How awkward is dinner that night? "Betrayed by the very persons, to whose comfort she had so long administered, whom she had loved as her protectors, and revered as her parents!" But Adeline puts on her bravest face and gets through it without revealing her outraged feelings or her intention to flee the abbey. La Motte on the other hand is a visible nerve-wreck, his wine-boosted cheer the frantic "mirth of desperation. Madame became alarmed, and would have restrained him, but he persisted in his libations to Bacchus till reflection seemed to be almost overcome."

After sunset, Adeline slips from her chamber and seeks the pathway to the tomb. The night is dark and atmospheric. For the first time in the novel bats come out, "gamboling in the twilight" which deepens all around. Apprehension gives way to terror at the approach of a mounted party--the Marquis and his men, on their way to claim Adeline from La Motte. Evading them, she makes it to the tomb and hides herself in its deepest recess. "The state of her mind can only be imagined, by considering that upon the present time turned the crisis of her fate. 'They have now,' thought she, 'discovered my flight; even now they are seeking me in every part of the abbey. I hear their dreadful voices call me; I see their eager looks.' " At the end of a long and clammy wait, Adeline is greeted by hoofbeats, and then, from up close, three strokes of a whip. The strokes are repeated, and Adeline is moved to call out Peter's name "for the deep gloom would not permit her to distinguish either man or horse. She was quickly answered, 'Hush! Ma'amselle, our voices will betray us,' " and so she mounts behind the rider--even though the signal prearranged was not three whipcracks but three knocks upon the tomb.

Sure enough, some distance later: " 'Oh! Heavens!,' interrupted Adeline, 'What voice is this? It is not Peter's!' " Her attempts to leap from the horse are in vain. The rider binds her to his saddle, and bears her at an all-night gallop past the borders of the forest. Finally they reach "a high lonely wall which Adeline could just distinguish in the moon-light, which now streamed through the parting clouds." And into this wall a small door is set, begging the age-old question:

Midnight, one more night without sleeping
Watching till the morning comes creeping
Small door, what's that secret you're keeping?

(Hudson Bay Music/BMI)


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