Lair of the White Worm eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 205 pages of information about Lair of the White Worm.
fellow—­for a nigger; but is none the less dangerous or the less hateful for that.  The men in the ship told me that he was a collector:  some of them had seen his collections.  Such collections!  All that was potent for evil in bird or beast, or even in fish.  Beaks that could break and rend and tear—­all the birds represented were of a predatory kind.  Even the fishes are those which are born to destroy, to wound, to torture.  The collection, I assure you, was an object lesson in human malignity.  This being has enough evil in his face to frighten even a strong man.  It is little wonder that the sight of it put that poor girl into a dead faint!”

Nothing more could be done at the moment, so they separated.

Adam was up in the early morning and took a smart walk round the Brow.  As he was passing Diana’s Grove, he looked in on the short avenue of trees, and noticed the snakes killed on the previous morning by the mongoose.  They all lay in a row, straight and rigid, as if they had been placed by hands.  Their skins seemed damp and sticky, and they were covered all over with ants and other insects.  They looked loathsome, so after a glance, he passed on.

A little later, when his steps took him, naturally enough, past the entrance to Mercy Farm, he was passed by the negro, moving quickly under the trees wherever there was shadow.  Laid across one extended arm, looking like dirty towels across a rail, he had the horrid-looking snakes.  He did not seem to see Adam.  No one was to be seen at Mercy except a few workmen in the farmyard, so, after waiting on the chance of seeing Mimi, Adam began to go slowly home.

Once more he was passed on the way.  This time it was by Lady Arabella, walking hurriedly and so furiously angry that she did not recognise him, even to the extent of acknowledging his bow.

When Adam got back to Lesser Hill, he went to the coach-house where the box with the mongoose was kept, and took it with him, intending to finish at the Mound of Stone what he had begun the previous morning with regard to the extermination.  He found that the snakes were even more easily attacked than on the previous day; no less than six were killed in the first half-hour.  As no more appeared, he took it for granted that the morning’s work was over, and went towards home.  The mongoose had by this time become accustomed to him, and was willing to let himself be handled freely.  Adam lifted him up and put him on his shoulder and walked on.  Presently he saw a lady advancing towards him, and recognised Lady Arabella.

Hitherto the mongoose had been quiet, like a playful affectionate kitten; but when the two got close, Adam was horrified to see the mongoose, in a state of the wildest fury, with every hair standing on end, jump from his shoulder and run towards Lady Arabella.  It looked so furious and so intent on attack that he called a warning.

“Look out—­look out!  The animal is furious and means to attack.”

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Lair of the White Worm from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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