed a promise ; but at that 
period he was completely inattentive to it. 

" It was as if every thing existed only for him, and 
that he had the sole right to command it. The Marquis 
still continued the generous, uninterested friend of the 
Prince, who studied his wishes, before they came to ma- 
turity, and sought, with unremitting zeal, to satisfy him in 
every particular. In his hands, I may say, our fate rested ; 
arid yet he knew how to give his conduct such a colour, 
that an indifferent person would have thought his existence 
depended upon a single look from the Prince. Thus stood 
the affair, when the Prince one evening came home very 
late from the Bucentauro. He brought a book with him, 
the contents of which he was so anxious to be acquainted 
with, that, during the time he was undressing, he desired 
me to read it out aloud to him ; for Biondello, on whom this 
honour was usually conferred, under the pretext of indis- 
position, which he had complained of for fourteen nights, 
had been dismissed to go to bed. At last the Prince retired 
to rest, and being unable to repose until the book was 
finished, I was obliged to sit upon the side of his bed and 
continue my task. He listened very attentively, as he sup- 
ported his head upon his right arm. The clock in the 
steeple of St. Mark's church struck one.* At that instant 

* The Count O has probably given here the hour in which this hap. 

pened, according to our reckoning of time; in Venice, and other provinces 
of Italy, they begin to count the hours from one, at ,the beginning of the 
night. 



110 THE GHOST-SEER. 

both the candles which stood before me upon the table 
were extinguished. We heard thunder, which in a few 
minutes became so violent, that the house seemed to shake 
under us ; quick flashes of lightning illuminated our room, 
and immediately all the windows and doors burst open. 

(C ' Beware, Prince .' that thou dost not stain thy hand 
with blood,' cried a hollow frightful voice Again it thun- 
dered and lightened, after which a solemn stillness reigned 
for some time. 

" f Is this a dream?' cried the Prince, after a pause. 
I did not make any answer, and was in doubt whether I 
should quit the room or not. In the mean time Bion- 
dello rushed in. ( For God's sake, what is the matter ?' he 
exclaimed with trepidation; but, without waiting for an 
answer, he took the wax candles from the table, and brought 
them back lighted. He was half dressed, and appeared so 
dreadfully frightened, that I became very much alarmed 
for him. Observing that the Prince had not received any 
injury, he seemed in some measure comforted. The Prince 
asked him if he had heard any thing ? He answered in 
the affirmative, and his relation accorded exactly with what 
we had heard ; however, he did not see any lightning. He 
was not asleep, and for that reason his evidence effectually 
proved, that our imaginations had not deceived us. Bion- 
dello received orders to go to bed again, and the Prince 
commanded him to observe the strictest silence as to what 
he had heard and seen. ' What do you think of this ? ' 
said the Prince, as soon as he was gone. ( I must own to 
you, gracious Prince,' said I, ' that this event has almost de- 
prived me of my senses.' ' Confess, that you will not willingly 
believe it to be a miracle, because you know that I hold them 
in contempt.' ' And yet I know not how to explain it in a 
natural way.' ' We have read strange things in the book ; 
how, if our fancy should have played us a trick ?' ' But 
that we both heard one and the same thing, that the can- 
dles in the mean time were extinguished at the same mo- 
ment, and doors and windows burst open, is certain ; and 
Biondello has heard the same ? ' 

" ' That might, perhaps, be explained. The windows 
burst open because they were not fastened ; the door from 



THE GHOST-SEER. Ill 

the same cause; the pressure of the air became then 
stronger, and the thorough draft put out the candles/ 
' But the words we heard the lightning the thunder ? ' 
( I ascribe them to imagination/ ' But could imagination 
work upon three different persons exactly at the same time, 
and in the same manner ? ' c Jf all our ideas turn to the 
same point, why not ? Have you never heard, that whole 
societies have been deceived in the same manner ? To what 
cause else can we ascribe the existence of so many fanatics ? ' 
' I allow this ; but Biondello's ideas could not surely be 
similar to ours, and yet ' ' It is possible. Have you 
not heard that he was lying awake in his bed, and in all 
probability listened to every thing that was said. Only a 
thin wainscot separates his room from mine, and you, 
besides, read with a very loud voice ? ' 

" I became silent, not because I was convinced, but because 
I did not like to contradict him; for his countenance proved 
to me that he was angry at my disputing the question with 
him. He seemed satisfied, but the recollection of what had 
passed banished sleep from my eyes. The following day 
was destined for a grand feast, which was given in honour 
of the Prince of St. Benedetto. All that Venetian splendour 
and pleasure could inventwas united here. It was to conclude 
with a very brilliant masquerade ball. A valet-de-chambre, 
whom the Prince a short time ago took into his service, be- 
cause he saved his life, remained alone at home; whilst my- 
self and the Prince's whole household, Biondello not excepted, 
who forgot his complaints to join the party, went to the 
entertainment. The Prince was pleased with his attention 
so much the more, because, in spite of his indisposition, 
he insisted upon going in such a manner that the greatest 
love for his Prince could only have induced him. In the 
mask of a Bramin he followed him every where, at a little 
distance, like his shadow. I did not suffer him to go out 
of my sight, because I expected something might take place, 
that might lead to a discovery of the mysterious warning 
\ve had heard the foregoing night ; to which ground I also 
attributed the foresight of Biondello. My conjecture was 
but too well founded. The crowd of masks which were 
present, left little room in the spacious hall for the dancers ; 



112 THE GHOST-SEER. 

thus, they were rather crowded. The Prince, in en- 
deavouring to pass some one in great haste, tore a part of 
his garment. He was obliged to leave the hall immediately 
to repair the accident. Biondello conducted him into a 
side room, and I followed. Picture to yourself our astonish- 
ment, when we beheld, in a recess, the Greek lady and 
Civitella conversing together. Not one of us was able to 
utter a word. The Prince seemed thunderstruck : his eyes 
rolled wildly in his head, and the muscles of his face be- 
came convulsive. The couple apparently did not observe 
us. Before we could prevent him, the Prince seized a 
dagger, which lay upon a table, and rushing towards Civi- 
tella laid him bleeding at his feet. The Greek lady ran with 
loud shrieks into the hall. 

' " For God's sake, save yourself, gracious Prince ! ' ex- 
claimed Biondello, ' lose not a moment.' At that instant 
he laid hold of the Prince, who was quite stupified, and 
hurried him away through a side-door. I hastened after 
them. Scarcely was the door closed, when we heard a 
great noise in the room. In their embarrassment they had 
probably forgotten to pursue us ; we therefore made our 
escape. The Prince wished to go to his hotel, but Bion- 
dello prevented him, and added that he could not be secure 
there. The powers above * punish very rigorously any on j 
that attacks a mask ; and in spite of his rank, he was in 
doubt whether they would not to-morrow morning send 
after him one of their fantes^, which might have very bad 
consequences, He promised to conduct him to a place of 
security till the affair could be settled. Biondello walked 
before us with hasty steps; we followed him very close, 
and I must confess, with great dread and anxiety. The 
apprehension played upon my fancy so much, that I saw at 
every step figures, which seemed to me all armed with 
daggers. From the Prince's countenance, I easily could 
perceive, that he also was very much discouraged. Not 
one of us spoke a word. Like fugitive criminals we stole 

* This expression, or, in his language, quei in alto, the Venetians use as a 
name for the tribunal of the Inquisition. A Venetian is so afraid of that word, 
that he makes use of it only in cases of great necessity, and speaks of this 
tribunal with the highest veneration and beating heart. 

t An officer of this tribunal. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 



113 



through the private passages and by-streets. We were 
fortunate enough to meet, near St. Samuele, a boat, which, 
to all appearance, seemed waiting for us. We stepped into 
it : Biondello commanded the boatman to row into the 
Sestier of Castello, and to land us near St. Francisco detta 
Figna, a Franciscan convent. We glided like lightning 
through the water. Houses and steeples that bordered the 
river soon vanished from our sight. The moon shone with 
beautiful splendour ; and, at intervals, we heard the distant 
oars as they dashed into the stream, and the melancholy 
song of the Barcarole.* I shall never forget the impres- 
sion that night made upon my mind. 

' f We arrived, at last, at the before-mentioned place ; 
and Biondello procured us, even at that time of night, 
through the means of an acquaintance, the best accommo- 
dation. We were obliged to live there in great secrecy, 
and I observed that the Prince deeply felt his situation. 
Biondello walked out in different masks to learn how the 
matter stood, and what the Prince had to fear ; but for 
many days he returned without success. At last he came 
into the room, about night-fall, in great agitation. c We 
must depart hence,' he cried with a trembling voice, 
' we must depart this moment ! Your life hangs on a 
thread, my Prince ! The Marquis is mortally wound- 
ed; the Cardinal has hired twelve assassins to murder 
you, and he who perpetrates the deed is promised one 
hundred sequins ; a price which an assassin would be 
studious to earn, were it even to take the life of the 
head of the church. They already are acquainted with 
our abode we must hasten away as quickly as pos- 
sible !' 

" Had not Biondello been with us, we could not pos- 
sibly have escaped our fate ; but this indefatigable and 
attentive man assisted us always with the best advice. He 
brought us clothes, as a disguise, and we hired a boat for 
our conveyance. Biondello entered into conversation with 

* Barcarole are a kind of watermen. They sing for entertainment, whilst they 
are lying solitarily in their boats, expecting customers. They know by heart 
many passages of the poets, and add to them music of their own composition, 
which they endeavour to make adequate to the words. One is heard to begin ; 
another, who perhaps does not know the first, hears, and answers him, and 
they seldom discontinue their song till their business calls them away. 
VOL. I. H 



114 THE GHOST-SEER. 

the waterman, and we experienced, to our astonishment, 
in what great danger we were placed, and how industrious 
the assassins were to earn the hundred sequins. Sus- 
pecting that some one might he able, by the boatman, to 
trace our route, to deceive them, we continually changed 
our boat, and went a very circuitous way about. At last 

we arrived at the convent . A friendly monk, also 

an acquaintance of Biondello, received us at the gate, and 
conducted us immediately to a room, which was retired 
and clean, but not furnished for the reception of a prince. 
' A lady, in the last agonies of death, wishes to speak to 
you,' said the monk the next day to the Prince. He 
started as if he had suffered an electrical stroke. ' Who 
is she ? ' he exclaimed hastily. c I do not know ; I have 
not enquired concerning that. She has lived for two years 
in this convent. Whence she came is unknown. It 
is our duty to receive every stranger, within our walls, 
without first asking who he is, or whence becomes. We 
suffer every one to keep his secret, if he will not discover 
it to us willingly.' 

ef The Prince seemed lost in deep reflection. ' How 
long has she been ill?' he said at last. ' To-day is the 
seventh.' { Where is she ? I will go to her.' He fol- 
lowed the monk. 

" In the sick room, my dear friend, was his Greek lady. 
I have forgotten to mention, that he had not an opportunity 
to speak to her for two days previous to the unhappy 
masquerade-ball ; it was clear now what detained her. I 
myself saw her, and I am not able to describe my feelings, 
when I beheld the most charming creature in the creation, 
who was formerly the admiration of every one, but now the 
victim of horror and disease. Upon her lovely face were 
marked the signs of death. I no longer doubted, that at . 
the ball we must have been mistaken in the person ; but 
the Prince, in total opposition to his former character, still 
entertained his doubts. This affected his sensibility to 
such a degree, that nothing could be equal to it. His 
ardent affection threw him into the most violent paroxysms 
of despair, when he saw the object of his heart in the arms 
of death ; but, in a few minutes, the fatal scene at the ball 



THE GHOST-SEER. 115 

rushed upon his mind he turned from her with disgust, 
impressed with the idea that she had treated his love with 
scorn. His eyes sparkled with rage, and, as in agony, his 
limbs trembled ; but this, when he looked upon the patien-t 
innocent, was changed into sympathetic melancholy. His 
situation was terrible. Although she herself suffered very 
much, she sought to console him. This circumstance 
almost drove him to distraction, I tore him by force from 
her bed. He sat silent in our room for some time; at 
last he exclaimed ' I am shamefully deceived ! She, 
whom I adored, despised me, and rioted licentiously in tho 
arms of another.' 

" ' Gracious Prince, be satisfied. All circumstances 
clearly prove, that she was lying ill here when the deed 
happened. It must have been quite a different person/ 
f Did I not see her I, who preserved in the sanctuary of 
my heart the smallest of her favours I, who existed only 
for her, who thought her one and the same with myself 

to be treated thus ! ' ' Pardon me, gracious Prince, 

did you not say yourself, that under such circumstances, 
one might be easily deceived :?' ' Did you not see her 
also ?' ' Your rash action hindered us from observing her 
minutely.' ' And how came she to know that I was in the 
convent ? The plan is finely laid to decoy me again into 
the net; but it will not succeed!' ' Do not mistrust her. 
An unhappy affair brought us hither ; and, meeting her 
in such a pitiable situation, must have operated strongly 
upon your mind, and ' ' Will you remind me of my 
weakness ? I believed, from the first moment, that it was 
a juggle.' ' Her illness a juggle?' e Is that impossible, 
after having had the experience that we have ? ' 

" I know not how long this conversation would have 
lasted ; for the more I endeavoured to convince him of his 
error, so much the more he opposed me ; and his under- 
standing, formerly so enlightened, did not look upon what 
appeared the fact as at all probable. Biondello's arrival 
prevented a continuation of our discourse. He did not, 
however, bring news of our being safe ; yet the Prince 
became, in one respect, more composed. For, he said it 
was in several places reported, that the lady, on account .of 



Il6 THE GHOST-SEER. 

whom we had suffered so much, was no other person than 
a certain V Hi, who was of an indifferent character,, and 
extremely like the Greek lady. The similarity of the 
dress, and the darkness of the room in which they were 
sitting, served also to deceive us. How his beloved knew 
that he was in the convent, was also explained to his 
satisfaction. One of her footmen had discovered Biondello 
she had often made particular enquiries after the Prince, 
and having discovered his retreat, desired once more to see 
and speak to her beloved. Conscious of her innocence, her 
sufferings made a greater impression upon the mind of the 
Prince. He very seldom quitted her bed, and gave himself 
up entirely to sorrow. The cause of her dissolution will 
also be that of mine. Oh ! that I might die with the 
tranquillity that she did ! Her patience under her suf- 
ferings, her serenity of mind, when the shadows of death 
surrounded her, contributed to make her more beloved than 
ever. Oh ! that I might be certain of such a happy death 
as hers ! * This angel died by poison,; for, on the dis- 
section of her body, at which I was obliged to be present, 
the clearest proofs of it were visible.f 

" The situation of the Prince I am not able to describe 
to you. I trembled for his safety ; for when he saw the 
corpse carried to the grave, he burst into a loud hysterical 
laugh, and, as in a fit of madness, uttered expressions that 
I never wish to recollect. Several days passed, in which 
nothing remarkable happened. Biondello's accounts were 
always the same, and the Marquis had not yet recovered 
from his indisposition. We did not perceive that they 
were at all solicitous to discover us, although he assured 
us, that they had not yet given over the pursuit ; and that 
our safety depended upon our remaining quiet ; for their 
revenge would not be satisfied but by blood. For want of 
room I was obliged to sleep in the Prince's apartment. It 
was about midnight when he came to my bedside and waked 
me. 

" c Have you heard nothing ? ' said he. I replied in 
the negative, for I had slept very soundly, my rest having been 

* This wish of my friend was fulfilled in every particular. 

f He has already mentioned this in his last letter. See the foregoing. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 11? 

broken the preceding night. f Has any thing happened to 
you,, gracious Sir ? ' ' Had I not the proof in my hands, 
I should think it was a dream. It seems as if I am sur- 
rounded every where hy invisible beings. I was just on 
the point of falling asleep, when I was disturbed by the 
most enchanting music. Whilst I listened to find whence 
the sound came, a genius appeared to descend through the 
upper part of my bed, graced with all the charms with 
which our painters usually represent them ; but no pencil 
ever portrayed such a perfection of irresistible beauty. A 
soft light surrounded it, and illuminated my bed. I had 
drawn the curtain very close. The night lamp burnt 
faintly, and on witnessing this apparition, I reflected upon 
the former prophecy, which, alas ! was so punctually ful- 
filled. I remained lost in astonishment and fear. With 
a melodious voice it spoke to me : My lord and master 
sends thee a letter ; open and read it, but not before the first 
beam of the sun announces day, and conquer all disbelief! 
He let fall a letter, and melted, as it were, into a cloud, 
which vanished by degrees. His disappearance was accom- 
panied by the same agreeable music as announced his ap- 
proach, and a rich perfume diffused itself around me. 

" The Prince shewed me the letter. It was exactly like 
a common letter ; only the seal consisted of several' symbols, 
which we could not explain, and it was not directed. He 
put it into his pocket. ' Will you not open it ? ' said I. 
f To-rnorrow at the appointed hour/ ' You believe, then, in 
this apparition ? ' He was silent for a while. ' Must I not ? 
Oh ! what would I give if I could but still doubt it, and 
persevere in that philosophy, of which I boasted so much ! 
Now I must give up all. I believe now in every thing ! 
Can I do otherwise, after what has happened to me ? ' 

" He slept no more that night, but conversed of ghosts 
and supernatural appearances ; and I soon experienced how 
much he inclined to believe in the possibility of them. At 
the appointed time he took the letter from his pocket, and, 
behold, there was a direction upon it ! This, although a 
trifle, greatly astonished the Prince ; and you may easily 
conceive how he was affected at the moment. He opened 
it. It was a mere cover ; but there was enclosed a receipt 
H 3 



118 THE GHOST-SEER. 

from Civitella, not only for the sums which he had lent to 
the Prince, but also for the interest ; and a letter from him 
f which I will give you a copy ; I transcribed it on account 
of its singularity : 

' My gracious Prince f 

' The enormity of my crime is so great, that I ask of 
you forgiveness, and hope your heart will not deny it, as 
my repose and future happiness depend upon it. You 
punished my imprudence, at that unfortunate ball, by a se- 
vere blow ; and I, like a madman, suffered myself to be 
evercome by rage, and thirsted for revenge. After the 
abominable custom of this country, I begged of my uncle 
to hire a party of banditti to kill yon the saviour of my 
life. The thought oppresses me with horror; but you, 
who gave the wound, were also able to cure it, and could 
have done it by one word ! Oh ! you, at whose command 
the higher powers wait, why do you fly from my weak un- 
pardonable revenge, which you could have suppressed at 
pleasure? Why did you send me the sums of money, 
which I lent you with such satisfaction, thus to deprive me 
of the consolation, which you at first so nobly gave me ? 
Whilst you thought me worthy to share with you my for- 
tune, you did not want it. Oh ! act with generosity and 
forgive me, for, without that, my recovery will be to me 
the most unhappy period of my life, I cannot excuse my 
temerity ; no, I am not able to do it but you will be less 
indignant at my conduct, if you consider that it is by edu- 
cation alone such a detestable self- revenge can be justified. 
Am I not by such appearances punished enough ? Alas ! 
the recollection of it will never be rooted from my memory. 
As I lay upon my bed, suffering the most excruciating pain, 
and the bystanders expecting my death every moment, 
there appeared to me a figure, in a long black Tartar dress, 
and girded round the loins with a golden belt. It approached 
near to my bed r its white beard flowed upon its breast, and 
a penetrating frown sat upon its brow : it looked around, 
and immediately my attendants sunk to sleep. Wretch! 
it cried, with a terrible voice who has ventured to per- 
secute him with vengeance,, who could instantly destroy thy 



THE GHOST-SEER. 119 

life, if he would make use of the power he has in his hands ? 
I will not repeat the dreadful remonstrance which I heard. 
It was a miracle that I did not expire under the agitation 
this appearance occasioned. Having struggled for some 
time in the most terrible torments, the figure touched me. I 
was instantly free from pain, and perfectly recovered. Be- 
fore me, on the table, were lying heaps of gold, for which 
I was obliged to give a receipt. It also desired me to ask 
your pardon in writing, though I did not know where to 
address you, arid upon which my whole welfare would de- 
pend. Oh ! do not refuse your compassion to a miserable 
wretch. When and how you will obtain this letter I do 
not know ; but the spirit assured me that you would, for 
certain, have it. Alas, gracious Prince ! return to me 
again. For, with sincere repentance, an unworthy being 
will wait upon you in the ante-chamber of your hotel, as 
soon as day breaks. 

e Your unworthy friend, 

' ClVITELLA/ 

" What we felt on reading that letter I need not, dear 

O describe to you. It was an event which filled us 

with astonishment. The Prince did not doubt the fact ; 
but he would not quit his haunt, without first having made 
all possible enquiry as to its authenticity. Biondello, who 
was still asleep, was called, and commissioned to enquire 
very cautiously into every circumstance. The voice im- 
mediately repeated, ' Overcome your disbelief!' Bion- 
dello crossed himself, and went off. He did not go far 
from the convent, for he heard from his spies, that we were 
perfectly safe ; and he soon returned with this happy news. 
The Prince conjured us to be silent as to what had hap- 
pened, and set off immediately. We arrived at the hotel, 
and found not only Civitella but also the Cardinal, who 
came towards the Prince, and, in the humblest manner, 
asked his pardon. That he forgave them willingly, and 
was highly satisfied to free himself from such a dangerous 
dilemma, is easily to be imagined. Nor did he undeceive 
them as to the idea, that higher powers were at his com- 
mand, and that the ghost had appeared to Civitella by his 
H 4 



120 THE GHOST-SEER. 

desire ; he only begged of them to keep it a secret. Civi- 
tella assured him that it was quite public, for the people 
who waited upon him knew it, and had already cried him 
up as a saint. 

" 'But the people were asleep, how could they discover 
the vision ? ' replied the Prince, with some doubt. ' Yes, 
gracious Prince,' said Civitella ' but they saw the form 
descending into the room, and witnessed, on their recovering 
from their terror, my restoration. They saw me at the 
brink of the grave ; and to be restored so suddenly, must 
have excited their astonishment ; and can you blame me, 
that in the moment when I found myself snatched from 
the jaws of death, I called you, with gratitude, my bene- 
factor ? You did not prohibit me to do it ; and had 
that, been the case, I believe I should have violated your 
commands. Oh ! most gracious Prince ! there is no greater 
pain than for an uncorrupted mind to suppress the feelings 
of a grateful heart ! ' He threw himself at the feet of the 
Prince, whilst tears burst from his eyes. ' I have already 
forgiven you,' said the Prince, raising him from the ground. 
f But, am I beloved by you as formerly ? Am I not un- 
worthy of it ? ' he continued in tears. f When I forgive, 
I do it not by halves,' said the Prince, embracing him. 

" Life now seemed to beam afresh in the Marquis. He 
did not even appear to have been at all ill, for he looked as 
healthy as ever; but a fixed melancholy, that was dis- 
cernible in his countenance, extinguished those traces of 
benevolence which had formerly rendered him so attrac- 
tive. But by this reconciliation he recovered his happy 
looks, and ran through the room in an excess of joy 
that indicated his felicity. After the first intoxica- 
tion was over, he was overwhelmed with an agreeable 
anxiety, which did not at all belong to his character, and 
from which one could perceive how much he felt his in- 
discretion. This, and the solicitude which originated with 
it, made him more agreeable to the Prince, and he became 
to him as dear as ever : he understood the smallest hint ; 
he sought to read in his eyes his most distant wishes, and 
soon learned how to regulate his conduct according to his 
desires : besidesj ne sufficiently understood how to give 



THE GHOST-SEER. 



121 



his actions an air of duty, and continually exclaimed 
how much he owed to the Prince. Believing that the 
Prince's violence upon the night of the ball was nothing 
more than a punishment for his extravagancies (for he 
did not conceive that the Prince had taken the lady that was 
with him for his Grecian) he now altered his mode of life, 
and often thanked the Prince that he had punished him so 
severely. He declared that he was proud of it that he 
esteemed him higher than ever, and thought him more worthy 
of his friendship. He candidly confessed to me, that he had 
at that time entertained an idea, which would in the end 
have been his ruin. He had laid a plan to seduce the 
daughter of the t io, a charming innocent girl of six- 
teen. He had seen her, for the first time, at mass, and her 
beauty impressed him with this resolution. 

" To gain access to the house of her parents, and to 
succeed in this diabolical scheme, he was obliged to court 
the favour of the same lady with whom we had seen him 
at the ball, because she was a near relation to the family, 
and could easily introduce him. The strictness with which 
she was watched would have required him to commit a 
chain of crimes before he could have obtained his aim. 
His passion was so violent, that, united with his natural 
imprudence, he did not hesitate to adopt the most impolite 
manners to accomplish his purpose. At the brink of the 
grave, he added, a man reflects upon all his actions in 
another point of view ; and even those that formerly gave 
him great pleasure, and upon which he had often spoken 
with delight, pierced him to the very soul with horror. 

" Oh ! dearest friend, Civitella is, notwithstanding all 
his licentiousness, a noble man, and, if he commits a fault, 
he knows how to compensate for it, in such a manner, that 
one must attribute it to him as a great action. From his 
discourse, and from his answers to my questions, I could 
distinctly perceive, that it was not him, but the Cardinal 
his uncle, who caused the banditti to pursue us so indus- 
triously ; but he generously took all upon himself, and en- 
deavoured to prevent us from discovering the truth. It is 
much to be lamented, that so superior an understanding, 



122 THE GHOST-SEER. 

with such a good heart, and such an enchanting appearance, 
must perish upon a Venetian soil.* 

" It is a singular thing, considering the bad education 
which the children of the nobility receive, from the most 
stupid and rudest sort of priests, called abbes, that he was 
so enlightened, or possessed of that sensibility, which gives 
to all his actions so much captivating interest. I have neg- 
lected to mention, that curiosity induced us to ask the 
Marquis to show us the place where he had been wounded. 
He opened his shirt, and, to our great surprise, we per- 
ceived that there was not any appearance of a wound, or 
the smallest mark of any violence." 

Continuation of Count O . 

My friend exhausted himself so much by his relation, 
that aU the powers of nature seemed suspended. My 
doubts were but too well founded ; he appeared to sleep, 
but it was that of death my tears are sacrificed to his 
memory ! He was a man of fine ideas ; but from the 
goodness of his heart, and an unsuspecting disposition, he 
became so much the easier a prey to his enemies, whose 
dislike to him arose from his attachment to his master. I 
was now left alone in a great city, possessed of no friend 
to whom I could communicate my thoughts, and was 
obliged to take particular care not to talk with any one 
but upon common topics, because I presumed, and with 
reason, that I was surrounded by spies, who would put 
a false construction upon my words, and make that a plea 
for poisoning me. The death of my friend had made me 
cautious. His earnest request, that I would quit the place, 
and the message that the Prince sent to me by Biondello, 
now preyed upon my mind with double force ; my sorrow 
also contributed, in a great measure, to aid my determin- 

* My friend here goes too far. Although the sciences at Venice are in a bad 
state, for want of encouragement, there, however, are open to an enquiring 
mind very considerable libraries, from which a man may gain a great deal of 
useful knowledge. But the case is, that they will not make use of them. And 
the young nobleman, who intends to fit himself for the service of the state, has 
to study history and politics ; a few departments, which, if they are filled up, 
require talents and industry, and are equally -useful and necessary for those 
whom their birth has destined for the government of the republic. Tims has 
my friend praised the talents of the Marquis; they seem, however, to me to 
be more of a glittering nature than founded upon learning. COUNT 



THE GHOST-SEER. 

ation. I resolved to leave Venice. I locked myself up in 
my room for a few days,, and then forsook a city in which 
I had lost two beloved friends. Before I went, I sent to 
the Prince a card of departure. 

I had travelled about sixty Italian miles,, when the idea 
that 1 might possibly save the Prince, obliged me to 
return. I was irresistibly compelled to act in this man- 
ner ; for my mind, ever anxious for his safety, represented 
to me in black colours all that . might befall him ; and I 
looked upon it as criminal not to endeavour to rescue him. 
Fixed in this resolution, I entered upon the execution of 
my plan, without once considering the dangers and diffi- 
culties which surrounded such an undertaking. I took 
the precaution, however, for fear of being discovered, to 
dismiss my faithful servant, and the only one I had taken 
with me. I parted from him with deep regret; for he 
alone had sometimes, by his compassionate fidelity, afforded 
me consolation. I was now obliged to go without com- 
panionship : but it was absolutely necessary. He was an 
incomparable good servant ; but he had one fault, which I 
could not break him of, although he had served me twenty 
years, and which was in opposition to every principle of 
my scheme, he could not keep a secret. What he 
knew he published to the whole world; and, though he 
did not tell it in direct terms, his actions and behaviour 
betrayed it to every one he was acquainted with, if he 
thought well of them, and fancied they were possessed of 
the same goodness of heart as himself. It could not but 
happen that he was very often deceived, but this did not 
make him at all more prudent. To put unbounded con- 
fidence in every one was his maxim, from which he never 
departed ; for he used to say, that he should feel it severely 
if he was suspected by any one; and for that reason he 
thought it would be the same to others : and that the 
whole world trusted him he was convinced. He believed 
every one that was at all reserved in his conduct to be free 
from guile. If one expressly told him to be silent upon 
any subject, he became anxious not to let any thing drop 
that could betray him, which never failed to lead him into 
an error. For he had always in his mind, and at his 



THE GHOST-SEER. 

tongue's end, what he should not discover,, and very often 
repeated to himself my prohibition; and it frequently 
happened that he acted thus in society, and said to him- 
self, loudly and significantly, " Caspar, don't forget that 
your master has told you so and so " (and immediately 
mentioned the thing which he ought to have kept a secret,) 
" you must not chatter out what he has prohibited you to 
mention," 

He no sooner heard that it was public than he main- 
tained firmly that he had told it to nobody. This serious 
fault was, however, balanced by his other good qualities, 
which induced me to keep him. At first I thought of 
dismissing him my service, as I was not accustomed to put 
up with such conduct. I used to practise an artifice upon 
him, which succeeded extremely well, as he was obliged 
to keep every thing he heard a secret. I related to him, 
at the same time, something that was unconnected with 
the subject, and desired him particularly not to mention 
it: by that means I deceived him, and the subject J 
wished to be a secret was forgotten. I did not mention 
to him my determination respecting him; but wrote a 
letter, and sent him forward with it, under the pretext of 
bespeaking quarters for me. He was obliged to deliver 
this letter to a landlord at , with whom I had fre- 
quently lodged, and who knew him to be an honest man. 
I requested him to inform my servant that I had thrown 
myself into a river. I enclosed a bank-note, and com- 
manded him to make the inn his home ; begging of him, 
at the same time, not to make any enquiries after me. To 
preserve appearances, and to give him an idea that it 
grieved me to part from him, I wrote an affectionate 
farewell-letter to him, and begged of him again to fulfil 
my last and particular request. 

Poor Caspar's case was extremely hard; but I was 
under the necessity of treating him in that manner. Had 
I told him that I was obliged to part with him, on account 
of my intention to travel privately, he would have sought 
me every where, and would have enquired of every body, 
whether they had seen or heard any thing of me; my 
hiding-place, by that means, would have been discovered, 



THE GHOST-SEER. 125 

and my death the certain consequence. I was convinced 
that he would punctually fulfil my last request, and it 
would be very easy for me to find him again when I 
wanted him. I begged of him to be comforted ; that he 
would not commit suicide I was convinced ; for the respect 
which he had for the last request of a deceased friend was 
uncommonly great. I hope my readers will pardon this 
digression ; Caspar was my faithful servant, and deserves 
more than this poor tribute for his gratitude. 

After hesitating a considerable time., (suspicious,, pro- 
bably of my intention,) Caspar separated from me. With 
the greatest emotion I looked after him until he disappeared. 
I was now left alone. Quite undetermined which road I 

should take,, I departed for . On the day of my 

arrival, I heard that, in the evening, there was to be a 
masquerade ball ; and a thought struck me, which I im- 
mediately put in execution. I bought the habit of a Polish 
Jew, ornamented my chin with a large beard, coloured my 
eyebrows and face, and wandered thus towards Venice. 
The goods which I was possessed of, and my horse, I 
turned into money, and secreted it, with some jewels, in my 
belt. I did not doubt my ability to play my character 
faithfully ; for I had been a long while in Poland, and had 
dealt with the Jews ; inclination too, partly, as well as 
necessity, induced me to learn their language, in which I 
was so well skilled, that I have, even by the Jews them- 
selves, been taken for one of their tribe. I travelled the 
greatest part of the way on foot, and about twenty miles 
from Venice entered an inn, where I met poor Caspar. 
He was sitting in a corner of the room, and seemed totally 
absorbed in thought. I was anxious to avoid being seen 
by him, and, for that reason, was about absenting myself 
from the room, when he came towards me, and asked me 
from whence I came ? This made me bolder, and I told 
him the place where I had passed the night before. The 
word was scarcely out of my mouth, when he enquired if 
I had not seen his master? " No," I answered quickly, and 
reflected afterwards, how unthinkingly it was done ; be- 
cause it gave him to understand that both of them were 
known to me. But it did not strike Caspar in the same 



126 THE GHOST-SEER. 

way, and this no induced him to sit near to me, and to 
relate, with the most heartfelt sorrow, the history of his 
master. I reminded him to fulfil the last request of his 
benefactor, and heard, to my astonishment, that he did not 
think me dead. I immediately invented a story which 
convinced him of the fact. He departed early the next 
day, and promised me that he would faithfully observe my 
request. He took an affectionate leave of me, without 
knowing who I was, which convinced me that I might live 
at Venice in security ; for I hoped to render the Prince ser- 
vices of great consequence. 

Before I arrived at Venice, I met with an accident, 
which had great influence on my conduct. I stopped to- 
wards night-fall at an inn, which stood by the road-side. 
I found there a Polish Jew, who was at the point of death. 
He no sooner beheld me, than he addressed himself to me, 
and in a few minutes we entered into conversation, in 
which the greatest confidence was displayed. By my com- 
passion, and the little service which I rendered him, I at 
last gained his utmost confidence. His illness increased ; 
there was no hopes of his recovery. When we were alone, 
he called me to his bedside, and I experienced what 
astonished me beyond description. " I shall depart," he 
said, " very soon to Paradise, there to repose in the laps of 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob ; but I have something of great 
importance, which I cannot carry with me. You have 
gained my confidence, and for that reason I shall deliver it 
to you." I was obliged to swear that I would punctually 
perform all he required ; at the same time, he assured me, 
that I should be very generously recompensed for it. He 

went on: " The an confederates have sent me with 

a letter," (I was obliged to take it from the lining of his 
cap,) " instead of me, do you deliver it." 

How great was my astonishment, when I heard the 
Armenian described from head to foot ! He did not know 
who he was ; but he told me the place where he was to be 
found, at certain hours, so that I could not possibly mistake 
him ; he gave me, besides, a sign, which was unknown to 
any one else, and the answer of the Armenian would clearly 
prove him the person. He mentioned, g with the greatest 



THE GHOST-SEER. 127 

care, every particular several times, that I might not err. 
Although I did not want this precaution, I seemed to be very 
attentive to what he said, that he might not suspect that I 
had any knowledge of the Armenian. I experienced by 

the an business a great support to my plan ; for I was 

anxious that they should think me the real messenger, and 
not suppose that this man had merely sent me. I con- 
sidered I should, on that account, be trusted with greater 
confidence. It was for the first time in my life that I 
wished for the death of a fellow-creature ; but I certainly 
did in this instance; for I counted upon what I knew 
already, and believed for certain, that I should save the 
Prince as soon as I could light upon the Armenian ; and 
this would all have been frustrated if the Jew had lived ! 

He died the following day. I performed, according to 
his request, the last service, and departed the next day. 
The letter I secreted in my cap. My heart beat with joy, 
and I offered up my thanks to heaven for its favour. I 
thought I should never reach the place of my destination. 
I arrived, at last, in Venice ; my heart palpitated. I took 
lodgings in a remote part of the city, at a small inn. Be- 
fore I arrived there, however, I was very much alarmed. 
As I stepped into a boat, I beheld Biondello in the same. 
I was fearful of being discovered, because I could not trust 
to my disguise, as there were so many sly fellows in the 
city ; although I avoided being detected by Caspar (who 
knew me so well). But if a man studies to avoid being 
known, the more he acts his part, the sooner he is likely to 
betray himself. I was influenced by this consideration, 
and therefore put a good countenance upon the matter. 
Biondello patted my shoulder, and gave me to understand, 
that my presence was very dear to him. I might have 
given him some suspicion, if he had not disembarrassed me, 

by enquiring something of . I answered him, that 

he must observe I had made secrecy my rule of conduct. 
Instead of being angry with me for such a reply, he was 
very satisfied with it. This peculiar conduct was very 
mysterious, but by degrees it cleared itself up. To my great 
satisfaction I learned from him, that they were informed of 
my death, and believed it ; for he asked me if they had 



128 THE GHOST-SEER. 

found my corpse ? I replied in the negative,, alleging that 
it was impossible, on account of the ice that floated down 
the river that I confirmed the report, every one will 
readily believe. 

As soon as I arrived in the room which I had hired at 
the inn,, I bolted the door, and opened the letter. The task 
was very difficult to perform ; but I tried a variety of ways, 
and, at last, succeeded. To my great disappointment it 
was written in characters, and perfectly unintelligible. I 
made, however, several attempts to understand them, but 
in vain. I therefore copied them very exactly, in hopes, at 
some future time, to find the key to them. I closed the 
letter again, so that no traces of my having opened it could 
be perceived, and appeared the following day, at the ap- 
pointed time, in St. Mark's Place. It was in the begin- 
ning of January : it was crowded with characteristic masks * 
and spectators, who were enjoying the entertainment. I did 
not mix with them ; I was upon the watch for the Armenian. 
I pressed often through the crowd, and sought him in every 
corner, but he was not to be found. I resolved to wait un- 
til night, and then return again to the appointed place 
upon the Broglio, close to the church. The first person 
whom I saw was the Prince. He was in a domino, but his 
mask, which I knew, as well as his appearance, betrayed 
him. He stood before a pillar, upon which were a great 
many characters, and near him a mask dressed like a magi- 
cian. The latter had a long white beard that descended to 
his belt, to which was attached a black rope, apparently as 
a symbol of his profession. In his right hand he held a 
stick, with which he pointed to the pillar, and seemed to 
explain something to the Prince, who listened very atten- 
tively. My curiosity prompted me to approach nearer, but 
it was useless, for they spoke so low that, in the tumult, 

* I give this note for the information of those of my readers, who are unac- 
quainted with the manners and customs of Venice. The characteristic masks 
are in Venice customary, from the time of the three kings, or wise men of the 
East, till the great feast day, which is the most lively in the whole year. All the 
streets and squares are, at that time, full of masks, and principally the St. Mark's 
Place. They represent all sorts of characters, nations, manners, and customs. 
Those who speak .entertain themselves with every one who will talk with 
them; they personate faithfully their adopted character, and being sometimes 
men of wit, afford great entertainment. You frequently see amongst them the 
Improvisator i, who are a kind of poets famous for impromptus. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 129 

no person could hear a single word. The magician, at 
last, turned round and discovered me. I thought that he 
played his character for mere pleasure, and was entertaining 
the Prince with his tricks ; but I was greatly mistaken. The 
more I reflected upon this event, the more I was convinced 
that it was designed for some particular purpose. The ma- 
gician went leisurely away. I had made it always a rule to 
notice the smallest circumstance that concerned the Prince, 
and therefore followed him immediately : but he disappeared, 
and I saw the Armenian coming towards me. I gave him 
the sign and he answered it, bidding me, at the same time, 
follow him. I complied, and he conducted me into a dark 
street. He there unlocked the door of a house, and we went 
together into a small room. He took the letter from me, 
and, overlooking it slightly, seemed to be satisfied with its 
contents. He put several questions to me on account of the 

business, which I answered so that I did not give him 

the least cause to suspect me. He desired me to meet him 
again the next evening. He had parted from me, when 
he returned back, and addressed me in the Venetian 
language ; he had before spoken, to my great astonish- 
ment, in German. My genius assisted me; I shook my 
head, and told him that I did not understand him. 
He smiled, and said he had forgotten himself. He was 
willing to remind me once more not to mistake the appointed 
hour the next evening. I promised him that I would not, 
and he went away. This circumstance made me still more 
cautious ; and I maintained my character so well, that, when 
I quitted it, it became very difficult for me not to use the 
tone and manners of a Polish Jew. 

The time, until the hour arrived, passed very slowly; 
at last, it was announced by a neighbouring clock, and I 
went immediately to the appointed place. I found the Ar- 
menian there, who hastily conducted me to a boat. Before 
we quitted it I was blindfolded, and when the bandage was 
taken from my eyes guess my astonishment and terror ! 
for I found myself in the same hall where I had wit- 
nessed the frightful appearances I have before mentioned. 
It way exactly the same, but I thought the assembly were 

VOL. I. I 



130 THE GHOST-SEER. 

more numerous. The hall was splendidly illuminated. The 
horror with which I recognised the fatal chamber was very 
visible ; for one of the assembly (by his speech, I guess it 
must have been the Armenian, for, as they all appeared 
masked, it was impossible to discover them,) told me to 
have courage. They said also, in the Venetian language, 
that a Jew was a singular animal, for he blushed at every 
thing but what related to traffic. The company took their 
seats at a long table, covered with black cloth. One of 
them seated himself at a little table, upon which there were 
pens, ink, and papers. He was probably the secretary of 
the society ; for he questioned me very minutely respecting 

the letter of , and as to every circumstance that was at 

all connected with it, and wrote down all my answers to his 
questions. I could easily guess by this how much their 
success depended upon my answers ; for he read them over 
to me, advising me, at the same time, to alter what did not 
appear to me perfectly correct. I was too well prepared to 
drop any thing that might betray me ; I had likewise time 
enough, as I was questioned by an interpreter (I believe 
it was the Armenian himself ), to think of the best answers. 
They were perfectly satisfied with me, and gave me a con- 
siderable present. The secretary paid it to me. I do not 
know how it happened, but his mask fell from his face. 
He endeavoured to put it on again as quickly as possible, but 
I already had seen that it was Biondello 1 The accident 
seemed to operate very forcibly upon the other members. 
" This circumstance," said they, " must now cost the poor 
Jew his life, to ensure our safety ; for in such cases as 
these we cannot depend upon honour." 

"Accursed principle!" I thought, as the sweat poured 
down my forehead. I had sufficient resolution left to 
affect not to understand what was said ; for my attention 
was, to all appearance, directed to the money I had re- 
ceived. I heard their debates with apparent indifference, 
although they became so violent that they did not at all 
regard me. The question was, whether they should mur- 
der me or not. It was utterly impossible for them to 
understand each other, the tumult was so great. The Ar- 
menian, who had remained quiet for some time, now gave 



THE GHOST- SEEB. 131 

a sign with his hand, and there ensued immediately a 
deadly silence. This would have convinced me, had I not 
guessed it before,, that he was the leader of this secret so- 
ciety. After a short pause, he began : 

fe To provide for our safety, is our first and sacred duty. 
To maintain it, no sacrifice would be too great; but I 
cannot consent, on this occasion, to put a man to death 
whose services have been so essential to us. I might say, 
and with justice, that it would militate against our plans, 
and destroy that which we have so carefully cherished." 
He paused but no one answered him. I became more 
composed. He proceeded. "And why should we kill 
him ? because he saw one" (pointing to Biondello) "un- 
masked ! Is he not in some measure a party concerned? 
and would it be possible for him, were this not the case, 
in the city of Venice, among so many thousand people, to 
find out one single person, whom he had but just glanced 
upon ? I moreover maintain, that the love of money, 
which is so natural to his nation, prevented his taking his 
eyes from the table. Our mere dress, without the mask, 
is sufficient to deceive any one who has not seen us in our 
ordinary habits." 

They all agreed with him. Biondello did not, perhaps, 
recollect that I had already seen and spoken to him in the 
boat ; at least he would not mention it ; or he might, per- 
haps, think I did not know him again. But to be certain 
of the fact, the Armenian asked me if I should be able to 
recognise the gentleman again whom I saw a few minutes 
ago unmasked ? He put the question to me in such an 
insinuating manner, that many would have answered 
ff yes," to give an idea of their powers for discrimination; 
but I knew too well how the business stood. I therefore 
made my answers accordingly. I affected not to know any 
thing of the matter ; and, as I examined the money, I in- 
nocently asked, what they particularly wished me to do ? 
" See," said the Armenian, " I am not mistaken ; he has 
not seen him ! He seemed to me too stupid to be a hypo- 
crite, or to think of any thing but what leads to his 
interest." 

Several of the others made the same observation and 
i 2 



13 THE GHOST-SEEK. 

seemed to regret that they had not chosen a cleverer fellow 
to transact their business. " Those who have sent him/' 
answered the Armenian,, "were prudent enough to see, 
that a task which did not require brilliant talents to exe- 
cute,, would have been faithfully and conscientiously per- 
formed by him ; and indeed there is not so much treachery 
to be looked for in men that only know what they see, 
as in many others. " Stupid people are always the most 
honest/' added a fat gentleman (who probably could not 
boast of his abilities), and laughed at this impromptu so 
much, that the table, on which his belly retesd, was very 
near falling down. I was dismissed, after they had en- 
quired my place of abode, and commanded me to remain 
there for further instructions. They conducted me again 
blindfolded to the canal. My joy, when I found myself 
alone and safe, I need not describe; but the dreadful 
words, that they thought my death the only means of se- 
curity, still resounded in my ears. 

A whole month elapsed, in which I did not advance a 
step nearer to the completion of my purpose, notwith- 
standing my activity. My dress, and the promise which I 
had made to the Armenian (and by which I hoped to 
make some important discoveries), became now the greatest 
trouble to me; for it prevented me from instituting those 
enquiries which were necessary to aid my plans. It was 
impossible for me, as I was so surrounded by spies, to 
learn any thing that at all concerned the Prince without 
the greatest hazard. From what I had heard and seen in 
the secret society, I could only conjecture what they in- 
tended to do with the Prince; but it was impossible for 
me, an individual, to destroy the fabric which was built 
and guarded by so many. I was continually reflecting 
upon these circumstances, which perplexed me very much, 
My sleep also was interrupted by the most frightful dreams, 
and was more fatiguing than refreshing. My imagination 
often pictured to me the Prince falling from a precipice. 
I caught him by his cloak, but it seemed to rend into a 
thousand pieces, and I saw him dashed upon the ground. 
I saw him struggling in a rapid stream ; I ran to his as- 
sistance, and was drowned \vith him. I carried him from a 



THE GHOST-SEER. 133 

Conflagration, and believed we were safe, when the flames 
suddenly surrounded us, and we were consumed. In short, 
the most horrible images, which my disturbed mind created, 
totally deprived me of my rest, and, I must confess, my 
weakness made an impression upon me the next day that 
was not easily to be eradicated ; although 1 had very little 
faith in dreams,* 

I was sitting one day (it was in the beginning of Fe- 
bruary, 17 ) in my room, wrapt in reflection. The 
weather was very gloomy : flakes of snow, intermixed with 
rain, beat against my window, as the wind howled round 
the house. I did not quit my room the whole day. A 
gentle rap at the door at last roused me from my lethargy, 
and, before I could speak, I saw a man standing before me 
with a show-box upon his back. He asked me if I did not 
choose to see his raree-show ? and without waiting for my 
answer, he set his apparatus before me. To get rid of him 
quickly, I gave him a piece of money, accompanied with a 
polite assurance that I had no desire to see his raree-show. 
I thought he would depart immediately, but I was very 
much mistaken. He first looked at me and then at the 
money. At last he said, " I never had so much given me 
before," and returned me the money. " You must have 
made a mistake !" I started, I found I had given him, in 
my hurry, a small gold piece certainly too great a present 
for my situation. He observed my embarrassment. <( Take 
the money back again," said he; " I will not profit by your 
error." 

I did so ; though I would readily have given it to him, 
through the fear of his being a spy. At that time the 
smallest circumstances were to me of consequence, and 
which I should not formerly have troubled myself about. 
I gave him a smaller piece. He thanked me, but entreated 
me very much to look into his box. To get rid of him, I 
was obliged to comply with his request. He opened it, and 
I immediately started back I beheld several scenes of the 
Prince's life (which could be known only to a very few 

* I hope that no one of my readers will laugh at the Count O 's weakness, 

which he himself so sincerely confesses. If I had observed this beforehand, I 
should have left out this little appendix, though I made it my duty to deliver 
every thing to the public as I have found it. EDITOR. 

i 3 



134 THE GHOST-SEER. 

persons), so accurately represented, that he who had a 
knowledge of them could not but recollect them. I looked 
significantly at the man; he disregarded me, and begged of 
me to see the other. My astonishment now rose to the 
highest degree. I saw the figure of a Polish Jew, which 
exactly resembled me, with the following words under it: 

" The Count O as a Polish Jew." I lost all my 

patience. In an angry manner I pushed the box from me ; 
' ' Are the agents of hell to be found every where ? " I 
exclaimed, and stamped upon the ground. " Not every 
where," said the showman, as he grasped me by the hand. 
" Who are you ? " I cried, starting with confusion. " Will 
you desert your friend ? " I stood for a moment speechless. 
He drew a handkerchief from his pocket, and wiped his 
face. fe Do you not know your friend Seymour ? " 

It was him. My joy bordered upon frenzy. At a time 
when I believed myself abandoned by all, when I could not 
even whisper my sentiments, for fear of being overheard 
and discovered, I found a friend, who had ever deserved 
my veneration and love. No one that has not been in the 
same situation can possibly have an idea of my sensations. 
Every misfortune operated upon me with double force, 
because I had no friend to whom I could communicate my 
sufferings. Now I was in possession of that valuable trea- 
sure, and pressed him with affection to my heart. After 
the first burst of transport was over, I begged of him to 
relate to me the cause which brought him hither, and what 
could have induced him to leave his native country? 
That he never would really have followed the trade of a 
showman, was very clear to me. " I wished," he began, 
" as you will remember, to return to England. I travelled 
through Paris ; and an accident obliged me to make a 
longer stay there than I at first intended. Several un- 
foreseen events reduced my finances, and I was obliged, 
until new remittances arrived, to desist from pursuing my 
journey. In the mean time, I resorted to all the public 
places of diversion. I went one evening into a numerous 
society. The bottle circulated briskly, and the conversation 
became very agreeable. At last a juggler came into the 
room, and begged to entertain us with his tricks, f If they 



THE GHOST-SEER. 135 

are worthy to be -seen/ said a noble spark, f the society will 
perhaps indulge you.' ' To prove that they are, I will show 
you a specimen,' continued he ; ' and let your own judg- 
ment determine whether I shall proceed or not/ He 
performed some that were not common, and which excited 
our admiration. 

" The society unanimously desired him to go on ; and 
every new trick he produced procured him fresh applause. 
That he was an Englishman I immediately perceived by 
his accent, which made me attentive to him. It seemed to 
me, that his features were not unknown to me ; but I could 
not immediately recollect who he was. Under the pretext 
that I wished to learn some of his tricks, and to counte- 
nance a countryman, I asked him to call on me next morn- 
ing, and to take his breakfast with me. He came, and in a 
little time I discovered that I had been intimately ac- 
quainted with him from a boy. His name was Johnson. 
My joy on this occasion was equal to yours when you 
discovered me. I had been educated with him. His father 
had been tutor at my father's. His talents, and cheerful 
heart, had acquired him the patronage of my father, and he 
suffered him to be my playfellow, and constant companion. 
All the privileges that I enjoyed were also bestowed upon 
him ; he was instructed by the same masters, and dressed 
as I was. I could not show in my whole wardrobe a single 
thing which he did not also possess, and frequently, I ob- 
served, that he excelled me. Being the only child, the 
tender love of my mother (who was dead) had somewhat 
spoiled me; and I very often told the servants, haughtily, 
that I was the only heir to a large fortune. My prudent 
father employed this method, to show me distinctly that 
from merit alone our character must be estimated j and he 
gained his point by that means sooner than he would have 
done by moralising. I was at first angry with him, and 
hated Johnson ; but this did not last long, for, on account 
of his polite and good conduct, he acquired the esteem of 
the whole family ; and, by his sincere love for me, I soon 
was conscious of his good qualities. We became the best of 
friends, and endeavoured to excel each other in affection. 
He discovered a talent for mechanics. As I did not suffer 



136 THE GHOST-SEEK. 

him to eclipse me in any thing, I also applied myself to the 
art ; but,, by his superior industry and perseverance,, he 
soon excelled me in that science : I also was not so much in- 
terested with it as himself. My father let us want for no- 
thing. He hired masters who gave us the best instructions. 
Expensive instruments were also procured; and John- 
son soon finished a variety of curious things. From thence 
he went on farther. A genius like his was not satisfied 
with continuing in a beaten tract ; he had a desire always 
to see and study something new. Mathematics, which we 
had often read with our tutor, who was a very clever and 
expert man, had discovered to him several departments of 
knowledge, which he now wished to acquire. He 'made 
sun-dials, he manufactured optical glasses, besides electrical 
machines, and never failed to execute any thing that 
appeared worthy of his attention. To be brief, (for I see 
clearly that the recollection of my past days, and the 
qualities of my friend, have made me rather too loquacious,) 
he became soon so expert and ingenious, that he often, 
although a boy of fourteen years, was the object of ad- 
miration ; and, on that account, he was called the little 
Jack of all trades. He went on thus till he attained his 
twenty-second year, when, with great industry, he applied 
himself to chemistry ; in which he soon made many new 
and useful discoveries. About that time my father died, 
and he lost a friend who had never let him want for 
any thing, but gratified his wishes at any expense. He 
now determined to travel. All my persuasions to detain 
him were fruitless. He stood firm to his intention, and I 
could not even obtain a permission to travel with him. He 
even refused the considerable legacy which my father had 
left him. At that I became angry, for I willingly would 
have shared with him my whole fortune, which he knew 
perfectly well ; but I could not prevent him from executing 
his purpose. He would not even accept any money from 
me. ' Well then, you may go,' said I, and embraced him 
with unfeigned sorrow. 

" It is impossible for me to discover what it was that 
induced him to desert the man who had acted towards him 
like a brother, and for whom he had the greatest regard. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 137 

I was not able to guess it. A letter which, shortly after 
his departure, I received from him has discovered it to me. 
After a long apology for his conduct, he says, ' that it was 
impossible for him to live any longer upon the bounty of 
his friends.' He considered my father's generosity as an 
act of charity but it was a wrong idea. He, however, 
would endeavour to support himself. The death of my 
father caused him to reflect upon circumstances that never 
struck him before. He would not have a second benefactor, 
that he might not miss him ; and wished not to expose him- 
self to the danger of losing his support, when it had be- 
come impossible for him to exist without it. And if even 
he had not that to fear, he should be deficient in his duty, 
if he expected that from another which he was able to pro- 
cure for himself.' He added many other things ; but this 
is sufficient to give you an idea of a man who will soon 
acquire your esteem ; of one who rather chose to wander 
in the world, than to enjoy that rest and affluence which he 
could not procure by his genius. I will not detain you 
longer with his history, though it is very remarkable. You 
will be more pleased if you hear it from himself; and I am 
confident he will excite your admiration and respect.* 

" The days which we spent together at Paris were ex- 
ceedingly agreeable. We related our histories to each other, 
which indeed afforded a great fund of entertainment ; for, 
since I received that letter, I had not either seen or heard 
from him. He said, that he had written several times to 
me ; but, as I never obtained the letters, I could not answer 
them. I related to him the events which happened to me 

at Venice with the Prince After I had finished, he 

suddenly jumped from his seat, and ran up and down the 
room, as if influenced by some extraordinary idea. f We 
shall save him ! ' he exclaimed. ' What, the Prince ? ' ' Yes, 
the Prince ! ' he replied firmly. f How will that be pos- 
sible ? ' ' My dear friend ! don't reflect upon that at pre- 
sent ; it wants but one desperate attempt. I see the pos- 
sibility of the measure. Judging from what I have heard, 

* He has, indeed, afterwards related to Count O his history, which 

also came to my hands with these papers. It is very remarkable ; and, should 
I again have any leisure time, and my readers have a desire for it, I will publish 
it SCHILLER. 



1S8 THE GHOST-SEER. 

there is something serious at the bottom of these tricks. 
Let "us destroy the plans of malice, which will perhaps be 
the ruin of many thousands,, before they come to maturity.' 
' Suppose they have in view something more than cheating 
him of his money, do you not believe that many are at 
work, and that resistance would be madness ? ' ' Undoubt- 
edly, open resistance but let us work against them where 
they do not suspect us, and in a way of which they cannot 
perceive the machinery, but only experience the effect of its 
operation. This, my friend, we certainly are able to under- 
take. I am too well acquainted with the deceitful tricks in 
this world which are published as wonders ; and if I can 
do nothing more than merely chase away the mist from the 
eyes of the Prince, I may, perhaps, save him from being 
enveloped in their diabolical snares.' 

" This proposition was so noble, that, although it may 
prove fruitless, I consented to it. When my remittances 
arrived, we made the best of our way to Italy. A trifling 
indisposition, which affected my friend, retarded our jour- 
ney for a little time. Johnson requested I would dismiss 
my servants, and retain only one single footman, who was 
sufficiently faithful and prudent not to discover any of our 
plans. Johnson disguised himself and us so that we were 
quite unknown ; a precaution which was very necessary. 
He also observed, that in our mean dress we should be able 
to make more observations than otherwise ; for he main- 
tained, that they were less suspicious of the poor than the 
great. We took lodgings separately, at different inns, to 
have a more ample field for the execution of our plans j we 
even went so far as to have several lodging-houses, in which 
we alternately resided, having first changed our dresses, and 
concealed our country; for we all spoke different languages 

with equal promptitude. By that means, dear O , I 

succeeded in discovering you, notwithstanding your dis- 
guise." (e But how was that possible ? " said I, interrupting 
him. " You betrayed yourself," he replied : " I lodged in 
the same inn that you did, and, by accident, was put into 
the room over yours. If I awoke in the night, I constantly 
heard some one speaking in your chamber. This made me 
attentive. I laid myself upon the floor of the room, and 



THE GHOST-SEER. 139 

overheard, through a crack, all that you said. I soon per- 
ceived that you were talking in your sleep. You must 
have been disturbed very much by frightful dreams, for 
your exclamations wery generally Murder ! Despair! Pe- 
rish! Down! Down! Several times I heard you mention 
the name of the Prince ; and this induced me to presume 
that you were the man whom I had such a great desire to 
see. I overheard you for several nights, and was at last 
confirmed in my opinion ; for you spoke of things which 
no other person but yourself could possibly know. ( Has he 
not similar views with us,' said I ; ' knowing, as I do, that 
he was such a trusty friend of the Prince, and loved him 
so much? Is he not endeavouring to be useful to the 
Prince in that disguise j because he has rendered it impos- 
sible, by undeserved treatment, to appear in his true form.'" 

" What \ " exclaimed I, full of admiration " You have 
been told, then, how the Prince has treated me ? " " More 
than that," he answered. " You shall soon be convinced 
from Johnson's letters, which I will communicate to you 
hereafter. However, I did not think proper to discover 
myself to you, as Lord Seymour, until I was fully convinced 
of the fact. I was suspicious, although it was improbable, 
that you were a spy in that disguise for the purpose of be- 
traying me : I was, therefore, obliged to act with the 
greatest precaution. For that reason I appeared in the 
character of a showman. I had drawn, some time back, 
for my amusement, those scenes which I displayed to you, 
and it immediately struck me that they would be useful to 
me in this instance. Lest I should be deceived, which 
must have appeared in your conduct, I kept back your por- 
trait until the last, which instantly gave me to understand 
that I was not wrong in my conjectures. 

' e It was some time," continued Lord Seymour, ' ' before 
Johnson and I were able to accomplish any of our plans, 
in spite of the greatest exertions. Every evening we met 
together, and communicated to each other our discoveries, 
and planned what measures we were to take in future. But, 
although we thought ourselves adepts at invention, we 
never could, by any stratagem, approach the Prince. f A 
good idea must be executed, though it may be founded on 



140 THE GHOST-SEER. 

a bad principle/ said Johnson, ' or all our undertakings will 
avail nothing, and our assistance probably arrive too late.' 
For that reason he wrote a note to the Prince, in which he 
invited him to appear alone, at the dead of the night, in a 
certain solitary place. He conveyed it, unperceived, into 
the Prince's pocket. He had written it so artfully, that the 
Prince, no doubt, presumed it came from the Armenian. 
The desire he had to be farther acquainted with this mys- 
terious being, from whom he had heard nothing for some 
time, made us certain that he would not refuse this invita- 
tion. We were not deceived ; he came. We hired two 
fellows to attack him, and came past as it were by accident. 
Johnson was to run to his assistance. For appearance-sake, 
he struggled with them, until they ran away at a noise 
made by myself and Matthias. Johnson conducted the 
Prince home, and we went, as quick as possible, to our 
lodging.* 

" The success of this event you will find in Johnson's 
letters to me. They were sent, to avoid all intercourse 
with him, by a faithful waterman, to whom Johnson de- 
livered them for me ; and by that means he also obtained 
my answers." 

And those letters I will communicate to the reader from 
Lord Seymour, from a French translation, which he made 
at my request, as I did not understand the English lan- 
guage. I have only omitted that which the public is already 
acquainted with from the preceding pages. Here the 
thread will be again united, which the death of my friend 



Johnson to Lord Seymour. 

September 17,** 

I am not able to recover myself from what I may justly 
call my extravagant happiness. Friend, rejoice with me 
fill has succeeded to my utmost wishes, and I look for- 
ward with pleasure to the time when the Prince will be 
freed from his enemies. My whole plan is fixed upon ; and 
although every thing appears in confusion, I hope, how- 

* I have omitted inserting this event before, which my friend the Baron F- , 
in his relation, has slightly mentioned, because I thought this the best place 
for it. COIWIT O . 



THE GHOST-SEER. 141 

ever, that time will produce the desired effect. I pity the 
Prince from my heart. I soon discovered how he was 
situated. He has a good understanding, and an excellent 
heart ; and shame to them who have so industriously la- 
boured to spoil both. But why do I communicate to you 
things which you know already better than myself? You 
may judge of the degree in which my happiness made me 
quite absent. I shall be obliged to act with more caution 
in future. My plans were on the point of being destroyed ; 
for Biondello came suddenly into my room as I was writ- 
ing. It was fortunate that I heard him approaching : I 
had just time enough to secrete all my papers, and walk 
with indifference towards the window. He did not seem 
to take any notice of me, but took his hat and cloak and 
went out, probably upon some of the Prince's errands. But 
I will now tell you every thing that appears to me of con- 
sequence, that I may not again be interrupted ; it would be 
impossible for me to connect my whole train of thoughts. 

I conducted the Prince home, as you already know, 
under the pretext of protecting him. He permitted me to 
do it without hesitation ; for he did not seem to have re- 
covered from his fright, into which the circumstance of 
meeting two ruffians, instead of the Armenian, had thrown 
him. He did not speak until we entered his room. He 
then introduced me to one of his barons and Biondello, who 
were in the same room, as the saviour of his life. He 
thanked me heartily, and told me to ask of him any favour. 
I considered for some time, and at last told him, that he 
would show me the highest mark of friendship if he would 
keep me in his service ; for I had some time ago lost my 
master, and had endeavoured in vain to get a new one. I 
gave myself out for an Englishman of a good family ; I told 
him that my eldest brother, during my minority, spent my 
fortune, and forced me to the necessity of seeking for sub- 
sistence in the humiliating capacity of a servant. By the 
last part of my story, I hoped to excite his pity towards 
me ; for I am confident that we feel always more compas- 
sion for those who are reduced from affluence to poverty, 
than for such as from their birth are accustomed to servi- 
tude. If he sympathised with me, I could very soon 



142 THE GHOST-SEER. 

claim his confidence. In that point I succeeded to my 
satisfaction in a short time. But what I am rejoiced at 
most is, that he has made me his chamberlain ; in which 
situation I shall often have an opportunity of being alone 
with him. He would not, he said, degrade the saviour of 
his life by a livery ; and regretted only that it was not at 
present entirely in his power to make me independent of 
the world. 

As chamberlain, I am to have a small room to myself; 
but this is not yet quite ready. Biondello has permitted 
me, for that time, to make use of his. He is very friendly 
towards me ; and, although I acknowledge his civility for 
appearance-sake, yet I do not trust him ; for he has so 
much flattery and cunning about him, that I fear he has 
very little honesty left. 

Several days after. Thank God, I am in possession of 
my little room, and begin to write to you again, which was 
till now impossible for me to do, Biondello watched me so 
narrowly. I must not attribute that to the Prince, because 
he is never mistrustful. Yet I will not judge harshly. I 
have not yet conversed with the Prince ; but as my clothes 
are not come from the tailor's, I will ascribe it to that cir- 
cumstance ; but if when I am equipped he shuns me, I 
must conclude that there is something more at the bottom 
of it. 

One day later. This morning, early, I obtained at last 
my dress ; and you are not able to imagine with what ap- 
parent rapture I put it on. Biondello was present, and 
gave me joy, on my exchanging my old clothes for such 
rich ones. But whilst I rejoiced to think how I had suc- 
ceeded, he believed it arose from a childish love of finery, 
and this, I have no doubt, made him assure me that they 
fitted me extremely well. I let him enjoy his error, and 
to confirm his opinion, I took every part into my hands, 
and contemplated it with a foolish pride, smiled at myself 
in the glass, and neglected nothing that could convey to him 
the idea of my being a stupid clown. To make the joke 
complete, I told him that I intended now to take a walk, 
to show myself to the people, which I had not courage to 
do in my old coat. I intend, by that manoeuvre., to send 



THE GHOST-SEER. 



143 



you my first letter ; and I am sorry if you have been at all 
embarrassed on my account. 

. The same to the same. 

October 1. 

Biondello is the most cunning fox in the world ; but I 
have, in spite of his ingenuity, deceived him. By the 
confidence which he seems to put in me, he watches me 
so closely, that if I had not taken great care I should cer- 
tainly have betrayed myself; but I have at last made him 
believe that I am a perfect, unsuspecting blockhead ; and 
indeed it is the opinion that I wish him to have of me, in 
my present situation. He studied to find out in me more 
than I chose to let him know ; and the trouble he gave 
himself to accomplish this, is a sure proof that in him there 
is something more than the mere secretary of the Prince. 
The Prince has a very high opinion of him. He does not 
consider him as his servant, but his trusty friend. I pre- 
tended not to understand a word of the Venetian language 
(and Biondello thinks he is quite sure of it, for he has tried 
many experiments to prove the fact), and all those who do 
not speak English I converse with in French ; they are 
not at all suspicious of me, but often talk about things when 
I am present, which, if they knew I understood them, they 
would certainly conceal from me. As they look upon me 
to be of no consequence in opposition to their schemes, and 
the Prince likes me to be about his person, I now constantly 
attend him; and he enjoys the advantage, as he supposes, 
of not being obliged to send me out of the room if he is 
conversing with any one, which he is always obliged to 
do with his other servants, as they understand the lan- 
guage. 

Last night, as I was undressing him in his room, Bion- 
dello was present. After conversing upon some indifferent 
topics, they began about me. Biondello thought my qua- 
lities were stupidity, sincerity, and honesty. The Prince 
said that he was pleased with my person, and thought the 
qualities Biondello spoke of were better than ? good intellects 
united with a bad heart. " He is also courageous," said 
he ; (f and to that I owe my life, at least my freedom." 



144- THE GHOST-SEER. 

Biondello understood this hint. He altered his 'tone 
immediately ; for, at first, he was very satirical. He might 
have forgotten himself. He now talked a great deal about 
me, and said many handsome things of me to flatter the 
Prince. From that they turned to the subject of the attack 
made upon the Prince, and cracked their brains for a long 
time to discover the person who hired the bravos to murder 
him. That the note did not come from the Armenian, 
Biondello maintained; for it was not likely that, if he meant 
to attempt the Prince's life, he would execute his plans 
with such temerity. The Prince agreed with him; and 
the only doubt then remaining was, who could possibly 
have views upon his person, if it was not him, who had 
already given him to understand so. Biondello pointed out 
to him the possibility that his own court had done it, to lay 
hold of him. It immediately struck the Prince so forcibly, 
that he broke out into a most violent passion. It is true 
all circumstances united serve to strengthen this suppo- 
sition ; for I learned, by the conversation, that the Prince 
had lately received a very rigorous letter from thence ; and 
Biondello reminded him of the conversation which passed at 
St. George. This circumstance apparently confirmed the 
fact in the Prince's mind. His expressions I will not re- 
peat here. I do not know if I am wrong, but it seemed to 
me as if Biondello was pleased with the idea, that the 
Prince despised his court : for he knew the kind of language 
that would increase the Prince's anger, without letting him 
suspect his cunning. This man possesses dexterity suffi- 
cient to guide any person where he pleases, without his 
being able to perceive the thread with which he leads him. 
He sometimes appears quite different to that which you 
would suspect. Towards me he did not always act with 
such precaution ; for that reason I discovered more of his 
character than I otherwise could have done. He had strict 
orders from that hour to have his wits about him, and also 

to intercept the letters of Baron F (a cavalier of the 

Prince's household) to Count O , to see if they would 

lead to any thing satisfactory. " For/' added the Prince, 

" this F seemed some time back dissatisfied with my 

continuing here." 



THE GHOST-SEER. 



145 



What this will lead to I am not able to see at present. 

I wish I could but give a hint to Baron F to be upon 

his guard ; for if Biondello conspires against him, he must 
fall a sacrifice to his plans. 

Several days after. Biondello every day puts more and 
more confidence in me, and it is, in all probability, be- 
cause I communicate to him, with the greatest accuracy, 
all that I hear and see ; but you'll understand, I tell him 
only those things which he ought to know. I seem to 
keep no secret from him. He often listens with the great- 
est patience to the ridiculous nonsense with which I en- 
deavour to entertain him ; and he generally compliments 
me upon my talents and good conduct in trusting to him 
with such sincerity. Indeed, the method I have taken is 
the best way to ensure his countenance. But he is mis- 
taken in my character, notwithstanding the accurate know- 
ledge he possesses of mankind. In every conversation I 
distinguish more and more what an opinion he has of me ; 
indeed he begins to give me little commissions, but which 
at present do not consist of any thing farther than to have 
a watchful eye, in his absence, upon the Prince's conduct, 
and to communicate to him all that I have perceived and 
heard. And, to enable me to do this effectually, he takes 
care that every little new trait in my character is reported 
in a favourable manner to the Prince, who becomes every 
day more and more attached to me, and prefers me to all 
his other servants ; indeed he has of late appeared very 
suspicious of them, which is, in all probability, a con- 
trivance of Biondello, in whom he puts the most un- 
limited confidence. That I should succeed so well, and 
in so short a time, I did not imagine ; it exceeds my most 
sanguine expectations. I will set it down as one of my 
great masterpieces of art, if I am able to outwit this 
Biondello. 

A certain Marquis, by name Civitella, has just left the 
Prince. I have often seen him here. I question whether 
he seeks any thing beyond the honour of the Prince's 
friendship. They seem very intimately acquainted, and 
indeed I cannot blame the Prince for that; for this Mar- 
quis has many good qualities, and seems to study to dis- 

VOL. I. K 



146 THE GHOST-SEER. 

play them to advantage in the presence of the Prince 
However, I have heard the Prince many times promise to 
pay him money ; and, from what I could collect, it is not 
a small sum. Then the Prince is in deht it cannot be 
otherwise, from his present extravagance. But how are his 
debts to be paid, when I know, for certain, that he receives 
nothing from his court ? Is not this a diabolical plan of 
the Armenian, to detain him, and succeed in his designs 
upon him ? I advise you, friend, to provide yourself with 
money, which may be had immediately upon your orders. 
I leave it entirely to your prudence, how you will accom- 
plish this necessary object without betraying yourself. 

I must tell you of a discovery which I have just made, 
and which I think of consequence: The Prince generally 
goes out towards evening, and this happens very often; 
and, to-day I hear, he belongs to a certain society, called 
the Bucentauro. Could you not learn something about 
this sect ; and whether we must also direct our attention 
to that ? He was scarcely gone, when I hastened to my 
room to write to you. I had just finished the last line 
as Biondello came in. I must tell you that he does not 
suspect any thing when he finds me engaged in writing. 
I have told him that I have a great delight in making 
verses, and on that account I have always a poem lying at 
my side, which, as soon as I hear any person coming, 
I put in tne place of the letter ; and, to play my part well, 
I affect to translate it to him (for he does not understand 
English), and repeat the most stupid nonsense with a kind 
of poetic mania. This time he had not a desire to hear 
my poetry, but entreated me to defer reading it to a future 
opportunity, and go with him to his room ; so that he 
might be present when the Prince arrived. This I did, 
and I was obliged to report to him all that had happened 
to the Prince during his absence. When we were in the 
height of our conversation, there came into the room an 
old man. He was bent low beneath his years ; but there 
was an expression in his countenance which ill accorded 
with his age. His voice also was full and regular, and 
he had not that trembling pronunciation which generally 
tffects aged people. Biondello told me that he was his 



THE GHOST-SEER. 14? 

relation. I was going to absent myself, but he entreated 
me to stay ; as his cousin, he said, did not understand any 
other language than the Venetian, and as, besides, he had 
nothing of consequence to communicate to him. The old 
man looked at me with suspicion, but I busied myself 
with a book, and took no notice of him. " Do you know 
for certain that he does not understand us ? " said he. 
" Are you sure that he is not an impostor?" 

Biondello told him he need not be under any apprehen- 
sion. He described my character to him, and said, that 
in spite of my stupidity he could make me of service to 
him. " I will believe you," he exclaimed, " for I am 
acquainted with your talent in the knowledge of mankind, 
and which makes you worthy of your dangerous employ- 
ment. The greater part of the fabric, which I have 
curiously raised, rests upon your shoulders. Do not loose, 
for heaven's sake, at the moment of its accomplishment, 
that firmness which will prevent our being buried in the 
ruins. I know your caution and foresight are very great. 
Think also on the reward you will gain, when we behold 

your giant work completed. I expect letters from , 

and we are then at the summit of our wishes; for the 
Prince will not make any resistance." 

" The journey then, which you undertook, has been of 
great service ? " ' ' Is there any thing impossible ? Had 
I not found great difficulty in persuading the court of 
d to agree in our plans, the mountains, which now 
appear before us, should long ago have disappeared. I 
did not mistrust you, believe me. Though it were so, 
I should forgive you ; for how could you be able to pene- 
trate into my schemes ? You believed that many things 
were the effect of chance, which I contrived and put into 
execution. Can you suppose that the Prince of d 
came to Venice for nothing ? " " No one can possibly 
imagine what steps your prudence takes." " You must 
know then that he came hither at my request, to entice 
our Prince to a licentious manner of living, and to bring 
him, by that means, nearer to the point on which my plans 
are centred." te Pardon me, when you could so easily 
BL 2 



148 THE GHOST-SEER. 

have communicated with the court upon the conduct of 
the Prince,, why was that journey necessary ? " 

" Is it not easier to remove a prince from the place 
where it is likely his penetrating eyes would have pried 
into our designs, than to make thousands privy to our 
plans ? I had only to write to the Prince to come., for we 
liad settled it some time ago. I knew he was a member 

of the order of . I am one of them. I wrote to the 

superiors of the order, and they contrived to send messages 
to him, which made him believe he was invited to see the 
internal part of the sanctuary." " I am astonished ! As 
often as I see you, you always appear to me in a new and 
extraordinary character." <e Hear then farther. The second 

step was not difficult for me to take. The Count P 

is first minister at the court of d . For appearance 

sake, the feeble King wears the crown, but P governs : 

he is the machine by which every thing is regulated. This 

P has long been my friend. I was acquainted with 

him whilst he was ambassador at Rome, and I proposed 

him for a member of the order of . At that time 

the sketch of the plan, which we are now about to execute, 
was shown to him, and which was always the same, al- 
though accident has changed the persons by whom it was 
to have been accomplished. I wrote to him that every 
thing was ready, and we waited for him only to complete 
it. Nothing was easier for him than to persuade his ava- 
ricious monarch to let out his troops to conquer , to 

which his council had long before directed their attention. 

P met me at i to bring me the happy account 

of his success ; and the King suspected that he was gone to 
conclude a promised alliance." 

" Do I dream ? Is it possible to play thus with kings?" 
replied Biondello. " I did not expect such a question 
from you," said the old man. " Do you not know, that one 
may deceive kings much easier than other people ; because 
flattery succeeds to a miracle with them ; spreading, as it 
were, a mist before their eyes ? And if they are prudent 
enough to disregard that illusion, we must then give them 
amusements to which they are attached, and never deprive 
them of any thing, but what relates to state affairs, for fear 



THE GHOST-SEER. 149 

of incurring their displeasure."* "And does not the 
King of d know for what purpose he lends his 
powers?" " Is the architect obliged to explain his whole 
design to a mason, who is employed to place stones and ex- 
ecute the work,, which probably he would not even then 
understand ? He works for his daily bread, and if he ob- 
tains that, he is satisfied. Can the King of d desire 
more than the acquisition of ., which must be of great 
value to him, as it is immediately connected with his own 
territories ? It is the object which he sets his heart upon. 
However, to satisfy your curiosity would take up that time 
in which I hope to hear more important accounts of the 
Prince." 

Biondello replied : cc Every thing is in the same state as 
when you left us ; and I have only here and there added a 
little where it seemed necessary." Here Biondello related 
to him the event of that evening in which the Prince was 
attacked, and concluded with saying, that he had made use 
of that circumstance to enrage the Prince more against his 
court ; for he made him believe, it was certain that the 
court intended to imprison him. The old man seemed 
satisfied with that, and immediately replied, Cf How is he as 
to his manner of thinking ? " " He approaches more and 
more to a freethinker," replied Biondello ; "and I am con- 
fident but little is wanting to render him such entirely." 
" Then," said the old man, " my machines act as suc- 
cessfully as I can wish." f( How ! was this also your 
work ? Will a freethinker believe in apparitions ? Will 
he bend his neck to the yoke of a religion which puts re- 
straint on him, and which it is your opinion he will accept ? " 

" I see you are very little acquainted -with the human 
heart. To shake a belief, which fundamentally rests upon 
conviction, is very difficult ; but to guide the opinion of a 
sceptic is sufficiently easy. This may seem a paradox, but 
I will prove it to you: Man let him wear a crown, or 

* I have written every thing down as I found it, and I do not know how far 
this may be true. But, if I may speak my opinion, it does not appear to me 
quite certain ; for I have seen in my life hut one king, and he seemed to me 

so full of wisdom and majesty, (probably the old King of P , Fr. II.) that 

I would have sworn that his very looks would have awed those that dared to 
insult him. 

K 3 



1 50 THE GHOST-SEER. 

the rags of a beggar wants always a support in trying 
circumstances ; and if he despairs at all, he sighs after 
comfort with double anxiety. And what offers to him the 
wished for consolation but religion ? Hence, it is evident, 
that the religions of those nations who are still, as it may 
be said, in a state of ignorance, have infinitely more cere- 
monies than those that are enlightened. The Prince rejected 
this support, and launched boldly into the gulf of so- 
phistry. The more he meditates upon it, the more it will 
perplex him. As he sinks beneath enquiry, he will greedily 
devour any new idea that tends to dissipate the former. 
And is not the Catholic religion, in which there are so many 
saints that he cannot doubt his preservation, exactly cal- 
culated for the purpose ?" 

" How ! Do I hear right ? Did you not extol the prin- 
ciples of doubt, and yet you called scepticism a tottering 
fabric ? Have you also been converted, and have you found 
a greater consolation in contemplating the scapulary, than 
in your former rational way of thinking ?" f< Why do you 
let appearances so often deceive you ? Is not the tool that is 
used by the mechanic for the most curious purposes, when 
placed in the hand of a child, a dangerous instrument, with 
which it innocently wounds itself? Does not solid food 
affect the feeble stomach, whilst it operates not upon a 
strong one ? And will not a child throw from it the in- 
strument with which it has wounded itself, whilst the artist 
would not sell it for any price ? Will not the person of a 
weak stomach avoid food that is disagreeable to it, whilst 
the hungry healthy man enjoys it ? But I will argue 
otherwise. What is belief, and what is disbelief ? Does 
not the Mahometan think that his belief is founded upon 
principle and authority, and call the Christian an unbeliever; 
whilst the latter thinks the same of him ? Hence, then, 
we may conclude, that belief depends merely upon con- 
viction, the want of which is disbelief. This is self- 
evident." 

" You think, then, a fundamental belief is that of which 
we feel convinced, and also that men may entertain different 
opinions upon the same subject, and yet be called believers.' 
" They both undoubtedly think that they are so." " Is 



THE GHOST-SEER. 151 

not that an argument against you ? If the Prince thinks 
that his belief is fundamental " " Then it would be 
difficult to wean him from it; but he does not think so." 
" And yet he adheres to it with firmness, and defends his 
opinion with the greatest warmth." " Let me ask you one 
question: Does conviction always carry with it tranquillity 
of mind ? " f f I thought that they were inseparable." 

" And do you find it with the Prince? Have you not 
often told me, that, when free from dissipation, he was 
dissatisfied with himself? He is the child who is pleased 
with the brightness of a knife, which he throws away as 
soon as he is hurt by it; he is the invalid whose sto- 
mach cannot digest heavy food ; who guards against it as 
soon as he perceives the evil ; and then, in order to rid 
himself as soon as possible of his former disorder, adopts 
a lighter diet as necessary. The Prince thinks that many 
of those things are beneath his notice which men seize 
upon with so much eagerness, and from which continual re- 
flection and an unbiassed mind alone can deliver us. And 
I declare to you, that in a short time he will believe in 

spirits and apparitions. I do not know him 1 do not 

know the human heart, if his former bigoted ideas of re- 
ligion do not return with double force. Must not this 
consequence obtrude itself upon him as soon as his expe- 
rience teaches him that apparitions do exist ; that his 
present philosophy could not once make him disbelieve this, 
which is the most trifling and unimportant point that a man 
can doubt of. Would it not much less be able to eradicate 
that idea from his mind which education, custom, and our 
own partiality, have concurred to proclaim by an internal 
voice ? Will he not pass from professed freethinking to the 
contrary extreme, and thank the man who leads him to it ? " 

Biondello was silent, and appeared perfectly convinced. 
The old man rose slowly from his arm-chair ; Biondello 
then told him something which I was not able to under- 
stand distinctly ; but I learned that he was to prepare the 
machines ; for, the day after to-morrow, there was to be a 
grand feast. 

Well, friend, what do you think of this conversation ? 
The least that we can infer from it is, that Biondello 
K 4 % 



152 THE GHOST-SEER. 

is concerned in the plot against the Prince. Who can 
possibly be that old man ? Is it not merely the gas- 
conade which is always peculiar to those sort of people ? 
because they by that method keep their underlings (of 
whom, in all probability, Biondello is one) in an astonish- 
ing dread of their power. So that I know not what to 
think of his making use of the d for the execution of 
his plan. And for what purpose was this employed ? 
How can it have any reference to the Prince ? How does 

this all agree w^th ? Ha ! I have a thought What 

if they intend to create the Prince King of ? Per- 
haps this may be the intention of the court of d . 
I must confess sincerely, that, at present, all is a perfect 
mystery to me. 

The same to the same. 

October the 4th. 

The Prince is invited to-morrow to a feast, which is 
given in St. Benedetto, and, as I understand, merely on his 
account. His whole household (except one) will be present ! 
and who this one should be is a matter of great dispute. 
The lot will probably fall to Biondello, because he has pre- 
tended for some time to be indisposed. I call it a pretence, 
because, in my presence, he does not appear so, at least less 
than when the Prince is present. He will, perhaps, as soon 
as we are gone, employ his time in the preparation of the 
machines of which the old man spoke. His pretended in- 
disposition prevents suspicion, and makes it more probable. 
And may it not be possible that this banquet is the idea of 
the old man ? I shall have a watchful eye upon him, and, 
if possible, will remain at home. 

October the 5th. 

I know not what to make of the Prince to-day. He rose 
very early, looks pale and haggard, but studiously seeks to 
hide it; and is dissatisfied if we appear to observe it. It 

is the same with Baron F and Biondello. They are 

all silent, but the Prince laughs at them ; yet I can observe 
that his mind is not easy. Perhaps he has seen an appa- 



THE GHOST-SEER. 153 

rition. It is probable, although I cannot discover the 
truth.* 

The whole house are gone to St. Benedetto,, and I am 
the only inhabitant in this large building. A freezing hor- 
ror surrounds me. My character, as I informed you, was 
mistaken by Biondello; and he begged of the Prince to ac- 
company him. I am glad he is not here ; for his careless- 
ness has thrown into my hands his pocket-book filled with 
letters. He left it in his great-coat pocket. It contains, 
to all appearance, nothing of consequence ; but I will not 
omit to secure any thing that, perhaps, at a future period, 
may be of great importance. I thought I should discover 
something more when I found it, but I was deceived; for 
there were only some little songs, poems, and love-letters. 
I was about to return it to its place, when I resolved to 
ransack it once more, and, behold, I discovered a secret 
pocket ; in which there was what appeared to me to be the 
key to some private writing, that may one day or other fall 
into our hands ; you will take particular care of it. 

Several of the Prince's household are returned, and in 
great consternation. It is said the Prince has killed the 
Marquis Civitella, and is fled. The reason for this rash 
act I know not. God only knows how this unfortunate 
affair will end ! 



Count O in continuation. 

As soon as I had read this, the letter which the Jew 
gave me for the Armenian came into my mind. I sought 
it, and found that the figure was indeed the key to the hie- 
roglyphics. I hastened immediately to Lord Seymour, to 
inform him of this acquisition. We sat ourselves down, 
and, with that key, very easily unravelled the whole ; part 
of which is as follows : 

ff All that you desired is prepared to the greatest 

nicety, and inski is chief of the party; a man of 

great firmness and valour, who is beloved by all. He is sa- 
tisfied with your promises, and wishes, as we all do, very 

* The reader knows it already by the relation of Baron F , and for that 

reason I omit the rest here. Annot. qfthe Count . 



154 THE GHOST-SEER. 

much that the Prince may hecome our King. As soon 

as he has embraced the Roman Catholic religion, and has 

obtained the crown, we shall immediately look upon 

him as our regent; and one single word will then be suffi- 
cient to make him our sovereign, and us ." 

Our surprise at the contents was beyond conception 
the execution of the scheme depending merely upon one 
word too. And what will be the consequence if the Prince 

should be King of ? The old man said himself, that 

these were the only means to accomplish the plan and 
what could that plan be ? No other than that which 
would shake monarchies to their foundation, or totally sub- 
vert them. And if the Prince should obtain the crown of 

, what would happen Is there not besides him a 

successor ? Now I perfectly understand the signification 
of these words, " Wish yourself success, Prince ; he is 
dead." I now perfectly recollect with what emphasis the 

Prince repeated those words. (As F has written to 

me) I was seized with horror. 

" Friend," said I to Lord Seymour, " let us not pro- 
ceed in this business what are we against so many ? 
how shall we be able to swim against the stream ? " " We 
will do it as long as our powers last," he answered me, 
resolutely. " Suppose they are detected, and we are 
involved in the danger ? " ( f Then we shall have the 
satisfaction of knowing that we have done all that we pos- 
sibly could do, which will sweeten our hours, whether 
breathed out in a prison or a palace." " But is it pos- 
sible that he can have that consolation who throws him- 
self through caprice into danger ? " " We are not in that 
situation. When the lives of thousands, or at least their 
happiness, is at stake, no danger is too great to brave, if 
there is any probability of succeeding." (f And is this 
the case ? " " It is." 

" How, friend, can you effectually subvert power ? 
Can you hinder a band of rebels from leading away the 
thoughts of the Prince, when they are attracted by force ? 

Has he not already done what they at desired him 

to do ? Will not every action now become easy to him, 
when he considers that he can receive forgiveness of his 



THE GHOST-SEER. 155 

sins after every wicked deed ? " " Friend, you do not 
consider that if our plans fail, there is still one left ? Have 
you no idea of the power of the state inquisition here ? 
If we discover only half of what we have heard to be true, 
every thing is lost. Will they not fear, and with justice, 
that in that secret society are also manufactured plans 
against the republic ; and that they wish the Prince to 
assist them in the execution of their schemes ? You must 
consider also, that we cannot be detected if we inform 
through the Bocche Parlanti."* " But what will become 
of the Prince ? Gracious Heaven ! If we should be the 
means of forcing the sword of justice to be drawn against 
him." 

" The Prince is excusable whatever he has done, his 
rank will be taken into consideration. Punishment is not 
inflicted with that severity upon men of high birth, as it 
is upon the meaner class of mankind. But let the worst 
come; is it not better that one man, even though a 
Prince, should die for the people, than that multitudes 
should perish on his account ? And though the mine in 
its explosion should even shatter us with the rest, from 
our ashes there will spring flowers which must make future 
generations revere our memory." 

Every one of my objections made the Englishman more 
firm ; and I was at last convinced that he was right, 
although I suffered much in the encounter. I suppressed 
my tears with the hope of a better issue to our plan than 
that which we supposed ; and sought, as much as I could, 
to persuade myself of its being practicable, though I ac- 
knowledged the feeble foundation upon which it rested. 
I trusted principally to Johnson's prudence, which was 
evinced in a great degree by his letters. With the 
greatest anxiety I hastened to my lodgings, and read the 
following letters written by him. Two of them I have 
omitted entirely, as they did not contain any thing but 

* These Bocche Parlanti are large lions' jaws, of marble ; there are many of 
them to be seen in the Palace of St. Mark. All secret denunciations are put 
in them, and over every one is written the kind of accusation which you are to 
deliver. The State Inquisitors examine them every evening, and take into 
consideration the letters they find in them. By that means it is easy to remain 
unknown; for he who expects a recompense for his information detains a 
piece_of it^to show it. 



156 THE GHOST-SEEB. 

what has already been related. And if I found in the 
others what I wished for, the reader will easily discover it. 

Johnson to Lord Seymour. 

October the 25th. 

Since the events which have of late happened to the 
Prince, he is quite changed. He flies the societies which 
he formerly sought. He locks himself up in his room, 
and appears gloomy and melancholy. I do not wonder at 
this ; but it has taken too strong a hold of him, for I am 
fearful that he should lay violent hands on himself. 
Would you suppose that, under the pretence of being ill, 
he has sent away the Marquis, who shows so much tender 
care for him, and is devoted to the completion of his hap- 
piness, and who was a little while ago his most intimate 
friend ; and will you believe me when I tell you, that 
Biondello is not now so frequently about his person, and 
that his love for solitude is equal to his master's. Neces- 
sary as this might be under other circumstances, it now 
makes me more anxious for him. He has so entirely 
separated himself from the world, that he seems cold even 
to his bosom friends : a state of mind by which suicide must 
be encouraged, and less resolution be required to commit 
it. That this is already the case with him, I experienced 
last night. I was alone with him in his room. This 
happens now very often ; for, as soon as it grows dark, he 
does not like to be alone ; he therefore obliges me to, be 
with him, as he believes he can vent his sorrows in my 
presence, without my being able to understand him, and 
that I cannot, from stupidity, learn any thing from his 
gestures. This dread of being alone in the evening, which 
he was before not accustomed to, gives me (besides the 
advantage of observing him) hopes that he may, perhaps^ 
even yet, adopt other sentiments ; for, in my opinion, 
solitude by candle-light must rather strengthen than alter 
such a resolution. And I think, that as long as one yet 
fears something, or, which is the same thing, thinks one 
has something to lose, let it be ever so trifling, which one 
would not willingly be deprived of, the ties are not entirely 
severed which unite us to this mortal life. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 157 

Now to the business. I was alone with him one evening, 
when he rested his head upon his hand, and sat for some 
time almost without animation. He sighed deeply, and la- 
mented that he had ever been born. At last he rose, and 
opening his writing desk, took out of it a red riband. He 
pressed it to his heart and lips. Oh ! that I were able to 
describe his look. It pierced me to the heart I will give 
you, to the best of my recollection, his soliloquy. 

' e Oh ! thou only remains of my beloved Theresa ! " 
(the name of the Greek lady.) He pressed the riband to 
his lips, as the tears hurst from his eyes. The stress which 
he laid upon these words, and his deep sorrow, almost de- 
prived me of my senses. I never saw a man in such a 
terrible situation. His eyes were wildly expressive, and his 
voice hollow and monotonous. I believed his feelings had 
almost driven him to insanity. The burden seemed too 
heavy for his soul to bear. He remained for some time 
fixed like a statue : at last he spoke. ' ' My Theresa ! 
my all ! my . Ah ! how can this miserable earth af- 
ford any relief to my sufferings ! this pitiable state which 
cannot produce one single being who is perfectly happy. 
Which could murder a Theresa! an angel ! murder! 
murder! murder!" (This he spoke with dreadful 
agitation.) " Ha ! what prevents me from breaking the 
bands which separate me from her ? Who can blame the 
lion that bursts the chains which deprive him of his liberty, 
and which separates him from his young ? But can I find 
her again ? Irrecoverably lost ! Irrecoverably ! I would 
seek her through the world, but she is irrecoverably lost ! 
What would I now give for the sweet ideas of eternity, 
which console so many under their afflictions ! What 
would I not sacrifice, if I knew for a certainty that man 
had still a farther destination after his death ? I would 
endure the painful torments of hell, could I hope by that 
to recover my Theresa. Why was a form so beautiful 
created to be the food of worms, that prey indiscriminately 
upon the works of nature ? Oh ! thou that dwellest be- 
yond the stars, if thou existest, restore her to me again, and 
I will believe in thee ! ! Ha! what is that? What 
thoughts prey upon my mind ? Shall I then never more 



158 THE GHOST-SEER. 

forget her ? Will she be always united to every idea ? 
Wilt thou eternal Being ! give me a hint of thy ex- 
istence ? Oh ! what a sea of doubts and uncertainty ! 
Who can save me from it ? I shake like a reed, which 
the wind will break. But I will not wait for it I will 
prevent it. I will attain the truth I will draw back the 
curtain which hides her from my sight I" 

He walked up and down in the room in violent agitation. 
He did not seem to regard me at all. His eyes glanced 
upon the riband, which he held fast in his hand. He 
started with surprise. It was green ! " What is this ? " 
he exclaimed. fe Will you tear from me this also, ye in- 
visible powers ? I am, perhaps, still to be happy ? Ah ! 
Ah ! Happy ! (after a pause.) But I have it still. 
It is, perhaps, the dear shade of my Theresa that is near 
me, and will administer comfort to my heart. Hope ! Oh ! 
without thee there is no comfort left ! " 

You see, dear Seymour, that he believed the change of 
the colour was a miracle. If I had dared, it would not 
have been a difficult task for me to unravel the mystery ; 
for, when I consider that Biondello has a false key to the 
bureau, the change is easily explained ; and should we not 
suspect such a man of every thing ? It was very late, and 
the Prince did not seem disposed to retire to rest. His 
mind still dwelt upon his beloved. His soliloquy was a 
strange mixture of belief and doubt, and both were ap- 
parent equally. ff Yes, it will, it must be so ; with the 
thread of life will also be destroyed my piercing torments ! " 
He had scarcely finished the last word, when Biondello 
rushed into the room, and threw himself at the Prince's 
feet. Alarm and terror were expressive in his counte- 
nance, his eyes seemed starting from his head, his hair was 
dishevelled, and he was half dressed. " Alas ! my gracious 
Prince," he at last cried, with a tremulous voice, and 
pressed himself closer to him. The Prince was quite em- 
barrassed, and said not a word. " Pardon, pardon, gra- 
cious Prince ! " exclaimed Biondello again. 

" Are you mad, Biondello ? " said the Prince. ( ' Why 
do you ask my pardon ? What have you committed ? " 
' ' It would be well if I were mad. Alas ! my gracious, my 



THE GHOST-SEER. 159 

beloved master ! " The Prince had great difficulty to 
bring him to his senses. At last he succeeded, and then 
related his reason for this strange conduct; after having 
entreated once more his pardon for what he should relate. 
The Prince granted it, and he at last began. 

f ' Since your Highness has devoted your hours to solitude, 
I have led a most miserable life. It is the more painful to 
me, when I consider that I have lost your affection. It 
seemed I was no longer worthy of it, nor of the happiness 
to be with you, gracious Prince ! I did not perceive in 
you any traits of your former humiliation ; but, in its 
place, I beheld your countenance shadowed by melancholy. 
I questioned myself from what this could proceed. I 
doubted whether from the effect of the apparitions, or the 
great losses you had sustained. But you did not reflect 
upon them at the moment ; it was from mature deliber- 
ation, and when there was nothing to be feared. Sudden 
and violent sorrow is seldom of long duration ; but that 
which comes after it is so much the more dangerous, as it 
takes deeper root, and deprives us of that consolation which 
we in general treasure up for ourselves. Anxiety for you, 
gracious Prince, oppressed my soul, disturbed me during 
the day, and chased away slumber from my eyes. I had 
scarcely laid myself down, and offered up a prayer to my 
Saviour, and all the saints, that they might take you under 
their protection, when on a sudden I thought I saw a light. 
I opened my eyes, but I was obliged to shut them imme- 
diately. A figure stood before me in the midst of splen- 
dour, which blinded me. I could not on that account open 
them again. With an agreeable, yet thrilling voice, it 
spoke as follows: ' Thy master is big with thought, 
which is supported by his disbelief. He means to fly by 
suicide into futurity, for which he is not yet prepared. I 
dared not to appear to him myself. Tell him this, and 
warn him of the consequences of so rash an act/ " 

The Prince turned pale^seized Biondello by the collar 
ee Impostor," he exclaimed, with a fearful voice, " you 
have overheard me !" Senseless he fell upon the ground. 
I hastened to his assistance ; but the Prince prevented me, 
and dragged him to an arm-chair. His look was ghastly. 



160 



THE GHOST-SEER. 



It was a long time before he could recover himself, in spite 
of our endeavours. But as soon as he opened his eyes, he 
threw himself again at the feet of the Prince, and begged 
pardon that he was obliged to say what he did. The 
Prince repented his intemperance. " It is the effect of 
imagination, Biondello," said he to him ; " go to bed. 
To-morrow I will send a physician to you. I forgive 
your conduct, because it shows your love for me. Be 
composed on my account, and go to bed." 

" I have not dreamed, gracious sir, and my fancy has 
not at all deceived me. Behold here is the proof of it." 
He put something into the hand of the Prince, who looked 
at it with astonishment. <c Yes, it is," he exclaimed ; " it 
is the ring of my Theresa, which I gave her on her birth- 
day. Oh what a day of happiness was that to me ! But 
how came it into thy hands ? How is that possible ? She 
took it with her into her grave; I saw it myself!" " The 
spirit gave it to me. ' Here,' said he, after having ut- 
tered those dreadful words, e carry this to your master, 
and tell him that patience and resignation will be his 
best guide.' He disappeared, and I hastened hither." 
" Hope and patience conduct us to the end which we 
desire ! What is this ! If she It cannot be her " 

At this moment there was a great knocking at our gate ; 
it was opened, and the Marquis Civitella came in. His 
dress, as also his countenance, indicated the greatest em- 
barrassment : from his eyes flashed anxiety and fear. He 
hastened immediately into the Prince's room; and when 
he saw him he seemed to be more tranquil. Can you 
guess, friend, for what purpose he came hither at such an 
unusual time? He had seen the same apparition as 
Biondello had; every word was the same, only that he 
did not obtain the ring, which the Prince had forced, with 
great difficulty, upon his finger. It is therefore but too 
true, that he also belongs to the party, and that all this is 
an invention. I cannot doubt it for a moment. If I were 
not already a little prepared for their plans, they would 
Jhave deceived me, so masterly did they act their parts. 
And I must give myself credit, that I looked upon all this 
for deceit, and not for fact, so great was their deception. 



THE GHOST-SEER. 



161 



Judge yourself, by that, if it was possible for the Prince 
to doubt a moment on the subject ; and the ring from 
whence they obtained that I should like to know. As far 
as I can learn, the Greek lady is buried in the vault of a 

church of the convent , where no person can obtain an 

easy access. We must presume then, that there are some 
monks of the order engaged in the execution of the plan ; 
and even if they knew not any thing of this circumstance, 
they may have been corrupted by money; which, from 
the character of the priests, I naturally conclude must have 
been a considerable sum. Do not laugh at my observation, 
if it should seem singular to you. I thought it necessary 
to refute what you said in your last letter; that the 
desire of acquiring wealth might probably be the aim of 
the conspirators. That is certainly not the case ; for what 
sums of money might they not already have spent, which 
the Prince, in his present situation, never could repay 
them ? And if that was their aim, could they not have 
obtained it quicker and surer ? How you came at present 
to have such an idea, I cannot comprehend. Do not 
deceive yourself with the delusive dream of hope : and, 
for heaven's sake, do not believe that your bank-notes will 
be sufficient to subvert the plans which are laid for the 
Prince. Let us make use of them for our own support, 
whilst we are endeavouring to destroy their views. And 
that cannot happen until I experience more of the business ; 
for we are not able, at present, to prevent the attacks upon 
the Prince's religious opinions, unless his good genius 
should assist us; but we cannot expect that at present. 
I am not perfectly clear as to the extent of their design. 
I believed that they wished to make the Prince a mere 
proselyte ; for we already have a number of instances of 
the kind, and of the tricks made use of by the church, to 
tear what they call a stray sheep from the claws of the 
devil. But this seems to me very improbable, for they 
would have found this an easier task than that which they 
are pursuing. And what could induce the old man to 
have said, that he had already sought to bring the court of 
d over to his plans, if he did not mean to prove 
himself a pitiful boaster, which could not have been his 

VOL. I. L 



162 THE GHOST-SEER, 

intention. But, because I cannot find out their aim, it 
does not prove that it must necessarily be the desire of 
acquiring authority. If I was willing to entertain you 
with more probabilities, I could fill my letter with them. 
But what am I about ? I see that my letter has increased 
very much, and yet I have not related to you all that my 
heart wishes, and what it is necessary for you to know. You 
see how clearly I was determined to support my opinion. 
Have you entirely forgotten that I like to quarrel with 
you, and that you used to call me, in a joke, the quarrel- 
some friend ? This harangue is sufficient to recall that to- 
your memory. 

Civitella stayed with us the remainder of the night. They 
had no idea of retiring to rest ; I was therefore obliged to 
call up the cook, to prepare a meal as quickly as possible. * 
They sat themselves down to the table, but had no appetite. 
In vain did Civitella endeavour to be witty ; in which he, 
in general, succeeds very well. The conversation turned 
upon apparitions; and Civitella now found an opportunity 
to reproach the Prince for his former coolness towards him. 
He excused himself, by pleading the state of his mind. 
Civitella seemed satisfied, but begged of the Prince to fol- 
low the methods which he would propose, to eradicate his 
disorder. His plans were all of such a nature, that he could 
not help smiling ; and by that means he succeeded, at last,, 
to make the company somewhat merry; to which the Prinee, 
however, contributed very little, but gave no signs of dissa- 
tisfaction. He at last promised to follow the advice of the 
Marquis, who could not conceal his joy on the occasion. 

" Then, we have you again, my Prince," he exclaimed 
in exultation. " Do not triumph too soon, Marquis," said 
the Prince; " will you always be able to find the right means 
to chase away my gloomy thoughts ? " " Always, if you 
follow my advice, gracious Prince ! " e ' You flatter your- 
self too much When you have proved it to my satisfac- 

* At Venice thia is not at all extraordinary ; for the desire of eating is (pro- 
bably on account of the sea air) very great. We seldom see Venetians without 
having something to eat in their hands. In the city, on every side, you see 
victuals of all kinds to be sold. Even at the Opera-houses you are frequently 
interrupted by the noise of sellers of provisions j and in every house at mid- 
night you find victuals preparing. 



THE GHOST-SEER. l63 

tion, I will believe you ; but I fear that you will not 
succeed so easily as you expect." f( Do you know that 
confidence is half the remedy ? Above every thing else,, 
likewise, comply with my first request, and rather make 
yourself acquainted with the corporeal than the spiritual 
world ; for, although I know, by experience, your influence 
in the latter, I nevertheless cannot help fearing, that the 
gloom, which is the inseparable attendant upon creatures 
devoid of flesh and bones, might have a greater effect upon 
your mind. But did the apparition, which I beheld this 
night, appear in consequence of your command, or have I 
incurred your displeasure by any other means ? " 

Civitella betrayed great anxiety as he spoke these last 
words, and the Prince sneered probably from the asso- 
ciation of ideas. The Prince soon resumed his former coun- 
tenance. I was obliged now to serve tea, and could not hear 
the end of the conversation ; yet I concluded, from several 
words which I caught by accident, and from the Prince's 
countenance, that it had taken a happy turn, and that the 
entertainment must have ended very well. The midnight 
hour is past, and although I would willingly chatter with 
you a little longer, I must finish my letter I wish for 
repose. 



END OP THE FIRST VOLUME. 



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