I am surely in the toils. Last night the
Count asked me in the suavest tones to write three letters, one saying that my
work here was nearly done, and that I should start for home within a few days,
another that I was starting on the next morning from the time of the letter, and
the third that I had left the castle and arrived at Bistritz. I would fain have
rebelled, but felt that in the present state of things it would be madness to
quarrel openly with the Count whilst I am so absolutely in his power. And to refuse
would be to excite his suspicion and to arouse his anger. He knows that I know
too much, and that I must not live, lest I be dangerous to him. My only chance
is to prolong my opportunities. Something may occur which will give me a chance
to escape. I saw in his eyes something of that gathering wrath which was manifest
when he hurled that fair woman from him. He explained to me that posts were few
and uncertain, and that my writing now would ensure ease of mind to my friends.
And he assured me with so much impressiveness that he would countermand the later
letters, which would be held over at Bistritz until due time in case chance would
admit of my prolonging my stay, that to oppose him would have been to create new
suspicion. I therefore pretended to fall in with his views, and asked him what
dates I should put on the letters.
He calculated a minute, and then said,
"The first should be June 12, the second June 19, and the third June 29."
know now the span of my life. God help me!