In Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Elizabeth's letter comes to Victor as he travels home from the horror of Henry's murder, his own imprisonment and his subsequent illness.
First Elizabeth speaks of her excitement that Victor and his father draw closer to home. She worries, also, about his poor health, fearful that he may seem more poorly than he did when left Geneva. She admits the winter has been a difficult one, waiting for him, but hopes that he has found some tranquility in the meantime.
The central focus of her letter, however, is her question to Victor about their relationship. Elizabeth recalls the years they spent together as children: playmates and great friends. She knows Victor's parents had always assumed they would marry. However as Victor has been so preoccupied, she fears that perhaps he does not feel the same way she does. So she asks him where his heart is:
Do you not love another?
Elizabeth wonders if his need for seclusion in Ingolstadt came from a sense that he was honor-bound to marry her. She admits that she loves him, and without him she would be miserable. However, she explains that his happiness means everything to her.
I confess to you, my cousin, that I love you, and that in my airy dreams of futurity you have been my constant friend and companion. But it is your happiness I desire as well as my own, when I declare to you, that our marriage would render me eternally miserable, unless it were the dictate of your own free choice.
She cautions him not to write of this if it will make him unhappy, for she will get news of his condition from Alphonse. However, if she sees him with a smile on his face when next they meet, she will know his heart, and that will be all she needs.