Considerably delighted was the Hungarian, not only at the news he had received from the boy, but as well for the cheapness of it. Probably he did not conceive it possible that the secret of the retreat of such a man as Varney could have been attained so easily.
He waited with great impatience for the evening, and stirred not from the inn for several hours; neither did he take any refreshment, notwithstanding he had made so liberal an arrangement with the landlord to be supplied.
All this was a matter of great excitement and speculation in the inn, so much so, indeed, that the landlord sent for some of the oldest customers of his house, regular topers, who sat there every evening, indulging in strong drinks, and pipes and tobacco, to ask their serious advice as to what he should do, as if it were necessary he should do anything at all.
But, somehow or another, these wiseacres who assembled at the landlord’s bidding, and sat down, with something strong before them, in the bar parlour, never once seemed to think that a man might, if he choosed, come to an inn, and agree to pay four guineas a week for board and lodging, and yet take nothing at all.
No; they could not understand it, and therefore they would not have it. It was quite monstrous that anybody should attempt to do anything so completely out of the ordinary course of proceeding. It was not to be borne; and as in this country it happens, free and enlightened as we are, that no man can commit a greater social offence than doing something that his neighbours never thought of doing themselves, the Hungarian nobleman was voted a most dangerous character, and, in fact, not to be put up with.
“I shouldn’t have thought so much of it” said the landlord; “but only look at the aggravation of the thing. After I have asked him four guineas a week, and expected to be beaten down to two, to be then told that he would not have cared if it had been eight. It is enough to aggravate a saint.”
“Well, I agree with you there,” said another; “that’s just what it is, and I only wonder that a man of your sagacity has not quite understood it before.”
“Why, that he is a vampyre. He has heard of Sir Francis Varney, that’s the fact, and he’s come to see him. Birds of a feather, you know, flock together, and now we shall have two vampyres in the town instead of one.”
The party looked rather blank at this suggestion, which, indeed, seemed rather uncomfortable probably. The landlord had just opened his mouth to make some remark, when he was stopped by the violent ringing of what he now called the vampyre’s bell, since it proceeded from the room where the Hungarian nobleman was.
“Have you an almanack in the house?” was the question of the mysterious guest.
“An almanack, sir? well, I really don’t know. Let me see, an almanack.”