“I have no doubt of it,” said another; “but I hope the military would do their duty under such circumstances, for people’s lives and property are not safe in such a state of things.”—“Oh, dear no.”
“I wonder what has become of Varney, or where he can have gone to.”—“Some thought he must have been burned when they burned his house,” replied the landlord.
“But I believe it generally understood he’s escaped, has he not? No traces of his body were found in the ruins.”—“None. Oh! he’s escaped, there can be no doubt of that. I wish I had some fortune depending upon the fact; it would be mine, I am sure.”
“Well, the lord keep us from vampyres and suchlike cattle,” said an old woman. “I shall never sleep again in my bed with any safety. It frightens one out of one’s life to think of it. What a shame the men didn’t catch him and stake him!”
The old woman left the inn as soon as she had spoke this Christian speech.
“Humane!” said a gentleman, with a sporting coat on. “The old woman is no advocate for half measures!”
“You are right, sir,” said the landlord; “and a very good look-out she keeps upon the pot, to see it’s full, and carefully blows the froth off!”—“Ah! I thought as much.”
“How soon will the funeral take place, landlord?” inquired a person, who had at that moment entered the inn.—“In about an hour’s time, sir.”
“Oh! the town seems pretty full, though it is very quiet. I suppose it is more as a matter of curiosity people congregate to see the funeral of this stranger?”
“I hope so, sir.”
“The time is wearing on, and if they don’t make a dust, why then the military will not be troubled.”
“I do not expect anything more, sir,” said the landlord; “for you see they must have had their swing out, as the saying is, and be fully satisfied. They cannot have much more to do in the way of exhibiting their anger or dislike to vampyres—they all have done enough.”
“So they have—so they have.”
“Granted,” said an old man with a troublesome cough; “but when did you ever know a mob to be satisfied? If they wanted the moon and got it, they’d find out it would be necessary to have the stars also.”
“That’s uncommonly true,” said the landlord. “I shouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t do something worse than ever.”—“Nothing more likely,” said the little old man. “I can believe anything of a mob—anything—no matter what.”
The inn was crowded with visitors, and several extra hands were employed to wait upon the customers, and a scene of bustle and activity was displayed that was never before seen. It would glad the heart of a landlord, though he were made of stone, and landlords are usually of much more malleable materials than that.
However, the landlord had hardly time to congratulate himself, for the bearers were come now, and the undertaker and his troop of death-following officials.