Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 9

  • > The image of a wicked, heinous fault Lives in his eye; that close aspect o_is Does shew the mood of a much-troubled breast.
  • >
  • > KING JOHN
  • Leaving the gay scenes of Paris, we return to those of the gloomy Apennine, where Emily's thoughts were still faithful to Valancourt. Looking to him as t_er only hope, she recollected, with jealous exactness, every assurance an_very proof she had witnessed of his affection; read again and again th_etters she had received from him; weighed, with intense anxiety, the force o_very word, that spoke of his attachment; and dried her tears, as she truste_n his truth.
  • Montoni, meanwhile, had made strict enquiry concerning the strang_ircumstance of his alarm, without obtaining information; and was, at length, obliged to account for it by the reasonable supposition, that it was _ischievous trick played off by one of his domestics. His disagreements wit_adame Montoni, on the subject of her settlements, were now more frequent tha_ver; he even confined her entirely to her own apartment, and did not scrupl_o threaten her with much greater severity, should she persevere in a refusal.
  • Reason, had she consulted it, would now have perplexed her in the choice of _onduct to be adopted. It would have pointed out the danger of irritating b_urther opposition a man, such as Montoni had proved himself to be, and t_hose power she had so entirely committed herself; and it would also have tol_er, of what extreme importance to her future comfort it was, to reserve fo_erself those possessions, which would enable her to live independently o_ontoni, should she ever escape from his immediate controul. But she wa_irected by a more decisive guide than reason—the spirit of revenge, whic_rged her to oppose violence to violence, and obstinacy to obstinacy.
  • Wholly confined to the solitude of her apartment, she was now reduced t_olicit the society she had lately rejected; for Emily was the only person, except Annette, with whom she was permitted to converse.
  • Generously anxious for her peace, Emily, therefore, tried to persuade, whe_he could not convince, and sought by every gentle means to induce her t_orbear that asperity of reply, which so greatly irritated Montoni. The prid_f her aunt did sometimes soften to the soothing voice of Emily, and ther_ven were moments, when she regarded her affectionate attentions wit_oodwill.
  • The scenes of terrible contention, to which Emily was frequently compelled t_e witness, exhausted her spirits more than any circumstances, that ha_ccurred since her departure from Tholouse. The gentleness and goodness of he_arents, together with the scenes of her early happiness, often stole on he_ind, like the visions of a higher world; while the characters an_ircumstances, now passing beneath her eye, excited both terror and surprise.
  • She could scarcely have imagined, that passions so fierce and so various, a_hose which Montoni exhibited, could have been concentrated in one individual; yet what more surprised her, was, that, on great occasions, he could ben_hese passions, wild as they were, to the cause of his interest, and generall_ould disguise in his countenance their operation on his mind; but she ha_een him too often, when he had thought it unnecessary to conceal his nature, to be deceived on such occasions.
  • Her present life appeared like the dream of a distempered imagination, or lik_ne of those frightful fictions, in which the wild genius of the poet_ometimes delighted. Reflection brought only regret, and anticipation terror.
  • How often did she wish to 'steal the lark's wing, and mount the swiftes_ale,' that Languedoc and repose might once more be hers!
  • Of Count Morano's health she made frequent enquiry; but Annette heard onl_ague reports of his danger, and that his surgeon had said he would neve_eave the cottage alive; while Emily could not but be shocked to think, tha_he, however innocently, might be the means of his death; and Annette, who di_ot fail to observe her emotion, interpreted it in her own way.
  • But a circumstance soon occurred, which entirely withdrew Annette's attentio_rom this subject, and awakened the surprise and curiosity so natural to her.
  • Coming one day to Emily's apartment, with a countenance full of importance,
  • 'What can all this mean, ma'amselle?' said she. 'Would I was once safe i_anguedoc again, they should never catch me going on my travels any more! _ust think it a fine thing, truly, to come abroad, and see foreign parts! _ittle thought I was coming to be catched up in a old castle, among suc_reary mountains, with the chance of being murdered, or, what is as good, having my throat cut!'
  • 'What can all this mean, indeed, Annette?' said Emily, in astonishment.
  • 'Aye, ma'amselle, you may look surprised; but you won't believe it, perhaps, till they have murdered you, too. You would not believe about the ghost I tol_ou of, though I shewed you the very place, where it used to appear!—You wil_elieve nothing, ma'amselle.'
  • 'Not till you speak more reasonably, Annette; for Heaven's sake, explain you_eaning. You spoke of murder!'
  • 'Aye, ma'amselle, they are coming to murder us all, perhaps; but wha_ignifies explaining?—you will not believe.'
  • Emily again desired her to relate what she had seen, or heard.
  • 'O, I have seen enough, ma'am, and heard too much, as Ludovico can prove. Poo_oul! they will murder him, too! I little thought, when he sung those swee_erses under my lattice, at Venice!'—Emily looked impatient and displeased.
  • 'Well, ma'amselle, as I was saying, these preparations about the castle, an_hese strange-looking people, that are calling here every day, and th_ignor's cruel usage of my lady, and his odd goings-on—all these, as I tol_udovico, can bode no good. And he bid me hold my tongue. So, says I, th_ignor's strangely altered, Ludovico, in this gloomy castle, to what he was i_rance; there, all so gay! Nobody so gallant to my lady, then; and he coul_mile, too, upon a poor servant, sometimes, and jeer her, too, good-naturedl_nough. I remember once, when he said to me, as I was going out of my lady'_ressing-room—Annette, says he—'
  • 'Never mind what the Signor said,' interrupted Emily; 'but tell me, at once, the circumstance, which has thus alarmed you.'
  • 'Aye, ma'amselle,' rejoined Annette, 'that is just what Ludovico said: say_e, Never mind what the Signor says to you. So I told him what I thought abou_he Signor. He is so strangely altered, said I: for now he is so haughty, an_o commanding, and so sharp with my lady; and, if he meets one, he'll scarcel_ook at one, unless it be to frown. So much the better, says Ludovico, so muc_he better. And to tell you the truth, ma'amselle, I thought this was a ver_ll-natured speech of Ludovico: but I went on. And then, says I, he is alway_nitting his brows; and if one speaks to him, he does not hear; and then h_its up counselling so, of a night, with the other Signors—there they are, till long past midnight, discoursing together! Aye, but says Ludovico, yo_on't know what they are counselling about. No, said I, but I can guess—it i_bout my young lady. Upon that, Ludovico burst out a-laughing, quite loud; s_e put me in a huff, for I did not like that either I or you, ma'amselle, should be laughed at; and I turned away quick, but he stopped me. "Don't b_ffronted, Annette," said he, "but I cannot help laughing;" and with that h_aughed again. "What!" says he, "do you think the Signors sit up, night afte_ight, only to counsel about thy young lady! No, no, there is something mor_n the wind than that. And these repairs about the castle, and thes_reparations about the ramparts—they are not making about young ladies." Why, surely, said I, the Signor, my master, is not going to make war? "Make war!"
  • said Ludovico, "what, upon the mountains and the woods? for here is no livin_oul to make war upon that I see."
  • 'What are these preparations for, then? said I; why surely nobody is coming t_ake away my master's castle! "Then there are so many ill- looking fellow_oming to the castle every day," says Ludovico, without answering my question,
  • "and the Signor sees them all, and talks with them all, and they all stay i_he neighbourhood! By holy St. Marco! some of them are the most cut-throat- looking dogs I ever set my eyes upon."
  • 'I asked Ludovico again, if he thought they were coming to take away m_aster's castle; and he said, No, he did not think they were, but he did no_now for certain. "Then yesterday," said he, but you must not tell this, ma'amselle, "yesterday, a party of these men came, and left all their horse_n the castle stables, where, it seems, they are to stay, for the Signo_rdered them all to be entertained with the best provender in the manger; bu_he men are, most of them, in the neighbouring cottages."
  • 'So, ma'amselle, I came to tell you all this, for I never heard any thing s_trange in my life. But what can these ill-looking men be come about, if it i_ot to murder us? And the Signor knows this, or why should he be so civil t_hem? And why should he fortify the castle, and counsel so much with the othe_ignors, and be so thoughtful?'
  • 'Is this all you have to tell, Annette?' said Emily. 'Have you heard nothin_lse, that alarms you?'
  • 'Nothing else, ma'amselle!' said Annette; 'why, is not this enough?' 'Quit_nough for my patience, Annette, but not quite enough to convince me we ar_ll to be murdered, though I acknowledge here is sufficient food fo_uriosity.' She forbore to speak her apprehensions, because she would no_ncourage Annette's wild terrors; but the present circumstances of the castl_oth surprised, and alarmed her. Annette, having told her tale, left th_hamber, on the wing for new wonders.
  • In the evening, Emily had passed some melancholy hours with Madame Montoni, and was retiring to rest, when she was alarmed by a strange and loud knockin_t her chamber door, and then a heavy weight fell against it, that almos_urst it open. She called to know who was there, and receiving no answer, repeated the call; but a chilling silence followed. It occurred to her—for, a_his moment, she could not reason on the probability of circumstances—tha_ome one of the strangers, lately arrived at the castle, had discovered he_partment, and was come with such intent, as their looks rendered to_ossible—to rob, perhaps to murder, her. The moment she admitted thi_ossibility, terror supplied the place of conviction, and a kind o_nstinctive remembrance of her remote situation from the family heightened i_o a degree, that almost overcame her senses. She looked at the door, whic_ed to the staircase, expecting to see it open, and listening, in fearfu_ilence, for a return of the noise, till she began to think it had proceede_rom this door, and a wish of escaping through the opposite one rushed upo_er mind. She went to the gallery door, and then, fearing to open it, les_ome person might be silently lurking for her without, she stopped, but wit_er eyes fixed in expectation upon the opposite door of the stair-case. A_hus she stood, she heard a faint breathing near her, and became convinced, that some person was on the other side of the door, which was already locked.
  • She sought for other fastening, but there was none.
  • While she yet listened, the breathing was distinctly heard, and her terror wa_ot soothed, when, looking round her wide and lonely chamber, she agai_onsidered her remote situation. As she stood hesitating whether to call fo_ssistance, the continuance of the stillness surprised her; and her spirit_ould have revived, had she not continued to hear the faint breathing, tha_onvinced her, the person, whoever it was, had not quitted the door.
  • At length, worn out with anxiety, she determined to call loudly for assistanc_rom her casement, and was advancing to it, when, whether the terror of he_ind gave her ideal sounds, or that real ones did come, she thought footstep_ere ascending the private stair-case; and, expecting to see its door unclose, she forgot all other cause of alarm, and retreated towards the corridor. Her_he endeavoured to make her escape, but, on opening the door, was very nea_alling over a person, who lay on the floor without. She screamed, and woul_ave passed, but her trembling frame refused to support her; and the moment, in which she leaned against the wall of the gallery, allowed her leisure t_bserve the figure before her, and to recognise the features of Annette. Fea_nstantly yielded to surprise. She spoke in vain to the poor girl, wh_emained senseless on the floor, and then, losing all consciousness of her ow_eakness, hurried to her assistance.
  • When Annette recovered, she was helped by Emily into the chamber, but wa_till unable to speak, and looked round her, as if her eyes followed som_erson in the room. Emily tried to sooth her disturbed spirits, and forbore, at present, to ask her any questions; but the faculty of speech was never lon_ith-held from Annette, and she explained, in broken sentences, and in he_edious way, the occasion of her disorder. She affirmed, and with a solemnit_f conviction, that almost staggered the incredulity of Emily, that she ha_een an apparition, as she was passing to her bedroom, through the corridor.
  • 'I had heard strange stories of that chamber before,' said Annette: 'but as i_as so near yours, ma'amselle, I would not tell them to you, because the_ould frighten you. The servants had told me, often and often, that it wa_aunted, and that was the reason why it was shut up: nay, for that matter, wh_he whole string of these rooms, here, are shut up. I quaked whenever I wen_y, and I must say, I did sometimes think I heard odd noises within it. But, as I said, as I was passing along the corridor, and not thinking a word abou_he matter, or even of the strange voice that the Signors heard the othe_ight, all of a sudden comes a great light, and, looking behind me, there wa_ tall figure, (I saw it as plainly, ma'amselle, as I see you at this moment), a tall figure gliding along (Oh! I cannot describe how!) into the room, tha_s always shut up, and nobody has the key of it but the Signor, and the doo_hut directly.'
  • 'Then it doubtless was the Signor,' said Emily.
  • 'O no, ma'amselle, it could not be him, for I left him busy a- quarrelling i_y lady's dressing-room!'
  • 'You bring me strange tales, Annette,' said Emily: 'it was but this morning, that you would have terrified me with the apprehension of murder; and now yo_ould persuade me, you have seen a ghost! These wonderful stories come to_uickly.'
  • 'Nay, ma'amselle, I will say no more, only, if I had not been frightened, _hould not have fainted dead away, so. I ran as fast as I could, to get t_our door; but, what was worst of all, I could not call out; then I though_omething must be strangely the matter with me, and directly I dropt down.'
  • 'Was it the chamber where the black veil hangs?' said Emily. 'O! no, ma'amselle, it was one nearer to this. What shall I do, to get to my room? _ould not go out into the corridor again, for the whole world!' Emily, whos_pirits had been severely shocked, and who, therefore, did not like th_hought of passing the night alone, told her she might sleep where she was.
  • 'O, no, ma'amselle,' replied Annette, 'I would not sleep in the room, now, fo_ thousand sequins!'
  • Wearied and disappointed, Emily first ridiculed, though she shared, her fears, and then tried to sooth them; but neither attempt succeeded, and the gir_ersisted in believing and affirming, that what she had seen was nothin_uman. It was not till some time after Emily had recovered her composure, tha_he recollected the steps she had heard on the stair-case—a remembrance, however, which made her insist that Annette should pass the night with her, and, with much difficulty, she, at length, prevailed, assisted by that part o_he girl's fear, which concerned the corridor.
  • Early on the following morning, as Emily crossed the hall to the ramparts, sh_eard a noisy bustle in the court-yard, and the clatter of horses' hoofs. Suc_nusual sounds excited her curiosity; and, instead of going to the ramparts, she went to an upper casement, from whence she saw, in the court below, _arge party of horsemen, dressed in a singular, but uniform, habit, an_ompletely, though variously, armed. They wore a kind of short jacket, composed of black and scarlet, and several of them had a cloak, of plai_lack, which, covering the person entirely, hung down to the stirrups. As on_f these cloaks glanced aside, she saw, beneath, daggers, apparently o_ifferent sizes, tucked into the horseman's belt. She further observed, tha_hese were carried, in the same manner, by many of the horsemen withou_loaks, most of whom bore also pikes, or javelins. On their heads, were th_mall Italian caps, some of which were distinguished by black feathers.
  • Whether these caps gave a fierce air to the countenance, or that th_ountenances they surmounted had naturally such an appearance, Emily though_he had never, till then, seen an assemblage of faces so savage and terrific.
  • While she gazed, she almost fancied herself surrounded by banditti; and _ague thought glanced athwart her fancy—that Montoni was the captain of th_roup before her, and that this castle was to be the place of rendezvous. Th_trange and horrible supposition was but momentary, though her reason coul_upply none more probable, and though she discovered, among the band, th_trangers she had formerly noticed with so much alarm, who were no_istinguished by the black plume.
  • While she continued gazing, Cavigni, Verezzi, and Bertolini came forth fro_he hall, habited like the rest, except that they wore hats, with a mixe_lume of black and scarlet, and that their arms differed from those of th_est of the party. As they mounted their horses, Emily was struck with th_xulting joy, expressed on the visage of Verezzi, while Cavigni was gay, ye_ith a shade of thought on his countenance; and, as he managed his horse wit_exterity, his graceful and commanding figure, which exhibited the majesty o_ hero, had never appeared to more advantage. Emily, as she observed him, thought he somewhat resembled Valancourt, in the spirit and dignity of hi_erson; but she looked in vain for the noble, benevolent countenance—th_oul's intelligence, which overspread the features of the latter.
  • As she was hoping, she scarcely knew why, that Montoni would accompany th_arty, he appeared at the hall door, but un-accoutred. Having carefull_bserved the horsemen, conversed awhile with the cavaliers, and bidden the_arewel, the band wheeled round the court, and, led by Verezzi, issued fort_nder the portcullis; Montoni following to the portal, and gazing after the_or some time. Emily then retired from the casement, and, now certain of bein_nmolested, went to walk on the ramparts, from whence she soon after saw th_arty winding among the mountains to the west, appearing and disappearin_etween the woods, till distance confused their figures, consolidated thei_umbers, and only a dingy mass appeared moving along the heights.
  • Emily observed, that no workmen were on the ramparts, and that the repairs o_he fortifications seemed to be completed. While she sauntered thoughtfull_n, she heard distant footsteps, and, raising her eyes, saw several me_urking under the castle walls, who were evidently not workmen, but looked a_f they would have accorded well with the party, which was gone. Wonderin_here Annette had hid herself so long, who might have explained some of th_ate circumstances, and then considering that Madame Montoni was probabl_isen, she went to her dressing-room, where she mentioned what had occurred; but Madame Montoni either would not, or could not, give any explanation of th_vent. The Signor's reserve to his wife, on this subject, was probably nothin_ore than usual; yet, to Emily, it gave an air of mystery to the whole affair, that seemed to hint, there was danger, if not villany, in his schemes.
  • Annette presently came, and, as usual, was full of alarm; to her lady's eage_nquiries of what she had heard among the servants, she replied:
  • 'Ah, madam! nobody knows what it is all about, but old Carlo; he knows wel_nough, I dare say, but he is as close as his master. Some say the Signor i_oing out to frighten the enemy, as they call it: but where is the enemy? The_thers say, he is going to take away some body's castle: but I am sure he ha_oom enough in his own, without taking other people's; and I am sure I shoul_ike it a great deal better, if there were more people to fill it.'
  • 'Ah! you will soon have your wish, I fear,' replied Madame Montoni.
  • 'No, madam, but such ill-looking fellows are not worth having. I mean suc_allant, smart, merry fellows as Ludovico, who is always telling drol_tories, to make one laugh. It was but yesterday, he told me such a HUMOURSOM_ale! I can't help laughing at it now.— Says he—'
  • 'Well, we can dispense with the story,' said her lady. 'Ah!' continue_nnette, 'he sees a great way further than other people! Now he sees into al_he Signor's meaning, without knowing a word about the matter!'
  • 'How is that?' said Madame Montoni.
  • 'Why he says—but he made me promise not to tell, and I would not disoblige hi_or the world.'
  • 'What is it he made you promise not to tell?' said her lady, sternly. '_nsist upon knowing immediately—what is it he made you promise?'
  • 'O madam,' cried Annette, 'I would not tell for the universe!' 'I insist upo_our telling this instant,' said Madame Montoni. 'O dear madam! I would no_ell for a hundred sequins! You would not have me forswear myself madam!'
  • exclaimed Annette.
  • 'I will not wait another moment,' said Madame Montoni. Annette was silent.
  • 'The Signor shall be informed of this directly,' rejoined her mistress: 'h_ill make you discover all.'
  • 'It is Ludovico, who has discovered,' said Annette: 'but for mercy's sake, madam, don't tell the Signor, and you shall know all directly.' Madame Monton_aid, that she would not.
  • 'Well then, madam, Ludovico says, that the Signor, my master, is—is- -that is, he only thinks so, and any body, you know, madam, is free to think—that th_ignor, my master, is—is—'
  • 'Is what?' said her lady, impatiently.
  • 'That the Signor, my master, is going to be—a great robber—that is- -he i_oing to rob on his own account;—to be, (but I am sure I don't understand wha_e means) to be a—captain of—robbers.'
  • 'Art thou in thy senses, Annette?' said Madame Montoni; 'or is this a trick t_eceive me? Tell me, this instant, what Ludovico DID say to thee;—n_quivocation;—this instant.'
  • 'Nay, madam,' cried Annette, 'if this is all I am to get for having told th_ecret'—Her mistress thus continued to insist, and Annette to protest, til_ontoni, himself, appeared, who bade the latter leave the room, and sh_ithdrew, trembling for the fate of her story. Emily also was retiring, bu_er aunt desired she would stay; and Montoni had so often made her a witnes_f their contention, that he no longer had scruples on that account.
  • 'I insist upon knowing this instant, Signor, what all this means:' said hi_ife—'what are all these armed men, whom they tell me of, gone out about?'
  • Montoni answered her only with a look of scorn; and Emily whispered somethin_o her. 'It does not signify,' said her aunt: 'I will know; and I will know, too, what the castle has been fortified for.'
  • 'Come, come,' said Montoni, 'other business brought me here. I must be trifle_ith no longer. I have immediate occasion for what I demand—those estates mus_e given up, without further contention; or I may find a way—'
  • 'They never shall be given up,' interrupted Madame Montoni: 'they never shal_nable you to carry on your wild schemes;—but what are these? I will know. D_ou expect the castle to be attacked? Do you expect enemies? Am I to be shu_p here, to be killed in a siege?'
  • 'Sign the writings,' said Montoni, 'and you shall know more.'
  • 'What enemy can be coming?' continued his wife. 'Have you entered into th_ervice of the state? Am I to be blocked up here to die?'
  • 'That may possibly happen,' said Montoni, 'unless you yield to my demand: for, come what may, you shall not quit the castle till then.' Madame Montoni burs_nto loud lamentation, which she as suddenly checked, considering, that he_usband's assertions might be only artifices, employed to extort her consent.
  • She hinted this suspicion, and, in the next moment, told him also, that hi_esigns were not so honourable as to serve the state, and that she believed h_ad only commenced a captain of banditti, to join the enemies of Venice, i_lundering and laying waste the surrounding country.
  • Montoni looked at her for a moment with a steady and stern countenance; whil_mily trembled, and his wife, for once, thought she had said too much. 'Yo_hall be removed, this night,' said he, 'to the east turret: there, perhaps, you may understand the danger of offending a man, who has an unlimited powe_ver you.'
  • Emily now fell at his feet, and, with tears of terror, supplicated for he_unt, who sat, trembling with fear, and indignation; now ready to pour fort_xecrations, and now to join the intercessions of Emily. Montoni, however, soon interrupted these entreaties with an horrible oath; and, as he burst fro_mily, leaving his cloak, in her hand, she fell to the floor, with a force, that occasioned her a severe blow on the forehead. But he quitted the room, without attempting to raise her, whose attention was called from herself, by _eep groan from Madame Montoni, who continued otherwise unmoved in her chair, and had not fainted. Emily, hastening to her assistance, saw her eyes rolling, and her features convulsed.
  • Having spoken to her, without receiving an answer, she brought water, an_upported her head, while she held it to her lips; but the increasin_onvulsions soon compelled Emily to call for assistance. On her way throug_he hall, in search of Annette, she met Montoni, whom she told what ha_appened, and conjured to return and comfort her aunt; but he turned silentl_way, with a look of indifference, and went out upon the ramparts. At lengt_he found old Carlo and Annette, and they hastened to the dressing-room, wher_adame Montoni had fallen on the floor, and was lying in strong convulsions.
  • Having lifted her into the adjoining room, and laid her on the bed, the forc_f her disorder still made all their strength necessary to hold her, whil_nnette trembled and sobbed, and old Carlo looked silently and piteously on, as his feeble hands grasped those of his mistress, till, turning his eyes upo_mily, he exclaimed, 'Good God! Signora, what is the matter?'
  • Emily looked calmly at him, and saw his enquiring eyes fixed on her: an_nnette, looking up, screamed loudly; for Emily's face was stained with blood, which continued to fall slowly from her forehead: but her attention had bee_o entirely occupied by the scene before her, that she had felt no pain fro_he wound. She now held an handkerchief to her face, and, notwithstanding he_aintness, continued to watch Madame Montoni, the violence of whos_onvulsions was abating, till at length they ceased, and left her in a kind o_tupor.
  • 'My aunt must remain quiet,' said Emily. 'Go, good Carlo; if we should wan_our assistance, I will send for you. In the mean time, if you have a_pportunity, speak kindly of your mistress to your master.'
  • 'Alas!' said Carlo, 'I have seen too much! I have little influence with th_ignor. But do, dear young lady, take some care of yourself; that is an ugl_ound, and you look sadly.'
  • 'Thank you, my friend, for your consideration,' said Emily, smiling kindly:
  • 'the wound is trifling, it came by a fall.'
  • Carlo shook his head, and left the room; and Emily, with Annette, continued t_atch by her aunt. 'Did my lady tell the Signor what Ludovico said, ma'amselle?' asked Annette in a whisper; but Emily quieted her fears on th_ubject.
  • 'I thought what this quarrelling would come to,' continued Annette: 'I suppos_he Signor has been beating my lady.'
  • 'No, no, Annette, you are totally mistaken, nothing extra-ordinary ha_appened.'
  • 'Why, extraordinary things happen here so often, ma'amselle, that there i_othing in them. Here is another legion of those ill- looking fellows, come t_he castle, this morning.'
  • 'Hush! Annette, you will disturb my aunt; we will talk of that by and bye.'
  • They continued watching silently, till Madame Montoni uttered a low sigh, whe_mily took her hand, and spoke soothingly to her; but the former gazed wit_nconscious eyes, and it was long before she knew her niece. Her first word_hen enquired for Montoni; to which Emily replied by an entreaty, that sh_ould compose her spirits, and consent to be kept quiet, adding, that, if sh_ished any message to be conveyed to him, she would herself deliver it. 'No,'
  • said her aunt faintly, 'no—I have nothing new to tell him. Does he persist i_aying I shall be removed from my chamber?'
  • Emily replied, that he had not spoken, on the subject, since Madame Monton_eard him; and then she tried to divert her attention to some other topic; bu_er aunt seemed to be inattentive to what she said, and lost in secre_houghts. Emily, having brought her some refreshment, now left her to the car_f Annette, and went in search of Montoni, whom she found on a remote part o_he rampart, conversing among a group of the men described by Annette. The_tood round him with fierce, yet subjugated, looks, while he, speakin_arnestly, and pointing to the walls, did not perceive Emily, who remained a_ome distance, waiting till he should be at leisure, and observin_nvoluntarily the appearance of one man, more savage than his fellows, wh_tood resting on his pike, and looking, over the shoulders of a comrade, a_ontoni, to whom he listened with uncommon earnestness. This man wa_pparently of low condition; yet his looks appeared not to acknowledge th_uperiority of Montoni, as did those of his companions; and sometimes the_ven assumed an air of authority, which the decisive manner of the Signo_ould not repress. Some few words of Montoni then passed in the wind; and, a_he men were separating, she heard him say, 'This evening, then, begin th_atch at sun-set.'
  • 'At sun-set, Signor,' replied one or two of them, and walked away; while Emil_pproached Montoni, who appeared desirous of avoiding her: but, though sh_bserved this, she had courage to proceed. She endeavoured to intercede onc_ore for her aunt, represented to him her sufferings, and urged the danger o_xposing her to a cold apartment in her present state. 'She suffers by her ow_olly,' said Montoni, 'and is not to be pitied;—she knows how she may avoi_hese sufferings in future—if she is removed to the turret, it will be her ow_ault. Let her be obedient, and sign the writings you heard of, and I wil_hink no more of it.'
  • When Emily ventured still to plead, he sternly silenced and rebuked her fo_nterfering in his domestic affairs, but, at length, dismissed her with thi_oncession—That he would not remove Madame Montoni, on the ensuing night, bu_llow her till the next to consider, whether she would resign her settlements, or be imprisoned in the east turret of the castle, 'where she shall find,' h_dded, 'a punishment she may not expect.'
  • Emily then hastened to inform her aunt of this short respite and of th_lternative, that awaited her, to which the latter made no reply, but appeare_houghtful, while Emily, in consideration of her extreme languor, wished t_ooth her mind by leading it to less interesting topics: and, though thes_fforts were unsuccessful, and Madame Montoni became peevish, her resolution, on the contended point, seemed somewhat to relax, and Emily recommended, a_er only means of safety, that she should submit to Montoni's demand. 'Yo_now not what you advise,' said her aunt. 'Do you understand, that thes_states will descend to you at my death, if I persist in a refusal?'
  • 'I was ignorant of that circumstance, madam,' replied Emily, 'but th_nowledge of it cannot with-hold me from advising you to adopt the conduct, which not only your peace, but, I fear, your safety requires, and I entreat, that you will not suffer a consideration comparatively so trifling, to mak_ou hesitate a moment in resigning them.'
  • 'Are you sincere, niece?' 'Is it possible you can doubt it, madam?' Her aun_ppeared to be affected. 'You are not unworthy of these estates, niece,' sai_he: 'I would wish to keep them for your sake- -you shew a virtue I did no_xpect.'
  • 'How have I deserved this reproof, madam?' said Emily sorrowfully.
  • 'Reproof!' replied Madame Montoni: 'I meant to praise your virtue.'
  • 'Alas! here is no exertion of virtue,' rejoined Emily, 'for here is n_emptation to be overcome.'
  • 'Yet Monsieur Valancourt'—said her aunt. 'O, madam!' interrupted Emily, anticipating what she would have said, 'do not let me glance on that subject: do not let my mind be stained with a wish so shockingly self-interested.' Sh_mmediately changed the topic, and continued with Madame Montoni, till sh_ithdrew to her apartment for the night.
  • At that hour, the castle was perfectly still, and every inhabitant of it, except herself, seemed to have retired to rest. As she passed along the wid_nd lonely galleries, dusky and silent, she felt forlorn and apprehensiv_f—she scarcely knew what; but when, entering the corridor, she recollecte_he incident of the preceding night, a dread seized her, lest a subject o_larm, similar to that, which had befallen Annette, should occur to her, an_hich, whether real, or ideal, would, she felt, have an almost equal effec_pon her weakened spirits. The chamber, to which Annette had alluded, she di_ot exactly know, but understood it to be one of those she must pass in th_ay to her own; and, sending a fearful look forward into the gloom, sh_tepped lightly and cautiously along, till, coming to a door, from whenc_ssued a low sound, she hesitated and paused; and, during the delay of tha_oment, her fears so much increased, that she had no power to move from th_pot. Believing, that she heard a human voice within, she was somewha_evived; but, in the next moment, the door was opened, and a person, whom sh_onceived to be Montoni, appeared, who instantly started back, and closed it, though not before she had seen, by the light that burned in the chamber, another person, sitting in a melancholy attitude by the fire. Her terro_anished, but her astonishment only began, which was now roused by th_ysterious secrecy of Montoni's manner, and by the discovery of a person, who_e thus visited at midnight, in an apartment, which had long been shut up, an_f which such extraordinary reports were circulated.
  • While she thus continued hesitating, strongly prompted to watch Montoni'_otions, yet fearing to irritate him by appearing to notice them, the door wa_gain opened cautiously, and as instantly closed as before. She then steppe_oftly to her chamber, which was the next but one to this, but, having pu_own her lamp, returned to an obscure corner of the corridor, to observe th_roceedings of this half-seen person, and to ascertain, whether it was indee_ontoni.
  • Having waited in silent expectation for a few minutes, with her eyes fixed o_he door, it was again opened, and the same person appeared, whom she now kne_o be Montoni. He looked cautiously round, without perceiving her, then, stepping forward, closed the door, and left the corridor. Soon after, Emil_eard the door fastened on the inside, and she withdrew to her chamber, wondering at what she had witnessed.
  • It was now twelve o'clock. As she closed her casement, she heard footsteps o_he terrace below, and saw imperfectly, through the gloom, several person_dvancing, who passed under the casement. She then heard the clink of arms, and, in the next moment, the watch- word; when, recollecting the command sh_ad overheard from Montoni, and the hour of the night, she understood, tha_hese men were, for the first time, relieving guard in the castle. Havin_istened till all was again still, she retired to sleep.