“We’ll try,” said the mob; and they rushed forward to drive the servants back, but they met with a stout resistance, and as some of them had choppers and swords, there were a few wounds given, and presently bang went the blunderbuss.
Two or three of the mob reeled and fell.
This produced a momentary panic, and the servants then had the whole of the victory to themselves, and were about to charge, and clear the passage of their enemies, when a shout behind attracted their attention.
That shout was caused by an entrance being gained in another quarter, whence the servants were flying, and all was disorder.
“Hurrah! hurrah!” shouted the mob.
The servants retreated to the stairs, and here united, they made a stand, and resolved to resist the whole force of the rioters, and they succeeded in doing so, too, for some minutes. Blows were given and taken of a desperate character.
Somehow, there were no deadly blows received by the servants; they were being forced and beaten, but they lost no life; this may be accounted for by the fact that the mob used no more deadly weapons than sticks.
The servants of Sir Francis Varney, on the contrary, were mostly armed with deadly weapons, which, however, they did not use unnecessarily. They stood upon the hall steps—the grand staircase, with long poles or sticks, about the size of quarter-staves, and with these they belaboured those below most unmercifully.
Certainly, the mob were by no means cowards, for the struggle to close with their enemies was as great as ever, and as firm as could well be. Indeed, they rushed on with a desperation truly characteristic of John Bull, and defied the heaviest blows; for as fast as one was stricken down another occupied his place, and they insensibly pressed their close and compact front upon the servants, who were becoming fatigued and harassed.
“Fire, again,” exclaimed a voice from among the servants.
The mob made no retrogade movement, but still continued to press onwards, and in another moment a loud report rang through the house, and a smoke hung over the heads of the mob.
A long groan or two escaped some of the men who had been wounded, and a still louder from those who had not been wounded, and a cry arose of,—
“Down with the vampyre—pull down—destroy and burn the whole place—down with them all.”
A rush succeeded, and a few more discharges took place, when a shout above attracted the attention of both parties engaged in this fierce struggle. They paused by mutual consent, to look and see what was the cause of that shout.
THE INTERVIEW BETWEEN THE MOB AND SIR FRANCIS VARNEY.—THE MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARANCE.—THE WINE CELLARS.
The shout that had so discomposed the parties who were thus engaged in a terrific struggle came from a party above.