[ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]

would satisfy Montoni's avarice, they might not appease his vengeance,
which was seldom pacified but by a terrible sacrifice; and she even
thought, that, were she to resign them, the fear of justice might urge him
either to detain her a prisoner, or to take away her life.
They were now arrived at the gates, where Bertrand, observing the
light glimmer through a small casement of the portal-chamber, called
aloud; and the soldier, looking out, demanded who was there.  Here, I
have brought you a prisoner, said Ugo,  open the gate, and let us in.
 Tell me first who it is, that demands entrance, replied the soldier.
 What! my old comrade, cried Ugo,  don't you know me? not
know Ugo? I have brought home a prisoner here, bound hand and foot --
a fellow, who has been drinking Tuscany wine, while we here have been
fighting.
 You will not rest till you meet with your match, said Bertrand
sullenly.
 Hah! my comrade, is it you? said the soldier --  I'll be with you
directly.
Emily presently heard his steps descending the stairs within, and
then the heavy chain fall, and the bolts undraw of a small postern door,
- 122 -
THE MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO Vol III
which he opened to admit the party. He held the lamp low, to shew the
step of the gate, and she found herself once more beneath the gloomy
arch, and heard the door close, that seemed to shut her from the world
for ever. In the next moment, she was in the first court of the castle,
where she surveyed the spacious and solitary area, with a kind of calm
despair; while the dead hour of the night, the gothic gloom of the
surrounding buildings, and the hollow and imperfect echoes, which they
returned, as Ugo and the soldier conversed together, assisted to increase
the melancholy forebodings of her heart. Passing on to the second court,
a distant sound broke feebly on the silence, and gradually swelling
louder, as they advanced, Emily distinguished voices of revelry and
laughter, but they were to her far other than sounds of joy.
 Why, you have got some Tuscany wine among you, HERE, said
Bertrand,  if one may judge by the uproar that is going forward. Ugo has
taken a larger share of that than of fighting, I'll be sworn. Who is
carousing at this late hour?
 His excellenza and the Signors, replied the soldier:  it is a sign
you are a stranger at the castle, or you would not need to ask the
question. They are brave spirits, that do without sleep -- they generally
pass the night in good cheer; would that we, who keep the watch, had a
little of it! It is cold work, pacing the ramparts so many hours of the
night, if one has no good liquor to warm one's heart.
 Courage, my lad, courage ought to warm your heart, said Ugo.
 Courage! replied the soldier sharply, with a menacing air, which
Ugo perceiving, prevented his saying more, by returning to the subject
of the carousal.  This is a new custom, said he;  when I left the castle,
the Signors used to sit up counselling.
 Aye, and for that matter, carousing too, replied the soldier,  but,
since the siege, they have done nothing but make merry: and if I was
they, I would settle accounts with myself, for all my hard fighting, the
same way.
- 123 -
THE MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO Vol III
They had now crossed the second court, and reached the hall door,
when the soldier, bidding them good night, hastened back to his post;
and, while they waited for admittance, Emily considered how she might
avoid seeing Montoni, and retire unnoticed to her former apartment, for
she shrunk from the thought of encountering either him, or any of his
party, at this hour. The uproar within the castle was now so loud, that,
though Ugo knocked repeatedly at the hall door, he was not heard by
any of the servants, a circumstance, which increased Emily's alarm,
while it allowed her time to deliberate on the means of retiring
unobserved; for, though she might, perhaps, pass up the great stair-case
unseen, it was impossible she could find the way to her chamber,
without a light, the difficulty of procuring which, and the danger of
wandering about the castle, without one, immediately struck her.
Bertrand had only a torch, and she knew, that the servants never brought
a taper to the door, for the hall was sufficiently lighted by the large
tripod lamp, which hung in the vaulted roof; and, while she should wait
till Annette could bring a taper, Montoni, or some of his companions,
might discover her.
The door was now opened by Carlo; and Emily, having requested
him to send Annette immediately with a light to the great gallery, where
she determined to await her, passed on with hasty steps towards the
stair-case; while Bertrand and Ugo, with the torch, followed old Carlo to
the servants' hall, impatient for supper and the warm blaze of a wood
fire.
Emily, lighted only by the feeble rays, which the lamp above threw
between the arches of this extensive hall, endeavoured to find her way to
the stair-case, now hid in obscurity; while the shouts of merriment, that
burst from a remote apartment, served, by heightening her terror, to
increase her perplexity, and she expected, every instant, to see the door
of that room open, and Montoni and his companions issue forth. Having,
at length, reached the stair-case, and found her way to the top, she seated
herself on the last stair, to await the arrival of Annette; for the profound
darkness of the gallery deterred her from proceeding farther, and, while
- 124 -
THE MYSTERIES OF UDOLPHO Vol III
she listened for her footstep, she heard only distant sounds of revelry,
which rose in sullen echoes from among the arcades below. Once she
thought she heard a low sound from the dark gallery behind her; and,
turning her eyes, fancied she saw something luminous move in it; and,
since she could not, at this moment, subdue the weakness that caused her
fears, she quitted her seat, and crept softly down a few stairs lower.
Annette not yet appearing, Emily now concluded, that she was
gone to bed, and that nobody chose to call her up; and the prospect, that
presented itself, of passing the night in darkness, in this place, or in
some other equally forlorn (for she knew it would be impracticable to
find her way through the intricacies of the galleries to her chamber),
drew tears of mingled terror and despondency from her eyes.
While thus she sat, she fancied she heard again an odd sound from
the gallery, and she listened, scarcely daring to breathe, but the
increasing voices below overcame every other sound. Soon after, she
heard Montoni and his companions burst into the hall, who spoke, as if
they were much intoxicated, and seemed to be advancing towards the
stair-case. She now remembered, that they must come this way to their
chambers, and, forgetting all the terrors of the gallery, hurried towards it
with an intention of secreting herself in some of the passages, that
opened beyond, and of endeavouring, when the Signors were retired, to
find her way to her own room, or to that of Annette, which was in a
remote part of the castle.
With extended arms, she crept along the gallery, still hearing the
voices of persons below, who seemed to stop in conversation at the foot
of the stair-case, and then pausing for a moment to listen, half fearful of
going further into the darkness of the gallery, where she still imagined,
from the noise she had heard, that some person was lurking,  They are
already informed of my arrival, said she,  and Montoni is coming
himself to seek me! In the present state of his mind, his purpose must be
desperate. Then, recollecting the scene, that had passed in the corridor,
on the night preceding her departure from the castle,  O Valancourt!
- 125 - [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]