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"The next morning Felix went out to his work, and after the usual↩
occupations of Agatha were finished, the Arabian sat at the feet of the↩
old man, and taking his guitar, played some airs so entrancingly↩
beautiful that they at once drew tears of sorrow and delight from my↩
eyes. She sang, and her voice flowed in a rich cadence, swelling or↩
dying away like a nightingale of the woods.↩
"When she had finished, she gave the guitar to Agatha, who at first↩
declined it. She played a simple air, and her voice accompanied it in↩
sweet accents, but unlike the wondrous strain of the stranger. The old↩
man appeared enraptured and said some words which Agatha endeavoured to↩
explain to Safie, and by which he appeared to wish to express that she↩
bestowed on him the greatest delight by her music.↩
"The days now passed as peaceably as before, with the sole alteration↩
that joy had taken place of sadness in the countenances of my friends.↩
Safie was always gay and happy; she and I improved rapidly in the↩
knowledge of language, so that in two months I began to comprehend most↩
of the words uttered by my protectors.↩
"In the meanwhile also the black ground was covered with herbage, and↩
the green banks interspersed with innumerable flowers, sweet to the↩
scent and the eyes, stars of pale radiance among the moonlight woods;↩
the sun became warmer, the nights clear and balmy; and my nocturnal↩
rambles were an extreme pleasure to me, although they were considerably↩
shortened by the late setting and early rising of the sun, for I never↩
ventured abroad during daylight, fearful of meeting with the same↩
treatment I had formerly endured in the first village which I entered.↩
"My days were spent in close attention, that I might more speedily↩
master the language; and I may boast that I improved more rapidly than↩
the Arabian, who understood very little and conversed in broken↩
accents, whilst I comprehended and could imitate almost every word that↩
was spoken.↩
"While I improved in speech, I also learned the science of letters as↩
it was taught to the stranger, and this opened before me a wide field↩
for wonder and delight.↩
"The book from which Felix instructed Safie was Volney's Ruins of↩
Empires. I should not have understood the purport of this book had not↩
Felix, in reading it, given very minute explanations. He had chosen↩
this work, he said, because the declamatory style was framed in↩
imitation of the Eastern authors. Through this work I obtained a↩
cursory knowledge of history and a view of the several empires at↩
present existing in the world; it gave me an insight into the manners,↩
governments, and religions of the different nations of the earth. I↩
heard of the slothful Asiatics, of the stupendous genius and mental↩
activity of the Grecians, of the wars and wonderful virtue of the early↩
Romans--of their subsequent degenerating--of the decline of that mighty↩
empire, of chivalry, Christianity, and kings. I heard of the discovery↩
of the American hemisphere and wept with Safie over the hapless fate of↩
its original inhabitants.↩
"These wonderful narrations inspired me with strange feelings. Was↩
man, indeed, at once so powerful, so virtuous and magnificent, yet so↩
vicious and base? He appeared at one time a mere scion of the evil↩
principle and at another as all that can be conceived of noble and↩
godlike. To be a great and virtuous man appeared the highest honour↩
that can befall a sensitive being; to be base and vicious, as many on↩
record have been, appeared the lowest degradation, a condition more↩
abject than that of the blind mole or harmless worm. For a long time I↩
could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or↩
even why there were laws and governments; but when I heard details of↩
vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased and I turned away with disgust and↩
loathing.↩
"Every conversation of the cottagers now opened new wonders to me.↩
While I listened to the instructions which Felix bestowed upon the↩
Arabian, the strange system of human society was explained to me. I↩
heard of the division of property, of immense wealth and squalid↩
poverty, of rank, descent, and noble blood.↩
"The words induced me to turn towards myself. I learned that the↩
possessions most esteemed by your fellow creatures were high and↩
unsullied descent united with riches. A man might be respected with↩
only one of these advantages, but without either he was considered,↩
except in very rare instances, as a vagabond and a slave, doomed to↩
waste his powers for the profits of the chosen few! And what was I? Of↩
my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant, but I knew that I↩
possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides,↩
endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not even↩
of the same nature as man. I was more agile than they and could↩
subsist upon coarser diet; I bore the extremes of heat and cold with↩
less injury to my frame; my stature far exceeded theirs. When I looked↩
around I saw and heard of none like me. Was I, then, a monster, a blot↩
upon the earth, from which all men fled and whom all men disowned?↩
"I cannot describe to you the agony that these reflections inflicted↩
upon me; I tried to dispel them, but sorrow only increased with↩
knowledge. Oh, that I had forever remained in my native wood, nor↩
known nor felt beyond the sensations of hunger, thirst, and heat!↩
"Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind when it↩
has once seized on it like a lichen on the rock. I wished sometimes to↩
shake off all thought and feeling, but I learned that there was but one↩
means to overcome the sensation of pain, and that was death--a state↩
which I feared yet did not understand. I admired virtue and good↩
feelings and loved the gentle manners and amiable qualities of my↩
cottagers, but I was shut out from intercourse with them, except↩
through means which I obtained by stealth, when I was unseen and↩
unknown, and which rather increased than satisfied the desire I had of↩
becoming one among my fellows. The gentle words of Agatha and the↩
animated smiles of the charming Arabian were not for me. The mild↩
exhortations of the old man and the lively conversation of the loved↩
Felix were not for me. Miserable, unhappy wretch!↩
"Other lessons were impressed upon me even more deeply. I heard of the↩
difference of sexes, and the birth and growth of children, how the↩
father doted on the smiles of the infant, and the lively sallies of the↩
older child, how all the life and cares of the mother were wrapped up↩
in the precious charge, how the mind of youth expanded and gained↩
knowledge, of brother, sister, and all the various relationships which↩
bind one human being to another in mutual bonds.↩
"But where were my friends and relations? No father had watched my↩
infant days, no mother had blessed me with smiles and caresses; or if↩
they had, all my past life was now a blot, a blind vacancy in which I↩
distinguished nothing. From my earliest remembrance I had been as I↩
then was in height and proportion. I had never yet seen a being↩
resembling me or who claimed any intercourse with me. What was I? The↩
question again recurred, to be answered only with groans.↩
"I will soon explain to what these feelings tended, but allow me now to↩
return to the cottagers, whose story excited in me such various↩
feelings of indignation, delight, and wonder, but which all terminated↩
in additional love and reverence for my protectors (for so I loved, in↩
an innocent, half-painful self-deceit, to call them)."↩
Chapter 14↩
"Some time elapsed before I learned the history of my friends. It was↩
one which could not fail to impress itself deeply on my mind, unfolding↩
as it did a number of circumstances, each interesting and wonderful to↩
one so utterly inexperienced as I was.↩
"The name of the old man was De Lacey. He was descended from a good↩
family in France, where he had lived for many years in affluence,↩
respected by his superiors and beloved by his equals. His son was bred↩
in the service of his country, and Agatha had ranked with ladies of the↩
highest distinction. A few months before my arrival they had lived in↩
a large and luxurious city called Paris, surrounded by friends and↩
possessed of every enjoyment which virtue, refinement of intellect, or↩
taste, accompanied by a moderate fortune, could afford.↩
"The father of Safie had been the cause of their ruin. He was a↩
Turkish merchant and had inhabited Paris for many years, when, for some↩
reason which I could not learn, he became obnoxious to the government.↩
He was seized and cast into prison the very day that Safie arrived from↩
Constantinople to join him. He was tried and condemned to death. The↩
injustice of his sentence was very flagrant; all Paris was indignant;↩
and it was judged that his religion and wealth rather than the crime↩
alleged against him had been the cause of his condemnation.↩
"Felix had accidentally been present at the trial; his horror and↩
indignation were uncontrollable when he heard the decision of the↩
court. He made, at that moment, a solemn vow to deliver him and then↩
looked around for the means. After many fruitless attempts to gain↩
admittance to the prison, he found a strongly grated window in an↩
unguarded part of the building, which lighted the dungeon of the↩
unfortunate Muhammadan, who, loaded with chains, waited in despair the↩
execution of the barbarous sentence. Felix visited the grate at night↩
and made known to the prisoner his intentions in his favour. The Turk,↩
amazed and delighted, endeavoured to kindle the zeal of his deliverer↩
by promises of reward and wealth. Felix rejected his offers with↩
contempt, yet when he saw the lovely Safie, who was allowed to visit↩
her father and who by her gestures expressed her lively gratitude, the↩
youth could not help owning to his own mind that the captive possessed↩
a treasure which would fully reward his toil and hazard.↩
"The Turk quickly perceived the impression that his daughter had made↩
on the heart of Felix and endeavoured to secure him more entirely in↩
his interests by the promise of her hand in marriage so soon as he↩
should be conveyed to a place of safety. Felix was too delicate to↩
accept this offer, yet he looked forward to the probability of the↩
event as to the consummation of his happiness.↩
"During the ensuing days, while the preparations were going forward for↩
the escape of the merchant, the zeal of Felix was warmed by several↩
letters that he received from this lovely girl, who found means to↩
express her thoughts in the language of her lover by the aid of an old↩
man, a servant of her father who understood French. She thanked him in↩
the most ardent terms for his intended services towards her parent, and↩
at the same time she gently deplored her own fate.↩
"I have copies of these letters, for I found means, during my residence↩
in the hovel, to procure the implements of writing; and the letters↩
were often in the hands of Felix or Agatha. Before I depart I will↩
give them to you; they will prove the truth of my tale; but at present,↩
as the sun is already far declined, I shall only have time to repeat↩
the substance of them to you.↩
"Safie related that her mother was a Christian Arab, seized and made a↩
slave by the Turks; recommended by her beauty, she had won the heart of↩
the father of Safie, who married her. The young girl spoke in high and↩
enthusiastic terms of her mother, who, born in freedom, spurned the↩
bondage to which she was now reduced. She instructed her daughter in↩
the tenets of her religion and taught her to aspire to higher powers of↩
intellect and an independence of spirit forbidden to the female↩
followers of Muhammad. This lady died, but her lessons were indelibly↩
impressed on the mind of Safie, who sickened at the prospect of again↩
returning to Asia and being immured within the walls of a harem,↩
allowed only to occupy herself with infantile amusements, ill-suited to↩
the temper of her soul, now accustomed to grand ideas and a noble↩
emulation for virtue. The prospect of marrying a Christian and↩
remaining in a country where women were allowed to take a rank in↩
society was enchanting to her.↩
"The day for the execution of the Turk was fixed, but on the night↩
previous to it he quitted his prison and before morning was distant↩
many leagues from Paris. Felix had procured passports in the name of↩
his father, sister, and himself. He had previously communicated his↩
plan to the former, who aided the deceit by quitting his house, under↩
the pretence of a journey and concealed himself, with his daughter, in↩
an obscure part of Paris.↩
"Felix conducted the fugitives through France to Lyons and across Mont↩
Cenis to Leghorn, where the merchant had decided to wait a favourable↩
opportunity of passing into some part of the Turkish dominions.↩
"Safie resolved to remain with her father until the moment of his↩
departure, before which time the Turk renewed his promise that she↩
should be united to his deliverer; and Felix remained with them in↩
expectation of that event; and in the meantime he enjoyed the society↩
of the Arabian, who exhibited towards him the simplest and tenderest↩
affection. They conversed with one another through the means of an↩
interpreter, and sometimes with the interpretation of looks; and Safie↩
sang to him the divine airs of her native country.↩
"The Turk allowed this intimacy to take place and encouraged the hopes↩
of the youthful lovers, while in his heart he had formed far other↩
plans. He loathed the idea that his daughter should be united to a↩
Christian, but he feared the resentment of Felix if he should appear↩
lukewarm, for he knew that he was still in the power of his deliverer↩
if he should choose to betray him to the Italian state which they↩
inhabited. He revolved a thousand plans by which he should be enabled↩
to prolong the deceit until it might be no longer necessary, and↩
secretly to take his daughter with him when he departed. His plans↩
were facilitated by the news which arrived from Paris.↩
"The government of France were greatly enraged at the escape of their↩
victim and spared no pains to detect and punish his deliverer. The↩
plot of Felix was quickly discovered, and De Lacey and Agatha were↩
thrown into prison. The news reached Felix and roused him from his↩
dream of pleasure. His blind and aged father and his gentle sister lay↩
in a noisome dungeon while he enjoyed the free air and the society of↩
her whom he loved. This idea was torture to him. He quickly arranged↩
with the Turk that if the latter should find a favourable opportunity↩
for escape before Felix could return to Italy, Safie should remain as a↩
boarder at a convent at Leghorn; and then, quitting the lovely Arabian,↩
he hastened to Paris and delivered himself up to the vengeance of the↩
law, hoping to free De Lacey and Agatha by this proceeding.↩
"He did not succeed. They remained confined for five months before the↩
trial took place, the result of which deprived them of their fortune↩
and condemned them to a perpetual exile from their native country.↩
"They found a miserable asylum in the cottage in Germany, where I↩
discovered them. Felix soon learned that the treacherous Turk, for↩
whom he and his family endured such unheard-of oppression, on↩
discovering that his deliverer was thus reduced to poverty and ruin,↩
became a traitor to good feeling and honour and had quitted Italy with↩
his daughter, insultingly sending Felix a pittance of money to aid him,↩
as he said, in some plan of future maintenance.↩
"Such were the events that preyed on the heart of Felix and rendered↩
him, when I first saw him, the most miserable of his family. He could↩
have endured poverty, and while this distress had been the meed of his↩
virtue, he gloried in it; but the ingratitude of the Turk and the loss↩
of his beloved Safie were misfortunes more bitter and irreparable. The↩
arrival of the Arabian now infused new life into his soul.↩
"When the news reached Leghorn that Felix was deprived of his wealth↩
and rank, the merchant commanded his daughter to think no more of her↩
lover, but to prepare to return to her native country. The generous↩
nature of Safie was outraged by this command; she attempted to↩
expostulate with her father, but he left her angrily, reiterating his↩
tyrannical mandate.↩
"A few days after, the Turk entered his daughter's apartment and told↩
her hastily that he had reason to believe that his residence at Leghorn↩
had been divulged and that he should speedily be delivered up to the↩
French government; he had consequently hired a vessel to convey him to↩
Constantinople, for which city he should sail in a few hours. He↩
intended to leave his daughter under the care of a confidential↩
servant, to follow at her leisure with the greater part of his↩
property, which had not yet arrived at Leghorn.↩
"When alone, Safie resolved in her own mind the plan of conduct that it↩
would become her to pursue in this emergency. A residence in Turkey↩
was abhorrent to her; her religion and her feelings were alike averse↩
to it. By some papers of her father which fell into her hands she↩
heard of the exile of her lover and learnt the name of the spot where↩
he then resided. She hesitated some time, but at length she formed her↩
determination. Taking with her some jewels that belonged to her and a↩
sum of money, she quitted Italy with an attendant, a native of Leghorn,↩
but who understood the common language of Turkey, and departed for↩
Germany.↩
"She arrived in safety at a town about twenty leagues from the cottage↩
of De Lacey, when her attendant fell dangerously ill. Safie nursed her↩
with the most devoted affection, but the poor girl died, and the↩
Arabian was left alone, unacquainted with the language of the country↩
and utterly ignorant of the customs of the world. She fell, however,↩
into good hands. The Italian had mentioned the name of the spot for↩
which they were bound, and after her death the woman of the house in↩
which they had lived took care that Safie should arrive in safety at↩
the cottage of her lover."↩
Chapter 15↩
"Such was the history of my beloved cottagers. It impressed me deeply.↩
I learned, from the views of social life which it developed, to admire↩
their virtues and to deprecate the vices of mankind.↩
"As yet I looked upon crime as a distant evil, benevolence and↩
generosity were ever present before me, inciting within me a desire to↩
become an actor in the busy scene where so many admirable qualities↩
were called forth and displayed. But in giving an account of the↩
progress of my intellect, I must not omit a circumstance which occurred↩
in the beginning of the month of August of the same year.↩
"One night during my accustomed visit to the neighbouring wood where I↩
collected my own food and brought home firing for my protectors, I↩
found on the ground a leathern portmanteau containing several articles↩
of dress and some books. I eagerly seized the prize and returned with↩
it to my hovel. Fortunately the books were written in the language,↩
the elements of which I had acquired at the cottage; they consisted of↩
Paradise Lost, a volume of Plutarch's Lives, and the Sorrows of Werter.↩
The possession of these treasures gave me extreme delight; I now↩
continually studied and exercised my mind upon these histories, whilst↩
my friends were employed in their ordinary occupations.↩
"I can hardly describe to you the effect of these books. They produced↩
in me an infinity of new images and feelings, that sometimes raised me↩
to ecstasy, but more frequently sunk me into the lowest dejection. In↩
the Sorrows of Werter, besides the interest of its simple and affecting↩
story, so many opinions are canvassed and so many lights thrown upon↩
what had hitherto been to me obscure subjects that I found in it a↩
never-ending source of speculation and astonishment. The gentle and↩
domestic manners it described, combined with lofty sentiments and↩
feelings, which had for their object something out of self, accorded↩
well with my experience among my protectors and with the wants which↩
were forever alive in my own bosom. But I thought Werter himself a↩
more divine being than I had ever beheld or imagined; his character↩
contained no pretension, but it sank deep. The disquisitions upon↩
death and suicide were calculated to fill me with wonder. I did not↩
pretend to enter into the merits of the case, yet I inclined towards↩
the opinions of the hero, whose extinction I wept, without precisely↩
understanding it.↩
"As I read, however, I applied much personally to my own feelings and↩
condition. I found myself similar yet at the same time strangely↩
unlike to the beings concerning whom I read and to whose conversation I↩
was a listener. I sympathized with and partly understood them, but I↩
was unformed in mind; I was dependent on none and related to none.↩
'The path of my departure was free,' and there was none to lament my↩
annihilation. My person was hideous and my stature gigantic. What did↩
this mean? Who was I? What was I? Whence did I come? What was my↩
destination? These questions continually recurred, but I was unable to↩
solve them.↩
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