That face was one never to be forgotten. It was hideously flushed with colour—the colour of fresh blood; the eyes had a savage and remarkable lustre; whereas, before, they had looked like polished tin—they now wore a ten times brighter aspect, and flashes of light seemed to dart from them. The mouth was open, as if, from the natural formation of the countenance, the lips receded much from the large canine looking teeth.
A strange howling noise came from the throat of this monstrous figure, and it seemed upon the point of rushing upon Mr. Marchdale. Suddenly, then, as if some impulse had seized upon it, it uttered a wild and terrible shrieking kind of laugh; and then turning, dashed through the window, and in one instant disappeared from before the eyes of those who felt nearly annihilated by its fearful presence.
“God help us!” ejaculated Henry.
Mr. Marchdale drew a long breath, and then, giving a stamp on the floor, as if to recover himself from the state of agitation into which even he was thrown, he cried,—
“Be it what or who it may, I’ll follow it”
“No—no—do not,” cried the lady.
“I must, I will. Let who will come with me—I follow that dreadful form.”
As he spoke, he took the road it took, and dashed through the window into the balcony.
“And we, too, George,” exclaimed Henry; “we will follow Mr. Marchdale. This dreadful affair concerns us more nearly than it does him.”
The lady who was the mother of these young men, and of the beautiful girl who had been so awfully visited, screamed aloud, and implored of them to stay. But the voice of Mr. Marchdale was heard exclaiming aloud,—
“I see it—I see it; it makes for the wall.”
They hesitated no longer, but at once rushed into the balcony, and from thence dropped into the garden.
The mother approached the bed-side of the insensible, perhaps the murdered girl; she saw her, to all appearance, weltering in blood, and, overcome by her emotions, she fainted on the floor of the room.
When the two young men reached the garden, they found it much lighter than might have been fairly expected; for not only was the morning rapidly approaching, but the mill was still burning, and those mingled lights made almost every object plainly visible, except when deep shadows were thrown from some gigantic trees that had stood for centuries in that sweetly wooded spot. They heard the voice of Mr. Marchdale, as he cried,—
“There—there—towards the wall. There—there—God! how it bounds along.”
The young men hastily dashed through a thicket in the direction from whence his voice sounded, and then they found him looking wild and terrified, and with something in his hand which looked like a portion of clothing.
“Which way, which way?” they both cried in a breath.
He leant heavily on the arm of George, as he pointed along a vista of trees, and said in a low voice,—