Part 7 out of 16
means of saving myself vain, I will try whether my voice may not
arouse his servants to my succour.'
'Assertion,' replied Morano, 'at such a moment, is not to be depended
upon. How could I suffer myself to doubt, even for an instant, that
he could see you, and not love?--But my first care shall be to convey
you from the castle. Cesario! ho,--Cesario!'
A man now appeared at the door of the stair-case, and other steps
were heard ascending. Emily uttered a loud shriek, as Morano hurried
her across the chamber, and, at the same moment, she heard a noise at
the door, that opened upon the corridor. The Count paused an
instant, as if his mind was suspended between love and the desire of
vengeance; and, in that instant, the door gave way, and Montoni,
followed by the old steward and several other persons, burst into the
'Draw!' cried Montoni to the Count, who did not pause for a second
bidding, but, giving Emily into the hands of the people, that
appeared from the stair-case, turned fiercely round. 'This in thine
heart, villain!' said he, as he made a thrust at Montoni with his
sword, who parried the blow, and aimed another, while some of the
persons, who had followed him into the room, endeavoured to part the
combatants, and others rescued Emily from the hands of Morano's
'Was it for this, Count Morano,' said Montoni, in a cool sarcastic
tone of voice, 'that I received you under my roof, and permitted you,
though my declared enemy, to remain under it for the night? Was it,
that you might repay my hospitality with the treachery of a fiend,
and rob me of my niece?'
'Who talks of treachery?' said Morano, in a tone of unrestrained
vehemence. 'Let him that does, shew an unblushing face of innocence.
Montoni, you are a villain! If there is treachery in this affair,
look to yourself as the author of it. IF--do I say? I--whom you
have wronged with unexampled baseness, whom you have injured almost
beyond redress! But why do I use words?--Come on, coward, and
receive justice at my hands!'
'Coward!' cried Montoni, bursting from the people who held him, and
rushing on the Count, when they both retreated into the corridor,
where the fight continued so desperately, that none of the spectators
dared approach them, Montoni swearing, that the first who interfered,
should fall by his sword.
Jealousy and revenge lent all their fury to Morano, while the
superior skill and the temperance of Montoni enabled him to wound his
adversary, whom his servants now attempted to seize, but he would not
be restrained, and, regardless of his wound, continued to fight. He
seemed to be insensible both of pain and loss of blood, and alive
only to the energy of his passions. Montoni, on the contrary,
persevered in the combat, with a fierce, yet wary, valour; he
received the point of Morano's sword on his arm, but, almost in the
same instant, severely wounded and disarmed him. The Count then fell
back into the arms of his servant, while Montoni held his sword over
him, and bade him ask his life. Morano, sinking under the anguish of
his wound, had scarcely replied by a gesture, and by a few words,
feebly articulated, that he would not--when he fainted; and Montoni
was then going to have plunged the sword into his breast, as he lay
senseless, but his arm was arrested by Cavigni. To the interruption
he yielded without much difficulty, but his complexion changed almost
to blackness, as he looked upon his fallen adversary, and ordered,
that he should be carried instantly from the castle.
In the mean time, Emily, who had been with-held from leaving the
chamber during the affray, now came forward into the corridor, and
pleaded a cause of common humanity, with the feelings of the warmest
benevolence, when she entreated Montoni to allow Morano the
assistance in the castle, which his situation required. But Montoni,
who had seldom listened to pity, now seemed rapacious of vengeance,
and, with a monster's cruelty, again ordered his defeated enemy to be
taken from the castle, in his present state, though there were only
the woods, or a solitary neighbouring cottage, to shelter him from
The Count's servants having declared, that they would not move him
till he revived, Montoni's stood inactive, Cavigni remonstrating, and
Emily, superior to Montoni's menaces, giving water to Morano, and
directing the attendants to bind up his wound. At length, Montoni
had leisure to feel pain from his own hurt, and he withdrew to
The Count, meanwhile, having slowly recovered, the first object he
saw, on raising his eyes, was Emily, bending over him with a
countenance strongly expressive of solicitude. He surveyed her with
a look of anguish.
'I have deserved this,' said he, 'but not from Montoni. It is from
you, Emily, that I have deserved punishment, yet I receive only
pity!' He paused, for he had spoken with difficulty. After a
moment, he proceeded. 'I must resign you, but not to Montoni.
Forgive me the sufferings I have already occasioned you! But for
THAT villain--his infamy shall not go unpunished. Carry me from this
place,' said he to his servants. 'I am in no condition to travel:
you must, therefore, take me to the nearest cottage, for I will not
pass the night under his roof, although I may expire on the way from
Cesario proposed to go out, and enquire for a cottage, that might
receive his master, before he attempted to remove him: but Morano
was impatient to be gone; the anguish of his mind seemed to be even
greater than that of his wound, and he rejected, with disdain, the
offer of Cavigni to entreat Montoni, that he might be suffered to
pass the night in the castle. Cesario was now going to call up the
carriage to the great gate, but the Count forbade him. 'I cannot
bear the motion of a carriage,' said he: 'call some others of my
people, that they may assist in bearing me in their arms.'
At length, however, Morano submitted to reason, and consented, that
Cesario should first prepare some cottage to receive him. Emily, now
that he had recovered his senses, was about to withdraw from the
corridor, when a message from Montoni commanded her to do so, and
also that the Count, if he was not already gone, should quit the
castle immediately. Indignation flashed from Morano's eyes, and
flushed his cheeks.
'Tell Montoni,' said he, 'that I shall go when it suits my own
convenience; that I quit the castle, he dares to call his, as I would
the nest of a serpent, and that this is not the last he shall hear
from me. Tell him, I will not leave ANOTHER murder on his
conscience, if I can help it.'
'Count Morano! do you know what you say?' said Cavigni.
'Yes, Signor, I know well what I say, and he will understand well
what I mean. His conscience will assist his understanding, on this
'Count Morano,' said Verezzi, who had hitherto silently observed him,
'dare again to insult my friend, and I will plunge this sword in your
'It would be an action worthy the friend of a villain!' said Morano,
as the strong impulse of his indignation enabled him to raise himself
from the arms of his servants; but the energy was momentary, and he
sunk back, exhausted by the effort. Montoni's people, meanwhile,
held Verezzi, who seemed inclined, even in this instant, to execute
his threat; and Cavigni, who was not so depraved as to abet the
cowardly malignity of Verezzi, endeavoured to withdraw him from the
corridor; and Emily, whom a compassionate interest had thus long
detained, was now quitting it in new terror, when the supplicating
voice of Morano arrested her, and, by a feeble gesture, he beckoned
her to draw nearer. She advanced with timid steps, but the fainting
languor of his countenance again awakened her pity, and overcame her
'I am going from hence for ever,' said he: 'perhaps, I shall never
see you again. I would carry with me your forgiveness, Emily; nay
more--I would also carry your good wishes.'
'You have my forgiveness, then,' said Emily, 'and my sincere wishes
for your recovery.'
'And only for my recovery?' said Morano, with a sigh. 'For your
general welfare,' added Emily.
'Perhaps I ought to be contented with this,' he resumed; 'I certainly
have not deserved more; but I would ask you, Emily, sometimes to
think of me, and, forgetting my offence, to remember only the passion
which occasioned it. I would ask, alas! impossibilities: I would
ask you to love me! At this moment, when I am about to part with
you, and that, perhaps, for ever, I am scarcely myself. Emily--may
you never know the torture of a passion like mine! What do I say?
O, that, for me, you might be sensible of such a passion!'
Emily looked impatient to be gone. 'I entreat you, Count, to consult
your own safety,' said she, 'and linger here no longer. I tremble
for the consequences of Signor Verezzi's passion, and of Montoni's
resentment, should he learn that you are still here.'
Morano's face was overspread with a momentary crimson, his eyes
sparkled, but he seemed endeavouring to conquer his emotion, and
replied in a calm voice, 'Since you are interested for my safety, I
will regard it, and be gone. But, before I go, let me again hear you
say, that you wish me well,' said he, fixing on her an earnest and
Emily repeated her assurances. He took her hand, which she scarcely
attempted to withdraw, and put it to his lips. 'Farewell, Count
Morano!' said Emily; and she turned to go, when a second message
arrived from Montoni, and she again conjured Morano, as he valued his
life, to quit the castle immediately. He regarded her in silence,
with a look of fixed despair. But she had no time to enforce her
compassionate entreaties, and, not daring to disobey the second
command of Montoni, she left the corridor, to attend him.
He was in the cedar parlour, that adjoined the great hall, laid upon
a couch, and suffering a degree of anguish from his wound, which few
persons could have disguised, as he did. His countenance, which was
stern, but calm, expressed the dark passion of revenge, but no
symptom of pain; bodily pain, indeed, he had always despised, and had
yielded only to the strong and terrible energies of the soul. He was
attended by old Carlo and by Signor Bertolini, but Madame Montoni was
not with him.
Emily trembled, as she approached and received his severe rebuke, for
not having obeyed his first summons; and perceived, also, that he
attributed her stay in the corridor to a motive, that had not even
occurred to her artless mind.
'This is an instance of female caprice,' said he, 'which I ought to
have foreseen. Count Morano, whose suit you obstinately rejected, so
long as it was countenanced by me, you favour, it seems, since you
find I have dismissed him.'
Emily looked astonished. 'I do not comprehend you, sir,' said she:
'You certainly do not mean to imply, that the design of the Count to
visit the double-chamber, was founded upon any approbation of mine.'
'To that I reply nothing,' said Montoni; 'but it must certainly be a
more than common interest, that made you plead so warmly in his
cause, and that could detain you thus long in his presence, contrary
to my express order--in the presence of a man, whom you have
hitherto, on all occasions, most scrupulously shunned!'
'I fear, sir, it was a more than common interest, that detained me,'
said Emily calmly; 'for of late I have been inclined to think, that
of compassion is an uncommon one. But how could I, could YOU, sir,
witness Count Morano's deplorable condition, and not wish to relieve
'You add hypocrisy to caprice,' said Montoni, frowning, 'and an
attempt at satire, to both; but, before you undertake to regulate the
morals of other persons, you should learn and practise the virtues,
which are indispensable to a woman--sincerity, uniformity of conduct
Emily, who had always endeavoured to regulate her conduct by the
nicest laws, and whose mind was finely sensible, not only of what is
just in morals, but of whatever is beautiful in the female character,
was shocked by these words; yet, in the next moment, her heart
swelled with the consciousness of having deserved praise, instead of
censure, and she was proudly silent. Montoni, acquainted with the
delicacy of her mind, knew how keenly she would feel his rebuke; but
he was a stranger to the luxury of conscious worth, and, therefore,
did not foresee the energy of that sentiment, which now repelled his
satire. Turning to a servant who had lately entered the room, he
asked whether Morano had quitted the castle. The man answered, that
his servants were then removing him, on a couch, to a neighbouring
cottage. Montoni seemed somewhat appeased, on hearing this; and,
when Ludovico appeared, a few moments after, and said, that Morano
was gone, he told Emily she might retire to her apartment.
She withdrew willingly from his presence; but the thought of passing
the remainder of the night in a chamber, which the door from the
stair-case made liable to the intrusion of any person, now alarmed
her more than ever, and she determined to call at Madame Montoni's
room, and request, that Annette might be permitted to be with her.
On reaching the great gallery, she heard voices seemingly in dispute,
and, her spirits now apt to take alarm, she paused, but soon
distinguished some words of Cavigni and Verezzi, and went towards
them, in the hope of conciliating their difference. They were alone.
Verezzi's face was still flushed with rage; and, as the first object
of it was now removed from him, he appeared willing to transfer his
resentment to Cavigni, who seemed to be expostulating, rather than
disputing, with him.
Verezzi was protesting, that he would instantly inform Montoni of the
insult, which Morano had thrown out against him, and above all, that,
wherein he had accused him of murder.
'There is no answering,' said Cavigni, 'for the words of a man in a
passion; little serious regard ought to be paid to them. If you
persist in your resolution, the consequences may be fatal to both.
We have now more serious interests to pursue, than those of a petty
Emily joined her entreaties to Cavigni's arguments, and they, at
length, prevailed so far, as that Verezzi consented to retire,
without seeing Montoni.
On calling at her aunt's apartment, she found it fastened. In a few
minutes, however, it was opened by Madame Montoni herself.
It may be remembered, that it was by a door leading into the bedroom
from a back passage, that Emily had secretly entered a few hours
preceding. She now conjectured, by the calmness of Madame Montoni's
air, that she was not apprised of the accident, which had befallen
her husband, and was beginning to inform her of it, in the tenderest
manner she could, when her aunt interrupted her, by saying, she was
acquainted with the whole affair.
Emily knew indeed, that she had little reason to love Montoni, but
could scarcely have believed her capable of such perfect apathy, as
she now discovered towards him; having obtained permission, however,
for Annette to sleep in her chamber, she went thither immediately.
A track of blood appeared along the corridor, leading to it; and on
the spot, where the Count and Montoni had fought, the whole floor was
stained. Emily shuddered, and leaned on Annette, as she passed.
When she reached her apartment, she instantly determined, since the
door of the stair-case had been left open, and that Annette was now
with her, to explore whither it led,--a circumstance now materially
connected with her own safety. Annette accordingly, half curious and
half afraid, proposed to descend the stairs; but, on approaching the
door, they perceived, that it was already fastened without, and their
care was then directed to the securing it on the inside also, by
placing against it as much of the heavy furniture of the room, as
they could lift. Emily then retired to bed, and Annette continued on
a chair by the hearth, where some feeble embers remained.
Of aery tongues, that syllable men's names
On sands and shores and desert wildernesses.
It is now necessary to mention some circumstances, which could not be
related amidst the events of Emily's hasty departure from Venice, or
together with those, which so rapidly succeeded to her arrival in the
On the morning of her journey, Count Morano had gone at the appointed
hour to the mansion of Montoni, to demand his bride. When he reached
it, he was somewhat surprised by the silence and solitary air of the
portico, where Montoni's lacqueys usually loitered; but surprise was
soon changed to astonishment, and astonishment to the rage of
disappointment, when the door was opened by an old woman, who told
his servants, that her master and his family had left Venice, early
in the morning, for terra-firma. Scarcely believing what his
servants told, he left his gondola, and rushed into the hall to
enquire further. The old woman, who was the only person left in care
of the mansion, persisted in her story, which the silent and deserted
apartments soon convinced him was no fiction. He then seized her
with a menacing air, as if he meant to wreak all his vengeance upon
her, at the same time asking her twenty questions in a breath, and
all these with a gesticulation so furious, that she was deprived of
the power of answering them; then suddenly letting her go, he stamped
about the hall, like a madman, cursing Montoni and his own folly.
When the good woman was at liberty, and had somewhat recovered from
her fright, she told him all she knew of the affair, which was,
indeed, very little, but enough to enable Morano to discover, that
Montoni was gone to his castle on the Apennine. Thither he followed,
as soon as his servants could complete the necessary preparation for
the journey, accompanied by a friend, and attended by a number of his
people, determined to obtain Emily, or a full revenge on Montoni.
When his mind had recovered from the first effervescence of rage, and
his thoughts became less obscured, his conscience hinted to him
certain circumstances, which, in some measure, explained the conduct
of Montoni: but how the latter could have been led to suspect an
intention, which, he had believed, was known only to himself, he
could not even guess. On this occasion, however, he had been partly
betrayed by that sympathetic intelligence, which may be said to exist
between bad minds, and which teaches one man to judge what another
will do in the same circumstances. Thus it was with Montoni, who had
now received indisputable proof of a truth, which he had some time
suspected--that Morano's circumstances, instead of being affluent, as
he had been bidden to believe, were greatly involved. Montoni had
been interested in his suit, by motives entirely selfish, those of
avarice and pride; the last of which would have been gratified by an
alliance with a Venetian nobleman, the former by Emily's estate in
Gascony, which he had stipulated, as the price of his favour, should
be delivered up to him from the day of her marriage. In the
meantime, he had been led to suspect the consequence of the Count's
boundless extravagance; but it was not till the evening, preceding
the intended nuptials, that he obtained certain information of his
distressed circumstances. He did not hesitate then to infer, that
Morano designed to defraud him of Emily's estate; and in this
supposition he was confirmed, and with apparent reason, by the
subsequent conduct of the Count, who, after having appointed to meet
him on that night, for the purpose of signing the instrument, which
was to secure to him his reward, failed in his engagement. Such a
circumstance, indeed, in a man of Morano's gay and thoughtless
character, and at a time when his mind was engaged by the bustle of
preparation for his nuptials, might have been attributed to a cause
less decisive, than design; but Montoni did not hesitate an instant
to interpret it his own way, and, after vainly waiting the Count's
arrival, for several hours, he gave orders for his people to be in
readiness to set off at a moment's notice. By hastening to Udolpho
he intended to remove Emily from the reach of Morano, as well as to
break off the affair, without submitting himself to useless
altercation: and, if the Count meant what he called honourably, he
would doubtless follow Emily, and sign the writings in question. If
this was done, so little consideration had Montoni for her welfare,
that he would not have scrupled to sacrifice her to a man of ruined
fortune, since by that means he could enrich himself; and he forbore
to mention to her the motive of his sudden journey, lest the hope it
might revive should render her more intractable, when submission
would be required.
With these considerations, he had left Venice; and, with others
totally different, Morano had, soon after, pursued his steps across
the rugged Apennines. When his arrival was announced at the castle,
Montoni did not believe, that he would have presumed to shew himself,
unless he had meant to fulfil his engagement, and he, therefore,
readily admitted him; but the enraged countenance and expressions of
Morano, as he entered the apartment, instantly undeceived him; and,
when Montoni had explained, in part, the motives of his abrupt
departure from Venice, the Count still persisted in demanding Emily,
and reproaching Montoni, without even naming the former stipulation.
Montoni, at length, weary of the dispute, deferred the settling of it
till the morrow, and Morano retired with some hope, suggested by
Montoni's apparent indecision. When, however, in the silence of his
own apartment, he began to consider the past conversation, the
character of Montoni, and some former instances of his duplicity, the
hope, which he had admitted, vanished, and he determined not to
neglect the present possibility of obtaining Emily by other means.
To his confidential valet he told his design of carrying away Emily,
and sent him back to Montoni's servants to find out one among them,
who might enable him to execute it. The choice of this person he
entrusted to the fellow's own discernment, and not imprudently; for
he discovered a man, whom Montoni had, on some former occasion,
treated harshly, and who was now ready to betray him. This man
conducted Cesario round the castle, through a private passage, to the
stair-case, that led to Emily's chamber; then shewed him a short way
out of the building, and afterwards procured him the keys, that would
secure his retreat. The man was well rewarded for his trouble; how
the Count was rewarded for his treachery, had already appeared.
Meanwhile, old Carlo had overheard two of Morano's servants, who had
been ordered to be in waiting with the carriage, beyond the castle
walls, expressing their surprise at their master's sudden, and secret
departure, for the valet had entrusted them with no more of Morano's
designs, than it was necessary for them to execute. They, however,
indulged themselves in surmises, and in expressing them to each
other; and from these Carlo had drawn a just conclusion. But, before
he ventured to disclose his apprehensions to Montoni, he endeavoured
to obtain further confirmation of them, and, for this purpose, placed
himself, with one of his fellow-servants, at the door of Emily's
apartment, that opened upon the corridor. He did not watch long in
vain, though the growling of the dog had once nearly betrayed him.
When he was convinced, that Morano was in the room, and had listened
long enough to his conversation, to understand his scheme, he
immediately alarmed Montoni, and thus rescued Emily from the designs
of the Count.
Montoni, on the following morning, appeared as usual, except that he
wore his wounded arm in a sling; he went out upon the ramparts;
overlooked the men employed in repairing them; gave orders for
additional workmen, and then came into the castle to give audience to
several persons, who were just arrived, and who were shewn into a
private apartment, where he communicated with them, for near an hour.
Carlo was then summoned, and ordered to conduct the strangers to a
part of the castle, which, in former times, had been occupied by the
upper servants of the family, and to provide them with every
necessary refreshment.--When he had done this, he was bidden to
return to his master.
Meanwhile, the Count remained in a cottage in the skirts of the woods
below, suffering under bodily and mental pain, and meditating deep
revenge against Montoni. His servant, whom he had dispatched for a
surgeon to the nearest town, which was, however, at a considerable
distance, did not return till the following day, when, his wounds
being examined and dressed, the practitioner refused to deliver any
positive opinion, concerning the degree of danger attending them; but
giving his patient a composing draught and ordering him to be quiet,
remained at the cottage to watch the event.
Emily, for the remainder of the late eventful night, had been
suffered to sleep, undisturbed; and, when her mind recovered from the
confusion of slumber, and she remembered, that she was now released
from the addresses of Count Morano, her spirits were suddenly
relieved from a part of the terrible anxiety, that had long oppressed
them; that which remained, arose chiefly from a recollection of
Morano's assertions, concerning the schemes of Montoni. He had said,
that plans of the latter, concerning Emily, were insearchable, yet
that he knew them to be terrible. At the time he uttered this, she
almost believed it to be designed for the purpose of prevailing with
her to throw herself into his protection, and she still thought it
might be chiefly so accounted for; but his assertions had left an
impression on her mind, which a consideration of the character and
former conduct of Montoni did not contribute to efface. She,
however, checked her propensity to anticipate evil; and, determined
to enjoy this respite from actual misfortune, tried to dismiss
thought, took her instruments for drawing, and placed herself at a
window, to select into a landscape some features of the scenery
As she was thus employed, she saw, walking on the rampart below, the
men, who had so lately arrived at the castle. The sight of strangers
surprised her, but still more, of strangers such as these. There was
a singularity in their dress, and a certain fierceness in their air,
that fixed all her attention. She withdrew from the casement, while
they passed, but soon returned to observe them further. Their
figures seemed so well suited to the wildness of the surrounding
objects, that, as they stood surveying the castle, she sketched them
for banditti, amid the mountain-view of her picture, when she had
finished which, she was surprised to observe the spirit of her group.
But she had copied from nature.
Carlo, when he had placed refreshment before these men in the
apartment assigned to them, returned, as he was ordered, to Montoni,
who was anxious to discover by what servant the keys of the castle
had been delivered to Morano, on the preceding night. But this man,
though he was too faithful to his master quietly to see him injured,
would not betray a fellow-servant even to justice; he, therefore,
pretended to be ignorant who it was, that had conspired with Count
Morano, and related, as before, that he had only overheard some of
the strangers describing the plot.
Montoni's suspicions naturally fell upon the porter, whom he ordered
now to attend. Carlo hesitated, and then with slow steps went to
Barnardine, the porter, denied the accusation with a countenance so
steady and undaunted, that Montoni could scarcely believe him guilty,
though he knew not how to think him innocent. At length, the man was
dismissed from his presence, and, though the real offender, escaped
Montoni then went to his wife's apartment, whither Emily followed
soon after, but, finding them in high dispute, was instantly leaving
the room, when her aunt called her back, and desired her to stay.--
'You shall be a witness,' said she, 'of my opposition. Now, sir,
repeat the command, I have so often refused to obey.'
Montoni turned, with a stern countenance, to Emily, and bade her quit
the apartment, while his wife persisted in desiring, that she would
stay. Emily was eager to escape from this scene of contention, and
anxious, also, to serve her aunt; but she despaired of conciliating
Montoni, in whose eyes the rising tempest of his soul flashed
'Leave the room,' said he, in a voice of thunder. Emily obeyed, and,
walking down to the rampart, which the strangers had now left,
continued to meditate on the unhappy marriage of her father's sister,
and on her own desolate situation, occasioned by the ridiculous
imprudence of her, whom she had always wished to respect and love.
Madame Montoni's conduct had, indeed, rendered it impossible for
Emily to do either; but her gentle heart was touched by her distress,
and, in the pity thus awakened, she forgot the injurious treatment
she had received from her.
As she sauntered on the rampart, Annette appeared at the hall door,
looked cautiously round, and then advanced to meet her.
'Dear ma'amselle, I have been looking for you all over the castle,'
said she. 'If you will step this way, I will shew you a picture.'
'A picture!' exclaimed Emily, and shuddered.
'Yes, ma'am, a picture of the late lady of this place. Old Carlo
just now told me it was her, and I thought you would be curious to
see it. As to my lady, you know, ma'amselle, one cannot talk about
such things to her.'--
'And so,' said Emily smilingly, 'as you must talk of them to
'Why, yes, ma'amselle; what can one do in such a place as this, if
one must not talk? If I was in a dungeon, if they would let me talk-
-it would be some comfort; nay, I would talk, if it was only to the
walls. But come, ma'amselle, we lose time--let me shew you to the
'Is it veiled?' said Emily, pausing.
'Dear ma'amselle!' said Annette, fixing her eyes on Emily's face,
'what makes you look so pale?--are you ill?'
'No, Annette, I am well enough, but I have no desire to see this
picture; return into the hall.'
'What! ma'am, not to see the lady of this castle?' said the girl--
'the lady, who disappeared to strangely? Well! now, I would have run
to the furthest mountain we can see, yonder, to have got a sight of
such a picture; and, to speak my mind, that strange story is all,
that makes me care about this old castle, though it makes me thrill
all over, as it were, whenever I think of it.'
'Yes, Annette, you love the wonderful; but do you know, that, unless
you guard against this inclination, it will lead you into all the
misery of superstition?'
Annette might have smiled in her turn, at this sage observation of
Emily, who could tremble with ideal terrors, as much as herself, and
listen almost as eagerly to the recital of a mysterious story.
Annette urged her request.
'Are you sure it is a picture?' said Emily, 'Have you seen it?--Is it
'Holy Maria! ma'amselle, yes, no, yes. I am sure it is a picture--I
have seen it, and it is not veiled!'
The tone and look of surprise, with which this was uttered, recalled
Emily's prudence; who concealed her emotion under a smile, and bade
Annette lead her to the picture. It was in an obscure chamber,
adjoining that part of the castle, allotted to the servants. Several
other portraits hung on the walls, covered, like this, with dust and
'That is it, ma'amselle,' said Annette, in a low voice, and pointing.
Emily advanced, and surveyed the picture. It represented a lady in
the flower of youth and beauty; her features were handsome and noble,
full of strong expression, but had little of the captivating
sweetness, that Emily had looked for, and still less of the pensive
mildness she loved. It was a countenance, which spoke the language
of passion, rather than that of sentiment; a haughty impatience of
misfortune--not the placid melancholy of a spirit injured, yet
'How many years have passed, since this lady disappeared, Annette?'
'Twenty years, ma'amselle, or thereabout, as they tell me; I know it
is a long while ago.' Emily continued to gaze upon the portrait.
'I think,' resumed Annette, 'the Signor would do well to hang it in a
better place, than this old chamber. Now, in my mind, he ought to
place the picture of a lady, who gave him all these riches, in the
handsomest room in the castle. But he may have good reasons for what
he does: and some people do say that he has lost his riches, as well
as his gratitude. But hush, ma'am, not a word!' added Annette,
laying her finger on her lips. Emily was too much absorbed in
thought, to hear what she said.
''Tis a handsome lady, I am sure,' continued Annette: 'the Signor
need not be ashamed to put her in the great apartment, where the
veiled picture hangs.' Emily turned round. 'But for that matter,
she would be as little seen there, as here, for the door is always
locked, I find.'
'Let us leave this chamber,' said Emily: 'and let me caution you
again, Annette; be guarded in your conversation, and never tell, that
you know any thing of that picture.'
'Holy Mother!' exclaimed Annette, 'it is no secret; why all the
servants have seen it already!'
Emily started. 'How is this?' said she--'Have seen it! When?--how?'
'Dear, ma'amselle, there is nothing surprising in that; we had all a
little more CURIOUSNESS than you had.'
'I thought you told me, the door was kept locked?' said Emily.
'If that was the case, ma'amselle,' replied Annette, looking about
her, 'how could we get here?'
'Oh, you mean THIS picture,' said Emily, with returning calmness.
'Well, Annette, here is nothing more to engage my attention; we will
Emily, as she passed to her own apartment, saw Montoni go down to the
hall, and she turned into her aunt's dressing-room, whom she found
weeping and alone, grief and resentment struggling on her
countenance. Pride had hitherto restrained complaint. Judging of
Emily's disposition from her own, and from a consciousness of what
her treatment of her deserved, she had believed, that her griefs
would be cause of triumph to her niece, rather than of sympathy; that
she would despise, not pity her. But she knew not the tenderness and
benevolence of Emily's heart, that had always taught her to forget
her own injuries in the misfortunes of her enemy. The sufferings of
others, whoever they might be, called forth her ready compassion,
which dissipated at once every obscuring cloud to goodness, that
passion or prejudice might have raised in her mind.
Madame Montoni's sufferings, at length, rose above her pride, and,
when Emily had before entered the room, she would have told them all,
had not her husband prevented her; now that she was no longer
restrained by his presence, she poured forth all her complaints to
'O Emily!' she exclaimed, 'I am the most wretched of women--I am
indeed cruelly treated! Who, with my prospects of happiness, could
have foreseen such a wretched fate as this?--who could have thought,
when I married such a man as the Signor, I should ever have to bewail
my lot? But there is no judging what is for the best--there is no
knowing what is for our good! The most flattering prospects often
change--the best judgments may be deceived--who could have foreseen,
when I married the Signor, that I should ever repent my GENEROSITY?'
Emily thought she might have foreseen it, but this was not a thought
of triumph. She placed herself in a chair near her aunt, took her
hand, and, with one of those looks of soft compassion, which might
characterize the countenance of a guardian angel, spoke to her in the
tenderest accents. But these did not sooth Madame Montoni, whom
impatience to talk made unwilling to listen. She wanted to complain,
not to be consoled; and it was by exclamations of complaint only,
that Emily learned the particular circumstances of her affliction.
'Ungrateful man!' said Madame Montoni, 'he has deceived me in every
respect; and now he has taken me from my country and friends, to shut
me up in this old castle; and, here he thinks he can compel me to do
whatever he designs! But he shall find himself mistaken, he shall
find that no threats can alter--But who would have believed! who
would have supposed, that a man of his family and apparent wealth had
absolutely no fortune?--no, scarcely a sequin of his own! I did all
for the best; I thought he was a man of consequence, of great
property, or I am sure I would never have married him,--ungrateful,
artful man!' She paused to take breath.
'Dear Madam, be composed,' said Emily: 'the Signor may not be so
rich as you had reason to expect, but surely he cannot be very poor,
since this castle and the mansion at Venice are his. May I ask what
are the circumstances, that particularly affect you?'
'What are the circumstances!' exclaimed Madame Montoni with
resentment: 'why is it not sufficient, that he had long ago ruined
his own fortune by play, and that he has since lost what I brought
him--and that now he would compel me to sign away my settlement (it
was well I had the chief of my property settled on myself!) that he
may lose this also, or throw it away in wild schemes, which nobody
can understand but himself? And, and--is not all this sufficient?'
'It is, indeed,' said Emily, 'but you must recollect, dear madam,
that I knew nothing of all this.'
'Well, and is it not sufficient,' rejoined her aunt, 'that he is also
absolutely ruined, that he is sunk deeply in debt, and that neither
this castle, or the mansion at Venice, is his own, if all his debts,
honourable and dishonourable, were paid!'
'I am shocked by what you tell me, madam,' said Emily.
'And is it not enough,' interrupted Madame Montoni, 'that he has
treated me with neglect, with cruelty, because I refused to
relinquish my settlements, and, instead of being frightened by his
menaces, resolutely defied him, and upbraided him with his shameful
conduct? But I bore all meekly,--you know, niece, I never uttered a
word of complaint, till now; no! That such a disposition as mine
should be so imposed upon! That I, whose only faults are too much
kindness, too much generosity, should be chained for life to such a
vile, deceitful, cruel monster!'
Want of breath compelled Madame Montoni to stop. If any thing could
have made Emily smile in these moments, it would have been this
speech of her aunt, delivered in a voice very little below a scream,
and with a vehemence of gesticulation and of countenance, that turned
the whole into burlesque. Emily saw, that her misfortunes did not
admit of real consolation, and, contemning the commonplace terms of
superficial comfort, she was silent; while Madame Montoni, jealous of
her own consequence, mistook this for the silence of indifference, or
of contempt, and reproached her with want of duty and feeling.
'O! I suspected what all this boasted sensibility would prove to be!'
rejoined she; 'I thought it would not teach you to feel either duty,
or affection, for your relations, who have treated you like their own
'Pardon me, madam,' said Emily, mildly, 'it is not natural to me to
boast, and if it was, I am sure I would not boast of sensibility--a
quality, perhaps, more to be feared, than desired.'
'Well, well, niece, I will not dispute with you. But, as I said,
Montoni threatens me with violence, if I any longer refuse to sign
away my settlements, and this was the subject of our contest, when
you came into the room before. Now, I am determined no power on
earth shall make me do this. Neither will I bear all this tamely.
He shall hear his true character from me; I will tell him all he
deserves, in spite of his threats and cruel treatment.'
Emily seized a pause of Madame Montoni's voice, to speak. 'Dear
madam,' said she, 'but will not this serve to irritate the Signor
unnecessarily? will it not provoke the harsh treatment you dread?'
'I do not care,' replied Madame Montoni, 'it does not signify: I
will not submit to such usage. You would have me give up my
settlements, too, I suppose!'
'No, madam, I do not exactly mean that.'
'What is it you do mean then?'
'You spoke of reproaching the Signor,'--said Emily, with hesitation.
'Why, does he not deserve reproaches?' said her aunt.
'Certainly he does; but will it be prudent in you, madam, to make
'Prudent!' exclaimed Madame Montoni. 'Is this a time to talk of
prudence, when one is threatened with all sorts of violence?'
'It is to avoid that violence, that prudence is necessary.' said
'Of prudence!' continued Madame Montoni, without attending to her,
'of prudence towards a man, who does not scruple to break all the
common ties of humanity in his conduct to me! And is it for me to
consider prudence in my behaviour towards him! I am not so mean.'
'It is for your own sake, not for the Signor's, madam,' said Emily
modestly, 'that you should consult prudence. Your reproaches,
however just, cannot punish him, but they may provoke him to further
violence against you.'
'What! would you have me submit, then, to whatever he commands--would
you have me kneel down at his feet, and thank him for his cruelties?
Would you have me give up my settlements?'
'How much you mistake me, madam!' said Emily, 'I am unequal to advise
you on a point so important as the last: but you will pardon me for
saying, that, if you consult your own peace, you will try to
conciliate Signor Montoni, rather than to irritate him by
'Conciliate indeed! I tell you, niece, it is utterly impossible; I
disdain to attempt it.'
Emily was shocked to observe the perverted understanding and
obstinate temper of Madame Montoni; but, not less grieved for her
sufferings, she looked round for some alleviating circumstance to
offer her. 'Your situation is, perhaps, not so desperate, dear
madam,' said Emily, 'as you may imagine. The Signor may represent
his affairs to be worse than they are, for the purpose of pleading a
stronger necessity for his possession of your settlement. Besides,
so long as you keep this, you may look forward to it as a resource,
at least, that will afford you a competence, should the Signor's
future conduct compel you to sue for separation.'
Madame Montoni impatiently interrupted her. 'Unfeeling, cruel girl!'
said she, 'and so you would persuade me, that I have no reason to
complain; that the Signor is in very flourishing circumstances, that
my future prospects promise nothing but comfort, and that my griefs
are as fanciful and romantic as your own! Is it the way to console
me, to endeavour to persuade me out of my senses and my feelings,
because you happen to have no feelings yourself? I thought I was
opening my heart to a person, who could sympathize in my distress,
but I find, that your people of sensibility can feel for nobody but
themselves! You may retire to your chamber.'
Emily, without replying, immediately left the room, with a mingled
emotion of pity and contempt, and hastened to her own, where she
yielded to the mournful reflections, which a knowledge of her aunt's
situation had occasioned. The conversation of the Italian with
Valancourt, in France, again occurred to her. His hints, respecting
the broken fortunes of Montoni, were now completely justified; those,
also, concerning his character, appeared not less so, though the
particular circumstances, connected with his fame, to which the
stranger had alluded, yet remained to be explained. Notwithstanding,
that her own observations and the words of Count Morano had convinced
her, that Montoni's situation was not what it formerly appeared to
be, the intelligence she had just received from her aunt on this
point, struck her with all the force of astonishment, which was not
weakened, when she considered the present style of Montoni's living,
the number of servants he maintained, and the new expences he was
incurring, by repairing and fortifying his castle. Her anxiety for
her aunt and for herself increased with reflection. Several
assertions of Morano, which, on the preceding night, she had believed
were prompted either by interest, or by resentment, now returned to
her mind with the strength of truth. She could not doubt, that
Montoni had formerly agreed to give her to the Count, for a pecuniary
reward;--his character, and his distressed circumstances justified
the belief; these, also, seemed to confirm Morano's assertion, that
he now designed to dispose of her, more advantageously for himself,
to a richer suitor.
Amidst the reproaches, which Morano had thrown out against Montoni,
he had said--he would not quit the castle HE DARED TO CALL HIS, nor
willingly leave ANOTHER murder on his conscience--hints, which might
have no other origin than the passion of the moment: but Emily was
now inclined to account for them more seriously, and she shuddered to
think, that she was in the hands of a man, to whom it was even
possible they could apply. At length, considering, that reflection
could neither release her from her melancholy situation, or enable
her to bear it with greater fortitude, she tried to divert her
anxiety, and took down from her little library a volume of her
favourite Ariosto; but his wild imagery and rich invention could not
long enchant her attention; his spells did not reach her heart, and
over her sleeping fancy they played, without awakening it.
She now put aside the book, and took her lute, for it was seldom that
her sufferings refused to yield to the magic of sweet sounds; when
they did so, she was oppressed by sorrow, that came from excess of
tenderness and regret; and there were times, when music had increased
such sorrow to a degree, that was scarcely endurable; when, if it had
not suddenly ceased, she might have lost her reason. Such was the
time, when she mourned for her father, and heard the midnight
strains, that floated by her window near the convent in Languedoc, on
the night that followed his death.
She continued to play, till Annette brought dinner into her chamber,
at which Emily was surprised, and enquired whose order she obeyed.
'My lady's, ma'amselle,' replied Annette: 'the Signor ordered her
dinner to be carried to her own apartment, and so she has sent you
yours. There have been sad doings between them, worse than ever, I
Emily, not appearing to notice what she said, sat down to the little
table, that was spread for her. But Annette was not to be silenced
thus easily. While she waited, she told of the arrival of the men,
whom Emily had observed on the ramparts, and expressed much surprise
at their strange appearance, as well as at the manner, in which they
had been attended by Montoni's order. 'Do they dine with the Signor,
then?' said Emily.
'No, ma'amselle, they dined long ago, in an apartment at the north
end of the castle, but I know not when they are to go, for the Signor
told old Carlo to see them provided with every thing necessary. They
have been walking all about the castle, and asking questions of the
workmen on the ramparts. I never saw such strange-looking men in my
life; I am frightened whenever I see them.'
Emily enquired, if she had heard of Count Morano, and whether he was
likely to recover: but Annette only knew, that he was lodged in a
cottage in the wood below, and that every body said he must die.
Emily's countenance discovered her emotion.
'Dear ma'amselle,' said Annette, 'to see how young ladies will
disguise themselves, when they are in love! I thought you hated the
Count, or I am sure I would not have told you; and I am sure you have
cause enough to hate him.'
'I hope I hate nobody,' replied Emily, trying to smile; 'but
certainly I do not love Count Morano. I should be shocked to hear of
any person dying by violent means.'
'Yes, ma'amselle, but it is his own fault.'
Emily looked displeased; and Annette, mistaking the cause of her
displeasure, immediately began to excuse the Count, in her way. 'To
be sure, it was very ungenteel behaviour,' said she, 'to break into a
lady's room, and then, when he found his discoursing was not
agreeable to her, to refuse to go; and then, when the gentleman of
the castle comes to desire him to walk about his business--to turn
round, and draw his sword, and swear he'll run him through the body!-
-To be sure it was very ungenteel behaviour, but then he was
disguised in love, and so did not know what he was about.'
'Enough of this,' said Emily, who now smiled without an effort; and
Annette returned to a mention of the disagreement between Montoni,
and her lady. 'It is nothing new,' said she: 'we saw and heard
enough of this at Venice, though I never told you of it, ma'amselle.'
'Well, Annette, it was very prudent of you not to mention it then:
be as prudent now; the subject is an unpleasant one.'
'Ah dear, ma'amselle!--to see now how considerate you can be about
some folks, who care so little about you! I cannot bear to see you
so deceived, and I must tell you. But it is all for your own good,
and not to spite my lady, though, to speak truth, I have little
reason to love her; but--'
'You are not speaking thus of my aunt, I hope, Annette?' said Emily,
'Yes, ma'amselle, but I am, though; and if you knew as much as I do,
you would not look so angry. I have often, and often, heard the
Signor and her talking over your marriage with the Count, and she
always advised him never to give up to your foolish whims, as she was
pleased to call them, but to be resolute, and compel you to be
obedient, whether you would, or no. And I am sure, my heart has
ached a thousand times, and I have thought, when she was so unhappy
herself, she might have felt a little for other people, and--'
'I thank you for your pity, Annette,' said Emily, interrupting her:
'but my aunt was unhappy then, and that disturbed her temper perhaps,
or I think--I am sure--You may take away, Annette, I have done.'
'Dear ma'amselle, you have eat nothing at all! Do try, and take a
little bit more. Disturbed her temper truly! why, her temper is
always disturbed, I think. And at Tholouse too I have heard my lady
talking of you and Mons. Valancourt to Madame Merveille and Madame
Vaison, often and often, in a very ill-natured way, as I thought,
telling them what a deal of trouble she had to keep you in order, and
what a fatigue and distress it was to her, and that she believed you
would run away with Mons. Valancourt, if she was not to watch you
closely; and that you connived at his coming about the house at
'Good God!' exclaimed Emily, blushing deeply, 'it is surely
impossible my aunt could thus have represented me!'
'Indeed, ma'am, I say nothing more than the truth, and not all of
that. But I thought, myself, she might have found something better
to discourse about, than the faults of her own niece, even if you had
been in fault, ma'amselle; but I did not believe a word of what she
said. But my lady does not care what she says against any body, for
'However that may be, Annette,' interrupted Emily, recovering her
composure, 'it does not become you to speak of the faults of my aunt
to me. I know you have meant well, but--say no more.--I have quite
Annette blushed, looked down, and then began slowly to clear the
'Is this, then, the reward of my ingenuousness?' said Emily, when she
was alone; 'the treatment I am to receive from a relation--an aunt--
who ought to have been the guardian, not the slanderer of my
reputation,--who, as a woman, ought to have respected the delicacy of
female honour, and, as a relation, should have protected mine! But,
to utter falsehoods on so nice a subject--to repay the openness, and,
I may say with honest pride, the propriety of my conduct, with
slanders--required a depravity of heart, such as I could scarcely
have believed existed, such as I weep to find in a relation. O! what
a contrast does her character present to that of my beloved father;
while envy and low cunning form the chief traits of hers, his was
distinguished by benevolence and philosophic wisdom! But now, let me
only remember, if possible, that she is unfortunate.'
Emily threw her veil over her, and went down to walk upon the
ramparts, the only walk, indeed, which was open to her, though she
often wished, that she might be permitted to ramble among the woods
below, and still more, that she might sometimes explore the sublime
scenes of the surrounding country. But, as Montoni would not suffer
her to pass the gates of the castle, she tried to be contented with
the romantic views she beheld from the walls. The peasants, who had
been employed on the fortifications, had left their work, and the
ramparts were silent and solitary. Their lonely appearance, together
with the gloom of a lowering sky, assisted the musings of her mind,
and threw over it a kind of melancholy tranquillity, such as she
often loved to indulge. She turned to observe a fine effect of the
sun, as his rays, suddenly streaming from behind a heavy cloud,
lighted up the west towers of the castle, while the rest of the
edifice was in deep shade, except, that, through a lofty gothic arch,
adjoining the tower, which led to another terrace, the beams darted
in full splendour, and shewed the three strangers she had observed in
the morning. Perceiving them, she started, and a momentary fear came
over her, as she looked up the long rampart, and saw no other
persons. While she hesitated, they approached. The gate at the end
of the terrace, whither they were advancing, she knew, was always
locked, and she could not depart by the opposite extremity, without
meeting them; but, before she passed them, she hastily drew a thin
veil over her face, which did, indeed, but ill conceal her beauty.
They looked earnestly at her, and spoke to each other in bad Italian,
of which she caught only a few words; but the fierceness of their
countenances, now that she was near enough to discriminate them,
struck her yet more than the wild singularity of their air and dress
had formerly done. It was the countenance and figure of him, who
walked between the other two, that chiefly seized her attention,
which expressed a sullen haughtiness and a kind of dark watchful
villany, that gave a thrill of horror to her heart. All this was so
legibly written on his features, as to be seen by a single glance,
for she passed the group swiftly, and her timid eyes scarcely rested
on them a moment. Having reached the terrace, she stopped, and
perceived the strangers standing in the shadow of one of the turrets,
gazing after her, and seemingly, by their action, in earnest
conversation. She immediately left the rampart, and retired to her
In the evening, Montoni sat late, carousing with his guests in the
cedar chamber. His recent triumph over Count Morano, or, perhaps,
some other circumstance, contributed to elevate his spirits to an
unusual height. He filled the goblet often, and gave a loose to
merriment and talk. The gaiety of Cavigni, on the contrary, was
somewhat clouded by anxiety. He kept a watchful eye upon Verezzi,
whom, with the utmost difficulty, he had hitherto restrained from
exasperating Montoni further against Morano, by a mention of his late
One of the company exultingly recurred to the event of the preceding
evening. Verezzi's eyes sparkled. The mention of Morano led to that
of Emily, of whom they were all profuse in the praise, except
Montoni, who sat silent, and then interrupted the subject.
When the servants had withdrawn, Montoni and his friends entered into
close conversation, which was sometimes checked by the irascible
temper of Verezzi, but in which Montoni displayed his conscious
superiority, by that decisive look and manner, which always
accompanied the vigour of his thought, and to which most of his
companions submitted, as to a power, that they had no right to
question, though of each other's self-importance they were jealously
scrupulous. Amidst this conversation, one of them imprudently
introduced again the name of Morano; and Verezzi, now more heated by
wine, disregarded the expressive looks of Cavigni, and gave some dark
hints of what had passed on the preceding night. These, however,
Montoni did not appear to understand, for he continued silent in his
chair, without discovering any emotion, while, the choler of Verezzi
increasing with the apparent insensibility of Montoni, he at length
told the suggestion of Morano, that this castle did not lawfully
belong to him, and that he would not willingly leave another murder
on his conscience.
'Am I to be insulted at my own table, and by my own friends?' said
Montoni, with a countenance pale in anger. 'Why are the words of
that madman repeated to me?' Verezzi, who had expected to hear
Montoni's indignation poured forth against Morano, and answered by
thanks to himself, looked with astonishment at Cavigni, who enjoyed
his confusion. 'Can you be weak enough to credit the assertions of a
madman?' rejoined Montoni, 'or, what is the same thing, a man
possessed by the spirit of vengeance? But he has succeeded too well;
you believe what he said.'
'Signor,' said Verezzi, 'we believe only what we know.'--'How!'
interrupted Montoni, sternly: 'produce your proof.'
'We believe only what we know,' repeated Verezzi, 'and we know
nothing of what Morano asserts.' Montoni seemed to recover himself.
'I am hasty, my friends,' said he, 'with respect to my honour; no man
shall question it with impunity--you did not mean to question it.
These foolish words are not worth your remembrance, or my resentment.
Verezzi, here is to your first exploit.'
'Success to your first exploit,' re-echoed the whole company.
'Noble Signor,' replied Verezzi, glad to find he had escaped
Montoni's resentment, 'with my good will, you shall build your
ramparts of gold.'
'Pass the goblet,' cried Montoni. 'We will drink to Signora St.
Aubert,' said Cavigni. 'By your leave we will first drink to the
lady of the castle.' said Bertolini.--Montoni was silent. 'To the
lady of the castle,' said his guests. He bowed his head.
'It much surprises me, Signor,' said Bertolini, 'that you have so
long neglected this castle; it is a noble edifice.'
'It suits our purpose,' replied Montoni, 'and IS a noble edifice.
You know not, it seems, by what mischance it came to me.'
'It was a lucky mischance, be it what it may, Signor,' replied
Bertolini, smiling. 'I would, that one so lucky had befallen me.'
Montoni looked gravely at him. 'If you will attend to what I say,'
he resumed, 'you shall hear the story.'
The countenances of Bertolini and Verezzi expressed something more
than curiosity; Cavigni, who seemed to feel none, had probably heard
the relation before.
'It is now near twenty years,' said Montoni, 'since this castle came
into my possession. I inherit it by the female line. The lady, my
predecessor, was only distantly related to me; I am the last of her
family. She was beautiful and rich; I wooed her; but her heart was
fixed upon another, and she rejected me. It is probable, however,
that she was herself rejected of the person, whoever he might be, on
whom she bestowed her favour, for a deep and settled melancholy took
possession of her; and I have reason to believe she put a period to
her own life. I was not at the castle at the time; but, as there are
some singular and mysterious circumstances attending that event, I
shall repeat them.'
'Repeat them!' said a voice.
Montoni was silent; the guests looked at each other, to know who
spoke; but they perceived, that each was making the same enquiry.
Montoni, at length, recovered himself. 'We are overheard,' said he:
'we will finish this subject another time. Pass the goblet.'
The cavaliers looked round the wide chamber.
'Here is no person, but ourselves,' said Verezzi: 'pray, Signor,
'Did you hear any thing?' said Montoni.
'We did,' said Bertolini.
'It could be only fancy,' said Verezzi, looking round again. 'We see
no person besides ourselves; and the sound I thought I heard seemed
within the room. Pray, Signor, go on.'
Montoni paused a moment, and then proceeded in a lowered voice, while
the cavaliers drew nearer to attend.
'Ye are to know, Signors, that the Lady Laurentini had for some
months shewn symptoms of a dejected mind, nay, of a disturbed
imagination. Her mood was very unequal; sometimes she was sunk in
calm melancholy, and, at others, as I have been told, she betrayed
all the symptoms of frantic madness. It was one night in the month
of October, after she had recovered from one of those fits of excess,
and had sunk again into her usual melancholy, that she retired alone
to her chamber, and forbade all interruption. It was the chamber at
the end of the corridor, Signors, where we had the affray, last
night. From that hour, she was seen no more.'
'How! seen no more!' said Bertolini, 'was not her body found in the
'Were her remains never found?' cried the rest of the company all
'Never!' replied Montoni.
'What reasons were there to suppose she destroyed herself, then?'
said Bertolini.--'Aye, what reasons?' said Verezzi.--'How happened
it, that her remains were never found? Although she killed herself,
she could not bury herself.' Montoni looked indignantly at Verezzi,
who began to apologize. 'Your pardon, Signor,' said he: 'I did not
consider, that the lady was your relative, when I spoke of her so
Montoni accepted the apology.
'But the Signor will oblige us with the reasons, which urged him to
believe, that the lady committed suicide.'
'Those I will explain hereafter,' said Montoni: 'at present let me
relate a most extraordinary circumstance. This conversation goes no
further, Signors. Listen, then, to what I am going to say.'
'Listen!' said a voice.
They were all again silent, and the countenance of Montoni changed.
'This is no illusion of the fancy,' said Cavigni, at length breaking
the profound silence.--'No,' said Bertolini; 'I heard it myself, now.
Yet here is no person in the room but ourselves!'
'This is very extraordinary,' said Montoni, suddenly rising. 'This
is not to be borne; here is some deception, some trick. I will know
what it means.'
All the company rose from their chairs in confusion.
'It is very odd!' said Bertolini. 'Here is really no stranger in the
room. If it is a trick, Signor, you will do well to punish the
author of it severely.'
'A trick! what else can it be?' said Cavigni, affecting a laugh.
The servants were now summoned, and the chamber was searched, but no
person was found. The surprise and consternation of the company
increased. Montoni was discomposed. 'We will leave this room,' said
he, 'and the subject of our conversation also; it is too solemn.'
His guests were equally ready to quit the apartment; but the subject
had roused their curiosity, and they entreated Montoni to withdraw to
another chamber, and finish it; no entreaties could, however, prevail
with him. Notwithstanding his efforts to appear at ease, he was
visibly and greatly disordered.
'Why, Signor, you are not superstitious,' cried Verezzi, jeeringly;
'you, who have so often laughed at the credulity of others!'
'I am not superstitious,' replied Montoni, regarding him with stern
displeasure, 'though I know how to despise the common-place
sentences, which are frequently uttered against superstition. I will
enquire further into this affair.' He then left the room; and his
guests, separating for the night, retired to their respective
He wears the rose of youth upon his cheek.
We now return to Valancourt, who, it may be remembered, remained at
Tholouse, some time after the departure of Emily, restless and
miserable. Each morrow that approached, he designed should carry him
from thence; yet to-morrow and to-morrow came, and still saw him
lingering in the scene of his former happiness. He could not
immediately tear himself from the spot, where he had been accustomed
to converse with Emily, or from the objects they had viewed together,
which appeared to him memorials of her affection, as well as a kind
of surety for its faithfulness; and, next to the pain of bidding her
adieu, was that of leaving the scenes which so powerfully awakened
her image. Sometimes he had bribed a servant, who had been left in
the care of Madame Montoni's chateau, to permit him to visit the
gardens, and there he would wander, for hours together, rapt in a
melancholy, not unpleasing. The terrace, and the pavilion at the end
of it, where he had taken leave of Emily, on the eve of her departure
from Tholouse, were his most favourite haunts. There, as he walked,
or leaned from the window of the building, he would endeavour to
recollect all she had said, on that night; to catch the tones of her
voice, as they faintly vibrated on his memory, and to remember the
exact expression of her countenance, which sometimes came suddenly to
his fancy, like a vision; that beautiful countenance, which awakened,
as by instantaneous magic, all the tenderness of his heart, and
seemed to tell with irresistible eloquence--that he had lost her
forever! At these moments, his hurried steps would have discovered
to a spectator the despair of his heart. The character of Montoni,
such as he had received from hints, and such as his fears represented
it, would rise to his view, together with all the dangers it seemed
to threaten to Emily and to his love. He blamed himself, that he had
not urged these more forcibly to her, while it might have been in his
power to detain her, and that he had suffered an absurd and criminal
delicacy, as he termed it, to conquer so soon the reasonable
arguments he had opposed to this journey. Any evil, that might have
attended their marriage, seemed so inferior to those, which now
threatened their love, or even to the sufferings, that absence
occasioned, that he wondered how he could have ceased to urge his
suit, till he had convinced her of its propriety; and he would
certainly now have followed her to Italy, if he could have been
spared from his regiment for so long a journey. His regiment,
indeed, soon reminded him, that he had other duties to attend, than
those of love.
A short time after his arrival at his brother's house, he was
summoned to join his brother officers, and he accompanied a battalion
to Paris; where a scene of novelty and gaiety opened upon him, such
as, till then, he had only a faint idea of. But gaiety disgusted,
and company fatigued, his sick mind; and he became an object of
unceasing raillery to his companions, from whom, whenever he could
steal an opportunity, he escaped, to think of Emily. The scenes
around him, however, and the company with whom he was obliged to
mingle, engaged his attention, though they failed to amuse his fancy,
and thus gradually weakened the habit of yielding to lamentation,
till it appeared less a duty to his love to indulge it. Among his
brother-officers were many, who added to the ordinary character of a
French soldier's gaiety some of those fascinating qualities, which
too frequently throw a veil over folly, and sometimes even soften the
features of vice into smiles. To these men the reserved and
thoughtful manners of Valancourt were a kind of tacit censure on
their own, for which they rallied him when present, and plotted
against him when absent; they gloried in the thought of reducing him
to their own level, and, considering it to be a spirited frolic,
determined to accomplish it.
Valancourt was a stranger to the gradual progress of scheme and
intrigue, against which he could not be on his guard. He had not
been accustomed to receive ridicule, and he could ill endure its
sting; he resented it, and this only drew upon him a louder laugh.
To escape from such scenes, he fled into solitude, and there the
image of Emily met him, and revived the pangs of love and despair.
He then sought to renew those tasteful studies, which had been the
delight of his early years; but his mind had lost the tranquillity,
which is necessary for their enjoyment. To forget himself and the
grief and anxiety, which the idea of her recalled, he would quit his
solitude, and again mingle in the crowd--glad of a temporary relief,
and rejoicing to snatch amusement for the moment.
Thus passed weeks after weeks, time gradually softening his sorrow,
and habit strengthening his desire of amusement, till the scenes
around him seemed to awaken into a new character, and Valancourt, to
have fallen among them from the clouds.
His figure and address made him a welcome visitor, wherever he had
been introduced, and he soon frequented the most gay and fashionable
circles of Paris. Among these, was the assembly of the Countess
Lacleur, a woman of eminent beauty and captivating manners. She had
passed the spring of youth, but her wit prolonged the triumph of its
reign, and they mutually assisted the fame of each other; for those,
who were charmed by her loveliness, spoke with enthusiasm of her
talents; and others, who admired her playful imagination, declared,
that her personal graces were unrivalled. But her imagination was
merely playful, and her wit, if such it could be called, was
brilliant, rather than just; it dazzled, and its fallacy escaped the
detection of the moment; for the accents, in which she pronounced it,
and the smile, that accompanied them, were a spell upon the judgment
of the auditors. Her petits soupers were the most tasteful of any in
Paris, and were frequented by many of the second class of literati.
She was fond of music, was herself a scientific performer, and had
frequently concerts at her house. Valancourt, who passionately loved
music, and who sometimes assisted at these concerts, admired her
execution, but remembered with a sigh the eloquent simplicity of
Emily's songs and the natural expression of her manner, which waited
not to be approved by the judgment, but found their way at once to
Madame La Comtesse had often deep play at her house, which she
affected to restrain, but secretly encouraged; and it was well known
among her friends, that the splendour of her establishment was
chiefly supplied from the profits of her tables. But her petits
soupers were the most charming imaginable! Here were all the
delicacies of the four quarters of the world, all the wit and the
lighter efforts of genius, all the graces of conversation--the smiles
of beauty, and the charm of music; and Valancourt passed his
pleasantest, as well as most dangerous hours in these parties.
His brother, who remained with his family in Gascony, had contented
himself with giving him letters of introduction to such of his
relations, residing at Paris, as the latter was not already known to.
All these were persons of some distinction; and, as neither the
person, mind, or manners of Valancourt the younger threatened to
disgrace their alliance, they received him with as much kindness as
their nature, hardened by uninterrupted prosperity, would admit of;
but their attentions did not extend to acts of real friendship; for
they were too much occupied by their own pursuits, to feel any
interest in his; and thus he was set down in the midst of Paris, in
the pride of youth, with an open, unsuspicious temper and ardent
affections, without one friend, to warn him of the dangers, to which
he was exposed. Emily, who, had she been present, would have saved
him from these evils by awakening his heart, and engaging him in
worthy pursuits, now only increased his danger;--it was to lose the
grief, which the remembrance of her occasioned, that he first sought
amusement; and for this end he pursued it, till habit made it an
object of abstract interest.
There was also a Marchioness Champfort, a young widow, at whose
assemblies he passed much of his time. She was handsome, still more
artful, gay and fond of intrigue. The society, which she drew round
her, was less elegant and more vicious, than that of the Countess
Lacleur: but, as she had address enough to throw a veil, though but
a slight one, over the worst part of her character, she was still
visited by many persons of what is called distinction. Valancourt
was introduced to her parties by two of his brother officers, whose
late ridicule he had now forgiven so far, that he could sometimes
join in the laugh, which a mention of his former manners would renew.
The gaiety of the most splendid court in Europe, the magnificence of
the palaces, entertainments, and equipages, that surrounded him--all
conspired to dazzle his imagination, and re-animate his spirits, and
the example and maxims of his military associates to delude his mind.
Emily's image, indeed, still lived there; but it was no longer the
friend, the monitor, that saved him from himself, and to which he
retired to weep the sweet, yet melancholy, tears of tenderness. When
he had recourse to it, it assumed a countenance of mild reproach,
that wrung his soul, and called forth tears of unmixed misery; his
only escape from which was to forget the object of it, and he
endeavoured, therefore, to think of Emily as seldom as he could.
Thus dangerously circumstanced was Valancourt, at the time, when
Emily was suffering at Venice, from the persecuting addresses of
Count Morano, and the unjust authority of Montoni; at which period we
The image of a wicked, heinous fault
Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
Does shew the mood of a much-troubled breast.
Leaving the gay scenes of Paris, we return to those of the gloomy
Apennine, where Emily's thoughts were still faithful to Valancourt.
Looking to him as to her only hope, she recollected, with jealous
exactness, every assurance and every proof she had witnessed of his
affection; read again and again the letters she had received from
him; weighed, with intense anxiety, the force of every word, that
spoke of his attachment; and dried her tears, as she trusted in his
Montoni, meanwhile, had made strict enquiry concerning the strange
circumstance of his alarm, without obtaining information; and was, at
length, obliged to account for it by the reasonable supposition, that
it was a mischievous trick played off by one of his domestics. His
disagreements with Madame Montoni, on the subject of her settlements,
were now more frequent than ever; he even confined her entirely to
her own apartment, and did not scruple to threaten her with much
greater severity, should she persevere in a refusal.
Reason, had she consulted it, would now have perplexed her in the
choice of a conduct to be adopted. It would have pointed out the
danger of irritating by further opposition a man, such as Montoni had
proved himself to be, and to whose power she had so entirely
committed herself; and it would also have told her, of what extreme
importance to her future comfort it was, to reserve for herself those
possessions, which would enable her to live independently of Montoni,
should she ever escape from his immediate controul. But she was
directed by a more decisive guide than reason--the spirit of revenge,
which urged her to oppose violence to violence, and obstinacy to
Wholly confined to the solitude of her apartment, she was now reduced
to solicit the society she had lately rejected; for Emily was the
only person, except Annette, with whom she was permitted to converse.
Generously anxious for her peace, Emily, therefore, tried to
persuade, when she could not convince, and sought by every gentle
means to induce her to forbear that asperity of reply, which so
greatly irritated Montoni. The pride of her aunt did sometimes
soften to the soothing voice of Emily, and there even were moments,
when she regarded her affectionate attentions with goodwill.
The scenes of terrible contention, to which Emily was frequently
compelled to be witness, exhausted her spirits more than any
circumstances, that had occurred since her departure from Tholouse.
The gentleness and goodness of her parents, together with the scenes
of her early happiness, often stole on her mind, like the visions of
a higher world; while the characters and circumstances, now passing
beneath her eye, excited both terror and surprise. She could
scarcely have imagined, that passions so fierce and so various, as
those which Montoni exhibited, could have been concentrated in one
individual; yet what more surprised her, was, that, on great
occasions, he could bend these passions, wild as they were, to the
cause of his interest, and generally could disguise in his
countenance their operation on his mind; but she had seen him too
often, when he had thought it unnecessary to conceal his nature, to
be deceived on such occasions.
Her present life appeared like the dream of a distempered
imagination, or like one of those frightful fictions, in which the
wild genius of the poets sometimes delighted. Reflection brought
only regret, and anticipation terror. How often did she wish to
'steal the lark's wing, and mount the swiftest gale,' that Languedoc
and repose might once more be hers!
Of Count Morano's health she made frequent enquiry; but Annette heard
only vague reports of his danger, and that his surgeon had said he
would never leave the cottage alive; while Emily could not but be
shocked to think, that she, however innocently, might be the means of
his death; and Annette, who did not fail to observe her emotion,
interpreted it in her own way.
But a circumstance soon occurred, which entirely withdrew Annette's
attention from this subject, and awakened the surprise and curiosity
so natural to her. Coming one day to Emily's apartment, with a
countenance full of importance, 'What can all this mean, ma'amselle?'
said she. 'Would I was once safe in Languedoc again, they should
never catch me going on my travels any more! I must think it a fine
thing, truly, to come abroad, and see foreign parts! I little
thought I was coming to be catched up in a old castle, among such
dreary mountains, with the chance of being murdered, or, what is as
good, having my throat cut!'
'What can all this mean, indeed, Annette?' said Emily, in
'Aye, ma'amselle, you may look surprised; but you won't believe it,
perhaps, till they have murdered you, too. You would not believe
about the ghost I told you of, though I shewed you the very place,
where it used to appear!--You will believe nothing, ma'amselle.'
'Not till you speak more reasonably, Annette; for Heaven's sake,
explain your meaning. You spoke of murder!'
'Aye, ma'amselle, they are coming to murder us all, perhaps; but what
signifies explaining?--you will not believe.'
Emily again desired her to relate what she had seen, or heard.
'O, I have seen enough, ma'am, and heard too much, as Ludovico can
prove. Poor soul! they will murder him, too! I little thought, when
he sung those sweet verses under my lattice, at Venice!'--Emily
looked impatient and displeased. 'Well, ma'amselle, as I was saying,
these preparations about the castle, and these strange-looking
people, that are calling here every day, and the Signor's cruel usage
of my lady, and his odd goings-on--all these, as I told Ludovico, can
bode no good. And he bid me hold my tongue. So, says I, the
Signor's strangely altered, Ludovico, in this gloomy castle, to what
he was in France; there, all so gay! Nobody so gallant to my lady,
then; and he could smile, too, upon a poor servant, sometimes, and
jeer her, too, good-naturedly enough. I remember once, when he said
to me, as I was going out of my lady's dressing-room--Annette, says
'Never mind what the Signor said,' interrupted Emily; 'but tell me,
at once, the circumstance, which has thus alarmed you.'
'Aye, ma'amselle,' rejoined Annette, 'that is just what Ludovico
said: says he, Never mind what the Signor says to you. So I told
him what I thought about the Signor. He is so strangely altered,
said I: for now he is so haughty, and so commanding, and so sharp
with my lady; and, if he meets one, he'll scarcely look at one,
unless it be to frown. So much the better, says Ludovico, so much
the better. And to tell you the truth, ma'amselle, I thought this
was a very ill-natured speech of Ludovico: but I went on. And then,
says I, he is always knitting his brows; and if one speaks to him, he
does not hear; and then he sits up counselling so, of a night, with
the other Signors--there they are, till long past midnight,
discoursing together! Aye, but says Ludovico, you don't know what
they are counselling about. No, said I, but I can guess--it is about
my young lady. Upon that, Ludovico burst out a-laughing, quite loud;
so he put me in a huff, for I did not like that either I or you,
ma'amselle, should be laughed at; and I turned away quick, but he
stopped me. "Don't be affronted, Annette," said he, "but I cannot
help laughing;" and with that he laughed again. "What!" says he, "do
you think the Signors sit up, night after night, only to counsel
about thy young lady! No, no, there is something more in the wind
than that. And these repairs about the castle, and these
preparations about the ramparts--they are not making about young
ladies." Why, surely, said I, the Signor, my master, is not going to
make war? "Make war!" said Ludovico, "what, upon the mountains and
the woods? for here is no living soul to make war upon that I see."
'What are these preparations for, then? said I; why surely nobody is
coming to take away my master's castle! "Then there are so many ill-
looking fellows coming to the castle every day," says Ludovico,
without answering my question, "and the Signor sees them all, and
talks with them all, and they all stay in the neighbourhood! By holy
St. Marco! some of them are the most cut-throat-looking dogs I ever
set my eyes upon."
'I asked Ludovico again, if he thought they were coming to take away
my master's castle; and he said, No, he did not think they were, but
he did not know for certain. "Then yesterday," said he, but you must
not tell this, ma'amselle, "yesterday, a party of these men came, and
left all their horses in the castle stables, where, it seems, they
are to stay, for the Signor ordered them all to be entertained with
the best provender in the manger; but the men are, most of them, in
the neighbouring cottages."
'So, ma'amselle, I came to tell you all this, for I never heard any
thing so strange in my life. But what can these ill-looking men be
come about, if it is not to murder us? And the Signor knows this, or
why should he be so civil to them? And why should he fortify the
castle, and counsel so much with the other Signors, and be so
'Is this all you have to tell, Annette?' said Emily. 'Have you heard
nothing else, that alarms you?'
'Nothing else, ma'amselle!' said Annette; 'why, is not this enough?'
'Quite enough for my patience, Annette, but not quite enough to
convince me we are all to be murdered, though I acknowledge here is
sufficient food for curiosity.' She forbore to speak her
apprehensions, because she would not encourage Annette's wild
terrors; but the present circumstances of the castle both surprised,
and alarmed her. Annette, having told her tale, left the chamber, on
the wing for new wonders.
In the evening, Emily had passed some melancholy hours with Madame
Montoni, and was retiring to rest, when she was alarmed by a strange
and loud knocking at her chamber door, and then a heavy weight fell
against it, that almost burst it open. She called to know who was
there, and receiving no answer, repeated the call; but a chilling
silence followed. It occurred to her--for, at this moment, she could
not reason on the probability of circumstances--that some one of the
strangers, lately arrived at the castle, had discovered her
apartment, and was come with such intent, as their looks rendered too
possible--to rob, perhaps to murder, her. The moment she admitted
this possibility, terror supplied the place of conviction, and a kind
of instinctive remembrance of her remote situation from the family
heightened it to a degree, that almost overcame her senses. She
looked at the door, which led to the staircase, expecting to see it
open, and listening, in fearful silence, for a return of the noise,
till she began to think it had proceeded from this door, and a wish
of escaping through the opposite one rushed upon her mind. She went
to the gallery door, and then, fearing to open it, lest some person
might be silently lurking for her without, she stopped, but with her
eyes fixed in expectation upon the opposite door of the stair-case.
As thus she stood, she heard a faint breathing near her, and became
convinced, that some person was on the other side of the door, which
was already locked. She sought for other fastening, but there was
While she yet listened, the breathing was distinctly heard, and her
terror was not soothed, when, looking round her wide and lonely
chamber, she again considered her remote situation. As she stood
hesitating whether to call for assistance, the continuance of the
stillness surprised her; and her spirits would have revived, had she
not continued to hear the faint breathing, that convinced her, the
person, whoever it was, had not quitted the door.
At length, worn out with anxiety, she determined to call loudly for
assistance from her casement, and was advancing to it, when, whether
the terror of her mind gave her ideal sounds, or that real ones did
come, she thought footsteps were ascending the private stair-case;
and, expecting to see its door unclose, she forgot all other cause of
alarm, and retreated towards the corridor. Here she endeavoured to
make her escape, but, on opening the door, was very near falling over
a person, who lay on the floor without. She screamed, and would have
passed, but her trembling frame refused to support her; and the
moment, in which she leaned against the wall of the gallery, allowed
her leisure to observe the figure before her, and to recognise the
features of Annette. Fear instantly yielded to surprise. She spoke
in vain to the poor girl, who remained senseless on the floor, and
then, losing all consciousness of her own weakness, hurried to her
When Annette recovered, she was helped by Emily into the chamber, but
was still unable to speak, and looked round her, as if her eyes
followed some person in the room. Emily tried to sooth her disturbed
spirits, and forbore, at present, to ask her any questions; but the
faculty of speech was never long with-held from Annette, and she
explained, in broken sentences, and in her tedious way, the occasion
of her disorder. She affirmed, and with a solemnity of conviction,
that almost staggered the incredulity of Emily, that she had seen an
apparition, as she was passing to her bedroom, through the corridor.
'I had heard strange stories of that chamber before,' said Annette:
'but as it was so near yours, ma'amselle, I would not tell them to
you, because they would frighten you. The servants had told me,
often and often, that it was haunted, and that was the reason why it
was shut up: nay, for that matter, why the whole string of these
rooms, here, are shut up. I quaked whenever I went by, and I must
say, I did sometimes think I heard odd noises within it. But, as I
said, as I was passing along the corridor, and not thinking a word
about the matter, or even of the strange voice that the Signors heard
the other night, all of a sudden comes a great light, and, looking
behind me, there was a tall figure, (I saw it as plainly, ma'amselle,
as I see you at this moment), a tall figure gliding along (Oh! I
cannot describe how!) into the room, that is always shut up, and
nobody has the key of it but the Signor, and the door shut directly.'
'Then it doubtless was the Signor,' said Emily.
'O no, ma'amselle, it could not be him, for I left him busy a-
quarrelling in my lady's dressing-room!'
'You bring me strange tales, Annette,' said Emily: 'it was but this
morning, that you would have terrified me with the apprehension of
murder; and now you would persuade me, you have seen a ghost! These
wonderful stories come too quickly.'
'Nay, ma'amselle, I will say no more, only, if I had not been
frightened, I should not have fainted dead away, so. I ran as fast
as I could, to get to your door; but, what was worst of all, I could
not call out; then I thought something must be strangely the matter
with me, and directly I dropt down.'
'Was it the chamber where the black veil hangs?' said Emily. 'O! no,
ma'amselle, it was one nearer to this. What shall I do, to get to my
room? I would not go out into the corridor again, for the whole
world!' Emily, whose spirits had been severely shocked, and who,
therefore, did not like the thought of passing the night alone, told
her she might sleep where she was. 'O, no, ma'amselle,' replied
Annette, 'I would not sleep in the room, now, for a thousand
Wearied and disappointed, Emily first ridiculed, though she shared,
her fears, and then tried to sooth them; but neither attempt
succeeded, and the girl persisted in believing and affirming, that
what she had seen was nothing human. It was not till some time after
Emily had recovered her composure, that she recollected the steps she
had heard on the stair-case--a remembrance, however, which made her
insist that Annette should pass the night with her, and, with much
difficulty, she, at length, prevailed, assisted by that part of the
girl's fear, which concerned the corridor.
Early on the following morning, as Emily crossed the hall to the
ramparts, she heard a noisy bustle in the court-yard, and the clatter
of horses' hoofs. Such unusual sounds excited her curiosity; and,
instead of going to the ramparts, she went to an upper casement, from
whence she saw, in the court below, a large party of horsemen,
dressed in a singular, but uniform, habit, and completely, though
variously, armed. They wore a kind of short jacket, composed of
black and scarlet, and several of them had a cloak, of plain black,
which, covering the person entirely, hung down to the stirrups. As
one of these cloaks glanced aside, she saw, beneath, daggers,
apparently of different sizes, tucked into the horseman's belt. She
further observed, that these were carried, in the same manner, by
many of the horsemen without cloaks, most of whom bore also pikes, or
javelins. On their heads, were the small Italian caps, some of which
were distinguished by black feathers. Whether these caps gave a
fierce air to the countenance, or that the countenances they
surmounted had naturally such an appearance, Emily thought she had
never, till then, seen an assemblage of faces so savage and terrific.
While she gazed, she almost fancied herself surrounded by banditti;
and a vague thought glanced athwart her fancy--that Montoni was the
captain of the group before her, and that this castle was to be the
place of rendezvous. The strange and horrible supposition was but
momentary, though her reason could supply none more probable, and
though she discovered, among the band, the strangers she had formerly
noticed with so much alarm, who were now distinguished by the black
While she continued gazing, Cavigni, Verezzi, and Bertolini came
forth from the hall, habited like the rest, except that they wore
hats, with a mixed plume of black and scarlet, and that their arms
differed from those of the rest of the party. As they mounted their
horses, Emily was struck with the exulting joy, expressed on the
visage of Verezzi, while Cavigni was gay, yet with a shade of thought
on his countenance; and, as he managed his horse with dexterity, his
graceful and commanding figure, which exhibited the majesty of a
hero, had never appeared to more advantage. Emily, as she observed
him, thought he somewhat resembled Valancourt, in the spirit and
dignity of his person; but she looked in vain for the noble,
benevolent countenance--the soul's intelligence, which overspread the
features of the latter.
As she was hoping, she scarcely knew why, that Montoni would
accompany the party, he appeared at the hall door, but un-accoutred.
Having carefully observed the horsemen, conversed awhile with the
cavaliers, and bidden them farewel, the band wheeled round the court,
and, led by Verezzi, issued forth under the portcullis; Montoni
following to the portal, and gazing after them for some time. Emily
then retired from the casement, and, now certain of being unmolested,
went to walk on the ramparts, from whence she soon after saw the
party winding among the mountains to the west, appearing and
disappearing between the woods, till distance confused their figures,
consolidated their numbers, and only a dingy mass appeared moving
along the heights.
Emily observed, that no workmen were on the ramparts, and that the
repairs of the fortifications seemed to be completed. While she
sauntered thoughtfully on, she heard distant footsteps, and, raising
her eyes, saw several men lurking under the castle walls, who were
evidently not workmen, but looked as if they would have accorded well
with the party, which was gone. Wondering where Annette had hid
herself so long, who might have explained some of the late
circumstances, and then considering that Madame Montoni was probably
risen, she went to her dressing-room, where she mentioned what had
occurred; but Madame Montoni either would not, or could not, give any
explanation of the event. The Signor's reserve to his wife, on this
subject, was probably nothing more than usual; yet, to Emily, it gave
an air of mystery to the whole affair, that seemed to hint, there was
danger, if not villany, in his schemes.
Annette presently came, and, as usual, was full of alarm; to her
lady's eager enquiries of what she had heard among the servants, she
'Ah, madam! nobody knows what it is all about, but old Carlo; he
knows well enough, I dare say, but he is as close as his master.
Some say the Signor is going out to frighten the enemy, as they call
it: but where is the enemy? Then others say, he is going to take
away some body's castle: but I am sure he has room enough in his
own, without taking other people's; and I am sure I should like it a
great deal better, if there were more people to fill it.'
'Ah! you will soon have your wish, I fear,' replied Madame Montoni.
'No, madam, but such ill-looking fellows are not worth having. I
mean such gallant, smart, merry fellows as Ludovico, who is always
telling droll stories, to make one laugh. It was but yesterday, he
told me such a HUMOURSOME tale! I can't help laughing at it now.--
'Well, we can dispense with the story,' said her lady. 'Ah!'
continued Annette, 'he sees a great way further than other people!
Now he sees into all the Signor's meaning, without knowing a word
about the matter!'
'How is that?' said Madame Montoni.
'Why he says--but he made me promise not to tell, and I would not
disoblige him for the world.'
'What is it he made you promise not to tell?' said her lady, sternly.
'I insist upon knowing immediately--what is it he made you promise?'
'O madam,' cried Annette, 'I would not tell for the universe!' 'I
insist upon your telling this instant,' said Madame Montoni. 'O dear
madam! I would not tell for a hundred sequins! You would not have
me forswear myself madam!' exclaimed Annette.
'I will not wait another moment,' said Madame Montoni. Annette was
'The Signor shall be informed of this directly,' rejoined her
mistress: 'he will make you discover all.'
'It is Ludovico, who has discovered,' said Annette: 'but for mercy's
sake, madam, don't tell the Signor, and you shall know all directly.'
Madame Montoni said, that she would not.
'Well then, madam, Ludovico says, that the Signor, my master, is--is-
-that is, he only thinks so, and any body, you know, madam, is free
to think--that the Signor, my master, is--is--'
'Is what?' said her lady, impatiently.
'That the Signor, my master, is going to be--a great robber--that is-
-he is going to rob on his own account;--to be, (but I am sure I
don't understand what he means) to be a--captain of--robbers.'
'Art thou in thy senses, Annette?' said Madame Montoni; 'or is this a
trick to deceive me? Tell me, this instant, what Ludovico DID say to
thee;--no equivocation;--this instant.'
'Nay, madam,' cried Annette, 'if this is all I am to get for having
told the secret'--Her mistress thus continued to insist, and Annette
to protest, till Montoni, himself, appeared, who bade the latter
leave the room, and she withdrew, trembling for the fate of her
story. Emily also was retiring, but her aunt desired she would stay;
and Montoni had so often made her a witness of their contention, that
he no longer had scruples on that account.
'I insist upon knowing this instant, Signor, what all this means:'
said his wife--'what are all these armed men, whom they tell me of,
gone out about?' Montoni answered her only with a look of scorn; and
Emily whispered something to her. 'It does not signify,' said her
aunt: 'I will know; and I will know, too, what the castle has been
'Come, come,' said Montoni, 'other business brought me here. I must
be trifled with no longer. I have immediate occasion for what I
demand--those estates must be given up, without further contention;
or I may find a way--'
'They never shall be given up,' interrupted Madame Montoni: 'they
never shall enable you to carry on your wild schemes;--but what are
these? I will know. Do you expect the castle to be attacked? Do
you expect enemies? Am I to be shut up here, to be killed in a
'Sign the writings,' said Montoni, 'and you shall know more.'
'What enemy can be coming?' continued his wife. 'Have you entered
into the service of the state? Am I to be blocked up here to die?'
'That may possibly happen,' said Montoni, 'unless you yield to my
demand: for, come what may, you shall not quit the castle till
then.' Madame Montoni burst into loud lamentation, which she as
suddenly checked, considering, that her husband's assertions might be
only artifices, employed to extort her consent. She hinted this
suspicion, and, in the next moment, told him also, that his designs
were not so honourable as to serve the state, and that she believed
he had only commenced a captain of banditti, to join the enemies of
Venice, in plundering and laying waste the surrounding country.
Montoni looked at her for a moment with a steady and stern
countenance; while Emily trembled, and his wife, for once, thought
she had said too much. 'You shall be removed, this night,' said he,
'to the east turret: there, perhaps, you may understand the danger
of offending a man, who has an unlimited power over you.'
Emily now fell at his feet, and, with tears of terror, supplicated
for her aunt, who sat, trembling with fear, and indignation; now
ready to pour forth execrations, and now to join the intercessions of
Emily. Montoni, however, soon interrupted these entreaties with an
horrible oath; and, as he burst from Emily, leaving his cloak, in her
hand, she fell to the floor, with a force, that occasioned her a
severe blow on the forehead. But he quitted the room, without
attempting to raise her, whose attention was called from herself, by
a deep groan from Madame Montoni, who continued otherwise unmoved in
her chair, and had not fainted. Emily, hastening to her assistance,
saw her eyes rolling, and her features convulsed.
Having spoken to her, without receiving an answer, she brought water,
and supported her head, while she held it to her lips; but the
increasing convulsions soon compelled Emily to call for assistance.
On her way through the hall, in search of Annette, she met Montoni,
whom she told what had happened, and conjured to return and comfort
her aunt; but he turned silently away, with a look of indifference,
and went out upon the ramparts. At length she found old Carlo and
Annette, and they hastened to the dressing-room, where Madame Montoni
had fallen on the floor, and was lying in strong convulsions. Having
lifted her into the adjoining room, and laid her on the bed, the
force of her disorder still made all their strength necessary to hold
her, while Annette trembled and sobbed, and old Carlo looked silently
and piteously on, as his feeble hands grasped those of his mistress,
till, turning his eyes upon Emily, he exclaimed, 'Good God! Signora,
what is the matter?'
Emily looked calmly at him, and saw his enquiring eyes fixed on her:
and Annette, looking up, screamed loudly; for Emily's face was
stained with blood, which continued to fall slowly from her forehead:
but her attention had been so entirely occupied by the scene before
her, that she had felt no pain from the wound. She now held an
handkerchief to her face, and, notwithstanding her faintness,
continued to watch Madame Montoni, the violence of whose convulsions
was abating, till at length they ceased, and left her in a kind of
'My aunt must remain quiet,' said Emily. 'Go, good Carlo; if we
should want your assistance, I will send for you. In the mean time,
if you have an opportunity, speak kindly of your mistress to your
'Alas!' said Carlo, 'I have seen too much! I have little influence
with the Signor. But do, dear young lady, take some care of
yourself; that is an ugly wound, and you look sadly.'
'Thank you, my friend, for your consideration,' said Emily, smiling
kindly: 'the wound is trifling, it came by a fall.'
Carlo shook his head, and left the room; and Emily, with Annette,
continued to watch by her aunt. 'Did my lady tell the Signor what
Ludovico said, ma'amselle?' asked Annette in a whisper; but Emily
quieted her fears on the subject.
'I thought what this quarrelling would come to,' continued Annette:
'I suppose the Signor has been beating my lady.'
'No, no, Annette, you are totally mistaken, nothing extra-ordinary
'Why, extraordinary things happen here so often, ma'amselle, that
there is nothing in them. Here is another legion of those ill-
looking fellows, come to the castle, this morning.'
'Hush! Annette, you will disturb my aunt; we will talk of that by
They continued watching silently, till Madame Montoni uttered a low
sigh, when Emily took her hand, and spoke soothingly to her; but the
former gazed with unconscious eyes, and it was long before she knew
her niece. Her first words then enquired for Montoni; to which Emily
replied by an entreaty, that she would compose her spirits, and
consent to be kept quiet, adding, that, if she wished any message to
be conveyed to him, she would herself deliver it. 'No,' said her
aunt faintly, 'no--I have nothing new to tell him. Does he persist
in saying I shall be removed from my chamber?'
Emily replied, that he had not spoken, on the subject, since Madame
Montoni heard him; and then she tried to divert her attention to some
other topic; but her aunt seemed to be inattentive to what she said,
and lost in secret thoughts. Emily, having brought her some
refreshment, now left her to the care of Annette, and went in search
of Montoni, whom she found on a remote part of the rampart,
conversing among a group of the men described by Annette. They stood
round him with fierce, yet subjugated, looks, while he, speaking
earnestly, and pointing to the walls, did not perceive Emily, who
remained at some distance, waiting till he should be at leisure, and
observing involuntarily the appearance of one man, more savage than
his fellows, who stood resting on his pike, and looking, over the
shoulders of a comrade, at Montoni, to whom he listened with uncommon
earnestness. This man was apparently of low condition; yet his looks
appeared not to acknowledge the superiority of Montoni, as did those
of his companions; and sometimes they even assumed an air of
authority, which the decisive manner of the Signor could not repress.
Some few words of Montoni then passed in the wind; and, as the men
were separating, she heard him say, 'This evening, then, begin the
watch at sun-set.'
'At sun-set, Signor,' replied one or two of them, and walked away;
while Emily approached Montoni, who appeared desirous of avoiding
her: but, though she observed this, she had courage to proceed. She
endeavoured to intercede once more for her aunt, represented to him
her sufferings, and urged the danger of exposing her to a cold
apartment in her present state. 'She suffers by her own folly,' said
Montoni, 'and is not to be pitied;--she knows how she may avoid these
sufferings in future--if she is removed to the turret, it will be her
own fault. Let her be obedient, and sign the writings you heard of,
and I will think no more of it.'
When Emily ventured still to plead, he sternly silenced and rebuked
her for interfering in his domestic affairs, but, at length,
dismissed her with this concession--That he would not remove Madame
Montoni, on the ensuing night, but allow her till the next to
consider, whether she would resign her settlements, or be imprisoned
in the east turret of the castle, 'where she shall find,' he added,
'a punishment she may not expect.'
Emily then hastened to inform her aunt of this short respite and of
the alternative, that awaited her, to which the latter made no reply,
but appeared thoughtful, while Emily, in consideration of her extreme
languor, wished to sooth her mind by leading it to less interesting
topics: and, though these efforts were unsuccessful, and Madame
Montoni became peevish, her resolution, on the contended point,
seemed somewhat to relax, and Emily recommended, as her only means of
safety, that she should submit to Montoni's demand. 'You know not
what you advise,' said her aunt. 'Do you understand, that these
estates will descend to you at my death, if I persist in a refusal?'
'I was ignorant of that circumstance, madam,' replied Emily, 'but the
knowledge of it cannot with-hold me from advising you to adopt the
conduct, which not only your peace, but, I fear, your safety
requires, and I entreat, that you will not suffer a consideration
comparatively so trifling, to make you hesitate a moment in resigning
'Are you sincere, niece?' 'Is it possible you can doubt it, madam?'