“Ay, ay, sir.”
“And she might herself actually, when after death she became a vampyre, come and feed on her own children.”
“Become a vampyre! What, is she going to be a vampyre too?”
“My dear sir, don’t you know that it is a remarkable fact, as regards the physiology of vampyres, that whoever is bitten by one of those dreadful beings, becomes a vampyre?”
“It is a fact, sir.”
“Whew!” whistled Jack; “she might bite us all, and we should be a whole ship’s crew o’ wamphighers. There would be a confounded go!”
“It’s not pleasant,” said the admiral, as he rose from his chair, and paced to and fro in the room, “it’s not pleasant. Hang me up at my own yard-arm if it is.”
“Who said it was?” cried Jack.
“Who asked you, you brute?”
“Well, sir,” added Mr. Crinkles, “I have given you all the information I can; and I can only repeat what I before had the honour of saying more at large, namely, that I am your humble servant to command, and that I shall be happy to attend upon you at any time.”
“Thank ye—thank ye, Mr.—a—a—”
“Ah, Crinkles. You shall hear from me again, sir, shortly. Now that I am down here, I will see to the very bottom of this affair, were it deeper than fathom ever sounded. Charles Holland was my poor sister’s son; he’s the only relative I have in the wide world, and his happiness is dearer to my heart than my own.”
Crinkles turned aside, and, by the twinkle of his eyes, one might premise that the honest little lawyer was much affected.
“God bless you, sir,” he said; “farewell.”
“Good day to you.”
“Good-bye, lawyer,” cried Jack. “Mind how you go. D—n me, if you don’t seem a decent sort of fellow, and, after all, you may give the devil a clear berth, and get into heaven’s straits with a flowing sheet, provided as you don’t, towards the end of the voyage, make any lubberly blunders.”
The old admiral threw himself into a chair with a deep sigh.
“Jack,” said he.
“Aye, aye, sir.”
“What’s to be done now?”
Jack opened the window to discharge the superfluous moisture from an enormous quid he had indulged himself with while the lawyer was telling about the vampyre, and then again turning his face towards his master, he said,—
“Do! What shall we do? Why, go at once and find out Charles, our nevy, and ask him all about it, and see the young lady, too, and lay hold o’ the wamphigher if we can, as well, and go at the whole affair broadside to broadside, till we make a prize of all the particulars, after which we can turn it over in our minds agin, and see what’s to be done.”
“Jack, you are right. Come along.”
“I knows I am. Do you know now which way to steer?”
“Of course not. I never was in this latitude before, and the channel looks intricate. We will hail a pilot, Jack, and then we shall be all right, and if we strike it will be his fault.”