Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley | Go to book overview
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Letter 2

To Mrs. Saville, England

ARCHANGEL, MARCH 28TH, 17 --.

HOW SLOWLY the time passes here, encompassed as I am by
frost and snow! yet a second step is taken towards my enter-
prise. 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 daunt-
less courage.

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 glow-
ing with the enthusiasm of success, there will be none to partici-
pate in my joy; if I am assailed by 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 sympathise with me; whose eyes could 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 coura-
geous, 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's 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 day dreams are more extended and magnificent; but
they want (as the painters call it) keeping; and I greatly need a
friend who would have sense enough not to despise me as

-16-

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