Every hole and corner of the house was searched, but there was no Sir Francis Varney to be found.
“The cellars, the cellars!” shouted a voice.
“The cellars, the cellars!” re-echoed nearly every pair of lips in the whole place; in another moment, there was crushing an crowding to get down into the cellars.
“Hurray!” said one, as he knocked off the neck of the bottle that first came to hand.
“Here’s luck to vampyre-hunting! Success to our chase!”
“So say I, neighbour; but is that your manners to drink before your betters?”
So saying, the speaker knocked the other’s elbow, while he was in the act of lifting the wine to his mouth; and thus he upset it over his face and eyes.
“D—n it!” cried the man; “how it makes my eyes smart! Dang thee! if I could see, I’d ring thy neck!”
“Success to vampyre-hunting!” said one.
“May we be lucky yet!” said another.
“I wouldn’t be luckier than this,” said another, as he, too, emptied a bottle. “We couldn’t desire better entertainment, where the reckoning is all paid.”
“Capital wine this!”
“I say, Huggins!”
“Well,” said Huggins.
“What are you drinking?”
“Danged if I know,” was the reply. “It’s wine, I suppose; for I know it ain’t beer nor spirits; so it must be wine.”
“Are you sure it ain’t bottled men’s blood?”
“Bottled blood, man! Who knows what a vampyre drinks? It may be his wine. He may feast upon that before he goes to bed of a night, drink anybody’s health, and make himself cheerful on bottled blood!”
“Oh, danged! I’m so sick; I wish I hadn’t taken the stuff. It may be as you say, neighbour, and then we be cannibals.”
“There’s a pretty thing to think of.”
By this time some were drunk, some were partially so, and the remainder were crowding into the cellars to get their share of the wine.
The servants had now slunk away; they were no longer noticed by the rioters, who, having nobody to oppose them, no longer thought of anything, save the searching after the vampyre, and the destruction of the property. Several hours had been spent in this manner, and yet they could not find the object of their search.
There was not a room, or cupboard, or a cellar, that was capable of containing a cat, that they did not search, besides a part of the rioters keeping a very strict watch on the outside of the house and all about the grounds, to prevent the possibility of the escape of the vampyre.
There was a general cessation of active hostilities at that moment; a reaction after the violent excitement and exertion they had made to get in. Then the escape of their victim, and the mysterious manner in which he got away, was also a cause of the reaction, and the rioters looked in each others’ countenances inquiringly.