The Mysteries of Udolpho

Ann Radcliffe

Volume 4

Chapter 1

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.

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 loss,

"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.

Chapter 2

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.

Chapter 3

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 about then.

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 me!

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."

Chapter 4

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.

Chapter 5

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.

Chapter 6

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.

Chapter 7

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?

Chapter 8

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.

Chapter 9

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 death.

The plan is hatched for the Count et al to visit E at La Vallee.

Chapter 10

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.

Chapter 11

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.

Chapter 12

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.

Chapter 13

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 needlessly.

Chapter 14

Ludovico arrives and explains everything to Annette and E.

Chapter 15

Back at the convent Agnes is dying amidst lots of wind and weather.

Chapter 16

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.

Chapter 17

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 safety.

Chapter 18

E and V are reunited and Du Pont is noble and honourable. I still think he's the better man.

Chapter 19

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.