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Chapter 7

  • > Was nought around but images of rest, Sleep-soothing groves, and quiet lawn_etween, And flowery beds that slumbrous influence kept, From poppie_reath'd, and banks of pleasant green, Where never yet was creeping creatur_een. Meantime unnumbered glittering streamlets play'd, And hurled every wher_heir water's sheen, That, as they bicker'd through the sunny glade, Thoug_estless still themselves, a lulling murmur made.
  • >
  • > THOMSON
  • When Emily, in the morning, opened her casement, she was surprised to observ_he beauties, that surrounded it. The cottage was nearly embowered in th_oods, which were chiefly of chesnut intermixed with some cypress, larch an_ycamore. Beneath the dark and spreading branches, appeared, to the north, an_o the east, the woody Apennines, rising in majestic amphitheatre, not blac_ith pines, as she had been accustomed to see them, but their loftiest summit_rowned with antient forests of chesnut, oak, and oriental plane, now animate_ith the rich tints of autumn, and which swept downward to the valle_ninterruptedly, except where some bold rocky promontory looked out from amon_he foliage, and caught the passing gleam. Vineyards stretched along the fee_f the mountains, where the elegant villas of the Tuscan nobility frequentl_dorned the scene, and overlooked slopes clothed with groves of olive,
  • mulberry, orange and lemon. The plain, to which these declined, was coloure_ith the riches of cultivation, whose mingled hues were mellowed into harmon_y an Italian sun. Vines, their purple clusters blushing between the russe_oliage, hung in luxuriant festoons from the branches of standard fig an_herry trees, while pastures of verdure, such as Emily had seldom seen i_taly, enriched the banks of a stream that, after descending from th_ountains, wound along the landscape, which it reflected, to a bay of the sea.
  • There, far in the west, the waters, fading into the sky, assumed a tint of th_aintest purple, and the line of separation between them was, now and then,
  • discernible only by the progress of a sail, brightened with the sunbeam, alon_he horizon.
  • The cottage, which was shaded by the woods from the intenser rays of the sun,
  • and was open only to his evening light, was covered entirely with vines, fig-
  • trees and jessamine, whose flowers surpassed in size and fragrance any tha_mily had seen. These and ripening clusters of grapes hung round her littl_asement. The turf, that grew under the woods, was inlaid with a variety o_ild flowers and perfumed herbs, and, on the opposite margin of the stream,
  • whose current diffused freshness beneath the shades, rose a grove of lemon an_range trees. This, though nearly opposite to Emily's window, did no_nterrupt her prospect, but rather heightened, by its dark verdure, the effec_f the perspective; and to her this spot was a bower of sweets, whose charm_ommunicated imperceptibly to her mind somewhat of their own serenity.
  • She was soon summoned to breakfast, by the peasant's daughter, a girl abou_eventeen, of a pleasant countenance, which, Emily was glad to observe, seeme_nimated with the pure affections of nature, though the others, tha_urrounded her, expressed, more or less, the worst qualities—cruelty,
  • ferocity, cunning and duplicity; of the latter style of countenance,
  • especially, were those of the peasant and his wife. Maddelina spoke little,
  • but what she said was in a soft voice, and with an air of modesty an_omplacency, that interested Emily, who breakfasted at a separate table wit_orina, while Ugo and Bertrand were taking a repast of Tuscany bacon and win_ith their host, near the cottage door; when they had finished which, Ugo,
  • rising hastily, enquired for his mule, and Emily learned that he was to retur_o Udolpho, while Bertrand remained at the cottage; a circumstance, which,
  • though it did not surprise, distressed her.
  • When Ugo was departed, Emily proposed to walk in the neighbouring woods; but,
  • on being told, that she must not quit the cottage, without having Bertrand fo_er attendant, she withdrew to her own room. There, as her eyes settled on th_owering Apennines, she recollected the terrific scenery they had exhibite_nd the horrors she had suffered, on the preceding night, particularly at th_oment when Bertrand had betrayed himself to be an assassin; and thes_emembrances awakened a train of images, which, since they abstracted her fro_ consideration of her own situation, she pursued for some time, and the_rranged in the following lines; pleased to have discovered any innocen_eans, by which she could beguile an hour of misfortune.
  • **THE PILGRIM[[4]](footnotes.xml#footnote_4)**
  • Slow o'er the Apennine, with bleeding feet, A patient Pilgrim wound his lonel_ay, To deck the Lady of Loretto's seat With all the little wealth his zea_ould pay. From mountain-tops cold died the evening ray, And, stretch'd i_wilight, slept the vale below; And now the last, last purple streaks of da_long the melancholy West fade slow. High o'er his head, the restless pine_omplain, As on their summit rolls the breeze of night; Beneath, the hoars_tream chides the rocks in vain: The Pilgrim pauses on the dizzy height. The_o the vale his cautious step he prest, For there a hermit's cross was diml_een, Cresting the rock, and there his limbs might rest, Cheer'd in the goo_an's cave, by faggot's sheen, On leafy beds, nor guile his sleep molest.
  • Unhappy Luke! he trusts a treacherous clue! Behind the cliff the lurkin_obber stood; No friendly moon his giant shadow threw Athwart the road, t_ave the Pilgrim's blood; On as he went a vesper-hymn he sang, The hymn, tha_ightly sooth'd him to repose. Fierce on his harmless prey the ruffian sprang!
  • The Pilgrim bleeds to death, his eye-lids close. Yet his meek spirit knew n_engeful care, But, dying, for his murd'rer breath'd—a sainted pray'r!
  • Preferring the solitude of her room to the company of the persons belo_tairs, Emily dined above, and Maddelina was suffered to attend her, fro_hose simple conversation she learned, that the peasant and his wife were ol_nhabitants of this cottage, which had been purchased for them by Montoni, i_eward of some service, rendered him, many years before, by Marco, to who_arlo, the steward at the castle, was nearly related. 'So many years ago,
  • Signora,' added Maddelina, 'that I know nothing about it; but my father di_he Signor a great good, for my mother has often said to him, this cottage wa_he least he ought to have had.' To the mention of this circumstance Emil_istened with a painful interest, since it appeared to give a frightful colou_o the character of Marco, whose service, thus rewarded by Montoni, she coul_carcely doubt have been criminal; and, if so, had too much reason to believe,
  • that she had been committed into his hands for some desperate purpose. 'Di_ou ever hear how many years it is,' said Emily, who was considering o_ignora Laurentini's disappearance from Udolpho, 'since your father performe_he services you spoke of?' 'It was a little before he came to live at th_ottage, Signora,' replied Maddelina, 'and that is about eighteen years ago.'
  • This was near the period, when Signora Laurentini had been said to disappear,
  • and it occurred to Emily, that Marco had assisted in that mysterious affair,
  • and, perhaps, had been employed in a murder! This horrible suggestion fixe_er in such profound reverie, that Maddelina quitted the room, unperceived b_er, and she remained unconscious of all around her, for a considerable time.
  • Tears, at length, came to her relief, after indulging which, her spirit_ecoming calmer, she ceased to tremble at a view of evils, that might neve_rrive; and had sufficient resolution to endeavour to withdraw her thought_rom the contemplation of her own interests. Remembering the few books, whic_ven in the hurry of her departure from Udolpho she had put into her littl_ackage, she sat down with one of them at her pleasant casement, whence he_yes often wandered from the page to the landscape, whose beauty graduall_oothed her mind into gentle melancholy. Here, she remained alone, til_vening, and saw the sun descend the western sky, throw all his pomp of ligh_nd shadow upon the mountains, and gleam upon the distant ocean and th_tealing sails, as he sunk amidst the waves. Then, at the musing hour o_wilight, her softened thoughts returned to Valancourt; she again recollecte_very circumstance, connected with the midnight music, and all that migh_ssist her conjecture, concerning his imprisonment at the castle, and,
  • becoming confirmed in the supposition, that it was his voice she had hear_here, she looked back to that gloomy abode with emotions of grief an_omentary regret. Refreshed by the cool and fragrant air, and her spirit_oothed to a state of gentle melancholy by the stilly murmur of the broo_elow and of the woods around, she lingered at her casement long after the su_ad set, watching the valley sinking into obscurity, till only the gran_utline of the surrounding mountains, shadowed upon the horizon, remaine_isible. But a clear moon-light, that succeeded, gave to the landscape, wha_ime gives to the scenes of past life, when it softens all their harshe_eatures, and throws over the whole the mellowing shade of distan_ontemplation. The scenes of La Vallee, in the early morn of her life, whe_he was protected and beloved by parents equally loved, appeared in Emily'_emory tenderly beautiful, like the prospect before her, and awakened mournfu_omparisons. Unwilling to encounter the coarse behaviour of the peasant'_ife, she remained supperless in her room, while she wept again over he_orlorn and perilous situation, a review of which entirely overcame the smal_emains of her fortitude, and, reducing her to temporary despondence, sh_ished to be released from the heavy load of life, that had so long oppresse_er, and prayed to Heaven to take her, in its mercy, to her parents. Wearie_ith weeping, she, at length, lay down on her mattress, and sunk to sleep, bu_as soon awakened by a knocking at her chamber door, and, starting up i_error, she heard a voice calling her. The image of Bertrand, with a stillett_n his hand, appeared to her alarmed fancy, and she neither opened the door,
  • or answered, but listened in profound silence, till, the voice repeating he_ame in the same low tone, she demanded who called. 'It is I, Signora,'
  • replied the voice, which she now distinguished to be Maddelina's, 'pray ope_he door. Don't be frightened, it is I.' 'And what brings you here so late,
  • Maddelina?' said Emily, as she let her in. 'Hush! signora, for heaven's sak_ush!—if we are overheard I shall never be forgiven. My father and mother an_ertrand are all gone to bed,' continued Maddelina, as she gently shut th_oor, and crept forward, 'and I have brought you some supper, for you ha_one, you know, Signora, below stairs. Here are some grapes and figs and hal_ cup of wine.' Emily thanked her, but expressed apprehension lest thi_indness should draw upon her the resentment of Dorina, when she perceived th_ruit was gone. 'Take it back, therefore, Maddelina,' added Emily, 'I shal_uffer much less from the want of it, than I should do, if this act of good-
  • nature was to subject you to your mother's displeasure.' 'O Signora! there i_o danger of that,' replied Maddelina, 'my mother cannot miss the fruit, for _aved it from my own supper. You will make me very unhappy, if you refuse t_ake it, Signora.' Emily was so much affected by this instance of the goo_irl's generosity, that she remained for some time unable to reply, an_addelina watched her in silence, till, mistaking the cause of her emotion,
  • she said, 'Do not weep so, Signora! My mother, to be sure, is a little cross,
  • sometimes, but then it is soon over,—so don't take it so much to heart. Sh_ften scolds me, too, but then I have learned to bear it, and, when she ha_one, if I can but steal out into the woods, and play upon my sticcado, _orget it all directly.' Emily, smiling through her tears, told Maddelina,
  • that she was a good girl, and then accepted her offering. She wished anxiousl_o know, whether Bertrand and Dorina had spoken of Montoni, or of his designs,
  • concerning herself, in the presence of Maddelina, but disdained to tempt th_nnocent girl to a conduct so mean, as that of betraying the privat_onversations of her parents. When she was departing, Emily requested, tha_he would come to her room as often as she dared, without offending he_other, and Maddelina, after promising that she would do so, stole softly bac_gain to her own chamber. Thus several days passed, during which Emil_emained in her own room, Maddelina attending her only at her repast, whos_entle countenance and manners soothed her more than any circumstance she ha_nown for many months. Of her pleasant embowered chamber she now became fond,
  • and began to experience in it those feelings of security, which we naturall_ttach to home. In this interval also, her mind, having been undisturbed b_ny new circumstance of disgust, or alarm, recovered its tone sufficiently t_ermit her the enjoyment of her books, among which she found some unfinishe_ketches of landscapes, several blank sheets of paper, with her drawin_nstruments, and she was thus enabled to amuse herself with selecting some o_he lovely features of the prospect, that her window commanded, and combinin_hem in scenes, to which her tasteful fancy gave a last grace. In these littl_ketches she generally placed interesting groups, characteristic of th_cenery they animated, and often contrived to tell, with perspicuity, som_imple and affecting story, when, as a tear fell over the pictured griefs,
  • which her imagination drew, she would forget, for a moment, her rea_ufferings. Thus innocently she beguiled the heavy hours of misfortune, and,
  • with meek patience, awaited the events of futurity. A beautiful evening, tha_ad succeeded to a sultry day, at length induced Emily to walk, though sh_new that Bertrand must attend her, and, with Maddelina for her companion, sh_eft the cottage, followed by Bertrand, who allowed her to choose her own way.
  • The hour was cool and silent, and she could not look upon the country aroun_er, without delight. How lovely, too, appeared the brilliant blue, tha_oloured all the upper region of the air, and, thence fading downward, wa_ost in the saffron glow of the horizon! Nor less so were the varied shade_nd warm colouring of the Apennines, as the evening sun threw his slantin_ays athwart their broken surface. Emily followed the course of the stream,
  • under the shades, that overhung its grassy margin. On the opposite banks, th_astures were animated with herds of cattle of a beautiful cream-colour; and,
  • beyond, were groves of lemon and orange, with fruit glowing on the branches,
  • frequent almost as the leaves, which partly concealed it. She pursued her wa_owards the sea, which reflected the warm glow of sun-set, while the cliffs,
  • that rose over its edge, were tinted with the last rays. The valley wa_erminated on the right by a lofty promontory, whose summit, impending ove_he waves, was crowned with a ruined tower, now serving for the purpose of _eacon, whose shattered battlements and the extended wings of some sea-fowl,
  • that circled near it, were still illumined by the upward beams of the sun,
  • though his disk was now sunk beneath the horizon; while the lower part of th_uin, the cliff on which it stood and the waves at its foot, were shaded wit_he first tints of twilight. Having reached this headland, Emily gazed wit_olemn pleasure on the cliffs, that extended on either hand along th_equestered shores, some crowned with groves of pine, and others exhibitin_nly barren precipices of grayish marble, except where the crags were tufte_ith myrtle and other aromatic shrubs. The sea slept in a perfect calm; it_aves, dying in murmurs on the shores, flowed with the gentlest undulation,
  • while its clear surface reflected in softened beauty the vermeil tints of th_est. Emily, as she looked upon the ocean, thought of France and of pas_imes, and she wished, Oh! how ardently, and vainly—wished! that its wave_ould bear her to her distant, native home! 'Ah! that vessel,' said she, 'tha_essel, which glides along so stately, with its tall sails reflected in th_ater is, perhaps, bound for France! Happy—happy bark!' She continued to gaz_pon it, with warm emotion, till the gray of twilight obscured the distance,
  • and veiled it from her view. The melancholy sound of the waves at her fee_ssisted the tenderness, that occasioned her tears, and this was the onl_ound, that broke upon the hour, till, having followed the windings of th_each, for some time, a chorus of voices passed her on the air. She paused _oment, wishing to hear more, yet fearing to be seen, and, for the first time,
  • looked back to Bertrand, as her protector, who was following, at a shor_istance, in company with some other person. Reassured by this circumstance,
  • she advanced towards the sounds, which seemed to arise from behind a hig_romontory, that projected athwart the beach. There was now a sudden pause i_he music, and then one female voice was heard to sing in a kind of chant.
  • Emily quickened her steps, and, winding round the rock, saw, within th_weeping bay, beyond, which was hung with woods from the borders of the beac_o the very summit of the cliffs, two groups of peasants, one seated beneat_he shades, and the other standing on the edge of the sea, round the girl, wh_as singing, and who held in her hand a chaplet of flowers, which she seeme_bout to drop into the waves. Emily, listening with surprise and attention,
  • distinguished the following invocation delivered in the pure and elegan_ongue of Tuscany, and accompanied by a few pastoral instruments.
  • **TO A SEA-NYMPH**
  • O nymph! who loves to float on the green wave, When Neptune sleeps beneath th_oon-light hour, Lull'd by the music's melancholy pow'r, O nymph, arise fro_ut thy pearly cave! For Hesper beams amid the twilight shade, And soon shal_ynthia tremble o'er the tide, Gleam on these cliffs, that bound the ocean'_ride, And lonely silence all the air pervade. Then, let thy tender voice a_istance swell, And steal along this solitary shore, Sink on the breeze, til_ying—heard no more— Thou wak'st the sudden magic of thy shell. While the lon_oast in echo sweet replies, Thy soothing strains the pensive heart beguile,
  • And bid the visions of the future smile, O nymph! from out thy pearl_ave—arise! (Chorus)—ARISE! (Semi-chorus)—ARISE! The last words being repeate_y the surrounding group, the garland of flowers was thrown into the waves,
  • and the chorus, sinking gradually into a chant, died away in silence. 'Wha_an this mean, Maddelina?' said Emily, awakening from the pleasing trance,
  • into which the music had lulled her. 'This is the eve of a festival, Signora,'
  • replied Maddelina; 'and the peasants then amuse themselves with all kinds o_ports.' 'But they talked of a sea-nymph,' said Emily: 'how came these goo_eople to think of a sea-nymph?' 'O, Signora,' rejoined Maddelina, mistakin_he reason of Emily's surprise, 'nobody BELIEVES in such things, but our ol_ongs tell of them, and, when we are at our sports, we sometimes sing to them,
  • and throw garlands into the sea.' Emily had been early taught to venerat_lorence as the seat of literature and of the fine arts; but, that its tast_or classic story should descend to the peasants of the country, occasione_er both surprise and admiration. The Arcadian air of the girls next attracte_er attention. Their dress was a very short full petticoat of light green,
  • with a boddice of white silk; the sleeves loose, and tied up at the shoulder_ith ribbons and bunches of flowers. Their hair, falling in ringlets on thei_ecks, was also ornamented with flowers, and with a small straw hat, which,
  • set rather backward and on one side of the head, gave an expression of gaiet_nd smartness to the whole figure. When the song had concluded, several o_hese girls approached Emily, and, inviting her to sit down among them,
  • offered her, and Maddelina, whom they knew, grapes and figs. Emily accepte_heir courtesy, much pleased with the gentleness and grace of their manners,
  • which appeared to be perfectly natural to them; and when Bertrand, soon after,
  • approached, and was hastily drawing her away, a peasant, holding up a flask,
  • invited him to drink; a temptation, which Bertrand was seldom very valiant i_esisting. 'Let the young lady join in the dance, my friend,' said th_easant, 'while we empty this flask. They are going to begin directly. Strik_p! my lads, strike up your tambourines and merry flutes!' They sounded gaily;
  • and the younger peasants formed themselves into a circle, which Emily woul_eadiy have joined, had her spirits been in unison with their mirth.
  • Maddelina, however, tripped it lightly, and Emily, as she looked on the happ_roup, lost the sense of her misfortunes in that of a benevolent pleasure. Bu_he pensive melancholy of her mind returned, as she sat rather apart from th_ompany, listening to the mellow music, which the breeze softened as it bor_t away, and watching the moon, stealing its tremulous light over the wave_nd on the woody summits of the cliffs, that wound along these Tuscan shores.
  • Meanwhile, Bertrand was so well pleased with his first flask, that he ver_illingly commenced the attack on a second, and it was late before Emily, no_ithout some apprehension, returned to the cottage. After this evening, sh_requently walked with Maddelina, but was never unattended by Bertrand; an_er mind became by degrees as tranquil as the circumstances of her situatio_ould permit. The quiet, in which she was suffered to live, encouraged her t_ope, that she was not sent hither with an evil design; and, had it no_ppeared probable, that Valancourt was at this time an inhabitant of Udolpho,
  • she would have wished to remain at the cottage, till an opportunity shoul_ffer of returning to her native country. But, concerning Montoni's motive fo_ending her into Tuscany, she was more than ever perplexed, nor could sh_elieve that any consideration for her safety had influenced him on thi_ccasion. She had been some time at the cottage, before she recollected, that,
  • in the hurry of leaving Udolpho, she had forgotten the papers committed to he_y her late aunt, relative to the Languedoc estates; but, though thi_emembrance occasioned her much uneasiness, she had some hope, that, in th_bscure place, where they were deposited, they would escape the detection o_ontoni.