The Mysteries of Udolpho

The Mysteries of Udolpho, de Ann Radcliffe, sigue la vida de Emily. En estos párrafos se cuenta que el padre de Emily estaba enamorado de la tierra en que vivía, del paisaje. Gustaba caminar con su esposa e hija por los alrededores, escuchar la corriente del río y coleccionar las aves y plantas del lugar. El señor St. Aubert se daba cuenta que su hija era demasiado impresionable y soñadora y quería formar su carácter ya que era su única heredera. Al final algo de Gascuña

On the pleasant banks of the Garonne, in the province of Gascony, stood, in the year 1584, the chateau of Monsieur St. Aubert…
M. St. Aubert loved to wander, with his wife and daughter, on the margin of the Garonne, and to listen to the music that floated on its waves…
He was a descendant from the younger branch of an illustrious family, and it was designed, that the deficiency of his patrimonial wealth should be supplied either by a splendid alliance in marriage, or by success in the intrigues of public affairs. But St. Aubert had too nice a sense of honour to fulfil the latter hope, and too small a portion of ambition to sacrifice what he called happiness, to the attainment of wealth. After the death of his father he married a very amiable woman, his equal in birth, and not his superior in fortune…

He was sometimes accompanied in these little excursions by Madame St. Aubert, and frequently by his daughter; when, with a small osier basket to receive plants, and another filled with cold refreshments, such as the cabin of the shepherd did not afford, they wandered away among the most romantic and magnificent scenes, nor suffered the charms of Nature's lowly children to abstract them from the observance of her stupendous works…
Map of Gascony
Map of Gascony
Adjoining the eastern side of the green-house, looking towards the plains of Languedoc, was a room, which Emily called hers, and which contained her books, her drawings, her musical instruments, with some favourite birds and plants. Here she usually exercised herself in elegant arts, cultivated only because they were congenial to her taste, and in which native genius, assisted by the instructions of Monsieur and Madame St. Aubert, made her an early proficient. The windows of this room were particularly pleasant; they descended to the floor, and, opening upon the little lawn that surrounded the house, the eye was led between groves of almond, palm-trees, flowering-ash, and myrtle, to the distant landscape, where the Garonne wandered…
The first interruptions to the happiness he had known since his retirement, were occasioned by the death of his two sons. He lost them at that age when infantine simplicity is so fascinating; and though, in consideration of Madame St. Aubert's distress, he restrained the expression of his own, and endeavoured to bear it, as he meant, with philosophy, he had, in truth, no philosophy that could render him calm to such losses. One daughter was now his only surviving child; and, while he watched the unfolding of her infant character, with anxious fondness, he endeavoured, with unremitting effort, to counteract those traits in her disposition, which might hereafter lead her from happiness. She had discovered in her early years uncommon delicacy of mind, warm affections, and ready benevolence; but with these was observable a degree of susceptibility too exquisite to admit of lasting peace. As she advanced in youth, this sensibility gave a pensive tone to her spirits, and a softness to her manner, which added grace to beauty, and rendered her a very interesting object to persons of a congenial disposition. But St. Aubert had too much good sense to prefer a charm to a virtue; and had penetration enough to see, that this charm was too dangerous to its possessor to be allowed the character of a blessing. He endeavoured, therefore, to strengthen her mind; to enure her to habits of self-command; to teach her to reject the first impulse of her feelings, and to look, with cool examination, upon the disappointments he sometimes threw in her way. While he instructed her to resist first impressions, and to acquire that steady dignity of mind, that can alone counterbalance the passions, and bear us, as far as is compatible with our nature, above the reach of circumstances, he taught himself a lesson of fortitude; for he was often obliged to witness, with seeming indifference, the tears and struggles which his caution occasioned her… (The Mysteries of Udolpho, de Ann Radcliffe)

Para saber
Gascony: Gascuña es un area en el sudoeste de francia. La región es vagamente definida y la distinción entre Guyena y Gascuña es poco clara. La mayoría ubica a Gascuña al este y al sur de Bordeaux. Gascuña fue históricamente habitada por los vascos. Es la tierra de d´Artagnan que inspiró a Alejandro Dumas con su personaje d´Artagnan en Los Tres Mosqueteros. Gascuña también es el hogar de Enrique III de Navarra, quien luego sería rey de Francia como Enrique IV.

Artículos relacionados
El misterio de Udolfo, el resumen de la novela de misterio de Ann Radcliffe

De la web
Para escuchar la historia de Ann Radcliffe en Librivox: The Mysteries of Udolpho
¿Y qué tal una novela de vampiros? Carmilla, de Sheridan Le Fanu