“Well, that’s only reasonable,” said Jack; and giving a heavier lurch than usual, he sat down with a great bounce upon the floor. “You see it’s just this here,—when I was a coming of course I heard, just as I was a going, that ere as made me come all in consequence of somebody a going, or for to come, you see, admiral.”
“Doctor,” cried the admiral, in a great rage, “just help me out of this entanglement of branches, and I’ll rid the world from an encumbrance by smashing that fellow.”
“Smash yourself!” said Jack. “You know you’re drunk.”
“My dear admiral,” said Mr. Chillingworth, laying hold of one of his legs, and pulling it very hard, which brought his face into a lot of brambles, “we’re making a mess of this business.”
“Murder!” shouted the admiral; “you are indeed. Is that what you call pulling me out of it? You’ve stuck me fast.”
“I’ll manage it,” said Jack. “I’ve seed him in many a scrape, and I’ve seed him out. You pull me, doctor, and I’ll pull him. Yo hoy!”
Jack laid hold of the admiral by the scuff of the neck, and the doctor laid hold of Jack round the waist, the consequence of which was that he was dragged out from the branches of the tree, which seemed to have been thrown into the room, and down fell both Jack and the doctor.
At this instant there was a strange hissing sound heard below the window; then there was a sudden, loud report, as if a hand-grenade had gone off. A spectral sort of light gleamed into the room, and a tall, gaunt-looking figure rose slowly up in the balcony.
“Beware of the dead!” said a voice. “Let the living contend with the living, the dead with the dead. Beware!”
The figure disappeared, as did also the strange, spectral-looking light. A death-like silence ensued, and the cold moonbeams streamed in upon the floor of the apartment, as if nothing had occurred to disturb the wrapped repose and serenity of the scene.
THE WARNING.—THE NEW PLAN OF OPERATION.—THE INSULTING MESSAGE FROM VARNEY.
So much of the night had been consumed in these operations, that by the time they were over, and the three personages who lay upon the floor of what might be called the haunted chamber of Bannerworth Hall, even had they now been disposed to seek repose, would have had a short time to do so before the daylight would have streamed in upon them, and roused them to the bustle of waking existence.
It may be well believed what a vast amount of surprise came over the three persons in that chamber at the last little circumstance that had occurred in connection with the night’s proceedings.
There was nothing which had preceded that, that did not resemble a genuine attack upon the premises; but about that last mysterious appearance, with its curious light, there was quite enough to bother the admiral and Jack Pringle to a considerable effect, whatever might be the effect upon Mr. Chillingworth, whose profession better enabled him to comprehend, chemically, what would produce effects that, no doubt, astonished them amazingly.