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.