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The Mysteries of Udolpho

Chapter III.8
My tongue hath but a heavier tale to say.
I play the torturer, by small and small,
To lengthen out the worst that must be spoken.
RICHARD II
We now return, for a moment, to Venice, where Count Morano was suffering under an
accumulation of misfortunes. Soon after his arrival in that city, he had been arrested by
order of the Senate, and, without knowing of what he was suspected, was conveyed to a
place of confinement, whither the most strenuous enquiries of his friends had been unable
to trace him. Who the enemy was, that had occasioned him this calamity, he had not been
able to guess, unless, indeed, it was Montoni, on whom his suspicions rested, and not
only with much apparent probability, but with justice.
In the affair of the poisoned cup, Montoni had suspected Morano; but, being unable to
obtain the degree of proof, which was necessary to convict him of a guilty intention, he
had recourse to means of other revenge, than he could hope to obtain by prosecution. He
employed a person, in whom he believed he might confide, to drop a letter of accusation
into the DENUNZIE SECRETE, or lions' mouths, which are fixed in a gallery of the
Doge's palace, as receptacles for anonymous information, concerning persons, who may
be disaffected towards the state. As, on these occasions, the accuser is not confronted
with the accused, a man may falsely impeach his enemy, and accomplish an unjust
revenge, without fear of punishment, or detection. That Montoni should have recourse to
these diabolical means of ruining a person, whom he suspected of having attempted his
life, is not in the least surprising. In the letter, which he had employed as the instrument
of his revenge, he accused Morano of designs against the state, which he attempted to
prove, with all the plausible simplicity of which he was master; and the Senate, with
whom a suspicion was, at that time, almost equal to a proof, arrested the Count, in
consequence of this accusation; and, without even hinting to him his crime, threw him
into one of those secret prisons, which were the terror of the Venetians, and in which
persons often languished, and sometimes died, without being discovered by their friends.
Morano had incurred the personal resentment of many members of the state; his habits of
life had rendered him obnoxious to some; and his ambition, and the bold rivalship, which
he discovered, on several public occasions,--to others; and it was not to be expected, that
mercy would soften the rigour of a law, which was to be dispensed from the hands of his
enemies.
Montoni, meantime, was beset by dangers of another kind. His castle was besieged by
troops, who seemed willing to dare every thing, and to suffer patiently any hardships in
pursuit of victory. The strength of the fortress, however, withstood their attack, and this,
 
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