The Mysteries of Udolpho HTML version

Chapter I.13
As when a shepherd of the Hebrid-Isles,
Placed far amid the melancholy main,
(Whether it be lone fancy him beguiles,
Or that aerial beings sometimes deign
To stand embodied to our senses plain)
Sees on the naked hill, or valley low,
The whilst in ocean Phoebus dips his wain,
A vast assembly moving to and fro,
Then all at once in air dissolves the wondrous show.
Madame Cheron's avarice at length yielded to her vanity. Some very splendid
entertainments, which Madame Clairval had given, and the general adulation, which was
paid her, made the former more anxious than before to secure an alliance, that would so
much exalt her in her own opinion and in that of the world. She proposed terms for the
immediate marriage of her niece, and offered to give Emily a dower, provided Madame
Clairval observed equal terms, on the part of her nephew. Madame Clairval listened to
the proposal, and, considering that Emily was the apparent heiress of her aunt's wealth,
accepted it. Meanwhile, Emily knew nothing of the transaction, till Madame Cheron
informed her, that she must make preparation for the nuptials, which would be celebrated
without further delay; then, astonished and wholly unable to account for this sudden
conclusion, which Valancourt had not solicited (for he was ignorant of what had passed
between the elder ladies, and had not dared to hope such good fortune), she decisively
objected to it. Madame Cheron, however, quite as jealous of contradiction now, as she
had been formerly, contended for a speedy marriage with as much vehemence as she had
formerly opposed whatever had the most remote possibility of leading to it; and Emily's
scruples disappeared, when she again saw Valancourt, who was now informed of the
happiness, designed for him, and came to claim a promise of it from herself.
While preparations were making for these nuptials, Montoni became the acknowledged
lover of Madame Cheron; and, though Madame Clairval was much displeased, when she
heard of the approaching connection, and was willing to prevent that of Valancourt with
Emily, her conscience told her, that she had no right thus to trifle with their peace, and
Madame Clairval, though a woman of fashion, was far less advanced than her friend in
the art of deriving satisfaction from distinction and admiration, rather than from
Emily observed with concern the ascendancy, which Montoni had acquired over Madame
Cheron, as well as the increasing frequency of his visits; and her own opinion of this
Italian was confirmed by that of Valancourt, who had always expressed a dislike of him.
As she was, one morning, sitting at work in the pavilion, enjoying the pleasant freshness