Page images

calm and sereme joy. I welcomed my friend, therefore, in the most cordial manner, and we walked towards my college. Clerval continued talking for some time about our mutual friends, and his own good fortune in being permitted to come to Ingolstadt. “You may easily believe,” said he, “ how great was the difficulty to persuade my father that it was not absolutely necessary for a merchant not to understand any thing except book-keeping; and, indeed, I believe I left him incredulous to the last, for his constant answer to my unwearied entreaties was the same as that of the Dutch schoolmaster in the Vicar of Wakefield: “I have ten thousand florins a year with-,

out Greek, I eat heartily without.

Greek.” But his affection for me at

length overcame his dislike of learning,

and he has permitted me to undertake a voyage of discovery to the land of knowledge.” “ It gives me the greatest delight

to see you ; but tell me how you left.

my father, brothers, and Elizabeth.” “Very well, and very happy, only a little uneasy that they hear from you so seldom. By the bye, I mean to lecture you a little upon their account mysel.—But, my dear Frankenstein,” continued he, stopping short, and gazing full in my face, “I did not before remark how very ill you appear; so thin and pale; you look as if you had been watching for several nights.” “You have guessed right; I have lately been so deeply engaged in one occupation, that I have not allowed myself sufficient rest, as you see: but I hope, I sincerely hope, that all these employments are now at an end, and that I am at length free.”

, I trembled excessively; I could not endure to think of, and far less to aliude to the occurrences of the preceding night. I walked with a quick pace, and we soon arrived at my college. I then reflected, and the thought made. me shiver, that the creature whom I. had left in my apartment might still. be there, alive, and walking about. I dreaded to behold this monster; but I feared still more that Henry should see him. Entreating him there

fore to remain a few minutes at the

bottom of the stairs, I darted up to

wards my own room. My hand was.

already on the lock of the door before I. recollected myself. I then paused; and a cold shivering came over me. I

threw the door forcibly open, as chil

dren are accustomed to do when they expect a spectre to stand in waiting.

[merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

appeared. I stepped fearfully in : the
apartment was empty; and my bed-
room was also freed from its hideous
guest. I could hardly believe that so
great a good-fortune could have be-
fallen me; but when I became assured
that my enemy had indeed fled, I clap-
ped my hands for joy, and ran down to
We ascended into my room, and the
servant presently brought breakfast;
but I was unable to contain myself.
It was not joy only that possessed me;
I felt my flesh tingle with excess of sen-
sitiveness, and my pulse beat rapidly.
I was unable to remain for a single in-
stant in the same place; I jumped over

the chairs, clapped my hands, and

laughed aloud. Clerval at first attributed my unusual spirits to joy on his arrival; but when he observed me

more attentively, he saw a wildness in my eyes for which he could not account; and my loud, unrestrained, heartless laughter, frightened and astonished him. “My dear Victor,” cried he, “what, for God’s sake, is the matter? Do not laugh in that manner. How ill you are! What is the cause of all this? “Do not ask me,” cried I, putting my hands before my eyes, for I thought I saw the dreaded spectre glide into the room; “he can tell.—Oh, save me ! save me!” I imagined that the monster seized me; I struggled furiously, and fell down in a fit. Poor Clerval what must have been

his feelings? A meeting, which he an

ticipated with such joy, so strangely turned to bitterness. But I was not the witness of his grief; for I was lifeless, and did not recover my senses for a long, long time.

« PreviousContinue »