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Beyond the Lone Islands

Saturday, 14 March 2009

The Castle, at last! (Mysteries of Udolpho II)

Reader's patience awarded; the next chapter transported me (along with the main characters) more quickly than I had come to expect (see previous post), to the Castle of Udolpho. Wild mountain scenery, quickened pace of events, dark and gloomy castle, hints of ghost and other lurking terrors... Now I feel I'm in a Gothic novel...

Although what puzzles me more than mysterious covered portraits or secret passages (which I have been expecting) is the sudden presence of the heroine's late father's old dog, lying at the foot of her bed, just when it is needed. The dog has never been mentioned before (all the emphasis has been on Emily being completely alone), but logically it must have been her companion ever since she left home, a couple of hundred pages ago. (Since Emily herelf is not at all surprised to see it.)

Now the question is, how and when to get out of the castle. 400 pages to go... I suppose we'll have to explore a few more nooks and crannies before we leave! ;-)

She often paused to examine the gothic magnificence of Udolpho, its proud irregularity, its lofty towers and battlements, its high-arched casements, and its slender watch-towers, perched upon the corners of turrets. Then she would lean on the wall of the terrace, and, shuddering, measure with her eye the precipice below, till the dark summits of the woods arrested it. Whereever she turned, appeared mountain-tops, forests of pine and narrow glens, opening among the Apennines and retiring from sight into inaccessible regions.
The Mysteries of Udolpho, Volume 2, Ch. VI

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