Four Gothic Novels

By Horace Walpole; William Beckford et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII

ON my return, I found the following letter from my father:—

'My dear Victor,

'You have probably waited impatiently for a letter to fix the date of your return to us; and I was at first tempted to write only a few lines, merely mentioning the day on which I should expect you. But that would be a cruel kindness, and I dare not do it. What would be your surprise, my son, when you expected a happy and glad welcome, to behold, on the contrary, tears and wretchedness? And how, Victor, can I relate our misfortune? Absence cannot have rendered you callous to our joys and griefs; and how shall I inflict pain on my long absent son? I wish to prepare you for the woful news, but I know it is impossible; even now your eye skims over the page, to seek the words which are to convey to you the horrible tidings.

'William is dead!—that sweet child, whose smiles delighted and warmed my heart, who was so gentle, yet so gay! Victor, he is murdered!

'I will not attempt to console you; but will simply relate the circumstances of the transaction.

'Last Thursday (May 7th), I, my niece, and your two brothers, went to walk in Plainpalais. The evening was warm and serene, and we prolonged our walk farther than usual. It was already dusk before we thought of returning; and then we discovered that William and Ernest, who had gone on before, were not to be found. We accordingly rested on a seat until they should return. Presently Ernest came, and enquired if we had seen his brother: he said, that he had been playing with him, that William had run away to hide himself, and that he vainly sought for him, and afterwards waited for him a long time, but that he did not return.

'This account rather alarmed us, and we continued to search for him until night fell, when Elizabeth conjectured that he might have returned to the house. He was not there. We returned again, with torches; for I could not rest, when I thought that my sweet boy had lost himself, and was exposed to all the damps and dews of night; Elizabeth also suffered extreme anguish. About five in the morning I discovered my lovely boy, whom the night before I had seen blooming and active in health, stretched on the grass livid and motionless: the print of the murderer's finger was on his neck.

'He was conveyed home, and the anguish that was visible in my countenance betrayed the secret to Elizabeth. She was very earnest to see the corpse. At first I attempted to prevent her; but she persisted, and entering the room where it lay, hastily examined the neck of the victim, and clasping her hands exclaimed, "O God! I have murdered my darling child!"

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Four Gothic Novels
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Four Gothic Novels *
  • The Castle of Otranto *
  • Contents *
  • The Castle of Otranto *
  • A Chronology of Horace Walpole *
  • The Castle of Otranto, - A Story. *
  • Preface to the First Edition *
  • Preface to the Second Edition *
  • Sonnet - To the Right Honourable Lady Mary Coke *
  • The Castle of Otranto - A Gothic Story *
  • Chapter I *
  • Chapter II 31
  • Chapter III 44
  • Chapter IV 57
  • Chapter V 69
  • Vathek *
  • A Chronology of William Beckford *
  • Vathek *
  • The Monk *
  • A Chronology of Matthew Lewis *
  • The Monk - A Romance *
  • Preface *
  • Table of the Poetry *
  • Advertisement *
  • Volume I *
  • Chapter I *
  • Chapter II 186
  • Chapter III 220
  • Volume II *
  • Chapter I *
  • Chapter II 283
  • Chapter III 304
  • Chapter IV 325
  • Volume III *
  • Chapter I *
  • Chapter II 357
  • Chapter III *
  • Chapter IV 403
  • Chapter V 430
  • Frankenstein *
  • A Chronology of Mary Shelley *
  • Frankenstein - Or the Modern Prometheus *
  • Introduction - [1831] *
  • Preface - [1818] *
  • Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus *
  • Letter I *
  • Letter II 463
  • Letter III 466
  • Letter IV *
  • Chapter I 472
  • Chapter II 475
  • Chapter III 480
  • Chapter IV 485
  • Chapter V 490
  • Chapter VI 494
  • Chapter VII *
  • Chapter VIII *
  • Chapter IX *
  • Chapter X 517
  • Chapter XI 521
  • Chapter XII 527
  • Chapter XIII 531
  • Chapter XIV 535
  • Chapter XV *
  • Chapter XVI *
  • Chapter XVII 551
  • Chapter XVIII 554
  • Chapter XIX 560
  • Chapter XX 565
  • Chapter XXI 571
  • Chapter XXII 578
  • Chapter XXIII 585
  • Chapter XXIV 590
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