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Chapter 17
The being finished speaking and fixed his looks upon me in the expectation of a reply.
But I was bewildered, perplexed, and unable to arrange my ideas sufficiently to
understand the full extent of his proposition. He continued,
"You must create a female for me with whom I can live in the interchange of those
sympathies necessary for my being. This you alone can do, and I demand it of you as a
right which you must not refuse to concede."
The latter part of his tale had kindled anew in me the anger that had died away while he
narrated his peaceful life among the cottagers, and as he said this I could no longer
suppress the rage that burned within me.
"I do refuse it," I replied; "and no torture shall ever extort a consent from me. You may
render me the most miserable of men, but you shall never make me base in my own eyes.
Shall I create another like yourself, whose joint wickedness might desolate the world.
Begone! I have answered you; you may torture me, but I will never consent."
"You are in the wrong," replied the fiend; "and instead of threatening, I am content to
reason with you. I am malicious because I am miserable. Am I not shunned and hated by
all mankind? You, my creator, would tear me to pieces and triumph; remember that, and
tell me why I should pity man more than he pities me? You would not call it murder if
you could precipitate me into one of those ice-rifts and destroy my frame, the work of
your own hands. Shall I respect man when he condemns me? Let him live with me in the
interchange of kindness, and instead of injury I would bestow every benefit upon him
with tears of gratitude at his acceptance. But that cannot be; the human senses are
insurmountable barriers to our union. Yet mine shall not be the submission of abject
slavery. I will revenge my injuries; if I cannot inspire love, I will cause fear, and chiefly
towards you my archenemy, because my creator, do I swear inextinguishable hatred.
Have a care; I will work at your destruction, nor finish until I desolate your heart, so that
you shall curse the hour of your birth."
A fiendish rage animated him as he said this; his face was wrinkled into contortions too
horrible for human eyes to behold; but presently he calmed himself and proceeded--
"I intended to reason. This passion is detrimental to me, for you do not reflect that YOU
are the cause of its excess. If any being felt emotions of benevolence towards me, I
should return them a hundred and a hundredfold; for that one creature's sake I would
make peace with the whole kind! But I now indulge in dreams of bliss that cannot be
realized. What I ask of you is reasonable and moderate; I demand a creature of another
sex, but as hideous as myself; the gratification is small, but it is all that I can receive, and
it shall content me. It is true, we shall be monsters, cut off from all the world; but on that
account we shall be more attached to one another. Our lives will not be happy, but they