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The Mysteries of Udolpho

Chapter III.3
Such are those thick and gloomy shadows damp,
Oft seen in charnel-vaults and sepulchres,
Lingering, and sitting, by a new-made grave.
MILTON
On the following day, Montoni sent a second excuse to Emily, who was surprised at the
circumstance. 'This is very strange!' said she to herself. 'His conscience tells him the
purport of my visit, and he defers it, to avoid an explanation.' She now almost resolved to
throw herself in his way, but terror checked the intention, and this day passed, as the
preceding one, with Emily, except that a degree of awful expectation, concerning the
approaching night, now somewhat disturbed the dreadful calmness that had pervaded her
mind.
Towards evening, the second part of the band, which had made the first excursion among
the mountains, returned to the castle, where, as they entered the courts, Emily, in her
remote chamber, heard their loud shouts and strains of exultation, like the orgies of furies
over some horrid sacrifice. She even feared they were about to commit some barbarous
deed; a conjecture from which, however, Annette soon relieved her, by telling, that the
people were only exulting over the plunder they had brought with them. This
circumstance still further confirmed her in the belief, that Montoni had really commenced
to be a captain of banditti, and meant to retrieve his broken fortunes by the plunder of
travellers! Indeed, when she considered all the circumstances of his situation--in an
armed, and almost inaccessible castle, retired far among the recesses of wild and solitary
mountains, along whose distant skirts were scattered towns, and cities, whither wealthy
travellers were continually passing--this appeared to be the situation of all others most
suited for the success of schemes of rapine, and she yielded to the strange thought, that
Montoni was become a captain of robbers. His character also, unprincipled, dauntless,
cruel and enterprising, seemed to fit him for the situation. Delighting in the tumult and in
the struggles of life, he was equally a stranger to pity and to fear; his very courage was a
sort of animal ferocity; not the noble impulse of a principle, such as inspirits the mind
against the oppressor, in the cause of the oppressed; but a constitutional hardiness of
nerve, that cannot feel, and that, therefore, cannot fear.
Emily's supposition, however natural, was in part erroneous, for she was a stranger to the
state of this country and to the circumstances, under which its frequent wars were partly
conducted. The revenues of the many states of Italy being, at that time, insufficient to the
support of standing armies, even during the short periods, which the turbulent habits both
of the governments and the people permitted to pass in peace, an order of men arose not
known in our age, and but faintly described in the history of their own. Of the soldiers,
disbanded at the end of every war, few returned to the safe, but unprofitable occupations,
then usual in peace. Sometimes they passed into other countries, and mingled with
 
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