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Carmilla

Karnstein, and this is a little coronet over and underneath A.D. 1698. I am
descended from the Karnsteins; that is, mamma was.”
“Ah!” said the lady, languidly, “so am I, I think, a very long descent, very ancient.
Are there any Karnsteins living now?”
“None who bear the name, I believe. The family were ruined, I believe, in some
civil wars, long ago, but the ruins of the castle are only about three miles away.”
“How interesting!” she said, languidly. “But see what beautiful moonlight!” She
glanced through the hall-door, which stood a little open. “Suppose you take a
little ramble round the court, and look down at the road and river.”
“It is so like the night you came to us,” I said.
She sighed; smiling.
She rose, and each with her arm about the other’s waist, we walked out upon the
pavement.
In silence, slowly we walked down to the drawbridge, where the beautiful
landscape opened before us.
“And so you were thinking of the night I came here?” she almost whispered. “Are
you glad I came?”
“Delighted, dear Carmilla,” I answered.
“And you asked for the picture you think like me, to hang in your room,” she
murmured with a sigh, as she drew her arm closer about my waist, and let her
pretty head sink upon my shoulder. “How romantic you are, Carmilla,” I said.
“Whenever you tell me your story, it will be made up chiefly of some one great
romance.”
She kissed me silently.
“I am sure, Carmilla, you have been in love; that there is, at this moment, an
affair of the heart going on.”
“I have been in love with no one, and never shall,” she whispered, “unless it
should be with you.”
How beautiful she looked in the moonlight!
Shy and strange was the look with which she quickly hid her face in my neck and
hair, with tumultuous sighs, that seemed almost to sob, and pressed in mine a
hand that trembled.
Her soft cheek was glowing against mine. “Darling, darling,” she murmured, “I
live in you; and you would die for me, I love you so.”
I started from her.
She was gazing on me with eyes from which all fire, all meaning had flown, and a
face colourless and apathetic.
“Is there a chill in the air, dear?” she said drowsily. “I almost shiver; have I been
dreaming? Let us come in. Come; come; come in.”
“You look ill, Carmilla; a little faint. You certainly must take some wine,” I said.
“Yes. I will. I’m better now. I shall be quite well in a few minutes. Yes, do give me
a little wine,” answered Carmilla, as we approached the door. “Let us look again
for a moment; it is the last time, perhaps, I shall see the moonlight with you.”
“How do you feel now, dear Carmilla? Are you really better?” I asked.
I was beginning to take alarm, lest she should have been stricken with the
strange epidemic that they said had invaded the country about us.
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