THE RECEPTION OF THE VAMPYRE BY FLORA.—VARNEY SUBDUED.
We must say that the irruption into the house of the Bannerworths by Sir Francis Varney, was certainly unpremeditated by him, for he knew not into whose house he had thus suddenly rushed for refuge from the numerous foes who were pursuing him with such vengeful ire. It was a strange and singular incident, and one well calculated to cause the mind to pause before it passed it by, and consider the means to an end which are sometimes as wide of the mark, as it is in nature possible to be.
But truth is stronger than fiction by far, and the end of it was, that, pressed on all sides by danger, bleeding, faint, and exhausted, he rushed into the first house he came to, and thus placed himself in the very house of those whom he had brought to such a state of misfortune.
Flora Bannerworth was seated at some embroidery, to pass away an hour or so, and thus get over the tedium of time; she was not thinking, either, upon the unhappy past; some trifling object or other engaged her attention. But what was her anguish when she saw a man staggering into the room bleeding, and bearing the marks of a bloody contest, and sinking at her feet.
Her astonishment was far greater yet, when she recognised that man to be Sir Francis Varney.
“Save me!—save me! Miss Bannerworth, save me!—only you can save me from the ruthless multitude which follows, crying aloud for my blood.”
As he spoke, he sank down speechless. Flora was so much amazed, not to say terrified, that she knew not what to do. She saw Sir Francis a suppliant at her feet, a fugitive from his enemies, who would show him no mercy—she saw all this at a moment’s glance; and yet she had not recovered her speech and presence of mind enough to enable her to make any reply to him.
“Save me! Miss Flora Bannerworth, save me!” he again said, raising himself on his hands. “I am beset, hunted like a wild beast—they seek my life—they have pursued me from one spot to another, and I have unwittingly intruded upon you. You will save me: I am sure your kindness and goodness of heart will never permit me to be turned out among such a crew of blood-thirsty butchers as those who pursue me are.”
“Rise, Sir Francis Varney,” said Flora, after a moment’s hesitation; “in such an extremity as that which you are in, it would be inhuman indeed to thrust you out among your enemies.”
“Oh! it would,” said Varney. “I had thought, until now, I could have faced such a mob, until I was in this extremity; and then, disarmed and thrown down, bruised, beaten, and incapable of stemming such a torrent, I fled from one place to another, till hunted from each, and then instinct alone urged me to greater exertion than before, and here I am—this is now my last and only hope.”