Carmilla

by

Sheridan Le Fanu

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Carmilla: Chapter 12 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The girl’s mother, “Madame la Comtesse” continued to insist that they were older and better friends than the General realized. She claimed she would visit his schloss in three weeks time and reveal herself. However, in the meantime, she asked that her daughter be allowed to stay with the General and Bertha as she was still weak from a hunting accident. Meanwhile, she said she must undertake a journey of life and death that she would be able to explain when she returned. At the same time, Bertha appeared and asked if the girl called Millarca could come and visit them. While the General typically would have waited until he knew more about them, in that moment he was also taken with the beauty and elegance of the young girl and he easily agreed to the request.
The General, with hindsight, admits that he should have waited to learn more about the girl and her mother before offering to watch over the girl while her mother was away. However, even he was persuaded by her beauty and charm, as well as the elegance of her wealth, to allow her to live with them. It was also his desire to satisfy his niece’s wish for companionship, out of love for his family. 
Themes
Love and Lust Theme Icon
Class and Class Warfare Theme Icon
Related Quotes
The girl’s mother informed her that she would be leaving her in the General’s care. She then instructed him not to try to learn anything more about her or her daughter. She kissed her daughter goodbye and then departed. The girl appeared sad to see her mother go, and the General immediately felt guilty that he had been skeptical of allowing her to stay with them. He subconsciously vowed to make it up to her.  
The General and Bertha (as well as Laura and her father) are completely deceived by Carmilla’s beauty and false appearance of innocence. They are unable to discern her true malicious and deadly intentions.
Themes
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
After watching the girl’s mother disappear, they rejoined the party, and Millarca entertained them with stories of the other guests. The party lasted until the morning, and as Bertha and the General walked through the room they noticed that Millarca had disappeared. He searched for her but was unable to find her. In that moment, the General once more realized how foolish it was to have agreed to watch a girl he knew nothing about. 
The General continues to switch back and forth about whether or not he should trust Millarca, but he understands that Bertha already cares deeply for the girl, and he thinks only of his love for his niece.
Themes
Love and Lust Theme Icon
He kept searching until the afternoon. Around two o’ clock a servant told Bertha that she had been summoned by a young lady who was searching for her and the General Spielsdorf. They were relieved to see Millarca, who told them she had fallen asleep in the housekeeper’s bedroom while searching for them. She returned home with them and, despite his reservations, the General was happy to have found a companion for his niece.
Again, it’s emphasized that it was the General’s love for his niece that led him to take Millarca in. Although he is, unlike Carmilla, driven by an honest love for the girl he sees as a daughter, his blind need to make her happy ends up putting her in extreme danger and ultimately bringing about her death.
Themes
Loss of Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Lust Theme Icon
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