“Good morning, gentlemen! good morning,” he said, and he moved towards the garden gate. “I will not trouble you any longer. Good morning!”
“Not so fast,” said the admiral, “or we may bring you up with a round turn, and I never miss my mark when I can see it, and I shall not let it get out of sight, you may depend.”
He drew a pistol from his pocket, as he spoke, and pointed it at the hangman, who, thereupon paused and said:—
“What! am I not to be permitted to go in peace? Why it was but a short time since the doctor was quarrelling with me because I did not go, and now it seems that I am to be shot if I do.”
“Yes,” said the admiral, “that’s it.”
“You dare,” said he, “stir another inch towards the gate, and you are a dead man!”
The hangman hesitated a moment, and looked at Admiral Bell; apparently the result of the scrutiny was, that he would keep his word, for he suddenly turned and dived in at the window again without saying another word.
“Well; you have certainly stopped him from leaving,” said Henry; “but what’s to be done now?”
“Let him be, let him be,” said the doctor; “he must come out again, for there are no provisions in the place, and he will be starved out.”
“Hush! what is that?” said Henry.
There was a very gentle ring at the bell which hung over the garden gate.
“That’s an experiment, now, I’ll be bound,” said the doctor, “to ascertain if any one is here; let us hide ourselves, and take no notice.”
The ring in a few moments was repeated, and the three confederates hid themselves effectually behind some thick laurel bushes and awaited with expectation what might next ensue.
Not long had they occupied their place of concealment, before they heard a heavy fall upon the gravelled pathway, immediately within the gate, as if some one had clambered to the top from the outside, and then jumped down.
That this was the case the sound of footsteps soon convinced them, and to their surprise as well as satisfaction, they saw through the interstices of the laurel bush behind which they were concealed, no less a personage that Sir Francis Varney himself.
“It is Varney,” said Henry.
“Yes, yes,” whispered the doctor. “Let him be, do not move for any consideration, for the first time let him do just what he likes.”
“D—n the fellow!” said the admiral; “there are some points about him that like, after all, and he’s quite an angel compared to that rascal Marchdale.”
“He is,—he saved Charles.”
“He did, and not if I know it shall any harm come to him, unless he were terribly to provoke it by becoming himself the assailant.”
“How sad he looks!”
“Hush! he comes nearer; it is not safe to talk. Look at him.”