The Mysteries of Udolpho HTML version

Chapter II.9
The image of a wicked, heinous fault
Lives in his eye; that close aspect of his
Does shew the mood of a much-troubled breast.
Leaving the gay scenes of Paris, we return to those of the gloomy Apennine, where
Emily's thoughts were still faithful to Valancourt. Looking to him as to her only hope, she
recollected, with jealous exactness, every assurance and every proof she had witnessed of
his affection; read again and again the letters she had received from him; weighed, with
intense anxiety, the force of every word, that spoke of his attachment; and dried her tears,
as she trusted in his truth.
Montoni, meanwhile, had made strict enquiry concerning the strange circumstance of his
alarm, without obtaining information; and was, at length, obliged to account for it by the
reasonable supposition, that it was a mischievous trick played off by one of his
domestics. His disagreements with Madame Montoni, on the subject of her settlements,
were now more frequent than ever; he even confined her entirely to her own apartment,
and did not scruple to threaten her with much greater severity, should she persevere in a
Reason, had she consulted it, would now have perplexed her in the choice of a conduct to
be adopted. It would have pointed out the danger of irritating by further opposition a
man, such as Montoni had proved himself to be, and to whose power she had so entirely
committed herself; and it would also have told her, of what extreme importance to her
future comfort it was, to reserve for herself those possessions, which would enable her to
live independently of Montoni, should she ever escape from his immediate controul. But
she was directed by a more decisive guide than reason--the spirit of revenge, which urged
her to oppose violence to violence, and obstinacy to obstinacy.
Wholly confined to the solitude of her apartment, she was now reduced to solicit the
society she had lately rejected; for Emily was the only person, except Annette, with
whom she was permitted to converse.
Generously anxious for her peace, Emily, therefore, tried to persuade, when she could not
convince, and sought by every gentle means to induce her to forbear that asperity of
reply, which so greatly irritated Montoni. The pride of her aunt did sometimes soften to
the soothing voice of Emily, and there even were moments, when she regarded her
affectionate attentions with goodwill.
The scenes of terrible contention, to which Emily was frequently compelled to be
witness, exhausted her spirits more than any circumstances, that had occurred since her