Wieland, or the Transformation
I had imperfectly recovered my strength, when I was informed of the arrival of my
mother's brother, Thomas Cambridge. Ten years since, he went to Europe, and was a
surgeon in the British forces in Germany, during the whole of the late war. After its
conclusion, some connection that he had formed with an Irish officer, made him retire
into Ireland. Intercourse had been punctually maintained by letters with his sister's
children, and hopes were given that he would shortly return to his native country, and
pass his old age in our society. He was now in an evil hour arrived.
I desired an interview with him for numerous and urgent reasons. With the first returns of
my understanding I had anxiously sought information of the fate of my brother. During
the course of my disease I had never seen him; and vague and unsatisfactory answers
were returned to all my inquires. I had vehemently interrogated Mrs. Hallet and her
husband, and solicited an interview with this unfortunate man; but they mysteriously
insinuated that his reason was still unsettled, and that his circumstances rendered an
interview impossible. Their reserve on the particulars of this destruction, and the author
of it, was equally invincible.
For some time, finding all my efforts fruitless, I had desisted from direct inquiries and
solicitations, determined, as soon as my strength was sufficiently renewed, to pursue
other means of dispelling my uncertainty. In this state of things my uncle's arrival and
intention to visit me were announced. I almost shuddered to behold the face of this man.
When I reflected on the disasters that had befallen us, I was half unwilling to witness that
dejection and grief which would be disclosed in his countenance. But I believed that all
transactions had been thoroughly disclosed to him, and confided in my importunity to
extort from him the knowledge that I sought.
I had no doubt as to the person of our enemy; but the motives that urged him to perpetrate
these horrors, the means that he used, and his present condition, were totally unknown. It
was reasonable to expect some information on this head, from my uncle. I therefore
waited his coming with impatience. At length, in the dusk of the evening, and in my
solitary chamber, this meeting took place.
This man was our nearest relation, and had ever treated us with the affection of a parent.
Our meeting, therefore, could not be without overflowing tenderness and gloomy joy. He
rather encouraged than restrained the tears that I poured out in his arms, and took upon
himself the task of comforter. Allusions to recent disasters could not be long omitted.
One topic facilitated the admission of another. At length, I mentioned and deplored the
ignorance in which I had been kept respecting my brother's destiny, and the
circumstances of our misfortunes. I entreated him to tell me what was Wieland's
condition, and what progress had been made in detecting or punishing the author of this