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Thus on the chill Lapponian's dreary land,
Several of her succeeding days passed in suspense, for Ludovico could only learn from the soldiers, that there was a prisoner in the apartment, described to him by Emily, and that he was a Frenchman, whom they had taken in one of their skirmishes, with a party of his countrymen. During this interval, Emily escaped the persecutions of Bertolini, and Verezzi, by confining herself to her apartment; except that sometimes, in an evening, she ventured to walk in the adjoining corridor. Montoni appeared to respect his last promise, though he had prophaned his first; for to his protection only could she attribute her present repose; and in this she was now so secure, that she did not wish to leave the castle, till she could obtain some certainty concerning Valancourt; for which she waited, indeed, without any sacrifice of her own comfort, since no circumstance had occurred to make her escape probable.
On the fourth day, Ludovico informed her, that he had hopes of being admitted to the presence of the prisoner; it being the turn of a soldier, with whom he had been for some time familiar, to attend him on the following night. He was not deceived in his hope; for, under pretence of carrying in a pitcher of water, he entered the prison, though, his prudence having prevented him from telling the sentinel the real motive of his visit, he was obliged to make his conference with the prisoner a very short one.
Emily awaited the result in her own apartment, Ludovico having promised to accompany Annette to the corridor, in the evening; where, after several hours impatiently counted, he arrived. Emily, having then uttered the name of Valancourt, could articulate no more, but hesitated in trembling expectation. 'The Chevalier would not entrust me with his name, Signora,' replied Ludovico; 'but, when I just mentioned yours, he seemed overwhelmed with joy, though he was not so much surprised as I expected.' 'Does he then remember me?' she exclaimed.
'O! it is Mons. Valancourt,' said Annette, and looked impatiently at Ludovico, who understood her look, and replied to Emily: 'Yes, lady, the Chevalier does, indeed, remember you, and, I am sure, has a very great regard for you, and I made bold to say you had for him. He then enquired how you came to know he was in the castle, and whether you ordered me to speak to him. The first question I could not answer, but the second I did; and then he went off into his ecstasies again. I was afraid his joy would have betrayed him to the sentinel at the door.'
'But how does he look, Ludovico?' interrupted Emily: 'is he not melancholy and ill with this long confinement?'--'Why, as to melancholy, I saw no symptom of that, lady, while I was with him, for he seemed in the finest spirits I ever saw any body in, in all my life. His countenance was all joy, and, if one may judge from that, he was very well; but I did not ask him.' 'Did he send me no message?' said Emily. 'O yes, Signora, and something besides,' replied Ludovico, who searched his pockets. 'Surely, I have not lost it,' added he. 'The Chevalier said, he would have written, madam, if he had had pen and ink, and was going to have sent a very long message, when the sentinel entered the room, but not before he had give me this.' Ludovico then drew forth a miniature from his bosom, which Emily received with a trembling hand, and perceived to be a portrait of herself--the very picture, which her mother had lost so strangely in the fishing-house at La Vallee.
Tears of mingled joy and tenderness flowed to her eyes, while Ludovico proceeded--'"Tell your lady," said the Chevalier, as he gave me the picture, "that this has been my companion, and only solace in all my misfortunes. Tell her, that I have worn it next my heart, and that I sent it her as the pledge of an affection, which can never die; that I would not part with it, but to her, for the wealth of worlds, and that I now part with it, only in the hope of soon receiving it from her hands. Tell her"--Just then, Signora, the sentinel came in, and the Chevalier said no more; but he had before asked me to contrive an interview for him with you; and when I told him, how little hope I had of prevailing with the guard to assist me, he said, that was not, perhaps, of so much consequence as I imagined, and bade me contrive to bring back your answer, and he would inform me of more than he chose to do then. So this, I think, lady, is the whole of what passed.'
'How, Ludovico, shall I reward you for your zeal?' said Emily: 'but, indeed, I do not now possess the means. When can you see the Chevalier again?' 'That is uncertain, Signora,' replied he. 'It depends upon who stands guard next: there are not more than one or two among them, from whom I would dare to ask admittance to the prison-chamber.'
'I need not bid you remember, Ludovico,' resumed Emily, 'how very much interested I am in your seeing the Chevalier soon; and, when you do so, tell him, that I have received the picture, and, with the sentiments he wished. Tell him I have suffered much, and still suffer--' She paused. 'But shall I tell him you will see him, lady?' said Ludovico. 'Most certainly I will,' replied Emily. 'But when, Signora, and where?' 'That must depend upon circumstances,' returned Emily. 'The place, and the hour, must be regulated by his opportunities.'
'As to the place, mademoiselle,' said Annette, 'there is no other place in the castle, besides this corridor, where WE can see him in safety, you know; and, as for the hour,--it must be when all the Signors are asleep, if that ever happens!' 'You may mention these circumstances to the Chevalier, Ludovico,' said she, checking the flippancy of Annette, 'and leave them to his judgment and opportunity. Tell him, my heart is unchanged. But, above all, let him see you again as soon as possible; and, Ludovico, I think it is needless to tell you I shall very anxiously look for you.' Having then wished her good night, Ludovico descended the staircase, and Emily retired to rest, but not to sleep, for joy now rendered her as wakeful, as she had ever been from grief. Montoni and his castle had all vanished from her mind, like the frightful vision of a necromancer, and she wandered, once more, in fairy scenes of unfading happiness:
As when, beneath the beam
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The Mysteries of Udolpho -by- Ann RadcliffeBottom Content goes here. Wikipedia content requires these links..... Wikipedia content is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.