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Emostein

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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.

Henry stood upon the prow of his intrepid ship next to Victor. While on the ice below, the massive creature that Victor had created kept pace from ice flow to ice flow.

The ship passed slowly through the fragmented slabs. Their passage took Henry yet closer to the paradise of endless sun that he knew must exist at the farthest north. That place which every fiber of his being yearned to achieve. Yearned as a compass needle yearns for the north and ever must quiver and spin in longing. Yet now that he neared his goal, Henry felt as if a set of strong magnets had been placed next to the fiber of his compass, which caused him to spin wildly in new directions.

Long had Henry longed for a friend, someone whose gentle and yet courageous heart, and cultivated and yet capacious mind could approve and amend his own ardent and yet irregular flaws. Here then at his very side stood that potential of friendship. Someone whose pale limbs, emaciated by suffering and grief, Henry had cared for in his own cabin. How Henry railed now at the years of training that had so roughened his hands to those of a laborer of the sea when now there stood next to him one who needed tender care.

Then again, the powerful creature who kept rough pace with the ship required no such tender card. That creature was possessed of an amazingly large cranium and was given to Miltonic quotation beside. Even now, as he walked, he quoth the words of Milton's Lycidas under his breath, "And now the Sun had stretch'd out all the hills." Such a one might have sympathy with Henry's longing for a land of eternal sun.

However, given the general antipathy of Victor for his creature and the creature for Victor, only one might be possessed as a bosom companion.

Henry touched the same railing that Victor touched, full of sensations half pleasurable and half fearful and half indecisive yearning, and said, "Victor, how are you this evening, for it is evening, although with the long wonderful days of the north it has the appearance of noon."

Victor let loose a long gust of a sigh, a sigh that spoke of a soul much battered by sorrow and griefs that would overwhelm a lesser man. Victor turned his wondrous wide eyes upon Henry. Though those eyes trembled to the brim with tremulous tears, the long lashes of his self restraint held back the flood. All he said was, "Captain Walton I have suffered great and unparalleled misfortunes." He turned away then to dash at the misfortunes that streamed down his noble cheeks. He pointed to the unruly creature that walked on the ice. "Had I but the strength to o'er leap the railings of this ship and with these too weary hands kill the one who has dashed all my hopes and dreams, then I would be merely the most misfortunate of men rather than the most tormented." His hair fluttered engagingly forward across his brow as a signal flag of his noble intentions.

The giant creature below snorted and wondrously jumped from one large fragment of ice to another. "Listen to the sorrows of young Werther." The creature's coarse locks made their own salute to match his sarcastic tone. "My dear friend, what a thing is the heart of man."

Henry might have asked the Creature to continue the quotation, but it was not in Henry's mind to agitate Victor's griefs as his tears silvered trails.

Henry moved somewhat closer to Victor that he might shelter Victor's frail figure from the whistling wind with his own mean shape. In so doing, he moved his gloved hand closer to Victor's glove. Words burst forth from the sympathy of his heart. "I have long counted it as a great misfortune that I have had no fellow mind to share my thoughts in intimate sympathy. I have long felt that no man may boast of happiness that does not enjoy this blessing." Henry dared to touch Henry's gloved little finger with the tip of his own smallest digit. In that moment, he felt a rush of such connection that was two-fifths joy and three-fourths terror at his own daring and five-eighths hope.

Hope that was dashed by Victor's next words. "I am an unhappy creature!" Victor removed his closest hand to wipe at the tears, which now made free with the pale arc of his hallowed cheeks. "Unfashioned, and but half made up, now that I have lost the one wiser, better, dearer than myself through my own folly."

The creature kicked a chunk of ice. "And thus he ruminates on every petty vexation which fortune may dispense."

Henry sought to stem the tide, "Perhaps if we went back to our cabin for some hot buttered rum," but it was too late.

Victor moved his hand now to his nobly trembling lips. Lips so chapped by the cold wind that Henry longed to offer some whale oil or some other unguent that they might be restored to the luster that he knew they must have in their natural state.

Yet there too, there was the creature whose hearty frame needed no such lustration. His features had in perfection been crafted if in an unfortunate undead hue. But mere largeness would be no bar to Henry's affections, rather then the reverse, for it would portend to enormity of heart were said heart to be so secured. Although, Henry had some fear for the Creature's too great affection for violent demonstration.

At a great sniffle, Henry's attention returned to Victor, who continued, "I had such a one. He was the most noble of human creatures, and now that he is dead, I am the most miserable of all creatures. I had been thinking that now that I have lost everything and once I am assured that the one I pursue is dead," here he waved at the Creature, who waved back, "that I shall retire to write some poetry. So great are griefs that the only expression of it may be to write of the relief of cutting my own flesh with a knife. In iambic pentameter."

"Parsimonious creator," said the muscular Creature. "At least you have had the joys of a friend," the creature waved his large and yet capable hands at the vast icy expanse, "who in all fairness I foully murdered. But unlike even Lucifer cast into the pit, I have had not had the companionship of even another demon."

"And what of my bride," sobbed Victor, who clutched at the location of his heart, were his heart to reside at the surface of several heavy jackets.

"At least you have had a bride," muttered the creature, who lobbed a chunk of ice in Victor's general direction.

The ice shattered on the side of the ship. Perfect crystalline tears continued their gelid way down Victor's cheeks, "Oh whoa, most unfortunate creature am I that my best-friend, wife, who also counts as my sister, brother, and father have passed before me due to the horrid deeds of this Creature brought on by my unnatural passion for science." Victor threw his glove at the creature, which as a projectile left something to be desired. Trembling with febrile weeping, Victor ran from the ship's deck and into the aft cabins.

The Creature gave forth a hearty sigh. "Prat!" But Henry noticed that the Creature clutched the unfortunate Victor's glove in one mighty hand. The Creature shook his unruly head and ran off into the white vast wastelands, n'ere to be seen again, until perhaps tomorrow when Victor took his next constitutional.

Henry was himself wont to give way to despair, but it came to him that it was the duty of a friend to offer aid in those moments of infinite wretchedness. He considered what salutary affects a mug of hot-buttered rum might bring to poor suffering Victor and went forth with alacrity to give succor to his potential bosom companion. The temperature was, after all, somewhat brisk on the way to the North Pole.