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Frankenstein_NT

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Frankenstein_NT

Frankenstein

    ;or

    ;The Modern Prometheus

    ;

    ;

    ;Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

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    ;This eBook was designed and published by Planet PDF. For more free ;eBooks visit our Web site at http://www.planetpdf.com/. To hear ;about our latest releases subscribe to the Planet PDF Newsletter. ;

    ;

;Frankenstein

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    ;Letter 1

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    ;To Mrs. Saville, England

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    ;St. Petersburgh, Dec. 11th, 17

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    ;You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has ;accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which ;you have regarded with such evil forebodings. I arrived ;here yesterday, and my first task is to assure my dear sister ;of my welfare and increasing confidence in the success of ;my undertaking.

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    ;I am already far north of London, and as I walk in the ;streets of Petersburgh, I feel a cold northern breeze play ;upon my cheeks, which braces my nerves and fills me with ;delight. Do you understand this feeling? This breeze, ;which has travelled from the regions towards which I am ;advancing, gives me a foretaste of those icy climes. ;Inspirited by this wind of promise, my daydreams become ;more fervent and vivid. I try in vain to be persuaded that ;the pole is the seat of frost and desolation; it ever presents ;itself to my imagination as the region of beauty and ;delight. There, Margaret, the sun is forever visible, its ;broad disk just skirting the horizon and diffusing a ;perpetual splendour. Therefor with your leave, my

    ;sister, I will put some trust in preceding navigators there

    ;snow and frost are banished; and, sailing over a calm sea, ;

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    ;we may be wafted to a land surpassing in wonders and in ;beauty every region hitherto discovered on the habitable ;globe. Its productions and features may be without ;example, as the phenomena of the heavenly bodies ;undoubtedly are in those undiscovered solitudes. What ;may not be expected in a country of eternal light? I may ;there discover the wondrous power which attracts the ;needle and may regulate a thousand celestial observations ;that require only this voyage to render their seeming ;eccentricities consistent forever. I shall satiate my ardent ;curiosity with the sight of a part of the world never before ;visited, and may tread a land never before imprinted by ;the foot of man. These are my enticements, and they are ;sufficient to conquer all fear of danger or death and to ;induce me to commence this labourious voyage with the ;joy a child feels when he embarks in a little boat, with his ;holiday mates, on an expedition of discovery up his native ;river. But supposing all these conjectures to be false, you ;cannot contest the inestimable benefit which I shall confer ;on all mankind, to the last generation, by discovering a ;passage near the pole to those countries, to reach which at ;present so many months are requisite; or by ascertaining ;the secret of the magnet, which, if at all possible, can only ;be effected by an undertaking such as mine.

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    ;These reflections have dispelled the agitation with ;which I began my letter, and I feel my heart glow with an ;enthusiasm which elevates me to heaven, for nothing ;contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady ;purposea point on which the soul may fix its intellectual ;eye. This expedition has been the favourite dream of my ;early years. I have read with ardour the accounts of the ;various voyages which have been made in the prospect of ;arriving at the North Pacific Ocean through the seas ;which surround the pole. You may remember that a ;history of all the voyages made for purposes of discovery ;composed the whole of our good Uncle Thomas’ library.

    ;My education was neglected, yet I was passionately fond ;of reading. These volumes were my study day and night, ;and my familiarity with them increased that regret which I ;had felt, as a child, on learning that my father’s dying

    ;injunction had forbidden my uncle to allow me to embark ;in a seafaring life.

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    ;These visions faded when I perused, for the first time, ;those poets whose effusions entranced my soul and lifted it ;to heaven. I also became a poet and for one year lived in a ;paradise of my own creation; I imagined that I also might ;obtain a niche in the temple where the names of Homer ;and Shakespeare are consecrated. You are well acquainted ;

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    ;with my failure and how heavily I bore the

    ;disappointment. But just at that time I inherited the ;fortune of my cousin, and my thoughts were turned into ;the channel of their earlier bent.

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    ;Six years have passed since I resolved on my present ;undertaking. I can, even now, remember the hour from ;which I dedicated myself to this great enterprise. I ;commenced by inuring my body to hardship. I

    ;accompanied the whale-fishers on several expeditions to ;the North Sea; I voluntarily endured cold, famine, thirst, ;and want of sleep; I often worked harder than the ;common sailors during the day and devoted my nights to ;the study of mathematics, the theory of medicine, and ;those branches of physical science from which a naval ;adventurer might derive the greatest practical advantage. ;Twice I actually hired myself as an under-mate in a ;Greenland whaler, and acquitted myself to admiration. I ;must own I felt a little proud when my captain offered me ;the second dignity in the vessel and entreated me to ;remain with the greatest earnestness, so valuable did he ;consider my services.

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    ;And now, dear Margaret, do I not deserve to

    ;accomplish some great purpose? My life might have been ;passed in ease and luxury, but I preferred glory to every ;

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    ;enticement that wealth placed in my path. Oh, that some ;encouraging voice would answer in the affirmative! My ;courage and my resolution is firm; but my hopes fluctuate, ;and my spirits are often depressed. I am about to proceed ;on a long and difficult voyage, the emergencies of which ;will demand all my fortitude: I am required not only to ;raise the spirits of others, but sometimes to sustain my ;own, when theirs are failing.

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    ;This is the most favourable period for travelling in ;Russia. They fly quickly over the snow in their sledges; ;the motion is pleasant, and, in my opinion, far more ;agreeable than that of an English stagecoach. The cold is ;not excessive, if you are wrapped in furs a dress which I

    ;have already adopted, for there is a great difference ;between walking the deck and remaining seated ;motionless for hours, when no exercise prevents the blood ;from actually freezing in your veins. I have no ambition to ;lose my life on the post-road between St. Petersburgh and ;Archangel.

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    ;I shall depart for the latter town in a fortnight or three ;weeks; and my intention is to hire a ship there, which can ;easily be done by paying the insurance for the owner, and ;to engage as many sailors as I think necessary among those ;who are accustomed to the whale-fishing. I do not intend ;

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    ;to sail until the month of June; and when shall I return? ;Ah, dear sister, how can I answer this question? If I ;succeed, many, many months, perhaps years, will pass ;before you and I may meet. If I fail, you will see me again ;soon, or never.

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    ;Farewell, my dear, excellent Margaret. Heaven shower ;down blessings on you, and save me, that I may again and ;again testify my gratitude for all your love and kindness. ;

    ;Your affectionate brother,

    ;

    ;R. Walton

    ;Letter 2

    ;To Mrs. Saville, England

    ;Archangel, 28th March, 17

    ;How slowly the time passes here, encompassed as I am ;by frost and snow! Yet a second step is taken towards my ;enterprise. I have hired a vessel and am occupied in ;collecting my sailors; those whom I have already engaged ;appear to be men on whom I can depend and are certainly ;possessed of dauntless courage.

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    ;But I have one want which I have never yet been able ;to satisfy, and the absence of the object of which I now ;feel as a most severe evil. I have no friend, Margaret: when ;I am glowing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be ;none to participate my joy; if I am assailed by ;

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    ;disappointment, no one will endeavour to sustain me in ;dejection. I shall commit my thoughts to paper, it is true; ;but that is a poor medium for the communication of ;feeling. I desire the company of a man who could ;sympathize with me, whose eyes would reply to mine. ;You may deem me romantic, my dear sister, but I bitterly ;feel the want of a friend. I have no one near me, gentle ;yet courageous, possessed of a cultivated as well as of a ;capacious mind, whose tastes are like my own, to approve ;or amend my plans. How would such a friend repair the ;faults of your poor brother! I am too ardent in execution ;and too impatient of difficulties. But it is a still greater evil ;to me that I am self-educated: for the first fourteen years ;of my life I ran wild on a common and read nothing but ;our Uncle Thomas’ books of voyages. At that age I

    ;became acquainted with the celebrated poets of our own ;country; but it was only when it had ceased to be in my ;power to derive its most important benefits from such a ;conviction that I perceived the necessity of becoming ;acquainted with more languages than that of my native ;country. Now I am twenty-eight and am in reality more ;illiterate than many schoolboys of fifteen. It is true that I ;have thought more and that my daydreams are more ;extended and magnificent, but they want (as the painters ;

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    ;call it) *keeping*; and I greatly need a friend who would ;have sense enough not to despise me as romantic, and ;affection enough for me to endeavour to regulate my ;mind.

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    ;Well, these are useless complaints; I shall certainly find ;no friend on the wide ocean, nor even here in Archangel, ;among merchants and seamen. Yet some feelings, unallied ;to the dross of human nature, beat even in these rugged ;bosoms. My lieutenant, for instance, is a man of wonderful ;courage and enterprise; he is madly desirous of glory, or ;rather, to word my phrase more characteristically, of ;advancement in his profession. He is an Englishman, and ;in the midst of national and professional prejudices, ;unsoftened by cultivation, retains some of the noblest ;endowments of humanity. I first became acquainted with ;him on board a whale vessel; finding that he was ;unemployed in this city, I easily engaged him to assist in ;my enterprise.

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    ;The master is a person of an excellent disposition and is ;remarkable in the ship for his gentleness and the mildness ;of his discipline. This circumstance, added to his well- ;known integrity and dauntless courage, made me very ;desirous to engage him. A youth passed in solitude, my ;best years spent under your gentle and feminine fosterage, ;

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    ;has so refined the groundwork of my character that I ;cannot overcome an intense distaste to the usual brutality ;exercised on board ship: I have never believed it to be ;necessary, and when I heard of a mariner equally noted for ;his kindliness of heart and the respect and obedience paid ;to him by his crew, I felt myself peculiarly fortunate in ;being able to secure his services. I heard of him first in ;rather a romantic manner, from a lady who owes to him ;the happiness of her life. This, briefly, is his story. Some ;years ago he loved a young Russian lady of moderate ;fortune, and having amassed a considerable sum in prize- ;money, the father of the girl consented to the match. He ;saw his mistress once before the destined ceremony; but ;she was bathed in tears, and throwing herself at his feet, ;entreated him to spare her, confessing at the same time ;that she loved another, but that he was poor, and that her ;father would never consent to the union. My generous ;friend reassured the suppliant, and on being informed of ;the name of her lover, instantly abandoned his pursuit. He ;had already bought a farm with his money, on which he ;had designed to pass the remainder of his life; but he ;bestowed the whole on his rival, together with the ;remains of his prize-money to purchase stock, and then ;himself solicited the young woman’s father to consent to

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