Carmilla (Chapter 7, page 2 of 4)


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Chapter 7

"And had you the charm near you?" she asked, earnestly.

"No, I had dropped it into a china vase in the drawing room, but I shall
certainly take it with me tonight, as you have so much faith in it."

At this distance of time I cannot tell you, or even understand, how I
overcame my horror so effectually as to lie alone in my room that night.
I remember distinctly that I pinned the charm to my pillow. I fell
asleep almost immediately, and slept even more soundly than usual
all night.

Next night I passed as well. My sleep was delightfully deep and
dreamless.

But I wakened with a sense of lassitude and melancholy, which, however,
did not exceed a degree that was almost luxurious.

"Well, I told you so," said Carmilla, when I described my quiet sleep,
"I had such delightful sleep myself last night; I pinned the charm to
the breast of my nightdress. It was too far away the night before. I am
quite sure it was all fancy, except the dreams. I used to think that
evil spirits made dreams, but our doctor told me it is no such thing.
Only a fever passing by, or some other malady, as they often do, he
said, knocks at the door, and not being able to get in, passes on, with
that alarm."

"And what do you think the charm is?" said I.

"It has been fumigated or immersed in some drug, and is an antidote
against the malaria," she answered.

"Then it acts only on the body?"

"Certainly; you don't suppose that evil spirits are frightened by bits
of ribbon, or the perfumes of a druggist's shop? No, these complaints,
wandering in the air, begin by trying the nerves, and so infect the
brain, but before they can seize upon you, the antidote repels them.
That I am sure is what the charm has done for us. It is nothing magical,
it is simply natural."

I should have been happier if I could have quite agreed with Carmilla,
but I did my best, and the impression was a little losing its force.

For some nights I slept profoundly; but still every morning I felt the
same lassitude, and a languor weighed upon me all day. I felt myself a
changed girl. A strange melancholy was stealing over me, a melancholy
that I would not have interrupted. Dim thoughts of death began to open,
and an idea that I was slowly sinking took gentle, and, somehow, not
unwelcome, possession of me. If it was sad, the tone of mind which this
induced was also sweet.

Whatever it might be, my soul acquiesced in it.

I would not admit that I was ill, I would not consent to tell my papa,
or to have the doctor sent for.

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