“Yes,” said Flora; “but he may have done that, brother, still in furtherance of his object.”
“It may be so, and I will hope that it is so. Keep yourself close, sister, and see no one, while I proceed to his house to inquire if they have heard anything of him. I will return soon, be assured; and, in the meantime, should you see my brother, tell him I shall be at home in an hour or so, and not to leave the cottage; for it is more than likely that the admiral has gone to Bannerworth Hall, so that you may not see anything of him for some time.”
MARCHDALE’S ATTEMPTED VILLANY, AND THE RESULT.
Varney the vampyre left the dungeon of Charles Holland amid the grey ruins, with a perfect confidence the young man would keep his word, and not attempt to escape from that place until the time had elapsed which he had dictated to him.
And well might he have that confidence, for having once given his word that he would remain until he heard the clock strike two from a neighbouring church, Charles Holland never dreamt for a moment of breaking it.
To be sure it was a weary time to wait when liberty appeared before him; but he was the soul of honour, and the least likely man in all the world to infringe in the slightest upon the condition which he had, of his own free will, acceded to.
Sir Francis Varney walked rapidly until he came nearly to the outskirts of the town, and then he slackened his pace, proceeding more cautiously, and looking carefully about him, as if he feared to meet any one who might recognise him.
He had not proceeded far in this manner, when be became conscious of the cautious figure of a man gliding along in the opposite direction to that which he was taking.
A suspicion struck him, from the general appearance, that it was Marchdale, and if so he wondered to see him abroad at such a time. Still he would not be quite certain; but he hurried forward, so as to meet the advancing figure, and then his suspicions were confirmed; and Marchdale, with some confusion in his looks and manners, accosted him.
“Ah, Sir Francis Varney,” he said, “you are out late.”—
“Why, you know I should be out late,” said Varney, “and you likewise know the errand upon which I was to be out.”
“Oh, I recollect; you were to release your prisoner.”—
“Yes, I was.”
“And have you done so?”—
“Oh, indeed. I—I am glad you have taken better thoughts of it. Good night—good night; we shall meet to-morrow.”—
“Adieu,” said Sir Francis Varney; and he watched the retreating figure of Marchdale, and then he added, in a low tone to himself,—