Carmilla (Chapter 7, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 7

It would be vain my attempting to tell you the horror with which, even
now, I recall the occurrence of that night. It was no such transitory
terror as a dream leaves behind it. It seemed to deepen by time, and
communicated itself to the room and the very furniture that had
encompassed the apparition.

I could not bear next day to be alone for a moment. I should have told
papa, but for two opposite reasons. At one time I thought he would laugh
at my story, and I could not bear its being treated as a jest; and at
another I thought he might fancy that I had been attacked by the
mysterious complaint which had invaded our neighborhood. I had myself no
misgiving of the kind, and as he had been rather an invalid for some
time, I was afraid of alarming him.

I was comfortable enough with my good-natured companions, Madame
Perrodon, and the vivacious Mademoiselle Lafontaine. They both perceived
that I was out of spirits and nervous, and at length I told them what
lay so heavy at my heart.

Mademoiselle laughed, but I fancied that Madame Perrodon looked anxious.

"By-the-by," said Mademoiselle, laughing, "the long lime tree walk,
behind Carmilla's bedroom window, is haunted!"

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Madame, who probably thought the theme rather
inopportune, "and who tells that story, my dear?"

"Martin says that he came up twice, when the old yard gate was being
repaired, before sunrise, and twice saw the same female figure walking
down the lime tree avenue."

"So he well might, as long as there are cows to milk in the river
fields," said Madame.

"I daresay; but Martin chooses to be frightened, and never did I see
fool more frightened."

"You must not say a word about it to Carmilla, because she can see down
that walk from her room window," I interposed, "and she is, if possible,
a greater coward than I."

Carmilla came down rather later than usual that day.

"I was so frightened last night," she said, so soon as were together,
"and I am sure I should have seen something dreadful if it had not been
for that charm I bought from the poor little hunchback whom I called
such hard names. I had a dream of something black coming round my bed,
and I awoke in a perfect horror, and I really thought, for some seconds,
I saw a dark figure near the chimney-piece, but I felt under my pillow
for my charm, and the moment my fingers touched it, the figure
disappeared, and I felt quite certain, only that I had it by me, that
something frightful would have made its appearance, and, perhaps,
throttled me, as it did those poor people we heard of.

"Well, listen to me," I began, and recounted my adventure, at the
recital of which she appeared horrified.

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