The Mysteries of Udolpho
Part 10 out of 16
'This night!' repeated another voice.
Montoni paused, and turned half round, but, seeming to recollect
himself, he proceeded in a lower tone.
'You have lately seen one terrible example of obstinacy and folly;
yet this, it appears, has not been sufficient to deter you.--I could
tell you of others--I could make you tremble at the bare recital.'
He was interrupted by a groan, which seemed to rise from underneath
the chamber they were in; and, as he threw a glance round it,
impatience and rage flashed from his eyes, yet something like a shade
of fear passed over his countenance. Emily sat down in a chair, near
the door, for the various emotions she had suffered, now almost
overcame her; but Montoni paused scarcely an instant, and, commanding
his features, resumed his discourse in a lower, yet sterner voice.
'I say, I could give you other instances of my power and of my
character, which it seems you do not understand, or you would not
defy me.--I could tell you, that, when once my resolution is taken--
but I am talking to a baby. Let me, however, repeat, that terrible
as are the examples I could recite, the recital could not now benefit
you; for, though your repentance would put an immediate end to
opposition, it would not now appease my indignation.--I will have
vengeance as well as justice.'
Another groan filled the pause which Montoni made.
'Leave the room instantly!' said he, seeming not to notice this
strange occurrence. Without power to implore his pity, she rose to
go, but found that she could not support herself; awe and terror
overcame her, and she sunk again into the chair.
'Quit my presence!' cried Montoni. 'This affectation of fear ill
becomes the heroine who has just dared to brave my indignation.'
'Did you hear nothing, Signor?' said Emily, trembling, and still
unable to leave the room.
'I heard my own voice,' rejoined Montoni, sternly.
'And nothing else?' said Emily, speaking with difficulty.--'There
again! Do you hear nothing now?'
'Obey my order,' repeated Montoni. 'And for these fool's tricks--I
will soon discover by whom they are practised.'
Emily again rose, and exerted herself to the utmost to leave the
room, while Montoni followed her; but, instead of calling aloud to
his servants to search the chamber, as he had formerly done on a
similar occurrence, passed to the ramparts.
As, in her way to the corridor, she rested for a moment at an open
casement, Emily saw a party of Montoni's troops winding down a
distant mountain, whom she noticed no further, than as they brought
to her mind the wretched prisoners they were, perhaps, bringing to
the castle. At length, having reached her apartment, she threw
herself upon the couch, overcome with the new horrors of her
situation. Her thoughts lost in tumult and perplexity, she could
neither repent of, or approve, her late conduct; she could only
remember, that she was in the power of a man, who had no principle of
action--but his will; and the astonishment and terrors of
superstition, which had, for a moment, so strongly assailed her, now
yielded to those of reason.
She was, at length, roused from the reverie, which engaged her, by a
confusion of distant voices, and a clattering of hoofs, that seemed
to come, on the wind, from the courts. A sudden hope, that some good
was approaching, seized her mind, till she remembered the troops she
had observed from the casement, and concluded this to be the party,
which Annette had said were expected at Udolpho.
Soon after, she heard voices faintly from the halls, and the noise of
horses' feet sunk away in the wind; silence ensued. Emily listened
anxiously for Annette's step in the corridor, but a pause of total
stillness continued, till again the castle seemed to be all tumult
and confusion. She heard the echoes of many footsteps, passing to
and fro in the halls and avenues below, and then busy tongues were
loud on the rampart. Having hurried to her casement, she perceived
Montoni, with some of his officers, leaning on the walls, and
pointing from them; while several soldiers were employed at the
further end of the rampart about some cannon; and she continued to
observe them, careless of the passing time.
Annette at length appeared, but brought no intelligence of
Valancourt, 'For, ma'amselle,' said she, 'all the people pretend to
know nothing about any prisoners. But here is a fine piece of
business! The rest of the party are just arrived, ma'am; they came
scampering in, as if they would have broken their necks; one scarcely
knew whether the man, or his horse would get within the gates first.
And they have brought word--and such news! they have brought word,
that a party of the enemy, as they call them, are coming towards the
castle; so we shall have all the officers of justice, I suppose,
besieging it! all those terrible-looking fellows one used to see at
'Thank God!' exclaimed Emily, fervently, 'there is yet a hope left
for me, then!'
'What mean you, ma'amselle? Do you wish to fall into the hands of
those sad-looking men! Why I used to shudder as I passed them, and
should have guessed what they were, if Ludovico had not told me.'
'We cannot be in worse hands than at present,' replied Emily,
unguardedly; 'but what reason have you to suppose these are officers
'Why OUR people, ma'am, are all in such a fright, and a fuss; and I
don't know any thing but the fear of justice, that could make them
so. I used to think nothing on earth could fluster them, unless,
indeed, it was a ghost, or so; but now, some of them are for hiding
down in the vaults under the castle; but you must not tell the Signor
this, ma'amselle, and I overheard two of them talking--Holy Mother!
what makes you look so sad, ma'amselle? You don't hear what I say!'
'Yes, I do, Annette; pray proceed.'
'Well, ma'amselle, all the castle is in such hurly-burly. Some of
the men are loading the cannon, and some are examining the great
gates, and the walls all round, and are hammering and patching up,
just as if all those repairs had never been made, that were so long
about. But what is to become of me and you, ma'amselle, and
Ludovico? O! when I hear the sound of the cannon, I shall die with
fright. If I could but catch the great gate open for one minute, I
would be even with it for shutting me within these walls so long!--it
should never see me again.'
Emily caught the latter words of Annette. 'O! if you could find it
open, but for one moment!' she exclaimed, 'my peace might yet be
saved!' The heavy groan she uttered, and the wildness of her look,
terrified Annette, still more than her words; who entreated Emily to
explain the meaning of them, to whom it suddenly occurred, that
Ludovico might be of some service, if there should be a possibility
of escape, and who repeated the substance of what had passed between
Montoni and herself, but conjured her to mention this to no person
except to Ludovico. 'It may, perhaps, be in his power,' she added,
'to effect our escape. Go to him, Annette, tell him what I have to
apprehend, and what I have already suffered; but entreat him to be
secret, and to lose no time in attempting to release us. If he is
willing to undertake this he shall be amply rewarded. I cannot speak
with him myself, for we might be observed, and then effectual care
would be taken to prevent our flight. But be quick, Annette, and,
above all, be discreet--I will await your return in this apartment.'
The girl, whose honest heart had been much affected by the recital,
was now as eager to obey, as Emily was to employ her, and she
immediately quitted the room.
Emily's surprise increased, as she reflected upon Annette's
intelligence. 'Alas!' said she, 'what can the officers of justice do
against an armed castle? these cannot be such.' Upon further
consideration, however, she concluded, that, Montoni's bands having
plundered the country round, the inhabitants had taken arms, and were
coming with the officers of police and a party of soldiers, to force
their way into the castle. 'But they know not,' thought she, 'its
strength, or the armed numbers within it. Alas! except from flight,
I have nothing to hope!'
Montoni, though not precisely what Emily apprehended him to be--a
captain of banditti--had employed his troops in enterprises not less
daring, or less atrocious, than such a character would have
undertaken. They had not only pillaged, whenever opportunity
offered, the helpless traveller, but had attacked, and plundered the
villas of several persons, which, being situated among the solitary
recesses of the mountains, were totally unprepared for resistance.
In these expeditions the commanders of the party did not appear, and
the men, partly disguised, had sometimes been mistaken for common
robbers, and, at others, for bands of the foreign enemy, who, at that
period, invaded the country. But, though they had already pillaged
several mansions, and brought home considerable treasures, they had
ventured to approach only one castle, in the attack of which they
were assisted by other troops of their own order; from this, however,
they were vigorously repulsed, and pursued by some of the foreign
enemy, who were in league with the besieged. Montoni's troops fled
precipitately towards Udolpho, but were so closely tracked over the
mountains, that, when they reached one of the heights in the
neighbourhood of the castle, and looked back upon the road, they
perceived the enemy winding among the cliffs below, and at not more
than a league distant. Upon this discovery, they hastened forward
with increased speed, to prepare Montoni for the enemy; and it was
their arrival, which had thrown the castle into such confusion and
As Emily awaited anxiously some information from below, she now saw
from her casements a body of troops pour over the neighbouring
heights; and, though Annette had been gone a very short time, and had
a difficult and dangerous business to accomplish, her impatience for
intelligence became painful: she listened; opened her door; and
often went out upon the corridor to meet her.
At length, she heard a footstep approach her chamber; and, on opening
the door, saw, not Annette, but old Carlo! New fears rushed upon her
mind. He said he came from the Signor, who had ordered him to inform
her, that she must be ready to depart from Udolpho immediately, for
that the castle was about to be besieged; and that mules were
preparing to convey her, with her guides, to a place of safety.
'Of safety!' exclaimed Emily, thoughtlessly; 'has, then, the Signor
so much consideration for me?'
Carlo looked upon the ground, and made no reply. A thousand opposite
emotions agitated Emily, successively, as she listened to old Carlo;
those of joy, grief, distrust and apprehension, appeared, and
vanished from her mind, with the quickness of lightning. One moment,
it seemed impossible, that Montoni could take this measure merely for
her preservation; and so very strange was his sending her from the
castle at all, that she could attribute it only to the design of
carrying into execution the new scheme of vengeance, with which he
had menaced her. In the next instant, it appeared so desirable to
quit the castle, under any circumstances, that she could not but
rejoice in the prospect, believing that change must be for the
better, till she remembered the probability of Valancourt being
detained in it, when sorrow and regret usurped her mind, and she
wished, much more fervently than she had yet done, that it might not
be his voice which she had heard.
Carlo having reminded her, that she had no time to lose, for that the
enemy were within sight of the castle, Emily entreated him to inform
her whither she was to go; and, after some hesitation, he said he had
received no orders to tell; but, on her repeating the question,
replied, that he believed she was to be carried into Tuscany.'
'To Tuscany!' exclaimed Emily--'and why thither?'
Carlo answered, that he knew nothing further, than that she was to be
lodged in a cottage on the borders of Tuscany, at the feet of the
Apennines--'Not a day's journey distant,' said he.
Emily now dismissed him; and, with trembling hands, prepared the
small package, that she meant to take with her; while she was
employed about which Annette returned.
'O ma'amselle!' said she, 'nothing can be done! Ludovico says the
new porter is more watchful even than Barnardine was, and we might as
well throw ourselves in the way of a dragon, as in his. Ludovico is
almost as broken-hearted as you are, ma'am, on my account, he says,
and I am sure I shall never live to hear the cannon fire twice!'
She now began to weep, but revived upon hearing of what had just
occurred, and entreated Emily to take her with her.
'That I will do most willingly,' replied Emily, 'if Signor Montoni
permits it;' to which Annette made no reply, but ran out of the room,
and immediately sought Montoni, who was on the terrace, surrounded by
his officers, where she began her petition. He sharply bade her go
into the castle, and absolutely refused her request. Annette,
however, not only pleaded for herself, but for Ludovico; and Montoni
had ordered some of his men to take her from his presence, before she
In an agony of disappointment, she returned to Emily, who foreboded
little good towards herself, from this refusal to Annette, and who,
soon after, received a summons to repair to the great court, where
the mules, with her guides, were in waiting. Emily here tried in
vain to sooth the weeping Annette, who persisted in saying, that she
should never see her dear young lady again; a fear, which her
mistress secretly thought too well justified, but which she
endeavoured to restrain, while, with apparent composure, she bade
this affectionate servant farewell. Annette, however, followed to
the courts, which were now thronged with people, busy in preparation
for the enemy; and, having seen her mount her mule and depart, with
her attendants, through the portal, turned into the castle and wept
Emily, meanwhile, as she looked back upon the gloomy courts of the
castle, no longer silent as when she had first entered them, but
resounding with the noise of preparation for their defence, as well
as crowded with soldiers and workmen, hurrying to and fro; and, when
she passed once more under the huge portcullis, which had formerly
struck her with terror and dismay, and, looking round, saw no walls
to confine her steps--felt, in spite of anticipation, the sudden joy
of a prisoner, who unexpectedly finds himself at liberty. This
emotion would not suffer her now to look impartially on the dangers
that awaited her without; on mountains infested by hostile parties,
who seized every opportunity for plunder; and on a journey commended
under the guidance of men, whose countenances certainly did not speak
favourably of their dispositions. In the present moments, she could
only rejoice, that she was liberated from those walls, which she had
entered with such dismal forebodings; and, remembering the
superstitious presentiment, which had then seized her, she could now
smile at the impression it had made upon her mind.
As she gazed, with these emotions, upon the turrets of the castle,
rising high over the woods, among which she wound, the stranger, whom
she believed to be confined there, returned to her remembrance, and
anxiety and apprehension, lest he should be Valancourt, again passed
like a cloud upon her joy. She recollected every circumstance,
concerning this unknown person, since the night, when she had first
heard him play the song of her native province;--circumstances, which
she had so often recollected, and compared before, without extracting
from them any thing like conviction, and which still only prompted
her to believe, that Valancourt was a prisoner at Udolpho. It was
possible, however, that the men, who were her conductors, might
afford her information, on this subject; but, fearing to question
them immediately, lest they should be unwilling to discover any
circumstance to her in the presence of each other, she watched for an
opportunity of speaking with them separately.
Soon after, a trumpet echoed faintly from a distance; the guides
stopped, and looked toward the quarter whence it came, but the thick
woods, which surrounded them, excluding all view of the country
beyond, one of the men rode on to the point of an eminence, that
afforded a more extensive prospect, to observe how near the enemy,
whose trumpet he guessed this to be, were advanced; the other,
meanwhile, remained with Emily, and to him she put some questions,
concerning the stranger at Udolpho. Ugo, for this was his name,
said, that there were several prisoners in the castle, but he neither
recollected their persons, or the precise time of their arrival, and
could therefore give her no information. There was a surliness in
his manner, as he spoke, that made it probable he would not have
satisfied her enquiries, even if he could have done so.
Having asked him what prisoners had been taken, about the time, as
nearly as she could remember, when she had first heard the music,
'All that week,' said Ugo, 'I was out with a party, upon the
mountains, and knew nothing of what was doing at the castle. We had
enough upon our hands, we had warm work of it.'
Bertrand, the other man, being now returned, Emily enquired no
further, and, when he had related to his companion what he had seen,
they travelled on in deep silence; while Emily often caught, between
the opening woods, partial glimpses of the castle above--the west
towers, whose battlements were now crowded with archers, and the
ramparts below, where soldiers were seen hurrying along, or busy upon
the walls, preparing the cannon.
Having emerged from the woods, they wound along the valley in an
opposite direction to that, from whence the enemy were approaching.
Emily now had a full view of Udolpho, with its gray walls, towers and
terraces, high over-topping the precipices and the dark woods, and
glittering partially with the arms of the condottieri, as the sun's
rays, streaming through an autumnal cloud, glanced upon a part of the
edifice, whose remaining features stood in darkened majesty. She
continued to gaze, through her tears, upon walls that, perhaps,
confined Valancourt, and which now, as the cloud floated away, were
lighted up with sudden splendour, and then, as suddenly were shrouded
in gloom; while the passing gleam fell on the wood-tops below, and
heightened the first tints of autumn, that had begun to steal upon
the foliage. The winding mountains, at length, shut Udolpho from her
view, and she turned, with mournful reluctance, to other objects.
The melancholy sighing of the wind among the pines, that waved high
over the steeps, and the distant thunder of a torrent assisted her
musings, and conspired with the wild scenery around, to diffuse over
her mind emotions solemn, yet not unpleasing, but which were soon
interrupted by the distant roar of cannon, echoing among the
mountains. The sounds rolled along the wind, and were repeated in
faint and fainter reverberation, till they sunk in sullen murmurs.
This was a signal, that the enemy had reached the castle, and fear
for Valancourt again tormented Emily. She turned her anxious eyes
towards that part of the country, where the edifice stood, but the
intervening heights concealed it from her view; still, however, she
saw the tall head of a mountain, which immediately fronted her late
chamber, and on this she fixed her gaze, as if it could have told her
of all that was passing in the scene it overlooked. The guides twice
reminded her, that she was losing time and that they had far to go,
before she could turn from this interesting object, and, even when
she again moved onward, she often sent a look back, till only its
blue point, brightening in a gleam of sunshine, appeared peeping over
The sound of the cannon affected Ugo, as the blast of the trumpet
does the war-horse; it called forth all the fire of his nature; he
was impatient to be in the midst of the fight, and uttered frequent
execrations against Montoni for having sent him to a distance. The
feelings of his comrade seemed to be very opposite, and adapted
rather to the cruelties, than to the dangers of war.
Emily asked frequent questions, concerning the place of her
destination, but could only learn, that she was going to a cottage in
Tuscany; and, whenever she mentioned the subject, she fancied she
perceived, in the countenances of these men, an expression of malice
and cunning, that alarmed her.
It was afternoon, when they had left the castle. During several
hours, they travelled through regions of profound solitude, where no
bleat of sheep, or bark of watch-dog, broke on silence, and they were
now too far off to hear even the faint thunder of the cannon.
Towards evening, they wound down precipices, black with forests of
cypress, pine and cedar, into a glen so savage and secluded, that, if
Solitude ever had local habitation, this might have been 'her place
of dearest residence.' To Emily it appeared a spot exactly suited
for the retreat of banditti, and, in her imagination, she already saw
them lurking under the brow of some projecting rock, whence their
shadows, lengthened by the setting sun, stretched across the road,
and warned the traveller of his danger. She shuddered at the idea,
and, looking at her conductors, to observe whether they were armed,
thought she saw in them the banditti she dreaded!
It was in this glen, that they proposed to alight, 'For,' said Ugo,
'night will come on presently, and then the wolves will make it
dangerous to stop.' This was a new subject of alarm to Emily, but
inferior to what she suffered from the thought of being left in these
wilds, at midnight, with two such men as her present conductors.
Dark and dreadful hints of what might be Montoni's purpose in sending
her hither, came to her mind. She endeavoured to dissuade the men
from stopping, and enquired, with anxiety, how far they had yet to
'Many leagues yet,' replied Bertrand. 'As for you, Signora, you may
do as you please about eating, but for us, we will make a hearty
supper, while we can. We shall have need of it, I warrant, before we
finish our journey. The sun's going down apace; let us alight under
that rock, yonder.'
His comrade assented, and, turning the mules out of the road, they
advanced towards a cliff, overhung with cedars, Emily following in
trembling silence. They lifted her from her mule, and, having seated
themselves on the grass, at the foot of the rocks, drew some homely
fare from a wallet, of which Emily tried to eat a little, the better
to disguise her apprehensions.
The sun was now sunk behind the high mountains in the west, upon
which a purple haze began to spread, and the gloom of twilight to
draw over the surrounding objects. To the low and sullen murmur of
the breeze, passing among the woods, she no longer listened with any
degree of pleasure, for it conspired with the wildness of the scene
and the evening hour, to depress her spirits.
Suspense had so much increased her anxiety, as to the prisoner at
Udolpho, that, finding it impracticable to speak alone with Bertrand,
on that subject, she renewed her questions in the presence of Ugo;
but he either was, or pretended to be entirely ignorant, concerning
the stranger. When he had dismissed the question, he talked with Ugo
on some subject, which led to the mention of Signor Orsino and of the
affair that had banished him from Venice; respecting which Emily had
ventured to ask a few questions. Ugo appeared to be well acquainted
with the circumstances of that tragical event, and related some
minute particulars, that both shocked and surprised her; for it
appeared very extraordinary how such particulars could be known to
any, but to persons, present when the assassination was committed.
'He was of rank,' said Bertrand, 'or the State would not have
troubled itself to enquire after his assassins. The Signor has been
lucky hitherto; this is not the first affair of the kind he has had
upon his hands; and to be sure, when a gentleman has no other way of
getting redress--why he must take this.'
'Aye,' said Ugo, 'and why is not this as good as another? This is
the way to have justice done at once, without more ado. If you go to
law, you must stay till the judges please, and may lose your cause,
at last, Why the best way, then, is to make sure of your right,
while you can, and execute justice yourself.'
'Yes, yes,' rejoined Bertrand, 'if you wait till justice is done you-
-you may stay long enough. Why if I want a friend of mine properly
served, how am I to get my revenge? Ten to one they will tell me he
is in the right, and I am in the wrong. Or, if a fellow has got
possession of property, which I think ought to be mine, why I may
wait, till I starve, perhaps, before the law will give it me, and
then, after all, the judge may say--the estate is his. What is to be
done then?--Why the case is plain enough, I must take it at last.'
Emily's horror at this conversation was heightened by a suspicion,
that the latter part of it was pointed against herself, and that
these men had been commissioned by Montoni to execute a similar kind
of JUSTICE, in his cause.
'But I was speaking of Signor Orsino,' resumed Bertrand, 'he is one
of those, who love to do justice at once. I remember, about ten
years ago, the Signor had a quarrel with a cavaliero of Milan. The
story was told me then, and it is still fresh in my head. They
quarrelled about a lady, that the Signor liked, and she was perverse
enough to prefer the gentleman of Milan, and even carried her whim so
far as to marry him. This provoked the Signor, as well it might, for
he had tried to talk reason to her a long while, and used to send
people to serenade her, under her windows, of a night; and used to
make verses about her, and would swear she was the handsomest lady in
Milan--But all would not do--nothing would bring her to reason; and,
as I said, she went so far at last, as to marry this other cavaliero.
This made the Signor wrath, with a vengeance; he resolved to be even
with her though, and he watched his opportunity, and did not wait
long, for, soon after the marriage, they set out for Padua, nothing
doubting, I warrant, of what was preparing for them. The cavaliero
thought, to be sure, he was to be called to no account, but was to go
off triumphant; but he was soon made to know another sort of story.'
'What then, the lady had promised to have Signor Orsino?' said Ugo.
'Promised! No,' replied Bertrand, 'she had not wit enough even to
tell him she liked him, as I heard, but the contrary, for she used to
say, from the first, she never meant to have him. And this was what
provoked the Signor, so, and with good reason, for, who likes to be
told that he is disagreeable? and this was saying as good. It was
enough to tell him this; she need not have gone, and married
'What, she married, then, on purpose to plague the Signor?' said Ugo.
'I don't know as for that,' replied Bertrand, 'they said, indeed,
that she had had a regard for the other gentleman a great while; but
that is nothing to the purpose, she should not have married him, and
then the Signor would not have been so much provoked. She might have
expected what was to follow; it was not to be supposed he would bear
her ill usage tamely, and she might thank herself for what happened.
But, as I said, they set out for Padua, she and her husband, and the
road lay over some barren mountains like these. This suited the
Signor's purpose well. He watched the time of their departure, and
sent his men after them, with directions what to do. They kept their
distance, till they saw their opportunity, and this did not happen,
till the second day's journey, when, the gentleman having sent his
servants forward to the next town, may be, to have horses in
readiness, the Signor's men quickened their pace, and overtook the
carriage, in a hollow, between two mountains, where the woods
prevented the servants from seeing what passed, though they were then
not far off. When we came up, we fired our tromboni, but missed.'
Emily turned pale, at these words, and then hoped she had mistaken
them; while Bertrand proceeded:
'The gentleman fired again, but he was soon made to alight, and it
was as he turned to call his people, that he was struck. It was the
most dexterous feat you ever saw--he was struck in the back with
three stillettos at once. He fell, and was dispatched in a minute;
but the lady escaped, for the servants had heard the firing, and came
up before she could be taken care of. "Bertrand," said the Signor,
when his men returned'--
'Bertrand!' exclaimed Emily, pale with horror, on whom not a syllable
of this narrative had been lost.
'Bertrand, did I say?' rejoined the man, with some confusion--'No,
Giovanni. But I have forgot where I was;--"Bertrand," said the
'Bertrand, again!' said Emily, in a faltering voice, 'Why do you
repeat that name?'
Bertrand swore. 'What signifies it,' he proceeded, 'what the man was
called--Bertrand, or Giovanni--or Roberto? it's all one for that.
You have put me out twice with that--question. "Bertrand," or
Giovanni--or what you will--"Bertrand," said the Signor, "if your
comrades had done their duty, as well as you, I should not have lost
the lady. Go, my honest fellow, and be happy with this." He game
him a purse of gold--and little enough too, considering the service
he had done him.'
'Aye, aye,' said Ugo, 'little enough--little enough.'
Emily now breathed with difficulty, and could scarcely support
herself. When first she saw these men, their appearance and their
connection with Montoni had been sufficient to impress her with
distrust; but now, when one of them had betrayed himself to be a
murderer, and she saw herself, at the approach of night, under his
guidance, among wild and solitary mountains, and going she scarcely
knew whither, the most agonizing terror seized her, which was the
less supportable from the necessity she found herself under of
concealing all symptoms of it from her companions. Reflecting on the
character and the menaces of Montoni, it appeared not improbable,
that he had delivered her to them, for the purpose of having her
murdered, and of thus securing to himself, without further
opposition, or delay, the estates, for which he had so long and so
desperately contended. Yet, if this was his design, there appeared
no necessity for sending her to such a distance from the castle; for,
if any dread of discovery had made him unwilling to perpetrate the
deed there, a much nearer place might have sufficed for the purpose
of concealment. These considerations, however, did not immediately
occur to Emily, with whom so many circumstances conspired to rouse
terror, that she had no power to oppose it, or to enquire coolly into
its grounds; and, if she had done so, still there were many
appearances which would too well have justified her most terrible
apprehensions. She did not now dare to speak to her conductors, at
the sound of whose voices she trembled; and when, now and then, she
stole a glance at them, their countenances, seen imperfectly through
the gloom of evening, served to confirm her fears.
The sun had now been set some time; heavy clouds, whose lower skirts
were tinged with sulphureous crimson, lingered in the west, and threw
a reddish tint upon the pine forests, which sent forth a solemn
sound, as the breeze rolled over them. The hollow moan struck upon
Emily's heart, and served to render more gloomy and terrific every
object around her,--the mountains, shaded in twilight--the gleaming
torrent, hoarsely roaring--the black forests, and the deep glen,
broken into rocky recesses, high overshadowed by cypress and sycamore
and winding into long obscurity. To this glen, Emily, as she sent
forth her anxious eye, thought there was no end; no hamlet, or even
cottage, was seen, and still no distant bark of watch dog, or even
faint, far-off halloo came on the wind. In a tremulous voice, she
now ventured to remind the guides, that it was growing late, and to
ask again how far they had to go: but they were too much occupied by
their own discourse to attend to her question, which she forbore to
repeat, lest it should provoke a surly answer. Having, however, soon
after, finished their supper, the men collected the fragments into
their wallet, and proceeded along this winding glen, in gloomy
silence; while Emily again mused upon her own situation, and
concerning the motives of Montoni for involving her in it. That it
was for some evil purpose towards herself, she could not doubt; and
it seemed, that, if he did not intend to destroy her, with a view of
immediately seizing her estates, he meant to reserve her a while in
concealment, for some more terrible design, for one that might
equally gratify his avarice and still more his deep revenge. At this
moment, remembering Signor Brochio and his behaviour in the corridor,
a few preceding nights, the latter supposition, horrible as it was,
strengthened in her belief. Yet, why remove her from the castle,
where deeds of darkness had, she feared, been often executed with
secrecy?--from chambers, perhaps
With many a foul, and midnight murder stain'd.
The dread of what she might be going to encounter was now so
excessive, that it sometimes threatened her senses; and, often as she
went, she thought of her late father and of all he would have
suffered, could he have foreseen the strange and dreadful events of
her future life; and how anxiously he would have avoided that fatal
confidence, which committed his daughter to the care of a woman so
weak as was Madame Montoni. So romantic and improbable, indeed, did
her present situation appear to Emily herself, particularly when she
compared it with the repose and beauty of her early days, that there
were moments, when she could almost have believed herself the victim
of frightful visions, glaring upon a disordered fancy.
Restrained by the presence of her guides from expressing her terrors,
their acuteness was, at length, lost in gloomy despair. The dreadful
view of what might await her hereafter rendered her almost
indifferent to the surrounding dangers. She now looked, with little
emotion, on the wild dingles, and the gloomy road and mountains,
whose outlines were only distinguishable through the dusk;--objects,
which but lately had affected her spirits so much, as to awaken
horrid views of the future, and to tinge these with their own gloom.
It was now so nearly dark, that the travellers, who proceeded only by
the slowest pace, could scarcely discern their way. The clouds,
which seemed charged with thunder, passed slowly along the heavens,
shewing, at intervals, the trembling stars; while the groves of
cypress and sycamore, that overhung the rocks, waved high in the
breeze, as it swept over the glen, and then rushed among the distant
woods. Emily shivered as it passed.
'Where is the torch?' said Ugo, 'It grows dark.'
'Not so dark yet,' replied Bertrand, 'but we may find our way, and
'tis best not light the torch, before we can help, for it may betray
us, if any straggling party of the enemy is abroad.'
Ugo muttered something, which Emily did not understand, and they
proceeded in darkness, while she almost wished, that the enemy might
discover them; for from change there was something to hope, since she
could scarcely imagine any situation more dreadful than her present
As they moved slowly along, her attention was surprised by a thin
tapering flame, that appeared, by fits, at the point of the pike,
which Bertrand carried, resembling what she had observed on the lance
of the sentinel, the night Madame Montoni died, and which he had said
was an omen. The event immediately following it appeared to justify
the assertion, and a superstitious impression had remained on Emily's
mind, which the present appearance confirmed. She thought it was an
omen of her own fate, and watched it successively vanish and return,
in gloomy silence, which was at length interrupted by Bertrand.
'Let us light the torch,' said he, 'and get under shelter of the
woods;--a storm is coming on--look at my lance.'
He held it forth, with the flame tapering at its point.*
(*See the Abbe Berthelon on Electricity. [A. R.])
'Aye,' said Ugo, 'you are not one of those, that believe in omens:
we have left cowards at the castle, who would turn pale at such a
sight. I have often seen it before a thunder storm, it is an omen of
that, and one is coming now, sure enough. The clouds flash fast
Emily was relieved by this conversation from some of the terrors of
superstition, but those of reason increased, as, waiting while Ugo
searched for a flint, to strike fire, she watched the pale lightning
gleam over the woods they were about to enter, and illumine the harsh
countenances of her companions. Ugo could not find a flint, and
Bertrand became impatient, for the thunder sounded hollowly at a
distance, and the lightning was more frequent. Sometimes, it
revealed the nearer recesses of the woods, or, displaying some
opening in their summits, illumined the ground beneath with partial
splendour, the thick foliage of the trees preserving the surrounding
scene in deep shadow.
At length, Ugo found a flint, and the torch was lighted. The men
then dismounted, and, having assisted Emily, led the mules towards
the woods, that skirted the glen, on the left, over broken ground,
frequently interrupted with brush-wood and wild plants, which she was
often obliged to make a circuit to avoid.
She could not approach these woods, without experiencing keener sense
of her danger. Their deep silence, except when the wind swept among
their branches, and impenetrable glooms shewn partially by the sudden
flash, and then, by the red glare of the torch, which served only to
make 'darkness visible,' were circumstances, that contributed to
renew all her most terrible apprehensions; she thought, too, that, at
this moment, the countenances of her conductors displayed more than
their usual fierceness, mingled with a kind of lurking exultation,
which they seemed endeavouring to disguise. To her affrighted fancy
it occurred, that they were leading her into these woods to complete
the will of Montoni by her murder. The horrid suggestion called a
groan from her heart, which surprised her companions, who turned
round quickly towards her, and she demanded why they led her thither,
beseeching them to continue their way along the open glen, which she
represented to be less dangerous than the woods, in a thunder storm.
'No, no,' said Bertrand, 'we know best where the danger lies. See
how the clouds open over our heads. Besides, we can glide under
cover of the woods with less hazard of being seen, should any of the
enemy be wandering this way. By holy St. Peter and all the rest of
them, I've as stout a heart as the best, as many a poor devil could
tell, if he were alive again--but what can we do against numbers?'
'What are you whining about?' said Ugo, contemptuously, 'who fears
numbers! Let them come, though they were as many, as the Signor's
castle could hold; I would shew the knaves what fighting is. For
you--I would lay you quietly in a dry ditch, where you might peep
out, and see me put the rogues to flight.--Who talks of fear!'
Bertrand replied, with an horrible oath, that he did not like such
jesting, and a violent altercation ensued, which was, at length,
silenced by the thunder, whose deep volley was heard afar, rolling
onward till it burst over their heads in sounds, that seemed to shake
the earth to its centre. The ruffians paused, and looked upon each
other. Between the boles of the trees, the blue lightning flashed
and quivered along the ground, while, as Emily looked under the
boughs, the mountains beyond, frequently appeared to be clothed in
livid flame. At this moment, perhaps, she felt less fear of the
storm, than did either of her companions, for other terrors occupied
The men now rested under an enormous chesnut-tree, and fixed their
pikes in the ground, at some distance, on the iron points of which
Emily repeatedly observed the lightning play, and then glide down
them into the earth.
'I would we were well in the Signor's castle!' said Bertrand, 'I know
not why he should send us on this business. Hark! how it rattles
above, there! I could almost find in my heart to turn priest, and
pray. Ugo, hast got a rosary?'
'No,' replied Ugo, 'I leave it to cowards like thee, to carry
rosaries--I, carry a sword.'
'And much good may it do thee in fighting against the storm!' said
Another peal, which was reverberated in tremendous echoes among the
mountains, silenced them for a moment. As it rolled away, Ugo
proposed going on. 'We are only losing time here,' said he, 'for the
thick boughs of the woods will shelter us as well as this chesnut-
They again led the mules forward, between the boles of the trees, and
over pathless grass, that concealed their high knotted roots. The
rising wind was now heard contending with the thunder, as it rushed
furiously among the branches above, and brightened the red flame of
the torch, which threw a stronger light forward among the woods, and
shewed their gloomy recesses to be suitable resorts for the wolves,
of which Ugo had formerly spoken.
At length, the strength of the wind seemed to drive the storm before
it, for the thunder rolled away into distance, and was only faintly
heard. After travelling through the woods for nearly an hour, during
which the elements seemed to have returned to repose, the travellers,
gradually ascending from the glen, found themselves upon the open
brow of a mountain, with a wide valley, extending in misty moon-
light, at their feet, and above, the blue sky, trembling through the
few thin clouds, that lingered after the storm, and were sinking
slowly to the verge of the horizon.
Emily's spirits, now that she had quitted the woods, began to revive;
for she considered, that, if these men had received an order to
destroy her, they would probably have executed their barbarous
purpose in the solitary wild, from whence they had just emerged,
where the deed would have been shrouded from every human eye.
Reassured by this reflection, and by the quiet demeanour of her
guides, Emily, as they proceeded silently, in a kind of sheep track,
that wound along the skirts of the woods, which ascended on the
right, could not survey the sleeping beauty of the vale, to which
they were declining, without a momentary sensation of pleasure. It
seemed varied with woods, pastures, and sloping grounds, and was
screened to the north and the east by an amphitheatre of the
Apennines, whose outline on the horizon was here broken into varied
and elegant forms; to the west and the south, the landscape extended
indistinctly into the lowlands of Tuscany.
'There is the sea yonder,' said Bertrand, as if he had known that
Emily was examining the twilight view, 'yonder in the west, though we
cannot see it.'
Emily already perceived a change in the climate, from that of the
wild and mountainous tract she had left; and, as she continued
descending, the air became perfumed by the breath of a thousand
nameless flowers among the grass, called forth by the late rain. So
soothingly beautiful was the scene around her, and so strikingly
contrasted to the gloomy grandeur of those, to which she had long
been confined, and to the manners of the people, who moved among
them, that she could almost have fancied herself again at La Vallee,
and, wondering why Montoni had sent her hither, could scarcely
believe, that he had selected so enchanting a spot for any cruel
design. It was, however, probably not the spot, but the persons, who
happened to inhabit it, and to whose care he could safely commit the
execution of his plans, whatever they might be, that had determined
She now ventured again to enquire, whether they were near the place
of their destination, and was answered by Ugo, that they had not far
to go. 'Only to the wood of chesnuts in the valley yonder,' said he,
'there, by the brook, that sparkles with the moon; I wish I was once
at rest there, with a flask of good wine, and a slice of Tuscany
Emily's spirits revived, when she heard, that the journey was so
nearly concluded, and saw the wood of chesnuts in an open part of the
vale, on the margin of the stream.
In a short time, they reached the entrance of the wood, and
perceived, between the twinkling leaves, a light, streaming from a
distant cottage window. They proceeded along the edge of the brook
to where the trees, crowding over it, excluded the moon-beams, but a
long line of light, from the cottage above, was seen on its dark
tremulous surface. Bertrand now stepped on first, and Emily heard
him knock, and call loudly at the door. As she reached it, the small
upper casement, where the light appeared, was unclosed by a man, who,
having enquired what they wanted, immediately descended, let them
into a neat rustic cot, and called up his wife to set refreshments
before the travellers. As this man conversed, rather apart, with
Bertrand, Emily anxiously surveyed him. He was a tall, but not
robust, peasant, of a sallow complexion, and had a shrewd and cunning
eye; his countenance was not of a character to win the ready
confidence of youth, and there was nothing in his manner, that might
conciliate a stranger.
Ugo called impatiently for supper, and in a tone as if he knew his
authority here to be unquestionable. 'I expected you an hour ago,'
said the peasant, 'for I have had Signor Montoni's letter these three
hours, and I and my wife had given you up, and gone to bed. How did
you fare in the storm?'
'Ill enough,' replied Ugo, 'ill enough and we are like to fare ill
enough here, too, unless you will make more haste. Get us more wine,
and let us see what you have to eat.'
The peasant placed before them all, that his cottage afforded--ham,
wine, figs, and grapes of such size and flavour, as Emily had seldom
After taking refreshment, she was shewn by the peasant's wife to her
little bed-chamber, where she asked some questions concerning
Montoni, to which the woman, whose name was Dorina, gave reserved
answers, pretending ignorance of his excellenza's intention in
sending Emily hither, but acknowledging that her husband had been
apprized of the circumstance. Perceiving, that she could obtain no
intelligence concerning her destination, Emily dismissed Dorina, and
retired to repose; but all the busy scenes of her past and the
anticipated ones of the future came to her anxious mind, and
conspired with the sense of her new situation to banish sleep.
Was nought around but images of rest,
Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawns between,
And flowery beds that slumbrous influence kept,
From poppies breath'd, and banks of pleasant green,
Where never yet was creeping creature seen.
Meantime unnumbered glittering streamlets play'd,
And hurled every where their water's sheen,
That, as they bicker'd through the sunny glade,
Though restless still themselves, a lulling murmur made.
When Emily, in the morning, opened her casement, she was surprised to
observe the beauties, that surrounded it. The cottage was nearly
embowered in the woods, which were chiefly of chesnut intermixed with
some cypress, larch and sycamore. Beneath the dark and spreading
branches, appeared, to the north, and to the east, the woody
Apennines, rising in majestic amphitheatre, not black with pines, as
she had been accustomed to see them, but their loftiest summits
crowned with antient forests of chesnut, oak, and oriental plane, now
animated with the rich tints of autumn, and which swept downward to
the valley uninterruptedly, except where some bold rocky promontory
looked out from among the foliage, and caught the passing gleam.
Vineyards stretched along the feet of the mountains, where the
elegant villas of the Tuscan nobility frequently adorned the scene,
and overlooked slopes clothed with groves of olive, mulberry, orange
and lemon. The plain, to which these declined, was coloured with the
riches of cultivation, whose mingled hues were mellowed into harmony
by an Italian sun. Vines, their purple clusters blushing between the
russet foliage, hung in luxuriant festoons from the branches of
standard fig and cherry trees, while pastures of verdure, such as
Emily had seldom seen in Italy, enriched the banks of a stream that,
after descending from the mountains, wound along the landscape, which
it reflected, to a bay of the sea. There, far in the west, the
waters, fading into the sky, assumed a tint of the faintest purple,
and the line of separation between them was, now and then,
discernible only by the progress of a sail, brightened with the
sunbeam, along the horizon.
The cottage, which was shaded by the woods from the intenser rays of
the sun, and was open only to his evening light, was covered entirely
with vines, fig-trees and jessamine, whose flowers surpassed in size
and fragrance any that Emily had seen. These and ripening clusters
of grapes hung round her little casement. The turf, that grew under
the woods, was inlaid with a variety of wild flowers and perfumed
herbs, and, on the opposite margin of the stream, whose current
diffused freshness beneath the shades, rose a grove of lemon and
orange trees. This, though nearly opposite to Emily's window, did
not interrupt her prospect, but rather heightened, by its dark
verdure, the effect of the perspective; and to her this spot was a
bower of sweets, whose charms communicated imperceptibly to her mind
somewhat of their own serenity.
She was soon summoned to breakfast, by the peasant's daughter, a girl
about seventeen, of a pleasant countenance, which, Emily was glad to
observe, seemed animated with the pure affections of nature, though
the others, that surrounded her, expressed, more or less, the worst
qualities--cruelty, ferocity, cunning and duplicity; of the latter
style of countenance, especially, were those of the peasant and his
wife. Maddelina spoke little, but what she said was in a soft voice,
and with an air of modesty and complacency, that interested Emily,
who breakfasted at a separate table with Dorina, while Ugo and
Bertrand were taking a repast of Tuscany bacon and wine with their
host, near the cottage door; when they had finished which, Ugo,
rising hastily, enquired for his mule, and Emily learned that he was
to return to Udolpho, while Bertrand remained at the cottage; a
circumstance, which, though it did not surprise, distressed her.
When Ugo was departed, Emily proposed to walk in the neighbouring
woods; but, on being told, that she must not quit the cottage,
without having Bertrand for her attendant, she withdrew to her own
room. There, as her eyes settled on the towering Apennines, she
recollected the terrific scenery they had exhibited and the horrors
she had suffered, on the preceding night, particularly at the moment
when Bertrand had betrayed himself to be an assassin; and these
remembrances awakened a train of images, which, since they abstracted
her from a consideration of her own situation, she pursued for some
time, and then arranged in the following lines; pleased to have
discovered any innocent means, by which she could beguile an hour of
Slow o'er the Apennine, with bleeding feet,
A patient Pilgrim wound his lonely way,
To deck the Lady of Loretto's seat
With all the little wealth his zeal could pay.
From mountain-tops cold died the evening ray,
And, stretch'd in twilight, slept the vale below;
And now the last, last purple streaks of day
Along the melancholy West fade slow.
High o'er his head, the restless pines complain,
As on their summit rolls the breeze of night;
Beneath, the hoarse stream chides the rocks in vain:
The Pilgrim pauses on the dizzy height.
Then to the vale his cautious step he prest,
For there a hermit's cross was dimly seen,
Cresting the rock, and there his limbs might rest,
Cheer'd in the good man's cave, by faggot's sheen,
On leafy beds, nor guile his sleep molest.
Unhappy Luke! he trusts a treacherous clue!
Behind the cliff the lurking robber stood;
No friendly moon his giant shadow threw
Athwart the road, to save the Pilgrim's blood;
On as he went a vesper-hymn he sang,
The hymn, that nightly sooth'd him to repose.
Fierce on his harmless prey the ruffian sprang!
The Pilgrim bleeds to death, his eye-lids close.
Yet his meek spirit knew no vengeful care,
But, dying, for his murd'rer breath'd--a sainted pray'r!
(* This poem and that entitled THE TRAVELLER in vol. ii, have already
appeared in a periodical publication. [A. R.])
Preferring the solitude of her room to the company of the persons
below stairs, Emily dined above, and Maddelina was suffered to attend
her, from whose simple conversation she learned, that the peasant and
his wife were old inhabitants of this cottage, which had been
purchased for them by Montoni, in reward of some service, rendered
him, many years before, by Marco, to whom Carlo, the steward at the
castle, was nearly related. 'So many years ago, Signora,' added
Maddelina, 'that I know nothing about it; but my father did the
Signor a great good, for my mother has often said to him, this
cottage was the least he ought to have had.'
To the mention of this circumstance Emily listened with a painful
interest, since it appeared to give a frightful colour to the
character of Marco, whose service, thus rewarded by Montoni, she
could scarcely doubt have been criminal; and, if so, had too much
reason to believe, that she had been committed into his hands for
some desperate purpose. 'Did you ever hear how many years it is,'
said Emily, who was considering of Signora Laurentini's disappearance
from Udolpho, 'since your father performed the services you spoke
'It was a little before he came to live at the cottage, Signora,'
replied Maddelina, 'and that is about eighteen years ago.'
This was near the period, when Signora Laurentini had been said to
disappear, and it occurred to Emily, that Marco had assisted in that
mysterious affair, and, perhaps, had been employed in a murder! This
horrible suggestion fixed her in such profound reverie, that
Maddelina quitted the room, unperceived by her, and she remained
unconscious of all around her, for a considerable time. Tears, at
length, came to her relief, after indulging which, her spirits
becoming calmer, she ceased to tremble at a view of evils, that might
never arrive; and had sufficient resolution to endeavour to withdraw
her thoughts from the contemplation of her own interests.
Remembering the few books, which even in the hurry of her departure
from Udolpho she had put into her little package, she sat down with
one of them at her pleasant casement, whence her eyes often wandered
from the page to the landscape, whose beauty gradually soothed her
mind into gentle melancholy.
Here, she remained alone, till evening, and saw the sun descend the
western sky, throw all his pomp of light and shadow upon the
mountains, and gleam upon the distant ocean and the stealing sails,
as he sunk amidst the waves. Then, at the musing hour of twilight,
her softened thoughts returned to Valancourt; she again recollected
every circumstance, connected with the midnight music, and all that
might assist her conjecture, concerning his imprisonment at the
castle, and, becoming confirmed in the supposition, that it was his
voice she had heard there, she looked back to that gloomy abode with
emotions of grief and momentary regret.
Refreshed by the cool and fragrant air, and her spirits soothed to a
state of gentle melancholy by the stilly murmur of the brook below
and of the woods around, she lingered at her casement long after the
sun had set, watching the valley sinking into obscurity, till only
the grand outline of the surrounding mountains, shadowed upon the
horizon, remained visible. But a clear moon-light, that succeeded,
gave to the landscape, what time gives to the scenes of past life,
when it softens all their harsher features, and throws over the whole
the mellowing shade of distant contemplation. The scenes of La
Vallee, in the early morn of her life, when she was protected and
beloved by parents equally loved, appeared in Emily's memory tenderly
beautiful, like the prospect before her, and awakened mournful
comparisons. Unwilling to encounter the coarse behaviour of the
peasant's wife, she remained supperless in her room, while she wept
again over her forlorn and perilous situation, a review of which
entirely overcame the small remains of her fortitude, and, reducing
her to temporary despondence, she wished to be released from the
heavy load of life, that had so long oppressed her, and prayed to
Heaven to take her, in its mercy, to her parents.
Wearied with weeping, she, at length, lay down on her mattress, and
sunk to sleep, but was soon awakened by a knocking at her chamber
door, and, starting up in terror, she heard a voice calling her. The
image of Bertrand, with a stilletto in his hand, appeared to her
alarmed fancy, and she neither opened the door, or answered, but
listened in profound silence, till, the voice repeating her name in
the same low tone, she demanded who called. 'It is I, Signora,'
replied the voice, which she now distinguished to be Maddelina's,
'pray open the door. Don't be frightened, it is I.'
'And what brings you here so late, Maddelina?' said Emily, as she let
'Hush! signora, for heaven's sake hush!--if we are overheard I shall
never be forgiven. My father and mother and Bertrand are all gone to
bed,' continued Maddelina, as she gently shut the door, and crept
forward, 'and I have brought you some supper, for you had none, you
know, Signora, below stairs. Here are some grapes and figs and half
a cup of wine.' Emily thanked her, but expressed apprehension lest
this kindness should draw upon her the resentment of Dorina, when she
perceived the fruit was gone. 'Take it back, therefore, Maddelina,'
added Emily, 'I shall suffer much less from the want of it, than I
should do, if this act of good-nature was to subject you to your
'O Signora! there is no danger of that,' replied Maddelina, 'my
mother cannot miss the fruit, for I saved it from my own supper. You
will make me very unhappy, if you refuse to take it, Signora.' Emily
was so much affected by this instance of the good girl's generosity,
that she remained for some time unable to reply, and Maddelina
watched her in silence, till, mistaking the cause of her emotion, she
said, 'Do not weep so, Signora! My mother, to be sure, is a little
cross, sometimes, but then it is soon over,--so don't take it so much
to heart. She often scolds me, too, but then I have learned to bear
it, and, when she has done, if I can but steal out into the woods,
and play upon my sticcado, I forget it all directly.'
Emily, smiling through her tears, told Maddelina, that she was a good
girl, and then accepted her offering. She wished anxiously to know,
whether Bertrand and Dorina had spoken of Montoni, or of his designs,
concerning herself, in the presence of Maddelina, but disdained to
tempt the innocent girl to a conduct so mean, as that of betraying
the private conversations of her parents. When she was departing,
Emily requested, that she would come to her room as often as she
dared, without offending her mother, and Maddelina, after promising
that she would do so, stole softly back again to her own chamber.
Thus several days passed, during which Emily remained in her own
room, Maddelina attending her only at her repast, whose gentle
countenance and manners soothed her more than any circumstance she
had known for many months. Of her pleasant embowered chamber she now
became fond, and began to experience in it those feelings of
security, which we naturally attach to home. In this interval also,
her mind, having been undisturbed by any new circumstance of disgust,
or alarm, recovered its tone sufficiently to permit her the enjoyment
of her books, among which she found some unfinished sketches of
landscapes, several blank sheets of paper, with her drawing
instruments, and she was thus enabled to amuse herself with selecting
some of the lovely features of the prospect, that her window
commanded, and combining them in scenes, to which her tasteful fancy
gave a last grace. In these little sketches she generally placed
interesting groups, characteristic of the scenery they animated, and
often contrived to tell, with perspicuity, some simple and affecting
story, when, as a tear fell over the pictured griefs, which her
imagination drew, she would forget, for a moment, her real
sufferings. Thus innocently she beguiled the heavy hours of
misfortune, and, with meek patience, awaited the events of futurity.
A beautiful evening, that had succeeded to a sultry day, at length
induced Emily to walk, though she knew that Bertrand must attend her,
and, with Maddelina for her companion, she left the cottage, followed
by Bertrand, who allowed her to choose her own way. The hour was
cool and silent, and she could not look upon the country around her,
without delight. How lovely, too, appeared the brilliant blue, that
coloured all the upper region of the air, and, thence fading
downward, was lost in the saffron glow of the horizon! Nor less so
were the varied shades and warm colouring of the Apennines, as the
evening sun threw his slanting rays athwart their broken surface.
Emily followed the course of the stream, under the shades, that
overhung its grassy margin. On the opposite banks, the pastures were
animated with herds of cattle of a beautiful cream-colour; and,
beyond, were groves of lemon and orange, with fruit glowing on the
branches, frequent almost as the leaves, which partly concealed it.
She pursued her way towards the sea, which reflected the warm glow of
sun-set, while the cliffs, that rose over its edge, were tinted with
the last rays. The valley was terminated on the right by a lofty
promontory, whose summit, impending over the waves, was crowned with
a ruined tower, now serving for the purpose of a beacon, whose
shattered battlements and the extended wings of some sea-fowl, that
circled near it, were still illumined by the upward beams of the sun,
though his disk was now sunk beneath the horizon; while the lower
part of the ruin, the cliff on which it stood and the waves at its
foot, were shaded with the first tints of twilight.
Having reached this headland, Emily gazed with solemn pleasure on the
cliffs, that extended on either hand along the sequestered shores,
some crowned with groves of pine, and others exhibiting only barren
precipices of grayish marble, except where the crags were tufted with
myrtle and other aromatic shrubs. The sea slept in a perfect calm;
its waves, dying in murmurs on the shores, flowed with the gentlest
undulation, while its clear surface reflected in softened beauty the
vermeil tints of the west. Emily, as she looked upon the ocean,
thought of France and of past times, and she wished, Oh! how
ardently, and vainly--wished! that its waves would bear her to her
distant, native home!
'Ah! that vessel,' said she, 'that vessel, which glides along so
stately, with its tall sails reflected in the water is, perhaps,
bound for France! Happy--happy bark!' She continued to gaze upon
it, with warm emotion, till the gray of twilight obscured the
distance, and veiled it from her view. The melancholy sound of the
waves at her feet assisted the tenderness, that occasioned her tears,
and this was the only sound, that broke upon the hour, till, having
followed the windings of the beach, for some time, a chorus of voices
passed her on the air. She paused a moment, wishing to hear more,
yet fearing to be seen, and, for the first time, looked back to
Bertrand, as her protector, who was following, at a short distance,
in company with some other person. Reassured by this circumstance,
she advanced towards the sounds, which seemed to arise from behind a
high promontory, that projected athwart the beach. There was now a
sudden pause in the music, and then one female voice was heard to
sing in a kind of chant. Emily quickened her steps, and, winding
round the rock, saw, within the sweeping bay, beyond, which was hung
with woods from the borders of the beach to the very summit of the
cliffs, two groups of peasants, one seated beneath the shades, and
the other standing on the edge of the sea, round the girl, who was
singing, and who held in her hand a chaplet of flowers, which she
seemed about to drop into the waves.
Emily, listening with surprise and attention, distinguished the
following invocation delivered in the pure and elegant tongue of
Tuscany, and accompanied by a few pastoral instruments.
TO A SEA-NYMPH
O nymph! who loves to float on the green wave,
When Neptune sleeps beneath the moon-light hour,
Lull'd by the music's melancholy pow'r,
O nymph, arise from out thy pearly cave!
For Hesper beams amid the twilight shade,
And soon shall Cynthia tremble o'er the tide,
Gleam on these cliffs, that bound the ocean's pride,
And lonely silence all the air pervade.
Then, let thy tender voice at distance swell,
And steal along this solitary shore,
Sink on the breeze, till dying--heard no more--
Thou wak'st the sudden magic of thy shell.
While the long coast in echo sweet replies,
Thy soothing strains the pensive heart beguile,
And bid the visions of the future smile,
O nymph! from out thy pearly cave--arise!
The last words being repeated by the surrounding group, the garland
of flowers was thrown into the waves, and the chorus, sinking
gradually into a chant, died away in silence.
'What can this mean, Maddelina?' said Emily, awakening from the
pleasing trance, into which the music had lulled her. 'This is the
eve of a festival, Signora,' replied Maddelina; 'and the peasants
then amuse themselves with all kinds of sports.'
'But they talked of a sea-nymph,' said Emily: 'how came these good
people to think of a sea-nymph?'
'O, Signora,' rejoined Maddelina, mistaking the reason of Emily's
surprise, 'nobody BELIEVES in such things, but our old songs tell of
them, and, when we are at our sports, we sometimes sing to them, and
throw garlands into the sea.'
Emily had been early taught to venerate Florence as the seat of
literature and of the fine arts; but, that its taste for classic
story should descend to the peasants of the country, occasioned her
both surprise and admiration. The Arcadian air of the girls next
attracted her attention. Their dress was a very short full petticoat
of light green, with a boddice of white silk; the sleeves loose, and
tied up at the shoulders with ribbons and bunches of flowers. Their
hair, falling in ringlets on their necks, was also ornamented with
flowers, and with a small straw hat, which, set rather backward and
on one side of the head, gave an expression of gaiety and smartness
to the whole figure. When the song had concluded, several of these
girls approached Emily, and, inviting her to sit down among them,
offered her, and Maddelina, whom they knew, grapes and figs.
Emily accepted their courtesy, much pleased with the gentleness and
grace of their manners, which appeared to be perfectly natural to
them; and when Bertrand, soon after, approached, and was hastily
drawing her away, a peasant, holding up a flask, invited him to
drink; a temptation, which Bertrand was seldom very valiant in
'Let the young lady join in the dance, my friend,' said the peasant,
'while we empty this flask. They are going to begin directly.
Strike up! my lads, strike up your tambourines and merry flutes!'
They sounded gaily; and the younger peasants formed themselves into a
circle, which Emily would readiy have joined, had her spirits been in
unison with their mirth. Maddelina, however, tripped it lightly, and
Emily, as she looked on the happy group, lost the sense of her
misfortunes in that of a benevolent pleasure. But the pensive
melancholy of her mind returned, as she sat rather apart from the
company, listening to the mellow music, which the breeze softened as
it bore it away, and watching the moon, stealing its tremulous light
over the waves and on the woody summits of the cliffs, that wound
along these Tuscan shores.
Meanwhile, Bertrand was so well pleased with his first flask, that he
very willingly commenced the attack on a second, and it was late
before Emily, not without some apprehension, returned to the cottage.
After this evening, she frequently walked with Maddelina, but was
never unattended by Bertrand; and her mind became by degrees as
tranquil as the circumstances of her situation would permit. The
quiet, in which she was suffered to live, encouraged her to hope,
that she was not sent hither with an evil design; and, had it not
appeared probable, that Valancourt was at this time an inhabitant of
Udolpho, she would have wished to remain at the cottage, till an
opportunity should offer of returning to her native country. But,
concerning Montoni's motive for sending her into Tuscany, she was
more than ever perplexed, nor could she believe that any
consideration for her safety had influenced him on this occasion.
She had been some time at the cottage, before she recollected, that,
in the hurry of leaving Udolpho, she had forgotten the papers
committed to her by her late aunt, relative to the Languedoc estates;
but, though this remembrance occasioned her much uneasiness, she had
some hope, that, in the obscure place, where they were deposited,
they would escape the detection of Montoni.
My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.
I play the torturer, by small and small,
To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken.
We now return, for a moment, to Venice, where Count Morano was
suffering under an accumulation of misfortunes. Soon after his
arrival in that city, he had been arrested by order of the Senate,
and, without knowing of what he was suspected, was conveyed to a
place of confinement, whither the most strenuous enquiries of his
friends had been unable to trace him. Who the enemy was, that had
occasioned him this calamity, he had not been able to guess, unless,
indeed, it was Montoni, on whom his suspicions rested, and not only
with much apparent probability, but with justice.
In the affair of the poisoned cup, Montoni had suspected Morano; but,
being unable to obtain the degree of proof, which was necessary to
convict him of a guilty intention, he had recourse to means of other
revenge, than he could hope to obtain by prosecution. He employed a
person, in whom he believed he might confide, to drop a letter of
accusation into the DENUNZIE SECRETE, or lions' mouths, which are
fixed in a gallery of the Doge's palace, as receptacles for anonymous
information, concerning persons, who may be disaffected towards the
state. As, on these occasions, the accuser is not confronted with
the accused, a man may falsely impeach his enemy, and accomplish an
unjust revenge, without fear of punishment, or detection. That
Montoni should have recourse to these diabolical means of ruining a
person, whom he suspected of having attempted his life, is not in the
least surprising. In the letter, which he had employed as the
instrument of his revenge, he accused Morano of designs against the
state, which he attempted to prove, with all the plausible simplicity
of which he was master; and the Senate, with whom a suspicion was, at
that time, almost equal to a proof, arrested the Count, in
consequence of this accusation; and, without even hinting to him his
crime, threw him into one of those secret prisons, which were the
terror of the Venetians, and in which persons often languished, and
sometimes died, without being discovered by their friends.
Morano had incurred the personal resentment of many members of the
state; his habits of life had rendered him obnoxious to some; and his
ambition, and the bold rivalship, which he discovered, on several
public occasions,--to others; and it was not to be expected, that
mercy would soften the rigour of a law, which was to be dispensed
from the hands of his enemies.
Montoni, meantime, was beset by dangers of another kind. His castle
was besieged by troops, who seemed willing to dare every thing, and
to suffer patiently any hardships in pursuit of victory. The
strength of the fortress, however, withstood their attack, and this,
with the vigorous defence of the garrison and the scarcity of
provision on these wild mountains, soon compelled the assailants to
raise the siege.
When Udolpho was once more left to the quiet possession of Montoni,
he dispatched Ugo into Tuscany for Emily, whom he had sent from
considerations of her personal safety, to a place of greater
security, than a castle, which was, at that time, liable to be
overrun by his enemies. Tranquillity being once more restored to
Udolpho, he was impatient to secure her again under his roof, and had
commissioned Ugo to assist Bertrand in guarding her back to the
castle. Thus compelled to return, Emily bade the kind Maddelina
farewell, with regret, and, after about a fortnight's stay in
Tuscany, where she had experienced an interval of quiet, which was
absolutely necessary to sustain her long-harassed spirits, began once
more to ascend the Apennines, from whose heights she gave a long and
sorrowful look to the beautiful country, that extended at their feet,
and to the distant Mediterranean, whose waves she had so often wished
would bear her back to France. The distress she felt, on her return
towards the place of her former sufferings, was, however, softened by
a conjecture, that Valancourt was there, and she found some degree of
comfort in the thought of being near him, notwithstanding the
consideration, that he was probably a prisoner.
It was noon, when she had left the cottage, and the evening was
closed, long before she came within the neighbourhood of Udolpho.
There was a moon, but it shone only at intervals, for the night was
cloudy, and, lighted by the torch, which Ugo carried, the travellers
paced silently along, Emily musing on her situation, and Bertrand and
Ugo anticipating the comforts of a flask of wine and a good fire, for
they had perceived for some time the difference between the warm
climate of the lowlands of Tuscany and the nipping air of these upper
regions. Emily was, at length, roused from her reverie by the far-
off sound of the castle clock, to which she listened not without some
degree of awe, as it rolled away on the breeze. Another and another
note succeeded, and died in sullen murmur among the mountains:--to
her mournful imagination it seemed a knell measuring out some fateful
period for her.
'Aye, there is the old clock,' said Bertrand, 'there he is still; the
cannon have not silenced him!'
'No,' answered Ugo, 'he crowed as loud as the best of them in the
midst of it all. There he was roaring out in the hottest fire I have
seen this many a day! I said that some of them would have a hit at
the old fellow, but he escaped, and the tower too.'
The road winding round the base of a mountain, they now came within
view of the castle, which was shewn in the perspective of the valley
by a gleam of moon-shine, and then vanished in shade; while even a
transient view of it had awakened the poignancy of Emily's feelings.
Its massy and gloomy walls gave her terrible ideas of imprisonment
and suffering: yet, as she advanced, some degree of hope mingled
with her terror; for, though this was certainly the residence of
Montoni, it was possibly, also, that of Valancourt, and she could not
approach a place, where he might be, without experiencing somewhat of
the joy of hope.
They continued to wind along the valley, and, soon after, she saw
again the old walls and moon-lit towers, rising over the woods: the
strong rays enabled her, also, to perceive the ravages, which the
siege had made,--with the broken walls, and shattered battlements,
for they were now at the foot of the steep, on which Udolpho stood.
Massy fragments had rolled down among the woods, through which the
travellers now began to ascend, and there mingled with the loose
earth, and pieces of rock they had brought with them. The woods,
too, had suffered much from the batteries above, for here the enemy
had endeavoured to screen themselves from the fire of the ramparts.
Many noble trees were levelled with the ground, and others, to a wide
extent, were entirely stripped of their upper branches. 'We had
better dismount,' said Ugo, 'and lead the mules up the hill, or we
shall get into some of the holes, which the balls have left. Here
are plenty of them. Give me the torch,' continued Ugo, after they
had dismounted, 'and take care you don't stumble over any thing, that
lies in your way, for the ground is not yet cleared of the enemy.'
'How!' exclaimed Emily, 'are any of the enemy here, then?'
'Nay, I don't know for that, now,' he replied, 'but when I came away
I saw one or two of them lying under the trees.'
As they proceeded, the torch threw a gloomy light upon the ground,
and far among the recesses of the woods, and Emily feared to look
forward, lest some object of horror should meet her eye. The path
was often strewn with broken heads of arrows, and with shattered
remains of armour, such as at that period was mingled with the
lighter dress of the soldiers. 'Bring the light hither,' said
Bertrand, 'I have stumbled over something, that rattles loud enough.'
Ugo holding up the torch, they perceived a steel breastplate on the
ground, which Bertrand raised, and they saw, that it was pierced
through, and that the lining was entirely covered with blood; but
upon Emily's earnest entreaties, that they would proceed, Bertrand,
uttering some joke upon the unfortunate person, to whom it had
belonged, threw it hard upon the ground, and they passed on.
At every step she took, Emily feared to see some vestige of death.
Coming soon after to an opening in the woods, Bertrand stopped to
survey the ground, which was encumbered with massy trunks and
branches of the trees, that had so lately adorned it, and seemed to
have been a spot particularly fatal to the besiegers; for it was
evident from the destruction of the trees, that here the hottest fire
of the garrison had been directed. As Ugo held again forth the
torch, steel glittered between the fallen trees; the ground beneath
was covered with broken arms, and with the torn vestments of
soldiers, whose mangled forms Emily almost expected to see; and she
again entreated her companions to proceed, who were, however, too
intent in their examination, to regard her, and she turned her eyes
from this desolated scene to the castle above, where she observed
lights gliding along the ramparts. Presently, the castle clock
struck twelve, and then a trumpet sounded, of which Emily enquired
'O! they are only changing watch,' replied Ugo. 'I do not remember
this trumpet,' said Emily, 'it is a new custom.' 'It is only an old
one revived, lady; we always use it in time of war. We have sounded
it, at midnight, ever since the place was besieged.'
'Hark!' said Emily, as the trumpet sounded again; and, in the next
moment, she heard a faint clash of arms, and then the watchword
passed along the terrace above, and was answered from a distant part
of the castle; after which all was again still. She complained of
cold, and begged to go on. 'Presently, lady,' said Bertrand, turning
over some broken arms with the pike he usually carried. 'What have
'Hark!' cried Emily, 'what noise was that?'
'What noise was it?' said Ugo, starting up and listening.
'Hush!' repeated Emily. 'It surely came from the ramparts above:'
and, on looking up, they perceived a light moving along the walls,
while, in the next instant, the breeze swelling, the voice sounded
louder than before.
'Who goes yonder?' cried a sentinel of the castle. 'Speak or it will
be worse for you.' Bertrand uttered a shout of joy. 'Hah! my brave
comrade, is it you?' said he, and he blew a shrill whistle, which
signal was answered by another from the soldier on watch; and the
party, then passing forward, soon after emerged from the woods upon
the broken road, that led immediately to the castle gates, and Emily
saw, with renewed terror, the whole of that stupendous structure.
'Alas!' said she to herself, 'I am going again into my prison!'
'Here has been warm work, by St. Marco!' cried Bertrand, waving a
torch over the ground; 'the balls have torn up the earth here with a
'Aye,' replied Ugo, 'they were fired from that redoubt, yonder, and
rare execution they did. The enemy made a furious attack upon the
great gates; but they might have guessed they could never carry it
there; for, besides the cannon from the walls, our archers, on the
two round towers, showered down upon them at such a rate, that, by
holy Peter! there was no standing it. I never saw a better sight in
my life; I laughed, till my sides aked, to see how the knaves
scampered. Bertrand, my good fellow, thou shouldst have been among
them; I warrant thou wouldst have won the race!'
'Hah! you are at your old tricks again,' said Bertrand in a surly
tone. 'It is well for thee thou art so near the castle; thou knowest
I have killed my man before now.' Ugo replied only by a laugh, and
then gave some further account of the siege, to which as Emily
listened, she was struck by the strong contrast of the present scene
with that which had so lately been acted here.
The mingled uproar of cannon, drums, and trumpets, the groans of the
conquered, and the shouts of the conquerors were now sunk into a
silence so profound, that it seemed as if death had triumphed alike
over the vanquished and the victor. The shattered condition of one
of the towers of the great gates by no means confirmed the VALIANT
account just given by Ugo of the scampering party, who, it was
evident, had not only made a stand, but had done much mischief before
they took to flight; for this tower appeared, as far as Emily could
judge by the dim moon-light that fell upon it, to be laid open, and
the battlements were nearly demolished. While she gazed, a light
glimmered through one of the lower loop-holes, and disappeared; but,
in the next moment, she perceived through the broken wall, a soldier,
with a lamp, ascending the narrow staircase, that wound within the
tower, and, remembering that it was the same she had passed up, on
the night, when Barnardine had deluded her with a promise of seeing
Madame Montoni, fancy gave her somewhat of the terror she had then
suffered. She was now very near the gates, over which the soldier
having opened the door of the portal-chamber, the lamp he carried
gave her a dusky view of that terrible apartment, and she almost sunk
under the recollected horrors of the moment, when she had drawn aside
the curtain, and discovered the object it was meant to conceal.
'Perhaps,' said she to herself, 'it is now used for a similar
purpose; perhaps, that soldier goes, at this dead hour, to watch over
the corpse of his friend!' The little remains of her fortitude now
gave way to the united force of remembered and anticipated horrors,
for the melancholy fate of Madame Montoni appeared to foretell her
own. She considered, that, though the Languedoc estates, if she
relinquished them, would satisfy Montoni's avarice, they might not
appease his vengeance, which was seldom pacified but by a terrible
sacrifice; and she even thought, that, were she to resign them, the
fear of justice might urge him either to detain her a prisoner, or to
take away her life.
They were now arrived at the gates, where Bertrand, observing the
light glimmer through a small casement of the portal-chamber, called
aloud; and the soldier, looking out, demanded who was there. 'Here,
I have brought you a prisoner,' said Ugo, 'open the gate, and let us
'Tell me first who it is, that demands entrance,' replied the
soldier. 'What! my old comrade,' cried Ugo, 'don't you know me? not
know Ugo? I have brought home a prisoner here, bound hand and foot--
a fellow, who has been drinking Tuscany wine, while we here have been
'You will not rest till you meet with your match,' said Bertrand
sullenly. 'Hah! my comrade, is it you?' said the soldier--'I'll be
with you directly.'
Emily presently heard his steps descending the stairs within, and
then the heavy chain fall, and the bolts undraw of a small postern
door, which he opened to admit the party. He held the lamp low, to
shew the step of the gate, and she found herself once more beneath
the gloomy arch, and heard the door close, that seemed to shut her
from the world for ever. In the next moment, she was in the first
court of the castle, where she surveyed the spacious and solitary
area, with a kind of calm despair; while the dead hour of the night,
the gothic gloom of the surrounding buildings, and the hollow and
imperfect echoes, which they returned, as Ugo and the soldier
conversed together, assisted to increase the melancholy forebodings
of her heart. Passing on to the second court, a distant sound broke
feebly on the silence, and gradually swelling louder, as they
advanced, Emily distinguished voices of revelry and laughter, but
they were to her far other than sounds of joy. 'Why, you have got
some Tuscany wine among you, HERE,' said Bertrand, 'if one may judge
by the uproar that is going forward. Ugo has taken a larger share of
that than of fighting, I'll be sworn. Who is carousing at this late
'His excellenza and the Signors,' replied the soldier: 'it is a sign
you are a stranger at the castle, or you would not need to ask the
question. They are brave spirits, that do without sleep--they
generally pass the night in good cheer; would that we, who keep the
watch, had a little of it! It is cold work, pacing the ramparts so
many hours of the night, if one has no good liquor to warm one's
'Courage, my lad, courage ought to warm your heart,' said Ugo.
'Courage!' replied the soldier sharply, with a menacing air, which
Ugo perceiving, prevented his saying more, by returning to the
subject of the carousal. 'This is a new custom,' said he; 'when I
left the castle, the Signors used to sit up counselling.'
'Aye, and for that matter, carousing too,' replied the soldier, 'but,
since the siege, they have done nothing but make merry: and if I was
they, I would settle accounts with myself, for all my hard fighting,
the same way.'
They had now crossed the second court, and reached the hall door,
when the soldier, bidding them good night, hastened back to his post;
and, while they waited for admittance, Emily considered how she might
avoid seeing Montoni, and retire unnoticed to her former apartment,
for she shrunk from the thought of encountering either him, or any of
his party, at this hour. The uproar within the castle was now so
loud, that, though Ugo knocked repeatedly at the hall door, he was
not heard by any of the servants, a circumstance, which increased
Emily's alarm, while it allowed her time to deliberate on the means
of retiring unobserved; for, though she might, perhaps, pass up the
great stair-case unseen, it was impossible she could find the way to
her chamber, without a light, the difficulty of procuring which, and
the danger of wandering about the castle, without one, immediately
struck her. Bertrand had only a torch, and she knew, that the
servants never brought a taper to the door, for the hall was
sufficiently lighted by the large tripod lamp, which hung in the
vaulted roof; and, while she should wait till Annette could bring a
taper, Montoni, or some of his companions, might discover her.
The door was now opened by Carlo; and Emily, having requested him to
send Annette immediately with a light to the great gallery, where she
determined to await her, passed on with hasty steps towards the
stair-case; while Bertrand and Ugo, with the torch, followed old
Carlo to the servants' hall, impatient for supper and the warm blaze
of a wood fire. Emily, lighted only by the feeble rays, which the
lamp above threw between the arches of this extensive hall,
endeavoured to find her way to the stair-case, now hid in obscurity;
while the shouts of merriment, that burst from a remote apartment,
served, by heightening her terror, to increase her perplexity, and
she expected, every instant, to see the door of that room open, and
Montoni and his companions issue forth. Having, at length, reached
the stair-case, and found her way to the top, she seated herself on
the last stair, to await the arrival of Annette; for the profound
darkness of the gallery deterred her from proceeding farther, and,
while she listened for her footstep, she heard only distant sounds of
revelry, which rose in sullen echoes from among the arcades below.
Once she thought she heard a low sound from the dark gallery behind
her; and, turning her eyes, fancied she saw something luminous move
in it; and, since she could not, at this moment, subdue the weakness
that caused her fears, she quitted her seat, and crept softly down a
few stairs lower.
Annette not yet appearing, Emily now concluded, that she was gone to
bed, and that nobody chose to call her up; and the prospect, that
presented itself, of passing the night in darkness, in this place, or
in some other equally forlorn (for she knew it would be impracticable
to find her way through the intricacies of the galleries to her
chamber), drew tears of mingled terror and despondency from her eyes.
While thus she sat, she fancied she heard again an odd sound from the
gallery, and she listened, scarcely daring to breathe, but the
increasing voices below overcame every other sound. Soon after, she
heard Montoni and his companions burst into the hall, who spoke, as
if they were much intoxicated, and seemed to be advancing towards the
stair-case. She now remembered, that they must come this way to
their chambers, and, forgetting all the terrors of the gallery,
hurried towards it with an intention of secreting herself in some of
the passages, that opened beyond, and of endeavouring, when the
Signors were retired, to find her way to her own room, or to that of
Annette, which was in a remote part of the castle.
With extended arms, she crept along the gallery, still hearing the
voices of persons below, who seemed to stop in conversation at the
foot of the stair-case, and then pausing for a moment to listen, half
fearful of going further into the darkness of the gallery, where she
still imagined, from the noise she had heard, that some person was
lurking, 'They are already informed of my arrival,' said she, 'and
Montoni is coming himself to seek me! In the present state of his
mind, his purpose must be desperate.' Then, recollecting the scene,
that had passed in the corridor, on the night preceding her departure
from the castle, 'O Valancourt!' said she, 'I must then resign you
for ever. To brave any longer the injustice of Montoni, would not be
fortitude, but rashness.' Still the voices below did not draw
nearer, but they became louder, and she distinguished those of
Verezzi and Bertolini above the rest, while the few words she caught
made her listen more anxiously for others. The conversation seemed
to concern herself; and, having ventured to step a few paces nearer
to the stair-case, she discovered, that they were disputing about
her, each seeming to claim some former promise of Montoni, who
appeared, at first, inclined to appease and to persuade them to
return to their wine, but afterwards to be weary of the dispute, and,
saying that he left them to settle it as they could, was returning
with the rest of the party to the apartment he had just quitted.
Verezzi then stopped him. 'Where is she? Signor,' said he, in a
voice of impatience: 'tell us where she is.' 'I have already told
you that I do not know,' replied Montoni, who seemed to be somewhat
overcome with wine; 'but she is most probably gone to her apartment.'
Verezzi and Bertolini now desisted from their enquiries, and sprang
to the stair-case together, while Emily, who, during this discourse,
had trembled so excessively, that she had with difficulty supported
herself, seemed inspired with new strength, the moment she heard the
sound of their steps, and ran along the gallery, dark as it was, with
the fleetness of a fawn. But, long before she reached its extremity,
the light, which Verezzi carried, flashed upon the walls; both
appeared, and, instantly perceiving Emily, pursued her. At this
moment, Bertolini, whose steps, though swift, were not steady, and
whose impatience overcame what little caution he had hitherto used,
stumbled, and fell at his length. The lamp fell with him, and was
presently expiring on the floor; but Verezzi, regardless of saving
it, seized the advantage this accident gave him over his rival, and
followed Emily, to whom, however, the light had shown one of the
passages that branched from the gallery, and she instantly turned
into it. Verezzi could just discern the way she had taken, and this
he pursued; but the sound of her steps soon sunk in distance, while
he, less acquainted with the passage, was obliged to proceed through
the dark, with caution, lest he should fall down a flight of steps,
such as in this extensive old castle frequently terminated an avenue.
This passage at length brought Emily to the corridor, into which her
own chamber opened, and, not hearing any footstep, she paused to take
breath, and consider what was the safest design to be adopted. She
had followed this passage, merely because it was the first that
appeared, and now that she had reached the end of it, was as
perplexed as before. Whither to go, or how further to find her way
in the dark, she knew not; she was aware only that she must not seek
her apartment, for there she would certainly be sought, and her
danger increased every instant, while she remained near it. Her
spirits and her breath, however, were so much exhausted, that she was
compelled to rest, for a few minutes, at the end of the passage, and
still she heard no steps approaching. As thus she stood, light
glimmered under an opposite door of the gallery, and, from its
situation, she knew, that it was the door of that mysterious chamber,
where she had made a discovery so shocking, that she never remembered
it but with the utmost horror. That there should be light in this
chamber, and at this hour, excited her strong surprise, and she felt
a momentary terror concerning it, which did not permit her to look
again, for her spirits were now in such a state of weakness, that she
almost expected to see the door slowly open, and some horrible object
appear at it. Still she listened for a step along the passage, and
looked up it, where, not a ray of light appearing, she concluded,
that Verezzi had gone back for the lamp; and, believing that he would
shortly be there, she again considered which way she should go, or
rather which way she could find in the dark.
A faint ray still glimmered under the opposite door, but so great,
and, perhaps, so just was her horror of that chamber, that she would
not again have tempted its secrets, though she had been certain of
obtaining the light so important to her safety. She was still
breathing with difficulty, and resting at the end of the passage,
when she heard a rustling sound, and then a low voice, so very near
her, that it seemed close to her ear; but she had presence of mind to
check her emotions, and to remain quite still; in the next moment,
she perceived it to be the voice of Verezzi, who did not appear to
know, that she was there, but to have spoken to himself. 'The air is
fresher here,' said he: 'this should be the corridor.' Perhaps, he
was one of those heroes, whose courage can defy an enemy better than
darkness, and he tried to rally his spirits with the sound of his own
voice. However this might be, he turned to the right, and proceeded,
with the same stealing steps, towards Emily's apartment, apparently
forgetting, that, in darkness, she could easily elude his search,
even in her chamber; and, like an intoxicated person, he followed
pertinaciously the one idea, that had possessed his imagination.
The moment she heard his steps steal away, she left her station and
moved softly to the other end of the corridor, determined to trust
again to chance, and to quit it by the first avenue she could find;
but, before she could effect this, light broke upon the walls of the
gallery, and, looking back, she saw Verezzi crossing it towards her
chamber. She now glided into a passage, that opened on the left,
without, as she thought, being perceived; but, in the next instant,
another light, glimmering at the further end of this passage, threw
her into new terror. While she stopped and hesitated which way to
go, the pause allowed her to perceive, that it was Annette, who
advanced, and she hurried to meet her: but her imprudence again
alarmed Emily, on perceiving whom, she burst into a scream of joy,
and it was some minutes, before she could be prevailed with to be
silent, or to release her mistress from the ardent clasp, in which
she held her. When, at length, Emily made Annette comprehend her
danger, they hurried towards Annette's room, which was in a distant
part of the castle. No apprehensions, however, could yet silence the
latter. 'Oh dear ma'amselle,' said she, as they passed along, 'what
a terrified time have I had of it! Oh! I thought I should have died
an hundred times! I never thought I should live to see you again!
and I never was so glad to see any body in my whole life, as I am to
see you now.' 'Hark!' cried Emily, 'we are pursued; that was the
echo of steps!' 'No, ma'amselle,' said Annette, 'it was only the
echo of a door shutting; sound runs along these vaulted passages so,
that one is continually deceived by it; if one does but speak, or
cough, it makes a noise as loud as a cannon.' 'Then there is the
greater necessity for us to be silent,' said Emily: 'pr'ythee say no
more, till we reach your chamber.' Here, at length, they arrived,
without interruption, and, Annette having fastened the door, Emily
sat down on her little bed, to recover breath and composure. To her
enquiry, whether Valancourt was among the prisoners in the castle,
Annette replied, that she had not been able to hear, but that she
knew there were several persons confined. She then proceeded, in her
tedious way, to give an account of the siege, or rather a detail of
her terrors and various sufferings, during the attack. 'But,' added
she, 'when I heard the shouts of victory from the ramparts, I thought
we were all taken, and gave myself up for lost, instead of which, WE
had driven the enemy away. I went then to the north gallery, and saw
a great many of them scampering away among the mountains; but the
rampart walls were all in ruins, as one may say, and there was a
dismal sight to see down among the woods below, where the poor
fellows were lying in heaps, but were carried off presently by their
comrades. While the siege was going on, the Signor was here, and
there, and every where, at the same time, as Ludovico told me, for he
would not let me see any thing hardly, and locked me up, as he has
often done before, in a room in the middle of the castle, and used to
bring me food, and come and talk with me as often as he could; and I
must say, if it had not been for Ludovico, I should have died
'Well, Annette,' said Emily, 'and how have affairs gone on, since the
'O! sad hurly burly doings, ma'amselle,' replied Annette; 'the
Signors have done nothing but sit and drink and game, ever since.
They sit up, all night, and play among themselves, for all those
riches and fine things, they brought in, some time since, when they
used to go out a-robbing, or as good, for days together; and then
they have dreadful quarrels about who loses, and who wins. That
fierce Signor Verezzi is always losing, as they tell me, and Signor
Orsino wins from him, and this makes him very wroth, and they have
had several hard set-to's about it. Then, all those fine ladies are
at the castle still; and I declare I am frighted, whenever I meet any
of them in the passages.'--
'Surely, Annette,' said Emily starting, 'I heard a noise: listen.'
After a long pause, 'No, ma'amselle,' said Annette, 'it was only the
wind in the gallery; I often hear it, when it shakes the old doors,
at the other end. But won't you go to bed, ma'amselle? you surely
will not sit up starving, all night.' Emily now laid herself down on
the mattress, and desired Annette to leave the lamp burning on the
hearth; having done which, the latter placed herself beside Emily,
who, however, was not suffered to sleep, for she again thought she
heard a noise from the passage; and Annette was again trying to
convince her, that it was only the wind, when footsteps were
distinctly heard near the door. Annette was now starting from the
bed, but Emily prevailed with her to remain there, and listened with
her in a state of terrible expectation. The steps still loitered at
the door, when presently an attempt was made on the lock, and, in the
next instant, a voice called. 'For heaven's sake, Annette, do not
answer,' said Emily softly, 'remain quite still; but I fear we must
extinguish the lamp, or its glare will betray us.' 'Holy Virgin!'
exclaimed Annette, forgetting her discretion, 'I would not be in
darkness now for the whole world.' While she spoke, the voice became
louder than before, and repeated Annette's name; 'Blessed Virgin!'
cried she suddenly, 'it is only Ludovico.' She rose to open the
door, but Emily prevented her, till they should be more certain, that
it was he alone; with whom Annette, at length, talked for some time,
and learned, that he was come to enquire after herself, whom he had
let out of her room to go to Emily, and that he was now returned to
lock her in again. Emily, fearful of being overheard, if they
conversed any longer through the door, consented that it should be
opened, and a young man appeared, whose open countenance confirmed
the favourable opinion of him, which his care of Annette had already
prompted her to form. She entreated his protection, should Verezzi
make this requisite; and Ludovico offered to pass the night in an old
chamber, adjoining, that opened from the gallery, and, on the first
alarm, to come to their defence.
Emily was much soothed by this proposal; and Ludovico, having lighted
his lamp, went to his station, while she, once more, endeavoured to
repose on her mattress. But a variety of interests pressed upon her
attention, and prevented sleep. She thought much on what Annette had
told her of the dissolute manners of Montoni and his associates, and
more of his present conduct towards herself, and of the danger, from
which she had just escaped. From the view of her present situation
she shrunk, as from a new picture of terror. She saw herself in a
castle, inhabited by vice and violence, seated beyond the reach of
law or justice, and in the power of a man, whose perseverance was
equal to every occasion, and in whom passions, of which revenge was
not the weakest, entirely supplied the place of principles. She was
compelled, once more, to acknowledge, that it would be folly, and not
fortitude, any longer to dare his power; and, resigning all hopes of
future happiness with Valancourt, she determined, that, on the
following morning, she would compromise with Montoni, and give up her
estates, on condition, that he would permit her immediate return to
France. Such considerations kept her waking for many hours; but, the
night passed, without further alarm from Verezzi.
On the next morning, Emily had a long conversation with Ludovico, in
which she heard circumstances concerning the castle, and received
hints of the designs of Montoni, that considerably increased her
alarms. On expressing her surprise, that Ludovico, who seemed to be
so sensible of the evils of his situation, should continue in it, he
informed her, that it was not his intention to do so, and she then
ventured to ask him, if he would assist her to escape from the
castle. Ludovico assured her of his readiness to attempt this, but
strongly represented the difficulty of the enterprise, and the
certain destruction which must ensure, should Montoni overtake them,
before they had passed the mountains; he, however, promised to be
watchful of every circumstance, that might contribute to the success
of the attempt, and to think upon some plan of departure.
Emily now confided to him the name of Valancourt, and begged he would
enquire for such a person among the prisoners in the castle; for the
faint hope, which this conversation awakened, made her now recede
from her resolution of an immediate compromise with Montoni. She
determined, if possible, to delay this, till she heard further from
Ludovico, and, if his designs were found to be impracticable, to
resign the estates at once. Her thoughts were on this subject, when
Montoni, who was now recovered from the intoxication of the preceding
night, sent for her, and she immediately obeyed the summons. He was
alone. 'I find,' said he, 'that you were not in your chamber, last
night; where were you?' Emily related to him some circumstances of
her alarm, and entreated his protection from a repetition of them.
'You know the terms of my protection,' said he; 'if you really value
this, you will secure it.' His open declaration, that he would only
conditionally protect her, while she remained a prisoner in the
castle, shewed Emily the necessity of an immediate compliance with
his terms; but she first demanded, whether he would permit her
immediately to depart, if she gave up her claim to the contested
estates. In a very solemn manner he then assured her, that he would,
and immediately laid before her a paper, which was to transfer the
right of those estates to himself.
She was, for a considerable time, unable to sign it, and her heart
was torn with contending interests, for she was about to resign the
happiness of all her future years--the hope, which had sustained her
in so many hours of adversity.
After hearing from Montoni a recapitulation of the conditions of her
compliance, and a remonstrance, that his time was valuable, she put
her hand to the paper; when she had done which, she fell back in her
chair, but soon recovered, and desired, that he would give orders for
her departure, and that he would allow Annette to accompany her.
Montoni smiled. 'It was necessary to deceive you,' said he,--'there
was no other way of making you act reasonably; you shall go, but it
must not be at present. I must first secure these estates by
possession: when that is done, you may return to France if you
The deliberate villany, with which he violated the solemn engagement
he had just entered into, shocked Emily as much, as the certainty,
that she had made a fruitless sacrifice, and must still remain his
prisoner. She had no words to express what she felt, and knew, that
it would have been useless, if she had. As she looked piteously at
Montoni, he turned away, and at the same time desired she would
withdraw to her apartment; but, unable to leave the room, she sat
down in a chair near the door, and sighed heavily. She had neither
words nor tears.
'Why will you indulge this childish grief?' said he. 'Endeavour to
strengthen your mind, to bear patiently what cannot now be avoided;
you have no real evil to lament; be patient, and you will be sent
back to France. At present retire to your apartment.'
'I dare not go, sir,' said she, 'where I shall be liable to the
intrusion of Signor Verezzi.' 'Have I not promised to protect you?'
said Montoni. 'You have promised, sir,'--replied Emily, after some
hesitation. 'And is not my promise sufficient?' added he sternly.
'You will recollect your former promise, Signor,' said Emily,
trembling, 'and may determine for me, whether I ought to rely upon
this.' 'Will you provoke me to declare to you, that I will not
protect you then?' said Montoni, in a tone of haughty displeasure.
'If that will satisfy you, I will do it immediately. Withdraw to
your chamber, before I retract my promise; you have nothing to fear
there.' Emily left the room, and moved slowly into the hall, where
the fear of meeting Verezzi, or Bertolini, made her quicken her
steps, though she could scarcely support herself; and soon after she
reached once more her own apartment. Having looked fearfully round
her, to examine if any person was there, and having searched every
part of it, she fastened the door, and sat down by one of the
casements. Here, while she looked out for some hope to support her
fainting spirits, which had been so long harassed and oppressed,
that, if she had not now struggled much against misfortune, they
would have left her, perhaps, for ever, she endeavoured to believe,
that Montoni did really intend to permit her return to France as soon
as he had secured her property, and that he would, in the mean time,
protect her from insult; but her chief hope rested with Ludovico,
who, she doubted not, would be zealous in her cause, though he seemed
almost to despair of success in it. One circumstance, however, she
had to rejoice in. Her prudence, or rather her fears, had saved her
from mentioning the name of Valancourt to Montoni, which she was
several times on the point of doing, before she signed the paper, and
of stipulating for his release, if he should be really a prisoner in
the castle. Had she done this, Montoni's jealous fears would now
probably have loaded Valancourt with new severities, and have
suggested the advantage of holding him a captive for life.
Thus passed the melancholy day, as she had before passed many in this
same chamber. When night drew on, she would have withdrawn herself
to Annette's bed, had not a particular interest inclined her to
remain in this chamber, in spite of her fears; for, when the castle
should be still, and the customary hour arrived, she determined to
watch for the music, which she had formerly heard. Though its sounds
might not enable her positively to determine, whether Valancourt was
there, they would perhaps strengthen her opinion that he was, and
impart the comfort, so necessary to her present support.--But, on the
other hand, if all should be silent--! She hardly dared to suffer
her thoughts to glance that way, but waited, with impatient
expectation, the approaching hour.
The night was stormy; the battlements of the castle appeared to rock
in the wind, and, at intervals, long groans seemed to pass on the
air, such as those, which often deceive the melancholy mind, in
tempests, and amidst scenes of desolation. Emily heard, as formerly,
the sentinels pass along the terrace to their posts, and, looking out
from her casement, observed, that the watch was doubled; a
precaution, which appeared necessary enough, when she threw her eyes
on the walls, and saw their shattered condition. The well-known
sounds of the soldiers' march, and of their distant voices, which
passed her in the wind, and were lost again, recalled to her memory
the melancholy sensation she had suffered, when she formerly heard
the same sounds; and occasioned almost involuntary comparisons
between her present, and her late situation. But this was no subject
for congratulations, and she wisely checked the course of her
thoughts, while, as the hour was not yet come, in which she had been
accustomed to hear the music, she closed the casement, and
endeavoured to await it in patience. The door of the stair-case she
tried to secure, as usual, with some of the furniture of the room;
but this expedient her fears now represented to her to be very
inadequate to the power and perseverance of Verezzi; and she often
looked at a large and heavy chest, that stood in the chamber, with
wishes that she and Annette had strength enough to move it. While
she blamed the long stay of this girl, who was still with Ludovico
and some other of the servants, she trimmed her wood fire, to make
the room appear less desolate, and sat down beside it with a book,
which her eyes perused, while her thoughts wandered to Valancourt,
and her own misfortunes. As she sat thus, she thought, in a pause of
the wind, she distinguished music, and went to the casement to
listen, but the loud swell of the gust overcame every other sound.
When the wind sunk again, she heard distinctly, in the deep pause
that succeeded, the sweet strings of a lute; but again the rising
tempest bore away the notes, and again was succeeded by a solemn
pause. Emily, trembling with hope and fear, opened her casement to
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