Time will show who it was who lay in that unwholesome dungeon, as well as who were they who visited him so mysteriously, and retired again with feelings of such evident disappointment with the document it seemed of such importance, at least to one of them, to get that unconscious man to sign.
THE VISIT OF FLORA TO THE VAMPYRE.—THE OFFER.—THE SOLEMN ASSEVERATION.
Admiral Bell had, of course, nothing particular to communicate to Flora in the walk he induced her to take with him in the gardens of Bannerworth Hall, but he could talk to her upon a subject which was sure to be a welcome one, namely, of Charles Holland.
And not only could he talk to her of Charles, but he was willing to talk of him in the style of enthusiastic commendation which assimilated best with her own feelings. No one but the honest old admiral, who was as violent in his likes and his dislikes as any one could possibly be, could just then have conversed with Flora Bannerworth to her satisfaction of Charles Holland.
He expressed no doubts whatever concerning Charles’s faith, and to his mind, now that he had got that opinion firmly fixed in his mind, everybody that held a contrary one he at once denounced as a fool or a rogue.
“Never you mind, Miss Flora,” he said; “you will find, I dare say, that all will come right eventually. D—n me! the only thing that provokes me in the whole business is, that I should have been such an old fool as for a moment to doubt Charles.”
“You should have known him better, sir.”
“I should, my dear, but I was taken by surprise, you see, and that was wrong, too, for a man who has held a responsible command.”
“But the circumstances, dear sir, were of a nature to take every one by surprise.”
“They were, they were. But now, candidly speaking, and I know I can speak candidly to you; do you really think this Varney is the vampyre?”
“You do? Well, then, somebody must tackle him, that’s quite clear; we can’t put up with his fancies always.”
“What can be done?”
“Ah, that I don’t know, but something must be done, you know. He wants this place; Heaven only knows why or wherefore he has taken such a fancy to it; but he has done so, that is quite clear. If it had a good sea view, I should not be so much surprised; but there’s nothing of the sort, so it’s no way at all better than any other shore-going stupid sort of house, that you can see nothing but land from.”
“Oh, if my brother would but make some compromise with him to restore Charles to us and take the house, we might yet be happy.”
“D—n it! then you still think that he has a hand in spiriting away Charles?”
“Who else could do so?”
“I’ll be hanged if I know. I do feel tolerably sure, and I have good deal of reliance upon your opinion, my dear; I say, I do feel tolerably sure: but, if I was d——d sure, now, I’d soon have it out of him.”