The quotation from A Midsummer Night's Dream is about the tragedy
of the death of a long established love - like that of E. and
V. meets with E. to try to win her love back, but we see that
he is the same selfish and weak Valancourt that he was before
she left for Italy; we see him on page 513 weeping for his own
"lost in emotions of remorse and grief which
he had neither the power, nor the will to express."
He will not take no for an answer, and seeks to blame others
for E.'s rejection of him, rather than his own unworthiness.
He attempts, as he has done before, emotional blackmail. This
is a very emotional scene, with V. regretting his vices in Paris.
These expressions of regret serve to make us believe all the
accusations against him - he seems to be admitting to them.
E., on the other hand, begins to feel that so open hearted a
man could not be guilty of all these things. She agrees to another
interview, on the next day. Emily passes a sleepless night,
just as an heroine should under such circumstances. At the end
of the chapter we see Emily's heart struggling against her reason;
she knows she must renounce Valancourt, yet she still loves
him and wants to believe in him.
The quotation describes Emily's despondent state.
Valancourt meets Emily again and begins to behave gallantly
at last, accepting responsibility for his loss of her. He leaves
her, both of them in tears. Both believe they part forever.
I expect we are meant to think that too, but as Gothic readers
we know to expect a happy ending, to fit the pattern.
Meanwhile, back at Udolpho, Montoni is captured and Udolpho
taken. it doesn't hit the news, so Emily doesn't know it has
happened. The reader, however, sees it as one step back towards
security for Emily.
When Emily is beginning to recover from Valancourt, Dorothee
comes to talk to her about the late Marchioness - significantly
she comes just after midnight, as everything eerie happens around
The story Dorothee tells, of a woman made to marry for money
whilst her heart was elsewhere, has me thinking that "elsewhere"
was probably La Vallee and St.A., and that Emily is the daughter
of St.A. and the Marchioness. That's what we're meant to think,
I suspect. The suggestion that the couple had in fact been married
would free St. A. from suspicion of immoral behaviour, and E.
from the suspicion of illegitimacy. The ill-treatment of the
Marchioness by the Marquis might, conceivably, be because of
a pregnancy by another man, resulting in Emily. This is, of
course, pure speculation, but we are being invited to speculate.
The music appears again, and we learn that it first appeared
on the night the Marchioness died.
This was, apparently, a terribly painful death, and left the
body blotched and blackened. Now that sounds like poison to
Dorothee promises to take Emily to see the picture of the Marchioness,
whom she so much resembles. Emily "sunk, for a moment,
under the weariness of superstition."
The opening verse sounds ominous. maybe it's not going to be
a tea party.
At midnight (again: why am I not surprised?) Dorothee comes
to take E. to the room where the late marchioness died. They
pass the dying embers of a fire, just for the sake of atmosphere.
The furnishings of the room are suitably gloomy and E and D
are appropriately spooked. In this atmosphere we are not altogether
surprised when they think they see an apparition in the bed.
We may wonder whether it's hysteria, but at the moment it's
certainly an unexplained phenomenon. The language of this chapter
oozes Gothic excess.
Yukky verse - can't think what it's there for.
Emily goes to commune with nature and think of Valancourt. She
also, sadly, writes what she probably considers to be poetry.
She hears mysterious sounds and sees a mysterious figure. More
of him anon.
Annette faints, thinking she has seen a ghost. Ludovico resolves
to spend a night in the late marchioness's rooms, to scotch
the rumour of a ghost. We can guess that bad things will happen.
Ludovico goes off to the haunted rooms. The others discuss
ghosts. The mysterious music plays. The remoteness of Ludovico's
situation is stressed, along with the time - midnight- the stormy
weather and the expiring fire . We are being presented with
a scenario full of Gothic accoutrements. The story Ludovico
reads is itself a ghost story. More to the point, L. too thinks
he sees someone in the room with him.
It's next morning, and what we want to know is what happened
to Ludovico. So, of course, that's the info we're made to wait
for. Lots of scenery happens. When the rooms in which l. spent
the night are opened, they are found to be empty, and there
is no trace of L. More mysterious, unexplained happenings. The
Count presses the suit of Du Pont (no, not with an electric
iron. I mean He supports DuPont's pursuit of Emily.) Meanwhile,
back at the convent, Sister Agnes begins to behave strangely.
What does she know? Who is she?
Emily is suddenly a rich heiress, which prompts uncharacteristic
courtesy from Quesnel - his status as grasping materialist is
reinforced. Ludovico is still missing. The Count and Henri resolve
to spend the night in the death room.
Henri obviously can't hack it. We are left to wonder what happened.
Even the Count seems spooked. Why? When he visits E at the convent
he warns her against superstition.
Sister Agnes the mad nun continues to be odd, and to talk about
the danger of passion; very Augustan. Sister Frances says she
will tell E more ... at midnight!
What she says suggests a link between Agnes and the late Marchioness;
Agnes has been at the convent since about the time of the marchioness's
The plan is hatched for the Count et al to visit E at La Vallee.
Scenery, landscape, memories and flowery language abound in
this chapter at Thoulouse. We are reminded of what a good bloke
V used to be. E thinks she sees a figure in the gardens and
shortly afterwards she learns that the gardener has shot an
intruder. She, and we, believe it to be V.
Begins with a gushy poem about going home. E goes back to la
Vallee and meets Theresa , who has been supported by an anonymous
friend. Don't we just know it must be V? Theresa reveals this
to E who weeps at goodness lost to her. He has begun to be rehabilitated
in our eyes. He hasn't shown up for a while though, and Theresa
is worried. We may now connect V with the shot intruder.
A chapter of scenery, bad poetry and outrageous melodrama,
in which the mystery of Ludovico is revealed to have a rational
explanation, which also covers the apparitions at the chateau.
More and more mysteries are revealed. I hate
this chapter. It's a waste of space, but does allow for a great
deal of heroism and fainting.
E feels miserable and the weather reflects this. Just as she
has decided that V is dead, who should walk through the door?
This is becoming predictable. Even though it is obvious E still
loves him, she continues to be ruled by Augustan propriety and
will not acknowledge her love. Surely this is a judgement on
Augustanism pushed too far, since both E and V are seen to suffer
Ludovico arrives and explains everything to Annette and E.
Back at the convent Agnes is dying amidst lots of wind and
Agnes has talked often of E whilst ill. Why? When she sees
E she reacts as if seeing a ghost. Why? In her madness she seems
to be confessing to a murder, in very Shakespearean language!
It turns out that she is Signora Laurentini, and is responsible
for the death of the late Marchioness because she herself loved
the Marquis. We are still unsure of the connection between E
and the late marchioness.
Also in this chapter V's character is proved to have been defamed
. He is shown not to have been as villainous as we had been
led to believe. Everything is shaping up for a happy ending.
The Count invites V to the chateau but doesn't say anything
to E yet.
Agnes dies and leaves E everything. the full story appears,
and we learn that the late marchioness was not St Aubert's lover
but his sister. Aha! Agnes was the source of the mystery music
too. All the mysteries are now being resolved. We even find
out what was behind the black veil. We are coming to resolution,
with everything explained and ordered and returned to Augustan
E and V are reunited and Du Pont is noble and honourable. I
still think he's the better man.
They all live so happily ever after that I
think Jane will be sick. We have come full circle., and E is
now safely back in context. Augustanism reigns.