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The Monk

Chapter III.3
Oh! could I worship aught beneath the skies
That earth hath seen or fancy could devise,
Thine altar, sacred Liberty, should stand,
Built by no mercenary vulgar hand,
With fragrant turf, and flowers as wild and fair,
As ever dressed a bank, or scented summer air.
Cowper.
His whole attention bent upon bringing to justice the Assassins of his Sister, Lorenzo
little thought how severely his interest was suffering in another quarter. As was before
mentioned, He returned not to Madrid till the evening of that day on which Antonia was
buried. Signifying to the Grand Inquisitor the order of the Cardinal-Duke (a ceremony not
to be neglected, when a Member of the Church was to be arrested publicly)
communicating his design to his Uncle and Don Ramirez, and assembling a troop of
Attendants sufficiently to prevent opposition, furnished him with full occupation during
the few hours preceding midnight. Consequently, He had no opportunity to enquire about
his Mistress, and was perfectly ignorant both of her death and her Mother's.
The Marquis was by no means out of danger: His delirium was gone, but had left him so
much exhausted that the Physicians declined pronouncing upon the consequences likely
to ensue. As for Raymond himself, He wished for nothing more earnestly than to join
Agnes in the grave. Existence was hateful to him: He saw nothing in the world deserving
his attention; and He hoped to hear that Agnes was revenged, and himself given over in
the same moment.
Followed by Raymond's ardent prayers for success, Lorenzo was at the Gates of St. Clare
a full hour before the time appointed by the Mother St. Ursula. He was accompanied by
his Uncle, by Don Ramirez de Mello, and a party of chosen Archers. Though in
considerable numbers their appearance created no surprize: A great Crowd was already
assembled before the Convent doors, in order to witness the Procession. It was naturally
supposed that Lorenzo and his Attendants were conducted thither by the same design.
The Duke of Medina being recognised, the People drew back, and made way for his party
to advance. Lorenzo placed himself opposite to the great Gate, through which the
Pilgrims were to pass. Convinced that the Prioress could not escape him, He waited
patiently for her appearance, which She was expected to make exactly at Midnight.
The Nuns were employed in religious duties established in honour of St. Clare, and to
which no Prophane was ever admitted. The Chapel windows were illuminated. As they
stood on the outside, the Auditors heard the full swell of the organ, accompanied by a
chorus of female voices, rise upon the stillness of the night. This died away, and was
succeeded by a single strain of harmony: It was the voice of her who was destined to
 
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