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again and again testify

Only in retrospect will the conclusion of this letter take on additional meaning from the remarkably heightened rhetoric indulged in by Walton here at its end. For Walton so to "testify" is to "bear witness" before the world to a dependence upon and need for his sister. In a narrative in which solitude and obsessiveness will come to seem a threat to all normative human relationships, this prior assertion of the primacy of human affection bears an ideological import. Students of English Romantic poetry may even be reminded of the highly emotional faith with which Wordsworth turns to his sister Dorothy in "Lines Written a Few Miles Above Tintern Abbey" (lines 116ff.), a poem that will be quoted by Victor Frankenstein in an encomium to his friend Henry Clerval at a point of structural balance with this passage, at the beginning of Volume 3 of the novel (3.1.8).