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Chapter 3

  • > Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp, Oft seen in charnel-vaults an_epulchres, Lingering, and sitting, by a new-made grave.
  • >
  • > MILTON
  • On the following day, Montoni sent a second excuse to Emily, who was surprise_t the circumstance. 'This is very strange!' said she to herself. 'Hi_onscience tells him the purport of my visit, and he defers it, to avoid a_xplanation.' She now almost resolved to throw herself in his way, but terro_hecked the intention, and this day passed, as the preceding one, with Emily, except that a degree of awful expectation, concerning the approaching night, now somewhat disturbed the dreadful calmness that had pervaded her mind.
  • Towards evening, the second part of the band, which had made the firs_xcursion among the mountains, returned to the castle, where, as they entere_he courts, Emily, in her remote chamber, heard their loud shouts and strain_f exultation, like the orgies of furies over some horrid sacrifice. She eve_eared they were about to commit some barbarous deed; a conjecture from which, however, Annette soon relieved her, by telling, that the people were onl_xulting over the plunder they had brought with them. This circumstance stil_urther confirmed her in the belief, that Montoni had really commenced to be _aptain of banditti, and meant to retrieve his broken fortunes by the plunde_f travellers! Indeed, when she considered all the circumstances of hi_ituation—in an armed, and almost inaccessible castle, retired far among th_ecesses of wild and solitary mountains, along whose distant skirts wer_cattered towns, and cities, whither wealthy travellers were continuall_assing—this appeared to be the situation of all others most suited for th_uccess of schemes of rapine, and she yielded to the strange thought, tha_ontoni was become a captain of robbers. His character also, unprincipled, dauntless, cruel and enterprising, seemed to fit him for the situation.
  • Delighting in the tumult and in the struggles of life, he was equally _tranger to pity and to fear; his very courage was a sort of animal ferocity; not the noble impulse of a principle, such as inspirits the mind against th_ppressor, in the cause of the oppressed; but a constitutional hardiness o_erve, that cannot feel, and that, therefore, cannot fear.
  • Emily's supposition, however natural, was in part erroneous, for she was _tranger to the state of this country and to the circumstances, under whic_ts frequent wars were partly conducted. The revenues of the many states o_taly being, at that time, insufficient to the support of standing armies, even during the short periods, which the turbulent habits both of th_overnments and the people permitted to pass in peace, an order of men aros_ot known in our age, and but faintly described in the history of their own.
  • Of the soldiers, disbanded at the end of every war, few returned to the safe, but unprofitable occupations, then usual in peace. Sometimes they passed int_ther countries, and mingled with armies, which still kept the field.
  • Sometimes they formed themselves into bands of robbers, and occupied remot_ortresses, where their desperate character, the weakness of the government_hich they offended, and the certainty, that they could be recalled to th_rmies, when their presence should be again wanted, prevented them from bein_uch pursued by the civil power; and, sometimes, they attached themselves t_he fortunes of a popular chief, by whom they were led into the service of an_tate, which could settle with him the price of their valour. From this latte_ractice arose their name—CONDOTTIERI; a term formidable all over Italy, for _eriod, which concluded in the earlier part of the seventeenth century, but o_hich it is not so easy to ascertain the commencement.
  • Contests between the smaller states were then, for the most part, affairs o_nterprize alone, and the probabilities of success were estimated, not fro_he skill, but from the personal courage of the general, and the soldiers. Th_bility, which was necessary to the conduct of tedious operations, was littl_alued. It was enough to know how a party might be led towards their enemies, with the greatest secrecy, or conducted from them in the compactest order. Th_fficer was to precipitate himself into a situation, where, but for hi_xample, the soldiers might not have ventured; and, as the opposed partie_new little of each other's strength, the event of the day was frequentl_etermined by the boldness of the first movements. In such services th_ondottieri were eminent, and in these, where plunder always followed success, their characters acquired a mixture of intrepidity and profligacy, which awe_ven those whom they served.
  • When they were not thus engaged, their chief had usually his own fortress, i_hich, or in its neighbourhood, they enjoyed an irksome rest; and, thoug_heir wants were, at one time, partly supplied from the property of th_nhabitants, the lavish distribution of their plunder at others, prevente_hem from being obnoxious; and the peasants of such districts gradually share_he character of their warlike visitors. The neighbouring government_ometimes professed, but seldom endeavoured, to suppress these militar_ommunities; both because it was difficult to do so, and because a disguise_rotection of them ensured, for the service of their wars, a body of men, wh_ould not otherwise be so cheaply maintained, or so perfectly qualified. Th_ommanders sometimes even relied so far upon this policy of the severa_owers, as to frequent their capitals; and Montoni, having met them in th_aming parties of Venice and Padua, conceived a desire to emulate thei_haracters, before his ruined fortunes tempted him to adopt their practices.
  • It was for the arrangement of his present plan of life, that the midnigh_ouncils were held at his mansion in Venice, and at which Orsino and som_ther members of the present community then assisted with suggestions, whic_hey had since executed with the wreck of their fortunes.
  • On the return of night, Emily resumed her station at the casement. There wa_ow a moon; and, as it rose over the tufted woods, its yellow light served t_hew the lonely terrace and the surrounding objects, more distinctly, than th_wilight of the stars had done, and promised Emily to assist her observations, should the mysterious form return. On this subject, she again wavered i_onjecture, and hesitated whether to speak to the figure, to which a stron_nd almost irresistible interest urged her; but terror, at intervals, made he_eluctant to do so.
  • 'If this is a person who has designs upon the castle,' said she, 'my curiosit_ay prove fatal to me; yet the mysterious music, and the lamentations I heard, must surely have proceeded from him: if so, he cannot be an enemy.'
  • She then thought of her unfortunate aunt, and, shuddering with grief an_orror, the suggestions of imagination seized her mind with all the force o_ruth, and she believed, that the form she had seen was supernatural. Sh_rembled, breathed with difficulty, an icy coldness touched her cheeks, an_er fears for a while overcame her judgment. Her resolution now forsook her, and she determined, if the figure should appear, not to speak to it.
  • Thus the time passed, as she sat at her casement, awed by expectation, and b_he gloom and stillness of midnight; for she saw obscurely in the moon-ligh_nly the mountains and woods, a cluster of towers, that formed the west angl_f the castle, and the terrace below; and heard no sound, except, now an_hen, the lonely watch- word, passed by the centinels on duty, and afterward_he steps of the men who came to relieve guard, and whom she knew at _istance on the rampart by their pikes, that glittered in the moonbeam, an_hen, by the few short words, in which they hailed their fellows of the night.
  • Emily retired within her chamber, while they passed the casement. When sh_eturned to it, all was again quiet. It was now very late, she was wearie_ith watching, and began to doubt the reality of what she had seen on th_receding night; but she still lingered at the window, for her mind was to_erturbed to admit of sleep. The moon shone with a clear lustre, that afforde_er a complete view of the terrace; but she saw only a solitary centinel, pacing at one end of it; and, at length, tired with expectation, she withdre_o seek rest.
  • Such, however, was the impression, left on her mind by the music, and th_omplaining she had formerly heard, as well as by the figure, which sh_ancied she had seen, that she determined to repeat the watch, on th_ollowing night.
  • Montoni, on the next day, took no notice of Emily's appointed visit, but she, more anxious than before to see him, sent Annette to enquire, at what hour h_ould admit her. He mentioned eleven o'clock, and Emily was punctual to th_oment; at which she called up all her fortitude to support the shock of hi_resence and the dreadful recollections it enforced. He was with several o_is officers, in the cedar room; on observing whom she paused; and he_gitation increased, while he continued to converse with them, apparently no_bserving her, till some of his officers, turning round, saw Emily, an_ttered an exclamation. She was hastily retiring, when Montoni's voic_rrested her, and, in a faultering accent, she said,—'I would speak with you, Signor Montoni, if you are at leisure.'
  • 'These are my friends,' he replied, 'whatever you would say, they may hear.'
  • Emily, without replying, turned from the rude gaze of the chevaliers, an_ontoni then followed her to the hall, whence he led her to a small room, o_hich he shut the door with violence. As she looked on his dark countenance, she again thought she saw the murderer of her aunt; and her mind was s_onvulsed with horror, that she had not power to recal thought enough t_xplain the purport of her visit; and to trust herself with the mention o_adame Montoni was more than she dared.
  • Montoni at length impatiently enquired what she had to say? 'I have no tim_or trifling,' he added, 'my moments are important.'
  • Emily then told him, that she wished to return to France, and came to beg, that he would permit her to do so.—But when he looked surprised, and enquire_or the motive of the request, she hesitated, became paler than before, trembled, and had nearly sunk at his feet. He observed her emotion, wit_pparent indifference, and interrupted the silence by telling her, he must b_one. Emily, however, recalled her spirits sufficiently to enable her t_epeat her request. And, when Montoni absolutely refused it, her slumberin_ind was roused.
  • 'I can no longer remain here with propriety, sir,' said she, 'and I may b_llowed to ask, by what right you detain me.'
  • 'It is my will that you remain here,' said Montoni, laying his hand on th_oor to go; 'let that suffice you.'
  • Emily, considering that she had no appeal from this will, forbore to disput_is right, and made a feeble effort to persuade him to be just. 'While my aun_ived, sir,' said she, in a tremulous voice, 'my residence here was no_mproper; but now, that she is no more, I may surely be permitted to depart.
  • My stay cannot benefit you, sir, and will only distress me.'
  • 'Who told you, that Madame Montoni was dead?' said Montoni, with a_nquisitive eye. Emily hesitated, for nobody had told her so, and she did no_are to avow the having seen that spectacle in the portal-chamber, which ha_ompelled her to the belief.
  • 'Who told you so?' he repeated, more sternly.
  • 'Alas! I know it too well,' replied Emily: 'spare me on this terribl_ubject!'
  • She sat down on a bench to support herself.
  • 'If you wish to see her,' said Montoni, 'you may; she lies in the eas_urret.'
  • He now left the room, without awaiting her reply, and returned to the ceda_hamber, where such of the chevaliers as had not before seen Emily, began t_ally him, on the discovery they had made; but Montoni did not appear dispose_o bear this mirth, and they changed the subject.
  • Having talked with the subtle Orsino, on the plan of an excursion, which h_editated for a future day, his friend advised, that they should lie in wai_or the enemy, which Verezzi impetuously opposed, reproached Orsino with wan_f spirit, and swore, that, if Montoni would let him lead on fifty men, h_ould conquer all that should oppose him.
  • Orsino smiled contemptuously; Montoni smiled too, but he also listened.
  • Verezzi then proceeded with vehement declamation and assertion, till he wa_topped by an argument of Orsino, which he knew not how to answer better tha_y invective. His fierce spirit detested the cunning caution of Orsino, who_e constantly opposed, and whose inveterate, though silent, hatred he had lon_go incurred. And Montoni was a calm observer of both, whose differen_ualifications he knew, and how to bend their opposite character to th_erfection of his own designs. But Verezzi, in the heat of opposition, now di_ot scruple to accuse Orsino of cowardice, at which the countenance of th_atter, while he made no reply, was overspread with a livid paleness; an_ontoni, who watched his lurking eye, saw him put his hand hastily into hi_osom. But Verezzi, whose face, glowing with crimson, formed a strikin_ontrast to the complexion of Orsino, remarked not the action, and continue_oldly declaiming against cowards to Cavigni, who was slily laughing at hi_ehemence, and at the silent mortification of Orsino, when the latter, retiring a few steps behind, drew forth a stilletto to stab his adversary i_he back. Montoni arrested his half-extended arm, and, with a significan_ook, made him return the poinard into his bosom, unseen by all excep_imself; for most of the party were disputing at a distant window, on th_ituation of a dell where they meant to form an ambuscade.
  • When Verezzi had turned round, the deadly hatred, expressed on the features o_is opponent, raising, for the first time, a suspicion of his intention, h_aid his hand on his sword, and then, seeming to recollect himself, strode u_o Montoni.
  • 'Signor,' said he, with a significant look at Orsino, 'we are not a band o_ssassins; if you have business for brave men employ me on this expedition: you shall have the last drop of my blood; if you have only work fo_owards—keep him,' pointing to Orsino, 'and let me quit Udolpho.'
  • Orsino, still more incensed, again drew forth his stilletto, and rushe_owards Verezzi, who, at the same instant, advanced with his sword, whe_ontoni and the rest of the party interfered and separated them.
  • 'This is the conduct of a boy,' said Montoni to Verezzi, 'not of a man: b_ore moderate in your speech.'
  • 'Moderation is the virtue of cowards,' retorted Verezzi; 'they are moderate i_very thing—but in fear.'
  • 'I accept your words,' said Montoni, turning upon him with a fierce an_aughty look, and drawing his sword out of the scabbard.
  • 'With all my heart,' cried Verezzi, 'though I did not mean them for you.'
  • He directed a pass at Montoni; and, while they fought, the villain Orsino mad_nother attempt to stab Verezzi, and was again prevented.
  • The combatants were, at length, separated; and, after a very long and violen_ispute, reconciled. Montoni then left the room with Orsino, whom he detaine_n private consultation for a considerable time.
  • Emily, meanwhile, stunned by the last words of Montoni, forgot, for th_oment, his declaration, that she should continue in the castle, while sh_hought of her unfortunate aunt, who, he had said, was laid in the eas_urret. In suffering the remains of his wife to lie thus long unburied, ther_ppeared a degree of brutality more shocking than she had suspected eve_ontoni could practise.
  • After a long struggle, she determined to accept his permission to visit th_urret, and to take a last look of her ill-fated aunt: with which design sh_eturned to her chamber, and, while she waited for Annette to accompany her, endeavoured to acquire fortitude sufficient to support her through th_pproaching scene; for, though she trembled to encounter it, she knew that t_emember the performance of this last act of duty would hereafter afford he_onsoling satisfaction.
  • Annette came, and Emily mentioned her purpose, from which the forme_ndeavoured to dissuade her, though without effect, and Annette was, with muc_ifficulty, prevailed upon to accompany her to the turret; but n_onsideration could make her promise to enter the chamber of death.
  • They now left the corridor, and, having reached the foot of the stair-case, which Emily had formerly ascended, Annette declared she would go no further, and Emily proceeded alone. When she saw the track of blood, which she ha_efore observed, her spirits fainted, and, being compelled to rest on th_tairs, she almost determined to proceed no further. The pause of a fe_oments restored her resolution, and she went on.
  • As she drew near the landing-place, upon which the upper chamber opened, sh_emembered, that the door was formerly fastened, and apprehended, that i_ight still be so. In this expectation, however, she was mistaken; for th_oor opened at once, into a dusky and silent chamber, round which sh_earfully looked, and then slowly advanced, when a hollow voice spoke. Emily, who was unable to speak, or to move from the spot, uttered no sound of terror.
  • The voice spoke again; and, then, thinking that it resembled that of Madam_ontoni, Emily's spirits were instantly roused; she rushed towards a bed, tha_tood in a remote part of the room, and drew aside the curtains. Within, appeared a pale and emaciated face. She started back, then again advanced, shuddered as she took up the skeleton hand, that lay stretched upon the quilt; then let it drop, and then viewed the face with a long, unsettled gaze. It wa_hat of Madame Montoni, though so changed by illness, that the resemblance o_hat it had been, could scarcely be traced in what it now appeared. she wa_till alive, and, raising her heavy eyes, she turned them on her niece.
  • 'Where have you been so long?' said she, in the same hollow tone, 'I though_ou had forsaken me.'
  • 'Do you indeed live,' said Emily, at length, 'or is this but a terribl_pparition?' she received no answer, and again she snatched up the hand. 'Thi_s substance,' she exclaimed, 'but it is cold— cold as marble!' She let i_all. 'O, if you really live, speak!' said Emily, in a voice of desperation,
  • 'that I may not lose my senses—say you know me!'
  • 'I do live,' replied Madame Montoni, 'but—I feel that I am about to die.'
  • Emily clasped the hand she held, more eagerly, and groaned. They were bot_ilent for some moments. Then Emily endeavoured to soothe her, and enquire_hat had reduced her to this present deplorable state.
  • Montoni, when he removed her to the turret under the improbable suspicion o_aving attempted his life, had ordered the men employed on the occasion, t_bserve a strict secrecy concerning her. To this he was influenced by a doubl_otive. He meant to debar her from the comfort of Emily's visits, and t_ecure an opportunity of privately dispatching her, should any ne_ircumstances occur to confirm the present suggestions of his suspecting mind.
  • His consciousness of the hatred he deserved it was natural enough should a_irst led him to attribute to her the attempt that had been made upon hi_ife; and, though there was no other reason to believe that she was concerne_n that atrocious design, his suspicions remained; he continued to confine he_n the turret, under a strict guard; and, without pity or remorse, ha_uffered her to lie, forlorn and neglected, under a raging fever, till it ha_educed her to the present state.
  • The track of blood, which Emily had seen on the stairs, had flowed from th_nbound wound of one of the men employed to carry Madame Montoni, and which h_ad received in the late affray. At night these men, having contente_hemselves with securing the door of their prisoner's room, had retired fro_uard; and then it was, that Emily, at the time of her first enquiry, ha_ound the turret so silent and deserted.
  • When she had attempted to open the door of the chamber, her aunt was sleeping, and this occasioned the silence, which had contributed to delude her into _elief, that she was no more; yet had her terror permitted her to persever_onger in the call, she would probably have awakened Madame Montoni, and hav_een spared much suffering. The spectacle in the portal-chamber, whic_fterwards confirmed Emily's horrible suspicion, was the corpse of a man, wh_ad fallen in the affray, and the same which had been borne into the servants'
  • hall, where she took refuge from the tumult. This man had lingered under hi_ounds for some days; and, soon after his death, his body had been removed o_he couch, on which he died, for interment in the vault beneath the chapel, through which Emily and Barnardine had passed to the chamber.
  • Emily, after asking Madame Montoni a thousand questions concerning herself, left her, and sought Montoni; for the more solemn interest she felt for he_unt, made her now regardless of the resentment her remonstrances might dra_pon herself, and of the improbability of his granting what she meant t_ntreat.
  • 'Madame Montoni is now dying, sir,' said Emily, as soon as she saw him—'You_esentment, surely will not pursue her to the last moment! Suffer her to b_emoved from that forlorn room to her own apartment, and to have necessar_omforts administered.'
  • 'Of what service will that be, if she is dying?' said Montoni, with apparen_ndifference.
  • 'The service, at leave, of saving you, sir, from a few of those pangs o_onscience you must suffer, when you shall be in the same situation,' sai_mily, with imprudent indignation, of which Montoni soon made her sensible, b_ommanding her to quit his presence. Then, forgetting her resentment, an_mpressed only by compassion for the piteous state of her aunt, dying withou_uccour, she submitted to humble herself to Montoni, and to adopt ever_ersuasive means, that might induce him to relent towards his wife.
  • For a considerable time he was proof against all she said, and all she looked; but at length the divinity of pity, beaming in Emily's eyes, seemed to touc_is heart. He turned away, ashamed of his better feelings, half sullen an_alf relenting; but finally consented, that his wife should be removed to he_wn apartment, and that Emily should attend her. Dreading equally, that thi_elief might arrive too late, and that Montoni might retract his concession, Emily scarcely staid to thank him for it, but, assisted by Annette, sh_uickly prepared Madame Montoni's bed, and they carried her a cordial, tha_ight enable her feeble frame to sustain the fatigue of a removal.
  • Madame was scarcely arrived in her own apartment, when an order was given b_er husband, that she should remain in the turret; but Emily, thankful tha_he had made such dispatch, hastened to inform him of it, as well as that _econd removal would instantly prove fatal, and he suffered his wife t_ontinue where she was.
  • During this day, Emily never left Madame Montoni, except to prepare suc_ittle nourishing things as she judged necessary to sustain her, and whic_adame Montoni received with quiet acquiescence, though she seemed sensibl_hat they could not save her from approaching dissolution, and scarcel_ppeared to wish for life. Emily meanwhile watched over her with the mos_ender solicitude, no longer seeing her imperious aunt in the poor objec_efore her, but the sister of her late beloved father, in a situation tha_alled for all her compassion and kindness. When night came, she determined t_it up with her aunt, but this the latter positively forbade, commanding he_o retire to rest, and Annette alone to remain in her chamber. Rest was, indeed, necessary to Emily, whose spirits and frame were equally wearied b_he occurrences and exertions of the day; but she would not leave Madam_ontoni, till after the turn of midnight, a period then thought so critical b_he physicians.
  • Soon after twelve, having enjoined Annette to be wakeful, and to call her, should any change appear for the worse, Emily sorrowfully bade Madame Monton_ood night, and withdrew to her chamber. Her spirits were more than usuall_epressed by the piteous condition of her aunt, whose recovery she scarcel_ared to expect. To her own misfortunes she saw no period, inclosed as sh_as, in a remote castle, beyond the reach of any friends, had she possesse_uch, and beyond the pity even of strangers; while she knew herself to be i_he power of a man capable of any action, which his interest, or his ambition, might suggest.
  • Occupied by melancholy reflections and by anticipations as sad, she did no_etire immediately to rest, but leaned thoughtfully on her open casement. Th_cene before her of woods and mountains, reposing in the moon-light, formed _egretted contrast with the state of her mind; but the lonely murmur of thes_oods, and the view of this sleeping landscape, gradually soothed her emotion_nd softened her to tears.
  • She continued to weep, for some time, lost to every thing, but to a gentl_ense of her misfortunes. When she, at length, took the handkerchief from he_yes, she perceived, before her, on the terrace below, the figure she ha_ormerly observed, which stood fixed and silent, immediately opposite to he_asement. On perceiving it, she started back, and terror for some tim_vercame curiosity;—at length, she returned to the casement, and still th_igure was before it, which she now compelled herself to observe, but wa_tterly unable to speak, as she had formerly intended. The moon shone with _lear light, and it was, perhaps, the agitation of her mind, that prevente_er distinguishing, with any degree of accuracy, the form before her. It wa_till stationary, and she began to doubt, whether it was really animated.
  • Her scattered thoughts were now so far returned as to remind her, that he_ight exposed her to dangerous observation, and she was stepping back t_emove it, when she perceived the figure move, and then wave what seemed to b_ts arm, as if to beckon her; and, while she gazed, fixed in fear, it repeate_he action. She now attempted to speak, but the words died on her lips, an_he went from the casement to remove her light; as she was doing which, sh_eard, from without, a faint groan. Listening, but not daring to return, sh_resently heard it repeated.
  • 'Good God!—what can this mean!' said she.
  • Again she listened, but the sound came no more; and, after a long interval o_ilence, she recovered courage enough to go to the casement, when she agai_aw the same appearance! It beckoned again, and again uttered a low sound.
  • 'That groan was surely human!' said she. 'I WILL speak.' 'Who is it,' crie_mily in a faint voice, 'that wanders at this late hour?'
  • The figure raised its head but suddenly started away, and glided down th_errace. She watched it, for a long while, passing swiftly in the moon-light, but heard no footstep, till a sentinel from the other extremity of the rampar_alked slowly along. The man stopped under her window, and, looking up, calle_er by name. She was retiring precipitately, but, a second summons inducin_er to reply, the soldier then respectfully asked if she had seen any thin_ass. On her answering, that she had; he said no more, but walked away dow_he terrace, Emily following him with her eyes, till he was lost in th_istance. But, as he was on guard, she knew he could not go beyond th_ampart, and, therefore, resolved to await his return.
  • Soon after, his voice was heard, at a distance, calling loudly; and then _oice still more distant answered, and, in the next moment, the watch-word wa_iven, and passed along the terrace. As the soldiers moved hastily under th_asement, she called to enquire what had happened, but they passed withou_egarding her.
  • Emily's thoughts returning to the figure she had seen, 'It cannot be a person, who has designs upon the castle,' said she; 'such an one would conduct himsel_ery differently. He would not venture where sentinels were on watch, nor fi_imself opposite to a window, where he perceived he must be observed; muc_ess would he beckon, or utter a sound of complaint. Yet it cannot be _risoner, for how could he obtain the opportunity to wander thus?'
  • If she had been subject to vanity, she might have supposed this figure to b_ome inhabitant of the castle, who wandered under her casement in the hope o_eeing her, and of being allowed to declare his admiration; but this opinio_ever occurred to Emily, and, if it had, she would have dismissed it a_mprobable, on considering, that, when the opportunity of speaking ha_ccurred, it had been suffered to pass in silence; and that, even at th_oment in which she had spoken, the form had abruptly quitted the place.
  • While she mused, two sentinels walked up the rampart in earnest conversation, of which she caught a few words, and learned from these, that one of thei_omrades had fallen down senseless. Soon after, three other soldiers appeare_lowly advancing from the bottom of the terrace, but she heard only a lo_oice, that came at intervals. As they drew near, she perceived this to be th_oice of him, who walked in the middle, apparently supported by his comrades; and she again called to them, enquiring what had happened. At the sound of he_oice, they stopped, and looked up, while she repeated her question, and wa_old, that Roberto, their fellow of the watch, had been seized with a fit, an_hat his cry, as he fell, had caused a false alarm.
  • 'Is he subject to fits?' said Emily.
  • 'Yes, Signora,' replied Roberto; 'but if I had not, what I saw was enough t_ave frightened the Pope himself.'
  • 'What was it?' enquired Emily, trembling.
  • 'I cannot tell what it was, lady, or what I saw, or how it vanished,' replie_he soldier, who seemed to shudder at the recollection.
  • 'Was it the person, whom you followed down the rampart, that has occasione_ou this alarm?' said Emily, endeavouring to conceal her own.
  • 'Person!' exclaimed the man,—'it was the devil, and this is not the first tim_ have seen him!'
  • 'Nor will it be the last,' observed one of his comrades, laughing.
  • 'No, no, I warrant not,' said another.
  • 'Well,' rejoined Roberto, 'you may be as merry now, as you please; you wa_one so jocose the other night, Sebastian, when you was on watch wit_auncelot.'
  • "Launcelot need not talk of that,' replied Sebastian, 'let him remember how h_tood trembling, and unable to give the WORD, till the man was gone, If th_an had not come so silently upon us, I would have seized him, and soon mad_im tell who he was.'
  • 'What man?' enquired Emily.
  • 'It was no man, lady,' said Launcelot, who stood by, 'but the devil himself, as my comrade says. What man, who does not live in the castle, could ge_ithin the walls at midnight? Why, I might just as well pretend to march t_enice, and get among all the Senators, when they are counselling; and _arrant I should have more chance of getting out again alive, than any fellow, that we should catch within the gates after dark. So I think I have prove_lainly enough, that this can be nobody that lives out of the castle; and no_ will prove, that it can be nobody that lives in the castle—for, if h_id—why should he be afraid to be seen? So after this, I hope nobody wil_retend to tell me it was anybody. No, I say again, by holy Pope! it was th_evil, and Sebastian, there, knows this is not the first time we have see_im.'
  • 'When did you see the figure, then, before?' said Emily half smiling, who, though she thought the conversation somewhat too much, felt an interest, whic_ould not permit her to conclude it.
  • 'About a week ago, lady,' said Sebastian, taking up the story.
  • 'And where?'
  • 'On the rampart, lady, higher up.'
  • 'Did you pursue it, that it fled?'
  • 'No, Signora. Launcelot and I were on watch together, and every thing was s_till, you might have heard a mouse stir, when, suddenly, Launcelo_ays—Sebastian! do you see nothing? I turned my head a little to the left, a_t might be—thus. No, says I. Hush! said Launcelot,—look yonder—just by th_ast cannon on the rampart! I looked, and then thought I did see somethin_ove; but there being no light, but what the stars gave, I could not b_ertain. We stood quite silent, to watch it, and presently saw something pas_long the castle wall just opposite to us!'
  • 'Why did you not seize it, then?' cried a soldier, who had scarcely spoke_ill now.
  • 'Aye, why did you not seize it?' said Roberto.
  • 'You should have been there to have done that,' replied Sebastian. 'You woul_ave been bold enough to have taken it by the throat, though it had been th_evil himself; we could not take such a liberty, perhaps, because we are no_o well acquainted with him, as you are. But, as I was saying, it stole by u_o quickly, that we had not time to get rid of our surprise, before it wa_one. Then, we knew it was in vain to follow. We kept constant watch all tha_ight, but we saw it no more. Next morning, we told some of our comrades, wh_ere on duty on other parts of the ramparts, what we had seen; but they ha_een nothing, and laughed at us, and it was not till to-night, that the sam_igure walked again.'
  • 'Where did you lose it, friend?' said Emily to Roberto.
  • 'When I left you, lady,' replied the man, 'you might see me go down th_ampart, but it was not till I reached the east terrace, that I saw any thing.
  • Then, the moon shining bright, I saw something like a shadow flitting befor_e, as it were, at some distance. I stopped, when I turned the corner of th_ast tower, where I had seen this figure not a moment before,—but it was gone!
  • As I stood, looking through the old arch, which leads to the east rampart, an_here I am sure it had passed, I heard, all of a sudden, such a sound!—it wa_ot like a groan, or a cry, or a shout, or any thing I ever heard in my life.
  • I heard it only once, and that was enough for me; for I know nothing tha_appened after, till I found my comrades, here, about me.'
  • 'Come,' said Sebastian, 'let us go to our posts—the moon is setting. Goo_ight, lady!'
  • 'Aye, let us go,' rejoined Roberto. 'Good night, lady.'
  • 'Good night; the holy mother guard you!' said Emily, as she closed he_asement and retired to reflect upon the strange circumstance that had jus_ccurred, connecting which with what had happened on former nights, sh_ndeavoured to derive from the whole something more positive, than conjecture.
  • But her imagination was inflamed, while her judgment was not enlightened, an_he terrors of superstition again pervaded her mind.