“True, true, most true,” said Mr. Chillingworth, emphatically. “You know, sir, that from the first time you broached that view of the subject to me, how entirely I coincided with you.”
“Of course you did, for you are a honest fellow, and a right-thinking fellow, though you are a doctor, and I don’t know that I like doctors much better than I like lawyers—they’re only humbugs in a different sort of way. But I wish to be liberal; there is such a thing as an honest lawyer, and, d——e, you’re an honest doctor!”
“Of course I’m much obliged, admiral, for your good opinion. I only wish it had struck me to bring something of a solid nature in the shape of food, to sustain the waste of the animal economy during the hours we shall have to wait here.”
“Don’t trouble yourself about that,” said the admiral. “Do you think I’m a donkey, and would set out on a cruise without victualling my ship? I should think not. Jack Pringle will be here soon, and he has my orders to bring in something to eat.”
“Well,” said the doctor, “that’s very provident of you, admiral, and I feel personally obliged; but tell me, how do you intend to conduct the watch?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why, I mean, if we sit here with the window fastened so as to prevent our light from being seen, and the door closed, how are we by any possibility to know if the house is attacked or not?”
“Hark’ee, my friend,” said the admiral; “I’ve left a weak point for the enemy.”
“A what, admiral?”
“A weak point. I’ve taken good care to secure everything but one of the windows on the ground floor, and that I’ve left open, or so nearly open, that it will look like the most natural place in the world to get in at. Now, just inside that window, I’ve placed a lot of the family crockery. I’ll warrant, if anybody so much as puts his foot in, you’ll hear the smash;—and, d——e, there it is!”
There was a loud crash at this moment, followed by a succession of similar sounds, but of a lesser degree; and both the admiral and Mr. Chillingworth sprung to their feet.
“Come on,” cried the former; “here’ll be a precious row—take the lantern.”
Mr. Chillingworth did so, but he did not seem possessed of a great deal of presence of mind; for, before they got out of the room, he twice accidentally put on the dark slide, and produced a total darkness.
“D—n!” said the admiral; “don’t make it wink and wink in that way; hold it up, and run after me as hard as you can.”
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” said Mr. Chillingworth.
It was one of the windows of a long room, containing five, fronting the garden, which the admiral had left purposely unguarded; and it was not far from the apartment in which they had been sitting, so that, probably, not half a minute’s time elapsed between the moment of the first alarm, and their reaching the spot from whence it was presumed to arise.