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Thomas Peckett Prest
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 963 pages of information about Varney the Vampire.

“My story, my dear, I’ve no objection to your hearing, and, like all women folks, a love story never comes amiss to you; so you may as well stay and hear it.”—­“A love story,” said Flora; “you tell a love story, sir?”

“Yes, my dear, and not only tell it, but be the hero of it, likewise; ain’t you astonished?”—­“I am, indeed.”

“Well, you’ll be more astonished then before I’ve done; so just listen.  As Jack Pringle says, it was the matter of about somewhere forty years ago, that I was in command of the Victory frigate, which was placed upon the West Indian station, during a war then raging, for the protection of our ports and harbours in that vicinity.  We’d not a strong force in that quarter, therefore, I had to cut about from place to place, and do the best I could.  After a time, though, I rather think that we frightened off the enemy, during which time I chiefly anchored off the island of Antigua, and was hospitably received at the house of a planter, of the name of Marchant, who, in fact, made his house my home, and introduced me to all the elite of the society of the island.  Ah!  Miss Flora, you’ve no idea, to look at me now, what I was then; I held a captain’s commission, and was nearly the youngest man in the service, with such a rank.  I was as slender, ay, as a dancing master.  These withered and bleached locks were black as the raven’s plume.  Ay, ay, but no matter:  the planter had a daughter.”

“And you loved her?” said Flora—­“Loved her,” said the old man, and the flush of youthful animation come to his countenance; “loved her, do you say!  I adored her; I worshipped her; she was to me—­but what a d——­d old fool, I am; we’ll skip that if you please.”

“Nay, nay,” said Flora; “that is what I want to hear.”—­“I haven’t the least doubt of that, in the world; but that’s just what you won’t hear; none of your nonsense, Miss Flora; the old man may be a fool, but he isn’t quite an idiot.”

“He’s neither,” said Flora; “true feelings can never disgrace any one.”—­“Perhaps not; but, however, to make a long story short, somehow or other, one day, Belinda was sitting alone, and I rudely pounced upon her; I rather think then I must have said something that I oughtn’t to have said, for it took her so aback; I was forced, somehow or other, to hold her up, and then I—­I—­yes; I’m sure I kissed her; and so, I told her I loved her; and then, what do you think she said?”

“Why,” said Flora, “that she reciprocated the passion.”—­“D—­n my rags,” said Jack, who at the moment came into the room, “I suppose that’s the name of some shell or other.”

“You here, you villain!” said the admiral; “I thought you were gone.”—­“So I was,” said Jack, “but I came back for my hat, you see.”

Away he went again, and the admiral resumed his story.

“Well, Miss Flora,” he said, “you haven’t made a good guess, as she didn’t say anything at all, she only clung to me like some wild bird to its mother’s breast, and cried as if her heart would break.”—­“Indeed!”

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