“He’s not mad.”
“Hold, sir! The quarrel shall be mine. In the name of my persecuted sister—in the name of Heaven. Sir Francis Varney, I defy you.”
Sir Francis, in spite of his impenetrable calmness, appeared somewhat moved, as he said,—
“I have already endured insult sufficient—I will endure no more. If there are weapons at hand—”
“My young friend,” interrupted Mr. Marchdale, stepping between the excited men, “is carried away by his feelings, and knows not what he says. You will look upon it in that light, Sir Francis.”
“We need no interference,” exclaimed Varney, his hitherto bland voice changing to one of fury. “The hot blooded fool wishes to fight, and he shall—to the death—to the death.”
“And I say he shall not,” exclaimed Mr. Marchdale, taking Henry by the arm. “George,” he added, turning to the young man, “assist me in persuading your brother to leave the room. Conceive the agony of your sister and mother if anything should happen to him.”
Varney smiled with a devilish sneer, as he listened to these words, and then he said,—
“As you will—as you will. There will be plenty of time, and perhaps better opportunity, gentlemen. I bid you good day.”
And with provoking coolness, he then moved towards the door, and quitted the room.
“Remain here,” said Marchdale; “I will follow him, and see that he quits the premises.”
He did so, and the young men, from the window, beheld Sir Francis walking slowly across the garden, and then saw Mr. Marchdale follow on his track.
While they were thus occupied, a tremendous ringing came at the gate, but their attention was so rivetted to what was passing in the garden, that they paid not the least attention to it.
THE ADMIRAL’S ADVICE.—THE CHALLENGE TO THE VAMPYRE.—THE NEW SERVANT AT THE HALL.
The violent ringing of the bell continued uninterruptedly until at length George volunteered to answer it. The fact was, that now there was no servant at all in the place for, after the one who had recently demanded of Henry her dismissal had left, the other was terrified to remain alone, and had precipitately gone from the house, without even going through the ceremony of announcing her intention to. To be sure, she sent a boy for her money afterwards, which may be considered a great act of condescension.
Suspecting, then, this state of things, George himself hastened to the gate, and, being not over well pleased at the continuous and unnecessary ringing which was kept up at it, he opened it quickly, and cried, with more impatience, by a vast amount, than was usual with him.
“Who is so impatient that he cannot wait a seasonable time for the door to be opened?”