She gazed at him for a moment in speechless affright, while he, throwing himself on his knee at the bed-side, besought her to fear nothing, and, having thrown down his sword, would have taken her hand, when the faculties, that terror had suspended, suddenly returned, and she sprung from the bed, in the dress, which surely a kind of prophetic apprehension had prevented her, on this night, from throwing aside.
Morano rose, followed her to the door, through which he had entered, and caught her hand, as she reached the top of the stair-case, but not before she had discovered, by the gleam of a lamp, another man half-way down the steps.She now screamed in despair, and, believing herself given up by Montoni, saw, indeed, no possibility of escape.
The Count, who still held her hand, led her back into the chamber.
'Why all this terror?' said he, in a tremulous voice. 'Hear me, Emily: I come not to alarm you; no, by Heaven! I love you too well--too well for my own peace.'
Emily looked at him for a moment, in fearful doubt.
'Then leave me, sir,' said she, 'leave me instantly.'
'Hear me, Emily,' resumed Morano, 'hear me! I love, and am in despair--yes--in despair. How can I gaze upon you, and know, that it is, perhaps, for the last time, without suffering all the phrensy of despair? But it shall not be so; you shall be mine, in spite of Montoni and all his villany.'
'In spite of Montoni!' cried Emily eagerly: 'what is it I hear?'
'You hear, that Montoni is a villain,' exclaimed Morano with vehemence,--'a villain who would have sold you to my love!--Who---'
'And is he less, who would have bought me?' said Emily, fixing on the Count an eye of calm contempt. 'Leave the room, sir, instantly,' she continued in a voice, trembling between joy and fear, 'or I will alarm the family, and you may receive that from Signor Montoni's vengeance, which I have vainly supplicated from his pity.' But Emily knew, that she was beyond the hearing of those, who might protect her.
The Lonely Alchemist