Day 30 – b.The promise

elizabeth lavenza - nanowrimo countLast installment of November.  Ending with 28,855 words.  Had hoped to get over 30,000 at least but I can live with it.  Will keep going anyway.  Hopefully I’ll hit the 50,000 mark for my next nanowrimo.


The house was calmer without Victor.  It was curious the effect he had on the household, even when in his bed.  Elizabeth naturally worried about him.  It was what she did.  And it was strange to be without him again.  Agatha made sure she left the house that day and they stopped for tea and pastries.

“You certainly do spoil me, Agatha,” said Elizabeth as they sat drinking their tea.

Agatha thought this a strange thing to say as this was being billed to Elizabeth’s father.

“I am not paying for this.  I’m the one being spoiled.”

“Yes, but I would never do this for myself,” replied Elizabeth.  “Thank you for suggesting it.”

“You need to have your time, Elizabeth.  You are forever doing things for everyone else.  If Victor can have his ramble in the mountains, you can certainly have a pastry.”

“I can manage with or without a day out,” explained Elizabeth, “but Victor’s constitution requires these escapes.  I think one of his difficulties is that he was shut up in a school for so long.  He should have occasionally come home and visited the lake.  I think he would have been far better for it.”

“Perhaps he needs less time to himself and his thoughts,” suggested Agatha, who thought the family indulged his moods far too much.

“No.  I understand Victor.  He needs that time with his thoughts.”

“You realize that he is insane.”

“You don’t understand.  He is not quite himself.  Certainly he has always been sensitive, but this is something more.  He was very ill at Ingolstadt.  Henry suspects some terrible calamity but could get no information.  Those at the school suggested he was simply overworking and became ill, but I believe Henry.  And then the shock of the loss of William and then Justine.  Well, you know my theory about Justine.  I think it’s all just too much for a man of his nature.  Give him some time to himself wandering his mountains and he will be improved.  I’m afraid you have not seen him at his best.”

“Well, I might be a bit more lenient if he would remember my name.  Who was this Belle?  I suppose she was a servant.”

“Yes she was, quite a long while ago.  But she left when she married the gardener.  It was quite a surprise.  How did you know?”

It seemed quite clear to her, as Victor only ever noticed her when he needed something fetched.  Which she happily did for him as it meant that Elizabeth didn’t need to.  But she kept that to herself and instead replied: “Just a guess.”

Elizabeth had been somewhat, though not entirely, offended at her friend’s suggestion that her brother, cousin, closest friend, all that Victor was to her, was insane.  She passed it off as Agatha’s attempt at humour and gave it little thought.


The next night they were all in the library with the two fathers sitting by the fire and the talk drifted to family matters and for some reason to the death of her mother, Caroline.

“Elizabeth stayed with her the entire time,” explained Mr. Frankenstein, “though she was not well herself.  Tended to her so diligently.  My wife adored her so.  She was never strong, my Caroline.  I suppose she always knew that she would die young.  She was more prepared for it than I was.  I assumed at my age I would be first.”

Mr. DeLacey nodded.  “My wife died young also.  She was having our third child.  They both died.  To expect more life to enter our home and then suddenly lose a life instead —  it was quite a shock.”

There was a time of silence as everyone stared into the fire, even Mr. DeLacey.

“One good thing came of it,” said Mr. Frankenstein.  “It was at her death bed that Victor and Elizabeth were promised to one another.  She took their hands and joined them together explaining that our greatest happiness, her greatest happiness was in the expectation of their union.  They both agreed and that bond has remained.”

Agatha looked to her friend who had suddenly gone pale.

That was not what had happened at all.  She had only promised to be a mother, not a wife.  It was only then that Elizabeth realized that Agatha was right.  Victor was insane, had probably always been so.  And that she had just been promised to a mad man.



Instalment 23 – The Trial

Day 23, and over 1700 words.  If only had routinely had that count at the beginning.  Still, pleased with my progress.

So here’s the next instalment…

Victor arrived home to a dark and sombre house.  The house at Belrive was usually the one full of light compared to the more formal Geneva house, but its light was now extinguished.  His arrival barely marked 5:00 in the morning, but the servants had heard the horses pull up and so someone was there to greet him.  It was only then that he realized he brought no luggage and felt strangely embarrassed at what must be the state of his attire.  No one appeared to notice though, but simply guided him to his room and told him that they would draw a bath for him.

“You will no doubt need one after so great a journey.  The family won’t be up for a while.  Would you like some breakfast?  We can have something ready for you in the library.”  He nodded as if in a dream.

When he was made more presentable he went downstairs to the library.  Ernest had heard his arrival and was already waiting for him.  He made straight for Victor and embraced him.

“Oh dear brother, that you could return to a happier home.  What was less than a week ago filled with careless cheer and noisy life has been reduced to a place of absolute misery.  I know that this grief cannot and should not be broken, but your presence will at least lift the spirits of father somewhat.  He has suddenly aged so.  I fear this is a blow from which he will never recover.  And Elizabeth needs you to speak some sense to her.  She blames herself and I think would throw herself onto the gallows if she could, such is the guilt that torments her.  And of course, now that they have caught the fiend, she is even more inconsolable.”

“They have caught him!?” exclaimed Victor.  “But how is that even possible.  One might as well try catching the wind.  And he could never be held!”

Ernest looked at his brother oddly.  “It is not a man they have caught dear Victor, but our own Justine.  If our hearts were not truly broken before, they most certainly are now.  To have someone as close to our bosoms as Justine Moritz betray us in this cruel and inhuman fashion.  I do not know what poison her mother filled her with after she took her from us, but it has been fatal.  We should have seen it.  Her behaviour was not of someone sane.”

Victor listened to his younger brother’s speech with shock and horror.  “But she didn’t do it!  I know the murderer and I assure you it is not Justine.  They cannot keep her!  They mustn’t!”  His voice rose, quite startling Ernest.

“But who is it you speak of, Victor?  If you know something reveal it now, for Justine is to be tried this very day and as it stands likely to be found guilty!”

“Victor, my dear, dear boy!!”  Their discussion was ended as their father entered the room and went to his eldest son.  Ernest was quite right, the man had aged considerably and shrunk somehow, but endeavoured to be cheerful for his son.

“Father, Victor says he knows the murderer!”

“We all know the murderer, or thought we did.  It seems we did not know her at all.  Our own Justine Moritz whom we so loved and provided for beyond all that was called for, has displayed the most heinous ingratitude and repaid our kindness with this most dastardly and horrific act.  Our family receives blow after blow.”

“But, he says it’s not Justine, but someone else.”

“That is what Elizabeth says also, but there is evidence against her.  Not to mention her irrational behaviour over the last year.  I do hope you are right.  I hate to think I have housed a monster all this time.”  Mr. Frankenstein took his seat as if greatly fatigued.  “And if you are right I hope there is evidence to that effect.  I must say, I would rather the girl be acquitted, than be so deadfully betrayed.”

The men, young to  old, sat in silence until Elizabeth appeared.  She and Victor shared the same sad embrace as the others and repeated the same sentiments.  Elizabeth had aged also, but not in the way of their father.  She had matured in beauty and Victor found himself admiring the magnificent woman she was clearly becoming.

“Oh, Victor.  How can such a thing be?  Our own Justine, to be accused so!  She could no more kill our dear William as I could.  Her sweet innocence is what I have turned to so often when my heart was in need of cheering.  I cannot bear it.  Did they tell you she is to be tried today?  We have to attend as witnesses.  They surely cannot convict!”

“I promise you, Elizabeth she is innocent.  And so cannot possibly be convicted.  How can there be evidence against someone for a crime that he or she did not commit.  She will be returned to us.”  Victor felt a terrible burning as he considered that Justine could be put to death for a crime committed by his abomination.

Elizabeth was much cheered by Victor’s agreement on Justine’s innocence.  Her father and brother had not been so constant in their conviction and were content to let a jury decide on it.

They continued the morning politely in conversation on weather and Victor’s travels and what plans Ernest had.  They managed in this vein until 11:00, the time of Justine’s trial, neared.

Victor attended the trial as he must.  He dared not turn away from it, though he wished to.  His part in this terrible play tortured him into his very marrow.  He was accompanied by Agatha, whom he barely noticed, such was his agitation.

Justine appeared, and was as much an angel as Victor recalled.  Her mourning garb and her immense sadness only increased her appeal.  As far as he was concerned she emanated innocence by her very presence.  Her posture, her clear eyed stare and her confident demeanour spoke of a character incapable of what she had been accused.  He stifled a gasp.  Others in the court were not so discreet, but gasped in unison, shocked that evil could be so disguised.

The case proceeded.  It was as his father had said, there was much evidence against the girl.  The details of the crime were revealed and then witnesses brought forward.  Justine’s behaviour was discussed and the appearance of the locket in her dress.  Worse still, she was remarked as missing in the night even though she had claimed to be in bed and was said to have been seen by a market woman near where the murder had taken place.  It was admitted that upon interrogation by family and authorities the accused had appeared most confused by the matter and did not seem to know what they were telling her when they explained to her how William Frankenstein’s lifeless body had been discovered or when confronted about the necklace, but she was often known to be in a confused state.  Victor grew afraid.

Justine was then brought forward to defend herself.  She assured the court that she was innocent, her eyes never bluer or bigger as she did so.  She had loved the boy as a brother, she explained.  Her own beloved brothers were now all dead, and his importance to her could not be overstated.  It was true that she had not been in her bed when she was supposed to be, but had left it to search for William, as had the rest of the house.  Her illness though, had only allowed her to travel so far.  She had rested in a barn.  Perhaps it was there that the locket had been inserted, for she had slept quite deeply — alas, it seems it had not been far from where the body had been found.  She could give no reason as to why a killer would remove the necklace, only to place it in the pocket of a stranger, somehow found in a barn.  But a killer of a boy was clearly not of normal mind, and doubtless could do anything.

She ended with a speech upon her innocence.  “I assure the courts that I am guiltless in this matter.  The Frankenstein family has been kindness itself towards me, taking me in as a small child and treating me as their own.  There is no one I hold dearer.  To cause them such pain as I know them to be suffering is horror itself to me.  As is the thought that they might think that their sweet generosity towards one so lowly could have been repaid with such monstrous ingratitude and treachery.  I have no explanation as to the supposed evidence against me, other than such devilry that takes an innocent child is surely capable of building suspicions against another innocent.  For what reason, I cannot guess, how can any of us follow the logic of evil itself.  I do not expect the court to rely on my own word. It would be unwise to do so considering the straits I am in, but ask that they listen to the words of those who know me, those who have been with me most of my life and can assure you of the purity of my character and the gentleness of my manner.  I thank you.”  With that Justine lowered her head, the picture of virtue and humility.

Elizabeth was the second to speak on the girl’s behalf.  She spoke of the great love she had for her.  How the family treasured her as their own.  The loss of such a prized member of their household would add more grief to their current burden she said.  It was unimaginable that such a sweet creature could be guilty of something so despicable.  She explained how close she was to all the members of the family, including their precious William.  Such an appeal to the members of the court by a member of the boy’s family however, only made the crime committed appear that much more despicable. Victor could hear the murmur of disgust travel through those in attendance.  There was no mistaking the countenance of the judges either.  That they believed in Elizabeth’s goodness was evident, but they believed this to handicap her own judgement and only served to magnify the terrible crime presented.  Justine’s fate was clear.

The family returned home heartsick.  Not much was eaten at dinner and conversation barely occurred.  Two members of the family despondent that someone so loved and cherished by them  could suddenly turn violently against them, two because they believed steadfastly in the girl’s innocence.

The next morning Victor returned alone to the court.  The ballots were cast, he was told, all black.  Justine was condemned.

Upon this dreadful news, Victor felt the world tilt beneath him with a sickening lurch.  He had never felt so miserable.  That his terrible creation had committed this vile act he was certain.  And now it seemed his creature was to take the life of fair Justine.  He alone knew with absolute certainty that she was innocent for only he knew the facts of the matter and these could not be revealed to anyone.  For him to explain the origins of all his ills would be futile, he would be considered a mad man.  And if it was believed that he created this inhuman being, it did not incriminate the devil or change the evidence against Justine.  It simply uncovered his own miserable crime.  There was nothing to be done but watch the terrible results of his youthful conceit

It was while he dwelt on his own wretchedness that the officer who had given him this first news added to it.  “It is a terrible thing to have to decide on such a matter when death may be its end.  Fortunately the girl has since confessed, so the judges may sleep easier in this case.”

Victor stared at him in shock.  “She has confessed?!”  The world swayed back again as he started to question his own sanity.  Had he not seen the brute dancing around the very spot where his dear brother’s life had been choked out of him?

“Yes, shortly after the verdict.  The judges will be greatly relieved to be so justified.”


Instalment 21- Not Justine!

So Day 21 and instalment 21, though most of 20 was done today.

Justine was held in her room while Mr. Frankenstein could be informed and the authorities called for.

Elizabeth could not believe it.  Justine had been with the family since a child.  Yes, she had been odd since her return from her mother’s.  And her health had suffered it was true.  But the family loved her and she loved them back.  It was not possible.

Mr. Frankenstein started to explain the case as it had been told him.  “The locket was found in her dress and no one can say for sure where she was when…” His voice faltered.

Elizabeth was confused.  “I don’t understand.  Why were they searching her dress?  Were the searching all the staff?”

“According to Gerta, they were simply collecting the dress for laundry and came across the locket while emptying the pockets.”

“But why was Alfred there?  I still don’t understand.”

“Staff was stretched with so many searching the grounds.  As I was saying, they found the locket and then a further examination of her person showed her to be bruised and scratched, as if in an altercation.  And we all know she has been erratic.  She denies the accusation, of course.  And I cannot see it.  This is our sweet Justine!  Your mother’s favourite!”

“I cannot see it either,” agreed Elizabeth.  “May I see her?  If I saw her I would know. I’m sure I would.”

“She has already been removed,” explained her father.  “But I’m sure it can be arranged.”


16th day and 16th installment.  Thought I’d get more done on a day off, but had minutes and an agenda to write as well.


The creature was not aware when he arrived at the Belrive house that he had reached his destination.  This was not the address he was seeking as he had that of the Geneva House.  But water provides bearings so when he saw the lake in the distance that is where he headed.  And when he passed a small twig shelter he made note of it as the hour was getting late.

The family was quite right about William’s hut.  No one was living in it and the leaves had simply collected there.  In the fall the structure would have been, if not comfortable,  at least habitable, but the winds of winter and spring had removed most of the sticks that made up the roof.  However, believing that it had been used for shelter, William went about making improvements, and then put a blanket in for good measure, along with his piece of bread.  It looked quite a happy, if rustic, little abode upon the creature’s return.  The bread and blanket lead him to believe it must have some occupant so he rejected it for his own use.  He liked it though and studied it further for future reference.  It seemed a most useful design.  It was during this inspection that he heard the two boys approaching.  They had come to investigate whether anyone had made use of it yet and discussed the possibilities of this at such a volume that the creature soon came to understand that it was vacant, and according to the older of the pair doomed to remain so.  Ernest berated William enough about the blanket, and teased him enough about his invisible tenant and simply mistreated him so much on the subject, that the creature felt honourbound to inhabit the poor boy’s twig house, if only to defend the boy’s reputation.  When darkness fell and it seemed unlikely that the boys would be returning for yet another of their many inspections, the creature crept in, ate the bread and made use of the extra blanket for the night.  He awoke early so as to avoid observation, but took the time to collect and leave a gift of spring violets and clover in thanks and made certain to leave the blanket crumpled.

It was a short while later as he was carefully leaving, ducking into some overgrowth after finding himself some eggs, that he heard that all important name.  He hovered as close as he could in order to confirm that he hadn’t misheard, but it was not repeated.  He was fairly certain though, two labourers in discussion, and part of that discussion, Frankenstein.  It seemed he might be using the shelter another night.

William checked on his little house later in the morning.   It was just as he had hoped.  The boy, now entirely justified,  ran quickly back to the house to let everybody know that the bread was gone and about the gift left behind.  He started to plan what next to provide for his guest.



Day 14 and I have 2 drafts going here, as I work on something from two different ends.  So I have a higher word count than what is here.

The blind woman was right to laugh at the creature.  To make such a journey at that time of year was a foolish endeavour.  Especially as he remained without clear direction.  He tried to make note of the way the woman pointed and with fall becoming old and winter on its way, made his way into the mountains.

The mountains themselves were not a problem for him, in fact his body seemed to be made for them.  The weather was something else though.  Weather in mountainous terrain is a fickle and erratic companion.  It would present you with a seemingly fair day and then turn into blizzard, blizzard would suddenly cease and become gentle snow.  And wind danced and tore its way through every valley, crevice and passage.  Keeping any sense of direction with visibility so often fleeting was a challenge, as was not being buried.  Fortunately, man had left his mark even in what appeared to be the most remote locations.  Small shacks would appear where no other sign of life could be observed, so although he often had to rely on small caves and rocky overhangs for shelter, he was also shielded from weather in far more civilized surroundings.  When he had the good fortune to find such shelter and it contained matches he would spend a few days warming himself and resting before continuing.

On one such occasion he found the structure to be occupied, although its ice covered tenant had obviously expired some time ago.  Grey and frozen and alone, a bearded old man lay crumpled on the floor between his cot and his table.  The creature crouched beside the sad corpse and examined what looked to be a perfectly ordinary man.  He pondered what might induce someone who appeared to have all the advantages required to be accepted into society to leave it for so remote a location and why he would be without a companion.  Perhaps this was where the creature should stay himself, a hermit, the shack now being vacant.  He took the dead man out and lay him near a stand of stunted trees.  He could think of nothing to cover him with, so he simply stood and said a prayer in the way he had heard the DeLaceys pray.  He believed that one prayed on such occasions.  The cabin had matches and a sizable stack of wood piled beside one wall.  With some struggle he eventually lit a fire under a large frozen pot of stew and then watched as the surrounding frost slowly dissipated and the room turned from white to gold.  To stay would not be too unpleasant.  He spent that night in a bed under four blankets.  The next morning he had hot soup and a slice of cake from a tin for breakfast.  He felt rich.  After two weeks of this luxury however, he decided he had tired of it.  He found himself a new set of clothes, no better fitting than his last but cleaner and in better condition, a hat and scarf, and a sack to put some crackers and tinned fish in.  Unfortunately the many bottled fruits and vegetables that were obviously meant to last the winter had cracked and burst in the cold, but he was happy with the provisions he had.  He also brought with him a blanket and of course the three notebooks that outlined his sad beginnings.  He left for Geneva.

The creature hummed as he walked in what he hoped was the right direction.  The days were getting longer and he had never owned so much.

The Frankenstein family considered leaving the house at Belrive to winter in their long neglected Geneva home, but it was decided that they would remain where they were.  Only Elizabeth and Agatha were disappointed.  They were looking forward to winter balls and concerts.  Along with other company.  But their disappointment wasn’t  too great.  It was much more picturesque by the lake and the chance of their attending any great event was quite remote.  Even in the city the Frankensteins kept very much to themselves.

Victor’s letters were becoming longer and more regular.  The promise of a fall return had been delayed to a spring one, but only because he and Henry seemed to be busy with various things.  It was agreed by all that Victor seemed to be fully recovered and sounding like his former self again.  Elizabeth wished the same could be said of Justine, who would for a day or two appear and perform her duties quite appropriately and then fall back into a malaise.  But really, this was no different than Victor when his recovery was in its infancy.  There was surely promise.  Elizabeth decided that the noisy, Italian prayers that she had secretly used for Victor should now be dedicated to the health and sanity of Justine.


Day 12 and a few more words, though I am going to have to try to go to bed a decent hour tonight.

An address provides no direction to a stranger unfamiliar with a land.  The creature knew enough that he would have to leave one country for another, that he was now in Germany and that the Geneva in the address he owned was in Switzerland, but he did not know where one lay in relation to the other, nor how to differentiate them.  There were certainly no instructions in the journals he carried, their geography being strictly of the biological.  And sign posts, when they did exist, were only for the most local points of interest.  Nothing said Germany ends here or ends just over there; Switzerland coming.  He meandered a great many weeks sometimes going this way and sometimes that, but managed somehow to go the right way more than wrong.  The journey was not a pleasant one, it was cold and he still had only his original costume, augmented by a found cloak.  His spirit was even less pleasant and he spent many a night howling at his misfortunate lot.  This distemper could not be maintained however, and somewhere in the midst of his quest, surrounded by countryside sometimes pretty, sometimes stark, but always majestic, his dark mood lightened and the snow became less bothersome and more magical, the harshness of the wind merely an observation, not a complaint.  He began to appreciate the body that had been bestowed him, grotesque as it was, for it endured all manner of hardship and required little to sustain it.

When  he grew tired of not knowing where he was he ventured closer to civilization.  He encountered a group of children whom he chased away with a roar, but no mob came to find and torment him.  He ventured even closer still.  A blind, old man had been kind to him in the past.  He thought to find another person with the same sightless affliction and see if they could assist in some way.  Within a few days of deciding on this course he came across a large woman sitting on a stool in the front of a disheveled cottage nimbly peeling potatoes, her face held up to the warming sun while she worked.  As he could see no one else present to abuse him he approached her and asked where he was.  She replied with the name of the village and laughed when he asked if this was in Germany.

“You are in Bavaria.”

She laughed even louder when he explained he wanted Switzerland and then scolded him for attempting such a trip with winter approaching.  But sightless or not she seemed know the direction he should be travelling.  She pointed in the general direction of the border with no indication of its distance and then offered some bread for the journey, laughing yet again at his folly.  He gratefully accepted.

He came across another group of children whom he chased away with his roar.  They dropped the sticks they were collecting and ran, but the joviality of his earlier provider seemed to infect her entire hamlet, for their screams turned into laughter and then they stopped in conference in front of him.  With no chase to continue, he stopped also and observed them as, in unison, they all looked over to him and charged.  He ran, laughing a deep baritone laugh, impressed with the bravery held in such small packaging.  When he went beyond what they obviously thought their territory, the pack slowed and returned to the job of collecting kindling.  He gave a cordial wave and walked on, diverting his route only slightly, listening to their fading conversations and laughing to himself.  The last of his darkness lifted and as evening approached he found himself humming one of Mr. DeLacey’s old tunes.  He was flat, but no matter.

Wanderings of the Creature

Day 11 and another short installment.  This one is after yesterday’s and before the previous.  (Later note, no this should go before yesterday’s installment.  It makes it clearer that the creature is not in Ingolstadt.)

It took some months for the desolate creature to recover from the heartbreak that had been his birth.  Upon discovering that he was unwanted and despised by a maker he wanted only to love he left Ingolstadt carrying nothing but the ill fitting clothes he still wore and three volumes of notes that he had found in the laboratory and felt to be his.  Illiterate as he was he knew nothing of their written contents, but he recognized the drawings to be of his form or others like him.  Often when at rest he would gaze upon the pages and slide his fingers along the writing trying to somehow open up its mysteries through touch and wonder if his creator had made more like him.

He did not know where he wandered, had no idea of geography or borders or really of earth and sky.  He simply walked from place to place, shoeless and aching, while his mind slowly cleared itself of the dark veil of his sorrow and started to make sense of its surroundings.  He discovered water quenched thirst and the various scraps he could find or harvest satiated hunger.  He discovered rain was usually cold and the sun was usually warm.  Being winter, he had more rain than sun, but he also discovered that trees when thick enough could shelter.

He walked through town, village and wood, mostly at night, fearing being seen.  The few encounters he had suffered made it clear that people were best avoided.  The pain those first weeks of ramblings was great.  He was, of course, a man pieced together and so much of him hurt.  At every stitched up seam and in every borrowed organ.

For all his misfortunes though, he began to realize the beauty and wonders of the place he had been brought into.  It is one of those strange quirks of fate that those who know mostly sorrow can find joy in the smallest of pleasures while those who know nothing but abundance and comfort can never be satisfied.  The poor creature, for all his wretchedness, enjoyed every new discovery, every bird song and naked tree, every sunset and babbling brook.

It was in this state of happy exploration, as spring and new joys approached, that he had come upon the DeLaceys and their plight.  It had not been his intention at first to stay, but as it became clear that the leanto on the side of their cottage could provide not only shelter, but a place in which to observe a real family and its doings he could not leave.  He had learned about many things in his travels but he had  learned nothing of human ways.  Plus he sensed in them disappointments as weighty as his own.  He stayed and watched and learned.  And of course, he loved.  This family provided him with so much and he did all he could to return this great favour, becoming secret guardian to them.  They had been driven from their original home, stripped of what was theirs for crimes that were not their own and so he felt a deep fellowship with them.  When his beloved adopted family turned on him that terrible day he revealed himself his heart was broken anew.  He took his books and fled, filled once more with that terrible dark despair.

This time though, when he stopped to rest and was in a mood to look at the writings thoughtfully, he could decipher meaning in them.  Thanks to his time with the DeLaceys the letters within no longer hid their secrets from him.  His cold and ghoulish history became known to him, but something more important became known, a most important piece of information.  An address was written on the first page of each volume, his creator’s address.  Not the address of where he had been — he knew those characters to be different — but the address of the Frankenstein family home.  His wandering would no longer be without direction or object.  He did not know how long it would take, for walking was his only transport, but he would find this place and he would find this man and he would show him that his creation was worthy of all those gruesome efforts so long ago.  It did not occur to him that this father of his may still be where he left him, but assumed that they had both escaped the home of their individual horrors.

No, he would find his estranged creator.  He would no longer be alone, but be loved.

And if his creator did not love him then he would kill him.

My dearest, dearest Elizabeth

second installment of Elizabeth Lavenza

So here I am on day two of National Novel Writing Month and about to make my second installment, a second letter.  And as far as I know, the final letter in the work, but things change I know.  I have already gone back and made minor changes to the first and would do more, but this is about getting it all done by the end of the month and I can take care of all that later.

So another step into the beyond. . .

My dearest, dearest Elizabeth,

If I may be so bold as to address you as such.  My saviour, my benefactress, my sweetest friend, modesty bids that I should refuse your generous offer, but pride left me years past, and what is such modesty but pride disguised.  I accept with a gratitude that no words can adequately express.

Before I go on further however, there is something I need to address.  I wish to make plain my love and regard for my sister-in-law.  I fear that my previous communication may have painted her in a poor light and that you, whose opinion I hold so highly may think ill of her.   She who has done so much for my family’s welfare and happiness and for my brother’s most especially.  Safie is a woman of great beauty in any land and even greater wealth.  A happy and comfortable future was assured her.  And yet, acting against both blood and breeding, she left behind a life of luxury and certainty to travel to a country whose customs, tradition and language were all strange to her.  With little experience beyond her family’s most confining walls she managed to glean our family’s whereabouts (this with only two individuals being aware of where we resided and under what name).  Then upon obtaining this information she set off, at great risk to her health and person, on a dangerous journey to find and join a family reduced to wretchedness.  All this to keep a years old promise made by herself and by an overly cunning father.

I recognize that in our months together many aspects of our life caused her pain, from the food she found so bland in flavour and colour, to the cold and damp of our climate, to never hearing her own tongue spoken.  And our cottage and even her and my brother’s current apartments would be humbler even than any of the quarters of her once numerous servants.  Yet, for all that she left behind, she maintained the brightest of demeanours and looked not only on my brother with pride and love, but on my father and myself also.  Is it not reasonable that after all that she endured, and the deprivations that she must surely feel daily, that she would declare herself done? That she would decide that a wretched and horrific beast such as we encountered that day was too much for her?  No, she has my brother to take care of and I hope, children to soon think of.  I do not hold her position on the matter against her, and it is only proper that Felix ally himself with her.  She is his wife and all she has done she has done for him.

Having removed that burden from myself, onto more pragmatic subjects.  Your offer to pay the passage for my father and myself is most generous, but unnecessary.  We are not entirely without means and will find our way without great hardship.  And after all you are doing for us, bearing this comparatively small cost is a joy.

A small cottage, regardless of its state, would be lovely for my father, but to then provide a room for myself seems most excessive.  I am sure I can stay with my father, unless of course you require me in the house.  I repeat my offer of before.  I am happy to work and become most capable.  I quite surprise myself at just how useful these last few years have made me.

Oh, dearest Elizabeth, I am quite beside myself with the excitement of this new adventure.  I look forward to meeting Masters William and Ernest.  And your father, Mr. Frankenstein.  And will your cousin Victor be returned?

But what I am in greatest anticipation of, is meeting you my dearest Elizabeth.  You who have become sister to me.  I hope to prove myself worthy of your love and generosity.

May the good Lord bless and keep you and yours dear sister.  I remain your most devoted, humblest and affectionate of servants,

Agatha DeLacey

Dear Miss Lavenza

elizabethlavenzablog-dear miss lavenza

I am beginning this tale with two letters.  Unlike Mary Shelley’s work, this will not be an epistolary novel, however it seemed like a good way to set the story up.

And so, to start. . .

Dear Miss Lavenza,

I am sorry for the great length of time since my last communication, but as you will have noted, our residence has changed, the second change in as many months, and I fear, not a happy one.

This change was brought about by the most peculiar of circumstances.  We (my brother and his betrothed and myself) walked into our home one evening to find what we believed to be my father under attack.  An assumption that would later prove to be quite false.   My father was in the midst of giving his word to a desperate stranger that he would provide him with assistance and we, in ignorance and fear, drove that stranger from him and from our abode.  If you had seen the creature, you would have understood the great violence of our reaction.  You would understand with what horror we beheld him and how fearful we were for our father.  He was immense, monstrous in proportion, being of close to eight feet, his face was of a terrible, inhuman hue and his costume mere rags.  I fainted away upon seeing him and my brother tells me that he actually struck the miserable creature with a stick.  It was Felix who drove him from the cottage.

But we who have known the misfortunes and deprivations that we have known, should also know grace.  We should know to hesitate before judgement and should have paused to collect what facts there were before acting so rashly.  By the time my father had calmed us and assured us that the man meant him no harm, but was most unfortunate and ill-used and requiring of our assistance it was too late.  The poor creature had disappeared we knew not where.  And although my brother and I lost our fear after my father’s exhortation, Safie remained unconvinced by his explanations and refused to stay a moment longer in the cottage.  We were forced to change lodgings.   This did in fact bring about an improvement in habitation, however the state of our family was not improved at all, in fact our misery was greater than I have known it.  My father felt our removal a terrible betrayal to one in need and an unforgiveable breaking of his word.  And after much quarreling with my brother and his wife he declared it his intention to quit our home and not return until he had aided his new acquaintance.  What was I to do, but follow my father.  He is old and he cannot see and I could not let him search for an unnamed stranger without my assistance.  We have returned to the vicinity of our old cottage and made inquiries, but noone seems to have seen such a man, as remarkable in appearance as he is.

And now I get to the most difficult of subjects.  It is because of my father and my concern for his well-being that I write the particular letter that you now hold.  I know it to be most indelicate, but I require a way of supporting him and myself.  I hold no illusions as to the difficulty of my task.  I have nothing to recommend me, no nearby family, no real acquaintances and a borrowed name.  But I assure you I am acquainted with all manner of labour and can put my hand to anything.  I entreat you my dear Miss Lavenza, is there a situation within your household?  Could you find room for myself and my father?  There is nothing I would consider beneath me, I promise.  It was possible to live in some mean comfort when there was my brother present, but he is no longer here to assist us and I fear for my father’s health.  He is not so foolish to believe that we can find his stranger at this stage, but he will not return to my brother’s house and I cannot allow him to live on his own, blind as he is.

I apologize for the forwardness of my commission.  I lay no specific claim upon your affection.  I recognize your friendship was won through pretense, that my name is only a recent invention of my father’s to aid in our safety and that I am not the friend that you had hoped to find when you first contacted us.  A happy accident for which I am eternally grateful, but one which must bring you some sadness.  I ask you all the same, for I believe us to be friends of a sort, each become intimately acquainted to the other.

If you are unable to help, I will not take it amiss, and will continue to call you friend.

I hope you are well and that your cousin is also.  I believe you thought him improved according to your last letter.

May the good Lord bless and keep you and your family.

Your humblest and most affectionate of servants,

Agatha DeLacey

Hello writers and readers

Well, I have done it.  I have decided and declared I am writing a novel in a month.  I thought about it last year, but alas, chickened out.  This year though, I have a plan.  Over the next thirty days I will tell the tale of Elizabeth Lavenza, adopted sister and betrothed of Victor Frankenstein.

This is a bit of a cheat, I know.  A good deal of the plot has already been mapped out for me and the main characters are already present.  And in some ways, I look at this as an exercise.  However, this is most definitely a novel.  We have only had one person’s version of the events, that of a mad man, and that version is second-hand, the tale transcribed by R. Walton to his sister after hearing it from Victor.  I have always felt there was more to be known, more to be told.

And so, I present to you what I presently call “The Tale of Elizabeth Lavenza”.