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Carmilla

My father came to me, kissed me again and again, and leading me from the
chapel, said:
“It is time to return, but before we go home, we must add to our party the good
priest, who lives but a little way from this; and persuade him to accompany us to
the schloss.”
In this quest we were successful: and I was glad, being unspeakably fatigued
when we reached home. But my satisfaction was changed to dismay, on
discovering that there were no tidings of Carmilla. Of the scene that had occurred
in the ruined chapel, no explanation was offered to me, and it was clear that it
was a secret which my father for the present determined to keep from me.
The sinister absence of Carmilla made the remembrance of the scene more
horrible to me. The arrangements for the night were singular. Two servants, and
Madame were to sit up in my room that night; and the ecclesiastic with my father
kept watch in the adjoining dressing-room.
The priest had performed certain solemn rites that night, the purport of which I
did not understand any more than I comprehended the reason of this
extraordinary precaution taken for my safety during sleep.
I saw all clearly a few days later.
The disappearance of Carmilla was followed by the discontinuance of my nightly
sufferings.
You have heard, no doubt, of the appalling superstition that prevails in Upper and
Lower Styria, in Moravia, Silesia, in Turkish Servia, in Poland, even in Russia;
the superstition, so we must call it, of the Vampire.
If human testimony, taken with every care and solemnity, judicially, before
commissions innumerable, each consisting of many members, all chosen for
integrity and intelligence, and constituting reports more voluminous perhaps than
exist upon any one other class of cases, is worth anything, it is difficult to deny,
or even to doubt the existence of such a phenomenon as the Vampire.
For my part I have heard no theory by which to explain what I myself have
witnessed and experienced, other than that supplied by the ancient and well-
attested belief of the country.
The next day the formal proceedings took place in the Chapel of Karnstein. The
grave of the Countess Mircalla was opened; and the General and my father
recognised each his perfidious and beautiful guest, in the face now disclosed to
view. The features, though a hundred and fifty years had passed since her
funeral, were tinted with the warmth of life. Her eyes were open; no cadaverous
smell exhaled from the coffin. The two medical men, one officially present, the
other on the part of the promoter of the inquiry, attested the marvellous fact that
there was a faint but appreciable respiration, and a corresponding action of the
heart. The limbs were perfectly flexible, the flesh elastic; and the leaden coffin
floated with blood, in which to a depth of seven inches, the body lay immersed.
Here then, were all the admitted signs and proofs of vampirism. The body,
therefore, in accordance with the ancient practice, was raised, and a sharp stake
driven through the heart of the vampire, who uttered a piercing shriek at the
moment, in all respects such as might escape from a living person in the last
agony. Then the head was struck off, and a torrent of blood flowed from the
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