The Mysteries of Udolpho
Part 8 out of 16
Her aunt appeared to be affected. 'You are not unworthy of these
estates, niece,' said she: 'I would wish to keep them for your sake-
-you shew a virtue I did not expect.'
'How have I deserved this reproof, madam?' said Emily sorrowfully.
'Reproof!' replied Madame Montoni: 'I meant to praise your virtue.'
'Alas! here is no exertion of virtue,' rejoined Emily, 'for here is
no temptation to be overcome.'
'Yet Monsieur Valancourt'--said her aunt. 'O, madam!' interrupted
Emily, anticipating what she would have said, 'do not let me glance
on that subject: do not let my mind be stained with a wish so
shockingly self-interested.' She immediately changed the topic, and
continued with Madame Montoni, till she withdrew to her apartment for
At that hour, the castle was perfectly still, and every inhabitant of
it, except herself, seemed to have retired to rest. As she passed
along the wide and lonely galleries, dusky and silent, she felt
forlorn and apprehensive of--she scarcely knew what; but when,
entering the corridor, she recollected the incident of the preceding
night, a dread seized her, lest a subject of alarm, similar to that,
which had befallen Annette, should occur to her, and which, whether
real, or ideal, would, she felt, have an almost equal effect upon her
weakened spirits. The chamber, to which Annette had alluded, she did
not exactly know, but understood it to be one of those she must pass
in the way to her own; and, sending a fearful look forward into the
gloom, she stepped lightly and cautiously along, till, coming to a
door, from whence issued a low sound, she hesitated and paused; and,
during the delay of that moment, her fears so much increased, that
she had no power to move from the spot. Believing, that she heard a
human voice within, she was somewhat revived; but, in the next
moment, the door was opened, and a person, whom she conceived to be
Montoni, appeared, who instantly started back, and closed it, though
not before she had seen, by the light that burned in the chamber,
another person, sitting in a melancholy attitude by the fire. Her
terror vanished, but her astonishment only began, which was now
roused by the mysterious secrecy of Montoni's manner, and by the
discovery of a person, whom he thus visited at midnight, in an
apartment, which had long been shut up, and of which such
extraordinary reports were circulated.
While she thus continued hesitating, strongly prompted to watch
Montoni's motions, yet fearing to irritate him by appearing to notice
them, the door was again opened cautiously, and as instantly closed
as before. She then stepped softly to her chamber, which was the
next but one to this, but, having put down her lamp, returned to an
obscure corner of the corridor, to observe the proceedings of this
half-seen person, and to ascertain, whether it was indeed Montoni.
Having waited in silent expectation for a few minutes, with her eyes
fixed on the door, it was again opened, and the same person appeared,
whom she now knew to be Montoni. He looked cautiously round, without
perceiving her, then, stepping forward, closed the door, and left the
corridor. Soon after, Emily heard the door fastened on the inside,
and she withdrew to her chamber, wondering at what she had witnessed.
It was now twelve o'clock. As she closed her casement, she heard
footsteps on the terrace below, and saw imperfectly, through the
gloom, several persons advancing, who passed under the casement. She
then heard the clink of arms, and, in the next moment, the watch-
word; when, recollecting the command she had overheard from Montoni,
and the hour of the night, she understood, that these men were, for
the first time, relieving guard in the castle. Having listened till
all was again still, she retired to sleep.
And shall no lay of death
With pleasing murmur sooth
Her parted soul?
Shall no tear wet her grave?
On the following morning, Emily went early to the apartment of Madame
Montoni, who had slept well, and was much recovered. Her spirits had
also returned with her health, and her resolution to oppose Montoni's
demands revived, though it yet struggled with her fears, which Emily,
who trembled for the consequence of further opposition, endeavoured
Her aunt, as has been already shewn, had a disposition, which
delighted in contradiction, and which taught her, when unpleasant
circumstances were offered to her understanding, not to enquire into
their truth, but to seek for arguments, by which she might make them
appear false. Long habit had so entirely confirmed this natural
propensity, that she was not conscious of possessing it. Emily's
remonstrances and representations, therefore, roused her pride,
instead of alarming, or convincing her judgment, and she still relied
upon the discovery of some means, by which she might yet avoid
submitting to the demand of her husband. Considering, that, if she
could once escape from his castle, she might defy his power, and,
obtaining a decisive separation, live in comfort on the estates, that
yet remained for her, she mentioned this to her niece, who accorded
with her in the wish, but differed from her, as to the probability of
its completion. She represented the impossibility of passing the
gates, secured and guarded as they were, and the extreme danger of
committing her design to the discretion of a servant, who might
either purposely betray, or accidentally disclose it.--Montoni's
vengeance would also disdain restraint, if her intention was
detected: and, though Emily wished, as fervently as she could do, to
regain her freedom, and return to France, she consulted only Madame
Montoni's safety, and persevered in advising her to relinquish her
settlement, without braving further outrage.
The struggle of contrary emotions, however, continued to rage in her
aunt's bosom, and she still brooded over the chance of effecting an
escape. While she thus sat, Montoni entered the room, and, without
noticing his wife's indisposition, said, that he came to remind her
of the impolicy of trifling with him, and that he gave her only till
the evening to determine, whether she would consent to his demand, or
compel him, by a refusal, to remove her to the east turret. He
added, that a party of cavaliers would dine with him, that day, and
that he expected that she would sit at the head of the table, where
Emily, also, must be present. Madame Montoni was now on the point of
uttering an absolute refusal, but, suddenly considering, that her
liberty, during this entertainment, though circumscribed, might
favour her further plans, she acquiesced, with seeming reluctance,
and Montoni, soon after, left the apartment. His command struck
Emily with surprise and apprehension, who shrank from the thought of
being exposed to the gaze of strangers, such as her fancy represented
these to be, and the words of Count Morano, now again recollected,
did not sooth her fears.
When she withdrew to prepare for dinner, she dressed herself with
even more simplicity than usual, that she might escape observation--a
policy, which did not avail her, for, as she re-passed to her aunt's
apartment, she was met by Montoni, who censured what he called her
prudish appearance, and insisted, that she should wear the most
splendid dress she had, even that, which had been prepared for her
intended nuptials with Count Morano, and which, it now appeared, her
aunt had carefully brought with her from Venice. This was made, not
in the Venetian, but, in the Neapolitan fashion, so as to set off the
shape and figure, to the utmost advantage. In it, her beautiful
chestnut tresses were negligently bound up in pearls, and suffered to
fall back again on her neck. The simplicity of a better taste, than
Madame Montoni's, was conspicuous in this dress, splendid as it was,
and Emily's unaffected beauty never had appeared more captivatingly.
She had now only to hope, that Montoni's order was prompted, not by
any extraordinary design, but by an ostentation of displaying his
family, richly attired, to the eyes of strangers; yet nothing less
than his absolute command could have prevailed with her to wear a
dress, that had been designed for such an offensive purpose, much
less to have worn it on this occasion. As she descended to dinner,
the emotion of her mind threw a faint blush over her countenance, and
heightened its interesting expression; for timidity had made her
linger in her apartment, till the utmost moment, and, when she
entered the hall, in which a kind of state dinner was spread, Montoni
and his guests were already seated at the table. She was then going
to place herself by her aunt; but Montoni waved his hand, and two of
the cavaliers rose, and seated her between them.
The eldest of these was a tall man, with strong Italian features, an
aquiline nose, and dark penetrating eyes, that flashed with fire,
when his mind was agitated, and, even in its state of rest, retained
somewhat of the wildness of the passions. His visage was long and
narrow, and his complexion of a sickly yellow.
The other, who appeared to be about forty, had features of a
different cast, yet Italian, and his look was slow, subtle and
penetrating; his eyes, of a dark grey, were small, and hollow; his
complexion was a sun-burnt brown, and the contour of his face, though
inclined to oval, was irregular and ill-formed.
Eight other guests sat round the table, who were all dressed in an
uniform, and had all an expression, more or less, of wild fierceness,
of subtle design, or of licentious passions. As Emily timidly
surveyed them, she remembered the scene of the preceding morning, and
again almost fancied herself surrounded by banditti; then, looking
back to the tranquillity of her early life, she felt scarcely less
astonishment, than grief, at her present situation. The scene, in
which they sat, assisted the illusion; it was an antient hall, gloomy
from the style of its architecture, from its great extent, and
because almost the only light it received was from one large gothic
window, and from a pair of folding doors, which, being open, admitted
likewise a view of the west rampart, with the wild mountains of the
The middle compartment of this hall rose into a vaulted roof,
enriched with fretwork, and supported, on three sides, by pillars of
marble; beyond these, long colonades retired in gloomy grandeur, till
their extent was lost in twilight. The lightest footsteps of the
servants, as they advanced through these, were returned in whispering
echoes, and their figures, seen at a distance imperfectly through the
dusk, frequently awakened Emily's imagination. She looked
alternately at Montoni, at his guests and on the surrounding scene;
and then, remembering her dear native province, her pleasant home and
the simplicity and goodness of the friends, whom she had lost, grief
and surprise again occupied her mind.
When her thoughts could return from these considerations, she fancied
she observed an air of authority towards his guests, such as she had
never before seen him assume, though he had always been distinguished
by an haughty carriage; there was something also in the manners of
the strangers, that seemed perfectly, though not servilely, to
acknowledge his superiority.
During dinner, the conversation was chiefly on war and politics.
They talked with energy of the state of Venice, its dangers, the
character of the reigning Doge and of the chief senators; and then
spoke of the state of Rome. When the repast was over, they rose,
and, each filling his goblet with wine from the gilded ewer, that
stood beside him, drank 'Success to our exploits!' Montoni was
lifting his goblet to his lips to drink this toast, when suddenly the
wine hissed, rose to the brim, and, as he held the glass from him, it
burst into a thousand pieces.
To him, who constantly used that sort of Venice glass, which had the
quality of breaking, upon receiving poisoned liquor, a suspicion,
that some of his guests had endeavoured to betray him, instantly
occurred, and he ordered all the gates to be closed, drew his sword,
and, looking round on them, who stood in silent amazement, exclaimed,
'Here is a traitor among us; let those, that are innocent, assist in
discovering the guilty.'
Indignation flashed from the eyes of the cavaliers, who all drew
their swords; and Madame Montoni, terrified at what might ensue, was
hastening from the hall, when her husband commanded her to stay; but
his further words could not now be distinguished, for the voice of
every person rose together. His order, that all the servants should
appear, was at length obeyed, and they declared their ignorance of
any deceit--a protestation which could not be believed; for it was
evident, that, as Montoni's liquor, and his only, had been poisoned,
a deliberate design had been formed against his life, which could not
have been carried so far towards its accomplishment, without the
connivance of the servant, who had the care of the wine ewers.
This man, with another, whose face betrayed either the consciousness
of guilt, or the fear of punishment, Montoni ordered to be chained
instantly, and confined in a strong room, which had formerly been
used as a prison. Thither, likewise, he would have sent all his
guests, had he not foreseen the consequence of so bold and
unjustifiable a proceeding. As to those, therefore, he contented
himself with swearing, that no man should pass the gates, till this
extraordinary affair had been investigated, and then sternly bade his
wife retire to her apartment, whither he suffered Emily to attend
In about half an hour, he followed to the dressing-room; and Emily
observed, with horror, his dark countenance and quivering lip, and
heard him denounce vengeance on her aunt.
'It will avail you nothing,' said he to his wife, 'to deny the fact;
I have proof of your guilt. Your only chance of mercy rests on a
full confession;--there is nothing to hope from sullenness, or
falsehood; your accomplice has confessed all.'
Emily's fainting spirits were roused by astonishment, as she heard
her aunt accused of a crime so atrocious, and she could not, for a
moment, admit the possibility of her guilt. Meanwhile Madame
Montoni's agitation did not permit her to reply; alternately her
complexion varied from livid paleness to a crimson flush; and she
trembled,--but, whether with fear, or with indignation, it were
difficult to decide.
'Spare your words,' said Montoni, seeing her about to speak, 'your
countenance makes full confession of your crime.--You shall be
instantly removed to the east turret.'
'This accusation,' said Madame Montoni, speaking with difficulty, 'is
used only as an excuse for your cruelty; I disdain to reply to it.
You do not believe me guilty.'
'Signor!' said Emily solemnly, 'this dreadful charge, I would answer
with my life, is false. Nay, Signor,' she added, observing the
severity of his countenance, 'this is no moment for restraint, on my
part; I do not scruple to tell you, that you are deceived--most
wickedly deceived, by the suggestion of some person, who aims at the
ruin of my aunt:--it is impossible, that you could yourself have
imagined a crime so hideous.'
Montoni, his lips trembling more than before, replied only, 'If you
value your own safety,' addressing Emily, 'you will be silent. I
shall know how to interpret your remonstrances, should you persevere
Emily raised her eyes calmly to heaven. 'Here is, indeed, then,
nothing to hope!' said she.
'Peace!' cried Montoni, 'or you shall find there is something to
He turned to his wife, who had now recovered her spirits, and who
vehemently and wildly remonstrated upon this mysterious suspicion:
but Montoni's rage heightened with her indignation, and Emily,
dreading the event of it, threw herself between them, and clasped his
knees in silence, looking up in his face with an expression, that
might have softened the heart of a fiend. Whether his was hardened
by a conviction of Madame Montoni's guilt, or that a bare suspicion
of it made him eager to exercise vengeance, he was totally and alike
insensible to the distress of his wife, and to the pleading looks of
Emily, whom he made no attempt to raise, but was vehemently menacing
both, when he was called out of the room by some person at the door.
As he shut the door, Emily heard him turn the lock and take out the
key; so that Madame Montoni and herself were now prisoners; and she
saw that his designs became more and more terrible. Her endeavours
to explain his motives for this circumstance were almost as
ineffectual as those to sooth the distress of her aunt, whose
innocence she could not doubt; but she, at length, accounted for
Montoni's readiness to suspect his wife by his own consciousness of
cruelty towards her, and for the sudden violence of his present
conduct against both, before even his suspicions could be completely
formed, by his general eagerness to effect suddenly whatever he was
led to desire and his carelessness of justice, or humanity, in
Madame Montoni, after some time, again looked round, in search of a
possibility of escape from the castle, and conversed with Emily on
the subject, who was now willing to encounter any hazard, though she
forbore to encourage a hope in her aunt, which she herself did not
admit. How strongly the edifice was secured, and how vigilantly
guarded, she knew too well; and trembled to commit their safety to
the caprice of the servant, whose assistance they must solicit. Old
Carlo was compassionate, but he seemed to be too much in his master's
interest to be trusted by them; Annette could of herself do little,
and Emily knew Ludovico only from her report. At present, however,
these considerations were useless, Madame Montoni and her niece being
shut up from all intercourse, even with the persons, whom there might
be these reasons to reject.
In the hall, confusion and tumult still reigned. Emily, as she
listened anxiously to the murmur, that sounded along the gallery,
sometimes fancied she heard the clashing of swords, and, when she
considered the nature of the provocation, given by Montoni, and his
impetuosity, it appeared probable, that nothing less than arms would
terminate the contention. Madame Montoni, having exhausted all her
expressions of indignation, and Emily, hers of comfort, they remained
silent, in that kind of breathless stillness, which, in nature, often
succeeds to the uproar of conflicting elements; a stillness, like the
morning, that dawns upon the ruins of an earthquake.
An uncertain kind of terror pervaded Emily's mind; the circumstances
of the past hour still came dimly and confusedly to her memory; and
her thoughts were various and rapid, though without tumult.
From this state of waking visions she was recalled by a knocking at
the chamber-door, and, enquiring who was there, heard the whispering
voice of Annette.
'Dear madam, let me come in, I have a great deal to say,' said the
'The door is locked,' answered the lady.
'Yes, ma'am, but do pray open it.'
'The Signor has the key,' said Madame Montoni.
'O blessed Virgin! what will become of us?' exclaimed Annette.
'Assist us to escape,' said her mistress. 'Where is Ludovico?'
'Below in the hall, ma'am, amongst them all, fighting with the best
'Fighting! Who are fighting?' cried Madame Montoni.
'Why the Signor, ma'am, and all the Signors, and a great many more.'
'Is any person much hurt?' said Emily, in a tremulous voice. 'Hurt!
Yes, ma'amselle,--there they lie bleeding, and the swords are
clashing, and--O holy saints! Do let me in, ma'am, they are coming
this way--I shall be murdered!'
'Fly!' cried Emily, 'fly! we cannot open the door.'
Annette repeated, that they were coming, and in the same moment fled.
'Be calm, madam,' said Emily, turning to her aunt, 'I entreat you to
be calm, I am not frightened--not frightened in the least, do not you
'You can scarcely support yourself,' replied her aunt; 'Merciful God!
what is it they mean to do with us?'
'They come, perhaps, to liberate us,' said Emily, 'Signor Montoni
perhaps is--is conquered.'
The belief of his death gave her spirits a sudden shock, and she grew
faint as she saw him in imagination, expiring at her feet.
'They are coming!' cried Madame Montoni--'I hear their steps--they
are at the door!'
Emily turned her languid eyes to the door, but terror deprived her of
utterance. The key sounded in the lock; the door opened, and Montoni
appeared, followed by three ruffian-like men. 'Execute your orders,'
said he, turning to them, and pointing to his wife, who shrieked, but
was immediately carried from the room; while Emily sunk, senseless,
on a couch, by which she had endeavoured to support herself. When
she recovered, she was alone, and recollected only, that Madame
Montoni had been there, together with some unconnected particulars of
the preceding transaction, which were, however, sufficient to renew
all her terror. She looked wildly round the apartment, as if in
search of some means of intelligence, concerning her aunt, while
neither her own danger, or an idea of escaping from the room,
When her recollection was more complete, she raised herself and went,
but with only a faint hope, to examine whether the door was
unfastened. It was so, and she then stepped timidly out into the
gallery, but paused there, uncertain which way she should proceed.
Her first wish was to gather some information, as to her aunt, and
she, at length, turned her steps to go to the lesser hall, where
Annette and the other servants usually waited.
Every where, as she passed, she heard, from a distance, the uproar of
contention, and the figures and faces, which she met, hurrying along
the passages, struck her mind with dismay. Emily might now have
appeared, like an angel of light, encompassed by fiends. At length,
she reached the lesser hall, which was silent and deserted, but,
panting for breath, she sat down to recover herself. The total
stillness of this place was as awful as the tumult, from which she
had escaped: but she had now time to recall her scattered thoughts,
to remember her personal danger, and to consider of some means of
safety. She perceived, that it was useless to seek Madame Montoni,
through the wide extent and intricacies of the castle, now, too, when
every avenue seemed to be beset by ruffians; in this hall she could
not resolve to stay, for she knew not how soon it might become their
place of rendezvous; and, though she wished to go to her chamber, she
dreaded again to encounter them on the way.
Thus she sat, trembling and hesitating, when a distant murmur broke
on the silence, and grew louder and louder, till she distinguished
voices and steps approaching. She then rose to go, but the sounds
came along the only passage, by which she could depart, and she was
compelled to await in the hall, the arrival of the persons, whose
steps she heard. As these advanced, she distinguished groans, and
then saw a man borne slowly along by four others. Her spirits
faltered at the sight, and she leaned against the wall for support.
The bearers, meanwhile, entered the hall, and, being too busily
occupied to detain, or even notice Emily, she attempted to leave it,
but her strength failed, and she again sat down on the bench. A damp
chillness came over her; her sight became confused; she knew not what
had passed, or where she was, yet the groans of the wounded person
still vibrated on her heart. In a few moments, the tide of life
seemed again to flow; she began to breathe more freely, and her
senses revived. She had not fainted, nor had ever totally lost her
consciousness, but had contrived to support herself on the bench;
still without courage to turn her eyes upon the unfortunate object,
which remained near her, and about whom the men were yet too much
engaged to attend to her.
When her strength returned, she rose, and was suffered to leave the
hall, though her anxiety, having produced some vain enquiries,
concerning Madame Montoni, had thus made a discovery of herself.
Towards her chamber she now hastened, as fast as her steps would bear
her, for she still perceived, upon her passage, the sounds of
confusion at a distance, and she endeavoured, by taking her way
through some obscure rooms, to avoid encountering the persons, whose
looks had terrified her before, as well as those parts of the castle,
where the tumult might still rage.
At length, she reached her chamber, and, having secured the door of
the corridor, felt herself, for a moment, in safety. A profound
stillness reigned in this remote apartment, which not even the faint
murmur of the most distant sounds now reached. She sat down, near
one of the casements, and, as she gazed on the mountain-view beyond,
the deep repose of its beauty struck her with all the force of
contrast, and she could scarcely believe herself so near a scene of
savage discord. The contending elements seemed to have retired from
their natural spheres, and to have collected themselves into the
minds of men, for there alone the tempest now reigned.
Emily tried to tranquillize her spirits, but anxiety made her
constantly listen for some sound, and often look out upon the
ramparts, where all, however, was lonely and still. As a sense of
her own immediate danger had decreased, her apprehension concerning
Madame Montoni heightened, who, she remembered, had been fiercely
threatened with confinement in the east turret, and it was possible,
that her husband had satisfied his present vengeance with this
punishment. She, therefore, determined, when night should return,
and the inhabitants of the castle should be asleep, to explore the
way to the turret, which, as the direction it stood in was mentioned,
appeared not very difficult to be done. She knew, indeed, that
although her aunt might be there, she could afford her no effectual
assistance, but it might give her some comfort even to know, that she
was discovered, and to hear the sound of her niece's voice; for
herself, any certainty, concerning Madame Montoni's fate, appeared
more tolerable, than this exhausting suspense.
Meanwhile, Annette did not appear, and Emily was surprised, and
somewhat alarmed for her, whom, in the confusion of the late scene,
various accidents might have befallen, and it was improbable, that
she would have failed to come to her apartment, unless something
unfortunate had happened.
Thus the hours passed in solitude, in silence, and in anxious
conjecturing. Being not once disturbed by a message, or a sound, it
appeared, that Montoni had wholly forgotten her, and it gave her some
comfort to find, that she could be so unnoticed. She endeavoured to
withdraw her thoughts from the anxiety, that preyed upon them, but
they refused controul; she could neither read, or draw, and the tones
of her lute were so utterly discordant with the present state of her
feelings, that she could not endure them for a moment.
The sun, at length, set behind the western mountains; his fiery beams
faded from the clouds, and then a dun melancholy purple drew over
them, and gradually involved the features of the country below. Soon
after, the sentinels passed on the rampart to commence the watch.
Twilight had now spread its gloom over every object; the dismal
obscurity of her chamber recalled fearful thoughts, but she
remembered, that to procure a light she must pass through a great
extent of the castle, and, above all, through the halls, where she
had already experienced so much horror. Darkness, indeed, in the
present state of her spirits, made silence and solitude terrible to
her; it would also prevent the possibility of her finding her way to
the turret, and condemn her to remain in suspense, concerning the
fate of her aunt; yet she dared not to venture forth for a lamp.
Continuing at the casement, that she might catch the last lingering
gleam of evening, a thousand vague images of fear floated on her
fancy. 'What if some of these ruffians,' said she, 'should find out
the private stair-case, and in the darkness of night steal into my
chamber!' Then, recollecting the mysterious inhabitant of the
neighbouring apartment, her terror changed its object. 'He is not a
prisoner,' said she, 'though he remains in one chamber, for Montoni
did not fasten the door, when he left it; the unknown person himself
did this; it is certain, therefore, he can come out when he pleases.'
She paused, for, notwithstanding the terrors of darkness, she
considered it to be very improbable, whoever he was, that he could
have any interest in intruding upon her retirement; and again the
subject of her emotion changed, when, remembering her nearness to the
chamber, where the veil had formerly disclosed a dreadful spectacle,
she doubted whether some passage might not communicate between it and
the insecure door of the stair-case.
It was now entirely dark, and she left the casement. As she sat with
her eyes fixed on the hearth, she thought she perceived there a spark
of light; it twinkled and disappeared, and then again was visible.
At length, with much care, she fanned the embers of a wood fire, that
had been lighted in the morning, into flame, and, having communicated
it to a lamp, which always stood in her room, felt a satisfaction not
to be conceived, without a review of her situation. Her first care
was to guard the door of the stair-case, for which purpose she placed
against it all the furniture she could move, and she was thus
employed, for some time, at the end of which she had another instance
how much more oppressive misfortune is to the idle, than to the busy;
for, having then leisure to think over all the circumstances of her
present afflictions, she imagined a thousand evils for futurity, and
these real and ideal subjects of distress alike wounded her mind.
Thus heavily moved the hours till midnight, when she counted the
sullen notes of the great clock, as they rolled along the rampart,
unmingled with any sound, except the distant foot-fall of a sentinel,
who came to relieve guard. She now thought she might venture towards
the turret, and, having gently opened the chamber door to examine the
corridor, and to listen if any person was stirring in the castle,
found all around in perfect stillness. Yet no sooner had she left
the room, than she perceived a light flash on the walls of the
corridor, and, without waiting to see by whom it was carried, she
shrunk back, and closed her door. No one approaching, she
conjectured, that it was Montoni going to pay his mid-night visit to
her unknown neighbour, and she determined to wait, till he should
have retired to his own apartment.
When the chimes had tolled another half hour, she once more opened
the door, and, perceiving that no person was in the corridor, hastily
crossed into a passage, that led along the south side of the castle
towards the stair-case, whence she believed she could easily find her
way to the turret. Often pausing on her way, listening
apprehensively to the murmurs of the wind, and looking fearfully
onward into the gloom of the long passages, she, at length, reached
the stair-case; but there her perplexity began. Two passages
appeared, of which she knew not how to prefer one, and was compelled,
at last, to decide by chance, rather than by circumstances. That she
entered, opened first into a wide gallery, along which she passed
lightly and swiftly; for the lonely aspect of the place awed her, and
she started at the echo of her own steps.
On a sudden, she thought she heard a voice, and, not distinguishing
from whence it came, feared equally to proceed, or to return. For
some moments, she stood in an attitude of listening expectation,
shrinking almost from herself and scarcely daring to look round her.
The voice came again, but, though it was now near her, terror did not
allow her to judge exactly whence it proceeded. She thought,
however, that it was the voice of complaint, and her belief was soon
confirmed by a low moaning sound, that seemed to proceed from one of
the chambers, opening into the gallery. It instantly occurred to
her, that Madame Montoni might be there confined, and she advanced to
the door to speak, but was checked by considering, that she was,
perhaps, going to commit herself to a stranger, who might discover
her to Montoni; for, though this person, whoever it was, seemed to be
in affliction, it did not follow, that he was a prisoner.
While these thoughts passed over her mind, and left her still in
hesitation, the voice spoke again, and, calling 'Ludovico,' she then
perceived it to be that of Annette; on which, no longer hesitating,
she went in joy to answer her.
'Ludovico!' cried Annette, sobbing--'Ludovico!'
'It is not Ludovico, it is I--Mademoiselle Emily.'
Annette ceased sobbing, and was silent.
'If you can open the door, let me in,' said Emily, 'here is no person
to hurt you.'
'Ludovico!--O, Ludovico!' cried Annette.
Emily now lost her patience, and her fear of being overheard
increasing, she was even nearly about to leave the door, when she
considered, that Annette might, possibly, know something of the
situation of Madame Montoni, or direct her to the turret. At length,
she obtained a reply, though little satisfactory, to her questions,
for Annette knew nothing of Madame Montoni, and only conjured Emily
to tell her what was become of Ludovico. Of him she had no
information to give, and she again asked who had shut Annette up.
'Ludovico,' said the poor girl, 'Ludovico shut me up. When I ran
away from the dressing-room door to-day, I went I scarcely knew
where, for safety; and, in this gallery, here, I met Ludovico, who
hurried me into this chamber, and locked me up to keep me out of
harm, as he said. But he was in such a hurry himself, he hardly
spoke ten words, but he told me he would come, and let me out, when
all was quiet, and he took away the key with him. Now all these
hours are passed, and I have neither seen, or heard a word of him;
they have murdered him--I know they have!'
Emily suddenly remembered the wounded person, whom she had seen borne
into the servants' hall, and she scarcely doubted, that he was
Ludovico, but she concealed the circumstance from Annette, and
endeavoured to comfort her. Then, impatient to learn something of
her aunt, she again enquired the way to the turret.
'O! you are not going, ma'amselle,' said Annette, 'for Heaven's sake,
do not go, and leave me here by myself.'
'Nay, Annette, you do not think I can wait in the gallery all night,'
replied Emily. 'Direct me to the turret; in the morning I will
endeavour to release you.'
'O holy Mary!' exclaimed Annette, 'am I to stay here by myself all
night! I shall be frightened out of my senses, and I shall die of
hunger; I have had nothing to eat since dinner!'
Emily could scarcely forbear smiling at the heterogeneous distresses
of Annette, though she sincerely pitied them, and said what she could
to sooth her. At length, she obtained something like a direction to
the east turret, and quitted the door, from whence, after many
intricacies and perplexities, she reached the steep and winding
stairs of the turret, at the foot of which she stopped to rest, and
to re-animate her courage with a sense of her duty. As she surveyed
this dismal place, she perceived a door on the opposite side of the
stair-case, and, anxious to know whether it would lead her to Madame
Montoni, she tried to undraw the bolts, which fastened it. A fresher
air came to her face, as she unclosed the door, which opened upon the
east rampart, and the sudden current had nearly extinguished her
light, which she now removed to a distance; and again, looking out
upon the obscure terrace, she perceived only the faint outline of the
walls and of some towers, while, above, heavy clouds, borne along the
wind, seemed to mingle with the stars, and wrap the night in thicker
darkness. As she gazed, now willing to defer the moment of
certainty, from which she expected only confirmation of evil, a
distant footstep reminded her, that she might be observed by the men
on watch, and, hastily closing the door, she took her lamp, and
passed up the stair-case. Trembling came upon her, as she ascended
through the gloom. To her melancholy fancy this seemed to be a place
of death, and the chilling silence, that reigned, confirmed its
character. Her spirits faltered. 'Perhaps,' said she, 'I am come
hither only to learn a dreadful truth, or to witness some horrible
spectacle; I feel that my senses would not survive such an addition
The image of her aunt murdered--murdered, perhaps, by the hand of
Montoni, rose to her mind; she trembled, gasped for breath--repented
that she had dared to venture hither, and checked her steps. But,
after she had paused a few minutes, the consciousness of her duty
returned, and she went on. Still all was silent. At length a track
of blood, upon a stair, caught her eye; and instantly she perceived,
that the wall and several other steps were stained. She paused,
again struggled to support herself, and the lamp almost fell from her
trembling hand. Still no sound was heard, no living being seemed to
inhabit the turret; a thousand times she wished herself again in her
chamber; dreaded to enquire farther--dreaded to encounter some
horrible spectacle, and yet could not resolve, now that she was so
near the termination of her efforts, to desist from them. Having
again collected courage to proceed, after ascending about half way up
the turret, she came to another door, but here again she stopped in
hesitation; listened for sounds within, and then, summoning all her
resolution, unclosed it, and entered a chamber, which, as her lamp
shot its feeble rays through the darkness, seemed to exhibit only
dew-stained and deserted walls. As she stood examining it, in
fearful expectation of discovering the remains of her unfortunate
aunt, she perceived something lying in an obscure corner of the room,
and, struck with an horrible conviction, she became, for an instant,
motionless and nearly insensible. Then, with a kind of desperate
resolution, she hurried towards the object that excited her terror,
when, perceiving the clothes of some person, on the floor, she caught
hold of them, and found in her grasp the old uniform of a soldier,
beneath which appeared a heap of pikes and other arms. Scarcely
daring to trust her sight, she continued, for some moments, to gaze
on the object of her late alarm, and then left the chamber, so much
comforted and occupied by the conviction, that her aunt was not
there, that she was going to descend the turret, without enquiring
farther; when, on turning to do so, she observed upon some steps on
the second flight an appearance of blood, and remembering, that there
was yet another chamber to be explored, she again followed the
windings of the ascent. Still, as she ascended, the track of blood
glared upon the stairs.
It led her to the door of a landing-place, that terminated them, but
she was unable to follow it farther. Now that she was so near the
sought-for certainty, she dreaded to know it, even more than before,
and had not fortitude sufficient to speak, or to attempt opening the
Having listened, in vain, for some sound, that might confirm, or
destroy her fears, she, at length, laid her hand on the lock, and,
finding it fastened, called on Madame Montoni; but only a chilling
'She is dead!' she cried,--'murdered!--her blood is on the stairs!'
Emily grew very faint; could support herself no longer, and had
scarcely presence of mind to set down the lamp, and place herself on
When her recollection returned, she spoke again at the door, and
again attempted to open it, and, having lingered for some time,
without receiving any answer, or hearing a sound, she descended the
turret, and, with all the swiftness her feebleness would permit,
sought her own apartment.
As she turned into the corridor, the door of a chamber opened, from
whence Montoni came forth; but Emily, more terrified than ever to
behold him, shrunk back into the passage soon enough to escape being
noticed, and heard him close the door, which she had perceived was
the same she formerly observed. Having here listened to his
departing steps, till their faint sound was lost in distance, she
ventured to her apartment, and, securing it once again, retired to
her bed, leaving the lamp burning on the hearth. But sleep was fled
from her harassed mind, to which images of horror alone occurred.
She endeavoured to think it possible, that Madame Montoni had not
been taken to the turret; but, when she recollected the former
menaces of her husband and the terrible spirit of vengeance, which he
had displayed on a late occasion; when she remembered his general
character, the looks of the men, who had forced Madame Montoni from
her apartment, and the written traces on the stairs of the turret--
she could not doubt, that her aunt had been carried thither, and
could scarcely hope, that she had not been carried to be murdered.
The grey of morning had long dawned through her casements, before
Emily closed her eyes in sleep; when wearied nature, at length,
yielded her a respite from suffering.
Who rears the bloody hand?
Emily remained in her chamber, on the following morning, without
receiving any notice from Montoni, or seeing a human being, except
the armed men, who sometimes passed on the terrace below. Having
tasted no food since the dinner of the preceding day, extreme
faintness made her feel the necessity of quitting the asylum of her
apartment to obtain refreshment, and she was also very anxious to
procure liberty for Annette. Willing, however, to defer venturing
forth, as long as possible, and considering, whether she should apply
to Montoni, or to the compassion of some other person, her excessive
anxiety concerning her aunt, at length, overcame her abhorrence of
his presence, and she determined to go to him, and to entreat, that
he would suffer her to see Madame Montoni.
Meanwhile, it was too certain, from the absence of Annette, that some
accident had befallen Ludovico, and that she was still in
confinement; Emily, therefore, resolved also to visit the chamber,
where she had spoken to her, on the preceding night, and, if the poor
girl was yet there, to inform Montoni of her situation.
It was near noon, before she ventured from her apartment, and went
first to the south gallery, whither she passed without meeting a
single person, or hearing a sound, except, now and then, the echo of
a distant footstep.
It was unnecessary to call Annette, whose lamentations were audible
upon the first approach to the gallery, and who, bewailing her own
and Ludovico's fate, told Emily, that she should certainly be starved
to death, if she was not let out immediately. Emily replied, that
she was going to beg her release of Montoni; but the terrors of
hunger now yielded to those of the Signor, and, when Emily left her,
she was loudly entreating, that her place of refuge might be
concealed from him.
As Emily drew near the great hall, the sounds she heard and the
people she met in the passages renewed her alarm. The latter,
however, were peaceable, and did not interrupt her, though they
looked earnestly at her, as she passed, and sometimes spoke. On
crossing the hall towards the cedar room, where Montoni usually sat,
she perceived, on the pavement, fragments of swords, some tattered
garments stained with blood, and almost expected to have seen among
them a dead body; but from such a spectacle she was, at present,
spared. As she approached the room, the sound of several voices
issued from within, and a dread of appearing before many strangers,
as well as of irritating Montoni by such an intrusion, made her pause
and falter from her purpose. She looked up through the long arcades
of the hall, in search of a servant, who might bear a message, but no
one appeared, and the urgency of what she had to request made her
still linger near the door. The voices within were not in
contention, though she distinguished those of several of the guests
of the preceding day; but still her resolution failed, whenever she
would have tapped at the door, and she had determined to walk in the
hall, till some person should appear, who might call Montoni from the
room, when, as she turned from the door, it was suddenly opened by
himself. Emily trembled, and was confused, while he almost started
with surprise, and all the terrors of his countenance unfolded
themselves. She forgot all she would have said, and neither enquired
for her aunt, or entreated for Annette, but stood silent and
After closing the door he reproved her for a meanness, of which she
had not been guilty, and sternly questioned her what she had
overheard; an accusation, which revived her recollection so far, that
she assured him she had not come thither with an intention to listen
to his conversation, but to entreat his compassion for her aunt, and
for Annette. Montoni seemed to doubt this assertion, for he regarded
her with a scrutinizing look; and the doubt evidently arose from no
trifling interest. Emily then further explained herself, and
concluded with entreating him to inform her, where her aunt was
placed, and to permit, that she might visit her; but he looked upon
her only with a malignant smile, which instantaneously confirmed her
worst fears for her aunt, and, at that moment, she had not courage to
renew her entreaties.
'For Annette,' said he,--'if you go to Carlo, he will release the
girl; the foolish fellow, who shut her up, died yesterday.' Emily
shuddered.--'But my aunt, Signor'--said she, 'O tell me of my aunt!'
'She is taken care of,' replied Montoni hastily, 'I have no time to
answer idle questions.'
He would have passed on, but Emily, in a voice of agony, that could
not be wholly resisted, conjured him to tell her, where Madame
Montoni was; while he paused, and she anxiously watched his
countenance, a trumpet sounded, and, in the next moment, she heard
the heavy gates of the portal open, and then the clattering of
horses' hoofs in the court, with the confusion of many voices. She
stood for a moment hesitating whether she should follow Montoni, who,
at the sound of the trumpet, had passed through the hall, and,
turning her eyes whence it came, she saw through the door, that
opened beyond a long perspective of arches into the courts, a party
of horsemen, whom she judged, as well as the distance and her
embarrassment would allow, to be the same she had seen depart, a few
days before. But she staid not to scrutinize, for, when the trumpet
sounded again, the chevaliers rushed out of the cedar room, and men
came running into the hall from every quarter of the castle. Emily
once more hurried for shelter to her own apartment. Thither she was
still pursued by images of horror. She re-considered Montoni's
manner and words, when he had spoken of his wife, and they served
only to confirm her most terrible suspicions. Tears refused any
longer to relieve her distress, and she had sat for a considerable
time absorbed in thought, when a knocking at the chamber door aroused
her, on opening which she found old Carlo.
'Dear young lady,' said he, 'I have been so flurried, I never once
thought of you till just now. I have brought you some fruit and
wine, and I am sure you must stand in need of them by this time.'
'Thank you, Carlo,' said Emily, 'this is very good of you Did the
Signor remind you of me?'
'No, Signora,' replied Carlo, 'his excellenza has business enough on
his hands.' Emily then renewed her enquiries, concerning Madame
Montoni, but Carlo had been employed at the other end of the castle,
during the time, that she was removed, and he had heard nothing
since, concerning her.
While he spoke, Emily looked steadily at him, for she scarcely knew
whether he was really ignorant, or concealed his knowledge of the
truth from a fear of offending his master. To several questions,
concerning the contentions of yesterday, he gave very limited
answers; but told, that the disputes were now amicably settled, and
that the Signor believed himself to have been mistaken in his
suspicions of his guests. 'The fighting was about that, Signora,'
said Carlo; 'but I trust I shall never see such another day in this
castle, though strange things are about to be done.'
On her enquiring his meaning, 'Ah, Signora!' added he, 'it is not for
me to betray secrets, or tell all I think, but time will tell.'
She then desired him to release Annette, and, having described the
chamber in which the poor girl was confined, he promised to obey her
immediately, and was departing, when she remembered to ask who were
the persons just arrived. Her late conjecture was right; it was
Verezzi, with his party.
Her spirits were somewhat soothed by this short conversation with
Carlo; for, in her present circumstances, it afforded some comfort to
hear the accents of compassion, and to meet the look of sympathy.
An hour passed before Annette appeared, who then came weeping and
sobbing. 'O Ludovico--Ludovico!' cried she.
'My poor Annette!' said Emily, and made her sit down.
'Who could have foreseen this, ma'amselle? O miserable, wretched,
day--that ever I should live to see it!' and she continued to moan
and lament, till Emily thought it necessary to check her excess of
grief. 'We are continually losing dear friends by death,' said she,
with a sigh, that came from her heart. 'We must submit to the will
of Heaven--our tears, alas! cannot recall the dead!'
Annette took the handkerchief from her face.
'You will meet Ludovico in a better world, I hope,' added Emily.
'Yes--yes,--ma'amselle,' sobbed Annette, 'but I hope I shall meet him
again in this--though he is so wounded!'
'Wounded!' exclaimed Emily, 'does he live?'
'Yes, ma'am, but--but he has a terrible wound, and could not come to
let me out. They thought him dead, at first, and he has not been
rightly himself, till within this hour.'
'Well, Annette, I rejoice to hear he lives.'
'Lives! Holy Saints! why he will not die, surely!'
Emily said she hoped not, but this expression of hope Annette thought
implied fear, and her own increased in proportion, as Emily
endeavoured to encourage her. To enquiries, concerning Madame
Montoni, she could give no satisfactory answers.
'I quite forgot to ask among the servants, ma'amselle,' said she,
'for I could think of nobody but poor Ludovico.'
Annette's grief was now somewhat assuaged, and Emily sent her to make
enquiries, concerning her lady, of whom, however, she could obtain no
intelligence, some of the people she spoke with being really ignorant
of her fate, and others having probably received orders to conceal
This day passed with Emily in continued grief and anxiety for her
aunt; but she was unmolested by any notice from Montoni; and, now
that Annette was liberated, she obtained food, without exposing
herself to danger, or impertinence.
Two following days passed in the same manner, unmarked by any
occurrence, during which she obtained no information of Madame
Montoni. On the evening of the second, having dismissed Annette, and
retired to bed, her mind became haunted by the most dismal images,
such as her long anxiety, concerning her aunt, suggested; and, unable
to forget herself, for a moment, or to vanquish the phantoms, that
tormented her, she rose from her bed, and went to one of the
casements of her chamber, to breathe a freer air.
All without was silent and dark, unless that could be called light,
which was only the faint glimmer of the stars, shewing imperfectly
the outline of the mountains, the western towers of the castle and
the ramparts below, where a solitary sentinel was pacing. What an
image of repose did this scene present! The fierce and terrible
passions, too, which so often agitated the inhabitants of this
edifice, seemed now hushed in sleep;--those mysterious workings, that
rouse the elements of man's nature into tempest--were calm. Emily's
heart was not so; but her sufferings, though deep, partook of the
gentle character of her mind. Hers was a silent anguish, weeping,
yet enduring; not the wild energy of passion, inflaming imagination,
bearing down the barriers of reason and living in a world of its own.
The air refreshed her, and she continued at the casement, looking on
the shadowy scene, over which the planets burned with a clear light,
amid the deep blue aether, as they silently moved in their destined
course. She remembered how often she had gazed on them with her dear
father, how often he had pointed out their way in the heavens, and
explained their laws; and these reflections led to others, which, in
an almost equal degree, awakened her grief and astonishment.
They brought a retrospect of all the strange and mournful events,
which had occurred since she lived in peace with her parents. And to
Emily, who had been so tenderly educated, so tenderly loved, who once
knew only goodness and happiness--to her, the late events and her
present situation--in a foreign land--in a remote castle--surrounded
by vice and violence--seemed more like the visions of a distempered
imagination, than the circumstances of truth. She wept to think of
what her parents would have suffered, could they have foreseen the
events of her future life.
While she raised her streaming eyes to heaven, she observed the same
planet, which she had seen in Languedoc, on the night, preceding her
father's death, rise above the eastern towers of the castle, while
she remembered the conversation, which has passed, concerning the
probable state of departed souls; remembered, also, the solemn music
she had heard, and to which the tenderness of her spirits had, in
spite of her reason, given a superstitious meaning. At these
recollections she wept again, and continued musing, when suddenly the
notes of sweet music passed on the air. A superstitious dread stole
over her; she stood listening, for some moments, in trembling
expectation, and then endeavoured to re-collect her thoughts, and to
reason herself into composure; but human reason cannot establish her
laws on subjects, lost in the obscurity of imagination, any more than
the eye can ascertain the form of objects, that only glimmer through
the dimness of night.
Her surprise, on hearing such soothing and delicious sounds, was, at
least, justifiable; for it was long--very long, since she had
listened to any thing like melody. The fierce trumpet and the shrill
fife were the only instruments she had heard, since her arrival at
When her mind was somewhat more composed, she tried to ascertain from
what quarter the sounds proceeded, and thought they came from below;
but whether from a room of the castle, or from the terrace, she could
not with certainty judge. Fear and surprise now yielded to the
enchantment of a strain, that floated on the silent night, with the
most soft and melancholy sweetness. Suddenly, it seemed removed to a
distance, trembled faintly, and then entirely ceased.
She continued to listen, sunk in that pleasing repose, which soft
music leaves on the mind--but it came no more. Upon this strange
circumstance her thoughts were long engaged, for strange it certainly
was to hear music at midnight, when every inhabitant of the castle
had long since retired to rest, and in a place, where nothing like
harmony had been heard before, probably, for many years. Long-
suffering had made her spirits peculiarly sensible to terror, and
liable to be affected by the illusions of superstition.--It now
seemed to her, as if her dead father had spoken to her in that
strain, to inspire her with comfort and confidence, on the subject,
which had then occupied her mind. Yet reason told her, that this was
a wild conjecture, and she was inclined to dismiss it; but, with the
inconsistency so natural, when imagination guides the thoughts, she
then wavered towards a belief as wild. She remembered the singular
event, connected with the castle, which had given it into the
possession of its present owner; and, when she considered the
mysterious manner, in which its late possessor had disappeared, and
that she had never since been heard of, her mind was impressed with
an high degree of solemn awe; so that, though there appeared no clue
to connect that event with the late music, she was inclined
fancifully to think they had some relation to each other. At this
conjecture, a sudden chillness ran through her frame; she looked
fearfully upon the duskiness of her chamber, and the dead silence,
that prevailed there, heightened to her fancy its gloomy aspect.
At length, she left the casement, but her steps faltered, as she
approached the bed, and she stopped and looked round. The single
lamp, that burned in her spacious chamber, was expiring; for a
moment, she shrunk from the darkness beyond; and then, ashamed of the
weakness, which, however, she could not wholly conquer, went forward
to the bed, where her mind did not soon know the soothings of sleep.
She still mused on the late occurrence, and looked with anxiety to
the next night, when, at the same hour, she determined to watch
whether the music returned. 'If those sounds were human,' said she,
'I shall probably hear them again.'
Then, oh, you blessed ministers above,
Keep me in patience; and, in ripen'd time,
Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up
Annette came almost breathless to Emily's apartment in the morning.
'O ma'amselle!' said she, in broken sentences, 'what news I have to
tell! I have found out who the prisoner is--but he was no prisoner,
neither;--he that was shut up in the chamber I told you of. I must
think him a ghost, forsooth!'
'Who was the prisoner?' enquired Emily, while her thoughts glanced
back to the circumstance of the preceding night.
'You mistake, ma'am,' said Annette; 'he was not a prisoner, after
'Who is the person, then?'
'Holy Saints!' rejoined Annette; 'How I was surprised! I met him
just now, on the rampart below, there. I never was so surprised in
my life! Ah! ma'amselle! this is a strange place! I should never
have done wondering, if I was to live here an hundred years. But, as
I was saying, I met him just now on the rampart, and I was thinking
of nobody less than of him.'
'This trifling is insupportable,' said Emily; 'prythee, Annette, do
not torture my patience any longer.'
'Nay, ma'amselle, guess--guess who it was; it was somebody you know
'I cannot guess,' said Emily impatiently.
'Nay, ma'amselle, I'll tell you something to guess by--A tall Signor,
with a longish face, who walks so stately, and used to wear such a
high feather in his hat; and used often to look down upon the ground,
when people spoke to him; and to look at people from under his
eyebrows, as it were, all so dark and frowning. You have seen him,
often and often, at Venice, ma'am. Then he was so intimate with the
Signor, too. And, now I think of it, I wonder what he could be
afraid of in this lonely old castle, that he should shut himself up
for. But he is come abroad now, for I met him on the rampart just
this minute. I trembled when I saw him, for I always was afraid of
him, somehow; but I determined I would not let him see it; so I went
up to him, and made him a low curtesy, "You are welcome to the
castle, Signor Orsino," said I.'
'O, it was Signor Orsino, then!' said Emily.
'Yes, ma'amselle, Signor Orsino, himself, who caused that Venetian
gentleman to be killed, and has been popping about from place to
place, ever since, as I hear.'
'Good God!' exclaimed Emily, recovering from the shock of this
intelligence; 'and is HE come to Udolpho! He does well to endeavour
to conceal himself.'
'Yes, ma'amselle, but if that was all, this desolate place would
conceal him, without his shutting himself up in one room. Who would
think of coming to look for him here? I am sure I should as soon
think of going to look for any body in the other world.'
'There is some truth in that,' said Emily, who would now have
concluded it was Orsino's music, which she had heard, on the
preceding night, had she not known, that he had neither taste, or
skill in the art. But, though she was unwilling to add to the number
of Annette's surprises, by mentioning the subject of her own, she
enquired, whether any person in the castle played on a musical
'O yes, ma'amselle! there is Benedetto plays the great drum to
admiration; and then, there is Launcelot the trumpeter; nay, for that
matter, Ludovico himself can play on the trumpet;--but he is ill now.
I remember once'--
Emily interrupted her; 'Have you heard no other music since you came
to the castle--none last night?'
'Why, did YOU hear any last night, ma'amselle?'
Emily evaded this question, by repeating her own.
'Why, no, ma'am,' replied Annette; 'I never heard any music here, I
must say, but the drums and the trumpet; and, as for last night, I
did nothing but dream I saw my late lady's ghost.'
'Your LATE lady's,' said Emily in a tremulous voice; 'you have heard
more, then. Tell me--tell me all, Annette, I entreat; tell me the
worst at once.'
'Nay, ma'amselle, you know the worst already.'
'I know nothing,' said Emily.
'Yes, you do, ma'amselle; you know, that nobody knows any thing about
her; and it is plain, therefore, she is gone, the way of the first
lady of the castle--nobody ever knew any thing about her.'
Emily leaned her head upon her hand, and was, for some time, silent;
then, telling Annette she wished to be alone, the latter left the
The remark of Annette had revived Emily's terrible suspicion,
concerning the fate of Madame Montoni; and she resolved to make
another effort to obtain certainty on this subject, by applying to
Montoni once more.
When Annette returned, a few hours after, she told Emily, that the
porter of the castle wished very much to speak with her, for that he
had something of importance to say; her spirits had, however, of late
been so subject to alarm, that any new circumstance excited it; and
this message from the porter, when her first surprise was over, made
her look round for some lurking danger, the more suspiciously,
perhaps, because she had frequently remarked the unpleasant air and
countenance of this man. She now hesitated, whether to speak with
him, doubting even, that this request was only a pretext to draw her
into some danger; but a little reflection shewed her the
improbability of this, and she blushed at her weak fears.
'I will speak to him, Annette,' said she; 'desire him to come to the
Annette departed, and soon after returned.
'Barnardine, ma'amselle,' said she, 'dare not come to the corridor,
lest he should be discovered, it is so far from his post; and he dare
not even leave the gates for a moment now; but, if you will come to
him at the portal, through some roundabout passages he told me of,
without crossing the courts, he has that to tell, which will surprise
you. But you must not come through the courts, lest the Signor
should see you.'
Emily, neither approving these 'roundabout passage,' nor the other
part of the request, now positively refused to go. 'Tell him,' said
she, 'if he has any thing of consequence to impart, I will hear him
in the corridor, whenever he has an opportunity of coming thither.'
Annette went to deliver this message, and was absent a considerable
time. When she returned, 'It won't do, ma'amselle,' said she.
'Barnardine has been considering all this time what can be done, for
it is as much as his place is worth to leave his post now. But, if
you will come to the east rampart in the dusk of the evening, he can,
perhaps, steal away, and tell you all he has to say.'
Emily was surprised and alarmed, at the secrecy which this man seemed
to think so necessary, and hesitated whether to meet him, till,
considering, that he might mean to warn her of some serious danger,
she resolved to go.
'Soon after sun-set,' said she, 'I will be at the end of the east
rampart. But then the watch will be set,' she added, recollecting
herself, 'and how can Barnardine pass unobserved?'
'That is just what I said to him, ma'am, and he answered me, that he
had the key of the gate, at the end of the rampart, that leads
towards the courts, and could let himself through that way; and as
for the sentinels, there were none at this end of the terrace,
because the place is guarded enough by the high walls of the castle,
and the east turret; and he said those at the other end were too far
off to see him, if it was pretty duskyish.'
'Well,' said Emily, 'I must hear what he has to tell; and, therefore,
desire you will go with me to the terrace, this evening.'
'He desired it might be pretty duskyish, ma'amselle,' repeated
Annette, 'because of the watch.'
Emily paused, and then said she would be on the terrace, an hour
after sun-set;--'and tell Barnardine,' she added, 'to be punctual to
the time; for that I, also, may be observed by Signor Montoni. Where
is the Signor? I would speak with him.'
'He is in the cedar chamber, ma'am, counselling with the other
Signors. He is going to give them a sort of treat to-day, to make up
for what passed at the last, I suppose; the people are all very busy
in the kitchen.'
Emily now enquired, if Montoni expected any new guests? and Annette
believed that he did not. 'Poor Ludovico!' added she, 'he would be
as merry as the best of them, if he was well; but he may recover yet.
Count Morano was wounded as bad, as he, and he is got well again, and
is gone back to Venice.'
'Is he so?' said Emily, 'when did you hear this?'
'I heard it, last night, ma'amselle, but I forgot to tell it.'
Emily asked some further questions, and then, desiring Annette would
observe and inform her, when Montoni was alone, the girl went to
deliver her message to Barnardine.
Montoni was, however, so much engaged, during the whole day, that
Emily had no opportunity of seeking a release from her terrible
suspense, concerning her aunt. Annette was employed in watching his
steps, and in attending upon Ludovico, whom she, assisted by
Caterina, nursed with the utmost care; and Emily was, of course, left
much alone. Her thoughts dwelt often on the message of the porter,
and were employed in conjecturing the subject, that occasioned it,
which she sometimes imagined concerned the fate of Madame Montoni; at
others, that it related to some personal danger, which threatened
herself. The cautious secrecy which Barnardine observed in his
conduct, inclined her to believe the latter.
As the hour of appointment drew near, her impatience increased. At
length, the sun set; she heard the passing steps of the sentinels
going to their posts; and waited only for Annette to accompany her to
the terrace, who, soon after, came, and they descended together.
When Emily expressed apprehensions of meeting Montoni, or some of his
guests, 'O, there is no fear of that, ma'amselle,' said Annette,
'they are all set in to feasting yet, and that Barnardine knows.'
They reached the first terrace, where the sentinels demanded who
passed; and Emily, having answered, walked on to the east rampart, at
the entrance of which they were again stopped; and, having again
replied, were permitted to proceed. But Emily did not like to expose
herself to the discretion of these men, at such an hour; and,
impatient to withdraw from the situation, she stepped hastily on in
search of Barnardine. He was not yet come. She leaned pensively on
the wall of the rampart, and waited for him. The gloom of twilight
sat deep on the surrounding objects, blending in soft confusion the
valley, the mountains, and the woods, whose tall heads, stirred by
the evening breeze, gave the only sounds, that stole on silence,
except a faint, faint chorus of distant voices, that arose from
within the castle.
'What voices are those?' said Emily, as she fearfully listened.
'It is only the Signor and his guests, carousing,' replied Annette.
'Good God!' thought Emily, 'can this man's heart be so gay, when he
has made another being so wretched; if, indeed, my aunt is yet
suffered to feel her wretchedness? O! whatever are my own
sufferings, may my heart never, never be hardened against those of
She looked up, with a sensation of horror, to the east turret, near
which she then stood; a light glimmered through the grates of the
lower chamber, but those of the upper one were dark. Presently, she
perceived a person moving with a lamp across the lower room; but this
circumstance revived no hope, concerning Madame Montoni, whom she had
vainly sought in that apartment, which had appeared to contain only
soldiers' accoutrements. Emily, however, determined to attempt the
outer door of the turret, as soon as Barnardine should withdraw; and,
if it was unfastened, to make another effort to discover her aunt.
The moments passed, but still Barnardine did not appear; and Emily,
becoming uneasy, hesitated whether to wait any longer. She would
have sent Annette to the portal to hasten him, but feared to be left
alone, for it was now almost dark, and a melancholy streak of red,
that still lingered in the west, was the only vestige of departed
day. The strong interest, however, which Barnardine's message had
awakened, overcame other apprehensions, and still detained her.
While she was conjecturing with Annette what could thus occasion his
absence, they heard a key turn in the lock of the gate near them, and
presently saw a man advancing. It was Barnardine, of whom Emily
hastily enquired what he had to communicate, and desired, that he
would tell her quickly, 'for I am chilled with this evening air,'
'You must dismiss your maid, lady,' said the man in a voice, the deep
tone of which shocked her, 'what I have to tell is to you only.'
Emily, after some hesitation, desired Annette to withdraw to a little
distance. 'Now, my friend, what would you say?'
He was silent a moment, as if considering, and then said,--
'That which would cost me my place, at least, if it came to the
Signor's ears. You must promise, lady, that nothing shall ever make
you tell a syllable of the matter; I have been trusted in this
affair, and, if it was known, that I betrayed my trust, my life,
perhaps, might answer it. But I was concerned for you, lady, and I
resolved to tell you.' He paused.--
Emily thanked him, assured him that he might repose on her
discretion, and entreated him to dispatch.
'Annette told us in the hall how unhappy you was about Signora
Montoni, and how much you wished to know what was become of her.'
'Most true,' said Emily eagerly, 'and you can inform me. I conjure
you tell me the worst, without hesitation.' She rested her trembling
arm upon the wall.
'I can tell you,' said Barnardine, and paused.--
Emily had no power to enforce her entreaties.
'I CAN tell you,' resumed Barnardine,--'but'--
'But what?' exclaimed Emily, recovering her resolution.
'Here I am, ma'amselle,' said Annette, who, having heard the eager
tone, in which Emily pronounced these words, came running towards
'Retire!' said Barnardine, sternly; 'you are not wanted;' and, as
Emily said nothing, Annette obeyed.
'I CAN tell you,' repeated the porter,--'but I know not how--you was
'I am prepared for the worst, my friend,' said Emily, in a firm and
solemn voice. 'I can support any certainty better than this
'Well, Signora, if that is the case, you shall hear.--You know, I
suppose, that the Signor and his lady used sometimes to disagree. It
is none of my concerns to enquire what it was about, but I believe
you know it was so.'
'Well,' said Emily, 'proceed.'
'The Signor, it seems, had lately been very wrath against her. I saw
all, and heard all,--a great deal more than people thought for; but
it was none of my business, so I said nothing. A few days ago, the
Signor sent for me. "Barnardine," says he, "you are--an honest man,
I think I can trust you." I assured his excellenza that he could.
"Then," says he, as near as I can remember, "I have an affair in
hand, which I want you to assist me in."--Then he told me what I was
to do; but that I shall say nothing about--it concerned only the
'O Heavens!' exclaimed Emily--'what have you done?'
Barnardine hesitated, and was silent.
'What fiend could tempt him, or you, to such an act!' cried Emily,
chilled with horror, and scarcely able to support her fainting
'It was a fiend,' said Barnardine in a gloomy tone of voice. They
were now both silent;--Emily had not courage to enquire further, and
Barnardine seemed to shrink from telling more. At length he said,
'It is of no use to think of the past; the Signor was cruel enough,
but he would be obeyed. What signified my refusing? He would have
found others, who had no scruples.'
'You have murdered her, then!' said Emily, in a hollow and inward
voice--'I am talking with a murderer!' Barnardine stood silent;
while Emily turned from him, and attempted to leave the place.
'Stay, lady!' said he, 'You deserve to think so still--since you can
believe me capable of such a deed.'
'If you are innocent, tell me quickly,' said Emily, in faint accents,
'for I feel I shall not be able to hear you long.'
'I will tell you no more,' said he, and walked away. Emily had just
strength enough to bid him stay, and then to call Annette, on whose
arm she leaned, and they walked slowly up the rampart, till they
heard steps behind them. It was Barnardine again.
'Send away the girl,' said he, 'and I will tell you more.'
'She must not go,' said Emily; 'what you have to say, she may hear.'
'May she so, lady?' said he. 'You shall know no more, then;' and he
was going, though slowly, when Emily's anxiety, overcoming the
resentment and fear, which the man's behaviour had roused, she
desired him to stay, and bade Annette retire.
'The Signora is alive,' said he, 'for me. She is my prisoner,
though; his excellenza has shut her up in the chamber over the great
gates of the court, and I have the charge of her. I was going to
have told you, you might see her--but now--'
Emily, relieved from an unutterable load of anguish by this speech,
had now only to ask Barnardine's forgiveness, and to conjure, that he
would let her visit her aunt.
He complied with less reluctance, than she expected, and told her,
that, if she would repair, on the following night, when the Signor
was retired to rest, to the postern-gate of the castle, she should,
perhaps, see Madame Montoni.
Amid all the thankfulness, which Emily felt for this concession, she
thought she observed a malicious triumph in his manner, when he
pronounced the last words; but, in the next moment, she dismissed the
thought, and, having again thanked him, commended her aunt to his
pity, and assured him, that she would herself reward him, and would
be punctual to her appointment, she bade him good night, and retired,
unobserved, to her chamber. It was a considerable time, before the
tumult of joy, which Barnardine's unexpected intelligence had
occasioned, allowed Emily to think with clearness, or to be conscious
of the real dangers, that still surrounded Madame Montoni and
herself. When this agitation subsided, she perceived, that her aunt
was yet the prisoner of a man, to whose vengeance, or avarice, she
might fall a sacrifice; and, when she further considered the savage
aspect of the person, who was appointed to guard Madame Montoni, her
doom appeared to be already sealed, for the countenance of Barnardine
seemed to bear the stamp of a murderer; and, when she had looked upon
it, she felt inclined to believe, that there was no deed, however
black, which he might not be prevailed upon to execute. These
reflections brought to her remembrance the tone of voice, in which he
had promised to grant her request to see his prisoner; and she mused
upon it long in uneasiness and doubt. Sometimes, she even hesitated,
whether to trust herself with him at the lonely hour he had
appointed; and once, and only once, it struck her, that Madame
Montoni might be already murdered, and that this ruffian was
appointed to decoy herself to some secret place, where her life also
was to be sacrificed to the avarice of Montoni, who then would claim
securely the contested estates in Languedoc. The consideration of
the enormity of such guilt did, at length, relieve her from the
belief of its probability, but not from all the doubts and fears,
which a recollection of Barnardine's manner had occasioned. From
these subjects, her thoughts, at length, passed to others; and, as
the evening advanced, she remembered, with somewhat more than
surprise, the music she had heard, on the preceding night, and now
awaited its return, with more than curiosity.
She distinguished, till a late hour, the distant carousals of Montoni
and his companions--the loud contest, the dissolute laugh and the
choral song, that made the halls re-echo. At length, she heard the
heavy gates of the castle shut for the night, and those sounds
instantly sunk into a silence, which was disturbed only by the
whispering steps of persons, passing through the galleries to their
remote rooms. Emily now judging it to be about the time, when she
had heard the music, on the preceding night, dismissed Annette, and
gently opened the casement to watch for its return. The planet she
had so particularly noticed, at the recurrence of the music, was not
yet risen; but, with superstitious weakness, she kept her eyes fixed
on that part of the hemisphere, where it would rise, almost
expecting, that, when it appeared, the sounds would return. At
length, it came, serenely bright, over the eastern towers of the
castle. Her heart trembled, when she perceived it, and she had
scarcely courage to remain at the casement, lest the returning music
should confirm her terror, and subdue the little strength she yet
retained. The clock soon after struck one, and, knowing this to be
about the time, when the sounds had occurred, she sat down in a
chair, near the casement, and endeavoured to compose her spirits; but
the anxiety of expectation yet disturbed them. Every thing, however,
remained still; she heard only the solitary step of a sentinel, and
the lulling murmur of the woods below, and she again leaned from the
casement, and again looked, as if for intelligence, to the planet,
which was now risen high above the towers.
Emily continued to listen, but no music came. 'Those were surely no
mortal sounds!' said she, recollecting their entrancing melody. 'No
inhabitant of this castle could utter such; and, where is the
feeling, that could modulate such exquisite expression? We all know,
that it has been affirmed celestial sounds have sometimes been heard
on earth. Father Pierre and Father Antoine declared, that they had
sometimes heard them in the stillness of night, when they alone were
waking to offer their orisons to heaven. Nay, my dear father
himself, once said, that, soon after my mother's death, as he lay
watchful in grief, sounds of uncommon sweetness called him from his
bed; and, on opening his window, he heard lofty music pass along the
midnight air. It soothed him, he said; he looked up with confidence
to heaven, and resigned her to his God.'
Emily paused to weep at this recollection. 'Perhaps,' resumed she,
'perhaps, those strains I heard were sent to comfort,--to encourage
me! Never shall I forget those I heard, at this hour, in Languedoc!
Perhaps, my father watches over me, at this moment!' She wept again
in tenderness. Thus passed the hour in watchfulness and solemn
thought; but no sounds returned; and, after remaining at the
casement, till the light tint of dawn began to edge the mountain-tops
and steal upon the night-shade, she concluded, that they would not
return, and retired reluctantly to repose.
I will advise you where to plant yourselves;
Acquaint you with the perfect spy o' the time,
The moment on 't; for 't must be done to-night.
Emily was somewhat surprised, on the following day, to find that
Annette had heard of Madame Montoni's confinement in the chamber over
the portal, as well as of her purposed visit there, on the
approaching night. That the circumstance, which Barnardine had so
solemnly enjoined her to conceal, he had himself told to so
indiscreet an hearer as Annette, appeared very improbable, though he
had now charged her with a message, concerning the intended
interview. He requested, that Emily would meet him, unattended, on
the terrace, at a little after midnight, when he himself would lead
her to the place he had promised; a proposal, from which she
immediately shrunk, for a thousand vague fears darted athwart her
mind, such as had tormented her on the preceding night, and which she
neither knew how to trust, or to dismiss. It frequently occurred to
her, that Barnardine might have deceived her, concerning Madame
Montoni, whose murderer, perhaps, he really was; and that he had
deceived her by order of Montoni, the more easily to draw her into
some of the desperate designs of the latter. The terrible suspicion,
that Madame Montoni no longer lived, thus came, accompanied by one
not less dreadful for herself. Unless the crime, by which the aunt
had suffered, was instigated merely by resentment, unconnected with
profit, a motive, upon which Montoni did not appear very likely to
act, its object must be unattained, till the niece was also dead, to
whom Montoni knew that his wife's estates must descend. Emily
remembered the words, which had informed her, that the contested
estates in France would devolve to her, if Madame Montoni died,
without consigning them to her husband, and the former obstinate
perseverance of her aunt made it too probable, that she had, to the
last, withheld them. At this instant, recollecting Barnardine's
manner, on the preceding night, she now believed, what she had then
fancied, that it expressed malignant triumph. She shuddered at the
recollection, which confirmed her fears, and determined not to meet
him on the terrace. Soon after, she was inclined to consider these
suspicions as the extravagant exaggerations of a timid and harassed
mind, and could not believe Montoni liable to such preposterous
depravity as that of destroying, from one motive, his wife and her
niece. She blamed herself for suffering her romantic imagination to
carry her so far beyond the bounds of probability, and determined to
endeavour to check its rapid flights, lest they should sometimes
extend into madness. Still, however, she shrunk from the thought of
meeting Barnardine, on the terrace, at midnight; and still the wish
to be relieved from this terrible suspense, concerning her aunt, to
see her, and to sooth her sufferings, made her hesitate what to do.
'Yet how is it possible, Annette, I can pass to the terrace at that
hour?' said she, recollecting herself, 'the sentinels will stop me,
and Signor Montoni will hear of the affair.'
'O ma'amselle! that is well thought of,' replied Annette. 'That is
what Barnardine told me about. He gave me this key, and bade me say
it unlocks the door at the end of the vaulted gallery, that opens
near the end of the east rampart, so that you need not pass any of
the men on watch. He bade me say, too, that his reason for
requesting you to come to the terrace was, because he could take you
to the place you want to go to, without opening the great doors of
the hall, which grate so heavily.'
Emily's spirits were somewhat calmed by this explanation, which
seemed to be honestly given to Annette. 'But why did he desire I
would come alone, Annette?' said she.
'Why that was what I asked him myself, ma'amselle. Says I, Why is my
young lady to come alone?--Surely I may come with her!--What harm can
I do? But he said "No--no--I tell you not," in his gruff way. Nay,
says I, I have been trusted in as great affairs as this, I warrant,
and it's a hard matter if _I_ can't keep a secret now. Still he
would say nothing but--"No--no--no." Well, says I, if you will only
trust me, I will tell you a great secret, that was told me a month
ago, and I have never opened my lips about it yet--so you need not be
afraid of telling me. But all would not do. Then, ma'amselle, I
went so far as to offer him a beautiful new sequin, that Ludovico
gave me for a keep sake, and I would not have parted with it for all
St. Marco's Place; but even that would not do! Now what can be the
reason of this? But I know, you know, ma'am, who you are going to
'Pray did Barnardine tell you this?'
'He! No, ma'amselle, that he did not.'
Emily enquired who did, but Annette shewed, that she COULD keep a
During the remainder of the day, Emily's mind was agitated with
doubts and fears and contrary determinations, on the subject of
meeting this Barnardine on the rampart, and submitting herself to his
guidance, she scarcely knew whither. Pity for her aunt and anxiety
for herself alternately swayed her determination, and night came,
before she had decided upon her conduct. She heard the castle clock
strike eleven--twelve--and yet her mind wavered. The time, however,
was now come, when she could hesitate no longer: and then the
interest she felt for her aunt overcame other considerations, and,
bidding Annette follow her to the outer door of the vaulted gallery,
and there await her return, she descended from her chamber. The
castle was perfectly still, and the great hall, where so lately she
had witnessed a scene of dreadful contention, now returned only the
whispering footsteps of the two solitary figures gliding fearfully
between the pillars, and gleamed only to the feeble lamp they
carried. Emily, deceived by the long shadows of the pillars and by
the catching lights between, often stopped, imagining she saw some
person, moving in the distant obscurity of the perspective; and, as
she passed these pillars, she feared to turn her eyes toward them,
almost expecting to see a figure start out from behind their broad
shaft. She reached, however, the vaulted gallery, without
interruption, but unclosed its outer door with a trembling hand, and,
charging Annette not to quit it and to keep it a little open, that
she might be heard if she called, she delivered to her the lamp,
which she did not dare to take herself because of the men on watch,
and, alone, stepped out upon the dark terrace. Every thing was so
still, that she feared, lest her own light steps should be heard by
the distant sentinels, and she walked cautiously towards the spot,
where she had before met Barnardine, listening for a sound, and
looking onward through the gloom in search of him. At length, she
was startled by a deep voice, that spoke near her, and she paused,
uncertain whether it was his, till it spoke again, and she then
recognized the hollow tones of Barnardine, who had been punctual to
the moment, and was at the appointed place, resting on the rampart
wall. After chiding her for not coming sooner, and saying, that he
had been waiting nearly half an hour, he desired Emily, who made no
reply, to follow him to the door, through which he had entered the
While he unlocked it, she looked back to that she had left, and,
observing the rays of the lamp stream through a small opening, was
certain, that Annette was still there. But her remote situation
could little befriend Emily, after she had quitted the terrace; and,
when Barnardine unclosed the gate, the dismal aspect of the passage
beyond, shewn by a torch burning on the pavement, made her shrink
from following him alone, and she refused to go, unless Annette might
accompany her. This, however, Barnardine absolutely refused to
permit, mingling at the same time with his refusal such artful
circumstances to heighten the pity and curiosity of Emily towards her
aunt, that she, at length, consented to follow him alone to the
He then took up the torch, and led her along the passage, at the
extremity of which he unlocked another door, whence they descended, a
few steps, into a chapel, which, as Barnardine held up the torch to
light her, Emily observed to be in ruins, and she immediately
recollected a former conversation of Annette, concerning it, with
very unpleasant emotions. She looked fearfully on the almost
roofless walls, green with damps, and on the gothic points of the
windows, where the ivy and the briony had long supplied the place of
glass, and ran mantling among the broken capitals of some columns,
that had once supported the roof. Barnardine stumbled over the
broken pavement, and his voice, as he uttered a sudden oath, was
returned in hollow echoes, that made it more terrific. Emily's heart
sunk; but she still followed him, and he turned out of what had been
the principal aisle of the chapel. 'Down these steps, lady,' said
Barnardine, as he descended a flight, which appeared to lead into the
vaults; but Emily paused on the top, and demanded, in a tremulous
tone, whither he was conducting her.
'To the portal,' said Barnardine.
'Cannot we go through the chapel to the portal?' said Emily.
'No, Signora, that leads to the inner court, which I don't choose to
unlock. This way, and we shall reach the outer court presently.'
Emily still hesitated; fearing not only to go on, but, since she had
gone thus far, to irritate Barnardine by refusing to go further.
'Come, lady,' said the man, who had nearly reached the bottom of the
flight, 'make a little haste; I cannot wait here all night.'
'Whither do these steps lead?' said Emily, yet pausing.
'To the portal,' repeated Barnardine, in an angry tone, 'I will wait
no longer.' As he said this, he moved on with the light, and Emily,
fearing to provoke him by further delay, reluctantly followed. From
the steps, they proceeded through a passage, adjoining the vaults,
the walls of which were dropping with unwholesome dews, and the
vapours, that crept along the ground, made the torch burn so dimly,
that Emily expected every moment to see it extinguished, and
Barnardine could scarcely find his way. As they advanced, these
vapours thickened, and Barnardine, believing the torch was expiring,
stopped for a moment to trim it. As he then rested against a pair of
iron gates, that opened from the passage, Emily saw, by uncertain
flashes of light, the vaults beyond, and, near her, heaps of earth,
that seemed to surround an open grave. Such an object, in such a
scene, would, at any time, have disturbed her; but now she was
shocked by an instantaneous presentiment, that this was the grave of
her unfortunate aunt, and that the treacherous Barnardine was leading
herself to destruction. The obscure and terrible place, to which he
had conducted her, seemed to justify the thought; it was a place
suited for murder, a receptacle for the dead, where a deed of horror
might be committed, and no vestige appear to proclaim it. Emily was
so overwhelmed with terror, that, for a moment, she was unable to
determine what conduct to pursue. She then considered, that it would
be vain to attempt an escape from Barnardine, by flight, since the
length and the intricacy of the way she had passed would soon enable
him to overtake her, who was unacquainted with the turnings, and
whose feebleness would not suffer her to run long with swiftness.
She feared equally to irritate him by a disclosure of her suspicions,
which a refusal to accompany him further certainly would do; and,
since she was already as much in his power as it was possible she
could be, if she proceeded, she, at length, determined to suppress,
as far as she could, the appearance of apprehension, and to follow
silently whither he designed to lead her. Pale with horror and
anxiety, she now waited till Barnardine had trimmed the torch, and,
as her sight glanced again upon the grave, she could not forbear
enquiring, for whom it was prepared. He took his eyes from the
torch, and fixed them upon her face without speaking. She faintly
repeated the question, but the man, shaking the torch, passed on; and
she followed, trembling, to a second flight of steps, having ascended
which, a door delivered them into the first court of the castle. As
they crossed it, the light shewed the high black walls around them,
fringed with long grass and dank weeds, that found a scanty soil
among the mouldering stones; the heavy buttresses, with, here and
there, between them, a narrow grate, that admitted a freer
circulation of air to the court, the massy iron gates, that led to
the castle, whose clustering turrets appeared above, and, opposite,
the huge towers and arch of the portal itself. In this scene the
large, uncouth person of Barnardine, bearing the torch, formed a
characteristic figure. This Barnardine was wrapt in a long dark
cloak, which scarcely allowed the kind of half-boots, or sandals,
that were laced upon his legs, to appear, and shewed only the point
of a broad sword, which he usually wore, slung in a belt across his
shoulders. On his head was a heavy flat velvet cap, somewhat
resembling a turban, in which was a short feather; the visage beneath
it shewed strong features, and a countenance furrowed with the lines
of cunning and darkened by habitual discontent.
The view of the court, however, reanimated Emily, who, as she crossed
silently towards the portal, began to hope, that her own fears, and
not the treachery of Barnardine, had deceived her. She looked
anxiously up at the first casement, that appeared above the lofty
arch of the portcullis; but it was dark, and she enquired, whether it
belonged to the chamber, where Madame Montoni was confined. Emily
spoke low, and Barnardine, perhaps, did not hear her question, for he
returned no answer; and they, soon after, entered the postern door of
the gate-way, which brought them to the foot of a narrow stair-case,
that wound up one of the towers.
'Up this stair-case the Signora lies,' said Barnardine.
'Lies!' repeated Emily faintly, as she began to ascend.
'She lies in the upper chamber,' said Barnardine.
As they passed up, the wind, which poured through the narrow cavities
in the wall, made the torch flare, and it threw a stronger gleam upon
the grim and sallow countenance of Barnardine, and discovered more
fully the desolation of the place--the rough stone walls, the spiral
stairs, black with age, and a suit of antient armour, with an iron
visor, that hung upon the walls, and appeared a trophy of some former
Having reached a landing-place, 'You may wait here, lady,' said he,
applying a key to the door of a chamber, 'while I go up, and tell the
Signora you are coming.'
'That ceremony is unnecessary,' replied Emily, 'my aunt will rejoice
to see me.'
'I am not so sure of that,' said Barnardine, pointing to the room he
had opened: 'Come in here, lady, while I step up.'
Emily, surprised and somewhat shocked, did not dare to oppose him
further, but, as he was turning away with the torch, desired he would
not leave her in darkness. He looked around, and, observing a tripod
lamp, that stood on the stairs, lighted and gave it to Emily, who
stepped forward into a large old chamber, and he closed the door. As
she listened anxiously to his departing steps, she thought he
descended, instead of ascending, the stairs; but the gusts of wind,
that whistled round the portal, would not allow her to hear
distinctly any other sound. Still, however, she listened, and,
perceiving no step in the room above, where he had affirmed Madame
Montoni to be, her anxiety increased, though she considered, that the
thickness of the floor in this strong building might prevent any
sound reaching her from the upper chamber. The next moment, in a
pause of the wind, she distinguished Barnardine's step descending to
the court, and then thought she heard his voice; but, the rising gust
again overcoming other sounds, Emily, to be certain on this point,
moved softly to the door, which, on attempting to open it, she
discovered was fastened. All the horrid apprehensions, that had
lately assailed her, returned at this instant with redoubled force,
and no longer appeared like the exaggerations of a timid spirit, but
seemed to have been sent to warn her of her fate. She now did not
doubt, that Madame Montoni had been murdered, perhaps in this very
chamber; or that she herself was brought hither for the same purpose.
The countenance, the manners and the recollected words of Barnardine,
when he had spoken of her aunt, confirmed her worst fears. For some
moments, she was incapable of considering of any means, by which she
might attempt an escape. Still she listened, but heard footsteps
neither on the stairs, or in the room above; she thought, however,
that she again distinguished Barnardine's voice below, and went to a
grated window, that opened upon the court, to enquire further. Here,
she plainly heard his hoarse accents, mingling with the blast, that
swept by, but they were lost again so quickly, that their meaning
could not be interpreted; and then the light of a torch, which seemed
to issue from the portal below, flashed across the court, and the
long shadow of a man, who was under the arch-way, appeared upon the
pavement. Emily, from the hugeness of this sudden portrait,
concluded it to be that of Barnardine; but other deep tones, which
passed in the wind, soon convinced her he was not alone, and that his
companion was not a person very liable to pity.
When her spirits had overcome the first shock of her situation, she
held up the lamp to examine, if the chamber afforded a possibility of
an escape. It was a spacious room, whose walls, wainscoted with
rough oak, shewed no casement but the grated one, which Emily had
left, and no other door than that, by which she had entered. The
feeble rays of the lamp, however, did not allow her to see at once
its full extent; she perceived no furniture, except, indeed, an iron
chair, fastened in the centre of the chamber, immediately over which,
depending on a chain from the ceiling, hung an iron ring. Having
gazed upon these, for some time, with wonder and horror, she next
observed iron bars below, made for the purpose of confining the feet,
and on the arms of the chair were rings of the same metal. As she
continued to survey them, she concluded, that they were instruments
of torture, and it struck her, that some poor wretch had once been
fastened in this chair, and had there been starved to death. She was
chilled by the thought; but, what was her agony, when, in the next
moment, it occurred to her, that her aunt might have been one of
these victims, and that she herself might be the next! An acute pain
seized her head, she was scarcely able to hold the lamp, and, looking
round for support, was seating herself, unconsciously, in the iron
chair itself; but suddenly perceiving where she was, she started from
it in horror, and sprung towards a remote end of the room. Here
again she looked round for a seat to sustain her, and perceived only
a dark curtain, which, descending from the ceiling to the floor, was
drawn along the whole side of the chamber. Ill as she was, the
appearance of this curtain struck her, and she paused to gaze upon
it, in wonder and apprehension.
It seemed to conceal a recess of the chamber; she wished, yet
dreaded, to lift it, and to discover what it veiled: twice she was
withheld by a recollection of the terrible spectacle her daring hand
had formerly unveiled in an apartment of the castle, till, suddenly
conjecturing, that it concealed the body of her murdered aunt, she
seized it, in a fit of desperation, and drew it aside. Beyond,
appeared a corpse, stretched on a kind of low couch, which was
crimsoned with human blood, as was the floor beneath. The features,
deformed by death, were ghastly and horrible, and more than one livid
wound appeared in the face. Emily, bending over the body, gazed, for
a moment, with an eager, frenzied eye; but, in the next, the lamp
dropped from her hand, and she fell senseless at the foot of the
When her senses returned, she found herself surrounded by men, among
whom was Barnardine, who were lifting her from the floor, and then
bore her along the chamber. She was sensible of what passed, but the
extreme languor of her spirits did not permit her to speak, or move,
or even to feel any distinct fear. They carried her down the stair-
case, by which she had ascended; when, having reached the arch-way,
they stopped, and one of the men, taking the torch from Barnardine,
opened a small door, that was cut in the great gate, and, as he
stepped out upon the road, the light he bore shewed several men on
horseback, in waiting. Whether it was the freshness of the air, that
revived Emily, or that the objects she now saw roused the spirit of
alarm, she suddenly spoke, and made an ineffectual effort to
disengage herself from the grasp of the ruffians, who held her.
Barnardine, meanwhile, called loudly for the torch, while distant
voices answered, and several persons approached, and, in the same
instant, a light flashed upon the court of the castle. Again he
vociferated for the torch, and the men hurried Emily through the
gate. At a short distance, under the shelter of the castle walls,
she perceived the fellow, who had taken the light from the porter,
holding it to a man, busily employed in altering the saddle of a
horse, round which were several horsemen, looking on, whose harsh
features received the full glare of the torch; while the broken
ground beneath them, the opposite walls, with the tufted shrubs, that
overhung their summits, and an embattled watch-tower above, were
reddened with the gleam, which, fading gradually away, left the
remoter ramparts and the woods below to the obscurity of night.
'What do you waste time for, there?' said Barnardine with an oath, as
he approached the horsemen. 'Dispatch--dispatch!'
'The saddle will be ready in a minute,' replied the man who was
buckling it, at whom Barnardine now swore again, for his negligence,
and Emily, calling feebly for help, was hurried towards the horses,
while the ruffians disputed on which to place her, the one designed
for her not being ready. At this moment a cluster of lights issued
from the great gates, and she immediately heard the shrill voice of
Annette above those of several other persons, who advanced. In the
same moment, she distinguished Montoni and Cavigni, followed by a
number of ruffian-faced fellows, to whom she no longer looked with
terror, but with hope, for, at this instant, she did not tremble at
the thought of any dangers, that might await her within the castle,
whence so lately, and so anxiously she had wished to escape. Those,
which threatened her from without, had engrossed all her
A short contest ensued between the parties, in which that of Montoni,
however, were presently victors, and the horsemen, perceiving that
numbers were against them, and being, perhaps, not very warmly
interested in the affair they had undertaken, galloped off, while
Barnardine had run far enough to be lost in the darkness, and Emily
was led back into the castle. As she re-passed the courts, the
remembrance of what she had seen in the portal-chamber came, with all
its horror, to her mind; and when, soon after, she heard the gate
close, that shut her once more within the castle walls, she shuddered
for herself, and, almost forgetting the danger she had escaped, could
scarcely think, that any thing less precious than liberty and peace
was to be found beyond them.
Montoni ordered Emily to await him in the cedar parlour, whither he
soon followed, and then sternly questioned her on this mysterious
affair. Though she now viewed him with horror, as the murderer of
her aunt, and scarcely knew what she said in reply to his impatient
enquiries, her answers and her manner convinced him, that she had not
taken a voluntary part in the late scheme, and he dismissed her upon
the appearance of his servants, whom he had ordered to attend, that
he might enquire further into the affair, and discover those, who had
been accomplices in it.
Emily had been some time in her apartment, before the tumult of her
mind allowed her to remember several of the past circumstances.
Then, again, the dead form, which the curtain in the portal-chamber
had disclosed, came to her fancy, and she uttered a groan, which
terrified Annette the more, as Emily forbore to satisfy her
curiosity, on the subject of it, for she feared to trust her with so
fatal a secret, lest her indiscretion should call down the immediate
vengeance of Montoni on herself.
Thus compelled to bear within her own mind the whole horror of the
secret, that oppressed it, her reason seemed to totter under the
intolerable weight. She often fixed a wild and vacant look on
Annette, and, when she spoke, either did not hear her, or answered
from the purpose. Long fits of abstraction succeeded; Annette spoke
repeatedly, but her voice seemed not to make any impression on the
sense of the long agitated Emily, who sat fixed and silent, except
that, now and then, she heaved a heavy sigh, but without tears.
Terrified at her condition, Annette, at length, left the room, to
inform Montoni of it, who had just dismissed his servants, without
having made any discoveries on the subject of his enquiry. The wild
description, which this girl now gave of Emily, induced him to follow
her immediately to the chamber.
At the sound of his voice, Emily turned her eyes, and a gleam of
recollection seemed to shoot athwart her mind, for she immediately
rose from her seat, and moved slowly to a remote part of the room.
He spoke to her in accents somewhat softened from their usual
harshness, but she regarded him with a kind of half curious, half
terrified look, and answered only 'yes,' to whatever he said. Her
mind still seemed to retain no other impression, than that of fear.
Of this disorder Annette could give no explanation, and Montoni,
having attempted, for some time, to persuade Emily to talk, retired,
after ordering Annette to remain with her, during the night, and to
inform him, in the morning, of her condition.
When he was gone, Emily again came forward, and asked who it was,
that had been there to disturb her. Annette said it was the Signor-
Signor Montoni. Emily repeated the name after her, several times, as
if she did not recollect it, and then suddenly groaned, and relapsed
With some difficulty, Annette led her to the bed, which Emily
examined with an eager, frenzied eye, before she lay down, and then,
pointing, turned with shuddering emotion, to Annette, who, now more
terrified, went towards the door, that she might bring one of the
female servants to pass the night with them; but Emily, observing her
going, called her by name, and then in the naturally soft and
plaintive tone of her voice, begged, that she, too, would not forsake
her.- -'For since my father died,' added she, sighing, 'every body
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