Page images
PDF

Secheron, a village half a league to the east of the city. The sky was serene; and, as I was unable to rest, I resolved to visit the spot where my poor William had been murdered. As I could not pass through the town, I was obliged to cross the lake in a boat to arrive at Plainpalais. During this short voyage I saw the lightnings playing on the summit of Mont Blanc in the most beautiful figures. The storm appeared to approach rapidly; and, on landing, I ascended a low hill, that I might observe its progress. It advanced; the heavens were clouded, and I soon felt the rain coming slowly in large drops, but its violence quickly increased. I quitted my seat, and walked on, although the darkness and storm increased every minute, and the thunder burst with a terrific crash over my head. It was echoed from Salève, the WOL. I. H

Juras, and the Alps of Savoy; vivid flashes of lightning dazzled my eyes, illuminating the lake, making it appear like a vast sheet of fire; then for an instant every thing seemed of a pitchy darkness, until the eye recovered itself from the preceding flash. The storm, as is often the case in Switzer. land, appeared at once in various parts of the heavens. The most violent storm hung exactly north of the town, over that part of the lake which lies betweeen the promontory of Belrive and the village of . Copét. Another storm enlightened Jura with faint flashes; and another darkened and sometimes disclosed the Môle, a peaked mountain to the east of the lake. While I watched the storm, so beautiful yet terrific, I wandered on with a hasty step. This noble war in the sky elevated my spirits; I clasped my hands, and exclaimed aloud, “William, dear angel! this is thy funeral, this thy dirge!” As I said these words, I perceived in the gloom a figure which stole from behind a clump of trees near me; I stood fixed, gazing intently: I could not be mistaken. A flash of lightning illuminated the object, and discovered its shape plainly to me; its gigantic stature, and the deformity of its aspect, more hideous than belongs to humanity, instantly informed me that it was the wretch, the filthy daemon to whom I had given life. What did he there? Could he be (I shuddered at the conception) the murderer of my brother? No sooner did that idea cross my imagination, than I became convinced of its truth; my teeth chattered, and I was forced to

lean against a tree for support. The

figure passed me quickly, and I lost

it in the gloom. Nothing in human shape could have destroyed that fair child. He was the murderer I could not doubt it. The mere presence of the idea was an irresistible proof of the fact. I thought of pursuing the devil; but it would have been in vain, for another flash discovered him to me hanging among the rocks of the nearly perpendicular ascent of Mont Salève, a hill that bounds Plainpalais on the south. He soon reached the summit, and disappeared. -I remained motionless. The thunder ceased ; but the rain still continued, and the scene was enveloped in an impenetrable darkness. I revolved in my mind the events which l had until now sought to forget: the whole train of my progress towards the creation; the appearance of the work of my own hands alive at my bed side; its depar

ture. Two years had now nearly
elapsed since the night on which he
first received life; and was this his
first crime * Alas! I had turned loose
into the world a depraved wretch, whose
delight was in carnage and misery;
had he not murdered my brother?
No one can conceive the anguish I
suffered during the remainder of the
night, which I spent, cold and wet, in
the open air. But I did not feel the
inconvenience of the weather; my ima-
gination was busy in scenes of evil and
despair. I considered the being whom
I had cast among mankind, and en-
dowed with the will and power to effect
purposes of horror, such as the deed
which he had now done, nearly in the
light of my own vampire, my own spi-
rit let loose from the grave, and forced
to destroy all that was dear to me.
Day dawned; and I directed my steps

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »