The Monk HTML version

Chapter II.4
----Ah! how dark
These long-extended realms and rueful wastes;
Where nought but silence reigns, and night, dark night,
Dark as was Chaos ere the Infant Sun
Was rolled together, or had tried its beams
Athwart the gloom profound!
The sickly Taper
By glimmering through thy low-browed misty vaults,
Furred round with mouldy damps, and ropy slime,
Lets fall a supernumerary horror,
And only serves to make
Thy night more irksome! Blair.
Returned undiscovered to the Abbey, Ambrosio's mind was filled with the most pleasing
images. He was wilfully blind to the danger of exposing himself to Antonia's charms: He
only remembered the pleasure which her society had afforded him, and rejoiced in the
prospect of that pleasure being repeated. He failed not to profit by Elvira's indisposition
to obtain a sight of her Daughter every day. At first He bounded his wishes to inspire
Antonia with friendship: But no sooner was He convinced that She felt that sentiment in
its fullest extent, than his aim became more decided, and his attentions assumed a warmer
colour. The innocent familiarity with which She treated him, encouraged his desires:
Grown used to her modesty, it no longer commanded the same respect and awe: He still
admired it, but it only made him more anxious to deprive her of that quality which
formed her principal charm. Warmth of passion, and natural penetration, of which latter
unfortunately both for himself and Antonia He possessed an ample share, supplied a
knowledge of the arts of seduction. He easily distinguished the emotions which were
favourable to his designs, and seized every means with avidity of infusing corruption into
Antonia's bosom. This He found no easy matter. Extreme simplicity prevented her from
perceiving the aim to which the Monk's insinuations tended; But the excellent morals
which She owed to Elvira's care, the solidity and correctness of her understanding, and a
strong sense of what was right implanted in her heart by Nature, made her feel that his
precepts must be faulty. By a few simple words She frequently overthrew the whole bulk
of his sophistical arguments, and made him conscious how weak they were when
opposed to Virtue and Truth. On such occasion He took refuge in his eloquence; He
overpowered her with a torrent of Philosophical paradoxes, to which, not understanding
them, it was impossible for her to reply; And thus though He did not convince her that his
reasoning was just, He at least prevented her from discovering it to be false. He perceived
that her respect for his judgment augmented daily, and doubted not with time to bring her
to the point desired.