At sight of the room, perfectly undisturbed except for our violent entrance, we
began to cool a little, and soon recovered our senses sufficiently to dismiss the
men. It had struck Mademoiselle that possibly Carmilla had been wakened by the
uproar at her door, and in her first panic had jumped from her bed, and hid
herself in a press, or behind a curtain, from which she could not, of course,
emerge until the majordomo and his myrmidons had withdrawn. We now
recommenced our search, and began to call her name again.
It was all to no purpose. Our perplexity and agitation increased. We examined
the windows, but they were secured. I implored of Carmilla, if she had concealed
herself, to play this cruel trick no longer—to come out and to end our anxieties. It
was all useless. I was by this time convinced that she was not in the room, nor in
the dressing-room, the door of which was still locked on this side. She could not
have passed it. I was utterly puzzled. Had Carmilla discovered one of those
secret passages which the old housekeeper said were known to exist in the
schloss, although the tradition of their exact situation had been lost? A little time
would, no doubt, explain all— utterly perplexed as, for the present, we were.
It was past four o’clock, and I preferred passing the remaining hours of darkness
in Madame’s room. Daylight brought no solution of the difficulty.
The whole household, with my father at its head, was in a state of agitation next
morning. Every part of the chateau was searched. The grounds were explored.
No trace of the missing lady could be discovered. The stream was about to be
dragged; my father was in distraction; what a tale to have to tell the poor girl’s
mother on her return. I, too, was almost beside myself, though my grief was quite
of a different kind.
The morning was passed in alarm and excitement. It was now one o’clock, and
still no tidings. I ran up to Carmilla’s room, and found her standing at her
dressing-table. I was astounded. I could not believe my eyes. She beckoned me
to her with her pretty finger, in silence. Her face expressed extreme fear.
I ran to her in an ecstasy of joy; I kissed and embraced her again and again. I ran
to the bell and rang it vehemently, to bring others to the spot who might at once
relieve my father’s anxiety.
“Dear Carmilla, what has become of you all this time? We have been in agonies
of anxiety about you,” I exclaimed. “Where have you been? How did you come
“Last night has been a night of wonders,” she said.
“For mercy’s sake, explain all you can.”
“It was past two last night,” she said, “when I went to sleep as usual in my bed,
with my doors locked, that of the dressing-room, and that opening upon the
gallery. My sleep was uninterrupted, and, so far as I know, dreamless; but I woke
just now on the sofa in the dressing-room there, and I found the door between
the rooms open, and the other door forced. How could all this have happened
without my being wakened? It must have been accompanied with a great deal of
noise, and I am particularly easily wakened; and how could I have been carried