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We passed a few sad hours, until eleven o'clock, when the trialwas to commence. My father and the rest of the family beingobliged to attend as witnesses, I accompanied them to thecourt. During the whole of this wretched mockery of justice Isuffered living torture. It was to be decided, whether theresult of my curiosity and lawless devices would cause thedeath of two of my fellow-beings: one a smiling babe, full ofinnocence and joy; the other far more dreadfully murdered,with every aggravation of infamy that could make the murdermemorable in horror. Justine also was a girl of merit, andpossessed qualities which promised to render her life happy:now all was to be obliterated in an ignominious grave; and Ithe cause! A thousand times rather would I have confessedmyself guilty of the crime ascribed to Justine; but I wasabsent when it was committed, and such a declaration would havebeen considered as the ravings of a madman, and would not haveexculpated her who suffered through me.

The appearance of Justine was calm. She was dressed inmourning; and her countenance, always engaging, was rendered,by the solemnity of her feelings, exquisitely beautiful. Yet she appeared confident in innocence, and did not tremble,although gated on and execrated by thousands; for all thekindness which her beauty might otherwise have excited, wasobliterated in the minds of the spectators by the imaginationof the enormity she was supposed to have committed. She wastranquil, yet her tranquillity was evidently constrained; andas her confusion had before been adduced as a proof of herguilt, she worked up her mind to an appearance of courage. When she entered the court, she threw her eyes round it, andquickly discovered where we were seated. A tear seemed to dimher eye when she saw us; but she quickly recovered herself, anda look of sorrowful affection seemed to attest her utterguiltlessness.

The trial began; and, after the advocate against her had statedthe charge, several witnesses were called. Several strangefacts combined against her, which might have staggered any onewho had not such proof of her innocence as I had. She had beenout the whole of the night on which the murder had beencommitted, and towards morning had been perceived by amarket-woman not far from the spot where the body of themurdered child had been afterwards found. The woman asked herwhat she did there; but she looked very strangely, and onlyreturned a confused and unintelligible answer. She returnedto the house about eight o'clock; and, when one inquired whereshe had passed the night, she replied that she had been lookingfor the child, and demanded earnestly if anything had beenheard concerning him. When shown the body, she fell intoviolent hysterics, and kept her bed for several days. Thepicture was then produced, which the servant had found in herpocket; and when Elizabeth, in a faltering voice, proved thatit was the same which, an hour before the child had beenmissed, she had placed round his neck, a murmur of horror andindignation filled the court.

Justine was called on for her defence. As the trial hadproceeded, her countenance had altered. Surprise, horror, andmisery were strongly expressed. Sometimes she struggled withher tears; but, when she was desired to plead, she collectedher powers, and spoke, in an audible, although variable voice.

"God knows," she said, "how entirely I am innocent. But I donot pretend that my protestations should acquit me: I rest myinnocence on a plain and simple explanation of the facts whichhave been adduced against me; and I hope the character I havealways borne will incline my judges to a favourableinterpretation, where any circumstance appears doubtful orsuspicious."

She then related that, by the permission of Elizabeth, she hadpassed the evening of the night on which the murder had beencommitted at the house of an aunt at Chene, a village situatedat about a league from Geneva. On her return, at about nineo'clock, she met a man, who asked her if she had seen anythingof the child who was lost. She was alarmed by this account,and passed several hours in looking for him, when the gates ofGeneva were shut, and she was forced to remain several hours ofthe night in a barn belonging to a cottage, being unwilling tocall up the inhabitants, to whom she was well known. Most ofthe night she spent here watching; towards morning she believedthat she slept for a few minutes; some steps disturbed her, andshe awoke. It was dawn, and she quitted her asylum, that shemight again endeavour to find my brother. If she had gone nearthe spot where his body lay, it was without her knowledge. That she had been bewildered when questioned by the market-womanwas not surprising, since she had passed a sleepless night, andthe fate of poor William was yet uncertain. Concerning thepicture she could give no account.

"I know," continued the unhappy victim, "how heavily andfatally this one circumstance weighs against me, but I have nopower of explaining it; and when I have expressed my utterignorance, I am only left to conjecture concerning theprobabilities by which it might have been placed in my pocket. But here also I am checked. I believe that I have no enemy onearth, and none surely would have been so wicked as to destroyme wantonly. Did the murderer place it there? I know of noopportunity afforded him for so doing; or, if I had, why shouldhe have stolen the jewel, to part with it again so soon?

"I commit my cause to the justice of my judges, yet I see noroom for hope. I beg permission to have a few witnessesexamined concerning my character; and if their testimonyshall not overweigh my supposed guilt, I must be condemned,although I would pledge my salvation on my innocence."

Several witnesses were called, who had known her for manyyears, and they spoke well of her; but fear and hatred of thecrime of which they supposed her guilty rendered them timorous,and unwilling to come forward. Elizabeth saw even this lastresource, her excellent dispositions and irreproachableconduct, about to fail the accused, when, although violentlyagitated, she desired permission to address the court.

"I am," said she, "the cousin of the unhappy child who wasmurdered, or rather his sister, for I was educated by, and havelived with his parents ever since and even long before, hisbirth. It may, therefore, be judged indecent in me to comeforward on this occasion; but when I see a fellow-creatureabout to perish through the cowardice of her pretended friends,I wish to be allowed to speak, that I may say what I know ofher character. I am well acquainted with the accused. I havelived in the same house with her, at one time for five and atanother for nearly two years. During all that period sheappeared to me the most amiable and benevolent of humancreatures. She nursed Madame Frankenstein, my aunt, in herlast illness, with the greatest affection and care; andafterwards attended her own mother during a tedious illness, ina manner that excited the admiration of all who knew her; afterwhich she again lived in my uncle's house, where she wasbeloved by all the family. She was warmly attached to thechild who is now dead, and acted towards him like a mostaffectionate mother. For my own part, I do not hesitate tosay, that, notwithstanding all the evidence produced againsther, I believe and rely on her perfect innocence. She had notemptation for such an action: as to the bauble on which thechief proof rests, if she had earnestly desired it, I shouldhave willingly given it to her; so much do I esteem and value her."

A murmur of approbation followed Elizabeth's simple andpowerful appeal; but it was excited by her generousinterference, and not in favour of poor Justine, on whom thepublic indignation was turned with renewed violence, chargingher with the blackest ingratitude. She herself wept asElizabeth spoke, but she did not answer. My own agitation andanguish was extreme during the whole trial. I believed in herinnocence; I knew it. Could the daemon, who had (I did not fora minute doubt) murdered my brother, also in his hellish sporthave betrayed the innocent to death and ignominy? I could notsustain the horror of my situation; and when I perceived thatthe popular voice, and the countenances of the judges, hadalready condemned my unhappy victim, I rushed out of the courtin agony. The tortures of the accused did not equal mine; shewas sustained by innocence, but the fangs of remorse tore mybosom, and would not forego their hold.

I passed a night of unmingled wretchedness. In the morning Iwent to the court; my lips and throat were parched. I darednot ask the fatal question; but I was known, and the officerguessed the cause of my visit. The ballots had been thrown;they were all black, and Justine was condemned.

I cannot pretend to describe what I then felt. I had beforeexperienced sensations of horror and I have endeavoured tobestow upon them adequate expressions, but words cannot conveyan idea of the heart-sickening despair that I then endured. The person to whom I addressed myself added, that Justine hadalready confessed her guilt. "That evidence," he observed,"was hardly required in so glaring a case, but I am glad of it;and, indeed, none of our judges like to condemn a criminal uponcircumstantial evidence, be it ever so decisive."

This was strange and unexpected intelligence; what could itmean? Had my eyes deceived me? and was I really as mad as thewhole world would believe me to be, if I disclosed the objectof my suspicions? I hastened to return home, and Elizabetheagerly demanded the result.

"My cousin," replied I, "it is decided as you may haveexpected; all judges had rather that ten innocent shouldsuffer, than that one guilty should escape. But she hasconfessed."

This was a dire blow to poor Elizabeth, who had relied withfirmness upon Justine's innocence. "Alas!" said she, "howshall I ever again believe in human goodness? Justine, whomI loved and esteemed as my sister, how could she put on thosesmiles of innocence only to betray? her mild eyes seemedincapable of any severity or guile, and yet she has committeda murder."

Soon after we heard that the poor victim had expressed a desireto see my cousin. My father wished her not to go; but said,that he left it to her own judgment and feelings to decide. "Yes," said Elizabeth, "I will go, although she is guilty;and you, Victor, shall accompany me: I cannot go alone."The idea of this visit was torture to me, yet I could not refuse.

We entered the gloomy prison-chamber, and beheld Justinesitting on some straw at the farther end; her hands weremanacled, and her head rested on her knees. She rose on seeingus enter; and when we were left alone with her, she threwherself at the feet of Elizabeth, weeping bitterly. My cousinwept also.

"Oh, Justine!" said she, "why did you rob me of my lastconsolation? I relied on your innocence; and although I wasthen very wretched, I was not so miserable as I am now."

"And do you also believe that I am so very, very wicked? Do you also join with my enemies to crush me, to condemn meas a murderer?" Her voice was suffocated with sobs.

"Rise, my poor girl," said Elizabeth, "why do you kneel, if youare innocent? I am not one of your enemies; I believed youguiltless, notwithstanding every evidence, until I heard thatyou had yourself declared your guilt. That report, you say, isfalse; and be assured, dear Justine, that nothing can shake myconfidence in you for a moment, but your own confession."

"I did confess; but I confessed a lie. I confessed, that Imight obtain absolution; but now that falsehood lies heavier atmy heart than all my other sins. The God of heaven forgive me! Ever since I was condemned, my confessor has besieged me; hethreatened and menaced, until I almost began to think that Iwas the monster that he said I was. He threatenedexcommunication and hell fire in my last moments, if Icontinued obdurate. Dear lady, I had none to support me; alllooked on me as a wretch doomed to ignominy and perdition. What could I do? In an evil hour I subscribed to a lie; and nowonly am I truly miserable."

She paused, weeping, and then continued--"I thought withhorror, my sweet lady, that you should believe your Justine,whom your blessed aunt had so highly honoured, and whom youloved, was a creature capable of a crime which none but thedevil himself could have perpetrated. Dear William! dearestblessed child! I soon shall see you again in heaven, where weshall all be happy; and that consoles me, going as I am tosuffer ignominy and death."

"Oh, Justine! forgive me for having for one moment distrustedyou. Why did you confess? But do not mourn, dear girl. Do notfear. I will proclaim, I will prove your innocence. I willmelt the stony hearts of your enemies by my tears and prayers. You shall not die!--You, my playfellow, my companion, mysister, perish on the scaffold! No! no! I never could surviveso horrible a misfortune."

Justine shook her head mournfully. "I do not fear to die," shesaid; "that pang is past. God raises my weakness, and gives mecourage to endure the worst. I leave a sad and bitter world;and if you remember me, and think of me as of one unjustlycondemned, I am resigned to the fate awaiting me. Learn fromme, dear lady, to submit in patience to the will of Heaven!"

During this conversation I had retired to a corner of theprison-room, where I could conceal the horrid anguish thatpossessed me. Despair! Who dared talk of that? The poorvictim, who on the morrow was to pass the awful boundarybetween life and death, felt not as I did, such deep and bitteragony. I gnashed my teeth, and ground them together, utteringa groan that came from my inmost soul. Justine started. Whenshe saw who it was, she approached me, and said, "Dear sir, youare very kind to visit me; you, I hope, do not believe that Iam guilty?"

I could not answer. "No, Justine," said Elizabeth; "he is moreconvinced of your innocence than I was; for even when he heardthat you had confessed, he did not credit it."

"I truly thank him. In these last moments I feel the sincerestgratitude towards those who think of me with kindness. Howsweet is the affection of others to such a wretch as I am! Itremoves more than half my misfortune; and I feel as if I coulddie in peace, now that my innocence is acknowledged by you,dear lady, and your cousin."

Thus the poor sufferer tried to comfort others and herself. She indeed gained the resignation she desired. But I, the truemurderer, felt the never-dying worm alive in my bosom, whichallowed of no hope or consolation. Elizabeth also wept, andwas unhappy; but her's also was the misery of innocence,which, like a cloud that passes over the fair moon, for a whilehides but cannot tarnish its brightness. Anguish and despairhad penetrated into the core of my heart; I bore a hell withinme, which nothing could extinguish. We stayed several hourswith Justine; and it was with great difficulty that Elizabethcould tear herself away. "I wish," cried she, "that I were todie with you; I cannot live in this world of misery."

Justine assumed an air of cheerfulness, while she withdifficulty repressed her bitter tears. She embraced Elizabeth,and said, in a voice of half-suppressed emotion, "Farewell,sweet lady, dearest Elizabeth, my beloved and only friend; mayHeaven, in its bounty, bless and preserve you; may this be thelast misfortune that you will ever suffer! Live, and be happy,and make others so."

And on the morrow Justine died. Elizabeth's heartrendingeloquence failed to move the judges from their settledconviction in the criminality of the saintly sufferer. My passionate and indignant appeals were lost upon them. And when I received their cold answers, and heard the harshunfeeling reasoning of these men, my purposed avowal died awayon my lips. Thus I might proclaim myself a madman, but notrevoke the sentence passed upon my wretched victim. She perishedon the scaffold as a murderess!

From the tortures of my own heart, I turned to contemplate thedeep and voiceless grief of my Elizabeth. This also was mydoing! And my father's woe, and the desolation of that late sosmiling home--all was the work of my thrice-accursed hands! Ye weep, unhappy ones; but these are not your last tears! Again shall you raise the funeral wail, and the sound of yourlamentations shall again and again be heard! Frankenstein, yourson, your kinsman, your early, much-loved friend; he who wouldspend each vital drop of blood for your sakes--who has nothought nor sense of joy, except as it is mirrored also in yourdear countenances--who would fill the air with blessings, andspend his life in serving you--he bids you weep--to shedcountless tears; happy beyond his hopes, if thus inexorablefate be satisfied, and if the destruction pause before thepeace of the grave have succeeded to your sad torments!

Thus spoke my prophetic soul, as, torn by remorse, horror, anddespair, I beheld those I loved spend vain sorrow upon thegraves of William and Justine, the first hapless victims to myunhallowed arts.

我们度过了一段伤心难熬的时刻,后来总算挨到了十一点,审讯马上就要开始了。父亲和家里其他的人都得到庭作证,我陪着他们一起去了法庭。

整件事情就像是对正义的嘲弄,而我则活生生忍受着痛苦的煎熬。是不是由于我的好奇心和无法无天酿成的后果,导致了我两个亲密伙伴的死亡还有待裁决,其中一个是天真活泼的孩子,而另一个却是被更加悲惨地杀戮了,而且她还要背上负罪的恶名,反倒使得对她的杀戮变得名正言顺,大快人心。

贾斯汀也是一个品质优秀的姑娘,她本来完全可以过上幸福的生活。但是现在所有这些美德都要被不光彩地抹杀,而我是这个悲剧的始作俑者。有无数次我都想站出来承担被加在贾斯汀身上的罪名,但是事发时我并不在场,这种声明只会被别人当成是胡言乱语,并不能开脱她为我承担的罪名。

贾斯汀非常平静,身着丧服。她的容貌本来就很迷人,现在因为肃穆的神情,就更显得楚楚动人了。她看起来也相信自己的清白无辜,所以虽然在众目睽睽之下,被人指指戳戳,但仍然从容自若。本来她的美貌可以让别人对她心怀不忍,但是因为人们都认为她犯下了滔天罪行,所以这种好感也就被扼杀了。她虽然看上去神态安详,但很明显是强作镇定,因为她以前在法庭上不能自圆其说,就已经被人认为是有罪的一个证据了。这个时候她只能鼓起勇气,尽量显得沉着。

当贾斯汀步入法庭的时候,她环顾了一下四周,很快就看到了我们,然后她的眼里立刻就蒙上了泪光,不过她很快就控制住自己的情感。可她那种既哀怨又深情的神态,更加证明她是完全清白的。

审讯开始了,原告律师陈述了对她的指控以后,几个证人被传上法庭作证。有好几件奇怪的事实凑在一起,确实对她非常不利。别的人要是不知道像我所掌握的证据的话,肯定会因此对她做出错误的判断。

谋杀案发的那天夜里,贾斯汀整晚都不在家。而第二天将近黎明的时候,而在威廉的尸体被找到的地方不远有个市场,里面一个农妇看到了她。那个妇女问她在那里做什么,但是她神情奇怪,只是含糊不清地应付了几句。她是八点多左右才回的家,有人问她晚上干什么去了,她说她一直在找威廉,并且很急切地问威廉找到没有。当她看到威廉的尸体的时候,她一下子变得歇斯底里,而且好多天都卧床不起。

然后法庭出示了仆人在她衣服口袋里发现的那帧肖像。后来,伊丽莎白上庭了。她的嗓音颤抖着证明说,那就是她在威廉失踪前一个小时的时候,亲手挂在他脖子上的微型肖像。法庭上立即响起了一阵惊恐和愤怒的喧哗声。

法官让贾斯汀为自己辩护。在整个审讯过程中,她的表情多次剧烈变化,时而惊恐,时而痛苦。有的时候,她强忍着不让眼泪留出来。但是等到她自己辩护的时候,她终于强打精神开口说话,虽然声音时大时小,但是仍然能听清楚。

"上苍可鉴,"她说,"我是完全清白无辜的,但是我并不奢求我的辩护能为自己洗脱罪名。我只能对那些指控我的事实,做出简要的解释,来表明自己的清白。如果有任何可疑的地方的话,我只能希望我长期以来的人品能够让法官们对此做出合理的解释。"

她然后陈述说,在案发当天傍晚,她在得到伊丽莎白的同意之后,到三英里以外的谢尼村去看望一个婶婶。她九点钟左右回来的时候,遇到一个人,那人说威廉失踪了,问她有没有见过他。她听了之后非常着急,立刻四下找孩子,找了好几个小时。后来城门关上了,她只得来到一户农舍。她认识这家的主人,但是她不愿打搅他们,所以她就呆在农舍的仓库里过了一晚上。夜里大部分时间她都睁着眼查看四下里的动静,但是天即将放亮的时候,她觉得自己可能眯了一小会儿。后来她就被脚步声吵醒了。

凌晨时分,她离开了那个仓库,因为她想再找找威廉。就算她离发现威廉尸体的地方不远,那她当时也不知情。而那个市场的农妇询问她的时候,就算她显得迷迷糊糊也没什么奇怪的,因为她一夜都没合眼,而且可怜的威廉当时还下落不明。

至于那帧肖像,可怜的贾斯汀继续说道:"我知道,这个情况对我非常不利,足以置我于死地,但是我对此也无法解释。我只能说我对此一无所知,并且做这样的推测:可能是有人把它放到我的口袋里面的。但是,我自己也觉得说不通。我相信,我在这个世界上和别人无怨无仇,没人会这样伤天害理,要如此卑劣地把我置于死地。那么会不会是凶手放的呢?但是我知道他没有机会这么做。即使我给了他机会,那他为什么偷了首饰又这么快要脱手呢?"

"现在我只能仰赖法官的公正裁决了,虽然我觉得希望不大。我请求法官传几位证人询问一下我平日的为人和品质;如果他们的证词还不足以洗刷我的罪名,那么虽然我发誓自己是清白的,我也一定要被宣判有罪了。"

几位多年以来熟悉她为人的证人,被传上法庭作证。他们为她说了一些好话,但是其实他们已经认定她犯了死罪,所以心里又怕又恨,有所保留,不愿意为她进一步担保。伊丽莎白已经意识到,被告最后一线希望——她的高尚品质和无可指责的为人——也起不了什么作用了,不禁焦急万分,于是她请求法庭准许她发言。

"我就是那个被害的不幸孩子的堂姐,"她说,"说得准确一点,就是他的姐姐。因为在那个孩子出生前,我就一直和他的父母一起生活,并被抚养成人。因此可能会有人认为我为贾斯汀辩护不太合适。但是,当我眼看着我自己的伙伴,就要因为那些所谓的朋友的怯弱而不幸殒命的时候,我希望能允许我发言,因为我对被告的人品太了解了。我和被告非常熟悉。我和她朝夕相处,先是在一起生活了五年,后来又有将近两年。在那段时间里,我觉得她是极其善良、和蔼的姑娘。在我婶婶临终前的时候,她无微不至地照顾她。后来她又同样悉心地照顾身患重病的母亲。凡是认识她的人都敬重她的人品。她在母亲病逝后又住到了我叔叔家,我们全家都很喜欢她。她非常疼爱那个死去的孩子,就好像把他当成自己的亲生孩子一样宠爱。就我个人而言,我可疑毫不犹豫地说,就算所有的证词都对她不利,但我还是相信她是清白无辜的。她不会鬼迷心窍到做出这样的事。至于那件认为是罪证的肖像,如果她真的那么想要,我是会非常乐意送给她的。我真的非常尊重她,信赖她。"

伊丽莎白简短而又有力的陈词刚说完,下面就发出了赞叹的窃窃私语。但那是针对她的宽厚仁慈,而不是针对可怜的贾斯汀。因为现在公众对她反而更加气愤,认为她恩将仇报。伊丽莎白在说话的时候,贾斯汀默默流泪,并没有做任何回答。

在整个审讯过程中,我感到极度的痛苦和愤懑,因为我知道事情的真相。我毫不怀疑是那个魔鬼杀害了我的弟弟,那么他又为什么不能同时诬陷别人的清白呢?我再也不能忍受这种恐怖的情形了,当我听到公众愤怒的呼喊,看到法官铁青的脸色时,我明白这已经是对我的无辜的牺牲者的裁决了。我痛苦地冲了法庭。我相信,就连贾斯汀所受到的折磨也无法和我遭受的痛苦相比。因为她知道自己是清白的,这个信念始终可以支持她;但是我内心的悔恨,却像毒牙般无时不刻不在撕扯着我的肺腑,而且越揪越紧,没有尽时。

我度过了一个极度痛苦的夜晚。第二天一早,我又去了法庭。我的喉咙像冒了火一般,实在不敢问那个最可怕的问题。但是法庭里的人都认识我,而且法庭的官员已经猜到了我到访的目的。他告诉我法官们已经投票了,全都判定贾斯汀有罪。

我实在无法形容当时的感受。我以前也体会过令人毛骨悚然的恐惧,而且还曾经设法把这种感受付诸文字,但是我当时所承受的撕心裂肺的绝望,却绝对不是用笔墨所能表达的。和我说话的那个官员还补充说,贾斯汀已经认罪了。

"其实要不要她的证词也无所谓,"他评论说,"因为这个案子太明显不过了。但是我很高兴她自己承认了。因为,毕竟我们法官也不愿意仅根据旁证就来定别人的罪,哪怕这些旁证很确凿无疑。"

这真是太奇怪了,大大出乎我的意料。这是怎么回事?难道我那天晚上看花了眼?难道我真的已经疯了?就像如果我说出那个秘密,世人都会认为我发疯了一样?

我匆匆忙忙地赶回家中,伊丽莎白急切地问我结果如何。

"堂妹,"我回答说,"结果就跟你猜的一样。所有的法官都宁愿错判十个,也不愿漏判一个。但是她自己竟然也认罪了。"

这对于可怜的伊丽莎白来说实在是个巨大的打击,因为她一直都坚信贾斯汀是清白无辜的。

"天啊!"她说,"这让我今后如何再相信人性的美德呢?贾斯汀,我如此爱她,像自己的亲姐妹一样敬重她,她怎么能够貌似无辜,背地里却做出这种背叛友情的事情来呢?她那双温柔的眼睛里从来没有闪现出任何狡黠、残酷的光芒来,可是她却干出了谋财害命的勾当!"

过了一会儿,我们得知可怜的贾斯汀想要见见我的堂妹。父亲希望伊丽莎白不要去,但是他说让伊丽莎白自己决定要不要去。

"是的,"伊丽莎白说,"就算她有罪,我也要去。维克多,你陪我一起去,我不想一个人去。"这对我来说无疑是一种巨大的折磨,然而我实在不能拒绝。

我们进了昏暗的牢房,看见贾斯汀正坐在牢房尽头的草堆上面。她手上戴着镣铐,头埋在膝盖中间。看见我们进了牢房,她立刻站了起来。当牢房里只剩下我们几个的时候,她扑倒在伊丽莎白的脚下,放声大哭。伊丽莎白也不禁黯然泪下。

"哦,贾斯汀!"她说,"为什么你要夺走我最后的慰藉?我以前一直相信你的清白,尽管那个时候我也非常难过,但是远没有现在这样痛苦。"

"这样说来,难道你也相信我是那种邪恶无耻的人吗?你也要和我的仇人一起合伙来整垮我,把我定罪为杀人犯?"贾斯汀已经泣不成声了。

"起来,可怜的姑娘,"伊丽莎白说,"假如你是清白无辜的,为什么要在我面前下跪?我绝对不是你的仇敌。以前,不管有什么证据,我都坚信你是无辜的,但是我现在听说,你自己已经认罪了。如果我们今早听说的是假的话,那么,亲爱的贾斯汀,你尽管放心,除非你自己认罪了,否则没有任何事可以动摇我对你的信任。"

"我确实是认罪了,但那些都是谎言。我供认了是因为我想获得赦免。可是现在,撒谎对我心灵造成的重负,远胜于我其他的罪孽。愿上帝宽恕我吧。自从我被定罪之后,我的忏悔牧师就一直在围攻我,他不断地威胁、恐吓我,最后连我自己也几乎相信我的确像他所说的那样是个魔鬼。他威胁说,如果我抵死不认罪的话,我就会被逐出教门,让我在最后时刻受到炼狱之火的煎熬。亲爱的小姐,没有人支持我,所有人都认为我是恶棍,注定要忍受耻辱,受地狱之苦。我又有什么办法呢?在那个不幸的时刻,我承认了一个谎言。但是现在,我才是真的悲惨啊!"

她停顿了一下,边抽泣边继续说:"可爱的小姐,我想到连你也可能会认为贾斯汀——你敬爱的婶婶如此看重的人,而你又是那么关心的人——竟然会犯下只有魔鬼才会做出的罪行时,内心就充满了恐惧。亲爱的威廉!最圣洁的孩子啊!我马上就要和你在天国里见面了,只有在那个地方,我们才都会快乐无比。当我蒙受不白之冤,马上就要受刑死去的时候,只有这个念头才能让我得到些许安慰。"

"哦,贾斯汀!原谅我有一刻对你不信任吧!为什么你要认罪呢!不过,你千万不要悲伤,亲爱的姑娘。别害怕。我会为你申诉,我要证明你的清白。我要用我的用眼泪和哀求来化解你仇敌的铁石心肠。你不应该死!你是我童年的玩伴、我的朋友,我亲爱的姐妹,而你竟然要被吊死在绞刑架上!不行!绝对不行!如果发生了这种不幸的事,我简直活不下去。"

贾斯汀悲哀地摇摇头说道:"我其实并不怕死。那种恐惧和痛苦已经过去了。上帝已经清除了我的软弱,并赋予了我极大的勇气,足以让我承担最大的不幸。我将离开这个悲哀、痛苦的世界。如果你能够记得我,并且认为我是蒙受了不白之冤,那我也就听天由命了。吸取我的教训吧,亲爱的伊丽莎白,耐心地服从上苍的意志吧。"

在她们谈话的时候,我始终躲在牢房的一角。只有在那里,我才可以掩盖我内心地所有痛楚。绝望!如今有谁能像我这样绝望?这个可怜的受害者,明天凌晨就要跨越从生到死的界限,但即便是她绝对不会体会我正在经受的剜心透骨的痛楚。我咬紧牙关,磨得格格直响,然后从我的灵魂最深处发出一声痛苦的呻吟。

贾斯汀吃了一惊。当她看清是我在呻吟的时候,她走到我的面前说:"亲爱的先生,您能来看我真是太好了。我希望,您不会认为我是罪人。"

面对贾斯汀,我连一句话都说不出。

"对,贾斯汀,"伊丽莎白说道,"他比我还要相信你是无辜的;因为,甚至在他听说你已经认罪之后,他仍然相信你是清白的。"

"我发自内心地感激他。在我生命最后的时刻中,我真诚地感谢那些对我心怀善意的人。对于像我这样身陷囫囵的人来说,别人给予我的深厚情谊就更加亲切、珍贵了。现在我已经觉得好受多了。我至少还有你,亲爱的小姐,和你的堂兄,认为我是清白的,那我觉得我现在也可以死而无憾了。"

就这样,这个可怜的人倒反过来试图安慰我们了,当然也包括她自己。她现在的确求仁得仁,能够平静地接受命运的安排了。但是我,这个真正的凶手,却感到仿佛有一条阴魂不散的毒虫在心头蠕动着、噬咬着,夺去了我所有的希望和慰藉。

伊丽莎白也在痛哭,但她痛苦却是处于纯洁无瑕的原因,就像夜空中有一片浮云游移过皎洁的明月,虽然月亮暂时被遮挡,但是浮云绝对掩盖不了明月的光辉。但是此时,痛苦和绝望却腐蚀着我的内心,我的心灵仿佛承载着整个一座炼狱,无人能够将之驱赶、清除。

我们就这样陪着贾斯汀。好几个小时过去了,伊丽莎白和贾斯汀难分难舍。

"我真想和你一起去死。"伊丽莎白哭着说,"我无法活在这个悲惨的世界上。"

贾斯汀强忍住辛酸的泪水,尽量显出快活的样子。她抱住伊丽莎白,压抑住自己的感情说:"永别了,亲爱的小姐,亲爱的伊丽莎白,你是我最挚爱的、也是惟一的朋友。愿上天能够慷慨仁慈地赐福予你,但愿你今后再也不要经历别的不幸。你要活下去,幸福地活着,而且也要使别人幸福!"

第二天凌晨,贾斯汀被处死了。伊丽莎白一番发自肺腑、感人至深的申诉也无法改变法官们对这位无辜的受难者的判决。而我充满义愤、急切的辩驳也在他们面前毫无作用。当我听到他们冰冷的回答,听着他们冷酷无情地摆出他们的推论的时候,我本来想向他们坦白真相的言语也顿时在舌尖凝固住了。我这样等于是在宣布自己是疯子,而绝对不可能改变已经做出的判决。贾斯汀作为杀人犯被绞死在绞刑架上。

我内心承受着巨大的折磨,同时也看到伊丽莎白那痛入骨髓的无言的悲哀。这也是我造成的呀!此外还有我父亲的伤痛,还有我们那个曾经一度幸福,而如今变得无比凄凉的家庭。这些都是我一手造成的啊!

哭泣吧,你们这些不幸的人啊。但是这却不是你们最后的泪水。你们还将再次在葬礼上痛哭,空中将一遍遍响彻你们痛苦的呼号。弗兰肯斯坦,你们的儿子、你们的亲人、你们青梅竹马的朋友,为了你们,他宁愿耗尽自己的每一滴鲜血,可是他现在已经心如死灰,再也不能感受人间的欢乐,除非在你们的脸上能够重现快乐的容颜。他愿意向上苍祈祷,并用生命为你们服务。可结果却正是他让你们不断哭泣,流淌下数不尽的眼泪。如果无情的命运就此放手,如果毁灭之神从此停下脚步,不在让坟墓成为你们受尽折磨的灵魂的最后归宿,那他就会喜出望外了。

以上就是我看到我的至亲徒然地埋葬威廉和贾斯汀之后,我灵魂深处发出的痛苦、恐惧、和无望的呐喊。而他们两个,只不过是我亵渎神灵的技术所造成的第一批遇害者!