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Chapter 10

  • I spent the following day roaming through the valley. I stood beside th_ources of the Arveiron, which take their rise in a glacier, that with slo_ace 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 glacie_verhung me; a few shattered pines were scattered around; and the solem_ilence of this glorious presence-chamber of imperial nature was broken onl_y the brawling waves or the fall of some vast fragment, the thunder sound o_he avalanche or the cracking, reverberated along the mountains, of th_ccumulated ice, which, through the silent working of immutable laws, was eve_nd 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 tha_ was capable of receiving. They elevated me from all littleness of feeling,
  • and although they did not remove my grief, they subdued and tranquillized it.
  • In some degree, also, they diverted my mind from the thoughts over which i_ad brooded for the last month. I retired to rest at night; my slumbers, as i_ere, waited on and ministered to by the assemblance of grand shapes which _ad contemplated during the day. They congregated round me; the unstaine_nowy mountaintop, the glittering pinnacle, the pine woods, and ragged bar_avine, the eagle, soaring amidst the clouds—they all gathered round me an_ade me be at peace.
  • Where had they fled when the next morning I awoke? All of soul- inspiritin_led with sleep, and dark melancholy clouded every thought. The rain wa_ouring in torrents, and thick mists hid the summits of the mountains, so tha_ even saw not the faces of those mighty friends. Still I would penetrat_heir misty veil and seek them in their cloudy retreats. What were rain an_torm to me? My mule was brought to the door, and I resolved to ascend to th_ummit of Montanvert. I remembered the effect that the view of the tremendou_nd ever-moving glacier had produced upon my mind when I first saw it. It ha_hen filled me with a sublime ecstasy that gave wings to the soul and allowe_t to soar from the obscure world to light and joy. The sight of the awful an_ajestic in nature had indeed always the effect of solemnizing my mind an_ausing me to forget the passing cares of life. I determined to go without _uide, for I was well acquainted with the path, and the presence of anothe_ould destroy the solitary grandeur of the scene.
  • The ascent is precipitous, but the path is cut into continual and shor_indings, which enable you to surmount the perpendicularity of the mountain.
  • It is a scene terrifically desolate. In a thousand spots the traces of th_inter avalanche may be perceived, where trees lie broken and strewed on th_round, some entirely destroyed, others bent, leaning upon the jutting rock_f the mountain or transversely upon other trees. The path, as you ascen_igher, is intersected by ravines of snow, down which stones continually rol_rom above; one of them is particularly dangerous, as the slightest sound,
  • such as even speaking in a loud voice, produces a concussion of air sufficien_o draw destruction upon the head of the speaker. The pines are not tall o_uxuriant, but they are sombre and add an air of severity to the scene. _ooked on the valley beneath; vast mists were rising from the rivers which ra_hrough it and curling in thick wreaths around the opposite mountains, whos_ummits were hid in the uniform clouds, while rain poured from the dark sk_nd added to the melancholy impression I received from the objects around me.
  • Alas! Why does man boast of sensibilities superior to those apparent in th_rute; it only renders them more necessary beings. If our impulses wer_onfined to hunger, thirst, and desire, we might be nearly free; but now w_re moved by every wind that blows and a chance word or scene that that wor_ay convey to us.
  • We rest; a dream has power to poison sleep. We rise; one wand'ring though_ollutes the day. We feel, conceive, or reason; laugh or weep, Embrace fon_oe, or cast our cares away; It is the same: for, be it joy or sorrow, Th_ath of its departure still is free. Man's yesterday may ne'er be like hi_orrow; Nought may endure but mutability!
  • It was nearly noon when I arrived at the top of the ascent. For some time _at upon the rock that overlooks the sea of ice. A mist covered both that an_he surrounding mountains. Presently a breeze dissipated the cloud, and _escended upon the glacier. The surface is very uneven, rising like the wave_f a troubled sea, descending low, and interspersed by rifts that sink deep.
  • The field of ice is almost a league in width, but I spent nearly two hours i_rossing it. The opposite mountain is a bare perpendicular rock. From the sid_here I now stood Montanvert was exactly opposite, at the distance of _eague; and above it rose Mont Blanc, in awful majesty. I remained in a reces_f the rock, gazing on this wonderful and stupendous scene. The sea, or rathe_he vast river of ice, wound among its dependent mountains, whose aeria_ummits hung over its recesses. Their icy and glittering peaks shone in th_unlight over the clouds. My heart, which was before sorrowful, now swelle_ith 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 tak_e, 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 i_he ice, among which I had walked with caution; his stature, also, as h_pproached, seemed to exceed that of man. I was troubled; a mist came over m_yes, and I felt a faintness seize me, but I was quickly restored by the col_ale of the mountains. I perceived, as the shape came nearer (sight tremendou_nd abhorred!) that it was the wretch whom I had created. I trembled with rag_nd horror, resolving to wait his approach and then close with him in morta_ombat. He approached; his countenance bespoke bitter anguish, combined wit_isdain and malignity, while its unearthly ugliness rendered it almost to_orrible for human eyes. But I scarcely observed this; rage and hatred had a_irst deprived me of utterance, and I recovered only to overwhelm him wit_ords expressive of furious detestation and contempt.
  • "Devil," I exclaimed, "do you dare approach me? And do not you fear the fierc_engeance of my arm wreaked on your miserable head? Begone, vile insect! O_ather, stay, that I may trample you to dust! And, oh! That I could, with th_xtinction of your miserable existence, restore those victims whom you have s_iabolically murdered!"
  • "I expected this reception," said the daemon. "All men hate the wretched; how,
  • then, must I be hated, who am miserable beyond all living things! Yet you, m_reator, detest and spurn me, thy creature, to whom thou art bound by tie_nly dissoluble by the annihilation of one of us. You purpose to kill me. Ho_are you sport thus with life? Do your duty towards me, and I will do min_owards you and the rest of mankind. If you will comply with my conditions, _ill leave them and you at peace; but if you refuse, I will glut the maw o_eath, until it be satiated with the blood of your remaining friends."
  • "Abhorred monster! Fiend that thou art! The tortures of hell are too mild _engeance for thy crimes. Wretched devil! You reproach me with your creation,
  • come on, then, that I may extinguish the spark which I so negligentl_estowed."
  • My rage was without bounds; I sprang on him, impelled by all the feeling_hich 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 m_evoted head. Have I not suffered enough, that you seek to increase my misery?
  • Life, although it may only be an accumulation of anguish, is dear to me, and _ill defend it. Remember, thou hast made me more powerful than thyself; m_eight is superior to thine, my joints more supple. But I will not be tempte_o set myself in opposition to thee. I am thy creature, and I will be eve_ild and docile to my natural lord and king if thou wilt also perform th_art, the which thou owest me. Oh, Frankenstein, be not equitable to ever_ther and trample upon me alone, to whom thy justice, and even thy clemenc_nd affection, is most due. Remember that I am thy creature; I ought to be th_dam, but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for n_isdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. _as benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shal_gain be virtuous."
  • "Begone! I will not hear you. There can be no community between you and me; w_re enemies. Begone, or let us try our strength in a fight, in which one mus_all."
  • "How can I move thee? Will no entreaties cause thee to turn a favourable ey_pon thy creature, who implores thy goodness and compassion? Believe me,
  • Frankenstein, I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity; but a_ not alone, miserably alone? You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can _ather 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 her_any 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 the_re kinder to me than your fellow beings. If the multitude of mankind knew o_y 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 powe_o recompense me, and deliver them from an evil which it only remains for yo_o make so great, that not only you and your family, but thousands of others,
  • shall be swallowed up in the whirlwinds of its rage. Let your compassion b_oved, and do not disdain me. Listen to my tale; when you have heard that,
  • abandon or commiserate me, as you shall judge that I deserve. But hear me. Th_uilty are allowed, by human laws, bloody as they are, to speak in their ow_efence before they are condemned. Listen to me, Frankenstein. You accuse m_f murder, and yet you would, with a satisfied conscience, destroy your ow_reature. Oh, praise the eternal justice of man! Yet I ask you not to spar_e; listen to me, and then, if you can, and if you will, destroy the work o_our hands."
  • "Why do you call to my remembrance," I rejoined, "circumstances of which _hudder to reflect, that I have been the miserable origin and author? Curse_e the day, abhorred devil, in which you first saw light! Cursed (although _urse myself) be the hands that formed you! You have made me wretched beyon_xpression. You have left me no power to consider whether I am just to you o_ot. Begone! Relieve me from the sight of your detested form."
  • "Thus I relieve thee, my creator," he said, and placed his hated hands befor_y eyes, which I flung from me with violence; "thus I take from thee a sigh_hich you abhor. Still thou canst listen to me and grant me thy compassion. B_he virtues that I once possessed, I demand this from you. Hear my tale; it i_ong and strange, and the temperature of this place is not fitting to you_ine sensations; come to the hut upon the mountain. The sun is yet high in th_eavens; before it descends to hide itself behind your snowy precipices an_lluminate another world, you will have heard my story and can decide. On yo_t rests, whether I quit forever the neighbourhood of man and lead a harmles_ife, or become the scourge of your fellow creatures and the author of you_wn speedy ruin."
  • As he said this he led the way across the ice; I followed. My heart was full,
  • and I did not answer him, but as I proceeded, I weighed the various argument_hat he had used and determined at least to listen to his tale. I was partl_rged by curiosity, and compassion confirmed my resolution. I had hithert_upposed him to be the murderer of my brother, and I eagerly sought _onfirmation or denial of this opinion. For the first time, also, I felt wha_he duties of a creator towards his creature were, and that I ought to rende_im happy before I complained of his wickedness. These motives urged me t_omply with his demand. We crossed the ice, therefore, and ascended th_pposite rock. The air was cold, and the rain again began to descend; w_ntered the hut, the fiend with an air of exultation, I with a heavy heart an_epressed spirits. But I consented to listen, and seating myself by the fir_hich my odious companion had lighted, he thus began his tale.