“Throw him upon the burning wood!” shouted one.
“And a stake through his body,” suggested the humane female again, who seemed to have this one idea in her heart, and no other, and, upon every available opportunity, she seemed to be anxious to give utterance to the comfortable notion.
“Seize him!” exclaimed one.
“Never let him go,” said another; “we’ve gone too far to hang back now; and, if he escape, he will visit us in our sleep, were it only out of spite.”
The stranger made a dash among the ruins, and, for a moment, out-stripped his pursuers; but a few, more adventurous than the rest, succeeded in driving him into an angle formed by two walls, and the consequence was, he was compelled to come to a stand.
“Seize him—seize him!” exclaimed all those at a distance.
The stranger, seeing he was now nearly surrounded, and had no chance of escape, save by some great effort, seized a long piece of wood, and struck two of his assailants down at once, and then dashed through the opening.
He immediately made for another part of the ruins, and succeeded in making his escape for some short distance, but was unable to keep up the speed that was required, for his great exertion before had nearly exhausted him, and the fear of a cruel death before his eyes was not enough to give him strength, or lend speed to his flight. He had suffered too much from violence, and, though he ran with great speed, yet those who followed were uninjured, and fresher,—he had no chance.
They came very close upon him at the corner of a field, which he endeavoured to cross, and had succeeded in doing, and he made a desperate attempt to scramble up the bank that divided the field from the next, but he slipped back, almost exhausted, into the ditch, and the whole mob came up.
However, he got on the bank, and leaped into the next field, and then he was immediately surrounded by those who pursued him, and he was struck down.
“Down with the vampyre!—kill him,—he’s one of ’em,—run a stake through him!” were a few of the cries of the infuriated mob of people, who were only infuriated because he attempted to escape their murderous intentions.
It was strange to see how they collected in a ring as the unfortunate man lay on the ground, panting for breath, and hardly able to speak—their infuriated countenances plainly showing the mischief they were intent upon.
“Have mercy upon me!” he exclaimed, as he lay on the earth; “I have no power to help myself.”
The mob returned no answer, but stood collecting their numbers as they came up.
“Have mercy on me! it cannot be any pleasure to you to spill my blood. I am unable to resist—I am one man among many,—you surely cannot wish to beat me to death?”
“We want to hurt no one, except in our own defence, and we won’t be made vampyres of because you don’t like to die.”