12 May, Later
I endorse the last words written,
but this time there is no doubt in question. I shall not fear to sleep in any
place where he is not. I have placed the crucifix over the head of my bed, I imagine
that my rest is thus freer from dreams, and there it shall remain.
he left me I went to my room. After a little while, not hearing any sound, I came
out and went up the stone stair to where I could look out towards the South. There
was some sense of freedom in the vast expanse, inaccessible though it was to me,
as compared with the narrow darkness of the courtyard. Looking out on this, I
felt that I was indeed in prison, and I seemed to want a breath of fresh air,
though it were of the night. I am beginning to feel this nocturnal existence tell
on me. It is destroying my nerve. I start at my own shadow, and am full of all
sorts of horrible imaginings. God knows that there is ground for my terrible fear
in this accursed place! I looked out over the beautiful expanse, bathed in soft
yellow moonlight till it was almost as light as day. In the soft light the distant
hills became melted, and the shadows in the valleys and gorges of velvety blackness.
The mere beauty seemed to cheer me. There was peace and comfort in every breath
I drew. As I leaned from the window my eye was caught by something moving a storey
below me, and somewhat to my left, where I imagined, from the order of the rooms,
that the windows of the Count's own room would look out. The window at which I
stood was tall and deep, stone-mullioned, and though weatherworn, was still complete.
But it was evidently many a day since the case had been there. I drew back behind
the stonework, and looked carefully out.
What I saw was the Count's head
coming out from the window. I did not see the face, but I knew the man by the
neck and the movement of his back and arms. In any case I could not mistake the
hands which I had had some many opportunities of studying. I was at first interested
and somewhat amused, for it is wonderful how small a matter will interest and
amuse a man when he is a prisoner. But my very feelings changed to repulsion and
terror when I saw the whole man slowly emerge from the window and begin to crawl
down the castle wall over the dreadful abyss, face down with his cloak spreading
out around him like great wings. At first I could not believe my eyes. I thought
it was some trick of the moonlight, some weird effect of shadow, but I kept looking,
and it could be no delusion. I saw the fingers and toes grasp the corners of the
stones, worn clear of the mortar by the stress of years, and by thus using every
projection and inequality move downwards with considerable speed, just as a lizard
moves along a wall.
What manner of man is this, or what manner of creature,
is it in the semblance of man? I feel the dread of this horrible place overpowering
me. I am in fear, in awful fear, and there is no escape for me. I am encompassed
about with terrors that I dare not think of.