The Mysteries of Udolpho
by Ann Radcliffe
Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked, or charitable,
I will speak to thee.
Count de Villefort, at length, received a letter from the advocate at
Avignon, encouraging Emily to assert her claim to the estates of the
late Madame Montoni; and, about the same time, a messenger arrived
from Monsieur Quesnel with intelligence, that made an appeal to the
law on this subject unnecessary, since it appeared, that the only
person, who could have opposed her claim, was now no more. A friend
of Monsieur Quesnel, who resided at Venice, had sent him an account
of the death of Montoni who had been brought to trial with Orsino, as
his supposed accomplice in the murder of the Venetian nobleman.
Orsino was found guilty, condemned and executed upon the wheel, but,
nothing being discovered to criminate Montoni, and his colleagues, on
this charge, they were all released, except Montoni, who, being
considered by the senate as a very dangerous person, was, for other
reasons, ordered again into confinement, where, it was said, he had
died in a doubtful and mysterious manner, and not without suspicion
of having been poisoned. The authority, from which M. Quesnel had
received this information, would not allow him to doubt its truth,
and he told Emily, that she had now only to lay claim to the estates
of her late aunt, to secure them, and added, that he would himself
assist in the necessary forms of this business. The term, for which
La Vallee had been let being now also nearly expired, he acquainted
her with the circumstance, and advised her to take the road thither,
through Tholouse, where he promised to meet her, and where it would
be proper for her to take possession of the estates of the late
Madame Montoni; adding, that he would spare her any difficulties,
that might occur on that occasion from the want of knowledge on the
subject, and that he believed it would be necessary for her to be at
Tholouse, in about three weeks from the present time.
An increase of fortune seemed to have awakened this sudden kindness
in M. Quesnel towards his niece, and it appeared, that he entertained
more respect for the rich heiress, than he had ever felt compassion
for the poor and unfriended orphan.
The pleasure, with which she received this intelligence, was clouded
when she considered, that he, for whose sake she had once regretted
the want of fortune, was no longer worthy of sharing it with her;
but, remembering the friendly admonition of the Count, she checked
this melancholy reflection, and endeavoured to feel only gratitude
for the unexpected good, that now attended her; while it formed no
inconsiderable part of her satisfaction to know, that La Vallee, her
native home, which was endeared to her by it's having been the
residence of her parents, would soon be restored to her possession.
There she meant to fix her future residence, for, though it could not
be compared with the chateau at Tholouse, either for extent, or
magnificence, its pleasant scenes and the tender remembrances, that
haunted them, had claims upon her heart, which she was not inclined
to sacrifice to ostentation. She wrote immediately to thank M.
Quesnel for the active interest he took in her concerns, and to say,
that she would meet him at Tholouse at the appointed time.
When Count de Villefort, with Blanche, came to the convent to give
Emily the advice of the advocate, he was informed of the contents of
M. Quesnel's letter, and gave her his sincere congratulations, on the
occasion; but she observed, that, when the first expression of
satisfaction had faded from his countenance, an unusual gravity
succeeded, and she scarcely hesitated to enquire its cause.
'It has no new occasion,' replied the Count; 'I am harassed and
perplexed by the confusion, into which my family is thrown by their
foolish superstition. Idle reports are floating round me, which I
can neither admit to be true, or prove to be false; and I am, also,
very anxious about the poor fellow, Ludovico, concerning whom I have
not been able to obtain information. Every part of the chateau and
every part of the neighbourhood, too, has, I believe, been searched,
and I know not what further can be done, since I have already offered
large rewards for the discovery of him. The keys of the north
apartment I have not suffered to be out of my possession, since he
disappeared, and I mean to watch in those chambers, myself, this very
Emily, seriously alarmed for the Count, united her entreaties with
those of the Lady Blanche, to dissuade him from his purpose.
'What should I fear?' said he. 'I have no faith in supernatural
combats, and for human opposition I shall be prepared; nay, I will
even promise not to watch alone.'
'But who, dear sir, will have courage enough to watch with you?' said
'My son,' replied the Count. 'If I am not carried off in the night,'
added he, smiling, 'you shall hear the result of my adventure,
The Count and Lady Blanche, shortly afterwards, took leave of Emily,
and returned to the chateau, where he informed Henri of his
intention, who, not without some secret reluctance, consented to be
the partner of his watch; and, when the design was mentioned after
supper, the Countess was terrified, and the Baron, and M. Du Pont
joined with her in entreating, that he would not tempt his fate, as
Ludovico had done. 'We know not,' added the Baron, 'the nature, or
the power of an evil spirit; and that such a spirit haunts those
chambers can now, I think, scarcely be doubted. Beware, my lord, how
you provoke its vengeance, since it has already given us one terrible
example of its malice. I allow it may be probable, that the spirits
of the dead are permitted to return to the earth only on occasions of
high import; but the present import may be your destruction.'
The Count could not forbear smiling; 'Do you think then, Baron,' said
he, 'that my destruction is of sufficient importance to draw back to
earth the soul of the departed? Alas! my good friend, there is no
occasion for such means to accomplish the destruction of any
individual. Wherever the mystery rests, I trust I shall, this night,
be able to detect it. You know I am not superstitious.'
'I know that you are incredulous,' interrupted the Baron.
'Well, call it what you will, I mean to say, that, though you know I
am free from superstition--if any thing supernatural has appeared, I
doubt not it will appear to me, and if any strange event hangs over
my house, or if any extraordinary transaction has formerly been
connected with it, I shall probably be made acquainted with it. At
all events I will invite discovery; and, that I may be equal to a
mortal attack, which in good truth, my friend, is what I most expect,
I shall take care to be well armed.'
The Count took leave of his family, for the night, with an assumed
gaiety, which but ill concealed the anxiety, that depressed his
spirits, and retired to the north apartments, accompanied by his son
and followed by the Baron, M. Du Pont and some of the domestics, who
all bade him good night at the outer door. In these chambers every
thing appeared as when he had last been here; even in the bed-room no
alteration was visible, where he lighted his own fire, for none of
the domestics could be prevailed upon to venture thither. After
carefully examining the chamber and the oriel, the Count and Henri
drew their chairs upon the hearth, set a bottle of wine and a lamp
before them, laid their swords upon the table, and, stirring the wood
into a blaze, began to converse on indifferent topics. But Henri was
often silent and abstracted, and sometimes threw a glance of mingled
awe and curiosity round the gloomy apartment; while the Count
gradually ceased to converse, and sat either lost in thought, or
reading a volume of Tacitus, which he had brought to beguile the
tediousness of the night.
Give thy thoughts no tongue.
The Baron St. Foix, whom anxiety for his friend had kept awake, rose
early to enquire the event of the night, when, as he passed the
Count's closet, hearing steps within, he knocked at the door, and it
was opened by his friend himself. Rejoicing to see him in safety,
and curious to learn the occurrences of the night, he had not
immediately leisure to observe the unusual gravity, that overspread
the features of the Count, whose reserved answers first occasioned
him to notice it. The Count, then smiling, endeavoured to treat the
subject of his curiosity with levity, but the Baron was serious, and
pursued his enquiries so closely, that the Count, at length, resuming
his gravity, said, 'Well, my friend, press the subject no further, I
entreat you; and let me request also, that you will hereafter be
silent upon any thing you may think extraordinary in my future
conduct. I do not scruple to tell you, that I am unhappy, and that
the watch of the last night has not assisted me to discover Ludovico;
upon every occurrence of the night you must excuse my reserve.'
'But where is Henri?' said the Baron, with surprise and
disappointment at this denial.
'He is well in his own apartment,' replied the Count. 'You will not
question him on this topic, my friend, since you know my wish.'
'Certainly not,' said the Baron, somewhat chagrined, 'since it would
be displeasing to you; but methinks, my friend, you might rely on my
discretion, and drop this unusual reserve. However, you must allow
me to suspect, that you have seen reason to become a convert to my
system, and are no longer the incredulous knight you lately appeared
'Let us talk no more upon this subject,' said the Count; 'you may be
assured, that no ordinary circumstance has imposed this silence upon
me towards a friend, whom I have called so for near thirty years; and
my present reserve cannot make you question either my esteem, or the
sincerity of my friendship.'
'I will not doubt either,' said the Baron, 'though you must allow me
to express my surprise, at this silence.'
'To me I will allow it,' replied the Count, 'but I earnestly entreat
that you will forbear to notice it to my family, as well as every
thing remarkable you may observe in my conduct towards them.'
The Baron readily promised this, and, after conversing for some time
on general topics, they descended to the breakfast-room, where the
Count met his family with a cheerful countenance, and evaded their
enquiries by employing light ridicule, and assuming an air of
uncommon gaiety, while he assured them, that they need not apprehend
any evil from the north chambers, since Henri and himself had been
permitted to return from them in safety.
Henri, however, was less successful in disguising his feelings. From
his countenance an expression of terror was not entirely faded; he
was often silent and thoughtful, and when he attempted to laugh at
the eager enquiries of Mademoiselle Bearn, it was evidently only an
In the evening, the Count called, as he had promised, at the convent,
and Emily was surprised to perceive a mixture of playful ridicule and
of reserve in his mention of the north apartment. Of what had
occurred there, however, he said nothing, and, when she ventured to
remind him of his promise to tell her the result of his enquiries,
and to ask if he had received any proof, that those chambers were
haunted, his look became solemn, for a moment, then, seeming to
recollect himself, he smiled, and said, 'My dear Emily, do not suffer
my lady abbess to infect your good understanding with these fancies;
she will teach you to expect a ghost in every dark room. But believe
me,' added he, with a profound sigh, 'the apparition of the dead
comes not on light, or sportive errands, to terrify, or to surprise
the timid.' He paused, and fell into a momentary thoughtfulness, and
then added, 'We will say no more on this subject.'
Soon after, he took leave, and, when Emily joined some of the nuns,
she was surprised to find them acquainted with a circumstance, which
she had carefully avoided to mention, and expressing their admiration
of his intrepidity in having dared to pass a night in the apartment,
whence Ludovico had disappeared; for she had not considered with what
rapidity a tale of wonder circulates. The nuns had acquired their
information from peasants, who brought fruit to the monastery, and
whose whole attention had been fixed, since the disappearance of
Ludovico, on what was passing in the castle.
Emily listened in silence to the various opinions of the nuns,
concerning the conduct of the Count, most of whom condemned it as
rash and presumptuous, affirming, that it was provoking the vengeance
of an evil spirit, thus to intrude upon its haunts.
Sister Frances contended, that the Count had acted with the bravery
of a virtuous mind. He knew himself guiltless of aught, that should
provoke a good spirit, and did not fear the spells of an evil one,
since he could claim the protection of an higher Power, of Him, who
can command the wicked, and will protect the innocent.
'The guilty cannot claim that protection!' said sister Agnes, 'let
the Count look to his conduct, that he do not forfeit his claim! Yet
who is he, that shall dare to call himself innocent!--all earthly
innocence is but comparative. Yet still how wide asunder are the
extremes of guilt, and to what an horrible depth may we fall! Oh!'--
The nun, as she concluded, uttered a shuddering sigh, that startled
Emily, who, looking up, perceived the eyes of Agnes fixed on hers,
after which the sister rose, took her hand, gazed earnestly upon her
countenance, for some moments, in silence, and then said,
'You are young--you are innocent! I mean you are yet innocent of any
great crime!--But you have passions in your heart,--scorpions; they
sleep now--beware how you awaken them!--they will sting you, even
Emily, affected by these words and by the solemnity, with which they
were delivered, could not suppress her tears.
'Ah! is it so?' exclaimed Agnes, her countenance softening from its
sternness--'so young, and so unfortunate! We are sisters, then
indeed. Yet, there is no bond of kindness among the guilty,' she
added, while her eyes resumed their wild expression, 'no gentleness,-
-no peace, no hope! I knew them all once--my eyes could weep--but
now they burn, for now, my soul is fixed, and fearless!--I lament no
'Rather let us repent, and pray,' said another nun. 'We are taught
to hope, that prayer and penitence will work our salvation. There is
hope for all who repent!'
'Who repent and turn to the true faith,' observed sister Frances.
'For all but me!' replied Agnes solemnly, who paused, and then
abruptly added, 'My head burns, I believe I am not well. O! could I
strike from my memory all former scenes--the figures, that rise up,
like furies, to torment me!--I see them, when I sleep, and, when I am
awake, they are still before my eyes! I see them now--now!'
She stood in a fixed attitude of horror, her straining eyes moving
slowly round the room, as if they followed something. One of the
nuns gently took her hand, to lead her from the parlour. Agnes
became calm, drew her other hand across her eyes, looked again, and,
sighing deeply, said, 'They are gone--they are gone! I am feverish,
I know not what I say. I am thus, sometimes, but it will go off
again, I shall soon be better. Was not that the vesper-bell?'
'No,' replied Frances, 'the evening service is passed. Let Margaret
lead you to your cell.'
'You are right,' replied sister Agnes, 'I shall be better there.
Good night, my sisters, remember me in your orisons.'
When they had withdrawn, Frances, observing Emily's emotion, said,
'Do not be alarmed, our sister is often thus deranged, though I have
not lately seen her so frantic; her usual mood is melancholy. This
fit has been coming on, for several days; seclusion and the customary
treatment will restore her.'
'But how rationally she conversed, at first!' observed Emily, 'her
ideas followed each other in perfect order.'
'Yes,' replied the nun, 'this is nothing new; nay, I have sometimes
known her argue not only with method, but with acuteness, and then,
in a moment, start off into madness.'
'Her conscience seems afflicted,' said Emily, 'did you ever hear what
circumstance reduced her to this deplorable condition?'
'I have,' replied the nun, who said no more till Emily repeated the
question, when she added in a low voice, and looking significantly
towards the other boarders, 'I cannot tell you now, but, if you think
it worth your while, come to my cell, to-night, when our sisterhood
are at rest, and you shall hear more; but remember we rise to
midnight prayers, and come either before, or after midnight.'
Emily promised to remember, and, the abbess soon after appearing,
they spoke no more of the unhappy nun.
The Count meanwhile, on his return home, had found M. Du Pont in one
of those fits of despondency, which his attachment to Emily
frequently occasioned him, an attachment, that had subsisted too long
to be easily subdued, and which had already outlived the opposition
of his friends. M. Du Pont had first seen Emily in Gascony, during
the lifetime of his parent, who, on discovering his son's partiality
for Mademoiselle St. Aubert, his inferior in point of fortune,
forbade him to declare it to her family, or to think of her more.
During the life of his father, he had observed the first command, but
had found it impracticable to obey the second, and had, sometimes,
soothed his passion by visiting her favourite haunts, among which was
the fishing-house, where, once or twice, he addressed her in verse,
concealing his name, in obedience to the promise he had given his
father. There too he played the pathetic air, to which she had
listened with such surprise and admiration; and there he found the
miniature, that had since cherished a passion fatal to his repose.
During his expedition into Italy, his father died; but he received
his liberty at a moment, when he was the least enabled to profit by
it, since the object, that rendered it most valuable, was no longer
within the reach of his vows. By what accident he discovered Emily,
and assisted to release her from a terrible imprisonment, has already
appeared, and also the unavailing hope, with which he then encouraged
his love, and the fruitless efforts, that he had since made to
The Count still endeavoured, with friendly zeal, to sooth him with a
belief, that patience, perseverance and prudence would finally obtain
for him happiness and Emily: 'Time,' said he, 'will wear away the
melancholy impression, which disappointment has left on her mind, and
she will be sensible of your merit. Your services have already
awakened her gratitude, and your sufferings her pity; and trust me,
my friend, in a heart so sensible as hers, gratitude and pity lead to
love. When her imagination is rescued from its present delusion, she
will readily accept the homage of a mind like yours.'
Du Pont sighed, while he listened to these words; and, endeavouring
to hope what his friend believed, he willingly yielded to an
invitation to prolong his visit at the chateau, which we now leave
for the monastery of St. Claire.
When the nuns had retired to rest, Emily stole to her appointment
with sister Frances, whom she found in her cell, engaged in prayer,
before a little table, where appeared the image she was addressing,
and, above, the dim lamp that gave light to the place. Turning her
eyes, as the door opened, she beckoned to Emily to come in, who,
having done so, seated herself in silence beside the nun's little
mattress of straw, till her orisons should conclude. The latter soon
rose from her knees, and, taking down the lamp and placing it on the
table, Emily perceived there a human scull and bones, lying beside an
hour-glass; but the nun, without observing her emotion, sat down on
the mattress by her, saying, 'Your curiosity, sister, has made you
punctual, but you have nothing remarkable to hear in the history of
poor Agnes, of whom I avoided to speak in the presence of my lay-
sisters, only because I would not publish her crime to them.'
'I shall consider your confidence in me as a favour,' said Emily,
'and will not misuse it.'
'Sister Agnes,' resumed the nun, 'is of a noble family, as the
dignity of her air must already have informed you, but I will not
dishonour their name so much as to reveal it. Love was the occasion
of her crime and of her madness. She was beloved by a gentleman of
inferior fortune, and her father, as I have heard, bestowing her on a
nobleman, whom she disliked, an ill-governed passion proved her
destruction.--Every obligation of virtue and of duty was forgotten,
and she prophaned her marriage vows; but her guilt was soon detected,
and she would have fallen a sacrifice to the vengeance of her
husband, had not her father contrived to convey her from his power.
By what means he did this, I never could learn; but he secreted her
in this convent, where he afterwards prevailed with her to take the
veil, while a report was circulated in the world, that she was dead,
and the father, to save his daughter, assisted the rumour, and
employed such means as induced her husband to believe she had become
a victim to his jealousy. You look surprised,' added the nun,
observing Emily's countenance; 'I allow the story is uncommon, but
not, I believe, without a parallel.'
'Pray proceed,' said Emily, 'I am interested.'
'The story is already told,' resumed the nun, 'I have only to
mention, that the long struggle, which Agnes suffered, between love,
remorse and a sense of the duties she had taken upon herself in
becoming of our order, at length unsettled her reason. At first, she
was frantic and melancholy by quick alternatives; then, she sunk into
a deep and settled melancholy, which still, however, has, at times,
been interrupted by fits of wildness, and, of late, these have again
Emily was affected by the history of the sister, some parts of whose
story brought to her remembrance that of the Marchioness de Villeroi,
who had also been compelled by her father to forsake the object of
her affections, for a nobleman of his choice; but, from what Dorothee
had related, there appeared no reason to suppose, that she had
escaped the vengeance of a jealous husband, or to doubt for a moment
the innocence of her conduct. But Emily, while she sighed over the
misery of the nun, could not forbear shedding a few tears to the
misfortunes of the Marchioness; and, when she returned to the mention
of sister Agnes, she asked Frances if she remembered her in her
youth, and whether she was then beautiful.
'I was not here at the time, when she took the vows,' replied
Frances, 'which is so long ago, that few of the present sisterhood, I
believe, were witnesses of the ceremony; nay, ever our lady mother
did not then preside over the convent: but I can remember, when
sister Agnes was a very beautiful woman. She retains that air of
high rank, which always distinguished her, but her beauty, you must
perceive, is fled; I can scarcely discover even a vestige of the
loveliness, that once animated her features.'
'It is strange,' said Emily, 'but there are moments, when her
countenance has appeared familiar to my memory! You will think me
fanciful, and I think myself so, for I certainly never saw sister
Agnes, before I came to this convent, and I must, therefore, have
seen some person, whom she strongly resembles, though of this I have
'You have been interested by the deep melancholy of her countenance,'
said Frances, 'and its impression has probably deluded your
imagination; for I might as reasonably think I perceive a likeness
between you and Agnes, as you, that you have seen her any where but
in this convent, since this has been her place of refuge, for nearly
as many years as make your age.'
'Indeed!' said Emily.
'Yes,' rejoined Frances, 'and why does that circumstance excite your
Emily did not appear to notice this question, but remained
thoughtful, for a few moments, and then said, 'It was about that same
period that the Marchioness de Villeroi expired.'
'That is an odd remark,' said Frances.
Emily, recalled from her reverie, smiled, and gave the conversation
another turn, but it soon came back to the subject of the unhappy
nun, and Emily remained in the cell of sister Frances, till the mid-
night bell aroused her; when, apologizing for having interrupted the
sister's repose, till this late hour, they quitted the cell together.
Emily returned to her chamber, and the nun, bearing a glimmering
taper, went to her devotion in the chapel.
Several days followed, during which Emily saw neither the Count, or
any of his family; and, when, at length, he appeared, she remarked,
with concern, that his air was unusually disturbed.
'My spirits are harassed,' said he, in answer to her anxious
enquiries, 'and I mean to change my residence, for a little while, an
experiment, which, I hope, will restore my mind to its usual
tranquillity. My daughter and myself will accompany the Baron St.
Foix to his chateau. It lies in a valley of the Pyrenees, that opens
towards Gascony, and I have been thinking, Emily, that, when you set
out for La Vallee, we may go part of the way together; it would be a
satisfaction to me to guard you towards your home.'
She thanked the Count for his friendly consideration, and lamented,
that the necessity for her going first to Tholouse would render this
plan impracticable. 'But, when you are at the Baron's residence,'
she added, 'you will be only a short journey from La Vallee, and I
think, sir, you will not leave the country without visiting me; it is
unnecessary to say with what pleasure I should receive you and the
'I do not doubt it,' replied the Count, 'and I will not deny myself
and Blanche the pleasure of visiting you, if your affairs should
allow you to be at La Vallee, about the time when we can meet you
When Emily said that she should hope to see the Countess also, she
was not sorry to learn that this lady was going, accompanied by
Mademoiselle Bearn, to pay a visit, for a few weeks, to a family in
The Count, after some further conversation on his intended journey
and on the arrangement of Emily's, took leave; and many days did not
succeed this visit, before a second letter from M. Quesnel informed
her, that he was then at Tholouse, that La Vallee was at liberty, and
that he wished her to set off for the former place, where he awaited
her arrival, with all possible dispatch, since his own affairs
pressed him to return to Gascony. Emily did not hesitate to obey
him, and, having taken an affecting leave of the Count's family, in
which M. Du Pont was still included, and of her friends at the
convent, she set out for Tholouse, attended by the unhappy Annette,
and guarded by a steady servant of the Count.
Lull'd in the countless chambers of the brain,
Our thoughts are link'd by many a hidden chain:
Awake but one, and lo! what myriads rise!
Each stamps its image as the other flies!
PLEASURES OF MEMORY
Emily pursued her journey, without any accident, along the plains of
Languedoc towards the north-west; and, on this her return to
Tholouse, which she had last left with Madame Montoni, she thought
much on the melancholy fate of her aunt, who, but for her own
imprudence, might now have been living in happiness there! Montoni,
too, often rose to her fancy, such as she had seen him in his days of
triumph, bold, spirited and commanding; such also as she had since
beheld him in his days of vengeance; and now, only a few short months
had passed--and he had no longer the power, or the will to afflict;--
he had become a clod of earth, and his life was vanished like a
shadow! Emily could have wept at his fate, had she not remembered
his crimes; for that of her unfortunate aunt she did weep, and all
sense of her errors was overcome by the recollection of her
Other thoughts and other emotions succeeded, as Emily drew near the
well-known scenes of her early love, and considered, that Valancourt
was lost to her and to himself, for ever. At length, she came to the
brow of the hill, whence, on her departure for Italy, she had given a
farewell look to this beloved landscape, amongst whose woods and
fields she had so often walked with Valancourt, and where he was then
to inhabit, when she would be far, far away! She saw, once more,
that chain of the Pyrenees, which overlooked La Vallee, rising, like
faint clouds, on the horizon. 'There, too, is Gascony, extended at
their feet!' said she, 'O my father,--my mother! And there, too, is
the Garonne!' she added, drying the tears, that obscured her sight,-
-'and Tholouse, and my aunt's mansion--and the groves in her garden!-
-O my friends! are ye all lost to me--must I never, never see ye
more!' Tears rushed again to her eyes, and she continued to weep,
till an abrupt turn in the road had nearly occasioned the carriage to
overset, when, looking up, she perceived another part of the well-
known scene around Tholouse, and all the reflections and
anticipations, which she had suffered, at the moment, when she bade
it last adieu, came with recollected force to her heart. She
remembered how anxiously she had looked forward to the futurity,
which was to decide her happiness concerning Valancourt, and what
depressing fears had assailed her; the very words she had uttered, as
she withdrew her last look from the prospect, came to her memory.
'Could I but be certain,' she had then said, 'that I should ever
return, and that Valancourt would still live for me--I should go in
Now, that futurity, so anxiously anticipated, was arrived, she was
returned--but what a dreary blank appeared!--Valancourt no longer
lived for her! She had no longer even the melancholy satisfaction of
contemplating his image in her heart, for he was no longer the same
Valancourt she had cherished there--the solace of many a mournful
hour, the animating friend, that had enabled her to bear up against
the oppression of Montoni--the distant hope, that had beamed over her
gloomy prospect! On perceiving this beloved idea to be an illusion
of her own creation, Valancourt seemed to be annihilated, and her
soul sickened at the blank, that remained. His marriage with a
rival, even his death, she thought she could have endured with more
fortitude, than this discovery; for then, amidst all her grief, she
could have looked in secret upon the image of goodness, which her
fancy had drawn of him, and comfort would have mingled with her
Drying her tears, she looked, once more, upon the landscape, which
had excited them, and perceived, that she was passing the very bank,
where she had taken leave of Valancourt, on the morning of her
departure from Tholouse, and she now saw him, through her returning
tears, such as he had appeared, when she looked from the carriage to
give him a last adieu--saw him leaning mournfully against the high
trees, and remembered the fixed look of mingled tenderness and
anguish, with which he had then regarded her. This recollection was
too much for her heart, and she sunk back in the carriage, nor once
looked up, till it stopped at the gates of what was now her own
These being opened, and by the servant, to whose care the chateau had
been entrusted, the carriage drove into the court, where, alighting,
she hastily passed through the great hall, now silent and solitary,
to a large oak parlour, the common sitting room of the late Madame
Montoni, where, instead of being received by M. Quesnel, she found a
letter from him, informing her that business of consequence had
obliged him to leave Tholouse two days before. Emily was, upon the
whole, not sorry to be spared his presence, since his abrupt
departure appeared to indicate the same indifference, with which he
had formerly regarded her. This letter informed her, also, of the
progress he had made in the settlement of her affairs, and concluded
with directions, concerning the forms of some business, which
remained for her to transact. But M. Quesnel's unkindness did not
long occupy her thoughts, which returned the remembrance of the
persons she had been accustomed to see in this mansion, and chiefly
of the ill-guided and unfortunate Madame Montoni. In the room, where
she now sat, she had breakfasted with her on the morning of their
departure for Italy; and the view of it brought most forcibly to her
recollection all she had herself suffered, at that time, and the many
gay expectations, which her aunt had formed, respecting the journey
before her. While Emily's mind was thus engaged, her eyes wandered
unconsciously to a large window, that looked upon the garden, and
here new memorials of the past spoke to her heart, for she saw
extended before her the very avenue, in which she had parted with
Valancourt, on the eve of her journey; and all the anxiety, the
tender interest he had shewn, concerning her future happiness, his
earnest remonstrances against her committing herself to the power of
Montoni, and the truth of his affection, came afresh to her memory.
At this moment, it appeared almost impossible, that Valancourt could
have become unworthy of her regard, and she doubted all that she had
lately heard to his disadvantage, and even his own words, which had
confirmed Count De Villefort's report of him. Overcome by the
recollections, which the view of this avenue occasioned, she turned
abruptly from the window, and sunk into a chair beside it, where she
sat, given up to grief, till the entrance of Annette, with coffee,
'Dear madam, how melancholy this place looks now,' said Annette, 'to
what it used to do! It is dismal coming home, when there is nobody
to welcome one!'
This was not the moment, in which Emily could bear the remark; her
tears fell again, and, as soon as she had taken the coffee, she
retired to her apartment, where she endeavoured to repose her
fatigued spirits. But busy memory would still supply her with the
visions of former times: she saw Valancourt interesting and
benevolent, as he had been wont to appear in the days of their early
love, and, amidst the scenes, where she had believed that they should
sometimes pass their years together!--but, at length, sleep closed
these afflicting scenes from her view.
On the following morning, serious occupation recovered her from such
melancholy reflections; for, being desirous of quitting Tholouse, and
of hastening on to La Vallee, she made some enquiries into the
condition of the estate, and immediately dispatched a part of the
necessary business concerning it, according to the directions of
Mons. Quesnel. It required a strong effort to abstract her thoughts
from other interests sufficiently to attend to this, but she was
rewarded for her exertions by again experiencing, that employment is
the surest antidote to sorrow.
This day was devoted entirely to business; and, among other concerns,
she employed means to learn the situation of all her poor tenants,
that she might relieve their wants, or confirm their comforts.
In the evening, her spirits were so much strengthened, that she
thought she could bear to visit the gardens, where she had so often
walked with Valancourt; and, knowing, that, if she delayed to do so,
their scenes would only affect her the more, whenever they should be
viewed, she took advantage of the present state of her mind, and
Passing hastily the gate leading from the court into the gardens, she
hurried up the great avenue, scarcely permitting her memory to dwell
for a moment on the circumstance of her having here parted with
Valancourt, and soon quitted this for other walks less interesting to
her heart. These brought her, at length, to the flight of steps,
that led from the lower garden to the terrace, on seeing which, she
became agitated, and hesitated whether to ascend, but, her resolution
returning, she proceeded.
'Ah!' said Emily, as she ascended, 'these are the same high trees,
that used to wave over the terrace, and these the same flowery
thickets--the liburnum, the wild rose, and the cerinthe--which were
wont to grow beneath them! Ah! and there, too, on that bank, are the
very plants, which Valancourt so carefully reared!--O, when last I
saw them!'--she checked the thought, but could not restrain her
tears, and, after walking slowly on for a few moments, her agitation,
upon the view of this well-known scene, increased so much, that she
was obliged to stop, and lean upon the wall of the terrace. It was a
mild, and beautiful evening. The sun was setting over the extensive
landscape, to which his beams, sloping from beneath a dark cloud,
that overhung the west, gave rich and partial colouring, and touched
the tufted summits of the groves, that rose from the garden below,
with a yellow gleam. Emily and Valancourt had often admired together
this scene, at the same hour; and it was exactly on this spot, that,
on the night preceding her departure for Italy, she had listened to
his remonstrances against the journey, and to the pleadings of
passionate affection. Some observations, which she made on the
landscape, brought this to her remembrance, and with it all the
minute particulars of that conversation;--the alarming doubts he had
expressed concerning Montoni, doubts, which had since been fatally
confirmed; the reasons and entreaties he had employed to prevail with
her to consent to an immediate marriage; the tenderness of his love,
the paroxysms of this grief, and the conviction that he had
repeatedly expressed, that they should never meet again in happiness!
All these circumstances rose afresh to her mind, and awakened the
various emotions she had then suffered. Her tenderness for
Valancourt became as powerful as in the moments, when she thought,
that she was parting with him and happiness together, and when the
strength of her mind had enabled her to triumph over present
suffering, rather than to deserve the reproach of her conscience by
engaging in a clandestine marriage.--'Alas!' said Emily, as these
recollections came to her mind, 'and what have I gained by the
fortitude I then practised?--am I happy now?--He said, we should meet
no more in happiness; but, O! he little thought his own misconduct
would separate us, and lead to the very evil he then dreaded!'
Her reflections increased her anguish, while she was compelled to
acknowledge, that the fortitude she had formerly exerted, if it had
not conducted her to happiness, had saved her from irretrievable
misfortune--from Valancourt himself! But in these moments she could
not congratulate herself on the prudence, that had saved her; she
could only lament, with bitterest anguish, the circumstances, which
had conspired to betray Valancourt into a course of life so different
from that, which the virtues, the tastes, and the pursuits of his
early years had promised; but she still loved him too well to
believe, that his heart was even now depraved, though his conduct had
been criminal. An observation, which had fallen from M. St. Aubert
more than once, now occurred to her. 'This young man,' said he,
speaking of Valancourt, 'has never been at Paris;' a remark, that had
surprised her at the time it was uttered, but which she now
understood, and she exclaimed sorrowfully, 'O Valancourt! if such a
friend as my father had been with you at Paris--your noble, ingenuous
nature would not have fallen!'
The sun was now set, and, recalling her thoughts from their
melancholy subject, she continued her walk; for the pensive shade of
twilight was pleasing to her, and the nightingales from the
surrounding groves began to answer each other in the long-drawn,
plaintive note, which always touched her heart; while all the
fragrance of the flowery thickets, that bounded the terrace, was
awakened by the cool evening air, which floated so lightly among
their leaves, that they scarcely trembled as it passed.
Emily came, at length, to the steps of the pavilion, that terminated
the terrace, and where her last interview with Valancourt, before her
departure from Tholouse, had so unexpectedly taken place. The door
was now shut, and she trembled, while she hesitated whether to open
it; but her wish to see again a place, which had been the chief scene
of her former happiness, at length overcoming her reluctance to
encounter the painful regret it would renew, she entered. The room
was obscured by a melancholy shade; but through the open lattices,
darkened by the hanging foliage of the vines, appeared the dusky
landscape, the Garonne reflecting the evening light, and the west
still glowing. A chair was placed near one of the balconies, as if
some person had been sitting there, but the other furniture of the
pavilion remained exactly as usual, and Emily thought it looked as if
it had not once been moved since she set out for Italy. The silent
and deserted air of the place added solemnity to her emotions, for
she heard only the low whisper of the breeze, as it shook the leaves
of the vines, and the very faint murmur of the Garonne.
She seated herself in a chair, near the lattice, and yielded to the
sadness of her heart, while she recollected the circumstances of her
parting interview with Valancourt, on this spot. It was here too,
that she had passed some of the happiest hours of her life with him,
when her aunt favoured the connection, for here she had often sat and
worked, while he conversed, or read; and she now well remembered with
what discriminating judgment, with what tempered energy, he used to
repeat some of the sublimest passages of their favourite authors; how
often he would pause to admire with her their excellence, and with
what tender delight he would listen to her remarks, and correct her
'And is it possible,' said Emily, as these recollections returned--
'is it possible, that a mind, so susceptible of whatever is grand and
beautiful, could stoop to low pursuits, and be subdued by frivolous
She remembered how often she had seen the sudden tear start in his
eye, and had heard his voice tremble with emotion, while he related
any great or benevolent action, or repeated a sentiment of the same
character. 'And such a mind,' said she, 'such a heart, were to be
sacrificed to the habits of a great city!'
These recollections becoming too painful to be endured, she abruptly
left the pavilion, and, anxious to escape from the memorials of her
departed happiness, returned towards the chateau. As she passed
along the terrace, she perceived a person, walking, with a slow step,
and a dejected air, under the trees, at some distance. The twilight,
which was now deep, would not allow her to distinguish who it was,
and she imagined it to be one of the servants, till, the sound of her
steps seeming to reach him, he turned half round, and she thought she
Whoever it was, he instantly struck among the thickets on the left,
and disappeared, while Emily, her eyes fixed on the place, whence he
had vanished, and her frame trembling so excessively, that she could
scarcely support herself, remained, for some moments, unable to quit
the spot, and scarcely conscious of existence. With her
recollection, her strength returned, and she hurried toward the
house, where she did not venture to enquire who had been in the
gardens, lest she should betray her emotion; and she sat down alone,
endeavouring to recollect the figure, air and features of the person
she had just seen. Her view of him, however, had been so transient,
and the gloom had rendered it so imperfect, that she could remember
nothing with exactness; yet the general appearance of his figure, and
his abrupt departure, made her still believe, that this person was
Valancourt. Sometimes, indeed, she thought, that her fancy, which
had been occupied by the idea of him, had suggested his image to her
uncertain sight: but this conjecture was fleeting. If it was
himself whom she had seen, she wondered much, that he should be at
Tholouse, and more, how he had gained admittance into the garden; but
as often as her impatience prompted her to enquire whether any
stranger had been admitted, she was restrained by an unwillingness to
betray her doubts; and the evening was passed in anxious conjecture,
and in efforts to dismiss the subject from her thoughts. But, these
endeavours were ineffectual, and a thousand inconsistent emotions
assailed her, whenever she fancied that Valancourt might be near her;
now, she dreaded it to be true, and now she feared it to be false;
and, while she constantly tried to persuade herself, that she wished
the person, whom she had seen, might not be Valancourt, her heart as
constantly contradicted her reason.
The following day was occupied by the visits of several neighbouring
families, formerly intimate with Madame Montoni, who came to condole
with Emily on her death, to congratulate her upon the acquisition of
these estates, and to enquire about Montoni, and concerning the
strange reports they had heard of her own situation; all which was
done with the utmost decorum, and the visitors departed with as much
composure as they had arrived.
Emily was wearied by these formalities, and disgusted by the
subservient manners of many persons, who had thought her scarcely
worthy of common attention, while she was believed to be a dependant
on Madame Montoni.
'Surely,' said she, 'there is some magic in wealth, which can thus
make persons pay their court to it, when it does not even benefit
themselves. How strange it is, that a fool or a knave, with riches,
should be treated with more respect by the world, than a good man, or
a wise man in poverty!'
It was evening, before she was left alone, and she then wished to
have refreshed her spirits in the free air of her garden; but she
feared to go thither, lest she should meet again the person, whom she
had seen on the preceding night, and he should prove to be
Valancourt. The suspense and anxiety she suffered, on this subject,
she found all her efforts unable to controul, and her secret wish to
see Valancourt once more, though unseen by him, powerfully prompted
her to go, but prudence and a delicate pride restrained her, and she
determined to avoid the possibility of throwing herself in his way,
by forbearing to visit the gardens, for several days.
When, after near a week, she again ventured thither, she made Annette
her companion, and confined her walk to the lower grounds, but often
started as the leaves rustled in the breeze, imagining, that some
person was among the thickets; and, at the turn of every alley, she
looked forward with apprehensive expectation. She pursued her walk
thoughtfully and silently, for her agitation would not suffer her to
converse with Annette, to whom, however, thought and silence were so
intolerable, that she did not scruple at length to talk to her
'Dear madam,' said she, 'why do you start so? one would think you
knew what has happened.'
'What has happened?' said Emily, in a faltering voice, and trying to
command her emotion.
'The night before last, you know, madam'--
'I know nothing, Annette,' replied her lady in a more hurried voice.
'The night before last, madam, there was a robber in the garden.'
'A robber!' said Emily, in an eager, yet doubting tone.
'I suppose he was a robber, madam. What else could he be?'
'Where did you see him, Annette?' rejoined Emily, looking round her,
and turning back towards the chateau.
'It was not I that saw him, madam, it was Jean the gardener. It was
twelve o'clock at night, and, as he was coming across the court to go
the back way into the house, what should he see--but somebody walking
in the avenue, that fronts the garden gate! So, with that, Jean
guessed how it was, and he went into the house for his gun.'
'His gun!' exclaimed Emily.
'Yes, madam, his gun; and then he came out into the court to watch
him. Presently, he sees him come slowly down the avenue, and lean
over the garden gate, and look up at the house for a long time; and I
warrant he examined it well, and settled what window he should break
'But the gun,' said Emily--'the gun!'
'Yes, madam, all in good time. Presently, Jean says, the robber
opened the gate, and was coming into the court, and then he thought
proper to ask him his business: so he called out again, and bade him
say who he was, and what he wanted. But the man would do neither;
but turned upon his heel, and passed into the garden again. Jean
knew then well enough how it was, and so he fired after him.'
'Fired!' exclaimed Emily.
'Yes, madam, fired off his gun; but, Holy Virgin! what makes you look
so pale, madam? The man was not killed,--I dare say; but if he was,
his comrades carried him off: for, when Jean went in the morning, to
look for the body, it was gone, and nothing to be seen but a track of
blood on the ground. Jean followed it, that he might find out where
the man got into the garden, but it was lost in the grass, and'--
Annette was interrupted: for Emily's spirits died away, and she
would have fallen to the ground, if the girl had not caught her, and
supported her to a bench, close to them.
When, after a long absence, her senses returned, Emily desired to be
led to her apartment; and, though she trembled with anxiety to
enquire further on the subject of her alarm, she found herself too
ill at present, to dare the intelligence which it was possible she
might receive of Valancourt. Having dismissed Annette, that she
might weep and think at liberty, she endeavoured to recollect the
exact air of the person, whom she had seen on the terrace, and still
her fancy gave her the figure of Valancourt. She had, indeed,
scarcely a doubt, that it was he whom she had seen, and at whom the
gardener had fired: for the manner of the latter person, as
described by Annette, was not that of a robber; nor did it appear
probable, that a robber would have come alone, to break into a house
so spacious as this.
When Emily thought herself sufficiently recovered, to listen to what
Jean might have to relate, she sent for him; but he could inform her
of no circumstance, that might lead to a knowledge of the person, who
had been shot, or of the consequence of the wound; and, after
severely reprimanding him, for having fired with bullets, and
ordering diligent enquiry to be made in the neighbourhood for the
discovery of the wounded person, she dismissed him, and herself
remained in the same state of terrible suspense. All the tenderness
she had ever felt for Valancourt, was recalled by the sense of his
danger; and the more she considered the subject, the more her
conviction strengthened, that it was he, who had visited the gardens,
for the purpose of soothing the misery of disappointed affection,
amidst the scenes of his former happiness.
'Dear madam,' said Annette, when she returned, 'I never saw you so
affected before! I dare say the man is not killed.'
Emily shuddered, and lamented bitterly the rashness of the gardener
in having fired.
'I knew you would be angry enough about that, madam, or I should have
told you before; and he knew so too; for, says he, "Annette, say
nothing about this to my lady. She lies on the other side of the
house, so did not hear the gun, perhaps; but she would be angry with
me, if she knew, seeing there is blood. But then," says he, "how is
one to keep the garden clear, if one is afraid to fire at a robber,
when one sees him?"'
'No more of this,' said Emily, 'pray leave me.'
Annette obeyed, and Emily returned to the agonizing considerations,
that had assailed her before, but which she, at length, endeavoured
to sooth by a new remark. If the stranger was Valancourt, it was
certain he had come alone, and it appeared, therefore, that he had
been able to quit the gardens, without assistance; a circumstance
which did not seem probable, had his wound been dangerous. With this
consideration, she endeavoured to support herself, during the
enquiries, that were making by her servants in the neighbourhood; but
day after day came, and still closed in uncertainty, concerning this
affair: and Emily, suffering in silence, at length, drooped, and
sunk under the pressure of her anxiety. She was attacked by a slow
fever, and when she yielded to the persuasion of Annette to send for
medical advice, the physicians prescribed little beside air, gentle
exercise and amusement: but how was this last to be obtained? She,
however, endeavoured to abstract her thoughts from the subject of her
anxiety, by employing them in promoting that happiness in others,
which she had lost herself; and, when the evening was fine, she
usually took an airing, including in her ride the cottages of some of
her tenants, on whose condition she made such observations, as often
enabled her, unasked, to fulfil their wishes.
Her indisposition and the business she engaged in, relative to this
estate, had already protracted her stay at Tholouse, beyond the
period she had formerly fixed for her departure to La Vallee; and now
she was unwilling to leave the only place, where it seemed possible,
that certainty could be obtained on the subject of her distress. But
the time was come, when her presence was necessary at La Vallee, a
letter from the Lady Blanche now informing her, that the Count and
herself, being then at the chateau of the Baron St. Foix, purposed to
visit her at La Vallee, on their way home, as soon as they should be
informed of her arrival there. Blanche added, that they made this
visit, with the hope of inducing her to return with them to Chateau-
Emily, having replied to the letter of her friend, and said that she
should be at La Vallee in a few days, made hasty preparations for the
journey; and, in thus leaving Tholouse, endeavoured to support
herself with a belief, that, if any fatal accident had happened to
Valancourt, she must in this interval have heard of it.
On the evening before her departure, she went to take leave of the
terrace and the pavilion. The day had been sultry, but a light
shower, that fell just before sun-set, had cooled the air, and given
that soft verdure to the woods and pastures, which is so refreshing
to the eye; while the rain drops, still trembling on the shrubs,
glittered in the last yellow gleam, that lighted up the scene, and
the air was filled with fragrance, exhaled by the late shower, from
herbs and flowers and from the earth itself. But the lovely
prospect, which Emily beheld from the terrace, was no longer viewed
by her with delight; she sighed deeply as her eye wandered over it,
and her spirits were in a state of such dejection, that she could not
think of her approaching return to La Vallee, without tears, and
seemed to mourn again the death of her father, as if it had been an
event of yesterday. Having reached the pavilion, she seated herself
at the open lattice, and, while her eyes settled on the distant
mountains, that overlooked Gascony, still gleaming on the horizon,
though the sun had now left the plains below, 'Alas!' said she, 'I
return to your long-lost scenes, but shall meet no more the parents,
that were wont to render them delightful!--no more shall see the
smile of welcome, or hear the well-known voice of fondness:--all will
now be cold and silent in what was once my happy home.'
Tears stole down her cheek, as the remembrance of what that home had
been, returned to her; but, after indulging her sorrow for some time,
she checked it, accusing herself of ingratitude in forgetting the
friends, that she possessed, while she lamented those that were
departed; and she, at length, left the pavilion and the terrace,
without having observed a shadow of Valancourt or of any other
Ah happy hills! ah pleasing shade!
Ah fields belov'd in vain!
Where once my careless childhood stray'd,
A stranger yet to pain!
I feel the gales, that from ye blow,
A momentary bliss bestow,
As waving fresh their gladsome wing,
My weary soul they seem to sooth.
On the following morning, Emily left Tholouse at an early hour, and
reached La Vallee about sun-set. With the melancholy she experienced
on the review of a place which had been the residence of her parents,
and the scene of her earliest delight, was mingled, after the first
shock had subsided, a tender and undescribable pleasure. For time
had so far blunted the acuteness of her grief, that she now courted
every scene, that awakened the memory of her friends; in every room,
where she had been accustomed to see them, they almost seemed to live
again; and she felt that La Vallee was still her happiest home. One
of the first apartments she visited, was that, which had been her
father's library, and here she seated herself in his arm-chair, and,
while she contemplated, with tempered resignation, the picture of
past times, which her memory gave, the tears she shed could scarcely
be called those of grief.
Soon after her arrival, she was surprised by a visit from the
venerable M. Barreaux, who came impatiently to welcome the daughter
of his late respected neighbour, to her long-deserted home. Emily
was comforted by the presence of an old friend, and they passed an
interesting hour in conversing of former times, and in relating some
of the circumstances, that had occurred to each, since they parted.
The evening was so far advanced, when M. Barreaux left Emily, that
she could not visit the garden that night; but, on the following
morning, she traced its long-regretted scenes with fond impatience;
and, as she walked beneath the groves, which her father had planted,
and where she had so often sauntered in affectionate conversation
with him, his countenance, his smile, even the accents of his voice,
returned with exactness to her fancy, and her heart melted to the
This, too, was his favourite season of the year, at which they had
often together admired the rich and variegated tints of these woods
and the magical effect of autumnal lights upon the mountains; and
now, the view of these circumstances made memory eloquent. As she
wandered pensively on, she fancied the following address
Sweet Autumn! how thy melancholy grace
Steals on my heart, as through these shades I wind!
Sooth'd by thy breathing sigh, I fondly trace
Each lonely image of the pensive mind!
Lov'd scenes, lov'd friends--long lost! around me rise,
And wake the melting thought, the tender tear!
That tear, that thought, which more than mirth I prize--
Sweet as the gradual tint, that paints thy year!
Thy farewel smile, with fond regret, I view,
Thy beaming lights, soft gliding o'er the woods;
Thy distant landscape, touch'd with yellow hue
While falls the lengthen'd gleam; thy winding floods,
Now veil'd in shade, save where the skiff's white sails
Swell to the breeze, and catch thy streaming ray.
But now, e'en now!--the partial vision fails,
And the wave smiles, as sweeps the cloud away!
Emblem of life!--Thus checquer'd is its plan,
Thus joy succeeds to grief--thus smiles the varied man!
One of Emily's earliest enquiries, after her arrival at La Vallee,
was concerning Theresa, her father's old servant, whom it may be
remembered that M. Quesnel had turned from the house when it was let,
without any provision. Understanding that she lived in a cottage at
no great distance, Emily walked thither, and, on approaching, was
pleased to see, that her habitation was pleasantly situated on a
green slope, sheltered by a tuft of oaks, and had an appearance of
comfort and extreme neatness. She found the old woman within,
picking vine-stalks, who, on perceiving her young mistress, was
nearly overcome with joy.
'Ah! my dear young lady!' said she, 'I thought I should never see you
again in this world, when I heard you was gone to that outlandish
country. I have been hardly used, since you went; I little thought
they would have turned me out of my old master's family in my old
Emily lamented the circumstance, and then assured her, that she would
make her latter days comfortable, and expressed satisfaction, on
seeing her in so pleasant an habitation.
Theresa thanked her with tears, adding, 'Yes, mademoiselle, it is a
very comfortable home, thanks to the kind friend, who took me out of
my distress, when you was too far off to help me, and placed me here!
I little thought!--but no more of that--'
'And who was this kind friend?' said Emily: 'whoever it was, I shall
consider him as mine also.'
'Ah, mademoiselle! that friend forbad me to blazon the good deed--I
must not say, who it was. But how you are altered since I saw you
last! You look so pale now, and so thin, too; but then, there is my
old master's smile! Yes, that will never leave you, any more than
the goodness, that used to make him smile. Alas-a-day! the poor lost
a friend indeed, when he died!'
Emily was affected by this mention of her father, which Theresa
observing, changed the subject. 'I heard, mademoiselle,' said she,
'that Madame Cheron married a foreign gentleman, after all, and took
you abroad; how does she do?'
Emily now mentioned her death. 'Alas!' said Theresa, 'if she had not
been my master's sister, I should never have loved her; she was
always so cross. But how does that dear young gentleman do, M.
Valancourt? he was an handsome youth, and a good one; is he well,
Emily was much agitated.
'A blessing on him!' continued Theresa. 'Ah, my dear young lady, you
need not look so shy; I know all about it. Do you think I do not
know, that he loves you? Why, when you was away, mademoiselle, he
used to come to the chateau and walk about it, so disconsolate! He
would go into every room in the lower part of the house, and,
sometimes, he would sit himself down in a chair, with his arms
across, and his eyes on the floor, and there he would sit, and think,
and think, for the hour together. He used to be very fond of the
south parlour, because I told him it used to be yours; and there he
would stay, looking at the pictures, which I said you drew, and
playing upon your lute, that hung up by the window, and reading in
your books, till sunset, and then he must go back to his brother's
chateau. And then--'
'It is enough, Theresa,' said Emily.--'How long have you lived in
this cottage--and how can I serve you? Will you remain here, or
return and live with me?'
'Nay, mademoiselle,' said Theresa, 'do not be so shy to your poor old
servant. I am sure it is no disgrace to like such a good young
A deep sigh escaped from Emily.
'Ah! how he did love to talk of you! I loved him for that. Nay, for
that matter, he liked to hear me talk, for he did not say much
himself. But I soon found out what he came to the chateau about.
Then, he would go into the garden, and down to the terrace, and sit
under that great tree there, for the day together, with one of your
books in his hand; but he did not read much, I fancy; for one day I
happened to go that way, and I heard somebody talking. Who can be
here? says I: I am sure I let nobody into the garden, but the
Chevalier. So I walked softly, to see who it could be; and behold!
it was the Chevalier himself, talking to himself about you. And he
repeated your name, and sighed so! and said he had lost you for ever,
for that you would never return for him. I thought he was out in his
reckoning there, but I said nothing, and stole away.'
'No more of this trifling,' said Emily, awakening from her reverie:
'it displeases me.'
'But, when M. Quesnel let the chateau, I thought it would have broke
the Chevalier's heart.'
'Theresa,' said Emily seriously, 'you must name the Chevalier no
'Not name him, mademoiselle!' cried Theresa: 'what times are come up
now? Why, I love the Chevalier next to my old master and you,
'Perhaps your love was not well bestowed, then,' replied Emily,
trying to conceal her tears; 'but, however that might be, we shall
meet no more.'
'Meet no more!--not well bestowed!' exclaimed Theresa. 'What do I
hear? No, mademoiselle, my love was well bestowed, for it was the
Chevalier Valancourt, who gave me this cottage, and has supported me
in my old age, ever since M. Quesnel turned me from my master's
'The Chevalier Valancourt!' said Emily, trembling extremely.
'Yes, mademoiselle, he himself, though he made me promise not to
tell; but how could one help, when one heard him ill spoken of? Ah!
dear young lady, you may well weep, if you have behaved unkindly to
him, for a more tender heart than his never young gentleman had. He
found me out in my distress, when you was too far off to help me; and
M. Quesnel refused to do so, and bade me go to service again--Alas! I
was too old for that!--The Chevalier found me, and bought me this
cottage, and gave me money to furnish it, and bade me seek out
another poor woman to live with me; and he ordered his brother's
steward to pay me, every quarter, that which has supported me in
comfort. Think then, mademoiselle, whether I have not reason to
speak well of the Chevalier. And there are others, who could have
afforded it better than he: and I am afraid he has hurt himself by
his generosity, for quarter day is gone by long since, and no money
for me! But do not weep so, mademoiselle: you are not sorry surely
to hear of the poor Chevalier's goodness?'
'Sorry!' said Emily, and wept the more. 'But how long is it since
you have seen him?'
'Not this many a day, mademoiselle.'
'When did you hear of him?' enquired Emily, with increased emotion.
'Alas! never since he went away so suddenly into Languedoc; and he
was but just come from Paris then, or I should have seen him, I am
sure. Quarter day is gone by long since, and, as I said, no money
for me; and I begin to fear some harm has happened to him: and if I
was not so far from Estuviere and so lame, I should have gone to
enquire before this time; and I have nobody to send so far.'
Emily's anxiety, as to the fate of Valancourt, was now scarcely
endurable, and, since propriety would not suffer her to send to the
chateau of his brother, she requested that Theresa would immediately
hire some person to go to his steward from herself, and, when he
asked for the quarterage due to her, to make enquiries concerning
Valancourt. But she first made Theresa promise never to mention her
name in this affair, or ever with that of the Chevalier Valancourt;
and her former faithfulness to M. St. Aubert induced Emily to confide
in her assurances. Theresa now joyfully undertook to procure a
person for this errand, and then Emily, after giving her a sum of
money to supply her with present comforts, returned, with spirits
heavily oppressed, to her home, lamenting, more than ever, that an
heart, possessed of so much benevolence as Valancourt's, should have
been contaminated by the vices of the world, but affected by the
delicate affection, which his kindness to her old servant expressed
Light thickens, and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood:
Good things of day begin to droop, and drowze;
While night's black agents to their preys do rouze.
Meanwhile Count De Villefort and Lady Blanche had passed a pleasant
fortnight at the chateau de St. Foix, with the Baron and Baroness,
during which they made frequent excursions among the mountains, and
were delighted with the romantic wildness of Pyrenean scenery. It
was with regret, that the Count bade adieu to his old friends,
although with the hope of being soon united with them in one family;
for it was settled that M. St. Foix, who now attended them into
Gascony, should receive the hand of the Lady Blanche, upon their
arrival at Chateau-le-Blanc. As the road, from the Baron's residence
to La Vallee, was over some of the wildest tract of the Pyrenees, and
where a carriage-wheel had never passed, the Count hired mules for
himself and his family, as well as a couple of stout guides, who were
well armed, informed of all the passes of the mountains, and who
boasted, too, that they were acquainted with every brake and dingle
in the way, could tell the names of all the highest points of this
chain of Alps, knew every forest, that spread along their narrow
vallies, the shallowest part of every torrent they must cross, and
the exact distance of every goat-herd's and hunter's cabin they
should have occasion to pass,--which last article of learning
required no very capacious memory, for even such simple inhabitants
were but thinly scattered over these wilds.
The Count left the chateau de St. Foix, early in the morning, with an
intention of passing the night at a little inn upon the mountains,
about half way to La Vallee, of which his guides had informed him;
and, though this was frequented chiefly by Spanish muleteers, on
their route into France, and, of course, would afford only sorry
accommodation, the Count had no alternative, for it was the only
place like an inn, on the road.
After a day of admiration and fatigue, the travellers found
themselves, about sun-set, in a woody valley, overlooked, on every
side, by abrupt heights. They had proceeded for many leagues,
without seeing a human habitation, and had only heard, now and then,
at a distance, the melancholy tinkling of a sheep-bell; but now they
caught the notes of merry music, and presently saw, within a little
green recess among the rocks, a group of mountaineers, tripping
through a dance. The Count, who could not look upon the happiness,
any more than on the misery of others, with indifference, halted to
enjoy this scene of simple pleasure. The group before him consisted
of French and Spanish peasants, the inhabitants of a neighbouring
hamlet, some of whom were performing a sprightly dance, the women
with castanets in their hands, to the sounds of a lute and a
tamborine, till, from the brisk melody of France, the music softened
into a slow movement, to which two female peasants danced a Spanish
The Count, comparing this with the scenes of such gaiety as he had
witnessed at Paris, where false taste painted the features, and,
while it vainly tried to supply the glow of nature, concealed the
charms of animation--where affectation so often distorted the air,
and vice perverted the manners--sighed to think, that natural graces
and innocent pleasures flourished in the wilds of solitude, while
they drooped amidst the concourse of polished society. But the
lengthening shadows reminded the travellers, that they had no time to
lose; and, leaving this joyous group, they pursued their way towards
the little inn, which was to shelter them from the night.
The rays of the setting sun now threw a yellow gleam upon the forests
of pine and chesnut, that swept down the lower region of the
mountains, and gave resplendent tints to the snowy points above. But
soon, even this light faded fast, and the scenery assumed a more
tremendous appearance, invested with the obscurity of twilight.
Where the torrent had been seen, it was now only heard; where the
wild cliffs had displayed every variety of form and attitude, a dark
mass of mountains now alone appeared; and the vale, which far, far
below had opened its dreadful chasm, the eye could no longer fathom.
A melancholy gleam still lingered on the summits of the highest Alps,
overlooking the deep repose of evening, and seeming to make the
stillness of the hour more awful.
Blanche viewed the scene in silence, and listened with enthusiasm to
the murmur of the pines, that extended in dark lines along the
mountains, and to the faint voice of the izard, among the rocks, that
came at intervals on the air. But her enthusiasm sunk into
apprehension, when, as the shadows deepened, she looked upon the
doubtful precipice, that bordered the road, as well as on the various
fantastic forms of danger, that glimmered through the obscurity
beyond it; and she asked her father, how far they were from the inn,
and whether he did not consider the road to be dangerous at this late
hour. The Count repeated the first question to the guides, who
returned a doubtful answer, adding, that, when it was darker, it
would be safest to rest, till the moon rose. 'It is scarcely safe to
proceed now,' said the Count; but the guides, assuring him that there
was no danger, went on. Blanche, revived by this assurance, again
indulged a pensive pleasure, as she watched the progress of twilight
gradually spreading its tints over the woods and mountains, and
stealing from the eye every minuter feature of the scene, till the
grand outlines of nature alone remained. Then fell the silent dews,
and every wild flower, and aromatic plant, that bloomed among the
cliffs, breathed forth its sweetness; then, too, when the mountain-
bee had crept into its blossomed bed, and the hum of every little
insect, that had floated gaily in the sun-beam, was hushed, the sound
of many streams, not heard till now, murmured at a distance.--The
bats alone, of all the animals inhabiting this region, seemed awake;
and, while they flitted across the silent path, which Blanche was
pursuing, she remembered the following lines, which Emily had given
TO THE BAT
From haunt of man, from day's obtrusive glare,
Thou shroud'st thee in the ruin's ivy'd tow'r.
Or in some shadowy glen's romantic bow'r,
Where wizard forms their mystic charms prepare,
Where Horror lurks, and ever-boding Care!
But, at the sweet and silent ev'ning hour,
When clos'd in sleep is ev'ry languid flow'r,
Thou lov'st to sport upon the twilight air,
Mocking the eye, that would thy course pursue,
In many a wanton-round, elastic, gay,
Thou flit'st athwart the pensive wand'rer's way,
As his lone footsteps print the mountain-dew.
From Indian isles thou com'st, with Summer's car,
Twilight thy love--thy guide her beaming star!
To a warm imagination, the dubious forms, that float, half veiled in
darkness, afford a higher delight, than the most distinct scenery,
that the sun can shew. While the fancy thus wanders over landscapes
partly of its own creation, a sweet complacency steals upon the mind,
Refines it all to subtlest feeling,
Bids the tear of rapture roll.
The distant note of a torrent, the weak trembling of the breeze among
the woods, or the far-off sound of a human voice, now lost and heard
again, are circumstances, which wonderfully heighten the enthusiastic
tone of the mind. The young St. Foix, who saw the presentations of a
fervid fancy, and felt whatever enthusiasm could suggest, sometimes
interrupted the silence, which the rest of the party seemed by mutual
consent to preserve, remarking and pointing out to Blanche the most
striking effect of the hour upon the scenery; while Blanche, whose
apprehensions were beguiled by the conversation of her lover, yielded
to the taste so congenial to his, and they conversed in a low
restrained voice, the effect of the pensive tranquillity, which
twilight and the scene inspired, rather than of any fear, that they
should be heard. But, while the heart was thus soothed to
tenderness, St. Foix gradually mingled, with his admiration of the
country, a mention of his affection; and he continued to speak, and
Blanche to listen, till the mountains, the woods, and the magical
illusions of twilight, were remembered no more.
The shadows of evening soon shifted to the gloom of night, which was
somewhat anticipated by the vapours, that, gathering fast round the
mountains, rolled in dark wreaths along their sides; and the guides
proposed to rest, till the moon should rise, adding, that they
thought a storm was coming on. As they looked round for a spot, that
might afford some kind of shelter, an object was perceived obscurely
through the dusk, on a point of rock, a little way down the mountain,
which they imagined to be a hunter's or a shepherd's cabin, and the
party, with cautious steps, proceeded towards it. Their labour,
however, was not rewarded, or their apprehensions soothed; for, on
reaching the object of their search, they discovered a monumental
cross, which marked the spot to have been polluted by murder.
The darkness would not permit them to read the inscription; but the
guides knew this to be a cross, raised to the memory of a Count de
Beliard, who had been murdered here by a horde of banditti, that had
infested this part of the Pyrenees, a few years before; and the
uncommon size of the monument seemed to justify the supposition, that
it was erected for a person of some distinction. Blanche shuddered,
as she listened to some horrid particulars of the Count's fate, which
one of the guides related in a low, restrained tone, as if the sound
of his own voice frightened him; but, while they lingered at the
cross, attending to his narrative, a flash of lightning glanced upon
the rocks, thunder muttered at a distance, and the travellers, now
alarmed, quitted this scene of solitary horror, in search of shelter.
Having regained their former track, the guides, as they passed on,
endeavoured to interest the Count by various stories of robbery, and
even of murder, which had been perpetrated in the very places they
must unavoidably pass, with accounts of their own dauntless courage
and wonderful escapes. The chief guide, or rather he, who was the
most completely armed, drawing forth one of the four pistols, that
were tucked into his belt, swore, that it had shot three robbers
within the year. He then brandished a clasp-knife of enormous
length, and was going to recount the wonderful execution it had done,
when St. Foix, perceiving, that Blanche was terrified, interrupted
him. The Count, meanwhile, secretly laughing at the terrible
histories and extravagant boastings of the man, resolved to humour
him, and, telling Blanche in a whisper, his design, began to recount
some exploits of his own, which infinitely exceeded any related by
To these surprising circumstances he so artfully gave the colouring
of truth, that the courage of the guides was visibly affected by
them, who continued silent, long after the Count had ceased to speak.
The loquacity of the chief hero thus laid asleep, the vigilance of
his eyes and ears seemed more thoroughly awakened, for he listened,
with much appearance of anxiety, to the deep thunder, which murmured
at intervals, and often paused, as the breeze, that was now rising,
rushed among the pines. But, when he made a sudden halt before a
tuft of cork trees, that projected over the road, and drew forth a
pistol, before he would venture to brave the banditti which might
lurk behind it, the Count could no longer refrain from laughter.
Having now, however, arrived at a level spot, somewhat sheltered from
the air, by overhanging cliffs and by a wood of larch, that rose over
the precipice on the left, and the guides being yet ignorant how far
they were from the inn, the travellers determined to rest, till the
moon should rise, or the storm disperse. Blanche, recalled to a
sense of the present moment, looked on the surrounding gloom, with
terror; but giving her hand to St. Foix, she alighted, and the whole
party entered a kind of cave, if such it could be called, which was
only a shallow cavity, formed by the curve of impending rocks. A
light being struck, a fire was kindled, whose blaze afforded some
degree of cheerfulness, and no small comfort, for, though the day had
been hot, the night air of this mountainous region was chilling; a
fire was partly necessary also to keep off the wolves, with which
those wilds were infested.
Provisions being spread upon a projection of the rock, the Count and
his family partook of a supper, which, in a scene less rude, would
certainly have been thought less excellent. When the repast was
finished, St. Foix, impatient for the moon, sauntered along the
precipice, to a point, that fronted the east; but all was yet wrapt
in gloom, and the silence of night was broken only by the murmuring
of woods, that waved far below, or by distant thunder, and, now and
then, by the faint voices of the party he had quitted. He viewed,
with emotions of awful sublimity, the long volumes of sulphureous
clouds, that floated along the upper and middle regions of the air,
and the lightnings that flashed from them, sometimes silently, and,
at others, followed by sullen peals of thunder, which the mountains
feebly prolonged, while the whole horizon, and the abyss, on which he
stood, were discovered in the momentary light. Upon the succeeding
darkness, the fire, which had been kindled in the cave, threw a
partial gleam, illumining some points of the opposite rocks, and the
summits of pine-woods, that hung beetling on the cliffs below, while
their recesses seemed to frown in deeper shade.
St. Foix stopped to observe the picture, which the party in the cave
presented, where the elegant form of Blanche was finely contrasted by
the majestic figure of the Count, who was seated by her on a rude
stone, and each was rendered more impressive by the grotesque habits
and strong features of the guides and other attendants, who were in
the back ground of the piece. The effect of the light, too, was
interesting; on the surrounding figures it threw a strong, though
pale gleam, and glittered on their bright arms; while upon the
foliage of a gigantic larch, that impended its shade over the cliff
above, appeared a red, dusky tint, deepening almost imperceptibly
into the blackness of night.
While St. Foix contemplated the scene, the moon, broad and yellow,
rose over the eastern summits, from among embattled clouds, and
shewed dimly the grandeur of the heavens, the mass of vapours, that
rolled half way down the precipice beneath, and the doubtful
What dreadful pleasure! there to stand sublime,
Like shipwreck'd mariner on desert coast,
And view th'enormous waste of vapour, tost
In billows length'ning to th'horizon round!
From this romantic reverie he was awakened by the voices of the
guides, repeating his name, which was reverbed from cliff to cliff,
till an hundred tongues seemed to call him; when he soon quieted the
fears of the Count and the Lady Blanche, by returning to the cave.
As the storm, however, seemed approaching, they did not quit their
place of shelter; and the Count, seated between his daughter and St.
Foix, endeavoured to divert the fears of the former, and conversed on
subjects, relating to the natural history of the scene, among which
they wandered. He spoke of the mineral and fossile substances, found
in the depths of these mountains,--the veins of marble and granite,
with which they abounded, the strata of shells, discovered near their
summits, many thousand fathom above the level of the sea, and at a
vast distance from its present shore;--of the tremendous chasms and
caverns of the rocks, the grotesque form of the mountains, and the
various phaenomena, that seem to stamp upon the world the history of
the deluge. From the natural history he descended to the mention of
events and circumstances, connected with the civil story of the
Pyrenees; named some of the most remarkable fortresses, which France
and Spain had erected in the passes of these mountains; and gave a
brief account of some celebrated sieges and encounters in early
times, when Ambition first frightened Solitude from these her deep
recesses, made her mountains, which before had echoed only to the
torrent's roar, tremble with the clang of arms, and, when man's first
footsteps in her sacred haunts had left the print of blood!
As Blanche sat, attentive to the narrative, that rendered the scenes
doubly interesting, and resigned to solemn emotion, while she
considered, that she was on the very ground, once polluted by these
events, her reverie was suddenly interrupted by a sound, that came in
the wind.--It was the distant bark of a watch-dog. The travellers
listened with eager hope, and, as the wind blew stronger, fancied,
that the sound came from no great distance; and, the guides having
little doubt, that it proceeded from the inn they were in search of,
the Count determined to pursue his way. The moon now afforded a
stronger, though still an uncertain light, as she moved among broken
clouds; and the travellers, led by the sound, recommenced their
journey along the brow of the precipice, preceded by a single torch,
that now contended with the moon-light; for the guides, believing
they should reach the inn soon after sun-set, had neglected to
provide more. In silent caution they followed the sound, which was
heard but at intervals, and which, after some time entirely ceased.
The guides endeavoured, however, to point their course to the
quarter, whence it had issued, but the deep roaring of a torrent soon
seized their attention, and presently they came to a tremendous chasm
of the mountain, which seemed to forbid all further progress.
Blanche alighted from her mule, as did the Count and St. Foix, while
the guides traversed the edge in search of a bridge, which, however
rude, might convey them to the opposite side, and they, at length,
confessed, what the Count had begun to suspect, that they had been,
for some time, doubtful of their way, and were now certain only, that
they had lost it.
At a little distance, was discovered a rude and dangerous passage,
formed by an enormous pine, which, thrown across the chasm, united
the opposite precipices, and which had been felled probably by the
hunter, to facilitate his chace of the izard, or the wolf. The whole
party, the guides excepted, shuddered at the prospect of crossing
this alpine bridge, whose sides afforded no kind of defence, and from
which to fall was to die. The guides, however, prepared to lead over
the mules, while Blanche stood trembling on the brink, and listening
to the roar of the waters, which were seen descending from rocks
above, overhung with lofty pines, and thence precipitating themselves
into the deep abyss, where their white surges gleamed faintly in the
moon-light. The poor animals proceeded over this perilous bridge
with instinctive caution, neither frightened by the noise of the
cataract, or deceived by the gloom, which the impending foliage threw
athwart their way. It was now, that the solitary torch, which had
been hitherto of little service, was found to be an inestimable
treasure; and Blanche, terrified, shrinking, but endeavouring to re-
collect all her firmness and presence of mind, preceded by her lover
and supported by her father, followed the red gleam of the torch, in
safety, to the opposite cliff.
As they went on, the heights contracted, and formed a narrow pass, at
the bottom of which, the torrent they had just crossed, was heard to
thunder. But they were again cheered by the bark of a dog, keeping
watch, perhaps, over the flocks of the mountains, to protect them
from the nightly descent of the wolves. The sound was much nearer
than before, and, while they rejoiced in the hope of soon reaching a
place of repose, a light was seen to glimmer at a distance. It
appeared at a height considerably above the level of their path, and
was lost and seen again, as if the waving branches of trees sometimes
excluded and then admitted its rays. The guides hallooed with all
their strength, but the sound of no human voice was heard in return,
and, at length, as a more effectual means of making themselves known,
they fired a pistol. But, while they listened in anxious
expectation, the noise of the explosion was alone heard, echoing
among the rocks, and it gradually sunk into silence, which no
friendly hint of man disturbed. The light, however, that had been
seen before, now became plainer, and, soon after, voices were heard
indistinctly on the wind; but, upon the guides repeating the call,
the voices suddenly ceased, and the light disappeared.
The Lady Blanche was now almost sinking beneath the pressure of
anxiety, fatigue and apprehension, and the united efforts of the
Count and St. Foix could scarcely support her spirits. As they
continued to advance, an object was perceived on a point of rock
above, which, the strong rays of the moon then falling on it,
appeared to be a watch-tower. The Count, from its situation and some
other circumstances, had little doubt, that it was such, and
believing, that the light had proceeded from thence, he endeavoured
to re-animate his daughter's spirits by the near prospect of shelter
and repose, which, however rude the accommodation, a ruined watch-
tower might afford.
'Numerous watch-towers have been erected among the Pyrenees,' said
the Count, anxious only to call Blanche's attention from the subject
of her fears; 'and the method, by which they give intelligence of the
approach of the enemy, is, you know, by fires, kindled on the summits
of these edifices. Signals have thus, sometimes, been communicated
from post to post, along a frontier line of several hundred miles in
length. Then, as occasion may require, the lurking armies emerge
from their fortresses and the forests, and march forth, to defend,
perhaps, the entrance of some grand pass, where, planting themselves
on the heights, they assail their astonished enemies, who wind along
the glen below, with fragments of the shattered cliff, and pour death
and defeat upon them. The ancient forts, and watch-towers,
overlooking the grand passes of the Pyrenees, are carefully
preserved; but some of those in inferior stations have been suffered
to fall into decay, and are now frequently converted into the more
peaceful habitation of the hunter, or the shepherd, who, after a day
of toil, retires hither, and, with his faithful dogs, forgets, near a
cheerful blaze, the labour of the chace, or the anxiety of collecting
his wandering flocks, while he is sheltered from the nightly storm.'
'But are they always thus peacefully inhabited?' said the Lady
'No,' replied the Count, 'they are sometimes the asylum of French and
Spanish smugglers, who cross the mountains with contraband goods from
their respective countries, and the latter are particularly numerous,
against whom strong parties of the king's troops are sometimes sent.
But the desperate resolution of these adventurers, who, knowing,
that, if they are taken, they must expiate the breach of the law by
the most cruel death, travel in large parties, well armed, often
daunts the courage of the soldiers. The smugglers, who seek only
safety, never engage, when they can possibly avoid it; the military,
also, who know, that in these encounters, danger is certain, and
glory almost unattainable, are equally reluctant to fight; an
engagement, therefore, very seldom happens, but, when it does, it
never concludes till after the most desperate and bloody conflict.
You are inattentive, Blanche,' added the Count: 'I have wearied you
with a dull subject; but see, yonder, in the moon-light, is the
edifice we have been in search of, and we are fortunate to be so near
it, before the storm bursts.'
Blanche, looking up, perceived, that they were at the foot of the
cliff, on whose summit the building stood, but no light now issued
from it; the barking of the dog too had, for some time, ceased, and
the guides began to doubt, whether this was really the object of
their search. From the distance, at which they surveyed it, shewn
imperfectly by a cloudy moon, it appeared to be of more extent than a
single watch-tower; but the difficulty was how to ascend the height,
whose abrupt declivities seemed to afford no kind of pathway.
While the guides carried forward the torch to examine the cliff, the
Count, remaining with Blanche and St. Foix at its foot, under the
shadow of the woods, endeavoured again to beguile the time by
conversation, but again anxiety abstracted the mind of Blanche; and
he then consulted, apart with St. Foix, whether it would be
advisable, should a path be found, to venture to an edifice, which
might possibly harbour banditti. They considered, that their own
party was not small, and that several of them were well armed; and,
after enumerating the dangers, to be incurred by passing the night in
the open wild, exposed, perhaps, to the effects of a thunder-storm,
there remained not a doubt, that they ought to endeavour to obtain
admittance to the edifice above, at any hazard respecting the
inhabitants it might harbour; but the darkness, and the dead silence,
that surrounded it, appeared to contradict the probability of its
being inhabited at all.
A shout from the guides aroused their attention, after which, in a
few minutes, one of the Count's servants returned with intelligence,
that a path was found, and they immediately hastened to join the
guides, when they all ascended a little winding way cut in the rock
among thickets of dwarf wood, and, after much toil and some danger,
reached the summit, where several ruined towers, surrounded by a
massy wall, rose to their view, partially illumined by the moon-
light. The space around the building was silent, and apparently
forsaken, but the Count was cautious; 'Step softly,' said he, in a
low voice, 'while we reconnoitre the edifice.'
Having proceeded silently along for some paces, they stopped at a
gate, whose portals were terrible even in ruins, and, after a
moment's hesitation, passed on to the court of entrance, but paused
again at the head of a terrace, which, branching from it, ran along
the brow of a precipice. Over this, rose the main body of the
edifice, which was now seen to be, not a watch-tower, but one of
those ancient fortresses, that, from age and neglect, had fallen to
decay. Many parts of it, however, appeared to be still entire; it
was built of grey stone, in the heavy Saxon-gothic style, with
enormous round towers, buttresses of proportionable strength, and the
arch of the large gate, which seemed to open into the hall of the
fabric, was round, as was that of a window above. The air of
solemnity, which must so strongly have characterized the pile even in
the days of its early strength, was now considerably heightened by
its shattered battlements and half-demolished walls, and by the huge
masses of ruin, scattered in its wide area, now silent and grass
grown. In this court of entrance stood the gigantic remains of an
oak, that seemed to have flourished and decayed with the building,
which it still appeared frowningly to protect by the few remaining
branches, leafless and moss-grown, that crowned its trunk, and whose
wide extent told how enormous the tree had been in a former age.
This fortress was evidently once of great strength, and, from its
situation on a point of rock, impending over a deep glen, had been of
great power to annoy, as well as to resist; the Count, therefore, as
he stood surveying it, was somewhat surprised, that it had been
suffered, ancient as it was, to sink into ruins, and its present
lonely and deserted air excited in his breast emotions of melancholy
awe. While he indulged, for a moment, these emotions, he thought he
heard a sound of remote voices steal upon the stillness, from within
the building, the front of which he again surveyed with scrutinizing
eyes, but yet no light was visible. He now determined to walk round
the fort, to that remote part of it, whence he thought the voices had
arisen, that he might examine whether any light could be discerned
there, before he ventured to knock at the gate; for this purpose, he
entered upon the terrace, where the remains of cannon were yet
apparent in the thick walls, but he had not proceeded many paces,
when his steps were suddenly arrested by the loud barking of a dog
within, and which he fancied to be the same, whose voice had been the
means of bringing the travellers thither. It now appeared certain,
that the place was inhabited, and the Count returned to consult again
with St. Foix, whether he should try to obtain admittance, for its
wild aspect had somewhat shaken his former resolution; but, after a
second consultation, he submitted to the considerations, which before
determined him, and which were strengthened by the discovery of the
dog, that guarded the fort, as well as by the stillness that pervaded
it. He, therefore, ordered one of his servants to knock at the gate,
who was advancing to obey him, when a light appeared through the
loop-hole of one of the towers, and the Count called loudly, but,
receiving no answer, he went up to the gate himself, and struck upon
it with an iron-pointed pole, which had assisted him to climb the
steep. When the echoes had ceased, that this blow had awakened, the
renewed barking,--and there were now more than one dog,--was the only
sound, that was heard. The Count stepped back, a few paces, to
observe whether the light was in the tower, and, perceiving, that it
was gone, he returned to the portal, and had lifted the pole to
strike again, when again he fancied he heard the murmur of voices
within, and paused to listen. He was confirmed in the supposition,
but they were too remote, to be heard otherwise than in a murmur, and
the Count now let the pole fall heavily upon the gate; when almost
immediately a profound silence followed. It was apparent, that the
people within had heard the sound, and their caution in admitting
strangers gave him a favourable opinion of them. 'They are either
hunters or shepherds,' said he, 'who, like ourselves, have probably
sought shelter from the night within these walls, and are fearful of
admitting strangers, lest they should prove robbers. I will
endeavour to remove their fears.' So saying, he called aloud, 'We
are friends, who ask shelter from the night.' In a few moments,
steps were heard within, which approached, and a voice then enquired-
-'Who calls?' 'Friends,' repeated the Count; 'open the gates, and
you shall know more.'--Strong bolts were now heard to be undrawn, and
a man, armed with a hunting spear, appeared. 'What is it you want at
this hour?' said he. The Count beckoned his attendants, and then
answered, that he wished to enquire the way to the nearest cabin.
'Are you so little acquainted with these mountains,' said the man,
'as not to know, that there is none, within several leagues? I
cannot shew you the way; you must seek it--there's a moon.' Saying
this, he was closing the gate, and the Count was turning away, half
disappointed and half afraid, when another voice was heard from
above, and, on looking up, he saw a light, and a man's face, at the
grate of the portal. 'Stay, friend, you have lost your way?' said
the voice. 'You are hunters, I suppose, like ourselves: I will be
with you presently.' The voice ceased, and the light disappeared.
Blanche had been alarmed by the appearance of the man, who had opened
the gate, and she now entreated her father to quit the place; but the
Count had observed the hunter's spear, which he carried; and the
words from the tower encouraged him to await the event. The gate was
soon opened, and several men in hunters' habits, who had heard above
what had passed below, appeared, and, having listened some time to
the Count, told him he was welcome to rest there for the night. They
then pressed him, with much courtesy, to enter, and to partake of
such fare as they were about to sit down to. The Count, who had
observed them attentively while they spoke, was cautious, and
somewhat suspicious; but he was also weary, fearful of the
approaching storm, and of encountering alpine heights in the
obscurity of night; being likewise somewhat confident in the strength
and number of his attendants, he, after some further consideration,
determined to accept the invitation. With this resolution he called
his servants, who, advancing round the tower, behind which some of
them had silently listened to this conference, followed their Lord,
the Lady Blanche, and St. Foix into the fortress. The strangers led
them on to a large and rude hall, partially seen by a fire that
blazed at its extremity, round which four men, in the hunter's dress,
were seated, and on the hearth were several dogs stretched in sleep.
In the middle of the hall stood a large table, and over the fire some
part of an animal was boiling. As the Count approached, the men
arose, and the dogs, half raising themselves, looked fiercely at the
strangers, but, on hearing their masters' voices, kept their postures
on the hearth.
Blanche looked round this gloomy and spacious hall; then at the men,
and to her father, who, smiling cheerfully at her, addressed himself
to the hunters. 'This is an hospitable hearth,' said he, 'the blaze
of a fire is reviving after having wandered so long in these dreary
wilds. Your dogs are tired; what success have you had?' 'Such as we
usually have,' replied one of the men, who had been seated in the
hall, 'we kill our game with tolerable certainty.' 'These are fellow
hunters,' said one of the men who had brought the Count hither, 'that
have lost their way, and I have told them there is room enough in the
fort for us all.' 'Very true, very true,' replied his companion,
'What luck have you had in the chace, brothers? We have killed two
izards, and that, you will say, is pretty well.' 'You mistake,
friend,' said the Count, 'we are not hunters, but travellers; but, if
you will admit us to hunters' fare, we shall be well contented, and
will repay your kindness.' 'Sit down then, brother,' said one of the
men: 'Jacques, lay more fuel on the fire, the kid will soon be
ready; bring a seat for the lady too. Ma'amselle, will you taste our
brandy? it is true Barcelona, and as bright as ever flowed from a
keg.' Blanche timidly smiled, and was going to refuse, when her
father prevented her, by taking, with a good humoured air, the glass
offered to his daughter; and Mons. St. Foix, who was seated next her,
pressed her hand, and gave her an encouraging look, but her attention
was engaged by a man, who sat silently by the fire, observing St.
Foix, with a steady and earnest eye.
'You lead a jolly life here,' said the Count. 'The life of a hunter
is a pleasant and a healthy one; and the repose is sweet, which
succeeds to your labour.'
'Yes,' replied one of his hosts, 'our life is pleasant enough. We
live here only during the summer, and autumnal months; in winter, the
place is dreary, and the swoln torrents, that descend from the
heights, put a stop to the chace.'
''Tis a life of liberty and enjoyment,' said the Count: 'I should
like to pass a month in your way very well.'
'We find employment for our guns too,' said a man who stood behind
the Count: 'here are plenty of birds, of delicious flavour, that
feed upon the wild thyme and herbs, that grow in the vallies. Now I
think of it, there is a brace of birds hung up in the stone gallery;
go fetch them, Jacques, we will have them dressed.'
The Count now made enquiry, concerning the method of pursuing the
chace among the rocks and precipices of these romantic regions, and
was listening to a curious detail, when a horn was sounded at the
gate. Blanche looked timidly at her father, who continued to
converse on the subject of the chace, but whose countenance was
somewhat expressive of anxiety, and who often turned his eyes towards
that part of the hall nearest the gate. The horn sounded again, and
a loud halloo succeeded. 'These are some of our companions, returned
from their day's labour,' said a man, going lazily from his seat
towards the gate; and in a few minutes, two men appeared, each with a
gun over his shoulder, and pistols in his belt. 'What cheer, my
lads? what cheer?' said they, as they approached. 'What luck?'
returned their companions: 'have you brought home your supper? You
shall have none else.'
'Hah! who the devil have you brought home?' said they in bad Spanish,
on perceiving the Count's party, 'are they from France, or Spain?--
where did you meet with them?'
'They met with us, and a merry meeting too,' replied his companion
aloud in good French. 'This chevalier, and his party, had lost their
way, and asked a night's lodging in the fort.' The others made no
reply, but threw down a kind of knapsack, and drew forth several
brace of birds. The bag sounded heavily as it fell to the ground,
and the glitter of some bright metal within glanced on the eye of the
Count, who now surveyed, with a more enquiring look, the man, that
held the knapsack. He was a tall robust figure, of a hard
countenance, and had short black hair, curling in his neck. Instead
of the hunter's dress, he wore a faded military uniform; sandals were
laced on his broad legs, and a kind of short trowsers hung from his
waist. On his head he wore a leathern cap, somewhat resembling in
shape an ancient Roman helmet; but the brows that scowled beneath it,
would have characterized those of the barbarians, who conquered Rome,
rather than those of a Roman soldier. The Count, at length, turned
away his eyes, and remained silent and thoughtful, till, again
raising them, he perceived a figure standing in an obscure part of
the hall, fixed in attentive gaze on St. Foix, who was conversing
with Blanche, and did not observe this; but the Count, soon after,
saw the same man looking over the shoulder of the soldier as
attentively at himself. He withdrew his eye, when that of the Count
met it, who felt mistrust gathering fast upon his mind, but feared to
betray it in his countenance, and, forcing his features to assume a
smile, addressed Blanche on some indifferent subject. When he again
looked round, he perceived, that the soldier and his companion were
The man, who was called Jacques, now returned from the stone gallery.
'A fire is lighted there,' said he, 'and the birds are dressing; the
table too is spread there, for that place is warmer than this.'
His companions approved of the removal, and invited their guests to
follow to the gallery, of whom Blanche appeared distressed, and
remained seated, and St. Foix looked at the Count, who said, he
preferred the comfortable blaze of the fire he was then near. The
hunters, however, commended the warmth of the other apartment, and
pressed his removal with such seeming courtesy, that the Count, half
doubting, and half fearful of betraying his doubts, consented to go.
The long and ruinous passages, through which they went, somewhat
daunted him, but the thunder, which now burst in loud peals above,
made it dangerous to quit this place of shelter, and he forbore to
provoke his conductors by shewing that he distrusted them. The
hunters led the way, with a lamp; the Count and St. Foix, who wished
to please their hosts by some instances of familiarity, carried each
a seat, and Blanche followed, with faltering steps. As she passed
on, part of her dress caught on a nail in the wall, and, while she
stopped, somewhat too scrupulously, to disengage it, the Count, who
was talking to St. Foix, and neither of whom observed the
circumstance, followed their conductor round an abrupt angle of the
passage, and Blanche was left behind in darkness. The thunder
prevented them from hearing her call but, having disengaged her
dress, she quickly followed, as she thought, the way they had taken.
A light, that glimmered at a distance, confirmed this belief, and she
proceeded towards an open door, whence it issued, conjecturing the
room beyond to be the stone gallery the men had spoken of. Hearing
voices as she advanced, she paused within a few paces of the chamber,
that she might be certain whether she was right, and from thence, by
the light of a lamp, that hung from the ceiling, observed four men,
seated round a table, over which they leaned in apparent
consultation. In one of them she distinguished the features of him,
whom she had observed, gazing at St. Foix, with such deep attention;
and who was now speaking in an earnest, though restrained voice,
till, one of his companions seeming to oppose him, they spoke
together in a loud and harsher tone. Blanche, alarmed by perceiving
that neither her father, or St. Foix were there, and terrified at the
fierce countenances and manners of these men, was turning hastily
from the chamber, to pursue her search of the gallery, when she heard
one of the men say:
'Let all dispute end here. Who talks of danger? Follow my advice,
and there will be none--secure THEM, and the rest are an easy prey.'
Blanche, struck with these words, paused a moment, to hear more.
'There is nothing to be got by the rest,' said one of his companions,
'I am never for blood when I can help it--dispatch the two others,
and our business is done; the rest may go.'
'May they so?' exclaimed the first ruffian, with a tremendous oath--
'What! to tell how we have disposed of their masters, and to send the
king's troops to drag us to the wheel! You was always a choice
adviser--I warrant we have not yet forgot St. Thomas's eve last
Blanche's heart now sunk with horror. Her first impulse was to
retreat from the door, but, when she would have gone, her trembling
frame refused to support her, and, having tottered a few paces, to a
more obscure part of the passage, she was compelled to listen to the
dreadful councils of those, who, she was no longer suffered to doubt,
were banditti. In the next moment, she heard the following words,
'Why you would not murder the whole GANG?'
'I warrant our lives are as good as theirs,' replied his comrade.
'If we don't kill them, they will hang us: better they should die
than we be hanged.'
'Better, better,' cried his comrades.
'To commit murder, is a hopeful way of escaping the gallows!' said
the first ruffian--'many an honest fellow has run his head into the
noose that way, though.' There was a pause of some moments, during
which they appeared to be considering.
'Confound those fellows,' exclaimed one of the robbers impatiently,
'they ought to have been here by this time; they will come back
presently with the old story, and no booty: if they were here, our
business would be plain and easy. I see we shall not be able to do
the business to-night, for our numbers are not equal to the enemy,
and in the morning they will be for marching off, and how can we
detain them without force?'
'I have been thinking of a scheme, that will do,' said one of his
comrades: 'if we can dispatch the two chevaliers silently, it will
be easy to master the rest.'
'That's a plausible scheme, in good faith,' said another with a smile
of scorn--'If I can eat my way through the prison wall, I shall be at
liberty!--How can we dispatch them SILENTLY?'
'By poison,' replied his companions.
'Well said! that will do,' said the second ruffian, 'that will give a
lingering death too, and satisfy my revenge. These barons shall take
care how they again tempt our vengeance.'
'I knew the son, the moment I saw him,' said the man, whom Blanche
had observed gazing on St. Foix, 'though he does not know me; the
father I had almost forgotten.'
'Well, you may say what you will,' said the third ruffian, 'but I
don't believe he is the Baron, and I am as likely to know as any of
you, for I was one of them, that attacked him, with our brave lads,
'And was not I another?' said the first ruffian, 'I tell you he is
the Baron; but what does it signify whether he is or not?--shall we
let all this booty go out of our hands? It is not often we have such
luck at this. While we run the chance of the wheel for smuggling a
few pounds of tobacco, to cheat the king's manufactory, and of
breaking our necks down the precipices in the chace of our food; and,
now and then, rob a brother smuggler, or a straggling pilgrim, of
what scarcely repays us the powder we fire at them, shall we let such
a prize as this go? Why they have enough about them to keep us for--
'I am not for that, I am not for that,' replied the third robber,
'let us make the most of them: only, if this is the Baron, I should
like to have a flash the more at him, for the sake of our brave
comrades, that he brought to the gallows.'
'Aye, aye, flash as much as you will,' rejoined the first man, 'but I
tell you the Baron is a taller man.'
'Confound your quibbling,' said the second ruffian, 'shall we let
them go or not? If we stay here much longer, they will take the
hint, and march off without our leave. Let them be who they will,
they are rich, or why all those servants? Did you see the ring, he,
you call the Baron, had on his finger?--it was a diamond; but he has
not got it on now: he saw me looking at it, I warrant, and took it
'Aye, and then there is the picture; did you see that? She has not
taken that off,' observed the first ruffian, 'it hangs at her neck;
if it had not sparkled so, I should not have found it out, for it was
almost hid by her dress; those are diamonds too, and a rare many of
them there must be, to go round such a large picture.'
'But how are we to manage this business?' said the second ruffian:
'let us talk of that, there is no fear of there being booty enough,
but how are we to secure it?'
'Aye, aye,' said his comrades, 'let us talk of that, and remember no
time is to be lost.'
'I am still for poison,' observed the third, 'but consider their
number; why there are nine or ten of them, and armed too; when I saw
so many at the gate, I was not for letting them in, you know, nor you
'I thought they might be some of our enemies,' replied the second, 'I
did not so much mind numbers.'
'But you must mind them now,' rejoined his comrade, 'or it will be
worse for you. We are not more than six, and how can we master ten
by open force? I tell you we must give some of them a dose, and the
rest may then be managed.'
'I'll tell you a better way,' rejoined the other impatiently, 'draw
Blanche, who had listened to this conversation, in an agony, which it
would be impossible to describe, could no longer distinguish what was
said, for the ruffians now spoke in lowered voices; but the hope,
that she might save her friends from the plot, if she could find her
way quickly to them, suddenly re-animated her spirits, and lent her
strength enough to turn her steps in search of the gallery. Terror,
however, and darkness conspired against her, and, having moved a few
yards, the feeble light, that issued from the chamber, no longer even
contended with the gloom, and, her foot stumbling over a step that
crossed the passage, she fell to the ground.
The noise startled the banditti, who became suddenly silent, and then
all rushed to the passage, to examine whether any person was there,
who might have overheard their councils. Blanche saw them
approaching, and perceived their fierce and eager looks: but, before
she could raise herself, they discovered and seized her, and, as they
dragged her towards the chamber they had quitted, her screams drew
from them horrible threatenings.
Having reached the room, they began to consult what they should do
with her. 'Let us first know what she had heard,' said the chief
robber. 'How long have you been in the passage, lady, and what
brought you there?'
'Let us first secure that picture,' said one of his comrades,
approaching the trembling Blanche. 'Fair lady, by your leave that
picture is mine; come, surrender it, or I shall seize it.'
Blanche, entreating their mercy, immediately gave up the miniature,
while another of the ruffians fiercely interrogated her, concerning
what she had overheard of their conversation, when, her confusion and
terror too plainly telling what her tongue feared to confess, the
ruffians looked expressively upon one another, and two of them
withdrew to a remote part of the room, as if to consult further.
'These are diamonds, by St. Peter!' exclaimed the fellow, who had
been examining the miniature, 'and here is a very pretty picture too,
'faith; as handsome a young chevalier, as you would wish to see by a
summer's sun. Lady, this is your spouse, I warrant, for it is the
spark, that was in your company just now.'
Blanche, sinking with terror, conjured him to have pity on her, and,
delivering him her purse, promised to say nothing of what had passed,
if he would suffer her to return to her friends.
He smiled ironically, and was going to reply, when his attention was
called off by a distant noise; and, while he listened, he grasped the
arm of Blanche more firmly, as if he feared she would escape from
him, and she again shrieked for help.
The approaching sounds called the ruffians from the other part of the
chamber. 'We are betrayed,' said they; 'but let us listen a moment,
perhaps it is only our comrades come in from the mountains, and if
so, our work is sure; listen!'
A distant discharge of shot confirmed this supposition for a moment,
but, in the next, the former sounds drawing nearer, the clashing of
swords, mingled with the voices of loud contention and with heavy
groans, were distinguished in the avenue leading to the chamber.
While the ruffians prepared their arms, they heard themselves called
by some of their comrades afar off, and then a shrill horn was
sounded without the fortress, a signal, it appeared, they too well
understood; for three of them, leaving the Lady Blanche to the care
of the fourth, instantly rushed from the chamber.
While Blanche, trembling, and nearly fainting, was supplicating for
release, she heard amid the tumult, that approached, the voice of St.
Foix, and she had scarcely renewed her shriek, when the door of the
room was thrown open, and he appeared, much disfigured with blood,
and pursued by several ruffians. Blanche neither saw, or heard any
more; her head swam, her sight failed, and she became senseless in
the arms of the robber, who had detained her.
When she recovered, she perceived, by the gloomy light, that trembled
round her, that she was in the same chamber, but neither the Count,
St. Foix, or any other person appeared, and she continued, for some
time, entirely still, and nearly in a state of stupefaction. But,
the dreadful images of the past returning, she endeavoured to raise
herself, that she might seek her friends, when a sullen groan, at a
little distance, reminded her of St. Foix, and of the condition, in
which she had seen him enter this room; then, starting from the
floor, by a sudden effort of horror, she advanced to the place whence
the sound had proceeded, where a body was lying stretched upon the
pavement, and where, by the glimmering light of a lamp, she
discovered the pale and disfigured countenance of St. Foix. Her
horrors, at that moment, may be easily imagined. He was speechless;
his eyes were half closed, and, on the hand, which she grasped in the
agony of despair, cold damps had settled. While she vainly repeated
his name, and called for assistance, steps approached, and a person
entered the chamber, who, she soon perceived, was not the Count, her
father; but, what was her astonishment, when, supplicating him to
give his assistance to St. Foix, she discovered Ludovico! He
scarcely paused to recognise her, but immediately bound up the wounds
of the Chevalier, and, perceiving, that he had fainted probably from
loss of blood, ran for water; but he had been absent only a few
moments, when Blanche heard other steps approaching, and, while she
was almost frantic with apprehension of the ruffians, the light of a
torch flashed upon the walls, and then Count De Villefort appeared,
with an affrighted countenance, and breathless with impatience,
calling upon his daughter. At the sound of his voice, she rose, and
ran to his arms, while he, letting fall the bloody sword he held,
pressed her to his bosom in a transport of gratitude and joy, and
then hastily enquired for St. Foix, who now gave some signs of life.
Ludovico soon after returning with water and brandy, the former was
applied to his lips, and the latter to his temples and hands, and
Blanche, at length, saw him unclose his eyes, and then heard him
enquire for her; but the joy she felt, on this occasion, was
interrupted by new alarms, when Ludovico said it would be necessary
to remove Mons. St. Foix immediately, and added, 'The banditti, that
are out, my Lord, were expected home, an hour ago, and they will
certainly find us, if we delay. That shrill horn, they know, is
never sounded by their comrades but on most desperate occasions, and
it echoes among the mountains for many leagues round. I have known
them brought home by its sound even from the Pied de Melicant. Is
any body standing watch at the great gate, my Lord?'
'Nobody,' replied the Count; 'the rest of my people are now scattered
about, I scarcely know where. Go, Ludovico, collect them together,
and look out yourself, and listen if you hear the feet of mules.'
Ludovico then hurried away, and the Count consulted as to the means
of removing St. Foix, who could not have borne the motion of a mule,
even if his strength would have supported him in the saddle.
While the Count was telling, that the banditti, whom they had found
in the fort, were secured in the dungeon, Blanche observed that he
was himself wounded, and that his left arm was entirely useless; but
he smiled at her anxiety, assuring her the wound was trifling.
The Count's servants, except two who kept watch at the gate, now
appeared, and, soon after, Ludovico. 'I think I hear mules coming
along the glen, my Lord,' said he, 'but the roaring of the torrent
below will not let me be certain; however, I have brought what will
serve the Chevalier,' he added, shewing a bear's skin, fastened to a
couple of long poles, which had been adapted for the purpose of
bringing home such of the banditti as happened to be wounded in their
encounters. Ludovico spread it on the ground, and, placing the skins
of several goats upon it, made a kind of bed, into which the
Chevalier, who was however now much revived, was gently lifted; and,
the poles being raised upon the shoulders of the guides, whose
footing among these steeps could best be depended upon, he was borne
along with an easy motion. Some of the Count's servants were also
wounded--but not materially, and, their wounds being bound up, they
now followed to the great gate. As they passed along the hall, a
loud tumult was heard at some distance, and Blanche was terrified.
'It is only those villains in the dungeon, my Lady,' said Ludovico.
'They seem to be bursting it open,' said the Count. 'No, my Lord,'
replied Ludovico, 'it has an iron door; we have nothing to fear from
them; but let me go first, and look out from the rampart.'
They quickly followed him, and found their mules browsing before the
gates, where the party listened anxiously, but heard no sound, except
that of the torrent below and of the early breeze, sighing among the
branches of the old oak, that grew in the court; and they were now
glad to perceive the first tints of dawn over the mountain-tops.
When they had mounted their mules, Ludovico, undertaking to be their
guide, led them by an easier path, than that by which they had
formerly ascended, into the glen. 'We must avoid that valley to the
east, my Lord,' said he, 'or we may meet the banditti; they went out
that way in the morning.'
The travellers, soon after, quitted this glen, and found themselves
in a narrow valley that stretched towards the north-west. The
morning light upon the mountains now strengthened fast, and gradually
discovered the green hillocks, that skirted the winding feet of the
cliffs, tufted with cork tree, and ever-green oak. The thunder-
clouds being dispersed, had left the sky perfectly serene, and
Blanche was revived by the fresh breeze, and by the view of verdure,
which the late rain had brightened. Soon after, the sun arose, when
the dripping rocks, with the shrubs that fringed their summits, and
many a turfy slope below, sparkled in his rays. A wreath of mist was
seen, floating along the extremity of the valley, but the gale bore
it before the travellers, and the sun-beams gradually drew it up
towards the summit of the mountains. They had proceeded about a
league, when, St. Foix having complained of extreme faintness, they
stopped to give him refreshment, and, that the men, who bore him,
might rest. Ludovico had brought from the fort some flasks of rich
Spanish wine, which now proved a reviving cordial not only to St.
Foix but to the whole party, though to him it gave only temporary
relief, for it fed the fever, that burned in his veins, and he could
neither disguise in his countenance the anguish he suffered, or
suppress the wish, that he was arrived at the inn, where they had
designed to pass the preceding night.
While they thus reposed themselves under the shade of the dark green
pines, the Count desired Ludovico to explain shortly, by what means
he had disappeared from the north apartment, how he came into the
hands of the banditti, and how he had contributed so essentially to
serve him and his family, for to him he justly attributed their
present deliverance. Ludovico was going to obey him, when suddenly
they heard the echo of a pistol-shot, from the way they had passed,
and they rose in alarm, hastily to pursue their route.
Ah why did Fate his steps decoy
In stormy paths to roam,
Remote from all congenial joy!
Emily, mean while, was still suffering anxiety as to the fate of
Valancourt; but Theresa, having, at length, found a person, whom she
could entrust on her errand to the steward, informed her, that the
messenger would return on the following day; and Emily promised to be
at the cottage, Theresa being too lame to attend her.
In the evening, therefore, Emily set out alone for the cottage, with
a melancholy foreboding, concerning Valancourt, while, perhaps, the
gloom of the hour might contribute to depress her spirits. It was a
grey autumnal evening towards the close of the season; heavy mists
partially obscured the mountains, and a chilling breeze, that sighed
among the beech woods, strewed her path with some of their last
yellow leaves. These, circling in the blast and foretelling the
death of the year, gave an image of desolation to her mind, and, in
her fancy, seemed to announce the death of Valancourt. Of this she
had, indeed, more than once so strong a presentiment, that she was on
the point of returning home, feeling herself unequal to an encounter
with the certainty she anticipated, but, contending with her
emotions, she so far commanded them, as to be able to proceed.
While she walked mournfully on, gazing on the long volumes of vapour,
that poured upon the sky, and watching the swallows, tossed along the
wind, now disappearing among tempestuous clouds, and then emerging,
for a moment, in circles upon the calmer air, the afflictions and
vicissitudes of her late life seemed pourtrayed in these fleeting
images;--thus had she been tossed upon the stormy sea of misfortune
for the last year, with but short intervals of peace, if peace that
could be called, which was only the delay of evils. And now, when
she had escaped from so many dangers, was become independent of the
will of those, who had oppressed her, and found herself mistress of a
large fortune, now, when she might reasonably have expected
happiness, she perceived that she was as distant from it as ever.
She would have accused herself of weakness and ingratitude in thus
suffering a sense of the various blessings she possessed to be
overcome by that of a single misfortune, had this misfortune affected
herself alone; but, when she had wept for Valancourt even as living,
tears of compassion had mingled with those of regret, and while she
lamented a human being degraded to vice, and consequently to misery,
reason and humanity claimed these tears, and fortitude had not yet
taught her to separate them from those of love; in the present
moments, however, it was not the certainty of his guilt, but the
apprehension of his death (of a death also, to which she herself,
however innocently, appeared to have been in some degree
instrumental) that oppressed her. This fear increased, as the means
of certainty concerning it approached; and, when she came within view
of Theresa's cottage, she was so much disordered, and her resolution
failed her so entirely, that, unable to proceed, she rested on a
bank, beside her path; where, as she sat, the wind that groaned
sullenly among the lofty branches above, seemed to her melancholy
imagination to bear the sounds of distant lamentation, and, in the
pauses of the gust, she still fancied she heard the feeble and far-
off notes of distress. Attention convinced her, that this was no
more than fancy; but the increasing gloom, which seemed the sudden
close of day, soon warned her to depart, and, with faltering steps,
she again moved toward the cottage. Through the casement appeared
the cheerful blaze of a wood fire, and Theresa, who had observed
Emily approaching, was already at the door to receive her.
'It is a cold evening, madam,' said she, 'storms are coming on, and I
thought you would like a fire. Do take this chair by the hearth.'
Emily, thanking her for this consideration, sat down, and then,
looking in her face, on which the wood fire threw a gleam, she was
struck with its expression, and, unable to speak, sunk back in her
chair with a countenance so full of woe, that Theresa instantly
comprehended the occasion of it, but she remained silent. 'Ah!' said
Emily, at length, 'it is unnecessary for me to ask the result of your
enquiry, your silence, and that look, sufficiently explain it;--he is
'Alas! my dear young lady,' replied Theresa, while tears filled her
eyes, 'this world is made up of trouble! the rich have their share as
well as the poor! But we must all endeavour to bear what Heaven
'He is dead, then!'--interrupted Emily--'Valancourt is dead!'
'A-well-a-day! I fear he is,' replied Theresa.
'You fear!' said Emily, 'do you only fear?'
'Alas! yes, madam, I fear he is! neither the steward, or any of the
Epourville family, have heard of him since he left Languedoc, and the
Count is in great affliction about him, for he says he was always
punctual in writing, but that now he has not received a line from
him, since he left Languedoc; he appointed to be at home, three weeks
ago, but he has neither come, or written, and they fear some accident
has befallen him. Alas! that ever I should live to cry for his
death! I am old, and might have died without being missed, but he'--
Emily was faint, and asked for some water, and Theresa, alarmed by
the voice, in which she spoke, hastened to her assistance, and, while
she held the water to Emily's lips, continued, 'My dear young
mistress, do not take it so to heart; the Chevalier may be alive and
well, for all this; let us hope the best!'
'O no! I cannot hope,' said Emily, 'I am acquainted with
circumstances, that will not suffer me to hope. I am somewhat better
now, and can hear what you have to say. Tell me, I entreat, the
particulars of what you know.'
'Stay, till you are a little better, mademoiselle, you look sadly!'
'O no, Theresa, tell me all, while I have the power to hear it,' said
Emily, 'tell me all, I conjure you!'
'Well, madam, I will then; but the steward did not say much, for
Richard says he seemed shy of talking about Mons. Valancourt, and
what he gathered was from Gabriel, one of the servants, who said he
had heard it from my lord's gentleman.'
'What did he hear?' said Emily.
'Why, madam, Richard has but a bad memory, and could not remember
half of it, and, if I had not asked him a great many questions, I
should have heard little indeed. But he says that Gabriel said, that
he and all the other servants were in great trouble about M.
Valancourt, for that he was such a kind young gentleman, they all
loved him, as well as if he had been their own brother--and now, to
think what was become of him! For he used to be so courteous to them
all, and, if any of them had been in fault, M. Valancourt was the
first to persuade my lord to forgive them. And then, if any poor
family was in distress, M. Valancourt was the first, too, to relieve
them, though some folks, not a great way off, could have afforded
that much better than he. And then, said Gabriel, he was so gentle
to every body, and, for all he had such a noble look with him, he
never would command, and call about him, as some of your quality
people do, and we never minded him the less for that. Nay, says
Gabriel, for that matter, we minded him the more, and would all have
run to obey him at a word, sooner than if some folks had told us what
to do at full length; aye, and were more afraid of displeasing him,
too, than of them, that used rough words to us.'
Emily, who no longer considered it to be dangerous to listen to
praise, bestowed on Valancourt, did not attempt to interrupt Theresa,
but sat, attentive to her words, though almost overwhelmed with
grief. 'My Lord,' continued Theresa, 'frets about M. Valancourt
sadly, and the more, because, they say, he had been rather harsh
against him lately. Gabriel says he had it from my Lord's valet,
that M. Valancourt had COMPORTED himself wildly at Paris, and had
spent a great deal of money, more a great deal than my Lord liked,
for he loves money better than M. Valancourt, who had been led astray
sadly. Nay, for that matter, M. Valancourt had been put into prison
at Paris, and my Lord, says Gabriel, refused to take him out, and
said he deserved to suffer; and, when old Gregoire, the butler, heard
of this, he actually bought a walking-stick to take with him to
Paris, to visit his young master; but the next thing we hear is, that
M. Valancourt is coming home. O, it was a joyful day when he came;
but he was sadly altered, and my Lord looked very cool upon him, and
he was very sad, indeed. And, soon after, he went away again into
Languedoc, and, since that time, we have never seen him.'
Theresa paused, and Emily, sighing deeply, remained with her eyes
fixed upon the floor, without speaking. After a long pause, she
enquired what further Theresa had heard. 'Yet why should I ask?' she
added; 'what you have already told is too much. O Valancourt! thou
art gone--forever gone! and I--I have murdered thee!' These words,
and the countenance of despair which accompanied them, alarmed
Theresa, who began to fear, that the shock of the intelligence Emily
had just received, had affected her senses. 'My dear young lady, be
composed,' said she, 'and do not say such frightful words. You
murder M. Valancourt,--dear heart!' Emily replied only by a heavy
'Dear lady, it breaks my heart to see you look so,' said Theresa, 'do
not sit with your eyes upon the ground, and all so pale and
melancholy; it frightens me to see you.' Emily was still silent, and
did not appear to hear any thing that was said to her. 'Besides,
mademoiselle,' continued Theresa, 'M. Valancourt may be alive and
merry yet, for what we know.'
At the mention of his name, Emily raised her eyes, and fixed them, in
a wild gaze, upon Theresa, as if she was endeavouring to understand
what had been said. 'Aye, my dear lady,' said Theresa, mistaking the
meaning of this considerate air, 'M. Valancourt may be alive and
On the repetition of these words, Emily comprehended their import,
but, instead of producing the effect intended, they seemed only to
heighten her distress. She rose hastily from her chair, paced the
little room, with quick steps, and, often sighing deeply, clasped her
hands, and shuddered.
Meanwhile, Theresa, with simple, but honest affection, endeavoured to
comfort her; put more wood on the fire, stirred it up into a brighter
blaze, swept the hearth, set the chair, which Emily had left, in a
warmer situation, and then drew forth from a cupboard a flask of
wine. 'It is a stormy night, madam,' said she, 'and blows cold--do
come nearer the fire, and take a glass of this wine; it will comfort
you, as it has done me, often and often, for it is not such wine as
one gets every day; it is rich Languedoc, and the last of six flasks
that M. Valancourt sent me, the night before he left Gascony for
Paris. They have served me, ever since, as cordials, and I never
drink it, but I think of him, and what kind words he said to me when
he gave them. Theresa, says he, you are not young now, and should
have a glass of good wine, now and then. I will send you a few
flasks, and, when you taste them, you will sometimes remember me your
friend. Yes--those were his very words--me your friend!' Emily
still paced the room, without seeming to hear what Theresa said, who
continued speaking. 'And I have remembered him, often enough, poor
young gentleman!--for he gave me this roof for a shelter, and that,
which has supported me. Ah! he is in heaven, with my blessed master,
if ever saint was!'
Theresa's voice faltered; she wept, and set down the flask, unable to
pour out the wine. Her grief seemed to recall Emily from her own,
who went towards her, but then stopped, and, having gazed on her, for
a moment, turned suddenly away, as if overwhelmed by the reflection,
that it was Valancourt, whom Theresa lamented.
While she yet paced the room, the still, soft note of an oboe, or
flute, was heard mingling with the blast, the sweetness of which
affected Emily's spirits; she paused a moment in attention; the
tender tones, as they swelled along the wind, till they were lost
again in the ruder gust, came with a plaintiveness, that touched her
heart, and she melted into tears.
'Aye,' said Theresa, drying her eyes, 'there is Richard, our
neighbour's son, playing on the oboe; it is sad enough, to hear such
sweet music now.' Emily continued to weep, without replying. 'He
often plays of an evening,' added Theresa, 'and, sometimes, the young
folks dance to the sound of his oboe. But, dear young lady! do not
cry so; and pray take a glass of this wine,' continued she, pouring
some into a glass, and handing it to Emily, who reluctantly took it.
'Taste it for M. Valancourt's sake,' said Theresa, as Emily lifted
the glass to her lips, 'for he gave it me, you know, madam.' Emily's
hand trembled, and she spilt the wine as she withdrew it from her
lips. 'For whose sake!--who gave the wine?' said she in a faltering
voice. 'M. Valancourt, dear lady. I knew you would be pleased with
it. It is the last flask I have left.'
Emily set the wine upon the table, and burst into tears, while
Theresa, disappointed and alarmed, tried to comfort her; but she only
waved her hand, entreated she might be left alone, and wept the more.
A knock at the cottage door prevented Theresa from immediately
obeying her mistress, and she was going to open it, when Emily,
checking her, requested she would not admit any person; but,
afterwards, recollecting, that she had ordered her servant to attend
her home, she said it was only Philippe, and endeavoured to restrain
her tears, while Theresa opened the door.
A voice, that spoke without, drew Emily's attention. She listened,
turned her eyes to the door, when a person now appeared, and
immediately a bright gleam, that flashed from the fire, discovered--
Emily, on perceiving him, started from her chair, trembled, and,
sinking into it again, became insensible to all around her.
A scream from Theresa now told, that she knew Valancourt, whom her
imperfect sight, and the duskiness of the place had prevented her
from immediately recollecting; but his attention was immediately
called from her to the person, whom he saw, falling from a chair near
the fire; and, hastening to her assistance,--he perceived, that he
was supporting Emily! The various emotions, that seized him upon
thus unexpectedly meeting with her, from whom he had believed he had
parted for ever, and on beholding her pale and lifeless in his arms--
may, perhaps, be imagined, though they could neither be then
expressed, or now described, any more than Emily's sensations, when,
at length, she unclosed her eyes, and, looking up, again saw
Valancourt. The intense anxiety, with which he regarded her, was
instantly changed to an expression of mingled joy and tenderness, as
his eye met hers, and he perceived, that she was reviving. But he
could only exclaim, 'Emily!' as he silently watched her recovery,
while she averted her eye, and feebly attempted to withdraw her hand;
but, in these the first moments, which succeeded to the pangs his
supposed death had occasioned her, she forgot every fault, which had
formerly claimed indignation, and beholding Valancourt such as he had
appeared, when he won her early affection, she experienced emotions
of only tenderness and joy. This, alas! was but the sunshine of a
few short moments; recollections rose, like clouds, upon her mind,
and, darkening the illusive image, that possessed it, she again
beheld Valancourt, degraded--Valancourt unworthy of the esteem and
tenderness she had once bestowed upon him; her spirits faltered, and,
withdrawing her hand, she turned from him to conceal her grief, while
he, yet more embarrassed and agitated, remained silent.
A sense of what she owed to herself restrained her tears, and taught
her soon to overcome, in some degree, the emotions of mingled joy and
sorrow, that contended at her heart, as she rose, and, having thanked
him for the assistance he had given her, bade Theresa good evening.
As she was leaving the cottage, Valancourt, who seemed suddenly
awakened as from a dream, entreated, in a voice, that pleaded
powerfully for compassion, a few moments attention. Emily's heart,
perhaps, pleaded as powerfully, but she had resolution enough to
resist both, together with the clamorous entreaties of Theresa, that
she would not venture home alone in the dark, and had already opened
the cottage door, when the pelting storm compelled her to obey their
Silent and embarrassed, she returned to the fire, while Valancourt,
with increasing agitation, paced the room, as if he wished, yet
feared, to speak, and Theresa expressed without restraint her joy and
wonder upon seeing him.
'Dear heart! sir,' said she, 'I never was so surprised and overjoyed
in my life. We were in great tribulation before you came, for we
thought you was dead, and were talking, and lamenting about you, just
when you knocked at the door. My young mistress there was crying,
fit to break her heart--'
Emily looked with much displeasure at Theresa, but, before she could
speak, Valancourt, unable to repress the emotion, which Theresa's
imprudent discovery occasioned, exclaimed, 'O my Emily! am I then
still dear to you! Did you, indeed, honour me with a thought--a
tear? O heavens! you weep--you weep now!'
'Theresa, sir,' said Emily, with a reserved air, and trying to
conquer her tears, 'has reason to remember you with gratitude, and
she was concerned, because she had not lately heard of you. Allow me
to thank you for the kindness you have shewn her, and to say, that,
since I am now upon the spot, she must not be further indebted to
'Emily,' said Valancourt, no longer master of his emotions, 'is it
thus you meet him, whom once you meant to honour with your hand--thus
you meet him, who has loved you--suffered for you?--Yet what do I
say? Pardon me, pardon me, mademoiselle St. Aubert, I know not what
I utter. I have no longer any claim upon your remembrance--I have
forfeited every pretension to your esteem, your love. Yes! let me
not forget, that I once possessed your affections, though to know
that I have lost them, is my severest affliction. Affliction--do I
call it!--that is a term of mildness.'
'Dear heart!' said Theresa, preventing Emily from replying, 'talk of
once having her affections! Why, my dear young lady loves you now,
better than she does any body in the whole world, though she pretends
to deny it.'
'This is insupportable!' said Emily; 'Theresa, you know not what you
say. Sir, if you respect my tranquillity, you will spare me from the
continuance of this distress.'
'I do respect your tranquillity too much, voluntarily to interrupt
it,' replied Valancourt, in whose bosom pride now contended with
tenderness; 'and will not be a voluntary intruder. I would have
entreated a few moments attention--yet I know not for what purpose.
You have ceased to esteem me, and to recount to you my sufferings
will degrade me more, without exciting even your pity. Yet I have
been, O Emily! I am indeed very wretched!' added Valancourt, in a
voice, that softened from solemnity into grief.
'What! is my dear young master going out in all this rain!' said
Theresa. 'No, he shall not stir a step. Dear! dear! to see how
gentlefolks can afford to throw away their happiness! Now, if you
were poor people, there would be none of this. To talk of
unworthiness, and not caring about one another, when I know there are
not such a kind-hearted lady and gentleman in the whole province, nor
any that love one another half so well, if the truth was spoken!'
Emily, in extreme vexation, now rose from her chair, 'I must be
gone,' said she, 'the storm is over.'
'Stay, Emily, stay, mademoiselle St. Aubert!' said Valancourt,
summoning all his resolution, 'I will no longer distress you by my
presence. Forgive me, that I did not sooner obey you, and, if you
can, sometimes, pity one, who, in losing you--has lost all hope of
peace! May you be happy, Emily, however wretched I remain, happy as
my fondest wish would have you!'
His voice faltered with the last words, and his countenance changed,
while, with a look of ineffable tenderness and grief, he gazed upon
her for an instant, and then quitted the cottage.
'Dear heart! dear heart!' cried Theresa, following him to the door,
'why, Monsieur Valancourt! how it rains! what a night is this to turn
him out in! Why it will give him his death; and it was but now you
was crying, mademoiselle, because he was dead. Well! young ladies do
change their mind in a minute, as one may say!'
Emily made no reply, for she heard not what was said, while, lost in
sorrow and thought, she remained in her chair by the fire, with her
eyes fixed, and the image of Valancourt still before them.
'M. Valancourt is sadly altered! madam,' said Theresa; 'he looks so
thin to what he used to do, and so melancholy, and then he wears his
arm in a sling.'
Emily raised her eyes at these words, for she had not observed this
last circumstance, and she now did not doubt, that Valancourt had
received the shot of her gardener at Tholouse; with this conviction
her pity for him returning, she blamed herself for having occasioned
him to leave the cottage, during the storm.
Soon after her servants arrived with the carriage, and Emily, having
censured Theresa for her thoughtless conversation to Valancourt, and
strictly charging her never to repeat any hints of the same kind to
him, withdrew to her home, thoughtful and disconsolate.
Meanwhile, Valancourt had returned to a little inn of the village,
whither he had arrived only a few moments before his visit to
Theresa's cottage, on the way from Tholouse to the chateau of the
Count de Duvarney, where he had not been since he bade adieu to Emily
at Chateau-le-Blanc, in the neighbourhood of which he had lingered
for a considerable time, unable to summon resolution enough to quit a
place, that contained the object most dear to his heart. There were
times, indeed, when grief and despair urged him to appear again
before Emily, and, regardless of his ruined circumstances, to renew
his suit. Pride, however, and the tenderness of his affection, which
could not long endure the thought of involving her in his
misfortunes, at length, so far triumphed over passion, that he
relinquished this desperate design, and quitted Chateau-le-Blanc.
But still his fancy wandered among the scenes, which had witnessed
his early love, and, on his way to Gascony, he stopped at Tholouse,
where he remained when Emily arrived, concealing, yet indulging his
melancholy in the gardens, where he had formerly passed with her so
many happy hours; often recurring, with vain regret, to the evening
before her departure for Italy, when she had so unexpectedly met him
on the terrace, and endeavouring to recall to his memory every word
and look, which had then charmed him, the arguments he had employed
to dissuade her from the journey, and the tenderness of their last
farewel. In such melancholy recollections he had been indulging,
when Emily unexpectedly arrived to him on this very terrace, the
evening after her arrival at Tholouse. His emotions, on thus seeing
her, can scarcely be imagined; but he so far overcame the first
promptings of love, that he forbore to discover himself, and abruptly
quitted the gardens. Still, however, the vision he had seen haunted
his mind; he became more wretched than before, and the only solace of
his sorrow was to return in the silence of the night; to follow the
paths which he believed her steps had pressed, during the day; and,
to watch round the habitation where she reposed. It was in one of
these mournful wanderings, that he had received by the fire of the
gardener, who mistook him for a robber, a wound in his arm, which had
detained him at Tholouse till very lately, under the hands of a
surgeon. There, regardless of himself and careless of his friends,
whose late unkindness had urged him to believe, that they were
indifferent as to his fate, he remained, without informing them of
his situation; and now, being sufficiently recovered to bear
travelling, he had taken La Vallee in his way to Estuviere, the
Count's residence, partly for the purpose of hearing of Emily, and of
being again near her, and partly for that of enquiring into the
situation of poor old Theresa, who, he had reason to suppose, had
been deprived of her stipend, small as it was, and which enquiry had
brought him to her cottage, when Emily happened to be there.
This unexpected interview, which had at once shewn him the tenderness
of her love and the strength of her resolution, renewed all the
acuteness of the despair, that had attended their former separation,
and which no effort of reason could teach him, in these moments, to
subdue. Her image, her look, the tones of her voice, all dwelt on
his fancy, as powerfully as they had late appeared to his senses, and
banished from his heart every emotion, except those of love and
Before the evening concluded, he returned to Theresa's cottage, that
he might hear her talk of Emily, and be in the place, where she had
so lately been. The joy, felt and expressed by that faithful
servant, was quickly changed to sorrow, when she observed, at one
moment, his wild and phrensied look, and, at another, the dark
melancholy, that overhung him.
After he had listened, and for a considerable time, to all she had to
relate, concerning Emily, he gave Theresa nearly all the money he had
about him, though she repeatedly refused it, declaring, that her
mistress had amply supplied her wants; and then, drawing a ring of
value from his finger, he delivered it her with a solemn charge to
present it to Emily, of whom he entreated, as a last favour, that she
would preserve it for his sake, and sometimes, when she looked upon
it, remember the unhappy giver.
Theresa wept, as she received the ring, but it was more from
sympathy, than from any presentiment of evil; and before she could
reply, Valancourt abruptly left the cottage. She followed him to the
door, calling upon his name and entreating him to return; but she
received no answer, and saw him no more.
Call up him, that left half told
The story of Cambuscan bold.
On the following morning, as Emily sat in the parlour adjoining the
library, reflecting on the scene of the preceding night, Annette
rushed wildly into the room, and, without speaking, sunk breathless
into a chair. It was some time before she could answer the anxious
enquiries of Emily, as to the occasion of her emotion, but, at
length, she exclaimed, 'I have seen his ghost, madam, I have seen his
'Who do you mean?' said Emily, with extreme impatience.
'It came in from the hall, madam,' continued Annette, 'as I was
crossing to the parlour.'
'Who are you speaking of?' repeated Emily, 'Who came in from the
'It was dressed just as I have seen him, often and often,' added
Annette. 'Ah! who could have thought--'
Emily's patience was now exhausted, and she was reprimanding her for
such idle fancies, when a servant entered the room, and informed her,
that a stranger without begged leave to speak with her.
It immediately occurred to Emily, that this stranger was Valancourt,
and she told the servant to inform him, that she was engaged, and
could not see any person.
The servant, having delivered his message, returned with one from the
stranger, urging the first request, and saying, that he had something
of consequence to communicate; while Annette, who had hitherto sat
silent and amazed, now started up, and crying, 'It is Ludovico!--it
is Ludovico!' ran out of the room. Emily bade the servant follow
her, and, if it really was Ludovico, to shew him into the parlour.
In a few minutes, Ludovico appeared, accompanied by Annette, who, as
joy rendered her forgetful of all rules of decorum towards her
mistress, would not suffer any person to be heard, for some time, but
herself. Emily expressed surprise and satisfaction, on seeing
Ludovico in safety, and the first emotions increased, when he
delivered letters from Count De Villefort and the Lady Blanche,
informing her of their late adventure, and of their present situation
at an inn among the Pyrenees, where they had been detained by the
illness of Mons. St. Foix, and the indisposition of Blanche, who
added, that the Baron St. Foix was just arrived to attend his son to
his chateau, where he would remain till the perfect recovery of his
wounds, and then return to Languedoc, but that her father and herself
purposed to be at La Vallee, on the following day. She added, that
Emily's presence would be expected at the approaching nuptials, and
begged she would be prepared to proceed, in a few days to Chateau-le-
Blanc. For an account of Ludovico's adventure, she referred her to
himself; and Emily, though much interested, concerning the means, by
which he had disappeared from the north apartments, had the
forbearance to suspend the gratification of her curiosity, till he
had taken some refreshment, and had conversed with Annette, whose
joy, on seeing him in safety, could not have been more extravagant,
had he arisen from the grave.
Meanwhile, Emily perused again the letters of her friends, whose
expressions of esteem and kindness were very necessary consolations
to her heart, awakened as it was by the late interview to emotions of
keener sorrow and regret.
The invitation to Chateau-le-Blanc was pressed with so much kindness
by the Count and his daughter, who strengthened it by a message from
the Countess, and the occasion of it was so important to her friend,
that Emily could not refuse to accept it, nor, though she wished to
remain in the quiet shades of her native home, could she avoid
perceiving the impropriety of remaining there alone, since Valancourt
was again in the neighbourhood. Sometimes, too, she thought, that
change of scenery and the society of her friends might contribute,
more than retirement, to restore her to tranquillity.
When Ludovico again appeared, she desired him to give a detail of his
adventure in the north apartments, and to tell by what means he
became a companion of the banditti, with whom the Count had found
He immediately obeyed, while Annette, who had not yet had leisure to
ask him many questions, on the subject, prepared to listen, with a
countenance of extreme curiosity, venturing to remind her lady of her
incredulity, concerning spirits, in the castle of Udolpho, and of her
own sagacity in believing in them; while Emily, blushing at the
consciousness of her late credulity, observed, that, if Ludovico's
adventure could justify Annette's superstition, he had probably not
been here to relate it.
Ludovico smiled at Annette, and bowed to Emily, and then began as
'You may remember, madam, that, on the night, when I sat up in the
north chamber, my lord, the Count, and Mons. Henri accompanied me
thither, and that, while they remained there, nothing happened to
excite any alarm. When they were gone I made a fire in the bed-room,
and, not being inclined to sleep, I sat down on the hearth with a
book I had brought with me to divert my mind. I confess I did
sometimes look round the chamber, with something like apprehension--'
'O very like it, I dare say,' interrupted Annette, 'and I dare say
too, if the truth was known, you shook from head to foot.'
'Not quite so bad as that,' replied Ludovico, smiling, 'but several
times, as the wind whistled round the castle, and shook the old
casements, I did fancy I heard odd noises, and, once or twice, I got
up and looked about me; but nothing was to be seen, except the grim
figures in the tapestry, which seemed to frown upon me, as I looked
at them. I had sat thus for above an hour,' continued Ludovico,
'when again I thought I heard a noise, and glanced my eyes round the
room, to discover what it came from, but, not perceiving any thing, I
began to read again, and, when I had finished the story I was upon, I
felt drowsy, and dropped asleep. But presently I was awakened by the
noise I had heard before, and it seemed to come from that part of the
chamber, where the bed stood; and then, whether it was the story I
had been reading that affected my spirits, or the strange reports,
that had been spread of these apartments, I don't know, but, when I
looked towards the bed again, I fancied I saw a man's face within the
At the mention of this, Emily trembled, and looked anxiously,
remembering the spectacle she had herself witnessed there with
'I confess, madam, my heart did fail me, at that instant,' continued
Ludovico, 'but a return of the noise drew my attention from the bed,
and I then distinctly heard a sound, like that of a key, turning in a
lock, but what surprised me more was, that I saw no door where the
sound seemed to come from. In the next moment, however, the arras
near the bed was slowly lifted, and a person appeared behind it,
entering from a small door in the wall. He stood for a moment as if
half retreating, with his head bending under the arras which
concealed the upper part of his face except his eyes scowling beneath
the tapestry as he held it; and then, while he raised it higher, I
saw the face of another man behind, looking over his shoulder. I
know not how it was, but, though my sword was upon the table before
me, I had not the power just then to seize it, but sat quite still,
watching them, with my eyes half shut as if I was asleep. I suppose
they thought me so, and were debating what they should do, for I
heard them whisper, and they stood in the same posture for the value
of a minute, and then, I thought I perceived other faces in the
duskiness beyond the door, and heard louder whispers.'
'This door surprises me,' said Emily, 'because I understood, that the
Count had caused the arras to be lifted, and the walls examined,
suspecting, that they might have concealed a passage through which
you had departed.'
'It does not appear so extraordinary to me, madam,' replied Ludovico,
'that this door should escape notice, because it was formed in a
narrow compartment, which appeared to be part of the outward wall,
and, if the Count had not passed over it, he might have thought it
was useless to search for a door where it seemed as if no passage
could communicate with one; but the truth was, that the passage was
formed within the wall itself.--But, to return to the men, whom I saw
obscurely beyond the door, and who did not suffer me to remain long
in suspense, concerning their design. They all rushed into the room,
and surrounded me, though not before I had snatched up my sword to
defend myself. But what could one man do against four? They soon
disarmed me, and, having fastened my arms, and gagged my mouth,
forced me through the private door, leaving my sword upon the table,
to assist, as they said, those who should come in the morning to look
for me, in fighting against the ghosts. They then led me through
many narrow passages, cut, as I fancied, in the walls, for I had
never seen them before, and down several flights of steps, till we
came to the vaults underneath the castle; and then opening a stone
door, which I should have taken for the wall itself, we went through
a long passage, and down other steps cut in the solid rock, when
another door delivered us into a cave. After turning and twining
about, for some time, we reached the mouth of it, and I found myself
on the sea-beach at the foot of the cliffs, with the chateau above.
A boat was in waiting, into which the ruffians got, forcing me along
with them, and we soon reached a small vessel, that was at anchor,
where other men appeared, when setting me aboard, two of the fellows
who had seized me, followed, and the other two rowed back to the
shore, while we set sail. I soon found out what all this meant, and
what was the business of these men at the chateau. We landed in
Rousillon, and, after lingering several days about the shore, some of
their comrades came down from the mountains, and carried me with them
to the fort, where I remained till my Lord so unexpectedly arrived,
for they had taken good care to prevent my running away, having
blindfolded me, during the journey, and, if they had not done this, I
think I never could have found my road to any town, through the wild
country we traversed. After I reached the fort I was watched like a
prisoner, and never suffered to go out, without two or three
companions, and I became so weary of life, that I often wished to get
rid of it.'
'Well, but they let you talk,' said Annette, 'they did not gagg you
after they got you away from the chateau, so I don't see what reason
there was to be so very weary of living; to say nothing about the
chance you had of seeing me again.'
Ludovico smiled, and Emily also, who enquired what was the motive of
these men for carrying him off.
'I soon found out, madam,' resumed Ludovico, 'that they were pirates,
who had, during many years, secreted their spoil in the vaults of the
castle, which, being so near the sea, suited their purpose well. To
prevent detection they had tried to have it believed, that the
chateau was haunted, and, having discovered the private way to the
north apartments, which had been shut up ever since the death of the
lady marchioness, they easily succeeded. The housekeeper and her
husband, who were the only persons, that had inhabited the castle,
for some years, were so terrified by the strange noises they heard in
the nights, that they would live there no longer; a report soon went
abroad, that it was haunted, and the whole country believed this the
more readily, I suppose, because it had been said, that the lady
marchioness had died in a strange way, and because my lord never
would return to the place afterwards.'
'But why,' said Emily, 'were not these pirates contented with the
cave--why did they think it necessary to deposit their spoil in the
'The cave, madam,' replied Ludovico, 'was open to any body, and their
treasures would not long have remained undiscovered there, but in the
vaults they were secure so long as the report prevailed of their
being haunted. Thus then, it appears, that they brought at midnight,
the spoil they took on the seas, and kept it till they had
opportunities of disposing of it to advantage. The pirates were
connected with Spanish smugglers and banditti, who live among the
wilds of the Pyrenees, and carry on various kinds of traffic, such as
nobody would think of; and with this desperate horde of banditti I
remained, till my lord arrived. I shall never forget what I felt,
when I first discovered him--I almost gave him up for lost! but I
knew, that, if I shewed myself, the banditti would discover who he
was, and probably murder us all, to prevent their secret in the
chateau being detected. I, therefore, kept out of my lord's sight,
but had a strict watch upon the ruffians, and determined, if they
offered him or his family violence, to discover myself, and fight for
our lives. Soon after, I overheard some of them laying a most
diabolical plan for the murder and plunder of the whole party, when I
contrived to speak to some of my lord's attendants, telling them what
was going forward, and we consulted what was best to be done;
meanwhile my lord, alarmed at the absence of the Lady Blanche,
demanded her, and the ruffians having given some unsatisfactory
answer, my lord and Mons. St. Foix became furious, so then we thought
it a good time to discover the plot, and rushing into the chamber, I
called out, "Treachery! my lord count, defend yourself!" His
lordship and the chevalier drew their swords directly, and a hard
battle we had, but we conquered at last, as, madam, you are already
informed of by my Lord Count.'
'This is an extraordinary adventure,' said Emily, 'and much praise is
due, Ludovico, to your prudence and intrepidity. There are some
circumstances, however, concerning the north apartments, which still
perplex me; but, perhaps, you may be able to explain them. Did you
ever hear the banditti relate any thing extraordinary of these
'No, madam,' replied Ludovico, 'I never heard them speak about the
rooms, except to laugh at the credulity of the old housekeeper, who
once was very near catching one of the pirates; it was since the
Count arrived at the chateau, he said, and he laughed heartily as he
related the trick he had played off.'
A blush overspread Emily's cheek, and she impatiently desired
Ludovico to explain himself.
'Why, my lady,' said he, 'as this fellow was, one night in the bed-
room, he heard somebody approaching through the next apartment, and
not having time to lift up the arras, and unfasten the door, he hid
himself in the bed just by. There he lay for some time in as great a
fright, I suppose--'
'As you was in,' interrupted Annette, 'when you sat up so boldly to
watch by yourself.'
'Aye,' said Ludovico, 'in as great a fright as he ever made any body
else suffer; and presently the housekeeper and some other person came
up to the bed, when he, thinking they were going to examine it,
bethought him, that his only chance of escaping detection, was by
terrifying them; so he lifted up the counterpane, but that did not
do, till he raised his face above it, and then they both set off, he
said, as if they had seen the devil, and he got out of the rooms
Emily could not forbear smiling at this explanation of the deception,
which had given her so much superstitious terror, and was surprised,
that she could have suffered herself to be thus alarmed, till she
considered, that, when the mind has once begun to yield to the
weakness of superstition, trifles impress it with the force of
conviction. Still, however, she remembered with awe the mysterious
music, which had been heard, at midnight, near Chateau-le-Blanc, and
she asked Ludovico if he could give any explanation of it; but he
'I only know, madam,' he added, 'that it did not belong to the
pirates, for I have heard them laugh about it, and say, they believed
the devil was in league with them there.'
'Yes, I will answer for it he was,' said Annette, her countenance
brightening, 'I was sure all along, that he or his spirits had
something to do with the north apartments, and now you see, madam, I
am right at last.'
'It cannot be denied, that his spirits were very busy in that part of
the chateau,' replied Emily, smiling. 'But I am surprised, Ludovico,
that these pirates should persevere in their schemes, after the
arrival of the Count; what could they expect but certain detection?'
'I have reason to believe, madam,' replied Ludovico, 'that it was
their intention to persevere no longer than was necessary for the
removal of the stores, which were deposited in the vaults; and it
appeared, that they had been employed in doing so from within a short
period after the Count's arrival; but, as they had only a few hours
in the night for this business, and were carrying on other schemes at
the same time, the vaults were not above half emptied, when they took
me away. They gloried exceedingly in this opportunity of confirming
the superstitious reports, that had been spread of the north
chambers, were careful to leave every thing there as they had found
it, the better to promote the deception, and frequently, in their
jocose moods, would laugh at the consternation, which they believed
the inhabitants of the castle had suffered upon my disappearing, and
it was to prevent the possibility of my betraying their secret, that
they had removed me to such a distance. From that period they
considered the chateau as nearly their own; but I found from the
discourse of their comrades, that, though they were cautious, at
first, in shewing their power there, they had once very nearly
betrayed themselves. Going, one night, as was their custom, to the
north chambers to repeat the noises, that had occasioned such alarm
among the servants, they heard, as they were about to unfasten the
secret door, voices in the bed-room. My lord has since told me, that
himself and M. Henri were then in the apartment, and they heard very
extraordinary sounds of lamentation, which it seems were made by
these fellows, with their usual design of spreading terror; and my
lord has owned, he then felt somewhat more, than surprise; but, as it
was necessary to the peace of his family, that no notice should be
taken, he was silent on the subject, and enjoined silence to his
Emily, recollecting the change, that had appeared in the spirits of
the Count, after the night, when he had watched in the north room,
now perceived the cause of it; and, having made some further
enquiries upon this strange affair, she dismissed Ludovico, and went
to give orders for the accommodation of her friends, on the following
In the evening, Theresa, lame as she was, came to deliver the ring,
with which Valancourt had entrusted her, and, when she presented it,
Emily was much affected, for she remembered to have seen him wear it
often in happier days. She was, however, much displeased, that
Theresa had received it, and positively refused to accept it herself,
though to have done so would have afforded her a melancholy pleasure.
Theresa entreated, expostulated, and then described the distress of
Valancourt, when he had given the ring, and repeated the message,
with which he had commissioned her to deliver it; and Emily could not
conceal the extreme sorrow this recital occasioned her, but wept, and
remained lost in thought.
'Alas! my dear young lady!' said Theresa, 'why should all this be? I
have known you from your infancy, and it may well be supposed I love
you, as if you was my own, and wish as much to see you happy. M.
Valancourt, to be sure, I have not known so long, but then I have
reason to love him, as though he was my own son. I know how well you
love one another, or why all this weeping and wailing?' Emily waved
her hand for Theresa to be silent, who, disregarding the signal,
continued, 'And how much you are alike in your tempers and ways, and,
that, if you were married, you would be the happiest couple in the
whole province--then what is there to prevent your marrying? Dear
dear! to see how some people fling away their happiness, and then cry
and lament about it, just as if it was not their own doing, and as if
there was more pleasure in wailing and weeping, than in being at
peace. Learning, to be sure, is a fine thing, but, if it teaches
folks no better than that, why I had rather be without it; if it
would teach them to be happier, I would say something to it, then it
would be learning and wisdom too.'
Age and long services had given Theresa a privilege to talk, but
Emily now endeavoured to check her loquacity, and, though she felt
the justness of some of her remarks, did not choose to explain the
circumstances, that had determined her conduct towards Valancourt.
She, therefore, only told Theresa, that it would much displease her
to hear the subject renewed; that she had reasons for her conduct,
which she did not think it proper to mention, and that the ring must
be returned, with an assurance, that she could not accept it with
propriety; and, at the same time, she forbade Theresa to repeat any
future message from Valancourt, as she valued her esteem and
kindness. Theresa was afflicted, and made another attempt, though
feeble, to interest her for Valancourt, but the unusual displeasure,
expressed in Emily's countenance, soon obliged her to desist, and she
departed in wonder and lamentation.
To relieve her mind, in some degree, from the painful recollections,
that intruded upon it, Emily busied herself in preparations for the
journey into Languedoc, and, while Annette, who assisted her, spoke
with joy and affection of the safe return of Ludovico, she was
considering how she might best promote their happiness, and
determined, if it appeared, that his affection was as unchanged as
that of the simple and honest Annette, to give her a marriage
portion, and settle them on some part of her estate. These
considerations led her to the remembrance of her father's paternal
domain, which his affairs had formerly compelled him to dispose of to
M. Quesnel, and which she frequently wished to regain, because St.
Aubert had lamented, that the chief lands of his ancestors had passed
into another family, and because they had been his birth-place and
the haunt of his early years. To the estate at Tholouse she had no
peculiar attachment, and it was her wish to dispose of this, that she
might purchase her paternal domains, if M. Quesnel could be prevailed
on to part with them, which, as he talked much of living in Italy,
did not appear very improbable.
Sweet is the breath of vernal shower,
The bees' collected treasures sweet,
Sweet music's melting fall, but sweeter yet
The still, small voice of gratitude.
On the following day, the arrival of her friend revived the drooping
Emily, and La Vallee became once more the scene of social kindness
and of elegant hospitality. Illness and the terror she had suffered
had stolen from Blanche much of her sprightliness, but all her
affectionate simplicity remained, and, though she appeared less
blooming, she was not less engaging than before. The unfortunate
adventure on the Pyrenees had made the Count very anxious to reach
home, and, after little more than a week's stay at La Vallee, Emily
prepared to set out with her friends for Languedoc, assigning the
care of her house, during her absence, to Theresa. On the evening,
preceding her departure, this old servant brought again the ring of
Valancourt, and, with tears, entreated her mistress to receive it,
for that she had neither seen, or heard of M. Valancourt, since the
night when he delivered it to her. As she said this, her countenance
expressed more alarm, than she dared to utter; but Emily, checking
her own propensity to fear, considered, that he had probably returned
to the residence of his brother, and, again refusing to accept the
ring, bade Theresa preserve it, till she saw him, which, with extreme
reluctance, she promised to do.
On the following day, Count De Villefort, with Emily and the Lady
Blanche, left La Vallee, and, on the ensuing evening, arrived at the
Chateau-le-Blanc, where the Countess, Henri, and M. Du Pont, whom
Emily was surprised to find there, received them with much joy and
congratulation. She was concerned to observe, that the Count still
encouraged the hopes of his friend, whose countenance declared, that
his affection had suffered no abatement from absence; and was much
distressed, when, on the second evening after her arrival, the Count,
having withdrawn her from the Lady Blanche, with whom she was
walking, renewed the subject of M. Du Pont's hopes. The mildness,
with which she listened to his intercessions at first, deceiving him,
as to her sentiments, he began to believe, that, her affection for
Valancourt being overcome, she was, at length, disposed to think
favourably of M. Du Pont; and, when she afterwards convinced him of
his mistake, he ventured, in the earnestness of his wish to promote
what he considered to be the happiness of two persons, whom he so
much esteemed, gently to remonstrate with her, on thus suffering an
ill-placed affection to poison the happiness of her most valuable
Observing her silence and the deep dejection of her countenance, he
concluded with saying, 'I will not say more now, but I will still
believe, my dear Mademoiselle St. Aubert, that you will not always
reject a person, so truly estimable as my friend Du Pont.'
He spared her the pain of replying, by leaving her; and she strolled
on, somewhat displeased with the Count for having persevered to plead
for a suit, which she had repeatedly rejected, and lost amidst the
melancholy recollections, which this topic had revived, till she had
insensibly reached the borders of the woods, that screened the
monastery of St. Clair, when, perceiving how far she had wandered,
she determined to extend her walk a little farther, and to enquire
about the abbess and some of her friends among the nuns.
Though the evening was now drawing to a close, she accepted the
invitation of the friar, who opened the gate, and, anxious to meet
some of her old acquaintances, proceeded towards the convent parlour.
As she crossed the lawn, that sloped from the front of the monastery
towards the sea, she was struck with the picture of repose, exhibited
by some monks, sitting in the cloisters, which extended under the
brow of the woods, that crowned this eminence; where, as they
meditated, at this twilight hour, holy subjects, they sometimes
suffered their attention to be relieved by the scene before them, nor
thought it profane to look at nature, now that it had exchanged the
brilliant colours of day for the sober hue of evening. Before the
cloisters, however, spread an ancient chesnut, whose ample branches
were designed to screen the full magnificence of a scene, that might
tempt the wish to worldly pleasures; but still, beneath the dark and
spreading foliage, gleamed a wide extent of ocean, and many a passing
sail; while, to the right and left, thick woods were seen stretching
along the winding shores. So much as this had been admitted,
perhaps, to give to the secluded votary an image of the dangers and
vicissitudes of life, and to console him, now that he had renounced
its pleasures, by the certainty of having escaped its evils. As
Emily walked pensively along, considering how much suffering she
might have escaped, had she become a votaress of the order, and
remained in this retirement from the time of her father's death, the
vesper-bell struck up, and the monks retired slowly toward the
chapel, while she, pursuing her way, entered the great hall, where an
unusual silence seemed to reign. The parlour too, which opened from
it, she found vacant, but, as the evening bell was sounding, she
believed the nuns had withdrawn into the chapel, and sat down to
rest, for a moment, before she returned to the chateau, where,
however, the increasing gloom made her now anxious to be.
Not many minutes had elapsed, before a nun, entering in haste,
enquired for the abbess, and was retiring, without recollecting
Emily, when she made herself known, and then learned, that a mass was
going to be performed for the soul of sister Agnes, who had been
declining, for some time, and who was now believed to be dying.
Of her sufferings the sister gave a melancholy account, and of the
horrors, into which she had frequently started, but which had now
yielded to a dejection so gloomy, that neither the prayers, in which
she was joined by the sisterhood, or the assurances of her confessor,
had power to recall her from it, or to cheer her mind even with a
momentary gleam of comfort.
To this relation Emily listened with extreme concern, and,
recollecting the frenzied manners and the expressions of horror,
which she had herself witnessed of Agnes, together with the history,
that sister Frances had communicated, her compassion was heightened
to a very painful degree. As the evening was already far advanced,
Emily did not now desire to see her, or to join in the mass, and,
after leaving many kind remembrances with the nun, for her old
friends, she quitted the monastery, and returned over the cliffs
towards the chateau, meditating upon what she had just heard, till,
at length she forced her mind upon less interesting subjects.
The wind was high, and as she drew near the chateau, she often paused
to listen to its awful sound, as it swept over the billows, that beat
below, or groaned along the surrounding woods; and, while she rested
on a cliff at a short distance from the chateau, and looked upon the
wide waters, seen dimly beneath the last shade of twilight, she
thought of the following address:
TO THE WINDS
Viewless, through heaven's vast vault your course ye steer,
Unknown from whence ye come, or whither go!
Mysterious pow'rs! I hear ye murmur low,
Till swells your loud gust on my startled ear,
And, awful! seems to say--some God is near!
I love to list your midnight voices float
In the dread storm, that o'er the ocean rolls,
And, while their charm the angry wave controuls,
Mix with its sullen roar, and sink remote.
Then, rising in the pause, a sweeter note,
The dirge of spirits, who your deeds bewail,
A sweeter note oft swells while sleeps the gale!
But soon, ye sightless pow'rs! your rest is o'er,
Solemn and slow, ye rise upon the air,
Speak in the shrouds, and bid the sea-boy fear,
And the faint-warbled dirge--is heard no more!
Oh! then I deprecate your awful reign!
The loud lament yet bear not on your breath!
Bear not the crash of bark far on the main,
Bear not the cry of men, who cry in vain,
The crew's dread chorus sinking into death!
Oh! give not these, ye pow'rs! I ask alone,
As rapt I climb these dark romantic steeps,
The elemental war, the billow's moan;
I ask the still, sweet tear, that listening Fancy weeps!
Do breed unnatural troubles: infected minds
To their deaf pillows will discharge their secrets.
More needs she the divine, than the physician.
On the following evening, the view of the convent towers, rising
among the shadowy woods, reminded Emily of the nun, whose condition
had so much affected her; and, anxious to know how she was, as well
as to see some of her former friends, she and the Lady Blanche
extended their walk to the monastery. At the gate stood a carriage,
which, from the heat of the horses, appeared to have just arrived;
but a more than common stillness pervaded the court and the
cloisters, through which Emily and Blanche passed in their way to the
great hall, where a nun, who was crossing to the stair-case, replied
to the enquiries of the former, that sister Agnes was still living,
and sensible, but that it was thought she could not survive the
night. In the parlour, they found several of the boarders, who
rejoiced to see Emily, and told her many little circumstances that
had happened in the convent since her departure, and which were
interesting to her only because they related to persons, whom she had
regarded with affection. While they thus conversed the abbess
entered the room, and expressed much satisfaction at seeing Emily,
but her manner was unusually solemn, and her countenance dejected.
'Our house,' said she, after the first salutations were over, 'is
truly a house of mourning--a daughter is now paying the debt of
nature.--You have heard, perhaps, that our daughter Agnes is dying?'
Emily expressed her sincere concern.
'Her death presents to us a great and awful lesson,' continued the
abbess; 'let us read it, and profit by it; let it teach us to prepare
ourselves for the change, that awaits us all! You are young, and
have it yet in your power to secure "the peace that passeth all
understanding"--the peace of conscience. Preserve it in your youth,
that it may comfort you in age; for vain, alas! and imperfect are the
good deeds of our latter years, if those of our early life have been
Emily would have said, that good deeds, she hoped, were never vain;
but she considered that it was the abbess who spoke, and she remained
'The latter days of Agnes,' resumed the abbess, 'have been exemplary;
would they might atone for the errors of her former ones! Her
sufferings now, alas! are great; let us believe, that they will make
her peace hereafter! I have left her with her confessor, and a
gentleman, whom she has long been anxious to see, and who is just
arrived from Paris. They, I hope, will be able to administer the
repose, which her mind has hitherto wanted.'
Emily fervently joined in the wish.
'During her illness, she has sometimes named you,' resumed the
abbess; 'perhaps, it would comfort her to see you; when her present
visitors have left her, we will go to her chamber, if the scene will
not be too melancholy for your spirits. But, indeed, to such scenes,
however painful, we ought to accustom ourselves, for they are
salutary to the soul, and prepare us for what we are ourselves to
Emily became grave and thoughtful; for this conversation brought to
her recollection the dying moments of her beloved father, and she
wished once more to weep over the spot, where his remains were
buried. During the silence, which followed the abbess' speech, many
minute circumstances attending his last hours occurred to her--his
emotion on perceiving himself to be in the neighbourhood of Chateau-
le-Blanc--his request to be interred in a particular spot in the
church of this monastery--and the solemn charge he had delivered to
her to destroy certain papers, without examining them.--She
recollected also the mysterious and horrible words in those
manuscripts, upon which her eye had involuntarily glanced; and,
though they now, and, indeed, whenever she remembered them, revived
an excess of painful curiosity, concerning their full import, and the
motives for her father's command, it was ever her chief consolation,
that she had strictly obeyed him in this particular.
Little more was said by the abbess, who appeared too much affected by
the subject she had lately left, to be willing to converse, and her
companions had been for some time silent from the same cause, when
this general reverie was interrupted by the entrance of a stranger,
Monsieur Bonnac, who had just quitted the chamber of sister Agnes.
He appeared much disturbed, but Emily fancied, that his countenance
had more the expression of horror, than of grief. Having drawn the
abbess to a distant part of the room, he conversed with her for some
time, during which she seemed to listen with earnest attention, and
he to speak with caution, and a more than common degree of interest.
When he had concluded, he bowed silently to the rest of the company,
and quitted the room. The abbess, soon after, proposed going to the
chamber of sister Agnes, to which Emily consented, though not without
some reluctance, and Lady Blanche remained with the boarders below.
At the door of the chamber they met the confessor, whom, as he lifted
up his head on their approach, Emily observed to be the same that had
attended her dying father; but he passed on, without noticing her,
and they entered the apartment, where, on a mattress, was laid sister
Agnes, with one nun watching in the chair beside her. Her
countenance was so much changed, that Emily would scarcely have
recollected her, had she not been prepared to do so: it was ghastly,
and overspread with gloomy horror; her dim and hollow eyes were fixed
on a crucifix, which she held upon her bosom; and she was so much
engaged in thought, as not to perceive the abbess and Emily, till
they stood at the bed-side. Then, turning her heavy eyes, she fixed
them, in wild horror, upon Emily, and, screaming, exclaimed, 'Ah!
that vision comes upon me in my dying hours!'
Emily started back in terror, and looked for explanation to the
abbess, who made her a signal not to be alarmed, and calmly said to
Agnes, 'Daughter, I have brought Mademoiselle St. Aubert to visit
you: I thought you would be glad to see her.'
Agnes made no reply; but, still gazing wildly upon Emily, exclaimed,
'It is her very self! Oh! there is all that fascination in her look,
which proved my destruction! What would you have--what is it you
came to demand--Retribution?--It will soon be yours--it is yours
already. How many years have passed, since last I saw you! My crime
is but as yesterday.--Yet I am grown old beneath it; while you are
still young and blooming--blooming as when you forced me to commit
that most abhorred deed! O! could I once forget it!--yet what would
that avail?--the deed is done!'
Emily, extremely shocked, would now have left the room; but the
abbess, taking her hand, tried to support her spirits, and begged she
would stay a few moments, when Agnes would probably be calm, whom now
she tried to sooth. But the latter seemed to disregard her, while
she still fixed her eyes on Emily, and added, 'What are years of
prayers and repentance? they cannot wash out the foulness of murder!-
-Yes, murder! Where is he--where is he?--Look there--look there!--
see where he stalks along the room! Why do you come to torment me
now?' continued Agnes, while her straining eyes were bent on air,
'why was not I punished before?--O! do not frown so sternly! Hah!
there again! 'til she herself! Why do you look so piteously upon me-
-and smile, too? smile on me! What groan was that?'
Agnes sunk down, apparently lifeless, and Emily, unable to support
herself, leaned against the bed, while the abbess and the attendant
nun were applying the usual remedies to Agnes. 'Peace,' said the
abbess, when Emily was going to speak, 'the delirium is going off,
she will soon revive. When was she thus before, daughter?'
'Not of many weeks, madam,' replied the nun, 'but her spirits have
been much agitated by the arrival of the gentleman she wished so much
'Yes,' observed the abbess, 'that has undoubtedly occasioned this
paroxysm of frenzy. When she is better, we will leave her to
Emily very readily consented, but, though she could now give little
assistance, she was unwilling to quit the chamber, while any might be
When Agnes recovered her senses, she again fixed her eyes on Emily,
but their wild expression was gone, and a gloomy melancholy had
succeeded. It was some moments before she recovered sufficient
spirits to speak; she then said feebly--'The likeness is wonderful!--
surely it must be something more than fancy. Tell me, I conjure
you,' she added, addressing Emily, 'though your name is St. Aubert,
are you not the daughter of the Marchioness?'
'What Marchioness?' said Emily, in extreme surprise; for she had
imagined, from the calmness of Agnes's manner, that her intellects
were restored. The abbess gave her a significant glance, but she
repeated the question.
'What Marchioness?' exclaimed Agnes, 'I know but of one--the
Marchioness de Villeroi.'
Emily, remembering the emotion of her late father, upon the
unexpected mention of this lady, and his request to be laid near to
the tomb of the Villerois, now felt greatly interested, and she
entreated Agnes to explain the reason of her question. The abbess
would now have withdrawn Emily from the room, who being, however,
detained by a strong interest, repeated her entreaties.
'Bring me that casket, sister,' said Agnes; 'I will shew her to you;
yet you need only look in that mirror, and you will behold her; you
surely are her daughter: such striking resemblance is never found
but among near relations.'
The nun brought the casket, and Agnes, having directed her how to
unlock it, she took thence a miniature, in which Emily perceived the
exact resemblance of the picture, which she had found among her late
father's papers. Agnes held out her hand to receive it; gazed upon
it earnestly for some moments in silence; and then, with a
countenance of deep despair, threw up her eyes to Heaven, and prayed
inwardly. When she had finished, she returned the miniature to
Emily. 'Keep it,' said she, 'I bequeath it to you, for I must
believe it is your right. I have frequently observed the resemblance
between you; but never, till this day, did it strike upon my
conscience so powerfully! Stay, sister, do not remove the casket--
there is another picture I would shew.'
Emily trembled with expectation, and the abbess again would have
withdrawn her. 'Agnes is still disordered,' said she, 'you observe
how she wanders. In these moods she says any thing, and does not
scruple, as you have witnessed, to accuse herself of the most
Emily, however, thought she perceived something more than madness in
the inconsistencies of Agnes, whose mention of the Marchioness, and
production of her picture, had interested her so much, that she
determined to obtain further information, if possible, respecting the
subject of it.
The nun returned with the casket, and, Agnes pointing out to her a
secret drawer, she took from it another miniature. 'Here,' said
Agnes, as she offered it to Emily, 'learn a lesson for your vanity,
at least; look well at this picture, and see if you can discover any
resemblance between what I was, and what I am.'
Emily impatiently received the miniature, which her eyes had scarcely
glanced upon, before her trembling hands had nearly suffered it to
fall--it was the resemblance of the portrait of Signora Laurentini,
which she had formerly seen in the castle of Udolpho--the lady, who
had disappeared in so mysterious a manner, and whom Montoni had been
suspected of having caused to be murdered.
In silent astonishment, Emily continued to gaze alternately upon the
picture and the dying nun, endeavouring to trace a resemblance
between them, which no longer existed.
'Why do you look so sternly on me?' said Agnes, mistaking the nature
of Emily's emotion.
'I have seen this face before,' said Emily, at length; 'was it really
'You may well ask that question,' replied the nun,--'but it was once
esteemed a striking likeness of me. Look at me well, and see what
guilt has made me. I then was innocent; the evil passions of my
nature slept. Sister!' added she solemnly, and stretching forth her
cold, damp hand to Emily, who shuddered at its touch--'Sister! beware
of the first indulgence of the passions; beware of the first! Their
course, if not checked then, is rapid--their force is uncontroulable-
-they lead us we know not whither--they lead us perhaps to the
commission of crimes, for which whole years of prayer and penitence
cannot atone!--Such may be the force of even a single passion, that
it overcomes every other, and sears up every other approach to the
heart. Possessing us like a fiend, it leads us on to the acts of a
fiend, making us insensible to pity and to conscience. And, when its
purpose is accomplished, like a fiend, it leaves us to the torture of
those feelings, which its power had suspended--not annihilated,--to
the tortures of compassion, remorse, and conscience. Then, we awaken
as from a dream, and perceive a new world around us--we gaze in
astonishment, and horror--but the deed is committed; not all the
powers of heaven and earth united can undo it--and the spectres of
conscience will not fly! What are riches--grandeur--health itself,
to the luxury of a pure conscience, the health of the soul;--and what
the sufferings of poverty, disappointment, despair--to the anguish of
an afflicted one! O! how long is it since I knew that luxury! I
believed, that I had suffered the most agonizing pangs of human
nature, in love, jealousy, and despair--but these pangs were ease,
compared with the stings of conscience, which I have since endured.
I tasted too what was called the sweet of revenge--but it was
transient, it expired even with the object, that provoked it.
Remember, sister, that the passions are the seeds of vices as well as
of virtues, from which either may spring, accordingly as they are
nurtured. Unhappy they who have never been taught the art to govern
'Alas! unhappy!' said the abbess, 'and ill-informed of our holy
religion!' Emily listened to Agnes, in silent awe, while she still
examined the miniature, and became confirmed in her opinion of its
strong resemblance to the portrait at Udolpho. 'This face is
familiar to me,' said she, wishing to lead the nun to an explanation,
yet fearing to discover too abruptly her knowledge of Udolpho.
'You are mistaken,' replied Agnes, 'you certainly never saw that
'No,' replied Emily, 'but I have seen one extremely like it.'
'Impossible,' said Agnes, who may now be called the Lady Laurentini.
'It was in the castle of Udolpho,' continued Emily, looking
stedfastly at her.
'Of Udolpho!' exclaimed Laurentini, 'of Udolpho in Italy!' 'The
same,' replied Emily.
'You know me then,' said Laurentini, 'and you are the daughter of the
Marchioness.' Emily was somewhat surprised at this abrupt assertion.
'I am the daughter of the late Mons. St. Aubert,' said she; 'and the
lady you name is an utter stranger to me.'
'At least you believe so,' rejoined Laurentini.
Emily asked what reasons there could be to believe otherwise.
'The family likeness, that you bear her,' said the nun. 'The
Marchioness, it is known, was attached to a gentleman of Gascony, at
the time when she accepted the hand of the Marquis, by the command of
her father. Ill-fated, unhappy woman!'
Emily, remembering the extreme emotion which St. Aubert had betrayed
on the mention of the Marchioness, would now have suffered something
more than surprise, had her confidence in his integrity been less; as
it was, she could not, for a moment, believe what the words of
Laurentini insinuated; yet she still felt strongly interested,
concerning them, and begged, that she would explain them further.
'Do not urge me on that subject,' said the nun, 'it is to me a
terrible one! Would that I could blot it from my memory!' She
sighed deeply, and, after the pause of a moment, asked Emily, by what
means she had discovered her name?
'By your portrait in the castle of Udolpho, to which this miniature
bears a striking resemblance,' replied Emily.
'You have been at Udolpho then!' said the nun, with great emotion.
'Alas! what scenes does the mention of it revive in my fancy--scenes
of happiness--of suffering--and of horror!'
At this moment, the terrible spectacle, which Emily had witnessed in
a chamber of that castle, occurred to her, and she shuddered, while
she looked upon the nun--and recollected her late words--that 'years
of prayer and penitence could not wash out the foulness of murder.'
She was now compelled to attribute these to another cause, than that
of delirium. With a degree of horror, that almost deprived her of
sense, she now believed she looked upon a murderer; all the
recollected behaviour of Laurentini seemed to confirm the
supposition, yet Emily was still lost in a labyrinth of perplexities,
and, not knowing how to ask the questions, which might lead to truth,
she could only hint them in broken sentences.
'Your sudden departure from Udolpho'--said she.
'The reports that followed it,' continued Emily--'The west chamber--
the mournful veil--the object it conceals!--when murders are
The nun shrieked. 'What! there again!' said she, endeavouring to
raise herself, while her starting eyes seemed to follow some object
round the room--'Come from the grave! What! Blood--blood too!--
There was no blood--thou canst not say it!--Nay, do not smile,--do
not smile so piteously!'
Laurentini fell into convulsions, as she uttered the last words; and
Emily, unable any longer to endure the horror of the scene, hurried
from the room, and sent some nuns to the assistance of the abbess.
The Lady Blanche, and the boarders, who were in the parlour, now
assembled round Emily, and, alarmed by her manner and affrighted
countenance, asked a hundred questions, which she avoided answering
further, than by saying, that she believed sister Agnes was dying.
They received this as a sufficient explanation of her terror, and had
then leisure to offer restoratives, which, at length, somewhat
revived Emily, whose mind was, however, so much shocked with the
terrible surmises, and perplexed with doubts by some words from the
nun, that she was unable to converse, and would have left the convent
immediately, had she not wished to know whether Laurentini would
survive the late attack. After waiting some time, she was informed,
that, the convulsions having ceased, Laurentini seemed to be
reviving, and Emily and Blanche were departing, when the abbess
appeared, who, drawing the former aside, said she had something of
consequence to say to her, but, as it was late, she would not detain
her then, and requested to see her on the following day.
Emily promised to visit her, and, having taken leave, returned with
the Lady Blanche towards the chateau, on the way to which the deep
gloom of the woods made Blanche lament, that the evening was so far
advanced; for the surrounding stillness and obscurity rendered her
sensible of fear, though there was a servant to protect her; while
Emily was too much engaged by the horrors of the scene she had just
witnessed, to be affected by the solemnity of the shades, otherwise
than as they served to promote her gloomy reverie, from which,
however, she was at length recalled by the Lady Blanche, who pointed
out, at some distance, in the dusky path they were winding, two
persons slowly advancing. It was impossible to avoid them without
striking into a still more secluded part of the wood, whither the
strangers might easily follow; but all apprehension vanished, when
Emily distinguished the voice of Mons. Du Pont, and perceived, that
his companion was the gentleman, whom she had seen at the monastery,
and who was now conversing with so much earnestness as not
immediately to perceive their approach. When Du Pont joined the
ladies, the stranger took leave, and they proceeded to the chateau,
where the Count, when he heard of Mons. Bonnac, claimed him for an
acquaintance, and, on learning the melancholy occasion of his visit
to Languedoc, and that he was lodged at a small inn in the village,
begged the favour of Mons. Du Pont to invite him to the chateau.
The latter was happy to do so, and the scruples of reserve, which
made M. Bonnac hesitate to accept the invitation, being at length
overcome, they went to the chateau, where the kindness of the Count
and the sprightliness of his son were exerted to dissipate the gloom,
that overhung the spirits of the stranger. M. Bonnac was an officer
in the French service, and appeared to be about fifty; his figure was
tall and commanding, his manners had received the last polish, and
there was something in his countenance uncommonly interesting; for
over features, which, in youth, must have been remarkably handsome,
was spread a melancholy, that seemed the effect of long misfortune,
rather than of constitution, or temper.
The conversation he held, during supper, was evidently an effort of
politeness, and there were intervals in which, unable to struggle
against the feelings, that depressed him, he relapsed into silence
and abstraction, from which, however, the Count, sometimes, withdrew
him in a manner so delicate and benevolent, that Emily, while she
observed him, almost fancied she beheld her late father.
The party separated, at an early hour, and then, in the solitude of
her apartment, the scenes, which Emily had lately witnessed, returned
to her fancy, with dreadful energy. That in the dying nun she should
have discovered Signora Laurentini, who, instead of having been
murdered by Montoni, was, as it now seemed, herself guilty of some
dreadful crime, excited both horror and surprise in a high degree;
nor did the hints, which she had dropped, respecting the marriage of
the Marchioness de Villeroi, and the enquiries she had made
concerning Emily's birth, occasion her a less degree of interest,
though it was of a different nature.
The history, which sister Frances had formerly related, and had said
to be that of Agnes, it now appeared, was erroneous; but for what
purpose it had been fabricated, unless the more effectually to
conceal the true story, Emily could not even guess. Above all, her
interest was excited as to the relation, which the story of the late
Marchioness de Villeroi bore to that of her father; for, that some
kind of relation existed between them, the grief of St. Aubert, upon
hearing her named, his request to be buried near her, and her
picture, which had been found among his papers, certainly proved.
Sometimes it occurred to Emily, that he might have been the lover, to
whom it was said the Marchioness was attached, when she was compelled
to marry the Marquis de Villeroi; but that he had afterwards
cherished a passion for her, she could not suffer herself to believe,
for a moment. The papers, which he had so solemnly enjoined her to
destroy, she now fancied had related to this connection, and she
wished more earnestly than before to know the reasons, that made him
consider the injunction necessary, which, had her faith in his
principles been less, would have led to believe, that there was a
mystery in her birth dishonourable to her parents, which those
manuscripts might have revealed.
Reflections, similar to these, engaged her mind, during the greater
part of the night, and when, at length, she fell into a slumber, it
was only to behold a vision of the dying nun, and to awaken in
horrors, like those she had witnessed.
On the following morning, she was too much indisposed to attend her
appointment with the abbess, and, before the day concluded, she
heard, that sister Agnes was no more. Mons. Bonnac received this
intelligence, with concern; but Emily observed, that he did not
appear so much affected now, as on the preceding evening, immediately
after quitting the apartment of the nun, whose death was probably
less terrible to him, than the confession he had been then called
upon to witness. However this might be, he was perhaps consoled, in
some degree, by a knowledge of the legacy bequeathed him, since his
family was large, and the extravagance of some part of it had lately
been the means of involving him in great distress, and even in the
horrors of a prison; and it was the grief he had suffered from the
wild career of a favourite son, with the pecuniary anxieties and
misfortunes consequent upon it, that had given to his countenance the
air of dejection, which had so much interested Emily.
To his friend Mons. Du Pont he recited some particulars of his late
sufferings, when it appeared, that he had been confined for several
months in one of the prisons of Paris, with little hope of release,
and without the comfort of seeing his wife, who had been absent in
the country, endeavouring, though in vain, to procure assistance from
his friends. When, at length, she had obtained an order for
admittance, she was so much shocked at the change, which long
confinement and sorrow had made in his appearance, that she was
seized with fits, which, by their long continuance, threatened her
'Our situation affected those, who happened to witness it,' continued
Mons. Bonnac, 'and one generous friend, who was in confinement at the
same time, afterwards employed the first moments of his liberty in
efforts to obtain mine. He succeeded; the heavy debt, that oppressed
me, was discharged; and, when I would have expressed my sense of the
obligation I had received, my benefactor was fled from my search. I
have reason to believe he was the victim of his own generosity, and
that he returned to the state of confinement, from which he had
released me; but every enquiry after him was unsuccessful. Amiable
and unfortunate Valancourt!'
'Valancourt!' exclaimed Mons. Du Pont. 'Of what family?'
'The Valancourts, Counts Duvarney,' replied Mons. Bonnac.
The emotion of Mons. Du Pont, when he discovered the generous
benefactor of his friend to be the rival of his love, can only be
imagined; but, having overcome his first surprise, he dissipated the
apprehensions of Mons. Bonnac by acquainting him, that Valancourt was
at liberty, and had lately been in Languedoc; after which his
affection for Emily prompted him to make some enquiries, respecting
the conduct of his rival, during his stay at Paris, of which M.
Bonnac appeared to be well informed. The answers he received were
such as convinced him, that Valancourt had been much misrepresented,
and, painful as was the sacrifice, he formed the just design of
relinquishing his pursuit of Emily to a lover, who, it now appeared,
was not unworthy of the regard, with which she honoured him.
The conversation of Mons. Bonnac discovered, that Valancourt, some
time after his arrival at Paris, had been drawn into the snares,
which determined vice had spread for him, and that his hours had been
chiefly divided between the parties of the captivating Marchioness
and those gaming assemblies, to which the envy, or the avarice, of
his brother officers had spared no art to seduce him. In these
parties he had lost large sums, in efforts to recover small ones, and
to such losses the Count De Villefort and Mons. Henri had been
frequent witnesses. His resources were, at length, exhausted; and
the Count, his brother, exasperated by his conduct, refused to
continue the supplies necessary to his present mode of life, when
Valancourt, in consequence of accumulated debts, was thrown into
confinement, where his brother suffered him to remain, in the hope,
that punishment might effect a reform of conduct, which had not yet
been confirmed by long habit.
In the solitude of his prison, Valancourt had leisure for reflection,
and cause for repentance; here, too, the image of Emily, which,
amidst the dissipation of the city had been obscured, but never
obliterated from his heart, revived with all the charms of innocence
and beauty, to reproach him for having sacrificed his happiness and
debased his talents by pursuits, which his nobler faculties would
formerly have taught him to consider were as tasteless as they were
degrading. But, though his passions had been seduced, his heart was
not depraved, nor had habit riveted the chains, that hung heavily on
his conscience; and, as he retained that energy of will, which was
necessary to burst them, he, at length, emancipated himself from the
bondage of vice, but not till after much effort and severe suffering.
Being released by his brother from the prison, where he had witnessed
the affecting meeting between Mons. Bonnac and his wife, with whom he
had been for some time acquainted, the first use of his liberty
formed a striking instance of his humanity and his rashness; for with
nearly all the money, just received from his brother, he went to a
gaming-house, and gave it as a last stake for the chance of restoring
his friend to freedom, and to his afflicted family. The event was
fortunate, and, while he had awaited the issue of this momentous
stake, he made a solemn vow never again to yield to the destructive
and fascinating vice of gaming.
Having restored the venerable Mons. Bonnac to his rejoicing family,
he hurried from Paris to Estuviere; and, in the delight of having
made the wretched happy, forgot, for a while, his own misfortunes.
Soon, however, he remembered, that he had thrown away the fortune,
without which he could never hope to marry Emily; and life, unless
passed with her, now scarcely appeared supportable; for her goodness,
refinement, and simplicity of heart, rendered her beauty more
enchanting, if possible, to his fancy, than it had ever yet appeared.
Experience had taught him to understand the full value of the
qualities, which he had before admired, but which the contrasted
characters he had seen in the world made him now adore; and these
reflections, increasing the pangs of remorse and regret, occasioned
the deep dejection, that had accompanied him even into the presence
of Emily, of whom he considered himself no longer worthy. To the
ignominy of having received pecuniary obligations from the
Marchioness Chamfort, or any other lady of intrigue, as the Count De
Villefort had been informed, or of having been engaged in the
depredating schemes of gamesters, Valancourt had never submitted; and
these were some of such scandals as often mingle with truth, against
the unfortunate. Count De Villefort had received them from authority
which he had no reason to doubt, and which the imprudent conduct he
had himself witnessed in Valancourt, had certainly induced him the
more readily to believe. Being such as Emily could not name to the
Chevalier, he had no opportunity of refuting them; and, when he
confessed himself to be unworthy of her esteem, he little suspected,
that he was confirming to her the most dreadful calumnies. Thus the
mistake had been mutual, and had remained so, when Mons. Bonnac
explained the conduct of his generous, but imprudent young friend to
Du Pont, who, with severe justice, determined not only to undeceive
the Count on this subject, but to resign all hope of Emily. Such a
sacrifice as his love rendered this, was deserving of a noble reward,
and Mons. Bonnac, if it had been possible for him to forget the
benevolent Valancourt, would have wished that Emily might accept the
just Du Pont.
When the Count was informed of the error he had committed, he was
extremely shocked at the consequence of his credulity, and the
account which Mons. Bonnac gave of his friend's situation, while at
Paris, convinced him, that Valancourt had been entrapped by the
schemes of a set of dissipated young men, with whom his profession
had partly obliged him to associate, rather than by an inclination to
vice; and, charmed by the humanity, and noble, though rash
generosity, which his conduct towards Mons. Bonnac exhibited, he
forgave him the transient errors, that had stained his youth, and
restored him to the high degree of esteem, with which he had regarded
him, during their early acquaintance. But, as the least reparation
he could now make Valancourt was to afford him an opportunity of
explaining to Emily his former conduct, he immediately wrote, to
request his forgiveness of the unintentional injury he had done him,
and to invite him to Chateau-le-Blanc. Motives of delicacy with-held
the Count from informing Emily of this letter, and of kindness from
acquainting her with the discovery respecting Valancourt, till his
arrival should save her from the possibility of anxiety, as to its
event; and this precaution spared her even severer inquietude, than
the Count had foreseen, since he was ignorant of the symptoms of
despair, which Valancourt's late conduct had betrayed.
But in these cases,
We still have judgment here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: thus even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice
To our own lips.
Some circumstances of an extraordinary nature now withdrew Emily from
her own sorrows, and excited emotions, which partook of both surprise
A few days followed that, on which Signora Laurentini died, her will
was opened at the monastery, in the presence of the superiors and
Mons. Bonnac, when it was found, that one third of her personal
property was bequeathed to the nearest surviving relative of the late
Marchioness de Villeroi, and that Emily was the person.
With the secret of Emily's family the abbess had long been
acquainted, and it was in observance of the earnest request of St.
Aubert, who was known to the friar, that attended him on his death-
bed, that his daughter had remained in ignorance of her relationship
to the Marchioness. But some hints, which had fallen from Signora
Laurentini, during her last interview with Emily, and a confession of
a very extraordinary nature, given in her dying hours, had made the
abbess think it necessary to converse with her young friend, on the
topic she had not before ventured to introduce; and it was for this
purpose, that she had requested to see her on the morning that
followed her interview with the nun. Emily's indisposition had then
prevented the intended conversation; but now, after the will had been
examined, she received a summons, which she immediately obeyed, and
became informed of circumstances, that powerfully affected her. As
the narrative of the abbess was, however, deficient in many
particulars, of which the reader may wish to be informed, and the
history of the nun is materially connected with the fate of the
Marchioness de Villeroi, we shall omit the conversation, that passed
in the parlour of the convent, and mingle with our relation a brief
LAURENTINI DI UDOLPHO,
Who was the only child of her parents, and heiress of the ancient
house of Udolpho, in the territory of Venice. It was the first
misfortune of her life, and that which led to all her succeeding
misery, that the friends, who ought to have restrained her strong
passions, and mildly instructed her in the art of governing them,
nurtured them by early indulgence. But they cherished their own
failings in her; for their conduct was not the result of rational
kindness, and, when they either indulged, or opposed the passions of
their child, they gratified their own. Thus they indulged her with
weakness, and reprehended her with violence; her spirit was
exasperated by their vehemence, instead of being corrected by their
wisdom; and their oppositions became contest for victory, in which
the due tenderness of the parents, and the affectionate duties of the
child, were equally forgotten; but, as returning fondness disarmed
the parents' resentment soonest, Laurentini was suffered to believe
that she had conquered, and her passions became stronger by every
effort, that had been employed to subdue them.
The death of her father and mother in the same year left her to her
own discretion, under the dangerous circumstances attendant on youth
and beauty. She was fond of company, delighted with admiration, yet
disdainful of the opinion of the world, when it happened to
contradict her inclinations; had a gay and brilliant wit, and was
mistress of all the arts of fascination. Her conduct was such as
might have been expected, from the weakness of her principles and the
strength of her passions.
Among her numerous admirers was the late Marquis de Villeroi, who, on
his tour through Italy, saw Laurentini at Venice, where she usually
resided, and became her passionate adorer. Equally captivated by the
figure and accomplishments of the Marquis, who was at that period one
of the most distinguished noblemen of the French court, she had the
art so effectually to conceal from him the dangerous traits of her
character and the blemishes of her late conduct, that he solicited
her hand in marriage.
Before the nuptials were concluded, she retired to the castle of
Udolpho, whither the Marquis followed, and, where her conduct,
relaxing from the propriety, which she had lately assumed, discovered
to him the precipice, on which he stood. A minuter enquiry than he
had before thought it necessary to make, convinced him, that he had
been deceived in her character, and she, whom he had designed for his
wife, afterwards became his mistress.
Having passed some weeks at Udolpho, he was called abruptly to
France, whither he returned with extreme reluctance, for his heart
was still fascinated by the arts of Laurentini, with whom, however,
he had on various pretences delayed his marriage; but, to reconcile
her to this separation, he now gave repeated promises of returning to
conclude the nuptials, as soon as the affair, which thus suddenly
called him to France, should permit.
Soothed, in some degree, by these assurances, she suffered him to
depart; and, soon after, her relative, Montoni, arriving at Udolpho,
renewed the addresses, which she had before refused, and which she
now again rejected. Meanwhile, her thoughts were constantly with the
Marquis de Villeroi, for whom she suffered all the delirium of
Italian love, cherished by the solitude, to which she confined
herself; for she had now lost all taste for the pleasures of society
and the gaiety of amusement. Her only indulgences were to sigh and
weep over a miniature of the Marquis; to visit the scenes, that had
witnessed their happiness, to pour forth her heart to him in writing,
and to count the weeks, the days, which must intervene before the
period that he had mentioned as probable for his return. But this
period passed without bringing him; and week after week followed in
heavy and almost intolerable expectation. During this interval,
Laurentini's fancy, occupied incessantly by one idea, became
disordered; and, her whole heart being devoted to one object, life
became hateful to her, when she believed that object lost.
Several months passed, during which she heard nothing from the
Marquis de Villeroi, and her days were marked, at intervals, with the
phrensy of passion and the sullenness of despair. She secluded
herself from all visitors, and, sometimes, remained in her apartment,
for weeks together, refusing to speak to every person, except her
favourite female attendant, writing scraps of letters, reading, again
and again, those she had received from the Marquis, weeping over his
picture, and speaking to it, for many hours, upbraiding, reproaching
and caressing it alternately.
At length, a report reached her, that the Marquis had married in
France, and, after suffering all the extremes of love, jealousy and
indignation, she formed the desperate resolution of going secretly to
that country, and, if the report proved true, of attempting a deep
revenge. To her favourite woman only she confided the plan of her
journey, and she engaged her to partake of it. Having collected her
jewels, which, descending to her from many branches of her family,
were of immense value, and all her cash, to a very large amount, they
were packed in a trunk, which was privately conveyed to a
neighbouring town, whither Laurentini, with this only servant,
followed, and thence proceeded secretly to Leghorn, where they
embarked for France.
When, on her arrival in Languedoc, she found, that the Marquis de
Villeroi had been married, for some months, her despair almost
deprived her of reason, and she alternately projected and abandoned
the horrible design of murdering the Marquis, his wife and herself.
At length she contrived to throw herself in his way, with an
intention of reproaching him, for his conduct, and of stabbing
herself in his presence; but, when she again saw him, who so long had
been the constant object of her thoughts and affections, resentment
yielded to love; her resolution failed; she trembled with the
conflict of emotions, that assailed her heart, and fainted away.
The Marquis was not proof against her beauty and sensibility; all the
energy, with which he had first loved, returned, for his passion had
been resisted by prudence, rather than overcome by indifference; and,
since the honour of his family would not permit him to marry her, he
had endeavoured to subdue his love, and had so far succeeded, as to
select the then Marchioness for his wife, whom he loved at first with
a tempered and rational affection. But the mild virtues of that
amiable lady did not recompense him for her indifference, which
appeared, notwithstanding her efforts to conceal it; and he had, for
some time, suspected that her affections were engaged by another
person, when Laurentini arrived in Languedoc. This artful Italian
soon perceived, that she had regained her influence over him, and,
soothed by the discovery, she determined to live, and to employ all
her enchantments to win his consent to the diabolical deed, which she
believed was necessary to the security of her happiness. She
conducted her scheme with deep dissimulation and patient
perseverance, and, having completely estranged the affections of the
Marquis from his wife, whose gentle goodness and unimpassioned
manners had ceased to please, when contrasted with the captivations
of the Italian, she proceeded to awaken in his mind the jealousy of
pride, for it was no longer that of love, and even pointed out to him
the person, to whom she affirmed the Marchioness had sacrificed her
honour; but Laurentini had first extorted from him a solemn promise
to forbear avenging himself upon his rival. This was an important
part of her plan, for she knew, that, if his desire of vengeance was
restrained towards one party, it would burn more fiercely towards the
other, and he might then, perhaps, be prevailed on to assist in the
horrible act, which would release him from the only barrier, that
with-held him from making her his wife.
The innocent Marchioness, meanwhile, observed, with extreme grief,
the alteration in her husband's manners. He became reserved and
thoughtful in her presence; his conduct was austere, and sometimes
even rude; and he left her, for many hours together, to weep for his
unkindness, and to form plans for the recovery of his affection. His
conduct afflicted her the more, because, in obedience to the command
of her father, she had accepted his hand, though her affections were
engaged to another, whose amiable disposition, she had reason to
believe, would have ensured her happiness. This circumstance
Laurentini had discovered, soon after her arrival in France, and had
made ample use of it in assisting her designs upon the Marquis, to
whom she adduced such seeming proof of his wife's infidelity, that,
in the frantic rage of wounded honour, he consented to destroy his
wife. A slow poison was administered, and she fell a victim to the
jealousy and subtlety of Laurentini and to the guilty weakness of her
But the moment of Laurentini's triumph, the moment, to which she had
looked forward for the completion of all her wishes, proved only the
commencement of a suffering, that never left her to her dying hour.
The passion of revenge, which had in part stimulated her to the
commission of this atrocious deed, died, even at the moment when it
was gratified, and left her to the horrors of unavailing pity and
remorse, which would probably have empoisoned all the years she had
promised herself with the Marquis de Villeroi, had her expectations
of an alliance with him been realized. But he, too, had found the
moment of his revenge to be that of remorse, as to himself, and
detestation, as to the partner of his crime; the feeling, which he
had mistaken for conviction, was no more; and he stood astonished,
and aghast, that no proof remained of his wife's infidelity, now that
she had suffered the punishment of guilt. Even when he was informed,
that she was dying, he had felt suddenly and unaccountably reassured
of her innocence, nor was the solemn assurance she made him in her
last hour, capable of affording him a stronger conviction of her
In the first horrors of remorse and despair, he felt inclined to
deliver up himself and the woman, who had plunged him into this abyss
of guilt, into the hands of justice; but, when the paroxysm of his
suffering was over, his intention changed. Laurentini, however, he
saw only once afterwards, and that was, to curse her as the
instigator of his crime, and to say, that he spared her life only on
condition, that she passed the rest of her days in prayer and
penance. Overwhelmed with disappointment, on receiving contempt and
abhorrence from the man, for whose sake she had not scrupled to stain
her conscience with human blood, and, touched with horror of the
unavailing crime she had committed, she renounced the world, and
retired to the monastery of St. Claire, a dreadful victim to
The Marquis, immediately after the death of his wife, quitted
Chateau-le-Blanc, to which he never returned, and endeavoured to lose
the sense of his crime amidst the tumult of war, or the dissipations
of a capital; but his efforts were vain; a deep dejection hung over
him ever after, for which his most intimate friend could not account,
and he, at length, died, with a degree of horror nearly equal to
that, which Laurentini had suffered. The physician, who had observed
the singular appearance of the unfortunate Marchioness, after death,
had been bribed to silence; and, as the surmises of a few of the
servants had proceeded no further than a whisper, the affair had
never been investigated. Whether this whisper ever reached the
father of the Marchioness, and, if it did, whether the difficulty of
obtaining proof deterred him from prosecuting the Marquis de
Villeroi, is uncertain; but her death was deeply lamented by some
part of her family, and particularly by her brother, M. St. Aubert;
for that was the degree of relationship, which had existed between
Emily's father and the Marchioness; and there is no doubt, that he
suspected the manner of her death. Many letters passed between the
Marquis and him, soon after the decease of his beloved sister, the
subject of which was not known, but there is reason to believe, that
they related to the cause of her death; and these were the papers,
together with some letters of the Marchioness, who had confided to
her brother the occasion of her unhappiness, which St. Aubert had so
solemnly enjoined his daughter to destroy: and anxiety for her peace
had probably made him forbid her to enquire into the melancholy
story, to which they alluded. Such, indeed, had been his affliction,
on the premature death of this his favourite sister, whose unhappy
marriage had from the first excited his tenderest pity, that he never
could hear her named, or mention her himself after her death, except
to Madame St. Aubert. From Emily, whose sensibility he feared to
awaken, he had so carefully concealed her history and name, that she
was ignorant, till now, that she ever had such a relative as the
Marchioness de Villeroi; and from this motive he had enjoined silence
to his only surviving sister, Madame Cheron, who had scrupulously
observed his request.
It was over some of the last pathetic letters of the Marchioness,
that St. Aubert was weeping, when he was observed by Emily, on the
eve of her departure from La Vallee, and it was her picture, which he
had so tenderly caressed. Her disastrous death may account for the
emotion he had betrayed, on hearing her named by La Voisin, and for
his request to be interred near the monument of the Villerois, where
her remains were deposited, but not those of her husband, who was
buried, where he died, in the north of France.
The confessor, who attended St. Aubert in his last moments,
recollected him to be the brother of the late Marchioness, when St.
Aubert, from tenderness to Emily, had conjured him to conceal the
circumstance, and to request that the abbess, to whose care he
particularly recommended her, would do the same; a request, which had
been exactly observed.
Laurentini, on her arrival in France, had carefully concealed her
name and family, and, the better to disguise her real history, had,
on entering the convent, caused the story to be circulated, which had
imposed on sister Frances, and it is probable, that the abbess, who
did not preside in the convent, at the time of her noviciation, was
also entirely ignorant of the truth. The deep remorse, that seized
on the mind of Laurentini, together with the sufferings of
disappointed passion, for she still loved the Marquis, again
unsettled her intellects, and, after the first paroxysms of despair
were passed, a heavy and silent melancholy had settled upon her
spirits, which suffered few interruptions from fits of phrensy, till
the time of her death. During many years, it had been her only
amusement to walk in the woods near the monastery, in the solitary
hours of night, and to play upon a favourite instrument, to which she
sometimes joined the delightful melody of her voice, in the most
solemn and melancholy airs of her native country, modulated by all
the energetic feeling, that dwelt in her heart. The physician, who
had attended her, recommended it to the superior to indulge her in
this whim, as the only means of soothing her distempered fancy; and
she was suffered to walk in the lonely hours of night, attended by
the servant, who had accompanied her from Italy; but, as the
indulgence transgressed against the rules of the convent, it was kept
as secret as possible; and thus the mysterious music of Laurentini
had combined with other circumstances, to produce a report, that not
only the chateau, but its neighbourhood, was haunted.
Soon after her entrance into this holy community, and before she had
shewn any symptoms of insanity there, she made a will, in which,
after bequeathing a considerable legacy to the convent, she divided
the remainder of her personal property, which her jewels made very
valuable, between the wife of Mons. Bonnac, who was an Italian lady
and her relation, and the nearest surviving relative of the late
Marchioness de Villeroi. As Emily St. Aubert was not only the
nearest, but the sole relative, this legacy descended to her, and
thus explained to her the whole mystery of her father's conduct.
The resemblance between Emily and her unfortunate aunt had frequently
been observed by Laurentini, and had occasioned the singular
behaviour, which had formerly alarmed her; but it was in the nun's
dying hour, when her conscience gave her perpetually the idea of the
Marchioness, that she became more sensible, than ever, of this
likeness, and, in her phrensy, deemed it no resemblance of the person
she had injured, but the original herself. The bold assertion, that
had followed, on the recovery of her senses, that Emily was the
daughter of the Marchioness de Villeroi, arose from a suspicion that
she was so; for, knowing that her rival, when she married the
Marquis, was attached to another lover, she had scarcely scrupled to
believe, that her honour had been sacrificed, like her own, to an
Of a crime, however, to which Emily had suspected, from her phrensied
confession of murder, that she had been instrumental in the castle of
Udolpho, Laurentini was innocent; and she had herself been deceived,
concerning the spectacle, that formerly occasioned her so much
terror, and had since compelled her, for a while, to attribute the
horrors of the nun to a consciousness of a murder, committed in that
It may be remembered, that, in a chamber of Udolpho, hung a black
veil, whose singular situation had excited Emily's curiosity, and
which afterwards disclosed an object, that had overwhelmed her with
horror; for, on lifting it, there appeared, instead of the picture
she had expected, within a recess of the wall, a human figure of
ghastly paleness, stretched at its length, and dressed in the
habiliments of the grave. What added to the horror of the spectacle,
was, that the face appeared partly decayed and disfigured by worms,
which were visible on the features and hands. On such an object, it
will be readily believed, that no person could endure to look twice.
Emily, it may be recollected, had, after the first glance, let the
veil drop, and her terror had prevented her from ever after provoking
a renewal of such suffering, as she had then experienced. Had she
dared to look again, her delusion and her fears would have vanished
together, and she would have perceived, that the figure before her
was not human, but formed of wax. The history of it is somewhat
extraordinary, though not without example in the records of that
fierce severity, which monkish superstition has sometimes inflicted
on mankind. A member of the house of Udolpho, having committed some
offence against the prerogative of the church, had been condemned to
the penance of contemplating, during certain hours of the day, a
waxen image, made to resemble a human body in the state, to which it
is reduced after death. This penance, serving as a memento of the
condition at which he must himself arrive, had been designed to
reprove the pride of the Marquis of Udolpho, which had formerly so
much exasperated that of the Romish church; and he had not only
superstitiously observed this penance himself, which, he had
believed, was to obtain a pardon for all his sins, but had made it a
condition in his will, that his descendants should preserve the
image, on pain of forfeiting to the church a certain part of his
domain, that they also might profit by the humiliating moral it
conveyed. The figure, therefore, had been suffered to retain its
station in the wall of the chamber, but his descendants excused
themselves from observing the penance, to which he had been enjoined.
This image was so horribly natural, that it is not surprising Emily
should have mistaken it for the object it resembled, nor, since she
had heard such an extraordinary account, concerning the disappearing
of the late lady of the castle, and had such experience of the
character of Montoni, that she should have believed this to be the
murdered body of the lady Laurentini, and that he had been the
contriver of her death.
The situation, in which she had discovered it, occasioned her, at
first, much surprise and perplexity; but the vigilance, with which
the doors of the chamber, where it was deposited, were afterwards
secured, had compelled her to believe, that Montoni, not daring to
confide the secret of her death to any person, had suffered her
remains to decay in this obscure chamber. The ceremony of the veil,
however, and the circumstance of the doors having been left open,
even for a moment, had occasioned her much wonder and some doubts;
but these were not sufficient to overcome her suspicion of Montoni;
and it was the dread of his terrible vengeance, that had sealed her
lips in silence, concerning what she had seen in the west chamber.
Emily, in discovering the Marchioness de Villeroi to have been the
sister of Mons. St. Aubert, was variously affected; but, amidst the
sorrow, which she suffered for her untimely death, she was released
from an anxious and painful conjecture, occasioned by the rash
assertion of Signora Laurentini, concerning her birth and the honour
of her parents. Her faith in St. Aubert's principles would scarcely
allow her to suspect that he had acted dishonourably; and she felt
such reluctance to believe herself the daughter of any other, than
her, whom she had always considered and loved as a mother, that she
would hardly admit such a circumstance to be possible; yet the
likeness, which it had frequently been affirmed she bore to the late
Marchioness, the former behaviour of Dorothee the old housekeeper,
the assertion of Laurentini, and the mysterious attachment, which St.
Aubert had discovered, awakened doubts, as to his connection with the
Marchioness, which her reason could neither vanquish, or confirm.
From these, however, she was now relieved, and all the circumstances
of her father's conduct were fully explained: but her heart was
oppressed by the melancholy catastrophe of her amiable relative, and
by the awful lesson, which the history of the nun exhibited, the
indulgence of whose passions had been the means of leading her
gradually to the commission of a crime, from the prophecy of which in
her early years she would have recoiled in horror, and exclaimed--
that it could not be!--a crime, which whole years of repentance and
of the severest penance had not been able to obliterate from her
Then, fresh tears
Stood on her cheek, as doth the honey-dew
Upon a gather'd lily almost wither'd
After the late discoveries, Emily was distinguished at the chateau by
the Count and his family, as a relative of the house of Villeroi, and
received, if possible, more friendly attention, than had yet been
Count De Villefort's surprise at the delay of an answer to his
letter, which had been directed to Valancourt, at Estuviere, was
mingled with satisfaction for the prudence, which had saved Emily
from a share of the anxiety he now suffered, though, when he saw her
still drooping under the effect of his former error, all his
resolution was necessary to restrain him from relating the truth,
that would afford her a momentary relief. The approaching nuptials
of the Lady Blanche now divided his attention with this subject of
his anxiety, for the inhabitants of the chateau were already busied
in preparations for that event, and the arrival of Mons. St. Foix was
daily expected. In the gaiety, which surrounded her, Emily vainly
tried to participate, her spirits being depressed by the late
discoveries, and by the anxiety concerning the fate of Valancourt,
that had been occasioned by the description of his manner, when he
had delivered the ring. She seemed to perceive in it the gloomy
wildness of despair; and, when she considered to what that despair
might have urged him, her heart sunk with terror and grief. The
state of suspense, as to his safety, to which she believed herself
condemned, till she should return to La Vallee, appeared
insupportable, and, in such moments, she could not even struggle to
assume the composure, that had left her mind, but would often
abruptly quit the company she was with, and endeavour to sooth her
spirits in the deep solitudes of the woods, that overbrowed the
shore. Here, the faint roar of foaming waves, that beat below, and
the sullen murmur of the wind among the branches around, were
circumstances in unison with the temper of her mind; and she would
sit on a cliff, or on the broken steps of her favourite watch-tower,
observing the changing colours of the evening clouds, and the gloom
of twilight draw over the sea, till the white tops of billows, riding
towards the shore, could scarcely be discerned amidst the darkened
waters. The lines, engraved by Valancourt on this tower, she
frequently repeated with melancholy enthusiasm, and then would
endeavour to check the recollections and the grief they occasioned,
and to turn her thoughts to indifferent subjects.
One evening, having wandered with her lute to this her favourite
spot, she entered the ruined tower, and ascended a winding staircase,
that led to a small chamber, which was less decayed than the rest of
the building, and whence she had often gazed, with admiration, on the
wide prospect of sea and land, that extended below. The sun was now
setting on that tract of the Pyrenees, which divided Languedoc from
Rousillon, and, placing herself opposite to a small grated window,
which, like the wood-tops beneath, and the waves lower still, gleamed
with the red glow of the west, she touched the chords of her lute in
solemn symphony, and then accompanied it with her voice, in one of
the simple and affecting airs, to which, in happier days, Valancourt
had often listened in rapture, and which she now adapted to the
Spirit of love and sorrow--hail!
Thy solemn voice from far I hear,
Mingling with ev'ning's dying gale:
Hail, with this sadly-pleasing tear!
O! at this still, this lonely hour,
Thine own sweet hour of closing day,
Awake thy lute, whose charmful pow'r
Shall call up Fancy to obey:
To paint the wild romantic dream,
That meets the poet's musing eye,
As, on the bank of shadowy stream,
He breathes to her the fervid sigh.
O lonely spirit! let thy song
Lead me through all thy sacred haunt;
The minister's moon-light aisles along,
Where spectres raise the midnight chaunt.
I hear their dirges faintly swell!
Then, sink at once in silence drear,
While, from the pillar'd cloister's cell,
Dimly their gliding forms appear!
Lead where the pine-woods wave on high,
Whose pathless sod is darkly seen,
As the cold moon, with trembling eye,
Darts her long beams the leaves between.
Lead to the mountain's dusky head,
Where, far below, in shade profound,
Wide forests, plains and hamlets spread,
And sad the chimes of vesper sound,
Or guide me, where the dashing oar
Just breaks the stillness of the vale,
As slow it tracks the winding shore,
To meet the ocean's distant sail:
To pebbly banks, that Neptune laves,
With measur'd surges, loud and deep,
Where the dark cliff bends o'er the waves,
And wild the winds of autumn sweep.
There pause at midnight's spectred hour,
And list the long-resounding gale;
And catch the fleeting moon-light's pow'r,
O'er foaming seas and distant sail.
The soft tranquillity of the scene below, where the evening breeze
scarcely curled the water, or swelled the passing sail, that caught
the last gleam of the sun, and where, now and then, a dipping oar was
all that disturbed the trembling radiance, conspired with the tender
melody of her lute to lull her mind into a state of gentle sadness,
and she sung the mournful songs of past times, till the remembrances
they awakened were too powerful for her heart, her tears fell upon
the lute, over which she drooped, and her voice trembled, and was
unable to proceed.
Though the sun had now sunk behind the mountains, and even his
reflected light was fading from their highest points, Emily did not
leave the watch-tower, but continued to indulge her melancholy
reverie, till a footstep, at a little distance, startled her, and, on
looking through the grate, she observed a person walking below, whom,
however, soon perceiving to be Mons. Bonnac, she returned to the
quiet thoughtfulness his step had interrupted. After some time, she
again struck her lute, and sung her favourite air; but again a step
disturbed her, and, as she paused to listen, she heard it ascending
the stair-case of the tower. The gloom of the hour, perhaps, made
her sensible to some degree of fear, which she might not otherwise
have felt; for, only a few minutes before, she had seen Mons. Bonnac
pass. The steps were quick and bounding, and, in the next moment,
the door of the chamber opened, and a person entered, whose features
were veiled in the obscurity of twilight; but his voice could not be
concealed, for it was the voice of Valancourt! At the sound, never
heard by Emily, without emotion, she started, in terror, astonishment
and doubtful pleasure, and had scarcely beheld him at her feet, when
she sunk into a seat, overcome by the various emotions, that
contended at her heart, and almost insensible to that voice, whose
earnest and trembling calls seemed as if endeavouring to save her.
Valancourt, as he hung over Emily, deplored his own rash impatience,
in having thus surprised her: for when he had arrived at the
chateau, too anxious to await the return of the Count, who, he
understood, was in the grounds, he went himself to seek him, when, as
he passed the tower, he was struck by the sound of Emily's voice, and
It was a considerable time before she revived, but, when her
recollection returned, she repulsed his attentions, with an air of
reserve, and enquired, with as much displeasure as it was possible
she could feel in these first moments of his appearance, the occasion
of his visit.
'Ah Emily!' said Valancourt, 'that air, those words--alas! I have,
then, little to hope--when you ceased to esteem me, you ceased also
to love me!'
'Most true, sir,' replied Emily, endeavouring to command her
trembling voice; 'and if you had valued my esteem, you would not have
given me this new occasion for uneasiness.'
Valancourt's countenance changed suddenly from the anxieties of doubt
to an expression of surprise and dismay: he was silent a moment, and
then said, 'I had been taught to hope for a very different reception!
Is it, then, true, Emily, that I have lost your regard forever? am I
to believe, that, though your esteem for me may return--your
affection never can? Can the Count have meditated the cruelty, which
now tortures me with a second death?'
The voice, in which he spoke this, alarmed Emily as much as his words
surprised her, and, with trembling impatience, she begged that he
would explain them.
'Can any explanation be necessary?' said Valancourt, 'do you not know
how cruelly my conduct has been misrepresented? that the actions of
which you once believed me guilty (and, O Emily! how could you so
degrade me in your opinion, even for a moment!) those actions--I hold
in as much contempt and abhorrence as yourself? Are you, indeed,
ignorant, that Count de Villefort has detected the slanders, that
have robbed me of all I hold dear on earth, and has invited me hither
to justify to you my former conduct? It is surely impossible you can
be uninformed of these circumstances, and I am again torturing myself
with a false hope!'
The silence of Emily confirmed this supposition; for the deep
twilight would not allow Valancourt to distinguish the astonishment
and doubting joy, that fixed her features. For a moment, she
continued unable to speak; then a profound sigh seemed to give some
relief to her spirits, and she said,
'Valancourt! I was, till this moment, ignorant of all the
circumstances you have mentioned; the emotion I now suffer may assure
you of the truth of this, and, that, though I had ceased to esteem, I
had not taught myself entirely to forget you.'
'This moment,' said Valancourt, in a low voice, and leaning for
support against the window--'this moment brings with it a conviction
that overpowers me!--I am dear to you then--still dear to you, my
'Is it necessary that I should tell you so?' she replied, 'is it
necessary, that I should say--these are the first moments of joy I
have known, since your departure, and that they repay me for all
those of pain I have suffered in the interval?'
Valancourt sighed deeply, and was unable to reply; but, as he pressed
her hand to his lips, the tears, that fell over it, spoke a language,
which could not be mistaken, and to which words were inadequate.
Emily, somewhat tranquillized, proposed returning to the chateau, and
then, for the first time, recollected that the Count had invited
Valancourt thither to explain his conduct, and that no explanation
had yet been given. But, while she acknowledged this, her heart
would not allow her to dwell, for a moment, on the possibility of his
unworthiness; his look, his voice, his manner, all spoke the noble
sincerity, which had formerly distinguished him; and she again
permitted herself to indulge the emotions of a joy, more surprising
and powerful, than she had ever before experienced.
Neither Emily, or Valancourt, were conscious how they reached the
chateau, whither they might have been transferred by the spell of a
fairy, for any thing they could remember; and it was not, till they
had reached the great hall, that either of them recollected there
were other persons in the world besides themselves. The Count then
came forth with surprise, and with the joyfulness of pure
benevolence, to welcome Valancourt, and to entreat his forgiveness of
the injustice he had done him; soon after which, Mons. Bonnac joined
this happy group, in which he and Valancourt were mutually rejoiced
When the first congratulations were over, and the general joy became
somewhat more tranquil, the Count withdrew with Valancourt to the
library, where a long conversation passed between them, in which the
latter so clearly justified himself of the criminal parts of the
conduct, imputed to him, and so candidly confessed and so feelingly
lamented the follies, which he had committed, that the Count was
confirmed in his belief of all he had hoped; and, while he perceived
so many noble virtues in Valancourt, and that experience had taught
him to detest the follies, which before he had only not admired, he
did not scruple to believe, that he would pass through life with the
dignity of a wise and good man, or to entrust to his care the future
happiness of Emily St. Aubert, for whom he felt the solicitude of a
parent. Of this he soon informed her, in a short conversation, when
Valancourt had left him. While Emily listened to a relation of the
services, that Valancourt had rendered Mons. Bonnac, her eyes
overflowed with tears of pleasure, and the further conversation of
Count De Villefort perfectly dissipated every doubt, as to the past
and future conduct of him, to whom she now restored, without fear,
the esteem and affection, with which she had formerly received him.
When they returned to the supper-room, the Countess and Lady Blanche
met Valancourt with sincere congratulations; and Blanche, indeed, was
so much rejoiced to see Emily returned to happiness, as to forget,
for a while, that Mons. St. Foix was not yet arrived at the chateau,
though he had been expected for some hours; but her generous sympathy
was, soon after, rewarded by his appearance. He was now perfectly
recovered from the wounds, received, during his perilous adventure
among the Pyrenees, the mention of which served to heighten to the
parties, who had been involved in it, the sense of their present
happiness. New congratulations passed between them, and round the
supper-table appeared a group of faces, smiling with felicity, but
with a felicity, which had in each a different character. The smile
of Blanche was frank and gay, that of Emily tender and pensive;
Valancourt's was rapturous, tender and gay alternately; Mons. St.
Foix's was joyous, and that of the Count, as he looked on the
surrounding party, expressed the tempered complacency of benevolence;
while the features of the Countess, Henri, and Mons. Bonnac,
discovered fainter traces of animation. Poor Mons. Du Pont did not,
by his presence, throw a shade of regret over the company; for, when
he had discovered, that Valancourt was not unworthy of the esteem of
Emily, he determined seriously to endeavour at the conquest of his
own hopeless affection, and had immediately withdrawn from Chateau-
le-Blanc--a conduct, which Emily now understood, and rewarded with
her admiration and pity.
The Count and his guests continued together till a late hour,
yielding to the delights of social gaiety, and to the sweets of
friendship. When Annette heard of the arrival of Valancourt,
Ludovico had some difficulty to prevent her going into the supper-
room, to express her joy, for she declared, that she had never been
so rejoiced at any ACCIDENT as this, since she had found Ludovico
Now my task is smoothly done,
I can fly, or I can run
Quickly to the green earth's end,
Where the bow'd welkin low doth bend,
And, from thence, can soar as soon
To the corners of the moon.
The marriages of the Lady Blanche and Emily St. Aubert were
celebrated, on the same day, and with the ancient baronial
magnificence, at Chateau-le-Blanc. The feasts were held in the great
hall of the castle, which, on this occasion, was hung with superb new
tapestry, representing the exploits of Charlemagne and his twelve
peers; here, were seen the Saracens, with their horrible visors,
advancing to battle; and there, were displayed the wild solemnities
of incantation, and the necromantic feats, exhibited by the magician
JARL before the Emperor. The sumptuous banners of the family of
Villeroi, which had long slept in dust, were once more unfurled, to
wave over the gothic points of painted casements; and music echoed,
in many a lingering close, through every winding gallery and
colonnade of that vast edifice.
As Annette looked down from the corridor upon the hall, whose arches
and windows were illuminated with brilliant festoons of lamps, and
gazed on the splendid dresses of the dancers, the costly liveries of
the attendants, the canopies of purple velvet and gold, and listened
to the gay strains that floated along the vaulted roof, she almost
fancied herself in an enchanted palace, and declared, that she had
not met with any place, which charmed her so much, since she read the
fairy tales; nay, that the fairies themselves, at their nightly
revels in this old hall, could display nothing finer; while old
Dorothee, as she surveyed the scene, sighed, and said, the castle
looked as it was wont to do in the time of her youth.
After gracing the festivities of Chateau-le-Blanc, for some days,
Valancourt and Emily took leave of their kind friends, and returned
to La Vallee, where the faithful Theresa received them with unfeigned
joy, and the pleasant shades welcomed them with a thousand tender and
affecting remembrances; and, while they wandered together over the
scenes, so long inhabited by the late Mons. and Madame St. Aubert,
and Emily pointed out, with pensive affection, their favourite
haunts, her present happiness was heightened, by considering, that it
would have been worthy of their approbation, could they have
Valancourt led her to the plane-tree on the terrace, where he had
first ventured to declare his love, and where now the remembrance of
the anxiety he had then suffered, and the retrospect of all the
dangers and misfortunes they had each encountered, since last they
sat together beneath its broad branches, exalted the sense of their
present felicity, which, on this spot, sacred to the memory of St.
Aubert, they solemnly vowed to deserve, as far as possible, by
endeavouring to imitate his benevolence,--by remembering, that
superior attainments of every sort bring with them duties of superior
exertion,--and by affording to their fellow-beings, together with
that portion of ordinary comforts, which prosperity always owes to
misfortune, the example of lives passed in happy thankfulness to GOD,
and, therefore, in careful tenderness to his creatures.
Soon after their return to La Vallee, the brother of Valancourt came
to congratulate him on his marriage, and to pay his respects to
Emily, with whom he was so much pleased, as well as with the prospect
of rational happiness, which these nuptials offered to Valancourt,
that he immediately resigned to him a part of the rich domain, the
whole of which, as he had no family, would of course descend to his
brother, on his decease.
The estates, at Tholouse, were disposed of, and Emily purchased of
Mons. Quesnel the ancient domain of her late father, where, having
given Annette a marriage portion, she settled her as the housekeeper,
and Ludovico as the steward; but, since both Valancourt and herself
preferred the pleasant and long-loved shades of La Vallee to the
magnificence of Epourville, they continued to reside there, passing,
however, a few months in the year at the birth-place of St. Aubert,
in tender respect to his memory.
The legacy, which had been bequeathed to Emily by Signora Laurentini,
she begged Valancourt would allow her to resign to Mons. Bonnac; and
Valancourt, when she made the request, felt all the value of the
compliment it conveyed. The castle of Udolpho, also, descended to
the wife of Mons. Bonnac, who was the nearest surviving relation of
the house of that name, and thus affluence restored his long-
oppressed spirits to peace, and his family to comfort.
O! how joyful it is to tell of happiness, such as that of Valancourt
and Emily; to relate, that, after suffering under the oppression of
the vicious and the disdain of the weak, they were, at length,
restored to each other--to the beloved landscapes of their native
country,--to the securest felicity of this life, that of aspiring to
moral and labouring for intellectual improvement--to the pleasures of
enlightened society, and to the exercise of the benevolence, which
had always animated their hearts; while the bowers of La Vallee
became, once more, the retreat of goodness, wisdom and domestic
O! useful may it be to have shewn, that, though the vicious can
sometimes pour affliction upon the good, their power is transient and
their punishment certain; and that innocence, though oppressed by
injustice, shall, supported by patience, finally triumph over
And, if the weak hand, that has recorded this tale, has, by its
scenes, beguiled the mourner of one hour of sorrow, or, by its moral,
taught him to sustain it--the effort, however humble, has not been
vain, nor is the writer unrewarded.
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