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The Mysteries of Udolpho

Chapter IV.2
Come, weep with me;--past hope, past cure, past help!
Valancourt, meanwhile, suffered the tortures of remorse and despair. The sight of Emily
had renewed all the ardour, with which he first loved her, and which had suffered a
temporary abatement from absence and the passing scenes of busy life. When, on the
receipt of her letter, he set out for Languedoc, he then knew, that his own folly had
involved him in ruin, and it was no part of his design to conceal this from her. But he
lamented only the delay which his ill-conduct must give to their marriage, and did not
foresee, that the information could induce her to break their connection forever. While
the prospect of this separation overwhelmed his mind, before stung with self-reproach, he
awaited their second interview, in a state little short of distraction, yet was still inclined to
hope, that his pleadings might prevail upon her not to exact it. In the morning, he sent to
know at what hour she would see him; and his note arrived, when she was with the
Count, who had sought an opportunity of again conversing with her of Valancourt; for he
perceived the extreme distress of her mind, and feared, more than ever, that her fortitude
would desert her. Emily having dismissed the messenger, the Count returned to the
subject of their late conversation, urging his fear of Valancourt's entreaties, and again
pointing out to her the lengthened misery, that must ensue, if she should refuse to
encounter some present uneasiness. His repeated arguments could, indeed, alone have
protected her from the affection she still felt for Valancourt, and she resolved to be
governed by them.
The hour of interview, at length, arrived. Emily went to it, at least, with composure of
manner, but Valancourt was so much agitated, that he could not speak, for several
minutes, and his first words were alternately those of lamentation, entreaty, and self-
reproach. Afterward, he said, 'Emily, I have loved you--I do love you, better than my life;
but I am ruined by my own conduct. Yet I would seek to entangle you in a connection,
that must be miserable for you, rather than subject myself to the punishment, which is my
due, the loss of you. I am a wretch, but I will be a villain no longer.--I will not endeavour
to shake your resolution by the pleadings of a selfish passion. I resign you, Emily, and
will endeavour to find consolation in considering, that, though I am miserable, you, at
least, may be happy. The merit of the sacrifice is, indeed, not my own, for I should never
have attained strength of mind to surrender you, if your prudence had not demanded it.'
He paused a moment, while Emily attempted to conceal the tears, which came to her
eyes. She would have said, 'You speak now, as you were wont to do,' but she checked
herself.--'Forgive me, Emily,' said he, 'all the sufferings I have occasioned you, and,
sometimes, when you think of the wretched Valancourt, remember, that his only
consolation would be to believe, that you are no longer unhappy by his folly.' The tears
now fell fast upon her cheek, and he was relapsing into the phrensy of despair, when