Varney the Vampire eBook

Thomas Peckett Prest
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 963 pages of information about Varney the Vampire.

A shriek burst from Flora’s lips—­a shriek so wild and shrill that it awakened echoes far and near.  Charles staggered back a step, as if shot, and then in such agonised accents as he was long indeed in banishing the remembrance of, she cried,—­

“The vampyre! the vampyre!”

CHAPTER XVII.

THE EXPLANATION.—­THE ARRIVAL OF THE ADMIRAL AT THE HOUSE.—­A SCENE OF CONFUSION, AND SOME OF ITS RESULTS.

[Illustration]

So sudden and so utterly unexpected a cry of alarm from Flora, at such a time might well have the effect of astounding the nerves of any one, and no wonder that Charles was for a few seconds absolutely petrified and almost unable to think.

Mechanically, then, he turned his eyes towards the door of the summer-house, and there he saw a tall, thin man, rather elegantly dressed, whose countenance certainly, in its wonderful resemblance to the portrait on the panel, might well appal any one.

The stranger stood in the irresolute attitude on the threshold of the summer-house of one who did not wish to intrude, but who found it as awkward, if not more so now, to retreat than to advance.

Before Charles Holland could summon any words to his aid, or think of freeing himself from the clinging grasp of Flora, which was wound around him, the stranger made a very low and courtly bow, after which he said, in winning accents,—­

“I very much fear that I am an intruder here.  Allow me to offer my warmest apologies, and to assure you, sir, and you, madam, that I had no idea any one was in the arbour.  You perceive the rain is falling smartly, and I made towards here, seeing it was likely to shelter me from the shower.”

These words were spoken in such a plausible and courtly tone of voice, that they might well have become any drawing-room in the kingdom.

Flora kept her eyes fixed upon him during the utterance of these words; and as she convulsively clutched the arm of Charles, she kept on whispering,—­

“The vampyre! the vampyre!”

“I much fear,” added the stranger, in the same bland tones, “that I have been the cause of some alarm to the young lady!”

“Release me,” whispered Charles to Flora.  “Release me; I will follow him at once.”

“No, no—­do not leave me—­do not leave me.  The vampyre—­the dreadful vampyre!”

“But, Flora—­”

“Hush—­hush—­hush!  It speaks again.”

“Perhaps I ought to account for my appearance in the garden at all,” added the insinuating stranger.  “The fact is, I came on a visit—­”

Flora shuddered.

“To Mr. Henry Bannerworth,” continued the stranger; “and finding the garden-gate open, I came in without troubling the servants, which I much regret, as I can perceive I have alarmed and annoyed the lady.  Madam, pray accept of my apologies.”

“In the name of God, who are you?” said Charles.

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Varney the Vampire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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