« PredošláPokračovať »
fied—“ Montauban, repent!” His eyes caught the form, and the glance paralyzed every nerve; the light fell from his hand, for it was shrouded in the cloak and scapular of a religious order, and instantly recalled to his guilty mind the abbot St. Theodore and the confessional of Valombre. Dead to every exertion, his knees shaking with fear, and his eyes closed, though in darkness, he stood in expectant horror, when the voice again repeated—"Montauban, repent! the murderer may hope for pardon !” No groan, no sigh escaped him; sensation, life, alike receded, and he fell from the summit of the stairs.
Of what materials the ghostly adviser was composed, we will not attempt to delineate; but humanity was certainly not banished the catalogue; for though
he neither spirited him from the dark passage into the contrasting comfort of his own apartment, nor healed the bleeding wound in his temple, still he alarmed the slumbering Randolphe, and summoned to the aid of the prostrate Montauban the timely assistance of his own associates.
Borne to his chamber, animation restored, his wounds dressed, and his bruises examined, still the cheering rays of the light, and the more cheering presence of Randolphe, banished not the appalling counsel of the monk. “ Montauban, repent!" breathed in every echo; and where'er he turned, the spectre-image seemed to glide. Writhing with pain, scorched with fever, and tortured by the wild flights of delirium, his ravings became unceasing; but Theodore's name sounded in each low appeal; and ever in B2
the transient indications of returning reason, he called upon him, he solicited his
presence, then whispered" Mine's the power of reparation!"
It was on the second night of Montauban's illness, when Memory, armed with her scorpion stings, recalled the past, and checked the approach of sleep, when restless, languid, bis aching eyes rolled round the chamber, and his oppressed and tortured heart envied the trance which steeped the senses of Randolphe, that he heard his name thrice whispered; it seemed the call of deaththe dreaded summons to eternity. The power of speech was blasted; not a shriek, nor e'en a groan, escaped him; fear froze each effort, and palsied every Jimb. Montauban,” it softly murmured, " Montauban, repent !” and then the
clock, chiming the last quarter after midnight, deadened each lesser sound; and then the door slowly opening, disclosed the blackened shadow of the monk: the cowl was closely drawn; yet did fancy, piercing its thickened folds, picture the marbled features of St. Theodore. Even in the earth would the appalled Montauban have shrunk-even with the most abject slave would he have changed conditions:
could not aid him now riches could not chase the harrowing sight; hell seemed to open to his view, and its sulphureous gulph yawned ready to receive him: he durst not call on Heaven, for Heaven's high ordinations had he violated; he could not call on death, for death was the passport to eternal torture; and yet his trembling lips
framed, midst the conflict of his soul, a something like a prayer.
The monk advanced; with slow and measured step he crossed the chamber, and at the bed's foot paused" Montauban,” he solemnly articulated, “ Montauban, repent! purge the fell stain of sin, and live hereafter!” He threw his tunic back-he bared his skeleton arm “ Montauban,” he continued, “ vieve well these shrunken sinews, once, like thine, dipped, dyed in blood; Heaven has washed the stain, and Mercy smiles acceptance.--Repent! Montauban, repent!''
Deep and unbroken was the stillness which succeeded; yet the monk moved not; motionless he stood, his head bending towards the earth, his hands crossed, as though in deep communion.