This mysterious subject he treats, in that Essay, with his usual learning and acumen, and with remarkable directness and condensation. It will form but one volume of the series of that extraordinary man’s collected papers.
As I publish the case, in this volume, simply to interest the " laity ", I shall forestal the intelligent lady, who relates it, in nothing ; and, after due consideration, I have determined, therefore, to abstain from presenting any précis of the learned Doctor’s reasoning, or extract from his statement on a subject which he describes as " involving, not improbably, some of the profoundest arcana of our dual existence, and its intermediates ".
I was anxious, on discovering this paper, to re-open the correspondence commenced by Doctor Hesselius, so many years before, with a person so clever and careful as his informant seems to have been. Much to my regret, however, I found that she had died in the interval.
She, probably, could have added little to the Narrative which she communicates in the following pages, with, so far as I can pronounce, such a conscientious particularity.
In Styria, we, though by no means magnificent people, inhabit a castle, or schloss. A small income, in that part of the world, goes a great way. Eight or nine hundred a year does wonders. Scannly enough ours would have answered among wealthy people at home. My father is English, and I bear an English name, although I never saw England. But here, in this lonely and primitive place, where everything is so marvellously cheap, I really don't see how ever so much more money would at all materially add to our comforts, or even luxuries.
My father was in the Austrian service, and retired upon a pension and his patrimony, and purchased this feudal residence, and the small estate on which it stands, a bargain.
Nothing can be more picturesque or solitary. It stands on a slight eminence in a forest. The road, very old and narrow, passes in front of its drawbridge, never raised in my time, and its moat, stocked with perch, and sailed over by many swans, and floating on its surface white fleets of water-lilies.
Over all this the schloss shows its many-windowed front ; its towers, and its Gothic chapel. The forest opens in an irregular and very picturesque glade before its gate, and at the right a steep Gothic bridge carries the road over a stream that winds in deep shadow through the wood.
I have said that this is a very lonely place. Judge whether I say truth. Looking from the hall door towards the road, the forest in which our castle stands extends fifteen miles to the right, and twelve to the left. The nearest inhabited village is about seven of your English miles to the left. The nearest inhabited schloss of any historic associations, is that of old General Spielsdorf, nearly twenty miles away to the right.
[ . . . ]
As we sat thus one afternoon under the trees a funeral passed us by. It was that of a pretty young girl, whom I had often seen, the daughter of one of the rangers of the forest. The poor man was walking behind the coffin of his darling ; she was his only child, and he looked quite heartbroken. Peasants walking two-and-two came behind, they were singing a funeral hymn.
I rose to mark my respect as they passed, and joined in the hymn they were very sweetly singing.
My companion shook me a little roughly, and I turned surprised.
She said brusquely, " Don't you perceive how discordant that is ? "
" I think it very sweet, on the contrary, " I answered, vexed at the interruption, and very uncomfortable, lest the people who composed the little procession should observe and resent what was passing.
I resumed, therefore, instantly, and was again interrupted. " You pierce my ears, " said Carmilla, almost angrilly, and stopping her ears with her tiny fingers. " Besides, how can you tell that your religion and mine are the same ; your forms wound me, and I hate funerals. What a fuss ! Why, you must die – everyone must die ; and all are happier when they do. Come home. "
" My father has gone on with the clergyman to the churchyard. I thought you knew she was to be buried today. "
" She ? I don't trouble my head about peasants. I don't know who she is, " answered Carmilla, with a flash from her fine eyes.
" She is the poor girl who fancied she saw a ghost a fortnight ago, and has been dying ever since, till yesterday, when she expired. "
" Tell me nothing about ghosts. I shan't sleep tonight if you do. "
" I hope there is no plague or fever coming ; all this looks very like it, " I continued. " The swineherd’s young wife died only a week ago, and she thought something seized her by the throat as she lay in bed, and nearly strangled her. Papa says such horrible fancies do accompany some forms of fever. She was quite well the day before. She sank afterwards, and died before a week. "
" Well, her funeral is over, I hope, and her hymn sung ; and our ears shan't be tortured with that discord and jargon. It has made me nervous. Sit down here, beside me ; sit close ; hold my hand ; press it hard – hard – harder. "
We had moved a little back, and had come to another seat. She sat down. Her face underwent a change that alarmed and even terrified me for a moment. It darkened, and became horribly livid ; her teeth and hands were clenched, and she frowned and compressed her lips, while she stared down upon the ground at her feet, and trembled all over with a continued shudder as irrepressible as ague. All her energies seemed I strained to suppress a fit, with which she was then breathlessly tugging ; and at length a low convulsive cry of suffering broke from her, and gradually the hysteria subsided.
" There ! That comes of strangling people with hymns ! " she said at last. " Hold me, hold me still. It is passing away. " And so gradually it did ; and perhaps to dissipate the sombre impression which the spectacle had left upon me, she became unusually animated and chatty ; and so we got home.
[ . . . ]
" But see what beautiful moonlight ! " She glanced through the hall door, which stood a little open. " Suppose you take a little ramble round the court, and look down at the road and river. "
" It is so like the night you came to us, " I said.
She sighed, smiling. She rose, and each with her arm about the other’s waist, we walked out upon the pavement. In silence, slowly we walked down to the drawbridge, where the beautyful landscape opened before us.
" And so you were thinking of the night I came here ? " she almost whispered. " Are you glad I came ? "
" Delighted, dear Carmilla, " I answered.
" And you ask for the picture you think like me, to hang in your room, " she murmured with a sigh, as she drew her arm closer about my waist, and let her pretty head sink upon my shoulder.
" How romantic you are, Carmilla, " I said. " Whenever you tell me your story, it will be made up chiefly of some one great romance. " She kissed me silently.
" I am sure, Carmilla, you have been in love ; that there is, at this moment, an afair of the heart going on. "
" I have been in love with no one, and never shall, " she whispered, " unless it should be with you. "
How beautiful she looked in the moonlight !
Shy and strange was the look with which she quickly hid her face in my neck and hair, with tumultuous sighs, that seemed almost to sob, and pressed in mine a hand that trembled. Her soft cheek was glowing against mine. " Darling, darling, " she murmured, " I live in you ; and you would die for me, l love you so. " I started from her.
She was gazing on me with eyes from which all fire, all meaning had flown, and a face colourless and apathetic.
" Is there a chill in the air, dear ? " she said drowsily. " I almost shiver ; have I been dreaming ? Let us come in. Come, come ; come in. "
" You look ill, Carmilla ; a little faint. You certainly must take some wine, " I said.
" Yes, I will. l'm better now. I shall be quite well in a few minutes. Yes, do give me a little wine, " answered Carmilla, as we approached the door. " Let us look again for a moment ; it is the last time, perhaps, I shall see the moonlight with you. "
" How do you feel now, dear Carmilla ? Are you really better ? " I asked.
I was beginning to take alarm, lest she should have been stricken with the strange epidemic that they said had invaded the country about us.
"Papa would be grieved beyond measure, " I added, " if he thought you were ever so little ill, without immediately letting us know. We have a very skilful doctor near us, the physcian who was with papa today. "
" l'm sure he is. I know how kind you all are ; but, dear child, I am quite well again. There is nothing ever wrong with me, but a little weakness. People say I am languid ; I am incapable of exertion ; I can scarcely walk as far as a child of three years old ; and every now and then the little strength I have falters, and I become as you have seen me. But after all I am very easily set up again ; in a moment I am perfectly myself. See how I have recovered. "
So, indeed, she had ; and she and I talked a great deal, and very animated she was ; and the remainder of that evening passed without any recurrence of what I called her infatuations. I mean her crazy talk and looks, which embarrassed, and even frightened me.
[ . . . ]
" Do you think, " I said, at length, " that you will ever confide in me ? "
She turned round smiling, but made no answer, only continued to smile on me.
" You won't answer that ? " I said. " You can't answer pleasandy ; I ought not to have asked you. "
" You were quite right to ask me that, or anything. You do not know how dear you are to me, or you could not think any confidence too great to look for. But I am under vows, no nun half so awfully, and I dare not tell my story yet, even to you. The time is very near when you shall know everything. You will think me cruel, very selfish, but love is always selfish ; the more ardent the more selfish. How jealous I am you cannot know. You must come with me, loving me, to death ; or else hate me, and still come with me, and hating me through death and after. There is no such word as indifference in my apathetic nature. "
" Now, Carmilla, you are going to talk your wild nonsense again, " I said hastily.
" Not I, silly little fool as I am, and full of whims and fancies ; for your sake l'll talk like a sage. Were you ever at a ball ? "
" No ; how you do run on. What is it like ? How charming it must be. "
" I almost forget, it is years ago. "
I laughed. " You are not so old. Your first ball can hardly be forgotten yet. "
" I remember everything about it – with an effort. I see it all, as divers see what is going on above them, through a medium, dense, rippling, but transparent. There occurred that night what has confused the picture, and made its colours faint. I was all but assassinated in my bed, wounded here, " she touched her breast, " and never was the same since. "
" Where you near dying ? "
" Yes, very – a cruel love – strange love, that would have taken my life. Love will have its sacrifices. No sacrifice without blood. Let us go to sleep now ; I feel so lazy. "
[ . . . ]
I had a dream that night that was the beginning of a very strange agony. I cannot call it a nightmare, for I was quite conscious of being asleep. But I was equally conscious of being in my room, and lying in bed, precisely as I actually was. I saw, or fancied I saw, the room and its fumiture just as I had seen it last, except that it was very dark, and I saw something moving round the foot of the bed, which at first I could not accurately distinguish.
But I soon saw that it was a sooty black animal that resembled a monstrous cat. It appeared to me about four or five feet long, for it measured fully the length of the hearthrug as it passed over it ; and it continued toing and froing with the lithe sinister restlessness of a beast in a cage.
I could not cry out, although as you may suppose, I was terrified. Its pace was growing faster, and the room rapidly darker and darker, and at length so dark that I could no longer see anything of it but its eyes. I felt it spring lightly on the bed. The two broad eyes approached my face, and suddenly I felt a stinging pain as if two large needles darted, an inch or two apart, deep into my breast.
I waked with a scream. The room was lighted by the candle that burnt there all through the night, and I saw a female figure standing at the foot of the bed, a little at the right side. It was in a dark loose dress, and its hair was down and covered its shoulders. A block of stone could not have been more still. There was not the slightest stir of respiration. As I stared at it, the figure appeared to have changed its place, and was now nearer the door ; then, close to it, the door opened, and it passed out.
I was now relieved, and able to breathe and move. My first thought was that Carmilla had been playing me a trick, and that I had forgotten to secure my door. I hastened to it, and found it locked as usual on the inside. I was afraid to open it – I was horrified. I sprang into my bed and covered my head up in the bed-clothes, and lay there more dead than alive till morning.
[ . . . ]
" And this was once the palatial residence of the Karnsteins ! " said the old General at length, as from a great window he looked out across the village, and saw the wide, undulating expanse of forest.
" It was a bad family, and here its blood-stained annals were written, " he continued. " It is hard that they should, after death, continue to plague the human race with their atrocious lusts. That is the chapel of the Karnsteins, down there. "
He pointed down to the grey walls of the Gothic building, partly visible through the foliage, a little way down the steep. " And I hear the axe of a woodman, " he added, " busy among the trees that surround it ; he possibly may give us the information of which I am in search, and point out the grave of Mircalla, Countess of Karnstein. These rustics preserve the local traditions of great families, whose stories die out among the rich and titled so soon as the families themselves become extinct. "
" We have a portrait, at home, of Mircalla, the Countess Karnstein ; should you like to see it ? " asked my father.
" Time enough, dear friend, " replied the General. " I believe that I have seen the original ; and one motive which has led me to you earlier than I at first intended, was to explore the chapel which we are now approaching. "
" What ! See the Countess Mircalla, " exclaimed my father " why, she has been dead more than a century ! "
" Not so dead as you fancy, I am told, " answered the General.
" I confess, General, you puzzle me utterly, " replied my father, looking at him, I fancied, for a moment with a retum of the suspicion I detected before.
But although there was anger and detestation, at times, in the old General’s manner, there was nothing flighty.
" There remains to me, " he said, as we passed under the heavy arch of the Gothic church – for its dimensions would have justified its being so styled – " but one object which can interest me during the few years that remain to me on earth, and that is to wreak on her the vengeance which, I thank God, may still be accomplished by a mortal arm. "
" What vengeance can you mean ? " asked my father, in increasing amazement.
" I mean, to decapitate the monster, " he answered, with a fierce flush, and a stamp that echoed mournfully through the hollow ruin, and his clenched hand was at the same moment raised, as if it grasped the handle of an axe, while he shook it ferociously in the air.
" What ! " exclaimed my father, more than ever bewildered.
" To strike her head of. "
" Cut her head off ! "
" Aye, with a hatchet, with a spade, or with anything that can cleave through her murderous throat. You shall hear, " he answered, trembling with rage. And hurrying forward he said: " That beam will answer for a seat ; your dear child is fatigued ; let her be seated, and I will, in a few sentences, close my dreadful story. "
The squared block of wood, which lay on the grass-grown pavement of the chapel, formed a bench on which I was very glad to seat myself, and in the meantime the General called to the woodman, who had been removing some boughs which leaned upon the old walls ; and, axe in hand, the hardy old fellow stood before us. [ . . . ]
" How came the village to be deserted ? " asked the General.
" It was troubled by revènants, sir ; several were tracked to their graves, there detected by the usual tests, and extinguished in the usual way, by decapitation, by the stake, and by burning ; but not until many of the villagers were killed. But after all these proceedings according to law, " he continued – " so many graves opened, and so many vampires deprived of their horrible animation – the village was not relieved. But a Moravian nobleman, who happened to be travelling this way, heard how matters were, and being skilled – as many people are in his country – in such affairs, he offered to deliver the village from its tormentor. He did so thus: There being a bright moon that night, he ascended, shortly after sunset, the tower of the chapel here, from whence he could distinctly see the churchyard beneath him ; you can see it from that window. From this point he watched until he saw the vampire come out of his grave, and place near it the linen clothes in which he had been folded, and glide away towards the village to plague its inhabitants.
The stranger, having seen all this, came down from the steeple, took the linen wrappings of the vampire, and carried them up to the top of the tower, which he again mounted. When the vampire retumed from his prowlings and missed his clothes, he cried furiously to the Moravian, whom he saw at the summit of the tower, and who, in reply, beckoned him to ascend and take them. Whereupon the vampire, accepting his invitation, began to climb the steeple, and so soon as he had reached the batllements, the Moravian, with a stroke of his sword, clove his skull in twain, hurling him down to the churchyard, whither, descending by the winding stairs, the stranger followed and cut his head off, and next day delivered it and the body to the villagers, who duly impaled and bumt them.
This Moravian nobleman had authority from the then head of the family to remove the tomb of Mircalla, Countess Karnstein, which he did efectually, so that in a little while its site was quite forgotten. "
" Can you point out where it stood ? " asked the General, eagerly. The forester shook his head and smiled.
" Not a soul living could tell you that now, " he said ; " besides, they say her body was removed ; but no one is sure of that either. " Having thus spoken, as time pressed, he dropped his axe and departed, leaving us to hear the remainder of the General’s strange story. [ . . . ]
" Nothing, you will say, could be more absurd than the learned man’s letter. It was monstrous enough to have consigned him to a madhouse. He said that the patient was suffering from the visits of a vampire ! The punctures which she described as having occurred near the throat, were, he insisted, the insertion of those two long, thin, and sharp teeth which, it is well known, are peculiar to vampires ; and there could be no doubt, he added, as to the well-defined presence of the small livid mark which all concurred in describing as that induced by the demon’s lips, and every symptom described by the sufferer was in exact conformity with those recorded in every case of a similar visitation.
Being myself wholly sceptical as to the existence of any such portent as the vampire, the supernatural theory of the good doctor furnished, in my opinion, but another instance of learning and intelligence oddly associated with some one hallucination. I was so miserable, however, that, rather than try nothing, I acted upon the instructions of the letter.
I concealed myself in the dark dressing-room, that opened upon the poor patient’s room, in which a candle was burning and watched there till she was fast asleep. I stood at the door, peeping through the small crevice, my sword laid on the table beside me, as my directions prescribed, until, a little after one I saw a large black object, very ill-defined, crawl, as it seemed to me, over the foot of the bed, and swiftly spread itself up to the poor girl’s throat, where it swelled, in a moment, into a great, palpitating mass.
For a few moments I had stood petrified. I now sprang forward, with my sword in my hand. The black creature suddenly contracted toward the foot of the bed, glided over it, and, standing on the floor about a yard below the foot of the bed, with a glare of skulking ferocity and horror fixed on me, I saw Millarca. Speculating I know not what, I struck at her instantly with my sword ; but I saw her standing near the door, unscathed. Horrified, I pursued, and struck again. She was gone ! And my sword flew to shivers against the door. "
I can't describe to you all that passed on that horrible night. The whole house was up and sarring. The spectre Millarca was gone. But her victim was sinking fast, and before the morning dawned, she died. " [ . . . ]
The old General’s eyes were fixed on the ground, as he leaned with his hand upon the basement of a shattered monument. Under a narrow, arched doorway, surmounted by one of those demoniacal grotesques in which the cynical and ghastly fancy of old Gothic carving delights, I saw very gladly the beautiful face and figure of Carmilla enter the shadowy chapel.
I was just about to rise and speak, and nodded smiling, in answer to her peculiarly engaging smile ; when with a cry, the old man by my side caught up the woodman’s hatchet, and started forward. On seeing him a brutalised change came over her features. It was an instantaneous and horrible trans-formation, as she made a crouching step backwards. Before I could utter a scream, he struck at her with all his force, but she dived under his blow, and unscathed, caught him in her tiny grasp by the wrist. He struggled for a moment to release his arm, but his hand opened, the axe fell to the ground, and the girl was gone. He staggered against the wall. His grey hair stood upon his head, and a moisture shone over his face, as if he were at the point of death.
The frightful scene had passed in a moment. The first thing I recollect after, is Madame standing before me, and impatiently repeating again and again, the question, " Where is Mademoiselle Carmilla ? "
I answered at length, " I don't know – I can't tell – she went there, " and I pointed to the door through which Madame had just entered ; " only a minute or two since. "
" But I have been standing there, in the passage, ever since Mademoiselle Carmilla entered ; and she did not retum. "
She then began to call " Carmilla " through every door and passage and from the windows, but no answer came.
" She called herself Carmilla ? " asked the General, still agitated.
" Carmilla, yes, " I answered.
" Aye, " he said ; " that is Millarca. That is the same person who long ago was called Mircalla, Countess Karnstein. Depart from this accursed ground, my poor child, as quickly as you can. Drive to the clergyman’s house, and stay there till we come. Begone ! May you never behold Carmilla more ; you will not find her here. " [ . . . ]
I was glad, being unspeakable fatigued when we reached home. But my satisfaction was changed to dismay, on discovering that there were no tidings of Carmilla. Of the scene that had occurred in the ruined chapel, no explanation was offered to me, and it was clear that it was a secret which my father for the present determined to keep from me. The sinister absence of Carmilla made the remembrance of the scene more horrible to me.
The arrangements for that night were singular. Two servants and Madame were to sit up in my room that night ; and the ecclesiastic with my father kept watch in the adjoining dressing-room. The priest had performed certain solemn rites that night, the purport of which I did not understand any more than I comprehended the reason of this extraordinary precaution taken for my safety during sleep.
I saw all clearly a few days later. The disappearance of Carmilla was followed by the discontinuance of my nightly suferings.
You have heard, no doubt, of the appalling superstition that prevails in Upper and Lower Styria, in Moravia, Silesia, in Turkish Servia, in Poland, even in Russia ; the superstition, so we must call it, of the vampire.
If human testimony, taken with every care and solemnity, judicially, before commissions inumerable, each consisting of many members, all chosen for integrity and intelligence, and constituting reports more voluminous perhaps then exist upon any one other class of cases, is worth anything, it is difficult to deny, or even to doubt the existence of such a phenomenon as the vampire.
For my part I have heard no theory by which to explain what I myself have witnessed and experienced, other than that supplied by the ancient and well-attested belief of the country.
The next day the formal proceedings took place in the Chapel of Karnstein. The grave of the Countess Mircalla was opened ; and the General and my father recognized each his perfidious and beautiful guest, in the face now disclosed to view. The features, though a hundred and fifty years had passed since her funeral, were tinted with the warmth of life. Her eyes were open ; no cadaverous smell exhaled from the coffin. The two medical men, one officially present, the other on the part of the promoter of the inquiry, attested the marvellous fact, that there was a faint but appreciable respiration, and a corresponding action of the heart. The limbs were perfectly flexible, the flesh elastic ; and the leaden coffin floated with blood, in which to a depth of seven inches, the body lay immersed. Here then were all the admitted signs and proofs of vampirism.
The body, therefore, in accordance with the ancient practice, was raised and a sharp stake driven through the heart of the vampire, who uttered a piercing shriek at the moment, in all respects such as might escape from a living person in the last agony. Then the head was struck of, and a torrent of blood flowed from the severed neck. The body and head were next placed on a pile of wood, and reduced to ashes, which were thrown upon the river and borne away, and that territory has never since been plagued by the visits of a vampire. [ . . . ]
Let me add a word or two about the quaint Baron Vordenburg, to whose curious lore we were indebted for the discovery of the Countess Mircalla’s grave. [ . . . ]
He had a voluminous digest of all the judicial cases, from which he had extracted a system of principles that appear to govern – some always, and others occasionally only – the condition of the vampire. I may mention, in passing, that the deadly pallor attributed to that sort of revenants, is a mere melodramatic fiction. They present, in the grave, and when they show themselves in human society, the appearance of healthy life. When disclosed to light in their coffins, they exhibit all the symptoms that are enumerated as those which proved the vampire-life of the long-dead Countess Karnstein. How they escape from their graves and return to them for certain hours every day, without displacing the clay or leaving trace of disturbance in the state of the coffin or the cerements, has always been admitted to be utterly inexplicable. The amphibious existence of the vampire is sustained by daily renewed slumber in the grave. Its horrible lust for living blood supplies the vigour of its waking existence.
The vampire is prone to be fascinated with an engrossing vehemence, resembling the passion of love ; by particular persons. In pursuit of these it will exercise inexhaustible patience and stratagem, for access to a particular object may be obstructed in a hundred ways. It will never desist until it has satiated its passion, and drained the very life of its coveted victim. But it will, in these cases, husband and protract its murderous enjoyment with the refinement of an epicure, and heighten it by the gradual approaches of an artful courtship. In these cases it seems to yearn for something like sympathy and consent. In ordinary ones it goes direct to its object, overpowers with violence, and strangles and exhausts often at a single feast.
The vampire is, apparently, subject, in certain situations, to special conditions. In the particular instance of which I have given you a relation, Mircalla seemed to be limited to a name which, if not her real one, should at least reproduce, without the omission or addition of a single letter, those, as we say, anagrammatically, which compose it. Carmilla did this ; so did Millarca.
My father related to the Baron Vordenburg, who remained with us for two or three weeks after the expulsion of Carmilla, the story about the Moravian nobleman and the vampire at Karnstein churchyard, and then he asked the Baron how he had discovered the exact position of the long-concealed tomb of the Countess Millarca ? The Baron’s grotesque features puckered up into a mysterious smile ; he looked down, still smiling on his worn spectacle-case and fumbled with it. Then looking up, he said:
" I have many joumals, and other papers, written by that remarkable man ; the most curious among them is one treating of the visit of which you speak, to Karnstein. The tradition, of course, discolours and distons a little. He might have been termed a Moravian nobleman, for he had changed his abode to that territory, and was, beside, a noble. But he was, in truth, a native of Upper Styria. It is enough to say that in very early youth he had been a passionate and favoured lover of the beautiful Mircalla, Countess Karnstein. Her early death plunged him into inconsolable grief. It is the nature of vampires to increase and multiply, but according to an ascertained and ghostly law.
Assume, at starting, a territory perfectly free from that pest. How does it begin, and how does it multiply itself ? I will tell you. A person, more or less wicked, puts an end to himself A suicide, under certain circumstances, becomes a vampire. That spectre visits living people in their slumbers ; they die, and almost invariably, in the grave, develop into vampires. This happened in the case of the beautiful Mircalla, who was haunted by one of those demons. My ancestors, Vordenburg, whose title I still bear, soon discovered this, and in the course of the studies to which he devoted himself, learned a great deal more. Among other things, he concluded that suspicion of vampirism would probably fall, sooner or later, upon the dead Countess, who in life had been his idol. He conceived a horror, be she what she might, of her remains being profaned by the outrage of a posthumous execution.
He has left a curious paper to prove that the vampire, on its expulsion from its amphibious existence, is projected into a far more horrible life ; and he resolved to save his once beloved Mircalla from this. He adopted the stratagem of a journey here, a pretended removal of her remains, and a real obliteration of her monument. When age had stolen upon him, and from the vale of years he looked back on the scenes he was leaving, he considered, in a different spirit, what he had done, and a horror took possession of him. He made the tracings and notes which have guided me to the very spot, and drew up a confession of the deception that he had practised. If he had intended any further action in this matter, death prevented him ; and the hand of a remote descendant has, too late for many, directed the pursuit to the lair of the beast. "
[ . . . ]
The following Spring my father took me on a tour through Italy. We remained away for more than a year. It was long before the terror of recent events subsided ; and to this hour the image of Carmilla returns to memory with ambiguous alternations – sometimes the playful, languid, beautiful girl ; sometimes the writhing fiend I saw in the ruined church ; and often from a reverie I have started, fancying I heard the light step of Carmilla at the drawing-room door.