“So I will,” said Jack, “fore and aft—fore and aft, admiral.”
“You had better,” said the admiral, who, however, relaxed into a broad grin, which he concealed from Jack Pringle.
Jack mounted the coach-box, and away it went, just as it was getting dark. The old admiral had locked up all the rooms in the presence of Henry Bannerworth; and when the coach had gone out of sight, Mr. Chillingworth came back to the Hall, where he joined the admiral.
“Well,” he said, “they are gone, Admiral Bell, and we are alone; we have a clear stage and no favour.”
“The two things of all others I most desire. Now, they will be strangers where they are going to, and that will be something gained. I will endeavour to do some thing if I get yard-arm and yard-arm with these pirates. I’ll make ’em feel the weight of true metal; I’ll board ’em—d——e, I’ll do everything.”
“Everything that can be done.”
* * * * *
The coach in which the family of the Bannerworths were carried away continued its course without any let or hindrance, and they met no one on their road during the whole drive. The fact was, nearly everybody was at the conflagration at Sir Francis Varney’s house.
Flora knew not which way they were going, and, after a time, all trace of the road was lost. Darkness set in, and they all sat in silence in the coach.
At length, after some time had been spent thus, Flora Bannerworth turned to Jack Pringle, and said,—
“Are we near, or have we much further to go?”
“Not very much, ma’am,” said Jack. “All’s right, however—ship in the direct course, and no breakers ahead—no lookout necessary; however there’s a land-lubber aloft to keep a look out.”
As this was not very intelligible, and Jack seemed to have his own reasons for silence, they asked him no further questions; but in about three-quarters of an hour, during which time the coach had been driving through the trees, they came to a standstill by a sudden pull of the check-string from Jack, who said,—
“Hilloa!—take in sails, and drop anchor.”
“Is this the place?”
“Yes, here we are,” said Jack; “we’re in port now, at all events;” and he began to sing,—
“The trials and the dangers of the voyage is past,”
when the coach door opened, and they all got out and looked about them where they were.
“Up the garden if you please, ma’am—as quick as you can; the night air is very cold.”
Flora and her mother and brother took the hint, which was meant by Jack to mean that they were not to be seen outside. They at once entered a pretty garden, and then they came to a very neat and picturesque cottage. They had no time to look up at it, as the door was immediately opened by an elderly female, who was intended to wait upon them.
Soon after, Jack Pringle and the coachman entered the passage with the small amount of luggage which they had brought with them. This was deposited in the passage, and then Jack went out again, and, after a few minutes, there was the sound of wheels, which intimated that the coach had driven off.