The Mysteries of Udolpho
And poor Misfortune feels the lash of Vice.
Emily seized the first opportunity of conversing alone with Mons. Quesnel, concerning
La Vallee. His answers to her enquiries were concise, and delivered with the air of a man,
who is conscious of possessing absolute power and impatient of hearing it questioned. He
declared, that the disposal of the place was a necessary measure; and that she might
consider herself indebted to his prudence for even the small income that remained for her.
'But, however,' added he, 'when this Venetian Count (I have forgot his name) marries
you, your present disagreeable state of dependence will cease. As a relation to you I
rejoice in the circumstance, which is so fortunate for you, and, I may add, so unexpected
by your friends.' For some moments Emily was chilled into silence by this speech; and,
when she attempted to undeceive him, concerning the purport of the note she had
inclosed in Montoni's letter, he appeared to have some private reason for disbelieving her
assertion, and, for a considerable time, persevered in accusing her of capricious conduct.
Being, at length, however, convinced that she really disliked Morano and had positively
rejected his suit, his resentment was extravagant, and he expressed it in terms equally
pointed and inhuman; for, secretly flattered by the prospect of a connection with a
nobleman, whose title he had affected to forget, he was incapable of feeling pity for
whatever sufferings of his niece might stand in the way of his ambition.
Emily saw at once in his manner all the difficulties, that awaited her, and, though no
oppression could have power to make her renounce Valancourt for Morano, her fortitude
now trembled at an encounter with the violent passions of her uncle.
She opposed his turbulence and indignation only by the mild dignity of a superior mind;
but the gentle firmness of her conduct served to exasperate still more his resentment,
since it compelled him to feel his own inferiority, and, when he left her, he declared, that,
if she persisted in her folly, both himself and Montoni would abandon her to the contempt
of the world.
The calmness she had assumed in his presence failed Emily, when alone, and she wept
bitterly, and called frequently upon the name of her departed father, whose advice to her
from his death-bed she then remembered. 'Alas!' said she, 'I do indeed perceive how
much more valuable is the strength of fortitude than the grace of sensibility, and I will
also endeavour to fulfil the promise I then made; I will not indulge in unavailing
lamentation, but will try to endure, with firmness, the oppression I cannot elude.'
Somewhat soothed by the consciousness of performing a part of St. Aubert's last request,
and of endeavouring to pursue the conduct which he would have approved, she overcame