“So he can.”
“His manners are easy and polished; he has evidently mixed in good society, and I never, in all my life, heard such a sweet, soft, winning voice.”
“That is strictly him. You noticed, I presume, his great likeness to the portrait on the panel?”
“I did. At some moments, and viewing his face in some particular lights, it showed much more strongly than at others. My impression was that he could, when he liked, look much more like the portrait on the panel than when he allowed his face to assume its ordinary appearance.”
“Probably such an impression would be produced upon your mind,” said Charles, “by some accidental expression of the countenance which even he was not aware of, and which often occurs in families.”
“It may be so.”
“Of course you did not hint, sir, at what has passed here with regard to him?” said Henry.
“I did not. Being, you see, called in professionally, I had no right to take advantage of that circumstance to make any remarks to him about his private affairs.”
“It was all one to me whether he was a vampyre or not, professionally, and however deeply I might feel, personally, interested in the matter, I said nothing to him about it, because, you see, if I had, he would have had a fair opportunity of saying at once, ’Pray, sir, what is that to you?’ and I should have been at a loss what to reply.”
“Can we doubt,” said Henry, “but that this very wound has been inflicted upon Sir Francis Varney, by the pistol-bullet which was discharged at him by Flora?”
“Everything leads to such an assumption certainly,” said Charles Holland.
“And yet you cannot even deduce from that the absolute fact of Sir Francis Varney being a vampyre?”
“I do not think, Mr. Chillingworth,” said Marchdale, “anything would convince you but a visit from him, and an actual attempt to fasten upon some of your own veins.”
“That would not convince me,” said Chillingworth.
“Then you will not be convinced?”
“I certainly will not. I mean to hold out to the last. I said at the first, and I say so still, that I never will give way to this most outrageous superstition.”
“I wish I could think with you,” said Marchdale, with a shudder; “but there may be something in the very atmosphere of this house which has been rendered hideous by the awful visits that have been made to it, which forbids me to disbelieve in those things which others more happily situated can hold at arm’s length, and utterly repudiate.”
“There may be,” said Henry; “but as to that, I think, after the very strongly expressed wish of Flora, I will decide upon leaving the house.”
“Will you sell it or let it?”
“The latter I should much prefer,” was the reply.
“But who will take it now, except Sir Francis Varney? Why not at once let him have it? I am well aware that this does sound odd advice, but remember, we are all the creatures of circumstances, and that, in some cases where we least like it, we must swim with the stream.”