Just the one chapter this week and a fairly short review.
This chapter sees the journey to Italy begin and really very little in the way of character or plot development.
Emily is relegated to a second carriage rather than travelling with her Aunt in order to make room for Cavigni to ride with his friend. This does enable Valencourt to leap into the road and thrust a letter at her completely unseen, totally ridiculous of course to believe the maid travelling with her would not have noticed or the driver but we must suspend reality at times like this.
The only real character development we see if on a stop in the Italian Alps when Montoni and Cavigni discuss Hannibal, this gives us the opportunity to see that the two male characters do have a degree of learning between them although their discussion is purely academic. Emily also considers the same subject but from a more emotional angle imagining the feelings of the soldiers as the faced the perilous peaks. Finally Madame Cheron now Madame Montoni whose thoughts are engaged planning events to rival any of the courts of Europe believing now she has the title of wife she no longer need fear Montoni’s wandering eyes and believe his frugality displayed previously will be overcome by his desire to impress in his home town.
One rather impressive element of this chapter is the way in which Radcliffe avoids repetition, having through herself thoroughly into the Sublime and Picaresque during the previous trip through a mountain landscape she touches on it only briefly using Emily daydreaming of Valencourt superimposed from one landscape to the other, them moves on to briefly describe the Pastoral. She then hits upon the perfect way to describe these things without long descriptive passages by having Emily write poetry which she then interjects into the text.
For this week I leave them in the Alps and you with a taster of Emily’s poetic exploits
THE PIEDMONTESE Ah, merry swain, who laugh'd along the vales, And with your gay pipe made the mountains ring, Why leave your cot, your woods, and thymy gales, And friends belov'd, for aught that wealth can bring? He goes to wake o'er moon-light seas the string, Venetian gold his untaught fancy hails! Yet oft of home his simple carols sing, And his steps pause, as the last Alp he scales. Once more he turns to view his native scene-- Far, far below, as roll the clouds away, He spies his cabin 'mid the pine-tops green, The well-known woods, clear brook, and pastures gay; And thinks of friends and parents left behind, Of sylvan revels, dance, and festive song; And hears the faint reed swelling in the wind; And his sad sighs the distant notes prolong! Thus went the swain, till mountain-shadows fell, And dimm'd the landscape to his aching sight; And must he leave the vales he loves so well! Can foreign wealth, and shows, his heart delight? No, happy vales! your wild rocks still shall hear His pipe, light sounding on the morning breeze; Still shall he lead the flocks to streamlet clear, And watch at eve beneath the western trees. Away, Venetian gold--your charm is o'er! And now his swift step seeks the lowland bow'rs, Where, through the leaves, his cottage light ONCE MORE Guides him to happy friends, and jocund hours. Ah, merry swain! that laugh along the vales, And with your gay pipe make the mountains ring, Your cot, your woods, your thymy-scented gales-- And friends belov'd--more joy than wealth can bring!