I desire the company of a man who could sympathise with me; whose eyes would reply to mine.
And ‘paper is a poor medium for the communication of • feeling,’ duplicitous desire deceiving them, feeding on the eagerness of • their flesh to sate the emptiness of their spirits with • breathless drinks of lust fulfilling the needs of those slaves • of passion deserving of better-than-this, they keep on going, pretending, • one thinks it best to be left to live unknown • in his wretchedness, that this pleasure is punishment for having • too many times transgressed some edict passed in secret by • some ancient parliament whose intention in establishing it then is • too distant to comprehend, yet the meaning of which, even • now, persists in its interdiction against men-loving-men, this guilt I • thought once I never would feel, yet have felt again • and again, the prickling sensationalism of this prejudice under the • •
surface of my skin, tickling the tip of my tongue • with an admission of it I wish to express but • silence quick, a concession by omission of never acknowledging or • defining this loneliest existence, suffering every night the anxiety of • a double-life lived in service of another’s comfort, saving strangers • the anguish and disgust of this disgrace, lying about the • fruitless quest for a suitable wife, compromising mine, and the • prospect of companionship, by disguising what I cannot give, my • true Self to someone else because I cannot do it • and expect to survive without consequence the split dividing my • shame into haggard halves bereft of the deception into which • they now both are knit, I wear thin a lie • behind which I hide as if denial were a garment, • •
the sparkle of my wit, the charm of my grin, • the illusion of this ebullience, ignorant of the discontent it • conceals, as if declining every invitation, implicit though registered by • my Uranian cognizance, this torture is the same misfortune each • of my kind meets with when, kindred degenerates searching for • its cognate, the reticence of this polari greets its own • end, and we find nothing, seeking from the pain’s beginning • a meaning for which language has no expression, the experience • of a sentiment, a means to convey that what we • wish to possess is no extravagant thing, but conventional: comfort, • at the expense of seeming irrational, risking being called difficult, • there is no place right now I would rather be • than in the arms of a man who loves me.
1Mary Shelley, “Letter 2: To Mrs[.] Saville, England[, from] Archangel, March 28th, 17—” in Frankenstein: or The Modern Prometheus: Mary Shelley: with an Afterword by David Pinching, published at London by Collector’s Library in 2004; page 20.