“God help us all. It is not human. Look there—look there—do you not see it?”
They looked in the direction he indicated. At the end of this vista was the wall of the garden. At that point it was full twelve feet in height, and as they looked, they saw the hideous, monstrous form they had traced from the chamber of their sister, making frantic efforts to clear the obstacle.
Then they saw it bound from the ground to the top of the wall, which it very nearly reached, and then each time it fell back again into the garden with such a dull, heavy sound, that the earth seemed to shake again with the concussion. They trembled—well indeed they might, and for some minutes they watched the figure making its fruitless efforts to leave the place.
“What—what is it?” whispered Henry, in hoarse accents. “God, what can it possibly be?”
“I know not,” replied Mr. Marchdale. “I did seize it. It was cold and clammy like a corpse. It cannot be human.”
“Look at it now. It will surely escape now.”
“No, no—we will not be terrified thus—there is Heaven above us. Come on, and, for dear Flora’s sake, let us make an effort yet to seize this bold intruder.”
“Take this pistol,” said Marchdale. “It is the fellow of the one I fired. Try its efficacy.”
“He will be gone,” exclaimed Henry, as at this moment, after many repeated attempts and fearful falls, the figure reached the top of the wall, and then hung by its long arms a moment or two, previous to dragging itself completely up.
The idea of the appearance, be it what it might, entirely escaping, seemed to nerve again Mr. Marchdale, and he, as well as the two young men, ran forward towards the wall. They got so close to the figure before it sprang down on the outer side of the wall, that to miss killing it with the bullet from the pistol was a matter of utter impossibility, unless wilfully.
Henry had the weapon, and he pointed it full at the tall form with a steady aim. He pulled the trigger—the explosion followed, and that the bullet did its office there could be no manner of doubt, for the figure gave a howling shriek, and fell headlong from the wall on the outside.
“I have shot him,” cried Henry, “I have shot him.”
The disappearance of the body.—Flora’s recovery and madness.—The offer of assistance from sir Francis Varney.
“He is human!” cried Henry; “I have surely killed him.”
“It would seem so,” said Mr. Marchdale. “Let us now hurry round to the outside of the wall, and see where he lies.”
This was at once agreed to, and the whole three of them made what expedition they could towards a gate which led into a paddock, across which they hurried, and soon found themselves clear of the garden wall, so that they could make way towards where they fully expected to find the body of him who had worn so unearthly an aspect, but who it would be an excessive relief to find was human.