"No, Bianca; his heart was ever a stranger to me--but he is my father, and I must not complain."

— Walpole, Horatio [Horace], fourth earl of Orford (1717-1797)

Place of Publication
Tho. Lownds in Fleet-Street
1765 [1764]
"No, Bianca; his heart was ever a stranger to me--but he is my father, and I must not complain."
Metaphor in Context
The young Princess wearied herself in conjectures on the flight of Isabella, and on the threats of Manfred to her mother. But what business could he have so urgent with the chaplain? said Matilda. Does he intend to have my brother's body interred privately in the chapel? Oh! Madam, said Bianca, now I guess. As you are become his heiress, he is impatient to have you married: He has always been raving for more sons; I warrant he is now impatient for grandsons. As sure as I live, Madam, I shall see you a bride at last--Good Madam, you won't cast off your faithful Bianca: You wont [Page 48] put Donna Rosara over me, now you are a great Princess. My poor Bianca, said Matilda, how fast your thoughts amble! I a great Princess! What hast thou seen in Manfred's behaviour since my brother's death that bespeaks any increase of tenderness to me? No, Bianca; his heart was ever a stranger to me--but he is my father, and I must not complain. Nay, if heaven shuts my father's heart against me, it overpays my little merit in the tenderness of my mother --O that dear mother! yes, Bianca, 'tis there I feel the rugged temper of Manfred. I can support his harshness to me with patience; but it wounds my soul when I am witness to his causeless severity towards her. Oh! Madam, said Bianca, all men use their wives so, when they are weary of them--and yet you congratulated me but now, said Matilda, when you fancied my father intended to dispose of me. I would have you a great Lady, replied Bianca, come what will. I do not wish to see you moped in a convent, as you would be if you had your [Page 49] will, and if my Lady, your mother, who knows that a bad husband is better than no husband at all, did not hinder you--bless me! what noise is that! St. Nicholas forgive me! I was but in jest. It is the wind, said Matilda, whistling through the battlements in the tower above: You have heard it a thousand times. Nay, saidBianca, there was no harm neither in what I said: It is no sin to talk of matrimony--and so, Madam, as I was saying; if my Lord Manfred should offer you a handsome young Prince for a bridegroom, you would drop him a curtsy, and tell him you had rather take the veil. Thank heaven! I am in no such danger, saidMatilda : You know how many proposals for me he has rejected--and you thank him, like a dutiful daughter, do you, Madam?--but come, Madam; suppose, to-morrow morning he was to send for you to the great council chamber, and there you should find at his elbow a lovely young Prince, with large black eyes, a smooth white forehead, and manly, curling [Page 50] locks like jet; in short, Madam, a young Hero resembling the picture of the good Alfonso in the gallery, which you sit and gaze at for hours together--do not speak lightly of that picture, interrupted Matilda sighing: I know the adoration with which I look at that picture is uncommon --but I am not in love with a coloured pannel. The character of that virtuous Prince, the veneration with which my mother has inspired me for his memory, the orisons which I know not why she has enjoined me to pour forth at his tomb, all have concurred to persuade me that some how or other my destiny is linked with something relating to him--Lord! Madam, how should that be? said Bianca: I have always heard that your family was no way related to his: And I am sure I cannot conceive why my Lady, the Princess, sends you in a cold morning or a damp evening to pray at his tomb: He is no Saint by the Almanack. If you must pray, why does not she bid you address yourself to our great St. Nicholas? I am sure he [Page 51] is the Saint I pray to for a husband. Perhaps my mind would be less affected, said Matilda, if my mother would explain her reasons to me: But it is the mystery she observes, that inspires me with this--I know not what to call it. As she never acts from caprice, I am sure there is some fatal secret at bottom--nay, I know there is: In her agony of grief for my brother's death she dropped some words that intimated as much --oh! dear Madam, cried Bianca, What were they? No; said Matilda, if a parent lets fall a word, and wishes it recalled, it is not for a child to utter it. What! was she sorry for what she had said? asked Bianca. --I am sure, Madam, you may trust me--with my own little secrets, when I have any, I may; saidMatilda ; but never with my mother's: A child ought to have no ears or eyes, but as a parent directs. Well! to be sure, Madam, you was born to be a saint, said Bianca, and there is no resisting one's vocation: You will end in a convent at last. But there is my Lady Isabella [Page 52] would not be so reserved to me: She will let me talk to her of young men; and when a handsome cavalier has come to the castle, she has owned to me that she wished your brotherConrad resembled him. Bianca, said the Princess, I do not allow you to mention my friend disrespectfully. Isabella is of a chearful disposition, but her soul is pure as virtue itself. She knows your idle babling humour, and perhaps has now and then encouraged it, to divert melancholy, and enliven the solitude in which my father keeps us--Blessed Mary! said Bianca starting, there it is again!--dear Madam, Do you hear nothing?--this castle is certainly haunted!--peace! said Matilda, and listen! I did think I heard a voice--but it must be fancy; your terrors, I suppose, have infected me. Indeed! indeed! Madam, said Bianca, half-weeping with agony, I am sure I heard a voice. Does any body lie in the chamber beneath? said the Princess. Nobody has dared to lie there, answeredBianca, since the great astrologer that was your [Page 53]brother's tutor, drowned himself. For certain, Madam, his ghost and the young Prince's are now met in the chamber below--for heaven's sake let us fly to your mother's apartment! I charge you not to stir; said Matilda. If they are spirits in pain, we may ease their sufferings by questioning them. They can mean no hurt to us, for we have not injured them--and if they should, shall we be more safe in one chamber than in another? Reach me my beads; we will say a prayer, and then speak to them. Oh! dear Lady, I would not speak to a ghost for the world; cried Bianca--as she said those words, they heard the casement of the little chamber below Matilda's open. They listened attentively, and in few minutes thought they heard a person sing, but could not distinguish the words. This can be no evil spirit; said the Princess in a low voice: It is undoubtedly one of the family --open the window, and we shall know the voice. I dare not indeed, Madam; saidBianca . Thou art a very fool; said Matilda, opening the window gently herself. The noise [Page 54] the Princess made was however heard by the person beneath, who stopped; and they concluded had heard the casement open. Is any body below? said the Princess: If there is, speak. Yes; said an unknown voice. Who is it? said Matilda. A stranger; replied the voice. What stranger? said she; and how didst thou come there at this unusual hour, when all the gates of the castle are locked? I am not here willingly: Answered the voice--but pardon me, Lady, if I have disturbed your rest: I knew not that I was overheard. Sleep had forsaken me: I left a restless couch, and came to waste the irksome hours with gazing on the fair approach of morning, impatient to be dismissed from this castle. Thy words and accents, saidMatilda, are of a melancholy cast: If thou art unhappy, I pity thee. If poverty afflicts thee, let me know it: I will mention thee to the Princess, whose beneficent soul ever melts for the distressed; and she will relieve thee. I am indeed unhappy, said the stranger; and I know what wealth is: But I do not complain of the [Page 55]lot which heaven has cast for me: I am young and healthy, and am not ashamed of owing my support to myself--yet think me not proud, or that I disdain your generous offers. I will remember you in my orisons, and will pray for blessings on your gracious self and your noble mistress--if I sigh, Lady, it is for others, not for myself. Now I have it, Madam; said Bianca, whispering the Princess. This is certainly the young peasant; and by my conscience he is in love--Well! this is a charming adventure! --do, Madam, let us sift him. He does not know you, but takes you for one of my LadyHippolita's women. Art thou not ashamed, Bianca! said the Princess: What right have we to pry into the secrets of this young man's heart? he seems virtuous and frank, and tells us he is unhappy: Are those circumstances that authorize us to make a property of him? how are we intitled to his confidence? Lord! Madam, how little you know of love! replied Bianca: Why lovers have no pleasure equal to [Page 56] talking of their mistress. And would you haveme become a peasant's confident? said the Princess. Well then, let me talk to him: Said Bianca: Though I have the honour of being your Highness's maid of honour, I was not always so great: Besides, if love levels ranks, it raises them too: I have a respect for any young man in love--peace! simpleton; said the Princess. Though he said he was unhappy, it does not follow that he must be in love. Think of all that has happened to-day, and tell me if there are no misfortunes but what love causes. Stranger, resumed the Princess, if thy misfortunes have not been occasioned by thy own fault, and are within the compass of the Princess Hippolita's power to redress, I will take upon me to answer that she will be thy protectress. When thou art dismissed from this castle, repair to holy fatherJerome at the convent adjoining to the church of St. Nicholas, and make thy story known to him, as far as thou thinkest meet: He will not fail to inform the Princess, who is [Page 57] the mother of all that want her assistance. Farewell: It is not seemly for me to hold farther converse with a man at this unwonted hour. May the Saints guard thee, gracious Lady! replied the peasant--but oh! if a poor and worthless stranger might presume to beg a minute's audience farther--am I so happy?--the easement is not shut--might I venture to ask--speak quickly; said Matilda; the morning dawns a pace: Should the labourers come into the fields and perceive us--What wouldst thou ask? --I know not how--I know not if I dare--said the young stranger faltering--yet the humanity with which you have spoken to me emboldens --Lady! dare I trust you? --Heavens! saidMatilda, What dost thou mean? with what wouldst thou trust me?--speak boldly, if thy secret is fit to be entrusted to a virtuous breast --I would ask, said the Peasant, recollecting himself, whether what I have heard from the domestics is true, that the Princess is missing from the castle? What imports it to thee to [Page 58] know? replied Matilda. Thy first words bespoke a prudent and becoming gravity. Dost thou come hither to pry into the secrets of Manfred? --Adieu. I have been mistaken in thee. Saying these words, she shut the casement hastily, without giving the young man time to reply. I had acted more wisely, said the Princess toBianca with some sharpness, if I had let thee converse with this peasant: His inquisitiveness seems of a piece with thy own. It is not fit for me to argue with your Highness, replied Bianca; but perhaps the questions I should have put to him, would have been more to the purpose, than those you have been pleased to ask him. Oh! no doubt; said Matilda; you are a very discreet personage! may I know whatyou would have asked him? A by-stander often sees more of the game than those that play: answered Bianca. Does your Highness think, Madam, that his question about my Lady Isabella was the result of mere curiosity? No, no, Madam; there is more in it than you great [Page 59] folks are aware of. Lopez told me that all the servants believe this young fellow contrived my Lady Isabella's escape--now, pray, Madam, observe--you and I both know that my LadyIsabella never much fancied the Prince your brother --Well! he is killed just in the critical minute--I accuse nobody. A helmet falls from the moon--so, my Lord, your father says; butLopez and all the servants say that this young spark is a magician, and stole it from Alfonso's tomb--have done with this rhapsody of impertinence, said Matilda. Nay, Madam, as you please; cried Bianca--yet it is very particular tho', that my Lady Isabella should be missing the very same day, and that this young sorcerer should be found at the mouth of the trap-door --I accuse nobody--but if my young Lord came honestly by his death--Dare not on thy duty, said Matilda, to breathe a suspicion on the purity of my dear Isabella's fame--purity, or not purity, said Bianca, gone she is--a stranger is found that nobody knows: You question him [Page 60] yourself: He tells you he is in love, or unhappy, it is the same thing--nay; he owned he was unhappy about others; and is any body unhappy about another, unless they are in love with them? and at the very next word, he asks innocently, poor soul! if my Lady Isabella is missing--to be sure, said Matilda, thy observations are not totally without foundation-- Isabella's flight amazes me: The curiosity of this stranger is very particular--yet Isabella never concealed a thought from me--so she told you, said Bianca, to fish out your secrets--but who knows, Madam, but this stranger may be some Prince in disguise?--do, Madam, let me open the window, and ask him a few questions. No, replied, Matilda, I will ask him myself, if he knows aught of Isabella: He is not worthy that I should converse farther with him. She was going to open the casement, when they heard the bell ring at the postern-gate of the castle, which is on the right-hand of the tower, where [Page 61] Matilda lay. This prevented the Princess from renewing the conversation with the stranger.
Searching "stranger" and "heart" in HDIS (Prose Fiction)
Twenty entries in the ESTC (1764, 1765, 1766, 1769, 1770, 1781, 1782, 1786, 1790, 1791, 1792, 1793, 1794, 1795, 1796, 1797, 1800).

Second edition of 1765 subtitled "A Gothic Story." Third edition in 1766; sixth edition by Dodsley in 1791. Several new editions in 1790s. See first edition: The Castle of Otranto, a Story. Translated by William Marshal, Gent. from the original Italian of Onuphrio Muralto (London: Tho. Lownds, 1764). <Link to ECCO>

Reading Horace Walpole, The Castle of Otranto: A Gothic Story. World's Classics Paperback, ed. W. S. Lewis (Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 1982).
Date of Entry

The Mind is a Metaphor is authored by Brad Pasanek, Assistant Professor of English, University of Virginia.