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Thomas Peckett Prest
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 963 pages of information about Varney the Vampire.

“As you please; make your own arrangements.”

“Well, sir, as we can’t tell, of course, what wine a gentleman may drink, but when we come to consider breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper, and a bed, and all that sort of thing, and a private sitting-room, I suppose, sir?”

“Certainly.”

“You would not, then, think, sir, a matter of four guineas a week will be too much, perhaps.”

“I told you to name your own charge.  Let it be four guineas; if you had said eight I should have paid it.”

“Good God!” said the publican, “here’s a damned fool that I am.  I beg your pardon, sir, I didn’t mean you.  Now I could punch my own head—­will you have breakfast at once, sir, and then we shall begin regular, you know, sir?”

“Have what?”

“Breakfast, breakfast, you know, sir; tea, coffee, cocoa, or chocolate; ham, eggs, or a bit of grilled fowl, cold sirloin of roast beef, or a red herring—­anything you like, sir.”

“I never take breakfast, so you may spare yourself the trouble of providing anything for me.”

“Not take breakfast, sir! not take breakfast!  Would you like to take anything to drink then, sir?  People say it’s an odd time, at eight o’clock in the morning, to drink; but, for my part, I always have thought that you couldn’t begin a good thing too soon.”

“I live upon drink,” said the stranger; “but you have none in the cellar that will suit me.”

“Indeed, sir.”

“No, no, I am certain.”

“Why, we’ve got some claret now, sir,” said the landlord.

“Which may look like blood, and yet not be it.”

“Like what, sir?—­damn my rags!”

“Begone, begone.”

The stranger uttered these words so peremptorily that the landlord hastily left the room, and going into his own bar, he gave himself so small a tap on the side of the head, that it would not have hurt a fly, as he said,—­

“I could punch myself into bits, I could tear my hair out by the roots;” and then he pulled a little bit of his hair, so gently and tenderly that it showed what a man of discretion he was, even in the worst of all his agony of passion.

“The idea,” he added, “of a fellow coming here, paying four guineas a week for board and lodging, telling me he would not have minded eight, and then not wanting any breakfast; it’s enough to aggravate half a dozen saints; but what an odd fish he looks.”

At this moment the ostler came in, and, standing at the bar, he wiped his mouth with his sleeve, as he said,—­

“I suppose you’ll stand a quart for that, master?”

“A quart for what, you vagabond?  A quart because I’ve done myself up in heaps; a quart because I’m fit to pull myself into fiddlestrings?”

“No,” said the ostler; “because I’ve just put up the gentleman’s horse.”

“What gentleman’s horse?”

“Why, the big-looking fellow with the white face, now in the parlour.”

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