Part 6 out of 16
walls of St. Mark, without having stopped to take up Count Morano.
The dawn now began to tint the horizon, and to break upon the shores
of the Adriatic. Emily did not venture to ask any questions of
Montoni, who sat, for some time, in gloomy silence, and then rolled
himself up in his cloak, as if to sleep, while Madame Montoni did the
same; but Emily, who could not sleep, undrew one of the little
curtains of the gondola, and looked out upon the sea. The rising
dawn now enlightened the mountain-tops of Friuli, but their lower
sides, and the distant waves, that rolled at their feet, were still
in deep shadow. Emily, sunk in tranquil melancholy, watched the
strengthening light spreading upon the ocean, shewing successively
Venice and her islets, and the shores of Italy, along which boats,
with their pointed latin sails, began to move.
The gondolieri were frequently hailed, at this early hour, by the
market-people, as they glided by towards Venice, and the lagune soon
displayed a gay scene of innumerable little barks, passing from
terra-firma with provisions. Emily gave a last look to that splendid
city, but her mind was then occupied by considering the probable
events, that awaited her, in the scenes, to which she was removing,
and with conjectures, concerning the motive of this sudden journey.
It appeared, upon calmer consideration, that Montoni was removing her
to his secluded castle, because he could there, with more probability
of success, attempt to terrify her into obedience; or, that, should
its gloomy and sequestered scenes fail of this effect, her forced
marriage with the Count could there be solemnized with the secrecy,
which was necessary to the honour of Montoni. The little spirit,
which this reprieve had recalled, now began to fail, and, when Emily
reached the shore, her mind had sunk into all its former depression.
Montoni did not embark on the Brenta, but pursued his way in
carriages across the country, towards the Apennine; during which
journey, his manner to Emily was so particularly severe, that this
alone would have confirmed her late conjecture, had any such
confirmation been necessary. Her senses were now dead to the
beautiful country, through which she travelled. Sometimes she was
compelled to smile at the naivete of Annette, in her remarks on what
she saw, and sometimes to sigh, as a scene of peculiar beauty
recalled Valancourt to her thoughts, who was indeed seldom absent
from them, and of whom she could never hope to hear in the solitude,
to which she was hastening.
At length, the travellers began to ascend among the Apennines. The
immense pine-forests, which, at that period, overhung these
mountains, and between which the road wound, excluded all view but of
the cliffs aspiring above, except, that, now and then, an opening
through the dark woods allowed the eye a momentary glimpse of the
country below. The gloom of these shades, their solitary silence,
except when the breeze swept over their summits, the tremendous
precipices of the mountains, that came partially to the eye, each
assisted to raise the solemnity of Emily's feelings into awe; she saw
only images of gloomy grandeur, or of dreadful sublimity, around her;
other images, equally gloomy and equally terrible, gleamed on her
imagination. She was going she scarcely knew whither, under the
dominion of a person, from whose arbitrary disposition she had
already suffered so much, to marry, perhaps, a man who possessed
neither her affection, or esteem; or to endure, beyond the hope of
succour, whatever punishment revenge, and that Italian revenge, might
dictate.--The more she considered what might be the motive of the
journey, the more she became convinced, that it was for the purpose
of concluding her nuptials with Count Morano, with that secrecy,
which her resolute resistance had made necessary to the honour, if
not to the safety, of Montoni. From the deep solitudes, into which
she was immerging, and from the gloomy castle, of which she had heard
some mysterious hints, her sick heart recoiled in despair, and she
experienced, that, though her mind was already occupied by peculiar
distress, it was still alive to the influence of new and local
circumstance; why else did she shudder at the idea of this desolate
As the travellers still ascended among the pine forests, steep rose
over steep, the mountains seemed to multiply, as they went, and what
was the summit of one eminence proved to be only the base of another.
At length, they reached a little plain, where the drivers stopped to
rest the mules, whence a scene of such extent and magnificence opened
below, as drew even from Madame Montoni a note of admiration. Emily
lost, for a moment, her sorrows, in the immensity of nature. Beyond
the amphitheatre of mountains, that stretched below, whose tops
appeared as numerous almost, as the waves of the sea, and whose feet
were concealed by the forests--extended the campagna of Italy, where
cities and rivers, and woods and all the glow of cultivation were
mingled in gay confusion. The Adriatic bounded the horizon, into
which the Po and the Brenta, after winding through the whole extent
of the landscape, poured their fruitful waves. Emily gazed long on
the splendours of the world she was quitting, of which the whole
magnificence seemed thus given to her sight only to increase her
regret on leaving it; for her, Valancourt alone was in that world; to
him alone her heart turned, and for him alone fell her bitter tears.
From this sublime scene the travellers continued to ascend among the
pines, till they entered a narrow pass of the mountains, which shut
out every feature of the distant country, and, in its stead,
exhibited only tremendous crags, impending over the road, where no
vestige of humanity, or even of vegetation, appeared, except here and
there the trunk and scathed branches of an oak, that hung nearly
headlong from the rock, into which its strong roots had fastened.
This pass, which led into the heart of the Apennine, at length opened
to day, and a scene of mountains stretched in long perspective, as
wild as any the travellers had yet passed. Still vast pine-forests
hung upon their base, and crowned the ridgy precipice, that rose
perpendicularly from the vale, while, above, the rolling mists caught
the sun-beams, and touched their cliffs with all the magical
colouring of light and shade. The scene seemed perpetually changing,
and its features to assume new forms, as the winding road brought
them to the eye in different attitudes; while the shifting vapours,
now partially concealing their minuter beauties and now illuminating
them with splendid tints, assisted the illusions of the sight.
Though the deep vallies between these mountains were, for the most
part, clothed with pines, sometimes an abrupt opening presented a
perspective of only barren rocks, with a cataract flashing from their
summit among broken cliffs, till its waters, reaching the bottom,
foamed along with unceasing fury; and sometimes pastoral scenes
exhibited their 'green delights' in the narrow vales, smiling amid
surrounding horror. There herds and flocks of goats and sheep,
browsing under the shade of hanging woods, and the shepherd's little
cabin, reared on the margin of a clear stream, presented a sweet
picture of repose.
Wild and romantic as were these scenes, their character had far less
of the sublime, that had those of the Alps, which guard the entrance
of Italy. Emily was often elevated, but seldom felt those emotions
of indescribable awe which she had so continually experienced, in her
passage over the Alps.
Towards the close of day, the road wound into a deep valley.
Mountains, whose shaggy steeps appeared to be inaccessible, almost
surrounded it. To the east, a vista opened, that exhibited the
Apennines in their darkest horrors; and the long perspective of
retiring summits, rising over each other, their ridges clothed with
pines, exhibited a stronger image of grandeur, than any that Emily
had yet seen. The sun had just sunk below the top of the mountains
she was descending, whose long shadow stretched athwart the valley,
but his sloping rays, shooting through an opening of the cliffs,
touched with a yellow gleam the summits of the forest, that hung upon
the opposite steeps, and streamed in full splendour upon the towers
and battlements of a castle, that spread its extensive ramparts along
the brow of a precipice above. The splendour of these illumined
objects was heightened by the contrasted shade, which involved the
'There,' said Montoni, speaking for the first time in several hours,
Emily gazed with melancholy awe upon the castle, which she understood
to be Montoni's; for, though it was now lighted up by the setting
sun, the gothic greatness of its features, and its mouldering walls
of dark grey stone, rendered it a gloomy and sublime object. As she
gazed, the light died away on its walls, leaving a melancholy purple
tint, which spread deeper and deeper, as the thin vapour crept up the
mountain, while the battlements above were still tipped with
splendour. From those, too, the rays soon faded, and the whole
edifice was invested with the solemn duskiness of evening. Silent,
lonely, and sublime, it seemed to stand the sovereign of the scene,
and to frown defiance on all, who dared to invade its solitary reign.
As the twilight deepened, its features became more awful in
obscurity, and Emily continued to gaze, till its clustering towers
were alone seen, rising over the tops of the woods, beneath whose
thick shade the carriages soon after began to ascend.
The extent and darkness of these tall woods awakened terrific images
in her mind, and she almost expected to see banditti start up from
under the trees. At length, the carriages emerged upon a heathy
rock, and, soon after, reached the castle gates, where the deep tone
of the portal bell, which was struck upon to give notice of their
arrival, increased the fearful emotions, that had assailed Emily.
While they waited till the servant within should come to open the
gates, she anxiously surveyed the edifice: but the gloom, that
overspread it, allowed her to distinguish little more than a part of
its outline, with the massy walls of the ramparts, and to know, that
it was vast, ancient and dreary. From the parts she saw, she judged
of the heavy strength and extent of the whole. The gateway before
her, leading into the courts, was of gigantic size, and was defended
by two round towers, crowned by overhanging turrets, embattled,
where, instead of banners, now waved long grass and wild plants, that
had taken root among the mouldering stones, and which seemed to sigh,
as the breeze rolled past, over the desolation around them. The
towers were united by a curtain, pierced and embattled also, below
which appeared the pointed arch of a huge portcullis, surmounting the
gates: from these, the walls of the ramparts extended to other
towers, overlooking the precipice, whose shattered outline, appearing
on a gleam, that lingered in the west, told of the ravages of war.--
Beyond these all was lost in the obscurity of evening.
While Emily gazed with awe upon the scene, footsteps were heard
within the gates, and the undrawing of bolts; after which an ancient
servant of the castle appeared, forcing back the huge folds of the
portal, to admit his lord. As the carriage-wheels rolled heavily
under the portcullis, Emily's heart sunk, and she seemed, as if she
was going into her prison; the gloomy court, into which she passed,
served to confirm the idea, and her imagination, ever awake to
circumstance, suggested even more terrors, than her reason could
Another gate delivered them into the second court, grass-grown, and
more wild than the first, where, as she surveyed through the twilight
its desolation--its lofty walls, overtopt with briony, moss and
nightshade, and the embattled towers that rose above,--long-suffering
and murder came to her thoughts. One of those instantaneous and
unaccountable convictions, which sometimes conquer even strong minds,
impressed her with its horror. The sentiment was not diminished,
when she entered an extensive gothic hall, obscured by the gloom of
evening, which a light, glimmering at a distance through a long
perspective of arches, only rendered more striking. As a servant
brought the lamp nearer partial gleams fell upon the pillars and the
pointed arches, forming a strong contrast with their shadows, that
stretched along the pavement and the walls.
The sudden journey of Montoni had prevented his people from making
any other preparations for his reception, than could be had in the
short interval, since the arrival of the servant, who had been sent
forward from Venice; and this, in some measure, may account for the
air of extreme desolation, that everywhere appeared.
The servant, who came to light Montoni, bowed in silence, and the
muscles of his countenance relaxed with no symptom of joy.--Montoni
noticed the salutation by a slight motion of his hand, and passed on,
while his lady, following, and looking round with a degree of
surprise and discontent, which she seemed fearful of expressing, and
Emily, surveying the extent and grandeur of the hall in timid wonder,
approached a marble stair-case. The arches here opened to a lofty
vault, from the centre of which hung a tripod lamp, which a servant
was hastily lighting; and the rich fret-work of the roof, a corridor,
leading into several upper apartments, and a painted window,
stretching nearly from the pavement to the ceiling of the hall,
became gradually visible.
Having crossed the foot of the stair-case, and passed through an
ante-room, they entered a spacious apartment, whose walls, wainscoted
with black larch-wood, the growth of the neighbouring mountains, were
scarcely distinguishable from darkness itself. 'Bring more light,'
said Montoni, as he entered. The servant, setting down his lamp, was
withdrawing to obey him, when Madame Montoni observing, that the
evening air of this mountainous region was cold, and that she should
like a fire, Montoni ordered that wood might be brought.
While he paced the room with thoughtful steps, and Madame Montoni sat
silently on a couch, at the upper end of it, waiting till the servant
returned, Emily was observing the singular solemnity and desolation
of the apartment, viewed, as it now was, by the glimmer of the single
lamp, placed near a large Venetian mirror, that duskily reflected the
scene, with the tall figure of Montoni passing slowly along, his arms
folded, and his countenance shaded by the plume, that waved in his
From the contemplation of this scene, Emily's mind proceeded to the
apprehension of what she might suffer in it, till the remembrance of
Valancourt, far, far distant! came to her heart, and softened it into
sorrow. A heavy sigh escaped her: but, trying to conceal her tears,
she walked away to one of the high windows, that opened upon the
ramparts, below which, spread the woods she had passed in her
approach to the castle. But the night-shade sat deeply on the
mountains beyond, and their indented outline alone could be faintly
traced on the horizon, where a red streak yet glimmered in the west.
The valley between was sunk in darkness.
The scene within, upon which Emily turned on the opening of the door,
was scarcely less gloomy. The old servant, who had received them at
the gates, now entered, bending under a load of pine-branches, while
two of Montoni's Venetian servants followed with lights.
'Your excellenza is welcome to the castle,' said the old man, as he
raised himself from the hearth, where he had laid the wood: 'it has
been a lonely place a long while; but you will excuse it, Signor,
knowing we had but short notice. It is near two years, come next
feast of St. Mark, since your excellenza was within these walls.'
'You have a good memory, old Carlo,' said Montoni: 'it is there-
about; and how hast thou contrived to live so long?'
'A-well-a-day, sir, with much ado; the cold winds, that blow through
the castle in winter, are almost too much for me; and I thought
sometimes of asking your excellenza to let me leave the mountains,
and go down into the lowlands. But I don't know how it is--I am loth
to quit these old walls I have lived in so long.'
'Well, how have you gone on in the castle, since I left it?' said
'Why much as usual, Signor, only it wants a good deal of repairing.
There is the north tower--some of the battlements have tumbled down,
and had liked one day to have knocked my poor wife (God rest her
soul!) on the head. Your excellenza must know'--
'Well, but the repairs,' interrupted Montoni.
'Aye, the repairs,' said Carlo: 'a part of the roof of the great
hall has fallen in, and all the winds from the mountains rushed
through it last winter, and whistled through the whole castle so,
that there was no keeping one's self warm, be where one would.
There, my wife and I used to sit shivering over a great fire in one
corner of the little hall, ready to die with cold, and'--
'But there are no more repairs wanted,' said Montoni, impatiently.
'O Lord! Your excellenza, yes--the wall of the rampart has tumbled
down in three places; then, the stairs, that lead to the west
gallery, have been a long time so bad, that it is dangerous to go up
them; and the passage leading to the great oak chamber, that
overhangs the north rampart--one night last winter I ventured to go
there by myself, and your excellenza'--
'Well, well, enough of this,' said Montoni, with quickness: 'I will
talk more with thee to-morrow.'
The fire was now lighted; Carlo swept the hearth, placed chairs,
wiped the dust from a large marble table that stood near it, and then
left the room.
Montoni and his family drew round the fire. Madame Montoni made
several attempts at conversation, but his sullen answers repulsed
her, while Emily sat endeavouring to acquire courage enough to speak
to him. At length, in a tremulous voice, she said, 'May I ask, sir,
the motive of this sudden journey?'--After a long pause, she
recovered sufficient courage to repeat the question.
'It does not suit me to answer enquiries,' said Montoni, 'nor does it
become you to make them; time may unfold them all: but I desire I
may be no further harassed, and I recommend it to you to retire to
your chamber, and to endeavour to adopt a more rational conduct, than
that of yielding to fancies, and to a sensibility, which, to call it
by the gentlest name, is only a weakness.'
Emily rose to withdraw. 'Good night, madam,' said she to her aunt,
with an assumed composure, that could not disguise her emotion.
'Good night, my dear,' said Madame Montoni, in a tone of kindness,
which her niece had never before heard from her; and the unexpected
endearment brought tears to Emily's eyes. She curtsied to Montoni,
and was retiring; 'But you do not know the way to your chamber,' said
her aunt. Montoni called the servant, who waited in the ante-room,
and bade him send Madame Montoni's woman, with whom, in a few
minutes, Emily withdrew.
'Do you know which is my room?' said she to Annette, as they crossed
'Yes, I believe I do, ma'amselle; but this is such a strange rambling
place! I have been lost in it already: they call it the double
chamber, over the south rampart, and I went up this great stair-case
to it. My lady's room is at the other end of the castle.'
Emily ascended the marble staircase, and came to the corridor, as
they passed through which, Annette resumed her chat--'What a wild
lonely place this is, ma'am! I shall be quite frightened to live in
it. How often, and often have I wished myself in France again! I
little thought, when I came with my lady to see the world, that I
should ever be shut up in such a place as this, or I would never have
left my own country! This way, ma'amselle, down this turning. I can
almost believe in giants again, and such like, for this is just like
one of their castles; and, some night or other, I suppose I shall see
fairies too, hopping about in that great old hall, that looks more
like a church, with its huge pillars, than any thing else.'
'Yes,' said Emily, smiling, and glad to escape from more serious
thought, 'if we come to the corridor, about midnight, and look down
into the hall, we shall certainly see it illuminated with a thousand
lamps, and the fairies tripping in gay circles to the sound of
delicious music; for it is in such places as this, you know, that
they come to hold their revels. But I am afraid, Annette, you will
not be able to pay the necessary penance for such a sight: and, if
once they hear your voice, the whole scene will vanish in an
'O! if you will bear me company, ma'amselle, I will come to the
corridor, this very night, and I promise you I will hold my tongue;
it shall not be my fault if the show vanishes.--But do you think they
'I cannot promise that with certainty, but I will venture to say, it
will not be your fault if the enchantment should vanish.'
'Well, ma'amselle, that is saying more than I expected of you: but I
am not so much afraid of fairies, as of ghosts, and they say there
are a plentiful many of them about the castle: now I should be
frightened to death, if I should chance to see any of them. But
hush! ma'amselle, walk softly! I have thought, several times,
something passed by me.'
'Ridiculous!' said Emily, 'you must not indulge such fancies.'
'O ma'am! they are not fancies, for aught I know; Benedetto says
these dismal galleries and halls are fit for nothing but ghosts to
live in; and I verily believe, if I LIVE long in them I shall turn to
'I hope,' said Emily, 'you will not suffer Signor Montoni to hear of
these weak fears; they would highly displease him.'
'What, you know then, ma'amselle, all about it!' rejoined Annette.
'No, no, I do know better than to do so; though, if the Signor can
sleep sound, nobody else in the castle has any right to lie awake, I
am sure.' Emily did not appear to notice this remark.
'Down this passage, ma'amselle; this leads to a back stair-case. O!
if I see any thing, I shall be frightened out of my wits!'
'That will scarcely be possible,' said Emily smiling, as she followed
the winding of the passage, which opened into another gallery: and
then Annette, perceiving that she had missed her way, while she had
been so eloquently haranguing on ghosts and fairies, wandered about
through other passages and galleries, till, at length, frightened by
their intricacies and desolation, she called aloud for assistance:
but they were beyond the hearing of the servants, who were on the
other side of the castle, and Emily now opened the door of a chamber
on the left.
'O! do not go in there, ma'amselle,' said Annette, 'you will only
lose yourself further.'
'Bring the light forward,' said Emily, 'we may possibly find our way
through these rooms.'
Annette stood at the door, in an attitude of hesitation, with the
light held up to shew the chamber, but the feeble rays spread through
not half of it. 'Why do you hesitate?' said Emily, 'let me see
whither this room leads.'
Annette advanced reluctantly. It opened into a suite of spacious and
ancient apartments, some of which were hung with tapestry, and others
wainscoted with cedar and black larch-wood. What furniture there
was, seemed to be almost as old as the rooms, and retained an
appearance of grandeur, though covered with dust, and dropping to
pieces with the damps, and with age.
'How cold these rooms are, ma'amselle!' said Annette: 'nobody has
lived in them for many, many years, they say. Do let us go.'
'They may open upon the great stair-case, perhaps,' said Emily,
passing on till she came to a chamber, hung with pictures, and took
the light to examine that of a soldier on horseback in a field of
battle.--He was darting his spear upon a man, who lay under the feet
of the horse, and who held up one hand in a supplicating attitude.
The soldier, whose beaver was up, regarded him with a look of
vengeance, and the countenance, with that expression, struck Emily as
resembling Montoni. She shuddered, and turned from it. Passing the
light hastily over several other pictures, she came to one concealed
by a veil of black silk. The singularity of the circumstance struck
her, and she stopped before it, wishing to remove the veil, and
examine what could thus carefully be concealed, but somewhat wanting
courage. 'Holy Virgin! what can this mean?' exclaimed Annette.
'This is surely the picture they told me of at Venice.'
'What picture?' said Emily. 'Why a picture--a picture,' replied
Annette, hesitatingly--'but I never could make out exactly what it
was about, either.'
'Remove the veil, Annette.'
'What! I, ma'amselle!--I! not for the world!' Emily, turning round,
saw Annette's countenance grow pale. 'And pray, what have you heard
of this picture, to terrify you so, my good girl?' said she.
'Nothing, ma'amselle: I have heard nothing, only let us find our way
'Certainly: but I wish first to examine the picture; take the light,
Annette, while I lift the veil.' Annette took the light, and
immediately walked away with it, disregarding Emily's call to stay,
who, not choosing to be left alone in the dark chamber, at length
followed her. 'What is the reason of this, Annette?' said Emily,
when she overtook her, 'what have you heard concerning that picture,
which makes you so unwilling to stay when I bid you?'
'I don't know what is the reason, ma'amselle, replied Annette, 'nor
any thing about the picture, only I have heard there is something
very dreadful belonging to it--and that it has been covered up in
black EVER SINCE--and that nobody has looked at it for a great many
years--and it somehow has to do with the owner of this castle before
Signor Montoni came to the possession of it--and'---
'Well, Annette,' said Emily, smiling, 'I perceive it is as you say--
that you know nothing about the picture.'
'No, nothing, indeed, ma'amselle, for they made me promise never to
'Well,' rejoined Emily, who observed that she was struggling between
her inclination to reveal a secret, and her apprehension for the
consequence, 'I will enquire no further'---
'No, pray, ma'am, do not.'
'Lest you should tell all,' interrupted Emily.
Annette blushed, and Emily smiled, and they passed on to the
extremity of this suite of apartments, and found themselves, after
some further perplexity, once more at the top of the marble stair-
case, where Annette left Emily, while she went to call one of the
servants of the castle to shew them to the chamber, for which they
had been seeking.
While she was absent, Emily's thoughts returned to the picture; an
unwillingness to tamper with the integrity of a servant, had checked
her enquiries on this subject, as well as concerning some alarming
hints, which Annette had dropped respecting Montoni; though her
curiosity was entirely awakened, and she had perceived, that her
questions might easily be answered. She was now, however, inclined
to go back to the apartment and examine the picture; but the
loneliness of the hour and of the place, with the melancholy silence
that reigned around her, conspired with a certain degree of awe,
excited by the mystery attending this picture, to prevent her. She
determined, however, when day-light should have re-animated her
spirits, to go thither and remove the veil. As she leaned from the
corridor, over the stair-case, and her eyes wandered round, she again
observed, with wonder, the vast strength of the walls, now somewhat
decayed, and the pillars of solid marble, that rose from the hall,
and supported the roof.
A servant now appeared with Annette, and conducted Emily to her
chamber, which was in a remote part of the castle, and at the very
end of the corridor, from whence the suite of apartments opened,
through which they had been wandering. The lonely aspect of her room
made Emily unwilling that Annette should leave her immediately, and
the dampness of it chilled her with more than fear. She begged
Caterina, the servant of the castle, to bring some wood and light a
'Aye, lady, it's many a year since a fire was lighted here,' said
'You need not tell us that, good woman,' said Annette; 'every room in
the castle feels like a well. I wonder how you contrive to live
here; for my part, I wish myself at Venice again.' Emily waved her
hand for Caterina to fetch the wood.
'I wonder, ma'am, why they call this the double chamber?' said
Annette, while Emily surveyed it in silence and saw that it was lofty
and spacious, like the others she had seen, and, like many of them,
too, had its walls lined with dark larch-wood. The bed and other
furniture was very ancient, and had an air of gloomy grandeur, like
all that she had seen in the castle. One of the high casements,
which she opened, overlooked a rampart, but the view beyond was hid
In the presence of Annette, Emily tried to support her spirits, and
to restrain the tears, which, every now and then, came to her eyes.
She wished much to enquire when Count Morano was expected at the
castle, but an unwillingness to ask unnecessary questions, and to
mention family concerns to a servant, withheld her. Meanwhile,
Annette's thoughts were engaged upon another subject: she dearly
loved the marvellous, and had heard of a circumstance, connected with
the castle, that highly gratified this taste. Having been enjoined
not to mention it, her inclination to tell it was so strong, that she
was every instant on the point of speaking what she had heard. Such
a strange circumstance, too, and to be obliged to conceal it, was a
severe punishment; but she knew, that Montoni might impose one much
severer, and she feared to incur it by offending him.
Caterina now brought the wood, and its bright blaze dispelled, for a
while, the gloom of the chamber. She told Annette, that her lady had
enquired for her, and Emily was once again left to her own sad
reflections. Her heart was not yet hardened against the stern
manners of Montoni, and she was nearly as much shocked now, as she
had been when she first witnessed them. The tenderness and
affection, to which she had been accustomed, till she lost her
parents, had made her particularly sensible to any degree of
unkindness, and such a reverse as this no apprehension had prepared
her to support.
To call off her attention from subjects, that pressed heavily on her
spirits, she rose and again examined her room and its furniture. As
she walked round it, she passed a door, that was not quite shut, and,
perceiving, that it was not the one, through which she entered, she
brought the light forward to discover whither it led. She opened it,
and, going forward, had nearly fallen down a steep, narrow stair-case
that wound from it, between two stone walls. She wished to know to
what it led, and was the more anxious, since it communicated so
immediately with her apartment; but, in the present state of her
spirits, she wanted courage to venture into the darkness alone.
Closing the door, therefore, she endeavoured to fasten it, but, upon
further examination, perceived, that it had no bolts on the chamber
side, though it had two on the other. By placing a heavy chair
against it, she in some measure remedied the defect; yet she was
still alarmed at the thought of sleeping in this remote room alone,
with a door opening she knew not whither, and which could not be
perfectly fastened on the inside. Sometimes she wished to entreat of
Madame Montoni, that Annette might have leave to remain with her all
night, but was deterred by an apprehension of betraying what would be
thought childish fears, and by an unwillingness to increase the apt
terrors of Annette.
Her gloomy reflections were, soon after, interrupted by a footstep in
the corridor, and she was glad to see Annette enter with some supper,
sent by Madame Montoni. Having a table near the fire, she made the
good girl sit down and sup with her; and, when their little repast
was over, Annette, encouraged by her kindness and stirring the wood
into a blaze, drew her chair upon the hearth, nearer to Emily, and
said--'Did you ever hear, ma'amselle, of the strange accident, that
made the Signor lord of this castle?'
'What wonderful story have you now to tell?' said Emily, concealing
the curiosity, occasioned by the mysterious hints she had formerly
heard on that subject.
'I have heard all about it, ma'amselle,' said Annette, looking round
the chamber and drawing closer to Emily; 'Benedetto told it me as we
travelled together: says he, "Annette, you don't know about this
castle here, that we are going to?" No, says I, Mr. Benedetto, pray
what do you know? But, ma'amselle, you can keep a secret, or I would
not tell it you for the world; for I promised never to tell, and they
say, that the Signor does not like to have it talked of.'
'If you promised to keep this secret,' said Emily, 'you do right not
to mention it.'
Annette paused a moment, and then said, 'O, but to you, ma'amselle,
to you I may tell it safely, I know.'
Emily smiled, 'I certainly shall keep it as faithful as yourself,
Annette replied very gravely, that would do, and proceeded--'This
castle, you must know, ma'amselle, is very old, and very strong, and
has stood out many sieges as they say. Now it was not Signor
Montoni's always, nor his father's; no; but, by some law or other, it
was to come to the Signor, if the lady died unmarried.'
'What lady?' said Emily.
'I am not come to that yet,' replied Annette, 'it is the lady I am
going to tell you about, ma'amselle: but, as I was saying, this lady
lived in the castle, and had everything very grand about her, as you
may suppose, ma'amselle. The Signor used often to come to see her,
and was in love with her, and offered to marry her; for, though he
was somehow related, that did not signify. But she was in love with
somebody else, and would not have him, which made him very angry, as
they say, and you know, ma'amselle, what an ill-looking gentleman he
is, when he is angry. Perhaps she saw him in a passion, and
therefore would not have him. But, as I was saying, she was very
melancholy and unhappy, and all that, for a long while, and--Holy
Virgin! what noise is that? did not you hear a sound, ma'amselle?'
'It was only the wind,' said Emily, 'but do come to the end of your
'As I was saying--O, where was I?--as I was saying--she was very
melancholy and unhappy a long while, and used to walk about upon the
terrace, there, under the windows, by herself, and cry so! it would
have done your heart good to hear her. That is--I don't mean good,
but it would have made you cry too, as they tell me.'
'Well, but, Annette, do tell me the substance of your tale.'
'All in good time, ma'am; all this I heard before at Venice, but what
is to come I never heard till to-day. This happened a great many
years ago, when Signor Montoni was quite a young man. The lady--they
called her Signora Laurentini, was very handsome, but she used to be
in great passions, too, sometimes, as well as the Signor. Finding he
could not make her listen to him--what does he do, but leave the
castle, and never comes near it for a long time! but it was all one
to her; she was just as unhappy whether he was here or not, till one
evening, Holy St. Peter! ma'amselle,' cried Annette, 'look at that
lamp, see how blue it burns!' She looked fearfully round the
chamber. 'Ridiculous girl!' said Emily, 'why will you indulge those
fancies? Pray let me hear the end of your story, I am weary.'
Annette still kept her eyes on the lamp, and proceeded in a lower
voice. 'It was one evening, they say, at the latter end of the year,
it might be about the middle of September, I suppose, or the
beginning of October; nay, for that matter, it might be November, for
that, too, is the latter end of the year, but that I cannot say for
certain, because they did not tell me for certain themselves.
However, it was at the latter end of the year, this grand lady walked
out of the castle into the woods below, as she had often done before,
all alone, only her maid was with her. The wind blew cold, and
strewed the leaves about, and whistled dismally among those great old
chesnut trees, that we passed, ma'amselle, as we came to the castle--
for Benedetto shewed me the trees as he was talking--the wind blew
cold, and her woman would have persuaded her to return: but all
would not do, for she was fond of walking in the woods, at evening
time, and, if the leaves were falling about her, so much the better.
'Well, they saw her go down among the woods, but night came, and she
did not return: ten o'clock, eleven o'clock, twelve o'clock came,
and no lady! Well, the servants thought to be sure, some accident
had befallen her, and they went out to seek her. They searched all
night long, but could not find her, or any trace of her; and, from
that day to this, ma'amselle, she has never been heard of.'
'Is this true, Annette?' said Emily, in much surprise.
'True, ma'am!' said Annette, with a look of horror, 'yes, it is true,
indeed. But they do say,' she added, lowering her voice, 'they do
say, that the Signora has been seen, several times since, walking in
the woods and about the castle in the night: several of the old
servants, who remained here some time after, declare they saw her;
and, since then, she has been seen by some of the vassals, who have
happened to be in the castle, at night. Carlo, the old steward,
could tell such things, they say, if he would.'
'How contradictory is this, Annette!' said Emily, 'you say nothing
has been since known of her, and yet she has been seen!'
'But all this was told me for a great secret,' rejoined Annette,
without noticing the remark, 'and I am sure, ma'am, you would not
hurt either me or Benedetto, so much as to go and tell it again.'
Emily remained silent, and Annette repeated her last sentence.
'You have nothing to fear from my indiscretion,' replied Emily, 'and
let me advise you, my good Annette, be discreet yourself, and never
mention what you have just told me to any other person. Signor
Montoni, as you say, may be angry if he hears of it. But what
inquiries were made concerning the lady?'
'O! a great deal, indeed, ma'amselle, for the Signor laid claim to
the castle directly, as being the next heir, and they said, that is,
the judges, or the senators, or somebody of that sort, said, he could
not take possession of it till so many years were gone by, and then,
if, after all, the lady could not be found, why she would be as good
as dead, and the castle would be his own; and so it is his own. But
the story went round, and many strange reports were spread, so very
strange, ma'amselle, that I shall not tell them.'
'That is stranger still, Annette,' said Emily, smiling, and rousing
herself from her reverie. 'But, when Signora Laurentini was
afterwards seen in the castle, did nobody speak to her?'
'Speak--speak to her!' cried Annette, with a look of terror; 'no, to
'And why not?' rejoined Emily, willing to hear further.
'Holy Mother! speak to a spirit!'
'But what reason had they to conclude it was a spirit, unless they
had approached, and spoken to it?' 'O ma'amselle, I cannot tell.
How can you ask such shocking questions? But nobody ever saw it come
in, or go out of the castle; and it was in one place now, and then
the next minute in quite another part of the castle; and then it
never spoke, and, if it was alive, what should it do in the castle if
it never spoke? Several parts of the castle have never been gone
into since, they say, for that very reason.'
'What, because it never spoke?' said Emily, trying to laugh away the
fears that began to steal upon her.--'No, ma'amselle, no;' replied
Annette, rather angrily 'but because something has been seen there.
They say, too, there is an old chapel adjoining the west side of the
castle, where, any time at midnight, you may hear such groans!--it
makes one shudder to think of them!--and strange sights have been
'Pr'ythee, Annette, no more of these silly tales,' said Emily.
'Silly tales, ma'amselle! O, but I will tell you one story about
this, if you please, that Caterina told me. It was one cold winter's
night that Caterina (she often came to the castle then, she says, to
keep old Carlo and his wife company, and so he recommended her
afterwards to the Signor, and she has lived here ever since) Caterina
was sitting with them in the little hall, says Carlo, "I wish we had
some of those figs to roast, that lie in the store-closet, but it is
a long way off, and I am loath to fetch them; do, Caterina," says he,
"for you are young and nimble, do bring us some, the fire is in nice
trim for roasting them; they lie," says he, "in such a corner of the
store-room, at the end of the north-gallery; here, take the lamp,"
says he, "and mind, as you go up the great stair-case, that the wind,
through the roof, does not blow it out." So, with that, Caterina
took the lamp--Hush! ma'amselle, I surely heard a noise!'
Emily, whom Annette had now infected with her own terrors, listened
attentively; but every thing was still, and Annette proceeded:
'Caterina went to the north-gallery, that is the wide gallery we
passed, ma'am, before we came to the corridor, here. As she went
with the lamp in her hand, thinking of nothing at all--There, again!'
cried Annette suddenly--'I heard it again!--it was not fancy,
'Hush!' said Emily, trembling. They listened, and, continuing to sit
quite still, Emily heard a low knocking against the wall. It came
repeatedly. Annette then screamed loudly, and the chamber door
slowly opened.--It was Caterina, come to tell Annette, that her lady
wanted her. Emily, though she now perceived who it was, could not
immediately overcome her terror; while Annette, half laughing, half
crying, scolded Caterina heartily for thus alarming them; and was
also terrified lest what she had told had been overheard.--Emily,
whose mind was deeply impressed by the chief circumstance of
Annette's relation, was unwilling to be left alone, in the present
state of her spirits; but, to avoid offending Madame Montoni, and
betraying her own weakness, she struggled to overcome the illusions
of fear, and dismissed Annette for the night.
When she was alone, her thoughts recurred to the strange history of
Signora Laurentini and then to her own strange situation, in the wild
and solitary mountains of a foreign country, in the castle, and the
power of a man, to whom, only a few preceding months, she was an
entire stranger; who had already exercised an usurped authority over
her, and whose character she now regarded, with a degree of terror,
apparently justified by the fears of others. She knew, that he had
invention equal to the conception and talents to the execution of any
project, and she greatly feared he had a heart too void of feeling to
oppose the perpetration of whatever his interest might suggest. She
had long observed the unhappiness of Madame Montoni, and had often
been witness to the stern and contemptuous behaviour she received
from her husband. To these circumstances, which conspired to give
her just cause for alarm, were now added those thousand nameless
terrors, which exist only in active imaginations, and which set
reason and examination equally at defiance.
Emily remembered all that Valancourt had told her, on the eve of her
departure from Languedoc, respecting Montoni, and all that he had
said to dissuade her from venturing on the journey. His fears had
often since appeared to her prophetic--now they seemed confirmed.
Her heart, as it gave her back the image of Valancourt, mourned in
vain regret, but reason soon came with a consolation which, though
feeble at first, acquired vigour from reflection. She considered,
that, whatever might be her sufferings, she had withheld from
involving him in misfortune, and that, whatever her future sorrows
could be, she was, at least, free from self-reproach.
Her melancholy was assisted by the hollow sighings of the wind along
the corridor and round the castle. The cheerful blaze of the wood
had long been extinguished, and she sat with her eyes fixed on the
dying embers, till a loud gust, that swept through the corridor, and
shook the doors and casements, alarmed her, for its violence had
moved the chair she had placed as a fastening, and the door, leading
to the private stair-case stood half open. Her curiosity and her
fears were again awakened. She took the lamp to the top of the
steps, and stood hesitating whether to go down; but again the
profound stillness and the gloom of the place awed her, and,
determining to enquire further, when day-light might assist the
search, she closed the door, and placed against it a stronger guard.
She now retired to her bed, leaving the lamp burning on the table;
but its gloomy light, instead of dispelling her fear, assisted it;
for, by its uncertain rays, she almost fancied she saw shapes flit
past her curtains and glide into the remote obscurity of her
chamber.--The castle clock struck one before she closed her eyes to
I think it is the weakness of mine eyes,
That shapes this monstrous apparition.
It comes upon me!
Daylight dispelled from Emily's mind the glooms of superstition, but
not those of apprehension. The Count Morano was the first image,
that occurred to her waking thoughts, and then came a train of
anticipated evils, which she could neither conquer, nor avoid. She
rose, and, to relieve her mind from the busy ideas, that tormented
it, compelled herself to notice external objects. From her casement
she looked out upon the wild grandeur of the scene, closed nearly on
all sides by alpine steeps, whose tops, peeping over each other,
faded from the eye in misty hues, while the promontories below were
dark with woods, that swept down to their base, and stretched along
the narrow vallies. The rich pomp of these woods was particularly
delightful to Emily; and she viewed with astonishment the
fortifications of the castle spreading along a vast extent of rock,
and now partly in decay, the grandeur of the ramparts below, and the
towers and battlements and various features of the fabric above.
From these her sight wandered over the cliffs and woods into the
valley, along which foamed a broad and rapid stream, seen falling
among the crags of an opposite mountain, now flashing in the sun-
beams, and now shadowed by over-arching pines, till it was entirely
concealed by their thick foliage. Again it burst from beneath this
darkness in one broad sheet of foam, and fell thundering into the
vale. Nearer, towards the west, opened the mountain-vista, which
Emily had viewed with such sublime emotion, on her approach to the
castle: a thin dusky vapour, that rose from the valley, overspread
its features with a sweet obscurity. As this ascended and caught the
sun-beams, it kindled into a crimson tint, and touched with exquisite
beauty the woods and cliffs, over which it passed to the summit of
the mountains; then, as the veil drew up, it was delightful to watch
the gleaming objects, that progressively disclosed themselves in the
valley--the green turf--dark woods--little rocky recesses--a few
peasants' huts--the foaming stream--a herd of cattle, and various
images of pastoral beauty. Then, the pine-forests brightened, and
then the broad breast of the mountains, till, at length, the mist
settled round their summit, touching them with a ruddy glow. The
features of the vista now appeared distinctly, and the broad deep
shadows, that fell from the lower cliffs, gave strong effect to the
streaming splendour above; while the mountains, gradually sinking in
the perspective, appeared to shelve into the Adriatic sea, for such
Emily imagined to be the gleam of blueish light, that terminated the
Thus she endeavoured to amuse her fancy, and was not unsuccessful.
The breezy freshness of the morning, too, revived her. She raised
her thoughts in prayer, which she felt always most disposed to do,
when viewing the sublimity of nature, and her mind recovered its
When she turned from the casement, her eyes glanced upon the door she
had so carefully guarded, on the preceding night, and she now
determined to examine whither it led; but, on advancing to remove the
chairs, she perceived, that they were already moved a little way.
Her surprise cannot be easily imagined, when, in the next minute, she
perceived that the door was fastened.--She felt, as if she had seen
an apparition. The door of the corridor was locked as she had left
it, but this door, which could be secured only on the outside, must
have been bolted, during the night. She became seriously uneasy at
the thought of sleeping again in a chamber, thus liable to intrusion,
so remote, too, as it was from the family, and she determined to
mention the circumstance to Madame Montoni, and to request a change.
After some perplexity she found her way into the great hall, and to
the room, which she had left, on the preceding night, where breakfast
was spread, and her aunt was alone, for Montoni had been walking over
the environs of the castle, examining the condition of its
fortifications, and talking for some time with Carlo. Emily observed
that her aunt had been weeping, and her heart softened towards her,
with an affection, that shewed itself in her manner, rather than in
words, while she carefully avoided the appearance of having noticed,
that she was unhappy. She seized the opportunity of Montoni's
absence to mention the circumstance of the door, to request that she
might be allowed another apartment, and to enquire again, concerning
the occasion of their sudden journey. On the first subject her aunt
referred her to Montoni, positively refusing to interfere in the
affair; on the last, she professed utter ignorance.
Emily, then, with a wish of making her aunt more reconciled to her
situation, praised the grandeur of the castle and the surrounding
scenery, and endeavoured to soften every unpleasing circumstance
attending it. But, though misfortune had somewhat conquered the
asperities of Madame Montoni's temper, and, by increasing her cares
for herself, had taught her to feel in some degree for others, the
capricious love of rule, which nature had planted and habit had
nourished in her heart, was not subdued. She could not now deny
herself the gratification of tyrannizing over the innocent and
helpless Emily, by attempting to ridicule the taste she could not
Her satirical discourse was, however, interrupted by the entrance of
Montoni, and her countenance immediately assumed a mingled expression
of fear and resentment, while he seated himself at the breakfast-
table, as if unconscious of there being any person but himself in the
Emily, as she observed him in silence, saw, that his countenance was
darker and sterner than usual. 'O could I know,' said she to
herself, 'what passes in that mind; could I know the thoughts, that
are known there, I should no longer be condemned to this torturing
suspense!' Their breakfast passed in silence, till Emily ventured to
request, that another apartment might be allotted to her, and related
the circumstance which made her wish it.
'I have no time to attend to these idle whims,' said Montoni, 'that
chamber was prepared for you, and you must rest contented with it.
It is not probable, that any person would take the trouble of going
to that remote stair-case, for the purpose of fastening a door. If
it was not fastened, when you entered the chamber, the wind, perhaps,
shook the door and made the bolts slide. But I know not why I should
undertake to account for so trifling an occurrence.'
This explanation was by no means satisfactory to Emily, who had
observed, that the bolts were rusted, and consequently could not be
thus easily moved; but she forbore to say so, and repeated her
'If you will not release yourself from the slavery of these fears,'
said Montoni, sternly, 'at least forbear to torment others by the
mention of them. Conquer such whims, and endeavour to strengthen
your mind. No existence is more contemptible than that, which is
embittered by fear.' As he said this, his eye glanced upon Madame
Montoni, who coloured highly, but was still silent. Emily, wounded
and disappointed, thought her fears were, in this instance, too
reasonable to deserve ridicule; but, perceiving, that, however they
might oppress her, she must endure them, she tried to withdraw her
attention from the subject.
Carlo soon after entered with some fruit:
'Your excellenza is tired after your long ramble,' said he, as he set
the fruit upon the table; 'but you have more to see after breakfast.
There is a place in the vaulted passage leading to--'
Montoni frowned upon him, and waved his hand for him to leave the
room. Carlo stopped, looked down, and then added, as he advanced to
the breakfast-table, and took up the basket of fruit, 'I made bold,
your excellenza, to bring some cherries, here, for my honoured lady
and my young mistress. Will your ladyship taste them, madam?' said
Carlo, presenting the basket, 'they are very fine ones, though I
gathered them myself, and from an old tree, that catches all the
south sun; they are as big as plums, your ladyship.'
'Very well, old Carlo,' said Madame Montoni; 'I am obliged to you.'
'And the young Signora, too, she may like some of them,' rejoined
Carlo, turning with the basket to Emily, 'it will do me good to see
her eat some.'
'Thank you, Carlo,' said Emily, taking some cherries, and smiling
'Come, come,' said Montoni, impatiently, 'enough of this. Leave the
room, but be in waiting. I shall want you presently.'
Carlo obeyed, and Montoni, soon after, went out to examine further
into the state of the castle; while Emily remained with her aunt,
patiently enduring her ill humour, and endeavouring, with much
sweetness, to soothe her affliction, instead of resenting its effect.
When Madame Montoni retired to her dressing-room, Emily endeavoured
to amuse herself by a view of the castle. Through a folding door she
passed from the great hall to the ramparts, which extended along the
brow of the precipice, round three sides of the edifice; the fourth
was guarded by the high walls of the courts, and by the gateway,
through which she had passed, on the preceding evening. The grandeur
of the broad ramparts, and the changing scenery they overlooked,
excited her high admiration; for the extent of the terraces allowed
the features of the country to be seen in such various points of
view, that they appeared to form new landscapes. She often paused to
examine the gothic magnificence of Udolpho, its proud irregularity,
its lofty towers and battlements, its high-arched casements, and its
slender watch-towers, perched upon the corners of turrets. Then she
would lean on the wall of the terrace, and, shuddering, measure with
her eye the precipice below, till the dark summits of the woods
arrested it. Wherever she turned, appeared mountain-tops, forests of
pine and narrow glens, opening among the Apennines and retiring from
the sight into inaccessible regions.
While she thus leaned, Montoni, followed by two men, appeared,
ascending a winding path, cut in the rock below. He stopped upon a
cliff, and, pointing to the ramparts, turned to his followers, and
talked with much eagerness of gesticulation.--Emily perceived, that
one of these men was Carlo; the other was in the dress of a peasant,
and he alone seemed to be receiving the directions of Montoni.
She withdrew from the walls, and pursued her walk, till she heard at
a distance the sound of carriage wheels, and then the loud bell of
the portal, when it instantly occurred to her, that Count Morano was
arrived. As she hastily passed the folding doors from the terrace,
towards her own apartment, several persons entered the hall by an
opposite door. She saw them at the extremities of the arcades, and
immediately retreated; but the agitation of her spirits, and the
extent and duskiness of the hall, had prevented her from
distinguishing the persons of the strangers. Her fears, however, had
but one object, and they had called up that object to her fancy:--she
believed that she had seen Count Morano.
When she thought that they had passed the hall, she ventured again to
the door, and proceeded, unobserved, to her room, where she remained,
agitated with apprehensions, and listening to every distant sound.
At length, hearing voices on the rampart, she hastened to her window,
and observed Montoni, with Signor Cavigni, walking below, conversing
earnestly, and often stopping and turning towards each other, at
which time their discourse seemed to be uncommonly interesting.
Of the several persons who had appeared in the hall, here was Cavigni
alone: but Emily's alarm was soon after heightened by the steps of
some one in the corridor, who, she apprehended, brought a message
from the Count. In the next moment, Annette appeared.
'Ah! ma'amselle,' said she, 'here is the Signor Cavigni arrived! I
am sure I rejoiced to see a christian person in this place; and then
he is so good natured too, he always takes so much notice of me!--And
here is also Signor Verezzi, and who do you think besides,
'I cannot guess, Annette; tell me quickly.'
'Nay, ma'am, do guess once.'
'Well, then,' said Emily, with assumed composure, 'it is--Count
Morano, I suppose.'
'Holy Virgin!' cried Annette, 'are you ill, ma'amselle? you are going
to faint! let me get some water.'
Emily sunk into a chair. 'Stay, Annette,' said she, feebly, 'do not
leave me--I shall soon be better; open the casement.--The Count, you
say--he is come, then?'
'Who, I!--the Count! No, ma'amselle, I did not say so.' 'He is NOT
come then?' said Emily eagerly. 'No, ma'amselle.'
'You are sure of it?'
'Lord bless me!' said Annette, 'you recover very suddenly, ma'am!
why, I thought you was dying, just now.'
'But the Count--you are sure, is not come?'
'O yes, quite sure of that, ma'amselle. Why, I was looking out
through the grate in the north turret, when the carriages drove into
the court-yard, and I never expected to see such a goodly sight in
this dismal old castle! but here are masters and servants, too,
enough to make the place ring again. O! I was ready to leap through
the rusty old bars for joy!--O! who would ever have thought of seeing
a christian face in this huge dreary house? I could have kissed the
very horses that brought them.'
'Well, Annette, well, I am better now.'
'Yes, ma'amselle, I see you are. O! all the servants will lead merry
lives here, now; we shall have singing and dancing in the little
hall, for the Signor cannot hear us there--and droll stories--
Ludovico's come, ma'am; yes, there is Ludovico come with them! You
remember Ludovico, ma'am--a tall, handsome young man--Signor
Cavigni's lacquey--who always wears his cloak with such a grace,
thrown round his left arm, and his hat set on so smartly, all on one
'No,' said Emily, who was wearied by her loquacity.
'What, ma'amselle, don't you remember Ludovico--who rowed the
Cavaliero's gondola, at the last regatta, and won the prize? And who
used to sing such sweet verses about Orlandos and about the Black-a-
moors, too; and Charly--Charly--magne, yes, that was the name, all
under my lattice, in the west portico, on the moon-light nights at
Venice? O! I have listened to him!'---
'I fear, to thy peril, my good Annette,' said Emily; 'for it seems
his verses have stolen thy heart. But let me advise you; if it is
so, keep the secret; never let him know it.'
'Ah--ma'amselle!--how can one keep such a secret as that?'
'Well, Annette, I am now so much better, that you may leave me.'
'O, but, ma'amselle, I forgot to ask--how did you sleep in this
dreary old chamber last night?'--'As well as usual.'--'Did you hear
no noises?'--'None.'--'Nor see anything?'--'Nothing.'--'Well, that is
surprising!'--'Not in the least: and now tell me, why you ask these
'O, ma'amselle! I would not tell you for the world, nor all I have
heard about this chamber, either; it would frighten you so.'
'If that is all, you have frightened me already, and may therefore
tell me what you know, without hurting your conscience.'
'O Lord! they say the room is haunted, and has been so these many
'It is by a ghost, then, who can draw bolts,' said Emily,
endeavouring to laugh away her apprehensions; 'for I left the door
open, last night, and found it fastened this morning.'
Annette turned pale, and said not a word.
'Do you know whether any of the servants fastened this door in the
morning, before I rose?'
'No, ma'am, that I will be bound they did not; but I don't know:
shall I go and ask, ma'amselle?' said Annette, moving hastily towards
'Stay, Annette, I have another question to ask; tell me what you have
heard concerning this room, and whither that stair-case leads.'
'I will go and ask it all directly, ma'am; besides, I am sure my lady
wants me. I cannot stay now, indeed, ma'am.'
She hurried from the room, without waiting Emily's reply, whose
heart, lightened by the certainty, that Morano was not arrived,
allowed her to smile at the superstitious terror, which had seized on
Annette; for, though she sometimes felt its influence herself, she
could smile at it, when apparent in other persons.
Montoni having refused Emily another chamber, she determined to bear
with patience the evil she could not remove, and, in order to make
the room as comfortable as possible, unpacked her books, her sweet
delight in happier days, and her soothing resource in the hours of
moderate sorrow: but there were hours when even these failed of
their effect; when the genius, the taste, the enthusiasm of the
sublimest writers were felt no longer.
Her little library being arranged on a high chest, part of the
furniture of the room, she took out her drawing utensils, and was
tranquil enough to be pleased with the thought of sketching the
sublime scenes, beheld from her windows; but she suddenly checked
this pleasure, remembering how often she had soothed herself by the
intention of obtaining amusement of this kind, and had been prevented
by some new circumstance of misfortune.
'How can I suffer myself to be deluded by hope,' said she, 'and,
because Count Morano is not yet arrived, feel a momentary happiness?
Alas! what is it to me, whether he is here to-day, or to-morrow, if
he comes at all?--and that he will come--it were weakness to doubt.'
To withdraw her thoughts, however, from the subject of her
misfortunes, she attempted to read, but her attention wandered from
the page, and, at length, she threw aside the book, and determined to
explore the adjoining chambers of the castle. Her imagination was
pleased with the view of ancient grandeur, and an emotion of
melancholy awe awakened all its powers, as she walked through rooms,
obscure and desolate, where no footsteps had passed probably for many
years, and remembered the strange history of the former possessor of
the edifice. This brought to her recollection the veiled picture,
which had attracted her curiosity, on the preceding night, and she
resolved to examine it. As she passed through the chambers, that led
to this, she found herself somewhat agitated; its connection with the
late lady of the castle, and the conversation of Annette, together
with the circumstance of the veil, throwing a mystery over the
subject, that excited a faint degree of terror. But a terror of this
nature, as it occupies and expands the mind, and elevates it to high
expectation, is purely sublime, and leads us, by a kind of
fascination, to seek even the object, from which we appear to shrink.
Emily passed on with faltering steps, and having paused a moment at
the door, before she attempted to open it, she then hastily entered
the chamber, and went towards the picture, which appeared to be
enclosed in a frame of uncommon size, that hung in a dark part of the
room. She paused again, and then, with a timid hand, lifted the
veil; but instantly let it fall--perceiving that what it had
concealed was no picture, and, before she could leave the chamber,
she dropped senseless on the floor.
When she recovered her recollection, the remembrance of what she had
seen had nearly deprived her of it a second time. She had scarcely
strength to remove from the room, and regain her own; and, when
arrived there, wanted courage to remain alone. Horror occupied her
mind, and excluded, for a time, all sense of past, and dread of
future misfortune: she seated herself near the casement, because
from thence she heard voices, though distant, on the terrace, and
might see people pass, and these, trifling as they were, were
reviving circumstances. When her spirits had recovered their tone,
she considered, whether she should mention what she had seen to
Madame Montoni, and various and important motives urged her to do so,
among which the least was the hope of the relief, which an
overburdened mind finds in speaking of the subject of its interest.
But she was aware of the terrible consequences, which such a
communication might lead to; and, dreading the indiscretion of her
aunt, at length, endeavoured to arm herself with resolution to
observe a profound silence, on the subject. Montoni and Verezzi soon
after passed under the casement, speaking cheerfully, and their
voices revived her. Presently the Signors Bertolini and Cavigni
joined the party on the terrace, and Emily, supposing that Madame
Montoni was then alone, went to seek her; for the solitude of her
chamber, and its proximity to that where she had received so severe a
shock, again affected her spirit.
She found her aunt in her dressing-room, preparing for dinner.
Emily's pale and affrighted countenance alarmed even Madame Montoni;
but she had sufficient strength of mind to be silent on the subject,
that still made her shudder, and which was ready to burst from her
lips. In her aunt's apartment she remained, till they both descended
to dinner. There she met the gentlemen lately arrived, who had a
kind of busy seriousness in their looks, which was somewhat unusual
with them, while their thoughts seemed too much occupied by some deep
interest, to suffer them to bestow much attention either on Emily, or
Madame Montoni. They spoke little, and Montoni less. Emily, as she
now looked on him, shuddered. The horror of the chamber rushed on
her mind. Several times the colour faded from her cheeks, and she
feared, that illness would betray her emotions, and compel her to
leave the room; but the strength of her resolution remedied the
weakness of her frame; she obliged herself to converse, and even
tried to look cheerful.
Montoni evidently laboured under some vexation, such as would
probably have agitated a weaker mind, or a more susceptible heart,
but which appeared, from the sternness of his countenance, only to
bend up his faculties to energy and fortitude.
It was a comfortless and silent meal. The gloom of the castle seemed
to have spread its contagion even over the gay countenance of
Cavigni, and with this gloom was mingled a fierceness, such as she
had seldom seen him indicate. Count Morano was not named, and what
conversation there was, turned chiefly upon the wars, which at that
time agitated the Italian states, the strength of the Venetian
armies, and the characters of their generals.
After dinner, when the servants had withdrawn, Emily learned, that
the cavalier, who had drawn upon himself the vengeance of Orsino, had
since died of his wounds, and that strict search was still making for
his murderer. The intelligence seemed to disturb Montoni, who mused,
and then enquired, where Orsino had concealed himself. His guests,
who all, except Cavigni, were ignorant, that Montoni had himself
assisted him to escape from Venice, replied, that he had fled in the
night with such precipitation and secrecy, that his most intimate
companions knew not whither. Montoni blamed himself for having asked
the question, for a second thought convinced him, that a man of
Orsino's suspicious temper was not likely to trust any of the persons
present with the knowledge of his asylum. He considered himself,
however, as entitled to his utmost confidence, and did not doubt,
that he should soon hear of him.
Emily retired with Madame Montoni, soon after the cloth was
withdrawn, and left the cavaliers to their secret councils, but not
before the significant frowns of Montoni had warned his wife to
depart, who passed from the hall to the ramparts, and walked, for
some time, in silence, which Emily did not interrupt, for her mind
was also occupied by interests of its own. It required all her
resolution, to forbear communicating to Madame Montoni the terrible
subject, which still thrilled her every nerve with horror; and
sometimes she was on the point of doing so, merely to obtain the
relief of a moment; but she knew how wholly she was in the power of
Montoni, and, considering, that the indiscretion of her aunt might
prove fatal to them both, she compelled herself to endure a present
and an inferior evil, rather than to tempt a future and a heavier
one. A strange kind of presentiment frequently, on this day,
occurred to her;--it seemed as if her fate rested here, and was by
some invisible means connected with this castle.
'Let me not accelerate it,' said she to herself: 'for whatever I may
be reserved, let me, at least, avoid self-reproach.'
As she looked on the massy walls of the edifice, her melancholy
spirits represented it to be her prison; and she started as at a new
suggestion, when she considered how far distant she was from her
native country, from her little peaceful home, and from her only
friend--how remote was her hope of happiness, how feeble the
expectation of again seeing him! Yet the idea of Valancourt, and her
confidence in his faithful love, had hitherto been her only solace,
and she struggled hard to retain them. A few tears of agony started
to her eyes, which she turned aside to conceal.
While she afterwards leaned on the wall of the rampart, some
peasants, at a little distance, were seen examining a breach, before
which lay a heap of stones, as if to repair it, and a rusty old
cannon, that appeared to have fallen from its station above. Madame
Montoni stopped to speak to the men, and enquired what they were
going to do. 'To repair the fortifications, your ladyship,' said one
of them; a labour which she was somewhat surprised, that Montoni
should think necessary, particularly since he had never spoken of the
castle, as of a place, at which he meant to reside for any
considerable time; but she passed on towards a lofty arch, that led
from the south to the east rampart, and which adjoined the castle, on
one side, while, on the other, it supported a small watch-tower, that
entirely commanded the deep valley below. As she approached this
arch, she saw, beyond it, winding along the woody descent of a
distant mountain, a long troop of horse and foot, whom she knew to be
soldiers, only by the glitter of their pikes and other arms, for the
distance did not allow her to discover the colour of their liveries.
As she gazed, the vanguard issued from the woods into the valley, but
the train still continued to pour over the remote summit of the
mountain, in endless succession; while, in the front, the military
uniform became distinguishable, and the commanders, riding first, and
seeming, by their gestures, to direct the march of those that
followed, at length, approached very near to the castle.
Such a spectacle, in these solitary regions, both surprised and
alarmed Madame Montoni, and she hastened towards some peasants, who
were employed in raising bastions before the south rampart, where the
rock was less abrupt than elsewhere. These men could give no
satisfactory answers to her enquiries, but, being roused by them,
gazed in stupid astonishment upon the long cavalcade. Madame
Montoni, then thinking it necessary to communicate further the object
of her alarm, sent Emily to say, that she wished to speak to Montoni;
an errand her niece did not approve, for she dreaded his frowns,
which she knew this message would provoke; but she obeyed in silence.
As she drew near the apartment, in which he sat with his guests, she
heard them in earnest and loud dispute, and she paused a moment,
trembling at the displeasure, which her sudden interruption would
occasion. In the next, their voices sunk all together; she then
ventured to open the door, and, while Montoni turned hastily and
looked at her, without speaking, she delivered her message.
'Tell Madam Montoni I am engaged,' said he.
Emily then thought it proper to mention the subject of her alarm.
Montoni and his companions rose instantly and went to the windows,
but, these not affording them a view of the troops, they at length
proceeded to the ramparts, where Cavigni conjectured it to be a
legion of condottieri, on their march towards Modena.
One part of the cavalcade now extended along the valley, and another
wound among the mountains towards the north, while some troops still
lingered on the woody precipices, where the first had appeared, so
that the great length of the procession seemed to include an whole
army. While Montoni and his family watched its progress, they heard
the sound of trumpets and the clash of cymbals in the vale, and then
others, answering from the heights. Emily listened with emotion to
the shrill blast, that woke the echoes of the mountains, and Montoni
explained the signals, with which he appeared to be well acquainted,
and which meant nothing hostile. The uniforms of the troops, and the
kind of arms they bore, confirmed to him the conjecture of Cavigni,
and he had the satisfaction to see them pass by, without even
stopping to gaze upon his castle. He did not, however, leave the
rampart, till the bases of the mountains had shut them from his view,
and the last murmur of the trumpet floated away on the wind. Cavigni
and Verezzi were inspirited by this spectacle, which seemed to have
roused all the fire of their temper; Montoni turned into the castle
in thoughtful silence.
Emily's mind had not yet sufficiently recovered from its late shock,
to endure the loneliness of her chamber, and she remained upon the
ramparts; for Madame Montoni had not invited her to her dressing-
room, whither she had gone evidently in low spirits, and Emily, from
her late experience, had lost all wish to explore the gloomy and
mysterious recesses of the castle. The ramparts, therefore, were
almost her only retreat, and here she lingered, till the gray haze of
evening was again spread over the scene.
The cavaliers supped by themselves, and Madame Montoni remained in
her apartment, whither Emily went, before she retired to her own.
She found her aunt weeping, and in much agitation. The tenderness of
Emily was naturally so soothing, that it seldom failed to give
comfort to the drooping heart: but Madame Montoni's was torn, and
the softest accents of Emily's voice were lost upon it. With her
usual delicacy, she did not appear to observe her aunt's distress,
but it gave an involuntary gentleness to her manners, and an air of
solicitude to her countenance, which Madame Montoni was vexed to
perceive, who seemed to feel the pity of her niece to be an insult to
her pride, and dismissed her as soon as she properly could. Emily
did not venture to mention again the reluctance she felt to her
gloomy chamber, but she requested that Annette might be permitted to
remain with her till she retired to rest; and the request was
somewhat reluctantly granted. Annette, however, was now with the
servants, and Emily withdrew alone.
With light and hasty steps she passed through the long galleries,
while the feeble glimmer of the lamp she carried only shewed the
gloom around her, and the passing air threatened to extinguish it.
The lonely silence, that reigned in this part of the castle, awed
her; now and then, indeed, she heard a faint peal of laughter rise
from a remote part of the edifice, where the servants were assembled,
but it was soon lost, and a kind of breathless stillness remained.
As she passed the suite of rooms which she had visited in the
morning, her eyes glanced fearfully on the door, and she almost
fancied she heard murmuring sounds within, but she paused not a
moment to enquire.
Having reached her own apartment, where no blazing wood on the hearth
dissipated the gloom, she sat down with a book, to enliven her
attention, till Annette should come, and a fire could be kindled.
She continued to read till her light was nearly expired, but Annette
did not appear, and the solitude and obscurity of her chamber again
affected her spirits, the more, because of its nearness to the scene
of horror, that she had witnessed in the morning. Gloomy and
fantastic images came to her mind. She looked fearfully towards the
door of the stair-case, and then, examining whether it was still
fastened, found that it was so. Unable to conquer the uneasiness she
felt at the prospect of sleeping again in this remote and insecure
apartment, which some person seemed to have entered during the
preceding night, her impatience to see Annette, whom she had bidden
to enquire concerning this circumstance, became extremely painful.
She wished also to question her, as to the object, which had excited
so much horror in her own mind, and which Annette on the preceding
evening had appeared to be in part acquainted with, though her words
were very remote from the truth, and it appeared plainly to Emily,
that the girl had been purposely misled by a false report: above all
she was surprised, that the door of the chamber, which contained it,
should be left unguarded. Such an instance of negligence almost
surpassed belief. But her light was now expiring; the faint flashes
it threw upon the walls called up all the terrors of fancy, and she
rose to find her way to the habitable part of the castle, before it
was quite extinguished. As she opened the chamber door, she heard
remote voices, and, soon after, saw a light issue upon the further
end of the corridor, which Annette and another servant approached.
'I am glad you are come,' said Emily: 'what has detained you so
long? Pray light me a fire immediately.'
'My lady wanted me, ma'amselle,' replied Annette in some confusion;
'I will go and get the wood.'
'No,' said Caterina, 'that is my business,' and left the room
instantly, while Annette would have followed; but, being called back,
she began to talk very loud, and laugh, and seemed afraid to trust a
pause of silence.
Caterina soon returned with the wood, and then, when the cheerful
blaze once more animated the room, and this servant had withdrawn,
Emily asked Annette, whether she had made the enquiry she bade her.
'Yes, ma'amselle,' said Annette, 'but not a soul knows any thing
about the matter: and old Carlo--I watched him well, for they say he
knows strange things--old Carlo looked so as I don't know how to
tell, and he asked me again and again, if I was sure the door was
ever unfastened. Lord, says I--am I sure I am alive? And as for me,
ma'am, I am all astounded, as one may say, and would no more sleep in
this chamber, than I would on the great cannon at the end of the east
'And what objection have you to that cannon, more than to any of the
rest?' said Emily smiling: 'the best would be rather a hard bed.'
'Yes, ma'amselle, any of them would be hard enough for that matter;
but they do say, that something has been seen in the dead of night,
standing beside the great cannon, as if to guard it.'
'Well! my good Annette, the people who tell such stories, are happy
in having you for an auditor, for I perceive you believe them all.'
'Dear ma'amselle! I will shew you the very cannon; you can see it
from these windows!'
'Well,' said Emily, 'but that does not prove, that an apparition
'What! not if I shew you the very cannon! Dear ma'am, you will
'Nothing probably upon this subject, but what I see,' said Emily.--
'Well, ma'am, but you shall see it, if you will only step this way to
the casement.'--Emily could not forbear laughing, and Annette looked
surprised. Perceiving her extreme aptitude to credit the marvellous,
Emily forbore to mention the subject she had intended, lest it should
overcome her with idle terrors, and she began to speak on a lively
topic--the regattas of Venice.
'Aye, ma'amselle, those rowing matches,' said Annette, 'and the fine
moon-light nights, are all, that are worth seeing in Venice. To be
sure the moon is brighter than any I ever saw; and then to hear such
sweet music, too, as Ludovico has often and often sung under the
lattice by the west portico! Ma'amselle, it was Ludovico, that told
me about that picture, which you wanted so to look at last night,
'What picture?' said Emily, wishing Annette to explain herself.
'O! that terrible picture with the black veil over it.'
'You never saw it, then?' said Emily.
'Who, I!--No, ma'amselle, I never did. But this morning,' continued
Annette, lowering her voice, and looking round the room, 'this
morning, as it was broad daylight, do you know, ma'am, I took a
strange fancy to see it, as I had heard such odd hints about it, and
I got as far as the door, and should have opened it, if it had not
Emily, endeavouring to conceal the emotion this circumstance
occasioned, enquired at what hour she went to the chamber, and found,
that it was soon after herself had been there. She also asked
further questions, and the answers convinced her, that Annette, and
probably her informer, were ignorant of the terrible truth, though in
Annette's account something very like the truth, now and then,
mingled with the falsehood. Emily now began to fear, that her visit
to the chamber had been observed, since the door had been closed, so
immediately after her departure; and dreaded lest this should draw
upon her the vengeance of Montoni. Her anxiety, also, was excited to
know whence, and for what purpose, the delusive report, which had
been imposed upon Annette, had originated, since Montoni could only
have wished for silence and secrecy; but she felt, that the subject
was too terrible for this lonely hour, and she compelled herself to
leave it, to converse with Annette, whose chat, simple as it was, she
preferred to the stillness of total solitude.
Thus they sat, till near midnight, but not without many hints from
Annette, that she wished to go. The embers were now nearly burnt
out; and Emily heard, at a distance, the thundering sound of the hall
doors, as they were shut for the night. She, therefore, prepared for
rest, but was still unwilling that Annette should leave her. At this
instant, the great bell of the portal sounded. They listened in
fearful expectation, when, after a long pause of silence, it sounded
again. Soon after, they heard the noise of carriage wheels in the
court-yard. Emily sunk almost lifeless in her chair; 'It is the
Count,' said she.
'What, at this time of night, ma'am!' said Annette: 'no, my dear
lady. But, for that matter, it is a strange time of night for any
body to come!'
'Nay, pr'ythee, good Annette, stay not talking,' said Emily in a
voice of agony--'Go, pr'ythee, go, and see who it is.'
Annette left the room, and carried with her the light, leaving Emily
in darkness, which a few moments before would have terrified her in
this room, but was now scarcely observed by her. She listened and
waited, in breathless expectation, and heard distant noises, but
Annette did not return. Her patience, at length, exhausted, she
tried to find her way to the corridor, but it was long before she
could touch the door of the chamber, and, when she had opened it, the
total darkness without made her fear to proceed. Voices were now
heard, and Emily even thought she distinguished those of Count
Morano, and Montoni. Soon after, she heard steps approaching, and
then a ray of light streamed through the darkness, and Annette
appeared, whom Emily went to meet.
'Yes, ma'amselle,' said she, 'you was right, it is the Count sure
'It is he!' exclaimed Emily, lifting her eyes towards heaven and
supporting herself by Annette's arm.
'Good Lord! my dear lady, don't be in such a FLUSTER, and look so
pale, we shall soon hear more.'
'We shall, indeed!' said Emily, moving as fast as she was able
towards her apartment. 'I am not well; give me air.' Annette opened
a casement, and brought water. The faintness soon left Emily, but
she desired Annette would not go till she heard from Montoni.
'Dear ma'amselle! he surely will not disturb you at this time of
night; why he must think you are asleep.'
'Stay with me till I am so, then,' said Emily, who felt temporary
relief from this suggestion, which appeared probable enough, though
her fears had prevented its occurring to her. Annette, with secret
reluctance, consented to stay, and Emily was now composed enough to
ask her some questions; among others, whether she had seen the Count.
'Yes, ma'am, I saw him alight, for I went from hence to the grate in
the north turret, that overlooks the inner court-yard, you know.
There I saw the Count's carriage, and the Count in it, waiting at the
great door,--for the porter was just gone to bed--with several men on
horseback all by the light of the torches they carried.' Emily was
compelled to smile. 'When the door was opened, the Count said
something, that I could not make out, and then got out, and another
gentleman with him. I thought, to be sure, the Signor was gone to
bed, and I hastened away to my lady's dressing-room, to see what I
could hear. But in the way I met Ludovico, and he told me that the
Signor was up, counselling with his master and the other Signors, in
the room at the end of the north gallery; and Ludovico held up his
finger, and laid it on his lips, as much as to say--There is more
going on, than you think of, Annette, but you must hold your tongue.
And so I did hold my tongue, ma'amselle, and came away to tell you
Emily enquired who the cavalier was, that accompanied the Count, and
how Montoni received them; but Annette could not inform her.
'Ludovico,' she added, 'had just been to call Signor Montoni's valet,
that he might tell him they were arrived, when I met him.'
Emily sat musing, for some time, and then her anxiety was so much
increased, that she desired Annette would go to the servants' hall,
where it was possible she might hear something of the Count's
intention, respecting his stay at the castle.
'Yes, ma'am,' said Annette with readiness; 'but how am I to find the
way, if I leave the lamp with you?'
Emily said she would light her, and they immediately quitted the
chamber. When they had reached the top of the great stair-case,
Emily recollected, that she might be seen by the Count, and, to avoid
the great hall, Annette conducted her through some private passages
to a back stair-case, which led directly to that of the servants.
As she returned towards her chamber, Emily began to fear, that she
might again lose herself in the intricacies of the castle, and again
be shocked by some mysterious spectacle; and, though she was already
perplexed by the numerous turnings, she feared to open one of the
many doors that offered. While she stepped thoughtfully along, she
fancied, that she heard a low moaning at no great distance, and,
having paused a moment, she heard it again and distinctly. Several
doors appeared on the right hand of the passage. She advanced, and
listened. When she came to the second, she heard a voice, apparently
in complaint, within, to which she continued to listen, afraid to
open the door, and unwilling to leave it. Convulsive sobs followed,
and then the piercing accents of an agonizing spirit burst forth.
Emily stood appalled, and looked through the gloom, that surrounded
her, in fearful expectation. The lamentations continued. Pity now
began to subdue terror; it was possible she might administer comfort
to the sufferer, at least, by expressing sympathy, and she laid her
hand on the door. While she hesitated she thought she knew this
voice, disguised as it was by tones of grief. Having, therefore, set
down the lamp in the passage, she gently opened the door, within
which all was dark, except that from an inner apartment a partial
light appeared; and she stepped softly on. Before she reached it,
the appearance of Madame Montoni, leaning on her dressing-table,
weeping, and with a handkerchief held to her eyes, struck her, and
Some person was seated in a chair by the fire, but who it was she
could not distinguish. He spoke, now and then, in a low voice, that
did not allow Emily to hear what was uttered, but she thought, that
Madame Montoni, at those times, wept the more, who was too much
occupied by her own distress, to observe Emily, while the latter,
though anxious to know what occasioned this, and who was the person
admitted at so late an hour to her aunt's dressing-room, forbore to
add to her sufferings by surprising her, or to take advantage of her
situation, by listening to a private discourse. She, therefore,
stepped softly back, and, after some further difficulty, found the
way to her own chamber, where nearer interests, at length, excluded
the surprise and concern she had felt, respecting Madame Montoni.
Annette, however, returned without satisfactory intelligence, for the
servants, among whom she had been, were either entirely ignorant, or
affected to be so, concerning the Count's intended stay at the
castle. They could talk only of the steep and broken road they had
just passed, and of the numerous dangers they had escaped and express
wonder how their lord could choose to encounter all these, in the
darkness of night; for they scarcely allowed, that the torches had
served for any other purpose but that of shewing the dreariness of
the mountains. Annette, finding she could gain no information, left
them, making noisy petitions, for more wood on the fire and more
supper on the table.
'And now, ma'amselle,' added she, 'I am so sleepy!--I am sure, if you
was so sleepy, you would not desire me to sit up with you.'
Emily, indeed, began to think it was cruel to wish it; she had also
waited so long, without receiving a summons from Montoni, that it
appeared he did not mean to disturb her, at this late hour, and she
determined to dismiss Annette. But, when she again looked round her
gloomy chamber, and recollected certain circumstances, fear seized
her spirits, and she hesitated.
'And yet it were cruel of me to ask you to stay, till I am asleep,
Annette,' said she, 'for I fear it will be very long before I forget
myself in sleep.'
'I dare say it will be very long, ma'amselle,' said Annette.
'But, before you go,' rejoined Emily, 'let me ask you--Had Signor
Montoni left Count Morano, when you quitted the hall?'
'O no, ma'am, they were alone together.'
'Have you been in my aunt's dressing-room, since you left me?'
'No, ma'amselle, I called at the door as I passed, but it was
fastened; so I thought my lady was gone to bed.'
'Who, then, was with your lady just now?' said Emily, forgetting, in
surprise, her usual prudence.
'Nobody, I believe, ma'am,' replied Annette, 'nobody has been with
her, I believe, since I left you.'
Emily took no further notice of the subject, and, after some struggle
with imaginary fears, her good nature prevailed over them so far,
that she dismissed Annette for the night. She then sat, musing upon
her own circumstances and those of Madame Montoni, till her eye
rested on the miniature picture, which she had found, after her
father's death, among the papers he had enjoined her to destroy. It
was open upon the table, before her, among some loose drawings,
having, with them, been taken out of a little box by Emily, some
hours before. The sight of it called up many interesting
reflections, but the melancholy sweetness of the countenance soothed
the emotions, which these had occasioned. It was the same style of
countenance as that of her late father, and, while she gazed on it
with fondness on this account, she even fancied a resemblance in the
features. But this tranquillity was suddenly interrupted, when she
recollected the words in the manuscript, that had been found with
this picture, and which had formerly occasioned her so much doubt and
horror. At length, she roused herself from the deep reverie, into
which this remembrance had thrown her; but, when she rose to undress,
the silence and solitude, to which she was left, at this midnight
hour, for not even a distant sound was now heard, conspired with the
impression the subject she had been considering had given to her
mind, to appall her. Annette's hints, too, concerning this chamber,
simple as they were, had not failed to affect her, since they
followed a circumstance of peculiar horror, which she herself had
witnessed, and since the scene of this was a chamber nearly adjoining
The door of the stair-case was, perhaps, a subject of more reasonable
alarm, and she now began to apprehend, such was the aptitude of her
fears, that this stair-case had some private communication with the
apartment, which she shuddered even to remember. Determined not to
undress, she lay down to sleep in her clothes, with her late father's
dog, the faithful MANCHON, at the foot of the bed, whom she
considered as a kind of guard.
Thus circumstanced, she tried to banish reflection, but her busy
fancy would still hover over the subjects of her interest, and she
heard the clock of the castle strike two, before she closed her eyes.
From the disturbed slumber, into which she then sunk, she was soon
awakened by a noise, which seemed to arise within her chamber; but
the silence, that prevailed, as she fearfully listened, inclined her
to believe, that she had been alarmed by such sounds as sometimes
occur in dreams, and she laid her head again upon the pillow.
A return of the noise again disturbed her; it seemed to come from
that part of the room, which communicated with the private stair-
case, and she instantly remembered the odd circumstance of the door
having been fastened, during the preceding night, by some unknown
hand. Her late alarming suspicion, concerning its communication,
also occurred to her. Her heart became faint with terror. Half
raising herself from the bed, and gently drawing aside the curtain,
she looked towards the door of the stair-case, but the lamp, that
burnt on the hearth, spread so feeble a light through the apartment,
that the remote parts of it were lost in shadow. The noise, however,
which, she was convinced, came from the door, continued. It seemed
like that made by the undrawing of rusty bolts, and often ceased, and
was then renewed more gently, as if the hand, that occasioned it, was
restrained by a fear of discovery.
While Emily kept her eyes fixed on the spot, she saw the door move,
and then slowly open, and perceived something enter the room, but the
extreme duskiness prevented her distinguishing what it was. Almost
fainting with terror, she had yet sufficient command over herself, to
check the shriek, that was escaping from her lips, and, letting the
curtain drop from her hand, continued to observe in silence the
motions of the mysterious form she saw. It seemed to glide along the
remote obscurity of the apartment, then paused, and, as it approached
the hearth, she perceived, in the stronger light, what appeared to be
a human figure. Certain remembrances now struck upon her heart, and
almost subdued the feeble remains of her spirits; she continued,
however, to watch the figure, which remained for some time
motionless, but then, advancing slowly towards the bed, stood
silently at the feet, where the curtains, being a little open,
allowed her still to see it; terror, however, had now deprived her of
the power of discrimination, as well as of that of utterance.
Having continued there a moment, the form retreated towards the
hearth, when it took the lamp, held it up, surveyed the chamber, for
a few moments, and then again advanced towards the bed. The light at
that instant awakening the dog, that had slept at Emily's feet, he
barked loudly, and, jumping to the floor, flew at the stranger, who
struck the animal smartly with a sheathed sword, and, springing
towards the bed, Emily discovered--Count Morano!
She gazed at him for a moment in speechless affright, while he,
throwing himself on his knee at the bed-side, besought her to fear
nothing, and, having thrown down his sword, would have taken her
hand, when the faculties, that terror had suspended, suddenly
returned, and she sprung from the bed, in the dress, which surely a
kind of prophetic apprehension had prevented her, on this night, from
Morano rose, followed her to the door, through which he had entered,
and caught her hand, as she reached the top of the stair-case, but
not before she had discovered, by the gleam of a lamp, another man
half-way down the steps. She now screamed in despair, and, believing
herself given up by Montoni, saw, indeed, no possibility of escape.
The Count, who still held her hand, led her back into the chamber.
'Why all this terror?' said he, in a tremulous voice. 'Hear me,
Emily: I come not to alarm you; no, by Heaven! I love you too well-
-too well for my own peace.'
Emily looked at him for a moment, in fearful doubt.
'Then leave me, sir,' said she, 'leave me instantly.'
'Hear me, Emily,' resumed Morano, 'hear me! I love, and am in
despair--yes--in despair. How can I gaze upon you, and know, that it
is, perhaps, for the last time, without suffering all the phrensy of
despair? But it shall not be so; you shall be mine, in spite of
Montoni and all his villany.'
'In spite of Montoni!' cried Emily eagerly: 'what is it I hear?'
'You hear, that Montoni is a villain,' exclaimed Morano with
vehemence,--'a villain who would have sold you to my love!--Who---'
'And is he less, who would have bought me?' said Emily, fixing on the
Count an eye of calm contempt. 'Leave the room, sir, instantly,' she
continued in a voice, trembling between joy and fear, 'or I will
alarm the family, and you may receive that from Signor Montoni's
vengeance, which I have vainly supplicated from his pity.' But Emily
knew, that she was beyond the hearing of those, who might protect
'You can never hope any thing from his pity,' said Morano, 'he has
used me infamously, and my vengeance shall pursue him. And for you,
Emily, for you, he has new plans more profitable than the last, no
doubt.' The gleam of hope, which the Count's former speech had
revived, was now nearly extinguished by the latter; and, while
Emily's countenance betrayed the emotions of her mind, he endeavoured
to take advantage of the discovery.
'I lose time,' said he: 'I came not to exclaim against Montoni; I
came to solicit, to plead--to Emily; to tell her all I suffer, to
entreat her to save me from despair, and herself from destruction.
Emily! the schemes of Montoni are insearchable, but, I warn you, they
are terrible; he has no principle, when interest, or ambition leads.
Can I love you, and abandon you to his power? Fly, then, fly from
this gloomy prison, with a lover, who adores you! I have bribed a
servant of the castle to open the gates, and, before tomorrow's dawn,
you shall be far on the way to Venice.'
Emily, overcome by the sudden shock she had received, at the moment,
too, when she had begun to hope for better days, now thought she saw
destruction surround her on every side. Unable to reply, and almost
to think, she threw herself into a chair, pale and breathless. That
Montoni had formerly sold her to Morano, was very probable; that he
had now withdrawn his consent to the marriage, was evident from the
Count's present conduct; and it was nearly certain, that a scheme of
stronger interest only could have induced the selfish Montoni to
forego a plan, which he had hitherto so strenuously pursued. These
reflections made her tremble at the hints, which Morano had just
given, which she no longer hesitated to believe; and, while she
shrunk from the new scenes of misery and oppression, that might await
her in the castle of Udolpho, she was compelled to observe, that
almost her only means of escaping them was by submitting herself to
the protection of this man, with whom evils more certain and not less
terrible appeared,--evils, upon which she could not endure to pause
for an instant.
Her silence, though it was that of agony, encouraged the hopes of
Morano, who watched her countenance with impatience, took again the
resisting hand she had withdrawn, and, as he pressed it to his heart,
again conjured her to determine immediately. 'Every moment we lose,
will make our departure more dangerous,' said he: 'these few moments
lost may enable Montoni to overtake us.'
'I beseech you, sir, be silent,' said Emily faintly: 'I am indeed
very wretched, and wretched I must remain. Leave me--I command you,
leave me to my fate.'
'Never!' cried the Count vehemently: 'let me perish first! But
forgive my violence! the thought of losing you is madness. You
cannot be ignorant of Montoni's character, you may be ignorant of his
schemes--nay, you must be so, or you would not hesitate between my
love and his power.'
'Nor do I hesitate,' said Emily.
'Let us go, then,' said Morano, eagerly kissing her hand, and rising,
'my carriage waits, below the castle walls.'
'You mistake me, sir,' said Emily. 'Allow me to thank you for the
interest you express in my welfare, and to decide by my own choice.
I shall remain under the protection of Signor Montoni.'
'Under his protection!' exclaimed Morano, proudly, 'his PROTECTION!
Emily, why will you suffer yourself to be thus deluded? I have
already told you what you have to expect from his PROTECTION.'
'And pardon me, sir, if, in this instance, I doubt mere assertion,
and, to be convinced, require something approaching to proof.'
'I have now neither the time, or the means of adducing proof,'
replied the Count.
'Nor have I, sir, the inclination to listen to it, if you had.'
'But you trifle with my patience and my distress,' continued Morano.
'Is a marriage with a man, who adores you, so very terrible in your
eyes, that you would prefer to it all the misery, to which Montoni
may condemn you in this remote prison? Some wretch must have stolen
those affections, which ought to be mine, or you would not thus
obstinately persist in refusing an offer, that would place you beyond
the reach of oppression.' Morano walked about the room, with quick
steps, and a disturbed air.
'This discourse, Count Morano, sufficiently proves, that my
affections ought not to be yours,' said Emily, mildly, 'and this
conduct, that I should not be placed beyond the reach of oppression,
so long as I remained in your power. If you wish me to believe
otherwise, cease to oppress me any longer by your presence. If you
refuse this, you will compel me to expose you to the resentment of
'Yes, let him come,' cried Morano furiously, 'and brave MY
resentment! Let him dare to face once more the man he has so
courageously injured; danger shall teach him morality, and vengeance
justice--let him come, and receive my sword in his heart!'
The vehemence, with which this was uttered, gave Emily new cause of
alarm, who arose from her chair, but her trembling frame refused to
support her, and she resumed her seat;--the words died on her lips,
and, when she looked wistfully towards the door of the corridor,
which was locked, she considered it was impossible for her to leave
the apartment, before Morano would be apprised of, and able to
counteract, her intention.
Without observing her agitation, he continued to pace the room in the
utmost perturbation of spirits. His darkened countenance expressed
all the rage of jealousy and revenge; and a person, who had seen his
features under the smile of ineffable tenderness, which he so lately
assumed, would now scarcely have believed them to be the same.
'Count Morano,' said Emily, at length recovering her voice, 'calm, I
entreat you, these transports, and listen to reason, if you will not
to pity. You have equally misplaced your love, and your hatred.--I
never could have returned the affection, with which you honour me,
and certainly have never encouraged it; neither has Signor Montoni
injured you, for you must have known, that he had no right to dispose
of my hand, had he even possessed the power to do so. Leave, then,
leave the castle, while you may with safety. Spare yourself the
dreadful consequences of an unjust revenge, and the remorse of having
prolonged to me these moments of suffering.'
'Is it for mine, or for Montoni's safety, that you are thus alarmed?'
said Morano, coldly, and turning towards her with a look of acrimony.
'For both,' replied Emily, in a trembling voice.
'Unjust revenge!' cried the Count, resuming the abrupt tones of
passion. 'Who, that looks upon that face, can imagine a punishment
adequate to the injury he would have done me? Yes, I will leave the
castle; but it shall not be alone. I have trifled too long. Since
my prayers and my sufferings cannot prevail, force shall. I have
people in waiting, who shall convey you to my carriage. Your voice
will bring no succour; it cannot be heard from this remote part of
the castle; submit, therefore, in silence, to go with me.'
This was an unnecessary injunction, at present; for Emily was too
certain, that her call would avail her nothing; and terror had so
entirely disordered her thoughts, that she knew not how to plead to
Morano, but sat, mute and trembling, in her chair, till he advanced
to lift her from it, when she suddenly raised herself, and, with a
repulsive gesture, and a countenance of forced serenity, said, 'Count
Morano! I am now in your power; but you will observe, that this is
not the conduct which can win the esteem you appear so solicitous to
obtain, and that you are preparing for yourself a load of remorse, in
the miseries of a friendless orphan, which can never leave you. Do
you believe your heart to be, indeed, so hardened, that you can look
without emotion on the suffering, to which you would condemn me?'---
Emily was interrupted by the growling of the dog, who now came again
from the bed, and Morano looked towards the door of the stair-case,
where no person appearing, he called aloud, 'Cesario!'
'Emily,' said the Count, 'why will you reduce me to adopt this
conduct? How much more willingly would I persuade, than compel you
to become my wife! but, by Heaven! I will not leave you to be sold by
Montoni. Yet a thought glances across my mind, that brings madness
with it. I know not how to name it. It is preposterous--it cannot
be.--Yet you tremble--you grow pale! It is! it is so;--you--you--
love Montoni!' cried Morano, grasping Emily's wrist, and stamping his
foot on the floor.
An involuntary air of surprise appeared on her countenance. 'If you
have indeed believed so,' said she, 'believe so still.'
'That look, those words confirm it,' exclaimed Morano, furiously.
'No, no, no, Montoni had a richer prize in view, than gold. But he
shall not live to triumph over me!--This very instant---'
He was interrupted by the loud barking of the dog.
'Stay, Count Morano,' said Emily, terrified by his words, and by the
fury expressed in his eyes, 'I will save you from this error.--Of all
men, Signor Montoni is not your rival; though, if I find all other