Sir Francis Varney looked coldly on while Charles uttered this enthusiastic speech.
“Remember,” he said, “till two o’clock;” and he walked towards the door of the dungeon. “You will have no difficulty in finding your way out from this place. Doubtless you already perceive the entrance by which I gained admission.”
“Had I been free,” said Charles, “and had the use of my limbs, I should, long ere this, have worked my way to life and liberty.”
“’Tis well. Goodnight.”
Varney walked from the place, and just closed the door behind him. With a slow and stately step he left the ruins, and Charles Holland found himself once more alone, but in a much more enviable condition than for many weeks he could have called his.
FLORA BANNERWORTH’S APPARENT INCONSISTENCY.—THE ADMIRAL’S CIRCUMSTANCES AND ADVICE.—MR. CHILLINGWORTH’S MYSTERIOUS ABSENCE.
For a brief space let us return to Flora Bannerworth, who had suffered so much on account of her affections, as well as on account of the mysterious attack that had been made upon her by the reputed vampyre.
After leaving Bannerworth Hall for a short time, she seemed to recover her spirits; but this was a state of things which did not last, and only showed how fallacious it was to expect that, after the grievous things that had happened, she would rapidly recover her equanimity.
It is said, by learned physiologists, that two bodily pains cannot endure at the same space of time in the system; and, whether it be so or not, is a question concerning which it would be foreign to the nature of our work, to enter into anything like an elaborate disquisition.
Certainly, however, so far as Flora Bannerworth was concerned, she seemed inclined to show that, mentally, the observation was a true one, for that, now she became released from a continued dread of the visits of the vampyre, her mind would, with more painful interest than ever, recur to the melancholy condition, probably, of Charles Holland, if he were alive, and to soul-harrowing reflections concerning him, if he were dead.
She could not, and she did not, believe, for one moment, that his desertion of her had been of a voluntary character. She knew, or fancied she knew, him by far too well for that; and she more than once expressed her opinion, to the effect that she was perfectly convinced his disappearance was a part and parcel of all that train of circumstances which had so recently occurred, and produced such a world of unhappiness to her, as well as to the whole of the Bannerworth family.
“If he had never loved me,” she said to her brother Henry, “he would have been alive and well; but he has fallen a victim to the truth of a passion, and to the constancy of an affection which, to my dying day, I will believe in.”
Now that Mr. Marchdale had left the place there was no one to dispute this proposition with Flora, for all, as well as she, were fully inclined to think well of Charles Holland.