The Mysteries of Udolpho
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul.
Madame St. Aubert was interred in the neighbouring village church; her husband and
daughter attended her to the grave, followed by a long train of the peasantry, who were
sincere mourners of this excellent woman.
On his return from the funeral, St. Aubert shut himself in his chamber. When he came
forth, it was with a serene countenance, though pale in sorrow. He gave orders that his
family should attend him. Emily only was absent; who, overcome with the scene she had
just witnessed, had retired to her closet to weep alone. St. Aubert followed her thither: he
took her hand in silence, while she continued to weep; and it was some moments before
he could so far command his voice as to speak. It trembled while he said, 'My Emily, I
am going to prayers with my family; you will join us. We must ask support from above.
Where else ought we to seek it--where else can we find it?'
Emily checked her tears, and followed her father to the parlour, where, the servants being
assembled, St. Aubert read, in a low and solemn voice, the evening service, and added a
prayer for the soul of the departed. During this, his voice often faltered, his tears fell upon
the book, and at length he paused. But the sublime emotions of pure devotion gradually
elevated his views above this world, and finally brought comfort to his heart.
When the service was ended, and the servants were withdrawn, he tenderly kissed Emily,
and said, 'I have endeavoured to teach you, from your earliest youth, the duty of self-
command; I have pointed out to you the great importance of it through life, not only as it
preserves us in the various and dangerous temptations that call us from rectitude and
virtue, but as it limits the indulgences which are termed virtuous, yet which, extended
beyond a certain boundary, are vicious, for their consequence is evil. All excess is
vicious; even that sorrow, which is amiable in its origin, becomes a selfish and unjust
passion, if indulged at the expence of our duties--by our duties I mean what we owe to
ourselves, as well as to others. The indulgence of excessive grief enervates the mind, and
almost incapacitates it for again partaking of those various innocent enjoyments which a
benevolent God designed to be the sun-shine of our lives. My dear Emily, recollect and
practise the precepts I have so often given you, and which your own experience has so
often shewn you to be wise.
'Your sorrow is useless. Do not receive this as merely a commonplace remark, but let
reason THEREFORE restrain sorrow. I would not annihilate your feelings, my child, I
would only teach you to command them; for whatever may be the evils resulting from a
too susceptible heart, nothing can be hoped from an insensible one; that, on the other