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The Mysteries of Udolpho

Chapter III.5
The midnight clock has toll'd; and hark, the bell
Of Death beats slow! heard ye the note profound?
It pauses now; and now, with rising knell,
Flings to the hollow gale its sullen sound.
MASON
When Montoni was informed of the death of his wife, and considered that she had died
without giving him the signature so necessary to the accomplishment of his wishes, no
sense of decency restrained the expression of his resentment. Emily anxiously avoided
his presence, and watched, during two days and two nights, with little intermission, by
the corpse of her late aunt. Her mind deeply impressed with the unhappy fate of this
object, she forgot all her faults, her unjust and imperious conduct to herself; and,
remembering only her sufferings, thought of her only with tender compassion.
Sometimes, however, she could not avoid musing upon the strange infatuation that had
proved so fatal to her aunt, and had involved herself in a labyrinth of misfortune, from
which she saw no means of escaping,--the marriage with Montoni. But, when she
considered this circumstance, it was 'more in sorrow than in anger,'--more for the purpose
of indulging lamentation, than reproach.
In her pious cares she was not disturbed by Montoni, who not only avoided the chamber,
where the remains of his wife were laid, but that part of the castle adjoining to it, as if he
had apprehended a contagion in death. He seemed to have given no orders respecting the
funeral, and Emily began to fear he meant to offer a new insult to the memory of
Madame Montoni; but from this apprehension she was relieved, when, on the evening of
the second day, Annette informed her, that the interment was to take place that night. She
knew, that Montoni would not attend; and it was so very grievous to her to think that the
remains of her unfortunate aunt would pass to the grave without one relative, or friend to
pay them the last decent rites, that she determined to be deterred by no considerations for
herself, from observing this duty. She would otherwise have shrunk from the
circumstance of following them to the cold vault, to which they were to be carried by
men, whose air and countenances seemed to stamp them for murderers, at the midnight
hour of silence and privacy, which Montoni had chosen for committing, if possible, to
oblivion the reliques of a woman, whom his harsh conduct had, at least, contributed to
destroy.
Emily, shuddering with emotions of horror and grief, assisted by Annette, prepared the
corpse for interment; and, having wrapt it in cerements, and covered it with a winding-
sheet, they watched beside it, till past midnight, when they heard the approaching
footsteps of the men, who were to lay it in its earthy bed. It was with difficulty, that
Emily overcame her emotion, when, the door of the chamber being thrown open, their
gloomy countenances were seen by the glare of the torch they carried, and two of them,
 
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