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Presumption; or, the Fate of Frankenstein

By Richard Brinsley Peake


An Apartment in the House of Elizabeth, at Belrive. -- Table and chairs. The hurried music from the close of the First Act to play in continuance until this scene is discovered, and Frankenstein enters L.H., hastily, to centre of stage. Music ceases.

Frank. At length in my sister's house! -- and safe! I have paced with quick step, but at every turn feared to meet the wretch -- my heart palpitates with the sickness of fear! What have I cast on the world? a creature powerful in form, of supernatural and gigantic strength, but with the mind of an infant. Oh, that I could recall my impious labour, or suddenly extinguish the spark which I have so presumptuously bestowed. -- Yet that were murder -- murder in its worst and most horrid form -- for he is mine -- my own formation. Ha! who approaches?

Enter Elizabeth, R.H., they embrace.

Eliza. My dear Victor! my dear brother!

Frank. Elizabeth!

Eliza. You come to stay, I hope, till our wedding; is over. Clerval will be here presently. Alas! Frankenstein! your cheek is pallid -- your eye has lost its wonted lustre. Oh, Victor, what are the secrets that prey upon your mind and form? -- The pernicious air of your laboratory will be fatal to you.

Frank. (Apart.) Fatal indeed!

Eliza. I pray you, for my sake, cease -- I understand upon one subject you have laboured incessantly.

Frank. One subject! (Aside.) Am I discovered?

Eliza. You change colour, my dear brother. I will not mention it -- I -- there is a wildness in your eyes for which I cannot account.

Frank. (Starts.) See -- see -- he is there!

Eliza. Dearest Frankenstein -- what is the cause of this?

Frank. Do not ask me. I -- I thought I saw the dreaded spectre glide into the room.

Eliza. Calm your mind, Victor.

Frank. Pardon me, Elizabeth. I know not what you will think of me.

Eliza. I have intelligence of one dear to you, and for whom, prior to your close attention to study, you had the tenderest regard. -- Say, Victor, will you not be glad to hear that I have a clue to lead you to your lost love, Agatha de Lacey!

Frank. Agatha! dearest Agatha! her name recalls my sinking spirits -- where -- where is she to be found? Oh, would that I ne'er had been robbed of her! 'Twas her loss that drove me to deep and fatal experiments!

Eliza. A traveller! a beautiful Arabian girl was here but last night; she was seeking Felix de Lacey, the brother of Agatha, to whom she had been betrothed -- she gave me the information that the family are but a short distance from hence -- the Valley of the Lake.

Frank. And Agatha there? -- Agatha! there is yet life and hope for me -- Ah, no. (Aside.) The dreadful monster I have formed! -- away with thought! Elizabeth, I will instantly seek her. Agatha's smiles shall move this heavy pressure -- to the Valley of the Lake. -- Farewell, sister, farewell!

(They embrace, and exeunt Elizabeth R.H., Frankenstein, L.H.)