the science of matter and energy and their interactions
Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate; I desire, therefore, in this narration, to state those facts which led to my predilection for that science.
speak, pronounce, or utter in a certain way
Such were the professor's wordsârather let me say such the words of the fateâ
enounced to destroy me.
a vault or building where corpses or bones are deposited
Now I was led to examine the cause and progress of this decay and forced to spend days and nights in vaults and
dissect in order to analyze
He might dissect,
anatomize, and give names; but, not to speak of a final cause, causes in their secondary and tertiary grades were utterly unknown to him.
grow weak and thin or waste away physically
My cheek had grown pale with study, and my person had become
emaciated with confinement.
spread or diffuse through
I have described myself as always having been
imbued with a fervent longing to penetrate the secrets of nature.
feelings of great warmth and intensity
Elizabeth was of a calmer and more concentrated disposition; but, with all my
ardour, I was capable of a more intense application and was more deeply smitten with the thirst for knowledge.
electricity produced by chemical action
On this occasion a man of great research in natural philosophy was with us, and excited by this catastrophe, he entered on the explanation of a theory which he had formed on the subject of electricity and
galvanism, which was at once new and astonishing to me.
make a prediction about; tell in advance
On the third day my mother sickened; her fever was accompanied by the most alarming symptoms, and the looks of her medical attendants
prognosticated the worst event.
someone who asks a question
With a confusion of ideas only to be accounted for by my extreme youth and my want of a guide on such matters, I had retrod the steps of knowledge along the paths of time and exchanged the discoveries of recent
inquirers for the dreams of forgotten alchemists.
the act of following in an effort to overtake or capture
My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions vehement; but by some law in my temperature they were turned not towards childish
pursuits but to an eager desire to learn, and not to learn all things indiscriminately.
get by special effort
Beaufort had saved but a very small sum of money from the wreck of his fortunes, but it was sufficient to provide him with sustenance for some months, and in the meantime he hoped to
procure some respectable employment in a merchant's house.
one who tried to change ordinary metals into gold
I replied carelessly, and partly in contempt, mentioned the names of my
alchemists as the principal authors I had studied.
give as a gift
Much as they were attached to each other, they seemed to draw inexhaustible stores of affection from a very mine of love to
bestow them upon me.
a substance believed to cure all ills
Under the guidance of my new preceptors I entered with the greatest diligence into the search of the philosopher's stone and the
elixir of life; but the latter soon obtained my undivided attention.
something that seduces or has the quality to seduce
None but those who have experienced them can conceive of the
enticements of science.
the quality of having great facility and competence
My ardour was indeed the astonishment of the students, and my
proficiency that of the masters.
make resentful or angry
The interval was, consequently, spent in inaction; his grief only became more deep and
rankling when he had leisure for reflection, and at length it took so fast hold of his mind that at the end of three months he lay on a bed of sickness, incapable of any exertion.
change or alter in form, appearance, or nature
The modern masters promise very little; they know that metals cannot be
transmuted and that the elixir of life is a chimera but these philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles.
When I was thirteen years of age we all went on a party of pleasure to the baths near Thonon; the
inclemency of the weather obliged us to remain a day confined to the inn.
arrogant or stubborn insistence that one's views are correct
His gentleness was never tinged by
dogmatism, and his instructions were given with an air of frankness and good nature that banished every idea of pedantry.
a summary that repeats the substance of a longer discussion
He began his lecture by a
recapitulation of the history of chemistry and the various improvements made by different men of learning, pronouncing with fervour the names of the most distinguished discoverers.
not hallowed or consecrated
Who shall conceive the horrors of my secret toil as I dabbled among the
unhallowed damps of the grave or tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay?
take in liquids
Good God! In what desert land have you lived, where no one was kind enough to inform you that these fancies which you have so greedily
imbibed are a thousand years old and as musty as they are ancient?
the act of giving up and abandoning a struggle or task etc.
Her victory was announced by an unusual tranquillity and gladness of soul which followed the
relinquishing of my ancient and latterly tormenting studies.
having many aspects
And thus for a time I was occupied by exploded systems, mingling, like an unadept, a thousand contradictory theories and floundering desperately in a very slough of
multifarious knowledge, guided by an ardent imagination and childish reasoning, till an accident again changed the current of my ideas.
showing or motivated by sympathy and understanding
He strove to shelter her, as a fair exotic is sheltered by the gardener, from every rougher wind and to surround her with all that could tend to excite pleasurable emotion in her soft and
the quality of being kind and gentle
On her deathbed the fortitude and
benignity of this best of women did not desert her.
I had gazed upon the fortifications and impediments that seemed to keep human beings from entering the citadel of nature, and rashly and ignorantly I had
important European leguminous forage plant with trifoliate leaves and blue-violet flowers grown widely as a pasture and hay crop
Having paid his debts, therefore, in the most honourable manner, he retreated with his daughter to the town of
Lucerne, where he lived unknown and in wretchedness.
showing sustained enthusiasm with unflagging vitality
He was respected by all who knew him for his integrity and
indefatigable attention to public business.
a purposeful or industrious undertaking
He lost no time in
endeavouring to seek him out, with the hope of persuading him to begin the world again through his credit and assistance.
an inadequate payment
She procured plain work; she plaited straw and by various means contrived to earn a
pittance scarcely sufficient to support life.
feeling or manifesting veneration
The passionate and almost
reverential attachment with which all regarded her became, while I shared it, my pride and my delight.
unwilling because of mild dislike or disapproval
All that he said threw greatly into the shade Cornelius Agrippa, Albertus Magnus, and Paracelsus, the lords of my imagination; but by some fatality the overthrow of these men
disinclined me to pursue my accustomed studies.
the ritual placing of a corpse in a grave
He came like a protecting spirit to the poor girl, who committed herself to his care; and after the
interment of his friend he conducted her to Geneva and placed her under the protection of a relation.
instability in the atmosphere
She busied herself with following the aerial creations of the poets; and in the majestic and wondrous scenes which surrounded our Swiss home âthe sublime shapes of the mountains, the changes of the seasons, tempest and calm, the silence of winter, and the life and
turbulence of our Alpine summersâshe found ample scope for admiration and delight.
in a mistaken manner
The labours of men of genius, however
erroneously directed, scarcely ever fail in ultimately turning to the solid advantage of mankind."
Beaufort had taken effectual measures to conceal himself, and it was ten months before my father discovered his
cause to be preoccupied
M. Krempe was a little squat man with a gruff voice and a repulsive countenance; the teacher, therefore, did not
prepossess me in favour of his pursuits.
a person without moral scruples
I returned home not disappointed, for I have said that I had long considered those authors useless whom the professor
reprobated; but I returned not at all the more inclined to recur to these studies in any shape.
difficult to penetrate
In a thousand ways he smoothed for me the path of knowledge and made the most
abstruse inquiries clear and facile to my apprehension.
expel, as if by official decree
Wealth was an inferior object, but what glory would attend the discovery if I could
banish disease from the human frame and render man invulnerable to any but a violent death!
characterized by intense emotion
And thus for a time I was occupied by exploded systems, mingling, like an unadept, a thousand contradictory theories and floundering desperately in a very slough of multifarious knowledge, guided by an
ardent imagination and childish reasoning, till an accident again changed the current of my ideas.
the quality of being kind or helpful or generous
Yet he might not have been so perfectly humane, so thoughtful in his generosity, so full of kindness and tenderness amidst his passion for adventurous exploit, had she not unfolded to him the real loveliness of
beneficence and made the doing good the end and aim of his soaring ambition.
a ghostly appearing figure
apparition was soon explained.
turn away from; give up
During the two years that had elapsed previous to their marriage my father had gradually
relinquished all his public functions; and immediately after their union they sought the pleasant climate of Italy, and the change of scene and interest attendant on a tour through that land of wonders, as a restorative for her weakened frame.
the trait of being idle out of a reluctance to work
His father was a narrow-minded trader and saw
idleness and ruin in the aspirations and ambition of his son.
everlastingly; for all time
He passed his younger days
perpetually occupied by the affairs of his country; a variety of circumstances had prevented his marrying early, nor was it until the decline of life that he became a husband and the father of a family.
formally expressing praise
After having made a few preparatory experiments, he concluded with a
panegyric upon modern chemistry, the terms of which I shall never forget: "The ancient teachers of this science," said he, "promised impossibilities and performed nothing.
the edge of a steep place
It was a bold question, and one which has ever been considered as a mystery; yet with how many things are we upon the
brink of becoming acquainted, if cowardice or carelessness did not restrain our inquiries.
the quality of having a sharp edge or point
It was indeed but a passing trance, that only made me feel with renewed
acuteness so soon as, the unnatural stimulus ceasing to operate, I had returned to my old habits.
not subject or susceptible to change or variation
Destiny was too potent, and her
immutable laws had decreed my utter and terrible destruction.
quality of being disposed to evil; intense ill will
She attended her sickbed; her watchful attentions triumphed over the
malignity of the distemperâElizabeth was saved, but the consequences of this imprudence were fatal to her preserver.
a predisposition in favor of something
Natural philosophy is the genius that has regulated my fate; I desire, therefore, in this narration, to state those facts which led to my
predilection for that science.
only partly in existence; imperfectly formed
Sometimes I grew alarmed at the wreck I perceived that I had become; the energy of my purpose alone sustained me: my labours would soon end, and I believed that exercise and amusement would then drive away
incipient disease; and I promised myself both of these when my creation should be complete.
arrived at without due care or effort; lacking depth
In a thousand ways he smoothed for me the path of knowledge and made the most abstruse inquiries clear and
facile to my apprehension.
earnest or urgent request
She had at first yielded to our
entreaties, but when she heard that the life of her favourite was menaced, she could no longer control her anxiety.
marked by elaborately complex detail
Although I possessed the capacity of bestowing animation, yet to prepare a frame for the reception of it, with all its
intricacies of fibres, muscles, and veins, still remained a work of inconceivable difficulty and labour.
the immediate descendants of a person
By one of those caprices of the mind which we are perhaps most subject to in early youth, I at once gave up my former occupations, set down natural history and all its
progeny as a deformed and abortive creation, and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge.
a mixture containing two or more metallic elements
If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no
alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.
lasting a very short time
A human being in perfection ought always to preserve a calm and peaceful mind and never to allow passion or a
transitory desire to disturb his tranquillity.
the human face
I attended the lectures and cultivated the acquaintance of the men of science of the university, and I found even in M. Krempe a great deal of sound sense and real information, combined, it is true, with a repulsive
physiognomy and manners, but not on that account the less valuable.
failing to accomplish an intended result
By one of those caprices of the mind which we are perhaps most subject to in early youth, I at once gave up my former occupations, set down natural history and all its progeny as a deformed and
abortive creation, and entertained the greatest disdain for a would-be science which could never even step within the threshold of real knowledge.
very thin especially from disease or hunger or cold
My cheek had grown pale with study, and my person had become
emaciated with confinement.
tending to bring about; being partly responsible for
When I had arrived at this point and had become as well acquainted with the theory and practice of natural philosophy as depended on the lessons of any of the professors at Ingolstadt, my residence there being no longer
conducive to my improvements, I thought of returning to my friends and my native town, when an incident happened that protracted my stay.
reduce in worth or character, usually verbally
I saw how the fine form of man was
degraded and wasted; I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of life; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain.
a ritual reciting of words believed to have a magical effect
The raising of ghosts or devils was a promise liberally accorded by my favourite authors, the fulfilment of which I most eagerly sought; and if my
incantations were always unsuccessful, I attributed the failure rather to my own inexperience and mistake than to a want of skill or fidelity in my instructors.
not able to be explained by physical laws
Unless I had been animated by an almost
supernatural enthusiasm, my application to this study would have been irksome and almost intolerable.
the ultimate agency predetermining the course of events
Besides, in drawing the picture of my early days, I also record those events which led, by insensible steps, to my after tale of misery, for when I would account to myself for the birth of that passion which afterwards ruled my
destiny I find it arise, like a mountain river, from ignoble and almost forgotten sources; but, swelling as it proceeded, it became the torrent which, in its course, has swept away all my hopes and joys.
the appearance conveyed by a person's face
She died calmly, and her
countenance expressed affection even in death.
My life had hitherto been remarkably secluded and domestic, and this had given me invincible
repugnance to new countenances.
express strong disapproval of
deplored the false pride which led his friend to a conduct so little worthy of the affection that united them.
the science dealing with the functioning of organisms
I revolved these circumstances in my mind and determined thenceforth to apply myself more particularly to those branches of natural philosophy which relate to
lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
I replied carelessly, and partly in
contempt, mentioned the names of my alchemists as the principal authors I had studied.
the act of bringing to completion or fruition
After so much time spent in painful labour, to arrive at once at the summit of my desires was the most gratifying
consummation of my toils.
a state of ill-being due to affliction or misfortune
Having paid his debts, therefore, in the most honourable manner, he retreated with his daughter to the town of Lucerne, where he lived unknown and in
make payment to
There was a show of gratitude and worship in his attachment to my mother, differing wholly from the doting fondness of age, for it was inspired by reverence for her virtues and a desire to be the means of, in some degree,
recompensing her for the sorrows she had endured, but which gave inexpressible grace to his behaviour to her.
Although I possessed the capacity of bestowing animation, yet to prepare a frame for the reception of it, with all its intricacies of fibres, muscles, and veins, still remained a work of
inconceivable difficulty and labour.
giving or marked by complete attention to
Winter, spring, and summer passed away during my labours; but I did not watch the blossom or the expanding leavesâsights which before always yielded me supreme delightâso deeply was I
engrossed in my occupation.
marked by extreme intensity of emotions or convictions
My temper was sometimes violent, and my passions
vehement; but by some law in my temperature they were turned not towards childish pursuits but to an eager desire to learn, and not to learn all things indiscriminately.
a feeling of strong eagerness
She looked steadily on life and assumed its duties with courage and
strength of mind that enables one to endure adversity
On her deathbed the
fortitude and benignity of this best of women did not desert her.
a violent disturbance
My internal being was in a state of insurrection and
turmoil; I felt that order would thence arise, but I had no power to produce it.
courteous regard for people's feelings
I listened to his statement, which was delivered without any presumption or affectation, and then added that his lecture had removed my prejudices against modern chemists; I expressed myself in measured terms, with the modesty and
deference due from a youth to his instructor, without letting escape (inexperience in life would have made me ashamed) any of the enthusiasm which stimulated my intended labours.
give moral or emotional strength to
I was unwilling to quit the sight of those that remained to me, and above all, I desired to see my sweet Elizabeth in some degree
the act of giving a false appearance
It was said, and we retired under the
pretence of seeking repose, each fancying that the other was deceived; but when at morning's dawn I descended to the carriage which was to convey me away, they were all thereâmy father again to bless me, Clerval to press my hand once more, my Elizabeth to renew her entreaties that I would write often and to bestow the last feminine attentions on her playmate and friend.
feel sorry for; be contrite about
Now my desires were complied with, and it would, indeed, have been folly to