Carmilla (Chapter 4, page 1 of 8)


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Chapter 4

I told you that I was charmed with her in most particulars.

There were some that did not please me so well.

She was above the middle height of women. I shall begin by describing
her.

She was slender, and wonderfully graceful. Except that her movements
were languid--very languid--indeed, there was nothing in her appearance
to indicate an invalid. Her complexion was rich and brilliant; her
features were small and beautifully formed; her eyes large, dark, and
lustrous; her hair was quite wonderful, I never saw hair so
magnificently thick and long when it was down about her shoulders; I
have often placed my hands under it, and laughed with wonder at its
weight. It was exquisitely fine and soft, and in color a rich very dark
brown, with something of gold. I loved to let it down, tumbling with its
own weight, as, in her room, she lay back in her chair talking in her
sweet low voice, I used to fold and braid it, and spread it out and
play with it. Heavens! If I had but known all!

I said there were particulars which did not please me. I have told you
that her confidence won me the first night I saw her; but I found that
she exercised with respect to herself, her mother, her history,
everything in fact connected with her life, plans, and people, an ever
wakeful reserve. I dare say I was unreasonable, perhaps I was wrong; I
dare say I ought to have respected the solemn injunction laid upon my
father by the stately lady in black velvet. But curiosity is a restless
and unscrupulous passion, and no one girl can endure, with patience,
that hers should be baffled by another. What harm could it do anyone to
tell me what I so ardently desired to know? Had she no trust in my good
sense or honor? Why would she not believe me when I assured her, so
solemnly, that I would not divulge one syllable of what she told me to
any mortal breathing.

There was a coldness, it seemed to me, beyond her years, in her smiling
melancholy persistent refusal to afford me the least ray of light.

I cannot say we quarreled upon this point, for she would not quarrel
upon any. It was, of course, very unfair of me to press her, very
ill-bred, but I really could not help it; and I might just as well have
let it alone.

What she did tell me amounted, in my unconscionable estimation--to
nothing.

It was all summed up in three very vague disclosures: First--Her name was Carmilla.

Second--Her family was very ancient and noble.

Third--Her home lay in the direction of the west.

She would not tell me the name of her family, nor their armorial
bearings, nor the name of their estate, nor even that of the country
they lived in.

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