Story within a Story; or Matilda's Woes
Oh! thou – whomsoever thou mayst be, into whose hands these memoirs of the wretched Matilda many fall, -- Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey, Volume II, chapter v
In Henry's story, Catherine never finished reading Matilda's manuscript, but did anyone ever wonder what happened to the wretched Matilda?
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Oh! thou – whomsoever thou mayst be, into whose hands these memoirs of the wretched Matilda may fall, read, read these writings and pity me.
Oh! what shall I do! Here in this chamber there is nothing I can do, no one to help me! I was brought into this abandoned abbey by those men – alas! I believe them to be assassins. I was walking in the surrounding woods yesterday morning when they found me, and brought me here by force. I've been here two days. I have no one to miss me, no one to save me. Ah! If only –
(Here several pages of the manuscript becomes illegible)
On this, my second morning here I found the instruments for writing in a cabinet in this room, and decided to make a record of my time here. I know not why I am kept here, the men would not answer my questions. I feel a mystery surrounding me. I have no way of communicating with the outside world. I fear I may have to end my day in this dismal place.
Oh! horrors! I was looking into the contents of a large chest placed in the corner of the room. And there, inside, was a dagger, with dried blood on it. What horrors have been committed in this place! What fate awaits me! -- I cannot even bear to think.
Again and again I ask myself: Why am I thus confined? I have harmed no one! Shall I ever be released? Shall I ever find rest? I offer my prayers to God every day and night. Writing and praying are the only consolations I now have in this solitude and misery. Sometimes I look out of the casement, hoping nature would help to support my afflicted soul, but in vain.
Another day, another night passed. My sufferings only increased. Soon I shall be gone for ever!
(the manuscript again becomes illegible, several more pages are lost to the reader)
I am writing at midnight. I have just learnt my fate. In a day or two I will be no more. That is what one of the man came to tell me. I am in despair, and yet I recommend myself to God.
More time passed. This could be the last day I have on earth. I have no hope, there is no chance of anyone coming to rescue me. --
What is that! I hear a noise! Alas! It is they! They are coming to decide my fate. Oh! is this the end! I --
(Here the manuscript ended)