Showing posts with label Hades. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hades. Show all posts

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

THE STATE OF THE DEAD



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CHAPTER XXII.

THE STATE OF THE DEAD.

AMONG all the problems with which man has busied himself, none so appeals to his hopes and fears as that of the future life. Is there a farther shore, and if so, shall we reach it? Few races, if any, have doubted the existence of a future state, but their conceptions of it have differed greatly. But of all the races of antiquity, outside Egypt, the Celts seem to have cherished the most ardent belief in the world beyond the grave, and to have been preoccupied with its joys. Their belief, so far as we know it, was extremely vivid, and its chief characteristic was life in the body after death, in another region. 1 This, coupled with the fact that it was taught as a doctrine by the Druids, made it the admiration of classical onlookers. But besides this belief there was another, derived from the ideas of a distant past, that the dead lived on in the grave--the two conceptions being connected. And there may also have been a certain degree of belief in transmigration. Although the Celts believed that the soul could exist apart from the body, there seems to be no evidence that they believed in a future existence of the soul as a shade. This belief is certainly found in some late Welsh poems, where the ghosts are described as wandering in the Caledonian forest, but these can hardly be made use of as evidence for the old pagan doctrine. The evidence for the latter may be gathered

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from classical observers, from archaeology and from Irish texts.

Cæsar writes: "The Druids in particular wish to impress this on them that souls do not perish, but pass from one to another (ab aliis ... ad alios) after death, and by this chiefly they think to incite men to valour, the fear of death being overlooked." Later he adds, that at funerals all things which had been dear to the dead man, even living creatures, were thrown on the funeral pyre, and shortly before his time slaves and beloved clients were also consumed. 1 Diodorus says: "Among them the doctrine of Pythagoras prevailed that the souls of men were immortal, and after completing their term of existence they live again, the soul passing into another body. Hence at the burial of the dead some threw letters addressed to dead relatives on the funeral pile, believing that the dead would read them in the next world." 2 Valerius Maximus writes: "They would fain make us believe that the souls of men are immortal. I would be tempted to call these breeches-wearing folk fools, if their doctrine were not the same as that of the mantle-clad Pythagoras." He also speaks of money lent which would be repaid in the next world, because men's souls are immortal. 3 These passages are generally taken to mean that the Celts believed simply in transmigration of the Pythagorean type. Possibly all these writers cite one common original, but Cæsar makes no reference to Pythagoras. A comparison with the Pythagorean doctrine shows that the Celtic belief differed materially from it. According to the former, men's souls entered new bodies, even those of animals, in this world, and as an expiation. There is nothing of this in the Celtic doctrine. The new body is not a prison-house of the soul in which it must expiate its former sins, and the soul receives it not in this world but in another. The real point of

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connection was the insistence of both upon immortality, the Druids teaching that it was bodily immortality. Their doctrine no more taught transmigration than does the Christian doctrine of the resurrection. Roman writers, aware that Pythagoras taught immortality via a series of transmigrations, and that the Druids taught a doctrine of bodily immortality, may have thought that the receiving of a new body meant transmigration. Themselves sceptical of a future life or believing in a traditional gloomy Hades, they were bound to be struck with the vigour of the Celtic doctrine and its effects upon conduct. The only thing like it of which they knew was the Pythagorean doctrine. Looked at in this light, Cæsar's words need not convey the idea of transmigration, and it is possible that he mistranslated some Greek original. Had these writers meant that the Druids taught transmigration, they could hardly have added the passages regarding debts being paid in the other world, or letters conveyed there by the dead, or human sacrifices to benefit the dead there. These also preclude the idea of a mere immortality of the soul. The dead Celt continued to be the person he had been, and it may have been that not a new body, but the old body glorified, was tenanted by his soul beyond the grave. This bodily immortality in a region where life went on as on this earth, but under happier conditions, would then be like the Vedic teaching that the soul, after the burning of the body, went to the heaven of Yama, and there received its body complete and glorified. The two conceptions, Hindu and Celtic, may have sprung from early "Aryan" belief.

This Celtic doctrine appears more clearly from what Lucan says of the Druidic teaching. "From you we learn that the bourne of man's existence is not the silent halls of Erebus, in another world (or region, in orbe alio) the spirit animates the members. Death, if your lore be true, is but the centre of a

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long life." For this reason, he adds, the Celtic warrior had no fear of death. 1 Thus Lucan conceived the Druidic doctrine to be one of bodily immortality in another region. That region was not a gloomy state; rather it resembled the Egyptian Aalu with its rich and varied existence. Classical writers, of course, may have known of what appears to have been a sporadic Celtic idea, derived from old beliefs, that the soul might take the form of an animal, but this was not the Druidic teaching. Again, if the Gauls, like the Irish, had myths telling of the rebirth of gods or semi-divine beings, these may have been misinterpreted by those writers and regarded as eschatological. But such myths do not concern mortals. Other writers, Timagenes, Strabo, and Mela, 2 speak only of the immortality of the soul, but their testimony is probably not at variance with that of Lucan, since Mela appears to copy Cæsar, and speaks of accounts and debts being passed on to the next world.

This theory of a bodily immortality is supported by the Irish sagas, in which ghosts, in our sense of the word, do not exist. The dead who return are not spectres, but are fully clothed upon with a body. Thus, when Cúchulainn returns at the command of S. Patrick, he is described exactly as if he were still in the flesh. "His hair was thick and black ... in his head his eye gleamed swift and grey.... Blacker than the side of a cooking spit each of his two brows, redder than ruby his lips." His clothes and weapons are fully described, while his chariot and horses are equally corporeal. 3 Similar descriptions of the dead who return are not infrequent, e.g. that of Caoilte in the story of Mongan, whom every one believes to be a living warrior, and that of Fergus mac Roich, who reappeared in a beautiful form, adorned with brown hair and

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clad in his former splendour, and recited the lost story of the Táin1 Thus the Irish Celts believed that in another world the spirit animated the members. This bodily existence is also suggested in Celtic versions of the "Dead Debtor" folktale cycle. Generally an animal in whose shape a dead man helps his benefactor is found in other European versions, but in the Celtic stories not an animal but the dead man himself appears as a living person in corporeal form. 2Equally substantial and corporeal, eating, drinking, lovemaking, and fighting are the divine folk of the síd or of Elysium, or the gods as they are represented in the texts. To the Celts, gods, síde, and the dead, all alike had a bodily form, which, however, might become invisible, and in other ways differed from the earthly body.

The archæological evidence of burial customs among the Celts also bears witness to this belief. Over the whole Celtic area a rich profusion of grave-goods has been found, consisting of weapons, armour, chariots, utensils, ornaments, and coins. 3 Some of the interments undoubtedly point to sacrifice of wife, children, or slaves at the grave. Male and female skeletons are often in close proximity, in one case the arm of the male encircling the neck of the female. In other cases the remains of children are found with these. Or while the lower interment is richly provided with grave-goods, above it lie irregularly several skeletons, without grave-goods, and often with head separated from the body, pointing to decapitation, while in one case the arms had been tied behind the back. 4 All this

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suggests, taken in connection with classical evidence regarding burial customs, that the future life was life in the body, and that it was a replica of this life, with the same affections, needs, and energies. Certain passages in Irish texts also describe burials, and tell how the dead were interred with ornaments and weapons, while it was a common custom to bury the dead warrior in his armour, fully armed, and facing the region whence enemies might be expected. Thus he was a perpetual menace to them and prevented their attack. 1 Possibly this belief may account for the elevated position of many tumuli. Animals were also sacrificed. Hostages were buried alive with Fiachra, according to one text, and the wives of heroes sometimes express their desire to be buried along with their dead husbands. 2

The idea that the body as well as the soul was immortal was probably linked on to a very primitive belief regarding the dead, and one shared by many peoples, that they lived on in the grave. This conception was never forgotten, even in regions where the theory of a distant land of the dead was evolved, or where the body was consumed by fire before burial. It appears from such practices as binding the dead with cords, or laying heavy stones or a mound of earth on the grave, probably to prevent their egress, or feeding the dead with sacrificial food at the grave, or from the belief that the dead come forth not as spirits, but in the body from the grave. This primitive conception, of which the belief in a subterranean world of the dead is an extension, long survived among various

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races, e.g. the Scandinavians, who believed in the barrow as the abiding place of the dead, while they also had their conception of Hel and Valhalla, or among the Slavs, side by side with Christian conceptions. 1 It also survived among the Celts, though another belief in the orbis alius had arisen. This can be shown from modern and ancient folk-belief and custom.

In numerous Celtic folk-tales the dead rise in the body, not as ghosts, from the grave, which is sometimes described as a house in which they live. They perform their ordinary occupations in house or field; they eat with the living, or avenge themselves upon them; if scourged, blood is drawn from their bodies; and, in one curious Breton tale, a dead husband visits his wife in bed and she then has a child by him, because, as he said, "sa compte d'enfants" was not yet complete. 2 In other stories a corpse becomes animated and speaks or acts in presence of the living, or from the tomb itself when it is disturbed. 3 The earliest literary example of such a tale is the tenth century "Adventures of Nera," based on older sources. In this Nera goes to tie a withy to the foot of a man who has been hung. The corpse begs a drink, and then forces Nera to carry him to a house, where he kills two sleepers. 4 All such stories, showing as they do that a corpse is really living, must in essence be of great antiquity. Another common belief, found over the Celtic area, is that the dead rise from the grave, not as ghosts, when they will, and that they appear en masse on the night of All Saints, and join the living. 5

As a result of such beliefs, various customs are found in

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use, apparently to permit of the corpse having freedom of movement, contrary to the older custom of preventing its egress from the grave. In the west of Ireland the feet of the corpse are left free, and the nails are drawn from the coffin at the grave. In the Hebrides the threads of the shroud are cut or the bindings of feet, hands, and face are raised when the body is placed in the coffin, and in Brittany the arms and feet are left free when the corpse is dressed. 1 The reason is said to be that the spirit may have less trouble in getting to the spirit world, but it is obvious that a more material view preceded and still underlies this later gloss. Many stories are told illustrating these customs, and the earlier belief, Christianised, appears in the tale of a woman who haunted her friends because they had made her grave-clothes so short that the fires of Purgatory burnt her knees. 2

Earlier customs recorded among the Celts also point to the existence of this primitive belief influencing actual custom. Nicander says that the Celts went by night to the tombs of great men to obtain oracles, so much did they believe that they were still living there. 3 In Ireland, oracles were also sought by sleeping on funeral cairns, and it was to the grave of Fergus that two bards resorted in order to obtain from him the lost story of the Táin. We have also seen how, in Ireland, armed heroes exerted a sinister influence upon enemies from their graves, which may thus have been regarded as their homes--a belief also underlying the Welsh story of Bran's head.

Where was the world of the dead situated? M. Reinach has shown, by a careful comparison of the different uses of the

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word orbis, that Lucan's words do not necessarily mean "another world," but "another region," i.e. of this world. 1 If the Celts cherished so firmly the belief that the dead lived on in the grave, a belief in an underworld of the dead was bound in course of time to have been evolved as part of their creed. To it all graves and tumuli would give access. Classical observers apparently held that the Celtic future state was like their own in being an underworld region, since they speak of the dead Celts as inferi, or as going ad Manes, and Plutarch makes Camma speak of descending to her dead husband. 2 What differentiated it from their own gloomy underworld was its exuberant life and immortality. This aspect of a subterranean land presented no difficulty to the Celt, who had many tales of an underworld or under-water region more beautiful and blissful than anything on earth. Such a subterranean world must have been that of the Celtic Dispater, a god of fertility and growth, the roots of things being nourished from his kingdom. From him men had descended, 3 probably a myth of their coming forth from his subterranean kingdom, and to him they returned after death to a blissful life.

Several writers, notably M. D'Arbois, assume that the orbis alius of the dead was the Celtic island Elysium. But that Elysium never appears in the tales as a land of the dead. It is a land of gods and deathless folk who are not those who have passed from this world by death. Mortals may reach it by favour, but only while still in life. It might be argued that Elysium was regarded in pagan times as the land of the dead, but after Christian eschatological views prevailed, it became a kind of fairyland. But the existing tales give no hint of this, and, after being carefully examined, they show that Elysium

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had always been a place distinct from that of the departed, though there may have arisen a tendency to confuse the two.

If there was a genuine Celtic belief in an island of the dead, it could have been no more than a local one, else Cæsar would not have spoken as he does of the Celtic Dispater. Such a local belief now exists on the Breton coast, but it is mainly concerned with the souls of the drowned. 1 A similar local belief may explain the story told by Procopius, who says that Brittia (Britain), an island lying off the mouth of the Rhine, is divided from north to south by a wall beyond which is a noxious region. This is a distorted reminiscence of the Roman wall, which would appear to run in this direction if Ptolemy's map, in which Scotland lies at right angles to England, had been consulted. Thither fishermen from the opposite coast are compelled to ferry over at dead of night the shades of the dead, unseen to them, but marshalled by a mysterious leader. 2 Procopius may have mingled some local belief with the current tradition that Ulysses' island of the shades lay in the north, or in the west. 3 In any case his story makes of the gloomy land of the shades a very different region from the blissful Elysium of the Celts and from their joyous orbis alius, nor is it certain that he is referring to a Celtic people.

Traces of the idea of an underworld of the dead exist in Breton folk-belief. The dead must travel across a subterranean ocean, and though there is scarcely any tradition regarding what happens on landing, M. Sébillot thinks that formerly "there existed in the subterranean world a sort of centralisation of the different states of the dead." If so, this must have been founded on pagan belief. The interior of the earth is

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also believed to be the abode of fabulous beings, of giants, and of fantastic animals, and there is also a subterranean fairy world. In all this we may see a survival of the older belief, modified by Christian teaching, since the Bretons suppose that purgatory and hell are beneath the earth and accessible from its surface. 1

Some British folk-lore brought to Greece by Demetrius and reported by Plutarch might seem to suggest that certain persons--the mighty dead--were privileged to pass to the island Elysium. Some islands near Britain were called after gods and heroes, and the inhabitants of one of these were regarded as sacrosanct by the Britons, like the priestesses of Sena. They were visited by Demetrius, who was told that the storms which arose during his visit were caused by the passing away of some of the "mighty" or of the "great souls." It may have been meant that such mighty ones passed to the more distant islands, but this is certainly not stated. In another island, Kronos was imprisoned, watched over by Briareus, and guarded by demons. 2 Plutarch refers to these islands in another work, repeating the story of Kronos, and saying that his island is mild and fragrant, that people live there waiting on the god who sometimes appears to them and prevents their departing. Meanwhile they are happy and know no care, spending their time in sacrificing and hymn-singing or in studying legends and philosophy.

Plutarch has obviously mingled Celtic Elysium beliefs with the classical conception of the Druids. 3 In Elysium there is

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no care, and favoured mortals who pass there are generally prevented from returning to earth. The reference to Kronos may also be based partly on myths of Celtic gods of Elysium, partly on tales of heroes who departed to mysterious islands or to the hollow hills where they lie asleep, but whence they will one day return to benefit their people. So Arthur passed to Avalon, but in other tales be and his warriors are asleep beneath Craig-y-Ddinas, just as Fionn and his men rest within this or that hill in the Highlands. Similar legends are told of other Celtic heroes, and they witness to the belief that great men who had died would return in the hour of their people's need. In time they were thought not to have died at all, but to be merely sleeping and waiting for their hour. 1 The belief is based on the idea that the dead are alive in grave or barrow, or in a spacious land below the earth, or that dead warriors can menace their foes from the tomb.

Thus neither in old sagas, nor in Märchen, nor in popular tradition, is the island Elysium a world of the dead. For the most part the pagan eschatology has been merged in that of Christianity, while the Elysium belief has remained intact and still survives it a whole series of beautiful tales.

The world of the dead was in all respects a replica of this world, but it was happier. In existing Breton and Irish belief--a survival of the older conception of the bodily state of the dead--they resume their tools, crafts, and occupations, and they preserve their old feelings. Hence, when they appear on earth, it is in bodily form and in their customary dress. Like

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the pagan Gauls, the Breton remembers unpaid debts, and cannot rest till they are paid, and in Brittany, Ireland, and the Highlands the food and clothes given to the poor after a death, feed and clothe the dead in the other world. 1 If the world of the dead was subterranean,--a theory supported by current folk-belief, 2--the Earth-goddess or the Earth-god, who had been first the earth itself, then a being living below its surface and causing fertility, could not have become the divinity of the dead until the multitude of single graves or barrows, in each of which the dead lived, had become a wide subterranean region of the dead. This divinity was the source of life and growth; hence he or she was regarded as the progenitor of mankind, who had come forth from the underworld and would return there at death. It is not impossible that the Breton conception of Ankou, death personified, is a reminiscence of the Celtic Dispater. He watches over all things beyond the grave, and carries off the dead to his kingdom. But if so he has been altered for the worse by mediæval ideas of "Death the skeleton" 3 He is a grisly god of death, whereas the Celtic Dis was a beneficent god of the dead who enjoyed a happy immortality. They were not cold phantasms, but alive and endowed with corporeal form and able to enjoy the things of a better existence, and clad in the beautiful raiment and gaudy ornaments which were loved so much on earth. Hence Celtic warriors did not fear death, and suicide was extremely common, while Spanish Celts sang hymns in praise of death, and others celebrated the birth of men with mourning, but their deaths with joy. 4 Lucan's words are thus the truest expression of Celtic eschatology--"In another

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region the spirit animates the members; death, if your lore be true, is but the passage to enduring life."

There is no decisive evidence pointing to any theory of moral retribution beyond the grave among the pagan Celts. Perhaps, since the hope of immortality made warriors face death without a tremor, it may have been held, as many other races have believed, that cowards would miss the bliss of the future state. Again, in some of the Irish Christian visions of the other-world and in existing folk-belief, certain characteristics of hell may not be derived from Christian eschatology, e.g. the sufferings of the dead from cold. 1 This might point to an old belief in a cold realm whither some of the dead were banished. In the Adventures of S. Columba's Clerics, hell is reached by a bridge over a glen of fire, 2 and a narrow bridge leading to the other world is a common feature in most mythologies. But here it may be borrowed from Scandinavian sources, or from such Christian writings as the Dialogues of S. Gregory the Great. 3 It might be contended that the Christian doctrine of hell has absorbed an earlier pagan theory of retribution, but of this there is now no trace in the sagas or in classical references to the Celtic belief in the future life. Nor is there any reference to a day of judgment, for the passage in which Loegaire speaks of the dead buried with their weapons till "the day of Erdathe," though glossed "the day of judgment of the Lord," does not refer to such a judgment. 4 If an ethical blindness be attributed to the Celts for their apparent lack of any theory of retribution, it should

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be remembered that we must not judge a people's ethics wholly by their views of future punishment. Scandinavians, Greeks, and Semites up to a certain stage were as unethical as the Celts in this respect, and the Christian hell, as conceived by many theologians, is far from suggesting an ethical Deity.


Footnotes

333:1 Skene, i. 370.

334:1 Cæsar, vi. 14, 19.

334:2 Diod. Sic, v. 28.

334:3 Val. Max. vi. 6. 10.

336:1 Phars. f. 455f.

336:2 Amm. Marc. xv, 9; Strabo, iv. 4; Mela, iii. 2.

336:3 Miss Hull, 275.

337:1 Nutt-Meyer, i. 49; Miss Hull, 293.

337:2 Larminie, 155; Hyde, Beside the Fire, 21, 153; CM xiii. 21; Campbell, WHT, ii. 21; Le Braz 2, i. p. xii.

337:3 Von Sacken, Das Grabfeld von Hallslatt; Greenwell, British Barrows; RC x. 234; Antiquary, xxxvii. 125; Blanchet, ii. 528 f.; Anderson, Scotland in Pagan Times.

337:4 L'Anthropologie, vi. 586; Greenwell, op. cit. 119.

338:1 Nutt-Meyer, i. 52; O'Donovan, Annals, i. 145, 180; RC xv. 28. In one case the enemy disinter the body of the king of Connaught, and rebury it face downwards, and then obtain a victory. This nearly coincides with the dire results following the disinterment of Bran's head (O'Donovan, i, 145; cf. p. 242, supra).

338:2 LU 130aRC xxiv. 185; O'Curry, MC i. p. cccxxx; Campbell, WHT iii. 62; Leahy, i. 105.

339:1 Vigfusson-Powell, Corpus Poet. Boreale, i. 167, 417-418, 420; and see my Childhood of Fiction, 103 f.

339:2 Larminie, 31; Le Braz 2, ii. 146, 159, 161, 184, 257 (the rôle of the dead husband is usually taken by a lutin or follet, Luzel, Veillées Bretons, 79); Rev. des Trad. Pop. ii. 267; Ann. de Bretagne, viii. 514.

339:3 Le Braz 2, i. 313. Cf. also an incident in the Voyage of Maelduin.

339:4 RC x. 214 f. Cf. Kennedy, 162; Le Braz 2, i. 217, for variants.

339:5 Curtin, Tales, 156; see p. 170supra.

340:1 Curtin, Tales, 156; Campbell, Superstitions, 241; Folk-Lore, xiii. 60; Le Braz 2, i. 213.

340:2 Folk-Lore, ii. 26; Yeats, Celtic Twilight, 166.

340:3 Tertullian, de Anima, 21.

341:1 Reinach, RC xxii. 447.

341:2 Val. Max. vi. 6; Mela, iii. 2. 19; Plut. Virt. mul 20.

341:3 See p. 229supra.

342:1 Le Braz 2, i. p. xxxix. This is only one out of many local beliefs (cf. Sébillot, ii. 149).

342:2 Procop. De Bello Goth. vi. 20.

342:3 Claudian, In Rufin. i. 123.

343:1 Sébillot, i 418 f.

343:2 de Defectu Orac. 18. An occasional name for Britain in the Mabinogion is "the island of the Mighty" (Loth, i. 69, et passim). To the storm incident and the passing of the mighty, there is a curious parallel in Fijian belief. A clap of thunder was explained as "the noise of a spirit, we being near the place in which spirits plunge to enter the other world, and a chief in the neighbourhood having just died" (Williams, Fiji, i. 204).

343:3 de Facie Lunæ, 26.

344:1 See Hartland, Science of Fairy Tales, 209; Macdougall, Folk and Hero Tales, 73, 263; Le Braz 2, i. p. xxx. Mortals sometimes penetrated to the presence of these heroes, who awoke. If the visitor had the courage to tell them that the hour had not yet come, they fell asleep again, and he escaped. In Brittany, rocky clefts are believed to be the entrance to the world of the dead, like the cave of Lough Dearg. Similar stories were probably told of these in pagan times, though they are now adapted to Christian beliefs in purgatory or hell.

345:1 Le Braz 2, i, p. X1, ii. 4; Curtin, 10; MacPhail, Folk-Lore, vi. 170.

345:2 Seep. 338, supra, and Logan, Scottish Gael, ii. 374; Folk-Lore, viii. 208, 253.

345:3 Le Braz 2, i. 96, 127, 136 f., and Intro. xlv.

345:4 Philostratus, Apoll. of Tyana, v. 4; Val. Max. ii. 6. 12.

346:1 Le Braz 1, ii. 91; Curtin, Tales, 146. The punishment of suffering from ice and snow appears in the Apocalypse of Paul and in later Christian accounts of hell.

346:2 RC xxvi. 153.

346:3 Bk. iv. ch. 36.

346:4 Erdathe, according to D'Arbois, means (1) "the day in which the dead will resume his colour," from dath, "colour"; (2) "the agreeable day," from data, "agreeable" (D'Arbois, i. 185; cf. Les Druides, 135).


Next: Chapter XXIII. Rebirth and Transmigration

Thursday, 29 June 2017

"And Do You Dream?" said the Dæmon

   




  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 modelled my feelings, and allowed me to be calculating and calm, at periods when otherwise delirium or death would have been my portion. 

  My first resolution was to quit Geneva for ever; my country, which, when I was happy and beloved, was dear to me, now, in my 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 around the confines of the town, uncertain what path I should pursue. As night approached, I found myself at the entrance of the cemetery where William, Elizabeth, and my father, reposed. I entered it, and approached the tomb which marked their graves. 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 seen not, 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 by the spirits that preside over thee, I swear to pursue the daemon, who caused this misery, until he or I shall perish in mortal conflict. For this purpose I will preserve my life: to execute this dear revenge, will I again behold the sun, and tread the green herbage of earth, which otherwise should vanish from my eyes for ever. And I call on you, spirits of the dead; and on you, wandering ministers of vengeance, to aid and conduct me in my work. Let the cursed and hellish monster drink deep of agony; let him feel the despair that now torments me." 

  I had begun my 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 choaked my utterance. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  By the quantity of provision which I had consumed I should guess that I had passed three weeks in this journey; and the continual protraction of hope, returning back upon the heart, often wrung bitter drops of despondency and grief from my eyes. Despair had indeed almost secured her prey, and I should soon have sunk beneath this misery; when once, after the poor animals that carried 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 ecstacy when I distinguished a sledge, and the distorted proportions of a well-known form within. Oh! with what a burning gush did hope revisit my heart! warm tears filled my eyes, which I hastily wiped away, that they might not intercept the view I had of the daemon; but still my sight was dimmed by the burning drops, until, giving way to the emotions that oppressed me, I wept aloud. 

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

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

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

  Oh! when will my guiding spirit, in conducting me to the daamon, 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. Yet, do I dare ask 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 live to make another such a wretch as I am. 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 fiend-like malice. Hear him not; call on the manes of William, Justine, Clerval, Elizabeth, my father, and of the wretched Victor, and thrust your sword into his heart. I will hover near, and direct the steel aright. 

  Walton, in continuation. 

  August 26th, 17—. 

  You have read this strange and terrific story, Margaret; and do you not feel your blood congealed 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 agony. His fine and lovely eyes were now lighted up with indignation, now subdued to downcast sorrow, and quenched in infinite wretchedness. 

Sometimes he commanded his countenance and tones, and related the most horrible incidents with a tranquil voice, suppressing every mark of agitation; then, like a volcano bursting forth, his face would suddenly change to an expression of the wildest rage, as he shrieked out imprecations on his persecutor. 

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

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

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

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

  Our conversations are not always confined to his own history and misfortunes. On every point of general literature he displays unbounded knowledge, and a quick and piercing apprehension. His eloquence is forcible and touching; nor can I hear him, when he relates a pathetic incident, or en- deavours 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 felt as if I were destined for some great enterprise. My feelings are profound; but I possessed a coolness of judgment that fitted me for illustrious achievements. This sentiment of the worth of my nature supported me, when others would have been oppressed; for I deemed it criminal to throw away in useless grief those talents that might be useful to my fellow-creatures. When I reflected on the work I had completed, no less a one than the creation of a sensitive and rational animal, I could not rank myself with the herd of common projectors. But this feeling, which supported me in the commencement of my career, now serves only to plunge me lower in the dust. All my speculations and hopes are as nothing; and, like the archangel who aspired to omnipotence, I am chained in an eternal hell. My imagination was vivid, yet my powers of analysis and application were intense; by the union of these qualities I conceived the idea, and executed the creation of a man. Even now I cannot recollect, without passion, my reveries while the work was incomplete. I trod heaven in my thoughts, now exulting in my powers, now burning with the idea of their effects. From my infancy I was imbued with high hopes and a lofty ambition; but how am I sunk! Oh! my friend, if you had known me as I once was, you would not recognize 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 sympathize with and love me. Behold, on these desert seas I have found such a one; but, I fear, I have gained him only to know his value, and lose him. I would reconcile him to life, but he repulses the idea.  

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

  September 2d. MY BELOVED SISTER, 

  I write to you, encompassed by peril, and ignorant whether I am ever doomed to see again dear England, and the dearer friends that inhabit it. I am surrounded by mountains of ice, which admit of no escape, and threaten every moment to crush my vessel. The brave fellows, whom I have persuaded to be my companions, look towards me for aid; but I have none to bestow. There is something terribly appalling in our situation, yet my courage and hopes do not desert me. We may survive; and if we do not, I will repeat the lessons of my Seneca, and die with a good heart. 

  Yet what, Margaret, will be the state of your mind? You will not hear of my destruction, and you will anxiously await my return. Years will pass, and you will have visitings of despair, and yet be tortured by hope. Oh! my beloved sister, the sickening failings of your heart-felt expectations are, 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's expectation delayed fills them with fear, and I almost dread a mutiny caused by this despair. 

  September 5th. 

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

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

  I mentioned in my last letter the fears I entertained of a mutiny. This morning, as I sat watching the wan countenance of my friend — his eyes half closed, and his limbs hanging listlessly, — I was roused by half a dozen of the sailors, who desired admission into the cabin. They entered; and their leader addressed me. He told me that he and his companions had been chosen by the other sailors to come in deputation to me, to make me a demand, 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 desired, therefore, that I should engage with a solemn promise, that if the vessel should be freed, I would instantly direct my coarse southward. 

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

  "What do you mean? What do you demand of your captain? Are you then so easily turned from your design? Did you not call this a glorious expedition? and wherefore was it glorious? Not because the way was smooth and placid as a southern sea, but because it was full of dangers and terror; because, at every new incident, your fortitude was to be called forth, and your courage exhibited; because danger and death surrounded, and these dangers 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 name 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 come thus far, and dragged your captain to the shame of a defeat, merely to prove yourselves cowards. Oh! be men, or be more than men. Be steady to your purposes, and firm as a rock. This ice is not made of such stuff as your hearts might be; it is mutable, 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 further north, if they strenuously desired the contrary; but that I hoped that, with reflection, their courage would return. 

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

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

  September 7th. 

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

  September 12th. 

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

  September 19th, the ice began to move, and roarings like thunder were heard at a distance, as the islands split and cracked in every direction. We were in the most imminent peril; but, as we could only remain passive, my chief attention was occupied by my unfortunate guest, whose illness increased in such a degree, that he was entirely confined to his bed. The ice cracked behind us, and was driven with force towards the north; a breeze sprung from the west, and on the 11th 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." 


  "Do so, if you will; but I will not. You may give up your pur- pose; 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, but 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 justified in desiring the death of my adversary. During these last days I have been occupied in examining my past conduct; nor do I find it blameable. In a fit of enthusiastic madness I created a rational creature, and was bound towards him, to assure, as far as was in my power, his happiness and well-being. This was my duty; but there was another still paramount to that. My duties towards my fellow-creatures had greater claims to my attention, because they included a greater proportion of happiness or misery. Urged by this view, I refused, and I did right in refusing, to create a companion for the first creature. He shewed 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; in other respects this hour, when I momentarily expect my release, is the only happy one which I have enjoyed for several years. The forms of the beloved dead flit before me, and I hasten to their arms. Farewell, Walton! Seek happiness in tranquillity, and avoid ambition, even if it be only the apparently innocent one of distinguishing yourself in science and discoveries. Yet why do I say this? I have myself been blasted in these hopes, yet another may succeed." 


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

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

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

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

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

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

  "That is also my victim!" he exclaimed; "in his murder my crimes are consummated; the miserable series of my being is wound to its close! Oh, Frankenstein! generous and self-devoted being! what does it avail that I now ask thee to pardon me? I, who irretrievably destroyed thee by destroying all thou lovedst. Alas! he is cold; he may not 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 looks upon his face, there was something so scaring and unearthly in his ugliness. I attempted to speak, but the words died away on my lips. The monster continued to utter wild and incoherent self-reproaches. At length I gathered resolution to address him, in a pause of the tempest of his passion: "Your repentance," I said, "is now superfluous. If you had listened to the voice of conscience, and heeded the stings of remorse, before you had urged your diabolical vengeance to this extremity, Frankenstein would yet have lived." 

  "And do you dream?" said the dæmon; "do you think that I was then dead to agony and remorse? — He," he continued, pointing to the corpse, "he suffered not more 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 ye 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 insatiable thirst for vengeance. I recollected my threat, and resolved that it should be accomplished. I knew that I was preparing for myself a deadly torture; but I was the slave, not the master of an impulse, which I detested, yet could not disobey. Yet when she died! — nay, then I was not miserable. I had cast off all feeling, subdued all anguish to riot in the excess of my despair. Evil thenceforth became my good. Urged thus far, I had no choice but to adapt my nature to an element which I had willingly chosen. The completion of my 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 re-kindled within me. "Wretch!" I said, "it is well that you come here to whine over the desolation that you have made. You throw a torch into a pile of buildings, and when they are consumed you sit among the ruins, and lament the fall. Hypocritical fiend! if he whom you mourn still lived, still would he be the object, again would he become the prey of your accursed vengeance. It is not pity that you feel; you lament only because the victim of your malignity is withdrawn from your power." 

  "Oh, it 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 over- flowed, that I wished to be participated. But now, that virtue has become to me a shadow, and that happiness and affection are turned into bitter and loathing despair, in what should I seek for sympathy? I am content to suffer alone, while my sufferings shall endure: when I die, I am well satisfied that abhorrence and opprobrium should load my memory. Once my fancy was soothed with dreams of virtue, of fame, and of enjoyment. Once I falsely hoped to meet with beings, who, pardoning my outward form, would love me for the excellent qualities which I was capable of bringing forth. I was nourished with high thoughts of honour and devotion. But now vice has degraded me beneath the meanest animal. No crime, no mischief, no malignity, no misery, can be found comparable to mine. When I call over the frightful catalogue of my deeds, I cannot believe that I am he whose thoughts were once filled with sublime and transcendant visions of the beauty and the majesty of goodness. But it is even so; the fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am quite 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 whilst I destroyed his hopes, I did not satisfy my own desires. They were for ever ardent and craving; still I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned. Was there no injustice in this? Am I to be thought the only criminal, when all human kind sinned against me? Why do you not hate Felix, who drove his friend from his door with contumely? Why do you not execrate the rustic who sought to destroy the saviour of his child? Nay, these are virtuous and immaculate beings! I, the miserable and 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 moment when they will meet my eyes, when it will haunt my thoughts, no more. 

  "Fear not that I shall be the instrument of future mischief. My work is nearly complete. Neither your's 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 hither, and shall seek the most northern extremity of the globe; I shall collect my funeral pile, and consume to ashes this miserable frame, that its remains may afford no light to any curious and unhallowed wretch, who would create such another as I have been. I shall die. I shall no longer feel the agonies which now consume me, or be the prey of feelings unsatisfied, yet unquenched. He is dead who called me into being; and when I shall be no more, the very remembrance of us both will speedily vanish. I shall no longer see the sun or stars, or feel the winds play on my cheeks. Light, feeling, and sense, will pass away; and in this condition must I find my happiness. Some years ago, when the images which this world affords first opened upon me, when I felt the cheering warmth of summer, and heard the rustling of the leaves and the chirping of the birds, and these were all to me, I should have wept to die; now it is my only consolation. Polluted by crimes, and 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, Frankenstein! If thou wert yet alive, and yet cherished a desire of revenge against me, it would be better satiated in my life than in my destruction. But it was not so; thou didst seek my extinction, that I might not cause greater wretchedness; and if yet, in some mode unknown to me, thou hast not yet ceased to think and feel, thou desirest not my life for my own misery. Blasted as thou wert, my agony was still superior to thine; for the bitter sting of remorse may not cease to rankle in my wounds until death shall close them for ever. 

  "But soon," he cried, with sad and solemn enthusiasm, "I shall die, and what I now feel be no longer felt. Soon these burning miseries will be extinct. I shall ascend my funeral pile 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