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Chapter 11
"It is with considerable difficulty that I remember the original era of my being; all the
events of that period appear confused and indistinct. A strange multiplicity of sensations
seized me, and I saw, felt, heard, and smelt at the same time; and it was, indeed, a long
time before I learned to distinguish between the operations of my various senses. By
degrees, I remember, a stronger light pressed upon my nerves, so that I was obliged to
shut my eyes. Darkness then came over me and troubled me, but hardly had I felt this
when, by opening my eyes, as I now suppose, the light poured in upon me again. I
walked and, I believe, descended, but I presently found a great alteration in my
sensations. Before, dark and opaque bodies had surrounded me, impervious to my touch
or sight; but I now found that I could wander on at liberty, with no obstacles which I
could not either surmount or avoid. The light became more and more oppressive to me,
and the heat wearying me as I walked, I sought a place where I could receive shade. This
was the forest near Ingolstadt; and here I lay by the side of a brook resting from my
fatigue, until I felt tormented by hunger and thirst. This roused me from my nearly
dormant state, and I ate some berries which I found hanging on the trees or lying on the
ground. I slaked my thirst at the brook, and then lying down, was overcome by sleep.
"It was dark when I awoke; I felt cold also, and half frightened, as it were, instinctively,
finding myself so desolate. Before I had quitted your apartment, on a sensation of cold, I
had covered myself with some clothes, but these were insufficient to secure me from the
dews of night. I was a poor, helpless, miserable wretch; I knew, and could distinguish,
nothing; but feeling pain invade me on all sides, I sat down and wept.
"Soon a gentle light stole over the heavens and gave me a sensation of pleasure. I started
up and beheld a radiant form rise from among the trees. [The moon] I gazed with a kind
of wonder. It moved slowly, but it enlightened my path, and I again went out in search of
berries. I was still cold when under one of the trees I found a huge cloak, with which I
covered myself, and sat down upon the ground. No distinct ideas occupied my mind; all
was confused. I felt light, and hunger, and thirst, and darkness; innumerable sounds rang
in my ears, and on all sides various scents saluted me; the only object that I could
distinguish was the bright moon, and I fixed my eyes on that with pleasure.
"Several changes of day and night passed, and the orb of night had greatly lessened, when
I began to distinguish my sensations from each other. I gradually saw plainly the clear
stream that supplied me with drink and the trees that shaded me with their foliage. I was
delighted when I first discovered that a pleasant sound, which often saluted my ears,
proceeded from the throats of the little winged animals who had often intercepted the
light from my eyes. I began also to observe, with greater accuracy, the forms that
surrounded me and to perceive the boundaries of the radiant roof of light which canopied
me. Sometimes I tried to imitate the pleasant songs of the birds but was unable.
Sometimes I wished to express my sensations in my own mode, but the uncouth and
inarticulate sounds which broke from me frightened me into silence again.