As soon, however, as they got tolerably near to the ruins, they saw what had happened. Neither spoke, but they quickened their pace, and soon stood close to the mass of stone-work which now had assumed so different a shape to what it had a few short hours before.
It needed little examination to let them feel certain that whoever might have been in any of the underground dungeons must have been crushed to death.
“Heaven have mercy upon his soul!” said Henry.
“Amen!” said the admiral.
They both turned away, and for some time they neither of them spoke, for their thoughts were full of reflection upon the horrible death which Marchdale must have endured. At length the admiral said—
“Shall we tell this or not?”
“Tell it at once,” said Henry; “let us have no secrets.”
“Good. Then I will not make one you may depend. I only wish that while he was about it, Charley could have popped that rascal Varney as well in the dungeon, and then there would have been an end and a good riddance of them both.”
THE SECOND NIGHT-WATCH OF MR. CHILLINGWORTH AT THE HALL.
The military party in the morning left Bannerworth Hall, and the old place resumed its wonted quiet. But Dr. Chillingworth found it difficult to get rid of his old friend, the hangman, who seemed quite disposed to share his watch with him.
The doctor, without being at all accused of being a prejudiced man, might well object to the continued companionship of one, who, according to his own account, was decidedly no better than he should be, if he were half so good.
Moreover, it materially interfered with the proceedings of our medical friend, whose object was to watch the vampyre with all imaginable quietness and secrecy, in the event of his again visiting Bannerworth Hall.
“Sir,” he said, to the hangman, “now that you have so obligingly related to me your melancholy history, I will not detain you.”
“Oh, you are not detaining me.”
“Yes, but I shall probably remain here for a considerable time.”
“I have nothing to do; and one place is about the same as another to me.”
“Well, then, if I must speak plainly, allow me to say, that as I came here upon a very important and special errand, I desire most particularly to be left alone. Do you understand me now?”
“Oh! ah!—I understand; you want me to go?”
“Well, then, Dr. Chillingworth, allow me to tell you, I have come here on a very special errand likewise.”
“I have. I have been putting one circumstance to another, and drawing a variety of conclusions from a variety of facts, so that I have come to what I consider an important resolve, namely, to have a good look at Bannerworth Hall, and if I continue to like it as well as I do now, I should like to make the Bannerworth family an offer for the purchase of it.”