“I wonder if he’ll come,” said Mr Marchdale to Henry. “After all, you know he may take to flight, and shun an encounter which, it is evident, he has entered into but tardily.”
“I hope not,” said Henry, “and yet I must own that your supposition has several times crossed my mind. If, however, he do not meet me, he never can appear at all in the country, and we should, at least, be rid of him, and all his troublesome importunities concerning the Hall. I would not allow that man, on any account, to cross the threshold of my house, as its tenant or its owner.”
“Why, it ain’t usual,” said the admiral, “to let ones house to two people at once, unless you seem quite to forget that I’ve taken yours. I may as well remind you of it”
“Hurra” said Jack Pringle, at this moment.
“What’s the matter with you? Who told you to hurra?”
“Enemy in the offing,” said Jack, “three or four pints to the sou-west.”
“So he is, by Jove! dodging about among the trees. Come, now, this vampyre’s a decenter fellow than I thought him. He means, after all, to let us have a pop at him”
They had now reached so close to the spot, that Sir Francis Varney, who, to all appearance, had been waiting, emerged from among the trees, rolled up in his dismal-looking cloak, and, if possible, looking longer and thinner than ever he had looked before.
His face wore a singular cadaverous looking aspect. His very lips were white and there was a curious, pinkish-looking circle round each of his eyes, that imparted to his whole countenance a most uninviting appearance. He turned his eyes from one to the other of those who were advancing towards him, until he saw the admiral, upon which he gave such a grim and horrible smile, that the old man exclaimed,—
“I say, Jack, you lubber, there’s a face for a figure head.”
“Ay, ay, sir.”
“Did you ever see such a d——d grin as that in your life, in any latitude?”
“Ay, ay, sir.”
“You did you swab.”
“I should think so.”
“It’s a lie, and you know it.”
“Very good,” said Jack, “don’t you recollect when that ere iron bullet walked over your head, leaving a nice little nick, all the way off Bergen-ap-Zoom, that was the time—blessed if you didn’t give just such a grin as that.”
“I didn’t, you rascal.”
“And I say you did.”
“Mutiny, by God!”
“Go to blazes!”
How far this contention might nave gone, having now reached its culminating point, had the admiral and Jack been alone, it is hard to say; but as it was, Henry and Marchdale interfered, and so the quarrel was patched up for the moment, in order to give place to more important affairs.
Varney seemed to think, that after the smiling welcome he had given to his second, he had done quite enough; for there he stood, tall, and gaunt, and motionless, if we may except an occasional singular movement of the mouth, and a clap together of his teeth, at times, which was enough to make anybody jump to hear.