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castle.  But they know not, thought she,  its strength, or the armed
numbers within it. Alas! except from flight, I have nothing to hope!
Montoni, though not precisely what Emily apprehended him to be -
- a captain of banditti -- had employed his troops in enterprises not less
daring, or less atrocious, than such a character would have undertaken.
They had not only pillaged, whenever opportunity offered, the
helpless traveller, but had attacked, and plundered the villas of several
persons, which, being situated among the solitary recesses of the
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mountains, were totally unprepared for resistance. In these expeditions
the commanders of the party did not appear, and the men, partly
disguised, had sometimes been mistaken for common robbers, and, at
others, for bands of the foreign enemy, who, at that period, invaded the
country. But, though they had already pillaged several mansions, and
brought home considerable treasures, they had ventured to approach
only one castle, in the attack of which they were assisted by other troops
of their own order; from this, however, they were vigorously repulsed,
and pursued by some of the foreign enemy, who were in league with the
besieged. Montoni's troops fled precipitately towards Udolpho, but were
so closely tracked over the mountains, that, when they reached one of
the heights in the neighbourhood of the castle, and looked back upon the
road, they perceived the enemy winding among the cliffs below, and at
not more than a league distant. Upon this discovery, they hastened
forward with increased speed, to prepare Montoni for the enemy; and it
was their arrival, which had thrown the castle into such confusion and
tumult.
As Emily awaited anxiously some information from below, she
now saw from her casements a body of troops pour over the
neighbouring heights; and, though Annette had been gone a very short
time, and had a difficult and dangerous business to accomplish, her
impatience for intelligence became painful: she listened; opened her
door; and often went out upon the corridor to meet her.
At length, she heard a footstep approach her chamber; and, on
opening the door, saw, not Annette, but old Carlo! New fears rushed
upon her mind. He said he came from the Signor, who had ordered him
to inform her, that she must be ready to depart from Udolpho
immediately, for that the castle was about to be besieged; and that mules
were preparing to convey her, with her guides, to a place of safety.
 Of safety! exclaimed Emily, thoughtlessly;  has, then, the Signor
so much consideration for me?
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Carlo looked upon the ground, and made no reply. A thousand
opposite emotions agitated Emily, successively, as she listened to old
Carlo; those of joy, grief, distrust and apprehension, appeared, and
vanished from her mind, with the quickness of lightning. One moment, it
seemed impossible, that Montoni could take this measure merely for her
preservation; and so very strange was his sending her from the castle at
all, that she could attribute it only to the design of carrying into
execution the new scheme of vengeance, with which he had menaced
her.
In the next instant, it appeared so desirable to quit the castle, under
any circumstances, that she could not but rejoice in the prospect,
believing that change must be for the better, till she remembered the
probability of Valancourt being detained in it, when sorrow and regret
usurped her mind, and she wished, much more fervently than she had yet
done, that it might not be his voice which she had heard.
Carlo having reminded her, that she had no time to lose, for that
the enemy were within sight of the castle, Emily entreated him to inform
her whither she was to go; and, after some hesitation, he said he had
received no orders to tell; but, on her repeating the question, replied, that
he believed she was to be carried into Tuscany.
 To Tuscany! exclaimed Emily --  and why thither?
Carlo answered, that he knew nothing further, than that she was to
be lodged in a cottage on the borders of Tuscany, at the feet of the
Apennines --  Not a day's journey distant, said he.
Emily now dismissed him; and, with trembling hands, prepared the
small package, that she meant to take with her; while she was employed
about which Annette returned.
 O ma'amselle! said she,  nothing can be done! Ludovico says the
new porter is more watchful even than Barnardine was, and we might as
well throw ourselves in the way of a dragon, as in his. Ludovico is
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almost as broken-hearted as you are, ma'am, on my account, he says, and
I am sure I shall never live to hear the cannon fire twice!
She now began to weep, but revived upon hearing of what had just
occurred, and entreated Emily to take her with her.
 That I will do most willingly, replied Emily,  if Signor Montoni
permits it; to which Annette made no reply, but ran out of the room,
and immediately sought Montoni, who was on the terrace, surrounded
by his officers, where she began her petition. He sharply bade her go
into the castle, and absolutely refused her request. Annette, however, not
only pleaded for herself, but for Ludovico; and Montoni had ordered
some of his men to take her from his presence, before she would retire.
In an agony of disappointment, she returned to Emily, who
foreboded little good towards herself, from this refusal to Annette, and
who, soon after, received a summons to repair to the great court, where
the mules, with her guides, were in waiting. Emily here tried in vain to
sooth the weeping Annette, who persisted in saying, that she should
never see her dear young lady again; a fear, which her mistress secretly
thought too well justified, but which she endeavoured to restrain, while,
with apparent composure, she bade this affectionate servant farewell.
Annette, however, followed to the courts, which were now thronged
with people, busy in preparation for the enemy; and, having seen her
mount her mule and depart, with her attendants, through the portal,
turned into the castle and wept again.
Emily, meanwhile, as she looked back upon the gloomy courts of
the castle, no longer silent as when she had first entered them, but
resounding with the noise of preparation for their defence, as well as
crowded with soldiers and workmen, hurrying to and fro; and, when she
passed once more under the huge portcullis, which had formerly struck
her with terror and dismay, and, looking round, saw no walls to confine
her steps -- felt, in spite of anticipation, the sudden joy of a prisoner,
who unexpectedly finds himself at liberty. This emotion would not
suffer her now to look impartially on the dangers that awaited her
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without; on mountains infested by hostile parties, who seized every
opportunity for plunder; and on a journey commended under the
guidance of men, whose countenances certainly did not speak
favourably of their dispositions. In the present moments, she could only
rejoice, that she was liberated from those walls, which she had entered
with such dismal forebodings; and, remembering the superstitious
presentiment, which had then seized her, she could now smile at the
impression it had made upon her mind.
As she gazed, with these emotions, upon the turrets of the castle,
rising high over the woods, among which she wound, the stranger,
whom she believed to be confined there, returned to her remembrance,
and anxiety and apprehension, lest he should be Valancourt, again
passed like a cloud upon her joy.
She recollected every circumstance, concerning this unknown [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]