The Monk HTML version

Chapter III.2
Tell us, ye Dead, will none of you in pity
To those you left behind disclose the secret?
O! That some courteous Ghost would blab it out,
What 'tis you are, and we must shortly be.
I've heard that Souls departed have sometimes
Fore-warned Men of their deaths:
'Twas kindly done
To knock, and give the alarum.
Ambrosio shuddered at himself, when He reflected on his rapid advances in iniquity. The
enormous crime which He had just committed filled him with real horror. The murdered
Elvira was continually before his eyes, and his guilt was already punished by the agonies
of his conscience. Time, however, considerably weakened these impressions: One day
passed away, another followed it, and still not the least suspicion was thrown upon him.
Impunity reconciled him to his guilt: He began to resume his spirits; and as his fears of
detection died away, He paid less attention to the reproaches of remorse. Matilda exerted
herself to quiet his alarms. At the first intelligence of Elvira's death, She seemed greatly
affected, and joined the Monk in deploring the unhappy catastrophe of his adventure: But
when She found his agitation to be somewhat calmed, and himself better disposed to
listen to her arguments, She proceeded to mention his offence in milder terms, and
convince him that He was not so highly culpable as He appeared to consider himself. She
represented that He had only availed himself of the rights which Nature allows to every
one, those of self-preservation: That either Elvira or himself must have perished, and that
her inflexibility and resolution to ruin him had deservedly marked her out for the Victim.
She next stated, that as He had before rendered himself suspected to Elvira, it was a
fortunate event for him that her lips were closed by death; since without this last
adventure, her suspicions if made public might have produced very disagreeable
consequences. He had therefore freed himself from an Enemy, to whom the errors of his
conduct were sufficiently known to make her dangerous, and who was the greatest
obstacle to his designs upon Antonia. Those designs She encouraged him not to abandon.
She assured him that, no longer protected by her Mother's watchful eye, the Daughter
would fall an easy conquest; and by praising and enumerating Antonia's charms, She
strove to rekindle the desires of the Monk. In this endeavour She succeeded but too well.
As if the crimes into which his passion had seduced him had only increased its violence,
He longed more eagerly than ever to enjoy Antonia. The same success in concealing his
present guilt, He trusted would attend his future. He was deaf to the murmurs of
conscience, and resolved to satisfy his desires at any price. He waited only for an
opportunity of repeating his former enterprize; But to procure that opportunity by the