Carmilla HTML version

6. A Very Strange Agony
When we got into the drawing-room, and had sat down to our coffee and
chocolate, although Carmilla did not take any, she seemed quite herself again,
and Madame, and Mademoiselle De Lafontaine, joined us, and made a little card
party, in the course of which papa came in for what he called his “dish of tea.”
When the game was over he sat down beside Carmilla on the sofa, and asked
her, a little anxiously, whether she had heard from her mother since her arrival.
She answered “No.”
He then asked whether she knew where a letter would reach her at present.
“I cannot tell,” she answered ambiguously, “but I have been thinking of leaving
you; you have been already too hospitable and too kind to me. I have given you
an infinity of trouble, and I should wish to take a carriage to-morrow, and post in
pursuit of her; I know where I shall ultimately find her, although I dare not yet tell
“But you must not dream of any such thing,” exclaimed my father, to my great
relief. “We can’t afford to lose you so, and I won’t consent to your leaving us,
except under the care of your mother, who was so good as to consent to your
remaining with us till she should herself return. I should be quite happy if I knew
that you heard from her: but this evening the accounts of the progress of the
mysterious disease that has invaded our neighbourhood, grow even more
alarming; and my beautiful guest, I do feeI the responsibility, unaided by advice
from your mother, very much. But I shall do my best; and one thing is certain,
that you must not think of leaving us without her distinct direction to that effect.
We should suffer too much in parting from you to consent to it easily.”
“Thank you, sir, a thousand times for your hospitality,” she answered, smiling
bashfully. “You have all been too kind to me; I have seldom been so happy in all
my life before, as in your beautiful chateau, under your care, and in the society of
your dear daughter.”
So he gallantly, in his old-fashioned way, kissed her hand, smiling and pleased at
her little speech.
I accompanied Carmilla as usual to her room, and sat and chatted with her while
she was preparing for bed.
“Do you think,” I said at length, “that you will ever confide fully in me?”
She turned round smiling, but made no answer, only continued to smile on me.
“You won’t answer that?” I said. “You can’t answer pleasantly; I ought not to have
asked you.”
“You were quite right to ask me that, or anything. You do not know how dear you
are to me, or you could not think any confidence too great to look for. But I am
under vows, no nun half so awfully, and I dare not tell my story yet, even to you.
The time is very near when you shall know everything. You will think me cruel,
very selfish, but love is always selfish; the more ardent the more selfish. How
jealous I am you cannot know. You must come with me, loving me, to death; or
else hate me and still come with me. and hating me through death and after.
There is no such word as indifference in my apathetic nature.”
“Now, Carmilla, you are going to talk your wild nonsense again,” I said hastily.