A Brief History
On May 14, 1816, romantically linked English authors Mary Godwin and Percy Shelley arrived at Geneva, Switzerland. The poet Lord Byron (pictured on the right in the image above with Godwin in the middle and Shelley on the left) joined the young lovers on May 25th, with his young physician, John William Polidori. Eventually, the friends decided to have a competition to see who could write the best horror story. After thinking for days, Godwin, who would later that year marry Shelley, dreamt about a scientist who created life and was horrified by what he had made; her dream later evolved into the story of the fictional Victor Frankenstein. What follows is a proposed 25th chapter of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818) as written by a student studying the supernatural at John Carroll University in Spring 2018.
Digging Deeper: Complete Text of “Chapter 25” of Frankenstein
He is a beautiful man. Many said he took after his mother in almost every way, apart from his eyes. No one knows where he got them from. They are a deep blue, as dark as the untouched seas he desired to explore, but filled with misery and bitterness, experienced over the course of his mere twenty-two-year existence. Life was never easy for this young gentleman and fate never seems to smile down upon him. He has no one, all his loved ones are gone, leaving him to carry on the legacy that is, Frankenstein.
He sits in his father’s study, the one place he was forbidden to enter as a youth, but the times have changed. In the middle of signing the approval for the sale of one of his family’s properties, his mind drifts off into deeper thoughts.
“Victor was always father’s favourite, and why not, Victor is the spitting image of him. Father seemed to be so distraught when he left, I know not why. William and I were still here. He did make a great effort to appear as if nothing changed, but we knew, everyone knew, he missed Victor dearly. Thank God for Lizzie. Ah, dear Lizzie, our angel, our sunshine, who casted away our gloom and got father feeling like his old self again. Father adored her. They would spend many a day in his study, but we were forbidden to enter without Father’s permission, or even go into that hall. She was his special person. It was no wonder Father perished after hearing the news of her demise. Victor disappeared right after, supposedly in pursuit of her murderer but it had been a year, he should be back to take over father’s properties. I already delayed my enlistment into the foreign service because of his absence. He needs to return soon for I fear that I may not be able to delay any longer.”
A sharp knock on his study’s door breaks him out of his reverie, scattering his thoughts and leaving him a bit frazzled. George, the head butler, peaks his head in.
“Master Frankenstein, there is a Mr. Robert Walton here to see you.”
“I am very busy George, I am not taking any visitors today. I must get these properties sorted before the night-time befalls us,” Ernest exclaims, gesturing to the scattered papers on the desk.
“Master, he brings news of Master Victor!” George stated excitedly.
Ernest, caught off guard, manages to stutter out a surprised, “Show him in then.”
Walton enters and at once, the temperature in the room drops, as if he has brought the winter winds with him. He is heavily cloaked with a thick coat made of black fur and an unreadable expression on his unshaven face. Ernest rises from his seat, eager to greet his guest.
“George, send for some tea and -”
“Mr. Frankenstein, there is no need. I fear that circumstances allow me very little time to remain in your presence. I have just received word that my dear sister is ailing greatly, and I must see to her at once,” says Walton regretfully.
“I am grateful that you have taken your time to visit me in such horrendous circumstances. Where is Victor? Is he still chasing after the devil that murdered out beloved Lizzie? Did he say when he would return to us? Did-”
“I am deeply sorry to be the bearer of this news,” interrupts Walton. “Victor will not be returning home.”
“Well, that is not the worst possible news, it is disheartening but-”
Walton interrupts him again. “What I mean to say, and God I wish I did not have to, is that Victor is not with us anymore.”
“Oh, so he has found other companions with which he shall pursue the monster?” says Ernest cheerily, oblivious to Walton’s underlying hints.
“My boy,” says Walton, filled with pity and regret, “Victor is dead.”
Ernest feels absolute nothingness, numbness, emptiness.
“I am deeply sorry, but I must leave. Keep well Mr. Frankenstein. I will visit another day and speak with you more, but I must be on my way now.” Walton hurriedly exits the room, as if the devil was at his heels.
–Ten years later–
Much has happened within these ten years. Alphonse’s will was read. Interestingly, his fortune was to be split amongst Elizabeth, Victor and Ernest equally, and as Elizabeth and Victor had been married, Victor ended up possessing two thirds of the Frankenstein fortune; however, it seemed that since Ernest was the last surviving Frankenstein, everything went to him, and it did. He had to permanently postpone his dream of joining the foreign service and take up his father’s duties of managing multiple investments and estates. Following in his father’s footsteps, after years of vigorous tutoring, Ernest became a renowned magistrate, one who also managed to triple his fortune at just thirty-two years old.
Ernest arrives at the Frankenstein manor, weary after a long day of dealing with political matters plaguing the court.
“Master Frankenstein, you must find a wife soon. The people are talking and many of your rivals are spreading…undesirable rumours. You are coveted by many of the court’s ladies and royals, yet you spare them no second glance. Is there anything you want to share with me?” enquired George as he helps Ernest take off his coat.
“George, you know I want nothing to do with those court women, they gossip constantly!” exclaims Ernest as he ascends the staircase to his room.
“Master, it is imperative that we have a lady of the house to run the affairs. I have done all that I could, but I don’t think I can do it anymore. I am of retiring age.”
Ernest halts on the staircase. “Is that a threat George?”
“No master, I am just old and am unable to do the things I used to. I stayed here for you, for I will never abandon the Frankenstein family. I served your father and I will serve you until I see fit. But now, I deem it necessary that you find a female companion. There is a dance at the weeks end. Many eligible ladies have confirmed their attendance and I have confirmed yours. Your suit is laid out on your bed. Let me know if you’ll be needing anything else,” George says in a firm voice before leaving Ernest’s presence.
Ernest tiredly walks into his room and drops on his bed, crumpling the laid-out suit, feeling as if his conversation with George has knocked the wind out of him. A wife. Every man needed a wife, but no one captured Ernest’s attention. They were never Justine. Elizabeth belonged to father, but beautiful Justine was his. He loved her most ardently, and he knew, if given the time, she would have felt the same. She was innocent, everyone knew, but he could never prove it.
“I should not dwell on the past,” mutters Ernest to himself sleepily while taking off his garments, “she is gone, and I can do nought about it.” With that, he falls into a deep slumber, dreaming of his Justine.
One morning, on his rare day off, Ernest is at the table, having breakfast when George enters.
“Official Gale is here to see you Master.”
“What does that nosy bastard want now?” he mutters, then calls out, “Send him in George.”
Official Gale enters briskly and takes a seat close to Ernest.
“Ernie, you won’t believe it. Even I considered that my eyes were playing tricks on me when I saw him. But he is real, for I poked him relentlessly. Magistrate Paul, that gollumpus, kept giving me funny looks, but I had to make sure. His name is Adam and he says he is -”
“What nonsense are you going off about now Jeffery?” utters an annoyed Ernest, cutting him off. He had not been sleeping well since that night he thought of Justine and just wanted one day of peace. Official Jeffery Hale was always a bother to him, since his childhood, but in business, you were forced to be chummy with the enemy. He was a cunning, vindictive and powerful man who created trouble just for his amusement. Everyone knew to stay clear of him.
“Ahhhh, you do not know yet, do you,” chuckles Official Hale, with a mischievous glint in his eyes, “someone has come to claim part of the Frankenstein fortune.”
“Aish! I have no remaining relatives Jeffery, stop playing.” Ernest tries to appear calm but is heavily agitated.
“You do not believe me, that is fine, but come to the dance tonight. He will be there.”
“I have no time for this Jeffery. He is just some other con man trying to get a piece of the Frankenstein fortune.”
“At least come Ernest. Lay eyes on the imposter and reveal his lies then,” proclaims Hale with a smirk.
“If that is what it takes to get rid of you, I will,” responds Ernest, with a hint of finality in his tone.
Jeffery Hale rises from his chair and saunters out the room, leaving Ernest in a state of bewilderment. This is not the first time someone had tried to claim the Frankenstein fortune, but Ernest had never seen Jeffery react in such a persistent way. His curiosity started to take over.
That night, Ernest arrives at the dance and is bombarded by hordes of eligible ladies begging for a place on his dance card. His polite refusals are of no use as their persistence is both annoying and overwhelming. Just for appearances sake, he lets them have free reign over his card and thus, in a matter of minutes, it is filled.
Ernest is on his fifth dance with the daughter of a court official when he happens to glimpse an elegantly dressed man, his face obscured by shadows, holding a glass of red wine and staring directly at him. A bead of perspiration runs down Ernest’s neck, as the music’s tempo speeds up. His heart starts racing and his body is filled with panic. His vision is blurry, and he feels as if he is suffocating. He excuses himself from his female dancing companion and moves towards the vacant secluded balcony, gasping for breath. He still has a clear line of vision of the man in the shadows, who is staring into his soul. The music hits its climax. The man steps out and the light hits his youthful, clean shaven face.
“Victor!” is Ernest’s soft cry before he collapses on the floor.
3rd September 1799
I have given myself a name. I shall be called Adam and Victor is my creator, thus he is my father.
5th September 1799
I have set his body into the ice, to preserve it. I must journey to his workplace and retrieve his logs and reports, I need it to make myself a companion.
I have returned. Most of his notes are hidden, I was not able to find much. I did find a picture of another woman in his room, not the one I killed, but another. She has kind eyes. There is a C. on the back of the picture.
I have taken all the notes and reports from Victor’s room. His writing is unclear, mostly just scratches and scribbles. There is a part about brain transfer. I must take some time to decipher it.
I can finally understand. He did a brain transfer from a mouse to a frog that succeeded. I have an idea, but I am unsure of my success. I can transfer my brain to his body. Then I will look normal. I deplore hiding in the shadows with no companions. I am lonely. If I become human, I can live a good life, I can have friends, no one will run away from me after seeing my face. I need to do this. I want to live. I deserve life.
Another failed experiment. Can I ever succeed? I can never get the transfer just right.
I passed by father’s body today, he looks younger. His hair is longer, and his face looks smoother. He is completely enveloped in ice.
The experiments keep failing. I am frustrated. Father is aging backwards. His body is well preserved, but I fear that something might go wrong if I leave him in there for too long.
I need help.
I found her. She will help me. She says she understands that the world is cruel. She believes in my cause. She does not shudder at the sight of my face. She will help me.
(writing is undecipherable due to water damage)
No longer in the cold (rest of writing is undecipherable due to heat damage). It will soon be done.
Getting used to his body is quite difficult. It is much smaller than I am used to. My motor skills need some work. She is still with me, helping me. She told me that the body has not fully accepted me as yet. I still need more time to get used to it.
I feel more comfortable. Even though it is my brain in his body, I feel as if his body still remembers things that I know not how to do. No, it is my body now.
I believe myself to be in full control. I am ready to go out into the world. I am ready.
I found De Lacey’s children. They were shocked to have a visitor but welcomed me with open arms. They did not go running at the first sight of me. These humans. As of now, they are no more.
Father has a brother. I assumed I had gotten rid of all the members of the Frankenstein family. They are all cursed. I must end the line.
I will see him tonight, the last Frankenstein. She said she will be there with me.
Digging Deeper: Some background and where I was taking the story.
- No one really pays attention to Ernest. That is why I chose to focus on him. He is a good main character in the sense that he has the blood, which is laced with scientific knowledge, unbeknownst to Ernest but does not come from his father’s side, but his mother’s, the Beaufort line. He is not Alphonse’s son. Later in the story, he falls for a woman who resembles Justine, but is a few years younger than she would have been.
- Adam appears to be of age 18, making it seem that Victor had him when he was twenty-one. Victor died at 29, Ernest was seven years younger (22). Ernest is now 32, which means Victor would have been 39. Adam planned out his age well.
- When claiming he (Adam) is Victor’s son, he describes the woman in the picture he found in Victor’s place with a C. on the back as his mother. The majority of the picture is burnt to convince Ernest that she died in a fire and this was the only picture Adam could salvage. She is seen wearing a locket. No one recognises it at first. (The picture is one of Victor’s mother Caroline).
- There was supernatural healing in the ice in which Victor’s body was stored, similar to the fountain of youth, and his body aged backwards. If Adam had left the body too long, it would have disappeared completely.
Digging Deeper: More details about the woman.
Adam did the brain transfer with the help of a woman named Jane. Jane is the younger sister of Justine and believes that the Frankenstein family killed her (Justine) out of spite. She knows nothing of Adam’s part in Justine’s death and thus, blames Ernest and wants revenge. Her brother had a disfigurement, so she is gentle to what society calls “monsters”, hence helping Adam.
She has thorough knowledge of the science of creation after hiding out in Victor’s place near the University of Ingolstadt and discovering his manuscripts and logs.
She is the one who Ernest falls in love with. Adam also falls in love with her.
(Lots of Drama and supernatural things including Ernest dabbling in black magic and sorcery). Jane is hell bent on revenge. (More drama and supernatural things)
Adam impregnates Jane and they have a son. Everyone dies in the end but the son, who they name Vlad.
The girl who helps Adam is Victor’s daughter, Viola, who was born after one night with some woman while he was in his early days of studying.
Viola has a knack for creation, just like her father and is thus drawn to Adam. She does not know who her father is (Victor) but is sympathetic to the story Adam tells her of the people who wronged him (the entire Frankenstein line).
She resembles Justine and Ernest falls in love with her, but she does not trust him. She starts to feel and attraction to Adam and falls in love with him. she would do anything for him.
(Inserts Drama and supernatural things including Ernest dabbling in demonic magic and wirchcraft…Caroline, his mother, was a witch who was impregnated by the devil-Ernest is not fully human)
Adam impregnates Viola and an abomination is born. Ernest discovers his supernatural capabilities and wages war on Adam. Great battle and destruction. Chaos. Everyone perishes in a fire that claims the entire Frankenstein manor, except the abomination, who they named Cain.
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For more information, please see…
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft and Sir Walter Scott. Frankenstein. Digireads.com, 2015.