The General has changed drastically since Laura has last seen him, about ten months ago. He appears thinner and more stern, changes that don’t seem to be the result of typical grief, but something much darker and angrier. As they continue on their journey, he begins to tell Laura, her father, and Madame Perrodon about the death of his niece Bertha. Laura’s father asks him to recount the story of her death, and he agrees, although he claims Laura’s father will not believe him because he is too set in his own beliefs and prejudices. While the General himself was once like Laura’s father, he has experienced something incredible that has forced him to abandon his stubbornness and accept the existence of the supernatural.
The General begins to tell his story of the death of his niece, an event that greatly transformed him. He calls Laura’s father out on his prejudice and stubbornness, his inability to accept any truth other than what he is comfortable with. Although he scolds Laura’s father, he was also once exactly like him, believing in science and the natural world until it was too late. In recounting his story, he can serve as a warning to Laura’s father to accept the truth.
The General says he is also traveling to the Ruins of Karnstein to inspect an object that is located there. He hopes to undertake a sacrifice that will cleanse the earth of certain monsters and bring safety to the people. This intrigues Laura’s father, who notes that the house of Karnstein has been extinct for years, and the village is deserted. The General says he is right, but that there is more to the story, which he will relate to them in the order the events occurred.
The General demonstrates just how much he’s changed following the death of his niece. His only goal is to get revenge for Bertha’s death, and to get rid of the monster that hurt her. His words show his new-found belief in the supernatural, although he does not yet say exactly what he is hunting.
The General begins to tear up about the death of Bertha, for whom he cared as if she were his own child, himself having no children of his own. Since her death, he has lost the thing that brought light into his life, and all he has left to live for is to enact revenge on the monster that killed her. Laura’s father asks to hear the story from the beginning before they reach the ruins.
The General is driven by his love for his niece, whom he cared for as if she were his own child. This love, in contrast to the so-called “love” Carmilla claimed to feel, is the honest and true love between family, free from any sort of dangerous (specifically female) sexuality.