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Letero 1[redakti]

AL S-ino Saville, Anglujo
Sankt-Peterburgo, 11-a de decembro, 17-

Vi ĝojos eklerni ke neniu katastrofo kuniĝis la komencon de afero kiun vi esprimis ja malbonajn omenojn. Aliris mi ĉi tie morgaŭ, kaj mia unua tasko estis certigi al mia fratino mian bonfarton kaj pligrandigantan memfidon pri la sukceso de mia farado.


Mi jam estas fore norda de Londono, kaj dum mi marŝas en la ŝtratoj de Peterburgo, mi sentas malvarman brizon ludante miajn vangojn, kiu fortigas miajn nervojn kaj plenigas min kun ĝojo. Ĉu vi komprenas ĉi tiun senton? Ĉi tiu brizo, kiu vojaĝis de la reĝionoj antaŭen de mi, donas al mi antaŭguston de tiuj glaciaj klimatoj. Heredite de ĉi tiu vento de espero, miaj revoj estiĝas pli fervoraj kaj vivecaj. Mi provas vane esti persvadita, ke la poluso estas la sidejo de frosto kaj malpleneco; ĝi ĉiam presentas al mia imago kiel reĝiono de beleco kaj feliĉo. Tie, Margaret, la suno ĉiam estas videbla, ties larĝa disko apenaŭ tuŝas la horizonon kaj difuzas ĉiaman pompon. Tie—por kun via forlaso, mia fratino, mi iomete fidelos la antaŭajn navigistojn—tie neĝo kaj frosto estas forsenditaj; kaj, velumante sur trankvila maro, ni flosos al lando plenplene de mirindaĵoj kaj beleco ol ie malkovrita sur la loĝebla globo. Ĝiaj produktaĵoj kaj vidindaĵoj eble estus sen ekzemplo, kiel la fenomeno de la ĉieleca korpoj sendube estas en tioj nemalkovritaj solecejoj. Kio ne estus atendita en lando de eterna lumo? Mi eble tie malkovrus la mirindan povumon kiu tenas la kompasindikilon kaj eble regas milon da celestiaj observaĵoj tiu bezonas nur ĉi tiu vojaĝo por klarigi ties ŝajnajn strangecojn ĉiame konsekvencaj.

Mi satos mian ardan miron kun la vido de parto de la mondo neniam vizitita, kaj surpiedigos mondon sen la piedsigno de homo. Jen miaj loĝontaĵoj, kaj ili sufiĉas venki ĉiun timon de danĝero de morto kaj sproni al mi komenci ĉi tiun laborecan vojaĝon kun la ĝojo de infano kiu enmariĝas sur eta boato, kun liaj feriaj amikoj, sur ekspedicio de malkovrado sur lia loka rivero. Sed supozante ĉiujn ĉi tiujn konjektojn falsajn, vi ne povas neigi la netaskeblan utilon kiun mi donus al la tuta homaro al la lasta generacio, se mi malkovrus pason apud la poluso al tiuj landoj, atingi kiun nune estas deviga; aŭ determinante la sekreton de la magneto, kiu, se eble, nur povas esti lernita de ekspedicio kiel mia.


Ĉi tiuj pensoj forviŝis la agitadon kun kiuj mi komencis mian leteron, kaj mi sentas ke mia koro brilas kun entuziasmo kiu levigas min al Ĉielo, ĉar neniu kontribuas tiom trankviligi la menson kiel forta celo—punkto kie la animo povas direkti sian intelektan okulon. Ĉi tiu ekspedicio estis la favorita revo de miaj fruaj jaroj. Mi leĝis arde la rakontojn de la variaj vojaĝoj senditaj kun la espero aliri ĉe la Norda Pacifika Oceano tro la maroj kiuj ĉirkaǔas la poluson. Vi eble memoras ke historio de ĉiuj vojaĝoj faritaj por esplorado konsistis de la tuta biblioteko de Onklo Tomaso. Mia edukado estis malzorgita, sed mi pasie plaĉas al legado. Ĉi tiuj volumoj estis miaj studiaĵoj tage kaj nokte, kaj mi sperto kun ili pligrandigas tiun ĉagrenon kiun mi sentis kiel infano lernante ke la mortanta volo de mia patro malpermesis al mia onklo permesi al mi fari maristan vivon.

Ĉi tiu vizioj forvelkis kiam mi legadis, por la unua fojo, tiuj poetoj kies elŝutaĵoj ĉarmis mian animon kaj altigis ĝin al Ĉielo. Mi ankaŭ estiĝis poeto kaj dum unu jaro vivis en paradizo de mia propra kreado; mi imagis ke mi ankaŭ povus obteni niĉon en la templon kie la nomoj de Homero kaj Ŝakspiro estas sanktigitaj. Vi bone scias mian malsukceson kaj tiel peze mi suferis la elrevigon. Sed ĵus tiam mi heredis la riĉigaĵon de mia kuzino, kaj miaj pensoj turnis al la ĉanelo de ties pli frua inklino.

Ses jaroj estas pasita ekde mi decidis mian nunan penon. Mi povas, ja nun, memoris la horo kiu mi dediĉis min al ĉi tiu granda entrepreno. Mi komencis per hardante mian korpon kontraŭ malfacilaĵoj. Mi akompani la balenistoj dum multaj ekspedicioj al la Norda Maro; mi volonte toleris malvarmon, malsato, soifo, kaj maldormado; mi ofte pli laboris ol la komunaj maristoj dum la tago kaj dediĉis miajn noktojn al la studo de matematiko, la teorio de medicino, kaj tiuj branĉoj de fizika scienco de kiu mara aventurulo povas teni la plej grandan praktikan avantaĝon. Dufoje, mi dungiĝis kiel vickapitano en Grenlanda balenŝipo, kaj altigis min al admirado. Mi diru ke mi sentis ete fieron kiam mia kapitano proponis al mi la duan dignon en la ŝipon kaj esperis ke mi resti kun li per la plej granda seriozeco, ĉar li ja valoris mian servon. Kaj nun, kara Margaret, ĉu mi ne meritas akompli iun grandan destinon? Mia vivo povis esti pasita kun facileco kaj lukseco, sed mi preferis gloron ol ĉiu logaĵo kiun riĉeco metis en mia pado. Ho, ke iu kuraĝiganta voĉo respondus jese! Mia kuraĝo kaj mia decido estas firma; sed miaj esperoj fluktuas, kaj miaj spiritoj ofte depremiĝas. Mi preskaŭ ekiros longan kaj malfacilan vojaĝon, kie la krizoj bezonos ĉiujn miajn fortaĵojn: mi devas kaj altigi la spiritojn de aliaj, kaj iufoje altigi mian kiam aliaj malaltiĝos.

Jen la plej plaĉa tempo por vojaĝi en Rusujo. Ili rapidas trans la neĝo en ties glitveturiloj; la movado plaĉas al mi, kaj, laŭ mia opinio, ja pli plaĉa ol la movado de angla diliĝenco. La malvarmo ne estas troa, se oni estas vindita de feloj—vestaĵo kiun mi jam estas adoptanta; ĉar estas granda diferenco inter maŝante la ferdekon kaj restante senmove dum horoj, ĉar neniu korpo-ekzerco haltos la frostigadon de sango en la vejnoj. Mi ne havas ambicion perdi mian vivon sur la poŝtvojo inter Sankt-Peterburgo kaj Arĥangelsko; tiun vojon mi ekvojaĝos post du aŭ tri semajnoj. Mi intencias lui ŝipon tie, kiu povas esti facile farita per pagante la asekuron de la propranto, kaj alparoli multajn maristojn kiel eble kiuj specialigas fakon de baleno-kaptado. Mi ne intencias ŝipiri ĝis la monato junio; kaj kiam mi revenos? Ho, kara fratino, kiel mi respondos ĉi tiun demandon? Se mi sukcesas, multaj, multaj monatoj, eble jaroj, pasos ĝis vi kaj mi rerenkonos. Se mi malsukcesis, vi vidos min baldaŭ, aŭ neniam. Adiaŭ, mia kara, bonega Margaret. Ĉielo elŝutu benojn sur vi, kaj savu min, ke mi eble denove povas atesti mian dankemecon por ĉiom de via amo kaj ĝentileco.

Via kortuŝita frato,
R. Walton

Letero 2[redakti]

(tradukota)

Al S-rino Saville, Anglujo
Arĥangelsko, 28-a de marto, 17—Kiel malrapide la tempo pasas ĉi tie, ĉirkaŭigita kiel mi estas per frosto kaj neĝo! Tamen dua ŝtupo estis farita al mia entrepreno. Mi luis ŝipon, kaj mi estas okupata kolektante miajn maristojn; tiuj kiujn mi jam dungis aperas esti viroj kiujn mi povas dependi kaj certe posedas neturneblan kuraĝon.


Se mi havas unu volon kiun mi ne eblis sati, kaj la manko de la objekto mi sentas estas plej severa malbono, mi havas neniun amikon, Margaret: kiam mi brilas kun la entuziasmo de sukceso, estas neniu por partopreni mian ĝojon; se mi estas malkuraĝita de malĝojo, neniu penos subteni min en mia sopiro. Mi metos miajn pensojn en papero, vere, sed tiu estas malbona medio por la komunikado de sentoj. Mi deziras la kunuleco de viro kiu povas simpatii kun mi, kies okuloj povas respondi al miaj. Vi povas deklari min romantika, mia kara fratino, sed mi amare sentas la volon de amiko. Mi havas neniun apud mi, milda sed kuraĝa, posedanta kulturan kaj profundan menson, kies gustoj similas miajn, por aprobi aŭ amendi miajn planojn. Kiel tia amiko riparus la malĝustaĵojn de via povra frato! Mi estas tro ardenta farante kaj tro malpacienca de malfacilaĵoj. Sed ankoraŭ estas pli granda malbono al mi ke mi estas memedukita: ĉar la unuaj dekkvar jaroj de mia vivo mi sovaĝumis kaj legis neniom krom la libroj de vojaĝoj de Onklo Tomaso. Tiuaĝe, mi konigis la celebritajn poetojn de nia lando; sed nur kiam malsukcese derivante la plej gravan lecionon, mi sentis la bezonon por scipovi pliajn lingvojn ol tio de mia denaska lando. Nun mi estas dudek ok jaraĝa, kaj reale mi estas pli legoscia ol dekkvinaĝaj lernantoj. Estas vere, ke mi pensis pli kaj miaj revoj estas pli etenditaj kaj mirindaj, sed ili volas (kiel la pentristoj nomas ĝin) esti FARITA. Mi multe bezonas amiko kiu havus sufiĉan senson por ne malami min estante romantika, kaj sufiĉan amado por mi reguli mian menson.

Nu, jen malutilaj plendoj. Mi certe ne trovos neniun amikon en la vasta oceano, nek ja ĉi tie en Arĥangelsko inter komercistoj kaj maristoj. Tamen iuj sentoj, senligitaj al la malpuraĵoj de homa naturo, batas plu en ĉi tiuj sovaĝaj brustoj. Ekzemple, mia leŭtenanto estas viro de granda kuraĝo kaj entreprenado. Li fervore deziras gloron, aŭ—por pli priskribi pli precize—progresigadon de sia profesio. Li estas anglo, kaj en la mezo de naciaj kaj profesiaj antaŭjuĝoj, malmoligita de kulturo, enhavas iom de la plej noblaj donacoj de homareco. Mi unue renkontis lin sur balenista ŝipo. Trovante lin senlabora en ĉi tiu urbo, mi facile dungis lin por helpi mian entreprenon. La mastro estas persono de bonega konduto kaj notinda en la ŝipo por sia ĝentileco kaj mildeco de sia disciplino. Ĉi tiu cirkonstanco, plue de lia bone sciata moraleco kaj senturna kuraĝo, deziris mi por engaĝi lin.

Juneco pasita solece, kun miaj plej bonaj jaroj dauxritaj sub via gxentila kaj virina zorgo, ja rafinis la fundamenton de mia karaktero. Tre malplacxas al mi la ofta brutaleco okazita sur sxipo. Mi neniam kredis gxin esti necesa. Kiam mi eklernis, ke maristo egale notinda pro sia bonkoreco kaj obeado de sia sxipanoj, mi sentis ke mi estis bonsxanca por dungi lian servon.

Mi eklernis pri li en iomete romantika maniero, de sinjorino kiu havas pro li la gxojon de sxia vivo. Jen mallonge lia rankonto. Antaux iuj jaroj li amis junan rusinon kun meza ricxeco, kiu kolektis grandan iomon da konkursmonoj. La patro de la frauxlino konsentis la edzigoton. Li vidis la frauxlinon unufoje antaux la ceremonio, sed sxi estis seka da gutoj, kaj falegis cxe liaj piedoj, petegante esti savata, konfesante ke sxi amis alian. Sed la alia estis malricxulo kaj sxia patro neniam konsentus al la unio. Mia malavara amiko rekuragxigis la frauxlinon, kaj kiam dirita pri la nomo de sxia amato, tuj haltis lian voladon. Li jam acxetis farmbienon per sia mono, kie li planis pasi la ceteron de lia vivo. Sed li donacis la tuton al sia rivalo, kaj tiam li mem petis permeson de la patro por konsenti la edzadon kun sxia amito. Sed la maljunulo forte rifuzis. Do mia amiko foriris la landon, gxis li eklernis, ke lia eks-fiancxino estis edzigita laux sxia volo. "Kia nobela ulo!" vi diros. Jes ja, sed li estas tute seneduka. Li estas silenta kiel turko. Kian malklerecon havas li, do tia konduto sxajnas ja mirinda, sed tio mallogas de la intereso kaj simpatio kiun alimaniere li atingus.


Yet do not suppose, because I complain a little or because I can conceive a consolation for my toils which I may never know, that I am wavering in my resolutions. Those are as fixed as fate, and my voyage is only now delayed until the weather shall permit my embarkation. The winter has been dreadfully severe, but the spring promises well, and it is considered as a remarkably early season, so that perhaps I may sail sooner than I expected. I shall do nothing rashly: you know me sufficiently to confide in my prudence and considerateness whenever the safety of others is committed to my care.

I cannot describe to you my sensations on the near prospect of my undertaking. It is impossible to communicate to you a conception of the trembling sensation, half pleasurable and half fearful, with which I am preparing to depart. I am going to unexplored regions, to "the land of mist and snow," but I shall kill no albatross; therefore do not be alarmed for my safety or if I should come back to you as worn and woeful as the "Ancient Mariner." You will smile at my allusion, but I will disclose a secret. I have often attributed my attachment to, my passionate enthusiasm for, the dangerous mysteries of ocean to that production of the most imaginative of modern poets. There is something at work in my soul which I do not understand. I am practically industrious—painstaking, a workman to execute with perseverance and labour—but besides this there is a love for the marvellous, a belief in the marvellous, intertwined in all my projects, which hurries me out of the common pathways of men, even to the wild sea and unvisited regions I am about to explore. But to return to dearer considerations. Shall I meet you again, after having traversed immense seas, and returned by the most southern cape of Africa or America? I dare not expect such success, yet I cannot bear to look on the reverse of the picture. Continue for the present to write to me by every opportunity: I may receive your letters on some occasions when I need them most to support my spirits. I love you very tenderly. Remember me with affection, should you never hear from me again.

Your affectionate brother,
Robert Walton

Letter 3[redakti]

To Mrs. Saville, England
July 7th, 17-

My dear Sister,

I write a few lines in haste to say that I am safe—and well advanced on my voyage. This letter will reach England by a merchantman now on its homeward voyage from Archangel; more fortunate than I, who may not see my native land, perhaps, for many years. I am, however, in good spirits: my men are bold and apparently firm of purpose, nor do the floating sheets of ice that continually pass us, indicating the dangers of the region towards which we are advancing, appear to dismay them. We have already reached a very high latitude; but it is the height of summer, and although not so warm as in England, the southern gales, which blow us speedily towards those shores which I so ardently desire to attain, breathe a degree of renovating warmth which I had not expected.

No incidents have hitherto befallen us that would make a figure in a letter. One or two stiff gales and the springing of a leak are accidents which experienced navigators scarcely remember to record, and I shall be well content if nothing worse happen to us during our voyage.

Adieu, my dear Margaret. Be assured that for my own sake, as well as yours, I will not rashly encounter danger. I will be cool, persevering, and prudent.

But success SHALL crown my endeavours. Wherefore not? Thus far I have gone, tracing a secure way over the pathless seas, the very stars themselves being witnesses and testimonies of my triumph. Why not still proceed over the untamed yet obedient element? What can stop the determined heart and resolved will of man?

My swelling heart involuntarily pours itself out thus. But must finish. Heaven bless my beloved sister!

R.W.

Letter 4[redakti]

(tradukota)

To Mrs. Saville, England
August 5th, 17-

So strange an accident has happened to us that I cannot forbear recording it, although it is very probable that you will see me before these papers can come into your possession.

Last Monday (July 31st) we were nearly surrounded by ice, which closed in the ship on all sides, scarcely leaving her the sea-room in which she floated. Our situation was somewhat dangerous, especially as we were compassed round by a very thick fog. We accordingly lay to, hoping that some change would take place in the atmosphere and weather.

About two o'clock the mist cleared away, and we beheld, stretched out in every direction, vast and irregular plains of ice, which seemed to have no end. Some of my comrades groaned, and my own mind began to grow watchful with anxious thoughts, when a strange sight suddenly attracted our attention and diverted our solicitude from our own situation. We perceived a low carriage, fixed on a sledge and drawn by dogs, pass on towards the north, at the distance of half a mile; a being which had the shape of a man, but apparently of gigantic stature, sat in the sledge and guided the dogs. We watched the rapid progress of the traveller with our telescopes until he was lost among the distant inequalities of the ice. This appearance excited our unqualified wonder. We were, as we believed, many hundred miles from any land; but this apparition seemed to denote that it was not, in reality, so distant as we had supposed. Shut in, however, by ice, it was impossible to follow his track, which we had observed with the greatest attention. About two hours after this occurrence we heard the ground sea, and before night the ice broke and freed our ship. We, however, lay to until the morning, fearing to encounter in the dark those large loose masses which float about after the breaking up of the ice. I profited of this time to rest for a few hours.

In the morning, however, as soon as it was light, I went upon deck and found all the sailors busy on one side of the vessel, apparently talking to someone in the sea. It was, in fact, a sledge, like that we had seen before, which had drifted towards us in the night on a large fragment of ice. Only one dog remained alive; but there was a human being within it whom the sailors were persuading to enter the vessel. He was not, as the other traveller seemed to be, a savage inhabitant of some undiscovered island, but a European. When I appeared on deck the master said, "Here is our captain, and he will not allow you to perish on the open sea."

On perceiving me, the stranger addressed me in English, although with a foreign accent. "Before I come on board your vessel," said he, "will you have the kindness to inform me whither you are bound?"

You may conceive my astonishment on hearing such a question addressed to me from a man on the brink of destruction and to whom I should have supposed that my vessel would have been a resource which he would not have exchanged for the most precious wealth the earth can afford. I replied, however, that we were on a voyage of discovery towards the northern pole.

Upon hearing this he appeared satisfied and consented to come on board. Good God! Margaret, if you had seen the man who thus capitulated for his safety, your surprise would have been boundless. His limbs were nearly frozen, and his body dreadfully emaciated by fatigue and suffering. I never saw a man in so wretched a condition. We attempted to carry him into the cabin, but as soon as he had quitted the fresh air he fainted. We accordingly brought him back to the deck and restored him to animation by rubbing him with brandy and forcing him to swallow a small quantity. As soon as he showed signs of life we wrapped him up in blankets and placed him near the chimney of the kitchen stove. By slow degrees he recovered and ate a little soup, which restored him wonderfully.

Two days passed in this manner before he was able to speak, and I often feared that his sufferings had deprived him of understanding. When he had in some measure recovered, I removed him to my own cabin and attended on him as much as my duty would permit. I never saw a more interesting creature: his eyes have generally an expression of wildness, and even madness, but there are moments when, if anyone performs an act of kindness towards him or does him the most trifling service, his whole countenance is lighted up, as it were, with a beam of benevolence and sweetness that I never saw equalled. But he is generally melancholy and despairing, and sometimes he gnashes his teeth, as if impatient of the weight of woes that oppresses him.

When my guest was a little recovered I had great trouble to keep off the men, who wished to ask him a thousand questions; but I would not allow him to be tormented by their idle curiosity, in a state of body and mind whose restoration evidently depended upon entire repose. Once, however, the lieutenant asked why he had come so far upon the ice in so strange a vehicle.

His countenance instantly assumed an aspect of the deepest gloom, and he replied, "To seek one who fled from me."

"And did the man whom you pursued travel in the same fashion?"

"Yes."

"Then I fancy we have seen him, for the day before we picked you up we saw some dogs drawing a sledge, with a man in it, across the ice."

This aroused the stranger's attention, and he asked a multitude of questions concerning the route which the demon, as he called him, had pursued. Soon after, when he was alone with me, he said, "I have, doubtless, excited your curiosity, as well as that of these good people; but you are too considerate to make inquiries."

"Certainly; it would indeed be very impertinent and inhuman in me to trouble you with any inquisitiveness of mine."

"And yet you rescued me from a strange and perilous situation; you have benevolently restored me to life."

Soon after this he inquired if I thought that the breaking up of the ice had destroyed the other sledge. I replied that I could not answer with any degree of certainty, for the ice had not broken until near midnight, and the traveller might have arrived at a place of safety before that time; but of this I could not judge. From this time a new spirit of life animated the decaying frame of the stranger. He manifested the greatest eagerness to be upon deck to watch for the sledge which had before appeared; but I have persuaded him to remain in the cabin, for he is far too weak to sustain the rawness of the atmosphere. I have promised that someone should watch for him and give him instant notice if any new object should appear in sight.

Such is my journal of what relates to this strange occurrence up to the present day. The stranger has gradually improved in health but is very silent and appears uneasy when anyone except myself enters his cabin. Yet his manners are so conciliating and gentle that the sailors are all interested in him, although they have had very little communication with him. For my own part, I begin to love him as a brother, and his constant and deep grief fills me with sympathy and compassion. He must have been a noble creature in his better days, being even now in wreck so attractive and amiable. I said in one of my letters, my dear Margaret, that I should find no friend on the wide ocean; yet I have found a man who, before his spirit had been broken by misery, I should have been happy to have possessed as the brother of my heart.

I shall continue my journal concerning the stranger at intervals, should I have any fresh incidents to record.

August 13th, 17-

My affection for my guest increases every day. He excites at once my admiration and my pity to an astonishing degree. How can I see so noble a creature destroyed by misery without feeling the most poignant grief? He is so gentle, yet so wise; his mind is so cultivated, and when he speaks, although his words are culled with the choicest art, yet they flow with rapidity and unparalleled eloquence. He is now much recovered from his illness and is continually on the deck, apparently watching for the sledge that preceded his own. Yet, although unhappy, he is not so utterly occupied by his own misery but that he interests himself deeply in the projects of others. He has frequently conversed with me on mine, which I have communicated to him without disguise. He entered attentively into all my arguments in favour of my eventual success and into every minute detail of the measures I had taken to secure it. I was easily led by the sympathy which he evinced to use the language of my heart, to give utterance to the burning ardour of my soul and to say, with all the fervour that warmed me, how gladly I would sacrifice my fortune, my existence, my every hope, to the furtherance of my enterprise. One man's life or death were but a small price to pay for the acquirement of the knowledge which I sought, for the dominion I should acquire and transmit over the elemental foes of our race. As I spoke, a dark gloom spread over my listener's countenance. At first I perceived that he tried to suppress his emotion; he placed his hands before his eyes, and my voice quivered and failed me as I beheld tears trickle fast from between his fingers; a groan burst from his heaving breast. I paused; at length he spoke, in broken accents: "Unhappy man! Do you share my madness? Have you drunk also of the intoxicating draught? Hear me; let me reveal my tale, and you will dash the cup from your lips!"

Such words, you may imagine, strongly excited my curiosity; but the paroxysm of grief that had seized the stranger overcame his weakened powers, and many hours of repose and tranquil conversation were necessary to restore his composure. Having conquered the violence of his feelings, he appeared to despise himself for being the slave of passion; and quelling the dark tyranny of despair, he led me again to converse concerning myself personally. He asked me the history of my earlier years. The tale was quickly told, but it awakened various trains of reflection. I spoke of my desire of finding a friend, of my thirst for a more intimate sympathy with a fellow mind than had ever fallen to my lot, and expressed my conviction that a man could boast of little happiness who did not enjoy this blessing. "I agree with you," replied the stranger; "we are unfashioned creatures, but half made up, if one wiser, better, dearer than ourselves--such a friend ought to be--do not lend his aid to perfectionate our weak and faulty natures. I once had a friend, the most noble of human creatures, and am entitled, therefore, to judge respecting friendship. You have hope, and the world before you, and have no cause for despair. But I--I have lost everything and cannot begin life anew."

As he said this his countenance became expressive of a calm, settled grief that touched me to the heart. But he was silent and presently retired to his cabin.

Even broken in spirit as he is, no one can feel more deeply than he does the beauties of nature. The starry sky, the sea, and every sight afforded by these wonderful regions seem still to have the power of elevating his soul from earth. Such a man has a double existence: he may suffer misery and be overwhelmed by disappointments, yet when he has retired into himself, he will be like a celestial spirit that has a halo around him, within whose circle no grief or folly ventures.

Will you smile at the enthusiasm I express concerning this divine wanderer? You would not if you saw him. You have been tutored and refined by books and retirement from the world, and you are therefore somewhat fastidious; but this only renders you the more fit to appreciate the extraordinary merits of this wonderful man. Sometimes I have endeavoured to discover what quality it is which he possesses that elevates him so immeasurably above any other person I ever knew. I believe it to be an intuitive discernment, a quick but never-failing power of judgment, a penetration into the causes of things, unequalled for clearness and precision; add to this a facility of expression and a voice whose varied intonations are soul-subduing music.

August 19, 17-

Yesterday the stranger said to me, "You may easily perceive, Captain Walton, that I have suffered great and unparalleled misfortunes. I had determined at one time that the memory of these evils should die with me, but you have won me to alter my determination. You seek for knowledge and wisdom, as I once did; and I ardently hope that the gratification of your wishes may not be a serpent to sting you, as mine has been. I do not know that the relation of my disasters will be useful to you; yet, when I reflect that you are pursuing the same course, exposing yourself to the same dangers which have rendered me what I am, I imagine that you may deduce an apt moral from my tale, one that may direct you if you succeed in your undertaking and console you in case of failure. Prepare to hear of occurrences which are usually deemed marvellous. Were we among the tamer scenes of nature I might fear to encounter your unbelief, perhaps your ridicule; but many things will appear possible in these wild and mysterious regions which would provoke the laughter of those unacquainted with the ever-varied powers of nature; nor can I doubt but that my tale conveys in its series internal evidence of the truth of the events of which it is composed."

You may easily imagine that I was much gratified by the offered communication, yet I could not endure that he should renew his grief by a recital of his misfortunes. I felt the greatest eagerness to hear the promised narrative, partly from curiosity and partly from a strong desire to ameliorate his fate if it were in my power. I expressed these feelings in my answer.

"I thank you," he replied, "for your sympathy, but it is useless; my fate is nearly fulfilled. I wait but for one event, and then I shall repose in peace. I understand your feeling," continued he, perceiving that I wished to interrupt him; "but you are mistaken, my friend, if thus you will allow me to name you; nothing can alter my destiny; listen to my history, and you will perceive how irrevocably it is determined."

He then told me that he would commence his narrative the next day when I should be at leisure. This promise drew from me the warmest thanks. I have resolved every night, when I am not imperatively occupied by my duties, to record, as nearly as possible in his own words, what he has related during the day. If I should be engaged, I will at least make notes. This manuscript will doubtless afford you the greatest pleasure; but to me, who know him, and who hear it from his own lips—with what interest and sympathy shall I read it in some future day! Even now, as I commence my task, his full-toned voice swells in my ears; his lustrous eyes dwell on me with all their melancholy sweetness; I see his thin hand raised in animation, while the lineaments of his face are irradiated by the soul within.

Strange and harrowing must be his story, frightful the storm which embraced the gallant vessel on its course and wrecked it—thus!