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The Pale Lady (Fantasy and Horror Classics)

The Pale Lady (Fantasy and Horror Classics)

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The Pale Lady (Fantasy and Horror Classics)

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Länge:
59 Seiten
57 Minuten
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Apr 16, 2013
ISBN:
9781447480198
Format:
Buch

Beschreibung

Alexandre Dumas was best-known for the D'Artagnan romances, including The Three Musketeers (1844) and The Count of Monte Cristo (1846). He is arguably France's most famous novelist. His fiction has been translated into almost a hundred languages, and has formed the basis for more than 200 motion pictures. 'The Pale Lady' is one of his most enduring short works.
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Apr 16, 2013
ISBN:
9781447480198
Format:
Buch

Über den Autor

Alexandre Dumas (July 24, 1802 – December 5, 1870) was a French writer, best known for his historical novels of  adventure. Many of his novels, including The Count of Monte Cristo, was originally serialized. He also wrote plays and magazine articles and was a prolific correspondent.


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The Pale Lady (Fantasy and Horror Classics) - Alexandre Dumas

The Pale Lady

ALEXANDRE DUMAS & PAUL BOCAGE

*  *  *

1

Among the Carpathians

I am a Pole by birth, a native of Sandomir, a land where legends become articles of faith, and where we believe in our family traditions as firmly as in the Gospel – perhaps more firmly. Not one of our castles but has its spectre, not one of our cottages but owns its familiar spirit. Among rich and poor alike, in castle and cot equally, the two principles of good and ill are acknowledged.

Sometimes the two are at variance and fight one against the other. Then are heard mysterious noises in passages, howls in old, half-ruined towers, shakings of walls – so terrible and appalling that cot and castle are both left desolate, while the inhabitants, whether peasants or nobles, fly to the nearest church to seek protection from holy cross or blessed relics, the only preservatives effectual against the demons that harass our homes.

Moreover in the same land two still more terrible principles, principles still more fierce and implacable, are face to face – to wit, tyranny and freedom.

In the year 1825 broke out between Russia and Poland one of those death struggles that seem bound to drain the life-blood of a people to its last drop, as the blood of a particular family is often exhausted.

My father and two brothers had risen in revolt against the new Czar, and had gone forth to range themselves beneath the flag of Polish independence, so often torn down, so often raised again.

One day I learnt that my younger brother had been killed; another day I was told that my elder brother was mortally wounded; lastly, after a long 24 hours during which I listened with terror to the booming of the cannon coming constantly nearer and nearer, I beheld my father ride in with a hundred horsemen – all that was left of three thousand men under his command. He came to shut himself up in our castle, resolved, if need be, to perish buried beneath its ruins.

Fearless for himself, my father trembled at the fate that threatened me. For him death was the only penalty, for he was firmly resolved never to fall alive into the hands of his enemies: but for me slavery, dishonour, shame might be in store.

From among the hundred men left him my father chose ten, summoned the Intendent of the Estate, handed him all the gold and jewels we possessed, and remembering how, at the date of the second partition of Poland, my mother, then scarcely a child, had found unassailable refuge in the Monastery of Sahastru, situated in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains, bade him conduct me thither. The cloister which had sheltered the mother would doubtless be no less hospitable to the daughter.

Our farewells were brief, notwithstanding the fond love my father bore me. By tomorrow in all likelihood the Russians would be within sight of the castle, so that there was not a moment to lose. Hurriedly I donned a riding-habit which I was in the habit of wearing when following the hounds with my brothers. The most trusty mount in the stables was saddled for me, my father slipped his own pistols, masterpieces of the Toula gunsmiths’ art, into my holsters, kissed me and gave the order to start.

That night and next day we covered a score of leagues, riding up the banks of one of the nameless rivers that flow from the hills to join the Vistula. This forced march to begin with had carried us completely out of the reach of our Russian foes.

The last rays of the setting sun showed us the snowy summits of the Carpathians gleaming through the dusk. Towards the close of next day we arrived at their base, and eventually during the forenoon of the third day we found ourselves winding along a mountain gorge.

Our Carpathian hills differ widely from Western ranges, which are civilised in comparison. All that nature has to show of strange and wild and grand is seen in its completest majesty. Their storm-beaten peaks are lost in the clouds and shrouded in eternal snow; their boundless fir-woods bend over the burnished mirror of lakes that are more like seas, crystal clear waters which no keel has ever furrowed, no fisherman’s net ever disturbed.

The human voice is seldom heard in these regions, and then only to raise some rude

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