The Mysteries of Udolpho
Part 9 out of 16
'Your father, ma'amselle!' said Annette, 'he was dead before you knew
'He was, indeed!' rejoined Emily, and her tears began to flow. She
now wept silently and long, after which, becoming quite calm, she at
length sunk to sleep, Annette having had discretion enough not to
interrupt her tears. This girl, as affectionate as she was simple,
lost in these moments all her former fears of remaining in the
chamber, and watched alone by Emily, during the whole night.
What worlds, or what vast regions, hold
Th' immortal mind, that hath forsook
Her mansion in this fleshly nook!
Emily's mind was refreshed by sleep. On waking in the morning, she
looked with surprise on Annette, who sat sleeping in a chair beside
the bed, and then endeavoured to recollect herself; but the
circumstances of the preceding night were swept from her memory,
which seemed to retain no trace of what had passed, and she was still
gazing with surprise on Annette, when the latter awoke.
'O dear ma'amselle! do you know me?' cried she.
'Know you! Certainly,' replied Emily, 'you are Annette; but why are
you sitting by me thus?'
'O you have been very ill, ma'amselle,--very ill indeed! and I am
sure I thought--'
'This is very strange!' said Emily, still trying to recollect the
past.--'But I think I do remember, that my fancy has been haunted by
frightful dreams. Good God!' she added, suddenly starting--'surely
it was nothing more than a dream!'
She fixed a terrified look upon Annette, who, intending to quiet her,
said 'Yes, ma'amselle, it was more than a dream, but it is all over
'She IS murdered, then!' said Emily in an inward voice, and
shuddering instantaneously. Annette screamed; for, being ignorant of
the circumstance to which Emily referred, she attributed her manner
to a disordered fancy; but, when she had explained to what her own
speech alluded, Emily, recollecting the attempt that had been made to
carry her off, asked if the contriver of it had been discovered.
Annette replied, that he had not, though he might easily be guessed
at; and then told Emily she might thank her for her deliverance, who,
endeavouring to command the emotion, which the remembrance of her
aunt had occasioned, appeared calmly to listen to Annette, though, in
truth, she heard scarcely a word that was said.
'And so, ma'amselle,' continued the latter, 'I was determined to be
even with Barnardine for refusing to tell me the secret, by finding
it out myself; so I watched you, on the terrace, and, as soon as he
had opened the door at the end, I stole out from the castle, to try
to follow you; for, says I, I am sure no good can be planned, or why
all this secrecy? So, sure enough, he had not bolted the door after
him, and, when I opened it, I saw, by the glimmer of the torch, at
the other end of the passage, which way you were going. I followed
the light, at a distance, till you came to the vaults of the chapel,
and there I was afraid to go further, for I had heard strange things
about these vaults. But then, again, I was afraid to go back, all in
darkness, by myself; so by the time Barnardine had trimmed the light,
I had resolved to follow you, and I did so, till you came to the
great court, and there I was afraid he would see me; so I stopped at
the door again, and watched you across to the gates, and, when you
was gone up the stairs, I whipt after. There, as I stood under the
gate-way, I heard horses' feet without, and several men talking; and
I heard them swearing at Barnardine for not bringing you out, and
just then, he had like to have caught me, for he came down the stairs
again, and I had hardly time to get out of his way. But I had heard
enough of his secret now, and I determined to be even with him, and
to save you, too, ma'amselle, for I guessed it to be some new scheme
of Count Morano, though he was gone away. I ran into the castle, but
I had hard work to find my way through the passage under the chapel,
and what is very strange, I quite forgot to look for the ghosts they
had told me about, though I would not go into that place again by
myself for all the world! Luckily the Signor and Signor Cavigni were
up, so we had soon a train at our heels, sufficient to frighten that
Barnardine and his rogues, all together.'
Annette ceased to speak, but Emily still appeared to listen. At
length she said, suddenly, 'I think I will go to him myself;--where
Annette asked who was meant.
'Signor Montoni,' replied Emily. 'I would speak with him;' and
Annette, now remembering the order he had given, on the preceding
night, respecting her young lady, rose, and said she would seek him
This honest girl's suspicions of Count Morano were perfectly just;
Emily, too, when she thought on the scheme, had attributed it to him;
and Montoni, who had not a doubt on this subject, also, began to
believe, that it was by the direction of Morano, that poison had
formerly been mingled with his wine.
The professions of repentance, which Morano had made to Emily, under
the anguish of his wound, was sincere at the moment he offered them;
but he had mistaken the subject of his sorrow, for, while he thought
he was condemning the cruelty of his late design, he was lamenting
only the state of suffering, to which it had reduced him. As these
sufferings abated, his former views revived, till, his health being
re-established, he again found himself ready for enterprise and
difficulty. The porter of the castle, who had served him, on a
former occasion, willingly accepted a second bribe; and, having
concerted the means of drawing Emily to the gates, Morano publicly
left the hamlet, whither he had been carried after the affray, and
withdrew with his people to another at several miles distance. From
thence, on a night agreed upon by Barnardine, who had discovered from
the thoughtless prattle of Annette, the most probable means of
decoying Emily, the Count sent back his servants to the castle, while
he awaited her arrival at the hamlet, with an intention of carrying
her immediately to Venice. How this, his second scheme, was
frustrated, has already appeared; but the violent, and various
passions with which this Italian lover was now agitated, on his
return to that city, can only be imagined.
Annette having made her report to Montoni of Emily's health and of
her request to see him, he replied, that she might attend him in the
cedar room, in about an hour. It was on the subject, that pressed so
heavily on her mind, that Emily wished to speak to him, yet she did
not distinctly know what good purpose this could answer, and
sometimes she even recoiled in horror from the expectation of his
presence. She wished, also, to petition, though she scarcely dared
to believe the request would be granted, that he would permit her,
since her aunt was no more, to return to her native country.
As the moment of interview approached, her agitation increased so
much, that she almost resolved to excuse herself under what could
scarcely be called a pretence of illness; and, when she considered
what could be said, either concerning herself, or the fate of her
aunt, she was equally hopeless as to the event of her entreaty, and
terrified as to its effect upon the vengeful spirit of Montoni. Yet,
to pretend ignorance of her death, appeared, in some degree, to be
sharing its criminality, and, indeed, this event was the only ground,
on which Emily could rest her petition for leaving Udolpho.
While her thoughts thus wavered, a message was brought, importing,
that Montoni could not see her, till the next day; and her spirits
were then relieved, for a moment, from an almost intolerable weight
of apprehension. Annette said, she fancied the Chevaliers were going
out to the wars again, for the court-yard was filled with horses, and
she heard, that the rest of the party, who went out before, were
expected at the castle. 'And I heard one of the soldiers, too,'
added she, 'say to his comrade, that he would warrant they'd bring
home a rare deal of booty.--So, thinks I, if the Signor can, with a
safe conscience, send his people out a-robbing--why it is no business
of mine. I only wish I was once safe out of this castle; and, if it
had not been for poor Ludovico's sake, I would have let Count
Morano's people run away with us both, for it would have been serving
you a good turn, ma'amselle, as well as myself.'
Annette might have continued thus talking for hours for any
interruption she would have received from Emily, who was silent,
inattentive, absorbed in thought, and passed the whole of this day in
a kind of solemn tranquillity, such as is often the result of
faculties overstrained by suffering.
When night returned, Emily recollected the mysterious strains of
music, that she had lately heard, in which she still felt some degree
of interest, and of which she hoped to hear again the soothing
sweetness. The influence of superstition now gained on the weakness
of her long-harassed mind; she looked, with enthusiastic expectation,
to the guardian spirit of her father, and, having dismissed Annette
for the night, determined to watch alone for their return. It was
not yet, however, near the time when she had heard the music on a
former night, and anxious to call off her thoughts from distressing
subjects, she sat down with one of the few books, that she had
brought from France; but her mind, refusing controul, became restless
and agitated, and she went often to the casement to listen for a
sound. Once, she thought she heard a voice, but then, every thing
without the casement remaining still, she concluded, that her fancy
had deceived her.
Thus passed the time, till twelve o'clock, soon after which the
distant sounds, that murmured through the castle, ceased, and sleep
seemed to reign over all. Emily then seated herself at the casement,
where she was soon recalled from the reverie, into which she sunk, by
very unusual sounds, not of music, but like the low mourning of some
person in distress. As she listened, her heart faltered in terror,
and she became convinced, that the former sound was more than
imaginary. Still, at intervals, she heard a kind of feeble
lamentation, and sought to discover whence it came. There were
several rooms underneath, adjoining the rampart, which had been long
shut up, and, as the sound probably rose from one of these, she
leaned from the casement to observe, whether any light was visible
there. The chambers, as far as she could perceive, were quite dark,
but, at a little distance, on the rampart below, she thought she saw
The faint twilight, which the stars shed, did not enable her to
distinguish what it was; but she judged it to be a sentinel, on
watch, and she removed her light to a remote part of the chamber,
that she might escape notice, during her further observation.
The same object still appeared. Presently, it advanced along the
rampart, towards her window, and she then distinguished something
like a human form, but the silence, with which it moved, convinced
her it was no sentinel. As it drew near, she hesitated whether to
retire; a thrilling curiosity inclined her to stay, but a dread of
she scarcely knew what warned her to withdraw.
While she paused, the figure came opposite to her casement, and was
stationary. Every thing remained quiet; she had not heard even a
foot-fall; and the solemnity of this silence, with the mysterious
form she saw, subdued her spirits, so that she was moving from the
casement, when, on a sudden, she observed the figure start away, and
glide down the rampart, after which it was soon lost in the obscurity
of night. Emily continued to gaze, for some time, on the way it had
passed, and then retired within her chamber, musing on this strange
circumstance, and scarcely doubting, that she had witnessed a
When her spirits recovered composure, she looked round for some other
explanation. Remembering what she had heard of the daring
enterprises of Montoni, it occurred to her, that she had just seen
some unhappy person, who, having been plundered by his banditti, was
brought hither a captive; and that the music she had formerly heard,
came from him. Yet, if they had plundered him, it still appeared
improbable, that they should have brought him to the castle, and it
was also more consistent with the manners of banditti to murder those
they rob, than to make them prisoners. But what, more than any other
circumstance, contradicted the supposition, that it was a prisoner,
was that it wandered on the terrace, without a guard: a
consideration, which made her dismiss immediately her first surmise.
Afterwards, she was inclined to believe, that Count Morano had
obtained admittance into the castle; but she soon recollected the
difficulties and dangers, that must have opposed such an enterprise,
and that, if he had so far succeeded, to come alone and in silence to
her casement at midnight was not the conduct he would have adopted,
particularly since the private stair-case, communicating with her
apartment, was known to him; neither would he have uttered the dismal
sounds she had heard.
Another suggestion represented, that this might be some person, who
had designs upon the castle; but the mournful sounds destroyed, also,
that probability. Thus, enquiry only perplexed her. Who, or what,
it could be that haunted this lonely hour, complaining in such
doleful accents and in such sweet music (for she was still inclined
to believe, that the former strains and the late appearance were
connected,) she had no means of ascertaining; and imagination again
assumed her empire, and roused the mysteries of superstition.
She determined, however, to watch on the following night, when her
doubts might, perhaps, be cleared up; and she almost resolved to
address the figure, if it should appear again.
Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp,
Oft seen in charnel-vaults and sepulchres,
Lingering, and sitting, by a new-made grave.
On the following day, Montoni sent a second excuse to Emily, who was
surprised at the circumstance. 'This is very strange!' said she to
herself. 'His conscience tells him the purport of my visit, and he
defers it, to avoid an explanation.' She now almost resolved to
throw herself in his way, but terror checked the intention, and this
day passed, as the preceding one, with Emily, except that a degree of
awful expectation, concerning the approaching night, now somewhat
disturbed the dreadful calmness that had pervaded her mind.
Towards evening, the second part of the band, which had made the
first excursion among the mountains, returned to the castle, where,
as they entered the courts, Emily, in her remote chamber, heard their
loud shouts and strains of exultation, like the orgies of furies over
some horrid sacrifice. She even feared they were about to commit
some barbarous deed; a conjecture from which, however, Annette soon
relieved her, by telling, that the people were only exulting over the
plunder they had brought with them. This circumstance still further
confirmed her in the belief, that Montoni had really commenced to be
a captain of banditti, and meant to retrieve his broken fortunes by
the plunder of travellers! Indeed, when she considered all the
circumstances of his situation--in an armed, and almost inaccessible
castle, retired far among the recesses of wild and solitary
mountains, along whose distant skirts were scattered towns, and
cities, whither wealthy travellers were continually passing--this
appeared to be the situation of all others most suited for the
success of schemes of rapine, and she yielded to the strange thought,
that Montoni was become a captain of robbers. His character also,
unprincipled, dauntless, cruel and enterprising, seemed to fit him
for the situation. Delighting in the tumult and in the struggles of
life, he was equally a stranger to pity and to fear; his very courage
was a sort of animal ferocity; not the noble impulse of a principle,
such as inspirits the mind against the oppressor, in the cause of the
oppressed; but a constitutional hardiness of nerve, that cannot feel,
and that, therefore, cannot fear.
Emily's supposition, however natural, was in part erroneous, for she
was a stranger to the state of this country and to the circumstances,
under which its frequent wars were partly conducted. The revenues of
the many states of Italy being, at that time, insufficient to the
support of standing armies, even during the short periods, which the
turbulent habits both of the governments and the people permitted to
pass in peace, an order of men arose not known in our age, and but
faintly described in the history of their own. Of the soldiers,
disbanded at the end of every war, few returned to the safe, but
unprofitable occupations, then usual in peace. Sometimes they passed
into other countries, and mingled with armies, which still kept the
field. Sometimes they formed themselves into bands of robbers, and
occupied remote fortresses, where their desperate character, the
weakness of the governments which they offended, and the certainty,
that they could be recalled to the armies, when their presence should
be again wanted, prevented them from being much pursued by the civil
power; and, sometimes, they attached themselves to the fortunes of a
popular chief, by whom they were led into the service of any state,
which could settle with him the price of their valour. From this
latter practice arose their name--CONDOTTIERI; a term formidable all
over Italy, for a period, which concluded in the earlier part of the
seventeenth century, but of which it is not so easy to ascertain the
Contests between the smaller states were then, for the most part,
affairs of enterprize alone, and the probabilities of success were
estimated, not from the skill, but from the personal courage of the
general, and the soldiers. The ability, which was necessary to the
conduct of tedious operations, was little valued. It was enough to
know how a party might be led towards their enemies, with the
greatest secrecy, or conducted from them in the compactest order.
The officer was to precipitate himself into a situation, where, but
for his example, the soldiers might not have ventured; and, as the
opposed parties knew little of each other's strength, the event of
the day was frequently determined by the boldness of the first
movements. In such services the condottieri were eminent, and in
these, where plunder always followed success, their characters
acquired a mixture of intrepidity and profligacy, which awed even
those whom they served.
When they were not thus engaged, their chief had usually his own
fortress, in which, or in its neighbourhood, they enjoyed an irksome
rest; and, though their wants were, at one time, partly supplied from
the property of the inhabitants, the lavish distribution of their
plunder at others, prevented them from being obnoxious; and the
peasants of such districts gradually shared the character of their
warlike visitors. The neighbouring governments sometimes professed,
but seldom endeavoured, to suppress these military communities; both
because it was difficult to do so, and because a disguised protection
of them ensured, for the service of their wars, a body of men, who
could not otherwise be so cheaply maintained, or so perfectly
qualified. The commanders sometimes even relied so far upon this
policy of the several powers, as to frequent their capitals; and
Montoni, having met them in the gaming parties of Venice and Padua,
conceived a desire to emulate their characters, before his ruined
fortunes tempted him to adopt their practices. It was for the
arrangement of his present plan of life, that the midnight councils
were held at his mansion in Venice, and at which Orsino and some
other members of the present community then assisted with
suggestions, which they had since executed with the wreck of their
On the return of night, Emily resumed her station at the casement.
There was now a moon; and, as it rose over the tufted woods, its
yellow light served to shew the lonely terrace and the surrounding
objects, more distinctly, than the twilight of the stars had done,
and promised Emily to assist her observations, should the mysterious
form return. On this subject, she again wavered in conjecture, and
hesitated whether to speak to the figure, to which a strong and
almost irresistible interest urged her; but terror, at intervals,
made her reluctant to do so.
'If this is a person who has designs upon the castle,' said she, 'my
curiosity may prove fatal to me; yet the mysterious music, and the
lamentations I heard, must surely have proceeded from him: if so, he
cannot be an enemy.'
She then thought of her unfortunate aunt, and, shuddering with grief
and horror, the suggestions of imagination seized her mind with all
the force of truth, and she believed, that the form she had seen was
supernatural. She trembled, breathed with difficulty, an icy
coldness touched her cheeks, and her fears for a while overcame her
judgment. Her resolution now forsook her, and she determined, if the
figure should appear, not to speak to it.
Thus the time passed, as she sat at her casement, awed by
expectation, and by the gloom and stillness of midnight; for she saw
obscurely in the moon-light only the mountains and woods, a cluster
of towers, that formed the west angle of the castle, and the terrace
below; and heard no sound, except, now and then, the lonely watch-
word, passed by the centinels on duty, and afterwards the steps of
the men who came to relieve guard, and whom she knew at a distance on
the rampart by their pikes, that glittered in the moonbeam, and then,
by the few short words, in which they hailed their fellows of the
night. Emily retired within her chamber, while they passed the
casement. When she returned to it, all was again quiet. It was now
very late, she was wearied with watching, and began to doubt the
reality of what she had seen on the preceding night; but she still
lingered at the window, for her mind was too perturbed to admit of
sleep. The moon shone with a clear lustre, that afforded her a
complete view of the terrace; but she saw only a solitary centinel,
pacing at one end of it; and, at length, tired with expectation, she
withdrew to seek rest.
Such, however, was the impression, left on her mind by the music, and
the complaining she had formerly heard, as well as by the figure,
which she fancied she had seen, that she determined to repeat the
watch, on the following night.
Montoni, on the next day, took no notice of Emily's appointed visit,
but she, more anxious than before to see him, sent Annette to
enquire, at what hour he would admit her. He mentioned eleven
o'clock, and Emily was punctual to the moment; at which she called up
all her fortitude to support the shock of his presence and the
dreadful recollections it enforced. He was with several of his
officers, in the cedar room; on observing whom she paused; and her
agitation increased, while he continued to converse with them,
apparently not observing her, till some of his officers, turning
round, saw Emily, and uttered an exclamation. She was hastily
retiring, when Montoni's voice arrested her, and, in a faultering
accent, she said,--'I would speak with you, Signor Montoni, if you
are at leisure.'
'These are my friends,' he replied, 'whatever you would say, they may
Emily, without replying, turned from the rude gaze of the chevaliers,
and Montoni then followed her to the hall, whence he led her to a
small room, of which he shut the door with violence. As she looked
on his dark countenance, she again thought she saw the murderer of
her aunt; and her mind was so convulsed with horror, that she had not
power to recal thought enough to explain the purport of her visit;
and to trust herself with the mention of Madame Montoni was more than
Montoni at length impatiently enquired what she had to say? 'I have
no time for trifling,' he added, 'my moments are important.'
Emily then told him, that she wished to return to France, and came to
beg, that he would permit her to do so.--But when he looked
surprised, and enquired for the motive of the request, she hesitated,
became paler than before, trembled, and had nearly sunk at his feet.
He observed her emotion, with apparent indifference, and interrupted
the silence by telling her, he must be gone. Emily, however,
recalled her spirits sufficiently to enable her to repeat her
request. And, when Montoni absolutely refused it, her slumbering
mind was roused.
'I can no longer remain here with propriety, sir,' said she, 'and I
may be allowed to ask, by what right you detain me.'
'It is my will that you remain here,' said Montoni, laying his hand
on the door to go; 'let that suffice you.'
Emily, considering that she had no appeal from this will, forbore to
dispute his right, and made a feeble effort to persuade him to be
just. 'While my aunt lived, sir,' said she, in a tremulous voice,
'my residence here was not improper; but now, that she is no more, I
may surely be permitted to depart. My stay cannot benefit you, sir,
and will only distress me.'
'Who told you, that Madame Montoni was dead?' said Montoni, with an
inquisitive eye. Emily hesitated, for nobody had told her so, and
she did not dare to avow the having seen that spectacle in the
portal-chamber, which had compelled her to the belief.
'Who told you so?' he repeated, more sternly.
'Alas! I know it too well,' replied Emily: 'spare me on this
She sat down on a bench to support herself.
'If you wish to see her,' said Montoni, 'you may; she lies in the
He now left the room, without awaiting her reply, and returned to the
cedar chamber, where such of the chevaliers as had not before seen
Emily, began to rally him, on the discovery they had made; but
Montoni did not appear disposed to bear this mirth, and they changed
Having talked with the subtle Orsino, on the plan of an excursion,
which he meditated for a future day, his friend advised, that they
should lie in wait for the enemy, which Verezzi impetuously opposed,
reproached Orsino with want of spirit, and swore, that, if Montoni
would let him lead on fifty men, he would conquer all that should
Orsino smiled contemptuously; Montoni smiled too, but he also
listened. Verezzi then proceeded with vehement declamation and
assertion, till he was stopped by an argument of Orsino, which he
knew not how to answer better than by invective. His fierce spirit
detested the cunning caution of Orsino, whom he constantly opposed,
and whose inveterate, though silent, hatred he had long ago incurred.
And Montoni was a calm observer of both, whose different
qualifications he knew, and how to bend their opposite character to
the perfection of his own designs. But Verezzi, in the heat of
opposition, now did not scruple to accuse Orsino of cowardice, at
which the countenance of the latter, while he made no reply, was
overspread with a livid paleness; and Montoni, who watched his
lurking eye, saw him put his hand hastily into his bosom. But
Verezzi, whose face, glowing with crimson, formed a striking contrast
to the complexion of Orsino, remarked not the action, and continued
boldly declaiming against cowards to Cavigni, who was slily laughing
at his vehemence, and at the silent mortification of Orsino, when the
latter, retiring a few steps behind, drew forth a stilletto to stab
his adversary in the back. Montoni arrested his half-extended arm,
and, with a significant look, made him return the poinard into his
bosom, unseen by all except himself; for most of the party were
disputing at a distant window, on the situation of a dell where they
meant to form an ambuscade.
When Verezzi had turned round, the deadly hatred, expressed on the
features of his opponent, raising, for the first time, a suspicion of
his intention, he laid his hand on his sword, and then, seeming to
recollect himself, strode up to Montoni.
'Signor,' said he, with a significant look at Orsino, 'we are not a
band of assassins; if you have business for brave men employ me on
this expedition: you shall have the last drop of my blood; if you
have only work for cowards--keep him,' pointing to Orsino, 'and let
me quit Udolpho.'
Orsino, still more incensed, again drew forth his stilletto, and
rushed towards Verezzi, who, at the same instant, advanced with his
sword, when Montoni and the rest of the party interfered and
'This is the conduct of a boy,' said Montoni to Verezzi, 'not of a
man: be more moderate in your speech.'
'Moderation is the virtue of cowards,' retorted Verezzi; 'they are
moderate in every thing--but in fear.'
'I accept your words,' said Montoni, turning upon him with a fierce
and haughty look, and drawing his sword out of the scabbard.
'With all my heart,' cried Verezzi, 'though I did not mean them for
He directed a pass at Montoni; and, while they fought, the villain
Orsino made another attempt to stab Verezzi, and was again prevented.
The combatants were, at length, separated; and, after a very long and
violent dispute, reconciled. Montoni then left the room with Orsino,
whom he detained in private consultation for a considerable time.
Emily, meanwhile, stunned by the last words of Montoni, forgot, for
the moment, his declaration, that she should continue in the castle,
while she thought of her unfortunate aunt, who, he had said, was laid
in the east turret. In suffering the remains of his wife to lie thus
long unburied, there appeared a degree of brutality more shocking
than she had suspected even Montoni could practise.
After a long struggle, she determined to accept his permission to
visit the turret, and to take a last look of her ill-fated aunt:
with which design she returned to her chamber, and, while she waited
for Annette to accompany her, endeavoured to acquire fortitude
sufficient to support her through the approaching scene; for, though
she trembled to encounter it, she knew that to remember the
performance of this last act of duty would hereafter afford her
Annette came, and Emily mentioned her purpose, from which the former
endeavoured to dissuade her, though without effect, and Annette was,
with much difficulty, prevailed upon to accompany her to the turret;
but no consideration could make her promise to enter the chamber of
They now left the corridor, and, having reached the foot of the
stair-case, which Emily had formerly ascended, Annette declared she
would go no further, and Emily proceeded alone. When she saw the
track of blood, which she had before observed, her spirits fainted,
and, being compelled to rest on the stairs, she almost determined to
proceed no further. The pause of a few moments restored her
resolution, and she went on.
As she drew near the landing-place, upon which the upper chamber
opened, she remembered, that the door was formerly fastened, and
apprehended, that it might still be so. In this expectation,
however, she was mistaken; for the door opened at once, into a dusky
and silent chamber, round which she fearfully looked, and then slowly
advanced, when a hollow voice spoke. Emily, who was unable to speak,
or to move from the spot, uttered no sound of terror. The voice
spoke again; and, then, thinking that it resembled that of Madame
Montoni, Emily's spirits were instantly roused; she rushed towards a
bed, that stood in a remote part of the room, and drew aside the
curtains. Within, appeared a pale and emaciated face. She started
back, then again advanced, shuddered as she took up the skeleton
hand, that lay stretched upon the quilt; then let it drop, and then
viewed the face with a long, unsettled gaze. It was that of Madame
Montoni, though so changed by illness, that the resemblance of what
it had been, could scarcely be traced in what it now appeared. she
was still alive, and, raising her heavy eyes, she turned them on her
'Where have you been so long?' said she, in the same hollow tone, 'I
thought you had forsaken me.'
'Do you indeed live,' said Emily, at length, 'or is this but a
terrible apparition?' she received no answer, and again she snatched
up the hand. 'This is substance,' she exclaimed, 'but it is cold--
cold as marble!' She let it fall. 'O, if you really live, speak!'
said Emily, in a voice of desperation, 'that I may not lose my
senses--say you know me!'
'I do live,' replied Madame Montoni, 'but--I feel that I am about to
Emily clasped the hand she held, more eagerly, and groaned. They
were both silent for some moments. Then Emily endeavoured to soothe
her, and enquired what had reduced her to this present deplorable
Montoni, when he removed her to the turret under the improbable
suspicion of having attempted his life, had ordered the men employed
on the occasion, to observe a strict secrecy concerning her. To this
he was influenced by a double motive. He meant to debar her from the
comfort of Emily's visits, and to secure an opportunity of privately
dispatching her, should any new circumstances occur to confirm the
present suggestions of his suspecting mind. His consciousness of the
hatred he deserved it was natural enough should at first led him to
attribute to her the attempt that had been made upon his life; and,
though there was no other reason to believe that she was concerned in
that atrocious design, his suspicions remained; he continued to
confine her in the turret, under a strict guard; and, without pity or
remorse, had suffered her to lie, forlorn and neglected, under a
raging fever, till it had reduced her to the present state.
The track of blood, which Emily had seen on the stairs, had flowed
from the unbound wound of one of the men employed to carry Madame
Montoni, and which he had received in the late affray. At night
these men, having contented themselves with securing the door of
their prisoner's room, had retired from guard; and then it was, that
Emily, at the time of her first enquiry, had found the turret so
silent and deserted.
When she had attempted to open the door of the chamber, her aunt was
sleeping, and this occasioned the silence, which had contributed to
delude her into a belief, that she was no more; yet had her terror
permitted her to persevere longer in the call, she would probably
have awakened Madame Montoni, and have been spared much suffering.
The spectacle in the portal-chamber, which afterwards confirmed
Emily's horrible suspicion, was the corpse of a man, who had fallen
in the affray, and the same which had been borne into the servants'
hall, where she took refuge from the tumult. This man had lingered
under his wounds for some days; and, soon after his death, his body
had been removed on the couch, on which he died, for interment in the
vault beneath the chapel, through which Emily and Barnardine had
passed to the chamber.
Emily, after asking Madame Montoni a thousand questions concerning
herself, left her, and sought Montoni; for the more solemn interest
she felt for her aunt, made her now regardless of the resentment her
remonstrances might draw upon herself, and of the improbability of
his granting what she meant to entreat.
'Madame Montoni is now dying, sir,' said Emily, as soon as she saw
him--'Your resentment, surely will not pursue her to the last moment!
Suffer her to be removed from that forlorn room to her own apartment,
and to have necessary comforts administered.'
'Of what service will that be, if she is dying?' said Montoni, with
'The service, at leave, of saving you, sir, from a few of those pangs
of conscience you must suffer, when you shall be in the same
situation,' said Emily, with imprudent indignation, of which Montoni
soon made her sensible, by commanding her to quit his presence.
Then, forgetting her resentment, and impressed only by compassion for
the piteous state of her aunt, dying without succour, she submitted
to humble herself to Montoni, and to adopt every persuasive means,
that might induce him to relent towards his wife.
For a considerable time he was proof against all she said, and all
she looked; but at length the divinity of pity, beaming in Emily's
eyes, seemed to touch his heart. He turned away, ashamed of his
better feelings, half sullen and half relenting; but finally
consented, that his wife should be removed to her own apartment, and
that Emily should attend her. Dreading equally, that this relief
might arrive too late, and that Montoni might retract his concession,
Emily scarcely staid to thank him for it, but, assisted by Annette,
she quickly prepared Madame Montoni's bed, and they carried her a
cordial, that might enable her feeble frame to sustain the fatigue of
Madame was scarcely arrived in her own apartment, when an order was
given by her husband, that she should remain in the turret; but
Emily, thankful that she had made such dispatch, hastened to inform
him of it, as well as that a second removal would instantly prove
fatal, and he suffered his wife to continue where she was.
During this day, Emily never left Madame Montoni, except to prepare
such little nourishing things as she judged necessary to sustain her,
and which Madame Montoni received with quiet acquiescence, though she
seemed sensible that they could not save her from approaching
dissolution, and scarcely appeared to wish for life. Emily meanwhile
watched over her with the most tender solicitude, no longer seeing
her imperious aunt in the poor object before her, but the sister of
her late beloved father, in a situation that called for all her
compassion and kindness. When night came, she determined to sit up
with her aunt, but this the latter positively forbade, commanding her
to retire to rest, and Annette alone to remain in her chamber. Rest
was, indeed, necessary to Emily, whose spirits and frame were equally
wearied by the occurrences and exertions of the day; but she would
not leave Madame Montoni, till after the turn of midnight, a period
then thought so critical by the physicians.
Soon after twelve, having enjoined Annette to be wakeful, and to call
her, should any change appear for the worse, Emily sorrowfully bade
Madame Montoni good night, and withdrew to her chamber. Her spirits
were more than usually depressed by the piteous condition of her
aunt, whose recovery she scarcely dared to expect. To her own
misfortunes she saw no period, inclosed as she was, in a remote
castle, beyond the reach of any friends, had she possessed such, and
beyond the pity even of strangers; while she knew herself to be in
the power of a man capable of any action, which his interest, or his
ambition, might suggest.
Occupied by melancholy reflections and by anticipations as sad, she
did not retire immediately to rest, but leaned thoughtfully on her
open casement. The scene before her of woods and mountains, reposing
in the moon-light, formed a regretted contrast with the state of her
mind; but the lonely murmur of these woods, and the view of this
sleeping landscape, gradually soothed her emotions and softened her
She continued to weep, for some time, lost to every thing, but to a
gentle sense of her misfortunes. When she, at length, took the
handkerchief from her eyes, she perceived, before her, on the terrace
below, the figure she had formerly observed, which stood fixed and
silent, immediately opposite to her casement. On perceiving it, she
started back, and terror for some time overcame curiosity;--at
length, she returned to the casement, and still the figure was before
it, which she now compelled herself to observe, but was utterly
unable to speak, as she had formerly intended. The moon shone with a
clear light, and it was, perhaps, the agitation of her mind, that
prevented her distinguishing, with any degree of accuracy, the form
before her. It was still stationary, and she began to doubt, whether
it was really animated.
Her scattered thoughts were now so far returned as to remind her,
that her light exposed her to dangerous observation, and she was
stepping back to remove it, when she perceived the figure move, and
then wave what seemed to be its arm, as if to beckon her; and, while
she gazed, fixed in fear, it repeated the action. She now attempted
to speak, but the words died on her lips, and she went from the
casement to remove her light; as she was doing which, she heard, from
without, a faint groan. Listening, but not daring to return, she
presently heard it repeated.
'Good God!--what can this mean!' said she.
Again she listened, but the sound came no more; and, after a long
interval of silence, she recovered courage enough to go to the
casement, when she again saw the same appearance! It beckoned again,
and again uttered a low sound.
'That groan was surely human!' said she. 'I WILL speak.' 'Who is
it,' cried Emily in a faint voice, 'that wanders at this late hour?'
The figure raised its head but suddenly started away, and glided down
the terrace. She watched it, for a long while, passing swiftly in
the moon-light, but heard no footstep, till a sentinel from the other
extremity of the rampart walked slowly along. The man stopped under
her window, and, looking up, called her by name. She was retiring
precipitately, but, a second summons inducing her to reply, the
soldier then respectfully asked if she had seen any thing pass. On
her answering, that she had; he said no more, but walked away down
the terrace, Emily following him with her eyes, till he was lost in
the distance. But, as he was on guard, she knew he could not go
beyond the rampart, and, therefore, resolved to await his return.
Soon after, his voice was heard, at a distance, calling loudly; and
then a voice still more distant answered, and, in the next moment,
the watch-word was given, and passed along the terrace. As the
soldiers moved hastily under the casement, she called to enquire what
had happened, but they passed without regarding her.
Emily's thoughts returning to the figure she had seen, 'It cannot be
a person, who has designs upon the castle,' said she; 'such an one
would conduct himself very differently. He would not venture where
sentinels were on watch, nor fix himself opposite to a window, where
he perceived he must be observed; much less would he beckon, or utter
a sound of complaint. Yet it cannot be a prisoner, for how could he
obtain the opportunity to wander thus?'
If she had been subject to vanity, she might have supposed this
figure to be some inhabitant of the castle, who wandered under her
casement in the hope of seeing her, and of being allowed to declare
his admiration; but this opinion never occurred to Emily, and, if it
had, she would have dismissed it as improbable, on considering, that,
when the opportunity of speaking had occurred, it had been suffered
to pass in silence; and that, even at the moment in which she had
spoken, the form had abruptly quitted the place.
While she mused, two sentinels walked up the rampart in earnest
conversation, of which she caught a few words, and learned from
these, that one of their comrades had fallen down senseless. Soon
after, three other soldiers appeared slowly advancing from the bottom
of the terrace, but she heard only a low voice, that came at
intervals. As they drew near, she perceived this to be the voice of
him, who walked in the middle, apparently supported by his comrades;
and she again called to them, enquiring what had happened. At the
sound of her voice, they stopped, and looked up, while she repeated
her question, and was told, that Roberto, their fellow of the watch,
had been seized with a fit, and that his cry, as he fell, had caused
a false alarm.
'Is he subject to fits?' said Emily.
'Yes, Signora,' replied Roberto; 'but if I had not, what I saw was
enough to have frightened the Pope himself.'
'What was it?' enquired Emily, trembling.
'I cannot tell what it was, lady, or what I saw, or how it vanished,'
replied the soldier, who seemed to shudder at the recollection.
'Was it the person, whom you followed down the rampart, that has
occasioned you this alarm?' said Emily, endeavouring to conceal her
'Person!' exclaimed the man,--'it was the devil, and this is not the
first time I have seen him!'
'Nor will it be the last,' observed one of his comrades, laughing.
'No, no, I warrant not,' said another.
'Well,' rejoined Roberto, 'you may be as merry now, as you please;
you was none so jocose the other night, Sebastian, when you was on
watch with Launcelot.'
"Launcelot need not talk of that,' replied Sebastian, 'let him
remember how he stood trembling, and unable to give the WORD, till
the man was gone, If the man had not come so silently upon us, I
would have seized him, and soon made him tell who he was.'
'What man?' enquired Emily.
'It was no man, lady,' said Launcelot, who stood by, 'but the devil
himself, as my comrade says. What man, who does not live in the
castle, could get within the walls at midnight? Why, I might just as
well pretend to march to Venice, and get among all the Senators, when
they are counselling; and I warrant I should have more chance of
getting out again alive, than any fellow, that we should catch within
the gates after dark. So I think I have proved plainly enough, that
this can be nobody that lives out of the castle; and now I will
prove, that it can be nobody that lives in the castle--for, if he
did--why should he be afraid to be seen? So after this, I hope
nobody will pretend to tell me it was anybody. No, I say again, by
holy Pope! it was the devil, and Sebastian, there, knows this is not
the first time we have seen him.'
'When did you see the figure, then, before?' said Emily half smiling,
who, though she thought the conversation somewhat too much, felt an
interest, which would not permit her to conclude it.
'About a week ago, lady,' said Sebastian, taking up the story.
'On the rampart, lady, higher up.'
'Did you pursue it, that it fled?'
'No, Signora. Launcelot and I were on watch together, and every
thing was so still, you might have heard a mouse stir, when,
suddenly, Launcelot says--Sebastian! do you see nothing? I turned my
head a little to the left, as it might be--thus. No, says I. Hush!
said Launcelot,--look yonder--just by the last cannon on the rampart!
I looked, and then thought I did see something move; but there being
no light, but what the stars gave, I could not be certain. We stood
quite silent, to watch it, and presently saw something pass along the
castle wall just opposite to us!'
'Why did you not seize it, then?' cried a soldier, who had scarcely
spoken till now.
'Aye, why did you not seize it?' said Roberto.
'You should have been there to have done that,' replied Sebastian.
'You would have been bold enough to have taken it by the throat,
though it had been the devil himself; we could not take such a
liberty, perhaps, because we are not so well acquainted with him, as
you are. But, as I was saying, it stole by us so quickly, that we
had not time to get rid of our surprise, before it was gone. Then,
we knew it was in vain to follow. We kept constant watch all that
night, but we saw it no more. Next morning, we told some of our
comrades, who were on duty on other parts of the ramparts, what we
had seen; but they had seen nothing, and laughed at us, and it was
not till to-night, that the same figure walked again.'
'Where did you lose it, friend?' said Emily to Roberto.
'When I left you, lady,' replied the man, 'you might see me go down
the rampart, but it was not till I reached the east terrace, that I
saw any thing. Then, the moon shining bright, I saw something like a
shadow flitting before me, as it were, at some distance. I stopped,
when I turned the corner of the east tower, where I had seen this
figure not a moment before,--but it was gone! As I stood, looking
through the old arch, which leads to the east rampart, and where I am
sure it had passed, I heard, all of a sudden, such a sound!--it was
not like a groan, or a cry, or a shout, or any thing I ever heard in
my life. I heard it only once, and that was enough for me; for I
know nothing that happened after, till I found my comrades, here,
'Come,' said Sebastian, 'let us go to our posts--the moon is setting.
Good night, lady!'
'Aye, let us go,' rejoined Roberto. 'Good night, lady.'
'Good night; the holy mother guard you!' said Emily, as she closed
her casement and retired to reflect upon the strange circumstance
that had just occurred, connecting which with what had happened on
former nights, she endeavoured to derive from the whole something
more positive, than conjecture. But her imagination was inflamed,
while her judgment was not enlightened, and the terrors of
superstition again pervaded her mind.
There is one within,
Besides the things, that we have heard and seen,
Recounts most horrid sights, seen by the watch.
In the morning, Emily found Madame Montoni nearly in the same
condition, as on the preceding night; she had slept little, and that
little had not refreshed her; she smiled on her niece, and seemed
cheered by her presence, but spoke only a few words, and never named
Montoni, who, however, soon after, entered the room. His wife, when
she understood that he was there, appeared much agitated, but was
entirely silent, till Emily rose from a chair at the bed-side, when
she begged, in a feeble voice, that she would not leave her.
The visit of Montoni was not to sooth his wife, whom he knew to be
dying, or to console, or to ask her forgiveness, but to make a last
effort to procure that signature, which would transfer her estates in
Languedoc, after her death, to him rather than to Emily. This was a
scene, that exhibited, on his part, his usual inhumanity, and, on
that of Madame Montoni, a persevering spirit, contending with a
feeble frame; while Emily repeatedly declared to him her willingness
to resign all claim to those estates, rather than that the last hours
of her aunt should be disturbed by contention. Montoni, however, did
not leave the room, till his wife, exhausted by the obstinate
dispute, had fainted, and she lay so long insensible, that Emily
began to fear that the spark of life was extinguished. At length,
she revived, and, looking feebly up at her niece, whose tears were
falling over her, made an effort to speak, but her words were
unintelligible, and Emily again apprehended she was dying.
Afterwards, however, she recovered her speech, and, being somewhat
restored by a cordial, conversed for a considerable time, on the
subject of her estates in France, with clearness and precision. She
directed her niece where to find some papers relative to them, which
she had hitherto concealed from the search of Montoni, and earnestly
charged her never to suffer these papers to escape her.
Soon after this conversation, Madame Montoni sunk into a dose, and
continued slumbering, till evening, when she seemed better than she
had been since her removal from the turret. Emily never left her,
for a moment, till long after midnight, and even then would not have
quitted the room, had not her aunt entreated, that she would retire
to rest. She then obeyed, the more willingly, because her patient
appeared somewhat recruited by sleep; and, giving Annette the same
injunction, as on the preceding night, she withdrew to her own
apartment. But her spirits were wakeful and agitated, and, finding
it impossible to sleep, she determined to watch, once more, for the
mysterious appearance, that had so much interested and alarmed her.
It was now the second watch of the night, and about the time when the
figure had before appeared. Emily heard the passing steps of the
sentinels, on the rampart, as they changed guard; and, when all was
again silent, she took her station at the casement, leaving her lamp
in a remote part of the chamber, that she might escape notice from
without. The moon gave a faint and uncertain light, for heavy
vapours surrounded it, and, often rolling over the disk, left the
scene below in total darkness. It was in one of these moments of
obscurity, that she observed a small and lambent flame, moving at
some distance on the terrace. While she gazed, it disappeared, and,
the moon again emerging from the lurid and heavy thunder clouds, she
turned her attention to the heavens, where the vivid lightnings
darted from cloud to cloud, and flashed silently on the woods below.
She loved to catch, in the momentary gleam, the gloomy landscape.
Sometimes, a cloud opened its light upon a distant mountain, and,
while the sudden splendour illumined all its recesses of rock and
wood, the rest of the scene remained in deep shadow; at others,
partial features of the castle were revealed by the glimpse--the
antient arch leading to the east rampart, the turret above, or the
fortifications beyond; and then, perhaps, the whole edifice with all
its towers, its dark massy walls and pointed casements would appear,
and vanish in an instant.
Emily, looking again upon the rampart, perceived the flame she had
seen before; it moved onward; and, soon after, she thought she heard
a footstep. The light appeared and disappeared frequently, while, as
she watched, it glided under her casements, and, at the same instant,
she was certain, that a footstep passed, but the darkness did not
permit her to distinguish any object except the flame. It moved
away, and then, by a gleam of lightning, she perceived some person on
the terrace. All the anxieties of the preceding night returned.
This person advanced, and the playing flame alternately appeared and
vanished. Emily wished to speak, to end her doubts, whether this
figure were human or supernatural; but her courage failed as often as
she attempted utterance, till the light moved again under the
casement, and she faintly demanded, who passed.
'A friend,' replied a voice.
'What friend?' said Emily, somewhat encouraged 'who are you, and what
is that light you carry?'
'I am Anthonio, one of the Signor's soldiers,' replied the voice.
'And what is that tapering light you bear?' said Emily, 'see how it
darts upwards,--and now it vanishes!'
'This light, lady,' said the soldier, 'has appeared to-night as you
see it, on the point of my lance, ever since I have been on watch;
but what it means I cannot tell.'
'This is very strange!' said Emily.
'My fellow-guard,' continued the man, 'has the same flame on his
arms; he says he has sometimes seen it before. I never did; I am but
lately come to the castle, for I have not been long a soldier.'
'How does your comrade account for it?' said Emily.
'He says it is an omen, lady, and bodes no good.'
'And what harm can it bode?' rejoined Emily.
'He knows not so much as that, lady.'
Whether Emily was alarmed by this omen, or not, she certainly was
relieved from much terror by discovering this man to be only a
soldier on duty, and it immediately occurred to her, that it might be
he, who had occasioned so much alarm on the preceding night. There
were, however, some circumstances, that still required explanation.
As far as she could judge by the faint moon-light, that had assisted
her observation, the figure she had seen did not resemble this man
either in shape or size; besides, she was certain it had carried no
arms. The silence of its steps, if steps it had, the moaning sounds,
too, which it had uttered, and its strange disappearance, were
circumstances of mysterious import, that did not apply, with
probability, to a soldier engaged in the duty of his guard.
She now enquired of the sentinel, whether he had seen any person
besides his fellow watch, walking on the terrace, about midnight; and
then briefly related what she had herself observed.
'I was not on guard that night, lady,' replied the man, 'but I heard
of what happened. There are amongst us, who believe strange things.
Strange stories, too, have long been told of this castle, but it is
no business of mine to repeat them; and, for my part, I have no
reason to complain; our Chief does nobly by us.'
'I commend your prudence,' said Emily. 'Good night, and accept this
from me,' she added, throwing him a small piece of coin, and then
closing the casement to put an end to the discourse.
When he was gone, she opened it again, listened with a gloomy
pleasure to the distant thunder, that began to murmur among the
mountains, and watched the arrowy lightnings, which broke over the
remoter scene. The pealing thunder rolled onward, and then, reverbed
by the mountains, other thunder seemed to answer from the opposite
horizon; while the accumulating clouds, entirely concealing the moon,
assumed a red sulphureous tinge, that foretold a violent storm.
Emily remained at her casement, till the vivid lightning, that now,
every instant, revealed the wide horizon and the landscape below,
made it no longer safe to do so, and she went to her couch; but,
unable to compose her mind to sleep, still listened in silent awe to
the tremendous sounds, that seemed to shake the castle to its
She had continued thus for a considerable time, when, amidst the
uproar of the storm, she thought she heard a voice, and, raising
herself to listen, saw the chamber door open, and Annette enter with
a countenance of wild affright.
'She is dying, ma'amselle, my lady is dying!' said she.
Emily started up, and ran to Madame Montoni's room. When she
entered, her aunt appeared to have fainted, for she was quite still,
and insensible; and Emily with a strength of mind, that refused to
yield to grief, while any duty required her activity, applied every
means that seemed likely to restore her. But the last struggle was
over--she was gone for ever.
When Emily perceived, that all her efforts were ineffectual, she
interrogated the terrified Annette, and learned, that Madame Montoni
had fallen into a doze soon after Emily's departure, in which she had
continued, until a few minutes before her death.
'I wondered, ma'amselle,' said Annette, 'what was the reason my lady
did not seem frightened at the thunder, when I was so terrified, and
I went often to the bed to speak to her, but she appeared to be
asleep; till presently I heard a strange noise, and, on going to her,
saw she was dying.'
Emily, at this recital, shed tears. She had no doubt but that the
violent change in the air, which the tempest produced, had effected
this fatal one, on the exhausted frame of Madame Montoni.
After some deliberation, she determined that Montoni should not be
informed of this event till the morning, for she considered, that he
might, perhaps, utter some inhuman expressions, such as in the
present temper of her spirits she could not bear. With Annette
alone, therefore, whom she encouraged by her own example, she
performed some of the last solemn offices for the dead, and compelled
herself to watch during the night, by the body of her deceased aunt.
During this solemn period, rendered more awful by the tremendous
storm that shook the air, she frequently addressed herself to Heaven
for support and protection, and her pious prayers, we may believe,
were accepted of the God, that giveth comfort.
The midnight clock has toll'd; and hark, the bell
Of Death beats slow! heard ye the note profound?
It pauses now; and now, with rising knell,
Flings to the hollow gale its sullen sound.
When Montoni was informed of the death of his wife, and considered
that she had died without giving him the signature so necessary to
the accomplishment of his wishes, no sense of decency restrained the
expression of his resentment. Emily anxiously avoided his presence,
and watched, during two days and two nights, with little
intermission, by the corpse of her late aunt. Her mind deeply
impressed with the unhappy fate of this object, she forgot all her
faults, her unjust and imperious conduct to herself; and, remembering
only her sufferings, thought of her only with tender compassion.
Sometimes, however, she could not avoid musing upon the strange
infatuation that had proved so fatal to her aunt, and had involved
herself in a labyrinth of misfortune, from which she saw no means of
escaping,--the marriage with Montoni. But, when she considered this
circumstance, it was 'more in sorrow than in anger,'--more for the
purpose of indulging lamentation, than reproach.
In her pious cares she was not disturbed by Montoni, who not only
avoided the chamber, where the remains of his wife were laid, but
that part of the castle adjoining to it, as if he had apprehended a
contagion in death. He seemed to have given no orders respecting the
funeral, and Emily began to fear he meant to offer a new insult to
the memory of Madame Montoni; but from this apprehension she was
relieved, when, on the evening of the second day, Annette informed
her, that the interment was to take place that night. She knew, that
Montoni would not attend; and it was so very grievous to her to think
that the remains of her unfortunate aunt would pass to the grave
without one relative, or friend to pay them the last decent rites,
that she determined to be deterred by no considerations for herself,
from observing this duty. She would otherwise have shrunk from the
circumstance of following them to the cold vault, to which they were
to be carried by men, whose air and countenances seemed to stamp them
for murderers, at the midnight hour of silence and privacy, which
Montoni had chosen for committing, if possible, to oblivion the
reliques of a woman, whom his harsh conduct had, at least,
contributed to destroy.
Emily, shuddering with emotions of horror and grief, assisted by
Annette, prepared the corpse for interment; and, having wrapt it in
cerements, and covered it with a winding-sheet, they watched beside
it, till past midnight, when they heard the approaching footsteps of
the men, who were to lay it in its earthy bed. It was with
difficulty, that Emily overcame her emotion, when, the door of the
chamber being thrown open, their gloomy countenances were seen by the
glare of the torch they carried, and two of them, without speaking,
lifted the body on their shoulders, while the third preceding them
with the light, descended through the castle towards the grave, which
was in the lower vault of the chapel within the castle walls.
They had to cross two courts, towards the east wing of the castle,
which, adjoining the chapel, was, like it, in ruins: but the silence
and gloom of these courts had now little power over Emily's mind,
occupied as it was, with more mournful ideas; and she scarcely heard
the low and dismal hooting of the night-birds, that roosted among the
ivyed battlements of the ruin, or perceived the still flittings of
the bat, which frequently crossed her way. But, when, having entered
the chapel, and passed between the mouldering pillars of the aisles,
the bearers stopped at a flight of steps, that led down to a low
arched door, and, their comrade having descended to unlock it, she
saw imperfectly the gloomy abyss beyond;--saw the corpse of her aunt
carried down these steps, and the ruffian-like figure, that stood
with a torch at the bottom to receive it--all her fortitude was lost
in emotions of inexpressible grief and terror. She turned to lean
upon Annette, who was cold and trembling like herself, and she
lingered so long on the summit of the flight, that the gleam of the
torch began to die away on the pillars of the chapel, and the men
were almost beyond her view. Then, the gloom around her awakening
other fears, and a sense of what she considered to be her duty
overcoming her reluctance, she descended to the vaults, following the
echo of footsteps and the faint ray, that pierced the darkness, till
the harsh grating of a distant door, that was opened to receive the
corpse, again appalled her.
After the pause of a moment, she went on, and, as she entered the
vaults, saw between the arches, at some distance, the men lay down
the body near the edge of an open grave, where stood another of
Montoni's men and a priest, whom she did not observe, till he began
the burial service; then, lifting her eyes from the ground, she saw
the venerable figure of the friar, and heard him in a low voice,
equally solemn and affecting, perform the service for the dead. At
the moment, in which they let down the body into the earth, the scene
was such as only the dark pencil of a Domenichino, perhaps, could
have done justice to. The fierce features and wild dress of the
condottieri, bending with their torches over the grave, into which
the corpse was descending, were contrasted by the venerable figure of
the monk, wrapt in long black garments, his cowl thrown back from his
pale face, on which the light gleaming strongly shewed the lines of
affliction softened by piety, and the few grey locks, which time had
spared on his temples: while, beside him, stood the softer form of
Emily, who leaned for support upon Annette; her face half averted,
and shaded by a thin veil, that fell over her figure; and her mild
and beautiful countenance fixed in grief so solemn as admitted not of
tears, while she thus saw committed untimely to the earth her last
relative and friend. The gleams, thrown between the arches of the
vaults, where, here and there, the broken ground marked the spots in
which other bodies had been recently interred, and the general
obscurity beyond were circumstances, that alone would have led on the
imagination of a spectator to scenes more horrible, than even that,
which was pictured at the grave of the misguided and unfortunate
When the service was over, the friar regarded Emily with attention
and surprise, and looked as if he wished to speak to her, but was
restrained by the presence of the condottieri, who, as they now led
the way to the courts, amused themselves with jokes upon his holy
order, which he endured in silence, demanding only to be conducted
safely to his convent, and to which Emily listened with concern and
even horror. When they reached the court, the monk gave her his
blessing, and, after a lingering look of pity, turned away to the
portal, whither one of the men carried a torch; while Annette,
lighting another, preceded Emily to her apartment. The appearance of
the friar and the expression of tender compassion, with which he had
regarded her, had interested Emily, who, though it was at her earnest
supplication, that Montoni had consented to allow a priest to perform
the last rites for his deceased wife, knew nothing concerning this
person, till Annette now informed her, that he belonged to a
monastery, situated among the mountains at a few miles distance. The
Superior, who regarded Montoni and his associates, not only with
aversion, but with terror, had probably feared to offend him by
refusing his request, and had, therefore, ordered a monk to officiate
at the funeral, who, with the meek spirit of a christian, had
overcome his reluctance to enter the walls of such a castle, by the
wish of performing what he considered to be his duty, and, as the
chapel was built on consecrated ground, had not objected to commit to
it the remains of the late unhappy Madame Montoni.
Several days passed with Emily in total seclusion, and in a state of
mind partaking both of terror for herself, and grief for the
departed. She, at length, determined to make other efforts to
persuade Montoni to permit her return to France. Why he should wish
to detain her, she could scarcely dare to conjecture; but it was too
certain that he did so, and the absolute refusal he had formerly
given to her departure allowed her little hope, that he would now
consent to it. But the horror, which his presence inspired, made her
defer, from day to day, the mention of this subject; and at last she
was awakened from her inactivity only by a message from him, desiring
her attendance at a certain hour. She began to hope he meant to
resign, now that her aunt was no more, the authority he had usurped
over her; till she recollected, that the estates, which had
occasioned so much contention, were now hers, and she then feared
Montoni was about to employ some stratagem for obtaining them, and
that he would detain her his prisoner, till he succeeded. This
thought, instead of overcoming her with despondency, roused all the
latent powers of her fortitude into action; and the property, which
she would willingly have resigned to secure the peace of her aunt,
she resolved, that no common sufferings of her own should ever compel
her to give to Montoni. For Valancourt's sake also she determined to
preserve these estates, since they would afford that competency, by
which she hoped to secure the comfort of their future lives. As she
thought of this, she indulged the tenderness of tears, and
anticipated the delight of that moment, when, with affectionate
generosity, she might tell him they were his own. She saw the smile,
that lighted up his features--the affectionate regard, which spoke at
once his joy and thanks; and, at this instant, she believed she could
brave any suffering, which the evil spirit of Montoni might be
preparing for her. Remembering then, for the first time since her
aunt's death, the papers relative to the estates in question, she
determined to search for them, as soon as her interview with Montoni
With these resolutions she met him at the appointed time, and waited
to hear his intention before she renewed her request. With him were
Orsino and another officer, and both were standing near a table,
covered with papers, which he appeared to be examining.
'I sent for you, Emily,' said Montoni, raising his head, 'that you
might be a witness in some business, which I am transacting with my
friend Orsino. All that is required of you will be to sign your name
to this paper:' he then took one up, hurried unintelligibly over some
lines, and, laying it before her on the table, offered her a pen.
She took it, and was going to write--when the design of Montoni came
upon her mind like a flash of lightning; she trembled, let the pen
fall, and refused to sign what she had not read. Montoni affected to
laugh at her scruples, and, taking up the paper, again pretended to
read; but Emily, who still trembled on perceiving her danger, and was
astonished, that her own credulity had so nearly betrayed her,
positively refused to sign any paper whatever. Montoni, for some
time, persevered in affecting to ridicule this refusal; but, when he
perceived by her steady perseverance, that she understood his design,
he changed his manner, and bade her follow him to another room.
There he told her, that he had been willing to spare himself and her
the trouble of useless contest, in an affair, where his will was
justice, and where she should find it law; and had, therefore,
endeavoured to persuade, rather than to compel, her to the practice
of her duty.
'I, as the husband of the late Signora Montoni,' he added, 'am the
heir of all she possessed; the estates, therefore, which she refused
to me in her life-time, can no longer be withheld, and, for your own
sake, I would undeceive you, respecting a foolish assertion she once
made to you in my hearing--that these estates would be yours, if she
died without resigning them to me. She knew at that moment, she had
no power to withhold them from me, after her decease; and I think you
have more sense, than to provoke my resentment by advancing an unjust
claim. I am not in the habit of flattering, and you will, therefore,
receive, as sincere, the praise I bestow, when I say, that you
possess an understanding superior to that of your sex; and that you
have none of those contemptible foibles, that frequently mark the
female character--such as avarice and the love of power, which latter
makes women delight to contradict and to tease, when they cannot
conquer. If I understand your disposition and your mind, you hold in
sovereign contempt these common failings of your sex.'
Montoni paused; and Emily remained silent and expecting; for she knew
him too well, to believe he would condescend to such flattery, unless
he thought it would promote his own interest; and, though he had
forborne to name vanity among the foibles of women, it was evident,
that he considered it to be a predominant one, since he designed to
sacrifice to hers the character and understanding of her whole sex.
'Judging as I do,' resumed Montoni, 'I cannot believe you will
oppose, where you know you cannot conquer, or, indeed, that you would
wish to conquer, or be avaricious of any property, when you have not
justice on your side. I think it proper, however, to acquaint you
with the alternative. If you have a just opinion of the subject in
question, you shall be allowed a safe conveyance to France, within a
short period; but, if you are so unhappy as to be misled by the late
assertion of the Signora, you shall remain my prisoner, till you are
convinced of your error.'
Emily calmly said,
'I am not so ignorant, Signor, of the laws on this subject, as to be
misled by the assertion of any person. The law, in the present
instance, gives me the estates in question, and my own hand shall
never betray my right.'
'I have been mistaken in my opinion of you, it appears,' rejoined
Montoni, sternly. 'You speak boldly, and presumptuously, upon a
subject, which you do not understand. For once, I am willing to
pardon the conceit of ignorance; the weakness of your sex, too, from
which, it seems, you are not exempt, claims some allowance; but, if
you persist in this strain--you have every thing to fear from my
'From your justice, Signor,' rejoined Emily, 'I have nothing to fear-
-I have only to hope.'
Montoni looked at her with vexation, and seemed considering what to
say. 'I find that you are weak enough,' he resumed, 'to credit the
idle assertion I alluded to! For your own sake I lament this; as to
me, it is of little consequence. Your credulity can punish only
yourself; and I must pity the weakness of mind, which leads you to so
much suffering as you are compelling me to prepare for you.'
'You may find, perhaps, Signor,' said Emily, with mild dignity, 'that
the strength of my mind is equal to the justice of my cause; and that
I can endure with fortitude, when it is in resistance of oppression.'
'You speak like a heroine,' said Montoni, contemptuously; 'we shall
see whether you can suffer like one.'
Emily was silent, and he left the room.
Recollecting, that it was for Valancourt's sake she had thus
resisted, she now smiled complacently upon the threatened sufferings,
and retired to the spot, which her aunt had pointed out as the
repository of the papers, relative to the estates, where she found
them as described; and, since she knew of no better place of
concealment, than this, returned them, without examining their
contents, being fearful of discovery, while she should attempt a
To her own solitary chamber she once more returned, and there thought
again of the late conversation with Montoni, and of the evil she
might expect from opposition to his will. But his power did not
appear so terrible to her imagination, as it was wont to do: a
sacred pride was in her heart, that taught it to swell against the
pressure of injustice, and almost to glory in the quiet sufferance of
ills, in a cause, which had also the interest of Valancourt for its
object. For the first time, she felt the full extent of her own
superiority to Montoni, and despised the authority, which, till now,
she had only feared.
As she sat musing, a peal of laughter rose from the terrace, and, on
going to the casement, she saw, with inexpressible surprise, three
ladies, dressed in the gala habit of Venice, walking with several
gentlemen below. She gazed in an astonishment that made her remain
at the window, regardless of being observed, till the group passed
under it; and, one of the strangers looking up, she perceived the
features of Signora Livona, with whose manners she had been so much
charmed, the day after her arrival at Venice, and who had been there
introduced at the table of Montoni. This discovery occasioned her an
emotion of doubtful joy; for it was matter of joy and comfort to
know, that a person, of a mind so gentle, as that of Signora Livona
seemed to be, was near her; yet there was something so extraordinary
in her being at this castle, circumstanced as it now was, and
evidently, by the gaiety of her air, with her own consent, that a
very painful surmise arose, concerning her character. But the
thought was so shocking to Emily, whose affection the fascinating
manners of the Signora had won, and appeared so improbable, when she
remembered these manners, that she dismissed it almost instantly.
On Annette's appearance, however, she enquired, concerning these
strangers; and the former was as eager to tell, as Emily was to
'They are just come, ma'amselle,' said Annette, 'with two Signors
from Venice, and I was glad to see such Christian faces once again.--
But what can they mean by coming here? They must surely be stark mad
to come freely to such a place as this! Yet they do come freely, for
they seem merry enough, I am sure.'
'They were taken prisoners, perhaps?' said Emily.
'Taken prisoners!' exclaimed Annette; 'no, indeed, ma'amselle, not
they. I remember one of them very well at Venice: she came two or
three times, to the Signor's you know, ma'amselle, and it was said,
but I did not believe a word of it--it was said, that the Signor
liked her better than he should do. Then why, says I, bring her to
my lady? Very true, said Ludovico; but he looked as if he knew more,
Emily desired Annette would endeavour to learn who these ladies were,
as well as all she could concerning them; and she then changed the
subject, and spoke of distant France.
'Ah, ma'amselle! we shall never see it more!' said Annette, almost
weeping.--'I must come on my travels, forsooth!'
Emily tried to sooth and to cheer her, with a hope, in which she
scarcely herself indulged.
'How--how, ma'amselle, could you leave France, and leave Mons.
Valancourt, too?' said Annette, sobbing. 'I--I--am sure, if Ludovico
had been in France, I would never have left it.'
'Why do you lament quitting France, then?' said Emily, trying to
smile, 'since, if you had remained there, you would not have found
'Ah, ma'amselle! I only wish I was out of this frightful castle,
serving you in France, and I would care about nothing else!'
'Thank you, my good Annette, for your affectionate regard; the time
will come, I hope, when you may remember the expression of that wish
Annette departed on her business, and Emily sought to lose the sense
of her own cares, in the visionary scenes of the poet; but she had
again to lament the irresistible force of circumstances over the
taste and powers of the mind; and that it requires a spirit at ease
to be sensible even to the abstract pleasures of pure intellect. The
enthusiasm of genius, with all its pictured scenes, now appeared
cold, and dim. As she mused upon the book before her, she
involuntarily exclaimed, 'Are these, indeed, the passages, that have
so often given me exquisite delight? Where did the charm exist?--Was
it in my mind, or in the imagination of the poet? It lived in each,'
said she, pausing. 'But the fire of the poet is vain, if the mind of
his reader is not tempered like his own, however it may be inferior
to his in power.'
Emily would have pursued this train of thinking, because it relieved
her from more painful reflection, but she found again, that thought
cannot always be controlled by will; and hers returned to the
consideration of her own situation.
In the evening, not choosing to venture down to the ramparts, where
she would be exposed to the rude gaze of Montoni's associates, she
walked for air in the gallery, adjoining her chamber; on reaching the
further end of which she heard distant sounds of merriment and
laughter. It was the wild uproar of riot, not the cheering gaiety of
tempered mirth; and seemed to come from that part of the castle,
where Montoni usually was. Such sounds, at this time, when her aunt
had been so few days dead, particularly shocked her, consistent as
they were with the late conduct of Montoni.
As she listened, she thought she distinguished female voices mingling
with the laughter, and this confirmed her worst surmise, concerning
the character of Signora Livona and her companions. It was evident,
that they had not been brought hither by compulsion; and she beheld
herself in the remote wilds of the Apennine, surrounded by men, whom
she considered to be little less than ruffians, and their worst
associates, amid scenes of vice, from which her soul recoiled in
horror. It was at this moment, when the scenes of the present and
the future opened to her imagination, that the image of Valancourt
failed in its influence, and her resolution shook with dread. She
thought she understood all the horrors, which Montoni was preparing
for her, and shrunk from an encounter with such remorseless
vengeance, as he could inflict. The disputed estates she now almost
determined to yield at once, whenever he should again call upon her,
that she might regain safety and freedom; but then, the remembrance
of Valancourt would steal to her heart, and plunge her into the
distractions of doubt.
She continued walking in the gallery, till evening threw its
melancholy twilight through the painted casements, and deepened the
gloom of the oak wainscoting around her; while the distant
perspective of the corridor was so much obscured, as to be
discernible only by the glimmering window, that terminated it.
Along the vaulted halls and passages below, peals of laughter echoed
faintly, at intervals, to this remote part of the castle, and seemed
to render the succeeding stillness more dreary. Emily, however,
unwilling to return to her more forlorn chamber, whither Annette was
not yet come, still paced the gallery. As she passed the door of the
apartment, where she had once dared to lift the veil, which
discovered to her a spectacle so horrible, that she had never after
remembered it, but with emotions of indescribable awe, this
remembrance suddenly recurred. It now brought with it reflections
more terrible, than it had yet done, which the late conduct of
Montoni occasioned; and, hastening to quit the gallery, while she had
power to do so, she heard a sudden step behind her.--It might be that
of Annette; but, turning fearfully to look, she saw, through the
gloom, a tall figure following her, and all the horrors of that
chamber rushed upon her mind. In the next moment, she found herself
clasped in the arms of some person, and heard a deep voice murmur in
When she had power to speak, or to distinguish articulated sounds,
she demanded who detained her.
'It is I,' replied the voice--'Why are you thus alarmed?'
She looked on the face of the person who spoke, but the feeble light,
that gleamed through the high casement at the end of the gallery, did
not permit her to distinguish the features.
'Whoever you are,' said Emily, in a trembling voice, 'for heaven's
sake let me go!'
'My charming Emily,' said the man, 'why will you shut yourself up in
this obscure place, when there is so much gaiety below? Return with
me to the cedar parlour, where you will be the fairest ornament of
the party;--you shall not repent the exchange.'
Emily disdained to reply, and still endeavoured to liberate herself.
'Promise, that you will come,' he continued, 'and I will release you
immediately; but first give me a reward for so doing.'
'Who are you?' demanded Emily, in a tone of mingled terror and
indignation, while she still struggled for liberty--'who are you,
that have the cruelty thus to insult me?'
'Why call me cruel?' said the man, 'I would remove you from this
dreary solitude to a merry party below. Do you not know me?'
Emily now faintly remembered, that he was one of the officers who
were with Montoni when she attended him in the morning. 'I thank you
for the kindness of your intention,' she replied, without appearing
to understand him, 'but I wish for nothing so much as that you would
'Charming Emily!' said he, 'give up this foolish whim for solitude,
and come with me to the company, and eclipse the beauties who make
part of it; you, only, are worthy of my love.' He attempted to kiss
her hand, but the strong impulse of her indignation gave her power to
liberate herself, and she fled towards the chamber. She closed the
door, before he reached it, having secured which, she sunk in a
chair, overcome by terror and by the exertion she had made, while she
heard his voice, and his attempts to open the door, without having
the power to raise herself. At length, she perceived him depart, and
had remained, listening, for a considerable time, and was somewhat
revived by not hearing any sound, when suddenly she remembered the
door of the private stair-case, and that he might enter that way,
since it was fastened only on the other side. She then employed
herself in endeavouring to secure it, in the manner she had formerly
done. It appeared to her, that Montoni had already commenced his
scheme of vengeance, by withdrawing from her his protection, and she
repented of the rashness, that had made her brave the power of such a
man. To retain the estates seemed to be now utterly impossible, and
to preserve her life, perhaps her honour, she resolved, if she should
escape the horrors of this night, to give up all claims to the
estates, on the morrow, provided Montoni would suffer her to depart
When she had come to this decision, her mind became more composed,
though she still anxiously listened, and often started at ideal
sounds, that appeared to issue from the stair-case.
Having sat in darkness for some hours, during all which time Annette
did not appear, she began to have serious apprehensions for her; but,
not daring to venture down into the castle, was compelled to remain
in uncertainty, as to the cause of this unusual absence.
Emily often stole to the stair-case door, to listen if any step
approached, but still no sound alarmed her: determining, however, to
watch, during the night, she once more rested on her dark and
desolate couch, and bathed the pillow with innocent tears. She
thought of her deceased parents and then of the absent Valancourt,
and frequently called upon their names; for the profound stillness,
that now reigned, was propitious to the musing sorrow of her mind.
While she thus remained, her ear suddenly caught the notes of distant
music, to which she listened attentively, and, soon perceiving this
to be the instrument she had formerly heard at midnight, she rose,
and stepped softly to the casement, to which the sounds appeared to
come from a lower room.
In a few moments, their soft melody was accompanied by a voice so
full of pathos, that it evidently sang not of imaginary sorrows. Its
sweet and peculiar tones she thought she had somewhere heard before;
yet, if this was not fancy, it was, at most, a very faint
recollection. It stole over her mind, amidst the anguish of her
present suffering, like a celestial strain, soothing, and re-assuring
her;--'Pleasant as the gale of spring, that sighs on the hunter's
ear, when he awakens from dreams of joy, and has heard the music of
the spirits of the hill.'*
(*Ossian. [A. R.])
But her emotion can scarcely be imagined, when she heard sung, with
the taste and simplicity of true feeling, one of the popular airs of
her native province, to which she had so often listened with delight,
when a child, and which she had so often heard her father repeat! To
this well-known song, never, till now, heard but in her native
country, her heart melted, while the memory of past times returned.
The pleasant, peaceful scenes of Gascony, the tenderness and goodness
of her parents, the taste and simplicity of her former life--all rose
to her fancy, and formed a picture, so sweet and glowing, so
strikingly contrasted with the scenes, the characters and the
dangers, which now surrounded her--that her mind could not bear to
pause upon the retrospect, and shrunk at the acuteness of its own
Her sighs were deep and convulsed; she could no longer listen to the
strain, that had so often charmed her to tranquillity, and she
withdrew from the casement to a remote part of the chamber. But she
was not yet beyond the reach of the music; she heard the measure
change, and the succeeding air called her again to the window, for
she immediately recollected it to be the same she had formerly heard
in the fishing-house in Gascony. Assisted, perhaps, by the mystery,
which had then accompanied this strain, it had made so deep an
impression on her memory, that she had never since entirely forgotten
it; and the manner, in which it was now sung, convinced her, however
unaccountable the circumstances appeared, that this was the same
voice she had then heard. Surprise soon yielded to other emotions; a
thought darted, like lightning, upon her mind, which discovered a
train of hopes, that revived all her spirits. Yet these hopes were
so new, so unexpected, so astonishing, that she did not dare to
trust, though she could not resolve to discourage them. She sat down
by the casement, breathless, and overcome with the alternate emotions
of hope and fear; then rose again, leaned from the window, that she
might catch a nearer sound, listened, now doubting and then
believing, softly exclaimed the name of Valancourt, and then sunk
again into the chair. Yes, it was possible, that Valancourt was near
her, and she recollected circumstances, which induced her to believe
it was his voice she had just heard. She remembered he had more than
once said that the fishing-house, where she had formerly listened to
this voice and air, and where she had seen pencilled sonnets,
addressed to herself, had been his favourite haunt, before he had
been made known to her; there, too, she had herself unexpectedly met
him. It appeared, from these circumstances, more than probable, that
he was the musician, who had formerly charmed her attention, and the
author of the lines, which had expressed such tender admiration;--who
else, indeed, could it be? She was unable, at that time, to form a
conjecture, as to the writer, but, since her acquaintance with
Valancourt, whenever he had mentioned the fishing-house to have been
known to him, she had not scrupled to believe that he was the author
of the sonnets.
As these considerations passed over her mind, joy, fear and
tenderness contended at her heart; she leaned again from the casement
to catch the sounds, which might confirm, or destroy her hope, though
she did not recollect to have ever heard him sing; but the voice, and
the instrument, now ceased.
She considered for a moment whether she should venture to speak:
then, not choosing, lest it should be he, to mention his name, and
yet too much interested to neglect the opportunity of enquiring, she
called from the casement, 'Is that song from Gascony?' Her anxious
attention was not cheered by any reply; every thing remained silent.
Her impatience increasing with her fears, she repeated the question;
but still no sound was heard, except the sighings of the wind among
the battlements above; and she endeavoured to console herself with a
belief, that the stranger, whoever he was, had retired, before she
had spoken, beyond the reach of her voice, which, it appeared
certain, had Valancourt heard and recognized, he would instantly have
replied to. Presently, however, she considered, that a motive of
prudence, and not an accidental removal, might occasion his silence;
but the surmise, that led to this reflection, suddenly changed her
hope and joy to terror and grief; for, if Valancourt were in the
castle, it was too probable, that he was here a prisoner, taken with
some of his countrymen, many of whom were at that time engaged in the
wars of Italy, or intercepted in some attempt to reach her. Had he
even recollected Emily's voice, he would have feared, in these
circumstances, to reply to it, in the presence of the men, who
guarded his prison.
What so lately she had eagerly hoped she now believed she dreaded;--
dreaded to know, that Valancourt was near her; and, while she was
anxious to be relieved from her apprehension for his safety, she
still was unconscious, that a hope of soon seeing him, struggled with
She remained listening at the casement, till the air began to
freshen, and one high mountain in the east to glimmer with the
morning; when, wearied with anxiety, she retired to her couch, where
she found it utterly impossible to sleep, for joy, tenderness, doubt
and apprehension, distracted her during the whole night. Now she
rose from the couch, and opened the casement to listen; then she
would pace the room with impatient steps, and, at length, return with
despondence to her pillow. Never did hours appear to move so
heavily, as those of this anxious night; after which she hoped that
Annette might appear, and conclude her present state of torturing
might we but hear
The folded flocks penn'd in their watled cotes,
Or sound of pastoral reed with oaten stops,
Or whistle from the lodge, or village cock
Count the night watches to his feathery dames,
'Twould be some solace yet, some little cheering
In this close dungeon of innumerous boughs.
In the morning, Emily was relieved from her fears for Annette, who
came at an early hour.
'Here were fine doings in the castle, last night, ma'amselle,' said
she, as soon as she entered the room,--'fine doings, indeed! Was you
not frightened, ma'amselle, at not seeing me?'
'I was alarmed both on your account and on my own,' replied Emily--
'What detained you?'
'Aye, I said so, I told him so; but it would not do. It was not my
fault, indeed, ma'amselle, for I could not get out. That rogue
Ludovico locked me up again.'
'Locked you up!' said Emily, with displeasure, 'Why do you permit
Ludovico to lock you up?'
'Holy Saints!' exclaimed Annette, 'how can I help it! If he will
lock the door, ma'amselle, and take away the key, how am I to get
out, unless I jump through the window? But that I should not mind so
much, if the casements here were not all so high; one can hardly
scramble up to them on the inside, and one should break one's neck, I
suppose, going down on the outside. But you know, I dare say, ma'am,
what a hurly-burly the castle was in, last night; you must have heard
some of the uproar.'
'What, were they disputing, then?' said Emily.
'No, ma'amselle, nor fighting, but almost as good, for I believe
there was not one of the Signors sober; and what is more, not one of
those fine ladies sober, either. I thought, when I saw them first,
that all those fine silks and fine veils,--why, ma'amselle, their
veils were worked with silver! and fine trimmings--boded no good--I
guessed what they were!'
'Good God!' exclaimed Emily, 'what will become of me!'
'Aye, ma'am, Ludovico said much the same thing of me. Good God! said
he, Annette, what is to become of you, if you are to go running about
the castle among all these drunken Signors?'
'O! says I, for that matter, I only want to go to my young lady's
chamber, and I have only to go, you know, along the vaulted passage
and across the great hall and up the marble stair-case and along the
north gallery and through the west wing of the castle and I am in the
corridor in a minute.' 'Are you so? says he, and what is to become
of you, if you meet any of those noble cavaliers in the way?' 'Well,
says I, if you think there is danger, then, go with me, and guard me;
I am never afraid when you are by.' 'What! says he, when I am
scarcely recovered of one wound, shall I put myself in the way of
getting another? for if any of the cavaliers meet you, they will fall
a-fighting with me directly. No, no, says he, I will cut the way
shorter, than through the vaulted passage and up the marble stair-
case, and along the north gallery and through the west wing of the
castle, for you shall stay here, Annette; you shall not go out of
this room, to-night.' 'So, with that I says'--
'Well, well,' said Emily, impatiently, and anxious to enquire on
another subject,--'so he locked you up?'
'Yes, he did indeed, ma'amselle, notwithstanding all I could say to
the contrary; and Caterina and I and he staid there all night. And
in a few minutes after I was not so vexed, for there came Signor
Verezzi roaring along the passage, like a mad bull, and he mistook
Ludovico's hall, for old Carlo's; so he tried to burst open the door,
and called out for more wine, for that he had drunk all the flasks
dry, and was dying of thirst. So we were all as still as night, that
he might suppose there was nobody in the room; but the Signor was as
cunning as the best of us, and kept calling out at the door, "Come
forth, my antient hero!" said he, "here is no enemy at the gate, that
you need hide yourself: come forth, my valorous Signor Steward!"
Just then old Carlo opened his door, and he came with a flask in his
hand; for, as soon as the Signor saw him, he was as tame as could be,
and followed him away as naturally as a dog does a butcher with a
piece of meat in his basket. All this I saw through the key-hole.
Well, Annette, said Ludovico, jeeringly, shall I let you out now? O
no, says I, I would not'--
'I have some questions to ask you on another subject,' interrupted
Emily, quite wearied by this story. 'Do you know whether there are
any prisoners in the castle, and whether they are confined at this
end of the edifice?'
'I was not in the way, ma'amselle,' replied Annette, 'when the first
party came in from the mountains, and the last party is not come back
yet, so I don't know, whether there are any prisoners; but it is
expected back to-night, or to-morrow, and I shall know then,
Emily enquired if she had ever heard the servants talk of prisoners.
'Ah ma'amselle!' said Annette archly, 'now I dare say you are
thinking of Monsieur Valancourt, and that he may have come among the
armies, which, they say, are come from our country, to fight against
this state, and that he has met with some of OUR people, and is taken
captive. O Lord! how glad I should be, if it was so!'
'Would you, indeed, be glad?' said Emily, in a tone of mournful
'To be sure I should, ma'am,' replied Annette, 'and would not you be
glad too, to see Signor Valancourt? I don't know any chevalier I
like better, I have a very great regard for the Signor, truly.'
'Your regard for him cannot be doubted,' said Emily, 'since you wish
to see him a prisoner.'
'Why no, ma'amselle, not a prisoner either; but one must be glad to
see him, you know. And it was only the other night I dreamt--I
dreamt I saw him drive into the castle-yard all in a coach and six,
and dressed out, with a laced coat and a sword, like a lord as he
Emily could not forbear smiling at Annette's ideas of Valancourt, and
repeated her enquiry, whether she had heard the servants talk of
'No, ma'amselle,' replied she, 'never; and lately they have done
nothing but talk of the apparition, that has been walking about of a
night on the ramparts, and that frightened the sentinels into fits.
It came among them like a flash of fire, they say, and they all fell
down in a row, till they came to themselves again; and then it was
gone, and nothing to be seen but the old castle walls; so they helped
one another up again as fast as they could. You would not believe,
ma'amselle, though I shewed you the very cannon, where it used to
'And are you, indeed, so simple, Annette,' said Emily, smiling at
this curious exaggeration of the circumstances she had witnessed, 'as
to credit these stories?'
'Credit them, ma'amselle! why all the world could not persuade me out
of them. Roberto and Sebastian and half a dozen more of them went
into fits! To be sure, there was no occasion for that; I said,
myself, there was no need of that, for, says I, when the enemy comes,
what a pretty figure they will cut, if they are to fall down in fits,
all of a row! The enemy won't be so civil, perhaps, as to walk off,
like the ghost, and leave them to help one another up, but will fall
to, cutting and slashing, till he makes them all rise up dead men.
No, no, says I, there is reason in all things: though I might have
fallen down in a fit that was no rule for them, being, because it is
no business of mine to look gruff, and fight battles.'
Emily endeavoured to correct the superstitious weakness of Annette,
though she could not entirely subdue her own; to which the latter
only replied, 'Nay, ma'amselle, you will believe nothing; you are
almost as bad as the Signor himself, who was in a great passion when
they told of what had happened, and swore that the first man, who
repeated such nonsense, should be thrown into the dungeon under the
east turret. This was a hard punishment too, for only talking
nonsense, as he called it, but I dare say he had other reasons for
calling it so, than you have, ma'am.'
Emily looked displeased, and made no reply. As she mused upon the
recollected appearance, which had lately so much alarmed her, and
considered the circumstances of the figure having stationed itself
opposite to her casement, she was for a moment inclined to believe it
was Valancourt, whom she had seen. Yet, if it was he, why did he not
speak to her, when he had the opportunity of doing so--and, if he was
a prisoner in the castle, and he could be here in no other character,
how could he obtain the means of walking abroad on the rampart? Thus
she was utterly unable to decide, whether the musician and the form
she had observed, were the same, or, if they were, whether this was
Valancourt. She, however, desired that Annette would endeavour to
learn whether any prisoners were in the castle, and also their names.
'O dear, ma'amselle!' said Annette, 'I forget to tell you what you
bade me ask about, the ladies, as they call themselves, who are
lately come to Udolpho. Why that Signora Livona, that the Signor
brought to see my late lady at Venice, is his mistress now, and was
little better then, I dare say. And Ludovico says (but pray be
secret, ma'am) that his excellenza introduced her only to impose upon
the world, that had begun to make free with her character. So when
people saw my lady notice her, they thought what they had heard must
be scandal. The other two are the mistresses of Signor Verezzi and
Signor Bertolini; and Signor Montoni invited them all to the castle;
and so, yesterday, he gave a great entertainment; and there they
were, all drinking Tuscany wine and all sorts, and laughing and
singing, till they made the castle ring again. But I thought they
were dismal sounds, so soon after my poor lady's death too; and they
brought to my mind what she would have thought, if she had heard
them--but she cannot hear them now, poor soul! said I.'
Emily turned away to conceal her emotion, and then desired Annette to
go, and make enquiry, concerning the prisoners, that might be in the
castle, but conjured her to do it with caution, and on no account to
mention her name, or that of Monsieur Valancourt.
'Now I think of it, ma'amselle,' said Annette, 'I do believe there
are prisoners, for I overheard one of the Signor's men, yesterday, in
the servants hall, talking something about ransoms, and saying what a
fine thing it was for his excellenza to catch up men, and they were
as good booty as any other, because of the ransoms. And the other
man was grumbling, and saying it was fine enough for the Signor, but
none so fine for his soldiers, because, said he, we don't go shares
This information heightened Emily's impatience to know more, and
Annette immediately departed on her enquiry.
The late resolution of Emily to resign her estates to Montoni, now
gave way to new considerations; the possibility, that Valancourt was
near her, revived her fortitude, and she determined to brave the
threatened vengeance, at least, till she could be assured whether he
was really in the castle. She was in this temper of mind, when she
received a message from Montoni, requiring her attendance in the
cedar parlour, which she obeyed with trembling, and, on her way
thither, endeavoured to animate her fortitude with the idea of
Montoni was alone. 'I sent for you,' said he, 'to give you another
opportunity of retracting your late mistaken assertions concerning
the Languedoc estates. I will condescend to advise, where I may
command.--If you are really deluded by an opinion, that you have any
right to these estates, at least, do not persist in the error--an
error, which you may perceive, too late, has been fatal to you. Dare
my resentment no further, but sign the papers.'
'If I have no right in these estates, sir,' said Emily, 'of what
service can it be to you, that I should sign any papers, concerning
them? If the lands are yours by law, you certainly may possess them,
without my interference, or my consent.'
'I will have no more argument,' said Montoni, with a look that made
her tremble. 'What had I but trouble to expect, when I condescended
to reason with a baby! But I will be trifled with no longer: let
the recollection of your aunt's sufferings, in consequence of her
folly and obstinacy, teach you a lesson.--Sign the papers.'
Emily's resolution was for a moment awed:--she shrunk at the
recollections he revived, and from the vengeance he threatened; but
then, the image of Valancourt, who so long had loved her, and who was
now, perhaps, so near her, came to her heart, and, together with the
strong feelings of indignation, with which she had always, from her
infancy, regarded an act of injustice, inspired her with a noble,
though imprudent, courage.
'Sign the papers,' said Montoni, more impatiently than before.
'Never, sir,' replied Emily; 'that request would have proved to me
the injustice of your claim, had I even been ignorant of my right.'
Montoni turned pale with anger, while his quivering lip and lurking
eye made her almost repent the boldness of her speech.
'Then all my vengeance falls upon you,' he exclaimed, with an
horrible oath. 'and think not it shall be delayed. Neither the
estates in Languedoc, or Gascony, shall be yours; you have dared to
question my right,--now dare to question my power. I have a
punishment which you think not of; it is terrible! This night--this
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