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Appalling is the influence of conscience: though life and animation rallied to the heart of Montauban, still was he chained in breathless attention; he could not question what he feared to hear--he could not solicit what anticipation pictured.
The confessional of Valombre resolved the visitation; for to the shrouded dead was the mysterious injunction assigned. Time had been, when he could have sought, he could have wooed elucidation; but now, passive, inactive, all energy, all spirit failed, for the courage Nature had given, guilt had blasted. Bitter was the sigh which the figure breathed, as, with noiseless step, he retreated towards the door; and then again he pronounced-“Repent! Montauban, repent!". and vanished.
It seemed as the quick transition from death to life, from the dense vapours of a fetid atmosphere, to the pure ether of unclouded space; the voice, the powers of Montauban returned; he started, he called on Randolphe; but Randolphe slept too sound to heed his feeble efforts, Again the bandit sank upon his pillow; and though his eyes, as the lone bird is by the serpent's fascination drawn, rested on the opened door-way, no more in shrouded vision did the spectre-monk fill up the space; yet the deep accents of his voice could not in blank oblivion die; his ear re-echoed back the fearful admonition which, like a death-peal, struck upon his heart-“ Like mine,” he articulated, as Meniory's faithful hand opened the page of past existence,“ like mine, dipped, dyed in blood. Ermis
sende," sende,” and a transient glow of love thawed the iced horror of his cheek, “Ermissende, did the arm which vowed to guard thee blast all thy sweetness ?Unhappy partner of illicit love! dear, first exciter of transporting passion !”
Here might we dive at once beneath the veil, and read the hidden source of action ; but policy, checking the truant flights of Fancy, dips her spunge into the Lethean stream, and quick erases the transcript of Montauban's contrition. No, gentle lady, 'tis for thee to extend the grant of patience, nor close the page, because the uncloaked truths are not here recited. The morning's sun chased not the gloomy horrors of the night; for the cramped soul, by sin enchained, feels not the gladsome influence of revi
ving ving nature, but sickens midst creation's burst of praise.
Sleep frightened, banished, Montauban watched the rising orb of day; he saw the earth's blue mists roll before his effulgent strides, and the wrapt landscape, starting out of darkness, live; he saw the towering pines bend to the passing breeze, and the rude outline of prospect-closing mountains glow with innumerable tints; yet not for one moment did he forget his ghostly visitant-not for one moment did his ear lose the appalling sound of Montauban, repent. Called upon, as it were, from the grave, his health debilitated, and his nerves unstrung, what but reparation could atone for past enormities, and reparation alone pointed to the absent Theodore." Yes, he must be
summoned !” exclaimed Montauban, as his eyes again shrunk from the opened door-way; " this day, this hour he must be recalled !”
“ Who?" demanded Randolphe, starting from slumber.
“ You must fly!” pursued the bandit, raising himself upon his elbow, and seizing the arm of the robber, “ Randolphe, you must fly from Vermandois; you must trace the footsteps of Theodore, and quick conduct him hither."
Randolphe muttered some indistinct response; and was again sinking to forgetfulness, when Montauban, with a transient exertion of strength, rudely shook him, and sternly bade him rise. The robe ber grumbled; yet he stood at the bedside of the chief.. “ This night has been a night of hor